Hoping a hero’s sacrifice will lead to the future we dream of.


By Fishpie

In essence, I am somebody who wanted Arsène Wenger to go a few years back. My head told me it was the right time for him to leave but now that time has arrived, I find my heart is reminding me just how much I owe him.

Untold, more than any other blog, has supported Arsène, revered him, celebrated him and defended him against critical all-comers including the likes of me who felt the need to try and explain on this site, mostly rationally and calmly I hope, how he was making mistakes and why he was losing followers. I am under no illusion: I did not convert a single pro-Wenger man.

It is what makes Untold special. Its philosophy (to act like the supporters the name implies and to get behind the Club, the Manager, the team, regardless of results and performances) is not an easy one to pursue or uphold. It is easier to let rip, especially in the heat of the moment, to criticise, moan and…well… lose hope.

Only time will tell whether we will regret Arsène going or whether we will enjoy better times than we’ve had recently (Not that recent seasons have been so devoid of success and joy).

Only time will tell us what kind of Club we now really are.

Are we a Club that Arsène sustained above its natural level or are we a Club that was being held back by him? Do those who run the Club really mean what they say; “compete for and win the major trophies”? Do they have a realistic understanding of what that means and what it takes? Do they have anything like the financial resources it seems to take? Or the right understanding of the kind of internal culture or drive or intensity a Club needs to fuel itself with to achieve that kind of ambition, especially in the modern game?

Whether Ivan and Josh can or cannot forge an effective working relationship between themselves or with newly appointed football executives is a critical question. I am encouraged by the scouting changes we’ve made, and the appointment of a “Director of Football Relations” but it will need good executive management and team-building skills to bring if off.

What kind of strategy will the Club pursue in terms of getting Mr Wenger’s replacement? Will the business and Club reputation imperatives rule? As in, will Stan and Josh require, demand even, an immediate and strong uptake of Club Level and standard season-ticket renewals, the speedy end to empty seats in the stadium, a quick return to the Champions League, and therefore a full realisation of maximum income from sponsorship monies? Will they expect a fast end to the club’s reputation being undermined by team performances, crowd dissatisfaction and fan in-fighting?

Or will the Club ride-out the immediate pressures and, instead, give the new man a 5-6 year project which is about a deeper and more patient rebuild towards a new era?

Each of these two approaches might require a different kind of manager. Perhaps a big name with a big personality and tons of experience for the quicker fix or an up-and-coming younger, less experienced man for the patient rebuild? And anyway, are the right kind of people available or prepared to accept those kind of briefs? Perhaps the Club will have to change its strategy based on who it can get.

So much is unknown, so much is new. But a new Arsenal will emerge, a Club being built by a new group of decision makers.

And Untold will, I’m sure, support and get behind them whatever decision is taken and whichever direction the Club takes.

The final unknown (and a critical one) is what kind of fanbase will emerge post-Wenger. In my opinion, the Club allowed the bad atmosphere from and between fans to fester because it didn’t recognise the need for change earlier than it did. Others here will argue that actually it was the media’s agenda that caused it, or the general nature and influence of social media, or the referees conspiring to cheat on us, or the AAA. Maybe all of these things contributed to creating the perfect storm, but I hope the fan feuding will abate… and that Arsenal fans haven’t become forever addicted to taking sides among themselves.

Whether it intended it to be a place of dispute and debate originally or not, Untold has often felt as though it became just that. To be fair, Untold has another remit in its brand mission which is to comment on or expose stuff that is hidden or superficially assumed or inaccurately stated. No matter how worthy and morally right that surely is, in itself it can cause debate and conflict or, at least, fuel and fan the flames. Especially when, as Psychologists tell us, people are very rarely dissuaded from their own opinion, no matter how factually wrong, because they have a deep human need to save face or preserve a sense of self identity and worth. All humans of all opinions are prone to this.

Arsenal fans, more than ever, need channels to reconciliation; both among themselves, and with the Club. ArsenalFanTV especially needs to heed this notion. But any Blog or fan group has a role to play in this.

So I apologise for my contribution to the divisive debate of the past and hope I can make a small contribution to joining Gooners’ hearts together more successfully in our new future.

To that end, having released a song “Red Shirts, White Sleeves” last year, I have recently released two new Arsenal celebration songs; one in support of my favourite post-Invincibles player, “When Santi Plays (I Swear the Football Smiles)” and the other, my small tribute to our departing hero Arsène Wenger, a song called “Au Revoir My Friend”. Written 100% by my heart.

