Arsenal’s success is not just about the transfer window. It is far more complex than that.

By Tony Attwood

A few days ago we ran a little piece about players that are transferred to clubs but then don’t deliver in the way that the clubs and their supporters might have anticipated.  This was based on the notion that although buying players is one way of developing a team, and the way that the media like – it is not the only way.  Bringing in young players, either as children, or as transfers in their teens, and then educating them into your way of playing, is an alternative.

And indeed there are many other factors.

As I have mentioned many times now (but I say again just in case you are here for the first time) Coquelin and Bellerin don’t appear on our chart of transfers for last year, but their arrivals in the first team were of the same impact as if they had just been bought for ££££m

So focussing on the immediate transfers is interesting, but only part of the story.  Other players arrive through different means, and some of the big name transfers don’t make it.  And other factors come into play.

Now in that earlier article, we took a list of players who “flopped” from the Tomkins report, and then subsequently printed out the list.  That gave rise to the interesting discussion of whether Reyes could be called a “flop” in the way that Shevchenko, Torres, Mutu etc could be called flops.

I agree that was an unfortunate term in his case – he seemed to have difficulties in adjusting to the local environment, and was clearly a target for brutal behaviour from other teams.  So “flop” really wasn’t the best choice – and really I should have said, “failed to deliver to the level expected over time”.

Now following those two articles about big money transfers that don’t deliver in the way hoped for we have a screaming headline in the Telegraph today

It’s official – Manchester United have wasted more money on transfers than any Premier League side since 2013

They take their data from a different source from mine – The Soccerex Transfer Review – and they view flops in a specific way – measuring the amount of time a player gets on the pitch after transfer.

This definition is more accurate than the one I took from the Tomkins article, but it has problems, in that a player like Debuchy  can be included because he had the misfortune of serious injuries, during the course of which his place was taken over by Bellerin.  (Indeed this saga points to the importance of the youth development programme for it was only through having multiple young players of talent that we had a player available to take over at this time).

The Soccerex definition also causes problems for Chambers who was clearly brought into the squad to develop over time, and with the hope (now being fulfilled) that he could change positions.  At the moment he would be classified by Soccerex as a failure.

The figures from Soccerex are also interesting for showing what the Telegraph (and I am sure other newspapers) will fail to pick up.  Their message is always “now now now”, as in who is bought in this transfer window (or starting this week, who will we buy in January next).

For example on page 28 the report shows “net investment” over three transfer periods – 2013/14, 2014/15. 2015/16.   For the first of these Arsenal is shown as having the top net investment in new players at 98 million euros.  Indeed the net investment figure is so interesting over these three periods that I want to do a spot of investigating into it, and will come back to it shortly in another article.  I just need to find the calculator that slipped down the back of the sofa.

I must add for clarity, and to stop the discussion on the topic going off in a different direction, this is not me saying that “look Arsenal is fine because we do spend money on transfers” because I maintain that transfers are just one part of running a club, and to judge the club according to what it spends on transfers either now or over the past ten years, without taking into account other factors like stadium development and youth team development etc etc gives an inaccurate picture.

But back to the main thread of this morning’s little piece.

“Manchester United have wasted more money on expensive flops than any other Premier League side since Sir Alex Ferguson retired, according to a new report,” shouts the excitable right wing broadsheet.

The Soccerex Transfer Review by Prime Time Sport found that United had blown almost £118 million on players who were used for less than half of the minutes played by the club since the summer of 2013.

They cite Angel Di Maria (£55m) and Marouane Fellaini (£24m) as the naughty fellows in this regard.

And to be fair to the paper for once they do actually quote a positive…

The report also found Arsenal’s Alexis Sanchez to be the most profitable signing in Europe last season, the striker having played 86% of the club’s minutes.


During the same campaign, Di Maria clocked up just 48% of minutes, with £27m Luke Shaw even lower on 33%, the latter due to injury.

They then highlight the overall picture.

The report found a total of £475m had been spent by Premier League teams since the summer of 2013 on players who have gone on to complete 50% or less of their club’s minutes.

