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April 2021

We won the cup, but for some nothing has changed

By Tony Attwood

Sadly, nothing has changed.

Here’s an extract from a news item running on an Arsenal blog on 24 May…

“That old familiar feeling is starting to creep over me, deja vu style, and I can just picture myself around halfway through August, with the Premier League season already started, thinking what the hell is going on!?!”

And of course, we didn’t really expect attitudes to change did we?  People who support a football team (any team) but spend their time saying how badly run that football team is, find it very hard to get out of that psychological condition.  Negativity gets inside the head, and it takes a supreme effort of will to overcome that negativity.

It is like any other issue that arises from mental rather than physical conditions.  The attitudes that we have relate to the levels of chemicals circulating in the brain.  The only way to change that is to get a prescription from a GP who agrees the condition needs medical support, or work at it oneself.  Indeed even with the pills you still need to work at it  yourself if you are ever unfortunate enough to suffer from constant negative attitudes – and that is hard.

Actually doing a lot of physical exercise helps just as much as most pills, as does eating well (fruit, veg, less red meat) and drinking less alcohol and not smoking.  But these things – which our players all do, are not generally considered de rigeur for bloggers and negative supporters, so once these people become negative, they continue to be negative.  No matter what.

Of course the ploy of the negativist is always to explains one’s own attitude and vision of the outside world as something that is natural, right and obvious.  As in, “I am negative about Arsenal because Arsenal gives me a lot to be negative about.”

“Ah ha,” says the positive chap (who might even read Untold Arsenal) “that is not right, because I am positive, and I find a lot in Arsenal to be positive about.”

“Bollocks” says the negativisitic fellow.   “If you think there are positive things about Arsenal at the moment, you are deluded.”   And there the conversation comes to a close.

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But a brief venture into psychology, or indeed into the world of cognitive behavioural therapy, shows that reality isn’t defined by the world, but by how you see the world.  And how you see the world is under your control.

Anyway, let’s go back to the rather unhappy fellow who posted on the internet just recently.  He said,

“Last summer was supposed to be the one in which Arsenal fans could finally look forward to a transfer window in which all the talk would be about the players coming in rather than the ones leaving. But it turned out to be a refined type of torture.”

Well actually, no it didn’t.  I didn’t feel tortured at all.  I thought we had a superb team ready to roll, based around Ramsey and Theo, and the last minute addition of Ozil was a real bit of icing.  What went wrong last season was that those two key elements – along as it turned out with Ozil, all got injured together.

So no, because I have lots of endorphins in my system and eat moderately good stuff, I didn’t share that experience of torture.  But not for the negativist.

“And so far this year has not been much better…. Well, if the Gunners are going to spend the next two months sitting on our arses and twiddling our thumbs, then other clubs are going to let us and take advantage, with hated north London rivals Tottenham hoping to be the first to step in, according to a report in The Express”

Now there are several things wrong here even leaving aside that it really isn’t very healthy to hate Tottenham.  We can make fun of Tottenham, enjoy St Totteridge Day, call them “The Tiny Totts”, wish them well in the Europa as they go to Uzbekistan to play Tashkent Wanderers on a frozen Thursday night, while laughing into our salad, but hate?  No.  We an hate drug dealers, homophobics and racists, but Tottenham supporters in general?  Pity them yes, but hate them – that’s going too far.

But that is all background.  The first big problem with the article is the notion that players do transfers according to who steps in first.  There is no evidence of that.  No player of real merit is going to to sign for the Tiny Totts, because they got in first.  Players want to play for the best club with the best team, for the most money, so no one in their right mind would sign for a club that has a St Daniel’s Day each season, and doesn’t qualify for Europe, has no manager, and has a small stadium, and will, in the coming years, suffer the privation that Arsenal had after building the Emirates. without first checking out if anyone actually in the Champs League, might want to sign him.

Choosing a club is not like choosing which petrol station to buy your petrol and sandwich at.  They (clubs not petrol stations) are not all the same, and don’t all pay the same prices.

Another is that this suggests that clubs keep quiet about their wants and  wishes until they suddenly rush in with a bid.

No again.  Clubs don’t do that.  They have their scouts at the grounds, and they open preliminary discussions, make reports, and go through agents and clubs exploring possibilities and options.   Remember our selling of Song to Spain.  Do you think that just happened without prelims?

