Red October, Black November, What of December?

Arsenal and the League Cup do not really go together that well, the club’s record is littered with defeats to such luminaries as Tranmere, Rotherham, Walsall (again), Swindon (on a couple of occasions). This season has seen the club qualify for the semi-finals for a record fourteenth time where the opposition will be Ipswich Town, the last lower division side to win at Arsenal in this competition, 2 – 1 in 2000.

The first goal Arsenal score in the next round will be their 350th in the League Cup. Curiously enough, Arsenal have beaten Ipswich and Leeds United in cup-ties in the same season once before: 1992/93. Let’s hope for a repeat of that season successes as a minimum for this campaign.

With Birmingham and West Ham in the other tie, it is a prime opportunity to end the current run of five years without a trophy, a phrase which will be replaced in the media with ‘seven years without a title’ if the main trinket ends up elsewhere at the end of this campaign. You’ve been warned.

Before all of that though, there is the small matter of December to negotiate, starting this weekend with Fulham. November is a poor time of the year so that theory goes, with many a campaign under Wenger stumbling through. This season seems worse because of the two Premier League home defeats suffered yet three away wins is better than normal. Indeed, winning all of the away trips is better than has previously been achieved. October is, by comparison, a doddle. Since the Invincibles run ended at Old Trafford in 2004, the only defeats suffered in that month have been at the hands of West Bromich Albion (2005), CSKA Moscow (2006) and Chelsea (2010). Of the remaining 33 games in that spell, Arsenal has won 24 and drawn 9. Red October indeed.

Despite this ‘poor’ record, the team sits two points off the summit of the Premier League with a goal difference that is only marginally worse than that of Chelsea and Manchester United, despite the big wins that those two have racked up this season. This month sees the top three play each other. For Arsenal, it is the chance to recoup the three points lost at Stamford Bridge two weeeks after visiting Old Trafford. Chelsea have a run that includes consecutively, Tottenham (a), United (h) Arsenal (a).

Outside of these fixtures, all has emminently winnable games with points dropped being more costly than those in the top three encounters. It is this area that Wenger will be eyeing, keen to build on the home win over Wigan as a basis for erasing the recent poor performances at The Emirates.

With the squad gradually being strengthened by everyone bar Vermaelen returning to fitness, Wenger can focus on form as the key criteria for the team selection as the Premier League takes centre stage once Partizan have been disposed of.

Being in a similar position in the Premier League as the New Year starts will be a good place to lead a cavalary charge as Winter melts into Spring.

’til Tomorrow.

 

Posted on December 2, 2010, in Arsenal, Champions League, Football, Premier League, Premiership, Soccer and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 211 Comments.

  1. We wont have a better opportunity to end our five year trophy drought than now.
    Bring it on ! COME ON YOU GUNNERS !

  2. Good stuff Yogi,

    Ipswich in the cup brings back horrible memories but we should go through – especially as Roger Osbourne has long since retired.

    I believe a fit TV will be key for us in the new year & despite Arsene`s denials if he`s showing no improvement by January I think he`ll buy a centre back.

  3. Who cares about the Tin Cup?

    The measure of this side is the league, Champions League and FA Cup.

    Wenger isn’t at this cup to win the Toy Cup.

    I hope that if we win it it won’t be a false dawn or distraction from the things that really matter.

  4. White December !

    (Clean sheets and only wins)

  5. Ole

    The reason to care about Tin Cups is that they cross the rubicon. The squad proves it can win trophies, giving them belief. That is why it matters, especially when it is there for the taking.

    I would agree though that it should not become a distraction to other more serious matters.

    YW

  6. Is the semi final a two legged affair? Or does it only go to a second leg if we draw?

  7. Ole, YW
    How can winning the Carling cup possibly be a distraction?

  8. Nice post Yogi. Hope you and Darius are doing well. The pictures on the telly of Europe in snow look horrible. I’d go mad in such weather – assuming I’m not mad already.
    Winning the league cup would be nice. Winning anything is nice! Of course it shouldn’t distract from winning the bigger cups.
    Had a claim on Beacher reports that Ashley Young to join arsenal in January. Of course Wenger has denied that he’ll be purchasing anybody. But Young would be an interesting acquisition. Not to forget the need for a hardman that I’m always vouching for.

  9. As long as the CC doesn’t overlap with the CL knockouts (and assuming we qualify), I can’t see how it serves as much of a distraction. But now we do have to win it to gain the boost of confidence and belief that may be a prelude to more trophies this year and in the future with this team. To lose in the semis to Ipswich or even in the final to either of those teams would be a blow to our confidence. So, for the sake of our team and its success this year, I think we ought to be strong in our support for victory in January.

    In the meantime, we have two of our biggest games in the league this month, and getting four points or more from those would be the strongest lift to our league title and CL chances both. It has been a while since we defeated ManU or Chelsea in the league or a big European side in the knockouts of the CL. Was the last Milan in 08? We will get a chance right away probably if we finish 2nd in our group, so coming off victories against ManU and/or Chelsea and a CC trophy, would put us in our best position to take on Real Madrid or Barcelona.

    Let it be a red and white December!

  10. YW,

    The problem is that, like Spurs we could win it & still be very far away from winning the silverware that has true sporting and financial merit.

    Henristic,

    Because the semi-finals are midweek fixtures in January and the extra 2 or 3 matches can affect us in the FA Cup for example. Don’t forget we have 2 FA Cup fixtures in January.

    But really my issue is for the squad to not think they’ve arrived because they’re in the CC semis, final or whatever. I want them to take it like winning the Emirates Cup. Success for this squad will be the league, Champions League, with the FA Cup being a good consolation.

  11. Kenyamassive Gunner

    It’s a poor season all round for all the EPL teams, but as Darius so aptly puts it, we are in a really good position to go on and win something n @ the very least shut the media up. RvP looked real good against wigan, some top top touches displayed so if we can get him through the man u chelsea games and into the grinds of the season’s end, we undoubtedly have a better squad than we have since the 07/08 title run. Go Gunners!

  12. What will shut the media up is winning the league.

    If we win the Carling Cup and come 5th, we’ll hear about not having won the league in x years.

  13. Yeah but if we win the ‘Tin Cup’ and the league, that’s a double right there… Glass half empty today Ole? 😉

  14. Ole

    The only thing that would shut the media up is a dictatorship. Whatever this team wins, it will not be good enough. We’ll have won a trophy because United or Chelsea failed. Acknowledgement of being the best team is never coming Arsenal’s way.

    YW

  15. Or FA & Tin Cups, or CL & Tin Cups, or any combination of all four… The lads needs to win something, and of course it’s worth a lot more than the Emirates cup. Winning will be a massive mental achievement, something to give them the belief that they can win the big games, when it matters. All about mentality.

  16. And I agree with YW. We are the Arsenal after all… I’m looking forward to seeing the media’s begrudging congratulations.

  17. I agree that the CC can be a distraction by adding matches in an already busy schedule but it can also help them believe they can win, be a way for most of the squad to get their hand on their first trophy and more importantly shut up the media nonsense with the constant rubbish talk of they can’t win anything.

