106 Comments

Ivan Gazidis Lets Arsenal Fans Down !

“So what have the Romans ever done for us ?”

Well for much of Arsenal blog world in recent days that should read

“What has Ivan ever done for us (that we don’t take offence to)”

Seriously, what on earth has Ivan said that could possibly offend these great minds and leaders of opinion, or the sheep that accept their agenda driven bullshit?

In case you missed it, Arsenal CEO, Ivan Gazidis, gave his usual pre-season interview to some media outlet or other, this time ESPN. I’m sure many on here could, without seeing it or reading it,give a good guess at what he had to say. Now that is not, like the malcontents claim, because we are some sort of cult, inducted into the mantra of Stan’s(or should that be Arsene’s) mouthpiece, and we lap up and repeat addendum. No its because most of us know the history of our club, not just the Wenger era, or the GG era, I go back to the Mee era, and by saying we know the history of this club, i’m referring to not just what goes on on the pitch, but in fact how the club we support, is actually run, and has been run in the vast majority, if not all its, long history. Arsenal is run, and has been as long as I’ve been a Gooner (almost 50 years), as a self sustaining club, that, does not do panic, that by and large, sticks by its managers, its players, and does not let the media influence or disrupt our plans, long or short term plans.

We would have expected Ivan to tell us that Arsenal are

behind our manager
still believe in him
believe in him, not for his history, but cos we know the work he is doing for us now, and that he still has the vision, the drive, the talent and the forsight that is good for the club,
disappointed that we did not win the league last season
top 4 is not good enough and we want to win the league
are continually upgrading all aspects of the club, not just the team/squad, but also analytical, medical, training, infrastructure, you name it, we are trying to improve it
we have, or to be more precise, we are working, to a long term plan
this long term plan is reviewed and amended where needed continually
we have lots of money
but others have more
we can not spend £100M on one player
so we have to spend our money intelligently
getting the right player, is more important than getting the most expensive player
just because a player is highly talented, it does not mean he is suited to our style of play or would improve us,
it’s getting the player that fits,
we buy big too,(Xhaka remains the most expensive player bought by a BPL club so far this summer) but we also believe in promoting from within
Leicester showed that there are more ways than one to skin a cat, and we should copy the best bits from them, just as we copy bits from other clubs as we see fit.

Guess what? Ivan did tell us all of it, – AGAIN, Ivan with the same as he said last year, and the year before, they say, totally missing the point, that we, just as he told them, again, this year, and last year and the year before, are working to a plan, a short term one, and a long term one. So why the feck would we abandon the path we believe in, we believe is right, believe is TRUE, to the ethos of the club?

Now a certain section of the fan base is up in arms, in fact they tell us they are offended, by Ivan’s words. These are the sort of people that like to tell us that Arsenal embarrass them, that they are ashamed to support the club, and on that note, many of them seem to have a very loose definition of what support is, as they never have a good word to say about anything AFC, they say they do not spend on merchandise, and loads of them (almost as many as claim to have been at WHL last game of 71 season, or to be more relevant to most of them, maybe I should say, almost as many as claim to have been at the league winning game at Anfield, in their favorite managers era, yes bung-meister himself George Graham) claim to have given up their season ticket(no wonder there is so much room for the “tourists”).

So the embarrassed and offended fans, don’t have a good word to say about Arsenal, don’t spend any money on it, and don’t go to games, but it’s the fans who back the club, the manager, the players, and agree with the club being run along the lines it has always been, are the ones holding the club back. Well, that is, after Wenger, Ivan, Stan, Per, Ramsey, Giroud, Walcott.

So I say to the offended, go on, be offended, that is your right, its also your problem, and yours alone, if you need Arsenal to help you in some playground dick swinging contest, and Arsenal are not interested, and this offends you, maybe you should have a good long look at yourself, and your reasons for being an Arsenal fan, and maybe, just maybe, it’s not Arsenal, but you, yourself, that the offence originates in, and yes, you should be ashamed, and offended, and don’t ask what has the Ivan ever did for us.

