And still Arsenal’s Number One …… – written by BigRaddy

I had intended to write an amusing post about the manager down the road and his assertion that he is not a “wheeler-dealer” referencing Crouch, Defoe, Keane and a host of bankrupted clubs, but I find other matters more pressing this morning.

I am accustomed to Arsenal disappointing me in not buying stellar players, I have grown to accept Mr Wenger’s assessment of our playing staff and the areas that require improvement, I may not agree with his view but he has far more knowledge of his squad. However, the non-signing of a new GK upsets me because in my opinion it damages the potential  of the club to win silverware.

Arsene indentified the problem early in summer by making an approach for Schwarzer. By doing so he publicly demonstrated his acceptance that Almunia is not good enough, a realisation that was reached by the fans 3 seasons ago. The football world now knows that Arsenal require a new GK and unsurprisingly our competitors refuse to allow their GK’s to move and strengthen our team. Why would they? So, if the deal depended upon Given going to Fulham, why could the Arsenal management not anticipate there could be difficulties? Where was the Plan B when Plan A was so full of risks? More to the point, where was Plan C? It would be naive to think transfers are simple processes –  as Kelsey pointed out they are akin to the chain of a house purchase.

Furthermore, I cannot understand why Wenger made Schwarzer his target. Why not buy a 30 y.o. with sell on value? Are Given and Schwarzer the level of our ambitions as a replacement for Almunia?  I accept London’s viewpoint that our new GK could well have been brought in as cover for Almunia, however, had this been the case why didn’t AW make it clear  he had faith in his No.1, thereby saving face for all concerned?

Rasp wrote “I would have some respect for the decision if we were fast-tracking Mannone or Chesney”, which is a very good point and perhaps we will see this happen over the course of the season.

What really upsets me is that today Arsenal are diminished in the public eye. Without exception pundits and fans have accepted we need a more reliable GK and at last it appeared that our esteemed manager agreed, yet we go into the season in the same sorry state we ended last. Wenger made his intent clear with the approach and came out empty handed. We have been bullied by Fulham! Not Real Madrid not Barca nor Inter, but Fulham.

I fully respect Fulham’s intransigence and opposition to the demands of the player, as DanDan wrote “they have only done what we did with Cesc”.

The victim and victor in this sorry affair is Almunia. Having acted with respect and humility he deserves all our support throughout the season (or if we are lucky January), but evidence suggests it would be foolhardy to expect him to maintain the quality of his Blackburn performance.

That Arsenal and Arsene will continue to entertain and attempt to win silverware is without contention, whether they can do it with this goalkeeper is.

135 Responses to And still Arsenal’s Number One …… – written by BigRaddy

  1. Rasp says:

    Morning all,

    That is a superb assessment Raddy. You have accurately described how the majority feel without fuelling the pro/anti Arsène debate. I applaud you and agree with every word you have written.

  2. Asmo says:

    All true, but aside a stupid comment from Hill-Wood and lots of the usual bollocks from Hughes I don’t recall the Schwarzer thing ever being mentioned by Arsenal?

    Unless of course it was on that stupid “transfer linked” shitstorm.

  3. charybdis1966 says:

    Morning all – you’re bang on the money there Radders, although you are a good deal more polite than I would be if you were to have asked me at 6 o’clock yesterday.
    Perhaps the inter lull is good as I can have a 2 week break from Arsenal and maybe by then I will have calmed down.
    I feel severely let down by Wenger and I feel ever so slightly violated by Wenger’s transfer policy.
    We are a laughing stock in the transfer market now, even Stoke got 4 players in – I’m mean stoke FFS!

  4. josh phelan says:

    drogba will get scared just looking at squillaci

    – IF EVERYONE GETS BEHIND THE TEAM THIS YEAR INSTEED OF JUDGING THEM AND TURNING AGAINST THEM AFTER ONE BAD DEFEAT. IF EVERYONE CHEERS WHEN WE ARE LOSING WE WILL BE IN WITH MORE OF A CHANCE OF WINNING!!!!!!!!!

  5. kelsey says:

    Raddy,

    as you are so much younger,you get first shot today 🙂 I have a slightly different version of events than you,but that’s what this site is all about.I will reserve my comments for later,if you don’t mind.Then we can compare notes.

  6. Rasp says:

    kelsey,

    I look forward to reading your post later on. As you say ‘freedom of opinion’ is what we are all about – and I’ll probably agree with every word you write too 😛

  7. Fantastic post Raddy – we love to make it hard on ourselves, my expectations for the coming season haven’t changed but my realistic head tells me that once again we will drop silly points because we lack a top class keeper.

    I agree that we are ‘diminished in the public eye’ and that is very sad. I look forward to our football doing the talking and maybe, just maybe ………………..

  8. Rasp says:

    Hi josh,

    Of course everyone (with a brain cell) will get behind Almunia and the team. I can’t imagine anyone on here waiting to gloat if Almunia drops a clanger and we lose a game. He will have our support because he is our goalkeeper.

  9. London says:

    An extrememly good read BR.

    I can see people are suffering and in many ways I understand why but my love is blind and I will continue to believe as I always have done and always will do.

  10. Big Raddy says:

    Thank you for the kind words. I have to admit I moderated my opinions!

    The only redeeming thought when I saw Almunia flying out for and missing a cross at Anfield was the knowledge that his days were numbered.

    Hey ho …..

  11. 26may1989 says:

    Good post Raddy, captures a lot of my feelings on the subject.

