FACT OR FICTION? A simple grammar for those who just don’t get it

By Gooneraside

A simple grammar for those who just don’t get it


The Mirror, 7 June 2010 – Joe Cole will join Arsenal after the World Cup.

So we know that for the piece of poo it was. But how many of you believed this at the time? None of you, you say? Then I must have mis-read many comments. I’m almost positive there were some already welcoming him. I could even envisage some furiously searching for old shirts that had been surreptitiously thrown into the backs of cupboards, those with the same surname on their backs. After all, we don’t want to throw away anything that’s related to The Arsenal, do we?

But it was fiction. As were the thousands of other pieces we’ve read about the players that we were interested in/had approached/had watched/had never heard of that were reported in those rags that profess to know the true facts. They all lie when they don’t have anything factual to report.


None of the successful Arsenal teams of the past achieved the consistency of success we have had over the last ten years.

You all know about The Legendary Arsenal of the 1930’s – how they won consecutive titles between 1930-31 and 1934-35 and the F.A Cup in the seasons before and after that spell, initially under Herbert Chapman. A lot less is said about the fact that he began his career at The Arsenal in 1925 and spent what was then a shit-load of money buying players while finishing his first season in second position, followed by four seasons hovering around 10th place, before he finally got it right.

Similar placings happened during the tenures of George Allison, Tom Whittaker, Bertie Mee and George Graham.


Arsenal will finish outside the top four. How many so-called pundits said that prior to last season? At times, I sincerely believe that my arse knows more about football than some of them – even if it is slightly biased. They make prophesies when they should just profess to know no more than we all do. What they say is usually fiction. Have they made the same prophecy this year? I don’t know – I’ve stopped listening to them.


You can’t please all the people all of the time.

I loved watching The Arsenal from the North Bank. But even to me it became obvious that the Club needed to move after events in other places made all-seater grounds necessary, even not considering the extra fan-access that would be gained from moving. Especially after the Wembley fiascos.

And we did move, putting the Club into a serious debt which, with proper management, has been steadily reduced.

This wasn’t the only time the Club has been in serious debt. At the start of WW2, the Club owed 200 grand, a sum at that time comparable to where we’ve just been. And during the war,  the North Bank roof was destroyed by bombs during the war incurring extra expenditure. Tom Whittaker managed us out of that problem.

Most of us go to the Emirates Stadium (when getting the opportunity) to watch the football. There are many who seem to go to find fault with some aspect of it. I repeat, you can’t please all the people all the time.


We all make mistakes. That explains Sylvestre.

Fact or fiction, you decide.

Cesc is going to Barceloaner. I wouldn’t be surprised but I don’t know when. I don’t need to be told that he was at Barceloaner during his youth (DNA, indeed!) by some half-decent footballer whose parents christened him so that he would be able to sign his name with an X. I can believe that Cesc may have said he sometimes misses his old chums, but did he really say he wanted to go back now and help to keep their bench warm?

Questions to be answered factually.

As and when Arsene Wenger finally leaves, who should we get to replace him?

We could try  to find someone from outside the Club who would become as good a clubman as happened with Arsene Wenger and for that matter, with Herbert Chapman. But we should take care.

We could get somebody who turns us into a team of cloggers determined that a broken leg for the opponents is better than a goal.

We could get an ex-captain of England who is married to a singer. That did happen with Billy Wright in 1962. In the following season, the Club conceded 82 goals.

We could get somebody who would rape the Club while providing us with a piece of silverware and relegation, before he shows his true colours (is white a colour?).

We could get somebody who is using the Club as a stepping stone to where he really wants to be, possibly solely in order to show some other club that they should never have called him the Translater.

We could look at clubmen we know.

  • Pat Rice? I suspect he will retire before his boss – or leave at the same time.
  • Steve Bould? Liam Brady? Tony Adams? I think they might need slightly more experience.
  • TH? He’s got a couple more years of playing left in his body. Maybe later.


Better the devil you know, than the devil you dont know. Especially if the devil you know is on your side.

Final fact.

Many of you out there have much more time and opportunity to watch The Arsenal in the future than me. You’re a lucky load of bastards (said with love), so enjoy it.

Untold Arsenal. More facts than you can shake a stick at

Woolwich Arsenal. Why we are what we are

Making the Arsenal. Be seen reading the book that the rest of the world is reading.  And it’s got a really nice cover.

