For The Love of Arsenal (Revisited)

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Morning all, blog Chairman Consolsbob imparts his pearls of wisdom this morning

I’ve been re-reading a few posts from ACLF written in the last close season when the dissatisfaction amongst some of us with the management of Arsenal Football Club was becoming more evident and widespread. Much that was written then could with little amendment stand as valid opinion now; in football as in life, I suppose. Things have changed somewhat though. A bright shiny trophy now adorns TNHOF and we all feel a bit brighter, a little lighter in step.

In that regard there is less overt criticism of the club now than then. Arsène is staying and there is no point in revisiting any concerns about the manager at this time; that die is cast. We must support the man in his endeavours. We are hopeful that his final hurrah will be successful and a fitting end to his Arsenal career.

However, underlying much of the angst that surrounded the club was the question of its corporate management. This included Arsène’s role of course, no-one at the club is more powerful than he but there remain other crucial issues. There is the uneasy feeling among many supporters about the owner, the Board and the Chief executive. What of Usmanov? What do they all want with the club? What are their goals and intentions for Arsenal, the entity that most of us, our fathers and grandfathers would believe to be ‘ours’?

As YW posted recently, we are the only ones who support the club, the only ones who, despite the betrayals and disloyalty of the recipient of our adoration, continue to show our love like callow teenagers. It is unrequited, certainly. Only fans are truly, ever loyal.

Given that, I have struggled, largely unsuccessfully, to understand what exactly it is that we support. It was simple once. Arsenal played at Highbury, which for our generation and several previously had been there forever. It was solid, permanent and we could go whenever we wanted but paying at the turnstile. Every week the players would turn out in the Red and White and we would watch from the terraces or listen to the radio.

Then, as now, we moaned. What player was poor, who we should get to replace him. What was the manager playing at? The Board didn’t really feature much in our arguments, nor, I suspect in our thoughts. They had always been there, Arsenal had always been there, we were all on the same side. We all wanted the best for Arsenal and that best meant winning and aspiring to be, or in our case, return to being the best bloody team in the land.

We didn’t expect to be invited into the Boardroom but that wouldn’t have bothered us. The club was the team and the team was the club. We supporters were part of the club, members. It’s what a club means, isn’t it? A membership of common interest and purpose.

That’s not the situation today. When did that cease to be the case? The Premiership and Sky TV changed the football landscape radically and was all part of wider changes in the world. That world became progressively more naked in its scrabble for money and profit and football has now become part of it. The world of business, of commerce and ‘corporate enterprise’. This has been the most radical shake up to the relationship of supporters to the club.

Until the coming of Kroenke, I don’t think that Arsenal deliberately set out to build a business rather than a club, or, more accurately, to put the business before the club. Even David Dein, a proper businessman who was a driving force in changing Arsenal and football with his machinations, was a true supporter. The redevelopment of the Clock end and later, the much more controversial North Bank Stand, were designed to achieve what would eventually result in us leaving Highbury and building ‘The Emirates’. We had to increase our income if we were to compete effectively with Manchester Utd and Liverpool plus the giants of Italian and Spanish football.

That all seemed logical enough. No one expected anybody to make any money out of it for themselves, at least as a primary goal. Holding Arsenal shares and serving on the Board was seemingly seen as a duty for those custodians of the club. Peter Hill-Wood, the third in his family to serve Chairman has said,

“I have never looked at a football club as a financial asset. In the old days, when shares came up for sale, we used to draw lots for them. We used to buy them at 30 bob each, and if you got them, you were inclined to see them as a waste of money. One didn’t view it in a commercial way.”

Fans could therefore see both the ambition and reason for those developments.

However, in retrospect, as The Independent Arsenal Supporters Association voiced at the time, this was the start of the fracturing of the fans from the club. Arsenal arrogantly failed, and probably had no intention, to consult with fans in any meaningful way. Thus while most of those who stood on the Clock End wanted a roof over their heads, this was not a key feature of the plans as they developed. Later, the redevelopment of the North bank was much more controversial and damaging.

