Why has this Arsenal team no Leaders?

This post was written prior to Rocky’s excellent post in which he covered similar areas and concerns about the fragility of the team  – think of it as synchronicity.

A refrain we hear over and over again from within and without the Hallowed Halls is that this Arsenal team lack Leaders. We are told that none of the current crop have the ability to push the team forward in times of crisis and as such we need to buy  some “steel.” It has been said that this lack of Leadership is the fundamental reason for our not being top of the table in a year where MU have faltered. How could this happen?

Firstly, it is important to look at the team and see whether this assumption is true. We currently have 5 Captain’s of their International teams. Yes… 5! Almost certainly a record and one that is rarely, if ever mentioned. Rosicky has been Czech Captain for the past 5 years and led them in the Euro Championship. Arshavin has been the Russian Cpt. for over 2 years, Vermælen has been Belgium Cpt since 2009. Both Nasri and Ramsey have been honoured with their national Captaincy this season.

So, 5 National Captain’s and it is highly likely that Cesc will captain Spain at some point in his career, as Wilshere will captain England. Surely, there are leaders amongst them?

Should Fabregas be Club Captain? Does he have the “cojones” to lead the club? In my opinion he is the natural leader of the side, and I would refute the argument that he is not Captain material. Following in the footsteps of two of the finest Captain’s in Arsenal’s history – in Adams and Vieira he has grown up with two fantastic role models – he has seen at first hand how to lead a side, and I believe is growing into the role. It must be recalled that he is still only 23, yet he is the player all the others look to, and for me he does the job well.

Perhaps Leadership on the pitch has nothing to do with Captaincy, perhaps Captaincy is just recognition of the value of the player to the team. In Italy the captain is the oldest player in the team. Often the Captain is chosen purely upon his popularity in the dressing room, but in England the Captain is meant to be the heart and soul of the team and at Arsenal this has to be Cesc.

So how can we not have pitch leaders? Is it as the pundits say, a lack of British grit? Should we sign Joey Barton or Kevin Nolan both of whom have the British never-say-die mentality in spades? OK, not Barton, but how about Scott Parker? Would his attitude have made a difference?

We talk of needing “winners” in the team, and are fed the fable that without experienced winners we cannot move forward as a team (what have Parker or Cahill ever won)? I think we are being misled by the talk of Arsenal lacking “winners”. All our players have grown up in winning teams, through schoolboy to youth and reserve team level they have represented winning teams. Every one of our players is a proven International – surely they know how to win a game or two. Or am I wrong, is winning English Silverware the only way to create a “winning mentality”? And is this winning mentality a requirement for pitch Leadership?

Recently I have read that Wilshere is a natural pitch leader. As far as I can tell what this means is that he gives everything in every game – is this Leadership?  Is it a player shouting at others to keep them focussed in the manner of Roy Keane?  Is it the sight of Cesc clenching his fists and rousing the crowd?  Or comforting a player when they have seriously screwed up?  Or a player running 50 yards to help out the defence in the last 5 minutes?

What is clear is that there is much talk about our lack of it in the current side.

What do you think?

p.s. Yesterday saw the premature passing of Danny Fiszman at the age of 66. If we lacked leadership on the pitch we certainly haven’t off-pitch. Danny took a middle sized football business and accompanied by David Dein established Arsenal as one of the most financially successful football clubs in the world. A North London lad and an Arsenal fan throughout his life Danny made his first fortune in diamond trading, and was then asked by his friend Dein to join him at Arsenal. Alongside Arsene Wenger they created the modern Arsenal, funding the new stadium, the re-development of Highbury and the surrounding areas. Arsenal are acknowledged as the financial model for football clubs throughout the world and this alongside the stadium is his legacy.  That Danny’s final act was to ensure that his beloved Arsenal was in safe  hands is proof of his devotion.

His was a successful life both in business and at leisure. We at AA wish his family long life.

Written by BigRaddy

133 Responses to Why has this Arsenal team no Leaders?

  1. Red Arse says:

    Hi Raddy, 🙂

    What an excellent Post. Although on a similar subject to Rocky’s, it is another articulate expression of leadership and what it implies, and is extremely thought provoking.

    I also share your sentiment regarding Danny Fiszman. RIP.

  2. Red Arse says:

    I wrote a little comment on David Dein, just as Peaches announced ‘New Post’, I hope you do not mind, but I am copying it below as I feel there needs to be some balance where DD is concerned.


    Morning Peeps,

    London has a very good point regarding David Dein.

    It would be a mistake to form opinions on anyone based solely on rumour and newspaper stories.

    In addition, and lets be honest here, where someone falls foul of their company the PR machine will ‘brief’ the media and others with their version of events, slewed to their own viewpoint, of course.

    What we do know about Dein, that is public knowledge, is that he was a slick, motivated Arsenal director, who always looked out for thier interests.

    He was instrumental in forming the breakaway Premier League by convincing the FA it was the right thing to do. This, of course, led to the ITV and Sky deals which put big bucks into the coffers of his club, Arsenal, and also other English clubs so that they could compete against the then dominant Spanish and Italian leagues.

    At the time the G14 group dictated much of European football policies and he got Arsenal admitted to that exclusive club and had himself appointed as Chairman to ensure we were at the forefront of any political moves.

