British Steel inferior to Foreign Flair

In the past I have, without giving it due consideration, called for some British back-bone/steel within our ranks, but I now accept this to be extremely short-sighted and too patriotically jingoistic. English footballers are flawed, limited in natural talent and their abilty to use the ball intelligently. The media are just as culpable, fawning over serial under-achievers, like Shearer, Beckham, Neville, Cole, Terry, Lampard, Carragher, Gerrard et al.

The coaching set-up isn’t much better. With all the money sloshing around in football, every major club has a foreign coach/manager, no English manager has won the title since Howard Wilkinson (who was out of his depth at international level), and still England football fans wait for the much-publicised root and branch shake-up that was promised after the shambolic 2010 WC campaign. This year’s Euro’s weren’t really much better. England’s so-called ‘golden generation’ were mostly flat-footed plodders who were severely out-played at the top level.

All of which brings me to Arsène Wenger. In a moment of sheer bloody-minded anger it is easy to pick holes in his philosophy and criticise his short-comings. It is quintessentially the English way. Put someone up on a pedestal so we can knock them off, laughing and mocking as we do so.

You get the feeling that whatever path Arsène Wenger had taken in life, his name would be familiar to us, and the more you consider his character and philosophies, the more I realise how fortunate we have been as Arsenal fans to witness that first-hand.

Herbert Chapman will always be my favourite Arsenal manager, because he revolutionised the club and put us on the footballing world map, and because when I started supporting Arsenal, Bertie Mee was manager. For me back then, seeing the likes of Charlie George and Ray Kennedy being sold was every bit as painful as seeing some of the modern-day stars go. But Arsène Wenger is a unique one-off. He would probably have been the saviour of English football.

There have been many conversations about how Arsenal play, and whether or not it is a hybrid Barcelona-style. Well…yes and no.

Firstly the two cultures are completely different, as are the footballing set-ups. Barcelona get to play their reserves in a lower division of the Spanish La Liga system, an option that has never been available for England’s major clubs. Barcelona probably have the best scouting system in the world, plus the work-permit regulations that affect us are not applicable in Spain, which is why they along with Real Madrid attract the cream of young Brazilian and Argentinian talent. Lionel Messi went to Barcelona at 13, our infra-structure is still set-up in a way that all our youngsters at the club are British, or their family have moved and settled here. Nonetheless, it still puts us at a huge disadvantage.

Secondly I think Barcelona and in particular Spain have benefited from the greatest exponent of Total Football, and the man whom Arsène Wenger draws inspiration from, Johann Cruyff. It’s fair to say that the Dutch played a brand of football during the 1970’s that was on a completely different level than had ever been seen before, and for many neutral observers would and perhaps should have justifiably been World Champions. From 1970-73, the European Cup belonged to Holland, First Feyenoord beat Celtic in 1970 before Cruyff lead Ajax to three successive victories. And it was Johann Cruyff who delivered Barcelona’s first European Cup in 1992. But like Arsene Wenger, his passion is to develop the younger players, and after winning the European Cup he took on the task of restructuring Barcelona’s youth academy.

Over the past six years the world has witnessed Cruyff’s work through Barcelona and Spain. Our model is completely different to Spain’s, Johann Cruyff stepped back from front-line management to concentrate solely on his youth project, whereas our structure and resources mean that Arsene Wenger has to do the lot, including over-seeing a stadium move as well as jousting with billionaires.

We so nearly had it all. Double98 touched on it in his Post, the combinations of Pires and Henry, Bergkamp and Ljungberg, the whole unit ticked liked a Rolex watch. Swashbuckling artistry at its best, and when it peaked there wasn’t a team across the land who could live with us. Talking of Rolex’s, it really is all about timing. Arsenal’s 2004 vintage was as close to football perfection as it gets, and even now, eight years on, I’d fancy them to beat any of Pep Guardiola’s Barcelona’s sides, Mourinho’s sides and Ferguson’s MU. Had we not been so knackered when we met Chelsea in the CL QF 2nd leg, we’d have brought home the European Cup that our football so richly deserved. So to summarise, I’d argue that ‘The Invincibles’ played a better, more effective brand of football than Barcelona. That’s why I believe he would have improved the England national team beyond recognition, and possibly even delivered a World Cup. We really should thank our lucky stars for his staunch loyalty in an age where there is far too little of it on display.

Des Kelly wrote a really good article in the Daily Mail recently stating that the only person he would trust at Arsenal to have the club’s best interests at heart, is Arsène Wenger. As I said earlier, it’s easy to find fault, but when you consider that he is the only manager ever to deliver a completely unbeaten league programme, (having been openly mocked for even daring to predict such a feat just a year too early!), you have to concede the man has a touch of genius about him.

For those demanding trophies, it is worth remembering that after Bertie Mee’s ‘Double’ winning side of 1970-71, Arsenal had to wait another eighteen years before they won the title again, in 1989, picking up a solitary FA Cup in 1979, and a League Cup in 1987. Put in that context, Arsène Wenger’s record at Arsenal is phenomenal. Never outside of the top two between 1998-2005, and in his sixteen years a top four finish every year, including serious financial restraints and fighting against billionaires for the past six years.

