The curse of Steve Bould!

When Arsene brought in the bald-headed rock as his number 2, Arsenal fans’ cheers could be heard around the world! We had been crying out for a defensive coach for a few seasons after watching our creaky defence ship goal after goal, non more embarrassing than the 8 we let in at Old Trafford.

Since his arrival, we have looked a lot more solid as a defensive unit, and at the time of writing this we have the best defensive record in the league after 10 games. So surely its been a blessing rather than a curse?

Well, no! because obvious improvement in defence have come at a massive cost to our attack.

Our attacking play has suffered immeasurably since the arrival of Wengers new right hand man. Some will put this down to the fact we have sold not only our leading marksman from last year, RvP, but also our leading assist maker, in Alex Song. However, i believe that with the arrival of the creative Cazorla, the return of Wilshire, and the signings of 2 International, goal-hungry strikers,surely we should still have enough in the locker to be creating a whole lot more than we have seen in the opening third of the season?

The problem seems to lie with the defensive work that is now being put on our 2 wide attacking players. Podolski and Ramsey have been the 2 filling the positions recently, and they are being asked to do a lot of work tracking attacking full backs and providing extra bodies in midfield. Whilst this has worked excellently against the big guns away from home like Liverpool and City, it has been a failure to switch back to a more attacking mind set against lesser teams like QPR, Norwich and Sunderland that has seen us produce limp attacking displays of late. Also, the inability to switch mind set during a game after going behind like we did against United and Chelsea, has given the impression that players don’t really care.

The clash of styles between Wengers free-flowing ‘Wengerball’ (apparently mooted as a possible title for the next James Bond film) and Steve Bould’s hard working approach seems to have confused some of our players who are showing less urgency to make attacking movements which has resulted in us looking uncharacteristically static as a forward unit. If rumours are to be believed that Wenger and Bould themselves have had heated exchanges about the teams tactics, then you can understand why the players are struggling with it so much.

Personally, I believe there is a place for both styles in the current Arsenal team, but not at the same time.

Against the bigger teams away from home, the merits of playing Boulds more defensive, counter attacking style is there to see and has already produced some excellent results away at Liverpool and City, but the players must learn to switch mind sets when falling behind so as not to produce lacklustre performances like the one we saw at United.

As for Wengerball, the team must get back to quick tempo, short passing and direct running if they are to produce the Arsenal play of old. We have a lot more creativity in the team this year, espescially in midfield, but this is no good to anyone if our wide players are too negative or deep to make the penetrating, attack minded runs. Wenger must find a way to take the shackles off against weaker sides, whilst also making sure we are not fully open to the counter attack, something he mastered for the first 10 years of his tenure.

The problem seems to be with trying to play both ways at once, and it is confusing the players. It’s time for Wenger to lift the curse of Steve Bould and make sure that the players know who’s in charge, and make sure that the players know exactly which game-plan he wants them to execute before they walk on the field.

Written by slimgingergooner


154 Responses to The curse of Steve Bould!

  1. ANBA says:

    Well… I can’t agree..

    Our Problem is Santos and Giroud..

    Santos don’t go up and Podolski can”t take any space because of Santos..

    And Giroud lost tremendous chances…if RVP was at Arsenal, I’m sure he must have score more than 15 goals…

    Santi’s Key passes are one of perfect passes in League…

  2. Hi Slim, what you say could well be a factor in our insipid attacking performances lately but a lot of that could be remedied purely with a bit more desire by the players to defend as a unit.

    Morning Raspers, here’s my mini-rant from earlier about last nights match at “The Quarry”:

    Watching the CL matches last night was a thoroughly disheartening experience when the Old Toilet mancs recovered from 1 nil down to win 3-1.

    What has this got to do with us ? Well the instigator of the Red Manc revival was Van Judas and it feels now that every goal he scores is like a dagger through every Gooners hearts.

    He could/should be scoring such vital goals for us rather than deliverin’ the goods for one of our direct competitors for the top 4 spots and our most hated, by me at least, rivals.

    There is going to be a protest at the Swansea match by the BSM, now to be joined by Red Action, where surely one of the main accusations that can be levelled against the club is exactly what “footballing reasons” dictated the sale of Van Judas to those front bottoms who play in Salford ?

    Could we bring the £24m on when we were losing to Norwich or the Chavs ? Or when we were being outplayed by Schalke at my last visit to Ashburton Grove ?

    It’s all very easy to say ex players shouldn’t slag off the club but TA06 is only joining the long list of people with a real affection for the club to point out the blindingly obvious that you can’t progress(or even maintain your position) by repeatedly selling your best players AND not replacing them with equivalent quality.

    OK rant over.

  3. Rasp says:

    Thanks slim, plenty to chew on there and I don’t have the time to respond properly just now…… but maybe the pic sums it up, AW is looking in one direction (the attack) and SB the other (the defence).

    I think it is a myth that we are all offence – we haven’t been for a couple of years now, we are all midfield possession but prefer the safe pass to the back four rather than risking it in the final third.

  4. chas says:

    Before I read slim’s post, here are the aims of the Swansea march.

  5. Rasp says:

    Thanks chary, I agree, we should try to sign a top striker. We can’t shop from the £15m shelf to replace BSR, we need to be looking at the £25+m range. Fair enough if we can’t find the right player, but we at least need to be searching in the right areas.

    The debate as to whether AW is a fall guy for the Board and the money is not really available is over, it is AW who chooses not to spend and he needs to rethink.

    We have been walking the CL tightrope too long and this may be the year we fall off. If he wanted to splash out £30m on a striker the Board would sanction it and the extra wages would have to come from releasing players that don’t play or borrowed against the new TV money etc arriving soon.

  6. VCC says:

    Hi Slim……Could all be speculation/conjecture/rumours. but I am hearing from various sources coming from the training ground that Wenger allows Steve Bould to put the cones out.

    If I was a second in command I would want to do more than that.

  7. chas says:

    Superb post, sgg.
    It’s bound to generate some interesting debate.
    Attack as a team, defend as a team.
    Sometimes we’ve seemed like 11 disparate (sometimes desperate 🙂 ) elements unsure how to perform as one unit.
    Must go, back later.

