Arsenal’s Greatest Manager pt3 – George Graham or Arsene Wenger

Continuing our exploration of Arsenal’s Greatest Managers, see the previous 2 day’s posts for parts one and 2 in the series

5. George Graham: 1986-1995

George was born in Bargeddie, Lanarkshire. He was brought up by his mother and was the youngest of seven children who all lived in poverty. While still a youngster George showed considerable promise as a footballer and professional clubs like Aston Villa, Newcastle and Chelsea showed interest in his ability.

On his 17th birthday, in 1961, he was signed by Aston Villa, and later went on to play for Chelsea before being brought to Arsenal by Bertie Mee in 1966. With Arsenal he won a medal in the 1969–70, Inter-Cities Fairs Cup and was a part of Arsenal’s Double-winning side of 1970–71. He was transferred to Manchester United midway through the 1971-72 season and finally finished his playing career in California.

After retiring from playing he coached at Crystal Palace and then later Queens Park Rangers before being appointed manager of Millwall, who were bottom of the old Third Division.

tumblr_ma33knYmO01r7pn9do1_250Arsenal, who had not won a trophy since the FA Cup in 1978–79, appointed him as their new manager in May 1986. Arsenal finished fourth in his first season in charge, and then went on to win the 1987 League Cup. His sides featured tight defensive discipline, embodied by Tony Adams, who along with Lee Dixon, Steve Bould and Nigel Winterburn, formed the basis of Arsenal’s famous defence for over a decade. However, his teams were not only about defence as he had more than capable midfielders such as David Rocastle, Michael Thomas and Paul Merson, plus striker Alan Smith, who regularly scored 20 plus goals per season. In (1988–89), Arsenal won their first League title since 1971.

In the final game of the season against Liverpool at Anfield; Arsenal needed to win by two goals to take the title; Alan Smith scored for Arsenal early in the second half to make it 1–0 and with only seconds to go Michael Thomas surging through the Liverpool defence and lifting the ball over Bruce Grobbelaar and into the net.

The 1994 Cup Winners’ Cup was his last trophy at the club; the following February he was sacked after nearly nine years in charge, after it was discovered he had accepted an illegal £425,000 payment from Norwegian agent Rune Hauge following Arsenal’s 1992 acquisition of John Jensen and Pål Lydersen, two of Hauge’s clients. George was eventually banned for a year by the Football Association for his involvement in the scandal, after he admitted he had received an “unsolicited gift” from Hauge.

George Graham’s league record –

Games 364, Won 167, Drawn 108, Lost 89,

Goals for 543, Goals against 327,

Goals for per game 1.49, Goals against per game .90

Points won = 55.6%.

Average League Position 5.11

Total # of trophies won – 2 League titles, 1 FA Cup, 2 League Cups, 1 Cup Winners Cup.

6. Arsene Wenger: 1996 – Present

Arsene was born in Strasbourg, France and raised in Duttlenheim. He was introduced to football by his father, the manager of the local village team, however his playing career mostly as an amateur, was very modest.

He obtained a manager’s diploma in 1981 and started his management career in 1984 with Nancy; after being dismissed in 1987 he joined AS Monaco who then won the league championship in 1988. In 1991, Monaco also won the Coupe de France, but failed to regain the league title in later seasons and he left the club by mutual consent in 1994. He then coached Japanese J. League side Nagoya Grampus Eight and they won the Emperor’s Cup and Japanese Super Cup during his time with the club.

Manager-Arsene-Wenger-of-Arsenal-holds-the-Pr_1639778In 1996, Arsene was appointed as the manager of Arsenal and two years later the club completed a league and FA Cup double. He led Arsenal to appearances in the 2000 UEFA Cup Final and 2001 FA Cup Final, and a second league and cup double in 2002. Arsenal retained the FA Cup in 2003 and a year later regained the league title, becoming the first club to go through an entire league season undefeated since Preston North End, 115 years previously. The team later eclipsed Nottingham Forest’s record of 42 league matches unbeaten and went seven more matches before losing in October 2004. Arsenal made their first appearance in a Champions League final in 2006, though they lost to Barcelona. During his tenure, Arsenal has moved to a new training centre and after 93 years at Highbury they relocated to the Emirates Stadium.

His approach to the game emphasises an attacking mentality, with the aim that football ought to be entertaining on the pitch. Although he has made big-money signings for Arsenal, his net spend record on transfers is far superior to other leading Premier League clubs. The Arsenal defence, which set a new record in 2006 by going 10 consecutive games without conceding a goal in the Champions League, cost the club approximately £6 million to assemble. He is a strong an advocate of financial fair play in football and has been critical of the approach of teams like Chelsea, Manchester City and Real Madrid for spending more than they take from revenue which he refers to as “financial doping”.

In a league match against Crystal Palace on 14 February 2005, Arsenal fielded a 16-man squad, that featured no British players for the first time in the club’s history, he brushed aside criticism by saying, “When you represent a club, it’s about values and qualities, not about passports”.

In February 1999, Arsene offered Sheffield United a replay of their FA Cup fifth round match immediately after the match had finished, due to the controversial circumstances in which it was won. The decisive goal was scored by Overmars after Kanu failed to return the ball to the opposition when it had been kicked into touch to allow Sheffield United’s Lee Morris to receive treatment for an injury, Arsenal went on to win the replay.

In 2002 he was awarded France’s highest decoration, the Légion d’Honneur and was in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List of 2003. He has also received an honorary OBE for his service to football and was then inducted into the English Football Hall of Fame in 2006. A commissioned bronze bust of Arsene was unveiled as a tribute to him at the club’s annual general meeting on 18 October 2007. An Arsenal fan and astronomer, Ian Griffin, named an asteroid, 33179 Arsènewenger. In January 2011, he was voted “World Coach of the Decade” by the International Federation of Football History & Statistics.

Arsene Wenger’s Premier league record –

Games 638, Won 368, Drawn 161, Lost 109,

Goals for 1206, Goals against 601,

Goals for per game 1.89, Goals against per game .94

Points won = 66.1%,

Average League Position 2.44,

Total # of trophies won – 3 League titles, 4 FA Cup, 4 Charity Shields.

Written by GunnerN5 and compiled by Gooner in Exile


124 Responses to Arsenal’s Greatest Manager pt3 – George Graham or Arsene Wenger

  1. double98 says:


    George was my first love. He was cool and yet passionate. Strong and yet had sparkling soft eyes.

    He took no crap.
    He could have been bigger than Ferguson… infact i wonder if that legacy would have survived a full 90s decade with Stroller at the highbury helm.

    But then Arsene, my sophisticated french man(ager). He thought me about style, he opened up massive vistas of possibilities.
    He changed football.
    He actually helped perpetuate the Ferguson legacy because ferguson had to adapt to fight him. Where Fergie would have always been in a war of Power with Graham (both of them hoarding centrebacks, box to box midfielders and canny strikers, he had to learn stealth and flair to copmbat Arsenal under wenger.

    Graham gave me Anfield 89
    Wenger gave me the invincibles.

    I can’t choose

  2. The font says:

    Great stats well done In arsen we trust

  3. Norfolk Gooner says:

    Good morning to you all.

    Another good one GN5, problem today is that we don’t know how Arsene’s reign is going to end. As at this moment it’s got to be Wenger over Graham but…

  4. Big Raddy says:

    D98. Spot on. It is Heart versus Head.

    My head says that AW was a vast improvement upon GG, but my heart is GG’s. Singing 1-0 to the Arsenal all over the country (and Leicester) following Georgie Graham’s Red & White army is one of my life highlights.

    Could GG have given us the success that SAF brought to MU? Not in my opinion. He became stuck in his ways, had lost the ability to improvise and we became a dull mid-table side who battled out victories wih no style.

    Would GG have signed Bobby Pires? You know the answer.

  5. GunnerN5 says:

    Morning all, it’s 5:06am here in London, Ontario.

