66 Comments

Arsenal: The Football Rattle

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GF60 writes;

This was written some 6 years ago and at last we have to concede that St. Tott’s can have a break. But at least we have a pot to show for it and can claim that we’ve won the league, cup and shield on their home ground!

There are no games in the season that fill me with more terror than the Spuds. It’s 90 minutes of having a pulse rate way too high for an old fart, bitten fingernails, and nervous twitches…and that’s when we’re a few goals up.

Yes it has been 10 years almost to the week since the scrawny chickens raised more than a croak in the league against us. Our record since 1999…10 wins, 8 draws 0 defeats. But every year the tension gets higher. Every year, the thought that they could fluke a winning goal against us, or even worse a winning own goal, with their supporters carrying on as though they’ve just won the World Cup, the European Cup and Aunt Gladys’ tea cup, is sufficient to give any Gooner the horrors.

And that’s the biggest problem. Their supporters just have no class. It’s not a question of 3 points…or the loss thereof that fills me with terror. It’s the spuds rattling on ad nauseum that they are North London’s finest.

They do that regardless without even beating us; St Totteringham’s day being an  unfortunate fluke; the absence of a Championship at the slough of despond for 48 years, a mere oversight. Of course we know it’s all bollocks but they still believe that wishing it to happen will make it happen. They are so pathetic.

They still get more pleasure from us being beaten by anybody in preference to their side actually winning a game. Which probably explains why they’re such a miserable shower…they get little in the way of happiness.

My first exposure to a derby probably explains my antipathy to most spud supporters (although many old friends are spuds!). Funny I’ve never disliked the side as such and used to visit regularly when we were away and they were playing some good football back in the 50s and 60s.

It was 1950, I was 8 years old. My gran, a spud I fear to say, had lost the battle for my allegiance 2 years earlier when I was taken to see my first game at Highbury, and decided that my Christmas present should be a seat next to her on the 23rd December.

Equipped with rattle and scarf I was in my element up until the moment that I realised that we’d lost 1-0. Then the tears came. As did the whispered comment from the spiv type sitting next to me, “That’s yer Christmas present yer little Arsenal shit.”

Now I’d never heard the word before and gran hadn’t heard the comment so nothing was said until I got home and asked Mum what a “shit” was. I got a clip around the ear and the warning that I’d get no Christmas presents this year or any other year if I ever said that word again. And the final blow…”no more watching football for you if that’s the sort of language you learn.”

That spud took out about 10 months out of my supporting programme and might explain partly my ethos that “If it’s bad for the spuds, it’s good for Gooners”

Having said that there is a big BUT. I don’t know about the rest of you, but I for one object to the fact that the Chel$kis and Manchester F***** United have taken the spuds previous pride of place in the jeering/taunting stakes. It’s not really our fault, the spuds have been more deserving of sympathy, a pat on the head and “There, there, there” than a good gloat.

They are the real oppo, always have been, always should be. Please may they never screw up another season like 1977/78 and get relegated… because a season without “the terror”, is so terribly boring. But it goes without saying that should the impossible ever happen… we screw up, St Tott’s day does not occur and we’ve been beaten by the spuds… it will be next century already so I can just roll in my grave.

Gf60

(Not quite the right one) 👇🏿

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168 Comments

No, It Was Not Wenger’s Worst Season

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Bob the Blogger is “not worth two bob” and he is  “nicking a living.”  Neil Ashton may never live down this damning epitaph to his ignorance and bias (no matter how well paid and protected by his employers in the mainstream media) but I have no doubt about the accuracy of my findings after reviewing many of the hucksters parading as Arsenal bloggers.

Take for example those doing the Arsenal beat at espnfc.com. We can comfortably assume they are well remunerated, unlike yours truly and my colleagues at PA.  We do this for free because of our love for the club and our hatred for the lies and mendacity of the rest of the media. They at ESPN are supposed to be professionals and thus do it for money and for that reason high standards are expected.

Not so for Tom Adams with a recent headline:

“Arsene Wenger’s worst season ever as Arsenal embarrass themselves”

Mark Ogden, their senior football writer, after Wenger’s complete triumph over those trying to get him fired, blogged this complete cockamamie:

His (Arsene Wenger) glory days as manager are now more than a decade ago, and the man who was once a visionary has been overtaken by a new breed of coaches such as Antonio Conte, Pep Guardiola, Jose Mourinho, Jurgen Klopp and Mauricio Pochettino.

