Is it right to push for Wenger’s departure?

Written by TotalArsenal

Your dreams are china in your hand…………………..

‘Don’t push too far your dreams are china in your hand’. The lyrics of this well-known, and somewhat tacky song by T’pau in 1987, came to my mind when I read recent comments regarding Arsène Wenger’s position on a variety of Arsenal websites. The song is (roughly) based on what happened to Mary Shelley after she published her world-famous book ‘Frankenstein’. Her enormous success created dissent and jealousy in her marriage and friendship, and in a way, she created her own monster. Are we perhaps pushing our Arsenal dream of winning major titles and being a world force in football too far at the moment?

It seems we have arrived at a crossroads. Most if not all of us, expect Arsenal too push harder for trophies and are not happy with our achievements in recent years. Quite a few are even calling for Arsène’s head as they are unhappy about his recent decisions on players he bought and/or nurtured, his (lack of) tactical nous at times, his chosen style of football etc, etc. However, there are also still a lot of supporters who would like to give Arsene at least another year, and there are even still a few who passionately argue that he has done very well, given the budgetary restraints since we moved to the Emirates, and that there is no problem at all.

Should we aim to push Wenger out, so we can give our desperate dream of winning major trophies another and different impetus? Or, should we be a bit more content with what we have achieved, and trust a man with a great vision to finally deliver the silverware? And, is there a risk we could push too far and too hard and as a result shatter the china once and for all?

What would be the benefits of Arsène Wenger leaving?

  • The biggest initial benefit would be that scintillating feeling of a new beginning, of renewed hope. It has been a frustrating few years for most Arsenal fans, caused for a big part by our incredibly high expectations. More and more of us are complaining about the annual ‘Déjà vu’ syndrome. Recent seasons have shown a similar pattern towards the final months: during the course of a few weeks we lose out on all the trophies, and everybody gets depressed again. A new manager, with a few new signings and a few departures would, at least for the time being, fill our hearts with hope again.
  • There would probably be fewer arguments, over time, between the pro-Wenger and anti-Wenger brigades: so maybe a bit more harmony between the fans.
  • Success cannot be bought automatically, but by recruiting the likes of Guardiola, Mourinho, or Rijkaard our chances of winning trophies would probably increase, although there are no guarantees! And, if we were to attract these kinds of top managers, would the club be prepared/capable to give them the large sums of money they require in order to deliver the coveted trophies?

What would be the risks of Arsène Wenger leaving?

  • The biggest risk is that whoever becomes the new manager, does not achieve instant success and we do not qualify for the Champions League in 2012-2013 and, possibly, beyond. Wenger, despite significantly increased competition over recent years, has been a safe pair of hands in keeping us in the CL. As we all know, this is of vital importance both for our finances as well as our ability to hold on to, and recruit, the best players.
  • Key players could decide they want to leave when Wenger leaves (to join him at his new club, or just leave).
  • We could become pragmatic and result-orientated and our style of football is sacrificed as a result (ok, I am being subjective here, but I am quite sure this will matter to a lot gooners).
  • We could become one of the many clubs who keep changing their manager every 1-3 years because it is just not working out (look at Real Madrid, Liverpool, Chelsea, Bayern Munich, Milan, Inter etc etc).
  • As a result, we could even become a mid-table team who cannot get into the top-4 anymore for a long, long time.

This simple, and quickly produced, and I am sure by no means complete, benefits and risks analysis shows there are simply no guarantees that either Arsene Wenger’s staying or leaving will lead to trophies. In my view, the risks are higher than the benefits, but that does not mean we should not opt for change. We could take the risk just to make us feel better, and push our dream to the limit: all or nothing? But be aware, that if the dream gets shattered it could take a long, long time before we will be up there again. We could be on our way to producing our own ‘monster’.

Or we could stick with what we have and give Arsène Wenger one more chance, back off a bit, and let him complete his mission. Nobody puts more pressure on Arsène then he does himself, and recent adversity will only help him to focus on what needs changing to make the final step to success. Personal growth, managerial achievements and trophies for the club do not only depend on the manager’s ability to develop a vision, to lead and to dominate (which Arsène has in abundance), but occasional doubt, humility and willingness to make changes are just as important.

I am absolutely convinced that, after a short period of reflection and consultation with key people inside our club, he will make significant changes this summer.

A few weeks ago, I was adamant that Arsène should go: that it was time for change. Having thought hard and long about it, I now believe we should wholeheartedly give him another crack at the whip.

TotalArsenal.

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218 Responses to Is it right to push for Wenger’s departure?

  1. goonermichael says:

    Great post TA

  2. goonermichael says:

    There are tickets available to red members for the Villa game. Sorry state of affairs really. I’m with you on giving him 1 more season. But this really is last chance.

  3. Rasp says:

    Morning,

    Terrific maiden post TA – thanks.

    I am firmly in the ‘give Arsène one more summer camp’…… just the same as I was in 2009 and 2010 🙄

    I was wrong before. I am certain in my own mind that up until now, his actions have been dictated by the financial constraints we all know about and therefore my impatience in previous seasons has been based on a false premise.

    However, most of the flats have been sold, we are managing the debt and we have a new owner. So I do expect changes, and I want AW to be the instigator of those changes.

  4. Hey, hey TA – an eloquent expression of the quandary we face plus great to see another author for AA so that the regular contributers (or in my case “washed-up” contributor) can take a breather.
    I’m in the camp that says unless he shows a marked change in his usual transfer policy and addresses our defensive weaknesses it’s probably worth the gamble in bringing in a fresh face.

  5. Red Arse says:

    Morning TotalA, 🙂

    A terrific debut Post, neatly setting out the pros and cons of change in a very balanced and intelligent manner. Ace! 🙂

    Told you this was a great site and now you are improving it! 🙂

  6. Rasp says:

    Morning chary,

    The main change I want to see come this summer is a change in our style of play brought about by the acquisition of some more powerful players and an emphasis in training on the basics of defending and attacking at pace with width. This focus on clever possession has been our downfall.

  7. Hi Raspers, I’d say we also need pace on the flanks with wingers who can cross well. Obviously Theo has pace but I feel he should be played off/slightly behind an out and out selfish striker through the middle.

    This pace out wide should encourage our build up play to be capable of speed when required(I’m not saying a version of “push and run”) and prevent this turgid, laboured, pedestrian speed of our approach play.

    I know, I’m wishing for everything.

  8. Rasp says:

    I agree chary. The issue of why we seem to be so fragile in our ‘belief’ and surrender winning positions is not so easy to solve, some new faces may be the only answer to that.

  9. nigel hisham says:

    AW to stay BUT he must change and stop being trifty and stubborn…no more buying nursery kids…tis time to break the bank and go for 2 world class players..enuff…

  10. john surrey says:

    Be careful what you wish for !! Forget Guardiola, Mourinho etc, they would never come to Arsenal as they would never get an open cheque book. In any event, who says they are better. Why on earth we should want to throw away one of the best there is amazes me. We dont seem to realise that we are well off.

  11. Carlito11 says:

    Bloody hell TotalArsenal! What a cracking post- neatly dealing with most of the key arguments in one go. I am with you completely that it is paramount that the management team change their way of doing things rather than changing the management team itself.
    Love the literary references to Shelley and even T’pau (god I hated that song at the time!). Lovely bit of writing… 🙂

  12. Rasp says:

    Welcome john surrey,

    I hope you realise you are in agreement with the conclusion of author.

  13. yengi alex says:

    wenger should go now, he is a grear man , he has done alot for the team,when he over stay instead he will spoil his reputation he impress me to become arsenal supporter,

  14. chas says:

    Excellent post, TA.

    Power, thrust and intensity are what we need. 🙂

    I’m not sure Arsene has it in him to change tack significantly. We can but hope.

    Unfortunately, I won’t be attending the Villa game due to other commitments. I believe the “march” is setting off from the Cannons bar in Blackstock Road, not too far from the Tavern. So it’ll be interesting to find out from AA on Monday what happened. I know it’s about a large number of issues but can’t help thinking it’ll turn into a Wenger out demo.

  15. Carlito11 says:

    @Rasp 9:47 I could not agree more. Argument in nutshell put! Nail on head hit! I need to see power play and sound defensive arts practised… it doesn’t feel like my club without them 😦

  16. yengi alex says:

    wenger should leave now, he is great man i love all what he haa done to team, his lack of sliver wire for 6years shows that he need to rest in that position.

    there is now any complain to let containue for another year

    Thanks

  17. Carlito, as you can probably guess T’Pau is clearly not my sort of music but I seemed to recall Carol Decker was quite yummy for a ginger and as is my wont I’ll throw in a non sequiter by saying that the group took their name form a character from the original Star Trek.

    The episode was Amok Time and the character was Spock’s intended wife T’Pau.

  18. TotalArsenal says:

    Morning to all,

    Many thanks for compliments re today’s post. As you can see I am not a champion of brevity but hope it will lead to a good debate today.

  19. Browny says:

    Desperately want to see AW suceed and I don’t think there is a better option out there at present but, while I would currently stick with him it doesn’t mean I am not exceedingly disappointed with him and the board. Maybe we are still under financial constraints but for the last 2 seasons I do not myself believe that is the case. I get the feeling that AW likes to be surrounded by yes men who do not question his reasoning and for me that is dangerous and egotistical. The apparent stubborness to do the opposite to what everyone else is saying he should do is also a damaging quality. I would not crucify him if he held up his hands and said he got a lot wrong (as well as a lot right) and that maybe other peoples assessment of the squad had been more accurate in some ways. I would applaud him for it because it would get it out of the way and give us this fresh startwe need and we could all move forward. It would be like having that new manager. I do not believe his project is a failure. I think his youth development project is an unbelievable success that only he could have achieved for us, but I also believe he expected a fraction too much from it and has not applied common sense and pragmatism when needed. His apparent desperation to develop a trophy winning squad almost exclusively from the youth project is not achievable, and also his excessive loyalty in hanging on to players not quite good enough, rather than having that slight ruthlessness and letting them go while bringing in an better option are the 2 big issues. He should look to his peers for his deficiencies. I read that Ferguson has omitted Obertan from his squad since Feb and that he is on his way after just 2 years. That is a pragmatic approach and an admission that he overestimated the player. No messing about at the expense of Utd’s results, just let him go bring in better and all move on. AW would probably give that player 4-5 years. Also look at Barca with their famed academy. Even they realise that they need to buy in players and it cannot all come through the academy. I feel we should look for the academy to provide us with 70-80% of the squad and then you have to buy (big if necessary) the same as Barca do. If he takes a more practical approach like Fergie and Barca while not abandoning his philosophy he will win us trophies again.

  20. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi John Surrey,

    You are absolutely right: be careful what you wish for. However, it is a human characteristic to deal with a feeling of discontent by shopping for something new (what would capitalism be without it). I do understand why some fans would like to see a change of manager, but just do not agree with them (for now).

  21. Morning all

    Fantastic post TotalArsenal – I don’t want Arsene to go but I do want him to see that some changes need to be made – if he acknowledges the shortfalls of this season and can rectify them then hopefully we can step up next season …… for the whole season, because we were very close really weren’t we.

    Browny – great comment, I can’t disagree with any of that.Arsene needs to be a bit more ruthless I feel.

  22. Peachy, the problem is Wenger is trying to be a father to the players while he should be more like a boss.

  23. Gooner in Exile says:

    Morning all.

    Cracking read TA, a very balanced piece which puts our position in clarity.

    George Graham has often said that when he was manager Peter Hill Wood would tell him to make sure there was a piece of silverware on the table come the AGM to keep the fans happy.

    I wonder if PHW asks the same of Wenger, I would assume not, well not now anyway, when David Dein brought him to the club they probably gave him two seasons to put silverware on the table before he would’ve been shown the exit. He achieved that and so much more, he showed loyalty to the club when he could have walked away (after the Invincibles, before and since the stadium move). He has tried to build within the confines of the spending allowed by the Board. You only have to look at the Accounts to realise there has not been oodles of cash lying around the place to spend on new players and he kept us in the Top 4.

    Some will say the Top 4 is overhyped that it is not success, tell that to Man City fans, or Liverpool or Spuds fans they want it badly. Man City spent well over £150million in two years to achieve what we have achieved with ease for the last few years.

    As I always say there are at least four teams capable of winning the PL every year, once they have, they come back again next year so you have the same 1 in 4 chance. CL could be won by maybe 7 or 8 teams.

    As long as we are competitive I will be happy, if we win something I will be ecstatic. To treat a major trophy as an expectation is very alien to me, it can only ever be a hope.