    I’ve just realised that by writing these posts I cheated myself out of the enjoyment of making a voting decision, because my mind was already made up during the research and writing. However my research has not changed my opinion of who is our best manager or the order in which I would rank them

    GG, other than an ill conceived bung, may well have gone on to be both, our, and the PL’s greatest manager, but IMLTHO he destroyed his own legacy. It would be so easy to ignore what happened but that would be as wrong to say that RVP was not a great goal scorer – just because his leaving was unsavoury.

  6. Gooner in Exile says:

    Morning all, this is the one I expect to spark the most debate, so close together in eras the two are so often compared to each other. Like Allison and Chapman, Wenger’s early successes are laid at the door of Graham with the “built on a solid defence” claim. Whilst this is undoubtedly true if Graham had remained would we ever have seen Tony Adams being put through by Bould and volleying home with his left foot to put the seal on an emphatic title win.

    That is the main difference between the two….i remember Adams saying something like “I’ve always been able to play football, i just hadn’t been told to previously”.

    Like Raddy i don’t think Graham could have brought us the success SAF brought United, or should that be bought? As much as i loved the success and the 1-0 to the Arsenal, it was pretty difficult defending the style in later years. As Fergie adapted his teams to become more stylish, Graham adapted his teams to compete with the long ball merchants like Howard Wilkinson, Dave Basset and friends who had decided the new way to play was direct, up the pitch as quick as possible and into the danger areas.

    Graham brought Ian Wright to the club to achieve just that, his earlier teams featuring the likes of Thomas, Davis and Rocastle, Merson were so much more creative, than later teams with Selley, Jensen, Hillier, Schwarz and friends who were there to pick up second pieces. Seaman’s kicks were ridiculously long, and often would be accompanied by us all saying “shooooooooooooooot” as he prepared any long kick.

    And then Arsene came along, and changed everything we had seen in recent memory, we became a push and run side, maybe the best English football ever saw, and it was beautiful to watch. Unfortunately that wasn’t enough to overcome Europe, and so he has been attempting to build a side for that ever since, he got close but the financial pressure of the move to the Emirates meant we lost all that assembled talent. Lets hope we can kick on from here and Arsene can sign off with some glory.

  7. double98 says:

    I don’t agree that Graham was a spent force or unable top adapt – he was rigid, conservative but had room for improvisation.

    Would he have bought Bergkamp?
    Probably not.

    but he would have grabbed a few more titles off of Ferguson. Simply because football in the uk changed when Wenger came. If he hadn’t it wouldn’t have, so it was a brutal, physical and direct game which was his cup of tea.
    He would have cleared out the back four by 1998 and had a brand new team.
    I doubt Adams, Bould, Dixon, Parlour, Winterburn or Keown would have seen the millenium at highbury under GG.
    They would have all been squeezed dry.

    So its my contention that had Arsenal continued under GG, he would have built an entirely new squad for the late 90s.
    And we may never had the foreign influx of Player, Managers or Owners.
    Abramovich might have bought into Valencia. Coz lets face it, Wenger made English Football sexy

  8. Big Raddy says:

    D98. A well put argument but one that doesn’t sway me.

    When GG was sacked we had been floundering for at least a couple of seasons. I remember the joy when Rioch took us into Europe with a 5th place finish – such was the state of affairs when GG left. (51pts & 12th the season prior to his departure.)

    Would GG, who was even more parsimonious than AW, have bought the players required to take us back to the top? We will never know.

  9. evonne says:

    font – are you an OCD sufferer? do you wash your hands more than 100 times a day? check that the doors are locked and precise number of peas on the dinner plate? repeat the same thing over and over again?

  10. @ Double98 and @ Big Raddy especially, and all as well…

    George Graham’s LEAGUE record of his last 4 seasons at Arsenal, after winning the League in 1990-91 :

    1991-92… 4th… 10 points behind the champions
    1992-93… 10th… 26 points behind the champions
    1993-94… 4th… 21 points behind the champions
    1994-95… 12th… 38 points behind the champions

  11. Gunner N5, and GIE

    Good work again.
    Except… 🙂 “…striker Alan Smith, who regularly scored 20 plus goals per season.”

    Regularly? No, twice only, I think.

    League goals shown first, and in brackets all ‘competitive’ goals (League, FA Cup, League Cup, European if applicable).

    1987-88… 11 (16)
    1988-89… 23 (25)
    1989-90… 10 (13)
    1990-91… 22 (27)
    1991-92… 12 (17)
    1992-93… 3 (6)
    1993-94… 3 (7)

    Sorry to be pernickety… it changes nothing as regards the managers info, of course.

  12. Gooner in Exile says:

    For someone who hates stats…….. 😀

    Lets call it “around 20 goals per season”

  13. OK, Gunner N5.

    There’s not much difference between 3 and 20 is there 🙂 .

    Like I said, maybe I’m a tad pernickety, as the rest of the work so far is pretty well spot on.

    Except Chapman… 3 titles 🙂
    And Allison… 2 titles 🙂

    Time to cook, then to eat… catch you later.

  14. C A says:

    Hmm.. Arsene for me.

    George did when a European trophy, something possibly Arsene may never do.

    However, under Arsene we had/have better consistency, better quality football, higher quality players, and we’re a WORLD club now. Financially and in brand terms we’re one of the world’s biggest clubs, which was not as much the case in George’s time (though of course in George’s time and decades piror we were one of the great English/British clubs). Since 1996/97, we’ve never finished lower than 4th. Under George, our initial seasons we OK in league terms (4th, 6th, 1st, 6th, 1st) but despite the cup wins towards the end, the league form was shit. Also, from 92-95 was the true height of boring Arsenal.

    who from the Graham era would be good enough to play in an Arsene team? Limpar, maybe. Marwood, hmm.. at a stretch. the late Rocky? yes. Paul Davis… again at a stretch. Thomas.. again at a stretch. Alan Smith? I guess, since Giroud reminds me of him in some ways. Not many players would frankly. The best George team (IMO 1991) would have been brutalised by the Invincibles. Far more guile and quality there lol..

  15. GunnerN5 says:

    I thought Finsbury had been “Parked”?

    It’s akin to a bad smell that you can’t seem to get rid of!!!

  16. GunnerN5 says:

    Big Al,

    Picky, picky, picky, I feel like you are my grade school teacher continually looking over my shoulder.

    He regularly scored 20 goals in 1998/9 &1990/1.
    The other seasons were simply irregular.

  17. “He regularly scored 20 goals in 1998/9 &1990/1.
    The other seasons were simply irregular.” 🙂

  18. double98, at 11.41am

    “I don’t agree that Graham was a spent force or unable top adapt ”

    I agree, to a certain extent. We can only guess at what he might have achieved at Arsenal had he remained.

    GG at Leeds United
    After serving his ban, George Graham’s return to football management came with Leeds United in September 1996. He took over a Leeds team that was struggling against relegation at the time and his first priority was the defence; although Leeds scored fewer goals than any other Premiership club (28) they still finished in a secure 13th place.
    Bringing in players such as Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink in the close season, 1997–98 saw Leeds score twice as many goals as the previous season to finish fifth in the Premiership and secure UEFA Cup qualification.

    GG at Spurs
    Despite guiding the club to its first trophy in eight seasons, Graham…
    …victory over Leicester City in the 1999 League Cup Final, and with it a place in the 1999–2000 UEFA Cup.

    He wasn’t a spent source.

  19. Gunner N5

    I’m only having a giggle.
    Smith’s overall AVERAGE over the 7 seasons (in all competitions) is 15.8 goals per season.
    Not brilliant, but not bad.

    I actually liked him right from the start of his Arsenal career. He was a striker who played for the team, not overly greedy. He held the ball up well, his touch was neat, good in the air.

