Catastrophists and doom mongers fail to come up with a coherent plan

A week or so back Untold published an article which revealed how a tiny group of people had created the doom and gloom movement at Arsenal by undertaking multiple postings from different email addresses.

In that article and others I’ve tried to point out what I think are the complex interrelated issues that need exploration if one is to debate if Wenger is the right or the wrong man for the job.

What is noticeable is that there has not been a single anti-Wenger post that has taken up either of these points in full.   Perhaps with the personality disorder group that’s understandable – how do you explain such odd behaviour?   But still, with the rest of the debate, one might have hoped for more.

Indeed, the one thing noticeable about catastrophist commentaries throughout is how they deal with just one part of the debate.  Indeed many have no debate at all, but are just a statement of personal feelings presented as if they were facts.

So what I thought I’d do here is set out a simple summary of the debate as it seems to me. For simplicity I have broken it down into sub-sections, which interrupts the flow somewhat, but I think it also makes it clearer.   These are, in my view, the key points that would need to be answered if one were trying to put forward a serious anti-Wenger argument.

1.  The Chelsea / Man C issue

When Abramovich came along the world of football transfers changed, and it became clear that to cope with this pressure Arsenal needed a new strategy.  For each player that Arsenal wanted to buy, the response is now, “hold on, we’ll just see how much Man C want to pay.”  Indeed we have run here a story which suggests that Man C have on at least one occasion phoned a club and said, “don’t try to buy x – if you do, we will wreck all your purchasing plans”.

Several ways out of this dilemma have been proposed – David Dein and Mr Usmanov have one approach.  The current Arsenal board have another.  Whatever one proposes in terms of Arsenal moving forward, we need to consider how we will cope with the fact that Chelsea and Man C can buy anyone they want at any time, because there is no price limit, and can and will artificially up prices to stop other clubs taking up new talent.

2.  Borrowing to infinity

Man U and Liverpool have sought to take on Chelsea and Man C at their own game but with lesser resources.  I believe that this attempt to buy, buy and buy more by Man U and Liverpool played into the hands of those who wanted to buy out the clubs and put them into more debt.  No one has successfully entered the transfer market on a large scale in England in recent years and done anything other than force prices up higher and higher, until they reach a level that only Man C and Chelsea can afford.   Because of this, trying to buy our way to the title is not a viable option.  Because of this neither club is seeming to do much in the transfer market, and Man U in particular is looking at a very old squad.

3.  New stadium

I fully supported the new stadium approach from the off, and I love the stadium in every regard.  I don’t believe it has restricted our spending power, except that if we started to borrow money to fund the mortgage, the interest level we would pay on that would be astronomic.  People might argue that the stadium was not a good idea – but now we are there, I don’t think loss making through huge player purchases is an option, simply because of the reaction of the existing lenders.

But I believe the new stadium was utterly right – now 60,000 people can watch the team, not 38,000 – and that is what I want.

4.  Vulnerability of ownership

So far neither the Man C nor the Chelsea ownerships have backed away from their tasks.  But there have been many new owners who have failed to show the money they promised.  Liverpool were promised a new stadium started in weeks, when the current owners came in.  Instead the money was misappropriated.  All of Portsmouth’s owners last season promised vast sums.  QPR were said to be the richest club in the world, and are on their 8th manager in a couple of years (or something like that!)  Birmingham announced that they would spend £40m this summer, and then couldn’t pay their bank fees and were sued.  West Ham were backed by a bank – which went bust.  Villa brought in a top American owner who seemed to be spending a fortune – only for the accounts to reveal that he was the one making a profit on the interest.

And so on – although bringing in a big investor as owner might promise the money, in the majority of cases it doesn’t deliver, and that leads to chaos.  Arsenal have gone for diversity of ownership, which means no rich kid playing with our club.  You can argue for that – but in doing so beware of the dangers.

5.  New regulations

At the same time as all the issues about where the money comes from and the need to make a profit, we have the issue of the forthcoming Uefa regs and the new 25 players issue in the EPL.  I know that many writers have said “It won’t happen” or “the big clubs will find a way around it.”  Maybe, but that is hardly a strategy for the future.  It is a bit like saying, “Royal Bank of Scotland won’t go bust.”  It did.  Or perhaps “we won’t pay over the VAT on the takings – HMRC won’t notice.”  Not really the best way to secure the future of the club.

6.  Players – avaialbility, price, wages

There is always much talk about players being bought, but the fact is, identifying a player who is available, and then securing him at a price we can afford, and at a salary we can afford is different – and all that assumes the club want to sell him.  It must be remembered that England is an unattractive location for players in financial terms, because of the tax situation.  This may of course change as Spain teeters on the brink of total financial collapse, but thus far this has been the case.   Arsenal’s response has been to secure players on long term contracts and to invest in salaries to compensate a little for the tax situation.

We can’t assume that every player wants to come here, nor that they will want to stay.  So a list of players to replace those not liked is not a good idea.

7.  Need for a new approach – Worldwide scouting

Wenger decided that the way to approach the situation at first (before Chelsea morphed into the KGB) was through worldwide scouting.  It was stunningly successful – although sometimes we had to wait a while for players to develop.  For every Vieira who came along and was dominant from day one, there was a Pires who took a year to settle in.

But the revolution of Worldwide Scouting took us to the top.

However it then ceased to be so powerful simply because, as Wenger himself has said, you can find half a dozen English scouts at each second division match in France these days.  Ten years ago there weren’t any at any of the first division clubs.

Also, our attempt to own a second club (Breveren in Belgium) has been stopped by Uefa, so another useful supply of talent has gone.

I suspect most of the clubs watching French football don’t know what on earth they are looking for, but still they are muddying the water and putting up the price.

Worldwide Scouting is still a viable option, but its power has diminished as others have caught up.

8.  Second approach – Youth Project

So, after a year or two, Wenger revitalised the youth section of the club and started the youth project.  It might be amusing to read that the youth project has failed, if it weren’t for the fact that some people say it every week and others start to believe it.

The youth project is the follow up to World Wide Scouting, and started about seven years ago with the first crop of 11 and 12 year olds who started work at the Academy in the New Approach.   These youngsters have been kept together, and they and their immediate successors have won three trophies in the last two years.  If you want to read about them, the review of next year’s squad has quite a few details there.

So the youth project is just now coming to fruition, and we will be seeing more and more of these players come through.  If the production line is being followed year on year (and it is hard to get information – and we must respect the fact that we are talking about children here) then our dependency on world wide scouting and big name signings will become a thing of the past.

Certainly the achievement of this year’s and last year’s under 18s outstrips anything that has ever been done before in any Academy club in England.

9.  Putting it together

Worldwide scouting, plus the youth project, with occasional forays into the transfer market are a solution to the problems caused by the arrival of unlimited money at two clubs, the forthcoming regulations, the imbalance of taxes, and the predatory power of clubs supported by banks and big industry in southern Europe (which I’ve not gone into here, but we’ve talked about in recent articles and commentaries).

Like it or not the new stadium has given us a need for financial caution and a lack of borrowing (you try telling a mortgage company that you will pay for the mortgage by borrowing the monthly repayments elsewhere), and these give us the solution.

10.  Conclusion

I find it hard to think what else could be done other than to put ourselves in the hands of a rich oligarch – which doesn’t appeal to me as it would be dangerous and I have some moral scruples about such matters.

One thing that strikes me is that not only are the anti-Wenger posts not arguments which combine answers to this range of complex factors they are also repetitive personal points of view.  Indeed reading back through the posts on this site during the past few months, I think it is fair to say that we have read all these arguments a dozen or more times each.   After all, how many times do we need to read the point of view that there are five members of the first team who are not up to it, and should be sold at once and replaced by top players?  I think we’ve got the hang of that one, and noted the fact that never is it linked to any economic realities.

