Is the Arsenal Youth Academy value for money?

The other day Arnie put up a picture of an Arsenal Youth Cup squad and Exile listed their current whereabouts. Only three of the players shown are still at Arsenal, Wilshere, Gibbs and Coquelin.

This led me to ponder on the value of our Academy, I’ve been unable to find out just how much is spent annually on it but mention was made some weeks ago about a plan to upgrade the facilities at a cost of several million pounds. I understand that it is already reckoned to be among the best in the country

Despite the money spent and the best efforts of the coaching staff the output, as far as future first team players for Arsenal is concerned, is pretty minimal

Indeed we are continuing to hunt the globe for promising youngsters at other clubs academies. It looks likely that Wenger is planning to sign a young full-back from Ipswich Town, while during our recent defender crisis it was not considered feasible to play any of our home-grown talent either at centre-back or left-back.

You have only to look at some of the incoming youngsters to see what can be done at other academies, a certain Spanish mid-fielder, Walcott (a terrific player but injury prone), Oxlade-Chamberlain, and Chambers.

I know that it is the socially correct thing to give local youngsters the opportunity to make a career in football, but is hoovering up the young talent from around the globe the right thing to do. Particularly when so many are discarded after a year or two.

Is the Arsenal Youth Academy a worthwhile project, or should it be scrapped and the money saved put into the kitty to buy established players?

Written by Norfolk Gooner

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199 Responses to Is the Arsenal Youth Academy value for money?

  1. ‘morning all, before getting into today’s post I’d like to draw to the attention of all AAers a campaign to bring about reform at Fifa. It’s being led by an MP Damian Collins, and it’s aim is essentially to oust Sepp Blatter. There is an online petition at http://www.newfifanow.org

  2. Big Raddy says:

    NG. It just needs one player to come through to pay for the academy. To have 3 in the current squad is passable.

    One can look at S’ton but they are very much the exception. Just look at MU – biggest club in the PL (and 3rd in the world) – how many of their youth team players are in their first team? None.

    It is hard to develop local talent and we are one of the best.

    Should it be possible to import youth players from abroad? I am not sure.

  3. babakrdaemi says:

    I think the problem is the standard.

    Clubs or at least managers, can’t afford to bring on too many youngsters. Jose is a top tactical manager, however, he also buys the best players in each position, while in their prime. So to compete with that using academy players is impossible.

    As good as Southampton academy is, they are not trying to win the league. If Southampton were going for the title many of the players mentioned may have never been given the chance to prove themselves and thus wouldn’t have made it.

    If you take the three we have Ox, Theo and Chambers. Chavs, City etc simply wouldn’t carry them as the passengers they are. They are and have been. As good as they could be, Jose and the like would rather wait until they are 25 and buy them for 30m plus.

    The modern game is a huge contradiction. The media do nothing but moan about English talent not given a chance then lambaste Arsenal for a lack of ambition for not buying the best players in the world.

  4. Big Raddy says:

    babakrdaemi. Good comment especially your final para,

  5. RA, fair point about one good one paying for the rest. MU? Didn’t their academy produce Beckham, the Nevilles, Butt, Giggs, Scholes etc?

    I haven’t voted, I guess I’m leaning more to the third option but I’m willing to be convinced either way.

    Babak. Welcome to AA, it’s always nice to hear a fresh opinion.

    Clubs that can afford the best, buy the best, others have to find another way. Money talks, as always.

  6. Big Raddy says:

    Norfolk. I am talking about the current MU team.

    If we go back in to those days we can look at Adams, Parlour, O’Leary, Ashley C, Kevin Campbell etc

  7. So, BR, what you are saying is that since then the academy has run out of gas?

    Maybe the style of play adopted by Arsenal is not suited to the young talent that is being nurtured at present, or vice versa.

  8. RC78 says:

    To be honest – I am a bit disappointed with our youth academy…We are supposedly a squad that likes to develop young players into fine players that will join our A squad but the truth is that only Wilshere and Gibbs can break into our A squad and neither of them makes the cut in the EPL squad of the year…Biggest hope now are Zelalem and Akpom as I think that Bellerin will be another one of these players that will not play well for us…

    Also, recently, it seems that our youth scouting system has been off the radar a bit. We have not really acquired a young top top talent in ages…

    All and all, I feel that our youth squad is not great and and that our academy is not delivering enough first team players…so if it were up to me, I may just want our club to strike partnerships with clubs like:

    – Southampton in England;
    – Ajax, PSV or AZ Aikmaar in Holland;
    – Dortmund, Bayer and Schalke in Germany;
    – Lyon, Rennes, Lorient, Monaco in France;
    – Sevilla, Valencia, Bilbao in Spain;
    – Pescara, Fiorentina, Roma in Italy;
    – Braga in Portugal;
    ….

    to basically poach their top youth talent in exchange of players for these teams squad. For example:

    – We buy a young talent from PSV at a preferential price that we leave with them for 2 years and we also loan them a player for their first team. Fictional scenario: We could have bought Depay two years ago when he was just a young top talent, left him there to develop and also loan them Campbell in the meantime…Win-Win…
    Then after three years, Depay and Campbell come back to Arsenal and Depay could be loaned out to a team like Stoke or Hull or Swansea and hopefully, Campbell could be experienced enough to join our A-Squad…

  9. RC78 says:

    For English talent, just buy young players from Southamption, Aston Villa, West Ham and even Fulham now…At this stage, our squad is full of British talent and that is very positive indeed 🙂

    Jenkinson, Chambers, Gibbs, Wilshere, Ramsey, Ox, Walcott, Wellbeck, Akpom

  10. The Cockie Monster says:

    I`d say yes as it compliments our transfer dealing`s as good as any other top club !.
    Coquelin, Wilshere, Gibb`s, Szczesny and a few who imo could soon be challenging like Akpom, Zelalem, M Niles and future star…Crowley !…..not too bad !.
    Lets remember that Southampton, although they have a fine academy, were in a position of nearly going under and could not afford to buy expensive players, so had to play their academy players, had they been in a better financial position it`s quite possible a few of their youngsters may have not got a chance to play !. It sometimes benefits a club in such a position as having a decent academy means a few of these players were playing together from a young age and just transferred their familiarity of playing style up to another level .

    PS
    I think it`s possible than Manshafter had at least 5 young players from their set up playing in their last game !……..McNair, Blackett, Fletcher, Wilson and Evans !.

  11. RA says:

    Well done, Norfolk.

    It was Raddy who wrote the earlier comment you attributed to me, re one good un justifying the Academy costs, and he is correct.

    With Brady’s retirement, Arsene brought in a new brush to sweep clean. I understand that Franz the Catt was singularly unimpressed with either the running of the youth team, its recruitment drive or its output. So that answers the question of whether it is good enough as it is. But learning lessons bodes well for the future.

    Chelsea and City have a policy of buying the best youngster, usually from Europe, and one of them Courtois has certainly paid off for the Chavs.

    Ironically, between them they have some of the finest kids available, but most get sold on, which in turn at least pays for the original outlay on buying them, and also throws up the odd gem.

    We must try and emulate that.

    A side issue, which Exile has highlighted, is that all clubs have an implied duty to young players, and although our youngsters rarely make the grade to the Arsenal team, they often go on and have very good and respectable careers in other teams and leagues, and that is to be commended.

    To ask if the youth system should be shut down and any monies saved should be used to buy ‘ready made’ players, simply panders to the ‘I want it, and I want it now!’ brigade, and if all fans of all clubs took the same self-serving and short-sighted attitude there would never be any youngsters to make it to the top.

    Don’t forget, apart from Jack and Gibbs and Bellerin, we also had one of the best footballers ever in Cesc, although he has landed up playing brilliantly for the Chavs, and therefore financially that little group would easily have paid for the costs of the academy over the last 10 years.

