Sam the slug, Arsene the innovative, tonight’s game


By Tony Attwood

Sam Allardyce has been known on Untold occasionally as Sam the Slug, and never has he been more slug like than in coming up with a condemnation of the anti-Semitic chanting by some West Ham fans at White Hart Lane.

His view, “If I didn’t hear it, I can’t condemn it. I’ll wait and look at it myself and then I’ll comment after I’ve listened to what they’ve said. They shouldn’t be doing things like that. But it’s the least of my worries at the minute,” was probably one of the most awful things any manager could have said.  “I condemn utterly all anti-Semitic chanting and attitudes whenever and where ever they take place,” would have been a better statement.

So finally the grand old Slug of football got the message agreed that there should be punishment for those who appeared to mock Jews being gassed during the Holocaust, including life bans.

But he said something else that was even more interesting.  “The good thing is with security cameras and CCTV cameras, it’s difficult for them to get away with it. Hopefully we can pick out those people and punish them in the right way.”

This is so interesting because in the notorious Portsmouth v Tottenham game, covered here many, many times in the past, a very substantial proportion of the Tottenham crowd were engaged in homophobic behaviour, and photographs were displayed, but only a small number of Tottenham fans were ever brought to justice.   No action was taken by the police either at that game or the West Ham game.   Their excuse at Portsmouth was that since so many people were engaging in homophobic behaviour they were unable to deal with the situation.

West Ham have banned one season ticket holder for life, so far.

In relation to his failure to condemn anti-Semitic behaviour earlier his excuse was as lame as ever:  “I don’t know how I was supposed to react to something I didn’t know anything about.  You are in a very difficult position. We had just been beaten 3-1 by Tottenham. I wasn’t in the best mood. I am not expecting the question.  I am expecting to talk about football and I am a football manager. I didn’t want to comment on it. Now, like everyone else – I don’t condone it.”
No Sam – you condemn it because it is morally unacceptable like rape.  You don’t have to have seen a rape to condemn it.
Meanwhile Mr Wenger spoke about Arsenal.

“Last season we finished third,” he said. “Honestly I don’t think there was much more in that team than third. Like when we won the Premier League with zero defeats, which never anybody else has done, you think there is not much room to do much better. At the end of the season I want to stand in front of my mirror and think: ‘Have I done all I can?’ That’s all.

“In the modern media, extreme opinions are picked and sold like a majority, with those who shout the loudest usually presented because they are interesting and easy to sell,” he said. “We don’t give too much importance to those fans’ reaction. Our job is somewhere else, on the football pitch.”

On transfers he said, “We are now going towards a period where we will be able to compete again financially with other clubs.  And we will be on the market if we find a top player. But Paris St-Germain have unlimited resources. If they decide to go to £100m, they do it. If they decide to go to £150m, they do it. They have a building called the Shard that cost £1bn, that was built by Qatar. I cannot promise we will match them.

“I can show you our transfer balance over the last 16 years and you would be astonished. People forget we built a new stadium, that we had to go through limited resources, that we maintained the club at the top and we didn’t have the money available.

“I accepted to stay and to do that. And I went through it. We maintained the club at the top and we are now going toward a period where we will be able to compete again financially with other clubs. It was an exciting period but a difficult one and you needed to be strong.

“We just qualified for 13 consecutive years in the last 16 of the Champions League and, even with all the financial resources we have now, it is not sure we will achieve that in the next 13 years.”

Meanwhile there could be more good news on the way, as the word is that Nike and Adidas are talking about a £100 million kit deal.  Meanwhile as I have noted before this comes as the ability of our rivals to spend suddenly drops due to the arrival of FFP and the widely expected new Premier League rules on salaries.

Mr Wenger said “We are in a position where we can compete with the clubs for the transfer period,” he said. “If you look at the recent years, we have lost players and not small players.”

As for the AAA he said. “The only thing you can say is that the extreme opinions are picked and sold like a majority.  I am not worried about me. It does not hurt at all. The players are like me. Our job is somewhere else, on the football pitch. If you have any emotional reaction, you have nothing to do in our job.”

So on to the match:

Walcott is available again, Jack Wilshere will almost certainly play, Vermaelen is fit, and Tomsa Rosicky is in full training and getting ready to play for the under 21 team (where two over age players are allowed in each game).


