Exclusive

Which Way Now?

By Gareth Stringer

Arsenal, and its supporters, at a crossroads…

I didn’t wake up this morning with a plan to submit something to The Gooner, but felt compelled to do so having just read a quote from the manager.

I’m guessing that my feelings about the state of the Arsenal nation are similar to many of yours. It clearly isn’t good enough. I went as far as calling it appalling on Saturday in a Tweet, but I am unsure who or what is at the heart of the problem.

Would a change of manager actually make any difference? What if it’s the Board’s fault and Arsène’s hands are tied? Why are the players not performing to anywhere near their ability? Why can’t we defend, despite this being an obvious deficiency for so long? So many questions and so few definite answers…

We’ve all got our theories, but the truth of the matter is that none of us really knows, not definitively anyway.

One thing I do know though is that the manager’s post-match remarks are really beginning to grate, and it is this, as much as the results, which are putting him in danger of damaging his incredible legacy. He’s become a huge figure of fun, perhaps best illustrated by the superb ‘Wenger Knows Best’ Twitter parody.

The jaded/handbrake lines have been dusted down and presented almost on a match-by-match basis in the past couple of weeks – so much so that I am unsure whether the squad needs a weekend at a health spa or a once-over at Kwik Fit. I suspect the latter, and can almost image a mechanic taking a look at the likes of Diaby, pursing his lips and saying “That’s gonna cost you a few quid… I’ll have to order the parts.”

We must invest in January, of that there can be little doubt. Regardless of whose fault it is that the squad is so tired, you cannot simply keep running the same players into the ground week in and week out, especially when they are new to the Premier League like Santi, Podolski and Giroud, and expect them to keep performing.

Equally, we cannot persist with those who continually fail to deliver, Gervinho being the best case in point. The African Nations Cup is back on in January and, while some Premier League clubs will be dreading the thought of losing key players for a few weeks, I’ll happily run Gervinho to the airport now if he wants to make an early start.

As for Diaby, in whom the manager apparently placed so much faith at the start of the season, it has surely gone far enough now. Undoubtedly a talented player, we saw that at Anfield just a few weeks ago, he is now seemingly trapped in ‘Groundhog Three Weeks’. This is similar to ‘Groundhog Day’, but at the end of each three-week period, he is still three weeks away from returning to the squad.

It needs freshening up, that’s my belief. Wenger almost needs to go out and do what he hasn’t done before and get some players in for the sake of it, not because we don’t have the numbers. We do have the numbers, but when you clearly don’t trust some of them to feature (Chamakh, Arshavin etc) then get rid of them and get some players in who will.

I’m also not averse to him bringing in some more experienced players. The Lampard story is (probably) laughable, but he’s got an exemplary record, is allegedly fit and raring to go, has won medal after medal at Chelsea and has the kind of personality that our current, shaky team, really needs. I’m not saying that he’s necessarily the man, but you get the idea…

Anyway, what was it that inspired these few words? It was this quote from the club website: “You have to keep the focus, the desire and the ambition, and turn it on. That’s how it works in the season. You cannot always jump to definitive conclusions from one game.”

For me, this is the saddest thing – the hideous inevitability about it all. Come on, Arsène, no one is jumping to conclusions from one game, this has been coming, this is the result of a long period of mismanagement, stubbornness, non-investment, lack of ambition (delete according to your own preference - or add your own).

Man City losing at home and then the media crying “crisis!” would be people jumping to conclusions – not Arsenal being outplayed by Swansea and losing at The Emirates. That’s like saying that Lee Cattermole’s latest red card is the first blemish on his disciplinary record!

As I said, I don’t have all the answers, and I am sure that most of the supporters don’t either, but one thing we should all agree on is that it needs sorting out, and it needs sorting out fast.

We do want our Arsenal back – the one that actually competes and looks like it’s in with a shout of winning silverware, even though we know that’s not guaranteed, and always finishes above Tottenham, while playing good football. That one…

6th December 2012

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User Comment 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.

