Steve Bould: Arsenal’s most important signing as defence takes us to top four | Cheerio Spurs…

by & filed under News Review.

Well here we are people, on the cusp of a new start for the manager, the board and of course, us, the fans. Yesterday was important on so many levels. By finishing fourth, the manager has removed any relic of an excuse that could be pushed our way come August 31st. New commercial deals are so close you can taste the cash, the bank balance is publicly brimming and we have the core of a very strong squad already with us.

The Newcastle game boasted none of the drama we’d expected / dreaded in a final day of the season show down. However, that didn’t stop the whole occasion becoming a 2 hour nightmare. I watched the two games dual screen in a pub which boasted a larger Spurs population.

We knew what the script looked like for Spurs, they’d have trouble breaking down a dogged Sunderland, then magic man Gareth Bale would muster up some ‘at the death’ magic. Which he played out line for line.

Our game was a little more tense. Newcastle didn’t really put up much of a fight. However, we struggled to make an impact for large parts of the game. Podolski spurned a very simple chance when through on goal when he fired his shot into the retiring Steve Harper. There was a fair bit of possession but no bite from us. Theo couldn’t handle the double team action that was going on his side of the wing and Lukas didn’t give is an outlet.

Our chance dropped in the second half, from a corner, Podolski I think got a touch, it looped over Koscielny’s shoulder, he followed it eagle eyed and turned it into the net. A great goal.

There was no last surge from Newcatle. Theo made it through on goal but toe poked the ball past the keeper but found himself denied by a stubborn post. The team played out the last ten minutes with a maturity I’ve not seen in years. They were calm, they slowed play down and they made the whole ordeal a little calmer.

The spirit of the side was summed up by Laurent Koscielny who had an absolutely superb game. He lost his way earlier in the year, but there’s no doubt now that he is our lead centre back (arguably he was at the end of the last summer). He dominated at the back, he came up with the vital goal and he led by example.

I said last summer that the best signing was Steve Bould. A year on, we’ve seen the reverse of last season. It was the defence that proved pivotal. We’ve not taken fourth. Because of one man and his goals, we’ve taken it because the manager allowed more focus on the back four (in the end) and Bould delivered a defence that conceded 37 goals. That made us the second best defence inside one season. That’s an impact people. With the right movements this summer, we’ll have the best defence in the league. We’ve made serious inroads without a proper keeper. Wenger also has to take some serious credit. He dropped his captain and never let him back in. He also dropped his keeper and only let him get a chance through injury. Both moves proved decisive in turning around our season.

Another change in the team no one has mentioned all season that has played a huge role in us becoming more solid as a unit has been the departure of Alex Song. He’s moved on and we’ve now fitted out the midfield with two players who are prepared to track back and take responsibility. How many cheap freekicks do we give away these days? How often is that gap in front of the back four left empty? Not often. We’re defending as a collective these days. I’ve said for years, you don’t need to have 4 world class defenders to have  a world class unit. Now, I’m not saying we’re a world class unit by a long shot, but we’ve made serious inroads this season and proof of concept is the 24% reduction in goals conceded. Players have been made accountable.

Up front, the goals were shared out and we matched what we achieved last season, however, it’s apparent we need to build in that area. We’re not clinical enough and we lack a player with the dominance to lead against world class teams. That position will be filled this summer and I think there’s a very high chance it’ll be filled with an important name. That’s unlikely to be Lewandowski as he’s rumoured to be close to Bayern and I’ve not heard anyone mention Jovetic… but they’re looking at someone outside Sanogo. Will it be Wayne Rooney? The club are interested, but you have to ask yourself a few serious questions here. Firstly, his attitude has been appalling at United this season, some seriously shameful rumours floating around about his behaviour. If Ferguson can’t control him, what hope does Wenger have? His physicality has pulled him through his mid-twenties… but what happens going forward? Does his lifestyle catch up with him now? Is that a £30m risk we can afford to take?

I think the club are going to go all out now to make an impact in the transfer market. Expect to see a keeper, a centre back, a midfielder with bite, maybe a creative player and definitely a world class striker. The perfect storm has arrived. We have lots of cash in the bank, we have new commercials on the horizon, a manager wanting a new deal and all the clubs around us are going through managerial changes. This is our summer to shine and everything I’m getting from the club says that we’re going for it.

