RvP & Theo: Decision Time Should Be Sooner Rather Than Later

Arsenal is a selling club. You don’t sell  your best players, what sort of message does that send out?

The messages are loud and clear: Robin van Persie must stay at all costs; Signing him will be like having a new player; Losing him twelve months on from Fàbregas and Nasri, shows a lack of ambition. Which one of these you choose to believe – if any – underpins your vision of Arsenal Football Club. What message does it send to the rest of the squad? The answer to that is in the replacing of van Persie, that is the signal of the club’s intention. That is what defines the quality of the squad, ambitions et al.

van Persie is in the spotlight for all of the right reasons  and some of the wrong; scoring goals and the ink in his pen running out when it comes to signing a new deal. The telepathic understanding on the pitch between himself and Alex Song is extended off the pitch to his manager according to Peter Hill-Wood. Years ago, Norman Gillett had the exclusives from Arsenal managers appearing in the Daily Express sports pages; Hill-Wood has gone down a notch preferring the Daily Star as his media outlet of choice.

According to the chairman,

We haven’t talked to Robin yet, but I spoke to Arsene (Wenger) recently. He is very confident he will stay and I very much hope he will

From memory, I don’t think I have ever seen Arsène be pessimistic about a player’s future, not at this stage of the proceedings at least. And I am unconvinced that the Champions League is crucial to the Dutchman remaining at the club. Certainly it seems not matter to some players, M’vila for example apparently weighing up offers from Internazionale as well as Arsenal. Personally, I believe it will boil down to two issues: future signings and money. The former is being taken care of whilst the latter is not so much about matching the riches on offer at The Etihad or Nou Camp; it is about recognising the Dutchman’s worth, enabling him to remain settled.

The timing of his injury-free season was fortuitous to say the least, coming twelve months before the end of his current contract. The shop window is freshly cleaned and the new fashion has been fully displayed. Arsenal have benefitted as much as the player with his goals propelling the team into a possible top four finish when the start of the season and January suggested otherwise.

But the time has now come for decisions to be made. Arsène has made it abundantly clear that he wants the player to stay. The player has been positively non-commital in that whilst he has not derided the idea of finishing his career at the club, he has been positive about Arsenal as has his father in his views about his son’s relationship with his current employers. But not the defining statement.

All of the focus is on the player’s perspective but what of Arsenal? The club need the situation resolving as quickly as possible. Keen to retain the player they have options and appear to be, financially speaking, better placed to exercise them. They can sell or he remains for the final year of his contract, with the latter offering a longer-term perspective in acquiring a replacement. That is the key to both of these scenarios.

There is a nervousness in some quarters about these negotiations, about what the future will hold. My argument over all of this is that the negotiations need not be protracted. In all likelihood, van Persie has made up his mind already. He will know what the club is ready to offer; I am sure he probably knows who they are trying to sign to a certain extent; you suspect that dressing room gossip in that sense is somewhat better informed than those from outside care to admit. Nothing should be that much of a surprise.

Resolving the outcome immediately post-season serves both parties well. If he wants a move, Arsenal can facilitate that for him provided he tells them and a suitable replacement is ready. To me, that is the least he can do anyway. Having stood by the player for injury-riven seasons, is there not a shred of loyalty that precludes protracted negotiations? I would have thought so but this is not my decision to make, it is for the Dutchman. I don’t think it is wide of the mark though, to state that protracted negotiations will serve no-one’s purpose at all. And it is important to recognise that was not out of altruism on the club’s part; they knew they had a good player and wanted to retain his services.

And whilst the attention is on van Persie, Theo Walcott is in a similar position. I find his reluctance to talk to the club curious to say the least. He is a young man who has been inconsistently productive and ambitious as he is, has much learning to do. His career is at an important juncture; make the wrong move now and he might be the next Jermaine Pennant – obviously leaving out the criminality bit; the right move might see him fulfil that potential which is so readily talked about. Indeed it is down to him realise that himself, to know that his ambitions can only become true if he takes the step to the next potential. There are not many other clubs with as tolerant and nuturing an environment at the top level as Arsenal.

Posted on May 10, 2012, in Arsenal, Football, Premier League, Soccer, Transfer Gossip and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 192 Comments.

  1. Excellent and thoughtful piece Yogi.

    I hope RVP and Theo stay but, as you say, it’s who we replace them with if they leave that is the telling issue.

    Arsenal will continue whatever.

  2. arsenalandrew

    Yes, good post, measured and balanced as ever.

    Whilst RvP’s prospects have been done to death by way of discussion, I too am more puzzled by Theo’s situation. I half wonder if a combination of the noisy Doomers and his own (apparent) desire to play down the middle, is causing him to take his time on this?

    Or whether he is waiting to see which way Robin goes before deciding his next move?

    Alex Song is also a concern but I think much will become clearer in the days – rather than weeks – following Sunday’s result …

  3. “The timing of his injury-free season was fortuitous to say the least” yeah but it cuts both ways – his value has increased exponentially also.

    I would not be too worried if RVP left – I do think any offer over £30M should be considered — but it’s really a question of having a replacement in mind.

    It’s a thin argument at best, but it could even ultimately work well for the whole team as there does seem – to an extent – to be shades of Henry’s final season – the players always looking to him – when taking responsibility or picking a different pass might be better.

    Still the upheaval would be bad unless it was sorted quickly and obviously I’d far rather rather he stayed.

    The one thing I can say is that if he refuses to sign, I am not sure holding onto him for a season and letting him leave for free is good for anyone.

    Theo is a no-brainer – unless his wage demands are totally crazy we have to hold onto him – he’s just got a decent season under his belt – letting him go now, as he comes into his best years, would be awful.

  4. After last season, I don’t think there is any point in making outlandish claims or drawing conclusions based on rumours, or an apparant ‘sying goodbye’ type wave at the last home game. Maybe RvP after scoring the winner at WBA will rip off his Arsenal top to reveal a t-shirt with the slogan “Gunner For Life” and tell the Sky hack that he has signed a new deal and then we can move on from this crazy shit.

  5. Great post Yogi and very thought provoking!

    I am 1 who belieives that loyalty is ambition are going to play a big part in RVP’s decision. As Yogi said, I do think that he has already made a decision but I also think that he wants to see what the club does. His fortunes I also believe to be intertwined with those of Alex Song and Theo. All 3 players enjoy playing together and playing for Arsenal and I do think that if 1 of them were to leave it would be more difficult to sign the other 2.

    I hope and pray that we re-sign all 3 as Theo is 1 of my favorite players I would hate to see him go.

    I do think though with the addition of Podolski and the rumors of M’villa coming I think thus is the ambition that is so sought after and with that all 3 will resign.

  6. Pat Rice Double Winner: 1971, 1998, 2002
    Arsenal Doubles: 1971, 1998, 2002

    Not the sole reason for the success but something to throw back at anyone who underestimates his contribution to the club.

  7. I know 4-4-2 is out of vogue these days, with every other team seemingly playing 4-3-3 or 4-2-3-1, but I just wonder whether playing 2 up top or a 4-4-1-1 formation would suit our players better? Arsene has gone for the new formation in a big way and it would be a big deal to switch back, but as I said, I just think it may suit us better, in the short term at least. I mean, I am pretty sure we went for the new formation so we could build the team around cesc, erm, didnt we?

    Theo would get to play upfront with RvP, with Gervinho/Podolski/Oso kid and Ryo out on the wings. It won’t happen, but given Theo’s desire to play there coupled with his lack of desire (seemingly) to sign a new deal, the thought just crossed my addled mind.

  8. Ah Yogi, not everyone will be happy with you bringing this up when we still have one more match left. The players could be reading this and be distracted from thinking about West Brom, you know? Its all on your head if we don’t win 😉

    In general I always find it curious when players don’t re-sign immediately. Surely before the clubs makes a new offer there would have been some discussion with said player?

    Does anyone know how often players delay re-signing, and then end up extending their stay?

  9. very nice of the players celebrating with pat …it will remind them that they owe something to him ..and in his last game for the club there is nothing else other than a win..do it you little shits..do it for pat!

  10. C;

    I love Theo and I just can’t see him leaving (shit, didnt take me long to do what I promised i wouldnt) he seems very at home here, while Robin and his family love life in London, but you just can never tell these days, unfortunately. With wages close to £250k a week being offered, plus the cut an agent can make, it must be well hard to turn that down. We cannot match that and TBH, I would hate us to. Once again a club illegally funded by a sugar daddy, flouting all the protocols of sustainability and any semblance of a sane business model is fucking up the transfer market and destabilising every club’s better players, including the red mancs.

    It stinks. I just pray RvP is made of sterner stuff.

  11. @Henristic

    I think it is a bigger deal in futbol than in any other sport. Here in the US it happens all the time, great players delaying signing only to re-up with their team once the team has show ambition. I think it is more about the player wanting to see improvement and not just the “potential when everbody is healthy”. I have found that loyalty is a forgotten trait among many but amongst great players it is truly valued(there’s always exceptions). You look at Rooney, Messi, even Cesc; they are great players(no matter how much we all hate Rooney) who have showed tremendous loyalty to clubs. Did any 1 really believe that Cesc wouldn’t go back to Barca, was there anyone who truly believed that Rooney would leave Manure, is there any doubt that Messi would ever leave Barca thats because great players have a true sense of loyalty. I mean for me it makes sense but at times I must admit I do live in a fantasy world but I think Theo, RVP and Song are loyal players who Arsene has given the reins to and unlike Cesc when leaving is brought up they quickly dismiss that notion.

