Mails: Arsenal soul being stripped from club

Date published: Wednesday 24th August 2016 2:10

Keep those thoughts coming to…


Arsenal’s “slow death”
Arsenal fans are a pretty neutered bunch at the moment. Impotent men and women howling at the moon as any semblance of soul is stripped from the club, and all that will be left is some hulking corporate sponsorship behemoth that ensures brands can be seen worldwide through television. We have an owner who said there is no point getting involved in sports if you want to win. We have a chief executive who says that winning the Champions League is not an aim, merely to be seen to be behaving in the right way as a football club. If there is no ambition there, Ozil will leave, Sanchez will leave, and we’ll be left with a squad of Walcotts! Media trained, polite yes men who will happily pick up their massive wage, knowing there is no pressure on them. No responsibility to win.

We have a manager who has the audacity to say to the fans that he has concerns about 600 people’s jobs. This isn’t even his job! His job is to produce a winning football team. Wenger is the master of strawmen arguments, and deflecting any criticism. I wonder, when Wenger who has made AT LEAST £100 million from Arsenal football club in wages and bonuses etc, said his ridiculous statement about 600 people, why none of the journalists asked him how many of them were on zero hour contracts? Why, If he cared about them so much, isn’t he fronting an campaign for this be abolished at the club? He hasn’t done this because it is just another excuse he has cooked up that protects him and makes him seem like a martyr. As if he is behaving in the right way.

Unless the fans can mobilise in an effective way, rather than ranting mindlessly on ArsenalFan TV, nothing will change. We have all the symptoms of inertia and obsolescence. We have seen a summer of the same mistakes of almost every summer we can remember from recent memory. This has reached a point now that it seems it isn’t because of the ineptitude of the club. I think it is to do with a conscious decision by the club. I don’t believe they actually want to sign another defender. I don’t think they actually want to sign a striker. It is very easy to say you want to, and through media mouthpieces, make it seem like you are doing business.

We are seeing the slow death of a football club, which is very sad.
John Matrix AFC


Henderson and that famous Australian proverb
Top five: Players whose places are under threat
The problem with Jordan Henderson is as it’s always been. He’s, as we say in Australia, a good ordinary player. Nothing less, nothing more; not outstanding at any one facet of the game, but not terrible either.

Every side has players of this ilk, players who are diligent soldier ants going about their duties in a focused and eager way. Problem with this in Henderson’s case is that he’s Liverpool’s captain. He was this supposed heir to Stevie G’s throne, as unfair a comparison as you’ll find.

He’s hostage to standards and expectations of performance and leadership he’s ill-equipped to meet.
Sean Peter-Budge


…After reading this morning’s mailbox I have to agree with Minty, LFC. Gone are the days when Henderson makes it into the team for his shear ability to be just about everywhere thanks to those wonderful lungs or legs of his. With Klopp now at the helm running is a requirement for everyone wanting to get a starting position. He isn’t particularly good at defending, nor attacking, nor passing, nor shooting. Can is much better deep lying midfielder. Wijnaldum has proven to be a much better attacking mid from his time at Newcastle. Even a converted number 10 Lallana is upstaging Henderson in the midfield 3 at the moment. Liverpool have outgrown Henderson and that is problem, as there is no way Klopp and sell the club captain nor bench him, so here we are trying to fit a very square peg into an extremely round hole. If Liverpool want to be successful this campaign they cant afford to be carrying players who are simply not good enough anymore.
Dino, LFC (Give Can the captains armband and sell Henderson to whoever will pay for him, problem solved)


Stop the knee jerk
I feel an uneasiness as I write this mail. I’m not sure quite what it means for me and football, yet, but I am increasingly worried with the ever greater short-termism that is growing in the game.

I was astounded to hear, on the opening weekend, that there were boos around some grounds. On the opening weekend. Day Zero. So far this season, I’ve spoken to friends regarding, and heard about, boos at Newcastle, Derby, and Arsenal to name a few. I’m sure there are issues at grounds that I’m not aware of. Two of these three clubs mentioned have very new managers! Arsenal is obviously a different story with a growing discontent over time, but even there, I can’t understand why fans would turn to negativity so early in the season. Why are you even bothering following your club?

