Success, Failure and the Lessons of 1987

May 23, 2010

Posted by RockyLives

Let me take you back, dear reader, to a late spring day in 1987. April the 5th, to be precise. Life was very different then – no internet, for one thing – so as I and 25,000 other Gooners made my way to Wembley Stadium for the League Cup Final there was a real party air.

We hadn’t won a sausage for nearly eight years, not even one of those little cocktail ones on a stick, and in all that time we had only once managed a top three finish in the League (or The First Division as we called it then). Worse, in three of the previous six seasons we had finished below the Tiny Totts. Suffice to say that if it was today we’d have been going to the old Twin Towers gripped with angst and, no doubt, with various internet idiots demanding we show our displeasure by baring our arses at the team before kick-off or walking out before we’d arrived.

But these were more innocent times. Acid House was all the rage, Dirty Dancing was on at the cinema and we were so relaxed as a nation that we even let an Aussie win Wimbledon. So we Arsenal supporters were happy, even though everyone told us we had no chance against our opponents – the greatest team of the age, the mighty Liverpool. For the Scousers it was set up to be an emotional day, as their talisman striker Ian Rush was going to be playing his last game for the club before heading off to Juventus. Liverpool had never lost a game in which Rushie had scored.

In due deference to the scriptwriters, Ian Rush opened the scoring. The Liverpool fans assumed that was that (as did the TV commentators, I was later told) but George Graham’s Arsenal were about to stick two fingers up to fate, karma and providence. Two goals from Champagne Charlie Nicholas turned the game on its head and we lifted our first trophy since the FA Cup in 1979. I don’t remember much of the day after that.

So, apart from being the ramblings of an old fart, does this have any relevance to us now? I believe it does. There are parallels between then and now.

We went into that final after a long period where success was a stranger. A few years earlier a ‘great’ Arsenal team had been broken up. Although they never won the league, the team of Brady, Stapleton, Jennings and company reached three FA Cup finals in successive years and narrowly missed out on the European Cup Winners Cup, losing on penalties. The Arsenal team that succeeded them was unable to maintain that standard. In the five seasons before 1987 we finished outside the top five every year:

1986 – 7th behind Liverpool, Everton, West Ham, Man Utd, Sheffield W, Chelsea.

1985 –  7th behind Everton, Liverpool, Spuds, Man Utd, Southampton, Chelsea.

1984 – 6th behind Liverpool, Southampton, Notts Forest, Man Utd, QPR.

1983 –  10th behind Liverpool, Watford, Man Utd, Spuds, Notts Forest, Aston Villa,     Everton, West Ham, Ipswich.

1982 –  5th behind Liverpool, Ipswich, Man Utd, Spuds.

The main thing that strikes you on reading that (apart from: Southampton? Wtf?) is how ignominious some of those campaigns were – regularly finishing behind not just the Tiny Totts, but other London rivals like Chelsea and West Ham, even QPR for God’s sake.

Yet, as a fan in those days, I didn’t seethe with resentment about it all. It was part of the swings and roundabouts of football and, during those years, we were on the swing that didn’t work and tipped you into the dog poo when you tried to stand on it.

Anyway, back to the point. By the time of the 1987 League Cup final we had endured some very poor years following the break-up of a successful team. But the parallels don’t end there.

Although the Arsenal team that took the field that day at Wembley contained some seasoned veterans like Viv Anderson, Kenny Sansom and Steve Williams, it also relied on a core of very young players whose careers were just starting.

The following all played a part in that League Cup victory: Tony Adams, aged 20; David Rocastle, 19; Niall Quinn, 20; Martin Hayes, 21; Perry Groves, 21; Michael Thomas, 19. Which just shows that Arsene Wenger is not the first Arsenal manager to put his faith in youth.

We don’t know what would have happened if the omens had been obeyed that day and Rushie’s goal had won it for Liverpool. Maybe we would have gone on to win league titles and cups under GG anyway, but somehow I doubt it, or at least I doubt it would have happened so quickly. That win – that piece of silverware – imbued in our young players the idea that they were winners. How else to explain the extraordinary character they showed two years later at Anfield to win the title against all expectations on the last day of the season? It’s worth noting that eight of the players who featured in that game at Anfield had also featured in the League Cup win in 1987. The winning virus had been acquired and more silverware would follow in the years ahead.

