Young, Gifted …… and Getting Better

Why do we have such unreasonably high expectations of a 20 year old Theo? The same goes for the 21 (just 22) year old Denilson.

How about other player’s careers aged 21?  Thierry Henry at the age of 21 had scored 20 goals in 105 games for Monaco and had just been brought into the French National Squad. Robert Pires at 21 was still at Metz and struggling. Freddie was at Halmstad, Martin Keown was about to be sold to Villa and was on loan at Brighton. The great Zinedine Zidane was still at Bourdeaux and yet to break into the French team. For all of them their Glory Days were in the future, at 21 they were starting out on their careers.

Of course, Fabregas at 21 was already our best player, same goes for Liam Brady, the very great John Radford (still Arsenal’s youngest hatrick scorer) and PV4.

What separates them? Well, in my opinion it is largely different rates of development, both physical and mental. Alex Song at 20 was so poor that Arsene Wenger was forced to talk to the press and support him, saying that we couldn’t see how brilliant Song was in training and that he had a huge future. I for one, laughed. Yet at the age of 22, Song is able to go for a 50/50 ball with two Sunderland thugs and come away with the ball, and you know what, I wasn’t surprised. What does that tell me? It tells me to be patient with our players.

The same can be said of Diaby. Wenger has been raving about him for 2 seasons, now we are beginning to see what AW sees. Diaby needed time to mature, he still does because he certainly isn’t the finished article. Even Van Persie, who is a huge talent, is only coming good now he is over 25. Prior to that he only fired sporadically. Fabregas, on the other hand was ready for the first team at 18, he matured at an alarming rate, though he still lacked the physicality he has found this season. Sadly for our other young players Cesc has become the benchmark, whereas he is truly an exceptional talent.

Distance runners do not mature until their 30’s, they need that long to develop their stamina and strength, so why should we expect Walcott to be consistent for 90 (70) minutes at 20? He has shown how physically fragile his young body is, and judging from his adrenaline-fed crosses, he is lacking mental maturity as well. He cannot calmly assess a situation, perhaps he never will, but Capello and Wenger both rate him. And maybe, like many a player, he will show how good he can be in his mid-20’s (though Theo, if you are reading this, a few stand out performances before season’s end would be fine). Of course, Theo has flattered to deceive, BBC Young Personality at 17, England’s youngest hatrick hero, the youngest scorer in the u-21’s; We expect great things from him, and that is the reason the fans are getting frustrated. One aspect often raised is that Walcott has been with us for a number of years, and has played in (not started) over 70 games for us,as such it is reasonable to expect a return from him (once again the same can be said for Denilson who has also played 70+ games). But look at them, compare them to a real man (Kevin Davies/Drogba), they are boys! When I was 21, I had had a lot of experience in certain areas (!) but I certainly wasn’t mature, were you?

Defenders also take longer to mature. Their best years are after 27 (which bodes well for TV). Gallas is a better player now than at 25. We are on Clichy’s back at present (no pun intended), yet he is still only 24, young for a full back, especially one with so much experience. Again, Clichy matured so fast that we forget how young he is, he will without doubt return to the form he had 2 season’s ago – form is transient, quality isn’t.

Ramsey, Vela, Wilshire etc etc such high expectations laid upon such young shoulders. Sending Wilshire to Bolton where his reputation doesn’t put such stresses upon him is best for Little Jack, and in the long run for Arsenal. He has made prodigious leaps forward but this season has not continued his remarkable development. It could well be because his body and mind need to settle before he continues his march to greatness. Wenger clearly appreciates this and has protected him from the spotlight as much as possible, in a way that he couldn’t with Walcott.

For an example of differing rates of development just look at your school class – for those that can remember that far back – was everyone the same in terms of physical development (stop laughing at the back), or maturity (I said stop laughing !)?

Early physical maturity is the exception, though there are some fine exceptions, Samantha Fox was only 17 when she first appeared in the Sun, and as we all know, Sammy was a renowned Gooner….

220 Responses to Young, Gifted …… and Getting Better

  1. Rasputin says:

    Morning Nomads,

    Fine post Raddy. Whatever our thoughts about individual players, this is the squad we have to work with for the rest of the season, so we should get behind the team and give them our total support.

    I heard today that the Premiership has something like 60% of Europe’s total football debt so we should be proud that our financial model has worked and we have manageable debt.

  2. Big Raddy says:

    Morning Ras.

    It was not my intention to critique a player, more to show that they mature at different rates, and therefore we should give them some slack. The stresses of playing PL football must be enormous, and putting such a spotlight of players as they grow into their bodies is counter-productive.

    I agree about the finances, though I would have preferred us to have less profit and better players 😉

  3. SharkeySure says:

    Wonderful post Raddy. It actually got me thinnig back to some old schoolmates, and on e in particular.

    He was about 5’7 when we left school, next time I saw him aged around 22 he was about 6’1. Another kid who was tall but as skinny as a rake at school, grew into a real man mountain.

    Loving this site…keep up the good work all

  4. brdgunner says:

    Excellent, I made a similar point somewhere yesterday.

    People seam to be under the delusion that if your not a star a 20 you never will be. And, even when it does happen like with Song, they still won’t accept it from others. I will not tell you Bendtner is one of the best, but at 22 he is more than good enough for Arsenal. I question the supporters and ask are they good enough for Arsenal?

    Last year he scored 16 goals, from the bench at 20/21. I would like to find another striker with that sort of influence around the league.

    I won’t regurgitate what you have already said too much. It’s good that it’s been highlighted properly.


  5. Rasputin says:

    Morning Raddy,

    I think your points are well made, and when I looked at our young players celebrating in the picture above I felt a little ashamed for ever crtiticising them. My eldest son is 22 and has definitely got some ‘growing’ to do before he becomes the finished article… (apologies if you read this fella 😉 )

  6. London says:

    Morning all

    That was a great read, I remember saying that I thought your first headline post was the best I had ever read, well, I enjoyed today’s even more.
    Couple of things “Adrenaline fed crosses” is superb and I must admit that I did not realise that Clichy was still only 24.

  7. SharkeySure says:

    ” Franchise Says:
    February 23, 2010 at 7:18 pm
    Sharkey Pires, Wiltord, Henry, Petit all played for France before coming to us”

    If thats your answer then you haven’t read my post properly. The key word was ‘mainstay’.

    You do know Henry was back in the U21’s when he joined us, Petits previous caps were at CB/LB and he hadn’t had one for like 3-4 yrs minimum.

    They were not bought as big stars of the French national team, thats what they became AFTER they joined Arsenal.

    Counter argument that Im not interested in. Henry was top scorer at 98 WC. Riposte: He didn’t start the final cos he just wasn’t that good back then, and his 3 goals just don’t change that.

  8. SharkeySure says:

    Ooooh ….my manners !!!!

    Morning All

  9. Morning all

    Great post Raddy.

    I feel that because there are some starlets around aged 16/17/18 supporters expect all our young players to be sprinkled with magic dust and perform as men consistently.

    Of course if AW sprinkled his squad with a few oldies we wouldn’t be such an angst ridden bunch 😳

  10. Meneurdejeu10 says:

    Morning Rasputin

    Great article on how fans need to show patience. I am the poster boy for impatience. However does Arsene Wenger actually believe we will be able to win consistently without keeping clean sheets? Because sometimes I wonder if he is watching the same game as us.

    – Denilson has been a major disappointment. I understant he is 21 or 22. Players can be taught to tone it down, ala Rooney for Utd. But the older you get, can your attitude and aggressiveness be increased? It is digusting to see a CM who does not track back. He is dead weight.

    – Walcott lacks technical ability. But he has some great qualities, notably his pace and movement off the ball. Would he not be suited to playing in the middle?

    I would love TV and Song together in MF. The primary reason we leak goals at the back is because our MF is porous. If TV and Song played together, TV can cover left to allow Clichy to get forward, and Song can do the same on the right for the Bac.

  11. charybdis1966 says:

    Interesting points there Radders, however I feel Wenger has to take the blame for getting the youth-experience balance all wrong. Developmental rates are going to differ for most prospective talents but I feel they improve much quicker I they have the finished product alongside them to learn from.
    Our only truly world class young talent, Cesc, had the likes of Paddy, Vieira and DB10 to look up to and learn from – who does he see alongside him now? Denilson – meh!