Once again, with David Dein driving the scheme, consultation was token and the scheme was announced in a match day programme. This included the infamous Bond Scheme whereby North Bank regulars would have to buy a bond to give them the right to buy a season ticket. The plan would also reduce capacity and leave only 6000 tickets available to non-bond holders on match days. It is thought that 8000 regulars opted not to return to Highbury. Many more were priced out of regular attending. This was the first major fracture between fans and club. With it came slow realisation that their interests were not always mutual.

In 2002, the club changed its crest, for commercial reasons. The new crest was to represent ’brand values’ and ‘embrace the future’. Most of us were unimpressed; something else was lost to us.

The move to Ashburton Grove followed with the inevitable increase in admission. The loss of Highbury, that touchstone of our support hurt, even though we knew it’s time had come. Whatever the logic, something died in many of us.

Since then, of course, shares, and the club, have gone on to become very valuable indeed. The Board room battles eventually saw the ousting of Dein and later, with the death of Danny Fiszman and the sale to Kroenke, a few became very wealthy indeed. The baton had passed from the board of a football club to the corporate managers of a sporting ‘franchise‘. From custodians to subsidiary management of a ‘brand’.

Little wonder, to me at least, that the oft derided Black Scarf movement strike a clear resonance with their “We want our club back” mantra. You don’t have to agree with all their views to appreciate, and feel, the sentiment behind that.

Where am I, that’s the issue. Put on one side the need to reform the Board, to build Arsenal into a football superpower, the need for new players and the intentions of the mega rich who control ‘our ‘club. What exactly do I support? What do you support?

Instinctively, we would say, “The Arsenal”. My question is, what is The Arsenal in 2014? I don’t support a corporate entity, I care little for millionaires on the Board or in the team. I am completely indifferent to the corporate goals of Ivan Gazidis and his team of ‘sports entrepreneurs’.

I love Arsenal, but what exactly is it that owns my affection and my loyalty?

Thanks Bob. ’til Tomorrow

161 thoughts on “For The Love of Arsenal (Revisited)

  1. Birdkamp:

    I agree that Fergies teams certainly did move toward pragmatism near the end of his career. However so have we, and in the last 1 1/2 seasons as our football has become increasingly pragmatic the results have certainly improved because of it. In an ideal world you can play attractive football and still win consistently. However, when your attacking players are struggling to score as much as we have during that period the attractiveness factor has to suffer in favor of pragmatism if you want to get results.

    This season, Job 1 will be to maintain the defensive solidarity that has been the key to our improved results, but hopefully the addition Sanchez and return of Walcott and perhaps Joel Campbell will allow us to move towards a more exciting, direct and aggressive counter attacking style and get away from the midfield ball possession and striker back to goal tactics that has felt overly methodical and has not been very effective at scoring goals.

  2. Bill,

    11-13 we countered more, because we had a brand new team and the combinations weren’t there to cut through deep defences. Last season I thought we played some amazing football and scored some incredible goals – in terms of style it was a huge step up on previous seasons. We didn’t score heaps of goals, but were clinical, controlling games against lower-league teams without creating mountains of chances. When we had opportunities they were so clear cut that we didn’t need to keep pushing.

    I don’t think our style was hampered by playing Giroud in the middle. I think part of the issue were the options on either side of him, but that was also only part of the story.

    Clearly, something was missing against the big teams, especially in the new year. Well, a lot was missing because we lost several key figures. It’s not worth speculating about what might have been, but tactically speaking, we were short of pacey players who make runs behind the defence. Thankfully that’s been remedied,so I can’t wait to see what the future holds.

  3. You are absolutely right about jonny resembling a film star, MA.

    Greta Garbo to a ‘T’.

  4. Birdkamp:

    As far as the football we played last season, I guess beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. Other then a few memorable goals and a short run of form early in the season, I don’t think we were very exciting or attractive to watch and mostly ineffective from an attacking standpoint. If I gauged the sentiment of the majority of regular contributors to the blog, it felt like that was the by far the majority opinion. To me, scoring goals is what makes football attractive and exciting. I think that the most efficient and exciting way to score is by a more direct counterattacking style which does not really suit Giroud as well as the back to goal and hold up play that he excels at. However, I think its highly probably that he will be our CF this season.