    It might be a toy cup and obviously not Arsene prime objective but we can’t put it aside. When the press talks about Fergie’s achievement this toy cup counts in it or otherwise the press could not say look fergie is incredible he won at least a trophy per year for the last x years.

    I think drawing Ipswich is gould as we can field a team of fringe player and returning players, like we did so far, without having the same feeling as when our kids were fielded against Chelsea’s first team in the final. We have a great opportunity to win it so we shouldn’t brush it aside as a useless achievement.

  18. Limestonegunner

    I agree, as much as I would like us to win the Carling Cup, and I think we will. I don’t think Wenger will be willing to risk key players over the next couple months. The likes of Rosicky, Bendtner, Vela, and the squad players who don’t get as many minites will continue to play in the CC relieving Wenger’s starters for Premiership and Champs league duties.

    It will be nice to see the lads lifting a trophy if we manage to win it, but it won’t be one that leads to a DVD being released as the Spuds would do. The media has everyone believing we desperately want the CC this year, funny thing is Wenger has been playing the same type of players every year in the CC!

    This month is crucial though. A win at home to Fulham on saturday will put us in good shape for some big matches. We need to keep pace at the top of the table, and my opinion is we should already be top having lost some silly games, while winning the trickier ones. I suppose it balances out, but its disappointing to lose at home to mid table teams. Then theres the Champs league final game. The opposition is bottom, but it could end up being a nervy affair. Lets hope we put that one to bed early on. Keeping our deadly attacking players in Arshavin, Nasri, Chamakh, Theo etc.. all on form and injury free should see a very nice run of results in December.

  19. Ole,
    So you’d rather we’d lost to say Villa, so that there are no ‘distractions’ affecting the other competitions?

    I get your second point though, this teams get complacent by winning the odd game in style, so winning the Carling cup may indeed cause another bout of overconfidence.

    Bu the other side of the argument is that winning the CC might just give them the winning mentality they seem to currently lack to go an all conquering run. I like to believe this would be the case.

  20. Geo,

    Yippeee, we’re favourites to win the League Cup. Yay!

    YW,

    We wouldn’t want them to shut up. Just to show some respect. But we won’t hold our breaths, would we.

  21. Kenyamassive Gunner

    Ole, YW
    I hear u on that one. Guess the real question is, if we do win anything, from Tin to CL, who really cares wat they say? Personally wouldn even lend a f*€k really. Chelsea n Man u got there by winning after all.

  22. I feel exactly the same YW.

    I firmly believe we will scoop a trophy or two this season, and the media will still fail to aknowledge that the best team won. They have struggled to get to grips with the fact that Arsenal has been so close to winning a trophy off the so called dominant forces of Chelsea and United over the last few years. We have been plagued every season with THE most injuries, and now all of a sudden this season we have a massive squad.

    The truth is we always had a decent size squad, with quality that would help us challenge for titles. They fail to aknowledge this. They will continue to make excuses for Chelsea and United like they have been. Anyway, it won’t take any joy away from my soul when a trophy is being brought back to the Emirates. Many of our players could and should have won something already, this season (fingers crossed) we can put that right. We have a good shot in all 4 competitions. We have the best squad.

  23. Who cares about “The Tin Cup”?

    All the fans who pay good money and in some cases travel the length of the country to watch the matches.

    Arsene Wenger, who on several occasions has said he regretted playing a weakened team in the later stages of the competition.

    All the players who get most of their opportunities to play for the first team in the Carling Cup, and indeed any player who deserves to play for Arsenal.

    All the managers who have apoplexy on the sidelines when their team is knocked out of the competion, and then laugh it off afterwards as a matter of no importance.

    Anyone who is not a sour puss.

  24. Chrisgoona, ManU and Chelsea went from winning the CC to the League and FA’s. So like everyone but Ole is saying, this could be good for us. But just as important is putting those two in their places this December.

    The best way to gain respect would be to win several trophies this year–how about a historic quadruple? It is possible. But I’ll settle for the CC, League and CL triple.

  25. lol Ole.

    I know it’s not the be all and end all, but it’s the first trophy to fill the empty cabinet at the Emirates (other than Emirates cup), something that will give them a taste for winning and spur them on in the other comps. I know what you’re saying though, we are better than winning just the CC. And i truly believe that the CC will be just one of our trophies this year. A nice way to start our long awaited trophy haul i think. Also, i think the more regular starters will want to prove why they’re ‘too good’ for the CC team selection, therefore spurring them on more too… Might be wrong, but it’s very possible.

  26. don’t we have a heated pitch at the Emirates? I thought with such a recent stadium it would have been the case so I was quiet surprise to see the heating system on these photos:
    http://www.arsenal.com/news/news-archive/35879/emirates-in-the-snow

  27. Question: If these were the ONLY choices, which would you prefer?

    1) CC, FA, CL Treble
    2) League

  28. “Outside of these fixtures, all has emminently winnable games with points dropped being more costly than those in the top three encounters.”

    Sadly, no. Any points dropped against the top three are points directly given to our competition for the title. That’s why the Totts loss is so galling (even though I don’t think they’ll be there at the end…but this year is bizarre.)

  29. I take the treble hands down, as long as we are still qualifying for CL next year by finishing top 3 or better in the league without winning it.

    The CL is something this club has never achieved. It is vital for a global superclub to win the biggest competition in the world at least once in its history. It is also something missing from Arsene Wenger’s extraordinary resume. We should have one this under Wenger at least once already with the quality of teams we have had and the fact that we have been in the competition for the last 14 years.

    The league will come, but the CL is a cup competition and so very unpredictable. Once we win the CL, I don’t see us having difficulty going on to win the league at some point soon.

  30. The question is, why should we go into any game thinking we shouldn’t win it? I don’t care what cup it’s in, the attitude from everyone should be that we play to win. As a fan I want to see every player determined to win every game. It hurts me whenever we lose, so I want the players to feel the same. If the result is we get to Wembley and win the CC on the way then great.

  31. i can put money on it even if we win the cup we will be reminded that we havent won the league in so many years. mark my words

  32. A cup-final at wembley is always worth it at the end of the day.

    Unless you lose obviously….

  33. I am not exactly sure of what to think of the Media. One thing is certain and that is there will always be media critics of Arsenal on a rather constant basis. That is the job of the media especially without a dictatorship. That being said, Arsenal is a bit of a target for the English Media with a French Manager and many foriegn players. Nevertheless, that is life and England may well be the country with the least amount of bias regarding foriegn cultures. England is recognized as a country that is capable of understanding other cultures perhaps more than most other nations. In any event, as one of those foriegn chaps living in England for the better part of ten years, I have to say with all honesty that I was treated mostly in a rather decent manner.

    I am thankful for having a team with the international make up of Arsenal. This is the future of football in spite of how the Media choose to evaluate our team. May The Arsenal win everything available to the team and may Arsenal supporters cheer and sing the loudest.

