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August 2021

Arsenal v Manchester U: what it felt like being there.

By Tony Attwood

The whole guard of honour thing passed off in a jiffy – and one started to wonder what on earth the whole fuss was about.

The last time I saw it, when the roles were reversed and Manchester U clapped Arsenal onto the pitch, I don’t think there was any fuss made – and I almost missed it.   (It happened opposite my seat at Highbury and having just won the league we were all in what one might call “high spirits”.  I looked up and there was this thing happening.  I’m not sure we even talked about it after – and certainly not before).

This time of course because it was Arsenal that had to do it, the press made a meal of it, as they do with all things that are supposed to be negative towards Arsenal.   Some in the crowd booed, I didn’t see anyone turn their back, some clapped, some chanted Arsenal Arsenal.

But as I say it was all done so quickly there really didn’t seem to be anything to make a fuss over.

As for the game itself, I noticed one headline this morning claiming that Arsenal were timid.  I didn’t see that, and it didn’t feel like that.  But then calling Arsenal timid again fitted in with the whole build up to the game that the press engineered.

Checking the stats this morning however confirms that the game was not that bad from an Arsenal perspective. The press today want it to fit the “timid” angle but the stats say otherwise.

The possession stats were just on even but we had almost double the goal attempts that Manchester U did, and almost three times the number of shots on target as the opposition and nearly four times as many corners.  No wonder it felt like we were attacking a lot.

Arsenal did make one cock-up – either forgetting to test the sound system for upstairs in the North Bank, or maybe just forgetting to turn it on.  I mentioned this to Drew on the way back to Northampton, and he said that he could rarely understand what was being said over the public address system.

That’s refreshing, because I thought it was just me.  I wonder if Arsenal have any plans to redo the PA system?  I mean with two out of 60,000 not understanding what was being said that must be 0.003% of the entire crowd – which is normally enough in football for decisions to be made that affect the game.  (Although actually it is normally 0.000% of supporters who are consulted in football about anything affecting them).

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On the way back we debated whether QPR’s relegation was one in a long string of Redknappian disasters, but now I am not so sure.  Bournemouth and QPR have certainly been relegated under Redknapp, but I think Portsmouth and Southampton were just driven into the ground financially, with Arry getting out before the total implosion of the clubs.    Tottenham and West Ham acted more rapidly getting him out before disaster struck.

It is quite a record in football though: Twice sacked, twice relegated and twice at clubs that imploded financially and then went bust leaving lots of innocent by standers who had the temerity to trade with the club.

In the end it didn’t feel like a very special match, and most of the people I know at the stadium (that would be about 0.01% of the attendance) thought the result was ok, and we would still go on and get into the Champions League again.

We finished that subject by the time we got back to the car at Finchley.  There was a hilarious guy on 606 who came up with a phenomenally complicated new way of running the play offs, which the dolt who ran the show didn’t know what to do with and couldn’t sort out. Each time the presenter said he didn’t understand the caller went over it all again.  Amusing in a sort of Sunday evening way.

Drew and I came up with a plan to ask readers of Untold to do reports on being at any match (we spoke of non-league but I guess it could be any league) in terms of what it felt like to be there.   Not match reports, but “being there” reports.   I’ll do Corby Town.  Drew said he would do a Barnet game.

And yes, with that being the last weekend game at the Ems for a while, it is time to start making a few plans for the jolly old blog for next season.

So farewell weekend football.  For a while.

Arsenal v Man U:

156 comments to Arsenal v Manchester U: what it felt like being there.

  • Wolfgang

    So Wenger says Arsenal are not 21 points behind MU. The table doesn’t lie. He further says the gunners will soon challenge for the epl.
    Yesterday was a golden opportunity for him to make a statement of intent. The draw while not fatal could prove so especially if Chelsea have qualified and Spurs need apoint to do likewise. You never know.
    I am afraid if Arsenal fail to get the cl slot,the gap with the top teams will increase further unless the fm,if he’s still around,embark on a buying spree of top,top,top, quality players.Even then he has to look at his tactics.
    Otherwise more fans will lose faith in him.

  • Potter

    Don’t worry about the the North Bank lower it’s totally inaudible as well, always has been.

  • @blacksheep63

    presumably you weren’t at the game wolfgang, not quite sure what AW could have done differently given Giroud’s absence through (unfair) suspension. We bossed the game for 30 mins, made a silly mistake, they scored from a pen. KOs was magnificent, Rooney and RVP were quite 2nd half. It was probably a fair point but a much better performance vs the mancs than of recent years. Losing would have been disastrous, for confidence as well as the CL race. So it would seem AW did all the right things eh? We do need CL but you have to look down the road at the neighbours to see that there is life outside the CL. That said, both them and the chavs play each other, and the latter play Utd away too – so they will drop points. If we win our games we are ok

  • @babakrdaemi

    Whats the chances of dowd getting another utd game next year? He wont get more than two. And both will be at home to relegation chasing teams.

  • Rupert Cook

    @Wolfgang, this is the possible plan for signings from a fairly reliable source.

    We have two lists of players drawn up. One list is for those we will try to get if we make the CL. The other is if we finish fifth. Some players are on both lists.

    Jovetic is on the CL list only as he wants CL football. There are a couple of German players who are apparently very high quality but unlikely we’ll get even one of them.

    Two based CMs, Gonalons and Capoue, we only want one of them. And a French striker called Sanago. Several Spain based players are of interest too, the main one being Isco.

    There are a couple of EPL players as options but none are first choice.

    There maybe some young Barca players too but they’re for the future so expect a Cesc scenario in five years time.

    A major overhaul of the squad is expected. Without CL football the quality of players coming in will be fairly underwhelming though.

    Personally I don’t want another French striker near the team but this Sanogo target is typical Wenger, young and of unproven quality in a top league.

    Good news I suppose is that Wenger said we won’t be selling any players to Fergie this summer. But then we haven’t got any good enough and the only one he might consider is having an operation in the summer.

  • Rupert Cook

    Here’s an alternative take on yesterday’s game.

    Yes Wenger’s come out with some bizarre comment about the points tally not being a true reflection on our ability. He explained that Bayern have a vast points lead over Dortmund and yet look where Dortmund are in the CL. Conveniently forgets that we’re not in the CL and also that against the top five this season we have managed a measly five points.

    If Redknapp came out with this twisting of reality we’d all be lambasting him.

    Anyway three easy games now to qualify for the CL.

  • Shard

    And if Redknapp did what Wenger has done for the past 17 years, he would be knighted by the media…

    As for the points tally. It’s basically to say that although the 21 points margin looks huge, the gap between the teams isn’t insurmountable. Which is quite true.

  • nicky

    During the first half yesterday, I began to feel embarrassed over the number of yellows awarded against United. It was as though the referee had had his orders from Ferguson but had misunderstood which team he was supposed to penalise.
    Arsenal bossed the first 45 minutes in a way I had not seen this season, although we must forget Sagna’s moment of madness.
    The second half slowed us up a tad as it was bound to do (no team could continue at that pace). All it needed was a clinical finisher and I trust that this will be attended to during the Summer Window.

  • Rupert Cook

    @Shard, no he wouldn’t. He’d be rightly questioned about moving to the next stage as he is at a “big club” with huge financial resources. But the most likely thing he would have done would be spend spend spend and seeing as he’s not that great a manager Arsenal would have probably won the odd cup and finished outside the top four on two or three occasions.

    Redknapp is overrated.

    @Nicky, the clinical finisher problem maybe attended to if we make the CL otherwise it might be Sanogo, that giant of French football who plays in Ligue 2.

  • Rupert Cook

    @Shard, I agree the gap isn’t surmountable as long as huge investment is undertaken. And I expect Chelsea to do that, oh and City too.

    Must remember my sig.

    £100 bet with anyone that Arsenal won’t win the league before 2019.

  • WalterBroeckx

    you sound like talk shit with your list 🙂

    About your bet:

    as long as the head of the PGMOL is a MU fan
    as long as the FA is in the hands of MU
    as long as the disciplinary committee is presided by a MU person who can rule on the banning of Arsenal players just before we play MU

    I think no person will take on your bet.

    The league is in their hands. Completely. Refs, friendly managers, FA, …

  • Rupert Cook

    @Walter, there’s always excuses. I’m sorry but Manu are a far superior side. They are ambitious, they buy players that win them the league while we forage around for bargains. That’s the truth. Arsenal fans are quite embarrassing, such really poor losers. It’s contagious, first spread by our petulant manager when he forgot how to win trophies.

    But far better to live in a fantasy world than in reality and far better to celebrate a profit margin than the numerous trophies that Fergie’s won. Of course none of these trophies would have really been won because over the years Manu have had really mediocre players like Rooney, Giggs, Scholes, Carrick, Ronaldo, Van De Saar, Keane, Beckham, Van Nistleroy and their latest recruit RVP, to name a few.. You’d never win anything with those players if it wasn’t for corruption of course.

    And never mind Manu, Arsenal can’t even get more than five points from 30 against the top five.

    It’s always someone else’s fault, never the fact that the club is poorly run. Anyway this summer will tell us a lot more about our ambitious club.

    As for the list that comes from someone who has fairly strong contacts at AFC.

    £100 bet with anyone that Arsenal won’t win the league before 2019

  • Mick

    An interesting link with damning statistics that I can empathise with, but it will cut no ice with the Ruperts of this world who will claim that ‘footballisfixed.blogspot’ is itself fixed in its anti ManU stance and therefore has no credibility.

  • Mick

    What do you know, Rupert has already confirmed my suspicions.

  • Shard

    “You’d never win anything with those players if it wasn’t for corruption of course.”

    No one’s saying that. But you might not win even with those players.

    ManU won more than us even when we were winning trophies, and although we were rivals, there was genuine respect for their achievements. When Chelsea came on the scene (taking away their financial advantage) and when Arsenal were moving to a new stadium, meaning the financial gap would lessen between them, what changed? Why don’t I respect them anymore? You’re contention is it is only to do with Arsenal not winning. That is absolutely not true. I wanted ManU to win the PL trophy in 2008 after refereeing decisions forced us out of the title race. And they won. But in a manner that showed me that the match was fixed. Since then, the Liverpool manager has hinted the same thing, and been laughed out of his job and his coming out with the truth portrayed as the reason they lost. All statistical, and anectodal evidence suggests that they are helped to the title. They have good players. Maybe good enough to win the league regardless. But they are nevertheless helped to win, and at a level when margins are small, that little help, can be the difference.

