by .

rainy emirates

The following post comes from one of the Grovers in the comments sections. You’ve read me post some of Surfer X’s comments, which have been incredibly insightful. Today, he’s taken on a full post. An excellent read. Enjoy!

Come on- its only two years. Looking back, every time before it has been three. Something’s changed. Why only sign for two? And why leave it so long? The Board would of happily given him a longer contract- we all know that- so why the reduced commitment? Could be an age thing, could be a motivation thing, could be that the fans discontent is starting to wear thin. Or could be something else. Either way, if he signs it is a departure: a change. To me, another in a line of signals that change is near;


I’m surprised that more hasn’t been made of this in the AFC blogging world. Lets look at what has happened with our youth setup:

-in January 2013, AFC announce that Brady will be stepping down at the end of this season. A full year later, they announce the appointment of an outsider- Andries Jonker. A couple of quotes;

IG: “He has an outstanding track record in developing and identifying young players and creating systems to bring the best out of them”

AW: “He has a big reputation in the game and was a key part of the team which developed the structures which are now producing such strong young players in Holland”

This was big news to me. Whenever a senior member of AW’s management team has stepped left, the succession has always been to promote from within, or from AW’s inner-circle of contacts. Maintain the status-quo. Don’t challenge the principles. Keep doing it the AW-way, it works. Not this time. Two months into a job he hasn’t formally started yet, we get this release from the club;

“From July 1, existing under-18s coach Carl Laraman will join Steve Gatting to work with the club’s under-21 players. This follows Terry Burton’s decision to leave Arsenal this summer. The under-18s will be managed by new arrival Frans de Kat and former Arsenal player and current under-16 coach Kwame Ampadu. The under-16s will be under the leadership of Jan van Loon. Dutchmen Frans de Kat and Jan van Loon will join Arsenal in the summer, bringing with them a wealth of experience from previous roles at leading clubs and the national association in Dutch football.”

Lets boil this down. Brady is leaving and Burton did too once it became apparent that things were going to change; the status quo wouldn’t be maintained. Laraman has been pushed up to the U21’s to join Gatting. So, the part of the academy which is closest to AW’s first-team squad (ie U21’s) get to have both his trusted-stalwarts. After all, if you are potentially only managing for 2 more years- why do need to think about the U18’s and U16’s, right? Wheras U21’s should be knocking at the door. So what’s happening at the levels more removed from the first-team?

Two new Jonker-heads; two outsiders with new ideas and new methods- and, crucially, with no prior-relationship to AW. The U18’s become headed by de Kat- supported by Ampadu (moving up from the U16’s.. continuity of personal without continuity of method?). U16’s is a complete sea-change; van Loon (best coaching name ever?) gets the job. Both appointments are young, outsiders and Jonker-heads, NOT Wenger-men. First time in 20 years. WOW!

All of which is interesting. Of course, it doesn’t mean that it will work; that there will be any improvement in end product; but it is clear that the academy has been restructured with greater autonomy from the first-team management structure. Succession planning. In one appointment, AW control over the Academy has been significantly diminished (and by that I don’t mean he no longer has influence; more that he has less hands-on control: a more autonomous structure in place). No more reliance on one over-arching individual.


Some Wenger quotes:

“Traditionally November has not been a good month for us, but I explain that by the fact we had more injuries, it is the first period when they kick in.” Nov 09

“We have analysed absolutely everything. It’s strange because the more injuries you get, you then seem to get even more because you always play the same players. Also, you rush some players back and then you have more chance to get them injured again.” Jan 10

“We got the injury of Cesc, which was the consequence of a bad tackle. The injury of Ramsey is the consequence of a bad tackle, the injury of Gibbs is the consequence of a bad tackle. We got hit hard. Once you get a few injuries you cannot rotate any more and the players like Vermaelen, who is injured now” Apr 10

“Overall, if you look at all the numbers, ours are not much more. What we have more is long-term injuries than others clubs but they are down to bad luck and bad tackling. Or they were picked up with the national team. Also once you have had an injury there are more chances to be injured again.” Oct 10

“We know now that a large percentage of players who play a lot of games between the ages of 18 and 21 have bony stress responses. I never expected the number to be so high. It happens because your skeleton is not completely finished and the bones are not completely developed to absorb the kinds of shocks you get in the Premier League.” Mar 12

“Statistically, you will lose one or two during these international breaks. This time we lost Koscielny [and] Walcott. Everybody else came back [without injury]. This is the period where you start to have injuries.” Oct 12

“Some of them [muscle injuries] are down to the medication that the players take that you don’t even know about. Then you realise afterwards that they took this medication but that’s not prudent. [..] If you lose your hair and you’ve taken something to make your hair grow, it might not be good, especially for the rest of your body,” Apr 14

So, there you have it. Injuries are down a natural consequence of the calendar; injuries breed more injuries; bad tackling by the opposition; inability to rotate; they aren’t really that bad; bad-luck; the national-team; over playing-youth; international breaks and, urm, medical & hair supplements. Never coaching or training methods. Nope. Never. I digress; to surmise, they are all external factors outside of his control. Fair enough- at least he has absolute clarity and conviction on what the causes are.