    He also became a key figure in English football, being elected to various committees, much to the chagrin of the Manu and Chelsea Boards.

    Everything he did in that respect benefitted Arsenal, and no doubt he also enjoyed the personal prestige his ‘ambassadorial’ role gave him throughout world football.

    That much we know. The removal from his directorship at Arsenal is the subject of rumour, conjecture and innuendo.

    Disclaimer: I do not know DD or have any reason to like or dislike him for that very reason.
    I do have great respect for what he has achieved for Arsenal and English football as a whole.

  3. Morning all, the leadership issue just won’t go away it seems and every time we snatch a draw from the hands of victory it only reinforces the view that we lack a bit of backbone.
    Thanks for your take on this Radders, and from your earlier comments this could be your last post for a while. BTW, you lucky bugger, having a holiday home in Italy.
    Sad about Fizzy’s departure, not just for his family’s loss but a reminder to us all of our own mortality. At least his direct family and his “Arsenal family” will keep his memory alive and give thanks for the mark he left on us and our club.

  4. Conférencier says:

    Reason and football punditry are sadly not bedfellows.The “winners” argument in my opinion is merely an expression of a deep-seated frustration with Arsenal playing and persevering with an “un-British” style.

  5. john surrey says:

    Excellent post.

  6. mickydidit89 says:

    Great post Big Raddy, thank you.
    Very nice and well written last paragraph tribute to Danny Fiszman.
    Onto the Leadership question. Does your correct observation about our National Leaders possibly imply that there is a lack of oomph from above. In other words, how good a motivator is Arsene 2011? About a year ago I suggested that perhaps the solution lay not on the pitch but off it, and I thought unleashing a very hungry and cross Tony Adams into the dressing room might be what was required. I have not changed my mind.

  7. mickydidit89 says:

    Just to add to that, everyone will have noticed the change in Arsene’s posturing. All too often we see a man with his head in his hands and an increasingly furrowed brow. I do not believe his body language transmits the right message onto the pitch.

  8. Rasp says:

    Thanks for a persuasive and unarguable post Raddy.

    Yes we have a team full of players who are leaders in their national side – but do they perform as leaders for Arsenal?

    I totally agree with you on Cesc, he is the man to be Arsenal captain, but his injury problems and being asked to play when not fully fit have affected his performances.

    I think you only have to look back as far as the draw against Newcastle and the loss to totnum to see that there is an issue. We seem unable to dig in on occassion.

    It is the times when we are under pressure that you look to the ‘leaders’. I don’t have the answers but am increasingly suspecting that a lot of our problems stem from the ethos in training.

    This can only be a theory as I have no in-depth knowledge of what goes on in training. I get the feeling that we do not prepare well enough for negative scenarios – what to do when things aren’t going our way.

    I still think we are not getting maximum work rate out of some players and we do not address glaring problems forcefully enough.

  9. Red Arse says:


    I am not sure about unleashing an angry Tony Adams, but you are correct in saying the leadership issue must, in part, be solved off the pitch.

    The present Board needs to be restructured, and I am sure it will be. The death of Danny Fiszman and the likely absence of landlord Silent Stan leaves only Gazidis as the influential day to day focal point of authority, and he is not a ‘football’ man.

    We will need a new Director of Football very quickly, and it is to this director that Arsene will be accountable. Interesting times ahead!

  10. chas says:

    Thanks BR, hope you enjoy your sojourn en Italia.

    I’d like to see Thomas Vermaelen as our captain when he gets himself fit again. Urging the team on from the centre of the defence seems appropriate for the captain’s role to me.

    I like a captain to be vocal, though I’m not sure if PV4 was that loud, leading more by swashbuckling example.

  11. Carlito11 says:

    BR- thanks for the well-written and persuasive post. I liked Conférencier’s point about the media simply being unable to get over themselves and their dark ages knowledge of football!
    I will stick to my guns though and say that a bit more “shoutyness” would do no harm. A player with a jutting jaw and a 1000-yard stare for players to look to when belief starts to ebb and gain hope from. Jens is doing it a bit and I think TV and Sz both have a lot of those qualities…

  12. chas says:

    R.I.P. Danny Fiszman

  13. Carlito11 says:

    I’m not around much today- but I wanted to say a HUGE thank you to all those who made a donation yesterday for my skydive. Amazing generousity- I’m nearly at my target and nearly 50% of that amount was raised in sponsorship from you lot! Take a bow!

  14. Red Arse says:

    I do not really have any solutions to the leadership issues frankly, other than observations.

    Some of the best captains (leaders) are not the most gifted players, but always have a competetive, dominant personality.

    Tony Adams and John Terry for example have that, and although great players for their clubs they would not be listed as the most skillful players in Europe or the World during their eras.

    Other captains of clubs and countries are either appointed thru’ the ‘buggins turn’ principle or because they are the most technically skillful players and do not necessarily have that arrogant, competetive, never say die personality.

    How do you quantify something that is so subjective? I do not know, which is why I am only a poor fan and not a multi-millionaire manager! 🙂

  15. chas says:

    Only saw this this morning. 🙂

  16. It’s always safe to enjoy the plight of the hapless Spuds Chas. I just had a spud ask me if they could have Almunia on loan, LOL.