Our current squad needs that winning virus too. They need to win a trophy. If they win something as a team it will carry them forward to new and greater successes. Other teams, players and fans won’t be able to say “show us yer medals” or sing “you always win f*ck all.”

That’s why I believe that in the coming season we should go all out to win BOTH of the domestic cups and not just aim for the big prizes of EPL and CL. Imagine watching Cesc walk up to lift a cup at Wembley! How great would that feel? (Please stay Cesc – it’s going to happen).

By all means we should use some of the younger players in the League Cup if it’s against lower division opposition, but let’s also sprinkle experience and quality throughout the team and on the bench. In the FA Cup, it should be our strongest team every time.

Let’s give this Arsenal team – which, to me, seems poised on a knife edge between greatness and failure – the taste of success. I believe once they get it, they won’t let it go.

For 1987, let’s read 2011.

RockyLives


All About Chamakh ……..

May 22, 2010

As promised by Arsène,  Arsenal have signed a player before the start of the World Cup. Maroune Chamakh will take the no 29 shirt. The 26 year old is a French national but chooses to play for Morocco through his parentage.  Its not exactly a surprise as he was expected to sign for us as early as last summer and then in January but was needed by his former club Bordeaux.

We’ve been watching youtube clips of him for months and know that he’s pretty good with his head. This is what Arsene had to say about him……………….

“Chamakh is a striker of real quality and has all the attributes suited to come to England and do very well. He is also a fighter, not only a good football player, but a fighter as well. He is very good in the air and also a good team player. He is a great addition to our squad.”

Hes come to us on a free so neither Arsène nor Gazidis will have got excited about wheeling and dealing to bring this one home, but maybe seeing a new player hold our shirt may have wet their appetites to do some deals for other players.  Hopefully the tills at The Armoury will be ringing with the sales of  ‘Chamakh 29 shirts’ in the coming weeks and that should please the money men.

We’ve got the striker we needed, how that leaves the futures of Eduardo and Vela I don’t know, now for a new Goalie and a Centre-back please.


Pride (In the name of Arsenal)

May 21, 2010

Good Old Arsenal

We’re proud to sing that name

While we sing this song

We’ll win the game.

Proud.

When Arshavin put on the red and white Arsenal shirt for the first time, was he proud? Was Nasri? Do you imagine William Gallas was proud? Proud to be a Gunner or thinking , well if Real will not sign me, this place will do?

This is important because if , as I suspect, it was just putting on a uniform to go to work in, they are unlikely to give as much as a player who is proud both on and off the pitch. I am not knocking our little Russian, just pointing out that he hasn’t come through the Arsenal ranks and doesn’t appreciate how many hundreds of thousands of people WOULD be proud to wear the red and white. I am sure Arshavin (could be Sagna or TV or Eduardo etc) was proud when they finally got a first team shirt at the clubs they grew up in; a target realised after many years of learning and dreams.

What brought this to mind was watching the Charlie George and Sammy Nelson Talkshow on Arsenal TV. These late middle aged men clearly considered their times as Gunners as the highlight of their lives. They were enormously proud to have represented The Arsenal, regaling the audience with reminiscences that were based upon love for THEIR club. Can you imagine Gallas doing the same in 30 years? No? Well, neither can I.

This is not a condemnation of foreign players or of players who are signed from other clubs, after all who could be more of a Gooner that Thierry?

How can anyone not raised as a Gooner have any idea of the enormity of losing at White Hart Lane? Even today I get snide little digs form those unfortunate and deluded enough to be Spuds. If the players that night were forced to put up with this on a daily basis, perhaps they would have run that extra yard, put in that extra tackle, bust a blood vessel to stop a humiliating defeat. If they had, we could well have gone on to the title. Instead they lost their win bonus which means Sweet FA to these multi-millionaires. They went home , played Championship Manager, and went into training the next morning to hear AW say “Let us concentrate on the next game. It was just 3 points”, whereas we will carry the pain for many a year.

So how can Arsenal imbue Goonerdoom onto new players? Well, Project Youth for all it’s problems is a good start. Cesc may well love his Barca, but he is a Gooner as well. Here is a man who is definitely proud to be Captain of Arsenal and knows the value of a Captain’s armband that has been worn by PV and TA and Frank Mac etc. He has watched the video of the Doubles, met the players, grown up in the Highbury environment, knows the tea lady and the carpark attendant. It makes a difference.