 

Thanks to Eduardo for today’s post

101 Comments

Arsenal: Another Year, Another Wexit?

 

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Greetings Positivistas! Whether we like it or not our football holiday is almost over.  The Arsenal troops are reassembling, there is the smell of gunpowder, canons are being cleaned, occasional explosions are being heard; a clear signal that the competitive battle in the EPL is about to resume.

OK my metaphors may be overblown but today’s game with RC Lens is the definitive sign that the 2016-17 season is almost upon us. Hard to believe that in four weeks 8-9 months of annual football warfare will resume.

While some of us may have been somnolent during this holiday winter, the outside world has been awash with dramatic events which in my opinion will eventually have some impact on our footballing lives.  Chief among them was the BREXIT, a subject which was very precious to many of us on this blog. Despite the temptation, unlike President Obama, I decided against offering an opinion since I am not a Briton and won’t have to live with the consequences.

But the thing that struck me most during and after the referendum is how similar it was to the annual WEXIT we Arsenal fans have had to live through, at least for the past five years. The evidence is abundant.

By 2011, six years had passed since the club had last won a meaningful trophy. After the shock defeat in the League Cup final to Birmingham City, of all the clubs, the unimaginable became apparent. After years of disparaging other club supporters for being fickle and reactive to short term results our fans begun to publicly question the future of their most successful manager.  This was reflected in the mainstream media when CNN’s Ben Wyatt wrote a piece published April 25, 2011 under the headline: Has Time Run Out For Arsene Wenger

“There will be calls for the Wenger tenure to end, for the man who delivered so much to be deposed now his Midas touch has seemingly vanished.”

Later that October, one Mirti Murunj writing for a publication Run Of Play opined that:

“No philosophy, not even the most transformative, should go on forever”

The shit was really to hit the fan at the beginning of the 2011-12 season when Barcelona finally completed its 2-year seduction of Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri’s half season goal explosion the previous season was to see him succumb to Sheik Mansour ad Manchester City poking big bills in his garter belt. As Wenger himself was forced to admit, Arsenal could no longer count itself as a big club when it was losing its best players to bigger clubs. Arguably the nadir of the season, exposing how much the club was weakened, was the 8-2 shellacking by Manchester United. The Arsenal Action blog pulled no punches and declared “Wenger Out”. Sounds familiar?

Unlike the BREXIT, despite five years of incessant campaigning by a noisy, whiny, self entitled minority of Arsenal fans who are enabled by the mainstream media, the annual WEXIT has been unsuccessful. Last Spring when I made my first ever trip to the Emirates, I witnessed the last desperate and eventually futile attempt to conduct an in-stadium referendum. As we all know, Wenger was the clear winner forcing even that noisy anti-Arsene celebrity phone hacker, Piers Morgan to concede defeat.

Despite never falling out of the top-four in his twenty years at the club (unlike United, Chelsea, City and Liverpool) and his prudence in running the club despite an era of the greatest ever financial excesses, exemplified by United’s willingness to pay over £100 million to buy-back a player they released on a free only four years earlier, the upcoming season will see more desperate attempts to unseat Arsene.  The Daily Cannon’s Helen Trantum  on Jube 24, 2016 did not express whether she was for Leave or Remain but the headline of her blog was very telling:

“Can we have a referendum on Arsene?”

But the sage of Dublin is taking no chances. He has been stirring up his massive following with portents of doom simply because Ivan Gazidis had the temerity to make an empirical observation in an exclusive interview with ESPN FC:

“The big clubs can’t financially bully the smaller clubs in the way they used to, so I think a lot of the differentiators between clubs become more subtle now,”

“It’s how well you can identify talent. It’s how well you can develop talent. It’s how strong your club philosophy is. It’s how together you are as a football club, what your support services are like in the medical field, fitness, analytics, psychology. All of these things become differentiators.”

