Mr Arsenal, Arsène, and Ducking The Diving

So, the final weekend of the Premier League season is upon us. As usual, Arsenal are scrambling around for points, hoping that someone else cocks up, to move up the table.

A healthy crowd is expected at the Emirates, with the outside possibility that this may be a historic occasion. Arsène’s time to say goodbye as he takes charge of Arsenal for the last time in a domestic league match. I very much doubt it.

Tony Adams new book, Sober: Football. My Story. My Life., is serialised in The Scum, with a few barbs flying in Wenger and Arsenal’s direction. Some of it rings true; we’ve heard it from others:

“Patrick Vieira once suggested Arsene does not like big characters and personalities around, especially ones from Arsenal’s history.”

The root of his frustration is trying to get back into the club in a coaching role or working behind the scenes. Adams didn’t hide why he thought Arsène blocked his move:

“He was coming under pressure for not winning a major trophy and to have me around as a successful old captain might have highlighted the underachievement.”

Possibly but I think Vieira was nearer the mark.

Out With Old, In With The Old?

There’s more to it than just being overlooked and I’m sure Arsène will be asked about Adams version of events this morning. Gazidis, Wenger, Hill-Wood; from Mr Arsenal’s recollection, they all gave him the runaround so you understand his frustration boiling over.

With the talk of a director of football coming in, the lack of football experience is something Adams tried to rectify:

“Then there was the time when ex-chairman Peter Hill-Wood questioned where all the people who gave time and expertise — and ran football clubs for free, out of love — had gone.

I wrote to him. “I’m in my 40s, I don’t need paying. I will advise about playing matters and the future, perhaps be Arsene’s long-term successor.”

The board needed someone like me, I reckoned. I never got a reply. So that was four attempts to come back — one to get on to the board, one to become Arsene’s assistant, one to do the reserves, then even the offer of a freebie.”

There is an elephant in the room at this point, one which Adams raises. As fantastic a captain as he was, there’s no way his record points to him as a future Arsenal manager. He doesn’t hide that ambition and fair play to him, but there’s a sense that he saw the ‘advisor’ role as a back door to that position.

It’s not hard to see why the board wouldn’t make the appointment but to not reply? It might be me but when you see the content of these exhibitions and the club’s behaviour in the past, modernisation isn’t always a good thing.

Wenger’s answer to the comments this morning:

“I do not give much important to what Tony Adams says, honestly.”

So there you have it. No immediate prospect of a thawing in relations, which comes as little surprise.

To be honest, the romanticism which surrounds former players coming on board is dangerous. We need footballing experience on the board and fresh blood on the training ground? Is a former Arsenal player necessarily the right answer?

We know there are plenty of them with coaching badges; they were all fast-tracked through the FA of Wales programme. However, it doesn’t mean they are the best.

The FA’s Yellow Submarine

Holding Ajax up as an example is well and good, so long as you acknowledge the open warfare which preceded it. Yes, that involved former players in senior positions and with influence as well.

Finding the right individuals in the right combination is the toughest job of all.

One aspect of the modern game which infuriates is diving, or simulation as the authorities like to call it. The FA has announced their raft of measures to deal with the issue but their effectiveness is open to debate.

The biggest issue is proving simulation with Rooney in 2004 a case in point. Retrospectively, he receives a two-game ban; so what? Future opponents benefit but the injured party still lost.

Keith Hackett raises that point. The technology will be available so why not use the VARs to adjudicate, with a tangible change in punishment: 15 minutes in a ‘sin bin’. That impacts on the here and now, giving the advantage to the opponents who ‘suffer’.

There are weaknesses in that system as well, with unscrupulous defenders seeking to make out players dived and influence the officials. The immediacy of the punishment lends itself to the scenario; perhaps a trip to the ‘sin bin’ for agitating officials could be introduced although a good question is where does this end?

It’s a start if the FA are serious about stopping diving but it isn’t a quick fix either.

’til Tomorrow.

88 thoughts on “Mr Arsenal, Arsène, and Ducking The Diving

  1. Morning.

    From the BBC (Arsene’s presser):

    A bit more from Arsene Wenger who says his future will be discussed at an Arsenal board meeting after the FA Cup final.