    I won’t ask if he’s in your final run-down (I’ll wait and see), but if he is, that’s fine. Unless it’s at the expense of Ian Wright.

  20. Time to deal with a smell

  21. RockyLives says:

    Right, now you’ve got me thinking Gn5.

    Before I started reading this week’s Posts I was pretty clear about how I would vote in the Manager stakes. But now I’m not so sure and I won’t be able to vote tomorrow until I have gone back and re-read all the options.

    By the way, tomorrow we really need to point out to casual visitors where they cane find the rest of the “manager” Posts.

  22. RockyLives says:

    Big Al
    “Smith’s overall AVERAGE over the 7 seasons (in all competitions) is 15.8 goals per season. Not brilliant but not bad.”

    Speaking of odours, this has the distinct whiff of a “stand-alone stat.”

    How many games did Smith play in each of those seasons? How often was he injured? Did he always play in the same position of did he sometimes take up a less goal-threatening position to ‘help the team’? How did the general form of the team affect his ability to score goals? Were most of his assist from one or two key players? In which case, were those players absent/injured for periods during the seasons where he was less effective?

    So many complexities Al….. 😀 😀 😀

  23. RockyLives says:

    Thanks GiE
    I just want to make sure that as many people as possible get the opportunity to read these great Posts and take part in the decision.

  24. GunnerN5 says:


    Has the smell been eliminated? or at least temporarily?.

  25. GunnerN5 says:

    That was a good idea Rocky and well done to GIE for being so quick off the mark.

  26. Red Arse says:

    Excellent Post; again, guys! 🙂

    GN5 and GIE, a ‘marriage’ made in AA. 🙂

    To tell the truth, I normally have no problem in sounding off and giving my subjective opinions as to who is the best manager or the best player or the best anything.

    However, reading through the career details you have given of these two pretty contemporary men, both of whom have achieved a great deal, I must admit that I am really speaking out of ignorance, as I have never been a football manager, or had the public scrutiny and stresses peculiar to their type of work, and therefore I feel I have a cheek choosing between them.

    Bit like a mouse judging the main attributes of two elephants. 🙂

    I liked GG and he brought a steely determination to the management of a misfiring football club and led it to success in a way that was appropriate to the football style of his era, i,e, before the influx of big money and world class foreign players.

    But, it cannot be denied that a charismatic AW brought with him a cerebral methodology and a new football ethos that revolutionised the way football was played in the EPL, as well as changing the training, dietary and personal disciplines of the players, which has, in turn, affected every club in the country.

    So, AW for me — with apologies to George for daring to judge him! 😀

  27. GunnerN5 says:


    I’m pleased (and gratified) that AA regulars, like yourself, are enjoying the posts. It makes it worthwhile when knowledgeable supporters find it interesting and enjoyable.

    As Kelsey said, the other day, it’s been a labour of love, but nonetheless it’s also been hard labour.

    Well that’s 6 profiles, done and dusted, and 72 still to be posted, and only 2 left to finalize.

  28. GunnerN5 says:


    As usual, you demonstrate sound reasoning along with beautiful wording. I just wish you could have been my “ghost” writer.

  29. RA I think if we could combine GG and AW we would be someway to producing the perfect football manager.

  30. RockyLives says:

    I’m really enjoying it Gn5.
    At the end of the summer we should get a new widget or somesuch that directs people to the entire oeuvre, complete with all the profiles and results of the voting. It’s the sort of work that deserves to be available as a source of record in the future.
    “The All-Time Arsenal Team” for example.

  31. I am away for the whole of next week…..the keepers debate!!! I have already uploaded the posts, and will be back late Saturday evening to vote.

    I need to get ahead and get a few defenders up before i set off on travels on the early morning.

  32. double98 says:

    Raddy, that season end (94/95) total was more Stewart Houstens fault than GG.

    He won 3 Drew 2 and Lost 7 to finish 12th. Thats 11 from 36. the spuds were only 11 points ahead.

    If Houston had maintained GGs points pergame we probably would have finished above the potatoes and just outside europe.
    as it was we hardly flirted with relegation being 6 points clear of relegation and only picking up 2 points from our last 3 games… we were safe from the start of April…

    There is also a chance that we would have been better able to win the CWC final.

    Europe was also a factor – We were the first of teams back in europe and they had very restrictive rules back in the early 90s so the english sides were suddenly confronted with a need of bigger squads with much more quality. we had taken on an extra bunch of games from 1992 and our domestic ambitions especially in the league were hit.

    in 94/95 Man utd were knocked out in the group stages of the CL in a group of Gotenburg, Barcelona and Galatasary(in a day when turkish sides were well hockied) so it wasn’t just us

    Those where the days of much smaller squads and i think George was rebuilding – which took longer because you didn’t have a 2nd and 3rd string team to usher into place over a year or 2. Remember Graham just missed out on Roy Keane (i read a newspaper report that we had signed him – in the days when speculation wasn’t the thing to do. He may have bought us Jimmy Hasselbaink….
    Which would have been a revolution for the club in a completely different direction than bergkamp brought us.

    He was far from a spent force and was winning cups despite his mediocre league form
    Why he was never taken seriosly again after winning for the spuds and buiding the foundations for David Oleary/ Peter Risdale to wreck at Leeds…

    Even now you’d think Stoke or someone would go for him rather than the guy who was so poor QPR sacked him and Hired Harry Redknapp to relegate them instead

  33. RockyLives says:

    I, too, have thought that GG could be successful again at a mid table Premiership club.

    Maybe the feeling is that he has been out of it for too long and doesn’t have the player/agent contacts etc.

  34. double98 says:

    Rocky.. Two words



  35. To RockyLives – part one

    Hello Rocky. Just crawled out of your sweaty pit?
    Answers to your innocuous questions :

    How many games did Smith play in each of those seasons? …See my stats to follow…

    How often was he injured? …Not often in the first 5 seasons as you can see from my stats. As regards the last 2 seasons wipe your own botty.

    Did he always play in the same position or did he sometimes take up a less goal-threatening position to ‘help the team’? ….He always played in the same position. He was not known for multi-positional you should be aware.

    How did the general form of the team affect his ability to score goals? …Dunno. Ring him up and ask him.

    a) Were most of his assists from one or two key players? …I don’t know, neither do you. Assists stats are not available for the years shown to my knowledge. Anyway, as half of assists are ‘granny passes’, I couldn’t give a stuff.

    b) In which case, were those players absent/injured for periods during the seasons where he was less effective? …I do have the lineups of every game Smith played for Arsenal as it happens. So, I do know the answer(s) to that one… however, wipe your botty (again)…

    🙂 🙂 🙂

  36. RockyLives says:


  37. To RockyLives – part two


    Reading left to right:
    Season … Smith’s appearances (+ = sub appearance) … League goals only … (in brackets: League goals, FA Cup goals, League Cup goals, European goals if applicable) … League position at end of season.

    1987-88… 36+3… 11 (16) … position 6th
    P:40 W:18 … D:12 … L:10 … F:58 … A:39 … Pts:66

    1988-89… 36……. 23 (25) … position 1st
    P:38 W:22 … D:10 … L:6 … F:73 … A:36 … Pts:76

    1989-90… 37+1… 10 (13) … position 4th
    P:38 W:18 … D:8 …. L:12 … F:54 … A:38 … Pts:62

    1990-91… 35+2… 22 (27) … position 1st
    P:38 W:24 … D:13 … L:1 … F:74 … A:18 … Pts:83

    1991-92… 33+6… 12 (17) … position 4th
    P:42 W:19 … D:15 … L:8 … F:81 … A:46 … Pts:72

    1992-93… 27+4… 3 (6) …. position 10th
    P:42 W:15 … D:11 … L:16 … F:40 … A:38 … Pts:56

    1993-94… 21+4… 3 (7) …. position 4th
    P:42 W:18 … D:17 … L:7 … F:53 … A:28 … Pts:71

    Important note –
    In season 1990-91, we lost only one time.
    Just one goal scored in a 2-1 defeat is the reason that George Graham wasn’t manager of an “Invincibles” team.

