Arsenal’s policy of constant revolution might be working…

By Tony Attwood

In essence, to work, revolutions have to be sold to the people.  Either because as in Paris in 1789 the people topple a regime so unpopular it didn’t even like itself, or because a leader convinces everyone that change is needed and this is the way to do it.  (One thinks perhaps of Thatcher or Boris).

Arsenal has had its French Revolution, although thankfully no one’s head got chopped off.   Then AFTV rose up and told anyone who cared to listen how awful the team was, copycats with cardboard wrote “Wenger out” in crayon and waved the results about for the media to see, and those with more money than they knew what to do with, hired pilots to haul banners over the stadia for the benefit of ever compliant TV stations.

And all that was ok because it was part of the new objective of making sure that we all remained interested in the biggest soap opera of all time.   Indeed we could also say from the media’s point of view, the most successful soap opera of all time, because their journalists get in for free, write scathing reports about how awful Arsenal are, publish them, and then are invited back next time for more of the same.

It doesn’t even matter if TV audiences decline, as they have now done dramatically.  The pretence is still there.   And so what if us fans lost our passion?   Well, never mind because the media will whip it up again with the next transfer rumour.

If you follow Sir Hardly’s reporting you will know that 128 players have been tipped to be coming to Arsenal before the start of next season.   So far one of them has been signed.  Meanwhile over 50 scouts have left and now the boardroom revolution has started.   And will we all be back there for the start of the next season?   Of that we can be certain; the answer is “no”.

The government in Germany has now announced that it won’t even contemplate opening games to supporters in the Bundesliga at the start of next season – and possibly not at all next season.  With a government as erratic as ours, with policies issued one day and cancelled the next, anything could happen.  Dominic Cummings for President perhaps?

So what happens now is that the media is ever more important; football needs the media to build up all sorts of false hopes and expectations and interests and excitement, and if the only way to do it is by reporting a Celtic player who decided to hop on a plane to see his girlfriend in Spain, and then hop back well so be it.  I hope they paid him well when they suggested the plan to him.

The good thing is that slowly, very very slowly, the clubs are starting to realise that they actually need us – the real supporters, the ones who go and watch their team when there is a match, and if not go and watch another club, just because they like seeing football.

And, at least Arsenal are using the time to have their own Palace Revolution.  Not exactly 1789 but still Raul Sanllehi has been bid farewell, although many fans still believe the cause of the decline was Mr Wenger’s rather than the owners.

In Mr Wenger’s final season we had 63 points, scored 74 goals and had a goal difference of +23.  We were sixth and there were protests at almost every game.

In the Unai Emery season we improved and had 70 points, scored 73 goals, and had a goal difference of +22.  A step forward as we moved up to 5th.

This last season with two manager we had 56 points, scored 56 and had a goal difference of 8.  That is to say 18 points fewer than in Mr Wenger’s final campaign which was marred by all the cardboard waving and booing.  And a worse goal difference by 15.

So yes, having made the big move at the behest of the fans, something had to give and it has been to scouts and Mr Sanllehi, the man who apparently was a key player in bringing in Mr Emery.

Of course there is promise: that oft quoted list of youngsters looks amazing, and it is great news that Saka made 29 appearances and signed a new deal.  Martinez made 22 appearances and was a revelation.  Tireney looks to have been a brilliant buy.   Martinelli’s injury is a blow but we saw him 15 times – enough to know what a stunning buy he was.  The phrase “What are they smoking at Old Trafford?” comes to mind.  And we won a trophy and got back into Europe.

But why the club want to sell Maitland-Niles (23 games) is beyond me – but then a lot of stuff is quite beyond me these days, and the lack of a psychologist to help Guendouzi is inexcusable.

Willock, a re-born injury free Rob Holding, Reiss Nelson, Eddie Nketiah… they all give us hope. And yet of course the media will focus on the “chaos” in the boardroom, and the transfers that they feel didn’t work because, well, that’s what they do.

There is a new Kroenke man on the board – Tim Lewis, a lawyer, who presumably is there to help push through the redundancies without a fuss.   Vinai Venkatesham and Edu are still with us, backing up Mikel Arteta who amazingly ended up with a win percentage second only to Mr Wenger.

