RECOGNISING WHAT MATTERS

by .

Several years ago I did the Emirates stadium tour . Our host was the inimitable Charlie George and he was a delight to chat to, Charlie is almost an exact contemporary of mine and I was telling him a story about pre-season training in the summer of 1971 in a local park. I noticed all the boys around me playing football and on scoring, falling to the ground in an imitation of Charlie’s iconic celebration at Wembley a couple of months earlier . He smiled at this and one of our group asked him how well he knew the current team ( this was around the summer of 2014 ) . Charlie looked back a little forlornly and said ‘ Nobody in that dressing room has a clue who I am ‘. It stunned our group because Charlie George was, we thought, a special figure in Arsenal history and even very much younger players would appreciate his place in the history of the club, particularly as he was an Arsenal ambassador, who appeared at the club regularly . But Charlie was clearly sincere and mentioned that when he did see any of the current team they walked straight past him .

Does that matter ? Many people reading this may not realise who Charlie is and what he and his teammates did for the club but in May 1971 Arsenal will be celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of the first of three League and Cup doubles that we have recorded. It was a VERY big deal fifty years ago. Arsenal had emerged from a barren period of 17 years with no silverware by winning the Fairs Cup in 1970. The following season they mounted a challenge for the League and Cup which also encompassed a Fairs Cup defence that saw them attacked in the street after an official banquet by Lazio players and a League Cup campaign. That season they played 64 games on pitches that were mudheaps in winter and barren deserts in spring .

On the website www.Goonerholicsforever.com we are commemorating the Double triumph and at the same time trying to raise money for the Willow Foundation . Willow is the charity that was set up by Bob Wilson the goalkeeper of that Double team and his wife Megs to mark the death of their daughter Anna from a rare form of cancer at the age of 32. It seeks to provide special experiences for terminally ill people or those receiving palliative care aged between 18-40 . Please visit the site in May and try to donate or enter our online auction for memorabilia signed by members of the team. I’ve known Bob for a number of years and he is the go-to person for radio and tv when they want to discuss Arsenal, Arsene Wenger or goalkeeping in general . He was the person the club chose to host Wenger’s leaving presentation in 2018 . If there is a better candidate for ‘ Mr Arsenal ‘ I’ve yet to meet him and had the Arsenal board co-opted an ex-player onto the board there could not have been many better choices. As part of our commemoration on GF we’ve recorded a couple of podcasts with Bob and Pat Rice who was the right-back in the Double side , captain of the Cup winners in 1979 and of course assistant to Arsenal Wenger until 2012 . What story did they have to tell and why does it still matter now ? 

Before beginning to tell you, Let me tell you I’m 70 and have supported Arsenal since 1958. I’ve seen well over 1500 games and my family support spans five generations from a grandfather who watched Arsenal play at Woolwich to a grandson of 11 who loves the club too. I went to around twenty games at Highbury in that double season but played myself on Saturdays so most of the games I saw were in midweek. I did get to some London away games too. Beginning that season Arsenal had a bit of momentum having just won the Fairs Cup although there were no incomings in the close season. There was no transfer window then but the side had several injuries. Jon Sammels missed several early games and Peter Simpson one of the finest defenders never to play for England was seriously injured too. In the first game at Everton Charlie George broke his leg in scoring the first equaliser in a 2-2 draw, a very decent result as Everton were the reigning champions . The side started the season well despite having to make many changes . Peter Storey joined Eddie Kelly and George Graham in midfield. John Roberts a giant Welshman replaced Simpson and Ray Kennedy joined John Radford in a two-pronged attack. Kennedy had scored the away goal that effectively won Arsenal the Fairs Cup but was very inexperienced. He and Radford notched 50 goals between them in the Double season. The season began with a series of very good results and few defeats . Arsenal were unbeaten at home all season ( remember what that feels like ?!) in the League and were a very well-organised defensive side. Talk to any of those players and they attribute this to the coaching of Don Howe although they do recognise the organisational ability of Bertie Mee (my pen name on Le Grove!) who was a foil to Howe who had been a top- class defender. I had expected the team’s form to dip but they were consistent away from home and produced a set of excellent performances coming into Christmas. The one exception was a 5-0 thrashing at Stoke who were a very high-quality outfit then. Think Tony Waddington not Tony Pulis! 

It was a time when the identity of future champions was hard to work out. Everton were champions but we thrashed them 4-0 at Highbury. Chelsea had just won the Cup and played some stylish football. Liverpool were an emerging force and Manchester City were a side full of attacking flair ( although we beat them twice at Maine Road that season). Spurs won the League Cup and eventually finished third. But the favourites were Leeds. They were the toughest competitors and the best football team in the country but had a tendency to fall at the last hurdle . But they emerged as our biggest rival as we emerged into the New Year, trailing a few points behind them ( and there were only two points for a win ).

When the cup campaign began in January we were given away draws in every round. Yeovil were not a serious problem but we needed a tight replay to dispose of Portsmouth then produced a superb display to beat Manchester City with the restored Charlie George scoring two spectacular goals. At that moment the press began to talk about the possibility of a double. Arsenal had stayed in touch in the League but trailed Leeds by 7 points. Fortunately we began a brilliant league run which saw us claw back that lead until a Saturday in April when Leeds and Arsenal were both at home. We played Newcastle and Leeds played West Brom another side who had tremendous attacking power ( although we had beaten them 6-2 at Highbury in September ). Arsenal clinched victory through a late George thunderbolt. Leeds meanwhile were on the wrong end of a 2-1 defeat where the referee had allowed a demonstrably offside goal by Jeff Astle to count . We were top of the league heading for the finish !

Stoke reared their head again in the Cup semi-final at Hillsborough. The first half was a disaster. A deflection off their captain gave them a fluke first goal and a George back pass fell short for Ritchie to round the stranded Wilson for their second. In the second half Peter Storey , one of the toughest players in Arsenal history saw a deflected shot cut the arrears and then in the last minute he was tasked with taking a penalty kick to save the match after Stoke’s Mahoney had dived full-length to save a Mclintock header. Storey’s kick was one of the worst I’ve ever seen but Gordon Banks probably the best keeper in the world then had his weight on the wrong foot and it crept in. Stoke were crushed mentally and lost the replay 2-0.

In the league we suffered a desperately late reverse at Leeds which put them back into contention but we went into the last week of the season needing to win our last three games to clinch the Double . We beat Stoke in a nervy game at home 1-0 and then on the Monday travelled to White Hart Lane for our last game . To do justice to the atmosphere of that game and to see how events unfolded do check Goonerholics Forever in early May . I was locked out of the ground in common with 60,000 other people . We needed to win or draw 0-0 to take the title because of goal difference. A Ray Kennedy header with minutes to go gave us victory after a titanic battle on a night when more people were locked out than got into White Hart Lane. The vast majority were Arsenal fans .

We went to Wembley on the Saturday as champions and produced a really solid performance. It was 0-0 at 90 minutes although we had dominated but an early Heighway goal in extra time looked likely to break our hearts. Then a very strange goal which to this day has not been definitively attributed to Kelly or George Graham ( who was outstanding on the day ) brought us level and Charlie George scored with a superb drive in the second half to clinch the Cup and the Double and trigger that iconic celebration. Again the GF account will give you all the drama from the players and some of us lucky enough to be there.

When I was talking to Bob a few weeks ago I told him that as the team were running towards us at Wembley before the start I had a concern that having won the league that would be enough for them. I asked Bob if that had ever occurred to them and the look on his face made it very clear that it never crossed their minds. Frank Mclintock one of the great figures in Arsenal history and a captain still revered by his surviving team mates had lost four times at Wembley. The team were all desperate to win for him and for fans starved of domestic success for so long. But above all they were great competitors and to me they were heroes. And win they did .

As I reflected on the question I asked Bob I realised what a 2021 attitude that is. Arsenal has never had a tougher , more committed team than that one. It has had many better football teams but never one I can remember trusting more to hold a lead . Those players , those that survive, as Armstrong that tireless winger and Roberts have died , and many others are in poor health, deserve to be recognised and as we wade through the squalid detritus of the ESL it is poignant to reflect on a team that achieved great glory but whose players are not recognised by lesser players of the current era. That’s a metaphor for football that doesn’t reflect well on our game .