It was less than a week ago I did D-Day At The Arsenal where I concluded there was no doubt Kroenke would rehire Arsene based on the following data:

Yr W D L Pts Lge Pos
16/17 23 6 9 75 5
15/16 20 11 7 71 2
14/15 22 9 7 75 3
13/14 24 7 7 79 4
12/13 21 10 7 73 4
11/12 21 8 9 71 3
10/11 19 11 8 68 4
09/10 23 6 9 75 3
08/09 20 12 6 72 4
07/08 24 11 3 83 3
06/07 19 11 8 68 4
05/06 20 7 11 67 4
04/05 25 8 5 83 2
03/04 26 12 0 90 1
02/03 23 9 6 78 2
01/02 26 9 3 87 1
00/01 20 10 8 70 2
99/00 22 7 9 73 2
98/09 22 12 4 78 2
97/98 23 9 6 78 1
96/97 19 11 8 68 3
462 196 140 1582 3

I had hoped the table spoke for itself. Apparently I need to highlight the takeaways.

Despite all the sensationalist headlines about coming 5th and falling out of the top-four, it was in many respects a better season than 2015-16 when the club came 2nd:

  • 4 more Points.
  • 3 more Wins.
  • 12 more goals Scored.
  • A higher Goal Difference, 33 vs 29.

On the negative side:

  • 2 more Losses.
  • 8 more goals Against, 44 vs 36.

How did this 2016-17 compare to the previous years. I ran some basic statistics.

Statistic W D L Pts Lge_Pos
2016-17 23 6 9 75 5
Minimum 19 8 11 68 4
Maximum 26 12 0 90 1
Mean 22 9 7 75 3
Median 22 9 7 75 3
Std Dev (Pop) 2 2 2 6 1

Readers do not have to be Math wizzes to understand that 2016-17, compared very well with the previous 20 years:

  • Better than the mean and median for Wins and Draws.
  • Equal to the mean and median in Points.
  • Worse than the mean and median for Losses.

In any sphere of life, 4 out of 5 at 80%, is not an A but definitely a B+.

Another data point to consider, for 10 of the 21 years Arsenal amassed less than 75 points, coming at least 2nd on three occasions and no less than 4th. That was until this year when 75 points was for the first time only good enough for 5th. Yes, you read right. Arsene and Arsenal had 10 worst years point-wise. Did the mainstream media or Bob-the-Blogger highlight this? Hell no. They were too busy trying to con Arsenal fans into believing 16-17 was the worst season ever.

Ever since our form went tits up from January to March, as the full impact of losing Santi was felt, with Wenger switching and matching various midfield combinations, Bob-the-Blogger suddenly lost all the faith he or she never had. After the 3-goal defeat to West Brom in late March, almost all but Positively Arsenal were in total despair.

I went back to the data and our history of fighting back from behind in seasons past and did a blog titled Arsenal Will Revert To The Mean. Voila. 75 points. Right on the money. If I was a gambling man I could have made a killing. Further proof of the value of relying on the historical data based on Wenger’s consistency. The alternative is emotionalism and hysteria which, by the way, is a time honored guarantee of generating clicks.

Coming 5th was not because the Arsenal performed worse historically  but due to the other 5 clubs being more consistent at the expense of the so-called smaller clubs in the League. Here is an amazing statistic about the growing disparity in results:

  • 13 clubs amassed less than 50 points in 16-17 vs 10 clubs in 15-16.

Now journalism students during my time in college were excellent writers but re-known for math-phobia. However there is no excuse for paid pundits to write such absolute nonsense as Tom Adams and company. They at ESPN have terabytes of data at their disposal and interns who can do some analytics with their computer in a jiffy. But, as we are now increasingly aware, the media has a narrative to sell and when the data doesn’t fit it is simply ignored or distorted.

Unable to rebut Wenger’s absolute consistency over the past 21 years, senior writer Ogden has no other recourse but to trot out the old saw that more modern managers have surpassed the old professor. But none of this crop managing the other Big-7 clubs, with the exception of Klopp and Pochetinno, has been in their current position for more than a year. Ogden should be well aware that one swallow doesn’t make a summer. It is the consistency of performance over time that counts.

Or maybe Ogden suffers from memory loss. It is not so far back when Rafa Benitez, Andres Villas Boas, Martin O’Neil, Paul Lambert, Roberto Mancini, Manuel Pellegrini, Roberto Martinez, David Moyes and Louis Van Gaal were all brought into their clubs and hailed as the scourge of Wenger. Almost all have been sacked or demoted from big PL clubs since then. At the time they were supposedly more modern.

As I demonstrated last time I blogged, the so-called more “modern managers” are working at clubs who over the past 11 years have massively outspent Arsenal in the transfer market. It is only in the last three years have the financial restrictions on Arsene been lifted compared to the prior eight years. Clearly the modern managers are now enjoying this strategic advantage.