No everyone knows what’s what and who is wanted by whom long before those of us not inside the club know.

And no, again, the blockage comes from quite often one sale depends on another purchase.  PSG are taking a gamble with a big money signing and then having to offload others (if they are serious about FFP).  Ozil only came our way because Bale went to Real Madrid, and Real Madrid rejected Tottenham’s plea that they should incorporate into the deal a refusal to sell Ozil to Arsenal.

And indeed all this excludes the mess caused each year by lying toads like the chair of Liverpool who announced that there was no £40m clause in the Suarez contract, plus those engaged in the Vapour Transfer trail.

Third, the notion that the Daily Express in England actually says anything truthful is just wild whimsy.    This is a very minor publication that is read by pensioners of a right wing persuasion who believe that the UK is under threat from Romania.  The concept that they are actually saying what is really true is just so odd that it is hard to debate it.   The big headline on their web site at this moment is “Kim Kardashian and Kanye West cause chaos in Paris on the eve of their wedding”.

The fact is none of us knows what is going on, and the only sane thing to do is sit back and enjoy the show.

I do think we need a couple of new players, but I am not of the view that that we must, must, must buy a striker.   Playing Ramsey and Walcott together would be like playing two strikers, and so one man up front who knows about English football is enough with those two in the side.   And we have such a man – bring in another man and he’ll take a year to adapt.  Remember Henry at the start?  Remember Bergkamp at the start?  Both were hardly considered brilliant signings until they got used to English football.

Playing one centre forward allows the three across the middle and Theo, Ozil and Ramsey looks like a dream team to me, except that it doesn’t have any room for Santi Caz, the Ox, Gnabry, Pod…

What we do need is yet more cover for injuries however, and a consideration of what to do now Sagna is going, so we might not see big name stars coming in.  That’s what mitigates against Cesc Fabregas – although they might bring him in if another Premier team makes a bid first.

(Which is the reverse of what the report above suggests with its “got to get in first or it is too late” attitude.)

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47 comments to We won the cup, but for some nothing has changed

  • jambug

    Another thing I said the other was that winning the FA Cup is just going to make matters worse with regard to how we are refereed and treated in the media.

    I see no reason whatsoever to change that view.

  • Kelser

    We’ve already won the cup with everybody against us, including that disgusting display from the ref in the final, what more can they do?

    If they become anymore blatant then surely people would have to take notice!

  • jambug


    If you can have the Ref fail to give 3 stone wall pens, as well as one very good shout, you know you are in serious trouble.

    If you find the media and ex referees backing the Referees decisions to the hilt, across the board, you know you have no chance.

    Referees will of seen just how much they can get away with against us, and how the media, who are effectively there judge and jury, love every moment of it, there will be no limit to the shit we can look forward to next year.

    You said, “Surely people would have to take notice”

    I’ve see no evidence of that post FA Cup, I don’t see why I should believe that is likely to change any time soon.

  • bjtgooner

    I see the AAA slightly differently Tony. Some will be as you describe – depressive by nature, or appear negative because they feel secure in being unhappy. But others write deliberately damaging propaganda.

    The fact that a number of blog sites write such propaganda cannot be a coincidence and I don’t think it is adequately explained by assuming the AAA authors are AAA just because they are depressives.

    In summary, I agree some self deluded fans are AAA because of their negative mental attitude – but there are others who are not at all negative in their mental make up who write reams of anti Arsenal negative crap with an ulterior motive – the undermining of the team, manager and club.

  • mojo12

    Well, it is fair to for those fans to be suspicious. Winning was amazing! I nearly forgot how it felt to win – and it is certainly nothing like getting fourth!

    But, lets wait and see how the summer pans out. So far we have lost fabianski* (not a massive blow, but a bit of one), most likely sagna and quite possibly verma.

    Then we hear that we will only likely bring in 3 new players… if that! One will have to be a goalkeeper… one will have to be a replacement for sagna. And we cannot exactly go into the next year with only mert and kos! So will need a cb.

    So thats three… and we still need a striker and then winger/dmf.

  • “Now there are several things wrong here even leaving aside that it really isn’t very healthy to hate Tottenham. We can make fun of Tottenham, enjoy St Totteridge Day, call them “The Tiny Totts”, wish them well in the Europa as they go to Uzbekistan to play Tashkent Wanderers on a frozen Thursday night, while laughing into our salad, but hate? No. We an hate drug dealers, homophobics and racists, but Tottenham supporters in general? Pity them yes, but hate them – that’s going too far.”

