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With Arsenal logic and communication become more and more remembrances of times past.

By Tony Attwood

We published yesterday two little pieces that in essence asked why criticising the manager and players was a good thing to do.  Many answers came back to the effect that the performance of players and manager against Osterstunds was awful.

If you see that there is a non sequitur there, then you see what I am trying to argue.  If you don’t, well, I guess we have reached the end of the line.

And that in essence is the problem that I see – although as I suppose I’ve always known, not many others see the same issue.   The willingness to, or maybe the ability to engage in the question of why are people criticising the club is often limited to the issue of “because the manager and players deserve it”.  The question of whether this criticism makes the team play better is only asked by a handful of people and so discussion on the more difficult, and I would say more interesting, interesting topic of the effect of this endless, ceaseless, remorseless criticism, is for most correspondents, not one to be had.

This morning, according to a writer in the Guardian, “Even those in Arsenal’s “Leave” camp might indulge Arsène Wenger’s chance to tick off missing items in his résumé.”  He refers to winning a European competition and winning the League Cup.

Reading the commentaries against Wenger across the blogs and in most newspapers I think that is way out.  The level of antagonism is now so great that the notion of wanting the manager to win something as part of a farewell package looks beyond what most of those who think that criticising the manager and players “because they deserve it” could give.  Instead there is talk of “Wenger’s wilderness period” during which of course he still achieved more consistent results and more wins than any other long term Arsenal manager ever in the entire history of the club,

Just under a trophy every other year on average – no not good enough.  The sheer nonsense of redefining the FA Cup as not counting as a trophy, just because Mr Wenger has won it as many times as Liverpool in their entire history can’t really be debated.

No. For the Guardian writer the only benefit of winning at Wembley on Sunday and in Lyon in May would be to “convince him it is finally time to pull the curtain down.”

In his press conference Arsène Wenger was asked if Pep Guardiola had taken football to a new high level in England, and Mr Wenger replied “No. We, as managers, can maybe impart our philosophy but this game belongs to the players because the importance of the players has become bigger than ever before.”

So, Untold’s little attempt to suggest that there is another conversation – a much, much more important conversation, to be had, got nowhere.  The debate about the effect of all the criticism on the manager and players can’t really be had because of the noise of people saying “if you don’t see it’s Wenger’s fault you are an idiot.”

 

Where we go now, I honestly have no idea.   In the face of a situation in which there is no willingness or perhaps no ability to see that constant criticism can have a negative effect and make a situation worse, what can one do or say?

It is a bit like a teacher in a school who sees the class misbehaving and shouts at them, even though he has no evidence that getting the children to behave in a school classroom actually improves the quality of their subsequent lives.  It is not that shouting at the class is unhelpful (although there are good reasons to think that it could be). It is more that you can’t have a conversation with such a teacher when he can’t even understand the issue to be debated.

Or maybe it is like a society that thinks that locking criminals up in inhumane conditions is a good way to ensure that they don’t offend again when they are let out, and then when the inhumane conditions are pointed out to them, they claim that it is the Parole Board’s fault for not letting prisoners out early enough.

I guess in such a country the debate we see, in which logic is seen as something to be bypassed, that’s all we can expect.

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21 comments to With Arsenal logic and communication become more and more remembrances of times past.

  • Polo

    The media seem obsess with trying to get rid of AW, everyday there are articles calling him to leave, I wonder if he was English, they would treat him like this? The media will miss him when he’s gone, I don’t think Klop, Pep, Mo, or Poch will stay long enough to be their next target.

  • Steven

    The relentless criticism of Wenger undoubtedly has a negative effect but the critics, whether journalists or fans, are not motivated by a desire to improve the team . They just want to drive Wenger out. The question is why?

