The Rise, Decline, And Fall — or Rise of Arsene’s Empire?

The Roman Empire was perhaps the most famous in history, but as we all know, its rise decline and fall saw a city state expand to conquer what was then the whole of the known world, before its rulers allowed the barbarians to infiltrate the Empire, emulate its own tactics and finally destroy it.

Are we now seeing a similar fate befalling Arsene’s Footballing Empire?

Arsene Wenger became manager of Arsenal in 1996 with a revolutionary philosophy of building teams that were to become famous for their desire to entertain, not just Gooners, but every other football fan throughout the world with an over-riding emphasis on attack.

Wenger’s purist style of management saw him buy and develop only players with absolutely sublime technical ability, allied to speed of thought and an athletic speed and grace to match. His immediate acquisition of the relatively unknown Patrick Viera to join the already established genius, Denis Bergkamp, marked his intention to mould his first Arsenal team into one of the best and most stunningly graceful attacking teams of all times.

The advent of this brilliant managerial philosophy, together with equally gifted players, soon saw the explosive rise of Arsene’s Empire, as his attack minded vision saw him quickly acquire other players such as Titti Henry, Mark Overmars and Robert Pires, who all had the requisite specialist, technical skills which enabled Arsenal to strive for, and reach, the very zenith of footballing achievement in England.

League and FA Cup Doubles in 1997/98 and 2001/02, and other League and Cup trophies, heralded the success of his policy, and with his ‘Invincibles’ team also redefining defensive cohesiveness he seemed to have set the seal on many triumphant years of success stretching into the future, with Wenger being raised to the apotheosis of his profession.

This fabulous attacking style was in absolute contrast to the dour and pragmatic philosophy of other English clubs, with their reliance on clod hopping defenders and resolute ‘defend until the last man’ attitude, and this only served to underline the extent and influence of his coaching, dietary and man management skills, and Arsenal rapidly became the ‘second favourite team’ for fans of other clubs worldwide.

Then came what many have seen as the beginning of the decline of Arsene’s great footballing empire, caused initially by the pressing need to move from the old, much loved Highbury stadium to the newly built Emirates stadium, still oddly lacking in atmosphere and which has yet to carve its own chunk of history, while the attendant astronomical costs of that venture are still hanging heavily over the club’s ability to fully compete with the other top clubs in financial parity.

Substantial monies needed to continue Arsene’s philosophy of acquiring top quality players for his grand team rebuilding designs dried up, and this, together with the arrival of Abramovich, and the other no mark oligarchs who then proceeded to lavish obscene and apparently unlimited amounts of money on their own clubs’ transfer targets, and in upgrading

their training facilities and scouting systems, saw Arsenal lose ground against them, slowly at first, and then at an ever increasing rate, which saw our club incrementally drop from being a ‘top 2’ team, to a ‘top 3’ team, to a struggling ‘top 4’ team, and this year – who knows?

This astronomical rise and subsequent slow decline in the fortunes of Arsene’s empire was compounded by changes in the attitudes of some of our most gifted Arsenal players who began to question the vision and desire of the manager, and opted, instead, to leave and pursue their careers elsewhere by joining our closest competitors, driven by both a lust for money, unbounded by well meaning ‘socialistic’ limits, and also for the trophies that have persistently evaded Arsene for many years.

So, you might ask, was that all it took to bring about the reversal in the fortunes of our club?

No, that is not quite right!

A change in absolute, mutually agreeable, shared ownership, occasioned by a savage internecine bout of warfare, between previous friends David Dein and Danny Fizman, eventually saw the equally fractious acquisition of the majority shareholding in the club by ‘Silent Stan’ Kroenke, who swiftly lived up to his name by becoming an absentee landlord/owner, who immediately delegated the running of the club to his appointed managers, with Arsene Wenger quickly asserting himself as the real power behind the throne.

The ability of absolute power to ‘corrupt’ absolutely, is evident in Arsene’s apparent reluctance to delegate material control of first team coaching, or the acquiring or firing of youth team players to either Pat Rice, or Steve Bould when he was Youth team coach, as has been reported by a number of Arsenal ‘sources’ naturally reluctant to be named.

Be that as it may, Arsene has also proudly spoken of his own direct involvement in every aspect and stage of the new stadium’s design and building plans, not as an auxiliary adviser, but as a principal and administrator.

In addition, and of particular concern to many fans, frustrated by Arsenal’s transfer policy and salary structure, is the admission by Mr Wenger that he is personally responsible for Arsenal’s ‘socialist’ salary structure, as well as the enforcement of the transfer budget; the calculation of the transfer value of potential recruits; the salaries to be offered to them; and the final, often fatally protracted, decision as to whether or not to buy and when that should be, which has apparently caused failure in acquiring certain players.

In effect, if all these observations turn out to be true, Arsene has effectively, and primarily, subverted the authority of the Chief Executive who is powerless to retaliate, and Gazidis has probably calculated, correctly, that Kroenke, in any dispute between himself and Wenger, will take the view that it is easier to replace Gazidis than Wenger. Incidentally, this may explain some of the vague and conflicting quotes attributed to Gazidis.

Whatever the cause, your correspondent believes that a tipping point is rapidly nearing, where the future of our great manager will be decided, either by the rapid fall of his Empire, with the concomitant premature ending of a visionary manager’s career, accompanied by a

quickening descent of our club into mid-table mediocrity or a near miraculous change in policy will be needed to save the day.

Any student of management would surely agree that Arsene needs to relinquish his ancillary control of the club, however competently an economics graduate might feel he is doing, and allow others to oversee and manage club finances, and to delegate coaching and day to day footballing matters to those such as Steve Bould, and entrust the minutiae of transfer dealings to Gazidis and Laws, and single-mindedly focus, exclusively, on his footballing vision for the club he has done so much for, and almost singlehandedly transformed, over the years.

All the intellectual power, sheer brilliance and force of personality of Arsene Wenger will be needed to stabilise the current decline in our footballing fortunes. He will need to regroup and reassess the club’s footballing needs and the resources necessary for the building of yet another legendary, trophy winning team, and just leave finding the funding wherewithal for this latest project to others, and he will then undoubtedly succeed in leaving a fitting legacy for a truly exceptional man.

There is a clear choice to be made by both Arsene Wenger and the club management, as outlined above, and, depending on which option is taken, could decide the future footballing and financial success of our club, or result in a huge setback from which it might take a lifetime to recover from.

Emotions are already running high amongst many fans, and a growing number are beginning to mutter about the merits of the forced retirement of Arsene Wenger, but I am confident, that the right decision will be made for the benefit of the club, and this will soon herald the dawn of a new era in the club’s rich history.

The Rise, Decline and RISE of Arsene Wenger’s Empire, is within reach, he must grasp it!

Written by Red Arse

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175 Responses to The Rise, Decline, And Fall — or Rise of Arsene’s Empire?

  1. Shubham says:

    It seems to me like we are nearing the end of the ‘Wenger Era’. Whether he can resurrect his empire is a matter of debate. So many things appear dysfunctional at Arsenal. You are right when you say, absolute power can corrupt absolutely. Wenger needed a strong character (Owner or CEO) to manage the club while he ran the football operations. When lines disappear things get muddled. That is precisely what has happened with Wenger and Arsenal.

  2. DAWA says:

    Good write up. Anything that have a begining must surely have an end. I agree with you except there is change of policy and relinguishing some of his power,it is , matter of time for Wenger’s empire to collapse.

  3. VCC says:

    Take a bow Red Arse. That is up there with a Rockylicious.

  4. Redcore says:

    Great Post. But AW has often said that his is a very hands-on approach and I think he is proud of it too.He did not trust Bould to get the substitution call right in the CL game so I think that it is damn near impossible for AW to be a hands off type of leader.

    That said I think people are writing him off pretty soon. A few astute buys in January could see his stock rise again. Hope he finds those buys..

  5. Excellent blog, very insightful showing a clear understanding of where are Arsenal are at the moment. Certainly agree with 90% of the observations. There is no doubt that the club is at the crossroads. We can only hope that Wenger and his players can still turn it around, but the performances of the team and the press conference utterances of the manager make this seem unlikely.
    Do not think Steve Bould is the answer now or in the future.

  6. sleepinggiant says:

    If (and granted its a big if) the stories about Guardiola are true, we have the perfect-get out of this mess. In our hearts we all know that Arsene Wenger will not raise Arsenal to any heights again. I am certain that even that strange breed who seem to have a loyalty to the man over and above the club know that deep down. Its not an intellectual thing, but a visceral one. The players at Arsenal are far better than they have shown in the past three years. Not good enough to win the league, but good enough to get close. But it is impossible to be excited by this team. We know the wrong turns they will take, becaues they have consistently taken them before. The personnel have changed, the mistakes and lacck of character never do. It is over for Arsene Wenger here and the truth is it has been for a couple of years. I expect ot be criticised for this, but Im certain if every one us sits back and reflects on what we expect from Arsenal nowadays, irrespective of who is or isn’t signed, we will acknowledge that the answer is, sadly, not very much.. A good example is the cup – we got out of jail against Swansea but who among us ended the game with the old glow, the one that says ‘I really think our name is on it this year’. I suspect none of us. Because (and boy do I hope I am wrong) we won’t win the cup. Even if we get to the final, we won’t win it because we are no longer going anywhere on the field.

    If the creator of the greatest team in modern football wants to take over at Arsenal in the summer, there is no argument for standing in his way. The board are are morally (actually, under their fiduciary duty to the club they are legally) obliged to do the best for the club. It is a choice between Wenger 2013 and Guardiola 2013…well its not a choice, is it?

  7. Rasp says:

    Great stuff RA, I’m sure you know that I am in complete agreement with the points you make regarding AW’s role at the club and his passion for a socialist wage structure.

    I think the analogy with the Roman empire is good and can also be extended to concluding that he is the architect of his own downfall.

    The things he is/was very good at have all come to fruition. We cannot heap enough praise on him for his achievements up to and during the building of the stadium.

    The problem is that he has built an empire, with all the associated structures and accoutrements but his army is weaker than ever before and therefore his defence is ineffective and his attack toothless.

    Alright that’s flowery language, but what I’m basically saying is our ground, training facility etc etc are fantastic but our team isn’t and the peasants are revolting :?

