In Praise of Almunia

It’s not so much the fact of players leaving that riles fans, it’s more the manner of their leaving.

Which is why I want to single out Manuel Almunia for a round of virtual applause (more of him later).

Not all players can guarantee the affection of supporters once they have moved, but they can guarantee a degree of respect.

It’s not that hard. All they have to do is avoid the short list of “DON’Ts” that should be pointed out to every departing player. For the more stupid ones (yes Adebayor, I’m thinking of you) it could, perhaps, be stapled to their forehead.

This is the list:

DON’T p*ss down our backs and tell us it’s raining (in other words, don’t lie about “ambition” when everyone can see you just want to fill your pockets). You know what? We can understand that. We like money too and most of us would find it hard to resist a job move if someone offered to triple our salary. We’d respect you more if you were honest.

DON’T tell us how your vision of the club’s strategy is different from that of the manager and the people who run the club. You are someone who makes a living from kicking a piece of leather while wearing shorts and long socks. Clausewitz you are not. Let’s leave strategy to those who know what they’re doing, thanks very much.

DON’T, on leaving, talk about how great it is to join a “big” club. If you think Arsenal is not as big as any club in the world then, during your several years with us, you clearly never took off your headphones or lifted your eyes from your smartphone to absorb the history of football’s greatest club. The history of Arsenal is the history of football. You can, if you are lucky, leave Arsenal and move sideways. You can never leave and move up.

DON’T badmouth the club, the fans, your former team mates or the manager. If you want to go, just go and keep your mouth shut. Coming out with periodic, self-justifying swipes at your old club just tells us that you are still desperately insecure about your move and, probably, filled with self loathing.

DON’T ever score against us.

OK, that last one’s a bit hopeful, but you never know…

Some of the departed have managed to exit while retaining our respect. I’m thinking of the likes of Gael Clichy and Kolo Toure, who just got on with their careers and never felt the need to criticise the club that made them or the fans that supported them.

Others – you don’t need me to name them – went through the Exit door with all the grace and elegance of Jo Brand off the high board in the diving pool.

There is a third group, about whom people have mixed feelings: the departure of Cesc Fabregas, for example, may have been a slap in the face for the manager who gave him so much support, but it was long heralded and, since he went, Cesc has said nothing but good things about Arsenal.

Robin van Persie also clearly went for the big payday. With his injury record I can’t really blame him and, one ill-advised statement aside, he at least conducted matters privately. He will not be forgiven by many just for going to Manchester United but I doubt you will ever hear him criticise Arsenal, Arsene Wenger or the Arsenal fans.

Finally, back to Manuel Almunia.

Manuel’s contract expired this summer and he joined Championship side Watford as their first choice goalkeeper.

For most of his last two years at Arsenal, the Spaniard knew he was out of Arsene’s thinking for the Number One spot at The Emirates. And that he had, indeed, lost the spot to someone young enough to be his son.

He also knew that a large proportion of the supporters had serious reservations about his ability to be Arsenal’s custodian. He was likened to Manuel from Fawlty Towers, ridiculed for his mistakes and lampooned on the internet.

During all this time – and despite all that provocation – he never complained, never bitched, never criticised the club or the manager.

I know the cynical will say “why would he? He was getting paid fifty grand a week for doing nothing.” But it’s not Almunia’s fault that Arsene tried to make him the Number One after Lehmann left and paid him accordingly.

Many other players, in Almunia’s situation, would have been disruptive and difficult, leaking stories about their dissatisfaction and moaning to team mates.

Almunia did none of that.

This is what he had to say in an interview recently: “It was really difficult two years ago… because I expected to play more, and better. The last year wasn’t very difficult because I accepted my situation; I went to training every day, I enjoyed the football and staying at a nice club.

“I was trying to teach the young goalkeepers because I knew it was my last year so I did try to enjoy one last year at a big club.

“I believe I left Arsenal as a gentleman and people know that.”

I love the humility of these quotes – particularly the acknowledgement that despite wanting to play more, he also knew he should have played better.

He probably knows he did not quite have what it takes to be the ‘keeper at a top four club, but he had one very decent season for us and some very fine games. Rather than remembering Manuel for his mistakes, I will remember him for his performance in the first half against Barcelona in 2010.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fh0i8AdQd2I

Manuel, good luck at Watford and thankyou for being such a dignified servant of Arsenal.

RockyLives

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166 Responses to In Praise of Almunia

  1. MickyDidIt89 says:

    A very dignified send off for a very dignified Gentleman.
    Well done Rocky, its good to remember core values, particularly at this time.

  2. barumgooner says:

    Nicely put Rocky, It’s easy for us fans to sometimes forget that the players can just be ordinary people making a (very good) living and doing the best they can. Almunia probably wasn’t the world-class player that we feel the club needed but like most of the squad during the financially restricted years, he was the best we could get at the time and did a pretty good job.

  3. barumgooner says:

    But Adebayor and Nasri are a couple of c@#*s.

  4. 26may1989 says:

    I absolutely love this post, it encapsulates so much of what I think of Almunia and others who’ve left the club. As a person, Almunia comes across as a decent, dignified, no nonsense sort, someone I’d guess is a real pleasure to share a meal with.