    That defeat was away at Chelsea (1-2)
    Smith, incidentally, scored our goal.

  38. evonne says:

    oo la la, I have unexpected results!
    Wenger the clear winner, no surprise there
    But George Allison with Points won and Average League position, good goal difference is firmly second! Bertie Mee having worst record came last in my calculations.
    Chapman didn’t do worse than GG, both had points deducted for dodgy dealings 🙂

    That was a lot of fun GN5 and GiE 🙂

  39. GunnerN5 says:

    GG’s percentage of points won does not indicate a continually successful manager – but more one in decline.

    Millwall = 45.3%
    Arsenal = 55.6%
    Leeds = 38.95%
    Spurs = 39.68%

    He suffers very badly from arthritis which restricts his coaching ability, at least during training sessions.

  40. GunnerN5 says:


    So glad that you have been enjoying the posts. You seem to have created a very unique method of calculating your choices.

  41. evonne

    I haven’t voted.
    How do I vote?
    I though voting was tomorrow.

  42. GunnerN5 says:

    Big Al,

    You may be pleased to know that Alan Smith passed my criteria test and is going to be profiled, But I think I should double check my facts before it gets posted – it’s not scheduled to be on AA until mid July.

  43. GoonerB says:

    Well done GN5 and GIE. I am actually learning things about our club with your excellent write ups. I feel a deep sense of appreciation to all the managers you have mentioned this week as they have all contributed something permanent to what has made this the great club it is today.

    It is very difficult to choose one over another as you almost feel disrespectful to the other managers. I am predominantly from the George Graham and Arsene Wenger era without too much direct knowledge from before these periods aside from what you read up on and old footage. Both these managers hold a dear place for me and both gave us moments that football history will never forget, namely the 88-89 season and the invincibles season.

    I would have to go with Arsene Wenger though because not only did he give us the invincibles and possibly the finest Arsenal footballing side ever witnessed he has, in helping us build a new state of the art training ground and in taking us into a new stadium, also promoted us from being a big club to a very big club and dare I say one of Europes giants. This for me is perhaps a bigger achievement than any of the silverware he has won.

    All this 8 years without a trophy from the media and trying to infer that we are not a big club anymore is rubbish. It has been a temporary necessity to cement our future as one of the giants of world football. There will come a time in the future when not one person mentions Arsenal’s period without a trophy but what they will remeber is the man who gave us the invincibles and the man who helped us to move to a new stadium while keeping us competing near the top end when the financial restrictions of such a venture should in reality have seen us drop away far further from the top.

  44. GunnerN5 says:

    Big Al,

    Evonne is just giving us her considered opinion, voting is scheduled for every Saturday.

  45. evonne says:

    GN5 – no, it is not my opinion, but the facts that you have provided.
    I gave 6 points for most goals per game, 1 for least. 6 points for least goals conceded, 1 for most. 6 points for most trophies…. 6 points for best average league position, 6 for most points won, etc. For extra curriculum activities I deducted 1 point from Chapman and GG, added 1 for all but Allison. Added up points gained and bingo! AW got 29 and Bertie Mee 11

  46. GunnerN5 says:


    Sorry I got that wrong.

    Your methodology brushes any hint of opinion right off of the page.

  47. Red Arse says:

    Evonne @ 5:03;

    You have had unexpected results? Twins? 🙂

  48. Gooner In Exile says:

    Haha Evonne has just placed herself in the statisticians club….it’s a lonely place Big Al stands at the door with Knuckles and they don’t let half hearted stats in.

  49. RockyLives says:

    Stop it evonne!

    You’re starting to influence me.

    Although all this “scientific” approach is baloney. Football is a thing of the heart, not the head 🙂

  50. RockyLives says:

    Redders 😀

  51. Hi all, just checking in from rainy Amalfi 😦

    GN5 and GiE you have done us proud this week, thank you so much for the effort you have put in. Amazing.

    I have to say that these two managers have both stolen my heart but because we don’t know how it will end with AW I will find it very difficult to choose.

    I feel that we ended the season very strongly and have high hopes for next season. What can we achieve? I hope we can mount more of a challenge and to do that we need AW to regain his magic touch.

    His football has been magic to behold and we are blessed that that magic football has been ours. It has to be AW.

  52. Red Arse says:

    Uh, oh, Evonne! You meant the choice of the top manager! 🙂

    Erm, the point of a Poll is everyone who wishes to gets a vote, and not just one person, isn’t it? 🙂

    I suppose GN5 shouldn’t bother, and just ask you for all the results!!

  53. evonne says:

    Sorry Rocky, I am happiest in a structured, well organised world, unlike you at your best away with the fairies 🙂

    GN5 – sorry? You made my week! It has been nothing but problems, and your posts kept me going at times! Not only that, but I have learnt a lot from them. I owe you a pint or two

  54. evonne says:

    RA – all that democracy malarkey is sooo unfair!!

    Right, I was listening the the Barca rent boy, the bald egghead with a lisp. He was talking about Cesc (as if he knew), stating that CF is not leaving the catalan cheats, he has just bought a huge house near Messi, Barca need him and rate him highly (that’s why he sits on the bench so often) and is happier than ever back in Spain. He said that when Cesc was at Arsenal he suffered from one injury after another? What’s that all about? I remember Cesc going for 6 seasons without a single knock. Bloody rent boy

  55. RockyLives says:

    you know me too well 🙂

  56. …….although I was fond of Bertie Mere too.

    I would have loved to have been around when Herb was flavour of the month 🙂

  57. evonne says:

    you’d have to be 85 years old Peaches, are you sure about that?
    Anyway, I thought you were scouting Giggi Buffon in Italy

  58. evonne says:

    No Rocky, not well enough 🙂

  59. jnyc says:

    Awesome post and discussion from two of my favorites! thanks gays 🙂

  60. evonne says:

    jnyc – GiE is gay??

  61. C A says:

    For the people saying Arsene who made English football “sexy” globally, well partly.

    It was a combination of him, Cantona, Schmeichel, and dare I say it Klinsmann at “them” who first opened up English football. Also people like Ginola, and even Kanchelskis. I think personally had Graham not got sacked, he would have won the Cup Winner Cup that season, and our Arsene success of the late 1990s wouldn’t have been repeated. Remember, it wasn’t just Graham’s boring football that was the issue. It was a number of things, such as signing poor quality players (hmm.. McGoldrick, Helder, lol…), having an uncompetitive wage structure, etc. Personally, I think that’s why Bergkamp and Platt were signed, because Dein and co. knew that seriously quality was needed to compete. Had we not signed them, I don’t we would have got relegated or anything, but I get the suspicion that our top players (at that time Adams, Wrighty, Seaman, etc.) may have eventually left had we just scraped top ten/mid-table.

    I still today think that Nayim from the halfway line was the birth of modern Arsenal, and eventually the Arsene era. I’m confident even many years that this forced the board to change,

  62. evonne – shhhh don’t tell everyone 😉 Funnily enough the driver we had from the airport had played football professionally, you can imagine the raised eyebrows from daughter number 2 when he and I started talking Napoli and Milan 😉

  63. GN5

    One last question before I go to bed (1.40am Thailand)…

    …as regards the “criteria test”… I’ll take an uneducated guess (you don’t have to tell us if you don’t won’t want to)… each player must have played a certain amount of games. Yes?

    If so, I’ll guess two seasons worth.
    42 (League) games in the old days, 38 games (League) in more recent times = 40 games average per season
    x2 seasons = 80 games total. So that’s your minimum requirement.

    If that’s not right then you’ve added on another 10 per season for Cup games x2 seasons = 20 games

    = 100 games total reuired to meet your criteria test.


