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Onwards and Upwards: what will happen to Arsenal this summer

By Walter Broeckx

Some pundits couldn’t understand the rather high level of celebration that could be seen amongst Gooners and Gunners after the final game, with even the manager joining in, in his own laid back way. 

I do think that had more to do with the fact that they couldn’t believe we did it again. I’ve read a list of those pundits who said (before the season started, and even half way through the season) that the spuds would take our place in the top 4.  

And in case you are wondering these are the names:  Hansen, Redknapp, Shearer, Piers, Bale, Smith, Hoddle, Wilkins, Quinn, Stelling, Thompson, Souness. 

So if you see their names in the future you know what they actually know: nothing.

I also think that if Newcastle had scored (as the crowd at the lane thought for a moment had happened) the celebrations at the lane would still have been going on right now. The DVD would be up for sale around this time of the day and the pundits would maybe even be seen there amongst the celebrating crowd.

And then not one of those pundits would have raised the questions: why are they celebrating 4th place? No, they wouldn’t have stopped praising them and talk about the spuds being the re-invention of the wheel and pushing mankind forward in to a new prosperity.

The away Gooners who once again did us proud, celebrated like mad. As they should do and usually do after each win. And the players joining them? Well hell yeah they did and they should! I always thought this was one of the wrong things at Arsenal.  After winning a game the players usually shook hands with the opponent and the ref and just walked off.

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But where I live, in continental Europe, this is not done in fact.  Over here most teams after each game have the habit of applauding the fans and when they win and try to join in the celebrations of the fans.  Not just at the end of the season but after each game.

I think in Germany this is also business as usual and I have noticed that our BFG Per Mertesacker really likes that interaction between the supporters and players.  Just give him one more season and he will orchestrate the Emirates and the players when we win the title. You’ve heard it here first.

I think that interaction between players and supporters is good for both. They will appreciate each other and for the supporters feeling that the players appreciated your efforts during the game will be a good way to do even better the next time.

It was an important win, the last game of the season, getting in the top 4. So the players and supporters had every right to celebrate it. Even more as it was St. Totterhinghamsday at the same time. So each Gooner should have been celebrating.  And the real ones did. And the players on the pitch showed it also.

And I think that this 4th place might be the most important 4th place ever in our history. During the season I had the pleasure to exchange a few words with a rather important person in our club. I considered his words off the record so I never used them before. And even now I will not use them. But now the season is done and we are in the CL qualifying round and are seeded and thus will play one of the smaller teams in that round I think I can report a summary of what he told me.

He said that the club would do all they could to land a top player in January but they would not and could not afford to throw all their budget at one player at the time. The let us say the “£30M player” was on the cards. But the selling club didn’t want to sell and the deal was called off.

The Monreal deal was on the cards for this summer but because of the Santos crisis and the Gibbs injury that was brought forward.

And he also told me that the present core of the team would be the one they would build on and that they would add in the summer to this group. Not the Messi, Ronaldo signing of course. But the Cazorla, Podolski signings. Top players for affordable prices. And if a real opportunity arises they could break a transfer record this summer.

But the most important thing for this to make it possible was CL qualification. Missing out could have thrown us a few years back. I don’t say this summer would have been complete disaster but it sure would have make some top signings a bit more difficult.

And my contact person said that after the careful years we would enter a new era this summer. One of Arsenal building the team and not rebuilding the team. Building on the foundations that have been put in the ground the last years and that we have seen come together in the second half of the season.

I think all people involved in the heart of the club were and are aware of this. And that is why the inner circle of the club (players and managers) celebrated this 4th spot so openly.

Somehow this past season and CL qualification and the coming summer might be the one that brings us back to where we all want Arsenal to be: to the top. Onwards and Upwards!

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32 comments to Onwards and Upwards: what will happen to Arsenal this summer

  • Jay

    Good Post, but i think you can add Tony Gale to that list of pundits, with reference to the most recent game we had against Norwich, I was listening to the commentry in disbelief at how biased he was, so for me he is another anti-arsenal agenda muppet.

  • FunGunner

    Very true – it’s the start of a new era. Also good to have confirmed that we are going to continue to look for value. That is always the right approach, whatever your price range. The front-loaded part of the funds from the new deal is a one-off, so we have to use it wisely.

    Are you allowed to say who the £30m player was? Was it David Villa, or was the decision to go for him made later in the season?

