As a supporter of our great club, this has been the most stress-free of international breaks I have experienced in 10 years, apart from constantly worrying whether Alexis will emerge from his South American World Cup qualifiers with his groin intact. Post Manchester United, there has been very little for the malcontents to stir the pot. Adding to the mood of positivity, instead of the usual boredom and ennui of the international break, Gooners have had a lot to cheer about as most of our first team players made significant contributions to their national teams. Despite some efforts to paint Arsenal as the evil enemy, by Wednesday the English media were extolling the goals and assists of Theo and the Ox, and no doubt by force of reflected glory had to acknowledge those of Aaron, Santi, Alexis, Ozil, Giroud and Campbell.
But there has been something eating away at my innards all week which refuses to go away. It originated with a certain popular Monday podcast which I frequently listen. In the midst of adding to the brouhaha and hype surrounding Klopp becoming the new coach at Liverpool, the esteemed podcaster-in-chief posited that if Arsene Wenger was to be retained as manager of AFC when his contract expires in 18 months he would have to at minimum win the league title. By the way, he pointedly excluded another FA cup run as a positive.
It was the flippant way in which he reduced Arsene’s qualifications to “must winning a title” that got my ire. He was speaking of someone who has been the most successful manger ever in the history of the club, attaining the rarest of achievements in managing a team of Invincibles, 3 league titles, 6 FA cups and a 57.51% winning percentage after being in charge for 1,078 games with, 620 wins, 250 draws 208 losses. In other words Wenger has lost less than 20% of games in 19 years in charge, a virtual miracle for such longevity.
So I had to ask myself, why would such a clever, intelligent man who is reflective of a broad swathe of Arsenal fans be so dismissive of Arsene Wenger? Is it Wenger’s age? He will be 66 years old on 22nd October but it is obvious that he has not lost the capacity to out-coach other big-time managers in the Premier League. According to the Sunday Mirror Ronald Koeman is reported to have criticized Chelsea’s Mourinho for being too defensive-minded and who he thinks should teach “fantastic football” like Arsene Wenger has Arsenal playing. There can be no bigger praise than one by a peer and fellow competitor.
Are these guys caught up in the new toy syndrome? The hype that surrounds the hiring of a big-name coach like Klopp may give a short-term rise but rarely leads to lasting success. The brief honeymoon for Daglish’s second tenure at Liverpool, Villas Boas disastrous tenures at both Chelsea and Spurs, and Moyes horribilis annus at Manchester United should be a cautionary tale. In the case of the latter club, during Van Gaal’s first year it was touch and go for a while as to their coming in 4th. The constant churn and turmoil in club management throughout the PL has done nothing to change the relative position of the majority of clubs. Sunderland has had six managers in 6 years and they are again rooted in the relegation zone.
Maybe the podcaster-in-chief should take pause from the continuing unease at United two years after the end of Ferguson’s 20 year reign. There have been two new managers in three years plus a net transfer spend of £144 million yet two-weeks ago they were stuffed by Arsenal, the club which was roundly criticized by the “presstitutes” for being the only top club in Europe which did not buy a new outfield player in the last transfer window.
Despite the mountain of evidence to the contrary, this podcast suggests to me that many of our middle-of-the-road supporters are too easily dismissive of Arsene’s achievements and take it for granted, something the Black Scarfers and permanent malcontents are quick to exploit. I found it very timely that in his speech at Thursday’s AGM Wenger reminded us of the achievements of the club in his 19 years.
“When I arrived we were 80 people at the club, the share price was £400. Today we are about 550 and the share price is I don’t know how high at the moment [£15,000-£16,000]. But I have none, don’t worry. I never wanted one because I never wanted to be accused to make some decisions to favour the share price to go up in value. And I am quite happy I didn’t.
“But I must say the first years of my career here were quite easy, from 1996 to 2005. It was a period where it all went really easy, smooth and well. We were always dominating, mostly in the league or the FA Cup.
“Then came a second period when we moved into this stadium. It became much more difficult because we face more competition and because we were under restricted finances and the target was to stay at the top of the league and to qualify for Champions League every year to repay our debt back. I must say we did it. Sometimes within a sceptical environment, and most of the time having to fight until the last minute of the last game of the Premiership.”
“When you are the supporter or manager of a club you are always told what you don’t do. I understand that, we are in a society that is like that. But looking back I am, of course, proud we won titles and FA Cups, but as well I believe the first quality of a club is to be consistent. If you look back we have 18 consecutive years in the Champions League qualified.
“Sometimes it is important to remind people that to remain at the top is difficult. We do not rate that enough.
