So, Where Do We Go From Here

I haven’t worked out a witty, pithy column name for this one yet (You Lucky People? A Bit Of Luck? Lucked Out?) but Andrew (@luckietwit / arsenalandrew) is back with some more thoughts

There is a point in the life-cycles of football clubs when the concrete need for change in leadership presents itself. Before that point is reached, there is a phase when the perception of the need for change first dawns. The degree to which these points are separated could be debated until the cows come home.

Why do football club managers get replaced? What causes change, aside from an obvious trigger event such as a higher league left under the cloud of relegation? Two underlying conditions are found: confidence and trust. As confidence fades and trust bids a fond farewell, the ‘mandate’ from the followers is lost.

Ironically, for most fans of ‘lesser’ clubs, the presence of Trust and Confidence in their clubs is often in reverse configuration to that normally to be found at the ‘bigger’ clubs. In other words, the vast majority of fans in the wider world of football are, somewhat perversely, confident that their club will continue to fail to win the league and, in all likelihood, will continue to not win any cups. They have the utmost trust in their clubs to deliver on that expectation, and, season in, season out, they are rarely disappointed.

Where things tend to get messy is when clubs that HAVE previously won ‘things’, stop winning. For example, the fans of the current champions of Europe have neither trust nor confidence in their latest temporary manager and it would seem Rafa’s tenure at The Bridge is likely to be fleeting even by Chelsea’s remarkable standards. Still today, the fans of Liverpool are agonizing over the loss of their club’s pre-eminence in the league of the 1980s.

Sir Alex Ferguson seemed set to retire from management a few years ago after his own powers appeared to be on the wane. That he eventually changed his mind and is today still firmly in charge at Old Trafford is not without significance for either Mrs. Ferguson or Arsenal.

In the case of Sir Alex, whilst there was a point in which the fans of the club may have had their confidence in the man challenged, their trust in him, I’d argue, was never compromised. Ever. They always knew – and most still know – he would only ever do the right thing for the club – whether that results in his retirement or in the continuation of his exceptional reign.

The fundamental problem confronting Arsenal in this regard is that the complexity of the footballing universe in which AFC inhabits has made it uniquely difficult for the fans of the club to judge matters. The move from Highbury introduced an entirely new dimension to the club’s affairs that the fans and the staff of the club at all levels have been wrestling with ever since. Surprisingly, as fans of the club, we are today more likely to have our views on the club ‘attacked’ by fellow fans of Arsenal rather than the fans of other clubs. And this compromise in our ability to understand what is actually going on is the background under which we have all labored for what is now fast approaching an entire decade.

With something like furniture, it is often possible to patch up an item with a crack in it but the original will never appear quite as strong as when it was in its original condition – at least in our minds. An antique chair leg, broken off with age, can in theory be reattached any number of times but doubt will always persist as to its ability to avoid a future collapse.

But for Arsenal fans, unlike pretty much the fans of all other clubs, it’s NOT merely a question of Trust and Confidence in the manager. As fans, we’re not even sure Arsene’s antique leg has ever actually been broken.

Those two sides of the coin of consent – Confidence and Trust – have been tarnished by the need, on the part of the fan, for some kind of grasp on the wider ‘macro-economic’ background within which the club sits. A grasp on the regulatory aspects of Financial Fair Play would also help. As would an appreciation of the ‘politics’ of FFP too, in making a judgement on whether it will even be enforced, and if so, how, when, and with what effect.

A knowledge of player contracts and the role of agents is, of course, a must have.

And all of this, coupled with the intense debate that goes to the very core of the Club’s ownership, has conspired to disrupt our usual ability to decide whether, in fact, in Arsene we DO still trust. Let alone retain our confidence in him.

What fans see, as the darkest of footballing autumns gives way to an uncertain winter is a level of discontent breaking out that has rarely ever been associated with the club. But upon what, exactly – and upon whom – is this discontent founded?

