The funniest (and also the most embarrassing) transfer story this January

By Tony Attwood

As you might have noticed (if you ever read the home page of Untold Arsenal with its daily list of Arsenal anniversaries through the club’s history) today is both the ninth anniversary of the launch of Untold, and the anniversary of the meeting that AISA Arsenal History Society had with Rt Hon Jeremy Corbyn to launch “Woolwich Arsenal, the club that changed football” at the House of Commons.  We also had with us at that meeting the great granddaughter of Jack Humble, one of the founders of Arsenal.

I was wondering what I could write to commemorate these two events – something perhaps a little lighthearted, noting the fact that Untold had survived for nine years, published some interesting books and generally ruffled a few feathers.  Not a list of “we did this” but something lighter.  Something amusing.

As I was pondering I had a look around the news accumulator services and I found one article that even now several hours after finding it, I still can’t believe has actually appeared not just on the internet (anything can appear there) but actually got listed by the veritable NewsNow service.

But honestly, this is real.  (Incidentally I don’t think Goonernews covers this blog so good for them.  Glad they have a bit of sense and style).

Anyway, here we go for our little birthday spot of fun and games.  This really is a genuine article…

Arsenal are a team plagued with injuries every season. Nobody knows why it happens, is it a bad training programme, or is it simply bad luck? Whatever the reason, Wenger needs to recruit quickly this January transfer window, due to a very thin squad at present.

Shall we pick a hole or two in it, or should we just have a snigger?   OK normally not a snigger, but because it was this sort of stuff that Untold was set up to counter and because birthdays are days when one can relax a bit, so let’s do an analysis.

“Arsenal are a team plagued with injuries”

This takes me back to the Guardian piece about Arsenal having only two players who got into double figures in the goal scoring charts last season.  It was gibberish because 75% of teams didn’t have two players in double figures last season.  So whereas the sentence looked negative, the truth behind the figures was positive from Arsenal’s perspective.

Injuries can be measured in many ways – number of player days lost, number of players out at any one time etc.   We’ve done these analyses several times, and our game previews usually include the latest chart on the number of players out.

In general terms, Arsenal are in the upper part of the table for days lost and number of players out, but I’ve never seen us at the top of either chart.   Mostly we are in the top half – I would say sixth place was about the norm this season.   So yes it would be better to have fewer players injured for less time, but we’re certainly not the worst.  Nor is this a plague.

Every season

The point made is that it is not just this season but every season.  Back to… 1893 perhaps when we entered the league.

I don’t know anyone who has done such an analysis, but I know that yes, we have had injury problems over the years.   For example in February 1959 the Arsenal programme stated…

At Sheffield we lost Jack Kelsey [he broke his arm] and with the loss went out Cup hopes for 1959.   We then finished the League match against West Bromwich Albion with Henderson and Groves limping passengers, but still with a valuable point.

The problems which confronted our Manager before the Leeds game on Tuesday were probably as great as any faced by an Arsenal Manager when picking a team for one match.  The following players were unavailable for selection:-

Kelsey, Standen (who had played so well at The Hawthorns), Clapton, Groves, Julians, Bloomfield, Henderson, Ward, Nutt and Skirton.

You can read more from that programme for the match against Man U in 1959 here.

But on occasions I can recall us having various times with zero or one player being injured.  Of course nothing happening is not really news so doesn’t get recorded much, but “every season” – no that is simply not right.  We did an analysis in January last year taking data from the BBC and Physioroom and Arsenal were a long way away from having the worst record.  In fact the figures there showed Arsenal below average for injuries all season.

Nobody knows

Well, some people claim they know.  S. Robson Esq was given time by Danny Baker on Talk Sport to rant for ten minutes last summer about how it was totally Mr Wenger’s fault.  He gave no evidence.  And Raymond Verheijen has repeatedly made similar accusations and the Telegraph have oft repeated these without evidence.

But the point is what they “know” is not shown in the data, and we are still waiting for either of these esteemed nutters to put some data on the table.

Very thin squad

This is where it gets very funny.   As our figures in September showed, Arsenal have a full squad of 25 registered senior players plus seven under 21s who are also in the first team squad (think Iwobi etc etc).  What we also showed was that while we have a squad of 32 no club can match this.  Indeed we are the only team with a full complement of the “25” players – as we pointed out, other clubs can’t get 25 because of the rule about including home grown players in the squad.  They just can’t find enough home grown players, not even to make up the numbers.

