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If you live outside of the UK are you really a true Arsenal fan?

@GoonerReverend reviews Arsenal fans far and near 

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There has been a lot of recent debate about what constitutes a ‘real’ Arsenal football fan & in some cases this has led to the discounting the army of supporters that live outside the UK. The notion of a tight geographical fanbase might have been the case 30-40 years ago when football support was still traditionally based on local communities and in part where you were born and who your Grandfather and Father supported but that all changed with the advent of globalised TV coverage and then subsequently the inception of the internet and social media.

This has been highlighted even more so in recent times with a number of incidents on social media involving former players, TV pundits, high profile fans and fan platforms questioning the passion, footballing knowledge & the right to support of the overseas fans. In one particular incident one leading member of a fan platform stated that you are not a real fan of the club unless you followed the team home & away every week. This of course is a ludicrous statement and was quite rightly shouted down by many fans both in the UK and overseas for being exactly what it was an ‘attention seeking’ comment.

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In another case a sometime wannnabe media personality questioned an Indian Arsenal fan online stating you don’t go to games like me so you are not a real fan & as such have no right to comment. Then of course there was the ex-player going to town on the expat Brit now living in the States & calling into question his suitability to call himself a fan. Many of these fan comments are throw away lines used to taunt someone in the heat of debate or argument but unfortunately there are those in the minority who actually believe that they are superior or the only real fans because they attend games.

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The truth is that all football fans cannot dictate where they are born and in many cases it is simply not possible to get from their home to the game every week because it is logistically & financially impossible. The over used argument from some UK based fans is that they pay two thousand pounds for a season ticket which entitles them to be recognised over and above any fan living outside of the UK. The fact is that a season ticket does not make you superior nor does it entitle you to act superior over any other fan and if anything it’s a privilege and should be enjoyed as such. No one forces you to pay for a season ticket you do it because you want to and because you can and also because AFC have afforded you the right to purchase one over a long list of names waiting for the same privilege.

The other well-worn cliché is that these foreign fans who may attend a game once or twice a year are nothing more than tourists and dilute the fan base and the atmosphere at the ground. On a recent trip back to London to watch a game an Asian friend of mine spent £1,300 and took 3 days away from work just to attend the Everton game. When I asked him if the trip was worth the money he said it was the most magical moment of his football supporting life & he will do it again in September. That is an awful lot of money to spend on one game of football as well as being away from work for 3 days but yet he said it was all worth it without question. On my recent business trip back to London I was in a pub listening to an Arsenal fan complaining to his mates about Asian fans taking pictures of themselves in the Emirates before kick-off then he proceeded to show a picture of them taking their picture on his mobile phone. When I pointed out to him that he was equally guilty of the same thing he was accusing them off he merely shrugged & said they are only tourists aren’t they. I am an expat Englishman from Fortis Green, Muswell Hill in North London. I grew up a Gooner thanks to my Grandad and Dad as was lucky enough to attend many games both home and away for many years as part of our family group. I was lucky enough to be born in the district in the UK to Arsenal loving parents and I was lucky enough to be able to attend games on a regular basis. Many fans I meet as I travel around the world have never seen Arsenal play live as distance and cost make it difficult for them to get to games in the UK yet they follow Arsenal week in week out. Some can only see Arsenal when they make one of their overseas tours which have become all the rage in recent years. In 2015 Arsenal played Everton at the Singapore National Stadium on their Asian tour and over 50,000 fans crammed in to watch their team play. The atmosphere was electric and the fans sang their hearts out for the entire evening & the place sounded like an English football ground. Many had waited years for this moment and when it finally arrived demand for tickets over the 2 days of games was frenetic with demand far outstripping supply.

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In 2016 Arsenal travelled to Australia on another overseas tour and in the game my son attended there were over 70,000 fans at the Olympic Stadium to watch Arsenal take on Sydney FC. Again tickets were snapped up by the football loving public hungry to see their PL team in Action proving that Arsenal could sell out any stadium outside of the UK such is the following and appetite for the club by foreign fans… Football is such a global game these days and teams like Arsenal are global brands so these tours and games are essential for the clubs to stay in touch with their ever increasing global fan base.

