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June 2021

A powerful start to the new season is vital. Or maybe not

By Tony Attwood

A bit of idle curiosity arose after reading a piece telling me that a good start to the season is essential for any team wanting to win the league, as I wasn’t sure that this was the case last season.  Indeed a quick flip back to 1 October 2016 – a date of no particular significance, just a date that might reflect how good the start of the season was – suggested it is not the perfect measure.


Pos End P W D L F A GD Pts
1 3 Manchester City 6 6 0 0 18 5 13 18
2 4 Liverpool 7 5 1 1 18 10 8 16
3 2 Tottenham Hotspur 6 4 2 0 10 3 7 14
4 7 Everton 7 4 2 1 11 5 6 14
5 5 Arsenal 6 4 1 1 15 7 8 13
6 1 Chelsea 7 4 1 2 12 9 3 13
7 6 Manchester United 6 4 0 2 12 7 5 12
8 14 Crystal Palace 7 3 2 2 11 8 3 11
9 10 West Bromwich Albion 7 2 3 2 8 7 1 9
10 8 Southampton 6 2 2 2 7 6 1 8

So after six or seven matches Manchester City stretched ahead of the rest with a perfect run.   They and Liverpool were the big time goalscorers too.  What the table offered was a fairly good indicator of who the top seven might be (in that all the top seven at the end of the season were in the top seven at 1 October, but not much more.

Chelsea had played seven and lost two games at this time.

2015/16 was even worse of a predictor on 1 October.  This time more helpfully all the clubs had played seven games and only one of the eventual top four was actually in the top four on this date.

Pos End Team Pld W D L F A GD Pts
1 5 Manchester United 7 5 1 1 12 5 7 16
2 4 Manchester City 7 5 0 2 13 6 7 15
3 7 West Ham United 7 4 1 2 15 9 6 13
4 2 Arsenal 7 4 1 2 10 7 3 13
5 11 Everton 7 3 3 1 11 7 4 12
6 3 Tottenham Hotspur 7 3 3 1 9 5 4 12
7 15 Crystal Palace 7 4 0 3 9 7 2 12
8 1 Leicester City 7 3 3 1 15 14 1 12
9 8 Liverpool 7 3 2 2 7 9 -2 11
10 6 Southampton 7 2 3 2 10 9 1 9

Leicester and West Ham were having fun scoring, but failed to keep it up, ending up third and fifth in terms of the number of goals scored by the end of the season.  Man U’s solid defence however was a predictor – they ended up conceding the fewest goals, alongside Tottenham.

Let’s go back one more season, but still staying with October 1.  In 2014/15 there was a prediction that could be made from the opening games – Chelsea did indeed win the league.   But Southampton, Swansea and Villa all slipped back.  Chelsea continued to score, but were eventually overtaken in that department by Manchester City.

Pos End Team Pld W D L F A GD Pts
1 1 Chelsea 6 5 1 0 19 7 12 16
2 7 Southampton 6 4 1 1 11 4 7 13
3 2 Manchester City 6 3 2 1 12 7 5 11
4 3 Arsenal 6 2 4 0 11 7 4 10
5 8 Swansea City 6 3 1 2 8 6 2 10
6 17 Aston Villa 6 3 1 2 4 7 -3 10
7 4 Manchester United 6 2 2 2 11 9 2 8
8 5 Tottenham Hotspur 6 2 2 2 8 7 1 8
9 10 Crystal Palace 6 2 2 2 10 10 0 8
10 13 West Bromwich Albion 6 2 2 2 7 7 0 8

Let’s do one more: 2013/14

Pos End Team Pld W D L F A GD Pts
1 4 Arsenal 6 5 0 1 13 7 6 15
2 2 Liverpool 6 4 1 1 8 4 4 13
3 6 Tottenham Hotspur 6 4 1 1 6 2 4 13
4 5 Everton 6 3 3 0 9 6 3 12
5 3 Chelsea 6 3 2 1 7 3 4 11
6 8 Southampton 6 3 2 1 5 2 3 11
7 1 Manchester City 6 3 1 2 14 7 7 10
8 16 Hull City 6 3 1 2 6 7 -1 10
9 15 Aston Villa 6 3 0 3 9 8 1 9
10 17 West Bromwich Albion 6 2 2 2 6 5 1 8

Yes Arsenal had it all after six matches that season – well all except a defeat a home defeat to Aston Villa on the opening day.  We were scoring goals – although letting them in too, but with almost half of the goals against coming from that opening game.

