Season Low Points Pt.1 Off-Pitch

May 29, 2012

Recently, we were treated to a fine post from Chas filled with vids of the highlights of the season. but what were the low points? I am not talking about on-pitch stuff (was Ewood worse than OT?), No, I mean the off-pitch drama – those things in football which are not the result of the bounce of a ball.

Fans:  One of Chas’s vids showed the superb support of the Dortmund fans, perhaps the best I have seen. Fervent, happy, funny, enjoying their day out at The Home of Football. Compare them to the Stoke fans. In all my years of football fanaticism I cannot recall being so disgusted by the actions a group of fans as when the whole of  the Britannia booed Ramsey’s every touch. Can you?

Yes, we joke about their team of Orcs and we actively dislike both the Orc Leader and his henchmen,they deserve it,  but for their fans to boo a young man who has been seriously damaged in front of them is beyond ignorant. These people deserved National castigation, instead on MOTD the fool Lineker imitated their aping of Wenger ( fairplay to Hansen who condemned their behavior).

Did the Head Orc (Pulis) say anything …. No, of course not. Did anyone at Stoke? No. They silently condone the booing. Have the FA said anything? No, of course not.  Redknapp or Rednose (SAF) get abuse and the media are up in arms – yet  there was nothing was in the press about the behavior of the Orcs, apart from laughing at Wenger.

Fans:  Over the years, my dislike of  The N15 Neanderthals has lessened due to their comedic ability to grab tiny seeds of hope and blow them into successes (“We’re going to win the the League, or Bale is World Class” ).  West Ham and then Chelsea became my most disliked opposition (thanks to their racist and fascist fans), but when T-Shirts are made with “MInd the Gap” on them and they are then displayed at THOF, things have gone too far….. HaHaHaHaHaHa.

Club Action: Can anything be less enlightened than a Club and manager supporting a player who has been judged to make a racist remark? And then to wear t-shirts in support of said player? Liverpool shamed their great tradition and for that alone Dalglish deserved his dismissal. For a club who are rightly so sensitive about their history, this wasn’t just  misjudged, it was an act of madness.  Whether Suareze is a racist or not was not the issue –  he was found guilty of making a racist remark not of being a racist. How could the management of Liverpool get it so wrong?

Management Action:  Capello and England. I come from a generation of fans to whom being Captain of England is the very pinnacle of achievement. To Captain your country at Cricket or Football was not just a job given to the most experienced player, it was a mark of the respect the sport had for the incumbent. The idea that love-cheat, bribe taker and now racist John Terry has worn the same armband as Bobby Moore and Billy Wright is just sad.  That it took the Ferdinand affair to remove him of the Captaincy speaks volumes for The FA’s lack of understanding of our footballing heritage. As to the CL Final appearance – words fail me.

What are your off-pitch low-points? How do you think the Press write about Arsenal, are they even-handed? Do we get worse press than any other club? Do you think the Board of Directors are finally getting their act together or are they ruining our club? And what of the fitness regime’s? How is it that our players were in the Red and Wigan’s weren’t?

Written by Big Raddy

England relieve the pressure on Arsenal supporters

June 19, 2010

Well what a load of rubbish our national side dished up last night. My immediate post match reaction was all about anger and disappointment rather than logical analysis – just like when Arsenal have a poor game. Of course it’s all football and not surprising that the emotion is similar when watching England as watching Arsenal.

Arsenal will always come before England in my heart, but I’ll watch a game in the park and find myself urging one team to win even though I’ve never seen them play before.

All this got me thinking about the parallels between a poor England performance and a poor Arsenal performance.

The big question that applies to both is….. are the players to blame or the manager?

Did Capello become a bad manager in the last week? Do we have a different Arsène Wenger in charge compared to the one who orchestrated the Invincibles?

The England side lacked balance. Players were played out of position – Gerrard wide left; Heskey just a magnet for the long ball with no end product; Lampard there just for his reputation. Joe Cole was the only player available who could produce some magic and he was left sitting on the bench. I’m 100% sure that if Theo had been on the bench he would have been brought on last night, but he wasn’t even in the squad – BIG mistake.

The manager clearly failed to say anthing to make a difference in his half-time team talk and he didn’t select the players from the bench who were capable of turning the game around. I don’t buy the argument that the players are overpaid prima donnas who couldn’t care. To me they looked like they wanted it too much, were scared of failure and could not handle the pressure despite their wealth of experience. I consider Capello to be the most culpable for England’s poor performance.