  2. Adam’s coaching career certainly isn’t one to be proud of but nonetheless he’s played under enough great coaches to recognise a good one when he sees them. That in his opinion ‘Arsene couldn’t coach his way out of a paper bag’ isn’t a surprise. Of all Arsene’s attributes the actual coaching part has never been one he’s been renowned for. When players (usually beholden to him in some way) say he’s a ‘great coach’ they are usually talking about how he cares for his players, over-protects them some might say. Not about his actual ability on the training ground or in influencing matter on the pitch.

  3. We all know Tony is far from the finished article, but to not harness his experience in some form seems crazy to me. He oozes Arsenal out of his pores. Looking at our defensive struggles over the past 5-10 years somebody with his defensive knowledge would surely have helped in a coaching capacity?

    The lack of a reply fom Hill-Wood doesn’t surprise me. The man is a buffoon.

  4. YW,

    ‘After’, but not necessarily immediately after the cup final. Unless we win in which case the ink will be drying before the cup reaches the trophy cabinet. If we lose I expect them to wait a few weeks for the heat to die down. After all, we’ve had previous deadlines come and go with no decision haven’t we?

  5. The music on that OpAa clip has taken me back to a nasty rave experience in the Fens circa 1991. They should have used a more relaxing ditty!

  6. Good morning folks.

    Video technology for penalties is already on the cards, so why can’t that be extended to include simulation. If found guilty the offender is immediately sent off, the penalty is not awarded and his team are penalised by the loss of a player for the remainder of the game. To line up with the FAs favoured two match ban, an automatic one match ban should come into effect.

  7. Lets leave football rules as they are please, sin bins. This is not ice hockey. 15 mins off the pitch for someone diving. How about retrospectiv punishment for the ref for not calling it right. Its pointless. Some are easy to call, some are not. The game is brilliant, leave it alone.

  8. Appalling, he’s staying….i hope therefore he either wins the league next year or we get relegated, but instead it will be some dreary nightmarish repeat of every season that has gone before….what a total con. How second rate, how amateurish. How coddled does Arsene need to be, perhaps he’d like an Arsenal pacifier ?
    Some people find there is a level of disrespect aimed towards Wenger that they dont like but how about analysing his comments about Adams, and many others besides….spectacularly arrogant. Vieira had it bang on, (he is weak and) feels threatened by big characters who wont just tow his line to keep him happy.
    He doesn’t give much importance to what Adams says but is quite happy to mislead, double deal and bullshit his way through almost every presser….
    I can only hope they are playing russian roulette with a bullet in every chamber at that board meeting after the fa cup final.

  9. Hill-Wood was probably a little over trained to be able to reply, of course Tony has many faults like us all but that is hardly gentlemanly behaviour from the club…….but who is truly surprised ?
    I’m personally all for huge bans for simulation, arguing with the ref etc etc footballers need to be operating on a rugby level with the ref…..if you cant show control and respect, you’re off…

  10. Pete

    I don’t genuinely think Adams has anything to offer in terms of coaching. Defensively, Keown is the one we should have utilised; Wenger did and then it was dropped.

  11. Mo,

    It’s too late, changes have already happened, retrospective bans for acts not seen by refs, as video replays become more accurate and prolific to ignore them would seriously damage the games credibility.

    The sin bin provides immediate punishment for the offender and instant recompense for the team against which the offence was committed.

    Rugby Union has long used the sin bin and is a better, cleaner, fairer game as a result.

    I have long argued against the introduction of “technology” in football, but that train left the station some time ago.

  12. Morning

    The non response doesn’t surprise me at all. Manners and class have been slowly eroding for years at the club with little regard to it’s esteemed history.

    I heard that AFC can’t find a ticket for the Cup Final for Terry Neill this year. The only manager in history to take a club to three consecutive cup finals (as far as I’m aware) and we can’t find him a ticket to go to this one?

    Tawdry. At best.

  13. Damon,

    Recall being in Cardiff 2001, 2002, 2003 for the finals.

    Met Terry when he ran his bar in Holborn, what a lovely guy. Surprised he can’t get a ticket.

  14. YW,

    Yes definitely Keown. I’m sure Tony can offer something…not sure what but something.

  15. Pete The Thirst,

    Agreed TA’s not qualified to coach at the top level but I’m sure he could offer more than for example, Sir Chips or Josh Kroenke from a footballing perspective.

