Project Youth – Fact or Fiction?

Written by Illybongani

Much has been said about the perceived success (or lack of it), of Wenger’s ‘Project Youth’, particularly since the move to the Emirates. Arsenal Football Club are now seen as standard bearers in the development of young professional footballers. But is this accolade warranted or is it a misnomer?

Let’s look at some facts and make our own minds up.

Prior to the move away from Highbury, Arsène Wenger’s blueprint for success was pretty much orthodox, a high quality team of experienced internationals added to pre-season with one or two further experienced internationals, often French or African. Added to this mix was the occasional high potential youngster, like Fabregas or Anelka.

By anyone’s standards this was successful. Two Doubles and an unbeaten season will be the benchmark we measure ourselves by, and indeed others measure us by, for the foreseeable future.

Then we moved to a new stadium. History shows that this is more often than not a particularly difficult time for the club involved. Look at Coventry, Southampton, Leicester amongst others as examples. Then came a global recession that could not have been anticipated by the Board. A truly perilous position to be in. Therefore we had to cut our cloth accordingly.

We will probably never know the restrictions placed on our expenditure by the move. The Board continued to spout rhetoric that there was money for Arsene if he wanted it. This money never really materialised, instead Arsène went down the line of importing more and more youngsters both from home and around the world. ‘Project Youth’ had truly begun.

However, it was only because of  a catalogue of injuries that became to be the norm season after season that these youngsters were thrown into the mix. Well, that is the perception of most people – but how many kids have we actually moved through the production line and out the other end?

In the early years of Arsène’s tenure, Ashley Cole was probably the only player to be given his debut and to be guaranteed a place in the side. In the last few years there have been more but many of those have been purchased (and stolen) from other clubs. However, you could argue that they have been given the opportunity to learn ‘the Arsenal Way’ before being given their opportunity.

The only ‘true’ Arsenal-bred youngsters grown from embryo to finished article at Hale End have been Jack Wilshere, Kieran Gibbs and Emmanual Frimpong. Given time, Henri Lansbury may be added to this list. Does this make the ‘project’ successful? Certainly not along the lines of Barcelona, but then who has produced as many, in quantity and quality, as them? But that group may well be the core of the England (or Ghana!) side over the next 5 years – and in anyone’s book, that must be deemed a success.

Other players, thought at one time to be the next big thing, have come and gone – JET, Traore, Merida, Barazite, Aliadiere, Bentley to name but a few. These players and many like them have attracted transfer fees in the region of £80m (boosted by Cesc) since our move to the Emirates. Does that give further credence to the success of the ‘project’ or the further evidence that far too many have not met the standard at Arsenal?

An examination of the current youth set up shows a number of ‘next big things’. The question is, will they be a Fabregas or will they be a Bentley? And if they end up a Bentley, does that make them a failure?

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170 Responses to Project Youth – Fact or Fiction?

  1. Big Raddy says:

    Illy. Super, well written post and much to think about as I set off to work.

    Knee-jerk response? The Project is self-financing and therefore without risk.

    The policy of buying in top quality youngsters has now been taken up by all the top clubs which shows it’s effectiveness.

    The days of being able to compete with home grown players are well gone, only Barca can hope to do so. I would like to see UEFA put a ban on transfers prior to the age of 18 y.o. and also the poaching of kids from outside a 50 mile radius. so we can return to having players who have the club at heart like JW.

  2. Rasp says:

    Morning,

    Thanks for a thought provoking maiden post Illy. I agree that the transition to a new ground is a major disruption to any club and past examples show that it is inevitably disruptive to team performance and fan base.

    The influx of tens of thousands of new supporters and the ‘dissolution of the stands’ at Highbury have all had an effect and we are not yet over that period of adjustment.

    As to project youth (if it exists other than as a convenienmt tag), our continued CL participation is testament to it’s success and our inability to find new homes for some players who have not made the grade is an illustration of the pitfalls.

  3. Gooner in Exile says:

    Morning Illy, I think you raise an interesting point.

    Realistically Djourou, Bendtner, Denilson, Diaby, Flamini, Cesc and others are not Project Youth, they were Project Prudence (or even Gamble). Young players well on their way at other clubs picked up for small fees better than the existing Youth squad.

    The real Project Youth is only just bearing fruit, Wilshere, Lansbury and others have been at the club as long as Wenger, they have been schooled his way, and there are more coming through the production line. How old were the current Barca crop when they became the side they are? 24-27? (excluding Messi)

    I still think there is time for Project Youth to be successful, and not just financially. An Arsenal team in 2017 could easily be made up of 5-6 homegrown players (probably internationals) at the ages of 24-28 ready to beat anyone. The question is will we the fans give it time to happen.

    Academy graduates tipped for that team, Wilshere, Frimpong, Afobe, Gibbs, Aneke, Bartley (who I hear needs an op – Arsenal medical team clearly goes to visit players on loan), Lansbury.

  4. Rasp says:

    Hi GiE, for the young players involved, just getting a chance at the Arsenal is a major success. I doubt 1 in 10,000 aspiring youngsters that trial at prem clubs ever make it into the first team and so if our system can produce the names you list, it can only be judged as a success.

  5. ClockEndRider says:

    It’s instructive when comparing us to Barcelona to understand that in Spain there is no geographic limitation to the area from which the clubs can attract talent. Thus they can take players of talent from all over Spain whereas we have been able only to take players from 90 mins travelling distance from London Colney. This means that we effectively compete with: The N17 Pikeys, Orient, West Ham, Charlton, Millwall, Chelsea, Brentford, Fulham, QPR, Luton, Watford for the same poool of talent. The North West has a similar agglomeration of clubs in a small area. Perhaps the effect shows through in Man United’s lack of production of quality English players post the 96 generation of Beckham, Scholes etc schooled when the rule was not in operation.
    Conversely, clubs like Southampton and those in the Frozen North East have very few competing clubs for youth talent. Clearly one way round this is to poach talent from abroad such as Fabregas and it has clearly worked.
    One result of this geographical limitation is that we have had to suffer a generation of kids with poor attitudes simply because they have been operating in a sheltered and well paid bubble since inorder to attract them , they have been offered silly terms and conditions. Think Bentley. Bothroyd. Gilbert. Emmanual-Thomas. All good players but it would surely have been better for their and the nations footballing development if they had ben exposed to competition from the best players in the country attracted to Arsenal not just because they were the best in a localised area, but because they were simply the best.

  6. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi Illy (why is it that those four letters make me want to get a coffee?) :P

    Thanks for a interesting post. You finished off with a few questions which is a great way of starting a debate.

    Project youth, for me, consists of two streams. Those that join the club in their mid-teens and progress towards Arsenal’s first team (or not), and those who are bought at a later age, with first team experience (usually abroad), and make it straight into the first team. I believe Arsenal did very well in every sense: Szczesny, Sagna, Vermaelen, RvP, Wilshere, Nasri, Walcott, Song, Adebayor, Cesc, Flamini, Ramsey etc have all cost us next to nothing (the only exception maybe being Nasri) and are all/will become top-top quality players. This is some achievement which, as far as I know, no other club can match. Furthermore, it has been a great financial success.

