Tuesday, 28 February 2012

At the end of the game Burtenshaw sank to the ground in celebration "pumping his fists towards the heavens"

At the end of the game Burtenshaw sank to the ground in celebration "pumping his fists towards the heavens"
@6:49
There's been some talk about Mike Dean's reaction to 5aha's goal on Sunday. Not sure what he's doing but the Refereee of the 1971 FA Cup final seems to be quite oappreciative of Arsenal clinching the Double!

Monday, 27 February 2012

HIGH FIVE AND HANDSOME

After the streets are clear and hosed down after all good citizens are tucked up in bed and the foxes and owls come out to feast. After the warm glow of a victory in North London sees us safely to bed what is there to say about an extraordinary day at the Emirates?

Balances of power, gap minding and new sheriff in town syndrome has to give way to the cold clinical truth. A 10 point gap becomes a 7pt one rather than a 13 pointer. A rival humiliated in the final third of the game. Boasts neutered; they came they saw we conquered.

The supporters, we played our part and the players responded to early set backs with character and resilience. Of course it's only three points except it isn't.; It was a big "shut your trap" to the voice of the media lovely Lilywhites, a firm clip round the ear hole of the noisy neighbours.
Yesterday we showed that we are The Arsenal we took victory through harmony literally

Saturday, 25 February 2012

THE RUSSIAN STEPPES OUT

Back in the USSR-Sigourney Weaver

Twelve defining fixtures ahead, an ever expanding injury list, confidence and quality low. Here’s an idea; loan out one of your squad who, perhaps lacking in confidence or form, has quality. Arshavin has underperformed this season and clearly wants to figure in The Euro’s so good old Arsenal are rewarding this underachievement with a nice loan deal to enable this. I Like AA he had character, and in a squad full of blandness he was refreshing. He also leaves us with one or two tremendous memories.
Back in the USSR-Sue Pollard

We need all hands on deck at the moment so to send Arshavin on the Siberian Express is unfathomable. Then again we have Park and Chamakh, who Wenger doesn’t trust enough to give first team game time to and we have Miyachi who is not being bought back from loan.

Great let’s just decimate our ranks even further, on the brink of a crucial game. Oh well, I love it when we are underdogs!
I'm not down-The Clash

Despite all this negativity I’m not down. How can I be? a game against that lot, early enough to drown sorrows/celebrate in the pub after. Come Sunday I’m there at The Emirates. Thick or thin,thick or thin.

Friday, 24 February 2012

SHOW AND PROVE

 
Sp*rs
Liverpool (a)
NUFC
Aston Villa
QPR (a)
Man City
Wolves (a)
Wigan
Chelsea
Stoke City (a)
Norwich City
WBA (a)

12 games, 36 points up for grabs; a set of fixtures of stunning simplicity.

The Arsenal can end the season on a positive note by clinching a spot in The Champions League. The importance of this is not just financial it’s also about attracting the type of players that see Champions League Football as a requirement.

Should Arsenal fail to qualify then The Europa League looks like the alternative (although, let’s not take even that for granted), this impacts on the Club’s appeal for top players to join.

Should we not achieve a place in either European competition it will be a case of reaping what has been sown. It’s also a discussion point that qualification to the ECL seems to be more about revenue rather than being ‘in it to win it’. This is something of an indictment, as we have only ever looked like winning it in 2006 and to an extent in 2004.

And the role of the fans in all this? That’s a tough one. I personally believe that you have to stick with the players that we are, in effect, stuck with, for these defining dozen fixtures. Nothing is going to change between now and May 13th in either the playing staff or the managerial for that matter, therefore we have to, by default, be looking ahead to the summer and next season.

For me it’s not about finishing about any perceived rivals it’s about taking something tangible out of this most wretched of seasons.

If next season compromises of taking part in only three competitions we need to show a level of support that is reciprocated by the players who have created the situation; although hopefully a number of them would have been sent to pastures new.