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When Arsenal are playing in the mid-week European competition many fans around the world have to set their alarm clocks to get up at a ridiculous hour on a work day to watch the game. Social media and more specifically twitter has given us the ability to communicate directly with each other at stupid o clock and very often laugh at each other circumstance online. In my mind this is absolute support from the many fans who live in the far flung corners of the world where the Arsenal and its stars are idolised. They don’t have to get out of bed to watch the game before getting ready for a full day’s work but they do because of their love and absolute commitment to their team.

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The days of Arsenal being a local North London club solely supported by local North London fans is well and truly over. Those days ended with my Grandfather & Fathers era. Many of the fans calling out overseas fans as tourists and not real Arsenal fans are not from North London either so it’s all a bit hypocritical as well as being completely unnecessary. Arsenal have over 12 million fans on the social media platform twitter and the majority of them live outside the UK. If you are one of the fans lucky enough to be able to attend Arsenal games regularly then you should count yourself lucky that you are able to attend in person because you were fortunate enough to be born in the UK. In my 20 years of traveling the world for business I have met Arsenal fans from all walks of life from all corners of the globe and I have found them to be as passionate, loyal and knowledgeable as any Arsenal fan in the UK and to brand them as no-knowledge tourists who don’t understand the game is insulting, inaccurate and ignorant. Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium has a capacity of just over 60,000 & and getting a seat at a game is only available to the very few… Just because one person lives in Manila in the Philippines it doesn’t make them any less of an Arsenal Fan than the person living in Islington or Haringey.

 

Overseas Arsenal fans deserve admiration and respect because they literally have to go that extra mile to support the team many of us take for granted.

Hear endeth the first lesson 

74 Comments

Ice Station Arsenal

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Good morning Positives,

A trip to Ostersunds the most mysterious of mystery trips. The home side with a very respectable set of results in Europe, a sub zero night, a plastic pitch, our not-quite first team on display. What would the evening hold ??

For those who saw the game a professional performance  from our lads against opponents who, for the opening 25 minutes ,appeared totally bemused by the event, like a bear woken unexpectedly from hibernation. From what  ( little) I understand about Swedish football they never play competitive games in February so their lethargy when suddenly confronted with a fully firing Gunner battery was understandable. At 2-0 even I was hoping the home side might pull themselves together and make  a game of it.

And having roused themselves Ostersunds did make a better contest of the next hour, drawing a couple of sharp saves from Ospina as well as as his confident penalty stop, and ensuring AMN, Mo and Ozil had a good run round in midfield. For me our best players on the night were Mhki and Hector, the young Spaniard seems to have recovered his spark for the game in recent weeks. And

Danny did OK, worked hard, made space but needed to be  a bit more decisive in front of goal i.e. greedy. Next Thursday he should get a second bite of the cherry and add to his goals scored tally.

I am pleased we got the third, an important psychological marker. Admittedly 3-0 is not quite the “tie totally put to bed” score Arsene was probably hoping for, but the job is done.

And on a final point, what a ‘liberal’ referee ! He gave almost nothing by way of fouls for either side, and not a card all evening. I checked out the Soccerbase statistics for Senor David José Fernández Borbalán. He is a highly experienced Spanish referee who domestically,  in CL and Europa League games, flashes yellow and red cards like a traffic light – Perhaps the cold got to him ?

Enjoy Friday.

 

 

 

 

161 Comments

Anti Arsenal Bias?

Mike dean vs Arsene Wenger

 

This site was set up not for me, or the other blog post authors, to impress people with their knowledge (or lack thereof ),but for intelligent positive fans for discuss The Arsenal free from the pollution of most comments sections in Arsenal blogs. Every once and a while a comment is so well constructed  that I just have to publish it as a blog. Below is one such post.

Pedantic George @arseblagger.