We have also read the endless, “I hope I am wrong but…” and the wild predictions (everyone’s leaving) or simplistic statements (he hasn’t won anything, so he’s clearly no good) or even more simplistic statements (you want to know why Wenger is no good?  I’ll tell you – he plays Denilson)

My view is that we’ve heard this debate so often there’s really no point hearing it again, and so I am changing my editorial stance a little, by saying that anyone who posts simplistic anti-Wenger views about Arsenal which we have heard numerous times before, will be cut.   Not because I disagree with them but simply because they are too boring.  Indeed boring statements don’t become less boring the more we hear them.

21st century football at the highest level is a complex business, and if we are to debate it properly we need to embrace that complexity in our commentaries.  In my own small way I try to do that, and I am delighted by the way my fellow contributors both to articles and commentaries take aboard this idea.

My fear is that readers who enjoy and value the complex analysis will be put off by the childish “Wenger clearly doesn’t have a winning mentality” argument, and I am hoping that this minor change in policy will encourage everyone to join in with this site, and embrace the complex issues we try to debate.  It would, I think, be desperately sad, if we let those who believe in simple monothematic solutions take over, and force the real debate out.

But, as before, I am very willing to post anything that represents a coherent anti-Wenger argument which is not mono-thematic.  If it takes in the points that I have outlined above, or in some other way constructs a firm theoretical base for the argument, or can put together a coherent argument as to why this analysis is wrong (rather than just making simple points that anyone can see that Wenger won’t buy, so he is stubborn, so he should go) then I think we can all benefit from seeing it and debating it.  If you want to write such a piece email it to me as a word document at

Tony Attwood


Next Season: a set of articles about the squad, the transfers, and who is moving up from the reserves  – not to mention a definitive analysis of how the 25 player system works.

The glorious future

The adventurous past

What to read on the beach this summer

75 Replies to “Catastrophists and doom mongers fail to come up with a coherent plan”

  1. Arsenal are on the right track and in due time AW will get it right.Last season was a rollercoaster ride which I enjoyed till almost the end when we imploded.Injuries were the main reason that we fail to win anything.
    A few new signings and some fine tuning will set us right.AW’s task will be to instill in the players the confidence to fulfil their obvious talent.
    I look foward to seeing a sleeker Untold Arsenal Tony -feel free to pare the fat and save us from the repeatative crap of the D&Gloomers.
    I can’t wait for the new season to start.I hate the world cup and just hope all the Arsenal players make it back without injury.Cheers !

  2. Tony, that is a precise and defined guantlet that you have thrown down. It is highly unlikely to be picked up. There will be those who think that they are responding appropriately, who in actuality will just be repeating the child-like statement-in place of facts that so litter the internet regarding our club of late.
    What these people fail to realise is that regardless of which aspect of the club or recent club/team occurrance that they are unhappy with, there has been far more positive aspects in this regard under AW’s tenure. Arsene wenger is not the supreme being so of course not everything he does is perfect but what should be considered is, was what he did the best he could in the circumstances taking all factors into account, both internal and external?
    The boundaries to achievement of a balanced view for some of our “fans” generally seems to come from a misguided sense of entitlement. For example we qualify for the CL for 13 or so years in a row so it is no longer an achievement. Spurs did so after spending over £110 million in two years and HR get manager of the year beloved by all except HMRC.
    The usual fallback position for those who criticise is to point out that we have won no trophies in 5 years. They convieniently ignore that the manner in which you attempt to win a trophy has far longer consequences than achieving the trophy itself.
    Just ask Portsmouth supporters.
    I suspect that Ryhs may come closest to putting forward a half decent attempt at your challenge but he seems to have this inevitable slide into misguided nationalism that barely veils his contempt for our percieved lack of English players. Something of a throwback from a best forgotten era of prejudice.

  3. There is no plan. There is only money. With enough money you do not need a plan. If you only spend, spend, spend you will always win. There are plenty of examples from real life on this. Ugly girls buy silicon and fix their face(spend spend spend) and boom! they are preatty! Ugly guys that do not get girls.. find a way to get quick cash with either leagal or unlegal methods. boom! you got all the hottest chicks running after you.

    Footbalclubs, do not think so much about debts. just buy 6 star players in a year and hire Murino. Boom! you got yourself a CM title and quite possibley a trebel!
    Its simple really, spend some money, be a man and become a winner! that is what the doom and gloom want. They cannot understand why we cannot do this. Life is so simple if you follow this recipe! Honest 😛

  4. There was one of these guys on ACLF last night trying to prove that once Djourou got injured on August 11 2009, Wenger should have, could have gotten a top class centre back to replace him by August 31.

    This is how stupid these people are. It’s really good that you’re laying down the gauntlet.

    I’ve never heard a single coherent argument or set of arguments, based on fact & acknowledgement of the true choices facing the club now or in the past from the catastrophists and anti-Arsenal Arsenal fans.

  5. It’s good to read some well thought out, and realistic views on Arsenal FC. I’ve heard plenty of people saying ‘where’s the youth? The project has failed!’ It’s a shame these people don’t actually bother to find out how things are really going before jumping to conclusions.

    I’m not happy that Arsenal are finishing 3rd or 4th in the league but I understand what we are up against and what is being done to make things better.

    Some fans see Chelsea and United winning the trophies and get bitter towards Wenger because he hasn’t delivered a strong enough squad. If we are truthful though, who, other than City or Chelsea can build a whole squad full of players at such ridiculous cost? City are paying some their players in excess of £200 K a week. It’s the same at Chelsea.

    Of course it doesn’t help when ex-players like Paul Merson constantly put the boot in and ask why we haven’t got a squad to rival Chelsea. I know he’s not the brightest but surely he should be able to understand the advantage an endless supply of cash can have.

    Wenger is not perfect and makes mistakes like everyone else but there is no one better to deal with the artificial rivals that have emerged from no where.

    Anyway, bring on next season, and the next 10.

  6. Tony you’ve nailed it again. The voice of reason in a mad footballing world.

    Something that I think these “fly-by-night” supporters dont seem to get is that The Arsenal leads not follows, and it has ever been thus.

  7. Excellent Tony. The new reality should be interesting. You could call it something like ………. a GULAG?

  8. Good article and whilst i could probably add some further points in support the points are made in sufficient detail.

    there is no good reason for wenger to go and whilst i dont agree with a lot of his decisions i can understand his method and he deserves the luxury of making errors after all he has done for us.

    he is such an intelligent person on most subjects that i get very frustrated with him for getting simple issues very wrong.just a few examples; it costs nothing to organise a defence or a team to defend. i dont know if we have bad defenders or a badly organised team to defend but it is at the very least the latter and there has been no improvement. Verm looks a fantastic player but looks out of position so many times such as home to barca. going into a new season with only rvp/eduardo and bendtner when the first 2 are injury prone and trying to recover from serious injury. i cant find any reasonable explanation for either but i still wouldnt swap wenger for anyone.if th team were organised properly and strenghtened with a few high class players then we can easily absorb cesc going. there are plenty of teams in europe who are successful with lesser midfielders than cesc. just look at utd in the previous few years.

  9. None of that romance for you then, Sad!!

    …but Tony all that may be well & good but Ian Wright, 1 PL win at 36, The Merse & all the luminaries at Talk Shite say we have to win things to keep the players, who will all want to go to the other 2 or 3 clubs more capable of winning than us.

    They all say we have to have previous winners in the team, English at that. That means we have to buy Chelsea or Man U throw offs. Then again we did get Sylvestre & nobody seemed to like that.