    Incidentally, it’s been reported (with actual quotes from Fiorentina) that we are NOT interested in Jovetic, or at least have not yet made any inquiry, much less a bid. So that’ll be the papers making things up again, surprise, surprise.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Great post! Why shouldnt we celebrate – this just shows the level of bitterness against our club by the media and unfortunately some of our supporters on talk radio- or at least those masking as our supporters. we see John Terry donning kits and celebrating after games he did not even play in so why shouldnt we celebrated? Has the Imperial Command of the UK media now deemed we are only allowed to celebrate actual silverware and not the process of getting there? Worth remembering, as pointed out in many blogs, those who had a go at us celebrating would be our most vicious critics had we failed. You are correct, if the spuds had got there, they would be dining out on that for the next decade.
    As you say, onwards and upwards. There are some we cannot compete with financially but we are now moving far ahead of more immediate rivals, we have to start to make this show. We can now afford to be maybe less conservative over bringing players in. Hopefully, the era of WTF!!! transfers is over. Things have changed recently, this team in the run in were not playing wengerball. Not sure if it was wenger, bould or the tea lady who bought this in, nor do I care, but I am convinced this change of approach and the confidence it bought in saved our season. We had to stop leaking goals and making so many mistakes, Wenger took some tough decisions. I think coaching and maybe organisational and tactical tweaking may prove as effective as bringing players in, this team have been amazing lately. We will clearly need to score more, maybe be a but more creative but hopefully not sacrifice this new found defensive resiliance….and this team will go a long way

  • soglorious

    add Piers Morgan to that list would you? then make sure the “NOTHING” that they know about Arsenal and football in general is written in CAPITAL letters, underlined and BOLDENED. please do that for me. you would make my day. Pundits my foot.

  • bjtgooner

    Excellent post Walter. After the start we had this season we have every right to celebrate – to again qualify for the CL, to maintain the streak in the face of many trying to prevent that happening, to improve our bargaining position over the summer, helping AW build on an already good squad – and, oh yes, putting the Spuds in their place.

    I am still celebrating & my favourite malt has been hard hit!

    There is an air of optimism around based on a number of points – the core of the squad looks as if they are staying with us this summer, so no enforced rebuilds, we have a good base going forward and the manager has more funds to use. In addition we should remember that a number of players have grown in confidence and stature during the season.

    There are plenty of reasons to celebrate – although the AAA seem unusually muted!

    @Mandy

    Good post – agree fully.

  • Stroller

    Look, these so-called pundits are no better placed to forecast how things will turn out than the rest of us. They react to each and every result in a way that they think their wider audience (not just Arsenal fans) will want. And then they will forecast (or rather guess) on what that means for the future. So they sway with the prevailing mood.

    After the Spurs result, they were down on us to a man. Gradually after Munich they started to soften it bit. In recent weeks I’ve heard both Souness and Hoddle be much more positive towards us. A couple of weeks ago on MOTD Hansen swopped horses and said we would qualify for the CL while Shearer disagreed. I actually think Shearer is the most anti-Arsenal of them them all, probably because we spoiled his cup final when at Newcastle.

    As for Piers Morgan, the biggest self-promoting glory-hunting plastic ‘fan’ of them all … let him twitter himself away from across the pond for all I care.

  • Stuart

    I saw Piers Morgan tweeted today that next season we wont make champions league tagged with #wengerout.

    The guy has a serious problem. How did someone so negative have the success he has enjoyed?

  • Lobster

    Arsenal FC, my inspiration and motivation for everything I do! Studying, Gym, even making love to my girl, I prepare for them with the same intensity I’d want from Wenger’s boys the week before a game at Old Trafford.
    @Stuart: By knowing what to do and say in order to get people talking.

  • Stuart

    I agree with Mandy Dodd (even if she does tempt fate regarding Carlton Cole) and further would like to mention that had we not celebrated 4th, we would surely have been taking it for granted in a rather arrogant way.

  • rantetta

    Walter, beautiful.

    I’m still for WTF signings, because so many of Mr Wenger’s signing’s fall into this category: Henry, Vierra, Kos, Fab, Song, Tourre, etc. Sure, some didn’t work out – A Bischoff, Sqillachi, Park, etc. Many clubs have these.

    And then there are the “ready made” players that failed. I’m thinking of Richard Wright and ‘fox in the box’, Jeffers.

    I get excited thinking about how unknown players will develop within the Arsenal set-up. And to then watch them grow into the team – is great. Yep, let us have a name or 2 but I’d like those players to really get into the Arsenal way, in terms of being good, hard working, intelligent human beings (so there’s no room in my fantasies for Wayne Rooney, sorry).

