Send your thoughts to email@example.com. And they don’t have to be about Arsenal.
It could have been even worse…
George; it could’ve been worse
you could have left st pancras at 0930 on sunday morning, not being able to use euston as it was shut for enginnering works. Then you could’ve got to Leicester only to see your transfer to nuneaton arrive too late – because it was delayed – to make your connection to Liverpool that you had seats booked on meaning you then had to go via Stafford and Crewe to get to Merseyside and stand all the way.
on the way home you could’ve missed the 1845 at lime street by 3 minutes meaning you had to wait another hour to get the 1945 to nuneaton. A little more straightforward on the way back because the trains ran on time ( actually they didn’t but as it was the last train to london at Leicester they held it ) so it was just change at nuneaton and leciseter finally arriving back in London at 2330 and getting in bed in romford at 0115. oh and you could’ve spent 40 quid on a cab from barking to romford because by then quite frankly you had had enough and wanted your bed.
Then you could’ve had to have got up at 5am on Monday to go and do a 12 hour shift on a beautiful bank holiday Monday.
Bookmaker transfer market manipulation
Has anyone else noticed a trend of bookmakers commenting on and discussing potential transfer rumors and clubs transfer activity, when they have betting markets on that very subject.
Although it could first appear as an innocent attempt to create interactions and increase traffic to their site, surely by commenting on rumors, they are manipulating punters betting patterns etc.
I saw one major bookmaker post a ‘Sanchez hands in transfer request’ tweet, presented as fact, when the club had not commented or confirmed this. It has subsequently been deleted, but I wonder how many people as a result of seeing this tweet placed large best with them, that Sanchez would no longer be with Arsenal come the end of the transfer window.
Regulatory wise this can not be right? Even if Sky Sports news are commenting on transfer rumors, their partner Sky Bet must benefit from their speculation in terms of driving bets.
Anyone more intelligent (or google savvy) enlighten me on this?
A couple of years back I remember United went through a phase where they were letting promising younger players leave as the players were unhappy with their lot under Sir Alex.
At the time, I remember being pretty angry at this, as there were 3 in particular that seemed like United should be pulling out all the stops to keep them.
Why am I bringing all of this up now? Well as we approach transfer deadline day, part of my evenings have been taken up with tuning into SSN’s Transfer Centre.
As most of you will me more than aware, there is a sidebar where it lists all the clubs ins and outs for the window so far.
Last night one of them caught my eye, and this morning I read a story that prompted this mail.
It’s the tale of 3 young players who left United in 2012 in search of greater opportunities.
The first, is probably the most well known. Dabbing sensation and emoji superstar, Paul Pogba. We are all familiar with the story of how he left after sitting on the bench on New Years Eve 2011 watching Ji Sung Park and Rafael unsuccessfully attempting to stop Blackburn Rovers midfield guiding their team to a 3-2 win at Old Trafford. Pogba moved to Juventus in 2012, won 4 Serie A titles, before re-signing last summer for United for a then world record fee.
The second is probably the most infamous. This guy was tipped for greatness. Ravel Morrison was seen as the most talented player of his generation in is youth. He was the star of the youth teams and was seen as the heir apparent to Paul Scholes in United midfield.
Unfortunatley for him, his attitude and friends stunk and he left the club, also in 2012 to move south and sign for West Ham to play under Sam Allardyce. After a couple of false dawns and you tube clips, he moved on loan to Birmingham, QPR and Cardiff before bizarrely signing for Lazio, where he is still a permanent member of the playing staff. This morning I see his is about to complete a move to Mexico to play for Atlas. To date he has played 76 senior games at club level.
The last was the one that caught my eye on SSN. Zeki Fryers has just completed a move to Barnsley from Crystal Palace. He too left United in 2012 and wanted to sign for Tottenham. Ferguson, understandably did not want to let this happen so Fryers moved to Standard Liege before signing for Spurs 6 months later. A couple of loans (Ipswich and Rotherham) aside, Fryers has played just 24 games in his senior career. This was a guy who United had high hopes for and definitely did not want to leave.
(Maybe Ed can fill us in on what happened at Palace?)
All three players are now 24, and you can only really say that it has worked out for one of them.
I wrote in a couple of weeks ago when it looked like Mbappe was about to move to Real for €160+ million, saying that Real were paying for no more than potential, and there are no guarantees that things will pan out as you expect for young players.
The cases above could be examples of sliding doors and under different circumstances things could have worked out differently.
Anyway, I am now older too and my anger at United has subsided for letting all 3 go.
Even though I do think it was comical that they had to pay £89 mil to get Pogba back.
