Sweet FA as Arsene wants some backing

Parliament has spoken; the debate is over. Tracey Crouch passed the verdict: “It’s up to the FA whether they wish to play Russian roulette with public ­money.” Think about that for just one second. This is the government speaking, and they accuse another organisation of playing “Russian roulette with public money”?

Ms Crouch was on the warpath. The FA must reform or it will suffer the indignation of seeing Greg Clarke, its’ Chairman – not Chair but Chairman; it’s an archaic old duffers club after all – resign! Oh, and the government will cut the £30m funding it gives to grassroots football. That’s another pound per ticket on next season’s prices then; let the Honourable Member for the footballing hotbed of Chatham and Aylesford, step forward and take a bow.

There was nothing binding about the House of Commons motion chastising the governance of the Football Association; there are other deadlines for modernising the ruling body at the end of the March. After their exertions the previous evening voting on Brexit, 633 MPs lay drunk as skunks in the Commons Bar while 17 hardy souls debated the future of the game. 17, or 2.6% of the nation’s elected representatives. Where, I wonder, was Islington’s MP? Outside corralling people from the street to become members of his shadow cabinet as no MPs want the jobs.

As ever, politicians proved slow to react to the world around them. The government, it’s said, won’t back any future bids by the FA for hosting the World Cup or European Championships. Neither do any other FAs when the votes at FIFA or UEFA HQ are counted so as empty threats stand, that’s right up there with the best of them.

Sort it out, Arsène

Football’s governance is no laughing matter but the manner in which the corrupt House goes about things, as ever, leaves a lot to be desired. The FA isn’t representative of anyone or anything other than the fiefdoms the suits built while they were able. Successive chairmen tried reform and didn’t get very far; Clarke will get some through but will it actually improve football? Too much power, I fear, has already been ceded to the money gods.

Which does link into Arsenal, in a way. Despite publicly backing Arsène with their silence, the board is keen to let it be known they are working on a Plan B for the summer, just in case the Frenchman drives out of London Colney for one last time. There’s a four-man shortlist apparently with the inclusion of Bayer Leverkusen’s Rodger Schmidt raising eyebrows almost as high as his hairline. Everyone’s favourite Diego Simeone isn’t on the list, passed off as ‘official’ but Ivan read Twitter one morning and these were the names he saw, but Thomas Tuchel, Leonardo Jardim and Max Allegri are.

The idea we’re supposed to believe is that Highbury House is a hive of hushed tones and clandestine meetings, as they prepare for the future, even though they don’t think Wenger will go. They aren’t the only ones; Jack Wilshere joined the list of malcontents who won’t sign a new deal. According to the received wisdom, he’s waiting to see if Wenger stays. The unspoken part is that if he is, Jack’s off because he won’t get a look in as far as the first team is concerned.

He mentioned the T-word

Ah, the first team. Arsène spurned the opportunity to impress me by quoting Nick Lowe but he still wants some peace, love and understanding from us. And backing for the XI; the players achieve more with the crowd behind them, he mused. Look at what Tottenham achieved last year. Which was what exactly? Third in the Premier League, below us once again? Not the best example on so many levels.

It also shows a lack of awareness about the true nature of football supporters. There’s a romantic notion that every other club has loyal and unquestioning fans; nothing could be further from the truth. To paraphrase the title sequence of Burn Notice, football supporters are the bunch of whiniest little girls going. If Wenger thinks Spurs fans are happy with their centuries of underachievement, think again. Likewise, Liverpool whose wait for a title surpasses the indignity suffered by Manchester United. As for City and Chelsea…

You get the drift.

As much as he and his media acolytes may try to paint Arsenal fans in a bad light, the banner protests are nothing compared to hiring a plane to fly over the stadium. The nature of football has changed irreversibly during the Premier League era. If the owners, directors, players and managers want the grotesque rewards, then they must knuckle down and achieve. The quiet life is gone unless there is a sense of progress; that’s the flaw in the marketing spiel. Treat us like customers but don’t be surprised when the passive arrangement turns sour. Customers complain all the time when the goods and service don’t represent value for money.

