Thursday, 30 June 2011

Seasonal Affected Disorder

Thursday 30th June Fulham v Nes Soknar Itrottarfelag
EUFA Europa League Qualifier 1st leg

That’s the reality of underachievement. Not in Fulham’s case but it could be Arsenal next time.

Mediterranean beaches left early, bags packed, Caribbean cruises cut short, Pacific Island stays terminated. That’s maybe what Arsenal’s current bunch of well remunerated underperformers need. Maybe it’s what the club need in order to implement a culture shift and make the necessary changes.

In a climate where Champions League qualification is the target at the start of each season as opposed to winning the Champions League being the target, it is reasonable to suggest that to not qualify should be viewed, by that criteria, to be abject failure. After all one of the reasons for moving to Emirates inc. was to ‘compete with the best in Europe’ presumably compete in winning.

By the way there is no guarantee that Arsenal will navigate the qualification stage for the 2011/12 Champions League. If the end of season form is carried on this is by no means a done deal.
I don’t ever wish for Arsenal to lose a game, never, but I believe that we are in for another season of frustration and mediocrity and whatever the outcome of the season, 99% of the time you get what you deserve out of football. This manager and the majority of the squad perhaps deserve a June 30th match against Nes Soknar Itrottarfelag.


Emirate Mother F**kers

Some unbelievable things going on

Arsenal turn down £10m for Diaby!
Arsenal produce a Wycombe Wanderers Away kit!
The line up for the Emirates cup!
Pricing for the Screening of Fever pitch at Emirates!
The ticket price hike!
The end if last season!
No takers for Denilson!...No, I’m joking, that’s totally believable!

The Strange world of Arsenal


Apparently, don't you just love that word? we are going to buy one of this lot very, very, yes very, soon. Therefore as there is little in the way of inspiration,here are some tenuous juvenile and downright pathetic images to accompany each player. Please enjoy responsibly

tick tock

Wednesday, 29 June 2011


Those imbecilic Arsenal bashers at Talksport have actually come up with an article that I find hard to disagree with. As was reported in the Current Bun a 'disgruntled' fan wrote to Wenger with some salient observations and questions. The writer appeared on Talksport and what he had written was reasonable and well thought out.
He then gave permission for the station to print Wenger's (or his PR's) response and have wittily 'translated' it. Yes I never thought I would say this but I agree with the station of the White Van man; that in itself is a sad indictment. So here, with acknowledgement to said station and the bloke wot wrote the original letter are the Wenger Words
"A letter from Arsene Wenger to a disgruntled Arsenal fan appeared in The Sun, with the French gaffer giving his defence of Arsenal's performances last season.

Read extracts of Wenger's words below, along with translated versions of what the Arsenal boss would possibly like to say, but can't:

Arsene Wenger: "Thank you for your letter and your observations which have been noted and I certainly take your comments on board."
Translation: "Nothing you wrote will change anything about the way I manage Arsenal."

Arsene Wenger: "In contrast to some of our competitors at home and abroad it is true Arsenal has, in the interests of its financial stability and independence, operated under the discipline of a self-sustaining model. I believe this is the best route to sustainable long-term on-field success."
Translation: "The people who own Arsenal are more concerned with making a profit than winning trophies."

Arsene Wenger: "Our target was to build a new stadium without dropping from the top. We knew it would be a difficult period for four or five years."
Translation:  "After six years without a trophy, we have failed miserably."

Arsene Wenger: "We have shown that we have the technical quality to win the league but certainly not the defensive solidity to do it."
Translation: "We play pretty football but our defending is so embarrassingly poor I pretend to be visually impaired to save face."

Arsene Wenger: "We are frustrated and disappointed but we should not go overboard. We just have to rectify things in the areas that we need to improve."
Translation: "We must pray for divine intervention. This is our only hope now."

Arsene Wenger: "I felt they lost confidence and you can see that there has not been the same sharpness on the mental front."
Translation: "I felt they bottled it towards the end of the season and you can see that they are mentally weak. We are spineless."

