by .

Well, PGMOL did exactly what I said they’d do… 10 days after the Newcastle game, they planned their counter-attack on Mikel Arteta and they totally botched it.

How bad?

Michael Owen was calling the media ‘scumbags’ after the show went out and went full Donald Trump on the perception of the interview when he said ‘most people thought the show was insightful and educational.’

The show was not.

They cut the output to suit Howard Webb, they chose a docile host who’d already signaled his obedience with tweets before the show, and they managed to botch the offside rule in front of the country.

Needless to say, the reaction from all corners of Premier League fandom was absolutely brutal, this was a total failure of process, and a PR disaster for Howard Webb.

I cannot say it enough times: Your big idea as CEO of PGMOL cannot be ‘cozy up with the big pundits and gaslight the fans.’

G-Nev, Carragher, and Owen all thought they had the celebrity might to pull one over the fans… and no one is having it. Those guys like being liked, they’ll come crawling back to the middle on this in no time and correct their erroneous ways. Then what does Howard Webb have? Nothing.

PGMOL can only win hearts and minds with big ideas, cutting change, and consistent results on the pitch.

Howard Webb can’t deliver that. He’s part of the furniture. He cannot be an ideas man because he’s too deep in the trenches with incapable talent he would probably class as family.

No one is ever honest with family. Hard truths are glossed over. We accept mediocrity, character flaws, and incompetence in those we love. That’s why Mike Dean saved his mate from a bad day at Chelsea versus calling the correct decision. That’s why Lee Mason was rehired just months after a brutal public sacking. They are all family.

Anyway… amusing to see Owen feel the burn after siding with PGMOL propaganda.

Innnnnnn other news…

Gabi Jesus was sent to Brazil despite limping into the hotel lobby on official social channels. Why did he have to go? What was the point? This is a country that benched him for RICHARLISON. Now they want to wheel him out injured? It pains me to see.

Our friends over at Highbury Squad dropped a monster podcast with Aaron Ramsdale’s dad… and it was not pretty. (here)

He had a few too many drinks and went PROUD DAD on his son. As a parent who celebrates my child stacking two boxes on top of each other, I can see why Nick Ramsdale went nuclear on Mikel and the choice to pick David Raya over his son. But it was a bad idea. People are desperate to pretend it’s not important and Arteta won’t care… but he will. Not that it has changed anything. Aaron will be out the door in January and that will be that. It’s a shame, but I do think the lack of focus has cost him. The performances on the pitch were bad, but the podcasting and media darling aspect at the same time hasn’t helped him.

Podcasts will win you fans outside the club, but I’m not sure over-saturating yourself in the media helps you in an Arteta dressing room.

Last section, there’s a very interesting battle of ideas going off regarding the atmosphere at The Emirates.

It has declined.

There was a lot of denial at the start of the season that this was the case, but now everyone has caved, and the verdict is in: we’re back to having a limp atmosphere.

The least convincing excuse is: ‘expectations have changed’

I’d buy it if the only thing that changed between last season and now was contending the title.

Before you determine why something isn’t working – you have to understand what made it tick in the first place.


When clubs engage meaningfully with supporters and take on their ideas, it improves the vibes in the stadium. A very simple idea, but if you ask fans how to make things noisy, take their ideas on board, and implement them. You’re on a good path. Arsenal engaged with fans extensively and we know this because they said it in the NYT.


Again, another basic. People that go to a lot of games understand the norms in a stadium and that makes it easier for everyone to vibe. There’s a reason things feel very different between a Premier League game and an Emirates Cup outing. Different people bring different energy. Stadiums with elite atmospheres generally have a lot of repeat fans.

For the older crowd that read this blog… remember how sterile it was going from Highbury to The Ems? That’s why familiarity is important. It took years to break the staleness because it took years to care about those around you.


If you’re American, you get this term. If you’re an 80s fan, this would be the terrace fans. If you’re Italian, it’d be the Ultras. Creating a section in the stadium that is dedicated to fans who sing, wave flags, and hit drums is essential to creating a great vibe. In MLS, those sections are 3000 strong. In Dortmund, their singing stand is called the yellow wall and it’s 25,000 strong. It doesn’t matter the weather, the score, the performance, these fans keep the vibe banging. Arsenal did this with the AA, we know this, because they spoke about it in the NYT.

