Stone Cold Friday: Are Arsenal Changing Football Mindsets?

It’s Friday, so it’s time for another coup. Here’s Darius

International breaks are a permanent fixture in the footballing calendar. For Arsenal players such breaks are Russian roulette, a dangerous game which may see their season wrecked through injuries suffered on foreign fields. As sure as taxation and death, we might as well get used to such breaks so I thought I’d touch on an issue affecting the future of the game; the evolution and changing culture of football, fields where Arsenal is ahead of its rivals.

England’s capitulation in the 2010 World cup illustrates what can happen when vanity, ignorance, intransigence and lack of vision impede a footballing establishment from moving into the 21st century.

There is always a clamour for drastic action following humiliation experienced on the world stage. Naturally, the first call is to summarily execute half-cocked and ill-thought out strategies like squad restriction with a nationalistic or jingoistic flavour. If all else fails, the old-fashioned “bring in the youth” mantra is there as back-up.

However, there is a serious danger of focussing on red herrings at the cost of addressing the core issue. Even if the Archangel Gabriel were appointed manager, or the team peppered with new fresh faces, England will not challenge for anything until they come out of the football Stone Age.

A cultural shift in how football is perceived is critical if the fortunes of the country are to change. Yogi intimated as much yesterday when he picked up on the need to go back to the drawing board and address how children are coached and psychologically conditioned to approach football.

The distance between insanity and genius can be measured by success. For those courageous enough to make that audacious journey, managing expectations while balancing hopes and aspirations is one of the biggest challenges, alongside the trepidation and anxiety that grip many.

Arsenal and Arsène Wenger do not get enough recognition for embarking on such a journey of change. Time will tell whether the challenges and expectations have been effectively managed over the last few years.

Until Arsenal wins a trophy of significance, detractors will point out the negatives, forgetting obstacles faced. I don’t intend to start a debate here about what success looks like or whether winning is the only valid measure. Let’s talk about the challenges of making such a cultural shift.

What isn’t in question is that Arsenal had the vision and courage to embark on a path that would seek to establish the club as a dominant force in football for decades to come. It wasn’t enough that key people at the club including Wenger were willing to do whatever was required to stand us in good stead for the future; the journey would never have worked without the club carrying it’s supporters with it. If the summer and the last week of the transfer season is anything to go by, the latter has not necessarily worked.

Yet the evidence elsewhere would suggest otherwise, not least the fact that many in the EPL are seeking to model their clubs on Arsenal. In the last decade, anarchy took over and football thought that it existed outside the laws of economics.

Manchester City is the exception to the rule if you consider that the Abu Dhabi Investment Corporation has spent or committed to spend £1.08 billion in the last two years in their desire for world domination. Contrary to the belief of the footballing establishment, spending the GDP of a developing country in pursuit of that defies any definition of normality.

Despite the disappointments of the last few seasons, the most important thing is to build on what we have achieved so far.

Long before the footballing establishment woke up to the need for a cultural change in how to build, develop and manage a 21st century football club, Arsenal were already doing it. The patience of many fans has been tested along the way but current evidence of the fortunes of ‘super clubs’ justifies the path Arsenal has taken.

Chelsea, despite a strong first team, has a thin under layer to cope with a long campaign. Man United has resorted to bargain basement shopping and a declaration that they must build on youth in order to keep above the water.

Arsenal may have been the butt of jokes from hacks and pundits, who preach the virtues of ‘chequebook’ management to fuel their sensationalism. What isn’t in question is that we will be laughing last, longest and hardest.

For most clubs, the reality that the faster they change their mindset to developing and building your own destiny, the quicker they will join the journey to sustainability, has arrived.

Don’t get me wrong, buying is healthy, and helps augment whatever you have. Arsenal has done so year after year, albeit without spending vast sums. What is not sustainable is the notion that you can continue to buy a squad year after year.

I am bemused when hacks and pundits suggest that Arsenal has a weaker squad through letting go of more players than we ‘bought’. Such ignorant sweeping statements discount that we have graduated at least 5 players and these players are already more valuable than signings that we could have bought.

There are many more to come within the ranks at London Colney and Arsenal’s strategy of augmenting the graduates with one or two key purchases every year is a solid and sustainable one. It baffles many who still haven’t caught onto the cultural shift that Arsenal has made in how we develop and run the club, and that isn’t surprising.

It’s easier to jump and shout when we fall short, as opposed to recognising that this is a long and difficult journey. It doesn’t help that we’re operating in an environment where the establishment is still in the stone-age.

We should ask questions, we should be disappointed when we stumble. By the same token, we must be proud of a visionary and courageous club which has taken the lead in shifting the mindset of an entire footballing establishment.

’til Tomorrow.

Posted on September 3, 2010, in Arsenal, Football, Premier League, Premiership, Soccer and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 349 Comments.

  1. Morning…

  2. Good Friday to you all arsenal addicts!

  3. Good Friday to you all Arsenal Addicts, YW thanks for my daily fix.

  4. A good Friday to all you arsenal addicts, thanks YW for this morning fix.

  5. Great article DS.

    I bet we see none of the faces who were calling for wenger’s head, stating that we’re going to be usurped by the Sp*ds, Shitty etc, from the transfer deadline article t’other day…

    Has there been any movement on this rule where if your club is operating at losses verey year, they will be given penalties (points dropped etc)? Would love to see how City, Barca, Chelsea, Sp*ds and Utd get around that one.

  6. Excellent stuff

  7. Devil's Advocate

    Geo,

    Not in the Premier League I think, but Champion’s League, there is – though why would Man City worry about that, seeing that despite all the money spent, the spuds qualified ahead of them! Man City is just marginally within the limit for CL, I think, though the last minute sale of Robinho might have helped ease that a bit.

    DS, excellent stuff, mate. You’re right, AW has built for the future. It might take a year or two still for the youth programme to really take effect, for our young guns to be truly integrated into the first eleven, but it will be worth the wait. We have begun to reap the benefits already, this season. I wish all those calling for either silver or blood would understand that, we have now a club that can sustain itself for years and will produce quality players instead of buying them! Do they not understand what a huge achievement this is?!

  8. Interesting piece but it all really bolis down to by what criteria you judge success. If is it by winning trophies than the club’s policy over the last 5 years has not been a success.

    Yes we can make the claim that the boys will come good but until they actually do it is just talk, like Spurs talking about finishing above us in the league.

    And while I will admit that players like Denilson have come on a lot since they joined the club and were exposed to games at an earlier stage than most do I really ever think that Diaby or Denilson or Song will ever really compete with Essien? If the answer is “no” then how much cheaper they were then the likes of Essien is frankly a mute point.

    5 years without a trophy is a long time and if we go to 6 then I really think that we have to hold up our hands and say while project youth was a great idea and had high ideals it was ultimately a failure.

  9. At last some sense, all that and we have never been out of the top 4 lets hope that more Arsenal fans understand whats going on at the club or should I say at THE ARSENAL

  10. Superb and concise article Darius. Arsenal are fast becoming the blueprint that clubs world wide aspire to copy

  11. Hmm cheers DA. I must have been mistaken originally then, i thought it was going to be for all the leagues in europe too… Oh well.

    Wenger’s courage to take this on has to be commended. He went from having an ageing but quality squad to a complete re-building mission, including a new stadium, new youth set-up, bargain purhcases etc – all the while challenging for the title and maintaining our status as a top 3/4 club. That people have even thought about calling for Le Prof’s head is outrageous.

  12. Sylverster, Gallas, Sol Campbell V Koscielny, Squillaci, TVCinq (verminator),Djourou plus back up of Nordveit seems to me that we are better than we were last year. And we have Song to fill in as emergency. Leaving the goal keeper situation aside (maximum support to Big Blonde Al) some people were concerned about defensive mid. But Song, Diaby and Denilson (Nasri when needed to cover) to are perhaps only bettered by City (who have a million midfielders) and Chelsea’s combination of Mikel/Essien. I don’t rate Manure’s def mid options and its only a matter of time before their old war horses ran out of steam. Bar any injuries only Chavski start out as favourites and if we cross the line over to the mythical world of “mental toughness” then we have a team very very capable of winning some serious silverware. Of course if only we had signed Buffon with Casillas as back up…… sigh!

  13. Devil's Advocate

    Galway Gooner,

    How long would you wait before calling a youth programme a failure? By it’s very definition, youth take a good long while to mature! And look at the history of the club; we have had much longer title droughts, five or even six years is not all that much. And we have come close in those five years, too, sometimes not winning was just down to bad luck. Some investments take longer to mature. Plus, it’s illogical to demand that every young player coming through is a Cesc Fabregas. That kind of talent is not commonplace. Diaby, Denilson and Song are all very very good players, talented players, though there might be more talented players in the league. That does not mean that we have to run out and buy them. That is simply not how Arsenal works. Really, do you want a 25 member squad where every member is of Cesc’s calibre? How unrealistic is that!

  14. GG – Song is going to be better than Essien – he still has 8 years of improving and maturing before he’s at his prime.

    It’s so easy to forget how young our players are, when so many of them have so much playing time under their belts. Denilson, Diaby, Walcott, Song, Clichy, Nasri, Gibbs etc all have so much improvement, experience and maturity ahead of them it’s crazy. Imagine what a team we’ll have when they’re reaching their mid-late 20s…

  15. “We should ask questions, we should be disappointed when we stumble. By the same token, we must be proud of a visionary and courageous club which has taken the lead in shifting the mindset of an entire footballing establishment.”

    AMEN to that

  16. Excellent article and a point that I have been making to the supporters of Chelski,the Spuds and Manure. With certain clubs still trying to buy a squad without giving any thought to the long term consequences it does not bode well for their futures, Pompey and leeds are recent examples and the sooner all clubs look to Arsenal and the way the club is run it will be better for everyone in the sport and certainly will improve the quality of players available to play for England in the long term. Clubs that operate at a loss every year should be harshly dealt with and this will ensure we are playing on a level playing field and the best run clubs will rise to the top.

  17. GalwayGooner.

    Don’t look now, but Alex Song is so much better than Essien ever was at the age of 22. Assuming that Song continues to develop at the same rate, then the question about who is the better is a non-starter – just my opinion though.

    As for your question about how to measure success – trophies is for sure one way to measure success, but it’s not the only way. Besides, it’s arguable whether the precarious nature of United and Barcelona, just as examples, warrant citing trophies as a measure of success. At what cost?

    As much as it’s frustrating and disappointing not to win a trophy during any given campaign, this is a markedly different scenario from suggesting that not winning a trophy firstly spells doom and disaster, and secondly means that in many other areas of the clubs progress, there was absolute failure.

    I think the key issue is the fact that different people have different expectations; and whether these are managed properly is another thing altogether. I also think that there are many who don’t know what success looks like any more once they set themselves in the tunnel vision that recognizes trophies as the only measure of success.

    Let’s face it, if in the last 6 years Arsenal spent as much money as Manure and Chelski in transfers and wages, we would have definitely won trophies. Arsenal though is not the type of club to do something like that, and you will be disappointed if you expect us to take that route.

    What I do know is that Arsenal is in a much better shape than either Chelski or Manure and it’s only a matter of time before the power tilts our way.

  18. Devil's Advocate

    Cheers, DS, well said.

  19. I love Alex Song, and I hate the chavs but DS, I saw Essien play at 22 and he was every bit as good as he is now. He’s the one Chavski player I’d take in a hearbeat.

  20. Ole – but Song’s if improvement over the last years is anything to go by, he could be amazing in years to come. I know people develop at different rates but the optimist in me sees him getting better for at least a couple more years…

  21. At long last someone is beginning to talk sense! Over the past few days I have spent more time than I ought attempting to get pundits to compare Jose’s record with Mr. Wenger.

    Yes! Jose has trophies, but what has he built? He managed some notable victories and he must be congratulated for that, but his long-term investment in any club is nil. Remember he was beginning to show signs of failure even at Chelsea before he was on a plane again! Consider the spending of Real Madrid with the world’s most expensive players – victory should be assured????
    Already he has his eyes on ??? Man city???? Where is his skills in nuturing grass root players???? The only thing that has grown under Jose is his enomous EGO!

    The trouble with sad Arsenal fans: the only thing they crave is “Bragging rights in the pubs”. {And will prove – as has always been the case with great men} Not until after Mr. Wengers’ is gone will their eyes be opened to his major, major contributions to Arsenal fc “Past, Present & Future”. Arsenal is a working model for world football. What an achievement and I do applaud Arsenal’s best ever player: Mr. Arsene Wenger….

  22. Critisising Song for not being Essien is slightly disingenuous. Essien is an exceptional talent, a bit like criticising Theo for not being Henry….

  23. Ole Gunner.

    I think Song as a DM is a much better ball player with a calmness that can even be unnerving. If he was playing like he is now in another league and Arsenal bought him, we would be waxing lyrical. Perhaps our perception of his early career has been influenced by his howlers e.g. at Fulham 3 seasons ago.

    I too would welcome Essien, but we’ve got our Song and he’ll have to do. Besides, he’s got 4 or 5 years more pitch time than Essien (assuming all normalities for both players).

  24. http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/2010/sep/02/jose-mourinho-arsenal-champions-league

    mourinho is a twat..how he came to the conclusion we cant win the champions league is beyond me.what is his basis for the conclusion? We happen to have a better squad than some of the teams he put in his list

  25. Firstlady, Mourinho thinks Cesc, Song, Diaby, Denilson, Nasri, Ramsey, Vermalen et al are 27 and 28 years old. He says that this is the age where we need to win things and we’re not yet doing so. The guy can’t even get the ages of the palyers he’s talking about right.

    He needs to fire his researcher.

    And LOL at your frequent use of the word twat to encapsulate your anger – very apt coming from a lady….

  26. DS,

    Song has an amazing ability to go into a duel and simply emerge with the ball. How he does it is amazing. Essien’s strength is his ability to dictate the tempo of a game.

  27. Look give Jose his ounce of credit, even we Arsenal fans can be a little generous. After all, he has had his palms on the Champion League trophy more than most. But, we must not go over board and be green with envy as some are.

    I am sure there are those in our ranks that will prefer we were still at Highbury and having the trophy cabinets stacked with silver.

  28. Song is good enough for me, I have not seen a better DM in the Premiership over the last year of so..

    Essien is a quality player, and like others mentioned, one I would be happy to greet at Arsenal BUT we have our Song.

