A Club Called Malice

Thirty years ago this evening, the last time I saw The Jam in concert, it’s the next ACLF playlist. Anyway, with apologies to Paul Weller:

You better stop dreaming of the quiet life cos it’s a football club we knew
And quit chasing that runaway ball because those rosey days are few
And stop apologising for the signings that never come
‘Cos time is short and Arsenal’s tenth
So it’s up to us to change this club called malice

Rows and rows of disused players on loan at clubs near and far
And a bench of lonely substitutes clutch empty first team dreams to their hearts
Handing in their transfer requests for clubs that never buy
Their wages high enough to stop them leaving as the fans become upset and furious
At a club called malice

Victories are a struggle,
Fourth year after year
The atmosphere’s ain’t that nice
There’s abuse in the stand and on the interweb
About a club called malice

A whole stand’s belief
In Santi’s magic feet
Gets dashed in front of the Clock End
To either cut down on beer or Theo’s new deal
It’s a big decision at a club called malice

The ghosts of Bergkamp, Pires and Henry haunt Giroud as he leads the Arsenal attack
Every move is bound for nowhere, the ball ends up in the crowd
Placards on kids and creaking seats, there’s no laughter in the eaves
Arshavin could on for now, Aaron Ramsey probably will
It’s time to put some joy back into a club called malice

166 thoughts on “A Club Called Malice

  1. Several weeks ago Le Coq went public and declared his dismay at not playing. Claimed he was as good as Arteta on the raining pitch. Hasn’t been used much since then.

  2. Wavey

    The number of games and our players minutes are not that out of line with what typically happens with any team in the CL I suspect. Based on what we have seen of arsenal teams for the last several seasons I suspect the most significant injury concerns for our regulars is somewhere between their ears rather then in their legs.

  3. @Philmar

    Yea not only a couple of weeks ago but even before the season he said basically I don’t care where I play I just want to play. We all know he isn’t better than Arteta but it would do him a world of good to play alongside and learn from Arteta.

  4. Wavey

    Mental fatigue and frustration is not necessarily related to the number of minutes you have played. Every season we seem to struggle in oct/nov and physical fatigue should not be a major issue this early in the season. Something not right in the team culture that gets passed. I know that’s nebulous but the only real logical explanation . After the first few games I really thought this group of players would somehow be different. They had a different look and even glass half empty me was thinking that they were going to be a tougher bunch. Whatever has effected prior squads and all those groups of different players seems to have gripped this squad just as bad or may be even worse.

  5. C,
    I dig LeCoq too but with no one else to spell Arteta, it’d be risky.
    Rambo & TR covering for Jack is safer, and Coq does make some very wrong passes occasionally though I must admit he usually rectifies them swiftly.

    Poldi’s been carrying an injury for almost a month now.
    AW should have been using AA….damn economist!

  6. Bill,
    ” After the first few games I really thought this group of players would somehow be different..”

    Arsene buys the same type of players but doesn’t rotate enough.
    3 of the 1st team are newbies.
    Feel like we need some steel to complement the finesse.
    Hope he realizes that even with Song we were not resilient enough..

  7. @Purple Verve

    I agree but the one thing I do fancy about Le Coq is the fact that he knows who he is and is strong in the tackle and could do right giving Arteta a blow. I do agree that Ramsey and Lil Mozart are great cover for Jack now that they are fit but say somebody like Le Coq comes in and gives Jack a spell pushing Arteta higher up the pitch. Either way I hope Le Coq gets some more match time.

  8. We all know he isn’t better than Arteta but it would do him a world of good to play alongside and learn from Arteta.
    AND it would do Arteta a world of good to be rested. He’s 30 years old now and playing the full 90 twice a week.

  9. Purple verve

    “Arsene buys the same type of players but doesn’t rotate enough.”