Over several seasons, a succession of much loved and hugely admired stars – whose names are STILL to be seen on the shirts across our backs on match days – have left the club. That there is – and has always – been a conveyor belt of talent offering up the next generation of idols appears no longer to be enough for the fan base. The stress on the players of the annual adjustment in playing style caused by the influx of new faces results time and again in disruption to our progress in league and cup and manifests in near catastrophic dips in form sufficient for ever-increasing numbers of fans to lose hope as the club squanders vital points and falls out of competitions we all feel we could be winning.

The outpouring of fan anger and emotion is akin to a footballing volcano finally exploding after years of a steady build up in pressure.

Regardless of how we might judge such actions, the mere existence of booing in the stadium, songs ‘against’ the manager, marches, black bags and scarves, is symbolic of the fissures that have opened up into huge cracks of furious dissent as ever-growing numbers of fans remove their ‘consent’ for the ‘right’ of the club to carry on in the old directions.

The point at which the club decides that the perception of the need for change has graduated into an actual requirement for it, may not yet be upon us. That the warning signs are clearly there for the club is beyond dispute. The ball remains firmly in their court. How they respond will dictate whether Arsene and the club replicates the recovery achieved by Sir Alex Ferguson or if, as fans, we go all Chelsea or Blackburn on them.

New players? New manager? New board or new ownership?

That’s what it all boils down to.

It was noticeable on Tuesday night that, despite the defeat, a very much second-string Arsenal side gave a full-strength Greek outfit serious problems in a competition for which our place in the second stage had already been booked. It has also become apparent to even the most ‘loyal’ of observers that the confidence of the Arsenal first team appears compromised by the very act of their turning up to play at the Emirates.

In these trying circumstances, the option to do nothing is itself likely to prove unsustainable.

The club, in the grip of fan unrest and a ‘home’ venue that is friendlier towards our opponents than our own players, is more likely, as it wrestles with circumstance, to spiral into ever-more dangerous operating territory.

I hesitate to say what I think SHOULD happen, as my grasp on all aspects of the club’s predicament is, in common, with most fans, full of holes and there’s little point in pretending otherwise.

I do however feel that if placed on a more level playing field, Arsene Wenger could yet deliver up the type of success played in the style we remember served by him and his teams not so long ago. In this respect, Arsene retains both my trust and my confidence.

I don’t actually think he would go but I would hate to see him driven out.

I firmly believe the problems Arsenal face are bigger than the current manager. In my view, bigger than ANY manager we might employ.

The question, rather, is simply this:

Is the CLUB big enough to level the playing field?

And if so, do we trust it to?

And if it even tries, will we have any confidence that it will succeed?

But if it can’t or won’t deliver the club to a better, more competitively stable place, as fans, where will that leave us?

Where will WE go from here?

’til Tomorrow

298 thoughts on “So, Where Do We Go From Here

  1. “Fighting with the ownership for the money”

    Very good Bill – funniest line in a while

    Remind me Bill the last manager who fought with the owners about money and either a) got any and/or b) stayed in their job

  2.’ll be in australia very soon at this rate..
    you missed

    He was lucky to go unbeaten ,the best back five in the world did it .
    Pure luck.


    Bouldie was outstanding in ’04.

    seeing as ppl alluded to it i asked those ppl to get me the stats so we could debate it properly..

    im still waiting for those stats..

  3. Anicoll5 – What will be very funny is that, when the new sponsorship money is made available and AW starts to spend it, people will claim that he has finally changed his philosophy and basically admitted he was wrong in how he ran the club prior to then. As usual they will ignore the baltant truth that more money will then be available and he can spend while still running the club properly. I think we can safely say that JJ already has a seat reserved on that particular band-wagon.

  4. Finsbury thanks for that clip mate,magic pure magic. Irish enjoy your Christmas bash mate, I’m sure you will!

  5. @JJ
    From the top of my head, it’s two. The EPL in 2003/2004 and the FA Cup the year after contained none or close to none of the “old” players. The double in 2001/2002 was achieved with a mixture of players signed under Wenger and the old guard. From the regulars I can remember Seaman, Parlour and Keown, but other’s like Adams or Dixon featured only barely in the side (Adams played 10 times in the league, Dixon 13 times.