  24. TotalArsenal says:

    Browny,

    I agree with most of what you write. Especially, your point with regards to combining young, talented players with a few experienced ones. I makes perfect sense.

    At the end you refer to MU and Barca (both teams we managed to beat at the Emirates this season) as in making better decision than us at the moment, but they are currently at the very top of the pyramid. You could also make a comparison with almost any other established top club in Europe and you’ll see we are not doing so much worse than them.

  25. haider says:

    Mr. wenger is running his empire alone.for once he has to get his head right in listening to all.so his head would saved.

  26. hal says:

    I dont disagree with your conclusion (ie that WEnger should stay, but only if he bucks up his ideas). However,I take major issue with your four points. There is a lot of scaremongering going on about what might happen if Wemnger leaves, and you have hinted at most of them. I would therfore make the following points in relation to your four ‘Risks’

    1. Of course the new manager could finish outside the top 4. But truthfully, we are heading that way under Aresne anyway if he does not change his ideas. This is the second year in a row where we have supposedly been challenging for the title one day, only to go to the last day of the season wondering if we will finish 3rd. Our collapses are beyond anyting I have seen consistently at any other club, and there is every chance that, under Arsene, next year this seemingly terminal inability to get results when it counts may start earlier in the seanon. It could be argued that surely it is time for Arsene go to when the club is in a reasonably healthy position – in the champions league – rather than have a new man deal with all teh problems of replacing such a legendry figure AND restoring a club which has fallen outside of the top 4.

    2. This is the red herring of all red herrings. Chelseas players did not all follow Mourhino. Fergusons will not all seek pastures new when he leaves. unless Arsene has done something evil behind the scenes and turned a mighty sporting institution into a minnow (and if he has, he should have been fired years ago), there is no danger in this. In any case, a much-needed change in the pay structure (pay stars like stars and kids like kids) would swiftly dispel any of these dangers.

    3. Terribe point. when you say ‘become result oriented’ – isnt that what football is about. And the mighty Arsenal wold not be ‘becoming result oriented’ – we would be returning to what we always were – ‘result oriented’. During the 1980s there was a norhtLondon club who continuously said ‘we wouldn’t sacrifice our playing style for winning trophies’. That was spuds and God how we pitied them. It was not a genuine statement of ideal, just something they held on to while the big boys won all the pots. As an Arsenal fan of over 30 years standing it is hateful beyond words to hear fans of my own club spouting this crap day after day. It is a Spuds ideal, not an Arsenal one.

    4.Stability of manager is only important if the encumbant is doing a good job. It is not a virtue in itself to keep a manager just for the sake of it. It is not a means to an end. Keep a good manager. Get rid of a bad one. If results suffer because you are sacking managers then you are doing something wrong. From the list you have given, most of the clubs continue to enjoy some success in spite of changing coaches all of the time. The point is you do not have continuity for the sake of it, you have continuity if it is beneficial.

    5. What club do you think you are writing about? I do not have the figures in front of me, but I strongly suspect Arsenal have never in our proud history spent much time in mid table. All of Wengers supporters tell us what a great job he has done in building the club. If this is the case, surely we are not likely to slip outside of the top 4 – unless, as I suspect Arsene has not done quite the job that some would have us think. Arsenal has always been a giant. Unless our most successful manager has suddenly turned us into a minnow, it is disgusting to even mention the possibility. Will a single Man u fan mention mid table when Ferguson retires? Of course the wont because then are encouraged to think big. Arsenal must do the same. And for those of you who forget what it is like to be ambitious, and need some reassurance, there is a man worth 12.6 billion wating in the wings in case Arsene has destroyed the club from inside. If we do somehow fall to midtable obscurity, there is plenty of firepower waiting in the wings to blast us right back to the top.

    So please. Its about time this scaremnongerig stopped. Arsenal has always been a big club. A massive club. I would like to think that Arsene has not made us a small one during his time. I would love him to become revitalised during the summer, but I just dont see it. He looks like someone who is no longer in control of what he is doing. But even if he leaves, there are other managers out there who can bring us to further glory. I know it is probably a scary thought to fans who have never known another man at the helm, but it is a fact of life that he will leave sooner rather than later. Its just a question of when, but the good new is that (unless, as I have said, Arsene has somehow turned us into Fulham behind the scenes) Arsenal will edure and continute to compete at the highest level.

  27. Gooner in Exile says:

    Yengi Alex:

    “wenger should go now, he is a grear man , he has done alot for the team,when he over stay instead he will spoil his reputation he impress me to become arsenal supporter”

    Are you saying you became an Arsenal supporter because of Wenger? To suggest he should go almost highlights the problems of the blogosphere, people drawn to the club by success rather than love.

  28. dandan says:

    Good post TA well done.

    Yes come on you top men, you guardians of the Arsenal traditions, you management geniuses, lets show our class and have a march, slander and abuse a good man and get that know it all Arsene out.
    Never mind all he has achieved, nor that we have no idea of the politics behind the running of a big company or business.
    we are the mighty fans, we buy, or in most cases don’t buy the tickets, Cos we watch it on sky or again in many cases any free computer stream we can find.
    OK Lets get a mercenary manager who doesn’t give a monkeys as long as there is a pay off at the end of it.
    It seems pots are what we should be all about, why shouldn’t the manager covet his own pot of gold.
    After all Maureen chucks his medals to the crowd if he wins.
    MY word if we try hard enough we can even emulate the spuds cos we sure as hell ain’t got the money, Chelsea, City and Co have got. Lets force change through and end up wrapped up in debt, a rich mans toy who like so many of our fans only wants pots and in his case his yearly dividend, until he gets bored and dumps us.
    All because like spoilt kids we didn’t get the Christmas/birthday present we covet.
    Well careful what you want, cos once it goes pear shape likes Leeds you will end up with a MR Bates or his ilk. god elp us

    Another year we will give him eh, ain’t that big of us? Well a less loyal man would tell you where to shove it and I personally wouldn’t blame him if he does. Arsenal needs Arsene more than he needs us.

  29. TotalArsenal says:

    Thanks Peaches, hope you are feeling a bit better. Everytime I type your name the lyrics ‘millions of peaches, peaches for free’ (or something like that) come to my mind. How daft is that?

    Biggest worry I have is that Arsene indicates that he is going to make changes but remains vague on what they are. We would end up looking everyday at NewsNow, Ceefax etc to see whether there are any signings and nothing is happening for a long, long time.

  30. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi GiE,

    Thanks. I agree with you that the combination of Dein and Wenger seemed a match made in heaven. As far as I can judge from a distance, their personal qualities were totally complementary which led to great things.

  31. Wonderman says:

    Morning all, Fantastic maiden post Total, well balanced and thought out.

    As I have said before I do not believe too much is wrong with our club. This season we have THROWN AWAY the league despite being top in a mini league between the top four. We THREW AWAY going further in the Champs league by not winning our group, and we THREW AWAY the Carling Cup…now if that state of affairs is as much of a disaster as some fans have convinced themselves then we are losing our sense of reality.

    If nothing else I would like to see Wenger do three things
    1. stop playing players out of position and put players who are fit for purpose in their place. Look at Valencia’s move from Wigan to Man U. A good player moving to a better team with better players succeeds…meanwhile we attempt to turn Bendy into a winger, Gibbs into a full back, Djourou into a Centreback, Eboue into a midfielder

    2. Start paying more respect to the strengths of other teams and nullify them tactically

    3. Pay more attention to defending as a team, we have too many players who have no idea about defending

    We are not far away

  32. Alex says:

    Sad for Wenger. Viva Ferguson.
    Lamborghini truck

  33. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi DanDan,

    wow that is passion man. You are right, we might already be in the process of smashing the china. Wenger can go absolutely anywhere in Europe, if he has enough of us, he’ll go.

  34. hal says:

    Dandan,

    For the record I dont want Arsene out. But it is complete rubbish to say that Arsenal do not have the money that Chelsea have. We make more money than they do organically, and have infinitely richer backers. The only difference is that we have made the conscious decision to handicap ourselves with a ‘self suficiency’ constraint, even though the club is patently not yet in a position to be truly competitive and self sufficient.( witness our 8million a year kit deal compared to Liverpools 25 million). It is a complete falsehood to say that Arsenal do not have the money. They do and much more. It is just that the majority shareholder has imposed the restriction that backers should not inject their own money (I wonder why…) and has fooled us into thinking this is a good thing. At the same time, he has blocked the second largest shareholder from injecting exactly the kind of money that for some absolutely insane reason you and many other Arsenal fans want to pretend that we do not have. It is a completely indisputible fact that Arsenal has more money at its disposal than little Roman could ever dream of. We just refuse to delve into it.

    I agree we should not denigrate a decent man. But if a manager is not doing a good job, the fans have every right to want him out. He may have been doing a worse job than Arsene but, assuming you are English, Im pretty certain you werent so restrained in your opinions about removing Steve McClaren. Its a fact of life that football is not about sentiment and nor should it be.

  35. Surrey Gunner says:

    Thank you, for this sensible blog it is balanced and thoughtful.

    My own thoughts situation are as follows;

    The Arsenal board seem in no rush to get rid of Wenger. Previously the board has not responded to supporters pressure and have shown loyalty both professionally and personally to Wenger.

    Wenger has implemented the strategy that the board dictated. The consequences of the new stadium has always meant that Arsenal could not compete financially with Chelsea, Manchester city Manchester United, and Liverpool. The only option that we had was that we had to develop young players and supplement them with a few summer purchases of key players. This strategy has been successful, but has left us short in terms of experience for winning the Premier league.

    A lot of expectation is placed on young players which has had an impact on their development and the performance. We have some financial competitors who we couldn’t compete with.

    Arsenal strategy has over the last few years has been to buy young players, this has always been a gamble on the higher-risk strategy. It seems to me that too much expectation is placed on young players and the best example is Theo Walcott, goes to the World Cup at 16 and is now maturing into a really good player.

    Arsenal cannot currently afford to spend 50 million on Torres, I know that this will come back to haunt Arsenal next season when he scores goals against us. So Arsenal is not in the market for these marquee players i.e. the owner is really wants a player whether they fit into the tactics are not.

    Where Liverpool and Manchester United have been successful is buying players at good prices who have been sensational i.e. £6 million for the “little pea”. Arsenal seem to be behind the gain line on picking up these types of players but there are limits to how many new players you can buy and still have a happy squad. Wenger has said for every player he buys it mean a young player wont get through.

    Next season it is going to be doubly difficult to qualify for the champions league, you now have Liverpool, Manchester city and Tottenham posing a credible threat for third or fourth place.

    I have always supported Arsenal so it’s very hard for me to judge other supporters, but I seriously think there is a mismatch between our expectations of players and what they can deliver, too many times in the early season we roll over a team having a bad day and we think that we are the greatest. Over the last few seasons the pattern of the season has been pretty predictable, good early start, injuries to key players, a period around Christmas when things get dodgy, more injuries to key players, we lose to teams who on paper and individually we should beat but collectively they seem more committed, qualification for the champions league, knockout phase, then there’s all the hype about Barcelona who slaughter us, then we start to lose or draw games we should have won and the supporters seem to implode.

    I know this response is too long but at the moment Arsenal seasons are predictable, we need to make changes. The changes I want to do are with the players. One criticism of Wenger is that he’s too much of a father figure for the players, and needs to deploy some of the Ferguson hairdryer magic to confront players.

    He needs a strong number two who sorts players out. he needs someone on the board who is his equal in football knwledge who can challengne him about players.

  36. Gooner in Exile says:

    Hal

    Sorry are you saying we should buy the players by “borrowing” money from our shareholders? (Usmanov and Kroenke)

    Financial fair play rules are round the corner as are new commercial deals.

    You fail to understand that the commercial deals struck by Arsenal (as discussed here many times before) were structured to allow cash up front to fund stadium purchase (as no one would lend us all the necessary money at the time). They are all coming to an end in the next couple of years, at which time they can be renegotiated, or new deals to come in.

    The only question is what is a good job under the circumstances, we don’t and probably will never know how much financial constraint Arsene has worked under over the last 5 years, considering the almost missed purchase of Arshavin due to haggling I would assume quite heavy dispute, but yet again Arsene takes the flak.

    He takes it on the chin for the board and for the players far too often in my opinion.

  37. Gooner in Exile says:

    Surrey Gunner interesting points, most be hell for you at the moment surrounded by Mancs 😀

    I do wonder if anyone on the ManUre board questions Fergie tho? For every Little Pea, there is an Obertan and Bebe. He doesn’t always get it right either.

