Will Arsène ever be able to complete his vision?

“Alas”, said the mouse, “the whole world is growing smaller every day. At the beginning it was so big that I was afraid, I kept running and running, and I was glad when I saw walls far away to the right and left, but these long walls have narrowed so quickly that I am in the last chamber already, and there in the corner stands the trap that I must run into.” “You only need to change your direction,” said the cat, and ate it up.

A Little Fable, by Franz Kafka.

This ‘little fable’ by Kafka has been a favourite of mine ever since I read it for the first time, back in the late eighties. I was introduced to Kafka by the father of one of my housemates during my student years. He was a semi-famous Dutch writer and knew from his son that I was very interested in literature. He handed me a copy of Kafka’s Der Prozess (The Trial) with the words: ‘This will get your brain working’.

I was working as a cleaner in a factory that produced plastic bottles for shampoo etc during the summer holidays, and when I complained to my manager that I had feck all to do, he took me aside and said he knew there was not enough work but they did not want to lose the hours on the contract, and that I should simply try to look busy. For the next few days, I ended up locking myself in the cleaning cupboard reading Kafka’s masterpiece. Anybody who has read The Trial will know that it is a surreal and creepy story, and I could not have wished for a better place to read it than in a dingy cleaning cupboard of a soul-destroying factory in the middle of a colourless industrial estate.

After The Trial, I read more work by Kafka and ‘A little Fable’ always remained at the forefront of my brain. Although Kafka apparently wrote it as just a bit of fun, I feel it is a brilliant anecdote for the cyclical, trial-and-error nature of our lives.

It somehow makes me think about the predicament Arsène Wenger has had to face over the last seven years, and is likely to continue to face for the foreseeable future. The decision to build a new stadium and the unfortunate, simultaneous arrival of the Southern and Northern Oilers, have forced Arsene to ‘change his direction’ a number of times in order to remain competitive and somehow stay firm towards his vision of football for our, and his, beloved Arsenal.

On a number of occasions over the last few years, Arsene had to face the cat that ate him up and spat him out again, telling him every time to change his direction in order to avoid it happening again.

Arsène knew he was entering the final part of his management career and, a visionary as he is, will have foreseen the above mentioned developments and their likely impact on the club and therefore on him, and yet he decided to stay loyal to us – despite strong rumours of a number of overtures by clubs with far superior financial means than Arsenal. For that, I will always remain thankful to him.

Due to a lack of financial means, he invested heavily in bringing through young players. In the meantime, he let go a significant number of experienced (and expensive) players – either by choice or somewhat forced upon him by the club in order to make the books balance. Initially, the departures did not appear to hurt us too much. Vieira was, for example, replaced relatively well by Fabregas, and the departures of Toure and Adebayor to Citeh did not leave large holes for us either.

But Arsène did not have much budget available for quality/experienced player additions, which forced him to field relatively young sides that lacked experience over the last few years.

He built a team around Fabregas and on a number of occasions we came close to winning something. Maybe with a bit more luck, Arsène and Fabregas would have succeeded but it was clear something was missing: experience, strength in depth, cohesion, the right (fighting) spirit; you name it.

Just when Arsène started to get on top of things with his team led by Fabregas, and an improved budget appeared to be made available to him so he could once again add some experienced players, Cesc, Clichy and Nasri all had to be sold, for various reasons. And although he was able to buy a number of experienced new players, it became clear he had to start again and go through another transitional year.

However, after a difficult start, the team started to gel better and better and brave sir robin had the season of his life. We finished third and there is a feeling that with the signing of Podolski, Giroud and Cazorla we could confidently make the final push toward the top-prizes.

But once again our star-players are sold: Song, brave sir robin, and almost Theo – either in order to make the books balance, or to avoid having disgruntled players in our squad whilst losing out on their potential sales value.

Just imagine, we would have been able to keep hold of brave sir robin and Song and added Cazorla and Podolski this summer. We would once again have spent a lot less than the Chavs (1/3) and both manc clubs (1/2) and yet have a team that can compete against anybody.

It just looks like every time Arsène is about to put the final shape of his Russian dolls around his team building work, somebody comes and takes one of the smaller, internal dolls away, forcing him to start again.

As a result, we are in strong danger of being in perpetual transition; of never being able to pick all the fruits of Arsène’s vision and unbelievable hard work.

Early signs, regarding the latest team Arsene has been able to put together are looking promising, though. The new additions have hit the ground running, especially Cazorla and Podolski, and Giroud had a positive impact in the first few games as well. A number of young players are coming through quickly and have claimed, or are competing hard, for first team places. On top of that, the arrival of Steve Bould appears to have given us a better structure and discipline to our defence: an absolute necessity if we are ever to win something again.

The excellent win against Pool offers us real hope of what this team might be capable of. But there remains a feeling of unease for us all.

What will happen when the next summer TW opens again: will we be subject to more transfer shenanigans; will our best players once again leave us? And will Arsène be forced to start building again?

The good news is that Arsène seems to be allowed now to spend the money that comes in from player sales again. Since the summer of 2011, there has been a clear shift by Arsene towards buying experienced, quality players who have either remained below the radar of the oil-sharks or are not deemed good-enough for them. Arsène’s nose for a good player is second to none, whether it is a young talent or an experienced player with additional potential, who would fit perfectly within our team.

It looks like Arsène is now able to foresee future loss of players and subsequently put in effective contingency plans. Our investment in young players is starting to really deliver with the likes of Gibbs, Ramsey, Wilshere, Jenkinson, Diaby, Theo, the Ox and Coquelin all becoming better and better. And there is more to come with the likes of Yenaris, Frimpong, Miquel, Myachi, Eisfeld and Aneke knocking hard on the first squad door.

Add to that, Arsène’s ability to find, and attract, experienced super players like Arteta, Cazorla, Mertesacker, Podolski, Giroud and Koscielny – except for the latter, all bought in the last 12-14 months – and maybe we will become increasingly immune to the annually recurring threat of our best two or three players being bought away from us.

The super overinflated salaries paid by the Oilers, in the UK and abroad, will remain a threat to us which is likely to lead players forcing a move on us again in the future. We cannot compete with them, and neither should we try to.

And I don’t think winning something is going to make much of a difference either. Just look at Dortmund: they keep losing players despite winning a number of trophies in recent years, and having a fantastic stadium and fan base.

But, maybe Arsène has finally found a way to stay away from the claws of the cat. She might scratch us painfully again – just, for one second, imagine TV and Diaby or Szczesny being sold next summer – but Arsene seems to have found a way to heel us quicker now, and to make us stronger every season, against all odds.

It looks like Arsène is finally able to put his vision into practice and hopefully, helped a bit as well by FFP and a quickly improving financial position of the club; we will finally reach the very top again.