Arsenal too have been guilty of fielding sides that lack balance and using players out of position. We have favoured players who by all accounts are brilliant in training but fail to reproduce that form in matches. We have looked clueless and lacking in a plan B, so logically, one would expect to apportion most of the blame to the manager – and as we are all aware, many supporters take that view to extremes.

Here I think the comparison falls down. Unlike Capello, Arsène is answerable to a Board who’s first concern is the future and financial stability of the club and possibly if I am cynical, the potential future value of their investment. The candy coated PR that Arsenal churn out is blatantly aimed at giving the message thay want us to swallow rather than a true account of activities behind the scenes and Arsène is a pawn in that process. I believe he is currently making statements regarding transfers that he knows are unlikely to come true.

Yes Arsène has made some bewildering team selections and persevered with players who many believe will not make the grade. Sometimes as in the case of Alex Song, he has been proved right andin other cases the jury is still out. But he is the manager and he is paid to make those decisions.

Some of the media mongrels are already calling for Hary Redknapp to replace Capello. Although I’d like to see it simply because it would be great to hear all the whinging totnum fans, I don’t believe he has ability to manage much above the Championship.

So thank you very much Mr. Capello, you have made the self flagellation of being an Arsenal supporter in the transfer window just a bit more tollerable. I wonder if Mr. Wenger has a wry smile on his face when he witnesses the fierce condemnation that his contemporaries Domenech and Capello are being subjected to.

Theo Bashing Starts Today …….. Integrity Costs Nothing

March 4, 2010

Shortly after the game last night the knives were already out for Theo but if Lampard had converted the chance created  by him in the opening five minutes it could have been an entirely different story.

We’ve seen how Theo is a confidence player and as he started the game intelligently the goal could have changed how he performed the rest of the half.  He faded badly but in his defence he wasn’t included in the game as both Brown and Lampard seemed to forget he was there.  England started to tick when Crouch’s first goal went and sadly Theo had already left the field.

It would seem that Capello likes Theo and is prepared to give him chances in the same way as Wenger does.  For Theo to be included in the World Cup squad he needs now to produce some form for us and I’m sure that he’ll get that chance.

In his pre-match interview, Fabio Capello blamed the off-field problems of some of his England stars on the vast wealth they have accumilated as young men. Anyone with an ounce of common sense would realise that paying  a starting wage of £1k a week at 17 rising to anything from £20k to £160k is going to lead to a lack of judgement and a culture of irresponsibility.

The current  scandal involving  Wayne Bridge and John Terry has undermined the England team spirit. Previous embarrassments caused by Steven Gerrard and Wayne Rooney and the antics of Ashley Cole have revealed these young men to be selfish and self-indulgent. They think they are untouchable and beyond reproach.

Fabio Capello has urged them to concentrate on their football. To consider whether it’s football or scandal that they want to be remembered for. He wants them to recreate a collective spirit and  to focus on the performance of the team and the style in which they play and not on what happens off the pitch.

I hope the current crop of young lions,  including our Theo Walcott (who reportedly earns £60k per week) are  learning  how to behave. But I have to ask the question – where are the advisors? Capello is clearly unimpressed with how these pampered millionaires handle themselves and cites the same problems in all countries where  football is big business. He has asked the players to be careful in their private lives and to remember they are role models for children and for all fans.

At Arsenal, we have a wage ceiling, but our young players also earn obscene amounts of money.  Luckily we don’t have scandalous behaviour apart from the occassional misdemeanor with cars. Is this due to the guidance of  a team behind the scenes or are our players just more sensible? I would like to think that Arsène Wenger makes sure that his charges get the right advice but maybe hes just lucky.

The agents are only after their own slice of the pie but are they not morally obliged to help manage the wealth that these players with a  8-10 year career are likely to accumulate?

Back to the World Cup, I love the way our country goes nuts when England are in an International competition and if Theo finds his way onto the plane to South Africa and into the squad I’ll be very happy for him. He showed last night that he still knows how to be creative, I feel the criticisms of him are unfair – he hasn’t started a game for England for 8 months and he’s only been fit to start for Arsenal a handful of times. There’s still time time for him to fly the flag for Arsenal – Come on Theo prove them all wrong.