Theo’s Fears Give Him An Edge & Lessons To Learn

A musical quality about the final Monday of this international break, Apparently Nothing transpiring in the world of Arsenal. Well, nothing apparently may not be entirely true.

The club is, according to reports, squaring up, going toe-to-toe with Chelsea in order to sign a 15 year old striker from Real Madrid. Given Park’s departure for National Service in a couple of season’s time, there is the forward line problem sorted. An interesting thought occurs; Park mentioned in a recent interview – I can’t remember where – that he would end up playing for the Army club. That being the case, how much will they pay Arsenal for his registration unless of course the Army club does not play in a Fifa-sanctioned tournament.

When that makes the news and is given more credibility than Arsenal and Liverpool putting up their transfer dukes over Saloman Kalou, you know it’s quiet. Perhaps there is a new game in the press box that any player linked with Arsenal must now have the initials of a senior exec, the manager or Kroenke before being linked with the club. Either that or Kalou’s name has rotated to the top of the list in perennial targets.

Elsewhere, Theo Walcott is scarred by being left out of the 2010 World Cup squad. Given England’s performances, I am surprised by this. Frankly he needs to change his mindset and consider it a lucky escape.

That is not the case for Theo. His desire is commendable, as is the ambition to improve Arsenal’s fortunes this season, echoing comments made by Robin van Persie. Once more the squad are saying the right things and with the fixture list as it is, they have the chance to attain a substantial total of points; a number that puts the spectre of relegation to bed for this season.

With Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain scoring a hat-trick for the Under 21s, there is an inevitable comparison between the two players. Even an assist at the higher level is not going to ease the pressure in the England set-up on Walcott. And he strikes me as a player who needs pressure, indeed thrives on it, certainly for the national team.

When expectations are placed on his shoulders, his form is indifferent. Actually that is a harsh comment, inconsistent might be a better word. For England though, Walcott is often at his best following criticism. It was the case where he put in a decent performance in Montenegro. Even his trio of goals in Croatia came on the back of harsh words as England laboured to victory over Andorra in the previous match.

Walcott suffers from teammates at international level who do not seem to know the best pass to bring his abilities to the fore. Given that these players are at the peak of the game, there has to be one of two reasons. Either they genuinely don’t know how to embrace his talents or they don’t trust his final delivery.

The former would be as surprising as the later unsurprising. We know his inconsistencies and so does he. Walcott is continually improving, his finishing last year was noticeably better as was the decision-making about the final pass. That upward climb, both in terms of rate of progress and outcome, need to continue if he is ever to realise his ambition and play centrally.

Chamberlain would do well to look at the media reaction to Walcott. His path is heading in the same direction; he needs to beware the treachery that lies in wait. Walcott too scored well at Under 21 level and his step up, aided by the same club path as his younger counterpart, paved the way into the media spotlight.

Hopefully lessons will have been learned by club, country and player. In a media focussed environment it is hard to allow a player to grow up in the shade. When Arsenal’s season has been as tortuous as this, that hope is forlorn.

Which brings another hope to the surface. Allow the lad to develop, accept he will make mistakes and be inconsistent. God knows, enough people are already writing off Carl Jenkinson. We need to pin hopes on established professionals instead of casting younger players asunder.

’til Tomorrow.

Posted on October 10, 2011, in Arsenal, Football, Premier League, Premiership, Soccer, Transfer Gossip and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 154 Comments.

  1. Build them up & knock ’em down has been a feature of the press for years – unfortunately it now seems to be a common tactic of people who pass themselves off as ‘supporters’.

    I can’t begin to imagine the pressure of playing in front of 60,000 people, how much better must it be to then have them moan & groan at every single mis-touch. Must do wonders for the confidence of players who are barely of of school.

  2. Players, all players, play better when the fans support them. This isn’t my conjecture this is something Eric Cantona said in a recent interview. He played the best football of his career he said because he felt loved by the fans. This relaxed him, made him capable of giving of his best. He played with freedom and invention because he knew his success would be cheered and his mistakes forgiven.
    This should once and for all put to bed the old lie trotted out by those who abuse their own team in public. The lie that what we say here and how we voice disapproval in the stadium doesn’t matter. Yes it does. It matters. Players thrive on love. They don’t play better because you call them names on the internet. Got that?

  3. International break has given us a bit of time to get Jenks up to speed. I think at home to Sunderland will be a tough test for the lad but he can manage. Although he will have the added headache, as will the rest of our defence, of a Big Nik Bendtner who will have a raging boner for scoring in this fixture. Or maybe there was a clause in the loan? Anyone know if he is able to feature?

    Pity Koscielny and Djourou couldn’t have been at home practicing with Jenks instead of warming their national benches.

  4. Arsenal is in an odd position. A fickle, infantile blog section of its fans won’t support the team unless it performs better, and believing they are not part of the solution, their expectations are that team first simply “delivers” and then they support. At fault are these fans. Forget names of clubs, just ask a fan of any other football or any sports team on the basis of facts who is at fault in such a situation. Such fans need someone to blame for what they perceive as “failure”, despite the facts. On the whole, I find them more shameful than ever. I am interested to see that Reina had accepted Arsenal terms (20m price) but Liverpool declined the offer. That simple fact says everything. Had we known what efforts had been made to ensure continuity and strengthen the squad, and at what cost, I think we would all be very surprised.

  5. Markus – Bendtner can’t play against us.

  6. Interesting. So they have Frazier Campbell and Connor Wickham to chose from… Slightly less daunting than Gyan and Bendtner may have been.

  7. Given our recent defensive disasters I wouldn’t fancy our chances of a clean sheet if Ian Dowie was their lone striker 😉

  8. I don’t think the clean sheet will be tough to get against Sunderland, especially at home. When they play us they usually set themselves up not to conceede.

  9. Hi all.
    Interesting how Stuart Pearce (despite his dire need decided not to call up Welbeck because his manager asked him not too after Welbecks ohh so busy time with the full squad.
    Yet last year we were subjected to weeks of Wilshire must play and before that Theo must and did play for both squads.
    Another example of the hidden (not so) agenda against the club.
    Lets wait for the media outcry !!!!
    oh better not
    Agree with you regarding the OX lets hope the club has learnt – I suspect a lot will depend on his agent though wether he is looking for short or long term gain

  10. From yesterday’s blog thread…

    Limestonegunner | October 9, 2011 at 9:06 pm
    “Btw, Cbob, enjoyed your post yesterday. The one question I have is do you/we think Arsenal FC used all of the resources available to it in 2008-2011 to field the strongest team possible? If you/we do, then you/we can be perfectly satisfied with our leadership and there is no reason to question them going forward.”

    Not sure I agree with the logical connection you made in that last sentence. As I see it, there are two aspects to leadership. 1) deploying resources in the most optimal manner. 2) getting the best out of those resources.
    I agree with yourself and Cbob about questions on the first point. Perhaps we could have done more in the transfer market with the funds we have.
    But I think Arsene also has questions to answer about the second point as well. For some reason he hasn’t been able to motivate his players to play consistently at the top of their game. I do wonder how effective his management style is, especially for teams comprising of so many young players. Our brittleness under pressure has gone on for so long that one can’t help but ask if its not systemic, rather than the fault of one or two ‘softies’.

  11. Fuck me Stew you sound like a stuck record, if that post wasn’t purely to wind people i
    Up I don’t know what is. Give it a rest, you know that you and zim prick are the minority. Get over yourselves, there are far bigger issues. at our club. Perhaps if it wasn’t for the gross mismanagement the last few seasons and the lies we have been fed the fans, well the majority of them would be more patient and forgiving. You guys are simple if you think the fans are to blame. Its taboo for any one else to even mention Man U or their players on Here, so why the fuck you bribing up Cantona you hypocritical prick.

  12. Steww

    ‘Players, all players, play better when the fans support them.’

    OOps maybe i should apologize to Djourou, I certainly did not mean for him to play worse.