    If man city have sent back 10,000 tickets because they can’t sell them then there is a message. Season ticket renewals have dropped dramaticfally. Supporters want to see the success on the pitch that our status and financial turnover should be capable of producing … but we’re going backwards in footballing terms at the moment and Caesar may just have to fall on his sword because he doesn’t seem to be able to turn things around..

  8. Red Arse says:

    Morning Guys, :-)

    Some interesting responses on a subject that has become a difficult and contentious issue between the Arsenal fans, regarding the way forward for the club’s management.

  9. Ren Vassilliou says:

    As Much as I have massive respect for Arsene Wenger I am convinced that the only way forward now for Arsenal is a new Owner and then maybe a new Manager , we have seen the same pattern and same film and game once to often , Kroenke is the Man that should be going fast ,he is the man that has taken this club backwards because he don’t understand the Culture and History of AFC, The focus should be for this Man to go and take the muppet Grazidies with him ,these two man have taken our club down ,the are responsible in making Wenger Complacent ,he knows that whatever happens he will always have a job so no pressure, No asks what the fans want anymore , it’s sad but that’s what we have until the three wise men leave AFC for good

  10. Tomas says:

    Arsen Wenger didn’t build Arsenal after he took over in 1996 but rather tweaked it . In place there was a world class keeper , ,defenders and players like Berkamp. Wenger implemented a new style of play and new approach to nutrition and training for which he deserves all the credit, but wasn’t responsible for building the entire squad from scratch. When players like David Seamen , Adams , Keown, Berkamp and Veira retired or were sold, Wenger failed to replace them with equally talented players. It’s this failure to properly replace his keeper (David Seamen was the only world class keeper during Wenger’s reign) and defenders that has prevented Wenger from wining again . Wenger’s belief in his own greatness perpetuated by the media and his stubbornness is what hinders Arsenal progress. His lacking tactical abilities and players mismanagement have been well documented. His double talk and frequently repeated clichees are driving supporters mad. The decline has been so spectacular and players confidence so fragile that losing to Bradford City is being accepted by Wenger because players gave their all. After lowering expectations one must wonder if missing out on CL will prompt a declaration of failure from Wenger . Don’t hold your breath.

  11. Steve. says:

    I’m afraid Arsenal are no more than a middle of the road sort of side
    win one,loose one, we supposed to be one of the wealthy clubs in world football,but unfortunately,we have directors that don’t like spending money,they sell our quality players for big money,and replace them with cheap players that are just not good enough for the premiership league,when you compare the players Arsenal have
    to the big clubs,we are just a laugh,and on top of that we have a
    manager that’s just lost it ,and doesn’t know what day it is ,what more can we expect. “WENGER OUT AND SOON BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE”.

  12. Thank you for that Redders, my response can be summed up by two concepts: “Segregation of duties” and “marginal utility” – we have enough bean counters on here to know what my feelings are on Redders very well put post.

  13. kgooner says:

    @Rasp not sure about the 10,000 tickets, but from what i have read, 912 tickets were sent back. A third of the allocation.
    More seats for the home fans? Not so sure.

  14. Agreed kgooner, I thought it was 912 returned out of a 3,000 allocation.

  15. Red Arse says:

    Hi Rasp, :-)

    There is a feeling in the air, at the moment, akin to the barbarian hordes banging on the doors of the Roman Senate, not that I would call fans ‘barbarians’. :-)

    Time is definitely running out for Arsene to change things around, and to exert his brilliance, once again, or sadly, matters may well be taken out of his own hands.

    This goes right to the core of “what is Arsenal football club?”

    Should it be an elegant, but bloodless, model of financial probity, or is it essentially an entity that is a ‘living’ extension of a community’s hopes and aspirations?

    If it is the former, sufficient unto itself in being solely a vehicle for generating profits, and the garnering of wealth, then it will rapidly lose the goodwill of the community [the gunners fans - colloquially known as Gooners] and it will eventually cease to exist.

    If it is the latter, then its raison d’etre is clear, and that is to meet the fans’ desires to be competitive in a sporting environment, but that does not mean that the implementation of a robust financial model to achieve those ends is mutually exclusive.

    What it means in essence, is that the sporting context is, and should be, the primary consideration and the financial considerations are subordinate to that, and the horse will then be seen to be pulling the cart! :-)

  16. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    Absoloute fantastic stuff Redders.

    I concur with your analysis of why we are were we are, and the role of Wenger in this. It could also be corect that Arsene should now take a back foot and allow Gazidis and co to determine pay structures etc, i realy dont know. We can only guess here because we are not party to the internal workings of the club.

    It is only right to point out that Wenger is not some power mad Roman Nero type. As far as ime aware. the policies we see at the club today were a colabaration between Arsene and the Board

    Its easy for people to snipe, to mention poor results, lack of trophies, “Socialist” wage structures, and a resistance to delegate, but were they doing so back in 2005? The answer is no. Beacause a that time the startegy was sound.

    You mention in your post how the move to a new stadium and the arrival of the suger daddys heralded a new era that required a response on our part.

    The club is were it is today because of the legacy of the move, the arrival of obscene money, not just to the suger daddies( every one got richer). We implemented a fair wage policy, which is only logical when dealing with young and upcoming players, adopted a strategy for aquiring youth and living within our means.

    All well thought out policies to take us to the next stage. Do i see people congratulating Arsene and the Board? Again, the answer is No, people have lost paitence and they have lost it at the wrong time.

    We are entering a new era. The clubs income is growing, and despite what some people think, FFP is having an impact. we have recently tied down our British contingent and it looks as though Theo will follow.

    The best man to take us into this new era is Arsene Wenger.

    if you doubt this then just look at Theo Walcott. How many were calling him crap? Wenger stood by him and now he is develping into a top player. This will re occur itself with Arsenes other young gems and will get back right to the top

    Dont get rid of a man, who knows how to develop a player better than any one else in world football, at a time when the envoirement is changing in our favour.

    In conclusion, asks yourselves this. If Arsene Wenger had the advantage in the last seven years to develop teams unfettered would we have had a top team?. For me the answer is a resounding yes. Will he produce another team that will reach the top? of course he will.

  17. 26may1989 says:

    Cheers RA, lovely write-up, I like the Rome analogy too.

    The only thing I’d quibble with is the suggestion that we can ever know what goes on at the training ground or how arrangements work between Wenger, Kroenke and Gazidis. By definition, we have no idea on those issues, so (like LB) I always reject any suggestion that we can say anything meaningful about such things.

    But that doesn’t take away from the broad thrust of what you write.

    On a related topic, this is an interesting write-up: http://www.arsenalnewsreview.co.uk/index.php/news/2906/30/Australian-Gooner-Paul-says-AW-s-been-great-but-it-s-time-to-start-afresh. I don’t makea habit of reading ANR, the self-agrandising ego of Myles whatever-he’s-called puts me right off. But this one was written by someone else, someone pretty sane.

  18. VCC says:

    Terry….You could become prime minister with speeches like that :-)

    I’ve got truck loads of sand at the bottom of my garden, could you sell it to the Arabs for me please ;-)

    Like many Pro Wengerittes, I’m not sure whether he has gone stale and lost his biting edge. I sure hope you are right, because I can’t see him going very far in the near future.

  19. Red Arse says:

    Hi CharyB, :-)

    I hear what you are saying, and can only add that where an individual takes more and more ‘power’ by ‘job creep’, and does not stick to his own ‘job specification’ then inevitably, if and when something goes awry, the consequences are inevitable. :-(

    I still think AW has time and opportunity, with new money coming into the club, to turn things around. Fingers crossed.

  20. Red Arse says:

    Hi Terry, :-)

    An impassioned and optimistic response from you, which is what one expects and enjoys when you are in full flow. :-)

  21. Red Arse says:

    Morning, 26, and thank you. :-)

    I tried to add as many caveats as I could in the Post, with a number of conditional clauses scattered here and there, (where would we be without that little word ‘if’?) :D

    The truth is that every Post would be still born if we only wrote what was indisputable fact, and did not instead rely on opinions and observations.

    Lawyers, eh? :D

  22. 26may1989 says:

    I have to respond to Tomas’s post at 10.55. This idea that Wenger did anything short of utterly revolutionising Arsenal, and on the way had a huge impact on English football generally, is a complete reqriting of history. To call his work “tweaking” is way off the mark.

    Yes, he inherited a great defensive unit but that unit was neglected and was failing to halt our slide into mediocrity, even to the fringes of relegation under George Graham. David Dein started to turn things around when he (not Rioch) managed to recruit Bergkamp, the greates player to wear the red and white while I’ve been alive, plus Platt. But taking us to the next few levels would not have been possible without Wenger. He recruited, more or less from nowhere, Vieira, Petit and Anelka, he overturned the appalling drinking culture that had set in at the club, completely updated the training and dietary approach, and in doing so added years to the careers of Adams, Bould, Keown, Dixon, Winterburn, Seaman and Parlour. And he did all of the hard work in changing our style of play from the most limited, utilitarian approach to something that was not only beautiful but also successful.

    As for Wenger’s record after 2005, that must be seen through the prism of the stadium financing and the arrival of the oilers – we may not have had access to quite such good players after 2005, but Wenger’s achievement in keeping us near the top of the game was, in my opinion, his most impressive achievement in a great, great career. Not that he ever gets the credit for that.

    I don’t pretend Wenger is perfect (for example, I will always think we failed to get the best from the 98-2004 years, in terms of titles won and our European performances), and as I’ve said before, I think it is time for a new manager. But this fashion for relegating Wenger’s achievements in the early years to mere “tweaking” is just not true. Anyone subjected to the abject performances of Arsenal from 1992 to 1996 will know what I mean.

  23. 26may1989 says:

    Lawyers are very bad people, RA. Almost as bad as accountants…. ;)

  24. Fantastic post and some fantastic comments so far.

  25. Red Arse says:

    26,

    Your 11:43, totally agree! It is easy to forget the amazing impact AW had, not just on Arsenal but every club in the Premier League.

    Trouble is they all copied him!! :-)

    I haven’t given up on Arsene yet. :-)

  26. Red Arse says:

    26, your 11:44, spot on!!! :P

  27. Red Arse says:

    Thanks, GM, :-)

    すけべおじいさん [Who are you calling a perverted old man?] :D

  28. That’s the thing though Redders, can Wenger adapt ?

    I have my doubts.