Arsene Wenger: "You never want to forget anything because it is also the season that we produced our best games ever."
Translation: "How did we beat Barcelona at the Emirates but lose to west Brom and Newcastle?”

Arsene Wenger: "In decisive moments we have never had the whole team together."
Translation: "I'm now clutching at straws, can you tell?"

Arsene Wenger: "I don't know how much we have spent in recent years. We will try to buy the right players."
Translation: "I'm fully aware we have spent very little in recent years. We can't afford the best players in the world."

Arsene Wenger: "We will spend the needed money but you first have to find the right players and then turn up with the money."
Translation: "We will pretend to be responsible with money because we are not in a position to spend a significant amount."

Arsene Wenger: "Of course, the economic situation is difficult for people and for us as well."
Translation: "We don't have the money."

Arsene Wenger: "We have enough quality to beat anyone in the world, even with our current squad."
Translation: "We lack consistency, but don't expect many new signings in the summer."

Arsene Wenger: "Maybe one year people will realise it is not easy to finish in the top four every time."
Translation: "If we finish fourth next season, it will represent a magnificent achievement for this football club. But please, don't be surprised if we finish anywhere between fifth and tenth."

Arsene Wenger: "I wish you a pleasant summer and thank you again for taking the time to write and for your comments."
Translation: "Stop wasting your time writing pointless letters, cancel your summer holidays and renew your season ticket immediately. I need a few quid to buy another 17 year-old prospect on the cheap."


1997 and It was the last game at the Baseball ground and we travelled up to Derby with nothing much riding on the game.

After a bizarre minutes silence for the stadium the game began and Adams was sent off early as we battled on with ten men to record a victory. Matthew next to me fell asleep and therefore missed most of the win he also missed a couple of great goals from Ian Wright and some humorous banter between the home fans and us Gooners. An old stadium died that day and the trend has continued, for better or for worse; I think worse.

The real highlight of the day was stumbling across an old pub nearby. When visiting away grounds it’s hit and miss as far as pubs go; you never know what you will find or what sort of reception you will get. In this particular case we walked into a rather decrepit looking boozer but were delighted to hear the sound of Ska and Blue beat being played by a bloke with a single turntable. The speakers were converted wardrobes and clearly had been around for a good long while. There were tables of older Caribbean men smartly dressed and playing dominoes. The price of the pints we all ordered were dirt cheap. And it was friendly. What a great time we had.

That was one of the things I enjoyed most about away games. It’s a great feeling to win in a hostile ground, it feels like you’ve undertaken a mission and completed it successfully, but the discovery of quirky drinking holes is a good deal of the adventure.

An away day was fun and those that travelled and still do are examples of great supporters; much more so than some of our current home fans. Pricing is one factor for not going to away games but disillusionment is another. I miss those adventures.
©nicnac1000         Before last game at Baseball Ground

the area

©nicnac1000             Last game at Baseball Ground

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

About Dennis

In April 2006, Simon Kuper wrote in the FT

"One night last year some legends of Dutch football gathered for dinner in an Amsterdam house. Around midnight conversation turned to an old question: who was the best Dutch footballer ever? Dutchmen have been voted European Footballer of the Year seven times, more than any other nationality except Germans. Yet Jan Mulder a great centre-forward turned writer, chose a player who had never even threatened to win the award nor, at the time, a Champions League: 'Bergkamp. He had the finest technique', said Mulder. Guus Hiddink, the great Dutch manager, nodded, and so the matter was settled."


Comment: Voice over vision

It struck me a few years ago how this grand old club was now so heavily linked with Wenger. It was kind of worrying.

Mick M

Comment: Mythbusting#4

In response to the Dennis post. I think you've done a really good job there. United fans'll never have it but Dennis probably was a better player. However, it’s said that it was Cantona's personality that enabled those young United players to believe in themselves. It’s a tricky one but I think if you went to the top half a dozen coaches in football at that time and asked them who'd they prefer - four (at least) would plump for the Dutchman.