This means that the top three managers in terms of having managed over 25 games at the club, when we look at the win percentages, are

Manager From To P W D L F A Win %
Emery 23 May 2018 29 Nov 2019 78 43 16 19 152 100 55.13
Arteta 22 Dec 2019 Present 28 16 6 6 45 26 57.14
Wenger 1 Oct 1996 13 May 2018 1,235 707 280 248 2,156 1,147 57.25

So maybe we are on the right track after all.  Looking at those figures, at least none of the last three managers have been complete flops, even though the fans, ably backed up by know-it-all journalists, think that two of the three were useless.

8 Replies to “Arsenal’s policy of constant revolution might be working…”

  1. With all due to respect to this blog’s authors (among the very best in Arsenal media) continuing to insist that Wenger lost his job due to AFtv is embarrassing and myopic.

    It’s embarrassing because Untold Arsenal regularly excoriates the mainstream media for that kind of blinkered, agenda-driven journalism.

    And it’s myopic because the decision to hire a new coach is what big clubs do to keep evolving and staying competitive. The days of iconic managers like Wenger and Lobanovski and Trappatoni were long over. Part of the reason Wenger had such stiff competition in his last few seasons is all our rivals began new projects after Leicester’s title win.

    We chose to stand still and pat ourselves on the back for overtaking Sp*ds on the last day to come 2nd when in reality, only Spurs challenged Leicester for that title.

    There are plenty of sensible Gooners who read and respect this blog and also called for Wenger to hand over the reigns to preserve his fine legacy. Caricaturing us as puppets of AFtv would be funny if it wasn’t in and of itself evidence of the deep schisms in the fanbase that emerged with Wenger’s polarizing last 4-5 seasons.

    AFtv and airplanes were symptoms of that – not the cause.

    The surprise FA Cup win should remind us Gooners that this club is bigger than any individual. Always forward.

  2. “We chose to stand still and pat ourselves on the back for overtaking Sp*ds on the last day to come 2nd when in reality, only Spurs challenged Leicester for that title”

    “Caricaturing us as puppets of AFtv would be funny if it wasn’t in and of itself evidence of the deep schisms in the fanbase that emerged with Wenger’s polarizing last 4-5 seasons.”

    These were Wengers last 5 seasons:

    13-14 4th FAC winners

    14-15 3rd FAC winners CS winners

    15-16 2nd CS winners

    16-17 5th FAC winners

    That’s a 2nd, 3rd and 4th placed finish and 3 FA Cup victories in 4 seasons, how under any normal evaluation of a managers performance is that a failure? Why would 4 successful seasons like that, and that is success whether you want to concede that or not, ‘polarize’ the fan base?

    Well it wouldn’t would it, unless of course you had sections of fans, such as AFTV, and the supportive media, constantly agitating against the club and the manager ?

    What Spurs, and at the time Liverpool would of done for 4 pathetic seasons like that. But they didn’t have 4 pathetic seasons like that did they? No, they had 4 REALLY pathetic seasons like this:

    SPURS over those 4 seasons: 6th – 5th – 3rd – 2nd ZERO TROPHIES (and that is what it’s all about as we kept getting told)

    LIVERPOOL over those 4 seasons: 2nd – 6th – 8th – 4th ZERO TROPHIES (Now that is the epitome of standing still if you ask me)

    So you tell me, why didn’t Spurs and Liverpool have their equivalent of AFTV whinging and whining all over SKY Sports on a daily basis?

    Why didn’t they have placards held up at every game ?

    Why didn’t they have planes flying over their stadiums ?

    You tell me why, at the time, both Spurs and Liverpool fans were apparently happier with their trophy less teams and didn’t feel ‘polarized’ in the way our fans did ?

    Honestly your attitude and others like you beggar belief.

    Okay season 17-18’s 6th and no trophies was a disappointment but this agitating against Wenger and the club started way way before that, in fact as I have shown it started at a time when we were actually far more successful than 2 massive clubs that have fans that appeared far more supportive of their club than our fans were, despite them winning absolutely sweet FA for years.

    But hey, you even manage to somehow undermine our 2nd place finish simply because it was achieved on the last day. No critisism for Spurs capitulating yet again. Jeeeez if any fans should be flying planes and waving banners it’s Spurs fans, yet they just don’t do it.