If you fancy a listen, you can watch a Lyric Video for both songs on my YouTube page here:

You can even download or stream the songs from the likes of iTunes and Spotify etc.

If you watch and like or (in my dreams) even buy, I’d appreciate a few “likes”, thumbs-up, retweets…you know the game. If you don’t like them, well thanks for giving them a go

I’m looking forward to being at what I’m sure will be an emotional, respectful and loved-filled farewell to Le Professor against Burnley.

And then to a new future, whatever it brings, with all of us, I hope, once again of one voice.

Preview YouTube video Red Shirts White Sleeves © The Fishpie Sky 2017

29 Replies to “Hoping a hero’s sacrifice will lead to the future we dream of.”

  1. My sentiments are almost identical to yours and I will definitely miss him. He has shielded the players by taking all the flak from supporters (sometimes abusive) and media alike and I think it has finally taken it’s toll. I think that our away record this season, particularly since the start of this year, was the final straw that tipped the board the other way. For that I blame the players more than the manager but, at the end, who carries the can?

    That said, I think it is time for a change of management at our great club but their are no guarantees of future success whoever takes over. He is by far the greatest manager I have seen at Arsenal in the 60 years I have supported the club and I wish him well in the future, he deserves it.

  2. Well, the people clamouring for a change in management got their wish. There will be change.

    My wish will be for the people who for the last few years have been criticizing AW and club, who have been paying for anti-AW banners, who have been calling in talk shows to abuse our players..will stop doing that and cheer on the club. My wish is that the supporters be positive toward our team. The WOB got their wish…will the AKB get their wish? It is one thing to ask for others to change something to else to recognize that you have to change.

  3. Fishpie

    It is the PGMOL together with members of the FA that should leave – not Arsene.

  4. “felt the need to try and explain on this site, mostly rationally and calmly I hope, how he was making mistakes and why he was losing followers.”

    It would be reasonable and rational to understand that all managers and players make mistakes in every single game. And it is reasonable to assume that most people reading (& writing) this article understandably have less experience and knowledge of coaching a football team when compared to Big Sam, let alone one of the game’s all time greats.

    I’ve yet to spend more then two minutes conversing with someone on the topic of football who espouse the ideological belief that certain people (usually including themselves) don’t make mistakes.

    Indeed one of the constructs of the PR “genius” hoping to get thmanager the sack several years ago (genius’ they ain’t!) was the false representation that anyone supporting the manager of their football club believes that the manager is infallible – the WOB vs. AKB meme was invented by those wanting to attack the club, because as most human beings know and understand it is possible to support someone or something whilst still acknowledging and accepting that we all make mistakes. People do it in their everyday lives, they do it with their football clubs.

    Any other contention isn’t a mature consideration

    But that’s where the “narrative” surrounding AFC still is. And this “narrative” is unlikely to change until the club starts paying much higher agent fees, a policy which predates the current manager (if you won’t tell the Experts I won’t either I promise!), and is most likely continue under a new manager…hence the presence of four Acadamy graduates and young players in the Away performance against the richest club in the land.

  5. AFTV has zero credibility amongst football fans let alone Arsenal fans.
    Most blogs have shown themselves to be sychophantic towards discredited and useless hacks.

    But I’m sure Simon Cowell has been impressed with their content.

  6. I am convinced that Wenger, for all his failings, could’ve won the title twice in past 14 years. One was when we were 6 points clear on top of the table in Feb 2008. The clamour for “We’re going to be there in their face”, “We’re going to show them we’re there” and “they don’t it like it up them” had started against a dynamic but young Arsenal team egged on by the media. The result was Eduardo’s broken leg and Mike Dean’s extremely soft penalty in the dying minutes and Gallas’s blow up. I don’t blame Gallas for it, he was just being human – imagine your friend whom you train with everyday being hacked down and then being awarded an non-existent penalty against you? How would you react?

    The other year was when Leicester won the league and we finished second. It was not only the unnatural amounts of penalties awarded to Vardy simply for running at speed and clashing into the opposition player in the penalty area, but also the various incorrect decisions against Arsenal awarded by PGMOL with impunity. There was even an article in the media which tracked the big refereeing decisions during the year and concluded that Arsenal should’ve won the league if the refereeing decisions were correct.

