Arsene Wenger is influenced by the fans, it’s official and the ballot. What a joke Arsenal.

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So read the above story and see why Arsene is at last listening to the fans, not that I haven’t been saying for years playing the youth team will not only win nothing, it will kill their confidence, also winning any type of trophy will send a massive boost through the squad.

Now Mr Wenger is saying the squad need a trophy and it will be great for confidence and once we win one, we’ll win another, how funny is that, about turn, well done Arsene, all we need now is a centreback and a DM. Oh and maybe you can tell me I was right all along, because I was.

I have never ever doubted Arsene Wenger’s ability as a coach, his teams play great football and if we can keep hold of Cesc, Samir, Robin, Ramsey, Theo, Wilshere and Vermaelen we will go far.

What I have always doubted is his philosophy of investing in youth at all costs and dissing trophies, I also questioned his bonus scheme but now that Ivan has refuted that I will believe him, so on that one I was wrong and apologise, but I was right about winning trophies and what it does for a teams confidence.

I also hope I was right about Koscielny and if he continues to improve then maybe we only need one more centreback as Johan and Vermaelen are good enough.

However you aren’t right about Denilson, Squillaci, Eboue or Almunia and they have to go with at least 10 reserves. That should finance a couple of world class stars.

Now onto something more important, the Carling Cup final, Oh how long we have waited to go back to Wembley, 1998! To be fair we did go to Cardiff a few times but to be back at Wembley is just the bollocks, then I start reading that people with seasons are going into a ballot and only getting one ticket instead of two or in some cases, none at all.

WHAT BALLOT ARSENAL???

Now me, I have Platinum membership, so no problems, there’s only 8,000 of us so out of an allowance of 32,000, no problem. So I got in touch with Arsenal and they said sorry, you missed the ballot, no tickets for you. WHAT? WHEN DID YOU TELL ME I HAD TO SEND IN A REQUEST? You send me a million season ticket renewal reminders and not one for the Carling Cup final, so that’s it, you rotten bastards, 6 years wait and I get sod all.

Fortunately for me I have a great mate who has 15 coming his way so I am going but what an absolute joke. Thanks a lot Arsenal.

Onto the Cesc debacle and Moyes the madman from north of the border, either Cesc is lying, Wenger is, or Moyes is, they can’t all be telling the truth can they, now if Wenger and Cesc are telling the truth, they should take Moyes to court for defamation and subpoena the officials, I’m fed up with all the lies in football. Time to make an example.

Next up Newcastle, and a Newcastle team without their star £35million player, Andy Caroll, and another example of lying, he says he was forced out, Ashley and Pardew say the complete opposite, someone is lying, mind you, what a mug Dalglish is, Caroll is like a combination of Peter Crouch and Niklas Bendtner, I’m looking forward to playing them at the Grove, happy days, enjoy today, tomorrow we get to collect another 3 points!

Last thing, Samir Nasri got injured last weekend and after the game the manager said depending on the severity of the injury, he could be out for 3 weeks, well a week  on and the manager says he’ll be out for… …3 weeks, hmmm, this sounds like a Rosicky/Vermaelen thing, I hope not! Gell well soon Samir, your football club needs you!

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Exclusive: Record Arsenal profits to disappear + Wenger’s contract clarified

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So, two days into February and I’m already treating you up to some exclusive information I’ve weened from my new best friend Tim over at the Arsenal Supporters Trust. We’ve batted a few e-mails back and forth over the past few weeks and one of the topics of discussion was whether Arsene Wenger is financially incentivised to earn profit for the club.

This topic of discussion came about after Wenger said this in late January 2009 in an interview with the Guardian

‘”I am on a very good contract. I am one of the few managers who makes money for my club every year. That is the most important. I tell you something, if I would not make money for the club, I would not be on a very good contract.”‘

Was Arsene Wenger’s new-found obsession with youth and saving money driven by personal gain? Had Arsenal incentivised him to post profits during the tight years in a bid to keep the ship afloat? An entirely feasible possibility… but would we ever find out the truth?

Well, Tim has only gone and flat-out asked Ivan Gazidis as part of a round of questioning for the AST, so here’s the gossip.

“Arsenal have confirmed to the AST that Arsene Wenger does not receive any bonus or financial reward linked to Arsenal’s commercial activity or profits the club makes. His contract is related to football success only. Additionally, I raised some ownership issues with Arsene last year when promoting Arsenalfanshare.com and he said that he had never bought, or taken shares offered, in Arsenal as he felt to do so would conflict with his role as manager. His case was that he might then be motivated by the share price and not the football performance. So that should clear up the debate”

So that settles that one then. Any decisions Arsene Wenger makes on signing players is entirely based on his gut feel and penchant for a bargain. Basically, he’s Ingvar Kamprad, founder of IKEA, guardian of £15.7billion, driver of a clapped out 15 year old Volvo.