The caveat is the group was exposed for disgusting antisemitism that came out in The Guardian. There’s no excuse for that. But I’m working off the notion that the club dealt with it – because they said they did. You can’t hold a whole group accountable for the actions of a few.

EXPECTATIONS: When you’re doing a root-cause analysis in a blog – I don’t think it’s prudent to try and gauge something ethereal like expectation. 50,000 people all deciding at once that they are too good for singing because they now expect Arsenal to win the title doesn’t really work for me. It’s an especially odd conclusion considering how well we’ve been doing this season. Did Arsenal fans all decide to can the singing because we’re… 2 points off top in the EPL and top of our CL group? Doesn’t work for me. If expectation shifts were a problem then tell me how being exactly where you need to be if you want to win the league kills fan mood in the stadium?

Ok, so now we know what worked – let’s talk about what changed.

NEW: LESS ENGAGEMENT. Now, take what certain fans groups say with a pinch of salt… but the AA crowd say that club engagement has stopped with them. The club don’t listen to their ideas, approve their tifos, and they’ve cut their tickets.

I don’t know why that’s happened – it might be because they don’t want to deal with folk that caused embarrassment to them. If that’s the case, fine. But don’t kill the core idea and assume only one group is interested in making noise. Broaden the group. Encourage new ones. Work out a way to get the spirit of a supporter section into the stadium.

Cutting 200 tickets (0.03% of the stadium) to 150 is counter-productive. It also looks like the club is saying ‘we’re cool again, so we don’t need your aggro.’

NEW: LESS FAMILIARITY. I don’t want to go too far down a rabbit hole because #TicketDrama twitter is by far the most boring thing I read on the internet. But the message from the big voices was clear.

  1. Loyalty has been usurped
  2. The priority is access for more people
  3. It is harder for people to shift tickets

Now, I understand the thinking here. Having to spend 8 years going to Bolton away to get a home ticket ain’t right, but people did it so they could get access to single tickets. That’s all in the bin and the club has moved to random ballots. Red members have an 11% chance of a ticket, Silver has been 32%.

So here me out here – first-timers should be welcome. I am a TOURIST fan myself, and I should be welcome because I write all these free blogs. But you cannot ignore the reality of what newness brings… unfamiliarity. Arsenal ain’t the same as it used to be for me. I don’t sing because I don’t know anyone in the section. It’s just different. That doesn’t make me less of a fan – it’s just my reality. If you’re a tourist fan, stop complaining on Twitter you’re the same as regulars because you’re not. That doesn’t mean you don’t care, or you aren’t passionate, it just means you don’t fully get the vibe because you are new.

Back to what has changed: Were we seeing complaints of early leavers last season? Were people taking videos of empty seats? Were people saying the atmosphere was grim? No. No. No.

At a corporate level – you are celebrating the right things.

  • Ticket touts aren’t flogging spares for £400 a piece
  • More NEW fans are getting into the stadium
  • We aren’t dealing with supporters that bring reputational risk to the club

… but at the same time.

The stadium feels more sterile because there are lots of first-timers.

The designated noise makers have lost 25% of their already pitiful allocation and they feel ignored.

The new balloting system riles everyone up the wrong way.

… and the final point: The vibes are not immaculate in the stadium.

It is very hard getting people to contribute to a great atmosphere. When it happens, document why the magic is happening, pour petrol all over it, and light a match. Don’t hide behind ‘nuanced’ or ‘complicated’ especially if we’ve seen heard the promised land.

It doesn’t take much to damage vibes – and too much change will do that. This season, it looks like the tinkering has broken something. Maybe the club should spend less time arming their online allies with sound bites to defend the problem and more time working out how they achieved greatness.*

After all, no one wants to sit in a quiet stadium, especially the players.

(*Hint: take a look at the Rory Smith New York Times article and try that again.)



