Vieira, Leadership and Nonsense

I am an occasional peruser of Newsnow’s Arsenal page. For those of you not familiar with Newsnow, it’s a website that pulls together any and all current stories on a wide range of topics, updated every few minutes.

If you’re financially minded you can visit its Business pages; if digital is your thing you might go to the Technology pages; if you like comedy you can drop in on the Tottenham Hotspur page.

But, naturally, it’s the Arsenal page that is in my bookmarks.

So imagine my surprise yesterday when I started browsing said page only to encounter a barrage of headlines saying that one of our erstwhile sons – a former Invincible, no less – was slagging off the current Arsenal team.

These were some of the headlines:

Vieira Says Arsenal Lack Leadership.”

Vieira: Arsenal Lack Leadership to Win PL.”

Patrick Vieira Undermines Arsenal’s Title Bid By Suggesting Gunners Are Not Capable of Winning Ugly.”

Apparently our former captain trotted out the well-worn complaint that today’s Arsenal lacks the sort of natural leaders that were sprinkled throughout the Invincibles era team like raisins in a bagel: Keown, Adams, Campbell, Bergkamp and, of course, Vieira himself.

It’s always a bit disappointing to see one of our old heroes having a pop at the current crop of Arsenal players (or indeed the manager).

Arsenal /Leicester City-

But, reading the full story of the Vieira comments, a couple of things sprang to mind.

First, we have to remember that although he may have been one of our greatest heroes while in an Arsenal shirt, Patrick Vieira now happens to work for one of our rivals, Manchester City. (His current role is “Reserve Team Manager” which, at City, must be quite amusing: most reserve team managers have to coach a bunch of has-beens, kids and returning crocks. Vieira presumably manages a reserve team worth more than the gross national product of some countries).

So, as someone currently representing a rival – a rival we’ll be playing this weekend – we should not necessarily expect him to be bigging up the Arsenal, regardless of his history with us.

But, more importantly, I read that the Vieira comments came as part of a documentary that will air tonight on ITV4. It’s called Keane and Vieira: The Best of Enemies and brings together the two great midfield hard men of their generation to reminisce about those happy days when maiming opponents and picking fights in the tunnel was looked on as high spirits.

The documentary is more than an hour long and I can tell you that sixty-minute documentaries do not get made overnight.

In fact it usually takes a minimum of three months to get one from pre-production to broadcast (the editing alone for a one-hour programme can be up to six weeks).

So it is reasonable to assume that whatever comments Paddy makes in the film were made either very early in the season or even before the season began. The only reason they’re all over the press now is that the producers have a documentary to promote.

And it’s hard to argue with the fact that, looking back over the past few years from the perspective of this summer, Vieira would have had a point about our continuing problems with leadership and failing to win when playing badly.

But do you think Paddy would make those same claims if asked today about the Arsenal team of right now?

I don’t.

He would look at players like Vermaelen, Koscielny, Flamini, Ramsey and Arteta and accept that we do now – at last – have a decent crop of leaders.

And he would also acknowledge that, so far this season, we have been able to get results when not at our best.

So, fellow Arsenal supporters, let’s not get on our high horses about Vieira and his comments. They were almost certainly made quite some time ago and by someone who works for our opponents.

Nothing to see here, move along please.

As for the main theme of the ITV4 film – the rivalry between Vieira and Keane – I throw that over to you: who was the better player? Who was the more influential? And who was the harder?

RockyLives

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144 Responses to Vieira, Leadership and Nonsense

  1. Räsp says:

    Thanks Rocky, that’s a great dissection of the way the media works and from someone who knows from the inside.

    Yes we have leaders in the side now and Flamini ranks right up there at the top. On Sunday he not only gee’d up the players he gesticulated at the supporters to up their level – and he nearly scored the winner. The BFG doesn’t need the accolade of captain to be a leader, he just has the presence.

    I’ve always loved Vieira and until someone can definitively prove he’s not a good guy I shall continue to put him right up there with Arsenal’s greatest players.

    Your point about promoting a programme is spot on. We may all watch Graham Norton and Jonathan Ross because they have grade A guests – but when was the last time either had a big name on that didn’t have a film/tour/book to promote?

    NewsNow is actually pretty well run, but they cannot be held responsible for the fabrications of 90% of the articles they list – it’s just a symptom of times. I always look for advertising on a site before I give their articles any credence, that’s one reason we continue to turn down offers of adverts on AA – we could be accused of compromising our principles.

  2. gunnerpete says:

    I cannot believe you either! Have you not seen Giroud leading from the front in every game? Or Jack pushing us forward non stop?

  3. Norfolk Gooner says:

    ‘morning AAers, Nice piece Rocky, my feelings towards Vierra are ambivalent to say the least. Yes as an Arsenal player he was up there with the greatest but now he has a living to earn with our biggest rival and will do, and say, whatever that role demands.

    I shall certainly be watching ITV4 at ten o’clock tonight if only to see the next episode of the Vierra/Keane saga. Blood on the studio floor? Now that would be fun to watch.