  13. Get a life will you Steww.These poor multi-millionaires cant take a bit of cricticism.If i was on £5ok a week i wouldnt care what the fans called me.Lets wrap the poor little babies up in cotton wool and tell them every 5 mins how good they are.Take a look at the league table you muppet

    Thousands of people are losing their jobs all over the country and we are supposed to not have a go at our over paid failures.Get real

  14. I am not a fan of booing in the stadium I must admit. By all means discuss and disect the flaws of the club with friends or on forums (such as this), but once in the stadium you should be 100% behind the side through thick and thin. We are all supporters after all. That said, if booing from the terraces is enough to affect a players performnce then I would serisouly question his mental steel.

  15. It will be the fans fault we gave no champs league to look forward to next season too.

  16. JO

    You’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem.


  17. The players are simply not good enough and Wenger can’t seem to make them raise their game consistently.

    Cheering or booing do you really think this is why the players are rubbish?

  18. As a fan it’s my fault that Chamakh couldnt hit a barn door with a banjo. It’s also my fault, as a fan, that Wenger doesn’t think it’s worth teaching our defence how to defend. Its my fault as a fan that we had such a disastrous summer in te transfer market. As a fan, I’m sorry I didn’t deal with the goal keeping issues for those years of Almunia.

  19. Ok Since nobody else has got any good news here is mine.

    I was at a party over the weekend and I saw a German friend who I had not seen since before the last transfer window who it turns out is Werder Bremen fan. After a few taunts about the season we got down to talking about a few things that made me very happy.

    About Per

    It turns out that he was very much in favour in that club and the only reason he was let go was because he had an agreement with the club, which was known by the fans, that if Arsenal came knocking he could go. He is a massive Arsenal and Wenger fan and always has been. Evidently his strong and weak points as a player have already been observed here, although it was stated that he generally reads the game so well that his speed is not an issue. On top of this I have been informed that he has no ego, none, he is a massive team player, can organize a back line and because he wanted to come, we got him cheap.

    Now if that wasn’t music to my ears this was:

    According to this guy, Arsenal also bid 40 million (euro/pound I don’t know but i repeated the figure several times) for Goetze – the new WunderKinder that recently ripped Brasil apart. Unfortunately Werder turned the offer down.
    I am sorry we did not get him, but if true, it urinates from the highest level, on the idea that we are not thinking big or that plots have been lost.

    Sorry if you have all heard this before, but I feel happy.

  20. The link to the Times article on Theo seems to be blocked, YW.
    TW is still a bit inconsistent, but what you can rely on him for is important goals or assists. Being wary of the hype is very good advice to AOC, but he seems very level-headed. And his dad, whose opinion he seems to value most highly of all, sounds like a man who is very hard to please, so I really can’t see him getting too carried away and if he doesn’t get too carried away the inevitable backlash will not hit him so hard. One hopes.

    Commendable sentiments from Theo and RvP. But generally speaking, we need to score more when we have the chance. Our shot accuracy is good, but my impression is that our goals to shots on target ratio is relatively low.

    @ Diaminedave
    Yes, I noticed that. And the almost apologetic tone taken by Pearce, again in stark contrast to his attitude to AW.

    @ Bob and steww
    Very well said. It is so obvious, really

  21. Ron Jeremy’s philosophy right there highlights the problem. They, yes they, don’t perceive the players as one of us. It a perverse bit of classism really

    They are priviledged and therefore they should be professional, blah blah blah. Tell me the difference between professionalism and corporate zombiism. You can’t because there is none and I fucking hate zombies. You can criticise, but too many cross that obvious border into abuse and that is something else entirely

    Let’s get the humanity back into the game.

    They wear our colours; they fight for us, we sing for them. A simple fucking symbiotic relationship and yet some act as parasites. Fuck the parasites, you know who you are

  22. Jo

    ‘It will be the fans fault we gave no champs league to look forward to next season too.’

    Ask yourself: Do you want this to be right so you are right or do you make it up to cause trouble?

  23. @ SA Gooner
    That isn’t new info, but thanks for re-posting. It will of course be ignored by those whose agenda it does not suit. As will the confirmation of the massive bid for Reina two seasons ago.

  24. That’s where you wring Yogi I am not part of the problem, it’s just plain foolish to even entertain that sort of thinking. I really can’t see how a grown man can use that sort of reasoning. I don’t boo at the grounds and I dont ever slate a player that wears our colors. No fan that loves their club, well no true fan can sit back and say our club has been properly looked after the past few seasons. In every aspect of life there is accountability, no one is above it. Don’t see why
    some one questioning what went wrong is a problem. Unless you beleive in dictatorship this is very very normal behavior. Blaming the disgunteled fans is beyond the realms of reasonable though .

  25. SA gooner it breaks my heart to even imagine no champ leuge football next season. No I really hope we pull a rabbit out the hat.

  26. In games where we have all the possession but lack that cutting edge, of which have been many, the last thing you want as a player is your own fans on your case. Any other team in the Premiership would feel the support urging them on from the stands. With our style of play and ability to hold the ball, teams just sit back and soak up the pressure while trying to hit us on the break.

    Away from home we were the best last year, our team shows no fear and shows the same game plan in all games, home or away. We go for the throat and go for the goals. Its 1 thing I will always praise Wenger for, his teams have always taken the initiative and played football. Confidence plays a huge part in ensuring this game plan converts to points. If you are under pressure, got the fans on your case knowing that every touch is a moan or boo, then your patient passing game is no longer patient.

    I have never known an Arsenal team to lose possession as much as it has done.

  27. YW

    Why the sin-bin warning in bold?

  28. Jo

    >In every aspect of life there is accountability, no one is above it. Don’t see why some one questioning what went wrong is a problem

    Nobody says that it is wrong but kindly explain how abusing players – let’s not kid ourselves that it doesn’t happen – is a solution. For example, if your boss invited a crowd of onlookers into your place of work and they derided your efforts with abuse, would that inspire you to improve?


  29. FG

    There are some facts that make an argument sit well and some that show it for what it is, we all love to construct facts to represent our causes, but this is beyond it.

    I have had it with the bellyachers, not only are they misguided in how and what you say, they are just bloody wrong!

    They are not doomers, they are the problem.

    Fortunately with the owners and manager we have, nothing more than a dose of flu or gonorrhoea. Irritating nonetheless.

  30. Anirudh

    It’s either that or everyone’s comments are initially moderated. A gentle reminder that free speech does not include the right to abuse others. If people want to chat, even chat shit, that’s fine by me. If you want to abuse people as part of that, expect to be moderated. If you’re moderated and it carries on, a permanent sin bin will be in operation from now on.


  31. That is a start Jo work on it.

    Then comes support, then comes contributions. How, what to change, etc

  32. Yogi, as far as I am concerned abusing players is no solution at all. Never ever said it was, I was having a go at the ongoing blaming of the fans for all our woes. I personal can’t stand people abusing any players ours or another teams. Do I think Rooney is a lowlife cunt! Yes! Would I yell it out to him from the stands? No ! SA I do support, that’s why I question.

  33. Crisgooner @12:35
    Any Idea, thoughts as to why if teams have figured us out and found it so easy to nullify our game plan we cant seem to come up with a way to deal with the employed tactics. It just seems a little unprofessional to go into every game hoping we click and hoping the other team tries to play football, which the seldom do. ?

  34. I actually think the vocal support in the stadium has been pretty good this year. Especially considering numbers are down massively, and we have never really been a very vocal fanbase (well, certainly not in the 20 years I have been going)

    So I dont really get your point Steww / Zimpaul?

    Or do you just assume that because some posters (like myself) are not very happy at all with the current set up, management, performance over the last 3 years that I/we deliberatley go out of our way to criticise and demoralise players in the stadium??

    And there was me thinking that assumptions are the mother of all fuck ups.

    Seriously, your assumptions consistently made over fans who go and support the club really have me wondering if you have ever actually been to a game of football – because your much sought utopian fan environemnt where only happy thoughts / words / songs are used is so far from the truth its ridiculous.

