Youth Policy. A waste of Money?

June 23, 2013

What is happening at youth level? Why has Liam Brady who has been Head of our Youth programme decided to resign – and this after spending most of his life at Arsenal?

Is the Youth Policy a waste of Arsenal’s resources?

It must cost a great deal of money to coach all these kids from the age of 8 up to the reserve and first teams – are we getting value for money? Who have we managed to sell from this outlay in order to “balance the books”? Lansbury, Stokes, maybe a few more. And who in today’s first team has made it from the hundreds who have passed through the ranks? Wilshere, Frimpong and ……?


Academy Team 2013

Gibbs, Ramsey, Cesc, Coquelin, Theo, etc all came to AFC from other team’s youth systems. Perhaps this is the better option – to cherry pick and if this is the new Arsenal way, then why bother with the  little kids?

There has been a cull in the Academy with almost half the squad shipped out. They will be replaced by other young men pursuing their dream. Who knows, one or two of these chaps may make the first team but statistically it is highly unlikely.

However, there is another viewpoint and that is Arsenal in the Community. It is essential that at a local level Arsenal continue to be the pinnacle of youth football in North London. We have a fantastic reputation as educators of good footballers and there are many of our “rejects” who make a decent living in the lower leagues. In these days of balance sheets and “value” it is laudable that the club continues it’s traditions.

Looking back through the Wenger Years I can only think of Ashley and Jack who have risen to the top, perhaps there are others but this is a 30 minute post and I have done little/No research (sorry).

So, the Youth Policy. Value for money …. No, Valuable ….. Yes.


Direct from the Spurs Youth Policy and Just for Peaches 

written by Big Raddy


Do we need Wanyama?

June 14, 2013

Arteta, Wilshere, Cazorla,Ramsey, Rosicky, Frimpong, Coquelin, Oxlade – Chamberlain, Eisfeld. Everyone a midfield player whom I would be happy to see play in most games. Yet ask most fans what is missing and they would say a muscular defensive shield – someone we have lacked since Gilberto Silva.


But do we really need this player?

The performance of Arteta last season was superb; he kept the team going forward, he worked tirelessly to cut out danger and in tandem with Ramsey proved we can hold onto a one goal lead. The final few games when the defence ensured our progress to 4th showed we can be effective with Ramsey and Mikel working in tandem.

Coquelin and Frimpong? Reports from the trenches are that Frimpong ‘s injuries will severely hamper his aggressive style of play and I expect him to move on following rehab. Coquelin is difficult because I see a quality player in this fellow. He has energy, an eye for a pass and technique. What he lacks is tactical awareness but that can be taught and Francis is still young. Sadly, I expect him to ask for a transfer, though perhaps he is not good enough to become a first choice DM.

The attacking possibilities are so good there is no need for an addition – probably a cull is in order!

Eisfeld is an interesting player who appears to have a big future ahead of him, but will he get any first team chances and if not will he say “Thanks but no thanks”, as he sees a future on the bench.

Who gets dropped if we do sign a quality DM? Ramsey? Arteta? Don’t talk to me about rotation because a settled team is an essential in my eyes and a big money DM will insist upon a first team place.

I have no idea what Mr Wenger will do in summer, nor how he will pick his midfield next season. I cannot tell you who would be my midfield 3 or 4 and would like to hear your opinions.

FA Right To Charge Frimpong

July 26, 2012

I don’t know for sure, but I would hazard a guess that Emmanuel Frimpong does not have a detailed knowledge of the Second World War.

He might have seen a movie or two and he has probably heard of the Nazis, Hitler and the Holocaust without ever achieving any depth of insight or understanding.

If you asked him about the Final Solution, he might well reply that he does not do crosswords.

And if his knowledge of 20th Century warfare is thin, then it’s a safe bet that he will know little of the pogroms of the Middle Ages, when Christians massacred Jewish communities in countries across Europe, including England.

You can’t really blame the lad. He has been caught in a pincer movement between, on the one hand, the woeful inadequacies of what passes for state education in the modern age and, on the other, his gift for football, which will undoubtedly have taken his focus, time and effort away from academic pursuits.