  8. Ha ha Raspers, I know you didn’t ask me to repost my rant-ette but you got it again anyway 🙂

    Looking at the link Chas put up regarding the Swansea march I’d say a third of what they ask for looks reasonable to me, a third I’m undecided on and a third I’d disagree with.

    However if Theo goes in January, which is more than a possibilty, it will be another bullet for those who say we are just a cash harvesting club and are happy to cash money in for short term gain only.

    Until Theo actually goes though I’m not going to use that as a stick to beat the club over the head with…….yet.

  9. Rich Smith says:

    I hate feeling shit about Arsenal day in and day out. It is making me feel that my love for the club is dwindling. I’ve got to the point now that I expect us to lose every single time we play. Walcott will not “sign da ting”, and, will go to another rival. Whatever the reasoning behind selling our best players to our rivals it makes no sense. We throw in the towel every time we do it. My confidence about this season has completely gone, and, I can’t wait for the season to end. Arsenal will never become the team they once were under Wenger. The bad times will continue role. I will never support any other club, but, I hate feeling that I may end up giving up on Arsenal, because, Arsenal have given up.

  10. alan b'stard M P says:

    there is no reason why Bould should hamper attack. The problem is elsewhere, like missing sitters in front of goal

  11. Rasp says:

    Yes chary, I have predicted Theo (our top goalscorer) will leave, but I will be furious if he goes because we aren’t prepared to pay the market value in wages.

  12. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Superb post Slim, thank you.
    We certainly need to be able to incorporate both elements within different phases of a game.
    How many times have we heard “oh, Utd are vulnerable at the back”. Well, they wouldn’t be if their wingers were made to defend. Thing is, they are not, and while their defence is sitting around all vulnerable and concedeing a goal nearly every time, their attack are meanwhile at the other end scoring at least one more.
    We do have very good players imo, but tactically we are pants.

  13. Great post Slim
    Good morning all.
    There sure is a conflict between defence and offence, its plain for all to see.
    Theres an easy fix:-
    Buy a world class GK – not done
    Buy a world class RB – done
    Buy 2 world class CB’s – not done
    Buy a world class LB – not done
    Buy a world class holding MF – not done
    When all that is done our offence can concentrate on what it does best, it can keep the ball for the usual 65% and not have to worry about leaking a goal to a team who manages 35% possession.
    Well it seems easy on paper!

  14. Gooner In Exile says:

    Morning all, SGG an interesting debate starter, but I will play devils advocate.

    Would Bould have been at the club as long as he has in Wengers tenure if his only focus was defence? Watching his Youth Team win the FAYC many years ago was not a lesson in GG tactics (apart from the near post flick on at corners).

    Simply put he wouldn’t, his focus would be as much on pass and move offensively otherwise Wenger would not have promoted him.

    Now has he worked on the defence and has he improved them? In my opinion maybe and no, I think you can probably count goals conceded on 1 hand (and not all the fingers on that hand) that relate to opposition skill rather than a defensive or midfield slip.

    Are the players more conscious not to concede? Possibly but to be anxious about conceding will lead to goals being conceded, and to not attack because we don’t want to concede is to forget why they are on the pitch.

    I’d rather than win 5-3 because we have attacked in numbers and attacked with belief than lose 1-0 in a nervy tight encounter.

  15. Gooner In Exile says:

    Rasp may have missed this yesterday but I’m interested to know the basis for this:

    “The debate as to whether AW is a fall guy for the Board and the money is not really available is over, it is AW who chooses not to spend and he needs to rethink.”

  16. Rasp says:

    Hi GiE, I was at the AGM and I witnessed Gazidis acknowledging we have the £70-75m in the bank and categorically saying that Arsene has the money available if he chooses to spend it. I watched AW closely while this was being said – there was no reaction. Danny Fiszmann said the same thing several years ago … “If Arsene comes knocking on my door for £Xm to buy a player he can have the money” Then it would not have been wise to spend in that way, now it may be essential to our continued CL status.

    AW has control because the Board (who Kroenke claims run the club) bestow it upon him. He is not the fall guy, he is the one who decides.

  17. wenger is far too stuborn to change his ways, and it will not be until he leaves that we will find out the truth in regards to transfers or non transfers, the ivory tower boys gave up a long time ago, as they have a comfortable life and dont have to pay to watch a game week in week out, we do have try’ers on the pitch but we used to have ‘winners’!!! 4th place baloney.. surely a consiquence of going for the title (1st place mr wenger lest ye forget) is to finish in the top 4!? and to finish below grotenham will not be acceptable!!……now breath.

  18. LB says:

    That is a really clever observation Slim.

    Thanks for a very thought provoking read.

  19. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Grotenham 🙂

  20. LB says:


    Surely being frustrated at the idea of Walcott leaving because we do not offer market value wages is a red herring.

    Market value wages to Liverpool are not the same as market value wages to City.

    We all know that Walcott is shopping around, he is only one step short of taking out an advert proclaming that he is open to offers. If City show an interest we can offer market value wages until we are blue in the face but we should all know by know that City will offer me.

    Or am I missing something?

  21. MickyDidIt89 says:

    It is one market with many buyers. The fact that one buyer may be able to outbid another is irrelevant. Crystal Palace are in the same market as we are. A player is worth what a club offers.
    My question is, would Theo sign if he was offered the pay rise he is allegedly after, or would he still be listening to offers?
    I suspect the club have most of the answers already.
    Bac shortly, I hope.

  22. ManthanDavda says:

    Agaisnty big gun we should play bould style… But agaisnt small team we should attack as they sit back more then the big guns.. And we really need a LB and a ST… Giourd is good in air but his he is not real goal proacher.. We should sign huntaler or some other good goal proacher or play poldi in center he is cool finisher and buy a winger probably zaha or tarabat…..

  23. Rasp says:

    Hi LB, no you’re not missing anything, I completely agree that if any of the top 3 want Theo he’s gone.

