Keep those emails coming to firstname.lastname@example.org…
Arsene’s better off out of it
I, like most people, have been an intrigued spectator of events at Arsenal since the big announcement. There has been the usual outpouring of gratitude and some relief that the decision has actually been made. However, I was reading an article this morning in which David Dein discussed how Arsène Wenger couldn’t leave last season because he “loved the club too much”. This started me thinking, why?
Now, I am not an Arsenal fan, but I have a few Arsenal supporting friends (a small sample size admittedly), they are the most miserable bunch of fair-weather fans I have ever encountered. Everything was fine when they were winning trophies, but since they last won the league Arsène Wenger has had to put up with constant discontent for nearly a decade. I guess what I’m driving at here, is how can a man be constantly derided, mocked, booed and bullied from the stands for the best part of a decade and still “love” the club?
Personally I think this looks more like Stockholm syndrome than a caring relationship. I am relieved that a seemingly nice man no longer has to put up with all the nonsense that has been thrown at him, simply for trying his best.
I may have missed something, but from the outside this is how I perceive it. Personally, I’d be embarrassed to take part in any ‘farewell’ if I were an Arsenal fan.
…A thousand thanks to Johnny Nic for clearly articulating what I have been feeling about the current situation at Arsenal. I appreciate how unseemly, arrogant and foolish things like flying planes over stadia is in wishing for change, but fans forget that actually we have the one thing every football club wants more than anything. More than Messi in their side, more than all the trophies in the world, they want money. Starve them of their number 1 drug of choice, and they’ll do whatever the fans want to stop the death of their cash cow. While Arsenal fans have been pilloried for our behaviour over the whole Arsene debacle, I’m glad it seems to be coming to an end, and that all parties can move on. Wenger will walk into a job at PSG, and hopefully we can sign a manager who is exciting and can get our squad playing like professionals again.
John Matrix AFC
I know I’m late to the Arsene Wenger party but, can Arsenal fans please stop trying to assume the moral high ground when it comes to Wenger’s “resignation” (yes, I put it in inverted comma’s because he was clearly sacked).
I keep seeing comments and hearing people say that the disrespectful fans pushed him out of the door and anyone who continues to criticise the manager even after his sacking have no respect and are not real fans.
Arsenal were on the decline. Wenger lost the dressing room and failed to bring Arsenal back to the fight after two torrid seasons. He deserved to be sacked. No amount of class or respect can save you from doing a poor job.
Please get off of your high horses. I’m glad he’s gone. I’m excited for change. I hope we cut out the dead wood and can finally compete with the big boys.
The club has class, history and respect. Maybe now we can give it some balls too.
…Really great article from John Nicholson this morning (as always tends to be the case), and one line in particular resonated with me:
“Football might have many things to thank Arsene Wenger for but his intransigence provoking the fans to absent themselves and thus causing his removal, is perhaps the most significant and important of all.”
The common line in the narrative of Wenger’s slide and ultimate dismissal is that despite his tribulations he has comported himself with the utmost dignity, integrity, and dedication to Arsenal Football Club. Whilst the club absolutely has a hell of a lot to thank him for, let’s not ignore the fact that this has been an incredibly lucrative project for Mr Wenger himself and one that at times he has treated very much as a personal passion project – even, over the last 5 years, to the detriment of the club. There has been a stubbornness and selfishness that belies the aforementioned superlatives, not to mention a blinkered arrogance that has seen him refuse to adapt and evolve as a manager; in other words, his intransigence.
It’s easy to point the finger at entitled fans causing disunity around the club, but fans who love Arsenal football club have persevered through a decade of blatant myopia. There have been deficiencies writ so large and on so many occasions you could see them from space, yet Wenger refused to address them or could not see them. Despite all evidence to the contrary, he selfishly clung on. Clung on until it was entirely untenable for him to stay. I don’t want to defend the more outspoken and vitriolic sections of the Wenger Out brigade, there has been some disproportionately nasty things said and idiots have a knack of shouting louder, but inaction and ambivalence from the manager and the board created an environment for that culture to thrive.
