Should Arsenal Take Football More Seriously

We’ve all seen the pictures from the Far East of our players radiant with smiles and patently enjoying every moment of their tour. We know Szczesny, The Ox and Podolski are the jokers in the pack and delight in ribbing some of the more serious.

The tour has been a great success and can only be good for bonding the players – winning by 6 or 7 goals can’t be bad for the confidence either. But should footballers take their craft more seriously, after all, it’s a job like any other and driven by results?

I’ve always liked players who play the game with a smile on their face. TH14 was just such a player and only became more dour in the last season or two when it was apparent he wanted to move on. Fabregas was the same, his last 2 seasons were spent staring at the ground when play broke down instead of communicating with his team mates.

There are those players who just have a serious nature. Denis Bergkamp wasn’t noted for his radiant smile and rakish humour. In fact on the one occasion I met him and asked for an autograph he was far from charming.

So it all comes down to the individual, but when those of a happy fun nature begin to lose that joy in playing, then their game suffers and the feeling of unhappiness can pervade the squad.

So I say, great, the Far East tour is just what our players need. It has gelled them as a squad, given them a welcome break from media speculation at home and hopefully will set them up for a successful campaign in the coming season.

I want to see our players with smiles on their faces and a spring in their step. Whatever the make up of the first team in August, a happy squad is a winning squad.

Written hastily to fill a gap by Rasp

76 Responses to Should Arsenal Take Football More Seriously

  1. chas says:

    Excellent, Rasp.
    The squad does seem more united in its sense of fun.
    Perhaps the divisive cliques are gone and that unity will bear fruit on the pitch.

  2. Rasp says:

    Morning chas, I agree the divisive cliques and the presence of players who are looking to move on for big bucks will have a negative effect on the other players. The mass signing of the British young players last year was an indication of the unity within the squad now.

  3. evonne says:

    Well done Rasp, nice little piece.

    There is little to disagree about – the bonding is good for the team, a break from media speculations can’t be bad, confidence boosting results and fans that clearly adore the lads. I am sure we will all reap the benefits of the tour

    Where is Santi? He has the biggest smile of the lot

  4. Morning all, good to see the Rasper rasp into action πŸ™‚

    Eva-va-vonne, Santi got extra time off, and therefore wasn’t expected to go on the tour.

    In keeping with the jollity of the blog, the Spuds best defender, the AVB lookalike Vertonghen, is ruled out for up to 3 weeks so may be short for the start of the season. Hahahahaha. πŸ™‚

  5. GunnerN5 says:


    In order to keep a balance dissenters are a necessary part of the mix in any dialogue. This is particularly true when a dialogue descends into out and out debate with people looking to be the “winner” – that is when a dissenter is needed to keep the dialogue open.

    From time to time we all become dissenter’s when a subject is not to our liking, however when we become dissenting “debaters” we are out of line.

    You like, many of us here on AA, have very strong views and it’s your view of how bloggers on AA behave that is the most important -and given time, we all understand and agree with views.

    However your views on the site conduct and your personal “takes” on open subjects are a different kettle of fish, and others have the right to disagree with your “takes”

    All of this is meant to say that you are doing a fantastic job here on AA and you should not allow a few of us who disagree with your “takes” upset you………get my drift…..

  6. Goner jake says:

    Very interesting for a hastily written piece πŸ™‚ I agree the squad seems to be bonding with no cliques. What le boss needs to be careful of is that no new signing, no mater how good comes in to disturb the balance. Here’s hoping.

  7. So will ManUre and Gollum Moyes just pi** off about Cesc now after Barca’s Vice Pres. just said this on Cesc Fabregas’ future ? “It doesn’t matter what any offer from Manchester United is – we’re not selling him. We’re counting on him. He’s not for sale.

    “If there was higher offer would we accept it? No. He’s a great player. It doesn’t bother us that Manchester United want him. We’re proud that a club like them want one of our players.”

    Gollum – shut it !