W D L Pts Pos Net Spend Spend per Pt
Man City 224 89 105 761 5 £869.03 £1.14
Man Utd 265 83 70 878 3 £481.09 £0.55
Chelsea 259 88 71 865 2 £329.31 £0.38
Liverpool 224 104 90 776 5 £252.23 £0.33
Arsenal 236 102 80   810 4 £170.15 £0.21
Tottenham 205 104 109 719 5 £132.78 £0.18

All spending above in £millions

I won’t bore you my readers with the points I made earlier this week. But upon reviewing the table above, something struck me forcefully. It is evident that the three most dominant clubs in the PL over the past 10 years (Chelsea, United and City) are willing to pay at least £380,000 in net transfers for each point earned in the PL. City is at a ridiculous £1,140,000 net spend per point, essentially 6-times that of Arsenal’s. How much more on transfers is Arsenal and Stan Kroenke willing and able to spend to win the League?

Contrary to the nonsense spewed by Ogden and other bloggers, the data demonstrates Arsene can get more from each transfer pound; he is the most effective in the League. I would give anything to see the agreed transfer budget for this summer. If I was Conte, Guardiola or Klopp, I would be very concerned if Wenger is able to spend as much if not more than last year. Sooner or later he will eat up the gap in points.

In conclusion, I note a few well meaning readers on twitter have expressed the view that this blog is somewhat harsh on other Arsenal bloggers. I make no apologies. We are in a battleground of ideas. There is cut and thrust. In my opinion, for too long, we the good guys have, in the interest of getting along, allowed stupid, fact-free ideas to attach itself to the fanbase. Like a malignant cancer, such stupidity has grown and masticized into flagrant disrespect for Arsenal’s greatest ever manager. In my view we can only rid the fanbase of this tumor by exposing the agents to ridicule and scorn. Those who disagree have their own forum to respond to the unbiased data.

Thank you for reading and your feedback.

23 Comments

Arsenal: Old Memories from the Class of ’48

Gf60 writes;

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Of old Highbury, Crush barriers, Cliff Holton and Stanley Matthews.

With all-seater grounds, nancyfied and oh so safe, no-one will ever know, again, the thrill of being able to tell the crowd size merely by the pressure on your chest. Seriously.

To illustrate: a big game, the scum for example, meant that you had to get to the ground at least three hours before kick off else risk being locked out. Two hours before hand wouldn’t allow you to get your favourite position without a great deal of manoeuvring.

“Today’s a 65 000.” “Nah, 58 000 at most” We were rarely out by more than a few thousand….bar one dismal day when Leeds came to town back in the 60’s. Figures such as 4 000 didn’t exist other than for the reserve games. Just imagine shortly after the war, the stiffs would pull in crowds of over 30 000 regularly. Days long gone I fear.

Anyway to return to the point.

Cliff Holton was a big lad. More, he had a shot on him that made somebody like Thierry Henry’s look a bit powder puffy. Cliff regrettably had few of TH’s skills but he could play, after a fashion, anywhere from right back to centre forward. He was part of a side that was, to be more than fair, pretty bloody in the mid 1950’s. But it pulled crowds, inevitably over 50 000 and on one particular autumn day, WBA, were the visitors.

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In those days, WBA were a bloody good and attractive side…Allen and Griffin being two very sharp forwards so it was a deep breathing crowd…well over 60, 000 and packed like sardines. The crush barriers must have been doing overtime but, because Arsenal was Arsenal, as safe as the monthly safety checks could make them.

For those who don’t know what a crush barrier was, (there are plenty of photos) in brief, a 1/2 inch thickness cast iron 3 inch diameter pipe supported by two triangular supports of similar construct basically formed the barrier. These were staggered all over the terraces, facing the pitch, so when the crowd swayed, moved, tripped, stumbled, slid …all the sorts of things that standing crowds do whilst following the action, the crush barriers barriered and the folks below were uncrushed. Worked very well at the Arsenal 998 times out of 1000.

So back to Cliff and WBA. Kicking towards the Clock end, big Cliff had a chance. About 20 yards out and he meets this half volley as sweetly as a ball has ever been hit. It may well have been doing over 90 mph. Only problem was it was six feet wide of the goal and still rising as it went towards the crowd.

Do you know how quickly jam packed human beings can move when facing that? I kid you not. The ball hit empty concrete terracing….not 1 person within 5 yards of the ball. There they were packed…there they were gone. …sideways. Barriers not much use for sideways movement. ..but they did leave an unforgettable memory for we North Bankers.