    To answer your questions: I have no doubt that Wenger will keep developing new great players, but obviously not all of them will make it big. And no that is not a problem: it is worth the risk both from a financial as a sporting point of view.

    The key thing with ‘project youth + raw diamonds’ is NOT TO SELL YOUR TALENTS, if and when they reach their full potential. Ajax, for example, have failed in this miserably for the last 15 years, and paid a big price for it: I have little doubt that if they had kept their youth ‘outputs’ over the years, they would have won one or more CL’s by now.

    Arsenal are going the same way at the moment. Man City are too impatient to create their own youth development project, and it seems they are looking at our club as their annual premium supplier of new players. This winds me up no end, and I am worried we will not be able to stop this process anymore. I don’t think any of us can confidently say that if and when Citeh approach the club / tap up our players, say for the likes of Szczesny, Vermaelen, Sagna, Wilshere, RvP, Walcott, Song at the end of this season, the BoD/Wenger will be strong enough to stop them taking another two of our gems. This has to stop.

    I have every confidence in the squad we have now: it will win some silverware sooner or later, but we need to stop the process described above. If not, we will not be able to make the next step up – and project youth will be looked at as solely a financial success (which is obviously important for our club as well, but – quite rightly so – not enough for the fans).

  7. Rasp says:

    Thanks ClockEnd,

    That’s fascinating stuff and an education to me. I am increasingly of the opinion that good attitude, hunger and ability are better qualities for the team than just plain talent but with bad attitude.

    We are welcoming 2 new writers to the site this week (one being Illybongani today’s author), I’m wondering if you might like to produce a piece for us in the future as you are clearly very knowledgeable.

  8. ClockEndRider says:

    Happy to.
    You’ve made me blush….Not in a girlie way, I’ll have you know.

  9. Red Arse says:

    Morning Illy,

    A well written, well thought out debut Post, concisely summing up the project youth evolution in a fair and balanced fashion. :-)

    It seems to me that AW has analysed the problems at the club and dealt with them, step by step, within our limited resources, since the day he arrived, or in Viera’s case, before he arrived.

    Picking on this evolution in a random way, it could be said his first step was to take apart and reassemble the training and dietary regimes he found. This led to extended careers for Tony Adams, Bouldy, Dixon and many others. This has now been copied by all other clubs.

    Next he used his detailed knowledge of the French leagues and plundered them for young, high class players not then known to other Premier League clubs, starting with the above mentioned Patrick Viera. All other Premier League clubs now do this, and we no longer have a French ‘nursery’ of our own.

    Having enjoyed great success with the foregoing, he knew that, if we were to build a huge new stadium, money would become increasingly tight, and that led to the creation of Project Youth, which you have so well described in your article, because he knew he would have to find excellent players without expending vast amounts of money to fund their purchase.

    The next stage of the Wenger evolution is to find ways to combat the flood of Arab and Russian money now swilling around the Premier League. This has put a major roadblock in his plan to have dealt with the new stadium and the resultant shortage of cash and still emerge successfully out of that period with a brace or two of much needed trophies.
    At the outset, he was not to know that the financing of key clubs (Citeh, ‘Pool, Utd and Chelsea) would change out of all recognition and leave us at such a huge monetary disadvantage.

    I still think he will come up with a solution. He is ultra-smart and it would not do to back against him!!

    Arsenal ad perpetuum! :-)

  10. Rasp says:

    Thanks CER,

    We have enough articles in the locker to see us through the coming weekend at this point but there will always be midweek slots available. You can either write something generic that can go out when we are not doing a prematch or post match, or if it is time sensitive (like a match report), we have to schedule it in advance.

  11. kelsey says:

    Nice post illy and I agree with a lot of it.
    There is an adjustment time when moving to one of the smallest pitches to one of the largest, and whatever you say the intimacy of highbury can’t be transferred to The Emirates for various reasons.
    Project outh will only ever produce a very small percentage of players who Arsenal deem good enough to represent the first team.
    The over thirty rule is still a mystery to me as I and others have said we shipped one or two of our older players out a bit too soon.
    Was Highbyry Square a good idea to make extra revenue.Most probably was,but because of the world wide recession sales were slower than expected but as it was ring fenced I don’t think it made a difference to our overall transfer kitty.
    I think a 5 year period of adjustment will actually take the best part of ten years and who knows maybe another club will “do a city” making it even harder to compete but more importanly holding onto our bet players could become more difficult as contracts are worthless.

  12. ClockEndRider says:

    Sure thing. I’m happier giving an article on a subject of the moment a bit of thought rather than than just banging one in. And taking a bit more time suits the work agenda too. If that’s ok with you guys. How do we communicate when I have something ready or when you have a slot you need to fill?

  13. Morning all

    A great debut post Illy.

    It’s fair to say that Arsenal had their hands tied by the move to the Emirates and the recession that followed soon after didn’t help.

    The fact that some of the talent that AW unearthed didn’t make it was probably always on the cards. Sadly I still feel that we held on to some players that weren’t good enough for too long and by playing them regularly highlighted their faults. One has to ask why we still have Almunia on the books?

    The cream will always rise to the top and by and large the young players that AW has let go have not gone on to have amazing careers although I have a feeling that we’ll be sorry that NIk was moved on.

  14. chas says:

    Great post, ClockEnd.

    I always hated the term ‘Project Youth’.
    It seemed to me it was made up by the haters to use as a stick to beat the club.
    For these people Denilson was always first on the list of failed project youth players, but Cesc was not included as he was a Barca product.

    ClockEnd, your blog name always reminds me of this, so here it is. Evonne and peaches look away now. :)

  15. Red Arse says:

    Chas,

    You are without doubt the esteemed Videologist supreme of AA! :-)

  16. ClockEndRider says:

    Chas,
    Never seen the video compilation before but the blogname was indeeed inspired by said said band and song. Some happy days indeed spent a that end of the terracing.

  17. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi Peaches,

    Not sure about your views on Bendtner. Apart from his attitude: an unhealthy tendency to blame everybody else but himself for not making it at Arsenal, not having a great first touch as a striker is a big, big handicap – especially at Arsenal.

    Let him for once prove himself at Sunderland, and show us all us what he has been promising us for so long. But I don’t think he is good enough for Arsenal.

  18. Gooner in Exile says:

    ClockEndRider that rule remains a mystery, I remember Wenger saying recently that to find a player like Wilshere within the travelling rules is a rarity and a blessing.

    But I think with the players coming through there is evidence that it can work, this rule (I believe) only applies to under 16s in England so there is still time to pick up the talent but by then the price is inflated.

  19. chas says:

    Thanks RA, but it’s only because I’m a simpleton who gets on better with pictures than words. :)

  20. VCC says:

    Chas
    Memories/memories/memories, that clip brought back so many memories of a life time supporting the love of my life.
    Fantastic stuff, I will be playing this for the rest of the day.
    And yes I do remember the band that used to play at the Highbury.
    Does any one remember the small plastic badges with players faces on them that you used to clip onto your jumpers?
    I used to have the whole team in the formation that we used to play
    Keeper, two full backs, Centre half, right half left half, centre forward, inside right, inside left, right wing, left wing. Happy dayz.

