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April 2021

“We start each season with a handicap.” Sagna speaks of Wenger, journalists and his feelings

By Walter Broeckx

For this article I have translated an interview that was printed in the French paper L’Equipe; the leading French newspaper when it comes to sports. And one that is rather very well informed when it comes to things about Arsenal most of the time.

And in this interview we see a few talking points that have been talking points within Untold in the last years. I could say we were not that far from telling the truth and warning about certain things and influences from the outside world. And also what Bacary Sagna said about Wenger. And how much Wenger is loved by his players. Just read on.

L’Equipe.: Arsenal has won their first trophy since 2005, but only after being down 0-2 and after extra time :

BS: (big sigh) It was very, very, very difficult. We started terribly. We were caught on dead balls twice and we knew they would be dangerous on them. We put ourselves in a difficult situation. After that we had to run many kilometres to try to put them out of position. But with being patient we made it and could win the match.

L’Equipe: Is it a joy, a relief, feeling proud?

BS: It is a bit of all this together. It has been nine years without the club winning a title. A relief when you look at the match. It was very important to win. Being proud also to give this title to the fans. And being proud for myself for having won my first trophy with Arsenal.

L’Equipe: Could this be the begin of a change for Arsenal? A new era?
BS: We start each season with a handicap. Even before it begins the reporters only talk about getting that trophy. After a while this is getting in to the heads of everyone involved. We knew it had to change sometime. But we began the season under heavy pressure. That explains also our terrible first match.

L’Equipe: Aaron Ramsey has said : ‘This win is for Arsène Wenger’
BS: He fully deserved this because he always kept believing in us. He has given everyone of us a chance. All these years, he has been treated in a very critical way… (Sagna then stops fighting with his tears) …We struggled for quite a few years. I’m happy for him and for the club. Because there are a lot of people behind him.

L’Equipe: Was this your last match in an Arsenal shirt?
BS: At this moment today I don’t know if I have played my last match. Everybody knows that I am at the end of my contract and that we haven’t reached an agreement yet. But after that I am happy that I have won a trophy as a player. For me personally this is a revenge for that lost League cup final in 2011.
So there is a lot of emotion.

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So what did we learn from the interview in L’equipe?

Despite the rumours on the day Sagna still leaves the door open for Arsenal.

But most of all I remember that the constant media negative talk about Arsenal affects the club and the players. Something we have been wondering about on Untold for a while and one of the reasons we attack the media in their constant spouting of negativity around Arsenal. Not just for the fact that they make some fans doubt the club.

And the most important thing that I remember. Ramsey praised Wenger for all and everything. And I think I will write another article about Ramsey and the way he has shut up all those who have abused him and should run away in shame by now.

And the fact that Sagna also started to cry when he thought of the unfair abuse and filth that has been aimed at this great man. A professional football player that just by the thought of this abuse starts crying for Wenger. Whatever Sagna does after this season, go to City, hell even Man Utd or Chelsea (DON’T!!!!!!) by saying that and by starting to cry he has shown what a great man he is.

Or what great man both of them are: Bacary and Wenger. And it makes my blood boil even more when I have to read these words and the emotions from Sagna. We have heard it before from most of the players that played under him: they all love the man and are clearly frustrated by the way he is treated.

Once again it fills me with a big joy that we at Untold have stood beside the manager all the way. And beside our players. We wrote in favour of Ramsey when he was being shot by our own fans. We stood with Sagna when he was heavily criticized when coming back from 2 broken legs in one season. We supported them.

And boy this makes me feel very, very proud to be a real supporter of this club, manager and players!


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35 comments to “We start each season with a handicap.” Sagna speaks of Wenger, journalists and his feelings

  • Mandy Dodd

    the players are behind Wenger, they have proved it in words, and more importantly, deeds this summer.
    Sagnas reaction, well he knows a lot more than we do about wenger has faced, dealt with and possibly even at what cost to the great man.
    S many say the same on wenger, players past and present, David Dein, the current and ex board, just the media and friends

  • Thanks Walter, that was a very interesting piece and may I say no surprise.

    I had the pleasure of meeting Mr Sagna last year (in LEGOLAND of all places). He was their with his family and was very happy to chat after I approached him. He was in no way ‘stand offish’ and came across as a very genuine and professional guy, who had a genuine affinity to our club. He probably didn’t thank me as after our chat and a quick photo many others realized who he was (and that he was approachable)and he was soon swamped by other fans!