    That in turn leads to the question, ‘what constitutes a home grown youth?’ as Gibbs came from Wimbledon originally and Bellerin and Cesc from Spanish clubs. For me the UEFA Home Grown Rules definition applies, and that makes them ‘our’ kids.

    Actually, Raddy, Evans is a home grown youth for Manure, and they have several others knocking on the door to their first team and in the past they had Beckham & Co, who saved them a fortune, and made them another fortune with the titles they won.

    Don’t write off the Arsenal kids too quickly. 🙂

  12. Rasp says:

    Welcome babakrdaemi, excellent comment.

    Thanks for the post NG. I added the ‘I don’t have sufficient information’ choice to the poll because it is the answer I would give.

    I think there is a an essential need for youth academies. They are part of the structure of the club and not only allow aspiring players an opportunity but also help new young coaching staff/physios/trainers to hone their skills.

    It’s not all about bringing through players for the first team, we also make money by selling players who do not make it to that level, but in the knowledge that we have given them a high profile opportunity to become a professional footballer.

  13. The Cockie Monster says:

    Irony !……. Szczesny`s ex-goalkeeping father……” leaps to his defence ! “

  14. Rasp says:

    None of this is good cockie. The last thing we want is a GK who has other things on his mind beyond being the best keeper he can be. Past experience has shown that AW does not like mavericks in the camp. This is all very bad timing. We need a unified squad more than anything at the moment.

  15. The Cockie Monster says:

    Also !….remember !……although Mansour City and Chavs are trying to tow the line as far as FFP is concerned, it is also one of their great loop holes that we cannot compete with…….they can spend ( and have the wealthy benefactors who can do it ) as much as they like on their academies !……only an owner as rich as theirs would be able to compete, alas, we have a major shareholder and not an owner, so will languish behind eventually in the academy department !.

  16. The Cockie Monster says:

    Thing is , Rasp !………goalkeepers are all big mouthed extrovert characters by nature and Szczesny having a father as one only leads to a BOGOF situation in gobbyness !. 😀

  17. GoonerB says:

    Excellent question Norfolk. I voted not enough info. I am all for the academy but have a gut feeling ours has been somewhat lacking for a bit. I can’t actually know this, which is why I voted don’t know but it is more based on observation.

    I am wondering if there is something lacking in our 9-15 year old youth development phases because we seem to be getting fewer coming through that are Arsenal trained from the word go. I can think of Ashley Cole and Jack Wilshere in the more modern era that were with us from a young age.

    Most of the others seem to have arrived between the ages of 14 and 17. Even at 14 a talented footballer will have most of the basic technical requirements in place if they are to make it. That means the majority of our best youth academy players are actually receiving their basic development elsewhere.

    That begs the question are we doing things wrong and other academies are doing them better? Is it on the other hand a pure numbers game and nature is more important than nurture so a star player is literally 90% born to be a star player and we can therefore never isolate where these players will pop up and so need to identify them in other academies?

    I believe it is important to identify future stars from other clubs academies and try to secure them and finish off their education but I would like to see some more of our pure home grown academy players making the grade.

    On that basis I desperately hope both Akpom and, perhaps more importantly, Afobe get their chance. Both are pure home grown academy players and I like the look of both of them. Both are 6′ strong and quick with good goal-scoring stats through the different ages.

    Akpom seems to be the more recognised potential future star and at 19 has time on his side. The reason I feel more acutely for Afobe is that he is 21 and has had some injury plagued and unsuccessful loan spells and at 21 he needs to be making his case for the first team in the next 1-2 seasons. I prefer the look of him to Sanogo for instance. He is quicker and a far better finisher with both feet.

    He is currently doing really well at MK Dons this season so I would let him finish this season there and hope he continues well and can come back to us next season full of confidence. Some may argue this is his level but I don’t think so if you look at his natural attributes which I feel are easily transferable to EPL and international level.

    I just hope he is not another pure academy English player that quietly slips out the back door without getting his chance. I will watch Afobe’s near future with interest and particularly, in comparison with Sanogo, I am keen to see whom Arsene is most inclined to give a chance to.

    Does anyone have any recent footage on Afobe with his goal-scoring exploits this season?

  18. GoonerB says:

    Another thing that someone pointed out to me is that when you look at Southampton geographically they are the only truly big club for quite some distance in any direction, especially since Portsmouth’s downfall. That potentially means they have their pick of all the promising youngsters in the vicinity without significant competition, where they can offer them high quality development without uprooting them from their schooling and family life. The competition in and around London is far greater.

  19. Hi all

    Thanks to everyone for the posts over the last few days we’re going to need one for tomorrow and Saturday.

  20. RC78 says:

    When is the last time we produced a player from our youth ranks and gave him a starting spot in our starting XI or sold him for millions?

    Besides Wilshere and Gibbs and only to a certain extent for Wilshere, I do not see anyone…The rest of our starting XI players were purchased (albeit young in some cases, esp PiG, Ox, Theo and Rambo) and the young players are often loaned out or not kept…

    So you have to say that our Academy is not really feeding our A Squad…

  21. TwentyTwelve says:

    Excellent topic, NG.

    Not sure if it is fair to include Courtois in the comparison. He came to Chelsea at 19, and was immediately loaned out for three seasons. Hardly a product of Chelsea academy, I feel.

    (Lukaku came to Chelsea at 18.)

  22. arnie says:

    Fantastic stuff, Norfolk. Thank you. 🙂

    Sorry, I am knot really ere, so will keep this brief. 🙂

    First, fantastic comments from everyone, and a double fantastic one from Redders. 🙂

    For me, it is not really about producing players for our club, it is also about producing a crop of players who will play everywhere else. And being bred within our system, will inculcate a culture of playing the game “our” way. Obviously the right way.

    Being a “big” club, we will always purchase most players from the market. However, even one player produced internally recovers the costs, as Raddy rightly said, and it is the right thing to do,

    Maybe, past few years have not been brilliant, but we have generally done relatively well. And we are trying to do better by getting Bonkers and co into the setup. All to fight for, I say.

    Finally, the process, let us not try to bend the rules and fall on our face. Like Barca have done. Rules are there for a purpose, and let us respect those. 🙂

  23. RA says:

    I did not say that Courtois was a Chelsea Academy player, 2012, if you are referring to me.

    What I did say, is that the Chavs and Citeh have a policy of trying to hoover up all the talented youngsters, like Courtois, and either selling them at a profit or introducing them to their first team squad.

    Mostly the former, obviously, because the other policy they both have is to buy in ready made, and therefore madly expensive players.

  24. RA says:

    RC78,

    The 15 year old Cesc who cost nothing, was pretty much shoe-horned into the first team when Vieira wanted/needed to move on, and then was sold eventually for £42m.

    There have been many others who were sold on for admittedly small sums, like Lansbury, J E Thomas, Cedric Evina etc, and again that money would have been recycled into the youth structure.

    Anyway, what are you suggesting? That we should not bother – that discovering the next Messi, Ronaldo or Hazard is just routine, and our coaching staff is to blame, so we should shut it down?

    Even players like Liam Brady took time in the youth and reserve teams teams before bursting on the scene, as did Tony Adams, Keown and all the others.

  25. RA says:

    Hi, Knot Ear, arnie,

    You are too kind. 🙂

    The youth system at the club has taken a knock, and perhaps rightly so, but Arsene has said more than once, that a quality player, such as Wilshere, comes along once in a generation for any club, but there is far more to such a system, not least the social fabric within the local community, than simply money grubbing. Yeuk!

    If we take things to extremes, we would end up like Barcelona’s famed Academy who have garnered hundreds of terribly young children mainly from Africa and South America, and then when they do not make it, simply dump them.

    That is disgusting, and they have rightly been penalised for doing so, and warned as to their future behaviour.

    I could never condone any club doing something so heartless, and if Arsenal did that I would very strongly object – and make my feelings known.