And then there was Stanley Matthews….later Sir Stan….the “wizard of dribble”, by then coming up to 40 years old and Blackpool who were also a good attractive side, with Mortenson, Taylor and other quality players. Invariably they were in the top half of the table, then. Strangely, no matter how badly we were playing in the league, we always had a good feeling about Blackpool coming to Highbury. They didn’t like playing there albeit they’d beaten us in a 6th round Cup Tie 2 years back. This day was no different…we were 3-0 up and going nicely for a change. Matthews hadn’t done much…strangely Dennis Evans who was marking him inevitably played him well.

The crowd, again in the 60,000 region was happy; for once we were going to get 2 points without too much of a panic and a lovely time was being had by all….bar the Blackpool players and supporters. Just as it should be. But a player like Matthews doesn’t get a reputation such as he had without some genius in his feet. He trapped a half volley and in the same movement, went to go inside Dennis. …and the crowd swayed inside to follow the play. Which was why we (the crowd and Dennis) were all off balance when Matthews went the other way. …and we (the crowd and Denis) all finished up on our arses!

It was the most perfect dummy and once again proved that crush barriers were fine for stopping down hill momentum but not too hot at stopping sideways.

There was an interesting footnote to that game. We were 4-0 up and the final whistle went. Every one cheered and Denis who had the ball in our penalty area, celebrating the win, walloped the ball into the net. Consternation. The whistle had come from some clown in the crowd not the ref. Goal awarded…the goal that made the difference to Blackpool finishing third (with the third prize money) and not fourth.

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( Stan pursued by Bowen and Dennis)

76 Comments

The Amazing Mr. Wenger

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Wenger 2 – WOBs 0

Despite their total and ignominious defeat earlier this week, the WOBs remain unrepentant and as bitter as ever.  It has been my observation these past many years that most of these anti-Wenger zealots, (bloggers, podcasters, tweeters and self-appointed tv personalities) are so invested in their anti-Wenger narrative they have become increasingly unhinged, removed from reality.

Take Blogger X, for example. Prior to the FA cup final he wrote a long, sonorous piece culminating in this Eureka moment:

“Arsenal’s problem is not money. Arsenal’s problem isn’t that Stan Kroenke doesn’t go to games or that he pays himself some token salary. Arsenal’s problem is Arsene Wenger.”

Not satisfied he had dug himself into a mammoth hole as well as receiving commendable pushback from some of the posters in the comments section, Blogger-X ranted and raged and propounded with all seriousness that Arsenal:

“…can, absolutely, unequivocally, spend the money that Man U spend. We spent £100m this season. We spent £20m on Perez, £20m on Chambers, £40m on fucking Mustafi. We could have bought Zlatan. Easily. We just needed to pay his agent. Which we refuse to do. We could have bought Pogba.”

Isn’t this the very definition of madness?  Can any sane person seriously propose that Arsenal should go into a bidding war with the commercially most successful team in Europe, bar Real Madrid? Can any serious Arsenal blogger propose paying £100m for an over-the-hill forward at the expense of curing deficiencies in defense, midfield and attack. Isn’t this the kind of wasteful pandering to the agents of big name players like Zlatan and Pogba that had the once fearsome attacking force from Old Trafford earn the reputation of Drawchester United, stumbling into 6th place after expending £200m in transfers? Is it any wonder that this blogger entered the FA Cup final fully expecting Arsenal to be destroyed by Chelsea and sheepishly admitting how surprised he was at the result?

Yet this is a blogger, like so many, who are now fuming and cursing that Stan Kroenke, ignored their insane, unsolicited advice and himself decided that Arsene Wenger had his full and complete confidence, sanctioning his retention as manager of the football club for at least two more years. This is the key quote from his press release:

“Arsene is the best person to help us make that happen. He has a fantastic track record and has our full backing.”

Apparently Stan has a far greater grip on reality than these self-appointed football experts who claim to be spokespersons for rank and file supporters of Arsenal Football Club. These are the idiots whom the mainstream media love to quote as examples of the so-called increasing number of Arsenal supporters who are opposed to Arsene continuing as manager of the club.

Btw, note the negative feedback loop created by the mainstream media: (1st) They initiate fake news and analysis disparaging the manager who kept Arsenal in the top-4 for 11 tough years when the club had to pay for a new stadium. (2nd) A minority of weak-minded, weak-willed bloggers increasingly fall for their bogus reporting and over time, week-in, week-out, faithfully repeat the same talking points as the BBC, Sky, Telegraph, Guardian, Mirror etc. (3rd) A small minority of Arsenal fans are eventually emboldened by the continued, unrelenting anti-Wenger  screeds of these bloggers and  begin protesting with A-4 paper, bedsheets and even aeroplanes. (4th) The media then reports and highlights these protestors as somehow representing the majority opinion of Arsenal. Problem for the lamestream media is; you can fool some people sometime but you can’t fool all the people all the time. The absolute refusal of Stan Kroenke to be moved by either the media or the malcontents within Arsenal is proof positive.