  21. VCC says:

    ClockEndRider…… Virgin writer……

    Been many a year since you’ve been called a Virgin I bet.

  22. Illybongani says:

    Morning all…thank you for allowing me to pop my cherry. I had that feeling that you get 10 minutes after the start time of your party when no one has turned up and you think no one will!Panic over!

    I’ve tried to sit on the fence with this one (or is it called balance?) hence me picking splinters out of my arse, much like I hope Nasri will be doing all season.

    Success, I guess, has to be measured in terms of quality and quality. Would we rather have one or two Wilsheres over a 5 year period, or a dozen Bentleys? Financially, I guess the latter – in sporting terms definitely the former for me

  23. RockyLives says:

    Excellent and well balanced piece Illy. Welcome to the club!

    With the time disadvantage of living in Canada I see that everyone has already made such great comments that it’s hard to add anything.

    I don’t think the term Project Youth has ever been used by AW, or anyone at a senior level at the club. It’s a media creation, partly based on observable facts.

    My biggest regret is that we let some of the experienced players go so quickly. It would surely have been worth keeping two or three around for the emerging talents to learn from. maybe then some “failures” like Denilson and JET might not have failed.

  24. RockyLives says:

    Good morning VCC, Chas, GiE, TA, CER, Peaches, Evonne, Kelsey, Rasp, Redders, BR, FGG, Sharkey and Micky :)

    And 26 wherever you are.

  25. Illybongani says:

    oops – quantity and quality

  26. TotalArsenal says:

    Good morning Rocky! Great point about letting the experienced players go too early. RvP was the lucky one, with Dennis staying on for so long, but like you say JET, Denilson, Bendtner, etc could have learned a lot from ‘masters’ like Vieira, Bergkamp, Pires etc. Was it just to save money?

  27. fatgingergooner says:

    i havent read all of Todays posts (sorry!), but it appears that no-one has picked up on the fact that players mature and peak at different ages. This makes ‘Project Youth’ a very risky strategy as it is impossible to tell wether a player will make it at the highest level when he is 14-16, thus the reason why you see so many former PL youngsters plying there trade in the lower leagues.

  28. Archimedes says:

    Good article. Including buys around age 17, and defining success as 30
    player over 10 years period ( assume active peak career as 10 years for a player, also 1st team being 25 players). If project deliver one excellent player per year and two squad players per year, it must be considered successful. In recent years wilshere, Szecz, Walcott came thru among excellent etc. But project not capable of shouldering the following: overreliance on Ligue1 for team core talent when France faded on the world stage (2009- according to FIFARanking) (squillaci, Chamakh, Kos?); and terrible medical team (Vermaelen, Rosicky, vPersie1/2 season, Diaby 1/2 season, Fab1/3 season etc. not counting Frimp, Edu and Aaron but still consistently worst injury record and SLOW REHAB record). Action:Ditch Ligue1 talent pool focus on Erdevise and Bundesliga for value for money talent, clone Milan Lab (Ancelotti’s baby) at Milan and at Chelski, shorter rehab and longer player careers (both teams doing surprisingly well with AGEING talent).

  29. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    Very good post Illy.

    Most would say that our hand was forced to adopt project youth when we made the move to Ashburton, but i feel there is more to it than that. The big issue in football finances now is not about making profits for owners (they get there return from capital growth), it is about sustainability of players wages and at the same time staying competitive. You would be hard pushed to find a club in the premeir league that makes profits and uses that income to splash on transfers (Utd been the exception). long term viability is linked to breakeven in the transfer market, increasing turnover, and the ability to pay players market rate. If you look at the finances of nearly every major club then you will find that sice 2004 wages have literaly exploded, and using us an example you will see that our wage bill has doubled over this period.

    In simple terms our board of directors realised pretty quickly which way the wind was blowing and decided to develop young players with resale vaule, paying them top wages, and funding this through increased income, most notably generated through the move to Ashburton.

    Success is relative, and considering the envoirement we operate in, i.e. Man Utd and the suger daddy clubs, i believe it has been a remarkably succesful period over the last few years. Make no mistake other clubs are attempting to implement the same principles us as, and this will be accelarated in the forth coming years.

  30. Big Raddy says:

    RL. None of the big name players who left were kicked out by AFC. They all left to “further” their careers/bank balance. Player power dictates.

    If we are to have a wage structure we will always lose players, it is inevitable given MC and Chelsea’s etc wealth.

    Look at MU who were forced to increase Rooney’s wages to €200k a week or risk him going to MC. When facing the same dilemna with Nasri, AFC chose to sell the player.Right decision? IMO, No. To be a big club we have to act like one and that means paying big club wages, attracting big club stars (not Arteta/Benayoun etc) and having a stellar squad capable of winning the CL. Potentially being good enough to get 4th is not good enough for The Arsenal.

  31. Big Raddy says:

    CER. Thank you for pointing out the 90 mile rule. I had forgotten.

  32. TotalArsenal says:

    RL, you are not comparing like for like there. Rooney is to MU what Thierry was to us a few years ago. The Mancs had no other choice to give in to Shrek’s demands at the time (for obvious reasons). Nasri is a good player, but not one to desperately hang on to. To me it looks we have already replaced him with the arrival of the Gerv, and we have further back up now by getting Benayoun for a year. Good business alround if you ask me.

  33. Rasp says:

    Hi Raddy – just to pick up on your response to me earlier on yesterday’s post about favourite gigs. Of course, you are quite correct, it was the Rainbow at that point and only became the Astoria some years later. But the Who were awesome. I remember once when Daltry was doing his long distance mic twirling with a very heavy Unidyne microphone, he got it wrong and it smashed Entwistle right on the forehead. There was a loud bang over the PA and Entwistle staggered for a few seconds but somehow managed to stay on his feet.

  34. evonne says:

    Chas !! You!!

    I love the black and white pics of scenes of thousands and thousands of fans standing there shoulder to shoulder at Highbury….

  35. TotalArsenal says:

    Sorry RL, it should have ‘BR’ @12.39.

  36. Rasp says:

    evonne, don’t worry we’re going to rekindle that atmosphere at the Ems starting this saturday :P I’m going to put a widget up in the side bar showing all the AA’ers who have committed to meeting up at the Tavern beforehand for some pre-match liquid enthusiasm – everyone welcome, the drinks are on London :roll:

  37. Someone told me that Jebb’s parents were offered a large sum to relocate to manchester.

  38. dandan says:

    Rap I have considerably reworked my post in draft, Having now dropped down and read Illi’s fine effort and given today’s conversations I think you might like to re-look at it..

    Illy that post is a treat well done. as far as your name is concerned every time i read your name, I pick up an old cricket ball and start flicking it from hand to hand.

  39. Red Arse says:

    The Premier League clubs are ‘reviewing’ the 90 mile rule soon because Manyoo are unhappy about it.

