We asked for joy, we asked for something other Arsenal fans. We got… see for yourselves. Send your views over the weekend to email@example.com…
With all the understandable doom and gloom in The Mailbox this past week, I feel the need to share something positive. We all know Wenger needs to go, but I want to have a look back on the past 21 years…
Thank you for giving us three Premier League Titles.
Thank you for giving us seven FA Cups Titles.
Thank you for giving us seven Community Shields.
Thank you for giving us the Invincibles.
Thank you for giving us two doubles.
Thank you for winning the title at White Hart Lane.
Thank you for winning the title at Old Trafford.
Thank you for giving us The Emirates.
Thank you for your loyalty in the past when you could have gone anywhere.
Thank you for giving us Thierry Henry.
Thank you for giving us Patrick Vieira.
Thank you for giving us Robert Pires.
Thank you for giving us Sol from sp*rs.
Thank you for giving us some of the most wonderful football to watch.
Thank you for wins away at Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, AC Milan, Juventus, Inter Milan and many other places in Europe.
Thank you for wins away at every stadium in England.
Thank you for setting a record for longest number of minutes without conceding a goal in The Champions League in 2006.
In time, your legendary status will be restored. It will be almost impossible for another Manager to go undefeated throughout a Premier League campaign and it will be almost impossible for another Manager to win seven FA Cups, let alone with the same club.
Thank you, but it really is time to go.
No sympathy for Wenger
As most of the Emirates faithful hope and pray that Wenger’s reign as Arsenal manager comes to an end, I seem to be seeing the same words being said by most of them. Something along the lines of; ”I have a lot of respect for the man. He’s done a lot for the club, and brought the club a lot of success in his 22 years as manager” or else ”I feel sorry for him. It’s so sad.” or ”He built the Arsenal we know and love”
I’m sorry but what exactly do you mean? Sure, he brought some of the best years to the club such as the Invincibles, but that was over a decade ago. Sometimes, some Arsenal fans make it sound like he won every single trophy under the sun multiple times, but his trophy record is appalling for a manager that has been in charge for over 2 decades. Some recent managers have won more in 5 to 10 years, let alone 22.
They praise him for the Emirates stadium and for growing the club on a global scale but it’s taken him less time to completely tear all that down and ruin it. Revenue has dropped. The fans are not showing up to the games. Nobody is happy.
Why do you feel sorry for him? Why do you feel bad for him? It’s completely his fault and he gets paid millions and millions of pounds to do a terrible job.
You shouldn’t feel sorry for him, you should be wondering how the hell he’s managed to pull it off for so long. It’s actually quite astounding that Arsenal fans respect him so much. Almost Stockholm Syndrome levels of ineptitude.
Me? I won’t be feeling sad when Wenger leaves. I’ll be thanking the heavens that it’s finally happened after years of neglect. I cannot wait for him to leave this club and I won’t be showing him any respect, because he’s failed to show that respect back to the fans for quite a while now. Every time he’s criticised by the Arsenal faithful, he tells them to be quiet because they’ve never managed a game in their life. What absolute rubbish.
Malcolm, (don’t let the door hit you on the way out Arsene) AFC
Don’t wait for Wenger
It’s not very often that I find myself agreeing with Carra however his assessment of the situation last night I feel was spot on.
I have been an avidly loyal advocate of Arsene over the last few years, yes we were not at the level previously we were at however the game has changed, as Arsenal fans (nor fans of any other club for that matter), we do not have a god given right to expect success. We do not ‘deserve’ anything based on historical wins. There has been a changing of the culture around supporting a club nowadays, everything is perceived as either disaster or glory, attitudes change in the blink of an eye from one extreme to another aided largely by social media and the need to sensationalise everything to sell papers or get clicks.
I grew up in the era of the invicibles, Henry, Pires, Bergkamp in their pomp tearing teams to shreds more often than not, I feel incredibly lucky to have witnessed it and all of that success, the stadium, the rise in expectation for our club should be attributed to that one man, he has been nothing short of sensational for this football club over the past 20 years, he has taken us from dour mid table contenders to a team and a squad that expects success. However it is now time to move on for us and him, I cannot bear to see him subjected to the abuse and vitriol that is being put his way currently. We are not competing at the level we need to be and things need changing that he either cannot see or cannot do.
I 100% agree with what Carra says, the board need to announce now that he will be replaced at the end of the season and give the true fans a chance to give him the send-off he deserves, let us thank him for his dedication and work over the years, as whilst he has his shortcomings, he made this club what it is. He deserves to go on into the next stage of his life with the sound of his name being sung echoing in his ears. Most fans can see what he has done for this club and do not want him to go under a cloud and I believe that given the opportunity, the majority would act in a manner that is befitting of the man.
We need a change, he needs a change and it will happen eventually one way or the other, the board need to act decisively (fat chance but that’s another mail) and ensure that it is undertaken in the correct manner.
