The mindless gibberish of a man with an idea but without logic or reason.

Why Aren’t All Clubs Run for Trophies?  

By Sir Hardly Anyone.

Well, bless my soul.  The Bleacher Report has sent me an item on Facebook which appears at its heart to turn the whole world of economics upside.

Now I know as well as the next knight of the realm that economic predictions only exist in order to give astrology a good name, but upon my word we seem to be skipping out of reality and into a zone of fantasy land.

It is as if the jolly fellows who ran the French Revolution in 1789 and then went on to chop of the heads of a fair sized number of their fellows had, while waiting at the guillotine for the next bout of blood letting, written a manual on how to run football clubs and said manual had drifted through a wormhole in time, appeared on the desk of an editor at said “Bleacher Report” and the young whipper-snapper had thought, “hmm, no need to read this pile of 18th century ramblings on economics, we’ll just put it out as a piece on contemporary football expenditure.”

Or words to that effect.

Like all rabble rousing espousals, it starts with what seems to be an utterly straightforward and realistic premise, to wit: Whether you support a perennial superpower, a fledgling middler or a team poised for relegation, from season to season we all start with an unbridled hope that this is the year to achieve whichever realistic goals are there for the taking.

And yes, by jove, we do.  I can imagine rosy cheeked old men sitting at the boardrooms of clubs up and down the country nodding in agreement.  Until they suddenly read

Clubs with means should be about trophies first, money second—not the reciprocal.
And then, as any semi-educated fellow will ask, in his best Queen’s English, “what the fuck does that mean?”
And that is a valid question.  For “reciprocal” as a noun (which it is here, as far as I can tell) means having a relationship.   So he seems to be saying “there is no relationship between money and trophies,” which I suppose could mean that Torquay United will be in with a chance of winning the FA Cup.
Or perhaps he means “reciprocal” as an adjective, in which case it means “done in return” which suggests “not money gained from trophies” at which point I nearly threw myself off a cliff.  However I restrained myself at the last second and thought…
Leaving aside the writer’s odd grammar, he is saying in a most peculiar manner, Clubs with means should be about trophies first, money second.
And thus we might think of Portsmouth, who were for a while with money, and all about trophies and thus won the FA Cup and are now sitting in the fourth division.  Or we might think of the Leeds United team under David O’Leary who had money, and were all about trophies and who got, I think, to the semi-finals of the Champions League, and are now in the second division, having had a very jolly time I am led to believe, in the third.
And all the little teams that once were proud and upstanding and now are reduced to penury because of idiot owners who wanted to spend.
But I digress for the writer continues

In something of a personal mystery, I’ve always been baffled by clubs that have the financial wherewithal to compete on the grandest stages yet seem to run their clubs with the express purpose of making money—not necessarily to win trophies.

Some may disagree with the methodology and consequences thereof, but the “Galacticos” style of Real Madrid and heavy-investment strategies of Chelsea and/or Manchester City makes infinitely more sense to me than being worried about profit.

And yes that is true, up to a point.  The point with Real Madrid is the support they have had from the ruling party in government and in Madrid, and the curious land deals they have engaged in.   If (and it is just a supposition) those scamps in the EC really do up the heat on state aid (see the link below if you are opposed to state aid in its English form with West Ham, and then sign the petition) Real Mad would hit financial buffers of such bufferishness that they would out old-buffer the old-buffers who run the FA.

Chelsea and Man C might owners well be decent men about town at the moment, and maybe forever, but everything is dependent on the whim of the few, and the price of oil.  And the fact that world tends to ignore the fact that the UAE does not have democratically-elected institutions, where citizens cannot form political parties, where force disappearances are common, where foreign nationals and Emirati citizens are abducted and illegally detained in undisclosed locations, where there is torture in custody and the right to a speedy trial is denied.

Of course some young whipper-snappers will say “what about Emirates airlines supporting Arsenal?” and that is a decent question, if they were the prime source of Arsenal’s money.

But the key case in the strangely worded papyrus is that Arsenal are too frugal for words.   They have the money, so it should be spent they argue.  And it needs to be spent and hang the consequences says the article, because Arsenal’s “last dependable spine was created 13 seasons ago. In 2003/04, Arsenal had Jens Lehmann (54 apps), Sol Campbell (50 apps), Patrick Vieira (43 apps) and Thierry Henry (50 apps) as their backbone, which resulted in an unbeaten Premier League season.”

Now if this is a valid thesis, then clubs like Man City and Chelsea, and PSG and Monaco, and Man U and so on, would win the league, cup, league cup and Champs League each season, and create team after team that can go unbeaten.   For the article is clear, even if the use of language is perverse in the extreme, it is all about money, money, money, and then some.

Now they argue, “even the staunchest Arsenal supporter would admit their spine has severely dropped in quality.”

I don’t, so as a mind-reading exercise Bleacher is clearly off focus, but even if I did, the cause and effect is not proven.  Just having money does not guarantee that one can bring together a team that will win the league (or in the case of Chelsea and Man U, get into the Champions League each season by coming up enough up the league table).

Palpably it doesn’t work like that.   Of course you might think that (as the Bleacher Report says), Cesc Fabregas was “sacrificed” to pay for the Emirates Stadium debt.   But you might also think that it is worth counting how many articles you can find written since last April on Fabregas’ poor form.  (Try it on Google if you have several hours to waste).   Or you might like to count the number of goals Wayne Rooney has scored in the last ten matches he has played for Man U.  Or the failure of such wonderfully rich English clubs in the Champions League last season.

Indeed the fact that this article is based on the behaviour of a three year old who has just discovered that on his sister’s birthday she gets the presents and he doesn’t, can be seen with this section from the Bleacher so-called “Report”.

Linked with north London for the past two summers, as exemplified by the Telegraph’s Jeremy Wilson in 2013 and 2014, Real Madrid’s Karim Benzema is the “No. 9” thought to be Wenger’s saviour.

This summer is no different; Sami Mokbel of the Daily Mail suggested Arsenal are willing to give the Spanish giants £45 million for the France international.

Comparative figures on the player’s goal scoring ability are there none.  Explanation for why we should believe a writer in the Daily Mail or the fanatically inept anti-Arsenal PGMO supporting Telegraph as a prime source of information on transfer news (two newspapers, we should note, with an accuracy rate in transfer predictions of under 1 in 100) is not explained.

And then with the dexterity of a ballet dancer on heat, he writes,  “So it seems, after three summers of speculation, Wenger’s focus must turn elsewhere.”

Let us consider that.  The suggestion is that the press and outlets of waste material like the Bleacher “Report” which constantly speculate wrongly on who is going to transfer where, and who have a prediction accuracy level of under 1%, should now influence the manager’s thinking.