To cap it all off, the gall of the man to suggest he effectively martyred himself for the benefit of the club is laughable. As if the lack of unity was nothing to do with him and his refusal to admit any kind of deficiency. This is not a trait of integrity. Integrity and a show of genuine love for the club would include holding your hands up and saying, “I tried my best, it has not been good enough, things we have been trying have not been working, it’s time for fresh ideas”, and not “I’m leaving because you bastards haven’t been turning up”.
Arsene seems intent on tarnishing his legacy even after he’s told us he’s leaving. It’s such a shame.
As a long-time “Wenger-Inner” and “FFP’er” I thought I’d offer a few words of my own on Wenger’s time here, as well as what I hope for next season. I’ll try not to ramble…
I started supporting Arsenal around 1991 or 92. I remember not supporting any football teams in my primary school days, and then becoming transfixed by Italia 90 and then even more so by USA 94. It was around that time it was decreed by my schoolmates that I HAD TO choose a club to support, and I think I loved Seaman and the back 4 so I chose Arsenal. A couple of years later, I was very much an Arsenal fan but it was just a casual support. Look out for their results, buy a shirt with Bergkamp on the back. I was 12 or 13.
But then Wenger arrived and something clicked. Here’s someone who talked about football in the way I thought about football, who signed players who made passes and made the difficult (playing easily) look easy. Any sport in which its made to look so very easy is only achieved by the very elite. I was enraptured. I fell in love.
It dawned on me in around 2013/14ish, that although Arsenal is my club for the rest of my life, I was more of a Wenger fan than an Arsenal fan. I’m not saying he’s perfect, far from it, but in my opinion at least no one has been so ridiculed for speaking so much sense. Not only sense, but more often than that predicting the future accurately too – all the whilst getting slaughtered for it.
About 2 years ago I think I wavered, and a year ago I changed my mind. Still love the guy but everything’s gone stale at Arsenal now. It’s time for a change and John Nicholson is right – I think more than anything the empty stands pushed the board to a quick decision. After all’s said and done though, Arsene Wenger has been one of the best managers in Premier League history, in world history! In an era where you’re judged on trophies and encouraged to spend, spend spend… for the middle part of his tenure he did neither (win anything nor spend anything) and yet I feel this was the best part of his reign for sheer talent, savvy, acumen and determination. I think “The Cesc Years” as it were, were his golden years. Very, very few managers could or would have stuck around and did the job he did for Arsenal. For as good as Guardiola or Mourinho are, take away their money, sell a star player to a rival every summer, and tell them in reinvest that money in inferior players whilst promoting youth – they couldn’t do it. I’m going to miss him, and I will also be very interested in his career, and hope he gets a new club.
As for the replacement, I think Arsenal already have this in place and are just waiting to make an announcement. Before the West Ham match yesterday Gary Neville suggested that the person they wanted became available and they very quickly moved and got them. The new manager already knows who he’s going to keep, who he’s going to sell, who he’s going to buy, what formation he’s playing… etc etc. I think he’s known this for a few weeks.
There are a load of candidates being floated about but to me the most likely candidate has to be Unai Emery. Worked wonders at Sevilla, did well at PSG, and pretty much within a week of him announcing he’s leaving PSG then Wenger’s announcement was made.
Anyway, to finish, thank you Wenger for all you’ve done – easily Arsenal’s greatest ever manager, and you’re fully deserving of the statue that’s no doubt coming your way.
Dale May, Swindon Wengerite
Crack on, Kane
I write this in response to the letter from Ross this morning and would like to point out a couple things I felt would illuminate the subject.
First off, just as a side note, the use of ‘virgin’ as a way to diminish ones opinion on football is a bit dire, this is the 21st century and although I believe we are too ‘PC’, no matter the followers or status of sexual activity no ones joke or opinion is any less valued by it.
Now that the semantics are dealt with let’s tread into the subject.