    I question whether our Board (who are antediluvian) and the manager who has been a proponent of a narrow wage band are willing to make an increased offer of say £90k a week in recognition of Theo’s improved performance on the pitch. We can afford more money, no-one will convince me otherwise.

  24. Rasp says:

    Incidentally, I noted that when AW was questioned about Theo in the interview after the Schalke game he became quite defensive …. and qualified his praise by saying he could have won us the game had he taken his chance at the end. Theo on the other hand, was very professional when asked if he would like to start more games, he just said ‘it’s out of my hands’. Out of the two, I get the feeling that it is Arsene who is sulking.

  25. does diaby still play for arsenal??

  26. slimgingergooner says:

    Thanks for the comments people!

    I’ve just come up with the perfect strategy,

    Have Seaman as the GK coach,
    Have Pires as the midfield coach,
    Bergkamp as the attacking midfield/number 10 coach,
    And Henry as the striker coach.


  27. TotalArsenal says:

    Really good post, Slim ,and good to see you writing them again. 🙂

    If there is indeed a bit of a battle of football philosophies then I will only welcome it. It is only healthy that Arsene gets challenged now and again and with conceding 49 league goals last season (and scoring still less than two goals a game) something needed to change.

    We are just going through another transitional period, and our attacking play should improve significantly over the next few months. Eventually we’ll end up with a Boulddozer kept in the air by Wenger-wings. 🙂

  28. Gooner In Exile says:

    Rasp I doubt AW listened to anything anyone said during the AGM as his brain was probably going over the previous nights defeat.

    I don’t doubt we have around £75m now, but I would question whether that has always been the case.

    Should Arsene have spent it all in the summer? How much of that £75m is for resigning players (like Theo)? If he spent it all now will we generate more money to spend in future?

    Why did he sell Song? Didn’t “need” to.

    The other question I have of those with furrowed brows over Theo is did you think we should give him another contract before last years Home North London Derby? Or were you like many did at the time or many have done since part of the group of fans criticising his blind alley runs and poor control? The most galling fact to me is going to walk on a free transfer.

    Do you also remember what happened to Adebayor after signing his pay rise contract (and having the one good season) that seems to preface most contract negotiations?

  29. max says:

    Our problem is Arsene Wenger. Over the years, Seaman, Adams, Keown, Viera, Wright, could all have been incorporated into the coaching structure, but Wenger prefered his own yes men. Bould has not the statue or the confidence needed to challenge Wenger about his increasingly comical tactical selections (Ramsey out wide, Whoopi as the withdrawn striker). Wenger prefers weak yes men, on and off the pitch.Mark my words, this is a spineless squad that will tarnish Wenger’s legacy. The man refuses to go, Gazidis the muppet aint going to sack him (how do you sack your boss), so its a matter of limping on untill we become disabled by mediocrity.

  30. Rasp says:

    Thanks GiE, 😛

    Taking your points in order:

    If he wasn’t paying attention at the AGM then he should have been

    I said in my 10:41 that it wouldn’t have been wise to spend the money in previous years

    I wouldn’t suggest he spends all the £75m for the sake of it, but I would suggest that Arsenal need a top striker in their ranks to compete for honours

    I think he sold Song because his attitude was poor (probably because he wanted more money) and he wasn’t easy to work with and we have players in the squad that can do the same job as Song – but that’s just my guess

    I have been slowly coming round to appreciating Theo’s worth to the team since last January. I used to be a harsh critic, but now I recognise his value particularly in the new set up. I couldn’t put a date on my thinking and relate it to the totnum game though.

    As far as Ade is concerned, he has deteriorated in work rate and popularity at every prem side he has joined, I think it is in his make-up and wouldn’t necessarily expect other players to mirror his behaviour

  31. Rasp says:

    If we lose Theo and bring in a pacy winger who can chip in with 10+ goals and as many assists a season I’ll be delighted. If we sell Theo for £6m and don’t get a replacement I’ll be unhappy.

    Zaha may be as good as Theo in a couple of years time, as it is now, he won’t offer what Theo does to the side.

    Moses would have been a ready made replacement for Theo in terms of his development.

    My last word on the subject (who am I kidding 😕 ) is that imagine what a boost it would give to the team and the supporters if Theo chose to stay (albeit with a bit more money) and it would conteract the ‘selling club’ label.

  32. LB says:

    The selling club label is such a frustrating title especially when you think that any club would be a selling club for the right amount of money.

    Never mind about buying Rooney for the right amount of money you could buy the whole club. Does anyone really doubt that the Glaziers would sell manu in an instant if the right price were right?

  33. Amcor says:


    From German sports magazine ‘Bild’.

    Poldi not happy with Arsenal manager Wenger

    Poldi complains about his position on the left wing.

    Poldi: “I’d rather play a in central front position. On the left I have to do a lot of defensive work, constantly run up and down. I am not a classical winger! ”

    Even with his new England start he is not quite happy: “It was a change, a different country, a new club. I found good deal indeed. But I demand more of myself and want to play even better. ”

    What about the 2:2 from Arsenal viewpoint?
    Poldi: “Schalke was strong, that 2:2 was OK. We must now create more effort to get through the group. ”


  34. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Got your message. Great news.
    Sorry, but back to Theo. He may not be brilliant, but as you say, selling him without replacing would be crazy person policy. However, two things would hurt badly, one is selling to a Utd again (I could cope with Pool), the other is receiving £6m odd for a player that we have spent how much on, and if he does have better years in him, then they will be in the years to come.

  35. Rasp says:

    Exactly LB – market forces etc etc

    Its interesting that our level of cynicism regarding players being mercenary doesn’t extend to include managers. You never hear pundits say of course he’s going to take the manager’s job at Rovers Utd, they’re paying him ‘X’ a year. It’s usually ‘he’s taken the job because he will be given a bigger budget to spend on players’ – are we being naive?

  36. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Too true. On that subject, I wonder if Usmanov has ever offered to buy out SK, and if so, why didn’t Stan grab the massive profit and go.

  37. MickyDidIt89 says:

    On that level I think we’re safe. Isn’t AW already the highest paid in world football?