Tottenham Hotspur were the second worst offenders, contributing £100m to the total, well out ahead of Manchester City (£53m), Liverpool (£50m), Arsenal (£34m) and Chelsea (£33m).

The above shows the biggest “flops” in terms of minutes played, across the last three seasons – but as I say, injury and the development of players for the future can make the picture misleading.

Tottenham turn up in the category because of Roberto Soldado and Erik Lamela.  Liverpool had certain difficulties with Lazar Markovic and Mario Balotelli although I am told that suddenly Balotelli has come back to life with his new club.

But my main point (and clearly one that I have been singularly unsuccessful at making plain in recent posts) is that my beef with the issue of transfers is not about who we should buy, for how much and when, or that we should not buy, but that the simplification of the issue by the press (and their allies with the childish blogettas that Sir Hardly Anyone has regaled us with this year), has led to a very misleading analysis.

Transfers in and out are important, but just one part of the show and in my view need to be judged over time – three years is about right – both to take into account a lot of activity in one window, but none in another, and to take into account players who are slow to develop or hampered by injury.

Likewise stadium development has been important over time.  Likewise bringing youngsters up through the youth system such that they can play for the first time.  Likewise careful use of the loan system.  Likewise, keeping an eye on the way clubs like Watford, Man City and Chelsea are now seeking to move in different ways, by having close links with other clubs in other countries.  Likewise state funding of stadium building.

All of these issues are phenomenally complex in themselves as you will have seen if you read the correspondence here about the income from the Emirates and the cost of building the stadium (which incidentally has now been explored enough in my view, so no more on that please).

My point is that the media and correspondents who reduce everything down to a single issue when measuring the success or failure of a club are doing us all a profound disservice.  Worse, if that single issue (eg transfers) is considered in terms of one measurement (how much spent, how many players bought, did we buy a centre forward) in terms of one transfer window, the whole picture gets totally lost.

For as Walter said recently, which club has won more Premier League games than Arsenal in 2015? None.  Isn’t that important when debating what the club needs to do next.  As is “Which club has won the FA Cup for the last two seasons?”    To dismiss that and the incredibly complex nature of how a team is put together across an entire season, and reduce everything to buying two players who (on the basis of the Tomkins report and the Soccerex evidence) might or might not make it, to me seems daft.

To be clear then, I am trying to write about the need to take all these factors into account rather than a single one off factor.  If anyone wants to debate that point, I’d be glad to join in.

Now to find that calculator and see what these net investment figures over three years actually mean.

The Untold Books

Ancient anniversaries

  • 8 September 1888: The first Football League games were played – although without complete agreement on how the League table would be constructed.  The first ever League goal was an own goal by Aston Villa defender Gershom Cox.
  • 8 September 1894: Henry Boyd scored his first goal.  Of all the players who played 30+ games for the club he had the highest goals to games ratio scoring 32 goals in 41 league games between September 1894 and December 1896.

50 Replies to “Arsenal’s success is not just about the transfer window. It is far more complex than that.”

  1. There lies Arsenal problem– the measure of success should be results on the pitch and nothing else. We dont care about the bank balance as fans- it does not score goals . Wenger should be solely measured on results on the pitch alone. He has not delivered for years and yet continues to command one of the highest manager salaries in the league, Why? Arsenal should be competing for the league and champions league, but its clear , it will never do so again as long as Wenger remains and his sole target is finishing number 4.There is no point in going on a run every season when there is no chance to win the league—-a run to chase 4th year in year out is pointless. We have won more premier league games in 2015 , but what do we have to show for it? Who remembers a 3rd place finish? The ambition of the club and manager must be reset completely otherwise it will remain caught up in a cycle of mediocrity.