    As a footballer, people will always bang on about the bad days (that West Brom comes to mind), while conveniently deleting from the memory banks the days when he was every bit as good as anyone else between the sticks: the photo on this page is taken from possibly Almunia’s best ever performance, home to Barca a few years ago, when we were absolutely ripped to shreds in the first half, but only through the brilliance of Almunia managed somehow to go in at the break 0-0. It really was a stunning performance.

    Not that I would say Almunia is a top keeper, he isn’t. He has far more technical ability than he’s credited for, but crucially his reactions just aren’t quite sharp enough, and he is prone to gaffes. But he was good enough to be our back-up keeper and he’s good enough to play in the PL. It is a mystery to me why someone else didn’t snap him up at some point in the last year or two for very little – Zola has got himself a real bargain.

    As a character, there’s more to respect and savour with Almunia than many of our brilliant alumni now at City, Spurs, Chelsea and United. I will always consider him to be one of our tribe.

  5. GUNNERSREK says:

    God be with you and your family, increase you in all things, guide and protect you and your entire family, help and see you through in your carrier and in your new club. Almunia, complete gentleman, Arsenal club will never forget you.

  6. Slimgingergooner says:

    Fantastic post!

    Almunia got a lot of stick from gooners, and whilst some of his performance were sub standard, a lot of it was over the top. It’s so easy to get sucked into the mob mentality sometimes, especially on the Internet where there are no consequences for anything that is said or written. You only have to glance over st LG to see it in full flow! It’s good to see someone recognised as a human, rather than some money grabbing mercenary who must satisfy us like the court jester or be thrown to the lions.

    By the way, I think you missed out the Don’t of going to our North London ‘rivals’!!!

  7. Rasp says:

    Terrific post Rocky and as others have said, a timely reminder that there are still some involved in the game who handle themselves with dignity.

    It’s never a player’s fault if they give their all but ultimately are just not good enough. There is a fine line between those who succeed and those who don’t, if Parlour had been 5% less talented he may not have played that much for Arsenal but as supporters we always appreciated that he gave his all and that goes a long way.

  8. Slimgingergooner says:

    Not wanting to drag on the debate, but one factor of the NikB v Cham situation that hasn’t been mentioned is the dressing room. We seem to have finally got a good mix of characters in there who want to play and win for Arsenal, would we want NikB disrupting that? Especially if he’s only 3rdchoice? Just a thought.

  9. goonalizer says:

    Brilliantly written article !!
    its so easy to get carried away with the negitives,. we ought to see things in brighter light, atleast the ones that are deserving our attention

  10. 26may1989 says:

    Before I disappear off, I just wanted to say that a couple of comments from this morning’s post-TW exchanges really say so much, in my opinion:

    Exile said: “The only squad deeper in all positions is City and Chelsea in some. Someone needs to write a post to give the Arsenal fans that need it a sense of bloody perspective!

”

    And Rasp said: “Taking everything into consideration, I believe we are stronger after our summer transfer dealings. Our potential for success rests on only two things: how well and how quickly our new signings can adapt to the Premiership; and how lucky/unlucky we are with injuries.”

    100% right.

    If others are getting hysterical about not having splurged in the last few hours, more fool them. Luckily it’s a couple of weeks before we have a home match, so hopefully the destructive, ill-informed hysteria will have dissipated by then. Especially once we’ve caned Liverpool!

    Always important to bear in mind that in keeping his powder dry, Wenger has resources he can use in the January TW.

  11. gunner17 says:

    great post about a great guy.

    he wasn’t ever a great great keeper but actually he was pretty solid most of the time. i don’t know the exact figures, but he cost us about £250,000, he played a couple hundred games and kept 80-odd clean sheets. That’s decent.

    Good luck Manny.

  12. Herts. Gooner says:

    Almunia remind me of Berkamp,at one time he was on the bench for a long time.but Berkamp never never moan or complain to anyone,he never criticise the club or the manager,but luckily hr turned thing round with the most beautiful goal against Newcastle.Good luck to Almunia.

  13. Red Arse says:

    Damnit, Rocker!

    You are so consistently brilliant in your Post writing that I can never find anything to crib about! That cannot be fair! :-)

    Brilliant, and I, too, think we should thank Manuel for his dignified reaction to what must have been, for a time at least, very humiliating for him.

    In addition, there is also an ancillary and very subtle message in the advice you gave to the ex-players that also holds true for many supporters. Sadly, the ones to whom it applies are the very ones who would never understand it. :-)

    Bejasus — that was excellento — again! :-)

  14. Adrian says:

    A really, really great piece of article that sums up what many gooners are feeling and the ambition of the club being put into perspective. Definitely worth a read. http://gingers4limpar.com/?p=2135

  15. topats says:

    He’s always been a quiet and gentle lad may be too gentle in the field for his own good..

    Good to know he’s got such humility.

