Turning the remorseless criticism of Arsenal to the club’s advantage

by Tony Attwood

It’s fairly clear that the concept of asking the question of “why and how is it helpful to the club for fans to join with the media and the anti-Arsenal gangs in criticising the manager or the players?” is one that does not take the debate any further forward, most of the time.

A number of people, both on Untold and people with whom I have tried to engage in a discussion, consider that the answer is to point out that Arsenal are failing to win things and therefore the manager and players deserve criticism.   Which doesn’t actually answer the question: how is this criticism helpful?

I think one of the most telling responses I have had to this is, “So you think they ought to be praised for a defeat like yesterday?”   And my answer obviously is “no”.  Just like when someone says, “So I suppose you blame the refs for everything,” the answer is equally no.  But I am still left asking, “In what way is it helpful to the success of the club, for people who define themselves as Arsenal fans to pour scorn on the players and the management?”

They’ve been doing it for years and it hasn’t moved the manager or the board, so what’s the point?

And there is of course a secondary question: “what counts as success?”  I’ve watched four Wembley finals in five years as an Arsenal supporter, and of those four finals I have seen us win three.  Not a bad run in my estimation and indeed better than most clubs.  Does writing out of history that ground-breaking run help the club and the players?  I can’t see how.

This was brought into focus on the Underground train with Blacksheep after the game yesterday as I sat next to a gent who was perhaps somewhat older than me (although Blacksheep finds that impossible to believe)  who complained vigorously about Arsenal.  I said that although I had not enjoyed the final this season I had seen worse, citing the Luton final in the same competition.  He then countered with the Swindon final as even worse than that.  But he still felt the current performances demanded criticism.  Endless criticism in fact.  All the way from King’s Cross to Arnos Grove.

So as we had time I put the point to him that supporting Arsenal can be quite a difficult occupation over time, but there can also be some good times.  He wouldn’t have any of that and focused on the failings of yesterday’s team and other past failings; it was a brief discussion of two perspectives, one enjoying the good memories, one bemoaning the bad performances.  I was quite happy with my memories and reflections, he, if I may speak ill of the elderly, was a grumpy old sod.

Thus I still find a lot of reasons to be very wary of supporting the stance of the national media and their camp followers such as Arsenal Fan TV, Football London and the like  (in that there is no evidence that it brings about change for the better, but there are reasons to believe that it might disincline some players to sign for Arsenal, now they know how vitriolic some Arsenal fans can be).

And yet still I have one area of hope.

I don’t hide the fact that I am a Jeremy Corbyn supporter; indeed there is a picture of him and me in Parliament on the home page of this site (although you have to scroll down a long way to find it).  And so I watch with much interest the daily attacks on him by the same media that remorselessly attack Arsenal.   And I watch the data that emerges showing that every round of attack on Mr Corbyn leads to further rises in his support.

While previous Labour leaders have tried to cosy up to the anti-Labour media, this no longer happens and Mr Corbyn and his team expose them simply as “owned by billionaire tax exiles.”  As a result attacks by the media and their camp followers on the Labour leadership now play into Labour’s hands, and indeed it is estimated that Momentum, the group within Labour that works to promote the work of Jeremy Corbyn now has more members than the Conservative Party.  Every time another attack without evidence is made on Mr Corbyn the membership of party rises.

And yet, amazingly, the Mail, Express, Star, Sun, Times and Telegraph continue to attack Corbyn day by day even though they too see that the result they are achieving is a growth in support for Corbyn.

And the way the remorseless attacks of the media have been used by Labour to its own advantage suggests there might (just might, nothing more) be a way out using the constant attacks by the media and their blogs on Arsenal, to be benefit of its club.  There is after all a similarity.  The media attacks on Mr Corbyn concerning his involvement with Czech spy rings were utterly fanciful, and resulted in another spike in support for the Party.  It would be interesting if we could find a way to use the current round of anti-Wengerianism in the same way.  (This is where the anti-Arsenal correspondents call me delusional – I thought I would put that in to save them the time).

I’m not quite sure how to achieve this, or if it can be achieved, but at least I have a model as I studen the way the media and the men who wanted to take over Arsenal in the 1920s worked to destroy the reputation of the man who did more to save and develop the club than anyone else.  I would feel it a betrayal of the sort of club I support if I did nothing to prevent this sort of thing happening again.

The story of Henry Norris at the Arsenal is being told on the Arsenal History Society site which covers his work with the club month by month.   We’ve covered the first two major libels on Norris (that he rigged the election of 1919 and that he forced the manager to play the brother-in-law of the club doctor because he would not give any money to transfers) and you can find details below, plus there is a list of all the articles in the series thus far at Henry Norris at the Arsenal.

The preliminaries to the first libel

The voting and the comments before and after the election of Arsenal to the 1st Division

The Second Libel, the manager and Bernard Joy


63 Replies to “Turning the remorseless criticism of Arsenal to the club’s advantage”

  1. What are you talking about? Watched four finals and Arsenal have won three? It’s not about the loss it is the manner of the loss. If Man City had shifted up just one gear they would probably have beaten us 6-0! I will say again, it does not matter who Arsenal buy, until the Manager has been given his marching orders it will be the same pathetic mess we are being subjected to watch week in & week out. It is like watching a boxer being pummelled in the ring, and he knows he is beaten but continues to refuse to throw in the towel. It is getting sadder by the week.

  2. “ but there are reasons to believe that it might disincline some players to sign for Arsenal, now they know how vitriolic some Arsenal fans can be “

    So the fact that we’re crap comes second to how the fans are reacting ?