    Tony, in case you are wondering, this is why I love you. That was a great paragraph summing up my sentiments where the Tinies are concerned. You are the best!!!

  • mojo12,

    Have you ever have to contend with Arsenal not making 4th for 9 years? I suspect that Everton and Tottenham fans would feel differently about 4th if they ever make it.

    It’s okay to express our joy about winning the FA cup but I don’t see the need to belittle our ever consistent CL qualifications. The 2 are not contradictory.

  • Mandy Dodd

    We are in a position whereby we have no reason to hate the Spuds. But this article captures it all very well really, and a great psychological assessment of some.
    Off topic, but has anyone seen this…..the cup final replayed on twitter via geotagged tweets from arsenal and hull fans….or something like that…arsenal tweets, hull tweets blue.assuming the link from Simon Rogers of the guardian works, it really shows the extent of our support and the hotspots, great to see it going white hot when we have scored!

  • nicky

    Yes, we DID win the Cup at long last, which should quiet the “trophy yearners” for a while. We won thanks to a series of lucky home draws early on and a worthy fight back in the Final.
    The Cup added some icing to the CLUB cake….the cake IMO being qualification for next season’s CL.
    Let no-one be mistaken…things
    HAVE changed.
    The Club is no longer in financial restraint. The Stadium has been paid for and there are more than adequate funds in Arsene’s war chest to use in the Summer Transfer Window.
    I should imagine he and his immediate staff have already decided on this Summer’s targets and negotiators are already at
    work. Qualification in Europe will be an enticement.
    One of the setbacks last season was due to the cruel long-term injury list at vital times in the season. Due to a general disinterest in proper protection by referees on the field of play, (and the outlook is still bleak) steps will have to be taken to sign adequate back-up in key positions.
    So the situation HAS changed…. for the better. Without infringing the FFP Regs we can afford to strengthen the squad and also replace players who will each leave at the end of their
    The horizon looks bright indeed.

    PS I only wish Arsene would put on a little bit more weight for next season 😉

  • bjtgooner


    Perhaps AW needs a few cheese sandwiches in his diet! 🙂

  • nicky

    Yeah, some good old Extra Mature English Cheddar instead of that ‘orrible French stuff!

  • Red Jim

    Firstly, we’re all, hopefully, thoroughly elated and warmed by the events of last weekend. Much like, Arsene, I’m sure, relieved as well. Elated AND relieved. Be honest. And there’s no one I’m actually happier for than Wenger himself because, for all my criticisms of his latter career, he is without any shadow of a doubt the most principled man in the entirety of football. The icing on the cake would have been for Piers Morgan to have had his twitter account suspended but you can’t have everything.

    One thing about the article Tony. You bought up psychology – ‘But a brief venture into psychology, or indeed into the world of cognitive behavioural therapy, shows that reality isn’t defined by the world, but by how you see the world.’

    There seems to be a paradox at work here. What is it when a person believes the working’s of the club they support, a business, are completely beyond reproach, every year – year after year -but then, at the same time that person applies the absolute reverse attitude towards referees? Any failure is actually the shortcoming of a referee. An outsider. Always, year after year after year. And that supposedly the actions of those same referees impact more heavily on Arsenal than say, for example, clubs near the bottom of the table (which is, incidentally, a more widely held view in football circles).

    Are these two polar attitudes both some strangely incongruous manifestations of one true positivity. Or are they something more close approaching Totalitarianism? The party is absolute. The party is GOD?

  • Mandy Dodd

    A lot of things are changing….wenger has reportedly been in discussions over new training methods. We have better finances, a trophy upon which to build, hopefully looking into the very latest fitness and recovery technology

  • Pete

    But Mandy – when is he going to sign his contract…? No conceivable reason to delay now? Slightly concerning, although pretty confident he will…

  • WalterBroeckx

    Maybe Wenger has asked change in some things (injury treatment?) and he wants to have those things sorted out first?

  • Pete

    Walter – who knows? But there clearly must be some reason for the delay – and there shouldn’t be. He will have spent the last week dealing with player contract issues, will be off to the World Cup in a couple of weeks and presumably would like to take some kind of holiday in the interim?

    So what is the issue?

