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A petrified Arsenal fan
Today, as an Arsenal fan, has been a truly eye-opening day… An article was posted on Arseblog stating that Stan Kroenke, the majority shareholder of Arsenal FC, has decided to purchase The Waggoner Ranch. A ranch in Texas that stretches over 800 square miles and is inhabited by hundreds of people who lease property there, and have been doing so for many, many years.
What does this have to do with Arsenal (or football) you might say? Well, hear me out.
Stan Kroenke has told these people that they have until February to find a new place to live, because their leases will not be renewed. No compensation, no help to get back on their feet. Nothing. They have to be gone by February or it will be considered as trespassing.
This, on top of news earlier this year that Arsenal’s majority shareholder decided, for financial reasons, that he was going to move his NFL club; The St. Louis Rams, to Los Angeles. That’s right. He uprooted an entire football team with hundreds of thousands of supporters who invest their money, emotion and time into a club, just so he could make more money. These fans have lost their football club. They can’t support their team anymore. And not because the club went bust or collapsed but because a rich man just wanted to get richer. Imagine that would happen to your football team?
And this, as an Arsenal fan, petrifies me. It’s disgusting to think that a club I love, and have loved all my life, is being associated with a man who only makes business decisions to line his pockets, with no consideration how it would affect the people who are invested in the things he owns. It’s very scary.
I hope you take the time to publish this email, so perhaps, fellow Arsenal fans who are unaware will be informed of the toxic hierarchy at this once great football club. I do believe it is time for Arsenal fans to take action. I know I will not be spending another cent on the football club until things change for the better.
Malcolm, (it always starts at the top) AFC
Had to write in and point out a few things to Pherain.
Firstly, Arsene Wenger did not pay the debt off on the stadium – the fans that came through the turnstiles did that as our owners do not put any money into the club.
Secondly, I do not think I could do a better job than Arsene but I think Simeone could.
Thirdly, consistency is no bad thing – consistently refusing to address squad deficiencies is.
Fourthly, Arsenal is the club it is today due to a whole lot of people alongside Wenger. The greatest period in the club’s history came in the 1930s under Chapman and his successor.
Fifthly, not spending money when you have it should not be celebrated. It’s plain stupid. We’ve been sitting on £200m for a number of years now. Players tend to appreciate in value – money in the bank in contrast tends not to.
Sixthly, money is well spent if you end up champions – that is the whole point of football. If you can do that but not put yourself in the poorhouse you’ve succeeded. The emphasis should be on the football club part rather than the business part.
Seventhly, ol Bill down the pub’s opinion is as valid as anyone’s. Like bum holes, we all have them. It’s easy to paint people who want Wenger out as loud idiots but you’re not succeeding as a manager if a third of your fan base loves you, a third hates you and wants you gone and a third has got so annoyed with it all, they’re past caring.
Graham Simons, Gooner, Norf London
The curse of the West Ham record signing
After watching our shiny new £20m man Andre Ayew rather predictably limp off 30 minutes into his West Ham debut the other day, I decided to do a bit of a scan into our previous record signings at it seems there is a bit of a curse to holding this prestigious (stop laughing) title:
Andre Ayew £20.5m- crocked instantly, 4 months out
Andy Carroll £15.5m- take your pick on his long list of injuries. A brilliant player when fit.
Matt Jarvis- £10.75m- no particular injuries to be fair, just really crap.
Savio- £9m- Still seems like some kind of dodgy deal. 10 games, no goals and back to Italy for a fifth of the cost. Later went AWOL and was wanted by Interpol for trying to fake his own kidnapping apparently!
Craig Bellamy- £7.5m- serious abdominal injury, finally got fit, played really well for a few games with big Carlton and then promptly cleared off to Man City.
Dean Ashton- £7.25m- The best centre forward England never had. Realistically would have gone on to a bigger and better club but forced to retire at just 27 due to serious ankle injury, which was originally sustained on England duty after just 6 months at the club.
Don Hutchinson and Tomas Repka £5m each- One got a serious ACL injury, one was a loony who was sent off twice in first three games but went on to become a cult hero.
Before that there was of the tragic Marc Vivien Foe (a player we let go way too early) and also John Hartson, who started like a house on fire before gaining weight and kicking Eyal Berkovic in the face.
So with the exception of Jarvis who was just terrible, has another club had such rotten luck with record signings?!
Mike (We need Payet and Lanzini fit…and fast!) WHUFC, Upminster
The Old Farm derby
As the Old Farm derby got a mention in your Big Weekend piece this morning, here’s my take on Norwich’s season so far and our prospects for Sunday. We’ve made a solid start to the season, with a big 4-1 win away at Blackburn (who were an absolute shower) followed by a 0-0 stalemate at home to Sheffield Wednesday and a 1-0 home win over Bristol City in midweek. So it’s 7 points from 9 so far with 2 clean sheets – I’ll take that. Unfortunately we’ve already picked up a few injuries, with Ruddy and Olsson likely to miss Sunday’s match and Dorrans and Jacob Murphy looking marginal at the moment.