  2. I was talking to a couple of Liverpool fans I know recently – educated, intelligent people – who are both of the view that Liverpool have screwed up hugely with their transfers over the last couple of years and they want Rogers sacked. In fact one has almost adopted an “ALL” persona in that he is not mourning Liverpool defeats as he hopes that will bring Rogers’ departure nearer…

  3. And here Walle, you and I must part company.

    You say, “Wenger should be solely measured on results on the pitch alone.” I don’t fully agree because I think his part in building the stadium is worthy of note. But more than that we have just won the FA Cup in successive years – something that has only been done four times before since 1891. I care about that – perhaps aided because I had the good fortune to be there for both games.

    So, we part company on that one – and with the fact that we are talking about the complexity of the situation and you have reduced it to a single entity.

  4. OT (sorry Tony):

    Walter – I would be interested in your view of the Northern Irish player who was sent off for collecting two yellow cards in the same phase of play (ref having played advantage after the first foul)?

  5. I just think walle has no concept of realistic expectations. If s/he has not grasped the fact that we are up against 3 teams with enormously greater financial resources then there is little hope (for him).

  6. The greatest “non-deliverer” as far as Arsenal is concerned, was Adebayor. Only one good season and then a steady fall from grace in all his subsequent moves.
    A lazy, greedy disgrace to the game.

  7. Walle has no basic understanding of FOOTBALL.. How simplistic can one be. do us all a favour GO and support another team, any team.

  8. Tony – it is indeed complex. Robert Pires didn’t cost us that much money and in his first season played quite a lot of minutes but few fans thought that he contributed much other than to show that he didn’t know how to tackle or deal with being kicked. By the end of his second season he was undroppable and by the end of his career with us was regarded as a god! One of the best buys ever.
    When instant gratification is the only measure mistakes can be made, Wenger makes his own decisions thank goodness and hindsight overwhelmingly tells us that he gets it right far more often than he gets it wrong and that he gets it right (certainly in terms of value) more often than any other manager.
    Both Manure and Chelsea got rid of big money signings after only one season this summer and had to spend fortunes to replace them (if indeed they succeeded). You have to wonder who is actually making the decisions at those clubs and whether the ‘managers’ would stay if they weren’t paid so much to toe the line.

  9. Interesting point Tony ‘ should fans be concerned about what’s in the bank ‘

    Or is right that all we care about is the performance and results ?

  10. Great Article Tony.

    Do you think this obsession with fans wanting their team to buy players comes from the wider consumerist education we’ve all received that we always need to buy new things? A kind of retail therapy in football?

    I mean, is it a case of ‘keeping up with the Joneses”. They’ve got a new car on the drive, so we better get one. Doesn’t matter if both cars end up being unreliable junk.

  11. No one knows who the manager (in our case Arsene) wants to buy except those he works with. In my opinion that is how it should be.

    As to why we bought this or that player we can all have an opinion as long as we understand that ‘our opinion’ doesn’t mean we are right and the manager or anyone else is wrong.

    In my opinion (based on noting Arsene’s regular approach to buying and selling players over the years) we didn’t go out and buy anyone because it was considered what we have is good.

    This didn’t/doesn’t mean that if some one clearly better then what we have came/comes along and the price is good then buy. So we bought Cech.

    That is our buying policy at the moment.

    The selling policy: No one is for sale unless they want to leave or in the case of a young player it is felt wont make it to the first team, or is path is blocked by the players in front of him.

    Am I happy with this? Yes I am we have a good squad that plays well together. There is no reason why it wont improve. Why fix something that doesn’t need fixing?

    My one regret is that the arrival of Cech meant one extra Goalkeeper.

    Szczesny is now out on loan and doing well in Roma. I hope Szczesny does return but I have my doubts.

    Oooospina stayed but I would have been sad if he had gone out on loan.

    The above is just my opinions which I don’t claim to be facts.

  12. Indeed Colario, and whats interesting with all these opinions that people have on what the manager should or shouldn’t do is that confirmation bias then comes into play.

    Their opinions can never be proved wrong; what happens is they tinker with the small details of their opinion but maintain the same theme.

    Anyone remember this time last year, when all the moaning was about about how we needed a striker, a DM and more defenders otherwise we’d never win anything? Did any of those people come back and say “Arsenal won the FA Cup, guess I was wrong”. Of course not.