    Perhaps he should take an accountancy course as a way in…..

  16. Pete The Thirst,

    Yup, having looked it up Fergie and Wenger both did it once.

    Terry is still a lovely bloke, of that I can attest to.

    We only have three ex-managers who are still alive. Appreciate that Graham blotted his copy book somewhat, but surely the cost of treating this past custodians with a bit of class and dignity is far outstripped by the benefit of being seen to embrace them a bit?

    I know Terry get’s seats at The Emirates and that Wembley isn’t in the direct control of the club, so they can say it’s out of their hands, but….

    I mean, three seats at Wembley on Cup Final Day? £150? £500? Doesn’t really mater, does it?

    That’s how little we’ve sold our past for this year.

  17. Pete The Thirst,

    How about as a translator for Arsene’s press conferences and interviews?

    “The next level? The next level is the next level”

    TRANSLATION: “I’m all out of ideas and don’t have a fucking clue what to do next”

  18. Well Yogi, hopefully Arsenal and those surrounding them will be the gift that keeps on giving all summer long.

    I don’t think there has ever been any true debate about Arsene being a good or great manager, he seems more of a good-great protector if you must, or a coach than dealing with the actual tactics and what not. Adams might not be a future Arsenal manager or even offer much in the way of coaching (though surely his experience and bleeding Arsenal would help in some form or fashion) but to completely push him out the door and change the locks is a bit of a headscratcher at most clubs, then you realize that this is Arsene’s Arsenal and you see its a running theme and it makes complete sense. Keown was one that should have stayed on but o well.

    “sin bin” how about we just never hear that option mentioned again. Sorry, it simply wouldn’t work with the flow of a futbol match, I mean you see how incompetent officials are now and how sometimes they find it difficult to wave players that have taken a knock back on the field, could you imagine them trying to monitor 15 mins and the match, it would be a disaster. I know most hate simulation and diving, but I think this whole proposal will fall on deaf ears just like teh whole yellow card for showing up a ref did. Plus, outside of the most blatant dives like Rashfords, most are of a player dragging their leg, refs aren’t going to go back and retrospectively say they got it wrong after video replay. I mean if they couldn’t tell the difference between Ox and Gibbs when Gibbs was sent off and it was clear it was Ox, do you trust them with this?

  19. listen even if its an ambassadorial role for the likes of Adams, its hard to argue against the notion that Wenger only wants to surround himself with yes men.

    We all know he is staying anything other that would have me shocked beyond words, well regardless sweeping changes are needed towards the playing staff, coaching staff and probably board room level wishing for a new owner on top of that too would be too much probably.

    If half the things written by Adams are right no wander we are in a malaise players who are late for training should be punished unless under extenuating circumstances, I wholeheartedly agree with Adams on that although to suggest he cant coach his way out of a brown paper bag is an insult too far imho.

  20. C,

    Timing the sin bin would give the fourth official something positive to do, moving the technical areas further apart would decrease the disputes between the managers and decrease the load on the fourth official.

  21. Orson Kaert,

    If the technical areas moved further away and the fourth official was busy, then who would Arsene have a go out? The players when they fuck up?

    I can’t see it working in the constant flow and style of a futbol match.

  22. Diving, simulation, or in another word plain cheating could be eliminated by managers and the clubs, but unfortunately it won’t happen as it is now considered clever play when you are beneficiary,

  23. buckagh,

    Ex-players ‘nicking’ a living commentating and providing ‘expert’ analysis are the worst offenders. When I hear former mediocre player and self-publicist Robbie Savage defend what is in reality cheating it makes me want to throw something at the tele or radio (but only because Robbie himself isn’t there to take the hit himself).

  24. Yogi

    What was the story concerning Keown? Did he start a position and then leave?

  25. C,

    Have you ever seen the ‘sin bin’ system in action? No – I did not think so.

    Let me explain – it is very simple:

    The on-field referee decides a player has committed an offence that requires a yellow card and he gets 10 minutes in the bin (suspension).

    Off the offender goes and a separate clock, operated by the off-field official monitors the 10 minute count down, and the game goes on with the on-field official in charge, as usual, but with the offender’s team a man down. [If two or more players get a yellow card – they each go in the bin].

