The Shape Of Things To Come?

By Kevin Whitcher

Online Ed: Thousands give Arsenal a miss, unmotivated by pursuit of top four place

I’d estimate you could have fitted the actual physical attendance at Arsenal’s match against Sunderland last night into the old all-seater Highbury (that’s 38,500) with some empty seats still remaining. The numbers were even lower than the game against Leicester three weeks before. Fans were voting with their feet. They want to see something different.

Arsene Wenger’s view on the empty seats was that, “It is Tuesday night.” I wonder what his thinking will be on Sunday, when my guess is that there will be at least 10,000 stayaways. More to the point, if Arsenal were playing Real Madrid in the second leg of a Champions League semi-final, or even playing Sunderland with the chance to overhaul Chelsea for top spot in the Premier League, does he think people would not be able to make it to the stadium for a game on a Tuesday evening?

Apparently, it didn't look good on television. And last night will have weakened Wenger’s bargaining power when it comes to the negotiations on an extension. One of four things will happen.
1. Wenger will be forced to accept changes as Ivan Gazidis is trying to move the club forward into the modern era, and remain.
2. The board will decide enough’s enough and tell the manager his time is up.
3. Wenger will refuse to accept changes and Kroenke will back him, with Gazidis departing elsewhere, giving up on any hope of the club making the necessary progress in its footballing organization and personnel.
4. Wenger will refuse to accept changes and Kroenke will back Gazidis, meaning a new manager.

The smart money is on option 3, but no-one knows. One thing that has not happened as yet is any signing of a contract that the club are too timid to announce in advance of season ticket renewals. Still, at least they are preparing for life in the Europa League, with a suggested drop in season ticket prices to reflect the lower standard of opposition the club will be facing in Europe, and a proliferation of Thursday night – Sunday afternoon/Monday night matches. I bet you just can’t wait. Empty season ticket seats will become far more common, reflecting that people have enough cash not to relinquish their place in the stadium, but simply aren’t interested in watching Arsenal under Wenger. It’s become too predictable, with only the odd domestic knockout trophy to savour.

The game last night was actually fairly entertaining in terms of goalmouth action. Jordan Pickford gave good reason to be picked up if the club are in pursuit of a new keeper, kept busy throughout. Petr Cech was also called into action more often than he’d have liked. Gibbs and Ramsey returned to the starting eleven in place of the injured Koscielny and Coquelin, to give the line-up a more attacking feel than at Stoke. No goals before the interval, and symbolically, John Hawley, a terrible striker from the early 1980s, was the half-time guest.

News that Manchester City were disappearing over the horizon in terms of goal difference filtered through as they broke West Brom’s resistance, although a late goal for Tony Pulis’ team might prove significant if City lose at Watford and Arsenal beat Everton by a few goals. Alexis Sanchez certainly has reason to get amongst the goals on Sunday. The two he scored in the second half which gave his side the win puts him one behind Romelu Lukaku in the race for the Golden Boot. Shame he is likely to be away in the summer, but there you go – the guy is a winner and wants to play in a team that has more chance of competing.

His first goal in the 72nd minute was a thing of beauty. Granit Xhaka’s distribution was one of the highlights of the evening, and he picked out Ozil with a measured chip, the German centering from wide to give Sanchez a tap in. The second followed as the game entered its final ten minutes, the Chilean converting a Giroud volley across the face of the goal.

It was an interesting atmosphere, the crowd that did attend making more noise than we often hear at more populated matches. Which kind of symbolizes the divide. Having said that, there were plenty there that were uncommitted. People given free tickets by workmates and the like. The heavens opened in the second half at 0-0 and the goals followed, before full time and calm after the storm. It kind of reflects the apathy after the anger of recent weeks. People have got used to the idea of another failed season and have kind of given up even being bothered about it. The FA Cup Final is a rainbow after being metaphorically p***ed on by Bayern Munich and various Premier League opposition.

Over 20,000 season ticket holders chose not to come because they presumably want to watch something different. The Tuesday evening scheduling is not a reason. People will turn up if there is something they want to watch. The challenge facing the directors is to do something that will bring back the buzz and excitement about the club. It’s more important they retain Alexis Sanchez (and add further players of that quality) than Arsene Wenger in that respect, but one fears that come August, the wrong one will have departed. Enjoy the Chilean while you can…

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17th May 2017 09:13:11


Comments and Reaction

User comments on this article are now closed. If you want to continue the debate, why not do so on the Gooner Forum.