Progress? Three consecutive wins outshine back-to-back defeats. While it won’t change hearts and minds for many about the manager’s future, he may get a little peace and quiet.

Dad’s Jukebox

A small technical hitch with 1991 means a new playlist for Arsène and football generally will shortly be live here.

’til Tomorrow.

49 thoughts on “Sweet FA as Arsene wants some backing

  1. Arsene should think himself lucky. A couple of banners? What about the thousands outside the East Stand chanting for Terry Neill’s head?

    Exactly right YW, if your ‘customers’ don’t like your product then you ignore them at your peril. Basic stuff really.

  2. This is starting to get messy isn’t it? The Board are finding it tricky to justify offering Wenger a two year contract. The results aren’t dropping the right way. Aren’t 21 years enough? Time to let some new ideas into Arsenal.

    I get the feeling he will be offered the Director of Football role when he decides to step aside.

  3. The fans spends their hard-earned money to pay their way to the stadium and television subscription (for those of us outside the UK) to watch our darling team play but then, we are not getting the value for our money; it’s disheatening.

  4. I hope not, Pete. A clean break has to be the best solution otherwise he’s going to continue to be a divisive character. Too easy to spin the ‘interfering boss’ line if things don’t work out.

  5. YW,

    Do I recall correctly that AW doesn’t believe in a Director of Football? So wouldn’t that make him a hypocrite if he accepted such a role?

  6. YW,

    I completely agree, but he’s woven into the fabric of our Club. Will be very hard to untangle him from it. Like a Soviet dictator hanging on to power in the middle of their 5th five year plan.

  7. If that’s Jack Wilshere’s position – its pretty ironic. I’d want him back if Wenger left simply because I’d love to see someone else develop his game.

    I also agree on Wenger not going upstairs – I am not sure many think it a good idea at this point.

  8. I’ve seen other reports indicating that Wilshere wants clarity on playing time. I very much doubt he will get that and would be unlikely to get guarantees of playing time anywhere else. To be fair, Wenger has stuck with Wilshere in the past whenever he is fit. One article flagged his playing time over the previous two seasons highlighting that he has played as many games this season as the previous two seasons combined, but his absences can largely be put down to injury.
    Not sure why this is becoming a big thing now, I’m pretty sure I recall Wenger saying that Wilshere’s contract would be discussed on his return in the summer.

  9. Wavey,

    I think the Jack thing is being brought up because Jack has recently been speaking about it and was asked about and my take is that he kept bringing up the same points: he will leave his contract to his agent, he hasn’t been in contact with Arsenal and that he wants to play and play regularly be it at Arsenal or elsewhere.

    The other thing is that his contract is running down same with Ox, Gibbs and Ramsey if I’m not mistaken so it certainly is becoming “a thing”. Problem is, and he still has time in this season to change it, but thus far if he wasn’t already an Arsenal player (and I like and think there is a good player inside of him but injuries have also clearly taken away a yard or 2 of that quick burst that he had to glide past players) I don’t think there would be many calling for us to buy him.

  10. What a messy situation Arsenal are in and this is on the back of how everything unfolded at the end of last season. Arsene isn’t doing anybody any favors by making it clear he isn’t sure what he wants to do, the BoD don’t seem to have a clue or are working in the shadows, the players don’t seem to be ‘hearing’ the manager recently, the supporters are IMHO stupidly divided between Arsenal FC and Arsene FC, pundits and ex-players all think Arsene will stay but only a handful think that he should stay especially if he can’t adapt, and on top of all of that Arsene tells starts a fire storm with saying that Spuds are all in it together and united and we aren’t.

    Well, no shortage of topics there huh

  11. Good afternoon, all, and once again thank you, Yogi.

    It would be better for everyone if AW pulled the plug at the end of the season. [I wish I had a dollar for every time I have said that].

    The splits in the fan base have been with us for some seasons, the opinions of the pundits are fairly unanimous that Arsenal need to change the manager, but are also pretty sure he will not.