What makes a fan boo at St James’ park on the opening day? I watched that game and I saw no justification whatsoever for the crowd to be so negative, not even the loss of the game. Derby fans have a new manager who has secured promotion to the Premier League with another in his armoury – boos. Arsenal fans want to ruin their season before it’s even off the ground – boos. Maybe it’s just me. I hate the idea of booing anybody, no matter how poor. I like to think I realise that there are off days, and off weeks and even that sometimes maybe a change is the best idea for all. But I don’t think I would ever boo somebody. It’s just so demoralising, and how would that help?

It brings me round to my more vested interest of Klopp and Liverpool. To read people giving him a kicking when we’ve won 2 out of 3 games and we’re still not out of bloody August, yet. If players and managers don’t produce instant results these days, we are infuriated! It’s ridiculous. We waited for a big name manager for years and now we have one and, having been in charge for 8 months or so of a handover campaign, plus less than half a month of this, we find people all too willing to stick the boot in and claim it’s all gone down the swanny. I don’t want to overuse the word but, again, it astounds me. Yes, this is more of Klopp’s squad, of course, but bloody hell give him and the team a chance! And that doesn’t mean judge them after 45 minutes. I genuinely worry that some LFC supporters are already fanning a background dissent to Klopp and I feel uneasy about it. Because I don’t understand it.

Maybe we pay extorionate prices to watch our teams at Anfield and beyond, to Sky and BT and whoever and so yes we are entitled to our views. But our short-termist, knee jerking tendencies are growing exponentially and I don’t like it. This football merry go round is getting faster and faster and I worry I’m going to fall off, and out of love with the game, because the atmosphere we are creating as fans saddens me.
Jay, LFC.


…Judging by the few emails in the topic this morning Liverpool must have lost to Burton last night. And Arsenal in the season opener. I mean come on, people are already trying to completely write off Klopp!

We are a grand total of 3 games into the season. We have beaten last year’s runners up, lost to a promoted team and strolled through the cup tie. It’s hardly the end of the world. I seem to remember Spurs having a poor start to last season, and that didn’t end too badly. I’m still not convinced we’ll get top 4 but it’s not outside the realms of possibility.

We have two types of fan writing off Klopp. One is the delusional Liverpool fan. This is the fan that gives all over LFC fans a bad name. Proclaims that ‘this will be our year’ each and every year to the dismay of the rest of us sane fans. The other are the delusional non Liverpool fans. These are similar to the Liverpool version but instead of being far too optimistic about their own club, are terribly pessimistic about others, generally the more historically successful ones, Liverpool being such an easy target with fans detailed above.

If Liverpool flatter to deceive, have a good cup run and ultimately finish 6/7 we should still hold onto Klopp. We do not deserve top 4 by right and Klopp is the type of manager who builds a team. The kneejerkers be damned.
Cian LFC (Mane is looking dangerous)


…Given the knee-jerk reactions and frustrations directed at any manager who loses a match, can we all just agree that a manager is a failure/fraud if they fail to win every match by two clear goals (obviously including pre-season and training sessions).

Not withstanding that their players can have off days, the opposition can offer some resistance, tactically you aren’t going to get it right every time and, shockingly, no manager is ever going to say that Player X is a liability in public – unless they want to get fired.

Sometimes my cereal is full of tears of “whatthebleedingf***ery” just because of how “Daily Mail Comments” some of the mails are.

How has it come to this?
Rob, London


In defence of Mourinho
Shane from Ireland

Perhaps Stelling & Riley didn’t ask Mourinho about Carneiro or Villanova because they were there solely to talk footballing matters given that is the job they are hired to do. Perhaps it may also be due to a confidentiality agreement agreed upon in court when the case was settled? Perhaps they didn’t mention the Villanova incident because it occurred 5 years ago and was covered extensively by Spanish media when it occurred and had absolutely no relevance to Manchester United V Southampton? Oh and by the way, this occurred before he was diagnosed with cancer for the first time so he didn’t ‘eye-gouge a man who had cancer’ despite your attempts to paint him as a man who attacks vulnerable people suffering from serious illnesses. In any event, the action itself was of course terrible and inexcusable.