  4. Räsp says:

    What gunnerpete? I cannot see how your comment is relevant to the post. Rocky has not failed to see Giroud or Jack, he acknowledges we have leaders on the pitch now – but does not need to list every player, we all have our own favourites.

  5. Räsp says:

    Morning NG,

    Vieira dwarfed Keane in every sense and really brought out the ‘little man syndrome’ in him. When you see them standing side by side, Vieira looks like a giant. Admittedly Keane made up for his lack of stature with tenacity and work rate and was a fine footballer …… but he will always be viewed as in Vieira’s shadow.

  6. Big Raddy says:

    I am a huge fan of PV4 and believe he is a man of integrity. He says what he thinks. We complain about spin and media savvy but when someone tells his truth we think they are anti-Arsenal.

    During the whole of last season we moaned about our lack of leadership yet when PV says it we are up in arms! I repeat my claim that he is a future AFC manager.

    As to which is the better player there can be little doubt PV4 was head and shoulders ahead of Keane, but more influential to his team? …. perhaps the mad Irishman, after all we had so many other great players in that team – TA, TH, DB, Bobby, Ash,etc etc

  7. Räsp says:

    Bad news that Sagna is out for the city game – I hope we start with both Arteta and Flamini

  8. Danny says:

    I don’t mean to put anybody of their food, but I remember a match played in winter where somebody fouled Vieira who went down hurt, Keane seeing him in pain, blow his nose onto his gloves he was wearing and then proceeded to rub them on Vieira’s bald head pretending to feel sorry for him. Absolutely disgusting.
    I’m sure that won’t show that tonight!

  9. LB says:

    You left Mertasacker out on purpose to emphasise your point.

    It’s very effective.

    Good read as ever Rocky.

  10. arnie says:

    Motning all. From Aveiro, Portugal, a lovely coastal city, hemmed by the lagoon. Lovely bright sunshine, but f**king cold. Not a perfect escape from Scotland, unfortunately, but good enough.

    Lovely post, Rocky. Great stuff. This Vieira stuff is on the radar. More importantly, it has always been on the radar. A bit of my personal recollection of the history. This was pre-AA days for me, and no evidence to go by, just “feelings,” so may be opinionated.

    Part I. Before he made the jump away from Highbury, Vieira had angered the faithful by going repeatedly to the press to proclaim that Arsene and Arsenal players, but most especially the Board, lacked ambition and strategy (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/article-55834/Vieiras-Highbury-feud-turns-ugly.html); this was taking the club to oblivion. He was the quintessential REBEL. Subsequently, the nature of his departure made him even more hated by the Arsenal hierarchy. But he kept on making statements to the Press about Arsenal. This, I think, gives the impression that Vieira always saw himself in a future Arsenal management role.

    Part II. Fast forward to the move to the Emirates. Much fanfare, Thierry Henry in tow, but where was Vieira? Sulking somewhere, probably. There was some wind in the press, along the lines of the favoured son (Henry) and prodigal son (Vieira), but I have no record, pre-AA days for me. And then came the move to Shitty. But comments about Arsenal and its hierarchy continued. Still the rebel. To me, however, he always had his heart in this place!

    Part III. Fast forward again, to recent times. It seems nothing has changed much.

    Scene 1. 18 May 2012 (http://metro.co.uk/2012/05/18/patrick-vieira-blame-arsene-wenger-if-robin-van-persie-leaves-arsenal-429807/). ‘It’s really difficult to find players of the quality of Van Persie with one year left all around the world. It is a big risk because they lost Samir Nasri and Cesc Fabregas last year. If they lose Van Persie, it will be a drama. With Samir and Cesc, you can say, “OK, those two are gone but you know Jack Wilshere and Van Persie are still at the club. … But if Robin leaves that means next year it may be Theo Walcott, next year’s going to be Wilshere.’

    Scene 2. 19 January, 2013 (http://www.tribalfootball.com/articles/man-city-chief-vieira-wenger-will-win-silverware-arsenal-3759221). Vieira recalled to The Sun: “I spent nine years with Arsene and I really enjoyed my time at Arsenal. What I loved about him was that he made me understand the mistakes I made. … He made me grow up, as a player and person. So Arsenal is where I changed from a boy into a man. … That’s Arsene — he is so close with his players and that is good. For me he was the best manager of all. It’s true that from the age of 20 to 29 I played my best football.” And then: “The unique situation with Arsenal is that you have to judge what Arsene has done for them in the last 17 years. It is amazing. He has totally transformed the club over the last 17 years but the only way to keep the fans happy is to win silverware. … Arsene will deal with that, though. I’m very confident of that.”

    Scene 3. February 8, 2013 (http://talksport.com/sports-news/football/premier-league/130208/arsene-wenger-wants-patrick-vieira-back-arsenal-191234). Arsene Wenger has opened the door for Patrick Vieira to make a return to Arsenal as head of youth development, when Liam Brady steps down. Wenger said: “Patrick Vieira can be a candidate if he wants to do it. Experience plays a big part in that.” What “wants to”? Vieira has always wanted to, but the hierarchy in Arsenal do not want him. He is too much of a rebel, far too much anti-establishment.