markymark  9:44am 17th May 2017

The atmosphere was quite good last night , however a lot of that was a bit of Cup Final lift. Plus night games have always been the most atmospheric with the chap next to me screaming and bellowing whilst stumbling about pissed as a fart. It's too convenient to package those who go as complete Wengerists, some certainly, others who think whatever will be will be. The crowd estimate was about right and signals likely crowds next year particularly on Thursdays . As for point 3: I'm baffled by Stan if he takes this choice. I spot that wise old Ron also suspects option 3 and Ron is often right. My view is why piss off all of your board from 5k away when you have no intention of being hands on ala Abromovich. You're going to have to advertise the role as well paid Patsy do everything that your underling tells you. I'm sure they'll be takers but the calibre will be poor. For an easy life which appears very much what Stan wants you'd back the board and ditch the manager. He's also already lost £30m via Wengo so that's done with. Well we will soon find out. - Post No. 107205

Time for change  10:24am 17th May 2017

Because no Premier League matches are ever played on a Tuesday are they Wenger? Come on Liverpool and scenario two or four. Wenger out now. - Post No. 107206

Bob Bayliss  10:56am 17th May 2017

markymark, While I don't expect those who aren't AKBs to necessarily be active in joining in the protest to get rid of him, I am afraid that to all intents and purposes if these people are paying to watch the dross and take a "whatever will be will be" attitude to the direction of travel they are complicit in allowing Wenger and Kronke to allow the club to slip ever further behind what we should aspire to be. - Post No. 107207

Exeter Gunner  11:02am 17th May 2017

5. There are a couple of backroom staff changes. IG feels he's got enough to save face and carries on. AW retains total control. The new contract is signed after the cup final, well away from pesky demanding fans. - Post No. 107208

RobG  11:07am 17th May 2017

Exeter - sadly - Yes. My feelings as well. 😡 - Post No. 107209

Gunner Rob  11:08am 17th May 2017

59,500 paying customers. nothing to see here - Post No. 107210

Suker  11:20am 17th May 2017

Wenger always has an excuse for everything! He makes many African presidents look almost credible.... - Post No. 107211

The Man From UNCLE  11:20am 17th May 2017

Looking at the empty seats I was moved to say to The Woman From UNCLE that there's a good chance of seeing a game next season - well, against Lokomotiv Zhytomyr anyway. As an aside, big up to Jermaine Defoe - still good striker and has been a good pro through the years. We should have picked him up in 2003. - Post No. 107212

Yes its Ron  11:34am 17th May 2017

When youre at the ground regularly its pretty easy to judge the actual crowd isnt it. Hard to do off the TV set, but guesstimate would be that there was about 40 - 42 odd thou there last night? Ive not been for 4 yrs but we always used to laugh when the figure 60009 used to come up. it happened so often even even it was clear that there was barely 50000 in. In fairness to last night, a game v Sunderland hardy set the pulses racing and there have been quite a few games lately and another on Sunday, so im not surprised it was a poor turn out really. Oddly enough it wasn't too bad a game and the lad Pickford was well worth seeing wasnt he. Liverpool and City are as good as home and dry in that 'top 4 Cup' race i think, though you never know. I think many of the stay aways think the same dont they? - Post No. 107213

Exeter Gunner  11:35am 17th May 2017

Summer '17: "Arsene will challenge for title without CL distraction". Season '17/18: AFC finish 7th. "Too many games in the EL. Arsene will challenge next season without any European distraction". Season '18/19: AFC never challenge for the title but finish 4th. "Arsene has got us back in the CL". A new two year contract until 2021 is signed... - Post No. 107214

jeff wright  11:44am 17th May 2017

Interestingly those pesky little chaps the bookies are only offering odds on who finishes 4th in the Prem. They see City as being done and dusted for third spot with Liverpool at 1-9 on to finish 4th and us at 5-1 to do so. Everton are obviously a much better side than relegated Sunderland are and our tete a tete on Sunday with them is likely to be a close run thing regarding the outcome we will need to beat them 6-0 to better City's G/D that stands at 5 goals superior to our own at the moment with City failing to score in their game .I think I will give having a punt on us winning 6-0 against Everton a swerve though ! We struggled to score 2 goals against Sunderland and Everon are capable of scoring a goal themselves against us . Also Wengo's ecord v top 6 sides is very poor to say the least and we hardly looked impressive last night against Sunderland so it looks to me that Ropey Cup Thursday night is on the menu next term for Wengo - if he is still around that is - and I would not bet against that being so. Having believed all season that Wenger would end up in the dreaded Ropey I am not based on some unlikely scenarios Watford beating City and Boro Liverpool occurring changing my view on that. Wenger's got the FA Cup final though to use for a smoke and mirrors temporary illusion of things ain't that bad really - in fact the cretin is already doing so . If he wins the Cup that will then be claimed reason enough for his long yawn inducing tenure to be extended . But if fails to win it then other reasons will be put forth to ludicrously claim that only HE can manage AFC . Heads you lose tails you lose ! You couldn't make it up - Post No. 107215