I’m also fairly certain Jose took his fair share of criticism from the British media last year when his Chelsea side were underperforming. Perhaps he has not faced any criticism yet due to the fact United are playing well and look rather exciting on the pitch for the first time in years? His transfers in and out have been sensible too and he has been respectful to both opponents and press alike.

With regards to his sides being ‘boring’, perhaps you might want to look at the goals for column for each of sides seasons. You might change your mind. Yes, in big games he can sometimes park the bus, but really who cares? If it gets the desired result, that’s all that matters.

And yes, I am chuffed to bits he is finally in the United dugout where he should have been when Sir Alex (who was no angel himself) retired.
Christopher, Perth


…Wanted to respond to Shane (Ireland) from this morning’s mailbox on Mourinho, and him being a horrible human being.

As a long time United supporter, let me start off by saying I have always despised Mourinho’s antics, but begrudgingly respected him for his man management and ability to connect with his players (Chelsea and Inter players would attest to this). I never really wanted Mourinho at United and long dreamt that Pep would be a United manager one day instead.

However, few things have happened in the past few years which has made it, let’s say, “easier” for me to embrace the fact that Mourinho is now United manager.

First point is, when people laugh at the irony of United fans being “excited” about Mourinho who has a reputation for being a defensive coach when they’ve been complaining about LVG’s boring style for the last couple years, its entirely out of the relative context. The reason a defensive, but pragmatic Mourinho excites is because defensive, counter attacking football is more exciting that non-existent football, which is what LVG made us suffer through. He instilled a sense of apathy in United fans, one in which people began to lose interest in even watching the game. I’d rather have a defensive manager then a manager who instructs his players to do nothing with the ball. So, long story short, while I would have preferred Pep’s attacking football, I’ll take Mourinho’s counter attacking football over LVG’s non existent football at this stage.

The second point – Pep unfortunately joined Man City. Once the top choice was gone, as a United fan, the only realistic candidate I could see giving him a run for his money (as he did in Spain), and who desperately had dreamt of the job for so long, was Mourinho. So, begrudgingly, as I said, I accepted that unless I wanted United to be lost in oblivion like Liverpool or Arsenal more recently, Mourinho is a personality and risk worth taking at this stage.

Unpleasant man – Yes. Proven Winner – Yes. Capable of taking United back to the top – Yes. The scale for me, as a United supported, tilted in his favour.
Sandy (MUFC)


Poor Roberto
Did Phil, EFC just compare Bobby Martinez (1 FA Cup & a relegation) to Jurgen Klopp (2 x Bundesliga winner, 1 x German Cup winner and finalist in the CL, EL and ELC)?

Just checking.

Most rational LFC fans are perfectly happy with Klopp at the helm, considering the bilge we’ve been served up by Hodgson and Rodgers in recent years (Poulson, Konchesky, Cole and Jovanovic* anyone?) You can’t win every game. Players make mistakes, players have off days and managers make poor tactical decisions – it’s all part of the excitement.

I quite like Koeman, but I’d reckon 99% of Liverpool fans would rather keep Norbert.
Paul (*Even hearing his name makes me shiver. Dark times.) LFC


…Roberto Martinez, after losing 2-3 at home to West Ham with Everton: “There were incredible positives. Now we focus on playing Chelsea in a completely different competition.”

Jurgen Klopp, after losing 2-0 away to Burnley: “How can I be happy with this?” “It is not allowed that you suffer under your own poor possession because it makes no sense.” “Our timing and decision-making was not very good.” “We saw the situations coming around the goals but that doesn’t mean you should still concede the goals”

Klopp is clearly (and there is literally no way of taking any other meaning from his words) not saying that everything was OK, that the result was some kind of freak performance that can be safely ignored as some kind of inescapable eventuality decreed by fate, which is what Martinez used to hint at, if not actually say. Klopp owned it straight away – we played rubbish, and deserved to lose, because despite overwhelming possession we did nothing useful with it and conceded goals that should not have been let through. A clear statement of the obvious issues, which is apparently what makes Koeman superior to Klopp. Alright, like any professional manager he can’t actually say “we were rubbish” because he still has to manage the squad and get them to play for him, but the message is there.

