We Can All Learn Something From the Capital One Cup Final

Yesterday was a real treat, a cup final at Wembley contested by two proper football clubs and two proper football teams. There’s little needed to say more about Swansea and their wonderful style of play, but Bradford, still stuck in the bottom tier of English professional football, have been a revelation this season. That’s brought pain to us, of course, when we failed to muster enough of what mattered to overcome their well-drilled, energetic game. But what they’ve shown is that there is no need to be condescending, they have disposed of us as well as Wigan, Villa and Watford, and a couple of others – they are no mugs. It hurt, but if we’re honest, Bradford deserved to beat us, even if it was a victory borne of an appalling penalty shoot-out performance.

Living in northwest London, Wembley isn’t far away from my house, and it warmed my heart to see the streets filling up, not with cocky Chavs, Spuds, Reds, Oilers, Scousers or Gooners, but with the fans of two teams that haven’t come to take cup final appearances for granted, fans who really know the value of cup competitions, rather than treat them as consolation for failing to win the title or sideshow baubles. These were fans from less fashionable parts of the country (sorry Sheep!), and fans who love their football. Good on them.

Beyond the satisfaction of seeing two good footballing sides and two good sets of fans go to Wembley, there is a lesson in watching the success of Bradford and Swansea. These two clubs have spent years at the bottom of the football heap, laid low by years of short-sighted and incompetent management by their boards. Bradford had gone nuts when they got into the Premier League, splurging tomorrow’s money on stupid contracts for the likes of Benito Carbone. That stupidity saw them go into administration and go tumbling down the footballing pyramid. The Premier League glory days were long gone, but under Phil Parkinson, with no money to spend, they have found sufficient shape and confidence on the pitch to suggest the club has happier days ahead.

And Swansea’s renaissance is just remarkable. Little more than ten years ago, when being managed by ex-Arsenal player John Hollins, they were midway through a descent to the bottom, the club was sold for £1, players were being sacked, fans were protesting and the Football League was talking about punishing them. In 2002, they only narrowly avoided relegation out of the Football League. And then in 2004, they made the first of a series of managerial appointments that sent them climbing up the divisions. First there was Kenny Jackett, then Roberto Martinez, Brendan Rodgers and Michael Laudrup (with a Paulo Sousa interlude). Without being able to know quite how they organise things, it is obvious that the board there have established a superb way of working: the club’s resources (not a sugar-daddy’s) are used incredibly well, they keep on recruiting high quality managers and undervalued players and they have enough confidence in the coaches and players to allow creativity to flourish. None of your Pulis, O’Neill or Allardyce rubbish for them, they’ve created an environment where skill and talent rule. And now they’ve won a major trophy, with European football attached, and look like they’ll see their side finish in the top half of the division. Anyone who loves football must love Swansea these days. Perhaps not if you’re from Cardiff (they must hate life right now), but everyone else.

I might be gutted that we won’t have a pot again this season, but seeing two clubs like Swansea and Bradford at Wembley just goes to show the value of a well-run club, that doesn’t think it’s all about throwing money about but instead achieves success through hard work, planning and skill. That, in my opinion, is something to respect and savour, and it’s something some in the Arsenal community would do well to bear in mind, there are lessons in there for all football clubs.

Written by 26may

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112 Responses to We Can All Learn Something From the Capital One Cup Final

  1. mallard says:

    Good luck to them both, 26.

    I didn’t watch it. Was it as one-sided as the score suggests?

  2. L says:

    Great post.

  3. nihirealist says:

    hi 26may,
    whereabouts in NW London do you live? When I’m in London, my base is in West Hampstead (my sister lives there). I went to walk around Wembley once. It’s like a distorted mini-India . Very strange.

    Well done to Swansea and Bradford for bringing back some fun to the League Cup. If only the final wasn’t so one-sided :) But Swansea deserve their glory, and it’ll be fun to see them in Europe next season.

  4. Red Arse says:

    Thanks for the Post, 26. :-) I will comment a bit later.

    I have had my usual morning wander around the net to look at the blogs and the ‘papers’.
    One article caught my eye from Martin Samuel, and I would like to reproduce it here because we should stick it up the asses of SpecBum and Ass Cole.

    It sums up the views of many, I hope!

    — “After a troubling week in Europe, it would be easy to mock Arsenal or Barcelona, were it not for one thing. Each time they play, these two clubs, arguably above all others, attempt the hardest feat in sport.
    They try to win beautifully. Not pragmatically. Not with cunning. There is a plan but it is a noble one. To attempt victory with the game in its purest form.

    One of the clubs, clearly, has been a lot better at it lately. The crisis at Arsenal and the blip at Barcelona barely compare in real terms: eight years without a trophy against a bad night in Milan. Barcelona are walking away with La Liga and Arsenal would kill to be in their shoes.

    Unless Real Madrid win the Champions League this season – and chances are they won’t even make the quarter-finals, with Manchester United growing in strength – they will have seen off nemesis Jose Mourinho in almost contemptuous fashion.

    Yet viewed dispassionately, even Barcelona’s near-decade of dominance contains elements of underachievement.
    The club have been on the way up since the beginning of 2004, when Edgar Davids arrived to supplement a changing squad including Ronaldinho and newly-promoted youngster Andres Iniesta, Barcelona were beginning to reverse a mid-table position.

    What coach Frank Rijkaard began, Pep Guardiola advanced in splendid style. Rijkaard won two La Liga titles and the Champions League, Guardiola won three titles and the Champions League twice, while his successor, Tito Vilanova, is sure to add his first Spanish title this season.

    For the last five years at least, Barcelona have been acknowledged as the greatest club side in the world – some would argue the best there has been, comparable to the Real Madrid late-Fifties era of Ferenc Puskas and Alfredo Di Stefano.
    Yet while Real Madrid dominated the early years of the European Cup – a markedly weaker tournament back then, it must be said – Barcelona have spent many of their golden years being eliminated by inferiors.

    Inter Milan defeated them in 2010, Chelsea in 2012. And Barcelona’s triumph in 2009 would have been cut short by Chelsea in the semi-final, were it not for one of the most bizarre refereeing displays of recent times.

    AC Milan, not even the best team in Italy according to the Serie A table, now stand a very reasonable chance of removing them again, taking a two-goal lead into the second leg.
    Strangely, as out-thought and sterile as Barcelona appeared in the San Siro, the failure almost made admiration grow. Milan were brilliant: but they were brilliant in the familiar way. Brilliantly disciplined, brilliantly organised, brilliantly coached to carry out a brilliant plan, brilliantly effective. They were not like Barcelona at their best. Their ambition was not of that scale.

    Arsenal are a hard watch right now. They are not playing well and for all his protectiveness, Arsene Wenger surely knows this. His defence was a shambles against Bayern Munich and only Jack Wilshere could have held his own in the opposition team.
    Wenger is presiding over decline, albeit on a limited budget for an elite Premier League club, and there is a real chance Arsenal may be squeezed out of qualification for next season’s Champions League.

    At this point any ideas of bold investment become meaningless, as Radamel Falcao is not about to quit Atletico Madrid for a club that cannot offer the biggest prize of all. Yet, despite this, Wenger’s aims never alter.