  38. Rasp says:

    Hi Micky, If we accept that Theo is only likely to go to one of the 3 big spenders (assuming he stays in England), then I can’t see that he is an urgent buy for any of them.

    They may trump up more than £6m (my figure plucked out of thin air) just to make sure they aren’t gazumped in the summer, but equally they may just say we’ll wait 4 months and have him for nothing thank you – that would certainly suit Theo as he’d get a better package. Again it’s just market forces.

    With 2 years left oin his contract he’s worth £15-20m I’d estimate, in the current position I can only see him fetching more than £6m if more than one club is interested.

  39. Rasp says:

    Micky, I have no idea if AW is the highest paid in world football and wouldn’t criticise him if he was, I was just trying to point out how absurd it is to exclude managers from being swung by big bucks. I’m sure the majority of managers worldwide would love the Arsenal job.

  40. LB says:


    In responce to your 11.03

    “My question is, would Theo sign if he was offered the pay rise he is allegedly after, or would he still be listening to offers?”

    I do not believe his stalling has anything to do with how low some perceive the current offer that has been made by the club and this eould not change even if the club offered him 100k per week.

    Would any right minded businessman sign such a deal before exploring all his options? It is not as though the clock is working against him; quite the opposite, he can leave on a free in the summer.

    I, like Rasp, am convinced that he will be sold in January or if he refuses to leave he will just wait until summer then walk, either way he will not be with us next season.

    I suppose that all we can do in the meantime is enjoy his new found determination, the more cynical amongst us might suggest he is only playing this way to attact interest from other clubs…………………moi?………guilty!

  41. Rasp says:

    The real kick in the teeth regarding Theo would be if he went to non-CL, midtable liverpool for £100km a week

  42. MickyDidIt89 says:

    I can see an issue if Theo is actually professionally ambitious.
    He appears fairly adamant he wants to play central, and would any of the bib three share his view?

  43. LB says:

    Micky @ 1.25

    I would love to know if Usmanov has tried to buy the club outright.

    I suppose we have to assume he hasn’t as these things seem to always find their way into the public domain.

  44. LB says:

    Yes, I pretty much agree with that Rasp (1.36).

    I suppose the only caveat would be, it depends on who his replacement was.

    For me Walcott remains far from perfect.

  45. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Yes and no. If he opted away from a CL team, as only a Pool would offer him his central role, then I would respect his ambition.

  46. Rasp says:

    If he played centrally, the formation would have to be rejigged to accomodate him and he’d have to learn to play more with his back to goal. I don’t know why he is insistent on this, as long as he is allowed to run centrally when we’re on the break and cut in from out wide when it suits, he will score loads of goals – and as far as I can see that is the case now.

  47. MickyDidIt89 says:

    If he went to City, knowing he was a bit part winger, then zero respect.

  48. GoonerB says:

    Rasp, in terms of a Theo replacement I would prefer Ben-Arfa. I like him and while he is not Theo quick heis still quick, has goals in him and good technique and is EPL ready. He can also play attacking wide positions but looks every bit like a number 10 if we decided to play 2 through the middle.

  49. Rasp says:

    That’s a good shout GoonerB, prem ready, not cup-tied and an audacious talent – but is he even available? We’re unlikely to make toon an offer they can’t refuse.

  50. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Dunno. A sneaky phone call to Stan would remain behind closed doors I think. I cannot think of anything to be gained by either party in revealing a rejected bid.
    Still, like you, I’d love to know.

  51. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Trouble with Bn-Arfa is that whenever you’re talking to someone and you say “Ben-Arfa”, they automatically think you can’t say your th’s.

  52. Rasp says:

    We looked at Ben Arfa before we bought Na$ri. There were stories that he was trouble in the dressing room but I have no idea if there’s any truth in them. I reckon it would take £15m to prise him away from toon unless he’s also in the last year of his contract.

  53. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Thing is, if we decided to play 2 in the middle or the variant of a no.10’ish, we have so many options.
    But no, Arsene will persist with Pod left in a front three that does not work.

  54. Rasp says:

    Like the old Tommy Cooper Joke:

    Doctor doctor, I’ve go this problem, I can’t pronounce my F’s, T’s, or H’s

    Doctor: “Well you can’t say fairer than that”

  55. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Rasp ROLF

  56. MickyDidIt89 says:

    “We looked at Ben Arfa before we bought Na$ri” but decided Arfa was dressing room trouble.
    So we bought Fatso instead ROLF

  57. GoonerB says:

    I reckon he is worth £15m.

  58. Rasp says:

    I agree GoonerB, toon took him on loan with a RTB and eventually paid about £6m for him so good profit for them. Do you think we’d sell for £6-10m and buy for £15m?

  59. chas says:


    Muchas gracias, great detective work.

  60. richie says:

    @Slim A very interesting point you’ve made in this article. I can’t take your word for because it wouldn’t be right to do so. I need to play Watson to your Sherlock. I need to check whets on the hard drive and see if I can also observe what you’ve seen, because we know from the stats we are defending better despite the loses. Our attack is blunted not (I believe) because we’ve swooped RvP for a GiroPod but because we aren’t creating chances. In the passed it would be rare for any of our previous line ups playing Wengerball not to create 20 chances a half. Now if it’s true we’ve got a team playing “Wengabouldiball” it might go some way to explaining why we can’t create 20 chances in a whole game. Investigations are called for! In the words of one of the worse actors the west has ever seen “I’ll be back”

  61. chas says:

    I see Fatso has been getting a slagging in the media for not doing his defensive duties when he finally gets a chance to play and stop “riding the pine” (cheers oz). I’d imagine Ben Arfa would come into the same category, unfortunately.

    These wide ‘strikers’ in the front three all want to concentrate on their attacking and in the current set up, only the centre forward can stay over the half way line making token shuttle runs at centre backs who have the ball.

    Arshavin, Bendy and Ramsey were/are all unsuited to the position for various reasons. Theo suits the position but only from an attacking sense. Perhaps the problem is the lack of width cover from the midfield three which leaves the wide ‘strikers’ having to fill in. It often seems to me that we are playing with less men than the opposition.