To go back to the West Ham game as an example, Martinez focused on the ‘positives’ (losing from a winning position and conceding three in twelve minutes at home) and ignored the bad play from his side. See the difference?

Klopp’s Wenger-like blindness to the talent and personnel shortage at left back and in defensive midfield are legitimate points of criticism (the striker thing much less so, because Origi, Ings and Firmino aren’t exactly useless back-up options), but I’m not having it that he’s just like Bobby Martinez. Positivity, the determination to take what you can from everything, even the lessons from defeat, is not the same as openly denying reality because you don’t like the kicking it’s giving you – and that’s the difference between the two managers. That and ability.
Matt (How did he get the Belgium job? Poor Lukaku) LFC


…I’m not sure which liverpool fans Phil, EFC has spoken to, as I’m yet to hear anybody that has ‘fallen out of love’ with Klopp.

To compare the reigns of Klopp and Martinez is at best a lazy sweeping generalisation. If anything, Koeman and Klopp are more relatable as they’ve both come in having to rebuild a team inherited from an overly optimistic and tactically naive predecessor.

I think you’ll find Klopp is also never satisfied despite some stonking victories (after beating City away 4-1 he said there were still things to improve upon in the performance) and as to comparing him to Martinez tactically, it must be that tactical naivety that led us to beat United and Dortmund in Europe, as well as victories at the Emirates, Etihad and Stamford Bridge.

This is why the vast majority (obviously I can’t speak for all liverpool fans, there’ll be some kneejerkers obviously) are right behind Klopp, because the glimpses of the team that he is building occasionally flash through, and it’s bloody exciting to watch. Yes, improvements could be, and I’m confident will be made. But we’re willing to give that time to him because of the glimpses of brilliance that have shone through. As any English manager will tell you, it takes more than 10 months to turn an 8th place team into world beaters.

PS – I’m glad you don’t want to swap Koeman for Klopp, we’ll keep our double Bundesliga winning manager and champions league finalist – cheers!
Rickster, also of Wirral


Justice for Willy
Between Claudio Bravo winging his way to Manchester and Joe Hart grappling with the thought of being 3rd choice ‘keeper, particularly after being Head & Shoulders (*giggle*) above everyone else for some time now, has anyone asked Willy Caballero’s feelings on the matter, now that he is likely to be shunted back into 2nd place again?

I’m mean, where is the media campaign highlighting his struggle? He deserves better than this Pep!

Supporting rival teams in Europe
Dear fellow readers (& MC).

I have a question. Being a Manchester City fan, I am obviously pretty excited about the thought of going through into the Champion’s League proper, providing we don’t “City” the game up tonight. However, after having a discussion with a few friends last night regarding the game tonight, something shocked me. Well, it didn’t shock me, I actually expected it, but I was still a little disappointed. I understand the culture of the football fan, and it’s expected that we hate the teams that are deemed to be our rivals, but that said I wonder why we take it so far as to hate teams even when the outcome has no direct impact on ourselves.

Let me give you an example. As mentioned earlier, I’m a City fan, but when we were rubbish (I don’t mean last season, I mean pretty much up until Mancini came in) I found myself supporting United, or Liverpool or Arsenal or Chelsea (even with Mourinho believe it or not) etc in Europe because it had no direct impact on me as a City fan. Sure, if United won, then I would have to endure the morons abusing ‘little city’ but conversely, my friends were United fans and it made them happy, and I supported that, rather than just trying to p*ss on their chips. Even last season, when United came up against Liverpool in the Europa League, I supported United because I grew up in Manchester and by default know a lot more United fans than Liverpool fans. But when United were knocked out, I supported Liverpool for the remainder of the tournament as they’re an English side.