  8. Afternoon all, nice piece Rasp, I agree that the mood in the camp seems to be better, relaxed players lile BFG and Pod who seem to understand they are in a privileged position, they join in when asked to look silly or have a laugh about themselves, thats all good when it comes to humility on the pitch, i think TR7 has a fair bit of that about him too.

    Its got to be good to have these kind of characters around the club, Ox and Jenkinson seem to have a good friendship and their experience in other British dressing rooms probably influences their behaviour.

    I always remmeber an interview with Cesc and Theo on Football Focus and they were asked who was the man to get them fired up before they went on the pitch shouting and cajoling, they looked at each other smiled and said it wasn’t the way we did things.

    I reckon that changing room has a lot more characters who are willing to shout and cajole now, and that that will have a positive effect on those around them.

  9. Just flitting about on and saw this from Akpom:

    “We all mix as a squad. Everyone is really nice to us younger players. They are really funny actually, especially Lukas [Podolski], he likes to bring everyone together and there is a lot of banter.

    Everyone mixes together, and the first-team players and youth players are all mixed at the signing sessions and other events anyway. That makes the football easier because you are already familiar with the first-team players when you go into the games, so there are no nerves.”

  10. GoonerB says:

    Great gap filling Rasp. I always knew there was an expert gap filler in there somewhere.

    I like a player who seems to be enjoying their football as long as it doesn’t drift over into complacancy. I have liked the seeming camaraderie that appears to exist in our squad currently and feel this will give us an extra edge next season.

  11. Now the new Argie Barca manager has now said about Cesc: “but considering the club has already rejected two offers, I would guess it will reject a third. In other words, Fabregas will remain here.”

    Nobody wants to play for Moyes.

  12. MickyDidIt89 says:

    I want to join in, but a really nasty work deadline today!
    Back on later.

  13. jnyc says:

    Actually a subject i have thought about. We have a pretty great group of guys in our squad as i can see it. Also a good nucleus of talent.
    —- now its time to add a couple great players, i mean world class. We are showing now that we can afford it. Even if we get only one great one this window, there is always the possibility of getting another one next time. — or maybe the difference will come from one of our young talents making the jump to greatness.
    — either way, could be exciting times ahead.

  14. Jamie says:

    Goonerjake @ 12:00
    That is my main concern about signing Suarez. The presence of a well known troublemaker could disrupt the balance. WΓ©nger needs to decide if Suarez is worth that risk before we spend 40 odd million on a player who could cause more harm than good.

  15. A nice little piece to get us all musing over, Rasp.
    Maybe Arsenal should take the pursuit of silver-ware more seriously.
    Ivan Gazidis recently compared Arsenal with Bayern Munich in terms of finances, but from a football perspective we’re on different planets. They have World and European Cup winners running their club, which has instilled their winning mentality.
    I think we’d see a different attitude at Arsenal if the 4th place CL qualification was taken away.

  16. RockyLives says:

    Well done Rasp
    It’s hard to argue with what you say – a happy squad is a better squad in my book.

    One question about your less-than-charming encounter with the Good Lord Dennis. Did you get the autograph?

  17. Ah Fishy, you just said the same thing “elsehwhere” as DS.


  18. goonerjake says:

    Jamie, glad someone agrees. Seems like we have a good squad now, who ever comes in needs to be a part of the team and squad and while being a top ‘star’ player needs to realise the best players at arsenal have normally been popular within the club.

  19. evonne says:

    No Rocky, he didn’t.
    God has more important things to deal with than signing scraps of paper. Obviously.
    Dame Judy Dench is a miserable cow. I asked her for an autograph once and she was very unpleasant.


    Nice one Rasp.

    it seems to have been a good excercise in team bonding so ime all for it. The important thing of course is that there is no interference in terms of fitness preparation.

    This is a big season for us. if we sign some players then great, but even if we dont i can still see us winning it this year.

  21. Hi all

    A big thank you to Rasp for coming up with a post today. We do need posts to see us through the next few days so if anyone can come up with something to start the days chat off that would be great.