    It is what it is now, we’ll just have to get behind Almunia and hope for the best. But this episode doesn’t exactly reflect well on Gazidis, Wenger or the directors. I think Asmo’s right that the club didn’t go public at any point re Schwarzer. But once Fulham and Schwarzer started talking about it openly and on the record, with Arsene just saying there was no longer a Number 1, and with Almunia himself refecting on his discomfort at the situation, without any denials or rebuttals from Arsenal, the club tacitly admitted that they were going after Schwarzer. Beyond that, none of us knows what was attempted or considered. Perhaps there is a longer term alternative that couldn’t be completed in time but might be done in January (I am speculating but the Arshavin and Chamakh deals come to mind as previous examples), but it is clear, this outcome was not what anyone wanted when the process began in July.

    One other thing that was anticipated but has not come to pass is the loaning out of one of our keepers, which Arsene said he wanted to do to make sure at least one of the reserves was getting more experience. I’m not sure what to make of the fact that it didn’t happen, perhaps nothing if the loan was contingent on Schwarzer coming in. But it’s another thing that appears not to have gone to plan.

    Am not even slightly bothered that Stoke got four players in on deadline day, or at anyone else’s last day signings. The deadline artificially emphasises the last minute transactions but, keeper situation aside, Arsenal have done some good business this transfer window: three senior recruits, and the departure of one much-loved dud (Eduardo), three old geezers (ok younger than me, but you catch my drift) of varying quality in Gallas, Silvestre and Campbell, one player (Senderos) who had really left two years ago and two youngsters (Merida and Simpson) who were never going to get a chance to grow. Even Traore going to Juve for a year is good for us. And the biggest thing of course was keeping Cesc. So all in all, a good summer, with a very disappointing end.

    Now we’ve got six games in September – we can win all of them and set ourselves up nicely for Chelsea away in four or five weeks’ time…..

  12. B_live says:

    HERE HERE

  13. Big Raddy says:

    26. As I understand it, the Championship t’fer window extends further into September than the PL. So there is still a chance for players to go on loan

  14. 26may1989 says:

    Thanks Raddy, I hadn’t realised that.

  15. Rasp says:

    Morning 26may,

    You can always be relied upon to add a scholarly balance to the debate – I agree with all your points too 😉

  16. charybdis1966 says:

    The fact we failed to address the goalkeeping emergency does add fuel to the fire of those conspiracists that say there is a “No spend” bonus for Wenger.
    It’s embarrassing – even the Spuds have probably got a marquee signing to celebrate. No one wants to join us anymore. I’m probably going against the grain here but I feel massively disappointed in Wenger- or whoever has allowed this calamitous situation to arise in our goalkeeping spot. It is part of the spine of your team and again we go into a season with it as a major weakness.
    Oh well, at least I can laugh at the pakistani cricket team.

  17. Ian says:

    i dont care whether Almunia has behaved with dignity he remains an average keeper who will make the mistakes that will cost us the title.We can play the most beautiful football but in the tight games v the bigger teams you need a keeper who will make match-winning saves.Almunia is not that keeper
    The only good thing is Flappy is not number 1………………yet!!!!

  18. chaf says:

    Good day [or not] everyone. Summer is over!

    BR agree to the bone. I’m very disappointed, AW should have sorted it out during the break. Everyone says we have the money to buy, which is ultimately the supporters, it didn’t happen and now Almunia will be under pressure every game. Poor bastard.

    Unconditional love is what we have, and its a good job.

  19. Steve says:

    Bet you wish you had a wheeler dealer like Harry now. Wenger’s Plan A was a 38 yr-old middle ranking goalkeeper and he had no alternatives. After missing out on J.Cole and Bellamy, Harry signs Van Der Vaart for a bargain basement price. Not so amusing now huh?

  20. Alan Harris says:

    Charybdis

    Totally agree.The Spuds now have 3 keeps better than our number 1.Who does Wengers scouting when it comes to keepers? Stevie Wonder

  21. chaf says:

    Steve

    I don’t suppose many people on here worry about what goes on at Spurs, until they are a real threat. Harry is the ultimate car dealer.

  22. dandan says:

    Good well thought out Post Raddy: Though I would take issue that the failure to purchase a player diminishes the club in the public eye. Our results in the days to come will be the arbiter of that.

    (this mornings post reposted from yesterdays Post)

    26may, Sorry if I was a bit short with you last night, I was in a lot of pain after a hospital visit and a bit drugged up and although I accept that is no excuse, it is a fact,

    Actually my stance is 100% with gunnern5 who has stated the case far more eloquently than i would have had I hung around.

    Disappointment is fine but as we don’t know the actual circumstances or what future arrangements have been made, I find anger an inappropriate response to lack of knowledge. But there you go, to each his own. No doubt our keeper is quite rightly, seriously angry with his harsh and unfair treatment and will feed off that to make us eat our words.
    Now wouldn’t I just love that. Time will tell

  23. charybdis1966 says:

    Alan – I reckon he probably sends a trainee scout out for goalies as he finds “defence” boring and would rather send his experienced scouts out to look for creative, injury-prone(and therefore cheap),midget midfielders.

    I’m joking about that, I think/hope.

  24. barumgooner says:

    Excellent post Raddy, I couldnt agree more. We will cope im sure but it is disapointing and a bit embarrassing that our great club cannot find a decent keeper.

  25. 26may1989 says:

    Thanks Dandan, I just posted a response on the other thread. In short, no worries and I hope you’re getting better!

  26. dandan says:

    Cheers 26 Still well stoked up on pills but without doubt greatly improved

  27. 26may1989 says:

    Steve, let’s check your views of the Twitcher in a few years’ time – he didn’t exactly leave Portsmouth or West Ham in a good state did he? Thanks for taking Gallas by the way, should work as well for you as David Bentley.

  28. Edmond Dantes says:

    Breaking news!

    The FA has just ratified the last minute deal which involved the Gunners bid for a new keeper.

    Arsene has signed Mumford Poindexter from the MLS.