 

The PGMOL are too secretive to be seen as fair and unaccountable, and what fair and unaccountable organisation offers fifty grand hush money.
Arsene Wenger, after the west Brom mike Dean debacle says he has been in the game in this country for thirty years, and he had heard things, and stands by what he said after that game, it later transpires he called mike Dean a f*cking cheat, dishonest or something along those lines, if Wenger said that , I believe him. On the word of an honest man, and what I have seen Mike Dean do to this team over the years, yes there will be convenient exceptions, but we know what we see.
Arsenal are the only top club consistently in a negative penalty balance, year upon year after mike Riley was installed by Fergie and his LMA yes men, including big Sam, a man whose influence exceeds his talent, and integrity. A constant stream of dodgy pens against costs points, Mad Jens said similar recently.
As for the famed Utd bias, it certainly existed under Fergie, two plus seasons no penalties against at OT, Fergie time. It may have abated post Fergie, but during his time, when ex referees have gone on record saying he had the power to select referees, if a manager can select refs, sounds similar to an Italian word I cannot spell beginning with C. The Utd bias, corruption, bullying, call it what you will existed, the media just laughed at it.
Arsenal and Wenger have been systematically defrauded in this league, look at any metric, penalty bias, cards per foul, injuries inflicted on players, media bias, a respected manager called a paedophile from day one, Xhaka’s tackles, the alleged Eduardo dive, referees making false claims against Wenger, LMA manager sucking up to Fergie making false claims against Cesc.
It is all out there. Other supporters of other clubs may claim the same, but I sincerely doubt if Utd , Chelsea, City, Liverpool or Spurs fans could match the charge sheet of injustices against our team and manager, and if they could come close, the media would be all over it.
Mike Riley is a weak and willing foot soldier put in place by those who wanted the English game over Wenger’s continental approach which threatened one influential manager especially. Mike Riley was a poor referee, and is now an even worse administrator and communicator, as ex refs have confirmed. He is only in place as an establishment lick-arse who will maintain whatever status quo those above him tell him. I often wonder if someone in high place has something on him. He has power over referees careers. Wenger was a victim of Mike Riley, and those he serves corruption in a game we all remember, as he has been many times since.
These are not all errors from refs, this is not objective reporting from the media, it is no coincidence so many of our player have been maimed, only for the ” he’s not that sort of player ” to appear next day in the papers, this is a campaign to rid the English game of a manager who has , from day one, refused to play the English game, to his eternal credit

186 Comments

Arsenal: Before the cock crow

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Good afternoon Positive Arsenal fans,

A fine game of football between two high quality sides, both sets of players underlining the professional  aspect of their trade, with a display of concentration and controlled physical aggression over 94 minutes. Clearly defeat at the end of the contest is a sour result but I’ve no serious complaint. 1-0 did not flatter them.

Of our brave lads I thought it was an excellent defensive display. Admittedly we  were clinging on at times as the Totties cut into us,  ragged in the opening ten minutes of the second half which cost us, and Cech made 2-3 good stops. Some of Petr’s footwork was a little alarming today but nothing the matter with his positioning , handling or shot stopping. Bloody hell that 200th clean sheet is proving an albatross for our stopper though. Our defensive unit of Kosc, Shkodran, and Nacho gave  110% and Hector, in my opinion,  was our best player.

Further forward was probably the difference between the teams today. It was always likely to be difficult to control the ball, hence our set up in the first half to hit them on the breakaway. But we just did not make enough of the possession we had. It was c. 70 minutes until our first shot or header on goal I think ? That is just not us !

Of the midfield personnel Jack was our most creative player, Granit dependable and did not waste the ball, and Mo made 50 blocks, tackles, half tackles, nudges etc.   I thought Mesut had a poor game today by his formidable standards, though he had little time or space to work in as a white swarm settled on him.

The last fifteen minutes  we just began to get a modicum of control, and for the first time in the match seemed to have more possession At last we huffed and we puffed a little. But even then the home’s side seemed steady, and held us at arm’s length.