The major difficulty we’re going to have is that we’re not selling players a success machine. We’re selling them a project. A new type of project, but it’s not the finished article. If we want to land Cesc, we’ll have to convince him of our ambition by making an ambitious signing. It might be really tough, players might not fancy us… but I can guarantee you we’re already out there trying for players who are on a different planet to the types of players we’ve looked at in the past.

… but what about Spurs?

Well yesterday’s result was a baseball bat to the back of the legs if ever I’ve seen one. For me, it’s almost curtains for Spurs in regards to moving up a level in the eyes of world football. That was their one opportunity, which to be honest, if they’d have taken, would have killed them next year anyway.

Here’s why Spurs are unlikely to trouble us next season. Firstly, Arsenal won’t have a summer like they had last year. We won’t lose two key players this year. The only people moving will be the players who haven’t really done it this year (Vermaelen, Gervinho, Chamakh the deadwood if we can find them a home). We’ll have a settled squad in that sense. The base has been set.

There is no chance Arsenal won’t invest this summer either. We’ll never make that mistake moving forward. So we’ll not only have a settled squad by August 31st, we should have one that is buzzing with excitement for the first time in 10 or so years. That’s a major step change forward.

Thirdly, I’m guessing… and this is a guess. We’re unlikely to have a start as pathetic as tepid as last years.

Finally, it’s unlikely Bale will stay at Spurs and even if he does, will he have the season he’s had this year? Everything he’s touched has turned to gold this year. If you take his form out the equation, Spurs have quite an average squad. Think of how lucky their run in has been. They’ve been dominated by poor teams and been Baled out everytime. Not just that, the deflected goals, the inexplicable collapses… they’ve had a very lucky run in and they didn’t deserve top four in the end.

Then look at the revenue gap. We’ll be a full £100m better off than them by the end of next season. That’s an unbelievable power grip we’ll have on them. They’re trying to pull together this new stadium, but I haven’t read anything about a loan being secured? We picked up ours for what, 3%? They’ll have to pick theirs up for at least double. How will they fund it with the inflated wages of modern football and without consistent Champions League revenue? They won’t be able to… it’d be too much of a risk

*Not to mention the new Premier League wage rule will scupper any rapid growth plans they might have (only being able to add £4m to your wage bill each summer. Getting from £90m to £150m will take a while).

Arsenal’s long term planning has started to bear fruit after nearly a decade. How will Spurs manage a transition like that? It feels like an impossibility.

Now, credit where credit is due. Making top four from where we were has been a massive achievement. 12 wins out of 16 is absolutely massive. Wenger has pulled it out of the bag at the death again. However, those who think 4th place with our resource is worth crowing about are really missing the point of being a big club. Wenger has had cash to invest over the last four years and he’s failed to do so. He’s been treading water and survived. This season has to be the last time he does that. This was the closest in a while. What made this seasons escape all the more impressive is that we didn’t do it with the stars he’s done it with of seasons past. The clubs management won’t want to go through that again and I’m pretty sure Arsene won’t want to go through that again. It’s time to face up to facts. Big clubs sign big players. You can still do things the right way… but a simple look around Europe shows you that even clubs like Dortmund spend big if they need to.

The club won’t put us through that again. They know there’s a huge opportunity this summer. The United team you saw draw 5-5 with WBA is a sign of things to come under them. City, Bayern and Chelsea can’t buy all the players in Europe. Spain don’t have the money they used to… and you’d have to be brave as a foreigner to set up home in a country that’s on the verge of bankruptcy… we all saw what the EU sanctioned against the people of Cyprus… footballers and their wealth will be easy pickings for the Spanish Government should things get desperate.

Arsenal is about to get exciting people. I truly believe that. If they don’t, well, that’ll be because the manager doesn’t have a project he can sell to elite players, and that’s a story in itself. This has the foundations to be the best summer we’ve ever had, so lets be thankful to the players for busting a gut to make top four happen.

Before I leave this post, I just wanted to take time out to thank everyone who visits the site, posts a comment on the Facebook page and chats to me on Twitter. Writing for you all this season has been, in the main, an absolute pleasure. To have a comments section with such a rich variety of opinions that are made by so many people is quite a marvel when you consider most blogs barely register a single mention. I wouldn’t write everyday if it weren’t for the people that e-mail me at 11:00 to find out if I’m dead if I haven’t posted. I’m never dead people… just nursing a Peroni induced morning of hell.

