105 Comments

Was I Right ?

Below is an article I wrote for A Cultured Left Foot that was published almost one year ago. I want to revisit it because it seems that following Gary Neville’s observations, more people are accepting that the last 8 years have indeed been a success.

The blog was published on the same day Judas chose to publish his now infamous  letter to you Guys which rather stifled the debate on my article. That saw me having terrible fall-outs with people who I hold in the highest regard. But that’s another story

It also followed a few days after a landmark piece that marked “what felt like the end of an era” as we were told by our former allies on that site.

Well it looks like they were right.  We were coming to the end of an era, just not the one they began to hope for. They wanted Arsene gone. Instead it appears he is to enter a third stage of his glorious career with us, armed with the weapons he has forged over the past decade .

Here it is then:

I Am An AKB.

Although people intend it as an insult, it’s a badge I am happy to wear with pride. It will come as no surprise to most that I believe Arsène Wenger is the best football manager in the world. My opinion is based mainly on his achievements at Arsenal but by no means solely on these.

In his first full season at Arsenal, Arsène took us to a League and FA cup double. For the next 7 seasons we never finished below second place. We were on a par with Manchester United, the biggest football club in the world, a club with vast financial clout compared to Arsenal.

Not only did we compete on equal terms, we did it with style and flair never before seen in England, the pinnacle being an unbeaten season. Something many people – expert pundits, former players and managers – thought to be a foolish pipe dream when Arsène suggested it may be achievable, some two years earlier.

In this 8 year spell he changed the game in this country forever. United had to spend hugely in order to keep pace, other clubs followed; diet and fitness improved. For this period alone he has claim to being the greatest.

With the planned move to the new stadium things changed. Arsène had to work within severe financial restrictions. Big players were sold and the fees helped relieve the pressure of the move, in what turned out to be an unexpected recession. The reduction in the wage bill must have done no harm either. History had shown that a new stadium usually led to a rapid downturn on the field; relegation beckoned.

I would have thought that our aim would have been to stay in the league in the early years of the move. However, Arsène kept us in the top four, guaranteeing Champions League football and further reducing the financial burden with the revenues generated.

He has only recently let it be known (as if we didn’t know already) that he could have left and been paid much more money elsewhere. He gave up that financial gain and personal glory for the good of the club. I think that this period is a greater achievement than his first 8 years of on field success. It is a staggering achievement. And also could give him a claim to be the greatest.

All of the above is nothing new; it is said time and again, written about by better people than me. What I want to add comes now. The other day on Twitter I asked people to briefly write what words they felt best described Arsène Wenger. I am listing some of them below. It should be noted that I did not get even one negative word in reply.

Genius; unique; visionary; a dolphin in a sea of sharks; a genuine ‘special one’; loyal; dignified; progressive; passionate; winner; hero; devotion; intelligent; inspirational; revolutionary; absolute magician; he lives and breathes the club.

In January 2011, the International Federation of Football History & Statistics v0ted Wenger ‘World Coach of the Decade’. The organisation aggregated the results from each year of the decade, and Wenger had narrowly beaten Alex Ferguson and José Mourinho for the honour.

Now here is my point. If those two are his modern-day rivals for the accolade – and they likely are – how many of the descriptions of Arsène could equally be applied to them? Not many I suggest.

For me it’s Arsène’s standing as a human being that sets him apart from his rivals. Of all the people I have ever seen in football, he is in a class of his own. I respect him more than any person that I don’t actually know personally.

If I had to choose one person to run the country it would be Arsène. One dinner guest? Arsène.

Now I accept that him being human he makes mistakes. How many and how bad they have been we have speculated on endlessly on this very blog, and we will never be well enough informed about the club’s business to know the extent of his errors. What we do know is that he has gotten a lot of things very right, against a few that seem a little wrong.

To conclude my words to best describe the great man is “honourable and trustworthy”.

I truly love the man.

***

I feel recent developments and commentary has helped my case.

