The manager who dares speak of gaining the 4th place trophy

By Walter Broeckx

I don’t know if he actually said it but if I can believe the media this is what a not yet named manager said yesterday against the media: “The Champions League is a prize in itself. A club like “X” must play at the highest podium”.

Now we know that if Wenger said such a thing the reporters would make a bit of fun of him. Talk about 4th place trophy. Have a good laugh. And then the aaa would come on here, shout at us demanding to know why we should settle for that 4th place trophy.

Be mad, be very mad, at all who dare to agree with the manager who said such a thing.

But no, it wasn’t Wenger who said this. And as I don’t read the media in England anymore I don’t know if they had the same reaction they usually preserve for Wenger. But when they have reacted in such a way it always filters through to the media I do read, and for the moment I haven’t seen any reaction to it.

Now the manager who said this yesterday (according to my sources on the internet) was Louis Van Gaal current manager of Manchester United. And so it seems that the media has taken it at face value without the attempt of trying to ridicule this manager.

After all he was hailed to be a world class manager when United took him last summer. And he has a rather impressive record as a manager. And he would take United back to the top. That was the word in the street. But things haven’t quite worked out like that for Manchester United. Despite having no European matches at all, despite being out of the League Cup at the first hurdle, despite being dumped out of the FA cup by Arsenal they never really have been in the fight for the PL since the start of the season.

Now I wrote the above before the Manchester United match at Crystal Palace with the thought that if they lost that one they might even be in trouble vis a vis the Champions League. That would be two seasons in succession of not being in the CL.

But of course the odds were that they would make it and you can never bet against the bookies, but the fact remains it is not that easy to qualify for the CL, that is for sure. People who discard finishing in the top 4 clearly don’t know difficult it is to do it. Year after year after year after year….

But look at United. They spent the most money in the transfer window last summer and yet it is still difficult to get in to the CL places after having spend all that money. And that with a team that won them their last PL title two seasons ago. It just shows how easy and quick things can change if there is a managerial change. First with Moyes and now Van Gaal. And it is not that Manchester United didn’t spend the f*cking money.

And once again when we look at the situation at Arsenal in the last 10 years since we started building our stadium…. Our manager kept us in the CL places. Without money to spend. With having to sell his best players almost every season. We were a selling club the aaa spouted. Without looking at the “why?” Something the aaa and the media are not really interested in for whatever reason.

We have always asked that Wenger be given time. Time for the stadium to be built and largely paid for.  Time for things to change. And by change we meant till he would be able to spend a little bit more money. Wenger would never spend like City or Chelsea as we will never have the same resources. But he first spent heavily on Özil. And last summer on Alexis. And have they been top class purchases? Anyone who is saying otherwise is someone who is blind or who has a Wenger-out agenda or who deliberately wants to deny the truth.

In the first season with Özil we didn’t have to suffer till the last day of the season to be sure of CL qualification. And now in his second season and the first of Alexis we are one point away from at least 4th place. We could “celebrate” the 4th place trophy on Sunday depending on the Liverpool result.

And one more win and a win of our match in hand would bring us 3rd place at least. But I think that 2nd place is more likely than 3rd or 4th. If we keep our run up as we have been doing since the last months we should finish in second place. And we still have that FA cup final to play at the end of May and could add another trophy and the name of Wenger in the history books of not just Arsenal but of the FA Cup history also. I sure hope the players will be able to give him that.

But the most important conclusion is that even for the almighty Manchester United, with all their money spent and to spend, they have to admit that even finishing in the top 4 is not as easy as some painted it to be.

I have admired Wenger for being able to do it all those years without any resources at all. Time for some to look in the mirror and admit that they have been oh so wrong about Wenger all these years. And maybe it is time that they feel a bit embarrassed for all the abuse they have spouted at him. But I don’t think that will happen soon when I sometimes look behind the scenes of Untold. The hate they developed is too big for some it seems. But that is of course their problem. It is their problem that they cannot enjoy football and live.


A couple of anniversaries from the full Arsenal on this day index 

10 May 1959: Death of Leslie Knighton, the first manager of Arsenal in north London.  He and George Allison published their autobiographies within weeks of each other in 1948, and Knighton’s book has been used as a source of information concerning Arsenal and Henry Norris 1919-25, but subsequent investigation has shown most of his allegations (although still oft repeated today) are without foundation.

10 May 1969: Dennis Bergkamp born in Amsterdam, the son of an electrician.  He joined Ajax aged 12, and stayed there for 12 years before moving to Inter.  After two miserable years there, he moved to Arsenal.