That week in May was one of the very best of my Arsenal – supporting life. The day after the Final 750.000 people thronged the streets of North London and the club celebrated an achievement only accomplished once before in modern football history at that time . When you are 70 you look back much more than you look forward especially when your club is owned by Stan Kroenke . I look back with pride and satisfaction and a sense that what we had achieved was very special. And it remains special fifty years on .

Authored by Peter Le Beaum (Bertie Mee in the comments)

Please visit www.goonerholicsforever.com to see our Double commemoration in association with the Willow Foundation from May 3rd – 8th .

 

727 Responses to “RECOGNISING WHAT MATTERS”

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  1. Guns of SF

    Yea, I remember hanging with my dad at the club after his work shift, playing pool with his colleagues, while all the drinks and smoking happened. The pool cue was taller than me… it was so differnt back in those days. Cant imagine this now… so yes your story reminded me of the 70s and 80s. Im 48 so I was a kid and have fond memories of those times now…

  2. Lacaqualidie

    Guns- I turned 48 a couple of weeks ago so I’m right where you are in terms of those memories. Back then a boys introduction to manhood was through his dad and his mates, plus of course the rest of the community.

    I started playing club football at 6 and graduated all the way up to the men’s game and played a couple of games at county level.

    I also started playing cricket for a local village club when I was around 13/14. If you scored 50 runs or took 5 wickets you had to buy a jug of beer for both teams. I remember going to the bar of the team’s local pub and buying a jug of bitter and a jug of lager all on a paper boy’s weekly salary – with change to boot!

    None of us young lads ever got out of order because our peers, which were the generation above, wouldn’t allow it, even though they were more than happy to top off your pint with a measure from the jug they’d just bought and you were under drinking age.

    A different time, but one fondly remembered just as ‘Bertie Mee’ alluded to in the post.

  3. Tony

    Arteta said:
    “Just look at how much he’s played in the last two years and then how much he’s played with me when he’s been available. And then we can discuss that,” he claimed.

    How can you trust a manager who blatantly lies?

    Not long ago Arteta said he kept Martinelli on the bench to test his attitude or similar.

    Farteta can’t even remember what he has said in previous interviews.

  4. Tony

    I had a rare moment for a weekend to watch the Manure v Bin Dippers last night.

    The KO time wasn’t’t too late and we had a family BBQ get together out side who I could leave eating and chatting while I got to watch an evening of football with my son.

    Both my son and I were happy about our win and were looking forward to watching Manure to see what we would be up against should we beat Emery Thursday night.

    Then the neanderthal, knuckle dragging, open mouth breathers Manure fans show the world who they really are: total scum!!!

    Hopefully, the club/fan punishment by the FA and governing bodies is going to fit the crime.

    Docking them 15 points would be a start and kicking them out of the EL cup should see them miss out on Europe next season.

    This kind of thing cannot happen again in football for the good of the game and the safety of the people caught up in the melee.

    To be honest I’d love to see Manure relegated at the end of the season as a real preventative measure to warn all clubs’ fans that this violent behavior is going to be met with the severest of punishments.

    Arteta’s EL cup chances might just receive another bucket load of luck if it’s Roma in the final.

    I still find it ridiculous that Arteta will have only 2 tough teams to beat in the whole competition to win the European cup.

    Sure great for the club but a false positive to secure another season for Arteta.

  5. Tony

    Pedro
    Expecting a backward flip from you with the win yesterday and the manner of the win. Just a shame Newcastle offered little to nothing thought the game with 1 shot on target and 2 off target.

    Don’t know if you read Rambo’s posts yesterday and his attack on China1 for absolutely no reason.

    It looked like one of Don’s 2 monikers (Don & Northern Aubergine) resurfacing under the guise of Rambo.

    Rambo Ramsey of old was as ‘Marmite’ as they come, but he rarely overstepped the blog bin line. In fact I can’t remember Rambo Ramsey ever getting binned.

    Not for me to tell you to bin people, but Rambo was shamed by many here yesterday for his personal attack and rightly so.

    See what you make of it, Pedro.

  6. WengerEagle

    I see that Pierre continues to embarrass himself with his senile take on Martinelli, compared him to Almiron haha you can hardly make it up now.

    The lengths that he will go to in order to protect his pet favourite Eddie Nketiah, a player that Bielsa had very little interest in when he was playing in the Championship let’s not forget.

    Even when he presents his disingenuous facotid bollocks like ”a goal every 9 games”, Martinelli’s stats [11 goals in 44 apps= goals every 4.0 games] still hold up when compared to Nketiah’s [13 goals in 64 apps = goal every 4.9 games], in fact they are noticeably better not to mention he is 2 years younger than Eddie.

    On paper, Martinelli has made 18 apps this season. He has played a grand total of 590 minutes in the Premier League/Europa League combined which equates to 6.5 matches.

    What is really interesting is when you look a bit closer, Martinelli has made only 6 starts this season.

    They came:

    – vs Chelsea in December in the 3-1 win [Whoscored rating of 7.13]
    -vs Brighton away in the 1-0 win where he got 65 mins]
    -vs Man United in the 0-0 draw where he was taken off at HT [Still managed a 6.91 Whoscored rating]
    -vs Sheffield Utd in the 3-0 win [Scored and Whoscored rating of 7.56]
    -vs Fulham in the 1-1 draw [Whoscored MOTM, rating of 7.45]
    – vs Newcastle today in the 2-0 win [Assist and a Whoscored rating of 7.83]

    So. small sample size of course but in the 6 games that Martinelli has started or played serious minutes we have won 4, drawn 2 and lost 0.

    He has an average Whoscored rating across those 6 games of 7.20.

    Our highest rated player this season on Whoscored is Lacazette with 6.97 for context.

    Now, let’s look at the 4 PL games in which we started with Nketiah as the CF:

    -vs Everton away, lost 2-1 [Eddie Whoscored rating of 6.28]
    – vs Sheffield Utd at home, won 2-1 [Whoscored rating of 6.58. 0-0 when taken off]
    -vs Everton at home, lost 1-0 [Whoscored rating of 6.63]
    -vs Southampton at home, drew 1-1 [Assist, Whoscored rating of 7.44]

    So we won 1 drew 1 and lost 2 of the 4 games. Eddie averaged a Whoscored rating of 6.73 failing to score a goal and assisting 1.

    If you want to make the argument that Eddie as of now is the better impact sub, go ahead I won’t disagree. What’s clear though is that Martinelli is far better when he is given an opportunity to start games and is far ahead of Eddie in his development even though he
    is two years younger and only playing his second season in England.

    You won’t see many besides this clueless old fart disagreeing. Good reason why Martinelli has received plaudits from Klopp and Ronaldinho even if Pierre cannot see it.

  7. Guns of SF

    Lacaqualidie

    True story,
    I asked my dads friend at the bar, to marry his daughter. I was like 6 years old and I remember Sarah was the most beautful girl in my school. You should have heard the chuckles through the smoke… I think a few more rounds were bought after that comment. Of course my mom was pissed as hell when dad and I showed up way after dinner was ready and now cold. Oh the days…

    And no seat belts.

    The late 70’s I too played soccer and baseball. Living at the time in Houston. 1979/80/81/82

    It was only the community rec center soccer teams… nothing like now days…

    I remember some of my teammates were : Jose (Mexican) Seth (German) Marcus (Swedish) and others i cannot remember. No regular white American kids back then. All kids whose parents were immigrants. It was great!

    My baseball team was different world. I had David, Brian, John, Joel, Tim etc.
    No Marcus’s, Seth’s and Jose’s!

    Times have changed so much!

  8. Tony

    Kroenkephobe
    Hope your bureaucracy hoop jumping went well in Barca.

    People who have never had long term ex pat experience really have no clue about living in other countries and even less understanding of why a country is chosen to live in.

    It’s certainly not political driven or just for better sunny seasons.

    Most people in their twilight years of their working lives have worked hard amassing capital for their retirement. Therefore, if they chose to migrate to another country, they are financially secure enough to not to have to worry about the government of a chosen destination.

