Forget the Beautiful Game

Written by dandan

Winning they say is everything, forget the beautiful game it counts for nothing if you don’t win something.

I was pondering this when watching a TV documentary on Murray Walker this week, a man whom I was lucky enough to meet as he, our respective wives and I cruised en-route to Australia. He was on board to give some lectures on his life in and out of motor sports.

Great as these lectures were, it was the conversation that took place when they asked to join our table for breakfast that impressed me most. What you see on TV is what you get with Murray: enthusiasm personified, an unbelievably knowledgeable raconteur of class who is also ready to listen.

At 87 he is 20 years older than I, yet made me feel that I was the old man, a class act I feel privileged to have met.

What has this to do with wining you ask? Not a lot except we spoke of Stirling Moss – a man so entrenched in British folk-lore that, even today, if stopped by the police for speeding you are likely to be asked, who do you think you are Stirling Moss?

Interesting is it not, when you realise that though he never won a world championship, he drove with such skill and bravado whilst winning 16 grand prix, but never the big one, that it didn’t matter. You don’t tend to get asked are you a Hawthorn, Surtees, Stewart, Hunt ,Mansell Or Hill : All great  british drivers and world champions in days gone by, No it is the brave , seemingly indestructible yet cavalier nearly man (he was second twice) whose name has entered the language of the nation.

Now our team is like that.  It wins games and hearts with style and panache, indeed  all but the biggest prize the Champions League, has been collected along the way, whilst setting domestic records over the Arsene Wenger years, including in the case of the invincibles, an  astonishing entire season undefeated. So much so, that the very word Wengerball has also now entered the language, as a description of all that is , stylish, skillful,  and entertaining, only the physicality of the English game precludes  us from the accolade of total football bestowed on Cruyff’s legendary Dutchmen, but it is the nearest to  the beautiful game this country has ever seen.

We may not have won a trophy for six years, but in years to come, even should we not win another one, unlikely as that may be, Wengerball will still be ingrained in our living language, like Stirling Moss, to be used to describe excellence in our sport. When only the dried ink in books of statistics will recall the extravagantly purchased successes of Chelsea and City.

Winning is of course great and to be strived for at all times, although the manner in which success is achieved  bring’s recognition, pride and respect and the traditions they engender live  far longer in the collective memory, of a football nation

A new season approaches, our team evolves,  let’s hope our style and skills continue to grow and our manager’s quiet revolution continues to spread, to the discomfort of the long ball bully boys, both financial and actual, we all know so well. As we add another trophy or two to our already well filled cabine.

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80 Responses to Forget the Beautiful Game

  1. DM says:

    Nice post Dandan. I’ve been saying for a while that AW will only be truly appreciated when people look back in 10-15 years on what he achieved.

    Still, by saying that I feel like in a way I give off the impression that I’m settling for what he’s already achieved, and happy enough to remain the “perennial underachievers”, as others like to see it. This isn’t the case. AW has done wondrous things for our club, but there’s more to come. Every season is a new opportunity and I, for one, can’t wait for this one to begin. Like others, I am hoping for one or two more signings (I’d probably settle for just a CB at the current rate), but then we’re good to go.

    The biggest problem at Arsenal is that we’re so close. Last year was the perfect example. At the beginning of the season, everyone wrote us off. There was talk of us being the team to slip out of the top 4 to make room for ManC. But what happened? For so long we turned out to be one of the main title challengers, that when we did slip up, the huge disappointment of it wore us down. I can’t help but feel that if we had a slow start, found ourselves down in 5th or 6th throughout the first half of the season, and then came back to finish where we did, it would be hailed as quite a success, and there would be talk of how we’re going to be back to full strength next season (a la Liverpool).

    I’m not saying the criticism is unfair. After all, we did collapse (fairly spectacularly). But let’s not make the mistake of forgetting that the only way we were able to collapse like that was because we were in a good enough position to get there in the first place. If we could get there last year, we can get there again – let’s just hope this time we’ll stay there.

