Wenger Hits Out Over Kids

Sanchez Watt is garnering a bit of attention in the media, not least because he is, well, a bit of a name-dropper. Oh, and had a half decent game against West Bromwich Albion on Tuesday. Apparently, he was given some advice by Thierry Henry. As well as keeping away from Absinthe, Henry told him:

be calm in front of goal and when the ball is moving, you don’t have to keep making long runs. Make it short and sharp and just take it from there’. I was about 14. But it’s about my career and not many people get the chance to talk to players like him, so I just took it as a good opportunity

Pretty good advice. In an industry noted for its selfishness, the assistance that experienced professionals pass onto the younger players is often forgotten. It does not, after all, sell newspapers when the story is X is a bloody nice bloke. The only time that journalists ears prick up is when you add, “who enjoys a nice roast on a Sunday“, their disappointment tangible when the story unfurls how the player likes nothing more than to spend a Sunday with the wife and kids and the carving knife. Actually that would probably make them even more interested. Never mind, you get the point.

Sanchez Watt is a prime example of how good local scouting works. It is a benefit but it also the point which holds English clubs back. Years before UEFA and FIFA got their corporate knickers in a twist, the Football Association introduced rules to protect the lower league clubs from the predatory Premier League, 90 minutes travelling time essentially the limit before any English club must walk away from a young player.

Wenger is understandably upset at the reluctance of the English authorities to repeal this rule. As he put it, if he cannot sign someone from another continent, surely he should have free reign over this country? The issue highlights graphically with pan-European protectionism; if there are rules imposed from a higher authority, the FA has to drop its own rule otherwise youth football is going to be further damaged in England.

Sir Trevor Brooking observed earlier this year that the Academy system in England is still not working. That is not surprising. English clubs tend to either go into these things full on or particularly half-arsed. The good clubs – Arsenal, Crewe, Middlesbrough – generate a number of professionals who even if they do not make the grade at their clubs, forge careers at other teams. Arsenal, of course, has its global network and a fair percentage of non-English players.

The rules being considered by football’s authorities are suitably contradictory in nature. Whilst FIFA / UEFA ban youngsters moving countries, the EPL accommodates this with homegrown players. However, the Iberian nations will still plunder former colonies, able to grant passports to non-nationals from South America and Africa seemingly on a whim. All the youth player has to do is apply for nationality before leaving his country of birth, a path the clubs will no doubt smooth, and hey presto, they are no longer a problem. Presumably, the French will have similar rules to circumvent UEFA and FIFA.

Protecting the smaller continental clubs, whilst admirable, is going to present the governing bodies with a severe problem. Immediately, it is not hard to see that there will be a case made for restraint of trade as small clubs seek to tie promising players to contracts with extortionate release clauses. FIFA could deal with this by having an effective valuation system that provides due reward to clubs if they produce the talent. At the same time, an effective disciplinary code for transgressors would act as some sort of deterrent.

Whilst the sledgehammer is being applied to the latter and banning clubs such as Chelsea was as eye-opening as it was surprising, no attempt is found to provide a solution to the former, an option that would surely lead to a diminishing of the number of cases falling foul of disciplinary codes?

The simple solution for English clubs is to buy local talent. Unfortunately, that inflates the market prices and aside from two or three clubs, there is no bottomless pit of money, too much of it spent servicing debt. Ivan Gazidis has given an indication of the Board’s view on transfers, a position unchanged from any stance in the past:

We believe transfer spending is the last resort. That’s a sensible view to have. Re-signing existing players is a far more efficient system. What Arsene will not do is spend money on players that do not add something of real value.

It does not preclude Wenger from spending. The emphasis is that the players have to be better than those already at the club. That surely is already his modus operandi? The question is whether the Board are able to generate the funds required to buy world class players. They do not come cheap as Arshavin proved. Even Vermaelen was hardly a snip. Even taking into account Wenger’s emotive language, he is going to find himself shackled by the smaller transfer funds he has compared to his rivals.

’til Tomorrow.

95 thoughts on “Wenger Hits Out Over Kids

  1. Vince says:

    Does anyone know how the Bordeaux fans feel about Chamakh now he’s stayed? If it had been an Arsenal player who’d been desperate to leave and then hadn’t been able to i’m not sure what our feelings towards him would be. I don’t think Sendy’s a fair comparison before anyone mentions him.