    Scene 4. 24 November 2013 (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-2512686/Arsene-Wenger-sticks-Gunners-despite-lack-trophies-Patrick-Vieira-hails-boss-Wenger-looks-follow-Arsenal-managers-footsteps.html). I posted this one previously. Vieira told The Sun: ‘The manager who influenced me the most is Arsene Wenger. … I like the relationship he has with his players but also the fact he sticks to his way of playing without worrying about what the other team does. … Despite Arsenal’s lack of trophies in recent years, Arsene’s never swayed away from his ideas.’ And here comes the ambition: ‘I’ve worked with great managers like Arsene but also with people like Jose Mourinho and Fabio Capello. The danger comes from trying to imitate them. When my time comes I want to be a manager with my own personality.’

    Scene 5. 10 December 2013. Rocky’s fantastic post.

    Friends, this is evolving drama. Watch this space. Vieira is the rebel, but he is a Gooner. I like him, Rasp says he does too. Unfortunately, I think this is in the realm of what might have been.

  11. arnie says:

    Rasp, or moderator: Please help. My comment has been sent to the bin.

  12. arnie says:

    Back to the Motning crew banter. Lovely stuff. Thank you, Micky. AirMail parcel indeed. :D :D Getting old(er) now, should slow down. Its good fun, though. :D :D :D

  13. 26may1989 says:

    Morning all.

    Not a lot to disagree with in Rocky’s typically well written item, but I’ll have a go anyway.

    The excuse that Vieira will have said these things a few months ago only partially explains away the criticism. Of course, at that point we hadn’t built up a five-point lead at the top, with others (especially United) faltering. But we have been in great form throughout 2013, there was enough information for an alumnus to realise that the likes of Arteta, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Vermaelen, Sagna and Rosicky bring substantial leadership qualities to the team. He could and should have known there wasn’t much to justify his criticism, even if it was made before the season began.

    Not that I found the criticism very upsetting. The affection I felt for Vieira was eroded long ago, when he chose to join the City “project” (I detest the use of that term by clubs looking to invest their intention to buy success with some mystical quality). Paddy was a hero for all of us, a player who was plucked from Milan’s reserves and made into a success at Highbury, where he was the fulcrum of the greatest Arsenal team there ever was. To see him do something as sordid as join City was the moment I lost much of my affection for the Vieira of today, so whatever he says now doesn’t mean too much to me.

    Who was better out of him and Keane? Pretty much even stevens, I’d say, both top quality players. But the fact that Vieira succeeded in Italy as well as England, and that he is a World Cup winner, might give him the edge over the loon from Cork.

  14. Räsp says:

    Morning arnie, I’ve released your comment

  15. arnie says:

    Thank you, thank you, Rasp, good morning!!!! :D :D

  16. LB says:

    If Arsenal had offered Vieira a job and City offered him a job and he chose City over us I would be upset — but we didn’t offer anything, so to expect him not to work is, I think, a tad unreasonable.

    The respectful memory shines as brightly as ever in my eyes — he will return.

  17. LB says:

    Vieira has been interviewed loads of times on telly and they all try and get him to say something negative about the club and he always gives one of his great smiles that I interpret to mean.

    You are having a f……g laugh.

    I don’t doubt that documentaries of this type take quite a long time and if minds are cast back to the loss against spuds at White heart Lane last season then I think the criticism that there was a lack of leadership is quite justified.

    I would prefer he didn’t say it at all but it is possible to say these things in a – wanting to help kind of way.

  18. 26may1989 says:

    “A tad unreasonable” – yup, that’s me!

  19. RA says:

    Yet another Rocker special. :-)

    Although there is an element of heresy in the “today’s Arsenal lacks the sort of natural leaders that were sprinkled throughout the Invincibles era team like raisins in a bagel” comment!

    Raisins in a bagel? Infamy — and now I have it in for you too.

  20. arnie says:

    26may, LB, Redders: Lovely stuff, enjoying this, keep going!!!! :D :D :D

  21. RA says:

    I find it interesting to read the comments of ex-footballers and managers to see if it throws any light on the events they or their clubs were engaged in when they were ‘in the game’.

    However as the cognoscenti on here will already realise, everything they say has to be taken with plenty of salty cynicism.

    I seem to recall there was quite a lot of ill feeling between Vieira (his agent) and the club leading up to his departure, and this lasted for a couple of summers — or have I misremembered this?

  22. RA says:

    arnie, I have been quietly catching up on recent Posts and resultant comments, and would like to commend you on your herculean and well set out article. :-)

  23. RA says:

    Darnation, I have killed the blog again. Laters!

  24. 26may1989 says:

    Arnie, respect for your released comment at 11.15. Taking research to new levels…..

