AGM Today – looking ahead to 2017

October 16, 2014

Ahead of today’s annual general meeting, Arsenal Chief executive Ivan Gazidis, has looked ahead to the time when Arsene Wenger may leave the club. “Replacing the giant of a manager will be the greatest challenge to face the club” Or words to that effect, he said.

Fear not fellow Gooners, at least for the time being anyway, Arsene has just signed a three year contract extension which will see him through to 2017. Short of a disaster of cataclysmic proportions the chances of Le Professeur leaving before then are about the same as Nick Clegg leading the Lib Dems to a landslide victory in next year’s General Election.

According to Gazidis, “Wenger has steered the club expertly to this point, but that the transition is nearing”. Obviously the club will want to handle the situation somewhat more adroitly than a certain Northern Club recently managed their’s.

The choice of the man to take the club forward will depend on many factors, not least the state of the squad at that time. At the moment it would appear that Arsenal will be in rude good health in 2017. Financially sound, great stadium, state of the art training and academy facilities and, aside from that disaster of cataclysmic proportions, a solid and growing fan base both here in the UK and overseas. In addition the current “young” players in our first team squad, such as Szczesny, Chambers, Gibbs, Wilshere, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Walcott, Ramsey and Welbeck will all be in their prime. Nothing is more certain than that in the meantime Wenger will have introduced more youngsters into the squad who will be ready and able to push for starting places.

All in all the future looks quite rosy for whoever takes the reins when Arsene finally relinquishes them.

Apart from the name of the new man, one other question needs to be addressed, will the club appoint a Manger with the total control enjoyed by Wenger or will it be a Head Coach operating under a Director of Football?

Written by NorfolkGooner

BBC Price of Football…time to bash Arsenal

October 15, 2014

It’s that time of year again when the BBC like to release their Price of Football stats and we get our annual clobbering in the media for having “the most expensive seats”, “the most expensive season tickets” and generally get blamed for all that is wrong with football.

So I thought I’d arm you all with some facts that you can shut the numpties up with rather than buy in to their story.

The most important thing is that little asterisk that goes next to our Season Ticket prices which denotes that it includes 7 cup games. No other team does this, I wish in a way Arsenal would give a pro rata figure just for Premier League games so a fair comparison was drawn.

Let’s start there, taking away the 7 cup credits the price of our Season Tickets are as follows:
Cheapest £741
Dearest £1,471

So the cheapest is cheaper than Chelsea and Tottenham, and only £31 more than Liverpool. Whilst I’m sure it will be pointed out that we are still more expensive than the Manchester clubs it should be noted we are in London and as such our club have a different wealth to tap into, and that is why we should only really compare ourselves with the London clubs.

The most Expensive is cheaper than Tottenham.

So it is in fact Tottenham who have the most expensive season tickets, and when did they last win a trophy? And some of their tickets are still spoilt by looking at stadium roof supports.

Then there is the match day prices, cheapest and most expensive, on the most expensive tickets there is nothing much to say we are bang to rights the most expensive seat, however as I have stressed many times before we are talking about a very small section of the ground.

But the cheapest ticket well I personally think that’s where we really shine as a club, and where no one will focus.

Cheapest match day ticket £27, only half the clubs in the Premier League offer cheaper. Some of the clubs that charge more: Burnley £35, Chelsea £50, Palace £30, Everton £33, Liverpool £37, Man City £37, Man Utd £36, Southampton £32, Swansea £35, Tottenham £32.

And those cheapest tickets are quite plentiful, admittedly they are for Cat C games, but for a fan like me who travels infrequently to the Emirates these are the games I choose, all the lower tier behind the goal are at this price and they are not difficult to get hold of in the Clock End or on the Ticket Exchange as these tend to be the games that Season Ticket holders choose to miss.

So there you have it my take on the figures announced today and hopefully some ammunition for you to fire back at the media today and anyone else who decides to tell you that we pay the most expensive prices. Blah blah blah. It’s simply not true, don’t feed the hype.

Gooner in Exile

Do Arsenal have the right blend?

October 13, 2014

Little bit of background.

Two weeks ago I took my children to a local schools surf competition. The organizers had persuaded local legend Mike to judge. He is current UK Champion and Ex European Champion. I had never met him before, but we chatted for ten minutes or so.

Now yesterday. We head off to the beach. Park. Looking over the cliff at the Atlantic I “nah, what’s the point. Too small. You guys go on in”. A couple of “oh come on Dad’s” and we’re suited up and heading in. We leave my daughter and her chum in the shallower stuff, and my son and I paddle out in the hope that some freak micro tsunami that might appear over the horizon.

