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July 2021

Pest Control: A quick pre-match snifter for those unable to get to “the game”

By Sir Hardly Anyone

Before the match my chums and I generally frequent one of the many watering holes around our sacred ground in North London and exchange the news.   Now next week that is simple because we are at home taking on the North, so plenty of time to do the deed and place the sure fire fiver with the old Premier League Betting whatsit.   All winnings go to the staff of course.

But before the away game, then what?   A drink in the lounge bar of the local?  A dry sherry kindly brought in by Wadkins, my man, and a quick snifter on the terrace before settling down before the box?

Well, yes, that’s how it goes, but there is still the need for news before kick off, to feed the debate and what-not.   And so, my good pals at the Untold Estates, Rutlandshire, have asked that I might draft a line or two, to help us all pass the hours before kick off when the lads are not chez nous, as ’twere.

They’ve called this little column, PEST CONTROL, for reasons which (to me at least) are not clear at this time.

Now I don’t want you to think this takes over from the serious pre-match build up.  Not at all.  That is all written and available on Untold at this address.   But now, down to the pests.

And for today’s pests- I thought I would consider Barcelona.

Now for this investigation I am greatly aided and helped by a rather jolly web site called Arsenal Report which has calculated that over the past 10 deals that we have done with Barcelona we’ve made a profit of £83.6m.

Put another way Barcelona is a significant part of the funding of Arsenal, and Arsenal is a significant part of the drift into bankruptcy of Barcelona.   (The only other club that apparently comes even close to us with this is Manchester City, who over the last 7 deals have funded Arsenal to the tune of £71m.)

Deals in this context of course means buying and selling.  We sell them people like Overmars, Hleb, Henry and Fabregas, and they sell us people like Fabregas, Héctor Bellerin, Jon Toral, and Ignasi Miquel (although in this case via UE Cornellà)

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Now clearly on one level this looks as if we are selling great players to them, but if you consider just how many games these big name players actually got with the club, and how much the wages were for these players even when not playing, you can see this is a rather jolly wheeze.

We get money, and some promising youngsters, they get older players who are moving towards the later part of their careers and who won’t play much but need lots of cash.  Half a million quid or so per game in the case of Henry.  Nice work if you can get it.

So, in fact, the rest of football (especially Real Madrid) ought to be thanking Arsenal big time.  And we should thank Barca for their generosity.

Pest Control.  Geddit?

Next time: How Arsenal caused Tottenham to buy a wildebeest from the Maasai in the belief that Serengeti was African Player of the Year.

 Ordinary is Pointless

The Great History of Arsenal Competition – complete with prizes


37 comments to Pest Control: A quick pre-match snifter for those unable to get to “the game”

  • Matt Clarke

    In our house it’s usually No-one who wants to do the washing-up; whilst Someone always steals my share of that fruit tart my youngest daughter makes; and when my wife asks if Anyone will help with the shopping she doesn’t always get a good response.

    So…I’m glad to see that this article was written by one of the Rutlandshire Anyones. Obviously a better class of Anyone.

    Your observations on our dealings with Barca is quite interesting and begs the question: Is this an obviousl ploy on the part of AW?
    Has he recognised the corporate illness that these clubs have (so well expressed on Radio SSFM) and is deliberately putting temptation their way?

    Hmmm – I hope so!

  • bob

    Ok, clever. But, in all good humor, did Darren Damien Dein pay you to encourage continued asset-stripping transfers to Barfa of Qatar? As in hey, kerching, get rid of his client for a Song? Do you advocate transferring his other client, you know the Dutchman, for another boost to the bottom line? (He also midwifed Thierry to Barca at yes, a profit; as well as a 6 week return last season, at yes, a profit, before the green pasture called the MLS/NY Red Bulls.)

    Now, just for ha-ha’s, are fans supposed to take on this accountancy mindset and substitute it for loving their team and having emotional investments in their players? Surely I don’t appreciate your humor enough and don’t geddit. Yep, don’t wann geddit. Yet I’m sure 3D gets it just fine. That’s the pest that needs controlling. The asset-stripper that makes us money by serving his own interests? Geddit?

  • Gunner D

    Anyone know if there is radio commentary of the match today and if so where? – Arsenal Player is as much use as an ashtray on a motorbike here.

  • Preetam

    Gunners need to be patient bec in a few years from now Arsenal will be on it’s way to success, just like Barcelona Fc is reaping the fruits of success by following the path laid down by John Cryuff, similarly Arsenal will attain success vbased on the idea laid down by Wenger. By then Old nose will be confined to history just like Bill Shankly & Bob Paisley of LFC. England fans can also rejoice that once the plan comes to conclusion England might just have a world cup winning team in maybe 10 years from now.