Brains  9:42am 6th Dec 2012

I dont even care about playing good football anymore.. I would even be estatic to start singing "1 nil to the Arsenal" again.. 1 goal and a rock solid defence who cares as long as we get back to regularly claiming all 3 points again. - Post No. 31829


Marouane Jeffers  9:47am 6th Dec 2012

Barcary Sagna the best RB in the country offered one year contract extension sums the club up.Another great player leaves.But give Diaby Djourou and Rosicky long term deals!!! - Post No. 31830


Mark Rice  9:54am 6th Dec 2012

Good article ... The sad thing is we have been in this position for the last 7 years and it's never going to change, the club are run by Americans and they are so far removed from the reality of being a 'fan' and what it means and how it affects our everyday lives! My biggest fear is if Wenger goes they will have no idea who to replace him with. just look at Villa and Liverpool (US Owned) who have hardly covered themselves in glory with their appointments. So if your secretly hoping for Pep G to be our next manager prepaid to be very disapointed and start to think of ways to chant Uncle Roy Hodgson red and white army!!!!! - Post No. 31831


David  10:15am 6th Dec 2012

Any manager putting his faith in a crock like Diaby who played 35 mins last season should be sacked.The story about Sagna sums the club up perfectly.Remember we offered DB10 and Pires7 one year deals.Sagna is 29 FFS.This is down to the manager no one else.We reward injury and rubbish players thats the Wenger policy and its wrong very wrong - Post No. 31835


Ron  10:31am 6th Dec 2012

Which way indeed? Who knows now? Just a few years ago it was always a case of 'we re just 2 or perhaps 3 players light of a great squad'. Now alas, we re arguably in need of a total sqaud overhaul, such has been the cycle of selling quality and buying cheap inferior replacements. The Clubs position now is there arent any genuine top quality players left to sell at high prices. The cycle has ended and the Club are left with a rump of employeees who the coach doesnt trust and who also earn top wages. Its like the mid 60s, its really that stale.Its a recipe for a new Coach at many Clubs, but at Arsenal its the Board and the Coach combined whove created this and neither blames the other as theyre all content!Its called stagnancy. - Post No. 31836


Dont bother AKB's, I'll spout your usual nonsense for you...  11:21am 6th Dec 2012

Tired players blah blah, support Tott's instead blah blah, no Arsenal FC before 1996 blah blah, unlucky with inuries blah blah, no better manager blah blah, finishing 4th is magnificent blah blah. There. Now toodle-off and buy you £12.50 Emirates fish & chips. - Post No. 31837


Tony  11:29am 6th Dec 2012

Which way now?Down.On the day we offer one of our most consistent players a one year deal and Tom Fox tells us its not about winning.The club is a total shambles.Yet nothing will be done by the fans so the decline continues.Fox says coming to the stadium makes us proud forget TA or PV4 lifting a trophy.My fellow Gooners we only have ourselves to blame - Post No. 31838


Tony Evans  11:32am 6th Dec 2012

The problem is two-fold: one - Wenger still believes his own deluded hype and refuses to face up to the reality of the mess the team is in and two - the board don't care as long as the money keeps rolling in. It is a perfect storm and will continue as long as a top 4 place is secured. - Post No. 31839


Guildford Gooner  12:20pm 6th Dec 2012

Spot on piece,well written.I was at the Swansea game last week and witnessed the worst home performance in recent times.My son came down from university in Nottingham just to see the game with me,what a let down it was.He bood them of the pitch,I don't do that but maybe I should have as I paid for both tickets and his train fare!To quote the Stranglers,"somethings got to change". - Post No. 31840


Arsenal fans get the club they deserve  12:45pm 6th Dec 2012

Please can someone tell me why Wenger would stay quiet if he felt he was being unneccesarily denied transfer money while his team is getting weaker? He owes Kroenke and Gazidis absolutely nothing. - Post No. 31841


Kenny  12:50pm 6th Dec 2012

@Tony Evans You are right about Wenger.But he is deluded because he appoints people around him who wont criticise him Gazidis and Bould.If you have people around you who keep saying yes youre right you will continue to be deluded.Thats why i always believe he was secrectly pleased Dein was removed from the board.If Wenger really wanted Dein to stay he could have threatened to resign over it.He knew Dein would tell him he was wrong.He is a dictator who listens to no one.His press conferences are now worse than comical Ali - Post No. 31843


