Keep your emails coming (and even on something other than Wenger) to firstname.lastname@example.org…
So arsenal announce a two-year extension to Wenger’s contract the day after both Thomas Tuchel and Luis Enrique become available.
Never change guys!
Arsenal gave themselves no choice
There’s an unsent email in my drafts I wrote while ago saying that Arsenal are fucked when Wenger leaves. Not from a “be careful what you wish for” or a “look what happened to Man U” perspective, but from the simple fact that the there is no one at Arsenal other than Arsene Wenger in the important positions. who has any knowledge about football.
As a manager/coach/whatever role Tony Adams is currently doing for F.C Timbuktu, I am definitely in the camp that thinks it’s time for him to leave. For both the team and himself.
But if Arsene walks out now I don’t believe there is anyone at the club who could actually make a good footballing decision to save their life. A few big names would be bandied about, but there is no one at Arsenal who has worked with anyone other than Arsene Wenger. There is no football pedigree, playing, scouting, coaching, negotiating, owning, or otherwise in the club.
Arsenal like Arsene because he does everything for them. He does their thinking, and (used to) deliver the results (aka money). He takes the flak for all the sporting decisions, because really he is the only one who can make them. I’m pretty confident the “Arsene Knows” model suits Kroenke’s hands-off style, because it generally makes life easy for him.
People talk about Arsenal as a dream job, but honestly, what structures would be in place to accommodate someone like Jardim or Allegri? None! How many managers are used to the level of control Wenger has and the lack of footballing brains in the institution? Modern European managers are used to working as part of a team, which doesn’t exist at Arsenal.
We could blame Wenger for hoarding power, but I don’t think it’s that simple. He’s certainly not innocent, but if I was Arsene Wenger would I really be listening to what Dick Fucking Law has to say about anything to do with football? It’s up to the club to push him in the right direction and surround him with the right people.
This isn’t 1996 when we had David Dein, a man who inhaled so much football pixie just that he shipped in a manager from Nagoya Grampus Eight to win the double in his first full season. Arsene staying was always on the cards because the club doesn’t have a contingency, and they don’t have anyone capable of devising one. They now have two years to work on it.
Enough has changed to make this a logical decision
I get it. I really do. We human beings do not like to be shown up. Everyone always likes to be right and none more so than the Anti Wenger Brigade (AWB). Wenger is due to sign another two years at Arsenal. The AWB’s will be up in arms stating that this represents more of the same.
But IS IT REALLY MORE OF THE SAME. Have we really totally dismissed the effect of the change in the Arsenal set up over the last ten games? Can we really not see its impact and potential implications?
In my view plenty has changed at Arsenal to make me curious and hopeful that a Wenger stay can bring success especially if we can hang on to our better players (reports indicate that Sanchez has been offered a greatly increased pay offer.).
The five at the back or threeat the back with wing-backs has been an unqualified success. Arsenal have won 9 and lost 1 since its inception. With the only loss coming in the game against a very confident Spurs side at home. This change in defence has shown that Wenger can be pragmatic and implement a change for the benefit of the team. Now the criticism of Wenger should be why he has not done this before to which I will answer he has been way too stubborn and set in his ways previously. A negative trait.
However this is why there is hope in the future. Wenger has now realised that pragmatism is not the evil he had perceived it to be. He can change styles and be successful. More than that you can play to the opposition’s weakness and be successful. The media have gone to great lengths to say that Chelsea were bad in the final. What they have not said was how Wenger tactically outfoxed Conte by pressing with Welbeck thus creating space in midfield to the benefit of Arsenal’s passing game. This has not been mentioned in my view because it is against the perceived myth that Wenger does not do tactics well.
Wenger has been under pressure this season like in no other season. He now knows he has to change. He has shown a bit of change. He is clever enough to make this the stable diet otherwise it’s no point continuing. I believe he continues because he now realises what he has to do. Just to play pleasing football will not cut it anymore. And more importantly. This team needs structure. A responsibility he has abdicated for way too long.
The media have also gone to great lengths to paint a picture of an Arsenal in terminal decline. But can a club with the resources of Arsenal be in terminal decline? As an Arsenal fan I really believe there is reason for optimism in the future
1. Wenger’s newfound pragmatism.
2. A team that has shown they are comfortable in the new defensive system
3. Spending power to buy players (albeit not to the Manchester and Chelsea levels)
4. The potential of retaining Sanchez in the aftermath of a cup success.
5. Potential to concentrate on the league next year (Second team can play in the Europa) (The irony for me is that the 20 year participation in the CL has had adverse effect on the league)
6. Less injuries/fatigue due to CL competition. Arsenal can now compensate tactically when they suffer their now normal absurd injury levels.
Michael Odeku, Chingford
But it’s mostly worry tinged with sadness
After many years of reading and enjoying the mailbox, I finally feel compelled to write in. Not with any expectation of being published, just to vent my frustration, disappointment, anxiety, fear and sense of disappointment to someone who might understand. I love football, its ability to lift you up to the clouds, change your mood in a moment and allow a kinship with total strangers.
Wenger. I love the man, I always will but how many of you believe he will ever win the premier league again? How many of you think this is an example of the old boys network looking after one of their own? Wenger is still a good manager but is he ruthless enough with underperforming players? Can he attract the best players in world football? Can he still select up and coming players and develop them into the top bracket? Is he tactically flexible enough to find solutions to problems mid-match?
He’s the cool uncle who’s slightly past it. From time to time he still makes you smile, but you wish he would stop dancing to Bieber and being sick on your shoes.