Anyway, a massive, massive thanks for continuing to make Le Grove relevant amongst Arsenal fans… and, now, with the club. Long may it continue.

Here’s to a great summer of daily posts!

See you in the comments.

843 Responses to “Steve Bould: Arsenal’s most important signing as defence takes us to top four | Cheerio Spurs…”

Jump to comment form ↓


    Fuck it i say (A),we are in CL we have the cash ,now just get a decent coach who wants to win trophies.We all know this dreamer waits till the 11th hour to say noone good enough available.It’s time to take out the trash,he’s let us down before he will do it again.You can’t change a ho into a housewife,any pimp will tell you that.

  2. Nasri's Mouth

    @kwik fit

    Standard player speak. Flattered by interest, heard nothing personally, have contract at club, not up to me, blah blah blah

    It means nothing.

  3. samsenal

    Depends if that was an injured Pod or not. He seemed….lifeless…in the last few months.

    I’d want to see a lot more fight in him next year.

  4. tom

    I have mixed feelings about Poldi. Not sure he’s really a good fit. His stats are good for a debut season and I don’t second guess AW, so he may well improve next season.

  5. Toli83

    Don’t see what big issue is with Podolski. Decent on the flanks, not much use in the middle. He should be used and rotated on one side, as should walcott on the other.

  6. kwik fit

    I think Pod will flourish in a team of quality players around him. He’s efficient but limited. His real quality is in his finishing and to a lesser extent his crossing. So with the right type of quality around him he could have an important role to play. Certainly deserves one more year.


    You all know in your heart of hearts this man wont change,the only mental strenght this man has are in his deluded convictions.None of you are sure he will do what is right for the club,if you did ,why have a poll.

  8. Mask of Zorro

    May 20, 2013 18:38:56
    I like arseblog. Lots of
    content and good
    Worst is ANR and Arsenal

    the worst for me is untold.

  9. tom

    Palmer only prints reader’s letters that agree with him and they all start with;
    Dear Myles, you are so wonderful….

    Absolute twat.

  10. tom

    Untold puts a lot of work in. Truely obsessed.
    AT does nothing but repeat the same old boring mantra in as ugly way as he can muster.
    I’ve argued with him once or twice. It’s like talking to a wall.

  11. sixx pac


    “Ramsey attempted most number of tackles successfully in PL this season”

    “I wonder if he was in another club how many here would be asking Wenger to sign him up. I’d bet quite a few. Even more if he was in a different league.”

    Good point. He has the highest tackle rate success rate in the top 5 leagues but obviously that stat is irrelevant unless some other player does it. Not Ramsey though

  12. Thomas

    Le Grove ?@LeGrove 19m
    Mata was a done deal… He(Wenger) decided against the move apparently.

    Wenger is a complete cunt

  13. Alex James

    People who know me would not characterise me as anything other than reasonable. I say this from the heart in defence of our club. Sack the blighter now. He will spend nothing, other than on average French players again. Yes the team did well to claw things back but if Spurs had not lost the plot we would have been done for. I say again, this team is the worse I have seen since the 60s.

  14. Nasri's Mouth

    Just watched Panorama. Some of the footage they showed, bits of the BBC coverage of the game, which had never been publicly shown before make it even more incredible that the police and other services were ever able to cover it up. I really hope the book is well and truly thrown at the people responsible.

  15. Toli83

    Ramsey works his socks of that’s for sure. He just needs to add more to do his game to be considered worthy of a regular starter.

    Commitment is never a doubt with him, I genuinely think he deserves a break.

  16. Gunner2301


    I admire your optimism fella. Do I buy into it? Do I fuck. Too many false dawns. Wenger should complete his contract if he must and go. We are still a club selling for profit until that philosophy changes and the wage structure is addressed it will be more of the same and I’ve heard nothing from the club to convince me that they have changed course.


  17. NoMoreCesc

    It’s hard not to be a bit cynical when, after months of silence, Gazidis reappears to extol Arsenal’s ambition of silverware on the same day as the gold and silver season tickets open for renewal.

  18. Cesc Appeal

    What’ll be interesting is watching Spurs…if they manage to get Bale to sign a new deal and add a couple of players whilst we do our usual that’ll be telling.