And I ask “Why?”  And again, “Why?”  And again… [I think our readers have got it thank you – Tony]

What you can be sure about is that the moment that the toxic British media starts influencing an Arsenal manager – any Arsenal manager – or come to that any manager in any football club in any football league – is the moment that club goes into a downward spiral.

But apparently, the writer says he will not turn his attention away from this utterly insane concept.  And with the ability to turn upside down and back to front that is rarely seen beyond the act of the high wire artist in Billy Smart’s Circus he asks, Are Arsenal run to win trophies?

Then of course we are on to the inevitable rhubarb.  “The Gunners have England’s most expensive season tickets”.  So perhaps we should note that when we play Leicester away the cost of the ticket is far higher than Leicester fans pay at the Emirates.  That the cost of a ticket for the forthcoming Tottenham v Arsenal league cup match is going to be far higher than if it were played at the Ems and on and on.   If the writer means that the Emirates has a smattering of club level season tickets that are the highest in the land, then yes that is true, but if that is what the increasingly inarticulate scribbler of this piece means, then why doesn’t he say so?  The truth is we have the lowest league cup prices in the land, among the lowest seat prices for many matches in some parts of the ground, and for the very wealthy who enjoy seven course meals and champagne before the match, we have the highest prices.

But let us pass on because suddenly he mentions, in terms of income, “prize money from four competitions”.   Oh, one might think, prize money.   That stuff that you get for, err, winning competitions.

But hang on, the whole point of the piece is that Arsenal don’t win competitions.  Except … oh, it seems we do.

So maybe the argument is that we don’t win the big prize like we used to, and we are not unbeaten any more.

But hold your horses my jolly friends, for there is a logical dilemma here.  When we won the two Wengerian Doubles and the season Unbeaten, we did it with a stadium that held 38,000 and didn’t have the high income boxes of club level.

In other words our success came when we had LESS money than now.   So if the model that this young fella-me-lad puts forward is that money is everything is right and money is the heart of all football, and we can learn from history, then we need to go reduce our income considerably.

This article is meaningless cods-wallop dressed up as being a reflection of footballing passion and a spot of knowledge.   I think I’d sooner muck out stables.


Untold Anniversaries

  • 26 August 1993: Frank “Tiger” Hill died in California aged 87.  He played just 81 games for Arsenal but won the league three seasons running.  After injury curtailed his playing days he had an extensive career as a manager, and was one of the vanguard fighting against the oppressive retain and transfer system.

 Untold Campaigns

Untold Books

72 Replies to “The mindless gibberish of a man with an idea but without logic or reason.”

  1. Awful article. So your logic is we’ve just as much as a chance to win the league by not spending than if we do spend?

  2. @Mako,

    Awful comment. the logic is clearly, MONEY is not everything in football. SMH

  3. So doing nothing when there are clearly squad issues and not spending money that’s available is more logical? Money isn’t everything in football it’s the equivalent as saying height isn’t everything in basketball. Pretty important

  4. @mako, cech is available, and we brought him in… but thats doing nothing i guess… there are many pre-requisite before we can/want to bring in a player… this is not football manager… And there a lot of things done in the background that you dont know of. Go read some of the previous article to enlighten yourself 😀 kthnxbye

  5. So basically what you’re saying is we’ve bought all that we wanted to or everyone else seems to be able to identify and sign players except us?

  6. nope thats not what i am saying. I am saying we did identify players we need and bought them once the opportunity came. Cech is clear example of that. And there may be plenty of failed negotiations that have occurred in the background that none of us had heard of.

    Anyway, there is an article on transfer in the past week 😀 do read up on it and you will understand all this transfer dealing better 😀

  7. Why would I need to read an article from the past week when I’ve been witnessing transfer window after transfer window under Arsene. Doesn’t take a genius to know either he doesn’t like spending money, can’t identify players or simply is too stubborn to change with the times. Either way the buck stops with him

  8. I seem to remember when my son was playing football manager; there was an option to choose between easy, normal and difficult – in negotiations!!!

    What button should we press ?? 🙂

    Real life is not football manager…real life signing failures are ON all the time…ask the spuds and the scourers!

  9. Hmm’ I think I have once heard a Nigerian football club official saying ” football is money”. That his reaction to a question put to him at that time when club football in Nigeria is mostly privately sponsored or supported by the rich individuals or regional governments. And without these financial sponsorships, the football clubs will be reduced to a mere occasional recreational outings between interested persons. I think the intervention of money into football has professionalized the sport and turned it to competitive industry of money making game. I think Leeds Utd have once play in the final of the European Cup (UCL) at Paris in the days of the Supper Leeds of, Terry Copper, Numan Hunter, Alan Clark, Billy Bremna and a host of other greats. But they lost to Bayern Munich of the great, Franz Beckenbauer and Gerd Muller who scored the goals that beat Leeds. It was a painful defeat for those of us that supported Leeds to win the Cup. We listened to the commentaries on the BBC radio and later watched the replay on TV after a month or so when the RKTV showed it.

  10. Spuds and Scouzers have spent and spend AND SPENT much more then we have!!!

    Have they won the PL???? NOOOOOO

  11. Ask Liverpool who spent on a striker? Or Juventus who spent on Dybala? Or Chelsea who signed up Pedro after what a day and a half? This complete nonsense regarding tough negotiations or players not being available literally only ever seems to apply to Arsenal and Arsene. Do we need a midfielder? Has it been tough to sign midfielders? Ask inter and Kondogbia, Porto and Imbula or United and Schneiderlin. Do we need a striker with pace or someone different to Giroud? Ask Juve if it was tough signing Dybala, Atletico signing Jackson Martinez or Vietto or Milan signing Bacca. And before you bring up Benzema it’s worth noting how incredibly stupid and naive it is to try to sign someone (anyone) like that this late in the window

  12. So apo what’s your point? If we spent money we wouldn’t necessarily win the league? True. Also if you spend absolutely nothing you’ve even less of a chance. Pointless argument though. Do we have money? Yes. Are their players out there available who could if strengthened us? Yes. Why haven’t we seen more business then? Why indeed

  13. @Mako

    point is exactly as you put it; “If we spent money we wouldn’t necessarily win the league? True.”

    So I personally trust the manager to do what he knows best …and certainly MORE then you and I both!!

  14. Mako
    if you follow cricket you would know that in the IPL every team is given a certain amount of money to spend on players. Just go and ask them if it is possible for any team to have every player they want. All I am trying to say is that if you don’t have unlimited money you have to plan otherwise to build a team within a specific budget. Finding the right players for the right amount of money becomes very essential in this scenario, don’t you think?