I had probably settled for the defeat by the 90th minute, to everyone’s surprise the 4th official popped up 4 additional minutes. And being football of course we then created two clear cut chances, both of which certainly should at least have drawn a  same from Lloris, but neither of which were on target. What a  different mood I would be in if either strike from the Frenchman had gone where they should have. I suspect Lacazette feels worse than I do about those two disappointing efforts, but he is a hard man to read, facially speaking.

So there we go – gritted teeth – beaten on the day by the ………….bbbb…  bbbbeee….

No I just can’t do it.

Enjoy the rest of the weekend.

 

 

60 Comments

Who’s Home Is It Anyway?

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A preview From  @LaboGoon  and the much loved Frank’s masterpiece
Good morning one and all.
Arsenal take the short trip to Wembley to face North London rivals Tottenham Hotspurs. Given the little there is to play for this season, I’m sure all involved know of the importance of this particular fixture.
We’ve seen the graphics on tv, the bold headlines echoing Pochettino’s words: “Wembley is starting to feel good”. He ain’t lying as Totnum hasn’t lost a game there since the 20th of August. Since 2013/14 Wembley has been very kind to us too, some might say even better with 9 wins in 9 games. Hopefully that dampens any concerns some may have over our form away from the Emirates as both teams should feel right at home.
This is a game all Gooners want the team to win, and I think they can but Spurs will be thinking exactly the same. So whatever they do we will need to do so much better. Which over the last few years hasn’t been an easy task for most teams as they are good at both ends of the pitch – solid in defense with the ability to cause damage on the other end if given half a chance.
So we will have to be very careful, especially at the back with Poch being rather brazen about “tricking” the refs and opposition by means of simulation to win penalties. Leaving little room for complacency since we cannot rely on the officials to enforce the rules of the game, given their affection for the theatrics and “game management”.
Spurs come into this game off the back of an unbeaten run in 8 PL games, our win last Saturday over Everton was just what we needed and seeing our new boys integrating so well even better. We were sound defensively and created chances and scored abundantly. Keep that intensity going in what could be a very open game, and we won’t be starved for chances.
I’m expecting a close game… with the team that remain switched on throughout the 90 minutes enjoying a very great weekend.
On team news: bar Petr Cech we can expect an unchanged team from last weekend. So clear those throats to shouts OooooosPINA! I heard he got a good save in him for a penalty or two.
To all going to the game today… you know Wembley is home so do make those Spuds feel very unwelcome. The rest watching on the small screen better stay glued ’cause this could be a real doozy. Enjoy!
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cock and bull

 

I was mugged in Seven Sisters.

To be accurate I was attacked in Seven Sisters since nothing was stolen.

Cold bloodedly gratuitously attacked.  A summer afternoon several decades ago spent with a friend and I was heading home to Tufnell Park.  It was an early evening in July but I could hardly see as I turned into the tunnel heading for the tube, eating sausage and chips.  Out of nowhere something hit me on the back of the head and just as I turned, a fist hit me in the mouth.  I fell to the ground in a daze and the protagonists proceeded to kick the living shit out of me.

There was a lot a ‘fackin’ this’ and ‘kantin that’ as the boots went in and afterwards just the sound of nasal snickering.  Before I passed out I caught a glimpse of two of them.  One in white trousers and a bowler hat with ‘Tottenham Droogies’ written across the back.  The other had calf-length faded jeans, docs, white tee shirt, braces …. and a tattoo on his forearm.

A tattoo of a cock and ball.

I must have been out for a while because when I woke up, the ends of the tunnel were dark.  The reek of urine and unwashed bodies was only just bearable.  I was surrounded by squashed chips and, nestling in the gutter by the wall with not a bite out of it, was my sausage.  My head hurt like hell, split lip, bumps and bruises all over but I seemed to be OK.

I’d got away with it.

Could have been killed.  Could have been maimed or paralyzed for life.  Thankfully I had done what most blokes who are being kicked in the head do, I protected my privates.  Death is preferable to castration.

I had survived.