  17. chas says:

    Haha, chary.
    I don’t know any spuds.
    Is it rare to find one with a sense of humour?

  18. Smith14 says:

    On the leadership issue, I think there is more to it than shouting or scrapping, it’s also about embodying that rather Americanised term; the go to man. That’s what Cesc is. When he plays we tend to win, when he comes off the bench he tends to get results. When he’s out, we tend to fare less well.

    I also think that Wenger has developed a team with a group ethic which sometimes works against the need for one man to put his head above the crowd and make something happen. We therefore have fewer “go to men” than we would like.

    On the other hand, you could also argue that it’s not quite leadership but a general bravery in the squad. There is such a high expectation placed on the team that players are scared to go that extra yard or risk doing something special to drag us through. Our fans can be so quick to write a player off (Denilson, Diaby, Clichy, Bendtner – even going back to Baptista) why would they risk being the one who had a shot that didn’t go in when they know they are going to get stick?

    One of the most frustrating things at Arsenal is when the fans all scream “shoot” then grumble when the eventual shot flies over.

  19. Red Arse says:


    I have known a few in my time, but they always seem to have a chip on their shoulder, (bit like City fans with Manure) and their humour is usually scatological at our expense.

    Sad really because away from footie they are the same as you or I.

  20. Red Arse says:


    I am sure you are right. It is apparent to me, over the years, that players become more conservative in their approach when fans start the groans and jeers if someone tries something daring which does not work.

    Then we all get fed up with the careful (and sometimes not so careful) sideways and backwards passing. There is a place for that, of course, but we seem to have too much of it at the mo’!

  21. Chas/RedA, as many may know my main beef with opposition fans is with the manks, I’ve always hated them far more than the spuds, who I see as mere irritants and amusing ones at that.

  22. Red Arse says:

    Hi CharyB,

    I would never have known you had a thing about old scarlet hooter and his raving loonies!! 🙂

    (Makes them sound like a pop group)! 🙂

  23. Smith14 says:


    This is one of the reasons why I like Bendtner. Regardless of the stick he takes he still puts himself in dangerous positions and tries to make things happen. It’s easy to hide or pass to someone else.

  24. Red Arse says:


    Luckily Bendy’s confidence and sense of self believe makes him less likely to be swayed by the crowd.

    I am somewhat ambivalent about him tho’.

    I had such high hopes for him when I first saw him in the youth/reserve teams, and also when at Birmingham that I have been disappointed that he has not become the best thing since sliced bread in our first team. He has all the attributes of physique, skill and confidence!

    Playing him out of position on the wing, as I have often said, does not do him any favours either.

    If we let him go in the summer, it might come back to haunt us, because if he is played in the CF position and given a prolonged run he will be the business!

  25. Smith14 says:

    I agree with that completely. Wenger is sometimes too rigid with his 4-2-3-1. Bendtner would be best through the middle or as a 2 up front. He works hard out on the right but ends up making space or putting crosses in which, ideally, he should be on the end of.

    Obviously, RVP is a great first choice but, if it’s not working we need to switch it up a bit. Look at the WBA game; we went 2 up front and scored 2 in 25 minutes. Against Blackburn, we had more pressure in the last 5 minutes becasue we had 2 centre forwards on, albeit Bendtner was still on the right!

  26. Yeah, I kept that one quiet RedA. 🙂

  27. tommystout says:

    great post BR, i didnt realise we had so many captains in our ranks, so it is a fair question to ask about leadership.
    I have no doubt that Cesc is the best choice for captain, nobody else influences the side like he does.
    I think LJW will be the future captain (ManC – youre wasting your time.)
    As seen as charey has come clean, then so will i. No other fans or team winds me up more than the Mancs, i hate them with a passion. Our time is due, lets do it for Danny.

  28. Red Arse says:

    Hi Tommy, 🙂

    I cannot believe my ears (well my eyes really), you and CharyB the deadly duo! 🙂

    Watch out you Manckers, the Arsenal hit squad are after you! 🙂

  29. tommystout says:

    Afternoon RedA.
    Yes Charey and 1 seem to agree on some matters, though i draw the line on his love of Slayer. 🙂

  30. Funny you mention that RedA – I reckon there is a sizeable portion of Gooners who detest the manks above all others.
    I must say I just noticed something about last night’s spud humiliation – did anyone see the first(as there were many) dive of the match by a spud?
    Monkey boy went down like a sack of ‘em(spuds) without any contact from a Real defender.
    Now picture in your mind what would have been ITV’s reaction if, say, Chamakh had done that?
    Oh, we don’t have to picture it, we have the Eduardo witch hunt to think of, with one of last night’s commentators as witchfinder general, Andy Townsend.
    Conclusive proof that ITV love the spuds and hate Arsenal.
    To cap it all when Gomes juggled the ball into the net for the goal that completed their humiliation(5-0 aggregate loss, good going you mugs) the ITV editor showed the score in the top of the screen as 1-0 to Tottnumb.
    They can’t help but distort things to cosey up to Harry.

    “Great European nights at the lane” – Great nights ? My f***ing Arse !