  15. Apo so you trust him to just simply sign a goalkeeper while City spend 150 million, Chelsea bring in possibly 4/5 players on top of a title winning side and United bring in many too. Let’s be clear I’m not saying go spend a 100 million or whatever I’m just saying go buy the striker and midfielder we so desperately need or at the very least don’t feed us nonsense about it being tough to sign players when no one else seems to have that problem. And you can’t argue money anymore we have money. Certainly enough for a 20 million midfielder or a striker worth 20-40 million.

  16. So best for Arsenal after two back to back FA Cups is just sign up a keeper? And not to mention loan out so many others. That’s what got me though I thought it was sheer common sense that we loaned out Akpom and Gnabry because we were likely to bring in that much needed forward

  17. how much did Citehhh spend last season Marko?? what did they bring back for their fans??? let me help you…they spent way more then we did and brought back ZERO!!!! get the point?? same applies for Manure actually!!

  18. True apo. They also finished second are about to spend 150 million after disappointing last season are look red hot for the title this season. We finished third won a FA Cup look on the verge of challenging but then just buy a keeper cause it’s tough to sign midfielders and strikers apparently. Also we’ve started off the season bang average.

  19. Mako,

    The point is that for a transfer to occur, its not all about how much money you offer.

    The player has to be willing to move to you

    The selling club needs to be willing to sell

    The club and the player need to agree on terms; not just pay but things like holidays, release clauses, bonuses, signing on fee, etc.

    The manager has to consider whether the player will fit in to the club once he’s actually met him and talked to him.

    There is so much that goes on behind the scenes. The rags try to make out that it’s some kind of gladiatorial battle where blows are dealt, and managers swoop in to grab players like a bird of prey picks up its quarry.

    It’s not like that.

    As Blackfox commented; Cech was better than what we had, was available, Wenger went and bought him. This should be reassurance enough that when another player is identified as better than what we have and is available to buy, Arsenal will buy.

    The rags need content; and every club gets the same treatment. Their fans are told what the weakness of the team is, CF and DM in Arsenals case, and random players at other clubs are cited as “the answer”.

    When you consider that before the Sanchez deal the rags were criticising Wenger for playing Volleyball on the beach. Before Ozil came along, they were going back and forth about Wenger being “set to sign Khedira” and being “set to miss out on Khedira”.

    In short, don’t trust the blogs. At best they work on rumour, at worse they work on pure fantasy.

    And when their stories about Arsenal being “set to sign world CLASS striker” don’t work out, they blame it on Wenger being too tight with money… rather than admit that Arsenal were never interested in the first place.

  20. Mako – There is a flaw in your reasoning. You suggest that we should have (tried to) sign:

    Dybala, Benteke (implied, I think), Pedro, Kondogbia, Imbula, Schneiderlin, Martinez, Vietto, Bacca.

    Are ANY of these better than our current first choice XI? Possibly Pedro – but then only marginally. Many of these players are also late 20s so poor value at the quoted prices as it is all downhill from here in terms of performances and resale value.

    The thing about money is that you can only spend it once. If we blow it all on several players who are no better than what we currently have, then we will not have enough to spend on the very few players who WOULD improve our team. Probably £35mm+ each.

    The club have said they will be buying players who either (i) really improve the 1st XI or (ii) are young with potential. They, correctly in my view, see no point in buying a string of players who are no better than what we already have.

    As other posters have pointed out Liverpool (last summer) and Spurs (previous summer) got loads of praise at the time from the pundits/media/”shiny and new” supporters for their dealings. I think, in hindsight (although it was always very likely at the time!), everyone would now agree that their dealings were miserable failures that haven’t improved their relative situations at all even though they both lucked out with £80mm+ players to sell. What a sad waste.

    I am very glad that Arsenal approach the transfer market sensibly – and spend my ticket money wisely.

  21. Ridiculous. Pleading poverty or saying it’s tough to sign up players cause they’re not available can someone explain to me why then other clubs haven’t had a problem buying but except us. Honestly explain to me why we haven’t looked like signing up a single outfield player this summer. I think you are right though Wenger hasn’t been able to identify players who improve us or are better than what we have and that’s the problem really. Could Dybala or Jackson Martinez improve us? Were they available? Could Schneiderlin or Imbula improve us? Were they available? Take another example we currently play a cm on the right wing to wrongly accommodate him and thus severely lack width at times especially when Sanchez loves to cut inside. Do we need a winger? Maybe. Are Spurs about to sign a fantastic one in Heung Min Son? Yes

  22. Dybala, Benteke (implied, I think), Pedro, Kondogbia, Imbula, Schneiderlin, Martinez, Vietto, Bacca.

    Are ANY of these better than our current first choice XI? Possibly Pedro – but then only marginally. Many of these players are also late 20s so poor value at the quoted prices as it is all downhill from here in terms of performances and resale value.

    Right do we need a striker with pace who’s better than Giroud? Yes. Are Dybala and Jackson Martinez improvements? Absolutely. Coquelin aside are you suggesting Schneiderlin or Kondogbia aren’t better than Arteta or Flamini? Ridiculous. This idea that there isn’t players available that are better than Arteta, Flamini, Giroud or the Walcott as a striker experiment is crazy thinking. Excuses really. Honestly it’s like you’re saying this is as good a squad aswe can possibly hope to assemble and again that’s crazy. You say you’re glad they spend your money wisely? So not spending money you’ve got is wise? When you’re being left behind

  23. The fact also this window is likely to be record breaking and we’ve only brought in one player says it all. But you’re trying to convince me it’s tough signing players and there not available. It is for Wenger I’ll agree

  24. Hey Mako – if you feel like spending so bad, why not buy a banner at the Ems? I can just see it now – SPEND SOME FCUKIN’ MONEY -.

    You can also get a banner at the back of a plane with

    — Au Revoir Wenger…..Ou’est l’argent pour Costa lotta money….

  25. Mako

    Think about it. Utd, City and Chelsea have considerably bigger resources than us. In Utd’s case there is actually something resembling a real budget. The money they spend is predominantly that which the football club earns through its gargantuan commercial income (75 mill a year kit deal! 35 mill a year main sponsor!). They can, I’d guess, very safely go way over that ‘budget’ any year, given the security they have from knowing just how much money they’ll be getting the next year.

    We’re rich also, so lets say their budget is ‘only’ 20 or even 10 per cent bigger than ours…what does that mean? For one example, it means they can comfortably go to the reported 150,000 per week for Schneiderlin, or 300,000 for Rooney, or whatever the hell it was for Falcao, while we absolutely cannot do that.

