Protest is futile

by .


Oooooh, a table. But not an Ikea table.

Someone presented a table to me this morning. Not an Ikea table. Oh no. A table that outlined Arsenal’s net spending since we last won a trophy. Something like £7.5m. I wasn’t entirely sure what I was supposed to think, but in seasons gone by, it was probably, ‘incredible’, interesting now that the narrative has changed.

I’ve been bemoaning the lack of spend for a few years, but that, for me, has merely been a cover up for many of the other deficiencies that have crept into the set up. The interesting comment that came of the back of that table was…

‘I don’t even think that’s his biggest problem’

I don’t either. Spending money is an issue. However, a deeper issue is spending it properly. Ozil was a beautiful signing, but as I said at the time, it was clearly a panic buy and certainly not a clear requirement at the start of the summer. Now, you don’t say no to top players. He’s a massive asset for us, even though he’s been brutalised by Arsene. My point here is that a striker was the real requirement and it didn’t happen.

Of bigger concern is the type of player we keep signing. Where are our beasts? Where are our whippets? We seem to be insistent on ignoring the key attributes that make a great Premiership player. Pace and power.

I mean, Wenger has never been one for tanking up players with muscle, which used to be ok because he bought big players. However, these days, we have little players who don’t really get any bigger unless it’s natural through age. Even looking at the Swansea players the other night, their small players have substantial muscle over our players.

I always remember the transformation of Ronaldo from Premier League heroine chic… to Portuguese man of war. Fergie turned him into a monster. He might look like a Ken doll, but he’s one of the most powerful players on the planet. Would Arsene have taken the same approach to his development? Doubtful.

It’s not a massive criticism, more of an observation. I know Wenger correlates bulk with a lack of mobility. I’m not so sure that holds true. Look at Drogba. Look at that monster Matic. What a player. He’s explosive over 30 yards, he’s strong as an ox and he can play ball. We need players like that in our side. Arteta is coming to the end. We need bigger, faster with more stamina.

In other news, some fans are holding a protest this weekend. I’m often e-mailed and asked why I don’t rally troops for such events. Firstly, because it’s absolutely not my place to. Le Grove is not a fan group. You want to arrange something, speak to the good people at BSM, AISA or The AST.

Aside from that, I’m not a believer in the protest. I’m not a believer in the banner. I’m not a believer in the online petition. Why? Because I know how companies work. I know what bothers them and what doesn’t. 100 angry men shouting at a gate is not going to bother the board at Arsenal. Why? Because 100 people isn’t mass scale. Our fanbase is millions. Our fan base put 9000 likes on an Arsenal Facebook update detailing us conceding a goal. 100 people don’t affect the bottom line. 100 people can be replaced on the season ticket waiting list in a matter of minutes.

Protest, in the digital age, for me is old school (when you’re not trying to overthrow a government). In business, you’re not going to get what you want by acting in a militant way. The same way the shouty football manager is a dying breed these days (in football and in business), so is the protest when it comes to football. At best 100 people get a back page of The Mirror (same as the guy who rolled out the banner did). But what does that achieve? The story is dead after 2 wins on the bounce. If you want progress, you have talk to people in a constructive way. You have to lay out your points in an organised way and communicate them with the club. America was forced into action over it’s NSA debacle because of digital. Not 1000 people standing outside the White House. Most businesses make changes when they’re shamed online. That’s the way of the world. Mass scale action over tiny pockets of action.

… and believe me, they read the online opinion. If you think they don’t know what we’re all thinking, you’re totally deluding yourself. The club inspect the blogs, read the fan forums… they probably have an agency that undertake social listening for them (I CAN DO THIS FOR YOU CALL ME ARSENAL), they’ll hear people in the ground, see the gaps in the seats, realise that shifting boxes is a nightmare, get a talking to when they’re at the petrol station and all the other indicators that things aren’t right.

Stan won’t though. However… if we drop out of the top 4. Then Stan will give a f*ck. Because his cash money will be jeopardized. I find it amazing that a man as rich as he is, takes any interest in sports clubs. He’s super long term with everything. He buys property and waits for the appreciation over 20 years. He’s like that with sports clubs as well. He’s bought Arsenal because it’s undervalued and he’s had to invest virtually nothing to watch it appreciate in value. He seems to care not for having the best club on the planet, he’s more interested in having the most expensive asset on the planet that require zero TLC.