  29. GoonerB says:

    Excellent piece Redders. You truly are the Shakespeare of the football blogging world. Ironically a few weeks back I was going to do a post for Rasp and Peaches along the same lines. I believe I titled it “The last days of the Roman Empire or a Phoenix from the ashes”. It was obviously, like your post, about how we, or more to the point how Arsene, was at the critical point where he would either rise reborn and stronger or we would see the end of the empire. I did a different post in the end and I am glad I left this one to you Redders as I would not have done it anywhere near the justice you have. I apologise in advance for a long reply on this topic.

    As we reach this decisive moment I believe there are 2-3 areas that will need to be addressed by Arsene, and positively changed, if he is to be the man to take us back to the top. I do, however, feel that one factor you have mentioned seems to be more important than most of the others and that is the recently much debated wage structure within the club. It seems to be becoming more apparent that the policy we run is down to Arsene. He wants it done the way it currently is and the board are happy to let him have his way on this.

    As you rightly point out though is this giving Arsene control of an area he has no need to be involved in, and does that subsequently detract from what he really should be focusing on. I don’t actually believe that and don’t feel the main problem with having Arsene involved in this is how it affects his focus on the football aspect of the team as some would like us to believe. I believe it is other questions that are raised by this policy rather than how it affects Arsene’s focus.The first important question I would raise is :-

    Can this “socialist” style wage structure actually work?

    I would say the current evidence is no, because whatever any of the top players that have recently left us say about leaving for trophies, I believe that the primary reason was the wages on offer elsewhere. As each one has gone it strengthens the next top players stance that we lack ambition, and they can use it as a smokescreen for their true reason for going elsewhere. This leads to the next question of :-

    If it is not working currently and has hindered our ability to have a competitive football team, will this socialist wage structure work in the future if we continue with it?

    If recent media reports are to be believed Arsene has defended his policy and said that other clubs need to come into alignment with Arsenal because that is what FFP is all about. I don’t believe many media reports but, without being certain, I believe it is highly likely he said that. Arsene seems to want a utopian and ethical football world, which is admirable but is it achievable?

    For it to work for us FFP would indeed need to force Citeh, Utd and Chelsea into paying their top players far less, and we are not talking just a bit less either if they are to be more in line with what Arsene believes a top player should be on. I personally can’t see it happening because, even now with these clubs paying astronomical wage bills to their top players, the overall wage bill is not so significantly higher than ours but is just structured differently. This means that these clubs will still have a top level of wages for a top player which is likely double what we are prepared to offer, even after FFP has taken more effect because they are able to by having a different structure.

    Arsene says he does it because it doesn’t create unrest in the squad. Mmmm…., the problem with that is I don’t see Johnny Evans kicking off because he is not anywhere near Rooney or RVP in wages, and I can’t really say i have seen any evidence of unrest at any of these clubs as a result of discrepancy in wages. We however have been losing key players over the last few years to our obvious detriment, and to the great stress of everyone involved and who loves Arsenal football club from the fans to Arsene himself. Some would call that unrest and i would agree, so I think that the irony is that Arsenes policy, designed to not cause unrest, has actually caused significantly more unrest for us than any of the other clubs have suffered through their wage policy. It must stress him and cause him much personal unrest to see world class players he identified young and nurtured to that status leave before his football team get the benefit of his dedicated investment in them. The final question for me is :-

    If it doesn’t work currently and it will be unlikely to work in the future will Arsene rethink and change his stance on this policy?

    Up until recently I would have held some hope that a change of attitude on this area may be forthcoming but the reports coming out this weekend where Arsene defended his wage policy seem to have dashed my hopes. The way i read it was that he didn’t just defend it, he more proudly and passionately defended it. It didn’t sound like someone who had any doubt that they were right on this matter, or ever would do and it is why I am tending to lean towards Arsene never being able to fully complete a squad that will win the EPL again.

    If Arsene will not change on this and the others will still be able to offer double the wages to top players after FFP kicks in it leads me to one final thought and question. To be a top team again we will need to have, at some point, more world class players in their prime years gracing the squad again. You can either buy that player or identify them early and nurture them to world class level. As this is Arsene’s preferred choice I will only look at a hypothetical situation with the latter.

    Just say we knew about a 15 year old who we absolutely knew would be the next Messi, and we get the jump on our rivals and bring him in. By 18 everyone is raving about him and at 20 years old he is on the cusp of exploding and securing his status as the worlds best player. He has 2 years left on his contract and we offer him £90kpw for 6 years. His agent knows that there are 6 top clubs that would double that. He doesn’t sign up and we enter the last 2 years. Are you getting to see the pattern here? With 1 year left we either let him run down which we cannot financially allow or reluctantly sell him to a rival. The point is, what was the point in ever trying to find that player in the first place as we were always going to lose him. Arsene’s socialist wage policy literally permanently prevents him from ever developing a team which has a number of world class players, all in their prime, as we already know in advance that will never be able to retain them anyway.

  30. Red Arse says:

    CharyB,

    That indeed is the problem. I am not sure he has anyone to whisper in his ear!

    From a relative in Espagne, I heard that a rumour over there is that Mourhino will get the chop in the summer, (we have all heard that), but also that Real are trying to bring Arsene in with Laudrupp going to Arsenal.

    Like a lot of this stuff, it is hard to pinpoint exactly where it comes from, but apparently Spanish twitter has been busy.

    In a way, even if it is rubbish, it shows that Arsene and his fate, if he does not pull things around, is not confined to the arsenal community!

  31. Fabulous post RA thank you.
    I get the feeling Wenger is giving it the one final heave in this tug of war, Wengers philosophy versus The Modern Trend.
    Signing the 6 brits including Theo could be a massive fail, but then again it could just be the savior of Englands national team.
    Only thing is i couldn’t really give a toss about England.

  32. vp says:

    Great Article Red Arse. I question whether we had an Empire in the first place. Under the Wenger glory years, as prosperous as they were, never did we retain the Prem, nor win the Champions League. Furthermore, we we’re never really able to fully exploit our ‘on the pitch success’ and enhance our brand due to the commencement and financing needs of the Emirates project. In my opinion, the real empire building starts now.

  33. GoonerB – that scenario fleshes out the theory that we could/have become an academy club – a finishing school for up and coming talented youngsters who if they turn out to be superstar quality they go to another club who offer hjgher wages when they have a year or so left on their contracts.

    Which means that what is left are the mediocre players on high (for the market) wages who are hard to shift.

  34. Here are my thoughts

    Since division one became the premier league 5 teams have won it

    Manchester United
    Us
    Chelsea
    Blackburn
    Manchester City

    The mancs have dominated the premier league up until Abramovitch and Mansour arrived.

    Manchester United traditionally spent the most money and have broken the British transfer record many times (remember Rio Ferdinand almost 30m)

    When Blackburn won it it was because they threw money at it, The chavs threw money at it and City are now throwing money at it.

    The only team to beat the mancs without throwing money at it is us.

    Wenger may have inherited a fantastic back 5 but I don’t think that was the team that went undefeated. In fact Bergkamp was the only player not bought by wenger.

    Regarding Kronke I don’t think he’s the perfect owner but I’m not sure about Usmanov. Personally I don’t like him but that aside why do people think he’s going to be any better? Abramovitch is more or less retired from business. Usmanov is still very active in dozens of companies. In his (red and white’s) last statement he said his “investment” is doing very well. He has also asked for dividends so why do people assume he’s going to throw money at it (and that’s without the possibility that FFP may not allow him to)

    Someone on here mentioned Usmanov’s “vision”. Spending a bit more money on players isn’t a vision. Building new training facilities, changing dietary habits and moving to a 50% bigger, state of the art stadium is a “vision”.

    I also wonder about Pep. If Wenger “inherited” his back 5 then what does that say about Pep? He was blessed with probably the best midfield in World football and having the best player in the World must surely help just a little bit. His transfer dealings weren’t exactly inspired. How well would he do with our players and resources?

    I also think den’s role has been rewritten a bit. People seem to forget that it was Dien who brought Kronke to the club but now they want Kronke out and Dien and Usmanov in (even though Dien is no longer with R&W).

    Wenger may have come to the end of his time and I’m not against change but I don’t think we’ll do much until our new commercial deals kick in or even when the stadium is paid off.

    I personally think that Wenger goes we’ll go backwards before we go forwards.

  35. Red Arse says:

    Wow, a very detailed response GoonerB!! :D

    Picking out a couple of the points you have raised, I would like to put forward another view for consideration.

    Arsene has definitely claimed authorship and responsibility for the ‘socialist’ wage structure. I think he and Arsenal may come to regret using that term, but once said, it is impossible to recall.

    I have a sympathy for what he may have intended to achieve with having a ‘narrow band’ of salary ranges for the team and squad players.
    I imagine he did not want there to be unhappy players being paid (say) £70K a week less than other players, but having a much more gentle increases based on a player’s length of service and age.

    This does not, however, recognise the market forces prevalent everywhere, not least in football, in that Manure would be pleased to pay van Persie £200K a week, whereas they would look at (say) Gervinho and turn him down at £70 per week.

    With the youngsters, and aspiring ‘future stars’ he has probably tried to keep them from predatory clubs by paying them more than the market rate. this has meant that when they do not succeed as expected, we get stuck with unsaleable players.

    Good ‘socialistic’ idea — wrong for a capitalist football environment.

    With regard to the FFP, I believe he was calling for a wages ‘cap’ linked to profits and turnover.
    This means a club with £100m turnover (say) with a salary cap of 50%, could spend a maximum of £50m.
    How that money was distributed between the clubs players would be up to them.
    That would stop Abramovich and the Quataris etc giving the club £50m for one player, and £30m for another and so on.

    Now that IS sensible!!

  36. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    I would just like to add that on the wage structure Wenger is not the problem here, a smaller wage budget than our rivals is.

    The policy was right for its time, but its legacy is still been felt. It takes time to shift budgets around and formulate new contracts that approach market rate, but with our extra resources we will attempt over time to do so.

    Gazidies has already stated that the wage structure will be looked at and Wenger himself has said that exceptions will be made. In many ways i feel that Arsenes comment over socialist wage structure has been over played. The people who run the club are no fools and we will see gradual changes which Arsene himself will support.

