Martinez for Arsenal?

Is it possible to like someone who hurts you?

Of course it is, otherwise we would all be divorced.

Nasty old Roberto Martinez hurt us badly on Monday night. He got his Wigan team to play so well against us that – heaven forfend – they may have cost us the three points that guarantee Champions League football next season, depending on how our remaining fixtures go.

But we can’t bring ourselves to hate Roberto. Quite the opposite, in fact: most Arsenal supporters seem to like and respect him.

Teams who spend most of the season in the relegation zone usually try to fight their way out of trouble by, er, fighting. They kick and shove and hoof the ball up the field in the hope that their big lumpy players will get to the ball ahead of the opposition’s big lumpy players.

But not Martinez. Even though most of his career at Wigan has been spent trying to avoid relegation (when I visited the place a couple of years ago I was really surprised that the town sign said just “Wigan”. I thought the place was called “Struggling Wigan”) his teams have always tried to play proper football.

They do daring things like passing and moving, playing the ball on the ground, that sort of thing. They employ clever tactics to counter their opponents.

So Monday’s defeat (and the previous Wigan victories over Manchester United and Chelsea*) have led to speculation that Martinez could be exactly the sort of man to replace Arsene Wenger.

Apart from the way he gets his side to play, he shares with Wenger an ability to pick up talented players on the cheap and that’s not the only similarity. Like Wenger, Martinez had an unspectacular playing career and has found his real calling as a manager.

And, like Arsenal, Wigan are one of the few clubs in the EPL who can show a “credit” line in their transfer dealings. In the five years up to the end of 2011, the ‘Latics made a net profit on transfers of £3.5 million. (It should be noted that Martinez did not start managing the club until the 2009/10 season).

So far so good.

But are the “Martinez for Arsenal” promoters really seeing the full picture?

Is Martinez as good as they think he is?

Since joining Wigan his win-lose-draw statistics look like this:

P: 123 W: 31 D: 36 L: 56 WIN %:  25.2

I know that Wigan are a small club with small support and little money, but a 25% win ratio is not great by any standards.

Last season they avoided relegation, but were in danger of the drop until the very last day of the season. They finished on 42 points. The season before, they finished six points above the drop zone, but amassed a total of only 36 points.

Martinez is showing himself to be something of a magician when it comes to pulling an end-of-season rabbit out of the hat every year.

His teams struggle for most of the campaign, then get their mojo together for the run-in, just in time to narrowly avoid finishing in the bottom three. A sort of poor man’s Everton.

That survive-against-the-odds quality is not to be sniffed at, but isn’t it a little worrying that, across three full seasons, Martinez has not been able to get his teams performing on a more stable and consistent basis?

By that measure, you would have to say that the likes of Norwich, Swansea and West Brom have all done better – and none of those clubs is awash with financial resources.

There is one final area where Martinez does not live up to the high standards of Arsene Wenger. Arsene is famous for never breaking a contract. When Martinez was at Swansea (from February 2007 to June 2009) he repeatedly said he would only ever leave the Swans if he was forced out. He also criticised Swansea players who left for money or to move to bigger clubs.

But as his reputation grew and bigger clubs came calling for him (Celtic and Wigan), Martinez showed no hesitation in dumping the Swans and joining Wigan.

It’s not a particularly heinous crime (it happens all the time in football), but the element of hypocrisy involved does not reflect well on the Spaniard. If he were to join Arsenal, could we ever feel secure that he wouldn’t up and off the moment he was tapped up for a national team job or to run one of Spain’s Big Two?

In conclusion, Roberto Martinez is clearly a clever manager who has a football philosophy that would sit well with the traditions Arsene Wenger has established at Arsenal. He also seems articulate and personally likeable.

But on the down side, he needs (in my opinion) to do more than mount a spirited fight against relegation every season to prove he can manage a club like Arsenal. If he can turn Wigan into a successful mid table side over the next couple of seasons that would be a fine achievement with the resources available to him. Maybe then he would be worth considering.

But for now?  No gracias, Señor.

What do you think? And if we were to lose Arsene, who would you want to take his place?

RockyLives

* Officially Chelsea beat Wigan 2-1, but since both the Chelsea goals were offside, I count it as a moral victory for Wigan.

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154 Responses to Martinez for Arsenal?

  1. Morning all, good points raised there The Rock but the most important one is that why does his team have to end up fighting relegation repeatedly ?

    This points to something not quite being right in his squad or his tactics so I’d never want a small club manager anywhere near Arsenal.

    I think Arsenal supporters plugging this guy as a replacement for Wenger are getting caught up in the hype around him as he, and Rodgers to an extent, seem to be flavour of the month.

    I noticed a lot of Mod talk on the last post, what is with that ?

  2. John Gee says:

    I didn’t know there was a vacancy !!
    Hopefully a long time ahead.

  3. TotalArsenal says:

    Hir Rockster, thanks for a very good post. :)

    I rate Martinez too and yes, he needs to move Wigan towards mid-table in the next year or two, to show us all he really is good. I think he is a slow learner but he does seem to understand the game pretty well. Getting consistency into a team is one of the hardest parts in football and I hope he will achieve it in the foreseeable future, because we need the good guys to do well in the PL, so we see the end of the bad guys like you know who.

    The best thing for Martinez would be to become Arsene’s nr2 for a couple of years. If I were him, I would even do it for free. In the long run, he would gain it back many times.

  4. Pat Onaji says:

    To manage at the top, consistency is the key word and Martinez has not managed to do that. He is just a middle coach. If Wenger were to leave, I would love to see Bielsa of Athletic Bilbao. His team also plays football and has a lot of youth. He is bound to continue Wenger’s philosophy.