    The Board seem to be content that the ‘business’ model works for them, and that Arsene should stay. That in itself naturally riles many of the paying customers, who are charged too much to view the games on TV or for Emirates seats, only to be served with invariably unpredictable games, with performances ranging from hot to trot, to too poor to belief.

    It is a little like a relationship reaching the point of break up — with one party saying ‘it’s not your fault … but’ — and the other desperately saying ‘we can work thru this’.

    The simple fact is that it takes two to tango – and if Arsene and the fans keep treading on each others toes – it ain’t going to work, and the sooner they blow the whistle on it the better.

  12. Hiya, Bill, 🙂

    On a quiet day, yesterday, we attempted to put a bit of zip into the comments, and to a certain extent succeeded, and did so with a somewhat different topic (even if it was fully aired 2 or 3 years ago).

    Thanks for going with the flow, my friend.

    [And it gave you a little break from C] 😀

  13. It’s getting very messy.

    Only Arsene can clear things up and that shows where we are as a club. No employee should have this much power. I hear that we do actually have a Chief Executive but he seems to be on holiday or something.

    The nerve though of complaining about our support and holding up Spurs fans as examples. fans do not continue to support regimes that they don’t appreciate or want, especially those that consistently underachieve while charging top dollar. Bread and circuses, well, I pray that ‘we don;t get fooled again’.


  14. I see Jenks has responded and given an interview about the failed move to Palace. The thing that I find interesting is that he says that the reports are false of him asking for excessive wage demands and that he wants to play but then points out that finances did play a part in the move not happening. The other thing is, I didn’t realize that he had 3.5 years left on his current contract.


  15. Another top class post Yogi

    The idea that Arsenal fans are worse then fans of other clubs is another idea that morphs into being conventional wisdom even though is has no real basis in reality. Sports fans are the same everywhere. The fact that there are as many Arsenal fans who still believe that another 2-3 years of Arsene is desirable demonstrates just how patient this fan base has been and it also demonstrates the remarkable charisma that Arsene has.

  16. Jack Wilshere is an interesting topic. Myself I thought we should have sold him 2-3 years ago when he there were rumors he was worth $50M. We could have used the money to buy a CF to replace Giroud. Jack had a great start to his career and then hit a plateau and never lived up to the promise. The number of players who have done that has probably reached close to triple digits. You could argue that everything would have been different if he had not been injury prone but we have seen so many players start well and never develop that the idea that he would have been a superstar without the injuries is dicey at best. Walcott, Ramsey, Ox, Bendtner, Denilson, Song, Diaby, Gibbs, Wojo are just a few that come to mind who have never reached their “full potential”. Le Coq may be heading in the same direction. Jack has been healthy this season but there is no way we can assume that his injury issues are a thing of the past. I think Jack has been OK but not great with Bournemouth and if he comes back there is no way to guarantee what his role would be. I think he should be a squad player who will have to work his way up the pecking order.

  17. Henry

    I had heard about a computer program but the possibility that it might have become much more important then we know in the everyday decision making process was a new and interesting theory that I had never heard before and it was worth talking about.

  18. Here’s the other thing that honestly made me want to punch Arsene in the face; so he wants all to stand united but maybe he should take a look at other “big clubs” or other clubs in general for that matter:

    Leicester won the PL last year when NOBODY thought they would even be top 4 and now supporters are calling for Raneiri’s head.

    Citeh pushed out both Mancini and Pellegrinii after they lifted PL titles because they couldn’t get past the round of 16 in the CL.

    Chelsea pushed out Di Mateo after winning the CL, Benetiz after winning the Europa, Mourinho after winning the PL then having a bad season and that is just since 2012.

    Liverpool pushed Rodgers out of the club after selling arguably the best player in the PL (okay it was he and Aguero) only after they finished 2nd.

    Barca, well since Pep have pushed out both Tito and Gerardo after lifting silverware and many supporters still aren’t completely won over by Luis Enrique (since 2014 has won 2 La Liga, 2 Copa del Rey, 1 Supercopa, 1 CL, 1 Super Cup, 1 Fifa Club World Cup)

    Madrid have pushed out so many managers and the supporters even with Zidane lifting the CL wanted another manager.