    You’re only contention for the club being poorly run is that Arsenal haven’t won trophies. You dismiss the impact of the stadium, of referees, of everything else, and you proclaim that we’re the ones hiding from the truth? Your hypocrisy knows no bounds.

  • WalterBroeckx

    Rupert your stance is: when it comes from MU it is correct.
    When it comes from something related to Arsenal it is bullshit.

    The author of footballisfixed is not an Arsenal supporter as far as I know. And even if he would be..the facts in the list are facts.

  • Rupert Cook

    Pires : “Today at Arsenal the objective is to earn money and to be in the top four. With David Dein the objective was to win trophies”

    Sad but true.

    @Mick, yeh I’m sure Manu with their roll call of world class players would have won nothing without results being fixed. What a sad bunch of loser fans our club has these days.

    Take my bet you whingers.

    It’s a big risk I’m taking with this bet. Arsenal might actually act like a big club again in the next few years. Wenger might leave after 2014 and we might inherit a manager who is more concerned about trophies than accounts. And if we do and Kronke really is hands off things might improve. Or Usmanov might get his hands on Arsenal and pump money in and we could actually win the league. Or Wenger might actually build a great team, highly unlikely, but one can never know. So it should be easy money for those who have faith in AFC and that is a good percentage of people on here.

    £100 bet with anyone that Arsenal won’t win the league before 2019.

  • WalterBroeckx

    do you think it is real justice that when the disciplinary committee that had to judge on the ban of Giroud was lead by a Manchester United person? (can’t come up with the name for the moment)
    No conflicting interests of course….How convenient that MU can decide on the ban of a player they have to face the next week.

    Even the Kompany red card was overruled after he slipped and Kompany even threw himself forward to make a tackle. Giroud wanted to control the ball and slipped and then made contact. I don’t contest the decision on the field at all. But why does one slipping lead to a non punishment and the other to a 3 game ban. And again the Kompany tackle was dangerous. Giroud even didn’t tackle.

    But of course I will be a person with Arsenal connections so it is rubbish. The person with MU connections will never ever thinking of using his influence of course. They are all saints. Rupert can confirm this. 🙂

  • Lanz

    Tony, please help! I couldn’t find the word, “Redknappian” in the encyclopedia????
    With the record you highlighted, how in the world did the press call him the “fans’ favourite” to manage England?

  • Shard

    rupert cook

    How about I give you 100 pounds and you shut up? Your constant whinging about everyone else being whingers is obnoxious, especially because all you bring to the debate is how Arsenal are crap, and everything else is either irrelevant or completely fine. There is no nuance to your debate, except where you want to obfuscate and hide the issues. You go off on tangents which are simply designed to distract and show Arsenal in a poor light, and hence force people to defend Arsenal.

    Stop being a cunt.

  • Rupert Cook

    @Shard, you have no proof of any your claims, you need them to console yourself. I fully understand this. So many Arsenal fans need them as a comfort blanket.

    The stadium impact didn’t force us to sell RVP to Manu. It certainly didn’t force us to waste wages on Chamakh or force us to buy Squillaci or make do with Giroud or Gervinho.

    There’s very little reason why Arsenal couldn’t win one trophy in 8 years when so many of you claim Wenger is a genius. Not one FA Cup final and yet clubs of the stature of Portsmouth (twice), West Ham, Stoke, Wigan and Cardiff have reached the final. I don’t expect us to win the league or CL but I expect us to show up in cup games and secure at least one trophy since 2005. Not much to expect now is it?

    £100 bet with anyone that Arsenal won’t win the league before 2019

  • Shard

    You really can’t help yourself can you?

    You have no proof of what you say either. But in your argument, all the proof you need is tha Arsenal haven’t won a trophy. If we’d won a Carling Cup, you’d say Arsenal have only won a carling cup. If we’d won teh league, you’d say look how many more titles Chelsea and ManU have. No proof required. Your entire argument is simply that Arsenal are not as good as ManU, Chelsea, City etc. etc.

    Ok. What if I concede that? What if I say we are not good enough, and we won’t win any title again until we give up the self sustaining model? Would you then similarly agre that the way the league football is run, and referees are appointed, and the way media cover issues leaves room for manipualtion of results? You are mixing up the two issues.

    Arsenal haven’t won. True. Why? Debatable. There is a lot wrong with the league. Also true. How much does this impact on results? Debatable.

    Yet you never move on to the debate part. You always stick to the part about Arsenal not having won, and then you contend that this is only because we are poorly run, as if that is the ONLY explanation.

  • WalterBroeckx


    “Rant mode”:

    I only see one person whining here and that is you with your bet.

    About that bet.

    I think it is a bit over the top to wave around with a £100 note. For a lot of people outside England this actually is a lot of money. You are acting like some pompous old aristocrat or new rich boy and are showing your wealth.
    In a time where people get buried alive to earn a hunger wage to allow us to put on our expensive t-shirts I really feel disgusted about waving around money.

    In a time where people even in some European countries have to search the dustbins to find food to survive I think it is unacceptable to wave around with your £100 note.
    If you do have money to burn and by the way you are saying it in each post I think you have: just go outside and give it to someone who us in need for money. Or donate it to the families who have lost people in Bangladesh.

    In general I never bet on anything. And if I would bet on anything I must be 100% sure that the thing I am betting on is something that has a fair outcome. I cannot see the PL having a fair outcome for the reasons I have mentioned before. And that others have mentioned before.

    So you can stick your £100 up your ass or use it to help people.

    rant over.

    so how is the weather in London today?

  • WalterBroeckx

    And FFS: RVP WANTED TO GO TO UTD!!!! Arsenal did not want to sell him to them but were forced to. And in the end because we are behaving like human beings. And well, I like Arsenal for that.

  • Rupert Cook

    @Walter, it’s not black and white though is it? You are always the first to tell us how complex football is. Some fans were happy Giroud did get banned seeing as he’s fairly ineffective and would rather see Pod get a chance. That wasn’t great though in the end.

    When did I say Manu were all saints? For an intelligent person you don’t half spout rubbish sometimes. Don’t put words into my mouth. What I’m saying is that despite the possibility of corruption it is highly unlikely it would have meant Manu would have lost the title anyway. What’s their points margin again?

    There are so many imponderables that saying Manu don’t deserve the title is too easy. Cause and effect works in numerous ways. I’m sure I don’t need to explain that.

    I agree that Giroud shouldn’t have had a three match ban. Was that down to partiality or just poor judgement? Your mind’s made up, mine isn’t. But sure I’d rather believe what you believe and if you’re proven to be correct then action should be taken.

    @Shard, you need to calm down. I like your passion and defence of Arsenal and I understand it. But I am totally impartial and I say what I think based on what I see happening at AFC for the last few years. My beliefs maybe totally wrong but I stand by them as passionately as you defend yours. It’s not a personal thing so less of the vile language.

    £100 bet with anyone that Arsenal won’t win the league before 2019

  • Shard


    I respond to vileness with vile language. You just hide yours behind a veneer of politeness. Doesn’t make it any less vile. So less moralising and more debate..

    What makes you ‘totally impartial’? No human is ever totally impartial. Just because you hide your bias and I don’t, doesn’t mean that your ability to see the truth is greater than mine. So again, leave your superiority complex out of it, and we can actually talk about it if you want.

    And leave my motivations and emotions out of it too. I am calm, and I don’t need to console myself with anything as regards Arsenal. I don’t actually need trophies to validate Arsenal to myself. I already am proud of where we stand.

  • Rupert Cook

    @Walter, the weather’s fine, just went for a run.

    Wealth, oh Walter if you only knew. I don’t have a lot of money to chuck around. The wife earns all the money. A £100 is a lot to me. If I had a £1,000 to spare I’d bet that. You are making assumptions. I’m not waving around money and I’ve only made two bets in my life, one that Arsenal wouldn’t win any trophies under Wenger which I made six years ago and one that Italy would win the World Cup in 2006.

    I don’t see the harm in this bet. If I win and the person can’t afford it I’ll not ask for the money. Or if he wants me to donate it to a charity I will. And seeing as Adam is the only one who’s agreed to it the ramifications are small.

  • WalterBroeckx

    If you can score 4 offside goals in a row in the two last games before they came to us it might be easy to create a bit of a gap I think

  • Shard


    I seem to remember you running a highly successful business for years and having a big car and an expensive house? Strange.. I’m not old enough to be losing my memory yet, so maybe it’s just an example of how quickly things change, especially in the blog world. Or maybe I need to go to a hospital and have my head examined. Supporting Arsenal makes me susceptible to being brain damaged.

  • bob

    Sir Rupert,
    To Shard’s point about the League (setting aside Arsenal): what would you make of this: “Since the statue of Sir Ferguson was unveiled and the stand named after the man, nothing has been given against the Reds – the last decision was the sending off of Jonny Evans in the 6-1 defeat to Manchester City on October 23rd 2011 – 554 days ago. This is the longest run of one way decisions EVER in English football.” True or not?
    Now, re-inserting Arsenal, how do you account for our not getting a single penalty last season? What would you make of that? Or are you a coincidence theorist when it suits you?
    I can understand your demanding victory rather than profitability as the measure of success that counts. I can understand (and share) your critique of the pragmatics of losing best players and not replacing with close enough to like for like. But when it comes to denying whether or not there is an anti-AFC bias in PGMOL/EPL that has demonstrably been played out with impunity, then I can only conclude you are blinded by hatred, or by the demand for victory only. It is totally possible to have both deep problems at a club AND a deep official (albeit never officially-stated) animus toward that same club for which there is no better/other explanation except (reliance) on coincide and all the cliches about things even out in the end. When your (for me) criticisms of Arsenal are accurate, they are. When they become a defense of the realm – a realm that needs exposure, not obfuscation – then you have crossed the line into mendacity. Have another look sometime before you next wax so one-sidedly eloquent. (Maybe on the way to the next oxford match.)

  • Rupert Cook

    @Shard, what vileness? Because I don’t trust those in charge of the club and I think Wenger is past his best? I am frustrated with AFC but I hardly harbour these vile feelings to you or anyone else. I get fed up with idiots who abuse me simply because it adds nothing to any debate. You can be polite and argue for what you believe without harbouring vile thoughts.

    I aim to be as impartial as I can be in all aspects of life. It’s extremely hard but surely worth attempting. I understand fans will side with their team, I certainly have done even when the facts have shown me to be wrong. I agree that I have no more ability at seeing the truth than you, though I thought I just made that clear.