  5. LB says:

    Rasp

    Just finishing off from yesterday:

    “If he (Song) could take it to the next level, the big clubs would be after him.”

    I agree, on two levels, Song has room to improve and he has not reached a level in which “Big Clubs” would be after him. But, if he has not reached the hypathetical level you refer to, the level that would trigger an interest from “Big Clubs” doesn’t that contract your suggestion that he is likely to leave at the end of the season?

  6. henrychan - indonesia says:

    I prefer Jurgen Klopp (Dortmund).
    Klopp filosophy is match (klop – indonesian) with us.. He took a lot of younggun just as wenger did..
    From EPL I prefer Martin O’neill from Sunderland. He did verygood this season with Sunderland, and also Villa before.
    And you know, they both play 4-5-1 formula..

  7. LB says:

    TA

    In response to you excellent comment last night:

    I do not accept that Fabregas was or is a good defender.

    You may say you saw him at the age of 17; well, I will raise that by saying I think I missed him play the maximum of three games during his whole time at Arsenal.

    Covering to me maybe a form of defending but it is not pure defending, for example:

    Arteta is very good at covering.

    Song is a very good defender.

    Fabregas is good at covering but that does not make him a good defender to me.

    Wilshere is a good defender.

    Ramsey is learning to cover.

    Coming onto Wilshere, the player you described last night was Arteta and as much as we may wish that Arteta could play in the hole — he can’t.

    I hope you turn out to be right, either way I am sure we would both agree that Wilshere has a very bright future ahead of him regardless of what position he ends up playing.

  8. LB says:

    Very interesting post as ever Rocky

    Martinez is definitely putting himself in the frame as a would-be successor to Wenger. It is not a bad idea, I have to say.

    If you look at the Spanish league there is no equivalent of Blackburn under Alladyce, there are no examples of long ball teams employed as the only means to avoid relegation. This is the back drop in which Martinez grew up; they simply do not tolerate such football over there.

  9. Big Daddy says:

    HenryC. I like Klopp as well. He is sure to stay at BD for at least a season which fits with the end of AW’s contract.

    Martinez? No thanks. We need someone with international experience .i.e. knowledge of both CL and a foreign league.

  10. Big Daddy says:

    LB. I agree , Fabregas was not a good defender, but why should he be? The man is a superb creative attacker. Which is why I believe JW will be our AM.

    As I have written previously, AW likes to bed his players in the Ajax model, teaching them the different roles of their chosen area – in this case, midfield.

    So, JW learns to be a more defensively inclined MF which is useful to his future as our most gifted AM.

  11. Rasp says:

    Interesting post Rocky, I think Martinez would be an even better manager with better players and so could be a possible manager at Arsenal sometime in the future IMO. He understands the Premiership and has already cultured the kind of football at Wigan that would be successful in Europe.

  12. Rasp says:

    Hi LB,

    My belief that Song is likely to leave in the summer has nothing to do with the very big clubs coming in for him. I don’t think Song is a mercenary. I just get the feeling that he wants to move on for a nhew challenge and that suspicion is bolstered by the type of players we are looking to sign in the summer.

    I think AW has decided not to wait and see if he can keep his best players anymore and is now thinking of bringing in reinforcements so that we cannot be held to ransom – Podolski/RvP, M’Vila (or others)/Song

  13. Red Arse says:

    Big Randy Daddy, :-)

    I think Martinez appeals to me and many others, on a personal level, as a decent, honourable man who has also eschewed kick and rush football as promulgated by Allardyce and Pulis.

    But I agree with thee, he needs more mileage under his belt and a proven track record, because, sadly, ‘good guys’ don’t necessarily cut the mustard — Arsene being the exception.

    The unpleasant ‘bad guys’ represented by Fergie and Mad Mourhino tend to be more ruthless, devious and successful – buckets of money thrown their way to buy top class players comes in handy too, of course.

  14. Big Daddy says:

    RA. You are such a sceptic

    Usually the Good Guy does win. Check out Die Hard, Rocky, any John Wayne movie etc etc

  15. Red Arse says:

    Morning Rasper, :-)

    If you are right that AW is planning to recruit suitable possible alternatives to those dilly dallying, or shilly shallying over signing new contracts, I will applaud that pragmatic turn in his thought processes.

    A personal strength of character which I believe Arsene has, in being trustworthy, honest and loyal, is, in my not so humble opinion, :-) most certainly also his greatest weakness in the money mad, dog eat dog world of football.

    I believe he trusted all the players he had recruited over the years to have the same attributes and goals he himself had set in order to turn Arsenal into the best and most successful club in world football. It seems he believed that they would all stay and see things thru with him.

    He was wrong.

    It is rare that Arsene has told a ‘big’ name player to go (Arshavin might just be the exception). The star players who have left over the past few years have almost all agitated to go for one reason or another.

    In that regard AW has been reactive, rather than pro-active, and I hope, like you, he has learned that hard lesson and will be more inclined to stay ahead of the curve ball in the future and be more ruthless.

    Loyalty or the lack of it should cut both ways!!

  16. Big Daddy says:

    A steak lunch beckons (late birthday gift :-) )

  17. Red Arse says:

    Randy Daddy,

    Sceptic? Moi? Mais non. I am a pragmatist! :-)

    I love it that you are such an old romantic tho’!! :-)

  18. LB says:

    “Song is a mercenary”

    I will not dignify that with a response.

  19. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi LB,

    I agree with you Cesc is not a good defender, but yesterday you said he could not and still cannot defend [at all], and I thought you were selling him short then.