No team or club has a divine right to anything and how we finish the 2011/12 season may well serve as a timely reminder of this.

Am I being overly negative? Possibly. If we win 5-0 on Wednesday we can progress in the Champions League. If we win all our remaining fixtures and other results go our  way we could win the league with 79 points. But I don’t believe that the current set up is capable of that, which in my book makes me a realist.

The Players need to show something now, starting on Sunday, they really do, the fans, the season ticket holders those of us who are there through thick and thin have nothing to prove.

Some songs about Showing & Proving covering many years of Arsenal supporting. Just because


Show & prove


Show me what you got


Prove it


To Prove my love


Show you the way


Show me the way




Wednesday, 22 February 2012

QUESTIONS & QUOTATIONS


“All I want is the truth now
Just gimme some truth”-John Lennon*

There have been many questions in the last seven days, the complexities of which are quite baffling, however, were I able to ask some questions they would be simple ones. Wouldn't it be nice to have some answers that were not in quotation marks?

If you can’t afford ‘top, top’ quality players you then have to play in a way which utilises the limitations of the players you can afford don’t you?
‘Cutting your cloth accordingly’

If you can afford top quality players and choose not to; why not?
'Never let your persistance and passion turn into stubbornness'

If you believe you have a squad that are of the requisite quality to play a technical game, where is the evidence in achievement?
‘The proof of the pudding is in the eating’

If one answer is budgetary, the other answers must be based on choice, no?
“Cybil Fawlty; Specialist subject stating the bleedin’ obvious’

Just because these are simple questions does not make them invalid ones.
‘The great seal of truth is simplicity.’



*Then again he also said;
“Yellow matter custard, dripping from a dead dog's eye.
Crabalocker fishwife, pornographic priestess,
Boy, you been a naughty girl you let your knickers down.
I am the eggman, they are the eggmen”.

So what do I know?

Monday, 20 February 2012

MORIBUND MUSINGS

“A relationship Football Club, I think, is like a shark, you know? It has to constantly move forward or it dies. And I think what we got on our hands is a dead shark.”-Alvy Singer

As Dennis Bergkamp exited stage left held aloft by former comrades, the last remnants of any inherited players said goodbye, leaving Arsene Wenger with his first Arsenal squad that was 100% of his own making. Since that day came to pass Arsenal have bought home zero trophies.

Arsene Wenger, given the chance to show the world that his creation, complete and pure, constructed entirely by him, could deliver tangible rewards, has reaped not one victory in that place where fact lives; the trophy cabinet.


On 24 occasions Wenger's 100% assembled squadrons have been found wanting when they have had the opportunity to enter stage right with silverware held aloft.
These are the facts and they are incontrovertible, no amount of discussion about the merits of the intangible 'fifth' trophy of 4th place can dispute this damning evidence.


Interesting to note that the previous season although we won nothing we reached the Champions League final and acquitted ourselves admirably yet Pires, Campbell, Lauren, Cole and Reyes; players, all with winners medals, were, for a variety of reasons deemed surplus to requirements or not sufficiently valued, during that summer.

I also can’t help but worry about this quote from our Manger following this awful week’s results. It is alarming as it gives an insight into Arsene’s perception of ‘big’ players and perhaps therein lays the flaw in the last six years.

"We have many missing: big, big players, too. We're in February and [Jack] Wilshere has played zero games, [Abou] Diaby has played zero games, [Per] Mertesacker is out for the season and [André] Santos for three months. That would be difficult for any club in the world to deal with. But let's win our next game and we'll be fine."

