Invincibles: A beautiful past that should fuel a spectacular future

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I managed to pick up an invite to the premiere of the documentary Arsenal commissioned into the Invincibles. It was held at a very sweet little cinema in Hampstead. I approached the door, there was a cameraman. The sign on the door said ’50 Shades’… that panic moment when you think you’re going to watch football but realise you might have to watch a sex film about hardcore bondage.

Anyway, fears soon alleviated. Sol Campbell just inside the door looking smart and slightly glazed as usual. Paul Davies with his son or young lover. Bobby P standing next to me for one, sweet, sweet moment. All a bit weird. All a bit sexy. Then I saw Ray Parlour and thought, if he had his own culturally relevant documentary right now… it’d be called ’50 Shades of Ray’.

Anyway, as you can see, I’m writing this instead of mingling. I don’t really care much for famous people, but there’s something very grounding about standing next to your childhood heroes. You realise you’ve achieved nothing next to those guys and in some cases, you’re just never to be that damn handsome.

Those chaps blew my mind. So many beautiful moments. So many iconic memories. So much good feeling. To be in the same room as so many of them was embarrassingly scary.

The guy who led the charge on the documentary stepped up to say some words. I think it’s important to note that this documentary felt more like a brand introduction piece. Taking one of the greatest stories of modern football and introducing people to the Arsenal brand. It was put quite nicely…

‘Teaching the world what it is to be Arsenal’

I also think it’s worth mentioning it wasn’t heavily funded and it was created as a side project. This production is a labour of love, which I can’t help but admire, because documentary making is a slog.

The story was fronted by 6 people. Wenger, Sol, Jens, Keown, Parlour and Thierry. They talked through some entertaining moments. Wenger said the players ‘in their own way, blamed me for the collapse the seasons before’, because he put too much pressure on the players.

Jens was the star of the show. He has Mourinho like arrogance about him. I’m sure he’d either make a spectacularly bad manager or an absolute hero of one. There’d be no middle ground there. He was major banter from start to finish.

It was also notable that the club had all but expunged Ashley Cole from proceedings. Amazing really. A player who wouldn’t contribute to Amy Lawrence’s book, cut out of history. I’m sure he’ll stick a middle finger up at us with his Champions League medal, but ultimately, it’s a sad story for me. He’ll never be loved by anyone. But there you go, up to him.

Arsene Wenger was good fun. Very humble, very open. It all got a bit sycophantic at the end. The marketer in me kind of feels like the club go hardcore on things like that to remind fans that Wenger was once a magical wizard of a manager. His vision no doubt carried us through those years, it’s just a shame he can’t find it in himself to reignite that side of his game.

The best part about the documentary is the secret fist pumping every time we scored a goal. You relive it. Your heart starts pumping even though you know the score. The goals, the power, the pace, the skill… the tension, the fight, the passion… so much to enjoy about that team. A group of gladiators who went to war on the pitch, even in training. All driven by the goal of winning the leagye. All driven by the team, not the individual. Such a well spent hour…

A great story and well worth watching.

I guess the second part of the story we’ll get in years to come. I want to hear about the fights. I want to hear about grit. I want to know the inner workings of how that squad was built. I WANT IT ALL.

But hey, I’m a nerd of a fan. The documentary wasn’t about that side of things and I think the Arsenal Media team have done a terrific job condensing an incredible sporting achievement into a one hour special. They should all be proud and you should be too when you watch it this Wednesday.

My final point is this… I’m all for celebrating these achievements. But we need to move on from this. The club need to craft the next generation of ‘wow’. I don’t want to get into a situation where we’re 1966ing it because it’s all we have. We need to create the next chapter. The invincibles will never be forgotten, but if we want to be classed as a giant of a club, we have to build something that will eclipse that achievement… because here’s the thing, if you tell yourself that achievement can never be surpassed, you’ll always be chained to the past and you’ll always have an excuse for failing to hit the right standards.

We’re still fighting big money, but we have big money as well. If our only answer to big money is to give up, then we’re doomed from the start. Money doesn’t mean intelligence. It doesn’t mean drive. It doesn’t mean creativity. Arsenal need to reframe the battle. We need to work out where we can win. Where can we find those extra percentage points we’ve lost over the last ten years. We need to consider every single detail. Sport is littered with stories of teams who refused to accept the status quo. The invincibles didn’t accept the status quo which stated categorically no team could go invincible. We shouldn’t accept that money wins out… we need to go toe-to-toe in a different way.