    (If the offenders were cheating/fouling Arsenal why would you not want that?)

    When the 10 minute suspension expires, the off-field official signals to the on-field official (like they do for substitutions) and the player comes on to the field to continue the game.

    What is difficult about that?

  26. HenryB,

    I’m all for it. This retrospective punishment system that the FA has introduced does nothing for the ones who should benefit, the opposing team. A sin bin approach may also get round this problem that refs have with giving a second yellow because it means the player is sent off.

  27. Wavey,

    Turn the sound down low and enjoy the game without the mindless, continuous, trivial, ignorant, biased, uniformed, unwanted, unnecessary, exasperating, drivel churned out by the overpaid, under equipped so called experts.

  28. At the start of the current season refs were told to penalise those responsible grappling in the penalty area. A couple of players were punished a few penalties awarded. Instances of the offense fell dramatically. Since the new year the refs have forgotten the original order and grappling has returned unchecked.

    They same is just as likely to happen in the case both of sin bins and retrospective punishments.

    All games should be reviewed, unpunished foul play should be noted, where the offence is deemed to be serious action should be taken whether or not the referee “dealt” with it at the time or not.

  29. Wavey,

    As Orson has already said, in Rugby the Yellow card/sin bin works well, because the players know what will happen if they do not.

    It is far too sensible – so it will not come to pass, unfortunately.

    Great to be talking football! 😀

  30. OK,

    Watching recent Arsenal games (I care not for a lot of the others) I am appalled with so much shirt pulling and greco/roman wrestling going on in the penalty area. [It usually only involves me when you know who (The Fiend) shows up and wants nookie.]

    The refs have absolutely refused to issue the appropriate punishments, and that is a disgrace.

    Giro gets pulled and pushed around in every game he plays, before he falls on his ass, and bleats to the ref – without any reaction. Of all the cheating that goes on in the game, that would be the easiest to resolve with video replays – and maybe Giro would then stop it! 😀

  31. HenryB,

    It’s a nightmare for referees though. On the one hand you have as you say the shirt pulling, the bear hugs at set pieces, and on the other players going down like they’ve been shot at the slightest touch and others ‘initiating contact’. No wonder it’s a mess.

    Go back a few decades and it wasn’t just contact that you needed, referees had the discretion to determine if said contact was sufficient to be merit a FK or Pen. Not something that you see much of today.

    On the subject of unfavourable comparisons I do have to add that while in football devious methods seem to be endemic, other many sports are hardly paragons of virtue either. Respect for officials is great but on the other hand eye gouging and punching opponents are hardly the actions of ‘gentlemen’ either.

  32. wilberforce,

    Came in 2005, worked with back four, left early 2006. Never invited back. That’s the long and short of it.

  33. HenryB,

    That you for explaining but I already knew what a sin bin was, its literally the exact samething as they have when you get a penalty in hockey.

    I’m still not in favor of it in futbol, nope, I’m good, lets keep the rules as they are and if you dive then you get a yellow plain and simple.

  34. andy1886,

    Cricket is played by Flannelled Fools, Rugby by MuddiedOafs!

    Eye gouging and biting have been largely iliminated from Rugby Union with the aid of video replays. Punches are seldom more than a mild slap on receipt of which no self respecting player would throw himself to the ground and bleat to the ref.

    Footballers in general need to man up a bit.

  35. And Stevie Bould must be doing something – another part of that exceptional defence with Keown and Adams.

    Field hockey – green card – 2 mins off the pitch. yellow card 10 mins. additional offences or serious foul play red card , sent off, ban and a report to the league. abuse of umpires not accepted.

  36. Not much to disagree about there, Andy.

    Let’s face it – many players see cheating as a skill to be applauded, including thuggish stuff like shirt pulling, pushing etc, so they will carry on doing so until the balance changes and it is not worth them taking the risk.
    This is not going to change in a hurry unless every authority agrees it must stop.

    The refs probably do not feel they are supported by the FA/PL authorities if they get tough, and as this wrestling in the penalty area goes on all the time with no protest from ‘above’ they are probably right. You are right it is a mess.

    Other sports are no better in their own way, and rugby was notorious for dangerous play because it was deemed to be a ‘tough sport’. Nowadays, the administration is much better and refs bin or red card players for late tackles, tackles around the neck etc – and one of those punishments is the sin bin.