    We do need the blog to not be afraid of being controversial, it doesn’t mean that we are a feisty bunch, it just allows debate. If we’re all chewing over the same fat it gets mighty boring whereas a bit of spice will bring new bloggers to the site.

    Sadly, during the summer months, we do lose many of our regular contributors but we’re counting the days now …….17th August at home to Villa …………. 21 days to go πŸ˜‰

  22. Red Arse says:

    Interesting piece, Rasper.

    I am not sure that a pleasant or humorous mien is necessarily a provable plus for any sportsman.

    There are many examples of apparently dour, miserable and wildly successful sportsmen, such as Dennis God, whom you have mentioned, as well as Tiger Woods, Mike Tyson and Carl Lewis.

    It is a romantic notion to imagine that playing with a smile endows a sportsman or woman with special powers, much tho’ I agree with you that it is good to see.

    I rather think that as with all disciplines, the very best and most successful sporting personalities are encapsulated in the phrase used by Gary Player when he said ‘the more I practise the luckier I get’, which really means the more hard work that is put in perfecting technique over weeks, months and years, produces the cream of the crop, when accompanied by natural talent.

    Your theory is very appealing, and working with people who make you smile is a big plus factor in any working relationship, but if Gary player is right, and I think he is, there is not much room for smiles and humor in striving for the very top, methinks. πŸ™‚

  23. Rasp says:

    Hi Rocky, yes I did get the autograph (for my daughter you understand πŸ˜• ) but it was rather begrudging and not accompanied by a smile or kind word 😦

  24. Rasp says:

    Hi Redders, as with most last minute posts it was more to stimulate a debate. If the player who is all smiles is outrageously gifted and has just nutmegged 3 defenders and chipped the keeper I’m very happy, but when it was Adebarndoor and he’d just shinned the ball and missed a sitter I was not quite so ecstatic – so I see what you mean.

    I did say it comes down to individual personality and if any player is unhappy, they’re not going to play to full potential.

  25. Rasp says:

    GN5, thanks for your comment @ 11:48. I do have a problem when people/organisations insult my intelligence. It’s not that I’m Einstein, simply that when something is so obviously a falsehood, I can’t take it or the person delivering it seriously.


    Rasp, you can not seriously believe that our manager and Board are on some smoke and mirrors con trick?

    This for me is cynasism bordering on paranoia.

    We are trying to buy players and by all acounts have made some very large bids. What we wont dont is be bullied or pay over the odds. The manager and Board are no mugs, neither are they con artists

    Sorry to bang on Rasp, i give you credit for expressing a view that you know will be met with adverse reaction, but in this case you are completely wrong.


    Prove it.

    Meet up with me and we can have it out. Ime sure it can be arranged somehow.

    If not, i will employ my own I.T. people to track you down

  28. Rasp says:

    Hi TMHT, thanks for your thoughts.

    I don’t expect to be agreed with, but on the other hand, if asked, I will reply truthfully.

    I believe (this is an opinion not a fact) that we really wanted to buy Higuain but his price escalated beyond what we were prepared to pay.

    I don’t for one minute think we were ever going to buy Rooney or meet his wage demands, and I am absolutely of the opinion that although we’ve made an offer, we would never pay over Β£40m for Suarez for a number of reasons.

    You can decide for yourself what may be the motivation of the club in making the offer, I have my own theory.


    Thanks Rasp, will be interested to hear it next time we have a beer

    Is there any thing we can do about this geezer who keeps posting crap. I am seriously close to hiring some experts to track this fucker down for me.

  30. Red Arse says:


    It was in that spirit that I put my point of view forward …….. as always. πŸ™‚

    I appreciate this is a footie blog, of course, and not everyone could give a monkey’s about the analytical dissemination of certain aspects of the definition of the terms used.

    It is all above my head — as Rocky would tell you! πŸ™‚ But you will understand that there is a difference between ‘happiness’ the state of well being, probably through a pleasurable experience, whereas ‘joy’ can be defined as being very glad about something.