We need to find a new path to greatness and use the Invincibles as a benchmark, not a distant unattainable pipedream.

Anyway, tune in below.

NBC: Sunday

Sky Sports: This Wednesday at 10.15pm

413 Responses to “Invincibles: A beautiful past that should fuel a spectacular future”

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  1. WengerEagle

    City game should be fascinating, Yaya Toure’s absence is huge.

    Fancy Barca to win and score a few goals, 2-3 my prediction.

    Messi with a brace and Suarez to score too.

  2. Cesc Appeal

    Have an intense hatred of Barcelona so hoping for a City win, but I’m not holding my breath.

    Really just hope its an attacking game with a fair few goals.

  3. Cesc Appeal

    WE

    Really since the Fabregas saga, think they behaved pretty scummy during that whole thing, but they way they are on the pitch, I do feel often they get favour from the officials as well, Busquets, Alves…have some pretty dislikeable players, do some pretty dislikeable things.

    Must admit I haven’t seen them this year, looking forward to seeing Suarez, Messi and Neymar together…only slightly though, still hating on them 🙂

  4. london gunner

    William wilson

    “So it would be great to have Messi or Ronaldo, as you say but reality is that isn’t going to happen.”

    No I never said this or asked for this. Stop stretching and distorting and misinterpreting my argument.

    I said Lewandowski, Reus and Scneiderlin.

    They would make us a far better team not just because of goals scored, but overall play and entertainment value.

    Why should we not try to improve? So what Giroud welbeck and sanchez have scored a decent amount of goals.. why not try to emulate the goal tallies we had under henry, pires and ljungberg by upgrading in various positions.

    Why settle for mediocre?

  5. MidwestGun

    Trying to watch 2 matches at once. 🙁
    Sone preventable goals in the Dortmund/Old Lady match but it’s certainly entertaining.
    End to end action. Dortmund press, Juve break press and counter.
    Pogba with an ankle breaker tackle also forces a sub for Dortmund.
    Pirlo with an injury subbed off.
    Little bit of everything.
    2-1 up the Old Lady, quicker then she looks.

  6. MidwestGun

    2nd half of Dortmund match not nearly as entertaining. Both teams playing a little bit with ze handbrake on. Any break away. Immediate foul. But Juventus the better side this half. Especially, Tevez.

  7. Romford Ozil Pele

    No sympathy for Pellegrini. Playing 442 against Barca, in what world is that sensible?!

    Messi will score 3 at the Nou Camp. This game wasn’t really close tbh. Different levels

  8. Cesc Appeal

    Would love a stat for how many teams have gone down to 10 against Barcelona in the UCL…feels like almost every time someone will get sent and/or there will be a penalty

  9. Cesc Appeal

    Said as I sat down, “well, hope City have planned for a penalty and playing with 10 at some point.” Haha. Clockwork.

    Barcelona were magnificent for the most part though. Did feel that red robbed us of a proper scrap though after that Aguero goal.

    Still, another chapter in that ‘I hate Barcelona’ book.

  10. WengerEagle

    Shows Messi is human, he’s an average PK taker.

    The rebound miss was shocking, harder to miss than score.

    He still was the best player on the pitch though throughout the 90, directly involved in both goals, won the penalty and barely misplaced a pass. His offside goal looked marginal too.

    He’ll score 2 or 3 at Camp Nou to make up for not scoring tonight, he always does.

  11. Romford Ozil Pele

    It’s just the way Messi shifts through the gears in the final third, always opens up space for others. Virtually impossible to stop. But yeah, they really do need to take him off pens, he misses far too much. For one of the greats, he really craps himself when it comes to taking a pen. Baffling

  12. WengerEagle

    Romford

    I don’t even think that it’s the pressure that gets to him, he slotted home 2 vital penalties at the Bernabeu last season to win Barca a crucial match v Real and he converted his WC semi-final kick too under severe pressure.

    Just think that he’s not that good a PK taker.

    Dunno about taking him off of them, who would you put on them then? Suarez doesn’t take them and Neymar isn’t great from the spot himself.