    And lastly, I have never seen such hostile and biased reporting against a club as I saw against Arsenal at the beginning of this year. Arsenal were repeatedly taunted by the media for failing to keep their best players and the media predicted that Sanchez would be sold. When he wasnt sold, they turned back and criticized Wenger for not selling an unmotivated player!

    And the continuous ridicule about 4th place trophy but not winning anything, and then the downgrading of 3 FA cups in 4 years as if it doesn’t matter while bigging up Tottenham and Liverpool for finishing in top four for 2 consecutive seasons whilst ridiculing Arsenal for not finishing in Top 4 for the first time in 22 years!! On top of that, Jonathan Wilson writes in Guardian after Tottenham yet again failed to win their FA cup semifinal that Pocchetinno should not be judged by Trophies alone??

    Unfortunately, the common football fan doesn’t use his brain. The media has much more influence than many of us acknowledge. Its not just the Trump and Brexit voters, the media can and does influence YOU too!!

  7. That statistic from a couple of seasons ago

    Leicester City penalties 13
    Arsenal penalty 1

    tells you everything you need to know about English football.

    That tackle on Eduardo tells you everything you need to know about English football.

    That statistic from 1966

    England World Cup Winners 1966

    International Titles Won By England Since 1966 = O….Zero…Fuck All

    Mr Wenger tried to change all of it. He was booted out.

    I look forward to a book or two from Mr Wenger. Hopefully he will clear up that oft-repeated story from the legendary Bob Dylan concert in Shepherds Bush in November 2003 that he and a group of Arsenal players made it to the gig. One of those concerts you remember forever. Number 2 for me after Copenhagen 1966.

    Someone who stepped forward, took the risks, played for heights. See that mountain top, lasso it.

  8. I liked reading your article Fishpie–if only other members of the Wob would be so generous to UA etc!
    Ironically I heard ” Au revoir” today on a twitter thread( maybe it was the Arsenals?) and thought it was good. Then up it pops again with “Red shirts” which is good too( and very catchy). Send them over to the club!
    Cheers! And COYG!

    OT: but re the Mustafi slip last week, and Brickfields mentioning Brian Talbot, I started thinking about Talbots goal in one of the endless semi replays back in 1980. I then remembered Ray Kennedys slip-that has to be one of the weirdest moments ever, its like something Devine( no not John) pushes him off the ball…its so strange.
    What a long, deflating season that was. Im not sure the Wob could have coped with that? It feels a bit sacrilegious to say it, but Liam often seemed to go missing in games too. As a youngster I couldn’t understand how any team with Liam in it could lose!

  9. Andrew E: good point, I wonder how many players are regretting a few less-than-100% performances or feel guilty about the Manager taking the can. Of course some of them may soon come to find out that other, newly empowered people at the Club have lost faith with them in a way Mr Wenger hadn’t.

    GoingGoingGooner: I sense it is too soon for some folk, of both persuasions, to cuddle up to each other at this point. But yep, that is one of the points I’m making I guess. To some extent, what is the point of Arsène going if the rest of us are going to carry on as if he stayed? IMO, we all have to find a way back to each other.

    finsbury: I’m sorry if I came across as some all-knowing arsehole. An arsehole for sure but no, not perfect. Along with all fellow human beings I have a fine record of making many mistakes. I know there were strong agendas out there to see off the Manager. All I would say is that top managers get paid big salaries partly to compensate them for the probability, or certainty, their mistakes will eventually see them out of a job. They can win a Champions League one season and be elbowed the next. Arsene had a significantly longer innings than most primarily because of his brilliance. If it largely comes down to he and the Club not wanting to deal with expensive agents ( unfortunately, agents of the best players) then the Club, if that is to continue, might perhaps tell us more clearly and directly that the mission of the Club is to radically reform the way Agents get paid (they are after all taking money out of the game) and that until then, it’s mission is not to win the top honours, but create a team that is as best as it can be. Can the Club really have it both ways finsbury? not enough top players but charging top level ticket prices? To avoid the continuance of in-fan fighting, doesn’t it have to come clean, set and sell a new realistic vision? What do you think finsbury?