  6. In fact and to be fair to Bill I recall George Graham kicking off at the board about funds to buy players

    By that stage George was in the last chance saloon cos of his stealing but The board indulged him and the entirely forgotten Chris Kiwomya arrived as did Helder and AN Other

    So watch out if anyone from Ipswich signs in January

  7. JJ – You also seem to have forgotten Henry, Pires, Freddie, Vieira, Petit, Anelka. Fact is defenders do not win games, attacking players do. So yes, AW inherited Adams and co., but even Adams has come out and said that AW resurrected his career and gave him a new lease on life (professionally at least). Enjoy living in La La land mate, I for one prefer the real world.

    Mel – Very much looking forward to it mate. Nothing like ordering expensive Scotch at massively hiked prices when someone else is picking up the tab 🙂

  8. Don’t you worry Irish

    If the club were handing out gold bars at home games there are plenty who would be complaining that they were the wrong shape

  9. Anicoll5 – Well, I personally prefer the classic ‘ingot’ myself but what the hey 🙂 I can almost hear the complaints now!!

  10. Anicoll

    The traditional model is for the manager to do whatever he can to get as much money as he can and spending it on the squad. That can become a problem if the ownership is not very business savvy or willing to spend recklessly. Arsene has certainly broken that traditional model and you could argue that we needed a manager with an economic focus for a time since we didn’t have a strong board or a general manager. However the concern about ownership caving in to a manager and spending us into oblivion is no longer valid in our situation so I would argue that it’s time to go back to the more traditional model of ownership being the watchdog and the manager focusing on doing whatever he can by spending whats available and focusing on the pitch, if the goal is to win titles. No? The manager needs to go back to concentrating his efforts on getting the best squad possible and tactics and player motivation, etc etc That seems logical to me.

  11. denis was still in the squad for the last trophy we won wasnt he.

    so arsene has never won a trophy with a squad without a player he inherited….
    interesting topic you raise george and fins..

    to say that some ppl actually beleive we were a shit little club before he came and had crap/decent players at best they helped us to win an awful lot of trophies didnt they..
    well into their 30’s, so its a little strange we have an over thirties policy as well..

    but im sure its just a coincicence and another trophy is just around the corner..even though we are told we cant compete these days and the fa cups shit and players over 30 are crap and dont deserve decent contracts..

    well im glad we cleared all that up..

  12. I think the genius of Arsene was to put the old & the new together. Neither could have done it without the other.

    A5, I think the other player was John Hartson which leads me to ask the question , in a similar way to GG`s last rites spend up , should the board give Arsene keys to the safe in January ? especially if he`s likely to be sunning himself in St Tropez (well you know what I mean) this time next year ?

  13. I agree, Hunter’d crush ‘teeb, PG.

    @ least 3 of the following players could be off in Jan, permanently or otherwise:
    Fabianski, Djourou, Chamakh, AA & Walcott.
    That’s a lot of players & wages…

    And with 3Gs off for the ACN, some “big” move(s) could be made (minus TH pt. 3)…we’ll see.

    West Brom’s rested some key players over the past 2 games.
    Something tells me Steve Clark views us beatable.
    I have no doubt, its going to be a toughie!

    Close ranks RASERS!

  14. irish
    i havent forgotten anything or anyone..

    you seem to have forgotten that those players you mention came in and bunked with the players and captains and winners who had already been here for years and the winning mentality was passed on from player to player..
    captain to captain..

    parlour, dixon, nutty, adams..theyve all said need a culture at the club..

    we have no fucking culture now..

    ppl also forget that arsene was the man who created the invincibles but he was the man who broke them all up as well..

    and like i said..we treated our aging players better then as well

    like you say, wengers methods gave our aging players a new lease of life..

    for someone who is so good with aging players and prolonging careerers its wierd as fuck we treat our current aging players like shit isnt it and kick them out before 30..

