George G and Arsene W on similar paths | Hector on racism and mental health

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Ozil and Dom Jolly

Ozil and Dom Jolly

It’s really sad not being part of the FA Cup, especially after making it our own trophy over the past few years.

I’ve been writing a lot about the past recently. It struck me that the path of George Graham and Arsene Wenger has more parallels than you think.

The key one being that; though over different timelines, George Graham built a league winning team that played exciting football, then the form started to wobble, then he padded out his final days with cup wins, before being fired for dirty dealings.

Arsene has semi-rescued his latter years with exactly the same trick. What is the skill in winning cups? It’d be quite the achievement if Wenger beats Pep at Wembley this month, especially since he’s never won a league cup. I just don’t understand how you suddenly become a great cup team? Is it an attitude thing? You have good players, but can’t motivate them to do it over 38, but in a winner takes all situation you can get some fire in the belly? Or is it just a fluke?

The other thought I had on the FA Cup. If we’d binned Wenger last summer and brought in a decent manager who could have had this current squad right now, but 7 months ago, we could be sitting much higher up the league table, rocking a very fresh squad, taking rest weeks that could have been used to double down on tactical planning for the remainder of fairly simple games we have coming up.

Then the real kicker of this season hits you. We’ve had the Liverpool (Gerrard slip year)/Leicester/CFC advantage of one game a week this season, and we’re still nowhere near winning the Premier League. In fact, in our freshest legs year, we’re worse off than we’ve ever been. I do hope at the end of the season, when we’re well out of the mix, that it’s noted that this season has been our easiest yet, and we’ve been a disgrace.

I also hope the club is strategising Wenger’s future. We absolutely cannot allow him to head into a season with one year left on his deal. It’d be unreal carnage. The club needs to agree for him to move amicably, or they need to offer him a year extension. For the life of me, I cannot imagine that we’d bother hiring out a succession team if we planned to keep giving Wenger bonus extensions to his deal.

… but this is Arsenal. All it takes for our manager to win a new deal seems to be a phone call to Stan and a bit of the…

‘Stan, I took one for the team when I could have managed Madrid and helped grow your asset by double. The least you can do is look after me now’

… and he gets a pay rise and another year.

I really hope the manoeuvres during this season are signalling that the end is near.

Before I go, two things I want to draw to your attention.

Firstly, Alex Fynn, friend of the blog and author of the excellent The Making of a Modern Superclub, is talking at Birbeck College about the future of Arsenal and Spurs. It’ll be a great talk, it’s on Monday, and you should register yourself a seat here for free. It’ll be educational if you’re into the business of football.

Back onto Hector Bellerin, he made the excellent point yesterday that his chat with Oxford covered many more interesting topics than shit talking a fan website. I wanted to give everyone the chance to watch the impressive young man talk about important items like mental health, racism, and finding the right balance and tone in another language. I mean, not give the chance, but if you’ve only seen the paper hot takes, you might not have known there was a long form version. BRAVO HECTOR.

Also, this was a very good write up on fan authenticity.

197 Responses to “George G and Arsene W on similar paths | Hector on racism and mental health”

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  1. Marko

    See Frankie’s comment to me at 12:59:04. How is this cool with our local censors?

    It’s okay. You see a couple days ago Batistuta replied to a comment you made about PSG playing prettier football than Madrid with “lols” and then you replied to him to go fuck himself. Seems pretty similar. Might I add you replied to a lol with a go fuck yourself. Frankie is countering cunt with go fuck yourself. It’s all subjective really and quite boring

  2. Bamford10


    I agree with all of that. And I can tell you that I never get into verbal tussles here with anyone whose opinion I respect. And there are many such people here.

    There are others, however, whose opinions I do not respect, who, frankly, don’t know what they’re talking about. I will do better to either ignore these people or reply to them more kindly.


  3. Bamford10


    Also, I love you talking about how this is all “boring,” as though you don’t occasionally have detractors here who use all kinds of abusive language towards you, requiring you at times to reply in kind.

    You do, mate.

    I’ve had to read through any number of those skirmishes. You’re not above any of this. Cheers.

  4. Frankie Coffeecakes

    It is Marko, boring indeed, but perhaps if Arsenal gave us all a reason to cheer more often than not then perhaps conversations would be different. I say perhaps of course.