  2. 1979gooner says:

    great article and it captures something very important that many people never think about

    for example some of the current manu squad, they may have won a lot but their attitude stinks and they will never be remembered fondly by neutrals, patrice evra is one great example

  3. Roland says:

    Hi everyone,
    I’ve been following closely (both the blog and the pre-season) and like the way things are shaping up at the club!
    I hate to be a scare-mongerer, or to focus on negatives – but I can’t see Nasri in any of the photos of preseason training today, or any mention of his involvement in the blog entry (which mentions which sides the other attacking players were on in their training exercise).

    Does anyone know why or have I just missed it?

  4. Gooner In Exile says:

    Fantastic post DanDan,who’d have thought that us Gooners who won so much using a more bullish approach are now the great defenders of artistry.

    DM great comment.

  5. Vinay says:

    Nice article and i do agree to the fact that the true Wenger legacy will only be appreciated when the great man is not there. I cant even imagine a day when Arsenala rent without Arsene. He has been truly magnificent and people have to understand in a world of accentuated money, salaries and sugar daddies, AFC continues to be a beacon which has been so well marshaled by Arsene Wenger. No one in this world would have done what he has done for us, no amount of money could have achieved it.

  6. goonermichael says:

    evra is a dog turd. Roland I’m becoming increasingly worried about the Nasri situation

  7. WiganGooner says:

    Great post DanDan,

    I really enjoyed reading it. It is far too easy to get bogged down in negativity. Your take on the situation is refreshing and echoes many of my own sentiments.

    Really good job.

    WG

  8. TotalArsenal says:

    DanDan, another class performance. I have always hoped that getting older means getting wiser, and your posts are the living evidence of just that. You write with such clarity and warmth, and a certain calmness which can only come with age and experience, and from a deep love for our Arsenal. A joy to read.

    You must let your grandchildren read your posts.

  9. TotalArsenal says:

    I just read today’s post on ‘Another Arsenal Blog’ which I really enjoyed. It is worth a read.

    http://anotherarsenalblog.blogspot.com/2011/07/football-new-dr-faustus.html

  10. seanhickin says:

    Great post – so well balance and thoughtful unlike so much that has been written lately about our great club.

    As for Nasri he is surely already gone. Can anyone imagine him playing again in an Arsenal shirt and what response would there be to him scoring an Arsenal goal – polite applause?

  11. gunnern5 says:

    This is an article printed today in the Highbury and Islington Express. I’ve pasted it here as it a view that I fully support and dandan’s post is another mature opinion expressing similar sentiments.
    ………………………………………………………………………………………..

    Ivan Gazidis has told Arsenal fans that the club cannot compete with the financial resources of their Premier League title rivals, and that they should be glad to be doing things the Arsene Wenger way’.

    Arsenal’s chief executive also reiterated that there was substantial cash available for the Gunners’ boss to spend this summer, and that more arrivals would follow the purchase of Ivory Coast striker Gervinho, whose £10.6m switch from French champions Lille was rubber-stamped this week.

    However, with Manchester City preparing to spend another £40m to sign the Argentina international Sergio Aguero, and Manchester United having already broken the £50m spending barrier this summer, Gazidis called for fans to be realistic about calling for Arsenal to replicate such huge levels of spending.

    “We have to deal with some realities in the game,” said the 46-year-old Gazidis. “Domestically, the league has been dominated by Chelsea and Manchester United in recent years.

    “They’ve been the biggest spenders and, although they’ve done a fantastic job, it’s probably not a coincidence and now you see Manchester City and what they are spending and they are going to be in that bracket as well.

    “We have to challenge for trophies in that environment and we will. But we’ve got to do things differently because we don’t have those kind of resources. Our approach is partly driven by vision; it’s partly driven by necessary strategy.

    “The reality is that most fans love this club and think what we’re trying to do is fantastic. It’s easy to lose perspective on what Arsene is trying to do, which I think is an extraordinary vision.

    “But if you look around, the fans we have around the world, that vision is very, very attractive and very, very powerful. We should be proud of that.

    “People should want that in the game. It’s a fantastic thing for the game, I really believe that. It is one of the points of difference for Arsenal and something that drives admiration around the world.”

    Gazidis also made it clear that despite Wenger’s philosophy of discovering and developing young and talented players, the club were all too aware of the six-year trophy drought and that there was no danger of the manager’s ideology ruling out signing big-name stars.

    If we found an established, world-class player and we thought the economics made sense and he would add to what we could do on the pitch, then there’s no philosophical objection to that,” Gazidis said.

