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More reasons to be grateful
Great email from Naz. In the same spirit of positivity, here’s another 14 things I am grateful to Wenger for.
1. The rehabilitation and rebirth of Tony Adams – the only man to captain a club to league titles in three different decades
2. In the last 4 years, beating Tottenham, Man United, Man City, Liverpool, and Chelsea on the way to three FA Cups.
3. During the period since Tottenham last won a trophy, winning 6 (by Mourinho’s counting method)
4. The wonder years of the Ferguson rivalry – coming first or second every year for seven years.
5. Beyond the totally obvious players, thanks for signing Kanu, Gilberto Silva, Reyes, Lehmann, Edu, Lauren, Eduardo, Arteta, Arshavin, Rosicky, Cazorla – all gems I have loved watching over the years.
6. In 2016, beating Tottenham in a two-horse race in which we were the third horse.
7. For beating Allardyce 20 times, losing 6, in 34 games against him, despite him ‘knowing how to undo a Wenger team’
8. For one single game, going against your principles to grind out a thrilling 0-0 draw and win on penalties in the 2005 FA Cup Final.
9. For the period of dominance over Spurs during which they failed to beat us for 20+ league games. All good things must come to an end.
10. For retaining your wonderful accent, despite 22 years in England and speaking absolutely fluent English better than most Englishmen
11. Being, despite being perhaps the most-abused manager in football history, fundamentally decent, somehow maintaining a sort of dignity throughout (OK, pushing 4th officials and fighting Alan Pardew excluded)
12. On that note, thanks for fighting Alan Pardew
13. Beating Chelsea in two FA cup finals, winning the double in one, and preventing them from winning the double in the other.
14. Annoying Stewie Griffin for the last 12 years.
Again, all good things come to an end.
As an acolyte of the Wire and having recently watched The Deuce and both the Arsenal v City games I believe the decline of Arsenal, the corporate/economic nature of Wenger’s role, the murky ownership, disenfranchised fans and cowardly players would make the perfect gritty drama series about the institutionalised issues in football.
Cancel all football this weekend
OK, so here’s something my 20s self would rage at, but I’m 40 now, and dare I say it, a bit more, frankly, sensible. Here goes:
I think all football should be off this weekend.
Ouch, but hear me out. Plod everywhere telling people not to travel unless necessary…absurd queues on motorways (although my 20 something self has less sympathy and calls that natural selection/evolution)…some pretty far apart teams due to play. Would it not be safer, and indeed fairer from a competitive point of view, to just sack it this weekend? This whole week also proves why the winter break simply can’t work in England, but that’s another mail…
Yikes that hurt. That might just mark the moment I confirmed myself to be 100% adult.
Gareth Dix, Sutton
Willian front and centre
Given the wonderful form of Willian, I think we should try to use him as a No. 9 against Man City.
He has good speed to make the runs, strength to hold up ball, amazing stamina and dribbling skills. Very good 1 on 1’s. Not to mention his sweet right foot which has recently left top 2 goal keepers of the world beating the turf, while also leaving huge dents on the goal posts with his other shots.
Hazard can do the same but I reason feel he is more suited to his usual position in left or as a roaming number 10 rather than be a striker trying to run behind or holding up ball. He seems to be wasted in the number 9 position and Chelsea looks bit lacking in creativity.
Previously I have written in and felt Willian is a wonderful player who has not reached his true potential, but last two weeks has shown what he can really do and what he should have been doing all along. I would go as far as saying that i find Willian to be in same mould as Eto’o, and if mentored can potentially be an amazing striker.
B CfC (Can someone forward the memo to Conte too!)
At least Liverpool and Spurs are trying
To answer John Matric AFC, maybe the press make less of a fuss about Liverpool’s trophy drought because they can see that the club is actually trying to do something about it. You know, by sacking failing managers and bringing in new ones. Spurs haven’t won anything for a good while, but they are clearly improving – going from 6th to 5th to 3rd to 2nd in the last four years. But at Arsenal, we are all witnessing the worlds longest, slowest, dribbling slide from greatness into mediocrity.
You say that Arsenal and Wenger are being held to a higher standard than Pool and Spurs? They are, in fact, being held to their own previous standards. And boy oh boy are they missing them. 2018 Arsenal are as far off their 2004 standards as 2012 Pool under Dalglish were from the 1988 version. And I’m pretty sure that plenty of articles were written about King Kenny’s “failure” second time around, despite the fact that he took us to two cup finals, winning our last trophy. And do you remember what happened to Dalglish at the end of that season? He was sacked.
Stew, LFC, Chicago (quite nice weather here, how’s yours?)
Love for Chappers
Loved the Mark Chapman profile and fully agree with all the praise he clearly deserves.
However, having a degree in French and Business Studies doesn’t really say much about you. Back in the (very distant) day it marked you out as a bit of a brainbox – nowadays, everyone’s got one.
I don’t love our Chappers any less though.
Dom, University Lecturing Gooner
Stuff of nightmares
I’ve just worked out that the earliest City can win the league (14 pts required out of 30 pts to play for), assuming United win all their games is the Manchester derby at the Etihad.
Matt – MUFC (Please God, no. I assume I’m not the first to spot this)
There I am sitting with my Spurs mate in the home section of the crowd, having put a bet on Benni McCarthy (I’m a Blackburn Rovers fan) to score first. Sure enough, Benni slots one in and my celebrations at both him scoring and me winning 70 quid were incredibly muted (I’m normally a very vocal person). The reason for this wasn’t just because I was in the home section, more to do with the person sitting behind me. He had been telling his mate how he’d just got out of prison, for stabbing someone who had the tenacity to touch his Mini. Needless to say I didn’t want to find out how he might react if I had celebrated. We ended up drawing the match and I celebrated the equaliser very enthusiastically as well.
Paul (Promotion this year hopefully!!) Miller BRFC
Bring more joy
Please give David Szmidt, Brno, Czech Rep a regular friday cheery-up post.
Marvellous outlook on football and indeed life. David, I salute you!
Mike Woolrich, LFC
…Please get David or someone to do this every week. It would quickly become a must-visit feature.
The tone and wit sums up F365.
Long-time reader, thank you!