“I am concerned that this happens. We are analysing very deeply why it happened and to see if there is a link between all these injuries. For Walcott it’s completely bad luck. Wilshere – I don’t think it is linked with the other injuries, it’s more linked with his history and the kick he got. But the rest, maybe we have to find why it happened.” Asked whether he would review his training and medical procedures, Wenger said he would assess “everything”. “It’s very difficult to find any obvious reason why. Why? I don’t know.” Mar 14

1000 games in charge, 18 years in charge of the club and he doesn’t know? Don’t get me wrong- that doesn’t surprise me; I have no expectations that he can be a medical practitioner as well as a football manager, architect, accountant, economist, coach, philosopher, etc. I’m just astonished that he admitted it. So the Internal Investigation would take-place, he informs us, and would look at ‘everything’.

Wait. Stop- go back.

This is the all-knowing Wenger signing off on a no-stone unturned investigation into the clubs catastrophic long-term injury record. A man who has previously carried so much conviction in always having the answer. Letting people investigate training, coaching and everything? (Potentially) trampling over his long-standing methods and philosophies? And that was all his idea, was it? Nobody suggested it to him? No gentle encouragement or prompting from above?


More quotes- this from the man at the top- IG.

“This year we are beginning to see something we have been planning for some time, which is the escalation in our financial firepower. I’m talking about an extra £70million of additional, high-margin revenue which we will be able to use. We have a certain amount which we’ve held in reserve and we also have new revenue streams coming on board. All of these things mean we can do some things which would excite you.’

Now it’s a curiosity to me. This is legally-qualified professional executive that has cut their cloth in contract negotiations in the US, building the MLS brand. What’s the first rule of negotiation? Never the other party know what you are prepared and able to pay. Yet for 5 years, he has consistently blown that with this annual ‘Rivers of Cash’ speech. It may as well be;

‘As I look ahead, I am filled with foreboding; like the Roman [Abramovich], I seem to see the accounts of Arsenal plc foaming with much cash.’ Bonus points if you get the quote.

So why blow your negotiating position before you have even started? The thing is, I know and work with many CEO’s. They usually share common traits even if they have different backgrounds and skillsets: communication, strategy and drive. In order to succeed people need to walk with them on the journey- and they all know that too. So you don’t go out of your way preaching the same lie year after year as eventually you lose integrity and, consequently, people. The fans. I have heard many people say that it’s a lie; hes only saying it to drum up ticket sales; he’s pulling the wool over your eyes. Rubbish.

What he says is true, I have no doubt. He believes it- and no wonder. The accounts tell us its true- its there in black and white. Successive chairman and CEO’s have told us that. Hell even bloggers like swissramble have pointed it out (don’t worry- this is FFP: a Financially-Free Post!). Gazidis tells us because the money IS there and they DO want to invest it- but ultimately that final decision down to the manager. Or had?

Ozil was a strange deal. We spend the whole summer bargaining over a series of centre-forwards only to seemingly pull-out at the last minute (Higuain) or get nowhere (Suarez). Nowhere on the shopping-list was another creative-midfielder. I don’t know the details & specifics of that transfer- but I do know this: prior to 2013, AW had never spent more than £16m on a player. And yet, this summer he did- and he did big time. On the final day of the transfer window. To be clear, my assertion ISN’T that this was a Gazidis transfer- my assertion was that this was Wenger ceding the final-say in decision making process (in regard to the amount of money paid for a single player). I believe that, to whatever degree, there was a discussion regarding the excess of cash in the ‘business’ and the need to invest it back in the squad. Perhaps that was all the push needed for Wenger to take the plunge. Or perhaps it was stronger and more forthright than that. I don’t know. All I do know is that no CEO is going to be put up with being proven wrong 5 years on the trot by a sub-ordinate that has trigger-anxiety. If Ozil hadn’t signed it wouldn’t have been pretty. IG knew that, and, at the very least, that was made clear to AW.


So- back to why two years? And why has it taken so long to sign? It could be age or fan discontent. But, I don’t think so. AW has many positive traits- one of those is he carries the courage of his convictions extraordinarily well. I don’t things both him any more now that they did when he first came into the job- when they were being questioned then. It could be motivation, but the people who know him and bear testament to his character suggest that this is undiminished. I don’t think so. He still loves the job, he still loves football, he still loves the club. I have never questioned that.

