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Arsenal: somewhere over the rainbow

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@ReverendGooner provides an antidote to this morning’s sombre mood 

Well parishioners as we sit back and pick over the still warm carcass that was 2017 and reflect on our team’s ups and downs we can either be one of two things, we can say hey it’s not all that bad and we are still in with a shout of the top 4 and 2 cups with 16 weeks to go or we can scream ‘Man the Lifeboats’ I’m getting off this tub before it takes me down with it. Now I don’t know about the rest of you enlightened ones but I am definitely the former rather than the abandon ship brigade so I won’t be grabbing my life jacket just yet if you don’t mind. We currently sit in 6th spot as I write this piece 8 points off 2nd place and while this is not ideal its not exactly the end of the world either.

The detractors would have you believe that this is an absolutely catastrophic situation and that the end of the world is nigh. Our manager ‘the old duffer in a sleeping bag’ as some portray him still harbours a large degree of optimism for the season as do many Arsenal fans but hey he’s hardly going to come out and say that we are royally f$#@ed is he so let’s look at where we currently are and more importantly let’s look at our fans expectation and rightly or wrongly where they believe we should be.

Like many of you cyber pilgrims I’m quite active on social media and interact with many fans from both sides of the managerial debate and the biggest commonality is there is no commonality its very simple in that you are either for the manager or very much against him. You can drone on with some justification about match scheduling and referees who cost all teams points with their poor decision making and performances but I don’t think that’s the problem I think its us the fans that are the problem. Fans have expectations and want the club to show ambition to match that expectation but how realistic is that and how realistic are the fans expectations. I say show the same ambition in your own life before demanding it of others then demonstrate that success before holding yourself up as a beacon of hope and enlightenment.

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Now some of you will disagree with my opinion and that’s fine that’s your right and one that I am happy to accept as a part time blogger. Over the period of last year, I have had a good look at some of these so called real Arsenal fans and their constant on line rants about the Arsenal Football Club and in particular the owner, the manager, CEO & squad. They offer advice and comment on where it’s all going wrong and how to fix it on everything from owners share allocations, to the corporate structure of the board and of course how to win the PL & CL before the pub closes.

I have had a closer look at the person offering said advice and demanding that Arsenal match their expectation and realise they are just spouting off to paper over the cracks of their own short comings just like the dad at Saturday morning football who was never actually any good at football but continues offering advice to his son’s team demanding perfection and telling everyone how it should be done. We all want Arsenal to do well and we all want to win the PL, CL and every other trophy but there has to be a large slice of reality applied to that expectation. Every other club is trying to do the same thing at the same time and a myriad of factors need to be taken into consideration in order to achieve this. The rise of social media in recent years has only served to amplify this call for ambition from fans 24/7. Now fans can interact with the players, administrators and the media on a one to one basis and while this is a serious step in fan participation and interaction it’s not always been for the best.

The ongoing saga that is the Sanchez/Ozil contract negotiations have further exasperated things which has also served to raise my awareness of the ever-increasing amount of contract and business law experts there are within the Arsenal fanbase. As someone that studied business law at university and works with complex business contracts on a daily basis I would still not deem it appropriate to offer advice or counsel to Arsenal on how best to resolve the issue because I simply do not know the background behind these negotiations or the foundations that the original contracts were based on yet we have Bill the brickie, Steve the Tesco’s manager and numerous bloggers, podcasters and fan tv host’s telling Arsenal’s executive & legal department exactly how it should be done.

Maybe I should shoot a few Investment JV contracts over to these guys for a quick look see on mate’s rates to make sure I’m doing the right thing; the simple truth is we have absolutely no idea what goes on behind closed doors and due to very strict privacy laws we are not about to either. The other great bone of contention is the CL and why Arsenal don’t win it? Today’s CL is nothing more than a UEFA sanction El Classico for Barcelona and Real Madrid (Real3 or Barca1 have won it past 4 years) and on the infrequent occasions other clubs have won the cup its because they have spent an inordinate amount of money to do so and Arsenal Plc are simply not prepared to do that.