    Do not forget, that Arsene ahas stipulated that the policy works within the budget and the resources avaliable. In other words with the increased mioney now avaliable we will get closer to competitive salaries for top players, but at the same time retain some rudimentary parity model.

    Keep the faith, we shall rise to the top, and stay there.

  37. I thought the wage structure was already changing. Isn’t that why we are offloading Denilson, Bendy etc?

  38. Red Arse says:

    Good points, GM.

    Obviously we are all hostages to fortune, in as much as we are fans and not in control of events.
    Like passengers in a bus winding along dusty mountain roads with sheer drops — we have to put our trust in the driver!

    Hold tight and hope for the best! :-)

  39. Big Raddy says:

    RA. Really unexpected – a post I fully understand :-D

    And one full of insight.

    Not sure I can agree with everything, particularly the relationship between AW, other AFC employees and the BoD, but overall you make an excellent summation.

    So what next? The Visigoths come in and tear down AW’s citadel resulting in a thousand years of longball football? Could Fat Sam or Tony Pulis be on their way to The Emirates?

  40. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    precisely my flamboyent hairderssing firend. These things take time to kick in, but gradualy we will see changes. Further evidence of our intent is signing up the Brit pack, with hopefully Theo to follow.

    There is no need for wringing of hands. Arsene Wenger was and remains the most important asset Arsenal Football Club has.

  41. Red Arse says:

    Thanks, Jonathan @ 12:09. :D

    It would not be fair for me to comment, other than agree with you on International football! :-)

  42. Red Arse says:

    Heavens above, Raddy. Go, wash your mouth out! :D

  43. Rasp says:

    Thanks kgooner @ 11:07, I stand corrected, city have returned 1,000 tickets not 10,000

    TMHT, I cannot agree. Our wage bill is nearly twice that of the spuds and yet sadly, I cannot argue that our team is any better. The wage structure is a problem. A bigger problem would be if AW does not recognise that it needs changing – he will just be perpetuating something that has patently failed.

  44. Red Arse says:

    vp, you make an interesting point. :-)

    Did you know that you can write a headline Post for AA, and send it to arsenalnuts, as above.

    You are relatively new here and your views would be favourably received.
    Give it a go! :-)

  45. Red Arse says:

    Raddy,

    As I was saying to 26M earlier, if we only commented or wrote Posts on established and indisputable facts — we would write fook all, except about some dodgy explorers trying to pinch the glory from the Yanks!! :-)

    [yes, I read that - you devil!] :D

  46. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    Rasp, i agree its legacy is a problem, and ime convinced Wenger is not blind to this. With time it will change.

  47. Big Raddy says:

    Re; Ticket Return and costs.

    Under current PL rules the away team have to buy the tickets for an away fixture and sell them to their fans. MC had to pay for their tickets and return them in sufficient time for AFC to sell them to home supporters. It appears that MC did not try to sell them on general sale and many fans were disappointed.

    This was a comment on the Guardian website about costs.

    “Interesting if that’s the case, that it’s a unilateral decision rather than fan disinterest. I find City’s spin and approach to ticketing utterly shameful and distasteful tho.

    Arsenal find themselves on the receiving end of these kind of easy attacks because the cost of the most expensive ticket for the highest cost game is the highest. But, if you were feeling masochistic and wanted to watch the two clubs involved play Stoke (a low-category game) at home, it would be cheaper to do so at the Emirates.

    Similarly, just over a month ago, the trip to Chelsea saw fans asked to pay between £56 and £59 for tickets (excluding fees etc). It’s virtually the same trip, and the same cost. The additional £3-6 isn’t really enough to stop someone buying a ticket surely? Will they be boycotting the upcoming QPR game (£55 for QPR) too?

    Meanwhile, City announce the match against Liverpool to be a sell-out, the ticket price? £58. While that doesn’t account for travel, I’m going to assume you still buy the same drinks and food you would, and noone who follows their team away from home can complain about the extra cost of travel, because it’s hardly like it’s unique to this game, and not something you aren’t aware is required.

    Arsenal play in a state of the art stadium, in the city of London and put out a top-class team (for the sake of arguement – virtually every other club in the country charges highest category prices for Arsenal games, so they see it that way). Each of these things attract premiums that Spurs or Chelsea, City or United cannot, hence the ticket price being the highest.”

    Once again, we are subject to the media’s chosen narrative.

  48. Rasp
    I though at the last AST meeting Gazidis admitted that the wage structure had failed and they were looking to change it but it will take time as we need to offload some average players on good salaries. It will take time as said players are being overpaid so are either reluctant to go or no one else will pay them the silly money they are on.

  49. Rasp says:

    All true Raddy, but season ticket renewals are dropping dramatically – this may just be a sign of poor economic times in general or perhaps that supporters are getting fed up with what they’re seeing on the pitch.

  50. Like a new signing

  51. Rasp says:

    Hi gm, he did say that he was looking to change the ‘parity wage structure’ a year ago, but that is contradicted by what is being reported as AW’s recent quotes on the matter.

    If I could change one thing, it would be the wage structure. We have a turnover that is big enough to attract and remunerate top players but we choose to dissipate the budget across the squad. We’re the only club that practices this policy … I wonder why?

  52. It’s a very expensive hobby now Rasp. I bought a ticket for the city game £72 with fees and a ticket for the cup replay £41 with fees. I looked at buying a ticket for the bindippers but the cheapest I could find was £82. I’ll watch that one on TV

  53. I didn’t bother reading the socialist quotes Rasp. so much is mis-reported. I’ll go back and have a look.

  54. GoonerB says:

    Terry, I always love your responses and unquestioned faith. Even if I can’t fully go along with it you seem to make me feel better and a bit more positive. It is like a great big warm terry Mancini cuddle with lots of pats on the head saying “there there it will be alright”. I can’t wait to get back down to the Tavern and get my genuine Terry Mancini cuddly counseling session.

    I agree with you Terry that the wage policy would be a combined decision between Arsene and the board but I also believe that they have taken their lead from him. I believe it is him who has said he feels it is important to have an even wage structure in the squad and the board have backed him on it. If Arsene remains our manager for the next few years this policy looks set to continue, as he looks like he wishes it too, and I don’t believe the board will question him on it.

    Many, including myself, have questioned how good is Arsene with tactics and formations and his ability to get the best from this team. I know I have looked at Utd and thought that Ferguson makes them better than many of the players they have. In other words they seem greater than the sum of their parts while we appear to be lesser. I believe Arsenes great strength is in identifying and or developing untapped future world class players. I don’t believe his forte is in tactics and formations but rather developing such good technical players that he can play the system he wants and all the rest matters little.

    If you look at the players we lost in the last in the last few years and flung them back in this side then it is already a title challenging squad, and who plays where in what formation wouldn’t necessarily matter so much. In order to achieve this vision though, you need to retain the players as they come into their world class status, and I don’t believe our, (or maybe rather Arsene’s), current wage structure allows us to do this. I also don’t believe this policy will allow us to do this in the future either, so for me it completely undermines our great manager from achieving what he is the best at. I feel his own policy is shooting himself in the foot.

    I actually feel that if this one area were corrected and we were able to pay and retain our emerging world class players then every other problem area would be rendered insignificant. When a team and its players become that good the tactics and formations are less important. As I say though the current wage structure for me completely undermines all Arsene’s endeavour and keeps blowing his house down just as it nears completion, and if we stick with this policy, I believe it will continue to do so. I really feel Arsene needs an equal and a friend with his best interest at heart who is not afraid to look him in the eye and tell him if he believes he is wrong, and also be afforded the respect from Arsene himself to actually hear the reasons why.

    I don’t think anyone would question him at the club currently but I think Dein would have, both for Arsene’s sake, as his friend, and the football team itself. That is why I think the loss of Dein had more impact than some imagine. We can never be certain on what happens behind the scenes but I believe he was Arsene’s soundboard that could talk to him as an equal and even constructively challenge him where necessary, and I would have to agree with those that feel there is an imbalance in the structure of control within the club currently. It is why most countries are run by a collective of people now, or parliament, who can be challenged on policies as oppose to 1 king who makes decisions according to his view only without any significant questioning of it. I don’t actually know whether the reintroduction of Dein would have any effect now as his absence may have changed the dynamics between them. Initially he brought Arsene in and was a powerful figure at the club and in English football generally so was someone to be listened to.but if he came back now maybe he would be more considered someone new and not on an equal footing as things have changed too much in his absence.

  55. Rasp says:

    The timing of TW’s contract talks and imminent signing and Diaby’s return give the opportunity for someone at the club to make statement none of us want to hear (again) … what are the chances? do our PR people have a clue or are they just powerless to influence what our top officials say.

    It’s a reasonable bet that the Star will publish an ‘interview’ with PHW before the end of the month, and AW will herald the new signings we already have.

  56. Gooner In Exile says:

    RA an enjoyable read, and there are certainly some questions to be asked.

    If the board and Gazidis felt that Wenger has too much control, they can do something about it….it’s not like he is a major shareholder who they can’t out vote, he has had contracts renewed without having to beg. If he was riding roughshod over things they would prefer to do he would be out on his ear. It’s not like they have to worry about fan reaction.

    Secondly on the point of him not leaving Law and Gazidis to manage acquisitions and contract nitty gritty I wonder why there was so much fuss that he was at the Coaching Summit on 31 August 2011 when several transfers were completed, if he wasn’t involved that day may explain Park and Santos arrival.

    And finally there is the small matter of one of the commenters, Tomas the Invincibles back 4 was nothing to do with any previous established squad, it was Wengers.

    Oh and the socialist wage structure….people moan about squad depth, we would have to smash our current wage bill if you want both.

  57. Rasp says:

    gm, did you read the stuff I put up about your masonic logo? … its a very sensitive subject with some people so I’d probably better not go there.

  58. Was it yesterday Rasp? I’ll have a look. What’s sensitive? The masons?

  59. Do you meant the avatar I use? someone asked if my tattoo was a masonic symbol

  60. Gooner In Exile says:

    Oh and this City cost of ticket things is bollocks….Arsenal fans paid £72 to go to WHL, £50 to go to Carrow Road, Chelsea I dread to think. Their fans have not become accustomed yet to supporting a Cat A club, our away fans have been paying the premium for years. United are the only PL team without categorisation of ticket prices. More people want to go to the big matches.