The man loves to save, he loves the balance sheet and he gets off on sensible numbers. Regardless of whether he’s right or wrong, at least we know he only has the clubs best interests at heart.

If you think that’s all the goss we were told, you’d be wrong… Tim also had this to say…

“It is also the case that Arsene is one of the very few managers in football who attends all of his club’s Board meetings and contributes to the overall strategy including its financial direction. He is committed to the self-sustainability principle and is clearly respected and trusted by the Board for this approach which of course relates to why they choose to remunerate him extremely well and allow him autonomy over the football side of the club. So while he correctly isn’t incentivised by financial performance he is totally committed to and sets the club’s objectives in this area”

Good news.

Onto the not so good news and a point that hasn’t really been picked up by too many people.

Last summer was the first time in an absolute age that we didn’t sell a major player. Whether this was by luck or by design is very much open for debate, but I can exclusively reveal to you that this years financials will NOT be receiving the usual open top bus parade.

We will not be posting record profits and there are, according to the AST, a number of reasons for this.

1.       It’s the first year (ever) that we haven’t sold any major players

2.       The Property at Highbury Square is now almost done, so there are few sales coming through and Queensland Road not sold yet (It’ll be worth about 1 Andy Carroll when it is)

3.       The wage bill has risen (17 new contracts) as have the various bonuses and signing on fees and as Geoff keeps pointing out, we have a very large squad

4.       Commercial deals still locked into low revenues

So perhaps Wenger’s reticence to touch the £40million war chest is related to worry about where the next batch of money is coming from? Or maybe he just didn’t fancy anyone this particular window.

Does this mean we’ll look to shed the dead wood around the squad? Or does it merely suggest that we’re now on a stable footing going forward and that we’ll just have to wait it out until we can renegotiate our dismal commercial deals (2014)? It’s going to be an interesting few years on that front and it’ll be interesting to see exactly how low profits will be.

Remember, Gazidis himself said that now all the urgent debts have been taken care of, profit can be used purely for squad strengthening. However, if we’re kicking around the £6-7million area, that leaves us sniffing around the bargain basement players or resorting to selling before we can buy.

My big worry is that the AST worked out there was roughly £40million to spend on players this transfer window. That’s about the amount of money we received for Adebayor and Toure.

Are we only posting profits when we’re selling houses or important players?

The information we’ve received from the AST is more about clarification opposed to them gushing about how amazing Arsenal’s corporate team are at running things. For me, that’s quite important, it’s good to know that we have a supporters body that is challenging the accepted practice at the club… like disrespecting trophies etc. They went to the effort of identifying that we had around £40million available for players this window and keep it on the down low, but I think Tim and a number of the AST members were just as keen as we were to see a centre back arrive.

Keep that quiet though.

Finally, for those who say that complaining on the internet has no impact on the club, well, apparently, you are wrong.

The AST held an online survey about the club, which you can read here. Section D is about winning trophies and one of the main AST member gripes last season was that Arsenal were not focused enough on winning them. Apparently this document was passed around at board level and to Arsene Wenger. The conclusion, factoring in what the marketing team also read on the blogs, was that this year, things needed to change and so they have.

The power of the web and the power of a fan collective put to fantastic use. We’re looking extremely good now for a possible cup double. That gets the monkey of Wenger’s back, it gives the supporters something to cheer about and most importantly, it teaches the kids what it feels like to win a trophy!

I thought that was a pretty damn interesting read, I want to say a big thanks to Tim for sharing the information with me and I’d like to thank the AST as well.

If you’re lucky, we might find some more exclusives heading our way as the month goes on (some based on questions asked in the Le Grove comments), so keep posting your thoughts because rest assured, they’re important to Arsenal and I’m pretty certain some of them are read by people in high places (yes, maybe even God).

Have a great day, I’m looking forward to hearing your thoughts in the comments!

P.S. If you want to use any of this for your own site, feel free but please backlink us and the AST, it’s common courtesy even if you’re not a fan of LG.

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Arsenal deservedly turnover Everton after shocking referee decision

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Arsenal battled back from a majorly offside Louis Saha goal to win an incredibly important game at the Emirates.

The Frenchman put Everton ahead in the first half after straying a yard into an offside position, picking up a poor Kozzer clearance and banging the ball in with an incredible finish. He was clearly offside, it clearly doesn’t matter that Kozzer touched the ball and the officials totally embarrassed themselves in the way they handled the situation.

I mean what the hell is it with men? Can’t they do more than two things at once? Is it seriously that flipping hard to watch a game and manage a flag at the same time? Where’s a good woman when you need her? Where the hell was Sian Massey to right their wrongs!

Anyway, the goal stood and we had a game on our hands.

We struggled really hard in the first half to make any head way, our poor football from the weekend was on show again and we were finding it hard to get a foothold in a game against a team that sets up not to lose first and foremost.