  13. Since we won the FA cup (twice) it no longer counts as a trophy or being successful. As for the “I only want Arsenal to be competing for the PL and CL” what the moaners really say that “I only want Arsenal to win the PL and CL every year”. No team are able to do that, grow up.

  14. @esxste,
    The trouble is that the fans look enviously at clubs with a sugar daddy because whether we like it or not, success CAN be bought these days.
    Arsenal FC prefer to “make” rather than “buy” success which is why it takes a little longer. But when it comes the satisfaction is much more intense and honest.

  15. In other news, Arsenal yesterday received an Award at the Annual European Club Association (ECA) General Assembly. Here is the direct quote as reported by FTBpro

    Arsenal also picked up an award, the 2015 Best Community and Social Responsibility Programme for the “Arsenal Employability Programme”. The award was presented by Marc-André Buchwalder, who commented on the Gunners’ unique initiative.

    Congratulations to @arsenal, winners of the #ECAAward for the Best #CSRProgramme 2015! @AFCCommunity #ECA_GA— ECA (@ECAEurope) September 7, 2015

    “The Arsenal Employability Programme perfectly illustrates the force for good that clubs can have in their local communities. The tailor-made approach, the continuous support throughout the recruitment process, the special relationships developed with a range of employers and the tangible job outcomes make this a great example of an employability project that directly impacts the lives of the participants and their families.

    “With more than 300 people gaining employment as a direct result of the project, the Arsenal Employability Programme has proved very successful and I can only invite other clubs to get inspired by this successful CSR model.”


  16. Foe some reason O can not click on the like/dislike ‘buttons’.

    I use Safari…any suggestions as to why?

  17. The article mentioned ‘careful use of the loan scheme. I’m a Glasgow Rangers fan, but the Gunners have always been my ‘English Team’ since I was a youngster. No surprise there, as that’s probably the position of a great many Rangers supporters. The strong relationship between Arsenal and Rangers dates back many many years.
    Currently, the Rangers have young Arsenal player, Gedion Zelalem, on loan until January, with a possibility of extending the loan period to the end of the season. Every Rangers supporter will be hoping that the lad stays till the end. He is a great wee player and a terrific young lad. A total credit to Arsenal Football Club.
    He is only 18 and while he might be a wee bit on the light side he more than makes up for that in other departments. His passing, his movement, his workrate are all fist class. He has been touted by many, including Mr Wenger for the very top. In his short time at Rangers it’s easy to see why. He is a huge hit with all of the supporters. Total class. Not just on the pitch either. He has had to handle a lot of media attention in Scotland and he is handling it brilliantly. Well spoken, modest but confident. He’s the full package this kid.
    Arsene Wenger knew what he was doing when he loaned him out to Rangers. He is playing under Rangers new manager, Mark Warburton, the ex Brentford boss. Warby has been an immediate sensation at Ibrox. The Rangers have been playing some stunning football already, and young Gedion is playing in front of packed houses at Ibrox. Mark Warburton is well known as a great believer in giving youth its chance and a lot of young players are benefiting from that at Ibrox. They are playing ‘proper football’ too, and that is what is most important.
    Perhaps Arsenal fans would like to see this 10 min video of Gedion Zelalem in his latest game for Rangers. He was excellent. This video only features Gedion’s touches in the game. Believe it or not he wasn’t the man of the match. That went to another youngster at Ibrox on loan. Whisper it, but he’s from Spurs. His name is Nathan Oduwa. He’s a Rangers player at this point in time so he has my full support. Later? we’ll wait and see. LOL
    Here’s the video of young Gedion.

  18. esxste

    September 8, 2015 at 9:47 am

    “I mean, is it a case of ‘keeping up with the Joneses”. They’ve got a new car on the drive, so we better get one. Doesn’t matter if both cars end up being unreliable junk.”

    You may of noticed, I love a good analogy, and that one makes a great point.


    September 8, 2015 at 10:25 am

    Great post.