    We must celebrate our 4th place all Summer, because there are people out there who’ve spent the last Summers plotting Arsenal’s demise, in one way or another, and we can’t assume it’s gonna stop now. These Arsenal haters will come with their crap – over and over and over. Arsenal lovers will be par-protected from the oncoming bile by continued celebration of our amazing achievements over the years we’ve been at the Em’s.

    I like this article about St. Tott:
    http://arsenalarsenal.wordpress.com/2011/05/10/hundredth-anniversary-of-st-totteringham%E2%80%99s-day-and-its-origins/

  • WalterBroeckx

    Great and funny link Rantetta 😉

  • AL

    Why shouldn’t we celebrate??? That fool shearer came out with this on motd and I just couldn’t understand it at all. Spuds fans were going wild at the thought Newcastle had equalized alone, what more would they have done had they qualified at our expense? I like the idea of the players celebrating together with the fans, have seen Dortmund do it countless times and anyone can see there’s a special bond there between Dortmund fans and their players. I’m envious of that and want it at Arsenal too. Screw the so-called pundits, or is it idiots. We will do as we please and if they don’t like it they can go and do something-that-I-shall-not-dare-mention on a respectable blog as this one.

  • Matt

    We have a wage bill of £143 million a year which we all contribute to so finishing 4th was nothing really to celebrate.

    Funny how i have been to nearly every home game for ages and have never got any inside information. Walter turns up for an ice cream and people are spilling the club secrets to him. Top fella !!

  • Shard

    Matt

    Maybe if you started a blog and worked hard on writing material for it instead of dropping snide comments you might get some inside track too. However, you shouldn’t take comments of inside knowledge at face value. Take it as an opinion and decide for yourself if it makes sense. Of course how much you trust a person comes into it too.

    As for our wage bill. It includes ALL employees, not just players. Arsenal employs nearly 500 people.

  • WalterBroeckx

    Matt,

    Maybe I’m just a reliable guy 🙂 😉 But I have noticed in my life that people do tell me things hey sometimes don’t tell to others. Maybe because they know I don’t talk too much? Because they think I can keep a secret?
    I honestly don’t know why but a lot of times people told me something that started with: I will tell you this but please don’t tell it any further. And then I confirm this and then I will not tell it any further.
    I could write a book about secrets I know 🙂 LOL 🙂

  • Matt

    Dont talk to much? If your writing is anything to go by you never shut up.

    Tell us a secret Walter, please!!

  • Matt

    Shard

    The point being the Spuds is £50 million less and i am sure they have lots of Employess also.

  • Shard

    Matt

    Most football clubs, I think, separate their players wages from the employees wages. Arsenal don’t. But even if this is the same with Spurs, I am certain Arsenal employ many more people than Spurs do. ManU employ the most. They had a team of something like 70 people working on the commercial side alone.

    But also, our wage bill is a function of our stability at the top level. We pay our players on the basis of having 16 years in the CL. Spurs pay on the basis of hoping to get into the CL. They can only maintain their level for a certain amount of time, which is the same argument for Arsenal, unless we increase our spend on transfers. Wages have a high correlation with league finish, but you can’t concentrate only on wages, just like you can’t concentrate only on transfers.

    The point is, wages are a reflection of a long term basis. In the long term, we are way ahead of Spurs, even if they’ve come close to overhauling us (or even if they would have done one year) It can happen one or two years. But it is a lot tougher to do it regularly. We’ve done it, including finishing higher than Chelsea (and higher than ManU in the early 2000s) Spurs, so far, have not done it to us. And that consistency is what is toughest to achieve.

  • AL

    I’m excited about next season, feel this team is ready for big things now. I can already see another angle from the media; with all these noises in the media about how ready we are for a summer splurge, if we start winning things the story will change to Arsenal are now tasting success after their policy of not buying world class players failed. The idea will be to portray AW a failure, even in success. Anyway, its a better problem to have, they are always going to come up with some negative bs anyway.

  • @matt sorry but the world is not fair that’s why you will never know some of the secrets but let me tell you one secret sshhhhhhh Arsene is going no where and Fergus is going to QPR. hahahahahaha

  • WalterBroeckx

    Matt,
    There is a difference between giving my own opinion and what others tell me and pass it on.