Debbie  13:00pm 6th Dec 2012

Just to lighten things up a bit. I thought I would share with you my five greatest moments following Arsenal. I have only been a fan for ten years so don't expect anything too historic. In reverse order. 5.The Newcastle game just after we moved to Ashberton and meeting my now husband Frankie. 4.Seeing my now favourite player Olivier Geroud play his first game at the Emerites.(My mother thinks he looks like Errol Flynn). 3.Arsenal winning the League at Tottenham in 2004 and being angry at Frankie for a whole week for not getting me a ticket. 2.Going to the cup final in 2005 and getting so drunk and having to be reminded that we had one it the next day. 1.Frankie suprising me with two club level season tickets even though he's not the fan I am. I'd love to hear other peoples best moments supporting Arsenal. - Post No. 31844


ATID  13:05pm 6th Dec 2012

Does anyone else remember the moment when Merse described Wenger as brining unbelievable belief to a player. Sadly, we have now gone full circle and a player is more likely to underperform under OGL's management. He could sign Bobby Moore, Maradona and Messi in January but it won't make any difference. He's lost the fans and he's lost the players. - Post No. 31845


ste  13:09pm 6th Dec 2012

arsenal fans should stay away from games hit the pockets of the greedy owners thats the only way they going to take notice untill then theyll keep taking the fans hard earned money and feeding them the same old crap been an arsenal fan is like been a mushroom keep in the dark and fed on ****e - Post No. 31847


Ron  13:10pm 6th Dec 2012

Tony - Top 4 isnt looking good this time though mate (am almost glad - sad i know, but its whats needed given Europa League is the Clubs true level now anyway) Its the catalyst for change hopefully. Not holding my breath though, as theyve said previously that the budget allows for CL failure of qualifying.Doubtless it also allows for never winning a trophy again courtesy of Mr Fox! What a defeatist Club its become.Theyve no pride anymore. - Post No. 31848


Angry & Frustrated  13:12pm 6th Dec 2012

In answer to the question - Which way now, backwards slipping down the table hopefully, as that is the only way change may come about in the short term. Short sharp shock medicine to get rid of Wenger, by fan pressure is what's needed. Nothing would be worse than delaying the inevitable, if he somehow manages to scrape home into that wretched "fourth place trophy" position once more. The thought of this cycle continuing for yet another season is just too much for me to contemplate, and I expect the majority of fellow Gooners as well, bar of course the Wenger disciples, whom refuse to see the wood but for the trees! - Post No. 31849


Bob  13:14pm 6th Dec 2012

Lots wrong as you say, but the word "mismangement" is at the heart of it. There can be only one conclusion from that. - Post No. 31850


Ron  13:25pm 6th Dec 2012

Arsenal fans get the Club etc etc .......... his salary! That kind of wage plus no doubt bonuses and add on s like you wdt believe would buy anybodys silence i suspect. - Post No. 31851


Jaded Harold  13:28pm 6th Dec 2012

Heard a couple of pundits this week refer to Arsenal fan's 'knee-jerk' reaction to recent performances. It took me back to similar comments in 2008 when we were a little disappointed with the team's mental strength to blow a five point lead at the top of the league with a game in hand in late February. Then the frustrations of seeing title-challenging positions crumble away in 2010 and 2011 when fans had been pleading with the manager at the start of both January transfer windows to bolster the squad defensively. No megabucks needed either year, just reasonable investment. Then of course there was the worst start to a season for 50 years, the worst defeat for 100 years, blowing a four goal lead at Newcastle in the last 22 minutes, being the first team in Champions League history not to have any kind of shot in 90 mins, a record number of water bottles kicked by Wenger and a record number of fourth officials pointlessly abused. I was wondering how many issues Arsenal fans need to have with Wenger before our reaction ceases to be 'knee-jerk'? Maybe Chris or Mandy Dodd could answer that, although I believe Canada Gooner has recently renounced happy-clappy Goonerdom and decided to join the rest of us on the dark side. - Post No. 31852