Jump to comment form ↓

  1. China1

    I’m not asking the detailed specifics of every aspect of the city case to be discussed in press conferences, simply a view on the timeline for when we might actually reach something of a conclusion

    A former US president can be charged with this that and the other and the timelines and procedures are widely known but a football authority charging a club is handled in such an opaque way. That doesn’t make sense

    As for it being dangerous to involve lawyers, it doesn’t have to be lawyers per se just suits who have the actual skill set to work against the system. Managers and coaches are NOT that guy. You do not send a highly emotional and angry man from another department out to fight against the authorities. *thats* the problem and why nothing ever improves. And why it never will when the reaction from fans is to let Mikel get fined and move on.

    Whether or not lawyers are utilized, this can only be useful if you can find cases of gross negligence and/or genuinely suspected corruption. But we have evidence of that. Bruno hits someone in the back off the ball for no reason and they wave it on in var. that’s your smoking gun of broken officiating far better than complaining about millimeters and subjective angles on the goal.

    And that’s the difference between letting managers vent vs having people with the right skill set working the proper channels to exert pressure.

    As long as PGMOL can demonstrate that they follow a legitimate law of the game and follow the code of conduct they have nothing to fear. The problem is explicitly that they don’t.

    I expect and can live with arsenal getting occasionally hurt by ref mistakes as long as they can be explained (difficult angles/subjective/borderline etc) OR if there are consequences for the mistake. But they face no consequences and some of them are clear as day. So sorry but until we reach a point where officials are meeting the most basic of criteria, yes arsenal absolutely should be leaning into every Avenue they have to exert pressure on the games authorities.

    If you don’t think so then please don’t complain when I’m one, two or three games from now we again face a dreadful decision which costs us and impacts our season. Either you want us to proactively do something about it or you’re waiting for a corrupt and incompetent self regulating group of authorities to magically improve itself. Which will NEVER happen

  2. Mysticleaves

    Arteta was not sent out. He was asked his opinion after a game and he gave them. Football is an emotional sports. We are emotional beings. It’s very crazy to expect someone to be in control of their emotions 100 percent of the time.

    Again, you need to understand that you are proposing a rabbit hole of epic proportions. If you are doing to fight the system for the “wrong decisions” that went against you, hope you are also compiling the “wrong decisions ” that went for you?

    The best clubs can do is just demand a higher standard of reffing and insist on it. Threaten pull out if it becomes unbearable. Both from the way I see it, the “wrong” decisions across board aren’t even too many to start with. These things are also going to be had because it’s humans that interpret these things. And I like the game to remain controlled by humans.

  3. Mysticleaves

    Arteta was not sent out to handle anything by the club. He was within his jurisdiction to answer post game questions and his emotions got the better of him***

    But, not both***

  4. China1

    Mystic I’m absolutely in favour of compiling wrong decisions that go for you because the purpose is not to obtain benefit for arsenal. It’s not a selfish ask. It’s about getting a basic standard for the league itself

    And re arteta yeah he’s not sent out but he’s left to manage it himself because the club appears to do fuck all to help. I’ve had highly emotional situations at work where I’ve felt wronged or whatever and the best managers I’ve had have come to me straight after seeing it and said stand down, calm down and leave it with us. Don’t say something you’re going to regret or get in trouble for because it will do more harm than good. we’ll take it from here’

    Arteta lost his shit because this keeps happening and there’s no indication that we’ve ever done anything about it. So he is the only voice of the club on the matter – and damn straight he’s feeling emotional and angry when it happens and is wheeled in front of the cameras. I don’t blame him 1%. I’m saying it’s poor at the higher levels of the club to allow arteta to be in this situation.

    As for the can of worms. I honestly don’t know how ensuring that there are standards in football is going to make it worse considering it’s currently dreadful. EVERY weekend normally has at least one major fuck up for one team or another. The game is being literally destroyed by PGMOL by both the combination of awful officiating and how much time they waste doing it on top. It’s crap

  5. G

    Guns have a day off.. if Arteta is a cheque book manager then I take it you won’t be celebrating if we win the league, after all a cheque book manager should be doing this anyway

  6. Terraloon


    The PL and FA can indeed look back as far as they want but the Limitation Act is relevant despite what the article says . That view isn’t mine alone it’s certainly being argued by City and being an English Law the PL acknowledges that all their disciplinary matters have to be conducted in accordance with English Law. As I said in my earlier post there are instances when the time limit can be extended but to invoke that exclusion fraud has to be proven.