    How about the fact that the whole world and his dog can see what is wrong with our team and have been able to see it for 10 years now – this might disincline some players to sign

    Or the fact that we have been knocked out of the last 16 of the cl for how many years in a row – with not a hope of ever winning it – this might disincline some players to sign

    Or the fact we haven’t won the league for 15 years – this might disincline some players to sign

    You seriously believe the fans have any part to play in players not wanting to sign – you are beyond delusional you actually want the wenger hate to galvanise support somehow ! Why would you want to do that !!?? Do you think the white hanky waving Madrid fans stop players from signing for Madrid ? That place is a pure pressure cooker because their fans DEMAND success

    We pay the highest ticket prices to win a few fa cups after being told we would be competing with Bayern only to come up against them and get spanked 10-2 – mate it’s 2018 , fa cups were great 25 years ago – these days an elite club wins their league and champions league simple as that

    This is football – if you’re an arsenal fan you are being taken for a massive ride by the board the owner and the manager – he is responsible for Arsenal losing to Östersunds he is responsible for us being an utter embarrassment- he is responsible for Man U fans celebrating the 8-2 anniversary- we don’t need to galvanise support because everybody is hating Wenger – we need to GET RID OF WENGER – to make our club great again – wouldn’t you rather be winning the league and champs league with new visionary ideas and playing exciting football ? Or would you rather more of yesterday’s walk over ? Wenger is finished he can take the club no further – it’s not about sitting on trains remembering the glory days after you’ve just had your arse handed to you by the best manager you n the world it’s about NOW and moving the club forward towards success – WAKE UP

  3. “So the fact that we’re crap comes second to how the fans are reacting ?”

    No. Sorry I did not express myself clearly enough for you to understand.

  4. “I will say again”

    And I will ask you as my article does, what is the point of saying the same thing over and over again, when it has no effect?

  5. So Ashley if FA cups are 25 years ago should all premier league teams stop plaing in the competition?

    The entire article is on how such criticisms does not help the club. It does help the media as they can see how triggered the fans are and write more attacks on the club.

  6. criticism is excessive even the wins are being derided as not important but yesterday was dire -there was nothing to enjoy as an arsenal supporter-the game was poor in the first half and city dominated in the second -regrettably a significant change is needed -arsenal are not moving forward with things as they are

  7. Did I say teams should stop playing in it , no

    Are you happy to except this version of Arsenal F.C. and some fa cups ?

    A team of Arsenal’s stature ( which is diminishing by the day ) should be aiming higher than fa cups – the emirates wasn’t built for fa cups , we were sold a much bigger dream than that

  8. It’s a lovely idea but in politics you go to the polls once a year at most, general elections every five years or so. In football your judged twice weekly.

  9. “but there are reasons to believe that it might disincline some players to sign for Arsenal, now they know how vitriolic some Arsenal fans can be”…yes that’s the primary reason why the future messis and ronaldos of this world will not sign for us. As always, only on Untold.

    This blog does live up to its name.

  10. I know I was only watching in my kitchen but our performance didn’t look as dire as some people are saying. There were some decent passages of play and we had our chances. As our manager said afterwards, the second goal was off side.

    Probably the fact that two of our cup stars were not fully well, Ozil and Ramsey, was a factor. After goal two he wanted to make a substitution probably because of that but before he could do so, the third goal had gone in.

    In any case, taking up Tony’s theme, since we play the same team later this week, how does it help us to completely rubbish yesterday’s performance?

  11. Who said anything about teams not playing in the fa cup ? Did you read what he wrote ? Because I did and it’s pretty simple to see that he thinks Arsenal should be winning like the elite club they act like when it comes to ticket prices and such – we got spanked by forest , we lost to Bournemouth and Swansea we got schooled by spurs and out fought by some Swedish team none of us had ever heard of until this year , and yesterday we gave Man City less fight than they got from each other in their pre match warm up – some would say Arsenal are giving the media all the ammo they need – if you win then the media can’t really say much ,if you lose how we lose then they can say whatever they like , and right now the media is the only voice the fans have in the fight to get wenger out because the board sure as hell aren’t listening to any of its highest ticket price paying fans

  12. how does it help us to completely rubbish yesterday’s performance?

    Seems to work for Corbyn apparently.

  13. Tony

    I was thinking about you the other day when I saw some bloke had to make a public apology to Mr Corbyn for his claims about Mr Corbyn and to make a donation to the charity organization picked by Mr Corbyn.

    When it comes to evidence and stuff like that, there is no proof that egocentric grinders from Arsenal Fan TV and “fans” similar to them have forced a player out of Arsenal or forced a player not to join Arsenal. I’ve been watching European football for almost 30 years and I can recall of very few cases when fans of any club were the reasons for a player not to join their club.

    Lillian Thuram had played for Parma when Lazio wanted to sign him but he rejected a big money move to Rome because of the right-wing fans on Lazio games that have been insulting black and Jewish players (including their own Aron Winter).

    Even that brainless bunch of Lazio fans were powerless to stop Fabio Liverani, a life-long Roma fan who had been pictured celebrating Lazio’s fierce rivals Roma scudetto dressed fully in Roma equipment in May 2001 and a player of a mixed racial heritage, to join Lazio from Perugia only few months later and eventually to become the Lazio captain.

    Kenny Miller played for both Celtic AND Rangers (not at the same time obviously) despite all troubles Mo Johnston had to go through and it was a more serious thing.

    Vladimir Stojković had played for Crvena Zvezda AND Partizan. He received number of death threats by Crvena Zvezda hard-core fans who put his obituaries around the Crvena Zvezda stadium but he still remained in Partizan despite being branded a traitor.