    I am at a loss to understand the motivation of the journalists. Some of them, especially in the posh papers, seem to be wannabe leader writers who enjoy writing sententious editorials demanding that Wenger should leave just as their colleagues on the political pages might demand the resignation of a government minister. Others are lazy and find it easier to accept uncritically the prevailing narrative that Wenger is past his sell by date, superseded by a new generation of tactically more astute managers. And having, so far unsuccessfully, demanded his dismissal, it has now almost become a point of honour for them to see him leave. They are then willing to find absurd justifications for their prejudices. The Guardian piece quoted in Tony Atwood’s post is an example. Wenger was asked whether Guardiola had propelled Man City to unparalleled standards of excellence and he replied, quite reasonably, that 1) City don’t play the best football in Europe, Barcelona do, and 2) it is the players, not the manager, who make a great team. These remarks, which were not intended as a dig at Guardiola, were then taken as evidence that Wenger is egotistic and prickly.

    The fans on the other hand are a different case. We are all disappointed with the season so far. But some fans suffer from an absurd sense of entitlement, as if Arsenal should by right be winning the Premiership and the Champions League. They think think this will happen once Wenger is gone, They forget that there are other teams out there with the same ambitions, some of them with equal and greater financial resources. Let’s get behind the team. Tomorrow we have got a chance to win a trophy.

  • i don’t know how you can keep on reading the guardian, tony.

    i’ve been a quitter since our late defeat to the spurs. having said that, after reading your piece this morning, i googled “arsenal”, and now i’m back to you with the following headline:

    Paul Hayward’s weekend lowdown: Alexis Sanchez is so out of tune because he lost the rhythm at Arsenal (Telegraph)

    … we, french people, have a very popular punchline, taken from the movie: “les tontons flingueurs”.
    here it is: “les cons, ça ose tout; c’est même à ça qu’on les reconnaît” (“idiots will dare do or say anything; that’s actually how you can spot them”). doesn’t it sound “tailor-made for paulie” to you, as it does to me?

    … you know, there’s nothing we can do against such belligerent ignoramuses, but, precisely … ignore them.

    as i just mentioned, i’m writing from france – i’ve been an arsenal fan ever since the boys who won the fairs cup paid a visit to my hometown – rouen – in 1969. believe me, tony, i keep envying your season ticket, all the more so since you’ve been indulged since september 2017 with: arsenal-leicester; arsenal-mutd; arsenal-liverpool; arsenal-chelsea (the p league one); etc …, etc …
    how many games of that level were played this season at old trafford? wembley? stanford bridge?

    let’s not bring ourselves down to the level of those failed writers any longer. i’ll be watching the game sunday, and having a thought for you and the other real fans supporting the lads.
    they’ll make us proud, i can feel it, but it won’t prevent the babbits from being back on their pathetic warpath monday, first thing in the morning.
    may they choke, someday, on their anti-wenger obsession(s)

    thanks again for your partition of cyberspace, tony.

    hervé

  • colario

    Well said Steven.

    This link was in a previous blog. I place it here because I think every Arsenal supporter should see it.

    Like others I am an admirer of Bellerin as a player. Hearing him speak I can admire him as person. I am glad he is an Arsenal player.

    Listen to what he says about the differences between Spanish and English football.

    Listen to what he has to say about not rushing to congratulate the Arsenal goal scorer.

    What he says on the latter point. You can be at the match and see everything and yet not understand what is actually happening.

  • “you know, there’s nothing we can do against such belligerent ignoramuses”

    Until now I have always argued against that, feeling that by constantly pointing out how the media both selects the news and then comments on the news, they are bending the news to their own image. But now, I feel maybe you are right.

    Thank you for reading, and your support.

  • Mike T

    It’s incredibly difficult when your club , your team and indeed your manager is the subject of criticism to see anything other than the level or indeed the strength of that criticism as being unfair or unjustified
    From the outside looking in I really can’t see that Arsenal receive
    more negativie attention than other top six clubs far from it . The majority on here won’t agree with that but AW receives more criticism from inside the Arsenal fraternity than perhaps from any other medium.