    After two broken legs he has recovered and is playing some of the best football of his life and in my opinion is in a straight tie with Zabeleta as the best right back in the Prem. Let’s not forget that he was also the subject of criticism and some boos when he first returned from his 2nd leg break.

    I hope he stays, but if not I wish him well in the future.

    I also hope all is ok with your family as I recall some issues earlier in the year.

  • Damilare

    Thanks Walter for bringing Sagna’s interview up.

    The players know AW better than any of us (AAA, pundits & the media) and AW knows the players better than all of us combined.

    Who should give a verdict on who to dedicate the trophy better than Rambo. He knew Wenger and Wenger knew him. Like I said in the past no Manager can be compared to AW in terms of relationship with his players. He does think about and treat them like his biological children. So I like to repeat that Arsene Wenger is a shepherd while others like Maureen, Sir Rednose, Harry the Poddle, Pep, Rafa,(fill in as you like) are hirelings.

    Damn it! Only One Arsene Wenger.


  • AFC fan

    The tears and emotional interview could very well stem from the fact that Bacary knows that was his last game with Arsenal and he went out on the high he and the club needed.
    It would be amazing if he stayed but it appears (though I truly hope reports are wrong) that he, too will leave the club for a BIG payday with City or another club. This makes no sense to me when we can afford to compete with the wages they’re reportedly offering if we use a base + incentives approach.
    Sagna’s stamina is incredible, his defending is solid, and he’s good getting forward putting crosses in. He looks as though he’s for another 3 years in him easy yet he’ll likely spend it elsewhere when it doesn’t have to be that way. We’ll move on and do well bringing someone else on but, again, it doesn’t have to be that way.

  • Sagna is a consummate professional. I hope he stays.

    Wenger’s humanity always shines through to those who aren’t too blinkered with hate and bias to see it. I love that man!

  • NW

    Whatever Sagna does, we can only say thank you to him. Unlike others that we called greedy.

    He is out of a contract so it is his right to leave. He did not bad mouth the team. He did not play the games with the media. He played 7 long years giving good service (except for the injury time of course. He does not cuase chaos in the dressing room. He does make headline for paparazzi. What else can you ask for?

    More importantly he is at the end of career. It is fair for him to think of a way to end his career but the club also need to consider the future. Regardless of what happens, the club would need a replacement within one or two years. Sagna’s option is stright forward. Arsenal is in a much more difficult position.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Agree on Sagna, he has been a class act, has stuck by us in lean years and played a big part in our recent success.
    I hope he stays, I have read we have made a good offer, but one which will probably be bettered elsewhere….hope he stays, but doubt he will , wherever he ends up, I will always immensly value his contribution. He will be a very hard act to follow, I hope he is always treated with the respect he deserves when he returns

  • bob

    On Bac:
    There’s so many reasons to pay high for him, including that we can afford him. He’s fit as a fiddle, plays two defensive positions well, is a terrific crosser, has years of EPL nous, can mentor the youngsters in the (perhaps) declining third year, etc. And his loyalty deserves ours. Fingers and toes crossed, and waiting to exhale. Maybe he’ll see a championship coming our way with the summer’s potential signings and he’ll want to be a part of it – a full part where he’s so well loved and won’t just be a part-timer at a northwest oil barony. Walter, perhaps his wife fancies London’s social whirl to Manchester’s (praying that your appeal to her sinks in).

  • WalterBroeckx

    I reminded her about my article this week 😉

  • bjtgooner

    Bac has been a model professional and an excellent role model for the younger players. I hope he stays.

  • jambug

    Journalist and there bias vitriol.

    On Talkshite Adrian Durham spews his hatred of all things Arsenal all over the airwaves every day. I stopped listening long ago, but I gather from all things said on here he still does, with total impunity.

    If it’s anything like when I did listen, he would have you believe the World and his dog agree with him, which is a complete and utter distortion of the truth. So I thought I’d try and prove it.

    I read comments on here regarding an article he’d written in the DM about Ramsey, so I thought I’d have a look, not because I gave it any credibility but to see if he had any backing.