  16. barumgooner says:

    26may, I agree that we are stronger after the alterations to the side and I for one thought that it was more important to remove players than add this time around. My only concern is not replacing Song. To rely on Diaby being fit and effective for any length of time is a massive gamble and Jack is probably a season away from being the player he is capable of being. I hope that Aaron Ramsey comes of age and makes that 3rd midfield position his own because I do believe he is a great player but he needs to get his confidence back.

  17. Total says:

    Lovely, beautifully written post RL. :)

    Hope our current players take note.

  18. Total says:

    Dembele is mostly used as some sort of attacking midfielder but I reckon he could be a carbon copy of PV4 if used deeper in midfield. When we played Fulham at home last season he was awesome against us in terms of breaking things up and dominating our midfield. It would have great if we had signed him, but, in agreement with LB, not instead of Cazorla.

  19. Total says:

    I hope superNik will travel with a suitcase of Paddy Pantsdowns because those Turin benches will get very cold this winter.

  20. Total says:

    From BBC: ‘Arsenal have allowed the opposition just 10 shots at goal so far this season, fewer than any other Premier League side.’

  21. goonermichael says:

    Haven’t had time to read the post yet. Glad all the transfer shit is over. It is what it is so let’s get on with it.

  22. barumgooner says:

    To be fair you have to take into account the opposition not actually wanting to leave their own half, which is also why we have failed to score. It will be different against Liverpool. 3-0 to the good guys.

  23. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    Great post Rocky

    Yes, i agree that Almunia has acted with dignity in all his statements as regards Arsenal and he may be a realy nice guy, but hey, so might Adebeyor, i dont know him, but i doubt it hahaha.

    However i can not join in with the public praise for Alumina. For a long time i have been a 100% converted cynic when it comes to modern players and it is not something i like or something or feel comfortable with but thats the way i feel.

    Did not Alumina hang around to long? He has a gift to play football yet was rotting in the reserves. If his contract had been longer would he not now be in the ranks of Chamakh etc, who in my opinion are just hanging around for the money which in turn hinders the clubs finances and activity in the transfer market.

    Sorry for been so negative. No one likes a miserable git. But my faith in the modern player has taken a bit of a beating

  24. Slimgingergooner says:

    Interesting discussion on Soccer Saturday about Theo.

    I’ve heard people say that we should give him the money as its only an extra £6m, but I think that’s missing the point. If we gave him 100k a week, then that means that every contract negotiation from then on would be pushed towards a 100k limit, wether it be a new player or a renewal. It’s not just a case of giving Theo and only Theo 100k. Before we knew it our whole wage structure changes and we are spending an extra 20m a year on wages. You only have to look at Benayoun for example, he’s on 92k a week at Chelsea, yet he doesn’t get near the team. Could we afford to pay that to Squillaci? Of course not. If he wants to go then so be it, but I honestly believe he will sign.

  25. Total says:

    Hi Slim :)

    As I have said previously: every decent organisation – whether it is a bank, a factory, a service provider or a football club – has put a pay-structure/system in place, which is regularly reviewed, and is based on both what the club can afford to pay and what the market is paying.

    Arsenal do this better than any other big club. So your point re simply increasing Theo’s packages to £100k is totally correct: it just cannot be looked at in (splendid) isolation, as a significant increase in the top wage paid to a player will impact strongly on future pay negotiations, and is also likely to lead to internal disgruntlement.

    Fairness and consistency in pay packages is important both for the club’s finances and the morale within the team.

    “A wealthy man is one who earsn $100 a year more than his wife’s sister’s husband”. H. K. Mencken

  26. Big Raddy says:

    RL. Lovely eulogy to a fine man, MA has always been loyal to his club, the fans and his manager. What more can we ask of a player?

    Total. Very funny quote about wealth. I am the wealthiest man I know but have very little money.

  27. Total says:

    That says a lot about you, BR, and we should all take note of it. :)

    Humans are funny and can get very upset if others, like colleagues, brothers/sisters (in law), friends earn (even a bit) more than them. There have been a number of studies that showed that people would rather earn significantly less than they do now, as long as it means they earn more than their peers. And that’s why Arsenal have to be careful with what they pay their players, and as many have said in the past, the real evil of the Oilers is not necessarily that they can pay big sums of money to get top players, but the enormous, totally disproportional, and in the long-term unsustainable salary increases they are paying to all their players.

  28. neamman says:

    TerryM
    At the end of my career I was a specialist and with new technology..finally ended up being the only person in Canada doing that job. [true story]. I knew I would be let go but luckily they kept me on an extra year beofre giving me a great pacakge. My point..that final year i spent 80% of my time trolling the net.. my psoition was efectievly gone..but i was on a great salary with bonus.. I just smiled and took it.
    I think, especially near the end of our career, we will all go for the money.
    Of course, there are always exceptions like Lee McCullock..but he probably has made so much money over the years he can afford to follow his heart.

  29. neamman says:

    wow..my typing sucks!!!

  30. Slimgingergooner says:

    Hi total,

    Thank god we have people like yourself who can say things so much more eloquently (spelt right!? Lol) than the rest of us. Thank god you all have keyboards too because this iPhone is a nightmare! I’m hoping my £1 bet wins today as it pays £51,539.49! :)

    Fingers crossed!