    This distance rule was brought in to stop Manyoo and Chelsea pinching youngsters from all over the country by using their gross wealth to offer the parents of potentially excellent kids guaranteed ‘jobs’ to pursuade them to sign for them.

    We must be careful what we are asking for by relaxing this rule.

  40. fatgingergooner says:

    surely Manyoo are able to use FergieMiles tho and stretch it to 98+ miles!!!

  41. Rasp says:

    Hi dandan, I don’t see why your post is any less relevant, I think it makes an important point.

  42. Big Raddy says:

    TA. I think my argument still holds true (unsurprisingly).

    Who is to say that Nasri could not have taken on the mantle of AFC’s essentiil player? We will never find out. As to Gerv and Beni being as good – we can but hope, however I feel Nasri’s best years lie in front of him.

    We will not attract a player like Cesc without paying top wages because other clubs will pay. Why would Eriksen, Gotze, Hazard, Mata or any of the sought after young players come to THOF if they are being offered 50+% more elsewhere.

    AW makes his signings with one hand tied behind his back, and as such we are forced to finding undiscovered gems which gets harder every year.

  43. Rasp says:

    Completely true Raddy and it will continue that way until either the FPP rules even things out (which they won’t) or we are taken over by a biilionaire who is happy to make a loss of millions funding his hobby.

    I believe a wrote a post several months ago entitled ‘Arsenal, poor men sitting at a rich man’s table’ and forecasting that we may this year lose our coveted CL spot :oops:

  44. Big Raddy says:

    Rasp. Re: The Who.

    A few ago (lost in the mists of time) I went to see them play, after 2 numbers Daltrey threw the mike on the floor and walked off. The other 3 carried on playing looking at each other in confusion. Eventually Townshend went to find him, only to return to the stage 10 minutes later. saying ” I asked Roger what was the matter? He said he is unhappy with the sound and his voice. I told Roger that there were thousands of people who had paid a lot of money and travelled a long way to see us, to which Roger replied “F**k ‘em”.

    Whereupon Pete picked up his guitar and the 3 of them played on for another 45 mins (probably the time under contract when the promoter wasn’t forced to give a refund). Then John apologised again and they went off.

    But ….. on form, what an amazing band. I saw them play in Nice last year and they still retain their power, but it was a bit “karaoke”.

  45. Big Raddy says:

    Rasp (1.31) the Prophet!

  46. Rasp says:

    No Raddy not a prophet, I know you and many others have had the same thoughts. Its easy to accept because it cannot be changed and it is not the fault of anyone at the club.

    As London keeps reminding us, the dynamic has been changed forever since the arrival of Abramovich and the petro dollars. If we tried to compete with them on wages we’d just dig ourselves a huge financial hole and that would lead to the destruction of the club.

    We must aspire to be the best of the rest in competing for players and if we do that on the pitch, we can be optimistic for 4th spot in the prem but starting with an 8 point disadvantage means we must play every game like it was our last – we can do it. Anyone who is planning to turn up on saturday sporting a black scarf should be ashamed of themselves.

  47. Gooner in Exile says:

    I’m not writing off the CL spot until the Fat Lady sings. Or in our case until RA, FGG and myself start singing at the Tavern in a newly formed Trio. :D

    I will be with you in spirit for the Swansea game, and hope to catch up with you all for the visit of Bolton. Although I am beginning to get superstitious and realise that I have not seen Arsenal win live since Stoke at home. I’m beginning to think my Dad’s view on me being a Jonah is correct.

    I have doubled up on the superstition by booking a hotel the night before the Bolton game (as i did for the away fixture at the end of last season) and going out for a fancy meal (as I did for the away fixture last season) and bringing my wife (as I did for the away fixture last season).

    If we lose against Bolton for a change in fortunes I will start camping in Finsbury Park, eating a Kebab, and part ex the wife.

  48. RockyLives says:

    BR
    Not all the Invincibles wanted to leave. Pires, Gilberto, Freddie and Lauren would all have stayed if AW had let them.

  49. Rasp says:

    The Fat Red Exile Trio – I’d like to see that :lol: are you available for weddings and bar mitzvah’s ?

  50. Big Raddy says:

    RL. True. Sadly all of those mentioned were coming to the end of their life as PL players.

    Rasp. We can be the house band – just need a drummr.

  51. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    We do not have to settle for fourth place. We are ahead of our rivals in terms of style of play and coaching and the structure of the club is ready to take off. I have said this before but will say it again, if we are close to our rivals come December time, we are in for a shout at winning the league

  52. Rasp says:

    Hopefully not TMHT, but at this stage it is a realsitic target and would be more than most of our critics are currently predicting.

  53. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    Rasp, i agree with you. I just feel that we are going to shock some people very soon, maybe this season, but more likely the next.

  54. gooner lost in cornwall says:

    TMHT,
    I think you should change that to”Terry Mancini`s syrup” as it`s slipping over your vision!. :)
    “winning the league” I should sue you for making me nearly choke on my food with laughter!
    As with some previous post`s, unless FFP works(it will take year`s for fruition, if it did work) or mega money comes in, Title`s are a distant memory, I pray i’m wrong and you are right!

  55. gunnern5 says:

    Reports are that Nasri has broken his hand – maybe his wage packet was too heavy?

  56. kelsey says:

    Hill-Wood: Wenger will not go

    Arsenal chairman Peter Hill-Wood has rubbished claims that Arsene Wenger’s job is in doubt.

    After six seasons without a trophy, Arsenal have endured their worst start in recent history after picking up just one point from nine, including an 8-2 drubbing at the hands of Manchester United.

    The poor start has led to fresh angst amongst some sections of the Arsenal fan-base, who are far from happy having also seen star names Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri depart.

    But Hill-Wood is insistent that the club’s board are not even considering Wenger’s position.

    “It’s complete and utter rubbish and absolute nonsense. I think he is happy enough and we are happy enough,” Hill-Wood told the Daily Star.

    Wenger brought a number of new players in on the eve of the deadline, and Hill-Wood is hopeful they can make an impact.

    “We have brought some new players in and although I don’t know that much about many of them I think, generally speaking, they are going to improve the squad,” he added.

    And Hill-Wood also responded to Barcelona vice-chairman Josep Maria Bartomeu’s claim that Fabregas was a bargain, saying: “He is absolutely right – they did get him on the cheap. But he wanted to go back there and we respected that.”

    Our chairman needs to be carted off to the old peoples home.

    I like this bit
    “We have brought some new players in and although I don’t know that much about many of them I think, generally speaking, they are going to improve the squad,

    Anyway who said anything about Wenger leaving !!

  57. gooner lost in cornwall says:

    TMHT,
    “shock some people very soon”
    I`ve already been shocked! , shocking display`s! shocking point`s talley! shocking transfer`s! shocking injury`s shocking” intelligent” players! shocking lie`s(arsene) please no more shock`s!
    Can anyone else add to a shock/shocking table?

  58. gooner lost in cornwall says:

    Kelsey,
    I will add shocking BOD!