'Big big players? Diaby? Mertesacker? Santos?
“Philip Parsons in the Times called the show Club moribund. Well I looked up moribund in my dictionary...”-Alan Partridge

Sunday, 19 February 2012

from INVINCIBLE to IMPONDERABLE


Last nights defeat at the stadium of light effectively ended another season’s quest for a trophy and the truth of the matter is that it wasn't that much of a surprise. The Arsenal of today is a team that wins a few draws a few and loses a few. A team that are inclined to hamper any consistency with bouts of incompetence. A team that lacks desire. There is something wrong at Arsenal football club and I for one don't know what that something is. Without any insider information you can only judge things on results and performances and neither of these things have constant for a worryingly long time.

Is it about quality or capability or is it about something less tangible?
 
We faced a similar set of circumstances in 2004. Thwarted in the Champions league by Chelsea bested in the FA cup by Man Utd we then welcomed Liverpool who promptly went ahead in the game. The arsenal vintage 04 won the day and fulfilled it's destiny.
We face part three of that set of circumstances when we host Tottenham. A win is a significant moment in our quest for a European spot but one can't help feeling that the current vintage may be found wanting. 


Perhaps former nemesis Roy Keane summed things up on ITVs coverage of last nights game when he said;
"You're on about trying to do well for your manager and once again they're letting him down,This is probably the worst Arsenal team I've seen in all my time of watching football."
"They've been sloppy, which led to the goal, there has been no focus to their passing. It's been slow it's been sideways, it's been backwards.”


Hard to disagree; we have seen the Invincibles become the Imponderables and although ‘crisis’ is a word bandied about far too often our beloved club needs to take stock and action.

Saturday, 18 February 2012

OPERATION ARSENAL


Tonight we go forth to compete for the one trophy available to provide a tonic fopr an unhealthy season, and I for one will be willing us on to beat Sunderland for the second time this week. In terms of Arsenal’s current state of health it is clear that antibiotics, alternative therapies and rest are not working it’s now time for major surgery.

I contend that a realistic scalpel needs to be applied and the following squad members removed

Arshavin-those 4 goals at Anfield seem a distant memory
Bendtner & Denilson-one foot out the door already, let’s slam that door behind them
Squilacci-simply not good enough
Almunia-No present let alone future
Fabianski-cannot be relied upon therefore why continue with him
Chamakh-forgotten how to score goals and on the margins
Park-not trusted by Wenger, so little point in retaining him
Djorou-Just signed a new contract so may get a few quid for him

When you look at some of these players it is mystifying as to why they are still receiving wages from Arsenal; perhaps the truth is no one wants to buy them. That’s an indictment, as there was a time when Arsenal players were much sought after.

Then there are the unknown quantities Eisfeld & Miyachi; no one knows what these guys are like. There are other players for whom opinions are split for one reason or another, Walcott, Rosicky, Benayoun and Gibbs

Obviously it is unrealistic to impose wholesale changes and it would be an acknowledgement that there is a problem should a large number of players leave. I believe that there are a number of Squad members who have either shown enough or have shown potential that can be a core squad that with the right quality of additions can begin a recovery process.

RVP, Wilshire, Arteta, Ramsey Szczesny, Vermaelan, Koscielny, Coquelin, Oxlade-Chamberlaine, Santos, Jenkinson, Song, Sagna, Mertersacker, Gervinho, Miguel. That’s virtually half a squad; that’s the level of the problem.

Let’s also be realistic in saying that, with the exception of RVP these players are not  ‘world class’ on a proven consistent level but I feel they can certainly give some body to a squad that has the requisite quality and character added.

This summer needs to see big changes that are added to in January and again in the summer of 2013 that’s the length of time needed to reinstate Arsenal at the top table I believe. But to make those changes it needs the Manager and the board to recognise the nature of the problem and sign the consent form for the surgeons to start their work on saving the patient.

Thursday, 16 February 2012

A ONE WAY TICKET TO PALOOKAVILE

"coulda been a contender"

Current contenders
Lyon 1 v 0 Apoel
Leverkusen 1v 3 Barcelona
Zenit 3 v 2 Benfica
Milan 4 v 0Arsenal
CSKA v Real Madrid
Napoli v Chelsea
Marseille v Internazionale
Basel v Bayern

The EUFA Champions League now has a combination of fifteen teams standing in Arsenal’s way. That’s technically true but realistically stupidity to suggest. A first leg loss of 4-0 is insurmountable, pure and simple.