    September 8, 2015 at 1:56 pm

    Thanks for the feed back on young Gedion. I must admit I don’t follow the youth as much as I should, or indeed a lot of the regulars on UA do, so only get to see them when they appear in the first team.

    He has made a couple of appearances in the first team and whilst his touch and vision looked very good, he struggled to make a big impact. Given his age, experience and build, that was hardly a surprise.

    But according to the Untolders that follow these things he looks set for a great future, alas for you, at Arsenal and not Rangers. 😉

    Treat him well, educate him, but most importantly, please give him back in one piece.

    Good luck for the season.

    Oh, and sorry but the link didn’t work. If you could re post it that would be great.


  19. Jambug
    September 8, 2015 at 2:34 pm

    Sorry about the link mate. Looks like you’ll have to highlight it, right click, copy, open new tab, click in the address bar, right click, paste,select.
    You probably knew how to do that, but just thought I’d post it in case there are any ‘old timers’ like myself tuned in.
    I know it will sound a bit selfish, but I think that Arsenal should leave Gedion Zelalem at Ibrox for the full season. Although Rangers are only playing in the Championship League, the way that they are playing they will probably have a good run in the two major cup competitions. The Scottish Cup and the Scottish League Cup. That might involve him in a couple of Rangers v Celtic games and one or two Cup Finals. Who knows? They might even win them. That will be great experience for him.
    By the way, the lad is light but he is no shrinking violet. He puts his tackles in. He’s been subjected to a few rough numbers himself and just gets up and gets on with it. He hasn’t learned to roll around like Mr Fancy-Pants Rinaldo yet, thank goodness, LOL

    Don’t worry, the Rangers supporters will make sure that he doesn’t get drunk too often and start pub fights all over Glasgow. Perhaps some deep fried Mars Bars will beef him up a bit, but we won’t let him overdo it.
    All the best.

  20. With respect to the new like/dislike and the now non-working URLs, I presume Tony adjusted some of the wordpress plugins used by this blog.

    I think a person could invent a measure of futility, I don’t think it would be easy.

    Sometimes a manager will take off a player near the end of the game, so that the fans can show their appreciation for that player’s efforts. The player really should be credited with playing the remaining minutes.

    A player may be removed from play due to becoming injured. I suppose the thing to do is to start incrementing a counter of games lost due to injury. Do we give credit for a fractional game played? In terms of futility, I think you need to keep track of how many minutes a player could have played in a game and how many they did play, and the ratio of the two is the fraction of a game they did play. For example, a player came on as a sub in the 2nd minute, and had to be replaced in the 50th minute due to injury, they would be credited with playing (50-2)/(50) or 96% of a game.

    We can also lose players due to discipline. If a player is shown a second yellow or a red card, they get credit for the fraction of the game they played, but we also need to track games lost due to discipline. Which for the game where the dismissal came is a fraction (time remaining divided by 90-start_time). It may be that the governing authority also imposes disciplinary time, which would be an integer number of games.

    What of games where the player is on the bench and is never used?

    And the above measures are applied to all games the team plays (for Arsenal, I believe that was mid 50’s last season).

    1. Games available (integer), player was named to starting XI or the subs bench.
    2. Games played (fractional), fractions of games played allowing for injury, discipline, or praise to remove a player prematurely.
    3. Games injured (fractional). To be added to games available?
    4. Games lost due to discipline (fractional).
    5. Games the team participated in over the interval in question.

    I would think the ratio of games available for a player to the games the team participated in would be a measure of the value of that player to the team, with small values indicating futility. It actually is composed of 2 values, one with injury added back in and one without. A high value for the ratio of games played to games available also indicates high value.