    Is the UK more stable than your chosen destination or mine?

    I’ve witnessed 2 military coups in 21 years here and had to go through many Bangkok roadblocks with tanks and similar guarding the roads. I never encountered any hostility from police or army just a quick polite check and then on my way to the next roadblock.

    I can walk pretty much anywhere in Bangkok at 3/4 o’clock in the morning and have no fear of being mugged, stabbed or attacked for being in the wrong place at the time or wrong colour or creed. My wife is often in Bangkok on business when protests against the government are in full flow where she can walk through the protesters and police/army to her hotel without any fears whatsoever.

    The other thing I can’t fathom is when a person wants to emigrate or just live in another country as an expat without really laying roots, these people do their due diligence and a lot of it.

    In the end, I found the people who complain about others moving abroad to live or just base themselves in a location that makes it easier to move around with their work are just plain jealous and small minded.

    Probably best to leave Rich aka Wolfy and his Tooting Popular front to espouse his ‘Power to the people’ incoherent rants on here and just smile at the absurdity of his beliefs he wants to force on others.

    Back to football, yo think we’ll beat that ‘bum’ Emery Thursday to go through?

  9. Emiratesstroller

    For those who keep on advocating the promotion of Academy players I would point out that
    according to Jeorge Bird our U23 Team has won just one game in last eleven and are bordering
    now relegation.

    The Under 18 Team in FA Youth Cup were also well beaten 3-1 by Liverpool.

    So all is not brilliant below the First Team.

  10. Guns of SF

    Tony
    I dont think it was Don or Unnai.
    I think that Aubergine, Pitbull, northern, might be the same person that Pedro bans. He comes back under a new IP often

    Rambo Ramsey talked some shit about our players of Muslim faith. I remember putting him in his place amongst others. I think this fella is the same, just with out the Ramsey part

    I think most established blogs have a few trolls that come in and talk shit for the sake of it. I would say LG is great with 99% of posters generally pretty good.

    Its that damn 1 %

  11. Tony

    Guns
    It was the use of a word that got me thinking and you always sow Don or his aka at the same time as Pitball or his akas.

    Don’s multiple personalities under different monikers at the same time is his MO.

    Anyway, whoever Rambo is there was and never will be an acceptance of his behavior yesterday here, thankfully, and kudos to all who called Rambo out for his unwarranted attack on China1 and his family yesterday.

    What are your thoughts on the Manure fans’ debacle yesterday, Guns?

  12. Guns of SF

    Here they interrupted the game coverage to talk about it like it was similar to the capitol building insurrection. I figured half the fans were drunk, most likely.
    I think its mostly the stupid leading the stupid.
    It took away from the real protestors. A few bad apples always ruins it.
    I did think of KSE and how this could affect their outlook in keeping the team.
    I thought that it might help them to see if keeping the team is really worth it.
    I hope they sell

  13. China1

    What happened to those lower league players we signed on free contracts late in the summer? Anyone know if they’re up to much?

  14. China1

    Haha guns loving the trip down memory lane from you as a kid growing up in America wanting to play football

    If you were in Houston I assume the heat was brutal. Most of my childhood memories playing football consist of 5 degrees, lashing rain, sloping pitches and Alan our youth manager shouting at kids at half time if we weren’t winning “YOU LOT ARE. ISY THINKING ABOUT THE BRISTOL ROVERS GAME LATER OR WHAT YOUR MUM IS GONNA AKE YOU FOR DINNER. FOCUS FOR GODS SAKE”

  15. China1

    Weagle those Martinelli stats are interesting but also pass the eye as well

    His contribution and value are obvious. He doesn’t need to play every minute or every game but he should be a frequent starter and rotation option

    That is surely beyond any serious doubt

  16. Guns of SF

    China
    Yes it was bad. The humidity was the worst.
    Also, the coaching was shit. I dont remember anything.
    I asked my old man to coach the team one year since they were always looking for coaches (dads) who could volunteer. He signed up and were called the Cosmos.
    However, he let all the other dads do the coaching… he would show up to games and only cheer for me It was fucking embarrassing. This old crazy looking man with black rimmed glasses, a beard, and smoking cigs. Talk about embarassing. I would ignore everything he said from the sidelines. I did not want anyone to know this old nutty man was my dad. But it was pretty obvious.

    I remind him about this all the time… he laughs. Those childhood trauma memoies

  17. China1

    Whoever said it yesterday I’m also suspicious that some of the old Trafford security facilitated the protests yesterday

    It’s weird and bad enough that hundreds of people so easily gained access but far stranger is that 30 mins after they left they were someone STILL unprepared for more to come in.

    Looks to me like a sympathetic security guard ‘accidentally left a gate unlocked’ and accidentally told his angry meat head friends the gate number

  18. Guns of SF

    Funny thing is that I do the same with my son ! Even today, I was cheering him from the sideline at his game. Shouting diretions. He never looked at me once. LOL
    I guess what comes around…..
    Only thing is that I dont look like my old man did. That would be too funny tho

  19. China1

    Cosmos man you guys would never get away with a name like that in England 😁

    It wasn’t my dad on the touch line you had to watch out for but my mum. She was a serious ‘soccer Mum’ as you guys would say. Screaming with excitement every time I made a good tackle or played a good ball.

    It was slightly embarrassing but I also thought kinda cool that she cared so much

  20. HerbsArmy

    China1

    I lost my mum at an early age (years ago now), so I understand the pain of losing direct family. My sincerest condolences to you and your family.

  21. Tony

    China1/Guns
    Not forgetting the howling winds you could hardly kick a football forward in and all passes had to be along the grass.

    Don’t forget the snowed and iced pitches.

    I remember when I was about 13 playing for a local club when there was about 2 inches of snow on the pitch where lines were in orange

    As always in a team you have the resident nutter and true to life, we had ours: Stewart, who I realise now was well placed on the spectrum and a brilliant cartoonist.

    On this snowy game day out nutter, Stewart, made a big thing or putting winter green ointment on his nuts claiming they wouldn’t get cold or iced.

    1 minute later he raced out the store shed dressing room and was howling at the top of his considerable voice frantically rolling around in the snow sans shorts and pants rubbing as much snow and ice on his swelling testicles.

    Was a sight to behold and as funny as f….

    I’ll never forget the look on his face when the burning started and he made a beeline for the snow doing a swallow dive in the deepest part.

  22. Guns of SF

    China

    It was in Houston, where my dad and many others were employed by NASA- Johnson Space Center. So Cosmos was kinda fitting given our location. LOL
    Also, Pele played for them, and Cosmos was the biggest American team with him.

    Those days were quite nerve wracking. Travelling to fields in the middle of nowhere in redneck ville- with a paper map and my dad stressing out in the car smoking away, asking me to figure out where to turn next. Just getting to the damn game was enough for me. Let alone playing with him cheering for me…
    I had asthma pretty bad back then, and there were no medications for it. ( inhalers etc). I was a right back, and just prayed that the ball would not come to me, as I could hardly breathe right in that humidity.

    Anyhow, in my teen years the asthma went away ( its back now), and I dominated on the teams I was on… but never was too serious- always getting in trouble with my knuckle head friends- went to boarding school in Singapore for a while and had the upper older class team coach recruit me. but he wanted me to train at the university across the street and I just didnt have the discipline. Plus he was a scottish dickhead. Liked to yell a lot.

    LOL – man times have changed. My son is tons better than me at age 10. I live through him now LOL

  23. Kroenkephobe

    Some great stuff on here tonight. The euphoria of a ridiculously easy but utterly pointless game and victory.

    Wintergreen. Aaaah! Always came in a brown medicinal bottle round our way. Poor Stewart. That made me wince Tony. There was an invisible line roughly where the bottom of your shorts sat, that you did not cross with wintergreened hands. That pungent smell is like no other. I had some teammates who used ralgex as well.

    Talking of which, some right ball bags on here yesterday weren’t there.

    China – I said that the OT thing had the makings of an inside job. I love to walk around a ground on match days, almost as a ritual. One thing that is clear is that no one but no one is sneakily getting in. And with no fans and no turnstiles to open even more so at the moment. Someone accidentally left a door open or accidentally had a key cut or accidentally shared an entry code.