    Let’s park the JW ideal position issue till next season :)

  20. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Great talking point Rocky, thank you.
    Let’s see. His team play Arsenal football. Tick. He has a furrowed brow. Tick. He stands on the edge of his little box, points, directs and instructs. Massive tick. His wife is easy on the eye. These things do matter. Tick. He doesn’t wear a Northern style tracksuit and plimsols. Tick.
    That’s alot of ticks (no, not that sort). On the downside it would be a massive gamble on the part of Arsenal due to his lack of experience, and for me, simply too great a risk for the most important job in World Footbal :-)

  21. TotalArsenal says:

    LB, are you referring to Rasp’s comment @12.21? If so, did you read his ‘I DON’T think’ bit that goes before ‘Song is a mercenary’?

    Rasp has been saying for a while Song wants to leave this Summer. I cannot see that happening at all, but Rasp is very perceptive regarding these sort of things, and it makes me worried a bit.

    Rasp, if he is not a mercenary and you think the big clubs will not be after him – which I don’t agree with – why would he want to leave Arsenal/ where would he want to go?

    We need to keep the spine together and Song is a vital part in it.

  22. MickyDidIt89 says:

    On Song.
    I’m with Rasp that he will leave, but for different reasons. I simply think AW might think there is a better DM out there, and if he can bag him, Song would be off. Simply a case of improving the team. Song understandably, believes he should be first choice, so off he must trot.
    Naturally, being a 3-5-2 man, I don’t want a specialist DM and really want him to stay.
    I do think he’ll be off with Robin as part of the re-buliding process.

  23. TotalArsenal says:

    I can see us letting Theo go if the price is right and maybe Sagna for the same reason, but Song and RvP are definitely going to stay. I am not having it! :)

  24. Rasp says:

    LB, re-read my comment – I said “I don’t think Song is a mercenary”

  25. Rasp says:

    Hi TA, I think he was to try European football. Apparently Juventus are interested in him. He is good enough to play for either of the Milan sides and I think his style of play would be effective in Europe.

  26. Rasp says:

    Hi Micky, sorry I missed your 12:50. Yes I agree that Song’s leaving could be by mutual consent. I’m sure there is great respect between the two and can envisage a cards on the table discussion where they would agree that its better he moves on.

  27. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi Rasp, those are big clubs, even though they are going through a bit of a dip at the moment. Would he want to play in 3/4 empty stadiums, Italian-style defensive football? Don’t think so.

  28. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Total,
    Are you nuts? No-one will pay the right price for Theo and I cannot see any reason why Sagna would go. As for RvP. £30m now, £0 in 12 months (thanks RA) with our board as the decision makers. I’m smelling the coffee :-(

  29. RockyLives says:

    Have I missed a story about Song leaving?

  30. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Total,
    Juve play 3-5-2 :-)
    Oh, and they’re top. Double :-)

  31. TotalArsenal says:

    Does anybody really think Song is refusing to play a purist DM role? That he is not disciplined or focussed enough?

    My view is: Wenger is desperate for invention/attacking nous from midfield and he has asked Song to help out where and when he can. And he is doing a fantastic job this season. My player of the season after RvP.

  32. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Toal,
    I think we all agree Song is a fabulous player. Problem is, what if AW thinks he wants a specialist DM?

  33. In Wenger’s presser just now he says that both “Coquelin and Diaby are back” – so Le Coq to take the Arteta role ?

  34. TotalArsenal says:

    He only needs to ask Alex to do it, Micky.

    Rocky, it is all based around Rasp’s assumption – from Song’s behaviour on the pitch, I believe – that our midfield rock is leaving this summer.

  35. RockyLives says:

    I like the fact that Song and Arteta, when playing together, can both be defensive and attack minded.

  36. TotalArsenal says:

    Good news Chary! Ramsey in the ‘Arteta role that was the Wilshere role’ – le Coq as back up.

    Micky, I don’t want Theo or Sagna to go at all – love them both – but it would not surprise me if they were to be sold.

  37. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Yeah but,
    Maybe AW is thinking of a different system where he wants the lone DM, and also consider that Song may fancy himself as a more advanced midfielder, and I can completely sympathize with him. He’s very good at it.

  38. Red Arse says:

    Hi Rocky, Postus Excellentus! :-)

    The Song thing is a bit strange. He is an excellent player who has been a godsend to us many times this season and I hope that will continue into the future.

    The Rasper had commented that he thought there was a possibility that Song will leave this summer.
    Yesterday, I said I agreed with him, because I thought Song’s body language, recently, gave the impression all was not well, and that coupled with my understanding that his contract expires in 2013, with no news of talks, made me think it was a possibility he would leave.

    There have been occasional unsubstantiated reports in the media that French and Italian clubs are interested in buying him, but Song has not commented one way or the other.

    A self perpetuating and possibly self fulfilling outcome? Who knows?

  39. True, TotalA, but as regards the Chav match, I think it will “come too soon”(as Wenger would put it) for Le Coq to start.
    I reckon we could get 20 minutes out of Le Coq and 10 out of Diaby tomorrow.

  40. TotalArsenal says:

    Yeah but – No but :)

  41. TotalArsenal says:

    RA, let’s say Song’s body language is not his strongest attribute, but I don’t think we can read anything into it. I would be shocked if he were not to sign a new contract this summer – really cannot see anything else then Alex being a Gooner for at least a few more years.

  42. TotalArsenal says:

    Chary, that sounds logical.

  43. Red Arse says:

    TA,

    That’s why I qualified my opinion with the caveat that it was based only on ‘interpretation’ of his demeanour and the lack of info regarding his contract talks — unlike all the blah about Theo and RVP that has been picked over and commented on by both players.