  12. To right Dex – if he were to move to City, I calculated he’d be turning down c£20-30M extra over a 4 year contract.

    Fucking madness.

  13. c

    Rooney’s loyalty only shone through when his pay packet hit £250k per week. Read into that what you will.

  14. @Dexter

    Yea mate you gave in pretty quickly but its an emotional topic so I think we will all give you a pass. It would really hurt if Theo left as I to love Theo and what he brings and RVP as well as Song. I do think kthat 250K a week is ridiculous to be honest but here are a couple things that i find interesting:

    1. Where else could RVP go and not only Captain a side but be the main unqestioned man uptop, nowhere.
    2. Who else is going to utilize Theo or even let him play through the middle or even guarantee that he will, nobody
    3. Song is the one that i am most worried about because the only other player in the world like him is Yaya so he would be able to go anywere but who would give him the freedom that he has and not just say “your our DM play that and nothing else”, NOwere.

  15. Losing our best player(s) two years in succession is a recipe to keep treading water and a handicap to a real serious challenge for the title. We all know Arsenal is run like a proper business and no matter the hyperventilating and hand-wringing by us fans can change that fact. We can only trust that Arsene with the support of the Board find a way to keep Robin, Theo and Alex on new contracts. These are players who could lead us to the title shortly.

  16. Yogi I guess your right but I also doubt to be honest that he would have left but thats just my feeling. Trust your way wiser than me(not a hint of sarcasim honestly in that sentence because its true).

  17. C;

    Rooney hasnt shown anything of the sort man, while Messi is the best paid player on the planet regularly winning things. If Barca had the same kind of fallow period we are experiencing, I wonder if he would still be staying there, likewise Cesc. The thing is in Spain, its a lot safer bet in a 2 team league.

    Hopefully, we can show we can challenge next season, by our signibgs and performances. The new number 2 could be the most important signing of em all.

  18. finally we get a very good, article,balanced with good points which is like a very good bargain these days,rare!!

  19. Miami Arsenal

    I sit here and hope that RvP will indeed sign a new deal and the debate can finally be put to bed. That said, loyalty is not something you see much of from anyone in any area of the real world now. It is the “what can you do for me” mentality that prevades most people’s thoughts especially on issues of commensation, I’m pretty sure I would not be so different. It is not how much money is enough money anymore, it is how much more can you pay me that is over an above what i have been offered. I truly hope that this situation is not what RvP is looking for but I won’t be Narsi foolish anymore.

    As for Theo, I believe his mind is still stuck in the “I’m a striker, play me there” or I might just find someone who promises they will.

    Of course I could be wrong about it all 🙂

  20. good to see the boss confirm Bould as the new number 2. always good when a team recruits from within it ranks, plus Bould is a guy that knows a lot about the club, the culture

  21. C

    Song is the most concerning for me too, although there was a piece in one of the tabloids stating he wanted assurances over his position due to our interest in M’Villa. So that (if true!) bodes well.

    I dont think any of the 3 are in any way similar to the 2 who left last season; Cesc was always going back, while Nasri was not at the club long enough to be considered part of the furniture, or anywhere close to being considered a stalwart, the most endearing thing he had going for him was that chant!

    Alex, Theo and Robin are woven into the club’s fabric having spent a long long time here and I think leaving will be a lot harder for them.

    Ultimately the club need to show they really want them (money) and that they can match their ambitions too (trophies).

    We appear to be doing our bit so far.

  22. Plastic Patrick

    Where did Wenger say that man?

  23. tissiam – it’s an every day occurrence here.

    Welcome to marvellous world of ACLF.

  24. firstly, rvp signing a new contract or not does not mean he will stay or leave. he has a year to run and will be 29 by the time the season starts. if the club were to run his contract down he will be 30 years old and available on a free. i am not so sure too many suitors would pay him so much next year. This really is a tough call on how it could go. If someone was to offer £25m+ for a player who will be 30 years old and available on a free next year, the club would be mad to turn it down, especially when you consider the player has only had 18 months injury free in 7 years. If man city were to offer dzeko plus £15m shoukld we turn that down? if madrid offered higuain plus £15m or benzema in a straight swap, should we turn that down? what if barca offered £15m plus david villa?

    rvp and theo signing is not pivotal, replacing them if they leave is pivotal. we started the season with a front 3 of walcott van persie arshavin if we started next season with hazard djeko podolski instead would that be so dissapointing?

  25. Phanuel Odari

    Let RVP and Walcott go so that we can buy fresh and enthusiastic blood who will take us to our trophy filled season.Has anyone seen what Wigan’s Moses can do almost single handedly? Has Wenger been watching the EPL,LA LIGA and THE BUNDESLIGA? If so then he must have seen these players:Fletcher,Benzema,Rodalega,Odemwinge,Dempsy and Kalou.All of them have one thing in common;they can score at will especially when they have a very good midfield behind them.Secondly,they are typically Wenger signings.Whoever backs the stay of players who think they have outgrown Arsenal,is courting ulcers because this season has already proved to us that it is more to do with how much ambitious a team is that decides what it takes from a given season.When we refused to be complacent,it worked but after thinking that we had arrived,we lost very cheap matches including the recent Norwich draw.

  26. @Dexter

    Your right about Messi being the highest paid player in the world but still a very loyal man even reading about his desire to bring Argentina glory even though they consistently fall short or is unwavering loyalty to Barca even if somebody offered him an even more outrageous sum.

    Song contrary to what people keep saying about M’villa being his replacement, I think it has more to do with the fact that Arsene wants to maybe give Song more freedom while still bossing defensively. Song will always be 1st choice unqestioned for me. I completely agree with you about them being woven into everything Arsenal. They are the pillars(along with Verm, Sczny, Kos) for which Arsene is building his team around similar to Henry and the lot that the Invincibles were built around.

    Like Jonny and Yogi have said, I hope they re-sign before the Euros or even better have them all sit around Pat Rice after we get the 3points against WBA and declare their undying love for everything Arsenal and all 3 put pen to paper.

  27. Dexter @ 12:23 pm

    I agree we need a tweak against West Brom. Our right flank has been decimated. Assuming Theo doesn’t make it we also have Arteta and Sagna out. That is our first choice right side of defence, midfield and attack.

    We need someone in midfield (Ramsey probably) under strict instructions to cover the right. I’d stick Chamakh up top with VP playing off him and maybe even Ox or Gervinho on the right to pin back their left-back. I guess it would look like a 4-4-1-1 with Gervino joining the attack and Ramsey covering.

    Or we could just forget about defensive tactics, go 4-3-3 and try to give them a good battering!

  28. This piece sums up the entire contract situation, Van persie like every other player that has left has made up his mind where he wants to be, but maybe he is trying to see whether circumstances can influence that decision between now and when the contract is offered as for Theo he still has a lot to prove as a young footballer he should not allow it get into his head that he has arrived and is world class, arsenal has given him an opportunity not many clubs will give; patience & playing with the first team of a big club at such a young age…….but whateva the case is they should not give the club and its fans a headache on speculation, the club has been down this road before, if they choose to remain that would be fantastic, if not it doesn’t stop the club from existing but would only be fair that they sort out their futures before the beginning of the next campaign cos there would be no time with the euros coming up

  29. Losing first teamers isnt an option. We cant keep replacing players. We need to be adding quality to the first team not replacing quality we sell on. We have players we can afford to move on and these are the ones that need upgrading, so to speak. We need more options from the bench, not filler. How many times did we see Chamakh/Park just sit there when we needed a goal? Sure injuries have played their part but lack of top quality subs have been a bane for us for a while now.

  30. Markus, I too have been mulling over the possibilty that we might see Chamack start with RVP in this last game of the season. Looking at past selections it is unlikely. But then some people believe that The Arsenal never vary their tactics, although they seem to go 4-2-4ish often enough.* Who knows? Not me.
    Let’s hope Roy’s too busy at the moment to worry about this Arsenal game. And that if Gibbs & walcott play against the new England manager that it might be Arsenal who benefit from Roy being at the game and not WBA!

    *Careful now. We don’t want to upset any self declared realists out there who might be reading.

  31. atid

    As a long time admirer of both Benzema and Dzeko, I would probably go for either of those deals, although I would rather one of them as an addition obviously though!


    Of course, a club doesnt want to keep losing its better players and the chances of winning anything decrease each time we have to try and re-build/replace, but unfortunately there’s not much anyone can do about it really, apart from keep giving players new deals every season.

    I think Chamakh is worth keeping hold of. How about Drogba on a free?

  32. Even if there was nothing to play for Sunday, the players should send Pat off with an outstanding performance. Everyone’s going on about how the baggies players will want to give ol Roy a good send off, but he’s been there 2 minutes compared to Our Mr Arsenal.