    Norwich fans will pay £25 to come to the Emirates, less than it cost to see them at Carrow Road….sucks to be a Cat A fan on the road.

  61. Gooner In Exile says:

    And when City actually own their stadium I’ll worry about their views on prices.

  62. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    It will be my pleasure to man handle you GB. hahaha

  63. Gooner In Exile says:

    Very good thanks GM, him and Mrs Exile still in hospital, should be coming home tomorrow!

    He has a small tongue tie that requires the baby to have the little flap under his tongue snipped so that he can feed better.

  64. Rasp says:

    Yes gm, sorry, your avatar not logo. It is basically a masonic symbol and I believe designed as such.

  65. GoonerB says:

    OOOOhhhh……. Terry.

  66. Rasp says:

    gm – see yesterday’s post @ 10:20 – 10:40 pm

  67. Rasp says:

    Hi GiE, I imagine you’ve already done this research but young George (great name) was born on the same day as Malcolm MacDonald, Lewis Hamilton and Nicholas Cage

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/January_7

  68. sleepinggiant says:

    Fascinating stuff. but 26May1989 I simply have to take you up on this

    “Anyone subjected to the abject performances of Arsenal from 1992 to 1996 will know what I mean”.

    Are you kidding? Seriously, are you kidding?

    In that period we produced the following:-

    We became the first team EVER to complete the league and cup double. The first team EVER. A historical landmark!

    We won a European trophy. I need not remind you that we haven’t won one since (In the same year, incidentally we finsihed 4th. Indeed, in the ‘abjec’t period you talk about, we had two 4ths and a 5th. But in those days we were Arsenal and nobody dared to piss down our back and tell us it was a worthy achievement in itself!). To add footnotes to those years (and these were considered footnotes only in those days, but would be claimed as successes by todays standards), we also produced the most crazy helter skelter but exciting Arsenal team I have ever seen at the back end of ’92 (I don’t consider this an achievement by the way, but many fans seen to think that we only started to play like that post Arsene. We have done it at various points in our history). And we got to the final of the Cup Winners Cup in defence of the trophy, losing out to a complete freak.

    I know that it was probably not your intention, but your ignoring these wonderful achievements smacks of the sickest malaise that runs through the ranks of the Arsenal fans today – the denial of the fact that Arsenal has been one of the top 3 clubs in English football for over 100 years. Not for the last 20, For over 100 years, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Forget arguments over whether the manager should or shouldn’t go. Those are tirival as they relate to a man only. Denial of our history strikes at the heart of everything that makes Arsenal great,

    These years you talk about as abject were the days when, if your league form went to hell (and it did – but I include finishing 4th as a season of league form going to hell for a club like Arsenal), you concentrated on the cups. And what a magnificient, unrepeateable, exciting roller coaster of success we had in the cups those years. That the goalposts have changed now, and that the club is more interested in making money than winning cups is one thing, but you cannot be revisionist and impose the dreadful money driven objectives of the modern age on the past. Make no mistake, that 1994 Cup win was cheered every bit as loudly as us winning the CL would be today. Winning the cup double was historic. Todays history makers point to being the first team to bottle a 4 goal lead…..enough said!

    It is fine to make a point. It is not fine to make a point by denigrating some of the greatest ever achievements of a great club. To compare a period when we achieved some of the most remarkable achievements in the history of a club known for remarkable achievements with the dreadful ambition-free-zone, piss poor gutless dross of the modern team (however ‘pretty’ the football might be) is an insult to the glorious achievements of our past. Let Spurs, Man U or Chelsea fans insult our clubs achievements if they wish. Lets not help them out in the process.

  69. Red Arse says:

    Hi, GIE, glad all is well with the family. :-)

    It goes without saying that none of us are privy to the actual goings on at Arsenal HQ, and I have said so repeatedly.

    Rasp mentioned above the comment made by Gazidis last year, and parroted by Hillwood about the need to change the salary structure, and they would start by getting rid of certain over paid players.
    Arsene seems to have contradicted that recently by admitting he was the author of the ‘socialist’ wage structure, and he appeared quite happy, and not remorseful to proclaim that fact.

    Be that as it may, what I was inviting the reader to consider was not a BoD v Wenger fight, because let’s face it, what Kroenke wants is what will happen, and he is clearly happy with Arsene and how the club is running, so if there was a confrontation between Gazidis or the ‘Board’ and Wenger, without Kroenke’s approval, they would lose.

    From experience, I have been a director of many companies, [without shares] and I was there for my professional expertise, and entitled to vote on day to matters concerning the running of the businesses.
    However, the major shareholder(s), represented often by the Chairman, who appointed us, effectively decided policy and the rest of us carried out his policy decisions.

    Other companies might have slightly different Board structures and roles, but the owner(s) always call the tune, and Wenger would be considered a ring fenced ‘no go’ issue by Kroenke.

    Of course, Kroenke could, and one day might, get rid of Wenger, if the club are not successful on the field, or if he loses confidence in him because a lack of success interferes with the commercial success, (profits) or his shareholding value.

    On the other hand, the Board, (non-Kroenke) would never take on Wenger — see the contradictory quotes from Wenger and Gazidis — and if they did — they would lose.

    Kroenke is the key here!

  70. slime says:

    There is a worry for me that we could be come a club with the money to buy top players, but with no top players to spend it on!

    Its obvious that what we need now, more than ever, are some high profile signings, but we are already seeing players looking at other clubs rather than ourselves, and I think we have a bit of an image problem at the moment. We are either a sinking ship, or tightwads, and neither of those make players want to join. Until we win something, we may struggle to attract the players we need.

    I just hope Wengers eye for talent hasn’t gone by the wayside, because it might be needed now more than ever.

  71. I like the way arse.com’s commentary is bigging up Diaby’s performance in his comeback game……the conspiracy theorists amongst us might suggest they are laying the groundwork for a story on the arse.com website saying he will be our “marquee (like a new) signing” for January.

    Cynical ? Moi ??

  72. Red Arse says:

    Sleeping giant,

    26M will answer for himself, but we won our first League and cup double in 1970/71. We won our 2nd League and cup double in 1997/98 and the third in 2001/2.

    The first team to win the league and cup double were the Spuds in 1960/61. Yeuk!!!!

    just saying.

  73. Red Arse says:

    CharyB,

    Your cynicism is understandable, because Arsene does have ‘form’ in leading us on with transfer quotes! :-)

    But yes, you are!!! :D

  74. You know me so well Redders.

    I thought SG was referring to “League and FA CUP double” and it was a typo he missed out the word “cup” as we did that double in 1993.

  75. GunnerN5 says:

    RA;

    For the record;

    The 1st FA Cup and League double was by Preston North End in 1888/89

    The 2nd was by Aston Villa in 1896/97

  76. sleepinggiant says:

    Red Arse

    Apologies and thank you for pointing out that typo.

    But as you and I am sure every true Arsenal fan will realise, this was simply a typo and to dwell on it would be to ignore the very real salient and undeniable point. In 1993 Arsenal became the first club to win the CUP double (as opposed to the League and Cup double). This is something we should all be mightily proud of. And needless to say it is an achievement we have not repeated since.

    Happy to be corrected on the typo, but I simply dont have time to proof read. And it would ill-behove any Arsenal fan to dwell on a typo when an important point is being made about the history of the club.

  77. 26may1989 says:

    sleepinggiant

    A strong and heart-felt argument. But…………..

    Our league record in those years:

    1991-2 Pos: 4th, 72 points (10 points behind winners)

    1992-3 Pos: 10th, 56 points (38 points behind winners and 7 points above relegation zone, GD of +2, lowest goals for (40) in the league by 8 goals)

    1993-4 Pos: 4th, 71 points (21 points behind winners)

    1994-5 Pos: 12th, 51 points (38 points behind winners, 6 points above the relegation zone, GD of +3)

    1995-6 Pos: 5th, 63 points (19 points behind winners)

    And beyond the simple stats, George Graham (while stealing the club’s (ie our) money) drove us into the ground in terms of quality, selling Rocastle, Limpar and Thomas and buying the likes of Pal Lydersen, Chris Kyomya, Jimmy Carter and Eddie McGoldrick. Yes, we won the two domestic cups in 1993 (I was there for all the finals) but they were the most god-awful games I have ever been at, I hated them, even with the trophies. The ECWC win was amzing because a team built on destruction prevailed over a team built on playing the game. There is something impressive in that, but if I refuse to acknowedge much special about the way Chelsea won the CL last year, that’s consistent with not thinking beating Parma was much to crow about.

    Helter skelter? There was some fun in 1991-2, I’ll grant you that, e.g. when we spanked Austria Vienna. But our limitations (despite having been the worthy reigning English champions) were laid bare when a reasonable but not brilliant Benfica visited in the next round. But it was clear from the middle of that season Graham didn’t trust creative play any more, and was going to build a team that would simply ping the ball up to Ian Wright whenever it wanted to attack.

    No, I don’t agree that league form could simply be written off – we were not far from being relegated in two of those seasons. To my mind, that is shocking stuff. Cups are fun but losing top division status is the mark of a poor side. And people say Wenger is a failure if we “only” finish 4th.

    I make no apology for criticising what happened in those years, I hated it on every level. Graham had built a great side by 1991, successful and exciting based on a core of young players. But, despite having money available, he pissed all of that away, driving us into the dirt. Some fans were content to accept the cup wins as compensation. Not all of us thought that was right. One of the reasons I will always be grateful for Wenger and Dein is that they saved us from all of that, they created the club we have today. And even with its weaknesses today, it is far, far better than what was served up in the mid-1990s.

    That’s my opinion anyway!

  78. Red Arse says:

    SleepingG,

    I have now been corrected myself by GN5!!! :oops:

  79. Oh dear, Frimmers sent off in Diaby’s comeback game…he never learns.

  80. Red Arse says:

    What is the score, CharyB?

  81. Think it finished 1-1 (Santos scored our goal) Redders.

  82. Red Arse says:

    Thanks, CharyB.

    I hope Diaby, did not pull his little toe. I never quite know what his injuries are other than ‘strains’ and so on.