  31. Red Arse says:

    CharyB, Tommy, 🙂

    Actually, surprise, surprise I have no love for that lot either, especially the bully personified, Old Red Snitch. It’s just that I do not have your wonderful, acerbic, adjectival purple prose CharyB. 🙂

    Don’t blame you re Slayer, Tommy! 🙂

    I lost count of the ludicrous Spud dives last night and sickened by the ‘I’ve seen them given’ comments about dives with no one within a yard of the Spud player concerned.

  32. kelsey says:

    I would rather put my energy into supporting Arsenal than hating Spurs.

    Leadership, what is the actual definition on the field ?

    We play as a unit and when it goes well, vision and understanding as to where a certain player maybe, or one player knowing beforehand when a pass is coming his way, is something we excel at, and that takes a certain quality in a player.

  33. Big Raddy says:

    Thanks for the kind comments.

    Leadership is obvious when you see it. Anyone who was there for PV4’s first game knew immediately that this was the player we had waited for – a born leader. Fact is, there just aren’t many and that is why there are far more sheep than lions.

    I would like to highlight my point about “winning mentality” and whether English Silverware is the key. Your opinions?

  34. That’s the thing Kelsey – one feeds off the other.

    I used to not join in the “Stand up if you hate Tottenham” thing on a match day preferring to think “I don’t care about Tottenham” but one day, I think while watching Brum Scum, I had an epiphany.

    Part of what binds Gooners together is our dislike of the Spuds, joining in with seemingly puerile things chants like “”Stand up if you hate Tottenham” and “The wanky Tottenham went to see the Pope, etc..” are one of the things that cement the tribalism of rooting for our team of choice.

    On the face of it this kind of behaviour does seem energy diverting but I believe it to be like The Force in respect of the Arsenal universe ”The force is what gives a jedi/gooner his strength, it’s an energy field surrounds us and binds us all together “ paraphrasing O-W Kenobi.

  35. Big Raddy says:

    kelsey. What about if we replace the word “hate” for dislike?

    I think the reason why so many AFC fans dislike MU more than Spurs is because so few of them have seen Spurs as direct rivals. They didn’t grow up in an era when the “Scum from the Lane” had any chance of finishing above us. Whereas those who were there to see Gazza and Lineker destroy us at Wembley (and numerous occasions prior) have reason to “hate” them.

    I respect MU for all they have achieved and for the way they play their football (until this season!). Spurs however, are rubbish, from their piss poor ground, to their piss poor kit, and their stupid skinny chicken, and their deluded fanbase, and their execrable manager, and the fact that their ground lies within the worst Borough in London – I could go on ……

  36. Big Raddy says:

    Chary – and “Sol Campbell has won the Double” – fine songs.

    Long live Obi-Won

  37. Carlito11 says:

    Great to have charybdis1966 back in full battle attack mode! 🙂
    BR- not sure that people always equate “winning mentality” with having won English Silverware- I recall many meeja comments about Chelsea buying “experience and a winning mentality” when they bought Ballack, and the same goes for ManUre buying Blanc and loaning Larsson. In general though, EPL clubs haven’t bought too many experienced winners (at club level) from other leagues so there is a relationship between winners and English prizes that I can see being valid.

  38. chas says:

    Love this version of that terrible dirge the spuds sing..

  39. kelsey says:

    I can accept that BR/chary.dislike indeed.

    I never stood with the masses that chanted and though I find it mildly amusing nowadays it has got completely vulgar, though how they think up some of those chants is beyond me.

  40. Red Arse says:


    Football is just like life in miniature (if that makes any sense at all). 🙂

    For example, I played Bridge with my partner the other night, and between us having made more than the odd horlicks in our ‘bidding’, we lost. I was really put out and wanted to analyse where we went wrong so that we could improve the next time.

    My partner laughed and said ‘it’s just a game’, and that was the end of that.

    I admit I am competetive and I always want to win. Would I make a good leader? Who knows?
    My partner is a much nicer person than me and has loads of friends who would do anything for her.

    Does that make her a leader? Again, who knows?

    It is impossible to make any objective assessment until the moment for leadership arises.

    You are right about Paddy, he did have that indefinable ‘something’ about him, but if you had met before that first match you would probably not have been able to tell.

    I said earlier, I have no solutions regarding leadership; you just have to suck it and see! 🙂

  41. Big Raddy says:

    RA. True. Until one is in the heat of battle one never knows.

    Carlito. IMO there is too much emphasis put on the need for a player to have won an English trophy, these players are all winners – it is what has got them to play for the Arsenal.

    Kelsey. I love the banter and the vulgarity 😉

    There is a song which uses the C word and I refused to sing it for years. Now I sing it with gusto which goes to show how living abroad diminishes one’s standards!!