So when he replied to an abusive Twitter troll by calling him a “Scum Yid” I doubt that he realised what he was saying.

Growing up as an Arsenal supporter and, dream of dreams, an Arsenal player, young Emmanuel has probably always associated the word “Yid’ primarily with supporters of our local rivals, even while being aware that it refers to Jewishness.

He must also have known that Tottenham fans often refer to themselves as “Yids” and “Yiddos”.

To Emmanuel it probably carries the same weight as calling a Chelsea fan a “Chav”, or a Liverpool fan a “Bindipper”.

All three terms are offensive and all are used as insults, but only one of them casts a long shadow of hate, persecution and mass murder. For that reason it’s quite right that, in modern society, we refuse to deem “Yid” an acceptable word, just as we refuse to accept words like “Nigger” or “Paki”.

So even though our combative midfield enforcer may not have realised the full scale of the potential offence when he dished out the insult to a Twitterer (who, incidentally, had Tweeted that he hoped Frimpong would suffer broken arms and legs), it was important that the Football Association did the right thing and charged him.

A statement from the FA said Frimpong had been charged because he “posted comments amounting to improper conduct and/or which brought the game into disrepute, which included a reference to ethnic origin, faith or race.”

Frankly, we can’t lambast football bodies for dishing out miniscule fines to national associations whose fans make racist chants, then argue that an Arsenal player who uses a racial insult should not face punishment.

Mind you, if the FA follows UEFA’s lead when it comes to sentencing, then Emmanuel can expect to get 10 push-ups and three Hail Marys.

Hopefully when he gets called before the FA beak, the player will be able to demonstrate that he did not realise the full offensiveness of the word. I imagine he will use ignorance – or at least partial ignorance – as a defence (and probably an honest defence, at that).

The mitigating circumstances should mean he is not punished unduly heavily. Certainly there would be a bad taste in the mouth if Frimpong were to be banned from games while that fine, upstanding Mr Terry walks free despite making clearly racist comments in front of 30,000 people and a TV audience of millions (and I know the FA may still rule in the Terry case, despite a court of law finding him not guilty).

It’s a cliché, but there is no place for racism in football and Emmanuel Frimpong will probably pay the price for crossing the line.

Of course there is a legitimate debate to be had about abuse in football generally. I have never used the term “Yid” in my life. I hate it. But I have hurled all sorts of foul-mouthed abuse at opposition players. I once spent a good 10 minutes in the old Upper East stand at Highbury chanting (along with everyone else) “you’re ginger and you know you are” at Gordon Strachan, who was walking up and down the touchline.

Strachan had a sense of humour and gave us all a smile and a wave, but it was still abuse.

Where are the boundaries? What is reasonable and what is not?

It’s a difficult one but I would appreciate your thoughts.


Note from admin:

The word ‘yid’ is one of just a few that are banned on this site. Any comment containing the word would normally go straight into spam. For the purpose of today’s article, it has been removed from the list of banned words so that bloggers can debate the issues raised in a mature manner.

Arsenal 0 Liverpool 2 – match report and player ratings

August 21, 2011

Written by Wonderman

Not much to write about today’s game, it was not much of a spectacle but still there were positives to be taken. I sat in the west stand today, behind the tv gantry and close enough to recognise Steve McManaman not too far away working for one of the tv channels. One thing that always pisses me off is when teams switch us around before kick off. Spurs were the first to do it a few seasons ago and Liverpool decided to do it today.

Prior to the match I was convinced this game had draw written all over it. As I took my seat the teams were lining up and some idiots took it upon themselves to boo Nasri when his number was called BEFORE  a ball had even been kicked, fortunately there were more sensible SUPPORTERS who cheered. The absence of Kieran Gibbs meant Bacary Sagna filled in at left-back. There were full debuts for Jenkinson at right-back and Frimpong in central midfield. The bench included Fabianski, Chamahk, Bendy, Lansbury, Miguel and Miyachi .

In the first half we were performing well enough without creating any chances of note, but it is here that we can improve without too much effort in my opinion. Walcott was being double banked every time he got the ball to feet. Surely common sense should have told the players either try to play it into space for him to run on to or go and support him. Ramsey also had a bad day at the office even before his own goal. I also fail to understand how Arshavin managed to come out for the second half as he contributed nothing to the first half.