…I sent a forlorn text to some family last night saying I was boycotting watching Arsenal matches till Wenger left. I’ve sent needlessly dramatic texts like that before because I’m a demonstrative douche. But it is exhausting. Supporting Arsenal means having to fend off rivals mocking you because of Arsenal Fan TV (and rightly so). Being an Arsenal fan means having to be mocked for the actions of Piers Morgan. Being an Arsenal fan means being mocked for Xhaka, Mustafi, Ramsey or Chambers. Millionaires who probably go home and don’t give a second thought to their failure. It was alright when we were good, but that was a LONG time ago. Now we have to go to bat for a club that utterly ignores its fans. A club that should have bitten the bullet last year, but messed it up royally. That club is broken. And I know everyone will be like, ‘get some perspective’. You’re not going into administration. You’re not even relegated, but what is to say that can’t happen? Oh you’re too big to fail tell that to Leeds, Villa, Forest or any other countless big teams who are no longer at the top table.
But it did get me to thinking, I remember when Arsenal had reached a decade of their trophy drought, I remember the countless articles about how it was a massive failure on behalf of the club. And it got me thinking, I’ve not seen a single article about Spurs’ 10 year trophy drought. I’ve not seen an article about Liverpool’s 6 year drought (The Daily Mail had an article after 6 years pointing that out to Arsenal fans). Two years later the Telegraph did an article about all the trophies that those who had left Arsenal. Now that might be because they had a variety of managers, but why are they not held to the same standard? But I guess our plight gets a lot of clicks and a lot of engagement. Good news rarely sells.
And finally for all the ‘what a shame that it should end like this, what a ruining of his legacy!’ – he made that choice! He chose not to step away after winning the FA Cup all that while back. He wanted this because he loves the money and lack of pressure. Well finally it feels like some pressure is being applied and he is being found wanting. I don’t feel for his legacy being tarnished, because it is his fault.
John Matric AFC
What are Arsenal complaining about?
Number of Cup finals that Arsenal could have gotten to by February: 1
Number of Cup finals that Arsenal got to by February: 1
Seriously your man Wenger is playing a blinder…
Robbie DFC (the cold never bothered me anyway)
…Correct me if I am wrong, but isn’t the whole point of football to get as far as you can in a cup competition or to finish as high as possible in the league table?
That’s why I find it so puzzling when people act as if getting to a final and losing is somehow more humiliating than losing in an earlier round. If Arsenal are to embarrassed for losing in the cup final to Man City, then what should all the other teams that did worse feel like? Would it have been less ‘humiliating’ to have lost in the semifinals?
This happens all the time, where the team who loses at a further stage in the competition is said to be humiliated – by fans of team that didn’t make it near as far. Another example is Brazil-Germany in the last world cup. Yes Brazil got trounced in the semis. But it is a bit rich to hear the English media saying this when England went out last in their group, failing to make even the round of 16. Even in this morning’s mailbox someone wrote in saying Arsenal losing to Birmingham in a final was humiliating. So should they have been less humiliated had that not even gotten that far?
Can you imagine if in a 5 a side league someone on the last place team told the 2nd place team how embarrassed they should be for losing to the top team in the league?
Lovely, lovely schadenfreude
Does anybody remember, as Moyes’ finished 7th at United, the suggestions that Wenger would be leaving Arsenal with a better squad and long-term prospects than Fergie did at United?
The schadenfreude is delicious.
Reasons to be happy
You asked for some joy for the afternoon mailbox. In time-honoured tradition, here are 16 things to be happy about.
1) If you follow football, you have at least one absolute, nailed-on conversation starter in pretty much every country on earth.
2) Manuel Neuer supplied the voiceover for a character called Frank McCay in the German dubbing of Pixar’s Monsters’ University.
3) Bosnian football fan Aldin Karabeg once emailed all 92 league clubs to ask why he should choose to support them. Only 10 replied, and he was going to opt for… Barnet. Until, that is, fellow Bosnian Mo Besic sent him a video message. The national connection swung it, so there’s at least one Evertonian in Bosnia.
4) The fact that Emile Heskey’s middle name is Ivanhoe.
5) Many people know that when they played at Gay Meadow, Shrewsbury Town employed local coracle maker Fred Davies to paddle out and collect any balls that landed in the River Severn running past the ground. The final coracle Davies ever made is now housed at Shrewsbury’s new stadium as a memento.
6) Long distance away days that result in a win.
7) Half Man Half Biscuit once turned down a chance to appear on 80s music show The Tube because Tranmere Rovers were playing at home and they’d rather do that, thanks very much.
8) There was a Brazilian footballer called Marlon Brandão. This is awesome, because it just sounds like a Brummie talking about films. Oh, and let’s not forget Creedence Clearwater Couto.
9) This Q & A from Andrei Arshavin’s website:
Q: Hi andrey, I love arsenal and helicopters. My friend, Steve, said that he met you once and he said that you were very nice but you smelt of coffee. Do you like coffee? He also said that he held your hand. If I met you please could I hold your hand, I promise it will be no longer than for 3 minutes. LOVE FROM ANTHONY, 28 ENGLAND.
A: I don’t drink coffee at all.
10) Picking a player and pretending to be him in the playground. My brother first got obsessed with being a goalkeeper during Euro ’96, because of Czech custodian Petr Kouba, and would always pretend to be him. I doubt there’s a less likely hero to be had.