    My point is, players who want to join the club will eventually join it. Same goes for managers. Real Madrid have been brutal to their former managers in the last 20 years. Jupp Heynckes had won Champions League in 1998 for the first time since 1966 but was sacked for poor league campaign. Vicente del Bosque had won Champions League twice (2000 and 2002) and the league in 2001 and 2003 but was sacked because Real were beaten by Juventus in Champions League semifinals. Carlo Ancelotti won Champions League in 2014 after twelve unsuccessful years before he was sacked in 2015 after he had lost to Juventus in the semifinals.

    Still, there is no club in the world that is more appealing to managers and players than Real Madrid.

  14. Quote “ And I will ask again what is the point of saying the same thing over again and again when it has no effect”

    How about asking Arsene The same question?

  15. Let’s get a sense of proportion. We were well beaten by a better team. But some of the criticism is absurdly exaggerated. It is not true that we were ‘overwhelmed’. City had three shots on target and scored three goals. It is not true that we were ‘ambling’ around the pitch. Our players were running and competing to the end. Mustafi was probably on the wrong side of Aguero for the first goal but his complaint that he was fouled was not ‘pathetic’. It was true. Aguero quite deliberately nudged him in the back before the ball dropped. That is a foul. Wenger’s complaint that Sane was offside for the second goal was not ‘sour grapes’. It was justified. How can a player standing in front of the goalkeeper not be interfering wiith play? It is not true that we were tactically ‘clueless’. The plan was to counter City’s pressing game by sending the ball long to Aubameyang . Unfortunately Aubameyang was unable to take advantage of the two or three opportunities he got. It is not true that ‘the players ‘ don’t want to play for Wenger’. If that were true, how come we beat Chelsea over two hard fought matches to get into the final?

  16. Steven :- Probably ? Definitely and yes he was nudged but had he been goalside he would have been nudging Aguerro.
    As for our players ambling , this is not new . It’s been a recurring feature of our midfield for a long time as is both of our fullbacks going forward and no midfield cover slotting in. Our midfield has been unbalanced and not working properly for some time. Occasionally we do get ourselves up for games but frequently we do not . Last week at home and our last two trips to Wembley are perfect examples.

  17. Tony,
    Your point is well made; but I no longer wonder why people engage in behavior that is not getting them results and still persist in it when there is so much help available. Many are adults but remain children in their emotional constitution. Some lack any other way of coping with disappointments in life other than by criticizing and moaning about how unfair it all is. These so-called adults are venting, stamping their feet, and throwing out their toys and feel quite justified in doing so after all they pay ‘good money’ to be entertained by Arsene and AFC!

    They forget the fact that they do have a choice to continue to attend the “show” (AFC football matches) or not to. It is as simple as that. (I would stop going to a Broadway Show if the Cast were crap and know nothing about acting.) Again, they also fail to see that there is no connection between what they pay to be entertained by Arsenal, and their control over the outcome of the matches they paid to watch. They have a zero control over the outcomes and results because they are 3rd Parties in the matches they paid to watch. The 2 teams (mainly, and the PigMob in the case of the EPL) are responsible for determining the results of the matches.

    The Coaches, Managers, Supporters, Club Owners, the Ball Boys etc all take a back sit in deciding the final outcome. Yes these may make an input but their influences are limited and not proportionate to the expected outcomes. It is a habit, this endless carping, so very difficult to break and control but I still hope they would see it for what it is and take control of it before it causes irreversible damages to AFC as a whole.

    The sections who do it knowingly (the Press,Pundits and some Blogs) make financial gains from it and therefore continue to indulge in it for their selfish ends not caring what impact it is having on AFC. Therefore, no matter what you say here the latter lot will continue to criticize AFC while the others will stop only when they are able to take control of themselves and behave like responsible adults.

  18. Ashley

    Changing the manager won’t solve anything unless City stop spending huge amounts of money simple as that.Don’t mention Leicster as everyone knows they were helped out by referees as well.I would love to see the manager replaced just to see everyone proved wrong about Wenger but the problem is that if it happens we’re gonna be a lot more shit than we are now…why????Becuase the new manager will request huge funds that we simply do not have.Get it through your thick heads that Kroenke will not spend his own money and nor should he.Why don’t you go and ask David Dein why he accepted Kronke instead of Usmanov.Go and ask serious questions please not the same old tripe that wannabe journalists ask.You can’t expect a club to compete if everyone is fucking up behind the scenes.We had Gazidis using StatDNA and buying players that wenger did not want.A transfer negotiator who missed flights for Ozil and Manolas as well as negotiating well paid contracts for average players and this guy was employed by Kroenke for fucks sake and yet somehow this is also Wengers fault.

  19. I thought both teams were poor. We had a couple of very good early chances. Despite all the negativity, Man City, or the United Arab Emirates as I prefer to call them, only had three shots on target. During the game we were constantly reminded that Arsenal were the lowest scoring finalists, suggesting we had been lucky. There was no mention of the fact Man City had won two games by penalty shoot out, including Wolves.

    Criticiscm is fine but he has to be even handed. Gary Neville was not even handed. My first issue with him was that at no stage did he recognise that Man City were huge favourites for the game. They are running away with the league due to the huge investment the Unite Arab Emirates have made.

    Neville was wrong about the Aguerro goal. Yes, of course Mustafi should have done better, he should have flattened Aguerro. That is what most English defenders would have done. Instead he allowed Aguerro to nudge him off the ball, expecting the usual free kick that would be given in any other Country except ours. It’s all very well Neville saying it wasn’t a foul but it was. You can’t ignore the ball and play the player, which replays show he did. A clear foul. Gary Neville used to play for a team that kicked people. Hard. Anyone who bothers to watch the 50th game at Old Trafford would see what Gary Neville thinks is within the rules. You cannot put your elbow into a players back to affect his balance, it’s a foul.