    We can’t wait for other people to do things this time

  19. dave

    boys did well in the end, but celebrating like that for 4th??? Bit shameful really.
    Time is right at last to spend some dough, what with manager changes elsewhere. Really hope it finally happens, but part of me can’t help but think: prob don’t have to spend much to get 4th again next year. Bit of a worry…..

  20. leon

    In my opion if wenger can get a few attacking midfielders who can score like hazard and meta it would help the lack of goals from midfield has been a real problem.

  21. Marko

    Klopp would be a fantastic Wenger replacement also think DeBeor and Bergkamp would be decent shouts along with Low too. To be honest I just want Dennis back at the club in some capacity in the next 2 years. People like him Vieira and Henry when they finish playing should work for OUR club and not others

  22. tom

    Spurs need a new home. It’s a priority. It will be a major factor in their planning.
    Might affect their plans for Bale and recruitment in general.
    Tricky thing to build a ground and maintain quality.

  23. tom

    Not true. Our problem has been lack of a clinical finisher.
    This season our goals were spread evenly between strikers and midfield.

  24. Toli83

    We could pick Isco and Higuain up at decent prices.

    Chuck a decent DM in there, Capoue we would be laughing.

    GK and CB (if Tommy V leaves) would be a bonus.

  25. tom

    Bergkamp and Vieira back at AFC would be great.
    I think PV might have deliberately chosen to do his apprenticeship elsewhere, in order to get some recognition in that field before he comes back to his true love.
    That’s what I comfort myself with anyway.

  26. tom

    I’m sure Patrick is well payed by City. A popular figure with the Board, they say he’s being groomed for the hot seat.
    It would be a coup to woo him back before that plan gets too far.

  27. Zacharse


    Tom those blogs are alright i read em but LG iS MEGA
    Notwo ways about it. Pedro is much more thoughtful in his posts than any of the other bloggers, his emotional stance is consistent whether u agree or not.

    As for mourhino, he took on barca and knocked em around a good bit. Any enemy of barcas is a friend of mine and gooners should be as afraid as i am for his return. The chelsea squad is enviable with hardly a player there anymore i hate, cole, terry obv. Excepted.

    I think were all grappling wirh how wenger and co will deal this summer after the closest call yet to CL and a miserable year for most supporters. No matter what we all say now im sure theres hardly one of us gambon excepted who wont be thinking something different come end of july. If theyre gonna make a splash they wont save it all til the deadline this year somethimg tells me

  28. Arsenal 1886-2006

    I can see moron and roman falling out before the end of the season if things are not going his way.
    He really wanted fergies job and feels a bit slighted that he was not in the frame.

  29. tom

    Pedro’s tone is anything but consistent. One day the Club’s in crisis, the next we are on the verge of something big.
    He’s labelled AKB by the hardcore here, though he’s anything but.
    His blog is a fun read and not too serious or credible.

    Mourinho is a fine manager and coach. Tactically he is second to none. But he is a very disruptive influence and it would be easy to imagine him and RA having a falling out.
    CFC do have an awesome squad and unlimited resources so it’s an environment he thrives on and is used to, but in the long term I’m not convinced he’ll be an asset.

    Agree that AFC need to be efficient and quick this summer.

  30. leon

    Tom the midfielder that i have seen score reguly is casarna if you look at chelsea hazard meta lampard score most of there goals

  31. tom

    Of course any team could find a place for Mata. Oscar and Hazard still have a little to prove but do look very promising.
    Don’t forget Ramirez too.
    CFC have many great players but they are a shit club.
    They have prizes but no soul. If they want to be truly great they need to address that.

  32. tom

    I loathe Real Madrid. Over privilidged with fascist roots.
    Tapping up aside, I have plenty of admiration for Barca.

    This is just my gut talking. I’m sure if you looked into it, you’d find them both equally monsterous.

  33. leon

    Tom the midfielder that i have seen score reguly is casarna if you look at chelsea hazard meta lampard score most of there goals . It does not matter were the goals come from as long as you can score and there not many players in the squad who can score 20 plus goals but why you pay the extra money.

  34. Thomas

    Vieira wanted to work with Arsenal but Wenger didnt. He only wants to surround himself with yes men. Vieira would have challenged Wenger.