    Calm on the ball, picks always the right pass, aggressive in the challenge but controlled. Hes a man on a mission, a man that owes everything to Arsenal and Arsene. I remember that interview where he mentioned the unknown death of his father, him referring to Arsene as Dad, and saying Arsenal is the best team in the world.

    Touching stuff from an excellent player.

  29. Mourinho gets more than enough credit, he won’t get none from me. All his trophies don’t mean nothing, he is a manager that cares solely on his own personal achievements.

    The guy walked out on Chelsea 2 or 3 games into the season! I have no respect for a guy with such attitude he has displayed time and time again.

    He has no loyalty to nobody – Leaving Inter because he won everything in 1 season.

  30. I am a big fan of Song and think he has potential but he is no where near Essien’s level. Song had a good season last year but only the season before that we were all giving out about how crap he was. Would Denilson or Diaby get anywhere near the United, Chelsea, City, Liverpool or Lord forbid Spurs starting 11? Yet they both regularly start for us purely because we have spent so much time in developing them. Yes they have all improved but they are no where near top level. Maybe they will come good but for me I dont see it with Diaby and Denilson, maybe Song.

    Fabianski, Justin Hoyte, Song Billong, Diarra, Gibbs, Diaby (Perez 88), Denilson, Silva, Walcott (Lansbury 83), Bendtner, Eduardo (Barazite 85).
    Subs Not Used: Mannone, Gavin Hoyte.
    This is the team that beat Sheff Utd 3:0 in the lague cup 3 years ago. Back then we were all raving about the youth team and how project youth was only just a snip away from producing a major trophy. 3 years on look at that team and honestly tell me how many of those players would be get excited about if we bought???

    Maybe Theo (based on the last 2 games) and maybe Song (based on last season). The rest? Sorry for me no one there stands out.

    And every year in the league cup its the same – the kids are brilliant, the kids are really going to show them etc. We can go back and back year after year. Remember Vela, Bently, that fast fella who went off to Spartak Moscow? How many of them did we think would become “world class”.

    I dont except that every player be as good as Cesc, Cesc is an exceptional talent, our one really world class player. But too many others from the youth system are way way below that level. Not world class, not international class, barely even national class. And if you want to win things then you need to get to that level.

    The fact is that while we have millions in the bank and a wonderful new stadium and a great training ground we have a pretty poor first choice keeper and a useless backup. But dont worry we have “world class” 20 year old who will be ready in the next few years.
    On top of that our main striker has never played more that 22 league games in a season and after 25 minutes of game time this season is injuried. So we have to rely on a decent backup who we signed for free.
    Then we have one good DM (in Song) but after that?? Jesus we even tried Nasri in that postion last year.

    What really gets to me is that we are close, really close and by signing just one or two really good players we would walk this league.

    Do you know who won the award for the Best Run Club last season?
    No? Neither do I and its because no gives a fuck.

    Success on the pitch should of course be married with success on it. At the moment we are top of the league in the one that no one cares about.

    Rant over.

  31. Great article Darius.. really enjoyed it and agree with everything you said.

    Arsenal is the model club, the fact that the pundits and media still take parting shots for us actually operating as a ‘proper’ football club just shows how far they and English football is trailing us.

  32. ChrisGooner.

    The day I remember Song coming of age was when he filled in at CB 3 seasons ago now when we played Manure at Old Trafford. He actually dribbled out of our box in a very tense situation. I remember thinking that it was either super magnificent or Song was an idiot of the highest order. In fact, the calmness in which he executed that dribble out of our box and started an attack was so unnerving as the consequences of it not working were unthinkable. It was breath-taking to say the least.

    Another example was the CL last season when he rolled away from two tackles against Standard Liege players with the ball stuck to his feet while still on the ground. And he then Nonchalantly rose from the turf with the ball still stuck to his feet and passed it on to a red shirt like nothing had happened.

  33. Galway Gooner

    You seem to be obsessed with money and shiny metal as much as Arsenal Football Club it seems mate.

    Arsenal is a model club, and we actually purchased 3 players this season. More quality came in through youth development. Compare that to United and Chelsea who are struggling to add to their over paid squad dure to squad restrictions and wages.

    You need to get some realism into that skull of yours.

  34. A thought experiment: is there such a thing as the perfect goal?

    What I mean is I can’t think of one goals that hasn’t been scored that hasn’t actually been help by a defensive error of some kind: a defender not closing his man down quick enough, a keeper a little too far off his line, etc.

    So if we take two teams, both equal in attributes such as height, speed, and strength, both playing a flawless game, can either offence score?

    On a side note, I guess it’s worth noting, most errors are only noted when hindsight is applied, so are they truely errors, or situations turning disadvantageous?

  35. Galway Gooner

    Glad you had the rant…doesn’t it feel much better now?

  36. He is a joy to watch Darius.

    There are so many great attributes of his game that you can’t not like the guy.

    Personally I couldn’t understand a few years ago why everyone was on his case. I thought then he was a very talented young player, he just looked a bit slow at the time, probably still is. Speed ain’t his greatest asset.

    I was then saying to people, wait and see why they came on this blog and slagged him off. Same with Diaby, the guy is awesome, and if anything is suspect to his own early promise.

    When on his game, Diaby is too a joy to watch. Its comical hearing Galway Gooner say he can’t get into Spurs 1st team!!

  37. Galway Gooner – i think you’re misguided about many of the players you’ve mentioned above. Diaby, Denilson, Eduardo (?), Gibbs, Walcott, Bendy would be snapped up by many-a-club i’m sure. But they wouldnt want to leave arsenal by their own choice, only if they became redundant. The difference is as well, that they have all grown up together and know how eachother play more than any other top class team i can think of.

    And i definitely give a fuck about being the best run club. That’s something to be massivley proud of.

    Signing 1 or 2 quality players will win us the league!? I’m sure Man City fans will agree…

  38. Diaby or Fletcher?

    Diaby of Carrick?

    Song or Carrick?

    Song or Jenas?

    Song or Fletcher?

    Some Arsenal ‘fans’ on here really do chat a lot of shite!

  39. Gadget.

    My perfect goal was Eduardos in the FA cup tie against Burnley in 2009. A perfect assist from Song and the Burnley defence couldn’t do anything about that beach ball slam into the net.

    Even Owen Coyle admitted that if he wasn’t the Burnely manager, he would have shot off his line to congratulate Dudu for such a magnificent goal.

  40. DS – that was one of my favourite Arsenal goals of all time. What a perfect cross and finish… i miss Edu already 😦

  41. Right so, if 5 years without a trophy is acceptable, how long do we have to go before it becomes unacceptalbe? 10 years? 15? If in twenty years time we are still run like a model club but have won nothing would you all still be happy?

    ChrisGonna – sorry mate Diaby is a talented player but is shockingly lazy, has a terrible attitude and is totally unreliable.

  42. Signing 1 or 2 quality players will win us the league!? I’m sure Man City fans will agree…

    10 or 12 you mean… yet they still can’t even jump Spurs in the league table!

    Well Spurs have consistently spent millions year after year to achieve 1 (just about) 4th place finish, so you can’t really not laugh at Spurs either for their pathetic attempts of turning big money signings to success.

    United’s success was based on a core of youth players.. Giggs, Beckham, Scholes, Neville, etc etc.. most of the extravogant signings played supporting cast to them.

    Signings like Veron spring to mind. I am sure there are a whole bunch more who have come on gone.

    Signings can work wonders, but they only supplement what you have, and there are many risks to spending on a player of which you can do all the research necessary – yet the player still don’t fit into the system.

  43. Galwy Gooner you spent your name wrong

    You are a seriously lost fan or a spud.

    What is it? Diaby is fucking awesome, you know how many goals he has notched up from CM?! He has probably been next to Theo, our best player so far in the 1st 3 games.

  44. spelt*

    doohhh!!!

  45. Galway Gooner.

    I don’t think it’s worth debating this issue with you because you start from the premise that a trophy is the only measure of success and I don’t.

    If we’re to be anal, we’ve won 3 out of 4 Emirates cups so technically, we have won trophies while beating big teams like Real Madrid, Inter Milan, Juve et al.

    It seems to me that you’re more interested in bragging rights and avoiding humiliation by your Manc and Chav friends, rather than objectively assessing the issue. And for the record, your arguements don’t cut the mustard.

  46. Darius, kudos.

    I cannot forget that goal. It was pretty and so pretty and pretty unstoppable. That volley was unforeseeable, unreadable and unsaveable. If Eddie had done what us lesser beings would have done by striking with his foot rather than heel, I imagine it wouldn’t have been scored.

  47. Good question Galwy Gooner. If we win nothing in 50 years like happened to Chavski or Citeh, should we disband the club?

  48. Great article. it IS frustrating sometimes when you feel a couple of top class signings would make the difference, but the margins are so slim between success and failure i’d rather have a slice of luck than a big transfer over the course of a season.

    The only players we could buy that would improve the squad would be very expensive. i personally think Diaby is a waste of space, but he’s a better back up to have than someone we paid millions for. our first choice midfield probably doesn’t include diaby so why pay stupid money for someone just as crap who doesn’t know the players he plays with like the back of his hand? it’s the same everywhere. PATIENCE.

  49. Yup Ole – this 5 year drought is really driving me close to dispair lol. Caviar and sausages anyone?

  50. Good well written piece Darius

    Galway is both right and wrong in that success is the only measure of success. We are profitable compared to the so call successful team such at Manures and Barca. They are running at losses that needs huge injection of funds. So trophies does not guarantee long term survivability. But from what I have we could have won something had we adopted a more balanced approach ie mixing youth with experience. We allow players over 30 yrs old to move on too quickly while some could still help us steady the ship when the going got tough. We have not got good defenders of world class caliber since the Invincibles days and also a truly world class goalkeeper. These are blindspots and these players need time to be truly world class hence our trophiless years.

    The goal keeper situation has been allowed to fester since Lehman left. MA is good in patches but not good enough so far. He may get us to January but what if he gets injured do we then depend on Fabianski who is clearly not ready to step up yet?

    Sighhh…

  51. HullGooner,

    Personally I believe that the idea that just a couple of singings would win us the league comes from media, pundits and bloggers pushing that idea.

    Somehow it’s very easy to think that it’s the player we don’t have that’ll win us the league.

  52. In 2007 we had the squad to win the league. We still have the squad to win this league.

    Getting the best out of a squad depends on many factors most of hich have nothing to do with recruitment at all.

  53. If you can’t see that Alex Song, Abou Diaby and Neves Denilson are three of the best midfielders in the league then you’re not really paying enough attention.

  54. Ahh i was wondering how long it would be before someone brough out the “your a spuds fan” arguement. Congratulations Chris, top marks.
    In answer to you question I am not a spuds fan so i must be an idiot, chalk up one for you.

    Darius i dont believe that a trohpy is the only measure of success, as i said at the start. But it is a key measure and one that we are failing in. And surely if we both had the same point of view there would be no need for debate? Isnt an oposing point of view a key component to a debate????

    OleGunner – not i dont think that the club should be disbanded but project youth certainly should.

    Despite a bit of slagging and some grammatically flawed insults I didnt get an answer to my question.
    How long to be go without winning something before we say enough is enough and change our approach?

  55. Drive, passion, confidence, determination, courage, patience, lack of complacency and a smattering of luck is what’s needed for Arsenal to win the league. Lack of complacency i feel is where we’ve fallen down in recent seasons, and i dont think we’ll suffer from that this year.

  56. It’s odd, statistics can be worth anything between nothing and everything but according to the actim index, Diaby was the tenth best midfielder in the league last year. Now you can quibble with that all you want and I don’t know what they use to rank the players but his presence there suggests consistency isn’t an issue.

    If I had to criticise Diaby, I’d say that at times his decision making and short passing can be poor. The consistency thing seems to be one of those internet myths that becomes an accepted truth. Gramsci would be proud of it.

  57. diaby is like ade was sometimes. ruins moves and breaks up play by making crap decisions or holding/giving the ball away too much. i’ll stop ranting about him anyway! i think we have the squad to win the league, as Olegunner said, we had it in 2007/8 and the players keep getting better. If Theo can keep up his run of form he’ll be lethal, plus the signings we HAVE made are quality. it seems as though swine flu has reared it’s head and struck vela down again though! i hope he plays more this season, he needs game time to improve.

  58. “How long to be go without winning something before we say enough is enough and change our approach?”

    Don’t worry, we wont be going much longer without winning anything. So our approach will not need to change… Personally i’m happy to wait, a trophy is a bonus as far as i’m concerned – as long as Arsenal continue to play the beautiful football that we’re famous for, that’s fine by me.

  59. Malaysiangunner

    Gallas, Toure, Vermaelen to name a few..

    And we did add experience, Silvestre, Campbell, AA..

    The wages we accumulate from adopting a focus on promoting from within is still quite high.

    We generally pay squad players and youngsters more than they would be getting elsewhere. This is because we fight for signatures of the best and brightest young talents, then mould them the Arsenal way. Then we have the local lads of our own which we fund in the attempt to turn them into 1st teamers.

    The emphasis we place on youth is outstanding and the way to go, I agree with your suggestion of adding experience, but at the time of changing stadiums we had to cut the costs.

    Quality has surely got to come first anyway, not a players age.

    Now we have a squad full of players with many years ahead of them, all of which have plenty of experience!

    What more can you want?

  60. Galway,

    I suspect that we, along with most of the clubs in the Premier League, will continue to look at players as assets and will try to sign those whose value willl appreciate. Is that what project youth is? It’s not a term I’ve ever understood. Give me a quick definition of “project youth” and I’ll give you my honest answer.

  61. Galwy,

    Why blame ‘project youth’? That isn’t why 98% of football clubs will never win 1 trophy.

  62. Of the 5 years we havent won a trophy, 2 of those was with the core of the Invincibles intact. It wasn’t youth to blame.

    I feel you’re a victim of media propaganda Galwy

  63. well put i am old enough to remember 18 years without a title 71-89 and i am very confident that we will dominate the prem soon and maybe champs leauge also.

  64. Galway Gooner – Your slagging and slating of Diaby just convinced me how much of an idiot you are. I just happened to re-watch our match with Blackburn last night and, unlike watching it life, only then did I realize how much of a monster Diaby was at both ends of the park. You just repeat the lazy, hackneyed observations of the media and AAA blogs. Only 23 and with his physical attributes and his technical skills, I think he is a 1st choice midfielder for our club. Nothing less than £25-30 million could prise him away from our club.
    Does anybody agree with my valuation?