  • Gunner D, I doubt it. Certainly not a BBC channel since they are totally besotted by the Olympics, and I am not sure Talk Sprot believe in life beyond the Channel.

  • Bob, I am not sure if that was a serious question or not tucked in there, but just in case… Untold has been running humour in many forms virtually since it started. We always get “was that supposed to be funny?” comments back but over the four years have built a sizeable audience for the notion that commentaries on footballing matters can be silly and numerous as well as serious and campaigning.

  • zuer


    just for lol..

    chelsea 32m signing, eden hazard in action..

  • jerry

    Podolski with a goal off a PK in his debut. The Ox got fouled in the box!

  • jerry

    links available online but commentary in German for those that were looking

  • nicky

    Re. today’s game, it will be total silence in my neck of the wood as we ESPN viewers watch with the MUTE key firmly depressed.
    As for Sir Hardly, this country badly needs men of your ilk, at places like No.11,Downing Street.

  • Matt Clarke

    Half-time and good stuff so far.

    A few wobbles – from LeCoq and Manonne, but nothing too bad.

    New guys playing well, especially Cazorla – good touches and intelligent. Too early to tell from first appearance, but maybe, just maybe a little relauctant to have-a-go himself…we’ll see.

    Lovely to see first goal from near-post flick-on (thanks to Steve Bould?)

    Poddy with 2 goals. Good to see no overt celebration. His second goal was impressive strike. And this goal ws pleasing for me – as it came from a cross from the goal line. Imo we are too relucant to feed the wings in this way….hopefully more to come.

  • Preetam

    3-0 Gunners Rock

  • Preetam

    Gunners r coming to get the M’chester boys. No wonder “Red Nose/ Man Sinny” are getting worked up!!!!!!
    Go Gunners Go!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Matt Clarke

    second half not quite so exciting.

    good news is that Gerv scored well and Arshavin ALMOST completed a pass!

    69 minutes…Poddy off to a standing O.

    RVP on and takes armband…no booing thankfully.

  • Ong Bing

    Looks like we don’t need Robin. Ok, Alex, takes him, before RDM takes him, looks like Chel$ki not sharp enough.

  • Gunner D


    Tks for your response – could’nt find any radio stations so watching on stuttering AP. V frustrating but from what I can see we look good. Be good if we can keep a clean sheet.

  • Matt Clarke

    Arshavin now really warming up – two goal chances result..interesting.

    Lovely first half – new buys look great 🙂

  • Preetam

    Why would Van want to go to Manchester after this performance by Arsenal……great show by the Gunners. Cant wait for next Saturday. 🙂

  • bob


  • Yes but still we win nothing so tell me where is the win win here

  • bob

    The humor’s awright and it’s clever. I have no problem with that style in the least. But it also has a pov, imo, that, in the present moment, makes light of issues that are best kept sharp and pointed – indeed, campaigning. And I’m not cautious about saying that RVP should stay and that we shouldn’t do business with Barca, however clever it’s painted, to feather the nest of 3D, the asset stripper. So for me, it’s the right joke at the wrong time. Sorry.

  • Preetam

    Community Shield won by Man C with a man advantage 3-2 over Chelsea…..just hope the gunners will have enuf ammo to return the favor to MANU at OT…can’ wait to c SAF nose turn redder … wouldn’t that be sight for sore gunner eyes!!!!! ………………sorry getting 2 ahead of myself

  • But got it we are wealthy ( successful business ) failures

  • nicky

    Mustn’t get over excited with the result. Cologne had litle to offer.
    With Arsenal using so many of the squad, it was a pity the shirts had no names on. I failed to recognise who was who much of the time.
    No apparent injuries though, which is fine.

  • Diaby looked good fingers crossed

  • Armin

    I sow on twitter someone sayin “RvP body language say he is someone waiting to go”… I don’t agree. He is just in crisis.. the one which started long time ago.
    Anyway .. it was good game, good to see new faces. We look good at breaks and (with or without RvP) we have real depth in squad. In few weeks, when everything settle, we will be for sure one of biggest candidates for crown.

  • Gerry Lennon

    Gunner D – For future AP reference; The stuttering is probably because of a weak Broadband signal. If you are using a wireless connection from your router, try switching to a dedicated ethernet connection(through the pwerlines)? I had similar probs, but I can now watch it in full screen mode. Sound was a bit off today though.