There we sit waiting. “Hello there” comes a voice, and it’s Mike. “Blimey” I say “didn’t expect to see your sort out here in this”. “Why not. It’s all good fun” says he.

I watch in absolute awe as he effortlessly rides the smallest wave time after time. Performing unreal manoeuvres that I thought only possible in more powerful conditions.

He chats away to us all. What a modest bloke. Surfers, like any sportsmen, can be arrogant, but here was THE local legend out in conditions that even rubbish surfers like me deemed unworthy. Chatting away, unassuming, charming, polite and supremely modest. No “look at me, I’m the big swinging dick around here”, and it got me thinking about personalities amongst sportsmen.

I’ve always leaned towards the maverick. The wayward genius. The Senna against the Prost. McEnroe v Borg. Fischer v Spassky, and in surfing Kelly Slater (the professional) v Andy Irons (the now deceased troubled genius).

However, I’m singling out examples in individual sports. Arsenal and Football is a team game. My question is this: Do teams need to have a blend. The wayward genius, the DNA blood man, the aggressive street fighter and the leader all in there to bring balance.

I’m not sure the current Arsenal side has the right blend. For me, our current squad is a bit nice, a bit predictable and a bit samey.

Any thoughts ?

Written by MickyDidIt89

Phenomenal Wojciech Szczesny

October 12, 2014

Germany, current World Champions after 33 straight international qualifying away wins, stretching back to 1998, are finally beaten by Wojciech Szczesny. A phenomenal performance from the Arsenal keeper resulted in an astonishing result – 2 nil to the boys in red and white. Poland failed to beat Germany in 18 previous meetings between the two countries.


Szczesny has been at the centre of some ferocious criticism and was branded as “one of many Polish goal keepers with huge ego and limited footballing skills”. I am guilty of doubting his ability to perform consistently. He has always been able to produce some spectacular saves, but at the next game he would deliver equally spectacular howlers.

Speaking of Szczesny last season Arsene Wenger stated  the 23-year-old is continuing to grow in stature.

“Certainly a part of his improvement is mental because he’s more mature. His decision-making is cleaner, sharper, quicker. He was always a very talented boy but because he’s intelligent he learns quickly from experience. I’m happy that I always gave him the confidence because he’s developing very well into a very strong goalkeeper and today certainly nobody would question that he’s one of the top five goalkeepers in the Premier League.”

One of the top five goalkeepers in the EPL? Are there really 4 goalkeeper better than Szczesny? What do you think?

Written by Eddie

Cook, Thief, Wife, Lover, Internet and Arsenal.

October 10, 2014

The title? Nothing whatsoever, just happen to like a film, and the words.

So, what’s on the chit chat menu for today? How about Blogging itself, and more broadly, the Internet and how it has altered football.


Back in the good old days, turn up Saturday at midday in chosen boozer. Meet mates you haven’t seen or spoken to since the last match. Drink four or five pints. Get to the North Bank three minutes before Kick Off. Final whistle, maybe another swift one and away into the night.

Therefore, my brief conversation starter for this bright sunny morning asks these questions:

-        Is blogging good for your Arsenal experience?

-        Is the increased transparency the internet provides good for football?

-        Throw Twitter, Facebook and Players into the mix, and what do you get?

-        How much would you like to read Stan and Arsene’s Text accounts?

written by MickyDidIt89


Calum Chambers and the Baptism of Fire

October 9, 2014

No not J K Rowling’s latest best seller but an appraisal of the meteoric rise and rise of a young footballer.

callum chambers

There can be no doubt that this young man’s explosive entry onto the Premiership stage has taken more than a few people by surprise. Only at the start of last season did he make his First Team league debut, playing a full ninety minutes of Southampton’s first game of the 2013/14 campaign at right back against West Bromwich Albion and this just seventeen days after signing a new four year contract with the Hampshire club.

Calum had joined Southampton at the tender age of seven and had risen through the Academy ranks until it was announced that he was one of four players promoted to the first team squad at the start of the 2012/13season.

During the next season he made twenty-five appearances in all, twenty-two of them in the league.

During the summer break Arsenal stepped in with a bid, believed to be potentially as high as £16 million, for the nineteen year old. On the 28th July 2014 he signed a long term contract with Arsenal.