  2. Malaysiangunner says:

    YW good one

    Ivan Gazidis may or may not be right on new signings. From the evidence so far as far Nasri, Arshavin and TV , they add quite substantially to the current squad. No? For AW , it is not that he judges badly, most the time he is very good, TH14,Viera, Ross, etc etc but the price that he has to pay for these players.
    I am sure Chamakh if sign will be another revelation.
    No Fear!!! We Are The Arsenal!!!

  3. Jerome at work, Gadget at home says:

    Vince, I think most of us gave Adebayor another chance after his antics, and we kinda knew Henry want to leave too, so I think as long as he performs for Bordeaux, the fan will view him in a bitter sweet light.

    I got onto the podium and I had nothing to say. Typical.

  4. Matt says:

    The skill is in getting the balance right between players coming through the ranks, and supplementing that with the right players from outside.

    Fergie got it right a decade ago, mixing Scholes, Giggs, Beckham and the Nevilles with established players like Keane, Bruce and Cantona.

    You have to admire our philosophy, but at the same time it is clear that spending the money (Arshavin, TV) can improve the quality.

    When everyone is fit, we do have the look of a very well balanced squad of players, but you can always improve, and you get left behind very quickly if you stand still in football, so it makes sense not to bank everything on what you have within the ranks.

  5. Frank says:

    The point is that if FIFA, UEFA and the FA have their way there will be no Arsenal Youth Academy. The only way of building a squad will be to buy established players.

  6. FunGunner says:

    Matt – surely it’s not spending money per se that improves the quality of the squad, it’s acquiring better players by whatever means – whether that is buying, growing your own. The only reason to buy a player is that he is better than the players you currently have, or offers something they don’t. Otherwise you’re just throwing money away.

    The various governing bodies seem to be working to different agendas at the same time. So naturally, the regulation is a mess.

  7. FunGunner says:

    buying OR growing your own, I meant

  8. ced32 says:

    I’ve been reading your blog for a while but never bothered to leave a comment YW.
    Reason i’m doing so today is to let you know that no, the French dont have such a system like Spain or Italy where passport are easily granted to former colonies’ citizens. I have no idea why you ‘presume’ this to be the case. Because France had many colonies? Didnt the English too?? Because there are a few ex-colonies players in the france team (ie. Vieira who could have played for his birth country)? Well, I give you Hargreaves. The rule is the same, if you’ve leaved in France for 5 years, you can apply for citizenship and if you havent played for your former country before, you can elect to play for France. Hope this sorts it, dont ‘presume’ to know what’s what in France, find out first before having a dig.

  9. LimparAssist says:

    ced32, is that an accent I detect in your typing? “…if you’ve leaved in France for 5 years…”

  10. ced32 says:

    Yeah, typed a bit too fast Limpar 😉 ‘course i’m french init obvious? 🙂

  11. Frank says:

    That is not strictly true though is it, Ced32. Whereas Britain went for handing over independence at an early stage, France declared many of its colonies ‘departements’ of France, and so the inhabitants of those colonies have French passports.

  12. ced32 says:

    Hmm no, sorry Frank, that’s not the case. Algeria was the only one considered a department, and believe me, since the war in the 60s, they certainly dont have a french passport. They only remaining ones are small islands like Martinique, the biggest one is French Guiana and they whole want to be part of France. England still have a few islands of their own dont they? Not our fault you dont manage to get footballers out of the falklands is it?

  13. Frank says:

    I should say those ‘colonies’ still with department status.

    Also in England there is an added restriction which is that youngsters who live more than 90 mins away from the club (whatever that means) are intelligible.

    Those with independent means might be better off for a while, but UEFA and FIFA have plans to curb their spending too.

    Clearly Spain, Italy, Portugal and to a degree France will be better off with these arrangements, and so there will be less of an incentive to form a breakaway lEuropean league.

    English Premiership clubs will be done up like kippers as they say. If the English Premiership clubs do not smell a giant, decaying mouldering rat in all of this then they deserve their fate.

  14. Frank says:

    Again not true, CED32. Many French colonies had department status including Senegal, although independence for some was achieved later. Guadalupe for instance is still a department of France.