How to solve a problem like Arsenal
Right, while everyone wrings their hands and ponders how to solve the absolute mess that is Arsenal, lets be proactive shall we? First we have to identify the symptoms:
1) We have an owner who lives over 4500 miles away in Texas, who doesn’t give a rats arse about results as long as he can pull millions of pounds in consultancy fees every year
2) We have CEO who has no power over the manager, and who is consistently undermined by the owner
3) We have an old man in charge who has singularly failed to evolve or change. Famously stubborn he now resembles King Kanute trying to hold back the tide of money
4) We have over-compensated, under performing players, and other players of quality who can see what a mess the club is and have downed tools or want out. They have been lied to repeatedly by Wenger and his assurances.
5) Arsenal Fan TV and the culture it has created, yeh gets me fam?
Wenger had the opportunity to leave on a high by beating Chelsea in the FA Cup but he didn’t , and now what will happen will merely be his own tarnishing of his reputation. We as fans, like the climbers in Touching the Void, will have to go into the Abyss before we get out. I believe we will have to harm the club if we are to save it. I believe we need to do the following to effect the change we all want.
1) We may never agree on the manager. Lots of people after the Liverpool match will have said things like it is only 3 games etc. You are complicit in this culture of rewarding mediocrity and never punishing failure. These people are held to account by no one. Not the owner, not the CEO and not the manager. So we have to hold them to account. As fans, and the only way to do that is either to stay away, which I know isn’t a solution, so the next thing is don’t spend any money at the club. Don’t buy pints, or food or programmes. We need to kill their cash cow
2) We do agree that Kroenke has to go. So let him be the focus of this campaign. Not Wenger, or the players, lets start by cutting off the head of the beast. We stopped his disgusting blood sport channel, now lets make his position untenable. Letter writing campaigns, social media boycotts, whatever it was that Liverpool fans did with Hicks and Gillette to make them think , ‘f*** this for a game of soldiers!’ and leave.
3) We have an AGM coming up that will be as toxic as all the rest. We need to co-ordinate prior to this, ensure that all questions are pointed and demand change. We hold them to account and not allow them to say fatuous sh*t like ‘thank you for your interest in our affairs’. Make it know that our interest in their affairs is finite. That they cannot continue to sit on hundreds of millions of pounds in cash that is not reinvested into the club.
To be honest, I have got to this bit of the email and I’m already out of steam. 13 years of Wenger’s stagnation has pushed us to this. I’ve written variations on this mail time and time again. Nothing will change. Fans will keep going, because they love the club and the memories it has given them. That club doesn’t exist anymore. A business exists in its place, and we are all clients. They don’t care about our opinions because we don’t matter. If we stop, some other CUSTOMERS will take their place.
I know rival fans will be loving this. Arsenal fans (myself included) often come across as sanctimonious pricks (see email above) , but I am just sad to see the demise of a great football club that has been a part of my life for over 30 years.
John Matrix AFC
Following on from yet another enjoyable Winners and Losers, I thought I’d delve further into the coaching aspect Mr Storey touched upon.
When you have listed only 3 first team coaches (admittedly, on Wikipedia,) in comparison to a medical team including: 3 Physio’s, 3 masseurs, a soft tissue masseur, a club doctor and a head of medical services, then you know the root of the cause has yet to be dealt with.
Excluding Lehmann (who only joined this summer), we have had the same first team coaches for several years now and every year we keep getting muscle injuries. Rather than increase the medical team, why not hold the coaching staff accountable that the training sessions are not conditioning players to the demands of the Premier League. The same can be said for the fitness coaches.
Instead Arsenal’s approach is to increase the medical department. Much like with Wenger’s tenure in recent years, he’s not trying to fix the cause of the problem, merely, he is just throwing more people at it. More doesn’t equal better.
It was also alluded that the players we sign aren’t BAD players, but they are indeed coached badly. We only moved to 3 at the back after a team intervention when it was too little too late. The lack of tactical awareness and mental strength in the team is disturbing.
The thing is, how do you solve it?
When Wenger goes, I think the club needs a hybrid between Wenger and Graham. There are stories about how little responsibility he currently has, but I’d like to see Steve Bould take charge. He’s played under both and has a strong understanding of the club. Yes, I know that means it may affect our buying power, but this is the man who is used to coaching younger players. Players like Nelson, Ashley M-Niles, Holding and JEFF would thrive under him. And lets face it, Arsenal will hardly be in a position to buy big names when we’re in the Europa (if we’re lucky).
Alongside Bould, I’d bring in a variety of coaches. A mixture of ex Arsenal players who are learning their trade coaching (promoting an ‘Arsenal ethos’), a few grass roots/lower league coaches who know about resilience (League 2 coaches do everything at the club. Believe me, from experience of talking to several League 2 coaches, they know about mental resilience and that is massively needed at Arsenal).