  13. Romford Ozil Pele

    Eagle it’s baffling. Put Messi one-on-one and 9 out of 10 times he scores. He’s as clinical as they come. It has to be something mental IMO. Apparently he had admitted to getting nervous before penalties. I dunno who else they could get but no harm in letting someone else try. Very weird

  14. Romford Ozil Pele

    Eagle, yeah it was on Revista De La Liga. Don’t know off the top of my head but pretty sure I’ve seen him miss three pens this season alone. Irrelevant in reality when his overall contribution far outweighs his penalty ability. Just a weird mystery

  15. Dream10

    Messi’s dribbling and decision making in the final third is out of the world.
    He’ll be top class for another ten years.

    Penalties are issue. Missed 13 of 59 in his career. Apparently, he used for the keep to make his move and this use to work for him.

    Gerard Pique was different gravy at the back tonight. Back to his 09-11 form.

    Aguero’s goal was unreal. Similar to his title winner three years ago. You can’t teach that athleticism. That touch to evade the first defender and finish with the next one is the stuff of genius.

  16. Dream10

    Gael Clichy with a stupid challenge in a high profile match smh.
    Expected more from Nasri
    Zabaleta was below average. Sagna has a chance to start at the Camp Nou

  17. Relieable sauce

    Messi doesnt play percentages, if he did, he wouldnt be the player he is.

    He is not WC, he is of another world.

    Not fair to judge other players by his standards but it makes me laugh though when people start to call lesser players WC because they show the slightest bit of quality for the shortest period of time.

  18. Romford Ozil Pele

    In the CL this season he has averaged 6.2 dribbles a game which really is just insane, no other words to describe it. He had an amazing game today and you’re still left criticising him because he made slight errors. Ridiculous decision-making ability

  19. Relieable sauce

    ROP

    I guess they were expecting Kolorov to develop better, Glichy is at least athletic & was prem proven. In the scheme of things decent value??? Think he suffers without a proper LW as he did at Arsenal…& MC play a 442 (allegedly).

    City just arent the team they could/should be imo. I expect Pellegrini to be gone if Simeone, Guardiola or maybe even Klopp to become available.

  20. london gunner

    City’s first team isn’t at great as you;d think.

    Think about clichy demechillies, milner,navas and fernandinho. These are starters and they aren’t all that. I could also add Nasri to the list as he has not lived up to his potential.

    Hart plays hot and cold.

    Dzeko is decent.

    Aguero, Silva, toure and zabelleta are ridiculous, but I would say almost 2 thirds of the team is not elite quality and if City want to be a powerhouse in europe they need 2 thirds elite.

    If you look at Chelsea

    They have

    Matic, Courtois, Hazard, Costa, cesc, Terry (cunt but his great), cahil, ivanovich,azppilicueta

    These are all elite (not meaning they are all WC.

    Cuadrao may even become an elite level player for them.

  21. Relieable sauce

    lol. Dixon clutching at straws.

    Anyone ever see Weidenfeller have a good game?

    Sir Chez + 25 mil for Reus???

    Pogba, Reus, Schneiderlin & Begovic/Cech.
    Make it so Arsene/Ivan.

  22. Cesc Appeal

    RS

    If that happened I think there would be an ejaculation epidemic up and down the country with Arsenal fans literally spoiling their undergarments on the spot.

    Cech
    Debuchy, Paulista, Kozz, Gibbs
    Schniederlin, Pogba
    Reus, Ozil, Sanchez
    Giroud

    That is disgraceful.

  23. Relieable sauce

    Cesc

    Football porn isnt it. I’m drewling just thinking about it. So righteous ( Pogba > Viers dare I say it).
    Pogba & Cech might be unrealistic but lets not die wondering for a change, make some bids & cause some ripples. WE CAN afford it.

  24. Relieable sauce

    WE

    One step at a time 🙂 OG would just have to stay planted up top with his back to goal with the occasional flick on & just enjoy the show with the fans. Also good for set pieces & it keeps the ladies happy 😉

  25. Reliable sauce

    Sad to read Cole’s twitter comment regarding the Invincibles book launch.
    LG enlightened me to the reasons for him leaving & personally I dont hold a grudge, same as I dont for Cesc, Nasri, RVP & Sagna.
    Cesc was always going to leave Arsenal but Ashley didnt have to. Great players sorely missed.

    Good luck Ashley & thanks for the memories!

  26. Dark Hei

    Goondawg

    That pic of Essien’s stamp on Diaby’s ankle looks terrifying.