    Arsene might be delivering reduced fare compared to past glories but there is no doubt he aspires to more. Still, Wenger’s motivation is to win playing the most ambitiously exhilarating brand of football on its day.

    We are not far from Europe’s elite, he claimed at the weekend. Wenger knows that an Arsenal midfield driven by Wilshere and Santi Cazorla could be inspirational, with the right support network.

    ‘You’ll miss me when I’m gone,’ he says, and of course we will. Those not paying Arsenal season ticket prices can afford to indulge Wenger’s theories on the off-chance they will click – because,
    when they do, the results are sublime. Like The Dude in The Big Lebowski, it’s good knowing he’s out there.

    Barcelona’s football feeds the soul, too. After defeat in Milan, the conclusion was that Vilanova’s team did not have a plan B. Why would they, when plan A is such a beauty?
    Sulley Muntari boasted that Milan had worked out how to play them. Chelsea and Inter did, too. But beating them and playing better than them are two different things.

    Barcelona and Wenger’s Arsenal attempt football’s high wire act: to perform perfectly, without compromise. And of course, it will not always work: but we’ll miss them when they are gone.

  5. Big Raddy says:

    Well said 26.

    Duck. Yes, it was. Bradford had their first shot on goal in the 85th minute

  6. kengooner says:

    Great post indeed! Arsenal should learn the biggest lesson in this.

  7. nihirealist says:

    RA,

    Martin Samuel’s change of tack on Wenger is surprising. He’s been very snide towards Wenger on every occasion the last 2 years, including distorting facts to suit that agenda. Maybe he’s just trying to give the impression of being fair. All I know is that I don’t trust him, and if you use a Samuel article to stick it in the ash cole, they’ll probably find tons of Samuel article to counter you :)

  8. Big Raddy says:

    RA. Thank you for posting the article.

    Martin Samuel continues to be the best football writer out of a sorry bunch – he and Patrick Barclay are football fans first and sensationlists second.

    Samuel is a West Ham fan who must detest the common fare served up by Fat Sam.

  9. nihirealist says:

    haha..Looks like we disagree Raddy :)

  10. Big Raddy says:

    kengooner. Can you explain what lesson you are writing about?

  11. Big Raddy says:

    Nihi …. we disagree :-D

    Samuel is anything but snide. IMO he is honest in his opinions. I don’t object to journalists criticising Wenger or Arsenal if they are even handed.

    Samuel remains entertaining and balanced, it is no coincidence that he has been voted Sports Writer of the Year 4 times and in 2012 was voted Britain’s Best Sports Journalist

  12. 26may1989 says:

    Thanks for the kind comments all.

    @nihirealist: I live in the Kensal Rise/Queen’s Park area, not far from West Hampstead, but I’m married to a UK-born Gujarati from North Wembley. The in-law clan is spread across Wembley, Kenton and Harrow, so I’m very familiar with the Little India character of the area. The area comes into its own at Diwali and Raksha Bhandan. But I wouldn’t recommend going for a walk around Wembley, as you’ll know, there isn’t too much to see. Unless you want to get a traditional Indian pizza or traditional vegetarian Indian chop suey. :)

  13. nihirealist says:

    Raddy,

    Maybe Samuel is fair and balanced about everything else, but I don’t think you can call him that about Arsenal.

    2 years ago, Samuel had this to say,

    “And, currently, as the evidence piles up against the confidence of that smile, he is beginning to look ever so slightly crackers.”

    “You know Wenger is floundering when he talks as if the media is his enemy because no manager in the history of the English game has been treated with such reverence.”

    “For such a genius, however, he has spent much of the summer acting the fool.
    Wenger is making it too hard for Arsenal, and for himself.
    He demands that victory is achieved not just beautifully but ethically, economically, and with youth at its heart.
    In doing so, he has imposed a set of arbitrary principles on the club that, while noble, make his task almost impossible.”

    “At what point might that knowing smile become a rictus grin?
    If Udinese win, perhaps.”

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/article-2025969/Martin-Samuel-Fail-Italian-test-youll-look-foolish-Arsene.html

    On Wilshere and the U-21 tournament, although he mentions other English players opting out, Wenger is the only manager mentioned

    “Arsene Wenger, having bestowed his bountiful gift of two international class English footballers in 15 years — Ashley Cole and Wilshere — despite having all the advantages and wealth of an elite standard youth policy, now presumes to lecture on what is good for the England team.”

    Those are just the ones I remember but it was hardly unique over the last few years. I count some of those as snide, some as abusive, and as anything but objective when it comes to Arsenal. His latest article is also a change of tack in that he seems to not criticise rather than cherish Wenger’s ‘noble’ methods. Hence my surprise, and lack of trust in it being a genuine opinion.

  14. Big Raddy says:

    Nihi. Those were his his opinions at the time – I could equally point you to many pro-AW columns.

    I know from personal experience that things I wrote a couple of years ago can be used to question my opinions today, so it must be impossible for a man who makes his living as a journalist. That said, I have more respect for someone who changes his viewpoint as circumstances change than I do of someone who is rigid in their opinions.

    But it is good for us to disagree on these minor matters.

    What is a nihirealist?

  15. Red Arse says:

    Sorry, Hopalong Shard, :-)

    You are shootin’ at the wrong hombre! :-)

    Of course, the content and tone of his (Samuel’s) articles vary dependent on the topic and angst of the moment, don’t we all do that.

    On the one hand (yours) he is showing his disagreement with Arsene on specific matters, and again we all do that, but on the other foot (mine) today he is talking much more about the wonderful ethos and vision of a great manager and his approach to the beautiful game, and to link AW, in a perfectly natural way, to one of the greatest teams in world football is wonderfully laudable!

    BTW, forget W.Hampstead, go and vist Southall — I love it for the feeling of stepping into a colder, wetter India, with all the sights and exotic smells imagineable – altho if your time in the UK is limited it might be like a busman’s holiday to you! :-)

  16. Red Arse says:

    Raddy, I agree! :-)

    A Nihirealist, is a Real Nihilist! :-)

  17. nihirealist says:

    BR,

    I have been known to change my own opinion on things so I wasn’t criticising him for that. Just that I’ve seen him say such things many times over the years to the point that I don’t trust his writings anymore. But as you say, disagreements on minor matters like Samuel (haha-snide) are hardly cause for concern.

    A nihirealist is a bizarre name for the bizarre world most of the discussion around Arsenal has entered. It’s a combination of nihilist and realist (everyone seems to think they represent ‘the truth’ while in truth it doesn’t matter) Congratulations. You are the first to ask me that. If you don’t laugh at me now, I’ll buy you a drink if we ever meet :)

  18. nihirealist says:

    RA,

    My only experience of Southall was through the worst movie I have ever seen, and the only one I have been tempted to walk out of (I don’t go to many movies) It was the Indian movie ‘Goal’ ostensibly about a downtrodden community’s rise to win the football tourney against those oh so evil whites who’re always looking to keep the brown man down. Such racist, nonsensical piece of claptrap. And to top it off, they knew nothing about football.Also, they went to Old Trafford for inspiration before their big match. I’m glad they didn’t come to Arsenal. I wouldn’t want my club associated with that crap.