    That could be expressed as a fan experiencing happiness from the pleasurable experience of watching his team, or the caring behaviour of a player towards him, whereas a player could be said to experience joy as a result of being very glad the fan has enjoyed either his performance on the pitch or his behaviour off it.
    They are not mutually exclusive as you found with Dennis Bergkamp.

    But we won’t talk about bollix such as that, and I will sod off!! πŸ˜€

  31. Rasp says:

    TMHT, the troll is obvious whichever name he hides behind and he fails in his mission to upset us. I should just view him as you would a verruca – or maybe haemorrhoid πŸ˜•

  32. MickyDidIt89 says:

    You mean zap Sniffer with lazer surgery? I think you do.

  33. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Week over, so where are we.
    Right, smiley players.

    Rasp, thanks for the post, and I think you are dead right. A happy camp means an awful lot. I really believe the last seasons’ of Henry and Cesc were terrible in part because of the squads knowledge of their want-awayness.

    No such Moles appear to be in the camp now.

  34. Rasp says:

    I agree Micky, I think the idea of building a team around one player is flawed ( I’m not suggesting we’ve done that but some do) because if that player leaves then you’re in trouble. I don’t see any prima donnas in our current squad thank goodness

  35. Ian Ure Face says:

    Find his address and we`ll pay him a visit in the Cortina !. hahaha

  36. dandan says:

    HO HO Ken Bates has left the club and with immediate effect ceased to have anything to do with Leeds Utd, couldn’t happen to a nicer fellow πŸ™‚

  37. chas says:

  38. chas says:

  39. Ian Ure Face says:

    How am I not surprised you`re into the tea-bagging scene !. hahaha

  40. Gooner In Exile says:

    Redders whilst someone like Gary Player is correct in practise makes perfect, he is in an individual sport. I bet he also enjoyed the company of his coach otherwise he would not want to spend do long practising.

    Take this into the football environment and I think it’s even more important.

    Having played in some teams with less than perfect relationships training numbers would drop week on week.

    A happy camp will be a well trained camp πŸ™‚

  41. Hi Gooner In Exile, I put forward the example of the much despised Teddy Sheringham and Andrew Cole.

  42. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Ahoy Chas,

    Kettle on, back for a viewing although that’s 15 mins of telly there, something of a conversation killer, and my time is precious!

  43. chas says:

    It might not even be worth watching, Micky.
    The shots of the stadium and matchdays drew my attention. That was all.

  44. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Here’s the plan, I’ll watch vids when I get to A&E in 40 mins!

    When I said at 1:56 had work deadline, what I meant was my planned work finish time was 2:00 and I was behind. Finished at 4’ish, went surfing, and broke more bones in my foot. Toe broken 10 days ago, now looks like one or more of those skinny bones in my foot.

    My Wife says go to hospital early morning, as fri nights tend to be full of drunks who lost their fights!

    They’d better not think about plaster as the waves are superb and I’m going back to the beach later! Strong pills are my favoured option.

    Taking laptop, as work and blogging to do πŸ™‚

  45. MickyDidIt89 says:

    I have pic of east stand on my telephone. Most magnificent building in London. There’s a rutting deer outside. What a racket!
    Right, join you all from the waiting room.

  46. chas says:

    You’re hardcore, Micky.
    Only the rich and famous break metatarsals.
    Good luck at A&E.

  47. chas says:

    Isn’t the deer rut usually in autumn?

  48. chas says:

    Lads and Dads camping this weekend, so won’t be about for a few days.
    Pick up at 9am if meat order from butchers goes smoothly. (Not that it ever does)

  49. evonne says:

    good luck DidIt!! Nobody can say you didn’t live your life to thefull!!!

    BTW I don’t think they plaster feet anymore, just bandage

  50. mickydidit89 says:

    Ypure right. No plaster. Home breakfast beach. Happy days.

  51. evonne says:

    I am always right Micky πŸ™‚

    Monster – you must have had a right larf on me!!! See, back to you darling πŸ™‚

  52. kelsey says:

    Good Morning everyone and firstly I would especially like to thank Micky,dandan,GunnerN5 and peaches for their concern over major health and anxiety issues affecting my daughter and myself,at this moment of time.