We are very lucky that Arsène stayed loyal to our club and let’s hope he’ll stay a lot longer with us to fully complete his vision for Arsenal.

Keep the faith fellow Gooners!

Total Arsenal.

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164 Responses to Will Arsène ever be able to complete his vision?

  1. bash says:

    fantastic piece,couldn’t add a thing!le proff is the best eva fan of the Arsenal & the best manager the world has eva cn.com on gunners kip the faith as always.In ”Arsene we trust”

  2. a says:

    fantastic article, wenger has been our greatest signing, loyal and comitted. this article should be published in the guardian ( which for some reason loves our bad news), sky sports, football 365 ( bunch of pub idiots thinking they know best) and jamie redknapp.

    Maybe then will they realise what wenger is about and what he has done for arsenal and english football.

    People go on about moyes, no doubt he is good, but he doesnt have the pulling power, developing skills, economical knowledge and how to be considered an elite team as wenger

    Well done with the article

  3. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    Fantastic TA. I agree entirely with what you say and from this point forward demand that you be my spokesman in any future debate.

    I too have read Kafka. “A little fable” baahh, i dont believe in no win scenarios. The titles ours.

  4. goonermichael says:

    Fantastic post. Wenger is tying down the Ox to a new contract and already has kozzer and TV on long contracts. I think he will complete his vision

  5. Red Arse says:

    A lovely Post, TA, that gripped me from the start. :-)

    The Kafka story perfectly set the tone for your subject matter and you are to be commended for it.

    Actually, for a millisecond, the Kafka reference almost put me off.
    It threw me back to my teenage years when I was required to read an unpublished Kafka short story called, in English, ‘Shamefaced Lanky and Impure in Heart’ together with a number of other works by various authors for educational purposes.
    I did not, at the time, understand the meaning of many of these stories, and particularly not the tale of the two guys named in the title above, and I struggled to like them.

    But they got me thinking which was probably the point of the exercise, as too does your Kafka tale of the mouse and the cat.

    In many ways it smacks of existentialism, a subject on which I wrote about some time ago. The story is an allegory of AW’s need to succeed by learning from experience, by way of an iterative process of trial and error in an ever shifting footballing paradigm.

    An excellent read, and if those who castigate Arsene could only understand the meaning behind the story it would open up another world of possibilities to them, rather than the unproductive and sterile hostile reaction they currently exhibit.

  6. Withwengerwerust says:

    Wenger will never be able to fullfill his vision because it has become blurred just as his brains.
    However short sightedness does not impair his ability to count money and share value.
    To all of you who go against nature’s calling , the fall will really be bad. I hope you will still be alive when your great visionist will lift the EPL trophy.
    LOL

  7. kgooner says:

    Great piece. Wenger has gone thro a lot and i agree with you that he still has trophies left in him. He will not go down without a trophy(s). It can only embellish the amazing job he has done for Arsenal and Football. I think he knows this too and is working on a plan. . . the silent type. A trophy(s) will make the legacy all more glorious! Hail Le Prof!

  8. Bryan says:

    A well written article Total

    But the one thing I don’t really go with is when we sold Adebayor & Kolo we got massive money & never spent any of it, that is what frustrates me & I still can’t understand why we sold Song who had 3 years left on his contract & was happy at Arsenal, we clearly could of kept him.
    I know we can not compete with the oilers & don’t want us to cheat by “financial doping” (love that term Arsene) but if we do buy players we always seem to have to sell & be up in transfers which should not always be the case.
    When we made our 3 big signings this year I was really excited no one had left & although we had the RVP situation hanging, things looked promising, but then RVP went & then Song on top of that left us arguably no stronger, I really thought we needed to buy another & thought we would but I guess I should know better by now.
    I still believe we should of got the big DM we need & Diaby isn’t him as he is a different player, much more attacking.
    What maybe does make us stronger this year is having Steve Bould working with our defence & getting players back from injury.
    We all no we have a model & have to run the club right but even the damn Spuds constantly spend more than us & they don’t seem be in financial problems & they haven’t been getting CL money filling their coffers every season.

    And why oh why do we seem to leave it so late to negotiate players contracts, for example read this piece & it looks like Sagna could be the next player on his way.

    http://www.goal.com/en-gb/news/2896/premier-league/2012/09/06/3357266/-

    I have always believed it is not Wenger who won’t spend & that is down to the board & agree with the notion that his hands are tied. That is why you have got to rate Wenger so highly as it is constantly a remarkable achievement that he gets us in CL year after year.
    I just believe that if the board were a bit more generous we could push that bit more & finally win silverware again.

    I know a lot of people may shoot me down & say we are run in the correct way but I believe we are too tight & have to speculate to accumulate.

    Apart from that I totally agree ;-)

  9. Total says:

    Cheers for the feedback guys! :)

    @a: it amazes me as well why only so very few journalists sing Arsene’s praises. Maybe it is just the faith of visionary people: as long as they remain relatively unsuccessful they get happily criticised, but the moment they start to win prizes everybody will join them and sing their praises. Let’s watch the media shifting their backsides towards Arsene this season with glee. :)

    @Terry: it would be an honour to be your spokesman – as long as I can keep my clothes on hahaha :lol:

    @GM: good point re signing players up as early as possible.

    @RA: thank you for a fine comment and I sympathise with your teenage year literature-‘horror’ experience. Love your link with existentialism too.

    Withwengeryoulust: I hope you will still be alive too. Just to make sure you don’t miss out, call Samaritans now: 01234 98765.

  10. oz gunner says:

    masterful piece TA, has inspired me to grab a copy of the book.

    No matter how much praise we heap on the man it’ll never be enough. He has done so much for the club and all of us supporters. I hope he stays fit and healthy because I would like to see him at the helm a lot longer.

  11. Slimgingergooner says:

    Winning trophies isnt just about having the best squad at the beginning of the season, if it was then City would have done the quadruple last year. It also comes down to injuries, form of players at the right times, and a hell of a lot of luck. People write Wenger off constantly, but had it not been for Eduardo’s horrific leg break a few years ago, no one would be doubting his credentials.

    Its easy to argue that we dont have the strongest squad this year, but that doesnt mean that we cant win trophies. Fingers croseed we get a bit of luck and players stay fit and we can do something exciting this season.

  12. Sav from Australia says:

    Really good article and just puts the negativity of some ‘supporters’ into perspective.

    Arsene Wenger is such an inspirational figure. In some ways, he is the sort of character who transcends football (at least for me) and shows that despite the pressure in modern society to be selfish/greedy/etc, you can still be a winner and be loyal and fair.

  13. Total says:

    Hi Bryan :)

    I fully agree on your comments – today’s as well those you made yesterday – re Song. I am still gutted we let him go and in my view he was sold to balance the books – which I fully respect, and all the rest is pure nonsense.