  65. Thanks Darius.

    I think Song currently is at par with Essien,maybe am blinkered since he is an Arsenal player, I think the the only way Essein is ahead of him is coz he scores goals and some pretty nice ones at that. When Song adds goals to his game he will be unbeatable, still I’d take Song over plenty of defending midfielders out there even without goals.

    How he shrugs off players and does a 180 and even sometimes a 360 turn without losing the ball is just beautiful.

    Now if he could go back to his old hairstyle….

  66. ‘Project Youth’, as I understand it, is what’s about to see Arsenal Football Club utterly dominate the Premiership for years to come.

    Look at our midfield:

    Diaby, 141 first team appearances, 24 yrs old
    Denilson, 121 first team appearances, 22 yrs old
    Song, 108 first team appearances, 22 yrs old
    Cesc, 269 first team appearances, 23 yrs old

    I really don’t undestand how you can watch an Arsenal game and not notice the way we control the game with an almost telepathic understanding. It comes from amassing these first class minutes at the very highest level, together, from a very young age.

    Compare and contrast with watching a Man City, Liverpool or Spuds game where countless attacking moves break down in midfield before they’ve even started.. because Joe Nextman doesn’t know Aaron Otherman from Adam (Johnson).

    If you can’t see it you’re not paying enough attention and Arsenal are wasted on you.

    “Too good for thee, lad. Too good for thee.”

  67. Devil's Advocate

    I have to agree Diaby drove me nuts with his laziness at times last season, but not a glimpse of that so far this season. Denilson, I rate highly, because he takes long shots at the goal from outside the box, which is something we’re good at despite what people say, and because he has decent ball control. I believe if we put him up for sale we would get a bundle. Song is, as everybody else has amply demonstrated, excellent. Can you not see the quality in Frimpong? And Theo and Wilshere! What’re their market values now? I don’t understand how people value players less because we developed them instead of buying them. It makes them more valuable for their loyalty. Ramsey, when he comes back! JET… they’re all almost world class already. Ludicrous to say our youth programme has failed. It takes much longer to judge the effectiveness of a long-term project, that’s what long-term means. Sign kids who are 12, it will take at least eight years to see solid results. That’s only math. Seeing that most of the bright hopes of England are Young Gunners, I would say AW should start getting a bit more credit.

  68. *’a very young age’ – for a footballer. We’re not talking Napper here.

  69. i think 25-30 mil for diaby is verging on the ridiculous. maybe if they watched a highlight reel rather than every minute he’d played. that’s what gets me about the lad, he can look like a world beater one game, then have me tearing my hair out for doing little figures of 8 in the middle of a counter attack.
    on the plus side he’s still young so hopefully he can take a page from the Tomas Rosicky book of Direct, forward play.

  70. shotta

    I don’t think Wenger would sell in all honesty, but I think his value would be around the 15-20m region on todays market. Come end of the season that will shoot up if he carries on performing.

  71. on a positive note, i agree with all the praise heaped on Song. in the last 2 seasons he’s really established himself as a top, top player. Too bad we only have 1!

  72. Darius – Great artice, and 100% correct. You can’t be serious classing the Emerites Cup as a trophy though (from your 11:28). We do need to win a “proper” piece of siverware to be taken serisouly as a good team. Once we have one, I am sure many others will follow.

    On the subject of Song; he is an excellent player. He has gone from a player who looked completely our of his depth, and looked like never being an Arsenal player to one of the first names on the team sheet. Not interested in comparrisons with Essien. Both are great players, and I for one am glad we have one of them. Essien will alsways be rated better becasue he was purchased for £22M, howver I see no reason why Song cannot be a better player than him in the long run.

  73. DevilsAdvocate – The likes of Wilshere/Jet/Ramsey are all very good players. But to say they are “nearly world class” is mental.

  74. I agree with Chris about Diaby’s valuation. I think many clubs would love to have him in their team, if not for his surprisingly quick feet, then purely for his stature and box-to-box style. I can understand people’s frustrations with him at times, but the sublime often far exceeds the slackness. I think he’s going to have a storming season this year, let’s hope he doesn’t have the niggles that have haunted his otherwise excellent career…

  75. Well, Goonerandy, the arguement was that we haven’t won a trophy in 5 years, and if we’re to be really anal, that statement was factually incorrect. we have won the Emirates cup 3 times in the last 4 years, no? Besides, the community shield is paraded as a trophy nontheless for Chelsea and Manure. One could argue that both are non-starters.

    Facecious maybe, but an illustration that perhaps a modicom of perspective wouldn’t go amiss.

  76. I like Diaby. In the past some games have just passed him by, if you play in central midfield this cannot happen. It seems now that he seems to have gotten a grip of this and is starting to dominate the midfield area. Diaby/Song/Cesc (in theory) could be almost the perfect combination in midfield.

  77. It seems reasonable to assume that we would all have liked to see somethng happen on the goalie front over the transer period, it appears that AW was keen to bring in a goalie, but why did we end up going to the wire on deadline day again (and fail this time)? Was Schwarzer the only answer and if so why didn’t we force Fulham’s hand sooner by offering a figure they were willing to accept earlier on? They were always going to have to bring in a player themselves if they sold Schwarzer to us.
    I hope Diaby continues in the form he has been showing this season as he has tended to undo his own good work in the past by dithering on the ball when he gets to the edge of the opponent’s box. He looks much more focussed so far this season, long may it continue.
    It’s amazing that we have been hit by injuries in one specific part of the squad again so early this season. Why do we always seem to lose players in the same position at the same time (Cole/Clichy, Ade/RVP, Ramsey/Fabregas)?
    Our forward line-up looks a bit stretched with RVP and Bendtner already injured with Chamakh and Vela as the only “experienced” options remaining.

  78. Shottagunna i do agree with your evaluation.

    It seems alot of fans have this mindset about our players and no matter how much they improve, the said fans never change their initial view about them.

  79. Darius – What I (and i suppose whoever you was discussing with at the time) am getting at is that this team do need to win a “proper” competition. Once the players do that, I am sure they will go on to win many more. Until we do that, this team will never be remembered. When all is said and one, sport and competition is about finishing 1st.

  80. and one = and done.

  81. Devil’s Advocate – this is a perfect example of the off centre view that many fans have.
    World Class, to me, means that you could argue for a players inclusion in a squad made up of players from around the world.
    Wilshere, Jet, Ramsey – FFS!

    And Shotgunna, Chris has already pointed out that I am an idiot and I have accpeted this, so no need for the personal insults.
    And 30m for Diaby, yeah i can see that happening.

    Limpars – games does not equal greatness. Add up all those games and tell me what have they won with them?

  82. goonerandy,

    while i obviously want us to win a trophy i’ve always been a bit confused as to how one leads to many. perhaps i can see it with the league but then you’d expect a side that have proven themselves to be the best could push on and win more. I don’t understand it when people claim that winning the carling cup will lead to more success. What changes in the players’ minds that will turn a carling cup winning side into a league winning side? Perhaps I’m missing something.

  83. galway,

    you’re back. i want to answer your question. if you could look back at my post from 1151 and respond then I’ll get back to you once I come back from lunch. Feel free to treat me like a complete idiot when answering, most people do.

  84. gib – i do think that winning a trophy will give any team confidence and confidence goes a long way in football. Just look at what a bit of confidence has done to Theo this year! It’s not a given obviously but goonerandy definitely has a point.

  85. Devil's Advocate

    Umm I would assume you’ve to be world class to be called up for an international, because, well, world class technically means of a level to play against other countries, in internationals? Which Wilshere has already done, if we’re to be anal. I did say nearly – first eleven experience is what they need to be world class. And that means allowing them to make mistakes in PL if need be, which might mean points dropped. I believe that’s a price worth paying to bring them up to the level they can reach. Really, if it’s all about winning for anybody here… Arsenal isn’t the club to follow. It’s about a lot more.
    Having said that – I think a trophy, even CC, would boost these young lads’ confidence and would be the next step in their development. It would do them a world of good.

  86. geo

    but do they gain that much confidence from winning the carling cup? i don’t know and could well be completely wrong but i’ve never really bought it.

  87. gib – Personally until this group of players win a trophy, there will always be that lingering doubt in the back of their minds “are we good enough”. Once they win something, the puzzle will be complete as it were. It is all about confidence, and a player that has experience of winning things will have that extra spring in his step as one that keeps missing out.

  88. Devils – You Luke Young/Zamora/Huddleston are all world class? They cave been called up in the not too distant past.

  89. winning one trophy will lead to more…

    I have too always hated that expression.

    Pompey winning the FA Cup helped them with a few league titles did it?

    Its why idiots like Naga piss me off when they make stupid statements like “lets focus on the Carling Cup”!

    As much as they have been manipulated by the media to beleive we ain’t title challengers, Arsenal FC aspire to win on all fronts.

  90. ChrisGoona

    Since Campbell left we had Gallas and Toure. Toure ,I still love that guy but not good enough as he was erratic, Gallas good in patches again not good enough. Both AW let go. If they were good enough I am sure AW will find a way to keep them. For 5 years we have 2 decent defenders and not a world class goal keeper.

    WE allow Song to grow in to a competent DM so we have rthe DM we had clamour for the last 3 years finally. IN all five years defence was our main problem. Now only do we sign Kocsney( I still can not get his name right and Squiallaci. Both not 100% proven quality but neither was TV so we shall see. Meanwhile we have signed world class attackers in AA and Nasri, and even Dudu and TR. There is not enough balance between attack and defence.

    We are a joy to watch going forward for the last five years but every time a decent team launch an attack I have my heart in my mouth.

    Chrisgoona for the last 5 years money was the excuse but this year which crutch do you want us to lean on if we donot succeed? Plse do not tell me that while winning is not the ultimate goal but competing with our utmost surely is.

    All and sundry admits that MA needs help and our young keepers in time will regain confidence and be world class but not presently.

    In not signing a decent help to MA we have not done our best to compete.

    AW needs to shoulder that burden.

  91. Waren’t the Netherlands and Denmark’s teams of afew decades ago remembered for their great football despite winning nothing?

    Obviously i want us to win something hopefully this season.

  92. I think just the feeling of lifting a cup in front of thousands of supporters going crazy has got to be one of the most confidence-lifting experiences – particularly for the youngsters that would be playing.

    The Charity Shield and Emirates cups are different as they havent had to overcome so many different teams along the way, but as much as the Carling Cup has had it’s importance ‘lowered’, it’s still a domestic tournament… I couldnt imagine lifting that cup at Wembley – it would be amazing.

  93. goonerandy,

    i suppose it depends on knowing what’s going on in the players’ heads but i don’t know that the knowledge that they’ve beaten someone in the carling cup will particularly help when they head somewhere on the final day needing a win for the title.

  94. That said, i’m not overly fussed about winning anything as i sadi earlier – as long as we keep playing our beautiful football, which we will.

  95. geo

    it would certainly be above my wildest dreams too and i suppose it could help for the youngest players but we have a squad of internationals, i don’t know if it would be that special for them.

  96. Chris – Pompey had an average set of players…..we don’t . pompey winning the cuip was great for them, for us it would cement the argument that we are a good team Winning something will give them that last little bit of confidence that they currently lack that they are good enough.

    How do you think teams felt lining up against the invincibles? Intimidated no doubt, a group of talented winners. At the moment we just have talented players.

  97. Devil's Advocate

    Goonerandy

    Perhaps not, but does not mean that our lads who have been called up are not, does it? Like I said, PL experience is what they need, because they have the technical grounding. Then they will be world class. Now when I say, at “nearly world class”, perhaps I should make it crystal clear by using qualifiers such as ‘have immense potential to be world class once they get first eleven experience’. Thought it would’ve been obviously, but apparently not. Would you say these players don’t have that?

  98. Firstlady – Yes….to a point. Teams that have won are remembered more fondly. Sport is about winning, and if we can do it playing great football, all the better.

    Show me a good loser, and i will show you a loser.

  99. Devils Advocate – so by your logic the full starting 11 for Andora are all World Class? jeez we should go out and get their world class left back, he will only cost a grand or two, we will however have to wait until he serves his notice for his current job as a postman.

    Gibs – Project Youth, to me is the club’s obsession with buying loads of young players and giving them very high contracts at a very young age in the hope that they will come good. Its the club refusing to offer players over 30 anything longer than a one year contract. Its not buying players who are better that what we have for fear of “damaging their development”. It is the policy of waiting until the last minute of the transfer window to see if we can save a bit of money (see Alonso and Swartz).
    Now this policy may be from a financial requirement or it may be from Wenger’s own mindset or it may be a bit of both. But it is a club policy and it is damaging our chances of winning something.
    Regarding the idiot thing – welcome to this website, seems all you have to do is offer an alternative point of view and you are classed as an idiot.

    Speaking of such anyone who classes the Emirates Cup as a genuine trophy……….

  100. Agree with article – makes me laugh as people judge us solely by trophies. The last cup (FA) was won following a penalty shoot out, having had our arses kicked by MU for previous 2 hours!

    Fully behind club and would never swap lucky win in Carling/FA for club priciples!

  101. It is common enough to stumble now and again when you are trail blazing, not following the well worn tracks of others, formed over many many years.
    Arsenal have struck out on their own path and I for one see virtue in its intent and direction.
    The model of self sustainability, of nurturing young talent and augmneting squad needs from without makes absolute sense.
    The youth project will provide a harvest of talent year in and year out for the forseeable future.
    The biggest problem will be to accommodate all of this growing talent, I see a transfer profit as becoming the norm. Thank God for sell on clauses.
    Glittering prizes will follow as night follows day, for those who have the courage to see the journey through to its inevidable conclusion.

    The futures bright, It’s Red and White.

  102. gib – “but we have a squad of internationals, i don’t know if it would be that special for them”

    Fair point, but every little helps i think. Winning the Champoins League and/or Prem on the other hand, that would give our boys the confidence that goonerandy is talking about – the confidence and stature that would scare other teams when lining up against us.

  103. Some people are not great believers of progression and change from within. Although I’m refering to football and those who slate our players, to be honest, this is a meme that pervades society. There is this feeling, this implied idea that once we get to a certain point, a certain age we cannot change or progress, that we’re stuck.

    In football, people suggest players won’t improve (look at the fear about Fabianski ever having to play this season), in wider society you have the redemption and rehabilitation issue with criminals.