    Where do we go from here??

  10. 1. In the Premier League era, Arsenal have consistently been overbid by richer teams, like Man Utd, Chelsea, Man City… even Blackburn Rovers if you consider they bought their way to a trophy as well. It’s not that much difference between being overspent by Man Utd in the 90s, and being overspent by Chelsea in the 00s, and by Man City in the 10s.

    2. No one is talking about borrowing enormous amounts to buy world-class players. The money’s there, but it’s being spent on extending the contracts of our under-acheiving players. Take the Adebayor and Toure money. 75% of it was supposed to be spent on new transfers or wages. We spent most of it (presumably) on extending the contracts of Diaby, Fabianski, Almunia etc., instead of using it in the January transfer window to buy the one or two squad reinforcements that could’ve alleviated the injury crisis which halted our title bid.

    3. About your comment: “I don’t believe it has restricted our spending power, except that if we started to borrow money to fund the mortgage, the interest level we would pay on that would be astronomic. People might argue that the stadium was not a good idea – but now we are there, I don’t think loss making through huge player purchases is an option, simply because of the reaction of the existing lenders.”

    Firstly, it has restricted our spending power, if you look at our net transfer spending in the years before the stadium was mooted, when the stadium was being planned, and in the four years since we moved. Secondly, the board have been on record to say that we have a 70m transfer facility. The structure is in place for borrowing for “world class” players if needed. And there’s accommodation by lenders, who appreciate that Arsenal as an asset depends on the quality of the squad. There’s that clause that stipulates that 75% of transfer funding must be funnelled back into the squad.

    4. Are you really suggesting that the board is a bastion of stability? We’ve Usmanov engaged in a cold war with Kroenke for overall ownership. Usmanov has been snubbed by the board, doesn’t even have a seat of the board despite being 2nd largest shareholder. We’ve a board which is hiding behind Kroenke and which tacitly accepts him and Fiszman as de facto owners. The board kicked Bracewell-Smith off the board, and she responded by hawking her shares to the highest bidder. David Dein is still sniffing around somewhere. In the past four, five years, the board’s been a basketcase, and each long-term owner is just waiting for the time to cash in their shares.

    5. Do you really think UEFA will start a Champions League season with marquee clubs like Barcelona, Real Madrid and Man Utd out of the competition because of financial regulations?

    6. Yes, players aren’t easily bought. You need to employ many people to make it happen. But transfer happen all the time. Wenger has a dossier of players he is keeping track on. If we need a certain player desperately, why can’t we go for No.2 choice if No.1 falls through?

    7. Yes, Arsene Wenger changed English football by looking beyond Britian for recruits. But that’s over ten years ago. The rewards have been reaped, and the other clubs have caught up.
    What’s the strategy now to win trophies? Because boasting of our scouting network in the 90s is like us boasting about the invention of the back four by Chapman in the 30s.

    8. The youth project is exciting. But how far are they going to progress without the core of experienced pros to help guide them through? We’ve seen Denilson, Diaby, Song, Clichy, Nasri etc., falter and show lack of determination, hunger, focus, etc,. because they don’t have the exposure to an experienced winning culture. Winning is contagious, read it in any self-help book. You need to surround yourself with winners to understand what it takes to be a winner.

    9. You’re contradicting yourself with Point 3, where you said you “don’t think it (stadium) has restricted our spending power”, with the statement “Like it or not the new stadium has given us a need for financial caution and a lack of borrowing (you try telling a mortgage company that you will pay for the mortgage by borrowing the monthly repayments elsewhere), and these give us the solution.”

    And as I’ve said previously, our “mortgage company” has stipulated that we need to spend to keep the squad at a competitive level. The ONLY bankable asset that Arsenal FC have is the quality of their squad.

    10. I seriously doubt you’d publish anything even remotely anti-Wenger, Tony.

    Additionally, the follow are the points that doomers would argue. I’ll just list them, because I’ve talked about them before, and I’m sick of repeating myself, and you tend to ignore arguments that are thought-out and sensible:

    1. Poor injury list management
    2. Tactically naiveness
    3. Rewarding poor performers with long contracts
    4. Not enough competition to drive our players to improve
    5. Players lacking focus, commitment, determination
    6. The board saying we’ve got money, Wenger saying we’ve got money, so why the lack of spending?
    7. Almunia
    8. Fabianski
    9. Not replacing experienced players with experienced players

  11. Tony, as a lawyer, I’m all for freedom of speech. Indeed, as one who has experienced first hand the brutality of repressive military regimes, I am the first to defend the right of anyone to air his opinion without fear of harm. I believe strongly in the healthy exchange of opinions, and the free flow of ideas.

    I have often defended Myles Palmer’s right to spew all the junk he does, because he has that freedom and it must be respected at all costs. If it can be taken away from him, it can be taken away from you too, Tony.

    I understand your frustration with the catastrophists. Reading their nonsense makes me want to tear my hair out, and only this morning, there was a post on the Online Gooner (an ANR clone if there ever was one) basically laying out all the catastrophists’ statements in full.

    To those who understand what is going on at the Arsenal, who know that we are beyond fortunate to have Arsene here at this crucial time in our history, it is extremely hurtful to see the disrespect he receives daily. I want to shut the fools up too, in every physical way my body will allow.

    I know that an attempt to have any discussion with a catastrophist is like playing out “The Argument Clinic” in real life, but we must persevere.

    I have one rule: It is the right of any person to air their opinion. As a result, it is also the right of anyone who has had to listen to said opinion to tell its owner that they are stupid, ignorant, dunces who should be culled from humanity in order to protect future generations from the possibility of being infected by their malignant DNA.

  12. Hello,
    A very well reasoned and structured piece. Bravo!

    Now I wish all the slope-foreheaded fools can understand better Wengers/Arsenals position.

  13. I can’t agree more, I have been reading blogs and news site where Arsenal fans have been trashing our own club and asking Wenger to be sack. I, like all gooners felt frustrated and angry when we lost 3-0 to chealsea and couldn’t win anything for 5 years. Everyone is asking wenger to buy and buy. But i would like to ask everyone to keep their emotions in check.

    Arsenal dosn’t have a solid history to back the club for serious constant success, certainly wenger could spend 400 million on players and salary rather than building the staduim. And everyone will be happy, but if that is the case, I can guarantee we will add afew trophy, but go back to mid table after wenger has left.

    Wenger is no fool, he knows how to buy success, if you look at the invincible, only cashly cole is being groom, and the rest are all brought in when they are professional. Wenger must have seriously think through a strategy before embarking on it. And the only way to compete with chealse, build up our history is to do it this way.

    Thus, like the post, I would like to urge all gunner fans to be more patient, trophy will come soon and we will be able to compete in the world stage for the next 50 years!!

  14. 1. Poor injury list management
    2. Tactically naiveness
    3. Rewarding poor performers with long contracts
    4. Not enough competition to drive our players to improve
    5. Players lacking focus, commitment, determination
    6. The board saying we’ve got money, Wenger saying we’ve got money, so why the lack of spending?
    7. Almunia
    8. Fabianski
    9. Not replacing experienced players with experienced players
    If you don’t mind Sir Tony, I’ll bite.


    1. Do you have any special knowledge that proves Wenger or the club is poorly managing injury lists?

    2. I can highlight several tactical innovations by Arsene Wenger that have been adopted by teams winning trophies. One of them is the use of wide men who cut in from their weaker foot to their right foot. Another is the use of 2 llegandas. His approach to the 4-4-2 is also widely recognised as an outstanding tactical innovation. I can name others. The notion that he’s tactically naive is not naive, it’s laughable. But there are many stupid people in football who think the only tactics are negative tactics.