    Bottom line for me is that a heavy dose of pragmatism is a good thing and hopefully that pragmatism will show up in the form of maintaining our defensive solidarity, but I also hope we can add some counterattacking flair and score quite a few more goals.

  5. Bill, not being funny, but I think our ideas about football are at complete odds. Objectively, it doesn’t mean you’re wrong of course.

  6. @Yogi

    Yea I just looked up the picture that everybody was looking at. On the .Com and in training today he is wearing #21.

    Sounds like even when things are going good, they find a way to cock it up for a moment 😉

  7. You need money to buy a team.

    Arsenal (whether you like Corporate or not) needed to be business like to build our own without an outside benefactor.

    What Kroenke brings to the table is quiet stability. He isn’t involved nor does he meddle. Instead, he is there to add confidence in the club’s financial structure.

    This of course mean f all without sound financial magaement.

    Putting aside Highbury years and things past which are really irrelevant to arsenal’s rise (not so its branding), the real driving force of arsenal’s success of a club in recent times has been :

    1) Wenger. HIs early success spring boarded the club into a new era. BUT his financial nous and ability to make profit from accute player markets (taking advantage o the foreign markets) was pioneering. It also grew our pockets.

    2) Again Wenger (The board and Dein) but also the Stadium. The tickets are too bloody expensive. OTOH, you don’t see too many empty seats which suggest the club has got it right at very least with market tolerance. Whether this needs to continue (ticket price level) in support of general club finance is a different thing as the commercial side hopefully kicks in.

    3) Gazidis and Kroenke. They brought in the US marketing team to negotiate better sponsorship deals and realise a better marketing/branding. How else do you think we can continue to sustain the sort of summer spending we are now beginning to reap benefit from?

    Commercialism is crucial.

    How much commercialism at expense to history and tradition is a debate that needs encouragement with fans.

    But thereis no avoiding the word Economics.

    Arsenal is a club that has built itself (largely through Wenger)

    Arsenal is a club that builds for the future through youth development and has a record building young players and now rehabilitating older players of value that have been overlooked (Metersecker)

    Personally, I do not have a problem with Kroenke being silent.

    So long as those at the helm (Largely Gazidis and wenger) are in sync and are driving the club in the right direction, there is benefit from less/no micromanagement from above (Usamov)

    The club’s traditions would count for nothing without Wenger and Dein early on and now Gazidis pushing forward with new commercial deals.

    What the club could benefit from more would be fan participation and the German model of at least part/expanded fan ownership should be looked into as the next stage of development.

    What the club must also bear in mind with commercial growth is to be aware of the club’s traditions. In that the decision to add the clock in the clock end was a nice touch but highlighted an oversight which should not have happened in the first place.

    The fans need a relevant voice that can be benefitial to the club in concert with commercial growth. How Arsenal FC can structure this in better will be tricky with the current ownership model but should be something to aspire toward.

  8. Miami,

    You have put me in a bit of a quandary. You see, you said;
    — “Not to malign any other blogger on the subject of Arsenal FC, but there is an intellectual aspect here at times that is simply not matched elsewhere.”

    Now my mum, bless her, told me not to get into bad company, including associating with people with an intellectual aspect – so the dichotomy I find myself in, enjoying the chat but frightened by these nefarious intellectuals, means I will have to sit down and cogitate as to whether I need to sod off to one of the non-intellectual blogsites, or to find a way to continue lurking in the background, keeping a wary eye on the intellectual cognoscenti.

    Anyway, thanks for the warning!! 😀

  9. Chambers looks a versatile player who will audition for a number of roles.

    If we add a Cback, it would be a fantastic signing, if not, it is somewhat of a distraction.

    Much as I like Vermaelen for his determination, he hasn’t been able to rotate through Meterscielny and this is a key issue.

    Being a back up is not good enough (for the club or for him). we need someone who is good enough to rotate and allow Per/Koscielny time to rest less we risk injury to them in the red zone.

    Chambers has potential but is 19, has not had too much exposure at top level and should not be expected or depended upon to cover Vermaelen’s departure. It will be a risk.