    Just read this on one of the other Arsenal blogs. Im going to google this guy.

  29. Edmond Dantes says:

    Extra Extra Read all about it!

    Breaking news!

  30. Rasp says:

    Someone should explain to totnum fans that triumphalism is something that you can practise after you’ve won something – isn’t it a shame that they don’t have any decent blogsites of their own to display their ignorance on 🙄

  31. barumgooner says:

    I think though the bigger picture is not the keeper but the central defenders. Kosser looks good and Sqilly comes very highly recommended but IMO the whole season is reliant on TV staying fit and playing nearly every game, whether in CD or further forward to sit in with Song playing the new boys together at the back.

  32. SharkeySure says:

    Very good post Mr Radders.

    Overall I have been happy with our summer signings, and a large part of that was believing that Schwarzer was on his way.

    I was very disappointed that he wasn’t with us for the Pool game, and found that very odd. To then let the deadline pass without signing him or some alternative is really incredible. I’m simply not interested in any excuses as to why no one arrived. I refuse to accept that across the whole summer we were unable to find a keeper who would give our defence more confidence and stability.

    Two other quick points:
    Even without a new GK, we are better placed this year than last. Our three signings have all looked good, and have mostly filled the gaps that needed filling.
    Secondly. Its disappointing to think that this is cause for our fans to attack each other. Part of the problem is that some fans take this scenario as some sort of green light to start being a little silly by using ‘witty’ monikers for our manager, or looking over the fence at our neighbours or other clubs for comparison. Some of the comments would have you thinking we’d actually signed no-one this summer.

  33. SharkeySure says:

    Edmond googling him first might be a good idea, no..??

  34. dandan says:

    Was amused to see Twitcher offering David Bentley as a swap for Scot Parker,Bit like Comparing a Spade/shovel with a JCB, now that is ambition 🙂

  35. Rohan Passey says:

    I wish Szczesny is made a regular keeper in atleast the cup games. He has EVERYTHING you need in a good keeper, height, a good shot stopper, shouts at his defence, and also that crazy streak which our keepers lack. It would be great to see Almunia keep up his Blackburn form, but like you said, that is more hope than anything else. So I wish Szczesny makes the step up sooner rather than later.

  36. Big Raddy says:

    SS. I agree, our summer signings have been good, and keeping Cesc was excellent.

    Kosh & Squash will hopefully allow TV to go into MF should anything happen to Song and we need an enforcer.

    Chamakh looks a fine addition. HIs ability to close down the defender will help our defence.

  37. ive says:

    I am sick to death of these so called supporters. I hate Stoke but as least they have proper supporters.I hear nothing but moans from the so called fans but what the hell do they offer the team , where do they play a part. Do they make a lot of noise on match day, no they dont . Do they support the team and make noise when we conceed a goal, no the dont. Would an increase level of noise positively affect the team and deter the visiting team , yes it would. So my point is rather the moaning about Arsene none spending we need to look first at our own contribution.How do we make our ground unomfortable for visiting teams. Ok we have won nothing for five years but in the time we have qualified for the champions league , we now have a stadium that is the envy of many.
    When I look at Arsenal I see a bigger picture , I see a team that is on track, yes we could have done with a new keeper but for me the main problem is our inability to defend as a team from the front and making intellegent fouls higher up the pitch to slow up the other team and finaly and more importantly we need to start understanding that being a supporter is about turning up and making sufficient nosie to affect the game. Arsenal 4 ever

  38. SharkeySure says:

    Raddy, I guess I forgot to mention keeping Cesc, as I was never that worried about keeping him. Barca are broke and don’t really need him, so they were never going to break the bank to sign him.

    Kosh & Squash …lol.

    Chamakh …top top quality.

    I’ve never been convinced about TV in midfield, I think the change in ‘panorama’ from 180degrees to 360 could cause him one or two problems in OUR midfield, where you are expected to constantly recycle possession quickly and maintain possession effectively.

    He looks like a fast learner though….

  39. Red Arse says:

    Big Raddy,

    Really excellent piece that summed up the overarching disappointment for all Gooners.

    Another area that I would explore, and is toched on obliquely in your post, is that we fans, in most part, have had our expectations lowered so skillfully.

    I am disappointed, like everyone else, but for a slightly different reason. I was never, not for one second, prepared to accept that either Schwarzer or Given were top notch GKs fit for Arsenal.

    The fact that we had our expectations shattered when we (the club) were aiming so low, is the real disappointment! 😦

  40. SharkeySure says:

    Ive. Amen to that

  41. Red Arse says:

    Ive,

    A passionate and clear message. Supporters do need to support, but to be disappointed in the club’s tfr strategy is also valid.

    The two are not mutually exclusive, but I can see you are atrue gooner and good for you. 🙂

  42. gunnern5 says:

    Good well thought out piece Raddy.

    It appears that Schwarzer was our only target for goalkeeper. There were other candidates mentioned, Loris etc. but they seem to have been merely figments of the media’s imagination.

    If this is true then I’m not the least bit upset at the outcome as I want a far better keeper than Schwarzer he’s as mediocre as our current crew – so why add more of the same?

    Again, on the premise that Schwarzer was our only target, it can only mean that our coaching staff believe that we already have a diamond in the rough in Szczesny and they were just buying time with Schwarzer.

    Personally I’m far more interested in what was achieved in the window. 26may summed up all of the positives so I won’t repeat them other than to say that additions to our central defense were far more important to us and we got at least two of our targets, there may have been more but we will never know.

    In Chamakh we have a fine addition a player that is strong, can hold on to the ball and will pop in a few goals as well.

    In short I’m a happy gunner this morning and I anticipate an exciting season ahead.

    Silverware would be a nice bonus but for this supporter it never has been the first thing on my mind.