    Some fans sing, some dont, some swear at players when they miss hit passes, some dont, some fans booze, some dont, some language is fine, some language is horrific, some fans speak tactics over a beer a HT, some fans sit in the stand with a coffee, some fans stay all 90, some leave early to avoid the rush – stop trying to paint everyone under one brush to create an enemy for yourself.

    Maybe stop attacking the fans? we are a very well supported football club. Always have been, always will be.

  35. Moderation Yogi?

  36. The fans writing off our chances of having decent season half a dozen games in are the problem.

  37. Markus,
    Depends on what you mean by “decent season”. Me, I’d be happy with a top four finish, would that be writing off our chances?

  38. No Markus, they are not. in fact they are not the problem one little bit.

    Just because someone doesnt think we wont win the legaue/be challenging come May it doesnt mean he/she is a poor fan. Its a personal opinion.

    I dont think we will come close to winning the league, I didnt in June. So? I have realigned my expectations due to numerous factors. Does that make me a sh*t fan.

    I tell you what the real problem is – the real problem is the “fans” who are hell bent on focusing all thier energy/anger/disappointment on creating factions in the fanbase. doomers akbs all that nonsense, all of that is the REAL issue with the fans. Those who drives us apart.

    The good news its still mainly an online trend.

  39. @YW always does detract from healthy discussion and degenerates quite quickly..sadly more often than not after a defeat..

  40. @ steww
    Absolutely right. Negativity in public – which includes the blogosphere as well as the stadium – affects the players. Everybody knows this but some refuse to accept it. Screaming in the pub or in your front room is not the equivalent of doing it on a blog. The internet is not a private space, and it has other properties which make the publication of vitriol on it particularly odious – anonymity for users, potential for unlimited spread, crossover with printed media etc.

    You don’t have to be a wilting flower to be affected by negativity. Whoever you are, if other people keep chipping away at you, it will undermine your confidence.

    YW has said Theo is inconsistent. I have said TW is inconsistent. That is criticism. Saying that you think the transfer business over the summer was mishandled (although I disagree) is criticism. Banging on and on about it, never seeing or mentioning anything good about the club, the players or the manager, allowing the perceived faults to loom so large that they are the only thing you can see, feeds negativity. So bloody what if you’re not happy with x or y? You’ve all said it enough times. What in practical terms can you do about our performances or results? Nothing. So what is the point of the continual moaning in public? What is the point of abusing or constantly criticising? It does no good and it certainly does harm. The club, the players and the manager need our support. Get some perspective. Even now, in this worst time of Wenger’s era, the vast majority of clubs in any league would give their eye teeth to be in our position. Remember that.

  41. Just saying I won’t be getting my panties in a twist mid-season. It doesn’t help. I’ve seen us close gaps before. And it didn’t take 3 quarters of a season to do it.

  42. Yogi:

    I have always said that we need to give Theo time. He is still only 22. If the stories are true that Arsene prodded the Sven to take Theo on the ill fated 2006 World Cup team then the boss did a huge disservice to Theo. Putting that sort of pressure on a player of his age was just not intelligent player management. Hope we learned our lesson and don’t repeat that with OX and some of our other young players.

    Luke @ 1:43:

    “I tell you what the real problem is – the real problem is the “fans” who are hell bent on focusing all thier energy/anger/disappointment on creating factions in the fanbase. doomers akbs all that nonsense, all of that is the REAL issue with the fans. Those who drives us apart.”

    Spot on. Both sides of the fence are at fault for this. It just idiotic. Fortunately, the home and away support has been good at least so far this year.

  43. Great post Luke and so so true.

  44. chrisgoona | October 10, 2011 at 12:35 pm
    In games where we have all the possession but lack that cutting edge, of which have been many, the last thing you want as a player is your own fans on your case. Any other team in the Premiership would feel the support urging them on from the stands.

    Sorry chrisgoona, but I have to take up this point. Fans of ANY team would be on the case of their players if they thought that they weren’t playing up to their best on a regular basis or they have a probelm with the manager or board or whatever. There are no exceptions. Comments like this are so obviously made to try and make a point, anyone who actually goes to games will know this is rubbish of the first order.

  45. anyone who actually goes to games will know this is rubbish of the first order.

    I think the above is becoming a common denominator.

    Heck, Arsenal fans used to swear / moan / groan when we had the invincibles – its always going to exist in football, in pubs, clubs, bars, stadiums, houses, forums, radio, tv – fans will voice thier opinion, from top EPL sides, to sunday pub league teams.

  46. FG,
    If I understand you correctly, it’s ok to criticize once or twice, but repeating it over and overon an internet will damage the confidence of our players, right? How many times is too much then? 10, 30,100?

    Apart from the boringness of repeating the same thing ad nauseam, I really don’t think that argument holds water.
    Vile abuse on the other hand is another thing entirely, but you weren’t referring to that were you?

  47. I meant to say;
    …but repeating it over and over on an internet forum like this….

  48. Henristic

    I think FG is referring to the cumulative effect of it all. The principle is that if the atmosphere is negative, it breeds negativity which then transmits via whatever medium, to the players eventually.

    Whilst there is some merit in that concept, it takes a lot of negativity for that to happen. And the Arsenal world isn’t that bad, is it? Oh…


  49. “The principle is that if the atmosphere is negative, it breeds negativity which then transmits via whatever medium, to the players eventually.”

    Exactly Yogi. Is it that hard for some of these posters to understand that? Obviously all footballers have been used to this kind of thing coming from the stands, but as Cantona said, if you are comfortable on the pitch (much of this comes from your relationship with the fans), then you are free to express yourself. I bet Henry wouldn’t have been as amazing as he was if the fans were on his back at every missed free kick/shot/pass… As someone said above, we’ve never been the most vocal of support at Arsenal, but the more positive noise coming from the stands, the better. It’s really not that hard to understand.

    Re the moderation thing, are we allowed to add a little 😉 at the end to make it less angry/serious? And are we allowed to abuse players from other teams or just other teams/managers etc? I assume it’s just Gooner to Gooner abuse?

  50. Yogi:

    What is the purpose of a blog if not to state our opinions? Should we all smile politely and just ignore the obvious when the team is playing way below its potential? Thats certainly not the behavior that sports fans have or ever will demonstrate. I know what people like FG and Steww would like but thats just not anywhere near realistic and not even good for a club. When the club is playing poorly, fans are going react negatively. Thats always been true and always will.

    The internet has greatly magnified both the positive and negative. a forum like this brings fans together and helps bring in new fans and keeps the interest of fans all over the world. I just bought my 2 grand kids cute little arsenal kits with their name on the back thru the internet, so the club need this. Unfortunately the internet also gives idiots a voice that they didn’t have before so we are stuck with the over the top hate and vitriol. I wish that sort of stuff would disappear as much as you, but its unfortunately unavoidable when anyone can say whatever they feel online. Bottom line is that if we want to be a big club we have have to perform well on the pitch or the fans will be unhappy. It seems like the players have had surprisingly good support from the crowds both home and away this season so I am not sure what more you could realistically ask for.

  51. Geo,
    But the in-stadium support has been great, so what is the problem?

    I should think our recent results by themselves provide enough ‘negativity’ for the players. All the support in the world (negative or positive) wouldn’t change what they are feeling right now. I really don’t see how the repeated criticism of Theo on some blog will make him feel worse (again we are not talking about vile abuse here).
    For instance, it can’t have felt good to lose to the Mancs 8-2, but would the positive support they got from the away fans in that game have made a difference? Are the players doing better this season than they did in the last when the support wasn’t that great?

  52. Thankyou kindly for the post this morning Yogi. I extend Canadian Thanksgiving wishes to you and you’re family. I am most interested in you’re comment about the provision of protection from the hoardes of media for developing players. Allowing players to develop in the shade, as you put it, seems impossible these days. There are always the expectations of the always present media waiting to pounce on the first hint of fallability. As well, the National Coaches want to see and try out the perceived talents of the youths that are causing all the recent sensational headlines. Everything seems over the top for a young, developing, talent. There is no shade anywhere for these burgeoning talents to make mistakes

    Several years ago there was one of these comets that lit up the Heavens and who was the very first draft choice in the National Hockey League. Sidney Crosby is his name. Well understood still to be the worlds best hockey player when not injured. Sidney was drafted by a man who owns the Pittsburg Penguins and who also once played hockey. I refer to the most eloquent Mario Lemieux who was a first pick in the year of his draft.