  • Mandy Dodd

    Pete, have been wondering the same thing myself. Last minute negotiations? Things he is being asked he is not happy with? Maybe he is on holiday….who knows, but I am sure he will sign unless the board have really pissed him off…He cares about the club, and if he were leaving, he would give us as long as possible to find a replacement. He will not let us down, nor will Ivan, even if they are negotiating a few finer points of things

  • Chapman's Ghost

    I’m sure there is much activity behind the scenes and new faces will be seen at Arsenal next year. Has anyone of any note moved anywhere yet?

    Why on earth would anyone believe the Daily Express where vile views are spewed forth daily?

    As for refs, did anyone see the CL final? Can’t say there was that much protection from kicking in that game despite the number of yellow cards. It also struck me that if the Athletico players hadn’t feigned injury and wasted time they would have won as there would have been no extra five minutes.

    Hating Spurs. You must be joking. Maybe hate Chelsea as they created this false transfer market and seem to have a number of detestable players.
    And I’ve always thought pity is a diluted form of hatred.

  • TommieGun

    Self loath and self hatred are not always forms of psychological conditions that require treatment, as far as I know.

    There are some people who are just like that: Judas types, who will always try to point the finger at what’s wrong at home, quick to assume self blame, and most importantly – will not take the wider perspective. It is almost a matter of methodoligcal thinking: there is a problem at point A so I will not go forward to the problems at point B before sorting out all the problems at point A. So to take it into our world, because the AAAs think that there are problem at point A (the club, the squad, the manager) they will not even consider addressing the problems at point B (refs, injuries, other factors).

  • Shard

    ‘I do think we need a couple of new players’

    You talk about depressives and you’ve just made them more depressed. If you glance over to one of their chief’s domain, he is advocating that we need to buy at least 9 players…yes that’s right NINE players, if we are to have proper squad depth. It doesn’t matter that we only have space in the squad for only 25 players in all over the age of 21, that we have to have room for players like the Ox and Sanogo in the list for next year. That we have other youngsters capable for contributing. That you cannot simply keep buying to account for injuries.

    No. We need 9 players. Anything less will be cause for more rabble rousing…

  • Mandy Dodd

    Nine players! Laughable

  • Shard, Mandy etc

    If not 9, how about 6 new players? I hope I’m not being “depressive”, just logical and reasonable, but you be the judge of that:

    On the assumption that Fabienski and Sagna do not renew and Vermalan is allowed to leave, we will need to get a back-up keeper, a new right back and a new back-up centre-half. Plus, given Sagna has been our fourth centre-half cover as well, and assuming our new right back doesn’t have the flexibility to cover at centre-back, we may need to buy a second centre-half too. That’s possibly four new players just to sustain the current squad. It’s possible Mr Wenger feels he has enough quality in the reserves to cover for the keeper and centre-back but I think it’s reasonable to think four new defenders may be needed.

    I think its fair also to conclude from last summer that Mr. Wenger was in the market for a striker. And although eventually he bought Ozil to help improve our attacking play, I think its reasonable to think he might still be interested in a striker this summer. I think its fair for even a lowly fan like me to conclude from last season that although Giroud gave us many, many fine moments and hard working performances, he is not the fastest footballer on two legs and neither is he consistently deft enough with his touch to think we couldn’t do with a alternative or better option up front. Bendtner is off, there is a gap in the squad. I like Sanago and look forward to his development and contribution but he’s probably not quite ready just yet. Mr Wenger hasn’t skimped on strikers in the past (I think I’m right in saying we’ve nearly always had 3 and sometimes 4 of them in the squad). So why not now?

    The last one is more subjective and a long standing issue among many fans, including me. Groan, I know, . A deep lying or defensive midfielder. It’s a balance thing for me. I accept Arteta has done a very good job here and a better one than, for instance, Song did. I also know that we have Flamini. But again I think it’s reasonable to question why Mr. Wenger hasn’t acquired, before now, a player who has more strength, physic, height, ball winning tenacity to balance the lighter, more creative midfielders we have an abundance of. Every single Premiership winning team (including Arsenal) has had a physically strong presence in it’s midfield. Arsene has tried and tried and tried again to do without such a balance and I think its reasonable to suggest this has contributed to the team falling short of honours we might have won before the wonderful FA Cup success thsi May. Last season for instance, such a presence in our midfield (coupled with a more cautious tactical approach) would/might have given our team away at Man City, Chelsea and Liverpool more substance and resilience. Personally, I think this is a reasonable observation and it identifies a gap in the squad.