  21. Arsenal four other big Premier League rivals of: Man Utd, Man City, Chelsea and even Liverpool have all tasted success by winning 1 of the 2 or even both the most priced titles of the Premier League & the Uefa Champions League in the last 10 years. But I’ve forgotten when last Liverpool won the CL. The Gooners have increasingly got more and more craven to get more success, especially to win the most 2 priced ones. Their taste is getting insatiable. Arsenal have won the Premier League before under the Boss tutelage, and they will still recapture it again this season with God’s favour. They can even add the elites Ucl trophy to it with God permitting it to happen. The Gooners MUST be patient till those their 2 most sort after titles are won for them by the Boss and the Gunners. It can’t be forced by buying players from the transfer market alone. But by building a very strong team that can stand the test of time like the Boss is currently doing. If it can be achieved alone by buying in every window, why hadn’t Man Utd, Man City & Liverpool won the title last season and PSG & Real Madrid won the CL last season too? The Barca combine internal & external team building success is a role model. Chelsea won the title last season because of the fast start the did by building up unassailable points. But this season they won’t win it as that their ploy is expired. And Arsenal will still catch Man City to win the title this season. It is not easy to recover from a huge financial undertaking like building a brand new Stadium to moved in, and have to sell off your best players to fulfil your financial commitments, and still maintain a 4th place finish consistently. That pressure have now eased off and Arsenal are now competing competitively on all fronts as they have won 2 titles of the Charity Shield and the FA Cup last season. And have already won 1 out the winnable fifthruple which they are still actively competing in. Instead of complaining all the time. We HAVE to all be prayersfull for the Boss and the Gunners to have the most successful outings in all competitions this season.

  22. Bill

    “Sorry about the link mate. Looks like you’ll have to highlight it, right click, copy, open new tab, click in the address bar, right click, paste,select.
    You probably knew how to do that, but just thought I’d post it in case there are any ‘old timers’ like myself tuned in.”

    You don’t know how funny that is mate. I’m not just an ‘Old Timer’, I’m a Technophobic, computer illiterate, without any kids type of ‘Old Timer’ !!

    I’m proud of the fact I can switch this beast on and actually navigate to this Blog.

    Thanks for the pointers anyway. I’ll give it a go, but if I blow myself up I hold you totally responsible !

  23. Jambug, I just looked at the “You can use these HTML tags” (Above the Post Comment button), and I think you now need to write a proper “anchor”.

    Gedion Zelalem video link, maybe?

  24. Bill

    Wonder upon wonders. Success.

    He seemed to like sitting in the ‘hole’ but wasn’t averse to drifting wide. Made a couple of runs but mostly kept the ball moving, one or 2 touches.

    But the thing I noticed most was, I don’t think, correct me if I’m wrong, not one pass left the ground. Everything played on the floor.

    Thanks for that.

    Lets hope he can enjoy some success with you.

  25. Thanks Jambug. It’s something that’s struck me time and time again.

    Is there something wider than football for why the media as a whole insist the only answer is to buy?

    Why is it they never tell managers to do better at developing younger players when discussing “problems” teams have?

  26. And yes, that seems to do the trick.

    Okay, in that 4:38pm post, I have some bold text. In HTML markup, tags are inside angle brackets. To demonstrate
    (b)parentheses(/b) will become bold if I switch the parentheses (curved things) with angle brackets. A tag which starts with a leading slash (/) signals the end of a string of markup.

    The tag that starts with (a href=””) is called an anchor. The href is the URL the anchor is pointing at. Text that follows the start of an anchor and comes before the end of the anchor (/a) will end up being highlighted. The same video link with parentheses (a href=””)Gedion Zelalem(/a), and the proper one with angle brackets: Gedion Zelalem

    Sort of make sense?

  27. “Since we won the FA cup (twice) it no longer counts as a trophy or being successful. As for the “I only want Arsenal to be competing for the PL and CL” what the moaners really say that “I only want Arsenal to win the PL and CL every year”. No team are able to do that, grow up.

    Likes(15)Dislikes(0) ”


    If Arsenal win the FA cup again this season, I think it will be a great achievement even if they fail to mount a real challenge in the CL or PL.

    Having said that, I don’t know a single Arsenal fan who thinks Arsenal should be winning CL or PL every season. I’m fairly certain there aren’t any
    who think that.
    How certain?
    I will pay $50 U.S. For every documented case of any Arsenal fan saying this very thing.