    None of us knows what will happen. It’s just fingers crossed time, but that said, I don’t think Arsene will tolerate anymore nonsense this summer, from anyone!

  44. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Total,
    Re: yeah but, no but….Can I assume by that comment that you too have a young daughter :-)

  45. Gooner In Exile says:

    Afternoon all, a fine assessment of Martinez Rocky.

    In truth when he was at Swansea and led them through a few rounds of the FA Cup I said there and then …. there is the next Arsenal manager. The side Swansea are now has a lot to do with foundations of footballing philosophy laid down by Martinez.

    I am still a little surprised he took the Wigan job as it was then down to him to destroy a Steve Bruce functional side and make it a passing side. I’d say he is finally beginning to see the rewards for the rebuilding efforts he has undertaken. But in the meantime Rogers and Lambert have both bypassed him. Rogers hasn’t always been successful either being sacked by Reading before getting the Swans job both clubs have benefited eventually.

    For me any future appointment should not involve Bergkamp, Adams, Keown or Henry or any of the often called for ex legends to come back and save us from the “crisis”. Wenger came from nowhere, is there anyone at the club now who could spot a new Wenger as Dein did? Maybe only Arsene himself.

    If you asked me tomorrow I would say Klopp, but as Raddy pointed out he is in contract and also is defining his own legacy at Dortmund.

    Perhaps Bould is the right choice when it eventually happens that Arsene decides to call it a day.

  46. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi Micky, my daughter is not at that stage yet. At the moment, she answers all my questions with the four letter word that starts with ‘f’………….. fine. How was school? ‘FIne’, How is life treating you? ‘Fine’, Did you enjoy your lunch: ‘Fine’, Will you hoover the entire house for me? F… :)

  47. TotalArsenal says:

    Let’s hope so RA! I am seriously considering not to blog after the European Championship until the season starts again. The constant speculations drive me bonkers.

  48. Gooner In Exile says:
  49. kelsey says:

    Afternoon all.

    Interesting insight about Martinez, thank you RL.

    Dempsey’s preferred choice is Chelsea if he goes anywhere.that is personal opinion from him.he definitely wants to stay in london, though now living in Oxshott/Cobham, but if he does go though I know we want him he may finish up at Spurs.

    So some think RVP will be off, and Song and what about Wally Walcott.

    I really believe RVP wants to stay with us, but i have a nagging doubt that he may go regardless if we finish top 4 or not.

    I am sure he has made his decision by now and with Wenger nearing his end of contract the season after nextit might be a change he would challenge.
    We really don’t need too many of our first team undecided at this moment of time if it is in their best interests to stay or not.We have a gulf in the squad of many players reaching 30 or 30 plus and several who are under 24 .I am hoping AW is addressing this issue.

  50. RockyLives says:

    I agree with Redders that AW will be much more ruthless this summer.

    I am sure he wants to keep Song, Theo and, of course, RvP, but if they don’t extend their contracts they’ll be sold quickly.

  51. SharkeySure says:

    Hola amigos….

    I like Martinez.

  52. Gie @ your 2.21 – the Chavs may say that Drogba is out but I wouldn’t put it past them to have him on the bench after another one of his Lazarus like recoveries after his persistent falling mortally wounded on the pitch episodes.

    The diving front bottom Chav.

  53. LB says:

    TA

    12.37……..fair comment, re Fabregas, I can see now I didn’t explain myself as well as I could.

    A very enjoyable debate if you don’t mind me saying.

  54. LB says:

    Rasp

    Sorry mate, I jumped too quick.

  55. Red Arse says:

    I don’t know if today’s footballers realize just how lucky they are.

    If it were me, I would not want a four leaf clover, an old horse shoe, or a rabbits foot on a string, because I would say the fans’ love is worth all the gold on earth — where’s that contract, Arsene? :-)

  56. Red Arse says:

    TA,

    Your 2:19, I might also refrain from blogging or reading the blogs too, during the summer – stop that clapping folks! :-) – the endless speculation just drives me crazy. :-)

    But in reality, I am not sure I could, and I would not want you to do so either, because no one else can understand me when everything I write is wrong, you give me hope and consolation – you give me the strength to carry on, and you are always there to lend a helping hand………………..!! :-)

  57. Norfolk Gooner says:

    I HATE any team that we are going to play. Their managers are clueless, their midfielders are clodhopping donkeys, their defenders are time wasting cloggers, their strikers are diving prima donnas and don’t get me started on their ‘keepers.

    After we’ve beaten them is the time to like their style of play, to say how gentlemanly, gracious, clever, witty, erudite, stylish and handsome their manager is, how polite and helpful are their stewards, how attractive their stadium is (even that slum up the road) and even Ryan Shawcross can be compared with St. Francis of Assisi.

    Until they’re beaten scream at them, boo them, hiss them, HATE them!

  58. RockyLives says:

    Redders
    Your 3.00pm
    Most fans would pay to play for their team, never mind demanding millions of quid a year for doing so.
    But then I suppose markets is markets, and if you have a rare and sought-after skill you will get the market rate (because even if you just enjoy playing footy, you can bet that there’ll be hangers-on whispering in your ear about how you’re being taken advantage of, how X player is earning X more than you are etc).

  59. NG – hear, hear – we must only be magnanimous in victory and after the event.

    How are we going to build home advantage by feeling nice about the oppo ?

    ANY team in front of us on the field of play are to be detested and some more than others, it’s our moral duty !

  60. RockyLives says:

    Well said NG :)

    TA and Redders
    Regarding your veiled threats to not blog during the summer ( :( )
    you might find it interesting to note that the summer months are by far the busiest here on AA.