    It is him who deserves the big hoo haa and fantastic and fitting send off.

    Thanks for everything Pat.

  33. dupsffokcuf

    The Atletico-Athletic game wasn’t the game I was hoping it would be. Still, I’d rather have watched the second half then be overuled in favour of the Apprentice. *sobs*.

  34. everybody,

    Hunter13 used to blog/post on “Arsenal Vision” and was regularly argued against etc. He is a known member of the AAA, be warned…

  35. I want to think that Theo’s waiting to see what Robin does, but if the Dutchman’s made a decision surely he’d have told his assist-provider? To lose both – even with Podolski and the Ox ready to stop in – would send out a terrible message.

  36. Yogi:

    Great post again. I hope all 3 stay. In the end I expect it will come down to how much we are willing to offer in their pay packages, especially for RVP. I am sure the club has already approached him and his wanting to wait until the end of the season is usually a nice way to say he is shopping around. How can you blame him, almost all of us in his position would do the same. I agree completely that whatever the outcome that it is resolved quickly. Fingers crossed he is leading the line next season with a lots of crisp 10 pound notes piling up in his bank vault.

    By the way. I found Norma Jean. Nice to have the gravatars back.

  37. I guess everyone has their price. If someone were to come in for him for something around the 30 million mark then, should we sell him? Sure we should. Look at the situation from a logical viewpoint RVP is almost 29, soon he’s bound to depreciate in value which currently is at it’s peak considering he has had the season of a lifetime and has also played a part in every league game so far. He has a record of being prone to injury and although he has somehow managed to remain healthy there is not concrete evidence that he’ll continue to remain so next year, remember Vermaelen playing almost every game before his season long injury woes? RVP fetching us a good deal would not be an indicator of our intentions for the season ahead, instead who we bring in to replace him would be.

  38. ruar you are confused…the only ones who argued against me in a.v was spectrum and colesy the two spud trolls … and thats only because i was ripping them to shreds togther with ther wenger hatred 🙂

    dont talk if you dont know………

  39. what is aaa again ?

  40. Anti Arsenal Arsenal. That was I think a term coined by Untold to describe the likes of Le Grivel.

  41. @atid

    While i do think Dzeko is a good player and finisher I wouldn’t want him leading out front but Benezma i wouldn’t mind.

    I wouldn’t mind Drogba for free

  42. cheers evil !

  43. Fine post Yogi with your usually excellent summation.

    re: Theo
    “There are not many other clubs with as tolerant and nuturing an environment at the top level as Arsenal.”

  44. Correct Evil – that was definitely Mr Attwood’s coinage.

  45. That comment at 1:38 was me. Somehow word press screwed up my name. Hope this fixes it.

  46. I think they should let RVP go if they can bring in another proven striker… some to cover Lukas do you guys agree with song as player of the year? bit of an odd pick…


  47. @Passthesugar

    Are you mad or mentat? What other proven striker would we be able to get that not only replaces RVP’s goal scoring but his leadership and as a Captain amonst Captains(how many international captains are on this squad). I’d rather he stay and lead our line because while everybody talks about he’s 29-30, he has been fully fit until now which works and also he was never a player like Henry that relied on his pace but more intelligence, quick beautiful runs and that Left foot that one of the most deadly in the world.

  48. Odd pick? Song has been immense all season.

  49. Le Boss confirms Steve Bould will take over from Pat Rice as his no2.

  50. I would love to see Arsenal hold on to its key players.

    Fans have seen too many decent players depart for various reasons, but they did depart. Flamini, Hleb, Ade, Toure, Gallas, Eboue, Clichy, Nasri, Cesc, Eduardo, etc.

    Some major clubs have deep pockets and the wages offered are unrealistic for the Arsenal business model.

    The financial playing field may not seem fair, but the balancing factor is endless talent globally and your manager’s ability to have his team over-achieve (case in point Wigan).

    There may not be another exact RvP but there are other solid strikers who can fit into our system of play and its quite possible the team just might win achieve more.

    If we were to lose RvP or Theo, Cavini (Napoli) would be my first target.

  51. Congratulations to Steve Bould! Thank you Pat Rice.
    We hoped. We dreamed. we expected this to happen, but it is still a very nice occasion. And this means that Stevie B might be a senior team manager in the CL for three games, which could be more then ‘Appy ‘Arry next season!

  52. Both will stay for the season at very least.

    In Theo’s case he will probably have to agree to stay within the ‘confines’ of the club’s much touted salary policy. While RvP is an undisputable world class player who can almost name his price Theo is not and is still guilty of periods where the game passes him by. Age and/or experience will hopefully remedy that. Brilliant and not so brilliant in almost equal amounts. Theo also has increasing competition within the squad from Chamberlain and possibly Miyachi so again he can’t really be demanding unrealistic sums from the club.

    Buying players like Podolski and hopefully M’Vila only improves the squad when you are keeping hold of your better players to work with new signings.

  53. @Arsession

    While yes Cavini would be a great choice you must also understand that he is going to command the same amount if not more money that RVP. You and most of us have spoken about the wages being unrealistic but read this that i have read about Manshiteh:

    Between 2008, when Abu-Dhabi-based oil magnate Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al-Nahyan bought them, and the end of last season, the club’s total cash outlay was £930.4m, of which only £365.3m was generated from their own operations.

    The remainder – £565.1m – had to be supplied by Mansour, the club’s billionaire benefactor.

    In the first three years under Mansour, they spent £266 million cash on players after sales.

    Over the same period the cumulative outlay on wages was £390 million, meaning City were spending on salaries alone more than their income, of £365.3 million, although the club would point to the £61.6 million they spent on the regeneration of area of Manchester in which they are based.

  54. Regarding the Chamakh starting debate, we went over it before the Norwich match. Sticking him on gives VP more space. It’s no coincidence that he scored 2 five minutes after Chamakh came on. You can be damn well sure Woy’s first instruction to his centre backs will be to mark VP out of the game. If he doesn’t start and things aren’t going our way I hope to hell we bring him on with enough time left to see the benefit.

  55. Yes!

    Steve Bould as the new assistant! Fantastic signing! Welcome aboard Bouldy!!

  56. Markus

    Playing Chamakh would give the WBA defenders something else to think about and another striker with different strengths to worry about too.

  57. pedantic george

    Hunter 13 is AAA??????Well i have never heard anything as ridiculous in all my pip.
    I don’t think we should worry unduly about Theo.If Robin signs Theo will follow.And if not we will get a handy wedge for him and his detractors will have to find a new scapegoat.
    Also if Robin goes he should take Song and his “sand iron” leg with him ,as he will be of less value to us without Robin to sink the putt.

  58. As I said earlier, we could go round and round in circles trying to figure out what could happen, or trying to decipher any real or imaginaty signals the players are giving out.

    No poibnt really.

    Jesus Yogi what a shite topic for today’s post, man! 🙂

  59. n1 george, maybe ruar is spectrum in disguise ..haha….ohhh the pain .. that poor boy … 😉

  60. c
    I agree with everything you stated “after the 1st paragraph”.

    Its obvious he will attract attention from other clubs. I’m only saying that he would be my primary target.

    After 6 fallow seasons, no one knows what Arsenal are willing to pay to keep RvP or the mindset of Arsenal/Arsene as to how much is needed to spend (wages) to find a solid replacement for next season.

  61. I agree with starting Chamakh. RvP will thrive on the space he creates, and the Moroccan is no slouch when it comes to pressing and defending from the front.

    Can I ask why you so excited about the Bouldy announcement? Is it because you feel he might change/improve things, or because you’re simply happy for him that he got promoted?

    I can see why someone may make that mistake. Hunter frequently uses language associated with doomers, and the way he refers to our players (or even Arsene) sometimes makes we wonder if he isn’t on some kind of piss take, like Muppet sometimes does to doomers.

  62. Hunter is many things but he CERTAINLY isn’t AAA!!! 😉

    Lol Dex – you tell him. Wot a wanker. 😉

  63. Marcus & Dex
    agree with your solid points about Chamakh’s inclusion.

  64. @Steve

    Yes Theo does have bouts out inconsistency but so do all players, RVP didn’t score at home for a couple of games. Theo is 2nd on the team in goals not to mention the countless assists that he has provided. I think we must also take a look at games in which he hasn’t played and watch the right flank that he mans with Sagna, against Norwich it wasn’t nearly the same or nearly as effective even when the Ox came on(even though Bacary was already out injured). I think that while still just 23 he is going to be world class and I would hate for Arsenal not to enjoy the fruits of his labor

  65. Akintunde oshodi

    Rvp should please stay cos after god he should be the nest person to be praised and his wages should be increased like that of nasri and fabrigas

  66. Henristic;

    You have to ask why Bould’s promotion should engender a few happy utterings man? He’s part of the club’s recent history, has been with us for ages as a coach and has seen and brought through many players as well as working with others. For continuity alone, its a great signing.

    Jeeez, talk about suck all the fun out of something! 🙂

  67. Limestonegunner

    I hope the players are much more focused on WBA than we seem to be. Balanced and interesting post, YW, but it has stimulated a rather strange and morbid, to my mind, discussion. With days left to secure 3rd, with CL in the balance-it seems strange that we’ve been obsessed with possible transfers and calmly speculating on the departures of our best players again.