    We can go that high or higher for a particular player, but we can’t do it comfortably and we can’t do it without causing serious ramifications elsewhere in the squad. for instance, 150,000 for Schneiderlin would mean everyone in our squad would measure their own ability and wages against that, and should everyone demand the necessary adjustment if that is the new benchmark, that’s our existing wage structure gone, to the tune of,say, about 20 million per year,( and ,remember, we have a budget, an actual real one, which is considerably less than Utd’s.)

    As an extra kick in the balls, if one is needed, should we decide to match that figure- why, Utd can obviously go higher again.

    So that’s Utd, then there’s Chelsea and City, who effectively do not have budgets. Their owners wealth is so great that, despite the astronomical sums involved in football now, football has not yet reached the stage where any amount of money that can realistically be spent affects their real fortunes. The real fortunes which effectively dictate the budget/ non-budget of the football club.

    The city money, for instance, comes from a global investment portfolio which makes billions per year, and probably makes ever-increasing profits every year. Effectively, that means City could spend double what they’ve already spent this year, while the owners of that wealth can have a better year financially than they did last year. Even Utd could never compete with that should football just become about 10% more insane than it is.

    Does that sound like something we can go head to head with? Or does it sound like a total nightmare to be competing against directly for the services of the world’s best players ?

    But,ah, now we come to the last part : teams with less wealth, teams with a lot less wealth than us, are spending big on good players. Look at Swansea- Ayew’s a hell of a player, isn’t he. Look at west Ham- Payet looks the part,eh!

    True those clubs are spending, and on good players…but are those players better than our own? A few of them maybe, but if so that can only be because the market- i.e everyone else, including our richer rivals- has seriously misjudged those players or because those players have not yet…become great players. A time machine would have let us know we should buy Bale from Southampton, but we are of course no more guilty of not buying him, in time-machineless reality, than any other club is.

    So that’s where we stand. We have a squad with a lot of quality. To improve it we either need to find players who are not yet established as near certainties to become brilliant players, or we need to find an opportunity to wrestle an established top player away from a megaclub, probably in the face of huge competition for his services from other megaclubs.

    We’re in a weird position. A good squad, very healthy finances, but not the biggest finances. Maybe we’ll bring in a player or some players, I hope we do; it would be very easy to bring in somebody; but it is not easy at all to bring in available players who want to come and who are certainties or near certainties to be better than what we have.

  26. I simply must take issue with you, Sir Hardly, over your association of the important French Revolution with the ridiculous compilation of a manual on how to run a football club.
    My great x5 grandmother, Fifi, sat at the foot of Mme la Guillotine, day after day during 1790 (or 6.30pm in old CET), knitting a fair isle sweater with an Arsenal motif for my great x5 grandfather, Jean Thomas,….. a far more serious past-time than pondering how to run a football club.
    I would ask you to withdraw this scurrilous association and in the meantime your name has been recorded in the book of those, come the British Revolution, who will be required to
    …….well, I don’t know what but it won’t be very nice…;)

  27. Can’t argue with that Rich. Even though Diaby, Podolski and others leaving means budget wise we could of afforded Schneiderlin and others. The argument we’re in a tough spot regarding the type of players we can sign within our budget is silly. When players who could of improved us have joined other teams we can’t come along and say there’s no one available. It’s ridiculous.

  28. The Mako argument is interesting I think, although simplified. Chelsea, Man C and Man U have spent more than Arsenal; a lot more in fact, and have been able to handle their transfer failures by multiple.

    It is an approach, and one that can ultimately win the league when you hit the right combination. That is one way of doing it.

    Another way is to use the approach that Arsenal used in the early part of the century, and indeed the very end of the last century, which placed the emphasis on creating a new approach to football, and a combination of players who could deliver. So it is not a case of buy this player who is available and if that fails buy another, it is buy exactly the right player to fit into the pattern.

    Both, obviously can work. Arsenal choose one route, which emphasises the team approach, and rejects the sort of negative football that some clubs use, Man C and Chelsea use the other approach, because they have more money than they know what to do with.

    Indeed both work hard to avoid FFP – Chelsea with some creative use of the loan system, and the most extraordinary sell on deals that none of us can explain, Man C by going beyond the FFP limit, and having clubs in other continents with whom they can do deals.

    In the end the matter is simple. If you want to win the league at any price, playing any type of football, using money that comes from repulsive overseas regimes, and twisting the rules on transfers and loans to ludicrous ends, then fine it can be done. It is legal or so it appears, although it is unlikely the current Arsenal ownership will go for that.

    If you want the Arsenal tradition established in 1893 and re-born in 1925 and again in 1997, then support the club as it is.

  29. Pretty sure I’m in moderation for disagreeing with the general consensus on here

    Can’t argue with that Rich. Even though Diaby, Podolski and others leaving means budget wise we could of afforded Schneiderlin and others. The argument we’re in a tough spot regarding the type of players we can sign within our budget is silly. When players who could of improved us have joined other teams we can’t come along and say there’s no one available. It’s ridiculous.

  30. No Marko, I put you in moderation because you were starting to repeat the same thing over and over again. You have had lots of space to make your point which is against the ethos of this site, and you have been given all the space you want to do so. But you are getting repetitive, and that’s a bit boring.

  31. When someone says :

    “Clubs with means should be about trophies first, money second—not the reciprocal.” it not the case that, aside from the poor use of language, everybody knows exactly what the writer is saying?

    I have to admit I stopped reading your own mindless gibberish after that.

  32. Mako – Flatly disagree.

    Dybala I don’t know enough about but doubt he is a significant upgrade – although a fair bet as one for the future. €32mm is a lot of money for potential though. Martinez is about 29 and unproven in a top League. At the quoted price definitely not a good deal.

    Schneiderlin and Kondogbia probably are better than Flamini (pretty sure) and Arteta (probably – now he is ageing). But you miss the point completely. Are they significantly better than Coquelin? Absolutely not! No way! Then to play alongside Coquelin they would have to compete with Ramsey, Wilshere and Cazorla… again absolutely no way are they better.

    So what is the blinkin’ point in spending a huge amount of money on a reserve? Now that is wasting money!

    I’m afraid you are falling into the trap of downgrading the players we already have.

    I suspect our first choice XI would all be £30mm plus, other than for those 28 and above where value depreciates rapidly.

  33. Brilliant article, several titters and a few laugh out louds in the Essex heartlands.

    Spending money has become a rather weird obsession and there is much contradiction on the subject.

    On the one hand, not having it is NO excuse not to win the big trophies (wenger, the stadium and the net spend) while on the other hand spending money guarantees success. Interesting indeed how the hypocrisy kicks in. The WOB’s seem obsessed with signings, at times it appears any signing.

    *WOB. I used to think this meant Wenger Out Brigade. However, it has become clear that this is actually an anagram for ‘Wheres Our Brain’.