50 Replies to “The manager who dares speak of gaining the 4th place trophy”

  1. Walter

    Completely agree. Wenger has been brilliant all the yearz keeping us in the CL.
    But the AAA will never agree they still think we should be finishing top of the league.
    And wenger is a poor manager and cant take us forward.

    Anyway they may have there opinion but i am happy with the way Wenger has managed the club over the years and kept us in Europes elite.
    No mean achievement.

  2. Agree with the common consensus of untold, PA, as well as the thoughts of David Dein and Bob Wilson as to what Wenger has achieved. Miraculous. He may have made a misjudgement or two along the way, as all managers do,,and if some want to focus on such things, it is up to them, but they ignore the bigger picture.
    As for Utd, the only reason they are going to be in the top four is their goal keeper, the bombing of Spurs and Liverpool, and on the evidence of yesterday, Mike Riley and those who pull his strings, those behind the scenes have got their way, with their resources surely the SKY is the limit for Utd, but we shall see. I remain convinced that the plethora of dodgy ref performances in the first half of the season was to help Utd into the top four at our expense, and remain thankful wenger navigated this tricky course before our visit to OT, otherwise have an idea what might have happened up there

  3. As soon as bully boy Ferguson retired, together with his control over many of the referees, it was clear that the noisy team in Manchester would struggle. Diving, fouling and outright cheating are now being dealt with by match officials like never before.
    Moyes, a decent guy, was not able to cope with the aftermath and had to go.
    Van Gaal is now brutally aware that the limited capabilities of his players are no longer assisted by friendly referees.
    The time will come when a clean sweep will be made of the PGMOL so as to ensure that each team on the field is treated without fear or favour.

  4. Did you see the reactions when the mighty Utd won against CP with a very dodgy penalty? As if they won the league… 😉

  5. It doesn’t matter where Arsenal finish, these idiots will try and undermine the achievements, we could win the competition next year but they’ll try and compare the current team to previous Arsenal teams or previous winners?

    Got to admit that they hate the way Arsenal Football club is run, so we’ll carry on getting up their noses?

  6. Walter – agreed re the CP match.

    CP seemed to be cheated out of a penalty, the Manure winner had an element of off the ball cheating about it and as you point out the Manure first goal was very dodgy.

    Ah, ….but good teams can win ugly (according to Sky) – and there are none more ugly than the PGMO, the Manures and Fellaini.

  7. @bgtgooner spot on.

    The 2nd United goal was a result of a push on a CP defender into the keeper (we’ve seen that before). Shame on the FA & their officials. Cheating so openly in matches broadcast around the world.

  8. And their cause is helped by biased punters like Phil Neville who come on refusing to question any decision, no matter however dodgy that goes in utds favour. There is no way the ref should have given that as a pen, at least in this non refs eyes, surely you cannot give a pen if there is any cause to doubt, and there was plenty cause on that decision.
    That is half of the problem with the Utd situation, the media and powers that be have refused to look into anything whatsoever concerning that club. Like riles performance for them against us those years ago, how was that subject to no outside scrutiny at all. Still you reap what you sow, dodgy people have seen the level of corruption in our game, and the money to be made, the result……well, just take a closer look at some of the the owners of some of the championship clubs, let alone owners of the more established clubs. If there really are tighter fit and proper persons standards in the EPL, which I personally very much doubt, some of those owners should by rights have a few problems ion promotion to the top league. Our leagues are a potentially ruinous corruption scandal waiting to happen, it is only a matter of time., all of it could and should have been nipped in the bud.

  9. @Mandy You’re right about the scandal waiting to happen.

    Looks like todays game of Chavs v Pool is same old, same old. Maureen is going to fasten the chastity belt again to ensure she isn’t Rodgered!! 😉

  10. Agree. Let’s see if the likes of caragher will be blasting the utd players for celebrating 4th. All in the media will be silent abouy vg’s comments. If this isn’t double standards then I do not know what is. I’m just a little concerned by those who cannot see the obvious media bias against Arsenal.

  11. Van Gaal is a strange fellow. They say that one should not judge by appearances, yet appearances create impressions. My impression of vG is that he is not at all there. For true, when the camera is on him during the match, he looks lost, i mean not aware of what’s going on around him, and yesterday when he came out with his pad and pencil, man that reminded me of when that “stalwart” president of USA, you know the one i mean, was filmed reading (pretending to read)a children’s book upside down as the plane crashed into the WTC.