    Perhaps this is why our project youth, for not delivering the trophies is derided by thopse who claim to support the Arsenal. Perhaps this is why the likes of Galway Gooney cannot see the quality we have in our team, cannot see player like Diaby are only now starting to blossom with the flowers of a potential nearly realised; because they see what is there now and cannot see the signs of something better

  104. Devils – It is too early to say. There is no doubt they have potential, but until it has been tested over a sustained period of time against top class opposition you do not know how high that potential could take them. If they play regular and shine in the PL and CL over the next few seasons I will agree with you.

  105. Devil's Advocate

    ‘Just talented players’? Just? Really? We will never see eye to eye, because I don’t equate the club’s success with winning shiny trophies. Winning shiny trophies is very nice, but that does not define success.
    And I believe these talented players will become talented winners, and that it’s way too soon to lose faith in them. You seem to disagree.

  106. Greatness? Greatness will come, Galway. Something incredible is happening at this club. You should try and enjoy it.

  107. Geo -Exactly.

  108. Chris

    There is an element of truth in it, although that phrase is not a generic truth as you pointed out.

    In Arsenal’s case, there was / is a feeling the first trophy makes the mental step from contenders to winners. The flaw is the Carling Cup. If that were to be won by the ‘reserves’ would it benefit the club as a whole. Well, yes, in that – theoretically – it should inspire the first XI. However, I don’t believe it will add anymore to their desire to win trophies, than is already there.

    Personally, I am torn. I enjoy seeing the younger players pit their wits against ‘more experienced’ sides but winning the trophy seems less likely as other clubs, such as Spurs, field near first team XIs. Whilst our younger players can give sides below the top 10 of the Premier League a good run for their money and win more often than not, the higher level of opponents you face as the competition progresses, means that winning the Carling Cup is unlikely.

    Arsene though is not going to change his views on the competition, ie of the four domestic trophies on offer, it ranks fifth.

    YW

  109. ChrisGoona.Firstlady, Darius et al

    Even if you donot think winning is the criteria for success just ask AW ,Cesc and the whole team. What do they think is their definition of success? without fail they will tell you winning the CL or the EPL would be their definition.

    If it is theirs why should it not be ours?

  110. “Do you know who won the award for the Best Run Club last season?
    No? Neither do I and its because no gives a fuck.

    Success on the pitch should of course be married with success on it. At the moment we are top of the league in the one that no one cares about.”

    Speaks volumes. You say “no (one) gives a fuck”. Well I certainly do and so should you. So should us all. Arsenal are a model for the future. It’s called having a long term vision. It’s why Arsenal are the business model that most clubs are looking to follow. If you can look around the Premier League (and not just the PL of course) and the see the perilous financial state of certain clubs and you STILL don’t get it even now..then frankly there’s no point in explaining it to you.

    The media’s hack pundits constantly repeat the mantra ad nauseum that “Arsenal haven’t won a trophy in 5 years”. It’s an easy stick to with which beat Arsene Wenger. To attempt to diminish what he’s achieved because haven’t won a shiny bauble in a few years.
    “At the end of the day it’s about silverware “. Yawn. Yes that’s what we all want. Our time will come sooner rather than later. And it will taste all the sweeter because of how it was achieved.

    I think we are on the cusp of greatness with this team. It’s an exciting time to be an Arsenal fan. If your not thrilled by some of the football we play…then you simply don’t like football.

    Anyway I’m rambling…but you get my drift. A bit of perspective wouldn’t a go amiss is all I’m saying.

  111. Devils – In competition, winning “shiny trophies” is exactly what defines success. I bet if you asked Arsene Wenger he would say exactly the same.

    And no I don’t disagee, but you cannot possibly say JET has potential to be world class without him ever even starting a Premiership game. It is madness, and overhying these players will not help them one bit.

  112. Malaysiangunner – of course that would be how they define a successful season. But Wenger would also say that the last 5 years has been a success in getting the club (as a whole) to where it is today.

  113. Excellent and spot on.

  114. Show me a good loser and I’ll show you a loser, is without a doubt one of the stupidest phrases I’ve ever come across. I’ll really hate it. It says absolutely nothing. Show me a bad loser and I can still show you a loser.

    What is the point? Ugh

  115. Geo – In 20 years time this period will not be looked back upon as a successful one if we don’t win a trophy. It will be looked back upon as a difficult period, which the club negotiated very very well (stadium move and staying competative), but not a successful one.

  116. A very successful transitional period though goonerandy eh? 😉

    Compared to previous trophy droughts, this is not too bad at all, and much more progress is being made than during 60s, 70s 80s etc.

    At the end of the season, we will all be able to stop using the expression ‘trophy drought’ too… can’t wait!

  117. Well said, Harry Flowers.

    Winning is the criteria for success? Of course winning is the criteria for success. We play games of football and in case you hadn’t noticed we win quite a lot of them. Fucking hell the interlull brings out some… interesting sorts, doesn’t it?

    As soon as Arsenal stop stunning everyone with actual, beautiful, winning football, this parade of knuckle-dragging pricks wander up and start bitching about not having won anything yet… when we’re right at the beginning of a campaign where we trying to win fucking everything!

    It’s like Day of the Dead or something.

    Uhhrhrrrrhhr… Give me Brains…. urrrrh… give me trophies…… urrrrrrrhhh

    Fucking idiots.

  118. Gadget – It means that a successful sportman do not like to lose, even if they are expected to. All top sportmen have this trait. Hell, even our own manager is a bad loser, and good, I want him to be. So is Ferguson, so is Mourinho, so is Cappello, so is Anciolotti.

    Ian Holloway was a good loser the other week after we spacked 6 past his team. Good luck with that mate.

  119. I couldn’t give a monkeys fart if we don’t win another trophy for another 5 years, so long as we continue in the same vein and don’t turn into a horrible millionaires plaything.

    I shall enjoy the memories of trophies past and treat every year as a success, as I have the last, and the one before that, and the one before that, and…

    The sooner us, as fans stop obsessing about trophies, the quicker we will win one, because our support for the team will be genuine. Leave the trophy obsessing to the professionals. And I don’t mean the media!

  120. Limpar – Count me out of that mate. I am not bitching about having not won anything yet, just stating that we do need to.

  121. You’re doing very well to fend off these zombies today, Geo. In a zombie movie fix, you’d be a good one to have around.. I can tell.

  122. Matty –

    “The sooner us, as fans stop obsessing about trophies, the quicker we will win one, because our support for the team will be genuine.”

    That makes no sense whatsoever.

  123. Wasn’t really talking about you, goonerandy. And we are about to win the lot.

  124. Not to mention that this difficult period was exasperated by the fact the league jumped in terms of viable contenders for the trophy from one of two to now one of five clubs.

    Can’t help but think that if we went through this phase before the Abram era, we may not have had the Invincibles, but perhaps we could have had a few trophies

  125. One winner emerges and will, in their hearts, thank sheer luck and key players avoiding injury, alongside skill, effortand dedication. The line between winning and challenging is very thin, often just a couple of games, chances, goals.

    Realistically, four teams have challenged over the past 5 years. Arsenal has mounted a credible challenge almost every year. That alone is an amazing, easily equivalent to a trophy, since we are the only side to do this and simultaneously develop a major new stadium, re-position the team around a youth program, maintain strict financial discipline and consistently play an acclaimed football style).

    Twice, we came close – last season 6 games to go and 2 points adrift; and the season Eduardo got mugged and the season fell away. In both, one could say young players, psychologically, were not quite ready, but one could equally claim that serious injuries prevented a title chance.

    The conclusion is simple because it is true, we are convinving title contenders now and have been almost every season and built for the future.

    We will get where we deserve to be. The future is in fact now, or very close.

    It is complete rubbish to think or say Arsenal has not won a trophy, therefore something failed.

  126. Devil's Advocate

    How can you simply not read the ‘all they need is PL experience’ part that my poor fingers type on their own, I’ve said it so many times? It’s what I said!!

    And Geo, yes, a very successful transitional period – also a transition from an experience side of, yes, winners, to a young side built almost from scratch. It’s not easy, and it’s unfair to judge them by lack of silver so soon!

    But no – the whole point of every competitive sport is not to win, if that were the case, every team that does not win would become inconsequential. Winning matters, but it’s not all that matters. I want the trophy drought to end, of course, who doesn’t – but writing off the youth programme because we haven’t won one in five years? Perspective, please!

  127. Limpar – I hope you are right. I would settle for the PL though. That is the marker, and I really think that this year could be the one when we do win it. I am both excited and confident about this season.

    We have the talent, the depth, the manager, the hunger, and now (hopefully) the maturity.

  128. Sorry to veer off thread…

    http://goonerholic.com/?p=2753#comment-51041

    “The same old ip’s come back with different names every time. Are there really only four people out there without the nuts to argue their case sensibly and respectfully?”

  129. Good post, Darius, but I think you could have made a bit more of the point that many of the smaller clubs and lower league clubs are seeking to follow our example of a sustainable business model and youth development. That is the best indicator of the wisdom of our choice – everyone else is copying us! It’s the only way to go.

    Some top comments as well – gadget, harry flowers, geo et al…take a bow, guys.

    Sustainability is one thing, trophies are another. Winning trophies is not totally within a club’s control, but a sustainable business plan is. We have done everything we can to achieve both aims, and succeeded in one of them.

    @ Galway Gooner
    Don’t fixate on signings. We could win the league with this squad, or we could have signed two more players (funny how it’s always meant to be two players, isn’t it? Every year) – and end up not winning the league. Winning the league depends on many factors, not just who’s in your squad.

    I expect you will say, “but Wenger could have done more to get us the best possible squad!”
    This IS the best possible squad that he can get. The song about Wenger being magic and having a magic hat is not literally true. Even he can only buy players if they are for sale at a reasonable price. And let’s not forget about the clubs who throw money at a title bid and still fail. You sound as if you think, more spending will automatically bring us trophies. It doesn’t work like that.

    @ Wavey
    If we’d given Fulham £4m pounds for Schwarzer, ie double what he is worth (37 years old, not elite class, dodgy back), we’d then have to pay £20 million for next year’s Vermaelen, or £30 million for a Diaby…etc. We can’t overpay “just this once”, unfortunately.

    @ gib
    Of course, as has been pointed out – it doesn’t mean that as soon as you win one trophy, you DEFINITELY win more. I think what people mean when they say that about us is that we have everything we need to win trophies but perhaps are lacking in a bit of belief that we can go all the way. And once we are over that hump, there will be no stopping us. Plus there is the positive effect of winning something with your team-mates at your club. The double-winning youth side have benefited from their success in their development and personal belief.

  130. Devils – You are right of course, not every side can judge sucess on winning the lge, it must be realisitc.

    But for a club of Arsenal’s stature, that is the marker. We aim to win every competition we enter, so by definition ony finishing 1st is classed as sucessful.

  131. FunGunner – Nice post.

  132. Great post. your blog picture still features Eduardo. Could you consider replacing him with Almunia, maybe?

  133. Limparassist et al

    I have been supporting for 30 years and I do fret every year we donot win anything but as long as we did all that we can given any circumstance we have had to faced for that season.

    Plse allow us the dignity of valid arguments and not name calling unless you lack a serious argument than mud will do eh?

  134. GoonerAndy,

    A person who doesn’t like to lose is a successful person. Someone who can take a loss graciously but doesn’t like to lose is still a success.

    Boxers and fighters are a great example of this. You get knocked down and beaten by a superior opponent, you are humbled by the experience and you take the loss graciously, and if you’re in the gym ASAP training like a mofo, and not resting upon your laurels, that’s what it takes to be a winner. A good loser, a better winner

  135. Gadget – We will agree to disagree then. Incidentaly, what do you make of Arsene? He is a notorious bad loser.

  136. More interestingly, it is fascinating to think about the critical decisions on purchases matching youth development. It is untrue to say “had we bought or kept more mature players, we could still have sustained a youth strategy in the same way”. One of Wenger’s compelling decisions was, in fact no, it is futile to go in two directions at once.

    Some balance, of course, but do compromise the big objective for short term gain.

    Clichy, Fabregas, Song, Diaby, Denilson, Walcott, Ramsey, Bendtner, Vela, Gibbs, Eastmond, Wilshere, Frimpong and JET – roughly in that order, so far, not forgetting Nasri came youngish.

  137. We can argue all day whether Wenger is right all day long.But he has to deliver sometime we cannot keep saying wait till next season

    The really disappointing thing is than in 2007/08 and last season a couple of quality signings in the january window would have carried us over the line as champions

  138. I think we could have added Fabianski to that list as well Zim, unfortunately that one has not worked out as well. Hopefully Schezny will put that right.

  139. goonerandy – It makes perfect sense when you are at a game listening to fans behind you moaning about the fact we haven’t won a trophy and how lazy Diaby is or whatever, whilst the beautiful game is being played out in front of them. Call it Karma or maybe it’s just coincidence but the fans who demand trophies or think it’s our divine right are getting what they deserve at the moment because they can’t see what a great period in time it is to be a Gooner at the moment (and I don’t include you in that sentance, btw). I just enjoy the games and enjoy what I deem a success, I suppose it’s all relative. When we do win a trophy, I will feel like I have earned the right to celebrate rather joyously.

  140. mmmm gotta love those pastry delights from the local bakery…

    haha! Cheers Limpar 🙂

    Nice posts Zimpaul and Fungunner. I’d like to see someone dispute those points in a reasoned and well thought out manner…

  141. It drives me absolutely nuts when posters like “Devil’s Advocate” (yes, I get it) repeat the derogatory pejorative that Diaby is “lazy.” FFS, this is a player who spent the summer of 2009 working with a sprint coach to increase his explosiveness. For most of 09-10 when we were challenging, he was driving us from deep midfield (I don’t have time to look up his goals and assists) with Cesc further up getting most of the plaudits. It is no surprise that our challenge faded away when he became injured in the latter part of the season. Of course like any young player he can be inconsistent and he sometimes was caught in two-minds about his offensive-defensive responsibilities but to mistake his lengthy, languid strides to say he is “lazy”, tells me most of the pundits and so-called gooners know fook-all.
    Weren’t they the same idiots describing him as “Diabolic”?

  142. I laugh at the notion that winning the Milk Cup can make you more likely to win the league. Two completely different competitions. By now people realise that winning the Curling Cup doesn’t mean you’re one of the best sides in the country. The scum won it, and 6 months later they were in a relegation dogfight.