I think its because he sees the winds of change blowing. The signs are there- the last 12 months have seen some very un-Arsene-like Arsenal behaviour. Things that used to be entirely his domain he is beginning to lose control over or having to question. Strategies and philosophies that have worked for 18 years are beginning to be disassembled. Behind the scenes obviously. That is why there has been a question-mark over his signature in his mind- does he want to stay while the club transitions from being paternalistically-led to a more persuasive & collaborative style?

In many ways, it could be a blessing if he decides to stay. Trying to transition structure simultaneously with senior management is never easy. Maybe we’ll finish 4th for two years and win nothing; or worse. Or maybe we won’t. I’ve waited 10 years for utopia, I can give it another two. Whatever; IF the outcome of those two years is a fundamental change in the structure of the organisation of the club which supports a more dynamic approach to the modern management- then bring it on. Warts and all.

791 Responses to “2 MORE YEARS – BRING IT ON”

Jump to comment form ↓

  1. Thomas

    Marko April 27, 2014 20:44:40

    I do really hate the arse kissing Mourinho gets on this blog sometimes. He is literally the biggest most insulting cunt of a manager in world football and has been for years. He’s a guy who seemingly has nothing but contempt for our club and yet some on here like to talk positive about him?

    Also I dunno about giving him credit for today. Both teams were fucking shite and the only difference was Gerrard slipping really. Suarez had his worst game of the season at the worst possible time too


    lol you’re mad as fuck. Mourinho is a brilliant manager.

    If only Wanker had 1/10 of his tactical knowledge.

  2. london gunner

    We get it Rodgers made a mistake.

    Wenger has made more, 6-3 5,1 6-0 3-0

    Liverpool currently top of the table

    Arsenal 4th….

    Wenger lovers: Oh but we had more games….

    Rational observer: Well wenger should of bought more players so we had depth and good back rotation options so we could cope

    Wenger Lovers: Oh but we can’t afford those players no oil money blah blah blah

    Rationale observer: err well we have at least 70 million in the bank so we easily could of afforded some more players and given us much needed depth

    wenger lovers then deflect/ignore this and go back to point 1 ranting about oil and liverpools fixtures…. the circle of dumb fuck headedness continues!

  3. Doublegooner

    We better hope Giggs doesnt get the Manc job otherwise van gaal could end up in N17 & give us some problems next season.

  4. london gunner

    Wenger Eagle

    stating the obvious? You’d think but I had Wengers elite guard in the summer stating Giroud was a far better player.

  5. karim

    Arteta PFA haircut of the year
    Schesczny PFA selfie of the year
    Bendtner PFA cab-lover of the year
    Diaby PFA injury of the year
    Ozil UEFA penalty kick of the year

    Did I forget someone lol ?

  6. london gunner

    I don’t understand how Hazard can win player of the year when his stats are still below Walcotts.

    Walcott at 23 14 goals and 11 assists in league

    Hazard 23 14 goals and 7 assists

    I watch every Chelsea game and Hazard really is just as inconsistent as Walcott he will score a vital goal every 4 or 5th game, Walcott every third or 4th and more assists.

    It just feels at this point they are voting for Hazard because his a flashy well marketed player.

  7. Bamford13


    No comparison between the two players. Yes, Walcott finishes and crosses, but he’s not very good with the ball at his feet. He’s not very skillful but instead scores goals and makes plays when played into space. Hazard, on the other hand, is one of the best dribblers in the world. A far more dynamic and talented player.

  8. luke

    Pfa team of the year???? Per and ramsey on the bench ?????? Cech over our polish delight especially considering the only two gk that have been talked up this term has been szczesny and de gea? Cahill fml… the guy is the most subbed cb on the planet mostly because hes shit…..

  9. london gunner


    but that’s the massive problem.. your voting for a player based on their highlight reel rather than how much they have actually contributed to the team in a whole season.

    If that’s the case Nani is a world class player do you get my point?

    I am not trying to argue Walcott is better than Hazard I am simply stating until he can contribute as much as an “inferior player he really doesn’t deserve young player of the year”

    It just shows the awards go to hyped individuals its potential over performance and that grates with me.

    I vote for the player who scored 1 goal in every matches rather than the player who scored 1 WC goal every 5 games…

  10. london gunner


    Another point can be argued that Hazards dribbling may be great but if he isn’t producing enough end product, e.g goals and assists and therefore isn’t effecting match outcomes as much as Walcott then it shows his not being a better player because his not using strengths to a high enough level yet.

    Another point is lets suppose Walcott has better movement, positioning and timing and his pace enables him to score more goals and create more assists why is he worse than Hazard?

    Your essentially putting Hazards dribbling skills over Walcots timing, runs movement and finishing and pace…

    But who decides what skills or set of abilities is better than another?