    “Arsene has no point of principle to show the world that he can build his own team of young players. That’s just not the way it is.

    “Our fans have the right to be excited, to look forward to the season with anticipation and to expect to see top-class players and exciting things happening on the pitch. It’s our goal and target to deliver all of that.”

    .

  12. DM says:

    Thanks for those posts TotalArsenal and gunnern5. To add to what appears to be the theme of today’s comments, here’s a great piece you might’ve missed – from a spurs fan. Yes, you read right. It’s a couple of days old so there’s a good chance regulars have already read it, but if not it’s definitely worth reading – especially if you’re an AW hater..

    http://www.sabotagetimes.com/football-sport/a-tottenham-hotspur-fans-guilty-admiration-for-arsenal-and-arsene-wenger/

  13. Red Arse says:

    GN5,

    I commented on this interview, given by Gazidis, and may have unintentionally offended some people.

    Gazidis is telling it as it is. And credit to him for doing so.

    However, I could have done without the huge caveat in his explanation, because, frankly, they are suspiciously like ‘weasel words’ that would allow the club to dismiss any complaints if they do not sign ‘established’ or ‘world class’ players.

    — ‘If’ — we found an established, world-class player and — ‘we thought the economics made sense’ — and — ‘he would add to what we could do on the pitch’ —, then there’s no philosophical objection to that,” Gazidis said. [My punctuation].

    Plenty of ‘if’, ‘ands’, or ‘buts’ in there. Totally unnecessary, in my opinion.

    DM,

    I read that interview last week so it seems to have been recycled and, given the name of the blog, — Sabotage Times — (Le Grove in disguise?) it seems a little suspicious to me, altho’ I agree with the sentiments expressed anyway!! :-)

  14. 26may1989 says:

    Love that post dandan – the analogy with Stirling Moss is a superb one. And not being a motor-racing fan, I honestly didn’t realise Moss had never been world champion. But you make the point beautifully.

    Personally, I think we are the inheritors of Bill Nicholson’s Spurs side, plenty of beauty, not so much silverware. And remembered for many, many years.

  15. gunnern5 says:

    RA;

    I take it as a given that our managerial leadership are on the same page and are telling us the truth, and that they are in sync in their pursuit of what is best for Arsenal.

    Every discussion or interview will contain if’s, but’s and maybe’s – which can be construed as “escape hatches” or as the reality of the football market. If there were no if’s, but’s or maybe’s then they would have to make firm statements and that would be unrealistic.

    I prefer to believe that they know who their targets are and how much they are willing to pay for them and that, quite rightly, we may never know any of the details.

  16. dandan says:

    Good afternoon all, thanks for all the kind comments, TA Re my grand kids 2 0f them, aged 2 a boy and 4 a girl went into Peterborough with their Dad yesterday. in the town centre a large Arsenal lorry was drawn up, and the kids were invited to go inside and take a virtual tour of the Emirates and then have their picture taken in front of a screen showing the stadium, I now have two photos of the kids in a stadium they have never been to, “Magic”.

    On leaving the waggon they were then challenged to take penalties against a target for prizes, different holes at different heights equated to points, points meant prizes. They both came home with different Arsenal backpacks filled with all kinds of goodies, including drink cups and lunchboxes etc. Terrific PR by the club… AS the dad involved is a Liverpool fan he was miffed when his 2 year old son declared himself an Arsenal fan now. :-)

  17. Red Arse says:

    I agree GN5.

    It is not easy to just go out and buy world class players, because as I said over the weekend, some clubs will not want to sell, some will ask for unrealistic transfer fees and we may be outbid by other clubs like Chelsea, Manure and Manciteh for players we might want.

    Those who never believe anything good of Arsene will remain unbelievers, especially if we are unsuccessful in bringing in the players we have targeted, and those like me who already understand the realities of the transfer market.

    Perhaps I could have rephrased my point. Gazidis did not need to introduce his lawyerly caveats because they come across as making excuses in advance. The doubters can go hang if they do not understand the ‘bleeding obvious’! [a nice British phrase] :-)

    But then, it is easy for me to say that as I am not running the club, neither do I have all his responsibilities.