Rocky RIP  13:32pm 6th Dec 2012

@Arsenal fans get what they deserve - out of loyalty to his employers and to keep his job safe? Much like how he said nothing negative about Dein leaving, which he will have hated. (He's not been the same manager since. They were a force to be reckoned with.)Before you shoot me down, I don't know, I'm guessing. There's a lot of soul searching at Arsenal, and one well subscribed to theory is that he's being hung out to dry by the club. Make them a profit via CL qualification and a sell to buy policy + don't rock the boat or complain about financial restraints = job remains safe. - Post No. 31853


Joe  13:45pm 6th Dec 2012

Wenger has money but won't buy the big names because he can't handle them or their expectation to challenge for and win trophies. He buys the players, sells the players and says who is worth new contracts and the board follow him on football matters so IMO only one man is to blame. Kroenke and Gazidis are bad for our club but they do nbot train the team or pick it and since they are getting worse with each game and still making the same mistakes surely he has to go?> - Post No. 31854


Carlos  13:46pm 6th Dec 2012

You sum up the way a great many fans feel, even if it is the not the majority it is a growing number. The question of who is to blame is not an either / or matter. That a top player like Sagna is only offered a one-year deal is down purely to the manager as is the fact that the back up players in the squad are too well paid and money driven - who can blame them with the sums on offer? - to go anywhere else, at the same time as being nowhere near good enough to fit into the side and offer guarantees. However, the board must shoulder some responsability, as for them the be all and end all is to finish fourth - to what end I don't know because we will never win the Champions' League, and our recent record in the latter stages is abysmal. All in all the footballing side of things is in a sorry state. To me it is very reminiscent of the end of Terry Neill's managership, as many have pointed out, when we seemed to lose to everyone and anyone and the team were shot away in terms of confidence. The question I'd like to ask is who, if anyone, can do anyhting about it? - Post No. 31856


Its up for grabs now  13:57pm 6th Dec 2012

@Debbie so you first met your future husband in 2006 but was angry with him back in 2004 when he didn't get you a ticket for the game at White Hart Lane, when we won the league?!?!?! Either you are still drunk from your post FA Cup final celebrations in 2005, or you are making it up as you go along, showing yourself up in the process! Don't tell me you think Wenger is a reincarnation of God, as you come across as a typical jcl Wengerite! - Post No. 31857


Tony Evans  14:01pm 6th Dec 2012

Kenny - Agree with your views on Wenger being a dictator and surrounding himself with yes men. I think we as fans have to stop being yes men ourselves now and try and force the issue, but as individuals it is difficult to find a common voice. Mind you if the team keep performing as they are it won't take long for some real protesting to start. - Post No. 31858


Arsene's Kindergarten Cop-OUT!  14:07pm 6th Dec 2012

In Arsene we: bust, crust, dust, gust, RUST. You can: lust, must, trust. Blah, blah, blah..now off to Watford, Luton, Gillingham or the Posh. You will be welcome. Aufwiedersehen! - Post No. 31860


What was the point in leaving Highbury?  14:21pm 6th Dec 2012

A team will reflect the manager and we have one that is now useless and run out of ideas. His lack of ambition and excuses are infectious. We can blame the board all we like but its down to the manager that we can't defend, aren't organised or motivated, have no plan b, brought some shockers, lets problems like the GK postion linger for years, uses are huge wage bill in a completly ineffective manner amd doesnt spend what money we do have becuase he's hugley stubborn and wants to be clever. Anyone that thinks Wenger is great manager only has to look at his poor record in Europe. - Post No. 31861


Tony Evans  14:36pm 6th Dec 2012

Ron and A & F - Agree that a top four position is both looking unlikely and would be a disaster anyway as the club is crying out for change which not achieving top four may bring about. As you say though, Ron, it would appear that the club has budgeted for that scenario anyway so something worse may have to happen. I certainly don't enjoy wishing failure on a club I have supported for over 40 years but that is the reality of the situation we are facing now. - Post No. 31862