    Arsene did not start to regularly buy experienced players until the the deadline day deals last summer. Before that it the teams were filled with young players with young strong legs. Same things happened with them and we used the same rationalizations. No doubt that he could rotate more but I doubt that poldi has played that many more minutes then RVP has this year or last and RVP was older, yet he didn’t get knackered. Same thing with the key players in all the teams in the CL spots. All those years players like lampard and gerrard played almost all their teams games.

    i understand your ideas and your attempts to look for explanations but I think using physical exhaustion as an excuse especially early in the season is covering up the real issue.

    If you are right about overuse and physical exhaustion then we are really in trouble with the holiday period and the busiest part of the season coming followed in feb/march by the knockout stages in the CL. Etc etc

  10. Yogi @4 55

    Haha. Excellent. As a smoker, I will be up to the shops first thing in the morning to get myself a Mcnab special. Will look pretty good with a woodbine and an Arsenal Beany hat I reckon.

  11. Bill

    yeah, I think you are right there. Very worrying that it appears our current team is going through the same mental fatigue/frustration that other Arsenal teams have in the past. Particularly as players like Cazorla and Podolski should be more than experienced in the relative ups and downs of a football season by now. Podolski tried to single-handedly save Cologne from relegation last season, how can playing in a team vying for a Champions League spot (and in the Champions League this season) be more frustrating than that?

  12. Wavey

    Wish I understood. If its was just a matter of physical exhaustion then it could be fixed with rotation. . Arsene is a smart man and I would think he would have changed his MO by now if he had thought that he could solve the problems with more rotation. He is stubborn but even i give him more credit then that. Much much harder to deal with cultural issues in the dressing room with the players and coaching staff. The issues that arise between the players ears do not have a simple solution.

  13. Bill,
    u seem to conveniently miss the fact that Poldi (like Santi & OG) is new to the EPL which is a totally different beast from what the Bundesliga. Few players excel consistently in their 1st year in England regardless of how many caps they have.

    I have alluded to the fact that because the Emirates is larger than Highbury, maintaining our style & tempo requires a lot more rotation and a larger “trusted” squad.

    I bring the blame back to AW for not covering both bases.
    He always seems to wait till he has to before he rotates.
    He just doesn’t multi-task well with a large squad..too economical.
    For me this is his achilles heel #1.


  14. Can’t believe Keown’s son scored the equaliser against us in the under 21’s game against Reading. Hope Dad gave his boy a good ear bashing after that one.

  15. Pic 10 of the pre Olympiacos training session – Stevie Bould really is a magician. He can make the football levitate.

  16. proof is in our injury list from the invincibles till date.
    Young & older players break down but they all seem to come back after “recuperating” for 6-18 months..Vieira, Henry, Freddie, Pires, Cesc, RvP, TR, Kolo, Denilson, Jack….etc.

    He needs to be able to switch players even during a good run.
    Sad to say this is one quality Fergie has over AW.

  17. @Bill and i agree with Bill. I expect us to nab altest the 4th spot.
    Arsenal is like a cat. She has 9lives and always land on her feet…

    Its just unthinkable not to be no 4. Infact its an absurt thought.

    The only thing i can compare it with is if suddenly a dirty porn video of the queen and her prince popped up on youtube. thats unthinkable too.
    I just cannot imagin either to happen. though ofc both could happen. its just beyond my imagination.

    even when we are crap and no 10 in the table, i still cannot fanthom Arsenal not qualifying for the CL…

  18. Anybody else think that the ‘Manager’s email’ attempts to cover too many bases, none convincingly?

  19. Purple verve.

    What allows them to ever find a second wind if they are so chronically overplayed? Mentally they know they can afford to have a couple of bad months and still climb back into the CL spots. How could they do that if they were already physically exhausted? I don’t buy that theory. Its convenient but it just does not fit.

    Will I be happy when Arsene is gone? Depends on how his replacement does. No one should be bigger then the club. I honestly doubt he will leave anytime soon so you are probably safe.

  20. The team for tomorrow is scary but I hope they go out and pummel Olympiakos so that Arsene just has to keep a few of the “reserves” in the team for West Brom we need competiton for places and people need to get behind the lads like never before on Saturday, West Brom are on a downward slide. Now is the time.