  25. Big Raddy says:

    RA. I think you are right but let us not forget it could have been journo-bolleaux.

    arnie. How do you find for such in-depth research? Well played Sir

  26. JanMan says:

    Hello Rocky, great post thank you. I really do not pay to much concern to those sort of comments from PV4, like you said, they were most likely made months ago and probably taken out of contex anyway. As you said, he is employed by Man City so he is not going to say very much to the good about us anyway. It is the same with most of the ex players, they all seem to have something to say and come across as if they have the solutions to everything. What really bugs me is the amount of time these ex players (and other useless pundits) continually make the comment that Arsenal is lacking a striker or we are short in depth as to make themselves seem that they are “experts” by indentifying these so called shortfalls! Also we have leaders all over the field and off the field We have players that have captained their countries, BFG, Vermahlen, Rosicky, then we have the driving force of Flamini, JW, Giroud,, Kos, Sagna, so as I said, it does not bother me what ex players say.

  27. Manthan says:

    I want People to write off us or crititze us saying We don’t have quality, leaders, experience to win PL.. This Critism will make us more stronger and give more belief among team to prove all pundits wrong…

  28. Manthan says:

    Eduardo : “I’m pleased Arsenal are top. Two years ago they had a similar situation to United now, they started very badly but then went up, and they always finish in the top four.

    I’m sure that if Arsenal show the same mentality as last season from Christmas time to the end of the season, they will be champions of the Premier League.

    They never changed their style of football and they have the same people inside the club. They have just been waiting for a little bit of luck to become champions.

    This year everything is open for them to finish first. In England and the Premier League, if you lose one game everything can change. But I’m sure they can do it.”

  29. Manthan says:

    Thiery Henry on Mourinho:
    ”Words don’t win you games. This is not spanish League where you expect to get 3 points every weekend. You saw what Stoke city did. It answered every Question. I personally don’t see Chelsea winning something this season.”

    Henry on Micheal Owen:
    ”Owen says out whatever he has in mind. He’s a kid who got a Job and so excited he just says everything. He also forgets what he said yesterday. I don’t blame him, l blame the employees. What makes him think Arsenal is not a winning team.”

    Henry on Everton game: ”credits to Everton, credits to Arsenal players. It was an amazing game, and felt like being on the pitch. That draws shows the difference between Arsenal and Man United. Everton are the team to beat this season.” A Draw was fair results for both side even though Arsenal were not on top of their game.

  30. Räsp says:

    Hi Manthan, what perceptive quotes by TH14, he’s bang on in all those judgements, I’d certainly like to see him back at Arsenal in some capacity in the future.

  31. We have the best leader in the world : Arsene Wenger.
    In a well commented team, players are brothers one to another. Which one is the figure with more leadership, the big brother (might it be a FBGBrother) or a father ?

    A more concerning side of PV4’s comment is he’s not sure Arsenal have what it takes to win dirty… I’m gonna be the advocate of a lot of non Londoners fans (and of course of some who live in the exciting city) but what got Arsenal the world popularity it has now are its ethics ! In my opinion, there are two charismatic clubs in the world : Barca and Arsenal. And no other. No other team in the world decided to sponsor UNICEF. No other team in the world had a talented young Argentinian kid with health problems taken to Spain to undertake operations that would save his footballing life with no evident proof it would be a success… And so on and so on. For the Arsenal, no other team in the world has such a strong identity of uncompromised beautiful football, of educational way of raising youngsters with ethics… Yeah, yeah, I’m getting carried away, but you get the picture. That a man who aspires to be one day Arsenal’s coach doesn’t get that is quite a concern to me…

    Which brings me to a question to every fellow gentleman AAer here : WHO AMONG THE FORMER GUNNERS WOULD YOU SEE AS BEST FIT TO BE THE NEXT ARSENAL COACH ?

    And please forgive my presumption for getting over my head and try to animate the forum which is well enough animated anyway. :D

  32. Manthan says:

    Rasp I agree i would love to see him back no matter what role he will play but he has become true gooner and Sometimes I feel players like Rambo,Scez,JW10 loves arsenal a lot from heart…

  33. arnie says:

    26may, Redders, BR: Thank you, respected Sirs. :D :D

    Raddy: If you are saying I am avoiding my day job :sad: , perhaps yes, but who cares? :D Back from a fantastic lunch of Bacalhau and Pastel de nata. Have to do some proper work now!!!!!

  34. RockyLives says:

    Hello All and thanks for the comments.

    Really I just wanted to point out how the media are using comments made by Paddy (almost certainly months ago) in a deliberately misleading way (implying the comments have just been made this week).

    I still like Vieira and I see his time at Man City as a potential apprenticeship for working at THOF in the future. I wouldn’t mind seeing him back with us in some capacity.

    LB @11.10 – you sussed me out :) The BFG is my favourite player in the current squad.

    Arnie, Redders et al: I, too, love those ex-player comments. Gotta love Eduardo and Thierry in particular.

  35. RockyLives says:

    Benjamin
    You raise a good question. One that might make a Headline Post in its own right, might I suggest?