    Which brings me to the ” likes / dislikes” just introduced to this site.

    Your statement (at least the second part of it) is so patently false, yet as of mine writing this, it has received 15 likes and 0 dislikes.

    Simply amazing!

    I guess I’ll be getting 15 dislikes soon after.
    I don’t think I’ll survive the confidence blow.

  28. Gord I asked a colleague to experiment. I am, as I have noted elsewhere, concerned that although we might get 1 million page views in a month we only hear from a tiny number of people each month. I can argue that Untold is popular because of the number of page views, but it is harder for me to know what articles are popular and which people just like but don’t comment on.

    So I am experimenting. Sorry it caused difficulties; wasn’t my intention.

  29. Arsenal has an article up about the UEFA Youth Champions League games. The game against Bayern at Borehamwood will be televised, and the game at Borehamwood against Dynamo Zagreb may be televised.

    Youth League Fixtures.

  30. Bill, good to hear from you. Some of us went to see Zelalem play in a reserve match just before he went to Ibrox. We were playing an 11 behind the ball Fulham team, and he just patiently looked for ways through until he found one in the end and made and scored a sensational goal.

    Look after the lad, nurture him, love him, and send him back a grown man.

  31. WordPress seems to have an abundance of plugins, and there probably are things there to help with your measurements. I know of other people that run wordpress, but never tried to set anything up myself.

    I thought I should figure out how to put in the URLs, and try to explain it, so that some of the less nerdy/geeky people at Untold could continue to just click to visit URLs.

  32. @Tom,

    I suggest to you that its simply the impression many “Wenger Out” types give. The expectation of Victory, to hell with any other considerations.

  33. I posted a comment earlier but it hasn’t appeared. So I shall refrain from comments until I know what the issue is.

  34. Off topic stuck in Calais again 7 hours now but refuse to listen to talk sport arseholes!!!! Anyone got any sympathy for me?

  35. Mumbling about wordpress configuration.

    There are different ways to set this up, so it isn’t necessarily accurate in detail.

    I normally surf with NoScript disallowing most stuff. To press the dislike button did nothing. If I allow Untold to send javascript, then pressing the button does something. Does this mean wordpress is doing all this with javascript? Not necessarily, as I believe cookies get lumped in with javascript. But it could be that wordpress is trying to do all this in javascript.

    If a person submits a comment, then Untold needs to generate a new cookie which nominally says that such and such comment came from this browser. And that cookie gets sent back along with the page rewrite.

    If later on, someone presses the Like or Dislike buttons for the comment, the first thing that should happen is that the browser should be asked for the creation cookie. Most browsers will not have the creation cookie, so the person making the request is not the creator. Untold can make the requested popularity change, and sends back a different cookie indicating that for comment N, a popularity request had been made.

    So, the second thing that has to happen after checking for the creation cookie, is to check for the popularity cookie. If the cookie is present, the request is ignored as they already indicated popularity.

    If all of this magic is done by sending cookies back and forth, the web site is asking all users to store data about all of their interactions with the web site. And all this back and forth adds latency. The other mechanism, is to use session cookies. And any time a browser interacts with the web site, the session cookie identifies the particular instance. And then all the data can be stored close to the web site, instead of going back and forth.

    Cookies can expire. In the old days, an expired cookie meant send the user back to the login page to get a new cookie. I think today it is possible to just send a new session cookie back. Most of the users of Untold, probably turn their computers off at least once per day, and so the getting of new sessions happens a lot. I seldom turn my computer off, my uptime on this particular computer (of 3) is 199 days. If the browser crashes, I have a session manager which remembers all the tabs in use, and some of their history. I might only get new sessions from Untold a couple of times per year, and it is common for me to have multiple browsers across the 3 computers all have connections to Untold.