  15. I agree JJ .
    Wenger out.
    He has done nothing except steal 8 million pounds per year in wages.
    It was Tony”the Gazelle” Adams (that was his nick name wasn’t it? I cant remember it was pre Arsene ,you know when we were the biggest club in the world)that did it

  16. John Hartson – you’re right of course – I must have tried to blot him out !

    When Arsene arrived every damn thing in the club changed – as it will when he departs – a genius

  17. yes anicoll

    arsene injected a new lease of life and fresh ideas into a big club that was in decline..

    i think this big club in decline is ready for a new injection of fresh ideas..

  18. hartson was better than chamakh by the way..
    cristopher wreh and boa morte too..
    jeffers was a bag of shit..

    thing is

    we used to kick all these players out..

    now we keep them and sell our good ones..

  19. of course it sounds right george
    it was arsene who called him it..

    anyone who disses adams is a god damn fool..

    4 titles 2 under different managers and a statue outside the stadium..

    yeah he was fucking shite..

  20. ” a new lease of life and fresh ideas”

    No that is what Ron Atkinson used to do and Arry has done more recently

    Arsene fundamentally changed the club – from the team renowned for defence and a commitment to being organized to the cavaliers of first English and later on European football

    As Rory Smith in the Times said today he cursed us with beauty in our game

    The bastard

  21. Will Pep be bringing Messi with him?
    Because he is coming ? Right ?
    I mean he wants to come to a club with a declining squad ,a tight arse board and in a league with 3 clubs that dwarf them financially?
    Thats right ? Eh JJ?
    He will deffo want that job?

  22. Irish @ 8.15pm

    I’m not interested in meeting the man who dug the hole, just the one with the sense to build a staircase out of it… 😉

  23. He was lucky to have the other 4 around him .
    He would have been nothing without them.
    (see how easy it is to dismiss someones achievements JJ ? Just credit others and dismiss them .Its a trick I learned from you)

  24. chris fucking kiwomya

    hahaha yeah he was turd as well..

    so george

    your theory is that we are a shit club with no money and nobody will want this job? so just stick with wenger out of sentiment..

    thats a good plan..

    although i beg to differ..

    we are a big club and we have the wage bill to attract a top manager and top players..
    we can and we will compete but we need the culture to change..
    we changed players weve changed boards weve changed captains..

    so lets change the manager eh..see if that works..

  25. Yogi ,I loook forward to hearing a moment of Ateeb’s lucidity when we meet for a drink.
    I am sure we would get on swimmingly .

  26. nope george
    i dont dismiss anything arsenes done..

    you just like to take the piss out of everything pre wenger

    ppl like me defend that and you twist it into an anti wenger campaign..

    you’ll find my biggest gripe with arsene is his crap tactics his crap mentality and his crap wage also question his crap man management skills as well and his squad made up of well paid crap..his crap made up trophies and his crap excuses..

    but then your arguement is the invincibles the doubles and the chelsea and we were shit before 96..

    we just go round in circles

  27. George – By get on ‘swimmingly’, do you mean to say you are going to dump him in the Thames?

    Yogi – That will be one big staircase mate. Do you think JJ might see any irony, if we throw im some of the ‘deadwood’ to be found at The Arsenal these days, to help in the building of said staircase?

  28. He has had a lot of success for a man with crap tactics,mentality and management skills.
    Still ,I am sure you are right.You being qualified to rule on such matters.Whats you skill set again?

  29. george – he can type for hours on end, repeating over and over, what he has already stated in some vain attempt to show that if you say something often enough it will be taken for truth. Or some such drivel 🙂

  30. he had a lot of success george
    he had..
    you get i keep telling you, the man then, is not the man now..

  31. irish
    stop being a fanny

    if you got summat to say to me say it to me..

    yogi and george wont help you mate..

  32. Well we are not going to agree JJ.
    You could be right.That has to be a possibility.He may have just run out of steam .Or forgotten everything,the likes of you knows,about management.
    I just find that hard to believe.

  33. Excellent post !
    I for one still believe in Arsene. Trust, well the man has lied to us, so I don’t know. But given a level playing field I believe he would be head and shoulders above any other manager around.