  15. Wavey says:

    Vince, as already mentioned, Adebayor probably provides the most obvious comparison. I imagine the Bordeaux fans will feel similarly that Chamakh has some bridges to build, but as long as he is willing to put in the effort and show he is still willing to play for the club the fans will accept him. I felt last season that Adebayor didn’t want to be at Arsenal any more and didn’t work as hard as in previous seasons. I accept that he was injured for part of the season, but I like the Adebayor who used to bust a gut on the pitch for the team. At the end of last season I said that I wanted the old Ade back and that if he showed that he didn’t want to play for us, we should let him go. It seems that Man City has got the Ade that we used to have, the one who worked hard to get his chance on goal. The Ade we never had last season.
    Initial reports indicate that Chamakh is working hard to get back in favour with the fans, he has been positive about his coach and has talked about working for the team. I don’t know whether or not we will bid for him in January, or whether he will fit in the team, but it does them that we would be getting a professional.

  16. Frank says:

    British Overseas Territories who are in possession of British passports namely: Anguilla, Bermuda, British Antarctic Territory, British Indian Ocean Territory, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Falkland Islands, Gibraltar, Montserrat, St. Helena and Dependencies (Ascension Island, Gough Island and Tristan da Cunha), Pitcairn, Henderson, Ducie and Oeno Islands, the Sovereign Base Areas on Cyprus South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands and the Turks and Caicos Island.

    Look forward to pinching a few talented youngsters for our academy from those places. Oh dear…more than 90 minutes away.

  17. Frank says:

    You have to understand, Ced32, being English I am naturally predisposed to distrust the Fench. Never quite forgiven you for supporting the Scots in the 45 Jacobite Rebellion.

  18. Frank says:

    Whilst we are at it, anyone wanna talk circumcision practices in London?

  19. ced32 says:

    Frank, as you point it, you still have many, not much we can do about the 90mns rule, again, it’s not the French’s fault that your FA is almost as incompetent as the FFF (ffs, we still have Domenech in place!). My point was simply to say this: we do not give passports away to citizens of previous colonies (regardless that they had the status of department or not) cheaply as do the spaniards and italians. A mate of mine from brazil, got an italian passport purely because his grandad had been born in Genoa.

  20. ced32 says:

    As to supporting the scots, I actually think we did you a favor there. Didnt we actually support them until the point where they was actually some fighting to do and then leave them to be slaughtered as we got cold feet?

  21. Frank says:

    Who said it was the fault of the French? Though the scheming little napoleon at the head of UEFA is French. After all my favourite manager in the whole wide world is French. Though I feel that the Northern French are more trustworthy than the Southern French. Parisians. Oh dear oh dear no.

  22. Frank says:

    Well Bonnie Prince Charlie could only speak French. He spent most of his life in France. However that is interesting, Ced32, you are proposing that there was a cunning plan between the English and the French to hang the Scots out to dry? I must say I like that interpretation of events….as I was saying marvellous people the French.

  23. ced32 says:

    Hm, I wouldnt say that their was any cunning plan, no, if there was it would probably have been thought of by you lot and agreed by us for some cash or something, after all you’re a lot better at those strategic workings of the world (the old ‘divide and conquer’ that you’ve applied just about everywhere you went). No, what i think is that we have a history of forging alliances and then staying home the moment our ally is in the shit, see Scotland, Poland, etc… We’re much better at hiding behind our borders than at going to help anyone.

  24. Frank says:

    Well that is indeed odd. We English couldn’t plan our way out of a paper bag. Probably an Irish bloke came up with the idea….or…maybe some not quite intact chap in North London,,,no, no I am not allowed to mention that it is racism.

  25. Frank says:

    Whilst you are on, Ced32, I must say it was awfully decent of you chaps to turn the other way whilst some of our coves tunnelled out of the country. Little trick we learned in the Second World war.

  26. gooner2 says:


    you seem to know about most of things about this great country England. an i must assume you are older than i first thought coz your comments are pretty much from someone who has alot of experience in the past and i mean that in a positive way and i hope you do get my point.and i my self i read alot of history books about England in the world 2 and other nations who we have fought for our own freedom.