    We need someone preferably 23-26 with sufficient experience under the belt IMO. Preferably we should also retain some of the height of Per in this player and some of the speed of Laurent, to compensate for either.

    No use having feet of clay.

    The capability level at present at Cback drops off considerably. Miquel still has good potential although this must represent his last season to impress. Again, he cannot be relied upon at present and needs to have a good number of games under his belt to guarantee us consistency.

    I shudder to contemplate the idea of relying upon Monreal at centre half.

  10. I’ll add that to the list of pithy put downs Bob – if I recall correctly from media studies classes, her nickname was ‘The Swedish Sphinx’ and she was a reclusive bisexual.

    Still I suppose I look about as much like Greta as you do your profile picture. 😛

    Al – totally agree that, with regards attack, our big miss was our pace on either side of Giroud (plus lung busting breaks from midfield from Ramsey). For this reason and the fact that defensively we were very solid (excepting a few disastrous hammerings that were as much rooted in poor tactics) like you, I am feeling very excited for the future.

  11. Santori

    > Putting aside Highbury years and things past which are really irrelevant to arsenal’s rise

    You can’t do that, Wenger built his reputation at Highbury. If you don’t believe that, ask yourself these questions:

    1. How many trophies has Wenger won at Highbury?
    2. How many has he won at The Emirates?
    3. Since moving to The Emirates, how many Champions League finals have Arsenal played in?

    Equally, this statement is contradictory to your earlier position:

    “What the club must also bear in mind with commercial growth is to be aware of the club’s traditions.”

    How can you forget the past and then build commercial growth on traditions?

    On empty seats, the only games that genuinely sellout are the Cat A games. I’ve been to plenty Cat B & C where I’d estimate that there are anywhere between 1 – 5% of the seats empty. It’s a financial sellout but empty seats is not a mark of success.

  12. Lukaku isn’t worth £24 million imo…I think he could flourish at Everton but a lot of Everton fans will agree he’s far from the finished article and is very lazy but worries me that Chelsea will have an additional £24million to spend on another striker. Always scores against us right enough. I’m interested to see how Everton do this season; the new manager hype is gone now. Reus rumours are interesting now he’s rejected an extension, what about sell Santi to Atletico if they are seriously offering £20+ million for a 29 year old then use the money and put it towards Reus haha! I wonder how much we actually have left, i mean i think Sanchez cash rumoured to have been £32 £90% up front, £11 for Debuchy will be paid in full, Chambers was £11mill with add ons and Ospina was £3million so that’s around £53-6million spent so for of a £70million budget…However £3million for Djourou earn in Jan, Vela cash for removing clause (£7million rumoured) and we got cash from Cesc to Chelsea around £5.6 million is an additional £15million roughly…Will Arsene spend the £25million left? I think the only way we’ll see new personnel in is if others leave. Campbell and Verm are prime targets for leaving but I think we’ve got about £30million we could spend…

  13. Giroud.

    We need two or three different ways to play up front.

    With Sanchez in a support striker role (and the return of Walcott), we have both speed and nous to hurt opponents on the break. neither player are terribly tall so it benefits them to have Giroud to play off.

    Again I do not feel Sanchez can benefit as much 9nor are we playing to his best position) when deployed up top but for occasions. Largely even with the Chilean team (officially the shortest in the last world cup), he was deployed wide but I suspect he may be devastating for us running from deep and given a felxible role behind Giroud (with Walcott dovetailing from RW)

    OTOH Giroud’s singular role up top as a 4-2-3-1 may still be useful against better teams where we need more defensive discipline. Again, Sanchez gives us flexibility an options to Podolski, Santi, Chamberlain and Walcott out wide (and possibly Gnabry if he stays around first team)

    The other player in the equation is Campbell. He is different from Giroud and Sanogo being more mobile. I was impressed by his hold up play and first touch despite being 5’10 and playing back to goal. He also offers pace which in concert with Sanchez or Chamberlain or Walcott in a 4-4-2 could be an interesting option to the big man.

    where Giroud was effective last season was acting as the sledge hammer to open up space in the box. Most teams we play against withdraw deep and play compact cutting off channels.