MAF  12:06pm 17th May 2017

the Stadium would be mor than full if a new Manager came in with new energy frehs ideas discipline fight etc. do you see Anfield with lower crowds ? theyre only doing ok but they are right behind Klopps - Post No. 107216

Seven Kings Gooner1  12:06pm 17th May 2017

Good piece Kev : How about 5. Wenger somehow beats Chelsea and resigns, thus finishing with a trophy - it would be his way of saying to the WOB's "see this is what you are all going to miss" - Post No. 107217

Gunner Rob  12:30pm 17th May 2017

Seven Kings - you dont appear to have quite got it yet, Wenger doesnt want to go out on a high, he is only interested in keeping his money coming in. If he wanted to go out on a high then he wouldnt have signed a new contract in 2014 - Post No. 107218

peter wain  12:43pm 17th May 2017

the only person who matters is kroenke. Let Gazidis leave he has done nothing to justify his enormous salary. If Kroenke wants Wenger he stays simple as that. The club will regress and I doubt whether more than three players will join during the transfer window. - Post No. 107219

MAF  13:05pm 17th May 2017

i think Merson is right. the deal for 1 year is done + will be confirmed to the People (Plebs) in the summer when everyone is on Holiday and cant Show their disapproval. there is no more political a Club than the current Arsenal. they will duck and run for cover as much as they can - Post No. 107220

Up For Grabs Now  13:23pm 17th May 2017

I would rather have had the circa 20,000 who didn’t attend last night’s game show up and vocally demand no new contract, than simply not attend. We all know the master of spinning things in his favour will always be spun by Wenger, even when blatantly contradicting himself. Hence if those 20,000 had attended, demanding him to go do one, it would have been fun watching him trying to spin that into positive news! Those 20,000 missing, please turn up for the Everton game, as this is your very last chance saloon moment to let the club and Wenger know what we think. If you don’t, then that contract is as good as signed, and you will only have yourself to blame! - Post No. 107221

TonyEvans  14:11pm 17th May 2017

Up For Grabs is right, Wenger is already dismissing the poor attendance on the fact that it was a Tuesday match against a relegated team. Please against Everton get in there and leave Wenger in no doubt you want him out! Last chance to save us from another year, or worse, of the same old tripe. - Post No. 107222

Seven Kings Gooner1  14:14pm 17th May 2017

Gunner Rob - I got it mate - in 2008, have n't been since. I was just trying to wind a few of you up and you seemed to have bit! - Post No. 107223

Yes its Ron  14:26pm 17th May 2017

Hi Tony - thing is matey, the staying away doesn't automatically correlate to people who strongly want AW to move on. Most are simply indifferent and are on a spectrum ranging from indifference to not being too bothered on way or the other, but if pushed on the point would agree to see some change at the Club. This is how ive found people who i know who are still South East based fans anyway. This is where AWs strength comes from and the Club know its only a smallish minority who are vociferous about it. - Post No. 107224

Redshirtwhitesleeves  15:17pm 17th May 2017

There's no way Wenger is leaving, I've said it all along, the new contract will be signed and announced after the season tickets deadline. The 'war chest' and the 'catalyst of change' will prove to be yet more spin. Wally, Gibbs, Ramsey, giroud, Gabriel, Ozil and the rest of the coward/bottle job brigade will still be here, (some having signed completely undeserved lucrative new contracts). Sanchez will be sold after Wenger categorically states 'he will not be leaving under any circumstances' , a few million will be spent on more underperforming dross probably from the French 2nd division and the whole s***show will continue for another year or two. I've had enough of it, if as I predict he is still here then I'm done with this f***ing club for good - Post No. 107225

jjetplane  15:20pm 17th May 2017

Atwood at Untold is saying how ****ing wonderful it is to have an empty stadium meaning he can get his hot chocolate at half time and everyone in the ground is soooo happy with everything you can see them feinting in the aisles as stewards touch their shoulders. Reckon SK will love it as it looks like yankee stadia where people just roam around and buy food and occasionally look at the field of play. Hot ****ing chocolate - what a cockhead! AKBs are sick in the head. Remember being at Highbury when Tony A scored that goal against the Toffees. How times change. Koeman will be relishing this one. Another coach who has no time for Wenger the non-coach/accountant. I hope he stays and it gets worse. Comedy from where I am sitting. Good thing County football starts earlier with mucho free friendlies and here's hoping we improve on this year's 7th finish. ****ing love football and what a great club Everton presently are. They can be proud. Hot ****ing chocolate! Blow it out your ass Howard! - Post No. 107226