  35. slade

    “I believe that the last three months the team has shown we are ready [to challenge for honours] because we are consistent,” Wenger told the club’s official website.

    “The strengths we have built and the way the team has grown can be transferred into next season.

    “That is very positive so let’s keep the group together, rest well and come back in a strong way.”

    Please try to spin these words in a manner that indicates anything other than status quo for The Arsenal in the coming year 2013-2014.

  36. tom

    I don’t need to spin it. I’ll let Wenger speak for himself.

    “We want to have additions to the squad but keep first the structure and the spirit and the quality of the team we have now.
    “Let’s not forget there are many clubs with big money and maybe there is not enough talent to strengthen all the teams but we will be out there proactively…..
    ….”Finishing in the top four means we are capable of playing with the top teams in Europe. That is what you want.
    “It means as well it is easier to bring in players when you have a chance to be in the Champions League. Let us not forget, we are not in yet. We have to qualify. That is always a very tricky round for us. At least we have a chance.”

    The part above you edited out. It clearly signals Arsenal’s intention to buy and even implies they plan to get things done early.

    So you ought to quit spinning, Slade.

  37. Alex From Perth, Western Australia

    Good Morning All,

    I just thought I’d take the time to say thanks for the blogs this season. It’s the highlight of my pre-morning ritual, before starting my daily work.

    Let’s hope for a big summer (Well winter for me) of big signings and excitement for the coming season.

    Vive Le-Grove

  38. tom

    Dial Square,

    Vieira gave ten years to AFC. Won all there is to win in England and though not a winner, shone in the Champions league. He also won the World Cup as an Arsenal player. He was our Captain and the heart of the team from the day he first stepped onto the field in our colours to the day he left.
    If he wanted a fresh challenge and some serious dough in the waning years he new he had to move. On top of that, he was already beginning to fade just a little and with the emergence of Cesc, the writing was on the wall.
    I wish he had stayed his whole career at Arsenal as his presence and experience would have been great for the kids, but I don’t begrudge him his payday at Juventus.
    He and Wenger may have fallen out, I don’t know and I doubt you do either, but I’ll bet my house that if you asked him, he’d say Arsenal had a big place in his heart.

    So you ought to speak of him respectfully. But you are a dolt so you probably won’t.

  39. dialsquare

    Vieira was given the Captains Armband by Wenger in a futile and ultimately vain attempt to appease him after he threatened to walk out on the Club.

  40. Jeff

    Some reports reckon Mourinho has already agreed terms with Chelsea. The sequel is never good as the original. If you can’t win anything with Real Madrid, with whom can you win? Abramovich and the Chelsea fans will have huge expectations and they will want to see Mourinho make an instant impact and win the league and/or CL. The phrase “fools rush in where angels fear to tread” comes to mind.

  41. Jeff

    “Arsenal have £70m transfer budget” reads the headlines. If he were willing to spend all of it without actually trying to recoup new acquisition expenditure from those leaving, all I can see are 3 or 4 drossy nobodies who will help us cement fourth again for the ninth year running. Woopy do.

  42. slade

    I didn’t ask you to infer what was meant by wenger’s words but simply quoted his words and asked for your spin. You add further quotes and infer you know their meaning….by guessing one must assume.
    Taken as a whole there is nothing in that statement that infers anything.

  43. Paddy got up

    Vieira held us to ransom every year. Fucking about should I stay or go bollocks. Remember it was him who told Ashley Hole not to accept less than 6ok.
    Leave him at City with the other vultures.
    Also has anyone met Viera? Total horrible git won’t even sign an autograph for a kid.

  44. N5

    Isco is valued currently at £17,500.000 but he has a £27,000.000 buy out clause in his contract so its possible to get him and that would be a sign of intent. I imagine that won’t happen though, I can’t see AW breaking £20+ on anyone.

  45. N5

    Paddy I thought exactly the same, I loved him playing for us, but every year he fucked about with his contract! he’s as bad as the rest of them! I don’t want Cesc back either.

  46. Nasri's Mouth


    Malaga need cash so they may well sell Isco for less than his release clause if they don’t get enough interested clubs. With Pellegrini the most likely replacement for Mancini I’d say ManC are favourites, though with 2 of his former team mates at Arsenal, you never know

  47. N5

    NM I think your right mate that MC are favourites.