    Yeah Tony. All that paperwork and money spent on daft bureaucracy has paid off. It’s done me and Ms K’phobe the world of good to achieve something like this during covid. Between the ages of 18 and 49 I spent 80% of my time working abroad so it’s a natural thing to resume. People who haven’t tried it simply don’t get it. You’re right

  24. China1

    Ah I’m so jealous. Wanted to work for nasa all my life. Would absolutely love to have grown up in that environment

  25. China1

    Yeah Kroenke I may be wrong but I think for that to happen TWICE in 30 mins was an inside job!

  26. China1

    Like the first one was bad enough but surely as soon as the first bunch left security would’ve been ordered to sweep the place and lockdown and check all entry points

    30 mins later some douche is strolling back in with his mates and doing but slides on the seat covers

    It’s completely beyond the realm of possibility for any organization of this size imo.

  27. Guns of SF

    That one maniac with his underpants showing, throwing a tripod.
    All these idiots should be arrested. Its a matter of time before they all start posting on social media, with their profiles easily detected. Fools.

  28. China1

    I thought it was hilarious that tripod guy actually went to the trouble of taking his shoes off to do seat covering butt slides

    I love that he will break and enter, throw and damage property, drink and disorderly behavior. BUT. The guy knows you gotta take your shoes off when doing butt slides because you don’t want to make those waterproof sheets dirty 😂😂😂😂😂😂😂

  29. Guns of SF

    Well something happened and It was one shoe.
    So he must have forgot midway or ?
    Typical Manure mouth breathing idiot, and then to yell at a group of stewards.
    Not sure who was more stupid. Them or him

    And the fella didnt have a Manure shirt on or scary of anything… just some drunk fuck that happened to get on in the fun

  30. China1

    I think tripod guy wasn’t even smart enough to cover his face or weak a mask

    Blatant antivaxer!

  31. Gonsterous

    Jesus went on YouTube and people are praising odegarrds pass to martinelli as visionary and cesc like level. It was a simple pass that cevallos could have completed.

  32. China1

    When he finally went home to beat up his wife she must’ve wondered how the fuck did you end up on international news, and not even be wearing shoes

  33. Pierre

    Weagle
    Are you slightly obsessed with Nketiah, as your post appears to be a rant about him when his name was never mentioned.

    The original conversation was to do with Martinelli being a striker and I said, and I quote “Let’s hope he is a jamie Vardy type striker , if so we need to play to Martinelli’s strengths as Leicester do with Vardy.
    Trying to make Martinelli into something he isn’t is futile..”

    I then said ” my fear is that he will turn into an Almiron type player “who is a decent enough player , though nothing special , who plays for a struggling club who rarely put 2 passes together .

    Rich then produced figures on Almiron and Martinelli including Europa games which showed Martinelli has a clear better goals per minute ratio.
    Almiron doesn’t have the luxury of playing in easy Europa league ties so I produced figures showing that Almiron and Martinelli have a pretty similar goals/assists per game ratio in the Premier league…

    For some reason weagle took offence to me posting similar Almiron/Martinelli figures in the Premier league and started producing stats from Nketiah to prove a point which was kind of a strange thing to do….obsessed?

    Will just add that I complimented Martinelli on his performance yesterday before anyone jumps on the “Pierre hates Martinelli ” bandwagon.

    Martinelli had a good game yesterday, especially in the first half , though he did fade in the 2nd half probably due to not receiving enough of the ball as Newcastle recognised he was the danger man ….man of the match for me.

    Should start on Thursday as we will need intensity in the team , though I can’t see Arteta going with 3 twenty year olds.

  34. Habesha Gooner

    Pierre
    Martinelli had these numbers vs Newcastle
    Chances created 5
    key passes 4
    Assist 1
    Pass completion rate 89%

    what is fascinating about these stats is if this was Ozil that produced these exact stats then you wouldn’t stop yapping all day.

  35. China1

    Sell sell sell!

    Looks like to get this over the line we might have to take our shoes off, break in and do seat cover butt slides

    Whatever it takes guys!!!

  36. shaun

    Buendia yep agreed much much better option than ODE . I like ODE but he is not the greatest and if I am honest I can see why he not in the Madrid first 11 and personally i prefer ESR all day long in the 10 position more goal threat and higher tempo . I would send them both back to Madrid to be honest I just hope Arteta has learnt as we have better wingers than ESR out left so really don’t think the two in the same team are making a balanced squad as ESR tendency is naturally to move into the 10 space .I thought the Newcastle game was a good result 2-0 Clean sheet 3pts in the bag job done

  37. Emiratesstroller

    My major concern when watching Arsenal this season is the continuous turnover of players in almost every game and it is therefore inevitable that the team lacks consistency.

    This is particularly apparent with the defence where once again we made 4 changes against
    Newcastle with Ryan, Bellerin, Luiz and Gabriel coming in for those who played against Villereal on Thursday.

    This is beginning to be a habit and may be part of the reason that we are not only inconsistent but error prone.

    There has to be a point where the Manager knows which is his best team and starts playing
    it on a regular basis with the occasional rotation to cover injuries and rest players.

    Another feature of Arsenal’s gameplan, which I detest is the constant short passing backwards and sideways between goalkeeper and defence. I don’t mind it when you need
    time to pass out of defence, but not when it becomes a habit and our players are being pressed by opposition.

    The number of occasions that the ball is being distributed in this fashion is now so predictable that every opposing team knows exactly what is going on and anticipates. It
    explains why our defence is so error prone, because sooner or later a mistake does occur.

    I have been an advocate of allowing Arteta as a young manager time over two years to prove himself, but there has got to be a point when he delivers a team which matches expectation
    and starts competing at that level. This season we are woefully short of that level.

  38. Useroz

    China

    Same as CebalLost

    Surprisingly Elneny cut down on side and back passing a fair but yesterday

  39. shaun

    I agree with that ES i have only really enjoyed the Slavia game the rest of the season has been very very disappointing from a team performance perspective .I don’t know if it is just me or maybe as ODE is just back from injury but he appears to just stand there and pass to either side and looks for an opening but if he can’t find one it’s pass to the side again he does not appear to be doing a lot or even trying to make something happen

  40. Pierre

    As good as the pass was from Martinelli, I do not think Aubamayang received enough credit for the finish.

    Great movement, great anticipation and great athletism.

    Arteta has a selection headache v Villarael..
    For me, Aubamayang starts up top, without a doubt .
    I would play Martinelli and pepe as the wide players with Smith Rowe in the hole.
    Tierney not being fit means playing Saka at full back to support either Pepe or Martinelli on the wing .
    Xhaka and Partey in midfield with Chambers at right back and holding and mari centre backs .

    I suppose there is even a case for starting Ryan in goal but I doubt if it will happen..
    2 or 3 goal victory i predict.

  41. shaun

    “and his assist had to be the perfect pace and the perfect direction in the corridor of uncertainty..”
    yeah do your thing Pierre lol…………………….lol better make sure Pedro doesn’t nic that corridor of uncertainty

  42. shaun

    and you had also better clarify for GOH as the corridor can have a different meaning for those trendy type hackney boys

  43. Kroenkephobe

    China

    Good eye witness piece in Guardian talking about the OT protest from a fan’s pov. Very fair. In it, he talks about an entry point into the ground being opened from within.

  44. Emiratesstroller

    Earlier today I raised concerns not only about our first team, but what is going on in the Academy as well.

    We have apparently won only one match out of 12 including Saturday’s defeat against West
    Ham in the U23s.

    This is hardly grounds for optimism for the quality and depth of our Academy players. We were led to believe that there would be a revolution and improvements made to Academy
    programme.

    By all accounts we are now at risk of being relegated at U23 level. That will make it more difficult to recruit at that level should it occur.

  45. Valentin

    Stroller,

    May I remind you that at the beginning of the season I told you that this was going to happen because of the change in the way the academy was run.
    Per realised that the step from U23 to first team regular was too steep. So they changed their approach. They now focus on loaning the good prospect to help them take the step.