I know that footballers are journeymen and it is just a job for many. That the shirt is a uniform, that Gooners are just fans who make life difficult for them by asking for autographs etc, that the club use their talents and sell them when surplus to requirement, and perhaps it is naivety on my part to expect them to show pride in the shirt. But I do. It is a minimum expectation.


One more year please Cesc …. or we’ll never know

May 20, 2010

Written by kelsey

I see no reason why we can’t continue to debate all the hearsay about Cesc, even if our club is not making any statement at the moment, which is only to be expected as no deal has been negotiated.

Cesc is our best player. It may be an overstatement to say that the team has been built around him, but certainly his creative style of football epitomises the way we want to play. The belief is that this summer, we would add to the squad, a few missing pieces in the jigsaw, and see the emergence of the balanced team that would get us to the top once more. It would be such a shame if Cesc left and we never get to see how good it could have been with him surrounded by players worthy of his talent. Give us one more year Cesc – Barça don’t need you yet.

There is talk that Cesc has been tapped up by Barça, but the law in Spain is quite different to that in England, and if that was the case, it could take 3 to 5 years to go to court, and even then it would be extremely complicated and with no definite result gained.

I have no doubt that Cesc will leave, if not this summer, then next summer, it’s the worst kept secret in football. If he stays, how would you  feel if having  played the season for us fully committed,  regardless of how we do, he waived goodbye? In addition would Cesc be able to turn his back on a winning side?

The scenario is different to Henry and Vieira latterly, as they both had given us several years (as Cesc has done) but in a winning side.

It is difficult to express what I mean by writing as opposed to having an actual conversation, but personally however great a player he is, it would leave a bitter taste in my mouth if he stayed, went on to have a great season, even won something for the club and then at the age of 23/24 left.

Apparently he says he wants ‘his future settled’ before the World Cup, so surely the onus is on him to make a statement. Obviously if he is leaving, and every aspect seems to  have been discussed,  the small point as to how much we would get for him is still unknown. Barça have just spent big on David Villa – do they have the money to pay us what we think Cesc should be worth?

I think Wenger would like to keep him one more year, whilst grooming his natural successor in Ramsey, but he is still so young, and no-one can predict how he will bounce back after the injury.

One thing I am sure of is that there will be much more activity this summer with more players leaving and arriving than in the previous four years, but then again Arsène has stated that the team doesn’t need a massive overhaul ….. the torture continues.


Beautiful, the summer has officially arrived – Cesc is off to Barça!

May 19, 2010

ARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRGH!!!

Every blasted damn summer its the same old shit.

Henry is leaving. Vieira is leaving. Fabregas is leaving. It isn’t a summer at Arsenal FC unless our best player is leaving and quite frankly its getting boring.

Henry and Vieira both left when their back and knees were respectively knackered. Now, Cesc is as fit as a fiddle so you can bet your bottom dollar that Wenger will fight to keep him. He will promise him the sun, moon and stars to keep him and hopefully for us, we’ll see the sun (keeper), moon (center back) and stars (forward) on their way to the Emirates.

It makes absolutely no sense for Cesc to leave now.

He is young, Captain of one of Europe’s biggest side, that side’s biggest name and the key cog in our machine. Moving to Barcelona guarantees him nothing – not a place in the starting XI and not trophies. Remember Barcelona went from winning every trophy possible and supposed World Domination to barely scraping La Liga this season – you can say deservedly but Real Madrid gave them some run for their money.

Cesc is probably like the rest of us – anxious to win some silverware, but unlike us he can actually do something about it. During 2009/2010 was there anyone more committed to the Arsenal cause?

He scored and in all probability played with a broken leg against Barcelona at the Emirates.

Remember his cameo against Aston Villa? Remember the joy in his face when he scored against the Spuds? Cesc loves The Arsenal so why would he want to leave? The thoughts that Barcelona would say “now or never” to him is complete trash because they know that Real Madrid would be thinking “great stuff, you take your time Cesc, we’ll have you when you want to come back to Spain.”

More than anyone, Cesc knows what disruption can be caused by players leaving. RvP stayed last season when all the papers said he was off and once again I expect Cesc to be no different.

Cesc WILL stay. RvP WILL stay. AA23 WILL stay. For a change instead of believing all the meeja and their “understanding” and their bloody “sources” and their “friends of friends” lets believe Cesc when he says he wants to stay. He has always said it – one day he will go back to Spain, EVENTUALLY, but eventually isn’t this summer.