    I’m starting to feel a bit more nervous about Sunday. All the talk from and around the club gives me a premonition of danger in this tie. Maybr it is good we aren’t Discussing WBA too much, i don’t know. It just serms strange. Despite the historical record v. WBA, it is a tricky fixture and a pressure filled game. Fear is even worse than complacency fro the way we play. Hopefully we will be well prepared and approach the fame with the right mentality: confidence, determination, and concentrated effort.

  68. Limestonegunner

    Apologies for the numerous iPhone typos above!

  69. C

    Every player has periods of average/poor form, but only Theo gets pulled up about it every five fucking minutes by so-called Gooners and fuckwit pundits alike.

    It’s laughably pathetic.

    Rooney, Nani, Bale, Modric (most over rated player in the league), Suarez, Torres (don’t laugh i am making a serious point) Drogba, Mata, Silva, Dzeko, Aguero…

    All have been out of sorts and inconsistent at times this season.

  70. arsenalandrew

    Hunter a reverse Muppet? Seems a tad unlikely …

    The AAA thing had somehow passed me by; does that make most of us here the AAAA?

    And those few who choose to post anonymously the AAAAA.

    And to think I used to believe football was easy to follow …

  71. Congrats to Steve Bould. I am sure he is a great person and a great coach. Just what the team needs, continuation of the status quo. Frightening thought what might have happened if someone outside of the inner circle came along with some fresh ideas.

  72. @Arsession

    No i agree with what your saying about making him a primary target but i was just stating the obvious. Nobody does know how Arsene values RVP just that he does and he does enough to make him Captain and publically call and think that he is going to resign. Thats good enough for me at the moment. Now as it is Thursday i will start to focus even more and more on WBA. I say we go all out attack similar to the lineup @ the Emirates against Milan except Santos as LB and Le Coq as RB. Then after we are up put in the likes of Benayoun and Ramsey for their tireless work ethic and tell our back 4 and unless counter-attacking Song to defend like all hell!

  73. henristic i dont understand your comment but then again there are many things i dont understand about arsenal fans in general so there it goes …. lol… i do use harsh language alright against all those who think arsenal was something close to real madrid, ajax and milan prior to wenger;s arrival….. and against all those who want to bellittle the achievement of transforming arsenal into a world class 21st century football club in just 16 years.

  74. Bill, I understand your sarcasm re your 3-10 post, however I’m genuinely delighted to see Bould in the job. Hopefully he will do alot more work with our defense that Pat did. It’s still the one area that really concerns me.

  75. Oh dear Bill, upset because Mourinho isnt the new assitant coach I see. Yes because having a number 2 from the big bad outside world would have rocked your black and white simple world wouldnt it bud?

    I am sure Bouldy has only got the job because he only has a two word vocabulary; “yes Arsene”. And he knows precisely how the manager likes his morning cafe au lait.

  76. @Dexter

    I completely agree with everything you said except Modric being the most overrated player as that distinction goes to his midfield Spud compatriot Parker.

    Yea i don’t understand the backlash that Theo gets because if he isn’t doing a job offensively you can always find him doing a job helping Sagna defensively but please dont get me started because Theo takes shit from media and Gooners alike yet he is 2nd on the team in goals and has provided a plethora of assist not to mention how he has performed time and time again since this season we have an over reliance on Theo and Bacary or Theo and whoever. Who helped us in the CL qualifier, Theo scored or was that ball of pace somebody else and thats just 1 example.

  77. Limestonegunner

    Chamakh has hardly started a game all season. He’s been performing better off the bench; let’s build in that if needed rather than throw him in from the beginning.

  78. JD

    Don’t waste your breath man, Bill jumps from one ship to the other. He used to have big man love for John Terry, but you dont hear him going on about how we should be more like the chavs these days.

    He probably doesnt even realise that Bould was a great defender and has coached title and cup winning youth teams.

    Utterly gob smacked by the lack of respect shown to an Arsenal great. Martin Keown, then Bould were my hopes for the job, so I am chuffed.

  79. The Real Stew Black

    Nasty sarcastic little post there Bill. Those of us who love the club, the ethics and the approach and all the lovely football it produces are quite happy with more of the same thank you.
    Obviously we’d like to see us complete a season without missing huge swathes of first teamers and their replacements and their replacements replacements because then a serious title challenge would be a given, but otherwise more please.

  80. pedantic george

    I agree with LG.
    The final game of the season is hardly the time to experiment.

  81. Notoverthehill

    Yogi, you must have the patience of a “gunner”, to put up with the court jester or is it court fool, XIIIHunterXIII. The heart may be in the right place, but his wittering on, takes the biscuit for his inanity!

    In the case of Mr Robin Van Persie, how much is how much? My own belief is that Mrs Van Persie and the family will be in the forefront of the present deliberations, if any! Darren Dein of course will be having “off the cuff” discussions with other “unofficial” agents. The crux is the “over 30 thingy” and how this affects the new contract talks. I suspect Mr Wenger is looking at 4 years as the maximum, my personal view would be 5 years minimum. RVP will be due a testimonial if he stays with The Arsenal. A decision which is not ours to make. The quickest mile is the last mile “home” in X…….

  82. Dex:

    “I am sure Bouldy has only got the job because he only has a two word vocabulary; “yes Arsene”. And he knows precisely how the manager likes his morning cafe au lait.”

    Dex, I guess i underestimated you all this time. You really have figured it out. 🙂

  83. pedantic george

    Yes Bill ,you are a very naughty man.
    Continuity has seen us in the top 4 for 16 years and won 2 doubles plus an unbeaten season.

  84. Here’s my team for Sunday;

    Rice (c) – Squillaci – Djourou – Miquel
    Frimpong – Diaby
    Park – Arshavin – Brady

  85. @dexter

    I hate your lineup except for Rice, we should start him since we lost our other RB Sagna

  86. So naturally after seeing that twitter photo my brain is screaming “ROBIN’S GOING AND JACK IS OUR NEW NUMBER TEN”.

  87. pedantic george

    If people don’t like Hunter or his posting style ,then scroll past him and don’t punish yourself.
    But what he has done to deserve the treatment he gets is beyond me.
    If. the likes of him have become the enemy ,we are leading too sheltered a life in our ACLF world.

  88. George

    He does get up a few people’s noses. I think I might start calling him Charlie.

  89. Limestonegunner

    For WBA, I want those most in form and most confident playing. Whoever is least likely to panic, let nerves take over, or let their heads drop. Young players can be inconsistent and lack the maturity to keep playing their game but on the other hand can be fierce and passionate competitors.

    We’ll seewhat the Boss and what he goes for. But from my perspective I am banking on Coquelin having these battling qualities and would prefer him over Djourou in RB if Jenks isn’t available. I trust that what Jenks might lack in experience, he would bring in absolute committment and effort. I think Djourou feels much more comfortable in CB, so I’d have him on the bench able to come on in either position as needed. I start Santos. Central midfield picks itself if Le Coq is at RB. We don’t have any options other than bringing Benayoun back and he has excelled in a more forward role. So if Theo isn’t ready, is it Gerv or the Ox? I’ll go with experience to start as we have young Le Coq out of position– Gerv, it is. The key is whether Ramsey can play deeper with discipline and decisiveness? I’d probably let him play more advanced and ask Rosicky to pair with Song. I’d try to try to create from the wings and have the midfield first try to concentrate on holding possession and position through the middle until we establish our advantage there.

  90. I think Bould will indeed freshen things up. He will bring his own ideas and because his knees aint a knockin or a knackered like ol pat’s he will also take a more active role and participate in training too. The fact he was a defender will be welcomed by most Gooners too, I’m sure.

    I doubt he would have taken the role if his input wasn’t welcome. Its a pretty sad state of affairs when Gooners would like to imagine the manager only wants a glorified Oui man.

  91. @LG

    I hear what your saying mate but why not go out crush their spirits early and then play counterattacking football?

    Le Coq—Kos—Verm—-Santos

    Go out and get a couple like against Milan and then maybe bring on Ramsey for Ox and then pairing Song and Mozart with Ramsey advanced but still pressing all over the pitch and then whoever doesn’t start on the wing either Benayoun, Theo or Gervinho bringing them on or even Gibbs and pushing Santos hire into a true wing back role thus giving us more defensive nature but players that all excel at position and if need be counter attacking so that it ends up something like:

    Le Coq—-Kos—-Ver—-Gibbs
    Theo—–RVP——-Santos/Benayoun(this position at the end would focus mostly on tracking back defensively.

  92. George:

    I have absolutely nothing against Steve Bould or Pat Rice or anyone on the staff. No secret for the last 3 years that I think the coaching staff should be add a new face or 2 from outside, especially a defensive coach. Have absolutely no idea how that could hurt the team, it might even help. Pat Rice retiring would have given the perfect opportunity.

    I tend to get obsessed with certain ideas like this and no matter how much I bang on its probably not going to happen so hopefully you guys are right and its not really an important issue. You have been right on a few occasions in the past. 🙂

  93. I think Wenger has earned the right to do whatever he pleases – and I’m not even remotely what most would consider a true AKB – I don’t see why he should have a number two, who has no understanding of the set-up.