    Unless they had not signed a long term contract, or were injured, most of the good prospects were sent on loan in lower leagues.
    So the U23 is now filled with no hopers, precocious U18, and a few players with potential bought late.
    In order to make sure that they would be able to fullfil their fixtures, they bought a few players who had no chance to make it at Arsenal. Nearly all the players they bought at U21 level were no hopers.
    You hailed the arrival of A CB reject from Spurs who failed a trial at Charlton as a great move. The arrival of a Rwandan player from a 4th division team in Sweden was not done for football reason.

    The objective of the U23 is not to bring players in the first team but to bed U18, help injured U21 get back to speed. So the level of the U23 was always going to suffer.

  46. Emiratesstroller

    Valentin

    Sorry I don’t buy that argument.

    Please explain to me why the club has SIX Goalkeepers attached to the U23 Squad? None of them appears to be playing on a regular basis, which is hardly a recipe for getting results at that level.

    I have never hailed recruitment of any player joining the Academy unless I have seen them
    actually play in a game.

    The club needs to sort out very quickly whether the current goalkeeper and defence coaches
    are fit for purpose, because on the evidence of games I have seen the club are woeful in both
    departments not only in first team but downstream as well.

  47. Emiratesstroller

    Valentin

    Looking at the list of loanees from U23s I see little evidence that any of these players is likely
    to make the grade in the first team.

    Can you please name one who is a serious prospect?

  48. Useroz

    U believe Kopp reckoned Martinelli is a 1 in 100 year generational talent in his breakout year. Would you listen to Klopp or the generational sauce?

    Haven’t recalled so many fans, bloggers, pundits, ex players etc hail a young player and speak out on why he hasn’t been played more??

  49. Kegunner

    Meanwhile Mancity piling up wonderkids

    https://mancitysquare.com/2021/04/23/manchester-city-complete-signing-brazilian-wonderkid/

    https://www.goal.com/en/news/estudiantes-confirm-wonderkid-sarmiento-will-join-manchester/1csa3jd7ofoep1piqihnttkdrg

    https://www.goal.com/en/news/romeo-lavia-man-city-wonderkid-follow-fernandinho-footsteps/15hle5knwpry81i07zybr8jq7z

    https://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/sport/football/football-news/braaf-goal-udinese-man-city-20462337

    Arsenal has not signed a wonderkids for a while.

  50. Emiratesstroller

    Useroz

    I can understand Arteta’s reluctance to play Martinelli on a regular basis this season.

    Martinelli suffered a serious injury last season and his style of play will result from time to
    time in further injuries.

    I agree that he should have been afforded more game time and the decision not to play him
    in starting lineup last Thursday when both Aubameyang and Lacazette was not match fit was ridiculous.

    Arsenal will have next season three wide players in Martinelli, Saka and Pepe who will be
    competing for a start in first team. Let us hope that they are well used.

  51. Kegunner

    Arsenal club have so many basic mistakes that any decent manager can have his pick on contract duration. Sort the scouting. Buy quality players younger sell later like Nasri, Fabregas. Less of Mustafi et al.

  52. Kegunner

    Arsenal strategy of buying ready made players on their way down reduces chances of getting a core of players to challenge for a trophy and generate player sales. Leicester, Mancity, Manchester buy top class players at a young age get them playing together long enough to gel then make outrageous fees on sales. Seems better to Arsenal buying one top player per window without a supporting cast.

  53. Chris

    Huge week of football ahead. I get the feeling Chelsea will finish the job against Real Madrid although it will be a close thing. A single goal win or even 0-0 and away goals progression. Also feel City will see off PSG.

    Man Utd all but through so that just leaves us. I am somewhat confident anyway and was even after TD he disappointing defeat in the first leg. The reasons for this are returning players and Arteta surely not repeating the line up mistakes of the first game. I like a few of the line ups suggested already by other posters. In this case I do agree with Saka at left back as that will get Xhaka back in the midfield and will keep us on the front foot on the left side with a Saka and Martinelli combo. Hopefully Aubameyang is back in form now and therefore our most lethal goal scorer back up front. Villarreal can be got at and an early goal for us will unsettle them and leave doubt in whether they go forward for the goal they need and leave themselves further exposed.

  54. Vintage Gun

    “For those who keep on advocating the promotion of Academy players I would point out that
    according to Jeorge Bird our U23 Team has won just one game in last eleven and are bordering
    now relegation.”

    You’re looking at it wrong Emiratesstroller.

    The results of the U23’s doesn’t represent the individual quality of players. For example, Balogun, Patino, Hutchinson, Azzez and Taylor Hart are some of the hottest youth players in the Land. However amongst them will be a plethora of players whom won’t make the grade. At Arsenal or even in football . Couple this with players out on loan and you get up and down results.

    The key to youth teams is not so much the results but the amount of youngsters that are capable of promotion to the 1st team as backup or squad players or to generate decent returns few years down the line.

    In that regarded we’re doing very well compared to the other PL teams in recent years.

  55. Pierre

    Useroz
    “Haven’t recalled so many fans, bloggers, pundits, ex players etc hail a young player and speak out on why he hasn’t been played more??”

    Jumping on the bandwagon i think it’s called…

    Its a ploy to knock Arteta , and a very good one , but at present Martinelli hasn’t shown he is a generational talent, but that isn’t to say he won’t be , the injury knocked him for 6 and that is why I for one wouldn’t disagree with the way he has handled him since his injury.

    However, now is the time to put him in the side and build up his confidence in time for the Europa final.
    I would also give Balogun a few run outs as he could well have a massive impact if he lives up to expectations.

    Arteta has the perfect opportunity to give young players game time, let’s hope he doesn’t waste it by playing the older players.

  56. Rich

    Martinelli was the first teenager to hit double figures in goals last season for Arsenal, since Anelka

    There’s exceptions you can always point to, but it’s not common for teenagers to produce the goods consistently, and produce the type of numbers we’d need to challenge towards the top

    Saka is 19, we should never be this reliant on a teenager, but as long as we don’t burn him out, I’m confident that he’ll develop into a double digits goal + assist wide player

    In those fine margins games, that’ll be crucial

    Smith-Rowe is 20, he’s never scored a PL goal, the goals will come, but that natural progression will just take a bit of time

    Martinelli is the same, he’s raw, but listening to people in the game, his attitude and desire to learn is spot on, providing he stays fit, we’ll gradually see more of him, and his end product numbers will improve, as will his overall understanding of the game

    Poor squad balance has hurt us more than anything else this season

    The signings of Willian + Soares + Runarsson, are real head scratchers

    We really can’t afford to do anything like that again this summer

  57. NP1

    What’s the feeling on a Daniel Ek or similar trying to buy Arsenal with piles of debt financing supplied by like as not American investment banks for outrageous fees against another company’s stock options (Spotify) as opposed to sticking with the cash laden Kronke’s whose Inglewood property investment will likely double in value in the next five years and vastly strengthen their portfolio? Is there any guarantee that a new debt laden entity will invest more in the footballing side of the club? There are very few cash laden billionaires in the world who would pass the Premier League scrutiny which has kicked back the Saudis and like as not would do the same for the likes of Dangote. Roman and Mansur invested to raise their profiles and for the massive PR benefits – all the Americans have invested for capital growth prospects off the back of consistently increasing media revenues – is all that about to change and not just for Arsenal. What is the real future value of Premier League clubs? Interesting times ahead….

  58. Tom

    “Its a ploy to knock Arteta , and a very good one , but at present Martinelli hasn’t shown he is a generational talent, but that isn’t to say he won’t be , the injury knocked him for 6 and that is why I for one wouldn’t disagree with the way he has handled him since his injury.“

    Pierre,
    Ten minute cameos ,often times after the starting eleven reshuffle on or around the 80th minute of a game, is about the worst kind of environment for an eager teenage striker/winger to showcase his talents.
    You get about three or four ( if you’re lucky) possession with which you try to do too much to justify your inclusion.

    This goes equally for Martinelli or any other young player brought on in similar circumstances.
    It’s just a head scratcher that a former professional player turned coach doesn’t get it.