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So with the opening match just over one week away, maybe we should not be calling for the manager’s head and a wholesale sacking of the team if things don’t go well.  A set of early victories does not mean the league is coming our way any more than a set of poor results means any club will end up in a poor position at the end.

In these four seasons Arsenal have risen from their 1 October position twice, and declined twice.  And we have won a trophy three times in these four seasons – although it is of course not a trophy.  On the other hand finishing in the top four was not a trophy, but now for some people it seems to matter.

One other thought, on 1 October, the top team at the end of the season was seventh, first, eighth and sixth on the 1 October.  So maybe lots of talking about the importance of a good start to the season was not so important after all.

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36 comments to A powerful start to the new season is vital. Or maybe not

  • Brickfields Gunners

    A very tall man walks into a bar, and a lady recognizes him as rugby player.

    They begin to talk and eventually go back to his place.

    They start to kiss and the man takes off his shirt. On his arm, he has a tattoo that says REEBOK.

    “What’s that for?” the lady questions.
    “Oh, I have this so that when I’m on TV, people will see my tattoo, and Reebok pays me.”

    Then the man takes off his trousers, and on his leg, he has a tattoo that says NIKE.

    ‘What’s that ?’ the lady questions again.
    “Just like the Reebok tattoo, I get paid when this tattoo is seen on TV.”

    Then the man drops his underwear and on his penis, he has a tattoo that says AIDS.

    The lady screams: “Don’t tell me you have AIDS!”

    The man replies: “No, no…!!! Calm down…!!!

    It will say ADIDAS in a minute !”

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Grandma is eighty-eight years old and still drives her own car. She writes:

    Dear Grand-daughter,

    The other day I went up to our local Christian book store and saw a ‘Honk if you love Jesus’ bumper sticker ..
    I was feeling particularly sassy that day because I had just come from a thrilling choir performance, followed by a thunderous prayer meeting.

    So, I bought the sticker and put it on my bumper.

    Boy, am I glad I did; what an uplifting experience that followed.

    I was stopped at a red light at a busy intersection, just lost in thought about the Lord and how good he is, and I didn’t notice that the light had changed.

    It is a good thing someone else loves Jesus because if he hadn’t honked, I’d never have noticed.

    I found that lot of people love Jesus!

    While I was sitting there, the guy behind started honking like crazy, and then he leaned out of his window and screamed, ‘For the love of God!’

    ‘Go! Go! Go! Jesus Christ, GO!’

    What an exuberant cheerleader he was for Jesus!

    Everyone started honking!

    I just leaned out my window and started waving and smiling at all those loving people.

    I even honked my horn a few times to share in the love!

    There must have been a man from Florida back there because I heard him yelling something about a sunny beach.

    I saw another guy waving in a funny way with only his middle finger stuck up in the air.

    I asked my young teenage grandson in the back seat what that meant.

    He said it was probably a Hawaiian good luck sign or something.

    Well, I have never met anyone from Hawaii , so I leaned out the window and gave him the good luck sign right back.

    My grandson burst out laughing.

    Why even he was enjoying this religious experience!!

    A couple of the people were so caught up in the joy of the moment that they got out of their cars and started walking towards me.

    I bet they wanted to pray or ask what church I attended, but this is when I noticed the light had changed.

    So, grinning, I waved at all my brothers and sisters, and drove on through the intersection.

    I noticed that I was the only car that got through the intersection before the light changed again and felt kind of sad that I had to leave them after all the love we had shared.

    So I slowed the car down, leaned out the window and gave them all the Hawaiian good luck sign one last time as I drove away Praise the Lord for such wonderful folks!!

    Will write again soon,

    Love, Grandma

  • Alexanderhenry

    This is an absurd article.

    You seem to be suggesting that fans shouldn’t be allowed to show or voice any approval or disapproval or make any predictions until when exactly?

    Christmas? The new year?

    Should fans just applaud arsenal on Sunday regardless of what happens?

    Well, I’ll make my prediction now. Arsenal will not win the premiership this season.

    Also, I’m going to voice disapproval.