  38. Mark says:

    Sport is about adventure and risk, we’ve been static too long and it is boring. A team of our calibre should be aiming to win trophies, not just to turn up at the CL every season and stay in till we meet an ambitious team. Wenger will not win a trophy with this strategy if he tried another 10 years, his methods are dated, he has no tactical answers to today’s game and himself has said he is happy with 2nd place. Sure, give him a chance as long as he changes but he won’t change, he is too stubborn and has put to much into it, he’ll live or die by it. Sure the next manager may not achieve what Wenger has, conversely he may surpass it, you never know till you try. And what’s the worst that could happen? We fall out of the top 4, so what? I’ll still be supporting even if we’re in the championship. I would rather have the adventure than this boring status quo where you never every season how, where and when it will end. Wenger has become stale, it happens to everyone.

  39. TotalArsenal says:

    Hal,

    Thanks for your in-depth response. You are obvioulsly a passionate Gooner and I respect your views even though I do not agree with all of them.

    With regards to your point 3 ‘being result oriented’, I did mention in the blog that I was being subjective here. I would like us to stick to our philosophy of attractive, attacking football that leads to trophies, rather than the Mourinho-like style of results above everything. It is the hardest way of winning trophies, but we have shown in recent past we can do it that way.

  40. hal says:

    Gunner in exile.

    Actually I understand exactly why the deals were structured the way that they were and I am aware that the deals are coming to end – this is why I say we are not YET in a position to be self sufficient. In 2014, when we are in a position to negotiate new deals we should be – but it is absolutely curcial that we are in the champions league then to get the best deal that we can. Perhaps then we can be self sufficient AND competitive. But if we need to spend to make sure of this, it is an invenstment in our future and not a risk.

    And er why do you ask if we should be ‘borrowing’ money from our shareholders? Firstly, Im not sure we even need to given the cash reserves that we (incidentally unlike every other big club) are sitting on. Secondly, considering that none of thnm are operating on a ‘self sufficiency’ pretence do you think that any other club anywhere on earth (ok other than in Germany, but we dont play in the Bundesliga) does anything other than borrow money from its shareholders? Of course they dont – there are some subtly different mechanisms available to companies for obtaining investment from shareholders – which is what owners are – but they all amount to borrowing and every club does it. So if every one of our rivals can do it (to the effect that they finish ahead of us and win all of the trophies) can I ask you what is wrong with this practice? Are you going to really make my day by telling the hilarious and absurd joke that our rivals will all go belly up when the silly little rules come in? Of coures they wont. So please tell me what is wrong with Arsenal opeating the practice that every other successful club on earth (with the exception of Bayern Munich) does? Given our already healthy cash reserves and massive income streams, we would have to borrow significantly less than any of our rivals in order to spend big. So can I ask you, whey are we even having this discussion?

    Why should Arsenal refuse to compete at the top level simply because an American billionaire wants to keep his money in his pocket? And more importantly, whye do some fans think its a good thing?

  41. dandan says:

    Hal. Certainly I am English and have seen managers come and go for over 60 years. None have had the quality or commitment of Arsene. GG won pots but would you want him back again. We have a number of accountant regulars on here and I am sure they will give a professional answer to the money matters you raise.
    I like many do not want one man controlling our club and conversely I do not want Russian money being injected in either.

    You say football is not about sentiment, look at the affection in which the likes of Giggs, Adams and DB10 are held and that argument goes out the window. If winning trophies were everything why would the majority of clubs have any support

    Trophies are a bonus, football is a throwback to our tribal forbears, we love the club win, lose or draw. It gives us an identity and a place to belong.

    Arsenal has always stood head and shoulders above other clubs, recognised as being a special club from Chapman, through the marble halls and now a state of the art. almost paid for new stadium, the result primarily of Arsene and his Management/budgetary skills. Keeping us in Europe and driving revenue, commercial deals are not his forte and any finger pointing should not be at him.

    The new FIFA fair play rules will give a additional value to the work he has done whilst rattling the cages of more spendthrift rivals.

    All that being said I see no reason to make me think
    he will not invest in more players and make changes this year.
    For me it is the moronic attitude of personal abusers and shopaholics that sticks in the my craw and the sooner they go support the Chavs who’s profile obviously fits there idea of a football club the better.

  42. TotalArsenal says:

    Thanks for your reaction Mark,

    You make some good points: sport is about adventure, winning and taking risk. Your assumption we are not ambitious to win trophies, I can not agree with. Just because we have not won any in recent years, does not mean we are not absolutely desperate to win them.

  43. goonermichael says:

    I’ve just been reading that pulling out of fifa is a possibility, that’s great news. septic bladder and that vermin jack warner need sacking.

  44. Mark says:

    TotalArsenal,

    Can you say we are ambitious when our manager says he is happy to sign up for another 20 years of 2nd place which by the way we are now not even achieving? Can you say we are ambitious when during the transfer window, knowing fully well that Vermalaen was out for the season, our manager did not see fit to even take a defender on loan? Can you say we are ambitious when for years now, the world can see what this team is lacking but we fail to address those needs? Can you say we are ambitious when players that are so obviously not up to scratch are left in the squad and the manager does not even call on them as he does not trust them? I guess it comes down to the interpretation of ambition. To me it means aiming for the top, we have won the title in the last decade so should be aiming at that level. I leave the Tottenhams and Citys to go for Champions League because even with all their money, they are ‘still getting there’. We’ve been there but we’re letting go.

  45. BigL says:

    I was with your article until the point you said pro-wenger and the anti-wenger brigade. From that point on I knew what side of the fence you were on.

    You assume that wenger will guarantee us champions league football next season. If we don’t strengthen we wont achieve it, simple. Look at Man City, they are going to be fighting for the title next year. With City, United and Chelsea that’s leaves us left fighting for forth again. Liverpool are on the up with Kenny and like it or like it not Harry is doing well with Spurs. We ride our luck every seasons and it wont work forever.

  46. I think the risks are much worse. Benefits are fine but you’ve got to look at the probability of Arsenal becoming a worse team if he leaves.You might argue with the Liverpool situation but it’s no guarantee that it’ll be the same.
    Who do you think is better-Invincibles or the current team?Place your valuable votes here:
    http://delhigunner.wordpress.com/2011/05/10/current-squad-has-potentialinvincibles-had-pedigree/
    Place them as soon as possible!

  47. TotalArsenal says:

    Hey BigL

    I am on the side of reason, and when our club logo is ‘Victory through Harmony’ then I think that means something. There are no guarantees in life and I agree with you our team needs strenghtening to keep competing.

    Cant agree with Rednapp doing well at Spuds.

  48. hal says:

    Dandan,

    I agree with you that the fanatics that ar a major problem. I do not hate Arsene Wenger, even though we have collapsed so often recently. I hold him in the highest regard and he has given us some fond memories.

    However, your point about Bergkamp and Giggs proves rather than disproves my point. – do you really think they would be remembered so fondly if their wonderful skills had not been responsible for winning trophies? Of course not. I have said football is not about sentiment and I stick by that. Of course semtiment arises, but it comes from good memories, and for most fans, particulary those of us who now live away from Arsenal, the best memories are those of winning. I will give you one excellent example – DB 10 scored only one hattrick for Arsenal, in a 3 all draw with Leicster when we threw away a 2 goal lead with 5 minutes to go. Bergkamp is my all time favourite Aresenal player yet that game, arguably his best individual performamce would not rank in my top 20 memories of the man because of the awful feeling of throwing away such a winning position. Perhaps you are different, but that is the way I feel.

    Sentiment is impotant when reflecting, but it should never get in the way of the present. Believing Arsene is the right man for the job now is not the same thing as believing we owe him a job for all he has done in the past. The former is a judgement that all fans can agree or disagree on, the latter is just stupidity.

    And for the record, I agree Arsene has done a fine job, even up to last 2 years. But we simply cannot ignore the catastrophic collapses of the past two years. It is ok to gloss over by saying we got GL football, but only a fool would hide from the fact that his teams go from potential champions to the form of relegation fodder at teh sign of the first setback. No matter how much you love the football they play, no matter how much you want Arsene to stay, this factor and this alone is what currently characterises this team. Forget the WEnger must go versus AKB nonsense. Arsene Wenger has done a fine job in building a team of nearly men in difficult circumstances. However, it is absolutely encumbant on all of us fans to judge him harshly for the last two years when, as I have explained, financial restrictions no longer apply and, at leat until the last transfer window, our biggest rivals have not exactly spent much either.

    Arsenal are on the verge of becoming a great team again. But they need a final push. If you think Arsene is going to do it, you have more belief than I. However what is important is that we take this chance to push on. I have seen many Aresnal teams that have no chance of success, but this team is not one of them and that is the huge frustration of most fans. it would be crimnal if this team were not pushed to its limits. That is a far more important factor than either over the top hatred or blind support for the current manager.

  49. Red Arse says:

    Dandan,

    I posted a comment praising your restraint in replying to the usual incomprehensible drivel of one or two bloggers on here this morning. It seems to have disappeared into the aether, so a belated well done … and thank you! 🙂

    I am really looking forward to Hal teaching GIE, a Chartered Accountant, how to read the Arsenal Balance Sheet. 🙂

    There are at least 4 of us regulars on AA who are qualified accountants, so I wait with bated breath for his pearls of wisdom! 🙂

  50. Wonderman says:

    Red Arse you can make that 5 if you haven’t already !!

    Hi Hal, you have made some valid points with a passionate feel to it ….I like and welcome that….however I have to take exception to a few things.

    Your comments on the financials of Arsenal unfortunately expose an ignorance to financial accounting. I am not sure if you are aware but there is a covenant (agreement) in the loans that were agreed for the stadium which states that the cash balance has to remain at a certain level, therefore whatever figure you have based your arguement on has to subtract that. Secondly there are broadly speaking two other figures which you have conveniently chosen to ignore a) what is owed to us ( debtors) and what we owe ( creditors) broadly speaking you have to add and subtract these two figures before you can even begin to talk about what is available to spend.

    There also seems to be some misunderstanding with regards to what self sufficient means in this context.
    My understanding is that the club invests profits that it earns back into the club whether that profit comes from sales of players or commercially. It does not mean that our owners dip into their pockets to fund potential purchases. On that note we already are self sufficient and stand to be more so when 1) sponsorship deals are improved and 2) debt is completely erradicated

    @Mark…. so let me get this clear a Carling cup final, Champions league quarter final, and still in with a shout of the league on the first week in May shows no ambition…..unbelievable

    ‘Can you say we are ambitious when during the transfer window, knowing fully well that Vermalaen was out for the season, our manager did not see fit to even take a defender on loan?’
    Only a couple of days ago Wenger came out and said that if he had known Vermy would have been out so long he would have tried harder to do something. Chris Samba has also recently come out and said something was almost done…how could you have missed that

    ‘I leave the Tottenhams and Citys to go for Champions League because even with all their money, they are ‘still getting there’. We’ve been there but we’re letting go.’ …did you not see Spurs result last night….they are a shining example that a) spending money garauntees you nothing !!! b) getting into the champions league year after year is no easy feat evn when you haven’t moved stadiums

    As for all those bloggers bigging up Liverpool as a challenger net season, no doubt Danglish has improved them, but let see how they do when they have to play League, Carling Cup, Europa League all together

  51. hal says:

    Red Arse

    The basic economics are not that complicated. It is spin from interest groups that make the subject appear more difficult than it actually is. There are only limited methods of financing companies. They are as available to Arsenal as they are to any other club. It is simple common sense.

    I dont profess to be able to teach complicated accounting principals, but I will happily point out posturing by snake oil sailsmen where I recognise it. However if there are tax advisors out there, perhaps I could send them my own household bills to make sense of!!

  52. goonermichael says:

    How is harry “doing well at spurs”?

  53. As the regulars all know AA also stands for “Accountants Anonymous”; I see the number of Qualified Accountants here as 6, namely:

    RedA

    Sharkey

    GiE

    MDi89

    Wonderman

    and lastly, bringing up the rear, …….Me(maybe that should have been RedA last?)

  54. Rasp says:

    Hi hal,

    I’m rubbish at the financial stuff, but we’ve had this debate about money many times on AA and the accountants all agree as per Wonderman’s assessment.

    Us lesser mortals confuse emotion with finance and that’s where the problem lies.

