On Yes Men, Ruthlessness and The Way Forward

David Rocastle; if only we could have bottled his spirit, fight and skill. It would be the only PED this or any Arsenal squad would ever need.

[Lawyers’ note: this blog is not for one minute suggesting that Arsenal take PEDs. Just making sure everyone knows that. Although if they are, someone needs to tell the squad snus is a stimulant, not an instruction to grab forty winks. Just sayin’.]

Steve Bould faced the press yesterday with Arsène’s voice lost apparently. There’s a joke in there about finding it and his marbles but I’m not going to make it; no.

There was no in-depth interrogation of Bould with some criticism of the former centre-back for launching a defence of his boss. Let’s remember one thing here; Arsène is Bould’s boss, probably his mate as well. The Tuesday Club – the ‘Yes Men’ Club? – is alive and kicking with Wenger sipping his Chateau Latour 2009 while Bould glugs Thunderbird with an air of street-wise sophistication.

Anyway, Bould isn’t going to slag Wenger off and claim he’s useless, lost it and whatever else. He’s going to defend the bloke he sits next to every match and works with. The one thing he didn’t want on Thursday and Friday is Wenger looking at him, asking, “Et Tu, Bouldie?”

There was no nonsense from him, basically telling the assembled hacks to do one if they wanted to ask about Wenger’s future. How you’d expect him to answer when his future at the club is intertwined with Wenger’s. When Le Boss goes, so does Bould and the long-serving backroom staff loyal to the Frenchman. That’s how football works; always has done, always will.

As I say, I’m not criticising Bould for how he handled the press conference and I’m not sure why anyone would. But they did. Sigh.

Oh Yes, I Have Some Good News for You, Mrs Smethurst.

Petr Cech was less enthusiastic about life at Arsenal. After being the batsmen stuck on 199 and surviving 11 deliveries, he finally made it to 200 clean sheets against Watford with his first penalty save for Arsenal thrown in for good measure.

Anyway, he got ‘Gabby’d’ by the BBC, which is a bit like being ‘Natalie’d’ only less pleasurable, in an interview for the Premier League show (starts at 7:37 on the video here). He showed off his two hobbies of drumming and stand-up comedy – “I had won everything with Chelsea, why not do the same with Arsenal” – as well as an admirable naivety.

Arsenal “qualities” are not thirty points different to those of Manchester City, he claimed. Sorry, old bean, but they are for that is the difference between the two sides in the Premier League table. As much as you see on the training ground, that means nothing if it isn’t translated onto the pitch. The question is whether you’ve over-estimated those qualities? I think so.

But it was when he talked about the differences between Arsenal and Chelsea that the real problems emerge. The two clubs have a different model for business. “Chelsea is like a cold, winning machine,” he said, “from the top to bottom, it works like that.”

In other words, Chelsea is ruthless. If it’s broken, fix it and if that means to change a manager or beloved club servant, sorry, you’ve served your purpose and now you move on. Arsenal don’t work that way.

Cech felt it was “hard to say” whether loyalty to a manager and other components, e.g. coaches, holds the club back. Not a ringing endorsement of the current regime or incumbents.


Frequent changes of managers, e.g. every two years or so, don’t hold other clubs back; only Arsenal believe there is a virtue in a 22-year tenure continuing. Loyalty is a necessary virtue but not at the cost of competitiveness in the sport.

 Oh, In That Case I Have Some Bad News for You.

Yet there’s a bleakness to the existence of Chelsea while United and City are no different. Barcelona like to proclaim they are more than a club but at its’ essence, they are the same as their English counterparts and Real Madrid: a winning machine. That, however, is the nature of modern football at the highest level.

Arsenal must adopt a similar ruthlessness if they want to compete at the highest level and with all due respect to Arsene, life is too easy at Arsenal. We’ve taken winning to mean it’s an art form; Wenger is obsessed with winning the right way even though it’s obvious to all that his view of the right way isn’t the right way.

Nor does he have the resources.