    I think arsenal is a poorly run club.

    Since the stadium move arsenal have not invested enough money on players and have instead hoarded cash.
    The situation over player contracts is a shambles.
    Wenger, although he might still be a capable manager, has too much power at the club.
    The youth project has failed.
    I have not been impressed with arsenal’s recent big signings apart from alexis. Ozil just isn’t consistent, mustafi is ok but not a £30 million defender and xhaka has been disappointing- he looks too slow for the premiership and is not the dominant Vieira type midfielder most arsenal fans were hoping for.

    Here are some more predictions:

    I think wenger and the club are in for a rough ride this season
    There will be a widening of the schism between fans with more going over to the wenger out side.
    More blame and attention will focus on Stan Kroenke

  • TT

    Well said AlexanderHenry

    If we get a poor start I cant see us recovering like we have dome in recent years when we have had indifferent first halve of the season. The knives will be out early this year and Wenger knows this. He may well decide to call it quits after this season. If not then think of this is last season was toxic at times than it will be far far worse this time around when the Arsene out brigade starts swll its ranks even more and become more vocal.

    I have always said he has over stayed his welcome and is now ruining his legacy for many more fans. Only when he is gone will the fan base be united and when that happens I would not want to be Stan Kronke.

  • WalterBroeckx

    wise words Tony but it will be of no meaning to the moaners.
    Like if we win tomorrow it will be just a pre-season match for them. If we lose it will be the end of the world. The end of the world will probably come one day but I don’t think it will have anything to do with Arsenal winning or losing a match….

  • WalterBroeckx

    Oh look…. they are already at it before the season has started….

  • WalterBroeckx

    as if they are hoping for a bad season…. no can’t be… or….

  • Max Kerr

    Re. Alexander Henry: should fans just applaud Arsenal regardless of what happens?


    That’s what being a SUPPORTER means.

  • SamuelAkinsolaAdebosin

    Since when last did Arsenal won the Premier League to be clam downing all the time on the Gooners tagged “mourners”? Arsenal last won the Premier League in 2004, and that’s was 13 years ago at the end of last Premier League season’s campaign. As a big PL club side, Arsenal ought to be winning the PL title at least once in ever 3 – 4 PL season’s campaign. Which if they have been doing, they would have won it 3 – 4 times in the last 13 years they’d not won it.

    The financial cost implication of building the Emirates Stadium which is good and laudable has been used as the reason why Arsenal have gotten zero PL title win in the last 13 years. But the Emirates Stadium financial burden has since been gradually eased off. Thus, leaving Arsenal in a healthy financial position to compete with their 3 main PL title rival clubs of Man Utd, Man City and Chelsea in the transfer market for the signings of world class/top quality players. True, Arsenal have competed with these their 3 main PL title rival clubs at the transfer market in the past 4 seasons as they’ve signed some top quality players like: Ozil, Sanchez, Cech, Mustafi, Xhaka and of late Kolasinac and Lacazette to bolster their senior squad strength. But as at last season, despite their bolstering their senior squad with 3 top quality additions from the transfer market at a whooping cost of £87m perse, Arsenal regress from the 2nd spot in the League table they obtained in 2015/16 season to 5th position in the table at the end of last season’s campaign. And the Gooners who have been tagged “moaners should not complain when Arsenal are increasingly becoming Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool who have won PL title for only God knows when last they did?

    Arsenal have reinforced it’s senior squad with 2 top quality additions this summer. But that wouldn’t be enough if they are to win the PL next season as they look to still need reinforcements in the mid-field area with 2 top quality additions of, a versatile midfielder and a holding midfielder to give credibility to their reinforcing their senior squad this summer. And that additional 2 reinforcements will give confidence to the generality of the Gooners that Arsenal will have a credibly shot at the PL title win next season. A good start to our season campaign that begins tomorrow against Chelsea at Wembley is essential for us to have as it will give us confidence we’ll have a successful titles winning season.

    Lastly, let Le Prof, the Arsenal owner and the board try by all financial means to sign a top grade versatile mid-field playmaker and an enforcer before we host Leicester City next Friday in the League at the Ems. We don’t want to have another bad start to our League campaign again next season.

  • Edda1971

    -“I think arsenal is a poorly run club.” ???