    Did not think that ManU would be allowed to miss CL again, and from watching the game against CP i was right. I had really really wished them to not make it at all. 🙁
    And it’s probably not finished yet, they might even push for them to avoid qualification by helping them to 3rd place.
    ManC watch out, Arsenal watch out, the refs and powers can still throw a spanner.

  12. Moyes was probably just a stop gap because they could not get who they wanted at the time.

  13. Apologies for re posting but more relevant to this article.

    Al @ 8:11 am on ‘Anger Management thread’

    Reading your comment I thought I’d trawl the papers on line, you know, to see all the hilarity and ridicule heading Van Gaals way.

    TalkSport would be going into overdrive.

    Surprise surprise. It’s skipped over as a mere irrelevance.

    Can you just imagine the reaction had Wenger uttered such a thing.

    Oh, he did (or something similar) and as we all know, he got/gets slaughtered, even by our own, and I say this with great reservations, fans.

    I believe this years scramble for 4th spot and CL qualification, and the interest it has stirred, the comments it has invoked, has shown once and for all just HOW important managers at least, see CL qualification.

    As has been said on here many a time, it’s importance far out ways that of winning an FA Cup. As much as some don’t like it, that is the way of modern football.

    If anyone does hear/sea Van Gaal getting similar stick along the lines of what Wenger would of got I’d be interested to see it.”

    Al @ 12:40 pm

    It’s more than just ‘double standards’, it’s a deliberate, premeditated agenda to undermine the Club, destabilize the fan base, and to create an environment in which stitching Arsenal up can pass without word.

    Nigel @ 10.07

    Yep, a very good example of the difference in how we are treated.


    What difference does the year make? It was a link meant to emphasise the difference in reactions. Or did you miss the point ?

  14. Walter

    “And maybe it is time that they feel a bit embarrassed for all the abuse they have spouted at him. But I don’t think that will happen soon when I sometimes look behind the scenes of Untold. The hate they developed is too big for some it seems”


    Some have dug a cesspit of hate so deep, that any chance of them climbing out has long gone.

  15. Jambug
    The reason I made that point is because that is no longer an issue with us . Have we been accused of celebrating 4th place recently? I don’t think so! What good does it serve to keep obsessing over it? Let it go for fucks sake

  16. @TailGunner

    ‘Have we been accused of celebrating 4th place recently?’

    Just about every day on Talksport. Its one of their stock Arsenal piss takes.
    So I suggest you email Talksport and suggest to them that they ‘Let it go for fucks sake’.

  17. Jambug
    I just wish people would stop bringing this 4th place trophy up, even when applying it to other teams ( as Walter is doing here ). Arsene made the original statement ( not in those exact words) and it’s become a stick to beat us with since.
    Just let it go

  18. Mick
    I honestly have not seen this anywhere recently., but I’l take your word about talk sport. I only listen to 5 live and not even that recently

  19. TailGunner.

    I’ve often thought you had your head up your arse. Now I know it.

  20. Nobodies mention the 4th placed trophy for years. Seriously ? 😆 😆 😆 😆 😆 😆

  21. Jambug
    I said “recently”
    And since you’ve decided to be unpleasant ‘be often thought you were a bit of a prick and now you’ve proved it

  22. Children, behave else you will be sent to your room. 🙂

    Swansea to overcome, and then i want to thrash ManU. They are crap and need to be shown it, I hope by us next week. They need a good thrashing, i know we’ve got the FA Cup and won’t want any injuries, but that would be “worth celebrating” for me, indeed it would.

  23. All right, recently 😆 😆 😆 😆 😆

    Honestly, if you didn’t think I was a prick I’d be worried !

  24. Para

    I know, but he asks for it.

    1) To say “Have we been accused of celebrating 4th place recently? I don’t think so!” is laughable.

    2) To suggest that it is us that should “Let it go for fucks sake” when the media rams it down our throats every day, is laughable.

    3) To say “I honestly have not seen this anywhere recently.” is reason enough I would of thought to indicated exactly where he keeps his head.

    4) To infer it was Wengers fault for instigating the abuse we get by saying “Arsene made the original statement ( not in those exact words) and it’s become a stick to beat us with since.” is ridiculous, but as usual if he can find a way to blame Wenger he will.

    Anyway, I only said he had his ‘head up is arse’, hardly an insult, rather an observation.