    Calm, you maybe, but your outburst suggested otherwise. I expect Arsenal to win trophies, that doesn’t validate my support of them but I expect a club that builds a large stadium, giving up its spiritual home, to have more than an interest in achieving the very best. So far, in my opinion, this has only been directed at making money. When this changes I will feel less frustrated with AFC even if we do not win trophies.

  • bob

    I thought at first it was the statue of a certain Rush-In Dick-Tatter but realized there was no mustache:

  • bob

    Maybe DiCanio’s minions will discover it and hold rallies there because it’s as close as they can get to their preferred dear leader and the press, remembering who their dear leader is, will not be able (or wish) to tell the difference. Then again, a certain reaction from the stands during a certain match an Old Toilet where the evidence of a fix was celebrated as victory, even as it happened, would make it very hard to find any difference in the mindset of the leader-worshippers. I like leader respect, when merited. Leader-worship is another kettle of (rotten) fish.

  • Shard


    Good. Now that we have that out of the way. Let’s first find common ground.

    We know Arsenal haven’t won. What factors do you think this is due to?

    1. Arsenal are poorly run

    2. Arsenal’s players aren’t good enough or let us down (probably relates to 1)

    3. Some wrong referee decisions have hurt us.

    4. Other teams are just better at the moment.

    (Feel free to add other points)

    So lets discuss and agree on 4. There are teams that are better than us out there. I agree with that, and I think you do too. Right?

  • bob

    Mr. Attwood,
    How about a “not being there” blog for those who don’t have the privilege or the access, and what that feels like? There’s a lot of levels there that could play out among the great unwashed who just might, now and then, have a few insights of the untold variety? Watcha think?

  • Rupert Cook

    @Shard, er no I don’t run a highly successful business. My wife has a well paid job and we live in a four bedroom house but I have no personal income. I spend most of my time writing and far too much of it on here.

    @Bob, whilst not denying there maybe bias towards Manu I think, regardless of that, Manu have been the best team in the league this year. Also it’s very agreeable to see Fergie’s empire chipped away at by the righteous but just pointing out that certain decisions favour Manu does not take into account so many imponderables, e.g. in the next game the team seeing what happened last week play within themselves or the ref doesn’t wish to be seen to be biased so he doesn’t give Manu a penalty which was certainly the case in one game I saw. Overall it would seem the imponderables would add up in Manu’s favour too but such a study would be involve so much minutiae it would be virtually impossible.

    Anyway either way we wouldn’t have won the league. And if it matters so much let’s all declare City league champions. Makes no bloody difference to me.

  • bob

    Rupert, Shard,
    Good on your number 3, Shard. Rupert?
    The Bible speaks of the evidence of things unseen. (PGMOL appointments decisions, perhaps?)
    But in this context: Will you deny the evidence of things seen? For but one example: what would you say about Micky R’s performance at Old Toilet to derail our unbeaten streak;
    And for a follow-up: would you say it’s down to coincidence that the hitherto said causal (or correlative) agent would re-appear as the next chief of PGMOL?
    And for today: would you say that an institution that is the keeper of rules would not or could somehow not be partial with that same agent at its commanding heights?
    I’m trying to guage, you see, the depth of your animus toward AW. And whether it extends to the point of denying that he/we are (whatever his and the team’s flaws) too often hard done by than not to take note and deliver a red card (to put it politely)? Hmmm? How far do you take your denial of one obvious, even as you slate others (often correctly, imo) for their denial of another obvious? Is that not possible, in fact not the case?

  • AL

    Watching the BBC news, Walcott’s goal was described as controversially judged to be onside(hello, thought RvP’s last 4 goals before yesterday’s pen were offside, but never heard it repeated anywhere else apart from this blog). And they went on to add ‘RvP refused to celebrate scoring his penalty, despite the atmosphere being hostile to him'(the inference from this is he should have rubbed our noses in it as we deserved it)
    Even their stupid website shows utd as having the majority of possession, even though Arsenal had more than double the overall shots, shots on target, & corners

    I think I will be seriously considering getting myself a satellite dish from next season on-wards, really tired of this propaganda that doesn’t allow individuals to make up their own minds.

  • Rupert Cook

    @Shard, I do agree on point four.

    I also think we’ve had some bad decisions such as the Giroud red card. Now I’m not saying he shouldn’t have had a red but I agree with Walter that the three game ban was crazy.

    As for the players, I’m sure they try their hardest. They are just a little too inconsistent. Of course it’s very hard to perform brilliantly every week, not many players do. I think we need just two or three top quality players and then I think we could be a force to be reckoned with. A great striker and DM I think would helpand we really need a creative player to unlock stubborn defences. Cazorla can do that sometimes but not consistently.

    Well you know my stance on those running Arsenal. It’s an opinion based on the last few years. It maybe wrong. I hope it is. And yes I do feel Wenger can take us no further. As for who can, well maybe the managers of Dortmund or Bayern could. Would they come to Arsenal? I really don’t know. And there’s never any guarantee that they will be successful. I just think the club needs a fresh approach and that does involve being more daring with spending money.

    This summer will be interesting but we need the CL spot to really see good players arriving.

  • bob

    You are part of a BBC-experiment in learning how not to see what you have seen, and then, by repetition, to forget that you ever saw what you did. Now, it should come as no surprise to us that author George Orwell of 1984 understood it from the inside, having worked there for a spell.

  • Stuart

    Why do you stipulate 2019? Do you know something that we don’t? Do you know that it is written that Arsenal will next win the league in 2020?

    All jokes aside, i’m curious to know why you pick 2019 out of all the years available as your year that Arsenal wont win the league before (so in effect, they have to win it by 2018).

  • bob

    “A great striker and DM I think would helpand we really need a creative player to unlock stubborn defences. Cazorla can do that sometimes but not consistently.”
    Couldn’t agree more and I will be watchful over the implied promise and implied capability to spend to be able to compete for top honors. If that does not transpire, and looking at how it is explained, I will go into flagrant opposition to Mr. Attwood’s favorite Board. And depending how AW publicly handles the outcome, once the window is over, I will break with him as well and join you in opposition.

  • bob

    My inner child is still waiting for you to declare how ‘more, more, much more’ AFC will need to make at the till before it is able to spend like a topflight competitor. Do you have any expectation of the summer window? perceive any needs to be addressed? or will you just wait and see before advocating for any actual purchase?

  • Rupert Cook

    @Stuart, no I’m not a fortune teller. I picked 2019 more for sentimental reasons. Since the thirties Arsenal have won the league in every decade, bar the sixties, and I am really hopeful they’ll win it this decade too. I’d love us to win it next year; I certainly don’t want to wait until 2019.

  • AL

    Your BBC comment had me in stitches, but the sad thing is you are right.

  • Shard


    I was intending to go point by point. But ok..

    The way we are run, is also partly the reason of why we haven’t won a trophy. I don’t deny that. I don’t see that as the only reason though. However, I do agree that we need to spend some significant money to get back to the top. (common ground) I think we will ( no common ground 🙂 ) and I also agree that we need CL for that to happen next season itself (more common ground)

    I’d also agree with some frustration with some player purchases, and that there were some decisions that perhaps (perhaps because we don’t know the full facts) should have been different. I think a lot of it is to do with our model (combined with where we are at this time within that model itself), and it being faced with another model which doesn’t have our limitations.

    There’s common ground somewhere in there too. We agree with the problems our model causes. We agree that the players we’ve purchased haven’t all been up to the mark (although perfection in that regard is unreachable) and we agree that selling our players has caused us problems.

    However, individual decisions themselves are not to be confused with the overall strategic path of the club.

    Where we disagree is on the conclusions to draw from this. I do not conclude that Arsenal are either hoarding money for some suspicious purpose (because I think there are other more reasonable explanations) and I don’t think our current problems means that we need to abandon the model. Despite the risks of this model, I think the alternative is more risky.

    I think the limitations of our model will reduce and the benefits will increase as time goes on. I think we’ll manage to have more stability in our squad, and I think Wenger is a brilliant manager who gets more bang for his buck, and that an increased budget, despite not being the highest, will help him bridge the gap. (You can disagree about that one. It’s just opinion, although mine is also backed up by certain statistics)

    So you see rupert..We actually don’t disagree on much as regards Arsenal. We can guess towards intentions and future, but that is just guessing. Where we get this feeling of being pitted against each other, is because you focus only on those negatives that I’ve just agreed with, without seeing why they exist, and what the alternative is, which in turn forces me to also highlight the ‘good’ at Arsenal, and any mitigating circumstances that exist.

    The other point of divergence of course is whether the referees have a large impact in us not winning trophies. As you say, it is impossible to ‘prove’ either way. But then it is also impossible to prove that Arsenal would have won trophies if they’d bought x, y, or z in the past. I think referees have had a very big impact on where we have finished most years, although I do not say we would have won the trophy regardless (2008 excepted). As for the help ManU get, I feel that is contrary to what I want to see in sport, and as such that bothers me. But it’s not really directly related to Arsenal, except the obvious correlation it has.

    There you have it. Next time, remember that we actually agree on a lot. The stance on this site is generally a lot more nuanced than Arsenal are brilliant, and that we lose only because of referees. That’s simply a caricature. It’s not what people really believe. Which as you well know, is complex.

    If you didn’t only criticise Arsenal (and honestly, sometimes with seeming glee) you wouldn’t only get exasperation as a response. There are many regulars on here, who want to discuss Arsenal’s problems too. Just not with an attitude of abuse towards the club.

  • bjtgooner

    Why do we bother to debate with the rupert (a bag of wind from the AAA foul sewer)? He is so far up his own ass that he cannot see or hear anything that is not inside his rectum. We allow him all to easily to hijack the debate away from the intended topic. The tactic should be either red card him or ignore him.

    Re the match – overall I thought we were the better team, the players did well and deserved a better result. But win, lose or draw, I will back the team & manager!

  • AL

    Think it should be a red now as ignoring doesn’t seem to be working.

  • Shard

    bob and rupert

    I agree with the need for more creativity too. However, I’m not sure that we need another creative player to be bought. Especially if we buy someone like Jovetic as striker, who can also play wide or behind the striker. Also, buying a DM will probably allow the likes OF wilshere, Ramsey, and even Arteta more freedom to go forward to try and create. Plus we have a youngster like Eisfled, or maybe even Aneke.