As said in the past, the sage usually speaks out of two sides of his mouth and today’s blog was no different. While in the past attacking other clubs spending massive amounts of money on mediocre players and praising Leicester City for defying conventional wisdom by proving you can win the League without spending massive amounts of money, he proceeds to deliver the following howler:

“Look, I’m all for a bit of common sense in a world gone mad, but isn’t the message we get from Gazidis indicative of what frustrates people about this club? We have an absolute fortune at our disposal to use to buy players to make the team better and more competitive – yet the Chief Executive is focusing on clubs who can spend more, and citing a once-off fluke season from a team who will never win the league again as a model for success.”

But inevitably the target had to be Wenger, all others are collateral damage:

It’s not about what other clubs do with their cash, it’s about what we do with ours, but we know that Arsene Wenger is a man obsessed with value.  

WTF you may ask? Isn’t the interview with Ivan Gazidis? Isn’t he the boss, the chief executive? Clearly not, if you go by the sage of Dublin.

Strap yourselves in boys and girls, the fun has just begun.

377 Comments

Fans Take New Signing Badly ! What’s New?

So ,Arsene Wenger is proven right once again – nothing new there says you ?

Last season the malcontents took umbridge when AW said, when discussing how LCFC were able to sign the likes of Mahrez and Kante, despite the big clubs having the exact same scouting info on both players, that a section of Arsenal fans would react negatively if AFC bought a player for £400k, that they did not want to see an unknown signed.
The malcontents told us this was bollocks, yet look at the reaction of the malcontents to the signing of Takuma Asano.
Not only is there negative hysteria from them, its xenophobic, and in some cases downright racist. We also have the brainless soundbite that its a “commercial” signing, or a “shirt sales” signing.
One of the most laughable reasons (should that not be excuses, as I know they like to use that term, when it suits them), for their over the top reaction to this signing, is that it is “all Arsenal FC’s fault”, as they should know better than to announce his signing when Utd have announced Mkhitaryan and Zlatan. They say AFC should have waited till we had a big name(money) signing done and slip in the news about Asano, with it.
So to compound their initial attacks on both AFC and Asano, they have totally disrespected the player again.
Does Takuma Asano not deserve respect, is he not a full International, is he not likely to be playing at the Olympics, did he not have up to 200 scouts running the rule over him at the Toulon U21 tournament in the summer, is he not a big star in his home country, is he not young player of the year in his homeland(their Dele Alli per say, but without the hype)?

Does he not deserve the chance in his last couple of game for them, to say goodbye to his club, their fans, his team mates?

 

Arsenal announced the deal, cos the story had broken in Japan, Asano was already getting asked lots of questions about it, and he had admitted the move was happening, he even said that the only thing to be decided was if he would join up directly with AFC, or go on loan to get used to European football.

 

A post stolen from the comments section by eduardo792

122 Comments

A Bird In The Hand

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There’s a priceless piece of dialogue from the pen of the wonderful David Nobbs on a subject which has, just this morning, provided the sand in my emotional Vaseline. His character, known to us only by his initials CJ, is expounding upon the theme of trite, stereotyped phraseology of the kind employed by lazy minds to express popular or common thoughts and ideas. Phrases entirely lacking in originality, ingenuity, and, thanks to their chronic overexposure, expressions which are so devoid of impact as to be utterly pointless.

The speech went something like this:

“Mrs C.J. and I have always avoided clichés like the plague. A cliché to me is like a red rag to a bull. However, it’s the exception that proves the rule, as they say, and there is one cliché that fits my situation like a glove: Necessity is the mother of intention.”

All writers slide into cliché, even humble part time amateur bloggers such as myself are no exception. The trick isn’t never to fall foul of the hackneyed phrase, it is rather to do one’s darnedest to avoid it wherever one can. Where the use of cliché is utterly beyond the pale isn’t when it is used as seasoning in an otherwise ordinary piece of prose. It seems to me to achieve its nadir of useless, shallow emptiness when employed as the central thrust of somebody’s argument.