  64. evonne says:

    ha ha ha Peaches, I know THAT look only too well – disapproving, bored, here we go again, oh no….yep, I am a regular recipient of it

  65. Gooner In Exile says:

    Bloody ell JNYC is actually Andre Santos, so glad I wasn’t too harsh on the Brazilian Speed* Merchant

    * well in his car

  66. evonne says:

    where is Rita’s comment gone???

  67. Gooner In Exile says:

    It’s the PT Evonne. Don’t worry.

  68. RockyLives says:

    Can’t you read the sign?:
    “Do Not Feed The Troll”


  69. sleepinggiant says:

    ..the one thing this article does not address is the fact that without Graham, there could not have been success for Wenger. And this goes a lot deeper than just leaving behind the great back 4. Graham in his time took a club out of the wilderness and single handedly broke the stranglehold of Merseyside on the first division. For those of you not old enough to remember it, this would be the equivalent of Liverpool coming back now and banishing Man U and Chelsea to the wilderness for 20 years. He was that big a deal. Like Mourhino except with genuine panache in everything he did.

    Those who drone on about George’s ‘decline’, in my view, are likely not to remember those days and are simply buying into the modern fabrication that league position is particularly important – it is, but only if you finish 1st. As any of us who can remember the old days will recall that once the title was out of reach, we didn’t care too much which particular position we finished in. In other words 4th is no better than 5th is no better than 6th, Upper mid table mediocrity. It was than and still is now. The counter argument is used by those who want to make the argument that somehow Arsene’s last 8 years do not represent a decline on his amazing start at the club. Poppycock!!

    Anyway, just to be clear, The three years of the Graham ‘decline’ were as follows:- year 1 (92-23)we become the first team EVER – that is EVER – to win the cup double. For those of you who are obsessed with the current managers achievements, this was still an era when Arsenal were the London team who created trophy firsts. It is only under the stewardship of the current manager that this honour has been passed to another London club

    Year 2 – won a European trophy. Still haven’t won one since (and for all those interested we also finished 4th. Guess which of those achievements we celebrated for months, and which we forgot about the day after!).

    Year 3 – Graham sacked half way thorough – the club get fluked out of winning another European trophy.

    That’s is one bad year – there’s no point in arguing otherwise. The cup double and the Euro wins are two of the clubs greatest ever achievements and anyone who argues otherwise should seriously consider what team they support. Now maybe if Graham had lingered another 8 years the club would have lost that winning steel and his critics would have a point. But he didn’t so they don’t. End of.

    A line needs to be drawn by real Arsenal fans under this undermining of Graham’s achievements. Arsenal were a declining TEAM when he left (but there was no sense whatsoever that this was not just a blip as they were a trophy machine), but they were still a huge CLUB. A club who didn’t just know how to win, but one who expected to win. Graham was every bit the foundation of modern Arsenal that Shankly was of the great Liverpool team. In Liverpools case, yes Bob Paisley won more than Shankly, but have you ever heard a single Liverpool fan denigrate Shankly’s achievements in order to laud Paisley? Indeed, if anything, I think you will find it is the other way around! Those fans who criticise Graham should take that comparison and paste it to their wall, and hang their head in shame every time they go on to criticise Graham. To be perfectly honest, when Graham left, we knew that Arsenal still ‘had it’ because of the level he had built the club to, – that success would be very easy for the right man to achieve. Arsene has lingered far too long past the height of his powers to make success anything like as easy for his successor in my view.

    In short, I don’t know who was the better overall. Early Wenger was I think better than Graham, but could not have happened had Graham not rebuit the club. Equally Graham never came close to scrubbing the trophiless bottom of the barrel that the trophy-phobic rabble that the last 8 years of Wenger has produced. And yes, from having lived through the worst of Graham, nothing from the very worst days of his long ball football was more boring than the bleeding to death, pass-pass-pass-pass-misdirected-pass-run away-from-a-tackle-concede-a-goal garbage we have played against Blackburn and many others in the current season. As bad yes. Worse, definitely not.

    So lets call it two great managers – and be thankful for the good times they gave us. And lets hope the next manager makes it no. 3.

  70. evonne says:

    so he is a tranny with OCD, poor fecker

  71. Gooner In Exile says:

    SG some will say Graham’s success was built on the back of Don Howe and his creation of youth players that were ripe to kick on and into the first team when Graham arrived at the club.

    I don’t deny it was great winning those trophies but it was not fun to watch, as for it not being an issue where we came if it wasn’t 1st may have been borne from the fact that for most of that era we were not able to qualify anyway.

  72. chas says:

    Great article, GN5.

    I can’t even vaguely consider GG for Arsenal’s best manager. He took his eye off the ball when he became greedy.
    That midfield in the last couple of his seasons in charge was a travesty. The cup wins of 1993 and 4 disguised what a poor outfit we’d become.
    To dismantle the 1991 side and replace it how he did was a disgrace.

    To cap it all he went to the spuds.

    Oh, and I never, ever need to be told if I’m a real Arsenal fan or not.

  73. Gooner In Exile says:

    Should clarify the league winning teams and the league cup winning teams were fun to watch. The Cup double winning team were dull as ditchwater except Merson and Wright.

    I think the FA Cup Final went down as one of the most boring Cup Finals ever, I was at all three finals (including the replay) that year, none were great for football, but two were great for Gooners.

  74. sleepinggiant says:

    GIE – I couldn’t disagree more. Are you telling me that winning the FA cup in the last minute was not exciting? Tell me anything from the last 8 years that even comes close. A 7-3 against Newcastle? Not even close, utterly meaningless as nothing on the line. A 2-1 win against Barcelona – are you kidding? It was a good comeback but a truly dreadful result as it meant we were almost certainly going out of the competition. And this is not a criticism just of Wenger teams – there were years under George when we played football that was every bit as exciting as the Wenger era n and much easier on the eye than the cup double team (see the 91-92 season after Wrigth signed. Go on, have a look if you don’t remember) We played wonderful stuff and scored dozens of goals but won nothing – That simply does not come close to the heated excitement of winnining a trophy. Nothing in football is.

    Excitement is not about watching goals go in at both ends willy nilly and not knowing where the next one is going to in- its far more about watching your team and having that feeling of ‘we’ve got these guys, I know we have’. Truthfully, when was the last time you felt that in a big game? It doesn’t matter how that is achieved. Winning is exciting. The wonderful glow of belief that your team knows it is going to win is exciting Not winning isn’t. Not winning never is. And I’m not one of these by the way who expects my team to win (but equally I expect us to have the same expectation that any of the other biggest English clubs do)- my criticism of the current regime is not the fact of the continuous repetitive mediocrity of league position. It is posssible, and indeed it is regular in football to fall short of expectations. Thats the nature of the game. The hated problem is the propaganda machine which tries to make a virtue of the fact that we are a team of losers. If they just said – ‘its not good enough for Arsenal and it won’t happen again’ there would be less criticism. But they won’t and shame on them. In my opinion this is thesingle most dangerous crisis facing any major club at the moment – the brainwashing of Arsenal fans into believing that we should be happy being a non-entity and a nothing of a football club. Their bottom line is we should be happy just to exist – and then they sell our best players just to rub it in! How dare those f”£$£$£ T”$£$£”£”!

    I acknowledge that the two cup teams mentioned were not the most exciting – but for the love of God, we just won 2 leagues in the previous 4years. Even Graham was entitled to a blip -but just how great was a team whose ‘blip’ involved creating football history, winning a European trophy and losing a heartbreaking final? Its a standard that the current team could only dream of reaching. And equally, while acknowledging that these two cup-winning teams were not as easy on the eye as the 1989 team, the invincibles or the near invincibles of 90-91, they were no worse than the death-by-football we had to endure time after time this year.