He has revolutionised English football, and we are richer people for being able to share that amazing journey. He undoubtedly would have been our nation’s footballing saviour, but he became ours instead, and though there have been many testing times, and more to come no doubt, from a purely selfish point of view, I’m glad he chose us.

Written by Herb

102 Responses to British Steel inferior to Foreign Flair

  1. Scott says:

    Brilliant article about a brilliant man,too often underestimated by people incapable of knowing any better,and certainly not capable of anything noteworthy themselves!

  2. Norfolk Gooner says:

    Excellent piece Herb, but I have to take issue with you over Arsene Wenger being our Nation’s footballing saviour. If he had been appointed England manager he would have had to contend with the same “serial under-achievers, like Shearer, Beckham, Neville, Cole, Terry, Lampard, Carragher, Gerrard et al”. Even our French genius would have struggled to turn that lot into champions.

  3. Red Arse says:

    Hi Herb, 🙂

    We have had a plethora of really top notch articles over the 18 months since I first frequented Arsenal Arsenal, and never more so than some of the stunning Posts we have had in the past few weeks.

    Every day I find myself marvelling at the fabulously rich vein of latent talent that has been unearthed by AA’s far sighted policy of inviting ‘unknowns’ to write a Post on any subject that takes their fancy.
    All credit to Peaches and the Rasper!

    And then Herb ……………….. there is you, and today’s offering.

    I am conscious of the old adage that one should be aware of labelling all your ducks as swans, but, even so, I cannot resist lauding you for being right up there in the brilliant panoply of Arsenal Arsenal authors as a doyen in your own right.

    I loved the thoughtful well crafted Post, I loved the subject matter, and I particularly loved the classy prose style you employed.

    Well done, sir, you are indeed a star!! 🙂

  4. FREY says:

    I think Arsene would honestly am not english though i support England, the english philosophy about team selection is poor. i wish the press would stay away from decision making and england develops a structure as well as giving foreign players rights to play for England like Mikel arteta

  5. Scott says:

    English football appears to be all about the “boys club”,at least,it does from afar.
    For the Euros,you had no Chance of winning it,so why not leave Terry,Gerrard and the likes at home??
    There’s a decent comp in two years time,so the Euros should have been seen as a stepping stone to Brazil.

  6. barumgooner says:

    Firstly may I congratulate you on an excellent piece of writing Herb, however I do dis-agree with the theory that English players aren’t as good as their foreign counterparts. My biggest problem with the foreign influence at Arsenal is not the great players but the average imports, this imo is the failing, wouldnt it be better for Bartley to be in the squad in the place of Squillaci, Lansbury instead of Diaby. Unfortunately it would seem at the Arsenal academy to succeed as a Brit you have to be truly outstanding (jack/Gibbs) whereas as an import you can get by on this “technical ability” that gets thrown around. The truth is that a football team consists of 11 players who all perform a role, some of those roles are served better by players with a lesser technical know-how but a better work-ethic and larger desire, this (again only imo) is more apparent in a local lad who loves the club and was bought up with our religion than a player dragged from his home in search of fame and fortune. Personally I crave the day when the Arsenal has a good blend of British players and quality foreign players.

  7. evonne says:

    LB – I knew Wiggins just had to be a Gunner 🙂 Makes perfect sense

  8. barumgooner says:

    As far as the England national team goes I think the problem is that managers fear the media and generally pick safe teams that aren’t going to be too heavily criticised by the press. I think/hope Roy will be different.

  9. Scott says:

    Barumgooner,if English players are so good,then why is it EVERY PL club is dominated by imports,and why haven’t England won anything for near on 50 years?
    Technically,English players,in general,are a decade behind.
    Sorry,but I couldn’t disagree more.

  10. barumgooner says:

    Thats ok Scott. Its your opinion. But I didnt say they were SO good just that they aren’t as bad as many would have you believe. The English national team will never improve if the big English clubs continue to import teenagers from around the world rather that work with the kids in this country.

  11. barumgooner says:

    And also… Man Utd have been by far the most successful team in the last two decades and have always had an home-grown influence in their spine. As have Chelsea and even to a degree mancity.

  12. Scott says:

    I do agree with you there,but he influx of imports has raised the bar,so it’s up to the powers that be to ensure kids get proper coaching from day one.
    I’m an Aussie,and I can tell you that we’d be capable of producing world class players regularly but for one thing…..early coaching.
    I’m no genius,but coach my boys U/6 side,and our kids just demolish teams weekly.
    The reason….I actually played the game,and i Can tell you that the vast majority of opposition coaches I speak to never actually played football/soccer.
    I listen to the parent cheering at a “big kick” that goes straight to my boys,and I cringe.
    Now I’m not suggesting this is the case in England,but English football does lag behind Spain (and others) in the technical aspects of the game,so it’s only natural it will take time to catch up.
    Why does everyone think Ox was coached by his dad,and for years never even played in a side?