    It’s the excitement of the competition(s) is what turns my crank.

  43. SharkeySure says:

    “The fact that we had our expectations shattered when we (the club) were aiming so low, is the real disappointment! ”

    Thats brilliant Red…right on the money !

  44. gunnern5 says:

    ive: I’ve always been envious of the support that other teams get from their fans and wondered why our attendees are such a dour bunch.

    It seems that our crowd are waiting for the team to do something wrong and are itching to come out with their oohs and aahs and worst of all boos. Could they possibly believe that this is the way to spur a team on to success?

    How about a play on J.F.K’s words…

    Ask not what Arsenal can do for you but what You can do for Arsenal…

  45. charybdis1966 says:

    RedA – we see a good example of “expectations management” that our club have performed on us.
    I’ll put my head on the block and say that I think we can hope for 3rd at best this year, 2nd if we’re lucky with the other top sides being more injury ravaged than us.
    I’ll also say that my disappointment is centred on us paying the most for tickets but seeing the least in squad investment.
    Granted our additions seem like quality, although we have yet to see one of them play for us yet, but we have only stayed maintained the same position and not improved anywhere on the pitch both numbers and quality wise.
    Strikers:
    Eduardo OUT, Chamakh IN
    Bendy out till the new year and Robin for 2 weeks or 2 months(depending on who you listen to) and as an aside did you know that despite being with us for 6 years he has only just topped 200 appearances for us, that’s starts AND sub appearances. If he has a history of missing large chunks of the season why should we expect him to suddenly make 35+ appearances this season?
    Iif Chamakh is out we are back to playing Arshavin up front as Vela has done nothing, repeat nothing, to show he is worthy of starting, plus each time he’s off to play for Mexico we don’t see him for a few weeks afterwards. I also hope Theo has put his injury woes behind him.

    Midfield:
    Nasri out for another month at least
    Defensive midfield
    Song is the only one of quality, Denilson is – at present not good enough so one of our anticipated back ups Frimpong is out for the season, so who will play the Cup games(eg at the Lane against the Spuds for example), Eastmond?
    Defence:
    Gallas, Silvestre/Campbell OUT(Senderos does not count as he’s been long gone), Kozzer and Squelchy IN
    Goalie – let’s not even go there.

  46. SharkeySure says:

    Maybe it really is time for Chesney to be the ‘one and only’ !!

  47. gnarleygeorge9 says:

    Well done BR

    I don’t think Coco will come out of this with a feeling of rejection. I think he was fired up against Blackburn. Even the goal post took the wrath of Coco.

    No, if he has any backbone, he will want to make a statement to the doubters, which I have been one of.

    Afterall, Coco is Arsenal through & through. My message to him would be don’t get bitter Al, get better.

  48. gnarleygeorge9 says:

    gunnern5

    Apparently, if the home fans try to do what you want them to do, the stewards tell them to calm down.

  49. SharkeySure says:

    Gnarley, just my opinion, but Coco and Le Scrooge are terms that will, if continued, drag this blog down from its lofty heights.

  50. SharkeySure says:

    Sorry to look like I’m pickng on you, but be careful in passing on what you hear elsewhere.

    I’ll pick on Chary now, just so you don’t feel isolated.

  51. SharkeySure says:

    “my disappointment is centred on us paying the most for tickets ”

    Chary….do you really buy a ticket to pay for next seasons signings or to see the game that’s listed on the front of it (metaphorically of course)..??

    Other than that bit, I agree with all you say in that post

  52. charybdis1966 says:

    Look forward to it S Sure, LOL !
    I wouldn’t want to feel left out. 🙂

  53. Rasp says:

    At least 38,000 of the home fans are the same fans that used to make Highbury rock. They were split up and moved to a stadium where co-ordinated chanting is very confused due to the acoustics, the sheer size, the time delay between different ends and to a small extent by an influx of less vocal ‘new fans’. The club have recognised this and embarked on the ‘Arsenalisation’ and reinstated the designation North Bank etc. Pool and the spuds will find the same problem if/when they move to a new bigger ground.

  54. charybdis1966 says:

    The way I look at it S Sure, it’s being told that we can compete with the top clubs for players and then blatantly not doing so.
    If the club told me that times will be hard while the stadium debt is paid off and we should not expect to make any big signings then I know in advance not to get my hopes up. Also my grouse is that ticket prices have been consistently high compared to other clubs in London and we have amassed quite a stockpile of cash yet it appears to me that it is being hoarded to the detriment of the health of the playing side of the club.
    While a business should be run on a profitable basis the I & E is just one part of the picture, persistent lack of capital investment means that the medium long term future of the “business”(club) is at risk.
    The clubs raison d’etre is the on-field side of things, as fans we are only interested in that.

  55. Red Arse says:

    Reading the blogs there seems a general feeling of dejection.

    I have said more than once today, pompous git that I am, that there is everything to play for.

    We all discuss, debate, moan, and for me that is being a gooner and part of belonging to the only club I am interested in.

    Bit like having a whinge at the girlfriend is O.K., but if someone else comments on her four legs and black and white stripes you would flatten them! 😉

  56. gnarleygeorge9 says:

    SS

    Le Scrooge is one of mine.

    Look for a while now I haven’t felt like I fit in anymore with all this Arsenal blogging anymore. Blog royalty pedro used to describe me as, one of the early le Grovers & followed some of the old Grovers like Raddy, Chary, Peaches, rico here to share my thoughts.

    But now this world doesn’t seem to want me around, which is fine, i can understand. I’m Australian, & Arsenal is English, & never the twain shall meet I spose.

    Its time to retire from blog world. Over & out

  57. 26may1989 says:

    Rasp, Highbury became the Library long before we moved to the Grove.