    I am pleased that some attention is being paid to dealing with diving (and there will be trouble agreeing what is or is not a dive, but an anticipation of a leg breaking tackle, or a deliberate swan dive to embroil the keeper) but it is a start, and the Scots have been using it for a while, I understand.

  37. YW,

    From Wiki:

    “He (Keown) has been identified by former Arsenal manager Terry Neill as a key figure behind the success of Arsenal’s inexperienced “new-look” defence (which the team resorted to after ongoing injury problems in the 2005–06 season, notably setting a record for minutes played without conceding in the Champions League)”

    And from the BBC in May 2006:

    “Arsenal’s unexpected success in this year’s Champions League stemmed from solid rear-guard performances in the Gunners’ defence.

    The back four kept a record-breaking 10 clean sheets en-route to the final despite being without injured regulars Sol Campbell, Ashley Cole and Lauren.

    Philippe Senderos, Emmanuel Eboue and Mathieu Flamini were thrown in to the starting line-up charged with keeping out the attacks of Juventus, Villarreal and Real Madrid’s Galacticos.”

    You would think that someone who could get those sort of performances from Senderos, Eboue and Flamini would be a valuable asset that the club would want to retain. Needless to say Arsene disagreed (and there was talk that he didn’t like the fact that Keown was getting credit for ‘his’ achievements).

  38. Incidentally, Andy, eye gouging in rugby union if detected can result in suspensions from between 12 weeks and 24 weeks. Serious beans.

  39. Andy,

    The Keown ‘coaching’ incident does seem extraordinary — wish I knew the facts.
    Martin did mention it a while back, and I am sure he said the coaching was only on a temporary basis, and was not extended when it was completed – and he did not know why.

    Odd.

  40. Orson Kaert,

    HenryB,

    True, Rugby has certainly improved a great deal (England’s captain probably isn’t the greatest example though). And footballers could certainly cut out the play acting and show a bit more respect (again England’s former captain, the neanderthal Rooney is a prime example of a cheating disrespectful oaf). Come to think of it I see a pattern here, maybe we could be a bit more careful when selecting the captain of our national teams? (I even recall Shearer when England captain escaped a ban in the run up to the ’98 FA Cup final after kicking Neil Lennon in the head).

  41. One of the things I particularly dislike, and it has happened in both football and rugby, and that is biting. Disgusting!

    Chris Ashton the Sarries player got a healthy ban of 13 weeks for doing that, and it led indirectly to the ending of his England rugby career.

  42. Andy,

    The one thing rugby union has done that the football authorities shy away from, is to give lengthy bans for a variety of offences, and OK is right the game has ‘improved’ but not because the players are goody two shoes – far from it – but their careers can be on the line if they are caught.

    Another thing football should do more of is copy the citing of players using video after the game as they do in rugby. [It won’t happen so I withdraw my suggestion] 😀

  43. andy1886,

    Kicking Neil Lennon in the head would normally result in a broken foot, but I get your point.

    Some leeway needs to be given to the England Captain, Hartley not Rooney, a hooker is uniquely vulnerable in the scrum, both arms over the shoulders of his props, standing on one leg while trying to hook the ball back to his second row with the other, he is virtually defenceless.

  44. Orson Kaert,

    There is that – I played hooker at school. Seemed to involved kicking your opposite number just as much as trying to win the ball (a bit like schoolboy football then). I was good at that part at least.

  45. Any new means of punishing foul play or cheating just moves the problem on a bit.

    The real issue is a supine FA and indifferent referees.

    If the current system was properly enforced there would not be much of a problem. More rules, more systems administered by the same people will give the same result.

    Referees will become more slopey shouldered and the FA hierarchy will be unable to cope with the increased workload and the pressure that the PL brings to bear on them.

  46. consolsbob,

    Then add into the mix the press and their love of a ‘dirty cheating foreigner’. Wait until the next time Harry Kane or Delle Alli flops to the floor five feet from an opponent and we’ll see how keen they are on highlighting their misdemeanours.

  47. I read an article in the Financial Times about 40 minutes ago, so hot off the press!

    This might open another can of worms, but let’s see.