On the one occasion we did manage to get to the final we were robbed by a doggy Barcelona supporting referee appointed by Platini’s equally doggy UEFA. In regards to the PL where do Arsenal fans expect Arsenal to be in the league table? If you take any notice of Twitter OR Facebook then we should be right up along side City which is fanciful. Where in our history have we ever been an English & European powerhouse that some fans speak of? The answer of course is never. We have never been an all dominating force like the Utd & Liverpool sides of the past we have had patches of domination and the closest we came to dominating a decade was in the 30’s under 3 different managers: Chapman. Shaw & Alison winning the title 5 years out of 10 (31,33,34,35 & 38). Bertie Mee put together a good side that won the Fairs cup in 1970 and the double in 1971 but then came the wilderness years (1972-1988) punctuated with a League Cup in 87 and the FA cup win in 1979 against Utd. Then there is that old chestnut we want our Arsenal back which again is fanciful stuff. George Graham our 2nd most successful manager in history won 6 trophies in 8 years (1986-1994) but when he was fired for taking a bung the club was left in an absolute shambolic mess both on the inside and out with Alcohol addiction, drug taking and gambling (The Tuesday Club) prevalent in the squad & the club also beset by financial issues so where is this mythical Arsenal they all speak so fondly of.

Arsenal are the 3rd most successful club in English football history but they are still some way off the success that Utd and Liverpool enjoyed. Arsenal were always a good cup team that could nick the odd premiership until the Frenchman came along and modernised the entire set up and I think the Arsenal the younger fans keep referring to is of course Wenger’s Arsenal of his 1st 10-year tenure. Wenger’s time is drawing to a close and new blood is needed to take us into the future because the man simply cannot go on forever but his achievements should never be sneered at or belittled by fans who are either too young to remember Arsenal before Wenger or the ones who are old enough but have conveniently forgotten or choose to gloss over the real facts to suit their current argument. As for where Arsenal should be as far as fan expectation well how long is a piece of string.

Some football fans go their entire lives without seeing their club win a trophy let alone the PL title and yet they turn up game after game to follow their team come rain or shine. They love their team and follow it with passion, loyalty and commitment accepting the good with the bad. Sure, they might have a moan but they don’t carry on the way some Arsenal fans do. Some Arsenal fans seem to believe that we have some inalienable right to always win and win well with style and panache. You will often here the phrase “a club as big as Arsenal” should be doing a lot better than they are. You will also hear the argument that Arsenal now has a lot more money & should be competing better than they are but doesn’t everyone have more money now and no one has more money & the power of investment equity than City.

So, taking into consideration the fact that the PL is awash with money which has dramatically reduced the gap between a lot of the clubs don’t you think where we currently are fighting for top 4 and 2 cups is about right or do you think we should be spending billions of another people’s money to win the PL & CL just to satisfy fan expectation? You know like Manchester Utd are in the post Fergie era. If some of you really do think 3 trophies in 4 years is a bit meh and the FA Cup is nothing more than a B grade trophy these days then maybe you really are “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” so click your ruby slippers 3 times, say there is no place like home and come back to reality.

Here endeth the lesson parishioners

About anicoll5

Arsenal supporter, 59, Dad, harmless and humourless, political militant moderate, school governor and worker bee

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86 comments on “Arsenal: somewhere over the rainbow

  1. When the new man comes in & doesn’t immediately make an impact in the PL & Europe as many expect some of our rabid fan base are seriously going to have a nervous breakdown because they are so convinced anyone other than Wenger will of course be immediately successful which is ridiculous in the extreme and when Joachim Low doesn’t walk through the door well Vesuvius springs to mind. Some fans expectation Mind Boggling

    Liked by 5 people

  2. Might get an initial new manager bounce, but it’s going to be very difficult.
    I expect him to go for some what he may regard as quick wins, but the first season or two will require patience our fans do not have, after all there is a recent model , a big club losing a legacy manager.
    That’s why it looks like Wenger and the club are looking to put some good people in place for the day Wenger departs.
    But is suspect there will come a time when the malcontents long for Wenger back, as they now long for GG as the new man beds in
    The teams that chop and change manager constantly and remain successful do so by spending a fortune, money that has not been generated by the club, as we know, Arsenal do not run like that

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Nice highlights of u18s on the website. Example of what I was on about yesterday in terms of their skills and good football. Though, humorously, it took two pens for their win!