Wenger is the Most Successful Manager in the Premier League

What the mainstream media and Arsenal bloggers rarely emphasize is how monumentally successful Arsene has been in the 21 years he has managed Arsenal Football Club. During his tenure, despite not having the mammoth financial resources of first Manchester United and later on Manchester City and Chelsea, he has led the club to earn the 2nd highest number of points among all the traditional top-5 PL clubs.

Clubs W D L Points Avg Pos
Man United 502 169 127 1675 2
Arsenal 462 196 140 1582 3
Chelsea 443 188 167 1517 4
Liverpool 419 201 178 1228 4
Tottenham 345 194 259 1229 8

Note this table excludes Manchester City, who, before they hit the jackpot in 2006, were outside the Premier League for extended periods. They are now the very definition of a club who lucked out on a very rich sugar-daddy and can now outspend all their rivals. Another observation; despite all the song and dance about Tottenham’s recent successes, they are the worst performing of Arsenal’s top competitors during Wenger’s 21 years, averaging 8th position. Forced with having to pay for a new stadium, sooner or later they will have to cash-in on their best assets to pay the bills. History proves it is unlikely they can sustain their recent competitiveness.

Wenger is The Most Efficient

Arsene has not only been successful in winning games but he has been one of the most efficient, i.e. achieving more points from every pound/dollar spent on players. Isn’t that the very definition of a successful manager in every walk of life; the ability to get superior results from the resources available? Why should football be any different?

The following table focuses on 11 years since the move to the Emirates Stadium. (All currency is in millions.)

W D L Points Avg Pos Net Spend Spend per Pt
Man City 224 89 105 761 5 £869.03 £1.14
Man Utd 265 83 70 878 3 £481.09 £0.55
Chelsea 259 88 71 865 2 £329.31 £0.38
Liverpool 224 104 90 776 5 £252.23 £0.33
Arsenal 236 102 80 810 4 £170.15 £0.21
Tottenham 205 104 109 719 5 £132.78 £0.18

Arsene has earned a point from every £210,000 spent on transfers achieving an average 4th position in the league.

While Tottenham had a lesser average transfer spend of £180,000 for each point, they averaged a lower league position than Arsenal, meaning outside the top-4 and lucrative champions league spot.

All the other top four clubs spent on a net basis significantly more than Arsenal:

  • Liverpool has spent 50% more to average 5th place in the League.
  • Chelsea spent double.
  • United triple.
  • City quadruple.

Despite their massive net spend City still averages 5th position over 11 years. One must admit that prior to Sheik Mansour they were a team languishing in the lower reaches of the League so they have a significant deficit to cover.

But the above data gives lie to the non-factual nonsense spouted by Blogger X who demonstrated he had absolutely no clue about transfer spending. It is not how much you spend it is how efficient and effective is your spending. Any smart, rational owner seeing how effective Arsene Wenger has been would do everything to retain his services. Why should Stan entrust the club’s resources to some unproven manager who simply wants a big checkbook to compete with City, United and Chelsea; all of whom have bigger checkbooks?

Yet we have bloggers doubting that Stan is smart. Apparently they skipped that part of his biography that he became a billionaire before marrying into the Walton family. That he has a Bachelors of Arts, Bachelors of Science and Masters in Business Administration and massively grew the family business. According to Blogger Y, who is also well known:

“Enos is clueless on football. He doesn’t have a plan, abdicating responsibility to a powerless board. They lacked the stomach for a fight they knew they would lose and their capitulation to the manager is the result.”

Apparently Lord Sugar, former owner of Spurs is also clueless because he is constantly praising Arsene and ridiculing that absolute idiot Piers Morgan who is totally unhinged when it comes to Wenger.

Is the battle over?

Despite the massive loss suffered by the WOBs, many of them are still digging deeper into that hole dug by Blogger X. But I have observed that the least unhinged are trying to walk back some of their initial over-the-top reactions. For example, big, bad Blogger Z initially wrote:

This current board have been a shambles over the last few months in particular. They’ve shown themselves to be utterly craven and you have to question whether some put their own self-interest ahead of the club.