  34. Who cares gaya? It just makes me laugh and feel sorry for their strange twisted ways… Anyway, the league is there for the taking this year, so this conversation will be irrelevant by then! 🙂

  35. Nice post Two Owls

  36. Winning the League Cup would be fantastic. We should field as strong a side as in previous rounds for Ipswich, especially the Portman Road tie. We should have won it four years ago when we outplayed Chelsea… we underestimated Burnley, and Tottenham in recent years. Not this time. Our club could really do with a trip down Wembley Way. It’s not to be sneezed at, at all. I hesitate to use the phrase ‘feel-good factor’, but there you are… I have done. I think it would be a massive fillip for the club, not least the fans… and that can transmit to the players on the pitch in a very real and useful way; making a difference in the big games. Like Spain winning the Euros… it instilled a new belief in the nation that those players could actually do it, and when it came to the big one, the players’ faith – girded by unfaltering support from back home – never stopped believing. We have said for a while now that the final bridge this team must cross is a mental one… concentration, focus – yes, but more than anything, surely, comes belief. Belief that you can get over the winning line, in whichever race you might be running.

  37. Look guys, if we win the mickey mouse cup it is the pefect riposte for every accusation:

    Accusation: You haven’t won a trophy for 5 years
    Reply: Yeah, but we’ve won the Micky Mouse Cup

    Accusation: You have a soft centre
    Reply: Yeah, but we’ve won the Micky Mouse Cup

    Accusation: You have falled behind in the league
    Reply: Yeah, but we’ve won the Micky Mouse Cup

    Accusation: The board lack ambition
    Reply: Yeah, but we’ve won the Micky Mouse Cup

    Accusation: Wenger favours his love children
    Reply: Yeah, but we’ve won the Micky Mouse Cup

    Accusation: You are not up there with the big boys like Barca and Chavs
    Reply: Yeah, but we’ve won the Micky Mouse Cup

    It will be great !

  38. That’s what i was trying to say Limpar – couldnt quite articulate it that well though..! Nice one.

  39. Accusation: Pat Rice what the hells wrong with you?
    Reply: Oooohhhh, I need go Pee Pee

  40. Vote for Chamakh as player of the month already if you havent.
    http://www.premierleague.com/page/Home/0,,12306,00.html

  41. Cheers Firstlady – done 🙂 He’s looking good for it at the mo – miles ahead with 56%!

  42. I CARE if we win the CC,it just so happens to have been my favorite competition, that Arsenal take part in for a couple of years now! So it will be a yaaaay from me if we win!!

    Were going to Wembleeyyyyyyyy!!!

  43. Accusation: James is a twat
    Reply: No-one’s arguing with that

  44. agreed poli..

  45. I agree with Yogi’s Warrior.

  46. I couldnt even remember who won the cup last year…its that minor to me but i guess beggers cant be choosers.We havent won anything in a while so we have to start somewhere and the CC it is then.

  47. we have 2 to 3 big problems that may arise this weekend squillaci is injured and koscielny has 4 yellow cards.Also alex song has 4 yellow cards and if they both get booked we will have no central defenders against man utd accept for djourou!!

  48. Hoping the ‘persuing lifetime ban orders’ for those kids is just Arsenal keeping up appearances. That would be cruel and very out-of-touch.

  49. about Kos’ yellows didnt he atleast wipe some off when he got a red (from two yellows)?

  50. What’s that about Limpar?

  51. That’s interesting Michael. Let’s see if one of those can manage a booking against fulham & if Squill shakes off his injury for the next one!

  52. i think it is indicative of how well nasri is doing this year that Hazard is being dubbed ‘The New Nasri’. well done lad

  53. Yogi:

    Nice post. Hope we go after the CC. I agree with Ole that we should not risk our chance in the FA cup or the league for this but I don’t think that we have any significant risk with the size of our squad. It gives TW, CV, NB, Gibbs etc etc a chance to play 90 minutes.

    Agree with whomever said that if TV5 is not healthy by the new year we need to get another CB. The chance to win the league this year can not be passed up. Going into the last 1/2 of the season with 3 CB is a big risk thats not worth taking. Financially it is no longer a risk to the club. We can sort out the logjam when TV comes back. That said I really hope TV does come back by New year and this is not an issue.

  54. Limestonegunner

    What is the ban for the fifth yellow card? If it is just one match, then perhaps Song and Kos should have pulled a Mourinho at Villa Park?! Nah, we aren’t that cynical and hopefully we’ll be okay with the yellows and Squillaci will be fine for MU game if not Fulham.

  55. Limestonegunner

    Bill, not least because it is no guarantee we would be able to bring in someone as good as TV5 or familiar with the PL. Hope he comes back at the start of January.

  56. This cup is about our players, they need to win this to gain that hunger for success, to know what winning is about. it can be the springboard to further success. And it would be great to not hear about us winning no trophy for 5 or 6 or 7 years whatever it is now….and then be replaced with the all you have won in 5, 6 or 7 years is a tin cup.

  57. Fulham –
    Fabs
    Sagna Kos DJ Clichy
    Song Wilshere
    Rosicky
    Nasri AA
    Chamakhattack!!

    Sub – Walcott, RVP, Eboue, Deni, Szchezny, Vela

    Ideal game for Walcott, but can’t figure whom to leave out

  58. I think when it’s a red it gets treated seperately FL… So don’t think it wipes the other yellows that have been totted up… Although i may be wrong. Can anyone clarify this?

  59. Winning the CC is very, very important; not for the media, not for the trophy, not for any kind of “we are champions, my friend” oneupmanship, but for a hypothetical reason. It has been said, and I agree, that once this team wins any trophy (EC is not a “trophy” at all, just a training camp), we will go on and win every trophy for years, the hunger insatiable when you are only partially fulfilled, like tapas or snacks precedes the main course.

    The only way to prove the theory is by winning the damn thing. However, winning the CC is not more important than winning any one EPL match. But don’t we go into every match with the full intention to win, and as strong a team as possible, including, say, Blackpool?

    Michael is making me worried; it would so Arsenal to go to OT with no CBs because of some damn bad luck timing, for them to be outplayed but snatch a ridiculous win, and for the media to gloat and ignore any context. I shall need to consult my goat on this. This one has juju written all over it.

  60. michael | December 2, 2010 at 2:12 pm |

    Calm down mate. Squillaci is fit for the weekend. Squillaci doesn’t have to get a yellow nor does Song.

  61. G, http://www.islingtongazette.co.uk/news/arsenal_to_ban_wigan_pitch_invaders_despite_their_age_1_742953

    Seems tyrannical to me. Wouldn’t be suprised if it was their first match. They slid along in front of the North Bank, encouraged by the fans. They’ll remember it forever and be an Arsenal fan forever after that but we’re going to ban them for life?! Extreme. Have them scrub all the toilets in the ground after the Fulham ground instead.

  62. That’s exactly it ZP – we need to go into every match with the intention of spanking the opposition, regardless of the competition. Maybe in some of the earlier FA cup matches we can afford not to play our best/freshest players, but other than that, we need to be gunning for glory now, across the board, in every game.