Today, like birdsong, flowers and late sunsets, that hardy annual of the Transfer window has arrived right on cue to ruffle my feathers and send me running for the Anderson Shelter. Today for the first time this summer, I read the expression ‘to show intent’ in regard to the buying of players to augment our squad.

Arsène (or Wenger as he is invariably and rudely referred to by his own supporters. Or at least people who claim to support the club and therefore ought to be his supporters) needs to spend a lot of money or buy a lot of players or less players but players of the highest calibre because then he will be showing intent.

Now I’m no saint. Like you, I suspect, I’ve typed more than a few shallow, ill conceived lines and bunged them up on the internet in a thoughtless moment. So I don’t condemn everyone who uses this ridiculous phrase. Maybe they intended something else and didn’t get up today with the single intention of driving a splintered length of four by two up my backside.

But come on. Expend upon it the briefest moment of thought and really, what on earth is it supposed to mean? Transfers are complex and difficult to conclude. Expensive, drawn out and fraught with any number of complexities, of which you and I can know very little. What we can know with great certainty is that they serve one of two very simple purposes. To replace players who have left the club and to improve upon those already in the squad. That’s it. You do not engage the services of a highly paid professional footballer to send out a message of intent.

Arsène Wenger’s intentions are crystal clear. He wants to win as many games and competitions as he can. There is no doubt about this, it isn’t up for debate. Were he to buy someone simply to convey some sort of message, I ask you, who would this message be for? His rivals? The media? The fans?

His rivals already know he is serious about his job, if they don’t they’re idiots and need to look for alternative employment. The media have their own agenda and will stick slavishly to it regardless of what he does or doesn’t do. As a fan I don’t want him to spend a fortune of the club’s hard earned just to send me a message. That would be ridiculous.

So please do not repeat this awful phrase. Arsène doesn’t need to show anyone ‘intent’. His intentions are not and have never been in question. Why not watch the remaining matches of the European championships, then when they’re over have a little rest from football. Leave the professionals to do their jobs and buy the players they are able to buy and when the new season starts just try to enjoy it regardless of who did and didn’t sign in  this wretched window.

Oh, and leave the clichés to those without your wit and imagination. You know you can do better.

 

203 Comments

Arsenal – You do know the way to San Jose ?

Ck6cKZIWsAA8l-m (1)Good Morning Positivistas,

I thought I would out pen to paper this Sunday morning as it is weeks since I have had anything to write about on the Arsenal theme, and the past few days have rather rocked the Positive++ in me to their foundations.

I had hoped some Arsenal news might emerge to hang a written contribution on, but so far nothing. The best I can come up with is that we start out season in the Avaya Stadium, San Jose on the 28th July, as you all well know. By then we may, or may not, sign a new player or two. By the day no doubt another dozen names will have been in and out of the sorting hat. Those revelations hardly fulfil my mission to inform and to explain though.

Nevertheless there is international football to look forward to today. The opening group round of the Euros were mostly good games, tight contests with a pleasing number of the under-dogs biting the noses of the bigger hounds, most notably group winners Wales and Hungary.

All our AFC lads did well, Aaron, Olivier and Granit, the three most decisive. Tomas departure was a shame, though not unexpected. At least he played his last game in a fighting 2-2 come back against the crazed Croatians, rather than his career being signed off on the treatment table. And Jack ? I suspect if England are to make any genuine impression in the tournament they ( we) desperately need Jack to start, and to be the creative focus of the team. Not one of the starting England midfield appear to have the nous to open a defence up, to play a decisive ball.