    Re the other point you allude to about ‘posturing’ – some would call it constructive lying, it is all part and parcel of the game managers have to play to reach a desired outcome. I found it hard to accept that a cultured man like AW tells porkies, but the belief is that he does it for the greater good. Often with AW it is just clever use of semantics and sometimes it is plain infuriating as with the ‘he’s like a new player’ stuff.

  55. dandan says:

    Yes Chary: and Peaches to hold us all to account, cross her if you dare 🙂

  56. Mark says:

    @ Wonderman, Wenger himself said weeks ago that he knew that Vermalaen was not going to return this season, so where is the truth, I guess we will never know.

    Pointing to Carling Cup final does not mean ambition, Bairmingham can point to it too, Stoke can even point to FA cup final which means more. A CL QF does not prove ambition in my book especially when only a few seasons ago we were finalists, why not point to second round this season? Oh because we played Barcelona and took home the CL record of zero shots on target in a CL game. If you think we were still in the title race in early May then it means you haven’t been paying attention the last couple of seasons. We were only in it mathematically, realistically, it ended weeks ago and we all knew it, the players knew it hence the lack of motivation in recent weeks. A one-off against Manu does not count.

    So now it’s convenient to say Spurs progression to QF of the CL is failure while for us it show ambition? There’s no getting away from the fact that Spurs over-achieved this season and even if there’s no CL football next year, their fans would have enjoyed the ride, still support their team and would be back trying next year. They should be targetting CL, we should be targetting the trophy. No one says win it, only one team can win it but at least come to the battle ready, don’t embark on the season with a squad that’s blatantly lacking.

    For me it’s not about getting into the CL year after year particuarly if we stand no chance of winning, we’re simply turning up. Wenger has become stale, he has turned Arsenal fans into accountants talking balance sheets etc, heck that’s not what i’m into football for, i’m a finacial professional believe it or not and I get enough of that in my work life, sport is the escape, not an extension. Then again, we have nothing else to show so I guess all we can do is clutch at intangibles like how finacially prudent we are. All an excuse for failure to deliver.

  57. Gooner in Exile says:

    Thanks Wonderman I couldn’t have given my response that much time on the financials but you pretty much covered my thoughts.

    The only thing I will add is that it is not financial fair play that’ll lead to belly up clubs it will be the need to find a buyer who is willing to pay off any debt to existing owner (if they pull out) or hope owner writes off the debt. These are hard nosed businessmen the second option is a rarity.

    RA makes a point that may explain why most on here accept the general financial ethos ….. too many Accountants 🙂

    The fact is we are close, let’s see how the financials come in for 2010/11 before we decide what we want to /expect to see spent.

    Liverpool will have to spend to mount a big effort and all they spent this season is what they made from selling Torres, King Kenny is also benefiting from no pressure on his players, let’s see how they do next year.

    I want two things from the summer:

    1) Clear notice of available funds, and that any sales proceeds can be reinvested.

    2) Wenger to use it.

  58. hal says:

    Wonderman,

    I dont profess to understand everything – none of us are privy to the exact detals of every transaction. But I believe you are falling for the smokescreen that the club is spreading.

    Fistly – Every club has debtors and creditors. However, Arsenals accounts consistently show us to be in a healthy finanical position, taking these things into account. Therefore, when you balance our debtors and creditors (and other things) we are usually emerging in profit.. The essential point is this is not something that Arseneal alone have to do. All of the clubs must do it. Taking these factors into account, we are still one of the very few clubs operating at a profit, which means, to cut throw the smokescreens WE ARE IN A BETTER POSITION TO SPEND MONEY THAN OTHERS. We might not know exactly what is going in and out, what we owe or are owed, but the published accoutns show that IN COMPARISON TO OTHER CLUBS, we are in a more comfortable position to spend. Yet others spend and we do not. Another beauty is when the media say that Arsenals budget must also include wages – as if the other clubs don’t pay their players!!!!!

    Secondly, I think that you may have confused what I said about self sufficiency. I agree that self sufficiency means that you only spend what you generate organically. But my point is that this is a self imposed handicap and a burden that our rivals do not chose to oeperate under. That is a fact. Nobody denies it. My point is that, given the healthy state of our accounts and the wealth of the clubs shareholders, we are in a far more comfortable position to go out and spend money than any of our main rivals. But we do not. And this is nothing to do with anything but choice.

    The essential point is that every club works within the ambit of the company law. Arsenal are the only one who trots this out as though it was a burden imposed on them only. Thje club has chosen not to spend and rightly or wrongly (I think for now it is the latter) to rely only on what the club generates itself. This is both ironic and frustrating when everything that we know (from the clubs accounts to the billionaires swarming all over our shareholding) points to the fact that we could comfortably spend at the top of the market given the wealth of shareholders and the healthy state of the club, and when we all agree it wouldnt take all that much to make us winners again.

    I dont think there is anything inaccurate in the overall statements I have made. They are based on the informatin available as well as 7 years working in a commercial law firm in the 1980s. And my boss did wear shoulderpads!!

  59. LOL Dandan, Peachy is the prefect person to keep us unruly mob in order..and we love it that way!

  60. Red Arse says:

    Hi Wonderman, 🙂

    I had aready included you in my accountants tally! 🙂

    Hal, you said, (among other things);– ‘Given our already healthy cash reserves and massive income streams, we would have to borrow significantly less than any of our rivals in order to spend big. So can I ask you, whey are we even having this discussion?’ —

    I really could not be bothered to discuss financial accounting with you, but until GIE gets back, I will set the scene for you.

    Economics, financial accounting, taxation and credit management are separate strands of the discipline.

    Please don’t be shy, you were very vocal in speaking to my friend GIE, (above) so perhaps you could elaborate on your conclusions about the ‘cash reserves available to Arsenal, and how they compare to other clubs?

    From what you say, you clearly must have a comprehensive understanding of Arsenal’s working capital so perhaps you could indicate what this means as applied to the Arsenal Balance Sheet.

    What critical ratio analysis are you relying on to inform your conclusion, and are you referring to one of the subsidiary companies, directly related to the football activities of the group or simply to the Holding company.

    Oh, and I doubt any of my colleagues would do your tax without charging a fee. For myself, I am not looking for your business. Thanks, but no thanks.

  61. Red Arse says:

    Hi GIE, 🙂

    You came back as I was typing.

    I will leave it to you, and go and do something interesting! 🙂

  62. Hal, what I think you are hinting at is what is an acceptable level of debt for our club compared to others of a similar size and standing?
    To be honest I’ve usually avoided getting into any discussion over financials as the true picture is not always easy to glean so I base most of my assumptions and views on things that are less influenced by monetary power – like tactics, substitutions, defensive training(or lack of), the effort made by players during matches and squad selection.

    Otherwise it’s too much like work being here!

  63. Gooner in Exile says:

    I don’t want to start arguing finances as Mark says it’s quite dull and if one side is not prepared to listen even duller, I have ditched many clients for the latter.

    To expect our “billionaire” shareholders to bankroll a club they don’t own 100% is ludicrous, they would have no control of how it is spent, specifically the billionaire not on the board.

    Time to talk happier things like where we’re all getting our white scarfs for Sunday? 😉

  64. I think we have to address the issue of which pizza toppings we should be championing on Sunday as well, GiE.

    Can I get the ball rolling with jalapenos, onions, spicy sauce and sun dried tomatos ?

  65. abird says:

    “We could become one of the many clubs who keep changing their manager every 1-3 years because it is just not working out (look at Real Madrid, Liverpool, Chelsea, Bayern Munich, Milan, Inter etc etc)”

    The point that you leave out of your tabulation is that one can pick a player from each of the above teams you mentioned, that costed more than all of our current first 11! Add that to the benefits section and it would indeed look like china compared to the risks one 🙂

  66. hal says:

    Hi Red Arse,

    I humbly fear you are trying to intididate me with your terminology. . As I have said, I am making my judgement on what has been published by the club and interpreted by AST. This and a little experience in the sector and basic common sense.

    It is Arsenal, not me, who declares they have an available cash balance – did you not know that? When they try to big up their financial housekeeping, they trot this out ad nauseum. So I think we may take them at their word on this. As they have imposed ‘self-sufficiency’ on themselves we can also take it that this money is organically generated.

    AS to the other big clubs, well I dont have their balance sheets to hand. But surely you are not trying to imply that they are operating at a profit? Their accounts will tell you that they are not. From memory, most of them are making massive losses. We are making a profit(admittedly until the last set of accounts, even while paying off the stadium debt.

    Given the massive losses that our rivals are opearating at, I think it is reasonable to conclude that, if they have ‘cash balances’ available for transfers, then these have been artificially ring-fenced or created by the onwers by means of investment. Fair enough. But I have already said that the published figures (again the clubs, not mine) suggest that company is doing well. Also the best estimates (the sunday times figures, not mine), tell us that Arsenals shareholdes are much richer than anybodies but Man City’s. So, not only are the same mechanisms for finance available to Arsenal and their owners, but those owners are both signficantly more wealthy than all but one of their rivals. Therefore, not only are they likely to have more ability to invest than any of their rivals, IF THEY SO CHOOSE, but it is highly likely that they would be able to obtain finance if they needed it more readily than any of the other big clubs.

    All the jargon in the world about how the club is currently run is a smokescreen. The essential points are

    1.that, even taking account their liabilities, Arsenal are a profitable entity unlike their rivals.

    2. if they wished to, their shareholders have the means at their disposal to put whatever they wish into the club. In other words, Arsenal operates in the exact same legal sphere that facilitates other big clubs to spend as we see them doing. Yet we go for ‘self suficiency’.

    3. the owners of the club themselves do not even claim that they NEED to operate a self sufficiency model. It is a choice, and it is a choice that is only made possible because the company is doing well.

    These are my three essential points. For all your superior knowledge of accountancy, I very much doubt you would argue with any of these. It seems to me that, for some reason, it is fans who are defensive of Arsene Wengers position who attempt to create a veneer or uniqure financial restrictions on the club.

    There are restrictions. But they are no different to those which apply to other clubs. And bare facts, as we know them indicate that Aresenal are in a better position to spend money than their rivals. it is policy, not necessity that dictates otherwise.

  67. HCAA says:

    Good read TA.

    As you all know I’ve been quite veciforous in my criticism of our manager, and bringing back players such as Sol Campbell last year, Jens Lehmann this, and just for buying Silvestre re-inforce that. I’m not an accountant and don’t understand the finer details of economics. It’s a very fine line. If Wenger had been at a big club before he joined us, maybe we’d be able to measure better how good/bad he is, but all we can do is measure our success against our PL rivals, and the biggest clubs across Europe, which doesn’t make good reading. It is a very confusing state of affairs, and Wenger has undoubtedly divided Arsenal supporters more than at any other point in our 125 year history. If we could re-discover the man who bought the likes of Vieira, Anelka, Overmars, Henry, Pires and Gilberto to the club instead of the Bendtner’s and Chamakh’s of this world, I don’t think any of us would have a problem with his tenure. As individuals we all have our own ideas and expectations of what our club should be, and maybe the confusion lies in exactly where to pitch those expectations. Should we be competing to win the title, or are Man Utd, Chelsea and Man City in an exclusive league of their own? Should we be winning European Cups, or again, are we pitching too high and punching above our weight? Clarity of definition would help, and probably prevent a lot of in-fighting among our club’s fans.

  68. TotalArsenal says:

    abird, that is an excellent point! But apparently, it is not a virtue to live within means and deliver real value for money..

  69. Red Arse says:

    Look Hal,

    I expect you have formed an opinion on the club’s financial position that you will not be shifted from.

    So let’s agree to setting the financial/funding issue to one side, for the moment, and also agree that your other points are worth debating.

    In some respects I can understand where you are coming from, and your frustration with what you see as our underachievement.

    Dandan’s response to your comments, and this so called lack of success, pretty much reflects my own views.

    Just for the record, I would like/want/hope that we buy a couple of top class experienced players to compliment our young players.

    I believe this will happen in the Summer, with a couple of players leaving. Who? I don’t know, but Bendy and Denilson look prime candidates, altho’ trying to second guess AW is not easy.

  70. Red Arse says:

    CharyB,

    I am a bit uneasy about your pizza toppings, some of my best friends are Jalapenos! 🙂

  71. Gooner in Exile says:

    Hal,

    Have a look at the financial accounts published on the Arsenal website, the Directors Report gives a lot of the info anyone needs to take a more informed/balanced view.

    You call them smokescreen but the auditors of the PLC are well respected and the content of a Directors Report cannot from memory (i left audit some time ago) be misleading and their audit opinion takes this into account.