    I think it more than obvious to the majority that AFC under Arsene Wenger has absolutely run its course. Its beyond rote and tiresome to watch this team flounder into mediocrity. Win once and the Arsene Can Do No Wrong crowd come on exhaulting the virtues of One Arsene Wenger. Lose and themvenom ramps up worse and worse. This cant be good for anyone, regardless of sides chosen. It is more than time for a change and i remain ever hopeful that come season end that change will come.

    This much i know, another season of Arsene Wenger and LeGrove will be an awfully angry place to be.

  5. Marko

    Right, but I apologized to Batistuta. So ….

    That’s good that’s an admission of wrongdoing or guilt I suppose. Even though has Alex had an apology? I mean who cares really at the end of the day he’s probably forgotten all about it. And yes I too have gotten into it with people but never someone who didn’t deserve it and I’ve never called for someone to be binned. I definitely don’t respond to innocuous comments with a verbal barrage…anymore anyway

  6. Bamford10


    Sorry, but Alxanderhenry does not deserve an apology. If anything, he should apologize to Le Grove for promoting his bogus narrative re Wenger/Kroenke.

  7. Marko

    It is Marko, boring indeed, but perhaps if Arsenal gave us all a reason to cheer more often than not then perhaps conversations would be different. I say perhaps of course

    Exactly. If Arsene didn’t give us the weekend off by beating Forest a few weeks back we wouldn’t be here bored af.

  8. Bamford10

    Certain Arsenal fans on Twitter are upset to learn that we will be wearing red —and not white — shorts on Sunday. “Tradition” and “class,” they say, this isn’t.

  9. Marko

    Sorry, but Alxanderhenry does not deserve an apology. If anything, he should apologize to Le Grove for promoting his bogus narrative re Wenger/Kroenke.

    Guy is a dolt and infuriating at times but is still entitled to his opinions and has never to my knowledge insulted anyone or certainly not called someone a cunt. What the fuck does he have to apologize for? It’d be different if this place was full of dumbasses who believed anything that was said. He’s literally not hurting anyone or convincing anyone so again what does he have to apologize for?

  10. Bamford10

    “”We win together, we lose together,” said the Belgian. “I don’t sense there’s any player who’s not with the coach. Everyone is behind him. All we want is to climb the table — and give everything against Barcelona.”
    – Eden Hazard on Antonio Conte and the mood in the Chelsea squad

  11. Dissenter

    The media reports are citing a short sponsorship worth the 150-300 million range for 5 years.
    I guess we will never know the intricate details of the deal.

  12. Bamford10


    Promoting falsehoods. That’s pretty serious in my book. Far more serious than a curse word here or there. But this is boring. Let’s move on.

  13. Bamford10

    PL jersey sponsorship deals at present, according to @ArsenalRelevant:

    Man Utd: £47m
    Arsenal: £40m
    Chelsea: £40m
    City: £35m
    Spurs: £35m
    Liverpool: £30m

  14. Bamford10

    Lucas Moura says Tottenham have the ability to win the CL. What say you, Le Grove? I figure this could produce some differences of opinion.

    I say: no chance.

  15. Emiratesstroller

    Bamford 10

    I think that Arsenal’s shirt sponsorship was previously £30 million PA.

    The sponsorship extension is an increase but I don’t think that it is more than 10%.

    Nevertheless I suspect that most genuine sponsorships in football will not
    rise dramatically in the future.

    We have already seen a resistance from Sky/BT in being prepared to pay more for their tv rights.

    Arsenal may have some mileage with equipment sponsors when we replace
    Puma in the next 12 months providing that we start improving on playing field.

    My guess is that Arsenal are looking to increase number of smaller deals e.g.
    the recent Bitcom deal and perhaps a new sleeve deal.

    Nevertheless I think that Arsenal are falling far behind the sort of deals that
    the two Manchester clubs seem able to generate.

  16. Dissenter

    In fairness, Emirates brings so other things to the table. They still sponsor the preseason touranament and are a cool sponsor to have.
    They just happen to sponsor at least 20 other teams that I know of.

