Never Give Up

Start by doing what’s necessary;
then do what’s possible;
and suddenly you are doing the impossible

– St Francis of Assisi

A morning where all and sundry continue their onslaught against Arsenal, Arsene in particular bearing the brunt of the criticism. Questioning the decisions of the manager is part of a healthy debate into the state of affairs at the club and should not be discouraged otherwise complacency sets in.

Where I take issue is when abuse becomes part of the ‘game’ which is counterproductive in both analysis and resolution. Put simply, if you do not have the mental capacity to put forward cogent arguments, do not bother; abuse means your input is instantly devalued and ignored. Indeed, this aspect erodes the pleasure many of us derive from watching and talking about football.

Sanity is in short supply. The media love a good transfer story and when they don’t get their fill, as happened in January, the only solution to all ills which may afflict a club is that they should have signed someone. In Arsenal’s case, a centre forward. Or industrious midfielder. Or centre back. Or goalkeeper. Therein is the problem. No-one could agree on which position needed most urgent attention – if any did – and how the multi-million pound spree required to satisfy everyone’s desires was to be funded.

Undoubtedly Wenger has money to spend. A lot of his transfer pot – Arsenal admit that this funds both new signings and contract extensions – was spent tieing down the current squad to long-term deals. Accusations that this has led to complacency and arrogance are without foundation; none of us knows the individuals involved and therefore you cannot say with any degree of certainty that these traits have suddenly risen to the surface in any player. You can assume that but at the same time, you will presumably not mind if we make some assumptions about you.

We simply do not know how much there is available. Arsenal has a ethos of not talking transfers until they happen although at times talking about it several days after deals are known to be completed is a touch too secretive. Wenger created a rod for his own back after recent transfer windows by mentioning failures in transfer negotiations, something that started with the attempt to sign Xabi Alonso. Open-ness has its pitfalls as well.

These are testing times for the squad. In years to come, it can be looked back upon as character building for them. Unfortunately, the Premier League’s creation eradicated long-term views; it enhanced focus on the short-term where resolution is simple: sack the manager, allow their replacement to spend a sum equivalent to the GDP of a small nation and then sack them when they do not bring in trophies.

Arsenal stand firm as a mote of rationality in this maelstrom. Transfers are funded from the business. It might change if ownership falls into one pair of hands but at this moment in time, cloth is cut according to that which is available, rather than nipping in through the back window of the tailor shop next door and stealing theirs. Is it the correct route? Yes. Only Chelsea and Manchester United has won the Premier League title in the last decade, aside from Arsenal. Aston Villa, Tottenham, Manchester City; they have all spent vast sums in recent seasons but are with the exception of the latter, no nearer to the title than they were last season.

Buying a player or two will be necessary in the summer and depending on the nature of those incoming, moving to the next level may occur. It might not and then we will be where we are now. A top three side with an outside chance of the title and a 1 in 16 chance of winning the Champions League.

Wenger’s problem this time around is that he has admitted to putting his eggs into two baskets: the Premier and Champions League. Domestic cups are highly valued in the press for they save effort, stories almost pre-written before finals and no sniffing around hunting for tattle to fill column inches. The FA Cup is losing its shine, saved this season by the exploits of Leeds and Reading. Looking at the upcoming fixtures, there are few shocks which can have a reasonable chance of occurring, it might even be a shock if Southampton do not dump Portsmouth’s run into the depths of The Solent.

The media are unforgiving if cup competitions are disrespected, losing little chance to lambast Manchester United for their failure to compete at the turn of the century. Ironically, the same hacks who criticise Arsene for not fielding his strongest team at Stoke wanted United to do the same whilst the first team competed for Fifa’s World Club Cup.

Liverpool represents the same opportunity as Chelsea. A chance to get back to winning ways. Victory coupled with the failure of Chelsea and United to take maximum points reduces the nine-point gap to the top which currently exists. No doubt that this would make the world around Arsenal seem less grey. Crucially, it offers hope. Without that, what is the point of following a football club?

’til Tomorrow.

326 thoughts on “Never Give Up

  1. Luke says:

    Any confirmation yet of the Chamakh pre-contract signing reports?

  2. Damien says:

    @ David:

    Youre forgetting the wage structure. That £30m player’s wage wouldnt be a few tenners a week.

    That £30m is part of the wage structure.

  3. Damien says:

    What Wenger was trying to say was that he went for players, but those player’s wage demands were too high.

    Sure we probably could of got Silva for £30m. But add to that at least £100k a week.

  4. Frank says:

    That is exactly what AW did do. He bought experience in the area we have the biggest problem…central defensive organisation and positioning. Sol Campbell is the man and he is getting match fit whilst teaching on the training pitch.

  5. Frank says:

    Unlucky for Jack last night, but he played very well. Weirdly he was up against Patrick Vieira. Mancs II were very unimpressive.

  6. goonerandy says:

    Where did Jack play? (I missed ther game). Centrally or wide?

  7. Frank says:

    He lined up on the right but he was playing in the middle and down the right. He was Bolton’s joint best player….the scoreline flattered Mancs II.

  8. Frank says:

    This is exactly the experience he needs for next season.

  9. goonerandy says:

    Good for him. He reminds me very much of *gulp* Joke Hole.