  12. Rasputin says:

    Morning MNDJ (hope the abbreviation doesn’t offend)

    Well of course you have just expressed the opposing view perfectly. I suppose if you examine the success of bringing through Song and Diaby, you could say that the patience pays off – alternatively you can equally say that we’ve seen enough of Denilson and he is never going to reach the standard.

    Opinions make the world go round. I think Ramsey will feature more in Arsene’s thinking as a future replacement for Cesc and Denilson may be a squad/sub in the way that Flamini was for several years.

  13. SharkeySure says:

    Currently neither Clichy or Sagna offer us a great deal going forward.

    Watching Barca last night highlighted (in patches)how we no longer press the opposition as strongly as we did at the start of the season.

    Back then we swarmed the oppo CBs and DM’s and denied them space and time. Now we seem to have dropped a bit in terms of our intensity when we don’t have the ball.

  14. Rasputin says:

    We do need to cut out the conceding of silly goals though and a new keeper would be a major step in the right direction – at least for a few years until Chesney emerges as a great keeper in the Arsenal mould of old.

  15. London says:

    Morning Menu10

    The wish for Song — Vermaelen in the midfield is gathering support, it has an added advantage, something that I hadn’t realised before, of Vermaelen being able to cover Clichy.

  16. charybdis1966 says:

    * “improve quicker IF they have”

  17. London says:

    By the way did anyone watch our new centre forward, last night?

  18. London says:

    I would add Gallas to our list of world class players.

  19. London says:


  20. Livers says:

    Great post, but I’d argue that the young players of 1988 seemed to peak. Rocky, Thomas, Adams and Merse with the under 23 Bould, Dixon and Winterburn.

    I know times change but with some of these players esp Rocky and Thomas they seemed to peak at 21,22 and all went slowly downhill after.

    Whilst I agree that some take time to mature it was indeed the players “maturing and excelling” that made us buy them in the first place. They jsut aren’t developing up to speed imo.

    I don’t think Walcott has “it” and Denilson is already being overtaken by Ramsey who’s what..18?

  21. London says:

    Did he look like a number 9?

  22. SharkeySure says:

    100% agree the keeper Rasp.

    All our keepers seem to be deaf mutes. Playonmg in defence you rely so much ion communocation from th eman behind you.

    Over and over gains we see our defenders asking our keeper why he hasn’t given them any ‘clear audio’ on the situation that has just passed.

    Denilson, with the right info from Big Al, could have blocked off Rooney’s run with ease.

    Keepers like that spread fear and uncertainty thru the whole back line.

  23. Mayank says:

    Fine post Raddy, I think there’ll be a consensus that 21 is indeed to lose hope for a football player but we’ve been in a pickle so it is someone’s fault. There is a catch of course, young players don’t develop on the bench. Player normally manage it either because of low expectations or a team of superstars where their mistakes don’t really cost the team.

    Arsenal youths have tremendous expectations on the ever since Wenger acquired his reputation with young players. As for the superstar bit we were unlucky in that respect to have all our big guns leave in a short span some chose it and some were past it but a few could have been kept. I include Pires, Gilberto and Sol in this category. That is why layers like Rosicky and Arsh are so important to our season.

  24. Rasputin says:

    Pretty much all our players on the pitch and probably the bench are internationals (at youth level, if not senior) with the exception of Almunia – tells you something 🙄

  25. Rasputin says:

    Morning London,

    I didn’t see the game featuring Chamakh, the opinion on other blogs last night was that his link-up play was excellent but his finishing needs to improve – not my opinion, and not really the analysis I want to hear.

  26. Franchise says:

    Nice post Raddy. Well that is why its righfully called project youth. We dont want Bendtner when he is 21 and misfiring or Theo when he is 17 and clueless

    Bring them in when their heads and bodies are sorted.

    I can bet you that if we continue like this the reverse of what used to happen would start happening.

    We would not get the best years from our young players but other clubs will. The real Big clubs who leave youth to the likes of Everton and of recent us

    Wenger might eventually loose faith in theo and the kid would end up being an Aston Villa legend before the Mancs snap him up.

    Cesc might get fed up at lack of trophies and he would move to the mothership, The Inevitable surely

    We have been told by the manager that some of these players are exceptional. Exceptional young players do exceptional things at young ages

    As for Denilson he is just shite 😀

  27. Meneurdejeu10 says:


    I understand that Almunia has made some howlers and bad decision making over the past few years, however, our biggest problem in our team is still the MF. Fabregas and Song seem to have to do the work of two men when Denilson is playing with them. I believe indicator of confidence in a fellow MF is the confidence your teammates have in you. If you watch closely, Fabregas, Song and Diaby, the three MF who have logged the most minutes this season, rarely pass him the ball in tight situations.

    It is not a coincidence, that of the 18 games Denilson has started we have come up on the losing end on six occasions. We have lost seven in all competitions.

  28. Franchise says:

    SharkeySure if you believe Wenger’s recruitment policy in the early years and what it is now is the same then you are just deceiving yourself to blow smoke up wengers……


  29. North Bank says:

    Play Cammie with Gallas and then move TV to mid field.

    Then allow only one of them to go forward for FKs and corners.

    On occasion allow TV to drop back and the two fullbacks to go forward.

    Thus we tighten the back and add a bit of extra bite in midfield.


  30. Rasputin says:

    Get off the fence Franchise re: Denilson … tell us what you really think 😛

    I could defend the playing of Denilson if it weren’t for the fact that we have better players sitting on the bench. Who knows maybe the team selection on Saturday heralded the day Arsene decided Ramsey is ahead of Denilson.

  31. Rasputin says:

    Cammie = Sol 😆

  32. Chipo says:

    Great post, but I still can’t help but think that if they aren’t ready then why the hell are they playing for us?!

  33. London says:

    Morning Rasputin

    Yes, I would agree with the view Chamakh’s his link up play was good; I’m not sure how they came up with the idea that his finishing needs improving? I don’t recall him having a shot; he struck me as being as much of a number 9 as Bendtner is…….which is probably also something you didn’t want to hear. On the up side he is a tad faster than Bendtner which is obviously a good thing, but this guy is so Wenger there is even less doubt in my mind that he will be at THOF next season.

  34. London says:

    Morning Chipo

    Why do you think that “Project Youth” exists?

  35. Livers says:

    London, or as Iain Dowie put it he has “Physicality”

  36. SharkeySure says:

    Franchise….you’re on the wrong site for that sort of talk.

    Keep it civil or don’t bother. You’re always too quick to descend into that sort of talk imho

    And there you go moving the goalposts and changing the terms of reference of the argument ….again !!!

    Anyway, thats my last post in that vein on this peaceful and respectful site.

  37. Rasputin says:

    Hi London,

    Much as I suspected then. I welcome him, it doesn’t matter if a significant number of our goals come from midfield if the forwards are working hard and creating the space for them – a goals a goal whoever scores it! Chamakh will slot into the system seamlessly I’d imagine.

  38. SharkeySure says:

    Meneur 10. I agree to a point, but I am of the view that Denilson is in the worst run of form of his life, rather than actually being as poor as he is now playing.

    Even on form, he is only back up to our top 3, with Ramsey now providing stiff competition in that role. If Songs out then Den had the edge as his replacement, nwith Ransey as 1st choice cover for both Abou and Cesc.

    Once Ramsey cuts out his little bouts of overplaying then he will be 1st cover for all three.

    I remain convinced that our silent and average keepers are the largest single factor causing our defensive problems.

    I actually still think Fabianski can turn it around

  39. London says:


    That’s exactly it, I anticipate that he will slip into the system seamlessly.

  40. Andrew says:

    I have to say that this is probably one of the sanest articles I have seen in ages (really)secondly these expectations will continue to grow with all the talented players wenger brings in.
    a good example is Wellington Silva – People haven’t even seen him play and they have already said that he’s going to be our messiah.
    I mean really he’s 17 yes he has all the skills in the world but when its comes to maturity. He doesn’t have that and he wont get that for another 3-4 years

    I read an article where an idiot wrote an article that clichy will be sold to madrid and gibbs will take his place. I mean really Gibbs is a good LB but he’s not mature enough to play week in and week and out. And the worst thing was that people believed it

    Some of the blame has to fall on wenger – Every year we sell our regualar first team players and replace them with youth then what are people suppose to expect. They think that since that player has been put in the sold players place then he has to be that good but even if he has the same level of skills he doesn’t have the same level of maturity.