  17. Victorious

    “Lucas Moura says Tottenham have
    the ability to win the CL. What say
    you, Le Grove? I figure this could
    produce some differences of

    Difference of opinions my ass,Would like to know what Moura is sniffing up there to come out with such utter nonsense, scores a goal against Rochdale and then start frothing in the mouth,scum

  18. mysticleaves

    “Sorry, but Alxanderhenry does not deserve an apology. If anything, he should apologize to Le Grove for promoting his bogus narrative re Wenger/Kroenke.”

    Actually, Alex is right and you are right. Its ridiculous that we have given Alex much shit over time when he’s indeed right. He was proven right last summer. And yes he has changed his stance somewhat over the months.

    He was clearly on about Kroenke not releasing funds for wenger, which was rightly decimated here to claiming that kroenke is not interested in winning which is actually true.

    You too, Bamford, are right that Wenger is a very big problem but by virtue of superiority, the bigger problem is Kroenke. He proved so by renewing Wenger’s deal last summer.

    Kroenke is actually a bigger problem that Wenger.

  19. Victorious

    “Kroenke is actually a bigger
    problem that Wenger.”

    THIS!…Might not be so obvious right now,but when Wenger inevitably leaves, clueless Kroenke will be shown up for the absolute LEACH he is,I say fu”k him out our club

  20. Emiratesstroller


    Emirates announced previously that they would not renew the shirt sponsorship.

    Bluntly I think that it is very good news that they have reversed that decision, because I think that we would have struggled to match the deal elsewhere.

    If as as been suggested we secure a sleeve sponsorship that should increase
    substantially our shirt sponsorship.

    Personally I think that Arsenal are starting to professionalize our offield activities.

    However, what needs now to be resolved is replacement of football management and coaching staff. That is frankly more important to the supporters than the earnings of the club.

  21. Carts

    I bet Wenger is in the Sponsorship meeting giving it “I can’t think of a single reason why anyone wouldn’t want to sponsor Arsenal”.

    When you’ve got an archaic structure with relics at the helm, a split fan base, a myopic manager and a uninterested owner, repercussion will be felt elsewhere. In our case it could be the fact that no one, outside of Emirates, want to go anywhere the figure Arsenal think they’re worth.

    It’s not awful money, but at the same time, you’d imagine that we’ll be 20%-30% behind our direct rivals when the ink dries

  22. Bamford10


    Sorry, but are you saying that Alexander was right about Wenger always spending what was available to him and Kroenke being the reason for Wenger’s frugality over the years, including in 2015 when Wenger signed only Cech? Because Alexanderhenry still stands by these claims.

    As for who is the “bigger problem,” my point is this: Kroenke is only a problem insofar as he has continued to support Wenger. As soon as we get a new manager, however — be that this summer or next — Kroenke will no longer be a problem, as he doesn’t meddle in football decisions, doesn’t restrict what the manager/DoF can spend and is generally hands off.

    As I have said before, if tomorrow we got a new manager, say Jardim, but not a new owner, would Stan Kroenke be a problem? No. How would he be? All decisions would be made by Jardim, Sanllehi and Mislintat, and all spending would be restricted by the requirements of self-sustainability, not by the dictates of Stan Kroenke.

    On the other hand, if tomorrow we got a new owner but not a new manager, we would still have a massive problem: Arsene Wenger. The latter isn’t good enough tactically, and he doesn’t understand what is required — player-wise, squad-wise — to compete with the top teams today. Not to mention he has other priorities, i.e., adhering to his “values,” principles that have been holding us back for years.

    Bottom line, as I see it: if you replace Kroenke but not Wenger, we still have massive problems; whereas if you replace Wenger but not Kroenke, we really have no problems.

    Thus, for me, Wenger is the “bigger problem”.

    If Kroenke decides to extend Wenger’s contract again — something I don’t believe he’ll do — then clearly Kroenke will need to be driven out also. However, I really don’t think that that’s going to happen.

  23. Bamford10


    “Difference of opinion, my ass.”

    I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but there are people here who really overrate Spurs. I wouldn’t be surprised if there were some here who agree with Lucas Moura.

  24. Dissenter

    If spuds get through Juventus and get a favorable draw in the quarters then it’s game on for them.
    Stranger things have happened in football like Greece and Denmark winning the Euros.

  25. HighburyLegend

    “I have always respected my contracts, I would like to remind you I said no to all the biggest clubs in the world to respect my contract so that’s always what I try to do.”