Slowly I got up.  I just wanted to get home.  Brushed off the fag ends, chewing gum, dog shit.  Stretched out my arms and then my legs, moved my head from side to side.  Tested my aching bones.  Nothing broken.  Lets go home, Frank.  Then someone behind me coughed.

I spun round afraid that they had come back to finish me off.

But there standing in front of me was the most beautiful girl I had ever seen.  She had on an ankle length yellow dress and sandals.  She had long, long tresses of red hair and her smile was extraordinary; it could fill a room, or, in this case, a tunnel.  Her smell was intoxicating and as she touched my face with her hand I just knew that she was an angel.

I was dead and on my way to heaven.

She asked me if I was okay.  She asked me if I was in pain.  She asked if there was anything she could do for me … and before I could answer she passed me her guinea pig and started mopping my brow.

Guinea pig?

What the feck?

She gave me a guinea pig?  Well yes she did.  She handed me her guinea pig.  Cleaned me up.  Took her guinea pig back.  Held my hand and took me to Tufnell Park.

That is how I met Maude.

Oh Maude, Maude, Maude – you were perfect.  She took me home to my apartment and stayed for three weeks.  What a three weeks!

Idyllic.

Walking on the Heath.  Drinking in The Flask in Highgate.  Strolling through Waterlow Park.  Saying “hello” to Karl Marx.  Wearing each others’ clothes.

Actually she wore mine, I didn’t wear hers, I really didn’t.  Getting drunk together on Grand Marnier and sick together afterwards.  Listening to a friend play folk songs outside the Admiral Mann.  I even started to read poetry, although it didn’t last.  Mostly though, we just made love.  Anywhere and everywhere.

In that time I was treated to a parade of animals.

Guinea pigs, rats, hamsters, geckos, turtles, tortoises, parrots, budgies, kittens, puppies, fish, snakes, you name it.

Every day she would disappear for a few hours and return with different animals.  Only on Sundays would she return without an animal and on Sunday evenings she was always very tired.  The explanation turned out to be a bit crazy but I could deal with it.  She let on that she was into animal liberation and spent much of her time nicking animals from pet shops and domestic animal stockists.

Her aim in life was to free them all.

Create an animal utopia where they could all live free from human bondage.  How she managed to get plastic bags of tropical fish and a twelve foot python out of a shop without anyone noticing I have no idea.  But she did it.  Insane of course, and I loved her all the more for it.  We were madly, stupidly, giddily happy.

Until that fateful day in early August.

So far we had lived in my flat.  It was OK.  But I was getting more and more curious.  Where did she live?  How long?  What was it like?  Was she sure that she was not using the animals as a cover for her sneaking back to a long time live-in partner or husband?

Joke, sort of.  What was she hiding?

After much cajoling on my part she finally agreed that we could stay at her place.  She lived in a flat on the first floor of a Victorian house on the A10 near to the junction with Clapton Common.  She had been on her way home when she found me in the tunnel.

So off we went.

We spent a pleasant few hours in the Spaniards’ Inn and went to a party with friends in Stoke Newington.  Caught a taxi to hers.  Let ourselves in.

Her living room was full of no-longer-soon-to-be-pets.

It was smelly and it was noisy, but she cleared a space  and we sat and drank tea and chatted amongst the boxes, cages, baskets and tanks.  Finally we fell into bed exhausted.  The following day was Monday and neither of us needed to get up early.  We were very soon fast asleep in each others arms.

We awoke on Monday morning refreshed.  She made cups of tea and brought them back to bed.  Gradually we began to get interested, the way you do.

We kissed and cuddled …

Then Maude whispered that she would like to make love in daylight amongst the trees and birdsong.  Her garden was beautiful at this time of year, she said.  She asked me to open the curtains and open the window.

Oh yes, oh yes, oh yes.

About as excited as I have ever been in my life I leapt out of bed, hopped to the almost full-length sash window and threw open the red velvet curtains to let the sun in …

The No 149 bus route has been transporting the residents of that area to the City for many years and I believe that it still does to this day.

