So I said yesterday that Alex Song was complaining about his knee and now he looks set to miss the next month of the season. There have been questions about his committment going off in the background and now we look to have surrendered the league, it seems he probably won't show his face too many times again this season. I'm not saying he's faking his injury, I just wonder if he's as injured as he's making out? Would John Terry or Wayne Rooney be out for a month with the same injury? I'm not so sure...
It's a sad fact with modern-day professional footballers. We'd all love to think they're 100% focused and motivate for the game, the sad fact is they aren't. Diaby is another player whose heart is clearly not with the club. If he's not talking about Barcelona, he's taking three weeks out for every single niggle. Certain players can't cut it at the very top on the mental side. Both will always carve out good careers, I just wonder if it weren't for Arsenal what they'd be doing?
Not playing for a team as prestigious as ours... that's for sure.
One of my Liverpool supporting mates asked me yesterday if I'd take top four every year for the last 7 years and no trophies or whether I'd prefer to win the Champions League, lose a final, win a league cup beating United in the final and win the FA Cup... with some instability in the league.
Forget the off the pitch shenanigans. Purely on a footballing level, what would float your boat more?
If I was making a life comparison, I'd compare it to relationships. You can either go out and get hooked up with a person from your home town, settle down young, get a mortgage by 24 and live your life... or you can take the bull by the horns, live your life a little, have a real mixed bag of relationships... get judged by your friends, but ultimately have more memories when you get older.
Does the latter sound familiar to some Arsenal fans when talking about their rivals?
'Oh my, look at how vulgar they are spending all that money, they'll have to pay it back some day'
'I'd prefer to live within my means'
'They're just paying for the name there, you can get exactly the same quality if you have a rummage. Even better, why not just make one yourself?'
At the moment, Arsenal are that stable couple saving the pennies for that rainy day that will probably never come. Sure, they're having a nice time, they'll get to see some places, but it's a little boring. Would you exchange some of the boring for a bit of the exciting? Would you like it if Arsenal cut the purse strings, took a few risks and went of a trophy in the ruthless fashion? I'm not asking for the manager to bankrupt us, but wouldn't it be nice if he just said...
'You know what, that extra £2million they're asking is a little too much... but I'm here to win trophies. No one will look back in 50 years time and talk about that profit I turned in quarter 3 2011, I'm going to buy him!'
Jose Mourinho, Carlo Ancellotti, Alex Ferguson and Pep Guardiola all take big risks because the rewards are worth it. Sure, Wenger might make a mistake with a big name signing but I'd say it's better to have tried and lost than to have sat on a big fat £40million cash surplus and not tried at all.
Someone is going to need to have a word with Wenger this summer, the simple fact is you can't have fans fighting each other in the stadium because of his flawed policies and let's get this straight right now... they absolutely were fighting over them. I wrote that after the cup final I was nearly involved in a tear up for being a Wenger apologist, people are angry. The manager is in serious danger of ruining his legacy. I don't want to see him go, though I will say, if he doesn't change his policies and start acting like manager with a budget, I see no other choice.
As fans, we can't go into this summer saying the same old, 'well, you know what, I'm pretty sure he knows what to do this year', because guess what? We've said that for the past 3 years! We know that unless he is told, he won't go out any buy the necessary players, we know he has no interest in equipping his squad to compete for a whole season.
He'd rather promote the talent of next years up and coming loanees. The last game of the season will see the kids, we'll all whack skippy over Fimpong, JET and Wellington and that'll be enough to appease us for another season... then the same process will happen again.
That said, a few people from within the Colney walls have told me they think he's finally lost patience this time. That's nothing more than gut feeling though, I've heard nothing about transfer plans as I'm pretty sure they're not even being considered right now.
Anyway, lets put it to the vote...
In other news, Lukas, a German Grover sent me over this some information about standing in Germany. Apparently Bayern Munich have just installed the space for 12,000 standing fans at their 60,000 capacity stadium. Now, that is pretty exciting stuff in itself, but get this... a season ticket for the German double winners and Champions League finalists in the standing section goes for 120 Euros! Imagine that, getting a season ticket for a oner, that's how much it would cost for you to have 2.5 seat plaques engraved for you at Arsenal.
A standing area really would be giving something back to the fans and Arsenal should take note especially in the current climate... I'm not sure they'll go for it though, that sanitised feeling you get in stadium isn't an accident, it's by design, it's called a 'family environment. I'd ask Gazidis to come and sit with my family on a Sunday afternoon to see what a real family environment is like... it's spicier than Arsenal v WBA at the Emirates, that's for sure.
I had this letter drawn to my attention yesterday via twitter. Basically, Arsenal refused to sign a home shirt for a life long season ticket holder who is running the marathon for charity. Now, I can sympathise with the club from the point of view that they must have to deal with thousands of requests. I can imagine that plenty of merchandisers lie about Charitable events to wangle shirt signings. However, when you read through the letter, some very valid points are raised. If Arsenal can sign a shirt for Ladbrokes, have one signed to induce people to their away day screening events and sign one for a ticketing complaint, surely they can muster the effort to have one signed for a charity for a life long season ticket holder?
If there are problems with dishonest people, then the Charity should be sent the signed shirt direct to auction on behalf of whoever is raising money. All that needs to be put in place is a bit of process. Everyone's a winner. If it's about aggravating players, f*ck em'. I hate to use language like that, but seriously, for the amount of hours footballers put into a working week, the last thing they should be complaining about is putting ink to a few shirts.
We did get a response from Comms Director Mark Gonnella on the subject. Apparently Arsenal will only sign one shirt per charity per year. I'm not really sure why you'd need to be so strict with something like charitable donations. Arsenal do a huge amount for them in general and that can't be forgotten, it just seems like an odd policy for a club as big as ours considering how little effort goes into the action of getting it done. Apparently even the classless lot from West London will sign things if you ask. It's a bit of a petulant rule if you ask me... but there you have it, at least you all know now.
I wonder if Ladbrokes are given one shirt per year as part of their sponsorship quota?
To finish on a lighter note, Tony Cascarino reckons Arsene's biggest mistake in the January transfer window was not signing Kevin Phillips. Yep, he said it and it wasn't a joke. Possibly the most retarded statement you've ever heard come from a pundits mouth? It's gotta be close...
On an even lighter note, Eboue is rumoured to be considering following William Gallas over to White Hart Lane. Now, I don't like to see players leaving Arsenal for Spurs, but I know that the Ivorian has been sulking about his lack of first team opportunities, so the chances of him being here next year are slim. What would be funny is if a player with the moral compass of a taxman upped and left for our biggest rivals... I've always disliked him, I've always hated the cult of Eboue... if he left for Spurs, my oh my would I chortle!
Have a great day Grovers, good luck to Madrid later, I hope they can over come a Spurs side with God almighty strapped into a pair size 11's tearing up and down their left-wing!
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