    When listening to the media and the fans who hang on their every word, it appears that Arsenal are a mid table team, not hampered financially by moving stadium and who should have been able to compete financially with big spending Man Utd, Chelsea and Man City. It appears the 9 years without a trophy chant was a great bit of fun that quite rightly ignored the stadium (so that could not be used as an excuse to vindicate Wenger and the Arsenal for not being able to win the league). Arsenal deserve to be ridiculed for refusing to be bankrolled by a rich foreign investor and for trying to fight back against the cheque book bullies like Chelsea, Man City and Man Utd. Spend some f*& money.

    Cue all the Northern ex players and the rest of the gang of idiots; like Carragher, Neville and Owen. Lets not forget the ‘Daily Arsenal’ a popular talk radio show, dedicated to absuing our club every evening and further brainwashing the WOB movement. So what if Liverpool have never won a Premier League, lets ridicule Arsenal, the Southern softies.

    Spend some f@# money.

    But it’s not about just spending money, it is about spending money wisely. The media and a lot of fans get carried away with signings, let us consider that in recent years fans were going mental over us not signing players like Balotelli. The same was true this year with Benteke. Are these the world class signings that we ‘need desperately’ and that would jettison us to success? No.

    Lets remember when Spurs sold Bale and bought a load of overpriced players like Holtby, lamela, Soldado, paulino etc, we had the LeGrove head of WOB’s publishing an article in the Metro comparing Spurs to Arsenal and citing these signings as proof that ‘Spurs teach Arsenal a lesson on how to sgn players’. Well correct me if i am wrong but Spurs shortly afterwards sacked their manager and each of these players proved a flop who Spurs could not wait to offload at knockdown prices. Yes, thats how to do transfers. 54 years and counting but you never see that in the media.

    To follow the theme, only last season the very same blogger was telling his worshippers that Arsenal were 5 years behind Aston Villa. All because Tom Fox had depareted Arsenal to work with the Midlanders. Another attempt to try to coerce the ‘followers’ into beleiving Arsenal were some tin pot club under the direction of Forrest Gump.

    This is how stupid and desperate some people are to create a narrative that Arsenal are hopeless and some kind of mid table team. Aston Villa, the team who were nearly relegated, have had to sell Benteke and Delph and were completely smashed to pieces in the FA Cup Final. 5 years behind? This is the level of football intelligence and the type of balance this lot demonstrate everytime they pop up to take pot shots at the club they claim to support.

    Mind you, the fact that the media and a lot of the WOB movement are dismissive of both FA Cup victories, despite ironically claiming this is all about trophies, does make you wonder. The answer I suspect is that it is all about not losing face and making out that Arsenal is a club with a Manager that does not want to win, who is tight fisted, doesnt do tactics and who sold his best players when the stadium project was in full swing because all he cares about is money. Incredible really. The narrative of course is to disresepect the manager and discredit his successes both past and recent. What the club has been through and achieved since 1997 is completely dismisssed and almost ignored despite being an incredible achievement under difficult circumstances and an example of a Managers extreme loyalty and sacrifice. No, spend some f*^@ money…!

    Well Liverpool have been spending money and guess what? Wheres the ridicule of the scousers?

    Some fools would have us spend every penny and worry about what happens later, as if spending the same amounts as Chelsea and City would guarantee the league or champions league success. Well if you look at the money pumped into all the clubs who have been financially doped, none of those have really had the sustained European success the money invested would expect to achieve, except perhaps Barcelona. Man City are a case in point and Real Madrid, for all their galacticos and doped funding, have two Champions Leagues in 15 years. Its the sum of all parts.

    So you are saying we shouldnt sign players?

    Not at all. There is a direct correlation between spend and trophies. Absolutely. Barca, Real, Chelsea show that. Man Utd for years were buying the best players every season. Chelsea and Man City have been doing the same, since they were bankrolled and stopped yo-yoing up and down the divisions. So of course you need to sign world class players. But heres the rub. No guarantee of anything. Improved chances, yes. Half the names that get banded about are NOT world class yet listening to the media and some fans you would think they were. 99% of the players the media speculate about, arent reallly available, its all make believe. Why would Benzema and players like that want to move from their Spanish lifestyle to live in a damp, miserable climate like we have and play a game of high intensity, up and at em physical football, where dinosaurs go around kicking thoroughbreds for fun? Sorry but I am struggling. You cant bribe every player to come here. Who are these fans who think buying players is like going to the supermarket and available at any price, they need locking up.

    Modern football fandom has been infiltrated by deluded souls who beleive serving an apprenticeship on computer games and entering dream team competitions, makes them football management geniuses. Unfortunately, the media love them because they can be easily manipulated with a few chosen words. The knock on effect means as well as suffering foryears at the hands of the media we now have to suffer the same crap for our own so called fans. Shame on the lot of them, they deserve to support Spurs or Liverpool.

  34. Gone are the days when trophies were the only consideration of a football club. First order is to be a good running business with a solid foundation. After that a club may begin to take measurable or small risks in order to progress further on the trophy front, but never going all out like the clubs who can throw money at any problem (especially as FFP does not have the desired impact) caused by taking too big a risk.

    From reading RM and Benzema’s outputs and tweetings, it is seems that Arsenal has been negotiating with RM. RM wants to get the highest price possible, and AW decides the price he will not go above. So RM will now up the pressure(watch the last and next few days) by making sure the remarks signify that they are planning to keep Benzema, and that he was not for sale bla bla. AW is not to be fooled and will not go over the price he set for Benzema.

    Now this is a scenario i sense, but of course i could be wrong.

    For my part, if this is the truth, then if i was AW i would have long left the table, especially when Benzema appears to be doing nothing to fuel the sale. Still, he may be just hedging his bets in case it does not come off, as he does not want to upset RM fans.

    Tis’ a complicated business like all negotiations when one has to measure the money spent.

    I sense that RM and ManU will end up making the deal of DeGea and Benzema swop with money somehow.

    Remember AW’s last statement, after denying it or not speaking on it for many weeks was: “The deal is DEAD”.

    CL and CC are coming up (and also the dreaded internationals) and i suspect Mert and Kos are being given some good time off to prepare/rest while letting our second string get some good needed games under their belt.

  35. Marko

    Don’t want to say too much more (as when I start I struggle to stop) but I’ve got to say a final thing about your last point.

    It’s the thing I was trying to get at before. If you take this period of the next couple of years, there will be some excellent players who emerge and go from being unknowns to being brilliant and coveted by top clubs. Stones is a good recent example.