  31. Total says:

    Good luck Slim! :)

    You would not to be a moderately positive Fulham supporter on the blogs this late afternoon/evening. They are getting spanked by Fat Sam’s Hammers and that will hurt in more than one way.

  32. Total says:

    would not want* to be

  33. Total says:

    Right, am off to the pub to watch the Spuds getting smashed by the yellow-green canaries – we can only hope! :)

  34. GunnerN5 says:

    I’m still finding it difficult to accept that we could not have done more to find the “quality” players that we required, especially after such a great start by buying Cazorla, Grioud and Podolski.
    Based on their discussions with RVP they must have realized that he was more likely to leave then to stay, and it appears that it was Arsenal’s choice to trade Song – so why were they not more active in identifying and the securing the services of adequate replacements? It leaves me bemused and of the mind that we have a weak link in our management team that also needs to be identified.

    It goes without saying that my full support will be behind AW and the team he puts on the field – but I am left feeling that this was a golden opportunity missed.

    This article sums up how many supporters feel.

    ………………………………………………………………………………
    Arsenal were facing criticism on Friday from frustrated supporters as the club were poised to end another summer transfer window in profit on their player trading.

    Although Lukas Podolski, Olivier Giroud and Santi Cazorla were all recruited well before the start of the season for a combined 35 million pounds, there is significant disquiet that these additions were then followed up by the major sales of Van Persie and Alex Song for 39 million pounds.

    The departure of other peripheral squad players, including Nicklas Bendtner on loan to Juventus and Park Chu Young on loan to Celta Vigo yesterday, left Arsenal approximately 10 million pounds in credit this summer. Wenger acknowledged that he still had resources at his disposal but, despite a late inquiry for Chelsea midfielder Michael Essien, it appeared that he was not convinced yesterday by the available quality and value. It has prompted fears that Arsenal have not adequately replaced Van Persie and Song.

    According to analysis from the Arsenal Supporters’ Trust, the club were on course to end the summer with around 50 million pounds of transfer funds still available. “Our own analysis shows the club have not used all of the resources available to them to strengthen the squad,” said an AST spokesman. “Many of our members are extremely frustrated as they believe no stone should be left unturned in trying to make Arsenal a better team.”

    A recent AST survey did show, however, that Wenger retained the backing of 77% of members as the right man to continue taking the club forward. “As ever in football the final judgment will be results on the pitch,” added the AST spokesman.

    Wenger yesterday pointed to how he defied even lower expectations last season by guiding Arsenal to third – their 16th straight top-four finish under his management – when many fans feared a mid-table finish.

    “We are paid to make the right decision, or what we think is right,” said Wenger. “Spending in itself is not a quality. Buying better than you have is a quality. Last year on the same day, we were predicted to finish 10th-15th and we finished third.”

  35. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    Hi neamman, of course your right. We all have a story to tell and at the end of he day have to look after our own interests. I know i am been a bit harsh on Alumina, He seems like a realy nice bloke. My problem is that when it comes to Arsenal i tend to put the interests of the club on a pedestal, which i should realy try to curb…….but i dont think i can. hahahaha

  36. GunnerN5 says:

    Neamann,

    I spent the final 15 or so years of my career as a consultant, and still do the odd job with previous clients. I found it to be the most rewarding period of my career both financially and personally.

    Prior to consulting I worked at the executive level of several large distribution companies and on a personal level it was less than rewarding, it got to the point where I simply said the words, took the money, and went home. Sad but true……….

  37. RockyLives says:

    Hello All
    Well, I was quite surprised to see this Post up today of all days. I was expecting something about how the transfer window panned out.

    Terry
    I think that (as his quote demonstrates) Almunia still believed (until the final year of his contract, when he accepted the inevitable) that he could fight for a first team place, so I don’t think he was just sitting back and taking the money with no desire to play.

    I wouldn’t be surprised to see him back on our coaching staff when he hangs up his gloves. And I’m sure that thought will provoke some jokes about what he’ll actually be coaching the young ‘uns to do.

  38. RockyLives says:

    Very interesting discussion about how we, in our own professional lives, are sometimes content to sit back and take the pay cheque without busting a gut.

    Some great points.

  39. barumgooner says:

    Am I the only one who thinks that Theo is not after money but is in fact after being played in his natural position ? He is continually slated by fans and commentators/pundits for not being an intelligent player but has been always played as a winger by AW when he was bought as a striker and wants to be given the chance to play as one. Is this the agreement that has been reached, that he can have a crack at filling RVPs boots ?

  40. evonne says:

    Spurs without Modric are piss poor. Norwich should be 2 up; Bale completely on his own; fans booing at half time :)

  41. barumgooner says:

    Good old AVB. You can always count on him.

  42. oz gunner says:

    @ Rocky

    Truly brilliant article. The man is a true professional. From the day he took over from Lehmann he copped it. First from Lehmann, then the fans, and then everyone. He won’t be remembered as a great keeper but it is not his fault Arsene put so much faith into him. You’ll summed it up perfectly…the man deserves our respect!