We’re helped of course not just by the transfer policy of bringing in players who go into the first team squad, such as Xhaka, Perez and Mustafi last summer, but also the constant input of new youngsters.  Holding is the most obvious latest recruit in this category, but we also brought in Kelechi Nwakali, and Takuma Asano.  As we reported this week we’ve now added Cohen Bramall.  We are seeing Maitland Niles emerge (a player who seemingly can play full back, midfield and on the wing), plus Le Jeff, and hopefully Akpom as he fully recovers from injury.

So rather than a very thin squad we have the thickest of squads.

Now of course one could argue about quality, but I’m going to leave that, because this articletta (ie a snippet found in a bloggetta) doesn’t go down that route, and I am staying with what the author says.

Loan deals

His solution to the perceived problem is this, “Loan deals are possibly the most appropriate way for Arsenal to recruit this transfer window… So a couple of loan deals would be ideal for Arsene, in order to fill in for the injuries at present.”

But loanees, unless under 21 years old, have to fit in the “25” so we need also to think who we are going to drop from the list when it is resubmitted at the end of the month.  The author refrains from this.

Plus… why would a player come to Arsenal to fill in for an injured player?  Why would his own club let him go?

But these are details, and this little piece is not very good on details.  However as I raise a lunchtime cup of coffee in celebration of nine years of Untold Arsenal and five years since the launch of our revolutionary book on Woolwich Arsenal which totally and utterly re-wrote the early history of the club, I must thank the author of that piece, because it really did give me a chuckle.

Untold Arsenal and the Arsenal History Society… nine years old today

Wenger ponders whether Yaya Sanogo will ever really be good enough for Arsenal. 

Arsenal: Too dearly loved to be forgotten.

Arsenal don’t have a plan B. Well, actually we do. It’s Giroud.

Refereeing in the Premier League is under investigation, and PGMO have no idea what to do.

10 reasons why Arsenal signed Cohen Bramall (and why no other club bothered)

Ref Review: Arsenal – Crystal Palace: more of the same please

Football appoints new positivity czar to counter “overly negative” media and pay for football pitches in China

2016-17 Season: The half time review of referees and players, and the top 6 table.

January 1937: Arsenal unbeaten as the goalkeepers change (again).

  • The index of all the major articles on the site about Arsenal players is now complete.  It comes in two parts:  A to K     L to Z     Of course there are many other sources of articles on Arsenal players but I do like to think that the articles here add a lot more detail, and have often found stories and issues that have been missed in other reports.  I do hope you will give us a try.



23 Replies to “The funniest (and also the most embarrassing) transfer story this January”

  1. Please don’t take such bull crap news seriously. They’re not even worth you writing another article about them.

  2. @ Sammy The Snake

    You are absolutely correct. These people should not be taken seriously and it’s not worth writing an article about them……except for one very good reason.

    There are people out there, including Arsenal “fans” and “journalists”, who will actually take this nonsense seriously and they will also come on this site and repeat the same nonsense as though it is fact. Disinformation has to be dealt with and the only way of doing so is by drip feeding the truth back to them in the hope that they may realise that facts are actually more meaningful than rhetoric and unsubstantiated opinion.

    Keep ’em coming Tony.

  3. First of all, let me say happy birthday anniversary to Untold Arsenal and many fruitful returns.

    This is not a disinformation but a true information of the current situation at Arsenal’s midfield base being overlooked by the teeming Arsenal supporters as if it doesn’t exist. But it does, it’s there at Arsenal’s midfield base right now.

    I think our out and out specialist midfield base Gunners are 5 in numbers. They are: Santi Cazorla, Aaron Ramsey, Francis Coquelin, Moh’ Elneny and Granit Xhaka. Out of these 5 senior midfield Gunners 3 are absentees for a couple of weeks during which Arsenal will play some PL matches with only Ramsey and Xhaka being the only 2 remaining senior midfield base Gunners left to mann our midfield base. To me, the 5 of: Walcott, Chamberlain, Iwobi, Ozil, Sanchez and the youngster Adelaide are all playmakers/mid-front three Gunners with the versatile Maitland-Niles too inexperienced to mann any of the 2 positions at our midfield base in the tough matches of the PL now.

    So, let’s be praying for Ramsey and Xhaka to remain fit and be in top form as they mann our midfield base for the next couple of weeks before the three absentees midfield base Gunners are back.