  58. Rasp says:

    I/We must accept that we must support the keepers we have. However, if Almunia has a run of poor games, he should be replaced – and not with Fabianski. I am hoping we can find a loan deal for Fabianski in the Championship. In 2008, Mannone played a run of 7 games, some of which were in the CL. He did well, he can take the pressure. Chesney excelled playing for Brentford. Both are more than capable of the role of No.2 and starting games if called upon. Let’s not persist with Almunia if he loses form – we cannot afford to drop the points again due to goalkeeping errors.

  59. Rasp says:

    26may, Highbury was never a library when I sat/stood in the North Bank. I think that term was just a way at getting at us by rival supporters. Pound for pound, away supporters always outsing the home fans. Our away supporters are magnificenmt and as good as any in the Premiership.

  60. gunnern5 says:

    gnarleygeorge: I’ve heard that they are told to stay seated, which is a standard safety precaution in every ground, but I’ve never heard of them being told to be quiet.

    Frankly it’s all about emotion and a sense of belonging but unfortunately it seems that we now have a distilled group of corporate supporters that need to be roused by the original 38k from Highbury.

  61. charybdis1966 says:

    Gnarley – you fit in more than me tbh, but I understand and respect your reasoning.

  62. Big Raddy says:

    GG. Don’t be so sensitive. Your input is always welcome and valued here.

    On another note I would like to wish an ex-player the best of luck at Celtic. At the time he went to Sunderland I thought that €2m for Anthony Stokes was a huge return on an unproven 19 y.o. Perhaps I was wrong …

  63. Big Raddy says:

    Chary. Why do you think you don’t fit in? Because you have a contrary view to some bloggers?

    How dull would it be if we all thought the same …..

  64. […] for today, if you would like to leave a comment or read what others have written please click here to be taken to the first post of the […]

  65. charybdis1966 says:

    Actually Radders, I meant that because Arsenal are English and strictly speaking I am not.
    No problem with having a contrary view though – it’s all part of the fun.

  66. Hi all

    I’ve published kelsey’s post as seen by the link above. I’ve left it so that comments will come on here rather than lose the thread of discussion – I hope 😆

  67. 26may1989 says:

    Rasp, even if the Library epithet was an exaggeration, you must admit that Highbury by the time we left was not nearly as lively as it had been in pre-Premier League, pre-all seater days. There were glorious exceptions (the send-off against Wigan being one example) but on average we have long been a quieter crowd than many others.

    I think we’ve been growing into the new stadium, but one thing that will definitely make a difference is having a few glorious memories at the Grove.

    And GN5, the prawn sandwich brigade are part of the problem (there ought to be a rule requiring those buggers in Club Level and the boxes to be in their seats for kick-off each half). But there are also more family groups and, for obvious reasons, smaller proportions of teenagers and 20 somethings. And in socio economic terms, our ground in particular has become more middle class. All of this contributes to the relative quietness at the ground.

    But I agree that the away fans are much better than those at home. Shame really.

  68. Big Raddy says:

    Chary Strictly speaking – who is ??

  69. SharkeySure says:

    Gnarley…apologies …my second point/dig was related to your comment about stewarding. You clearly and correctly stated that it was not your first hand experience. Therefore my concern was that some things you’ll hear about match days, will sometimes contain bias, sometimes contain misrepresentation, and sometimes downright barefaced lies !!!

  70. charybdis1966 says:

    True Radders, but that’s a whole bigger question there.

  71. Kipmonster says:

    The AKB are mainly those who forever support from their armchairs & afar whilst investing not a penny. No one has asked for a ‘Citeh’ style spending spree but simply to strengthen positions where internally the answer is not there. The 2 Keeper clowns have cost Arsenal points & potential silverware too often & a Keeper should have been brought in well before yesterday. At the very least a Keeper should have been installed prior to the Emirates Cup to enable an early chance to strike up understanding with the defence & settle into the surroundings. As soon as Hughes became Fulham manager Arsenal should have abandoned pursuit of Schwarzer as it was obvious Hughes would not co-operate. I would rather we had stayed at Highbury if we had to put up this constant frugality. At the very least all incoming transfer fees received should be invested in incoming players.
    Wenger cannot justify such frugality & himself take a 20% pay rise.
    The club are rewarding him for financial reasons not football reasons.
    Even the best Keepers make a mistake like as someone earlier mentioned Reina did BUT they are rareities & not numerous & himself & others do not look like constant accidents waiting to happen like our 2 clowns do, particularly Fabianski.
    It does Fabregas a huge disservice to get him to stay & then not ensure we are as secure as possible behind him.
    In this instance I’m afraid to say that stubborness does not come into it, Wenger has plainly been negligent not to have signed a decent experienced Keeper this window.

  72. London says:

    I think we have to read the statement about there not being a number 1 goalkeeper by Wenger as a kick up Almunia’s back side.

    I don’t blame him for the Ngog goal at Anfield at all and to copy Merson who had been primed to make a provocative comments erks me no end. Ngog would need another thousand attempts to score that goal again. As for flapping at a cross: this is true, but when it comes to mistakes I think that the hollier that thou Reina walking the ball into his net was far worse.

    Almunia, had little to do against Blackpool but what he did, he did well.

    As for Blackburn, he very nearly got my man of the match award; in fact, he was close to faultless.

    It seems to me that the poke in the ribs by Wenger is working so far.

  73. Rasp says:

    26may,

    I would say that today of all days is not one when we should be criticising the home fans. You must hear what is being said when things aren’t going well. I was there when EE was booed – to be precise, the decision to bring him on in left midfield was booed. The fans have been unhappy about certain aspects of our transfer policy for many seasons now and that creates a ‘murmuring’ in the stadium, when an unpopular player lets the side down – its human nature.