Mick M


Just when you thought things couldn't get any worse Its official. We will now be dressed like Wycombe Wanderers for our away games. I can only assume as some sort of tribute to Tony Adams.


The new Arsenal advertising campaign celebrating 125 years of our club is a nicely composed ode to the founders back in Woolwich. Part two is released today. What spoils it for me is that the voice over is not supplied by a Londoner with sufficient gravitas to conjure up those bygone days but by Arsene Wenger. No, it’s not a bout a French accent it’s that the powers that be feel that Wenger is so inextricably linked with the club that I bet they didn’t even consider anyone else. This may seem a small thing but it just adds to the unsackability of the man. Wenger is the current Manager, fair enough, but he does not represent all things Arsenal.


Monday, 27 June 2011


Online polls, Sky TV, pundits in general will often cite Eric Cantona as the best foreign import to play in the premier League. This, of course, is not the case, it was Dennis Bergkamp.
Cantona was at Old trafford for 5 years following time at Leeds united , where he won the 1st Division this meant he won 5 titles and 2 FA cups to go along with individual honours in the shape of PFA player of the year and FWA player of the year. Of course Cantona was part of an already successful Man Utd team, whom he let down badly by attacking a hare brained supporter at Crystal Palace leading to a lengthy ban. His pseudo philosophical pronouncements were all smoke and mirrors but he was a top notch footballer; a hell of a player. Internationally he did nothing during this period neither did he make any dent in European competition save for allowing himself to be wound up at Galatasary.
V Man Utd
Dennnis Bergkamp arrived at an Arsenal in transition and played alongside the last remnants of the Graham era's lesser lights, he then became an integral part of the new Wenger era and had his swansong as part of the Invincibles. He was at Arsenal for 11 years scoring 82 goals and numerous assists ; a good number of which were  (to use an oft used superlative) Brilliant. He reached a Champions League Final and EUFA Cup Final with the Gunners. He won 3 titles at Arsenal and 4 FA Cups. While at Arsenal he was  EUFA cup top scorer in 1994, PFA and FWA player of the year. He played in EURO 96 & 200, World Cup 94 & 98
What Bergkamp was that Cantona was not, is a player who, while playing in England, lit up the International stage. He was a catalyst for top class Foreign players to come to England and was technically superior to Cantona. In fairness Cantona had a more flamboyant persona, but for me Dennis is Arsenal's greatest ever player, Cantona is some way down his Clubs pecking order. Dennis had longevity and an International & European status, Cantona was more a Sports personality, Dennis a pure footballer.
Again I am not undervaluing Cantona's ability, far from it, it's just that when I hear the supposed experts say categorically that Cantona was the greatest Foreign import I believe that they are wrong. That honour goes to the Arsenal number 10.
TOP 10

And off the field a quiet family man who loved to garden. The last of the great inspirational players in the modern game. No hissy fits, drugs, prostitutes, car crashes, drunken exits from bars, et al. Mind you he was Dutch.

Beautiful orange.


Saturday, 25 June 2011


I also like the term "put up or shut up"

Captain  Kirk

"wear your colours, wear your colours"

Mick M


So Barcelona want Fabregas for £30m? this is the same club that paid £40m for Ibrahimovic plus they ‘threw in’ Samuel E’to. Unbelievable, in a climate where Andy Carroll cost Liverpool £35m that these bold faced tap up merchants want the 24 year old for, what is basically peanuts. Now I am of the opinion that it would be great to keep Cesc but not the end of the world if he chooses to leave. There is a hang up about the Barca connection which I don’t buy into. If the player is fed up at Arsenal, okay. If he wants out, okay. But Arsenal need to get some serious money for losing one of our best players and should Milan, Real or anyone else on the continent offer decent money then that’s where we should sell him and let that club worry about Barca courting him. Their shameless pursuit is akin to stalking.

I’m just sick of hearing the old ‘Barca DNA’ line; who gives a sh*t? Cesc is contracted to Arsenal Football Club and as much as Barcelona covet him they have taken things to the stage where you have to conclude that they don’t actually need Cesc but, like a greedy toddler, want him; not because they're hungry but just because they do. In fact they are like Robin Askwith covetting the wives of others on his milk round/window cleaning round.