    As for the match; Cazorla will make Walcott look good. Giroud and Pod will both score loads. The Ox will be a force in that trio. Gibbs IS our LB. Yennaris/Jenks not much to choose between them – one crosses better, the other tackles better?
    2nd half: I asked myself who I would put in with the first eleven. Answer, not many! SZCZ,obviously. Per Mert looked solid – any two from three there, with Kos and TV? Gerv as an extra striker. RVP wasn’t there. We need a DM if Song goes. Diaby will take time to get his sharness back, but it’s coming. Jenks as above until Sagna is back. Santos would like to be a striker/winger, but isn’t. Almost a case for keeping Ashavin is this quick passing side – experienced cover for Cazorla?
    All in all, a very pleasing workout. By next Saturday we may have conclude our transfer activity in both directions, and so, a new season of promise and hope begins ..

  • colario

    On the up side. It makes sense for Arsenal to want RVP to see out his contract. The anticipated return: 20 goals without a signing on fee or hike in wages to RVP. He leaves on a free but one year older and a replacement in place for Arsenal.

    It makes sense for RVP to want away. A signing on fee and a hike in wages.

    Downside for RVP:
    He stays and is crocked more than he plays. At the end of his contract he leaves on a free but not at the signing on fee and wages he could otherwise demand.

    Arsenal give him a new contract but in view of injuries and age it will not be as high as a new contract started this year.

    I have not seen much speculation about the contract Arsenal have offered RVP. Here I repsect RVP and Arsenal. How easy would it be for RVP to disclose the offer Arsenal made to him (but as far as I know) he hasn’t.

    I watched the match against Koln on TV and I heard booing when RVP came on I hope and pray it was not from ‘so called Arsenal supporters’ but I fear it was.

    In my opinion any one who boos an Arsenal player is not an Arsenal supporter. We may not like the RVP situation off the pitch but let’s never get forget that when on the pitch Robin has always, always given his best.

  • Stuart

    Yes I noticed the booing, the commentary team on Arsenal Player seemed to think it was from the Cologne fans due to German / Netherland rivalries built up during the Euro Cup etc..
    I was not sure whether or not to believe this but as I was not there….

  • Bob – right joke wrong time – well, it is always too early, it is always too late.

  • Stuart – see Walter’s report for clarification

  • Stuart

    Thanks Tony, seen it now.

  • bob

    Tony, Sir Hardly Anyone,
    This funny piece does have an underlying point of view that we would seem to disagree on. Tony, you don’t address the content of my criticism of it; which has zero to do with its being clever and humorous (which it is, as I’ve said). My critique of its appearing now has to do with the fact that its pov has a consequence in the present moment of renewed tippy-tapping of an Arsenal asset (Alex Song) by Barfa and Dein the Lesser. Your writing “always too early, always too late” does not address the content, but picks up on my last sentence – right joke, wrong time – without addressing the context that I use it in. Do you actually think that AFC has benefited and has been successfully tricking Barfa/Dein – as this piece suggests? Do you think that selling Alex Song now to Barfa/Dein is to AFC’s advantage? Sir Hardly Anyone, are you there?

  • Bob – point one – has Arsenal benefited from its trade with Barce? Undoubtedly yes, and at two levels.

    First, because we have cost them a load of money, and helped them in their inexorable move towards insolvency (which is particularly poignant at a time when the banks in Spain are in a similar position to the banks in the UK).

    Second, because in doing this we have made loads of money.

    Point two – is this the right time to sell Song? I don’t know, but I trust Mr Wenger’s judgement.

    Players become insanely arrogant demanding more and more money, the right to play in every game, the right to tell the manager who should play behind/in front of/alongside him to maximise his unique talents…

    Meanwhile players start to lose their ability before those of us in the stands for each game see it. I recall that Mr Wenger gave away the fact that he sold the captain of Brazil on to a Greek club while we were all saying “what the hell are you up to” on the basis that it was now taking him 0.5 seconds longer to get rid of the ball than it was the season before (or something like that).

    The point was, he was seeing the problem before anyone else could, because he was there with a stopwatch, and he knew what he was looking at. So it was time to move the man on, not just because of that, but because he could see another way of solving that issue in midfield.

    And beyond that, the opposition is not made up of clodhoppers managed by ignorant twirps. The opposition managers look at Arsenal, see how we play, and say, 60% of their attacks come from x moving infield. Whatever you do, stop that happening. Now if X has the ability to find something else, great. If Mr Wenger can find a solution, great. But if not, time to sell.