  59. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    Cornwall

    Ive tried the syrup but for some reason it didn’t suit me.

    You may be right, but i can see good times ahead. I believe we are realy close. The reason?, our style of play. We could have done it last season if we had more depth in the squad. The syrup may be slipping again but i feel once the dust settles we will be better than last year and could go close.

    By the way, one little indicator. 2001, lost 6-1 to Utd. 2002, won the league and were unbeaten away.

  60. kelsey says:

    syrup…..don’t mention that word to Silent Stan :)

  61. Gooner in Exile says:

    Kelsey i guess it was in response to a direct question.

    Why does PHW always give quotes to The Star? He must have a connection.

    More worryingly for me and him should be the protest this weekend. It would appear it’s not the work of the Black Scarf Movement (I dipped into their twitter timeline) they have distanced themselves from any action but are bringing a billboard into the Ems for the Board to see, sure that will be a huge morale boost for the players too!? The BSM have 3,000 followers on Twitter yet they appear to have garnered a voice of representation as has LeGrove and Tim Payton.

    Anyway whoever this protest is being organised by against Swansea it appears it will happen, mainly complaining about player signings, financial prudence and ticket prices. Which combined seem contradictory but without a clear identification of the perpetrators and motives it’s hard to judge. Also without Annual Accounts the Transfer Window dealings are also difficult to fully assess.

  62. gooner lost in cornwall says:

    TMHT,
    A fit RVP,Cesc,Verm and another CB bought previous summer and we would have been crowned champ`s.
    This year, 2 gems gone,2 gems injured, awaiting RVP to book his annual sick leave, African cup, 4 teams who i expect to be above us have spent big!…. I don`t know,just can`t see any light. :(

  63. gooner lost in cornwall says:

    Kelsey.
    Maybe thats where he hide`s the money he`s going to invest! :)

  64. kelsey says:

    GIE,

    I thought the same myself.An old Etonian (I think) and The Star not a marriage made in heaven.

  65. gunnern5 says:

    GLIC,

    Seeing as how you are lost it maybe that if you left Cornwall things would look a little brighter.

  66. SharkeySure says:

    Cracking post Illy…

    I miss having the time to fully partake in AA discussions of late.

    ‘Project Youth’ is clearly at least self financing, and seems to turn a decent profit when I look at or imagine the incomes from transfer and loan fees.

    There’s also no better feeling (really!!) than seeing a young player break through to the 1st team having watched him turn from boy to man thru the youths teams, reserves abd Carling cup outings.

  67. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    Cornwall,

    I understand what you say but things change quickly in football. We still have tremendous ability in the squad, even with the departures of Cesc and that other bloke. Once things settle we have more than enough to challange and finish above Liverpool. The question for me is can we sustain a chalange to the rich 3. Its possible because we have talent, the best manager and a very strong club. Our history shows weve done it before. When did we last win the league when we were the bookies favourite?

  68. gooner lost in cornwall says:

    Gunnern5,
    If you can convince my Wife,I`ll be indebted, I`ll shoot her horses and get rid of her mum or is that get rid of the horses and shoot the mother in law! na, shooting would be too good for her!. It will only then take me minutes to put home on market and then look for a property overlooking THOF,… YES!

  69. gooner lost in cornwall says:

    TMHT,
    Probably 1930`s :)

  70. gooner lost in cornwall says:

    Gunnern5,
    The “F” in THOF, stands for football not finance! :)

  71. neamman says:

    I remember going to a jazz and blues festival around 1964 in Richmond. Had a lot of great bands that later became huge.. the Who, Moody Blues, Spencer Davies Group, I got one of Keith Moons broken drum sticks he threw into the crowd. Never kept them sadly. Rod Stewart was just a bit part singer in Long John Baldry’s group.. if I remember correctly. He was on in the afternoon before all the big stars came out. Big as in big in the London club R and B scene of the time.

  72. VCC says:

    Rasp 1:54. Your band name initials would read F.R.E.T.
    ala Trotters independent traders.
    You wouldn’t get any bookings as punters would be saying Don’t FRET.
    Shall I get my coat?

  73. gunnern5 says:

    GLIC,

    It sounds like you nee to take the mother in law horse riding along the beach – at high tide.

  74. Rasp says:

    Hi VCC,

    We could call them the Fat Red Exile Ensemble if you like although another 60’s band used it first and I’d be tempted to put ‘Willy’ after the acronym :lol:

  75. gunnern5 says:

    Back in 1962 my girlfriend (now my wife) and I spent some time with her family in Liverpool, her home town.

    Her sister’s friend was a bouncer at a down town club and invited us down to see the local group.

    The club turned out to be The Cavern and the group were the Beatles and after the show we got to meet them. When we got back to London we told our friends about our experience and they, like us, had never previously heard of The Beatles………early days……

  76. gooner lost in cornwall says:

    Gunnern5,
    :)
    Or maybe a seahorse in middle of Atlantic!

  77. kelsey says:

    Talking about the Beatles I saw them at the Astoria Finsbury Park and they might as well have been miming (and some said they did) because one couldn’t hear a word for screaming.

    An atmosphere like that would go down very well at Ashburton Grove.

  78. Danny says:

    Just read that Na$ri broke a finger playing for France yesterday – what a shame….

  79. kelsey says:

    best concert i ever went to was the eagles at Wembly and they were as usual in scruffy jeans and T shirts and then suddenly for one number only the curtain behind them was raised and there was the london philharmonic orchestra. Song finished, curtain was closed, classic. i think it was for Desperado..

  80. VCC says:

    Now we know the truth.

  81. gunnern5 says:

    Kelsey,

    We had no problem hearing them as the Cavern was very small and we were right at the front but it was so hot that my shirt turned black with perspiration.

    As it turned out it was a one off experience as we never again saw them play live.

  82. TotalArsenal says:

    BR, like you I believe we should pay the market salaries to those players who are top top class, in order to keep them. Although, I also agree with the Rasp that we will probably lose out on this game sooner or later, as money is no object for the oil men.

    You could also be right that Nasri might well get better in the next few years. As a principle, we should hold to our developing players, especially when they reach their peak. But paying Nasri a super-wage is too risky if you ask me, and I also believe that his personality did not fit our team going forward.

  83. Red Arse says:

    GLIC,

    Just read your comments.

    Sounds like you could do with a little music, like say Thelonius Monk (Roundabout Midnight) and a nice cold glass of whisky.
    You could lose yourself in that and not worry about your mom-in-law anymore. :-)

  84. Red Arse says:

    Actually, Amy Winehouse sings Round Midnight beautifully and hauntingly.

    Jazz sung by a popstar – yet fabulous!

  85. gooner lost in cornwall says:

    RA,
    Listening to it now , cheers!

  86. VCC says:

    We have lost another supporter.

  87. Big Raddy says:

    Kelsey. I saw the Eagles in Monaco for the Royal Wedding and they remain a wonderful band. No LPO though.

    TA. You may well be right about Nasri as a player. My point being that AW wanted him to stay and Nasri left for purely economic reasons.
    Or do we just give up and say the Top 3 is outside our ambitions?