    Six is a lot of players in one summer I know but 4 of them are being forced on us by contracts ending or players wanting to leave and two are what’s needed, in my opinion, to complete a better equipped squad and build on the momentum of newly won silver ware.

  • bjtgooner

    Re additional players – two would seem adequate. After that it depends on who leaves and whether or not any of the young players are ready to step up.

  • Mandy Dodd

    You make a good case in the scenario of those players going Fishpie. Six….maybe, but as we know, too many will destabilise….but we could certainly do with strengthening. Wenger has apparently been in talks on new training methods, I wonder if he may be tweaking the playing philosophy a bit, if so, we may need to recruit to adapt to this, think a youngish defensive MF is a good call. A striker….or something similar to a striker…certainly, to support OG and allow the likes of Sanogo and maybe Chuba to develop away from pressure….or we could use J Campbell.
    If TV goes, we do need more defensive cover, possibly a promising youngster and a seasoned veteran who can cope with Kos and Per as our mainstays. We will need a keeper unless Martinez is ready as a number two….again, maybe a seasoned vet there? As for Sagna, would really like to see Jenks given a go, and bellerin in some cup games, but just those two would be risky. May need pacy backup for theo..and Ox, hope Gnabry can develop, but did not see as much of him in the latter stages as I would have hoped after some promising performances
    How many is that…have lost count!
    Whatever happens, with our injury… and perhaps recovery record….unless the club can improve things on that front, we will need to be well stocked with players, would also like to see a bit more rotation next season to protect the key players such as who arseblog refers to as the Welsh Jesus.
    Been quite a week for welsh players!

  • Another article I see from Tony referring to St Totteridge day, rather than its proper name of St Totteringham’s day. I am starting to think that you are waging a one man campaign to have my annual celebration renamed. It has been named after me since its inception in 2002 and yet you constantly refer to it as St Totteridge day. That doesn’t even make any sense, as Totteridge is half an underground station on the London Unserground Northern line that is actually situated overground, and has no connection with the North London rivalry whatsoever.

    So please in future refer to my day by its proper name, the name that is known by Gooners worldwide, most of whom have never heard of Totteridge, let alone know where it might be.

  • Shard


    I actually agree with you about a DM, although I don’t see him being a ‘destroyer’ as necessary. None of the top teams in Europe play a destroyer. Only Chelsea have them really. Where was ManU’s midfield beast last season? I think mobility is more important than simple physicality. Everyone has been looking for Vieira. No one has found him yet. But get us a mobile, positionally astute DM and we’d be better for it.

    I think Sagna and Fabianski are off, and those two need to be replaced. So that’s 2. I think we will get a striker and a DM as well. Vermaelen will be replaced if he leaves but I’m not sure he will. I think 4 players is ample, as long as the DM can also play CB in an emergency. Plus maybe one youngster can step up and be the 4th/5th choice CB.

    We need more firepower yes, but we also can reasonably expect more playing time for Podolski, Ox and Theo. Add in youngsters like Gnabry and Sanogo to that. Plus there’s Joel Campbell coming back. I think we will see one striker being bought (although I am not fussed about him being a marquee player. Just with the requisite characteristics – pace and finishing)

    So apart from the promotions from our reserve team, I think we might see 4 signings. Maybe 5.

    As an aside, I hope Fabregas stays put at Barcelona. It is not really a convenient time to purchase him is it? Although, mind you, I think he could play in the Arteta role and be an upgrade on him. He could also play in the Ramsey role and be an upgrade on Jack or Ox who might otherwise play there. It might even make us a team to be feared offensively. Cesc with through balls from deep, and Ozil and Cazorla splitting the defense apart further up front. It might be a bit disbalanced, but parked buses wouldn’t stand a chance 🙂

  • Well, let me refer you St Totteringham to the Wiki article on the subject which says Saint Totteringham’s Day (sometimes also known as Saint Totteridge’s Day) is a concept created by Arsenal fans in the early 1990s,

  • Considering I know for a fact that I was conceived and first named on 19th March 2002, rather than the early 1990s, I really wouldn’t take as gospel what you read on wikipedia. Surely you can see that the term “St Totteridge” has no relevance whilst St Totteringham succinctly references the plight of our “near and dear” neighbours.