    Of course, such is human nature, if by finding a nugget among all the broken hearted youngsters who are chewed up and spat out, Barca are heralded as a club with a fantastic youth system.

    They can stick their system where the sun does not shine – these kids are human beings, and being taken from their countries and their families and abandoned in a foreign country is at the very least a breach of their human rights.

  26. Big Raddy says:

    It makes no sense to disband the youth team. As I said earlier, it pays for itself and every 4 or 5 years we produce a player of genuine quality – TPIG, Cesc, Wilshere and …..

    as Babak said “The modern game is a huge contradiction. The media do nothing but moan about English talent not given a chance then lambaste Arsenal for a lack of ambition for not buying the best players in the world.”

    The day we had those 5 UK players signing contract extensions was a proud moment for this Gooner. As is having 6 players in the England squad.

  27. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    Great stuff my Norfolkian immigrant friend.

    Its hard to be accepted when your an outsider aint it Norfolk? In my case pretending to accept tea as a loveable beverage, in yours, yelping with ecstasy as you experience the delights of a young heifers first squirt.

    i like to view football clubs youth policies as distinct arms that no longer bear much correlation with modern day success.

    Last year i watched Chelseas kids totally out class ours, but how many of them have broken into Chelseas first team?

    Cornwall makes excellent points about FFP. Chelsea and City are attempting to tackle the dilemma by eventually bringing through there young talent?

    I would wager that however good there kids are, if they play to many of them, then an Arsenal team packed with quality like Gervinio, Poldoski and Chamack would beat them

    Ok, ime pushing it with Chamack, the mans horribly shit.

    The key is to bring in one or two at a time and integrate them in.

    This is modern football as I see it.

  28. TwentyTwelve says:

    Right you are, Redder. It’s crazy that these clubs can afford to buy the top established players and the recognized young talents as well! It will be remarkable if/when Arsenal beat these odds

  29. chas says:

    Cheers, NG.
    I went for the not enough info option.

    Out of our current prospects perhaps Crowley, Zelalem and Chubby Akbomb seem most likely to play some first team footie. Chubby is born and bred Youth Academy, though the other two were brought in from other teams I believe.

  30. stevepalmer1 says:

    Evening all,
    I voted no, as i don’t think our academy has helped us much at all. Many are in favour of the academy, but i see 8 year old’s as a waste of time. I believe that picking players up from Grass roots football would be more beneficial, but honestly believe that young players who have been found by other clubs around the world is a far better way to buy.

    Players like Jenkinson and Sanogo were brought in at little expense, but both are playing to premiership quality. Maybe not top quality but able to fill a place,

    Taking gambles on children i am not a fan of and the amount that has come through over the years, makes me believe that what you see from kids of 8 years old does not make them superstars by training them, if it did our reserves would be playing in all positions.

    I don’t honestly believe that the people who are running the academy, can train players to premier level. If we want to win trophies i believe we have to buy talent when its needed.

    The academy i don’t believe pays for itself, used more for tax purposes than an aid for the club

  31. chas says:

  32. GoonerB says:

    Good evening Chas. have you got any recent footage of Afobe and his exploits at MK Dons this season? Just interested in what others think about him.

  33. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    chas, what about “get in” when some one scores against The Arsenal?

    Or the faint crisp rustling background noise of obvious masturbation when Chelsea dive for a penalty?

  34. GoonerB says:

    BTW, LOL with the Townsend Bingo Chas. I could actually hear his voice as I read it. Unfortunately I have just put my foot through my computer monitor in an unexplained fit of rage.

  35. GoonerB says:

    Evening Terry. How come your such an expert in what faint crisp rustling background noises constitute?

  36. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    Evening GB

    Townsend was a former student of mine. He became very profifcent in all stretching techniques including the use of pump action implements.

    Eventually he became to radical in his ideas wanting to exercise stretching on London Transport and insisting automatic stroking in the presence of women with large bosoms be made compulsory.

    I had no choice but to throw him out, so the poor bastard ended up in a dump like ITV

  37. chas says:

    Having had a quick look, this seems fairly good for rtecent Afobe (number 23), GoonerB.
    It’s got some other youth called Alli (number 14) on it as well. the non-Arse bit starts after 1 minute.

  38. chas says:

    Beware bad language……………..

  39. Occasional reader says:

    Hello all, commented on this wonderful site a few weeks ago just before the west ham match and I would like to weigh in with a few thoughts on this topic. I will admit my arguments for the academy are rather emotional, not on any cost-benefit analysis.

    Firstly, I value us having an academy filled with local and imported talent because for that one gem we find it will always be worth it. Secondly maintaining teams right down to the youngest age groups is important because it means Arsenal have a presence in the hearts and minds of young players and parents around the London/hertfordshire/essex area. I don’t think we should underestimate how important this. A football club is nothing if not rooted in its local community, and while football is a global game, I feel Arsenal should always make its presence felt in London and the home counties, not just as a football club but as an institution of class that attempts to teach local lads the game, regardless of whether they make the grade or not.

    This is an even more emotional point. Let me just throw out a few names: Charlie George, Liam Brady, Pat Rice, Adams, Rocky, Merse, Davis, Thomas, Parlour, Cole, Fabregas, Wilshere. Nothing gives me more joy than seeing an ‘arsenal’ make it and represent us on the pitch. Now while things have gone sour with cole and fabregas, that doesn’t detract from the fact that every boy and his dog had their hair cut like charlie in Holloway in the double season. Every man in Highbury had tears streaming down their face the day we received the terrible news of Rocky’s death. Watching TA wheel away in triumph at that semi final vs the scum in 93 filled me with more joy than any other playing scoring it. There is something special about having people like that play for your team, and it is becoming rarer in this day and age. I want my kids and grandkids to hopefully have their own, Charlies, Chippys and Tonys. Cesc has unfortunately broken my heart, and far more than me my son’s. Fabregas was the equivalent for him, but even my generation had Stapleton! It makes even more special when the next world class talent we produce decides to stick around.

    Again, wonderful site here, and hope my thoughts are worthy of the great discussions you have here.

  40. chas says:

    Flippin excellent, Occasional.

  41. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    Brilliant Occasional Gooner. Perhaps you can work on changing your name to More Often Gooner

    This never worked with my first wife, my aim was always to be Never Here Gooner. But unlike her, I suspect you would be found wanting in a three round bout with Kendo Nagasaki.

  42. stevepalmer1 says:

    Occasional reader, A very heartfelt comment, For all local supporters your view has brought back many memories, but when Arsenal first fielded their full team of no Ehglish players at all and with a foreign manager as well, made me realise that Arsenals history had changed.

    Gone was a typical British club, never ever was it ever going to be British again, today we have a club in London owned by an American and Usbek Managed by a Frenchman and Captained by a German or Spaniard. This once Family club now run by whoever just for profit, they rely on people like you who have memories of a fine English club to pay exorbitant prices for their own gain.

    At no time in the last decade have they shown any signs of wanting to win trophies, their minimal spending has left us wanting, while they have climbed to be one of the most wealthiest clubs in the world, and we still cannot field Defensive mid fielders or cover our Centre backs. Ask youself why not.

  43. Gööner In Exile says:

    I wrote an comment this morning but obviously forgot to click submit….

    So a few things, players coming into the first team like Adams, Rocky, Thomas and Davis did is a rarity, it has happened once for us in resent memory, and once for United, since the can’t win anything with kids team how many youngsters have they produced?

    Barca also had a once in a generation team with Puyol, Xavi, Iniesta, Messi, Pique, but again how many since then?

    The fact is over the last 5-10 years the recruitment of youngsters has been hampered by the 90 minute rule on travelling, this has now gone. So we can now search all the UK for talent, not just 90 minute of Hale End Academy. Arsenes comment about Jack was along those lines, we picked him up very young from Luton.