  27. Frank says:

    Social engineering of the type being proposed by FIFA, UEFA, FA never works. The Americans tried it and they ended up with shit sports like American Football and Baseball. Even had to revert to calling their league the World Series even though almost only their teams are in it. If you enclose communities, put barriers around countries, you end up with sports like shinty and hurling or Aussie rules. The sporting equivalent of inbreeding.

  28. Marc says:

    Your dead right Frank. These rule changes will be talked up and we will be told how English talent will soon rule the world. But the reality is that in 20 years England will still be producing overpriced 2nd rate players I just hope that Wenger’s legacy will put us in a strong position.

  29. Marc says:

    Can someone answer a question for me? Let’s suppose I have a son who is 13 years old and has shown signs of being a real talent. He has been with the academy of a local club (We live in the North of England) but I feel he would be better served going to Arsenal’s academy. If I relocate my family to Hertfordshire would my son have to stay registered with his previous club?

  30. LimparAssist says:

    I wonder whether Tech 9 will steal in ahead of Don Vito on Saturday.

    When asked about it in the post-Brom press conference, AW said he hadn’t started thinking about Saturday’s line-up.

    By not totally backing Don Vito there and then, I’d say the door is open for The Wowmeister General to step in.

    It would be cruel on Don Vito off the back of a steady clean sheet against Wigan. Seeing Schezza on Tuesday did reaffim for me though that he is the more accomplished, calmer goalkeeper right now.

    It will be interesting to see if AW rewards the loyalty of the patient Don Vito and sticks with him, or throws Wowzer the gloves to show both parties how close competition between them is. Would dropping The Godfather harm his confidence? Maybe, but maybe it pushes him harder.

    It’s hard to tell who deserves the call-up on pure merit. You’d have to be privvy to the training sessions to pick one over the other. Wowcheque had more to do in Tuesday’s game than Vito’s had to do in 2 games. But that doesn’t tell us much.

    Personally I’d like to see Schezzknee play so that a nice little rivallry cultivates between the two of them, and we get the best out of both men.

    It’s a question fraught with subtleties and nuance, most of which I am ignorant to. Thankfully AW will straighten it all out for me.

  31. bobbygee says:

    I don’t like the idea. You cna’t force clubs to buy local talent. What happens if the talent isn’t there. This will ruin the EPL. The NBA goes after world wide talent now. We saw how good the talent is in olympic play. Scouting is the key. That’s why EPL clubs send scouts to South America. http://bobbygee.wordpress.com/

  32. Frank says:

    Not much point scouting if the players are not allowed to come to England is there, bobbygee.

    This is so ridiculous, it makes no sense whatsoever. The whole world is trying to break down national barriers, quite possibly the biggest evil since the birth of civilisation, and here are FIFA, UEFA, FA trying to move in the reverse direction. All footballers contained in little boxes with their little flags, wheeled out every four years for these silly fuckers to play.

  33. perrygroves says:

    bobbygee, if I wanted adverts all the time, I’d watch ITV.

    “The sporting equivalent of inbreeding.” – excellent.

  34. ced32 says:

    nah, surely Frank ‘the biggest evil since the birth of civilisation’ is Jamie Redknapp.

  35. arsenalteranga says:

    To Frank and Ced,
    As an old enough African who have traveled a lot, I can know where Frank is coming from. It’s so much easier for a Senegalese talent to join a french club than a Ghanaian talent to join an English club. Hell it’s easier for the ghanians to join french clubs than english ones. Off course there’s the work permit thing but there are also strict rules in France but they are more willing and have more knowhow to bend them I guess

  36. LimparAssist says:

    I’ve just read AW’s comments on this. Are the FA just going to lay down in bed with FIFA and UEFA over these new laws then? And if so, why?

    I understand what UEFA and FIFA are up to, as craven as it is, the motivation and gain for their own ends is clear. But what are the FA doing helping them?

    Do they think that removing foreign talent from academy training pitches will make our local lads better? If they do they need overthrowing and putting out to pasture sharpish. Surrounding our local talent with the best and brightest from around the world does nothing but improve and develop them. Ask Kieran Gibbs what he’s learnt from Gael Clichy, or Sanchez Whatt he’s learnt from Thierry. There’s obviously an absolute hatful of examples here but one that springs to mind is John Terry, who used to have Zola run at him time and time again after training. Doubtless Franco skinned him every time but at least JT found out what it was like to play with the best.