  62. GoonerB says:

    I don’t know if we would sell for £6-10m and buy for £15m Rasp but it is more that Walcott is undervalued at those figures than Ben-Arfa being over-valued, and that for me is our fault so we should just grin and bear it if it works out this way. I would still like to try both Walcott and Podolski through the middle before Jan as if they look like they can cut it as our strikers we could still bring in Ben-Arfa to replace them as the attacking wide players. Off for a bit. Will catch up on proceedings later.

  63. chas says:

    Fifty Sheds of Grey

    We tried various positions – round the back, on the side, up against a wall … but in the end we came to the conclusion the bottom of the garden was the only place for a good shed.

    She stood before me, trembling in my shed. “I’m yours for the night,” she gasped, “You can do whatever you want with me.” So I took her to McDonalds.

    She knelt before me on the shed floor and tugged gently at first, then harder until finally it came.
    I moaned with pleasure. Now for the other boot.

    Ever since she read THAT book, I’ve had to buy all kinds of ropes, chains and shackles.
    She still manages to get into the shed, though.

    “Put on this rubber suit and mask,” I instructed, calmly. “Mmmm, kinky!” she purred.
    “Yes,” I said, “You can’t be too careful with all that asbestos in the shed roof.”

    “I’m a very naughty girl,” she said, biting her lip. “I need to be punished.”
    So I invited my mum to stay for the weekend.

    “Harder!” she cried, gripping the workbench tightly. “Harder!”
    “Okay,” I said, “what’s the gross national product of Nicaragua?”

    I lay back exhausted, gazing happily out of the shed window.
    Despite my concerns about my inexperience, my rhubarb had come up a treat.

    “Are you sure you can take the pain?” she demanded, brandishing stilettos.
    “I think so,” I gulped. “Here we go, then,” she said, and showed me the receipt.

    “Hurt me!” she begged, raising her skirt as she bent over my workbench.
    “Very well,” I replied. “You’ve got fat ankles and no dress sense.”

    “Are you sure you want this?” I asked. “When I’m done, you won’t be able to sit down for weeks.”
    She nodded. “Okay,” I said, putting the three-piece suite on eBay.

    “Pleasure and pain can be experienced simultaneously,” she said, gently massaging my back as we listened to her Coldplay CD.

  64. kelsey says:

    I have a completely different theory to the comments I have read above.
    As a team we just don’t have the quality of players that were partly inherited by AW and gave us equisite fast intelligent football and won many trophies.
    I have said before a good team needs little management and I would say when you look at the calibre of players we have lost these past few seasons very few of the replacements come anyway up to scratch.
    Wenger has often played players out of position but it wasn’t so noticeable because they were better players than the ones in the squad now.
    All managers make duff signings but lately our percentage has increased but the ray of hope lies in the younger players such as Wilshere,Ox and Gibbs (if he remains injury free ) and Jenkinson.

    Weighing up Walcott, yes he did improve last season but after nearly seven years at the club it was about time.IMO he will never be a central striker and his cons outweigh his pros.

  65. chas says:

    Great news………Jack has been called up for the meaningless friendly against Sweden next week. 😦

  66. richie says:

    @Rasper Whats Theo’s market wage value? Or are we again on Chav’s Oily Citeh mkt value? Sorry Gooner but I think Theo is very well paid for what he has achieved as a young player! If you think Theo is worth more than a 100K a week then good for you, but I want a line drawn in the sand. I don’t want my club to play SAF’s keeping up with the Jones game. If you think its right for the club to go into debt to try to hold on to a player then as I said good for you. but I certainly don’t! Moreover once the line in the sand is breached watch the queqe form at the managers door. Once the line is breached watch the agents start sharpening their pencils ready to the next round of demand they make.

  67. chas says:

    Inherited fast intelligent players?
    Bergkamp, yes, none others though.

  68. chas says:

    We’ll be back to Wenger inheriting the Invincibles back four next.

  69. richie says:

    Just re-read my post “queqe” should be “queue” mild dyslexia probably 😦 😆

  70. Amcor says:

    Chas @ 3:09, 🙂 🙂

  71. Rasp says:

    Hi richie, I think Theo is worth more than £75k a week but not more than £100k a week – but what do I know? He must have considerable marketing value particularly as long as he keeps banging in the goals. The big 3 would probably be willing to pay him in excess of £120k a week.

  72. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Shades of Grey stuff
    Brilliant 🙂
    I have copied pasted it to my wife who is the only person I know to admit to reading it.
    Not here. Later.

  73. richie says:

    @Chas3:16:lol: Didn’t you just love that sort of Shite, that the Doomers produced? I’ve lost count how many times I’ve had to explain that Lauren Toure Campbell & Cole didn’t automatically arrive after GG passed on. Moreover that Keown only passed his amount of games needed for a medal when it was obvious we’d already won it. Dein signed Bergy during Rioch rein, but I was told Dein gave “God” the nod and a wink about which manager he was really signing for.

  74. slimgingergooner says:

    Next time Wenger gets bashed for having a poor side, he should just say he inherited it and wash his hands of any wrong doing!


  75. richie says:

    🙂 why didn’t my smiley arrive 😦

  76. slimgingergooner says:


    You left out The Romford Pele! Though he came across more adopted than inherited! 😆

  77. richie says:

    @Rasper there’s no answer for that! Chav’s & Oiley Citeh will pay any silly amount and SAF wanting to keep up with the Jones will try to follow. Why should we act like fools because others do? If the Mohawk hair style is the big thing come Xmas I won’t be buying it even if all the icons all go for it. Lets at least try to do things in the right way, lets not get into debt trying to hold on to players. Players come and go, I couldn’t care less if others say Arsenal are a selling club! I’ll worry when its said Arsenal are an indebted club. Sell any player who wants to leave, the grass is always greener. We’ll develope another fast youngster who’ll want to stay @ the Arse.