    Now the other big factor is the new CL home grown rules, 4 have to be club home grown so with us for three years before turning 21, then we can have 4 association home grown, by the age of 18 a player good enough to be in an Arsenal shirt will have signed his first pro contract and cost us some wedge, the new Academy rules and heading system mean that the academies of lower league clubs have to open their doors to the PL academies and of the PL see a player they like there is a set fee payable to bring that player in to our academy, no such rules apply for overseas kids.

    As stated Chelsea and City have set about buying the best 15/16 year olds, if by 18/19 they look good enough they can go loaned out to other clubs, and even on until they are 21 etc, the cost of bringing them to the Academy is not counted for FFP but any loan fees and transfer fees they get for the kids does count towards their revenue. So it’s very clever and gives them the chance to recruit the best players early and see how they fair around the leagues, and in some instances make enough money to cover the costs all over again (sale of Lukaku).

    One thing we will never know is how a kid will develop from an attitude point of view, David Bentley anyone.

    My own problem with our Academy is that perhaps we don’t utilise it enough. The one thing I thought Fergie did well was keep the likes of Brown and O’Shea around at the club, when the main CB shirt was held by Ferdinand and Vidic, Brown and O’Shea loved the club they would sit on the bench week in and week out, until they had a job to do.

    So over the last few years I can think of a couple of players who were similarly skilled to O’Shea and Brown but who we let go because we likdont give them regular football, Larsson, Sidwell, Bartley, Lansbury, Frimpong. Now I don’t think these players are good enough to be first team footballers, but I think they would be so happy to stay at Arsenal and do a better or as good a job as a player that comes in costing £5-£10m.

    For example in recent seasons, Monreal vs Meade, Bartley v Squillacci (it was around that time he left), Lansbury v Ozil (joke!) but you know what I’m saying. Also that way you can spend more on acquiring the main squad.

    Another huge factor is the axing of Reserve football, we don’t have a reserves anymore we have under 21 league which you can field a few over age players for match practice. So we have 25 first teamers, 7 of whom won’t be involved each week, but they’ll also have no other football, not even a reserve match, and then you have under 21’s that don’t get pushed into reserve football they stay playing against kids, the same for 18 year olds who would normally get pushed on early if they showed the ability. That is the same for all clubs though.

  44. Big Raddy says:

    Occasional. That is a top quality comment.

    GIE. Another fine comment. It is difficult to keep young players as pure squad members – they have their own ambitions and want first team football even if at a lower level. Bentley was a case in point, as was Fabianski.

  45. Gööner In Exile says:

    spot quiz:

    First club to field 11 non Engliah players in the English FA Cup Final and the year?

  46. Gööner In Exile says:

    Raddy it is true that they do have their own ambitions but with a good enough contract and given our injury record a good enough chance of playing quite a few games wouldn’t you try and stay at the club long enough to prove it. Maybe it was easier at United because the likes of O’Shea and Brown are walking away with a lot of medals

  47. Occasional reader says:

    Hello steve,

    I understand where you’re coming from, I really do. I feel bad that my son will never be able to stand in the school boys enclosure, and then graduate up to the North Bank, and that the terraces are gone. Arsenal has changed more than I thought possible and not always for the better, altho some of it has been excellent! I am a supporter of the firm opinion that more should have been done to ensure that the club stayed at Highbury. But even if we had Arsenal would still have gone the way its going. English football has become global property, and that’s left a lot of local fans with mixed feelings, especially this gooner.

    I don’t disagree with you either that many fans of the old school are being mugged off with ticket prices, but I love Arsenal too much to ever give up and I’m lucky that I have done well enough that I can still afford to go unlike many of my pals and some of my brothers. The game’s gone corporate and the game’s gone global. This is why I feel our academy is so important, to keep that side of Arsenal that was once the whole club as an institution, alive, even if its just the gents who wander Hackney marshes and the playing fields of North London, essex and herts. The scouts and youth coaches are all old school arsenal (some of my nephews have been in the youth teams so I have met a few). That’s why I think the academy is so important – for me no matter what happens at Ashburton Grove and the boardroom, keeping that side of the club going means that a part of the Arsenal I grew up with is still alive.

    I’ll tell you one thing, my brother’s been priced out of islington and moved up to borehamwood and he’s been to a few youth team matches now that they’re playing there and I’ve gone along a few times. It’s mustard. You can stand, its cheap, it’s friendly and you’re watching 11 boys who love the red and white give it their all. That’s why even though I agree with a lot of what you say, especially about the first team, I can’t agree with what you said above me, which is you don’t see the point of the academy. If anything the fact that it doesn’t make a profit, surely shows a part of Arsenal still is invested in the local community, and isn’t all about shrapnel in the wallet!

  48. stevepalmer1 says:

    Good answer Occasional reader, I can see why you have faith in the academy and fair play to you, you have seen another side of it that i haven’t, and without this information i take your word for it;

    When i look from outside, i see an academy that i felt should be producing players for the first team, and when i see us buying youngsters from places like Southampton instead of seeing a constant flow coming into the team from our investments, i naturally feel that the Academy is not a worthwhile undertaking, but with your insight, i now understand that the academy is more for the community than it is for supply. Personally i would rather have a supply of future Arsenal players, but while Southampton has players maturing, at least we still get players, although a little more expensive.

  49. stevepalmer1 says:

    1927 Cardiff city

  50. arnie says:

    Chas. Townsend Bingo. ha ha ha ha. 🙂

    Occasional. Fantastic comment. 🙂

    I am so sad that Cockie politely declined my request to write a short piece on the Academy every fortnight? :SAD:

  51. Gööner In Exile says:

    Steve interesting, i haven’t checked that one, i was thinking of an English team:

    Liverpool 1986
    Grobelaar
    Lawrenson
    Beglin
    Nicol
    Whelan
    Hansen
    Dalglish
    Johnson
    Rush
    Molby
    MacDonald

    Although Lawrenson is an Englishman he just chose to play for Ireland 😀

    Just wiki’d Cardiff, centre midfielder was English

  52. Gööner In Exile says:

  53. arnie says:

    HWSA yet? 😛

    Now, because it is the dreaded JTW, and because we need some cheering up, and because Barca is in deep s**t, can we not sign Zubizerrata and Puyol for the backroom and youth setup? I understand both are unemployed and looking to work for free! 😛

  54. arnie says:

    GiE. 🙂 how was George’s birthday?

    Micky. Message received loud and clear. Will try to give him a call before leaving for the States.

  55. chas says:

  56. chas says:

    Loving the George vid.

  57. chas says:

  58. Morning Ladies

    What’s been happening? Have we bought anyone? Wasn’t around yesterday, caught up in the outrage towards the cowardly attack on Charlie Hebdo. But need some light entertainment to lift the sadness and anger. Love the reverse gif chas. Here’s a scene from Red Dwarf, where they are in a world where everything happens in reverse 🙂

  59. Gööner In Exile says:

    Arnie it was very good, his birthday I got a bit held up with a meeting, so we couldn’t do what we planned, so he ended up with an hour in a softplay centre (my personal hell).

    Took him to a Sea Life centre yesterday, he loved it. And celebrations continue this weekend with coffee and cake for family and then lunch with grandparents.

  60. Big Raddy says:

    Morning All,

    I went to see the Ukelele Orchestra of GB last year – terrific. They are about to go on tour and I highly recommend them

  61. Eddie says:

    GiE – if George carries on like that he’ll be playing for arnie’s indian pop group, rather than for Arsenal 🙂

  62. Eddie says:

    Matt Macey (??) has gone to Accrington on loan. To Accrington. I’d say it is good bye Matt, we’ll never see this one again. So much for the academy

  63. Eddie says:

    Celebrity crèche!!!
    Dennis Wise’s son Henry has signed a one-year deal to play for Arsenal where the 15-year-old midfielder will team up with all three of David Beckham’s sons – Brooklyn, Romeo and Cruz – as well as Frank Lampard’s nephew

  64. Big Raddy says:

    It would be brilliant if one of the Beckham kids made it to the AFC first team.