    It reported that Alisher Usmanov, the Russian billionaire who owns a 30% minority stake in Arsenal recently made a $1.3bn bid to buy out Kroenke.

    He approached Kroenke last month, and his bid values the Arsenal at $2bn.
    Kroenke has said he is not interested, and yet there are other ‘investors smelling blood in the water.

    Neither Arsenal nor Usmanov responded to the FT’s inquiries.

    Of course Usmanov and Kroenke do not have a good relationship but who knows, if the price goes up? Maybe.

    As I recall, part of the article refers to some of the fans being unhappy with our poor performances, but Usmanaov repeated his claim that Kroenke is partly at fault for not giving AW more money to invest in players.

    It was a more detailed article but that is all I remember.

    Something – or – nothing?

  48. Where is C, when you need him?

    Your analysis from the US might cast some light on that buyout rumour? 😀

  49. HenryB,

    Hmm, it’s all based on “three people close to the situation”. Dodgy.

    $1.3 billion is the reputed offer, does that represent a tasty profit for Silent Stan the wig man? Could he be tempted?

    Arsenal Holdings made a pre-tax profit of £2.9 million in 2016 on revenue of £353.5 million.

  50. Thanks for the post Yogi

    The fact that Arsene did not keep Keown after he helped us get to the CL final and he refused to even consider the idea of a defensive coach when we were struggling so much on the defensive end of the pitch in 08-10 was the first good indication of just how much Arsene wanted to control every aspect of the football operations of the club. He wanted to win his way and unfortunately part of his way was the idea that if you played football his way then defense would take care of itself. That whole notion that defense was secondary is probably the single biggest on the pitch blunder of the entire Emirates era and Arsene did not want anyone around who might tell him that he was making a mistake.

  51. Human nature has not changed in the last 30 years and I can’t prove it but I suspect the diving, simulation, shirt tugging and missed calls by refs have always been just as prevalent as they are now and we always have loved the game irregardless. The only difference is that now we know when those things are happening because of the replays.

  52. I understand the concern for the flow of the game and how using video replays might change that flow. However, we can’t have it both ways. If you are going to preserve the flow of the game then you have to accept the diving and cheating and missed calls by the ref. Myself I am fully in favor of using video technology whenever and wherever possible and accept that the game will be slowed down.

  53. Orson Kaert,

    Well the BBC are reporting it too so it’s likely to have some truth in it. I see that Kroenke hasn’t formally rejected it which to me says “up your offer”. So this could still come to something. Not that I like Usmanov either, it’s a question of which is the lesser of two evils.

  54. Bill,

    Not sure that it was as prevalent as it is now in all honesty. It certainly wasn’t considered a ‘skill’ to ‘earn’ a penalty. As ever I suspect that football reflects wider society with it’s eroded moral values and emphasis on greed rather than fairness and equality. In other words we get the type of footballers we deserve (except John Terry, we didn’t deserve that).

  55. Andy

    I was not watching futol 30 years ago but I have followed American sports since I was a child and the players in American football, baseball and basketball have always tried to fool the match officials whenever possible. I am 100% confident that humans on your side of the pond have a similar nature to ones over here. None of us had any idea how often the refs were misled or made mistakes until multiple angle ultraslow motion replays came along.

  56. Andy

    It could not be considered a skill to earn a penalty with simulation until we actually knew it was happening.

  57. I do not mean to sound sore, but I have been advocating since the time Francis Jeffers had his misadventures with Arsenal, that Arsene Wenger needs to go. Even when it was only Ferguson and Wenger, you could always bet on Fergie wanting it more. The moment Mourinho took over from Claudio Ranieri at Chelsea, Wenger’s being the second best manager act ended. Years later after we were sold the building the stadium story, Claudio Ranieri who was maligned at Chelsea, won the league at Leicester City without breaking his budget. I began supporting Arsenal in the days of Ian Wright, but I make bold to say, a generation of supporters in their teens do not have much to cheer about, except 2 FA cup trophies. We need the Arsenal gunning for trophies, not profits.

  58. When a baseball player is attempting to make a diving catch, he will always pretend he caught the ball even though he knows full well he barely missed and had actually trapped the ball after it hit the ground. I have never seen a player stand up and admit that he actually did not catch the ball if he was able to fool the umpires.