    And why don’t they do it. Because they aren’t a bunch of ‘entitled’ spoiled brats that’s why.

    The fact of the matter is my Spurs fans friends think our fans are a bunch of w***ers. Cant think why.

  3. Nitram,

    there is a bunch of fashin fans’, who are not there for the team but their own personal satisfaction.
    They seem to love the bullying, the anonymity the crowd and the internet give them and they are so f….g sure of their expertise, they decide on a whim what is and what is not success. As for the Sp*ds being the only team challenging Leicester for the title, this is such a blatant rewriting of history. Arsenal were the only team to be Leicester twice that season. And if they were the only team wh challenged Leicester, why did they finish behind us ?

    And frankly, after 20 sucessive CL qualifications being labelled as no trophy, 3 FA cups in 4 years being labelled as failure, I am fed up with such weirdos who deide any positive result is negative when Arsenal get it. There is a brand new stadium not far away with a coach who is such a specialist in success that he hsa not won anything for a long time except the right to leave a team after another in mid-season. They ought to be so much happier there.

  4. Nitram and Chris,

    In my comment I called Arsene Wenger “an iconic manager”. Trying to tar me as one of the “w*nkers” and “weirdos” is a bit childish.

    Anyway, thank god we moved past these arguments with the toxic WengerOut lot on one side and on the other side, thin-skinned, abusive Wenger loyalists incapable of accepting even the slightest criticism of Arsene.

  5. While not wanting to wade into the issue of loyal fans or not , yet over the years there was a toxic feeling around the club which was not only the media’s making . Joining the majority in bashing the club was the norm , from people who claim to suppport the Arsenal.

    Just imagine if each and every fan had sang their hearts out in each and every game and for all the players and all the recent managers ; would this not have made some difference ? I say yes. So what if somebody does not feel as passionate you do ? Most of us whom support the Arsenal from afar , just wish that the fans in the stadium be there to sing their hearts out and cheer trhe team for us too. Is this too much to ask ?

    Hang the opinion of those so called experts in the media who deride our team. Each to a man were failures as coaches and managers . Yoy are most welcome to prove me wrong . Not to mention the idiots who spend money making stupid posters , or those who hire planes to fly their stupid messages .

    For these reasons , I have to come to enjoy the empty stadiums ; the absence of booing the team ; and the total absence of stupid posters . But I do feel for those loyal fans who travel great distances , fork out well earned cash , and who support the team with all their hearts . God bless these loyal souls.

    Now only if only we can get rid of those toxic elements are ruining the beautiful game ; am of course refereing to the clowns of PIGMOB , we can once again enjoy the game as it was intended . But we still will be allowed to make some wicked and snide remarks of that team down the road . And hope that St.Totteringham’s Day be ours again !

    Up the Gunners !

  6. kaius

    Where did I call you a w**Ker?

    I said my spurs mates at work think our fans are, or at least a very vocal minority of our fans are, w**kers. Don’t blame me. They also specifically mention AFTV as a joke.

    Cant think for a second why you would think that you might be one of the fans they were referring to?

    Anyway, rather than getting upset at what our noisy neighbours may or may not think of some of our fans, Why not try explaining why Liverpool and Spurs didn’t have LTV or THTV (or their equivalent) whinging about their clubs endlessly, or banner waving fans demanding change every week, or planes flying over their stadiums, despite both them clubs being far less ‘successful’ than we were, as I showed, at the time?

    And as for this:

    “abusive Wenger loyalists incapable of accepting even the slightest criticism of Arsene.”

    A) As I said I wasn’t abusive.

    B) We are not talking about ‘the slightest critisism’ though are we? We are talking about a campaign of agitation against him that lasted well over 10 years, that included his buying of players, selling of players, disciplinary record, lack of leaders, lack of tactics, ‘tiki taki’ football, training methods, on and on it went. Just about every aspect of his management was endlessly critisised or called in to question. So don’t give me this ‘cant take the slightest bit of Wenger critisism’ because that isn’t what this is about and you know it.

    Nobody, least of all me thinks Wenger was faultless but what Wenger faced was way way beyond normal critisism of a bad buy, or a bad tactical decision, this was about a concerted, coordinated agenda to undermine, criticise and ultimately discredit him at every turn, and for you to try to dumb it down to ‘a little critisism’ is ridiculous.

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