    3. They are not poor players. Of all the teams in Europe, after Chelsea, Arsenal have the highest number of players going to the World Cup. They’re mostly internationals who at their young ages have proven outstanding in various ways. From a commercial perspective, keeping most of the club under long contracts is a way to safeguard their value and keep the squad together. it’s why we have a strong hand in the Barca-Cesc issue for example.

    4. We have 3 players for most positions in the team. We had 7 centfre backs last season while most teams have 3 or 4. Again, how is there a lack of competition?

    6. There is no lack of spending. We buy players every season. At least 2 every season. What we dont do is pay over the odds or splurge like Chelski.

    All the other points I’ll ignore because they’re incoherent as opposed to the ones I’ve responded to which are just rubbish-

  15. Ole, if it’s alright with you, I’ll wait until Tony replies. As I said, I’ve argue most of these points elsewhere in this blog, and I really can’t be arsed doing it again.

  16. It’s the reality that if you have no argument you use trickery and half truth’s to plead your case.

    It has always been the strategy in the blogosphere.

    My reality was I was fighting these toddlers on other sites and was getting depressed because I loved this team. More often than not I was debating other EPL fans which was even more depressing.

    So I stumbled onto Untold and it took a while to adapt to the guidelines, but I did. I even bought a great book!

    I am bored with the catastrophist!

    I think it is time to start calling them for who they are. I believe they do not support this club at all. They are spuds, and IOU’s fans who gripe on our site.

    The real argument is moving away from the catastrophist and you will see this club hitting on all cylinders starting in the summer. The real argument will be Mourinho vs. Wenger football. Defensive football crap football vs. free flowing. And, the question is who will win?

  17. Gr8 moov 2 stp da ppl hoo r sayin bad fings bout arsnul n arsn vingr mayb it wil stp ppl postin coment lyk dis!?

  18. Agree! I get down when arsenal lose,I also got a bit arrogant 5 or 6 years ago with winning all the time but
    by the next morning – I am on a level again! Footballs great is’nt it!?!
    What this article really does for me is show there is an island of calm
    amongst the waves of unnessary critism out there that feeds some supporters views…
    …Of course aw is not always right but who is..

    •alan green – ever since the 80’s this guy has caused me to swear – I stopped listening to live games when
    he came on but I had the misfortune of hearing his commentry in both barca games!
    Unless I missed the point he took every opportunity to belittle arsenal irrespective of the better
    Play against our patched up side
    •talksport- once mr green had annoyed me too much I thought I would try the jouval banter of
    Talksport..all good stuff lots of footy talk that my wife always got annoyed about.. Until like a girlfriend
    Who cheats on you, there seemed to be an alarming ‘let’s destroy your idol’ debates very unbalansed
    ..There was a sprinkle of but what of the injuries/chelsea money or but manu are in debt…they were lost in
    a sea of supporters who I think need to count to ten after a loss – it was funny to
    Hear pundits change tack whenever arsenal got back into the race!

    Anyway, sorry for blowing off steam! Long and short of it gooners sleep on a loss, slate wenger whilst wieghing up
    The factors in this article as there are plenty on non gooners waiting to stick the boot in!!!

  19. Football is about winning and losing. We can’t just win every game (well, that would probably happen if you play FM10 game). Look at Real Madrid, they’ve spent over $200 million this year and what they’ve won?? nothing. Why spending a lot of money on players where you have enough resources on the youth. Winning is everything but you have to do it right. I’ll be sad and disappointed if Arsenal go down the path like pompey and leeds.
    Tony is right, these days football is more complex business.

  20. Well Endowed Gooner. Very well said mate. I will be interested to see a response to that.

    Tony please do not start to censor the comments on your blog. If the Blog is written by someone who is Pro Wenger and only Pro Wenger comments are allowed then it will certainly limit the spectrum of ideas and views and make things less interesting.

    What about the people like me? where do I fit in? I think Wenger has been a great manager and ambassador for Arsenal. Hes has contributed so much to this club that I would never disrespect him like others do. But for me he has lost his way and does not seem to be able to change his strategy. I think that both Arsenal and Arsene would benefit if they parted company. Wenger needs to be free from the ‘project’ which has dragged him down in recent years.

  21. Tony this is well reasoned and stated with strong conviction. However so was the Communist manifesto i.e. it doesn’t make it right. Its not what you state- its what you have not considered that concerns me most.

    Like how sustainable is this Arsenal model when it is dependant on one man in his 60s working 24 hours per day 365 days per year indefinitely? Is there evidence of succession planning? Who else could get this team in the CL each year?

    Arsene is a great man and a great football man but he lacks a football man on the Arsenal Board to ensure that football priorities like investing in players receive due weight.

    The Board is not stable for gods sake. Its balanced precariously between the devil(Usmanov) and the deep blue sea (Kroenke)- trouble is no one is sure which is which. Does anyone know how much debt Kroenke is carrying? What is to stop Arsenal being taken over a la United ?

    Arsenal may not be in imminent danger of financial meltdown- but does the financial model involve selling players year on year in order to reduce the stadium and other interest payments to a level the Board are comfortable with? What happened to the revenues received from the sale of Adebayor and Toure were they re-invested in the team?

    We all know that earlier this year the Board decided to spend revenues(100m) (from the sale of property) initially earmarked to strengthen the squad on reducing the debt. If the financial plan was so strong why was this necessary?

    If Fabregas goes- and he will this season- will Arsene be given all of the money received from his sale to strengthen the team? You and I both know he won’t and that the Board will look to teenagers to replace Cesc Fabregas. The result of doing this is obvious.I don’t have to be a catastrophist to know this will result in major problems. If we have such a great financial model why is this necessary?

    I have noticed how intolerant this site is becoming- some of the comments by The Law made me shudder- we aren’t in Nazi Germany are we? I am not surprised that you have now decided to remove posts that you don’t agree with. Good luck.

  22. Tony: You have really outdone all with this article.

    After reading this, I will opine that it is extremely foolish to still misunderstand or misrepresent the Arsenal situation and position.

    Most of the Negativists are actually reacting to the taunts of other misguided fans of other clubs, mediocre pundits who do not even properly understand the rules of the game and their correct interpretations (imagine anyone who deem a leg breaker as “not even a foul”) and the machinations of the self agrandising Media.

  23. @ Tony – think it is a pity that you couldn’t simply place the simplistic anti-argumentalists somewhere else on the site – perhaps on an “Anti” page so that one could judge whether these “arguments” are merely simplistic statements – if we could be bothered. I think that would be the best response to the issue of freedom of speech.

    An anti argument supported by some reasoned argument should be seen on this site. I agree that a statement which merely summarizes the unhappiness of the sender is of little use – but I believe it should be available for viewing.

  24. This is a blog, not a forum.

    Forums are for ‘free’ speech – but even forums have rules don’t you know.

    A blog is a blog. Its a place for a personal opinion.

    If you don’t like that opinion, don’t frequent that blog.

    For those of us that understand the basic precepts of a liberal democracy, we understand the right to act think and believe according to our conscience providing it does not deprive another of the like right.

    The rise of big oppressive Government, and its inherent fascistic traits, may lead some of the younger posters to believe they have a right to subordinate others and repress their opinions.

    This is a fallacy.

    You may not like Tony’s views, but you have no right to legislate against them, unless you regard them as illegal.

  25. Ole,you have made Well Endowed look like the clown he is . “Tak a bo son “

  26. Marcus.

    What are you talking about? We read the blog because its interesting and we are invited to comment so that we can express our views. The site author should either let all have their say or disable the comments. I hate censorship.