The books…

The sites…


42 Replies to “Sam the slug, Arsene the innovative, tonight’s game”

  1. Well Mr Wenger, let’s see if you spend it because you haven’t got to much longer the way you’re going. The proof is in the pudding.

  2. i think the AAA got a response from wenger and what a response it was. the american-english translation would be- “AAA, you all can suck it, losers.your opinion have no precedence over us and how we should run Arsenal.”

  3. The AAA doesn’t exist. It’s a construct created on this site. I doubt Wenger knows anything about it. Like the AKBs is a construct created by anti-Wengerites. What we have is fans who have a myriad collection of views, some extreme and others more reasoned. Just like most football clubs.

  4. Tony, Mandy Dodd,
    On the untold news front, does an official 2013 calendar without Walcott or Sagna among the selected 12 tell you that they are officially out of the picture, so to speak?

  5. Well, rupert, I can see at least two of them (the AAA) replying in this post alone. Of course life will be much better if they don’t exist but I haven’t cared about those losers since very long ago.

  6. Tony,
    As for other untold news, does today’s news of the bailout of any of these Spanish banks help Barca avoid the financial abyss that you saw coming in your postings of a few months ago? – BFA/Bankia, NCG, Catalunya Banc and Banco de Valencia. Or are Barca too big to fail?

  7. AAA has cemented its position since the time arsenal began to move to highbury ( probably before )as documented in this blog’s “untold AAA” section while AKB will only remain untill arsene stays. there will always be a fringe group who purports to support arsenal but in reality won’t.

    There are no two sides to facts. and the facts clearly point that wenger has been the best manager arsenal has had. this simply doesn’t mean, however, that he is perfect or irreplaceable. whoever comes after wenger will obviously have a huge burden to live upto and match wenger’s records.

  8. Tony do you know if Slugs condemn and WHU reaction came after tweets by Yossi Beneyoun (Who heard while Slug didn’t)?

    @Bob: about the calendar there are about 13 players who are not in it so does it mean we sell all them?

  9. I think this year’s November(?) calender contains picture of nasri and RVP celebrating. does it mean we still have their soul wandering in arsenal?

  10. @American Gooner,
    Rupert is correct in that the AAA is a construct created for and within this blog. Any historical assertion of this fictious group is a falacy as how could something that does not exist now, have existed in 1913?

  11. Lets wish the team well for tonight’s match. Also, whether we win lose or draw I am backing the team and manager – I hope all other fans do the same – including the AAA who claim they do not exist!

  12. About the article, I needed to read something like that, felt a bit down about Arsenal recently.

  13. Fingers crossed Swansea can see out their good start and do us a favour by turning West Brom over (never thought I would say that).

  14. @ Dan, even on the cack satellite feed we’re getting this on he is appears to be doing far more good than bad.

  15. FinnGooner,
    Well, mate, let’s see: Squillacci and Chamak’s absence means as much as Walcott and Sagna’s. Gee thanks, I never thought of it that way. Especially with Walcott’s contract in the balance and Sagna’s maybe out in the summer. Hmmm, guess I have to go back to the drawing board and learn logic to put one past you.

  16. Not a great week, but nobody threatening really too far ahead that worry me over a CL place. Hopefully some points coming up. On this evenings game, not the worst result up there, but from the rather poor stream I saw, evertons performance defined rotational fouling, and the ref did very little. Every time…it seemed to me….theo, Santi of jack got going, they were fouled. Everton have some good players, shame they sometimes play that way. Despite being the darling of the AAA I would not want to see moyes ever managing us if that is how he plays. But will await the ref review……

  17. With all the CCTVs and other recordings ,just hope the Police
    show some will to stamp out abuse of any kind before it gets out of hand .
    Am glad AW is fighting back and putting people in their rightful places – on their arses !
    As for the question of whether the AAA exsists or just a figment of our collective imagination , I will not comment ,but offer this clip ( and all in tongue in cheek)for your perusal .
    It’s a pivotal scene from the movie’The usual suspects ‘.The title of the clip says it all .Enjoy !