    Part of my hopes for academy enjoying a productive spell based on fact these lads have been playing regularly against bus-like defences since 16 year olds at least, as most academies have followed models of seniors in recent years and play a lot of deep defence, against us anyway.

    On that note, I won’t understand any signing going forward which involves a player who doesn’t specifically have skillset which should be suited to the deep defence/ bus challenge.

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  4. when the new man comes in and if he doesn;t do great some will put the blame down to wenger leaving us in such a mess and with such a poor squad, and the rest of the asb will blame ivan and stan for not appointing they man they wanted

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  5. Wenger on the Iwobi reports in the Sun

    If that is true he will be fined. It’s impossible to go out 48 hours before the game. It’s unacceptable. I will have to see him.

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  6. Wenger on Team news

    Xhaka has a test today, we will see how he comes through. Mustafi as well. I will know more after training

    Injury problems

    We don’t recover anyone. On Sunday we paid the price of having many injured players.

    For tomorrow no, for Sunday, I don’t think so.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Wenger also said on transfers

    he would not talk about Johnny Evans as we have no agreement yet, he does not know if city are in for him too, but if it comes down to what contract city can offer him and what we can, city have an advantage.

    Says no contact from city about alexis, and he does not know if he will stay or not.
    No decision made yet as to if alexis will start for us tomorrow.

    Talks on going with Wilshere and Ozil

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  8. Wenger on Iwobi

    It was not the night before the game. It was 48 hours. But it’s not acceptable, I will speak to him about it. When you read what is reported it’s like he has taken drugs, he is not involved in that at all. He was out a birthday party. I will decide what happens.

    Confident no substances were involved?

    If your neighbour takes drugs what can you do? You are responsible for your own actions, not your neighbours.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. If Know Thy Enemy is your thing, folks, have a watch of last night’s the Debate on Sky.

    Murphy, Winter and Christian Purslow (guy involved in renegotiating LFC’s massive debts/takeover then at Chelsea as Commercial head till recently)

    All there, basically, the accusations, the gloom, the certainty we would be better off with new man, put through by 3 who, superficially at least, are much sharper than your average football people.

    What piqued my interest is that they allowed debate to be framed by admittance of financial gulf between 3 of top six and the others, purely because they discussed Liverpool first; and also, through Purslow, offered view that Wenger’s work during the period between stadium debts kicking in and financial pressure easing (around Ozil transfer) was extraordinary.

    The other two stayed schtum at that point, but if you effectively agree with that point, again that sets another definite parameter for debate, i.e the last four and a half years, instead of the ten or more that Winter and co have been hammering Wenger for (while strenuously ignoring financial realities)

    With that and the financial gulf they mention, the parameters have narrowed a great deal. Which leaves their certainty we are failing badly now and other managers would do better. At which point it’s only right to look at their general positivity and optimism for Pool and Spurs, contrast it with their remarkably different attitude to us, remember our three trophies in four years, have a little glance at table to see if they are miles ahead this year, and say ‘eh?’ or something less polite.

    Purslow, who I genuinely wondered might be on drugs because of his incredible animation throughout, but who displayed signs of intelligence well beyond most football people, nonetheless put the classic to them : Where would Arsenal be if they had Klopp, Conte, Pep?

    Though ,revealingly, he lost some gusto mid stream when he realised that with all he’d previously said (about finances etc) surely it makes no sense to suggest we should be favourites or near that with any of them. Call it a ‘shit, this is Merson level logic’ moment.