  43. evonne says:

    red card for Huddlestone :)

  44. oz gunner says:

    thank you Norwich

  45. Big Raddy says:

    “Boos ring out around White Hart Lane” , pure poetry!

  46. Gosh it’s such fun being a gooner when the other lot spend so much money and are desperate to finish above us and they drop another two points #always in our shadow

    LadyArse is hilarious on twitter – she’s just given a shout out to Arsene to go fetch Didier Drogba who has been released by the club in China. He’s free, free Arsene just how you like them :)

  47. Mustn’t crow though …. it’s unbecoming for a gooner :lol:

  48. Slimgingergooner says:

    Barum,

    I don’t think you are on your own. I think Theo wants to be the main man and the main striker as that’s where he thinks he is strongest. In fairness to him he has served his apprenticeship out wide and deserves a chance. The only issue for me is that it can only work if he plays with another striker. He doesn’t have the body strength or awareness to play as a lone striker.

  49. VCC says:

    Nice one Rocky. It’s nice to hear praise for some one and not all slagging off. People are all too fond of slating some one but we hardly hear praise now a days.

    I had the pleasure of meeting Manuel Almunia several years ago at a Spanish exhibition in Earls Court London. He came across as a smart and nice guy, had plenty of time for you and never seemed to have any airs or graces (?). So unusual for some one in the lime light these days.

    I wish him every success with his new teal Watford.

    Spot on post Sir.

  50. …… and poor Manuel had a real Manuel kind of day ….. let in five :oops:

  51. Slimgingergooner says:

    Peaches,

    Drogba on a free would be absolutely perfect for us! Gives Giroud time to settle. It would be the best signing of the window.

  52. It would slim, wouldn’t it, but he must be on humungous wages ….. the Chinese were probably paying him over £200,000 a week ….. not going to happen unless he’s desperate to play football :(

  53. ….. in a Red and White kit in North London …….

  54. RockyLives says:

    I love the Tiny Totts.

    Booing at Riot Hart Lane.

    Brilliant

  55. Total says:

    Evonne, already said it but Norwich could have had all three points today. Spuds seemed to have eaten themselves before the game, as they were totally lethargic. No drive, no creativity and slow in closing Norwich down once the ball was lost. Brilliant atmosphere in the pub when Norwich equalised – I almost felt as happy as them. :P

  56. glic says:

    Top notch Rocky
    An average goalie, but a thoroughly jolly decent chap I say…….oops I nearly gave the game away that one is a toff and not a cockney bastard ! :lol:
    Dont you just love it when the Infested anal glands get booed by their own rancid rectums !. :lol:

  57. MickyDidIt89 says:

    ROLF ROLF ROLF
    AVB has no chance of controlling a few ego’s in a dressing room after what happened at The Bridge.

  58. glic says:

    Just watched the highlights of the nextgen game against Marsielle. Some very talented looking youngsters on show for us.
    After watching that game and the two U21 games on Arsenal Player, I think I`ll keep to the young gooners, better football and more goals !. :)
    Gnabry ( why do I think of Gnasher, when I see his name ? ) looks the biz.

  59. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Peaches,
    I posted the other day that both Drogba and Anelka had been released. Is this true? Even Anelka would be a good sub.

  60. MickyDidIt89 says:

    “Sub” as in “substitution”, not as in “dive dive dive” submarine Drogba

  61. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Who knows, maybe the chinese are legally bound to pay his wages, or we part pay as in Barndoor.

  62. Adrian says:

    RM, Man City and even the spuds have already been sniffing around the Drogba and Anelka issue, if they were to be released on free transfers the sad truth is they’d most prolly head to RM or Man City. Anyways, looks like AVB has done it for us once again. Last season it was the chavs and now the spuds :)

  63. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Adrian,
    Nasty thought there, Drogba at Spurs. Was he one of the revolting types against AVB? I know he is good mates with Adebeyor :-(

  64. barumgooner says:

    Slim True, it would mean a change in formation system which may or may not be such a bad thing ? Personally I would like to see it happen.

  65. barumgooner says:

    formation / system..

  66. evonne says:

    TA – don’t get me wrong, I don’t like Norwich either – they have that bastardly AVIVA sign on their shirt, makes me sick

  67. rhyle says:

    What’s your problem with Aviva evonne..? Just out of interest – nothing to do with me, I understand!

    Good piece, Rocky. Just been trying to track down the perfect Gaston Ramirez quote on leaving Bologna…basically went something like “didn’t really want to go but Southampton basically tipped a shed load of cash on my front lawn and it was hard to turn down…”

  68. Total says:

    Dreadful shirt, Evonne! :(

    Fletcher already scored 25% of superNik’s total goal tally last season, in one game. Could just be a fluke though… :~

  69. evonne says:

    Rhyle – my son’s new flat burned down to the ground. They didn’t pay out on techicality, nothing to do with the claim itself. HATE them as much as many others whose lives were ruined by Aviva. Beware, they come as eSure, eHome and other discuises

  70. evonne says:

    disguises? maybe, keyboard :)

  71. Total says:

    Third game in a row no clean sheet for the Northern Oilers – there is hope!