  63. CC is going to give us a huge jump in confidence, don’t think there’s any room for complacency or overconfidence. Although I would not like us to play our strongest team, even for the Final.

  64. Cheers Limpar.

    Hmmm. Seems a bit heavy handed. Hopefully they’re just trying to make an example of them… Setting this precedent means there’ll be a lot of supporters issued with bans come the end of May!

  65. Accusation: isn’t saying James is a twat unecessary since everyone knows?
    Reply: Ah yes, but it is James, who is twat and who needs needs reminding, not everyone

  66. MJ – Wenger won’t play our strongest team in the final. It would be unfair on all the lads who had gotten the team that far. To drop them before their first chance of winning something for the club would be harsh i think. It stopped us from winning a trophy against the Chavs, but i fully stand by Wenger in this. It’s a chance to see what the youngsters can do, all the way. The more senior players can win the other 3 trophies available to us 😉

  67. I agree with YW, ZP, and everyone else who believes that winning the CC can have a positive impact on the squad’s mentality, that it can give them a taste of winning a trophy, and that it can provide the tipping point that we have all been waiting for. Ole, I quite understand your sentiments but I don’t agree with them for the reasons others have already stated. We have a big enough squad, even with the growing injury list, to field a team capable of winning every match we participate in.
    Geo, re your Exeter discussion a few days ago. It caught my eye but only because I’m from a town named Exeter here in the states. No doubt my town was named after the location of your current domicile. My Exeter might even be half as old as your Exeter, it was founded in the 1638.
    One oddity about Squillacci’s injury on the Arsenal team site is that there is no tag line at the end saying he has been ruled out of the Fulham match like everyone else other than Nasri has…. Perhaps he will be fit. It would be good.

  68. GG – I’d heard of the American Exeter… Which state is it in? This Exeter’s pretty old school (although not entirely sure how old), got massive ruined castle walls running around some of the town centre and cathedral. Quite a pretty city – it’s only tiny, and is surrounded by green rolling hills…

  69. Geo, it’s in New Hampshire, at least the oldest Exeter. I’m sure there are others. It’s an odd mix of wealthy and not so wealthy. There’s a fancy boarding school there that was founded in 1781. No castle, no cathedral, but some nice colonial architecture and good mountain biking trails and close to the ocean…

  70. The ruin at the bottom of town, Geo, always reminded me of the Bridge of Khazad-dûm. If you’ll excuse the nerdiness…

  71. My wish: we and ManYou both win this weekend, but Chelsea, dropping like flies now, draw. Good. We beat the bastards at OT good and proper, and I mean a beating of note, not a ping-pong goal in 89th minute, and go top with a win there. Now, that confidence boost would be equivalent to any CC.

    Even better would be Walcott (marked of course by Evra) as MOTM, even as a sub.

    Oh heck, I haven’t jinxed the thing …. gulp …. have I? Where’s that goat?

  72. Hmmm, sounds nice GG, i’ll have a look online about it after work this eve… My knowledge of American towns/cities in general is very poor i must admit. Only been through Miami a couple of times, once on the way to the Bahamas and Virgin Isles, the other on the way to Cuba. Other than that have never been to USA…

  73. Yogi @ 12:01:

    “Whatever this team wins, it will not be good enough. We’ll have won a trophy because United or Chelsea failed. Acknowledgement of being the best team is never coming Arsenal’s way.”

    Why so negative? The members of the media above all like to be right and they need to sell papers/advertising for their job security and ego. Same thing happens over here all the time. When/if we start to refill our trophy case they will come back on board. I bet you will start to see many of them claiming that they knew all along that Arsenal would eventually come good. With a very few exceptions everything I read was very positive when we looked like we would win the league during the first 26 games in 07/08. After we started dropping points the same ones who had been positive started saying they knew all along that we would end up losing to the more experienced United team. Either way I am not sure why we should care about them anyway.

  74. I’ve always liked the look of New Hampshire… in the movies. Home of the greatest ever American President…. President Bartlett.

  75. Haha Limpar, it has got that mystical look about it for sure.. It’s always tainted for me now though as a girl got murdered down there about 6-7 years ago… sorry a bit morbid!

  76. F*ck! I remember running gleefully across it pretending to be an elf. And now this!

  77. Sorry to ruin it for you Limpar! forgetting that though, it is a beautfil spot. To be honest most people have probably forgotten about it around here anyway…

  78. I just hope the team don’t get complacement in the CC. If they remain focused they will win the competition.

  79. All the money they ploughed into it, and it looks like they went out in the first round of voting.

  80. Andrey’s sat behind Wills!

  81. Can’t watch the video at work OOU, what’s a-cracking?

  82. @ Geo – Agree with you. & after posting I realized that nobody knows what our ‘strongest’ squad is. Walcott, RVP, Denilson, Wilshere, Kos played yesterday & are all first choice! The manager has a difficult selection for the semis since we have a mini injury crisis right now & it would be an away first tie in an already congested period.

  83. There was me listening to background noise like a moron, without reading that the video doesn’t work on OS, Geo! So, no idea, except the hacks on twitter are saying that we didn’t get past the first round.

  84. Schwarzer’s finally come to the realisation that he’s not good enough for Arsenal. He should have just come on here, we could have told him, would have saved a year of speculation..!

  85. Oh right. So Lord Beckham etc couldn’t pull their fingers out… Surprising!

  86. What does that actually mean for our bid? Don’t know much about all this international football malarky…

  87. they have a live feed on bbc sport and they also say it is not confirmed but England out in the first round

  88. prince william does not look happy

  89. After a marathon morning of BBC News 24 build-up, the result is broken to us as a rumour from Gary Linekar. I’m all for news as it happens, but for the sake of just a little fcking drama they couldn’t let him open the envelope and tell us?

  90. 2018 in Russia

  91. sorry to interrupt the melodrama here guys, just wanted to know if anyone know WHEN do we play the CC first leg SF?

  92. Hopefully that’ll bring AA back in high spirits. No partying Andrey!

  93. Apparently, Arshavin was ‘magnificent’ in Russia’s presentation. Anyone see that? Well done, Andrey.

  94. knows*

  95. Bored.

    Just out of interest what do people think Arsene’s first choice 11 is supposing (I know, I know) everybody is fit.

    I reckon:

    Fabianski

    Sagna
    TV5
    Squillachi
    Clichy

    Cesc
    Song
    Diaby

    Nasri
    RvP
    AA

    Sub: Szchezny/Kos/Wilshere/Rosicky/Chamakh/Theo/Bendtner

    Just look at the players who would not even make the squad: Eboue/Gibbs/Djourou/Ramsey/Denilson/Vela

  96. yep… i have Russia nad then Australia…

    purely cos Russia not hosted at all and Australia has not hosted something for a while

  97. bummer

  98. @gunnerluc

    is that confirmed or still part of the rumour?