28 Replies to “FACT OR FICTION? A simple grammar for those who just don’t get it”

  1. I still reckon Joe Cole was lined up as a replacement *laughs down sleeve* for Cesc Fabregas but was then found to be surplus to requirements… hence the renewed interest from Redknapp and Liverpool around about the time Wenger told Barca ‘not at any price’ and it became clear that they could scarcely afford the offer they made anyway.

    That’s reading between the lines, and I don’t usually subscribe to all the nonsense but I reckon that rumour had a grain of truth in it.

    Unlike some others, the news that Cole was going to Liverpool was a happy day for me as I knew 100% that Cesc was staying with us… although I was still baffled as to where they were getting the money from to pay his wage demands.

  2. Ripping, indeed i still have more time to watch, but will always remember my ffellow gooners

  3. To find a manager with the same outlook to continue the process of self sustainability (youth project) will be a challenge. A new manager may be tempted to splash the cash to make an instant impact or worse return to the buy buy buy model of the past.
    Will Wenger remain but move upstairs?
    I presume we do not have a candidate in training currently, which may be an oversight on the self sustainability front!
    What’s the name of that BarceLOANus fella on the one year rolling contract?

  4. we need wenger for at least 7 more years(forever if possible!!) the club is still under debt and the youth project has only started to bear its fruits..it’ll take at least a couple of years us to really start benefitting from the project…hence we need AW ….

  5. Some nice thoughts, Gooneraside.
    It’s difficult to see the difference sometimes between facts and fiction.

    Kiwigooner, I once wrote somewhere after Guardiola only signing a one year extension at Barceloanus that AW would move up to the board at the end of next season, we would bring in Guardiola as a new manager and make Cesc happy with his reunion with this childhood idol.
    I think Guardiola looks the only manager in the world that could be suited to step in Wengers footsteps. He is also a stubborn folower of the beautiful game, like Wenger. He is one that gives youth a chance, just like Wenger.
    But other than that I would fear any other manager after Wenger would destroy the legacy Wenger is/has given us.

  6. Gooneraside, some very good points here.

    I symapthise with most fans as the football media are such a joke at the moment that 95% of the news reports out there are a load of *!@@! working in a football clubs PR department must be a nightmare!

    The seamless link between the youth squad and the senior squad continues to take shape and all is looking good for the future. Wouldn’t mind a bit of quality at the back though to help the younger custodians in the squad…..oh well can’t have everything!

  7. Lanz, No I wouldn’t. I would only take him on a long term contract.
    But it is a bit strange that Guardiola only works with one years contracts at Barceloanus. Is he aware of the financial mess they seem to face ?

    But he looks to me the manager who is the closest to Wenger when it comes to football and football philosophy

  8. Has anyone considered Dennis Bergkamp for the manager’s role. He has played under Arsene and i believe he is an intelligent footballer. I know he lacks experience, but so did Pep before he joined Barcelona. I think he is the best candidate for the job. He know the culture, he has been a Wenger style of player so that means he will definitely continue the beautiful passing game of ours.

  9. Briliant Blog mate. I stay in South Africa and have been reading alot of blogs lately with everyone complaining and talking shit all the time. All the blogs I have read are useless, but this one was excelent . Keep up the great work and the excelent blogs
    Looking forward to read next week again mate

  10. Dennis is the answer for sure ,FACT, but sadly he does not fly, so with a heavy heart I say that will rule him out

  11. off subject The hacks and blogging doomers seem to accept that Cesc is staying yet insist on adding that it is only for 1 more year.So ,can someone explain to me why anything will have changed in 12 months apart from his contract still having 4 years to run and Barca being even more skint

  12. Greetings from New Jersey, USA, new home of Thierry Henry. I like the site, and, presuming Arsene Wenger manages Arsenal for another 5 years or less, many of the then-current first-teamers will have played for Steve Bould, who would then be ready. Tony Adams is beloved, but his managerial record thus far has been uninspiring, and Pat Rice and Liam Brady aren’t exactly kids anymore.

  13. Geoge: “even more skint” isn’t the half of it. I can’t wait for their 09-10 accounts!


  15. Thanks for all the comments.

    It would appear that only those who do get it have read the article as you all appear to agree.

    I thank you – you refresh my sense of wellbeing in the future of The Arsenal fans. I wonder which next piece of misinformation will cause the d&g brigade to TRY to spoil it. Hopefully, nothing that the rest of us won’t be able to laugh at.