    Maybe it used to be true in the past (I doubt even that), but I certainly don’t think it’s so now.

  143. Matty – Fair one, and I do agree it is a great time to be a gooner. So much to look forward to. So many good players so watch. To see them actually make it over the finish line will be an amazing feeling.

  144. I believe Wenger is constructing something he knows is much, much bigger than a title winning campaign, and he is a very bad loser. In fact, he will not lose, and has almost no competitition in this game. It’s a big one.

    That’s why trophy hunters are aiming too low. Do they not have more ambition than that? Just another Chelsea?

  145. Galwaygooner,

    Hang in there mate. There really are some wonderful contributors on this blog. It really is a solid blog with a diverse range of interesting viewpoints. Not all of them will be as unpopular as my views but it takes all types.

    This blog is primarily supportive of the club and of Wenger – which is better than having a catalogue of ignorance and negativity that exists on other blogs. But generally all voices are allowed to be aired. Don’t worry about the initial reaction – they “don’t like strangers round here” initially – but they’ll soften up eventually.

    And if you have any doubts – well then I’ll point you to the wonderful relationships and lifelong friendship that I have cultivated with some regular inmates like Shotta Gun, Ole Gunner, Stew and little Limp Arse.

  146. It is untrue to say “had we bought or kept more mature players, we could still have sustained a youth strategy in the same way”. One of Wenger’s compelling decisions was, in fact no, it is futile to go in two directions at once.

    Yes, ZimPaul. The youth project was not a conceit, or a vanity project – it was simply our only option in order to keep going while our finances were constrained by the stadium building. That period also coincided with massive inflation in transfer fees and wages.

  147. AW
    From Marlon Samuels interview at The Heil:

    “When I was at Nancy as a young coach, the father of Michel Platini was a director of the club. We had a really poor team and we won one game out of every three. One day he said to me: ‘Do you know what I really cannot stand anymore? To see the other bench jumping up and down.’

    Is that how you felt about Alan Pardew [the former West Ham United manager who clashed on the touchline with Wenger, after celebrating a West Ham goal at Upton Park -and just got sacked, again!]?

    Yes, I thought about Platini’s dad after that. One of the things I discovered in Japan was from watching sumo wrestling. At the end you can never tell who has won the fight, and who has lost, because they do not show their emotion because it could embarrass the loser. It is unbelievable. That is why I try to teach my team politeness.”

    A “bad loser”?

    A sore loser would do something pathetic. Like , I dunno, turn on the sprinkler system?

  148. Ole – I agree about the milk cup. The 1st team is where the success need to come really to make the final jump.

    Heh, the scum are rubish though. Don’t forget that 😉

    Shotta – I am a huge Diaby fan, but I can see why some may feel he is lazy (I am not one of these by the way). His langid style can sometimes look this way, and for all his assets he does not look particularly “passionate” when he plays. It would be interesting to see his o-zone stats to how much ground he covers.

    I reckon he is going to have a huge season proving he stays injury free.

  149. Well Joe, for the 1st time in months you write something here I agree with in the main. On ACLF you can express any opinions, if you look closely, even amongst the resident AK Brigadiers, there is a strong diversity of opinions.

    What isn’t tolerated is mindless slagging off individual players, club or manager.

  150. I agree with Matty Boy. I disagree with Trevor.

    How many times are people going to say ‘2 quality signings’??? How many times do we have to point at City or Spurs to prove that there is no guarantee of improvement through this? If anything, buying players mid season is often unsettling, something Wenger is right to be hesitant about.

    It’s been more of a mental hurdle that we need to hop over than anything else for Arsenal – even more so than the injuries that have hampered us so often. We’re so close and every year, the lads mature and are becoming men. Mental strength comes with experience – it’s plain to see looking at Manure and the Chavs. That’s driven them over the line in the last few years, and it’s something that we need if we’re going to win. Moments like Stoke last season are character building and bring unity to a team. All these things are going to provide us with trophies, not necessarily spending spending spending.

  151. Brian Clough:

    “What could be greater then winnng the league unbeaten?”
    (Even greater then winning the the European Cup, not the ‘easier to win’ CL).

    It’s a very good question.

  152. Finsbury – If you don’t think Arsene is a bad loser you can’t watch many games where we have lost. On a number of occaisions he has walked streight down the tunnel, or ripped into the refferee ignoring the other bench. And I like him that way, and I could not care less what other teams, managers, or the media think about him (I dare he he probably feels the same).

  153. He was more serene when he first came from Japan, but that has slipped and his passion is there for all to see.

  154. Finsbury – The quite from Clough is true no? I can’t think of a bigger achivement in football.

  155. Goonerandy,

    I like him that way too. I don’t think that’s being a ‘bad loser’. Maybe this is just sementics, but there’s nothing wrong with caring, therefore, how is that bad? I don’t get it.

    Saying things like ‘typical Germans’ is laughable.
    Walking off with a frown?
    Who cares to comment on such things?

    Oh, Sky!

  156. Goonerandy @ 1:33

    I agree.

    I also meant to type semantics, not sementics.

  157. I love new people I just don’t like you, Joe.

    When you said that in four years Almunia had only produced one performance ‘anywhere near the desired level’, which performance were you talking about?

    You talk utter rubbish. How does someone become so angry about something they know so little about? Actually… perhaps there lies the rub of it.

  158. Limpar – i think people often forget about Almunia’s heroics against the likes of Barca (first half) and Manure a couple of years ago when we still ended up losing badly – but those losses could have been by 5 or 6 goals. I would have been a very tearful, embarrassed and disappointed if it wasn’t for his performances in those matches… I really feel for Frankenmunia.

  159. Goonerandy,

    The handshake between Fat Sam and AW was interesting…
    AW walked straight down the tunnel there too.

    Maybe that was to stop himself from launching an uppercut into the flabby folds of fat Sams jaw?

    Who knows?

  160. Would have loved to have seen that Finsbury! Maybe a cheeky nipple cripple too…

  161. There is a difference between hating to lose and being a bad loser, It’s not easy to be gracious in defeat when there is so much at stake. However, when people point to the fact that Arsene does not shake an opposition Managers hand and puts it down to being a bad loser, I have to disagree. Arsene commands respect, he has earned it, If it is not shown then why should he belittle himself. It’s down to having respect for ones self and there is not much more gracious than that.

  162. Woah there Geo!

  163. Finsbury kind of beat me to the punch on that on as it were, in a round-a-bout way 🙂

  164. Can you guys imagine if Arsene had exploded with an expletive-filled outburst like ‘onest ‘Arrys the other week? We’d never hear the end of it. I’m glad we’re led by a guy who carries himself with so much grace and dignity.

  165. Matty Boy knows.

  166. Sorry guys not sure where that came from… lol

    Vince – yeah but he still gets called a disgrace, cheat, paedophile etc from certain corners (including our own ‘fans’).. makes me sick.

  167. I have read the views of Galway Gooner before I,m sure of it.

    Nice one Harry and you too Limpar. Plenty of other good sense being written too but Harry said it all so well and Limpar is just funny.

  168. Limps,

    What I said was that I’ve never really rated Almunia as being the required standard for Arsenal and that I thought that he’s only had one good season wearing the jersey in 2008. That said, he still gets my support even if I have a hernia everytime a high ball comes into the box.

    When fluid, Arsenal are like a well-oiled instrument – a thing of beauty like a timeless piece of classical music. Of course, I’ve now made the stark realistation that I’m explaining myself to a person who listens to jackhammer music…!

  169. Anyway, great post Darius, one of your more important and they’re all good.

  170. I don’t think you’re the required standard for Arsenal. What the fuck is jackhammer music?

    I’m off to the barbershop.

    …but Arsenal is nothing like a timeless piece of classical music. Arsenal is ever-changing, forward-moving and cutting edge. A piece of recorded music will never change – only deteriorate.

  171. And I think you know what you can do with your well-oiled instrument.

  172. Goonerandy @12:48 had a crack at Ian Holloway calling him a good loser and borrowing from the good books of John Cross to sarcastically wish him luck.

    It just so happens that Ian the ‘good loser’ has one win, one draw and one loss playing ‘good’ football, mind you all away from home. And yet he is being made some sort of object for ridicule. While bad loser Toni ‘Sue’ Pulis she of the playing to your strengths fame, is firmly rooted to the bottom of the log.

    Tonite Andy, when an England midfielder yet again can’t make himself available for pass, can’t keep possesion of the ball he got, or can’t pick a team mate for a meaningful pass….remember Andy, that just this morning you were making snide remarks about a team who have set out to do just that.

  173. galway

    firstly, i should say that my comment about treating me like an idiot wasn’t in any way related to how i’ve ever been spoken to on here. It was meant as a tongue in cheek way of asking to be treated as if i know nothing so that i can get a better understanding of your view. i’ve never had any trouble with anyone on here. also, cheers for the explanation.

    There are a lot of points in your explanation and I’ll address how long I’d keep them individually if that’s okay.
    “buying loads of young players and giving them very high contracts at a very young age in the hope that they will come good.”

    Firstly, I’d consider how many other clubs have copied our youth system and scouting network. Buying lots of youngsters is, if the scouting is good enough, self-sustaining. Selling Aliadiere and Hoyte and all the others should pay for the system. If there is a slight cost then it’s a calculated risk in the hope of unearthing someone special. For me, keep this system indefinitely.

    “the club refusing to offer players over 30 anything longer than a one year contract.”

    Wenger spoke recently and said that this system wasn’t in place. It’s dependent on the player’s position and condition. See the signings of Squillacci and Sylvestre as proof.

    “not buying players who are better that what we have for fear of “damaging their development”.”

    this is probably the main objection and is something i’d consider as short-termism. The club, as you later acknowledged, is being run under strict financial rules in order to safeguard its future. This will continue until the club are comfortable with the stadium repayments. My limited understanding is that this time is coming very quickly. The important thing to consider is that under the current ownership system, very little money leaves the club. If we were not spending while shareholders took huge pay offs or we were banking the money and finishing fourteenth i’d be worried, until then, I’m satisfied with how things are. Of course, that doesn’t mean that I don’t want to win things just that I believe we can with this squad; I don’t think wholesale changes are needed.

    “the policy of waiting until the last minute of the transfer window to see if we can save a bit of money”

    again, it’s hard to know if this is really the case or simply how football works. how many early deals were there this year? In key positions like GK, clubs won’t sell until they know they can get a replacement so things go to the wire. It can be frustrating but it seems to be the way the world works so I’m not sure if we alone could change it without taking the risk of either releasing players without replacements or spending far more than a players’ value.

    That, rightly or wrongly, is where I stand. Hope it satisfies.

  174. My mate met Ian Holloway on a train the other day and said what a lovely chap he is. He was chatting with him for ages and didn’t have a bad word to say about the Cornishman. I’m chuffed that he’s in the Prem, and it’s a breath of fresh air to have someone who talks the truth and not constantly using football media school cliches.

  175. Slimshay –

    1st para – Not borrowing from anyone mate. No need to.

    2nd para – Not sure what your point is?

    3rd para – Not sure what your point is? Adidtionally I could not give two shits about the national side. International football is just an interuptions of Arsenal’s season in my eyes.

    Away with you now.

  176. Incidentally, and to agree with Geo’s point I quite like Holloway.

  177. “the policy of waiting until the last minute of the transfer window to see if we can save a bit of money”

    Sounds like a very astute policy to me. Not like we don’t sign a lot of players good and early. Most of the players we signed were signed good and early.

    But it shouldnt be too hard to see that if a deal could be done earlier, it would be done, and if waiting till the end of the window increases the odds of doing it, then by all means that’s a valid approach.

    Surely, the 2 options facing anyone trying to do a deal is; pay up, negotiate or walk away.

    I don’t understand this particular line of criticism. it doesn’t make sense.

  178. I am of the belief that 5 years is the minimum period to judge any system (unless you head towards bankruptcy al la Redknapp).

    From this sort of form you may get an average of what a team can expect to achieve with any policy.
    In Arsenals case there may be better performing policies – like Chelsea’s or Man Us for winning silverware short term, but is it sustainable for your club? Arsenal’s policy most definitely is. Chelsea’s will last as long as their Oligarch is not assassinated or stuck in a Russian prison, and ManU as long as they can sustain the debt with Ferguson at the helm. Where they go after that is probably to obscurity it took Ferguson 5 years to get them out of.
    Even clubs that regularly finish in the top 3 will have periods where, for one reason or another (or just plain chance) they don’t win anything.
    This is why silverware is not the only measure, but has to be combined with the regular league finishing position. Being in the top three in the Premiership – or finishing amongst the top performers if more than three teams regularly win.
    At the moment you can say Arsenal is best sited of any club to dent the hegemony of the super wasteful teams. That is how you must judge Chelsea and ManU – Shitty qualify as super wasteful, but have yet to qualify as a regular winner.
    Arsenal likewise have never been closer to the Holy Grail – The Champions League. We probably average the quarter final over 6 or 7 years. To get there you must be regularly there or there abouts. ie Arsenal’s chances must be a fuck of lot higher than Shitty’s but lower than ManU’s.

    No one ever said maths was interesting or easy, but it is a fuck of lot more informative and frankly interesting than the puerile moaners and their emotive appeals to some other way, which always heads towards bankruptcy!

  179. Ole – is that not 3 options? 😉

  180. Geo @ 1.53,

    It’s my bad.
    I recalled Franks description of Fat Sam’s handshake, and realised that it’s not fair to say AW only walks off without much fanfare, when he’s lost.

    And then I imagined AW reacting like Pardew, for example, in victory…

  181. I agree with Ole – If the reports were true about Van der Vaart’s transfer fee being dropped from 18m to 8m at the deadline (which it seems they weren’t but hey, it illustrates my point), then deadline day transfers make complete sense.

  182. Well I meant 3, goonerandy.

    Criticising a manager for trying to complete a deal for as long as he can seems really daft to me.

    But the real bellus is that we should pay whatever is asked because we’re so desperate. And that doesn’t seem wise either

  183. Man, i can’t wait for the next match. It’s so annoying that we’ve been waiting for months for the season to start and it’s already being broken up by some shit standard international matches. Just wanna see our lads slicing Bolton’s cumbersome defence apart…

  184. I suppose it would depend on how critical the transfer is; if it is for a player who we would like, but is not nessasarliy essential then it is best practice to negotiate and get the best deal possible.