Was I being realistic when I said I thought we could win the tournament that has eluded us? I think I was. I believed that this Competition was there for any number of teams to win, so why not us?

Barca, based on last year and the quality of certain team members are favourites, but what of Real Madrid who currently lead La Liga under Morinho. Bayern are a club who have European triumph entrenched in their roots. The French Italian clash has two teams both of whom are capable as does, perhaps, the tie between the light blue and dark. With the spread of teams that were left, and crucially, only one English team in the pot I felt it not unfeasible that we could go all the way.

I believed that our spine looked better than it’s been with Szczesny, Vermaelan, Koscielny, Arteta, Song and RVP. The return of Sagna at right back would only be a good thing and the pace offered by Oxlade-Chamberlaine & Walcott might have proved effective. Add to this mix the experience of Rosicky, Benayoun and the unpredictability of Arshavin and there may have been potential for a fair amount of uncertainty in our opponents. This was an acknowledgement of what we have player wise, not what we should have as a top club.

We are a top Club, just a top club with an average playing staff. 

I was wrong though wasn’t I? I was wrong because I didn’t predict that this set of players charged with representing the Arsenal, would not turn up at The San Siro. I didn’t predict the schoolboy errors, lack of desire, inability to vary the play. I didn’t bargain for players not wanting to shine on one of the worlds great footballing stages. Let’s not kid ourselves; AC Milan were a pretty good team last night, no more than that, made to look like Brazil 1970 by our abysmal performance.

A performance lacking character, and that is something that has been absent for a number of years. 

Arsene Wenger and the board receive criticism on a regular basis with each disappointment and I am not going to go into that here. However, there comes a point when you have to be critical of the players themselves. Tonight was one of those points.

Regular readers know of my opinion that this squad is simply not good enough and ultimately the reason that this squad has been assembled is out of those players' control, but they are supposed to show more than they did last night. Time and again Arsenal have been found wanting on the pitch, this has been a regular pattern for over a year now and we are currently where we deserve to be; not where we think we should be. This is a crucial truth; we are where we are because that's how good we are, that's where this squad are at.

The rhetoric that we left Highbury in order to give us the ability to "Compete with the top teams in Europe" looks more and more like bullshit.

Before our humiliation last night I felt that it really could be ‘up for grabs’ for a team outside the usual suspects to win the Champions League; I still do, but it won’t be us, not ever with this current version of the Arsenal.

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

VICTORY IN EUROPE

It's fair to say that our record in The Champions League against English clubs is not good, not good at all, however, under our current administration we have recorded memorable victories against Europe's elite. Lest we forget, we have beaten
AC Milan
Internationale
Juventus
Real Madrid
Barcelona
among others

Therefore I have my optimists hat on, so I say 'Come on Arsenal' this competition is up for grabs! A good result tonight may be a springboard for progress; A cup competition can be there for whoever dares to win. 

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

HATE


Then
Now


Earlier today Captain Kirk sent me the following video


To say it is both disturbing and upsetting is an understatement.

We see the beautiful game as something of a mirror to society and try to look on the community of supporters as a positive force. A set of human beings with some values borne out of an understanding of what this great sport of ours can give us. However, it takes a certain amount of myopia from the Football Authorities to proclaim that all is well. The issues that were amplified over the weekend at Old Trafford cannot be trivialised when we see the full extent of hatred; in any form. The violence is shocking as we see people attacked on a basis that is a result of flawed thinking, and the powers that be proclaim all is well; all is not well.

So when I look at those images, I have to ask myself this…
















Sunday, 12 February 2012

arsenalism says

It's easy to forget stuff amidst the maelstrom.
All Football supporters heed this

Saturday, 11 February 2012

ARSENAL CORNER TURNING?