    I was also present when Nik was getting amazing support from the fans last season (and not ironically) when he had been attacked on MoTD. The home fans do try to support the players. It is the club who have sought to encourage the corporate supporters and we know why that is.

  74. Rasp says:

    gnarley, chary,

    What’s going on? – why are people resigning from the blog. I value your opinions and respect your viewpoint, if you buggers all go ….. I’ll join you 😳

  75. SharkeySure says:

    Chary

    I can only agree re the ‘new stadium, able to compete’ argument that you put forward. My point is whether or not that is connected to the ticket prices. I can’t really see a price difference between tickets I’ve bought for the new or old grounds.

    As regards why we’ve not bought a GK, I’m absolutely f***ing stumped. I practically never name players and prices, but I’ll break my own rule here. The Portuese GK, Eduardo, went to Genoa for €4m and surely cannot be earning stacks of cash. We don’t need Club Level receipts to sign players at that level.

    I’ll say it one last time then move on. Arsenal not getting a new GK is gross negligence. I’m not too bothered about exactly where the blame lies, because for me it can only be collective. Within the group it should have been made to happen, with strong arm coercion of the dissenters if required.

  76. London says:

    “Wenger cannot justify such frugality & himself take a 20% pay rise.”

    This is wrong on so many levels I almost don’t know where to start.

    Wenger does not set transfer budgets he is given them, furthermore, it is his agent who negotiates Wenger’s contract with the club and, as you should know, an agent’s job is to get the best for his client.

    The board do not do their utmost to keep the wage bill down only to throw this out the window when it comes to Wenger, they pay him the wage they do because they know Real Madrid or some such like, let’s say City would double his wages.

  77. Rasp says:

    Sharkey,

    I agree with your sentiments and had thought that we could move on in acceptance of the way things are. We (you and I at least) will never want anything but Arsenal to win every game and for every player to be MotM, so the idea that we want Almunia to fail is ludicrous.

    The media; the pundits; the Spanish national coach; and the majority of Arsenal fans think that Almunia is not good enough – so let’s stop the pretence that he has been misjudged and just hope to god that he can have his best season ever for us.

  78. London says:

    Rasp

    It was worse, Eboue was brought on left midfield.

  79. Rasp says:

    Sorry London, I meant left midfield, my fingers are faster than my brain these days.

  80. 26may1989 says:

    Rasp, that episode where Eboue was hounded off the pitch still makes my blood boil – I very nearly got into a fight for the first time in decades, and with fellow Arsenal fans! I couldn’t believe that they would do that to an Arsenal player during a game, and one who did nothing worse than make a mistake while playing out of position. I’m delighted Eboue has gained a popular following but I still don’t trust a significant proportion of Arsenal fans. So in that sense I agree with you.

  81. SharkeySure says:

    Just to clarify re ticket prices. my pint isthat the main cash generator and price diffeences are on the expansion of premium seating, which is not the category for me.

    I’ve always sat in the Directors box and never paid a cent. Well …only for my name to be added to my seat !!

  82. I was there and it was a terrible shame for Eboue but the discontent was in reality towards Wenger for some very strange decisions and Eboue got the brunt of it.

  83. charybdis1966 says:

    I’m wasn’t resigning Raspers, just acknowledging how Gnarley felt. But like I said earlier, while I’m fairly dejected at the moment about things Arsenal I’m laughing at the Pakistani cricket team so all is not bad !
    S Sure -the difference has been the persistent under investment in the squad since we moved stadia.

  84. Big Raddy says:

    Kelsey. Enjoyable read and you make many good points. However ……

    To blame AW is not IMO unfair. If he identifies an area of weakness and then tries to buy a player he has to have more than one player on his list. To do otherwise is madness, and the buck stops with AW.

    To rely upon a GK who has shown over 3 seasons that he is not good enough is also madness. I accept London’s view that Almunia had decent games at B’burn & B’pool, but if he needs a kick up the arse to improve his performance then something is seriously lacking in AW’s motivation skills. We shall see if our GK can keep up this form – I hope so.

    I agree that not signing Schwarzer is no loss, but not signing another GK is.

    AW is in control of the team, of that there can be no doubt. If he wants a player he would get him (within reason), to suggest it is within the remit of the BoD is misleading. Money was not an issue here.

    As SS says, not getting a new GK is negligence

  85. London says:

    Kelsey

    That is an extremely fine read, what good or bad luck, two excellent posts on the same day?

  86. Rasp says:

    That 2008 season, we persisted in playing players out of position, and it seldom bore fruit. There were a lot of square pegs in round holes, but I suppose the justification may have been that the squad was light.

  87. SharkeySure says:

    Gnarley – ‘Blog royalty Pedro’….he tries his best, and I do generally have a lot of time for him, but he’s an acorn that really needed to land a bit further from the tree !

  88. Whether money was an issue or not doesn’t defend the decision to carry on without a new goalkeeper. I hope someone at Arsenal realises the importance of listening to the supporters but I suspect someone will tell me on here that what we pay for is entertainment and the rest is none of our business 😦

  89. London says:

    I maintain that Schwarzer was only viewed as back up for Almunia and mostly in the event that the Spaniard gets injured before an important game in the Champions League. If this is the case the Schwarzer deal could still be revived in January…..I shall watch closely to see if he plays in Europe for Fulham and becomes cup tied….is that correct would he be cup tied if he played in the Europa Cup? Fulham are still in it aren’t they?

  90. I’ve written to gnarley on all our behalf to tell him to get his arse back on here. Being Australian has nothing to do with anything goonerish – if you’re a gooner you’re a gooner 🙂

  91. London says:

    Hahahahah Sharkey, no matter how bad things get you always manage to make me laugh.