    However if the signing is a must, then our dealings need to be different, and we may sometimes have to pay over the odds. Say for example if we had not signed Kos as early, our hand would have been weakened come transfer day as we would have been desperate for a defender.

  185. “And I think you know what you can do with your well-oiled instrument.”

    Yes, such wit and improvisation.

    I read the recent piece you did on Almunia.

    I thought your piece lacked any semblance of balance or perspective. No consideration was given to the multitude of fans that would have preferred a new keeper based on his performances over the past 4 seasons, whereas your analysis was, in its entirety, a one-track rant glorifying his performance against Blackburn alone.

    One doesn’t applaud the tenor for clearing his throat Limps.

  186. I’m with you Joe, Almunia blows

  187. I’d rather have Gomes any day…

  188. Goonerandy, the ability to smile or frown for the cameras has got nothing to do with your abilities to get a result on the pitch.

    And please there is no point to be gotten having jigs at a coach getting results even though according to you he seems to be ‘suffering and smiling’ as the late Fela once sang.

  189. goonerandy,

    Good point. But a negotiation depends on 2 parties. If Kos had dragged on, Arsenal would have had 2 options; 1. Be patient, 2. Walk away. Either way it doesn’t guarantee we get the player.

  190. slimshay,

    great post. Seems andy doesn’t understand basic English.

  191. Slimshay – It was not so much as a dig at Holloway, just observing that if my team had just been hammered I would not want to see the manager of the team looking so upbeat. My point in all of this, it there is nothing wrong with being a bad loser. Most top athletes/sportsemen are.

    Ole – Of course not. If we had walked away we could have turned our sights to somebody else. We did things well in the window; we needed defenders and got them. If we had waited until the final day to try and get them we would have paid much more in the end, as other clubs would have known we were desperate.

  192. What were you looking for, Joe? It was a match report about a game in which Almunia played very well. Sorry if the facts don’t match your strange agenda.

    One doesn’t applaud the tenor for clearing his throat? I’ve seen a few of you at the stadium. Unless someone pearls one in from 30 yards you sit on your fucking hands. Wankers.

  193. I’ve come in late. I find the views on Song and Essien interesting. But despite the fact that both play defensive midfield – most of the time – I don’t think that the two are really comparable. Where Song plays with a certain finesse I see brute force in Essien. Song can dripple whereas Essien runs in a straight line. Essien’s game is more suited to colder climes, Song has the grace of the samba beat. I remember Song failing to stop Drogba last season, the Drog was just too powerful for him. Song actually fell over as Drog went on to score. Essien would roll over Drogba with the brute force of a buffallo. Where Song would disposess one with intelligence, Essien would role him over. Song is the sort who would take on an Iniesta or a Xavi, with skill, anticipation and football wit. Essien would resort to fouling an Iniesta or a Xavi, a hard tackle in the name of football! The closest Chelsea has to our Song is their new signing Ramires. Ancelotti would be wise to advice him to watch how Song plays. And Song should also learn from the Brazilian. I think they are two players who show that with intelligence you don’t have to have brute force to play DM. Cultured players both – even if Ramires does play for Chelski!

  194. Notlager – Dull as always.

  195. Alex Song is very very strong. Bouncing off Drogba is not indicative of anything, Drogba is perhaps the strongest player in football….(Lucio & Naldo the only players that come to mind that can match his stength). I am very skeptical that Essien won’t bounce of Drogba? Really? I’ve seen Diaby, Denilson and Song dominate midfield physically with Essien playing for Chelsea. We didn’t win, but we did dominate

  196. I agree that they are very different players. I would say song is classier and more skillful, whist Essien is more aggresive and tenacious.

  197. haha cheers for that FG. Pulis really is a complete twat. Only a few managers annoy me more than him and i’m not going to list them as just thinking about them makes me want to do some incredibly evil things…

  198. Are you real Galway gooner? To buttress your point you link to the moron King?

  199. He’s a Chelsea fan, Galway.

  200. ANR… need we say more?

  201. Yes Galway, why would you even bother posting such a link…?

    Your comments alone on here is another garbage for the day mate

  202. enough garbage*

  203. Pulis is an idiot. If I have have the displeasure of meeting him I will make it my mission to vomit in his stupid little cap.

  204. Marry Boy

    Completely agree with your comment about enjoying what we see in front of us.

    I just don’t get what satisfaction the whingers get from supporting Arsenal.. say we win the league, which we have a fair few times under Wenger’s reign. Do they automatically stop whinging and start parading?!!

    Seems pretty childish, because that is exactly what happens, whingers on here stay fairly quiet when a trophy is in the bag, but can’t take any joy out of actually supporting the club!

    Posting meaningless rants.. “we should have bought 2 WORLD CLASS PLAYERS” .. I won’t list any more!

    Childish childish selfish supporters is what you all are, I don’t need to point your names out to everyone, because it is fairly clear to all the rest of us

  205. Matty Boy not Marry Boy!!*

    Sorry mate, my typing is off today, Friday tiredness!

  206. hmmmm testing this new avatar thingy ma-jiggery…

  207. didnt work… had to change my name to geogoon and everything!

  208. I just don’t get what satisfaction the whingers get from supporting Arsenal.. say we win the league, which we have a fair few times under Wenger’s reign. Do they automatically stop whinging and start parading?!!

    Seems pretty childish, because that is exactly what happens, whingers on here stay fairly quiet when a trophy is in the bag, but can’t take any joy out of actually supporting the club!

    Very well said, ChrisGoona.

  209. hahhahaha galaway use a chav site make by a former chav fan to make a point.Even le groan reader hate him ….make my point

  210. Darius: Great post.

    No matter how much you try to rationalize, success for a professional sports franchise always has and always will be judged on how many trophies they win. To say that winning trophies is not important is a rather unique idea not ever heard outside of ACLF. I think and hope we can win trophies but until we do what Arsenal has done will not be judged a success.

    We all applaud the financial success of our club, but the stated goal of the new stadium was to give us the financial muscle so that we could spend enough money to compete with Chelsea and ManU. Now that the stadium debt is under control we are almost certainly have more resources available then almost any team in Europe. What frustrates many is that it seems that we could spend more money to strengthen our team without any risk to our long term financial status. You can rationalize all you want, but we all know that spending does improve your chance to win trophies. We have come very close so many times recently but just missed. Nothing is certain, but may be that one or two experienced players could have put us over the top. We are now a financial powerhouse and no longer need to make profits from the transfer market, yet we have a significant profit in the that last 2 years, and it seems we are still not willing to flex our financial muscles to give us the best chance to win. Difficult to understand when our trophy case is empty.

  211. Well summed up Bill.

  212. Brilliant. here here!!

  213. When Hleb returns to the Emirates, I hope he gets a warm welcome. Since he left he’s been full of regret, and let us not forget Barcelona are like the devil, whispering sweet nothings into the ears of our players and turning their heads.

    WOAH!

    Barcelona = Devil
    Henry = Adam
    Hleb = Eve

    (Can you see where I’m going with this?)

    So, like the devil attempts to tempt Jesus in some desert and fails, therefore

    Fabregas = Jesus
    Wenger = The holy spirit
    Arsenal = God

    Blessed are the times we live in indeed!! Or is this period more in line with relevations? Where brother turns against brother and some other stuff?

    We are in football ARMAGEDDON!!! (heh, Arm Aged Don – I’m copyrighting that name for a story I’m about to write. Bunch of thievs around here).

    Keep the faith fools lest you be consigned to footballing purgatory.

  214. Heh, religion is a load of old bollocks anyway.

  215. @ Bill

    it seems that we could spend more money to strengthen our team without any risk to our long term financial status.
    Of course we could have spent more money, but some of the players we wanted were not for sale. Wenger described this transfer window as “frustrating”. That should tell you that he could not get all his targets he wanted. Liverpool would not sell Reina (why would they?). MS was not worth £4m to AW. Whatever you think, Wenger has made a judgement that MS’s contribution to the team is not worth paying double what he is worth. That is another way of saying that he has faith in Almunia to play his part in a title bid. YOU don’t faith in him, but it’s AW’s opinion that counts.

    You can rationalize all you want, but we all know that spending does improve your chance to win trophies.

    No. Having a good squad does. It’s not the same thing as spending money. We have a good squad. Any squad can be improved, but only with the right players. If he can’t get the right ones, Wenger doesn’t buy others just for the sake of it.

    General question – why do some fans always feel, no matter who is in the squad, that we are “one or two players” short?

  216. Bill,

    I can’t fault your logic there: you spend on wages on groundsmen, etc.

    Unless you mean to say transfers, at which point yep, I can fault your logic.

  217. Bill, I disagree.
    There’s noone as good as Henry around at the moment.
    There’s noone as good as Pires around at the moment.
    There’s noone as good as Ljungberg at the moment.
    We’ve been very privileged/lucky to have those players and others, at the same moment they were all in their prime.
    We have to be patient and wait until the current set of badboys we have get that good through playing together. Signs are, we won’t be waiting too long.

  218. FunGunner –

    “That is another way of saying that he has faith in Almunia to play his part in a title bid. YOU don’t faith in him, but it’s AW’s opinion that counts.”

    But it isn’t is it? Trying to buy another keeper is not having faith in Almunia.

    I am not getting into the Almunia argument again, as it has been done to death. But because you assert the above paragraph does not make it true. Far from it to be honest.

  219. That’s nonsense, Bill. It seems you struggle to understand what you read. I challenge you to show where anyone said trophies aren’t a measure of success.

  220. I am absolutely dying to know whether Theo and Kieran are in the England squad tonight. I’m actually looking forward to it, the form they are both in.

  221. Fun,

    Oot Players is a quality lad hailing from Zaphod V. Hitchhikers player of the aeon. Can play in every position at almost the same time. Absolute quality and he’s won a trophy in over 50 star systems.

    Sorry bout my lame humour. Friday afternoon does this to me.

  222. “…we are “one or two players” short…”

    I thought we’d put that one to bed, FG. The average height of a footballer playing in the Premier League last season? 5″11. The average height of an Arsenal player last season? 5″11. Chamakh and Squilly Bob Thornton and Kos might’ve changed that… not sure.

    And Gael Clichy is 6ft. Which people may or may not already know… just saying.

    Where’s that prick Joe gone?

  223. Ole – From Darius earlier today

    “I don’t think it’s worth debating this issue with you because you start from the premise that a trophy is the only measure of success and I don’t.”

  224. Next challenge please.

  225. goonerandy,

    You didn’t do well in English comprehension at school did you?

  226. GoonerAndy,

    You may want to read Fun’s statement again and then at Ole’s, and then at Funs, and then issue a retraction.

    The quote from Ole doesn’t contradict Fun’s assertion in the slightest

  227. Ahh too late, Ole’s eagle eyed and quick on the draw

  228. “General question – why do some fans always feel, no matter who is in the squad, that we are “one or two players” short?”

    I’d add to that who exactly are these mythical “one or two players” that I keep hearing about? these mighty warriors that will “take us to the summit” or “push us to the top” (or whatever similar cliche takes your fancy). If you could let us know. I expect Arsene Wenger would like to know as well.

  229. Limpar,

    Is Gael 6 ft?

  230. @ goonerandy

    OG said trophies are not THE ONLY measure of success. How does that exclude them being ONE measure of success? Hope you don’t mind me diving in there, Ole.

    Regarding Almunia, if we were desperate, AW might have bought MS for £4 million. Or Eduardo, or any of the others he was rumoured to be looking at. Or he might have risked promoting Chesney. Or taken a keeper on loan. As it is, the facts are that he wanted MS to provide “competition” for Almunia. That is what he said, but again you are just editing out whatever doesn’t fit your view. If he thinks MS could provide competition for Almunia, he must think Almunia is at least as good as MS.

    It’s YOU who has no faith in Almunia. Not Wenger.

  231. gadget

    I can’t believe Wenger hasn’t signed Oot Players. Negligence and incompetence, I say!

  232. Hmmm, Ole said this (to Bill):

    “I challenge you to show where anyone said trophies aren’t a measure of success.”

    So I did. What am i missing? I did pretty well in English thanks, a “B” no less.

  233. Fungooner –

    “As it is, the facts are that he wanted MS to provide “competition” for Almunia”

    You are doing it again to cheeky little scamp. Facts????, really?

    Arsene is not going to come out and say point blank he wanted a new No1 is he? So pay lip service to what he says in the press as you really should know. If you think signing a 37 yeal old keeper as competition, that is your little dream. But don’t go about quoting “facts”, when it is nowhere near a “fact”.

    It seems you think all of your opinions are “fact”. And the fact is, they are not.

  234. Harry Flowers:

    “I think we are on the cusp of greatness with this team. It’s an exciting time to be an Arsenal fan. If your not thrilled by some of the football we play…then you simply don’t like football.”

    Well said. I believe most of these glory hunting fans of ours are usually people who never played football. They like football, yes, but they don’t understand the intricacies of it. If they did they wouldn’t cry about not getting a trophy and would appreciate what it takes to compete with the resources we have. To me, these glory hunters are no better than the Japanese fans who travel to Old Trafford just to take in the spectacle of it all. I guess attracting these types of fans, as they’re not supporters, is what happens when the club gets as big as Arsenal have.

  235. Come to think of it, Bill – you’re American right?

    In the NFL, most teams are defined to have winning seasons as long as they exceed .500 are they not?

    Then getting to the play-offs is then another mark of a successful season.

    Then winning the divisional final.

    And then finally the Superbowl.

    Sure historically we look back and only pay attention to superbowl winning teams but a successful season isn’t just limited to having the lombardi trophy.

  236. “In Arsene we rust.”

    That’s funny Spectrum. I’ve seen your comments around and you always leave that in quotation marks. It’s like a catchphrase isn’t it. See what he’s done there folks? it’s a play on words…he’s replaced “trust” with “rust”. F*****g comedy genius. Laugh? I nearly did. No matter how many times he does it…it’s still as fresh as the first time. Comedy gold. And they say satire is dead. Not while Spectrum is alive it aint.

  237. You got a B in English Andy? I find that hard to believe given the way you spell the words; independAnt, definATLEY and consistAnt.

  238. I’m not sure who I’d rather start at leftback for Bolton next Saturday. Fair play to Coyle for getting in an attacking fullback at last (the kid from Madrid… Alonso?) – but it won’t mean anything if he doesn’t use him. I’d be very surprised if he didn’t start with the usual rogue’s gallery of centrebacks across the back at our place – the hatchetmen he inherited from Megson. This puts Paul Robinson up against Theo. Pfttttt!! HA!… sorry… ahem. I watched Robinson at Watford years ago and he would have been well and truly roasted by Walcott back in his heyday (such as it was)… now though… it could get very ugly for Robbo. I’d worry about him kicking Theo but there’s no way he’ll get close enough.