    The important thing is to separate that from the reality of looking to buy someone in the present. The one involves an evaluation of what has already happened- which players have emerged in the last year or two, who have now proven how good they are and who all the big clubs now want, and will pay huge money for- the other involves trying to decide who is going to become a much better player than they currently are.

    It’s a matter of inevitability that at this very moment there are players, that Arsenal could buy, who will improve massively in the next few years and who will, after that improvement, be players who would improve our team/squad.

    But…we don’t know exactly who they are. (also, I’m more or less talking about alternate realities, which is too much for my brain at the best of times) If we did, if it was certain how good one of these unheralded players will be in the near future, they’d already be these top stars they will in time become, and everyone else would be in for them already, including richer clubs.

    Lewandowski is another superb example. What a shame we didn’t pick him up on the cheap from Poland. But what a shame for every other club in the world,too. Kompany, despite what some mockers say, is another it would have been brilliant for us to pick up as a youngster. And as it happens we apparently tried…but he felt at that point Hamburg was the best destination for him. Czech,too, we almost got before he even went to France. Di Maria before Benfica. And, no doubt, tons of other players who went on to become top stars.

    That doesn’t rule out us picking up some future star. We will have a huge number of targets, who we are trying to weigh up and who we might just be trying to sign up as we speak. All other big clubs will almost certainly be looking at these same players though.

  36. Proud Kev- Whoa, that was a great post

    “On the one hand, not having it is NO excuse not to win the big trophies (wenger, the stadium and the net spend) while on the other hand spending money guarantees success. Interesting indeed how the hypocrisy kicks in”

    We’re not talking theft, here but I won’t be able to avoid thinking about and using that perfect demonstration of the illogicality, and hypocrisy, of it all in the future.

    Spending guarantees success; not having nearly as much to spend as others was/is no excuse-at all, at all!- for not achieving the highest level of success. Game. Set. Match.

  37. Proudkev you are very close to being totally correct. The scousers have spent a lot of money & look a little dimmer than expected but the players that seem to have performed are their midfield. Midfield? well yes & their ……..associated winger. Winger? …………….. It’s that PGMO added value player that smokin’ Henry has payrolled with …… whistling grass??

    4 points in the last 2 matches. When they should have had none.

    Everyone is looking for form when it is there in the shape of Riley. The man with more form than any other & he’s running the Professional ‘we know what we are doing’ 99% right officials. I know that there are those that say you should talk to players rather than flash cards. That may be true when it is sport in a park on Sundays & not professional mega wealthy sportsmen with rip off contracts who should never need to be explained to. Officiating in this environment should be honest, correct, open & responsible with accountability to an independent forum.

  38. — Proudkev and Rich, time for you to write some articles on UA? Interesting debate with Mako.Great posts…

  39. Just a word on Schneiderlin who should be left out of all future debate because I have no doubt he ruled himself out of coming to Arsenal. The truth is that he had inferior stats to Coquelin who has made himself a cult figure with most Arsenal fans. If you had a choice between a guaranteed starting place in one of the most famous clubs in football who although under performing in trophies had at least secured the Champions League football which any top class footballer will deem essential.

    So a no brainer where he will chose to go.

  40. Kenneth,

    Thanks. And ,never say never, but when I tried writing something for the first time a few weeks back, it came in at about eight pages, and I got the sense I’d have a heck of a job cutting it down to a manageable size. (Think I tried fitting about half – the ref, fouling, Riley, horror injury,etc half- of the things that brought me to this site into it!)

    Was for the best it didn’t work out, though, as it was G Neville- inspired and it would have been awful timing to have anything critical of him on these pages.

  41. Re Schneiderlin, there have been some Man U supporters phoning in to Talk sport complaining that he is not up to the required standard. I suspect Wenger agrees with that assessment as he appears to have shown no interest in acquiring his services despite being pressurized by all and sundry. Or maybe he is just too stingy as certain occasional visitors to this site suggest.

  42. Re G Nev’s comments: Sorry, mate, but I actually think Neville is one pundit that, through the veneer, I think wishes us well. I still remember him giving credit for how well Wenger did during the dark times and how it might look monumental when watched back in history. He thought we would be able to push on now that the austerity was over, but have we? Did you watch the clip? Does that sound like someone that actually enjoyed saying what he did? That enjoys seeing Arsenal in a perpetual state of inactivity, lack of ambition and underperformance? His criticism of us is in line with his consideration of us as title challengers – that sounds like absolute respect to me! I could’ve mistaken him for a frustrated fan, listening to his comments. And, for what it’s worth, I couldn’t agree more with him. Perhaps he should be more level-headed as a pundit, but then again – that’s what, for me, was strange as it seemed such an emotional outburst rather than a “poke fun” statement that you would get from the likes of Scholes and Owen. I wrote us off as well, but not because I hate Arsenal – but because of the unfixed flaws I saw in the team. THE very same problems that have seen us lose 5 points already! I really did not like G Nev the player, but as a pundit… He’s been a cut above the rest. He and Danny Murphy, I have time for. And I seriously believe you flatter if you think “any professional fo

  43. The biggest flaw that has cost us points this year is the PGMO – as per bloody usual. Until that bunch of biased useless incompetence are replaced root and branch there is precious little chance of us winning th league even we sign Messi, Ronaldo and any one of the mythical ‘Beast of a DM’ that we are supposed to need.

  44. Laen – don’t panic 5 points lost means we still have 109 points, more than enough to win the league.

  45. Laen – so what part of building the best and biggest brand new stadium in the country is “lack of ambition”. The club are in it for the long term – not a short term fix.

    Things can and will only get better from hereon in. Indeed they have been for the last 4 seasons in terms of total points and FA Cups.

    Football is a zero sum game. For every team that improves its standing, another goes the other way. Therefore to finish in a stable position is not bad at all. Particularly when it is only possible to go up 2 or 3 positions – but a lot further in the other direction.

    I remember Charlton fans complaining that they weren’t progressing from mid-table PL finishes. A few managerial changes and reckless transfer signings later they were in the 3rd tier.

    It is hugely wrong to discount the downside risk.

  46. Positive thinkers have a solution for every problem . Negative thinkers have a problem for every solution .
    Steven Aitchison.

  47. Proud Kiev

    Brilliant posts.

    You seems like a an accomplished writer.

    Keep it up.

  48. Proudkev and Rich,
    some of your comments are worth an article.

    Maybe you should instead of writing a comment just send it as an article to Tony.
    So he can publish them and we can discuss, praise, agree or disagree with it. But it gets lost sometimes in the comment section where not everyone is reading them. And they sure are worth reading!

  49. Tony Attwood
    August 26, 2015 at 6:09 pm

    “If you want the Arsenal tradition established in 1893 and re-born in 1925 and again in 1997, then support the club as it is.”