    Try to find other clubs accounts is difficult, none are upfront with their figures on their website as Arsenal is.

    I simply don’t understand why you think running at a loss, or committing ourselves to repaying money lent by shareholders (assuming they want to) is a good idea.

    We can blame Arsene and the board for a lot of things, but to criticise them for remaining in the black whilst others trade in the red, would be like saying Northern Rock, NatWest, RBS, and LloydsTSB had it right when they had to take a bail out from the Government as a result of their mismanagement, whilst HSBC, Barclays etc were in the wrong but did not cost us a penny.

    At times like this turn to Dickens, and Wilkins Micawber:

    “Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen pounds nineteen and six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery.”

  72. Gooner in Exile says:

    Chary you are far too out there with those pizza topings, i’m not sure its good for cohesive group, perhaps we need to focus on which cheese/tomato base before we move on to the toppings. And before that we have the option of thin/crispy or deep pan

  73. hal says:

    Red Arse,

    Fair enough, the ony pleas I will make add is that no Arsenal fan should ever accept thatr a club in our own city should have higher aspirations than we do. That is one thing that I, and I hope all Gooners, will never take from the clubs heirarchy.

    As to other matters – I have to say I am worried about the two ‘camps’ that have developed. Cant we all be in the ‘we want Arsenal to win the league’ camp, and just agree we have different ideas as to how this should be done? As for players out. (and I dont normallly do this) but

    Almunia (nice guy, but too nerveous. Mind you, I wouldnt be sorry to see Flappy go too)
    Denilson (lightweight)
    rosicky (See denislon)
    Vela (the most overated player I’ve ever seen)
    Eboue (its been fun but time to go)
    Chamakh (controversial, but a its between him and Bendy and I prefer Bendy as I think we really should try to get Benzema).
    Sqiillachi (poor first season for a veteran)
    Clichy (I’m a better defender under pressure)
    Traore

    On top of this, the following should only be used in extreme emergencies:
    Flappy (if kept)
    Koscielny (I dont see why so many like him. He only makes good interceptions as hes out of position).
    Diaby (because if hes used any more regularly he will get injured aas usual).
    Bendtder (would be ok for maybe 10 games a season, but not a first, nor even a first replacement striker just yet.)

    Plenty of food for thought there¬!!

  74. dandan says:

    Hal. Arsenal do indeed practice financial prudence, to do otherwise is to my mind stupid and self defeating, debts eventually have to be repaid.

    It is the culture of live now pay later IE borrow from whatever source available, that has led not just most football clubs, but the country itself and a large number of its inhabitants into economic crisis.
    would you have Arsenal go down that road to ruin also.

    I did not see Alan Sugars program on football finance last night but am led to believe he was less than complimentary about football clubs and there financial dealings, practices and health.

    Spend, spend, spend should be the watchword of lottery winners not companies, be they football clubs or not.
    And yes it is policy that dictates Arsenals spend and long may it be so. Phlegmatic Directors that know what they are doing and are not seduced by ambition or dreams of glory are as rare as hens teeth in football luckily ours are of that rare breed.

  75. TotalArsenal says:

    Thanks HCCA

    You make a very interesting point about expectations. As we all know, they are incredibly high and quite rightly so. It is a human characteristic to want to make progress, to move onwards and upwards. Arsenal have done very well in last 16 years and we are all looking at the next step up. Arsene Wenger is a very ambitious man which will only lead to even higher expectations.

    However, I can’t see us lowering expectations, neither do I want us to do so. We have got to try and make the final step, and I still feel Wenger will get us there one more time. For next season, I see Chelsea, Man City and Liverpool as co-competitors, and I respect them but I don’t fear them. I also feel that if we can improve our home form and continue our, until recently, very good away form we will be competing with MU for the title as well. However, we need to see some changes in order to make the next step.

  76. Red Arse says:

    Hal,

    Re-reading your last comment, I realised I had missed your first point by the time I got to the end.

    My point in asking you those somewhat rhetorical questions about the ‘interpretation’ of Arsenal’s Balance Sheet, was to make the point that it is not wise to rely on media reports or word of mouth on a very complex issue.

    Be that as it may, (and I am anxious not to get back into discussing the ‘financials) I can see, from your perspective, it may not have come across that way.

    I hope you will accept my apology, because altho’ we do not agree about the funding issue, I did not want, or intend, to use intimidatory ‘accountants speak’. 🙂

    Anyway, Peaches and Rasper will give me grief if I talk accountancy any more. 🙂

  77. hal says:

    DAndan,

    I would agree in an ideal world, but I dant agree if we are the only club who imposes this handicap on ourselves. Its a classic case of cutting off your nose to spite your face, and I honestly deep down that the only people to benefit will be fat Alisher and not so fat Stan.

    It would be worth it if, in the long run, the other clubs have to pay up for all the excesses (or, heaven forbid go to the wall). But do you really think that will ever happen?

  78. 26may1989 says:

    Total, a marvellous debut post, many thanks. And hats off to your bravery for kicking off with a quote from T’Pau, a band I thought (and wished) I’d forgotten.

    What Rasp says about on the pitch stuff is excellent, agree with every word. And what Dandan said at 10.57am re the off the pitch stuff is simply superb.

    Re Wenger, he’s not perfect, and bears some of the responsibility for the failure of this season, when we were in a winning position coming into the run-in. But his job is about recruiting, training and selecting players, deciding on tactics and creating the right environment for them to succeed. He cannot control everything that happens. Having got into a good position by the end of Feb, the players who were on the pitch against Sunderland, Blackburn, WBA, Bolton and Stoke could and should have won those games, and if they had, we’d be champions, simple as that.

    I’ll accept that Wenger has got some stuff wrong, but we should put it in context, not least given that in the previous five seasons, he succeeded (yes, I said succeeded) in a way that no other manager could have done when faced with no cash, the instability of a big structural change and the anti-competitive behaviour of Chelsea and City. We shouldn’t be slagging the man off, we should be thanking him for staying when he could have left. I hope he makes some significant changes this summer, but I will always make sure my criticisms are kept in ocntext.

    There’s little for me to add, other than to reflect on the last of Hal’s comments: you say you base your views on the AST analysis of the club’s finances over time. I follow that closely too, and have been along to a couple of their meetings as well (I encourage others to do likewise, it’s a really excellent group of people doing a great job for the broader Gooner community).

    And the first thing to note is that the AST has consistentlly supported the club’s policy of maintaining financial sustainability without becoming dependent on shareholder funding. This isn’t about keeping the pressure off Kroenke, Usmanov, the late Danny Fiszman etc, I couldn’t care less abou them. It’s about keeping the fundamentals of the club solid so we never become Leeds, Portsmouth etc. Chelsea fans are delighted to win pots, of course, but (and I know it’s an obivous point) the moment Abramovich gets bored, or dies, they face ruin and devestation. To me, and the AST and many Arsenal fans, that’s something worth avoiding.

    The second point I’d make is you overstate the club’s profitability. As the AST said after the midyear accounts were published in November 2010, income is now finely balanced, with costs having increased significantly and commercial revenues having stagnated. There are fair criticisms to make as to why that is the situation (eg, the huge aggregate wage bill for a very large squad), but the reality is free cash is not abundant at Arsenal.

  79. Dandan – I caught the tail end of that programme and one bit made me laugh when he said “Much as it pains me to say it but there is a lot to be admired in the way that Arsenal do things(in relation to living within their means)”

    RedA – what’s not to like with jalapenos? Hot, spicy, crunchy and with a wicked kick! However as GiE says perhaps I’m jumping the gun in advance of a consensus on the style of tomato sauce on the base or even the type of base is agreed.

    IMHO it has to be thin and crispy, deep pan gives me lockjaw after endless chewing.
    Stuffed crusts ? Let’s not even try and complicate things with that sticky question.

  80. Red Arse says:

    Hal,

    Your 2:27 is certainly another area which makes fans express very different views on who to keep or who to let go.

    I would not disagree too much with the list you have produced. My reservation, which I have often said on here, is that AW is an ‘evolution’ not ‘revolution’ man.

    I can only see a couple of players in and a couple out, subject to people like Clichy, Gibbs and Bendy choosing to go.

    On the other hand, Arsene has said recently that he wants Clichy and Bendy to stay, and that Almunia can leave if he wants to.

    As I said, he is hard to read.

  81. Anthony Timothy says:

    I think Wenger has lost the trust of most of the Arsenal fans. He is a proud man and thinks his faith would be vindicated that is with kids.All the evidence points otherwise.
    It is up to him to regain his winning touch which means he has to ditch some of his principles .If not iam afraid Arsenal will flounder.

  82. Gooner in Exile says:

    Chary we will never agree, a may as well have deep fried tortilla dough if we are going the thin and crispy route.

    Just like our current squad a good pizza needs substance and a good base.

  83. Red Arse says:

    CharyB,

    My last girlfriend was a Jalapeno and you have described her exactly. How did you know? 🙂

  84. It looks like we could be seeing a bifurcation in the fan-pizza-base here GiE – I’m steadfast in my wish for a light, crispy base as opposed to your more stodgy preferred option.

    RedA – you like your thrills hot ‘n spicy too ?! Mmmm, yummy.

  85. dandan says:

    Red Arse I am surprised you jumped your Girl friends gun, I thought it was the father who controlled the shotgun in these cases. 🙂

    Having said that how come an accountant didn’t know how many beans make five and got caught by her Dad.

  86. Red Arse says:

    CharyB,

    I’ve never been bifurcated before, can’t wait! 🙂

  87. Red Arse says:

    Dandan,

    I just said to her dad that altho’ Rosamonda (Pure Rose) was a little hottie, I was pure and not lascivious.

    he must have misunderstood because the next thing … he said he was going to whup my red arse!

    Ooer! 🙂

  88. It can bring tears to your eyes RedA, but in a good way.

    Anyone larfing at Crouch ? Botched up the Spuds Champions League campain(sic) at the Bernabeu and then gets the OG that prevents them qualifying for the next one.

    What a lanky, useless streak of pi**.

  89. Arsenal100years says:

    You guy are all wasting your time on finances and accounts, etc. when the real matter in football is winning trophies.

    Why is it that it’s ok for the board that the club does not to win any trophy or title (except fairplay) in 6 years?…and why is it NOT ok for the gunners fans?

    Yes, the club need to be keeping good accounts and be careful in finances…but then, how much money is the ‘safe’ limit? My suspicion, money and profits have become much more important than trophies, much to the fans’ disappointment. And then, how is it that non-performers (think of the much-talked about players clear-out this summer) are earning huge salaries but producing rubbish on the field?

  90. lawrence says:

    if he goes who do we bring? bear in mind we do not have those mili to spend

  91. Red Arse says:

    Hi (2^10-1000+2), 🙂

    Your 2:39. Trust my lawyer friend to set out a comprehensive and well argued case.

    Faultless!

    [Checked my maths?] 🙂

  92. TotalArsenal says:

    Thanks TH + DB + LD May

    Sorry to bring T’pau back into your life! You just can’t hide from the past..

    You are right in saying that Wenger has succeeded given the circumstances, but as HCAA said earlier it is all about expectations. They have been sky-high and subsequently a lot of fans are bitterly disappointed.

  93. Red Arse says:

    CharyB,

    We were talking yesterday about who we wanted to win.

    I said Citeh, because altho’ I despise their trying to buy success, I hated the Sp*ds more.

    Geoff Strong said he would reluctantly want the Sp*ds to win. This morning I have changed my mind and agree with him.

    Nerves about finishing 3rd have started to jangle. Damn!! 🙂

  94. Well argued (5^4-609+10)- I’ve checked the math(as Septics would say)too.

    That’s what I was wary of yesterday RedA – that horrible feeling that Arab City could sneak into 3rd which was why I preferred a nil nil draw.

    The worst outcome of finishing 4th – players not wanting to join us as Champions League football is not guaranteed till the end of August in that scenario.

  95. Red Arse says:

    TotalA,

    It is easy to forget, amid all the recriminations, that if we had beaten Bolton and Stoke in the last couple of weeks, and let’s face it that was not a big ask, we would probably have cruised to the EPL championship, and everyone would have been cheering AW to the rafters.

    After all the trials and tribulations of the past 9 months, we came so desperately close.

    Those two games were down to the players, fair and square, and there was nothing the manager could do about that.

    I know someone will say, one game (2?) does not make or break your season …. sorry, but it did ours!! 😦

  96. kelsey says:

    Total Arsenal,

    thanks for your enlightning post and also the many,many comments debating the pros and cons of our manager.

