33 Comments

The Arsenal Cause Must Go On

A guest post by @MuppetGooner

The Liverpool result opened the usual can of worms in some quarters. The resurfacing of  people that want Wenger out embittered by 8 years of failure. To remind those people, yes, there are no trophies to speak about, but he has taken Arsenal to a Champions League final, a semi final, 2 quarters and the last 16 twice.

In the league we have one 2nd place, two 3rd places, and four 4th places. A lot of clubs would enjoy this record. Look at Everton, a club similar to us in stature and historical record – they come nowhere near this. Villa too, with a greater net transfer spend than us in the last 10 years, fall into this category.

With regard to the Champions League, historically, we have never been in the final or semi final of the European Cup. In the last 8 years, in the league, we have never finished below a team with a lower wages spend except for maybe Liverpool on 1 occasion, when they finished 2nd (the Rafa rant year).

Last year, we finished just behind City and Chelsea, who had a higher wage bill and substantially higher transfer bill. The people who continually attack Wenger and his record blithely ignore the huge amounts of money spent by City and Chelsea do it in a way that they somehow believe that the money shouldn’t make any difference.

Last summer showed that the small pool of the best players were mostly not available to us. Yes, we managed to get Ozil, but there were other players that we did not get, simply because they were unobtainable, in the price bracket of the likes of PSG and City. The likes of Fernandinho and Cavani spring to mind here. Other players, like Cabaye and possibly Higuain became overpriced, and didn’t represent value. The market price being set and skewed by the sheiks and oligarches.

In general the debilitating effect of not securing the best players is two fold. You are left to skirmish for the best players in the 2nd tier pool. You then have to fight the opposition, who have those best players, with inferior ones.

In the wake of the Liverpool result we hear that the transfer market in January was a missed opportunity. We should have signed a striker, a midfielder and another player. These demands are risible. We face all the problems that we had in the summer and players are more scarcely available in January.

The pool of top class players is a very small, finite one. And to get them is not easy. Every club has scouts posted now, not just in Europe, but worldwide. The trick that Wenger pulled, when he managed to secure Vieira, Henry, Petite, Gilberto etc i.e. 4 world Cup winners, will never happen again. Can you imagine, in today’s climate of information, news and awareness, being able to sign 4 Spanish players who had just won the World Cup  – absolutely no chance.

The goalposts have been moved considerably.

A couple of years ago we went to South America to sign an Argentinian player, Alvarez. Who was on our tail ? Inter Milan and Spuds. Spuds follow us everywhere. He went to Inter instead of us. We were linked to Holtby (somewhat tenuously at the time), look where he ended up. We were actually in for Vertonghen , who ends up at Spuds because he wants 1st team football. Last summer, Higuain went to Napoli when it looked like he was coming to us. There were other players too, who went elsewhere. 

For these reasons the detractors are wrong to come out with such ludicrous demands for players that we can supposedly so easily get. They are also wrong to dismiss the previous 8 years as being a failure. Moaning about a failure of winning a trophy despite a large wage bill. But we have still not underachieved based on our resources, even if you include the wage bill. You can argue that we have underachieved based on expectations, i.e your view of what we should be winning, but as an apologist,  I would argue the impact on our resources of the stadium move. One soundbite I never hear in the press is that the Arsenal stadium move cost half a billion.

The detractors complain instead about other stuff , like we don’t have a “winning mentality”, which is just pure nonsense. Or about the “Bould Effect”. Arguing that Bould should have been brought in sooner. Conceding 6 goals at Man City and 5 at Liverpool kind of puts paid to that argument I think.

The stance the club have adopted is that we should be self-sustainable, with plain vanilla economics. Yes, the long term commercial deals that we have signed give us more spending power, and we will be able to incrementally add marquee players of the quality of Ozil to the squad. But if you demand instant success, then you are deluded. Financial fair play has not yet arrived, and to my knowledge, I haven’t seen a single club sanctioned by UEFA for having massive debts and breaching the rules. Also, the science of squad building takes time. We are not able to spend £250m over a couple of transfer windows, and nor would we want to, even if theoretically possible. In any case, what Chelsea did at the time, around 2003, would no longer be possible now, as there are more players (clubs) in the market.