  18. I only got up to see the second half of the game at 5am ,but was impressed with the speed of our passing and pushing up quickly . In the earlier games we were quite sluggish and slow ,but not so in this one .
    Hope we get a good win against Swansea this weekend and put to shame those who would want to lament and vent their displeasure by wearing apparel in the colour of mourning on December 1st.
    Has there been a spike in the sales of said garments in London ?Do hope the Arsenal faithful are able to make their way to the ground safely through the expected multitudes.

  19. @dan….before you do your usual about Ramsey, please have a look at other players too. Where was Cazorla all game…….

  20. @Arsenal 13

    You seem to be getting your knickers in a knot. I’m not blaming anyone, the performance was average from the whole team.

    For your information if you bother to look at my comments, I’ve never singled out Ramsey, so get your facts in order before hitting the keyboard.

  21. The AAA is an umbrella group created by this site to besmirch anyone who disagrees with Wenger’s vision, or Gazidis’ vision or Kroenke’s although I suspect the latter couldn’t care less about any vision for Arsenal except one that ensures the club is profitable. Kroenke has about as much interest in Arsenal winning trophies as I do in my ex wife’s welfare.

    Fellow Arsenal fans support Arsenal in myriad ways. Some in a wrong-headed way definitely but they still support Arsenal. However misguided you may think them they want success for the club, just like we all do.

    Anyway we got a point at Everton. I don’t think that’s bad at all. What did people expect? We played ok without being amazing. One has to remember that this team is not going to win the league.

  22. @ Rupert. I completely agree with you on your last comment. We all want our Arsenal to be there at the top. But somehow there is no will to win, but again thats understandable as if your manager says 4th is a trophy, why put the extra effort? looking at the current form, that 4th place looks difficult, but again that does not matter because according to Gazidis, they have made contingency plans for 1 yr for failing. the remarkable thing about it is that he is so sure that the following yr we can get back. no problem….Liverpool anyone?
    another thing, going by the reports UEFA is looking scraping Europea Cup, so thats 7th place gets the CL spot. if that comes into effect 7th place can be a trophy for us. lovely. so Gazidis does know something we don’t.
    When some fans say spend the money we get justification on QPR, Porthsmoth, Rangers etc on how they have failed or failing, or how you don’t need a sugar daddy etc. We don’t say spend for the sake of it, spend it wisely…….on 1 hand we get excuses from AW about the new stadium and money constraints and on the other why have we got players on such high wages in the 1st place and cannot even make the bench? surely when you go in to a job, you have to prove your worth. or does one get what he demands?
    You don’t need to spend to win, you need a winning MENTALITY and change formations, your game plan, to keep the other manager guessing. With us, it’s same… take out Areta, thats it. Job done.
    By the looks of things, we cannot pay off the stadium debts for another 6/7 yrs so no trophys till then. ah, but don’t you dare critize AW as the knives would be out and labeled as a AAA….what ever that f**king means.

  23. A good, hard earned point. Goodison Park is a tough arena to gain anything from. Man Utd, Chelsea and Man City were all sent packing with zero points on there latest visit.

  24. @Gouresh

    Although Wages in general have spiralled out of control in recent seasons, no thanks to the sugar daddy clubs, at Arsenal wages are comparable to turnover, unlike other clubs we are often compared too.

  25. @Gouresh, that’ll be the future get out clause if they extend the CL, “seventh place is like a trophy”.

    But the problem here is not with Wenger but Platini and co. desperate to create an European League. The Europa Cup is a joke competition for many clubs it seems. Scrap that and extend the CL which will be even further devalued. It’s filthy lucre that excites the minds of UEFA and FIFA.

    And yes I love the fact that we have money to cover us should we not make the CL. Wonder if it ever crossed the mind of Gazidis to invest that money now and make the team stronger. Surely Gazi has faith in Wenger to spend that money wisely and ensure we get fourth or better.

  26. @ Rupert: We actually don’t know if reallly have the money or not. Gazi say yes, we have…. AW says we need to make the profit 1st. its like taking a complaint to a indian govt office. every1 gives different explaination to our query. you come out asking why the f**k did i go in there in the 1st place. if you spend sensibilly to make a wining team you generate and expand the fan base, [thats baseload business] who will spend on the clubs merchendise generating revenue. this is exactly how Arsenal have a fan base in Africa, Asia…..something which I believe David Dein used to say. but then again, if you take his name on this site you are labled AAA.