Harry Kane is a really really really ‘for lack of using unnecessary objectives’ great player. Great finisher. Great movement. No main clauses needed in those sentences to say who we talking about.
You know who is else is a great finisher, has great movement and is also considered a half decent player, Cristiano Ronaldo. I don’t think it needs to be said that Ronaldo has taken more abuse and pain from the media than most throughout his years, like an abusive domestic relationship, they show him just enough love to keep him happy before beating him down whenever he is sad. Unfortunately it is life for most people especially in this current era that are superstars to be compared, berated and ridiculed just because quite generally they are better than us. Is it right ? No, all journalism ideally would be objective in a perfect world dictating only stats and absolutes but this is not possible nor do we want it.
Harry Kane should accept the bullying, ignore it and continue scoring. Same as Ronaldo, Messi, Suarez etc etc.
It is hard to see a young player being constantly badgered over one thing but then again no one gives a sh*t we post 17000 Niklas bendtner quotes or memes because he danish and he a lad so who cares. Hopefully Kane learns from this and uses his goldfish or silkworm collection to swear on next time. At least then the daily mail can give us 30 pictures of footballers pets with reason then.
I know the fear of everyone building up every other little thing he does to also be mistakes is real but unfortunately that’s the life they choose, my family still don’t let me live down the time I shat my pants in the car as a 4 year old.
Football stars are celebrities, celebrities don’t live down silly mistakes, nor will superstar footballers. He should just make a big joke about it in a celebration or give Eriksson the ball after his next goal and the media will shit themselves at how “in touch and well matured“ he is.
…Calling a few twitter jokes at Harry Kane’s expense “bullying” is a far cry, Ross THFC. I wonder if he shared the same sympathy for Steven Gerrard and the endless slipping puns made by all and sundry, not even to mention THAT chant that is still occasionally sung at grounds up and down the country.
Or for Raheem Sterling’s treatment by some sections of the media after his move to City, or for the continuing fascination with Paul Pogba’s latest hairstyle or what his emoticon says about his lack of professionalism etc, or for Memphis Depay’s flashy car being a symbol of his Prima Donna nature.
Kane is a superstar at the very top. When you’re up there people will throw stones to knock you off. Being the poster boy for regular-English-lad-done-good shouldn’t protect him from that.
Timi, MUFC wrote in to this morning’s mailbox saying how he believes Tottenham deserve to win a trophy and how if they don’t soon they may lose more players. I agree with both sentiments but watching Deli Alli after the game yesterday I’d say that they’re closer than Timi thinks. Accidentally saying “we threw it away” before correcting himself, saying “we can’t keep doing this” and “we’ve got to try to improve” were (for me Clive) the words of someone who doubts whether they can make it.
Obviously it was just after the game when feelings are raw and when the disappointment is at its greatest but is this a sign that he may be losing patience? How long will it be before players start to get tempted not only by the bigger wages but also by the prospect of trophies at clubs that may look more likely to win them?
Walker left and has got his hands on 2 trophies and a lot more money already. It’s widely agreed that Rose and Alderweireld are on their way but if just one or two more decide that their future lies elsewhere then Pochettino has a big task on his hands to continue their forward momentum. I hope the core of the team does stay together as they play some great football but they have to believe that they can do it. I want teams like this to break the dominance of the really big spenders but maybe that’s the key thing that the money really buys you – that x-factor of the winners belief and mentality?!
Adam LFC (Hoping we have the winning mentality tomorrow)
What is going on with the moaning in the mailbox this morning?
Are we really having Man Utd fans giving out because their team isn’t getting the credit in the media they feel they deserve?
Finish second, miles behind the champions, win an FA Cup (maybe) and start complaining that you’re not getting the credit from media personalities or football fans you deserve?