    Arsene might put a lot of belief in his players, but he is not a pushover and anybody who does not do what he tells them to do, will be sorted out. The accusation of some fellow Gooners that Song did not give his all for us last season, or did not stick to orders given to him really angers me. Was Song ever shouted at to stick to his role; was he ever substituted early because he upset Wenger? NO. He was asked to make the best of two roles and he did it with verve: he saved our season as much as bsr, Koz or Arteta did, yet only very few are giving him the credit for it. Bryan, we just have to live with that injustice.

    As I see it, he asked for more money as he felt he was earning significantly less than some other senior players in the squad. I say fair enough to that. Arsenal was not prepared to renegotiate with him with any sense of urgency and the books needed balancing…. Barcelona needed to stem their urge to shop over the summer and it always sounds good to get somebody from Arsenal.

    A real shame, because his best years are starting now. :(

  14. Slimgingergooner says:

    Brilliant wriyte up by the way TA!

  15. Adrian says:

    Sigh, looks like Sagna is obviously starting to feel unhappy about the way the club does business and the Song saga in particular.. His opinion about the Song saga is spot on and is exactly what many of us are wondering. Next thing we know, Jenkinson is going to play at the RB position permanently. Sure hope Wenger finds the time to sit and have a good chat with Sagna and convince him that Arsenal will do everything that they can to prevent more platers from leaving and that we’re serious in competing. Of course, if we manage to pick up a trophy this season it’ll make the convincing loads easier.

  16. Slimgingergooner says:

    or should that be write up!?

  17. evonne says:

    Total – I knew it was your writting from the start :) Brilliant, thank you very much!!

    I am glad you mentioned the stadium again. For those who do not appreciate the enormity of the Emirates should 1. go to a home game, and 2. should go to say Anfield or Bridge, or Shite Hart Lane. They would be left in no doubt that for the stadium alone we should say a little prayer for AW every night.

    On the subject of stadia – the Olympic giant is out-of-this world, I was gob smacked it is so beautiful. And the horrible thought that it could belong to Scum makes me shiver….brrrrrr…..

  18. Adrian says:

    Total, what you say makes sense. Its just a shame that balancing the books is more important than team stability or quality of the squad to the board. Song was definitely under orders to contribute to attacks whenever possible as I have always stated, and people slagging him off for his defensive mistakes somehow managed to overlook his assists/contributions to the team. Personally, I do not think giving him a wage increase is that absurd, considering he was arguably our third best performer last season an is only starting to fulful his full potential. Shame, really.

  19. Total says:

    Hi Slim :)

    What is wrong with our squad-depth? Any team in the PL would not survive long-term injury to the two best players in their squad. Citeh without Kompany and Yaya Toure for six months…. The Chavs without Czech and Ivanovich (in fact, I am struggling to name two top players at the Chavs – plenty of prospects though)… Mancs: six months injury to Vidic and bsr, or bsr and granny shagger and they will struggle as well.

    Hi Oz: Knowing you a bit, I think you will enjoy The Trial a lot. If you like that one you might also want to try Milan Kundera’s ‘The Joke’. :)

  20. Slimgingergooner says:

    Speaking of which Evonne,

    I am soon going to be a fully fledged member of the Yorkshire Arsenal Supporters Club and will be breaking my Emirates cherry early next year!!!! Cannot wait to visit THOF and see football at its finest. Lokking at going to the Everton or Villa game i think as they are near my birthday.

  21. Slimgingergooner says:

    Hi Total,

    Theres absolutely nothing wrong with our squad depth. All im saying is that there are teams who have more quality in depth this year ie City, Chelsea (maybe), United (maybe), but that doesnt mean we cant win the league. As we saw last year and United have seen in the Everton game, it doesnt matter if you have 10 top class defenders if 8 are injured! Luck plays a huge part, but people tend to forget this when they have something to moan about!!!

  22. Total says:

    Sav at 11.33 that is a fine comment and I fully agree. :)

  23. Total says:

    Okay Slim, fully agree with you on the need for luck! :)

  24. evonne says:

    Slim – excellent news, you are going to LOVE it!!

  25. evonne says:

    Total – where can I watch Netherlands v Turkey tomorrow? I want to witness the moment one of your players is carried off the pitch on a stretcher. Sorry mate, I hope your country wins the game even with 10 men only :)

  26. Total says:

    Bryan, Adrian, I just read the Sagna article and maybe it is a bit early to pull big conclusions. It looks to me that a few quotes are put together in such a way that it looks he is unhappy and might want to leave. Like you, I hope Arsene sits down with him soon to a) explains Song’s departure to him and b) sign him up to a new contract. Definitely one of my favourite players.

  27. Total says:

    Hi Evonne, you can watch bsr failing miserably on Friday at ESPN (channel 34)! I know what you will be hoping for – you wicked woman! :lol:

    Thanks for the comment and I am jealous of you having been to the Paralympics. We tried to get tickets but in vain! :(

  28. LB says:

    Great read Total

    I must admit I thought it was the work of Rocky as I read down only to be respectfuly surprised at the end.

  29. Total says:

    Bryan and Adrian, once again I mixed you guys up! It was Adrian who yesterday made comments about Song I fully agree with – not Bryan. I might be getting senile at mid-forties! :(

  30. Bryan says:

    Total
    But players can’t be no different from us fans in terms of seeing what is happening at the club, they keep on seeing the teams best players leave & they get dissalusioned.
    Then they see a player that was a big success the season before who we didn’t need to sell & could of deffinately held on to, get sold, it is no surprise & it won’t just be Sagna thinking like that.
    Wenger has moaned about the problem he has but then he sells when he doesn’t need to, it makes no sense at all

  31. Total says:

    Thanks LB and a belated thanks for yesterday’s uplifting post.

    Bryan, it would only make sense from a book-balancing point of view. Would you not have swapped Cazorla for Song if you were Arsene and told to offset any money spent on players?

    It also looks like Arsene wants two deeper midfielders with all-round footie skills and not a heavy weight DM type this season. In that case, he is right in saying he has plenty of central midfielders.

    However, I am with you that if it is not explained properly, the fans and some players might get disillusioned. I wish we had kept him/been able to keep him.

  32. Bryan says:

    To be fair to your senile-ness Total,
    Its a fair mistake you made as I have banged on about Song a fair bit on here because I really rate him & had an affection for him as I watched him as a youngster on Barnets pitch producing quality performances consistantly.
    I remember telling the girl who sits next to me at the Emirates he will be a great player & her looking at me like I was a total nutter & then her telling me a year later, that now she knew what I was saying :-)

  33. GoonerB says:

    I hope we get Sagna to sign up again. I am not sure he should be partaking in interviews like that but his experience is still required for the next 3-4 seasons, as although I like the look of Jenkinson and Yennaris I think Sagnas experience in defence is still critically required. If he goes I am not sure what this would mean and I hope he is back to his best soon and a new deal is secured.