    These are the approximate hits.

    Page One

    Agree with him = 300

    Disagree with him = 3,500

    Look, I appreciate it may be a bit sad to do this, and of course I know it gives him hits, but I just wanted to show how ridiculously distorted, how biased, how pathetic, that TALKSHITE station really is.

    Without listening I will bet my bottom Dollar the impression you’d get from his 3 hour hate fest is that, yep you’ve guessed it, everyone man and his Dog agrees with him.

    Well Durham you piece of shit, you may have the hits, but 90% of those hits think you are a utter prat.

    How he is allowed to get away with it is beyond me.

  • icant say more abt sagna,the guy is atrue gooner..wish he can stay more bt if he leaves cant complain coz what our players our coach and we fans go throu onthe hands of the aaa the media and refs is so hurting.wehad tobe cold as ice togo throu…abt ramseys article plz walter dong forget what rvp put him throu plz plz

  • icant say more abt sagna,the guy is atrue gooner..wish he can stay more bt if he leaves cant complain coz what our players our coach and we fans go throu onthe hands of the aaa the media and refs is so hurting.wehad tobe cold as ice togo throu…abt ramseys article plz walter dong forget what rvp put him throu plz plz

  • It was the start of transmission of the FA cup final in my location., camera pans to players one by one, it comes to Sagna, cue – commentator – Bacary Sagna who has signed for Manchester City is playing his last game, I immediately went and searched everywhere for this news, and all the places it just said, its rumoured he has signed for city, no confirmation abt it by Sagna, MCity or Sagna’s agent.

    How come on one of the most important matches of the season , watched by millions around the world, a commentator can spew this lies without any backing of proof.

    Alas its arsenal , so they will say whatever they can to bring negativity before the start of any match, so why spare a cup final.

  • Micheal Ram

    I really respect Sagna for his never-say-die attitude and performance for Arsenal FC in these 7 years. His contract ended so he has the personal and professional right to do whatever he wants or needs next. However, there is no doubt that Arsene Wenger improved him tremendously during the period. He owes it to the manager and none to everyone else. He is 31 now so you will never gonna know how long he can keep playing like he did for 7 years. His new contract offer is justified as Arsenal FC treats all the employees on equal measures. As solid as he is as a FB and of course as a CB, he does has his limitations. Add the fact that he got a demanding wife, I feel that the RB can be improved in his absence. He will never break that dynamic duo of the CB we have at the moment so he wont wanna end up like Vermaelen. Painsakingly, im wishing all the best to Sagna if he leaves but life goes on. I will never forget his very odd-occasional but important goals, his fierce tackles on derby days and surprising pin-point crosses. And his gold dreadlocks. Always in memories.

  • TommieGun

    Retaining Sagna in my opinion is a must.

    I’m not going to repeat what was said above how him being a true Gunner, in very good shape, has the right attitude, and an amazing professional. My point is that Sagna is one of the top 3 right backs in the world right now (together with Dani Alves and Lahm when he plays right back). All the other contenders are just not as good as him, or did not display their quality for enough time. Sagna has the experience, and amazingly, is in a good enough shape not to be outpaced by anyone.

    So letting him go would not just “send out the wrong message” (which is an issue in itself) – it would be losing someone who might not be easily replaced.

    Second point is that, if you all remember, up until the match against Liverpool (in which we sorely missed our midfield and was a bit of a blackout day for the defence) – our starting back 5 did not lose a match. They have a very good partnership and Sagna is an important cog in that machine.

    Losing him to a PL rival is even worst, and should be avoided at all costs.

    It would be interesting to learn why it did not work out with us agreeing a new deal with him.

  • Florian

    I’m till keeping the recording of the NLD of 3 years ago when he scored the header that brought us back in the game. His body language was all “we will not lose this one”. I wish we wouldn’t lose him now, but, as I remember a quote from “Wall Street”- “The trouble with money is that they sometimes make you do things you don’t want to do”.

  • Rupert Cook

    If Sagna’s leaving for money then one has to wonder why. Just how much money does he need? He must have earned more than most of us will see in our lifetimes. That quote from Wall Street shouldn’t really apply to Sagna, he doesn’t have to do anything he doesn’t want to do with the money he’s earned unless he’s profligate to the point of stupidity.