    It has been and no doubt always will be that someone self reporting or pleading guilty will always be shown leniency when it comes to a sanction being awarded indeed that approach is part of the process in the PL handbook.

    As I keep saying if the money in and money out is recorded that’s one things but if it’s not then despite what some think trying to prove misdoing is extremely difficult

  7. Dissenter

    You’re still leading this blind emotional charge down a steep cliff
    You want attorneys for what exactly?
    To contest overhanging ball-on-lines you can’t prove
    To contest offside lines they claim they can’t prove
    To dispute how much force two outstretched hands on the back is needed to be called a push

    This is not a legal dispute. It’s a boring administrative process, like a school principal putting a student on after-school suspension for tardiness.
    The rules and processes are set out, agreed to by Arsenal and the FA is the court

    Bigger and better managers than Arteta has said worse things in press conferences and found ways to move on once things cooled off.

    imo, the FA wants this to go away quietly, they asked for observations to allow things to calm then charged him with misconduct during a interlull. There would have been behind the scenes communication about how to defuse this respectfully- an approach that Arsenal and any decent organization will opt for.

    This hot headed approach of yours is dead on arrival.

    I’m mortified that you actually think a manager like Arteta doesn’t want to move on away from it very quickly.

  8. Ernest Reed

    If I’m Arteta and AFC my response to the charges brought forth by the FA – Go pound sand you over officious jerks! You want to talk about bringing the game into disrepute, look no further than the PGMOL and the FA itself. Arteta offers an emotional response and you’d think he committed the world’s worst sin?

    To the FA and PGMOL…Get over yourselves, focus on the greater issues of corruption from the likes of ManCity and Chelsea. But then again, it shows just how weak and feeble the FA really is that nothing tangible will come of any of that. And as for the PGMOL, yeah Mike Dean spilled his integrity guts all over the pitch, so credibility is zilch with those dumbasses.

    The FA and PGMOL can go pound sand would and should be Arteta’s and AFC’s response.

  9. GoonerDave

    There is a conflict of interests when Sky are given exclusive access to Webb et al, while simultaneously enjoying revenue from the outrage that the decisions generate.
    The only time the refs admit fault is on objective decisions. No matter how obvious any subjective decision is (eg Gabriel foul) they will continue to hide behind subjectivity. They are protecting their own and are accountable to nobody.

  10. Bilbo

    Terraloon, outside of the point re: Limitation act, I think you’re now essentially in agreement with my position. Cheers

  11. X haka

    The amount Mick overspends on players and Edu undersells players, I would not be surprised if we are sailing close to the wind with FFP.

    Glad Everton got punished, this will make the most bittered supporters even more embittered.
    Lovely, could not happen to a nicer bunch.

  12. Bilbo

    If Leeds et al sue Everton, as they said they would, it would open Pandora’s box if they win. Surely the PL will be doing what they can via the backchannels to minimize this given the implication it would potentially have on City/Chavs’ legal cases

  13. Ernest Reed

    Unfortunate for Everton, but would love to see how the FA continue to weasel out of both ManCity and Chelsea debacles. FA has zero credibility, period!

  14. X haka

    The Big 6 clubs that tried to wreck the premier league , by leaving it without notice all got fined a paltry £3.6 million,

    So we cant be too hypocritical about cheating FFP, PGMOL bias etc. IMHO

    Face it, modern football is a cesspit.

  15. Ernest Reed

    Two words…SUPER LEAGUE!

    The more that the FA wallows in its own incompetence and ineptitude, the more likely a breakaway league is seen as a viable alternative. Not new news, but it’s going to happen inevitably.

  16. GD4


    You make a great case but so does China.
    I agree that this is not Arteta’s battle to fight alone but one that the club needs to engage in and possibly utilize friendly voices in the media to get their grievances out front and center in the public domain to highlight the incompetence and subsequent retaliatory stance of the PGMOL towards the club and the manager.

    Arsenal cannot meekly accept a fine and/or suspension on their manager but need to fight back with as much of the dark acts of influencing the public domain and narrative at their disposal. Because if they don’t, the forces that control the narrative and news cycles will form opinions on the club and they will have to carry that scarlet letter around.