Yesterday’s first knock out round, or what I saw, was a bit of let down, and all a bit cruel. A great goal from Shaquiri worthy of wining a tournament was undone by a penalty contest, and the Ulstermen managed to go out to an own goal. The Portuguese and the Croatians both played cautiously I thought, within themselves, and that was a looooooong 120 minutes. Portugal the lucky winners, though the exit of pouting tart superstar is postponed for another night only as they lack quality.

I trust the French and the Irish will release any metaphorical handbrakes and get down to business early today. Mesut follows that and we shall see if the Germans can beat a way through the Slovak lines any more successfully than England ?

That is it – whimsical musing over. Enjoy your Sunday.

332 Comments

Just What Do We Support?

By the time you read this it is possible that Jamie Vardy may have been announced as the second major signing of the summer. If so it will be an almost Fergusonian transfer. Buying the star striker of a top four rival, spending big to cover a temporary injury problem on a player with only a couple of years left in the tank. Aggressive, positive and short term. Well, possibly – that is one interpretation.

Of course Vardy might simply prove to be this summer’s Higuaín. A steaming heap of click baiting baloney providing social media know alls and bloggers like me the opportunity to spout ill informed bollocks about something which was never going to happen in the first place.

I’ll be up front with you; I don’t give a hoot either way. Similarly the Suarez transfer never interested me in the slightest quite simply because it never happened and never came close to happening. It was as worthwhile a use of our time and attention as a discussion on whether or not the earth is flat.

I no longer get angry when people follow up on the journalist’s daydreams and discuss them in all earnest – after all like the flat earthers they do no one else any real harm. They’re entertaining a fantasy which engages and amuses them. So what? The real transfers happen in due course and all the stupid pointless arguments and debates about the hallucinatory targets and fees evaporate like the hot air they always were.

So it isn’t the existence of the Vardy rumours which interests me. It isn’t even the moral debate which signing such a player, even in merely hypothetical terms, has provoked among my friends and other contacts. What made me prick up my ears was a conversation with my wife, a person with less interest in football than I have in macramé, as we traversed the car park of our local Lidl.

I’d outlined the problems people were having stomaching the thought of cheering on a man who has proven to be of dubious moral fibre. ‘But you can’t control that’, she said, ‘you have no say in the players you support. Someone else hires them, someone else picks them. In any case they change every year until after a while the entire team has altered and yet still you support it. Heck the manager and coaches change, the kit and the badge change and even the stadium can change, and still you support it.’

Then came the sixty four thousand dollar question. ‘What exactly do you support? If The Arsenal is like some huge, complex Trigger’s broom, what is it you are actually throwing your weight behind?’ My mouth opened and closed a few times as I absently stowed a half dozen bags of cut price and highly tasty groceries into the trusty Hyundai Matrix.

We can kid ourselves it’s the ethical nature of the club and quietly overlook the scandal of allowing people to work in and around the stadium on match days for less than a decent living wage. We can point to our players’ avoiding the tabloid excesses of those from other clubs as if they were saints rather than simply well drilled and controlled. We can dislike the politics of someone from Leicester City and assume none of the current or past squad are raving right wingers in favour of politicians who’s sole aim is the destruction of all that is decent in our society.

We can make a big deal of Arsène Wenger’s decency, the unquestioned statesmanlike dignity with which he manages our club, but then what if someone like Jose Mourinho was appointed in his stead? We wouldn’t stop supporting would we? We’d perform like moral contortionists, make our excuses and go on cheering for the team.

We stand on feet of clay and I suggest we have no option but to find shoes to fit them. It’s distasteful sometimes but what can we do? The only option is to support someone else and good luck finding another team any better or more consistent with your moral stance. I suppose one could just give up following the sport at all, but where would be the fun in that?

So what did I conclude in the supermarket car park? What exactly do I support? If not the players, manager, owners, stadium, crest or shirt then what? In the end I decided all I was left with was the name. It seems that I support The Arsenal. And like my marriage I do so for better or for worse.

149 Comments

Arsenal Fans Are Being Fooled.

Today a guest post from @foreverheady
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