  13. barumgooner says:

    The Australian winning attitude is to be admired Scott and I think in time they will be a force in world football if they get behind it. I am not for one minute suggesting that we “drive out the foreign invader” but that clubs like Arsenal are somehow blinded by the idea that average foreign players are better than average English players, or is it just that they are cheaper ? The stars brighten the game but the lesser players just remove the chance of a young potential star of the future getting a break.

  14. chas says:

    Nice post, Herb.
    Great to see you appreciating what we have got.

    Elsewhere there are those who slate Wenger for not caring about the fans, the team and the club, but only for his own wallet and those of the board. I honestly believe that this couldn’t be further from the truth.

    When you see Brave Sir Robin say he loves the club and then his actions demonstrate the complete opposite, it makes you realise that Wenger is one of the few we can trust to have the best interests of the club at heart. How he copes with the players and supporters who can’t wait to stab him in the back, I’ll never know.

  15. barumgooner says:

    Well said Chas. It is funny how all these players say they love the club and inparticular their father-figure Mr Wenger just as they are about to take their 50pcs of silver.

  16. Scott says:

    Barnum,I agree again….the grass always seems greener on the other side!

  17. chas says:

    Cheers, Barum

    Wenger’ll get slagged off for lying by the “hard core fans” (a phrase which is still tickling me) because he’s come out and said his desire is to keep Brave Sir Robin at the club.
    Of course it would be his preference (we would have all liked him to have signed a new contract, surely?), but perhaps a reported top bid of £12 million might have something to do with it.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/2012/jul/21/arsene-wenger-robin-van-persie?

  18. JM says:

    Off-topic:

    Update on Arsenal’s Asian tour list:

    (1) 24-man squad announced
    http://www.arsenal.com/news/news-archive/arsenal-announce-24-man-squad-for-asia-tour

    Included list from 1st team:
    Vermaelen(stand-in captain/vc), Arteta, Gervinho, Song, Walcott, Gibbs, Szczesny, Santos, AoC, Coquelin, Djourou, Diaby, Chamakh, Fabianski, Jenkinson, Mannone, Miyaichi & Bartley
    Plus youngers/reserves (who have a chance for 1st team):
    Miquel, Aneke, Eisfeld, Eastmond, Yennaris, Afobe

    Notable Absentees:
    Ramsey & Park -> At London Olympics
    Rosicky, Mertesacker, Sagna, Podolski -> Heading to Nigeria (Rosicky & Sagna are also recuperating from injuries)
    Koscielny -> Working on fitness + extension of contract (admin)
    Giroud -> Working on fitness
    Wilshere, Frimpong -> Recuperating from long term injuries

    RvP -> Negotiation with Man City, Man Utd & Juventus (And any other new bidders) to be sort out.
    Vela -> Transferred out or on his way to Real Sociedad
    Squillaci, Arshavin, Bendtner -> Could be on their way out

    (2) Current fitness level/availability of players
    http://www.arsenal.com/news/news-archive/wenger-some-players-will-work-on-fitness

  19. barumgooner says:

    True Chas. Its good that at least we seem to have a bit of an auction going for him £25m will be a good bit of business. I’m off to do some work. Nice talking to you Scott.

  20. Red Arse says:

    Oz, 🙂

    I have just spotted your reference to my being thrown out by the doctor and nurses for my word play!

    Below I am showing you a poem written about 1860 and written in what was then perfect English. How times change!! 🙂

    Soon—as when Summer of his sister Spring
    Crushes and tears the rare enjewelling,
    And boasting ‘I have fairer things than these’
    Plashes amidst the billowy apple-trees
    His lusty hands, in gusts of scented wind
    Swirling out bloom till all the air is blind
    With rosy foam and pelting blossom and mists
    Of driving vermeil-rain; and, as he lists,
    The dainty onyx-coronals deflowers,
    A glorious wanton;—all the wrecks in showers
    Crowd down upon a stream, and jostling thick
    With bubbles bugle-eyed, struggle and stick
    On tangled shoals that bar the brook—a crowd
    Of filmy globes and rosy floating cloud:—
    So those Mermaidens crowded to my rock.
    * * * * *

    It’s beautiful — yet how many peeps could be bothered to read it? 😦

  21. Scott says:

    Red,the parts I understood were gorgeous.
    The parts I didn’t were no doubt even better 🙂

  22. Norfolk Gooner says:

    Wonderful wordage RA, I seldom get beyond “There was a young lady from Devises, whose breasts were different sizes”.

  23. Red Arse says:

    Glad you liked it lads. 🙂

    JM

    Great analysis of the pre-season squad. Very clear.

    I am somewhat puzzled by the omission of Lansbury and the inclusion of a no-hoper like Eastmond instead??

  24. Scott says:

    Advertise Eastmond to drum up some interested buyer?