FunGunner said this the other day:

“The bit I meant was what you said earlier about the board tying Arsene’s hands, I really can’t see why you think that. Although he has been frustrated about other clubs blowing us out of the water with money they have not generated themselves, he has never complained about the board not matching the petro-dollars available to Man City or Chelsea. He knows the funds have not been available – they have not been withheld, which is what you seemed to be saying. The strategy of the club has been short-term pain for long-term gain – they chose to pay off a lot of the debt quickly, make infrastructure improvements, create a commercial department etc etc and build up capital reserves rather than spend more money on transfers and salaries, but AW is totally on board with that strategy for long-term success.”

***

I can’t think of a better way to put it than that.

105 comments on “Was I Right ?

  1. Georgaki,

    Hmm….. Lets recap on French Forwards who played U20 again?
    Fuk the Higgy, this looks like THE business of 2013.

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  2. Two of Sanogo’s games at the U20 World Cup :

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  3. DC

    He looks very useful. I also imagined him and Chuba Akpom playing up front. Mouthwatering prospect….

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  4. Georgaki,
    Do you reakon a loan out for a season is better, to toughen him up, or straight in as a first team back up?

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  5. Nice. Looks like he know his footy. In command of his area.. Looking forward to watching him play in the near future.

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  6. DC
    YAHYA plays a mature game. I would have him play the cup games as backup and see how he does. Then maybe first team backup depending on his rate of adaptation. Looks strong too..

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  7. Yeah, he looks very mature, looks up for a pass if he has no shooting options. Plays in other team mates.
    I’d put him in the NextGen squad, if that wasn’t a kiss of death.

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  8. I think we’ve found ourselves a player. The little clips of him that were around only showed his strength and knack for goals but now we see he’s got plenty of ability on the ball as well. I’m excited to see what he can do against senior players, if he has the strength to bully them like he can guys his age then he will be a frightening player to have on the bench.

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  9. And he’s too old for the NextGen, I forgot to add.

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  10. Brilliant article George, nothing I can add that hasn’t already been said by others, but really top stuff.

    double canister,
    For some reason he reminds of titi. Especially his goal today, the way he fell over after taking it. Not the first time either if I remember right. I just get a good feeling about him. And yes I definitely agree about his eye for a pass, he certainly looks for that give and go and likes to create space

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  11. Absolutely fantastic bit. I had not read this when you published it last year but personally feel it applies as much right now as it did then, infact I believe what Arsene has done for us will forever be immortalized in the annals of our club history. The unfortunate bit is that some of us fans don’t see it just yet, but if you think of it some of the greatest artists were misunderstood during their time. During these days of cash being king and honor a thing of the past I think a slight modification to Don Mclean’s line aptly sums him up – ” this world is not ready for someone as beautiful as you”

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  12. aha wait lets see i think ive been misunderstood and andrew might get the wrong picture ….i dont advocate division or civil wars or any “we are better than them” crap…i just cant understand those who deliberately chose this period to complain about titles as if titles were the priority for a club that was and is repaying its brand new stadium.

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  13. sanogo. nice. arsene knows.

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  14. I’m so late I’m probably talking to thin air, but thanks for re-posting this George. I’ve read and absorbed it along with the excellent comments from everyone else. I don’t have anything to add, as I’m not sure I really have standing to enter the fray. But I will reiterate that I’m glad this place exists. And quote this from Andrew: “For me, the ‘purpose’ of Positively Arsenal is not about the pursuit of vendettas but the promotion of all elements of value to our great club.” Yes.

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  15. Excellent comments section today. Many good points. I for one am sticking to my strategy of the past few years . Forget the rabid wob sobs and don’t waste any breath on them. These losers clearly have an agenda an won’t be moved or changed no matter how hard you try.
    The young and the followers type I will take time and I will try my hardest to bring back to the light. If not for anything I love the look on their face when the penny drops. Priceless.

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  16. Does anyone know if this YAHYA fellow is originally from ivory coast.?