You look at Arabs at City, and think what you like about what they’re spending they’re money on… but the vision. Wow. Absolutely incredible. They’re building a college, about 92 training pitches, a reserve stadium, it’s all powered by hippy love. It’s magic. They’re building an incredible legacy. They have Pat Vieira as a development director (I think that’s his title) and they have expertise oozing all over their set up. Word on the street is they’re grooming him to takeover from Pellegrini in 3 years time. What a gutter that’d be.

We should be doing things like that. We should have young coaches all over the club. We should be investing in our youth set up, because it’s not really turning out the superstars, is it? 17 years in and it can hardly boast a production line of great players. It barely qualified as an elite training facility. From the thickest catchment area in the UK as well. I mean, I really like Akpom, he looked a talent in preseason, great power, focus and skill… yet he’s overlooked for Sanogo? What’s going on there?

At a base level… how many of our backroom team have been pinched over the years and put into bigger clubs? None. Why? Because they’re not that good (the older guys). Mourinho had Brendan Roger and AVB under his wing and now they’re elite managers commanding massive salaries. Fergie had Meulesteen, McClaren Kidd and Queiroz‎ (ok, not successful, but good enough to get manager jobs).

Anyway, I’m all over the place this morning with this post.

As a side note, I find it interesting that the Le Grove hate campaign has gone from, ‘he’s talking sh*t’… to now… ‘He’s enjoying this unfold’

For the record, I do not enjoy watching this unfold. I suffer (first world suffering) the same as any other fan, maybe even a bit more because I have to write up the collapse instead of shutting off. I don’t believe in faux optimism. It’s insincere. What you get here is what I believe. Whimsically talking up how amazing everything is when it’s patently not the case isn’t good reading in my opinion.

The stuff that is penned here is built off more than my imagination, I speak to people in the game, at the club, around the club to give the narrative of what’s going on. I write the reality when we’re doing well so I can’t be shot down as ‘knee jerk’ when it goes down the pan. Doesn’t mean I enjoy it. Nothing would make me happier than to see a Le Grove declaration retweeted a million times because Arsene took the Premier League title. I’d love it, because my life isn’t so vacuous that I’d place more importance on being right over the success of a club that is deeply ingrained in my psyche.

My agenda is a better Arsenal. Simple as that. Le Grove isn’t a rant platform. We put forward issues, offer up logical solutions that would benefit the club. Sure, those suggestions might be tainted with emotion, but what’s the point in writing about football if you’re not emotional? Do you like chatting to people who sit on the fence and talk objectively all the time? I don’t. Some of the stuff we suggest, like players, doesn’t work out. That’s life. Point is, writing a blog isn’t a competition in being right. For me, it’s about putting questions out there. It’s about extending the post match experience online. The community that sits below is about exploring those questions through the day. All the fun in football is about exploring the possibilities, chatting through the realities and adding a bit extra to whatever we do.

So in short, the Arsenal that I see now, collapsing, doesn’t make me happy, because I know there’s a better way of doing things. I know we’re not doing the best we can. We can be challengers. I just don’t think it’s under Arsene Wenger. That’s all we’ve been about for years. That, and beer.

Right, that’s me done. Have a ripping day.

658 Responses to “Protest is futile”

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  1. Cesc Appeal

    Jenkinson, Mert, Kozz, Gibbs
    Barry, Ramsey
    Walcott, Klose, Kalou

    Spend of a £1.76.

    But it’s not his fault…

  2. Inter YourGran

    Sanogo is french and did alright in the u20 wc. That for me was nailed on when the tentative links crept through.

    As for kallstrom, fuck me, that was so leftfield when I came out of my daily F5 transfer window induced sugar coma I thought I was in a lucid dream starring in an episode of the twilight zone.

    Then they kept repeating it on ssn and it ruined, everything.


  3. Cesc Appeal



    Don’t you listen to some people on here??? The moon landing was an easier process than it is to get transfers done, don’t you know that…now stop with all this nonsense that you can carry out transfers in some professional manner….back in the corner you go!

  4. Dream10

    Midwest Gun

    Lmao. Told my brother of how I think we need at least eight or nine players, he said
    “Don’t be an idiot. Arsene Wenger is in charge. Not gonna happen.”