  72. rhyle says:

    Gotcha…sorry to be nosy, always interested in why people hate companies…”insurance” indeed…biggest con in the world…

  73. chas says:

    Excellent post, Rocky.

    Big respect to Almunia.
    I feel ashamed to have posted that pic of him with the dog before.

  74. Gooner In Exile says:

    As a man who is married to an ex-Aviva employee I can tell you I would never take their cover…..not because of anything like non payment just because they are a very poorly structured/run company.

    Rocky fine post re Manuel, I liked his shot stopping but his confidence suffered too easily, altho I was present to see many Gooners bashing him a couple of seasons back and I’m not sure many would survive in the face of such criticism.

    Thinking on about Theo I think I would look at how Ryo goes on at Wigan, of he has a good first half of the season I think we should let Theo run the contract down.

  75. kelsey says:

    Big news concerning Stoke City will be announced on Tuesday.Fact.

  76. jnyc says:

    ROCKY, nice article. So much negativity everywhere, and when someone conducts themself in a classy manner, it usually goes un noticed. He was honest about his time with us also. I hope he is successful in the future with whatever he does.

  77. Rhyle says:

    Any insight into what it is, Kelsey?

  78. Rhyle says:

    Got a couple of old air force buddies who are big potters…going to see if they’ve got a clue what you’re on about!

  79. kelsey says:

    Yes, Rhyle but please wait as I do get some real info sometimes.

    By the way Demsey wanted to go to Liverpool but they wouldn’t cough up so he settled for Spurs. (Straight fom the horse’s mouth)

  80. Rhyle says:

    Understood – feel free to find some other way of letting me know!! Got a real nosy streak on me tonight, clearly…

    I have no life… :-(

  81. Rhyle says:

    You’re a tease, Kelsey…nowt but an infohussy… :-D

  82. Gooner In Exile says:

    Things have already been announced at Stoke. The manager has gone mad…..

    Stoke manager Tony Pulis:

    “It was touch and go whether I started him [Charlie Adam] or not.

    “When he came on I thought the game had opened up a bit, and he is a good passer of the ball.”

  83. jnyc says:

    i was disappointed with the overall transfer window. Not because i expected too much. Im ok with song and vp (though wanted to keep vp) i agree we will be a little better than last season, a lot better if healthy with jack and diaby.
    But we were far behind the top 2 last season, and i cant believe we couldnt have sorted out the theo thing sooner, so we could have had options to replace him,( possibly making a profit ) and found a better 3rd option at striker.
    Tomorrow lets show Sahin that he made a foolish choice. even though it was probably forced by maurihno.

  84. chas says:

    Stoke are going to stop playing rugby?
    Poolis is getting a new cap.
    I’m so excited, I can barely wait.

  85. chas says:

    What could it be?
    What could it be?
    Peter Crouch is off to join a travelling circus?

  86. chas says:

    Rory has had elastic extensions inserted into his elbows.

  87. chas says:

    Please tell me.
    I don’t think I’ll last ’til Tuesday.

  88. GunnerN5 says:

    There’s a major shortage of towels?

  89. GunnerN5 says:

    It appears that the AVB effect has hit Tottenham
    – All Very Bad…………

  90. Rhyle says:

    I think it’s something to do with Stoke fans being banned from their own ground on public health grounds…

  91. Gooner In Exile says:

    Nice GN5 :)

    But lose by more than 1 tomorrow and we will be below them.

    TA to add to your 10 shots stat I believe we have not conceded a corner…Solid. Altho as a wise sage said earlier I’m not sure any of those stats matter when the oppo have shown little intention to leave their half. Up until the second game we had also had the most shots on goal….which is a little more worrying.

  92. Gooner In Exile says:

    Pulis is leaving and he is to come to the Emirates to start work as Wengers successor?

  93. Rhyle says:

    GIE…it’s what everyone’s secretly hoping for but no one wanted to say it out loud ‘cos we might jinx it…

    WAY TO GO.

  94. GunnerN5 says:

    Pulis is having a sex change and will admit that he’s in love with Wenger.

  95. GunnerN5 says:

    Wenger will rebuff Pulis’ approach as he thinkls he plays too rough………….

  96. GunnerN5 says:

    Pulis states that it’s usually him that is defensive………….

  97. GunnerN5 says:

    Arsene thinks the whole situation is a little potty…………

  98. Rhyle says:

    …but he’s just being coy…Wenger loves it rough…as well as balls being hoofed over his head…

  99. GunnerN5 says:

    Pulis invites AW to his private kiln…

  100. GunnerN5 says:

    Arsene does not find this to be a turn on…….

  101. Rhyle says:

    …but goes anyone as Pulis promises to wear one of his classiest tracksuits…just for him…

  102. Total says:

    Hi GiE, it is indeed early days. Let’s see what happens tomorrow – surely a sterner test for our defence and midfield. I reckon we will win with by a single goal (1-0 or 2-1). :)

    Chas, Gn5 – very funny :) :)

  103. SharkeySure'sGhost says:

    Quality write up Corky.

    Almunia was never as bad as some people made out.