  99. no confirmed now it’s the anouncement for 2022.
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/9247651.stm
    you can have a live feed on here

  100. Goonerandy –
    Sqilly/KOS/DJ & Diaby/Wilshere/Denilson can bve pondered over..

  101. yep… confirmed

    1538: Crushing disappointment for the England bid team. Football is not coming home, just yet anyway. In Zurich, the Russian delegates are on the stage at the Messe Zurich, quite appropriately clutching the World Cup trophy.

  102. and 2022 is quatar

  103. Qatar may just win it having not hosted before…

    I still fancy OZ

  104. Goonerandy.

    Good line up!
    No idea myself.

  105. goonerandy – that’s a tough debate you’ve opened up there…

    For me there are questions over the CB spot alongside TV. I really don’t know who I rate more these days. I’d be tempted to say either Kos or Djourou would make it ahead of Skilly.

    And Diaby or Wilshere would also be a tough choice…

    In fact there are tough choices all the way apart from Cesc and Sagna (IMO!).

  106. and maybe Song…

  107. This FUFA b*ll*cks is a total farce. Qatar? Population of twelve? Known for responding to requests to buy up property in recent times in Paris & London. A real football hub for the future? Whoops, forgot about all that methane.

  108. mj – Yeah I know, that is just what i reckon he may go with. At the start of the season Denilson was easily abpove Wilshere in the pecking order. I don’t think that is the case now though. Where does Ramsey fit into the midfield question as well. I think Squillachi’s expereince may be the deciding factor for him as well.

    On the WC bid; meh, who cares?

  109. Hahaha – right on Finsbury!

  110. I haven’t read much about the Qatar bid, but isn’t it like 40 degrees there in the summer months? Should be fun to watch.

  111. I share your thoughts Finsbury, certainly not the way forward…

  112. OOU, make that 50, sire…

  113. @ gunnerluc. you at venue?

    or is the bbc update just slow?

  114. I thought Australia would get it…. Pretty funny though

  115. Ole is absolutely right. How low can people sink to want to win the kind of crap that the
    likes of Spurs get excited about?
    It is the brother of defeatism. I like to win every game of course but this is like winning a friendly no more.

  116. 50’s even more conducive to high-tempo football, mj!

    Hopefully they’ll come up with some kind of natural cooling system for these stadia. They only need to look at traditional building styles; shading, wind towers and whatnot. Don’t know how much it will help though.

  117. @ Steww – Its not about the Cup itself, its the belief & motivation we’d get after that, to keep us in high spirits for the rest of the season

  118. Qatar and Russia. Hm…
    *cough* BRIBERY *cough*
    Come on Wikileaks… bet Blatter’s laptop doesn’t even have a firewall.

  119. OOU – or probably, they’ll have it in err, winters??

  120. OOU,
    Air conditioned ‘green’ stadiums, all designed by Albert Speer Jnr. Not the best architectural studio in Germany, by some way, so you have to wonder, wtf?

    The training pitches will be nice and hot.

  121. Here in North India, in summers, we try to start practicing as early as possible since its almost impossible to play once the sun is out (that’s 7 or 8 am!)

  122. How strange… the intonation in Alan Shearer’s voice is identical commenting on the failed bid as it was this morning when he was, supposedly, full of excitement.

  123. There is a suggestion that the Qatari stadiums will be dismantled and shipped off to what they describe as ‘poor’ countries. If that aspect of the bid is more then gloss, and survives into the next decade, I’ll be impressed.

  124. Watching now FP.

  125. Football at this level is about winning competitions. As yet, the current crop of players have not managed to do that. Winning the CC is a good a start as any. Given the opposition left, what would it say about the team if we can’t win it?

  126. That’s pretty cool, FP: http://articles.cnn.com/2010-05-14/world/qatar.world.cup.solar.cooling_1_stadiums-solar-power-photovoltaic-panels?_s=PM:WORLD

    But, but, but. What about segregation. They’ll have fits about the Brazil fans (you know the ones I mean) won’t they? I know for a fact that the crappy theme park in the city has women only days. Still, who’s to argue with FIFA’s concept of progress?

  127. Word on the street is…that Quatar announced it had won the 2022 world cup over an hour before the result was released. Some people are calling FIFA corrupt. How rude!

    I’m semi pleased for Russia, their plans look good and they are a big footballing nation that hasn’t previously hosted…but it grates me a bit when stadiums are built solely for the world cup.

  128. The dutch will certainly not go down well in Qatar. To be fair they didnt go down well in SA.

    *Qatar

  129. That’s a shame for England; but when you consider Blatter’s hatred for England, it’s hardly a surprise. Spain and Portugal can’t afford the World Cup; but if Russia runs out of money, Uncle Vlad can always lean on a few robber barons. After the disgraceful performance of the Netherlands in the World Cup, they never had a chance. The 2022 World Cup is a bit different. There were no good candidates, but FIFA have chosen the worst of a bad bunch.

  130. Limestonegunner

    There will probably be two Qatars during the WC. The Qatar created in and around the stadiums and hotels and the spaces where Qataris live. They will be completely different, I suspect.

    Neither decision makes much sense, but the Qatar 2022 one is just bizarre. The heat, the small country, the exorbitant expenditures to build stadia destined for dismantling and export… All just to say that it was held in the Middle East? South Africa was at least a celebration of a courageous nation and a struggle for freedom, on some level. I can’t see that this is about much more than an incredible vanity project for the Qatari royals and elites.

  131. The Russian organised crime synidcates will be rubbing their hands together at todays news, that is for sure.

  132. well done russia save us the embaressment of going out in the second round on our own turf after the media hype us up to win it in our own back yard.

  133. Face it, between abramovic and the qatar royal family, sepp blatter must have made quite a few bob. Pity dave, wills and becks couldnt conjure up a few quid at the last minute. The russia deputy pm looks a thug.

  134. Steww, wa di blow wow yu ah chat bout? eeee? (what the heck are you talking about)

    lol!

    What is this arguement about not wanting us to take the carling cup seriously? Im gonna celebrate if we win it damn it, everyone else does. That doesnt mean we are satisfied but it is sure better to win than to lose. I dont care of we were playing for the tea cup.

    Arsene has laboured and taken the long road to get us to where we are today. Now we can field stronger teams in this lesser cup due to using it as a way to get the youth experience, why shouldnt we go for it?

    Its simple, winning builds confidence!

    Blessings!

  135. Arshavin was quite inspirational, I must say.

  136. At least Arsha’s going to be in high spirits. Expecting a hattrick from him this weekend then…. Good old septic bladder….

  137. Delighted that the bloody Fifa Roadshow is not coming to England. They and Russia and Qatar deserve one another. All about the money. No, not for football silly, for bloody Fifa.

    Disgraceful decision but all very predictable. I say this as someone who didn’t want engkand to win the bid. Bloody FA.

    Air conditioned stadia. Pfft.

    Russian mafia. Pfft.

    Seoo Blatter is fat.

  138. Oh, and I love the buzzcocks.

  139. I thought the qatari bid was crappiest. But probably with the highest bribe… errrr sorry i mean bid …. Or was it bribe? Will septic be alive still in 2022? Did u lot see the royal qatar family invited to the stage? Quite a mob….