    Wenege for me didn’t have much choice I except that.
    When players start becoming world class they want more money and wenger at that time couldn’t afford their wages so the only thing was to do was to sell them and he did that and took all the blame.(for which he gets my undieing respect)
    Now since our housing project in Highbury has finished and houses have been sold and add that to the disasters from last two season means that board has had to change its wage policy, this has finally giving wenger a chance to buy some play and more importantly keeps his more experienced players and we have seen this all season long.
    How many contracts have we renewed this year -16-18 If my memory serves me right
    He also wants to renew Merida’s, Gallas and most importantly FABREGAS’S contract who for me is the most important players in our team.
    HE has finally decided to award Fabregas with a contract never ever given to an arsenal player which will making him the highest earner in arsenal’s history but also one of the highest in the EPL.

    P.S People like to judge without knowing the full story and its better to ignore them rather than hear them.

  41. London says:

    Morning Livers

    Did you see Chamakh last night? What did you think?

  42. Franchise says:

    in the past we had the likes of



    all regulars playing for the top rated sides in the world

    you cant compare the calibre of players we used to have then to now

    Henry got demoted to U21 but paying £12m for a ‘flop’ tells me he wasnt Bendtner calibre

  43. Franchise says:

    SS wow didnt know you wrote the rules of the site. My bad 8)

  44. Rasputin says:

    Its OK Sharky and Franchise, we’re having a good debate, no-one is out of order – please continue to express your passion and personalities unrestricted.

  45. London says:

    Morning Andrew

    That was a good read, but I have one question, which players do you think that Wenger was forced to sell because he couldn’t afford their wages…..Adebayor doesn’t count….because we all know what he is.

  46. Livers says:

    London, morning.

    I was flicking as such and you can tell he’s a class apart, strong on the ball and a lovely touch and really seemed to make them tick. Not all down to him but he looked an Arsenal player.

    Was interested in Dowie’s view on SSN after and he was raving and saying he’d be perfect for us..

    Thing is, he may be perfect for us in Europe but not in the Prem although Dowie thought he looked powerful

  47. Mayank says:

    So its not reputation or talent but the transfer fee that decides the respectability. Would paying 12m for Nik at 21 years of age make him a better player?Though it doesn’t seem likely but Nik’s career could follow the same pattern as Henry’s.

  48. SharkeySure says:

    Alright Mayank.

    “a few could have been kept. I include Pires, Gilberto and Sol ”

    I thought all of them were let go at the right time. I was surprisd that Le Bob started in Paris ahead of Reyes as he really hadn’t been playing that well.

    Gilberto looked shot in his last year with us when he did get some minutes. Maybe his lack of minutes was part of the problem.

    My theory is that The Invincibles was a team/squad at its absolute peak and that rather than expect them to repeat the feat the following year (yeah I’ve heard it said), the expectation shoud have been that some players would struggle to maintain those levels.

    Thats exactly what we saw.

  49. Rasputin says:

    Welcome Andrew, excellent comment.

  50. London says:

    Morning Franchise

    I have a question: what do you think made Wenger change his policy from the days of Vieira, Henry and Pires etc to what we have today?

  51. Andrew says:

    wenger has filled their shoes with young but players who just as good as the player you mentioned above
    The only reason people think he has failed is the fact that they haven’t produced but we can see they will
    All of them look like they become world class player except maybe for Almunia who wont ge better than he is now other than they all look like they can become great players.
    Give them time

  52. SharkeySure says:

    Whatever Fran..I’m really not interested

  53. Livers says:

    Mayank – Drogba was playing 3rd Divvy footie til he was 24…. you never know

  54. SharkeySure says:

    Rasp 10.40.

    Apologies, thats the last you’ll hear from me on that score.

  55. Meneurdejeu10 says:

    GK: New #1/Almunia
    RB: Sagna/Eboue
    RCB: Gallas/Djourou
    LCB: Vermaelen(Would love a new one so Tommy could play in MF)/Campbell
    LB: Clichy (I suspect he might go)/Gibbs/Traore
    RDM: Song/Eastmond
    CM: Fabregas/Ramsey
    LDM: Matuidi (I really think Wenger was after him)/Diaby
    CAM: Arshavin (Fabregas might be our most consistent player, but he is our ace, no doubt about that)/Nasri
    RCF: Chamakh/Walcott/Eduardo
    LCF: RVP/Bendtner/Vela

    Based on the numbers I have up top, highly likely one FW and one LB will not be here next season. Which two? Denilson will be gone.

    Chamakh is not a goal scorer. However, he held the ball up well and did a lot of dirty work. Arsene could learn a thing or two from Mont Blanc, especially how Bordeaux stayed very compact and rarely gave Olympiakos any space in MF. Whereas we give up enough space in MF to bulid another Ashburton Grove. Against Man Utd, in the UCL SF and this year’s home match, Chelsea home last year and home and away this year, we have had the same problem. Recurring theme.

  56. London says:


    I saw all the game but I didn’t see Dowie’s comments, although, I do agree: Chamakh looked powerful and the more of that we add to the squad the better.

  57. Franchise says:

    Mayank I saw Henry’s debut for France in 1997 and thought what a player. he was 19 at that time. Im sure when Juve accepted our offer Wenger must have thought ‘what a deal’.

  58. Rasputin says:

    No need to apologise Sharkey, you’re a great blogger, we’re lucky to have you – like I keep saying this, blog is as much yours as anybody’s.

  59. London says:

    “Whereas we give up enough space in MF to bulid another Ashburton Grove”.

    This made me laugh, although, it is sadly true or at least it was for the manu game.

  60. Franchise says:

    London Wenger said his dream was to bring in players young so that they grow to love the club.

  61. Franchise says:

    London re the young players We have been interested in the really exceptional young players but the selling clubs are no mkugs they know how goood their players are. Aguero and Pato are two examples we’ve missed out on in the last 3 years. They both cost more than Arshavin

  62. Alfa says:

    Morning all, great post and great debate.

    London, I offer you in evidence Flamini. I believe that Arsene would have kept him if we could have afforded his wage demands. As Andrew says, AW took the flack. Just IMHO. 🙂

    Andrew hi, you seem well informed, what’s the story on Cesc’s contract?

  63. Mayank says:

    Franchise, I can’t say I saw Henry at such a young age but if you saw Diaby at 19 in a good game you’d think the same, doesn’t stop him from receiving flak does it.

    SS, Pires and Gilberto could have done what Giggs and Scholes are doing at united. Not getting too many games so as to push them too much but not so few so as to get them out of practice.

  64. Mayank says:

    As for bringing in players young so that they grow to love the club, I think it’s a requirements due to the youth level recruitment policies within England.

  65. Andrew says:

    I have to say most of the first team players he sold in the last 5 years were player that he couldn’t afford to keep.
    People get confused and think it was the players or club decision to leave the club but most of the times its agent.
    They get offers from clubs about a player all the time and most of them offer better wages a good example is Flamini or even Helb
    Flamini was destined to sign a new contract with us in Dec/Jan but his agent was contacted by both AC Milan and Real Madrid who were ready to double his wages and that’s something that Arsenal couldn’t do so what happen he signs for Milan even though he wanted stay as an Arsenal player.
    I know you’re thinking it’s the player decision who he signs with but when your agent starts saying that you work is not appreciated enough and teams like Milan or Madrid will appreciate you and your club says no to your wage demand then you start feeling unwanted and this happens at a lot of clubs.
    Also I hear people say that why don’t we sign David Villa but they forget it’s not just about the transfer fees, It’s also about how much his wages will cost to the club and our club in its current financial climate just can’t afford that but most people don’t understand and they will never understand it because they weigh success with one thing and one thing only – Trophies
    I see these last 4-5 barren years as a success because not only did we build a new stadium, we have a terrific training centre, we have the best youth academy in England (if not the world) and this team are not just improving but also producing which means a much brighter future for us than most EPL teams
    We have gotten through the worst and in a few years it will be time to reap the rewards (IN MY OPINION)

  66. SharkeySure says:


    Yeah maybe….and that thaefact that they were all offered contracts suggest that might well be true.