  25. Herb'sArmy says:

    Hi everybody, thanks for all your feedback.
    Redders – you are far too generous, but thanks anyway. Hope your health is holding up.
    Norfolk – I don’t think Arsene Wenger would have picked some of those players.
    BarumG – There’s a huge dearth of good English coaches/managers. The last English manager at MU was Ron Atkinson, not good enough, at Chelsea, Glenn Hoddle, not good enough, Arsenal, Don Howe, not good enough, Liverpool, Roy Evans, not good enough, Man City, Kevin Keegan, not good enough. Paul Scholes said we are technically light years behind Spain, and he’s right. It tells you all you need to know that Roy Hodgson was our only viable option.
    There is so much negative diatribe aimed at our manager, sometimes it just gets tiresome and annoying.
    A new season is just around the corner, everyone starts again with a blank sheet, no recriminations for what’s gone, move forward.
    If people truly love the club, that means accepting where we are and supporting the manager and whoever represents us on the field.
    Thank you Rasp and Peaches, I nearly spat my coffee over the screen when I realised you’d used the ramblings of an aging lunatic! And thanks for coming up with the title Rasp.

  26. Herb'sArmy says:

    If there is a better, more creative user of the written language than you Redders, I’ve yet to meet them.

  27. JM says:

    @Red Arse,

    My hunch is that Eisfeld is the replacement player for Lansbury for this tour. The latter might be recovering from a minor injury (he played 2 games against Anderlecht & Southampton, before withdrawing half way during the 2nd game).

  28. GunnerN5 says:

    Herb,

    At last a sensible blog on Arsene.

    Herb Chapman passed away a few years before I was born, my dad was a HC devotee, he just loved the way his teams played and the innovations that he brought to the game.

    The first manager that I was fortunate enough to see was Tom Whittaker and we won the league the first year I started going to Highbury, 1947/48 – so he will always hold a special place in my memory bank.

    However, Arsene Wenger has by far surpassed any of the 10 Arsenal managers that I have witnessed.

    In a game of football I always enjoy the anticipation and excitement of a potential victory and AW has given me more opportunities to be excited than any other manager.

    Silverware, to me, is just an added bonus – it’s the excitement of the chase that gives me the most enjoyment, the ups and downs, the twists and turns, the wins and losses.

    The 18th of August cannot come soon enough – it will be my 65th year supporting Arsenal and the past 16 seasons have produced some of our best football, we’ve seen some of our best players, we’ve been privileged to witness some incredible achievements – but most of all in each of AW’s seasons in charge we have always had the excitement of the chase and the possibility of more silverware.

  29. JM says:

    On topic:

    The eyes from the media would be on the English managers, Nigel Adkins @Southampton & Brian McDermott @Reading, if they are capable to lead the underdogs to respectable heights this season (after the story of Swansea & Norwich in the last).

    Also I.M.O., with regards to Arsenal’s ability & available catchment area to scout, attract and recruit highly talented local youths in the whole of London, we have a smaller pool & at %disadvantage to choose from. Compared to other so called “Big Brands/Clubs” in the Top 5 leagues in Europe, where their pool of players are shared by only 2 or 3 big clubs within the city area:

    e.g. Man City & Man United in Manchester; Liverpool & Everton in Liverpool; Real Madrid in Madrid; Barcelona in Catalonia; AC Milan & Inter in Milan; Juventus in Turin; Bayern Munich in Munich; B.Dortmund in Dortmund; PSG in Paris. etc

    Also in London, for e.g. the current season, we have Chelsea, Tottenham, Fulham, West Ham & QPR to compete for local honours in the EPL.

    This could be one of the reasons that Arsene along with Steve Rowley & his scouting team need to look overseas (e.g. Europe, Africa, America, Asia etc) for recruitment of more talented youth players for the club. The talent pool of youth players in London is being sort after/divided by too many local clubs as compare to other cities.

  30. LB says:

    Re-Far-East squad.

    Notable Absentees:
    Ramsey & Park -> At London Olympics
    Rosicky, Mertesacker, Sagna, Podolski -> Heading to Nigeria (Rosicky & Sagna are also recuperating from injuries)

    Can someone tell me who, what and why some players are heading to Nigeria?

  31. GunnerN5 says:

    LB,

    From Arsenal.com

    ………………………………………………………………………………………

    Arsenal first-team stars will fly to Nigeria

    Arsenal Football Club has announced four first-team players are to travel to Nigeria to take part in activities with regional partners and engage with supporters in the region.

    Tomas Rosicky, Bacary Sagna, Per Mertesacker and new signing Lukas Podolski will be travelling to Lagos with Club officials for a flying visit the weekend after next. The players will take part in Club events and other activities organised by the Club’s partners, Malta Guinness and Airtel.

  32. Herb'sArmy says:

    Thanks GunnerN5, it’s always good to read your comments/posts too.

  33. oz gunner says:

    very well said Herb, always good to read a pro-arsene piece. I can’t help but laugh when people shout ‘sack him, he’s no good ect ect’ because as you’ve said we really are lucky he came to Arsenal!

    @ RA

    I agree with herb. I think TMHT has gone back in time and fetched you back out of the 1800’s because very few have a grasp of the English language like you.

    In regards to the poem, I’m in agreeance with Scott’s 12.18. Society definitely has lowered it’s IQ over the years, but sadly for me even if i lived back in 1860 i still wouldn’t know whats going on!

  34. Herb'sArmy says:

    Cheers Oz, good luck in court with your trial.

  35. oz gunner says:

    Jack is going nuts without football!