    It’s not a ploy or an anti-Arteta agenda issue.

  59. Vintage Gun

    The Old Trafford ‘invasion’ was i set up in my opinion. Like China said how can around a thousand fans carrying flares, surrounding the Lowry Hotel (where the players were staying) delaying them leaving, yet no police??? During social restrictions??
    Then 2hrs later casually walk over and into to the ground unchallenged and un policed. On a match day. Against Liverpool? Really?

    I wouldn’t be surprised if The glazers threw in a few anarchists to show protesters in a bad light in a bid to quell future protests against them.

  60. Tom

    Re Man U supporters protest, sorry guys but the conspiracy theorists make me laugh.
    It’s called incompetence, pure and simple.
    You’ll find it at every level of government, private sector, and in every walk of life.

    We saw it with the Capitol riots, the Super League launch fiasco, and before that with handling of Covid across the entire world, as well as countless other instances.

    We’re all living on borrow time anyways and an asteroid can strike this place virtually at any time, since we only detect about a third of them before it’s too late, so act accordingly.

  61. The Bard

    Tom that was a hilarious post. Asteroids !!! If that’s the case Kroenke selling Arsenal is a slam dunk. I haven’t left my house for 5 years for fear there might be an earthquake in N5.
    The Manu protest is great news for us. Another reason for Kroenke to sell. Who needs all that aggro ?

  62. Daniel Altos

    I rarely comment here but Pierre comparing martinelli to almiron is where I draw the line what the actual fuck maan?What’s funny is that the dude was calling people ozil obsessives and he has now turned out to be the same with martinelli ..always slandering the kid but no bad word for nketiah who couldnt even make a championship team.Anybody with a brain and eyes can see that martinelli is so clear if nketiah it’s not even a discussion….I remember there was a period eddy was getting regular minutes game after game,how about we give Gabi 4 straight games and then we see how shit he instead of the regular 20mins cameos he gets from arteta

  63. Tom

    The Bard
    The odds on Kroenke selling are about as good as those on asteroid impact. And if the latter were to happen, I can think of a better place for it than a remote, vast, and scarcely populated certain ranch in Texas.

  64. Vintage Gun

    @Tom

    I just don’t understand how up to 1000 protesters can be roaming around hotels with flares for hours then deciding to go to Old Trafford for a kick around few hrs before two great rivals play each other and the police not even think to show presence. Thats all

  65. Victorious

    I rarely comment here but Pierre comparing martinelli to almiron is where I draw the line what the actual fuck maan?”

    Agree,that was really a shocking comment from Pierre,

    he does come out with some weird stuff at times regardless of how solid a poster he can be for the most part.

  66. Victorious

    Really enjoyed Martinelli’s performance against Ncastle. One of the more interesting elements of his game was how calm he was. Normally a hugely excitable presence, this was a game in which he was focused but measured, especially in his dribbling. He had Murphy on toast all afternoon. Could have had a few assists too.

  67. Northbanker

    I’m with NP1 on this – much as I have no liking of the Krankies as absentee and remote landlords (not sure how often Josh is in the UK) the fact remains that very few people have £1.5bn in the bank along with another £1bn to pump reckless spending ala Man City of a few years ago

    Ek has “only” $4-5 bn and that is probably represented by Spotify shares – not cash. So any deal is going to be highly leveraged against the shares / stadium.

    Some of you are going to have to get real about this.

    The best hope is to immerse Josh more into AFC and football culture and he commits to being a permanent resident in the UK dealing only with Arsenal. Ideally he’d take over as CEO and seeks advice in building out a proper corporate structure.

  68. R.S.P.C.Arsenal

    Cmon Peter
    50 years ago today we started the first part of our post war double…

    Celebrate the day

  69. Tom

    Vintage Gun
    It’s quite simple really.
    No Liverpool fans were traveling so no risk of clashes.
    Glaziers don’t reside at OT or in Manchester, and since this protest was mainly against their ownership, the authorities didn’t think violence or property damage would be an issue.

    We are talking about football fans however, so maybe they should’ve considered it.

    The worst that I saw on the NBC split screen ( annoying) was a guy throwing a camera tripod to the ground, and some kid falling from the goal net after climbing it ( hilarious).
    Although there was a reported car overturned too so maybe Tiger Woods attended as well.

    I found it mostly boring and annoying while trying watching my Arsenal game.

    At least the Capitol riot clowns brought costumes and shit……

  70. Emiratesstroller

    Vintage Gun

    No-one would argue that very few academy players are going to make the grade at Arsenal.
    I accept that premise.

    What I don’t accept is that Arsenal’s U23 are playing so poorly that we have managed to win
    only one game in last 12.

    Moreover the problems in first team continue to be repeated in our U23 and Academy teams.
    The defences is brittle and error prone.

    You cannot claim also that the senior coach of U23s is “inexperienced”. Steve Bould has many years of coaching experience and yet the current team at that level is clearly not fit
    for purpose.

  71. Uwot?

    Re Old Toilet invasion.’An inside job’ all day long.The first line of enquiry should be the useless stewards & secondly as someone has already pointed out.Where were all the old bill? On a match day against the dippers?very suspect.One of them got their face slashed.The FA should deduct a couple of points at least.But they won’t.( If it was Arsenal you could guarantee it) Gary Neville would be screaming ‘relegate them”’from the rooftops the wanker.
    As for Vilaunreal who are buck average( mind you what does that say about us? ) An easy 3-0 to The Arsenal.No sweat.

  72. China1

    Tom if the protests were not ‘accidentally enabled’ by Utd insiders and truly are that incompetent to let the pitch get invaded on two separate occasions within 30 minutes of each other then it’s safe to say heads should roll in the security department because I have been trying to work out how they could possibly be that incompetent and just can’t see it

    Like the first time is very unlikely but it COULD happen…somehow. But after the first one ended what are security doing? Surely they sweep the building and lock down all the normal entrances and exits as normal.

    We’re supposed to believe that right after tripod guy walks out the stadium the first time the stadium security just went ‘well glad that’s over’ and made a pot of tea? Security is important but not that complicated when it comes to locking some doors and gates And putting a couple of guards on the weakest entrances

    The real question is if security didn’t intentionally let that happen the second time then what *were* they doing??? It’s a total head scratcher

  73. China1

    As well tripod guy was actually present the second time as well as the first

    This means either he knew TWO entrances that were unlocked and unguarded or the entrance from the first break in was left open after he left.

    This whole thing doesn’t add up one bit. I’ve seen a mountain of incompetence in my time but this whole thing makes absolutely zero sense

  74. China1

    As well tripod guy, who spends his time doing butt slides shoeless is not exactly James Bond is he yet he’s bamboozled old trafford security twice LOL

  75. Rich

    Northbanker

    If KSE can headhunt some better bureaucrats, and Arsenal start making much better decisions

    Then the issue with KSE ownership will largely disappear, and fans will have to find something else to whinge about

    Stan Kroenke is exceptionally wealthy, his wife is from one of the richest families in the world, and whether fans like it or not, that brings Arsenal a certain amount of security

    KSE’s model of ownership can work, I don’t have an issue with self sustainability, we can certainly be successful within our resources,

    We just need competent decision makers pulling the strings

  76. China1

    I find it a bit odd that Neville is saying the glazers haven’t understood what needs to be done financially with utd as if they haven’t spent an absolute fortune since they came in

    Like they’re terrible owners who saddled the club with debt, supported the super league, drove up season ticket prices etc etc. all true

    But they have always backed the team to spend unreal amounts of money. Their biggest issue has been they’ve often spent it very very badly

  77. China1

    I find it a bit odd that Neville is saying the glazers haven’t understood what needs to be done financially with utd as if they haven’t spent an absolute fortune since they came in

    Like they’re terrible owners who saddled the club with debt, supported the super league, drove up season ticket prices etc etc. all true

    But they have always backed the team to spend unreal amounts of money. Their biggest issue has been they’ve often spent it very very badly .

  78. Ishola70

    It’s quite simple really why Pierre has no time for Martinelli in comparison to Nketiah.