With Bacary Sagna’s departure, Chambers was initially seen as a back-up for Mathieu Debuchy who had been signed from Newcastle United only a few days before, but it soon became apparent that he could just as well provide cover at centre-back. Indeed his very first game for Arsenal was in place of the absent Per Mertesacker in the 5 – 1 win over Benfica in the pre-season Emirates Cup.

At the time Arsene Wenger said that he, Chambers, would be used sparingly as he was only nineteen and had little experience of top flight football. Although signed as a right-back, he could also play at Centre-back but would, probably, in the future end up as a defensive mid-fielder. He would most likely play no more than perhaps twenty games in the season, concentrating on the cup competitions.

However, Chambers’ competitive debut for Arsenal was to be at Centre-back against last season’s champions Manchester City in the Community Shield at Wembley, a game Arsenal won 3 – 0.

After the match the BBC picked Chambers out for special praise stating “his mature performance defied his youthful years”.

Since the start of the season Chambers has been ever present for Arsenal in their seven Premiership matches against Crystal Palace, Everton, Leicester, Manchester City, Aston Villa, Tottenham and Chelsea. In addition he has played in the Champions League against Besiktas (home and away) and Galatasaray, and in the Capital One Cup. To cap a momentous period in his so far short career on the 3rd September he made his first appearance for the full England team as a substitute right-back, coming on for the last nine minutes in the 1 – 0 win over Norway.

On Tuesday he was called up from the England U21s to fill the vacant right-back berth vacated by the injured John Stones in the full England squad.

Chambers has received widespread praise for his composed, intelligent defending, he has good pace and excellent ball control and has shown the willingness and confidence to have a shot on goal when the chance arrives. Whilst he has accumulated five yellow cards in seven Premiership games, and one in the Champions League, there is no suggestion that he is a “dirty” player.

In none of the high profile games he has played has he been “found out” be they at a packed Wembley for the Community Shield or against the current run-away leaders of the Premiership, the current Champions or in the hostile atmosphere of Ataturk Olympic Stadium, Istanbul against Besiktas.

Early days yet maybe, but so far he has come through a severe baptism of fire virtually unscathed.

Written by  Norfolk Gooner. 


How do you get space in behind a parked bus?

October 8, 2014

This comment from Gooner in Exile in response to yesterday’s post, contains enough interesting questions for a couple of posts. His comment is reproduced in it’s entirety so the opening paragraph refers back to yesterdays post.

He made this comment at 9.20pm

Evening all, interesting debate today, well done RC78, I have to first disagree with one of your later comments, we simply haven’t got time to shift formation between 3-5-2 then 4-2-3-1 or whatever, we have to have a system and personnel that fit in that system.

Maybe one of City’s problems in Europe is that they try to change too much from PL to CL, Maureen has a system, he uses it in all games, the only difference is how much freedom the attacking players are allowed.

Rodgers earned a lot of plaudits last year for setting up his team for each given opponent, Martinez too, no surprise with only 2 days training between games this method starts to fail.

When you have no European föötball you can drill for 5 days between games.

The same with International Breaks, one of the reasons the “smaller” clubs get upsets after Interlulls is not just the travel time of their opponents but the fact that they have had 10-12 days training at their club being drilled on how they are going to play their next match.

I’ve pretty much asked myself the same question for three years, and I would really like to see a good answer:

How do you get space in behind a parked bus? And hence how do you exploit that space with pace of there is no space?

Basically why do teams defend so deep against us and not against say ManUre or Liverpool or is that just a figment of my imagination? I’m not necessarily talking about big teams but the likes of Stoke, Palace, Villa. Everyone behind the ball and hope to counter.

We could obviously play the same way but I fear we would end up with a lot of goalless draws. The other team, if disciplined, will just stay back. We have to force the issue. One way is endless crosses into the box, worked a bit when we had Ollie fit. But defences still didn’t really come towards us. Shooting from distance is another tactic, but often the ball is just gifted back to the opponent.

So can some bright spark tell me how we can try and create space in behind to win games without over committing men forward against a park the bus side?

I’m also pretty sick of hearing that Ozil is played out of position and that he only expected to play central and for 70 minutes for Madrid, he is a £42m footballer on a rather large pay packet. Do you think Bergkamp would have sulked if he played left wing? Or would he have found a way to influence the game. And maybe we should just sit Mesut down with a pile of DVDs of Bobby Pires, a number 10 who played left wing and took apart many an opponent.

Written by Gooner in Exile 


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 498 other followers