“Only one club in Europe, Real Madrid, has done better with 19. I can understand it is not enough. It shows the quality of our behaviour has paid off at least with consistency of results. We want more and I am the first to agree that it is not enough. If it was easy everyone would have done it. Sometimes it is important to remind people that to remain at the top is difficult. And we do not rate that enough.”
As for the chances of winning the title, Arsene said pretty much what any rational supporter has observed over the past three years as the club shook off the financial restrictions and began to acquire top-top talent:
“You want to ask me: “Will we win the championship this year?” I think we are back in contention and we have a good chance. All the numbers confirm we have the potential to be in the fight – the chances made, the number of chances we give away, the number of dangerous situations we create. And as well in 2015 from 1 January, what was for me the turning point in the history of this team, in the calendar year we have taken more points than anybody. That means the trend is right.
“What we do is consistent. Even if we had a bad start to the season we managed to come back and are only two points from the leaders. That means we have recreated consistency. We have to show what we showed against Manchester United. Be capable to win the big games, show that level of urgency in every single game and show the consistency we have shown since the start of 2015.
“Last year we finished third and won the FA Cup. We won it for the second year running and I think we have won it more than anybody else. We want, of course, more. We have the potential to do more and will fight very hard for that.”
Surely, that is the minimum we can ask of Wenger that our club be in contention. There are no guarantees of success. An injury to Alexis and or Ozil means our chances fall to between zero and slim in the same way if City lost Aguero and Silva. Why in hell would we push out our manger if he failed to win the ultimate prize. Leave that to the rest of trigger-happy owners who are pandering to their fans and the media firing their managers to cover up their own shortcomings.
It is interesting Wenger gave not the slightest inkling of whether he was likely to continue after 2017. He was certainly explicit that he would never ever repeat the challenge of managing the club in those barren years:
“I believe too if you ask me to do it again I would say no, let somebody else do it because I will not take that gamble any more because it was so difficult.”
Who would blame him when you have so many ungrateful fans ready to throw him overboard after his herculean efforts in successfully steering the club to its current position of strength, footballistically and financially.
As Wenger emphasized it may not have been good enough for some but we belittle his achievements at our own peril.
Maybe after reading-listening to Wenger’s speech Mr. Podcaster may start singing a different tune.
Great stuff Shotts, and on a Friday morning as well ??
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Reading the media this morning it appears that the professionally outraged Scarfists and serial whiners are still in shock after their wuff treatment at the hands of the savage Chips yesterday. Quivering lower lips, red eyes and tears being fought back. Poor mites.
They don’t like it up ’em as Fat Sam is alleged to say.
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well said, my thoughts exactly. Sadly these podites and writers of endlessly negatives blogs are in that spotlight of the modern society. Today blazing out negativity is a way to stand out, to attract attention. They seek to secure personal fame, their actions have nothing to do with reality or facts. They are an embarrassment to real fans
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Nice one, shotta. Don’t know whose podcast that was, but Tim Stillman has an interesting report on the AGM on arseblog today.
That comment irked me too Shotta. and like you , my feeling is that we should be in the hunt.
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Thanks Shotta: top stuff as ever. In the world of black and white it must indeed seem outrageous to some that these spectacular cash reserves are not spent on the Bales, Messis and Ronaldos, and I can understand how a simple mind could conclude from there that the club is only interested in feathering a few already well-fledged nests. And the of course it is only a short step to conclude that silent Stan has his hand deep inside the till with the blessing of Sir Chips. And then it becomes the Etonian establishment against the honest working man in the street, a position that the Machiavellian Fourth Estate is only too happy to spin.
I couldn’t agree more that it is not the business of Arsenal to spend money on unsuitable players just to satisfy the fans need for new signings, but I do find it strange that such a slickly run club seems so poorly advised on image. One of the most joyful times I have had was at the live screening of the Cup Final this year. The club all but gave the tickets away (I think it cost me about £10 to take my two youngsters) and we were handed free commemorative scarves to boot. The crowd was as diverse as it could possibly be, and as I looked at the mix of ages, race and creed on show I felt a genuine pride to be a Gooner. That we won so well with goals from Theo, Alexis, the BFG and the HFB the icing on a quite magnificent cake. And yet yesterday the mood was anything but that and I would like to see more effort made thinking these things through. It wouldn’t have taken much.
And now a genuine question that stems from the oft-repeated claim that we “failed” to sign an outfield player. We did sign several young players, and Reine Adelaide will do as the example. Should he progress as we hope he might and become a first team pick by the time he is 20, how much would he actually have cost the club? What salary do players like him command? What incentives are there? Where does he live? Do his family need to be rehoused (and provided for?) Is he still educated in a classroom? How much does all of that cost?