In the days of the old Routemasters, in the rush hour the bottom deck was crammed full of people, many standing and some dangling from the platform at the back.  Upstairs was calmer and those fortunate enough to get a seat were able to read the paper or a book, do the crossword, do the Pools, knit, or in most cases just sit and watch the world go by.  There are a number of points on that journey where the bus comes to a standstill for quite a while as the traffic gets well and truly jammed.

One particular point is just outside Maude’s flat.

The floor of the top deck on those buses is roughly about the level of the first floor of that particular block of houses, and the windows of the bus are about six feet from the residents’ windows.  You can see awful lot from the top of that bus and on that day passengers had a real treat.

As the curtains opened they were greeted with … think of Leonardo’s Study of Human Proportions according to Vitruvius. 

But weedier and in a state of arousal.

For my own part I just remember seeing an endless stream of tickets coming out of the Clippie’s machine and thinking thank goodness they can’t see my feet because I’ve still got my socks on.  I turned to shout at Maude for setting me up, and as I did so I noticed something.  Something very serious indeed.  Something which caused me to shut out the embarrassment of the last few seconds completely.  I couldn’t believe it.  I froze.  The blood drained from my face and obviously from other places.

The bottom fell completely out of my world.

In the lower right hand corner of the window was a sticker.  Not a very big one, about the size of a bob-a-job sticker.  But this particular sticker had a motif on it.  A dreadful symbol.

A cock and ball.

We just hadn’t discussed football.  People had the summer off in those days.  No transfer activity.  I turned to her and just shouted “TOTTENHAM” at her at the top of my voice.  At first she completely misunderstood and she laughed and shouted:  “YES. YOU TOO …?”.

But before she could finish, she realised.

It was probably me screaming “YOU ARE A FARKING SPUD” that gave it away.  Her beautiful face contorted into an ugly grimace and in a vicious whisper she spat “Arsenal.  You are a fecking Gunner?  You bastard”.

I couldn’t stay.

I needed air.  I grabbed my clothes, putting them on as I scrambled through the menagerie in the living room.  I got to the front door and slammed it to, shutting out the cacophony behind me.  I headed for a café on the corner of the block, ordered coffee and just sat in a window seat sipping and smoking.  I half expected her to follow and to be honest I half hoped that she would.

But I realised it was over.

I could take the pet rustling and I could even take being humiliated in front of a bus full of people but I could not take the fact that she was a SPUD.  That could never work.

But that was not quite the end of it.

As I sipped my third coffee, having smoked half a pack of cigarettes, two panda cars and a police van arrived at her flat.  Maude was led out in handcuffs and for the next hour policemen loaded the back of the van with her contraband, Noah’s Ark fashion.  I felt bad about that at the time as I watched her driven away in the back of the police car it seemed unjust that she should go down for stealing animals when she had such good if not misguided intentions.  It turned out in court about six weeks later though, that every Sunday she ran a pet stall on Club Row.

She had been nicking pets and flogging them on.  She also stole them to order.

I will always remember Maude though and if I ever meet her again, which is very unlikely, I know exactly what I will say to her……………

“CARMON ARSENAL CARMON ARSENAL CARMON ARSENAL

ARSENAL, ARSENAL, ARSENAL….ARSENAL, ARSENAL, ARSENAAAAL…ARSENAL, ARSENAL, ARSENAL….ARSENAL….ARSENAL”

143 Comments

Arsenal: Can Aubameyang and Mhkitaryan Save The Season?

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As is usual after a win, and a resounding win at that, there is a mood of positivity in the fanbase after the 5-1 thrashing of Everton as the two new boys, Auba and Mhki made impressive joint debuts in the red of Arsenal instead of the yellow of BVB-Dortmund when they last played together. Mhkitaryan had three assists, more than Alexis, his counterweight in the swap with United, had for Arsenal in his prior four months this season. One of his assists was for Aubameyang who scored a classy goal, albeit offside in the build-up.