    As to the transfer gossip if someone had told me at the end of last season that we would be linked with Rooney or Suarez quite frankly I wouldn’t have believed it.
    Our PR department is becoming a joke,moreso than in any previous year since we last won a trophy and had a squad that was at times second to none.
    Wenger should be dedicating his entire time to matters on the pitch and none of the new crew are a patch on Dein, who we all remember brought the unknown Wenger to the club, but my main concern is kroenke who again IMO has appointed the wrong people,has no real interest in the club apart to make it more profitable by various means but not where it matters that is by making sure that we can get back amongst the elite once again.
    It is now a top three and we have moved down to the second tier with a few other clubs and now is the time to strengthen and not to be so public with how much we have to spend but to do things in the old Arsenal traditin with tact and diplomacy.

    We appear to now have a fairly settled squad and have either sold or released more players than I can ever remember in the Wenger years. It appears Wenger made a quick decision regarding Santos and I expect Gervinho to leave within the next week.
    Park what a dreadful buy. bendtner will be hard to shift as his ego is far bigger than his football brain and that leaves the hapless Chamakh.
    Too an extent though I accept that all clubs have duff buys Wenger so often has his scouts watch a player than we buy him and Wenger then decides to play him out of position.

    I lok at the current squad and major doubts remain about Diaby if he really can make a comeback or is his career basically finished due to endless injuries. Then Rosicky, a great favorite but again how many games out of a possible 50+ will he play. Gibbs is another one. An admirable LB but again injury prone and then the big question is the fitness of Wiltshere. At 100% he will add a huge dimension to our play but my gut feeling is that he will be treated very carefully and will take time to make a full recovery and more importantly an impact.Podolski is not a 90 minute player as seen on many occasions,so it would be nice to see three quality additions to the squad to cover the points I have raised.
    Fabianski is in his last year and quite frankly isn’t good enough as number 1 or 2 and IMO a mentor for Szsney should have been bought two years ago but again I wouldn’t be surprised if we don’t buy a keeper.
    I firmly believe that it is not the club but the agents who screw up a lot of our deals as they often represent gifted footballers but who aren’t too bright and can be manipulated by their agents purely for the agents benefit..
    Last word on Suarez. great player but with a long history that is not pleasing to most. Does Wenger really want that sort of character who if we bought him and we won nothing next season would again have a clause so that he could leave.


  53. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Hi Kelsey,

    Please, please don’t air your personal grievances, as it doesn’t half leave people like me feeling awkward.

    You call Rasp a pessimist, but your outlook on things Arsenal is hardly a barrel of laughs. Having said that, I like a doomer as it adds spice, balance and perspective, so I hope you both keep it up πŸ™‚

  54. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Anyway, back from A&E, with as clean a bill of health as I’m ever likely to get πŸ™‚

    Bloody hell, the Didit household. I get back to find my wife was up being violently sick all night while I slept like a log. She automatically assumes I poisoned her on the back of mushroomgate about a year ago, which again saw me sleeping like a log while she had to go to the surgery. Apparently, given the strong dosage I had administered, she was lucky to be alive.

    Never just rains here.

    Who do the bookies have as our most likely signing these days? I’ll look it up.

  55. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Suarez evens to join.
    No longer favourites for Fellaini. Now behind Utd, although he’s favourite to stay at Everton.
    Amazing how bookies get things wrong. We were clear odds on for both Hig and Fellaini two weeks ago.

  56. kelsey says:

    Realist Mickey and never a doomer.Anyway it’s all about opinions. previous post ammended πŸ™‚

  57. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Good man Kelsey πŸ™‚

    I swing both ways, in the best possible way, and although for a while I’ve felt we’re two top signings away, I do look at the teams around us and think there may be a real opportunity this season.