I Love You Arsenal, I Do!Cesc kissed the badge and he meant it.

Cheer up Gooners, the bullshit stories have started so the summer must be here. Sit back and enjoy the weather! Next season “Fabregas 4” leads us out on the battlefield once again.


The Rules of Being An Arsenal Player

May 18, 2010

Posted by RockyLives

Our season is over. Depending on your perspective we have either over-achieved or under-achieved. We are either poised to reap the rewards of our prudent financial planning and sweep all before us next time, or we are stuck in the Groundhog Day of a past-it manager still peddling his discredited philosophy. Take your pick.

But one thing a new season should bring with it is a clean slate. Before a single player – sorry, ball – has been kicked in the 2010/11 season, every squad member can be a potential hero, every new signing can be the final piece of the jigsaw, every limb and sinew can be strong enough to last a whole campaign without breaking down.

And in that spirit of optimism, I want to humbly make a proposition to the players who will wear our beautiful red and white next year.

Like all supporters, I have strong views about the relative merits of our squad, about who should play where and how they should play, but I do not presume to usurp the role of the manager and coaches. That’s their job. My job is to be a supporter, and it’s in that context that I want to make my proposal:

“Dear Arsenal Players

As representatives of Arsenal FC you are the inheritors of a long and splendid tradition and every time you walk onto the pitch you carry with you the hopes and dreams of a vast community of supporters, from small children to centenarians.

But whether you were scooped up by our scouting network straight from the creche, or whether you are newly arrived among us in a whirlwind of press frenzy and feverish expectation, you need to know about The Rules.

Not just any rules, but The Seven Rules of Being an Arsenal Player.

The Rules were once known by heart by every Arsenal player and they hung on the wall of the home dressing room at Highbury in a metal frame made out of old shell casings from the Woolwich Arsenal.

Somehow, during the move from Highbury to Ashburton Grove The Rules went astray. There are various rumours about what happened to them: that they were lifted by George Graham when he popped in for ‘one last look’ at the old place; that a Sp*ds supporting construction worker grabbed them with the intention of taking them as a trophy to N17, only to find that he couldn’t part with them and now keeps them in a shrine at his smelly one-bedroom flat in T*ttenham where at nights, on his own, he secretly dresses in red and white and watches old videos of the 1971 and 1989 seasons; there’s even a story that a spectral Herbert Chapman took them into the ether with him, ready to return when we are at our most daunted and our enemies are crowding all around.

Whatever the truth we can only hope the original document will one day be found again. But for the time being, you players ought to know what was written on it: a list of Rules based on your responsibilities as players to us, the fans. Here they are:

1. Always Salute the Travelling Support

When we lost at Blackburn in the penultimate game of the season I heard that only two of our players went over to show their appreciation to the thousands of fans who had made that Godawful journey to the arse end of nowhere on a Bank Holiday Monday. If true, that’s a disgrace. Most supporters earn less in a year than you earn in a week and they forego holidays, new cars and all manner of comforts to support Arsenal. Even if we have lost, even if we have performed dreadfully, there is no excuse for not saluting the travelling fans at the end of a game.

2. Always Salute the Home Support

I know it sounds obvious, but the home fans also deserve your appreciation. I have been at many games at the Grove where the result or performance has not been as we would have wished and half of you have trudged down the tunnel without even a backward glance at the supporters. You may be feeling disappointed, or even embarrassed at your own performance, but believe me, we will still appreciate it if you face us and acknowledge our support. You will be applauded off no matter how badly you have played.

3. Keep Your Agent Under Control

Agents are an unwanted but apparently necessary evil of the modern game. If you have to have one, try and remember that they work for you. So even if you are looking to move away from our beloved club, you should do so in private and not in public. Allowing your agent to tart you around Europe via the back pages of the red tops like some old slapper shows no respect for us, the fans, or your team mates who may be adversely affected by the publicity.

4. Play Up, Play Up for the Arsenal

We understand that your fortunes on the field will vary, that some days it won’t go for you, that you’ll be carrying an injury or you’ll be struggling in an unfamiliar position or your touch will have mysteriously vanished. That’s OK. We also know that on other days you’ll be a world beater and we sincerely hope there will be more of those ones.  But what we can’t forgive is NOT TRYING. Even if you’re having the biggest stinker of a game of your career, we’ll forgive you if you are trying your hardest. Just look at how we applauded Nicki Bendtner during his performance against Burnley, when he missed seven open goals. We didn’t mind because we knew he was still trying and not hiding.