    Refs will be empowered to make more unfair decisions against us as they will be supported by the media unless we change the narrative and shine the light on their incompetence and their tendency to become vindictive once called out.

    It’s a PR battle and Arsenal need to win this one.

  17. Ernest Reed

    “Everton will be fine, that’s how bad the three promoted teams are.‘

    Agreed, none of the recently promoted teams have any business playing in the top flite, none.

  18. TR7

    On Lauturo Martinez he is not really as good as his stat suggests.

    Remember that donkey Lukaku having a couple of great seasons in Seria A and everyone thought he was going to smash it in PL. Lauturo falls in the same category.

    When you desperately need a goal in crunch moments he will disappoint you. He is very wasteful and doesn’t have a good technique. Alvarez is twice the player Lauturo is.

    We really need someone like Alvarez who is a very good all-round player or a deadly finisher like Haaland.

  19. Habesha Gooner

    I wonder if they have the balls to do the same to City. If Everton are docked that many points for 1 breach, 115 financial breaches should be serious points. Or is it like the world, take it from the poor and give it to the rich, lets see.

  20. jwl

    Just reading gooner accountants on twitter and they say punishment against Eve was easy to prove, their official accts show they have overspent by £20 million, so charging/convicting them was straightforward. What mancity and chavs have done is much harder to prove, they diverted money to third persons who then officially gave money to the club so it looks more legit.

    It will be interesting to see what happens with chavs and mancity now. I hope Pep gets asked about this, the guy is considered by some to be best manager, but he’s made his name at two of most dodgy clubs we know about. Corruption follows Pep, should be talked about more.

  21. Dissenter

    I’m not so sure Everton will stay up tbh
    The promoted team, who have been poor so far have to see this 10-point deduction as an opportunity. They can afford to spend in January, smoothing Everton wont be able to do.

  22. Rich

    This final international break came at the right time, injuries were starting to pile up.

    Next week should be brilliant:

    12.30 City vs Liverpool
    15.00 Newcastle vs Chelsea
    17.30 Brentford vs Arsenal

    14.00 Spurs vs Villa
    16.30 Everton vs United

    20.00 Fulham vs Wolves

    Then into the mix of it until the 2 week break in January, after the FA Cup 3rd round.

    Need to clock some points in the early sequence of games, as we go away to both Villa + Liverpool before Xmas.

    Also need to win the group against Lens, so we can fuck off the last game away to PSV… They schooled us away last season, we don’t want to be going there still potentially needing a result.

  23. Dissenter

    ***I’m not so sure Everton will stay up tbh
    The promoted teams, who have been poor so far have to see this 10-point deduction as an opportunity. They can afford to spend in January, which Everton wont be able to do.

  24. Guns of SF

    The corruption is so rampant, and the punishments dont fit the crimes, the elite dont get punished.
    The EPL is a private, for profit business so justice is not going to be likely
    Punishing the big money making teams not gonna happen sadly

  25. Dissenter

    They will have to strip city of titles and possibly relegate them if they use the same cudgel they’ve used to clobber Everton with.

  26. Aaron

    Said it before, if $h*Ty win the league 5 years on the trot and do not get charged and a sentence delivered, I am saying goodbye to futbol.

    Oh, and vaR is $h*te, and the pgmol corrupt!

  27. FB

    November 17, 2023 14:39:32
    This final international break came at the right time, injuries were starting to pile up.Next week should be brilliant:

    I’m not counting any chickens until we see what state our players return in from International duty.

    Any more knocks, to say nothing of the travel, and Brentford away could look nasty

  28. Dissenter

    Don’t you work? You’re in here day and night son
    I’m getting worried about ya”

    Shut it and save your worries for yourself man, I don’t live in the same time zone as you and we certainly don’t have the same work environment.
    I never had you as the caring type.

  29. Bilbo

    In lighter news, Henri Lansbury did an interview with the Telegraph about his new passion:

    Henri Lansbury: The lawn-obsessed ex-Arsenal star who wants to mow the Emirates
    Midfielder achieved promotion with Luton last season but retired in the summer and now runs a lawncare business
    Sam Dalling
    17 November 2023 • 11:48am
    Henri Lansbury in his lawnmower – Henri Lansbury: the lawn-obsessed ex-Arsenal starlet who wants to mow the Emirates
    Henri Lansbury is back at Hale End, 15 years after he graduated from Arsenal’s famed academy. The butterflies are battering his stomach. The nerves, though, are not about football.