  5. Dream10

    Roberto Martinez planning for next year

    The Spanish boss is keen to bring Jack Rodwell back to Goodison Park from Manchester City, while Everton will also bid to sign Romelu Lukaku if Chelsea let the Belgian striker leave. Gareth Barry should also become a permanent signing.
    ‘Whether we are in Europe or not is a big factor,’ said Martinez. ‘We’ve got money but I didn’t think spending in January was the right thing to do. If we get in Europe I think that makes a difference of six players. I always found you can work on a squad of 21 players in the league and for domestic competitions.
    ‘You need around 27 players plus keepers for Europe. It doesn’t have to be 27 senior players, it can be young players too, but 27.
    ‘We have identified what we need for next season in terms of the areas, and then you start working on your wish-list. If you get into the Champions League you can look for your number one choice. If not, you’re going to number four, five, six and maybe seven or eight. But we have got the money and it is there to be spent.’

  6. MidwestGun

    Actually, all this transfer talk has me even more depressed. I wish I could be oblivious to reality and just roll with whatever Wenger does. Wouldn’t life be easy then?

  7. MidwestGun

    Intet Gran –
    I dont count Ozil because we were only linked for about 4 hours. Has to be at least a day for it to count. Lol. We did land him tho. And I was excited as hell until I realized fuck me, thats all we got that wasnt free.

  8. Zacharse

    everton are definitely going to pick up some chelsea cast offs, dunno if lukaku fits that list, but people just want to give roberto martinez great players. the guys fuckin magic! he’s fucken magic!

  9. follow the money

    we need about 5 or 6 top quality additions to compete. then look at the 2-3 we will lose this summer and the 4-5 we should get rid of and replace, and you’re talking about Wenger making at the minimum 11 signings this summer. Who thinks that’s going to happen? Hahahaaaaaaa

  10. Inter YourGran

    Off subject, I really used to fancy that mel sykes bird (the boddington ads for those old enough) but watching her report on moto gp (not got a fucking scooby what she’s talking about) and seeing her twitter prose is basically the same as American teenagers, it’s killed a bit of me inside.

    Moral of the tale; just follow porn stars

  11. MidwestGun

    Dream 10 –
    A manager with a plan months before the transfer window starts. What a novel idea. Probably will have all his business wrapped up in a couple of weeks too.

  12. Zacharse

    Biggest Arsenal Transfer News last summer was that we bid for luis suarez.

    can you believe the balls these guys got, the balls! to ACTUALLY bid for him!
    Just imagine the headlines when we bid for him again this summer.


  13. MidwestGun

    Inter Gran –
    Now your talkin my language. I only follow porn stars and super models. They have absolutely nothing interesting to say, but as they say a picture is worth a 1000 words. 😀

  14. Inter YourGran

    11 signings? Nah 5 will do 6 max

    GK; Woj, Viviano* (loan perm), martinez

    Rb; aurier*, jenkinson, bellerin
    Lb; Gibbs, monreal
    CB; bfg, Dave, ginter*, hayden

    CM/DM: schniderlin*,Ramsey, wilshere, Flamini, arteta, rosicky

    Am: özil, cazorla, aneke

    LWF: reus*, oxlade-chamberlain
    RWF; walcott, gnabry

    Cf; balotelli*, mortata*, campbell, akpom

  15. MidwestGun

    IYG –
    Your transfer plan makes sense. Which means there is no chance in hell its happening. Lol.
    Do you think Arsene even writes it out on a piece of paper by position? If he does how do you explain our CF position. 🙁

  16. Inter YourGran

    You know what we don’t need reus. I’m revising my list 5 signings

    GK; szczesney, viviano*, martinez

    Rb; aurier*, jenkinson, bellerin
    Lb; gibbs, monreal
    Cb; mertesaker, koscielny, ginter*, hayden

    Cm/dm; schniderlin*, ramsey, wilshere, arteta, flamini, rosicky

    Am; özil, cazorla, aneke

    Lw/rw; walcott, oxlade-chamberlain, gnabry, campbell

    St; balotelli*, morata*, akpom

  17. MidwestGun

    Ballotelli kind of worries me tho. Stupidly talented. Emphasis on stupid. 😀 but Mourinho admits he couldnt handle him, Im thinking no way AW has a chance.

  18. Inter YourGran

    Now for me, that’s a proper squad. Pace on the flanks, good back 4 unit, options in the middle dependant on oppo with rotation possible. Plus we have the guile and maverick up front to win games plus covered regarding injuries.

    I’ve got a semi thinking about it, hang on, wenger’s the manager, semi kaboshed!

  19. Inter YourGran

    Midwest – thing with balotelli is he’s a maverick, you need those. We have a squad bereft of personality plus he’s uber talented.