Two days or so later he described himself as somewhere in the middle. The fact that he could make such a slanderous, demeaning description of the Board of Directors did not restrain him from writing a long meandering blog making suggestions and giving advice to the very board. What Chutzpah!

As most of my readers know, I am not very optimistic when it comes to arresting the emotionalism and stupidity generated by the media and many bloggers because in the final analysis it is very profitable. It generates clicks and eyeballs. Google’s Adsense is making money for someone. Furthermore it is my experience that anybody online who makes a career of trashing Arsene Wenger is guaranteed notoriety.

That is why I try to arm sensible fans with the facts showing that Arsene Wenger is simply an amazing manager. Based on the unbiased data I had absolutely no doubt he would be reappointed. He is simply the best man for the job.

Victoria, Concordia, Crescit!

140 Comments

Two More Years – At The Very Least BTW !

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So today we can expect an official announcement from the club which will confirm that Arsene Wenger will continue as Arsenal manager for at least a further two years. This news will be met by varying degrees of enthusiasm and disappointment across the fanbase, media and social media.

First let me try to make my feelings clear – Yabba Dabba Doo!

This is absolutely a triumph of sense over stupidity. There is no way that our greatest ever manager ,being at the helm for an extended period, can be anything but a tremendous result for the club.

Make no mistake about it, Arsene Wenger is a colossus of an elite manager. In fact he is the very epitome of “elite manager”. I believe he is every bit as good as he ever was, all this bollocks about him being past his best is just that – BOLLOCKS.

Lets consider for a moment who wanted him out.

We can start with the easy and obvious target, the absolute melts on AFTV. Seriously, just look at and listen to this shower of Muppets. I seriously doubt any of them could tie their own shoelaces, and they must surely have supervised meal times.  They have consistently embarrassed the lot of us by association to the club. They claim Arsenal are mocked by fans of other clubs, well too right they are, and they are the main reason. People defend Robbie, saying he gives the fans a “voice”, but he doesn’t, he give a select few idiots a platform. He cultivated the stupidity, it’s his garden, they are his weeds. He could have taken AFTV in any direction, but he chose to make it The Jeremy Kyle Show.

The vast majority of Arsenal bloggers haven’t helped either. These special leaders of opinion have taken every opportunity to show us how smart they are and how stupid Arsene and the board are.  They spout their expert opinions on failures in tactics formation, fitness, players, finance, well everything really, and most of them are doing it for no other reason than to let the readers know how much they understand about football. The problem is it actually shows anyone with an ounce of sense the very opposite. They know nothing worthwhile. Nothing. Zilch !

Podcasters, see above, except they love the sound of their own voices as well. Again, I have to say “most of them” As with bloggers,  there are some rare exceptions to the rule.

Pundits?!?!?! . We are served up with what can only be described as a bunch of tossers that think management is “paint by number” . Forget Arsene for a moment and see how they have now collectively decided Pep doesn’t understand English football. The qualification for the job appears to be that they once played football and are incapable of actually doing a job in management. Their stupidity is without bounds . To be fair, they get nothing right, it’s just we notice their crapness more when they speak about our own specialised subject. The Arsenal.

Twitter super fans. These might just be the worst of the lot, they are known for nothing in life apart from their hatred of Arsene Wenger. They are an embarrassing stain on Arsenal’s underpants.

Just watch them all start playing the victims now and claiming they did it for the love of the club. Well no, they did it because they are no marks that saw an opportunity to become somebodys. And guess what? They will all be fuming because the club has recognised they are nobodies and ignored their pathetic drivel. I don’t care how many readers, listeners of followers they have, they are important only in their own minds and to the sheeple that are stupid enough to be led by the nose and accept the bilge they spew.

Where do we go from here then? Do we say “let’s forget that they did everything possible to destroy our season and move on” ? Well no, because they won’t move on, they are defined by the toxic atmosphere they created. They are nothing without it. They will cling to it like Ishmael clinging to the wreckage of their sunken protests. There is no point offering an olive branch because they don’t want to grasp it.

All we can do is try to ignore them. Those that backed the manager and those that respectfully wanted a change can come together. The decision has been made. Lets move along together, And here is the important part – Give the club and the team the best atmosphere to thrive in.

Just last Saturday we got a glimpse of what the team is capable of. We saw Arsene’s vision of how he want’s his team to play. We have won 3 trophies in the 4 years since spending restrictions were loosened. But we are told we are regressing. Bloody hell. It makes my head spin.

I got asked a question on twitter (loaded of course) it was “do you really think Wenger will win the PL in the next 2 years”. My answer is no, I don’t believe he will. But what I do believe is Arsene gives us the best chance to defy the odds and win it. We might spend £100m in this window, but City (for example) with one of the best managers in the world. with a squad already packed full of hugely expensive players, will spend £300m. So I “expect” a team like them to win it. But I hope our continuity and the brilliance of Arsene can do the business.