5. Respect the Club and Its Traditions

Do not give interviews saying that one day you might like to play at a ‘bigger’ club: you are already at the world’s biggest club. Do not kiss the badge then angle for a move elsewhere. When you refer to the club in public, refer to it as The Arsenal: that will immediately tell us fans that you know and respect our traditions. If you happen to leave, always speak respectfully of your former home (for evidence of how to do this, look to the words of Henry, Pires, Bergkamp). Do that and you will always be welcomed back.

6. Know That The Club Is Bigger Than You

We live in a footballing age of colossal wages and colossal egos. And as a player surrounded by yes-men and hangers-on it is easy to become self-obsessed. But if you just open your mind you will find it even more rewarding to recognise that you are a part of a great historical project. Take comfort in the fact that you are an actor in a story that also includes Cliff Bastin, Alex James, Ted Drake, Jack Kelsey, Charlie George, Bob Wilson, Liam Brady, Malcolm Macdonald, Ian Wright, Tony Adams, Dennis Bergkamp, Patrick Vieira, Thierry Henry and others too numerous to mention. Embrace that heritage and the heritage will embrace you long after you have hung up your luminous pink boots.

7. Know Your Enemy

You’re a professional. You have to treat every game as it comes, the next game is always the most important etc etc . But never forget that for we supporters, playing the muppets from up the Seven Sisters Road is always something special. That’s the game where, more than any other, you really do have to put heart and soul on the line. For more than a decade we have kept them firmly in their place. Now, after our first PL defeat in such a long time, they are sniffing around us like jackals around a distracted lion. Next season it’s your duty to put them back in their place. Nothing less will do.

Follow these rules and you will help to rebuild a contract between players and supporters, one that has been cracked and creaking these last few years. You still have our support, but, let’s be honest, the relationship has been shaky at times and on both sides we have been guilty of behaving less well than we should.

But if you keep this simple charter close to your heart, you will truly feel the atmosphere change and you will experience a virtuous circle of mutual support and success.

2010/2011 is a fresh start. Let us rediscover the love.”

RockyLives


Expect Wenger To Buy Another Spaniard.

May 17, 2010

Is it only me who wanders around contemplating the important questions about life, the big issues, the meaningful stuff like — why has Almunia been allowed to stay with us for as long as he has? Considering the amount of blunders he has made over a prolonged period of time, aren’t you surprised why he is still with us at all?

The only justification I can come up with in an attempt to make sense of this mystery is that it must surely all be connected to Fabrégas. My guess is that Big Al has taken on the role of the older brother to the most important, most valuable asset currently at the club.

Imagine the situation: the squad have to travel miles and miles on a bus making boring journeys to and from grounds all over the country. It seems to me that if Fabrégas had to sit for hours on end speaking only in English, regardless of how good he is, it would take next to no time before we would have another Reyes on our hands.

Enter Big Brother Al: what could make those journeys more bearable than a bit of friendly banter in your native tongue; well almost, I doubt that Almunia speaks Catalan but Fabrégas will speak Castilian with almost the same ease as he does his mother tongue.

Wenger has a history of trying to keep his most talented stars happy. In the case of Bergkamp I am convinced that he prioritised the purchase of Overmars for that very purpose. As good as Bergkamp was at speaking English it would still have been a chore after a while and he would have understandably yearned for the ease of his mother tongue.

Henry is another example; in his case, Wenger bought most of the French National team to keep him happy, I jest, of course — but not by much.

This suggestion as to why Almunia has been with us for as long as he has is all well and good but probably the more important question is will Fabrégas stay. As tedious as this question has become the one thing that every muck raking journalist fails to mention is why he left his beloved Barcelona in the first place? The answer, as far as I can see, was his desire to play regular football, something that he was very unlikely achieve at the time with their youth policy being what it was.

In fact, I wouldn’t’ be surprised if the loss of Fabrégas, Merida and Pique, to mention just three, there were probably others, was Barcelona’s wake up call to take their own “Project Youth” more seriously.

Fabrégas left his beloved Barça because we offered him the chance to play; we still do and it is for that very same reason that he will be with us at the start of next season.