    Sorry about the rant :) I guess, I won’t be going to southall anytime soon. Wembley was boring enough.

  19. Big Raddy says:

    Nihi LOL

  20. Rob Lucchi says:

    Nice post 26may,

    btw I detest Martin Samuel too.

  21. nihirealist says:

    BR,

    That LOL has cost you a free drink :D

  22. Eman says:

    And here’s the thing Arsene and the board just won’t get: Swansea walked away with a lot more than a trophy yesterday, even if it was a minor one. The got a psychological boost, with players knowing that they have what it takes to earn silverware, they will make better sponsorship deals now since success attracts money and their fanbase will multiply.

    Even if they have to sell their players (and I’d take Michu or Davies, by Jove) now they are selling ‘Champions’, not just ‘decent players’, which increases their price.

    Why won’t Arsene do that? It’s like for Arsene it’s the CL or nothing- but you have to learn to walk before you run.

  23. 26may1989 says:

    Eman, do you think we went out of the cups this year because Wenger didn’t take the games seriously? Here are the teams he fielded:

    Vs Bradford: Szcsesny, Sagna, Mertesacker, Vermaelen, Gibbs, Cazorla, Ramsey, Wilshere, Podolski, Coquelin, Gervinho (subs that came on: Rosicky, Oxlade-Chamberlain and Chamakh)

    Vs Blackburn: Szczesny, Coquelin, Koscielny, Vermaelen, Monreal, Rosicky, Arteta, Diaby, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Giroud, Gervinho (subs that came on: Wilshere, Walcott, Cazorla)

    Any suggestion that Wenger is to blame for our failures in those two games looks without any foundation to me. The players on the field in each of those games could and should have won comfortably. They failed to apply their abilities properly on the days, and that is why we went out.

    I know people love to use Wenger as a punch-bag but there comes a point when players have to earn their money and their respect. It’s different when we lose to the likes of Bayern, City and United, but when we lose to lower division teams, with experienced international players on the pitch, it has to be the players’ fault.

  24. Red Arse says:

    Excuse me, Shard, aka Nihirealist, but 3 days ago, on this very site, I addressed you as Nihil Realist, and you accused me of mis-spelling your avatar name – as if.

    Now I see you flattering BR by saying he is the first to ask you about it — was that in the Southall film too?

    Incidentally, I know nothing about cinematics, but I have seen one or two dire films in my time, but I have never consciously blamed the location for the poor fare on offer.

    The multiculturalism of Southall and its horse market (that is bound to draw some comments) does have a magic of its own. :D

  25. Red Arse says:

    26,

    Don’t let facts spoil Eman’s viewpoint! :-)

  26. kelsey says:

    I think that looking at it at a another way (no trophies for 8 years blah,blah,blah) is a back handed compliment to the Club be it players, managers or BoD that not a day goes by without some theory or another about Arsenal.
    I know we are all focussed on Arsenal but there is a good argument to lambast Chelsea,lLverpool or even City for the reasons we all know, but in comparison not much is said by the media.

  27. 26may1989 says:

    Agree 100% kelsey.

  28. Manthan says:

    26may,
    Right most of the indians gujartis stay near wembley street as I am a gujarati and my uncle stay der :D

    Coming to the post… I really wanted Bradford to win dis cup as it would have been historic moment for them… Did any one of you know bradford chariman has announced before the cup that if there side win Cup they will reject europe move as they dont have money to travel for groups stages and UEFA sponsor once group stage get overs… According to them they wont be able to get trough group stage… Strange… I really feel for them

  29. Rasp says:

    Great post 26m and not a single thing to disagree with. There is much to admire in the honest and energetic performances of Swansea and Bradford, devoid of cynicism, they play for the joy of achievement. Obviously we can look at Arsenal’s recent history and be proud of what we have achieved …. the test we now face is how are we going to adapt to our new circumstances?

  30. Manthan says:

    sOME STATS ABOUT NACHO

    Monreal made three ‘key passes’ – goalscoring opportunities – as many as Jack Wilshere. Only Walcott and Cazorla bettered him, but no other defender made a single one.

    – Monreal was one of only four outfield players to complete more than 90 per cent of his passes; 91 per cent, along with Arteta, Diaby and Cazorla.

    – He made three tackles, the second highest of any Arsenal player, bettered only by Jenkinson’s five, and equal to Abou Diaby.

    – Monreal’s four interceptions were again the second highest of any of his teammates, led only by Mikel Arteta’s seven.

    – No other player made more clearances than Monreal’s four, with Arteta and Mertesacker closest with three.

    – The Spaniard also kept out of the referee’s bad books, not committing a single foul.

  31. nihirealist says:

    RA you greedy pig. If you want to mooch off a free drink, then just say so. No need to get all worked up :D

  32. Eman says:

    @26: Well, yeah, I do believe that he didn’t take the matches seriously, especially the one against Blackburn. Sure, we had pretty much decent lineups, but that hardly tells you the whole story, does it?

    I don’t think they played with the urgency they should, were rested enough the previous week. I don’t think those were matches where we gave our all but were outclassed by superior opposition. I could define the Bayern match as such, but not the one against Blackburn.

    And my point is that the Arsenal needs a trophy to build on, for many reasons, not just for the media to stop counting the seasons without a trophy; Arsenal needs to stop being seen as a loser side, for footballing and economical reasons alike. The Blackburn match should have been treated as a CL final, because for us it should have been equally important.

  33. GoonerB says:

    Great write up today 26May.

    26May and Eman, I can see points in what you both say that I agree with. I can’t believe for one minute that AW didn’t take the Blackburn game seriously, but he did try and rotate the squad with the game against Munich looming. In hindsight he may have been better off playing his strongest squad and going for it in the cup but TBH I actually was calling for him to rotate and rest some players as well so to criticise his decision would in my case be hypocritical.

    Maybe AW got it wrong with the selection that day but it is not an exact science and if he got it wrong I got it wrong as well. I think it is easy to confuse not taking something seriously with making the wrong call. All top managers can make the wrong call. What it says to me overall is that once you take out 3-4 key players the back up collectively are not quite up to it.

    What happened in the Blackburn game? For me we played well enough to be 3 up when they scored their goal but didn’t take our chances earlier and got caught by a sucker punch against a team we were better than. I said it yesterday but the Blackburn goal should have just been viewed as a slightly fortunate consolation goal and not the match winner it was. We are maybe a bit short in the clinical goal-scoring department but I think AW is aware of this and he will address it this summer. I think by next season we will have the players to be able to rotate and win games like that more convincingly. Lets not forget we are not the only big side to have suffered the David vs Goliath situation this season. I think there is a rather long list as it stands.

  34. Big Raddy says:

    Eman. I am sorry but your argument doesn’t persuade me. Apart from 26’s excellent comment about the line ups (which IMO does tell the whole story), there is also the stats from the games. Let us take the one you highlighted …. Blackburn.

    Shots AFC 28 B’burn 7

    Possession AFC 71% BB 29%

    Corners AFC 16 BB 2

    What does this show? Well, to me it is clear that aggression and hard work were not the reason for the loss. Nor was it urgency …. 28 shots.