  59. And we are being outperformed by the Spuds who are not one of the clubs that wenger can realistically accuse of financial doping…..but no doubt he will find a new narrative to protect his hugely inflated salary….how does he explain the Spurs factor ? Apart from his usual cocky dismissal…..i, for one, am rather glad his chickens have come to roost this year, he has been incredibly lucky over the years to keep ahead of Tottenham and as the gap closed has done nothing about it. Yet more non management of the football club.
    Of course Stan wont sell up to Usmanov or anyone else, he will just abuse his position as major shareholder and ransom the club – thanks Nina B – as long as he can make as much money as possible nothing else matters….how sad we are nothing but a bottom line.

  60. Bill,

    It’s a bit different over here Bill, in Cricket that would be a rare occurrence and still even in 2017 be considered unacceptable behaviour. Sport in this country has only relatively recently become big business and those sort of practices tend to surface when money rather than sporting achievement is the primary objective. I say ‘recently’, that is within the last twenty-five to thirty years which may not be so recent to our younger colleagues.

  61. HenryB,

    The 1st bid from Usmanov has been rejected ( BBC Radio 5 Live). The Business Man that is Kroenke would naturally reject the 1st offer. Lets hope Usmanov returns with another offer.

    Could it be that the Usamnov situation has some bearing on AW resigning?

  62. Stan’s net worth is currently estimated at $7.5bn which suggests that Arsenal is a pretty big part of his overall empire. I’d be very surprised if he would consider selling an asset with a strong balance sheet which can be used to provide collateral for other deals. I think Usmanov will have to up his bid considerably to shake Stan’s grip on the club.

    The Independent has followed the article in the FT with another suggesting that Usmanov is going to make another bid and the fact that Stan hasn’t dismissed a bid for his stake out of hand hints at there being a price that he will take. It maybe too rich for Usmanov though.

    The timing of the announcement seems interesting given that the bid was actually made a little while ago. Just in time for the last league game of the season, which is handily at home. I can already see sections of the home crowd calling for Stan to sell up. I’m not sure the Wenger faithful are as loyal to Kroenke, so there might actually a bit of noise from the crowd on Sunday.

    Usmanov could well be the lesser of two evils. At least he seems to think that the way for the value of his investment to grow is for the club to win trophies.

  63. I am hoping Arsene does the honourable thing, which is to leave and take up another job else where. The era and aura of the professor is fading, what’s left is the man struggling to pull up his track suit zippers, struggling….

  64. Wrighty is on 5 Live and putting the boot in to Wenger for his arrogance. He also said that Usamanov should have put a big offer in! The studio fell about laughing, but he has a point that an offer that cannot be refused would have Kroenke skipping off to the bank.

  65. Andy

    Fair enough. I didn’t follow futbol in the 80’s but Maradonna’s hand of God is still one of the most famous plays. Again its just my guess but I suspect a lot more stuff like that happened then we knew about. International football is not about money for the players but Thierry Henry did not admit that he used his hand to score a goal for France when they were struggling to score in a game against Ireland.

  66. The only goal we scored in the CL final against Barca came as the result of a free kick the Eboue won with a very blatant dive on the right wing.

  67. If the FA are serious about this, it can only mean one thing: Next season, an Arsenal player (if Alexis stays, it will probably be him) will be retroactively suspended for half the season for diving, even though, as with Cazorla a couple of years ago and Eduardo a few years before that, they are proven innocent.

  68. So the BBC and the Independent have also read the Financial Times, that doesn’t make the story any more valid.

    Something worth remembering, Usmanov has always been a big fan of Wenger.

  69. Wenger said: “What is most important for me is to do the job well and finish the season as strongly as we can. If we finish the job well, it can be maximum one point short. After we look where did waste this point and you find many reasons where you lost this point. That’s part of it. Let’s do well and after, I’m not here for personal glory or to sell books, I’m here to do the job.”

    Oh good god, so now we have failed to ‘win’ by one point ! It beggars belief, it’s an utter joke.
    This from a wider interview in which he waffles on as usual living in his won universe, and is extremely spiteful about Adams. Which to use his own words is just ‘sad’.