  50. @proudkev
    August 26, 2015 at 7:01 pm

    Better to read an excellent long post as is yours…then a few short mid less ones that seem to pop up.

    Well done!!

  51. Rich, I think its probably an asset if you write long pieces, as you are obviously trying to cover all aspects of your subject and go into depth,which isn’t an easy think to do-(considering the counter arguments you are probably dealing with etc)ask Tony or Walter to serialise the piece over a week?Could be a solution?

  52. Rich

    You are absolutely correct.

    Besides why else would well organized clubs (ours included) – see the need for well set-up Scouting department!

  53. Off topic!! Alert !! 🙂 🙂

    Rene from Alo Alo is back in force…The French Underground conducting secret meetings in the basement; REPORTED that an agent is hiding there 🙂 🙂

  54. Thanks for the nice comments.

    The assault on this fantastic club of ours is incessant and non-stop. Unfortunately too many Arsenal fans are easily swayed with the brain washing.

  55. Some interesting comments and I have to say I am surprised that Mako and a few others are in the minority.
    In my view this arguement seems to once again have been taken over by those who want to change the parameters and trying to say those who are unhappy do not support the club or its tradition.
    This is not about spending more money than we have, nor is it about outspending Man U or Man C or Chelsea. It isnt about breaking our budget on wages. It isnt harking back to an era when money was less important and dismissing its use as not part of Arsenals way.
    we have come out of years of austerity and instead of using the funds to strengthen the squad (the squad mind not just the team)once again the same tired only excuses are coming out to keep the money in the bank. We need a quality striker, a back up to Coq and a back up central defender. Assuming we did have £50m to spend (a ridiculous low amount considered our annual income) then I would assume we would have maybe £25 to 30 million after transfer and wage increases. Now can we not find one player who will improve the squad with that kind of money.
    The fact is as fans we should not be made to feel disloyal for wanting the board to use the clubs assets to promote the football side.
    Finally I would say financially the club at this moment is in a good position and it will continue to do so whilst it contnues to make huge profits each year. But who does that benefit most? Go and check out the price of the shares and their increase in value if you really want to know

  56. Wenger has been a great servant for the ­club but he’s overstayed his due by 5 ye­ars. No more stadium debt excuses, so wh­at are his excuses this year, oh it’s n­ow there aren’t any quality players avai­lable. Well anyone’s available at the ri­ght price, so stop penny pinching and bu­y the players we need to win the title. ­I detest Mourinho but you can’t fault hi­s ability to be decisive and act when it­’s required. He has seen a weakness in ­Terry, so he’s already thinking of Stone­ and looks like he’s going to get his ma­n. Our manager will dither on it for 2 y­ears before accepting it’s a problem, an­d by then another area will require a re­placement, and the cycle goes on – henc­e why we’re always 1-2 players short of ­winning the title. In fact, if he’s sayi­ng there are no quality strikers or DMs ­on the market, then why isn’t he going i­n for stones and steal him from under Ch­elseas nose? We’re only going to need a ­new CB next year, and Stones will be qu­ality for us. It will be statement to th­e rest of the league to say that we can ­compete for the top players and at the s­ame time deny Chelsea the ability to imp­rove. I love Wenger for what he’s achiev­ed for this great club of ours, but I d­o believe his indecisiveness and stubbor­nness is now hurting the club. Nothing s­hort of a serious title challenge should­ be accepted from a season that promised­ so much in the summer.

  57. Wayne, you are of course welcome to post your views here. You have put forward a considered opinion, and that is always welcome.

    But when you say, ” I have to say I am surprised that Mako and a few others are in the minority.” there are two points to make.

    First, Untold Arsenal proclaims on its banners, on its home page and everywhere that it supports the manager. It is a forum for those who support the manager, and that’s why most people here support the manager. If they don’t they tend to gather on other sites such as Le Grove.

    Second, all the evidence I see in terms of the people who go to matches is that support for the manager is very high indeed. At this moment we recall the pleasure we had at the cup final, at the charity shield game, and in pre-season, and the strength in depth that we have. We recall the long run of successive victories last season. A draw, a win and a defeat in three games in which the draw should have been a win if the linesman had been up to the job, is no reason – for many of us – to be downhearted.

    Maybe it is because of the abuse that the manager has had in the past after the occasional bad run, but I think a lot of people here take a broader perspective.

  58. Come on Laen – get real.

    You seem to want to spend money like water. We do not have the resources to pay £40mm for Stones (and match or exceed the wages offered by Chelsea) – and he probably wouldn’t even get in the team right now. Last season he was in and out for Everton.

    Arsenal have the 4th highest financial resources so therefore any advance on 4th place is a bonus. “Nothing short of a serious title challenge should be accepted” implies that you DO think Wenger can significantly outperform Pellegrini/Mourinho/van Gaal. And then you say that he should have gone 5 years ago?

    Who do you have in mind who is so superior to the three managers above that he can “seriously challenge” with significantly less money?

  59. So pete you would agree that if we Fi ish this season below 4th having not strengthened the squad wenger should be held accountable and to blame for our demise??

  60. Laen

    I don’t get how someone can’t accept that ,while we are rich, there are clubs who are significantly richer than us.

    That is simply reality. It means, for instance, that it is hugely improbable that we could go in and nick Stones from Chelsea.

    Whether or not Stones for 40 million is a good deal for us, from our real budget, which no doubt has some flexibility but not that much, is not the big issue. That would be the fact that should we match either the wages or transfer fee Chelsea are prepared to pay and may end up paying…they will almost certainly go higher again. Should we match that new figure, yep, they can go higher again. It’s the simple reality of the situation.

    Can you not bear it or not understand it? We have, more or less, a real budget. What we spend on something means there is less money available to spend on anything else. That is not the case, or not to the same degree, for other clubs. City and chelsea can now make their moves in the knowledge that if anything else comes up they can also pursue that.

    You still have the fact, after that, that we have significant money we could spend, and that there are transfers we could make, but simple common sense and realism should by that point already have guided you away from some unjustifiable dream that we can go toe to toe with anyone financially.

    So we have our money, be it 40 million or 50 million or whatever it might be. We have a situation where most of the world’s great players are already with great clubs, and where should any of them become available there are other clubs who, primarily because of better finances, are in a better position than us to sign those players.

    Then we have the up and comers in world football, players who are not playing at the best clubs of all. At the start of the Summer, Benteke, Scheneiderlin, Kondogbia, Rahman Baba and,yes, Krychowiak would fit into that category.

    Very big fees, but if we want to we can compete for these. If- boring and annoying, but that’s how reality can be, unfortunately- say Chelsea and Utd are also in for these players…yep, they can take first the transfer fee then the wages to places it is very hard for us to go. And if we are willing to go there, they can go further (damn you, boring, annoying reality!)