  • oldgroover

    I prefer St. Totteringham. Totteridge is a very nice place just South of Barnet & where some of the players & Arsene live.

  • john L

    no nothing will change in regards to how the outside world perceives us. however i think with the FA Cup win will change everything in how the team and players perceives themselves.
    ramsey, wilshere, gibbs, the ox et al will have been given a massive boost in confidence and the collective belief the team has in itself will be far stronger.

    unfortunately i think we will continue to hear the ‘x-years’ mantra just with a simple twist….’only one trophy in nine years’…..

  • Pete

    I was first introduced to the delights of St Totteringham’s day about 18 years ago (I clearly recall who explained it to me and the context). It might have existed for longer than that but, pre-Arsene, it wasn’t an annual event. So 18 or 19 seems about right.

  • So Mandy and Shard, we are broadly in the same ballpark as to numbers and positions we might need replacing and squad strengthening. I agree shard we don’t actually need a marquee signing as such and yes I’m sure we don’t need Fabregas at this point. Not sure Cesc has the little bit of edge that Arteta has either in a df role. But I would’nt be surprised if he were to be our only signing come the end of the summer such is the perversity of Mr Wenger’s transfer record. And yes Mandy having another fast attacker to cover for another Walcott injury would be sensible ( although I think the Ox could do that job) . That would take my list up to 7 which is only 2 away from the 9 shard spotted on another website. I t dies illustrate how even a non depressive viewpoint can still reach high numbers. I hope arsene uses the next 2/3 years to complete a squad rather than half build another one. He has the money now.

  • Shard


    Let me put it this way. We have space for 5 non-homegrown players in the squad and 2 homegrown. So that would be your 7 players then. (This is after Sagna, Bendtner, etc all leave by the way) But…If we add Martinez as third choice GK and Campbell (who I think isn’t homegrown) that means we have 4 non-HG spots left, and 1 hg spot (which is basically reserved for Ox for next year)

    Even we fill all 4 nonHG spots, we cannot add any more players either in January or next summer. Arteta, Vermaelen and Diaby are the only ones out of contract next year as far as I can remember. Rosicky and Flamini the year after that.

    Among those that we will possibly want to add to the over 21 list next year (apart from Ox) are Eisfeld, Ajayi (CB), and Sanogo. (The next year is Gnabry) Let’s say it is only one of them. That’ll leave us space for two more signings, and only to replace players..

    You lot will be screaming your heads of about ‘perverse’ transfer policies for having so much ‘deadwood’ or such a bloated squad because there won’t be room for any shiny new transfers.. Sell this one, sell that one, they are useless. Upgrade with so and so who will be just perfect. And to be repeated next season.

    You see, building a squad is a little more difficult than that, especially when you aren’t living in sugar daddy land and can’t simply write off your losses in player churn (or sit them on the bench)

    So, I said 4.. Possibly 5. And that is pushing it in terms of the squad list and its sustainability, but is just about possible. No more though. How exactly are we supposed to fit in more than 5 and then somehow make room for more later? Or do we just pay players to play in the cups and otherwise exclude them from the PL list?

    I like how you push my quoted figure up to 7, and then equate that to being close to 9. We can do the same in reverse and tone 9 down to 5 down to 2 as well. Amazing how a negative nellie’s viewpoint won’t agree to a stretch in that direction though.

    So, your non-negative viewpoint is actually perverse because there isn’t even room in the squad for 7 new signings. Leave alone the desirability of such a splurge.

  • GoingGoingGooner

    When Mr. Wenger mentions that more than three new signing will destabilize a team, I suspect he is talking about starters. Buying 3 backups should be less of a problelm, no?

  • Shard


    Wenger said 2 or 3 signings.. But he worded it in such a way that it could be taken to mean additions rather than just replacements. Which I think is what will happen. Which would be around my figure of 4-5. As I pointed out to Fishpie right now, more than that is not really possible. Unless you buy U-21 players. But then you need to figure out how to fit them into the squad in the following seasons when they need to be registered.

  • Sav from Australia

    Interesting article Tony.

    Very well put regarding squad limits Shard.

  • menace

    I have seen the DM ‘destroyer’ on several occasions and they always had a set of cards, a notebook and a whistle. We could do with one in our squad. Only available in black formerly, but now only available north of Watford.

  • Gord


    Some players don’t regard themselves as backup. Some players are obstinate enough that even 1 will destabilize a team. I think Balotelli (formerly ManCity) is in that category: if someone has a team with the personality of Balotelli, adding another won’t hurt.