    Personally,I don’t think anyone would or could be so committed to the club for 15 years and going strong.I don’t believe he would ever be sacked,he may walk away one day,but he had a dream and a project (with a limited budget)and though he has his faults, several players should look at themselves as they are under achieving yet are paid handsomely.

    On a side note I though Total Arsenal was a new petrol station, yet another venture by the BoD 🙂

  97. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi RA

    Are we going to get your daily poem at some point today??

    I know what you are saying re ‘if we would have won these two games’, but I never believe you can just add two events to history and see that as a total new outcome. If we would have won those games we might have lost some other games. I agree with you the players let us down in the two games mentioned, but ultimately Wenger is co-responsible for that.

  98. Neamman says:

    I am firmly an AKB. Of course I am frustrated at times.. to me we desperatly need a specialized defensive coach and why oh why do we play Nic B on the wing??? He may not be the best CF but for sure playing there he will get a few more goals than he will playing out wide.
    But putting that aside AW has done wonders these past 5 years.. I dont think any other manager could have maintained us in the CL with the resources he was given. Keep him for at least 3 more years is my vote!

  99. Mark says:

    @ RedArse, yes the games were down to the players but isn’t that always the case? Unfortunately the manager bears the can, that’s why he’s paid £6m pa. Plus if he takes the credit for the good, he needs to take it for the bad as well. When managers get sacked it is the players on the pitch that facilitate it.

  100. Wonderman says:

    @hal 1:20 apologies I had to pop out, let’s agree to disagree on the financials as the devil is in the detail and this is not an accountant’s blog.

    I agree with you that we are in good financial condition
    I also agree that it is self imposed
    I am also frustrated with our club but for reasons that have nothing to do with money.

    When a player is bought for say £15m on a 4 year contract the gross cost to the club is nearer £30/35m ( based on £50k per week) bearing in mind that few clubs make that kind of money in a full trading year why do fans think that it is wise to follw suit? particularly when you can spend that kind of money and end up with a player who is not performning for whatever reason

    @Mark ….just for the record I am also a qualified football coach, secretary of a football club and am currently taking my Uefa B Licence. If you really believe that Arsenal football club dont have ambition then good luck to you.

    For me the current team make the same strategic mistakes over and over again, and do not have the correct attitude to defending. Our goals conceded and the number of games we have been ahead only to lose or draw are my evidence of those opinions . But as I said yesterday We have thrown the league this year Newcastle away, Spurs home and way, Liverpool at home Wigan away that 11 points alone thrown from winning positions. We also need a trusted finisher to take the load from Van P. Personally I dont think Bendtner is good enough because we dont play to his strengths

  101. London says:

    There are going to be a lot of people who will be a little confused when they try and move only to find that something is stopping them, do not be alarmed gentlemen you have been innocently caught in Peaches’ silky web.

    Great first post TA.

    For my part, not even for a milli second have I ever wanted Wenger to leave.

  102. TotalArsenal says:

    Hey Kelsey, yes you would not be surprised if the BoD would strike such a deal: for everybody tank of fuel a chance of winning a season ticket..

  103. 26may1989 says:

    What the hell are the accountants doing to my username??! I need Carol Vorderman to work out if they’re right or not…

  104. Red Arse says:

    Well said London, 🙂

    TA and Mark, I know my Bolton/Stoke comment was a little trite, and the world is full of ‘if onlys’.

    Do you remember the first time Manure did the ‘treble’, we as a club could have stopped them in the FA Cup (DB missing the penalty) before Giggs scored that wonder goal, and we let them pinch the EPL from us at the last knockings.

    ‘If’ DB had scored the pen, or we had eked out one more win in the league, the Utd fans would all be saying ‘if only’.

    Facile, perhaps, but still … when everyone is down it is worth remembering some things are beyond the will or wit of man. 🙂

  105. mjabber says:

    I think Wenger has done wonders for Arsenal and I find it hard to imagine the club without him. Can you think what we may have been had he not come in 1996? If Rioch had still been in charge? lets not, its too scarey.
    That said, I am not comfortable with the repetition of our season endings of late. Feb/Mar it all goes pear shaped and we are told – the players are growing up, next year….
    I think Wenger should have one more season, but the board have to push him more on why he thinks we dont need a central defender etc. I actually think we need a goalscorer – a proper stricker who knows where the six yard box is. Thats what we miss. To be fair, towards the end of the season, the defence did look stronger, for a bit anyway.
    I would also like, since Pat Rice is wanting to retire, to see maybe Ray Wilkens come in to replace him. He never seems afraid to speak his mind and it could be good for Wenger to have an intelligent sounding board.
    The rest who knows. I would like some experience (espcially if Fabregaas leaves – Scot Parker maybe)
    get rid of the underperformers (you know who you are) but give the players some proper challenge for their palces. There is no pressure on Song and Sagna(Ill leave out the central defenders as that is another issue – Vermaleen back would help) and the lack of quality in reserve is too obvious – perhaps that is to blame for the inconsistent performances.
    One more season…..but September if he utters those words “I think we are strong enough as we are”

  106. Red Arse says:

    Hi 26,

    My designator definition for you is a work of genius, on the other hand, I would not trust CharyB’s … he is an accountant, and you know what we — sorry, they — are like! 🙂

  107. Mark says:

    @ Wonderman, it one thing to be ambitious, it’s another to be content with keeping the status quo. We simply are not acting like a team that wants thinks big. When we make the right activities in the transfer market, I will concur with you but until then, good luck to you too.

  108. Red Arse says:

    Hi mjabber,

    Really liked your comment, especially the famous AW phrase. He would be best declining to comment when asked the related question, but he is too open with the press, and irritates the hell out of us fans!

    Oh, and I do not agree about Ray ‘absolutely’ Wilkins! 🙂

    Hi, Neamman, 🙂 long time – no see!

  109. Red Arse says:

    Mark,

    Apart from the ‘ambition’ point, you and Wonderman are agreeing aren’t you?

    WM is calling for a new striker, and implies we also need a new defender or a radical reappraisal of the way we defend tactically.

    You appear to be in agreement, I think. 🙂

  110. 26may1989 says:

    I can’t believe anyone accuses Wenger of lacking ambition – surely everyone’s seen how tense the man has been for much of the season, especially once the players started really screwing it up. He’s looked like being on the edge of a nervous breakdown. Stubborn and over-trusting of his players maybe, but a lack of ambition, absolutely not.

  111. Red Arse says:

    TA,

    You asked about a poem earlier today, well things have been a bit tetchy today so how about another ‘joke’?

    Four Letter Words:

    A young couple were married and then embarked on their honeymoon.
    When they returned, the bride ran to the phone and called her mother, who asked, “How was your honeymoon, dear?”
    “Oh, mum!” she replied, “The honeymoon was so wonderful and so romantic…” But then, suddenly she burst out crying and said “but, mum, as soon as we returned home, he started using the most horrible language… things I’d never heard before!
    I mean, there were all these awful 4-letter words! You’ve got to come get me and take me home. Please mum!”

    “Darling, darling,” her mother said, “calm down and tell me, what words could be so awful?”

    And, the daughter cried “please don’t make me tell you, mum! I’m so embarrassed – they’re just too awful! Just come and get me …….. please!”

    “Oh, darling, you must tell me what has made you so upset… tell me, what were these horrible 4-letter words he used?”

    Still sobbing, the bride said,
    “Oh, mum… words like DUST, WASH, IRON, COOK…!”

    🙂 Not what you thought? 🙂

  112. Gooner in Exile says:

    I can’t get behind Ray Wilkins as coach, would have been good to see Steve Clarke but the ‘Pool snaffled him. Something to be considered when looking at there recent rise under Dalglish.

    I would like to see them come from within.

  113. If we’re offering up poems the only one I can ever care to remember is this from THHGTTG:

    “Oh freddled gruntbuggly/thy micturations are to me/As plurdled gabbleblotchits on a lurgid bee.

    Groop I implore thee, my foonting turlingdromes.

    And hooptiously drangle me with crinkly bindlewurdles,
    Or I will rend thee in the gobberwarts with my blurglecruncheon, see if I don’t!”

    Ripper stuff, indeed.

  114. TotalArsenal says:

    You’re a cheeky Red Arse!

  115. dandan says:

    GIE have seen a number of comments suggesting that Vic Akers is favourite for assistant manager, find it difficult to believe but is evidently very friendly with the players and a good coach and to be fair has worked wonders with the ladies

    As for the coaching, Stevie Boulds name keeps coming up

  116. TotalArsenal says:

    Wow 1966, ripper stuff, say that again!

  117. Carlito11 says:

    I’ve been reading the comments for 1/2 hour and still haven’t finished! Some brilliant cut and thrust today, I’ve enjoyed the diversity of opinion today. My main issue is with Chary 👿 – spicy sauce on a pizza!!!! Jalapenos and Onions!!! How very dare you?! 😆
    Simple good ingredients is where it’s at- Speck (smoked prosciutto), Buffalo Mozzarella, Fresh Basil, Tomato Sauce with Parmesan and Pecorino cheese mixed in to it and quickly cooked in a wood-fired oven! 😉
    (I’ll have to catch up on the last 20 or so comments later tonight) Later all

  118. It’s the late, great Douglas Adams TotalA.

  119. Mark says:

    I guess my lack of ambition comment is coming across too literally. Of course we are ambitious but my concern is that the linmit of our ambition at the moment seems to be simply to achieve Champions League football.

    Then again it could be that I am totally wrong and we are in fact honestly going for the title, in which case you could say we are actually being over-ambitious given the squad we possess.

  120. Red Arse says:

    TA,

    You have brought CharyB to the fore, (was that before or after the magic mushrooms) 🙂 so I need to counter with one that might appeal to both pro and anti – Arsene sympathisers, for different reasons, obviously.

    ‘Thought shall be the harder, the heart the keener, courage the greater, as our strength lessens.

    Here lies our leader all cut down, the valiant man in the dust; always may he mourn who now thinks to turn away from this war game.

    I am old, I will not go away, but I plan to lie down by the side of my lord, by the man so dearly loved, by many’.

  121. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi Mark, at the start of each season everybody is as ambitious as can be, and Wenger is capable of making the players believe that they are world beaters. This is one of his finest skills imho. But, when we get to March/April, and we experience our first major setback(s), the heads drop and the believe quickly evaporates. What has not gone is the level of ambition, but the believe by the players that they can do it with the squad we have. A perceived lack of ambition and loss of believe can easily be mixed up.

  122. Red Arse says:

    Mark,

    ‘I guess my lack of ambition comment is coming across too literally’ or ‘you could say we are actually being over-ambitious given the squad we possess’.

    That is a cunning ploy, and I like it. 🙂

    No one can possibly contradict you now. I think that sentiment may be covered by the ‘advancing backwards’ rule! 🙂

  123. RockyLives says:

    Wow! what a lot of long, well-argued comments on here today. I still haven’t got anywhere near the bottom yet!

    Congratulations TA – a great debut that has stimulated a fantastic debate.

    I would like to add to it, but you’ve said most if what I believe in your original post.

    Work calls, so won’t get the chance to check in again today. Have fun everyone!

  124. TotalArsenal says:

    A beautiful description of loyalty RA.

  125. TotalArsenal says:

    RA, here is one for you from the wonderful, yet almost impossible, Emily Dickenson.

    All but Death, can be Adjusted

    All but Death, can be Adjusted—
    Dynasties repaired—
    Systems—settled in their Sockets—
    Citadels—dissolved—

    Wastes of Lives—resown with Colors
    By Succeeding Springs—
    Death—unto itself—Exception—
    Is exempt from Change—

  126. Red Arse says:

    Dandan,

    I have also heard that the Reserves coach Banfield is also in the frame to replace Pat Rice, together with Arsene’s old mate, currently in Japan, Stoikjovic (?).

    For myself, I would prefer an outside appointment to shake things up, but for the sake of continuity, I think AW will appoint from within the club.

    Together with Pat Rice, there is another 1st team coach who has Wenger’s trust … Mandaric (?).

    Maybe he will be the surprise rabbit from the hat, so beloved of Arsene. [The surprise – not the rabbit – nor Mandaric — he doesn’t love them, obviously!] 🙂

  127. tuneManCheski says:

    AFC is now Arsenal Financial Corporation. Money Talks All The Time.

  128. Red Arse says:

    Wow, TA, did not know that one – sends shivers down the spine! 🙂

    Accountancy; jokes; poetry, on a footie site — I can imagine the stake being erected and the blindfold ironed for me already! 🙂

  129. TotalArsenal says:

    I know RA, have just seen a bunch of men in white coats..