  36. oz gunner says:

    cheers herb, much appreciated

  37. eriss says:

    Wise commentary! Keep it Wise commentary! Keep it Wise commentary! Keep it Wise commentary! Keep it up.

  38. TotAl says:

    Afternoon AA’ers! 🙂

    Herb, thanks for a truly fantastic post: an absolute joy to read. 🙂

    I reckon you are being a bit harsh on English players, but agree with you on the very low quality of English managers/coaches. I cannot get my head round the fact that Scotland, with its fraction of a population compared to England, has done so much better in producing successful managers – something you have pointed out to us on a few occasions in the past.

    I am a big believer in the apprentice-master approach. The PL top managers like Arsene and Rednose should have British nr2s, or at least nr3s, so they can learn from the masters on the job. It is unbelievable, really, that a country of 60m inhabitants cannot produce a number of top managers.

    Really love the way you have eulogised Arsene in your final paragraphs. There is a beautiful honesty and clarity about your writing, which makes it very easy to both understand what you are saying and feel the emotions you put into your posts. Top stuff, Herb!

  39. Shard says:

    Thank you Herb for a very good, and well written piece. We are indeed lucky to have a man, and a manager like Arsene Wenger at Arsenal. The Des Kelly article was a pleasant surprise. The media usually like to paint Wenger as a bumbling idiot. It is, as you say, tiresome. Once again, thanks for writing this.

  40. glic says:

    Thanks for a top read Herb 2. I always thought you were older than me because of your love of Herb1. Bertie Mee was your 1st manager !, mine was Billy Wright, just shows, a great footballer doesn`t mean a great manager. Lucky enough we have been blessed with two of the very greatest ever. 🙂

  41. Herb'sArmy says:

    Hi Total, hi Shard.
    Maybe it’s media saturation and part of the age we live in, but some people seem to have really short memories, as well as being downright rude and ungrateful.
    Arsene Wenger deserves respect, and just as importantly our gratitude for what he has done. And for 2003-04 alone he is a legend.
    As I’ve said before, paedophiles and rapists don’t get the abuse that’s chucked at our manager, and it’s out of order.

  42. Herb'sArmy says:

    Thanks Glic. Billy Wright did bring nine of Bertie Mee’s Double-winning side to the club, which after winning the Double, Bertie Mee set about dismantling.

  43. RockyLives says:

    Fantastic piece Herb – I really enjoyed reading it.

    You are so right about the English (British?) habit of putting people on pedestals then knocking them down.

    In case you weren’t reading in the middle of the night, Richie linked to a fine article about one supporter’s view of Arsene and Arsenal. In it he makes the point about how strange it is that the media and pundits ridicule Arsene so much when he is doing the right things in the right way without the “financial doping” of his rivals.

    He is a man who has always behaved loyally and honourably – yet you get odious toads like Lineker mocking him on MoTD. It’s a disgrace.

    Here’s Richie’s link:
    http://www.arsenalvision.co.uk/my-vision/4101-losing-faith.html

  44. Herb'sArmy says:

    Hi Rocky, nothing like your standard, the way you regularly knock out quality Posts is incredible.
    Thanks for the link, I did actually read it when it appeared on ‘NewsNow’, it’s quite a melancholic tale and definitely strikes a chord with the ordinary fan. I suppose since the inception of the ‘Premier’ league and Rupert Murdoch’s money in 1992-93, unfortunately football and football clubs were always destined to go this way. It also gives license for people like Harry Redknapp to ruin traditional clubs like Portsmouth.

  45. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    Love the post Herb. Can not congratulate you enough on its smoothnes and quality.

    You are right. every new season brings fresh hope and excitement. We should enjoy the ride. Without wishing to sound melodramatic it realy is the time of our lives. Many a gooner has passed on to the great Highbury in the sky and many new born gooners still have there time to come, but this is our time. Arsenal and football to me is a gift, bringing joy, excitement, despair, infact all emotions under the sun and ime realy thankful for it.

    “The Ghosts of the 30’s are stiring”

  46. RockyLives says:

    Terry
    That’s the most poetic comment you have ever made!
    Watch out Redders – you’ve got some competition.

  47. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    hahaha, thanks Rocky. To be compared is a great compliment. Redders writing skills are second to none, ive never seen anything like it.

  48. Hi all

    Herb, I just love it when you send in a post and as I read it I know the content is going to really surprise some of our regular bloggers. Well done to you 🙂

    Whether Arsene has had his day – as some would want us to believe – or still has the capabilities to build a successful team remains to be seen. I’ve loved him for too long to turn my back on him so for me he’s the best man for Arsenal.

    What we know about his skills as a manager is that he seems to be able to work a bit of magic with players to get the best out of them. I reckon he would have mixed up the players in an England squad if he had ever been the England manager but we’ll never know the answer to that one.

    He brought us the Invincibles – a team that everyone loved – us, the media even some spuds 😉 and that may never be repeated in our lifetime but we’ll be able to talk about it while there is still life in our bodies, for that we have to be truly thankful 😛

    Love being a gooner – only four weeks to go aaarrrgggghhhh

  49. glic says:

    Just an observation.
    This cycling stuff, I admit they are physically fit and It`s great looking at all the countryside, but other than the end bit when they have a sprint, It`s a bit boring .
    A bit limp wristed if you ask me, More like Tour De Shirtlift !.