  78. richie says:

    Oh yeah Raymondo I’d forgotten him!:lol:

  79. richie says:

    😆 I’m throwing my toys out of the pram if anymore of my smileys go awol

  80. Rasp says:

    richie, I’ve never suggested we should try to compete with the big spenders, but we generate a huge annual turnover and should be streets ahead of the following pack. Hopefully that is where we will be in the next mystical 2 years, but in truth we should be there now.

    If another oligarch or petro billionaire buys a prem club we will be squeezed out of the top 4 eventually and there would be nothing we could do about it.

  81. kelsey says:

    chas, fast and intelligent players, was a generalisation 🙂

  82. chas says:

    Your 4:25 suggests we can’t compete with the red mancs, the camel-shaggers or the chavs.
    Are you trying to suggest that 4th place is a trophy? 😆

  83. Rasp says:

    Hi chas, I loved your 50 sheds piece 😆

    I have written about this whole compete with the top 3 question in a post before.

    My conclusion was that we should be comfortably in line for 4th but that with a top manager, the Arsenal ethos, a productive academy and luck with injuries we should be able to compete for the top prizes – that’s still the way I see it.

  84. chas says:

    Re: Sheds of Grey, I like to share if something I see makes me laugh.

    The Arsenal ethos is an interesting one, especially in the light of all the “We want our Arsenal back” stuff going on at the moment.

    I keep asking on various sites which Arsenal it is that the fans want back…..
    2004 Invincibles
    1998 Double team
    David Dein
    Denis Hill-Wood
    The Arsenal side of the mid 70s that Rocky was talking about the other day.
    The 1930s.

    I’m yet to receive anything you could vaguely call an answer.
    Cheap standing tickets seems to be common ground for everybody. Aside from that it just seems to me that everyone just wants a team that wins back. 🙂

  85. Rasp says:

    Good point chas 🙂 And we should be winning things. If we’d had a bit more luck with injuries/refs etc (and not Almunia in goal) we could have won the prem a couple of times since 2004.

    I see the Arsenal ethos as the moderm one not the one from the 70’s or earlier eras. By that I mean just being a decent club that does things properly and tries to play good football….. not that I’m suggesting we didn’t also prize those values in the ‘good old days’

  86. RockyLives says:

    Very good Post Slim about a subject that has had me pondering.

    I thought AW’s comments last week about the team being too worried about conceding goals might have been a disguised pop at Bouldie (if there’s any truth to the rumours of a fall-out between them).

  87. RockyLives says:

    I have finally managed to firm up some travel dates – I’ll be over for the West Brom game on December 8th.

    I hope to see some of you then.

  88. chas says:

    I asked my Geordie mate about Ben Arfa to get a Newcastle fan’s perspective.

    I posed the question Walcott or Ben Arfa.

    I think Ben Arfa can play any midfield / forward role so is probably a better player to have on board and he does have loads of skill as well as pace so probably would opt for Ben Arfa (also bearing in mind his broken leg took him out of the game just as he was settling in)

    Quick summary – bags of skill – a great outlet when under pressure – doesn’t always spot a pass

    I then asked if he was good defensively and did his fair share of tracking back.

    Improving slowly – but he has got a touch of the Ginolas

    Sounds painful 🙂

  89. chas says:

    Great stuff, Rocky.
    I’ll look forward to it.

  90. chas says:

    Perhaps a good time for an AA Christmas party?

  91. chas says:

    In the Tavern, of course, I wasn’t suggesting we hire the Diamond Club.

  92. evonne says:

    Great idea Chas, we can kiss under the mistletoe 🙂

  93. chas says:

    Party cancelled forthwith.

  94. chas says:

    Only kidding.

  95. RockyLives says:


  96. jnyc says:

    Slim, i think you have gotten to part of the problem. I think a balance must be possible. Other good teams do it, and i believe in our talent. Its frustrating trying to figure out why we arent creating or scoring with this squad. Arsene needs to figure this out, or make some big changes.

  97. evonne says:

    play your card’s wrong and you’ll end up licking your own *** monster!

    More rumours about Walcott and Huntelaar going to Pool,

  98. evonne says:

    great vid

    not sure if I want to watch spuds….are pool playing that super rich russin team?

  99. dandan says:

    If you want to see amazing young talent, watch this 9 year old girl

  100. jnyc says:

    Evonne, im giving ip hope of getting Huntelaar for us because he is exactly what liverpool needs, he couldnt be a better fit. even chelsea could use him as an inexpensive cover for torrez( really better than torres, at 10% of the fee ) — walcott, i dont know how many times ive said it,but we truly F’d up that theo thing. So probably a disappointing window for us. And liverpool will be tougher if they get theo and huntelaar.

  101. evonne says:

    yes jnyc, they need to strengthen their squad; at the moment it is a one man team – Suarez is awesome, but a greedy fecker

  102. Big Raddy says:

    I have said before- why would Huntelaar go to Liverpool?

    It is a huge step down. ‘Pool will not get CL football next year and unlikely the year after.

    He is one of the most in-demand strikers in World football and if he leaves, he will surely go to BM or the Chavs (who are desperate for a finisher)

    Theo is another story. Downing hasn’t worked, Theo has pace and wants to play down the middle. A good fit.

  103. Big Raddy says:

    SGG. Fine post and one we will be discussing for some time to come. IMO a sold defence is what all good teams are based upon. Get that right and the goals will come.

  104. Big Raddy says:

    Anyone know if Ox is available this weekend?

  105. glic says:

    Nice one slim
    Defending has improved, but imo to counter quickly, we have to have two speedy wide men backed up by the speedy FB`s .

    chas, Is it true, you normally hang the mistletoe from you belly button ?. You only need one !. hahaha

  106. chas says:

    I when I end up licking my own monster.

  107. chas says:

    Whoops should have been
    Only when I end up licking my own monster.

  108. chas says:

    Arsène Wenger has revealed the latest team news ahead of the Fulham game on Saturday afternoon.

    on fitness tests…
    From the other night we have no big problem. We have to test Oxlade-Chamberlain to see if he can be in the squad, we have a test as well with Aaron Ramsey to see if he can be in the squad.

    on Wojciech Szczesny…
    Maybe Wojciech has a little chance to be in the squad because he will play tomorrow [Friday] with the under-21s. If he gets through I might take him in the squad.

    on other absentees…
    Gervinho is out, Diaby out, Rosicky out, Gibbs as well is not back.