  42. kelsey says:

    speak for yourself BR 😉

  43. Wonderman says:

    Great Post BR,

    I Believe a leader in football terms is the player on the pitch who most closely mirrors/understands/represents the managers philosophy. That being the case then Cesc probably fits the bill for Wenger. But!!!! I sense something in Wilshere is what we need. A massive will to win, spikey, talented, rock hard, respector of no one. I dont believe you can win the English Premier League without spite and malice.In that respect I believe we have too many nice guys who just want to play football and be allowed too, a legacy of Henry I suspect.When I think back to the attitude of Lauren, Keown, Vieira, Petit and Berkhamp they were players who were in my opinion were as willing to fight the opposition as play them off the park. A leader must put an arm round when necessary because he knows what motivates the player concerned but at the same time be prepared to bollock whoever requires it when they dont do their jobs

  44. Red Arse says:


    Before I get back to earning some dosh, can I tell you something that you will no doubt already know and which I have personally experienced.

    In one of the large companies where I worked, we were gathered for some ‘training’.

    It comprised about 20 managers from various disciplines, all of whom had at least 50 subordinates reporting to them.

    We were split into 2 groups and given a task to complete, the winners being the team who completed the task fastest.

    Both teams made a total, horrendous balls up and did not come close to complete the task.

    Why? Well we were all managers and we all had our own ideas on how to do the work and we all expected to ‘lead’ the process. We squabbled, and sulked and were incapable of working as a team.

    So when I hear Arsene and others saying ‘all my players are leaders’ I shudder because if it is the case, (and I doubt it) all I can say is we are fooked!

    Every team needs a leader, a planner, a water carrier and so on. You can only have one overall leader, who delegates ‘work’ to the appropriate team member.

    So, if Arsene is right, too many leaders spoiling the broth? (to mix metaphors) 🙂

  45. Yeah Carlito, I do like a good rant/mini-rant, I always feel better for it afterwards. 🙂

    The thing is the words on their own aren’t especially illuminating or peptic, but it’s the taking part in the communal “saying” of them that creates the solidarity amongst gooners. It allows our individuality to be temporarily subsumed in a greater whole – that of the Arsenal fans. That’s my theory anyway.

  46. Red Arse says:


    Now I would like to see a ‘peptic’ word or chant! 🙂

  47. dandan says:

    Nice going Raddy, will read the posts and maybe add to later. In the meantime you may find this intersting.


  48. Evonne says:

    BR – how about a slightly different spin on captaincy?

    It might be that so many of Arsenal players are captains of their respective national teams, because they play in England, because they are in PL, best league in the world and because they are employees of Arsenal – one of the best (IMO best) clubs in the world. Those facts in themselves earn players some respect. Also, they earn sh*tloads of money, which amongst young men is a very respectful valour. To add to this theory, they share the same language, culture, background as the rest of the national team.

    Are the captaincy skills transferable? Some, but not all. I know that Arshavin was the Russian captain before he joined Arsenal, but it was just him out of 5.
    Kind regards
    Your friend

  49. Red Arse says:


    Joking aside, the feeling of solidarity you describe is as old as mankind, especially in a ‘warlike’ environment.

    The old armies of King Henry, when beating up the French, used to yell ‘for England and Harry’; Red Indians, when charging the US Cavalry, would whoop and yell ‘save the fat one for me’; while the Japanese in WW2 would yell ‘banzai’ when attacking US Marines etc.

    You are in good company! 🙂

  50. There is that side to it too RedA, but what I was driving at was the immersion of the individual in the greater whole, the resulting loss of individuality is liberating, albeit temporary. Again, I think it may just be me, but you can relate it to when you see a band live and the singer and the crowd respond as two people having an exchange, rather than one person and a crowd made up of disparate individuals.

  51. Big Raddy says:

    RA. As I tell my wife ” A ship can only have one Captain”. which may be the root cause of my chequered marital history!

  52. Carlito11 says:

    Chary- I love your “theory” and subscribe wholly to it. “It allows our individuality to be temporarily subsumed in a greater whole” – the rave era did exactly the same thing and the only thing that comes close for me now is when the Grove is in full voice like the Barcelona and Everton games this season.

  53. Yeah, you live for moments like that Carlito, I was at the Everton game and the blast of noise/energy that came from behind me (when Kozzer scored) as I swayed in the north bank lower tier was as good as any array of marshall amps stacked up like slabs from Stonehenge.

  54. mickydidit89 says:

    I love your rants. Just curious but are you one of the quarter of a million who put “Klingon” as their religion on those National Census Forms?

  55. Carlito11 says:

    Micky 😀 I actually put Arsenal down my religion this time. If anyone’s tracking religious conversions they’ll be bewildered by my track record having been “CofE” in 1991 when my Dad filled it in, and “Jedi” in 2001…

  56. Thanks MDi89
    and Carlito – I flit between Klingon and Jedi to be fair.
    I think in Australia Jedi has enough followers for it to be recognised as an official faith.

  57. mickydidit89 says:

    I thought “chippy” was no.1 down under and I am making no reference to Mr Brady.

  58. mickydidit89 says:

    Carlito/Chary 🙂

  59. mickydidit89 says:

    Nobody took the slightest bit of notice early to my comment about Arsene’s dreadful body language. To me, when we need him at his war-crying combatative best, his demeanor says confused and lost.

  60. mickydidit89 says:

    I can’t think, can’t spell and can’t write.
    Back to work.

