Intelligent comment and a very funny joke about Arsenal

What to do if you have five minutes to spare: go to yesterdays article – (Arsenal Sign a New Defensive Enforcer).  If you have a particularly large amount of free time you can skim through that – the bit about the enforcer is at the end – but then, much more importantly I’d invite you to read the commentary supplied by readers.

Taking in the overall range of comments I’d say this is a real set of insights into Arsenal and its strategy.  There’s a tremendous piece about Mr Usmanov (to whom we mean no harm, and everything about him is just a smattering of post-modern irony – rather in the same way that a journalist, a female journalist’s “friend” and photographer followed Bendtner to a bar jostled him, distracted him and pulled down his trousers – that sort of postmodern irony) by Terence who dreamed the idea of Mr Usmanov playing in the defensive hole, and generally a great range of wit and insight.

I’m really overwhelmed by the fact that you read and enjoy these pages so much.  A twinkling idea has hit my head that after we publish “Making the Arsenal” this year, maybe we ought to take some of these pieces and (much more importantly, the commentaries) and publish them as a book.  2008/9 seen through the Untold Arsenal community.

It would raise copyright issues (you may have noted I’m quite attached to my own copyright since some of my earnings come that way) but if we could get agreements it might be nice for there to be a book commemorating what Untold Arsenal has come to stand for: the positive take on all things Arsenal.

Anyway, moving along, today the Lord Wenger has said that he might buy one or two players EXPERIENCED  this summer if he can get the ones he wants, and Sir Alex F Word has said that he doesn’t intend to splash out this summer.  Liverpool Insolvents, as we know, are controlled by the banks who won’t let them spend a penny until the £350m is resolved.

This is a different story from the one about Manchester IOU buying Ribery for £50m – but of course that was last week’s story.

I guess most of this inactivity will be covered by the purchases by the new man at the KGB headquarters.  But it still shows an interesting possibility: Arsenal’s two buys could be the main transfer news this summer.

Lastly: In the Youth Academy play off Arsenal beat Man City 2-1 away in the opening leg.  If you know nothing of the academy team, may I add a few notes.

We won the 28 game championship by 25 clear points (that is not a misprint).   In the first leg of the play off final we were missing Jack Wilshere, Benik Afobe, Luke Freeman and Oguzhan Ozyakup because they were all away playing in the under 17 championships (which are actually being shown on Eurosport if you have any interest in such things).

And there is, lurking in the squad, a young man known as Rhys Murphy (who if you follow this side you will know scored a sensational goal against the Totts this year).   Also there is Gilles Sunu, and Francis Coquelin, both of whom have made occasional appearances on the fringe of the first team – and yes they are academy players, like Jack W.

These are the players we would lose if we abandon the youth policy at the club and start buying top stars because we believe that insane propaganda that it matters that we have not won something this year.

Academy games are played on open playing fields in front of crowds of 50 or so.   There’s no charge.   Try it sometime – true some of the playing isn’t at the highest level, but in between you see goals, and defensive twists and turns that make you think, “why isn’t he in the first team?”  And more to the point – its the Arsenal.

Tony Attwood

8 Replies to “Intelligent comment and a very funny joke about Arsenal”

  1. Yes it’s that time of the year again when there is a natural tendency to look for that ‘raise the spirits’ transfer to dispel the melancholy of an exciting but otherwise trophyless and injury-wracked season.

    To be honest the “Perhaps 1 or 2 experienced players” is a standard pre-offseason Wenger soundbite . I suspect that he has some serious thinking to do(no better man) and really whether we buy 1, 3 or no players is completely undecided yet.

    I was actually quite annoyed when I realised that regardless of having destroyed the academy league we are being subjected to a playoff system that renders the preceeding league system pointless and only exists to give lesser teams a chance at a ‘hail mary’ result.
    It became doubly annoying when I counted all the players that we are missing on International duty for England at that level. It is as if the footballing handicapper is doing his best to take firm hold of us. Still these players had better get used to international competitions drastically reducing their chances of winning trophies if they are going to play for Arsenal.

    I like your group review idea Tony. Even if it doesn’t take off as far as formal editing and publication, it would certainly be an enjoyable and interesting project and from a point of posterity it could be quite a special read retrospectively were we to have a trophy winning season next year.
    It would also be a good exercise to review the posts of all the negative blogs in the corresponding timeframe just to contrast attitudes.

    I’m sure that you have been taking note of the increased comment level in recent times on your blog. Firstly I would like to say that before you changed your set up here I was unable to comment on your pieces regardless of effort and it wasn’t because I was incapable of adding 2 + 5 (before any smart arse accuses me of innumeracy). My comments simply would not be accepted by the site. However since the new setup everything has worked just fine. It is possible that others had the same problem.