    He sees Nketiah as having some kind of link to Wenger as Wenger was still at the club when Nketiah was produced and of course Martinelli has no link with Wenger at all having arrived after he left.

    Arsene Wenger FC for some still.

  79. Ishola70

    Said before on here a few weeks ago that the Man Utd and Liverpool fans will be really giving it to their owners after the ESL escapade so the mini riot yesterday by Man United fans doesn’t surprise me.

    Hopefully Arsenal fans will continue to follow suit.

    Don’t forget what these owners tried to do. They were going to take away the history and fabric of these teams overnight and not only that were going to take away the concept of real competiveness and risk in the sport which we all love.

    Unforgivable.

  80. NP1

    North banker / Rich

    I’m onboard with the mix of your comments – no one is stopping to think that Stan might just want his £1bn profit out and leave the problem to someone else. He’s doubled his money at that and world circumstances have changed and elite soccer with that. I think it would potentially be better to get his son involved and them continue to put in support in the short term. As has been noted they have very deep pockets and US investment bankers will love them even more as the Inglewood project continues to be developed and perhaps double in asset value. Is the grass greener in the current financial world? Try to draw up a list of cash rich investors – cash being the word – who would take this deal on thinking that they will double their money? A friend of mine has close to a billion dollars in cash and he says ALL the funding will be debt financed for a deal. To give you an idea – when the Glazers bought MU they got all bar £140m from regular finance channels. The remainder was – mezzanine debt finance ie the £140m – the interest rate on that tranche was 14% and MU were hardly a bad risk with Premier League money increasing. Why do you think it will take a while for the likes of Daniel Ek to make an offer – they are all working out how to fund the debt and how much the fees are going to be. No cash in sight – how are you going to fund acquisitions going forward- people are either naive- or not thinking straight. Be very careful of what you wish for – the grass is seldom greener – particularly if you don’t know where the cash is……

  81. Almuniasaynomore

    Sid
    ‘I remember during WW2 as a POW at Poznan playing football, to keep sane.’
    How did that work out Sid?

  82. Rich

    China1

    It’s like Arsenal fans demanding more money invested into the squad

    We’ve put plenty of money into the squad in recent years, but until we get competent people allocating our funds, it won’t matter how much we invest, because it’ll likely get squandered, and we won’t see any improvements

    The best investment we could make is a competent director of football, the type who laughs a 3yr contract for Willian straight out of the room

    Head coaches come and go, but a competent DOF can ensure our squad planning doesn’t deviate, and our coaches will have a greater likelihood of delivering success, if we have a competent structure already built around them, and they’re working with a balanced squad of quality players

    Our biggest problems are structural

  83. Valentin

    China1,

    For once I agreed with Graeme Souness, for most of the ManUtd fans the issue with the Glaziers is incidental. Their issue is that for the last couple of years they have been kicked off their their perch. They are not top dogs and their entitled mind can’t handle it.

    The Glazier have given a lot more money to their managers than other premiership clubs. But most of it has been squandered on sub par or inconsistent players. Maguire was never a £80 millions CB. Pogba is extremely talented, but flickers from magistral to anonymous and vice versa, sometimes in the same game.

    They have also appointed managers who are not fit for their expectations. Took a manager in Van Gaal that needed young players willing to learn but expected immediate success. Went in Mourinho with a immediate success manager but expected him to plan long term. Hence the squad issue with Edward. Now went for a former legend who like to play counter attacking football which is great away, but who couldn’t get a win at home while ManUtd fans expects to play on the front foot all the time.

  84. Ishola70

    This really isn’t the time for tribal feelings towards Man United.

    For fans of all these clubs involved it should be a case of unison and acting together to get these owners out of our clubs.

    A concerted effort.

  85. Valentin

    ES,

    Two points:
    + Producing proper defenders has never been Arsenal academy strong suits for multiple decades now. AFC did produced some very good left back, but no decent CBs. However Arsenal were able to produce decent Championship defenders. Look at the current team and none of them will make the grade at Championship level. The ones most likely to do are currently playing their trade at League 1 clubs. You can’t make Tony Adams out of Gavin Hoyte player.

    + You judge the quality of the academy on the quality of the U23 team, where you should judge on the number of players who make the first team grade. For the last 7 years Chelsea and ManCity are the most successful academies , yet until Lampard both were at the bottom in term of bringing players in the first team.

    If that means that a players spend the last two years of his formation playing in League 1 and Championship rather than reserve then it may be bad in term of results for the U23 academy, but great for the first team.

    In France the best academy are not necessarily those who win the Gambardella (Youth Team Cup). It is those who bring the most number of players in their first team. Same in England, for the last few years as a percentage of players formed Southampton has more former academy players playing the premiership than any other clubs.

    Clubs have to decide on a strategy that is effective for the club rather than the U23 manager CV.
    Look at Brentford business model. They closed their academy and decide to recruit great 17~21 players and give them a quick path to the first team before reselling them at a profit.

  86. Rich

    Leicester signed Soyuncu for £17 million the season before selling Maguire, so they already had an internal replacement lined up

    They then sold Maguire at the top of the market for £80 million 12 months later

    We signed Sokratis for the same price as Leicester signed Soyuncu in summer of 2018, but chose to pay Sokratis a reported 5 x what Leicester were paying Soyuncu

    We then payed Sokratis to leave in January this year, after not even registering him to play in October

    Leicester now have a superior centre half who’s 24, and worth £50-£60 million even in this market (no English premium)

    Smart people make money go much further

  87. Dissenter

    Rich
    I remember asking at the time why we were paying so much for a 30 year old defender [PapSok}. He actually turned 30 years old a week before we announced his transfer.
    That same summer, Westham signed Issa Diop for a little more than we paid for PapSok.

    That’s why I will always poopoo the idea that Sven Mislintat was some type of genius.

  88. Ishola70

    Dissenter

    It’s called signing a mix of players.

    That first window under Emery indicated that those coming in to manage the squad were not that impressed with what Wenger was leaving behind.

    Papa Sok. Mavrapanos. A mix.

  89. Chris

    Mislintat was also behind the signings of Mavropanos, Guendouzi, and his subsequent work shows he can find diamonds in the rough. The likes of Sokratis and Aubameyang were brought in to supplement the younger signings for the future, with a quick return to the Champions League intended. Obviously this didn’t work out but compare that to the approach we took after Sven left with the Raul/Kia little black book of players with huge agents fees. This has left us saddled with the likes of Willian and huge resources likely wasted on Pepe.

    I would agree the structure at the club is a priority fix (although I share the sentiment that KSE are overall lacklustre owners at best) someone like Sven to source the best younger players and the diamonds in the rough. Edu is yet to convince on this front, this summer is huge for him and the club.

  90. Rich

    Dissenter

    Investing big fees and wages in established stars, who are on the way down, rather than on the way up, and who’ll hold no resale value

    Has been an absolute disaster

    The links with Coutinho who’s been injured the majority of this season, suggest we’ve learned nothing if true

    Wenger up until around 2010, used to be the master of knowing when to let a player go, and identifying players who were on the way up

    Our scouting, recruitment, contract management, and squad planning, have been mainly awful for the past decade, in the last few years though, we’ve completely lost the plot

    I’m more inclined to back Arteta as a head coach, but not as our manager

    I wouldn’t be at all bothered if we sacked him, I’m just not convinced by the argument that sacking him will fix the fundamental issues that have been detrimental to Arsenal constructing a winning team

  91. Ishola70

    Rich

    “I wouldn’t be at all bothered if we sacked him”

    You have said this so many times on this blog now and it is always followed up by implying it would make no difference who the manager was.

    How about this awful structure you keep talking about and the horrible decisions that have been made for so many years resulted in yet another poor decision in regards recruiting Arteta or at least making him manager?

    I think most realise we are not going to go through against Villarreal because of Arteta. It will be individual players that could see us through. That’s if he picks the right side.

    That sums up Arteta at this time.

  92. Emiratesstroller

    Valentin

    The main point is that the club does not produce in its Academy good standard defenders.

    Some of the reports suggest that even by Academy/U23 standards they are below the level
    of the league and that looks to be certainly the case this year.

    The one decent player we have produced recently was Martinez in goal and we chose to offload him.