Theo Walcott went close but had his shot blocked by Tim Howard. A bit later Kozzer failed to connect with a flicked JD header from a Robin Van Persie cross. Hardly inspiring stuff from the boys… half time was met by jeering. No one likes to see a transfer window close with no activity only to be met with an abject display of, ‘I don’t fancy it.’

The second half needed something inspired, like perhaps bringing on that Russian chap everyone gives a hard time?

On he trotted, Cesc picked him out with a chipped pass that was just high enough to cause Rodwell to glance it into the path of Arshavin, who watched it all the way and side foot volleyed past Tim Howard.

That is what you pay your money for, that finish was exceptional, that is why I love him. I also heard he’s not having the best time of it in his personal life, I hope anyone who has abused him over the past couple of months now really bad, you know, that kind of guilt you feel when you see a tramp drinking something  other than Peroni.

Anyway, we weren’t finished there, barely 5 minutes later, Robin Van Persie whipped in a trademark corner (that he pretends is a freekick) that looped high and towards the back post… who was on hand? Kozzer was… he buried home the winner expertly from 6 yards!

Is the boy turning into our Vermaelen in the second half of the season? Improved performances at the back and a penchant for a goal!

The game played out, the Emirates crowd went home happy and all that was left to mull over was the sad fact that we’ve now lost Song. Does that mean we should have rested him for tonight or does it simply mean that you can’t predict when players are going to pick up problems? It’s the latter incase you were thinking too hard about that one. What this does is create a horrible situation where we’ll have to play either Denilson or Diaby for some important games.

Chances are it’s going to be Diaby with Denilson out with a hamstring injury. That said, we all know how quickly players like Denilson recover in comparison to players like Cesc, Song and Robin. So I wouldn’t hold your breath.

I said yesterday that I think we’re going to take the cup double this season and that there is a strong chance that if we remain injury free, we’ll win the league. Already though we’re under the kosh. We have an exceptional first team, but our second string has been a problem. Song and Nasri are part of our spine and without them, we’re not going to look the same. Song is the real worry though… he’s taken his game to another level over the past few months and it’s crucial he isn’t out for too long.

So, Arsenal win ugly against Everton. After the run of games that we’ve had, I’m not too fussed about how we played. The three points are the important thing. Coming back from a hotly disputed goal also pleases me, in years gone by we’ve been prone to feeling sorry for ourselves, not last night, we took the game by the scruff of the neck and made the result happen for us.

There is a lot of moaning in the press about Cesc’s attitude towards the referees. How many times have I said we should treat the officials with the same contempt other teams do? There is no advantage to be had in being the nicest team in the Premiership. I’m glad Cesc gave it some last night.

I read an interesting article in the Evening Standard featuring Denilson. If you read between the lines, it reeked of PR intervention, clearly the new corporate team realise he’s not a fan favourite so they’ve sent him to a reporter for some positive press coverage… of which I have to say, was very good to read. The jist was that he stayed on to fight for the team at the weekend, he doesn’t mind being dropped for players he trusts and he’ll always go to games regardless of whether he’s in the squad.

The article also alluded to Arsenal’s youngsters being galvanised by great cup runs this year. Now, we were a lone voice (in the blogosphere) on that front for ages… now I’m hoping we’re starting to see the benefits of being competitive and wanting to win everything. If you think we should flunk competitions to rest players, you’re missing the whole point of sport. That sort of attitude breeds complacency, a problem our first team has certainly moved away from this year.

Lets keep our heads up, be thankful for a win and move onto the next game. The title is United’s to lose, the longer they go unbeaten, the harder it’ll hit when they lose their first game.

I’ll have an exclusive for you tomorrow, no, don’t worry, it’s not a story about how we nearly signed God on loan at 2200 yesterday, it’s an actual exclusive that you’ll find interesting if you follow the site and the comments.

Speaking of which, get yourself in there, it’s more fun than a pack of smarties.

To celebrate the fact that I believe LG is the best place to talk about Arsenal on the web, I’ll be trial running the following feature!

Let me know what you think of…

Comment Corner

Supergunner07 says:

Well done to the stewards in the blue quadrant exactly opposite the red action groups 4 allowing our section to stand up to sing. It created a great atmosphere, we sang the boys home.

patthegooner says:
Arsene, feel free to go on about Mental Strength tonight, for once we f*cking had it in fucking bundles!

Raynor says:

Great to see Koscielny have another corker. For the few mistakes he made initially (which you really have to expect coming into a league that has a clear jump in pace and quality) he’s been pretty good. The great thing is he’s clearly improving in terms of positioning. I think he may just be Vermaelen’s partner…I think JD looks a little less composed as our new fave defender.

Bengali Gunner says:

Clichy’s been excellent recently. I’ve always liked him. He seems to have worked on his defending, much more aware and his aggression and strength seems to have improved.

Walking Wounded says:

Moyes is a miserable c*nt.

What a grass, takes the flak off of his team, by jumping on the “jump on Cesc” bandwagon

Whatever was said in the tunnel, was both justified and as long as it was not to the referees face, perfectly fine.

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