In regards to fitness coaches. This pains me with all my heart but I’d get the Dutch Twitter Egg in. For all his critics, Verheijen does have a good track record for aiding players and teams to full fitness. Anything is better than now isn’t it?
Would it work? Maybe not, but given the state of affairs behind the scenes, it cant be any worse.
Steve, Realistic (but unhappy) Gooner
After a couple of days processing our shellacking at the hands of Liverpool, it’s pretty clear that Arsenal have some significant rebuilding/retooling to do. What’s more, our best player is basically agitating for a move which will either hurt the team now, or for all of this season followed by more humiliation next summer.
So why not just blow the whole damn thing up? If Wenger wants us to buy into him as the long term, then he should bite the bullet, put Arsenal into a full rebuild and recalibrate fan expectation and hope levels.
I said before that I think his appetite is gone, and I’m definitely in a moderate branch of the Wenger Out brigade rather than a Wenger apologist for the current strain of nonsense going on, but I genuinely would be ok with him and Kroenke putting their hands up and saying ‘Yep, we fucked it, but this is the plan for Arsenal to kick on’.
Sell Sanchez and Ozil, get in Draxler, Sterling, a youngish hard nut to play DM, rehabilitate Chambers and Bellerin and tell them ‘Right gents, Spurs have done this over the last couple of years and made us look silly, so get strapped in and make yourselves Arsenal legends in 5 years time. New leaf, new mentality, young and hungry, let’s get at them’.
It’s that or you’re out Arsene. No more of this stability and coherence nonsense; you’re currently the emperor with ‘new’ clothes and everyone can see your/you’re bollocks.
Tom, West Hampstead
Arsenal are doing a United, but different
I think Monday morning’s Mailbox about Arsenal’s shortcomings was probably the very first I’ve seen where the entirety was taken-up by one single club. No, actually not the club itself, but by the manager’s supposed lack of general tactical nous, inability to get decent players to transfer in to the club, get overpaid, unwanted players out of the club, get his current players to perform and so on.
I can’t remember such dislike or disrespect for another Premiership manager from his home fans ever and, as a United fan, I went through the recent post-Ferguson years where we went from Premiership winners in Alec’s final year to just drifting along, going nowhere for three years. I’m of an age where I also went through the post-Busby days with McGuiness, Sexton and other so-called managers where we simply didn’t improve no matter that we broke the British transfer fee record on more than one occasion.
It seems to me that Arsenal are doing that drifty, floaty, sort-of-going-backwards type of thing except that, with United, we experienced those downturns under several fairly useless appointees immediately after an extremely successful manager and the downturn was immediately obvious, whereas Arsenal are experiencing the same sort of downturns under just the one manager who has probably stayed too long. A previously, highly successful manager at that. But the thing is, quite a lot of vocal Arsenal fans warned against this very same thing going back quite a few years but were ignored or shouted down by the majority.
I have no idea whether a different manager will make a difference this season with only a few days of the transfer season remaining. Nor do I care too much for the Arsenal team itself. But I always quite liked Arsenal, the club (and any club and its various teams are hugely different). Heck, I even admire the Liverpool club for its past successes – although I would appreciate it, Ed, if you sort of smudged the print a bit on the last part.
So, it’s an emotive time for Arsenal people because supporting a team, any team, is a very emotive business. But can I just warn you Gooners that, even the best manager/coach in the world will not turn things around overnight. For Arsenal to again be a heavyweight in the Premiership and a usual top four team again, you will probably need a new man at the helm sooner rather than later and an open cheque book, at least in the short term. Maybe some sort of petro-sugar-daddy would not necessarily be a bad thing.
But Bill Gates himself could adopt you as his latest sad-case charity project and it would still probably take at least a few years to become the powerhouse that you were under Adams and company. As with other improved teams like United and Liverpool and others like Spurs and Everton, it will be worth the wait even though it’s frustrating and we all want immediate results.
And I, as a United supporter, was frequently told in the Mailbox – when we were in the Moyes and Van Gaal doldrums- we can’t expect to win things every year by right. And, if we do have that expectation, well we’re all apparently plastics. So get used to it Arsenal fans. Not only have you got a fairly average side (by your own high standards going back not even too many years) but your own fans are turning on the club. And supporters of other teams, who’ve never won a thing in their inglorious history, will savage you, as they did with United. They will glory in your lack of success in the short term but they will shut up when you come good again, As you inevitably will but probably just not this season or even the next one.
To my final point: I believe a strong Arsenal team is good for the Premiership. They are (and how I hate saying this) a big club.
Oh, and a final, final point: Thom, London’s first sentence in a mail a few days back was; ”Hi, my name’s Thom and I’m an Arsenal fan.”