  18. Red Arse says:

    Sorry, Dandan,

    I forgot to commend you on another very good Post. Well said! :-)

  19. dandan says:

    26 May Thanks for your commnts and I agree with you re the Spurs,

  20. dandan says:

    RA :-) cheers

  21. Evonne says:

    Congratulations Dandan, you never fail to come up with something profound and memorable. TA is right about your grandchildren – print your posts and let them read when they are ready.

    Your words gave me an idea :) Arsenal should introduce True Supporter Membership. At £1 for life people could join the exclusive Club. The requirement would be to answer some Arsenal questions, recognise a few faces, recite a few chants and demonstrate hatred towards Scum, as well as to swear under oath never to abuse the Club, the players or the manager. Nobody has to join, but those who join are to observe the rules.
    That way we would get rid of gold diggers, good weather fans and Mancs in disguise.

  22. Evonne says:

    Guys, does anybody know what have Ballottelli and Mankini done? There was some unsavoury stuff, but I am not sure what

  23. Red Arse says:

    Evonne, Don’t take this as me showing any interest in Citeh, but i understand that in a friendly against LAX, balotelli was put thru into a one on one situation with the GK.

    Instead of tapping the ball in, he did a 180 turn and back heeled the ball.

    Three problems ensued; 1) he missed; 2) the crowd boo-ed the mickey taking and 3) mancini aware of the bad PR with the crowd and cross that Balotteli was not being professional. immediately took him off. Then Ballobelli had a row with Manweenie.

    Couldn’t really give a damn, but as you asked. :-)

  24. chas says:

    Is this what you mean, Evonne?

  25. chas says:

    Good post, dandan.

    I hope you’re right regarding AW’s legacy.

  26. goonermichael says:

    I enjoyed that clip. I really like balotelli

  27. RockyLives says:

    Lovely post Dandan.

    I want to say I feel the same way, but the truth is that when we were ‘winning ugly’ in the later George Graham years I didn’t care as long as we won.

    I would rather we won with style and flair, but as a lifelong Arsenal fan my priority is seeing us win – win matches, and win trophies.

    That does not mean I want us to ditch the Wenger Way. Far from it, I think that AW is piloting us towards the most effective form of football in the modern game. As the Champs League final showed, we are much closer to being competitive with Barcelona than Man Utd are.

    What he hasn’t cracked yet is how to make that style effective over the full course of an English season, with all the attendant blood, guts and thunder. I expect his moves in the transfer market this year to go some way to solving that conundrum.

    But, hypothetically, if AW quit and was succeeded by Mourinho, who went on to win many trophies for us but with the team adopting his dour, physical style of play, I expect I would still be cheering and rejoicing at every triumph.

    Regardless of the style of play, I would relish lording it over ManUre, the Chavs and that lot from down the road.

    Sorry and all that. It feels a bit like admitting that I don’t like fluffy little kittens or butterflies, but such is the nature of my Arsenal support.

  28. RockyLives says:

    GM
    Sorry, but I think Balotelli is an idiot. He may be a gifted footballer, but as a person he seems immature and arrogant.

    Remember, he’s the player who, having won the European young player of the year award with Jack Wilshere as runner-up, said he had never heard of Jack but when they next met on the pitch he would show him who was boss, or somesuch.

    Several months later and JW is a prodigious mainstay of the England team, while Balotelli is still disrespecting opponents and having bust-ups with his manager over his childishness.

  29. Rasp says:

    Afternoon all,

    Many good points in your post dandan, but I for one cannot see why so many are prepared to accept that ‘beautiful football’ if played by Arsenal need not result in ultimate success. The great teams we compare ourselves to achieved success.

    To widen the debate to the current scenario, Liverpool have shelled out millions with one aim in mind – to supplant Arsenal as the fourth side in the CL. Strenghtening the defence with at least one first team quality defender and keeping hold of either Nasri or Cesc should mean that pool have wasted their money – I seriously doubt it will happen though

  30. RockyLives says:

    Rasp
    I’m not quite clear – what do you seriously doubt happening – ‘Pool supplanting us, or us keeping SN or CF and buying a defender?

  31. Rasp says:

    Sorry Rocky, that was typed hurriedly and is clearly ambiguous. I don’t think we will sign any of Jagielka, Cahill or Samba – or a replacement left back. We may sign a defender but not one who will be first choice.