    He could be a marquee signing ( :D ) but if he had stayed injured for another couple of weeks we might buy, Wanyama, or Mvila, or Diame. That is now unlikely, and he will then get injured again on the 1st of Feb!!

  83. You read my mind Redders, Diaby has a case of “transfer window fitness syndrome” – we just know that after Wenger says “Why should I buy a DM ? I have Diaby” Abou will break down on the 1st of Feb.

    We can count on it. :(

  84. sleepinggiant says:

    26May1989 – a truly interesting and enlightening appraisal of your views. I am afraid we simply have very contrasting views on the way we support the club. For me, that era that you hated will always be one of THE golden eras for the club. When I think of those two cup finals against Wednesday, I will always smile… and c’mon, dont tell me you wern’t screaming like a teenager when Lineghan scored that winner. Ah memories! For the record, I have always been one of the Arsenal fans who had genuine contempt for clubs who used to say ‘we wouldn’t swap our style of play for Arsenals style, even though they win trophies with it’ Because for me, that is the language of Spurs, and should always be beneath Arsenal.

    I will alway always always support Arsenal, through thick and thin, but as a supporter of this club above most others, winning matters because it is the fabric of the club. It is what has always separated Arsenal from the other Londo Clubs. To deny that is to deny what is Arsenal. Indeed, that is why I chose this naff name when I started commenting on blogs a couple of years ago!

    Of course I, and every other fan, was dismayed at the way the 1991-92 team was allowed to decline. Although we were never going to be relegated, we slipped to mid table, and that was a poor poor show(and by the way, 4th is pretty much mid table in my eyes). But for me, and for so many fans in those days, it did not detract in any way from the cup successes, because, and you seem to have missed out on this, a large part of any club’s history revolves around the cups we win. At the start of every season there are three (or if you are lucky 4) trophies to win. If your standards do fall (as Graham allowed then and Wenger allows now) and if you are not good enough to win the league, there is a chance to win the cups if you have the bottle. (By the way, for all of those who buy into the modern rhetoric – there is no reason anyway whey a team finishing 4th cannot ALSO win a cup (see 1994 if you want to know how it is done).

    And this is where we differ. Much as I detest them, I could not fault Chelsea for the way they won the cup last year. As in so many spheres, the Arsenal did it first and they were simply following us. So if I was delighted about the way we won it in 1994, I am not going to be a hypocrite and slag that shower for the way they did it. Not in any way. Of course it would be better to win finals 4-0. But winning cups by destroying the oppositions gameplan and grinding them into the dirt is a hell of a lot better than not winning them at all (indeed, there was a beautiful enjoyment in the way every other club hated us, God how I miss that!)- and that is where the current team come in. The current team is easily good enough to win cups. On paper. This would keep all the fans happy to a degree, particularly if we were also getting CL money at the same time as it would build hope for the future. But the team does not have the character or bottle to do so (and indeed, as I think you have hinted yourslf Wengers teams have always underachieved, in France and at Arsenal – I agree entirely. To me this is a matter of bottle, but that is for another day). If somehow Arsenal win the CL by winning the next four rounds on penalties, I will celebrate as though they had won 10 nil. Because it will be another night building the history of our great club.

    I see realy parallels with the end of Graham and today. You talk about Graham driving us into the ground with McGoldrick – I will counter with Wenger driving us into the ground with Squillachi, Bendtner, Chamakh, Gervihno etc and more importantly by allowing overpaid players to flounce around with bowed heads when they are losing, instead of going back in and fighting like tigers. Funnily enough, you have accurately listed our 1992-96 league record quite rightly to show how we had declined from being champions, but what strikes me is that, leaving out the 10th and 12th place finishes, even the league record during the ‘abject’ period is not much different from today!

    To finish (and apologies for the length) may I suggest you are wrong about the 1991-92 season – the second half of that season was about entertaining flowing power football. The change to the fatal reliance on out-and-out defence and the long ball came about because of our slow start the following year. But in terms of end to end madness, the end of the 92 season was unmatched in my view.

    Anyway, it is fascinating to have discussed this. And I imagine that, irrespective of our views on the past and present, we will both be screaming out lungs out for the lads come kick off against City.
    COME ON YOU GUNNERS

    Best wishes.

  85. FCArsenal says:

    A major component of the problem Arsenal have is that they never reset expectations at the club.

    The team did not capitalise on the 2006 Champions League final, the 2010 semi-final, the 2007/08 title run, the league cup final of 2007 and 2011 and the 2009 FA Cup semi-final.

    In this way they are different to Liverpool who will just say every now and again that they are challenging for nothing.

  86. Red Arse says:

    SleepingG,

    I went to Wembley for both the Cup games, and I must say I was delirious when Lineghan scored. I was not bothered with the style as I was agog with excitement, nerves and the fear of losing.

    Some weeks later, I saw him in a supermarket near London Colney, and could not stop myself being an idiot and interrupting his shopping by telling him how great a day out he had given me and my friends, as well as putting a notch in the club’s history.

    As a tall man, he looked a little incongruous wearing short, shorts, but he was very softly spoken and when he thanked me, and smiled, I realised that he was quite embarrassed at being a hero,

    A very nice man.

    The following week I literally bumped into Denis Wise, who only came up to my waist, and he simply scowled and muttered some sort of imprecation under his breath, then he limped off. :D

    Not a nice man!!

  87. sleepinggiant says:

    RA – that really is a great story. Poor old Andy Lineghan always seemed the odd man out among the better known (I suppose we could now say legendary) defenders of that era. But I don’t think any of us will ever forget that header (I think he broke his nose in scoring it).

    The less said about short shorts the better!! And even more so, the less said about Denis Wise the better!!

  88. Good to see nepotism is alive and well with Fergie Senior loaning Fergie junior 2 of ManUre’s players.

  89. Red Arse says:

    I occasionally partake of afternoon tea at The Grove, partly because I am trying to become a bone fide Englishman, and partly because I just like to be mollycoddled. :D

    One time, I was there with some friends, when the England boys sauntered in and sat chatting. My friends and I were gassing about the NFL and one thing and another. During a break in the conversation, I called out to Hart, “hey buddy, I heard you wanted to come to Arsenal, but couldn’t because Szczeney is too good to oust!” This was greeted by much laughter and ribbing by the others, when he tried to deny it.

    The then England manager, Capello walked in and they all stopped kidding around, jumped up and filed out, without another word.

    Really amusing! :-)

  90. RockyLives says:

    Redders
    Stunningly good magnum opus :)

    I’m at work so I can’t give it the response it deserves, except to say that perhaps Arsene taking total power is rather like the moment when Ancient Rome ceased being a Republic and switched to being run by autocratic rule.

    There were still some glorious days for Rome afterwards, but the rot set in.

    Of course the Roman Empire only switched to a new stadium (Byzantium) after it had declined and been overrun by barbarians. We did our move while still at the peak of our powers, only to witness the decline afterwards.

    A cheeky aside: I am not sure you really believe what you writ in your last two paragraphs. I think, in your heart of hearts, you feel we will not rise again under Arsene :)

  91. Reddawn says:

    I believe I read somewhere that Mr Wenger earned £7 million a year. If that is the case, then surely he should be paid for results and not on expectations! It may well focus his mind more to the team performance rather than his bank balance performance.

  92. 1967ers says:

    What strikes me in reading this (and subsequent comments) is that it’s not necessarily Wenger himself who has lost it so much as it is circumstances around him that have changed and those are driving the results as much as anything. The charge I’ve seen most often levied against him is that he’s playing a system that his players are ill-suited to execute. This seems to be largely a factor of money and Wenger’s response in trying to play what he has always played seems to ignore a basic pragmatism.

    The question I have, though, is whether a change in the on-field personnel and thus the system really makes that much of a difference with this group of players. Despite all the criticism, this is a team that still sits within striking distance of fourth in one of the top leagues on the planet. The teams in the top three all have budgets that Wenger can’t match at the moment. Does this lineup suddenly become top three if they play a different style or does the budget basically dictate the finish? Is firing Wenger the difference between sixth and fifth?

    The other question I’ve had all year that I’ve been trying to answer from the comments is precisely why this team is ill-suited to their style. As an outsider, I see a team that has lost two top midfielders (one to injury and one to someplace I forget), its most dynamic scorer and spent much of the early part of the year with injuries in goal. Beyond that, they’ve been integrating a number of new players into a system that most teams don’t play and trying to sort out which forwards work in which positions. The replacements are by definition of at least slightly lesser calibre because you simply don’t replace RVP with whoever else is available. To me, this is a recipe for a trying season. Is that on Wenger?

    I think a lot of the problem is setting realistic expectations in the face of what the finances dictate. Right now, the budget says that Arsenal will not be a top three team unless someone pulls off a miracle. Who does this fall on? Is it likely to change any time soon? Will the money sort itself out?

    You could fill many a volume with what I don’t know about football, but one thing that is true of all sports is that you can’t win without the horses. If you can’t spend yet, you’re making do until you can.

    I do understand the frustration of teams that can’t fix basic defensive mistakes and teams that come out dead flat in games where they should be on fire. This is a staple of Toronto sports. I find that much of it is tied to youth and inexperience and players who haven’t yet come to trust each other.

    I don’t mean to rant on anyone, but to my eyes the team has done rather well given the circumstances. I’d be reluctant to make a change with Wenger unless the wheels completely fall off because there isn’t any reason to think another person would be better with this group. If and when the finances come around (if this is expected), is he not the man you want running things?

  93. Red Arse says:

    Rocky, are you asserting I was trying to curry favour with GN5 and Dandan? :D

    If so it obviously did not work!! :P

  94. GunnerN5 says:

    RA,

    That is an incredible summation of life under Arsene Wenger at Arsenal, in one headline post you have managed to create a very balanced and unbiased accounting of his tenure to date.
    Extremely well written and thank you for doing so without slaying our Golden Goose..

    I’m not a religious person myself but my hope is that prior to Arsene taking his right, and well earned place, in Arsenal folk lore there will be a resurrection of his early days and he will retire in a blaze of glory.

    Not being a man of many words I prefer to do my summations in a statistical format – so here goes.

    I have broken our history down in 10 year periods and then I’ve summarized those periods in order to come up with averages per season.