    No decent rumours about incomings. Would Winston Reid be a good signing?

  65. RC78 says:

    One thing has changed at AFC and I think the media should take up on it a lot more – we have become a supplier for the English national squad and this should be highlighted a lot more…

    Jenkinson, Chambers, Gibbs, Wilshere, Ox, Walcott, Wellbeck

    When we were fielding teams that did not have English internationals in it, we were given the stick…I would be happy if AFC would get a bit of good publicity when we are fielding teams with English internationals as well…

    From what I have seen in the recent years, Porto does really well in scouting in South America and Belgium and they develop players well and make a maximum profit when they sell them to top European clubs so it would be good to check out their scouting system and youth development modus operandi…

  66. GoonerB says:

    Did anyone notice that Kris Olsson (not sure of spelling) left us a short while ago? I thought he was one touted as a future top midfielder.

    GIE I read your 8.25 from last night which I found interesting. I was wondering do you feel that others have stolen a march on us with the youth recruitment? If so is it because we can do nothing about it or just because we have been caught napping? If we have dropped behind others with this do you think this is something that will cause us harm further down the line?

  67. RC78 says:

    RA – just saw your comment…

    I was just saying that we should review our scouting system and improve our youth development model as neither are proving to be so effective anymore…We need to keep both but they clearly need an upgrade…

    I look at my home team, PSG, and they are investing heavily in the scouting system in order to attract top young talent to the club. Right now, we have the following players at the club that are below 25:

    Aurier (22), Marquinhos (20), Digne (21), Rabiot (19), Verratti (22), Lucas (22), Pastore (25) and Bahebeck (21). We have also loaned out Ongenda (20).

    Most of these players cost us a fortune (Marquinos, Lucas and Pastore cost each around 30 Mln Pnds) but all of them are starting regularly or making regular appearances…Rabiot, Bahebeck and Ongenda are products of the youth system whereas the others were poached from lesser clubs…My point is that Arsenal should also compete with the PSG/City/Chelsea of this world and buy regularly a top 10 young talent worldwide – it would be nice to see. Also, would be great to see more partnerships with Dutch, Portuguese and German clubs because they have great youth set-ups and out players would grow a lot by benefiting from these set-ups…

  68. RC78 says:

    In 2016/207, if all goes well for PSG and the players mentioned above, we could have the following team as starters:

    Sirigu (29) – Aurier (24), Marquinhos (22), Luiz (29), Digne (23) – Verratti (24), Matuidi (29), Rabiot (21) – Pastore (27) – Lucas (24), Cavani (29)

    All under 30…

    And now, PSG is tracking A. Lacazette from Lyon, Depay from Holland, Eriksen from Tottenham as well as Reuss from Dortmund – all talented young but confirmed players…If this were to happen, then they would not hesitate to sell Lavezzi and Cavani who are pouting on the bench

  69. GoonerB says:

    Interesting points RC. The one issue I have with that is that although we have more finances now we still cannot compete financially with PSG (if they really push it) in any financial outlay areas that are not subject to FFP.

    With that in mind I think you can rule us out of £30m players like Marquinos, Lucas and Pastore. In each ofthese cases PSG bought probably £12-15m pounds of talent and £15-18m of potential. These players are maybe a bit closer to being top class (2-3 seasons) but are still not ready made.

    I don’t think we have the finances to outlay that on potential that may (or may not) be realised in 2-3 seasons which is why I think we need to drop further down the scale to the 16 year olds whose full potential is still 5-7 seasons away. It looks like that is what we are trying to do with the Polish youngster from Warsaw. I would suggest that a £30m purchase for us is an established international ready to hit the first team immediately (Sanchez).

    It is all about a balance of established and young potential stars IMO. In the past we have been unbalanced by over-loading with too many young players with potential and not enough established players (largely through financial restrictions with the more expensive established players).

    That is why I asked the question to GIE above. Are we still holding our own in bringing in young future potential stars or have we that side, which we were previously renowned for slide? Are we again imbalanced in our recruitment policy but at the opposite end of the scale to a few years ago?

  70. stevepalmer1 says:

    Morning all.
    Story in the Sun this morning, exclusive interview with Lukas Podolski who has just gone to Inter Milan on loan, Podolski said that he went without any word from Arsene Wenger, not even a good luck.

    Podolski said he thought he had done a fairly good job for Arsenal and felt he had stayed clear of trouble. He said that he felt he had been treated unfairly by Mr Wenger, by not getting more starts. He stated that he had only two starts all season, and felt that after his two goals against Galatassaray in the champions league match would be enough to convince Mr Wenger that he was ready for games in the Premier, but Mr Wenger again left him out.

    Podolski also said that Mr Wenger also told him that he was the best finisher that Arsenal had at the moment which confused him when he sat out matches on the bench.

    He did say that he uses Twitter and Facebook which seems to make me feel that Mr Wenger may of not liked that. But surely not enough to bench him.

    Podolski said He still feels a Gooner but fears he will not be coming back, he said that the supporters always gave him their support and he would like to thank them.

    I would just like to add my two pennath and say that i felt Podolski could have offered a lot more than he did, i felt his work rate could have been better, but as for his finishing top notch, i don’t believe i have seen a player switch the ball from one foot to another and strike the ball with so much venom so quickly. I Know Podolski is 28 years old but i felt he still had a lot to offer, His age suggests that we have seen the last of him. Mr Wenger must have a lot of faith in what we have.

  71. RA says:

    RC78 @ 11:31,

    I agree with you, totally, again.

    In my original comment yesterday I said that the new Boss of the youth set up, at Arsenal, had not been impressed with the way it was working previously, as far as the he scouting, recruitment and the end product of delivering good young players coached in the way that AW wanted them.

    He is a new broom and is sweeping clean looking to improve all these aspects.

    There may have been a misunderstanding between us as we seem to be saying the same thing.

    In addition, I said that despite their policy of buying top quality (and therefore expensive) players, both Chelsea and Citeh also went out of their way to recruit the best young youth talent they could, either to sell on at a profit or to present them for first team selection.

    You have also added PSG to that – and I would like Arsenal to follow suit. 🙂

  72. RA says:

    RC78,

    You may not be aware of a purely national obstacle to recruitment of South American and African youth players, that seems to only apply to the UK.

    Clubs in the Premier League can only sign up youth team players who are exceptionally gifted, and can get an ‘exceptional talent’ visa to enter the UK.

    This is difficult to get, whereas other European countries allow youth players who can prove parental or grand parent nationality (Italian, Spanish) or via Belgium/Denmark etc where anything seems to go.

    That is why we parked players like Kolo and Yaya Toure with Beveren FC some years ago, but he became impatient and chose to go to Russia(?). Another one lost to us.

  73. RC78 says:

    RA – I am aware of the visa rules in the UK…Maybe it should give even more incentive to AFC to focus on finding young European talents like Odegaard, Fekir, Lacazette, Pogba, Depay…

  74. RC78 says:

    Idea for a new post in case…

    Does our squad currently have enough firepower to score goals outside the box?

    With Podolski leaving our team, we have lost our best striker of the ball. He had a fierce and accurate shot and although he could have done better at AFC, his long-range shooting will certainly be missed…I know that we are team that likes to almost carry the ball into the goal with quick slick passing but we need some variety in our scoring potential to mix things up for the opposition…

    My questions are hence as follows:

    1. Does the current team currently have the skills to score from outside the box, including from freekicks? If so, which players?

    2. Do we have enough skills to mix our attacking threats/style and keep the oppositions guessing?

  75. Gööner In Exile says:

    GoonerB, RC78, unfortunately the best Euro talent will go to those who can offer the families the best incentives.

    Let’s get this right….15-16 year old English lads probably cost, but I bet not as much as European talent as we have to “convince” their parents that leaving home will be good for them. I wonder how much convincing is needed?