    If he goes to City I suppose he thinks he could win a title there. Well we were only 7 points off the title ourselves and if we reinforce we might do better next season.

    He’s been one of our best players for years and if it’s a matter of giving him an extra £10,000 a week we should do it.

  • WalterBroeckx

    I know there has been a lot of talk about the ‘socialist wage structure’ that was brought in a few years ago when we build the Emirates. I know a lot find this the reasons why the money man left. Na$ri, Van Per$ie.

    But in a way it kept all players happy. There were some differences but let us say between 50.000 or 60.000 a week is not that big a gap (for them for me it would be a lot 😉 ) and most players could live with that.

    But gradually the ‘socialist wage structure’ has been let go. Theo benefited as the first one could say and then the other English youngsters got a big raise. And of course we know that a big part of getting Özil to Arsenal was that we would pay him big money. So out the window the ‘socialist wage structure’ went. Most and for all because we finally could afford to let it go and forced upon us by market circumstances (= because of the oilers inflation in wages).

    But now of course as a result we have Sagna who was on let us say 50.000. And he sees that some players now get over 100.000 a week. And then we can understand that if Arsenal would offer him 80.000 a week the gap between him and others is no longer 10.000 a week but goes up to 20.000 – 50.000 a week.

    And so you could understand Bac saying: now hold on a bit I can earn double and earn as much as the top earners at Arsenal at an oiler. So it would give me a big extra sum of money for the remaining part of my career.

    Now I am not saying that we should keep the ‘socialist wage structure’ or go to a ‘complete capitalst wage structure’ but both systems have their benefits and give their problems.

    Bottom line: football players earn too much money! 😉 Be it in a ‘socialist of capitalist wage structure’

    Ok back to my own peanuts paid job 🙂 or should I say 🙁

    Oh well that’s life….

  • proudkev

    “Once again it fills me with a big joy that we at Untold have stood beside the manager all the way. And beside our players. We wrote in favour of Ramsey when he was being shot by our own fans. We stood with Sagna when he was heavily criticized when coming back from 2 broken legs in one season. We supported them.”

    Fantastic. Well done to Untoild for their unwavering support for the club and our under siege manager.

    Untold represents the views of the vast majority of Arsenal fans. There is a huge difference between supporting a football club to being a fan. True supporters will encourage and support the players and everyone connected with the club, including the manager during difficult times. Fans don’t because it is all about the glory. One could argue that this is the modern game and of course the Internet has allowed these imbeciles to generate hysteria and entrench themselves within an agenda.

    But I love this club and as such I will not be found abusing anyone connected with it. I have no tolerance whatsoever for these plastic Arsenal fans who seem obsessed with slating everything about our great club and perfectly happy abusing our players too.

    Anyone who knows anything about sport will understand how important it is for players to have confidence. It does not matter how much quality that player possesses, without confidence he will be half the player. He will mis-control the ball, strikers will snatch at chances and there timing will disappear. Players will stop making those runs, they will stop calling for the ball and the £40 million player will be playing like a £5 The same for any player, irrespective of the position they play. Confidence is everything. And one should not forget that pressure and stress too will have a debilitating effect on energy levels.

    So those not only abusing players but responsible for building up extreme levels of negativity, are making things worse. They are responsible. Had they supported the team, as they should, I suspect the so called trophy drought would have ended in 2011 and maybe before. I blame the negativity of this tiny section of fans for some of the problems we have faced and in particular the continued criticsm of the media hordes. Whoever mentions the stadium we built or the financial restrictions? Whoever mentions the ruination of football by oil clubs? Whoever mentions the loyalty of Wenger? Whoever mentions that Champions league qualification is a success? Whoever mentions that the profits we made did not mean we had money to spend; simply because that was profit generated from selling big players! ? Whoever mentions how a great club trying to makes its own way, had its players picked off by oil clubs? Why do people praise bullys and make matters worse by acting as bullys themselves?

    Well done to Untold and all the great contributors on here for supporting this wonderful club of ours. And congratulations to everyone connected with Arsenal FC on the FA Cup win. It must feel like a huge weight has been lifted off everybody’s shoulders. And the value of that should not be underestimated.

  • Mick

    Great stuff proudkev.