Squillaci for captain  14:41pm 6th Dec 2012

Sadly there is no way up again under Wenger.How depressing was it last season when some Gooners were celebrating last season after we finished NINETEEN points behind the top 2 teams yes NINETEEN points.This from a club that went unbeaten 8 years earlier.Now we are happy to finish NINETEEN points behind.Will those same fans be happy when we finish THIRTY points behind this season.See you at the town hall - Post No. 31863


Kenny  14:59pm 6th Dec 2012

@Tony Evans Totally agree.The attitue is summed up by the BSM march which did everything it could to stop it being an Anti-Wenger march even though Wenger is the elephant in the room.This was backed by the Online Gooner ED who must have splinters in his arse by the sitting on the fence.You only have to read the majority of posts on the Online Gooner and the forum to see they want Wenger out.But for some reason the BSM and the Online Gooner are afraid to say it out loud.Having a march then going into the ground after it just defeats the object.We can blame Wenger and Gazidis but we have their fate in ours hands.If you want change boycott its the only way you will get change.If 30,000 boycott the WBA game do you think Wenger would still be in a job? It may hurt in the short term but it will be worth it if we can get rid of Wenger Gazidis and Kroenke - Post No. 31864


Dean  15:22pm 6th Dec 2012

Every year the team seems to get slightly worse, the players that are brought in are always lesser quality then the ones we've lost. Yet some how the board think its ok to increase the tickets prices. Its not the fact we're having a bad season thats getting to me its the fact that its the same problems we've been having for the past 7 years (can't defend, no midlfield general/ball winner) and no sign that they're going to improve any time soon. A quote i saw on a post on here a few days ago summed up Wenger rein perfectly "you either die a hero or live longer enough to see yourself become the villan" (Harvey Dent, Batman(anohter reason why thats an excellent triolgy!)) - Post No. 31865


Nilesh Bhagat  15:50pm 6th Dec 2012

You have to leave aside issues with the Board and the finances as much as possible. Ultimately good organisation, high motivation and a strong mentality do not necessarily cost money and we lack one or more of these things on a regular basis. Wenger has as much to prove now as he did on the day he walked in the door but it is not easy to have confidence that he can turn it around but I hope he does. - Post No. 31866


CanadaGooner  16:12pm 6th Dec 2012

if the Arsenal you want back is the one that "always finishes above Tottenham", you already have it mate. That's perhaps the only thing we remain capable of doing. - Post No. 31867


maguiresbridge gooner  16:29pm 6th Dec 2012

Appalling is as good a word as any Gareth. But one thing we do know for sure (among others)is OGL decides what players to buy/sell picks the team decides where they play (in or out of position) what tactic's (if any)what way he wants the team to play, makes substitutions (sorry decides in advance and sets the dugout alarm clock accordingly)is supposed to instil confidence in the team, persists with players who are clearly not up to the job and ok's contracts for said players and players who feel more at home in the medical room than on the pitch,and as you say post match remarks.There's only one person responsible for all that and it's not Stan Kroenke it's not Ivan Gazidis and it's not the board.The squad certainly needs freshening up and that's his responsibility as well instead of sticking by the dross in the hope they'll come good.Yes the post match remarks/excuses have been grating for sometime now and jaded is the latest buzz word and even the old mental strength got an airing earlier in the week maybe he intends to revive it for Saturday. - Post No. 31868


BringBackDene  16:31pm 6th Dec 2012

We have some good players and a fare proportion of duff ones, but......the team continually is not playing to it's potential, even with the likes of RVP and Fabrigas, so who's faults that......no need to ask the audience ......WENGER...!!! - Post No. 31869


Debbie  16:40pm 6th Dec 2012

OOps sorry I mean my ex boyfriend Reggie for number 3 better not let Frankie read this as they don't get on. - Post No. 31870