    These lads come with agents, heard an interview with a scout recently saying 13-14 year old kids already have agents!

  76. Gööner In Exile says:

    Steve I doubt Twitter and Facebook give Arsene much concern, I can’t remember seeing Pod post any nonsense, several others are on there.

    Surely it’s a simple case of not really suiting our style of play, will be interesting how he fairs in the Italian leagues.

  77. RC78 says:

    GiE – true about the need to convince families to move…

  78. chas says:

  79. Eddie says:

    good idea Chas! I think I will get pissed like NB and hope that all of my bloody problems will disappear

  80. Eddie says:

    Wenger talks:

    on Loic Perrin…
    No, we are not on the case.

    on Gabriel Paulista…
    We are not on the case, we keep all that as quiet as possible.

    on Krystian Bielik…
    He is a young boy that we follow, yes. You see I gave you some information! We are not very close at the moment [to an agreement].

    on Petr Cech rumours…
    No, Petr Cech is at Chelsea. We have three goalkeepers who for me are top class and there is a big competition going on. I have no doubt we have the needed quality.

    on Isco…
    No, we are not on the case. We have plenty of creative players. We are more short on the defensive side of our game, not on the offensive side. We have plenty of offensive players. We just spoke about Podolski who just went out, we spoke about Sanogo going out because we have so many offensive players that they don’t get a chance to play. So we won’t buy someone else in the attack.

    on players smoking…
    I don’t need to make a big fuss of that. Every club has its internal discipline and rules. It doesn’t necessarily need to be public. [Szczesny] is a serious boy who works very hard and he doesn’t need that. He made a mistake, he is not the first one and not the last one.

  81. Big Raddy says:

    Gaping hole in the defensive area. We sign (almost) a 17 y.o. DM.

    AW never disappoints 🙂

  82. The Cockie Monster says:

    Reading through the comments it looks like I hit the nail on the head with my comment yesterday and most of you kind of agree !……so send me my medal now !. hahaha

    Yes, we are fine in FFP terms on being self sufficient etc` and now being able to compete with City and Chavs ( they have been selling to buy….Luiz out….Costa and Cesc in etc` ) in the transfer market, but as I said……what they and how much they spend on Stadia, infrastructure and youth academies is out side FFP and unless we have a bottomless pit benefactor we will eventually lag well behind on their plan B for FFP !.

    I love this rumour of Messi being available for £200M….which according to a reliable expert Spanish know all on SKY sports, becomes £500M over a 5 year contract….something to do with also paying taxes !. The expert said the move to either Mansour City or Chavs will not happen as the eventual sum of £500M would not pass FFP !.
    May be Stretch, Redders or GIE can answer this though !…….what`s to stop Mansour City, Chavs or PSG paying this amount for Messi`s services and just taking a hit on what ever silly fine they impose, because lets face it, Mansour City were slapped on the wrists for breaking FFP rules and instead of hurting them where it hurts like a ban from CL or a points deduction in the EPL, they got a silly monetary fine and some un-effective reduction in their playing squad ( so I believe ) for the CL !.
    A proper and effective slap wrist for a hypothetical “Messi £500M ” signing would be a ban from CL for the length of his contract !.
    All hypothetical though as we all know no one can afford to buy him under FFP !.

    I don’t like these rumours about Akpom going to our rivals with his contract up in the summer……sort it out now Arsene before we lose a decent relevant to the post player !.

  83. ‘evening all, I didn’t expect my debate starter to last two days, but it’s produced some fine comments and hopefully filled a bit of down-time as far as actual Arsenal football is concerned.

    I was particularly impressed by the thoughts expressed by Occasional Reader. Perhaps our club does have a social conscience after all.

    As to Arsene’s reasons for letting Podolski and Sanaogo go out on loan, “We have plenty of offensive players. We just spoke about Podolski who just went out, we spoke about Sanogo going out because we have so many offensive players that they don’t get a chance to play. So we won’t buy someone else in the attack”.

    Bulls**t!! We’ve got Welbeck, currently injured, we’ve got Giroud, just back from injury, we’ve got Walcott, only just coming back from long term injury, and we’ve got Campbell, who can’t get a premiership start for love or money.

    Yep! Arsene we’re well stocked in the offensive player department. Pish!!

  84. The Cockie Monster says:

    NG……we`ve still got Akpom ……..for the time being !. 😦

  85. Cockie, he’s treated as a bench warmer, nothing more. I wouldn’t blame him if he skipped, he wants to play football not stagnate in the dugout.

  86. GunnerN5 says:

    From BBC Sport.
    ……………………………………………………………………………………

    Arsenal: Wojciech Szczesny has apologised – Arsene Wenger

    Arsenal’s Wojciech Szczesny has apologised to boss Arsene Wenger following reports the Poland keeper smoked in the showers after the New Year’s Day loss at Southampton.

    Wenger would not confirm Szczesny was caught with a cigarette, but did say the player had “made a mistake”.

    But the Frenchman has not ruled out recalling the 24-year-old for Sunday’s Premier League match against Stoke.

    “He made a mistake, he is not the first one or the last one,” said Wenger, 65.

    “I like Wojciech as a person and when he makes a mistake he stands up for it.

    “I think he has contributed a lot to the good image of Arsenal and he learns from his mistakes.

    “Of course he has apologised. He is a serious boy who works very hard, he doesn’t need all that.”
    On controlling his players smoking

    Wenger has previously criticised Gunners midfielder Jack Wilshere, 23, for smoking a cigarette, labelling it “unacceptable”.

    “You can do what you want at home. You have a freedom. My issue is that the players here are judged on their performances. Ideally, the best way to have as high a level as possible is to behave as close to the rules.”
    On team news to face Stoke

    Wenger has been without Wales midfielder Aaron Ramsey (hamstring), Germany attacking midfielder Mesut Ozil (knee) and France holding midfielder Mathieu Flamini (unspecified knock).

    “Aaron Ramsey is back in training, Mesut Ozil is back in training, Mathieu Flamini is back in training – so we have got three players back.

    “Danny Welbeck (thigh) is still not available for Sunday – he’s a bit short. Maybe next week he will be available.

    “Olivier Giroud is back from suspension so we have got a bigger squad than last week.”
    On the imminent return of Mesut Ozil

    Germany attacking midfielder Ozil, 26, has been missing since the start of October with a knee injury.

    “He will have another training session on Friday for only the second time because he was sick earlier in the week.

    “He is certainly available for selection for Sunday. Whether I start him or not I haven’t decided.

    “He is an exceptional football player and he gives you continuity in your game. He is a very creative player and ideally you want all your best players available.”
    On Lukas Podolski accusing him of a ‘lack of a respect’

    The Germany international, 29, spoke out after joining Italian side Inter Milan on loan until the end of the season.

    “I deny that completely. I had many conversations with him about going out on loan. He needed my agreement to go out on loan and without that he couldn’t go.

    “He didn’t get enough opportunities to play so I gave him the opportunity to go. We have many players who can play in that position. When a player of his quality does not get enough games, too much competition is detrimental to a player’s confidence.

    “It is just a loan without an option to buy. That means he is back at the end of the season.”
    On Arsenal’s transfer business during January

    Arsenal striker Yaya Sanogo, 21, will leave the Emirates on loan in the transfer window, while Wenger has been linked with signing St Etienne defender Loic Perrin, Villarreal defender Gabriel Paulista and Real Madrid attacking midfielder Isco.

    “Sanogo will go out on loan. My option is preferably for him to stay in England. Hull is one of the opportunities, I spoke to Steve Bruce last week. He is interested but hasn’t come back to me.

    “Loic Perrin/Gabriel Paulista? We are not on the case. We keep all of our transfer business as quiet as possible.