    Wenger for all his faults is a great developmental manager and can create calm and loyalty from even the most difficult individual.

    Balo needs a home, we’d love him here. He might a red card now and again but that’s why we’d have morata

    Plus players like ramsey and walcott bore me, wilshere and szczney annoy me, balotelli excites me.
    At least if we’re going to bottle it as per let it be exciting ffs

  20. MidwestGun

    At least if we’re going to bottle it as per let it be exciting ffs
    Hshaha. You won me over with that last line, excellent point. Im in!

  21. MidwestGun

    Why do I feel like I could take 5 or 6 guys from this blog and run the transfer windows better than Arsenal. I shouldn’t be able to feel that way. I don’t feel that way about any other top 4 team. Sad times.

  22. follow the money

    IYG that’s a good lineup but I would take Arteta off of there, he’s going to be even more useless next season. Replace him with M’vila or Bender et al a beast of a mF destroyer and you’d be in business

  23. follow the money

    and IYG even in that proposed lineup there are 8 deals including recalling Campbell etc back from loan. Seeing how Wenger dithers over every single deal including loans do you really think he could get 8 deals done in a world cup year? He’s got to comment for French tv you know

  24. fraz

    Fenerbahce (a)
    Fenerbahce (h)
    Marseille (a)
    West Brom (a)
    Napoli (h)
    Borussia Dortmund (h)
    Chelsea (h)
    Borussia Dortmund (a)
    Marseille (h)
    Napoli (a)
    Spurs (h)
    Coventry City (h)
    Liverpool (h)
    Bayern Munich (h)
    Everton (h)
    Bayern Munich (a)

    list of arsenal cup games. Compare theese with livpool or Everton. Chelsea and city hv much bigger squads. Yes we needed back up in key areas. But we hv done pretty well over the season in most of the games. There has been some serious progress. Even you cant deny that.

  25. fraz

    Also your comment about tackles not being different in intensity. If you err and refree punishes the player. He wont go and do the same thing again. Unfortunately lots of bad tackles go unpunished against us. Maybe due to our reputation. But that’s the truth. And a player carrying a knock is more susceptible to other non contact injuries also.

  26. follow the money

    @fraz I don’t see progress. We went out of the Champions league at the same stage as the last few years, our FA cup run is because we got lucky with the draw and lucky to get home games, and our record against the top teams in way worse than ever. Where’s the progress? We still don’t have good enough players to cover for injuries, we have more injuries than ever, we have the worst striker I’ve ever seen at Arsenal, and no backup for him. I don’t get it. At best we are treading water. At some time Wenger needs to shit or get off the pot and use the funds we have to actually try and win something. Fortune favors the brave. But he doesn’t have it in him, apparently

  27. fraz

    We r on course ti finish at 80 points. And win FA cup. Yup s we hv lost big games away. But we hv won also many big games. Certainly in the cup ties. The only difference has been the margin of defeats. Also over past 3 years we have never played the way we dis for majority of the season. Yes we r losing now. But half our first team is injured. That we don’t hv a big enough squad is another topic. We need to buy players. To get back to league contention and ensure we dnt capitulate . But some of our play has deserved a title this year. FA cup and 80 points us progress to me. Huge progress.

  28. Thank you and goodnight

    Rob Beasly interviewing Mourinho in today’s sun……

    RB: “isn’t finishing top four like winning a trophy though?”

    JM:” No, we don’t want a trophy for finishing 2nd,3rd or 4th… some other guys want.”

    Ha ha ha. He loves sticking the knife in doesn’t he, he really dislikes Wenger with a passion.

  29. grooveydaddy

    that looks like the interviewer having a pop at Wenger by giftwrapping that on a platter for Jose to hit out of the park

    for what it’s worth, it bugs me to see rivals taking the piss out of Wenger

    that should be the exclusive privilege of us fans!

  30. Thank you and goodnight

    Problem is mate Wenger has turned himself into a laughing stock. All this crap about him being loved by the footballing world is rubbish. He acts holier than thou and acts like he’s the footballing police, that’s why they laugh at him. The reason the top rival managers want him to remain is that when they play arsene, they know it’s an easy 3 points.

  31. Leedsgunner

    “He has an absolutely fantastic attitude, he’s a credit to the job because of his attitude, his focus and his determination. He works hard, he’s helpful and he’s marvellous.”

    For goodness sake we needed a rampaging box to box midfielder not Thomas the Tank Engine! Utterly pathetic.