    I am starting to think the next departure will be Walcott and I actually think AW is going to promote from within rather than buy to replace in this instant. Every now and then one particular young player progresses quickly to a level where they can be integrated into the first team at an age which would normally be too soon. I think this is easier at an early age with attacking wide players rather than defenders who for me need more time to get into the first team. I think AW has earmarked Gnabry to replace Walcott from January. His minus point would be experience obviously, but his plus points are that he is physically stronger than most of his age and looks very strong and powerful, he is blisteringly quick to go with that strength, and has excellent technique also. I wonder if AW thinks that he can already give us what Walcott does but over the next 2-3 years will become even better. Just reading between the lines slightly. What do you guys think, could AW actually be considering this?

  34. Bryan says:

    I do not believe we had to sell to balance our books Total, I think we have made enough from transfers over the years to have just one poxy year that we spent more than we got in.

  35. Total says:

    Bryan, I share your admiration as well as the pain re Song. But we have got to let it go.

    Not sure whether you are into writing posts, but if you are, you would be a good person to write a contributory post to Songinho! :)

  36. GoonerB says:

    Total, I agree with you that AW seems to be playing with 2 deeper lying midfielders that not only provide defensive screening but can play a bit as well. This is maybe a bit similar to Barca where Arteta and Diaby are similar to Xavi and Busquets while Iniesta plays further forward like Cazorla. He has probably got Jack earmarked for this role also and then thinks that with Le Coq and Frimpong that he has enough cover. I believe if he finds that either of the latter 2 are not up to it he will bring in another but wants to have a chance to assess it first. I can go with that for now. I too liked Song but did feel he had certain flaws like being in Spurs penalty box 50m from the back 4 when we are 2-0 up and then conceeding primarily due to the huge hole in front of our back 4 (their 1st goal in that 2-0 up to 3-2 loss). Maybe it was down to him and not following instructions or maybe it was a lack of instruction from the coaches but either way there must be a reason for it and his departure should not hurt us as much as some previously. Time will tell..

  37. Total says:

    GoonerB, like you, I am at a loss re Theo. Who knows what is happening? Could it be that Wenger does not want to play Theo until his contract situation is sorted? With Gervinho and the Ox available, he can afford to not play Theo at the moment.

    Or is Arsenal giving off signs that he is no longer wanted and will be sold?

    If you force me, I go with the former, but I am not sure any more!

    I have not seen enough of Gnarby to give a view, but you seem to be impressed with him, which is great!

  38. Bryan says:

    Yes I will let it go with gritted teeth ;-)
    & i think I’ll leave it to the experts to write for Song lol

    Actually it has got me thinking after reading what many have said about Song, that a lot of Arsenal fans don’t seem to appreciate DM’s.
    I can remember in Gilberto’s 1st season or 2, he got loads of grief & most supporters knocked him.
    I stuck up for him then & said he done a lot of unseen donkey work & of course most fans eventually realised what he gave us eventually

  39. Total says:

    Agreed GoonerB, and there is also Ramsey and Rosicky who can play in those deeper roles as is JW of course.

  40. Total says:

    Bryan, I also like DM’s, especially those who can play a bit of footie as well. Sometimes I watched a game again, just concentrating on Songinho. Pure joy: a fantastic player!

  41. GoonerB says:

    Like Bryan I remember first seeing Song at Barnet also and I also stated I thought he would be very good in the future. I can still remember that game and I remember that he had good strength and a good leap on him and that he shielded the ball very well even with an opposition player in close attendance. He did the simple things well, won the ball and moved it on simply. I am also slightly sad to see him go but one thing I would say is that AW is fiercely loyal to his players and there must be a reason that none of us are aware of. He rarely cuts a player loose in his prime if that player wants to stay with us, and for me there must be a good reason. Did he really want to stay or did he really want Barca and intimated as much to AW?

    I wonder if it could be simply that the club now realise that they have mismanaged players contracts and have been duped by too many players who put things off and say they are relaxed about it and love Arsenal only to hold the club over a barrel when they get to their last year. Maybe the club said that is it from now on and have drawn a line under it, and that a player with 2 and a half years left either now shows a commitment to sign or is sold. maybe Song was just the first victim of this toughening up on contracts, and if so Sagna could be the next worry. After this season he will be in the same situation as Walcott and RVP and my feeling is soon after he is back from injury he will have to sign a new deal or be sold in January. In many ways I agree with the club toughening up here and hope it doesn’t bite us back, particularly where sagna is concerned. Having said that if he isn’t prepared to commit then the writing is likely on the wall anyway.

  42. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    In light of Sagnas words today and the subsequent comments on here surrounding it is any body else fascinated by the socialigical aspects about what is happening at Arsenal.

    When the 2005 team was disbanded (rather quickly) Ashley cole found that he had more friends at Chelsea than at Arsenal. Is the same thing happening now to those players remaining from the crop post 2005? I think it is, and personaly i have no problem with it.

    i could be totaly wide of the mark here, but i am a believer in group collectives and there dynamics. The post 2005 crop, in my opinion, were no good for each other and picked up bad habits. In there defence the collective was very young but i still feel they let the manager and club down. The way some of them have jumped ship in recent years also, again in my opinion, provides evidence of a flawed group as well as individuals.

    This current crop of players feels and looks better. What ever walk of life you are in your colleagues and peers can bring the best, and unfortunitaly, sometimes the worst out of you. I sense good vibes from this current bunch.

    In conclusion then….The title is ours.

  43. Gooner In Exile says:

    You can tell a TA post the minute you read the opening literary reference :D You know then that you are in for a considered piece of writing about our club.

    A poignant post for today it seems considering the twitter reaction to Sagnas interview.

    It’s very hard for any rational fan to question Wengers desire and his talent in rebuilding. But unfortunately football fans tend to be emotional wrecks which doesn’t help!

  44. Tony McComick says:

    Someone tell sagna to stop farting about…. Bhaaaahhh…

  45. Bryan says:

    Terry
    I do like your positiveness lol
    but don’t about your Ashley Cole theory because the little tosser ain’t got no friends :-D

  46. Bryan says:

    “but don’t know” that should be, damn typo’s haha

  47. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    Bryan, Ashley fullfilled all his fantasies when he went to Chelsea. The only thing that worries me is what kind of depraved mind longs to be John Terrys Gimp.

  48. Bryan says:

    Terry
    Ashley didn’t fulfill ALL his fantasies going to Chelsea,
    just ask Cheryl, he obviously had quite afew more fantasies to fulfill :-D

  49. RockyLives says:

    Fantastic piece of writing Total.