    Lots of websites have pages pages which “auto-refresh”. Commentaries are common for this. It is fine to have the contents of a web page being calculated (or added to). Without javascript, the only way a refresh (new information to display, maybe) gets done is if the user requests a reload. And because most web pages are calculated, there is usually a ton of crap in the page, and it all needs to get downloaded again, and again, and again. Whenever the user requests it. But, for users like me, it might be two weeks before I request the page again (in a particular browser). And really I should set up squid to cache things for the LAN. For us non-javascript users, we may only refresh every 5 minutes during the bulk of the game, but we often do refreshes quite often near the end of the game. And this puts a HUGE load on the webserver. So, one of the things javascript does, is it does refreshes on a schedule, which levels the load somewhat. Another thing javascript is doing, is that it is writing into a “container” on the page, and the content going into the container is mostly content (or additional content) and not so much crap.

    So, with all the different browsers, javascript and what not in the background, Tony has a problem. He gets some number of page views over an interval, and he wants to translate that into how many people read his site. People like me are uncommon. I suspect a significant fraction of the people using this site are on smartphones, where the predictive correction isn’t perfect (yet).

    What I think is probably best for Tony, is to produce an “app” for iPhone and Android. With that, sessions are controlled. And a person can probably get pretty good data. How long does a person view a particular article, how often does a person read the same article, and so on. Nominally, the app is a wrapper around a web browser visiting a single website. I have never gone looking, but I suspect the core of the app is pretty simple.

    People already visit Untold with browsers from smartphones, why would they want to use an “app”? Maybe Tony finds a way to pick Bob Dylan songs to play based on the current Arsenal headlines? So the app user visits Untold, and gets to listen to Bob Dylan songs in the background? Maybe for away games, there are links to transit information or dining information? Recipe suggestions based on how the game progressed: (shots by Arsenal at time, fouls on Arsenal at time, and so on).

    Untold has a lot of data. Maybe do an extensive indexing of the site, and for app users, insert links to articles, comments or both from Untold and possibly the history site? Sorry, I have no magic about how to do this extensive indexing.

    Tony doesn’t seem to be in the monetizing to the limit camp, so maybe fun things can be put in. Any time someone scores against Tottenham, a chicken walks across the screen. If someone scores against Chelsea, maybe moaninho on his tiny horse traverses the screen. If someone scores against ManU, a toilet traverses the screen.

    This is too long. It probably should should be approved, so I need to find a couple of web links to trigger that.

    San Marino scored a visting goal (first in 14 years). Does this mean we should be lining up to sign Matteo Vitaioli as a world class striker?

    Phil McNulthead of the BBC has this:

    Rooney is, though, the finest England player of his generation, an attacker who excelled at this elite level.

    Rooney got to the numbers needed to surpass the previous holder of the number. Because the probability of scoring from a penalty kick is so much different from scoring from open play, I don’t think records should include penalties (from a foul or to decide a tie). I’m happy Rooney got another mention in the records, I don’t think he is England’s best striker.

    (And I am still learning about how to best do things with WordPress for Untold.)

  36. Putting the blockquote inside the anchor does produce something useful. Repeating from above (with angle brackets replaced by parentheses):

    Phil McNulthead of the BBC has this:
    (a href=”″)
    Rooney is, though, the finest England player of his generation, an attacker who excelled at this elite level.

    The entire blockquote becomes a link that people can click on, to see the original article.

  37. I have not had any feedback about my lost comment, so I’ll just post this instead.

    Reyes was hounded out of English football by physical abuse from the Ugly Sisters & poor officiating by the current PGMO chief. Together they are liable for destroying a promising football career of this Arsenal player. Eduardo was also reduced to a poor reflection of his beautiful talented self after the horrendous tackle that broke his leg. Diaby is another that has been destroyed in similar fashion. Alexis & Coquelin are currently targets for exactly the same treatment. The PGMO & their parent FA have a responsibility for all of this destruction of young talent.

    These organisations like the media & many football clubs are run by an old boy network that has a particular dislike for Wengers roots. It shows in the way he is targeted (not dissimilar to ex England manager Taylor & the turnip graphic) for any reason outside of football.

    There is a lot of evidence of who actually controls football. It is a devious bunch.

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