  130. Red Arse says:

    TA,

    Emily Dickinson was an early 19th Century American, and when I was at school, I thought her work a bit ‘girly’, and never took too much interest.

    One piece did stick with me tho’, because once you learn it, it sticks in your head like one of those nonsense tunes.

    -‘Hope is the thing with feathers
    That perches in the soul
    And sings the tune without the words
    And never stops at all.’

    I like it! 🙂

  131. mickydidit89 says:

    TA,
    Great post as illustrated by the quality of today’s debate.
    Chary,
    Sorry to shatter illusions, but you need to delete me from your list of Accountants. My three days of silence are as a result of me sniffing around trying to get my sums in order for my genius of an accountant. Tomorrow I shall be a Free Man.

  132. dandan says:

    AS you lot are in a morbid mood, here is some right royal morbidity, Could give some footballers pause for thought to

    Francis Beaumont

    MORTALITY, behold and fear
    What a change of flesh is here!
    Think how many royal bones
    Sleep within these heaps of stones;
    Here they lie, had realms and lands, 5
    Who now want strength to stir their hands,
    Where from their pulpits seal’d with dust
    They preach, “In greatness is no trust.”
    Here’s an acre sown indeed
    With the richest royallest seed 10
    That the earth did e’er suck in
    Since the first man died for sin:
    Here the bones of birth have cried,
    “Though gods they were, as men they died!”
    Here are sands, ignoble things, 15
    Dropt from the ruin’d sides of kings:
    Here’s a world of pomp and state
    Buried in dust, once dead by fate

  133. mickydidit89 says:

    As for the Arsene discussion, I nail my colours firmly to the “Stay” mast. However, we absolutely need to freshen the squad up with some real quality just to stay in the reckoning. As a caring sort of chap, there have been moments this season when I have been seriously concerned about his well being. The man lives Arsenal and the nearest I have come to imagining our team without AW at the helm has been purely out of concern for his health. A few on-pitch leaders combined with boardroom clarity will go along way to resolving this.
    Sorry, really rushed comment. Back soon.

  134. TotalArsenal says:

    Cheers RL, keep rockin’ in a free world (i.e. dont work too hard..)

  135. kelsey says:

    I thought wouldn’t it be ironic if Luis Antonio Valencia played for Valencia, David Villa played for Villa and Danny Shittu played for Spurs.

  136. dandan says:

    Kelsey Behave 🙂

  137. Red Arse says:

    Kelsey, 🙂

    Best comment of the day! 🙂

  138. Wonderman says:

    @Mark 4:47 ….quality mate. I think we all want the same thing but our frustrations come out in diferent ways. My disapointment is that some of our fans have such short memories and forget that inspite of moving stadiums it is the smallest of details that have stopped us from silverware

    a) if Drogba’s offside goal in the Carling cup final that they were completely outplayed in had been correctly called what may have happened
    b) the Liverpool game at the emirates where we were not given a stick on penalty and the dubious one that was given in the return.
    c) If Adebayor squares the ball to Bendtner in the game that eduardo gets injured we win and go 11 points clear

    I have already mentioned our misdemeanors this season. It has not all been doom and gloom… yes alot of nearlies, but we are not that far away

  139. Red Arse says:

    Dandan, that was scary.

    After 29, yes, it is that precise, mortality creeps up on you. Friends, relatives start to ‘pop’ off and childhood, and young adulthood are suddenly left behind. 😦

    Micky, Like you, I have been worried by the stress and anxiety displayed by Arsene as the season has progressed, and I have feared for his health.

    Bill Shankly, lived and breathed football, and died early from stress, in my opinion!

    Oi, Dandan, your morbidity tack is grabbing me. 🙂

  140. TotalArsenal says:

    RA, DanDan, I do not find the ED poem as sad as you seem to do. The way I read it, ED is saying that the only thing you cannot change is death. We are not dead, so we can make any changes we want. But, I admit I am not an expert on ED poetry.

    Many thanks for your contributions as well.

  141. dandan says:

    RA I learnt that by heart at school in 1955/6.

  142. dandan says:

    There are those who seeing me in the mornings would argue that. Total. 🙂

  143. TotalArsenal says:

    Great one Kelsey (who plays for… haha)

  144. Red Arse says:

    Spot on Wonderman, 🙂

    I have said much the same thing earlier. [the CC fluke last minute goal; the inexplicable Bolton and Stoke games either side of a stomping victory over manure.

    Such fine lines between despondency and ecstasy.

    I agree we are not a mile away from scaring all the big spenders and surprising many of the doubters.

    By the way, altho’ I knew you were very good on the technical/coaching side, I did not realise you had so many footie qualifications! Respect my friend! 🙂

  145. Red Arse says:

    TA,

    I had not thought about Dandan’s poem in any way other than whatever we mere humans do or think the one inexorable certainty in ‘life’ is death itself.

    Might be just me. Rather like your version, tho’.

  146. Big Raddy says:

    Total Arsenal. Excellent virgin post, you wrote a post which allows others to discuss the points made and that is the very essence of blogging..

    And thank you to all who made this such an interesting discussion without resort to abuse.

    I am in London’s camp insomuch as I have complete faith in Mr Wenger. I expect AW to decide when he should leave because he is above all a decent man. If he believes another can improve the Arsenal, he will walk away.

  147. TotalArsenal says:

    RA, fully agree on DanDan’s Beaumont poem

  148. TotalArsenal says:

    Thanks BigR, I wonder how many fans, just for once, imagine how AW feels right now. You just get the feeling that he lives the game so much, that he cannot even think about anything else. What must it be like to be his wife…

  149. Red Arse says:

    Anyone know where HCAA has been today?

    Hi Raddy, you are right about TA’s post. And he produced it from a standing start last night. 🙂

  150. Red Arse says:

    How’s this for a more upbeat poem, Dandan? Or is it? 🙂

    “And, close beside this aged Thorn,
    There is a fresh and lovely sight,
    A beauteous heap, a hill of moss,
    Just half a foot in height.
    All lovely colours there you see,
    All colours that were ever seen;
    And mossy network too is there,
    As if by hand of lady fair
    The work had woven been;
    And cups, the darlings of the eye,
    So deep is their vermilion dye.

    Any idea who the poet is? Or the subject matter? 🙂

  151. Big Raddy says:

    TA. My guess is that all our wives know what is wife is going through 😉

    RA. I love the poems on the site. DD and TA’s poems on mortality reflects a letter I wrote to a friend today about her life/work ratio and also can refer to the short discussion I had recently on the site with DD.

    CArpe Diem and stop to smell the roses!

  152. kelsey says:

    Evening BR,

    I said much the same thing as you a little earlier, and TA again I stressed that point about Le Boss.Totally passionate ,lives and breathes Arsenal (but I am sure he wished he had DD still by his side,but would never admit it).

  153. mickydidit89 says:

    TA,
    At one point in the season, I tried to imagine just that. What it would like to be his wife, son, father or just caring friend, and the conclusion was “Look after yourself, there is more to life than Football”. At which point the Shankley analogy kicked in!

  154. mickydidit89 says:

    Kelsey,
    From what I have gathered, one of Stan’s great qualities is his man management, and I am hoping that this translates into relieving Arsene of all non football related matters. In much the same way as DD clearly achieved.

  155. Big Raddy says:

    RA. A wild rose?

  156. dandan says:

    Willy wordsworth RA the Thorn

  157. mickydidit89 says:

    RA,
    The Daffofil bloke..Wordsworth?

  158. mickydidit89 says:

    Ooops…must refresh and not look stupid!

  159. Big Raddy says:

    Evening All. Will head off soon as the oven is calling (a Provencal style chicken tonight with wild rice and broccoli).

    Kelsey. Hope all is well with you. I am sure he remains close to DD even if he cannot rely upon his assistance at AFC. Particularly as DD’s son is agent to some of the AFC players.

    Micky. Stan’s knowledge of football is negligible compared to a superfan like DD. Could you imagine Stan meeting AW on holiday and following his career prior to employing his man? Stan wouldn’t know if he sat on a plane next to SAF, let alone an obscure French manager! I realise this is not your point but we are drinking a fine sparkling Blanc de Blanc and it has gone to my head – time to leave!!

  160. mickydidit89 says:

    Does a Provencal Style Chicken wear a tutu and a straw hat?

  161. mickydidit89 says:

    Getting lonely….

  162. Red Arse says:

    Sorry guys, back briefly. 🙂

    Yes it was Wordsworth’s The Thorn.

    It was not as cheerful as the section I reproduced as it refers to the death of a young child.

    OK let’s cast nasturiums!

    The morbidity = Dandan
    The accountancy stuff = GIE and Wonderman
    The Poems = Dandan and TSA
    The jokes = Micky

    So remember, when they come for me; I am innocent and I want (25+1) to represent me!

    Red Arse is innocent, OK! 🙂

  163. mickydidit89 says:

    “Red Arse is Innocent”!
    That is just plain wrong on so many levels 🙂
    Run Micky, run. Gone. Nite.

  164. Harry says:

    Evening all, Absolutely fantastic post TA, great to see someone who maybe had their doubts, look deeply, analyse and profoundly make a statement of support for wenger and justify it!!

    As Big Raddy 6.22 said, it was excellently laid out to allow bloggers to debate……

    I hope too Raddy that Wenger knows when to call it aday, too leave on his terms, without been hounded out…..That would really show how much this club truly means to him…….

    As most of the regulars on here know TA, I actually gave wenger 2 years max, but that was 4 years ago!!

    I do feel now as much as I have revised my timeframe each season, as I look for positives and think, with this and that done a tweak here and there, we could do it, so let him stay, that truly this is his last summer with us, If he does stay stubborn fully to his principles.

    I dont think he has to go against all he has worked for, the style, the development, the nuturing, just add the ingredient of experience and a stronger attitude, never say die type who can lead from the front, then the mix will be explosive…

    For me as long as we truly challenge till the end, if a club pips us to the title, but we fought to the end that is all I ask, I dont want to feel like a 4 year old who’s balloon just burst anymore…..

  165. kelsey says:

    There have been 2 earthquakes in Lorca measuring 5.1 about 150 kilometres from Alicante and tremors were felt in Madrid.Lorca is about 3 to 4 hours drive north of us, so I will switch off for the night.

  166. HCAA says:

    Hi RA,

    I posted at 2:09 regarding TA’s excellent post, maybe through all the discussion it skipped your radar.

  167. TotalArsenal says:

    Hope you are ok Kelsey. Just read there have been some casualties already, so make sure you stay safe.

  168. TotalArsenal says:

    Barca are champions again. They drew 1-1 with Levante today. RM can still get on level points but in that case the results between the two teams is the decider, which is in favour of Barca. That’s three championships in a row for Guardiola, losing only 8 of 112 games in the process. Chapeau!

  169. TotalArsenal says:

    Thanks Harry and many others,

    Contributing to Arsenal Arsenal has been a great experience and pleasure today. I am currently between jobs, as the euphemism goes, so had the time to do it. I am absolutely astonished with the time and effort that bloggers put into Arsenal Arsenal, as well as their depth of knowledge and quality of contributions. It is great to find like minded people who absolutely love the Arsenal.

  170. Thank you TA – we’re very pleased you found us.

    I’ll cut you loose from the web for a while but be warned once ensnared you will return 😆

  171. Harry says:

    Hey TA, Credit where it is due, that really was superb mate…..

    Totally love the arsenal, this site is great, we debate and disagree and then agree, but generally all good natured and banter, some great ideas as well, but we are all generally realistic and can be critical when required……..

    I hope my article that I sent to Peaches goes out tomorrow, its a very dark piece which challenges the dreams of many and in a way is an antithesis of your conclusion today……say no more…..

  172. SharkeySure the Disappointed says:

    Take a bow TA. Quality post.

    Not read any comments and will hopefully catch up tomorrow.

    I disagree that we are not a force in world football. We have a style of football second only to Barcelona, and we are admired for it throughout the world. Our history and longevity in the top division sets us apart from ALL other clubs in my opinion. We are the only club commonly referred to with ‘The’ as a prefix.

    I don’t like this idea or talk of giving Arsene ‘one more year’. Its pointless. Next season we expect him to do what needs to be done, if he doesn’t succeed (having tried his best obviously) then he may walk, or need to be pushed. If we’re bottom of the PL in Dec, then who”s going to wait until the summer for him to jump or be pushed. Ergo, the decision will simply be made when it needs to be made.