    Bereft of some of our speedier assets, we got bogged down in trench warfare because we could ot transition as quick. this may not be the case as much this season, but it should not take away from our ability to use Giroud to create space for our midfield assets to run in where he was very effective (see his assists rate)

    My main concern up top is Sanogo now. He has yet to find his feet and is the only viable option to a Giroud loss.

    The other player who is interesting is Akpom. he is certainly making a case for himself and has plenty of skills and height. Still a bit green, wonder if he can benefit from a good loan spell like Campbell but he is starting to impress me.

  14. Good cricket on the go at the moment.

    India genuinely struggling against the mighty spin wizardry of Moeen Ali.

  15. @Yogi

    I agree completely

    1) It is not a question of Highbury. It is a question of winning. Wenger won at highbury yes but without winning (regardless of venue), he would not have had the spring board to effectively launch his economic development of Arsenal. Remember how low we were in the money rankings back then.

    2) It is not the number of CL finals that is important for growth of the club. That would have been nice. It is the number of CL we have consistently been able to qualify for, that fourth spot trophy. Ask United and Liverpool how difficult it has been to recruit top players without (spending a lot more money)

    3) It is not a comparison of the number of trophies at Highbury to Emirates. Granted I hate the corporate naming of the present stadium and the lack of identity to the old place. But the size of the stadium has ensured a better revenue stream regardless of how we feel the ticket prices are. We have no option but to sell seats 9and they do sell for the price) until the commercial engine kicks in for us to relieve the load.

    4) I did not say we should forget the past. The past is an important branding for the club. But we are also a club of the future and we are crucially through Wenger’s stewardship a club that builds its own future. That is the true ethos of the club at the moment. There are plenty of clubs in the PL with rich histories but without the ability to grow economic riches, they cannot compete at the highest level which is yes, being in the Cleague. It is self perpetuating. It helps that we have lifted the hoodoo of not being able to win a pot but minimal finish has always been fourth to afford us the ability to bring in CL player at (prior to last season) wenger prices. had we not had the sort of mechanism in place financially to balance our books with sound purchases, we would not be where we are regardless of traditions or past trophies

    This is not to discount traditions or Highbury at all, I loke the club’s history.

    But the commercial element which Wenger has introduced to the club is part and parcel with its growth and in many ways growing into its own part of Arsenal history (like the Stadium move) hopefully in better concert with our older traditions.

    There is no avoiding it if we want to continue to compete with some of the bug boys at current level and continue our new found tradition as a self sustaining club.

  16. I’m not sure why so many think Campbell should leave.

    He is still only 22. where was Walcott, Ramsey, Fabregas or indeed Henry at that age?

    He has just come off the back of a fantastic season for Olympiakos and a very good world cup showing with a team that should have been struggling.

    He holds the ball well, has pace, isn’t afraid to shoot, good first touch and decent distribution.

    At very least, it should be enough reason to keep him for another season but in the first squad.

    Had we signed him this summer, the attitude toward him would have been different, but since it was Dick Law through the jungle 3 summers past, there tends to be a tendency to discount his growing abilities.

    Wenger will watch him extremely closely this pre-season. If he continues with the right attitude he has been showing over past season, he could be destined for great things. there is such a thing as organic development. not everything has to be brought in ready made and at high prices.

    The player I feel should go on loan if he continues not to find his feet is Sanogo. That is proviso we can find someone who is a decent back up to giroud’s physiaclity and at no detriment to Sanogo’s future growth.

    Someone like a Michu at 29 may represent a good deal. he won’t cost as much now and has theheight to replicate some of Giroud but also adds suitable pace and nuance up top. he can easily be re-roled to LW when Podolski leaves or as a Rosicky repacement. It will be a stop gap but will give Sanogo the chance to play regularly on loan in the mean time.

  17. MLF – I disagree about Lukaku – definitely worth £24M. Especially to Everton where the player has already shown a great return, feels settled and loved. He knows their system and is free scoring – he is only just getting started.