    I assume he’ll be out drinking tonight as well so even if Theo scores another hattrick he should keep a low profile as far as Bolton are concerned.

    Arsenal.

  239. Gooner Andy,

    Ole’s quote refutes the idea of trophies being the only measure of success. It doesn’t imply or explicitly state that trophies are not a measure of success, which is the challenge that Fun laid down.

  240. I’m not sure who I’d rather start at leftback for Bolton next Saturday. Fair play to Coyle for getting in an attacking fullback at last (the kid from Madrid… Alonso?) – but it won’t mean anything if he doesn’t use him. I’d be very surprised if he didn’t start with the usual rogue’s gallery of centrebacks across the back at our place – the hatchetmen he inherited from Megson. This puts Paul Robinson up against Theo. Pfttttt!! HA!… sorry… ahem. I watched Robinson at Watford years ago and he would have been well and truly humiliated by Walcott back in his heyday (such as it was)… now though… it could get very ugly for Robbo. I’d worry about him kicking Theo but there’s no way he’ll get close enough.

    I assume he’ll be out drinking tonight as well so even if Theo scores another hattrick he should keep a low profile as far as Bolton are concerned.

    Arsenal.

  241. Damn I’M GOING BLIND!! Fun didn’t even issue a challenge, sorry

  242. Gains69 – Heh, I know. I type too fast, and don’t check before I click sumbit. My bad I know.

    Gadget – Ole challenged Bill to find anybody saying trophies are not a measure of success.

    EXHIBIT A
    “I challenge you to show where anyone said trophies aren’t a measure of success.

    So I picked a quote from Darious doing exactly that

    EXHIBIT B
    ““I don’t think it’s worth debating this issue with you because you start from the premise that a trophy is the only measure of success and I don’t.”

    Its quite simple, and if you don’t both get it. Well…..

  243. Anyway, off home now. See you all after a boring Arsenal less weekend.

    Have a good one.

  244. @ goonerandy

    When you’re in a hole, stop digging.

    Who has said trophies are not a measure of success? You presumably understand the difference between “only” and “one”, or “a”?

    Re Almunia
    Wenger said that he understood why all the speculation about signing Schwarzer would unsettle Almunia, but that he had to “accept the competition”. Wenger actually said this, which is what makes it a fact. From this fact, I made a logical inference that he intended them to fight it out for the number 1 spot. There can be no competition for that spot if one of them is not in the squad.

  245. Cheers Gainsbourg69. I just think it’s a shame people can’t enjoy what’s in front of them. I wonder how many of these people actually enjoy watching beautiful football anymore, or if they ever did. If it just becomes about “winning” at all costs then what’s the point? that ways lies the glorification of someone like Mourinho for instance. Shame.

  246. Harry – Dead right. It’s meant to be a catchphrase. The biggest laugh is Wenger getting an extended contract. This latest goalkeeper fiasco means there’s now two clowns at Arsenal. Oops ! make that three. Almunia, Wenger and now Harry.
    The only question is : “When does the circus leave town ? ”
    “In Arsene we rust.”

    P.S. Any A.K.B. even bring themselves to read the alternative view link I posted above ? Guess not. Can’ t fault Wenger on anything.

  247. @ Harry Flowers at 4:26pm

    ha ha ha.

  248. I only ever feel disapointed about not winning trophies at the end of the season. For me the start of the season makes us a candidate for sucsess. Its difficult to look at the past and be specific as we have had times in our history, as we are all aware, when we have gone several years without trophies, just as we have had periods of supreme sucsess. I think that the last five years have in a sence been sucsessfull due to the strategie the club were engaging in, and in terms of the revenue and pulling power a team that keeps on qualifying for the CL can have. Harry Flowers, i feel the same.

  249. Goonerandy,

    Let it rest. Nobody here ever said trophies aren’t a measure of success. Though, I’d even go as far as to say that buying a trophy or winning in a league of one is not really success. Cheating to win, likewise, is not success.

    Bill,

    I spent 10 hours on a flight last week with a lifelong Mets fan. He talked about being in the shadow of the Yankees, not winning the World series since in 20 years, and being long-suffering. Sounds like the average sports fan, right.

    He wasn’t slagging off his manager, his club, his owner, his players….he just spoke about baseball, and his hope shone eternal.

    That’s my experience of what most fans’ experience with supporting a sports team is like.

  250. Ole, yes – a man of 6 ft. Common misconception. Wikipedia must have measured him when he was still growing.

  251. That article rectum posted reminds me of what the American right says about Barack Obama. They too believe that being criticized for having no clue what to do if they had it their way is somehow stalinist.

    The Arse-kickers, as that Wright fellow likes to call his faction of idiots, thinks that Arsene has mismanaged the transition from Highbury to the Emirates and thinks that we will never pursue talent similar to Bergkamp, Petit, or Vieira. That, amongst other things, proves how stupid these so called “winners” truly are. What fucko tends to forget is that most of Wenger hasn’t changed his transfer policy since day one. Vieira, Petit, Overmars, Henry and Pires were all scooped up on the cheap. They were never bought for exhorbitant prices.

    That whole article is full of fail.

  252. FunGunner, Ole et al.:

    For years now we have been complaining that the field is not fair because other teams can spend money and buy players and win titles. Now we have finally have the money that we were promised from the new stadium yet we seem to have continued with the same fiscal policies regarding transfers that we all agree made it difficult or impossible to win over the last 5 -6 years. You can rationalize all you want but no matter how you slice it that is difficult to understand especially when we have a significant profit in the transfer market over the last couple of years. If we needed a GK, even if Wenger only wanted an experienced back up for Al, putting all of our eggs in the Schwarzer basket and then missing out for whatever reason makes no sense.

  253. True Harry. If my support for Arsenal became the chore these idiots make it to be, I probably wouldn’t be able to watch football anymore.

    In Arsene we thrust.

  254. Bill,

    Several flaws with your thinking;

    1. We have bought players every year.
    2. Nobody thought it was imposisble for us to win. We were the best team in England in 07/08. We’ve played finals and been in title races. It wasnt imposisble for us to win.
    3. The club made it clear that the transfer market is overinflated and despite having funds we can not buy in the same market as City et al, so we have to be more clever and go for quality at a premium.
    4. We don’t need to spend money just for the sake of it.
    5. It’s easy to understand. We buy top quality we just can’t go for the vogue ‘proven’ players because they cost too much & RM, Barca, Chavski, Man Poo, Money City will outbid us. We have to find similar quality for less.
    6. Having money is not a signal to abandon the policies that make us have money. Bill gate still collects his change from the parking machine.
    7. Is there ANY and I mean ANY (ANY AT ALL) proof that Wenger put all his eggs in the Schwartzer market. I think people who say that (too many people) are dunces. Typical of the tabloid slaves we find in society these days. People who think that all that happens is the lies reported in the tabloids who we know only get it wrong 98% of the time.

  255. Bill, name a GK who wouldn’t stiffle the goalkeeping talent we have at hand, would be happy being a number two and has premier league experience.

  256. Ole @ 4:46:

    I am a Texas Ranger baseball fan. They have been one of the worst teams in baseball for the last 10 years. Their win % is about 29th out of 32 teams. They are one of 3 teams that has not made the playoffs in the previous decade. All Ranger fans have come to expect worse then mediocrity. Yet we still love them despite the fact that all fans hated the owner (Tom Hicks part owner of Liverpool). Yet every year I hope that somehow things will be different. Your right that is what being a fan is.

    I love Arsenal and always will, even if spend the next 20 years on the bottom of the table. I agree that the move to the stadium and the fiscal responsibility we showed were painful but necessary and deserve all the credit in the world. We are no longer in that financial situation. I want to see us return to winning titles just like your Mets fan and every fan of every team in the world. It is just difficult to understand some of the things the club does.

  257. Ole, don’t argue with Bill when he’s trying to use his American sports logic.

    Bill, I live in Miami and the Marlins are building a new stadium with backing from the tax payers. If this were so in England there’s no doubt that every English team would have a new stadium and a Chelski-esque squad.

  258. Since the Pyles Pharter doesn’t allow comments to be published on his blog, I will respond to him here. (I know you read this blog Pyles, you and your imaginary friend Howard)

    So he says he’s depressed by Arsene Wenger’s reign at Arsenal and I say…….. Long may it continue.

    Arsene did not divide Arsenal fan base, some of the fans just don’t have the same level of intelligence to understand the difference between real life and fantasy football. Some fans decided they will throw tantrums because we are not signing 30 and 40 million a piece world stars.

    The Pyles Pharter claims that Arsene has no ambition to sign great players like: Henry, Vieira, Pires, etc., and forgot that before he signed those players, no one really knew they existed. The Pharter doesn’t even remember that Vieira cost less than 5 million, Pires about 6 or 7 and Henry was 10 million. So they were not the shiny superstars before Wenger, but certainly after.

    I have a cure for your depression Pyles, just F*ck Off and take Howard with you.

  259. Since the Pyles Pharter doesn’t allow comments to be published on his blog, I will respond to him here. (I know you read this blog Pyles, you and your imaginary friend Howard)

    So he says he’s depressed by Arsene Wenger’s reign at Arsenal and I say…….. Long may it continue.

    Arsene did not divide Arsenal fan base, some of the fans just don’t have the same level of intelligence to understand the difference between real life and fantasy football. Some fans decided they will throw tantrums because we are not signing 30 and 40 million a piece world stars.

    Very well said indeed.

  260. Galway Gooner – I am just getting back to you. If inferior midfielders like Gareth Barry and James Milner are being transferred for exorbitant sums, £12 million and £26 million respectively, then my £25 million valuation of Diaby is eminently reasonable and arguably conservative.

  261. Bill,

    The club’s action and strategy is perfectly rational, Bill.

    The problem is that there’s a lot of morons who don’t understand it, can’t understand it, and paint it like it’s all idiocy.

    Think about what this club has executed in the last 10 years. Just think about it.

    At every step of the way, they pushed the envelope and delivered success. In sporting terms and in any other terms.

    This is why I back the club. Because their ways are winning ways.

    Everything Wenger has done at Arsenal is being copied elsewhere as e speak. Even Feggersen says he’ll now only buy for value in the transfer market.

    There’s a lag before visionaries are recognised. But it’s only ever just a matter of time.

  262. Gunner4Ever

    Palmer is depressed because Wenger refuse to stroke his fragile ego and talk to him.

    After all Myles is a SERIOUS WRITER who omce wrote for he NME no less, and spoke to Rod Stewart once many tears ago.

    And Myles even wrote a book about Wenger and STILL he won’t talk to him.

    Its very depressing being Myles Palmer, you would be if you were too.

  263. I find it utterly bizarre that ‘Arsene Knows Best’ seems to be the collective term for us ACLF optimists and not a cold hard fact. In purely literal terms, none of us know more of what goes on behind the scenes daily in training, or in the last few hours before a transfer window shuts. Anyone who thinks they know more than he does is borderline legally retarded and should be treated as such.

    Also I don’t give a fuck about trophies. As long as we play the beautiful way we do 9 out of every 10 games then I’d happily never win a cup again. Just me? Probs, but if you need us to win something so you don’t get the piss taken out of you down the pub then either get another hobby or get different friends.

  264. Sometime Ole G…they don’t even get recognized until they’re gone, that’s the unfortunate part. People are always blinded by quick success and fake glory built on huge amounts of debt.

    Why can’t they see what’s going around them right now, the reckless economic practices that will leave our children and grand children living in debt before they’re even born.

    Who is going to pay Arsenal debts 20 years from now if we spend recklessly? Certainly not Pyles or his stupid friends.

    The likes of United with their huge debt currently are in the phase of “Too Big to Fail” but eventually – if they don’t change their ways – no one will want to buy this kind of debt. Chelsea & Oil City are a different breed and only time will tell how long before their owners buy another toy that brings them fake and quick moments of happiness.

  265. @ Bill

    “For years now we have been complaining that the field is not fair because other teams can spend money and buy players and win titles. Now we have finally have the money that we were promised from the new stadium yet we seem to have continued with the same fiscal policies regarding transfers that we all agree made it difficult or impossible to win over the last 5 -6 years.”

    We have no choice but to continue to spend wisely and within our means. Our means are greater than they were at Highbury, but not unlimited. Several other clubs are spending money they do not have, and not all of them are doing better than we are. Why do you ignore the fortunes of clubs who have outspent us and yet finished below us in the table year after year?

    The money that is required to “buy” a title is measured in hundreds of millions of pounds. That is the sort of money you need to buy (assuming they are for sale) a teamful players like Messi and a benchful of players almost as good and to bulk buy others whom your rivals might want. And you have to spend like that for a few years. And even then, you are not guaranteed anything.
    We don’t have that sort of money.

    Thanks largely to the move to Emirates stadium, we DO have enough money to judiciously buy top class players mixed with players we have developed and build a squad which can compete. So that is what we do. The playing field is still not level, but nevertheless, we have managed to compete. You cannot deny we have competed. You say you are frustrated because we have come so close – that implies an admission that we have competed for honours.

  266. @ Bill

    Also, do you accept that having a good squad and spending a lot of money are not the same thing?

  267. Paul,

    Then Pyles should blame his depression on his own failures. I don’t think it’s Wenger’s fault Pyles is an idiot?

    🙂

  268. Very well said Vince.

    I find this whole I’ve got a bigger club than you waggling very sad indeed. I can see them now in the school toilets envying those who could piss over the top of the urinal wall.

    True Arsenal fans have no need of shiny gewgaws to know that they support the best club in the world.

  269. You are also right G4E. Of course it’s not Arsene’s fault that the world is insane.

    Unless, of course, you subscribe to the view that your job is to make money out of website hits and bugger truth and decency.

    Twat.

  270. Well said FunGunner and Ole.

    Bill, would you give it a rest? The window is closed, we can’t buy players now..We will have to do the best we can with what we’ve got.

    I personally think we do have enough, you don’t…but it’s not going to change now. We can talk again about buying players in January…I can’t promise we will buy any 🙂 but at least it would be a suitable discussion at that time.

    Right now, can we just support the players we got? Because they’re what we have until January.