Moscowgooner  16:05pm 17th May 2017

In context of course, even if only 35,000 were there, many of us can still remember times when a fairly meaningless end of season game like this would have attracted 16 to 18,000 - or less. (From about 1965 on.) This is not in any way an argument for Wenger to stay on! It simply shows that football attendances (and particularly Arsenal attendances) have grown sharply since the mid ´sixties and ´seventies, reaching the nadir in about 1985 when 20,000 was a bumper gate. The bubble will burst fairly soon I suspect... - Post No. 107227

Cheltenham Gunner  16:30pm 17th May 2017

Can't believe sky have not got our game on Sunday. Battle of the Golden Boot, can't get more exciting than that!! Wenger has come out-even by his standards-with some amazing bullsh*t this week. I think even if half the ground carried Wenger out banners he would spin it or more likely claim to have not noticed them! - Post No. 107228

jeff wright  16:41pm 17th May 2017

Wenger's recent comments yet again reveal what an arrogant pompous deluded fool he is. Claims for him being a genius look ever more ludicrous with every yawn inducing passing week. Watford's manager gets shown the door before their final game against City despite him having ensured the club's Prem status that is for them job done while Wengo smugly smirks when asked about his future at AFC safe in the knowledge despite failing to achieve his main target of a top 4 finish that he will be in charge at AFC next season.His nonsensical claims that because he won 5 more points in the league than he managed last season means he has been successful make him the laughing stock of football. You couldn't make it up. - Post No. 107229

mbg  16:44pm 17th May 2017

And they can't come soon enough for this old past it excuse for a manager and his ego, but his AKB's better get used to it watching their lord and master and his second rate nice boy bottlers playing in front of even less crowds in the future at the/his so called mighty emerites, and flapping around the dugout doing the penguin rap and complaining to some third official who's never heard of him on a Thursday night in some god forsaken hole nobody's heard off. - Post No. 107230

mbg  17:02pm 17th May 2017

Ron, oh I don't know, no doubt there were those who were right up for the game and got all moist over the result. Wenger out. - Post No. 107231

TonyEvans  18:29pm 17th May 2017

Hi Ron - absolutely, indifference is the word where our match day fans are concerned. That and the lack of a focal point like the old North Bank to get some anti Wenger chants going. As Redshirts says it is only a matter of time before Wenger's new contract is confirmed. - Post No. 107232

CORNISH GOONER  19:23pm 17th May 2017

My No.1 son rang today, having returned from his long haul honeymoon, to ask what's new!! It's all been said on here a million times hasn't it? What brings me out of my apathy is the pathetic journos & hangers on, ex-players saying what a lovely man Mr Bumble is. NO HE IS NOT! He is an unbelievably horrible piece of work - any decent, honourable guy would have walked years ago. - Post No. 107233

Paulward  20:26pm 17th May 2017

Suppose we should get used to the empty seats, gonna be a hell of a lot more of them next season ( Thursday night at home to Genk in the middle of November anyone? ) Quite scary to think how poor we will be once Sanchez departs aswell, could easily finish outside the top six.The years of complacent lethargy are about to bite both our hopeless manager and board on the arse, and its us the fans who will suffer the most. - Post No. 107234