    Lets look at the facts.

    They all ride “Bi”cycles ( I`m more of a Unicycle man ).
    They all wear tight fitting pretty coloured Latex, Lycra and Spandex.
    It`s all men chasing each other with funny shaped helmets.
    They have a ” Breaking Back Mountain” climb and at the top they gather in a “YMCA” for naked shower towel flicking session.
    They`re seats are dildo shaped with a wheel powered dynamo charge.
    Then there`s the Peloton, a technical name for a “Bum Bandit Beano”, where their in pursuit of another Arse Rape victim.
    Where do they finish ?, Gay Pareee !.

    I rest my case, seems an Open and shut “that door” case to me !.

    Right I`m off for a bike ride with my mates.
    Yoo Hoo, Aidrian, Jule`s, Rupert, Julian and Everard wait for meee !

  50. Herb'sArmy says:

    Nice one Terry. It’s not as though football is a switch we can turn on and off, so it’s a lot healthier to enjoy the journey. If it constantly gets people down they should find a less stressful hobby.
    At this moment in time we are in four competitions with a chance of winning them all.

  51. Herb'sArmy says:

    Hi Peaches,
    wow, that was sprung on me out of the blue! No complaints though, it’s all good, and I love being a Gooner too. To support anyone else just makes no sense.
    When you blog with intelligent classy people that visit this site, it doesn’t hurt to do a bit of soul-searching. It makes an individual raise their game, and realise time is fleeting, so appreciate and enjoy these moments before they’re gone.
    As I said in the Post, Arsene Wenger brought us footballing perfection, which is something for us all to celebrate. We lived a dream in England than no other club’s fans can share. Herbert Chapman didn’t do it, neither did Busby, Shankly, Paisley, Cloughie, SAF, or Mourinho. Only Arsene Wenger. It can never be beaten, only equalled, and that in itself is bigger than Chelsea’s European Cup.

  52. chas says:

    We beat Boreham Wood 3-1.
    The three goals included 2 penalties. Here’s one of them.

  53. Just noticed we don’t have a post for tomorrow, anyone fancy writing a small something to start the day off ………………..

  54. Hi chas – what happened to Mrs Sagna 🙂

  55. chas says:

    I can’t always be bothered to log in via WordPress, peaches, so she only comes out occasionally. 🙂

  56. LB says:

    GLIC

    And this year’s winner of the Tour de France is a gooner from Kilburn.

    First ever Brit in the 99 history of the Tour to win the competition.

    Check out the accent.

  57. chas says:

    Here’s that Mark Cavendish sprint from yesterday.
    Simply stunning.

  58. chas says:

    hahahahahaha, superb LB.

  59. chas says:

    I suppose that was the closest he’s come to being beaten this year.

  60. LB says:

    And it is worth remembering that Cavandish put in that sprint after 220 kilometers of riding.

  61. chas says:

    Air Show Disaster – Amazing photo shows great detail.

    The pilot at low level had no control over his aircraft.

    It narrowly misses a crowd gathered for the air show and slams into a building.
    One can only imagine the horror of the occupant inside that building.

    Probably scared the crap out of them.

    http://twitpic.com/aa7nhk/full

  62. chas says:

    Inner Peace: This is so true

    If you can start the day without caffeine,

    If you can always be cheerful, ignoring aches and pains,

    If you can resist complaining and boring people with your troubles,

    If you can eat the same food every day and be grateful for it,

    If you can understand when your loved ones are too busy to give you any time,

    If you can take criticism and blame without resentment,

    If you can conquer tension without medical help,

    If you can relax without alcohol,

    If you can sleep without the aid of drugs,

    …Then You Are Probably

    http://twitpic.com/aa7pd7/full

  63. TotAl says:

    Hahahahahahahaha cHAs 🙂

  64. VCC says:

    Chas ….just like my dog, thoroughly spoiled.

  65. TotAl says:

    Fantastic news!

    The Guardian are saying Koscielny has signed a new 5 year contract. Read very last sentence of article. I completely missed this one: did anybody knows this already?

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/2012/jul/20/robin-van-persie-arsenal-manchester-united-city?

  66. glic says:

    Nice message L(ady) B(oy)
    Yooooo Hooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

  67. Gooner In Exile says:

    Had seen it on twitter TA, my guess is to be announced officially either at end of Asia tour or during.

    But I also think they may have leaked it to make sure no one thought there was anything in him not going to Asia.

    Fine post Herb, not been around to comment as I have been helping a friend move house.

    Who moves a shed? Especially when there is only two of you and you are lifting it over a 6ft fence, I must still have some residual core strength from when I was a gym going nut..

  68. TotAl says:

    Peaches, I have drafted something, but it needs a voting gadget inserted. Are you or Rasp ok with that?

  69. Gooner In Exile says:

    My comment earlier made it look like my friend lives in a shed…he doesn’t.

  70. Herb'sArmy says:

    Cheers GiE. Everyone knows the Goalkeepers fraternity are eccentrically mad, which explains why you’re moving a shed over a 6ft wall. I can imagine ‘mad’ Jens Lehmann doing exactly the same thing as part of his training regime to help with his reach.