    You’re absolutely right Frank. One of the most beautiful things about football is it’s ability to cross barriers and it’s global all-inclusiveness. It’s a language that can be spoken by all. This is nothing but an attempt to censor that language.

  37. Jerome at work, Gadget at home says:

    Now steady on there Frank. Your comment at 2.24pm… I happen to have quite a passion for American Football.

    And since I’m in the defending mood, I think people should lay off BobbyGee. Sure his blog isn’t on a par with YW’s, but at least he makes a few decent comments.

  38. boomer says:

    International football in this country has slowly died a death and the favourite old chestnut is that due to the amount of foreighn players our english youngsters are not able to break into the top teams, this would happen if there wern’t so many foreighn players. so then we hear certain ex players, usualy trevor brookings age buying into this crap. Men like him would like to see a return to the old days of “football British style” it is still refered to today by most of the tv expert punters, these people dont think a team can win f… all unless they play with passion and fire and of course these same people believe that the only player with heart is English (British). Well ive been thinking for a while now that the prem and the national team, if this is implimented, will fade and then the money will dry up, only the rich teams will survive. Therefor our buisness plan should keep us afloat. Try and imagine an EPL right now without any foreighn players. what are the line ups of the top four ?

  39. boomer says:

    i cant think of any other industry where this type of seperation of races is used and justified……… oh KKK

  40. Frank says:

    There are no foreign players in English football…just players who live and play in England.

  41. Passenal says:

    Has anybody listened to Arsene’s press conference? He’s not very happy with the Bordeaux president and the comments attributed to him, although he suggests the translation might be ‘selective’.

  42. Gunner4Ever says:

    I just listened to it Passenal, he does seem upset about it even though he said he’s not….but he is maybe more upset with the media for twisting or mistranslating. We know too well how the media “accidently” makes the quotes more interesting.

  43. LimparAssist says:

    I watched that Passenal. He’s not happy at all is he. He called Mdm. Bordeaux out in no uncertain terms. Classic balls-to-the-wall Wenger. Go on Arsene!

    Btw, Happy Arthur Guiness Day everybody!

    Arthur Guiness was an entrepreneur, visionary and philanthropist. So not unlike our own AW. Difference being AG gave the world an unending river of wonderful velvety porter, while AW brings the world an unending river of wonderful velvety football.

    Neither of which should be sneezed at. In fact, rather they should be toasted liberally and celebrated to the rafters. Which is just what I’m off to do! Charge your glasses…

    To Martha!

    And, To Arsenal!

  44. dandan says:

    Anyone else notice that demented idiot Myles Palmer is at it again, badmouthing Wenger.
    The man has the brains of a rocking horse

  45. Passenal says:

    dandan, I gave up reading his rantings a while ago, but even seeing the headlines of his articles on newsnow wind me up!

  46. Gunner4Ever says:

    Myles & Howard work in tandem, maybe that’s the academic work Howard was referring to?

    They both need to F*ck Off, they just don’t know how.

  47. Muppet says:


    I have nothing to say, but I just want to maintain the illusion that I do.

    In truth, the colombian army could march for 2 weeks on the bilge from my hooter.

    Another deeper truth is that I am bored, more accurately, boring. Very boring. Like all old cynics, I bore the pants of my readers.

    Arsenal used to be a fast paced, dynamic team. They still are a fast paced, dynamic team. What has changed ? Nothing. I got bored

    Is this relevant ? Who knows. If I write the blog it gets published. If I don’t write it, it doesn’t. I am not compelled to write on some days. Less is more.

    One day I would like to write a post about a certain game. An exciting game that lingers in the memory. But no, I will delay that for another time.

    Sorry, the ramblings of a sad fucker.

  48. Dupsffokcuf says:

    So you are Myles in disguise then Muppet. 🙂

  49. Gunner4Ever says:

    This USA site is awesome….it gives me the game time without having to figure out the time difference.

  50. Poliziano says:

    Plans have been made for a Scottish Arsenal website.

  51. Gary Holliday says:

    Agreed Frank 4:57 pm

    Sorry no work here; we have too many Polish people on our farms, you will have to work 90 minutes away.

    I imagine the English FA will make changes, but my girlfriend reckons you should only play for Arsenal if you were born there!