My message to Barca would be simple; if you want our captain “show me the money”


Peanuts! Peanuts

Mick M

Friday, 24 June 2011

Comment from 'to boldly go' blog

One of the things I miss the most was the ability to just turn up at the turnstile, pay and get in. Those were the days my friend.

Captain Kirk


An early memory of going to the Arsenal is when I went with my friend George to see Arsenal play Nottingham Forest. What was notable about this game was that Shilton had been involved in an incident involving his car and a woman. This lead to the chant “Shilton hit a lamppost, Shilton hit a lamppost, la la la la, la la la la” This refrain rang out from the North Bank. My friend and I squeezed in near the front in a good position to see the Marching Band, and in particular, the Band Leader hurl his mace in the air and unerringly catch it; as he did on all four sides of the ground at Half time.

As I recall the Keeper in question fumbled a save that gave the Arsenal a win. The thing about the game in question was that it was a case of turning up at the ground buying a reasonably priced ticket and going in to watch Arsenal play a  big club, which Forest were in those days.

As for the year? I'm not sure but I’m sure a bag of chips followed.

a programme from around that time

Thursday, 23 June 2011

MYTHBUSTING#3 Sylvain Wiltord

Winning Title at Old Trafford
Sylvain Wiltord, European Championship winner FA Cup Winner Premier League winner. After leaving Arsenal he went on to win three French Titles and play in the World cup final.
 When a compilation of Arsenal In those glory days is viewed you will see Wiltord scoring, being part of the move and generally being involved. He had the habit of popping up with a goal when it was needed. His popularity amongst his team mates tells you all you need to know really.
Wiltord was unfathomably unpopular amongst certain ranks of the Arsenal support, yet he played a major role in the Clubs success. The winner in the Old Trafford Lions den that secured the Premier League title, a decisive goal to knock Man Utd out of the FA Cup at the so called Theatre of Dreams; leading to the resultant Ferguson/Beckham flying boot incident.

Wiltord scored 49 goals for Arsenal in his time at the club and was often a substitute without complaint; he was also played in Carling Cup games with the youngsters, again without complaint. And let’s not forget he was part of the Invincibles squad.

Why Wiltord was not appreciated more is beyond me; he served the club well, without moaning or having an inflated view of himself and he played his part in many a victory.

Knocking Man Utd out at Old Trafford

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Captain material

In this extremely quiet mid season vacuum, there's one question  I have to ask, where is our captain? he appears to be very quite. Perhaps he's on a Spanish beach away from all the palaver...


To my fellow ArsenalBlogger @

Tuesday, 21 June 2011


Adulterer, Judas, Work experience shooter and all round bad egg Ashley Cole has been vilified by everyone and their sister over the last few years, It began with his acrimonious move to Chelsea; done amid a web of deceit, ingratitude and flash Harryness.
When Cole returned to Arsenal with Chelsea for the first time he was subjected to 90 minutes of sustained abuse unlike anything I have heard at Arsenal. Rightly or wrongly Hell hath no fury like a group of supporters scorned.

The abuse and vitriol aimed at Cole since has been sustained and he has not exactly been the shy retiring type (on and off the field), however, his major sin for Arsenal fans is that he left the club over a ‘mere’ £5000 a week and wrote about it in less than humble terms. Thus was born a nemesis for Arsenal fans to get hot under the collar over. More so as he chose to join the entirely unlikable Chelsea machine. Mourinho had courted him for one reason only; he was the best Left back in the league.
So where’s the myth part? Well, was Cole right to leave when he did? He has gone on to achieve success and has been in the thick of Title tussles. Did he see the writing on the wall of Wenger’s obsession?
wenger's view
I personally disagree with the whole secret meetings thing and I think he was extremely naïve to alienate so many by his in judicial recounting of his wage demands at Arsenal, but ultimately he left a club that was fading and joined a club on the rise earning more money in the process and gathering even more silverware. Who (with a calm head) would view this as being out of order?