    It then comes down to whether the player will accept that – in our case the answer was no, as both players wanted regular football I guess.

    Maybe it comes down to affinity with the club, and they had less than say Bergkamp, who had maybe four or five one year deals playing less and less each year

    I also got the impression that Bergy and his family were very well settled in North London, and thats prob influenced his decisions

  67. Franchise says:

    Diaby has talent no doubt. re Henry my point is he was starting games for france in the world cup before he joined us hence why juve signed him we were lucky they lost faith in him or maybe they didnt they just decided to get trezeguet instead

    Managing fans expectations is the thing that Arsenal have failed to do recently.

    why should Arsenal fans be waiting for so many players to come through at the same time?

    there is only so much patience that can be afforded to the whole bunch

    I think as a squad in 09/10 we are not that bad but the weak links are so bad that it has affected us big time

  68. London says:

    Fair enough Andrew, that was another excellent comment. I share your optimism: in the next few years we will be winning the CL so often they will have to rename it the Arsenal Cup 😉

  69. Alfa says:

    Andrew, you have it spot on. We don’t generate enough cash every year to pay higher wages, not without borrowing more money and the board doesn’t want to do that. London and me agree to disagree on that point but check the blog archive for our points of view.

  70. Franchise says:

    weak links and lack of cover if i may add

  71. SharkeySure says:

    Andrew…..thats the spirit.

    Keep spreading that gospel.

    Excellent post

  72. Franchise says:

    i think we have gone about our youth policy in the wrong fashion. hence our shockingly high wage bill

  73. London says:

    I certainly agree that we do not generate enough income to compete with Real Madrid, Chelsea or Man City but their spending is artificial but that is not the same as saying we do not generate a high level of income….Arsenal’s financial model is to live within their means.

  74. Alfa says:

    So London, Flamini ❓

  75. Andrew says:

    you couldn’t be more wrong but can you elaborate on what your trying to say

  76. Mayank says:

    There’s no doubt Fran, that expectations should be managed but we have\had exceptional circumstances regarding players, constrains (maybe not today, but you can’t doubt the fact that we were skint) and the pace at which the PL changed. I don’t want to say it but injuries have played a part too compounded by some bad decisions on Wenger’s part.

    SS makes a good point regarding affinity towards the club that’s why hoping for Everton to develop our players isn’t an option for a club that does not have the stature of Barca or the money of Chelsea.

    Off for a bit, be back later.

  77. Andrew says:

    our financial situation 5 years ago was much different than what we have now
    so comapring both is not right but arsenal still can’t afford players like Messi, Ronaldo or Villa but the players we cann’t afford are only a handful.

  78. London says:

    Ohh Alfa, if you knew how many times I have done this one. For the rest of you:

    I know we have been round this circle so many times but what the hell.

    At the end of the 06/7 season Flamini was told that the club had received interest from Birmingham and that Arsenal were prepared to let him go.

    His playing days at Arsenal were numbered: surplus to requirements there is no logical reason for Flamini to expect, or, for him to be offered a new contract.

    Flamini was a utility player: thought as someone who would never make the big time; one year left on his contract; he was going to be allowed to leave with the best wishes of the club.

    Season 07/08 starts, Gilberto has just finished playing in the Americas cup and is exhausted, Diarby is injured (now there’s a surprise) so Flamini gets his chance and impresses in the close season. One minute before the transfer deadline we sign Diarra.

    Being out of a job at end of the season Flamini was playing his heart out. Diarra not having played to many games for Chelsea was being eased in.

    By Christmas Wenger has realised that Diarra is trouble; he seems to think he had the God given right to play every week; he is sent to France, away from the rest of the squad and then sold.

    Meanwhile it has becoming evident that everyone had underestimated Flamini’s talents and a new contract was offered; now bearing in mind that only three months earlier he was told he was no longer needed it is quite understandable that he wanted to keep his options open.

    There is no doubt in my mind that Milan offered him more money than we did; why not, there was no signing on fee, so if he works out great, if not, they sell him and recoup all costs.

    This is not a case of bad business it is a case that nobody anticipated Flamini’s metamorphosis.

  79. Alfa says:

    London, I think we agree then: once we realised (belatedly) how good he was, we offered him a new contract but couldn’t afford to match Milan’s offer. Whether it would have been good value, who knows. He didn’t set the world on fire in Milan but boy did we miss him.

    AW generally has a very good record of letting players go at the right time, we all know that.

  80. Meneurdejeu10 says:


    You state some great points. However, the alarming issue is losing players approaching their prime.
    Before we used to sell player in their late 20’s early 30’s when they were in decline eg. Henry, Overmars, Petit, Vieira,Ljungberg, Gilberto

    You look at the last few years now…Flamini, L. Diarra, Hleb, Adebayor.

    Adebayor is not worth 120,000/week or wutever he makes: good choice

    Flamini: Had significant value because of his outstanding work rate. We couldnt keep because of his wages. He didnt stay becuse Milan offered more.

    L. Diarra: He is a dynamo in the MF who will make his mark for Real and France. He was impatient. Agreed. BUT CAN YOU HONESTLY SAY that Denilson or even Flamini are as good?

    Hleb: He was finding his feet fo us. But his agent turned his head after some ice cream. Should have gone to Inter instead of Barca.

    The question is are the players who start to play well for us demand too much or are we stingy?

  81. Franchise says:

    we have too many young players on our books that have been here too long

    what is Randall still doing at the club, what about Jay Simpson?

    we struggled to offload Senderos

    would lansbury ever get a chance or will he be back to carling cup action next season? lansbury was playing carling cup 3 seasons ago

    i doubt he will when we’ve got like 8 players ahead of him

    the worst bit is when we get serious injuries to the 1st team we cant even call up to the youth team players to step in

    etc etc etc

  82. Alfa says:

    Andrew, based on our last financial results and the board’s policy of financial responsibility, I think that we can only afford 1-2 additional good players, of the kind that earn £60k-£80k per week, and then only if we get them on frees or defer their transfer fees over a period as is the norm these days. I presume that’s why Chamakh is being talked up so much. If we sell players then clearly we’ll have more headroom in the wages budget to bring in other players or pay more to the ones we do bring in.

    If you’ve got some better information I’d love to hear it. Clearly we are financially stronger than we were a few years ago, let’s hope it stays that way.

  83. Franchise says:

    re strikers we have RVP and the rest

    DM – Song and the rest

    GK – None

    Wingers – none

    full backs – well on their day most our very good. the problem is ‘their day’ is quite a rare occassion these days

    by the rest i mean none filling me with any confidence

    wage bill – £just over £100m

  84. Franchise says:

    *** most are very good

  85. Big Raddy says:

    Fran. I expect us to have a selling summer. It is not AW’s way to stand in the way of players who are good enough for Wigan but not foraTop 4 club.

  86. Alfa says:


    OK most of our team aren’t a patch on the Invincibles individually but we aren’t that bad. Are you comparing Sagna and Clichy with Gus Caesar 😆

  87. Big Raddy says:

    Oh, sugar (this being a polite site). I have to go to college, and this is an interesting debate.

    Back this evening

  88. Franchise says:

    Me too Raddy. Im really praying that we win something this year and I also wish that for once Wenger would let loose on his purse

    3 quality signings might make some players who are too comfortable step up. squad depth, increasing number and change in attitude

    1 GK
    1 CF
    1 DM

    then depending on how we sell we might just throw in

    1 CB
    1 Winger

    personally i would loan out theo esp after a world cup year

  89. Franchise says:

    Alfa i said at 11:03

    I think as a squad in 09/10 we are not that bad but the weak links are so bad that it has affected us big time

  90. Franchise says:

    then at 11:06

    weak links and lack of cover if i may add,/blockquote>

  91. Andrew says:

    you haven’t seen lansbury play have you, he is more likely to make it than Wilshere (not joking)
    Simpson has been loaned meaing QPR pays his wages(same for randal)and the reason these players are send on loan is to see how much they mature and are they getting better or not.
    People who dont get better are either sold or released and we do this every year
    people who do progress in a league one side and then send to a championship side and if they make it their then they are brought into the first team
    This is the same for every other EPL club but the difference between us and them is that we made our primary focus now some might say its stupid but the greatest teams in the world have been created this way eg. Ajax 70’s and 80’s and Barcelona (last 20 years)
    This youth policy means we buy players for 200K max 1 million and pay them around $500 (if they become professional) and looks at the rewards
    Fabregas, Bendtner, Wilshere, JET, Bartley, Gibbs, Wszchesney, Watt, Sunnu, Eastmond, Merida
    if we had to buy Fabregas in his prime then his transfer fee alone would have bank rolled our youth system for 10 years.
    we had a wages system of 20% now that has been increased to 30% also since our new stadium our revenue have almost doubled (not that mcuh but close to that)
    And our youth policy will stay and we will continue to sell player but the difference this time will be that we will keep our most important players like Henry, Vieira but will continue to make profit on players like Adebayor, Diara (that’s just good business)
    that’s why we are extending contracts now and the board is allowing wenger to offer Fabregas a better deal than given to any arsenal player every before including Henry.