    If you say that to most football experts abroud they would look at you and think you were joking! Arsenal is respected for beeing one of the best and most professional run football clubs in the world.

    -“The youth project has failed.”

    What does this even mean ? Our youth teams are producing many very good professional footballers every year. Most football clubs says it is a success if u can get one player each year promoted through youth system. But this is for clubs that is not aiming for the top 3-4 positions in the league. It’s easier for teams like Southampton and Everton that is happy with a top 6-7 place. If you look at our team we have players like Walcott, Wilshere, Gibbs, Bellerin and Iwobi that have been playing for our youth sides. Which other top 4 team have done better ?

    -“Since the stadium move arsenal have not invested enough money on players and have instead hoarded cash.”
    I recommend you to look at our yearly finances, where does it say that our owners are “hoarding” the cash ? We are a club that are living within what we earn. That means we have to earn the money before we can spend it. Our profit margin every year is about 30-50m pounds. So that means that with the transfer of Lacazette we have used what we have earned this year.

    -“The situation over player contracts is a shambles.”
    What do u mean ? Should we pay our players more ? Should we pay them less ? We have a policy in our club that says that the players should earn almost the same wages. A policy I agree 100% with. Why should Koscielny earn 40k per week and Alexis 275k pr week ? They are both our most important players. A defender knows he would never make the same as a star striker but the difference should never be almost 10x as much. In an ideal world players would sign new contract for a reasonable salary, but with the inflation in the market we see now, the players have all the cards in their hands. If they dont sign a contract they can go for free and earn even more money on sign on fee. This will happen more and more to all clubs not only Arsenal.

  • stefan melzak


    In terms of success, arsenal are poorly run. In terms of being an appreciating asset for Kroenke it is well run. What was then point of the stadium move? We’ve got worse on the pitch and a lot richer off it.

    The youth project has failed- Walcott, Gibbs, Iwobi, Wilshire, Chambers etc. They’ve all been disappointing. I’m not even sure about bellerin and the ox to be honest.

    Arsenal have not invested enough. In the modern game clubs do not ‘live within their means’. That’s just how it is. We have not one but two billionaire shareholders. If the club are serious about winning they need to contribute.

    We currently have the ox, alexis, ozil, merts, cazorla, jenkinson, ramsay, wilshire and gibbs all with one year left on their contacts. That’s not good player management.
    Also, your belief in the arsenal wage structure is naive. It’s not the way it works in modern football rightly or wrongly.
    Again, if arsenal are serious about competing the club has to be prepared to cough up.

    As an arsenal fan I hate all the recent nonsense about ‘values’ and it’s arrogant attitude towards other big spending clubs. The only ‘value’ arsenal should have is to do its utmost to win. That’s it.
    It’s an excuse not to spend what the club could and should.

  • stefan melzak

    ..apologies. I have two accounts on here- accidentally

  • Chris


    Strange how some ‘fans’ are already shifting gears and going into negative mode.
    Just can’t get it.

    I suggest they buy PSG T-shirts and go seing games in Paris as long as visas are not required as this team will win il all with half a billion expenses on players and Neymar.
    This way they’ll be fans of a club that spends and spends and spends. Should make them happy I hope.
    Being a fan only for a winning team is not being a fan.
    If that were the case 19 of 20 stadia in England would be mostly empty.

    Ah and by the way, if you are not going to games, thay can switch channels instead of suffering.

    There’s a line between whining and being critical which many do not get.

    And if we win tomorrow, papers will report in the back pages and trophy will be deemed useless, if Chelsea does, it will be front page and they’ll have carried on their fantastic form into the next season by sinning a fantastic game and having another top trophy to show for it.

  • Scuba

    The title isn’t won in the first few matches of the season, nor is it lost in the first few matches of the campaign. That said, it’s become a disturbing trend over the past few seasons to see Arsenal look unprepared for their opening matches, and put themselves in a bit of a hole early on.

    If the Gunners drop points in their first few matches, the season won’t be over. That said, it would be awfully nice if we took notice of this trend and made alterations to our preparation, with the hopes of being a bit better during the opener in 2017.