  109. kelsey says:

    I said that raddy and no none fecking answered me 🙂

  110. glic says:

    hahaha Why would you want to lick VCC`s face ? hahaha

  111. slimgingergooner says:


    That 9yo girl is amazing! Love it.

  112. evonne says:

    Raddy – I’ll tell you why would Huntelaar want to join Liverpool – it is a stepping stone my friend. He will establish himself in EPL, play his best in the last year of the contract and wait until big cheeses knock on his door

  113. Whenever Wenger takes stock on a possible addition to his playing staff does he rate fragility over ability? It would seem so ’cause our sick bay is always full. Or maybe the players prefer to be injured rather than being sick as parrots. Can Diaby and RoSICKy play a full season ever? At 61 years old, I could do their job for less than half of their pay. Just ask my doctor :-). Wenger’s philosophy on playing the game is causing my eyebrows to meet my hairline. Not a pretty sight.

  114. Give the 30% owning Uzbeki a place on the board. Let some sparks fly there. There certainly isn’t much spark on the pitch. Hill-Wood is a senile old fool. Silent Stan is a pussyfooting Yankee con-man. For me, Steve Bould is the only semblance of sanity now anywhere near the helm. Why does anyone think so many ex-players now queue to critisize their former club where they were once so successful? It is because the traditions they valued as Arsenal players are now being eroded.
    Arsene did well for himself and our club, but all that fun must and will come to an end. I would be happy for this to be his last season as Arsenal manager. There must be a Herbert Chapman type out there who can not only win us the title, but retain it also. It would be worth waiting another 20 years for that. I could then die happily instead of hoping for Wenger to win something else. That would take forever and unfortunately for me, I am not immortal.

  115. TotalArsenal says:

    Evening AA’ers 🙂

    Hi Evonne, Huntelaar despite his young looks is already 29 (a typical Dutch phenomenon 😛 ) and his next step will be his last meaningful one. I am with Raddy: it’s unlikely that Liverpool will be his next step, as he is very ambitious. He has done Spain and Italy, Holland and Germany, so might come to the UK. I can already see him in a Chavs shirt but the red and white of Arsenal would suit him best…. 🙂

  116. richie says:

    Slim you’ve made me suffer the Norwich and QPR for a 2nd time and its not clear in the Norwich game but there’s enough evidence of nervous defending 1st and formost in the rangers game to make your claim a distinct possibility, further investigation will follow, but I am starting to form the opinion you may be on to something. If Stevie B is drilling them on the need to keep it tight and the trackback en mass following a loss of possession, then that alone could be enough to inhibit their free flowing play. That alone might be enough for our team to play with the hand break crancked on.

  117. richie says:

    Hi TA how’s life in general treating you? My recent comments seem to have drawn fire from all those in the “spend a penny” brigade. The buy now pay later instant gratification gen. I fear only a prudent Dutchman has the understanding of the need not to spend lavishly, and attempt to curb player wage demands.(Do the right thing) I also believe you may be one of the few to fully comprehend that trying to keep up with the Jones cannot be our road to salvation.

    Moreover the excesses of the Chav’s, Oily money, and the still keeping pace Manu’er can be combated with good prodigy from our academy (Which I think should be expanded). Real are now officially the worlds richest club, and they pay silly wages to their players. Both La Masia and the Toekomst are IMHO the only ways to answer clubs who spend lavishly. Make your own! I like the idea (of staying in the black) if we are called the selling club! Who cares? Arsene will unearth a few more gems and Arsenals progress on both financil and playing grounds will be onwards and upwards.

  118. richie says:

    Hardly keep my eye’s open so its early bed for me.

  119. mercadeo says:

    United do not usually have much of a problem from the lesser teams in the league, which is why they always seem to be challenging for the title. Southampton and others have shown however if you get at them, stay organised at the back and really press high, you stand a chance. United are shaky defensively with Vidic not being fully fit, and both full backs tending to fall asleep. Even though De Gea has improved vastly, he still gives other teams the confidence to attack and distract him. Wigan have been playing some nice football this season and since joining, Maloney has barely put a foot wrong, but United love to play against open sides and with Ramis not starting too greatly, I can see a convincing United win, with or without Van Persie. Scholes will be crucial.

  120. Gooner In Exile says:

    Chas, I’m disappointed AW missed the most important squad improvement this weekend.

    The good luck charm (Exile Seniors) have their first home game if the season, they have also made themselves available for Spuds and Swansea home. You lucky buggers have 3 home wins to look forward too.

  121. Gooner In Exile says:

    Was with a Unitedf an yesterday thankfully his business is not doing well so he didn’t want to talk football.

    The Spud I was with on Tuesday is unconvinced with AvB, and we both agreed football was shite!

  122. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Morning GiE,
    Great news The Seniors are at the next three. That’ll see us tucked up in fourth 🙂

  123. MickyDidIt89 says:

    On managers, I wrote a comment before the season began talking about the competition this term, and in particular, the new managers at Chavs, Pool and Spurs.
    If things start to go badly wrong at Spurs, I can see a dressing room revolt, as it will be easy for the plyers tohave a scapegoat after the AVB Chavs fiasco.
    Beginning to think Roman Abramovich may be the best manager in the business. I believe he insisted on the change in footballing style, and the buying of Torres, Hazard and Oscar.
    Move over Wenger, Hillwoody is taking charge 🙂

  124. MickyDidIt89 says:

    I must correct something I implied yesterday. Arsene is not the highest paid manager by a considerable margin. He is on 8m euros, in 3rd, but way behind Maureen at Real and Ancelotti at PSG, on 14m and 13m respectively.
    Interestingly, in 2010-11 season, Messi was highest paid player, with Ronaldo in 3rd. Guess who in second? David Beckham !

  125. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Off to work.

  126. TotalArsenal says:

    Morning Richie 🙂

    Things are fine my boat-sailing friend.