    A few paragraphs setting up the question and mentioning the leading contenders (then emailed to arsenalnuts@live.co.uk would do the trick and keep Rasp and Peaches very happy :) )

  36. Wow, I feel like I’ve been called in the national selection…

  37. jane johnson says:

    Benjamin
    I do not think that Barcelona are as pure as you think. I read yesterday (from journalist Phillippe Auclair) that Barcelona’s President Sandro Rossell took a £40m bung from the Neymar deal and that the total cost of it was circa £150m.

  38. Räsp says:

    Hi Benjamin, Rocky beat me to it. It would be a pleasure to publish your thoughts on ‘which ex Arsenal player should we welcome back?’

    I can put a poll at the end of it – bloggers love voting :)

  39. LB says:

    I vote for Benjamin to write a post. Hurrah.

  40. arnie says:

    Benjamin, LB, Rasp: We all second, third and fourth it, as many required for a quorum ….. :D :D :D

  41. RockyLives says:

    Excellent Benjamin
    And when it’s published your name can be added to the Hall Of Shame – whoops, sorry – the List Of Authors on the right hand side of the blog :)

  42. Räsp says:

    :lol: Rocky, he’ll have to be a serial miscreant to ever earn his own personal banner :?

  43. dhakka09 says:

    Nice one Rocky: I try to discount anything an ex-player says as his views will likely be influenced by various factors in his current job where he is required/tempted to say things that will sit well with their current fanbase/club-management and not necessarily the truth. Vieira falls into the same category.

    Onto an interesting video I stumbled upon this morning: It was Arsenal squad in training pre-Napoli and Arsene was dividing the squad into Violet and Yellow color teams. I found his division quite amusing.

    Team Violet:
    Jenkinson-Frimpong-Koscielny-Gibbs-Walcott-Flamini-Podolski-Arteta-Rosicky-Bendtner

    Team Yellow:
    Miyaichi-Mertesacker-Vermaelen-Monreal-Cazorla-Park-Ramsey-Wilshere-Gnabry-Ozil-Giroud

    I know there are 11 in ‘Team Yellow’ and 10 in ‘Team Violet’ don’t know why that is (maybe handicap to Violet, maybe I missed a name; let’s bench a player of choice from ‘Team Yellow’ for parity purpose, let’s say Park? or how about Ramsey? :D )

    Anyways, which team do you think has an edge? Team Violet looks better defensively while Team Yellow looks so attacking that I can’t help but choose Yellow over Violet to win ;)

    Post your thoughts on the winner and why as well :)

  44. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    Marvellous Rocky

    What a great rivalry, Vieira Vs Keane

    Lets face it, Patrick is always the winner.

    In 10 years time Vieira will probably be and ambassador for the Senegalese government, dinning at the White House etc, whilst Keane will be running a scrap metal business.

    Vieira enjoyed his football, loved playing did Patrick. Keane always had the look of a man who would have preferred an illegal hare coursing session.

    Patrick respects Arsene like a father figure. Keane would like to beat an old aged pensioner to a pulp.

    Patrick enjoys other people and seems happy go lucky. Keane stares at others like a man weighing up a scaffolding con.

    Vieira Vs Keane…..No Contest.

  45. Sorry, I was Wikipedia searching for my post… Think I’ll start tomorrow, I mean today, as it’s 2:15 now… Interesting stuff. See you all tomorrow then, same place. Bonne nuit !

  46. Big Raddy says:

    “like a man weighing up a scaffolding con.” :-D

  47. Big Raddy says:

    FCK are playing Real Madrid tonight. RM arrived at their hotel where there were hundreds of kids to greet them. They left their bus and walked straight into the hotel without even acknowledging their fans! Don’t they know who pays for their extravagant lifestyles??

    Thinking of which ….

    I had the privilege of attending THOF for two games this week. At the end of each match it was the same AFC players who walked around the pitch applauding the fans. Can you guess who they were?

  48. Räsp says:

    oooh ooooh, I can :)

  49. Räsp says:

    Here’s another question, I was sitting next to Raddy – guess which one of us was singing in tune?

  50. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Typical Rocky post. Great topic superbly written. Thank you.

    Mmm, Paddy v Keane. For me, Paddy was the better footballer, Keane the more complete team player. Paddy had Adams who led the team, and his presence ensured nobody could give less than 100% and not get a bollocking.

    One incident always stands out for me about the Keane career, and it was in the dressing room following Utd’s last gasp CL Final victory. Despite just grabbing a winners medal, Keane was in sulky mood on account of the fact that he felt the team had not performed to their potential. Of course there’s a part of me thinking “oh lighten up matey”, but that was Keane the professional team man.

    About the Paddy to City thing. I’m in the LB camp. He was not offered a job with us, so why not.

    As for the present side and Leadership, I’d say that the team spirit over 2013 says everything, although in a more traditional shouty kind of leader way, then Flamini stands out. Yesterday I said how I only caught 15 odd minutes of the Everton game on the radio, during which the commentator said how he felt Flamini added something different in terms of leadership.

    Sorry not around much, but much work stuff in the way.

  51. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Out of time, but just saw Raddy’s question about which players did the rounds.