    What is most surprising about the comments from my perspective, is the level of positive thinking and genuine support for the club especially in the face of heartfelt disappointment. there will always be the odd malcontent who will post something full of bitter bile and vitriol, usually in an unintelligible manner but really, the vast majority of support for this blog is of such a high quality that it stands out like a beacon from anything else on the net.

    On top of this, take into account the level of insight, thought provoking stimuli, humour and subtle diversity of opinion within the harmony of support and there is no doubt, that this is the ‘thinking man’s’ Arsenal Blog.

    UNTOLD ARSENAL. When it is positive insight, unswerving support and defiance with humour in the face of adversity and success in equal measure, that you require………..Accept no substitutes.


  2. Wow I just spent an idle 2 hours (by idle I meant keeping 1 eye on the TV and all of my willpower to ensure Hull lost hehe!) reading up on Sir Henry Norris (see advertising banner above)

    Seriously! This guy was the Alisher Usmanov of his time.Simple background, became a tycoon, got rewarded for low risk military activity, did some seriously dodgy things(alleged ;-))Most importantly he got us out of the dodgy east end (I went to college there so I know) and into Highbury(previously church owned grounds) courtesy of his buddy the Archbishop and “lobbied” successfully to have us promoted ahead of Spurs to the 1st division.
    It is nice to see that the powers that were back then had integrity and taste.Arsenal or Spurs is hardly a choice now is it?
    It is also nice to see that in keeping with historical context, Spurs are still that (vive la difference) one rung below us on the ladder. HeHe!
    Nevermind, the UEFA Cup suits them lol!

  3. the link on your page pointing to your previous post is broken.:)

  4. A few interesting observations about the year to date figures. I took the full season to date playing numbers (in minutes to work out how much each player has played in PL for the first 35 games – and then looked at average age)

    First Team at the beginning of the season:

    Player – Age – % of all mins played
    Ade 24 59%
    RvP 25 61%
    Cesc 21 52%
    Denilson 20 94%
    Nasri 21 71%
    Rosicky 27 0%
    Gallas 31 66%
    Toure 27 64%
    Clichy 23 84%
    Sagna 25 86%
    Almunia 31 91%

    Average age 25.0 Avg playing time 66% (so of the first team on avg a third was out injured or rested for all games!)

    2nd team
    Name – Age – % of all mins played
    Eduardo 25 0%
    Bendtner 20 53%
    Vela 19 13%
    Walcott 19 36%
    Eboue 25 46%
    Diaby 22 38%
    Song 21 58%
    Ramsey 18 7%
    Djourou 21 38%
    Sylvestre 31 32%
    Gibbs 19 9%
    Fabianski 23 9%

    Average age 21.8

    Comment: Quite surprising the number and depth of injuries this year. Rosicky and Eduardo out for the full year. Cesc missing half the season, even Ade and RvP missing 40% of playing time.
    Denilson (iron man at 94%), Nasri 71%, and Song at 58% certainly all stood up and were counted, particularly with so much time lost for Cesc, Rosicky (who was expected back in Oct) and Diaby. And remember these 3 were all in their first full year in the team (Den, Nasri, Song).

    One would not have expected Bendtner to have played 53% of all playing time, nor Eboue 46%.

    With average age of the first team a respectable 25 (at the beginning of the season if all fit), the actual for those that played was just over 23.

    For those players to go 21 unbeaten through the worst of injuries and make the last 4 in CL and FA cup is quite amazing and bodes very well for the future. Quite often the whole of the midfield would avg 21 yrs of age.

    Arshavin (27 yr old) has played 27% of all minutes.

    If we assume no further additions or leavers and Arshavin into the first team (and Nasri to the 2nd) and with Rosicky back, then the average first team age will be 26.5 going into next season – hardly children.

    Re the other ridiculous accusation of a lack of leaders:
    Ade – capt of his ctry
    Cesc – club capt and Spain age groups, Eur Ch winner
    Rosicky – Czech capt
    Arshavin – former Russia capt
    Denilson – Brazil age groups capt
    Gallas – former club capt and world cup winner.

    Things are looking good.

  5. The great thing about all your posts is they are always positive, in a reasonable way, not stupid way.

    @jbh : Love your statistic. Stats don’t lie. So do the facts

  6. Yeah….that kinda sucked.

    Can I get 2 supersized centre halves, a side of goalkeeper and 1 raw meat eating defensive midfielder (who only comes out of his sensory deprivation tank to play matches) to go please.

    I left my wallet at home but I can pay you with a striker from Togo hardly used!

    Anyway, it didn’t really any probable outcomes and neither will the match at Old Trafford next week but it may just add £10 million or so to the transfer kitty available.

    Mr Usmanov has spoken and isn’t given to repetition.

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