  • nicky

    I’m looking forward to seeing left wingback Hissing Sid Kolasinac this coming season. To pick up someone of that stature on a “free” is a tribute to Arsenal’s scouts on continental Europe. 😉

  • GoingGoingGooner


    You haven’t been on this site much so I haven’t got a feel for your level of support for Arsenal. You are opinionated, that seems certain. I truly hope that Arsenal does not occupy a large place in your life…for your sake. I cannot imagine living a life, in fact starting to live a life (for the season hasn’t even started) with that level of negativity. IMO, if a person has that much negativity towards one thing and if it occupies a central role in his life, I can only conclude that he lives a negative life. That is unfortunate.

  • TT


    AlexanderHenry posts a lot on LeGrove and usually goes against the tide there. He has been fighting a lone battle often against the most anti wenger fans you will ever come across and holding his own there. He has repeatedly pointed out that the biggest problem at Arsenal is the owner. He after all is keeping an under performing manager in a job because he is increasing the value of his investment. Screw the fans and the trophy’s its the 4th place that counts.

    If you cannot see why AH is pessimistic regarding the new season then I question where you have been for the last few years. All the resent actions and statements from the manager and the club fall in line with what has been happening for years. It all points to another mediocre season league vise.

    One can always hope and I will be cheering the team on tomorrow but make no bones about it if there is no improvement this season I will be calling for the managers resignation and departure from the club.

  • doc

    Sometimes I wonder if there is anything that the “moaners” like about AFC….

  • MickHazel

    All the moaning minnies starting to moan before there is anything to moan about. Incredible.

  • Flares

    “We currently have the ox, alexis, ozil, merts, cazorla, jenkinson, ramsay, wilshire and gibbs all with one year left on their contacts. That’s not good player management.”

    “Again, if arsenal are serious about competing the club has to be prepared to cough up”

    You don’t know much, do you? Do some research on the Premier League cost control measures now in force, which prevent clubs going over a £7m wage bill increase on the previous season.

    Arsenal have the 4th highest wage bill in the PL. You can’t just ‘cough up’ any more, you have to try and balance the books more than ever, which means making tough choices on who to keep. Lacazette is on big wages; Lemar will be on big wages if he comes, as will any of the other names we’re being linked with because the money has gone mad in English football.

    You can’t just keep on giving people new contracts like it’s Christmas, it doesn’t work like that. Oxlade-Chamberlain and Gibbs are good players but not world class, Cazorla is hanging by a thread career-wise, Merts is due retirement, Wilshire is a liability (on BIG money) and Jenks hasn’t made the grade. Any of these could be taken off the wage bill now with no adverse effect to the team. Even Ramsey has his doubters although personally I’d keep him. It’s simple maths. Everybody wants Ozil and Sanchez to stay, so that’s the thick end of £500k a week you need to pay them. Hence, bodies need to hit the floor, and soon.

    The issue isn’t that Arsenal don’t spend enough, it’s that they’re currently spending too much on wages for players we don’t need. Keeping Bellerin was pivotal. Keeping Kos was pivotal. Keeping Ozil was pivotal. These are top, top players who would empower any squad. No Champions League means less money but more focus on PL title push.

    It’s going to be very interesting.

  • alexanderhenry


    Superbly put- thanks

    Are you on Le Grove?

  • John L

    Surprising that any supporter would advocate that a club should “live beyond their means”.

    The experience of Leeds Utd between 2001 and 2003 shows how this approach can end in disaster. A club which was high in the Premier League and in the advanced stages of Champions League was transformed through a financial collapse, necessitating a fire-sale of players, leading to successive relegations, and long-term instability through a series of questionable ownerships. They have shown some signs of recovery in the last couple of seasons, but they are likely to be, at best, a Championship side for the foreseeable future. This despite their loyal and committed fan-base and their memories of past success.

    There are no doubt other examples, including clubs which have “benefitted” from Mr Harry Redknapp’s management.

  • TT


    Yea I do post there occasionally. Can be a bit rough there at times I know but a superb bunch of Arsenal posters that are passionate about the club as you have seen your self. I like how the arguments are usually very vell thought out though you have sometimes some blind loyalists and wenger out posters.


    I dont know who you are but”You dont know much” is a poor argument. Thought AH was spot on there. Wages at Arsenal are wrong because one man decided a socialist wage structure was the way to go. We are paying the price now with a lot of mediocre players on way to high wages that cannot be shifted Carl Jenkinson comes to mind.