Going back to last night, my friends that I was talking with are Liverpool, Chelsea and United fans. All of them wanted City to get knocked out and all of them said it with such vitriol that it confused me. I get that the core of our team isn’t English, but the fans are…for the most part. I don’t believe that City fans are usually that bad to speak to about football from my experience because most of us are still pretty grounded from the lofty days of Joe Royle taking us up to the premiership after being in Division 2 (and then back down to the championship). So I wondered why the hatred towards the club. I mean, after all, it’s the fans that we have to deal with, not the people that take to the field.

Personally, I wish no ill will on any footballer or club just because they’re a rival. Obviously, I want City to do better than they do, but my interest in City outshines anything to do with any other club so I don’t “hate” any teams with a passion, as seems to be the norm.

The question(s) is/are: What is the reasoning for hating a club that is playing in a competition that is nothing to do with your club? What do you gain from it if they lose? Surely it’s better for the competition that you follow (Premier League) if representatives remain in Europe for as long as possible as it gives more chance of star players taking even more notice of the league, even without the money from TV/Sugar Daddy owners?
Rob (who came up with the idea of the brackets? I’m so curious today.), exiled in NL.


The beautiful game
Today a small town in the north east of Ireland is waking up and reflecting on the biggest night in the club’s history. They narrowly lost their Champions League final qualifying round 3-1 to Legia Warsaw.

I say narrowly as in both games Dundalk were right in the mix until extra time, where in identical fashion we pressed forward looking for a goal and left ourselves open to counter attack. The aggregate score line doesn’t reflect the effort, emotion and more importantly the competitiveness of the tie. Dundalk showed that we can compete in Europe’s elite competition, If it hadn’t been for a very soft penalty in the second half of the first leg we could have caused the biggest upset in Champions League history. We played and matched Legia in possession and passes completed, and were undone in the end by the superior fitness of the professional outfit (And dodgy linesman calls). For context the population of Dundalk is 34,000 people. The capacity of Legia Warsaw’s home ground is 36,000.

The tie still offered us a lot to remember, mixing it in the rain in Dublin (Oriel Park doesn’t meet the requirements for UEFA…..) up to the 95th Minute, and Robbie Benson scoring what has to be the goal of the tournament in Warsaw. We were dreaming of making the Champions League proper, but we will absolutely take the Europa League group stages. When the draw takes place Dundalk could find themselves in Manchester, Milan or Rome. This is the stuff of dreams for a club who faced extinction only a few years ago. A club with 1 full time staff member and who’s players sign 9 month contracts as we cannot afford wages over the close season.

This is what football is supposed to be, players playing for the club and for themselves. No million euro agent fee’s, no 300K a week wages, no ulterior motives other than to play to the best of their ability.

Bring on the Europa League, keep playing like this and we will cause a few upsets.
Mark (Dundalk would need to win the league 3 times to pay Wayne Rooney 1 weeks wage) Williamson, The Bandwagon, Dundalk.


But Arsenal have already got two injured centre-backs
Arsenal apparently joining the race to sign Phil Jones.

Can you imagine Phil at Arsenal? He would never get a game. Purely on the basis that his injury record, combined with Arsenal’s absolute inadequacy in that department…he’s just be permanently broken. Poor Phil.
Andy Wilson


Buzzword of the season
I am calling it now, the football term of this season is going to be Double Pivot.

I have read this bloody term a million times now and it won’t be long until managers, pundits and that kn*b in the pub start using it.

‘Not sure how we are going to get on today with Lee Cattermole in the double pivot’. Mark my words.
Alan (Old and New Rangers) Peddie


I read the mail from Micki Attridge this morning with interest. I totally agree that it is now incredibly easy to get pulled into the world of football betting thanks to a combination of ease of access and the ubiquity of football media. If you read about football, listen to talk radio or watch football on TV you simply cannot avoid football betting in the form of adverts, offers or tips. Bookmakers are now even used as football pundits to tell the audience what’s likely to happen in “the big match”.