    Lansbury remains close with the groundstaff, and when he recently bought new lawnmowers, they invited him in. “Sweet, I’ll be straight up there,” was his response.

    Lansbury dreams of one day cutting the Emirates pitch. This was a mini audition. “I started all right,” he begins, seriously. Then he laughs. “Then they started talking to me, and I was like, ‘Don’t talk to me, don’t talk to me’. My stripe was horrendous… they had to go over it again!”

    Grass is the recently retired 33-year-old’s passion.

    It started when a gardener left Lansbury’s lawn long during lockdown. He quickly phoned a friend to borrow the requisite kit. It was love at first stripe. “It’s satisfying straight away, isn’t it?” Lansbury’s eyes widen. The euphoria is real. “I was looking back and thinking ‘wow’. That was it. I was mowing three times a week.”

    Summers have since become about hosting parties for his children, at which Lansbury gorges on parental praise. “When they turn up and say ‘Wow, look at your grass’… that’s like scoring a goal for me.”

    Not that Lansbury is precious about his hallowed turf. “Trampolines, bouncy castles – I want them on it. The dog flies around, turning it all up. I just get my little pitchfork out to replace the divots. They muck it up, and that gives me an excuse to get back out.”

    Not content with tending the family lawn, Lansbury sourced a cheap white van. The “geezers” turned up, showed him the running engine, and departed rapidly. “Central locking didn’t work; side door didn’t open; it was falling apart. I’ve had it wrapped now and there is astro in the back for the lawnmowers.”

    Last season, the vehicle appeared at Luton Town’s training ground, where Lansbury had adopted a plot. His pride at the reaction of his team-mates is endearing: “One morning I was sat at breakfast watching all the boys walking past. A few came in and said, ‘They’ve had a right go with that bit of grass out the front’. I was like ‘I did that!’”

    ‘If I see a patch the needs cutting, I’ll do it’
    Lansbury also mows for friends and wider family, while in midweek he runs “free trim Tuesdays”.

    Wait, what?

    “If I see a patch that needs cutting, I’ll stop and do it.”

    What about diversifying? “I don’t like doing hedges or flowerbeds. That’s not me. I’m strictly grass,” comes the reply, the last word elongated by Lansbury’s north London twang.

    Mowing, in part, is a mental crutch: “I need to be outside. If I’m cooped up, I feel like I’ve not accomplished anything. If I cut the grass and the missus has given me 10 chores, I’ll happily do them. But if she says I can’t cut the grass and wants me to do the chores, I’m like ‘Nah – I’ve got to cut the grass.’”

    Lansbury’s passion for lawncare started during lockdown
    It has become more than just a hobby. Lansbury recognised an organic fertiliser-sized gap in the market and his company, Grass Gains, filled it. They now supply Fulham and Genk. He would love to fertilise Arsenal’s first-team pitch, but his current focus is retail. “A lot of it is to do with branding. You see the other companies… all plastic boxes, quite dull, quite boring. I’m just trying to lift the gardening world.”

    Then comes a subconscious, heart-felt, sales pitch: “If you make your grass nice, it’s like another room in the house. You could add £10-15k if your grass is nice. Don’t just chuck all your rubbish into the garden. A lot of our complaints are about grass not growing in certain areas. It’s full of bricks, full of plastics. They kill the soil. Our product lifts the soil and helps it regenerate.”

    Lansbury’s summer retirement – following 375 appearances across 16 seasons at, among others, Aston Villa, Luton, Nottingham Forest, West Ham and Norwich – was injury enforced. Rob Edwards offered him a backroom role at Luton, but Lansbury needed a break. And business life suits him. “People don’t take me seriously in meetings,” he says. “I’m quite straightforward. I’ll be like ‘Are you wasting our time, or are we going to get to a decent deal?’”

    Lansbury’s abruptness comes from his football dealings. “Football is straight down the middle. That’s how I’ve always been with contracts, agents, managers. The more you’re straight, the better the outcome.”