    Please, someone – anyone – could finish him ??

  26. Marko

    THIS!…Might not be so obvious right now,but when Wenger inevitably leaves, clueless Kroenke will be shown up for the absolute LEACH he is,I say fu”k him out our club

    Not so sure about that. Even if Kroenke gives the exact same money to a new manager that he’s given to Wenger the last number of years the expectation is that we wouldn’t be worse off but better because Wenger is truly that bad. For example if Carlo was given 90 million to spend one summer and 55 million for a marquee signing or two would the complaint still be Kroenke isn’t giving us more money? We’re self sufficient so we don’t actually go to him for money. He’s a leech for taking 3 million and 5 million out of the club how many times? Wenger was getting paid 8 million per season for 10 years without winning anything what does that make him? He got a bump to 10 million and is overseeing the worst two years in recent history

  27. Marko

    I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but there are people here who really overrate Spurs.

    I wouldn’t say overrate but acknowledge that they’re a very good side who’s made strides the last number of years. You make it sound like there’s people here who are saying they’re capable of winning the champions league I haven’t seen that. They’re capable of going further than we have in many years though.

  28. Dissenter

    I wouldn’t put a number on it.
    They have a good goal scorer and a good manager. It they get through Juve their confidence will be sky high. If they get a weaker team in the quarters …al bets are off.
    We almost won the CL with one of Wenger’s injury depleted squads.

  29. Bamford10


    Good comment re Kroenke. As for Spurs, I agree with what you say about them, but some people here are saying a bit more than that. Dissenter, for example, just told us that Spurs can in fact win the CL.

  30. Dissenter

    You really have a way of twisting everything to suit your favored viewpoint.
    I stipulated the conditions that need to happen for Spuds to have a chance. First they have to beat Juve, then get a favorable draw in the quarters to start dreaming g.
    You’re the one putting silly numbers on their chances.
    Any team that gets to the last four stands a chance to win it.

  31. Bamford10


    I’m not really twisting anything. You think Spurs can win the CL. I don’t, because this will ultimately require them to get by at least one (and more likely than not, two) of the following: Barca, PSG, Madrid, Bayern. That’s not going to happen. Not at this stage of the CL.

    However, because we are discussing the question, and because it is of course true that every team still in the competition has “some” chance of winning it, I’ve gone ahead and assigned what I think the odds are of Spurs winning. For reasons unknown, you haven’t.

    As for my number, there is nothing “silly” about it, though it is very “back of the envelope” (indeed not even that). I just asked myself: how many times would this iteration of the CL (with Spurs advancing past Juve) need to be played in order to see Spurs win it once? For me the answer is around 20. Hence 19/1.

    You could also take this and say that I’m giving Spurs a 5% chance of winning the whole thing. Whereas for me, you seem to be giving Spurs something like a 25% chance — or as good a chance as anyone — if they get past Juventus. If I’m wrong about this, just say so.

  32. Bamford10

    I’m well aware of the fact, btw, that “as good a chance as anyone” in the context of the quarterfinals would mean a 12.5% chance.

  33. Bamford10


    “Any team that gets to the last four stands a chance to win it.”

    Well, sure, but not an equal chance. The question is what chance does each have, given their quality?

    Or are you of the view that once you get to the semis, everyone has an equal chance of winning (25%) — regardless of their quality?

  34. Bamford10

    One fairly likely CL quarterfinal set of eight is this:

    Manchester City
    Real Madrid
    Manchester United

    When I look at those eight, I give all of them (save United) a better chance of winning the whole thing than I do Tottenham. If I were ranking those eight in terms of likelihood of winning it, I would rank them as follows:

    1. Barcelona
    2. Real Madrid
    3. Manchester City
    4. Bayern
    5. Liverpool
    6. Roma
    7. Tottenham
    8. Manchester United

    What would other people say?

  35. Dissenter

    I don’t recall ever saying or suggesting “equal” chances or probability.
    Getting to the last four means the team has only three games to play. It doesn’t mean 25% chance, that bit is from you.
    You’re just arguing against yourself.
    We got to the finals in 2006 with a team filled with irregular replacements. Any thing is possible in football.

  36. Dissenter

    By the way, I think Juve will beat Spuds at Wembley. They have way too much quality and on a big pitch will get a result against spuds..