  92. 26may1989 says:

    London, I think once a team reaches the CL knock-out stage, it can register three new players, one of whom can have played in this season’s Europa League. So in that scenario Schwarzer could be eligible, even if he plays in Fulham’s Europa League games.

  93. London says:

    Opps, just read back, more serious than I realised.

  94. London says:

    Thanks 26.

  95. Edmond Dantes says:

    Le Grove sucks big time. Their anti-Arsene stance is getting worse.

  96. Edmond Dantes says:

    All hail Lord Wenger and God save the Arsenal.

    “We’ve got Almunia, we’ve got Almunia…”

    Sing along everyone

  97. Wilson chido says:

    I advice evryone to forget abt the issue of bring inn a new keeper & to prepare our mind very well to support the boys with all our heart this season. The defence has been my main corncern b4, but they look beta to me now. A good & well organise defence, make a beta keeper. A bad keeper today can become the best one tomrw. Gunners 4 life!

  98. Red Arse says:

    Three points; many won’t like this, but I won’t like myself if I don’t stand up and be counted. 😦

    * 26, I can understand your reaction to fans unfairly pouring their vitriol on Eboue. Not acceptable at anytime. Disgusting. I also feel uncomfortable when people, many of whom I like, use terms like clown as an adjective, one of the milder ones in truth, to describe Almunia. He is an Arsenal player, for goodness sake. Not a particularly good GK, but he is one of ours.

    * Arsene Wenger does not negotiate the trfr fees for players. That is Mr Gazidis’ domain, and if he won’t pay more than £2m for Schwarzer because he thinks that is his value, so be it. It is not down to Wenger, unless someone knows differently.

    * Of course, on the face of it, it defies belief that Arsenal left the buying of a GK until the last knockings of the TFR window, apparently without a plan B. But don’t forget Arsene plainly said on ATVO that he had the money available but other clubs were just not prepared to sell. Isn’t the Schwarzer deal an example of this?

    O.K. sermon over, but I love Arsenal and Arsenal isn’t just the fans and the manager; it’s also the players and we should treat them, the stars and the not so good, with respect, surely. 🙂 I’ve put my tin hat on!

  99. Rasp says:

    Hi Red Arse,

    I’d like to agree with all your points, but there is one statement that I cannot agree with. Are you saying that if Arsène identifies a player he wants and values him at say £4m, that Gazidis might say, no he’s only worth £2m so that’s all I’m prepared to negotiate to? That would suggest that Ivan’s knowledge of players and their worth is greater (or at least more influential) than Arsène’s. Surely Arsène is the one who decides what a player is worth, the Board either sanction the expenditure or otherwise and at that point Ivan takes over and tries to get the best deal.

  100. goonerwife says:

    i dont trust a large portion of Arsenal fans either. Dont expect loyalty when you cant give it. One bad season and throw him away.

    Pundits and media didt know jack diddly squat about almunia until they read the complainy arsenal blogs.

    This whole thing has really surprised me. People need to chillax.

  101. goonerwife says:

    Le grove is where you go when you are suffering from a serious bout of self loathing.

  102. gunnern5 says:

    Red Arse: No tin hat needed. With Kelsey’s lead article and your post most of my views are summed up.

    Personally I have an intense dislike for extreme negativism and the holier than thou crowd who see things with perfect 20/20 hindsight.

    I also feel that the amount of money one pays to support our team bears no correlation as to how the money is spent.

    You see in my mind the amount of money one spends to support a team has no bearing on how big/important a supporter you are.

    In all likelihood it’s those that are paying the most for their seats that sit there in a trance instead of vocally supporting our team.

    Oops; maybe you should pass the tin hat over to me….

  103. kelsey says:

    Afternoon,

    Thanks for the nice comments.
    We welcome all and sundry on here, but please refrain from naming other blogs on here .

    It appears to have got a little heated on here today, but usually it is because the written word can be misunderstood as opposed to a face to face conversation.

    Remember we all the support the same club which is of paramount importance.

  104. Rasp says:

    Hi kelsey,

    That’s a great read and an interesting and logical take on the situation.

  105. dandan says:

    Re peaches 2.02 why tell you, you obviously already know 🙂

    I am with you kelsey very good post.

    Its amazing really we sit second in the table having played two of our usually dodgy away games and all many of us can do is whinge at the team we say we love.

    Bit like our good friend Hanson and his love for Woolcott, he at least has the evidence of video to back him up.

    We of course know nothing of the actual facts surrounding the whole goal keeper saga, just a preconceived notion that we are being used, abused, cheated by a negligent manager/management team.

    Many who contribute to our site, were/are directors/managers or owners of companies. How often does your shop floor, devoid of facts take a view based on the sort of criteria listed above and get it totally wrong.

    Mind you as kipmonster so tellingly says, I am one of those who sit at home and don’t contribute.

    Shame on me feeding Mr Murdoch his share of my pension and there I was thinking the clubs got some benefit from it. silly me I am old enough to know better.

  106. Rasp says:

    kelsey,

    Reading through your post again, I must admit I find myself more in tune with Raddy’s reading of the situation. I am somewhat surprised by your conclusions because you and I (I think you were the first) were suggesting that Almunia was not good enough for Arsenal 2 seasons ago on another site.

    The point I agree with and that goes without saying is that he is our keeper and deserves our full and vocal (GN5) support 😛

  107. 26may1989 says:

    Yeah Dandan, what have you ever done for Arsenal??

    🙂

    [Red Arse, oh guru of emoticons, did that smiley work??]

  108. dandan says:

    Rasp, I to have said on numerous occasions that we need a new Gk, however the fact is we don’t have one and we have to get over it.
    I hate this constant verbal flagellation and it has been going on across blog land for days. We have a fortnight without a game if we are not careful we will whip ourselves and sadly the site to bits.