    I really get sick of fans going overboard with their negativity, so its eternal thanks to ArsenalArsenal and its merry band of competely sane authors and bloggers.

  104. GunnerN5 says:

    Sadly for Pulis AW, being a total gentleman, tells him that his love is not reciprocated and that he is not at all drawn in by him because he is only looking only for a winning situation – poor Pulis breaks down in tears and makes a call to Rory who refuses to supply him with a towel……………………..

  105. RockyLives says:

    Brilliant Pulis stuff :D :D :D

  106. evonne says:

    match day and this Gunner is on her way to Pool

  107. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Have a great day Evonne.

  108. have an awesome day Evonne :-)

    im sOOO jealous!

    Morning all, dont you just love the smell of MATCH DAY in the air?

  109. Morning Micky, does Theo start today, in your book?

  110. evonne says:

    i sure will :) xx

  111. keep your money in your socks Evonne :-)

  112. MickyDidIt89 says:

    PPP,
    She’s wearing the full kit, so all well, as its the long socks. Plenty of room for fags and credit card.

  113. I wonder if she owns a pair of brown shoes like stevie “wannabe” in Chas’ picture… they would look HOT ;-)

  114. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Not that it bothers me, or makes any difference, but I am sure that Arsenal entered the window with no intention of keeping Brave.

  115. MickyDidIt89 says:

    All weather pitch studs for our girl. Reasonable purchase on any surface.

  116. Credit Card terminals in merseyside? hmmm, now ive heard it all.. hahaha

  117. chas says:

    Morning.
    All weather heels.

    http://twitpic.com/aq8r3a/full

  118. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Sorry PPP,
    Yes, I think Theo will start, as I’m sure, and hope, that Pool will attack thus leaving some space. I can definately see Raddy getting 11/11 today.

  119. all that is missing is the whip.

  120. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Chas,
    That’s brilliant :-) :-)
    Oh to see a pic of Full-Kit-Evonne in those.

  121. i wonder what the odds are on our russian boy to nab a goal late in the game?.. you know, for old time sakes :-)

  122. Adrian says:

    Hopefully the team will show what its really made up of today. Did any of you know that Dempsey only cost 6m??

  123. chas says:

    Kos or The Sack?

  124. MickyDidIt89 says:

    I’m going to miss the game. Is it possible to record from onlinefooty, or are there any dodgy sites to watch the whole game after about 6 o’clock?

  125. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Chas,
    Ah, good question, hadn’t thought of that. My money is on the German. Simply for the sake of continuity.

  126. Chas, both with TV5 just in front to keep Sahin at bay… well here’s hoping.

  127. Sahin V Poldi.. Round2… ?

  128. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Hi Adrian.
    Yes. However, we were always going to more or less balance the transfer books, imo, which meant there was nothing to spend.
    I said a Bad in the immediate aftermath, by saying how pissed off I was that we had made a £7m profit. We didn’t. I thought at that point we had banked £5m for Nic.

  129. chas says:

    First exclusive pic of Evonne at Anfield.
    If you look closely you can see the credt card.
    (this is our third kit this season)

    http://bit.ly/POktFq

  130. Micky, balancing the books is cool and all that, but i would have hoped that the closer we get to these new commercial deals we could start the old speculate to accumulate and maybe indulge in an extra 10mil or so on an extra player..Im afraid we will be a little thin for all four competitions, and wouldnt mind exiting early from both the fa and community cup :-(

  131. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Chas,
    “I’m a Geordie. No really, I am, I am, I am!”

  132. No wonder NB opted for juve.. Old lady? pff

  133. chas says:

    Your book-balancing theory was 100% correct, Micky.
    The summer makes a whole lot more sense with it in mind.

  134. chas says:

    “Rooney cannot resist the lure of the Old Lady”
    would make more sense as a headline.

  135. MickyDidIt89 says:

    PPP,
    While I think (and many here disagree which is fine) that we are short in midfield, I do agree with the book balancing until the money actually arrives (Its just how I manage myself).
    I imagine that Arsenal had hoped to pocket some fees from Nic and Chamakh, but no further spending was to be done until that point.
    There is always talk that we have £20m sitting there, but again, just the way I am, I’m a believer in keeping something back. You need an emergency kitty for the jan window. Suppose we lost Pod and Gir to long termers, or Verm and Kos, or god forbid Arteta and Coq.

  136. Gooner In Exile says:

    Morning all enjoy the game Evonne, be careful amongst the dippers. I hear their worse than 26 for a hand on knee moment.

    Chas :D

    Rocky thanks for the Collins article link. Is the worm turning when it comes to the media and their view of Arsene?

  137. point taken Micky, whilst it can be frustrating to say the least..

    Question, do we pay or part pay any wages to our players who have gone on loan?

  138. MickyDidIt89 says:

    PPP,
    No idea. Pre Adebeyor/City/Spurs I may have had an answer. Now, no!

  139. chas says:

    I like the dismissal of the sugar-daddy era in just a few short words in that Patrick Collins’ article.
    “short-term prizes delivered by the power of the purse”

  140. Red Arse says:

    Morning Folks, :-)

  141. chas says:

    Morning RA.
    Are you excited about the Stoke news to be announced on Tuesday?