    I nearly said he had his ‘head in the sand’. I’m glad I didn’t now, because I’m sure it wouldn’t of been nearly as much fun.

    But then again if I had, maybe I would just of been a ‘prat’ as opposed to a ‘prick’ which was a bit harsh I thought 😆

  25. LVG needed to make that statement about the fourth place being a trophy, to ensure his streak of winning a trophy in his first year in a new job continues 🙂

    But seriously now, it’s all about managing expectations.
    Man U came in seventh last season, and LVG goals before this season started was to get back to CL . Nothing more , nothing less.
    Going from seventh to fourth is a major improvement , no matter how much you spend on – dare I say flops?- Di Maria and Falcao.

    If United come in fourth again next season , then we shall see what LVG will have to say. I doubt very much he will be bragging about it.

    By the same token , if Arsenal take the second place this season but come in fourth next season, I doubt very much Arsene Wenger will be talking about a successful league campaign.

    And Walter , United are not the club from two seasons ago.
    They are , as a matter of fact, in a rebuilding process that should continue well into the next two transfer windows.

  26. Just saw Fabregas go studs up in on Sterling and a Chelsea new boy , Cheek, hard in on Coutinho in the first three minutes of the game , but I’m sure Mike T will be along soon to tell us these challenges have nothing to do with Mourinho’s pre game instructions , and everything with Strerling and Coutinho’s “low center of gravity” 🙂

  27. Jambug
    On point 4 of your last post, I’m not blaming Wenger, if anything I’m supporting him, and I challenge you to find any examples of me blaming him previously as you claim.

  28. Jambug 3:54pm
    Spot on. Anyone claiming they’ve not heard us being mocked for celebrating 4th in years must live under a rock. Either that or they should never be taken seriously again. Even fans from other clubs know that the 4th place trophy phrase was coined to make fun of us,and we’ve been finishing 4th all these years (including last season) and as far I’m aware its been all over the media all these years apart from this season only (which is what we are saying exactly – because someone else other than us is going to finish 4th this season it’s no longer being mentioned). I can bet my last dollar it’ll be back should we finish 4th again next season. Why do some people who call themselves Arsenal fans have this propensity to blame Wenger for everything? I just don’t get it.

  29. Tom

    Also watching the game.

    Apart from Fabregas getting away with a little tug for a possible second Yellow Card, and resulting Red Card, you cant help but notice how Mariner is all over this regarding cards.

    Every Yellow card offence is being dealt with accordingly, in stark contrast to how Chelsea are refereed when playing us.

    Off on another tangent, and another little bug bear of mine, the Zonal/Man to Man marking debate.

    Chelsea just conceded at a corner, Man to Man marking.

    No outcry of ‘that’s the problem with Man to Man marking’ like you get when a team concedes defending Zonally.

    Liverpool also conceded at a corner, and they do a half Zonal, half Man to man system, and during the HT analysis what does Hoddle pick on? The Zonal aspect.

    When they look at the goal conceded by Chelsea, not a mention of ‘Man to Man’ being to blame.

    I know it’s a bit petty, but I just don’t get this obsession with highlighting the shortfalls of Zonal at every opportunity, whist Man to Man is NEVER to blame for the concession of a goal.

    I wonder if anyone else is troubled by this, or is it just me? 😆

  30. Al

    He says he’s not blaming Wenger and he said ‘recently’, so a bit of back tracking there I think.

    Well it certainly sounds like he is blaming Wenger to me, and the ‘recently’ excuse is just playing word games.

    The whole point of the article is about the comparison to how we have been treated over the years, and in to this season, compared to how the comments from LVG have been recieved.

    We all know that over the last couple of months the ‘4th placed trophy’ piss take has been on the back burner, that’s part of the point we where making, but that isn’t what TailGunner was saying and he knows it.

  31. Al
    I can see a bit of rotational fouling taking place here. For your info I did not say we hadn’t been mocked for celebrating 4th for “” years”, but that I hadn’t heard it recently.Even your mate Jambug conceded that point
    I have never criticised Wenger, but expect a triple A bomb from you any time now,

  32. Er, this United team is not the same as the one that won the league. They jettisoned a lot of players and are in the process of rebuilding. And it seems they are very serious about winning the league next year if the rumours of big spending are true. I think they’ve done fairly well considering their abject performance last season, just hope they don’t improve next year.

  33. Jambug
    Your last paragraph, that’s exactly it. It’s gone all quiet on the 4th place trophy front, so why resurrect it?
    Let it die, or do you like to keep hearing that shit?