But moods change rapidly in football. Most fan-bases in the premier league, and I daresay in most of the big European leagues, are dominated by fickle, emotional supporters who, after a win, regard their team and manager as invincible and untouchable versus being the most useless, spineless, lickspittles after a loss. Auba, Mikhi and the hat-trick hero Ramsey may have been the toast of the town over the weekend but dare they fail to do the business in next weekend’s NLD and almost all said same fans will demand that heads roll starting with the manager.

It is a fact that professional football is a “results business” and, as we at PA always stress, no other club has been as consistently successful as Arsenal under Arsene Wenger over the past 21 years despite lacking the financial firepower of its rivals. Manchester United has always been a commercial heavyweight able to consistently outspend Arsenal on players but over recent years they have been joined and even surpassed by Chelsea and Manchester City whose oligarchic owners have invested massive outside money to make them formidable contenders; the three have monopolized the premier league title over the past 13 years with the Leicester City year being the notable exception.

Despite the financial shackles of paying for the stadium, which really took hold in the 05-6 season as big, experienced players were beginning to be sold and replaced by youthful prospects  or second tier talent, up to 2016 Wenger was successful in keeping Arsenal in the top-four. But the latter season, after 20 years, was Arsenal’s premier league apogee, finishing 5th.

In the face of a relatively studious silence by the mainstream media as well as the so-called Arsenal bloggers and podcasters since last summer, there has been a massive reaction from the club to its 16/17 failure. Last summer there was the acquisition of Lacazette for what was then the new Arsenal transfer record of £47.70 million. Most people have quickly forgotten how in that window Lucas Perez, Gabriel and Oxlade-Chamberlain were sold or loaned. The latter deal was a typical piece of transfer poker by Wenger, extolling the virtues of the Englishman and playing hardball up to the deadline, eventually rinsing Liverpool for £40 million. (I can’t stop laughing.)

In the blog I did after the 2017 summer window titled Arsenal Annihaliates The Agents & Speculators In The Window, while describing how City and Chelsea were forking over massive profits to the selling clubs and the agents involved, I made the following point:

Conspicuously absent from this excessive consumption is Arsenal which paid a mere £2.7 million surplus for the acquisition of Alexander Lacazette. Arsenal is 3rd only to Swansea and West Brom who through smart pricing and use of the loan system were able to generate value in excess of price from their acquisitions.

This is not to say Arsenal was afraid to pay big money for a special player. It emerged on deadline day the club was willing to pay up to £100 million for Thomas Lemar, a talented midfielder needed to fill a gaping vacancy that currently exists. Arsene Wenger disclosed publicly the deal fell through because the player was not ready for the move but pledged he would, when the opportunity next arise, make another attempt to do the deal.

Meanwhile the financial geniuses who dominate Arsenal twitter, blogs and podcasts post August 31st attacked the club for having the financial discipline and resoluteness to not fall for the agents hyping players of modest value for inflated prices. Adding to the din and hysteria was certain so-called Arsenal legends who seem more interested in giving credence to agent talk than protecting the club’s long term financial strength. It begs the question who is in bed with these agents, whether as friends or business partners. Why would a blogger mock the club for making a £30 million profit on deadline day with the capacity to go back in the market to make a £100 million acquisition in the future?

Today I feel a bit like a prophet but only just. I simply followed the data and let it lead me to the logical conclusion. Within five months the club was able to:

  • Exchange with United, what the media imagined to be its biggest star, in return for a world class midfielder who is less wasteful and less selfish with the football.
  • Sell two under-used 100 goal strikers for a combined sum of approximately £30 million.
  • Able to acquire for a new Arsenal transfer record a world class striker for £57.38 million.
  • Resign its greatest asset for an additional three years, arguably the best midfielder in the world, for what is unheard of at Arsenal, a princely but competitive salary of £350,000 per week.