  27. 1. Barcelona didn’t win a trophy in 5 years before they won the treble.
    2. Ian ‘whats his problem’ Wright and Paul Merson have never said anything positive about Arsenal, its always doom doom and more doom. [are they really Arsenal supporters?]
    3. Buy Buffon? How do you know if Buffon even wants to come to England never mind Arsenal.
    4. The D and G Brigade are in the minority i believe, we the proper supporters who support Arsenal and Arsene Wenger are the majority. Thats why the D and G Brigade use underhand tactics to make every everyone think that they are the majority and we the minority. So that’s why it is our duty as supporters to get rid of this disease before it spreads too far.

  28. Tony,mystery777 is right of course ,however ,not if you read your article on multiple commentory by the same few people.So ,unfortunately,i think that we have to trust your judgement on what should or should not appear

  29. Its not censorship Mystery.

    Tony has the right to control what is said on his blog.

    If you don’t like it, open an Arsenal Forum……

    where all can have their say….

    its called being proactive, an entrepreneur… know, all the things Maggie Thatcher endorsed and which once made this country have a semblance of greatness, before the last crop of shysters pissed us up against the wall.

    Once you have started your forum, you will still need to regulate it.

    Saying that the sister of X is a slag is pretty unacceptable, don’t ya think?

    I have my own gripes with Tony btw, I don’t like the way he uses John Terry’s family in his arguments; I think its irrelevant and wrong personally to bring up someone’s family like that.

    There are a lot of issues that swirl around Arsenal, and it seems like everyone is polarized into one of two camps:

    Arsene Wenger is a mastermind Versus Arsene Wenger is passe.

    If you really want a constructive debate – try creating your own forum.

  30. Quote – What is noticeable is that there has not been a single anti-Wenger post that has taken up either of these points in full.

    Maybe there’s not such a big gap between the “anti-Wenger” brigade and your own view. I’ve only just discovered your site today and haven’t read the comments on most articles, so I don’t know what you have to deal with every day, but I suppose you could call me “anti-Wenger” so I’ll have a quick run down your points and put my own thoughts. I prefer to think of myself as pro-Arsenal rather than “anti-Wenger”, but here goes…

    1. The Chelsea / Man C issue. I have no problem with the way the board is running the club off the pitch. They have an easily affordable repayment plan on the stadium at the moment, the match day income takes care of the wage bill (almost) of the entire club, they have the transfer proceeds account with large sums ring-fenced for team building written into their loan agreements, the property side is free of debt. There’s no need to go down the rich owner route, the club can sustain itself and we are, contrary to what I hear most of the time from those loyal to the manager, swimming in money. The existence of the TPA is an inconvenience for those who claim the club is skint, but off the pitch the club is run very well.

    2. Borrowing to infinity. This is not necessary and very unwise, we’re agreed on that.

    3. New stadium. Again we’re pretty much in agreement with the need for it, although I didn’t want to move. The loans are well structured and affordable so I agree that we haven’t been restricted financially by the move. The problem will come if the club struggles even more on the pitch than it has done and they begin to fail to shift the corporate packages. There will always be someone to take a season ticket on, either by fans “renting” their own out if they can’t afford to go but don’t want to give it up, or there will be takers from the waiting list if those fans get fed up. The corporate seats are the big money maker though and we have to do better on the pitch to keep that income coming in and that does mean buying bigger and better players sometimes, in my view.

    4. Vulnerability of ownership. I think our ownership is quite stable. There’s a danger that someone, one day, will come in and try to buy it but I believe neither Kroenke nor Usmanov want or can afford to buy the club. If they could/wanted to, they would have stepped over the 30% threshold by now. I think Fiszman is vital in this though. When he decides to sell, then we’ll see where the cards fall. At the moment we’re stable.

    5. New regulations. I don’t think the new 25 player rule in the Premier League will affect us, or any club, at all. If it was going to cause any problems the clubs would not have voted for it. The UEFA financial regulations shouldn’t be a problem at all either. Not for us.

    6. Players – avaialbility, price, wages. This is where I think we should up our game. We can afford to, the will has to be there to buy though. I’ve never wanted us to spend £100m in a summer, but I have consistently and constantly argued with mates that adding a player or two of real quality every summer should not be beyond our finances, and that it made no sense to put all our eggs in the youth basket. It never made sense to me to get rid of players when they reach 30 and the whole “one year only at 30” thing has been a mistake. We’ve shed experience and replaced it with youth, it hasn’t worked and the rebuilding job has grown year on year as a result.

    7. Need for a new approach – Worldwide scouting.
    8. Second approach – Youth Project.

    I have put these two together because I think both have failed. I say this because it wasn’t combined with the right purchases of experienced players and you can’t build a team of kids and expect them all to develop at the same rate. We haven’t got the right blend and we have the likes of Cesc Fabregas developing at a rate that far outstrips someone like Diaby, Denilson or Walcott. The youth approach works if it supplements established professionals, but doing it the other way around is a recipe for failure. Arsene Wenger is to blame for loading his squad too much with youth and gambling on it coming off. It hasn’t done so and you can talk about academy players until you’re blue in the face, but if the first team is failing (and third is not like coming first, no matter how often the manager tries to tell you it is) the rest of it is almost irrelevant.

    There is talent at the club but the blend is so wrong and the manager seems blind to the failings of some of the players he has placed all his faith in. He needs to be more ruthless. He was ruthless with Senderos so why he indulges Diaby, Fabianski, Denilson and Walcott I don’t know.

    Wenger said himself before the Blackburn game on ESPN that if Cesc Fabregas left this summer, it would mean the entire policy of the club has failed. If that is the case, when Cesc goes, the manager should follow in my opinion.

    9. Putting it together. He could have put it together so much better than he has. What is maddening is that all the bits are there, but he just needed a little bit of experienced glue to pull it all together and he didn’t add that. He also shows no sign of wanting to do so this summer, when even his most loyal supporters surely know that he does need at least a goalkeeper and a centre back. It would not surprise me in the slightest to see Fabianski start the new season as our first choice keeper. That scares the shit out of me, to be honest.

    10. Conclusion. You say, “I find it hard to think what else could be done other than to put ourselves in the hands of a rich oligarch”. That’s not necessary, as I outlined above. We’re in agreement I think on the health of the club and a lot of that is down to the current manager. Where we differ is on his position. I believe he has taken the club a long way but has gone as far as he can, shows no willingness to spend the money he has toimprove the team and is content to be healthy and stand still. He has done a good job but I do think that we now need someone else to kick the club on to the next level. My response to your opening line would be, “Get a new manager”. Easier said than done, but it’s necessary I think.

    In closing this long comment I hope you can see that I for one am not that far away from your point of view all in all, and that all I want is for Arsenal to be the best club it can be. It needs to be winning things again to ensure the revenues keep coming, the fan base continues to grow and we can keep our best players while attracting new ones. The club has gone through the Wenger Phase in my opinion and it’s time for him to let someone else build on that. He’s given the club great foundations but I don’t think he is the right man to take the club forward.

  31. marcus…ease up on the neo-con twaddle, this is an arsenal blog and theres no need to spread your right wing crap on here

    and tony – good article, completely agree

  32. Well written me thinks. Nobody of course wants to hear that Barca actually went some seasons without winning a trophy… i does happen you know. the difference is that some think that we are doing enough to get back on the winning track and others think otherwise… i guess they wont be silenced until we actually win the trophies…. We are getting there!

    Well Endowed Gunner, What is there in Ole’s response that you think Tony will counter? Are they not articulate enough? No need for anyone one ise to attempt to respond them?

    We await Tony’s response then.