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  17. morning George, I see this post has actually changed a few minds on twitter well done!
    sometimes I have to laugh at your abrasive style but the substance of your argument should shine through to those who are logically minded.
    for my sins I was listening to ts sportsbar last night and they had the usual lamebrain gooners ring up slagging all that is red and white. one bloke actually said he was 45 been a fan since he was 7 but was ripping his season ticket up because we hadn’t bought anybody… really in all that time he had not seen worse ARSENAL teams? and to make things worse that clown cundy ( I was at Chelsea when they were shit ) said yeah I agree, what! give yourself some credibility, but no there a chance to bash ARSENAL so off he goes. I listen cos the show is funny I just they wouldn’t try to punctuate it but trying to make serious points when they sound like their care in the community.

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  18. ADRIAN DURHAM: You’re Carlo Ancelotti. You’re deciding who would be the better signing – Wayne Rooney or Luis Suarez. It’s a no-brainer. Rooney is miles ahead.

    ahahahahahahah

    goodmorning..funny day today …

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  19. Morning George, I see some parts of twitter have gone into melt down today over Wenger, Barry, Transfers not happening quick enough or at all. 2 main stories that have kicked it off are from the Sun and Goal who are renowned for their honesty in transfer rumours. The media I think are now feeding off the divide between the fans at Arsenal

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  20. Hunter, people don’t like to be told when they have acted in poor judgment, and shown poor form.
    In response some have labelled you as an anglophobe. Which is why you must be happy to be back in London, close to your beloved Arsenal, the modern big club that best represents the roots of the traditional English Football club.

    One step removed from accusing those from afar of not being proper supporters. Or supporting the manager and not the club, the last refuge of the idiot. You can’t beat satire:

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  21. Swales – It is the same divide in society that feeds the system. It doesn’t take much for the media to fan the flames. The majority believe “greed is good” (to quote Gordon Ghekko played by Michael Douglas in the movie Wall Street) even though the rich are getting richer and the poor even poorer. Apply the same divide to Arsenal FC. Somebody has to stand up and say it is all bullshit.

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  22. HA HA Thats classic Fins

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  23. Wow!No one could have done a better job with this writeup. Great piece here!I agree with you through and through.

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  24. George,
    Courtesy of Keith the Gooner, he wrote the classic Arse Wars series. Possibly not to everyone’s taste but it made me laugh.

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  25. Have just been catching up on all of this… The irony of some of the WOB lot barracking George for not being a real supporter when some of them are filled with such bile and seeming hatred towards their own club… I don’t get it. They criticise and speak hatefully about the club they ostensibly love, yet they are the real supporters? Why are they? Because they were born in the area? Because their dad or grandad was a Gooner? If that means you can constantly slag off my beloved club and manager you can fuck off. I have been at matches where they have shouted abuse at Wenger, at Gervinho, at Ramsey (calm down Kelly, it was a while ago!); booed Giroud, Eboue – whoever scapegoat of the month is. Some of the stuff I see on my TL is bloody shocking. I understand how Mel feels. I need to step away now, or I’m going to blow a fuse. Off for some camomile tea – is that calming? Or am I confusing it with absinthe?

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  26. This is so funny, have a watch, it’s not long.

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  27. @calamityjane

    I also followed much of that exchange on twitter. The delicious irony of them trying to pin George down as not being a ‘proper fan’ for daring to admit Arsene is a big factor in his support, when their own support has taken a spectacular nose dive in the absence of silverware.

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  28. If you comment on PA and are on twitter please speak up and let me know who you are.your @ name if you will

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  29. LeoS at 2:47 pm
    Same here. It strikes me that criticism of George not being “a proper fan” is much like many of us being accused of not being a proper Christian, Muslim, Democrat, Conservative, Labourite, Socialist, Nationalist, whatever.
    Are we to simply become blind supporters and pledge unswerving loyalty to the institution, no matter how corrupted it has become? Isn’t this why humanity is currently in the mess it is because the leaders of such institutions can count on blind support from unquestioning followers. Same too for football clubs. They rip us off with high prices and mercenary players because they can count on those offering undying support. The media has done their best to ignore them but the true heroes of the resistance to the Glazer takeover and asset stripping of ManUtd were those fans who refuse to go along and set up an alternative community-based club FC United.