  271. What can I say CBob? Not all people are as wise as you are, old man 🙂

    All my good life I’ve been a lonely man,
    Teachin’ Teachin people who don’t understand.

  272. I have not been able to get back on in a while and I am sure there are lots of angry comments waiting.

    This year has certainly been better then most. We bought The Kos and Squillaci when in the past we would have promoted Nordtviet and Bartley. I guess there is some movement in the right direction.

  273. A song G4E?

  274. Bloody hell Bill. We buy every season. The one season we bought just one player in the last 12 years is last season. We fucking buy players all the time. Someone’s brainwashed you.

  275. Yep 🙂 Stop the train I’m leaving….Peter Tosh and/or Bob Marley.

  276. Haha G4E. I have a strange suspicion as well, that that twat must surely read this blog. I mean he is surely plagiarizing a lot of his stuff from Le moan. Or is it the other way around?

    Strangely don’t care about the doomers anymore. They’re just torturing themselves with their pessimistic views about the club and the ongoing season. What’s the fun going into the season, without any hopes of winning anything? Rather moaning and bitching about why we didn’t sign Mark Schwarzer? As if he ever was a great step up for us. Idiots.

  277. Yep, Lives full of misery and ignorance. Imaging not actually enjoying the start that we have made.

    Sad, very, very sad.

  278. 4-4-2. Theo on the right wing. Is Gibbs on the bench?

  279. ‘Stop that train…’ is one of my favourites. Can’t remember who sang that one.

  280. Yes, but I know another version. Who was that?

  281. There is a stop this train by John Mayer but not the same lyrics 🙂

  282. ‘Draw your brakes” by Scotty. a DJ version of a hit by Keith and Tex. (Courtesy of Wikipedia!)

    That’s the version I know.

  283. limpar assist @11.40.

    they cant see it cos they’ve fallen back on old stereotypes and if song , diaby, denilson are not perfect, then they are lazy and stupid.

    Im soo over it.

  284. FunGunner @ 6:00 and 6:07:

    1) Spending lots of money does mean having a good squad is clearly true.

    2) We do not have to spend millions of dollars to win a trophy. Fortunately we are not starting from scratch the way Man City did.

    IMO what we should have done differently this year was to get Squillaci earlier. If what you have always said about our scouts watching players for months or years then we knew about him all along. Had we gotten him earlier it might have cost a little more but he could have trained with us in Austria. We also risked the possibility that Sevilla might have had an injury or might have not sold him for another reason. It has worked out OK in the end but it was an unnecessary risk.

    I think we should have gotten another GK, and this could be a major problem especially if Al has an injury or does not recover his best form. This we covered in detail in the past.

    Neither of those changes in our off season activity would have amounted to hundreds of millions and neither would have been “above our means” or represented any financial risk to AFC. IMO both moves could have given us a little more advantage going into this season.

    G4E @ 6:18:

    We started down this path because of Darius’ excellent post. However, your point is correct. Nothing we can do about it now so lets hope that all it all works out for us.

  285. What the fucks wrong with walcot when he plays for england?

  286. Bill,

    1) No it clearly doesn’t.

    2) If you’re saying we don’t have to spend millions to win, do you mean just a few hundred thousand then? Clearly, then, we’ve exceeded your expectations.

    Re: Squilacci
    He likely was not Arsene’s first choice. They probably had inquiries on other players and were just moving down the list. I don’t think it was an unacceptable risk at all.

    Re: goalkeeper
    Arsene clearly tried to get another keeper. Whether it was too much money for Schwarzer or Fulham didn’t want to sell, it just didn’t work out. I would guess Arsene made inquiries about other GK’s earlier as well, but was told the player was not for sale. We don’t know because Arsenal doesn’t conduct their transfer business in the tabloids.

    We shouldn’t presume so much about what Arsene and Arsenal did or should do because we really don’t know what the fuck is going on.

  287. Agree with all that, Verminator!

    @ Bill
    You keep moving the goalposts.

    But anyway, a squad that costs a lot of money to assemble is an expensive squad. Price does not always reflect quality. A squad full of talented players is a good squad. Talented players do not always cost a lot. You seem to understand that when you say you only want Wenger to buy players like Nasri or Vermaelen, not Messi and Ronaldo, but conveniently forget that at other times.

    Had we gotten him earlier it might have cost a little more but he could have trained with us in Austria.

    What difference would it have made to get Squillaci training in Austria? What would we have gained? Why do you assume that we would have got him earlier if we’d paid more money? How do you know we weren’t try to get someone else before him?

    We also risked the possibility that Sevilla might have had an injury or might have not sold him for another reason. It has worked out OK in the end but it was an unnecessary risk.

    If they hadn’t sold him we would have tried someone else on the list.

    There is no course of action you can take that will eliminate all risk. Squillaci could have got injured training in Austria with us, couldn’t he? As an example.

    I think we should have gotten another GK, and this could be a major problem especially if Al has an injury or does not recover his best form. This we covered in detail in the past.

    You can’t always get what you want. You cannot buy players who are not for sale and there is no point buying or paying over the odds for someone who isn’t worth it, not even to please some of the fans.

    Neither of those changes in our off season activity would have amounted to hundreds of millions and neither would have been “above our means” or represented any financial risk to AFC. IMO both moves could have given us a little more advantage going into this season.

    How? Just exactly what would have been the advantage?

    You are dressing up your chronic state of anxiety about and lack of confidence in the squad. Whoever is in the team, whoever Wenger adds, you are always sure that we will come up short. That’s the real issue. A couple of weeks ago, you pronounced yourself happy with the state of our attack. RvP gets an injury and suddenly you have “concerns”. Did you think no-one would get injured all season?

  288. Never heard of those people CBob but will check them out.

  289. Bill’s logic:

    AA suddenly became 30% worse in six months because his price went down 30%. Chamakh became useless, which is why we got him on a free, as opposed to £15m. Joleon Lescott must be better than TV because he cost more.

    The price of a player depends on many many factors, only one of which is his ability.

  290. Injury gods are showing signs of turning their attention elsewhere. A player is injured and he is NOT an Arsenal player.

  291. Looks really bad. Hope it’s not a leg break.

  292. never nice to see….even if he is a spud.

  293. I quite like the latest England kit actually.

  294. Bill – “I have not been able to get back on in a while and I am sure there are lots of angry comments waiting”.

    Had to laugh at that one Bill, proving once again that you’re a fucking wind up merchant, a subtle one at times and I respect you for that. I haven’t quite worked out your agenda or the reason for it but It takes all sorts I suppose. Keep up the good work 😉

  295. Have you seen this joke of a headline by the guardian?

    “Wenger escapes charge for Stoke ‘rugby tactics’ jibe”

    F*ck off you rag.

  296. How did that happen to Dawson FunGunner?

    I wonder whether the tiny totts are allowed to put Woodgate back on the list of their senior squad. Anyone knows?

  297. notlager

    No changes to the squad list are permitted now until January 1st, 2011, unless there are exceptional circumstances.

    YW

  298. cheers Yogi.

  299. Ole gunner at 2:54 our boys didn’t dominate Essien physically, they did so technically. But as you said we lost anyway!

  300. fucking hell algeria, …omg as i say this GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOLO WHAT A GOAL 123 vive l’algerie!!

  301. @ Matty Boyat 10:07pm

    I had the same thought, then dismissed it. But on reflection, I believe you’re right.

  302. I disappear for half a day and Goonerandy shamelessly misquotes me in support of his relentless bitching…

    I said: “I don’t think it’s worth debating this issue with you because you start from the premise that a trophy is the only measure of success and I don’t.”

    Goonerandy – I think you should demand the fees paid on your behalf for tuition on comprehending the English language. They robbed you and gave you a raw deal.

    Which part of my statement above suggests that trophies is not one of the measures of success.

    I’m actually offended. If Ole challenged Bill to find anybody saying trophies are not a measure of success, how the fuck do you end up using my crystal clear statement above to suggest that this is what I’ve said and to try and prove your relentless doomer edge you come to the table with most of the time.

    If you can’t understand English, leave me the fuck out of it.

  303. I wonder if Bill’s problem is trying to win the bragging rights with his Man U supporting son.

  304. how the chelski players avoid internationals on account of injruies everytime??
    I am pretty sure the fuckers will show up next weekend for their clubs..

  305. Theo was slated again by the commentators. They find every reason to lay into him for no reason.

  306. And one of those slating Theo was Stewart Robson who also works for Arsenal TV.

  307. surprisingly, Sky thinks the opposite!
    ‘Walcott’s pace caused Bulgaria huge difficulties during a frantic English attacking display. James Milner had a shot deflected wide and Defoe just failed to connect with a low Walcott cross.’

  308. Theo is great when he is playing with top class players at Arsenal who are able to make the best use of his qualities by passing the ball to him where he can make the most use of it. When he is playing with the ‘limited’ England players it’s more of a challenge. I wish Capello would drop him permanently so that he doesn’t get corrupted by ‘wazza’ and his ilk.

  309. everyone knows the people from arsenal tv are all pricks. On the videos they seem more excited when we concede ffs, they dont even cheer when we score..

  310. Exactly Passenal. Theo has to drop down a level or two when he’s playing for England 🙂

  311. Ooow Goobetandy has forced our Vice-chap to show his dark said. I love it!!

    Oh and I do love ZP in the morning…his just so easy…

  312. this is the england team i would really get behind at euro 2012:

    Hart
    Johnson Dawson Terry Gibbs
    Walcott Barry Wilshere Gerrard A.Johnson
    Rooney

    i know i know, terry but still..can you really imagine having dawson and jagielka winning the euros..i honestly think if we played that formation this world cup we would have done so much better..a midfield with variation, we have walcott, gerrard, wilshere, barry, a.johnson, all different and can cause a lot of problems. Having lampard gerrard milner barry is just putting 4 fat lumps with no plan b out there….

  313. Lool I thought it was only me that was screaming at Theo that he it was Milner next to him not Arshavin Stevie GBH not Cesc poor lad. Most be hard for him out there in such an un-Arsenal environment.

  314. Sorry Zap,

    Terry,Johnson,Dawson,Barry and Gerrard are all out for me.

  315. Okay okay. I promise to stop posting on my phone.

  316. OMG

    Did anyone see Denilson in that Mo Farah clip on Arsenal Online??

    He was looking HOT!! The outfit was beyong GQ sexy. Song, Alumnia, Sagna and Eboue please take note.

  317. Maria, im afraid i disagree with u, i mean come on gerrard..he is a great player admit it.

    Btw why is arsene keeping so quiet on the silva situation….

  318. maria..i’m not sure i can say the same about denilson..but his outfit is…new.

  319. I went on the tour of emirates the other day..very good i would recommend it to everyone..i go to the grove a few times a year, and every time i go it really seems very compact!! It seems so much smaller when youre inside

  320. funny how james never shows up when tottnam are doing badly..

  321. What Silva situation Zap?

    And while Stevie GBH is okay playing the traditional smash and grab footie of the EL. He would never make it in my new Arsenal type England team.

    Anyhoo James is probably in bed mourning out that useless Dawson. Shame really now we get to see Gallas playing his mandatory half a seaon.

  322. maria, the new youngster silva who is supposed to be quite good.

  323. Tommy V is this weeks featured spotlight. Yaaaay.

  324. Forget Silva I wan more talk, coverage, match time mintues for JET. That guy is defo my favourite young gun at the mo. A absolute monster.

  325. On the field that is. Off it he seems a sweetheart.

  326. you guys really lay into bill i think you need to give this guy a break, how do u know hes not the most reasonable man in his state.

  327. Well I have recently True Blood and they seemed suitably distrubed on that show. He is from the south isn’t he?

    So yeah, you could be right there Zap..lool

  328. i can imagine bill with a texas accent, but didnt he say he grew up around farms..loool

  329. how are you up so late every day??!

  330. if you need help with getting to sleep maria..just listen to an interview with alex song his voice is strangely relaxing heheh…and wats up with his hair btw?!!

  331. Even though they won well, England continue to look quite technically crap to me, lots of gung ho and running everybloodywhere, and not enough deft control, subtle short passing, coordinated movement and intelligent midfield pivot. Arsenal would hammer England, which almost looks as though its a kind of Villa, Everton, Spurs combo, with a smattering of quality – Rooney, Walcott, Cole (so-so) and Gerrard (completely over-rated). Milner, Barry, Dawson, Jagielka, Glen Johnson, Gerrard are all pretty average. I think Defoe is a good finisher. Hart is excellent.

  332. Gosh, I wonder if Spain managed to edge Lichtenstein.

  333. Bill is OK, he’s lumbering through a defensive phase of life.

  334. Theo will not do well in an England shirt with very average players around him. They would need to play, and be able to play, to his strengths as I think Passenal posted earlier. They don’t see his runs and when they do they can’t pick him out with a pass so take an easy option.

    It’s like watching a thoroughbred Arab frolociking with Carthorses.

    Only he, Cole and Gerrard can pass the ball with any expectation of success. Milner? £26 million? I don’t think so. Typical ‘keen’ English player of a type that has been around since I was a boy. Good player but will never win you anything. Think Alan Ball without the skill and attitude.

    As Duke posted a couple of weeks ago, Hart does look the ‘dog’s bollocks’ on that showing.

  335. zap

    It looks as though maria likes you.nah I’m just kidding.but there could be that possibilty.and I wonder if maria has a boyfriend or not.cos she is always blogging here with big boys like I and you.but maybe she could be be here for different type of reasons.and that reaosn could be her not telling us her secrets.and if she does’nt then who cares?

  336. and that reason could be her not telling us her secrets.and if she does’nt then who cares?

    Sorry but I had to correct my writing.

  337. I thought with Theo in the team I might be able to watch Engerland but as soon as I saw him in a group hug with Defoe and Cole I had to switch off – bleugh.

  338. So its 13 wins out of 13 for Theo for England. And that mug of a manager Crapello didnt nae pick im for the world cup squad.

    And what has happened to France. They are worse then us now.

  339. typical bloody women, always resorts back to looks with them. they can say they like football for football only as much as they like but its bollocks coz they will always come out with the old “he’s hot” or “he’s got nice legs”. I bet you got nice legs Maria??

  340. Yes, that was horrible steww.

  341. I cringe everytime I hear him call Rooney ‘wazza’! It makes me feel ill! And given the off field behaviour of most of the players around him, I really worry that he might start to get influenced by them. Look at how fast cashley deteriorated when he spent an extended period with the wrong sort.

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