    Having said all that I personally think AW rightly receives plaudits for when he first arrived here in English football his impact and indeed his legacy won’t be just about philosophy it was as much about how he personally changed the culture that’s why I think he is wrong not to give Pep credit for his impact.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Wenger has upset the media from day one. He refuses to play some of the little games others do. His honesty has upset establishment bodies including the PGMOL. Added to the fact that many journalists, and perhaps, for some reason, the English football establishment have a vested interest in the success of certain other clubs, which clubs would they be, we’ll just follow the love ins .
    Sadly, I believe soon, the critics will have their way. And Wenger will be all too aware of the of the affect this negativity on the team, only a hunch but I think he will depart sometime between this and next summer.
    Change is coming eventually, whether it will be for the better, nobody knows. The next manager might be younger, so called tactically astute, I would hazard a guess more defence minded, but if he brings us anything approaching what Arsene Wenger has, we will be very very fortunate

  • Mandy Dodd

    Mike T, you are certainly correct about the critics from within the fanbase, not sure any other team has an equivalent of Arsenal Fan TV.
    Other managers do get stick, Jose certainly is these days, but I can think of one or two with zero trophies who generally get an extremely positive press, one can do no wrong.
    We are, by wengers standards having a poor season, but there is still time to make things a lot better, but even a trophy or two this year, the best outcome won’t get them off wengers back.
    I think half the problem, he has been here so long, some are bored and just want change, then there is the perception he is under no pressure from above.
    But when he does go, he will be a huge loss to this club

  • Gord

    OT: Non-alcoholic beer as a sports recovery drink?

    NPR has a nice story on this. And there are German’s involved.

    https://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2018/02/24/588417922/olympians-are-using-non-alcoholic-beer-as-recovery-drinks-heres-the-science

  • Nitram

    Mike T

    “why I think he is wrong not to give Pep credit for his impact.”

    HIS (peps) Impact ?

    Man Citys net spend over the last 3 years is: £356 MILLION

    Perhaps he’d deserve a little more ‘credit’ if it hadn’t cost over a quarter of a BILLION pounds to earn it.

    But then again Mike, as a Chelsea fan you’ve always had a bit of a problem with relating spend with achievement.

    As I’ve said many times, my granddad could win the title on a budget like that, and he’s been dead for over twenty years.

    Credit where credits due.

    If he does it without the ENORMOUS spending then he will deserve some credit. Until then ?

  • Mike T

    Nitram
    Your comment smacks of the classic bitternesss.
    History is littered with clubs that have spent big and yes it certainly helps when you buy big but and a huge but managing high value players is far from easy and getting them to gel as a team is far more difficult than you clearly think.
    It’s pretty clear that you rely on transfer market for your stats and would advise you to exercise extreme caution by so doing for quite simply they are flawed . To get a flavour look at Chelsea 2017/18 dealings. Costa is said to have been purchased in 2017/18 by Chelsea for £50 million putting his as a purchase as opposed to a sale distorts the numbers by £100 million

  • ‘Tut tut’. Where is the bitterness and where is the evidence that ‘managing high value players is far from easy and getting them to gel as a team is far more difficult’? What high value and who’s valuation?

    If the question had been something like – “Has Pep raised the bar beyond what other teams that may win the EPL in the future can achieve by leading by such a wide margin from the start of the season?” They May have gotten the answer they wanted.

    Do a Google search for ‘Wenger Out’, ‘Conte Out’ ‘Mourinho Out’ ‘Pochettino Out’, ‘Klopp Out’ and ‘Pep Out’ and then come back and tell us why Wenger is the ‘English Football Press’ number 1 enemy, for now you are just speculating he is not.

  • Nitram

    Mike T

    “Your comment smacks of the classic bitterness.”

    Why is that Mike?

    My posts on Untold, as you should know as you spend a lot of time here, are littered with praise for how Man City play. My admiration for Pep and his style of play is well documented on UA.

    I have over the last few weeks supported Pep and his complaints regarding the bad tackles Man City as a team have endured this season.

    I support Pep and Man City wholeheartedly in there challenge to PGMOL, that players should be protected, although I do question why similar concerns were not expressed when we were having players careers ruined for fun, but hey, I think we all know the answer to that don’t we.

    I have no problem conceding that Man City are the best team in the Premiership, playing the most attractive football.

    Man City will win the Premiership by a distance and they will deserve it.

    I have said all of the above on many occasions.

    How is that ‘Bitter’ ?

    MY argument is that given the amount spent, by Pep and his predecessors, the above is the least there fans should expect.

    Give that sort of money to ANY manager worth his salt and he WILL win the Premiership eventually.