    As for the comments about us being rubbish for years and not having a good midfield he conveniently forgot to mention the three FA Cups won in the last four years or the fact we beat both Man City and Chelsea to win last years. Are we really that bad?

    Finally. After Neville had confirmed what we all knew about the agenda, step forward Thierry Henry. A man who has been a regular critic of Arsenal even when we win. Now he has admitted he would like to manage the club. That came as no surprise to me. Those who hate Wenger will think this is great news. They live in a world where fairies steel teeth and leave rewards under the pillar. Or where a man in a red suit with magical reindeers leaves presents at the end of the bed. The financial doping means the dreamers are going to find their expectations continually dashed. The idea that one of our greatest ever players with no managerial experience is going to suddenly level the playing field is pure fantasy. After all, Gary Neville found out just how cheap talk is when he managed Valencia. The former owner of Valencia, Paco Roig, called Neville “The worst coach I have ever seen”.

  20. we were sold a much bigger dream than that

    That approach seems a little simplistic to me Ashley, because when the Emirates was built no one imagined that the sovereign wealth of a very rich country could be used, not for the betterment of the majority of the people, but to build a set of football clubs around the world. It’s hardly the fault of Arsenal that the directors didn’t know that would happen. I don’t think anyone did.

  21. AFC Nemesis
    Just asking, did Neville then sue Paco for slander/libel? I doubt if he ever did nor come close to doing so as I am not aware there was a retraction or apology.

  22. Two simple facts about football in England.
    1. Arsee Wenger the best thing ever to happen in English Football (honesty personified).

    2. PGMOL the worst thing ever to happen in football (corruption in your face).

  23. I find the moaner on the tube dreadfully amusing if only for the reason that he is so selective with his memories. I too attended the Arsenal v Swindon League Cup Final in 69 and yes it was a huge disappointment.

    But I also remember that virtually all of our first team had been ill with flu the week before and we appealed to the FA to have the game rescheduled. (Almost as though nothing had changed) the FA refused our request and made us play the game with a squad that were barely fit enough to pull on a shirt let alone play a football match.

  24. Tony, consider this similar to your continued efforts on issues such as refereeing standards and anti-Arsenal media agenda. You once said that you report things that other people ignored and that you will keep pursuing those issues. And you often cite how your consistent campaign has resulted in some changes. And you also said to me that given you aren’t going to change your opinion on Wenger, why I keep commenting on Untold with an opposing view.
    For fans like me, Wenger at Arsenal is an issue. There is enough evidence he’s taken us backwards. I am not going to abuse him like some on AFTV. And I won’t blame the players because so many issues exist despite change in personnel. They were signed by Wenger and if they aren’t good enough the responsibility is his. It is possible to enjoy and compliment the fantastic FA cup victories while objectively looking at consistent failures in other competitions. I am sure lots of fans who want Wenger to go have a lot of respect for him and are more than anything hurting by watching his struggles.
    So don’t put all fans who want Wenger out into the same basket as AFTV or the media. And consider this persistent criticism of Wenger as something similar to your campaign against the refereeing standards. Some believe it is a problem and even if it doesn’t make a difference now, it will in the end. Small signs such as strengthening of the back room team gives me hope. But don’t use the criticism of Wenger as an excuse for dropping standards on the pitch. What you say isn’t going change the views of fans wanting Wenger out. Despite this stark contrast, I respect your work so much that I continue to read them despite your rude dismissal of my comments.

  25. Ashley.

    “after you’ve just had your arse handed to you by the best manager you n the world”

    “So the fact that we’re crap comes second to how the fans are reacting?”

    Firstly, if Arsenal are ‘crap’ why did Man City only win 3-0? Did the best Manager in the World get something wrong? After all, according to most observers our players weren’t trying and we were Sunday League. Well if weren’t trying and we was as rubbish as everyone said and the best Manager in the world was so good, I must be missing something. Two dodgy goals (sorry I know that isn’t allowed as an excuse) 3 shots on target against a crap team who weren’t trying is a pretty poor reward, don’t you think.

    Secondly. The greatest manager in the world has spent over half a BILLION quid on players. Do you think that helps him become the ‘best manager in the world”. It is worth considering the advantage that gives him instead of pitching him against Wenger who you clearly dislike.

    Thirdly, why are you so surprised about the result? You clearly think Wenger is useless. Why would you expect such a useless manager to overcome the best manager in the world.

    Fourth. How did this useless manager with his crap team beat man City last season in the FA Cup semi final? and Chelsea in the final.

    Fifth, how did this crap manager with his useless players win 3 FA Cups in 4 seasons?

    Sixth, does Pep spending half a BILLION have anything to do with the fact you and the media think he is the best manager in the world?

    Seventh, how did the best manager in the world do last season?

    Eight, do you think the best manager in the world would have been able to finish, 2nd, 3rd or 4th while being asked to make money on transfer dealings? Those who hate Wenger find our financial struggles an inconvenient truth. Much easier to include the years we were making money on transfers and selling our players in the negative column.

    Ninth,how did you think our useless Manager with his crap team managed to win 3 FA Cups in 4 seasons?

    I would appreciate your sensible and well thought out reponse. I am sure you came onto this blog for a discussion.

  26. I just don’t get it.
    Do these people from the WOB really believe that firing him will enable the next guy to spen 1 billion over 3 years tu buy them a PL trophy ?
    I mean seriously ?!?! Next summer, City will buy 3 or 4 more players of the same caliber as they alreday have, probably a few english guys, which will give them a full team and they will just win all trophies again. No club is able to compete with that kind of money unless a neighbouring Kingdom decides to give them competition.