    As for the point about Don Howe…I can only say that if you want you can probably make an equally valid argument that Brian Clough’s success at Nottingham Forest was due to his predecessor Allan Brown, or that the invincibles record was down to Pat Rice and the Arsenal tea lady. Graham was the one who recognised the potential of the last great group of youngsters the club produced and brought them into the team at the expense of some very big stars. With respect its utter nonsense.

  75. sleepinggiant says:

    I can’t even vaguely consider GG for Arsenal’s best manager. He took his eye off the ball when he became greedy.

    Oh the irony is just wonderful. Given that our current manager is on a reported salary of £7m for winning precisely nothing in the past 8 years, it could be said that GG was not the only one who took his eye off the ball and became greedy!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  76. sleepinggiant says:

    GIE – Thanks for the clarification, but I realised that you didn’t consider the two GG league winning teams boring.

    But surely you would agree that its better to have a boring team that wins three trophies and gets to a Euro final in 3 years than having an equally mind numbing team in 2013 that would probably find a way to lose the ladies FA cup final if they managed to get that far.

  77. sleepinggiant says:

    ..and then they would probably come out and try to tell us that we shouldn’t be disappointed at losing it!

  78. chas says:

    I made no mention whatsoever of Wenger, only of GG’s illegal payments for shite players..

  79. chas says:

    The irony is that someone who wants to laud GG has to have a dig at the current incumbent.

  80. sleepinggiant says:

    Chas – apologies if I implied you did. But given the salary Wenger is currently on for winning nothing, and indeed the very many equally shite players in the current squad as the end of the Graham era, I’m just saying perhaps history repeats itself at the end of the era for both of Arsenal’s modern great managers!

    Nobody is saying that Arsene taking the clubs money is in any way illegal. But after the wonders of his early years at the club compared to the desolation since, you have to at least wonder about the nerve of the man.

  81. sleepinggiant says:

    Chas – both are great managers. Actually both are better than that.

    But there is a tendency among the newer fans to ignore the obvious – that Wenger continued the great work of Graham.

    The bottom line is I would love Arsene to turn up in August, tell us all that we are through messing around and return the club to the top. But I think he is the last person on earth who is going to do that.

    As I said earlier., had Graham died on his feet for 8 years the way Wenger is, I wouldn’t remember his period as fondly as I do. But the truth is, it cannot be denied that the Graham era was glory after glory after glory. The Wenger era started even more brightly, but has been a nothing for the last 8 years. Which itself would not be so bad if the club hadn’t brainwashed half the fanbase into thinking this was somehow a success. Not good enough. Not nearly good enough.

  82. chas says:

    GG had shite players in the starting eleven. Ian Selley and Steve Morrow started against Parma, ffs.
    Why does every discussion about Graham have to be brought back to Wenger?

  83. chas says:

    Do you honestly think GG would have had the success he had if the oil money teams had been about then? Today’s premiership is a paradigm shift away from late 80’s early 90’s First Division.

  84. sleepinggiant says:

    Chas – the discussion was about both. It was not my choice, it was the nature of the blog. If this blog had just been about the merits of GG,. I wouldn’t have mentioned AW. But I merely picked up the thread late in the picture. As I have said repeatedly, both men are absolute giants of the game and deserve to be treated as such. That does not mean that they are above criticism and I believe it is the role of the fans to cheer when things are going well but not to be afraid to call the club to account when they are making mess of things. We are not sheep but that is the problem with the monster the club has become – criticism is treated as some form of subversion when in reality it is the healthiest element of a democracy.. Unless you’re Stan Kroenke it seems.

    I won’t be drawn into criticising team selection blunders as you will simply ague that I’m trying to make AW look bad. But are you certain you are not being a bit cheeky when bringing up the team selection for the 1994 final? Im sure you know we had dreadful injuries and suspensions (from memory a certain Mr. Jensen and a certain Mr. er…Wright to name two individuals who would have made the team look a tad stronger!!!!!) in advance of the 1994 final. Even so, and correct me if I’m wrong, didn’t Arsenal win that trophy? Kind of kicks out any problem with the team selection methinks! Bringing up this actually concludes my argument for me – what a victory against the odds. Without reference to any other Arsenal manager I will say this….Until the arrival of Mourhino, George Graham was the greatest tactical manager I have seen in half a century. At any club in Britain. He may not have had the flair of Ferguson or Clough, but in terms of tactics, only the Portuguese comes close.

    Good night!

  85. Gooner In Exile says:

    In truth SG winning the Cup final in the last minute of extra time was my greatest I was there goal I wrote a post some time back and all the goals were in the Graham era. A few from that 91-92 team.

    The thing is if GG hadn’t taken his bung I would have continued supporting him as I do the current manager. Me and my Dad used to take issue with those getting on the back of Selley and Hillier whilst stood in the North Bank.

    It has never been about success for me it is about supporting the manager and players that represent me, a few less dissenters and a but more unity between fans and players and manager and maybe we will surprise a few people.

  86. Gooner In Exile says:

    Remember when Wright tore into the Arsenal faithful in a bore 1-0 played out in front of the mural …….remember the stick the club got for that?…..he scored the winner against Sheffield Wed I believe he basically told us we didn’t know what we were talking about, and should stop complaining from memory he leant out of the changing room windows to lead a four letter tirade into the complaining Arsenal fans outside.

  87. Gooner In Exile says:

    SG you may have noticed GG is number 5, Wenger no 6. Go back over the last two days and you’ll see why this wasn’t necessarily a straight fight between the two, its been a week long post……we are filling summer with a Greatest Team blog until we sign someone…..that’ll be August then. 😀

  88. sleepinggiant says:

    Ok Chas – one last thing.

    There are paradigms shifts in every era. This era is no different to any other – its just that we support a club that refuses to take up its responsbilities and is now happy to pretend that Arsenal is a small club rather than spend the money we all know it has to compete at the top table

    But your question is moot – how much have the oil clubs really changed things? -The truth is they don’t dominate English football. Manchester United do. Alex Ferguson kicked their asses because he has balls. He doesnt like losing and has confidence in his ability. I strongly suspect that George Graham had the same kind of balls and the facts of his success back me up 100%

    YBut your talk of paradigm shifts towards the oil clubs has much less effect when they haven’t, to date done much shifting of the current paradigm. Them have nudged in on it, but they still couldn’t beat United.

    And yet in the 1980’s, when English football was dominated by Liverpool and a lesser extent everton (two dominant forces, not just a monolithic UTD), there WAS a paradigm shift. And that paradigm shift was George Grahams Arsenal. He did to the merseysiders what the combined oil clubs couldn’t do to a similar force in Man U. So history, and not me, would suggest that George could indeed deal with the current situation. Probably in his stride.

  89. chas says:

    I was just about to say the same thing, GIE.

    To compare George Graham and Herbert Chapman, for instance, is almost impossible unless you devise some sort of system to include GN5’s brilliantly compiled stats including such measures as games won, points won, average league position, trophies won etc etc. That’s without being able to quantify such intangibles as innovation and the state of the game overall during their managerial days.

  90. chas says:

    I think Chelsea’s success before and after Abramovich might give lie to your suggestion that money hasn’t played a part.

  91. chas says:


    First Division/Premiership winners
    1954–55, 2004–05, 2005–06, 2009–10

    FA Cup
    1969–70, 1996–97, 1999–2000, 2006–07, 2008–09, 2009–10, 2011–12

    Spot any trend?

  92. chas says:

    With the light blue oilers prem win in 2011-12 it means that oil money has won the league 4 times in the last 9 seasons.
    I’d have to say that that was significant, wouldn’t you?

  93. sleepinggiant says:

    GIE I must answer your comments finally.

    Firstly, I hadn’t realised there was more in this series. But it would logical that, if we are going to compare managers, it would be these two. But again, sorry if I have missed the point.