Yes its Ron  21:29pm 17th May 2017

Moscow - very fair comment. II think the air has been seeping from the PL balloon for some time though ive been berated by people for thinking it. Attendances are down quite considerably across the board. Sky and the other satellite TV subscriptions are heading downwards and have been for some 3 years or so. Many now buy the receivers to receive the satellite coverage illegally or they dont bother at all with TV football. They vary in their quality and Virgin and Co try and stunt them but cant manage it for long. I think peoples attitudes too football now are bursting the bubble. As its become more showbiz than sport and as stadia have lost their communities and become 'theatres', the partizanship of fans has ebbed away and as such the attachment to Clubs has been much diluted. Add to this the obscene money that in the main average performers are paid while ordinary people work hard to make a living these days and we have all the ingredients of the fans becoming as detached from the Clubs as the mercenary players and coaches are. In essence, football has lost its central fulcrum of peoples lives so the fans now have new understandings that football and those in it treat it as business and so therefore do the fans. Its no longer a plank of peoples lives. The top clubs in particular have a fans base from far and wide and as such, those fans not local to their Club dont hold the same local strength of feeling. The smaller Clubs also are supported form further afield too, but then effect on them has hit home quite so quickly.This is why there is so much indifference to the Wenger situ that we have. The strength of feeling of the fans isn't as great as it might have been 20 to 25 yrs ago. Theres no fan unity. Going to game now has taken on a similar feature to buying theatre tickets. People go when they fancy it and no longer go to give support in the old way. Its all of this thats going to erode the Clubs ability to keep ripping off the fans who in my view have largely recognized the rip off and have seen through the Clubs and the hype. The clubs rode the wave for yrs and got away with it. It wont last. Some of these grand stadiums will be half empty in a few yrs. Football matches are all 'samey' these days and to be honest, most of them are boring. The lower down the pecking order in football thast one goes, we can see more entertaining proper football matches. The nets closing on those PL clubs in my view. They ll all rue the day that they all thought they didnt need their locality and local fans eventually, especially when the sponsors start to realise the revenues falling for them and they decide to pull away from it. Eventally they start to make approaches back to their fan bases but many have already washed ther hands of it and many will do in the future. Like you, i recall those 17 to 21000 gates in the late 70s to late 80s. It ll happen again. The only surprise is that its not happened quicker during this 7 yr rcession. Thats its not is due to the tourists whove found football late in life along with their off spring many of who see football grounds as places they need to be seen to go to rather than as a deep rooted aspect of their lives.The PL hype machine has of course kept many on board the gravy train, but you know what, the fuels running out slowly but surely. Just my view based on my own journey away from it, but also the views and comments of many others i meet on my travels adds to my perception of it all. - Post No. 107235

mbg  23:52pm 17th May 2017

CORNISH, PaulWard, good posts, the long long drawn out ropey cup in the freezing cold in a half empty emirates and the others, where as sure as the sun sets and rises nothing will change, and this useless waste of fresh air will f***k it up,(and then they'll realise) and you know what ? his AKB wengerites, luvvies and hangers on f*****g deserve it, and deserve him, and there's no one who will be laughing louder at them than me, and i'm sure a lot of others too. - Post No. 107236

Seven Kings Gooner1  8:49am 18th May 2017

Great piece Ron - very well sums up my feelings towards PL football. My real enjoyment for league 1 & 2 football is that before or after the game there is not the endless drivel spoken by the so called pundits who get paid fortunes for stating the "bleeding obvious", it is gradually creeping in to the lower divisions though and that would be a shame if it became the norm. Best though is that players in the lower leagues "turn up, play up and shut up" and that suits me just fine. I have also realized that it is not just Arsene who has driven me away from Arsenal - the expectation has done for AW and many many Arsenal fans, me included. When we moved from Highbury to the new ground AFC really needed to make that leap forward and challenge for titles and of course the European Cup. Unfortunately Arsene, so far out of his depth, is not up to the job. - Post No. 107237

Redshirtwhitesleeves  9:24am 18th May 2017

Ron- fantastic summing up of how football has changed beyond recognition to those of us that remember the 70's and 80's, I hope your predictions of the demise of the sky/money obsessed modern game come true. I'm sure they will and the sooner the better. The game should belong to the supporters, without that link between fan and club then football loses its soul. Its precisely this situation that has left myself and many of you other fellas on here so disillusioned with a game and a club that we once loved and followed with such fervour and devotion. That and the fact that our club more than any other are so obviously only in it for the money. Arsenal as I know it died the day we left Highbury and morphed from a great football club into a vulgar, fan-fleecing, lying, money grabbing financial institution - Post No. 107238

TonyEvans  9:29am 18th May 2017

Ron / SevenKings - both your posts struck a cord with me. I detest Wenger but my current detachment from Arsenal / football in general goes deeper than that for all the reasons you both alluded to. Expectation is the key word for me. Leaving Highbury was a bitter pill to swallow, which was sweetened by big promises of a great future for the club. We've all been conned haven't we and are reminded of that fact each and every time we see Wenger's smug smirk, or listen to his latest excuse. Most, if not all older fans like me have lost all sense of identity with the club we used to live and breath for, and feel betrayed (if that's not too strong a word) by events post Highbury, and these feelings will not be easily mended - it's going to take more than Wenger leaving that's for sure. I've morphed in to the sort of 'fair-weather' fan I used to despise but, you know what, I have realised at last that I can live with that. I will enjoy any success that comes Arsenal's way and switch off when it all goes pear-shaped. I will miss the intensity of it all (when I was a proper supporter) and the great highs I used to feel, but it is time to move on and accept things are not what they used to be, and probably never will be again. - Post No. 107239