    When Lemieux drafted Sidney Crosby he insisted that Sidney live with him in his mansion on the hill where no media is allowed. Lemieux provided the most awesome 6 ft. 6 inch shade for Sidney’s developing talent. Lemieux, of course understood the pressures involved around the expectations placed on a player like Sidney and attempted to avoid the limelight constantly being directed on his player. Largely this has been very successful and Crosby has been allowed to develop in the shade. I understand that Sidney Crosby is still a frequent guest at Lemieux’s home.

    Yogi you’re comment about ‘shade’ for developing talents is so completely relevant…if I have understood it correctly. These gifted players are so frequently thrown to the wolves while still in the formidable years. The public is so hungry for stories about these talents that honest journalism is often abandoned.

  53. Apparently we offered £20m for Reina. That’s a lot of amount for a goalkeeper. Perhaps shows all is not as black and white, as the media would like us to believe when it comes to Arsenal’s transfer policy.

    Oxlade Chamberlaine with three goals. Not surprised. He’s the best buy of the summers by a mile. Theo’s got to step up in order to keep his position in the team. Good competition for the right wing, puts some pressure on Arshavin as well. I think the team can perform a lot better than what most are expecting. I won’t give up on a title challenge just as yet, being the optimist that I am. A couple of inspirational performances and we could go on a good decent run. The worst we could do is the 4th position this season. Which given the circumstances isn’t too bad, due to Cesc’s and Nasri’s(cunt) departure.

    Good post the other day, Bob. We’ve got a long way to go this season. Very excited about it. Especially about Coquelin, Frimpong, Chamberlain, Ramsey, and Gibbs in the making. Too bad Wilshere got injured. Worst luck, given we had already lost Cesc and Nasri(the cunt).

  54. Oh and there is Park as well. Scored a brace a couple of days back. Bit of a standing ovation. Most of our players are playing very well for the country. Not too long, before they gel here at Arsenal, no doubt about it. Onwards and upwards!

  55. Ateeb, you name quite a few very promising young players. For me it is always exciting to see how these players develop thier abilities. And do not forget the Asian chap, about whom, everyone has been crowing.

  56. There it is…Park!

  57. Bill / Henristic

    Blimey. Back in your boxes!

    I didn’t say that I agreed entirely with theory – Bill you’re too focussed on the internet. I don’t think blogs are that powerful, the danger is in social media which has already seen at least one Arsenal player stop tweeting and an ex-Arsenal player abused whilst he was still at the club. Oh, and the sister of a former Arsenal captain was abused on Twitter in summer 2010.

    How do you think those current and ex players are disposed towards the supporters? A warm, fluffy feeling? With that in the background, its down to professional pride to draw out performances and that ain’t always enough.


  58. I like you style Ateeb!

    Those players will be part of a great Arsenal team, a golden generation, and what about Ryo!?

    Blow wow!

  59. Two Owls:

    If the point of your post is true then over hyping our young players and hoping that we throw players like OX and Ryo and Frimpong into the first team at this age is probably counter productive. Lots of pressure from the fans and it gives the media more ammunition. Last few years has shown the value of getting experience in the top flight in much lower stress environment on loan to lower table PL sides. We send lots of players on loan but mostly to championship and league 1 sides. We tend to keep players with the most potential for the first team. Seeing what has happened to the last golden generation don’t you think that we have probably not been doing the best thing for our most talented youth?

  60. Yogi @ 4:24:

    Fair enough. I do focus on the internet since that is the only social media I use. I don’t use face book or twitter so I don’t know much about them.

    If I was a player, I think I would avoid twitter and the other social media when I or the team was playing poorly, and soak it up when results were good, but I doubt that is going to happen.

  61. Dennis bergkamp was regularly portrayed as donkey of the week in the national news paper in italy – his time with inter was not as successful as his time with arsenal – where he was adored or a fans fav

    Henry suffered in Juve and was said to be a flop – The fans used to get on his back and he was percieved a flop.

    Roberto Baggio after missing his penalty for italy and the pressure that came from the media and fans led him to a loss of form so bad that he was never the same player and had to embrace budhism to get over it. (he may not have been abused by fans but the pressure of letting so many down affected him.)

    Human emotions effect all poor and rich – its just if your rich there is prob a million ways of taking your mind off it. fact is they are still affected. How many stories have you heard of very rich people being unhappy with empty lives, – so i dont buy that cause a player earns £30-90 grand a week then they are immune from human emotions. – thats BS.

  62. Are you here yet Ateeb?

  63. Yogi,
    All players have their detractors. Those who try to interact directly with fans via twitter leave themselves open to abuse and I’m sure they players themselves know that. But I’d wager that the majority of tweets they receive would be positive ones, especially when they are performing well.

  64. Luke,I am not part of any problem.

  65. You probably either need to be thick skinned or fairly brave to be a footballer and go on Twitter..

    The internet has provided a tool to enable all sort’s of information to be posted in an instant.

    Be it praise, thoughts, comments and abuse.

    Unfortunately there is no filter by intelligence or quality, and as a consequence it allows behaviour from some that most sensible human beings find fairly stupid.

    You only have to look at the daily nonsence from certain blogs and their comments sections to see that.

    For example, as YW pointed out in a comment earlier, did the so called Arsenal ‘supporters’ who abused Nasri on Twitter think that would in any way influence his decision to stay?

    There are parallel’s with booing at the stadium – abusing a player from the stands, or in any way can not be in any way condusive to him performing any better, or wanting to.

  66. geeGunner,
    Adulation follows incredible performances, it doesn’t come before. Henry/DB10 didn’t become great because of fans support. Neither of them would have received the praise they did, if they had flopped at Arsenal as well.

  67. Last Para should rad – abusing a player from the stands or from the internet cannot be in anyway…..

    Typing too fast again… Engage Brain

  68. Many fans do not understand the meaning of the word “respect”
    That is because they neither respect anyone or are respected by anyone.
    Abusing the manager ,board or players is quite simply a lack of respect.
    Now I don’t respect this type of person for good reasons.In that they are thick cunts.But I also know thick cunts who I do respect.So it is more than that.It is because they are thick cunts who think they are smart.
    Particularly people who form protest groups.They are proper tossers

  69. Who is at fault today?

  70. Did I honestly read JO right in calling me “Zim prick” for fairly politely asking fans to support their team during a period of instability? Do I need any more proof of why fans can be the problem?

    It’s not about this or that blog, it’s not about support in the stadium per se, it’s the sum total of the collective of fans and their attitude that creates, or destroys, an atmosphere in a club. In this I have no doubt that the rump of the fanbase is ultimately far more powerful (or disruptive) than even the management, even Wenger.

    It is a cliche that “fans make the club”, but perfectly true. This is not about discussing the merits or otherwise of the team and players in blogs and pubs, and discussing football and criticizing some or many aspects of performance. There we disagree and point out this and that. It’s the bit at the end that says at the end of the day, I continue to support, especially during a period of upheaval. There we agree, as one, and come game time there is no disagreement, just fun.

    Now, whatever way you look at things, there is no doubt about massive psychological effects of both fans in general and actual crowds on players, and on a team performances; and it doesn’t change no matter what the players are paid. It’s main reason why home games are easier than away games, why players up their game when they hear something sweet, why derby matches are derby matches. I do wonder what our players privately think of our fans as compared to other teams, even those also going through a bad patch. I doubt that on the whole Arsenal fans are regarded as “great” compared to other EPL or senior European teams, although this could be wrong. I think when confidence is down, and fans start their bitching and on occasions booing, some players who might be having doubts are deeply discouraged, and have yet more doubts. It is the same when fans stream out 15 minutes before time.