    So although I agree with more creativity required and that Cazorla cannot do it alone, I think it can be addressed in other ways, and that as of now, other positions are of higher priority. Though obviously, I wouldn’t say no to a top class AM joining us. But hopefully, not at the cost of a DM or maybe even CB.

  • AL


    I remember someone mentioning TV being used as a DM on here before. Think he would be perfect, of course we cant tell AW what to do. He is good going forward and has an explosive left too. David Luiz is doing that for the chavs successfully. So the answer to that, if its a problem, might be closer to home than we think:)

  • Shard


    He has all those attributes, but for a DM for us, we need him to be good at positioning himself. Because the full backs provide most of the width in our system, the DM needs to be aware of when to fill in. Arteta does this very well usually, but lacks some pace. I’m not sure Vermaelen has that amount of positional sense. He doesn’t show it in what is his preferred position. Could he exhibit it in an unfamiliar position? I’m not convinced.

    In fact, I’d be more inclined to use someone like Coquelin and Yennaris there rather than TV. They know that role better, and both seem quite consistent to me. They just don’t have the height we normally associate with that position.

  • bob

    I don’t disagree because I really don’t have enough to go on. But why would you think Jovetic would be the quality striker we still need?

  • Rupert Cook

    @Shard, I know we have plenty of common ground. It’s our differences that get blown up because we tend to focus on them more which is more my fault as I am highly critical of the way the club is run and tend to concentrate on that. But I don’t do it with glee, more out of desperation. Like you I’m so wanting us to win every game. I don’t care if that proves me wrong, I’m not so attached to my opinions, certainly not at the expense of our success.

    And yes it is impossible to prove we’d have won trophies if we’d bought players at the top end of the market. For all we know if we’d kept RVP he might have got injured and we’d not have benefited at all. Football, as we both know, is never so black and white.

  • Shard


    I think I talked about Jovetic earlier somewhere with you. I don;t have much to go on him either. I’ve only seen him play a few times. He’s not looked a very clinical type finisher to me. The numbers seem to bear that out too, as I recall anyway. But he does look like the sort of player who can create his own shot. Make something out of nothing.

    Despite him not being purely a finisher, I’d rather have him than someone like David Villa, who basically can’t do anything with the ball, except put away chances someone else creates. He’s less mobile, has less speed, and has suffered an injury which probably will affect his performance in the long run (I haven’t seen him play much at all this year, and he’s not looked impressive to me when I have)

    Mainly, although I think we need to be more clinical with our chances, I think we also need the ability to create something, especially against packed defenses, and I remember that Henry was hardly considered a great finisher before he came to the club, nor for that matter was RVP. Then again, there’s Gervinho who hasn’t learned to finish. But I think Jovetic can finish well, and can improve on it.

    If Giroud is Chamakh’s replacement, Jovetic seems like the sort of player who could be RVP’s replacement. For that matter, seeing Mirallas for Everton, there is a bit of RVP about him, and I can see why Wenger tried to sign him this summer.

    However, I’m not saying we should definitely get Jovetic. I only bring him up because he’s the striker most consistently linked with us in the press. There might be better players out there.

  • Shard


    Agreed. And yes, we all get frustrated and express our frustrations in our own ways. Just keep in mind that, regardless of your intention, people do tend to think you are ‘gleeful’ (I did say SEEMING glee)

    Although I’m one to talk. I apparently come across as aggressive even when I’m not trying to be. 🙂

    A lot of people would agree with the specifics of your problems with the club, even if the conclusions, and their explanations or reasoning behind them will be different. Let’s all try and find common ground. But your beliefs aren’t the reason you are attacked. So maybe you could modify the way you put some of your points across and it’ll lead to a happier atmosphere for all (even if we’re debating something sad 🙂 )

  • AL

    I agree with your view about the upcoming players, esp with Coq, he looks a more natural DM. In fact I cant wait for him to become a regular, he’s done very well whenever he’s featured for us, whatever the position. I think TV could do it though, if Song could I cant see him failing(bob might have something to say about this:)) Well, what I mean is I wasn’t overly impressed with Song’s positional sense, but he did a fantastic job there.
    But anyway, I guess with the players that you just mentioned I don’t see a new DM being bought. This would frustrate these promising talents and not allow them to develop. Coquelin has already arrived in my opinion, and he just needs to start playing more. Sometimes promoting from within can have an immediate impact than signing a new player who would then need ages to adjust to the new environment and the Arsenal way of playing. AW did it Fabregas and it worked wonders. Farcelona have demonstrated this too many times; just promoting a youngster from within who takes the league by storm, rather than go for an expensive, finished player with a huge ego to match who could turn out to be a costly flop.

  • ARSENAL 13


    We hardly know the value of things we have.

    Redknapp was being projected as the god of football. Yet that God couldnt save an ‘expensively’ assembled team from relegation.
    A few years ago, people told us that Wengers time is up. Owen Coyle (who ever got that idea first…) should take over. Seriously?
    Then last year, after the New Castle heroics, they said Alan Pardew is the right man. Well look where he is now…….

    Fresh approach, may be we have already started it. Dont you think Poldi, Santi, Per are all the part of new approach. The new found steel and the rediscovery of our ‘spine’ is a part of our new approach.

    AND Klopp, What can he do differently. Look even he cant hold on to his star players. That too after winning for 2 consecutive years. And reaching the finals of CL (well almost…I dont see real doing a Miracle).

  • AL

    AW did it with** Fabregas and it worked wonders…

  • Shard


    Normally, I would agree with you. Coquelin, and Yennaris (he’s REALLY impressed me whenever I’ve seen him play) are the players that made me ambivalent about buying a DM for the longest time. But I think we need to return, to some extent, to the earlier days of Wenger, where youth wouldn’t automatically get a shot. Even Cashley Cole was apparently going to be sold until the problems with Silvinho’s passport showed up. (I stress APPARENTLY)

    It depends on the player, but if Coquelin remains patient, I think there’s enough space for him in the team even if another DM comes in. Arteta is over 30, and he’s not going to play every game. Diaby’s career is in doubt. Rosicky is also over 30. In a few years, there will be some midfield slots open for our reserves to fill up.

    I do worry that Coquelin is going to ask to be transferred. He’s spoken before about needing to play, and he’s not been getting chances this year either.

    But I wouldn’t start him ahead of potentially a better player only for that reason. I think ‘project youth’ was always a mixture of necessity and philosophy. I think the necessity has lowered now.

  • Shard

    P.S. I would prefer if the DM that we bought could also reasonably fill in as 4th choice CB when required. This would save us money, allow us to bring through Miquel, as well as allow us the chance to give the likes of Coquelin more chances in the middle. Of course, it also means we’ll be tactically flexible during a game (say where our subs are over and our CB gets injured)

  • Norm

    It certainly felt like a Manure/rvp love-in watching the game on Sky. Classic slathering, “…. and Man Utd haven’t had a player sent off or a penalty against them all season. What discipline!” Yes, what fantastic discipline on the part of pgmol. Then the red-faced, purple-nosed one exclaimed, ” 5 Man Utd players booked in one game – that’s not right!” Riley will have had earache. For once Dowd had a decent game (hate to admit it, but fair goes).
    Could we make a statement in summer and get an AM, as well as the GK, DM & striker. Cesc back?

  • Shard


    It’s strange about Cesc. I don’t think he’s actually up for transfer, but if he is, do we know the conditions of his sale? Apparently we have first refusal on him, and there was also a 50% sell on clause to us.

    Does this mean that we can buy Cesc for half value? Say he’s up for sale for 40m. And since we are set to receive 20m of that fee anyway. Does that mean that we can buy him for half as much money as anyone else can? If it is, and he is up for sale (Guardiola at Munich might be interested) then that does give us some advantage. But of course, we need players in other positions more.

  • AL

    Interesting points you bring up guys, think the competition for our midfield places is going to be the fiercest anywhere in the prem. I thought about it when Rosicky was subbed yesterday, didn’t think he should have been taken off but then again everyone was doing so well that you could easily see what a dilemma it must have been for the manager. I think it was down to his fitness levels only, and nothing else, that he was subbed. Imagine if Coq & Yennaris are playing, Frimpong is back, the Ox, Rosicky, Arteta, Ramsey, Santi, if Diaby got back plus a new DM, scary. But i’d rather have that problem than to having no-one to bring on:)

  • Norm

    I believe Barca have yet to pay for Cesc in full. There was talk of us having first refusal on his next move, but they did play dirty with us, so who knows. Yes, Munich could draw in all the top quality now, but not sure if Cesc would do another ‘bench warming’ couple of years. I would always take him back, if the deal was right. He has never rubbished us. I appreciate other positions are priority and just hope we can be first in with our signings; no more dithering and bargain hunting. Get the 3 or 4 we need early and enjoy the Ashes.

  • Rufusstan

    @Rupert. Interesting article from the Glass-Half-Empty viewpoint as it were. My only issue would be that I struggle to take seriously any article where even the title fails basic mathematics.

    To put us against the top 5 is fine except we are in the top 5, so 5 from 30 requires us to drop 6 points against ourselves, which is impressive. I suppose the author could have roped in another side, but we’ve won points against all the rest, so that doesn’t work.

    Assuming they meant City, United, Chelsea and Spurs from the start it does make the suggestion later that we’ve dropped 25 points against them equally impressive (and somewhat impossible).

    That said, our record against our 4 rivals has been pretty crappy for years: we’ve got 4,10,11,5 points against them in the last 4 seasons, so this season is neither the worst or particularly unexpected.

    By the way, apologies for going so over the top on the numbers, but having become so sick of the fans of other clubs misusing or just making up data to run us down, I detest seeing our fans doing the same to us.

  • Marcus

    @Rupert Cook

    –Personally I don’t want another French striker near the team but this Sanogo target is typical Wenger, young and of unproven quality in a top league.
    Good news I suppose is that Wenger said we won’t be selling any players to Fergie this summer. But then we haven’t got any good enough and the only one he might consider is having an operation in the summer.–

    You mean like Anelka and Henry?

  • uk

    The great fictitious press once again

  • Marcus

    This comment is aimed at the cognoscenti – not the ignoranti

    The league is so utterly crooked, (nice post Walter), that supporting Arsenal has become little more than a sidenote for me these days. My emotions are not for sale….

    Some players have caved in in my opinion.

    Song may have caved in last season.
    Vermaelen and Scezny seem to have caved in this season. By ‘caved-in’ I mean they have succumbed to the psyops. No shame in that, everyone has a breaking point. Ask Aaron Ramsey, Abu Diaby, Cesc Fabregas or Eduardo.