    Strange as it seems (given that there are no matches to talk about) there are far more visits to this site in summer than at other times.

    I just did a quick totting-up for 2011.

    The months of June, July and August had 64% more visits to AA compared with the average for the other nine months of the year (another name for ‘the other nine months’ is, of course ‘the football season’).

    Strange, ain’t it?

    So you can try your self-imposed purdah – but I bet you can’t stick to it :)

  61. oz gunner says:

    good idea for a post Rocky but he is still to Raw and i don’t think he is anything spectacular. Give me klopp any dau. But as previously mentioned he is turning into a dynasty like Bayern.

    In regards to song I feel he is off too with coquelin stepping in as his replacement.

    @ Micky

    30million or 0 million? I’ll take neither, instead a simple 3 year contract with a pay rise! done and done!

    @ LB

    great 11.11

  62. Red Arse says:

    Rocky,

    I admit I have tried abstinence on many occasions and have so far failed dismally.

    How can I forego the pleasure of a Rocky Special or a Big Daddy reminisce?

    Speaking of Big Daddy, he is also known as Daddy Big Boots, and it takes a big man to wear big boots and that’s Big Daddy’s claim to fame. l will tell you a little secret, but you won’t believe it’s true, did you know that Big Daddy Big Boots once wore little boots like me and you! :-)

    You see how the dice are loaded? :-)

  63. oz gunner says:

    @ RA and TA

    you can’t resist. I hate it too but the first thing i do when i wake is read the comments here for inside information and then read goal.com on my phone. Need my juicy transfer gossip to keep me going during the football-less months

  64. Gooner In Exile says:

    See RedAction have some flags ready to be unveiled tomorrow:

  65. Red Arse says:

    Oz,

    How’s it hanging buddy? :-)

    What is all this Klopp stuff? The only Klopp I know is the centipede with the wooden leg — 99 Klopp! :-)

  66. Red Arse says:

    Norfolk, :-)

    That’s about right, altho’ for me along with the pre-match scabrous comments, there is usually also an element of not wanting to tempt fate by rubbishing someone and finding the b*stard has a brilliant game or their manager pulls off some masterstroke!
    Angst you see —- the lot of all footie fans! :-)

  67. RockyLives says:

    GiE
    Great flags!
    Well done Red Action

  68. TotalArsenal says:

    NG – Arsenal’s new ‘stapline':

    Victurus te saluto – He who is about to win salutes you

  69. TotalArsenal says:

    strapline

  70. RockyLives says:

    Sorry to put a dampener on things but, er, (whisper) I’m a bit worried about tomorrow… :(

  71. RockyLives says:

    TA
    You’re a classical scholar too!
    Impressive.

  72. Norfolk Gooner says:

    New notice on the away team dressing room door “Abandon hope all ye who enter here”

  73. RockyLives says:

    NG
    I used to play on a terrible pitch in Grimsby, alongside some factories that were always sending drifts of strange coloured and strange smelling smoke across the playing fields.

    There was a disgusting changing room with only cold water and a toilet that no-one in their right mind would use.

    Above the entrance someone had put up a sign saying: Abandon Soap All Ye Who Enter Here.”

    Quite witty I thought. Well, for Grimsby anyway.

  74. Norfolk Gooner says:

    Of course that will have to be in Italian, Spanish, German, Dutch, Russian, Serbo-Croat, Korean, Portugese, Bulgarian, Roumanian etc. etc. etc.

    Bloody hell this is going to be a big notice….back to the drawing board!

  75. Red Arse says:

    TA,

    I will see your victurus te saluto, and raise you;
    “Vir prudens non contra ventum mingit – A wise man does not urinate against the wind!” :-)

  76. TotalArsenal says:

    LB, it was – always is – good debating with you :)

    RA :) The pleasure is more than mutual :)

    Rocky, impressive statistics. So when Arsenal are not playing the internet traffic increases significantly – well at least for AA?! Just for fun, we should do one or two pure gossip blogs in the summer: ‘Wenger in Poland: Is this German ace the answer?’ – ‘Derk Boerigter – the initials that are destined for Arsenal’ etc :lol:

  77. TotalArsenal says:

    RA – unless he is burning! :)

  78. Red Arse says:

    Rocky/TA,

    I spent many hours reading the ramblings of that boring barsteward Julius Caesar, and this is all I gleaned! :-)

    Ubi dubium ibi libertas — where there is doubt, there is freedom.

    Ubi est mea anaticula cumminosa — where is my rubber duck?

  79. Red Arse says:

    TA,

    A hot dog is OK, a hot todger is not to be recommended – in latin or otherwise! :-)

  80. TotalArsenal says:

    Rocky:

    Sagna – Koz – TV – Santos
    —-Song——-Rambo——
    ——–Rosicky—————
    Theo—————-The Ox
    ———-RVP—————-

    The team is fit
    The team wants to brush away last weekend’s result
    RvP wants to score from open play again
    Theo is due a good game again
    The Ox has entered Taurus
    Koz is fresh and keen
    Rambo will be ready
    Santos is finally fully fit again
    The crowd have found their voices
    Song is due a lofted supper ball
    TV is ready to be unleashed again
    Rosicky will score
    Arsenal are ready!

  81. Red Arse says:

    There is a glaring hole in the AA bucket.

    We seem to be missing a whole galaxy of great bloggers over recent times. Where are VCC, D98, Harry, IllyBong, Herb and many others too numerous to mention?

    Come out and play you guys!! Please! :-)

  82. TotalArsenal says:

    RA/RL :) My latin is almost non-existent, but I like quotes and thought the one I used was a good one for NG :)

  83. Rasp says:

    LB – no worries, we’ve all done it :oops:

    It’s always hard debating Song as he’s been treated so unfairly elswewhere.