    Bouldy will bring something to the table – I have no doubt.

    The expectations of the arrogant entitlement monkeys (AEMs) is due to the success he has brought us – the fact that they view then last 7 years as failure is their problem – I don’t.

    I’ll say it again this has been a brilliant and enjoyable season.

    And it’ll be even better once we’ve clinched third on Sunday.


  94. Good points Limestone

    I think the team will be the one that started vs Norwich, apart from Coquelin for Sagna and hopefully Theo for Gervinho.

  95. arsenalandrew

    I think Steve Bould is an awesome appointment.

    Not only a winning track record at the highest levels as a player and significant success as a coach, he is fully steeped in all things Arsenal, our traditions, the way we work and our expectations.

    We are lucky to have him.

  96. Bill

    You want a defensive coach? WE have just signed one. I really am at a loss to understand what it is you actually want. I am not 100% sure you even know man.

    Simply saying ‘someone from outside’ is hardly an intelligent argument dude. mark lawrenbson was employed as a defensive coach when Keegan was at Newcastle, they shipped even more goals.

    Its niot a defensive coach you want, you want a defensive minded team, like your beloved chavs. You need to get over that shit.

    Fuck me bandy and some people think Hunter is annoying? 🙂

  97. Indeed Jonny. Fuck the AEMs!

  98. longblackcloud

    Bill – Steve Bould has been coaching the youth teams, so surely that qualifies him as being from outside? Not outside the Arsenal but I would have thought from outside the 1st team circle.
    Sounds like the best of both to me, a man who understands the club but new to the 1st team picture

  99. Ideal scenarios for the end of this season and the beginning of next;

    1) Pat Rice’s replacement is announced and is a top signing. CHECK
    2) We beat WBA and/or finish 3rd.
    3) RvP signs a new deal AT ARSENAL!/
    4) Song and Theo follow suit.
    5) We sign some quality players.
    6) Jack returns from injury with no ill effects.
    7) One or 2 youth players make the step up to the 1st team.
    8) Arshavin returns to AFC
    9) A few who need to move on, are moved on/sold.
    10) Diaby has an injury free season

  100. Dexter

    You can’t assume Bould to be a defensive coach purely on the basis of where he played in Graham’s sides. Unless of course you have been on the training pitch with the youths and you see that all the work he does is of a defensive nature?

    Pat Rice was a defender as you will know, Boro Primorac was an international defender, both have worked with Wenger throughout his time at the club but not to my knowledge as defensive coaches.

    He will have great knowledge of course that he can pass on but his work will largely be as Wenger’s number 2 and assisting him in whatever that entails. None of us really know which makes the criticism Rice has received all the more laughable.

    When ex-players move from playing to coaching / management their area of skill & expertise is not simply that of their playing career. Brady heads up Youth Development but doesn’t simply look for genius like left footed midfield players.

  101. Dex – perfect man, I’d LOVE all of your list to come true!

    Of the lot I’d say the two least likely/most difficult are 8 & 10.

  102. 9gerianGunner

    Very nice piece YW.Your piece last sunday put our destiny back in our hands.We all need more of your positive stuff to excel against WBA.

    On Van Persie I read he has bought a new house and would love to stay in london with Madrid or Barca the only option if given an extraordinary offer

    As for Theo and Song I believe they will do whatever the Captain does which is to sign a new contract

    These transfer rumours are killing me.I hope we sign the next world best player

  103. @longblackcloud
    I agree with you completely. In Bould we have someone who understands what Arsenal is about, who lives our philsophy, but at the same time due to that he hasn’t been involved with the first team we can expect that he’ll probably do things a bit different than Rice did. If that’s going to be good or bad, we will see, but nevertheless I am excited by his appointment. I think he squarely deserves that chance after all the good work he has put in with your youngsters.

  104. Steve

    You wasted all that time on a throwaway joke comment man, it was a cooment to try and appease the eternally unappeased Bill! But thanks anyway mate!

    I am sure the near post flick ons from corners will be something to look out for next season too. 🙂

  105. Yeah, you could well be right there Jonny.


    Yep, Bould has been king of his own lil kingdom for a while seperate from the yes man culture that has obviously pervaded the inner sanctum of the 1st team! 🙂

  106. @Dexter

    Your list is simply brillant! While i do think a couple of them are in doubts(8,10) i think the rest could come true. Can you please add a 11. winning a trophy.

  107. C;

    Course I can man, but my scenarios only go up to the beguinning of next season, you’ll have to start your own one for that! 🙂

  108. 9gerianGunner

    A Cultured Left Foot.That must be van Persie’s and next term Podolski’s

  109. longblackcloud

    Anyone think another advantage of having Bould next to Wenger is we could be a decrease in the amount of abuse, the likes of Hughes and Pullis direct towards our bench during matches. Then we can get away from them crying on TV because Arsene doesn`t like them and won`t shake their spetic, disease ridden hands.

  110. Notoverthehill

    From the London Evening Standard:

    Tom Conti up in arms over Thierry Henry’s ‘nightmare’ plans for aquarium

    Conti, 70, said: “If someone wants a large house why do they not just buy one somewhere else? Why do they have to knock it down? It causes such disruption. The noise will just be colossal because he will have to drill down. It’s an absolute nightmare.
    “The problem is he wants to build this enormous fish tank and I suppose he is going to have to build a whole new house so he can house that.”

    It would seem that TH is returning home?

  111. It’s basically up to Robin. The club can only put forward their best financial offer and most persuasive arguments, he will decide if his future lies with us or elsewhere. The most important thing, as you say, is that we get a decision ASAP. (I am happy to bake muffins on a regular basis for the little kids if that would help, Robin.)

    Focus for WBA is essential, and that goes for fans as well. I feel the connection between the fans and the team is sympathetic, so if we start losing focus or counting our chickens, or getting really tense, I worry that that transmits itself to the boys in the stadium. We’re like a Greek chorus to each other. Staying mentally keyed up and physically relaxed is a tough enough trick to pull off at the best of times.

    @ Dexter | May 10, 2012 at 1:20 pm
    Quite right. It woul be the perfect send-off.

    Some well-deserved praise and appreciation from Arsene in his presser and fantastic news about Steve Bould.

    And nice wishlist, too.

    @ Evil
    “Le Grivel.”
    ha ha. Nice one.

    @ pedantic george | May 10, 2012 at 3:34 pm
    Agree with that.

    @ longblackcloud | May 10, 2012 at 4:30 pm
    ha ha

  112. @Dexter

    Yea I guess i will

  113. Dex:

    I think its fair to say that almost everyone in the world thinks that our team defense has been the single biggest problem we have had for 5 years.. Even Arsene has said this several seasons running. This year we have shown potential and played better at times, but inconsistency is again a huge problem and in the end we are going to concede close to 50. I am not trying to downplay what we have accomplished but we all believe there is plenty of talent on this team and we all think this squad is capable of improving its results.

    Say what you want about me, but is it really that hard to understand the idea that our defending might improve if we brought in someone who has not been part of the process during all this time and might bring some fresh ideas to the table?

  114. Who is the new Academy coach?

  115. Anyone else feel like applying… 🙂

  116. longblackcloud @ 4.30 knows.

    Wait. Shall i try to argue that it is not a good appointment? A bit like trying argue that the club needs to sign more CBs in order to improve D-fence in a season when they had six CBs and two rookie D**Ms, as a random example? It’s a terrible appointment when we consider that he’ll be in charge of CL games

    Oh! Arsenal are D**Med. D**med I tell you.

  117. Dexter 4.08.
    Won’t happen Dexter, this is Arsenal FFS!!!!

  118. @ Markus
    Don’t know. It says on arsenal.com that a full statement on the backroom changes will be published in due course.

    From the official site:

    “Arsène Wenger insists he is “nowhere near” to signing a player at the moment.

    But Wenger has distanced himself from speculation surrouding one of those reported targets, Rennes midfielder Yann M’Vila.

    “It’s not true, [there is no interest] at the moment,” said Wenger.

    “We have not been in touch with anybody, we have not made any offer to anybody and we are nowhere near to buying anybody at the moment. We are focused on our final game of the season.”


    Kos: “If we play like a team, like a unit, we will win our game.”


  119. Limestonegunner

    c | May 10, 2012 at 3:47 pm–very intriguing idea, C. Everything is the same except the Ox in midfield. It would be going for it, and I haven’t seen us ever line up to go hell for leather away from home. My lineup isn’t meant to be defensive and timid, it is just to rely on experience and playing guys where they are most comfortable so that they don’t feel extra anxious. It is a pressure filled game and I think if we don’t go down early, we will build increasing pressure on WBA and grow in the game. Then we can bolster the attack.

    But it’s an interesting thought.

  120. Ruaridh (Jacobite Gunner on Arsenal Untold)

    Hunter13, I owe you an apology. What you mentioned about colesy/spectrum rung true when I thought about it a bit more. It’s hard to know who is either an aaa or, a daft young arsenal supporter who doesn’t know any different or a spud in disguise (i’m sure u are none of these).