    Some players look very good. Koz…Walcott..Cazorla

    Arsenal are a pretty good team. I think the last few seasons we have narrowly lost in the European Cup to the eventual winners.

    Ramsey was attaining an exceptional level for a 19 year old before he was upended. He seems to be returning to his natural level.

    Giroud is not at all bad.

    But even if Arsenal collected 3 or 4 world class players do we really think they will get the chance to compete?

    When the team looked like a World XI ( Pires, Bergkamp, Henry, Petit, Viera, Seaman, etc)
    they were still on a tight rein and only won a portion of what they should have….

    Pires. Didn’t he get his leg snapped too? Never the same player after that.

    In short, until the FA and its minions are disbanded, don’t hold your breath.

  • Marcus

    One interesting stat is to watch the yellow cards awarded to teams playing Man U. It is usually a very low count, which indicates that teams don’t go in hard, i.e. give Man U a closet bye …. This is just an observation though, might be interesting for Walter to stat up.

  • bob

    who snapped pires legs?
    what exactly does caved mean?

  • bob

    and why haven’t the others caved? what’s the difference in your view?

  • bob

    Lots to commend in your postings. Where I differ is on the midfield:
    “Cos has arrived….” Well you need experience to arrive; not arrive to get experience. I seriously don’t think anyone has seen enough and I can’t blame him for threatening to leave to get the experience he needs. I’d prefer getting Alex Song back.

    “if Diaby got back…” I think the more this becomes part of anyone’s thinking, the worse off we are. His return is a sentimental need of ours/AW’s; but there’s still the probability that he gets injured again after all that emotional and financial investment year after year after year. Is there a danger that he may come good and someone else gets to reap his talents? Yes, of course. But ensuring against that is costing us anyway. As much as his day is superlative, those days are to be wished for and more reliable security and high skill can be purchased. Other sentimental favorites with injuries to overcome like Sagna and Rosicky still are able to make much greater contributions in the course of a season, so I vote to keep them rather than Diaby. With Diaby, and I do feel for his tragic bad luck, it’s gone on far too long for the good of the team, imo. And he’ll not retire to poverty.

  • bob

    well done, lad. you almost completed a sentence this time! and more than one syllable in some words. aaa for effort!

  • bob

    It’ll be non-stop until the Coronation March and Don Fungus’ ascension to the House of Lords as Lord Football. I’ll take any bet on this. Do you think the Churchillian statue in front of Old Toilet is just for local consumption? Nope, he’s a national hero – and he’s got the ethics to merit it.

  • bob

    Roll up, roll up for the mystery tour!
    The Rednose XXth Tour is coming to take you away, take you away…

  • Shard

    I’m not sure Pires’ leg was snapped in a tackle. He did suffer a stress fracture though. Against Newcastle in 2002 I think it was. I remember Wenger saying later that he probably shouldn’t have played Pires since he was in the ‘red zone’, but was tempted to because of his form (He received the we’re not worthy salute from the squad that year)

    I do partially agree with the larger point about some players caving in. It must be seriously disconcerting to see your team assaulted every other week with the referees doing nothing to protect you. If anything egging on the perpetrators, while the media harps on about how they are ‘soft’, and ‘weak’. 3 broken legs from assaults in the league. Maybe 4 with Cesc against Birmingham. Gibbs in the CL against Belgian opposition (was it Witsel with that challenge?) No other team has suffered as much in that department. And while all teams face dirty challenges sometimes, it was given media sanction in particular against Arsenal. That’s apart from the Eduardo witchhunt of course, or the sometimes nauseating referee decisions such as by Dowd in the 4-4. That probably played a part in players’ desire to stay at Arsenal too. Completely possible. To what extent, we don’t know.

    But I do think buying 3-4 world class players will make a difference. Firstly, the tolerance for said violence has lowered in the media, especially against Arsenal. Maybe they now another broken leg for Arsenal would be one too many. I think Arsenal themselves would rather take even a red card while responding to violence than rely on referees to protect them, and better players obviously mean that the ref’s ability to exercise influence over the result will reduce. Apart from raising our general level of performance of course.

    Also, although rupert laughed off the theory, I think the reason they have it in for Arsenal is more because we don’t follow their regular model for success. If we bought 3 world class players, they wouldn’t be as interested in stopping us. But that’s just my theory.

  • uk

    @rupert, keep the faith, even if untold don’t want it, change will come. As for your bet? NaA, no AKB will take it, cos they know the truth, its just hard to accept it. I don’t know about 2019, but I know the league won’t happen with wenger, his players know it too, so they jump ship, wen a suitable team comes calling

  • uk


  • JohnW

    The thing I liked about Arsenal on Sunday was that every player was willing to fight. Now, if we had that attitude from the start, we wouldn’t have needed to win against the big 4, we would have been fighting for the PL still. Why is it that every end of the season, we fight, at the beginning we are docile? If only that spirit can be instilled from the beginning, and Arsene learns to rotate, then we can win the PL finally.

  • AL

    “Why is it that every end of the season, we fight, at the beginning we are docile? If only that spirit can be instilled from the beginning, and Arsene learns to rotate, then we can win the PL finally.” – erm…., probably because each new season we will have a few key players that will be trying to adjust to the premiership

  • AL

    a few key and new players…

  • Sav from Australia

    Nice write up Tony. I’m not sure about everyone else, but I think these ‘at the match’ reports will be good fun.

    Interesting comments about new players coming in. I have given up hoping for X or Y player, but we all like to have a bit of a dream. Either way, this team is two or three players away I think – maybe home grown, maybe bought, maybe converted from other positions. Arsene knows, but not me. I’m just going to enjoy the ride.

    League next season anyone?
    Champions league in the next two seasons anyone?
    I can smell a change in the seasons.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Kieran Gibbs…..if looks could kill

  • AL

    We all agree Diaby is unsellable while he’s injured, so he will still be with us for as long as it takes him to recover. I know many of our fans have given him a lot of stick lately, but only because he’splaying while he’s injured. Imo a fully fit Diaby is a different proposition altogether, he’s a joy to watch. I think as insurance, the board could put him on an earn-as-you-play type of contract. We don’t want another situation, as you rightly point out, where another club reaps the benefits of a fit Diaby. We stuck with the skunk for 7 seasons, and when he came good he ditched us and now someone else is benefiting from all the hard work our medical department put in. It’d be bad if that happened with another player.

    I agree with your view that we wont be allowed to comptete even if we got 3 or 4 world clas players. United haven’t been playing that well the last few seasons, but it had to take a team to invest almost a billion £ to wrest the title away from them, and just. Even then money alone isn’t sufficient to stop united, as chelsea & city are finding out. I think it would require a colossal investment in monetary terms, and a team to play twice as hard to effectively silence an ordinary united. That alone shows something is wrong. I’d hate to spend the sums Chelsea are spending and still be involved in a battle for fourth(they have been two seasons in a row now).

    I do share your view the main reason they have it in for us is we haven’t followed their model of buying success, but think that its now deeply ingrained in their DNA to frustrate us that should we join them in throwing cash around they will still want to stop us.

    I think unless someone from the inside turns whistle-blower we will always have one team ‘sweeping’ everything before us, with the rest left to fight over the scraps. Its like a mafioso family, almost impossible to bring down from outside.

  • Marcus

    the reason why they have it in for Arsenal is because Arsene is so freakin dangerous.
    Give him a few quid and a level playing field and he’ll whip the others’ backsides, it’s as simple as that. That is a very high level of threat to the financial mechanics of the league.

    Rule no 1:

    If you want to eat at the top table, you need to pay your dues…

    i.e. money talks, and I don’t think Arsenal are prepared to grease any palms.

    Cave-in means psychologically give in.

    If not caved-in, at least subverted…..

  • bob

    Thanks, Marcus,
    Who do you think was subverted, and how?

  • Adam

    Never thought about the possibility of Cesc coming back to London. Who would be captain? apparently he’s stated he feels a lot stronger nowadays. Cesc back at Arsenal, wow.

    Can he bring Alcantara and Roberto Sergi with him please and leave Darren Dein somewhere else.

  • Marcus

    It’s no secret Bob that there is a pecking order in football.

    SAF pecks but is not pecked.
    Conversely the media love to peck away at AW.

    The pecking order is of course financial. A humungus trail of wads of cash….

    The visible manifestation of the financial status quo is epitomized in the refereeing of AFC and MU.

    If you are an AFC player trousering 100K a week, you are part of the financial status quo. When you are yellow carded for sneezing and the opposition hack away at you all afternoon with little discouragemnt from the ref, and often a show of bonhommie, you just accept it as collateral damage and then you go back to your Penthouse in your RAnge Rover and sob on your weekend girlfriend’s shoulder.

    A few players get mentally worn down by it though. I think Vermaelen is a case in point. I think he has become mentally beaten up by the refereeing, and no longer is able to perform well. Collectively the team has corruption fatigue, often playing badly for a while and falling behind, before kicking into gear. They are merely tacitly complying with the agenda, giving the opposition the requisite headstart that they otherwise get from slack refereeing.

  • FunGunner

    I’ve been hearing that the atmosphere wasn’t that great, that people left early…all very disappointing.

    @ Marcus
    April 29, 2013 at 6:27 pm

    the reason why they have it in for Arsenal is because Arsene is so freakin dangerous.
    Give him a few quid and a level playing field and he’ll whip the others’ backsides, it’s as simple as that. That is a very high level of threat to the financial mechanics of the league.

    Exactly, Marcus. As he showed previously in France as well.

  • Stroller

    The media biase against Arsenal goes back a long, long way. Even in the Chapman era we were labelled ‘Lucky Arsenal’ because of the ‘on the break’ style of playing. More recently George Grahams’s teams were ‘Boring Arsenal’ and any failings by individual managers or players magnified much more compared with more favoured teams like ManU and the Spuds. Remember that ‘Donkey’ Adams was a media creation.

  • Shard

    I accepted the penalty award against us, because although it seemed Sagna got a very very slight touch on the ball, it wasn’t really much, and he got much more of the man.

    I wonder if they’d shown this angle if the conclusion would have been the same. The ball quite clearly moves.