  • ToppMann, Nigeria

    We cant blame players wanting to earn more money, but we should rather blame the system that allows a mega-rich owners destroy the beautiful game. Nobody here will not jump at a pay rise else where while doing the same job, so I don’t blame Sagna. Football has not been the same since the coming of oil monguls.

    Wenger earns about 6.5M and that will increase to around 8M annually, so I dont see why players who have shorter career life should not earn more especially when they see that the money is there. Players in clubs like Everton, Aston Villa, Hull city etc cannot expect the kind of wage a player in Arsenal, Man-city, Chelsea etc would earn.

    We lost some good players (Mata, Hazard, etc) because we refused to pay good wages and they go elsewhere to play and win medals. Arsenal should learn to pay the right amount for right players unlike paying fortunes to players like Denilson, Arshavin, Bendtner, Jekinson etc

    Our FA cup success should have happened years ago and probably we would have won the league perhaps champions league

  • ToppMann,

    Great stuff. Who cares about the balance sheet right? Just pay the players whatever they want and the trophies will roll in. If only it is that simple, my Naija brethren.

    I love Sagna and I want him to finish his career at Arsenal but I don’t think he should be paid anymore than he is worth or deserve. If he chooses to go elsewhere for more money, I bear no grudge and wish him well.

    It is silly to suggest that clubs should pay whatever players want “so that we can win trophies”. If the club ends in administration due to unsustainable debts from inflated wages, there will be trophies again in a long time…or ever. Where are Portsmouth and Birmingham City today?

  • …there will be NO trophies……

  • proudkev

    Sorry but i disagree with everything you say ToppMann.

    I bet Leeds United fans would disagree too.

    Leeds United were one of the Countries top clubs and had been for years. They reached the semi Final of the Champions League and then took a crazy decision to spend future projected Champions League income, to push on. It was a gamble that failed. They ended up having to sell all their players, entered administration and ended up playing in the third tier of football.

    Leeds are the perfect example of why sanity must prevail and why FFP was brought into football.

    Just because a club has a gazzilionaire owner who can push up wages does not mean we should also try to keep up. It is a nonsense.

    Unfortunately teams like Chelsea and Man City have done real harm to football. They have bought instant success by simply offering players whatever they wanted. Look at Ya Ya Toure now, the greed and arrogance is truly remarkable. He earns £250,000, that’s £13 million per year but that is not enough.

    And finally, using their short careers as justification is even more laughable. Have you actually done the maths? An average player earns £40,000 per week. That is £2 million per year. If he plays for 10 years that is £20 million. And you want to pay them more because they have a short career. Incredible. I have worked for 36 years, surely I deserve a greater reward than someone who works 10 years? and earns more in one of those months than I earn in my entire lifetime.

    As far as i am concerned the sooner we start capping players wages the better. Its a complete joke what they get paid for playing a game. A joke.

  • proudkev

    ….and I will probably be working into my seventies. These guys retire when they are still young men and are millionaires. And yet that is a negative, their short careers? They don’t have to worry about putting the heating on or where the next hot meal comes from, like a lot of pensioners. These pampered primadonnas have never done a days work in their lives.

  • proudkev,

    As a fellow toiler, I say: thank you!!!

  • Mick

    Just to put these footballers wages into context the basic state pension is £113 a week. Therefore it will take an OAP 34 YEARS to get what a Ya Ya Toure or RVP receive in one week. That is quite staggering in my opinion.

  • Mick

    Sort of off topic but I have just read Sagna is signing for Man City on a 3 year deal worth £150,000 a week. So ToppMann, Nigeria, should we try to match that and in doing so have the rest of the Arsenal players clamouring for the same forming a queue outside Wengers door?

  • ToppMann, Nigeria

    @proudkev and @ Bootoomee (you will understand the plight of being an Arsenal fan in Nigeria)

    I understand we are neither Chelsea nor Man City, but I strongly believe we can compete conveniently with all oil clubs if we spend just some few extra bucks (that will not put us in administration) on right players.

    Having a wage structure is good if duly followed and applied. However, when a player sees his team mates who probably contributes less to the team having a better pay, he would seriously consider his options (like Sagna is doing). In his mind, he will say if Wenger can have a better deal after 8 trophyless years, he deserves that little notch considering his consistency and commitment. We have struggled in recent years partly due to inexperience (and we are letting go one of our most experienced).
    No player will ever be indispensable. Players come, players go, Arsenal remains forever! But when we have one of the best, we should do the needful to keep them motivated.