  142. Big Raddy says:

    Morning All,

    chas. Thanks for the link. Collins is an excellent journalist, one of the few .

    I couldn’t sleep worrying about kelsey’s non-revelation. It must be something to do with Gollum.

  143. chas says:

    Twas Rocky, BR. :)

  144. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Chas/Raddy,
    If you two don’t grow up, Kelsey will simply not reveal the news. Then you’ll be up shit creek.

  145. Gooner In Exile says:

    Like Micky I too go for balancing rather than spending what hasn’t arrived…..well I do now.

    I have a sub contract with a firm who provide nationwide accountancy to the petrole and convenience retail sector. I had been asked to do a special assignment for them 6 months before my wedding. Great I said as it effectively meant doubling one months money. I completed the work and was busily spending it on extra bits for honeymoon (new camera, clothes etc) when the client announced they were having a cash flow problem and would have to put payments back one month. I convinced them to pay half of what I was owed and the second half the following and then continue monthly payments one month in arrears, I was no worse off but that delay meant those new things I had spent were now not actually easy to buy.

    We can factor in the future revenues from Sky and BT contracts but I must admit the BT deal worries me if they do not allow Sky to carry it on satellite. BT are probably doing it to increase the take up on their BT vision service, but the cost for me to switch from Sky broadband/phone to BT is going to be £20per month, plus whatever they charge for the games, I will save £12 from no ESPN. So will I change? Probably not. If this is BTs model could we have another NTL/Championship situation on our hands?

  146. chas says:

    Micky,
    You’ve got a point there.

    Grow up, BR, else Kelsey will simply not reveal the news.
    I’ll try, but it’ll be hard.

  147. chas says:

    New camera, clothes and extra bits for the honeymoon!
    Your wife interested in “photographs” ?
    Nudge, nudge, wink, wink, say no more…..

  148. chas says:

    Ooops, sorry, meant to be growing up. :)

  149. oz gunner says:

    Morning all,

    I found out Kelsey’s big news!!!!!!

  150. Big Raddy says:

    Micky. I have spent much of my life up shit creek, another trip holds no fears.

    Anyway, I reveal kelsey’s secret in today’s post.

  151. MickyDidIt89 says:

    GiE,
    You run your own business AND you’re an accountant. You understand these things. Next week a mate of mine (whiff whaff club fame) is due to flog his business for £2m. He is the poorest person I know. Lives in one end of a half converted shed. No hot water, works 18hrs a day and spends nothing. Yet he has borrowed not one penny against the future. He’s a very wise man.

  152. Red Arse says:

    Hi Chas, :-)

    Sorry, I had to go out, but in answer to your question, earlier, about the Stoke announcement on Tuesday — you must know by now that I hang on every word spoken by Pukie Pulis, and can hardly contain my excitement!! :-)

    Yeah, go on — let’s have a look at your ‘photos!! :-)

  153. LB says:

    My guess at the team:

    Same as last week with Walcott replacing Gervinho.

  154. Gday Oz, looking forward to next weekend? …nah, i didnt think so mate ;-)

  155. Morning LB, i have a feeling AA23 will play a part and… AND contribute

  156. LB says:

    Interesting call Triple P

    So who do you see moving to the bench?

  157. I dont believe he will start. No, definately not start, but should Gerv draw blanks again thats when we might see Arsh come n play. He would be perfect for unlocking pool on the edge of their box..
    (yes, i expect pool to sit deep and be happy to give us possession after the first 10minutes feeding frenzy..they know theyre not good or quick enough to beat us unless its set pieces..)

  158. Gooner In Exile says:

    Chas :D I knew someone would have fun with that!

    LB, PPP do either of you think Arshavin is an impact player from the bench? I think he has to grow into a game and could work well with Santi. My preference is for him to start and using Gerv/Theo as our impact men. Having watched Liverpool play so far they are taking risks passing around the back, an intelligent type like Arshavin is more likely to read the pass and more importantly do something effective if he gets it….like the goal vs Swans at home last year.

  159. But GiE – what if AA runs around to no effect and then is shattered when Liverpool open up at the back :oops: He’s not an impact player either but he does scare the pants off the Kop and so does Theo hahahahaha

  160. Morning all

    We have football and a NEW POST ……….

  161. Norfolk Gooner says:

    Great write up on a seemingly nice person. Sadly he’s let in five goals, hope there is no return clause in the sale contract.

  162. MickyDidIt89 says:

    LB mentioned the Cologne game (with good reason imo). This was the team:
    Mannone; Yennaris, Mertesacker, Vermaelen, Gibbs; Coquelin, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Cazorla; Podolski, Walcott, Giroud.
    Now, swap Coquelin for Arteta, and I think we could give their keeper net rash :-)

  163. LB says:

    Thank you Micky

    Very kind.

  164. hiranom20 says:

    Reblogged this on taylorsportsoutlook and commented:
    I don’t like Almunia, but this post took the sting out of my hatred for him. Fantastically written!

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