  16. I am Arsenal fan in Kenya,who has watched plenty of Arsenal on TV.(Since airwaves were libdrised in 1996,missed less than 5 matches) With cheaper internet,that means I also read most of the Arsenal blogs. Whereas the opininions are varied, I always enjoy the lively banter in the comment section.However, I always find this blog refreshingly calm and mature,in it analyses and articulation of all matters ARSENAL.( I imagine this is wit and humour incubated in the north bank of Highbury) In closing I sometimes wonder when Xabi said Arsenal was holding ‘someone’ against their wishes he was talking about a section of the Arsenal blogs. Sorry for the winding language… English is my 4th language. Thanx Micheal Thomas for that goal back in 1986-87 that converted me to a gunner and BBC longwave for…the flava in my ears back then.

  17. To be honest, of the current potential managers, the one I like the most is David Moyes. He’s had Everton playing decent football, put together a good team with pretty limited resources and can bring young players through.

    His players seem to respect him, he’s done decently in the premiership (even if a little less so in Europe) and seems to have that inner steel that’s necessary to succeed as a manager, which is something that backroom staff are never tested on, even if some do turn out to be Bertie Mee or Bob Paisley.

    The only worry is that he’ll be recruited as Fergie’s successor before that, but hopefully his feud with Rooney rules that out.

  18. Good Article Gooneraside. Everyone was ‘worried’ about Arsenal last season – strangely even Sir red nose. No one is saying that this year though. The anti-Arsenal media had hoped Cesc would leave, but now have to contend with an even stronger squad than the one that finished 3rd last year.

    Like some of the commenters on here, I too would love to see Bergkamp in management at Arsenal, maybe as an assistant or something, I thought it would happen when he got his coaching badges.

    I think Pep Guardiola is really the natural heir to Arsene and I think it work’s in our favour that he’s only signed a 1 yr extention at Barca, even if he wins something in the next couple of yrs he will probably be sacked and I think the Arsenal job is something he would like to take up. I have listened to him in interviews and he only has good things to say about the club so I am sure it has crossed his mind.

    In any event I hope Wenger signs on for another 2 – 3 yrs and then joins the board.

  19. Let Arsene decide and then step upstairs to continue the fantastic job he has done at the club.The last 5 years have shown how selfless his thinking is and although the antis cannot see it yet we are about to embark on a wonderfull journey.Respect!

  20. Gooneraside, the pundits will be again telling us we will be outside the top 4, I guess. As many of the AAA fans are.

    They just forget that it was only last year when in money time we had some 9 players out and some coming back from long injury we lost the title race. Without that fatal injury crisis we would have lasted in the title race till the end. I’m sure of this.
    So I have trust in the team and the squad we have. Yes an extra defender would be nice and Wenger said they are looking for one so I think he will come. And then I think we have enough to go for the title. I even think with the likes of Frimpong and Wilshere who seem to be ready to fill in when needed we are in a better situation compared to last season.
    Well, I’m an optimistic fan…

  21. Outside of the arsenal names as none are ready yet.
    I think Avram Grant or Pep Guardiola are about the best around.

  22. How about our scouts look out for coaches too.. Jut like they look for players and kids.

  23. Fact: if you answer a question on a blog, someone will write back saying what you said was crap. Usually. Particularly if the DT uses ex players to write the same within 72 hours….

    Fiction: if what you said answered the question, it means you enjoy access to world wide scouting networks to add names to the requirement.

    Fact: the next Arsenal manager will be like Bob Paisley succeeding Shankly. In terms of the Club being set up right. Selection criteria: they respect the ethos of the club, they tap into the ex-player pool for support staff, they can attract the right players, they respect youth. Guardiola would be a top candidate on a short-list of 3-5 right now………..

    Fiction: Arsenal are in worse shape than this time last year.

    Fact: nor are the rest of the top 8. Which makes this year’s league the most difficult to call in years…….my HUNCH is that Arsenal will finish top 2, but the margins between that and 5th/6th will be finer than you think………which may include the cheque book………

    Fiction: conceding 5 against Legia doesn’t matter. SAF will relish the tape………

    Fact: the bookies cleaned up on < 4.5 goals.

  24. I actually believed that Joe Cole would come. But the whole world has believed a false transfer rumour at one time, it’s not the end of the world, unless you are Xavi and cannot tell the difference between fact and fiction.

    To replace Wenger? Honestly, I think it is a lot easier a question to answer than the Ferguson one. I think Bould is being bred into the role and we would be all happy to see that shiny noggin’ back again. Or we could possibly give a talented manager a promotion (Owen Coyle? dare I say Darren Ferguson?). And then there is the obvious idea of WHOEVER THE HELL WE WANT WE WILL BE RICH, RICH I TELLS YA, RICH by the time Wenger leaves. Pep will be begging away from that sinking ship, and bringing Cesc with him 😉

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