This season sounds like an Arsenal season for Man Utd. The same Arsenal seasons that the Arsenal have been getting grief from every angle for years. Now Man Utd fans want us all to marvel at how they’ve had a very good season? Get up outta that. The talk at the start of the season was titles, premier league and an assault on Europe. Instead Man Utd served up, for the most part, boring, boring, boring football. They’ve gotten into the FA Cup final and managed to secure second place, well done. No shame in going out of Europe to Sevilla but the manner of it was poor. I’ve watched a bit of Man Utd this season. Sometimes the football has been entertaining but for the most part I’d rather watch my Dad get out of the bath than watch a Man Utd match. And yes that sour manager of yours doesn’t help. Ya want to hear the media swoon for you then go read Duncan. If you want the truth then roll on up to F365.
Then we have a Spurs fan upset that Harry Kane is being bullied. Look to some extent I agree that the media shouldn’t still be going on about the goal. They should drop it. Surely there’s more to write about than that however Harry has made himself look a right mug claiming that goal. Ross calls it the goal “that many people think he didn’t touch”…..now you’re having a laugh Ross. Nobody believes he touched it and do you know why? Because he didn’t bleedin’ touch it. Look there’s no need for it to be dragged out in the media I get that but Harry started this tomfoolery. Claiming a goal when you never touched the ball is ridiculous. If you act like a clown then don’t be surprised when you find yourself in a circus.
Gough, LFC, Dublin (both barrels)
…Hopefully I will get my right of reply to Garey Vance this morning, it turns out that my mail was not as easily identifiable as sarcasm as I thought. And if the sarcasm wasn’t apparent the perhaps ridiculous would be more apt than “average”. I was trying (and apparently failing) to mock the narrative that Manchester United are terrible and are in second replace by sheer luck/injustice/divine intervention (apparently having a world class keeper is lucky but having a world class goal scorer is not).
So to be clear what I was trying to point out was that if this United team are “not very good” but they’ve consistently outperformed 18 other teams then logic would dictate that the other teams must also be “not very good”. Lots of people have noticed though that Liverpool and Spurs are, in actual fact, quite good though. So maybe then, that team that have outperformed those two in the league and FA Cup, and only lost one of 5 fixtures against those two sides this year are actually quite good too.
Calling out Klopp
Couldn’t agree more with Ben the Baggie (which as a Wolves fan feels deeply wrong) regarding Klopp. His churlish comments after the Albion game are the latest in a long line of unpleasant behaviour displayed when his team don’t win. I know he smiles a lot, swears, uses phrases like ‘heavy metal football’ and is generally a football hipsters wet dream. This seems to ensure that his appalling behaviour this season both on the touchline and in front of the media is barely commented on. He’s managed to amalgamate the very worst of SAF’s one-eyedness (definitely not a word), Wenger’s sulking, Mourinho’s lack of grace and Allardyce’s obnoxiousness. Plus he takes money to represent betting sites which are a cancer upon modern sport and society.
He should be called out on this. But for various reasons I don’t hold out much hope
John Collins, London
…I am sorry but come on F365. Following his appalling attitude and comments following his side blowing a 2 goal lead against a team marooned at the bottom of the table, how is Jurgen Klopp not in the losers section? I know you love him and you do not have a remit for no bias like the BBC but to ignore his comments is just shameful. As shameful as the fact he has failed to beat the Albion on 3 occasions this season. To say that the pitch was to dry is frankly embarrassing. Not least because it was raining for most of the second half. Traditionally teams that play with the ball in the air heavily water the pitch so that it holds up in the corners. Klopp was outwitted by a novice. Furthermore a great coach he may be, but he has never found a way to cope the combined threat of Craig Dawson and Chris Brunt.
Ben The Baggie.
Player A knocks the ball beyond player B and starts running past him. Player B pushes player A away with a straight arm.
1) player B bullying player A off the ball?
2) player A “being robbed with a combination of grace, poise and physicality”?
3) any other way of describing player B “being strong”?
4) a foul?
I feel like I’m going insane in being alone thinking 4) is the correct answer. The case being Pogba dispossessing Dembele on Saturday for United’s first goal. Did Dembele make a mistake? Yes. Did he take an unnecessary risk? Yes. Was he uncharacteristically weak? Yes.Is pushing a player away with a straight arm still a foul? Yes. If not, then why?