Because it seems to me that the Arsenal way is by and large to unearth talent before it has become generally known as world-class. Young players like Bellerin, Wilshere and Coquelin from the academy, gems like Cazorla, Koscielny and Gabriel. Even managers like Arsene himself. Yes, for sure there have always been the few spectacular ready made stars, and how exciting it is when a Macdonald or an Ozil is brought in, but overall it is the identification of genius whilst still unknown that is our way. And I think we should make more of it – and perhaps we will when it is shown to be properly successful when we win the Premier League this season.
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I know by now it should not, but I always find it odd how many of these negative bloggers or podders etc say so much but know so little. Yesterday summed them up, having seen a blogger in the morning criticize Wenger for “allowing” Alexis to join up with Chile, while carrying an injury, and then later on some knob at the AGM asked shouldn’t Arsenal stop our players going to the World Cup in Qatar 2022, I’m not sure if it was Chips or Ivan who dismissed the question with “we can’t”. This lot is that busy complaining about “what you got”, they forget to actually try and acquire some actual knowledge along the way. I’d bet they don’t even know that a pro player can not retire from International football if his national FA don’t want him to. So its no surprise that they don’t know that once a player is called up by his country they can’t demand he turn up, injured or not, and if his club say he is injured, they national teams medics have the right to examine him and determine if he is injured or not. Just cos few do, is no excuse for bloggers and podders to get it so wrong.
I have not been on any other site yet today so I don’t know if any of them picked up on something both Wenger and Gazidis stressed yesterday – it is something that will certainly be ignored or dismissed by the WOB and the AAA – and that was the amount of analysis now being used by the club, both on the playing side and in the overall running of the club, Arsenal bought an analytical company a couple of years ago, and it now seems we are getting full benefit from it. Every thing from player performance, player stats, opponents tactics, transfers, all the way to what part of the club needs upgrading is helped by the analysis company.
Wenger who we all know “listens to no one, and never studies our opponents”, say yesterday that he has a whole team of people around him advising him on each and every game, both our own players and the opposition, he said the amount of data he now gets is unbelievable. So not only does Wenger take advice from others, he actually has a team of people whose job is to supply him with data and advice. The stubborn old git.
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Positively Arsenal @Blackburngeorge 53m53 minutes ago
People treating the board with contempt, dont like Sir Chips treating them with contempt. How odd
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Excellent, excellent, excellent Shotta!
When Arsene is finally done and the historians reach for the record books, make the comparisons, re-create, in a form of words the context of his era, the stand out chapters will no doubt dwell on many, many things.
His transformation of our training facilities at Colney, the spaceship stadium nesting at the foot of the Hornsey Road, the players bought, the revenues raised on their sales, the shoe-string budgets, the records unbeaten, the consistency of qualification over decades, alongside the cups and the championships and some of the most exciting football ever played.
And amongst all these stand out chapters, one will stand out more than all the others.
That chapter will be read by future generations with disbelieving, bewildered eyes as the ingratitude, the impatience, the aggression and the wilful failure to understand the circumstances of the age, by the fans of the day, are laid bare.
Running in parallel alongside the achievements of this footballing genius, this unique sporting colossus of this and any age, were a noisy minority of pygmy fans of the club, enough of whom were all too happy to flock to the spotlight of negativity, squatting on the platforms of social media, ridiculous on cheap radio phone-ins, graspingly claiming their fifteen minutes of the worst kind of fame imaginable.
The kind of fame that ends up with their preservation in history as figures to be mocked, ridiculed and condemned for their failure to even begin to appreciate what they had, what they’d been given and what was yet to come, as a result of this most monumental of foundations, laid down in front of all their eyes.
The kind of fame that has history asking one question.
Just what WERE they thinking?
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I’m tempted to try and look up this AGM story and see what Sir Lord Good Chips said that almost caused one or two to choke on their own Grit.
But I can’t be arsed.
As for the hack dwarf. This gallant podcastateer: If you’ve been peddling to the sado-masochists the lie that someone who drives around in cars with gold alloys and tinted windows may one day buy the club and start spending copious amounts of Wonga on talent like Soldado (about the same amount as Sanchez!), if you have been pushing the EndofanEra meme and agenda for so long then I suppose that the evolution from demanding AW’s sacking to demanding that AW see out his contract is a fair reflection upon these disingenuous bravehearts.
Who can be arsed to listen to these twits?
In addition to what FH says above about AFCs incredible record in developing players who do make it at PL level whether here or elsewhere,
until these hacks can muster up the footballs required to ask how and why AFC have been spending HALF the rate of their peers upon mature footballers then they are simply not worth listening to! Instead they spend their time critising AFC for “being difficult” during the transfer window etc.