    BFG, Jack, Sz absolute certs (Verm always does as well)

  52. arnie says:

    Raddy: In addition to Micky, Flamster as well I would have thought.

  53. RockyLives says:

    Terry :D :D

  54. RockyLives says:

    Micky
    You’re right about Flamster. He definitely added a shouty sort of energy when he came on.

  55. arnie says:

    Rocky: I responded to your first question but had to spend more time on the following ones about Keane versus Vieira. In my opinion:

    Vieira was the better player. On the basis of performance across Europe and at the World stage.

    Keane was the more influential. This was a tough choice, but after the snubbing to RedNose, a towering and influential figure in the country if there was ever one, I had to give it to Keane. Good man!!!

    Keane was the harder one as well. In a tough street fighter kind of way. But he was not a Gooner. For toughness on the field of play, I give it to Vieira. A little bit of cheating here. I give myself this liberty!!!! :razz:

  56. RockyLives says:

    Arnie
    Apparently when he was a teenager Keane was given a choice between going pro as a footballer or as a boxer!

    Definitely not the sort of bloke you’d want to get into a scrap with.

  57. evonne says:

    Hi Rocky, an amazing post finished with an unexpected punch – who was better – Keano or Pat. Me not knowing. I think Vieira was a more natural footballer, but RK a harder working one. We all know that genius is 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration, and i think it is very true in Keano’s case, he was unbelievable. But so was our Pat. No, I cannot decide….all right – Keane is absolutely drop dead gorgeous so he wins :)

    Thanks Rocky, this blog wouldn’t be the same without your genius!

    “If you like comedy you can drop in on the Tottenham Hotspur page” ha ha ha ha, I always preferred drama, much more amuzing

  58. evonne says:

    BR – Theo is one of them. Flamini and Szczesny?

  59. Big Raddy says:

    Not Theo, nor Ramsey, nor Gibbs or Santi or Mikel…

  60. Big Raddy says:

    If I were manager I would insist upon the entire team going to the centre circle at the end of the game and applauding the fans. It costs nothing to show common courtesy but perhaps I am an old-fashioned old man.

  61. evonne says:

    not Theo? hm, he is usually the perfect gent applauding the fans

  62. arnie says:

    Raddy @ 6:10: Love that.

    Evonne: “genius is 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration”. Fantastic!!!! :D :D

    Rocky: Boxer Keane, not a surprise!!!

    Great stuff!! :D :D

  63. chas says:

    Another Rocky Mountain High.
    Cheers, Rocky.

    As far as I’m concerned, I’ll start giving my support back to Paddy when he comes back to the club. He was offered a shed load of money to play for the light blue oilers though so you can’t blame him.

    Roy Keane had a longer career at the mancs than Paddy did with us and won a greater number of trophies. Both were hugely influential at their clubs; it’s impossible to choose between them.

    I wonder how Arsenal’s Golden era from 1998 to 2005 would have panned out if PV4 hadn’t signed for us aged 20?

    Apparently, Keane had a reputation when he was at Forest for getting into fights every weekend at night clubs in Nottingham. I’d give him the edge in the hardness competition because he has that extra element of raving psychopath that Paddy lacks.

  64. evonne says:

    monster :) raving psycho, he is definitely that. Mind you when I met him some years ago, he was charming

    Rumour has it that SAF had him followed every night to every night club he frequented and paid huge amounts of money to settle for broken teeth, cuts and bruises of those who didn’t see eye-to-eye with Roy. Also, SAF’s chauffeur would take Keano to AA meetings when his drinking got out of control

  65. VCC says:

    Had to share this. Love it.

  66. chas says:

    The light blue oilers have chosen to field their B team tonight with Saturday in mind (and the fact that barring a miracle they will finish second in the group anyway).

  67. chas says:

    It looks like Galatasaray v Juventus is the only head-to-head qualification game tonight, so might have to watch that.

  68. arnie says:

    Chas: Regarding the Oilers, a f****** disgrace. They have their one chance to show their ambition at the European stage, and they dont take it!!!! They should just go and hide behind their mums. Disgrace of the highest order if there ever was one!

    Thank heavens Arsenal would never do such a thing! There is a stage to play strategy, but this goes straight into the annals of cowardice!!!!!

  69. RockyLives says:

    VCC
    Fantastic

  70. 26may1989 says:

    I was once instructed by Alf-Inge Haaland and Man City, when they wanted to sue Roy Keane and Man United. The case didn’t work out, one of my greatest professional disappointments.

  71. VCC says:

    Glad you liked it Rocky.
    There’s a distinct lack of scum shirts around my area now (Essex) since they have started to struggle.

    Plastic glory hunting Surreyites.

  72. arnie says:

    Sorry guys, still fuming!!!! :razz: Above all, fielding a B team is showing disrespect towards one of the top teams in Europe. Maybe, playing such strategy enables them to avoid defeat on Saturday, but this is very sad that an English club shows such lack of ambition at the European stage and stoops so low. Sorry for the strong sentiments, but in my view that is what it is. A pathetic bunch of cowards, led by a joker who should hide underneath his mummy’s skirt!!!!! Sad, very sad!!!!!