    That our midfield base is looking to be short in manpower in the interim. And it’s this interim shortage in Gunners manpower that’s a concern to me. I pray we’ll escape being scared during this interim period of 3 absentees midfield base Gunners so that Arsenal will not drop points that will cost us the title as a result of not reinforcing our midfield base with a top quality attacking/defensive base midfielder for cover and option during the next couple of weeks IF the unpleasant happens to any of our remaining 2 mid-base Gunners who are the ones currently available to play.

    Would Le Prof agree to sign a top attacking/defensive base midfielder who can perform the two tasks of deeplying & defensive midfield – DM at anytime in the game during this winter window so as to be proactive not to be cut in shortage of adequate top quality cover and option at our midfield base when the needs for the cover & option may start knocking?

  4. Toral had pics in Scotland, and now places him in Scotland.

    Kamara has apparently returned from loan.

    Stories about Carl Jenkinson going to Fat Sam and Crystal Palace continue. Why?

  5. Pete

    What to you, makes Graham Taylor one of the good guys?

    I know little or nothing about him, just curious.


    OT: PM

    The one brain cell in Piers Mrgan’s head has found his mouth again, and he has decided to spew on the 3 French renewal signings. I haven’t read it, as when has there ever been anything useful come out of its mouth?

    Daily Star (others?) are making up the story, helping that single brain cell that Mrgan can provide.

  6. Happy Birthday Untold Arsenal. Keep up the good work.

    RIP Graham Taylor, a worthy opponent and a decent man.
    He wrote the foreword of the biography ‘Bertie Mee Arsenal’s Officer and Gentleman’ by David Tossell. Taylor wrote that when he appointed Mee as his assistant manager at Watford “Bertie was arguably the best signing I ever made.”

  7. Nigel
    Are you the same Nigel who was on BBC 5 Live recently defending Arsenal against the WOBs etc.?
    If so, well done & keep it up.

  8. Congratulations UA ,Tony and guys , and please do keep the good fight going . We the regulars will keep bashing ‘them’ , for their collective stupidity .
    A pleasure by the way !
    Did not really realise that I shared a common birthdate with UA. The only football website that I read. And post .

    Graham Taylor was a very good club manager , bringing little Watford to prominence in the eighties , but was derided by the English press when he was the England manager.

  9. Tony, you refer to our squad being the ‘thickest’ meaning the most complete, but the thickest (dim) are those that report on Arsenal without evidence.

    Gord – you asked about Graham Taylor. He was laughed at by the media, particularly by the corrupt Sun who pushed him out of the England managers job. He was and is loved by many who know the game. His successes are many, particularly in bringing John Barnes to prominence with Watford & taking Aston Villa to incredible heights.

  10. Thanks Brickfields, Menace.

    I seen some pictures from the Denver Basketball ball game (which they won). Lots of sports and other stars in attendance, with a healthy number of Arsenal present. One fashion model with some kind of strange makeup which made her look hideous.

    But it looks kind of stupid to see a whole lot of stars in the front row, all with their phones out. I presume watching the game on their phones. Stupid side effect of technology there. 🙂

  11. Happy Birthday Untold! Please continue the gud fight,the real fans are wit you all the way! Bravo, more ink to ur pen! Shalom.

  12. Happy Anniversary UA, big thank you to all the article authors on here and also the regular commentators. It’s been a pleasure following this site for the past couple of years. Well done and keep up the good work.

  13. Leon

    No that was unfortunately not me and I missed it but these days I’m not all that bothered about listening to Five live 606 anymore. Glad that that Nigel put up a good defence though.

    Keep well.

  14. there is some truth in saying that Arsenal are plagued with injuries
    the current injury league top 10 has only Arsenal Everton and Southampton from top 10 clubs in league, and you wouldn’t say Arsenal is competing with either of them
    the clubs relevant to any discussion about Arsenal are those which compete for title and champions league
    Chelsea for example has always seen very little injuries and currently has zero (just like for the most part of its last title winning season), Leicester last season was the team with least injuries, and i’d bet every champion in past years has seen less injuries than Arsenal

  15. i’d go as far as ‘Arsenal has worst injury record among top 4 clubs in at least half of last 10 seasons’

  16. the important point about all the articles about Arsenal injuries in mainstream media is that none of them even hints at a possibility of external reasons for that

  17. and the other important point is how Arsenal still manages to be in top 4 with worst injury record

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