  34. the likes of me knows jack shit about management but thats not at debate here pal.
    the debate is are we progressing under arsenes methods or are we declining and i draw my evaluation from that..

    besides..ive been around long enough to watch other managers crumble as well and the hallmarks are there with this one..

    we may finish 4th but under these policies how long is it before the other contenders for top 4 catch up..

    its likely to happen if we keep selling everyone..i agree he doesnt want to lose them but he is losing them..which suggests he cant stop it..

    we cant keep watching players leave every year and hope we finish 4th..the fans will lose connection with the players cos no fucker knows whos next out of the door

  35. Jon Jon,

    Yeah, given our transfer policy of recent years & the possibility of our manager moving on sometime in the next 18 months I`d say it`s highly unlikely we`ll see a massive splurge in the January window.

    As before it`ll most likely depend as much on who goes out the door first.

  36. Well that’s good news dupsffokuf. Sagna is top drawer. Holding on to him would be a nice first step in reversing the trend of our top players bailing out. I hope they find a way to keep him

  37. dups
    im kind of feeling that from sagna anyway mate.
    i dont see him wanting to leave
    i dont see theo wanting to leave either..

    so there should be no problems over contracts..unless its our own self imposed problems..

    PW..i agree..

  38. There will be no problem over future contracts as long as the club just pays the player what they want for as long as they want it.
    Its simple really.

  39. Is Arteta jaded?

    In April 2011, when most Arsenal fans were still sleeping like babies in anticipation of the new upcoming trophy challenges, Arsene already knew that two of his best players would be leaving next summer. So, he started looking for a new combination of midfielders capable of replacing the departing talent. In the home league game against ManU the midfield trio consisted of Song, Ramsey and Wilshire. The manager tried to test a fluid formation of midfielders, with the familiar role of the physical anchor assigned to Song. Arsenal’s performance in this Sunday game, admittedly against a “jaded” ManU side after a midweek Cl game against Chelsea, was impressive, and the 1:0 victory convinced Arsene that his new young midfield was well equipped for the next season.

    The summer though left Jack injured and unavailable for the entire campaign. Luckily, the Cl qualification against Udineze allowed to attract some good players in the last days of the transfer window, and so arrived Arteta to deputise for Jack. The singing turned out to be a success, with the tidy and experienced midfielder quickly finding an understanding with Song and playing a crucial role in Arsenal preserving its Cl status.

    And so we come to the next summer, when Alex Song was quietly sold to Barsa, and no replacement arrived. Arsene’s idea was to rely on injury prone, but undoubtedly talented Diaby as the physically strong and dynamic midfielder in Arenal’s first eleven. And Arsenal’s impressive start of the season seemed to justify manager’s calculation.

    … Diaby was injured in the sixth league game of the season against Chelsea. After more than 2 months of his absence, there is still no suggestion about the date of his return.

    And so Arteta had to make up for Diaby’s loss, playing the role less suitable for him. The opponents immediately recognised the lack of physicality in Arsenal’s midfield and started targeting Arteta with tackles and pressure and causing nervousness in otherwise reliable Arteta’s game. The impact was not only defensive errors such as against Everton, but also a disruption in our link up play.

    I doubt that Arteta is jaded. He is after all not an international player, and spends the international breaks in London Colney when his team mates around the world play for their countries. But I do think he is being played out of his position.

    And Rosicky’s return may not help the matters. Our midfielders are too similar, technically strong but not imposing. Easy meat for any half decent Pl side.

    Diaby, where are you? Come back, and everything will be forgiven

    (Cries like a toddler …)

  40. no george
    you twisting it to sound simple..

    the wage bill is flawed..

    big time..

    from the amount we pay them (less than at highbury) to the treatment of players nearing 30..

    sagnas been the best right back in this league for 5 years and has 4-5 years left in him..hes happy here and wants to stay so why are we fucking about with one year extentions and holding off because hes had two leg breaks..even though the first wasnt that bad and the second was wengers fault for rushing him back while his leg was still healing with plates in it cos we wanted 4th and had no wingbacks and he didnt want to sign anyone in jan..

    weve been through this have diaby and rosicky had money and years thrown at them but sagnas not seen as a priority??

    its bollox mate..utter bollox..

    if he goes its the clubs fault..

    wengers fault..