  21. It’s cool for cats Poodle

    Can’t see Athens being more than a mutual inconvenience tbh for both sides

    Saturday though ?

    Serious activity

  22. I was just asked by a mate of mine:

    “If Arsene Wenger was to leave who would you rather have Pep or Wigan’s manager Martinez?”

  23. According to the website Eisfeld is ineligible for Europe but if we’re looking to freshen things up domestically surely he deserves a chance to give others a rest. Any others deserving of a chance before opening the cheque book in January?

  24. @Gunnerlife

    I would rather M’Villa because Tiote constantly gets yellows and misses matches. But I would take either!!!

  25. Theo sure didn’t look like the 100K/week man on Saturday. Needs to pick it back up next weekend.

    Myself I hope we dont see a lot of gervinho before the ACN. His run of goals coincided with our best run of games this season but that feels like a long time ago and his form since he last scored looks like last season.

  26. We were quoted £25 million for the hot head that is Tiote.M’Villa is a waste of space,a real bad apple.

  27. CB @ 7:30 pm

    Not sure what I expected him to say, but he was all over the place and poorly organized.

    Tired of reading about Arsene’s future plans with Arsenal…….he’s being paid to fix todays’ problems and that should be the priority he owes the club and fans. If he can’t fix, his future is not in his control.

    Could the start of Arsenal’s drop in morale be tied to Sagna’s criticism with the club and not resigning?

    I will be rooting for the selected squad that plays Olympiacos to show up the manager. Many fans and Arsene have written off these players, but we need their contribution for the balance of the season.

    December, many matches to return form and confidence.

  28. “Could the start of Arsenal’s drop in morale be tied to Sagna’s criticism with the club and not resigning?”
    Well its possible.But so is me winning the World Snooker championship.

  29. C
    Tiote on field issues, but M’Villa has a closet full of off-field problems.

    Mello seems to have grown up in Turkey, but Arsenal needs to buy a couple of
    game changers, like a Fellaini. Arsenal seem leaderless.

  30. Would love to be in the crowd tomorrow but alas it`s away from home & not at the place I love. Athens looks to be a strange town these days.

    Right now us Arsenal supporters are going through our very own private hell. It`s too bad if we lose but we`ve still qualified so time to start some youngsters. If they do well tomorrow maybe they can be Saturdays kids.

    We need to lay the ghosts of the Swansea performance because we are Arsenal – & standards rule

    OK ?

  31. @PG and Arsession

    Both are good players and both would come with some type of issues. So if we were to buy one do we think about buying the lad who can’t stay on the pitch cause he constantly is injured or suspended or the lad who gets in off field trouble but consistently plays well on the pitch? Sounds like the perfect Arsenal game plan nowadays.

  32. PG
    wasn’t intended to come across as the reason, only a comment that did surprise fans and add to the unstableness at Arsenal. 🙂

  33. Bill @ 7.06pm

    And what makes you feel better, Bill?

    Cb @ 7.30pm

    Apparently not.

    Gunnerlife @ 8.42pm

    What did you think of Ramsey’s performance on Saturday?

  34. C
    no arguement that both are good and solve some of our midfield problems, but Arsene always picks player character.

  35. @Arsession

    Well if that’s the case mate, we might want to look elsewhere. I mean no reason to buy Tiote because he is either going to be injured or suspended 75% of the time. But I guess were use to that as Arsenal fans with some of our injury problems as of lately.

  36. Arsesession.

    “Arsenal needs to buy a couple of game changers, like a Fellaini. Arsenal seem leaderless.”

    Spot on.

    Merlot @ 9:42

    :). A few more ticks in the W column of the table would be nice, but I am quite well, thanks for your concern.

  37. I agree with Arsesession. We have plenty of good players but this squad lacks impact players and game changers. I recognize its a risk to spend a lot on 1 or 2 players but that’s the sort of player this team needs. I am not campaigning for messi or falcao but if we are going to spend let’s get a real difference maker.