    I hope you accept my apology.


    1. Bould is a great backroom signing providing much needed continuity, defensive coaching nous countering wengers attacking approach, a solid record in coaching the arsenal way at the youth level (please note pep guadiola coached the B team successfully before taking the reigns at Barca’s first team and the new inter coach “strac(something)” coached inter’s youth’s and won the Next Gen final and has had a fantastic start to his Inter career. No precursor to being a successful assistant manager but nevertheless, very sting credentials.

    2. M’villa may sign/ we may not have even made an approach. If he signs I beleive that would preclude any more incoming transfers untill we can offload circa 5 players from our wage (get transfers money at the same time-even if it’s just nominal), as AW has suggested in the media regarding our strikers allready. M’villa looks a beast but can also start attacks and would (i think) be an outstanding signing and would be a fantastic partnership with arty, song and wilshere all dovetailing for those two positions with pong going out on loan and also possibly coquelin to get more 1st team experience.

    3. If we were to sign M’villa, a third signing in the ATM position would be fantastic and could dovetail with rosicky as a 1st teamer allowing ramsey to have less pressure on him with wilshere given chances in ATM as well, but again, with less pressure to play week in week out after a season long injury. My pick would be Belhanda bt AKB, so i’m sure if he looks at the ATM position he knows who is best to sign at the appropriate price.

    4. I still beleive we are looking to make a net surplus at the moment on transfer fees due to the 95 million net debt we still owe (source: Swiss Ramble), however taking into account what we need to do over the summer (aquisitions/ wage increases/extentions) we may make allow for a small net transfer loss and a larger net transfer surplus next year.

    5. Bring on WEST BROM, we will have learned from the norwich game and I fully expect us to go out full guns blazing and take an early lead and clinch 3rd place.

    6. Any doomers, I honestly cannot wait to see what position arsenal are in (league and resource wise) in five seasons time- I have no doubt it will vindicate arsene’s/ arsenals frugality in terms of spending and our self-sustaining model.

    More to that, It will be very interesting to compare our clubs position to that of other clubs in the top 6, specifically chelsea, liverpool and spuds due to their income generation, youth reliance (or lack of it), FFP implications, their pursuit of building a new stadium (if they can/ and if they are allowed) and if they do how it will impact on their on field competitiveness.


  121. Limestonegunner

    Dexter @4:08, unless one of those new players in an attacking midfield creator, I’d also put Rosicky having an injury free year in which he maintains his form through most of the season even playing in (maybe not starting both) two games a week. That’s crucial as we haven’t the reliable fluidity in our attacking play and both JW and AR are learning the ropes in that position.

  122. Fantastic tributes FG – it really puts to shame the people who wanted him unceremoniously dumped – they just don’t seem to understand what this club is about.

  123. @LG

    Yea i understand about the away game part but I think this is a different situation because we need the 3 points to secure CL spot. Either lineup(yours or mines) will work as long as the lads go out do the job send Pat Rice off properly, and get the 3 points. I actually think we perform better as the pressure gets more intense.

  124. Notoverthehill | May 10, 2012 at 4:36 pm

    That story appeared in the mail on the 19thFebruary.

  125. Notoverthehill

    On the night of 7th and 8th May 2012, from the sales forecourt of БалтАвтоТрейд, which is located to the north of St. Petersburg; unknown thieves stole 2 SUV “BMWs”. Dates of manufacture respectively 2007 and 2008 and therefore not new. According to reports both cars were uninsured.

    The owner of the two cars,a well known footballer on loan to ФК Зенит from The Arsenal!

  126. “Remember, can’t ask, can’t play!”

    Interesting comment from Ramsey to Pat Rice. Wonder what it means.

  127. Bill

    I really don’t understand your need to have to have someone from outside the club? Keown was credited with helping the defence when he was at the club (I dont put as much creedence on that as others do BTW) he is as part of the club as Bould and Brady IMO. But it shows that having someone new can do. Steve Bould IS someone new, from outside, the fact you still cannot see that is your problem.

    Its bizarre and baffling, but not as bizarre as your complete lack of respect for Steve Bould.

    How long have you supported Arsenal?

  128. RVP must stay, even though he in his late 20’s. There are only two players in the world who people may say are better than RVP, TWO! So to heck with other teams offering a player and money. The question is can they replace RVP? I very much doubt it.

    If RVP slows down, we can drop him behind Walcott or Podolski, a la Bergkamp and Henry.

    We can’t say that the players shouldn’t just be about money and then say if a team offers some large sum, then Arsenal should just be ready to sell (We want some sort of loyalty on both sides). That doesn’t even seem to be the Arsenal way.

  129. I think that even if RvP does not sign a new contract he will stay for another year and leave for free. That would be the only sensible solution to the problem.
    Also its not all that bad to let a 29 year old that has served the club well leave for free to fullfill his dream of silver if he cannot get it with us.
    That would also give us time to rebuild properly.
    I would be very dissapointed if we did decide to cash in on him this summer.

  130. It really shows the goldfish memories and the influence the media has on the TV football fans that this season has been voted the best in PL history.

    It really is rather disturbing that the fact a club who have regualrly overspent to the tune og hundreds of millions, half a billion in debt might lose their crown to a team bank rolled and propped up by a multi billionaire whose lavished never heard of wages on dozens of players, half of whom are or will be loaned out and their wages still being picked up by the Oil shiekh.


  131. not that it’s important but I wish I had some idea of what Bouldy is like – it’s pretty easy to imagine how certain ex-players might be in their managerial role but even when he was a player Bould seemed a little inscrutable or enigmatic – polite, intelligent – something almost capricious about him.

    I had no idea Pat was such a shouter – but then I never saw his playing days and he looks pretty feisty so I guess that fits.

    Dex I assumed Bill was being sarcastic earlier…no?

  132. Dex, I’d say it has been one of the most interesting seasons for sure – I guess the fact that the title has essentially been bought for 1Billion Pounds kind of ruins it and leaves a bad taste but, ignoring that, I can kind of see why they chose this season.

  133. @ Poodle | May 10, 2012 at 6:02 pm

    I think that sums up the possibilities!

  134. I’m not that worried about RVP.

    I think he will stay.

    The noises that have emanated from team members have been very encouraging – that indicates to me that he wants to stay.

  135. Jonny

    Yeah, Bould is very softly spoken, when I have heard him being interviewed and intelligent, a but like Keown in that respect. But that doesnt mean he’s gonna be a softy! 🙂

    No Bill wasn’t being funny, he is gutted we have recruited from within. He is basically accusing Rice of being a yes man and Bould too, before he has even started his new role.

    The season’s been effin crazy fo sho, but as you say, the fact the winners have had to spend a billion to acquire takes a lot of the sheen off it, IMO.

  136. Yogi or One Big Al Birdkamp

    Here’s tomorow’s post title for ya;

    Rice to see you, to see you Rice… 🙂

  137. Anybody else get a response from thje BBC on their second complaint on the Lineker ‘humorous jest? I did.

    “Thank you for contacting us about our response regarding Gary Lineker’s closing line during the edition of ‘Match of the Day’ broadcast on Saturday 28 April.

    We are sorry we were not able to send you a more personalised reply to your original complaint; our response aimed to address the main points that were raised by our audience in respect of this particular issue.

    Nevertheless, we believe that we have explained the reason the reference was made by Gary and therefore we have nothing more we can usefully add.

    If you believe a serious and specific breach of the BBC’s Editorial Guidelines has occurred here, and you wish to pursue this complaint further, you can contact the BBC’s Editorial Complaints Unit, within 20 working days, and they will carry out an independent investigation.”

    This after they emailed me a couple of days ago saying that a second complaint required more time to consider.

    Don’t bother, won’t bother.


  138. Limestonegunner

    Ruaridh’s post is a delight as it demonstrates exactly what I was saying about Hunter’s rhetoric, a point so few, beside YW, seemed to appreciate even among the ACLF cognoscenti. Or perhaps if it had been said either more clearly or by someone else, it might have been!

    At least we are talking about the WBA game. I expect the away support to give their usual all. Hopefully they don’t let up in their support during any difficult patches. So much is at stake and a win would be the most wonderful cap to a riveting, exhausting, trying season–a great reward for a team that has battled so valiantly from the depths of the table.

  139. Dex:

    I have explained my logic for wanting someone from “outside” many times.

    My understanding is that Keown has not been involved in any way with coaching duties. since that CL run. I don’t know how much difference his influence made during that run. Overly simplistic to just say that he was here and we did great so it must have been him. Be nice if it was that simple. Hiring him not a magic bullet but would be a very positive step IMO.

    No disrespect for Steve Bould or Pat Rice or anyone on our staff and you know that. However, I had hoped that Arsene would use this as a chance to bring in a new face or 2 somewhere in the high leverage coaching ranks, If not as his assistant then in some other capacity. The whole thing with our team defense has been a long standing source of frustration, and I will never really understand what prevents us from doing better so the only thing we can do is come up with our own theories. I do not know if bringing in a new face will help but I think its worth trying, just can’t see how it could possibly hurt.