Fact is that Ashley Cole, when playing for Arsenal, was part of our glories and that can’t be dismissed so easily. Cole was and is one of the best Left backs in the business and alongside Lauren, Campbell and Toure was one of the defensive Invincibles. Cole could have gone on to be club captain, but he moved on. Hard to take as he had come through the ranks, but even harder, to be honest, because he was good.

I’ve no qualms about disliking him and he’s one of those people that I associate with all that’s wrong with English footballers but I think it’s a mistake to expunge him from Arsenal’s history book so readily.

Let’s face it, in actual fact he is no better or worse than most thick Footballers; yes he betrayed ‘us’ but, that way of thinking is flawed. There is little loyalty in the football world and we all need to get used to that. He left possibly Arsenal's greatest ever side, and like others, wasn't replaced.

Sunday, 19 June 2011

MYTHBUSTING#2 George Graham’s Arsenal were boring

The George Graham era is when I went to Arsenal home and away the most and towards the end of his reign I sat through many a yawnsome afternoon. However there is a perceived and accepted notion that his Arsenal were boring and lacklustre; winners yes, but a dull side to watch. This of course is untrue of the whole of Graham’s tenure.
One only has to look at a game such as Liverpool 0 Arsenal 2 at Anfield in 1989; possibly one of the least boring games ever played in English football. What about 1992 when Arsenal scored a total of 92 goals in all competitions or the demolitions of Norwich, Sheffield Wednesday and Standard Liege? Then there are some of the players; Merson, Limpar, Thomas, Davis, Wright, Rocastle; Boring? No way. Alan Smith won the golden boot as did Ian Wright, proving that we had goals alongside defensive quality.
Limpar lob
Good defending achieved a lot in those days not least the amazing ECWC win against a number of better teams. Then there was an unprecedented Domestic Cup double, a Championship season with only one loss, while having to deal with a points deduction, and other cup victories.
Arsenal 5 Villa 0
A lot of us remember the likes of Selley,and Morrow yet they were part of the ECWC winning team. Hillier, Pates Kiwomya, Hartson were on a par with Diaby, Denilson, Eboue and Bendtner but were not allowed to stay for six years. Other gambles didn’t quite pay off; Jensen was a decent player as was Stefan Schwartz but it never quite worked out for them. Campbell budding success was somewhat pruned by the arrival of Ian Wright.
Wright at wembley
Champions V City
The point is that Graham manged to keep winning trophies even when he over burdened the club with sub standard players.
Of course he bought some bad player; was McGoldrick more inept than Stepanovs? Was Jimmy Carter more of a liability than Almunia? Did Glenn Helder represent better value than Amaury Bischoff?
Whatever is said about Graham’s reign you have to look at the influence of the players that he bought to the club; in Winterburn, Bould, Dixon and Seaman along with Adams and Keown he created a dynastic defence utilised to great effect by Wenger (who also inherited Rioch’s Bergkamp). Ray Parlour was also retained and what these players had was ‘The Arsenal way’ embedded in them and they were able to teach the newcomers these values. Add to this players like Davis, Thomas and Rocastle and he had a group of men that were, tenacious, mischeavous, and not afraid to get stuck in.
Arsenal V Parma
Of course it's clear that the Invincibles represent the pinnacle of Arsenal team's in terms of entertainment but Graham's era was about much more than obdurate defending. This is by no means an ode to stroller, however his tenure at Arsenal is often misunderstood, it wasn’t all boring, boring Arsenal, it was sometimes scoring, scoring Arsenal and he was the manager that took over a club that was in the doldrums and took them back to the top. This is something that should not be taken lightly.
Arsenal 2 Sp*rs 0
a night of chilling simplicity

Friday, 17 June 2011


Arsenal FC Nike 2011/12 Home Soccer Jersey / Football Kit Launch Video
Newcastle V Arsenal 
ECL Qualifier 1st Leg
Liverpool V Arsenal
ECL Qualifier 2nd Leg
Manchester United V Arsenal
an August Horribilis?
Mental strength’, ‘Attitude’, ‘Ability’, three good fixtures to see where we are at the start of next season.