  10. Glad you like the tunes Kenneth, thank you. Its good to know “Au Revoir” was getting picked up on Twitter. Most of the time it seems my stuff just floats away into the social media ether never to be heard by anybody. Probably the music isn’t going down as well as I hoped, so a bit of positive feedback is a lovely thing thank you. You may know that for instance the vast majority of tracks on iTunes and Spotify never ever get heard. A songwriter I admire greatly, Mark Nevin, wrote a song called Forgotify about that. Here’s a link to it. Worth a listen: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ugzabfihsA

  11. With you Sam: Arsene was close a couple of times. Actually an area where I have huge huge sympathy for him was the big injuries that went against him over the years. Eduardo as you say but also Ramsey, Van Persie, Diaby, Wilshire and Cazorla. All of these long term or ongoing injuries were to immensely talented and key players and left his teams devoid of their often telling contributions.

  12. Probably? I couldnt tell. Perhaps just post it on all the blogs, well maybe not Au Revoir on Le Grove, unless you feel a bit sadistic and want to troll them (lol!). Only needs someone or two to pick up on it. Superposition means: all is possible!

    Im not on Spoty or itoons, but Im sure it is as you write. I listen to a lot of odd crepe ( old twang/surf/ jump r+b, rockabilly,delta blues,western swing,doo-wop but also a lot of old music from the 20-40s. Theres some great 1920s Japanese recordings that are just totally unknown in the west)and theres stacks of great tracks that people never heard at the time, but people put up on You Tube. Most of them get so few clicks.Most are the sort of tracks that the big comp labels dont pick up on.
    Its odd as there more of a chance now than there was twenty years ago to hear things, of course it was the best to go searching for odds and sods. I spent a fortune on Mod records( 58-67) and now its al so available.
    I’ll give Mark a listen-is that your real name? (lol) Anyway, hope people like them.If not hope you do, thats the most important, somehow.

  13. Words of wisdom Kenneth. I do like my own tunes, or writing them, I write for myself so if others enjoy cool and if not, no probs. My songwriter of choice from the 20’s /40’s is the legendary Hoagy Carmichael. the only Japanese artist I know is Yoko Ono so I’ll stick the to John Lennon side of things.

  14. re: Yoko Ono that cracked me up laughing!
    For me one of the most interesting set of Japanese recordings was the soundtrack to Cowboy be- bop by Yoko Kanno. A lot of the animé soundtracks are great too(imo).

  15. How many dodgy decisions have we seen across these two ties in the favour of Liverpool that either should have directly led to a goal or did lead to a goal? At least 2 from the last match and 2 in this match; that’s a whole 4 goal difference in favour of Liverpool.

  16. First leg
    * Foul on first goal
    * Offside on third goal

    Second leg
    * Foul on second goal (actually 2 fouls, one on Dzeko but also the classic obstruction on the keeper)
    * Penalty (and red card for Karius) denied when Dzeko was wrongly flagged offside
    * Penalty (and red card for Alexander-Arnold) denied for a handball preventing a sure goal

    But of course there will be very little mention in the media. And no question on why the Champions League and the Premier League will basically be the only 2 major competitions without VAR next season…

  17. I’m always excited to read your articles,fishpie. Best on here by a mile. I hope to also play my part in the reconciliation by not goading the akbs

  18. Interesting read And interesting times ahead.
    Wenger is a man who gave us huge success, and then took on difficult times, the stadium, petro dollars, losing his finest players and the heartbreaks that must have initially caused agendas in the media, LMA and I would assume from the numbers on here, the PGMOL Mike Dean will have to retire when Wenger has gone, hopefully Manc Riley as well.
    Then Wenger faces a modern breed of ultra hands on super coaches, he is a man who knows the game inside out, but has a less hands on approach reportedly.
    he has also faced rotational fouling, some interesting draws in the CL year in year out, I suspect teams on PED,organised cheating, players with snapped limbs, and fake fan revolts on social media.
    That would burn out most. Wenger says he is not tired.
    Whatever happens for the rest of the season, wenger leaves with his head held high.
    When he has gone, change, maybe or maybe not delayed by the old guard of Stan and Arsene will accelerate at the speed of light. His, much maligned backroom staff will I would imagine depart with him, replaced, by the hands on modern day super coaches.
    But patience will be needed, a huge shift is coming, it will take time for players and staff to adjust as we move on from our greatest modern day manager. Change is no guarantee of instant success, I will always respect what Wenger has done, but back the new team unconditionally, they will need it

  19. Already they have moved on to Kroenke out. I suspect the only way will be down. They are just waiting for a few bad results to start on the new bloke.