  140. Those russian babes are hot … The ones on stage… Sepp was drooling all over. I wish i was part of the russian mob… Sigh

  141. Exactly, Paul N. It’s only natural we’ve progressed while our title rivals haven’t – because ours is the strongest squad. And it’s only natural we stand to win something now – because it’s the first final in the calendar.

  142. This world cup bid thing has got quite a few knickers in a twist.

    My sense is that the reason England didn’t win was the lack of humility – especially from the commentators and observers who had their egos writing cheques the collective couldn’t cash (I’m sure I heard that in a movie somewhere).

    Nobody thought to think that England’s weakness was the arrogance to think that because the infrastructure was all in place and we had the Premier league, then we “deserved” the world cup. Reminds me of the arrogance to assume that every tournament, England has the players to win it – and the media hyperbole that accompanies it is suffocating – only tfor the team to come back down in a thud.

    I must confess – I found parts of the England presentation distastful. The images and footage of Drogba scoring and Chelsea fans in Africa celebrating and Nani scoring and United fans in Asia celebrating was just hypocritical of a media and establishment that constantly bangs on the xenophobia of foreigners messing up the “English” game – yet they apply selective amnesia when it suits them.

    The bottom line is that the England bid assumed that Russia were a primitive developing country from a previous century and couldn’t hack it. One presenter on radio had the audacity to ask how dare Qatar got the world cup before England had it a second time. And here we were thinking the Empire was dead. Who’d have thunk it – the world cup is being spread around the world and we get pissed.

    And I agree with Limestone – no one should ever doubt the resolve of the Gulf states in placing themselves on the world map. The Qatari Royal family are on a 200 billion dollar mission to make Doha and Qatar as synonimous as London, New York or Paris – and give it a global name. Only someone ignorant would discount their resolve to host the world cup and the Olympics (which is only a matter of time).

    They said the Grand Prix couldn’t be held in Abu Dhabi because it was too hot – guess what? The damn punks built a circuit that operated at night. Watch the 2022 world cup being played in the middle of the night to defy climate. And they’ll ship spectators in to fill the stadiums too – they own the damn airline.

    But I’m still bemused about how the establishment is pissed. Vladimir Putin must be laughing his arse off in the Presidential jet on the way to Zurich right now.

    But if anyone wants to hazard a guess why England didn’t win – ask Panorama and the Birmingham fans last night who gave the clowns at FIFA a golden opportunity to shaft England. How incompetent do you have to be not to think that accusing FIFA of corruption a few days before a vote won’t hurt your chances – and you compound it with hooliganism. It’s like telling a brain surgeon “by the way, I f*cked your wife last week” just before he rolls you into the operating theatre.

  143. Darius,

    You forgot to add that “England invented football therefore they should have been granted the world cup” (I read that somewhere)

    All kidding aside, I think it’s only fair to start having other countries host the world cup before allowing specific countries to host it more than one time.

  144. I think Russia has a lot of respect around the world as the last bastion of freedom in the face of American imperial aggression. Don’t think, though, that I’m letting England off the hook. America’s world-wide reign of terror in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries is just a repetition of English nineteenth-century imperialism. What is it with these Anglo-Saxons, ffs? Contrast Anglo-Saxon imperialist arrogance with Russia’s humility. While England and America puff out their militaristic chests (covered with self-awarded medals for victory in illegal wars) and assume everyone will bow to their will, the peace-loving Russian proletariat set to work to create a World Cup bid that will conquer all hearts by its merits alone.

  145. and…… Hypocrisy Rules

  146. Pz

    You left out, “so long as the Oligarchs pay their respects to Putin’s offshore bank account”.

    YW

  147. Limestonegunner

    Darius, one hundred percent correct! Excellent post. At the very start of the bidding process I knew England was failing to learn the mistakes of previous bids–the arrogance, entitlement and celebration of the imperial PL all over the world. If they had shelved the neo-colonial approach and embraced a multicultural one, they might have convinced more people. If they had said this is a global game (not England’s game enjoyed globally) and we have the most multi-cultural society in Europe with people from all over in cosmopolitan and diverse cities like London, Manchester and Birmingham, maybe it would have worked better. Were anyone other than a narrow elite even part of this bid? Britain isn’t the same as it was in 1966, but I bet apart from technological glitz the bid delegation and approach might have looked the same.

  148. Darius killed it!

  149. haha spot on Darius__ your post tomorrow should be interesting..

  150. Jack Warner must have had a premonition of the Panorama documentary and the hooliganism in Birmingham.

  151. Nice post Darius. Spot on! Qatar makes absolutely no sense to me but games in the middle of the night would be perfect for the TV audience here in the US!

  152. dups, read the book by Declan Hill about match fixing in world football. It is a good read and quite interesting.

  153. The choice of Qatar is a decision worthy of Darius himself.

  154. Could it just be that the rest of the world thinks that England is shit!!! Let’s be honest, what have we done since 1966…..

  155. DFG, had lots of good moans about how crap the national team is!!! 😉

  156. Gris Gris, To me this only proves that England has lost all the respect from around the world. Our National team is a laughing stock (that hurts but it is the truth)

  157. GG, thanks for the book recommendation. I shall look out for it.

  158. The truth is around the world people see the English are arrogant and self entitled.

  159. While people like Septic Bladder & Jack ‘where’s me goody bag’ Warner are in charge of FIFA it will always be corrupt.

  160. Hi, Limestone. It might have been heavy handed, but I thought multiculturalism was central to the bid message – a line that stood out that “each nation had a home crowd in England”, but I do like how Darius points out that this message was at odds with the obvious distrust for foreigners amongst fans, writers and pundits in English club football.

    Two other semi-ignorant, disconnected thoughts:

    I’m not bothered at all that England missed out, and I’m glad that the BBC stuck to its guns. As if the Daily Heil needed another excuse to attack them.

    I can’t stomach Qatar hosting a World Cup.

  161. Idiots on talkshite radio saying fans should boo Arshavin at games now. Fucking twats.

  162. “I can’t stomach Qatar hosting a World Cup.”

    Oh come on, Big Al. What about that $200 billion they are spending on making “Doha and Qatar as synonimous as London, New York or Paris?”[sic] Surely you have to support anyone with that much money.

  163. dupsffokcuf, sorry mate but you are wrong to blame those guys. They have not been in power since 1966 so why didn’t we get it before? I hate to say it but the only ones who believe the hype about English football are the English. (and I am English)

  164. And the only ones who believe the hype about Qatari football are the Qataris.

  165. DFG, you should read the link I posted earlier if you need some proof. Wriiten a year ago.

    http://swissramble.blogspot.com/2009/10/power-corruption-lies.html

  166. Poliziano, True but you cannot compare the football history of Qatar to England since 1966, there is no comparison is there! Instead of debating why we lost this vote we should be looking at the future of English football and providing an answer as to why we have not won shit since 1966!