Hill-Wood may have all the diplomacy skills as Prince Philip, exemplified by his crass comment suggesting that he wouldn’t get in the Barça team — but he is right. Fabrégas would never have the same playing opportunities as he does with us, Christ we even let him play with a broken leg, it was broken before the Barça game — you know it was.

So we arrive at the purpose of this post: Fabrégas stays but if Almunia goes expect Wenger to sign another Spaniard to keep our Captain company……….David Villa?


Winning isn’t everything

May 16, 2010

Posted by dandan

It puzzles me to see the number of Doomers and Gooners who inhabit the blogosphere including this site occasionally. Wailing and pouring vitriol over any one, who dares to suggest that five years without a trophy is purely a natural pause in the circle of life of a top premiership club.

Now of course, many will leap on me crying idiot, top is top, how can you be a top club if you don’t win things. Easy; when the club down the road celebrates and does laps of honour on finishing below us in the league whilst “winning” the chance to qualify for a competition we have participated in for the past dozen years you know someone has got their priorities wrong.

Winning isn’t always about coming first. If it was 35,000 people wouldn’t run in the London marathon every year when only one can come first’ Ok there are several races in one so you can have perhaps three winners, but the point remains the same, winning isn’t every thing, there are many victories in that race.

For clubs like Arsenal winning is a burden, an expectation that is based on the fact that we have won before. Every year 20 clubs set out to win the Premier League, but in the 18 years of its lifetime 43 clubs have tried, but only 4, Man Utd, Arsenal Chelsea and Blackburn have ever won it. Note, that Liverpool is not among those illustrious few, although in the old first division they won no less than 18 titles.

Consider that, no premier league title ever for an undoubtedly top side. There I go again, a top side I say and they have never won the premier league. But travel the world as I have and what do you see, youngsters wherever you go wearing football shirts, Man Utd usually with a 7 on, Arsenal 10 or 14, Chelsea they go for 9, Real Madrid, Barcelona and surprise surprise, Liverpool 8.

Now I have met and chatted to people wearing these shirts all over Africa, in North and South America, even on Islands in the remote reaches of the oceans from St Helena to the Falkland Islands and Christmas Island to Fiji and Tahiti and many more. These guys can name the squad and quote enough statistics to make any anorak happy. So winning is also being known all round the world, building a fan base that can finance and refinance the club over and over again.

Winning isn’t short term. Winning is taking your turn with the rest of the elite and being there or there about’s enough to guarantee a large slice of the available TV coverage because that is how the fans worldwide get to know your club, until your boat comes in and you return to winning ways.

Liverpool have of course won the European Cup in 2005 and the FA cup in 2006 but would give their right arm for the league trophy and yet, do you hear the their fans abusing the manager the way that some of our fans do. If Rafa worked at the Emirates IMHO he would have been hung from the crossbar by now.

Arsenal are by any criteria, save the narrow one of current silverware , winners. Playing a brand of football that is beautiful to watch. They remain solvent and are fast approaching debt free. They will soon own their superb new stadium to go with the state of the art training complex and an academy filled with many of the world’s finest youngsters.

If the board are to be believed, this season a war chest is available to the manager, enough to finance the  purchase of the final players to turn this  team of potential  into the pot winners that so many crave.


Cesc is Staying!

May 15, 2010

I want to make a decision about my future before the World Cup”

“If I ever leave Arsenal it will be to play for Barcelona”

“Barcelona is a dream I would like to fulfill”

I am very happy at Arsenal, I am in no hurry to leave”

From a statement by our Captain yesterday.  What does he mean?  How to interpret such  ambivalent and contradictory words? How can he be very happy and yet want his future settled within the next 3 weeks? It is puzzling.

The headlines in the press and on the blogs reflect the diversity of opinions, from ” this is  the end of Arsenal, blame Wenger” doom, to the “Cesc is staying, all is right with the World”. Fabregas has made it clear he will eventually move to Barca, he has been unerringly consistent – he will go and when he does it will be a massive loss to the team, Fabregas is our fulcrum, without him the team is not as good. But Arsenal are not one player, there will be life post-Cesc.

And being a positive, cup half-full chap, I see Cesc staying for at least 2 more seasons. Reasons? ….. He has been given a massive increase in wages. We have signed a new forward and will strengthen the defence, giving Cesc even more freedom on the pitch. Cesc will never again have the opportunities he has at THOF in his life –  he is the centre of the club, and the team is built around him which will not happen when surrounded by the superstars (and super-egos) in Spain. Furthermore, Barca have two great midfielders in Xavi and Iniesta  who would start ahead of Cesc, and even Barca need a DM – why leave for a bench seat?  Barca say that they have NOT approached Fab, but we all know the value of their statements!!