    Considering that, all PL managers ought to get fired because none of them will be able to compete with City and this for years to come. This a now a fact of life and even TV has picked it up – for example in Germany. Last week-end, watching sky sports news, I did not see many adverts for the Bayern game. But many more for : CL places, EL places, relegation places. TV has integrated that Bayern will be winning, there is no suspense, nothing. So they show games where there is some sort of suspense. Same in France. PSG wins outrageously each and every game. Game over. Barcelona are in the same spot – they took good advantage of the hundreds of millions cashed in for Neymar and are a step ahead. Can Real get back to their level when the players they can sell are in the late 20s or early 30s….I have my doubts.

    Frankly, if I were the owner of Arsenal, United, Pool or Tottenham, I’d consider the PL title, as of today, as out of reach and concentrate my financial means in getting the youth infrastructure up to speed and getting the scouting to top level in the hope of getting raw diamonds and being able to sell for lots of money as brilliant diamonds.

    And if Arsenal fans cannot stand behind their club when it is needed, they are not fans, they are spectators.

    Screaming Wenger out is like getting screaming at the flames starting to burn you room instead of calling 911 and trying your best to extinguish the fire before it spreads.

  27. Tony,

    your post reminds me of what happened in 98 with the french team at the World Cup. They were lambasted throughout the whole run-up to the World Cup. No one ever imagined them going to the final, let alone beat Brazil.
    And they made a motivation out of it. For those who remember it, Adidas got out a clip during the world cup with ‘I will survive’ as musical background. This is now legendary in France.

  28. Arsenal didn’t win or expected to win the ‘tin pot cup’ and there are so much hysteria. Seriously, this ManC team at one stage during the season was considered as potentially the ‘greatest team ever to grace the PL’ but only had 3 shots on target against a team who was labelled ‘spineless’ and ‘clueless’ l can see another £200 million being spent on strikers next season.

  29. You’re actually advocating a form of totalitarianism.
    Anti war, anti capitalist or pro human rights protests rarely achieve anything.

    According to your logic therefore, they shouldn’t take place.

    All fans criticise their clubs. It’s a fact of life.
    Really, the longer you persevere with your nonsensical and pretty weird anti criticism stance, the sillier you look.

  30. In case anyone is unaware of this, arsenal fc are currently ranked the 6th richest football club in the world.

    Also, the club’s cash balance is roughly £180 million.
    Despite this the arsenal actually made a profit in transfers over the last two transfer windows.

    ..and this blog thinks that arsenal fans shouldn’t complain

  31. Tony, don’t you think you are being a little myopic in your reply to Ashley? Agreed that no-one could have foreseen the situation at Manchester City unfold but surely petro-dollars alone do not a successful side make. Last time I looked Manchester City had not swept up all the trophies available to them since the Mansurs took control which rather indicates the coach or manager might have something to do with winning things? The finances at Manchester City certainly give them an advantage but how do we explain Arsenal’s relative decline when measured against Liverpool and Tottenham? Even Chelsea have reigned in there profligate spending in recent years and the appointment of Conte delivered them the title last season. The point Ashley is making is that the move to the new stadium was sold to us as the next piece in the jigsaw that would see Arsenal cement their place at the top table of European football – something that has manifestly not occurred and looks unlikely to occur in the near future even though the increased revenues from TV money and the stadium move gives us a financial advantage over many of the teams competing at that level.

  32. Polo,

    exactly. Guardiola has a toy that comes with endless recharging and updates. They can then start up the pressure on any player they want, invent a City DNA, a Guardiola Attraction, an Etihad Identity, whatever sounds nice and makes headlines and destabilises any player who will then just want to up and leave knowing any contract breach can be financed anyway. Guardiola will say in an interview : yes, he is an excellent player, just the type of player City needs and the story is over, or yes we have been scouting him for some time. Player will want to leave, club will not allow it, player sulks, City lays money on the table, club has to accept.

    Just what Bayern were are are to some extent still doing in the Bundesliga. Just that they are now falling prey to the same strategy with Lewandoski. The PL owners never wanted to seriously enforce FFP rules, each thinking he’d outsmart the others with all his money. Well great, no someone comes who could just buy them all. Their fault.

    Say what you want, but in this regard the NFL US owners have had much more business accumen.

  33. AFC Nemesis

    Thanks for your posts. Full of excellent points that made me feel a lot better. Sometimes we all need to feel better because it is sad when our team loses.

  34. Hi afc nemesis

    A lot to take in there but seriously – we’ve just bought 2 strikers for 100 million and put ozil on 350 per week , you’re not really in a position to plead poverty on behalf of the club when we can see the figures for ourselves – you can’t honestly look at our form and say we’re not crap – we’re crap – fa cups or not – we’re crap

    At no point in anything I’ve written on here today have I said I expected us to win

    Cup wins are one off games – anything can happen , case in point Wigan beat man city a couple weeks back no ? And the same team beat Man City a few years back in the fa cup final – my point is you can’t use the fa cup to defend Wenger – an elite club cannot point to that and justify the most expensive tickets in the land whilst it’s not won the league for 15 years been humiliated in the champs league over and over and just lost to Swedish part timers – I am not happy just winning fa cups – Arsenal in my opinion should be winning leagues , I’d be a lot happier winning the league a far better barometer for success which I’m sure most would agree on