    We lost because B’burn had the rub of the green on the day. Rosicky hits the bar – Kazim’s shin shot goes in.

    Resting? How does that work? Should we rest players in the PL?

    As to your need for silverware. What makes you think the club disagrees with you when AW puts out his best teams?

    BTW thanks for the comments – they make for good discussion.

  35. Big Raddy says:

    Leeds beat Spurs but no-one highlights that do they?

    It is not often I support WHU and in particular Fat Sam. But tonight I will & would like to see at least 2 red cards and a couple of injuries to Spurs players – nothing nasty – a ligament strain or a muscle tear (to the simian in particular).

  36. Manthan says:

    BR Spot on…

    Oldham defeated pool and same goes for spurs…..
    We played a good aggresive football.. Rocskiy hit post and Gerv missed a easy finish luck was not our side any other day we could have won the match…..

  37. Red Arse says:

    An ineloquent musing, for your delectation. :-)

    The ability to discuss and dissect varying shades of opinion is a mark of civilized people, and AA goes a long way to achieving that.

    Now here’s the thing; opinions often appear first as jokes and fancies or whimsies, then they are seen as blasphemies or treason, then they are elevated to questions open to discussion, and finally are accepted as established truths.

    Unfortunately, some opinions are bollocks from the outset, and remain so for the duration.

    Keep an eye out and see if you can distinguish one from the other.

    Yours, faithfully,

    The avaricious Porker!

  38. 26may1989 says:

    @Eman: I like your point about urgency, I agree that is often a deficiency in our side when facing supposedly lesser opposition. But again, I’d be reluctant to put all the blame on Wenger, that seems simplistic to me. Sure, he carries his share of responsibility, but his job is primarily about recruitment, training, selection and tactics. Once the players cross the line, most of what follows is their job. And, thanks to years of hard work from Wenger and those around him, any Arsenal side should be able to handle a side from the lower divisions. Our lot had 120 minutes plus a penalty shoot out to do that against Bradford, but deservedly went out. The defeat to Blackburn was a bit less deserving of criticism, given the role bad luck played and the dominance we showed in every respect other than the one that counted. But still, there were plenty of chances for all 14 players who played for us to do more to have imposed themselves on ordinary opposition.

    One of our problems, amongst players and fans, and probably coaches, is unjustified complacency. We’re good but not good enough to assume we can roll over everyone who turns up for a game. I’m positive the manager gets that, just look at the agonies he goes through, and I’m sure the players understand the point too – the trouble is we still struggle to get that first goal when faced with a side that plays deep and then hits on the break. That’s something to put at the door of Wenger, the other coaches and the players, they should all do better on that. But it’s also a bloody hard thing to do when 8 or 9 oppo outfield players spend the entire game in or around their penalty area: crossing is difficult, dribbling is difficult, long range shooting is difficult and eye-of-the-needle passing is difficult. So we shouldn’t underestimate what is involved, which is why I think the win over Villa was a good one.

    So to an extent, you and I agree. My objection was to what you said about Wenger not getting the fact that we need to win the cup games just as much as the PL and CL games. We have flaws but in my opinion that isn’t one of them.

  39. GunnerN5 says:

    Being an old codger I frequently become irritated by both the media coverage and supporters attitudes towards Arsenal and this description of a self fulfilling prophecy sums up my frustration and annoyance perfectly.

    …………………………………………………………………………………….

    A positive or negative prophecy, strongly held belief, or delusion – declared as truth when it is actually false – may sufficiently influence people so that their reactions ultimately fulfill the once-false prophecy.

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

    Thankfully this description does not apply to the vast majority of AA bloggers – that is why I hang around – to read and enjoy the thoughts of the vast majority and contemptuously ignore the drivel.

  40. Red Arse says:

    GN5,

    That’s a good definition of a self fulfilling prophecy, because falsely defining the Arsenal situation as bad, produces empathetic behaviour in some people (see SpecBum) which enables this false statement to become realized as true, if not countered.

    In essence though, this relies on the gullible to help achieve the self fulfilling falsehood, and sadly there are always many gullible souls ready to suck at the teat of ignorance.

    The trouble is in deciding how to deal with such delusions.

    To stifle the broadcasting of such false prophecies smacks of censorship, and all censorships exist to prevent someone/anyone from challenging the current conceptions and existing institutions.

    All progress commences by challenging current conceptions, and is executed by supplanting existing institutions. Consequently, the first condition of progress has to be the removal of censorship.

    A moral maze, indeed.

    Naturally, if I was the kingpin I would solve the problem by lopping off the heads of all the dissenters!! :D But I am not – so I won’t!

  41. MickyDidIt89 says:

    26
    Really worthwhile thoughts and sentiments to share.
    Very well written as well :-)
    I only saw the last 10 minutes, but in that short time, all that you pointed out that is worth savouring, ran through my mind.
    Exactly what football should be all about.
    Two fingers to the skuzzy, glory hunting, fair weather fans.
    Thank you.
    One big criticism would be, could we kindly not knock Fat Sam (well, for another 5 hours or so at any rate). Terrific bloke.

  42. GunnerN5 says:

    RA:

    You are, as usual, full of wise and thoughtful counsel.

    My issue is that I hold those types of views in such deep contempt that I refuse to become involved in the circular discussion that follows a response – so I choose to ignore them. Now some folks may find my attitude, in ignoring their comments or articles, to be rude and condescending, but believe me they would like my responses even less.

    I admire the way in which you can summarize your thoughts and feelings – my skills in that area are sadly lacking.

  43. GunnerN5 says:

    26M,

    Good to read an article that does not either implicitly or explicitly criticize our team. Well done.

    One of the things I miss the most is the incredible buzz, and wonderful aromas that surrounded game days at Highbury.

  44. Red Arse says:

    GN5,

    You are doing yourself a disservice.
    I have always found your responses, on those rare occasions when you allow your irritation to show, pithy, pointed and clear!! :-)

    I have no objection to anyone disagreeing with an opinion I express. I am not the Oracle and can easily be wrong, and I am happy to change my mind when a persuasive case is made.

    What sticks in my craw is precisely the sort of thing you have referred to with the blinkered, self fulfilling prophecy merchants who brook no arguments.

    My views are not unlike your own, I think, and frankly I annoy myself by bothering to get involved with these apostles of despair.

    With experience, I am getting better at staying quiet, but sometimes the pressure builds up and I cannot resist responding.

    However, you are right. What is the point?
    The people involved are beyond redemption, and like footballing Dodos, they are incapable of encompassing the need to expand their horizons and see the bigger picture. :-(

  45. Eman says:

    @26: Now, I’m not a Wenger-out-er and I certainly don’t place all the blame on him. But there’s no denying that he makes mistakes. And one very relevant here is a certain hubris that the likes of Bradford or Swansea lacked.

    Maybe our standing on the PL or doing the usual good showing on the CL is a lot less relevant than winning a trophy already. Because no player in the world is dying to either move to or stay in a team who doesn’t seem to go all the way to win anything. And that’s hurting us.

    I don’t want him out. What I want is for Wenger to get out of his ivory tower and smell the coffee.

  46. GunnerN5 says:

    From Arsenal.com

    ……………………………………………………………………….