  20. Fishpie, did you post comments on Untold, back in 2013, under a different name? Comments/replys posted way back, by ‘A. Stewart’ are quite similar to your articles/posts, in composition and tone.

  21. Well, language is strange. because it ‘betrays’ our inner thoughts

    When someone gets sacrified, or sacrifices him/herself, well it is as far as I know an unguilty person ….

    So you, who wanted him out for so long, agree he as not guilty just by that word in the headline.

    Arsenal fans are not fans. They are consumers.
    If you were a coach, what would you be thinking when Arsenal call you ?

    The years ahead are going to be interesting. And I’ll be reading your comments all along

  22. Chris, I get where you’re coming from. Agree there is an implication in the word sacrifice. But no, what I had in mind was what Arsene himself may feel. He sacrificed himself for the greater good rather than for personal reward. His past surely indicates one of his most impressive traits is he’s not a giver-upper. As my song , “Au Revoir My Friend” says, “For fighting right to the end, thank you, my friend”. To his credit, Arsène would have gone on forever believing he could turn it round. But I’m not trying to disguise my own view. The opening of my lyric video acknowledges I wanted Arsène to leave. I know others, and many on this site also, see it as a black and white AKB v WOB thing but my own experience was one of internal conflict. My head, correctly or incorrectly, concluding ,some time back , we needed a new approach but my heart always saying, there’s a fighter, good man with good intentions who suffers for the cause, who I had real affection for.

  23. Zam, thank for the kind words. I’d like to think its my wonderful writing (I wish) that you admire but its more likely that you have similar views to me and so we chime. Part of the reason I visit this site is that Tony writes brilliantly reasoned articles and he has a number of good contributors, whose views are not mine, but they gave me reason to think and consider and take on board other points of view. If there is one thing I wish for this site is that it gradually ceases to be a place of conflict. The guys who run it are stonkingly devout Arsenal fans and good folk. So yes, there is no need to goad anybody, whereas there is a need to create a strong and unified Arsenal support. The cause of the conflict is past. Isn’t it?

  24. You see Mandy Dodd, your outlook is exactly why I like this site. Fair, courteous, and considered. I agree with you completely about things not being instantaneous. Kreonke may need it to be pretty quick but Arsenal history shows you Arsène was a rare beast in that he did get pretty much instant success. Most successful managers needed a run-up of 3/4 years. Whether we have enough fans who appreciate the length of time it takes to find out whether we are on to something or not, I just don’t know. And if it gets worse before it gets better (hopefully) the potential for shrill and rabid negative noise is high. Mandy you may need to go to the Emirates and become a ArsenalFanTV regular, with soothing balm and soothing words for Angriest Man in the World.

  25. Vince – Remember that Roma were also selling tickets for their tie against Liverpool before the draw had even happened. The fact that Man City were drawn against Liverpool also assured that there would be a English team in the semi-final, so it would appear that there was a big push to get an English team far in the competition to make it seem that the PL is once again one of the top leagues in Europe.

  26. Fishpie,

    ok, that is clearer. And I do listen to your arguments.

    The behaviour of (so-called) Arsenal fans, the (so-called) press and the (so-called) Arsenal board have left me angry, let’s just say the words.
    The some of them fans never accepted that Mr Wenger had nothing more that what he had at his disposal. And that for years now his teams were playing not just an opposing team, but against the PGMOB and a negative fans bent on breaking Arsenal with the help of the media. Had they been behing their team like some of the fans of the lower table or the Pool!! fans, the situation would not have been the same. Alas, they were all dreaming of someone spending hundreds of millions like we go out to get a beer.
    The press hated his guts from day one. And the board are thinking about finance people with no love of the game.

    So now this coalition has won and threw so much sh.. at Mr Wenger that he figured it was best to just leave them to rot – which I am worried will happen, as I do not see the board finding these hundred of millions.

    Tony did say what many think : Mr Wenger enabled Arsenal to box above its weight for the past 12-13 years.

    Now everybody is like Pool!! is the greatest team ever because they’ve made it to the CL final. Well arsenal did in 2006 if I am not wrong and since then came home with 3 FA cups. But, still, this is no achievement for Mr Wenger….Pool!! are so much better.

    But tell you what – apart from the stupid violent idiots they have (and Arsenal probably has some too), I was envious of the way the fans stood behind their team these last big games and in general. With such a support, Arsenal would have won more.

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