    As for Guardiola he’s the best manager in the world – his record speaks for its self – in the record books it will state he won and that’s it , it’ll have no mention of his funds or what he spent , it seems like you think his trophy wins dont really count because he’s spent x amount funds help yes but you can’t honestly tell me wenger could get the same out of the players Guardiola has – the manager still has to motivate his team develop his players instill new ideas change up the training methods – wenger clearly doesn’t do that – arsenal is a comfort zone – how many times have you heard xyz player has regressed ? Do you think that’s just a coincidence ? Of course not

    Bringing up financial ‘ struggles ‘ is just another way of absolving wenger of any blame whatsoever

    Last year the clubs total revenue was 400mill make of that what you will – we have the funds – just the wrong man in charge of them

  35. @Chris

    Speaking of that French national team in 1998, I had made a bold prediction before World Cup that they’d win it. There was so much quality (Zidane & Djorkaeff and their young lions Henry and Trezeguet) and defensive solidity in their team (Thuram-Blanc-Desailly-Lizarazu, Vieira-Deschamps-Petit) that I couldn’t see beyond them for the World Cup glory. I expected them to beat Holland in the final. I also expected Croatia to finish third. In fact, the only semifinalist I hadn’t predicted were…Brazil.

  36. Thanks Pat.

    We all need cheering up. We have an excellent record in FOUR Cup Finals recently, so ONE loss, in the most minor of all those competitions, is a great reward.

    It is the mind blowing hypocrisy and the ability to ignore the inconvenient truth that annoys me.

    Let us take Ashley. He is throwing his toys out of the pram because Arsenal lost in the most minor of our domestic cup competitions, to the ‘Best Manager in the World” and a team that is walking the PL. The same is true of our biased and click baiting media and the pundits they employ. Like Neville.

    All this Arsenal have been crap for years garbage, without any recognition that these crap players and crap manager have won three FA Cups in four years is disgraceful.

    I will bet you my mortgage that when Arsenal won the FA Cup last season, Ashley was one of those saying the FA Cup wasn’t worth winning. Yet when we lose the Carabao Cup, it’s the end of the world. It;s too predictable for words.

    Those of us with more than two brain cells know exactly what’s going on here. A G E N D A

  37. vivek, let me try and explain.
    First, Untold proclaims itself to be a pro-manager site,and given that the overwhelming majority of Arsenal sites are anti-Wenger, I am still unsure of why anyone who is anti-Wenger would want to come here and proclaim their views. It is a bit like me trying to get a comment published in the Daily Mail.
    Second, I have tried to write a couple of articles which centre on the issue of “why people who are against Wenger believe that by criticising him a lot in public forums they are likely to get any change.” And each time the comment column has been taken over by people wanting to talk about something else. I think it is a common courtesy in blogs to talk about the subject raised by the writer.
    Third, I am sorry that I have been rude. Sometimes I do get a little fed up when points one and two happen. As you may know I largely run Untold on my own at the moment, and that is fair enough since I started it. But it has been getting quite onerous of late.
    The site is daily bombarded by comments of which I publish about 15% or 20% at the moment. Clearing out the others is partly done through automatic systems, partly by me, and I do try to do it reasonably within the rules laid down in the discussion page on the site. But again sometimes it gets a bit much.
    However you will be pleased to know that on Tuesday I am going on holiday That will mean a little pause occasionally since my trip involves about 28 hours travel, but I will try to keep the site running, and be more balanced and less rude, while away and once I return.

  38. Alexander Henry hello again, popping up once more.

    And amusing me too with “and this blog thinks that arsenal fans shouldn’t complain”.

    I don’t think I said that. I asked “why people feel it is helpful to complain” given that the chances of it changing anything is so little.

  39. Alexander Henry, the problem is I can’t understand the logic behind what you are saying at all. I am sure it is my fault, but given that I am the moderator you are going to have to live with my quirky vision of reality

    You said

    Anti war, anti capitalist or pro human rights protests rarely achieve anything.
    According to your logic therefore, they shouldn’t take place.

    I am not sure that I have ever said that anti-war etc protests rarely achieve anything. And I can’t see that anything I have said suggests they should not place.

    As one who studied psychology I know that an incredible amount of human behaviour is based on habit, and complaining can become a habit as much as anything else. As everyone who has worked in an area of psychology will tell you, creating a habit is very simple, breaking it is very hard. I think the comments here prove that – although that was not the point of my piece.

    Although I am willing to admit to being inconsistent and quirky I really don’t think I have ever advocated a form of totalitarianism either in thinking or doing. The great benefit to people who have the most control over their behaviour and are less controlled by habits is that they are much more flexible than people who make habitual responses. Changing managers when things don’t go so well is a habit in football – and it continues even though most of the time it doesn’t work.

  40. A little fact burst to cheer us all up in these ‘desperate’ times…

    Breakdown of domestic trophies won since creation of the Premier League, 20th February 1992:

    Manchester United 34
    Arsenal 19
    Chelsea 18
    Liverpool 9
    Manchester City 8
    Tottenham Hotspur 1

    Pity Arsene couldn’t make it an even 20 yesterday, but to be fair we weren’t good. At all. I’m mostly angry at the real-time response of the players, rather than the manager or tactics. It was wholly evident by the end of the first half that City weren’t at the races; the team should have identified this quickly and got right into them. There was criticism of our free kicks but the distance bothered me in each case; we weren’t moving the ball quick enough out of midfield, thus the fouls – when they did occur – were too far away from the City goal for the set play to be a threat. Far too many passes back to our own area as well when we should have been looking to bypass their sluggish midfield (De Bruyne was hardly in the game).

    I see it as an opportunity missed, but if recent history tells us anything it’s that Arsenal are masters of inconsistency, therefore I would expect a surprising response this Thursday which might redress the balance. We’ll see.