    How many points is a strong fanbase worth in a season? I guess 6-10, hardly as exact science, but the scientific principle is certain, fans can make a difference in a game and momentum in a season. In other words a fanatical crazy fanbase can be and sometimes is the sole difference in the outcome of a contest. There is a concept for this in sports psychology, something like getting in the zone or whatever, when great things just “happen” because players are relaxed and inspired.

  71. Not too long ago the doomers were telling us that booing a player was some sort of negative reinforcement capable of getting him to improve his game. They booed Eboue, Denilson and Song. Two of these players never recovered from that abuse and Song is pretty much unloved by sections of the support. I agree with Steww. If you want to have a player kill himself for the shirt, booing and sneering at him is probably not the best way to go about encouraging him to do so.

    I was watching Fanzone the other night (Arsenal v Spuds) and the fat idiot who was supporting Arsenal said that Theo was at best a championship player. How’s that for blinkered idiocy? Theo is a fixture in the England NT, has more CL experience at his age than most older players and is only 22 years old.

  72. Geo,
    But the in-stadium support has been great, so what is the problem?


    Not sure he has been there Henrisitic.

    It was the point I tried to make earlier. The support this season has been great in comparision, and in actual fact, bar a small minority who used to boo at FT when we had dropped the ball again in some home banker it wasnt bad last year.

    Too much is made of the divide of doomer / akb on the internet especially by those who are not fortunate enough to watch the fecking boys live.

    George — Is that right? See, for me respect is, and always will be a two way street. Otherwise its not respect, its worship, and I dont worship anything. Its the root of all evil.

  73. I took a friend who support’s Pompey to our game V Stoke at home last year, Which we won 1-0 by the way, and the could not believe the amount of moaning and abuse directed towards the team from the stands.

    They actually commented that they thought it was embarrassing and unfortunately I had to agree.

    Their feeling was that we don’t know how lucky we are, and thought that the move to the Emirates had actually hampered our support, and had attracted a whole load of overly negative ‘supporters’ who had only known good times and felt they deserved to win every game, and be entertained at the same time.

    It was quite an eye opener.

  74. The PR, advertising and marketing industries refer to blog writers and newspaper editors as “opinion formers” for a reason. There’s a nexus between the blogs and the print media and the wider public. The whole negative feedback loop adversely affects our players, our fans and colours the perception of the officials and other clubs.

    @ Geo and geeGunner

    Some people seem to think simultaneously that what you say on the internet is said in private AND that publishing your views on the internet is a way of communicating your unhappiness to AW or the players. Can’t be both.
    You also seem to think that unless you piped up, Wenger and the squad would all be quite satisfied with being in the bottom third of the table and wouldn’t be bothered about winning anything. They feel it far more than we do. To get where they are, they have all worked harder than any of us and made sacrifices, all without any guarantee that they will make it. They deserve a modicum of respect for that at least.

  75. “Adulation follows incredible performances, it doesn’t come before. Henry/DB10 didn’t become great because of fans support. Neither of them would have received the praise they did, if they had flopped at Arsenal as well”.

    Wrong Henristic. Try telling that to 75,000 fans at a cricket match in Kolkata or Mumbai, when India is batting, even badly, and even the little master is off form. Try telling it to the fanatics at Liverpool when their team was down and out. There are many, many exceptions across all sports and teams; it is especially true at lower levels of football, who generally think we (and most other top teams) are ridiculous spoiled brats with neither character nor integrity.

  76. Henristic, it is possible that when Henry and Bergkamp felt free to express themselves they produced. These are not just any players, they are two of the greatest the world has ever seen. The question is then, what was hindering them from being doing well before they came to Arsenal?

  77. @ Matt and Gains
    Great comments again

  78. ZimPaul

    But the constant support for the little master was earnt. He didnt recieve such levels of adulation after one test did he? He earnt it.

    Liverpools fanatics? Well, dominating every competition for the best part of a decade will do that to you. Look at what a few league titles has done to the blind faith of support Wenger recieves.

    Henry / bergkamp / Vieira / Pires all earnt thier legend like status. Through match winning performances and title winning teams. They were some of the greatest players our club has ever seen. Absolutle stalwarts.

    GlenMcGrath earns his respect for being the most consistent bowler of a generation by consistently hitting the top of off.

    He wasnt just given that accolade because it was the nice thing to do.

  79. Paul N

    Bergkamp was one of the planets finest footballers before he signed. Granted, in a poor spell at Inter, but his Ajax and National team form was outstanding. Lets not treat him like a Wenger gem (who didn’t sign him anyway).

    We have never made such a high profile signing since. Its funny, how our manager who single handley saw the impact a truely world class footballer has on your club failed to follow his predecessors example and sign another one.

  80. Henristic | October 10, 2011 at 4:52 pm

    To tell you the truth the fans were a lot more forgiving and their expectations were very realistic so even when these 2 great players didnt perform (in their early yrs) they were giving time.

    henry didnt score his 1st goal for ages…there were some doubts but people were prepared to wait and thats coming after wright and Anelka.

    I seen some where on blog land (cause i never meet these irration types face to face)Park was a flop and shit and he has played like half a game. so i dont really agree with you on that.

  81. Luke, I am dealing with geeGunner said. The fact is that if Bergkamp was in a funk, he came to Arsenal and played great. What changed?

    Who mentioned Wenger?

  82. @ Luke
    How does the division in itself harm the club? If both sets are equally ardent fans, why should any division along those lines be the root of any problems for the club?

    One of the differences between now and the Invincibles year is that Arsenal blogging had barely begun in 2004. Newspapers did not have much of an online presence.

    Henristic and Bill do not go to Arsenal games.

    @ YW
    Interesting you mention Twitter and Facebook – how many times have we heard about people getting into hot water because of injudicious remarks which they don’t realise will go further? That’s the trap with views expressed on the internet – it’s a public space and people treat it as if it were a private space.

  83. The point is that it could’ve been the negative pressure that was a cause of him losing confidence.

  84. “Some people seem to think simultaneously that what you say on the internet is said in private AND that publishing your views on the internet is a way of communicating your unhappiness to AW or the players. Can’t be both.”

    Good stuff FunGun!

    People have also said that us who remain positive are a part of the problem as if believing in the team and Manager is a reason why Arsenal don’t break the bank and/or fire Wenger.

  85. Im sure the protest will make the playes play better and the club to win more :p

  86. “Bergkamp was one of the planets finest footballers before he signed. Granted, in a poor spell at Inter, but his Ajax and National team form was outstanding. Lets not treat him like a Wenger gem (who didn’t sign him anyway).”

    Who is treating him like wengers gem?

    The fact is his confidence was low after being dropped by inter milan (i followed his career closely both for ajax and @ inter), How do you think a club like Arsenal – who were not the biggest club in england at the time were able to sign him for 7 million quid when players like giann luigi lentelli (who was not even halft the player the ice man was )was costing 2wice as much ?

    He was damaged goods the same way we got marc overmars and nwanko kanu, they all had crisis of confidence for one reason or another- dennis was in a state of shock from all the abuse he got constantly at the san siro!

  87. ZimPaul | October 10, 2011 at 5:19 pm
    Wrong Henristic. Try telling that to 75,000 fans at a cricket match in Kolkata or Mumbai, when India is batting, even badly, and even the little master is off form

    Why was he called the little master then? Was it not because of his previous incredible performances?
    A great player’s mistake are very easily forgiven, compared to the not so great one. That tendency has been observed many times on this blog, especially by Passenal who gets upset that players like Cesc and Wilshere rarely receive stick from the fans, in comparison to Denilson for example.

    Try telling it to the fanatics at Liverpool when their team was down and out.

    Whats so special about the scouser support these days? Anfield of 2011 is a far quieter place than their reputation would suggest. And who can blame them, given how the last couple of seasons have panned out for them.

    I don’t doubt that there are exceptions, as is generally the case in life.. But that is neither here nor there.

  88. We have never made such a high profile signing since. Its funny, how our manager who single handley saw the impact a truely world class footballer has on your club failed to follow his predecessors example and sign another one.

    Luke ,Arshavin was held in higher regard, when he signed ,than Dennis was.(Andrei was not coming off a two year slump)
    So you are chatting shit,again.