Despite these difficulties, I still believe we are in a great position. Even if you don’t agree, which you can do, that the Liverpool performance was a blip in an otherwise consistent run of over 40 games in the premiership, where we have amassed the largest points total.  The majority of our players are in long term settled contracts, they are young, we can hold on to them now. The Ozil transfer has proved a marquee player will come to Arsenal, which proves further players will come. But this is not a galactico argument. We are already benefiting from the long term foundation and strategy laid down years ago. The Hale End Academy with it’s indoctrination of the Arsenal way. The new training ground. Signing a core of 6 young british players on long term contracts. The realisation of the potential of young players brought in such as Szczesny, Ox, Ramsey, Wilshere, Walcott, Gibbs. 

But being optimistic is not being expectant. It is arrogant to expect success. If you spend a lot of money on Arsenal, you may have a right to complain on the return on your investment, if you view things in that way. But for me, the point is that the winner takes all culture is nauseating. The sensationalism of the press, depicting our season as either a success if we win all 4 trophies, and a failure if we don’t win anything, is nauseating. We can hope for incremental improvement, but to call for heads to roll without any perspective of what we are up against is stupidity in the extreme. Some clever people on the board are taking the long view.

 

33 comments on “The Arsenal Cause Must Go On

  1. “perspective”.
    This kind of sanity is unfortunately under-represented in the online fan fora.

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  2. Timely Muppet. Lost amid the hysteria and usual slagging of Wenger that we lack (expensive) signings is acknowledgement of the significant blow we have suffered because of the unanticipated loss of Ramsey and Walcott to long-term injuries. In retrospect, it is no surprise that since both went down we have had to play more conservatively to compensate for our loss of runners in central midfield and on the flanks. Now our opponents have sussed us out and have been successful pressing us high up the pitch as evident by Southampton and Pool. No use lamenting bad luck. This is football and injuries are part of the game. We must do as we have always done. Be mentally strong and adapt as a team. It won’t be easy. But I am sure this group is mature enough to do what is necessary to get the necessary to get the results over the next 13 games.

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  3. shottagonna i lose the will to get engaged in football discussions with what i see arsenal fans mentioning ….. was reading your yesterday’s post, thats all. They dont get it at all. Change things? LOL……

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  4. Thanks Muppet.
    Some gooner folk act as if Arsenal are backed by the combined wealth of BP oil, apple computers, Microsoft, Intel, BMW and the Norwegian sovereign wealth fund.
    Notwithstanding the British social bias that Northern teams are the only proper football teams. And all refs should live near Manchester.

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  5. congratulations muppet.. identical to my way of thinking…fans have used a period where the club is trying to stand on its own too feet to moan abotu tittles. in our toughest period as a football club ( moving grounds) wenger has kept us in positions which are frankly unreal for a club repaying its stadium and having to face the chelseas and cities and manures of this league. it is the reason why i call our fans clueless and the club small, for had the club and the fans had experience of being BIG they wouldnt complain about the now which is the ultimate sucrifice of the manager to ensure we exist for another century. the demands of arsenal fans are borne first of all out of wenger’s SUCCESS at the club and out of media and rivals taunting our weak minded fans. I find it insulting that gunners behave like this.

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  6. the english football culture despises everything wenger represents, only i thought that the arsenal fans would be more than glad to let go of the regressive and idiotic english football culture and fully embrace the change in mentality Wenger has brought to their club. i was wrong. arsenal fans seem to indulge in their little local rivalries and persevering a totally deluded status of being a big club even before wenger.

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  7. you would expect to see arsenal fans …especially after what wenger has done for their club….to come out and SUPPORT him ffs, and not join the scum of the press and rival trolls. so i ask………what big club has such disrespectful and clueless gits as fans ? is gg era their true ambition of their football club? are they serious?

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  8. This is a fine article, and proves that at least Arsenal can claim to have some of the best thinkers amongst its fan base.