    In fact, I have just read a stat that shows his total haul of league goals at 21 is the highest in the world – https://twitter.com/UberFootFact/status/494503511095541761/photo/1

    He does not come across as the hardest worker on a football but lazy?? Pffft – a tad harsh there.

  18. Regarding seats:

    This is an area the club needs to look into.

    I think the commercial deals kicking in may afford us a bit of leeway to re-adjust.

    The prices are too high. they do sell but are not most efficient.

    One idea the club could look into is to build mini virtual ‘stadiums’ overseas.

    United tried it once with their ManU clubs across the globe.

    Basically we need a venue that provides a good environment for Arsenal fans to congregate in various parts of the world where there may be a strong following. Massive theatre screen for the game, stadium atmosphere, that sort of thing.

    The revenue stream can go to the club.

    Not sure we have enough critical mass yet. This is the sort of non traditional development that must be given some thought. It could take some of the slack off the seating prices at the Emirates and capitalise on the GROWING fan base over seas. It has the added benefit of also attracting more supporters and advertising.

    It has to be properly managed though and not the crass and crude incarnation of the United clubs 9which is reflective of their ostentation)

  19. @MLF

    If we could sell Santi for the 20+M tha Athletico reportidely are offering and go get Reus even though he is injured I would sign off on that immediately. The upside to having a front 3 of Reus/Sanchez/Theo is to mouthwatering a prospect to pass up. With Reus injured where we to get him, we would still have cover with Ox fit along with a fit Podolski, Mozart, Jack and Giroud.

  20. @Santori

    Didn’t we build a team and almost win the league with Cesc at 22?

    Ramsey just turned 23 in December so at 22 year old, Ramsey was tearing up European futbol.

  21. It’s a popular argument, santori and there really can be no argument once you accept that football has gone as a sport and is now, purely, a consumer ‘product’ Why else would any of us care about such concepts as ‘branding’.

    Leaves me completely cold.

  22. Loads of players have, and do, come through strong at about 22 – it’s about the time when players are close to fully matured physically and are starting to become more rounded in their personalities.

  23. We’ll have to disagree on that Bob – always thought she looked a little severe and thin lipped.

    Never trust a woman with thin lips.

    Sound advice that.

  24. He came in about 22 and needed a bit of time to find his feet.

    Since most players come good at 22, where is the rush to move Campbell on?

    Fabregas, Ramsey came good around 23.

  25. I think scoring 26 goals in your first season at he age of 22 years old is hitting the ground running.

    At the beginning of last season and the end of the previous Ramsey was putting in brilliant performance after brilliant performance.

  26. @consolbob.

    there is no reason why you cannot retain tradition and embrace commercialism. It has to be a balance.

    The inconvenient truth is without Wenger’s steady hand economically with foreign purchases and his success rate at the start of his tenure, there would have been no platform to build the club regardless of tradition or fan base.

    there are plenty of clubs with deep traditions and arguably more vociferous fan base (Say Villa, West Ham).

    Wenger’s early success gave us the spring board for him to revamp the club economically and build a foundation. The Emirates added a tier of guaranteed revenue at a level to stay with some of the oiligarch clubs. We have a heavy task ahead keeping up with the deep pockets of a number of club and the changing landscape across football.

    Spurs have tried to do it our way and have still fallen short. In that, despite what the media likes to potray them as a top team, Wenger’s ability to guide us at minimum through to CL is crucial in that it gives us stability and allows us to source better players at the cost we prefer.

    Things have changed over last season because of the more aggressive marketing brought in by Kroeke/Gazidis. New sponsorship deals,and commercial revenue will hopefully address the exorbitant ticket prices at the moment but there are also other means to be explored. We musn’t entirely mire ourselves in the misperception that it is the past that has built the club. It is Wenger’s ability to embrace the future that has but he has largely built it on the traditions and ethos of the club from the past (as he wisely should)

    To ignore the commercial side would be silly. There is no reason though that we cannot use the traditions of the club to enhance the commerical side and vice versa. It is far from a zero sum game.