    But maybe they aren’t in for the same player, or maybe the player likes us so much he would be willing to accept a little bit less than elsewhere to play for us. These things are well within the realms of possibility, but you and i will never get to find that out.

    Anyway, we’re ‘reduced’, if we can accept reality, to not being the equal of the world’s top financial powerhouses, those who can use their wealth to buy any player should they be available, or make offers so ludicrous as to make the unavailable available, as city can do with De Bruyne; but we do still have lots of money, and there are some good players out there who could potentially bring a lot to our team and squad.

    It’s not an awful position to be in, at all. In fact, it’s a pretty damn good position. In just the last two years I’ve gone from wondering when the day will ever come around when we can buy established superstars, to seeing two genuine superstars, two players I loved and looked at wistfully as people beyond our reach, join the club.

    We are almost certainly looking for more of that. It will be hard to do and the option to do it would disappear if club and manager responded to the crazed desire for signings by immediately moving down their list of targets if they were not able to quickly secure a deal for any of their top targets.

    Imagine the Sanchez deal had been dragging on and was in doubt, then someone says to Wenger, ‘hey, we can get Cuadrado for 25 million, today, has to be done right away’.

    Pensive Wenger goes to his room to think about it, turns on the radio and hears Adrain Durham banging on about some shite. Switches it off and puts on the telly to see Sky’s intelligentsia telling him he needs four or five signings. Oh, he’s worried now.
    So he goes on the internet, and sees many of our our fans demanding we do something, now, right now. He rules out all the most obvious nonsense which has us down as a club which has the same financial power as the very best. But what about the rest. He could afford this Cuadrado deal, after all. He has that 25 million and some more to play with.

    Aye, thinks Wenger,they were wrong about Samba and a few hundred others but they might be right about us needing to spend some fucking money urgently; right that I only part with the clubs money after a lot of thought. Shit, what if Sanchez won’t join in the end, where would that leave me? I’ll do it!

    So he signs Cuadrado, and a few days later finds out Sanchez would have joined…but now we can’t afford it.

    That’s life as a football manager at a big rich club when there are bigger richer clubs than you.

    Try again, and tell us who the players are who we could almost certainly sign and who you are sure would improve our team. You’ll have to do better than that Stones talk, as that was simply unrealistic.

    Maybe we’ll be proven wrong not to have pursued Benteke for 32 million. Maybe we’ll be proven wrong not to have paid this reported release clause for Krychowiak. Only time can reveal those things.

    However highly you may rate those two players, or others who have done similar amounts to date and would cost those amounts, I don’t know how anyone can fail to see those are at best very tough calls. Rightly so. Selling clubs will almost always look to take you into uncomfortable territory. Less to think about with an open door to billions behind you, but that’s just how it goes.

    Those would appear to be Wenger’s choices now : try accomplish the difficult task of luring away a huge player from a huge club; buy a squad filler; buy some youngster with potential, or pay very high fees for a Benteke or a Krychowiak.

    That’s the reality for him, and it would be great if our fans tried to face it as well.

  61. @proudkev: quite a rant but missing the point by a mile. For a start buying and selling players is an inherent part of the game and something a manager needs to be good at. Wenger has failed miserably over the last 10 years. You live in the past – 2004. Talk about the last 10 years or even now. The problems in our team are not about money it’s about mismanagement. Your nonsense that buying players doesn’t guarantee anything is exactly that nonsense. Every club has to buy and sell players. We have started another season looking poor cos Wenger sat on his hands. So step in to your time machine and join us in August 2015…

  62. Rich, It’s a different ball game now. Arsenal aren’t shopping on an Aldi budget any more – not that it was particularly low anyway – and trying to prise ready-made world-class players away from the clubs is no easy task. But other clubs manage it, why not Arsenal? There seems, on the face of it, a piece of the jigsaw missing. I genuinely love the answer that point gets: “Why would Lewandowski/Benzema/Cavani/Mueller leave Bayern/Real/PSG to come to Arsenal? What’s in it for them?” as if they are the only clubs we are looking to deal with. Has our market place really shrunk to the point of being just six or seven clubs around Europe?

    Surely we should be applying the same tactics others – the Uniteds, Barcelonas and Madrids of this world – have done to us; bully them into selling through media, player and any manner of other pressure? It isn’t the Arsenal Way. I beg to differ; we’ve always done that in the past. Just because we’ve signed two players discarded by Real Madrid and Barcelona doesn’t make us a big fish. Winning trophies, or at least challenging for them, does.

    Would I take a world-class striker? Of course, although I will temper that with the notion that you and I may not agree of the definition of ‘world-class’; in fact, we probably won’t. Is it going to happen in the next week? I have no confidence in Arsenal delivering that type of signing.

    Which brings us to Gary Neville. You probably know already that I agree with the thrust of his point; Arsenal need a midfielder and striker. Is Wenger ‘arrogant’ or ‘naïve’? To some degree both. It is naive to stick to the same gameplan and not see the predictability which ensues. There has to be some consistency of tactics, formations, of course but the tweaks, the surprise variations are, at the moment, missing. Why? In reality, he is looking at results and having lost to West Ham is conscious of falling too far behind. He’s reverted to the XI which served him well in the second half of the season. The same XI which everyone else saw play and has analysed into dead-ends, cul-de-sacs and bus depots all over the land but mainly in north London.

    Addressing the shortcomings answers the charge of naïvety but blended with that is arrogance. Yes, Arsène is arrogant, he has to be; all top managers are, they believe theirs is the righteous path to glory and everyone else has it wrong. There’s nothing wrong with it until you reach the point where tangible evidence exists that you aren’t right, yours isn’t the path to glory and perhaps someone else isn’t wrong. At that point, it is about adapting your beliefs. It might be a tweak on the pitch, it might be a change in personnel, some simple adjustment in the formula.

    Recognising that point has been reached is the hardest part of all. So often in life, we all get it wrong in that respect, we all repeat things in the hope of a better outcome next time. Learning it isn’t going to happen how you want it to without change is the balance we have to find. It’s the one Arsène has to find. Gary Neville was right; Arsène is arrogant and naïve but they are not necessarily detrimental.

  63. Dear Tony

    Duly noted and it explains some of my previous queries.
    I would say I do support the manager, I really want AW to do well. I am not demanding trophies but I expect us to compete on the field and not just be a world leader of it. The thing is that managers who win trophies are more fondly remembered and AW for all his hard work deserves that. I dont think I blamed AW but rather the club and his hands maybe still be tied with regards what he can actually do. Finally I dont think being critical of the club is a sign I dont support the manager or Arsenal.

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