  32. Leedsgunner

    “The only difference has been the margin of defeats… Also over past 3 years we have never played the way we dis for majority of the season. Yes we r losing now. But half our first team is injured. That we don’t hv a big enough squad is another topic. ” (sic)

    Is this supposed to make us feel better? I think the key phrase is… we’re losing now. It matters not whether we’ve been in the competition for a bit longer this year. We’re losing now.

    The sad thing is we had every opportunity to win the competition had we signed a top striker in the summer and a top DM… but we allowed it slip away. Negligent.

  33. fraz

    Leeds. We could hv won the league if we had signed a Suarez, ozil, a pacy winger, a ball playing defensive mid . But you miss the key point. All of them needed to be World class. No chance of arsenal buying four 30 million plus players in one window like Madrid, City or chelsea. Or we cud follow the Bayern model. Get one big player each window. And make do with developing players like ramsey on our own . We absolutely need signings. But we don’t need mediocre signings.

  34. Bergkamplegend

    “…he has quality and his attitude is fantastic.”

    What’s the problem ?? It’s good to see wa have at least ONE player with quality lol

  35. Gladwyn

    Fraz… i don’t know what you are trying to say mate. you calling this season a progress? Really? In what terms. the failings are familiar ones nothing different from the pattern set last season. It is more of regress actually. Last season our injury list was manageable, pattern of defeats was less embarassing. When we didnt need mediocre signings this season, why did we have Flamini,Sanogo and Kallstorm signed this seaon. Tell me you were really excited when these signed for Arsenal. Don’t dress up incompetent showings by Arsenal, a great club as progress.

  36. PieAFC

    We are becoming the also rans of the league.

    Beginning to live in the past forner glories like the mickeys.

    We let this stagnant club move further and further on a medicore basis, we will end up slipping away from the top 4, if we do it will take us just as long to get back.

    You think the club are frivolous with their money now, try seeing it out wjen we are taking less money in from CL revenue.

    Rafa was loved by the Liverpool fans, but changed happened.

    So many clubs always talk like Wenger is Arsenal, all about his exploits, what hes done, like they take it personally. Half the time I actually do wonder of the fan base of certain infividuals woudl still be following Arsenal if he did leave.

  37. Gladwyn

    We are becoming the also rans of the league.

    Let’s be honest, we have had no chance at the title in a very long time. Also rans will mean we actually did have a chance.

    This year we looked like we could have made it with transitions happening elsewhere around us plus our wonderful position in Jan made us wish things could be different. Alas,we were too wishful with Arsene at the helm. The board conveniently distances themselves from every bit of controversy with the manager. Every time IG says” the manager has the resources, should he need it” I immerse myself in my vomit.

  38. KJafc

    We could hv won the league if we had signed a Suarez, ozil, a pacy winger, a ball playing defensive mid . But you miss the key point. All of them needed to be World class. No chance of arsenal buying four 30 million plus players in one window like Madrid, City or chelsea. Or we cud follow the Bayern model. Get one big player each window. And make do with developing players like ramsey on our own . We absolutely need signings. But we don’t need mediocre signings.
    This is spot on.

  39. Gladwyn

    No chance of arsenal buying four 30 million plus players in one window like Madrid, City or chelsea.

    But we could have bought 2 addl. players of 15m each to add some depth in a DM and a striker(Negredo costs somewhere around that I think) You might again argue that we need top players and not mediocre signings to which I ask if that was the case, why sign Sanogo,Flamini,Kallstorm and the Viviano lad.

  40. peanuts&monkeys

    Protests are never futile. Whats your point Pedro? Your post around the protest stinks of AKBism. You are too much into the official circles of AFC. You dont want to risk your credentials as a impartial journo voice. You pretend to to be with the fans but you are actually with the BoD of AFC. You incite the passion by sections of your post and then retract like you did today. You are not even a fence-sitter. You are on the AFC+ BoD + Wenger + Stan side. Disgusting!

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  42. goonerboy

    Does not matter who Wenger doesn’t sign this year. The results against City, Chelsea, Liverpool away, Man U away demonstrate clearly that Wenger’s , style of play, tactics, midfield and defence set up is completely obsolete- and the players we have play like they know it and are defeated before we get on the field .

    The penny is finally dropping about Wenger-hes been here too long in the same job.

    Wenger has to go and be replaced with a tactically competent manager. Thats a start. It might take a few more hammerings for the penny to drop. We will not have long to wait. for the next one