    There was a moment when we were 1-0 down on Saturday (right on 2 minutes) when the ball was played through to Giroud who received the ball going forward with just one defender and then the keeper to beat. He was comfortably dispossessed. Walcott would probably have scored from that position, as would Suarez. We tried to buy one (but he wasn’t for sale at our price) and the other is injured. There aren’t many strikers in the world who you would think would always score from that position. Falcao, Cavani, Balotelli, Aguerro come to mind, but not many others. Not Higuain, not Benteke, not Benzema, not any of the ones we have been realistically linked with. So if the players aren’t available, or can’t be afforded, then the only chance I see is to discover youngsters who have yet to shine but who maybe will one day soon. And to carry on hoping to get the best out of those we already have. And to do it The Arsenal way.

    But of course this is of no use to those who want to spread gloom. And it does seem to me that something quite sinister is going on, and that there is an orchestrated campaign to promote an atmosphere of mistrust and discontent. I would love to know the truth of the story that broke last early spring about the massive takeover. What actually was all that about? Who was behind it? What was its purpose? In whose interests is it to have Piers Morgan constantly attack the running of the club? Who encourages the likes of Owen to spread their views? Why are the inconsistencies of the referees so routinely brushed under the carpet? Who stands to gain most if the current regime founders on the rocks of broken dreams and open dissent? Because anybody with an ounce of sense must see that the club is dong really rather well, so the ludicrous amount of criticism has to have its roots somewhere.

    Or am I just being hopelessly paranoid?

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  9. Youre a classy guy, Muppet. Nice post. Arsenal have some of the worst fans in football. Self righteous cunts talking nonsense everywhere you turn. We have proven our ability to bounce back and will do so again

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  10. Because anybody with an ounce of sense must see that the club is dong really rather well, so the ludicrous amount of criticism has to have its roots somewhere

    evil triumphs when good people do nothing…..where the hell are arsenal;s good people? do they exist?

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  11. Great post Muppet, thanks. Only like to add wengerball, think it’s undervalued at times. It has attracted players, fans and commercial partners from all over the world and contributed to our global status today. But what’s more important for arsenal fans, it looks more and more like a football legacy that will entertain generations to come. How many managers have achieved that?

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  12. hehe apropros …what did you expect .? the fish and chip/bangers and mash culture is difficult to take away from the arsenal fan…. did you expect these fucking idiots who cheered for drunks and gamblers for the 1-0 with kick and hoofball to understand what Wenger has done for their football club?

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  13. A good piece Muppet

    God forbid I would ever diminish the stupidity of the detractors. It did however strike me that at the beginning of last Summer’s transfer window a number of fairly bold statements were made by the club ( Yes Ivan I am looking at you) which I do not think served any positive purpose. Thee followed two months of hysterical excitement among even those I would have marked down as quote ‘normal’, culminating in the Villa game and the Black Scarf Movement’s Putsch to install Herr Peyton as Reich Chancellor. In retrospect much better to say nowt.

    All that so called transfer window excitement and too many fans head’s exploded, rather like children chained at the sweetshop window all Summer only to be dragged back to school as the proprietor final gets his sherbert lemons out.

    Much better the club keeps its transfer resources, any transfer plans and actual activity to an absolute minimum. That used to be te AFC way, and the much lower key January seems to have seen us return to normal.

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  14. Take red nose, he left and it’s already broken, so what did he really leave behind him? I would say glory for himself.

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  15. anicoll5,

    I know what you mean regarding pronouncements in June. But whilst Gazidis said that we are in a very strong financial position, i.e. we could easily afford Rooney if we wanted, I also recall him saying that it would take us a couple of years to realise that financial position. Seems sensible to me. One would need 4 or more windows and time. The trouble of course is our impatient support. But I’m prepared to believe that we can easily sign at least 1 marquee player each summer.

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  16. Hunter I think it’s as you say, they are spoilt by Wengers success. They think if we change manager we can keep everything else and just add the trophies. And you know what, maybe they are right, with the right manager. But that would be only because of the foundation laid. Next managers success will be much owed to Wenger.