  88. Red Arse says:

    Raddy,

    With the depth of their respective squads it would be easy to say the top three is a shuffle between the rich b*itches.

    However, I agree with Terry Mancini, hope springs eternal and I think we have a good shot at it, provided the players believe — Arsene already does, so that makes him, TerryM, you and me!! :-)

  89. Red Arse says:

    I said earlier that the Premier League were looking at changing the youth recruitment rules, and NewsNow are carrying an article timed at 16:47 on that very subject.

    Remember you heard it on AA first! :-)

  90. TotalArsenal says:

    BR, Top 3? We are in it to win it :) If we are a bit more lucky with injuries this season – first signs point the other way :( – we’ll have a great chance. We have got the squad now, a run of games we can win, and a manager who wants to win – and all our main competitors have areas of weakness too. Both Mancs teams have started well, but it could all change. I don’t expect us to win it, but I believe we have a fair chance, but then I am an eternal optimist by nature!

  91. gunnern5 says:
    September 7, 2011 at 2:40 pm
    Reports are that Nasri has broken his hand – maybe his wage packet was too heavy?

    Maybe he’s just a bigger wanker than we imagined

  92. Jamie says:

    Hello Gooners,

    Just checking in. Been to FC Barcelona, Espanyol and Olympic Stadium today. Sunburnt and useless.

    Getting in the pool.

  93. Sounds like extremely gard work Jamie. But someone has to do it.

  94. Gooner in Exile says:

    Where did you pee in the Camp Nou? Presidents seat surely?

  95. Ramgun says:

    No trophies in six years. No trophies without Bergkamp, who Wenger didn’t sign and would never have signed, means it is a total failure and things are going to get a whole lot worse. Most of you lot live on the Blue Candy Mountain. Reality will bite.

  96. Red Arse says:

    Blue Candy Mountain sounds good to me.

    Better than your dark, dank, dismal dungeon.

  97. There is talk that Wenger told Dein to get Bergkamp before he arrived, Doubt you would have that though.

  98. So we’re fucked unless Bergkamp comes out of retirement?

  99. Red Arse says:

    Bit harsh on Bergkamp. I think it all went wrong when Dennis Compton retired!!

  100. VCC says:

    Dennis Compton….retired from football or cricket?

  101. Rob Lucci says:

    I came
    I saw
    I commented

  102. Red Arse says:

    GLIC,

    I thought of you when I heard this, altho’ earlier you were talking about a different relative. :-)

    Marital Bliss:

    An old woman was sipping a glass of wine while sitting on the patio with her husband. Out of the blue she said, “I love you so much, I don’t know how I could ever live without you.”

    Her husband turned to her in surprise and asked her “Is that you or the wine talking?” She replied, “It’s me — talking to the wine!”

  103. Red Arse says:

    He had the nerve to retire after playing for both Arsenal and Middlesex, as well as England. Then he went and died!

    Ramgun, will tell you, that is no excuse, and he should return immediately!

    Thank you Ramgun for your insightful comment!

  104. neamman says:

    I think it went back to when Alex James left!!!

    And no Im not that old… never saw him play!!!

  105. kelsey says:

    i played against leslie compton.

  106. kelsey says:

    bowls, god’s honour.

  107. Big Raddy says:

    I went to the same school as the Compton’s, Does that count?

    We took a straw poll amongst some older football fans and to a man they agreed that football went tits up with the advent of nylon shirts.

    Bring back the cotton shirt and all will be well.

  108. gooner lost in cornwall says:

    I played with Ray Wilkins for Senrab, we won the double , all my goals made his passing look good!.
    He went to the Chavs, I went looking for girls! damn!

  109. Big Raddy says:

    GLIC.That may explain my lack of football talent. It was the girls ….

  110. kelsey says:

    i hear rosicky and walcott are doubts for saturday, little injuries.haven’t got a clue who will play.

  111. gooner lost in cornwall says:

    Lucky Arsenal, How I used to hate that name, nothing lucky over the last few years with injuries, we should change our name to A&E!

  112. gooner lost in cornwall says:

    What`s in a name?
    Dial Square, doesn`t really do it for me,
    Woolwich Arsenal,na,
    Royal Arsenal, I love it!
    We were Real before Madrid were!

    Real Arsenal! nearly as good as The Arsenal.

  113. Gooner in Exile says:

    I played behind Michael Dubery for Enfield Borough Schools XI, I was dropped after a few games but I maintain it was because I could never see round the man mountain in front of me. He was already at Chelsea then.

  114. harry says:

    Excellent post Illy, very thought provoking……..

    I read your post twice to clarify your stance and have read intently at the responses, the problem with this site, is that there are way too many clever people on here!! there is a vast amount of knowledge that encompasses all things red and white…..

    The thing with the words “Project Youth”, you have to ask the question, “does it truly exist…….?”

    Was it…….

    A. Planned and chosen path that Wenger truly decided was right?
    B. A by product of having to move, no choice money was tight?
    C. Something wenger stumbled upon and then moved towards it?
    D. It doesnt in a true sense exist, yes wenger has his ways, but the press have said it so often, its generally accepted, i mean rooney doesnt dive does he?

    and then ask what constitutes a youth?

    16-19? 18-21? 21 and below? 23 and below? an average age of below 23?

    As people have mentioned we have only recently just started to see products from Hale End, with Wilshere coming through to the first team. Cole was an early exception, Bentley was alongside Bothroyd the early hopes but poor attitudes curtailed their arsenal careers, now similarly bendtner, who is talented, but hasnt the work ethic.

    Others too have fallen foul, JET is a big disappointment, Lansbury is on the edge, so hope he makes it at the arsenal but feel he is struggling to convince le boss, for some reason, he has shown he has ability and fight……….

    Remember also in the lower leagues we have more ex arsenal products than plying their trade more than anyone else has their players doing the same. So we are producing just not the same quality that we require………..

    Albeit wenger has brought within this recent window against his usual policy, this supposedly is panic buying, this is panic buying, this is panic buying, what is it? NOT PANIC buying, see we can ignore repeated comments!!.

    We had lost 2 pivotal players, wenger also knew of injury issues with Vermaelen and Wilshere, and bolstered the squad accordingly, is that panic buying or shrewd business? He did try and buy others as well……….

    His other buying has been in line with his usual policies, Gervinho, Jenkinson, AOC, Campbell, Ryo who came in at Christmas, when AOC should of, but Southampton Chairman stopped it, but Wenger stuck in there and got his man, unfortunately just at the wrong time for many Arsenal fans who cannot stand back and see the bigger picture, looking at the media hacks dramatised headlines.

    His gems are AOC and Ryo, they are going to light up the premier league and sooner rather than later.

    Wengers true failing only really centres around keeping that bit of experience in there to coax the youngsters along, but these new signings address that to a point.

    Would love to see a couple of older heads come back within the coaching set up to give them some advice, agree with someone’s comments, that some of the players that have fallen off the straight and narrow, could have been avoided with a bergkamp or vieira about in the background.