You know what, Tom, that really sounds to me like some sort of 12 steps programme, like “My name is Thom and I’m an alcoholic.” But it could be a lot worse. You, or other Gooners, could stand up at one of these meetings and say “Hi, my name is Tom and I’m an Arsenal fan.” Because football, after all, is as addictive as anything, isn’t it?
Everything that’s wrong with the modern day football fan is encapsulated by something I saw in a previous mailbox…’theres still 30 min to go….’. People can’t even wait for the game to be over before rushing to their keyboards to spout off whatever pops into their heads.
Three games in. Three. I know the trend in the press is to treat every game like the end if the world or the beginning of a dynasty but I’d like to think people r smart enough not to buy into the utter garbage that gets thrown at them before and after matches. Arsenal are being fixated on in the press because their fans are such easy targets. Again,three games in. Crisis, player exodus. All based on conjecture yet treated as fact. Last year Conte was about to be sacked after losing to a title rival. The year before everyone and their dog in the press and on tv declared the title race over after 5 games.
Let’s keep things in perspective. Arsenal are 6 points behind the leaders with 35 games to go. Crisis. Two tough games out the way. Tottenham are 5 points behind the leaders. Are they in crisis? Arsenal could be above Chelsea after one more game and if Arsenal are in trouble then surely they are too? Or are three games an incredibly stupid sample size?
People are angry. They should be after such a poor performance. But let’s not go overboard. Arsenal could be top of the pile in 5 games. That’s what’s great about football. Theres always another game, always another chance to get things right. Most reasonable fans would take that thumping on the chin and move onto game 4 of 38 but not Arsenal fans. They send Granit Xhaka death threats on instagram
I need positive thoughts right now as my cub seems to be heading down a very dark path. So I decided to come up with a little what if game.
You can take any one game in your clubs history, change the result and muse on what would have happened had the result gone differently. It can only be one game, one result. The result doesn’t even have to involve the your club directly.
The idea came for me thinking about the 06 Champions League final against Barcelona. Arsenal somehow manage to hold onto their 1-0 lead for the full 90 minutes and win the Champions League.
Wenger is subsequently hailed for winning the Champions League with players like Eboue. Henry, who now doesn’t need to leave Arsenal to complete his trophy cabinet, stays until he retires, hitting the 200 goal marker easily. Cole and Fabregas do the same, with Fabregas going on to have some 500+ appearances and a nice statue outside the Emirates.
Arsenal win another Premier League and FA double the following season after investing off the back of the Champions League win, but fail to reach the final of the Champions League. Utd and Arsneal share the major UK trophies between them over the next few years. With Henry retiring in 2013, Wenger follows suit and retires himself. Henry becomes Assistant Manager to an up and coming manager, Jose Mourinho. You know what happens next…
Rob A (happy thoughts, think happy thoughts) AFC
Another alternate Arsenal reality
I’ve read all there is to read about Arsenal’s current situation and said all there is to say.
The bottom line is around six months ago Arsenal reached a point in their history when they could have done something to avert this impending sh*t show but didn’t.
So let’s consider the alternate reality.
Spring 2017 – Arsenal’s form is non-existent. It’s clear the players aren’t playing for the manager anymore and none of the big hitters want to commit to a new contract. There’s talk of not renewing the manager’s contract and appointing a director of football.
Now let’s just imagine Marc Overmars had come on board as director of football, with Wenger told his would be his last contract and the club were approaching Diego Simeone about taking over.
The players give one final push for Wenger, we get the final champions league place and win the cup. This coincides with Overmars landing in the Spring, who gets on with selling the deadwood and promising Sanchez the Earth to stay.
Simeone comes in in the summer, makes Sanchez captain, builds the team around him and crucially sorts out the mess in defence.
I honestly think if this had happened we’d have taken seven points from 9 and there would be a different feel at the Emirates.
As for how things stand now, it’s hard to feel anything for a club that could see what was wrong and refused to do anything about it.
The worst thing is is the club knows how far we’ve fallen. You can get UEFA cup tickets for you and your kid for £20. Putting that in perspective, last season the cheapest adult Champions League ticket was £35 and a ticket in the North Bank back in the mid 90s was £17.
Arsenal Football Club is a joke from top to bottom.
Graham Simons, Gooner, Norf London
Only you can prevent Forest firing
In case anyone has not been closely following League 2 this season, one of the more heart warming stories has been the introduction of Forest Green Rovers to the football league.
A small club with the lowest population in their immediate town/city/village of any of the 92 teams in the league, they have managed to attract the players to get them promoted despite being entirely vegan at the ground, at training and even at hotels for away games. The pitch is mowed using only solar and wind power, and the whole club is founded in an ethos of social and environmental consciousness.
I am thrilled to report that we stuffed them 5-1 on Saturday, because football is awful and you don’t get to have nice things.