We’ve lost our way and bridging the gap between the two ‘ways’ must be where we’re striving to reach. We’re getting nowhere near it is the problem and given we moved to the Emirates to compete at the highest level, we need to get back on track. Or even on the track would be nice.

Are Enos and Junior aware of this? Is that why the chatter around the summer and changes is increasing. Talking through back channels as they realise the game is up? We shall see.

Cech admitted he carries his drumsticks wherever he goes. “Hey, Shkodran! C’mere. You should’ve got your head to that, you know”; bop. Of course, they can’t do it back to Cech when he makes a mistake; one quick tap on the head and bang, there goes a day.

’til Tomorrow.

27 thoughts on “On Yes Men, Ruthlessness and The Way Forward

  1. Morning YW – thanks for the post!

    If AW drinks Latour 2009 (I doubt it) it’s probably rather too young…. If I ever had a cat-in-hell’s chance of trying it I’d go for the 2000…..

  2. Always a great read. Arsenal have definitely lost their way in the world of big PL business. Loyalty is not something which fans admire anymore if you aspire to winning the big trophies. Maybe Arsenal don’t really care about being a top performer any more, after all they are still one of the world’s richest clubs even though they don’t compete for the big prizes now. Maybe the Owner just considers loyalty more of a winner. Maybe the Owner is just starting to wake up. Whatever. Who knows. But the football Arsenal play these days isn’t even close to Barcelona. It used to be.

  3. Good morning folks, nice one Yogi. I can’t wait to see the entire management and coaching staff walking out with their goods and chatels in a black bin liner.

  4. Dukey, from the early hours of this morning, just a touch premature with the “Kiwis on the rack” comment? 😎

  5. Petr Cech is talking about recent Chelsea regimes. Where was their ruthlessness when Arsenal were champions and FA cup many many times.What goes around, comes around!!!!!

  6. Buggered if I understand that comment, Steven. He commented on the clubs he’s played for.

    Oh, and remind me, when were we champions last? And who’s won it since…

  7. So long as Arsenal’s so-called “fans” insist on attacking their own club and imploding into hysteria at the bat of an eyelash, Arsenal won’t win anything.

    The fans have gone and sabotaged their own club. Even when Arsenal was first in the league, these dumb cunts were flying banners and organizing “protests” to embarrass the club and everyone around it.

    Arsenal fans have a defeatist, loser mentality in that they haven’t the slightest clue what support, solidarity or class are, are negative by instinct, and rather than pull together as a team are more likely to attack each other and the club.

    The best players in world football come to Arsenal to play for Wenger, but they leave because of the fans.

    Let’s hope the fans keep “protesting” and abusing their own players. Then they can drop out of CL again, lose the financial ability to pay top players, lose the ability to attract talent, and become bottom-half team for a decade.

    Give Arsenal “fans” just what they deserve.

  8. Stephan Larose

    Who left because of the fans? Many have left to improve their lot, but that happens at all clubs…You appear to see what you choose to, ignoring everything else.
    Perhaps, instead of blaming the “customers” you head off to Specsavers.

  9. Good stuff, Yogi. Nice tip of the hat to Bill Maynard as well.

    Stephan is just parodying the kind of comments you often see on Untold and, er, other places.

    Aren’t you, Stephan? Eh?


  10. Stephan Larose,

    Yes, that’s right, ‘Class’ is calling fellow fans ‘Dumb Cunts’. In that vein, because I like to think that I’m a classy individual too, go fuck yourself you deluded cockwomble.

  11. Great post Yogi

    I agree with you and Petr Cech that ruthlessness is the way forward. Chelsea dumped Cech on us a couple of years ago. They would have sacked Arsene Wenger after the club melted down in 2011. They would have sacked again again in almost every season since then. They would have sold Jack Wilshere a few years ago when he was still worth a lot of money. They would sell Hector Bellerin for $50M in a heartbeat and they would never in a million years have given Mesut Ozil a $350K per week contract. They would not have traded for Mkhitaryan and then given him a big raise despite his not have done anything worthwhile for ManU

  12. Six time zones port-side of London, when I rise and ready for work– YW’s post is near the top of my inbox each morning. ACLF is one of only a few I invite in. The rest of my Arsenal news I pick and choose (time permitting) from the NewsNow aggregator. I’ve whittled the number of sources down dramatically the last 2 seasons, using their ‘Hide Publication’ feature. Can’t budget the time to sift through echoes of echoes.