jwe1981  9:46am 18th May 2017

I couldn't agree more. I was first taken to Highbury by my dad as a seven year old in 1988. It cost £3 to get in that day. I first had a season ticket in 1994 when the seats were put in and that cost me £117 a season. I moved to the clock end in 1998 and that season cost me £270. I still remember the time it went above £300 for the first time and me thinking wow this is now a lot of money to pay to go and watch a game of football for the season! That would have been around 1999. The thing is at that time you were paying £300 a season to watch players like Vieira, Bergkamp and Henry. The same seat now would cost around £1200 so has risen by 400% in around 18 years. Has anyones salary gone up four fold in that period of time? No. In my own opinion AFC are the biggest culprits in how the modern game has changed. Spurs fans will see what happens to the atmosphere inside their new stadium over the years. They will slowly be priced out by the increases as well. - Post No. 107240

jwe1981  9:57am 18th May 2017

One thing to also point out is that in that time I have gone from a season ticket holder who also attended many away games especially around 1998 to a member to a non-member and finally to somebody who has cancelled down their sky sports tv package. I am sure I am not the only one who has followed a similar path. The cost of having a tv sports package adds an extra £50 a month to the bill. That is £600 a year just to have sky sports and bt sports. Twice the cost of my old season ticket in 1999! Ridiculous in anyone's books. I begrudge paying anything into the system at all. It isn't even down to the fact of whether or not I can afford it. I just don't want to pay in. It is that simple. The whole game has lost its sole and sold it out to the highest bidder which most of the time seems to be gambling companies who ruing peoples lives. You cant watch a game on tv with your son anymore for all the gambling ads. Disgusting and totally soleless. - Post No. 107241

Up For Grabs Now  10:03am 18th May 2017

You’re right Ron, the game sold its soul for the filthy lucre, and unfortunately for us, our club is the very epitome of all that is currently wrong in the game. Ironic really, as we were known as the ‘Bank of England’ of football clubs, with money is now being the only ambition at Arsenal! Now a more apt description of Arsenal would be the ‘Rip off groundhog club’. I feel sorry for the kids of today, who will never really experience what we older fans did in the 70 & 80’s (They would need a mortgage just to attend regularly for a start!). All they get is hype and a very poor product, which it what it has unfortunately become, rather than the game as we knew it to be. Your prediction can’t come soon enough for me, but the club will really struggle to get its true original fan base back on board, after having been fleeced and treated so shabbily by Wenger & co. - Post No. 107242

jeff wright  10:38am 18th May 2017

Football these days against that of the distant past is primarily aimed at WW TV audiences due to sponsorship deals that clubs make loads of money from. Bookmakers are not shoving their messages down viewers throats during live shows for no good reason during games . This Sunday's TV show , now that there are no title winning drama or relegation issues involved is instead having to resort to contriving to create a drama out of very little .Who will finish 4th ( yawn) or the unlikely scenario of City and Liverpool tying for third place and having to play an extra game tie-breaker to decide who wins third spot .I got that ho-hum feeling though and cashed out on learning that Boro had to win 2-0 at Anfield. You couldn't make it up. - Post No. 107243

Yes its Ron  11:45am 18th May 2017

Morning lads. Some smashing posts here. I think those in football know the strength of feeling that exists amongst many. These Coaches for instance going on TV and trotting out the spiel they do is largely instructed to them by the TV paymasters. Theyre as much slaves to TV as the pundits are and they have to keep up the pretence of urgency of every match even at the scragg end of the Season. They 'apologise' to fans these days on TV for heavy losses and poor performances, clubs offer subsidised tickets to away games etc, refunds when the teams get thrashed etc etc, they go on TV and explain weak team selections and justify it and ask fans to stick with it bla bla. Listen to that c--t Mourinho this last 6 mths bellyaching about things but always telling us how great the manc fans are. What the f--k does he know about their fans, hes been there 5 mins, doesn't even live there, boring us all (and them no doubt) into a stupor. Many of the coaches suck up to the fans though dont they. It wouldn't have have occurred pre 1992 would it? Its all done to keep fans onside, many of whom are too fickle to handle a good thrashing of their team. theyre vital though arent they to sell merchandize and exorbitantly priced tickets to, so its important that their delicate and flaky dispositions are pampered. Its quite nauseating really. Im sure the older coaches in the game, such as Wenger must find it as tedious and distasteful as we do, the only difference being is that such as he have a vested interest in keeping the gravy train on the rails. - Post No. 107244

jjetplane  12:20pm 18th May 2017

jwe Interesting your piece and it was not til just pre Wenger I got my first ST (bought two for 600) having began going to Highbury in the mid 60s for sixpence in the schoolboys. Strangely felt the game was up once Pires got injured in front of me against Newcastle. Got rid of the STs (waste of money) and missed the end of Highbury and have never been to the Ems (which puts me up there with the Untold readership) and having left London at that time moved on with zilch regrets re AFC. Telling people around 2007 even that there was no more doubles for Wenger and have I been proved right. As I am now fully in with County Football as Brighton are way too big now (Whitehawk anyday) you can see players in the county leagues who are full of themselves and I love it. I have seen reall star frontmen playing for Haywards Heath and Hastings and am in awe seriously. Having totally unshackled myself from Wenger and related I can enjoy it all and I love the likes of Ronaldo too. We do want to be entertained and Pires knew that. Basically Arsenal has lost it's way and isflagging up as serial loser now. The fun is elsewhere. Simplw really. - Post No. 107246