  33. “I am very willing to post anything that represents a coherent anti-Wenger argument which is not mono-thematic”

    I take this to mean that if you have something to say, that you can argue a case for, then fine but if it is just the usual “Wenger has taken us as far….”,without any reasoning for saying so; or the “so & so is useless…” type of thing, then I think most of us don’t want to be bothered with it.

    Well-endowed has come up with something that he at least appears to have thought about, so it has been printed & countered in a very adequate way by Ole.

    So no problem.

  34. Tony, like you I’m sick of the doom merchants who continually slag off our club and manager. If AW is not good enough then as you quite rightly point out, put forward a reasoned argument and suggest possible replacements and why. The same with players they think are not good enough. they may have a point with the odd one or two but the way the D&Gers talk it looks like we’ll need to replace the whole squad……WITH WHAT!!!!!!!!!? AW knew from day when Abramovich took over at Chelsea the his transfer policy would have to change, especially with the construction of a stadium. AW knew then just as he knows now that he has to rethink his strategy again and he will bit not online with the boom and bust merchants who follow our club.

    You are right to raise this point Tony as the majority of us decent supporters as sick to the back teeth of slagging off one of the greatest managers this club has ever had. To right him off as no longer good enough to manage Arsenal is an insult to all that has been achieved in the last 13 years. We as a club are just going through a transition that all other clubs will go through at one point or another. Wenger despite this transition has still developed a young team that is good enough to challenge for the EPL (3rd) and the CL (quarter final against the best team in the world but with 1/2 our first team squad missing). Liverpool supported would love to be in our position and look how much they’ve spent.

    So before you doomers jump on the anti Wenger bandwagon, think about what we have and put forward a compelling enough reason why we should get rid of him, detail which players you think we should buy and finally how the fuck we fund it. If we are going for top quality players the likes of Chelsea or Man Shitty will be more than happy to block or outbid us to push the price up or buy to keep in their reserves. Remember Shaun wright phillips -(price went up from £10m- £21m!!!??? Or Adebaywhore – £25m..ha!..ha!..ha!)
    That’s what we are up against Well Endowed Gooner and ARSENE KNOWS. YOU JUST DONT SEE IT!!

  35. well, I am with well endowed Gooner on this one – for the last few seasons, AW not only got it wrong, but also continued repeating the same mistakes:

    – rewarding failure with new, improved contracts
    – employing the same tactics whether we play Pompey at home or Chavs away: we are not THAT good, the table does not lie
    – zero attempts to influence game as it goes on (unless he happens to be a psychic, that is – you can’t make influence if you just sit on your arse for 90 minutes and moan to Rice)
    – our injury record is abysmal – unlucky? don’t make me laugh…
    – failure to address issues which were clear for everyone to see (lightweight squad, no enforcers)
    – failure to keep good players for the sake of lousy few grand a week

    I could go on and on – it is not rocket science, really: some think that it is so hard to get the right players in, no it is not, it’s just about keeping the club a desirable place, simple as…

  36. Tony – Nice piece and I agree with all of it bar one thing. I do think that the new stadium affected the money available. Not to the degree the press were implying, we were never broke but we had to lay out a lot of money and it took a few years for the increased revenue to kick in. And this is what annoys me so much about the D & G brigade, thier claim is that Wenger won’t spend money but maybe just maybe the board were telling a bit of a white lie (with Wenger’s approval) regarding available funds. If the board and/or Wenger had said money’s tight can you imagine the response from the press and if you think Barca are a pain in the arse now what would they have been like under those circumstances?

    I firmly believe that Wenger has managed to get Arsenal through a period where the stadium cost’s would have caused enormous problems at any other club. For that we owe him not only a debt of gratitude but a lot of respect.

  37. I agree with the overall argument that this article makes. I think, though, that we should give credit to ‘well endowed gooner’ for clearly outlining his position. I agree with a couple of his points, but I am still in the whole ‘keep the faith’ camp. Let us see what happens this summer. I will reserve my judgment for the upcoming season when we see Wenger’s plan. I do think that this team has the potential to win things. We need some tweaks obviously, but I stay optimistic.

  38. You forgot:
    11. Quality of football – essential to keep the stadium full. To be close to winning but just falling short is acceptable provided the quality of football if of the highest level.
    12. AW is a magnet to top quality young players who know that they will get a chance at a young age.
    When opposing supporters attend and shout their heads off with obscenity after obscenity usually they are shut up by the louder home support. So there is nothing wrong with silencing them on the blog.

  39. jbh,

    the stadium is not exactly ‘full’, is it?

    we attract young players because we pay them more than anyone else would, it really does not have a lot to do with AW, apart from the fact that it is him who is prepared to sanction obscene wages for the kids who don’t get a sniff of the first team action then leave on a free – Merida, anyone?

  40. This is not really adding anything to the debate suga.

    ” rewarding failure with new, improved contracts” ?

    examples ?

    “employing the same tactics whether we play Pompey at home or Chavs away: we are not THAT good, the table does not lie”

    ? you haven’t proven anything. If AW messed around with tactics and we came say 7th….then you’d be wrong. simple as…..

    “zero attempts to influence game as it goes on (unless he happens to be a psychic, that is – you can’t make influence if you just sit on your arse for 90 minutes and moan to Rice)”

    ? so AW made no substitutions last season?
    Any images of AW standing on the toucline are chimerical?

    Are you a spud….? the name Suga has me worried, as your mugshot and silly appraisal of AW’s work ethic…..

    ……whatever else you say about AW, you can’t say he doesn’t work his balls off…..oh, sorry you can and have….

    “Our injury record is abysmal – unlucky? don’t make me laugh…”

    Well if its not bad luck, then it is causal. What’s the cause? you don’t give any.

    “failure to address issues which were clear for everyone to see (lightweight squad, no enforcers)”

    Fair comment….I’d agree that we were a striker and a defender light last season, and weak in the GK dept. and we could do with an enforcer

    “failure to keep good players for the sake of lousy few grand a week ”

    haha. really? Count the lousy grands and the millions will take care of themselves. If player X gets an extra 250k a year….(i.e. 5k a week/ ” a few lousy grand”) then 30 othe rplayers will wnat the same = 8 million…..

    and that will go on and on every season.

    For better or for worse, AW runs a proper business, not Lehman brothers.

  41. Suga3 just to give you one example. In my country some 15 years ago a team manager decided to get rid of the leighweight players and replace them all by players or +1,85 meter. So he had a really big team and powerful team. At the end of the season they went down to the second division.
    In all his wisdome that manager forgot to see if those big powerfull players actually could play football together. They could not.
    Keep good players for a lousy few grand a week: do you have any evidence on this? Do you have acces to the contracts and to what was proposed? If you don’t have this, I think this is just what Tony means by saying something, state it as a fact but without evidence.
    Can you please give me another explenation for our injury record? I could say because the other teams deliberatly kick our players to pieces and I think this is unlucky because we don’t get enough protection

  42. I read somewhere that Arsenal subs had the most impact of all the teams in the league a few days ago, Suga

  43. Marcus,

    examples? Denilson and Fabianski, just to name two – did they deserve to be given contract extensions and a payrises? it only makes it harder to sell them…

    tactics: we always play the gung-ho attacking football and got punished for being unable to shut the shop more than once…

    substitutions are usually late in the game as well as predictable, so are the lineups – we don’t have enough players AW would trust to play them, Vela is the prime example of that – he is a full international and does some insane stuff for Mexico, why not for us?

    all Wenger does on the touchline is flap his arms around and moan to the 4th official instead of countering ‘physicality and defensive tactics’ in some way – you don’t see him barking orders if things go tits up…

    our players (AA, NB, again, just to name two) openly criticise our medical and fitness team: AA prefers to be treated by Zenit’s medics…

  44. WB,

    I am not advocating building a team of shitkickers, I am talking bout the right balance – currently our ‘physical’ players are:

    – Diaby (lazy and a crock)
    – Bendtner (still not there yet)
    – Song (whom I rate and always did)

    about injuries: what happens if you crash a Tata Nano into a Volvo? and what happens if you run your players into the ground due to lack of depth? you’ve guessed it…

    on subs: Wigan game was a fine example: they did not play at all in the second half, why not intorduce RvP to keep Wigan busy? great, let’s put him on at 2:2 in the 90+ minute…

  45. and oh, about ‘other players wanting the same’ regarding the improved contracts – well, perhaps it is about giving payrises to the players who deserve it, no?