Arsenal fans get the club they deserve  16:41pm 6th Dec 2012

@Rocky RIP- ...out of loyalty to his employers and to keep his job safe?? Are you serious?? Kroenke has been in charge five minutes and Gazidis owes his job to the approval Wenger gave him, so I repeat, Wenger owes them absolutely no loyalty. If anything, in Gazidis's case, it's the other way round. And to think that mega-rich Wenger would allow his team to be unneccesarily weakened, his legacy tarnished, his relationship with the fans wrecked and his standing in the game damaged just to keep his wage (when he knows he could still walk into very well paid jobs elsewhere) is ludicrous. David Dein backed the losing horse (at the time) and burnt all his bridges, so Wenger had nothing to complain about. The theory you subscribe to is one generally favoured by those terrified of life without Wenger and who will believe what they feel most comfortable believing, even if there is not one shred of evidence to support it. - Post No. 31871


Chris  16:49pm 6th Dec 2012

Rocky RIP - well said. No one knows wha's going on inside the cluband if we did, I imagine that we'd probably all be amazed. Ther are myriad reasons why Wenger might not break the confidentiality of the boardroom to bitch about his bosses - a P45 being just one. The fact that he's a man of integrity being another. But none of us knows. There are FAR too many experts here who think they know it all but, just like me and others on the outside, in reality they know NOTHING. - Post No. 31873


Rocky RIP  17:03pm 6th Dec 2012

@Kenny - good grief, this is like explaining stuff over and again to 7 year olds. The BSM were set up in response to stuff that is nothing to do with this or any future manager. The issues will still be there after Wenger leaves. They would probably get worse if we won the title - prices rise and more people priced out by a more fickle fanbase. It's not about the manager. It's about improving things for match going fans who have been priced out and feel alienated and don't enjoy the match day experience any longer. It's about protecting core supporters from a greedy board who go after tourists, JCLS and corporates at the neglect of the ones who have followed Arsenal loyally for generations. It's not about poor results - they just add to the general disatisfaction. - Post No. 31874


loyal since 1980  17:42pm 6th Dec 2012

There is no point in getting rid of wenger. Whoever comes in, will have to agree with the FFP policy at the club, so the next manager will just be another yes man toeing the line. While this board is in place, they will never appoint a high profile manager. it wil be a young upand coming manager or someone established like david moyes, soemone who can build a team with out spending money. SACK THE BOARD. KRONKE OUT, GAZIDIS OUT! - Post No. 31875


Peter  18:22pm 6th Dec 2012

RIP Rocky-Are you serious?Its not about results! Its everything about results.The truth is at any other top club in Europe Wenger would have been out the door long again.You cant separate Wenger and the board.They are destroying our club together.Wenger actually appointed Gazidis his boss!!! - Post No. 31876


maguiresbridge gooner  18:57pm 6th Dec 2012

Tony Evans A&F Ron, agree our club is crying out for change alright and has been for a while, and yes there's no doubt it has budgeted for no top four spot and that scenario has been flirted with for a while now,but budgeted for or not and regardless of the spin we'll hear it will be a hell of a blow to OGL's ego but as A&F has said enough to bring about change ? - Post No. 31878


Chris  19:19pm 6th Dec 2012

Arsenal Fans get the Club they Deserve - you are exhibiting some seriously confused thinking here! Why would Wenger "allow his team to be unneccesarily weakened, his legacy tarnished, his relationship with the fans wrecked and his standing in the game damaged" by sitting on funds that he is NOT being denied by the board? - Post No. 31880


Wombledin  19:47pm 6th Dec 2012

Which way now for Tom Fox, our commercial director, is to just keep the brand strong but without winning. Fox's comments on Soccernet this morning are a f*cking disgrace and at the worst possible time for us long-suffering fans. Arsenal is now officially just an X-box football club, trophies don't matter, just keeping a good brand for our sponsors to keep the finances and share value healthy. Can you believe the rot Tom Fox spouted, about what makes the fans proud of Arsenal, honestly, the man lives in la-la land. There is now no doubt that the bar has been officially lowered to Europa League football as an acceptable level to keep Kroenke, Gazidis', and Fox's English X-Box football brand strong enough. THE FANS OWN THIS CLUB AND ITS TIME TO LET TOM FOX ET AL KNOW WE AREN'T BUYING THEIR YANKEE NONSENSE! - Post No. 31881