If these hacks are unwilling to even acknowledge the existence of the petro-clubs then it’s not surprising that many fans still don’t understand their impact upon the sport.
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Thanks guys for the positive feedback. It is always a warm and friendly audience at PA. But I am pretty sure Mr Podcaster and his legions of supporters will not be as charitable. While this blog may not have as big a reach as the big boys we know that serious supporters of our club monitor our posts and eventually our views and opinions make it to the mainstream. On occasions I have seen our posts plagiarized without attribution. Hey ho. We are not in it for the money, unlike some.
All of the foregoing is to make the point that sooner than we wish Arsene’s future will become the major issue at our club. Influentials like Mr Podcaster should be put on notice that they are trodding on shaky ground by undermining his achievements and creating a divisive atmosphere, in similar fashion to the Black Scarfers and malcontents. Mr Podcaster certainly profited from the 19 years of unimaginable success Arsene brought to our club. Such ingratitude never goes unpunished..
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Excellent Shotta if not just for squeezing the word brouhaha into your piece.
Unfortunately it is still the case these people ignore the facts about finances after the move, they ignore how chelski and man city skewed the chances of success and how the PL money allowed smaller clubs to buy better players increasing chances of one off wins here and there. Its hard to imagine a more difficult set of circumstances that hit our club both domestically and on the European stage.
To continue to turn a blind eye to all this and side with the media desperate in need for a story shows amazing ignorance however in this social media world I believe some are simply just promoting themselves and have no real love for the club.
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How come I am liking my own comment? Sorry for the snafu.
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I like my comments too Shotta.
In fact they are the best. By a distance.
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Absolutely brilliant and spot on
Indeed! Marvellous post.
And the replies… I more than “like” them. I must admit, I did read arseblogs AGM summary, but I found myself almost covering my eyes for fear of what may’ve been there. This article has fuller quotes from Mr Arsène, which I appreciate.
PA really is my safe house. (Despite the lack of its podcast, wot I covet).Thank you all.
Of course, the “presstitutes” (ta Shotta, I’m having that) seem sad that Moano’s been sanctioned (a little bit), and repeat stuff about supposed injustices to Chelski vs **** all for Arsenal.
I just love that Arsène used the term “naive” in describing Deano’s recidivism. (Big word eh?). Thing is, how do you charge someone making that claim – without opening up a can of room elephants?
You have up to 5pm Thursday to answer disrepute charges!
What might have come of that?
Arsène Wenger is a wonderful human being. Fact!
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“And then it becomes the Etonian establishment against the honest working man in the street, a position that the Machiavellian Fourth Estate is only too happy to spin.”
Indeed. But not a squeak from the hack dwarves, petty plundits, gallant podcastateers etc. about West Ham’s/ State Aid FCs Stadium deal with Dodgy Boris. Fortunately it seems that the efforts to obfuscate the breakdown of costs there are going to go to court, and hopefully scupper the sociopath’s desire to become PM/leader of his party? The current owners of west ham only bought the club to sell off the Boulez ground site. They saw AFCs property development and wanted to copy that, but they used a different model. The one where the taxpayer pays for everything. Just like the team from Abu Dhabi City.
And that’s why these frothing extremists try to paint the likes of The Lord of Chips or Lord Hill-Wood the 42nd Earl of Drayton Park, Ken ‘the builder’ Friar as FA Suits. Yet the new arsenal stadium is the antithesis of the Wembley project. It cost a third whilst being built at the same time for starters, These people are nothing like FA Suits, the record proves it. They all worked closely and very successfully with, wait for it, yep with our Local MP a certain alleged mutant commie-jihadi-hippie-terrorist, one Jeremy Corbyn, on the successful redevelopment of Highbury. I know, I know. Corblimey!* it was only a sustainable development that didn’t drain the coffers of the local taxpayers! I guess that must be outrageous to the likes of Boris? And those who believe in his religion. No wonder that the practioners in far far way off to the right, right off the edge, economic theory or beliefs brand such people as extremists!
In contrast to the stand up relationship between AFC, the local authority and the local MP, in N17 the rt.hon David Lammy a signed up happy clappy devoted Neo-Thatcherite Believer (for that is what he is), Lammy has an office provided to him by THFC. So I’ve been told.
No conflict of interest there then!
Is this is why the AAA and white&black bi-polar scarf brigade have many times in the past pointed to Tottenham, Gazprom etc. as their ideals? The petro-clubs, or offshore owned clubs that for some reason are happy to spend a hundred million on tat. Because the belief in debt-peonage is their religion? Is that a fair question? I think so.