It’s clear there has been a disagreement at board level about something. However Arsene is unlikely to either tell us about it or allow anyone else to do so. Whatever it was Arsene has prevailed. There will be no Director of Football selecting transfers and deciding who should be sold, sense has won the day and whatever faults Kroenke might have he has backed the proven winner. There may be casualties, but at least we can be confident that when push comes to shove, Stan knows what is in the best interests of our great club. And that is Arsene Wenger, all day, every day and twice on match days.

That’s it then, everyone that can come behind the manager, players and club have this opportunity to do so. We should take it and ignore the proven failures that refuse to want to support unconditionally.

Did I mention I was happy?

 

 

122 Comments

D-Day At The Arsenal As The Board Decides

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Regretfully the euphoria of the Arsenal’s 13th FA cup victory will be short-lived. Life is a bitch you know. Sooner or later reality bites, whether we like it or not, even for those who live in the football bubble trying to avoid the often brutish forces in the real world.

Every gooner should now be aware that the club’s Board of Directors will meet on Tuesday when the fate of our longstanding, most successful manager ever will be finally decided. From the public statements of Arsene Wenger there is a contract extension on offer but he is undecided, apparently because of his disagreement with proposed changes in how the club operates which will affect his freedom as a manager.

A little segue is necessary to explain briefly the nature of Arsenal Holdings PLC to readers unfamiliar with such matters.  In regular discourse in the press, on twitter, podcasts and in most blogs the impression is given that Arsenal Football Club is privately owned by the duo of Stan Kroenke and Alisher Usmanov, majority vs minority. The media then spins a soap opera of the two engaged in an unending, unedifying power struggle. In truth the club is owned by a public limited company meaning its shares may be traded freely to the public. Stan owns 68% of the shares, with no intention of selling, which gives him a controlling interest over the PLC including the choice of directors. The directors are legally responsible for the affairs of the company. They employ a general manager or CEO (Ivan Gazidis) to manage day-to-day business of the company. Technically Wenger reports to Gazidis as the manager responsible for the football side of the business.

Given that Wenger is such a giant as a football manager whose achievements are  directly related to the humongous financial and reputational growth of Arsenal during his 20 year tenure, any decision concerning his future employment is not a matter to be solely decided by the CEO. To be fair, the Board of directors of any well-run company will have a direct say in the appointment of key employees.

It is also my understanding under British law a PLC must have directors meetings where annual financial statements are presented and adopted. Traditionally such meetings are also an opportunity to make important, strategic corporate decisions. In the case of Arsenal PLC the end of season meeting is usually such an occasion.

Getting back on track, what are the Wenger-related issues facing the directors at Tuesday’s meeting? It appears that the manager is the one who has laid down the gauntlet with respect to the terms of the contract extension. We can recall that April presser when he poured scorn on the idea of a Director of Football (DOF):

“I don’t know what director of football means.

 “Is it somebody who stands in the road and directs play right and left?

“I don’t understand and I never did understand what it means.

“Sorry, no. I’m not prepared to talk about that. I’m the manager of Arsenal football club and, as long as I’m manager of Arsenal football club, I will decide what happens on the technical front. That’s it.”

Well since then he has not spoken about it and neither has Ivan Gazidis or Josh Kroenke for that matter. The one thing I noted from the tone of The Guardian, which usually runs cover for CEO’s and other big-wigs in football, was the approval they gave to what they describe as Gazidis desire:

“… to harness Wenger’s strengths but also help him in areas where he feels the manager and the club are weaker. For example, a director of football or sporting director could be responsible for keeping abreast of developments in analytics and sports science.”

I for one am inclined to ask the Guardian how well did the directors of football work at Tottenham and Manchester City over the recent past? Did they notice how the men in suits wheeled and dealed signing a colossal number of mediocre players who predictably failed leaving Villas Boas, Tim Sherwood and Pellegrini to take the axe while they sailed away with huge salaries and reputations intact.

Wenger is obviously not taken in by the honeyed words of the corporate apologists:

“When it does not work here, I am blamed, so if [it happened] I am blamed for decisions I have not made [as well],” Wenger said. “It is tough enough to be blamed for decisions you have made. It is difficult to imagine that somebody signs a player that the manager does not know. That never happened to me.

“Some coaches are only interested in managing the team and they are happy with it. I am not like that and I cannot change myself now. I can change by trying to get better but my personality? I have 40 years of experience at the top, top level and I think, personally, I have a good knowledge of the game. I am who I am. That is it.”