    As a squad we are not far away and haven’t been for 6 years, closer than some make out, yes it hurt when we fell away alarmingly last season, but it was a train crash waiting to happen due to the press and media pressurised environment, as Rasp will concur, I said before the CC final, I worry about us losing that and what the mental affect will be………..it was a cruel blow that crushed us and the press, just increased that feeling, a couple of older heads within the team might have seen us through.

    I believe this squad now is all round stronger than last years, more versatility and strength in depth, I am confident of our chances this season and believe with a good run we can build a momentum that propels us into the title race, yes we need a little luck, but we can do it.

    I dont subscribe to the theory, that we are going to drastically change our style, with cesc and Na$ri gone. There obviously will be a slight move away, but more to do with the addition of much needed pace, from AOC, Ryo and Gervinho, which I feel will give Wenger a genuine plan B

    Wengers, staunch belief in what he is doing, whatever you call it, has shown to be right in so many ways, yes agreed not faultless and unfortunately, he has taken a hit with Cesc and Na$ri leaving earlier than expected, but perhaps, this will actually aid us in the long run? but I agree this cannot become the normal, we cannot let another superstar leave at the end of this season.

    Tie down RVP, Walcott, Vermaelen, Wilshere, Ramsey, AOC, Miquel, Ryo, Gibbs, Frimpong, Coquelin, and Worlds No1 Szczesny down to long contracts before they get close to getting run downs……

    With some other very talented boys in the background the youth tag will stay for sometime yet, has it failed? As long as the press convince us, it will seem like that, but did it start? Depends on what your answers to the questions were earlier on in my short post……..

    Wengers team is a flexible moving beast that has evolved continually and will continue to do so, as the landscape changes constantly, against the backdrop of money, i see us moving up in the wages league but will keep strong with the players we have with good strong ones added when needed, M’vila and Hazard being examples of what we need to add to what we have at Christmas………….

    We all now need to stay strong and back the boss with his “Project Arsenal”…….what ever the ages are…….

  115. chas says:

    Were you playing sweeper, GIE?

  116. gooner lost in cornwall says:

    GiE,
    Are you in exile on Dubery Mountain or have you found your freedom on Dubery Hill! :)

  117. Fatgingergooner says:

    I once hurled abuse at Darren Gough outside a Choices video store!!! Does that count?

    He deserved it……he was renting Evita…urgh!!

  118. gooner lost in cornwall says:

    Fgg,
    For the amount of abuse Gough and Durham give The Arsenal on Talksport, it counts!

  119. chas says:

    Darren Gough renting Evita. :)

  120. chas says:

    Harry,
    your comment looks like another post for G4L.

  121. Red Arse says:

    Raddy,

    You and GIE reckon your lack of success as footballers was down to girls.

    That probably explains why I was good at football. Damnation – some guys get all the luck!!

  122. Fatgingergooner says:

    I think ‘project youth’ was used by AW to get us through the stadium move. Getting young, relatively unknown players is always cheaper than paying out large fees. Plus, if things don’t always go to plan, other clubs will still look to snap them up. I don’t believe AW ever meant to take it as far as it went, but that was down to pressure from the board and the fact that players got greedy. If people like Adebayor,Hleb,Flamini and Henry had been willing to stick it out for longer then the squad would have had a much more experienced look to it over these last few years, but that wasn’t AW fault.

    If indeed this was the reason that ‘project youth’ came about then it can be classed as nothing but a success, after all, we have stayed in the CL and made massive profits in the transfer Market over the last 6 years, all things which can only help the move.

    But there has to be a time when the focus switches away from the Stadium and back onto the field. I believe that time has finlally come. AW has had to deal with finances and boardroom debate for the last few years and to be able to keep us as a top team on the field with all that going on is nearing a miracle.
    Now he should be allowed to concentrate fully on the team, we all know what happened last time he was allowed to that……we were invincible.

  123. Big Raddy says:

    Harry. Very interesting comment, you make many very good points. especially that AOC and Ryo will be the gems.

    let it be

  124. Big Raddy says:

    FGG. Despite the negativity surrounding Gazidis and his new team, I believe he will prove to be the man to allow AW to concentrate on pitch issues.

  125. harry says:

    cheers raddy, think i got a bit carried away…….I started responding at about 1pm, but got called away by work issues and have just had a chance to finish off, as chas said more of a post…….

    I am due one soon, can see me doing the match report, cannot wait to saturday, so looking forward to it…….

  126. Fatgingergooner says:

    BR,

    I hope so.

    I also hope that Wenger hasn’t become so caught up in transfers, finances and boardroom agendas that he is still able to produce the product that he had 7 years ago. Time will tell, but recent signings suggest to me that he knows exactly what he’s looking for on the pitch and also that he knows how to get that out of the players. He’s still the man to carry us forward, I have no doubts about that.

  127. gooner lost in cornwall says:

    Fgg,
    With financial restraints, self sufficiency,chavs, citehs,no Dien and everything else in the mixer, Arsene has been miraculous but he is taken too much on, he needs to delegate.
    My bug is that, he has started to lie, “not considered a big club,if we sell Cesc and Nasri”……”super quality players coming in”
    how can i ‘trust in arsene’ when Arsene is telling porkies.
    If my other half promises me “a good night when I get home”, I don`t expect to get home and find a blow up doll lying there ,while she sits reading a book!
    So when i`m promised a “super quality player” I expect one. Not a blow up benayoun and a loaned one at that!

  128. Big Raddy says:

    AW is older than me and I can assure you that age withers a man, so AW is not the tower of strength he was 10 years ago.

    He should be sat down and told to concentrate entirely upon the first team, nothing else, just the coaching and management of the side. He can identify his 20 potential signings but beyond that Zip.

    GLIC. At least the blow up doll doesn’t expect to be cuddled afterwards.

  129. Gooner in Exile says:

    Chas I was in goal.

    He also played centre forward for Enfield Rangers by fact that he was 6ft when we were all 4ft6 at the age of around 13-14. I remember one 13-0 drubbing we received, he scored 8 I think.

    Anyone see the SwissRamble article on ManUtd http://swissramble.blogspot.com/2011/09/manchester-united-introducing-brand.html?m=1

    Interesting piece, especially about changes in Accounting Policy that led to distortion of increase in profits.

  130. VCC says:

    GLiC 7:15. Senrab, produced a few good players. Near my neck of the woods.

  131. gooner lost in cornwall says:

    VCC,
    Players currently playing include:John Terry,Zamora,Lee Bowyer,Jermain Defoe,Ledley King,Sol Campbell,Konchesky and Sanchez Watt.
    I know most people don`t like JT but he put some money up to save Senrab.

  132. VCC says:

    GLiC
    My Son played against Senrab for 10 years. He played for Little Thurrock Dynamos.

  133. London says:

    Harry

    I really enjoyed reading your 7.58.

  134. harry says:

    Thanks London……….You at the match at the weekend?

    Coming to the Tavern? about 2?

  135. Why is it called senrab. Is it in barnes? That’s my name

  136. TotalArsenal says:

    GLIC, I am now a bit lost here: are you saying you rather come home and find a total, real-life sex goddess on your bed, whilst your wife sits reading a book? :P It is happening in kinky Cornwall….