    Arsenal Holdings plc
    Results for the six months ended 30 November 2012
    ARSENAL ANNOUNCE HALF YEAR RESULTS
    Group profit before tax was £17.8 million (2011 – £49.5 million).
    Profit on sale of player registrations amounted to £42.5 million (2011 – £63.0 million).
    £40.9 million of investment in new players and extended contracts pushed amortisation charges up to £19.9 million (2011 – £17.3 million).
    The resulting profit from player trading was £23.2 million (2011 – £46.1 million).
    Turnover from football fell to £106.1 million (2011 – £113.5 million) as a consequence of there being four fewer home fixtures.
    As a result of this change in football turnover and increased wage costs, operating profits (before depreciation and player trading) from football decreased to £5.0 million (2011 – £15.2 million).
    Property revenues were boosted to £32.3 million (2011 – £3.2 million) by the sale of the market housing site at Queensland Road. However, the Queensland Road sale was essentially at break even in profit and loss terms. Overall operating profits from property increased to £1.9 million (2011 – £0.5 million).
    The Group has no short-term debt and continues to have a robust financial platform from cash reserves of £123.3 million (2011 – £115.2 million).
    Confirmed extension to Emirates partnership worth up to £150 million.
    Commenting on the results for the six months, Peter Hill-Wood, non-executive Chairman, said:
    “Our ability to compete at the top of the game here and in Europe is underpinned by our financial performance which gives the club strength and independence. Our desire is to make everyone connected with Arsenal proud of the Club. We know that comes through winning trophies but also through the way we do things and that will remain our constant guide.”

  47. GunnerN5 says:

    RA,

    We are in sync, I don’t have an issue with folks expressing their opinion, it’s when they construe their opinion as fact that I get annoyed.

    I wish I had the wherewithal have a constructive dialogue with them but all they want to do is debate and then my patience runs thin and my ire becomes overwhelming.

  48. 26may1989 says:

    Hi Eman

    You’re right, the not winning silverware thing does create its own issues (see Robben’s little dig a few days ago for example). And I certainly agree that winning any trophy would help us move on. But it sounded right when Wenger said last week that one of the reasons he considers the PL and CL to be more significant is that prospective recruits don’t ask when we last won the league cup, they’re more interested in our CL track record.

    I emphasise, just like you I don’t think doing well in the PL and CL excludes doing well in the domestic cups, and I was absolutely gutted when we contrived to lose the league cup final to Birmingham. But I don’t accept the idea that Wenger doesn’t want to win those trophies too – his teams have won them and got to finals, he wants to win those competitions just as we do. Classifying some objectives as more significant than others doesn’t mean we don’t try to achieve the lower objectives, and I really don’t think that’s what Wenger has ever said.

    In fact, I’d go so far as to say his team selections in cup games over the past 3-4 years have suggested more determination to succeed in those competitions, not less. Gone are the days when the whole first choice XI would be rested when facing opposition such as Bradford, save in the first game in the league cup. Now it’s just a bit of careful rotation, with the bulk of the XI being established first teamers.

    Whatever one thinks of Wenger, he has never tried to make life easy for himself. The simplest thing for him to have done would have been to have said bugger CL qualification, and gone hell for leather for the league cup, just to stop people going on about the number of years without a trophy. But would that have made us a more successful football club? Some may say yes, I wouldn’t. Was Benitez’s Liverpool really more successful than us, when winning some cups coincided with a slide into irrelevance in the PL and absence from the CL?

    I don’t think Wenger is perfect, but I do think that he gets a hell of a lot more right than he gets wrong, that he knows infinitely more about the game than pretty much every one of his critics and backseat drivers, and that his record in the last eight years is incredibly misunderstood, with no regard being given to the reality of having no money until very recently and the impact of the oiler-cheats on our ability to function and succeed.

  49. Big Raddy says:

    Gn5. I am crap with money – but very good at spending it – are those figures good or bad?

  50. GunnerN5 says:

    Raddy,

    It appears that only Man U have better financial results, but I’ll leave it up to our AA accountants to analyze ours. However 123 million quid in the bank ain’t too shabby.

  51. Eman says:

    @26: Well those are some very good points, particularly the one about Liverpool. Still, we do seem to be stuck in this neverending rut of being the close-but-no-cigar Club. Wenger needs to somehow jump start this,

  52. 26may1989 says:

    I defer to the numerous AA accountancy wonks on the detail, I know I miss many of the subtleties, but the figures look good to me on the accumulation of cash in the bank. But the revenue issues continue to be a concern: without player sales, we’d be trading at a loss. Income streams will improve with the commercial deals that are coming (though I continue to think our new deal with Emirates isn’t that good), and we can see some big wage earners leaving soon. But our wage bill is still high, especially when we factor in all the players out on loan. There is still plenty of work for Gazidis to do to earn his corn.

  53. 26may1989 says:

    Agreed Eman, there have been crucial moments in the last few years when our players have choked. The Birmingham defeat is the most obvious but there have been others. It is incredibly frustrating to watch when it happens.

  54. Red Arse says:

    I cannot stay, but thanks for showing those half year results, GN5, and the cash reserves are not to be sneezed at, but there are two accounting concepts to be aware of.

    Cash accounting and accrued accounting are very different creatures.
    The FFP looks at the accrued accounting in respect of, for example, the revenue streams, salary and the profit line.

    The cash will be for payment of creditors, salaries, etc, and is known as part of working capital as a result.

    26M is right, the net profit on sale (disposal) of players has helped to produce an overall profit before tax, albeit a reduced profit, so sustainable profitability still depends on the profits on player transfers and property sales (which are coming to an end).

    The experts on all this are GIE, Wonderman and CharyB. :-)

    Nite guys.

  55. Hi all

    Do any of those that understand the half year results fancy doing a post offering their thoughts for tomorrow ……???

  56. Big Raddy says:

    Peaches. That rules me out :-D

    Come on you Irons

  57. Thats ok Raddy, I’ll let you off :D

    Chamakh 12/1 first goal scorer I heard :lol:

    Come on Chamakh ……….. you could become a legend :)

  58. RockyLives says:

    Really good Post 26.

    Sometimes we all need reminding what football is all about.

    Much as I would love us to have been winning trophies every year since 2004, there is no doubt that the next one we win will be all the sweeter for having had a period of abstinence.

    1987 and 1989 were incredibly special occasions, not least because of the barren years that had gone before.

  59. goonerjake says:

    Peaches,

    I can’t begin to explain to you how much I DONT understand the half year results…. I guess I’m just a uneducated pleb (as a tory whip would describe me)

    Anyhow the best of look with your request, I am sure that someone on here can fulfil your boon.

    Now back to my crayons and my dung for supper.

  60. goonerjake says:

    ps. boon means favour

  61. goonerjake says:

    come on you ions

  62. Thank you goonerjake for your best wishes, someone is bound to want to impress with their extensive knowledge ;)

  63. Spinning pork pies says:

    We is minted.
    Spend some of our money.

  64. kelsey says:

    It’s easy.property sales are just about over,even having sold RVP for 22/24 million profits are down but reserves up,but 3 less home games.