  167. LOL Pz.

    I best go lie down in a dark room and think of tomorrow’s post.

    Good night all.

  168. It doesnt bother me as far as who hosts the world cup, hopefully it will inspire russian youth as Arshavin said.

  169. dupsffokcuf, I hear you but don’t miss the point, why have we not hosted a world cup since 1966? You cannot blame corruption since 1966 can you!

  170. OOU,

    Segeration is interesting. I’m wondering if they’ll segregate the workers who construct those stadia from everyone else.
    Darius makes valid critisims of the England bid. You get the impression from the Chel$ki Barracks fiasco, that the Qataris just do as they are told, or asked.
    Intersting links exist there between Bonny Prince Charlie, Chelski Gangstars and the Qatari Royals. I have the impression it is a neo raj economy.

    Anyway, looking forward to the Fulham game.
    RVP & Chamack to start?

  171. It’s the World Cup, so why the outcry that a new country gets the opportunity to host the world’s game?

  172. >segregation!

  173. Reina again! and people kep talking crap about fabianski and almunia?

  174. Who cares about the WC coming to England ? Every one since Italia `90 has been sh&t house.

    Club football is way ahead of international football & despite the hype the penny is starting to drop with regular punters.

    Of course , that won`t be true of Russia & Qatar where everybody`s happy nowadays.

    More Buzzcocks please Limpar

  175. I wonder if Rvp will start from the bench perhaps getting a 15min run, keeping him sharp for partizan on wed

  176. Limestonegunner

    Thanks, OOU for the info and update. It didn’t start out that way as central to the message early on–must have been part of the re-branding when they brought in Beckham etc… But the damage might already have been done.

    Or Swiss Ramble is right–it is a corrupt organization that never ever intended to give it to England.

    Either way, I am glad the BBC did its investigative report–that is a credit to them. Hopefully, that won’t be blamed and undermine journalism further.

  177. oh well i assume all the non white fans of football in the World are thrilled about the idea of going to a match in say St. Petersburg, sitting side by side with the Zenith fans. Or going to moscow being greated by banana posters.

    Yaaay ! hoooray! Russia has got the wc.
    I honestly wonder how a country that is as racist as Russia is will handle getting so many colored people in at once. I guess if they use the mafia to control their own citizens( you know like the secret police is so famous for doing according to wikileaks) it will all be ok in the end….

  178. If were doing the Buzzcocks can we have Harmony In My Head’ please

  179. Or ‘Maybe tomorrow’ by the Chords, used to really like them but noone else did…….poor mans version of The Jam I suppose!

  180. When was the last time the middle-east held the WC? Errrmmm never, and Russia? These are the places that support the PL brand, yet they don’t deserve it, it should go to the all consuming America and Ingland, pleasssse, give me a break! Went to the Qatar to visit friends a couple of years ago and those people are football obsessed, meet allot of Gooners too! Theirry is a legend out there!!

  181. Bloody hell, it’s like being Alan Freeman in the digital age. Here you go pop-pickers

  182. Well said Maria

  183. Nah Remi, you weren’t the only one

  184. Thanks Yogi……….loved The Chords

  185. i m sorry quatar has to be a joke (i really dont mind about russia).Very small country who dont give very little about football with around half of the population been from india/pakistan/bangladesh region used as modern slave (Cricket sport number one ),never qualified for the WC (and never come close),dont have any stadium for it (what they gone use them after).On witch criteria they have got the vote…none.Australia should have won hand down as a sport mad country amd where football is growing(they never host it).the only thing growing in Quatar is skysrapper,oil,Rich Man,Sand,and westerners tourist who are going shopping

    The only excuse is the oil dripping from the corrupt FIFA pocket voter.After that i want Andorra to host it as they never host it,are a football developping nation blablabla

  186. YW

    In my part of the world, we sue authors, journalists and newspaper owners…

    “The only thing that would shut the media up is a dictatorship. “

  187. What could shut the media up in winning the CC is to win it in style and with a young team complemented by a sprinkling of senior players on the pitch and on the bench (hopefully, not needed to come on to salvage a result).

  188. From what I understand of the Qatar bid, once the WC is over, the stadiums will be shipped to Africa. Sure it may have coaxed the Africa vote, but they would have got my vote too with that move. Kudos to Qatar.

    & congrats to Russia. A real chance to put to bed any pre-conceived notions of racism for those guys.

    On the whole, I don’t really understand the outcry here. Not sure how many of us were privy to the details of each bid, but even the annoying Nick Ferrari himself correctly questioned, might England’s bid not have deserving to win it?

  189. “& congrats to Russia. A real chance to put to bed any pre-conceived notions of racism for those guys.”

    That’s a joke right?

  190. England had the best bid, Gadget.

    Russia is a place where random attacks against Asians, Blacks and Jews occurs perhaps more frequently than the normal country. Personally I think the World Cup shouldn’t go there for that reason. We’re talking of a country where even in football where neanderthal racist attitudes are expressed openly, and there isn’t even a ‘political correctness’. I learnt yesterday that the for Zenit President was very much involved in the Russian bid, and was a guy who had instructed Dick Advocaat not to recruit black players. It’s one anecdote but it really underlines Russia.

    The Qatar decision was even more baffling on account of weather issues, and a lack of football-watching population. It’s a country of 1.2 million I am told. Who’s going to go watch the matches. Apparently they don’t even have a modern rail system, and have only one airport.

  191. “& congrats to Russia. A real chance to put to bed any pre-conceived notions of racism for those guys”.

    Seriously/

    Im okay with Russia getting it I guess but I’d never go. Being black and all i’d be too worried about my life. i know alot of NIgerians and other africans studying medicine and engineering in Russia. They live in fear and some end up dead.

  192. actually Ole – they have 4 airports.

  193. Not really OOU.

    I’ve travelled quite a bit, and I’ve encountered what I felt to be racist attitudes in every country. I’m sure many people wouldn’t consider Spain, Italy, or France to be racist countries, but the fact is it’s still, in my eyes, a problem in those countries. Hell, there’s pockets of communities here where racism rears it’s ugly head.

    Whether it’s more or less a problem than it is in Russian I cannot say because I’ve not been to there, only heard hearsay. I don’t know any of my kin or ethnic peers who’s been to Russia – the closest is Kazakhstan, but yet we all perceive it to be a racist nation.

    However, I have met quite a few Russians (and bedded a few of their daughters too – what can I say, I love the risk and they warmed my soul like never before, if you catch my drift). They’re pretty cool to me, and I’m yet to meet one Ive not liked. Very hospitable and all-round excellent characters and great drinking partners – the trick to drinking vodka is magnificent. Of course, they could be cursing my ancestors when speaking Russian, but whatever, I trust they’re not and that’s all you can really do.

    As it stands, people are still individuals and we have our own little Russian individual who plays a part in our own little multicultural team.

    To condemn Russia as a racist country and therefore not deserving of hosting the WC would be a little hypocritical – considering both France and Italy have held it, and belie the impressions I have of those I have met, both of which I’m not willing to do.