    Rant over!!! :D

  73. chas says:

  74. chas says:

    arnie.
    Their B team isn’t too shoddy!

  75. Not too Shoddy City…….. 2 nil down already !

  76. Joe says:

    Nice to see Munich are 2 nil already hope they get a hiding for the team they put out.

  77. Joe says:

    City get the hiding

  78. evonne says:

    26m :) why were you disappointed? because the death penalty was abolished?

  79. chas says:

    Snowing in Istanbul.

  80. chas says:

    Maybe it’s hail.

  81. chas says:

    Eboue doesn’t look happy. :)

  82. Big Raddy says:

    arnie. If we had been through ahead of tomorrow night I would have been furious if AW played a full first team.

    We would have seen Frimpers, Myaichi, Gnabry, Bendtner etc etc

  83. chas says:

    The orange ball is now on.

  84. chas says:

    Match suspended in Istanbul.

  85. 26may1989 says:

    I’m struggling to remember, how did we do last time we were away at Bayern Munich? Can someone remind me?

  86. chas says:

    Whoooooooooooops.

  87. chas says:

  88. Big Raddy says:

    City getting some clogging practice in. 2 yellows already

  89. RockyLives says:

    Citeh are saving their first team for the weekend because they’re scared of us!

  90. chas says:

  91. 26may1989 says:

    Englishman goes down easily to earn a penalty. But cheating is just what Jonny Foreigner does, of course.

    2-2, interesting, even if less fun.

  92. 26may1989 says:

    3-2 to City, bloody hell!

    As last year when playing us at home, Bayern really seem to have a problem lifting themselves midway through a game. Hopefully they can turn it on yet.

  93. 26may1989 says:

    PSG losing to Benfica as well.

  94. Räsp says:

    How can anyone not love PV after watching that documentary (thanks to Graham Taylor for the phraseology :P )

  95. arnie says:

    ok, eat humble pie time. :sad:

  96. arnie says:

    Take your point, Chas, that the Shitty B team was pretty good. Still I think it is disrespect! Raddy, If they have to pay for it by drawing a good side, I would not be unhappy. I would not want Arsenal to do this. Tomorrow, I want Arsenal to secure top spot. :D :D

  97. arnie says:

    Saw the Benfica game with friends. They won against PSG, but could not progress.

  98. chas says:

  99. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Morning all,

    Can someone remind me of the maths for tonights game.

    Let’s assume we score one. How many do they need then?

  100. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Eeeks, so City send out a weakened team and still beat Bayern away.

    Glad our 1st XI’ers will get a proper game to hone their fitness to peak performance :-)

  101. chas says:

    Motning,
    Did you also see that they didn’t know the maths of their group. :)

  102. chas says:

    Here you go, Micky.
    From ESPN.

    Group F

    Remaining fixtures: Napoli vs. Arsenal, Marseille vs. Dortmund
    Has any team qualified yet? No, though Marseille have been eliminated from Europe altogether with zero points.
    Who can still qualify? It’s exceptionally close and the group is still on track for an amazing three-way 12-point tie at the top. Arsenal and Dortmund are very strong favourites to go through though. Arsenal only need to avoid defeat to Napoli by three or more goals to guarantee their place, while Napoli will go through if they better Dortmund’s result. However, if both Napoli and Dortmund win then we have three teams on 12 points and a mini-league is created just involving the results of those teams. In that scenario Dortmund are guaranteed to qualify, as their mini-league goal difference is +1 and cannot change; Arsenal have +2 and Napoli -3. Because of this Napoli can only qualify from the mini-league if they beat Arsenal by three goals, which would dump the Gunners into the Europa League and also give the Serie A side top spot. Also for top spot in the mini-league, Arsenal can only stop Dortmund winning the group if they lose to Napoli by a one-goal scoreline of 4-3 or higher. If Arsenal lose 3-2 to Napoli, and Dortmund win, then Dortmund will top the group on direct head to head between themselves and the Gunners.

  103. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Thanks Chas
    We score one, they need four. Can’t imagine a problem.

  104. chas says:

    Obviously if we avoid defeat we top the group. :)

  105. chas says:

    I saw a rumour on twatter that only a couple of hundred tickets had been bought by Arse fans. Hope it’s not true.

  106. MickyDidIt89 says:

    We are top of two leagues, say, we are….. :-)

  107. MickyDidIt89 says:

    They probably don’t want to get stabbed just before Christmas. Things to do and whatnot

  108. chas says:

    Aye, plenty of whatnot to do.

  109. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Bloody difficult to act the twat well at an office party if you’ve got a blade lodged up your arse

  110. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Hey Chas,
    If you can be bothered to answer this, I’d like to be able to put the odd pic up on here. Seems Twatter is the easiest way. Just opened an account specifically for this reason. Two Q’s:

    1. How put a still pic on twatter
    2. How copy that Twatter page on to here.

  111. chas says:

    I’ve struggled many a time (though it may have been a blade of grass). :)

    Those fans from all over the world who went to Dortmund may have struggled with all the details you had to give about each travelling person.