    I remain a gunner!

  • ToppMann, Nigeria

    @ Mick

    I would never have agreed to pay Sagna 150k but I am sure if we offered 100k, he might have considered it (maybe though)

  • ToppMann,

    All your comments are based on emotions and conjectures, no facts.

    You said Arsene’s getting a better deal after 8 trophyless years and I ask you was Sagna playing for free for the last 7 years? Hasn’t he had salary increases since he joined us in 2007 despite winning no trophies? Was it all Wenger’s fault when we weren’t winning trophies? Isn’t Sagna part of the players that have failed to win any trophy in the previous years?

    “I would never have agreed to pay Sagna 150k but I am sure if we offered 100k, he might have considered it (maybe though)”

    So you are just using hearsay when writing with such assurance? How are you so sure that Sagna (or anyone for that matter) would take 50% less than what he could get elsewhere?

    I want and hope Sagna stays but I don’t want him to be paid anything more than the man employed by Arsenal to determine player’s worth thinks he deserves. And yes, I am talking about Arsene Wenger. His decisions are based on reality, experience and judgement, not on emotions. That is why the Arsenal board pay him the big bucks and he has earned every cent of it. Players come and players go but there is only one Arsene Wenger!!!

    Finally, I know about being an Arsenal fan in Nigeria but I have no idea of what you mean by “plight”. What has Arsenal done differently to any of its Nigerian supporters that you are calling “plight”? If you are uncomfortable with the banter from the Chelsea and Man United fans, then you might need to reconsider your support. That is what football fans worldwide have to live with it. See how miserable Man United fans have been this season? Chelsea ended the season trophyless despite rehiring. That is football. We take the good with the bad but continue to love and support our teams. It is not a “plight” as far as I am concerned, it is a passion!

  • bob mac


    Sign the bloody contract.

    You know it makes sense.

  • Mick

    @ToppMann, Nigeria
    I am sure that Arsene offered Sagna the best deal he was able to given the factors he would have to consider ie club wage structure and consequent effect on other players if he were to breach it. If you were to make one player a special case it would be impossible to refuse others similar treatment without causing deep fractures in club harmony and team togetherness. It is all to easy to flippantly suggest that the club did not do everything sensibly possible to reach an agreement. Furthermore you state ‘However, when a player sees his team mates who probably contributes less to the team having a better pay, he would seriously consider his options (like Sagna is doing).’ Assuming you do not have inside knowledge of which players get what salaries (not what you have read in the press) you are guessing that this is the case.

  • proudkev


    How has Arsene Wenger failed? What were his targets and what was expected of him?

    You may expect trophys and consider that the only way to judge a manager but there are others, like me, who think differently. Think about it for one minute. Here is a manager that bought into the vision. Instead of high tailing it out as soon as he was told he had to help the club repay the stadium project, like Jose would have, he stayed loyal. he made profits in player sales, as he was requested. Despite having his hands tied behind his back and swimming against the tide, he over exceeded the boards expectations. So where has he ‘failed’? Despite selling our best players he still secured Champions league for us and the money that would bring. This idea that he has failed and does not deserve his salary is a nonsense. Only unrealistic fans who choose to be ignorant of the situation the club and Mr. Wenger was in can say such things. He met his targets. In fact, instead of criticism, he should be used as an example of immense loyalty. I woudl say that he has more than paid for himself because he generated his own salary. So he cost nothing.

    I understand the frustration of bragging rights but we should look forward now. we have suffered the pain we are now in a totally different place. New renegotiated sponsorships, revenue from the new stadium and a debt being slowly paid off. We can now compete financially.

    You will soon have the bragging rights you want. And trophys. These trophys will be won, even when Mr. Wenger is no longer manager, because of Mr. Wenger and not in spite of him. I think it is a shame he is not recognised by the media and some fans as he should be. History will give him the legend status he deserves.

    that Arsene has failed. Failed in what way? he hasnt had the oilers money, for a while he was expected to make profit on player sales and yet he still kept us in the Champions league. In my opinion Arsene Wenger has delivered success. Whate