  41. @Alexander Henry

    Yep sure, they have 180 million in the bank. So ?

    How are the going to compete with City who spent around 1 billion in 3 seasons ?
    Initiate an ICO ? do some crowdfunding ?

    Come back down to reality. Arsenal may have solid finances, it does not have never-ending wealth coming from the backpocket(oil wells) of its cresus like owner who just decides to buy any player like you and I just go buy a six-pack. They (and PSG are the same in this regard) are not in the same financial league.

  42. I’m supporting if anyone Vince Cable, given the Lib Dem continuity over Brexit.

    Corbyn has backed and wishes to back a power grab, xenophobic divisive and economically unsound strategy.

    I cannot buy into this. Vince is actually sharpening up everything, he believes in the position, as do I. It is the most patriotic, pragmatic and expansive inclusive way of thinking.

    All of the policy changes required can be achieved from with. The EU framework. The border control we seek is achievable with better protocol, a change in employment law, will generate jobs for school leavers, college goers and post graduate invetweemers, along with mothers of young children, single parents and support a flagging economy.

    I know I am right, but accept I live in a democracy amd wholeheartedly expect a second referendum, which will belately reverse article 50.

    Generated by a co-alotipn government with the Lib Demd and Greens insisting on it in return for their support. With Jeremy holding the centre left right allotment vote as he does by not really standing for anything, until the polling on public opinion has been generated.

    Smart tactics, he understands the fickle nature of those who he would govern.

    I like my politicians honest though, rather than Jose pragmatic.

    However aside from vote rigging, I do accept that we live in a democracy.

    However the article is correct in suggesting, Mr Corbyn is boxing pretty clever and hasn’t allowed negative press to build, neither deflecting or avoiding it, let alone addressing it.

    Until that is, that the media have take no hos silence for
    Quiet acceptance and gone overboard, before having once again done his homework, dissects whatever latest exaggeration has been manufactured, before firing a well aimed jab at the Tory nose before changing topic, drawing attention to another failing of the incumbents regime, at liberty to distance himself from Mew Labour, Blairites and anyone else from his own camp as Jen has been a longstanding
    Fringe member.

    I am reasonably sure Arsene stays until the summer, a change now would be foolish, the board know they are at fault and have probably overstepped the mark.

    And we will address most issues a team the start of the WC and we will Ben fruitful next season.

    The shame in both scenarios is that the party or club have been mismanaged at crucial times by the board and party leadership respectively.

    David Millibamd wins the election against Cameron, he was the best our country had. I do like Layla Moran and wouldn’t say no to her or Sam Cam! She’s not ready yet, I like that she acknowledges as much.

    Had Labour not been playing party politics with themselves and not gone with someone who could be manipulated, over someone who isn’t blunt am deathly honest and deeply committed they’d have had an actual candidate. Ed has grown up and out of the need to spite his elder brother at the expense of his country. And is better for it, game over.

    And the board must surely recognise that they risk losing Wenger, the club, the fans and the status of the underinvestment continues much longer.

    Gazidis vying for a senior position within the games governomg body. Chips and his buddies after more chips at the casino. And Kroenke, just still offended by his own face and attempting to spite Arsenal after the fact.

    We progress, the season is almost over and we are down two the last two major opponents in the league.

    Chelsea dropped points and we can close the gap to 6 with our game in hand, with other members of the top four yet to play.

    I am quietly reserved and expect traction shortly. When things are down and you can’t find your rythm. With teams regularly able to do as the please against you, it is taxing. But we will overcome our woes, because it isn’t woven into the fabric of our structure.

    I don’t fret, we are building for the Quad, that won’t be won this year, Liverpool look like the FA Cup and it could be nobody amongst the English clubs takes the CL.

    I want everything back already and things in place tomorrow. But it won’t happen, pareience is paramount. So ok just that!

  43. Ashley…please…fuck you and your tickets. Is it too expoensive for you? What a pity….

    Try buying a flat in London…

    Who are these people who think that because they pay an expensive ticket that it means the club should emulate Real Madrid ?

    The price of the ticket is such because NONE OF THE ARSENAL OWNERS put a penny for the stadium

    And since the stadium was paid for you and me and our children and grandchildren…yes oh yes we are going to pay for it.

    This is called business and its been like that since the game became professional. So take you ticket nonsense and complain somewhere else

  44. Josif,

    You are correct of course, my mistake. The perils of juggling fact checking with other tasks whilst at work. Still, not exactly burning a hole in the rug, are they?

  45. The new theme in the media this morning was The Decade of Decline, a mythical drop in standards which has seen Arsenal become a chaotic club, bereft of leadership, ideas, skill and winning mentality. Let’s recheck my list for analysis of whether this is in fact correct…

    Domestic trophies won in the last ten years since, and including, the 1997/98 Premier League season:

    Manchester United 24
    Arsenal 17
    Chelsea 17
    Manchester City 8
    Liverpool 7
    Tottenham Hotspur 2

    Well, as you can see, the decline idea peddled by the media is clearly bullshit. Chelsea, with their huge spending power, haven’t managed to knock Arsenal off their perch in the last 10 years of trying. Neither have Tottenham, who are still so far behind it’s laughable to consider them at all (the media will still try).

    It’s not that though, is it? It’s not the winning things that matters anymore, it’s only about what you win. Our entitled and attention-deficit fanbase isn’t content with anything other than the league title, same as any other big club really. Rather than be happy our team and manager deliver cup finals at the expense of our rivals, they sneer at such things as if they don’t matter any more, which, if you’re slavishly addicted to sucking the Premier League nipple, they don’t.