    I think he is a very shy and modest guy. I know he’s religious and very much a family man and I believe he is as honest a footballer as you’d find anywhere. My concern with him hasn’t really been anything to do with him, more the apparent lack of organisation of our midfield where we sometimes seem to have too many players trying to do the same role and leaving gaps elsewhere.

  84. Red Arse says:

    TA/Rockalingding,

    I am in two minds as to whether, on this quiet Friday p.m., you are being discrete because you think I am on magic mushrooms, or you are mystified by my attempt at musical references at 3:00 and 3:58, a la Big Randy, who is currently inebriated over an extended steak lunch.

    The sentiments are genuine but couched in the lyrics of a famous singer!

    So which is it guys? :-)

  85. Norfolk Gooner says:

    TA,

    We’re that good we don’t need a ‘keeper? Lol.

  86. kelsey says:

    Bert Weedon has died aged 91 following music legend Levon Helm who died in a New York hospital yesterday aged 71 after a long battle with throat cancer.

    Helm was drummer in The Band, who backed Bob Dylan when he “went electric” and made one of the most
    influential albums of the 60s, Music from Big Pink

    And Robin Gibb is virtually dead having been in a coma for several days .How sad.

  87. TotalArsenal says:

    NG – now that will confuse the Chavs!

  88. TotalArsenal says:

    RA, I am as mystified as a cheap, quick haircut!

  89. oz gunner says:

    @ RA

    going good, got my first Forensics job today and it involves photography over 5 suburbs. Today 4 hours=5 streets and 460 photos. It’s going to be a long few weeks, especially when I’m running the whole way. But hey i love it.

    I hope all is well with you! That is true we are missing a few regulars (more chance of you winning the most comments award again haha)

  90. TotalArsenal says:

    Evonneski must be on holiday again – some girls have all the fun!

  91. Norfolk Gooner says:

    Gotta go now, my carers here, it’s time for my blanket bath.

    Good luck to The Gunners tomorrow!

  92. TotalArsenal says:

    Carpe diem Kelsey, Carpe diem

  93. TotalArsenal says:

    Enjoy NG!

  94. RockyLives says:

    Redders
    Good point – there are quite a few “regulars” who have vanished into the ether recently.
    I wonder if they’re still reading but not commenting. Or if they just have better things to do… :)

  95. Red Arse says:

    TA,

    Big Randy apparently slips musical references into his pre-matches which just sail over my head (tho’ CharyB and manu others get them), so I decided to have a go myself.

    I chose Elvis songs that fitted what I wanted to say, and worked them into the comment.

    So at 3:00 the song ‘Good Luck Charm’ was the base, and at 3:58 in honor of Big Randy, I chose the song Daddy Big Boots from the film GI Blues.

    I also chose the lyrics of “The Wonder of You” at 3:19 when admitting I might fail in my attempt to recuse myself from AA, and wanting you to stay too! :-)

    [When I was in school in the UK at age 11, approx, I was asked to play Elvis in a school musical - I don't speak with his Memphis accent - but I was a Yank, I suppose] :-)

    Now you know how bewildered I am when BR encodes his pre-matches!! :-) Mea culpa!!! (Apologies)! :-)

  96. RockyLives says:

    Don’t be cruel Redders. You really are the devil in disguise.
    I knew you were up to something (must be my suspicious mind).
    I’m afraid you were too clever for me – but that’s just the wonder of you.
    Mind you, you seem to have a lot of time on your hands. Are you lonesome tonight?
    If those comment annoys you, feel free to return to sender.

  97. TotalArsenal says:

    I seldom get the musical references, RA, but then it was not my first love, nor will it be my last :)

  98. Red Arse says:

    Glad things are going so well Oz. I see a great future ahead for you!

    Rasp did tell me last summer (?) that I was destroying AA with all my comments, so I have really scaled back since!!!!!! :-)
    Not enough it seems.

    16 months ago, I was preparing to go back to NY for a big new contract when I was struck with a series of maladies. Work has dried up because I can’t meet deadlines and AA with its myriad of fascinating characters has been a godsend to me.

    I do sometimes blog elsewhere, but the quality and tone of many of the comments bores the arse off me!! :-)

  99. Red Arse says:

    Rocky, :-) :-) :-)

  100. Big Daddy says:

    TA. Tremendous !

  101. Big Daddy says:

    I love Elvis. He is the Devil in Disguise

  102. Red Arse says:

    TA,

    My musical tastes are more orchestral/classical, which does not lend itself to cryptic clues, and I envy the knowledgeable bods on AA.

    Perhaps you could try sticking a few lines of famous poetry in your Posts and I will try and spot them — I have more chance that way! :-)

    My ignorance bugs me, but I do try and learn, so I will leave you with a relevant Latin maxim;
    “Aut vincere aut mori” ———– “Either to conquer or to die trying”.

    Drama queen? Me? :-)

  103. kelsey says:

    It’s now or never :)

  104. Red Arse says:

    Rocky/Biggus Randy,

    This is one for you two!

    When on AA, I try so hard, so hard to please, oho AAers what more can I do? doing the best, the best I can, but it’s not good, enough for you.

    But I’ll be a dreamer, I’ll be a fool, oho AAers, my whole life thru, doing the best, the best I can!! :-)

    Ta ra, guys! :-)

  105. Gooner In Exile says:

    You lot need to use your lyrical acumen to good use.

    I have been trying for a few weeks to take a more upbeat song (than the Wonder of You) and Arsenalise the lyrics so that we might actually be persuaded to leave the Tavern 15 minutes earlier to join in a crescendo of passionate fervour pre match.