  41. Simple ,then JJ.
    Why dont they see that Bac should be given some of Rosicky’s and Diaby’s wage.
    I mean if halfwits like us can see it why cant they .Are they blind?

  42. not diabys and rosickys wage..

    but what about the actual shite in the squad..what we paying them for?
    to play once every two years?

    i see..
    poor us..
    we can afford to have a dozen players like this hanging round doing fuck all but we cant afford to increase anyone elses wage becuase of it..poor us we just cant compete can we..150mil a year to play with and its just not fair

    its easier just to get rid of the star players isnt it i suppose..

  43. Just back from the pub.

    Unfortunately not, Irish.

    Rain buggered the apple crop in the UK.

    However, I still have 20 gallons stored from last year.

    You and JJ should talk more. You’ve got off on the wrong foot.

    Just my opinion.

    Night, night.

  44. we dont want to upset the balance of the squad by offering theo 100k a week..

    that will really piss off the likes of chamakh off

    we cant be having that now can we..poor chamakh..

    you greedy fucker theo..dont you realise we cant afford you and your goals and assists..

    it will depress chamakh and we need room for when that superstar bendtner comes back from tearing it up in italy as well..

  45. No ,we should give Theo his money .
    And in uture we should tell players if they get injured ,old or dont fit the system we change to,that their wages will be given to Star players like Theo.
    He could have had Jacks wage from last year .He did fuck all to earn that .Played less than Chamakh,fucking freeloader.

  46. or we shouldnt try to put sticking plasters, cellotape and bubble gum to fix the cracks in the squad..

    its turning out to be one hell of an expensive piece of bubble gum isnt it..

    all those years in ‘fixing’ the squad..

    it would have probably been cheaper to buy someone for 30mil..

  47. C’Bob – Sorry to hear that about this years apple crop but very heartened to hear that you have managed to resist temptation and save so much from last years batch 🙂 As for JJ and I, it is all just banter and compared to many others, we tend to keep it civil. I know he is a Gooner, I do not doubt that at all, but we do differ greatly on many things with relation to The Arsenal and all that that entails. Not to mention the fact that he is obviously wrong 🙂

    Good news on the Sagna front but I still feel that he might leave if he cannot sort out his contract. A pity though, as he is an excellent player. Same goes for Theo. I think we should just up the offer for both and lock them in, even if for only 1 extra year in Sagna’s case. Jenks is a great prospect but right now we need Sagna’s experience, especially if we get our traditional draw against Barca in the CL.

  48. JJ – Maybe we should get that bubblegum from Willie Wonka, you know, the one that never loses its flavor and lasts forever?

  49. i mean, we could do with a more experienced keeper than mannone really to challenge sir chesny..

    so where the fucks fabianski and all his thousands of pounds a week for being shit hot..

    or is he waiting to go to watford like our other world class, well paid keeper did?

  50. george
    at this point becuase of all the years of mismanagement id say we are 4 or 5 short..

    but there you go..

  51. United could lend us one of theirs JJ .
    Because finding a top keeper is a piece of piss.

  52. JJ – Fabianski is injured. I think that is traditional these days for The Arsenal to always have a GK injured.

  53. Anyone injured for more than a month should give their wages to a Star players Irish.
    Its simple

  54. nope thats not it..
    the point i made has gone straight over your head..

    bloody hell..

    evening kev..long time..hows tricks?

    its interesting you post that..i was going to mention the other day i was sure arsene was the one who hired ivan..

  55. irish
    banter it is matey.
    banter it is..

    somedays we’ll agree, somedays we wont..dont take it personal
    i see you as a respected poster on here..

    like most..

  56. the funny thing is that arsene could probably buy the 4-5 needed with 30mil..

    but as soon as hes spent it he makes it back at a profit so we go round and round in fucking circles..