TonyEvans  12:59pm 18th May 2017

Promises made and expectation levels raised by the club as a sop for leaving Highbury, as I said, has created massive feelings of betrayal - especially amongst those of us with long and lots of memories of Highbury. Add in to the mix Wenger's lamentable failure (because of his own limitations as a manager) to put together a meaningful tilt at the title, or the Champions League and you have a toxic brew of resentment. Resentment that poisons our view of what constitutes a good season. Take this season as an example - remove clueless Wenger and the raised expectations (post Highbury move) from the equation and my guess is most of us would be happy with another Wembley final and being in the mix for a top four spot. We're not because we were promised more, and are fed up to the back teeth with a manager that has such a grip on power he is seemingly untouchable, never mind how many times he screws up. We are experiencing an unprecedented situation where the manager appears to be bigger than the club and most of us just can't get our heads round that at all! - Post No. 107247

jjetplane  13:30pm 18th May 2017

JW on the money as usual re the global village audience. Take a look at Untold and every post is from overseas and even the plonk doing poorly written match reports does it all from streaming. I would guess that of their hard core posters at least 70% have never seen Arsenal. Why the **** they don't support their local clubs beats me. The mediums are obviously more important and having a McCluhanesque day it really is a 'global village' and 'the medium is the message.' Chuck in 'culture is our business' and that is it. Something to be laughed at and occasionall tittilated by. Just trying to work out who I dislike the most. Wenger or Atwood. Atwood all day long. - Post No. 107248

jeff wright  14:03pm 18th May 2017

jj, the WW TV audience is bringing in lots of loot for the likes of Syrupy Stan and the spin-off for managers and players staff ,etc, are also very rewarding for them. I just got back from Benidorm and virtually every bar there has signs up showing what football games are being screened that afternoon or evening .I did read though the other day that some sponsors now have clauses written into their deals with clubs that they pay less if there is no Champions League football .United apparently lose 30% of their Kit money if they fail to win any this term.No wonder Maureen is so desperate to win the Ropey ! I still reckon that Wengo will have problems missing out onit and his mealy mouthed claims that Sancho is staying will be put to the test when Syrupy wants the 50m shortfall from Wenger's failure to secure the top 4 trophy made good from somewhere. - Post No. 107249

Moscowgooner  14:46pm 18th May 2017

The lap of appreciation after Everton will be a last great chance to protest: leave the ground early but if you have to stay, turn your backs on the team and manager or display 'Wenger Out´' banners. This battle is far too important to lose for the sake of AFC. - Post No. 107250

jjetplane  14:48pm 18th May 2017

have fond memories of sitting in nice little cheap bars (the best type) in places like Prague and Barcelona and watching their football teams. I am a strict when in Rome type (prefer frog's legs to KFC - then again...) and would not touch our footballabroad and run a ****ing mile from a pub/bar with Brits in. Just want to say what a season Bournemouth have had and I was watching them in the flesh in the months when they nearly folded. Their coach is a miracle worker and has proved it. Howes sussed out quick enough JW was not completely up to it. With the right coach Arsenal would have shipped Wally and his pals out years ago. Cheers JW always an informative read. - Post No. 107251

mbg  15:33pm 18th May 2017

jj, Atwood must be bad then, LOL. - Post No. 107252

mbg  15:59pm 18th May 2017

jw, how many times have we heard that from the smiling assassin in the past, this players staying that player won't be sold, etc, (all believed by the AKB's of course)a sure sign that he will be, then of course as he heads for the entrance and a team with real ambition, (and the AKB's wondering what went wrong, still thinking he'll stay, tee hee lol)the tired old long used spin/lie emerges and said with a straight face, we done and tried every thing we cooed and in our power to make and persuade him stay, thus putting all the blame on the player and making him look bad, and then of course the player who the AKB wengerites were cheering and raving about the week before becomes a c**t. You couldn't make it up, they all f*****g deserve him. Go wenger your becoming more hated as everyday goes by. - Post No. 107253

jeff wright  16:35pm 18th May 2017

mbg, too true Wenger puts it all down to the players even ludicrously claiming that they lack ambition by not staying with him ! I can't think of any that have not done better though after wishing the clown au revoir . You couldnt make it up. - Post No. 107254