    Anyone who spends that sort of money, should, and almost always will, win things.

    Yes, I agree not all doing so with the style of a Pep team, but they still usually win things.

    So when you say “but managing high value players is far from easy and getting them to gel as a team is far more difficult than you clearly think.” I think you are way way wide of the mark.

    Where is your proof of that?

    Honestly Mike that is hogwash and you know it.

    And this is why:

    Man City, Chelsea and Man United are historically by far the biggest net spenders on transfers in recent history, lets say over the last 15 years.

    Over that period, a variety of managers, managing an even larger variety of players, have some how managed to win 33 of the 45 domestic trophies available.

    Over that period ONE team outside of those 3 have won the Premiership.

    Over that period those 3 teams have also won over 50% of the FA Cups, the exceptions being Arsenal with 4, 3 of which were won since we started spending again, Wigan and Portsmouth.

    Over that period those 3 teams have won 66% of the league cups, the exceptions being Liverpool, Spurs, Middlesbrough, Birmingham and Swansea.

    So with just:

    1 out of 15 titles going outside the 3 mega spenders.

    6 out of 15 FA Cups going outside the 3 mega spenders. (and 4 of those to Arsenal)

    5 out of 15 League Cups going outside the 3 mega spenders. (and 1 each of those going to Liverpool and Spurs)

    it seems being rich is a bit of advantage wouldn’t you say ?

    Note:

    And when you take into account that the wealthy teams by and large didn’t even try to win the League cup as they pretty much all played their reserves, even doing that to a large degree in the FA Cup as well (Man Utd Famously even not entering it once), it makes it even more convincing.

    So your notion that “managing high value players is far from easy and getting them to gel as a team is far more difficult than you clearly think” is clearly unsustainable.

    Yes the odd manager is clearly not up to the job. Moyes springs to mind.

    Yes some do it in a style that is clearly pragmatic rather than flamboyant. LVG and Mourinho spring to mind.

    But, history clearly shows that no matter the ‘style’ of the manager. No matter the range of players in both skill and temperament, if you have the kind of money available for transfers over a sustained period of time, you inevitably WIN things.

    So it seems it isn’t quite as difficult as you are trying to suggest it is.

    NB:

    “To get a flavour look at Chelsea 2017/18 dealings. Costa is said to have been purchased in 2017/18 by Chelsea for £50 million putting his as a purchase as opposed to a sale distorts the numbers by £100 million”

    Yes I have seen you raise that error before and I concede that there may be discrepancies so if it makes you happy lets lob a mere £100 Million net of Cities spending then, knocking them down to a mere £256 Million in 3 years.

    Yep, that makes all the difference.

    Come on Mike.

    Calling people ‘bitter’ just because they don’t quite see the same value of achievement in winning things after spending those enormous amounts of money, that you do, is the usual response of anyone who supports a club that spends those enormous amounts of money.

    Well there’s a surprise.

    I just thought you was a bit better than that Mike, obviously you are not.

  • Nitram

    ‘Bitterness’

    I do find this accusation, or insult if you like, that is aimed at me and people like me, very odd.

    Why does not seeing any real achievement in a success that is attained on the back of an enormous advantage over your opponents, be it financial or anything else, make me ‘bitter’ ?

    Whether you think it is right or wrong to financially back a team to the levels we are currently seeing, is a matter of personal opinion.

    Maybe there is no right or wrong, but there is no doubt it gives you a massive advantage. To deny this is ridiculous.

    Arguments such as putting an expensive team together and managing it is ‘not as easy as you think’ is flimsy at best, and in truth down right disrespectful to those trying to manage without it.

    Ask any of the managers fighting relegation how much easier there job would be given £100 Million pounds to spend?

    I have said many times I do NOT WANT our owners to do what City and Chelseas owners have done.

    I have said many times why I see no glory in achieving success in such a way.

    Please can somebody tell me why this makes me ‘bitter’ ?

  • Pat

    LE GALL

    Welcome to the Untold debate! Hope to hear more from you in future. Hearing a French take on things is nice.