  65. Sheep Hagger ™ says:

    Afternoon nice post .
    These were fans from less fashionable parts of the country (sorry Sheep!), and fans who love their football. Good on them.
    No offence taken may 26 th
    Come on the hammers tonight is chamak playing

  66. Sheep Hagger ™ says:

    🐏👍

  67. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    so this is the Totnumb side we are all meant to fear. I dont care what the score is tonight coz were gona give them a good whooping on the weekend.

    ive seen more fight and craft from my suger puffs than i have from this lot. in fact as we speak one of them is showing some great dribbling skills by wriigling of my bowl. Hes better than Bale for christs sake.

    totnumb are sugerless. They are without doubt, just a bunch of Puffs

  68. evonne says:

    2:1 to Hammers, go on!!!

  69. 26may1989 says:

    Gutting, thought Jussi the Gooner had done enough. Great goal to win it, though Bale looked off colour for much of the game.

    So Chelsea are our targets as much as the Totts. This is going to be tight!

  70. Wenger's coat says:

    RVP got us the C.league last year and I’m afraid it looks like Bale is doing that for Spurs this year, You just feel Bale will be the difference for them. most likely team to catch would be Chelsea.

  71. Sheep Hagger ™ says:

    Welsh twat

  72. 26may1989 says:

    I don’t know about that Sheep, you seem like a pretty decent chap to me…..
    :)

  73. Thomas, charging through the midfield! says:

    The problem I have with everyone proclaiming that we shouldn’t be unhappy with the last 8 years is the fact that the club is now run as Arsenal PLC and not Arsenal FC. Going without trophies is not the problem. The lack of ambition is a problem and the constant asset stripping and accumulation of profits is as well. If not finishing in the Champion’s league spots is such a disaster, then why is it that the Spuds are constantly snapping at our heels. They’ve made a loss for the last two years and don’t look like going down the Portsmouth/Leeds route that all the doomsayers say we would fall into if we, god forbid, made a loss on a single year.

    Furthermore the fact of the matter is that for all the boards bull about doing things the right way, we make a loss without selling our best players. Who have we got left. Can we honestly say that if one of the oil clubs or yanited come in with a stupid bid for Jack this summer the club won’t sell. I, unfortunately am not too confident. Every time Jack puts in a good performance the club just sees a big pile of cash, and like Santos’s stomach, it just keeps on getting bigger and bigger.

    Lastly, if the club has so much cash in reserve, and is constantly making profits, then it is nothing short of an utter disgrace regarding how high our ticket prices are. The gentrification of our support is shocking. It’s an absolute disgrace and I’m very surprised none of you feel that way. I’m lucky enough that through hard work and good fortune I’ve made enough in my career to afford tickets for me and my boys, but my brothers can’t. A lot of my mates can’t, and these are people who were there all the way from the 70’s and earlier. An absolute disgrace. I am seething right now. Either show some ambition and justify the ridiculous prices we pay, or have a conscience and let proper supporters back in the ground. Fuming.

  74. 26may1989 says:

    Thomas, I was reading your last para, nodding away, until I came to “I’m very surprised none of you feel that way.” Eh? How the buggery do you know what I or anyone else thinks about the gentrification of football? As it happens, I agree with you on that point. Others may well do too.

  75. Gooner In Exile says:

    26 fantastic post sir.

    Unsurprisingly the biggest lesson I think to be learned yesterday was how to support your club and team. The sight of 40000 Bradford fans waving flags at 4-0 down was humbling. What would have happened to those flags in the hands of Arsenal fans.

    In away I’m glad Spuds got the result tonight as it will make victory at the Lane all the sweeter.

    My brother sent me a text with 20 to go saying Jussis having a blinder, so I’m blaming him .
    for talking to soon.

    He did text at final whistle…..

    “Can we still get hold of the horse lasagne?”

  76. 26may1989 says:

    Like your brother’s style!

    Completely agree about Bradford’s fans.

  77. Thomas, charging through the midfield! says:

    My apologies 26May1989.

    I shouldn’t presume to know what any of you think. I just read through the comments and didn’t see it mentioned by any one on here, and so came to the conclusion that none of the posters on here regarded it as an important enough point to raise, even if they may think it a valid point. Is that an unfair conclusion?

    I’m just sick of hearing constant rubbish about how well run our club is when in my opinion it’s killing itself. A West Ham supporting mate sent me this article and it just made me sick: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/feb/22/late-in-life-convert-to-beautiful-life . This is the kind of muppet who fills our ground now. These new trendy Islingtonites who think that by going to the football they suddenly have ‘prole’ credentials. Why is it our club that attracts these sorts of people. Now I have nothing against genuine middle class fans. We always were probably the most middle class club in London. But they were people with a genuine love for the game and appreciation of Arsenal as a social entity, without trying to craft the club to their notions of what entertainment should be. I cannot stand grown men jumping on the ‘footer’ bandwagon.

    Where I sit in the Emirates i have to put up with some hooray henry’s who have season tickets in front of me, yapping on about the ‘aesthetic experience of Arsenal being the only reason they’re worth watching’ (genuine quote) and recently I heard one say he’s thinking of switching to Spurs because he thinks they play ‘prettier’ football. I’ve had a very prim and proper posh woman shush me as she thought I was too loud. I’ve seen someone get out their ipad during a match. It winds me up. Every day I fall more and more out of love with the club and I’m considering not renewing my tickets. Do you know what though, Arsenal won’t care. A good friend of mine didn’t renew his ticket a couple of years ago (could no longer afford it) after being a season ticket holder for 20 odd years. Not even an email from the club asking why.

    At the Bayern match, an old geezer was sitting where the Hooray Henry’s normally sit, with his wife. He was a 70 year old man. Holloway born and raised, had been following the Arsenal for 65 years of his life, and with him was his wife, part of the NL paddy community who also came from a family of Arsenal supporters. That was the only match they could afford to go this season. Broke my heart. It really did. Even worse he said was that his son couldn’t afford to take his kids and in fact his grandkids had never seen Arsenal live. That matters to me much more than trophies.

    Now Peter Hill-Wood comes out and says we’re a well respected club and do things the right way. He can do one. Complete and utter farce. So for any of you to think we’re a well run club. Well, let’s just say I don’t agree…

  78. nihirealist says:

    Thomas,

    The lovely lament of an era gone by. Always tempting to think of the old days as good. Doesn’t make it right. And even if it is, it is hardly Arsenal alone to blame for that. It is the way football is now. All those newbies as fans is what has pushed ManU to become the brand it is, which in turn allows the football team to have the resources to win. So let’s go easy on knocking the new fans, regardless of how they came to like the club. Who are you to judge why they should pick a team to follow? The days when you felt the club was yours because it was small enough to carry around in your back pocket are over. You can still feel the club is yours. You’ll just have to do some growing up, like the club has done.

  79. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    Thomas,

    Great comment mate. I feel your pain.

    Couple of things though. Its not just Arsenal, though with our new stadium we lead the field with the crap you talk about.

    The other thing is that many of those “middle class” types you speak about are the very same offspring of the working class Londoners that used to games like i did in the seventies and eighties

    Its sad, and if i could turn the clock back i would, but we have to accept the world has changed and we have to change with it.