  89. Djourou said last week Anfield was the best atmosphere he has ever experienced .Anywhere.
    So you Henristic are also chatting shit,again.

  90. Hope that I don’t end up in the sin bin.

  91. Luke you ,if you are a decent human being,have to show respect in order to get it.If your respect is not returned then you can be happy in the knowledge that at least you played your part.

  92. Bergkamp was a star signing and came with a strong reputation (kind of like Arshavin). So expectations were naturally high. Henry’s reputation wasn’t quite as stellar, but you can’t tell me either of these players received the same sort of adulation in their first games as they did later on in their careers with us.
    I find it amusing anyone would argue against this point, as its not the least bit controversial.

    Interestingly Arshavin hasn’t quite followed the Bergkamp’s trajectory for no other reason than the fact that he’s performances have not match DB10s. If on the other hand he had been more consistent and reliable, we would have be talking about him as a legend in the making.

  93. pedantic george | October 10, 2011 at 5:56 pm
    “Djourou said last week Anfield was the best atmosphere he has ever experienced .Anywhere.”

    lol. Sometimes I wonder how old you are. You come up with some incredible pearler eh?

  94. Arshavin is a legend.Well to me anyway.

  95. FunGunner | October 10, 2011 at 5:36 pm
    “One of the differences between now and the Invincibles year is that Arsenal blogging had barely begun in 2004. Newspapers did not have much of an online presence.”

    What has this got to do with anything?

  96. Well he has saying that the atmosphere is tremendous.I thought you were saying that it no longer is.Was I wrong?

  97. Do you guys really think the Arsenal fans who have a reputation as being stoic even in the best of times will suddenly rival the worlds best fans especially with recent results? The fact that the club targets the high dollar consumer with its ticket prices means the average fan in the stands is going to be even less vocal then in the old days, when they were not very vocal anyway. What in the world do you expect?

  98. George,
    Did he say WHEN he felt this tremendous atmosphere?

  99. I bet Tottenham will get Cahill for 8m in January. After all who can stop a player to go to Harry?

  100. Yes ,last year and every time he has played there

  101. Good point Bill,

    Although I’m beginning to think our fans are just as good as any right now. The in-stadium support has been top notch this season, to the surprise of most bloggers (doomers and otherwise)

  102. @bill just because you are a poor sod does not mean you are a more true arsenal fan than somone that happens to have taken an education and gotten somwhre in life.
    A well paied doctor or a clever civil engineer,even a politician can be a better fan than some workingclass ned.

    Being a good supporter does not equal being unemployed and stupid you know..

  103. Bill, why cant the supporters change? as we expect our team to improve we should expect the same from the support, I think.

  104. Actually he said it “IS” the best .So nothing past tense about it

  105. Henristic, if in fact the in stadium support is better than last, that alone invalidates Bills point.

    wish this would’ve happened last season.

  106. Being a good supporter does not equal being unemployed and stupid you know..

    I think the posters over at Le Grove would disagree with you there Poodle.

  107. Is Bendtner eligibe to play in the game against us btw?

  108. George,
    Last year? But my post was referring to Anfield of 2011!!

    Another point, the atmosphere at the emirates is also tremendous for big games (e.g against Barca). Surely thats no proof that the support was great in general?

    Go speak to a Liverpool fan and see if they think their support hasn’t deteriorated recently.

  109. @Hen fucking hell dude. EVERYONE and i mean EVERYONE IN THE WHOLE WIDE WORLD knows that Liverpools supporters and the liverpool atmosphere is the BEST in the WHOLE WIDE WORLD! thats just one of those facts in footy you have to accept. no club in England can come close to “you never walk alone” and their new slogan “faith”.

    Players sign for Liverpool to experience their great atmosphere, players sign for Arsenal because they wanna work with Arsene Wenger. Players sign for City to earn shit loads of cash.
    We all got strenghts and weaknesses as clubs. Liverpools biggest strength is by far their “no12” their audience.
    Its pointess to compare us to their fans, just as its pointless to compare Joey Barton to Lionel Messie. Technically Messie is far superior. Fan wise Liverpool is far superior. And both Liverpool and messie are world famous for their “superskill”.

  110. Poodle:

    In my experience the high dollar patrons and the corporations that buy the high dollar seats tend to be the less vocal fans.

    Paul @ 6:17:

    I guess anything is possible. However, as George said so eloquently said the other day. (paraphrased) “Perhaps I will discover gold in the garden in the back yard.”

    Fun: I have not been at the stadium but reports from many ACLFers who have indicates that the support at the home and away games this year has been very good. In most cases the writers of those comments have in the past been quite negative towards the fans so I doubt that anyone would give those same fans credit they don’t deserve.


    Hurrah! And TV is on the way back as well.

    Something I forgot to mention earlier – with Theo I think part of the reason for the media spotlight being trained on him was because he was joining Arsenal, the “non-English” club, as the first high-profile English signing in a long time – since Campbell, really. I can’t think of any other English player whom we signed in the time in between, can anbody else? And we paid a barrel-load for him. Same as for AOC more or less, but five or six years ago and he was even younger at the time.
    Also the hype around young players is actually around young English players – there was no hype around the 16-year-old Cesc – and it tends to come from the Engerland lobby, rather than Arsenal fans.

    So perhaps the Theo situation had unique features anyway?

    Interestingly, on the subject of young players breaking into the first team, Reserves coach Neil Banfield said to Luke Freeman that he has never, in all his years of coaching at AFC, seen so many reserve players who are on the brink.

  112. @ Bill
    we’re discussing a general principle.

  113. You don’t wait for results to improve before you start to back the team. You back the team anyway particularly when they most need it.

  114. @fungunner 6:34 pm
    if that is true what Banfield says that bodes well. Im sure that is how it was for Barcelona to before they became good. They had some preatty hard years as the “nearly men”. So did the Spanish national team in Rauls time.

  115. damn international matches

  116. You don’t wait for results to improve before you start to back the team. You back the team anyway particularly when they most need it.

    FG ,how is it that thick people don’t see that?
    Have I answered my own question?

  117. I would like to see AOC start at the weekend. His confidence must be decent at the moment, and he does seem to be one of our few squad members who is actually in some form.

  118. George @ 7:02:

    The problem is that the definition of the term “back the team” is quite variable. FunGunners definition seems to be narrow and only allows a small and very specific set of behaviors compared with the average persons definition.

  119. What ever AOC does he should not ask Wenger to play him!!!

  120. Steww trying to undo a couple of hundred years of football behaviour in one foul swooping post.

  121. @ bill the definition of “back the team” must be to back those who represent us day out and day in.

    What els do you back if you do not back the guys that are set to do the job?that are set to represent and fight for the “arsenal brand”?
    “the arsenal brand” is nothing if its not the people that represents it.

    Arsenal is Theo and Wilshere and Rvp and Kos and Song and the rest, even Squillachi is Arsenal. If you do not back what arsenal consists of then what do you back?
    Ones they leave they are not Arsenal anymore, but aslong as Arsene Wenger is with us he is Arsenal as much as the fans and Wilshere.

    Being a fan is like a marriage, for better and worse.
    You back AW until he leaves, you can despite the man, you can want him to go, you dont have to like him, but you should back him to do the best job he can for the club so the club succeeds. Same with Squilacchi, when he comes on the pitch you back him cos you want him to do well as a player as that will benefit us all no? Who the hell would benefit from him doing poorly? So why boo him in the first place??

    Arsenal the brad is just an empty shell without the sum of everyone that makes her up. The playes, the management, even the tea ladies.

    Arsenal is an organic company which consists of more than the badge and the shirt. Cos without someone to fill that shirt we are nothing.

    And that is why the definition of “backing the club” should be to back everyone that contributes to the Arsenal that we know today.
    Even though you do not like the people or their policy you should back them until they are out of the club as they are the club.

    Nobody is bigger than the team correct, but the team is the sum of everyone contributing to her glory….