  • Nitram

    I’ve just read what Alexanderhenry and TT have had to say, and unfortunately I’m going to have to come to terms with the fact that that’s 5 minutes of my life I’m never going to get back.

    Oh well, I’ll know next time not to bother reading there utter drivel.

  • GoingGoingGooner

    TT and AH. You miss my point completely. I could list the problems/mistakes of the club, too. I am not unaware of some of the difficulties we have as a club nor some of the shortcomings of the personnel at the club both on the field and off. The same can be said of my professional and private life. However, I choose to be positive about things. I choose to cheer the team even when we are losing a match. Yes, I am one of those fans that (often after an initial epithet) shouts out “Let’s go and get it back!” I defend the team even when it is in 12th place.

    Although, I am not perfect and I do lose my temper from time to time, I try to emphasize all the good things my sons do, especially when I have to correct them. I will never get mad at them for things they are incapable of changing. In short, I bring my own weather and I choose to enjoy life. I choose to see the good at my club.

  • Wow sewer rats, how early do they wake up to nible on their delicacy. Mouner the manure told us that the shield is a trophy so cares, we win it and let the whorelists start crying early as of TT Le Prof is staying for more 10 years wonder what you are gona do about it?!! Nothin.

  • Notoverthehill

    Arsenal, a poorly run club???

    In the Premier League to-date, Arsenal are second to Man United, with 525 wins to 604.

    With Goals scored since the Premier League inception, Arsenal are second to Man United, 1698 goals to 1856.

    IF, we take losses during the Premier League era, the Arsenal have lost 190 games.

    Those who claim a disparity, ignore the recorded results, to their discomfort!

    Leave Le Grove to the the Cassandras.

  • Chris

    @stefan melzak,

    yep, Barça had A perfect contract management with Neymar.
    He had 4 years left on his contract, and we all know what happened.

    And for your information, Per has a contract next year at Arsenal. He’s retiring and going in club management
    So basicaly yes, he’s got one year left on is contract and it definitely shows how inept incompetent and stupid the Arsenal management is.
    So please check your facts

    As for Jenkinson, Gibbs, Wilshere, I just don’t get it. They get so much negatives (which I do not share at all) and then the fact that they are in the last year suddendly is another. Whichever way you look at it, that means they have to give their best to have a chance of Arsenal wanting to keep them or another club to hire them. I that a good thing ?

    And considering your values, I suggest you move your focus of interest to PSG.

  • Jammy J

    Alexanderhenry – “Should fans just applaud arsenal on Sunday regardless of what happens?” Are you honestly suggesting that we shouldn’t? Why wouldn’t we get behind the team?

  • alexanderhenry

    Jammy J

    Do you just applaud regardless of the result? If we lose will you applaud?

  • alexanderhenry


    Since the stadium move which was supposed improve arsenal we’ve steadily got worse, despite having the highest match day revenue in the premiership.
    Therefore, arsenal have been poorly run.

  • alexanderhenry


    My overall point is this: Arsenal fans have been paying top dollar for years. We were promised great things and the club has let the fans down.
    The main reason for this is that we have an owner who is not interested in success, only in profit.

  • Porter

    I will be behind the team for the 100 odd minutes that they will be on the pitch. I will also watch the game and assimilate what goes right and what does not. At the final whistle I will applaud that which was good but I reserve the right to criticise that which isn’t.

  • Chris


    “Do you just applaud regardless of the result? If we lose will you applaud?”

    So we are down 1-0 and you stop supporting your team ?
    We lose and you stop supporting the team ?

    Sorry guy, this is not a supporter. You are a mere spectator. And in this case, if the show does not suit you, you are free to take your money somewhere else.

    And personally I do not understand why you and others keep on wasting your money on a lost cause and live with permanent frustration and anger. with all due respect, this does not make any sense to me.

    Enjoy the coming season then

  • Chinedu Tony Justin (Nigeria)

    Le Grove….hahaha another name for moaners.

  • Jammy J

    alexanderhenry – I get behind the team, regardless of the result. Honestly, the fact that you are only willing to actually SUPPORT the team when we are winning, is just so indicative of what a terrible mentality you have. I mean, I would be genuinely embarrassed to have just made that last comment of yours.