  71. Gooner In Exile says:

    Haha Herb think I lost some reach with the stupidity!

  72. richie says:

    @GunnerN.5@1:45 From one N.5 Gooner to another I doff my cap to to you sir. In terms of support I’m a mere whipa-snapa 18 years your junior. Like the Herbsman the first manager I can claim to properly remember as a youngster was Bertie Mee. As an Avenall Rd. Highbury boy I kind of remember Billy Wright but I was too young to really identify with him. Whereas BM I remember well. It was a different world! It wasn’t anything like now (as you know’ll no doubt remember) BM wasn’t on TV like managers these days. I used to see him outside the east stand. Our recently retired loyal servant Pat Rice could often be found in and around his brothers barbers in Gillespie Rd. Chas G, Radford, Sammy Nelson and many others could be found at my grans house opposite the ground playing cards or Amazingly Subbuteo.

    My Grandad worked at Highbury stadium so I was raised in the school boys enclosure before I graduated to the northbank, I don’t even count those early years as I wasn’t a conscious supporter, my whole family were mad Gooners so I didn’t have a choice, besides growing up right next to the stadium on first name terms with most of our first double winning team how could I end up any other way.
    Those years the 60’s freezing on the terraces supporting my team while we played horrible football taught me to appreciate things.
    Like you I could never have imagined my team being lauded as the team playing the beautiful game. I vividly remember Geogre Best tearing us apart at highbury. Like you I love the entertaining football we now play, and I appreciate our year after year European odyssy. Arsene Wenger has easily surpassed the 6 other managers I remember. I echo your sentiments almost exactly its the marvelous players we’ve enjoyed since Arsene’s arrival and its the football we play that I love! Trophe’s are only the bonus for me! And they will only be a bonus if we win can something playing in what I now think of as the Arsene Arsenal style.

  73. richie says:

    B’rumG@11:43 I think you are missing the point by a country mile average foreign players are much cheaper than average English players! English players get over hyped by the press almost as soon as they sign a professional contract, I’ve lost count how many times English players get labeled world class! I hate the chavs and it makes me cringe to hear a player like Lumpalard discribbed as world class, but at least he is a good player. Often times those classed as world class by our press aren’t even average. Moreover give it some thought could Harry the Twitchers nephew or any of the rest of them get into any of the top teams? Our old ex Cashley was one of the few that have got a spot in any of the top teams, but who out of the rest? Even the Granny Humper ain’t up their with the top Europeam strikers.

  74. richie says:

    @JM@1:56 You have highlighted some of the many reasons that we have to cast our net so wide, on top of that unlike the Spanish French and Dutch big teams we are blocked by our home office from bringing in genuine foreign talent. If we were to I.D. the next Messi this total shambles that we call a government will not allow him entre. Especially not the xenophobic PM Cameron. B’rumG doesn’t seem to understand that it was the English teams lack of basic technical ball control that saw them so expossed against Italy.
    Arsene’s imports raised the levels at Arsenal and so in the Prem. Indeed I’d go further and say Englands International future could lay in Arsene’s hands. If Theo stays we’ll have 4 technical English players, him the Ox, Jack & Gibbo all raised correctly by Arsene to have good technical ball control. That could be the basis of a team especially if H G Lansbury continues to improve from Arsene’s coaching.

  75. richie says:

    @The Herbsman great piece I’d love to have it on tap to reprint everytime one of those “Arsene out idiots” turns up! However I must take exception to your reply to Glic@4:41 Bertie Mee had the team for a further 4 years after Billy Wright left before he won (the first trophe in 18years) the European Fairs Cup in 70 – then he gave us our first double in 71 plus I remember BM was responsible for bringing in a lot of new youngsters into the team, like Chas, Ray Kennedy & Radders, who’d only gotten cameo’s under BW I might agree he let certain players like Kennedy go way too early but there was no way he broke up a team put together by Billy Wright!

  76. RockyLives says:

    Richie
    Amazing story about your boyhood – there must be a Post in that!

  77. chas says:

    richie,
    Subbuteo round at you Gran’s house with Sammy, Chas and John. Haha.

    I’ve never heard Charlie George called ‘Chas’ before.
    I like it. 🙂

  78. Gooner In Exile says:

    Morning all

  79. oz gunner says:

    194 230 a week! that is bloody ridiculous. The way we stuck by him and he the way he claimed to love us he deserves to be quartered and sent to the corners of England!

  80. evonne says:

    Richie -at 3:13 – lovely stuff, every word of it.

    Please, please, please Juve, pay that front bottom whatever he wants, I never want to see his face again

  81. Gooner In Exile says:

    I don’t know why it’s such an odd number per week. But I agree bloody ridiculous. The Sun reckons neither City or United will mind the wages, my guess is they would mind then when added to a £30m transfer fee, surely the maximum contract they could give him is 5 years which would mean a cost for FFP rulings of £16.1m a year.