    The feedback I got about the current crop of goalkeepers is that only Olyinka is regarded as
    talented and he wants to leave the club.

    Arsenal should have offered him the position as third string in the first team squad and provided him with some cup experience as well as periodically send him out on loan.

    We know that goalkeepers take a long time to mature, but surely we need to provide a career
    pathway for him and other defenders.

  93. Dela Mere

    I haven’t seen any individuals win matches on their own this season and if they have it’s been in meaningless games or against shit teams.

  94. NP1

    Rich

    Arsenal trade very poorly and don’t give themselves chances in the marketplace. In the last five years we have dropped roughly £65m more than Chelsea on trades. However our player sales amount to £225m – Chelsea have sold £550m in the same time. That has enabled them to spend £800m acquiring players and a greater churn enabling them to retain potentially better talent. Our poor management has bought badly and sold badly due to an inability to develop players – or the right players. In the margins we are failing in a business that is largely dependant on those margins. Like you I don’t necessarily think getting rid of Arteta or even the Kronkes will improve things – and certainly not for three years or so following a major shake up if at all. Bad management is an issue and needs solving if it is endemic but could quite easily be done under the current regime- but there needs to be someone ruthless enough to deliver what is needed without management by committee…..

  95. Rich

    Ishola70

    Football is a game of fine margins, outside of 3-4 league games this season, I’ve not felt we’ve been good, but I’ve not finished watching a game thinking our opponents were either

    The amount of points we’ve lost through individual errors is bonkers, and you can either put that down to lack of cohesion, or poor temperament/quality

    Look at the way Bruno Fernandes transformed United, particularly against sides further down the league

    Losing Tierney shouldn’t nullify our left side the way it does

    Arsenal should never be going into the season with no fit or registered attacking midfielder, is it any wonder our attacking metrics were so bad?

    1 injury away from Runarsson becoming our No1

    Luiz is our best centre half, he’s erratic, and not a player we can build around for the medium to longer term, think of the way that VVD transformed Liverpool, or how City struggled last season to transition from Kompany

    Saka is 19, Smith-Rowe 20, Martinelli 19, we need to wait for their game to develop, and add more end product, I’m confident it’ll come, we just need a bit of patience, also Willock who I think might surprise a few people

    A few really astute signings, clearing out the bulk of our deadwood, and adjusting the size and balance of our squad, can see us make up a lot of points across 38 games

    Not all improvement has to be external improvements, cohesion is such an underrated aspect of building a successful team, and our turnover of players in recent years has been massive

  96. Ishola70

    Rich

    Arteta is not giving this side a real positive identity at all or hardly at all.

    Even teams fighting relegation complain of fine margins and hard luck stories.

    Keep convincing yourself that Arteta is a good thing.

    He won the FA Cup playing backs to the wall football.

    It’s not the way to go,

  97. Spanishdave

    I don’t supposed Man U will get any punishment from the FA as they never do.
    They will say it highlighted the frustration of foreign owners.

  98. NP1

    Ishola70

    Who would be your pick for manager – presumably someone with experience- and who is realistically available?

    Who would be your atypical ownership team and how would you envisage they would fund and invest in a team with potentially no European football?

    Would you be happy to retain the current management team if Arteta were to be removed?

    Curious…

  99. Rich

    We played with a back 3, because we had no attacking midfielders, not through preference

    Take out Saka, Smith-Rowe, Odegaard, Tierney

    And where’s the creativity?

    We invested big money into Aubameyang who’s an elite goal scorer, but without the players to create the type of openings he needs to thrive

    Our youngsters attacking metrics will improve over the next 12-36 months, but that will be a process

    There’s signs Pepe is improving, even if he’s still a bit flaky

    Where are the goals from midfield? Xhaka, Elneny, Ceballos

    Is another manager getting more out of Holding, Mari, Luiz,, Soares, Chambers, Kolasinac, Bellerin

    I’m not convinced

    Gabriel + Saliba might develop with game time, but again that’ll be a process, particularly without surrounding them with a bit of quality experience

    Is another manager getting much more out of Lacazette + Nketiah?

    Not without more creativity that we were lacking before Boxing Day they’re not

    Was a first team squad of 31 manageable? Hard to keep players interested, when they know they’re not going to be involved,

    One rotten apple, can ruin a whole bunch

    Would a new coach solve the issue of only having 1 left back, but that left back being injured?

    Which is again a structural issue, not a coaching one

  100. NP1

    Spanishdave

    Most affordable and potentially best realistically available- but would he do more with the players in station?

    Willian was a truly awful purchase but Luiz less so and Mari and Soares were not adventurous but affordable. Add to that we have failed to ship out some of the rest who are heading back – Kolasinac Torreira Guendouzi et al and you have a management that are failing to churn players as a result of their abilities related to their contracts.

    It was also a bad idea in my view to make Arteta a manager rather than a coach. That smacks of management wanting to divest a heap of responsibility if things go badly……

    If you really wanted to buy Arsenal at the moment I think you would probably need to factor in an amount of £200-£250m to sort the mess out – and that won’t happen. Past that you have to be patient in reducing contract values – shipping the unwanted out and then having a vision as to what you want to buy – and that’s patently not Willian…..

  101. Spanishdave

    I think he would not have the issues Arteta has.
    The team would play better if it was more settled and properly managed.
    Constant chopping and changing and playing players out of position is not the way forward.
    Arteta has added to the mess by purchasing more dross and overpaying for has been players.

  102. NP1

    Dissenter

    Two different issues.

    Firstly buying a club – Man Utd bought for £790m – Man City for £265m – Chelsea for £140m and lastly Arsenal for around £1bn. I’m guessing if Kronke wants to sell them a double your money deal would be his ideal but he will know that revenues are going down and the cost of investing to get Arsenal back to business maybe of the order of what I’ve stated. So he may want to discount what he wants by that value. If that’s the case – and he has very deep pockets then you are looking at someone thinking Arsenal are a good investment for them at around £2bn – rather than investing in Amazon or Apple or anything else they might put their cash in. If it’s all debt financed and interest and fees are added good luck with team development with that as a millstone.

    Regarding a manager or coach – I think that mixing the two was a poor management decision and smacks of a blame culture within the management.

    Regarding a coach – either you hire in someone with experience who inevitably costs a lot with back room teams etc – or you take a chance. If you do the latter – an Arteta – my feeling is they need a period maybe a year to find their feet and make mistakes – before they even start to progress. In a sense that’s what your buying into for better or worse. If you have stable ownership you may be able to continue to support the manager with funds irrespective of initial performance to see what the extended period of grace brings – after all you own the club.

    My problem comes if the money isn’t well spent whoever is the coach as ultimately that affects the future of the club – again also irrespective of the ownership as it depletes value.

    Personally I’d be more worried about saddling the club with £2bn of debt finance – which has never happened before – because some greedy investment bankers can find a way of skimming off huge fees – and giving someone else the annual interest bill – than I would about giving Arteta an extra six months to work his processes out…….

  103. East Upper

    Here’s a question for you all re Ek. If you had 4bn of “assets” and an opportunity came up to buy Arsenal for 2bn what would you do? Even if some of your assets are future based options SURELY you’d take the opportunity to buy Arsenal even if you need to monetise some of those future options now vs leverage, which will likely be at something like 20% ltv.

    Surely having a fan as one owner who is essentially “only” spending half of his asset base is amazing and something we would all do given the opportunity. How much money do you need! I think you’ll see a lot more of this by the UHNW folks.

    As an aside I was a senior employee for a US IB for many years until last year. I understand how some of these guys now think. It’s not all about $$$ anymore amongst the more recent UHNW folks there’s a lot of altruism there…..Kronke is old school he genuinely doesn’t get it.

    This is what I did for most of my career at a US IB.

  104. East Upper

    The problem with many people on here is they want $mn pumped into the club. The think under sensible management and a sensible business plan Arsenal undoubtedly works. It’s a premier club in a premier location with premier facilities. If we had the Leicester set up at Arsenal we’d win the league and possibly dominate Europe. That’s ultimately the issue here years or miss management at every level in the club. It’s quite straightforward.