  57. Arteta is the boss. Should be captain. One of my favorited, but he can’t play DM the whole season. He needs a physical and dynamic partner–Song, Diaby (M’Vila?).

  58. Arsene does not want to win games.
    He is to busy counting his wages and planning how to make Arsenal slip back into the pack.
    He is an accountant ,no tactical awareness for football.
    Hey I am getting good at this.

  59. I agree with JJ. (Happy now Bob!?) I think Fellaini would be a real coup. I wonder if TV could convince him to join him in London. Or maybe just bring back Denilson? Could you imagine the uproar? Somebody on twitter should start that rumor 🙂

  60. he plays for everton..

    they cant compete with us they pay lower wages and are in debt so need to sell a player or two every year..

    if ivan wants a marquee signing to get everyone behind the plc then thats our man..a transfer record will need to be broken but those kind ppl at the emirates have pushed a wedge in our direction..

    still i suppose its easier to give crap players who we dont use millions over the years until their contracts run out instead..

  61. What a long winded article! Let’s stop pussy footing around the obvious.

    A jaded tired manager who doesn’t inspire his troops any more and who seems to lack judgement. He cuts a sad figure most weekends and appears quite delusional judged by his statements. I think the average fan’s judgement and perception of what is wrong is better. Static players, back passes, no leadership on the field NO F….. DRIVE!!!
    New blood is needed, a new mentality at the top and a significant investment in new players. The organization is in great health financially but the rot has to stop. The loss of Dein and the burden of a new stadium were fatal.

    No marquee player wants to come to this sorry soggy mess. The players we have want out.

    A sad picture of decline: today’s Liverpool.

  62. In that ff2 article Wenger says that he wants to have a squad that is 80% homegrown from the academy.Why then do people think he will spend money in Jan,it goes againgst what he claims he is trying to achieve.I must say though the academy had better buck its ideas up as the only true, ie not pilfered from other clubs at the age of 16 ,academy products in the squad are Wilshere and Gibbs.Lets hope the coaching improves;maybe some of that 150 mill would be better spent on some top top top quality coaches.Mind you if we are going to produce 80% of our players,why do we need that Emirates deal at all?Maybe a ST decrease,or more ranches for Stan ,who knows? I do hope that someone has told Arsene that Arsenal fans are scathing about English players,especially those fans in Asia that the club hold in such high regard.

  63. George ,6.52,Forest a “tiny” club when football took off? Ha fuckin ha still got two European cups that Arsenal have never,and will never,win.Wenger would kill for those two cups that the old pisshead won;at least he wasn’t a dirty scumbag cheat like Wenger and the useless Arshavin.

  64. LJB
    Common sense doesnt work with Pedantic George. He is a WUM, with no idea of football,who will start supporting Spuds once Wenger is gone.

  65. JJ,
    I dont always agree with everything you say, but you are by far the most entertaining and interesting commenter on this blog.

  66. January signings – OK I gave my top pick the other night with Thomas Mueller but I doubt very much if he is a feasible target – he was unsettled last season and out of the Bayern side but from what I can see he is now banging em in.

    Nearer home in silver medal position – Gabriel Agbonlahor – a player who is very mobile and quick, can play as a single striker or as part of a pair, and a player who I have always thought deserves a better stage than Vila Park

    And finally the wildcard – Walters from Stoke – I know I know I know – I would rather jam knitting needles in my scrotum than do business with Pullis but Walters seems to me to be a decent striker and very tough. Give him chance in the box and he always hits the target, he has had to feed on scraps at Stoke and in front of a better midfield might just be a very good striker indeed

  67. Red Cannon,you have found me out ,I admit it .I am not qualified to either manager the club or run it.
    Unlike the likes of you and the equally qualified LJB.

  68. Interesting discussion last night.

    It does not matter which players AW inherited; they were hardly winning everthing in sight so his impact is still massively significant. And it is fair to say he has made quite a few decent buys during his time here so I don’t see where the questions about his ability really come from.

    There is no doubting he is a top mananager, it is just that he is struggling to adapt to today’s footballing climate. If he were availabe there would be a line of clubs making him offers.

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