    “Isco? No, we have plenty of creative players. We are short on the defensive side of our game but not the offensive side. We have plenty of offensive players who don’t get a chance to play so we wouldn’t get someone else in the attack.”
    Wenger thinking of homeland

    Frenchman Wenger was asked about the attack on the offices of the Charlie Hebdo magazine in Paris, where 12 people were shot dead.

    “It is a dreadful end to a terrible situation. The whole country is shocked. France is a country with freedom of speech and to think you can can die today for your ideas and the way you want to speak is absolutely shocking.

    “The whole country is united and I hope it will not create a divided country. The consequences of that would be terrible for the country.”

  87. chas says:

    Maybe Sanchez, our top scorer, is included as a forward by Wenger.
    Who knows?!

  88. chas says:

    Seems relevant to the post somehow.

  89. chas says:

    Podolski pretends to smile having left the best club in the world.

  90. I’m not well everyone …….. but if someone wants to write a post for tomorrow I’ll definitely publish it 🙂

  91. arnie says:

    very nice, GiE. 🙂 George is quite a character. I would definitely sign him into the sitar band. 🙂

    take care, Peaches. 🙂

    Travel all day Saturday, so back nice and early on Sunday, US Eastern time. 😛

  92. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Oh FFS, Arsene, what the hell have you been on about? 🙂

    Nice bloke Podolski. Best of luck to him.

  93. Big Raddy says:

    Micky, Don’t worry. Ozil will be like a new signing

  94. stevepalmer1 says:

    Morning all,
    Injured players back in training is always good news. Giroud also available should we need him, with Wellbeck still short of fitness i would say Giroud would be a starter.

    Aaron Ramsey and Mesut Ozil both back training and could be available seems like good news but against Stoke maybe they start from the bench.

    Jack Wilshere must still be unavailable, not even named so i take it he must be long term. Abu Diaby seems to be a player we have written off as no word about him for months. Diaby has been out now close to two seasons, i believe he had a twenty minute’s for the first team, plus a reserve game, before getting injured again. Why do we keep Diaby, but loan out Podolski, Podolski wanted to play, was fit to play, and was classed by the Manager as his best finisher. But allowed to go while Wellbeck is still injured.

    I am finding it increasingly difficult to understand how punishments are dished out, Czezesney caught smoking and gets a £20 thousand fine while Giroud shares an Arsenal paid hotel room with a woman that is not his wife seems to be overlooked,

    Mesut Ozil reputed to have had relations with a team mates wife, and is also overlooked but then has months out injured, with a long term problem that flared up.

    Wilshere also fined for smoking. So i am finding that smoking seems a worse incident than anything else.

    I expect Czezesney will be recalled for Stoke as Wenger likes a tall keeper against tall attackers, lets hope he leaves his fags at home.

  95. Eddie says:

    Wenger didn’t say good bye to Podolski. Top story in some rugs.
    But what AW said was that he has too many attacking players.
    I think that means that he will not be buying Messi in January.

    Good, I still want big defenders

  96. Eddie says:

    look steve, it is simple really – cigarettes will kill you, sex will not

    Very windy in North London, brrrrrr perhaps I will not go to the woods today

  97. Good morning Ladies 🙂

    It’s been a weird couple of days here in France, I’ve been involved with some artists, cartoonists and writers and did a all night vigil on Thursday night. Back to normal now hopefully, footy weekend and no new acquisitions for us pffft

  98. Yvonne

    Depends on who you have sex with… choose the wife of a Russian Mafia overlord, and your chances of dying would increase substantially 🙂

  99. Eddie says:

    I would never choose a wife of anybody. not even a husband of anybody. Frankly I prefer cigarettes to sex 🙂

  100. stevepalmer1 says:

    Thank you Eddie for clearing that up, i should have realised that fact. 🙂

  101. Eddie says:

    It is good to see that France is standing up to the murderers. I am sure that those bastards would end up murderers without Islam

  102. Yvonne, you mean ‘after sex’ surely?

  103. Eddie says:

    good cartoon 🙂

    What are the French saying? Is there a likelihood of a backlash against Muslim communities there?

  104. I don’t think so Yvonne, there were a lot of local muslims out the other night condemning the outrage, so hopefully there won’t be any backlash against the local muslim communities.

  105. Mind you, Marine Le Pen has jumped on the bandwagon, so who knows what will happen.

  106. stevepalmer1 says:

    Lets face it, there are murderers who kill by terror, and Murderers who do it by the book, No way in a million years were those holed up terrorists ever coming out alive. Premeditated murder and no one to answer to.

  107. I thought that as well Steve, but so be it, live by the sword, die by the sword. Simple. No need to bring back the death penalty…

  108. Eddie says:

    hm. I am not trying to make it light, I am absolutely shocked by what happened. But do you think that the murderers would be prepared to die if they had a Stoke at home tomorrow to look forward to?

  109. ha ha Yvonne, I don’t want to die until we win at least the Champions League…. not sure though if I have enough time left 🙂

  110. stevepalmer1 says:

    Morning NB, Looking at the footage on the box, I see lots of armed storm troopers with full body armour with balaclava’s, unrecognisable by anybody, Never a question of a court case there mate.

    Everytime i see trouble like this, there is always a link to Mosques, England in this case is guilty, we had the man here, who should have been sorted out, but do gooder’s have allowed his dealings to now kill others in another country.

    Things were better for the world, had they been allowed to kill one another in their own countries. Whats it got to do with us anyway.

  111. Steve, we are the infidels apparently 🙂

  112. stevepalmer1 says:

    I don’t know that much about football Northbank, i know even less about politics. But i know where my vote is going when it comes round.

  113. Eddie says:

    No Steve, criminals are of all different religions.
    And you can laugh nb, but there times in my life that football got me out of a very dark hole. Everyone should have a true passion in life

  114. I probably know even less about football 🙂 and these days I’m not a political animal, my stance is not to vote, I think the sooner people realise that politicians are not in it for us the better. Unfortunately, people have political beliefs, and things will never change 😦

  115. I have my passions Yvonne 🙂

  116. Eddie says:

    Nb -, I’m really glad you are not into politics 🙂 I can imagine your laws – abandon tax on booze and fag, close down the jails, compulsory sex in public, and all refs are on AFCs payroll

  117. You know me too well Yvonne 🙂

    I’m off now to participate in one of my passions…. the bar ha ha ha

  118. Eddie says:

    Oh no, the blog is dead 😦
    Chelsea have just scored despite Newcastle being the better team

  119. Big Raddy says:

    Just watched the Everton/MC game. Very enjoyable with another awful refereeing performance from Atkinson.

    The level of reffing has worsened so much that they are ruining the game for me.

  120. Big Raddy says:

    Eddie. The log needs posts. I do my share but don’t want to write more than two a week.

    If we want to have a healthy blog it requires all those who use it to give up some time and thought to write posts.

  121. chas says:

  122. What’s happened to the blog??

    Raddish, apart from it being a glorious day here today, 23c in town and sitting at a bar in T shirt drinking pastis 🙂 I went to FNAC to enquire about Monaco tickets and was told that it is too early, they are not available yet.

  123. Big Raddy says:

    NB. Thanks. I will keep nagging my Monaco contact but so far he has failed badly.

    The blog will return to normal soon – probably tomorrow!

    My word, Ryan is such an ugly boy. When he was born the doctor slapped his mother 🙂 (the old ones are still the best!)

  124. Big Raddy says:

    NB. We have such strong winds that the bridges connecting Cph are all closed! and the rain is falling horizontally.

  125. Time to move south Raddish 🙂

    I’ll try FNAC once a week… until they tell me the tickets can be bought. I should hope the blog returns to normal tomorrow, with Big Raddys Pre-Match 🙂

  126. Eddie says:

    alan Pardew 🙂

  127. The Cockie Monster says:

    In footballing terms, this is my happiness percentage chart !.