  61. Carlito11 says:

    Hard to criticise the manager for reflecting the way we’ve all been feeling of late Micky- but I think that all the “Psychology” he used when he started with us is long gone as he’s become so personally involved with the team.
    Btw- Just read that ‘Arry was a gooner as a kid and wanted to manage Arsenal! http://fourfourtwo.com/news/england/76935/default.aspx
    No chance now eh?

  62. Big Raddy says:

    I think his body language is that of a deeply frustrated man and understandably so.

    I expect he trains them week after week to respond to a situation in a particular way and then come gametime they forget. And he must bemoan his luck – how many times have we hit the woodwork, or had a wrong decision affect the game, or a single shot from the opposition rockets into the top corner, or their GK has a stormer. I too would be tearing my hair out (if I had any)

  63. Red Arse says:


    ‘Arry used to be seen regularly on the ‘North Bank, Highbury’ when he was younger, and even when he played as a yoof for Wham.

    I believe he also used to take the young Jamie there too. My dad said, so it must be right! 🙂

    Raddy, I agree. Arsene is somewhat introverted and bottles it all up. Not doing him any good tho’.

    Like most introverted people, when they eventually explode, they really can be volcanic.

  64. dandan says:

    Had anyone thought that Dani Fiszman may have been very close to Arsene working with him over the years perhaps his demeanor has something to do his friends passing, no Danni, No DD he may feel a bit exposed.

  65. Red Arse says:

    Just as an after thought, but, heaven forfend, what do you reckon would happen if Kroenke ‘fell under a bus’ tomorrow?

    Would his family (estate) sell his Arsenal shares toute de suite? Just curious as to your views.

  66. Carlito11 says:

    Vermaelen back in full training but “not match fit” Good news eh? Almunia doubtful and Sagna probably the only big miss if JD and Sz come through training 🙂

  67. dandan says:

    Managers and Leaders are they the same thing RA? Managers are appointed by the company for many different reasons, whereas leader’s are generally appointed by the men they lead. Your leadership course experience is not uncommon in that corporate scenario wherein everyone was already a manager who felt he had to prove he was better than the other guys,

    Leaders however emerge as the power of their personality, empathy and skills are recognised by their peers. Tony Adams was a personality leader aggressive and committed, Dennis Berghamp,s skills are still talked of with awe by his teammates whenever his name comes up. Sure he had a nasty streak as does RvP in the current side, probably only his poor fitness record has stopped him from joining the list of leaders you have already put forward.
    Young Jack’s a certainty for the future as is Chesney, So your list grows, Vermaelen for now I agree is the perfect foil for Cesc and his skills.
    But in my humble opinion we do not lack leaders just the little bit of luck that will make our present team winners, which is I believe the missing ingredient that will transform AW youth scheme into a force to be feared and admired. Many of them have won as juniors but need that first prize to feel the real deal. Chesney’s mistake at Wembley has delayed that for a bit, but not I suspect for long, at the same time his getting over that will do his reputation with his mates no harm either.

  68. Evonne says:

    Dandan and Red Arse – in a way you are both right. A leader can posses managerial skills and I have known some excellent managers who were also formidable leaders. They are not mutually exclusive set of skills, but complimentary.

    In my opinion we don’t have a true leader on the pitch. RVP comes closest and Jack is a good material, that’s about it. Szczesny and Vermaelen – who knows, we hardly had a chance to get to know them

  69. Big Raddy says:

    In my opinion Cesc is a Leader, and becoming a better one with maturity.

  70. Evonne says:

    BR – maybe, I love Cesc and have high hopes for him. If he enjoys the role, than he is more likely to stay with us, as there is fat chance of him becoming a skipper in Barcelona

  71. Big Raddy says:

    I think he will Captain Spain. And according to the press he will be going to Real Madrid (as if ….)

  72. Evonne says:

    BR – you are in a good mood before your holidays, cracking jokes like that 🙂

  73. Red Arse says:


    Good question, ‘are managers and leaders the same thing?’

    Well going back some years to my own ‘job description — skills and attributes’ (as defined by Human Remains — sorry Human resources) was as follows; ‘this position requires leadership skills, which is a critical managerial requirement, and the ability to motivate a group of people toward a common goal’.

    So in brief I would answer, yes, that one noun (manager) is synomynous with the other (leader).

    A leader, (manager) can, of course, arise from a disparate, perhaps disorganised peer group, and take control (leadership) by dint of personality.
    But leaders (captains) are not elected by team mates but appointed by their Coaches, because of their perceived leadership qualities, in much the same way that a company hierarchy appoints a manager for his perceived (leadership) skills.

    Anyway, I’m afraid you might have misunderstood the context in which I mentioned that training experience.

    I started by recounting the comment by Arsene that his team was full of leaders (captains), and my story showed that having a team composed only of managers/leaders (captains) was a recipe for disaster.

    An effective team has to be the sum of many different parts. (A leader, a water carrier, a creator, a go for, etc).

    Hope we haven’t fallen out again Dandan, but that is an honest reply to your question.

  74. dandan says:

    Evonne of course some managers are also good leaders and many leaders become good managers in time, the point is that neither skill set is exclusive. In football terms the manager we are discussing is the Captain he is not necessarily the best leader, but there is no reason he shouldnt be.

  75. Evonne says:

    Dandan – agreed.