    There are few perfections in football. The Pires/Henry game of Henry taking two or three defenders out to the left wing, leaving Pires standing gloriously unmarked, is something that few clubs could counter – and I am not sure we will see such brilliance again. So we deal with lesser mortals.

    Is Song losing it mentally or physically? I have no idea. But if Mr Wenger sees that, then yes, it is time to make a fortune out of him and help a bit more to destroy the disgraceful Barca.

    About four or five years ago I wrote an article in Highbury High nominating Song as my young player to break through. This was just after every blog and magazine was writing of him that he was clearly not fit to wear the shirt. At that point I thought he would be, and I am glad I put it in print. Now, I will defer to Mr Wenger’s judgement.

  • bob

    “point one – has Arsenal benefited from its trade with Barce? Undoubtedly yes, and at two levels. First, because we have cost them a load of money, and helped them in their inexorable move towards insolvency (which is particularly poignant at a time when the banks in Spain are in a similar position to the banks in the UK).”
    I think it’s Overstated to argue that we have helped push them toward insolvency. I’d gladly learn from you by seeing that specific claim quantified. Another unknown is to what extent Barca’s relationship with the Qatar Foundation – their new T-shirt sponsor – has slowed down, or averted, or rescued them from the insolvency that you’ve been predicting for them. I think they have it coming to them and wouldn’t mind seeing it in the least. But I’d also argue that Barca and Madrid are too big to be allowed to fail because it would destroy La Liga and be a massive psychological and economic blow to Spain itself. It is not in the interests of very big players in Spain, and I would guess outside, to allow Barca to fail. I think that is wishful thinking – if rationally predictable, as you do. Irrational factors like the Qatar Foundation, with its own logic, may well be the wild card that your model of their failure does not (nor could anyone’s in advance) take into account. That said, f’em.

    As for the rest: So we’ve benefited Barca by gifting them x-Cesc at far less than the market value than Mr. Wenger started demanding – at 50M, then 40M, then 30M? and lastly, what, a fire sale at 20M. And that money that may not yet have been repaid, or is being repaid perhaps on time on perhaps some agreed upon schedule – all of which is a secret? And, in truth, most people don’t know whether this great deal was against Mr. Wenger’s will or judgment or not. Do you? Was it in Mr. Wenger’s best judgment then to have let Cesc go at that price? Or do you not actually know if Mr. Wenger’s judgment was to do this – or if he was forced or pressured to do this by the timely arrival of Silent Stan at the time in London. The fact is it’s hard for mere outsiders to know what is Mr. Wegner’s judgment on almost anything of that magnitude in the context of his relationship to the AFC Board. Not many have reliable sources to know.

    And, in the process of dealing with Barca, the fact is that we have continued to benefit a rapacious asset-stripping agent, x-Cesc’s agent, who continues to ply this trade with, as you know, via both RVP and – possibly to Barca – Alex Song. That said I’m glad you put it in print, back then. But would you deny – by the evidence of your own eyes – that Alex Song’s performances actually slipped last season? Did his assists not soar? Would your best guess be that Mr. Wenger actually has that judgment right now? It’s easy to leave anything to anyone else’s best judgment. I say that saying NO to Barca has the further benefit of saying no to Alex Song, to the other Alex Song’s in the wings who will betray Arsene’s trust and development (as did Cesc and RVP), and to stop the predatory agent/advisor who whispers the sweet nothings of exalted success and the greenest of pastures in their ears. Do you think saying yes is actually going to help us further drive Barca toward insolvency?

  • The idea of the new Pest Control series is to be light hearted but have a little bit of truth underneath. I am not sure it should have this level of scrutiny.

    But, just to take one line from what you say,,,

    As for the rest: So we’ve benefited Barca by gifting them x-Cesc at far less than the market value than Mr. Wenger started demanding – at 50M, then 40M, then 30M?

    I don’t know if Mr Wenger said £50m, but if he did then it was a negotiating ploy. Barca were being riled each day by Real Mad’s supporters and newspapers who were saying, “you can’t even keep your children under control”.

    So Mr Wenger was taunting them, tormenting them, annoying them, and I rather liked that. To see this as a failure and an abject compromise, is simply to remove from reality the notion of negotiation and winding up.

    Arsene Wenger is brilliant at winding people up, in my opinion.

    Apologies for not going on further with this debate, but work, in the shape of one of my clients, calls.

  • bob

    I agree that Arsene’s a great wind-up artist, and also love him to bits for it. I genuinely hope this, our debate can be continued, as there are some issues worth our unraveling (before Barca does) and genuinely refining our understandings as debate can bring.