  140. Limestonegunner

    I’m with Paul-N. we really can’t replace RvP’ quality, much less his knowledge of the club and leadership.

    Even if he leaves us next year, it is worth it as it gives Podolski a year of adjustment and perhaps we win a trophy or even the league. That’s worth the 20million or so we’d get for a player who is 29 with one year left. Maybe we’d get much more but not from RM, Barca or Juventus–only from City, PSG–and I don’t want to sell any more to our rivals.

  141. Limestonegunner

    I suppose it’s never occured to anyone that in the same way that AW’s philosophy and methods involve players feeling free to make decisions on the pitch that he might also trust his coaches to implement and practice making decisions in training with a similar freedom. Is this far-fetched?

  142. Limestonegunner

    This could be quite interesting! Joining Suarez and Terry, allegedly, in the hall of shame?! The whole Barca team has previous: Bousquets on Marcelo, David Villa on Mesut Ozil. Not so far-fetched at all to me given the culture of that club. Another example of Barca hypocrisy is that they were singled oit last summer for a collaborative program against racism in sport and society with UNESCO. What a joke!

  143. @LG

    I agree with you 100% because 1 of the most important things that he brings is leadership and a togetherness not seen in the Arsenal side in a while. He is the best Captain we have had since Viera and just as important is the players respond to him and play not only for him but for each other. Last year there were times were it looked like the team wasn’t playing or enjoyed playing for each other and now you look, the joy is back and you can’t replace that with any type of fee. RVP is the Captain of Arsenal and will remain that way end of story there’s nothing else to say but bring on WBA!!

  144. Limestonegunner

    We have our own concerns, but after grabbing 3rd with a decisive win, my season as a football fan would be especially joyful if Man City choke by giving up a late goal for a draw.

  145. Yeah I do totally get that Dex – though, to an extent, I gave up caring about the rape of everything for the sake of money a while back. It’s gone so far beyond belief now the numbers simply make no sense to me. Society and government are deeply, deeply ill. Football is just reflecting the tragic nature of that. I am not without disgust but I am inured to an extent. So, whilst it is a huge thing to overlook, on the flip side I think there have been some amazing games and stories this season. Underdogs have surprised everyone and it has, overall, been less predictable at both ends of the table. Our own comeback has been Herculean!
    There have been outrageous goals and incredible performances aplenty.
    Though we are left with the ugly denouement of City or Utd for the title – even that is an interesting story in itself and could represent an epochal changing of the guard.
    At the same time watching Chelsea’s wasted millions be dwarfed and then look utterly wasted has been a warning of the fate that can await extravagant spending – painting yourself into a corner with mercenary has-beens.
    Chelsea could yet escape through an unlikely victory in Germany but that doesn’t mask the failings that need many more millions to be thrown in order to even start to be addressed.
    Bring on FFP!

  146. Limestonegunner

    Exactly C! Those moments of his leadership and spirit have been priceless for me; like his celebration of victory after Chelsea by gathering a group of players to join him with the away fans, his confronting of opponents even while alone and surrounded by them (can’t remember the game alas) and his fire versus Newcastle.

    You can’t just buy in new players with this immediate affinity and quality as captain. We have suffered early losses of great players who can communicate the Arsenal way in the past and can’t keep affording to rebuild the group. We need to add not replace quality players this season. No more treading water please! I see signs of progress and want to build on it.

  147. pedantic george

    Limestonegunner,What if we do get it?
    What if most of us have said that Hunter has at times been repetitive,objectionable,somewhat disrespectful to the past and even hugely tiresome.Which we have.Almost to a man(or woman)
    But that does not mean he is not right far more often than he is wrong.
    Should we not like him because of his posting style?
    Should we ignore him lol(see how I did that?)because of his poor grammar?
    Perhaps we should dislike him because he will not cede to our wittier and better constructed arguments?

  148. c @ 3:11 pm

    Totally agree about focusing on WBA. Its exam day, to make a statement for the season.

    I feel whatever line up we see from Arsene, the team will give everything.

  149. Good evening, let me start by saying i am sick and tired of seeing us sell our captains, ever since tony adams retired its been a curse – viera,henry,Gallas,Cesc, for God’s sake let squillaci wear the armband for a while. Rvp must sign on the dotted line whether he likes it or not(am groveling on my knees).

    On Theo Walcott(don’t judge me, but if you do, well kiss my arse…nal). No matter how you put it, walcott has been consistently inconsistent, his end product has improved but there are still grey areas in his game – if i remember correctly 3 of his 8 assists in the league came in one match against blackburn(7-1 win) then he went a month or two without a goal or assist in all competitions until the match against the spuds where he scored 2 goals, if that is not inconsistency then pedantic george is my favourite aclf blogger. So, i won’t lose any sleep if he left but i would prefer he signed a contract extension because all wenger’s patience and trust would be for nothing.

  150. arsenalandrew

    Very interesting, Bob.

    The BBC Editorial Guidelines state:

    5.4.39 Audience Expectations

    “When it is within audience expectations, we may feature a portrayal or stereotype that has been exaggerated for comic effect, but we must be aware that audiences may find casual or purposeless stereotypes to be offensive”

    Combine this point with the following from the section on controversy:

    4.4.5 Controversial Subjects

    “We must apply due impartiality to all our subject matter. However, there are particular requirements for ‘controversial subjects’, whenever they occur in any output, including drama, entertainment and sport.”



    “In determining whether subjects are controversial, we should take account of:

    the level of public and political contention and debate
    how topical the subjects are
    sensitivity in terms of relevant audiences’ beliefs and culture”

    Given the scale of anger on this blog and elsewhere I’d encourage you, Bob, if you felt so inclined to pursue your complaint having logged the first two complaints and been legitimately (in my own view) dis-satisfied with the response.

    I personally believe Llinekar’s actions were misjudged and worthy of an apology to Arsene Wenger; I’d say there is more than enough in their own guidelines, above, to require this of young Gary.

    How good would it be for him to make that apology at during the last MOTD of the season?

  151. arsenalandrew

    pedantic george | May 10, 2012 at 7:31 pm

    Agree – well said.

  152. On another note, dailymail were running a story on Wenger wanting to buy Michel Vorm of swansea as competition for Da szes man(might sound good only in my head). Vorm would be a quality No 2 but i think he is too young – we should not stall a player’s career, that is if the rumour is true.

  153. No mo tunes on Thursdays?

    Anyway, thought I would post this Stevie Wonder classic from “Songs in the Key of Life”. An album regarded by many music greats (I guess R & B) as the greatest Album ever.

  154. Steve Bould as Arsenal assistant manager. Would you believe it?

  155. One more big tune from said album.

  156. mattgoonerknight

    I was just in the middle of writing a Dexteresque list of 10 possible RVP contract permutations, an then I accidentally hit refresh. So I’ll cut to the chase and say that I agree 100% with Poddle’s comment at 6.02pm

    He cost 2.75million 8 years ago; we’ve already seen a very healthy return on our investment, we don’t need to turn a profit on this occasion.

  157. mattgoonerknight

    Just re-read it – perhaps 90% is a touch less hyperbolic.

  158. YW, really enjoyed the video you posted earlier in ARSENAL ‘ THE GREATEST YEARS’.
    gave me the Goosebumps. Also a thought provoking post and very well written. As per norm.

    JON JON , a super hilarious video on ASSOCIATION FOOTBALL. had me rolling mate. Thanks.
    and to the always ingenious DUPSY, very interesting shirt design the ladies were wearing yesterday. NO SHIRT PULLING. hahaha. One cheating problem solved. lol

  159. Bill

    I am bustin your balls a tad man! Hope I didnt go too far, or upset you mate? I am just happy with the new number 2 and didnt feel anyone would be of a different view on this particular topic, for once!

  160. pedantic george

    Poor Bill.

  161. Thought provoking post Yogi

    “I am sure he probably knows who they are trying to sign to a certain extent; you suspect that dressing room gossip in that sense is somewhat better informed than those from outside care to admit. Nothing should be that much of a surprise.”

    It’s interesting that you say this, because in Mertesacker’s interview on Arsenal Player yesterday, he talked about how the Arsenal players were asking him about Podolski, what type of player he is and whether he thought he would join even before the transfer. Seems like even the players are not averse to a bit of transfer speculation!

    Let’s hope they finally get the business done on Sunday so that Arsenal can conclude any deals in the pipeline. The latest speculation around is that the JV and YM transfers are stalling because CL and the additional income have not yet been secured. If we are seriously after these players, it would be a shame to lose them under those circumstances.