  106. kelsey says:

    > · The Grim Reaper came for me last night, and I beat him off with a vacuum
    > cleaner. Talk about Dyson with death.
    >
    > · A mate of mine recently admitted to being addicted to brake fluid. When I
    > quizzed him on it he reckoned he could stop any time….
    >
    > · I went to the cemetery yesterday to lay some flowers on a grave. As I was
    > standing there I noticed 4 grave diggers walking about with a coffin, 3
    > hours later and they’re still walking about with it. Ithought to myself,
    > they’ve lost the plot!!
    >
    > · My daughter asked me for a pet spider for her birthday, so I went to our
    > local pet shop and they were £70!!! Blow this, I thought, I can get one
    > cheaper off the web.
    >
    > · I was at an ATM yesterday when a little old lady asked if I could check
    > her balance, so I pushed her over.
    >
    > · I start a new job in Seoul next week. I thought it was a good Korea move.
    >
    > · I was driving this morning when I saw an AA van parked up. The driver was
    > sobbing uncontrollably and looked very miserable. I thought to myself that
    > guy’s heading for a breakdown.
    >
    > · Statistically, 6 out of 7 dwarves are not Happy.
    >
    > · My neighbour knocked on my door at 2:30am this morning, can you believe
    > that, 2:30am?! Luckily for him I was still up playing my Bagpipes.
    >
    > · Paddy says “Mick, I’m thinking of buying a Labrador.” Sod that” says Mick
    > “have you seen how many of their owners go blind?”
    >
    > · Man calls 999 and says “I think my wife is dead” The operator says how do
    > you know? He says “The sex is the same but the ironing is building up!”
    >
    > · I saw a poor old lady fall over today on the ice!! At least I presume she
    > was poor – she only had £1.20 in her purse.
    >
    > · I woke up last night to find the ghost of Gloria Gaynor standing at the
    > foot of my bed. At first I was afraid…….then I was petrified.
    >
    > · A wife says to her husband you’re always pushing me around and talking
    > behind my back. He says what do you expect? You’re in a wheelchair.
    >
    > · I was explaining to my wife last night that when you die you get
    > reincarnated but must come back as a different creature. She said I would
    > like to come back as a cow. I said you’re obviously not listening.
    >
    > · The wife has been missing a week now. Police said to prepare for the
    > worst. So I have been to the charity shop to get all her clothes back.
    >
    > · The wife was counting all the 1p’s and 2p’s out on the kitchen table when
    > she suddenly got very angry and started shouting and crying for no reason. I
    > thought to myself, “She’s going through the change.”
    >
    > · When I was in the pub I heard a couple of plonkas saying that they
    > wouldn’t feel safe on an aircraft if they knew the pilot was a woman.
    > What a pair of sexist pigs. I mean, it’s not as if she’d have to reverse the
    > bloomin thing
    >
    > · Local Police hunting the ‘knitting needle nutter’, who has stabbed six
    > people in the village in the last 48 hours, believe the attacker could be
    > following some kind of pattern.
    >
    > · Bought some ‘rocket salad’ yesterday but it went off before I could eat
    > it!
    >
    > · A teddy bear is working on a building site. He goes for a tea break and
    > when he returns he notices his pick has been stolen. The bear is angry and
    > reports the theft to the foreman. The foreman grins at the bear and says
    > “Oh, I forgot to tell you, today’s the day the teddy bears have their picks
    > nicked
    >
    > · Just got back from my mate’s funeral. He died after being hit on the head
    > with a tennis ball. It was a lovely service

  107. kelsey says:

    I like talking to myself so enjoy the above jokes :)

  108. RockyLives says:

    Redders :)

    Kelsey :)

  109. TotalArsenal says:

    “Aut vincere aut mori” ———– “Either to conquer or to die trying”

    Love it RA – I can see Robin shouting it at the top of his longs before the Men leave the dressing room!

  110. TotalArsenal says:

    Kelsey :P

  111. I’m really ill and won’t be able to go to the game tomorrow :(

    I’ve got 2 tickets for the game tomorrow that it would be a shame to go to waste.

    If anyone is interested can you put a comment on or email arsenalnuts@live.co.uk

  112. Big Daddy says:

    Poor Peaches. Have a week off ….

  113. Fine post Rockstar,

    I cant even think who I would want to replace Arsene, he pisses me right off sometimes and I`m frequently gobsmacked by some of his decissions, saying that ,I have the same repetitions with my Wife and children but I still love them as I do Arsene. It will be a sad day when he leaves us and I`m not embarrassed to say, I will shed a tear.

    I was driving down the hill today, towards Abbotsbury with a view to Chesil beach on my right and thought what a stunning view and this Is the norm on my job, I`ve seen some stunning places, running over Catbells and looking down on Derwant water in the Lake District was amazing and I`d be surprised If the many AAers on here haven`t seen even more stunning scenery. It made me think and think and think, hand on heart, the first time I stepped out ,at the top of New Clock end at the Emirates and saw that view, was the first ( and still only ) time my breath was taken away. We are very lucky, to who we are and what we have, keep the faith, It will get better. :)

  114. TotalArsenal says:

    Very fine comment Glic (@7.10). You are showing your poetic, sensitive side tonight! :)

    Peaches, hope you feel better soon. I have other plans for tomorrow – romance is high on the agenda ;) – so regrettably I cannot take you up on those tickets.

  115. Panic over, my good friend Holly has found some gooners to take my tickets.

  116. Thank you Total, If my wife was here, she would confirm that I am a soppy sensitive person. My Alter ego, glic :evil: is the one that gets me into trouble !.