  27. http://hereisthecity.com/en-gb/2014/07/30/how-missing-out-on-khedira-to-bayern-could-help-arsenal-sign-mar/

    A link C will definately like hahaha!

    Personally, i don’t think Santi had the best season last year it was qite unflattering! But i’d like to see him recapture the form shown in first season, having his knee injury at start of season obviously didn’t help! Pod as well! I like the prospect of Reus, but it’s a bit far fetched, we’re all getting ahead of ourselves due to Wenger splashing the cash so far! Though i’d take Reus over Santi in a heart beat along with a CDM! Replace Verm with a CB and we’d be sorted! If only eh

  28. So Campbell is 22. Whys ell him now?

    Walcott, ramsey and Fabregas came good at 23.

    Why criticise Jack when he was 22?

    This sort of illogical thinking makes no sense.

    What is the rush in moving a player on who has demonstrated good ability on loan and at a world cup?

    That is frankly blinkered.

    I expect Wenger will assess Campbell very closely over pre-season but I don’t get the idea that we need to ‘cash in” on him now. It makes no room for improvement and is the sort of thinking that accompanied Ramsey before he discovered his form.

  29. Santori.

    You seem to obsessed with height. I agree that height is a good thing and all else being equal, I would rather have a tall player then a short one. However you can be an excellent player without being tall and you can be tall and still be a poor player. I think height is quite a ways down the list of qualities you look for in a player

  30. I get the impression that Arsene MAY be reluctant to sign an additional striker, preferring to rely on Giroud, with backing from Campbell and Sanogo. In addition, we do have attackers from midfield such as Ramsey, Walcott Cazorla and now Sanchez. Ozil the provider.
    Campbell must get his chance after his experience with Olympiakos and in Brazil. Sanogo can only get better the more games he plays.
    With the arrival of Chambers and Ospina as a challenge to Szczesny and the Transfer Window still open, I can already describe our first team squad as “an embarrassment of riches”……..something I could not have said for a number of years past.
    And Diaby is back at long last!!!

  31. I think the main issue with Campbell is that AW doesn’t seem to rate him.

    From what little I have seen, he looks like a decent prospect but I doubt he’ll ever be a top, top player and he is certainly going to struggle get any meaningful playing time.

    I doubt he would get to play much if he stayed and I imagine he wants to be playing as much as possible. Given his current contract situation we might well be best advised to cash in on him now.

  32. True that jonny. I know that from personal experience.

    Why is that an “inconvenient truth”, santori? No one here doubts Arsene’s brilliant efforts at the club.

    Anyway, lovely fresh vegetable curry on the go and it’s time for another crossword and glass of wine.

    Pip. Pip!

  33. @MLF

    I saw that and also read a couple more reports about Khederia wanting to go to Bayern. If that is the case then nabbing Javi Martinez wouldn’t be a bad thing. He can play CDM as well as CB if needed.

  34. PLEASE NO MORE TALK ABOUT HEIGHT MAKING OR BREAKING A PLAYER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  35. very nicely witten mr chairman, sir…

    lots of thought provoking stuff that i cant really answer in one go and in some cases answer at all…

    i would say that overall my love for the game hasnt died as such, but what football itself means to me has changed dramatically over the years and its affected my attitude towards us as a club…i still love the game i still love the club but the hows and whys are alot different from years ago..

    whether thats to do with age or whatever route the club took i really dont know but id be lying if i said that if games these days were more accessable, ie, cheaper and i lived closer and had more free time..i wouldnt go..

    and its not like i havent spent money on following us or travelled long distances – ive been all over europe with us regular back in the day..

    but i no longer go, and i no longer buy the merchandise but its not something thats been forced on me its something ive chosen as the years have gone on..i still get all the emotions i used to get, happy sad angry and some of the greatest nights of my life have involved this club but things change..the clubs changed…the games changed..my lifes changed and i guess these days its easier just to watch us on the telly or catch the highlights and use the blogs as you would use the pub kinda thing and im happy with that..

  36. Johnny

    To let you know, currently you’re leading the pack for the Wembley ticket

    You’re actually the only person to express any interest!