  194. Gadget,

    Racism exists everywhere. In England as much as anywhere else.

    But all countries are not equally racist. In England, people are used to seeing people of other races, and living with them, working with them etc. In most of the ex-Communist bloc, they’re not used to that.

    But racial hostility is one thing, regular and widespread violence against racial minorities is another. That is rife in Russia. Even Putin had to publically acknowledge it’s a problem.

  195. It’s ridiculous to say France and Italy are as racist as Russia. It’s just false equivalence. You’re trying to level the scores.

    I believe that racism in Eastern Europe is a problem, just like corruption and ethnic conflict is a problem in Africa and inequality ravages South America.

  196. “England had the best bid, Gadget” – please elaborate Ole.

    Every wolf will dress as a sheep if the motivations right. Keep that motivation going for long enough you can make a vegetarian out of the wolf.

    The way I see it, if Russia is so violently racist, then they got just under 8 years to fix up, cause if they don’t, they’ll not get another global event for quite a long time.

    And I think time is the thing. We see it with the Olympics all the time. Greece got the Olympics without having the stadium built, but they got it finished in time. It’s less about now and more about future ambitions, and I think Qatar will have all the neceesary facilities in place come 2022

  197. Gadget,

    The idea that being asked to host the world would make Russia more racially harmonic is one that appeals to me. But, I personally believe they should have cleaned up their act before getting to host the world.

    Qatar is a ridiculous decision. I have nothing against Qatar, but a world cup in the middle of the desert in June scarcely makes sense. It’s a country that doesn’t even have a footballing culture. There isn’t even a captive audience waiting their to be converted to football forever. It’s a country of 1.2 Million.

  198. From a purely footballing perspective, the selection of Russia over England is not without merit; Qatar is questionable however. Sometimes (again only in football, not politics, corruption and imperialism) the english sense of itself is so blind to how the rest of the world actually sees. There are some reasons why the football played, and the football establishment in England is not viewed with universal applause, say in Europe or the Americas. The simple fact is England presumably voted for itself and so achieved one other vote to make two, and not all of the 20 others were bribed.

    Outside the international EPL and top-tier club system, what are the hallmarks of English football per se, seriously? Lots of ludicrous media glitz and razzle-dazzle around some individuals, a fairly archaic football style – nothing really to get too excited about in comparison to various periods of Netherlands, Brazil, Maradona’s Argentina vintage, Germany, Italy, France, Africa and now Spain; few football managers who are internationally acclaimed let alone renowned; a (now false) perspective that there is culture of football hooliganism with a (still true) perspective that this is linked to the ‘hardman’ style of play and the refereering that encourages it with a media that openly applauds it; tons of money sloshing around the game in all sorts of ways with that special brand of english arrogance fuelled by the media, not helped by the royal family (as if people outside england, who have their own monarchs too, would care) and made to look ridiculous when Beckham is the best option as a ‘figurehead’.

    And then what’s in it for FIFA and world football at the national level, compared to Russia, or say previously a USA or a Japan or a South Africa? Does it ‘grow’ the game, does it develop football, is there mileage, untapped potentials? The Russian bid was I guess based on the simplest premise – a world cup in the Slavic East European region in a large country with some infra-structure and some football pedigree for the first time and so an obvious potential that helps develop football and its culture in that region.

    Makes sense to me, unlike Qatar or England. Perhaps England would have done itself better by incorporating Scotland, Wales, hell maybe Ireland; by developing a convincing argument that a world cup would help “rejuvenate” the game in these places (which actually is important in the world game); and so developing a new generation of fans and players and football culture thoroughly in tune with modern global trends.

    While it is true that FIFA is corrupted, and Russia is influenced alarmingly by gangster oligarchs and is drinking itself quietly to death, it is not the only or even close to the only truth; nor is England pearly white, never corrupt, always “good” and gosh has no oligarchs pulling strings and getting rich by filthy means. The fact that the only English response is “corruption, corruption” in itself signals the real reason why england was eliminated; england’s response proved the negative sentiment around england.

    Or more simply, does england honestly think that decades of insult and innuendo about the different ways foreigners like to play their football (cheats, divers, sissies, dodgy referees and corrupt officials amongst other commonly held views) would reward them ultimately with a world cup, voted for by those very foreigners? I suppose it does, it’s so very english.

  199. Gadget,

    It’s been reported that our technical and commercial bids were rated best by FIFA.

  200. ZimPaul | December 3, 2010 at 10:07 am |

    I don’t agree. We have full stadia every weekend all over England. Football is an integral part of English culture at all ages. The Premier League is the best league football product. The infrastructure already exists. England is a welcoming country that has millions of tourists every year.

    I can understand the premise of giving it to Russia if it’s going to make the sport popular in Russia as you say. But what is the point of putting together bids if having a better bid than your opponents gives you no advantage?

  201. There is serious (anti-black) violent right-wing racism in Russia, but it is a mistake to think it is universal or that Russia is itself not a vast multi-ethnic melting pot of numerous European, Asiatic, Slavic and other origins and links. A simple case in point, Pushkin -Russia’s national literary treasure alongside Tolstoy – had an Ethiopian grandparent. This is well known.

    Not everyone in Russia is a facist skinhead, like not everyone in England is a prince or a pop-culture star.

  202. here, here Zimpaul. being an American Nigerian living in London im am constantly deluged with the superiority of the english. I really dont think they have any idea how they come across sometimes.
    I thought the England bid was great and i really like David Beckham. Great ambassador. but sometimes the way the english act with other countries….. not cool.

  203. We agree Ole, but you miss my point. Everyone knows England had the best technical and commercial bid with infrastructure and football pedigree to back it up, and is an exciting cosmopolitan society, and the EPL is the best in the world by a ‘country mile’, no question at all; but Russia, with numerous disadvantages (which have been agreed) was still chosen over England. The point is why was England eliminated with only 1 non-english vote? Why was Russia an attractive destination in the first place?

    It reflects, apart from any corruption, simmering discontent, probably in response to attitudes exhibited outside the world cup bid per se.

  204. ZimPaul,

    Whoever said it’s universal or that all Russians are racist? I’m told that the most recurrent racism in Russia is against Georgians and Kazakhs. In Russia there really isn’t even a political correctness against racism, and racist attidtudes are openly expressed.

    That really isn’t the point. I’ve had black colleagues who were told at their hotels not to walk around unaccompanied in Moscow.

  205. Zimpaul,

    English football keeps antagonising FIFA, has maintained its own parallel interpretation of the laws of the game for decades, and keeps acting like it owns the game.

    They’re poor politicians and have proven poor at influencing on the world stage.

    But I see it as FIFA feeling threatened by the commercial power of the Premier League.

  206. I am fascinated by the opinions that some people have about the English and their arrogance, their sense of superiority. If there is one characteristic that I have found is commonly associated with the English, it is modesty. The French are very often considered arrogant; so, to a lesser extent, are Americans, Spaniards, and Germans; but the English, never. In Europe, at any rate, my experience is that the English are well liked. I like them a lot myself.

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