    PSG fired their manager because he kept getting beat in the CL

    Allegri at Juve is constantly under fire from supporters simply because he isn’t Conte.

    Bayern, well they are going through something with their supporters as split as their lockerroom is right now and many supporters, upper management and pundits view Pep’s time their as a failure because he didn’t win the CL.

    Spuds, well lets take a look shall we, they liked then didn’t like Harry, hated Villas-Boas, hated and thoguht SHerwood did a poor job and now have Pochettino. So Arsene if you so desperately want us to be like Spuds supporters, then technically we should be trying to push you out, no?

  19. A weak and lily livered BoD and an absentee owner focused on the financials. It’s no wonder that we’re stuck in a time loop where Arsene can have forever to bring his flawed plan to fruition, the only person who can do anything about it isn’t bothered as long as the balance sheet looks good.

    I’m not sure how blaming the fans has anything to do with it.

  20. Developing our own superstars has not really been a winning strategy. Cesc and RVP qualify as success stories but we have not had many since then. Bellerin has been around for 3 years and he looks like he will be a long term first team regular barring injuries so I think we can label him as a success. Hopefully Iwobe will develop into a difference making player but IMO it will have to be as a central midfielder. Forwards who don’t score rarely become impact players irregardless of how good they might be at other things. I think Iwobe’s progress is destined to stall just like Ox if we continue to use him as a forward.

  21. andy1886,

    Thank you, it just frustrated me because in all actuality, we as Gooners have been feircely loyal and while yes we have said he needs to go, in no way has anybody stopped supporting the club or even disrespected Arsene the way that those managers have been.

    I mean Di Mateo was forced out by supporters and management alike after winning the CL for them beating the two best clubs in Europe not only at that time but 2 of the top 4 even now with an aging squad; were not asking for the CL, just a bloodie PL.

  22. problem could be that if Wenger did go and wants to stay in football, who will offer a top job to a nearly 70 year old? Look at Jupp Heynkes. Moved aside for Pep after winning the treble. He’s now retired. Even national coaches are getting younger. I can’t see Wenger going back to Japan, or to China, where he’d definitely get a gig.

  23. C,

    I would like to add my compliments to your very good precis — but there is no surprise to me that you can produce something like that. 🙂

  24. Sam,

    I cannot believe that AW could ever manage another club – or would want to for that matter – except perhaps PSG as he has contacts there.

    He even said in 2016 that he was too old to manage France.

    My concern, which is probably well known by now, is that he is possibly reacting to events surrounding his managerial career rather than being proactive and taking the lead as to what he intends to do.

  25. C,

    Perhaps this needs to be sent to Wenger to remind him how precarious the position of manager is at other clubs. You’ve pretty much nailed it.

    Maybe the BoD meant that Wenger had never had it so good. Part of a negotiating strategy for why they will only offer him a 10% rise this time around.

  26. Wavey

    I doubt the BoD would be willing to give Arsene a deadline. I think they crave the status quo and don’t like the idea of change. The longer Arsene waits the more difficult it would be for the board to replace him if he left which increases Arsene’s leverage. Perhaps the indecision is part of Arsene’s negotiating strategy. I agree with Henry there is no way Arsene would manage another club at this point in his career so any rumors might be planted by Arsene’s agent. Players do that stuff all of the time.

    I am still very very confident that in the end Arsene will sign for at least another 2 years. The current “crisis situation” after losing a couple games and dropping out of the PL race has been part of every recent season and it will pass. We need at least 1 more run of good form at some point to secure the top 4 and that is probably when he will sign. If not it will might happen quietly next summer or perhaps his signing will occur around the FA cup if we make a deep run.

  27. I do not think Wenger will go to manage elsewhere, in fact for well over a decade I think he has had little intention of going anywhere else.

    He would have to prove himself again – and I suspect he knows he is not up to the task (which is why he never left years ago in his primacy).