    Secondly and this is a big point, I don’t fully understand what you mean when you say ‘its not all about winning for you’. Of course its not – but Its not ALL about winning to me or to any of us. I support Arsenal and will cheer the club on no matter who is the boss and who is playing. And I will support the club no matter what the result. But I think that we are deluding ourselves in an effort to belong to some cosy wider, policitally correct soulless family if we say that winninig doesn’t matter at all. Of course it does. Football is a sport. In sport there is winning and losing. It is inherrant in every single sport at every level. At the end of every game, every where, there is winning and losing(ok and draws but you will take my point I hope!). I guarantee there is not a single person on earth, who supports any sport at a professional level, who is not happier at the end of a scrappy 1-0 win than they are after throwing away a 4 goal lead in the last minute to draw 4 all. The ultimate excitement is surely the score at the final whistle. Anything else is surely to deny the essence of the entire experience of being involved in a sport rather than watching a movie or a WWF wrestling match.

    Now that is not to say that you are always delirious with a 1 nil win – of course we are not. But that’s the point – As I said, we are not sheep. We want to improve. And Equally, even if we lose, and even if it is because we have conceded a goal due to the lamentable Fabianski or Gus Caesar. Arsenal are still your club and my club. But that does not take away from the fundamental pivotal joy, which is surely of winning.

    But this is the real issue – why do you think my taking issue with the board, when I think it is destroying the club as surely as Ridsdale destroyed Leeds, in any way flies in the face of my support for the club? Surely it is the complete opposite. Surely if I can see this so clearly, I would actually be actively participating in the destruction of the club we both love if I didn’t raise my voice against these shysters.

    (By the way, before anyone kicks up, Im not saying they are bankrupting the club a la Ridsdale. But I recognise that there is more than one way to destroy a club, and you can harm a club in more ways than just iust its bank balance. It is my belief that they are systematically destroying the club by eroding the historical expectations of the club purely and simply because for them to acknowledge Arsenal’s true place in the game would necessitate them putting their hands into their own billion-dollar lined pockets. Instead of fleecing the fans instead. The history of Arsenal is one of major and vast success – its just a fact of footballing live. But these clowns would try and convice us that either this is not the case at allor, even if it was, its not really desireable now. Inb the ‘modern’ age. I’m sorry, but it is the heritage of my club they are screwing with. If they want to own a faceless middle of the road mid table yo-yo club, they should own Charlton or Chelsea and leave running Arsenal to someone who understands the clubs history and expectations. This maybe a topic for for another day)

    Anyhow, good night to all and sundry.

  94. sleepinggiant says:

    Chas – didn’t say oil money it played a part. But you talked about shifting paradogms which is hte one thing the oil clubs have patently FAILED to do. Once again, to prove this, I would simply trot out Man U’s LONGER list of success without oil money, just a bloody genius of a Scottish manager which proves conclusively that, while the oil money matters, a club and Scottish manager with big enough balls can put them in their place. Over and over again

    If Ferguson has done it, there’s no reason Graham wouldn’t. Not saying he’s as good as Ferguson, but he was pretty much the next best thing. Youre buying into the modern rhetoric too much – peiple in the modern world always thinks its teams are best, or its stadia are nicest or its problems are biggest and most insurmountable. A simple look at history gives TRUE lie to that theory and exposes it for what is. Exaggerated soundbites and frankly total bollocks. Proof no. 1 is that, as I sai dMan Us success eclipses Chelseas’s without oil money. So no oil money inspired paradigm shift yet. Proof No. 2? Why dont you do yourself an wee list of Liverpools trophies in the 70’s and 80’s , the same way you have done for Chelsea, and then have a good luck at how that was abrubtly put to the sword. This will simply prove that George Graham doesnt really need to prove he can dethrone the oil teams, when the oil teams are currently only pretenders to Man U’s throne anyway. More importantly it will be a stark pointer to you that Graham ALREADY derailed a far more powerful juggernaunt that Chelsea, for all their money, have ever come close to being. Why should you be worried about whether George could eclipse the oil teams when he already eclipsed a far stronger force? Or does George need to change the paradigm twice to get in your good books?

  95. chas says:

    I thought the red mancs were the wealthiest club in the country for the last 20 years?

  96. chas says:

    Who won the league in 1990 and……….
    If it was George who deposed Liverpool, why did we do feck all after 1991?

  97. sleepinggiant says:

    Ok now you’re the one shifting paradigms!! You asked me whether I thought GG could take out the oilers. I think Ihave shown that history suggests that he could as he kicked bigger asses in his time.

    So now now you’re just shifting to beating Man U. Is this because I have demonstrated that the Mancs have already given lie to your proposition that the oil clubs have shifted the paradigm.

    All Iwill say to that is that Man U have been the wealthiest club in the country for a lot more than 20 years. They were the wealthiest club during liverpools dominance and couldn’t topple them. Graham did that for them. And they were the wealthiest club when Graham took charge of Arsenal. So whatever success Graham achieved was also achieved when Man U were the wealthiest club in the country. But surely you know this. There is nothing in any of this which suggests that Graham couldn’t topple the top boys today as he faced down tougher challenges already in his career.

    Anhyhow, I am off for the night. If you wish, I will admit right now that no, Geroge Graham’s Arsenal probably couldn’t beat Brazil 1970, or Barcelonas great recent team or the Harlem Globetrotters or Ricky Pointings Australians, but, just like MAn U, they have nothing to do with the oil money paradigm shift you proposed in all your posts up to this one!

    Have a good one!

  98. chas says:

    The point was that instead of us just competing with Man U as we were between 1998 and 2004, we suddenly had to compete with Chelsea’s money too. Surely you can see that?

  99. chas says:

    Also you haven’t answered why our league challenge faltered after 1991 with Graham still at the helm.

  100. sleepinggiant says:

    Feck all after 1991?

    First team in history to win cup double in 1992-93
    Second and last European trophy 1994.
    Graham leaves Feb 1995

    I have realised by now that you are just taking the Mick -Now my maths aren’t the best but it seems to me that in the 3/1/2 years after his second league title, graham won three trophies. Hell what a dreadful record. Your right, that is feck all! Saying we won feck all in that period is the equivalent of saying that Messi hardly scored any goals this past year. Or it is like saying Alex Ferguson won Feck all in his entire career at Man U!!! It is quite simply the opposite of the truth, so I get it, you are just being funny, right??!! If that is winning feck all, I really and truly hope with all of my heart that the current non-entities can up their game and start winning feck all for the next decade so that we can fill up the woefully empty trophy cabinet and finally end the embarrassment of not having any more emblems to paint around the stadiums. I’ve just realised that, if you take out AW’s first full season, then in GGS three years of ‘feck all’. he won two less trophies than AW has managed in the last 15 years!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! If GG won feck all, how do you describe the last 15 WEnger years??

    You know its been interesting talking to you for a number of reasons. And I actually did think you were being serious up to a point. In any case I hadn’t though of GG much recently and I came into this thinking that he and AW were pretty much equal as managers. Funnily you have made me think about it and, I have to say it is pretty clear that, on record alone, GG is clearly miles the better man. I know record isn’t everything but it cant be ignored. As I say, interesting stuff! Bye.

  101. RockyLives says:

    There has been no mention of the stadium move (unless I missed it) in all your diatribes against Arsene, Stan Kroenke etc.

    Most clubs to build new stadiums have gone on to get relegated.

    Arsenal built a new stadium in the worst financial crash for 80 years and at a time when oil money teams were transforming the nature of the Premiership.

    During that period the fact that AW kept us in the top four while spending less than nothing was an astonishing achievement. I can’t think of any other manager past or present, Arsenal or non-Arsenal who could have done that.

    So to talk of a trophy drought while ignoring that context smacks of a preconceived agenda.

    You talk of people being brainwashed by the club into accepting mediocrity.

    There has been a lot of brainwashing – but you’ve got the source wrong. The brainwashing is from people who grew accustomed to trophies in the early AW years and then threw their toys out of the pram when the period of Arsenal Austerity came in (accompanied by the Oilers).