  137. gunnern5 says:

    Big Raddy says:

    September 7, 2011 at 9:11 pm

    AW is older than me and I can assure you that age withers a man, so AW is not the tower of strength he was 10 years ago.

    ………………………………………………………………………………………………..

    BR:

    I`m 74 and age has not withrered me one iota.

    Now if we want to talk about the aging inffluence of Laphroaig that will be a different story…………..just ask my liver………….it talks to me……

  138. Gooner in Exile says:

    Trust the Dutchman to bring the kink ;)

  139. Fatgingergooner says:

    Just thought I would share this brilliant Rweet from new signing Andre Santos……bless him!

    My lessons english start next week…. I’m happy….
    web • 07/09/2011 22:54

  140. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Morning all,
    Any families out there wanting to go on saturday, there are four consequetive tickets Row 1 !!, Block 102 (smack centre upper North Bank) on the exchange. Very nice.

  141. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Cancel that recommendation, rain forecast with wind from the SW. You will get wet.
    They didn’t move the Directors box from East Stand Highbury to West Stand Ems for no reason!

  142. dandan says:

    From todays Times

    Mikel Arteta’s eleventh-hour arrival as the transfer window closed last week provided much-needed good news for Arsenal fans and the club’s new signing appears determined to stick to his role as a symbol of hope.

    The Spanish midfield player claimed yesterday that Arsenal can still challenge for the Barclays Premier League title this season despite having taken only one point from their opening three matches.

    Arteta is due to make his Arsenal debut against Swansea City on Saturday and will be well received by supporters if his performance matches his fighting talk off the pitch.

    The 29-year-old took a £20,000-a-week pay cut to join Arsenal from Everton and is determined to spend the final years of his career challenging for trophies.

    “This club has to be right up there with the rest of them fighting until the very end, that is for sure,” Arteta said. “Nobody can be happy saying Manchester United or Manchester City are too good or have spent more money. We have unbelievable talent here and if we can use it the right way, I am sure we can fight with them.”

    Arteta did warn, however, that he should not be viewed as a replacement for Cesc Fàbregas or Samir Nasri, who left the club this summer for a combined £60 million.

    “I don’t want to use the word ‘replacement,’ ” he said. “They were two top players for the club, they did really, really well in the last few years, but now we have some new players coming in to try and make the same impact. I am sure we will. I don’t want the fans to be expecting the same as them because every player is different. We also need some time to adapt as well, but I am sure that we will give everything we can to make this team better.”

    Arsène Wenger, the Arsenal manager, received some more — and tangible — good news yesterday when Theo Walcott was passed fit to train, despite a slight hamstring problem, while Kieran Gibbs returns to training today after an ankle injury

  143. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Q to the AA Authorities,
    Do you have posts for every day this week?
    Just some thoughts on the AM role/Arteta.

  144. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Morning Dandan. I have very high hopes for Arteta.

  145. evonne says:

    Micky – what is your mother-in-law doing in SW? Gosh, she is a proper jet-setter

  146. evonne says:

    I am so deflated, I cannot get excited about the team anymore.

    First I was waiting for big, early signings, that didn’t happen
    Then I was waiting for the beginning of the season, hardly worth it
    Now I am told that we made big signings and the season starts one month later

    Maybe I will be happier on Saturday

  147. evonne says:

    yeah, Nasri broke his little finger. he will still play, shame

  148. chas says:

    Let’s hope he falls on it really painfully, evonne.

  149. chas says:

    Or even better, falls towards it, realises and twists in the air dislocating his wallet.

  150. Rasp says:

    Morning all.

    Micky we’re swamped with posts to the point that we may combine two into one for today, but a view on Arteta’s role would be something different although we couldn’t publish it before Saturday’s game.

  151. evonne says:

    Chas – excellent idea :) Are you all excited about Saturday?

  152. kelsey says:

    I have some really interesting news about Arsenal’s bid for Clint Dempsey which I said last week was just gossip.

    Do you want to know about it.it concerns wage structure at Arsenal.

  153. evonne says:

    Morning Rasp – swamped with posts, wow!! I am truly impressed, the blog is doing well

  154. evonne says:

    Kelsey – you cannot say things like that!! Of course we want to know…go on, spill the beans

  155. Big Raddy says:

    Kelsey. You are such a tease …..

  156. kelsey says:

    I wrongly assumed that it was idle gossip that Arsenal had approached Dempsey.In fact they had talks with him two weeks before the window closed and one would have thought he would have jumped at a move to Arsenal.
    Apparently he was offered a LOWER wage han he is getting at fulham which is around 30K a week and was not guaranteed a regular first team place and clint’s wife wears the trousers in his house and she was not keen on the idea.

    My son as some of you know is a good friend of Clint, had dinner with him on Tuesday and he told him all this.

    So to me there is a huge wage cutting cost going on at the club based on what the club rightly or wrongly think the player is worth.

  157. evonne says:

    BR – he is, isn’t he?

  158. Big Raddy says:

    “Russian side Anzhi Makhachkala are interested in signing Arsenal winger Andrey Arshavin, as owner Suleyman Kerimov looks to continue his big-spending policy.” BBC website.

    No surprise here. AA remains Russia’s best and most high profile player and could be a perfect foil for Eto’o. He is sure to be a bit part player at Arsenal and a big payday to add to his pension fund will surely be attractive but why didn’t they try and sign him in summer?

  159. evonne says:

    Kelsey – interesting, but I don’t know much about Dempsey, other than his position and age. Is it possible that he is not worth more than 30k a week?

  160. evonne says:

    Raddy – I doubt very much that AA will agree to go to Dagestan. He complained about London not being up to his standards and Dagestan is a shithole

  161. VCC says:

    BR. Taxi For AA.
    If you can’t book a cab then give me a call, I’ll run him to the airport for free.

  162. VCC says:

    evonne 9:21, I wish you would not beat around the bush, please say what you mean, lol

  163. Rasp says:

    Morning all,

    I shall be publishing the new post shortly.

    We have combined two artoicles from Fgg (hope you don’t mind) and a new writer – Holly

  164. kelsey says:

    Dempsey is 28.Scored 12 goals in 35 appearances for fulham last season and has scored 22 goals in 72 appearances for the USA

  165. Big Raddy says:

    Kelsey. Very interesting. He would have made a fine addition to the squad.

    We know Arteta took a drop in wages to come, so it appears you are right in stating AFC are paying only what they believe a player is worth. However, if they wanted CD enough to interview him and probably knew how much he was earning then they should have at least equalled his pay packet.

    I hate that our club is so cheap.

  166. Big Raddy says:

    evonne. Look at all those players who play in Manchester. Have you ever been there? Dagestan can’t be worse.

  167. Rasp says:

    New post …………..

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    [...]Project Youth – Fact or Fiction? « Arsenal Arsenal[...]…

  169. Coffee Maker Review…

    [...]Project Youth – Fact or Fiction? « Arsenal Arsenal[...]…

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