  • Shard

    btw..I’m not saying that wasn’t a penalty.. Just that it was a lot less clear than it seemed. And this perfectly demonstrates the role that TV plays in forming perceptions.. ManU’s fouls are shown from angles which could lead to the conclusion that there was no foul, and in any case those fouls aren’t repeated over and over again by the media. As it turns out, even people like me who watch out for it, can’t always remember the incidents which at least warranted a closer look because tv moves on, and erases it from memory.

    another example.. Carry out a survey. Say Arsenal players never dive.. and you’ll get 3 examples as the top answer I’d venture. The Pires dive against Portsmouth. The Eduardo ‘dive’ against Celtic, and possibly the Cazorla ‘dive’ against WBA. Some of those dives weren’t even clearly dives, but the media continued on about them, and that’s why people remember them.

    Tell me even one instance that a ManU player was subjected to that level of witchhunt, for even much clearer dives.

  • Shard


    Depressing, and I hope you are wrong, but it does make sense. But what at least gives me hope is that Wenger sticks around, and I think he intends to beat the fix. Last time he faced a fix (in France) he became disillusioned and went away from European football. I think he intends to beat this, and I’m not going to give up on that dream, at least till he’s still fighting the good fight.

  • AL

    Thanks for the link Shard. While also not trying to argue it wasn’t a penalty, I also thought Sagna got the ball at the time. You could see it from the direction the ball took, and the way Per ran to appeal against this with the ref. Also rvp left his right leg trailing so that it would catch on Sagna’s leg. But I guess what weakened Sagna’s case in everyone’s view including the ref was the mistake he had made leading to this.

    Some very interesting views, its a shame this is being allowed to go on.

  • bob

    Many thanks for that link. I’ll say it: it wasn’t a penalty.
    Walter, what do you say. Sagna does patently push the ball (and it’s not slight but light, a difference there) and it goes into motion away from both of them. So, is it a penalty because the protected golden boy falls down, perhaps because of the post touch contact in a (imo) legitimate challenge? I think this bears real scrutiny. And, given the context, a real debate.

  • AL

    Can’t wait for Wenger’s autobiography.

  • bob

    I’ll respond to your previous emails on RVP and the Webster clause respectively; I’ve been swamped time-wise for the analysis I want to pursue with them; other than for the quick comments of today. I don’t accept your conclusions and will soon answer why.

  • bob

    Would you say that Cesc had enough and decided to continue footballing (and its after) life as a healthier biped?
    Would you say that RVP decided in part on this basis to join them rather than try to beat them?

  • Mick

    Your observation re diving is most certainly correct. Whenever the subject of diving is discussed on Talkshite they always use either or both the Pires/Eduardo ones as examples. Even the only dive that Theo ever did (and subsequently apologized for) a couple of seasons ago was exploited to the full for several days (Collymore wanted him banned for 8 weeks!). Serial divers such as Rooney, Bale etc get away with dive after dive almost without question.
    Re the Sagna video clip. He got quite a good touch on the ball from that angle didn’t he, wonder what Walter would make of that. Hard for Dowd to spot though.

  • Shard


    Regarding Van Persie I definitely would say that. If he wanted trophies, he knows they are a protected species. RVP would definitely have been sent off for what he did against Swansea if he was wearing an Arsenal shirt. Didn’t he also elbow someone in the head sometime earlier in the season? Playing for Arsenal, there was no way he receives such protection, and he knew it before he left.

    As for your mentioning Webster clause again.. There was an article yesterday suggesting Rooney might make use of it to exit ManU. Nowhere did the media say that he has to prove malafide on ManU’s part. They did say that there is going to be a clarification on the rule by FIFA, and that most likely they are going to rule in favour of players. (possibly removing the need to show cause?) I’ll see if I can find that artcle again

  • bob

    Yes, Mick. We both seem to agree on the adequacy, if not quality of Sagna’s touch on that ball. Did any lino see anything? Could one have? Anyone else think it’s worth revisiting? Has AW “seen” it yet? (I’ve been busy and may have missed the comment, if any.)

  • Shard

    “No [he didn’t tell me what was going through his mind]. He is very disappointed tonight, he is a boy who gives absolutely everything in every game” Wenger said

    “I think he made a bad pass, that can happen, and maybe after he panicked a little bit and maybe wanted to repair too quickly what he did, but he had time to tackle.
    He has saved us so many times but that unfortunately happened today”

    As far as I know, those are Wenger’s only words on the incident. They aren’t really clear on whether he feels it was a penalty or not, but he seems to accept it.

  • bob

    Shard, Adam,
    Thanks on Webster. I thought that Adam had brought up the bad faith requirement and then lost our thread over the weekend. Do/did you disagree on that point (which, as I understood Adam, was made to assert that RVP had no standing on a bad faith basis to invoke Webster on his own behalf).

  • bob

    Thanks again, Shard, on AW’s quote. He’s not going to war on it, but there is ambiguity and he’s not exculpating The Dowd either.

  • Mick

    @ Shard
    Can we assume that with video replay the penalty probably wouldn’t have been given? That is of course assuming that this angle of the incident were to be made available to the assessor.

  • Shard

    RVP definitely had not a leg to stand on if there is a requirement to prove any just cause to break his contract. I’m not sure such a requirement exists though. Adam said it does. I have no reason to disagree. He even showed some rules which suggested that. But as I said, according to the Rooney report, the interpretation of those rules is under review.

  • Shard


    I’m not going to assume anything 🙂

    I will make the proclamation that if the scenario were reversed and we were playing at Old Trafford and their full back slid in on Podolski like that, we wouldn’t get the penalty, and the TV replays would show this angle, while the commentators would go on about how he got the ball.

  • Shard


    I agree on what you say regarding Wenger’s comments..

    Found the Rooney article

  • bob

    Shard, Mick,
    Really good one on what would be tele-Skyed or not!
    It’s an Exhibit A item for showing how media framing of the desired/desirable (Investment-Worthy) outcome (by not even showing the fucking angle!) can operate. I also feel that the public perception of this can unfairly negatively impact Sagna’s future in a number of ways that I prefer not to fathom at the moment. I have no doubt Sagna feels hard done by and, were I he, I’d want out if life back in Paris were far more welcoming. I hope he stays and value his performances; this one included.

  • bob

    You raise the good point about video replay: the control of the image. Even for their pathetic goal-line technology palliative. A quick review in the broadcast truck of the available angles will be fed to the honorable assessors by the honorable producer and his worthy right hand tecchie.

  • Marcus


    I should think Cesc and RVP moved on for greener pastures. Less injuries, more money, more trophies. Cesc being closer to home. (Cesc though has gone from trophy to atrophy on the Barca bench).

    Nice view of the Sagna tackle. MOTD said it was a clear and cast iron penalty. Poppycock. It is maybe a penalty because he came from behind. But how many times do we hear the esteemed punter-idiots (there is a pundit in there) telling us that “he got the ball” so no foul?

    Football is crass. MOTD is super crass. One day I will wake up and realize I hate football. lol

  • bob

    “trophy to atrophy” – my man!
    and their “he got the ball” is so often their way to justify their favored miscreants. Do you or Shard recall the name of that guy from the League who goes around and sits in on the various media meetings in order to ensure that certain “communications parameters” are “respected” I think Anne Thompson brought that to our collective attention. (Anne, if your listening, you’re well remembered.)

  • Shard


    Do you mean the ex-ref Dermot Gallagher?

    Or was there someone else I’m forgetting?

  • AL

    Some players definitely do get tired of it all and want to move on. Think rvp badly wanted a medal and decided he would go where he would be assured of one. Of course money might have played a part, but if it were that alone he could’ve gone to city instead. The anger from the fans wouldn’t have been so bad, and he would’ve known that. Not trying to defend his betrayal, but just trying to understand why.

    There have been quite a few games that could’ve been the final straw for some players. The robbery at OT is slightly different because the players fought back then. But the Birmingham match is one of them, one player who publicly showed how it affected him was Gallas & it cost him the captaincy. Another game I can remember seeing what looked like total resignation from the players was the cc versus chelsea in 2007 where adebayor was sent off cos Webb thought he’d punched Wayne bridge. Replays clearly showed he was innocent, but the official reasons for his sending off changed a few times before the FA backed up their man by refusing to rescind his red card. There have been quite a few, like the Newcastle one too. I felt for Gervinho after he was sent off despite having been roughed up by that thug Barton. I would like to believe he’s never been the same player again after that incident.

    Not so long ago we saw our captain, TV, getting carded for daring ask the ref why he was allowing Jack to be persistently fouled. Incidents like these are sure to leave players thinking if they may be better off elsewhere. It’s worrying.

    I hate injustice.

  • bob

    “There was a landmark case when Wigan signed Andy Webster from Hearts but that has been altered since and now clubs are protected from losing their players – and can ask for more money in compensation based on previous transfer fees.”

    Shard, FunGunner, Adam (anyone!),
    Not that anyone knows, but how might this legal ability of the club to ask for more money if (IF) RVP/Dein threatened to invoke Webster have played out.

    (Oh, and FunGunner, why don’t I recall your ever having brought this wee factoid into play when you first said with absolute conviction that the player could just assert his rights and automaticlly force his way out? I don’t think it’s my fading memory; but rather that you didn’t know it or didn’t deem it relevant?)

  • bob

    p.s. the above from the Mirror article that Shard linked us to. Thanks again, mate.

  • Adam

    It all comes down to “JUST CAUSE”. I think the powers that be are still trying to clarify what that means, maybe that’s why its not used by players wanting to move club, just threatened.

    Article 15 deals with Shards question the other day about the 10% of matches.

    Article 17 deals with terminating a contract.

    But both parties must abide by article 13 “respect of contract”.

    Have a read of the regulations, it is a worthwhile, although a tad boring, read.

  • bob

    If the Mirror piece is true, does it not mean that were AFC so inclined, it could legally have asked either that RVP buy his way out of the contract and have added to that sum? My point is that there was more than just something automatic at hand, that forced – in the legal sense that you asserted – AFC to bow to RVP/Dein’s demand to leave. No? Whatever the pros or cons, my contested point with you (in this posting) is that it was not the club’s having no rights or better hand to play. Staying in this context: What say ye on this point?

  • bob

    Many thanks. I will do it tomorrow. Really psyched for the boredom of it – god and the devil being in the details, and all that. 🙂

  • Adam

    I have found the cure for insomnia. All hail.

  • Adam

    Just in case the regulations don’t do the trick, I have found an explanation of the regulations.

    Good luck.