  27. No mentioning David Dein is not enough to be labelled AAA.
    But David Dein is just a few years younger than the “old he must go as he is senile” Hill wood. Dein turns 70 next year. I thank him for what he has done for Arsenal but I think his days are gone.

    If you are unhappy about Kroenke. Fine. No problem. But always keep in mind who brought Kroenke to the club and who paved his way? David Dein.

    So was Dein wrong in bringing Kroenke? If not we can give Kroenke time. If he was wrong in bringing him….will you trust him again?
    Could he have made another mistake with bringing in Usmanov?

    I don’t know as I don’t know much about the inner circles in Arsenal but all major shareholders have one name in common: David Dein.

    Remember it was also Dein who wanted us to move to Wembley which in my opinion would have been a mistake.

    And I think an AAA is someone who tells nothing but negative of the club and wants Wenger out, insults players, managers board members and whoever is linked with Arsenal except Usmanov. An AAA is someone who never enjoys a win. And who is full of joy and can’t wait to tell : “see, told you so” when we lose a game.
    An AAA is someone who wants us to lose every game and cannot be called a supporter.

    So by saying the name Dein you are not an AAA for me

  28. Walter,

    Thanks for sharing your “definition”. It would be interesting to see if any other Arsenal website or blog uses the term in the same all encompassing pejorative fashion it is used by writers and commentators on Untold.

  29. may be someone should invent a euphemism for AAA.
    some people are such that they are eternally negative about the club. so when someone points to them that your negativity is way over the top for a supporter of arsenal, and points it in such a direct and harsh fashion that they feel they have been harassed, they feel that a label such as AAA is so expletive and insulting that they themselves don’t realize the eternal negativity they are spewing.
    like republicans in the US living inside a conservative bubble, all these AAA are living inside a bubble that feeds them constant negativity and whose arguments are too simplistic for a complex situation/events. Their arguments seems to be void of any research. And when their argument faces rebuttal they react with generalisation, mostly absent in hard facts.
    as i said wenger is not infallible but his infallibility should be proven with cogent remarks not simplistic ones.

  30. are you trying to say that the AAA is some myth? the AAA might be an acronym created by this blog but it is very much equivalent to the term “boo boys”.
    now tell me if “boo boys” are myth too.

  31. @Gouresh
    “…its like taking a complaint to a indian govt office. every1 gives different explaination to our query. you come out asking why the f**k did i go in there in the 1st place.”

    LOL. sounds like China… Indonesia… Philipines

    You are not alone.

  32. @Nick Lee on @Gouresh regarding different explanations from employees/officials when presented with queries…you could add certain UK energy companies, mobile phone operators, insurance companies, supermarkets, city councils… etc to that list. Certainly not unique to Asia

  33. Arsenal FC depresses me now as there seems to be a malaise there; a culture of mediocrity. When your manager actually comes out and says in public then it must be pretty entrenched within the club that 4th place is acceptable. I would expect that to have an effect on players. They know that they can lose the odd match here and there and it won’t matter. They know that they will still get their increased contracts. And they also know that if they really shine then they can just go somewhere else for more money and dress it up as wanting to win trophies. There may actually be players that really do want to win. And they know that they won’t win at Arsenal where 4th in the league is all that is required to serve the money-men (and I include Mr Wenger in that – I have his quote).

    Youngsters love Arsenal because they pay over the odds, they treat youngsters like Chelsea and Man City treat established players in fact (So Arsene Wenger is actually following their policy of paying over-inflated salaries, while publicly condemning the practice – it’s just he can only afford to do it for youngsters – who said hypocrite – not me). If I were a mercenary 18 year old with real talent I would sign for Arsenal for a few years until I had proved myself and then go to a club that pays for real value, not a socialist commune where the boss says everyone (except him) must earn the same.

    It is well-known that at the top levels of anything it’s the mind that counts. Compare therefore, a Man Utd player that knows they have to scrap for every point because 2nd is nowhere (and their boss lives that credo) and an Arsenal one where the only achievement that matters is beating 16 of the 20 Premiership teams, all of whom pay less and most of whom pay a fraction (I think) of Arsenal’s wages. Can’t be that hard can it – of course we’ll beat Norwich 9 (or 8 or 7) times out of ten – and if we don’t – well 4th is ok.