  38. “raid Everton in jan..”
    who do u think we are JonJon, Manchester Shitty?…Chelski?
    Get a gooner grip!

  39. @Highbury if you’re around.

    Had to dash off to meetings yesterday and missed your reply so only able to respond now.

    The Harare comment was just that, an observation based on the thought on how much the world has changed and moved on.

    It was not any sort of expectation on my part that you would use the name that was in use at the time. I think you’re being a tad over-sensitive and took that completely the wrong way.

    Similarly, I think you were getting way to specific on your definition of what criteria could be used to judge whether Arsenal were a recognisable brand outside England.

    Even in your recent iterations of goalpost shifting, you were “surprised” that wasnt taking into account that according to DSTV Arsenal had gone from 3rd in the “big 3” list in Africa to 1st in that list.

    Then you basically intimated that for Arsenal to have been an internationally renowned club they would have to be the discussion of topic of choice amongst a specific racial category in a bars in cities in Africa.

    Neither of those two were anywhere close to being the point of the discussion.

    Firstly, no-one was discussing whether Arsenal was 1st 2nd or 3rd in the list at any point, in fact the point that Arsenal was anywhere in any list like that supports the point that Arsenal always were a world brand. Discussing the comparative hierarchical position of that brand amongst a limited group of peers is another discussion entirely.

    Secondly, whether a specific demographic was aware of Arsenal or not was not the point of the discussion either. The fact that there were large groups of fans around the world, of ANY demographic, and clubs were named after Arsenal, indicates that Arsenal was a recognised brand outside of England.

    Thirdly, you have absolutely no idea what my circle was or how large it was. It might have been a boarding school which might have given you the impression that it was a small, isolated community, but we had students from Zambia, (what is now)Zimbabwe, Malawi, Mocambique, Saudi Arabia, Canada, Taiwan, Bermuda Islands, UK, Canary Islands, and many others, so it was a little less isolated than you might have thought.

  40. @Bob

    I agree, the e-mail grates, but then I’ve felt that about them ever since they started.

    It’s not Wenger composing a mail, it’s some lacky piecing it together from his various interviews and quotes, so it never comes across as credible to me anyway.

    That said, I am a little ambivalent about Wenger’s response at the moment.

    Part of me is happy he’s come out swinging, which shows me there’s still fight left in him.

    Another part of me is worried that he’s pulling a PG and has plunged his head into the sand.

    The solace I cling to is the hope that he’s aware of the issues and will open his eyes to work it out.

    He’s perfectly correct that we have to find a solution before January anyway, and that there is quality in the squad.

    I don’t buy the drivel about it being “fashionable” to criticize Arsenal atm.

    There has always been an element out with the knives, but right now intelligent people are asking hard questions that are valid, so there is a concern that the swinging is coupled with blind stubborness to be proven right instead of a determination to fix the problem.

    Time will tell.

  41. That is shocking, dups.

    Too much bloody hype in the game. Too many emotions running way too high Very little sense of balance or common sense.

  42. Agree with cBob re the manager’s email. It always goes into my junk folder. On the rare occasions that I retrieve it, it really isn’t worth the effort of the extra clicks!

    Yet another failure of the Aresenal media team.

  43. So did we establish wether we were any good before Wenger ?

    So maybe Wenger is just leaving us where he found us then.

  44. Be sensible about life Bob and leave sense out of football, winning is the only thing that can make sense of the EPL.

    After all, ‘Participating in a run around,’ doesn’t wash with the U9s let alone when they are being paid equivalent to a stinkingly wealthy persons yearly salary every week….. to kick a fucking ball around.

    They used to do it for fun and team and local pride. Going back to YW’s earlier point this week about a ‘splinter’ European League – maybe it should be a Super League for non-sustainable football Clubs and the Financial Dopers can go jack up in Little Napoleon Michel’s living room and leave us alone.

    Or is that why they created the Championship?

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