  92. DC says:

    A sensible article and, as has been pointed out by others, something that is in short supply on the internet. We have the same problem that society in general has, we want it now! We have a group of young players that are maturing together and I truly believe that if we give them time and strengthen in a couple of areas we will be the best team in the world for years to come.

    We have also had the problem of a number of players coming back from long term injuries. It caused Diaby to basically miss two seasons (the one injured and the one where he was crap) and the same issue with Eduardo this season; Clichy, Walcott, even Cesc have been eratic because of missing so many games.

    I am not concerned about the long term health of the team or the club, I am more worried about why we pick up so many injuries. It is these that are causing the problems.


  93. Alfa says:

    I’m thinking of putting a poll up for who our #1 GK should be next season, including the current 4. I’d add Lloris, Joe Hart, and Luiz Guilherme (OK he’s too young but what the…). Who else should be on the list? Assume we can afford them.

  94. Franchise says:

    Andrew they definitely dont get paid $500. the top rated ones are easily on 8-15k a week

    and as far as rewards are concerned it shouldnt only be financial we are a top football club who should deliver trophies

    the manager and the club sell the idea, the fans buy it

    this team is good enough they say. money is not only the solution says wenger

    vela is like fowler 😯

  95. Andrew says:

    1 GK
    1 CF
    1 DM

    1 GK – Almuunia is a good keeper not world class I agree but ok he has one year on his contract so either he will be released or sold next summer upto wenger
    1 CF – Chamak looks like but if that doesn’t happen dont expect Dzeko or Villa
    1 DM – I think a lot will depend on Norvedit and performace of Denilson this season although Eboue can play their this season so don’t think so

    then depending on how we sell we might just throw in

    1 CB – Sol will probably be given an extension as he’s happy to play when needed but Silvetre will be released, same for Sendros so expect atleast expect one signing.
    1 Winger – NO need these players can also play as winger and the way we play we don’t really use wingers

  96. Alfa says:

    Franchise, I just saw your 11.39am, fair point.

  97. Andrew says:

    you talking about youth players right
    since my uncle who represents these youngster I can tell you they get paid $500 a week
    Even when they sign professional contracts they get paid 1-4K not more than that

  98. Franchise says:

    Andrew i think Almunia is rubbish and has personally cost us 9-12 points this season

    i doubt sol would stay, i actually hope he doesnt

    i hope denilson goes he is clearly not cut for the big time

    Nordveit is a CB who i guess is still not ready

    Chamakh would be interesting though and if he is free more money available to strengthen other areas like GK

  99. London says:

    WOOoooooooo we have inside information. This is exciting.

  100. Franchise says:

    comon Andrew is that why JET can afford a Bentley

  101. SharkeySure says:

    Its not a Bentley its a McLaren.

    You’d only need about £2-3k per week to buy one of those !!

    Lease deals, financing etc.

  102. Franchise says:

    ppl that contract in IT earn 1-4k a week. 1k a week that is 52k a year. you cant be serious

    off to the gym catch y’all later

  103. Andrew says:

    Franchise “and as far as rewards are concerned it shouldnt only be financial we are a top football club who should deliver trophies”
    so what about the loans how do we pay them off
    we already owe something like 185 million if weneger buy a world class striker for 30 million and GK for 10-15 million, a DM for another 10 million atleast
    that’s what 55 million and then comes theirs wages which will become another 20 million a year
    so we pay add 75 million to win one trophy and after a couple of 3-4 years go into administration and say bye bye to our great club
    you know what’s wrong with today football they are no regulations people look at City, Chelsea and say why can’t we do this but they don’t realise that its all temporary.
    A success of a club depends on its youth

  104. London says:

    Why do we assume that JET bought the Mercedes out right rather than pay it over the next three years?

  105. Andrew says:

    this guy really thinks they get paid 10-15K doesn’t he
    somebody please tell him that Ramsey and Denilson are only paid 20K a week
    After singing their first professional contract they go from 500 to 1-4K depending on how good and their contract length after 1-3 yrs their contracts gets re negotiated and then it becomes 20K with 2% to 5% rise every year. Fabregas has the longest contract of any player in the EPL and his contract intially started with 35K and a season rise of 8%

  106. Alfa says:

    Andrew, our total debt at the end of last year was just under £300m which includes Highbury Square. It a debt which is manageable but still a debt. We actually have enough cash in the bank to spend £55m once and not incur any more debt. What I totally agree with you the board won’t do is spend the cash we have in the bank on pursuing short term success. Youth is the future. But when does the future get here? If we said we had to wait another 5 years for a trophy, and see Cesc, RvP, Song, Diaby, mature into the best players in the world and move on without us winning anything, would that still be OK?

  107. Franchise says:

    Comon andrew u think these guys would commit to sign crazy long term contracts to earn 1k a week

    London u right re the bentley but if I earned 1k a week the car dealership won’t sell me a bentley 😉

  108. Alfa says:

    London, you can rent a McLaren Mercedes SLR for £1500 a day, although not normally to someone has young as him. And you need a licence – mere details to a star footballer 🙄 . I agree, he probably didn’t buy it.

  109. Alfa says:

    Franchise, Andrew, are you sure you are talking about the same people? At the same stage of their careers?

  110. Andrew says:

    Its not 300 Million with the sponsors money we get every year around 8 million from Emirates,the increase in revenue and the sales from highbury its around 185-200 million
    And I agree spending once might be ok but when the board decided to build the stadium they decided to go with a plan of youth and wenger is allowed to invest all the money he makes from the transfer plus an extra 5-10 million every years but he has to stay in the wage limit.
    But really when I look at this time I really can’t see a lot of flaws in it ok you can say we dont have a good Gk but when you look at this lineup does it look bad
    Sagna ———- Gallas ——– Vermaelen ——– Clichy
    ——– Fabregas ——- Song ——- Diaby
    Van Persie ————- Chamak ————– Arshavin
    I think its one of the strongest if not THE strongest in the EPL.
    what we have to realise is that its the injuries not the players who have hampered our sucess and the only way to counter that is with a good squad

  111. Franchise says:

    Andrew go read the accounts and find out that the debt is very manageable. Its not nearly a burden

  112. Andrew says:

    1 – 4K a week for an 18 year old is not bad and its not for 4-5 years but for 1-3 years and they are usaully renegotiated in a year or two
    at this point int their career they are send to league one and championship who can’t afford to pay a lot to their players.
    Who are the ones that actually pay most of the wages

  113. Alfa says:

    Andrew, with the exception of Almunia I’d be happy if that team was out every week.

  114. Livers says:

    I love ITK’s who clearly don’t 🙂

  115. Livers says:

    P.S Akinfeev is another keeper I rate

  116. Andrew says:

    you know that 100m bond we took out to reduce our debt well they have to be paid after 8 years will 8% interest
    also debt is only manageable if you stay within your limit and yes we can add 2-3 more good players into our team but that depends on wenger not me

  117. Hartwick89 says:

    Now this is an excellent piece!

    I started to read the comments that followed and I just couldn’t…

    Your piece epitomizes an alternate view of the D&G’s constant stabbing with a dull knife. It allows fans to view the brilliance waiting in the wing.