On the plus side Robbie Brady has come back into the side despite speculation linking him with a move back to the Prem, and young Sergi Canos made a bright debut off the bench in midweek (the new Dani Pacheco, anyone…?). Michael McGovern followed up his Euro 2016 heroics with a debut clean sheet as well. My XI for the derby would be as follows, and should be pretty similar to the side Alex Neil picks on Sunday: (4-2-3-1) McGovern; Pinto, Klose, Bennett, Brady; Howson, Tettey; Canos, Naismith, Hoolahan; Jerome
That gives us our strongest defence, a solid base in central midfield, creativity in attacking midfield, and big CJ putting himself about up front. We’ve got enough ability in midfield to retain the ball and create chances, and if/when Ipswich have a long spell of possession we can look to hit them on the break with the pace of Canos. I’m expecting the main threat from Ipswich to come from direct play to Daryl Murphy, with the pace of Freddie Sears and Grant Ward feeding off him and playing the channels. Mick McCarthy’s team are also decent at set pieces – Klose and Bennett will have to snuff out the danger early to prevent any goalmouth scrambles.
Overall I think our team is strong and experienced enough to get the job done and continue our good run against our local rivals. However it’s bound to be an edgy game, and Ipswich and their home crowd will be hellbent on revenge after we knocked them out of the playoffs the last time we met. I’ll stick my neck out and predict a tight 2-1 win for the Canaries. Any Ipswich/Norwich/neutral fans out there want to give their perspective?
BR, NCFC (Fully expecting some abuse/b*nter from Ippo fans on Monday if we lose)
Wengers One and Two
So, I always present the following hypothesis to the – still surprisingly prevalent – Wenger acolytes:
Imagine if Wenger 1 had quit the day after the Invincibles and left on the highest of highs, utterly revered.
Wenger 2 takes over, hopelessly mismanages the transition of that squad and breaks it up too quickly, loses three CDMs (Diarra, Gilberto and Flamini) in quick succession from bad planning and spends years failing to replace them, shows a bizarre sense of loyalty to over-pampered and under-performing young players, fails to win a trophy for 10 years, and the league on 4 occasions when odds-on favourite (and all in the long, Ferguson-like shadow of Wenger 1).
Do you think he’d still be here 12 years later?
Wenger is Rooney, Rooney is Wenger
I used to be behind Wenger but I think he should have gone after we beat Hull in the FA cup, that would have been a brilliant swan song for him. This year has to be his last though even if he wins something.
I’m not saying I can do a better job than him and most people aren’t. What we are saying is that another football manager WILL do better than him given the resources.
Wenger didn’t build the stadium, the only thing he’s done was be the manager whilst being built and after it had been built. He did a very good job during our lean years when we had to sell players to make a profit to cover costs.
We also haven’t paid off the stadium debt. We still owe around £210m on the stadium, these payments are on a fixed term and we’ll have to pay a fine if paid back early. What has happened is with the increase in tv revenue (you can’t say Wenger did this) this repayment is no longer a problem and we don’t have to sell anymore.
I wouldn’t even say we’ve been competing at the highest level, we’ve been knocked out of the champions league at the last 16 for last few years. That’s not competing, that’s making up the numbers.
We have won loads of trophies under him and he gave us the invincible’s, you can’t take that away from him.
However you can say that he’s no longer good enough at his job compared to other managers. What are your thoughts on Rooney? Should he be dropped or should United keep playing him? After all he used to be very good and won everything with United.
The next problem we’ll have is he hasn’t laid the foundations for the future, he wants to do everything himself and won’t allow others to decide what a players worth. What happens if we get in somebody who just wants to focus on the coaching? Do you think Dick Law will be able to do that all by himself? No. We’ll be in a similar situation to united after Fergie left.
Wenger isn’t keeping cool at the moment though, we have MASSIVE holes in our team that need addressing. What’s happening is he’s in shock at the prices that you need to pay now and isn’t doing anything due to fear of it not working out. Let’s say the house was burning down. Other managers are running around trying to get something that holds water to put the fire out, some of these will work better than others but they’re attempting to fix the problem. Wenger is sat still do nothing hoping that either it’ll die down itself or somebody will offer him a bucket for cheap (this made more sense in my head).
Another thing that annoys me is he’s one of the highest paid managers in the game and yet you wouldn’t say he’s worth that money. Why isn’t he asking for a pay decrease if he’s so bothered about what people are paid in football?