    The other two felt some of that also, but recovered quickly and settled on ‘better off’. There they could all be happy.

    Totally understand the view of ‘why the hell would I want to watch those bastards rip into us’ but i found it strangely enjoyable on that know your enemy level. These were the Rees Mogg’s and Boris’s to the less literate or sophisticated of Mail/AFTV enthusiasts.

    This was pretty much the best that enemy can muster and in effect leads to the heart, I think, of what this website is about. Combatting their shite. Companionship in the fight.

    Liked by 4 people

  10. If anyone has not had a look at Adrian Clarke’s Breakdown this week then enjoy 7 minutes of sanity; https://player.arsenal.com/video/breakdown-nottingham-forest

    Liked by 2 people

  11. I would love to be the presenter of one of those football shows, and when they likes of Henry, Merson, Wright, Keown spout their shit about the current team and manager, I would hit them with the uncomfortable truths of 12th place finishes, giant killing cup defeats, cup final losses, throwing away league titles. I really can’t stand this hollier than thou stance that these pundits take, as if they never had a poor game, never failed to contest the titles, were great managers or coaches, did not cheat, did not fail to score in cups finals

    Liked by 3 people

  12. wenger say no contact from West Ham for Coquelin, but that he might leave.
    Valencia look the likely destination for him.

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  13. The more general point is that reporters like Winter and ‘pundits’ like Murphy have to find new things to talk about Rich – the internet ( in the form of bloggers, social media and above all TECHNOLOGY that every fan can see and hear from 14 different angles, fast, slow or backwards, and with heat maps to prove it, and tap into every conceivable bank of statistics, what goes on in a game of football) eat their lunch.

    Winter and Murphy ? Dinosaurs, and soon to become extinct.

    Liked by 3 people

  14. don;t think so anicol, the likes of sky, bbc, bt etc have clearly gone with the dumbing down of football coverage, and its clear from twitter, and the blogs that this has been transmitted to them, all the angles/views/stats etc are there for us all to see and use, but the tv companies have clearly had an imprint on how so many fans use and view them or decide what it is these things actually show. If a pundit on TV says looking at a video of a player punching the ball into the net, “he clearly heads it in”, no amount of video will make some fans admit he is wrong. We’ve seen it so many times.

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  15. Adrian Clarke? We know his story well!

    It is thanks to AFC online supporters such as our friend Limestonegunner* calling out ****s for being ****s that some **** got the boot and Clarkie got the gig.

    I am still grateful. Sometimes you just have to say it. Reticence is not always appropriate in every circumstance.

    Winterburn and Hillier are good fun too.

    Liked by 2 people

  16. Clarke’s Breakdown was good. Always is

    Liked by 1 person

  17. The football ‘expert’ eddy – dead as a dodo – reporters, pundits, purveyors of wisdom all defunct – although admittedly there may be a niche for entertainers and the occasional village idiot.

    Liked by 3 people

  18. Injury doubts over Xhaka and Mustafi are most unwelcome. If we have ourselves another Ox situation with Alexis, and Coq not available, suddenly we’re in a tricky spot.

    Carries on the theme of not getting all the benefits you’d hope for from our rotation in cups in first half of season. Pure bad luck. Though those cup games were vital in getting Jack and Maitland-Niles up to speed and ready for the job.

    Ramsey should surely be due back now if it’s his usual three week hamstring strain and not the longer one. Not seen any word on him for while.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Rio was in a bit of a state about VAR last night after the Brighton game – desperate efforts top rubbish the new system. Fraud that he is.

    I was impressed with the losing manager’s measured response;

    Roy Hodgson was sanguine, on reflection, having initially thought Murray was guilty of handball. “We had suspicions at first, and those were fuelled by the people close to the goalkeeper and the players close by,” the Palace manager said. “They seemed to be incensed and from our angle it looks for all the world like he’s guided the ball in with his arm, but I think you have to congratulate the system.”

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  20. Hints already that though VAR will solve some problems perfectly it will create some new ones, or at least change old ones.