    He cites, by way of example, October 2020 when he was omitted from Dean Smith’s 25-man Villa squad. Lansbury has no quarrel with Smith or his staff, but in a meeting with Sporting Director Johan Lage, he was offered just 20 per cent of his contract value to leave:

    “He said ‘Sign this here and I’ll help you get another club’. I replied, ‘If I sign that, you don’t even know my name tomorrow.’ The way they treated me was almost like I was less of a man. To be put in a situation like that, kicked out the changing room, can’t train with the team. It’s not like I ever caused any problems.”

    Eventually a resolution was reached, and Lansbury left for a short spell at Bristol City. “It’s a scary industry,” he continues. “It’s all on one man’s opinion. If one man doesn’t like you, he can turn another group of men against you. And then it’s game over.”

    ‘Kenilworth Road brought teams down to earth’
    Lansbury’s mentality is old-school – he only recently spoke up about having testicular cancer back in 2016 while at Forest. “It’s coming from that world… the stigma for men, isn’t it? ‘Just get on with it.’ But I’ve had lots of blokes messaging me saying ‘thanks for opening up.’ If I can help someone in any way… that’s the main aim.”

    An England youth international, Lansbury grew up trying to impress Pat Rice, Neil Banfield and Arsene Wenger at Arsenal. “They were next level,” he says. “Now it’s so soft. You can’t shout at them; you can’t swear at them. It’s all ‘unlucky’, ‘you can do better’, whereas before they were taking your head off. That’s what half-made me.

    “I went on loan to Scunthorpe at 16 – then you see the real meaning of football. Some of the lads now playing U23s have no chance of making it.”

    Softness was not an issue at Luton. Having lost in the 2021-22 play-offs, the side went one better at Wembley in May. “A lot of people feared us,” Lansbury says. “The belief in the changing room that year was incredible. Mentally we knew we were going to go up.”

    Lansbury was a part of the Luton team who were promoted to the Premier League at the end of last season CREDIT: Offside/Mark Leech
    And there was the Kenilworth Road factor: “It just brings you down to earth, doesn’t it? The changing rooms are cold, they smell of urinals and deep heat. People think ‘what am I doing here on a Tuesday night?!’ That’s when we turned up. Tuesday night, two-nil, bosh. Three points. Back on the road.”

    Football may well entice Lansbury back one day. But, for now, “on the road” means a trip to fulfil Real Madrid’s order of a dozen ‘Germinators’, his company’s seed-planting tool.

  30. Pierre

    Loved to see City relegated to wide the smug look off the face of Noel(know it all) Gallagher، who was nowhere to be seen when city were languishing in the lower leagues…

  31. psuedo warrior

    “Everton docked 10 points for FFP breaches while complete silence on charges on City.”

    Sums up the FA and England.

    Ruled across continents once, now they are the bitc#es of many including the oil states

  32. Nigel Tufnel

    I don’t expect much of a sanction on Man City whenever it comes, but I know what I’d like to see.

    For all the years that infractions took place, and all the titles won in the period, I think it shouldn’t be just 1 big penalty. Even if it were a big one like demotion.
    I’d like to see multiple seasons of points deductions. Just enough to comfortably prevent them from achieving top 5.
    The reason is that this then becomes a financial penalty for them, losing out on UEFA money, and forcing them to spend less for a few years. Some players they’d want to buy might also avoid joining them because of no CL.

    People at UEFA who tried to do the right thing but were foiled by City legal team, would love to see it too. I think both organizations would have aligned interests for a change.

  33. Markymark

    Without seeing the judgment/award -10 points for Everton feels harsh for a straightforward FFP breach to me. But reinforces that sanctions against City (if proven) and now Chelsea (if charged and admitted on the
    off-books payments) will be potentially relegation inducing. – stefan Borsan ex financial advisor to City

  34. Jockdownsouth

    Regarding the atmosphere at the Emirates, when my son accompanied me to one of the first games there he looked up at the roof and said the underside (ceiling?), especially at the front, had been badly designed. He said that rather than amplify noise it was more likely to muffle it. Acoustic engineering is part of his brief so he almost certainly had a point.