…Me at 12:45 – Tommy Tuchel sacked. OMG that would be good. Maybe bring some of those Dortmund players with him to Arsenal. That could…
Me at 13:45 – Arsene Wenger signs new two-year deal. All hope for progress is lost
A lot of Arsenal fans I imagine will be in the same mood. The club have ostensibly thumbed their noses to the fans of the club. They have seen all our protests, they have no doubt read the reams of column inches and have decided that in their infinite wisdom, to continue doing what they’ve been doing for the last 20 odd years. Failing to invest properly, sticking with the status quo, and making money for themselves. 4th place was the minimum and he failed. We were told the fans were the ultimate decision makers, and yet the club have ignored all of them and their ire. We’ve heard no noises about what they hope to achieve. Just we are a few players short. We signed a free left back, that shows the ambition of the club. Wait till a player is free. Like we did with Flamini.
I know lots of people will say that he has signed now, and all we can do is support the club. In some respects I agree, on the other hand, we need to hold them to account. We want to see the investment into the squad while keeping our talent. If the club think selling Sanchez, giving Wenger a new contract and replacing Sanchez with Lacazette will be enough, they are in line for a rude awakening.
We are currently two world class players from even challenging in the league. The loss of Sanchez would make that three. I do not trust Wenger to replace one, let alone sign 3. He signs players like Xhaka instead of Kante, and the squad of players he almost signed but didn’t would be infinitely better than any squad he has assembled. If you were an up and coming Dembele , Mbappe or Isco, you wouldn’t choose the ‘nearly man’ of Wenger over Guardiola or Conte. My only hope is that there is a massive drop in season ticket renewals (I know a lot of people not renewing), and if they fail to do business early and effectively, that they see damage to their bottom line. This is the only way there will be change.
As for today, really not looking forward to Groundhog Day for another 2 years.
John Matrix AFC
Isn’t Solanke going to have the same problem?
It may sound like an entitled fan whining, but I simply cannot understand Dom Solanke’s decision to ditch Chelsea for Liverpool, especially considering his main desire is first team football. Does he genuinely think he’ll get to play ahead of firmino, sturridge, origi, heck even notorious Klopp favourite Ings?
He would’ve been better off going to a mid-table side which can afford him the patience to develop into the premier league striker he has the potential to be.
Sood CFC (same problem, different colour of shirt; mark my words)
A good email on Scotland
Apologies for starting the England Scotland preview early but I just wanted to flag up an excellent BBC documentary “Glasgow 1967 – Lisbon Lions’ available on the Iplayer for the next 3 weeks or so. Without going into too much detail it’s the story of Celtic’s 1967 European cup triumph (first by a non-Latin side) with a team all sourced from within 30 miles of Parkhead. You might need subtitles (you ken?), but is well worth a watch!
Rangers reached the Cup Winners Cup final that year (losing to Bayern Munich) and so 1967 proved to be the peak of Scottish Football as the national side were crowned ‘unofficial World Champions’ with a 3-2 win at Wembley. I expected that side to contain most of the Celtic side but just 4 were picked (including a 36 year debutante goalie). A quick wiki search shows that the entire Celtic side only amassed 117 caps – that’s 2 less than our own Wayne Rooney! Down south Man United won the league thanks in no small part to top scorer Denis Law.
Makes the home draws with Canada and Lithuania seem even worse really!
Dan (79 year old Bertie Auld seems like the absolute life and soul of any party!), LTFC
Hooray for Huddersfield
I usually limit my mails about my team to one a season, and I sent one in a little under half way through. But if Bank Holiday Monday’s game doesn’t warrant a second, I’m not sure what does!
The team in question is Huddersfield. Easy to overlook, overwhelmingly unfashionable, occasionally derided. That, despite a history – and admittedly you’d have to go back a long way – that actually provides some substance to undermine some of the scorn from people who consider 1992 the birth of English football. I feel a little sad that I feel the need to begin my email on that note, but then I am writing not long after reading that curmudgeonly codswallop from Rob Melia, and because I’m already bracing myself for the shit-storm of scorn and condescension coming our way. You want to judge us on one game? With those stakes? Suit yourself.
Here’s where the mood of my mail gets turned on its head. What. A. Day. Had we stumbled at that final hurdle it would still have been the most incredible season I’ve ever witnessed, a transformation in fortunes you rarely get to witness in such a short space of time and an absolute f**k-ton of fun. Despite being outspent by clubs like Villa by an enormous margin, we’ve achieved something I was starting to doubt I’d ever see in my lifetime. All while paying ticket prices on a par with non-league – when was the last time a top-tier season ticket cost just under £200? The magical 40 points, or whatever it is, or beating Derby’s unfortunate record – we don’t care. It’s bloody brilliant, and it’s what football is supposed to be about – enjoying the ride. A hefty proportion of those miserable sods BTL probably won’t, but we bloody well will.
See you in the Prem!
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Plenty of revisionism over Totti
Chris MUFC picks Totti as someone who club legends should look to when they are leaving the club?
I guess that’s what you get if you only care about someone’s last minutes on the pitch and ignore the rest of the season’s contributions. Because while John Terry has sat on the bench and happily cheered his team to the title, without a single moan to the press, Francesco Totti almost certainly got in the way of his team making a real run at the title, almost torpedoed their chances at Champions League qualification, and has run out the club’s best ever manager while doing it.
Roma would have been better off on Sunday if they had started Totti and subbed him off ceremoniously at the 10th minute instead of being forced to play with 10 exhausted men and one albatross around their necks for the entire second half. I love Totti, he’s my second favorite Italian player, and ultimately I think the Roman media is to blame for driving this farce of a farewell tour – but he’s the worst example I can think of if you’re looking for a legend going gracefully into that good night.