  • Mike T

    Nitram

    The reason I believe it’s classic bitterness is because you can’t just say Man City are doing it because they are the best team , which they are, you had to add that it’s easy to be the best team when you spend big. Yes the money gives you access to a better class of player but better players bring a whole lot of problems that cause issues both on and off the pitch.
    It’s not just me that believes it’s more difficult to manage star players or high value players for SAF talks very much along those lines in his public speaking events . So maybe disagree with my thoughts but it’s hard to ignore probably the best manger English football has ever seen.
    As for net spend it’s always easy to fit a timescale that supports an arguement so I personally like looking at the last 5 years.

  • Nitram

    “you can’t just say Man City are doing it because they are the best team”

    Of course I cant because that’s the whole point isn’t it?

    I’m not arguing as to whether City are the best team or not am I ? What I am arguing about is, as to WHY they are the best team.

    You contest it is down to Pep. Fine that is your opinion.

    I am contesting it is down to Pep and £350 Million. I am contesting that almost any manager PLUS £350 Million would win the league.

    I am contesting that history shows that almost every manager over the last 15 years that has been given the level of financial advantage that Pep is now enjoying wins trophies, which almost always include the premiership.

    My argument is that what Pep is doing at City, as good as it is, is nothing more than he should be doing.

    “you had to add that it’s easy to be the best team when you spend big”.

    Don’t put words in my mouth. Where did I say it was ‘easy’ ?

    What I said was “….given the amount spent, by Pep and his predecessors, the above is the least there fans should expect”. and “Anyone who spends that sort of money, should, and almost always will, win things”.

    If you don’t agree with that that’s up to you, but recent history has proven that to be the case.

    “better players bring a whole lot of problems that cause issues both on and off the pitch.”

    That is your opinion. Nothing more. My opinion is it doesn’t and the fact that successive managers managing a massive range of players of all kinds of personalities have managed to win the league suggests I am correct.

    Are you honestly saying that just because a player doesn’t cost a lot of money he cant be difficult to manage?

    Seriously?

  • Nitram

    “It’s not just me that believes it’s more difficult to manage star players or high value players for SAF talks very much along those lines in his public speaking events . So maybe disagree with my thoughts but it’s hard to ignore probably the best manger English football has ever seen”.

    You mean the guy that couldn’t manage Beckham so got rid?

    And that’s the point isn’t it.

    If you don’t like the players attitude and you have another of that quality on the bench you drop him.

    If you don’t like a players attitude when he’s dropped you replace him.

    That’s the power being at a top club with unlimited funds gives you.

    Ask Leicester City what it’s like to have players that are ‘difficult’ to manage.

    Ask any manager of a ‘lower’ team how difficult it is to manage and motivate a player who wants away.

    Yes of course good players can be difficult to manage, but I’m not having it that they are any more difficult to manage than ambitious players at lower level clubs for example.

    It’s what Fergie, Pep, Wenger get paid Millions to do.

    Jeez, I have been a manager in my life and had all manor of people to manage, some easy some difficult, but it was my job.

    For crying out loud try managing 20 teenagers on commission only and then you’ll find out what ‘difficult’ is.

    So don’t give me that.

    As for Fergie. He was for a majority of his tenure at United managing the biggest, richest, most famous, club in the World, that almost any player in the World would give there right arm to play for.

    He could offer the certainty of trophies and enormous wealth.

    And you think that’s ‘difficult’.

    So no I’m not ‘bitter’ just because I see little glory in spending £350 Million to win the league.

    So no, I don’t think it’s any more difficult to manage precious superstars at City or United, than it is to manage disillusioned ones at Leicester City or Arsenal.

    So in answer to your question, no, I don’t find it hard to ignore SAF at all.

    I always liked you as a poster Mike but I think you really have got this so wrong.

  • Azinoz

    Well Nitram, with the the resourses Wenger has at his disposal shouldn’t we be above Tottenham?

  • Arsenal_62

    “Well Nitram, with the the resourses Wenger has at his disposal shouldn’t we be above Tottenham?”

    Waiting for your essay, Nitram. And no,the perpetual retort of “3 FA cups in 4, sorry, 5 years”, does not count.

  • Nitram

    Why not. I thought it was about winning things.

    Or has that suddenly changed ?