    The brainwashing takes the form of believing that Arsenal and Arsene are happy with fourth place finishes; that there is no desire to do better; that Stan Kroenke is some kind of evil dictator with a secret agenda to destroy the club. None of these charges stands up to any kind of serious scrutiny. The club has repeatedly said that 4th place is not enough – but the critics of the way things are run always stick their fingers in their ears when those statements are made.

    As for Kroenke – I’m sorry SG, you haven’t the faintest, foggiest idea of what he wants or what his agenda is. He’s just a convenient target for the pot-hungry, immature fans who can’t understand the context of the last 7 years.

    All i do know about Kroenke is that he is a very successful businessman and he knows that the best way to increase the value of his Arsenal investment is for the club to return to winning the big prizes. The fact that he has been involved in creating a stable and sustainable base from which to mount a trophy challenge seems to infuriate the Fantasy Football Fans who just think he should go and by whichever $100m player is flavour of the month among the ill-informed denizens of the Arsenal blog world.

    You have made some good arguments for your case that GG could be considered a better manager for Arsenal than AW, but – to me at least – you have weakened those arguments by trotting out some of the childish mantras of the Wenger Out brigade.

  102. Gooner In Exile says:

    I don’t know why Chas or I bothered when Rocky comes up and delivers an end all argument comment of the decade 🙂

    SG it simply isn’t all about winning for me, winning trophies and games are the cherry on top of the icing that sits on the cake that is Arsenal. The icing is the banter, mates, pre match drinks, post match burger and fried onions, singing your heart out win lose or draw, all the other things that make football what it is. My point about unity is that the disharmony between elements of fans is making the icing less tasty and also in my opinion is one of the elements removing the possibility of the cherry.

    As you said about Seaman and the like would probably have departed if Dein hadn’t persuaded the board to spend, I think a bit more harmony on the terraces and a bit more passion and appreciation of the players (ie not leaving with 15 minutes to go) could have persuaded some of the recently departed to stay…..even on less money.

  103. njstone9 says:

    One point no one seems to have raised yet is that Wenger used his French connections to buy unknown players like Vieira, Petit and Henry – players integral to the immediate syccess he had.

    Graham couldn’t have bought these types of players, I would argue.

    Wenger also revolutionised health and fitness in UK football, prolonging the careers of the legendary back 5 (6?).

    With Graham in charge I doubt Dixon and Winterburn would have played till 38 etc.

    I’m not saying that Wenger is superior to Graham, I’m saying that Graham’s era was over and it was the right time for him to go.

    To make any kind of comparative judgement on the two you’d have to take into account what constituted success given the competition and the resources they had access to.

    Graham certainly got the best out of good, if not world class players. Wenger gets credit for turning players into stars – Arsenal have had many, many world class players playing for him during his era.

    Maybe Wenger should therefore have won more trophies. We’ve been close with the league once or twice in the last few years, we were also in the crappy cup final a couple of times if I remember, and so close to the CL.

    The problem Wenger has had that Graham didn’t was a massive tax to pay each season in the form of stadium repayments. What is it? £19 million? Didn’t Swiss Ramble calculate that we need to sell players each year to break even?

    If instead we had been able to add quality to the tune of £19 million a year then I think we’d have won more and been closer to the top than we have been.

    Which is why most Arsenal fans are so excited about this summer because it seems to be the first summer for ages that we’ll be able to properly add some quality to the squad.

    So next season and maybe the few after woo be the ones where we can truly see if Wenger, shorn of handicaps, has still got it or not.

    It’s hard to judge Wenger fairly when his reign hasn’t ended yet.

  104. chas says:

    I’ve just seen your last comment of the night.

    I didn’t say we won feck all after 1991.
    I was, of course, talking about our league performance after 1991 which you’ve chosen to ignore along with other points raised about Chelsea before and after Abramovich, oily clubs winning 4 titles out of the last 9 and anything else which doesn’t suit your agenda.

    I wasn’t for one second taking the mick.
    I’ve got used to the style of debating you choose to employ. Twist comments and reduce the argument to the absurd.

    ‘Alex Ferguson has won feck all’…….
    Why would anybody think that was a sensible line to throw into a comment?
    The answer is that you attempt to belittle an opposing viewpoint by making up something preposterous and then trying to falsely attribute it to the person you are debating with. I’ve seen it done so often, it’s laughable.

  105. chas says:

    * then try

  106. chas says:

    For those wondering about last weekend’s camping trip, here’s a video of the photos I put together.
    The tent at that start ended up in the skip when a pole snapped. The footy match was Lads versus Dads.
    We were watching the Champy League final in the clubhouse.
    The Chinese lanterns all left the campsite safely.

    I realise it’s a bit long, so don’t watch if you get bored easily.

  107. Big Raddy says:

    Morning All,

    Fine evening discussion. SG made good points but I don’t agree with some of his conclusions – as others have said they are taken in isolation of the restraints AW has worked under.

    Nonetheless, his input was thought-provoking.

  108. Big Raddy says:

    Lovely chas.

    Nothing beats good friends, nothing.

  109. evonne says:

    Looks like you had whale of a time Chas! For some reason I thought the lads would be teenagers 14-18 and pitted you 🙂 Little lads are much nicer

  110. Red Arse says:

    Morning Guys, 🙂

    I read with interest the discourse between (mainly) Chas and Sleeping Giant.

    Different views are what makes blogs, but what causes discord is when arguments are based on shifting positions, or worse when a word or phrase is constantly used by one party who does not understand what it means.

    If the term ‘paradigm shift’ was used once by SG it was used a dozen times (or seemed like) and its use did not help at all.

    The simplest definition of ‘paradigm shift’ is “a radical change in underlying beliefs or theory”, but in truth it is an amazingly complex theory.

    Kuhn is normally attributed with being the originator of the phrase, (he wasn’t) but he would have used it in the context of examining a number of competing and incommensurable solutions to a problem in the hope of understanding them.

    I am sure that SG bore this in mind while using it. 🙂

    From what I read of the comments, the term used in the manner it was, is akin to describing something or someone as ‘unique’ and then immediately describing someone or something else as unique — totally illogical. 🙂

    Oh dear, there I go, again! 😀

  111. chas says:

    It was me that used it first, RA. 🙂
    Obviously without knowing what it meant by the looks of it.
    (By the way, I still don’t 🙂 )

  112. chas says:

    The lads ranged from 3 to 14 years old, Evonne.
    The three year old featured highly because it was his first trip.
    I agree that usually the lads become harder work as they get into their teens, but I can honestly say that they’re all really great kids.

  113. evonne says:

    yes Chas, and when they get to their 30s they are plainly impossible, beyond repair

    BTW, did you do any grooming? How many more Gunners came back from the hols?

  114. Rasp says:

    Morning all, fantastic pics of your camping trip chas – I got tipsy just viewing the first couple of minutes.

    Today is voting poll day for the greatest manager, so we’ll find out who the consensus favours

    …….. New post ………

  115. C A says:

    Chelsea/City didn’t “raise the bar” lol..

    if they did, then:

    – how come we wimped out in 2008 after Eduardo broke his leg? how was that Abramovich’s fault?

    – How come we wimped out again in 2010 and 2011?

    – How come we wimped out in the 2011 League Cup Final?

    I contend that since 2005, we should have won at least 2 more trophies, of which City/Chelsea couldn’t have “prevented” us from winning.

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  117. wjc says:

    The win at Liverpool in 1989 will always stand out , but Wenger has to be the top man not only for what he has won but also for the position he has put this club in that it can now go forward unlike a few who have big sugar daddies or massive debt and have no safety net should things go wrong , I am certain we will win again soon as the team is hungary and has a strong will to win , its a more solid team these days

  118. dave says:

    Lets not forget without Grahams consistency the first half of Wenger’s reign would have been much like the last 9 years full of inconsistency.

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