    Also, it exposes the “experienced teams” like Chelsea & ManIOU for the remainder of the season. I wrote a post it ran Mon or Tues(Untold). It compared Arsenal, ManU, Chelsea the remaining games.

    In short, we have a better schedule than both “mature” teams. So to your point with this “young” team we are still in it. And, we might (optimistically) win it.

    If we do what will the D&G’s say? How can they complain? I look forward to May!

    And, excellent work here.

  118. Alfa says:

    Got to go guys, enjoyed the chat, even if we did descend into money again (my fault as much as anyone’s).

    They are young, they are gifted and they are getting better. We could win the league this year with them. That really would be something.

  119. Livers says:

    What £100m bond ?

  120. Alfa says:

    Hi Hartwick, sorry I have to go just as you arrive, I always enjoy your erudition 🙂

  121. Franchise says:

    Andrew u are the one coming up with this figures. Accounts says debt is manageable and stadium is raking in I will believe that over any figures thrown around on the blog without backing sheets

    Re what youth players sign it has nothin to do with age it is how good they are. Rooney started earning over 10k a week after signing pro he was on 60 a week as a trainee

    Wilshere is rumoured to be on almost 10 a week his agent could have achieved that as inter milan were keeping tabs on him

    Cesc signed his first ever pro deal for us when he was 16 and I doubt it was for 1k a week

  122. tomstoned says:

    Great Post…

    and a new blog.??..congratulations….

  123. Rasputin says:

    Welcome tomstoned,

    We’ve been going since the 6th of Feb, but a lot of the bloggers are seasoned pro’s if you’ll excuse the expression. It’s more of a co-operative. The idea is that any contributor is welcome to submit an article whatever their view, subject to the terms set out in ‘Be our Guest’ at the top of the page.

  124. SharkeySure says:

    “D&G’s constant stabbing with a dull knife”

    Spot on !!

  125. Rasputin says:

    It does appear that there is a gulf between ourselves and manu/chavs. Interestingly, manu did not spend the £80m they got for Ronaldo and are still in huge debt. Similarly, Abramovich is not forking out millions for ‘glory players’ any more – so it is not unreasonable to think that we will be closing the gap and hopefully surpasing them in the near future because we already have a lot of the players emerging that they won’t be able to afford … if that makes sense 🙄

  126. SharkeySure says:

    “Rooney started earning over 10k a week after signing pro he was on 60 a week as a trainee”

    Are you really saying that Rooney was on £60k a week at Everton..??

    I’ve ignored the ‘as a trainee’ bit

  127. SharkeySure says:

    Wages have gone crazy, and it seems that meltdown isn’t that far away.

    Joe Cole and SWP both struggling to get the new deals that they want.

    Large salaries of the few upsetting the rest.

    John Utaka’s £80k pw at Pompey being held up as a sterling example of financial mismanagement

  128. The gulf is only in the amount we are able to spend on players. If we believe that our young group will turn into the world class players that the hype suggests then not only will we be quids in as a club we’ll have on paper the most expensive team in the world.

  129. Rasputin says:

    P.S. to my last point – actually if we had RVP fit and a couple of others, we’re already every bit as good as the top two.

  130. Franchise says:

    60 pound a week SS

  131. Rasputin says:

    Hi peaches – is that you agreeing with me? 😉

  132. I loved Londons comment earlier about renaming the PL trophy the ‘Arsenal Cup’ 🙂

  133. Do you know what Rasputin, I might just be agreeing with you 😉

  134. Franchise – now I’m confused, what with $ instead of £ and you backtracking now to £ instead of £k.

    Rooney was on £60 a week when – as a trainee?

  135. Franchise says:

    60 pound a week

    sixty pound a week

  136. Franchise says:

    actually £80 a week as an everton trainee

  137. Franchise says:

    from the independent article

    The witness said his job was to ensure young players were not exploited; that on average players have a career lasting just eight years and must use that time to “capitalise on their abilities”.

    He said of the 600 players who get professional contracts aged 16, just 100 are still in football aged 21.

    Very interesting 😯

  138. SharkeySure says:

    OK my mistake re 60 quids !!

  139. Thats an incredible drop-out rate isn’t it but still no excuse to pay exorbitant wages to these young men. At 21 they still have their lives ahead of them to choose another path. Its not quite the same as finishing a career at 32-35 when you’ve already been on £3-£4m/year.

  140. Franchise says:

    peaches de-moderate my comment at 1:21pm

  141. Franchise says:

    please 😀 bad manners

  142. SharkeySure says:

    Do we really want to be a club where even the likes of Wayne Bridge are on £90k per week, and Gareth Barry’s on even more. Don’t even start me on AdeNuffs alleged £150k+

    Developing your own who have an affinity for the club is the way to go. If thery don’t have the patience to wait their turn or are too greedy, then off they go for a tidy profit.

    Watching Fab playing for half (or a lot less) that he could earn restores my faith in football a little bit.

    Knowing that he bought/kept his Audi A3 when he signed his 8 year deal was heartwarming stuff for me.

    Greedy mercenaries do my head in, like they ain’t well paid enough as it is !!

  143. Rasputin says:

    It’s out Franchiuse, I have no idea why it went into spam – I’ll get the tekkies on it right away.

    Erik and Mowatchmo, your comments from earlier are now visible. Sincere aplogies, again, you should not have gone into spam. This is an open site and comments are let straight on without moderation.

    I hope we can have your thoughts again in the future.

  144. Franchise says:

    problem is sharkey there are already too many on the pay roll hence the £100m wage bill. like raddy said a clear out is needed and would hopefully happen this summer

    the only known policy re wages at arsenal is that wage bill is capped at 40% of revenue. get the non-contributors off.

    and no one is against developing your own it is the balance we are asking for

    lack of success has helped us a bit in keeping our wage bill down cos believe it or not when this team starts winnning the palyers would want to get paid like superstars

    theo is rumoured to be on 60k a week so its not like there arent overpaid players at the club already

  145. Sorry Franchise – I don’t know why that happened, sometimes links go into moderation

  146. Rasputin says:

    Two new bloggers went into mod too peaches, can you have a word with Mr Fixit to see if a box needs ‘unticking’

  147. Rasp – do you remember where they are and I can change the time or duplicate them – I haven’t been checking the spam 😳

  148. SharkeySure says:

    But Fran we have to see out this period of wage hyper inflation first

    I’ll hazard a guess that Theo’s wage is linked to image rights and/or marketing.

    If he doesnt turn the corner soon though, that will start to wane

  149. Franchise says:

    SS its a myth though that youth is always the cheapest

    pienaar and cahill cost everton what denilson cost us

    think about it

  150. Franchise says:

    walcott cost us what vermaelen a ripe fruit cost us

    walcott was a gamble that if it had paid he would have been worth twice that easily already. but do i really want to see us always selling our best players?

  151. I found Erik but I can’t find the other one.

    Sharkey – I heard an intersting discussion about Image rights the other evening on Talksport. The government is looking to wrap them into wages as basically they’re a way of paying players extra without attracting tax as they can be held off-shore – don’t know why…..

    Also agents look to apply a general payment for Image rights without looking to see if the player is interested in being used for advertising or other activities outside of football. I’m not thinking of the little shit or John Terry kind of activities.

  152. Erik says:

    I been wanting to post something like this for ages.

    It amazes me as well that our fans are so demanding of our young players, I’ve yet to meet a single person that rates Denilson, well a mate of mine rates him but he’s a West Ham fan.

    Anyways, like you said, when you make comparissons between the greats and our current crop you do realise that not only do we have some potential world class players, but they have been together since their teens in many cases and the experience of playing together for so long is going to be very important when they reach their mid 20’s.

    If this team stay together for another 5-6 years I wouldnt be surprised if we went another season unbeaten…. remember in 3-4 years a lot of Chelsea players will have retired, some of the important Man U players will have left too, Scholes, Neville, Giggs..

    Patience is the key.

  153. MoW says:

    Nice post. Great to hear the other side for a change!!

    Raddy, the reason there is so much expection is because people want us to compete with Chelsea and Utd, and they know we need players of the highest calibre to do so. When our kids under perfom vs this benchmark people get frustrated and they take it out on our players. They then ignore that a players is still only 21.