    Personally the only league I think he could play in at 34 is the Italian, so would make sense to go to Juve. Looking at City you just can’t see why they need him, even if Tevez goes they still have three centre forwards all under 26, and surely one is the most likely starter (Aguero), with Balotelli sure to become a problem if he feels unloved.

    I really think its time to make a stand and Robin is the player to do it with….last season he paid back his transfer fee and all his wages (if it is true that his goals alone qualified us for the CL). So let’s just make him stew, and he doesn’t even have to come to work, we can afford £90k a week to a player not giving us anything, last season we carried Almunias wage and he is now gone, as are a number of young professionals.

  82. glic says:

    Morning
    It`s about the trophy`s . I hear Manu are among the strong favourites`s for him. Can someone remind me what they won last year ?.

  83. evonne says:

    GiE – completely agree. I mentioned Modric and Tevez wanted to go, made to stay and play very well. I would not let him go and see who would want him next year, when he is almost 30 and fat from sitting on the bench. That might just send the right signal to others, the Club should not be held to ransom

  84. Gooner In Exile says:

    Injury updates ahead of the tour and season from le boss:

    on Bacary Sagna (broken fibula)…
    “He is doing very well. There are no problems there. But it will be the end of August for him.”

    on Abou Diaby, who missed the end of the Premier League season…
    “He is fit, raring to go and will be on the tour. That is fantastic news for him and us.”

    on Jack Wilshere (ankle)….
    “It is impossible to set a concrete deadline at the moment. But it is all OK. He is as quick as we expected him to be. His ankle is good and his knee is good. There is no set-back. It difficult to say ‘it will be this week in September or October’ when he is back in training. He has been out for a year and I don’t want to put any pressure on him.”

    on Tomas Rosicky (plantaris tendon)…
    “It will be six to eight weeks until he is back in training. It was his [plantaris tendon], it was done at the Euros.”

    on Emmanuel Frimpong (knee)…
    “Emmanuel is doing very well. It will be the end of September or perhaps into October for him.”

    on Mikel Arteta, who missed the end of the Premier League season…
    “He is fit now.”

    on Lukasz Fabianski, who missed Euro 2012…
    “He is OK and will travel to the tour.”

    So we start the new season without Sagna, Wilshere, Frimpong and Rosicky.

    Which seriously brings into question that AM berth, perhaps Diaby and Rambo will share it (providing nothing untoward happens at Olympics for Rambo).

    The biggest worry that we Arsene is talking back in training for Jack come September/October, that will put him at least another 6-8 weeks away after that. So December looks likely.

  85. glic says:

    Yes GIE , make him stew and kick him in the dumpling`s.
    Even though we have misjudged his character, no forget that, he lied to us, I dont think he would be carried, I think he would give 100% on the field just as e va va vonne has said of Modric and Tevez.

  86. Gooner In Exile says:

    Evonne I actually think Modric is a different kettle of fish, young enough to know he had time (and I seem to remember they still had to give him a new deal). But according to the press he is refusing to train at the moment so who knows whether he will stay again.

    I said last season i’d take him to replace Cesc, think I still would, if it was just based on his football, unfortunately he appears to be very similar to the rest of the money chasers.

  87. Gooner In Exile says:

    GliC if he wasn’t an unsettling presence then fine but if he is disruptive on the training ground then he can go home (I wouldn’t want his attitude infecting the reserves and youths).

  88. evonne says:

    GiE – you are right about Modric; nevertheless he had excellent season despite not wanting to stay

    Glic – yes, that’s what I resent about him – he didn’t play well for us last season, he played for his new contract elsewhere.He gave us 7 seasons of one injury after another.

  89. Gooner In Exile says:

    Just in case you were wondering what we can achieve with better kit sponsorship deal:

    Is SAFC Sunderland? Or am I being vacant this morning?

  90. oz gunner says:

    It’d be nice if we sent him to china or some mega rich Arabic team in the desert, they’d strum up some good money and he can win the Chinese Super Cup. I’d give him two choices rot in the reserves or put a tracksuit on and watch like tevez did. He should be made an example of, just not for Arsenal’s sake but for football players everywhere.

  91. glic says:

    Sunderland Association Football Club . Blimey !.

  92. oz gunner says:

    @ GiE

    god an extra 14.5 million a year will be handy. We should do a Man City and get usmanov to sponsor our uniform and pony up 50 million a year. I still can’t get over how man city got away with the stadium naming rights debacle

  93. glic says:

    So when we get our £20M+ next shirt deal ( when ? ), can we stop selling players ?.

  94. oz gunner says:

    Surely Glic, as Terry worked out the other day surely that’d give us a bit more breathing space.

  95. oz gunner says:

    @ gnarley

    sorry but the better team prevailed

  96. glic says:

    Yes Oz, but dont call me shirley !. 😆

  97. Shirley says:

    Don’t call me Glic!!

  98. oz gunner says:

    I only call you that GLIC when you get a bit friendly, and get into Mrs GLIC”s wardrobe after a few brews haha

  99. glic says:

    Shirley, surely it`s not you…………it is you, morning. 🙂

    OK , let`s get out in the Sun, thanks Oz for sending us some.

  100. Rasp says:

    Morning all……

    ….. New post ……

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