    Though ive got to say. For me, you have made one of the best comments i have ever read on hear. Full of emotion and a reminder, to me anyway, what been an arsenal was all about.

  80. Sheep Hagger ™ says:

    Cheers 26th

  81. Sheep Hagger ™ says:

    Back to work see u all tomorrow
    Sheep

  82. Thomas, charging through the midfield! says:

    Maybe Nihirealist,

    But there is going to be a generation of working class arsenal fans who will grow up without ever being able to watch them live. There is nothing you can say that will justify that to me. Absolutely nothing. We are supposed to be a classy club, a special club, not just anther corporate sell out. If we ever go through a period of decline do you think the new support will stick around. Already our hospitality boxes don’t sell out anymore.

    Let me ask, who do you think are the type of season ticket holders who don’t show up. People who pay a substantial part of their wages and live and breathe the club, or those for who Arsenal is a fashionable habit they picked up. As a season ticket holder, and having observed who comes and who doesn’t around me and I can assure you it’s very much the latter group. If we go through a decline who will be there. It will be the last generation of die hards who grew up going every week and who can still afford it paying tooth and nail.

    Their kids won’t. I take my nephews whenever my boys can’t come but as they don’t go regularly they don’t have that addiction of going to the match despite being die hard supporters from a die hard Arsena supporting family. My 19 year old nephew says he enjoys watching it in the pub more, and so do all his mates. That’s where young working class fans watch the Arsenal now. It’s in the pubs (and away games) that you get the spirit, camaraderie and friendship you got at old grounds. Fair enough it’s not just Arsenal, but I don’t care about other clubs, I care about Arsenal. The fact that so many season ticket holders don’t show up when we’re 5th is a sad indictment to the level of commitment a lot of the new breed of supporter has. Club level is hardly ever full these days. Again, people abandoning the club as soon as we drop (to the horrendous, inglorious depths of 5th!). Long term, we’re shooting ourselves in the foot, by not creating a new generation of young gooners who have grown up attending week and week out. I hope we don’t fall into mid table, but it’s not beyond the realms of possibility. Not this year, not next year, but who can say in ten years. In this hypothetical 2023, when we’re all old OAP’s a lot of people who have season tickets are dead, and the plastic support has abandoned ship, we may not have a core match going support to call on.

    But forget about harking back to the old days. If the club is posting profits (of a fairly substantial amount for a football club) and has over £100mn in cash reserves it clearly can reduce ticket prices. Yes we’ll never have the North Bank and clock end song back. We’ll never have the bagels by the West stand (or East, I can’t remember!), we’ll probably never hear B’jesus said Paddy (god I haven’t heard that sung in a long time) at the ground again, but if the club even reduced prices a little bit, I would feel that Arsenal had done something, and that would warm my heart a little bit. It would remind me, that despite the glossy make over, the old girl still had a bit of soul left. Rant over//

  83. Gooner In Exile says:

    Thomas scary thing is the ipad guys are not just the hooray Henry’s. I sat in Red Action for Olympiakos home this season, it was constant chatter, not about the game though, two blokes next to me talking about the Ryder Cup, people on my right showing pictures of their latest night out, not at half time or pre kick off, at about 25minutes into the match. I had chosen to sit there to have some fun and sing.

    I will be very happy to see a few less ST holders (the club won’t obviously), but for the guys like the old Holloway born and raised boy well he could get to more games, one ticket v Bayern would have cost him around as much as three tickets v Southampton, Norwich and Swansea (although they won’t be Cat C for long), but the club are not great at advertising the fact.

    Don’t get me wrong I know the price is ridiculous at times (especially if buying 3-4 tickets on one income) but Junior Gunners go less than half price so 1 adult two kids to watch Arsenal v Southampton would have been £45.50. Now I reckon final standing season at Arsenal was £8 adults and £3.50 kids, which was £15 in total which allowing for inflation would be £30 in today’s money. A difference yes but not as significant as one would think. And then to consider average weekly earnings 1990 £264, 2012 £445. But then when I was taken by my Dad to watch Arsenal he didn’t have to find money for latest games console, or replica kits (scarf would do), TV for my bedroom, Computer for the home etc etc etc.

  84. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    26, by the way, great post

    swansea and Bradford are a credit to football and there towns. even sheepy. hahaha

    Back to thomas point. For our next home game i have been invited into a box, were i shall partake in Cavier, Champers, Cigars, and hopefully a Roman Orgy. hahaha.

  85. Gooner In Exile says:

    Someone might know what the old family enclosure prices were in 1990 which is probably more comparable to today’s seating prices for a fairer comparison.

  86. 26may1989 says:

    Like your second comment a lot Thomas. I don’t often disagree with nihirealist/Shard, but I think he’s misunderstood you. I don’t read what you say as knocking fans who aren’t lucky enough to be born within a spit of Avenell Road. I see the point as being that the way football has gone means that the people who can afford to go to games now come from a narrower and richer group.

    That is both unfair and unhealthy: the fanbase needs constantly to renew itself. But if young fans can only go if Mum and Dad have enough spare cash to be able to fork out £40-£60 per match, the habit won’t form for many people. And ultimately, that could be very bad for all football clubs – there’s a cosy assumption amongst them that they can continue to charge high prices, plus have fans fork out more wonga to Sky and then more again to kit manufacturers.

    And of course it’s plain unfair for thousands of fans to feel themselves excluded from the game we all love.

    Are the clubs to blame? Yes, in part. But let’s not forget where most of this money, our money, goes: into the pockets of the players and their agents. Their limitless greed and our passion are the reasons money has gone crazy in our game, so that a salary of £1m has become small beer.

    German football (as ever) has a better set-up, with cheaper tickets, supplemented with things like free public transport on match day. I see no possibility of our club, or any club on its own, making that sort of change, since it would effectively make one club less able to compete for talent than others, but it would be possible to do something on a league-wide basis. But do you see anyone at the PL, the FA or the clubs with the vision to achieve something like that? No, me neither.

  87. 26may1989 says:

    And I love your third comment too Thomas! Which I obviously hadn’t seen when I posted my last one.

  88. 26may1989 says:

    Exile, I can’t say what the family enclosure prices were in 1990, but for nostalgia’s sake I’ll happily chip in with what I paid when I started going around 1979/1980: it was 80 pence for kids and OAPs to stand on the North Bank, £1.10p for others. Using an online inflation convertor, I reckon that would be equivalent to £2.40 and £3.30 today. Fancy your chances of getting a ticket to a game for that price?

  89. Gooner In Exile says:

    Saw my cousin on the weekend, he is a Chelsea fan (an old one who actually enjoys football for football rather than rivalries) as is one of his sons, we managed to nab the other son for us :D

    They used to live in North London but moved up to Stowmarket, i think they have managed one trip to the Emirates and one trip to the Bridge, the Chelsea supporting son now goes to Ipswich every home game….why? £120 a season ticket. He might not love the club like he loves Chelsea but which will he end up putting more money into over his life?

  90. Gooner In Exile says:

    Be fair 26 in 1979 and 1980 the average annual salary was £2 and 8 shillings :D

  91. Gooner In Exile says:

    26 actually in seriousness it kind of proves that this isn’t a new problem, i put the Dad plus two kids in the inflationary calculator and it says £10 in todays money, so that tells us that what my Dad paid to take me and my brother in 1990 was already over and above inflation.