  • Andrei

    I think fans should stop reading the media narrative with old cliches about Arsenal. This team is different – it is good and not far away from becoming exceptionally good. They are perhaps not as stylish as Invincibles but they are better in terms of grit and resilience. The way Arsenal were able grind 1-0 wins at the end of this season was in the best traditions of Mourinho’s Chelsea. It is definitely not joga bonito but stuff like this wins you EPL titles.

  • Sid

    Matt

    What teams home games do u attend, because I doubt it’s Arsenal?

    The wage bill is high, what has that got to do with this article? In fact, finishing 4th with the added CL money will come in well handy to pay our astronomical wage bill! 🙂

    It’s funny how when ever the media use Arsenals season ticket prices, they never mention the fact they it includes all cup games (tbh I wish it didn’t and reduced the price accordingly) and likewise with the wage bill that the hacks portray as being only players wages.

    Wonder why that happens?

  • Adam

    Well it’s obvious some of us have hope and can see the path the club wish to tread. I cannot wait for next season to get underway, lots of players playing for their international place at the Brazilian World cup, our club wanting to make a serious statement of intent, let the anticipation build to the point of getting carried away.

    Onwards and Upwards.

    Walter, say hello to the Vermaelen’s from all at Untold.

  • Adam

    Andrei, nice to see your back and hope your well.

    This team or squad is still finding their feet and will develop their own style soon enough. Time, stability and working with a smile on their faces will see to that.

  • Stroller

    Micro-analysing the club wage bill from the outside and then making comparisons with the Spuds is really a discussion leading nowhere. The 4th place achievement was a sprint between ourselves and them over the last phase of the season to make the CL, which we won. The margin is largely irrelevent, other than the fact that they had a 7 point start. So sure we can celebrate and why not? It wasn’t a celebration of the season as a whole, but simply getting one over our nearest rivals. That’s what the local rivalry is about, and their fans would have reacted exactly the same.

    When the final whistle went at Newcastle the away fans who travelled to back our lads were hardly worrying about wage bills.

  • dy

    the joy and celebration after the win really wasn’t about securing 4th, its all about fighting to the end knowing there’s no other help except picking themselves up and played for each other. What we witnessed its the relieve, and thus joy, after the final battle had been won.

  • Rupert Cook

    Yes we had a great end to the season. That style of football isn’t particularly pleasant to watch but it can win you trophies. But also a little perspective is needed, we had an easier run in than Spuds and we still couldn’t get the better of Manu or Everton during that run in. Of our big rivals for the top 4 we only beat Spuds. That record has to be improved.

    I don’t know why people get upset by what tv pundits say. They usually play it safe and declaring their faith in Spuds securing fourth looked the most likely outcome. Some of them probably do hate Arsenal. So what? The more they get it wrong the more people refuse to take them seriously.

    Interestingly I glanced at the Mirror a couple of days ago and one of their journalists was praising Wenger and the amazing job he’s done considering the restraints he’s had to work under. He was scathing of any supporter doubting him. So maybe the media isn’t all bad?

    There isn’t too much the team needs but a small injection of world class additions. With that a trophy or two could be secured. And trophies tempt confidence from its hiding place.

  • bjtgooner

    I note it has taken the rupert (negative AAA sewer rat) four days to acknowledge our success. One could be tempted to comment “better late than never” – but in reality we have had four very pleasant days.

  • Norm

    While we’re naming the no-mark pundits, lets remember the no-mark hacks, who on a daily basis couldn’t help themselves in slagging Arsenal at every opportunity. Does anyone really read papers any more? Much better to get to the truth in a blog. I can say that every single journo on the Sunday Supplement (why do I watch this garbage?) had it in for us. ‘Oh, no chance of CL, not even halfway PL finish.’ I loathe them (Lord Snooty, the fat hairy Hammers one, the Custis twins, Dracula Smith, Martin Ratface, Sweaty Richo,and many more – hahahaha!) They have one agenda: talking rubbish. I’m glad the players celebrated, we did in our house when we got back. This run of ours was good enough to win the title, if it can be replicated with a great start next season. 3 or 4 good quality signings, completed early, would be awesome.

  • Andy Mack

    Spuds wage bill needs to be as small as possible as they are desperately saving towards the cost of a new stadium.
    Having said that, the new TV deal will really put them in a better position than we were when the emirates construction started. Plus the local council is scared spudless that they’ll move and the council will have to raise a shedload of money to regenerate the 3rd world area that is WHL, so they allow Levy much more finance from the public purse than we ever got. I’ll be interested to see if they can keep their europa cup qualifying record whilst all this goes on.