    This almost finished masterpiece is Arsene’s own creation, why the hell should some transfer cash hungry fly by night come along and add the finishing touches and take all the credit..?? It would be like me putting a candle on one of Mrs Sure’s cakes and claiming I’m ready to take on all comers in the Best Baking stakes. I’d pretty soon be found out.

    So if per chance someone could get the best out of what we currently have, I’d like to know how they would sustain it. How would they replenish the squad with the new breed of players to replace our home grown’s (Cesc, Wilshere, Sz, Dj) and our ‘cheap self assembly’ players (RVP £2.75m, Song £2.75m Clichy £0.25m).

    Or is that the time when the ‘messiah of a new manager’ rides off into the sunset with one pocket stuffed with title bonuses, and the other containing a fat contract from his new employers who were suitably impressed by his adding of a candle to Arsene’s six tier wedding cake.

    I back Arsene because he has us competing, consistently. ‘Yeah but we fall out of all the trophies in the same six week period every year’ – Yep thats cos we were still in them all come Mar/April is my response to that one. Would anyone rather we had nothing to play from Jan onwards..?? Has everyone forgotten the SCOBs (small cock one ball) record breaking season in which they only played 40 games – 38 PL, one each in domestic cups.

    We compete every year for trophies, and we’ll next get one when we next win one. It really is that simple for me, I’m certainly not going to moan constantly about it, cos that sure won’t make it happen.

    Charlton fans a few years ago: “Curbishley has taken us far as he can”. Oh…!!!

  173. SharkeySure the Accidental Post Writer says:

    Halfway thru that I knew it was heading for a long’un. Feel free to cut it tidy it up and give it a headline (“He’s taken us as far as he can” with quote marks pls) if you’re short of something for the next day or so.

    I’ll check the site again before I retire for the night. If you use it, please explain that I’m not blogging much in the day at the moment.

  174. SharkeySure the Accidental Post Writer says:

    OK I now see that Harry’s post is prob tomorrow as ying to TA’s yang, maybe my post can be their cousin, yong??

    On that note, nite all

  175. SharkeySure says:

    Kelsey, best of luck from me too

  176. Carlito11 says:

    Kelsey @5.55 😆 top comment! I’ve reposted it on twitter- too good not to! Hope the earthquake doesn’t affect you…

  177. TotalArsenal says:

    OK Harry, you have made me very curious. Looking forward to your post.

    Hey Sharkey, fair enough we are definately a force in world football in terms of style and footballing philosophy, and that goes an awfull long way.

  178. Gooner in Exile says:

    Sharkey top top comment/post.

    Bet those Charlton fans wish they’d kept him now, and why Everton fans are desperate not to lose Moyes.

  179. johnQ says:

    here some jokes that I copied from 11gunners.

    Q. You’re trapped in a room with a tiger, a rattlesnake, and a Manchester United Fan.You have a gun with two bullets. What should you do?

    A. Shoot the United Fan. Twice.

  180. Evonne 2 says:

    johnQ – lovely 🙂

  181. mickydidit89 says:

    Morning Evonne,
    What’s on the menu today, a Harry post?

  182. Evonne 2 says:

    Hiya Micky, I have no idea. I am still in Warsaw and the free internet only works in the morning, so I have to catch up quickly of last night’s shananigans!
    I have noted that you and Red Arse are at war 🙂

  183. mickydidit89 says:

    Are we? Bloody hell, this could end in tears 🙂
    I have just been onto the Official AFC site, and they have a pic of Highbury Sq on the front. I wonder how many residents have tried to dribble the ball from one end of the garden to the other, around the benches and box hedges, and then Wallop…Goooooal

  184. Evonne 2 says:

    Oh Micky, you are funny:)
    If only I could afford it, I’d buy a flat there, next to Super Rob’s!
    I was told that Gunners builders buried several soiled scummy shirts there

    It was an excellent post from TA yesterday, and response even better. This really is an exceptional site, isn’t it?

  185. mickydidit89 says:

    Its alright 🙂
    Super Rob?

  186. Evonne 2 says:

    psssshhhh….honestly Micky!!
    Super, super Rob. Suuuupa, supa Rob.
    Suuuupa, supa Rob
    Supa Robert Pires 🙂

  187. mickydidit89 says:

    Seriously, he has a flat there?
    I knew DB10 had an Emirates Box, but Bobby a flat! Wow. How he would like to look out of his window and see me in full Arsenal kit in the morning reliving some of the great Highbury moments.

  188. London says:

    Shoot the manu fan twice…….great stuff John.

  189. Evonne 2 says:

    Yes, he was one of the first buyers. A true Gunner

    Micky, stop it, you cannot scare the residents! Mind you, if you ever decide to go, give me a shout, I’ll put my kit and hat on, and join you 🙂

  190. Red Arse says:

    You see, that’s why we are at war, Micky. You are far too funny and clever, and probably extremely good looking.

    I laugh my head off at your quips and then realise I am madly jealous! 🙂

    Morning Micky, you are always a pleasure!! 🙂

    Hi Evonne2, hows things? 🙂

  191. Red Arse says:

    Evonne, just the hat will do! 🙂

  192. mickydidit89 says:

    RA,
    “just the hat will do”. Look, there you go again. You have an insatiable appetite. Quite relentless.
    You see, some of us merely tickle the fringes of flirtation, then along comes you with your poetry and lines. Frankly, all a bit one sided!

  193. Evonne 2 says:

    Morning Red A, you silly, silly man! you are very funny too, no need to be jealous!
    Oh yeah, that’d be great, a mad polish woman seen running naked with only an Arsenal hat on at Highbury! That would do the Club a lot of good!

  194. mickydidit89 says:

    Rightey ho,
    Time to powder my nose.
    Returning later.

  195. Big Raddy says:

    LOL RA!

    Not only poetry but fine jokes and banter!

    SS. May I respectfully congratulate you on a fine comment 10.14.

    And I look forward to Harry’s post.

  196. harry says:

    morning all,

    Johnq, quality…………..the question should be with the two bullets where do you shoot him?

    First one, in a knee cap, watch him do a rooney and dive, then shoot him in the head…………

    While the tiger eats him, do a runner!!

    Anyway, end of season meet needs agreeing? Tavern for 2pm?

    All to wear red and white scarf, clothes optional………

  197. chas says:

    Morning AA,

    Is anyone an expert in body language?

    http://bit.ly/jmgNUw

  198. Evonne 2 says:

    OMG Harry, you really hate them

    Is it your post today to look forward to?

  199. Hi Harry (and RedA + Evonne 2 if you’ve not gone)

    Yup, about 2 pm at the Tavern sounds good – as ever I’m at the mercy of the M40 and the tube so I could be there a bit later.

    Hope we get a good turn out and I’m not too pissed to recognise you this time !

  200. Evonne 2 says:

    Chas – I am no expert, but AW’s arms hugging the body suggest he is in defensive mode. Kroenke’s holding AW’s elbow looks patronizing. No smiles, stern eye to eye contact, no love lost between them

  201. Red Arse says:

    Morning Guys, 🙂

    Hi BR, 🙂

    When I first found AA some months ago, you were one of the first regulars I chatted to, and made me feel very welcome.

    Imagine my delight when I found you were (and probably many others) a bon viveur like myself, and we discussed fine wines and great grub, among other things, so it was Arsenal with all the good bits.

    I have not been able to touch a drop of wine/champers since before Christmas, but it gives me something to look forward to, hopefully, especially the mysterious bottle of Dom Perignon. 🙂

    And then to find Micky’s humour; Dandans poetry, the delights of Peaches and Evonne, together with the simple decency, knowledge and deep love of Arsenal demonstrated by the regular AA’ers has been overwhelming!! 🙂

    [Most bloggers are not around, just now so don’t tell them I said that!] 🙂

    Hi Chas, 🙂

    Depends on what body language you are referring too! 🙂

  202. Red Arse says:

    Hi CharyB, 🙂

    Def no accountancy chat today, even if sorely tempted! Altho’ you are usually a good boy in that respect!! 🙂

  203. Evonne 2 says:

    RA – aaaaaaaaah, bless you and thank you for such kind words! We all love you too 🙂

    You have not drunk since Christmas??? Wow, congrats!! Last time I drunk was about 10 years ago 🙂

  204. Yeah, I’m quite happy to avoid talking shop RedA, it’s far too dull.

    But by way of a non Arsenal rant I have to say that while I was happy to get my tickets for the Judas Priest farewell “Epitah 2011” tour it’s a bit annoying that one of the group quit just before the tour started.

    I know virtually no one here will know what I’m on about(or even care 🙂 ) but it just won’t be the same without KK.

    He’d been with them for 42 years – how could you leave, how could you do it KK ?

  205. Red Arse says:

    Well done to you too Evonne! 🙂

    in my case, sadly, it has not been thru’ choice.
    I am looking forward to making up for lost time when I am able! 🙂

    Great quality, not quantity is my motto!

  206. Red Arse says:

    CharyB,

    I feel for you, but I am such a geek I do not have a clue who you are referring too! 🙂

    My tastes lie firmly with classical music and occasional popular music that remind me of good/sad times in my life.

    Boring, eh? 🙂

  207. TotalArsenal says:

    Hey 1966

    Judas Priest, now that is a blast from the past. Takes me all back to Metal years:

    ‘Cause you’re the green manalishi with the two pronged crown

    All night dragging us up, you’re bringing us down

    Just taking my love, and slip away

    Leaving me here, trying to keep from following you’

  208. Gooner in Exile says:

    Harry I’ll be in Tavern before 2pm. Clothes a necessity for me, fitter AA’ers may not be so reserved.

    Chas

    Body Language is a difficult thing.
    AW:
    Folded arms = defensive/cold/comfortable
    Head bowed= thoughtful/submissive/concerned
    Leaning back = relaxed/defensive

    SK:
    Leaning forward = dominant/aggressive
    Arm contact = control/affection (as it’s the forearm of man)

    Having said all that you need to see a video to judge.

    A tip for all singletons. If trying to flirt you should mirror the other persons body language and movements. Apparently this makes them subconsciously like you more.

    Another trick is to mirror someone (stranger in a pub) for about two minutes, then start leading they will subconsciously follow your actions.

  209. You’re in the 99% majority though RedA that won’t have a clue(the other 1% being Radders) – heavy metal is a much reviled and disliked genre of music, but hey ho I care not a jot.
    Are we going to get a good turnout at the tavern on Sunday? Anyone know?

  210. Ah TotalA – you’re the other 1(of the 2) who’ll know what the hell I’m on about!

    What did you think of their Joan Baez cover, weird eh ? However if you remember it (Diamonds & Rust)I reckon the licks/fills Glenn plays in the second half of the song make his Gibson absolutely sing/wail.

    At least he’ll still be on the tour.

  211. Morning all

    Bit of a delay as the photos aren’t in the new post yet, be back in a bit …………

  212. Rasp says:

    Early Fleetwood Mac with Peter Green … one of the most progressive tracks of its time yet didn’t really get the recognition…

    …. morning all 🙂

  213. Morning Raspers – I certainly wouldn’t have heard of F Mac if it wasn’t for the Priest cover – have you heard their version ?

  214. TotalArsenal says:

    1966

    Back in the mid-80, I spent my puberty years being totally involved in heavy metal. Priest was one of the bands I listened too and I still regularly sing the words to Green Manalishi. Nowadays, I like all sorts of music and now and again I like to listen to a bid of old metal like Raven, Metallica (Kill ’em All especially), Maiden, Twisted Sister, even ACDC.

    Did you see the Anvil movie by any chance, which was released a couple of years ago??

  215. TotalA – Metallica were really good about the time of Kill ‘em all and Ride the lightning. Nowadays it’s only metal or classical for me but most of those you list were pretty high on my list(Dee Snider – what a nut case!), although I’d add UFO, Queensryche, Dio and MSG to those.
    I heard about the Anvil movie – was it a docu-drama of sorts, or a biography of the group? I think they were Canadians, a power trio if my memory serves right, which it probably doesn’t.

  216. Having a bit of a nightmare here in north london ……

    There are great pics but I can’t get them in at the moment – sorry Harry

    New Post

  217. TotalArsenal says:

    1966

    It’s a brilliant, clever and funny movie. It goes back to the eighties as well as depicting the members of the band as they are now. Still rockers who have not given up. You don’t need to love metal to enjoy this movie. See link below.

  218. Cool TotalA – I’ll check it out later. See you in the next post.

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