We lost Laurent Koscielny to a back injury early which saw Miquel replace him and contributed to some nervous non threatening possession. Liverpool were seemingly happy to park their five man midfield and take a valuable point, and Vermy was keeping Carroll quiet.

The turning point of the game was the sending off of Emmanuel Frimpong. But again, anyone who has bothered to do a little research would know that Mr Atkinson likes red cards and penalties and our players should have been aware of that irrespective of how many games they have played.

Dalglish showed his street wisdom by bringing on Suarez to terrorise our backline with his speed and movement.  The goals Liverpool got were admittedly graced with luck: both appeared to be offside, the first one was the result of a calamitous own goal after Miquel’s clearance hit Ramsey and looped over the advancing Szczesny and the second at the death.  But with ten men and a defence of Sagna at left-back, Jenkinson at right-back, and Vermaelen and Miquel in the middle, with Vermy moved to the right hand side of the CB pairing it was always going to be difficult.


Szczesny – 8  Very calm and assured, omly 1 kick went astray pulled off a very good save to his left in the first half. This boy may take some shifting

Sagna – 7  tried his best on his ‘wrong’ side in the absence of a recognised left back

Kosser –  not on long enough to rate

Vermy – 9 Motm jeez have we missed him

Jenkinson – 7 committed, and willing to support, good engine and soldiered on even after getting what looked like cramp. But needs to work on his play when in possession

Miquel – 6.5  good range of passing but was understandably nervy.  Often passed back to the keeper aiding Liverpool to press us high up the pitch

Ramsey – 5 was erratic, passes went astray, didn’t track back with any urgency and had little penetration in his passing. Unfortunate with the own goal

Walcott  – 6 looking like a one trick pony but not helped by his team mates. If his pace was taken away he would not have been on the pitch today, not that his pace helped him. He will soon be eclipsed by Ryo

Arshavin – 4 abject, tricks didn’t come off, no work rate, no goal threat, no tracking back

Nasri – 7 decent shift under the circumstances and was pleased to see the supporters give him a boost when he came to take corners

Frimpong – 7.5 would have got 8.5 had he not been sent off, but this boy is the reason we are not going to buy a defensive midfielder, quick, powerful and aggressive. Once he controls that aggression he will be one hell of a player

Van P – 7  worked hard for the cause but very little service

Lansbury  – 6  didn’t really get into the game

Bendtner – not enough time to rate

A word of caution for a so called category A game there were plenty of empty sets at the Emirates today. I don’t know if it was the kick off time or something else

A word of praise to those fellow supporters who comprehensively drowned out the morons who started to chant ‘spend some …..’ and also reminded Nasri that the dissenters are still a minority. I’m beginning to see a nucleus of fighters in our team/squad. Vermy, Kosser, Frimpong, Van P, Lansbury with Song and Wilshere to add, that bodes well for the future.

Lets hope that we get all of our bad luck out of the way early

What now for Project Youth?

June 22, 2011

Written by Gooner in Exile

Some time ago I wrote an article slightly jokingly about the vines that Arsene had planted and how we were now seeing them produce some wonderful fruits. A few months on and with another trophyless season under the belt there is a serious question to be asked.

I am not talking about the current squad, they are mostly at an age where they should be delivering on the Premier League stage week in week out (except for Little Jack and Rambo who are still learning their trade).

I am concerned mainly with the youngsters out on loan or kicking their heels in the reserves last season the remnants of the FA Youth Cup winning side of 2008-09.

The players starting both legs were as follows:

  • James Shea
  • Craig Eastmond
  • Thomas Cruise
  • Kyle Bartley
  • Luke Ayling
  • Henri Lansbury
  • Francis Coquelin
  • Gilles Sunu
  • Jack Wilshere
  • Jay Emmanuel – Thomas

Emmanuel Frimpong started the first leg but was replaced by Sanchez Watt after an early injury. Sanchez Watt started the second game.