  32. RockyLives says:

    Rasp
    I hope you’re wrong. I feel more positive than you about this but I understand you are basing your view on what we have said and done in recent transfer windows.
    However, this time things are different – the whole mood around the club is different – and I fully believe there will be signings.
    I expect one of those three CBs you mentioned to join us as well as at least one other player (if either of Cesc or Nasri stays). I am convinced we will keep one of either Cesc or Nasri because, simply, if Cesc goes we’ll keep Nasri even at the cost of losing him on a free next summer.
    If Cesc stays we’ll cash in on Nasri.
    I do not expect us to sign a LB as AW has already said he does not intend to.

  33. 26may1989 says:

    Hi Rocky

    Interesting point about the latter, grimmer years of George Graham’s tenure. Many people felt the way that you did, and were happy (or at least able) to see us win in the ugliest way possible. Many revelled, for example, in the way we sufficated the far more talented Parma side of Zola, Asprilla and Brolin with a team featuring the likes of Selley, Morrow and Kevin Campbell on the wing.

    But I wasn’t one of them. My ability to stomach win-at-all-costs football found its limit in 1993, when I was at Wembley to attend my first FA Cup Final (vs. Sheff Weds). And it was one of the worst games I have ever witnessed. Having dreamt of the day I would be able to witness an Arsenal FA Cup Final in the flesh (having watched on TV the three in a row finals of 1978-1980 in my younger years), I walked away from Wembley in May 1993 with the score 1-1 but within minutes of the final whistle, being unable to recall anything of any significance from the game. It was turgid rubbish, and frankly I felt disconsolate about the whole thing. The fact that Andy Linighan scored in the 119th minute of the replay and we lifted the trophy barely registered.

    From then until the end of George Graham’s reign, I was off Arsenal first team games, and restricted myself to going to reserve team games (home and away), for which I wrote match reports for The Gooner. The reserves then were terrible too (I remember one game where we managed o lose to Southend), but I felt at least I didn’t have to put up with George Graham’s anti-football.

    And then he was sacked, Bruce Rioch came in and we signed Dennis Bergkamp and David Platt. Happy days were here again.

  34. Evonne says:

    Chas – that’s the one, lovely stuff. Any problems elsewhere make me smile. So, Mankini cannot control his players, both Tevez and Balotteli have no respect whatsoever. And others are watching, great.

  35. Evonne says:

    RA – are you back for good? It is strange here without you :)

  36. RockyLives says:

    26May
    I respect your viewpoint but it’s not one I share.
    Even if we were in League Two and playing industrial football on a muddy pitch against the likes of Southend and Shrewsbury I would still be supporting the team 100%.
    And if you thought the 1993 final was bad, what about the 2004 final against ManUre, that we won on penalties? At least in 1993 we tried attacking, even if it was only long balls into the box.
    Even great teams can take part in dour spectacles and dreary stalemates.

  37. Red Arse says:

    Damn!

    I used to buy The Gooner during the late 90’s and I often wondered who it was that had pinched thoughts and phrases that certainly originated from my own observations of some reserve matches.

    Now the culprit has owned up, and I am deliberating over what ghastly reprisal to take over that blatant rifling of my id.**

    Not ID as in identity, but id as in the instinctual, uncoordinated subconscious of the mind! But then, 26, you know that, you rascal. :-)

  38. RockyLives says:

    id? I thought that was the way you say “is” when you have a cold…

  39. dandan says:

    Sorry I have been missing for a while have been to the dentists. Rasp. As you know your mansion is riding on you being wrong, we will buy a centre back probably this week, Moyes gets back tomorrow, Cesc in my view is gone, my dentist is Spanish and his call on this is that Barca. don’t need him but the fans want him so the president will get him.

    I know your conviction comes from your disillusionment with times past, but basically the club is now owned by one man not several, so the parameters have changed as I believe have the financials.
    Hopefully your sleepless nights are coming to an end.

  40. Red Arse says:

    Evonne,

    How come you thank my man Chas for his excellent visual, i.e video, response to your Balotelli question and zilch, nada for my brilliant verbal report? :-) A fickle, feminine foible? :-)

    I am not ‘back’ as such, because I had not gone. :-) I was just taking a break to explore and antagonise other blogsites, for a while, as they had not experienced the delights of my excoriating prose and wit!