I’m not saying it was a big mistake by the referee, I’m just surprised it’s not mentioned anywhere and a clear foul is being lauded as great play. The cross, however, was sublime.
How do? I’m sure you’ll get several of these, but the ‘Away!’ shout is just to inform the player that the keeper isn’t coming for that ball. I play with quite a quiet (but excellent) goalkeeper who I’ve been trying to encourage to do this; it makes defending a lot easier because you have an idea of your keeper’s position when your back is to your own goal. I had to make his calls for him at the start of the season and he wasn’t happy with that!
On another note, went to watch the marathon yesterday, and my train back was full of disappointed Saints fans. The resignation about relegation is really quite sad. But not a single one (that I spoke to) was happy with Mark Hughes, which makes me happy.
…You’ll probably get loads of these, but in response to Adonis, the keeper has two shouts at a corner, one is ‘Away’ the other is ‘Keepers!’.
One says to his defence, get the damn thing away, the other says he’s coming for it. I always used to notice Brad Friedel shouting this on televised matches, because he was very loud and very clear. The fact the Hammers defender got it wrong is probably because the keeper was late to shout or it wasn’t clear enough in the confusion. In these set piece routines, clear and definitive communication from the keeper is vital because he sees more of the picture than the defenders can.
CJ (A good whipped cross always causes hesitation no matter what).
Sticking up for Hart
Come on…I don’t even like Joe Hart but have just watched the highlights of the game V Arsenal. One of the goals was clearly a defensive error as he should quite rightly expect the defender not to duck under the ball. The second one where he gets beaten at the near post gets a deflection off the defender which causes the ball to hit the floor and bounce upwards.
He’s a douchebag but had a good game. And that’s from a United fan.
John (expat Singapore, feeling somewhat dirty)
Reina keeps running
I was going to send in a mail about the Napoli v Juventus win and the comparatively exciting run in in Italy. But really, there’s only one thing I can take away from the game.
How exactly is Pepe Reina not only still playing, but also somehow only 35 years old?
Terry Hall, Switzerland
Postcard from the (Evo-stik) North
Away from the p!ssing contest between Hotspur and Manchester United fans, here are few things about the Evo-Stik Northern Premier Division. It was an important weekend for the title and playoff picture, and there’s still lots to play for.
*Congratulations to Altrincham, crowned champions after beating Grantham Town 2-0 in front of the division’s biggest crowd of the day. I only found out (or remembered) ahead of the game that they’d been relegated in each of the previous two seasons, so on the one hand, their superiority isn’t surprising, but on the other hand, turning such a plight around takes a lot of work, particularly with things such as rebuilding player and fan confidence, for example.
*Tuesday night’s games for the playoff picture could see a few things confirmed, but Witton Albion v Farsley Celtic and Nantwich Town v Shaw Lane provide the most potential intrigue. Celtic beat Barwell 4-3 to stay four points ahead of Shaw Lane (who beat Stafford Rangers 2-1), but have played an extra game. Defeat for Shaw Lane will confirm Grantham and Ashton United’s participation in the playoffs regardless of their own results. Anything less than a victory for Farsley and they will be nervously watching the Ducks’ game against Barwell on Thursday.
*Stalybridge Celtic still have four games to play this season. They’re scheduled for Monday, Tuesday and Thursday ahead of the season finale on Saturday. No one would excuse a bit of squad rotation, particularly as all their fixtures are against teams with only pride to play for.
*Sutton Coldfield Town won for the second game in a row since their relegation was confirmed. Their final game of the season sees them host Grantham, and will be in full spoiler mode as their visitors look to take momentum into the playoffs.
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Nine things we loved this weekend: Salah, De Bruyne, Lacazette, Giroud (Planet Football)
Hamilton: My goal is to push Merc far and upset Ferrari (Planet F1)