  46. Tony, have you noticed as well that there is a new catastrophist argument that says Arsenal take too long to sign a player?

  47. Did Denilson deserve a new contract?


    1. He won the ball more than any player in the league last season. By far.
    2. He has done very well for us. That’s not my opinion. That’s the overwhelming verdict of every single measurable stat that exists in football.
    3. Wenger thinks so. And he’s only what- by far the best judge of talent in the footballing world?

  48. For an outsider(Indian) like me, who has adopted Arsenal as my club from the day that i started watching football, its fascinating to read the blogs and the comments. I feel the same pain, anguish and anger that many fellow bloggers have expressed here. As has been told to me in another blog, iam not a qualifies ‘FAN’ to comment on AFC, as i don’t pay the money to watch them in Emirates. I am also not a FAN who knows enough about AFC’s history to comment. I have also not seen Arsenal in pre-wenger era. But i do have the following questions/apprehensions in my mind and wonder whether Wenger has been provided too much power?
    1. No successful run business is run according to the Whims and fancies of an individual. Wenger has way too much power in the club. he is almost the single point of failure in the system.
    2. Does AFC have a succession plan for the most important area of a Football club, i.e. the First team manager?
    3. Is the board stable enough or will it wilt under the cold war between again an US and Russia?
    4. When the new stadium was built, there was talk about bigger pitch tiring the opposition out whit our passing football. I ask where is a pure winger in our team who can deliver crosses. Our fullbacks are shit in crossing, while our wingers keep cutting in.
    5. We had the best defensive record in the season when we reached CL final. Who were the defenders, yes the same maligned Senderos, Toure, Cygan etc? How did they form that partnership, who coached them. yes Martin Keown who was the famed back four. So why is wenger hesitant to get a Keown or an Adams to assist him in drilling defense.
    Can somebody answer me. Iam not for or against Wenger, but can the club be transparent and convey to their fans the answers to many of such questions.

  49. Bendtner came in in the business end of the season and scored 8 goals in 11, plus at least 5 assists.

    Name 3 strikers in the league who did better than that.

    If we’d signed Wayne Rooney in January and he’d come in and done that, we’d not hear the end of it.+

    Someone looking at that, plus his fantastic international scoring record, & international awards, and saying he’s “not there yet” is just a troll with no interest in a genuine discussion of the issue.

  50. Ole,

    unfortunately for Denilson and Wenger, games are not won on the stat sheets, hence the payrise and an extension is unjustified, we have let go of players with twice the heart, ability and impact…

    besides, look behind bare figures, it’s silly otherwise…

    and oh, a troll, now that is mature – change the record dude, it’s boring…

  51. SUGA3,

    Stats tell us what happened in a game.

    Like the scoreline. For example we know England scored 3 and Mexico only one tonight.

    Who knows you might actually fool yourself into thinking mexico won.

  52. and a word on Bendy – yes, he did as much as he could this season, but it hardly did made his first touch any better and did not improve his pace and finishing either…

    yes, he is an intelligent player, but to say he is a finished article (as opposed to ‘not there yet’) is just laughable…

    and you have the audacity to call me clueless, now that is rich…

  53. Ole,

    what are you trying to achieve by resorting to personal attacks? you think it makes your point stronger? think again…

    Mexico pissed all over England in the first half and 3:1 scoreline flatters the latter big time…

  54. SUGA3,

    Bendtner is already an elite striker. Whatever article he’s going to finish up being, he’s already a pretty decent one. Well worthy of the shirt.

  55. Ole,

    RvP is an elite striker, so is Drogba or Rooney, but calling NB ‘elite’ at this point in time is just a bit far fetched…

    yes, I agree, he has done well this season, all things considered, but he still has a lot to learn IMO…

  56. My definition of elite is maybe less restrictive but more meaningful. Restricting the application of the label to Drogba, RVP & Rooney is meaningless since there are 1000 to 10000 strikers playing in the top flight across Europe.

  57. Ole,

    I reckon he has the potential to be considered one of the best in the game, but at this point he is much better suited to be impact player – his ego works wonders when he has a point to prove 😉

  58. examples? Denilson and Fabianski, just to name two – did they deserve to be given contract extensions and a payrises? it only makes it harder to sell them…

    I think you are being unduly harsh. Denilson is a very good player, and re the other Fab, one or two cock ups at the start of your career doesn’t make you a loser. Tony Adams proved that.

    tactics: we always play the gung-ho attacking football and got punished for being unable to shut the shop more than once…

    we were also punished by an awful referee at WHU

    substitutions are usually late in the game as well as predictable, so are the lineups – we don’t have enough players AW would trust to play them, Vela is the prime example of that – he is a full international and does some insane stuff for Mexico, why not for us?

    all Wenger does on the touchline is flap his arms around and moan to the 4th official instead of countering ‘physicality and defensive tactics’ in some way – you don’t see him barking orders if things go tits up…

    But things did go tits up big time, and we still came out smiling, against Barcelona first leg, and that team who went 2-0 up in 5 minutes…….why do you always see the glass half empty?

    our players (AA, NB, again, just to name two) openly criticise our medical and fitness team: AA prefers to be treated by Zenit’s medics…

    maybe they are prettier

  59. The whole size debate is a complete red herring btw.

    Apart from the fact Arsenal are not particularly small, except in the imagination of Fleet Street, since when was size so important?

    Its not frikkin basketball.

    Most the hard men have been small anyway, dennis Wise, Billy Bremner, Chopper Harris, the list goes on.

    Its just a diversionary tactic used by the media. 10 years ago Arsenal were pschos with appalling discipline, and now we are southern softies..there’s always a stick to beat Arsenal with.

  60. – Half our squad is no good
    – We are tactically naive to the point that it’s an argument in favor of replacing the manager
    – We had tons of injuries and our best striker missed more than half of the season (others are no good or not quite there)
    – We don’t have enforcers
    – We can’t defend
    – We don’t spend

    In contrast
    – Spuds have excellent international quality strikers!
    – They have a brilliant goalkeeper!
    – They can defend
    – They have enforcers
    – They have spent roughly 150 mil in the last 3 years
    – They have the manager of the year!

    Simple question is, How did we finish above them in the league?

    The obvious answer is, we won’t next year!! (now where have I heard that one before)

    (You can replace Spuds with Citeh or Liverfool with minor changes)

  61. SUGA3,

    The striking thing about your blog and your posts on Le Groan is that you have no faith whasoever. Games are lost before they happen, every young player is not worth it, every manager is better than Arsene etc.

    Not to say that the truth is in between but honesly mate what grates about your way is that you don’t learn. You’re on track on Le Groan for a relentless slating of Song last season and given how he blossomed one would think that you’d be more cautious by now with young players but no, you just switched target and start again. You end up sounding like a broken record.

    I tried commenting a bit on your blog but I gave up in the end because of that.