    I haven’t done with them yet ….. just softening them up!! :-)

  41. goonermichael says:

    Who really cared about the football when Micky Thomas scored at Anfield? It would be lovely to win like Barca (without the cheating) But once in a while with boring football is ok.

  42. Red Arse says:

    Hi Rocky, :-)

    Your 4:22 is a pragmatic explanation of the aural definition of ‘id’ during a cold. That’s true! :-)

    I am having a wonderful verbal exchange elsewhere so I am itching to return to the fray. Laters!

  43. Rasp says:

    dandan, you may be right. But there is one thing I am sure of and that is that the messages coming out of the club have not changed and it is only the interpretation by optimistic fans such as yourself that is creating the belief that things are different.

  44. RockyLives says:

    Redders
    Where where where! I want to watch.

  45. Evonne says:

    RA – I am so sorry!!! You are right, I read your brilliant recap of the shananigans and didn’t thank you!! We are like an old couple, first stop saying how much we love each other and then slowly drift apart – so before it happens – thank you and I love you even though I am disappointed you are not a Paddy xx

  46. 26may1989 says:

    @Rocky 4:18pm: My point wasn’t about who I supported, it’s always been and always will be the Mighty Arse. That includes when we were playing the ugliest of ugly football in the early 1990s, when I still wanted us to win each and every game, despite my grievances about what Graham had done to the side. But as a poor student with precious little spare cash, I saw little reason to sacrifice my very limited funds in order to subject myself to the utter trash on offer. If we were in League 2 (or Div 4 as it was), there’d be much less of a problem accepting low quality football, but Graham didn’t have that excuse for his wanton vandalism of any semblance of style.

    You’re right, that there is a place for pragmatism – the CL semi-final vs Villarreal in 2006 stands out in my mind – but there’s no reason to become a slave to it. And when I look at Wenger, for all my frustration that we still haven’t signed the quality CB despite having the funds and the clear need, I can’t fault his romanticism. In the Q&A he gave to The Telegraph (and which California Gooner gave us a link for), Wenger quoted someone who said “The only way to deal with death is to transform everything that precedes it into art.” Pragmatism may seem like the only sensible way to go, but in the end is it? Who is remembered longest, the most successful pragmatist, or the artist, the master of style and technique?

  47. 26may1989 says:

    @Redders 4:18pm: ;) !!!

  48. RockyLives says:

    26May
    I hope you didn’t think I was questioning your loyalty to Arsenal (apologies if it seemed that way).
    But if asked whether I would prefer to be like the Spuds (plenty of flair, no trophies and only a cameo in the Champs League) or like Chelsea (dour and pragmatic but many trophies and ever-present in the Champs League) I would chose the latter.

    Obviously I would prefer the third way over either: being successful with flair: Wengerball+trophies.

  49. johnny says:

    o dear,o dear, o dear balotelli.. not good at all.

    really worries me, cause i really want lakuka at the arsenal and if this guy at shity keeps doing things like that they may well start really thinking about lakuka.

    the guy cracks me up. “surely its not me is it. ” balotelli must think. I heard a story on talksport about him. apparantly he went into his bosses office and asked if he could get a ducatti. Aparantly no words were spoken to him he just got laughed out of the room. god i would of loved to have seen that.

  50. TotalArsenal says:

    26, I am with you on this one (especially your last sentence). You only have to look at the Dutch national team. Won almost nothing, but set the world on fire with an orange glow trough total football during the 1970’s and onwards. People remember that a lot more than the calculated wins of Germany and Italy over the years. I guess it all comes down to what the definition of success is… :P

  51. Rasp says:

    At the moment we have no post for tomorrow………

  52. 26may1989 says:

    Hello again Rocky. I didn’t really think you were questioning my loyalty (well, maybe a little bit!). But you did articulate an interesting counterpoint to what I interpret in Dand’s post, one that made me think back a bit.