  122. Interesting post and comments.

    On the subject of the atmosphere at the Emirates, it hasn’t been as bad as I feared it might be, but I wouldn’t say it is noticeably better than last season. In my view, the Emirates crowd is generally terrific when they(we) feel they should be needed (eg Barcelona, Man Utd, Chelsea, etc), and pretty ordinary when they feel the team shouldn’t need their support (ie against average or inferior opposition).

    Away from the Emirates, I have only been to Old Trafford this season. In answer to Henristic’s semi-rhetorical question (it can’t have felt good to lose to the Mancs 8-2, but would the positive support they got from the away fans in that game have made a difference?), I would give a qualified ‘yes’. No one can answer whether it definitively made a difference on the pitch, but I can offer a few thoughts…

    After a few minutes of the away support singing We Love You Arsenal…, it appeared that the team was lifted. It may not have made a huge difference (after all, we conceded several more goals), but, for a time, the team seemed to run faster, tackle harder, and, in general, just play better.

    Because of the result, the 8-2 was one of the most depressing matches I have been to; conversely, because of the unconditional support, it was one of the most uplifting. It is the latter feeling that will stay with me. If I had been a player that day, I can tell you that the support would have been a huge boost, not only as a help during the match, but as motivation to work harder in the future to avoid it ever happening again.

    I have heard the Emirates being likened to a wok, in that it takes time to develop its character and its history. With each season, I find the crowd a little more vocal for the big matches. What I would love to see would be a little more of the encouraging, ‘suck the ball into the net’, unconditional (or at least, less conditional) backing that some other teams receive. Yes, sometimes the team should inspire the crowd – after all, we are paying to be entertained – but we shouldn’t underestimate the power that a crowd can have in inspiring a team. Is it unrealistic to think we could have our own version of the ‘Gelbe Wand’ like Borussia Dortmund? Given Bill’s comment about the correlation between ticket price and noise (I agree), the answer is ‘probably not’, but it would be great if the support were to recognise that the team needs their support more than ever!

    Sorry for the long post!

  123. or her downfall ofc…

  124. Got carried away there: my last main sentence should read: … the answer is ‘probably’… (as in, yes, it is probably unrealistic)…

  125. oh have you guys noticed that plenty of players throw as far if not further than that Stoke dude but he alwys needs a towel to dry his bloody ball while the rest of em just throw long regardless??

    I dont like Stoke…

  126. Sometimes, Delap uses two towels. I don’t want to know why, but I did wonder.

  127. OMG was that a dribble against Barfa at about 1:10 in?

    What has happened to my beloved Arsenal?

  128. Poodle @ 7:47:

    I don’t think our current problems are really the players fault for the most part. I think they are trying the best they can. I think we could have had had better players at several positions but thats not the players fault. I think our management has made many bad decisions in the last 6 years some of which could not be seen as mistakes prospectively but its hard to be happy when the same mistakes are repeated. Using your analogy with a marraige, would you not say anything if your spouse continually ran up unmanagable credit card debt. How should we back the managers and board members if we don’t agree with many of their decisions. Do we not say anything and avoid blogging since you don’t want to be a negative influence or just pretend weto be happy so we don’t hurt their feelings. Do you constantly make optimistic statements even when you don’t believe? If that is how you define “back the team” then I suspect your definition is different then the large majority of fans since very few really act that way.

  129. Andy:

    If your on, how many times have I told you to avoid the good fan/bad fan debates. I guess I can’t take my own advice. Duh.

  130. Bill, with respect to your thoughts about the best introduction to Professional Football for Arsenal talent, I am no expert on these matters. However, I have thoughts about Arsene’s style of introducing his youth players to the Premiership. Arsene’s manner does not deflate the dreams of Youth Players about actually playing in the Premiership. Exciting Youth prospects choose Arsenal over other well established Premiership clubs because they understand they will have a chance of actually playing and not sitting on the bench. As we are well aware, there is no greater destroyer of the Soul of footballers than ‘sitting on the bench.’ They sit on the bench and some coaches will give them 5 min of a game which is not enough time to even work up a sweat!

    Arsene has a manner that is rarely duplicated in professional sports. Arsene actually plays these lads in games that matter. Youth players have represented Arsenal in the Champions’ League. This is a fact about which Arsene is sometimes derided in the Media. As well, Arsene regularly has the youth players represent Arsenal in several of the cup ties in England, virtually to the very end.

    Bill, I really do not give one hoot about cups or silverware. I do care about how our Manager conducts himself with football players. Yes there will be some players who will be enticed by large money offers by other clubs. But, Arsenal players who have come up through our system have a degree of integrity that speaks to loyalty towards the fans and club that has been engendered by a Youth Program that treats them as if they were purposeful Human Beings, Ashley Cole not withstanding.

  131. there are no good fans or bad fans simply good people and bad people.

  132. @bill

    ok bill, a very long reply, i can undestand if you do not bother to read it. However it would be interesting to get your opinions on it 🙂
    Ps. its a bit unstructured too….

    No i think sane arguments are totally ok. You do that, most of the time when you got an opinion you dont jump out and call everybody cluless and bash anything and everything do you? Most of the other posters here do that to.
    I agree the forums are there to be used for venting opinions and all that. But there is a thin line between venting opinions and pure abuse.

    My opinion is that you do not need a university degree to behave properly at a forum. Its not hard to citizse without being an ass. And its not hard to critizise withouth having to drag the player or the manager down into the mud and stap on them and the people that happen to support them.

    Look at yourself Bill, you manage to get your message across without turning into a dick. Do you find it hard? No? exactly. So why is it so hard for people like Jabba, AIC or Suga to do the same?

    its come to the point its not even any point arguing with them, because whatever you say you end up like a “deluded” fan in the end anyway.
    A fan that “has lost the plot” totally and that “are pro wenger and think wenger IS arsenal”.
    How did that happen??

    I think that is what pisses me off most. I can but only admire George and te others that acutally do take that fight.
    I just dont see the point in trading insults with some stranger on the net when all i really want is to discuss how we can become better with the resouces available to us at the moment.
    I want us to do good, and i cannot see how a demonstration or a anti wenger campain now will make us better equiped to achieve that goal.

    Things can always be done better Bill, there is always room for improvemet. That is in the core of sports and in the core of winning. the day you are satisfied you will stop evolving and thus stop winning. At the moment it is clear that alot of things can be improved at Arsenal. Nobody is denying that. But its also hard as an outsider to pinpoint what is wrong and who is not doing their job properly. Its hard because we get all our info from second hand sources.
    The reasons are also complex.
    Nobody knows what really happend this summer, except that it all went terribley wrong.
    Nobody really knows the boards 10 year plan for the finances of the club. For all we know maybe the board has decided to not do any large sponsorship deals until 2014 when our main ones go out and are preparing sponsorship packages that will attrackt bigger money investments.
    One has to remember that Arsenal is more than 25 players, its more than a football club. Its actually a massive multinational company with huge foregin investors. One most likley will need a masters degree in finance to understand our complex economy.
    The 25 men running around and kicking a ball is the “output” of our glorious company or club.
    The output is not good enough i agree.
    The scouts are responsible for finding players, why did they not find any good, available 15-20M players? Do we not have the best scouts in the world? if not why?
    i agree with you that sombody has not done their job, but i find it hard to pinpoint exactly what is wrong. And i think its almost impossible to do so with only second hand info available…

  133. Yes Bob. Been two weeks. Very hectic two weeks. Especially accommodation hunting. But settling down. A matter of days now.

  134. btw do you guys think anyone with anbition will every sing for Tottenham again after what they did to Modric?
    We had the best player in the world and let him go(cesc) but atlest that sends out clear signlas about how we treat players.
    Tottenham has Modric and refuses to let him go. How keen would you be to sign for them now? if you could choose between tottenham and another club that honors their “gentlemen agreemnts” with their players?

  135. Walcott is one of England’s best young players right not Capelle is not a good coach. he is killing the Three Lions. Its back to work for the guys. Now we have to a get a “W” this weekend.