  • Adam

    In a nutshell, an established player, i.e. a player who has already reached 21 years-of-age or has completed and terminated his training period before that age, who has participated in less than 10% of the playing time of the first team official matches of his club during the season, ending with the last official match of the relevant national league championship, paying particular attention to his position on field and the various circumstances surrounding his professional activities, behavior, disciplinary record and health condition throughout the last season, may rely upon a sporting just cause to terminate the employment contract, within the preclusive term of 15 days following the end of the season, by serving a written notice directly to the club before action and the issue of proceedings. In such case, disciplinary sanctions will not be inflicted on the player, though financial compensation may be due to the club.

    Taken from the link above.

  • Shard

    But what does it mean?? 😯

  • Adam

    What insomnia?

  • Adam

    We got Jon Moss for the QPR game.

  • Adam

    Chelsea & Tottenham get Dean.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Quite amazing the press we get these days

    What have this club done to upset so many people? Ok I know this publication is highly dubious on all levels, but this is typical if,the press we get, and so many of our so called fans fall for it

  • Mandy Dodd

    And there’s more–Neil-Ashton.html

    Both these are in yesterdays or tomorrows paper.
    The latter says we need nine new players! Per not good enough.?? Guess he has not seen us lately

    Is this just crap lazy journalism or a final attempt to derail us from a fight for the top four.
    Yes we have had our problems this season, but our current form matches anyone. We just avoided defeat to the team the media salivates over like none before. we beat the likely champions of europe on their patch. Our last two major signings were Spain internationals. All doom and gloom….right??

  • bjtgooner

    Mandy my take on the biased publicity is that Arsenal basically carry out their business in a reputable manner. Try as they may (and they have), the gutter press have not been able to get anything on them.

    In contrast, their is a cronyism between certain clubs, certain gentlemen of the press and some officials. It is almost like an unofficial club designed to manipulate results and the publicity surrounding the results – to suit themselves. This unofficial arrangement is rotten to the core, needless to say those who are not part of the arrangement suffer.

  • FunGunner

    @ Adam

    I was wrong about Article 17 overriding the requirement for just cause. Article 17 is about the consequences of breaking a contract without just cause.

    But to get back to where all this started, some people claimed we could stop him leaving. There being no just cause doesn’t stop the player leaving for another club, it just means he has to compensate the first club. The sporting sanctions (player not allowed to play, or new club not allowed to do any transfers) can’t be imposed unless the contract is in the protected period. As I said before, the sheer amount that he might have to pay in compensation might stop him – it’s still uncertain how it is calculated. But if the footballer gives notice and is prepared to take the hit (or the club which wants him is), he can go. It’s probably an unintended consequence of Article 17. I said before I didn’t think RvP would have used this route because it’s potentially so expensive, the nuclear option if you like, but it’s there. But if he had just walked, and we had gone to court etc, we’d just be arguing about how much money was due to us. He’d still be a ManUre player.

    Ultimately, and as AW said recently, there’s no point in trying to hang on to a player who is not committed to the club. The reason RvP was sold to ManUre was that he really really wanted to leave Arsenal, he wanted to go there, and he wouldn’t go anywhere else.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Agree bjt. For some reason we have been the fall guys for a while. The gutter press will have had very little on us for some tome, though in fairness, i do Seem to remember a certain manager who was rightly punished for taking a bung, the problems was, so were most of the others in those days,who were never properly investigated. One very high profile manager who liked his bungs was let off for health reasons. Think you are on to something but would love to know all of the reasons behind all of this. Think a lot of it is also lazy journalism, we seem to be an easy target. They do not mention our recent current form matches utds, yes they did it all season, but we have not received the credit we deserve since we turned things around. But should also mention one of those links was from The Sun, the club rightly banned a couple of their journalists from wengers press conferences recently over suggesting he was about to get a new deal….right after the Blackburn defeat.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Your last paragraph sums it up well Fun Gunner, and maybe that is why some despise him so much, betrayal. Many of those arsenal fans sympathising with him do so in using it as a stick with which to beat the club with as much force as they can. These things can always happen, but still think the worst is now behind us on that front

  • bob

    Legally speaking, is this a technically accurate statement or not? “But if he [RVP] had just walked, and we had gone to court etc, we’d just be arguing about how much money was due to us. He’d still be a ManUre player.” That is, Adam, would AFC have had no legal ability to stop or postpone RVP from going to ManUre, because he rejected Juventus?

  • bob

    Being that “someone” you so abstractly referred to above, I have this to say for this moment to your truism:
    “Ultimately, and as AW said recently, there’s no point in trying to hang on to a player who is not committed to the club. The reason RvP was sold to ManUre was that he really really wanted to leave Arsenal, he wanted to go there, and he wouldn’t go anywhere else.”
    Your purism is touching. Not being committed and being capable of performing professionally where you don’t want to be, so as to be able to secure (at age 30) your next maximal contract are two different things. Again, Mancini was able to set his ego aside and put up with the massive shite that Balotelli and Tevez were pulling and they won a championship. And RVP never showed anything near those levels of disrespect and nastiness; but only professionalism when he was captain of the side. If AW didn’t want that, well fine; but he surely has put up with MANY players who were not “committed” in your puristic sense of that term, none of whom were as productive as was RVP. So that’s the sense that you call “no sense” in keeping RVP on board if that were legally possible. (And you don’t know any more than I what were the legal discussions behind the scenes. Sheer projection on anyone’s part.)

  • bob

    As per my posting at 8:45, regarding legality only: was there anything legal last summer that automatically forced AFC – in the legal sense that you had asserted – to bow to RVP/Dein’s demand to let him go to ManUre? Was there any legal time limit on when AFC had to release him?

  • WalterBroeckx

    his “hi friends statement” was like kicking Wenger, Gazidis and Kroenke in their softer body parts. If that wasn’t nasty and disrespectful, then what is?

  • Rupert Cook

    @Shard, comment 2.16pm. Point taken. Now let’s take nine more in our last games.

  • Sav from Australia

    I’m confused. Are you defending Mr Persie? Are you saying he was in some way justified? I’m not sure what your point is about going on about that traitor.

    @Mandy Dodd
    April 29, 2013 at 5:48 pm
    Cheers for that link. We need more players like Gibbs, who don’t forgive dirty little traitors.

  • colario

    Nice blog Tony. Folksey but informative and well written. I can’t predict oueour final place but I predict we wont win the league next season.

  • Shard


    Whether keeping RVP against his wishes would be productive or counter-productive is a judgment call. Surely you agree that there is the risk of it not turning out well, for any of the parties concerned? So as I said, that is a judgment call, whether that risk is worth taking or not. You wanted to know why he was sold. That was the explanation Wenger gave (and both he, and Fergiescum have said that he wanted to go only to ManU, while we tried to sell him to Juventus too)

    You may disagree with his decision, but that is his call to make, and he obviously knows the team dynamic better than any of us do.

    As to the legal aspect, I’m obviously not sure, but based on the reading of the rules, (and generally how such issues are settled outside football), I’m inclined to agree with Fungunner’s interpretation that we’d only be able to seek compensation after the fact, rather than stop him from leaving. Provided he was willing to push through the transfer in that manner. Which would be unlikely, but possible.

    However, much of law, is arbitrary in my experience. Judgments can go either way. Still. If he stopped showing up for training, and started training at ManU instead. A court would be more likely to award compensation rather than any other punishment. The enforcement of not letting him play would have to come from the FA or the league, if they felt it contravened their rules of transfer. How likely would they be to rule against ManU, especially if the matter was sub-judice, or decided in favour of compensation by the court? Not very. Unless all clubs stood by us. Which again, seems unlikely.

  • Shard


    Yes.. 9 from 9, and I’m feeling more confident that we’ll be able to finish in the top 4. Of course worrying about other results is meaningless if we don’t win ours. So let’s do that.

    Arseblog makes the good point today about how although QPR players don’t seem to give a toss about their club, them bein relegated might actually lead to them playing freer, with all the pressure being on us. Which is true. And we need to deal with that and win.

  • Rupert Cook

    RVP is a professional football player who wants to win medals. He was certain that wouldn’t happen at Arsenal especially as he allegedly had a conversation with AW about team strengthening and was not impressed.

    Tony Adams did the same thing years ago but then AFC convinced him to stay because they insisted they were going all out to win trophies and bought Bergkamp and Platt.

    Remember when RVP joined Arsenal he was surrounded by winners and great players. I’m sure AFC convinced him that they were an ambitious club. Maybe he felt betrayed by the club.

    As none of us know exactly what goes on at Arsenal it seems rather rash to call people traitors because a certain player wants to win a medal or two and his career is reaching its peak.

    I’m sure most of us would never leave Arsenal if we were lucky enough to play for the team. But then maybe after seven years of not one medal maybe we too would consider our position and feel we should have some tangible reward for our efforts. It’s easy to criticize people when you’ve never been in that situation.

    And yes I know Arsenal stuck with him when RVP was injured but then it’s not his fault he was injured and maybe the club wanted to sell him back then but couldn’t find a buyer for a crocked player. We don’t know.

    And sure many of us might not be bothered about winning medals but to some it is a validation of their talent especially when they are so talented.

    Yes RVP supported Arsenal when he was a kid. Rooney supported Everton. How many players actually stick with the team they support if that team is not delivering what they want?

    Le Tissier is the only one that springs to mind. (Did he actually support Southampton or was he just loyal to the club anyway)?

    I hate seeing RVP play for Manu, so much so that I could only watch bits of that game on sunday. I can’t wait for his career to end or Manu to sell him. Now I know how Spuds felt when they lost Berbatov to Manu or Campbell to us. It isn’t pleasant and I hope we never sell a player of his talent again.

    So yes I have conflicting emotions about RVP despite my defence of him. It isn’t easy to see the bigger picture and I appreciate why many of you don’t.

  • Rupert Cook

    @SDhard, this was exactly my fear about playing QPR. It seems crazy but if a team is playing for their survival in the league they’re more likely to be nervous and over cautious but now QPR have nothing to play for they can just enjoy themselves, as much as they can given their position.

    Arsenal need to be wary.

  • Shard


    We need to carry the same intensity as we did against ManU in the first half, into all 3 of our games. If we do that, I think we’ll win. Can we though? We’ve been inconsistent all season, but we are on a good run of form.