    He might be able to cling on at Arsenal and go out with a whimper, but if he moved to PSG (for instance) it would be an unmitigated disaster. I do not think think he would last two seasons.

    As for his comments …just the latest in a long line of slightly to wholely off-notes regarding the fan base.

    Wenger and the board seem unable to look with true perspective. The present situation represents a slow creep over many years – nobody turned against Wenger overnight. They are now so habituated to a visible level of fan discontent, they treat it as though it is the norm.

    It is not.

  28. I have no interest in where Wenger goes next so long as he goes next week. Talking of which the weak board and the weak Chief Executive can go too.

    Far from some secret cabal meeting in Highbury House to sort out our future manager, I imagine they’re all sitting around with the thumbs up their respective arses waiting ing for Wenger to tell them what to do.

  29. C:

    Well thank you my friend, from time to time I get it right; just don’t start expecting it all the time ?

    Sorry, C, you have now set the standard, and that is the quality what we expect, and usually get from you! 😀

  30. Great article YW.
    On the subject of Wenger, we might all want a clean break but so long as he doesn’t interfere with footballing affairs at a coaching level then I think he could be a useful addition to the cronies that are the BOD’s. Let’s face it we are devoid of anyone with a footballing brain at board level. It’s seems at that level it’s all about the finincial bottom line.
    On the subject of wilshere, his talent is there and with some luck he can stay fit for the remainder of the season and comes back. The player I feel just doesn’t fit for whatever reason is Ramsey. Santi is getting no younger and as good as Coquelin has been since his return to arsenal from loan his best performances have been alongside Santi. At times he has seemed lost this season and against Chelsea was the worst I have seen him in a long time.
    Realistically decisions should be made about the trio of Ramsey, Wilshere & Santi and two of that trio should be moved on.

  31. silvergunner,

    That presupposes Wenger still has a fully functioning football brain. Though I suspect it atrophied around ten years ago.

    Clean break, you know it makes sense.

  32. HenryB,

    ?, sorry mate being consistent isn’t always the best course of action; I have no problem dropping in quality for a day or two only to then take top spot again! ?

  33. I think blaming the fans for being so angry and frustrated is idiotic to say the least.

    Let’s see, we lost the 1st game in the league to Liverpool at home despite scoring 3 goals, we said fine it’s the first game. Then, we drew against Leicester and we said, fine they were the previous Champions, then we started to play well and we beat Chelsea 3/0 and the fans started to really get behind the team and we were optimistic and very happy, then they go and fuck about and drift 12 points of the leader and you want the fans to be nice?

    The problem is not just this time, the problem is how many times they did that despite the variations of the Fuck Abouts.

    I fought and many on here fought with me for years on this blog The Doomers and Gloomers back in 2005 till maybe 2008, even Yogi Warrior was the illustration of Positiveness, but then after all these years, it became ridiculous to fight anyone about that since the Manger, the Club, and the Players are not giving us to fight for or about.

    Everyone has different tolerance for failures, but since 2005 or 2006 we have been consistently the same shit with no end in sight.

    At some point, you have to vent and voice your displeasure….

  34. Ian Wright BBC Radio 5 Live – states he was in the ” Company” of AW for 2 hours last night. He feels ( thinks AW ) will leave at the end of the season. Wrighty feels the ” Light” in his eyes has gone.

    We shall see…..

  35. Ras,

    Read more about that on F365. Plenty for YW to get his teeth into tomorrow, may even overshadow the match.

    One of two things have to happen. Either AW will deny the gist of Wrighty’s piece or the BoD will have to take the succession seriously and demonstrate that they are not clueless. The recent ‘leak’ about potential candidates may be part of that, AFC frequently use the press to manipulate opinion this way. We shall see indeed.

  36. andy1886,

    I Guess we shall see. I think the momentum has started to gather. The Ox in an article I read the other day stated it is virtually impossible for the players to get away- switch from all the Media shenanigans.

    I personally think that when he ( AW) does decide to go. it has to be a clean break. He cannot be sat there in the shadows from up high looking down in Darth Vader esque fashion

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