Yes its Ron  17:16pm 18th May 2017

in fairness JJ EH knew that JW wasnt up to it before he went there so i doubt hes had an epiphany moment over the Willy. Hes not stayed there because ASL would amazingly want silly money for a very injury prone player now hes got a few games under his belt, despite his obvious burgeoning weight. Wally still sees himself at a higher level too. Him and the Wally could/should be sold this Summer and there are mug clubs out there who would perhaps pay 45 Mill combined for both and that will settle the CL shortfall and get two waste of spaces off the books. I think ASL will listen to offers for both because of the CL failure, so dropping out of the top 4 could have its bonuses in that respect. Wally has become peripheral now. Unbridled business sense though suggests the sale of Sanchez anyway. Hes close to 29. Top of his value and at his best level. It ll be a surprise if AFC even want to keep him, never mind play hard ball trying to keep him, despite what they say. Its another RVP situ isnt it. All this guff about 'keeping the best players' that the pundits wax lyrical about is just tosh. ALL of those PL clubs without exception have to sell now once the big clubs come knocking. Chelsea for instance will let Hazard go for the right price. The failing AW has is that he rewards the wrong players, keeps them for far too long and doesn't replace them with better, more reliable players when he gets the chance to. Hes very good at selling the family silver at the right price though. His selling record is excellent. We cant knock him for that. - Post No. 107255

mbg  20:22pm 18th May 2017

jw, yes mate and still they believe what he says, follow him and worship him, they really do f*****g deserve him. Maybe one of them would like to come on and tell us how bad these players have done and how they've won nothing since they supposedly left their poor messiah in the lurch, and then tell us how many trophies/medals they've won ? I'll start it off with Cesc (but please don't quote me it's a rough guess Seven, with one more to pick up this Sunday ?) but it shouldn't be a problem for the AKB's as we know how they love stats. We want the weasel out. - Post No. 107256

mbg  0:37am 19th May 2017

And when your finished doing that could the same AKB's who slagged Cesc off for not resigning for granddad arsene explain to us why they did it ? I mean do you think he'd have been picking up the prem league trophy and medal on Sunday if he had ? No, regardless of the spin, my guess is old granddad begged him to come back but Cesc knew exactly what he was doing, well done Cesc. We want wenger out. - Post No. 107257

TonyEvans  8:38am 19th May 2017

According to Tony Adams, I read this morning that Wenger couldn't coach his way out of a paper bag and likes to surround himself with yes men. Confirms what we have all long suspected - we have a dictator instead of a manager that will put himself and his own ideals first, ahead of the best interests of the team he is supposed to be managing. - Post No. 107258

jwe1981  8:43am 19th May 2017

Interesting to see that Kane now has three more league goals that Sanchez this season considering Kane has been out injured for a total of three months should we be that bothered if Sanchez does get sold? I know he is currently the best of a bad bunch of forwards but I feel with the number of chances we create a decent forward would score 20 goals a season in that role. The problem is we haven't had one apart from Sanchez since RVP left years ago. Here's an idea, why don't we replace Sanchez with Giroud??? - Post No. 107259

jeff wright  10:06am 19th May 2017

jwe, spot on Sancez is a very overrated player and as I have pointed out before if he was as good as is claimed then he would still be at Barca instead of Suarez whom he was replaced by.Suarez of course was yet another player whom Wengo (yawn) could of signed but money got in the way as usual.The game on Sunday v Everton was being touted by some as being a battle for the Golden Boot between Lukaku and Glum but Kanes 4 goals have blown that scenario out of the water. Now it's like a case of two men who thought they were attending a coronation discovering that they are instead actually at a funeral.Let's hope it's Wengo's - Post No. 107263

Titi2  10:17am 19th May 2017

Entirely agree with Ron. The magic has long since gone out of prem league football, and our club in particular. I suppose we should be grateful to have been there during the great years, when it all really meant something. We saw the best ever Arsenal team with the greatest players go through a season unbeaten. But you know what - isn't it now clear why that team did not win the Champions League? They were good enough to play any English team off the park, without needing any astute coaching input, but when an extra 5% from a clever, tactical, motivational coach was needed to get them over the line against the best European teams, it was sadly lacking. (Apart from the part played by Keown in putting together that makeshift defence that didn't conceded a goal - until Wenger broke it in the final by dropping Flamini for Cashley Hole in his first game back from a long injury) Wenger Out. - Post No. 107264

Issue #269 - Out Now!

Gooner Editorial

16th February 2018

Frozen North Provides Relief For Arsenal

Rare comfortable away win for Gunners v Ostersunds