    Apart from the wonderful literary analogy, I think you have perfectly laid out all the reasons why we have not been able to spend spend spend for a long time.

    But that’s changing now and we are ready to switch from being the mouse to being the cat.

    Regarding the Song discussion, do you really think we would have sold him if AW had wanted to keep him?

    I don’t believe it had anything to do with balancing the books. Something has gone on there with the player and Arsene decided to cut his losses. I know that publicly AW said there had been no issues with Song’s behaviour or professionalism – but he has never slagged off a single player in public in his entire time at Arsenal. Even the ones who have stabbed him in the back by leaving and then criticising the club.

    If there was dirty laundry with Song (and I suspect there was), there was never any chance of AW airing it in public.

    Whatever the reason for his departure, we feel a more balanced team without him, in my opinion at least.

  50. goonermichael says:

    I disagree that Song was sold to balance the books. It doesn’t tally with anything that was said by him or his agents ar anything that I read. The club were going to talk about a contract extension on 1st September (according to Song’s agents) Song’s agent started touting around Europe and Barca showed an interest. I think we look more balanced now he’s gone.
    Re Sagna
    That interview was over a week ago and it’s brought up now as Arsenal fans seem to be the most responsive to negative news. I don’t even bother reading it. If you can read French I’d do that as it’s bound to be spun a bit.

    I don’t know why people are going on about a DM. We are not going to play with one. The mancs don’t. It’s not compulsory.

  51. Total says:

    “In many ways I agree with the club toughening up here and hope it doesn’t bite us back, particularly where sagna is concerned. Having said that if he isn’t prepared to commit then the writing is likely on the wall anyway.”

    GoonerB, you are making a good point: toughening up is ok, but it can easily bite us back. We cannot become a successful club with just a bunch of hired professionals; to be hired and let go off whenever we like to. We need a core of players who love the club and remain loyal to it (for at least a long time). We need a number of players with a passionate commitment next those with a more calculative commitment to our club. This requires a caring attitude towards players and a bit of a family atmosphere.

    On the other hand, with a strong investment in youth players and Arsene’s ability now to buy quality experienced players if and when a players wants to leave (as per my post today), you can see why Arsenal might not be in a rush to offer Sagna a new contract.

    I hope the club will be able to find the right balance.

  52. RockyLives says:

    As for Sagna’s quotes (if they’re genuine)… great – a player who has spent most of the last year on the treatment table while drawing millions in wages chooses to question the strategy of the club.

    And describing Song as one of our best two players last year? Hmmm… Song provided some amazing assists for RvP but probably cost us as many points as he earned us thanks to wandering off from his defensive duties at inappropriate times.

    I think Kozzer, Verm, Arteta, the BFG, Szcz, Rosicky and even Theo could all have reason to feel a bit disgruntled about Sagna suggesting that Song contributed more than they did last season.

  53. Total says:

    Off to collect daughter of school, back in a bit :)

  54. goonermichael says:

    Someone(who’s not ITK)told me that jon terry is skint and has remortgaged his house. If that’s true it’s fantastic. wanker

  55. chas says:

    I love your philosophising posts, TA.

    Until I saw the cat’s interjection, I thought A Little Fable was about getting old and becoming set in one’s ways. Horizons becoming finite in contrast to the limitless possibilities of youth and death the trap at the end of the narrowing passage.

    Anyway, having got the wrong end of the stick initially, I’d say Wenger has managed to keep the walls of his Arsenal career from narrowing too much, having dispensed with a few unfaithful scraggy tom-cats on the way. :)

    The Trial always reminds me of recurring dreams I have where I can’t make head or tail of why I’m in some frustrating predicament. Must read it again.

    How Wenger has managed to get together another group of players who want to play for each other and have the maturity to set their sights on a goal and see it through to its completion, I’ll never know.

    The ghosts of Terry’s underpants are stirring.

  56. chas says:

    GM,
    Have you got a link to the original L’Equipe article?
    So far I can only find regurgitated translations, which are probably out of context.

  57. RockyLives says:

    Chas
    here’s a link:

    http://www.lequipe.fr/Football/Actualites/Sagna-se-pose-des-questions/311270

    The quotes look to me pretty much as they’ve been reported in the English media.

  58. Bryan says:

    Rocky
    with respect, I think you are way off the mark with your Song comments,
    I believe the stats said we won 33% of games when Song didn’t play. Personelly I don’t remember all the mistakes he made or he certainly didn’t make anymore than any other player & I thought Vermaelen was poor last season.

  59. chas says:

    Thanks, Rocky.

  60. chas says:
  61. goonermichael says:

    No I dhaven’t chas. I haven’t taken any notice of the quotes though. It’s all over twitter and it’s already boring.

  62. RockyLives says:

    Fair dos Bryan – we all see things differently.

    But we failed to win all but one of the games when Arteta was absent – so even the biggest Song fan would have to admit he was less important to our season than the Spaniard.

    I’m not anti Song – I think he’s a very good player but I think we are showing signs of being more balanced without him.

  63. RockyLives says:

    “Glove Butler” :D

  64. Bryan says:

    I don’t think the side showing signs of being more balanced is anything to do with Song going, I think its more to do with other players coming in & Steve Bould’s influence

  65. chas says:

    That isn’t the interview, though is it?
    Looks like a couple of quotes extracted from an interview.

  66. goonermichael says:

    Follow his link at the bottom of that tweet. It’s funny how he keps the Ox’s real name as it fits. I nearly lissed myself last night

  67. jnyc says:

    Brilliant work TA. I like our new collective, i really got the feeling from off the field clips that song was a bit of a clown, maybe unprofessional, not serious enough for bould maybe ? But his barca desire was rumoured a year ago, and he turned down our offer last seaon. Had to go. ——-
    i will say again, i like our squad and depth in defense, love midfield, i think the best in the league, but im still not happy up front yet depth wise, though i do like giroud.

  68. goonermichael says:

    I’m sure you’re right Bryan. I don’t think we’ll miss hin though.

  69. chas says:
  70. chas says:
  71. Bryan says:

    Rocky
    I think Arteta is a star, don’t get me wrong but As Total said, for me RVP & Song were our biggest performers last year & then probably Arteta.

    GM
    of course I’m right ;-)

  72. chas says:
  73. goonermichael says:

    You need to see the picture that go with Arsenal Gent’s squad

  74. chas says:

    What picture?
    Do you mean the one in the lockerz link, GM?

  75. chas says:

    Seeing the pictures without the description spoils it.

  76. goonermichael says:

    Ther are pictures of the whole squad chas,

    http://pics.lockerz.com/u/arsenal.gentlema6714/photos

  77. chas says:

    Yes I know that, but the pictures need to be in with the description surely?
    Oh well never mind.