  62. dude, it’s not about some blind faith and hope, it’s about being realistic – now tell me, when was I wrong with my posts? quotes, please…

    and we both know that you are exaggerating – I, for one want Wenger to adjust in the first place, not leave…

    and by the way: I was always the one to defend Song as I rate him and always did…

    sounding like a broken record? it’s funny you say that, so do AW apologists, trying to defend what is getting more and more indefensible…

  63. and oh, you can check what I said at the beginning of the season (the threads are there for everyone to see) – the title would be a matter between us and Chavs and that Pool would drop out of the top four – the only thing is that I underestimated the Ol’ Alchy and thought Citeh would take Pool’s place…

    I was of the opinion that we would miss out on title by some small margin if we didn’t strengthen in the summer…

    weren’t we supposed to have the ‘easiest run in’? what happened?

  64. I’ll take your word on Song as I have other things to keep me busy than checking your writings from the beginning of time 😉

    Anyway what I’m saying is that the truth lies in between the blind faith (here) and the constant dooming (Le Groan).

    And OK I’m exaggerating but not too much… What’s so indefensible? Finishing 3rd with a shot at the title, a clear progression from last season despite twice as many injuries as our competitors?

  65. Every post there is always someone who comes and tries to make all feel as crap as they are. As miserable and negative as they are. Why? thats just crazy go to where you can find kindred spirits and you can all bitch together.

    Why try to pass your pessimism on to others, that does nothing for arsenal fc if all the fans are depressed.

    Suga you have the right to be negative, seriously, not here

  66. goonerwife,

    I am not being negative, I am just lucky enough to be blessed with a sense of realism, unlike some…

    miserable? me? you will find it hard to find a person who is as un-miserable as I am 😉

    it is not moaning and bitching, it is just a cold analysis, something which Our Glorious Leader seems incapable of recently – I wrote a blog on Arsenal (too busy these days, but hey), you will not find any inaccuracies there, read game previews, they were usually spot on selection and tactics wise – I am just a layman and if I have AW figured out, so does every professional football manager, it’s that simple…

    Tony does not seem to mind me being here as I can put my point across well enough and back it up, unless you happen to believe that the Earth is flat, you will see where I am coming from…

  67. besides, if my ‘pessimism’ was not substantiated, you would just laugh it off – if everything is as rosy as some on here try to insist, why bother with an unreasonable dissenting voice?

    all I am saying is that we could and should do better – not strengthening last summer was a gamble, not adding in the winter was a suicide – nothing would make me happier than being proven wrong, but I somehow did not hold my breath…

    our first XI is a set of world beaters (well, maybe bar GK, unless it’s Szczesny), but the bench leaves a lot to be desired, hence unless we add to the squad (3 players minimum) and get shot of the dross nothing will change – I will still support Arse and go to the games as often as I possibly can, but I can see what you fail to see – the damage done to the image of the club and brand value (no success, selling club, etc.) is nothing short of professional negligence and last time I checked it was a sackable offence whatever your job is…

    again: I don’t want AW sacked, I want him to adjust…

  68. Nice try Tony.

    Good to see the intelligent response to your posting.

    I learn more here than anywhere else, mostly from your writing, and *some* of the regular contributors. A few months ago, the “signal-to-noise” ratio in the comments was pretty high — informative, funny, clever, colourful. So, I’m really rooting for your change in editorial philosophy. But I’ve gotta say it looks to me like you’ve given yourself a Sisyphean task.

    Let us help you with your challenge: how about giving us an “old-style” idiot filter, like we used to have on BBSes, when bandwidth cost serious coin? Then we could apply our own personal idiot filter, and not have to scroll thru ridiculous rants, one after another (that never change from one month to another).

    Or perhaps you could institute a voting or other reputation management system, so the inanities don’t hijack and drown out the useful discussion.

    for anyone else still reading, I leave you with this (from

    What is a troll?

    In email discussion lists, online forums, and Usenet newsgroups, a troll is not a grumpy monster that lives beneath a bridge accosting passers-by, but rather a provocative posting intended to produce a large volume of frivolous responses. The term can also refer to someone making such a posting (“a troll”) or to the action (“trolling”, “to troll”).

    The content of a troll posting generally falls into one of several categories. It may consist of an apparently foolish contradiction of common knowledge, a deliberately offensive insult to the readers of a newsgroup or mailing list, or a broad request for trivial follow-up postings. The result of such postings is frequently a flood of angry responses. In some cases, the follow-up messages posted in response to a troll can constitute a large fraction of the contents of a newsgroup or mailing list for as long as several weeks. These messages are transmitted around the world to thousands of computers, wasting network resources and costing money for people who pay to download email or receive Usenet news. Troll threads also frustrate people who are trying to carry on substantive discussions.

    People post such messages to get attention, to disrupt discussion, and to make trouble. The best response to a troll is no response. If you post a follow-up message, you are contributing to the resulting clamor and most likely delighting the troller. Before posting a response, consider the following questions:

    * Have responses already been posted by others?

    * Will my post add any information that others are not likely to be aware of already?

    * Is the issue resolvable, or will discussion turn into name-calling?

    * Should I send private email instead of posting publicly?

    * Will I later regret the contents of what I am posting?

    Please deal with trolls constructively, and do not participate in trolling. You will help make mailing lists and online forums much more enjoyable venues for discussion.
    This is document afhc in domain all.
    Last modified on April 08, 2010.

    If it looks and acts like a troll, it probably is. Try googling (and I do mean google) with this, BEFORE YOU POST A REPLY:
    and draw your own conclusions.

  69. people like suga3 are not supposed to be on this blog.Please Tony CUT HIM OFF.IN WENGER WE TRUST

  70. to be honest, I don’t give a shit if anyone of you lot calls me names – try putting your point forward, knock down my argument, it’s not hard…

    Tony does well to allow dispute on here – some of you would love nothing more than for people like myself not to have voice so that you could wax lyrical and agree with one another even though all you can muster is ‘in Wenger we trust’ – fortunately, we don’t live in a totalitarian society…

    Comment from Tony

    Suga 3: If I may add a note to explain what is going on.

    This site is set up as a site for people who are pro-Wenger. To me there’s nothing wrong with that. Just as there are many many sites that are anti-Wenger, so I thought it a good idea for there to be one that is pro-Wenger.

    Over time we have debated at great length the issues surrounding Wenger, with those who are against Wenger, and then two things happened.

    First, we found that a lot of emails were purporting to be from different anti-Wenger people, and they turned out to be the same person under different names. We, the pro-Wengerians, had been tricked and had wasted a lot of time trying to answer what we thought was a crowd, but was actually one person.

    Second, when we were debating with real people we found we were debating the same issues again and again and putting forward the same arguments again and again.

    In essence these arguments are that the issue is incredibly complex and involves numerous matters, and cannot be debated on the grounds of (and here of course I paraphrase) “Wenger is a prat because he plays Almunia in goal”. For those who disagree and think that we can have a debate like that, so be it, but that’s that. They’ve said their bit, and I’ve said mine. The debate can’t really proceed.

    So, to try and stop what is supposed to be a site debating Wenger’s incredibly complex approach to football becoming a simplistic debate, I (and it was just me as the guy who set up the site, and who devotes hours each day to keeping it running) decided to set up some ground rules.

    You will find them at

    or via the home page. My thought is this. I live in a rural county, and sometimes people put on village parties on the village green. Villagers, the morris men and others turn up and partake of the food and drink. There’s no charge, and no one is turned away. But if someone turned up from another village and started criticising the food, the drink, the dress, the morris men’s music and dance, and so on that would be dreadful. Better that they either go away, or before saying a word, they get a clear vision of what is going on, why it is going on and what the “house rules” are. And then they abide by them.

    I don’t offer you wine and sandwiches, but I do hope you can be respectful of our house rules.

    Tony Attwood

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