    Even if Usmanov is pro Wenger, that would be a start rather than to be stuck in the rigor mortis claws of Stan. But Wavey makes an excellent point, Arsenal is a big part of his wealth and a useful vehicle……that’s all we are to him, an asset that can be used to raise money for further purchases, most likely not even in this country. Get him out ! Wenger has to retire within a couple of years worst case but Stan, he could be here for decades.

  70. Regarding Usmanov, it may be good to know that his other this week’s effort has been to make a YouTube video attack on the Russian opposite man Alexei Navalny, in which Alisher says he wants to spit on Navalny. Here’s one early link from (the American) ABC:

    http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/russian-tycoon-challenges-opposition-leader-youtube-video-47484288

    It seems they have taken his original rant down, but there are of course copies like https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a8c1hR54RyI

    On the upside, he may want to make Arsenal win with his methods, too. That’s want we want, for a change, don’t we? [sarcasm emoji]

  71. Uncle Mike.

    Arsenal players believe in playing fair and never dive and the media targets us unfairly???

    Yeah right

  72. Orson Kaert,

    I think the fact that the original story was in the FT gives it some credence. The FT are pretty good on company matters and the article itself has three journalists’ bylines.

  73. Finnish Hit

    Arsene gave us another year of predictability. 1/2 season of good form and 1/2 season of bad form to mid 70’s in points. Dropped out of the title race by December, dropped out of the CL in round of 16 and gave a lot of excuses for why things stayed the same despite a big spending spree last summer. If you like consistency and stagnation then Arsene is your man.

    However, This year there will be 3 teams that we have outspent that finished ahead of us so we can’t even use that excuse anymore.

  74. Actually, rugby league introduced sin-binning first. It’s a good system, but my objection in rugby union is that often refs spend most of the game putting up with fouls before they send someone to the bin. The All Blacks used to be artists at that. Then they would clean up their act in the last 20 minutes when there was a real threat. So you’ve got to be sure that the option of sin-binning doesn’t inhibit refs wielding yellow cards early for appropriate fouls.

  75. Finnish Hit.

    We talked a lot about the lack of progress under Arsenal during this decade so it’s always nice to go back and revisit some of the things we talk about after we have the definitive answer regarding what we thought might happen

    Usmanov at least offers the possibility of something’s changing. If he is anything like Abramovich then we will certainly be in a better position for the club to finally make some progress

  76. I think Usmanov might keep AW on for a while. As Orson noted, he has always expressed support for him. Kroenke he has been critical of but not AW.

    Unfortunately, I think he will have to overpay by much more to dislodge Kroenke, the only hope is that Usmanov ups his offer and Kroenke is feeling the pinch with financing and building g the new stadium in LA for his Rams. Fans should get loud about Kroenke out at the Everton match. But, if this bid negotiation doesn’t work Usmanov may just go over and rejoin his erstwhile partner in Red and White holdings Moshiri who now is 49% shareholder at Everton. And we will be stuck with Stan and, even worse, his son Josh for a long long time. Josh is great at taking successful teams like the Denver Nuggets and flushing them down a toilet. Unlike Daddy, Joshie boy thinks he knows sports.

    AFC deserves better than all this lot.

  77. If Everton get an aggressive ownership group then It will be another team that we will have to fight for our top 4 trophy

  78. I don’t know TA personally, but what I’ve seen of him in interviews and various appearances he comes across as a nice guy but a little too fervent for comfort.

    I imagine people at the club feel a little uncomfortable with his presence and are therefore caught between a rock and a hard place when he approaches them.

    That said, it’s extremely bad form that they haven’t had the courtesy to just respond with a “thanks but no thanks”.

  79. Tony Adams was a great player. But he’s been caught making stuff up before and seems to harbour bitterness towards AW for some reason. I think he desperately wants to manage AFC and get in near the top, but there’s 15 years of evidence to tell us why that would be a terrible idea.

    None of that changes what my memory of him. But I can’t be the only one who cringed when he took the Granada job.

    Besides that, yesterday’s headline was totally out of context!

  80. Al

    > Besides that, yesterday’s headline was totally out of context!

    Now which headline and which yesterday?

  81. Yeah, the Sun headline that got everyone talking, YW.

    Ugh, I read a few comments first and then the article. You dealt with it all in the article, YW. It’s the second time I’ve done this since yesterday – commented without reading, and I’m really behind with the news!

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