  78. Bryan says:

    lol Gervinho doesn’t look any different :-D

  79. Total says:

    Terry said: ‘I sense good vibes from this current bunch.’ Spot on mr Positive – the goal celebrations were a joy to watch! :)

    Hi GiE, it is still relatively new for us all to live with that seasonal element of insecurity of what is going to happen to our squad. The press love to tap into that fear…

    Hi GM, I loved the ‘human-teeth shark’ pictures you posted the other day.

    GM/RL :)

    Re Song, we did not have to sell to Barca, but we wanted to. Some say it was done because of a bad attitude, I say it was done to balance the books. You can tell me a lot about Song, but I don’t believe that he is a bad egg, and if there have been any issues than I am sure Arsene and Bould would be able to sit down with him and change his attitude again.

    I disagree that we look more balanced now. We looked just as balanced when both Arteta and Song were playing together last year, and now that we have a proper AM in place, I reckon Song would have had an even better season. However, he is gone and we have to move on.

    Chas said: ‘How Wenger has managed to get together another group of players who want to play for each other and have the maturity to set their sights on a goal and see it through to its completion, I’ll never know.’

    Chas/Terry:

    It does look like Arsene is selecting more carefully on player characteristics recently. The new signings all seem to be very talented, hard working, team players, positive/happy. Maybe Terry is right…. ;)

  80. goonermichael says:

    The pictures have descriptions

  81. Bryan says:

    I was thinking that as Cazorla is so good with either foot, maybe he could give his right foot to Theo because I’m sure Theo has 2 left feet :-D

  82. goonermichael says:

    Total
    I have nothing against Song and I think he’s a good player. I think his agents are another thing though. I think darren dein is deliberately destabilising the club.

  83. Bryan says:

    As much as I hate agents, I think the player has to be saying something to his agent for the shit to hit the fan

  84. Total says:

    Loving those moustachio pictures – Santos looks so funny!

  85. Total says:

    darren dein is a wanker but Arsenal know how to use him too.

  86. Bryan says:

    Santos obviously wasn’t driving at the time the picture was taken otherwise he would be a blur

  87. 26may1989 says:

    Kafka? Bloody hell, Total, you’ve really upped the stakes in terms of literary allusions. I’m going to do some serious research next time I write a post, just to try to keep up with you.

    But seriously, fine contribution, full of insight.

    Re Sagna, I’ve read the interview in French and the translation is accurate. The edition of l’Equipe has Giroud and Benzema on the front cover (the Frenchies are fretting about the fact that neither of their two strikers has yet scored a goal for their clubs) and below the Sagna interview there’s a pretty flattering piece about Coquelin. In contrast with Sagna’s shock at Song’s departure, Coq describes how Wenger told him in July that he (Coq) is an important person in tr squad and that Wenger was counting on him. Coq goes on to say that he realises that Song’s departure creates an opportunity for him and he’s going to take it.

  88. Total says:

    Bryan :)

    Here is a drawing of him reaching top speed:

    Blurred face

  89. Red Arse says:

    I have nothing against Song, indeed I think he is a very useful player, but I am tickled at how history gets rewritten so quickly.

    Song originally came to the gunners from Bastia in August 2005 and made his first team debut in September 2005. He then was in and out of the team, but managed to play in several CL games, including scoring against the ‘Pool in Jan 2007 before going to Charlton on loan.

    He was young and did not immediately claim a first team spot as of right, but he was clearly a talent recognised by many.

    The way Bryan tells it, it would seem Song was just another unrecognized youth team prospect he saw earning his spurs on the pitch at Barnet.

    The facts do not support that view. At Bastia he was a ‘hot property’ wanted by many European clubs, and was recruited straight into our first team squad and almost immediately made his debut.

    Now a real Arsenal bred tyro called Jack Wilshire did earn his spurs on the pitch at Barnet, where I often saw him play, and he did not remain unrecognized by me and many, many others for very long.

    Sadly, I thought JET, who played alongside Jack, and was physically his complete opposite, seemed to have both tremendous skill as well as size and I thought he would have a tremendous future for us.

    Shows how wrong I was! :-)

  90. Bryan says:

    Haha Total thats funny
    you must leave the crayons alone dude :-)

  91. Bryan says:

    Red
    I don’t remember to many people bigging up Song but as I said I watched him a whole season for the reserves at Barnet & thought most times he was the best player on the pitch. Although I do not dissagree with you about Wilshire.
    Song was considered by most Arsenal fans as useless when he went on loan to Charlton as I remember it

  92. Total says:

    Hi 26, you seem to have an impressive command of the French language and thanks for the summaries. Interesting to see le Coq having a different look at Song’s departure than his fellow countryman.

    I guess if we are serious about our investment in youth, both in terms of getting players into the first team and not waste our money, then one of the consequences – some will say benefits – is that experienced players will be moved on if and when young talent is ready to step up. Of course this is not without risk and it could make the more senior players quite restless, and perhaps wanting to jump ship before they get pushed…

  93. Bryan says:

    There is something about Coquelin I really like,
    I hope you all noticed I spelt his whole name in that sentence & it still sounds wrong :-D

  94. Red Arse says:

    Bryan,

    If you saw a lanky, rather badly dressed guy standing next to you in the freezing cold at Underhill most weeks, that would likely have been me!! :-)

    You are right about some of the poor mood music about Song from a section of Arsenal fans at the time, but the Charlton fans, a couple of whom I went to games with, when the Gooners were away, really rated him and hoped that the loan would be made permanent.

    You weren’t the guy at Barnet who wore a leather bum freezer jacket, whatever the freezing weather, with ancient winkle picker shoes and skin tight jeans with holes everywhere were you?
    I rather liked the outfit — but it was probably TerryM. the Stretcher Man!! :-)

  95. Bryan says:

    Red
    oh that was you, I gave you a couple of pence to get yourself a cup of tea lol
    & no I was the really good looking guy who had a handful of all the little gooner kids that lived in my road ;-)

  96. Red Arse says:

    TA,

    Your complimenting 26 on his command of French, made me remember the guy on ESPN a while ago who insisted on referring to Le Coq as ‘Coq au Vin’. ['Chicken braised in red wine', for those not as gifted as 26] :-)

    Made me feel hungry each time he said it. Now I just see a spunky cockerel every time Coquelin makes a tackle! :-)

  97. Total says:

    RA/Bryan :)

    For those who like Kafka’s little fable – here is a short visualisation of it:

  98. Bryan says:

    you get your Coquel-in, you get your Coquel-out, in out, in out shake it all about :-D
    Ok enough of that I must go, thanks for the interlectual comments & the fun guys

  99. Red Arse says:

    Bryan, yes I remember now, and I should have said thank you!! :-)

    Great place to take the kids to see the reserves and the aspiring kids teams.
    My pop took me there often enough, too. (a few years ago now, sadly).