    About RVP. It’s not a debate whether his decision is understandable or not. Everyone has their own motivations and they make their own decisions. But what he did was, he dissed his club, he dissed his teammates, he was condescending to the fans, and since joining ManU he’s baited Santos, he’s hacked at Sagna for not giving him a pre-match hug, apart from a few other statements and wind-ups. All of that is deliberate I’m sure. A lot of it is anyway. I don’t care about his motivations. I care about his actions and how they affected my club. It wasn’t just about him leaving. I haven’t even mentioned that he could have chosen to join Juventus who would offer him a chance at medals too. The counter point is that he would have to move his family to another country, thereby making his decision understandable. I get that, but it shows a lack of consideration to the club. In any case, as I said, his motivations don’t matter. His actions do, and the club comes first.

  • Rupert Cook

    @Shard, fair enough over RVP. I haven’t read what he said about the club or the team although having said what he said most of the team seem quite well disposed towards him. I really lost interest in him when he went to Manu, sort of blocked it out of my mind because I thought it was such a huge blow, like when we lost Brady and Stapleton years ago.

    These fixtures look easy but we have made it hard work against weaker opposition too frequently in recent seasons. It’s interesting that all the teams we play may not have anything to play for by the time we play them but I suspect that won’t make things any easier.

  • bob

    Walter, Sav from Oz,
    (This is all now a moot point. What you are reading is the continuation of an old argument between me and FunGunner and a few others. It’s now outdated, except between me and FunGunner. So you can save yourselves a headache by reading on. But because you accused and asked, I’m only explaining – for the last time, I promise – what this argument was, and its history. It goes over the option I wish we had taken, and has a logic that I still stand by. But that’s it; I have no desire, after this, to continue it. And, no Sav, it is not to praise the traitor, but to argue that we were in a position to use him to our benefit but saying no and even losing him on the free.)

    Yes, Walter, that arch mystery letter (from the house of Dein?) was nasty; and, moreover, calculated to force our hand. But, imo, that was hardball and yep, there was a 24M payoff to be had to let him leave (and zero-balance the Poldi/Giroud purchase), then and there, rather than “risk his leaving on a free next season” (as the media and UA posters cautioned). I thought there was nothing that legally forced us to let him go; and I’ve contended so vs FunGunner. That said, I contended that we could have swallowed his departure because we would have qualified for (and possibly won) the CL, and possibly won the EPL with him. Looking forward we had another option other than being “forced” to let him go:
    (I’d argued since August:) As we were not legally forced to let him go during this season (my argument with FunGunner) – we then could have financially risked keeping him — just as Mancini kept the far nastier (to him) wantaways Balotelli and Tevez; and, with Poldi and Giroud as quality winger/backups, and, still with Alex Song, we would have had a Championship team. Yes, with RVP, we’d be better than a weaker ManUre.

    My idea, then, was we were in a position of power. Yes, we might have risked RVP having a poor season; BUT, I think not, because we had the whip handle on him: He was 30+ with a history of glass ankles; and, thereby, he/Dein were not able to risk having a poor season or they’d lose out on securing their mega-contract with a next team. But we let that go.

    You may argue he was too nasty to keep, and would have disrupted as, etc. etc. etc. But I disagreed. As captain, he was excellent (as AW continually had said, and all here agreed). He was professional, high-scoring, and demonstrably warm and validating to his teammates success on the pitch. (Despite one moment of pique with Ramsey), he was warm and validating. (Hate him as we now do.) He could readily have lost his captaincy, but still continued professionally; and, as we have seen since, there is mutual professional respect between him and AW. So I don’t buy all the evidence-free conviction hereabouts that he would definitely fuck up the locker room chemistry.

    Anyway, that’s it. All that remains of this for me is to finish the argument with FunGunner, one way or the other. That argument, right now, is about whether or not we were legally forced to let RVP go this season. It is a subset of the larger argument that I’ve described. And for me, determining (with Adam’s help) whether or not we had the legal option (not more) to hold him (for our advantage); and yes, lose him on a free once this season ended. That is, if he still wanted to leave should we have qualified for the CL, won at least one cup, possibly won the EPL and reached a CL semi-final to final. That is, with RVP.

    So that’s it for me. I’ve laid this out a lot (not that anyone remembers or should for that matter). And I won’t go through it all again. But it’s because of Walter and Sav from Australia’s emails, and because FunGunner and I may (repeat, may) continue to contest our legal disagreement and its implications. If anyone is silly enough to bang on about whether I still feel good about RVP last weekend, now, or going forward, I’ll be able to link to this posting.

    And Walter, just for you, if that poisoned letter was all that nasty and intolerable to you (apparently more than to AW shows today), then why did you so recently discourage people from booing or expressing their ire last weekend at the Ems?

    Anyway, I will be rejoining our further verbal fisticuffs and lovefests and will (hopefully) have finished with this. The only point now (now that Funguscide is the EPL’s fate and wont) is to secure a CL berth and to have a massively brilliant summer season. One that we can afford. And one that our fans deserve. COYG!

  • bob

    “Still. If he stopped showing up for training, and started training at ManU instead.”
    I appreciate your doing the legal two-steps with me. On this bit, it strikes me that AFC could have gone to court for a legal injunction against this ploy. Would that have been a phyrric victory for AFC?, it’s all just conjecture now…

  • bob

    “I can’t wait for his career to end or Manu to sell him.”
    Amen. The League’s Fungicide and the dual monarchy is too much to bear. Perhaps Wayne Rooney, for his own diminished ego reasons, feels likewise. On an archer note, perhaps RVP’s “fall” to Sagna’s challenge (he did beat RVP to the ball) was intolerable to Shrek because it showed that RVP could outdive him, the former Divemaster (recall Old Trafford vs our unbeatens). The Chinese have an expression, “Heaven cannot abide two suns.” Perhaps Wayne and RVP are no longer to be. Don Fungus has become Lord Football because of his new squeeze, and the former Divemaster is now yesterday’s papers. Fungus and the Purse-snatcher can now queue up for parts as Sauron and the Golem in the next Lord of the Rings. The Rednose XX will be their trial run.

  • WalterBroeckx

    No I didn’t ask people not to boo RVP. I only asked to give 200% support to our current Arsenal players by shouting our name from the first second.

  • bob

    Do I detect that there might be some room between say 99% shout and 100%, say, to slip in a single boo? (How about a red card, I mean, say, if someone to put one in your hand for a judgment call?) 🙂

  • Adam

    Right, my interpretation, and, I was at some point going to try and make an article out of it, but don’t see the point anymore.

    The terms “sporting just cause and just cause” are still being debated over as to their true definition. RVP’S statement about ambition seemed an attempt at threatening Arsenal with “sporting just cause”, and this is the reasoning behind my thinking that RVP was willing to, or subtly (or not) letting Arsenal know he would test the waters on this matter with FIFA & CAS. Arsenal had every right to not sell RVP and he would have had to honour his contract, he would not have had a leg to stand on when it comes to terminating his contract under the current understanding of football contracts and the player status regulations. The route he would have had to take would set a new precedent for football law, and this is partly why I believe he made a public statement, already knowing he would not receive the backing of CAS he went public with his intentions.

    Should we have got £25 million for a 29 year old in the last year of his contract, the answer is simply no. Also, if rules really did exist where a player could buy himself out of his contract and sign another with a wealthier club, we would have seen this a long time ago. Who knows of any businessman who would pay over the odds if he didn’t have to?

    A player such as RVP cannot just hand in his notice and pay up his last year’s contract and be done with it. It doesn’t work like that, a case can be made by a club that they are forced into a situation that was unplanned and have had to release financial reserves to overcome the players decision in leaving (matuzalem), Gutierrez of Newcastle had the same issue and Newcastle ended up paying a transfer fee of £5million (I think).

    The position Manchester United would have found themselves would have been unprecedented as well, they would have been presumed guilty of enticing the player to break his contract whether in a protected period or not and would face sanctions (hence the transfer fee). Arsene stated the player had already made up his mind to go to United, which suggests, our player under contract to us, was in talks with Manchester United, again a breach of the rules.

    For a first team player to pay up his unprotected period of his contract there must be certain conditions in place and this is where it gets complicated, article 15 deals with the ten per cent mark for first team appearances for established players over 25 (and even this is being challenged), they can hand their notice in 15 days after the last competitive match of the season (Robin did not qualify for this route). The point most people miss is a player can terminate his contract, but it’s the signing of a new contract with another club that’s the issue, the new club will be judged to have tapped the man up and will face sanctions whether within a protected period or not, the sanctions for the benefitting club are different than those faced by an individual, that’s why we see transfer fees for players who should be able to buy themselves out of their contracts.

    RVP could buy himself out of his contract if he wanted to retire from the sport altogether or needed to for health reasons, but to get a move to another club is not on. But the lawyers are hard at work trying to get some form of contract instability into football so they can earn even more money from the sport.

    Hope this helps.

  • bob

    I greatly appreciate your hard work and detailed analysis on this. I think it really matters a lot in shedding light on this painful moment of separation last summer.

    To my mind, this analysis puts full stop to the evidence-free opining that AFC had no rights in RVP’s departure; which is the very point of (seemingly endless) contentions between FunGunner and myself. I couldn’t stomach the idea of some automatic and absolute right of that player to simply declare and we having had our hand forced because of a supposed legal clause that allowed it. Now I see that – albeit unbeknownst to me, and perhaps to FunGunner – there was a legal consideration and setting that weighed in no small degree against the view that RVP could automatically – in the legal sense – force our hand.

  • bob

    Anything from you (or your agent pal) on this (perhaps) coda that Adam offers? I know where you stand (and seemingly where AW says now to have stood) on RVP’s departure. You then and now consistently approved, and I did not. However, on this legal point – the point that sparked our disagreements (unless you are denying that), do you accept Adam’s analysis (above, at 9:48pm)?

  • bob

    As you thoughtfully analyzed the possible RVP situation (on Monday), do you have further thoughts given Adam’s further analysis? I’d welcome them.

  • bob

    Not to speak for you, but apart from the legal situation (that RVP did not have automatic departure rights), there is the extra-legal situation; which, in the next posting, you characterize as his memo as having posed a threat to be a wrecker and destroy our CL chances. Do I read you right? And if so, is that the only possible interpretation of the memo’s words about ambition? Could it not have meant that the club’s ambitions could sink below 4th place (i.e., as a wind-up of the fans, rather than as a threat to ensure that he would ensure that we would fail to make fourth place)??

  • bob

    Shard, Mandy
    Sorry on my just previous posting. I misunderstood that you and Mandy were actually talking about R&W’s making a thinly veiled threat, not RVP. (I’d forgotten about it.)