    In financial terms for Arsenal to over-achieve, they would have to get 3rd or better. It seems to me their natural position, based on financials (and I have seen lots of evidence that it is financials that determine success in the long run) is 4th – and close to the 1st, 2nd and 3rd placed teams but way ahead of the 5th and lower teams. In fact Arsenal are scrapping for 4th with a few other teams. So they are actually under-achieving.

    I read that you say that “Skills-wise Arsenal are arguably not far from a complete team”. I don’t disagree with this necessarily. What worries me is the reason for it and the fact that nothing suggests to me that Arsenal will be any different in 2013/14 or 2014/15 ad infinitum. Of course they play with heart, determination and courage – sometimes. But they also play pathetically – most often in those matches where they know they will be ok – they only need to get to 4th place after all. Every year 4th place is enough. Every year there are new players to bed in. Every year there is a new captain. Every year there are players “who will be like a new signing” when they come back from injury. And it also seems that every year there will be players who keep being played without justifying their places in, supposedly, one of the best teams in Europe. But that’s ok – we only need to get to 4th.

    We used to see players who left Arsenal decline, now we tend more to see them thrive – or at least win trophies. New players come in and odd things happen; Arshavin is played out of position, Giroud, desperate to start scoring, is left on the bench. Maybe not enough examples to prove a point but even so it seems evidence of poor man-management. I used to work for a company that kept replacing people. The new ones who came in were wonderful – until results did not change and the company’s decline continued and they were sacked – for someone wonderful. The company, once the leader in the market, does not exist now and I wonder what would have happened if top management had been better, had trusted people and believed in them and not sacked them as a panacea to save their jobs. Not maybe so relevant to Arsenal except for the fact that I think all people are capable of performing “out of their skins” or just coasting, depending on the environment they work in. And, in Arsenal’s 4th place is ok.

    So I tend to think that all the excuses being offered – well just one really – that Chelsea and Man City are bankrolled by billionaires (who are willing to spend their billions – let’s not forget that crucial difference!) are just smoke and mirrors. Life is tough and you have to accept it. Surely the best paid manager in the Premier League (in the world?) can do better? But no, 4th is ok.

    Jam tomorrow is all we are fed by the Board – FFP will save us. Yet Chelsea have just overtaken us in turnover so will be able to pay more than us while Man Utd have left us for dust in improving their financials. And I am sure Man City’s CEO and Financial team are working on overtaking us too.
    We rely ever more heavily on the most expensive tickets in the Premier League ( and relying on others to increase tv revenue rather than increasing Arsenal’s commercial revenue ( FFP actually allows for losses and, as a Chartered Accountant I can guarantee you Chelsea, and the Manchester clubs accountants are working on how to succeed within these rules. While ours just moan – unfair – but wait for FFP – Ha! But it’s ok – we know Chelsea and Man City and even Man Utd are cheating – so 4th is the best we can hope for.

    Sorry for this long (English) ramble but I have a lot to get off my chest . I would say, in the light of the new deals, I would be prepared to give Gazidis, Wenger, Kroenke et al until August 31st 2013 to show some ambition and change things up. To start using tactics, to get realistic (I say, some would say brutal) with the deadwood in our squad and also the stars. We have the base to compete and to increase our financial clout. And we should run the club as a business. We should demand the best and reward accordingly. We might then attract the best and deter those who merely seek a cushy life from joining. And we should always, always, say only 1st is good enough.

  34. @pliget, very well put.

    Our manager also said he’d be happy with second for the next twenty years. He seems to have lowered his standards since then. Whatever he says he never seems to say that neither second or fourth is good enough.

  35. Because , rupert, he’s trying to get some perspective for all the ‘we haven’t won a trophy in x years’ lot.. Any quote is open to misuse because everything someone says has a context. I don’t genuinely believe that Wenger would be happy not winning the league for the next 20 years. If you read the quote in full he’s talking about the overall stability of the club and high level of consistency to match with the stability, not about his managerial capability. He didn’t say he’d be happy. He said it wouldn’t be too dramatic and if we are disappointed at that, it shows that we are used to even better standards.

    Oh and by the way..bacon boy piglet’s post is copy pasted from somewhere else.

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