Thick and thin, ups and downs glory and despair; that’s the lot of the Arsenal supporter and today we were put through the mill. In the earlier contentious KO we saw Liverpool lose and given the shenanigans associated with them currently, who wasn’t a bit pleased to see United win? Then it became clear that Chelsea were going to lose just as we were trailing an awfully moribund Sunderland team at the Stadium of dodgy pitch, then cometh the hour cometh substitute Ramsey with an equaliser that had all of us looking to give a positive spin to a draw. But, hold on, the fat lady was far from singing when substitute Arshavin crossed for substitute Henry to claim the spoils.

And so it was that we claimed three points exactly when we needed them. We took advantage of those around us slipping. Throw in a couple of great Sczesny saves and you could almost feel our ship of destiny changing course. With the Sp*rs NUFC taking place as I type, the thing is that there cannot be a bad result, just shades of better.

All in all a good days football. Methinks that for once MOTD may be worth Sky+ing.

The Arsenal have come out of today with all the positives and all the ‘under the radar’ analysis. I’m happy about that. Let’s just keep doing what we do. For me anyway, today felt like a significant moment in our destiny.

An extra word about Thierry Henry. In a climate where players are full of themselves and believe in their own inherent greatness it was lovely to see Thierry do what he does best. It's been great to be around for his swan song. On a day where race was an issue, a day when we saw how hurtful racism is , let's celebrate that we have a statue of a black man outside our stadium, he's there because hes a legend pure and simple. We don't question it or analyse it, we are the Arsenal and we are above such ignorance. Let's not forget that at the Arsenal we are as diverse a set of supporters as any club in the world.As a person of colour I embrace the Arsenal in all it's diversity; were special. Let's never forget that The Arsenal are great club and a true legend like Thierry shows us what a great club is all about. 

Always Arsenal. Onwards and upwards 

Friday, 10 February 2012

ENGLAND EXPECTS

So there is an out pouring for an Englishman to Manage the England Team and good old ‘Arry is the favourite. I can’t imagine it’s for his managerial record; 1 FA Cup, so it must be that his credentials are his intrinsic Englishness, his car salesman manner and his ability to be something of a Cheeky Chappie. If those are the criteria here’s a list of potential competitors for the post

Arthur Dailey
http://youtu.be/nWlj9ZJkliA
Derek Trotter
http://youtu.be/94kOY7dmBGs
Alan Partridge
http://youtu.be/hzSQ3xgoh-w
‘Genial’ Harry Grout
http://youtu.be/5xOldHAIXXo
Mike Bassett
http://youtu.be/ylftUmF-GSw
Jim ‘nick,nick’ Davidson
http://youtu.be/kwzA5vIu6mY
Dave Angel-Eco Warrior
http://youtu.be/2M662XNAmcM
Terry McCann
http://youtu.be/Zz_m9rADGxk
Frank Butcher
http://youtu.be/Q50mP6Jqd4s
Swiss Toni
http://youtu.be/Hr3hP0CeiQo
Guy Richie
http://youtu.be/qX9crnz6vQg
Danny Dyer
Tommy Cockles
http://youtu.be/JicjC2GXKzE
Arthur Atkinson
Major Gowen
http://youtu.be/5035TY5RSpg
Mike Baldwin
http://youtu.be/wIrTEiPA_2o
Paul Clarke
Frank Doberman
http://youtu.be/b22foyWvuUU
George Doberman

Frank Burnside
http://youtu.be/O5w7Ozv5aJg
Chris Finch
http://youtu.be/rDxW1-mkZSo


Monday, 6 February 2012

ARSENAL GAMES


They say that football is 'just a game'; well it kind of is.
Call of Duty: MW3-Arsenal v QPR
Subbuteo lightweight LW # 743 ARSENAL 2nd figure