  100. Total says:

    RA @4.58: is that really true? Did he call AOC Ox Tail Soup?

  101. Total says:

    Bryan, enjoy rest of your day! :)

  102. Total says:

    Coffee and Walcott cake?? :)

  103. Red Arse says:

    TA, you are a naughty boy. Of course, in the Netherlands you are known to get your chickens and your oxen mixed up!! :-)

    Anyway, I am off for a lie down — all this intellectual philosophizing by the denizens on AA is way above my head, and has scrambled the two hemispherical marbles I call my brain.

    First I am going to consult Rock Afeller to find out what you are all talking about!! :-)

    Maybe later! :-)

  104. neamman says:

    I think Sagna is just improving his negotiating position when they offer him a new deal

  105. LB says:

    Ahh, so the cat is the trap.

    I thought there was a typical mouse trap in the corner of the room the kind that springs shut when the mouse eats the cheese but before the mouse got there the cat, who was also in the room, ate it up.

    I have been trying to work out the significance of the fable all day.

  106. LB says:

    Got it, so what Kafka was trying to say was that BSR is a banned word, simples.

  107. Red Arse says:

    TA,

    As you know, I am not an intellectual, but Kafka’s story has very little ………….. well….. nothing…………. to do with a cartoon type cat and mouse per se.

    He is making the point that we are all trapped by fears of our own making, concerning our particular position in society, and the restrictions this imposes upon us, and the societal boundaries that dictate our choices within in it.

    He is suggesting, perhaps, that we should try to make decisions and choices with our lives so that we can escape from the trap those boundaries present to us, else our fears will inevitably lead us to oblivion.

    I suspect that in prefixing your Post with his short story, you were trying to show that in footballing terms, Arsene is trying to break out from the sterile restrictions of so many of his peers and their acceptance of current football dogma, by forging a new and exciting path away from the fears and restrictions this dogma brings to successful management of a modern team management.

    Of course I could be wrong and you had no such thought!! :-)

  108. Red Arse says:

    Thanks for explaining that to me, Rocker!! :-)

  109. Red Arse says:

    The final ‘management’, above, is superfluous, but you all knew that anyway!! :-)

  110. Total says:

    Yep LB, you’ve got it, and the new word is CAAAAAAAAAAAzorla!

  111. Total says:

    RA, I believe Kafka is pointing out the fear people have of freedom, of thinking for themselves, of needing guidance, a dogma, a religion etc, and what this will inevitably lead to. It was, apparently, it bit of black humour by him.

    I like the end where the cat says: ‘you only need to change your direction’, indication that the mouse will get a new chance (once again?). The link with Arsene, however tenuous, is that he has had to try different directions but finds himself choosing options that keep leading him back to the cat.

  112. 26may1989 says:

    But can this Kafka play DM?

  113. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Brilliant post Total. Brilliant.
    Great film for you to unearth, was The Trial by Orson Welles. It was filmed in a deserted railway station smack in the middle of Paris. Gare d’Orsay. Now Musee d’Orsay.
    I’m a fan of Welles, Kafka and Paris, so it worked for me!
    Although I’m a Non Executive Director of the Book Balancing Club, I’ve got no idea what happened to Song. No saying “thanks” to the fans at the last game of the season stank though. (stank…good word).
    Still not around. All work. Which reminds me of my work motto: If at first you don’t succed, change the bloody plan”. Do I sound like Total, Arsene or Kafka? All three wise men.
    Bye.

  114. glic says:

    Great post Total.
    If you sit back and think deeply ( not something I normally do :lol: ), what Wenger has achieved against all the odds of the oily Canute conundrum, well, it`s nothing short of amazing. Even today, on the BBC Football website gossip page, there`s a story that Man City offered 200M Euros for Ronaldo with a 20M Euro wage pa,( yes I know it`s gossip) I clicked on to the full storey , but It`s in Spanish. Love to know how they would work that one around FFP !.

    Nice day in Orcland, I got wolf whistled as I passed a building site, the builders all had their tops off in the sun getting a tan, I bet their Husbands at home wouldn`t have been too happy !. Orcs with big Norks !.

  115. MickyDidIt89 says:

    26,
    Camus was a goalie, so probably :-)
    Really off.

  116. glic says:

    Love the Paralympics. It made me think back to when I was young, playing football over Weavers Fields in Bethnal Green, me and my mates would play against these older guys, one of them was a one armed shirt lifter, but was a very good player. We ( I say we, yes it was me ) nicknamed him “Bandit”, as in, ” One armed bandit fruit machine ” and joked ,”If you pulled his arm down , some seamen would come out of his arse “.
    He was a tough bastard though and if someone wound him up, he would say , ” I`ll take you on with one arm tied behind my back “!. Oh how we all wished someone would have actually taken him up on the offer. It would have been interesting to say the least and f**king funny !.

  117. RockyLives says:

    So about Kafka…

    I thought that the moral of the story was this:

    If you have mice, get a cat :)

    Pavarotti used to be a GK too (or Glove Butler, to quote Arsenal Gent) as was the former Pope, John Paul II.

    I suppose Pav would have been an even better Glove Butler in his later years – just wedge him between the posts and watch the shots bounce off.

  118. chas says:

    I saw someone at a gig in Nottingham wearing a green football shirt with Camus and the number 1 on the back.
    I thought it was an existentialist joke until I found out he used to play in goal.

  119. glic says:

    I would have thought, If you have mice, build a cat shaped house !.

    Thank you for the mention last night Rocky, it means alot. :)

  120. RockyLives says:

    GLiC
    One-armed bandit! A likely story :)

  121. chas says:

    The jackpot is in the ‘andle on a normal fruit machine.

  122. chas says:

    Would you f*ck with this man?

    Arsenal Assistant Manager Steve Bould

  123. RockyLives says:

    You should never hold a candle if you don’t know where it’s been…

  124. RockyLives says:

    Chas
    I can believe he had Song by the throat.

  125. Shard says:

    Total,

    I haven’t had time earlier, and couldn’t even think of an appropriate comment. But what a WOW-SER of an article. Brilliant read.

    Anyway..To bed now.. It’s 2 AM. Goodnight folks

  126. Total says:

    Thanks for the evening comments, guys, and Micky, thanks for the film tip. I will have a look on line for it. :)

  127. Gooner In Exile says:

    Sorry I haven’t been around much today….I’ve been doing “nesting” like things at the direction of Mrs GiE, the spare room has been cleared and the first of the baby kit is arriving in scarily big cardboard boxes.

    On the Sagna quotes it seems to me that L’Equipe are up to their old tricks, remember Arsenal in the past have stepped in and shown transcripts of the full interview when they feel that context has been removed.