  34. PGMO showing yet again how inept they are. Not fit for purpose – yet the FA keeps their heads in the sand (or perhaps behind Maureens Chastity belt). PGMO juggling cards like amateur magicians.

  35. TailGunner

    The reason it’s been mentioned is to ask why LVG isn’t getting the stick Wenger did for saying the same thing, and to furthermore highlight the media hypocrisy in the way they target us compared to others.

    Let it go you say?

    That’s the last thing we should do.

    The media hypocrisy and targeting of Arsenal FC in general, and Wenger in particular, is a disgrace, and every opportunity should be taken to highlight it.

    I detest the Media and the sports aspect of it in particular and I will call them out for the low life scum they are at every opportunity.

    You may want to ‘let it go’. I must certainly do not.

  36. St Totteringham day, now 4th place secured.

    2 Trophies in a week.

    I feel positively Euphoric 😆

  37. Jambug

    It should’ve been a foul and possible sending off for Fabregas’ tug on Sterling. It was obvious to everyone except the referee and his linesman that Fabregas couldn’t live with Sterlings speed while tracking him down.

    On Zonal v MTM marking debate. It seems to me people line up behind the system they prefer as managers or pundits.

    My opinion has always been you play the system that best suits your players.

    Chelsea players are combative and cherish contact, plus they get away with a lot more than most , so that’s the system for them.

    Arsenal aren’t as physical as a team , bar a few exceptions , so Zonal is the better fit I think.

    On a whole , It’s been working for us this season( Zonal), but I still believe there should be some modifications to the system allowing us to MTM mark one or two the most dangerous players of opposing teams eg. Terry or Skrtil.

  38. Yep, I agree, whatever suits, and your analysis of why Arsenal choose Zonal and Chelsea Man to Man makes sense.

    If it is just the fact that the ‘pundits’ are standing behind there preferred system then I’ll say one thing, the Zonal mob are a pretty meek bunch because I cant recall hearing a single pundit either standing up for Zonal, or highlighting the drawbacks of Man fto Man.

    A ‘Zonal’ defence messes up all we get is ‘zonal’ doesn’t work.

    A ‘Man to Man’ defence messes up and it’s brushed over as ‘poor defending’

    Anyway, a minor gripe in the great scheme of things I just find it strange why there seems to be, at least to my ears, this obsession with criticising zonal.

  39. @bjtgooner@Al if it was the times of the 20s all those motherfuckers of the FA(Fuckin asholes)should have been shot on the walls,look at hazard’s dive against Crystal Palace and before that a free kick where chelsea had like 5 guys offside but the liner spoting nothing and every time a fuckin ref had to ask captain terrible if he can give a card. Todays match, fabre$as should have been red carded,how is that different with the redcard gerald got on his first touch against them !! But most interesting is that manure will be beaten in the qualifiers watch this space.

  40. Good summary Jambug. Zonal it’s the damned PGMO. MtM it’s that f*ckwit Riley.

  41. Jambug
    He ain’t fooling noone, we know what he meant.

    You specifically say “Have we been accused of celebrating 4th place recently? I don’t think so!” – yes we have been mocked every time we finish fourth including last season. So I don’t know what your ‘recently’ means here if it’s not referring to then. If you meant in the last few months then you’re conceding the point we are making that the media are now quite on that issue simply because someone else other than us is going to finish fourth this time. There’s absolutely no rotational fouling mate, there’s no need, just pointing out a few facts.

  42. Al

    I would say the best example of something similar to the 4th place trophy, is Wenger’s jacket in the winter. Every game, there has to be some dumb comment about the jacket, and apparently the TV crews are told to look for it, so that they can show everyone (instead of showing football).

  43. If for some miraculous reason Manure aren’t ‘winched’ to 3rd place – so avoiding CL qualification games – then I am with you KampalaGun; their cheating won’t cut it in CL and they won’t be taking any further part.

    Thats why PGOMOB will do everything they can to rectify this situation either at our expense or the other Manchester club (who avoids FFP rather smartly).

    Cheats everywhere, and a bunch of pricks in the Media seems to be modern football…

  44. There can be little doubt that to qualify for the CL is a vital achievement for any team in the EPL.
    The financial benefits are considerable, so is the attraction of new signings playing in Europe and the overall publicity given to participating clubs is immense.
    I have always felt, though, that only the winners of each country’s major league should play in the CL, but I realise the lure of money makes this unrealistic. 😉

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