Upon totting up the figures, one big blogger was moved to complain to his followers that the club was being deceptive with its spending as it ended with a £7.5 million surplus on transfers. It betrayed an abject understanding of the real cost of running a football club. It is not the transfers, it is the wages. Any money saved on transfers goes into paying the escalating salaries for the quality players need by a club, such as Arsenal, if it is to return to the top echelons of the Premier league and eventually compete for the title.

In retrospect there has been a massive rebuild. The first team squad is less in quantity but arguably greater in quality. Yet as Arsene explained the club would have loved to sign a defender but the quality was not available at the right price. Wenger pointed to the massive price City had to pay for their defensive reinforcement as an example of the difficulty facing buying clubs. That may explain why Arsenal’s reported interest in Johnny Evans ran aground.

Seemingly the club and Arsene Wenger have decided to grab the nettle and make a strong run over the remaining 12 games in the season while strategically preparing for a title run in 2018/19. As the graph at the start illustrates the club has so far this season earned a measly 1.73 points per game (ppg), substantially below the prior 21-year mean of 1.98 ppg. In contrast City is currently cruising at a 2.65 ppg, emphasizing the magnitude of the gap between 1st and 6th. This is the challenge that awaits Messers Anbameyang and Mikhitaryan as part of a streamlined, upgraded squad.

Arsene Wenger has been a model of consistency. History and the laws of probability predict his teams usually revert to and, if they are good enough, exceed the mean. Time will tell.

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Arsenal: And the Five course tasting menu

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Morning Positive Goons,

Another thumping home victory on a Saturday, wholly deserved, and an appropriate conclusion to the 31 days of media fuelled hysteria we have recently passed through. Goodness me it seemed a long month, traumatic at times*. Amidst the noisy transfer turmoil  some old playing components, some much loved, others less so,  had been replaced by AW. We were hopeful  that the apparent ‘upgrade’ would enhance our footballing performance quickly and decisively, but with Arsenal you just never, ever know.

In Everton we had opponent’s holding a respectable league position but suffering a shaky recent run. Historically the Toffee’s are easy meat (ouch), but historical record exists to be torn up and refashioned. They too had been adding quality. Even in this usually severe PA forum Mr Allardyce’s warm, reviving embrace of Theo raised a favourable murmur of approval. Aye it was an interesting prospect as the players emerged into the early evening downpour, for so many reasons.

The answer was almost immediate.  The Arsenal engine purred into life in about three minutes from Mr Swarbrick’s opening whistle. We tore into the hapless blue crowd who were unlucky enough to find themselves in our way. Iwobi, Ozil and Mhki picked passes, moved and shimmied across the glistening turf, PEA lurked threateningly on the shoulder of the EFC back three. The first goal was pure Wengerball, triangle, triangle, triangle, side-foot, goal. The second was goal from the corner again demonstrated what precision delivery of the dead ball and hard work on the training ground can achieve. Our third, and the boy from Caerphilly’s second was what happens if you pin opposition in their box and keep battering them. Our fourth a combination of a tricky through ball, sharp £56 million worth of movement over 3 meters and poor eyesight. Setting aside the defective vision of the lino the chip over Pickford was excellent from Aubameyang.

The goals in the first half were the main course yesterday. Second half we clearly had eased off, and Fat Sam jiggled his resources a bit more effectively. I think we probably eased off a notch too much. Everton could have had 2-3 goals yesterday and I would not overlook both our centre backs who put in a hard afternoon. For the first game in a while I thought Hector was excellent yesterday, particularly in the first half, constantly available on the right hand side and when he had the ball using it early and accurately. Nacho off early again – “ill” I hear ? Nothing serious I trust.

Just as we had settled for another 4-1 however up stepped Aaron to snap up the Man of the Match award. How could it be otherwise ?

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An interesting contest  had turned into a very satisfactory result. We remain a little off the CL places but with every reason to be confident of making up ground over the next 2-3 weeks. And our Welshmanlikes Wembley.

Enjoy Sunday.

*I may have a touch of “Fenestraphobia” by the way, a morbid fear of windows, or possibly defenestraphobia, a fear of falling out of windows. (I thought you’d want to know).