    1894/1903 – W15.6, D5.2, L11.0, GF61.0, GA44.9, Pts%54.5
    1904/1913 – W13.6, D9.0, L14.6, GF51.7, GA54.6, Pts%44.6
    1914/1927 – W16.5, D8.8, L15.9, GF58.8, GA58.3, Pts%47.2
    1928/1937 – W19.9, D11.9, L10.2, GF92.0, GA58.2, Pts%56.8
    1938/1953 – W17.9, D9.8, L10.4, GF69.6, GA47.1, Pts%55.6
    1954/1963 – W17.2, D9.6, L15.2, GF75.2, GA73.3, Pts%48.6
    1964/1973 – W18.7, D11.1, L12.2, GF63.2, GA52.3, Pts%53.3
    1974/1983 – W16.7, D12.2, L13.1, GF54.7, GA47.1, Pts%49.4
    1984/1993 – W19.4, D10.6, L10.6, GF60.9, GA39.5, Pts%56.5
    1994/2003 – W20.3, D10.8, L7.7, GF64.3, GA35.0, Pts%61.6
    2004/2013 – W21.6, D9.7, L6.7, GF73.7, GA36.8, Pts%65.4

    It’s quite noticeable that the last two decades have, statistically, been the best in our history and we owe that to Arsene.

    So we’ve been the best in our history bur still not good enough to be the best in the league or Europe.

    My summation would be that in that since the advent of billionaires owning Chelsea and Man C plus the riches of Man U – the best we could really hope for was 4th spot – and we’ve made that ours.

    I believe that AW has done the very best he could with the hand that has been dealt to him and in some cases he’s been good enough to draw 4 aces.

  95. Red Arse says:

    Superb comment 1967!! :-)

    In answer to your main questions, I think money, or the lack of it, is at the root of our problems in trying to win trophies. Isn’t it always? :-)

    Getting rid of Arsene Wenger is what many fans believe would rectify matters, but I don’t think so.
    However, even if AW was given copious amounts of money to spend on new players, unless it was generated by Arsenal as a football club, and not simply injected into the club from a benefactor, however unlikely that might be, he would not deign to use it, as it would offend his principles.

    I genuinely feel he can win trophies, again, if he shucks off all responsibilities outside of being ‘just’ the coach, and focuses exclusively on the playing side – as he did when he first joined the club.

    My major reservation is that he may be unable to set aside his apparent interest and involvement with every aspect of the club’s management.

    That is the nettle he will have to grasp to succeed. Fail in that and I fear the worst.

  96. Red Arse says:

    Terrific analysis, GN5, as usual, and those stats should be made more widely available for everyone to see! :-)

    Not that I suggest you do it, of course, but I would not mind betting that if a similar analysis was done regarding Chelsea and Man City, the conclusion would be that success came only after huge money was pumped into those clubs, irrespective of their numerous managers over that period– it’s inarguably money ‘wot done it’ and those stats would prove it.

    Thank you for your very kind compliment on my Post – not that it is deserved! :D

  97. dandan says:

    Nice to see you write the Headline post today RA and with such panache, well done my friend.
    26: like you my recollection of that side, that the sleeping giant appears to miss, makes me shudder.
    In fact whenever I recall that dreadful win a cup at all cost side. I am persuaded that it makes the present Stoke City outfit by comparison look like the 1953.Hungarians Puskas, Hidekuti and all, who so humbled England. No doubt GN5 could wax lyrical on that.
    GG’s 1 – 0 to the Arsenal reign makes AW contribution not just to the Arsenal but to Football in general all the more remarkable in that even the Adams brigade suddenly found that they were A) not finished and B) could actually play football. A revelation that so impressed the British football world that we swiftly became Sky’s most watched side, as all but spuds supporters claimed us as their second team and AW became the template for coaches throughout the country to follow.
    Some have decided he has lost his magic, well we shall see.
    For now it’s back to the shadows for me, there to watch the media and blogs re-enact their twice yearly dance macabre. Until Feb One arrives bringing with it once again more questions than answers.

  98. The font says:

    Reddawn
    Wenger is being paid for results. we have the third best team in the prem on last completed standings .we have the best stadia .training facility’s secound to none . some of the best young world talent coming through . profit and tens of millions in the bank we have been in the champions for 16 years running and have not finished below tots under wenger it’s time to get real get behind wenger and the team and see what happens at the end of the season . if it is time for him to go so be it our tentative home performances are down to unease in the crowd IMHO it’s not about trophys it is about a way of life

  99. GunnerN5 says:

    The font,

    May I just modify your last words to say “It’s not about a way of life”– “It’s life itself”

  100. Reddawn says:

    The font…..Good point, but where is the `Socialist’ pay structure in that?

  101. Red Arse says:

    Well said, The Font.

  102. chas says:

    Brilliant post, RA.

    I’m finding myself wondering why we are closer to a tipping point now than we were at the same point last season.
    Admittedly we are two points down on last season at the same point but last year we only got 1 more point before the end of Jan (here’s hoping for better this year).

    Last year we were 9 points behind the spuds without a game in hand, this year 5 points with the Hammers fixture still to play.
    So why this year?
    Is it because we’re groundhogged out?

  103. Gooner In Exile says:

    RA and SG I was at both the League Cup final and the FA Cup Final and replay, they were probably three of the most boring cup finals in memory for neutrals. I remember the FA Cup final was awful no atmosphere very little excitement both teams long punts hoping Wright or Bright could do something from the scraps.

    Like RA I went delirious when Linighan scored and also when Morrow found the net. But the rest of the encounter was pretty turgid stuff.

    When I gave up my Season Ticket to play Saturday football the manager used to say “why do you want to go and get a stiff neck watching that ball in the sky”. He was probably right in hindsight but success made me blind to the failings. Up until this season I have always enjoyed the way Arsenes team has played, maybe not delivered trophies but that style gave me something to be proud of even if the results were not forthcoming.

    And if we’d tasted glory in 2008 and 2010/11 (injuries to RvP, Eduardo, Cesc, Walcott preventing it) maybe just maybe we would not be in this plight. We were close and maybe the wage structure needed to change to keep some of the talent, but they drifted away. Can Wenger rebuild another side? Possibly if given time, …and if his hand wasn’t being forced to buy ready made talent to deliver now. I know he won’t get that time.

  104. Gooner In Exile says:

    GN5 love those stats, is it possible to split them by managers?

  105. The font says:

    Reddawn
    It’s obvious wengers a socialist . why only last year he allowed man city and Chelsea to share our trophys

  106. GunnerN5 says:

    RA,

    Quite frankly I find the amount of idle criticism about all aspects of our club very hard to stomach, contrary to (un)popular opinion I’m not the least bit calm about our situation – in fact it affects me quite deeply. The difference is I don’t wear my heart on my sleeve and I’m able to keep everything in perspective rather than having a knee jerk reaction to every situation.

    I find it annoying when folks use 20/20 hindsight to be critical of formations, tactics, transfers, and our management. In fact I find it juvenile, that is why I refrain from dialogue about those subjects – although, from time to time, I do respond and jump in feet first.

    That is another reason why I enjoyed reading your “balanced” approach.

    More headline posts from you would be most appreciated.

    Once again – thank you.

  107. Red Arse says:

    Hi Chas, :-)

    You raise a good point regarding what I have described as the ‘tipping point’.

    It is a very subjective view, of course, which is probably what you are intimating, but my response is that, often what destabilises any condition, and produces such a crucial confluence of events is a number of critical repetitions, as seen from the perspective of a key group, in the case of Arsenal/Arsene, that is the fans.

    In the Arab Spring for example, nothing much changed for decades, but suddenly, what had been acceptable became unacceptable, and a small rejection or trickle of opposition to the ‘norm’ turned into a flood that would not be stemmed without drastic change.

    Similarly, in a very subjective analysis, I do not think Arsene or the club can afford to ignore the mounting tide of anger that is becoming self evident, so they need to change — or be swept away.

    Dramatic over-simplification? Probably, but for those of us who admire Arsene, we should advise him not to ignore the signs! :-)

  108. GunnerN5 says:

    GIE,

    Over the years I’ve created a pretty through data base on our results. and yes I do have it split by manager.

    If you wish I could send you the spreadsheet by manager.
    You could either have Rasp forward me your email address or I could send it to Arsenal nuts and maybe Rasp could forward it on.

  109. The font says:

    Gunner n5
    I agree there are a lot of juvenile views on this subject I can not discuss now because scooby doo is just starting

  110. Rasp
    I’m not a fan of the freemasons and I think they are a dodgy organisation. I still love the badge and my tattoo though.

    Some great comments today.

    Apparently Theo has signed

  111. GunnerN5 says:

    Very funny font, don’t forget your candy floss.

  112. Red Arse says:

    GN5,

    I actually believe you do wear your heart on your sleeve. :P

    That is not the same thing as having knee jerk reactions, because you do not do that, but it is clear to any of us who have got to know you thru’ the blog, that you do care very deeply indeed!

    One of the disadvantages of the blogs, is that we cannot see each other when we write, and what we used to do over a pint, or at arm’s length thru’ the Fanzines in the past, we now commit to this new faceless and immediate technology, and unfortunately, that means all of us can mistake another bloggers intentions when they write something that is not clear to us, and fall out without intending to.

    On the other hand, your depth of knowledge, garnered over many years of supporting the Gunners, and your brilliant statistical analysis is very much a big plus!! :-)

  113. I know it’s dirty but I want the chavs to win tonight. If they knock out Swansea and Bradford get to the final Bradford will probably play in Europe next season.

  114. The font says:

    Red arse
    Well said about gn5

  115. Red Arse says:

    Sorry, Dandan, I was interrupted by a smashing young lady giving me a cup of coffee, as I was about to reply to you.

    Like you, I will be happy when the TW is closed.

    The speculation about what players we are going to buy (about 200 so far) and Arsene’s elliptic replies to prying journalistic questions drives me bonkers, however much I try to shut them all out.

    Weak minded – me!! :-)

  116. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    What ever our views or disagreements on Arsene Wenger, no one can disputes the mans legacy.

    He has been instrumental in transforming a traditionly great English club into a European super club, fit for purpose and ready for the challanges ahead

    Who ever replaces him, and i hope that is not for a long time yet, will walk into an instution that is self sustaining, with a turnover comparable to the largest sports clubs in the world, and an ethos and philosophy of playing that is loved by us and admired even by his detractors.