Finally, who in their right mind would exchange the climate and culture of London for the heat and tapas of Barcelona? …..  apart from Alex Hleb, Silvinho, TH14 and GvB, and look what happened to them!


Surely Arshavin isn’t becoming our new Adebayor?!

May 14, 2010

Write down the first word that comes into your head when you see this picture. DO IT!!

"I'm this big of an idiot"

"I'm this big of an idiot"

One of the most despised players in recent Arsenal history (up there with Ca$hley) did what he hadn’t done in over twelve months for Arsenal, run more than two yards.

I asked you to write down what came into your head for a reason. When that happened I was pissed off. I was angry but also bemused by Barndoor’s stupidity. In that instance he illustrated what he is – an overhyped, money grabbing *&^%. He didn’t care about his new club or fans, he cared about sticking it to the Arsenal fans who wouldn’t put up with his crap the previous season.

There were a lot of words used to describe the Arsenal fans who taunted Adebayor throughout that game – angry, disappointed, maniacs, over-acting, idiotic but perhaps the most hilarious and inappropriate was the label “racist.” Yes, apparently we were all a big, bad bunch of racists. Adebayor is black so that must be the reason, not because he was a useless, over paid git who wouldn’t run to save his life never mind put in some effort for the fans who had idolized him only months before. Of course, for the media and opposition fans to label us racist they must also forget that we have perhaps the most diverse bunch of supporters in the English Premier League and were one of the first clubs to really embrace African players.

At the time Martin Samuel (normally a fine journalist who sold his soul to the Daily Mail) wrote a piece condemning the Gooner faithful as racist. He claimed that the infamous Adebayor, elephant song was chanted throughout at poor old Emmanuel, a song apparently WE had created. Now there is two things wrong here – one, it was in fact the Arshavin song that was being chanted and two, City had chanted the actual elephant song at the City of Manchester Stadium a year earlier. Selective hearing Mr. Samuel?

I’m not at all saying there isn’t a racist element among our fanbase, there is always a minority, or in some cases a majority, when it comes to such vast amount of people. However, as you all know with Adebayor or any player its not racism, its just being sick of putting up with crap from primadonnas.

Its illogical to think that a crowd that worshiped the ground that the likes of Vieira walked on would hate Adebayor because he was African, here are the actual reasons:

  1. He was overpaid.
  2. He was lazy.
  3. He was selfish.
  4. He disrespected our club.
  5. He was ALWAYS offside.

The list goes on.

If anything can completely dispel the myth of the Adebayor racism tale, it has to be the current feelings Arsenal fans have towards Andrei Arshavin – our Russian wizard who brought us so much joy last season. Can’t you just feel the air of indifference towards him?

On this blog during the week there was an argument over whether Arshavin’s goal against Fulham was selfish, stupid or just plain genius? You all know what happened, RvP was in acres of space for a tap-in but AA23 went with the impossible and scored from a tight angle.

Personally I have no problem with what he did because 1) He scored and 2) He as done it before.

However, it showed the air of indifference towards him that some claimed it showed him as a selfish git who cares only for himself and not Arsenal – something Adebayor was and is accused of on numerous occasions.

Arshavin is a footballing genius but at times he can irritate. For all the goals he has scored against Liverpool he often goes missing in games, doesn’t track back to defend, rarely seems to get involved in team celebrations, openly criticizes Arsenal and Wenger and speaks of playing for other clubs.

Despite his goals and assists during 2009/2010, Arshavin has failed to delight to such a point that many don’t care if he leaves. Just like Adebayor, we only want people at the club who want to play for us and will put in the effort. It doesn’t matter if your black, white, Asian, world-class, cost £1million or £15million, if you are at Arsenal FC you bloody work for your wages and for our respect.

Some same the Russian has been nursing a groin injury all season and if true that would excuse his performances on the field, just at times you’d wish he’d watch his mouth off it. AA23 is a likable bloke in general – he brings added spark to our squad, really wants to win and can create something out of nothing. But if you don’t put the effort in then you might as well go somewhere else – us Gooners will fight for you only if you fight for us.

Funny season is starting again as the transfer window opens, surely Arshavin won’t be this season’s Adebayor?