    I also think we need to get a grip on the issue, he is 29 has suffered two broken legs in a year and has 2 years left, as unfortunate as that is for Mr Consistent we may have to let this one slide, that’s two years of apprenticeship for Corporal Jenkinson to serve, and the only way he will leave the club is being told to go, I’d take 20 of his ilk every day over the Nasris of this world.

  128. Gooner In Exile says:

    GliCi used to play against one armed player (lost the other in a motorcycle accident). He was a nightmare to play against as my defenders never knew which way he was going to turn, only having one arm meant his arms did not give away his feints and shimmies as much as a two armed player. He was very gifted though and was on pro books at the time of the accident so ended up schlepping round the non leagues.

  129. glic says:

    chas @ 8:50pm
    There`s probably some shirtlifters who would say yes to that question , depending on how you read it !.
    I thought he looked quite hard in that photo……untill I noticed his white socks……..if he was really hard, they would have been barbed wire socks !.
    Right, off to my bed of nails and my barbed wire pillow, where Mrs glic will knock me out to sleep with her ” you piece of shit ” engraved knuckle dusters !.

  130. oz gunner says:

    great comments today. cheers RA for explaining it better in your 6.00

    I just likened it to RWE’s quote: “Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”

    Cheers for the book tips TA

    @ 26 (7.33)

    haha

  131. oz gunner says:

    Anyone wanting to read ‘The Trial’ (book TA is referring too) here is a link to the free e-book.

    http://www.planetebook.com/ebooks/The-Trial.pdf

  132. Red Arse says:

    Morning people, :-)

    Oops, no one here — where’s the Breakfast Club mob, Micky, Chas and Evonne?

    Helloooooooooooooooo

  133. Gooner In Exile says:

    Morning RA.

  134. chas says:

    For those not bored with Sunday’s game yet. :)
    Santi v dippers

  135. chas says:

    Morning, RA & GIE,

    Micky is President of the Wiff-Waff club, Director of the Book-Balancers Union and Commanding Officer of the Breakfast Club.
    If he’s busy the club doesn’t convene.

  136. chas says:

    I just realised that was the Freddie Ljungberg look-a-like president of Montpelier at 4:14.

  137. Red Arse says:

    Hi Chas and GIE, :-)

    I always enjoy reading the Breakfast Club’s verbal sallies, and you (Chazzer) extracting the michael out of Evonne.

    [You'll be OK, Chas, that will baffle her!!] :-)

  138. chas says:

    RAzzer,

    I believe you have that the wrong way round. Tis Evonne extracting the Michal out of me. You too, you naughty boy.

  139. Red Arse says:

    GIE,

    The Burnley Board turning him down because of his incomprehensible babble is really funny.

    I suspect that no one at the Spuds wanted to admit they did not understand a word he said, a bit like the Emperor’s non existent clothes, and they all wisely nodded and gave him the job!! :-)

  140. Red Arse says:

    Surely not me, Chas? I merely like to facilitate! :-)

  141. chas says:

    Let’s hope he solidificates the spuds position in the bottom half of the table.

  142. Red Arse says:

    I recently read an article in the local paper that made me think the AA regulars are not alone out there.

    “SUICIDAL SISTER KILLS TWIN BY MISTAKE!”

    Where is Micky when you need comforting? :-)

  143. chas says:

    David Bentley – what a waste of a football career.

  144. chas says:

    Micky is busy selling acorns to squirrels. :)

  145. Red Arse says:

    I knew when he started all that nonsense “I don’t want to be the next Denis Bergkamp, I want to be the first David bentley” that he did not have his head screwed on properly.

    As you say — a shamefully wasted career.

  146. Red Arse says:

    I was dreaming about journos last night after all that stuff about bias against the Arsenal.

    Then I looked in the mirror this morning and realised that corduroy pillows were making headlines! :-)

  147. Red Arse says:

    Acorns to squirrels ………..tsk, tsk, he will never forgive you.
    Especially after the squirrels negotiated such a big discount!! :-)

  148. oz gunner says:

    Morning breakfast crew, and the newly morning bird RA

    Bentley deserves everything he gets, he used up all his lucky when he fluked that goal against us.

  149. chas says:

    All that intelligence wasted.
    “Me dad’s given me loads, but I can’t remember what he said.”
    Some might require subtitles to understand.

  150. evonne says:

    Morning RA – I’m a late starter
    What’s that about Bentley? That goal was awesome, I give him that

  151. evonne says:

    FC Rostov, oh dear, that is a waster of a promising career

  152. oz gunner says:

    From Conor Henderson:

    “The manager blocked the loan because he said he wants me around the first team,” said Henderson. “This is the final season of my contract and I need to be playing. It’s a good sign for the future that the manager is protecting me, but my priority is to progress my career.

    “I just hope that a move is arranged after I come back from international duty when the loan window re-opens.

    “I’ve been at Arsenal since I was a kid but all I’ve played so far this season is reserve games in the new U-21 league.

    “That’s not enough at this stage of my career. The plan is to come back from a loan spell challenging for a first-team spot. If I have to leave on a permanent basis at the end of the season, so be it.”

    I’m all for players being hungry to play, but you have to earn your stripes and your opportunity will come (it came for szcz). Especially after he injured his cruciate ligament last year.

  153. oz gunner says:

    Not wrong chas, he is dumb as a post. “i dunno”, “what’s that”

  154. The situation is of great concern to Winterburn, who thinks the club need to act fast.

    “I would think that there has to be an internal review at the football club as to why several players are getting right down to inside the last year of their contracts,” he told Talk Sport.

    “Really you need to start nailing them down when they’ve got a year-and-a-half to go.

    “When you drop inside that last year, in players’ minds they’re starting to question if the clubs still want them, a little bit.

    What a knob. All these players have been offered contract or have been refused talks by the players.

  155. Big Raddy says:

    Oz. Is this the Conor Henderson whom AFC carried whilst he spent almost a year on the injury list?

    chas. I was there that night Bentley scored a hat rick at Highbury – he looked true quality. As the philosopher Forrest Gump says “Stupid is as stupid does”

  156. oz gunner says:

    It sure is Big Daddy. He’s only just come back, I understand he wants game time but surely you’d think it’s a good sign that Arsene doesn’t want you to go out on loan. Championship matches vs Cups. At least that way Arsene sees what you’re capable of first hand.

  157. Big Raddy says:

    Oz. Sadly, the young man has advisers who do not have his interests at heart.

  158. Rasp says:

    Morning all…….

    ….. New post ……

  159. Lebenglese says:

    A very enjoyable read mate, loved the fable!

  160. hiranom20 says:

    Wenger has a Bsc. in Mechanical Engineering, restructuring AFC is child’s play…

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