    They will probably walk through the Grove tunnel into that marvelous arena and think “wow”, this is one hell of a club.

  117. Red Arse says:

    Terry,

    I told a story about ‘tea at The Grove’ earlier, and your comment made me realise I should have said – near Watford – not Ashburton!

    Thank you, Oh Great Optimist!! :D

  118. chas says:

    RA,
    I think the one thing we know for certain is that Monsieur Wenger is not going to change for anybody.
    Even something as small the notion that he now buys slightly older players isn’t 100% true.
    For instance Petit, Campbell and Pires were all 26 or 27 when signed. Even Bacary Sagna was 24.

  119. Hi all

    Well done RA on a great post. i’ve just got in and need to have a read through the comments.

    As far as I know we don’t have a post for tomorrow but I shall return to nag some more ……… as we also need posts for Friday and Saturday

  120. Red Arse says:

    Chas,

    It is sometimes difficult to discern the difference between an admirable trait, that is a determined resolute man, and the less admirable trait which is stubborn obstinacy.

    A sign of a great leader is the ability to be intellectually flexible and to take on board and use good ideas from others.

    I think the latter describes Arsene, but what do I know? :-)

  121. GoonerB says:

    Well said Terry. I have no doubts that the modern Arsenal is a giant of a club that will be at the top table now for years to come and that future has been provided to us by Arsene Wenger. IMO no one else could have kept us as competitive in the EPL through the recent lean years. This club will return to the top because it has become such a big entity now that it has to. Whether that is with this management and this board and set up is another matter. Whatever Arsene has done in the past is not necessarily an indication of what he can do in the future.

    I have often asked myself the question of whether he is still the same manager that he was 10 years ago. I find it difficult to answer and I am still sitting on the fence to be honest so have not yet gone over fully to feeling he cannot turn us around. Part of me says yes he is still the man, but part of me feels he has changed in a subtle way that will not quite allow for the final pieces in the jigsaw to be put in place. If he is the same then we should get back up there with him, but I wonder if in taking us through the lean years his mindset has been changed. As I say it is difficult to fully analyse, but there are parts of me that wonder whether he has become almost overly idealistic and romantic about the football team he wants, where in the past he remained largely faithful to his attacking football philosophy but tempered it with some realism and pragmatism which allowed a balance to the team.

    I hope he is the one to lead us to silverware. Interestingly I have friends who are now whole-heartedly convinced that he is not the man to lead us anymore, but if you asked them the straight question of who they would rather see lead the club to silverware the answer would still be Wenger. Not anti-Wenger fans, (although those fans as we know are out there), but more fans who will always be grateful to Wenger and will still see him as our greatest manager but who don’t feel he is the future from this point. It was always easy to dismiss the rantings of the aggressive and ungrateful Anti Wenger brigade but the ones that respect and love him for what he has done but have reached the sad conclusion that he cannot take us forward anymore are now too numerous to dismiss out of hand.

  122. Red Arse says:

    Hi Peaches, :-)

    Leaving aside the dubious quality of the Post itself, I must say, hand on heart, that the subject (Arsene as man and manager) is obviously something that everyone has strong feelings about, and that has been reflected in the terrific in-depth and high quality nature of the comments which are a credit to the bloggers on AA , for which many thanks to you all – I except Rocky from all that …………. obviously!! :P

  123. Sheep Hagger ™ says:

    Next seasons kit looks lovely
    Hi from Sheepy

  124. Sheep Hagger ™ says:

    Hi from Swansea
    Come on Swanz beat the Chavs.
    But I’m still an Arsenal fan hard lines.
    Much love
    SH

  125. slime says:

    Love those kits. A bit PSG though!

    GM, where did you see that Theo had signed?

  126. A lot of people on twitter are saying it slime. they are talking like it’s already done

  127. slime says:

    I hope so GM.

    Will be good to see Wenger given a couple of stress free TW’s where he isn’t worrying about having to replace players who he wants to keep. I can see the summer bringing some quality new players to the club, but probably not this month.

  128. Sheep Hagger ™ says:

    I don’t use twatter or bookface I’m not on social networks I’m an anti social sheep.
    This Tw is going on for ever wish he’s sign or not .
    Much love sh

  129. Anyone offered me a post yet??????????????

  130. Gooner In Exile says:

    White away kit…..with blue in it? Seriously!!!

  131. Gooner In Exile says:

    Actually looking again it looks a bit like France change strip

  132. Sheep Hagger ™ says:

    Chavs two down
    Nothing from me tonight peaches I’ve nothing to say as mr Faulty says in faulty towers.
    Good win swansea

  133. Hello New Daddy ……. how’s it going? Are they home yet?

  134. SharkeySuresGhost says:

    Congrats GiE

    Boy, Girl..??

    12lb+ right..??

  135. SharkeySuresGhost says:

    Oh and evening all…

    So much for my NY resolution to blog more.

    Kids are getting older, works busier…yada yadda

  136. Gooner In Exile says:

    Close Sharkey :D , George Exile weighed in at 9lbs1oz.

    Peaches hopefully they come home tomorrow, when the little mans tongue tie has been sorted which will then mean he can feed better…..Mrs Exile won’t know what’s hit her!!

  137. Hey Sharkey Boy 9lb 1oz called George …….. just in case GiE is busy ;)

  138. Sheep Hagger ™ says:

    Welcome back GIE hope every ones doing well.
    My grandad used to say to me you are not a man till u produce a son.
    I’ve one son .

  139. Oh there you are ……. drinking and sleeping like your little man :lol:

  140. Sheep Hagger ™ says:

    How old are they sharky
    Sharkey mine are 28 and 27 I was a young ram on the 80s.
    Much love

  141. SharkeySuresGhost says:

    25, 12, 9 and 5 !!

    Been busy. Neutered now though…

  142. SharkeySuresGhost says:

    Cheers Peaches, GiE.

    GiE. You got a link to your true ticket prices article please. I was looking for it the other day

  143. SharkeySuresGhost says:

    I know it would have been around 18-19th October

  144. SharkeySuresGhost says:

    The Font 6.42. Quality !!
    :-)

  145. Gooner In Exile says:

    Sharkey I’ll see if I can find it.

  146. Gooner In Exile says:

    Sharkey there is this one from 2011 http://arsenalarsenal.wordpress.com/2011/06/03/6-you’re-really-quite-fair/

    Not sure if I’ve done a more recent one, but I have out a load in the comments at one time, seems prime for a re visit after the recent furore over City

  147. Sav from Australia says:

    Very well written article mate!
    Rise and rise again!

  148. mickydidit89 says:

    RA
    As I was reading your most excellent post, the immortal words of Baldrick sprung to mind. What a “Magnificent Octopus”
    This thought was utterly ruined when I read Rocky’s comment describing it as a “Magnum Opus”. Whatever that is.
    A pretty good way of judging a post is to look at the quality of the comments, and on that basis, I have to say Outstanding.
    Well done and thank you.

  149. Big Raddy says:

    Morning All,

    Swansea and Bradford’s results this week put our losses into a rosier light. Still crap losing to both.

    Wonder if Diaby will be on the bench on Sunday, or if TR will finally get some pitch time

    Magnificent Octopus :-)

  150. mickydidit89 says:

    Cant chat BR as trying to answer the Peaches plea for a post.
    An Octopus it will not resemble

  151. chas says:

    Here’s wishing Wilko Johnson all the best,

  152. Gooner In Exile says:
  153. Gooner In Exile says:

    Thing is that stat makes a point about transfer fees and wages, it doesn’t matter how much you spend, what matters is that you find the right player for the squad.

    Like to see us add a couple of hard workers and a bit of heart, don’t want any superstars.

  154. Sheep Hagger ™ says:

    Morning
    Good win Swansea but the Chavs gifted them two goals.why can’t they be as generous against us.

  155. Morning all

    Thank you Micky and GoonerB for the posts, just sorting them now.

  156. evonne says:

    i am beginning to hate Swansea.
    I will never feel sorry for the chavs, but they were so much better than the Swansea is unreal. They park the fecking bus and pounce on any chance/mistake the opposition gives them.
    We are going to have some fun trying to shift that bus next Wednesday. HOW can we make the wheels come off??

    morning

  157. Evonne do you remember Micky’s Cannons for pre match atmosphere? Thats how we get rid of the bus. :D

  158. Morning all, let’s all laugh at Chelski, fancy a London top 4 team losing at home by 2 goals ha h aha, at least we’ve never suffered that indignity, no wait…

  159. evonne says:

    oh yeah, the cannons :)
    how is Georgie best doing?

  160. 26may1989 ©®™ says:

    Morning. Before the next thread goes up, having not had the chance to comment on sleepinggiant’s last post on the Mid-1990s-Good-or-Bad debate, I just wanted to say I thought his comments were great. I didn’t agree with much of it, I maintain that the but-end of the George Graham years was terrible for many reasons, but I like the arguments.

    One thing sleepinggiant and I agree on is the unacceptibility of the team’s fragile spirit. No matter how good a person is at what they do, not giving the best of what you have is not on, and when you take enormous wages from the pockets of much poorer people, as football players do, that applies even more. But I don’t see that as inconsistent with playing football in an expansive, ambitious, creative way – in fact, I would say that more often than not, success comes from that type of way of playing, not from the wantonly negative style of so-called realists.

    Anyway, onward and upward – am getting excited about the City game, it’s the sort of game our delicate flowers might lift themselves for.

  161. Hi 26, I just couldn’t resist the TM, R C additions to your name so I’ve pinched them :)

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  164. Winner Matahula says:

    The eventual decline of arsenalfc in world football today is a realistic testament of the ‘Rule of Game’- the more you want the win, the more you win- which makes me cynical of the club as regards ambition and character to succeed. It will always be a matter more of urgency than concern for arsenal to reassess their football ideology, discover, and accept rather than acknowledge where it all went wrong.

  165. I don’t think Wenger himself has changed that much from his glory days. And therein it seems lies the problem. He set the pace then, but once the rest of the world caught on to and used his ideas, it seems he had nothing extra to offer. Hence, what we have seen since – Arsenal reaching a plateau and now little by litle falling back probably into mid table mediocrity, if Wenger continues in charge. Everyone has limits to their abilities and Wenger it seems has reached his.

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