  52. arslan says:

    hello people long time no comment,,,i was just wondering and i stand to be corrected but ever since arshavin has been bought we havent lost a game while he has been on the pitch…..i would welcome any suggestions otherwise but every time he is on the pitch we are not losing …only when he is subbed do we lose …case in point the manchester united game we were winning but after he went we lost the game ….can please someone look into it ???

  53. Passenal says:

    He was on the pitch when we lost to Chelsea in the FA cup semi-final

  54. arslan says:

    not from the start if i recall corectly i meant when he started a game ….

  55. Passenal says:

    That’s not what you said though, and I seem to recall a time when we never lost whenever the lanky one scored until we did. Those associations are therefore pretty meaningless in the end.

  56. arslan says:

    yep but hes been here almost a year now…maybe there is reeally a lucky charrm on him ..

  57. Bradys right foot says:

    Arshavin may be fit for Saturday. The thought of Rosicky and Arshavin in the one team at the one time may even bring a smile to some of the doomers.

  58. Dupsffokcuf says:

    Arslan, it is not much of a lucky charm is it. He has been with us for 9 months and we have still won no trophies. 🙂

  59. arslan says:

    absolutely correct dups but hes been injured a lot since his arrival and he wasnt even avialable for champions leauge …

  60. Gunner4Ever says:

    If they do Scottish Arsenal Website, then they have to do an Irish one as well. They all speak English in different accents.

  61. Oroton says:

    “A day in the life of an Arsenal footballer”
    Perhaps this is not the right place to ask these questions but as a New Zealander far away from the daily news, tv and radio and general pub talk in England, can someone please tell me how Arsenal footballers spend their week?
    On what days and at what times do Arsenal train?
    Do they ever train at Emirates?
    How long does a training session last for?
    How do they get to the matches at Emirates?
    Do they get days off completely?
    Do they have financial advisers within the club?
    Do they do any mind work with psychologists etc?
    What obligations does the captain have at the club in general?
    Do they all live close to each other?
    What cars do they drive?
    Basically a day in the life of an Arsenal footballer.

  62. perrygroves says:

    I knew VP wouldn’t have a Citroen C4, Frank… Just my little joke.

  63. perrygroves says:

    Frank, would you drive it around if you won it?

  64. perrygroves says:

    Might get some funny looks on Tottenham High Road.

  65. Frank says:

    I have to say,perrygroves, I would rather stick pins in my eyes than drive around in that car. A real liability I would have thought.

  66. Poliziano says:

    I’m disappointed that RvP doesn’t drive a Citroen C4. That would make him seem interesting – would show he has a mind of his own.

  67. Poliziano says:

    Footballers seem so boring when they go out and buy whatever they think people with money ought to have. Rooney never looks more of a fat c*nt than when he is shown on his yacht. Edwin van der Sar never looks more of a useless streak of piss than when pictured in his Bentley.

  68. els says:

    Missed out yesterday but read back over transfer chats. My feeling that in the coming seasons, if wenger is seriously worried about transfer bans being imposed for under 18’s then Wenger willspending all his time getting young players now for the forthcoming years.

    I think that hotly tipped under 18’s will be looking for moves, in case they are trapped at a smaller current club.

    And as most arsenal fans know that a player can look promising and never flourish i.e. pennant, vernazza, bentley, lupoli? you get the jist. Let’s hope that Wengers experience will once again give us an edge in this department over other clubs dealing in such a way in the next few seasons, before FIFA impose a clampdown.

    If it does occur what will wenger do? Will he continue to dabble in the under 20 market or change his tactics wholesale. He is far from a one trick pony, if he decides to play the spending game he could do better than most, as he has such an eye for a player, he sees the best in players other’s don’t. But if this is the case will he succumb to the pressures of another clubs offer. As his legacy at Arsenal will be steamrollerd by FIFA. All that he has done, building a team for the future is coming to flourish, but with restrictions in place the next crop will simply not exist. Could that spell the end for Wenger’s reign?

  69. Frank says:

    Not THAT C4 though, Pz, surely. I would be very happy to give him a lift to games in my painting wagon on the way to setting up the stall. Have to set off very early though.

  70. Frank says:

    Actually if I had my way, all the players would have to ride a horse to the ground on matchdays. It could become something of a tradition.

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