    The only way I see 5, 6 or 7 player additions, is for at most 3 of those to be from the free market. the other 2, 3 or 4 would be promotions from the youth team. Which I think is about what Shard said.

    Damn it is strange to run across a situation where I am less wordy than someone else. But Shard does have a lot more detail in his (?) answer.

  • bjtgooner


    Excellent analysis. I look at the situation from a slightly different point of view, but probably come up with a similar result.

    I think we would agree that AW will add a striker, this may or may not be Campbell, more likely not, as AW would probably want someone who can play the target role.

    I also suspect he will add a midfielder, not necessarily a DM, but someone who can rotate with Ramsey. At present we have a lot of excellent AM players, we have Arteta and Flamini who play a holding role. Our normal formation includes Ramsey and Arteta – but when Ramsey is absent our midfield starts to look more porous. Diaby could be that player – if he stays fit – for his sake and the for team I hope he does keep fit, but assuming he does not, then we need someone to cover the Ramsey box to box role. The ideal would be a younger player who could grow into the role just as Ramsey has.

    Those would be my two additions – knowing AW they are probably wrong! After that, it depends who leaves – if we have to replace Sagna & Fabianski then our numbers start to look fairly equivalent.

    Also, AW will want to give Ox and Sanogo a lot of game time – this again may influence the type of purchase, always assuming Sanogo stays with the squad and does not go out on loan.

  • Fair points Shard: You’re right, I did not factor in any of the home grown vs non-homegrown limitations. And I agree there are definitely some talented youngsters we want to reserve places for.I see where you got to 4/5. You’re also right that I might well have used the “deadwood” word, but only because if there is some and its stopping Mr Wenger buy what’s needed, I would be frustrated. But much of the past deadwood, to Mr Wenger’s credit, has been moved on and these days we have a squad where pretty much all the players contribute very positively. Sorry the word “perverse” offended you, I just meant that there is a chance, based on the past, that Mr Wenger will not buy what many people see as glaringly obvious players to buy , for instance, a “mobile, positionally astute DM” (I’d settle for a Petit or a Gilberto kind of player here, Vierra isn’t the only template)but instead buy another attacking mid which it could be argued we don’t need. I also wonder whether having a bit more physical presence in midfield will mean there will be slightly less stress on the limbs and muscles of the lighter players, possibly even a bit more protection for them on the pitch. I’m not sure I could prove there is a link here but perhaps part of the reason we suffer more injuries and strains is because we put out too many players who aren’t built for the premiership’s physicality. I just sense a little more physicality and a little less injury gets us more points. I was pushing up my quoted figure of 6 (not yours) to 7 based on Mandys thought about a Theo cover player and just making the point that there is a reasonable case for quite a few more players being needed, especially of a certain type. But to be fair I haven’t read the piece by the blogger demanding 9 players and perhaps his/her piece was negative or dismissive in tone about the current squad. I’m not dismissive of it, its his best in a long long time in fact. BUT really it shouldn’t be beyond the ability of the club or Mr Wenger (with or without home grown/ non-home grown restrictions in place)to add two better players in key positions and replace up to four others who are leaving of their own accord. I know its more complicated than I think but, come on, it’s not THAT complicated and if there’s a will, there’s a way.

  • No I don’t take Wiki as gospel, but my point was that it is not just me who uses the term. St Totteridge is mentioned in 198,000 sites in Wiki. It is not as widely used as Totteringham but it just amuses me. If one of my fellow writers uses St Totteringham and I am proof reading that day, I don’t correct it, nor do they correct me. We are fairly liberal and open in that regard

  • Shard


    I think among all the nonsense of transfer rumours, we know that last year Wenger tried to buy a striker (Higuain, Suarez) and a midfielder (Bender, Gustavo). The fact that he even got Kallstrom on loan in January suggests that he thinks that is a position of need.

    Hence, I think it reasonable to assume that those two positions will be filled. Or at least look to be filled. But only with a certain calibre of player. Not just to make up the numbers. So I am in agreement with you there.

    Also, I think the two who seem likely to leave, will be replaced from the market. Beyond that, it could be argued about a 4th choice CB but my guess is Wenger will opt for a DM who can play there, or a RB who can play there (like Sagna), as well as use one of the youth players to contribute. I would say 4 signings. BUt who knows?