    In general, I agree with you: we cannot keep up with the Oil-Jones and living within your means is important for the mid to long-term future of the club.

    I also agree with the argument by some that we could have used our resources better, but I am under no allusion that it is hard to find the right players in the current market, who both live up to Arsene’s expectations and turn out to be physically strong/ not injury-prone. Mistakes have been made though.

    I also have sympathy with those who argue that Arsenal should take a bit more calculated risk – as per the ‘speculate to accumulate’ philosophy.

    But as a former HRD, I know the importance of a well managed salary structure / pay system, and that drawing the line re the top wage you can afford to pay is very important indeed.

    However, it does mean that we are likely to keep losing one or two players every season, and that we could find ourselves in perpetual transition for years to come. We are going through such a transitional period again at the moment, but I have no doubt that we have a great squad and once the machine starts firing on all cylinders again, we’ll get towards the top once more.

    I guess the only way to avoid the dreaded perpetual transition is to redesign our salary structure in which we allow a small number of top players to earn significantly more than the rest. This can work as long as it is done fairly: on merit and contributions to the success of the team. This is of course is not easy and can quickly lead to disgruntlement within the team, as per the fine arguments you have put forward. But if we can afford it and a lot of effort is put into fairness and internal communication, it could work and we are likely not to lose our stars as rapidly again in the future.

    The problem is though, as you pointed out yourself, the Oilers will keep moving up the salaries they are prepared to pay and therefore will put more and more pressure on those clubs who need to live within their means. It just ain’t easy. 😦

  127. Big Raddy says:

    TA. You make some salient points.

    Over the years clubs have been able to offer different wage packages to players without rancour from the rest of the team (at least this is what I imagine as a fan). It is those pesky agents who have changed this.

    I recall when Matin Keown left the club because George Graham would not give him an extra €50 a week! How times have changed.

  128. Big Raddy says:

    What do you think about the call from outside football for Spurs to take legal action against their fans chanting “Yid Army”?

    Thinking of which, where is 26?

  129. kelsey says:

    Morning all.

    It’s all getting a bit highbrow on here for me 🙂

    I agree with parts of many comments and it is unlikely that we can look further beyond fourth.
    My concern is how long does this transition period last. The frustrating thing is that during the last period of trophyless years we have looked at one time capable of winning at least one.
    Last year was an exception partly due to injuries we had a worse start for many a year but mainly due to RVP and Spurs usual slip up we got third.

    if fourth is a trophy so be it but if say Santi has an outstanding season how do we know he won’t be influened to join say United.For Santi one could read Sagna and of course most believe Theo is off sooner than later.
    that is not a transitional period.The club being very money orientated will always eventually cash in,the fans become more disgruntled and the circle goes on and on.
    Surely some funds could be released in january asa IMo we are still 3 players short but as has been noted several times we have a number of players on high wages who we can’t sell and therefore we can’t reduce our wage bill sufficently for new blood to be brought in.
    I am not bothered were we finish as long as we give 100% every game but all i see is a group of players,with no or little confidence, and perhaps they need to be motivated aa bit more despite their huge salaries. That is Wenger’s job, nobody else.

  130. kelsey says:

    Morning Raddy,

    You know my stance on that.

  131. chas says:

    I didn’t know about that, BR.
    I just had a look and hadn’t seen this before.

    When 26 is fed up with what’s going on at the club, he doesn’t blog. That’s my guess anyway.

  132. chas says:

    Great news about the Exile Seniors boosting the squad. 🙂

  133. kelsey says:

    Morning chas.

    Who are the Exile Seniors ?

  134. chas says:

    see 6:19am

  135. chas says:

    By the way, apologies to all for putting Fat Frankie on the site.

  136. kelsey says:

    Don’t undestand, sorry Chas

  137. kelsey says:


    you know as well as i do you have to be jewish to get the full meaning. Yid is a derogratory word to many jews,yet the club with the biggest following of jews in London chose to call themselves Yid has never made sense to me

  138. chas says:

    Exile Seniors = GIE’s Mum & Dad.
    Legend has it that we win when they go to the game.

  139. Big Raddy says:

    kelsey. Had I thought about it of course I would understand.

    Sorry, I had a bad night’s sleep and am very woolly headed.

  140. Big Raddy says:

    I write the Pre Match secure in the knowledge that Parents are attending 🙂

  141. chas says:

    Someone put this up yesterday.
    I think we are at a crossroads of sorts, even though you could say that every game is a crossroads in a way.

    The feel good factor of the early season has gone. There seems to be a section of the Arsenal fans who have decided categorically and a long time ago that the club is rotten to the core. Several bad results and apparently this section has its proof. A monumental wailing and gnashing of teeth follows.

    I wonder how the manager, coaches and players must feel if they read even a tiny little portion of the bile that’s written about them. Whatever I was paid a week, I’d still be sh*tting myself about what the crowd’s reaction will be if we concede to Fulham as we did last year. That must have an effect.

    I’m not suggesting for one second that it’s the Arsenal fans fault that the team is playing without confidence at the moment. Perhaps I shouldn’t read so much that is written about The Arsenal. It’s starting to depress me.

  142. TotalArsenal says:

    Where did my morning comment go? 😦

  143. chas says:

    I saw it, TA.
    Gremlins at wordpress?

  144. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi Chas, it is very unusual for wordpress to erase a comment once it has been published. 😦

  145. Big Raddy says:

    TA. It was in Pending. No idea why and it is now restored!

  146. chas says:

    You’d know more about that than me, TA.
    I enjoyed it anyway during its fleeting existence. 🙂

  147. chas says:

    Ah, Arthur C. Clarke will have to look elsewhere.

  148. TotalArsenal says:

    Cheers Raddy – I started to think for a second it might have been too highbrow! Phewww! 😛

  149. Morning all

    New Post ………………..

  150. TotalArsenal says:

    Bloody hilarious! 😛

  151. Hector says:

    Steve Bould has to go, last year we lost game but had many chances of scoring, now we lose games but look terrible attacking. Get rid of that Bald guy, arsenal are to defensive, and that is not the team I have been supporting for the past 12 years.

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