    Arsenal win, Spuds lose = 100%
    Arsenal win, Spuds draw = 75%
    Arsenal win, Spuds win = 50%
    Arsenal draw, Spuds lose = 50%
    Arsenal draw, Spuds draw = 0.5%
    Arsenal draw, Spuds win = 0.1%
    Arsenal lose, Spuds lose = 0.1%
    Arsenal lose, Spuds draw = 0%
    Arsenal lose, Spuds win = Call Samaritans !.

    This is open to debate and improvement, what`s your ideas ?.

    PS…..I`m currently on 50% and awaiting a 100% tomorrow !.

  128. Big Raddy says:

    Jingle bells, jingle bells, Jingle all the day,
    Oh what fun it is to see Tottenham lose away. 😄

  129. fatgingergooner says:

    According to MK Dons, Afobe is in talks with another side about a permanent transfer. Not a surprise really as he bangs them in in the lower leagues.

  130. Gööner In Exile says:

    What a terrific performance by Palace second half (I only watched the second half) thought Spuds were gifted their goal, but after that Palace out played them all over, especially on the flanks, Puncheon made Rose look as average as he is. And if we think we lack a solid middle just watch the last 35 minutes Spuds put in.

  131. arnie says:

    OK, Arnie safely reached Michigan. 😛

    And Spuds have lost, I see. ah what fun! 😛

  132. LB says:

    Normal service resumes in N17

  133. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Sooo, Spuds lost eh?

    As long as we keep winning, we’ll pick ’em off one by one, and as LB says, normal service will be resumed.

  134. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Going to miss the game, but I’m hoping Arsene selects his crispest passers, and fastest forwards.

    Most of you lot will be hoping he selects the biggest slowest lads to fight fire with fire, what with it being Stoke.

    Through and around them I say.

  135. chas says:

  136. chas says:

  137. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Ha ha, that’s superb

    Are you going today?

  138. chas says:

    Yep, JC day so Ant driving.

  139. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Superb

    Don’t know what happened at other grounds yesterday, but reckon we might get a minutes’ silence to “share in our grief” with those in France and wear a ribbon or something ie time for an extra pint before setting off 🙂

  140. chas says:

    Have you had a puff yet?

  141. chas says:

    When I say ‘yet’, I realise you probably decide on something and that’s it forever.

  142. chas says:

    None of this weak-willed, lily-livered behaviour.

  143. chas says:

    I didn’t get where I am today by conceding to weak-willed, lily-livered behaviour.

  144. MickyDidIt89 says:

    No puff

    37 years of dedicated puffing flushed down the bog

    A terrible, terrible loss, and this time of day is by far and away the worst

  145. chas says:

    On my infrequent visits to the land of smoking, the early morning fag was always the one which made me gag. Never was a smoker I guess.

  146. MickyDidIt89 says:

    You quite clearly lack dedication and commitment 🙂

  147. Big Raddy says:

    Morning All

    First fag was always difficult. Second was nectar.

    Strange how Rossiter disappeared – no-one knows who he is anymore

  148. chas says:

    That’s exactly what my school report said when I was 10.

  149. Big Raddy says:

    7.19 Peaches meets Shawcross

  150. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Every single one of my school reports said that 🙂

    When my children’s reports arrive, a row with the Mrs always ensues. What with her stinking attitude that school matters and all that bollocks

  151. Big Raddy says:

    chas.7.21 Mine too. Very prophetic in my case

  152. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Ah Big. Pleasant surprise. Motning Sir.

  153. Big Raddy says:

    Bet RA was proud to take his report home

  154. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Ha ha Raddy

    If RA was English, he’d wear a tweed jacket, brothel creepers and grey flannels. Clever, swotty clothing. School teacher styley.

    But he’s American. So synthetic fibres and elasticated waste bands 🙂

  155. Gööner In Exile says:

    Morning all, Stoke on a wind swept day in London. Could be fun!?!

    They’ll go long and high, as Micky says we need to go short fast and on the ground. Wind resistance will slow the Orcs down.

  156. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Exile

    I reckon we’re entering a very exciting period.

    Arsene now has Mesut, Theo, Alexis, Ox and Santi all appearing fit at the same time.

    The opportunity for great football has arrived.

  157. chas says:

    In true Crystals fashion, here are the highlights of today’s game.

    http://bit.ly/1skXRQE

  158. Big Raddy says:

    Hope Crystals is improving and ready to illuminate us with his wisdom.

  159. Big Raddy says:

    “So synthetic fibres and elasticated waste bands” 😀 😀

  160. chas says:

    Nice armour. 🙂

  161. MickyDidIt89 says:

    He he Chas

    Bless Americans. Fabulous teeth, but very fat and unbelievably stupid 🙂

  162. chas says:

    How would you stereotype the English?

  163. chas says:

    Right, 8.45 pick up.
    Enjoy the game.
    Up The Arse.

  164. Morning girls

    ha ha Chas, that is a great scene from In Bruges 🙂

    So, will we avenge the physical mauling we received in Mordor a few weeks ago… don’t we just want Sanchez to rip them apart. 🙂

  165. MickyDidIt89 says:

    oiks

    Next? :-0

  166. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Please, please Chas, can I do the French now? 🙂

  167. Big Raddy says:

    Off out. Post written. Back for second half.

    COYRRG

  168. Eddie says:

    people are intrinsically good my arse
    It took Tottenham to lose to get your lot blogging again!

  169. Yvonne

    The fickleness of the football fan 🙂

    My Sunday post is up, all about the bad guys Yvonne… you’ll love it:

    http://wp.me/p4FeF9-oo
    Have a read before Raddy posts his usual excellent pre match 🙂

  170. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Sorry Eddie
    But what has the spud result got to do with anything, and don’t be silly, no-one would say people are intrinsically good 🙂

  171. Eddie says:

    spuds result cheered everybody up, at least here.

    Plenty of deluded dudes believe in tabula rasa and the inner good of humans. I am not deluded 🙂

    Ok, I am taking bets for the game.
    1:0 to us and Cazorla to score

  172. Eddie says:

    thanks nb, will read later. No nudity?

  173. Yvonne, personally I can vouch that there will be no nudity, however, I cannot vouch for Chas and Arnie 🙂

  174. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Tough one Eddie as I don’t know who is actually fit to play, but Theo must be, so 3-0

  175. Eddie says:

    spiv – read it, funny, not really that bad (in my books) 🙂

    3:0 ?? no way Jose, they are playing ok and we never do well against them

  176. MickyDidIt89 says:

    NB
    Was reading back over a few days’ comments and see you were doing an all night vigil with candles and stuff.
    Are you genuinely in grief, or were you trying to appear sensitive and get laid? 🙂

  177. Eddie says:

    micky!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! that is naughty 🙂 🙂

  178. ha ha ha Micky, it was genuine grief mate, but I did spend a lot of the time talking with a lovely 48 year woman… 🙂

  179. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Eddie
    I will defend my right to take the piss 🙂
    It all started in Europe with the Lady Di stuff. People standing outside Buck House crying. Gathering in collective grief or something. Give me strength

  180. MickyDidIt89 says:

    That’s my boy, NB 🙂

  181. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Back later when post emerges

  182. And that is what it was all about, defending your right to take the piss and freedom of expression …. my blog doesn’t censor. Freedom of Rack of the Day ha ha aha

  183. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Freedom of The Rack
    ROLF 🙂

  184. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Bet a few fans have a quiet thought about Freedom of Speech as they pass Finsbury Park today.

    All for censorship I am. Really off.

  185. Eddie says:

    I am ashamed to admit I stood in Brent Cross watching Lady Di coffin driving by. I don’t think I was crying, but probably had a sad face. It was sad

  186. While we’re talking about fat americans…

  187. Morning all

    New Post everyone ………………………………..

  188. Scarlett says:

    Check out all the USDA Pilot Refinance Q&A right here
    and also find out how a reduced rate of interest can profit
    you.

  189. Lucius Hilo says:

    It — is intolerable.

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