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  17. The trouble of course is our impatient support.

    why are they impatient..?…..what did they expect the first time they heard that arsenal was going to build a stadium and play with 17 year olds? is it the clubs’ fault that the period they chose to expand their club coincides with the most corrupt period in english football when it comes to dirty money being pumped in the system ?

    it takes balls to stick to your principles and ignore the trends, it takes discipline to make it all work as effectively and succesfully and it takes courage to fight for the maximum when youre resources are way lower than your main competitors.

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  18. apropros….i think winning major trophies is also dependant on the appetite of OWNERS and just the brilliance ofmanagers and/or players. anywhere you look …its the owners that decide the ambitions and what the club goes for. If arsenal wants to get stuck into clubs like chelsea city united barcelona milan madrid bayern etc then they need owners who will have no problem causing problems to those clubs……..victories in football are not only obtained on the pitch. Arsenal has never worked or thought as a big shark at behind the scenes to level to influence is future or at least ensure noone fucks with them.

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  19. Hunter, it was assumed Dein used his influence at FA to our benefit but we really don’t know the truth or extension of it. But that’s behind us now and we don’t know how much work Ivan is doing behind the scenes. I think in most cases it’s as simple as this: money talks.

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  20. bear in mind that is nto criticism for our owners who i respect for the fact they have kept faith with their manager, just as clarification for the deluded fans who dont understand club structure

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  21. Gee 81 crosses in 90 min. If we take in account the ball is in effective play around 44-66 min in average during a game, that’s more than 1.5 crosses in a min. What was the purpose of Mata again?

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  22. To play against us, city and any other team that might be an obstacle to chelsea

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  23. Yea but you would need to use him rightly first.

    By the way, bourinhos shameless flirtation with manure continues. First he sells mata to them and now he’s sorry for they. How can chelski fans take all this??

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  24. How can chelski fans take all this??

    same way as humans dont care about ethics anymore as long as they are top dog.

    in any walk of life.

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  25. Apropos – on the 81 crosses – despite the fact that Burn is 6ft 7 inches, and Steklenburg 6’5 it may have been that Moyes was trying to take advantage of Hangeland’s absence and the fact that Heitinga is a short arse

    Shrewd thinking – in an insane sort of way

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  26. anicoll5
    February 11, 2014 at 1:22 pm

    “the tall fella is out….CROSS you bastards”

    “the boss is so clever, changing things according to opponents, inspirational coaching”

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  27. Getitonthemixer!

    To be fair to Moysei he does say, with repetition, something like:
    “we don’t like No.10’s up Norf. It’s against our tradition. They pollute our precious bodily fluids”

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  28. I’d like to see a Groaner attempt to reply to Muppets humble and straightforward article.
    That people who say they forensically study the actions of the club avoid any of he obvious above leads to the conclusion that foreverheady and Passenal have made of late regarding the attempts towards a hostile corporate takeover.
    We know for a F.A.C.T that a few select and manically depressive Groaners have trolled almost every Arsenal blog for years to try and create their narrative. Twelve points off fourth last February and they still couldn’t get rid of Vengaar 🙂
    The twats.

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  29. Er…Correction: “getitINthemixer”

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  30. I am reminded of Hunter’s very good breakdown of our spoilt fans:
    They want Arsene and the board to behave as if we always a mega billions rich superclub who dominates their domestic and European landscape, all the while never crediting the same people who have taken Arsenal to this new level of world football with any worthwhile effort and with no magic helpers.

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  31. Call me insane but you might be right anicoll. Although I believe Rooney is now secretly in charge. Moyes informs him on transfer targets, he informs moyes what formation he likes to play in. Win win for future captain Rooney.

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  32. V good article Muppet.

    81 crosses is real tactics, innit? ‘Twas described as though unfortunate, that yoo didn’t score more.

    On the other hand, Arsenal, knowing the relative uselessness of hoiking in crosses, are dissed for supposedly walking the ball into the net.

    Random crosses aren’t the percentage play, IMO.

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  33. “In the league we have one 2nd place, two 3rd places, and four 4th places.” – without wishing to appear pedantic in the last 8 years that should read three 3rd places. We’ve finished 3rd in 3 of the last 6 seasons.

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