    Turning to your hypothetical choice, now you’ve put me in a difficult position: should we emulate a no-trophies but skilful Spurs side or a dull but trophy-laden Chelsea? How can I possibly choose between two such fates??! But I’ll try. If we were talking about the Spurs side of the mid-1980s as against Mourinho’s Chelsea, I’d go for Spurs. (Sacrilege!!) But today’s Spurs side isn’t at the level of the Hoddle-Ardiles-etc incarnation and neither is today’s Chelsea side as dour (or as effective) as Jose’s version. But bottom line, much as well like to have both style and success, if asked to compromise, I veer towards the end of the spectrum marked style.

    In pursuit of success, we’d all accept some compromise on style, but the question is: how much? At the risk of annoying Total, have a look at last year’s Dutch World Cup performance. Many people (me included) admired their achievement in reaching the Final, having overcome Brazil and a very good Uruguay side. But who, outside the Netherlands, can honestly say they thought the uber-pragmatic approach on display in the Final was anything other than a waste, even when facing what was clearly the best and most inventive side in international football? It would’ve served the Dutch better to have gone down in style, at least trying to play football that was, well, Dutch.

    Every time I become impatient with today’s ludicrously fey Arsenal side, I think back to May 1993. That said, I know I’m in a minority on this one.

  53. 26may1989 says:

    Oh no, having just posted my 6:04pm, I’ve just seen Total’s very nice 5:57pm. I’m in trouble now………!

  54. goonermichael says:

    The chavs didn’t really exist before abromovic so I wouldn’rt fancy being them. A chav was winding me up saying “how many years without a trophy? is it 6?” I said as opposed to only ever winning a trophy in the last 6 years?

  55. Jamie says:

    I don’t mind anti football. I prefer good football but I would rather win.

    The last two years under GG were very bad.

    However as he used to say, you don’t win trophies with bad defences and with Arsene dithering on signing a centre back again it look like another iffy season is upon us.

    Cahill has a 17m release clause. Pay it and if you can’t afford 17m for a player you desperately need then have the good grace to admit to your fans that you can’t compete. Or as usual are we waiting for a superstar to leave to fund the purchase of some promising players?

    Why lie to us and tell us it’s a summer of big change Gervinho, maybe Cahill and some sprog from Southampton in exchange for Fabregas and the deadwood.

    Progress? I don’t think so.

    I love Wenger and what he has done for the club but he shouldnt patronise us, we know the cost of the players, if you don’t have money or are not willing to spend it then don’t take us for mugs.

    I think I need some sugar ;)

  56. Evonne says:

    GM – good answer :)

  57. RockyLives says:

    Jamie

    All very valid comments – if you were making them on August 31st.

    For now you can’t really accuse people of lying until there is proof they lied.

    The transfer window has a long way to run. Have faith.

  58. Jamie says:

    Rocky – I understand what you are saying, but 31st August isn’t good enough when you play Newcastle, Liverpool and Manchester Utd in the first few weeks as well as a champs league qualifier.

    If we end up with an injury and Squillaci or Traore have to play in those first few games then we are done for.

    I just think you need players in now because Wenger could be in real trouble by 31st August. You saw how the morons were turning on him last season. It is a really dangerous game he is playing here.

    If he keeps Fab4 and Nas8 and buys Cahill and gets a defensive midfielder for cover they could win the league.

    If he looses one of them or worse both and we don’t get a centre back we could really struggle. It’s back to square one if they go.

    It is on a knife edge I’ll give you that.

    They aren’t willing to spend a penny net. That’s why they are trying to offload deadwood to fund a centre back. I can live with that but they talk big every summer and don’t spend. We have made a net £3 profit in transfer over the last 6 years and well done to Wenger for working his magic.

    It doesn’t hide the fact that the club still refuse to spend a penny.

    I’ll buy you a pint if they spend more than 5million net and I’m tighter than Gazidis. :)

  59. 26may1989 says:

    Jamie, I know where you’re coming from re the astonishingly slow pace to signings this summer, just when it needed to be the exact opposite, but you go too far in saying “If we end up with an injury and Squillaci or Traore have to play in those first few games then we are done for.” (a) We’ve won plenty of games while having mediocre players (eg, last season Eboue played the 90 when we beat Barca, and Squillaci and Denilson played when we beat City 3-0 at their place). And (b) two or three games do not make a season. Last season was the perfect demonstration of that: United, Chelsea and Arsenal competed to throw the title away for much of the season, and it’s worth remembering that, for all our terrible results last season, in the imaginary league amongst the top four to six teams, we were top.