  10. goonerandy says:

    It will be interesting to see how Bartley does on loan as well. I have high hopes for him.

  11. ZimPaul says:

    Thanks Yogi. Oh well, I just had to scroll through all the idiocy apart from the usual suspects – Frank, Passenal, Limpar and others – who talk sense. What I need to know: what team in the world, in third place in (arguably) the toughest league in the world, widely acknowledged for its ground-breaking football, and in with a chance of CL and EPL even talks about ‘crisis’ or ‘manager in trouble’ or players ‘under-performing’ or whatever. By what yardstick do we say ‘failure’. Of course, if Wenger ever did leave, we would be lucky to get back to where we are now in a decade. Funny old world innit.

  12. Frank says:

    Naah. He is technically better and is a play maker, more like Liam Brady for me. But most of all he is Jack Wilshere…going to be a great player in his own right.

  13. Frank says:

    This is a fascinating time to an Arsenal supporter. We are about to be present at the birth of a great squad and some so-called ‘fans’ are stamping up and down in the background, tearing out their hair and wailing for a termination.

  14. 1 loose cannon says:

    Wilshere was good he seems really a tough player. it was bizarre to see 3 different ages of Arsenal on the pitch Viera, Silvinho, Toure Adebayor and Wilshere.,

    Football is a strange thing. now I hear liverpool will get the 3rd spot and then you had Mancini saying the same thing and to top it all, even Del boy Arry” fancies it, he thinks he will get the 3rd spot and dump Arsenal. What they don’t realize we had out tough run and it almost over and once we beat Liverpool and hopefully the Chavs and Manure drop points then we are back in the title race all this could happen tonight.

  15. Ole Gunner says:

    If Wenger left, I’d hope we’d do just as well. The mark of a great manager is how well he plans the organisation to continue in his own absence.

    I don’t believe any manager could achieve more in trophy-winning terms on present constraints but that’s another matter altogether.

  16. ZimPaul says:

    Anyway, this is my contribution to all the debates past, present and future. I think we have the squad we need. The odd aberration (eg Almunia or Clichy) is not indicative of their overall level, and in any event we have 3 keepers and 3 LBs. We have the game and strategy we need (to win). We have the depth. We have spirit and a great manager. There is only one thing left in the puzzle, and a few are beginning to allude to it. The psychological barrier. Self-belief (as a team) and confidence (as an individual) is the hardest skill to acquire, and those who have it have the advantage always, even where other skills are deficient. We are close. The biggest battle of all is coming, and when we cross that river it will represent Wenger’s greatest accomplishment eclipsing the invincibles and lasting a decade. It is stating the obvious that younger people have a harder time fighting that battle. When this team overcomes this, the floodgates will open, nothing will stop them. So just hold fast fans. That’s all Wenger and the team asks. Wenger’s main task is keeping this squad together. So far so good.

  17. goonerandy says:

    It will be an interesting team selection from Arsene tonight. It is obvious we need more cutting edge up front, so I think he will start with Bendtner. Hopefully Diaby is fit to start as well.

    Will he persist with Alumunia? He really does look short of confidence.

  18. Frank says:

    Old Whitcher had the nerve to put a up an article entitled ‘A call to arms’ after publishing article after article demanding that the squad is cleared out and Arsene Wenger replaced. I might add at the same time making money from his obscene publications about the club. What an aresehole.

  19. Ole Gunner says:


    Isn’t that the guy who went round for a year authoritatively claiming Arsenal are broke. Then when the financial results come out and show he was lying or wrong….he doesn’t even acknowledge that. Without missing a beat he moven on to another set of authoritative lies.

  20. Matt says:

    Some guy who writes for the Gooner sits in front of me.

    It’s amusing that he thinks of himself as some kind of Arsenal ‘celebrity’ when all he does it write bollocks about the club.

  21. Matt says:

    It also amuses me to see certain people say that if Chamakh was then man that Arsene wants / wanted all along, that he should of just paid £7M for him in January to keep us in the title race.

    We have all seen players take time to settle, so what would of been the guarantee that he would of slotted straight into the team?

    At least if he does sign for free in the summer, he will have a long pre-season with us to prepare for next season.

  22. consolsbob says:

    That was an interesting game last night. Lots of sub plots. Old Arsenal players in ‘their prime’.One who didn’e make it, two veterans, one an all time great and young jack.

    Fascinating. PV4 looked like an old man. Muamba showed why he didn’t make it and jack showed us the difference in class between an Arsenal player and a Bolton player. Quite liked their right back though.

    Man of the Match, Adam Johnson? Don’t make me laugh. He did remind me of another old Arsenal player though in both his shambling gait, the way he wore his kit and his flattering to desive. Step forward Peter Marinello!

  23. silver gunner says:

    Adam Johnson was brillaint theo needs to watch and learn exactly how to dribble sorry consolsbob.

    Though I do agree at times Wilshire looked a class apart.

  24. consolsbob says:

    I didn’t say that he doesn’t show promise sg, nor did I compare him with Theo. Diffrent players.

    I did compare him with another promising youngster from a different generation.

  25. Emperor Gooner says:

    our lads will do it tonight i’m sure of it…m pretty sure chavs and mancs are dropping points too!!

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