    Instead of giving their support to our players half of the Grovers blame Diaby for being brittle.

    Stupid internet people. Why not they do an experiment on their ankle and see if they ever recover. You don’t get kicked in the same manner in MMA and kickboxing.

  27. underrated Coq

    LOL. Schneiderlin, Reus AND Pogba..?
    I gotta side with Le Prof here- ” Put down your PlayStation fellas ” 🙂

  28. GuNZ

    Dark Hei

    I took at snippet at random from the article you sent me:

    ‘Asked if that hurt him, Giroud said “No, but it stings. Recently, there has been a buzz around Jackson Martinez. The coach has said he was good, the player says he would like to come.’

    Now, is it just me . . . . ?

    Tough love is what Giroud can expect from me. He has left message after message on my mobile whingeing and moaning and carrying on in his whiney French accent about how underrated he is and about how he can shit all over ‘zat curnt Mezzi from Barcelona’ and why aren’t there any crepe or escargot stands along Holloway road after a game just these fucking hotdog and hamburger stalls run by guys who look the ones his mum used to sell his arse to for a few extra francs when he was a young choirboy in Chambéry. Well I’ve fucking had enough of it, Dark Hei. He’s got to learn to stop snivelling and man up. I’ve got the bird at the Raglan Chronicle well trained. Everytime the cunt rings up there hoping to bleed his poor, underrated heart out to anyone who gives a shit she just connects him on a party line to that nice Mr. van Graal and leaves them to it.

  29. Wallace

    there aren’t many who go up against an in-form Barcelona and come out of it looking good….Wilshere…cough…

    tunny

    hat-trick for Toral…isn’t he more of a playmaker than an attacking mid?

  30. Wallace

    ““Toral came through the Barcelona academy. He’s had a fantastic education. I’m delighted to have that relationship with Arsenal and delighted Jon is embracing it.

    “He’ll get better and better and I have no doubt Jon will play in the Premier League. I met with Arsene recently and he asked me if he’s got the potential to play in the top flight. I’ve got no doubt he has.”

    – Brentford boss on Toral

  31. GuNZ

    Right, cleared my to-do list for this evening. There’s a new TV show starting tonight where that posh Hotel Inspector bird with the Italian name (Polizzi, Pozzeli? Something like that) goes to Italy. I’ve always quite fancied her with her rolly eyes and posh accent so with any luck she’ll go to some place where she has to get her kit off. Missus is off to Auckland to pick up her daughter’s boyfriend who’s coming over from Aussie as well to join our big, happy family for a few days. He was born in England apparently but no idea which team he supports so if it’s not Arsenal I’ll shit in the harbour just before I encourage him to go for a swim. Fuck I love CL games – no need for me to get up half way through the night.

  32. Blsany

    Messi is a sorcerer with the ball at his feet.We are so lucky to watch him play.No one comes nowhere near him.Ronaldo is justt a brute next to him.He puts the beauty in football.

  33. Zementalstrength

    Good morning.

    So it seems that wenger will continue to start with Sanchez….
    To be honest, I would LOVE to see Theo taking his place. Am I the only one ??

    Let’s face it : Sanchez is physically burnt out.
    And Theo could bring some pace.

    Arsène knows best…

  34. Goondawg

    “When I put my head in my hands after missing a chance, that annoys the coaches a little,” he said. “They want me to be more of a ‘killer’, almost insensitive.

    “Diego Costa doesn’t show any emotion. I am more emotional. So I have learned to control my emotions.”

  35. Emiratesstroller

    I was unable to go to game tonight. Frankly thank god our performance was absolutely appalling.

    The team from back to front was pathetic. No energy, no discipline,poor passing,too many square and back passes, tactically absolutely naive to extreme
    and above all no leadership or passion.

    Highlight of game was the abject performance of our defence and in particular Mertesacker and Koscielny. Ozil in midfield was sadly completely anonymous.

    What we have seen the last two weeks is how overrated the teams in English league really are and in particular our team. Monaco are by no figment of imagination one of the best teams in Europe, but they outclassed us even in absence of 5 first team regulars.

    Finally one has to address criticism to Wenger and the Coaching staff on the bench. They reacted like DUMMIES to what was going on in the game. This game highlights why Arsenal need to get rid of them, because in games that really matter our team is really poor.

    The only good thing about the result is that we will now have fewer games to
    play this season and we should now focus on finishing in top 4.