11) In the 2010/11 Premier League season, the two most common first names for players were David (14) and James (11). It was, however, the first season since he started playing in which David James didn’t feature.
12) The “First XI of players who” game. “Ways of crossing water” first XI? Yep, Michael Bridges, Johnny van ‘t Schip, Wade Elliot… “Food and drink” first XI? Mark Fish, Nacho Monreal, and a fabulous effort from my mate Sam – Sea bass terrine Larsson.
13) The fact that football clubs often have a long and storied history leads to weird and beautiful names of grounds. See: The Dripping Pan, Lewes, Giant Axe, Lancaster, and, to a lesser extent, the Tony Macaroni Arena, Livingstone.
14) David Ginola is an anagram of Vagina Dildo.
15) That feeling you got as a kid when you were scanning European fixtures and you saw names like Dynamo, Lokomotiv, Partizan and Torpedo. How distant, alien and crushingly sinister they seemed.
16) Ultimately, football means very little. It’s a distraction, a frippery, a cherry on life’s cake, but one we’re all lucky to have. Whether it’s cheering on a footballing behemoth or standing with seven other people watching some God-awful village side; whether it’s just having a couple of hours alone to watch a game from the comfort of your sofa, or planning a trip to another country just to watch twenty-two blokes kick a ball around, we’re very lucky to have it as a constant in our lives.
Happy Friday, everyone. We’ll all be fine.
David (17: Zbrojovka and Coventry both winning on the same weekend) Szmidt, Brno, Czech Rep.
Something’s been bothering me, and I’m hoping some mailbox readers might be able to help out.
One scenario is an attacker trying to gain an advantage by “going to ground easily” and maybe gets a free kick or pen which could lead to a goal. The advantage gained would be a goal, but if caught you’ve given away a free-kick and gained a yellow card. This player is slaughtered from pillar to post by most and is seen as the devil’s spawn.
Another scenario sees a defender blatantly haul down an attacker from going past and in doing so stops any chance of conceding a goal. The advantage gained is stopping the flowing attack in which a goal could’ve been scored and getting numbers back to defend a free-kick and maybe a yellow card. If somehow you’re not seen hauling a player down, you’ve got away with it scott free. This player is lauded by his peers as being professional and using a bit of “nous” (most recently with GNev on comms last night and within 16 conclusions)
Both players are committing fouls by the laws of the game, both players on being caught will be served the same punishment, both players are cheating…so why are they treated so differently?
Most awkward match-watching experience
A few years ago I wrote an email that got a week’s long traction about the most member able place you watched a football match. Mine was a sunset bar in Turkey, with an ice cold beer. However, answer ranged from half-way up a mountain to mending relationships between fathers and sons
However, as the weather is bleak, let’s go a bit dark, and ask the most awkward place you watched a game.
Mine was in Croatia, Dubrovnik to be exact. I was trying to find the England V’s N Ireland game, but was unsuccessful in finding a place showing the game. So I ended up sat outside a bar having a cigarette, drinking questionable beer watching the score on Croatian teletext.
However, sat next to me was a 6 foot 8 inch local who wanted to talk to me in broken English about the recent war. He was very drunk, very loud, very big and very scary. England lost the game but I feel that I came out ahead as the drunker he got the angrier he got and the more cuddly he became. Fearful that my rejection may be the catalyst for an outburst a made a quick exit when he when his back was turned.
Anyone else got an awkward watching experience?
A fine example of a perfect hat-trick:
Most cunning corners
In response to Chris AFC’s question about short corners:
Unsure about the general merits of short corners vs. long, but I remember Rooney and Giggs had a cheeky short corner routine back in 2009 against Chelsea.
Rooney surreptitiously rolled the ball out of the corner for Giggs to pick up, Giggs approached as if to reset the corner and take it, but instead dribbled in to the area. The resulting confusion led to a Vidic goal.
Unfortunately it was disallowed as the linesman was also fooled, and missed the initial tap and the ball wasn’t determined to be ‘live’. If memory serves, I think the corner was retaken and United scored again?
Has anyone got any other examples of trick corner/free kick routines coming off?
Conor, MUFC, Manchester
Interesting mails from TM and Tim about players covering-up their mouths when talking to teammates. I asked the same question in the Mailbox ages ago but it wasn’t included so I let the matter drop.
But, in a similar vein, let me tell you about something that happened years ago when I was a teenager. I used to work in a very large office where there were huge filing cabinets running the length of the room with desks at either side. It was staffed by a load of us youngsters but a disproportionate number of more elderly people who, from our youthful perspective, were called “wrinkleys.” Anyway, two of my mates had been sniping at each other all morning in a friendly sort of way when they found themselves at opposite sides of the lengthy room. One of them cupped his hand around his mouth and quite clearly mouthed the words “get fucked” intending it only to be seen by his mate.
The problem was that he had cupped the wrong side of his mouth! There was much grumbling amongst the wrinkleys and threats of internal inquiries but the rest of us were just about in hysterics. Maybe you had to be there but it truly was a scream.