If you’re a football journalist or blogger then you don’t want to have a column in a newspaper, you want a column on a betting website. If you have a football podcast then you better be offering great odds on the next match. Even this great site has a regular column dedicated to football betting. I’ve noticed a worrying amount of twitter accounts that boast of their winning tips and forget to mention the dozens of losers – I can’t imagine the amount of money some poor people have lost thinking they’ve found out some great secret cash cow.

I’m a hypocrite as I like betting on football now and again but I wish that football and betting weren’t so closely linked, I can see that it’s a dangerous path.
Kevin G


…In response to Micki Attridge about the ease of use on betting apps, I agree it is very easy to place a bet, to add more money etc.
But you yourself felt you may be tempted to spend more than you should and you did the right thing by cancelling your account. Of course they don’t make it convenient for you to cancel, no business in the world does. But you took responsibility for a potential issue and sorted it.

For those out there who aren’t as strong willed there has to be some level of responsibility taken on the gambler’s side.

We live in a world where fat people blame fast food chains for their weight and where someone SUCCESSFULLY sued a company because their coffee was too hot! I use betting apps and I set myself a budget every week or month or how ever often I choose to gamble. If I lose, I lose. It’s down to me, not the bookie, to make sure I don’t dip into money earmarked for food shopping or petrol.

You can set up payment restrictions on your account if you think you might be tempted to go over and there are adverts all over the place telling you that when the fun stops, STOP. Of course they want their apps to be convenient to use, that’s what every successful company would do. This shouldn’t be seen as a negative because there are people who suffer from this addiction.
Dave (Arsenal) Herts


…I am so glad that you published Micki Attridge’s email this morning. What struck me most is that it’s the first such email I can recall seeing on this website, and I can only imagine it’s from fear of you losing much needed revenue from those companies that advertise on F365. Either that (but hopefully not) or no one has been able to articulate as well as Micki the concern that a lot of people have about the betting industry.

I have a highly addictive personality. Thankfully, I’ve steered clear of any betting on football. Ever. Mostly I avoided fruit machines in my formative years (mainly because I couldn’t work out how they worked and because I’m numerically dyslexic). I’ve also been to Sandown and to Wimbledon dogs on 3 occasions in my life, each. I must have bet a small amount on around half the races I watched, but didn’t win. On a single race. I’m actually incredibly thankful of that as knowing the way I am, I could easily have become hooked if I had won.

The way these new types of betting online/apps promote themselves is terrifying beyond belief. I don’t really understand the odds (due to my serious crapness), but even I can’t help but get excited by what’s being suggested and the amounts you could win. Furthermore, the celebrity endorsements are cringeworthy at best. These are people using their celebrity to promote something that genuinely ruins lives (I know several people that are right on the edge because of gambling addiction). Worst of all is bloody Michael Owen. When used to follow him on twitter, he kept on promoting these sort of apps and would go on about his winnings. He’s someone who’s amassed a huge fortune and can afford to chuck away his vast amounts of cashola. I find that disgusting and he really ought to think about how this affects real people.

With Micki enlightening me (and hopefully others) it reinforces my concern about this industry. It is way worse than it ever was when I was younger, and the fact that it is so hard to cancel these accounts is utterly scandalous.


No more Big Fat Sam
I recall when Roy Hodgson first became England manager and F365 rightly stopped using the nickname “Woy” on the site. It was all over the tabloids at the time and was seen as mocking Roy’s style of speech, I remember being impressed by F365 taking the stand on this mockery of a good man. I therefore note with interest how the same courtesy has not been extended to Sam Allardyce. Publishing letters referring to him as “Big Fat Sam”, the numerous rants by Mr Nicholson on the subject (by the way, you do realise you’re paying him to write the same thing every week, right?), are demonstrative of a disdain for Allardyce on this site. You are more than entitled to gently mock Allardyce for his style, his ego etc, as you do with many figures in football. But it would show a degree of class to stop the childish weight insults and encourage your readers to do the same. By all accounts Allardyce is decent, generous man who should be judged on his managerial ability and not mocked due to his appearance

John (I’m not a relative, honest) Collins WWFC, London

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