    That’s kind of bias for me I only consider the end result rather than the way a player took to get there.

    I have no doubt Hazard will surpass Theo but his been in the premier league for awhile yet and for such a hyped played he really needs to be beating Theo’s stats.

  11. MarbleHall

    I don’t need stats to tell me Hazard is a much better footballer than Walcott.
    What’s Walcott ever done in the game besides living off the one off hattrick against Croatia.

  12. Dissenter

    Dani Alves is such an easy going guy

    Speaking post game about his banana eating stunt; “In fact, the 30-year-old commented after the game:
    ‘I don’t know who threw the banana but I want to thank him. It gave me the energy to put two more crosses in for our goals.’

  13. Rhys Jaggar

    I wouldn’t put IG down too much for saying what the Arsenal war chest is or is not.

    Arsenal Holdings plc publishes financial statements as part of its legal obligations and anyone worthy of being a CEO, FD or owner of a major competitor of Arsenal is more than capable of working out for themselves what Arsenal’s potential transfer budget is. If you have £100m in the bank and debt service obligations, even if you don’t know exactly how much, you’d guess the debt service obligations are one or so times annual repayment schedule (i.e. £20 – 30m). That leaves £70m, some of which you’d reckon they’d hold in reserves for unexpected events (say, £20 – 30m). So, without being told what Arsenal’s transfer budget is, or is not, you can pretty clearly see that it’s probably in the range £40 – 50m.

    So if the figures are £180m cash at May 31st 2014, you put aside £30m as debt servicing reserve, £50m for other things and come up with a figure of £100m.

    It might be a bit more, it might be a bit less. But £80 – 120m makes sense, doesn’t it?

    Don’t need too much nous to work that one out as Tziki Begiristain or Florentino Perez, do you??

  14. Wee Geordie Armstrong

    watched the Chelsea v pool game and was sorry to see pool lose, out of the contenders of whom we are not and never were they would be the most palatable to win. But what really stood out was mourinhos tactical nous he knows how to break a team down and simply has a football brain that sadly AW has never had. I don’t know that even if AW does lash out with the cash that he has what it takes to

    A Pick the right players
    B Use them to their strengths
    C Tactically improve the team with those players

    I fear that he shys away from big name and personalities as he is worried that they will speak openly about his lack of expertise tactically. Thus exposing his weaknesses further that they have already been. The reality is that next season the league will be even more competitive and 4th is going to be much harder if that’s possible.

    Enjoy the FA cup because it will be our only trophy for many years to come with or without AW at the helm

  15. bergkamplegend

    “Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers frustrated as Chelsea ‘park two buses’ in win at Anfield ”

    Morning Grovers.

  16. El Tel 1


    Funny but I am sure Wenger HAS manged many WC players already and even to this day.

    Bergkamp,Henry,Pires,Vieira to name just a few.

    We also have Mesut Ozil in the team right now.

    Are you saying none of these are WC?

    Not one of them have spoken out about Wenger or His poor tactics. In fact they all still want to be part of the Club.

    Now if you say Wenger doesn’t like to Manage controversal players then I agree. In all honesty who would want to work with trouble every day and enjoy it?

    Before I get called out, I am not a Wenger apologist and also would like Him to leave, however blaming Him for everything stinks.

    Any of the older fans on here will tell you that Arsenal have always sold their gems and never buy the so called top top players.

    The 1971 Double winning team was broken up within 2 years and George’s team was aslo dismantled far to quickly.

    The big stand out signings of my time supporting the Arsenal have been.

    Alan Ball (World Cup Winner) SuperMac (Malcolm MacDonald) a record transfer fee at the time. Dennis Bergkamp and Mesut Ozil.

    There are probably others that people will see as top top players but these were my stand out bunch.

  17. Wee Geordie Armstrong

    El Tel you are right he has managed WC players that you mentioned they were all part of a great side that AW under achieved with. That side should have won more but didn’t. AWs tactical flaws were around back then as well but not as exposed as they are today therefore the players did win some big games and got a lot of well deserved acclaim for which AW deserves credit.

    I am not a AW hater far from it he has raised our club to a level it has never been at before his reign. I am an older fan and remember very well the sides you mentioned from our past and selling players like Brady and Stapleton, but that’s not what I am talking about AW will not spend the money wisely he has shown in the last 8 years that his philosophy is to try to buy cheap and develop into world class, sadly he has not been consistent in doing that. Ozil is WC when around other WC players he has not been WC with us AW needs to get players like you mentioned around Ozil but I don’t believe he will BUT I honestly hope that I am wrong and will be delighted to post that I got it all wrong.

    Next season will be very difficult for arsenal fans if AW doesn’t change his management approach

    In the meantime I hope we finish 4th and win the FA cups I am sick of the constant reference to our obvious lack of silverware COYG