    Moyes? Mmm. City? Who knows, although I’m not convinced by their signings. Chavs under Maureen. Not sure he’s spent anything like enough…for Him! Spuds, ROLF, at least I hope so 😦

  58. Rasp says:

    Morning all and welcome back kelsey, I know you’re having a very difficult time at the moment, its good to hear your views once again.

    Micky – wow, am I considered a doomer?

    I really do not see it that way at all. In my mind I have just worked out the cryptic clues and solved the puzzle of where we are coming from this transfer window.

    I expect a defensive signing n the shape of Ashley Williams or that french bloke we’ve been linked to. If Gervinho goes, we’ll probably sign another front 3 type player. We may be bold and spend Β£20+m on Bernard and he will be hailed as our biggest ever signing. To me that is not being a doomer, just accepting things the way they are and in so doing avoiding the disappointment of unrealistic expectation.

  59. Rasp says:

    This from Arsene Wenger …….

    …..” β€œWe are not close to signing Suarez or anybody else so there’s no reason why I should talk about it.”

    Speaking about signings in general, the veteran manager went on to add, β€œWe are prepared to wait. It looks unlikely before the Emirates Cup (next weekend), but we still have a strong squad.”

  60. evonne says:

    yep, a pessimist never gets disappointed πŸ™‚

    I will be in tears if either Rooney or Suarez, and preferably both don’t join the ranks. That doesn’t make me an optimist, just gullible

    Micky – not necessarily true about the bookies. 2 weeks ago we were favourites to sign Higuain and Fellaini, until other parties put the spanner in the works, shit happens.

  61. Rasp says:

    The relatively cheap and seemingly available signing that we could have made is Julio Cesar. He’s a top class keeper and would have relegated Sz to No.2 – but at his age, that would be normal. The fact that Fabianski hasn’t moved on may have something to do with the decision.

  62. Morning all

    Lovely to hear from you kelsey, hope you manage to pop on for a while and wish your household well.

    Micky – wishing your toes and wife well too.

    I’m in the swinging both ways camp, I’m happy to think that we might sign someone but also I know that it might just be a whole load of tripe. Agree with kelsey that a goalkeeping mentor should have been in place a couple of years ago and we need a strong back-up for Gibbs.

  63. Have we got a post Rasp?

  64. Rasp says:

    Apparently not peaches, we don’t want another one from me if nothing turns up because I have my realist hat on again and feathers would be ruffled 😦

  65. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Oh Rasp

    I went on to say how much I like a Doomer πŸ™‚

    Oh god, do you want me to pen a line or two?

  66. MickyDidIt89 says:

    I wrote: “Amazing how bookies get things wrong. We were clear odds on for both Hig and Fellaini two weeks ago”
    Do concentrate Dear πŸ™‚

  67. Gooner in Exile says:

    Morning all, i’m working on a ticket price post to deal with my other bug bear (although this one aimed at junior tickets), but have a number of work assignments that are keeping me away, i did start penning one about squad numbers but you’ve all heard it before so repitiion is never healthy.

    Racking brain to come up with something…….

  68. MickyDidIt89 says:

    I’ll do a few lines before I go to the beach and break myself again.
    Give me 10 mins.

  69. Rasp says:

    Well done Micky, you’re my saviour πŸ˜‰ I was just about to write something guaranteed to get me pigeon holed

  70. kelsey says:

    Thanks Rasp and peaches.

    I have just caught up with the highlights of the pre season games and though many suggest it is purely to gain match fitness for the players,Walcott (despite his improved stats last season) is to me just a good player who has as many good games as bad. It is no secret that I don’t rate him highly,but to me he will never be a central striker. 8 years at the club and maybe he is just to nice a chap to really get stuck in.He is woeful in the tackle and though he maintains his speed his game still needs a lot of improvement and I am not sure we will see much more improvement in him, and he is reportedly our highest paid player.

  71. Gooner in Exile says:

    Rasp something in drafts for you.

  72. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Ah ha, Exile, nice work πŸ™‚
    I’ll send one for tomorrow.

  73. Rasp says:

    Brilliant GiE…. thanks

    ….. New post ……

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