  136. The comments of Steww, Matt, FunGunner, Gainsbourg69 and Bill started me thinking about people’s behaviour, both on- and off-line, but in particular, in a stadium. Why are, say, Stoke’s fans such a positive factor and why are Arsenal’s… well, let’s say, less often a positive factor? I have not yet had the pleasure of visiting the Britannia Stadium, but I imagine that a big part of its success is that it is expected that the home fans will actively back the team, and those who don’t will stand out (in a bad way). There is a strong social pressure to cheer/sing (similar to the dynamic that exists for away supporters of most teams – Bolton’s recent visit excluded!). At the Emirates, on the other hand, people mostly don’t cheer very actively, and those who do are thought to be, well, a little odd.

    Given that support in the stadium is one of the few things within the control of the supporters, my question to the group is, how can we change it so people are expected to sing/cheer/participate, not sit on their hands?

    (I take Bill’s point that it’s not an easy job to change the culture/nature of the support, especially when times are hard and the team is not thriving, but it seems that we don’t need to convince everyone, just enough to reach the tipping point.)

  137. Last?!

  138. Bradys right foot

    The atmosphere at the emirates at times is more akin to the baying mob at the colluseam demanding that they should be entertained. Frankly the Emirates groan is one of the most depressing sounds in sport.

    The most supportive crowds we get are at Carling Cup matches, enthusiastic, vocal and for some crazy reason the fans seem to come along and support the team. I actually expect the atmosphere to be electric against Sunderland especially when the Wenger out banner gets unfurled, I think it’ll galvanise the support and I hope the players see it too.

  139. I know it’s a bit late to be wading into the debate about the fans at the Emirates compared to Liverpool and Stoke but as it has never stopped me before…….

    I go to a lot of NY Yankee games every year and can say first hand that at times it rivals any EPL stadium for both passion and noise. However there are games when I sit there looking around wondering WTF!? Nothing and when I say nothing I do mean nothing. Not even the famed Bleachers Creatures making any noise. It must be pointed out that we are not always losing when this happens. Ironically it is usually when we have a slim lead but look edgy. Sound familiar? That edginess from the players is just as infectious to the fans as massive vocal support is to the players.

    I still have the 2-1 victory over Barcelona and if you ever get to watch that again you will see that in the last 20 minutes or so our fans were on their feet. Screaming their heads off EVERY time we charged forward. Barcelona were as close to pissing their pants as I have ever seen them and our players knew it, our fans knew it and dam did it show. In a weird coincidence the NY Yankees also moved to a new stadium and the same theories have been promoted. Not as intimate, the fans do not feel quite as at home, nor do the players. But I feel the real reason is that under Joe Torre, over almost the exact same time period, the Yankees were the team to beat and we knew it. Just like the Arsenal. And just like Arsenal if you wanted to win the title you had to beat us, very hard to do. So hard that we came to expect to win, not just the fans but the players too. Stoke however I feel are just happy to be in the EPL, so their fans are always up for it, whereas we demand trophies as if it is our right. Liverpool are one of the true legendary teams and are back knocking on the door again, there fans deserve some success and put many another teams fans to shame. But they too started booing their manager and got him the sack. They then booed and ran off his replacement. God love King Kenny if he wins shit over the next couple of years.

    I will take The Arsenal and The NY Yankees. Even with the Doomer fans. Both teams have them. And as an FYI the NYY have their own tv channel, YES, and guess which EPL team they have teamed up with? Yep, The Arsenal!! You see, quality always recognizes quality when it sees it.

  140. Martin Keown and Dennis Bergkamp take a little trip down memory lane, very funny.

  141. Limestonegunner

    Interesting conversation between these two Arsenal greats–thanks, Irish. One thing they mentioned is that they were surprised Patrick Vieira wasn’t brought in over the summer as a major priority. Similar thoughts in this other Keown piece about the Ajax environment and the use of former players. He makes a point about how the manager and training staff have to delegate resonsibilities and not feel threatened by all the returning star players who are learning how to coach and imparting their experiences to younger players. Is this code for Arsenal? The club is clearly in Keown’s thoughts judging from his pointed reminiscences with Bergkamp.

  142. Limestonegunner – Another great little article by Keown, thanks man. It is an interesting idea but one I find that is very particular to Ajax as they are renowned for their youth program. I do not know how introducing such a system into a different environment may work, whether it be Arsenal or the new FA facility as mentioned. It is part of the Ajax culture and as such is immediately accepted by both staff and players, not convinced yet that introducing such a system would not be more detrimental than it is worth where there is already a system in place, such as Arsenal. However, I do think it would be foolish not to compare our system to theirs and maybe tweak a few things if they are shown to be inferior to the “Ajax” way.

  143. Limestonegunner

    Irish, I think the idea of having former players involved in the club and passing along their experience, passion, and love of the club is not specific to Ajax. It is specific to great clubs that are confident enough of their present and future to honor and benefit from their past, their history. Scholes stays on as a coach, Ole Gunnar as well. Many Liverpool greats are in and around the club. The Yankees greats, since you are a fan, return to spring training, for example. Stars of North Carolina Tar Heels and Duke Blue Devils return to basketball camps and help out their colleges and young players. I don’t think Arsenal have yet gained the benefit of the most recent great generation of players and winners. That team was dismantled relatively quickly. So, instead we’ve got Stewart Robson offering his tactical advice on Arsenal Player and, with a mouth/ego like he seems to have, no doubt he is dropping his pearls to anyone at Colney/Emirates who will listen. Does this seem like a good thing?!

    I’d like to see Bergkamp come back as a coach. Henry is obviously very eager to be involved, and once he is done playing senior statesman at the Red Bulls, I want him to come back to Arsenal in some capacity, maybe to help Theo. Having Jens Lehmann around last year was a good thing. What would be wrong with Adams and Keown playing a role? None of this is to suggest Arsene Wenger needs any help or that he cannot turn around this season and lead us to future glory. Quite the contrary. He made those players greater as manager of Arsenal. It is more about sustaining a culture of winning the Arsenal way. They are all very big boosters of AW as well, which might be good for the current crop to experience during these difficult times.

    Here is another from the same trip. Bergkamp would like to come back to London at some point and has not sold his house…

  144. Limestonegunner – Excellent read again mate. What kind of balls did the Arsenal have signing him, after he was admittedly not great at Milan, when they new full well he would never fly to a game. LOL brilliant!! I am in full agreement with you about Robson, cannot for the life of me figure out how he got that job? I can’t listen to the twat either when he is commentating. I also agree with you and indeed the great Cruyff that having experienced former club players around the club can only be good for up and coming players. In point of fact we already do have several, Pat Rice, Steve Bould, Liam Brady. But yes I too would love to see the more modern era players coming home as it were, Henry, Bergkamp to name the two that would be my ideal choices. Although there are a few others I hope to god are not let within 10 miles of The Arsenal!!

  145. To ease the stress, today I tried Marijuana, this season just got a bit better 🙂

  146. Carib,

    Unless you inhaled it really is’t trying it!

    Interesting talk between Keown and Bergkamp. The analysis seems to be a defence that they can rely on and an extra target man. 4,4,1,1 with vP Behind a front man.

    I would definitely go for that. vP’s touch is so good.

  147. Fungunner @ 1:58 pm,

    Well (although often) said. Will the swine recognise the pearls or simply opt to continue pressing their noses in the media-filled trough and grunting?

  148. as gunners fan for the last 66years i have seen the demise of some great teams that were almost unbeatable in thier day[Forrest,Leeds,liverpool,Derby,Spurs ,eintrach,AJAX ETC, ETC-ARSENAL HAVE NEVER BEEN relegated,have never finiished lower than 18th in the very highest league in Europe-give the players,management some credit over the years for keeping our club in the forefront of football!Sure we had some bad years during these years but i am sure that NO club when approaching a game against the Gunners ever said’this is goingto be easy’!!get out thier,get behind the team and management and ENJOY football at the highest level-we can’t always WIN [ask Man.u.about relegation!!!]WE SHALL RETURN!!!!!

  149. Edward,

    Too true and great to hear from someone even older than myself.

    We shall return

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