    That become irrelevant. All this is relevant is that the playerss our manager puts faith in can’t do the job. And that we aren’t winning trophies. And that is what a lot of Gooners expect. And they are sick of excuses about age.

  154. tommystout says:

    Loved the piece today and not just the piece, the comments were fab, who is this andrew guy? he seems pretty in the know and passionate about the whole sustainability thing! Maybe its an undercover insider!
    Hartwick – you should really read the comments they are especially good today!

  155. Erik and MoW – I’ve reproduced your comments later as they got stuck in moderation. Many apologies

  156. Meneurdejeu10 says:

    Arshavin deserves 100k a week if Walcott is making 60K

  157. Rasputin says:

    This is an interesting subject MNDJ. The criteria affecting the value of a player are many and complex. The obvious ones are age and ability, but with agents being the pariahs they are, other factors such as merchandising, sell-on value, likely interest from other clubs etc etc all affect negotiations. It is true that as far the players are concerned, what they earn relative to other squad members will affect their morale and can lead to a lot of bad feeling in the dressing room.

  158. SharkeySure says:

    “pienaar and cahill cost everton what denilson cost us”

    And what have we paid for Song vs £15m for Fellaini..??

    RVP under £3m, likewise Diaby.

    You yourself used the word ‘gamble’ in your very next post.

    Shevchenko at £30m, Berba at £32m. Gambles or solid purchases of title winning ‘ready mades’…??

  159. Franchise says:

    we are not comparing ourselves to everton im just saying that its a myth that youth is always the cheaper option

  160. Meneurdejeu10 says:

    Your point is a fair one regarding dressing room morale.
    However, since we have a lower wage ceiling in comparison to five other teams in this league (Utd, Chelsea, City, Liverpool and Villa), we should not be giving Walcott 60K and Arshavin (our best player, when fit and playing in the middle as tre-quartista, he has the same influence as Ronaldo and Messi) only 80K. Flamini was denied 70K and Ashley 60k but Walcott 60K???
    Mind boggling to me


    We cannot afford flops such as Sheva 30m, Berba 32m (Jury is out on him, but a faboulous player who needs to be healthy and requires extra support from manager and fans. Similar to Reyes), Veron 28m, Robbie “aka boyhood Liverpool and Celtic fan” Keane 20m or even Crespo to a certain extent.

    I heard Keane was pulling 105K at Spurs!!!!!

  161. Franchise says:

    for best comparisons compare Wenger pre youth to Wenger post youth. You dont even need to go that far

  162. SharkeySure says:

    MeneurDJ _ I think Keane was matched to his Liverppool salary to ship him out.

    I wouldn’t be surprosed to find out that Liverpool were still paying some of his TootSpertz salary.

    Reyes was top top class. I still get annoyed just hearing his name, cos it always reminds me of what might have been. Grrrrr

    Arshavin should be that player you talk of. BUt for me with almost 3/4 of the seson gone, I’m unconvinced abouthi soverall contribution. HIs half season last year, led me to expect so much from him this year.

    Yeay yeah, I know, ‘out of position’ and ‘playing injured’, but I’m still a little disappointed

  163. SharkeySure says:

    Buying any player is a gamble is what I’m trying to say, and clearly the more you pay the bigger the gamble.

    People seem to think that if you pasy more for a proven platyer he’ll automatically deliver.

    Footballers are complex and often strange animals. Look at Drogba’s performances in a single season under first Scolari, and then Hiddink.

    Piss poor under one, and back to his world beating best under another.

    Certainty in football…yeah right

  164. SharkeySure says:

    Just me and Fran here…??

    Right then I’m off out…no offense Fran !

  165. Meneurdejeu10 says:


    Good pts. Drogba, Ballack and Terry were not playing well under Scolari. Scolari did not deal effectively with all the egos.

    Drogba was outstanding in Marseille’s run to the Uefa Cup final of 2004. He scored 11 goals, ably assisted by Mido. They lost out to a wonderful Valencia side who did the League and European double. Many of that Valencia side were present when they defeated us on away goals in 2001. They comprehensively defeated an exciting Leeds Utd side in the SF and lost to Bayern on penalties.

    You guys surely remember Romford Pele’s 25 yard cracker which rocked Highbury against Valencia in the first leg in 2001?

  166. Livers says:

    Of course we remember it……sadly remember Carew’s winner in the return more 😦

  167. Meneurdejeu10 says:


    That was painful. Which one hurt the most?
    Valencia 2001
    Juventus 2002
    Valencia 2003
    Chelsea 2004
    Bayern 2005
    Barcelona 2006
    PSV 2007
    L’pool 2008
    Man Utd 2009

    The Chelsea and L’pool ones are the two that hurt me the most.

  168. Livers says:

    I hate going out on away goals no matter what but Chelsea was the most painful as we would have won if we got through..

    Barca I came out feeling proud and disappointed the ref jsut didn’t give Barca the goal to make a game of it..

  169. Meneurdejeu10 says:

    Agreed Livers.

    Thats it for me.

    If you get a chance to watch Inter-Chelsea, watch for Wesley Sneijder. Two footed, an eye for goal and an unlimited passing range. He plays with a Dutch swagger and is a spiky player. MF General. My type of player
    Well worth the 15m Inter paid. We could have had him for 80k a week. Song, Fabregas and Sneijder. SMH
    Denilson!!!!(Im gonna go cry)

    He is as Good as Dr. Xavi Hernandez and Cesc Faboulous

  170. Livers says:

    yeah I know all about Sneijder mate, shame we didn’t go for him….

  171. SharkeySure says:

    Peaches….I’m paid off-shore myself so I can’t be too critical!!

  172. SharkeySure says:

    I was at both legs of the Chelsea tie. great first leg…and was as low as I’ve ever felt after the 2nd leg.

    Wayne ‘The Penguin’ Bridge of all people !! Still hurts now….

  173. Big Raddy says:

    Chelsea 2004. Worst defeat for me. My seat was behind the goal at the Clock End, where Bridge scored. It remains the only time I have left an Arsenal game early. I just couldn’t stand to see Fat Lamps celebrating of the Holy Turf.

    Of course, Nayim from the halfway line was awful, but I was severely the worst for drink which numbed the blow somewhat.

    What about Tottenham at Wembley for Gazza day? The worst was driving home round the North Circular surrounded by jubilant Spuds. Thankfully TA made amends soon after 🙂

  174. SharkeySure says:

    Cheery thoughts eh Raddy 😉

  175. Rasputin says:

    Hi Raddy,

    I realised when I revisited your post today that there is a theme to your articles – they end with a celebrity gooner. Were you disappointed perchance that there wasn’t a picture of a topless Samantha Fox bedecked with Arsenal scarf leaping out at you when you opened your post this morning? 😆

  176. Mayank says:

    For me it has to be the CL Final. The match had kicked off at 1.15AM for me so I’d done well to stay up. The match had so many highs and lows it got pretty ridiculous.
    Of course on a purely depression basis Man U last year? We never looked in it, so unlike us.

  177. Rasputin says:

    You lot are going to think me very sad because the goal that made me feel the worst was in a game we didn’t lose. It was totnum’s 4th in the 4 all draw. The spud fans had started going home at 4:2 down. For days afterwards Talksport ran playbacks of that t**t Danny Baker peeing his pants when the equaliser went in.

    The game overall that made me feel the worst was the same as Mayanks – against manu and all the ‘men against boys’ stuff that followed. However I really enjoyed (in retrospect) the last FA cup victory against them. They should have won 5 nil in normal time and lost their bottle in the penalty shoot-out.

  178. London says:

    That’s a really good picture up there today, every time I look at it I think to myself what an incredible wealth of talent we have.
    The other thing that stays with me from that game, it was either Sheffield U or Wigan, although, both are applicable, is how well Song and Djourou played at the back, their understanding was very special and all very encouraging for the future.

  179. London says:

    I was at all three of those games that BR mentioned and I felt horrible after all of them but I like the addition on TA’s goal the following year at Wembley….can you imagine loosing twice to them in two semis……perish the thought.

  180. Rasputin says:

    I agree about the pic London. You can see the camaraderie and collective enthusiasm. How anyone can doubt these boys want success in an Arsenal shirt escapes me.

  181. Big Raddy says:

    The team ethic that AW is building is vital to our future.