  117. chas says:

    Great post, Rocky.
    Martinez not for me at the moment but who knows, a bit later on in his career maybe. Certainly not a Poolis type of manager.

    No Peaches at the match!
    Something is not quite right with the Universe!
    Get well soon, please.

  118. Gooner In Exile says:

    That one lingered Chas……

    I guess everyone is off to bed early to make sure they are ready for the action tomorrow.

  119. chas says:

    For some reason, this piece of music always makes me think of Chelsea supporters……

  120. Gooner In Exile says:

    Bloody quiet….is everyone trying not to think about the game?

  121. evonnethegunner says:

    yep

  122. LB says:

    What game?

  123. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Terribly sorry, late night.
    Really hope you feel better very quickly Peaches.

  124. MickyDidIt89 says:

    I have one of those 10 Day Weather things bookmarked. Today is the Queen’s Birthday (Have a good ‘un Maaam) and tomorrow is Earth Day!!! Any ideas?

  125. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Chavs have a few fresh legs to play up top, but not in midfield, so is today the day for a tactical switch and overpower them in the middle.

  126. Big Daddy says:

    Friday night Drinking session – sorry.

    And need a good blast on the bike to get my head right for the game, so I won’t be around much this morning.

    And, today’s post was written through a haze of Domaine St Paul Syrah, so apologies in advance if the grammar and syntax is poor

  127. Big Daddy says:

    Earth DAy! No idea Micky but wish I had thought of it. The organizers probably got a few million € from the EU as a development fund.

    Perhaps we can inaugurate a Sky Day or a Night Day or a Day Day.

  128. Big Daddy says:

    Micky. The post is apposite to your 8.35

  129. MickyDidIt89 says:

    BD,
    Too right about the Euro’s, and can’t wait for the post. Isn’t the Queen a Gooner?

  130. Big Daddy says:

    That she is. I believe she has a tattoo of Joe Baker on her thigh, and a huge cannon across her back

  131. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Not the Tramp Stamp on Her Maj surely :-(

  132. MickyDidIt89 says:

    OK, too quiet here, but one question to soothe my nerves. Are Mr and Mrs Exile going?

  133. Big Daddy says:

    No, more the Beckham angel. Shoulder blade to shoulder blade. I understand (I have people in the know, nudge nudge, wink wink, mum’s the word) that the cannon has warped so badly it looks like …. well, not to put too fine a point on it …… something flaccid.

  134. Big Daddy says:

    I beileve they are. Let’s hope so.

  135. MickyDidIt89 says:

    If I had my way Big Daddy, you’d be on your way to the tower right now.

  136. Big Daddy says:

    Don’t shoot the messenger!

    Would you take a draw today?

  137. Slimgingergooner says:

    Apparently, she was seen going into a Vejazzle shop the other week (reliable source). Apparently she now has a jewelled cannon near where the cannon should go.

  138. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Absolutely not.I don’t understand the caution and nervousness. They are below us, we’ve beaten them and they must be knackered. Our recent results against Wigan and Rangers are completely irrelevant and they may well be without Drogba. If we get our tactics right (yikes) then I see only one winner. The Arsenal.

  139. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Another thing. Whenever the fans are cautious as in Everton, Pool and City, we come out on top. Over confident like QPR and Wigan, ooops.

  140. Slimgingergooner says:

    Got to agree Micky, but they are in good form, as were Wigan. With regards to our last 3 fixtures and the fact i think Spurs and Newcastle will drop points before the end of the season, a point wouldnt be a terrible result. But, if Chelsea are there for the taking after an hour, then we should throw caution to the wind and go for the jugular.

  141. Big Daddy says:

    SGG. If I am going to the Tower, you are in deep trouble.

    Micky. I guess it is the Way of the Gooner to be hesitant.

    The only game I have ever left early was when Wayne Bridge (who he?) scored in front of me at the Clock End on the awful CL night. Ever since then, I have been cautious about playing the Chavs.

  142. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Hi Slim,
    I think the first 30 minutes will be when their jugular is exposed. At the 60 minute mark, they may settle for a draw and make it very hard. Breaking them down once they have dug in for a draw will be mighty tough.

  143. Big Daddy says:

    SGG. Totally agree. At 70 minutes, go for the jugular.

  144. MickyDidIt89 says:

    BD,
    Can you post asap, as like you, Oscar and I are off for a bike ride to get ourselves mentally prepared.

  145. Slimgingergooner says:

    hot off the press, Diaby or Le Coq may be in the first XI today! Wonder what that means for Ramsey? Left Wing again?

  146. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Slim,
    Great news. Coq for Arteta for me, and surely Gerv or Ox on the left. High tempo from us is a must.

  147. Big Daddy says:

    Not in my control Micky.

    I am off on the bike as well. Going up the coast and back for a quick 30 km ride. Not in LB’s class but I am much older and heavier than him.

    Send best wishes to Oscar and assure him all will be well today.

  148. Big Daddy says:

    I really hope to see Diaby play. I love the guy when he is firing. He can still become a major player at AFC

  149. Big Daddy says:

    And judging from the crowds reaction to Ramsey last Monday, I expect AW to protect him and start to rebuild his confidence away from THOF.

    Like he did with Eboue.

  150. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Thanks. Will pass on. We will not be doing 30k. We start with our half mile driveway which has three inches of mud and holes! We are not of the thin tyres and pointy saddle brigade!

  151. Rasp says:

    Morning all…..

    …. New post …….

  152. MickyDidIt89 says:

    “we want our post. we want our post. we want our post”

  153. bacterial vaginosis…

    [...]Martinez for Arsenal? « Arsenal Arsenal[...]…

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