  112. Big Raddy says:

    Motning.

    I am not going out pre-Xmas in case someone inserts a blade in my fundament.

    Is this a common yuletide practice in Devon?

  113. MickyDidIt89 says:

    You’re referring to my awkward travelling companion, aren’t you.
    “Ooo, car rubbish. Ooo, wrong side of road. Ooo, speed limit”

  114. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Bugger, didn’t see Him slithering in :-(

  115. chas says:

    On the tweet box once you click on it, there is a symbol of a camera, click it. Add photo then click ‘tweet’.
    Once tweet appears, right click on bottom left where it says ‘expand’, choose copy link address. Then paste that address here.

    From what GIE was saying it’s a little different on a mobile. But that’s the essence of it.

  116. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Raddy
    The worst thing about this time of year in Devon is that the women shave their beards off. All good, you might think, however their timing is rubbish as they do it a week before festivities, so when they leap out from behind the hedges for a snog, the stubble is seriously abrasive.

  117. chas says:

    Must go, just trying out my instructions.

    Hopefully a red moon in Naples tonight.

  118. Big Raddy says:

    This from the C&UK who asked “Is there a speed limit in Germany?” as he sped past signs with 120 on them.

    The very same fellow who had booked a two seater sewing machine from an unknown hire company

    and the position of the steering wheel might just give a hint as to which side of the effing road to drive on.

    Wonder if I can find the PV programme on Youtube – BBC Iplayer doesn’t work here

  119. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Thanks Chas
    “copy link address” worries me, but I’ll have a bash.

  120. chas says:

    Raddy,
    It’s here, seems you just have to put a UK postcode in. :)

    https://www.itv.com/itvplayer/keane-and-viera-best-of-enemies/series-1/episode-1-keane-and-viera-best-of-enemies

    Shave their beards off. :)

  121. chas says:

    It’s just an option on the right click menu. Nowt complicated.

  122. chas says:

    Must go, laters.

  123. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Raddy
    We must do it again some time :-)

  124. evonne says:

    Raddy – so who were the guys walking round the stadium last week?

    Also – why didn’t YOU drive in Germany? You both would probably have much better time :)

    Rasp – what did Vieira say?

  125. Big Raddy says:

    evonne. Much better to be the critic than the criticised :-D

  126. evonne says:

    you are a shrewd operator Raddy :)
    link to ‘Best of Enemies’

    https://www.itv.com/itvplayer/keane-and-viera-best-of-enemies/series-1/episode-1-keane-and-viera-best-of-enemies

    (have to acknowledge ‘strong’ language content 10 times :) )

  127. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Before I go, I have to pass comment on one thing said yesterday. This:

    Räsp says:
    December 10, 2013 at 5:27 pm
    Here’s another question, I was sitting next to Raddy – guess which one of us was singing in tune?

    I mean, moaning about whether some hairy football fan is singing in tune or not can only be the thoughts of a man who watches Strictly Comes Dancing and who has a passion for Musicals :-)

  128. evonne says:

    just watched first few minutes of the documentary – it looks AWESOME! loving it

    Micky – who watches Strictly and musicals??!! My two pet hates

  129. Big Raddy says:

    bloody thing will not show in my region. Only way past it is to do as the troll does and get a Tor account, which I cannot be arsed with.

    Anyone outside UK have an idea how to watch the programme?

  130. evonne says:

    no Raddy, I don’t know. It will be showing for 30 days on ITV player, I am sure you can work out something.
    It is a MUST see program, absolutely brilliant. I love Keano more and more

  131. LB says:

    Can someone explain to me: had Bayern already qualified before the start of last night’s game? Did they need to do anything to top their group?

  132. Big Raddy says:

    LB. If Bayern had lost 2-4 MC would have won the group.

  133. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Back again.
    Been thinking on school run. Getting the right result tonight is more important than winning on Saturday.

    The consequences of failure tonight and Thursday football would damage our season more that a loss on Saturday.

  134. Big Raddy says:

    I agree Micky. The thought of a number of Thursday games is far worse than losing at the Ethihad.

    Maybe I should re-write my post

  135. arnie says:

    Motning all. Busy day today. Back later to see Raddy’s pre-match. :D :D

  136. arnie says:

    No chance of Thursday’s games. 1-0 to the Arsenal!!!!! :D :D

  137. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Desperate to crack on with work, but unable to focus until I’ve seen the Raddy team selection.

    Flamini and Arteta is a given for me. Will he start Theo is the question on my chapped lips

  138. Räsp says:

    Morning all …..

    ……. New post …….

  139. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Morning Arnie
    If offered right now, I’d take a 1-0 tonight and a damages limiting 0-1 on Saturday. We will lose the odd league game. So damage limitation is fine by me. We’ll then do City at our gaff and secure the title :-)

  140. arnie says:

    I think Raddy with start with Flamster and Arteta, Theo as well, which two of Rosicky, Jack or Santi is the question. :D :D I love this game of out-guessing Raddy. :D :D

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