  76. RockyLives says:

    Excellent piece BR.
    I’ll admit to being confused by the whole thing. My gut feeling is that we sometimes capitulate too easily when we’re pushed on the back foot (Newcastle, Spuds). It’s hard to quantify what’s missing in those circumstances – I suppose a willingness to put your body on the line to ensure you don’t throw away the points. Sometimes our lot seem to get despondent rather than defiant.

    But then, I do think Cesc has good leadership qualities; although we’ve had some disappointments our league position is good etc etc. Maybe we just overthink it too much.

    As for the ‘English silverware’ thing – I’m sorry BR but I don’t buy that. I think most British footy pundits would cite the likes of Parker, Nolan and Cahill as having leadership qualities even though they’re not exactly dripping with silverware.

    Btw – where in Italy are you going to?

  77. Big Raddy says:

    RL. A tiny village in the Nervia valley in Liguria close to the French border. Nearest town Dolce Acqua or Ventimiglia

    I don’t buy the silverware thing either. Nor do I buy our lack of Leaders, what we lack is calm under pressure and as you said in your post yesterday – a good kick up the arris

  78. RockyLives says:

    I spend a lot of time at other end of Italy, in Puglia. Brilliant country.

    I’m glad you picked up on the word ‘Arris’? Do you know where it comes from? (A clue: it’s a rather tortuous rhyming slang thing).

  79. dandan says:

    No way have I fallen out with you RA, however you say that captains/managers are not elected by there team mates in many cases though not all they are.
    Watch any team in action and it soon becomes apparent which member is looked to for advice/leadership. Now although the most skilled programmer/accountant/salesman is often the man promoted by less competent managers, they may not only not be promoting the best manager but weakening the team by so doing.
    Watch as I said the team in action and you will see that they will delegate authority and look for advice from their chosen leader. Promote that man and you will get a manager who has the approval and backing of the team that wants him to succeed and in all probability a set of managerial skills learnt, so to speak on the job.

  80. RockyLives says:

    OK – here’s the answer:
    Arris is short for Aristotle.
    Aristotle is short for Bottle.
    Bottle and Glass is cockney rhyming slang for arse.
    So… a kick up the arris = a kick up the arse (doubly effective because of the similarity in the two sounds – it meant you could say and mean ‘arse’ without actually saying ‘arse’).

  81. RockyLives says:

    *That should have been: “Aristotle is rhyming slang for Bottle.”

  82. Evonne says:

    The winning mentality – I seem to remember Spurs buying a guy from Holland, black fellow with glasses, sorry cannot remember his name. He was brought in because of his ‘winning mentality’. Glad to report it got them nowhere

    BR – next week I am going to a place similar to your Italian village. It is in West Ireland, house overlooking a huge lake, 20 min to a sandy beach, no neighbours, just sheep and nearest shop some 2 miles away, lovely.

  83. dandan says:

    Evonne my Rod and gear are packed, that lake is probably stuffed with big black bream, is the spare bed taken. Must be a pub near where I can buy us dinner after a day filling my keep net.
    PS the wife likes fishing too can she come 🙂

  84. Big Raddy says:

    RL. Excellent. I assumed it was a WW1 expression.

    Evonne. I hope you have some night time company 😉

  85. Big Raddy says:

    Is “filling my keep net” more Rhyming slang? Is it naughty??

  86. Evonne says:

    Dandan – I love fishing, especially sea fishing. It is my almost-ex-husband’s cottage, it is empty for 10months a year, shall I ask?
    BR – I am not ‘that’ way inclined. I am a good Catholic girl 🙂

  87. dandan says:

    No BR but it is definitely fishy.

    Evonne Anne and I love fishing in the south of Ireland we normally take a bungalow up around Shannon bridge or hire a narrow boat and head for Lock Ern.

  88. Big Raddy says:

    DD. Sounds just fantastic.

  89. dandan says:

    BR are you Piscatorially inclined

  90. kelsey says:

    All sounds a bit fishy to me 🙂

  91. kelsey says:

    Actually quite a lot of guys go fishing every night around Puerto Banus, and usually get a catch.(so they tell me)

  92. Red Arse says:

    OK Dandan, I understand.

    Rocky, you mean I should change my nom de plume to Red_Bottle_and_Glass! 🙂

    I might adopt that!

  93. Red Arse says:

    Hi Kelsey, 🙂

    Whenever I have been to Puerto Banus the fish team around the boats in the harbour.

    A few bread crumbs and they will practically eat out of your hand.

    Bit mean to catch them and scoff them! 🙂

  94. Evonne says:

    Dandan – the cottage is by Lough Mask, plenty of fish and German tourists, but nowhere near the cottage

    The downside is that nobody there cares about Arsenal!!! It is difficult to get the results on a matchday

  95. mickydidit89 says:

    Brown trout fishing is where its at. Fly, naturally.

  96. kelsey says:

    Red Arse,,
    Must be a different Puerto Banus 😉

  97. mickydidit89 says:

    I spent the whole of that horrible night in Paris with three Irish Gunners from the west coast. Lots of them from Ireland. Back to the 70’s when we had one or two Irishmen in the team.

  98. Red Arse says:

    Actually, Kelsey, just kidding. 🙂

    They do not permit fishing within the harbour.