Of that group of players at least seven impressed me enough to think they may have a future at the club…..Bartley, Wilshere, Lansbury, Coquelin, Sunu, JET, and Watt. I didn’t get to see enough of Frimpong due to his injury. All are 20 except Wilshere and Frimpong both 19.

Only Wilshere so far has forced himself into a regular starting berth, Watt spent the end of last season on loan at Leeds, Emmanuel-Thomas at Cardiff, Lansbury at Norwich, Bartley at Sheffield United and Rangers whilst Sunu and Coquelin were at L’Orient. Frimpong had to make do with a season on the treatment table as a result of the knee injury picked up in pre season.

On top of these lads there are now another bunch of youngsters pushing though, headed up by Afobe, Aneke, Murphy and Henderson.

The majority of these lads have a love of Arsenal they have been raised here since young, the club is in their blood, the lack of this is one of the most common complaints about the current squad. A Tweet from Frimpong recently proclaimed

“I will never leave Arsenal even if I get released I will beg on both knees to stay they gonna have to escort me.”

Additionally they have all been brought up on the Wengerball philosophy, the kind of ball control and ability to pass so absent from the recent England Under 21’s they could slot in to most positions on the pitch if required.

However if Wenger fields these players I am sure the same detractors would also complain that they are not experienced enough.

The other thing you frequently hear is we don’t have enough winners, well this lot have done it:

Three questions remain:

Are these boys good enough for senior level?

Will Wenger give them a chance?

Will the fans accept it if he does?

If as expected we see some of the squad players moved on this year we should expect the vacated positions to be filled by these youngsters, they must be given a chance to play (Carling Cup and possibly the FA Cup). They need Premier League experience too how many of our players who have been loaned to lower league sides have actually improved as a result?

In turn when they are on the pitch they must be fully supported by all in the ground, no groans, no moans, these are young lads they are our future, they are The Arsenal.

For those who didn’t see it here are the first leg highlights of that teams success.

“The catalyst the playmaker once again Jack Wilshere” thats a phrase we will hear for many more years I am certain, but what about the rest, what do we do with so many youngsters?

Arsenal – ammunition on it’s way

August 2, 2010

The football season is back with us. The games at the Emirates this weekend enabled AW to showcase his two new signings, both of whom rose admirably to the occasion and gave a good account of themselves. We have a new attacker and defender that are comfortable on the ball and capable of seamlessly fitting into the Arsenal system, whilst adding a much needed touch of aggression at either end of the park.

This tournament last year introduced the chirpy Little Jack Wilshere to a wider audience than those real fans who were already in the know. Having gone to Barnet to watch the reserves play or sad souls like me who having subscribed to yet another pay TV channel saw the precocious 16 year olds awesome, performance against West Ham. Capped with a curling Henry like goal, right in front of the watching AW, sat on his own behind the goal.

Needless to say he was named man of the tournament last year, as indeed he was yesterday, somewhat luckily I felt. He played well enough and his shot on the volley that cannoned off the bar would have been another collectors piece had it been 6”lower.  His immaturity showed through when he was conned by a clever body check into conceding a penalty.

His real success this year and the exciting part for many fans was his link up with another unknown from the Academy conveyor belt Emmanuel Frimpong an 18 year old, solid, tough tackling, defensive midfielder who will collect a card or two along the way but looks the warrior many have been crying out for. Together the two took on the Milan midfield and were not found wanting. To young to do it week in week out, but by the season end I am sure will be regular squad members who have a number of first team appearances – ready to become regulars next season.

Theo has taken a lot of stick recently, but I thought he showed on Sunday with two assists, what his pace and crosses can do for us, if only his team mates would attack the far post when he is making for the goal line. He too is far from the finished article but seems to me to be growing in confidence.

Finally, AW stated he was still in the market for a defender and yet still a hard core of Arsenal fans continue to doubt his word.  I have been staggered by the number of conspiracy theories that follow AW press conference statements since the transfer window opened.  Do we really doubt the integrity of the man that much; how would his constant critics react if they were treated so shabbily, it is not his fault that we are linked with half a dozen different defenders on a daily basis. Shouldn’t we wait until the window closes before we crucify the guy?