    That Malage situation cracks me up, don’t they have a really rich owner that could help them from losing all their best players?

    I would love to see Isco at the Emirates.

  48. Nasri's Mouth


    For whatever reason he’s not prepared to pump in his own money anymore. Can’t say I blame him too much, he’d really struggle to beat the RM / Barca monopoly. Isco could also go to Madrid of course…

  49. Greenmount Gooner

    Why not wait until we see what we have/haven’t done in the transfer market, by say the middle/end of June, and if you’re still not happy by all means spew you’re negative bile all over LG.
    Its 2(two) days since we wrapped up a place in the champions league, the club are making all the right noises ( I know, I know) and hopefully next year we can finally return to being genuine contenders. Being miserable all the time will do you no good.

  50. Oh Theo Theo!

    Greenmount – Jeff’s reflecting what a lot of us feel. We’ve heard the spin, year after futile year.

    We want action, and action fast. The feeling seems to be “wait and see if we qualify for the CL” – which just isn’t good enough.

    The “major” transfer business needs to be done quickly, decisively and not just the French shite that no other top team wants.

    So – totally different to the last 8 years’ work…..

  51. sylvain

    Ridiculous celebration on Sunday, as if we had been crowned…

    And ridiculous expectations about the transfert market.

    Here’s what AW already think right now: “the team is growing stronger each season, one again we finish in the top 4, so where’s the need to spend big ?”

    Same old, same old Arsene…

  52. The Poldi Prince

    I’d love isco, cesc, higuain, capoue, Williams

    Surely that’d see us as a contender.

    Potentially full back depth and CB depth too.

    Would be happy to take the punt on this french african striker if we get the above first.

  53. The Poldi Prince

    Replace chamakh, arshavin, gervinho, tv (if leaving), diaby all from current first team squad with isco, cesc, higuian, williams, capoue and wow, we have a good team.

    Scwarzer, cabaye and ben arfa and we can compete on 4 fronts

  54. Robert

    Hello, let me just thank you for your daily dose of insight, wit and belief. It has not always been easy this season, as we all know. I hope you are going to be right again and come August, we shall set off for a journey that will have some goddamn silverware at its end for us. It will be at a long long long last indeed.

  55. Rhys Jaggar


    Piece of advice for you if you want to develop ‘stature’: do your homework if you want to talk about weighty matters.

    1. Arsenal’s finance was a 5 – 6% over 25 years, after they refinanced the bridging loan to pay the builders. It has never been 3%. Arsenal Directors went for a fixed rate at a time when most thought interest rates would rise: maybe they still will? Have they refinanced again?? By your arguments, Spurs can borrow at the same rate Arsenal are currently paying.
    2. There are other ways of raising money you know. Crowd Funding for one. It’s just a glorified North Bank bond issue to be honest, so I’m hardly letting any cats out of a bag that Daniel Levy won’t already know about (his boss is quite up on finance you know, living his billioinaire’s existence in the Caribbean). But Spurs could easily say: ‘lets raise £150m from fans to put down a deposit’. It wouldn’t be easy, but they could do it. And it’s not only Arsenal they compete against for ECL places, it’s Chelsea, Man City and Man Utd. Unless it’s all fixed, those clubs are more vulnerable than before because they keep changing managers and FFP will hit Chelsea and City hard. I’m not saying they won’t adapt, but they won’t have it all their own way. Moyes might cock it up too. Spurs can increase their match day figures by the same that Arsenal did and plan based on finishing 5th. They need £20m a year extra on a mortgage identical to Arsenal to break even without ECL revenues. They’d have to be really prudent, but their motto is after all ‘the game is about glory’. Perhaps they want to let more fans enjoy football? Radical concept I know, but I wouldn’t presume to read their own mind if I were you.
    3. I don’t think they are going away – they may have to sell Bale, but they have a structure in place which says that they will finish top 6 or 7 for the next 5 years unless they really cock it up. They might go for it for one more season, praying that Ryan Shawcross won’t break Bale’s leg next year.
    4. The thing Arsenal should worry about is not Spurs but EPL clubs doing so badly in the Champions League that the quota gets reduced to three. That really would be something to worry about.

    Opinions are opinions, but I’d leave Spurs to do their business and focus on Arsenal doing theirs.