    The fish are attracted by all the goodies thrown to them from bits left over from all the restaurants around the harbour, so it’s a bit like a fish nursery.

    Umm, if no one else does it, don’t tell them I feed them when I am there, they might lock me up! 🙂

  99. Red Arse says:


    You don’t happen to own a winery in Ventimiglia do you? I might try and rent a couple of weeks off you, if so! 🙂

  100. mickydidit89 says:

    What is the Ristorante Rio Del Mulino like?

  101. mickydidit89 says:


  102. SharkeySure says:

    Great post Raddy, cracking way to say arrivederci !!

  103. SharkeySure says:

    MIDI – your comment about Arsene’s posture when things are not going well is so so so true.

    Thats the time when he really should be barking out the instructions and making changes. Letting his team know that all is not lost !!

    Its Ok to let the players go out and play naturally, but when they fail to come up with the right answers, then someone has to give them direction.

    We can’t just keep blaming Pat Rice ..or can we??

  104. Evonne says:

    Micky – hm, interesting; I will investigate that. Mind you, I can barely understand them. I was told that the mass is half in English and half in Gaelic. I went and could swear that it was ALL in some strange language 🙂

  105. Big Raddy says:

    Micky. I have never been! Eaten a few times at the Hotel Lago Bin a km up the road. I may give it a try this hols – been to most of the local restaurants and it is always good to try somewhere new.

    This is where I took my wife on our first date. The food was great but the view and place even better ….


    It is a couple of kms from my house ….

  106. Big Raddy says:

    Anyway. I wish you all a super Easter and Royal Wedding. And if we don’t beat Spurs, It’s your fault!!

    Up the Gunners


  107. SharkeySure says:

    Bon voyage Radders

  108. goonermichael says:

    Great post Raddy. I haven’t read all the comments so I may be repeating but Cesc has won the WC and they don’t come any bigger than that.

  109. Gooner in Exile says:

    Evening all, hell of a day just read post which was excellent as always.

    And all comments….seems like lots of fun to be had.

    Personally i think it’s all too easy to cast weak defence, no leaders, no experience criticisms at our squad. Afterall Chelsea is strong defence, experience, leaders everywhere and lots of winners. They’ll win bugger all this year so what makes everyone so sure we would fair any better with these missing ingredients?

    Should we go buy Bowyer and Ferguson from Brum because they won the CC?

    Ive seen so many comments from the “must buy” lobby ranging from need British, need winners, need Eden Hazard there is no one area anyone can agree on, except stick with this squad and hope they can see when they are going to need to roll their sleeves up and prepare to fight (Spurs HT, and Newcastle HT). However on Sunday agsinst Bpool we did weather the onslaught so maybe they are learning?

    Carlito : “the rave era did exactly the same thing and the only thing that comes close for me now is when the Grove is in full voice”

    I have said this to my wife so many times….so true.

  110. skwam says:

    5 Captains….Arshavin…have you heard what his own team mates say about in the Russian side abt captaincy?
    Rosicky, a captain in his national side but way down the packing order in arsenal
    Ramsey….captained a single match, but well done still. Good a player as he is, do we expect Ramsey to marshal his team mates out of the doldrums v a determined physical side. I suspect he will be working on his own perfomance.
    Nasri is another very good player, but again he is at the stage of his career where he concentrates on his performance
    The issue of captaincy is very dynamic…
    1) not giving up is ONE
    2) showing you care and will fight for the CAUSE
    3) keeping your nerve and FOCUS
    4) communicating by being an example and ORGANISING
    and being seen as the guy with answers to questions
    as a match progresses

    Most of Arsenals players are YOUNG. Literally, maturity goes a long way in dealing with situations, controlling tempo and tempers. This is what Arsenal unfortunately loses in place of pace around the pitch.
    Dealing with the more mature sides with quality has therefore been a thorn year in year out…the Drogbas and Giggs…these players arent only quality but are experienced. Giggs for all the quality he has shown could not have captained Man U at 23 because he had other QUALITY players that were older. As much Cesc couldnt have been captain ahead of more than half the older players in the invincibles side.
    The good news is that they are going through trials and tribulations together and we’ll realise that we will have a handful of national captains at the top of their game in a few years time, Fabregas, Nasri, Wilshire, Ramsey, Song, Vermaleen etc but right now they are having to compete with very experienced players who have learnt to hold their nerve through the lesson of experience…they’ll do jus fine, if they remain the unit they are

  111. mickydidit89 says:

    Have a great holiday BigRaddy.
    Morning workers.

  112. mickydidit89 says:

    Am I lost in a vortex. Silent here, and my email inbox is spookily quiet as well.

  113. Evonne says:


  114. mickydidit89 says:


  115. Evonne says:

    another bad hair day 😦

    Is it your post today, Micky?

  116. mickydidit89 says:

    No, you have a cracker from Peaches. I’m off now. Back around lunchtime.

  117. Evonne says:

    see you Micky

  118. Morning all

    New Post

  119. stats4u says:

    but how about Scott Parker? Would his attitude have made a difference?

    Can you say how much the difference Scott Parker make in West Ham? What about relegation? Do you want this difference?

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