  • Shard


    Well, maybe I did overreact to the word ‘perverse’ and I definitely see what you mean by your clarification. Wenger is definitely his own man and does what he feels is right, regardless of what is generally deemed to be necessary.

    But it’s so often that we get to hear people speak as if they know so much better. We have our opinions, and I would be disappointed if we didn’t fill those positions too. But I don’t claim to know better or know the market and availability of players. So I can’t claim I know best.

    The 9 players comment is pure rabble rousing. Everyone knows it’s not going to happen. It can’t happen. And when it doesn’t there’ll be the refrain of miserly Wenger leaving the squad short. Not to mention we’ll also hear how the 20 year old striker he bought isn’t good enough, or the 24 year old world class player we bought wasn’t required. Basically, Wenger can do no right for some people, and I’m actually glad he’s his own man rather than having to listen to people with opinions like that. So, I still feel the word perverse was wrong, but you seem reasonable enough with the rest of your analysis. (Although the word deadwood also is one of the most annoying phrases in football parlance)

  • Tony, are you really trying to suggest that there are 198,000 web pages out there that mention St Totteridge day? I’m really sorry, but I can’t allow such an outrageous claim to go unchallenged. What is that they say… there are lies, damned lies and statistics? I am now going to demonstrate the danger of quoting numbers as facts without doing the most rudimentary analysis. I imagine you put the words St Totteridge day into google (and not wikipedia which I’ll take as a typo), looked at the number at the top of page and decided to quote that. If you’d taken just a quick glance at the first page of results you would have already seen that some of them had absolutely nothing to do with football, but instead were about the district of Totteridge in Barnet. Sorry Tony, but those just don’t count. Also, why are you quoting such one sided numbers. Where are the numbers for the similar search for St Totteringham’s day? You rightly complain when the media quote the number of red cards under Arsene without similar figures for other managers, and yet you’ve fallen into the same trap.

    I’m going to do this properly. To do the search in a better way the phrase should be quoted to get a more accurate number. If I search for “St Totteridge Day” in google I get about 1420 results, instead of the 198,000 you’re claiming. Somewhat of a difference, isn’t it. Now if I do the same thing for “St Totteringham’s Day” to compare like for like, I get back about 45,700 results. So St Totteridge Day is mentioned 3% of the time that St Totteringham’s Day is. Excluding the many entries that you’re contributed it would be even less.

    Please accept it is called St Totteringham’s Day and not St Totteridge Day. Why would you correct someone who puts St Totteringham, they’ve got it right, so there’d be nothing to correct. And what has it got to do with being liberal and open, Probert was extremely liberal with his interpretation of what Hull defenders could do in the penalty area in the FA Cup final. That hardly made it OK, did it?

  • WalterBroeckx

    lovely story by Adrian Clarke on the FA cup win.

    What a change for the good this has been compared with that former tw*t whose name I will not even mention on

  • Gord

    Nice article Walter. Too bad he had to talk to TalkShite. 🙂

    I put a pointer to a wordpress security issue that came up today in this comment.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Ajahn Brahm – quote and story.

    The Container and the Content
    Ajahn Brahm

    A local journalist called and asked me “ What would you do, Ajahn Brahm, if someone took a Buddhist Holy Book and flushed it down the toilet?”

    Without hesitation I answered “Sir, if someone took a Buddhist Holy Book and flushed it down the toilet, the first thing I would do is call a plumber!”

    When the journalist finished laughing, he confided in me that that was the most sensible answer he had heard.

    Then I went further. I explained that someone may blow up many statues of the Buddha, burn down Buddhist temples or kill Buddhist monks and nuns; they may destroy all of this but I will never allow them to destroy Buddhism.

    You may flush a Holy Book down a toilet, but you will never flush forgiveness, peace and compassion down a toilet.

    The book is not the religion, nor the statue, the building or the priest. These are only “containers.”

    What does the book teach us? What does the statue represent? What qualities are the priests supposed to embody? This is the “content”.

    When we recognize the difference between the container and the contents, then we will preserve the contents even when the container is being destroyed.

    We can print more books, build more temples and statues and even train more monks and nuns, but when we lose our love and respect for others and ourselves and replace it with violence, then the whole religion has gone down the toilet.

    Extract from Ajahn Brahm’s upcoming book. “Good? Bad? Who Knows?”