  162. I think Wenger has earned the right to do whatever he pleases.

    BINGO ! .. 😉

    ruar ..apology accepted..no worries ..one of the reasons i refuse to bring a terminally ill relative to emirates ( he hasnt seen it yet , gunner since 1975) is because i know some muppet a few rows below will start abusing the manager .. then my close relative will ask for calmness and will show that twat the stadium and the class that radieates out of it and in all probability that twat will call him a plastic wenger fan ..and then ill have to get involved and probably end up in prison …

    in a.v i find a situation where them two antiwengerites are always allowed the platform to abuse, disrespect, and mock OUR MANAGER !!! ….and as soon i gave it to them nice and proper with the only medium available to me at the time …..i got banned …lol…arsenal fans are really starnge ..theyd rather listen/read/tolerate/argue to the monotonous slaying of a team investing for its future rather than think , compare and analyse

    i read a comment in arse2mouse that is perhaps the best thing i have read in a while i will try to replicate it since i cant be asked to go look for it and copy paste. basically the man said …” the trophyless taunts have been designed to belittle arsenal and annoy arsenal fans, how else do you explain noone making a fuss for liverpool or chelsea even. But we are gunners and we watch our team play in 45+ games per season and WE KNOW BETTER ! ” ( the caps are my re-mix of the original release)

    i nearly stood up and gave the screen a military salute 🙂

  163. and from now on i wont call george pedantic any more ….President George ..i read yesterday or two days ago that you talk to radio.(?)..which station please ?

  164. pedantic george

    Its Steww that is on the Radio,his own show as well
    I just talk rubbish most weeks on the Fans Forum its on Arsenal Player and is broadcast free I believe.

  165. theo and rvp have developed into quite a twosome..
    the problem has been the left hand side..(hopefully podolski will fix that)
    the captain scores all the goals but theo, for all hs faults and for all the laptops ive smashed,, is a massive weapon for the arsenal..

    the way i see it is that rvp is stalling because he wants to see what the club does and theo is stalling because wenger told him to play for a new deal..

    they will both stay..podolski will complete the trilogy and we’ll smash 100 easy next season in all comps..

    i know i said nasri and cesc would leave and george almost lost his cyber house and is car to me in the process but im not feeling those vibes this year..hopefully i get this one cock on as well.. 😉

    splendid news about SB..
    Maybe martin keown can come in and help at youth level now theres a space in the coaching staff, but if theres anyone who deserves it, its bouldy for the shift hes put in..
    at arsenal-player and coach for how many years?

    well done. good choice..
    big shoes to fill but i think hes the man to do it.

  166. pedantic george

    JJ.yes thanks for not taking possession of you ill gotten gains.

  167. I just talk rubbish most weeks on the Fans Forum its on Arsenal Player and is broadcast free I believe.

    really? free? and anyone can join and bash all them cretins disrespecting the manager ? i know someone who might be interested

    is that ast guy there too?

  168. president george has a ring to it….dont know what sort of ring…

  169. speaking of gains..
    is he still exiled??

    george, i read a comment last night from you and i wanted to respond but it was too late.
    twas the comment where you compared TV and JV and basically said we had the better CB.

    you nailed it mate..i think TV is CB for belgium as well and jV has to play LB..
    not sure..
    but you were right when you said TV is the better CB.JV played LB when TV was at ajax as well..
    i dont think theyve ever played together as CBs..and when theyve been in the same team TV is the CB..

    i go through phases where i think we need him and then i think we dont..
    i got caught into the hype a little over the weeks about him and hes a good player, id still like him..but its no biggy if we dont get him..

    weve got the better CB..
    and koz is better than TV.. 😉

  170. the gravatars are back. but the flip side is we get hunter back aswell!!

  171. as long as he stays off the drugs before he comments its all good..

  172. pedantic george

    Oh give it a rest Duke.
    Just because he does not rate your beloved GG

  173. pedantic george

    oohh he disrespected my heritage.Farkin heretic he is

  174. george im only joking, i have forgiven him for slagging off our history and being anti english and xenophobic…he who throws stones first in glass houses and all that..i mean i hate the scottish!!!

  175. pedantic george

    You are still on probation for teaming up with an Anti Theo man.Duke

  176. Who???

  177. Oh Wiz fukin khalifa,,well you were already mugging him off and he was also mugging himself off, i didnt think i needed to help you out on that one bud.

  178. finsbury | May 10, 2012 at 7:59 pm

    Excellent video. Steve Bould will make a fine number 2 to Arsene. He may also make a fine number 1 in the future.

    Always loved Bouldy. He was like Keown & Adams. They took no prisoners (a bit like our CBs now)

  179. Seems about right for the racist micky’s

  180. agree it will be great seing Bouldy on the bench.

  181. And their kit for next season

  182. I dont mind GG Duke. I just dont agree with people telling me all the time that “ah we had it better before”. And they refer to an era were, how can i say it ….a bit primitive … and the pitch we played on was no carpet, and no world cup winners and no sexy football and no60k stadium like a palace and all this global exposure and massive brand name expansion …who are these people kidding?

    If we accept that the game is an industry, with football clubs acting as the companies that trade commodities ( players) in this industry, then we also accept that structure, finance and generation of income are of prime importance for your survival. I wouldnt say Wenger did a RedBull with Arsenal, cause RB created something new ( energy drink) and created a new market for it as well ( yappies,ravers,x-sports), but he was given a club that was “so and so” and turned them into a reference point for style, class, organisation and multiple other areas in the broad context of what is needed to run a football club, which i dont want to bore you with.

    i see an incredible difference in what he inheritted and what he has helped create – together with others of course- and he hasnt finished yet, he;s half way still. 🙂 i dont know if there is any other manager who could have brought the club at such triple alpha class levels……we were a bit of a vauxhaul ( sometimes with turbo engine) and now we are mercedes/porshe/astonmartin/ferrari how else can i say it …we are one of them ..somewhere ..and we havent won sh*t yet…so imagine the “LIFT OFF” when we do start winning..its just around the corner…

  183. what “xenophobic” ? you are crazy ..xenophobic are those who break our players legs and then laugh in our faces mocking us about “GRIT”….
    or the journalists who gang up on arsenal to taunt mock and disrespect a professional like arsene
    or a bunch of 22 y.o who surprise surprise cant deal with pressure yet….
    or the lunatic neanderthals who call him a child molestor ….
    so please, with all due respect, dont you tell me about who is xenophobic or not…lol….
    all our players are divers and rooney is never mentioned apparently….

    one question… do you see our players being treated fairly by the non-xenophobic dowds and deans of this league ? 0/19 penalties …i guess the fact there is a nationwide desire to see wenger failling does not stem from xenophobia at all. 🙂

    if you were fair you would be embarassed at how some lowlife uncultured peasants release their frustrations and complexities on your team, my team OUR team!

    you disappointed me duke… i regret my previous effort of trying to reason with you re:GG.

  184. Bradys right foot

    Ahh the left footers have kissed and made up and Pat Rice has been given an oversized card for 44 years of legendhood by the players and he still doesn’t look disappointed. The collage looks to be a Theo inspired work, i’d bet good money on that. Welcome back to the Gervinho of posters the chaos making Hunter, no end product I hear you say well when Gerv stars scoring, Hunter will be posting precisely defining arguments.

    Rather than Theos amatuer hallmrk moment, I think Pat deserves 3 points from the boys on Sunday. This is a day about one coach leaving, no not Roy who’s been at the Hawthors for a little more than a wet weekend but a man whos given 44 years of service as boy, man and grandad to the gunners.

  185. goonerpanther

    Hey there, really enjoy your posts and would like to see what you have to say about recent changes. I have written a Pat Rice tribute of sorts, would like to know what you think.


  186. mumbaigooner

    nice to see the meerkat back with PG

  187. Hunter, I have no idea why I am awake at this ungodly hour but I have even less idea what a ‘yappie’ is.

    However, if you think Red Bull invented raving, you’re more out of touch with the world than I previously suspected.

    As for class and style – The Arsenal have been a watch word for that throughout our glorious history

    We have always had a distinct and distinctly classy way of doing things – Arsene’s appointment has certainly moved us forwards, and modernised us, but you disrespect our venerated history and ethos by your misguided belief that The Arsenal started properly in 1996.

  188. ‘yappie’

    stock brokers, bankers lawyers …office people..all them suited folk who go round acting like high class businesmen drinking redbull so they dont miss the deals etc etc …lol…

    mate i did not say redbull invented raving for crying out loud …they marketed it to ravers, extreme sports and “yappies”….redbull invented a product …and created a market for it by presenting it as legal ecstasy of sorts … and they knew were to promote it …

    “certainly moved us forward, modernised us” …..exactly and i would also add he civilised us because the nasty traits of the english football culture have been eradicated…

    look maybe you have difficulties admitting that 80’s and early 90’s were a bit barbaric and amateur to an extent in comparison to what we see now.

    i aint afraid to admit so , and i dont see why you would feel offended by it ….i aint saying something which is false. neither am i showing disrespect as many of you suggest.

    just like we admit our players are inexperienced the last 6 years to dominate against drogbas and giggs likewise we admit that previously we were of limited ability, power, fame, organisation etc etc etc…… i dont see what is wrong with that ….

  189. what distinct and classy way of doing things ??? lol …with graham we were beating people up and going for the 1-0 ….where do you see the class in that ? lol … ok it was succesful for that period or era or conditons of the league but lets not pretend we were some ajax milan or anywhere close to that style and prestige of football clubs …..

    and wasnt this george kicked out for taking bribes or bunges or how you call it? didnt he coach tottenham ? wtf ……

    i fail to see how i get stick for saying such things …. or why you would take it as an attack on our history or our club.. and in any case my first replica is way before 1996 so your last comment is off target

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