  92. 26may1989 says:

    Fine observations from Mr Exile….

    Though I’ll have to ignore the implication that I’m old enough to have used shillings!

  93. Sav from Australia says:

    Nice article. Well said 26may!

  94. Big Raddy says:

    Thomas. Brilliant comment. I don’t agree with everything you write but almost ….

    Your first point said it all. Arsenal FC have become Arsenal PLC. For older fans like us it is a difficult transition.

    I wish it were different but sadly it isn’t.

    BTW. A ticket to the mainstand at Barnet costs £21, kids £9, so to take 2 children would cost £39. Not do much different to AFC v Southampton. If you were to stand (those were the days!!), it would cost £32 out in the rain (cheapest).

    Point being that it is best to compare AFC to a London club

  95. Big Raddy says:

    When I turned off last night WHU were leading 2-1. Once again Fat Sam , Arsenal Hater, assists our rivals.

    Remember when his high flying Bolton team with Anelka used to roll over for MU?

    Horrible man

  96. Red Arse says:

    Morning Raddy, :-)

    I share your view of Fat Sam, but the winning goal from Bale was stunning — unfortunately.

  97. Gooner In Exile says:

    it was a mishit RA

  98. Big Raddy says:

    RA. Pure luck – Shinned it.. Bale has made a pact with the devil

  99. nihirealist says:

    Thomas,

    Maybe I was a little too abrupt (it was late at night and I was sleepy) and I apologise for that, but I think I still stand by what I said. Yes, there’s a whole generation of fans who probably can’t afford to go to football now, and that is not a situation that is ideal by any means. But if not going to football matches is all that they can’t afford, then it is no real disaster. There are literally millions of Arsenal fans who’ll never even get to see the stadium. It is a different way of following the club, but the passion is no less. To say so about those who watch the games in pubs, or at home, is wrong in my opinion. As GIE has pointed out, the prices of football games aren’t necessarily as high as is made out. But the price of everything is higher these days, isn’t it? Can football be different. Only if there’s a will at the highest level to make it so. But a club on its own, can only do so much. Arsenal, for its part has increased the number of red level seats, allowing non season ticket holders the opportunity to go to games. The league cup games are charged at rates of 10pounds or so, which is a conscious effort to involve a section of the fan who normally do not get to go to games.

    As for attendances dropping off if we go in decline. I think attendances dropped way off in the 80s too. Not all the ‘working class’ people stuck around to view what was considered an inferior product even then. I think it’s a myth that working class equals more passion for the club. Are people more distracted in the stadium these days? Sure. I guess. But isn’t that a sign of the times rather than to do with ‘class’? There are more distractions, and attention spans and patience levels are lowering.

    Arsenal cannot afford to drop ticket prices if we are to keep up with the Joneses. Arsenal’s dependence on matchday income is huge. Actually, unhealthily so. This should change with the new tv deal, and the commercial tie ups, but 120m pounds of cash isn’t all that much. It would be great if it happens. I don’t expect it to though, and I think the criticism for the club in this regard is unfair.

  100. VCC says:

    have to agree with you Red Arse 7:26. Superb goal from Bale to win the game so late on, what a shame as that might give them a significant boost for Sunday.

    Lets hope we turn up straight from the KO.

  101. Red Arse says:

    Hi Guys, :-)

    VCC, Bale is carrying Spurs at the mo’ – damn him!

    Shard, upsetting the proletariat again!! :-)

    I actually agree with your logical expression of the modern day reality. Smart phones are another example, where both socially and at work, conversations are abruptly terminated in mid-sentence, and altho lamentable, it happens everywhere – altho’ only to those who can afford smart phones, or in the example Thomas gave with an iPad at the game.

    This cost issue could be extended to important, life affecting problems, where the cost of fuel, for example, has risen to almost ‘luxury’ levels, so that OAPs who cannot afford to heat their homes are dying of hypothermia. It would be wrong to isolate football as the only massive cost increase.

    That said, I understand what Thomas said, and he has made some valid points, however by including so many disparate complaints in one rant (over several comments) it lessens the impact of the main one — the future sustainability of the club’s match day income with a drop in the local fan base by pricing them out of tickets.

    Difficult to see a solution.

  102. Big Raddy says:

    VCC & RA. What you both (and the public at large) fail to understand is that any Spurs goal is pure luck.

    There can be no other explanation

  103. slime says:

    Do we have a match winner at the moment? Someone who can win us a game when we are ordinary?

  104. VCC says:

    Big Raddy….I see where you are coming from. Lets hope he has got that one out of his system and fires blanks on Sunday. He and Holtby are the dangers for me this week end.

    If we can nullify those two, I feel we have more than an even chance of at least drawing and even winning come 16:00 hrs.

    Giroud is far from my favourite player, but against the rather pedestrian Spurs centre backs he might just cause some trouble with his physique and lay off play.

  105. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Morning
    Just before hitting the hay last night, I checked results, and that last minute goal didn’t half put the dampers on my idea of slinking off to bed armed with smutty thoughts :-(
    He’s turning into a bloody menace that Bale is.

  106. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Slime,
    Does one man a team maketh?
    I think so.

  107. Red Arse says:

    Micky, can he come around and my bed maketh? :-)

    The girlfriend has buggered off to work again, leaving me with tricky things to do – like clean up, put dishes in dishwasher and maketh the bed -unless the Bale man helps out! :-)

  108. Morning all

    New Post……………..

  109. MickyDidIt89 says:

    RA
    A continental duvet is what you need. Big flick. Done.
    In my primitive way, I still kip beneath skins and fur.

  110. 20/20Vision says:

    Quote from Graham Roberts on Talksh!t radio today re. Gareth (tomdaley) Bale…”yeah they’re(sperz)a one man team but the rest of them play their part” “cheers Graham!” “cheers boys” ☺(Will Bayern join sperz in the Thursday night club when we beat them 3-0?)

  111. Domhuail says:

    Eman….your entire premise is bollocks. Were you in the AFC dressingroom before,during and after the Bradford and Blackburn games? Did you hear Wenger’s motivational talk, did you see the player’s reaction? You have entirely missed the point by saying that his players and Wenger himself don’t care and are complacent. As BR pointed out, our stats in the Blackburn game were:

    Shots AFC 28 B’burn 7

    Possession AFC 71% BB 29%

    Corners AFC 16 BB 2

    Where is the complacency there? I have followed AFC since 2001 and the same central issue surfaces each season since 2005 – our inability to score when we dominate teams. This inability coincides with our trophy-drought. We have a 27% scoring ratio in games, that is to say at least 1 goal is scored for every 4 shots taken, but this statistic is skewed by our 7-1 and 6-1 victories so in actual fact we are more likely scoring at an 8 to 1 ratio. Regardless, with 28 shots on goal, we should have scored between 3 and 4 goals in the above game. When I watch AFC, we have so many golden opportunities missed and saved that I wonder if the Football gods are laughing at us for being so good!

  112. It’s an amazing post in favor of all the web users; they will take advantage from it I am sure.

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