    Fortunately, right decision on that Brighton goal, and i was purring at how efficiently it could sort question of offside. Strong suggestion though that they did not look through angles or perhaps even check at all for the handball question.

    I remembered belatedly yest that the place I’d probably heard of Premier League Productions before was after Gabriel was cleared in Costa incident.

    That was apparently only possible because of footage from ESPN Brazil which demonstrated no contact on his flick; footage which was never aired here and went off twitter within a day. Footage no doubt provided to ESPN Brazil by Premier League Productions.

    Early days, and only reasonable, sensible position is that this brave new world needs time to settle and improve techniques and processes. But, you know, when trust has gone…

    Liked by 1 person

  21. “Pure bad luck”

    Ramsey was due back “in the New Year” which as he was first injured on the 10th December I assumed meant around the 1st January – fool that I am.

    Luck is a matter of preparation meeting opportunity. As we never replaced the Ox and and we seem a bit short I wonder whether pushing Hector into midfield might not be an option ?

    Liked by 2 people

  22. Ramsey is my worry , he has damaged his hamstring so badly he will be out for a month plus.
    He has been managed really well this season,he has been on 7 days rest.
    That is a real problem

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  23. Infamy, Infamy, they have it in for me.

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  24. BG is on after 24 minutes to save you fiddling

    Liked by 2 people

  25. Arsenal u23’s v Man Utd u23’s next Monday, is live on Arsenal.com, kick off 7pm

    Liked by 3 people

  26. You wonder how Pep would manage in the Championship?

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  27. pep would do just fine in the championship, if he has an unlimited budget

    Liked by 3 people

  28. It is much easier to win games if you can fill your team with the best players in the world. But managing the egos and sometimes surprisingly fragile needs of the best players in the world over a whole season is not that easy. And to do it over a number of seasons is probably very hard indeed.

    Liked by 2 people

  29. Arsenal linked with a move for Johnny Evans, but it is felt by many that man city who are in for him too have the advantage due to their extra money, even Wenger suggested this too, but the biggest problem AFC might have in attempts to sign him is that his wife works for Man Utd TV, and moving south would mean something has to give on that front.
    would say that the only advantage Arsenal would have over city is that we are more likely to be able to guarantee him more playing time.

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  30. anicoll

    I rue fact Pep will probably never manage on anything but a megabudget. Would love to see it.

    Generally, it just doesn’t happen. Van Gaal led Alkmaar to a title post-Barca, Mancini has had other jobs and, well, so has Moyes, but it seems those who manage the wealthiest either go to another one of the same or, like Enrique and Blanc, don’t go anywhere.

    Think Riijkaard had other jobs after Barca but no clue where he is now.

    Pep of course would be by far the most interesting of the lot but we’ll never see what this ‘world’s greatest coach’ could do with a Newcastle.

    Liked by 1 person

  31. Juup Henyckes Munchen played the better football in n5 then we saw from the same squad after Young Pep took over (he lost 2-0 on his first visit with Munchen?), Pep never hit those same heights with that squad.

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  32. the report that coq has joined valencia might have put paid to the thought of santi ever coming back to become a major factor in this team. the partnership developed between the two was one of the best i can remember in my little knowledge of this club. their was like division of labour. i get the ball and give it to you to do the rest. no one in this squad can complement santi like coq and vis vasal. that has been the reason coq has struggle since santi injuries. i was thinking there is a way back for him if ramsey and jack could gel together in the central midfield with coq behind the duo.
    he is a genuine professional and i wish him all the best. he already has a friend in gabriel and will certainly feel at home.

    Liked by 1 person

  33. every player we have been linked to this window is expected to replace sanchez even if the player is a defender. i will not be suprise to see us going for buffon to add quality to our attack.

    Liked by 2 people

  34. Agree, can only wish Coq the best.
    Great partnership with Cazorla, only a couple years ago that some sites were saying that if Coq gets injured, our season is over!
    But alas, think far more have suffered from the sad absence of Cazorla

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