Newcastle is a chance for redemption and to kick that particular monkey on the back into touch. The fixture will be all about mental strength for a team now notorious for self doubt.

Liverpool; the team with a great deal expected of them this year, a special fixture for Arsenal Football Club. Let’s see if the team have the right attitude on our opening home fixture to give the dissatisfied faithful something to smile about.

Then the, always good to get out of the way early, fixture at Old Trafford. Will the new Arsenal have the ability to come away from the Champions with anything? The fact is that our performance will be the most important thing as, due to the timing of the game a loss would not be the end of the world. It’s about competing with the team that are the benchmark.

Sandwiched in between are the two Champions League qualifiers; both of vital importance.

Not exactly make or break but after this five game spell we should have an idea of how Arsenal are equipped to face the season ahead in terms of mentality, attitude and ability.

Thursday, 16 June 2011

MYTHBUSTING#1 The grass aint greener

The myth that when players leave Arsenal they do not do well is not as true as it might seem. It was bandied about as fact when Petit, Overmars and Anelka left, but they were replaced with winners in Gilberto, Pires and Henry. Since 2005 and our last trophy, the regular players that have left have won trophies; among the players and trophies are

Vieira Serie As, FA Cup
Henry Champs League, La Liga
Ashley Cole Premierships, FA Cup
Campbell FA Cup
Lauren FA Cup
Kanu FA Cup
Adebayor Copa Del Raye
Flamini Serie A
Diarra La Liga, FA Cup

A number of others went on to have successful  and productive careers including Gilberto Captain of Brazil, Jens Lehman and Robert Pires.

Does this tell us that we jettisoned winners, or that they went to better clubs? Hard to say but the facts are there in the Trophies won columns. I think the truth is that from being a club that replaced like for like, we have been a club in the last half decade who have replaced winners with also rans.

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Rod Unwell

Young Jack summing up nicely the delusional nature iof the average English footballer

"We might not have shown it the other night, but we do have players with excellent technical ability,"
"You look at our senior side, we have some of the best players in the world.
"[Steven] Gerrard, [Frank] Lampard, [John] Terry, [Rio] Ferdinand, [Wayne] Rooney, the list goes on. If they were in the Barcelona squad I'm sure all of them would start”
-Jack Rodwell on the current England Team

Problem is , that these mad men believe it.

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Could it be that it was all so simple then? Or has time re-written every line?

Imagine if you will that Arsenal was just a football club. Those munitions workers who clubbed together 125 years ago envisioned that their humble idea would grow and a football club would form and thrive with the Corinthian spirit and togetherness at its heart. Let's further imagine that Herbert Chapman believed that you couldn't stop progress and that he would ensure that Arsenal were at the forefront but still do things in the Arsenal way. Let's assume that after the war the Arsenal supporter that attended games week in week out during fallow times was happy and saw things for what they were content that the club they followed was real to them. Is it a stretch to imagine that in the seventies and eighties Arsenal were up and down but retained the Arsenal way and had players that supporters could still relate to.
The Graham era; could it be that we all loved the bloody mindedness and the notoriety. Could that time have been a period where Arsenal’s fortunes fluctuated but with trophies in the mix and some heroes that behaved badly from time to rime.
Didn’t we all think that the Wenger glory years were the start of a new Arsenal? Traditions in place and a spirit of joie de vivre along with real men in red and white.

And here we are now and virtually all those things we imagined seem just that; figments. But they weren't, they were true. Is it because football itself has become an avaricious behemoth? Is it because of SKY, EUFA, FIFA and market forces? Hard to say but one thing is evident at Arsenal Football Club, never have so many of the people that make a Football Club live and breath been so disenfranchised. Those people are of course the supporters.

Fact is right here right now that past reflected upon seems a million miles away.

Arsenal Time capsule placed 28/10/04

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