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  30. They are indeed heroes Shotta.
    United because something they found unacceptable.And they followed their principals rather than the path of financed glory

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  31. Exactly Leo. Are you on Twitter?

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  32. George’s comment could have led to some interesting debate about the organic nature of support but, of course, it was hijacked by a few fans who wanted to score points with their ‘Arsenal til I die’ pretenses. Some of whom are clearly having a hard time supporting the club while Wenger is in charge, which is the great hipocrisy. Not that they would admit it, as apparently supporting the club and supporting the people at the club are not the same thing. Really? If you take away the human element what is left, a stadium and a crest? The club is made up of the people within it, and their ethos and values is what truly makes up its DNA. And as those people change so does the club, it is not a fixed entity, and those who ask for THEIR Arsenal back are a testament to that. Arsenal is a constantly evolving thing, and the supporters feelings towards it change, it will have peaks and troughs. Some of us love the current Arsenal, others long for a different one.

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  33. My twitter is @_LS87_

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  34. Wait untill you see my next post Leo.It is basically your comment

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  35. I look forward to reading it, I expected the whole business would inspire some blogging.

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  36. How stupid of me not to have guessed,Leo .I saw you come to my defence last night.

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  37. Kirsty Gallagher: “Abramovic made Chelsea which put England on the map”
    Which is why they still have to advertise Champions League games (as CL Champions) on Capital FM

    Comedy. Gold.

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  38. Unbelievable. He mentioned “morals” there, and poor old Tony Cascarino was obviously nonplussed. M-o-r-a-l-s you say? Nope, new one on me guv’.

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  39. I am staggered Sky put that out.Was it live?

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  40. More live than poor Mr Syed will be when he inadvertently gets his head caught in the shower

    Followed it up with another half page denunciation of Abramovich in today’s Times

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  41. Well, I tried George but the inquisition was in full swing by then.

    Good luck to Vito, he showed his quality at Hull and should have it what takes to be a Premier League no.1.

    Cascarino was so out of his depth up against Syed it was painful to watch.

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  42. No they certainly dont fins but they sure like doing it to professionals who have “spit blood” for the team….

    ….my beloved arsenal? there is no such thing…im in it for the glory 🙂

    money we have its glory we want. after all im used to watching arsenal spend tons of money…as for the labels i need to check and revert. who has a problem this time? lol..

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  43. Hunter I was asked to tell you that you have a fan club in India.

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  44. I call this the Spirit of Eboue, while doffing my hat to Tony Adams. Dedicated to those like myself who are not “proper fans” (sic).

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  45. Saying it like it is. Wow. I hope SYED doesn’t suffer any retribution for that. Thank FINS. for the earlier songs video also . Super funny as was your video on paulinho ,FUNGUNNER. had me laughing hard.
    Don Vito mannone , Arivederchy and thanks for your help and contributions these past seven years. Good luck and success in life and your career.

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  46. finsbury @ at 6:30 pm

    Absolutely brilliant and long overdue. Mathew Syed is a brave man. I’ve been banging that drum about the ill gotten gains off Abramovich, Usmanov and the Arab dictators, polluting our game for years now. It’s the ignorance of the likes of Cascarino that really gets my goat….

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  47. SHOTTA
    very nice. Inspirational and brought me close to tears..
    Just goes to show I guess that everyone needs time to develop and there will be slipups so second chances needed for redemptions..

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  48. Wow Shotta, loved it.
    I always had a soft spot for Eboue. his goal for Galatasery in the CL was vintage ( and so was some of his other play that night, but hey, he is always giving it a go).

    is he going to be there forthe Ems cup? if he is then that’s it, I’m flying over.

    Lets hope Gerv has the fortitude to stick with the Gunners, and fuck the critics.

    Rambo too, must be one tough bastard on the inside, to have put up with the shit some ‘fans’ gave him.
    Will I ever forgive them for that?
    NO.
    Sorry, but I have a moral compass, simples as that.

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