    Long enjoyed Yogi’s style and wit.
    Possibly the most talented Arsenal writer I follow.
    As one who was graced with a thimble-full of it as a designer (for several decades)– I know ability when I see it (hear it, read it).

    Artists, in general, realize a niche that is amenable both to their creative side– and allows them to subsist. Rare that you find that outlet where you are doing what you do best– and love doing it. Sometimes the employer changes, sometimes the venue, sometimes the style of work.

    I know, you know, you’ve been very fortunate for many years Yogi. Writing about a great club, and a great manager. Almost the perfect gig.

    Until it isn’t any longer.

    The present challenge? Finding a route over the Sierras. Passes frozen. Passengers mulling dark resolution; fearing the future. Six long weeks till a possible thaw. Continue your tack or change direction?


  13. andy1886:
    Stephan Larose,

    Yes, that’s right, ‘Class’ is calling fellow fans ‘Dumb Cunts’. In that vein, because I like to think that I’m a classy individual too, go fuck yourself you deluded cockwomble.

    Have to wholeheartedly agree with you there Andy

  14. Stephan Larose,

    Haha Ox said he left to take the next step in his development and since in literally ever interview he has given has taken a swip at Arsene…actually they all have.

    I’m not one for sacking managers and getting into all of that, I care about the club and no player or manager is above that and if you think so then you made need to question where your loyalty lies.

  15. Good stuff Yogi, and completely agree with you on Bouldie and those being critical of him.

    As for Cech and his running commentary recently, I could care less because he’s part of the problem. He is suppose to be providing leadership and a steady hand but as I have banged on about since last year, we should have demoted him and given the #1 shirt to Szczesny the same way Chelsea did when Courtious returned from his 2 year loan.

  16. Bill,

    Disagree with you about how Chelsea would have been ruthless especially when it comes to Bellerin. I mean they refused to sell Christensen, Courtious(even the year he struggled) and several other quality youngsters for less. Chelsea are really good at buying players and selling those that don’t fit. For instance, Salah, De Bruyne, Schurrle they bought, didn’t fit and sold. You talk about Bellerin not being that good and what not but again, look at the clubs that are chasing or chased him last summer: Juve, Barca, Madrid and Citeh, I think that says something not only about his quality but how highly rated he is.

    Welp, thats its for me, Im off for day, until tomorrow.

  17. I’m watching the Everton / Man City game, its sixty eight minutes and 1 – 3. So far this half although he’s on the pitch there hasn’t been a mention of Walcott. I don’t think he has touched the ball in the second half.

  18. Bayern Munich boss said Tuchel is out of the running to be Bayern coach as he has signed for an unnamed club… and rumours abound that he was interviewed by Arsenal last week or so… will be Happy to see the back of wenger

  19. Well written and insightful piece as is the norm but couldn’t help detecting an unfamiliar hint of sourness throughout Iinterlull getting to you?) The ending where you appear to make a cheap gag about Cech’s career threatening head injury I could have certainly done without. Articulate footballers are about as plentiful as coherent drummers. Crass. Ignorant. Indefensible (the list goes on) Apart from that, keep them coming. Possibly the best Arsenal writer on the internet.

  20. Will someone wake me up when Arsene is gone. There is only so much of a “transition period” that I can cope with.

  21. @Stephan Larose,
    Your 12.20pm of yesterday brought the expected onslaught of hysteria from the doom and gloom merchants. Faced with the truth, these fickle so-called supporters of our great Club won’t be satisfied until they achieve their peculiar, present aim…..to bring down the Manager.
    Then, start to criticise whoever replaces him. 😉

  22. Thanks for the preview yogi. Pretty much of a yawner so far. Best thing I can say about this game is Elneny has great hair.

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