From the general press coverage it seems the DOF gambit must have taken a hit after Wenger’s full scale barrage but the rumblings of disquiet between Wenger and the club hierarchy have not died. Only recently, just prior to the FA cup final, Wenger in a BBC interview described a climate of disrespect:

“You don’t mind criticism, because we are in a public job. The lack of respect in some stages has been, for me, a disgrace. And I will never accept that.

“I believe there is a difference between being criticized and being treated in a way that a human being don’t deserve to be treated. And I will never forget that.”

Clearly something is afoot and Arsene is not going without a fight. Some are however alarmed that this latest statement portends his departure. My view for the longest of time is Wenger will re-up mainly because he is committed to the project he has started and there are clear signs he could win another Pl title before retiring.

For two years running a title challenge floundered almost immediately upon a season-ending injury of Santi Cazorla, as evident from the data I researched and published. Now that Wenger has changed the set-up of the team since early April, leading to an eight-game winning run culminating in the FA cup triumph, there is clear evidence of self-belief and capacity to achieve great things. As Wenger himself disclosed, with 1-2 key additions to the existing squad this team can easily challenge for the title.

After the FA cup final I am even more confident that Stan Kroenke will not risk his investment, which has tripled in value in six-years, by losing his most valuable asset. You don’t become a billionaire by not identifying and retaining the most valuable person on your team. If he and his family should have any doubt, please draw their attention to the following table which summarizes 21 years and 798 games of Arsene Wenger at Arsenal:

Yr W D L Pts Lge Pos
16/17 23 6 9 75 5
15/16 20 11 7 71 2
14/15 22 9 7 75 3
13/14 24 7 7 79 4
12/13 21 10 7 73 4
11/12 21 8 9 71 3
10/11 19 11 8 68 4
09/10 23 6 9 75 3
08/09 20 12 6 72 4
07/08 24 11 3 83 3
06/07 19 11 8 68 4
05/06 20 7 11 67 4
04/05 25 8 5 83 2
03/04 26 12 90 1
02/03 23 9 6 78 2
01/02 26 9 3 87 1
00/01 20 10 8 70 2
99/00 22 7 9 73 2
98/09 22 12 4 78 2
97/98 23 9 6 78 1
96/97 19 11 8 68 3
Totals 462 196 140 1582 3

Winning percentage: 58%

Losing percentage: 18%

Average league position: 3rd

Average pts per season: 75

Greatest number of FA Cup titles: 7

Only coach to manage an Invincible Team.

It may be D-Day at the Arsenal board room on Tuesday but I doubt there will be any fireworks. The data leaves me confident.

PS: As an afficionado of The GodfatherI do expect a Don Wenger moment after the Board meeting.

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25 Comments

E For Arsenal

Arse_or_Brain writes;

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It is fitting with all the talk of players turning up for big games that Steww and Andy have produced some excellent pieces in the last two days, in fact in a difficult season all the writers this year have been fantastic bringing their own particular expertise to look at the issues from slightly different angles.
Being positive gooners it is difficult to admit before a game you think there is only a small chance of winning, even if you know your team have the potential to beat anyone on their day. The magnitude of this victory has not been realised amongst the media and the dark parasites of the ARSENAL following, to lose three centre backs and a left back in the week leading up to the final would destroy most teams, add that to the fact you would be playing the newly crowned champions of the hardest league in the world seemed to make the task impossible. When you look back at the game and realise the 2-1 score flattered Chelski and in reality the ref could had disallowed the goal and we still could of walked of at half time three or four up.

 

Again and again when our historic manager and his current team are slagged off or are pegged back they find the resolve to come through and show the top, top quality many deny they have. To see the most rubbished duo Ramsey and Giroud again win the cup for their Manager and our famous club would make a better film than Leicester.

 
I screamed so hard yesterday and went through the ringer during the ninety minutes so much I was  physically drained and felt crap when I got up this morning. When you invest not money but heart into something, see it struggle and then win against all odds the feeling is ecstasy. It is what is missing from those who believe buying your way to pots is the only route to football happiness. They are wrong, missing the point and denying themselves football heaven which is achievable by any club at any level and the reason why we have ninety-two professional clubs and an amazing amateur league, reserve and youth league. The chance of that football heaven is why they are all so amazingly supported.

I thought that the 79 final was the greatest ever but to honest it was the final minutes yesterday however was awesome. Our club is in great hands our team is still top quality, this site has held together many friends from all over the place when we felt a little blue,

I love Positively ARSENAL I love the ARSENAL COYG.