And therefore they have a problem because AFC does not follow their religious beliefs?
It certainly looks that way at times.
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boleyn > boulez
Can you imagine the scenario if a petro club like City held similar AGMs?
“So. First question please.” Says the chairman, Sultan Shiekh Ionly’ethnicallycleansed’myfellowtribalPeoplestoget myhandsonallthisbootyandthat’swhyIneedtoInvestitheresharpishthankyouverymuch,howmanyTornadojetswasit?
First question is from Joe Bloggs, a businessman from Manchester who works in the clothing industry and is a lifelong City fan
“Hi. Great to be here. Thanks for talking to us for the first time ever. I have heard this kind of thing happens in some places, where they have these things called Principals ans Solvency, but, well, we’ve never seen anything like it here. Amazing. Thank you so much. I feel like I should grovel. Are you ok with a kowtow? Ok.
Righ. My question. Cool.
Why are the authorities already investigating the signing of the Mendezian Mule Mangala. There’s no manure there surely? Hey! What are these security guards doing? What’s going on? Help!…”
Mangala cost £30M. And he was just one signing. And yes apparently some genius thought they’d better look into the transfer, I saw something somewhere though I doubt much will come of it.
It is reassuring to see these Tools attacking AFC over the three million. They must be doing something right! Haha.
Joe Bloggs Jeans (from Manchester) went bankrupt in 2009:
“a series of unsuccessful business deals and an ill-fated move into gambling on stocks…”
On the subject of outrageously overpriced mules like Mangala, Chambers had a good U21 game alongside Akpom too. I maintain that his debut in last years supercup was an incredibly promising performance. Groaners are parroting the elder Neville but let’s be clear here: England’s record with u21 talent is poor, AFC’s is good. That’s not an opinion but simply a statement of huge record. E.g.:
“Akpom has the for a potential bright future”
That must explain how and why players like Akpom or Chambo before him were not promoted early to the u21s. You know. So they could get some u21 games under their belt before a early promotion to the seniors…
The elder Neville said Chambers needs a loan.
However, I’d trust the coaches that spotted his talent, not those that ignored it!
The same coaches that took Jenkinson from Charlton reserves…etc.
On the old plagiarism. It’s true, Shotta is correct.:
Took a few years but finally the fitness of players, the resulting vagueries of form, the famous impact on players of the old classic “run of games” (some cliches are worthy of reflection!) the demands of the modern game (KMs ran compared with yesteryear) when playing three times a week etc. they all finally seem to have become part of some people’s considerations when reflecting on a performance. Thank fuck for that!
I’m just grateful they’re finally giving their readers and listeners a more accurate description of the sport before us.
Sorry the ranting.
I blame Rantetta.
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< sorry for ranting
I still blame Rantetta
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Fins on fire.
Oh ha, what can you say about Thierry Henry?:
An excellent piece Shotts. A positive, generous and factual reminder of why we are enjoying the fact that we are living through the greatest period of Arsenal’s history….
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AST, WOB, AAA etc etc etc “Arsenal FC pricing a whole new generation of fans out of the game”
Gazidis “Arsenal’s Young Guns £10 tickets seldom sold out”
just another one of those sticks the like to beat AFC with, but when looked at it holds no water.
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Nice one Shotts,I think we will win the league this season or next,so the entitled will be enlightened!
have to love how the Guardian write an article about the AGM suggesting that Sir Chips threatened to shut down the AGM over the questions being asked about the £3M payment to KSE, but no where in the article, despite lots of quotes from the event, have they actually included any quote from Chips about closing down the AGM.
Yet the AAA and WOB are surprise surprise running with the “Sir Chips threatened to shut down the AGM”
an interesting article of the price of tickets at AFC, and how its cheaper to watch AFC than spurs, chelsea, liverpool or man utd
tim stillman is a fine blogger, and his piece on the AGM is of his usual high standard, and I really concur with his sentiment about those that asked stupid questions at the AGM – “where do we get them from”
Edu, I haven’t read the Guardian article, surely an ode to shot stirring, but I wonder, do they compare the market, with say, ManU?
I’m sure George is comparing the market, as we speak.
Fantastic post Shotta. You really have a talent for hitting nails on the head.
Great comments too, Finsbury in fine form, as are all the gang.
As for the little guy shareholders, those pieces of paper were worth £400 before Arsene Wenger arrived, they are worth £16,000 now. How dare they question the governance of their investment?
Amazingly enough I’ve just seen some wobs already having ago at our next manager. Because of Arsenes close Iinks with Remi Garde there getting their claws in early. Some people never want to be happy.