  37. Chambers on being a midfielder and then moving to RB:

    “I was a midfielder about a year and a half ago for [Southampton] under-21s. I saw an opportunity in the first team at right-back and thought that for my progress it would be best to move there.

    “I used everything I learnt in midfield like first touch, scanning and all that and brought it into [playing as a] right-back.

    “I learnt how to play there with the under-21s and went through each game afterwards with the coaches and worked on little bits and it just went from there.”

  38. @Damon

    I would be more than happy to nab those tickets off your hands, only problem for me is that damn Atlantic Ocean currently separating me from London 😉

  39. If this story is true AT ALL, that we were set to sign Reus until he got injured, we should still pull the trigger.

  40. my opnion of events is that the blueprint for the modern arsenal were drawn up as far back as the GG era..
    the success he had with the club and the football we played in the early 90’s propelled us back to the summit of english football…
    weve always been a giant, but a sleeping one and the GG era was laden with publicity..ie trophies.so we were back with a bang..

    david dein knew what he was doing when he was pushing through the plans to give england a premier league in 92
    we were the biggest team in london and had massive support and we were winning stuff..he wanted to take it to a whole new level and the plans to expland the stadium were drawn up before wenger even arrived..

    it almost went tits up with the whole GG/rioch thing but we sturdied the ship with the signings off platt and bergkamp and he knew with wenger we had a manager who would kick on from where we left off and help make it happen…wenger played a role in our rise but he was just a pawn, perfectly positioned….

    and it worked and we went boom..but we went too boom and the baordroom imploded as the readies started rolling in and we lost dein and fiszmann and the longer we went rudderless the worse it got..

    i gave ivan alot of stick because for a few years it looked like he wasnt doing anything he was just there to do as he was told, but he may have been playing a waiting game and although its taken him a while hes wrestled alot of the club back and it looks like someone is steering the ship again at the very top..we havent had that in a long time and it will never be the same as what it was now weve gone global…but that was always the plan…and its not better politics than what it was under previous eras…its just different..some will embrace it, others wont give a fuck about it but everyone will still love the football side because thats what weve always done and always will do..

    just let the football do the talking…thats what bonds us..its all the politics behind it that has divided us but thats what politics does…it divides and thats why the fanbase will never be one, especially in this era because its built on politics and ppl take sides and fight..

    theres always been infighting between the fans as far back as i remember but with all the money and media involved its in our faces 24/7 now and it magnifies it…

  41. Santori you have argued the same points that i posted earlier about the board,direction,history beautifully.Thank you sir.

  42. Thanks Damon – as I said more happy to defer but would good to meet up otherwise.

    Great to see these Indian’s struggling with the mighty offspin of Root and Ali.

  43. Jonny

    If Root and Ali are the answers, you’re spinning the wrong questions!!

    Glad to see we’re putting up some fight though

  44. Jonny

    It’ll be one of those weird tests where a bowler or two posts their best figures ever and never gets close to them again

  45. I just dont understand how anyone will beat Van Gaal, Wenger, Pellegrini and Murinho this year. They are simply to good managers. No way there will be any manager between those 4 in the table comes May….

  46. Hmmmm. Reports from Lisbon suggesting that yer Carvalho is for definitely for sale.

    Him or Schneiderlin would be the icing on the cake for me.

    Obviously TV would need a quality/suitable replacement if he goes but, essentially, that would be the most perfect summer business under AW ever.

  47. @poodle

    Martinez i think is probably the closest to them but unfortunately for Everton i just don’t see them making that big of push to 4th.

  48. Yeah I saw that – I have a feeling there is some truth to this.

    I am pretty sure that we were interested before and it is allegedly common knowledge that RM are happy to sell for the right price.

    Not my favoured choice but it would be a cold day in hell you catch me complaining at his acquisition!

    😀

  49. C

    Much as I hate to say it, I think Spurs will have a good year this year. I like Pochetino. Peoe, me included, thought Southampton were mad moving on a successful manager to bring in this untried chappie mid season. Didn’t work out like that at all

    I think he’ll get the best out of some of their signings from last season that failed to fire. Particularly Lamela and I’d imagine Soldado couldn’t have a worse year than last?

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