He’s also the person who gave terrible players large contracts so they wouldn’t get upset that another player got paid more than them.
The club is nothing more than an ego boost for him and he’s stopped caring about what’s best for the club and only cares what’s best for him. He’s already said he has nothing other than being a manger, that’s what’s keeping him in the job.
Jason (Chorley Gooner)
Hopefully the deal bringing Christian Benteke to Crystal Palace can be finalised today – personal terms were, by all accounts, agreed weeks ago, so should merely be a formality, so it’s just his medical, and then we can speculate as to whether he’ll have a shirt, a scarf or possibly both to pose with on the pitch at Selhurst Park. Having endured complaints from people all week (I’m sure someone said “fannying around”), it’s only fair to give the board credit if this deal gets finalised.
Having put together this morning a North American sports-style depth chart, the Palace squad has a definite look of midtable about it now (this is a good thing), but it’s far from a finished article. The striker corps does look rather one-dimensional, with Connor Wickham, Fraizer Campbell, and Freddie Ladapo as the current top three options. Benteke, while ostensibly a similar type of striker, is more dynamic and more capable of creating his own chances. This is why a loan move for Loic Remy seems to make sense, assuming he can stay fit.
Elsewhere, another option at defensive midfielder would be useful – at times, Alan Pardew has looked to play a 4-3-3/4-5-1 hybrid, with two defensive midfielders either side of Yohan Cabaye, something a bit tricky to do on a regular basis when you only have two defensive midfielders in the squad (James McArthur and Joe Ledley). Someone who could also play as a one-man screen, who would free Cabaye up, would add another dimension to the side, so that in situations where Palace need to dominate possession they can play five attack-oriented players (including Cabaye).
Another full-back might help, too, although Pardew got plenty of use out of Zeki Fryers in preseason – well, more than you’d expect for a player he clearly found at the back of a cupboard while looking for something else.
It’s times like this it really hits home just how far Crystal Palace have come. We’ve seen fire sales brought about by administration twice in my lifetime, where the team’s fortunes on the field have been hamstrung by being forced to accept bids of f##k all for our best players, leaving us with only the squad parts we couldn’t sell, largely because they weren’t especially good. Now, we’re about to welcome our third player into the squad who cost us an 8-figure sum. It’s not a fairy tale, but it’s still scarcely believable.
The literary Ed Quoththeraven
I love you, Hugo Viana
Hugo Viana sprung straight to mind when reading the Nani mail.
I loved Hugo, maybe even a little too much. His first touch was one of the best I’ve seen, the outside of the foot thirty yard ball was mastered,a sweet free kick and his calmness under pressure was outrageous. For one reason or another it just didn’t work out tho, then his career kind of spiralled for a while before he shone again in Portugal. It’s not a question of what he could of done, more a question of how he didn’t do what he could/should have done.
I feel a little sad now.
Lads, Quote Unquote on Joe F**king Kinnear was gold.
The transcript of the press conference is one of those things that you really enjoy then forget ever happened. Then when you stumble upon it again it reminds you how mental/hilarious it was.
Another example of this is Taylor Parkes and his review of ‘Lovejoy on Football’. Every time you read it, it makes you laugh and rejoice that it isn’t only you that can be left speechless at the mentality of the PFM’s of the world
The likes Kinnear and Lovejoy are the hapless and infuriating necessary evil in Football, the original Robbie Savage’s and Ian Wright’s. They are the comic relief to help us forget how the business of Football is becoming more important than the actual playing of Football. We need them cause otherwise it would all be ITK accounts, Transfer fee’s and commercial deals.
Bask in their aggressive ignorance.
Mark (Dundalk FC bandwagoner) Dundalk/Warsaw
Who owned the ’90s?
Question for the mailbox…
If the 60’s belonged to Pele, the 70’s to Cruyff, and the 80’s to Maradonna, who was the defining footballer of the 90’s?
At first I thought Ronaldo, although his biggest success, the 2002 World Cup, came in the 00’s. So, who?
Jack (Friday night football is b*llocks. Feel sorry for the travelling Saints fans) Manchester
I was so pleased to read Johns article, at last some credit for this true football man and human being. Ive never understood the vitriol he got for the penalty against Rumania in 2000 which clearly still exists to this day. We were hopeless again in that tournament and despite the abject performances of the whole team he seemed to have shouldered all the blame in the ABU brigades twisted and jealous logic. Anyone who watched the Salford City documentary earlier this year would have seen his dedication to his wife and family and his infectious enthusiasm and humour. A great servant to England, United and Everton Phil Neville is a true role model as a footballer and a person.
Denis Cohen, President, Newton in the Isle branch of Phil Neville fan club.