  60. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi again 26, your reference to Holland during last year’s WC is spot on. To a certain extent, football style was sacrificed for calculated, less attractive but winning football (I hope to write a post on this topic one day, in which I would like to make a comparison with Arsenal’s style of football).

    I felt very weird last summer. On the one hand I was very happy to reach the final with such relative ease, but on the other hand it felt like we were watching another nation’s team rather than the familiar Holland-11. Although I just wanted Holland to win the WC, so we could SAY WE WON IT AT LAST, I would not have been over the moon about it, had it indeed happened. So, I am with you: I rather would have seen Holland go down in style too, than play such over-cautious, and unnatural football.

    To be fair on Van Marwijk though, who is a truly fantastic manager, he had no realistic other choice for the Dutch team, as he had to protect the fragile CB’s with two defensive minded midfielders in front of them: otherwise the Spanish would have murdered us in the final. Had Robben taken his chance, we could have won it the ‘German’ way. I am not too bitter he didn’t.

  61. Jamie says:

    26 – Good point, we did win a few with those players. Eboue is occasionally very good.

    We can’t afford many dropped points, that is what i’m getting at.

  62. London says:

    Rasp

    There is a post if you need one.

  63. Gooner In Exile says:

    Evening all….top and tailing the comments again aswork seems to be all encompassing. I hope to get a couple of posts to you for the post cupboard.

    Interesting discussion today, I too enjoyed winning things under GG, I would argue that the title winning sides contained more artistry than the 93 cup winning teams. I went to all three Wembley games that year, those finals were so easy to get tickets for. I’m not even sure I needed any programme stubs.

    I think I look at it like this:

    If you win like we did in the early 90’s or like Chelsea it’s good.

    If you win like we did under Wenger with TA6 volleying home with his left foot its bliss.

    If you lose playing good football on the floor it’s bearable.

    If you lose playing long ball it’s awful.

  64. RockyLives says:

    GiE
    Great comment!

  65. 26may1989 says:

    I know plenty of others have a bit of a downer on Jay Emmanuel-Thomas for perceived attitude problems and uncertainty as to his best position, but I feel a bit disappointed that it seems he’s off to Ipswich Town (as the usually reliable Young Guns indicates). I was one of those who had high hopes for JET. Oh well, if he does head off to the wilds of East Anglia, he’ll go with my best wishes.

  66. RockyLives says:

    26may
    Agree about JET. I thought he might make it with us.

  67. Gooner In Exile says:

    Think JET has got a bit of big tine charlie going on.

    Reportedly he was one of the Cardiff players seen getting wasted less than 24 hours before one of the biggest games of their run in.

    Seems a shame as he is big and strong and youd think tailor made for a starring role. With so many more youngsters coming through and the desire for signings like Gervinho (and better) to arrive only the creme de la creme of our academy canmake it to the First team.

    Judging by Frimpongs tweet it seems there may be a few of that Youth Cup winning side on their way.

  68. RockyLives says:

    We have a new post on Newsnow??

  69. Rasp says:

    Hi Rocky, I’ve taken it off – someone? must have pushed the wrong button. We will re-publish tomorrow, although we may have to use a different title :oops:

  70. RockyLives says:

    Rasp
    I have often accidentally flirted with the “publish” button when loading a draft. It scares the living daylights out of me.

    My sympathy to whichever of my fellow AA-ers got caught out!

  71. 26may1989 says:

    Rasp/Peaches: I’m going to mail you a post too. Never rains, it pours.

    Night all.

  72. dandan says:

    Rocky I have done that , it feels so good to know I am not the only “Idiot” If you will excuse the phrase :-)

  73. London says:

    I hope the title of my post is not changed if it is used today.

  74. Rasp says:

    Hi London, we may just have to add a word or a subtitle in order to re-publish because it may not come up on NN unless we do.

  75. Rasp says:

    How about if we put “to share” on the end of your title?.

  76. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Morning all,
    Good stuff on here yesterday. Great post dandan and equally great comments.
    Anyone else having problems with the layout around the “leave a reply” area?

  77. Excellent plan London, I’ve done it ……

    Morning all

    New Post …………………..

  78. Rasp says:

    peaches, don’t publiush…..

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