  46. Tony Attwood

    As one who has an MA in English Literature, I know a thing or two about narratives, and you’re spinning some yarn on here.
    Since I’ve been reading and commenting on this blog, you’ve managed to blame foreign money, referee corruption, the press, tv pundits, other blogs, other arsenal fans and ex arsenal players who have dared to criticise the current regime for Arsenal’s poor form. Not a word has been said of the two people who are the most culpable.
    The first is Stan Kroenke and the second is Arsene Wenger.

    Regarding kroenke, this is a man who has a wretched reputation as a sports ‘franchise’ owner. His record is laughable and since he’s been involved, on the pitch the club has gone backwards while off it,its value has doubled. He has brought nothing to Arsenal football club: no investment, no expertice and poor recruitment- look at the Arsenal BOD.

    Are you really happy with the way the club is being run at the moment?

  47. had pools and spurs players subjected to half of the ridicules, criticism, cheating, kicking, abuse and siege arsenal players experienced week in week out, their team will be in tatters.
    arsenal problems lie with the ever criticising folks who comes out happily from their shell to jubilate when we lose and shamefully felt sad at our victory!

  48. Jonathan Wilson in the Guardian is obviously as stupid as the rest of the selective visioned officials. He should concentrate on his Fables & Fairy Tales that give him food for thought. In fact if he were nudged as Mustafi was he would end up in hospital with a spinal defect to go with his current one.

    The ‘nudge’ that Mustafi got with an elbow is a foul. The assistant saw it and ignored it as is the way of the PigMob. Lesser than that was penalised & even carded by the PigMob official. The charge on Aubameyang by Kompany was a red card & penalty, but only if it were Arsenal dishing out the shoulder charge.

    The Pep meeting with Riley was hanging over the heads of the officials and their vision was tainted further than the usual anti Wenger way. There is no doubt that City are the best team in Europe as Wigan proved.

  49. I would never suggest that anyone should spend their time reading all that I write, but when you say, “Not a word has been said of the two people who are the most culpable” I really can’t think of what else to suggest.

    You really ought to read the blog fully if you are going to make such grand statements. Since I am the person whose writing you criticise, I can tell you, you are totally wrong.

  50. Some lovely bashing of the unbelievers ! In the kingdom of the morons , many of them would ‘qualify ‘ or be certified to be kings !
    Up the Untolders !

  51. Arsenal’s decline as a competitive football team is a fact, not a myth- from challenging for titles to top four ECL to Europa league and mid table niche. This is not about anything other than performances.
    We’ve seen the odd poor performances before but losing games in 2018 to the likes of Forest, Swansea, Bournemouth and Ostersunds is evidence of a serious drop in performance standards over recent years.

  52. The same Swansea who beat Liverpool a week earlier? The same Bournemouth who beat Chelsea about two weeks later? Huddersfield beat Manchester United. Mighty Wigan just put City out of the FA Cup. Lesser teams upset big teams sometimes. That’s football.

    Arsenal’s complacency in the Europa League is an issue (dropping off when qualification is all but assured), but Milan haven’t exactly covered themselves in glory so far and have played more matches. It’s not an unwinnable tie.
    It’s also a fallacy to simply label the situation as a decline for Arsenal without recognising not only the upward mobility of other big clubs, but the general shift in competitiveness across the entire PL due to ostentatious input of TV revenues. The top four used to be all about United, Chelsea, Arsenal and one other, but over the last five to six seasons City, Spurs and Liverpool have all got their acts together and it’s four places between six clubs, with the odd curveball thrown in (Leicester). Arsenal haven’t necessarily declined as such, just had their position usurped by an increasingly crowded marketplace populated by well-funded and supported clubs that previously weren’t a consistent threat to said position. Business is booming and somebody has to miss out. That’s capitalism, baby.

  53. @Flares

    It’s no shame to admit that Arsenal record in 2018 is more appropriate for a mid-table club and not for the club of the Arsenal stature. We have more defeats than victories in the opening two months of the year and I think the same thing happened last year as well (when all the trouble had started anyway).

    Now, Arsene did manage to steady the ship once in the last 14 months with the magnificent run at the end of the last season that culminated with the cup glory but it seems that he is still searching for the winning combination. As you say, it’s capitalism and if the club miss out on Champions League for the second year running, all options should be on the table come May.

  54. Menace
    26/02/2018 at 1:00 pm
    Two simple facts about football in England.
    1. Arsee Wenger the best thing ever to happen in English Football (honesty personified).

    2. PGMOL the worst thing ever to happen in football (corruption in your face).

    lol, worst form of trolling, ever.

  55. Arsenal_62 trolling?

    Wenger changed the alcohol consumption in football. He changed the training methods and the way the game is played. Several teams(including City)have followed in his footsteps with passing the ball. His approach to diet in the game has made for players surviving longer.

    PGMOL have allowed nastyness to thrive in the game. They maintain an undemocratic, secretive, selection process for appointing everything in the game including pseudo Laws & fouls. Their selective vision is demonstrated in most EPL games. They have brought disrepute & corrupt practice to football in bucket-fulls yet there isn’t a body that can touch them. They are aided by a corrupt media.

  56. @Tony, I concede I have in the recent past seen some of your articles apportioning some blame to the Kroenke’s(going against previous sentiments of yours. Though you seem to flip flop a lot… Examples being your stance on the impact of finance and ;injuries on our failures) but I haven’t seen any criticism of Wenger, if you’ve so written, please be kind to direct me there

  57. Bet, you are looking at a website that has, and has had for the last ten years, the headline “supporting the club, the manager and the team”. I think that might answer your question.

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