    In my opinion now is the time to look for some upbeat articles, count our blessing so to speak, let the other blogs self destruct.
    We have a fine squad, tonight I believe all the premier clubs have to announce there squads. I don’t know if they will be made public knowledge immediately. If so can anyone do an analysis for tomorrow or at least put up ours and our biggest challengers squads for discussion’
    Just an idea to try and lift the gloom we seemed to be bogged down in.

  109. Rasp says:

    dandan,

    Yep and I’ve said we need to move on and support the GK’s we’ve got. If we manage to liberate all our angst regarding transfers today, that will be time well spent because I have a nasty feeling that the subject will be regurgitated ad nauseum in some parts 🙂

  110. Rasp says:

    Incidentally dandan, I plan to remove the ITYS tab at the top. It was fun to ‘joust’ over the summer but now we have to get down to the serious business of supporting the team.

  111. dandan says:

    I have never used it Rasp. But without doubt this is a fine site and it would be criminal to damage it, so anything that helps avoid that has my full support.

  112. kelsey says:

    Rasp,

    I haven’t changed my opinion on Almunia, but facts are fact and he is going to be our Number 1 for the forseeable future, and for that reason alone we have to back him, the manager and the club.

    There is no guarantee of silverware with or without him,but the support for the whole team should be 100% IMO.

    I can only echo what dandan has said.

    Sure Messi would be great so would several other World Class players but we all know by now how Wenger operates and generally buys players that are comparitively unknown to us.

    It’s a business ethic which will in tthe long term pay rewards.If some demand success because they pay good money to sit and watch the team it just doesn’t equate and of course they have the option not to go.

  113. Big Raddy says:

    Rasp. Let there be no doubt that Almunia will be placed under the media microscope and should we be out of the Top 4 come January (not that there is the slightest likelihood of that happening) there will be an even greater clamouring for a new GK.

    But I have made my opinion clear elsewhere today.

    As you say, we move on.

  114. SharkeySure says:

    Agreed. It will continue to puzzle me for quite some time, but its donme now, and I’m really not one for going round and round in circles, so its now closed for me too.

    C’mon Manuel, make us proud, we know you’ve got it in you. Blackburn was your springboard, it’ll get no tougher than that, and you’ll surely have no one worse than Samba and his towel bearing chums to deal with this season. The worst is over, onwards and upwards mi amigo!! Vamos !!

  115. Big Raddy says:

    Jenas (7m), Huddlestone (3m), Palacios (12m), the little ratfaced Croatian (17m), Bentley (15m), Bale (10m),O’Hara, Krancjaer (2m), Lennon (1m). and now Van de Vaart (8m) all fighting for a midfield place. That is 10 players – 1 homegrown – at a cost of €75m !!

    And you know what ….. none of them would get in our team.

    We have much to be thankful for

  116. dandan says:

    Attaboy Raddy 🙂

  117. kelsey says:

    I lika a head to head with you raddy but I would prefer to concentrate on us rather than the Spurs.

    If they ever actually win the PL or CL our great grandchildren can talk about it in heaven 😉

  118. Big Raddy says:

    Kelsey in the absence of anything else to write about today….. I will make that comparison

    Modric/ Fabregas. No contest
    Palacois/Song. Song 100 times out of 100
    Van de Vart/ Rosicky. Assuming a fit Mozart, I would take him everytime
    Huddlestone/Diaby Huddlestone has the turning circle of the Queen Mary.
    Lennon/Walcott Capello knows the answer to this
    Bentley/Arshavin Do me a favour
    Jenas/Denilson Much the same except Denilson is better
    O Hara/ Wilshere Again. No contest
    Krancjaer/Ramsey. Aaron is already the better player.
    Bale/Eboue This one I will concede. Bale is a great prospect.

    The only possible question mark would be VdV/TR – both of whom are fine players.

    And our lads cost less than half ……

  119. Big Raddy says:

    Oh and I left out Nasri who would be the direct Krancjaer competition, and we know who is the better player!!

    BTW. I enjoyed the great grand children line 😀

  120. Red Arse says:

    Yaay, Raddy,

    You are the man! 🙂

    I have kept my tin hatted head down this p.m., but GN5 has agreed with my my plea for reconciliation and undivided support for all our players, and that is good enough for me. 🙂

    26, if you are still out there, I was such a …. I’m searching for the right word …. ah yes, I was such a “plum” with emoticonny things, I cannot stop telling people how to use them, once I learned how myself! I do apologise. 🙂 😳 😀

  121. Red Arse says:

    Well that’s nice, every one has buggered off, again.

    Well don’t let the bugs bite, nite, nite! 🙂

  122. gunnern5 says:

    Ok Big Raddy – did you leave out a goalkeeper comparison on purpose?

  123. Its such fun playing the ‘We’re much better than spuds’ game – kelsey, its the most light hearted thing we’ve done all day 😆

    I will, on behalf of all those that don’t attend, shout Almunia’s name loud and proud when the team are announced, I will cheer and applaud when he catches, punches or tips over the bar any ball that is goal bound and I will remember that he or a n other are our goalkeeper when standing between the sticks and wearing the no 1 😀

  124. Red Arse – sorry I missed you today.

    irish – where are you? It’ll be too late to moan tomorrow 😆

  125. London says:

    Come on Kelsey, a bit of spud bashing every now and then is good for the soul.

    Van de Vart…..a spud…….who would have thought and he used to be such a likable player…….shame.

  126. London says:

    That’s funny Peaches: “I will shout Almunia’s name loud and proud when the team is announced.”

  127. dandan says:

    Evening all

  128. kelsey says:

    Ah tonto 🙂

  129. London says:

    Hahahahahah

  130. I’m looking forward to blogging tomorrow 😛

  131. London says:

    New post

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