    Not sure how Arshavin’s very personal website fits in though. He is very forthright

  182. Big Raddy says:

    Rather than focus on the losses. What about favourite wins…. could be a post here!!

    Most memorable has to be the Dippers ’89. What a night that was (another post !)

  183. Hi Raddy – great post. Did you notice rasp mentioned the Samatha Fox gooner connection?

  184. Rasputin says:

    Going back to your post Raddy 😉 congratulations on resisting the ‘Fox in the box’ joke at the end … or shall I give up on this one? 😆

  185. Meneurdejeu10 says:

    Monday, May 8th, 2002

    No Henry, no Bergkamp, no Pires……Our #1 Swede Freddie clutch shot is stopped….

    Unbeaten away from home, with some rugged performances.
    In 2001-02 the Premiership was the playground of Robert Pires….Against the L’pool in Dec 2001….10 men and Kanu moves to MF…Pires sent Gerrard to the cleaners…I watch that highlight 93 times.

  186. Big Raddy says:

    Peaches I did… as you say it is a theme, and one I intend to continue….

    I was wondering when you would get to that Ras 🙂

  187. Big Raddy says:

    Funny chap Wiltord. I never took to him & can’t say why. He was our most expensive buy & maybe I was disappointed he wasn’t as good as TH & DB (who could be?)

    The lad did score some vital goals for us.

    Perhaps he was played out of position, normally on the Right wing,

    I saw him in a bar in Hampstead with RP and PV. Didn’t have the nuts to go and say hello or Bonjour

  188. Mdj10 – sounds like you’re word perfect 🙂

    I can do the whole commentary of Cescs goal against AC Milan ………….. from the moment Kaka had a hissy fit with a throw in……

  189. Raddy – do you get to watch the chavs v inter tonight?

  190. Rasputin says:

    MNDJ has an encyclopaedic wealth of knowledge I must say … sounds like he should enrich the site by putting some of his excellent thoughts in a post 😉

  191. Meneurdejeu10 says:

    Loooooool. Martin Tyler and John Helm have gotten to me. Im afraid I will never recover.

    Hleb and Flamini put on a show that night in Milan. Our energy levels and the ability to track back and recuperate the ball was similar to how Denilson does it.

    His agent liked Milan as well. He also enjoyed the ice cream.

  192. Big Raddy says:

    Peaches. I certainly hope so. Depends upon how many brownie points I get for tonight’s dinner ( a little wok number – chicken with oyster sauce and some nice veg I got from the local Chinese supermarket).

    If not, I will watch a feed from somewhere.

    Watched Hleb last night. Same old, same old. Brilliant control, beats a man with a shrug of the shoulder and then passes to a player surrounded by Barca players. He is still wonderful to watch though.

    And Mad Jens was totally bonkers last night. Entertainment at it’s best. Only the Mad One could get away with it !!

  193. SharkeySure says:

    Men10 (!!) – 93 times !!!

    It is a great clip though, Super Bob at his very best..well almost…imho

    Him chipping Schmeichel (at Villa) from 8.1 yds out, after turning Boateng inside out is just about my fave goal.

    His stop-start-stop-speed up method of beating a man was legendary, but his lobbing of a 6’6 giant from eight yards was similar to Bergy’s no.1 goal, in that you never saw anything like it before and never expect to see anythng like it ever again.

    Off he ran wagging that finger….

    I want a wagging finger (with a goatee??) for my car dashboard !!!

  194. SharkeySure says:

    Ooops not sure why my last post went up as Gooner4Life.

    I must have used/needed an alias to slate someone somewhere once !!!

    I am of course the one and only SharkeySure.

    If any mods can change it, please feel free.


  195. I’ll have a go 🙄

  196. Franchise says:

    Wheelchair bound Gibbs watched the gunners’ hapless goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski’s efforts against Porto last week and declared

    “Even I could do better than that in goal in my state! Tell Wenger I’m available. Even in my wheelchair I’m quicker than Sol Campbell.”

    Lol is the Great Train Robber Ronnie Biggs a gunner????

  197. I could be really dangerous Sharkey and very manipulative – whats it worth 😆

  198. Evening Franchise – thats funny about Gibbs 🙂

    Why didn’t your avatar come up – are you being an alias too 😳

  199. SharkeySure says:

    Cheers Peaches…..

  200. Rasputin says:

    The chavs 1 nil down in 3 minutes.

  201. how much does this wesley sneider remind you of red fred?


    hahaha blatant pen not given to chelski 😆

  202. Meneurdejeu10 says:

    He has the same look. But he plays like a steroid charged Fabregas. A little bit more technically accomplished than Freddie.

    Ballack is put in a shift. He has superior fitness for a 33 year old.

    Samuel should be off.

    Chelsea experience is showing. When we allow early goals, we struggle. They seem to have weathered the storm.

  203. Meneurdejeu10 says:


    Mourinho is excellent with substitutions. Expect to see Pandev for Eto’o and maybe Balotelli as well. Milito needs help.

    Chelsea are compact, solid and battle tested. Five semi-finals in the last six years. No joke.

  204. step forward the new chelski keeper for the rest of the season…


  205. Every pun intended 😆

  206. Meneurdejeu10 says:

    Drogba needs once chance….Feed the beast

  207. cech out for the season

    badeybayor sent off

    stoke playing a hard 120 minutes ahead of saturday

    chelski beaten

    wonderful night for gooners 🙂

  208. Evening SH – it would appear that the footballing gods are considering smiling at us but also the mancs 🙂

  209. Hi peaches – manure dont worry me, they are the epitome of a one man team.. rooney cannot possibily carry on playing every game the way he does… when he ticks they win…. when he does not ( everton ) they get beaten.

    I just hope rooney has an on day against chelski soon, i want that to be a home win as opposed to a draw

    we will finish 2nd at worst.

  210. Big Raddy says:

    Chelsea very good tonight. I felt that they left much in reserve despite dominating possession.

    So it’s Goodbye Inter Milan.

    Kelsey outside bet did well.

    And as SH says. A glorious night.

    Will Ade be banned for the Chavs game? Hope not!

  211. London says:

    We will win the league…believe, believe and then believe some more 😉 Hi SFH

  212. evening london

    rvp back in EARLY april according to dutch national coach!

    don’t want to see him rushed back… we do that far too often as a club.

    man, how immense was lucio tonight in handling drogba?

    what a player, always has been,i’m sure we were in the chase when he left leverkusen almost 10 years ago.

    there are so many top notch players out in serie a who need to come over to the premiership and get more exposure.. the italian league is so devoid of any real publicty.. only 3 countries buy the rights to screen their games WORLDWIDE.

  213. Big Raddy says:

    That is amazing about the Italian League exposure. Could that explain their dwindling attendances?

    Lucio was on the radar, but he was very expensive, and rightly so.

    It was good to see two Ruffians at CB for Inter. Samuel and Lucio take no prisoners, but I back Drogba to score at the Bridge.

    Plus as they are both approaching 32, it proves my point that Defenders mature later = give WG a 2 year contract !

  214. kelsey says:

    We now have IMO the hardest game of all up to now to stay in touch with the top two.Stoke may be tired but the adrenelin will give them bags of confidence.
    Notice Given made exactly the same mistake as Fab with the Delap throw in. He came out and missed it.

    City will now spend another two hundred million and players will go there purely for the money,never mind about CL, but Maldini will be out by the Summer.

    And I didn’t even mention Adebayor 😉

  215. chaf says:

    Good morning.

    Good read Big Raddy.

    Reading back to the 7.05pm made by Franchise, the answer is yes Ronnie Biggs is a gooner, has been all his life, and he has a current shirt with ‘Biggs 80’ on it. He watches all the games he can on TV, at his son’s house next door to me.

    My first shirt was in 1967, and I my Mum stitched on number 7 for me, as it was ‘big Raddy’s’ number at the time…

  216. tommystout says:

    morning all

  217. Rasputin says:

    Morning AA Team,

    We have an evocative post from London coming up shortly. It’s going to be hard to avoid discussing the Stoke game after their clash with citeh last night, but I’m sure we will be covering that in detail on Saturday.

  218. Morning all

    There is a NEW POST……..enjoy

  219. Darby Vanwingerden says:

    Why pay $1 for a stupid click!? Get 10,000 CPV at

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