Sunday, 5 February 2012

MAGNIFICENT SEVEN

No need for erudition, analysis or reportage, yesterday those of us emboldened enough (and loyal enough) to brave the Arctic conditions at The Emirates saw the Arsenal put seven past a hapless Blackburn. Goal difference greatly improved, three points tucked away and a morale boosting victory.
What more do you want?
Here's an appropriate tune.
Cheers

Saturday, 4 February 2012

TO BE BLUNT

I've used a lot of words this week when talking about The Arsenal so today I'm keeping it succinct; no smart euphemisms or clever word play, just some blunt opinions and like all opinions, they come in different flavours .

Why are we struggling and look unlikely to finish in a Champions League spot any time soon? Why have we declined and faltered? Have a look at the squad


Fabianski-shocking

Almunia-more shocking

Mannone-average

Park-not trusted to play/not ready?

Chamakh-can’t score

Walcott-inconsistent

Diaby-always injured

Djourou-inconsistent

Squillacci-poor

Rosicky-best days long gone

Benayoun-bit parter

Eastmond-god knows

Denilson-still paying him; he’s awful

Gibbs-injury prone

Arshavin-does he even want to be here?

Miyachi-on loan. Why?is he or isn't he up to it

Frimpong-on loan. Why? is he any less effective than anyone else

These players alone are not to be relied upon for the course of a season or are nowhere good enough. This leaves a first XI that I would argue only 3 at most would get into the starting line up of the big clubs, one or two young hopefuls and some reasonable, but not great players.

It’s a terrible squad. That’s all there is to it. The where’s and whys are for those with more information than I

Friday, 3 February 2012

CASH FROM CHAOS

Money Floyd

Part of what any company relies on is its product and assets. That’s basic stuff yeah?

A football clubs product is what goes on out there on the pitch, its ability to entertain and produce results, trophies and success.

Its assets are the playing staff; it’s workforce if you like.

Investment is needed in any successful business but getting rid of your assets without gaining the finances with which to reinvest is a foolish approach, furthermore choosing not to reinvest after losing assets couple be construed as asset stripping. So far so simplistic.

It is a financial fact that the building of the Emirates stadium was a venture that accrued debt. Presumably a plan was put in place to repay that debt with some projections based on future earnings development deals sponsorship and the like.
Money Madness

I wonder, was part of this projection on repayment based on possible future sales of players? This would seem like speculation in anyone’s book. If this was factored in (hard to believe that this would be part of any sound business model) then it provides some form of explanation as to why revenue from sales has not been commensurate with expenditure on replacements. If this is not the case (as seems more likely) any lack of expenditure has been through choice.

Adebayor, Clichy, Fabregas, Tourre, Nasri  have all been some of the more recent sales and the money generated from those sales (and saved through wages) has clearly not been reinvested.

The question remains; what exactly is the club’s financial policy? We keep hearing about self sustainability but failure to invest is a foolish  short- term and long- term strategy when it means the product; the football club, becomes less attractive to exterior revenue sources.  

The Supporters will always remain; that’s what supporters do, but it is a cold hard reality that success on the pitch attracts more opportunities to earn. The reason I am focussing on money is because it seems to be the be all and end all as far as the likes of Gazidis, Kronke et al are concerned. This in itself would point towards them being poor business men as the clear decline of the club is counter productive to increasing income. You don’t need an economics degree to work that one out.
Money Python

It seems to me that Arsene Wenger is the perfect Manager for Arsenal Football club as run by the current regime because he is balancing those books that seem to be the most important thing to those upstairs.
What seems to have been wilfully overlooked more than been forgotten, is that yes a Football club is a business, but it’s a unique one by virtue of the fact that it is a football club. There is no point of having success in the bank account when there is no success in the league table or trophy cabinet. Something has been neglected in the swirl of financial gluttony and obsession.

A great club  is obsessed with winning it is not obsessed with book balancing.
Money Lizards

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