Arsenal fans get the club they deserve  19:53pm 6th Dec 2012

@Chris- A man of integrity and principle, such as Wenger, who was being unneccesarily denied transfer funds would either speak out or walk away, not keep quiet and carry on. Lay off the X-Files re-runs mate, you see conspiracy everywhere. - Post No. 31882


Chris  20:15pm 6th Dec 2012

Arsenal fnas get... - I don't understand where you're coming from. Presumably from your posts you think Wenger is choosing not to spend funds that are available to him, despite the fact that by doing so he "allows his team to be unneccesarily weakened, his legacy tarnished, his relationship with the fans wrecked and his standing in the game damaged". What is your explanation for this? - Post No. 31884


ppp  20:20pm 6th Dec 2012

It is not the majority of Arsenal fans who feel this way - it's a few hundred. The few hundred who marched about a range of different grievances that they couldn't quite decide on before the Swansea game. Just because the gooner website is flooded with spam by Usmanov's lackies don't get the wrong idea. Virtually all genuine, match going fans are firmly behind Wenger and the squad. They may be cr*p at the moment but if you can't stand losing every once in a while then you simply are NOT cut out for football. That's the game. Win some, lose some. If you genuinely can't understand what I'm saying then you are not an Arsenal fan. You have to take the bad times with grace to enjoy the good ones properly. - Post No. 31885


Danny T  20:27pm 6th Dec 2012

Chris-£7.5m a year thats why he wont walk away.He wouldnt get that at any other club with his recent record of being a loser.As someone said earlier it was Wenger who appointed his own boss.If you really think nothing at Arsenal goes on without Wenger having the final say you really are deluded - Post No. 31886


Rocky RIP  20:37pm 6th Dec 2012

Peter - Jesus wept some people miss the point. I'm totally serious. Do some PROPER research. Read highbury harold's twitter every day as i do. The man talks perfect sense. The raison d'etre for BSM is NOT about results. Read their website, thoroughly. Look at their proposals. They would be advocating this stuff if we were top of the league. Bad results only compound the disatisfaction and swell the ranks of disgruntled followers. Which one of their proposals is results based, please tell me? Being priced out and alienated/disengaged from a club you love is NOTHING ABOUT RESULTS! @ Arsenal fans gets what ...yes, totally serious. Maybe swap the words employers to 'the club'. (Take Gazidis and SK out of the equation, he probably can't abide SK. Check out the folded arms body language when he's in proximity.) Arsenal is his life's work. Despite what people may think he loves the club and is honourable to his employers. He knows it extends his stay of execution if he stays loyal to the board. By the way, what do Arsenal fans deserve exactly? - Post No. 31887


norfolk gooner  20:37pm 6th Dec 2012

Agree with Tony Evans and Kenny, I support the fans who went on the BSM, but the next step has to be a boycott i suggest a cat.A game Man City would be a start, i mean £60 - £130 a ticket its a disgrace.Have to mention the Celtic fans yet again were incredible just shows what sort of atmosphere a 60.000 stadium with genuine fans can produce! - Post No. 31888


Arsenal fans get the club they deserve  20:44pm 6th Dec 2012

@Chris- I'm sure you understood me perfectly the first time, but let me teach you how to suck eggs my friend. Wenger is stubborn, Wenger likes to do things on the cheap. This isn't news to anyone, he's always been this way, long before our American friends arrived, and the more people tell him to spend, the less he's likely to spend. He genuinely believes he can win the big trophies whilst spending less than anyone else. He's just wrong this time, that's all. Almunia, Denilson, Vela, Bendtner, Squillaci, Djourou, Diaby, Gervinho, Chamakh, Park, Santos etc etc... - Post No. 31889


johnnyh  20:47pm 6th Dec 2012

an amusing and interesting article pal. you quite rightly state that we have been unable to defend and to someone like me who admittedly has not coached football at any level, being a good defensive unit requires lots of work on the training pitch.it is crystal clear that this is not happening and the buck stops with the manager. the guy has clearly lost the plot and his interviews are always cringeworthy and sometimes downright embarassing.he is becoming like the crazy uncle that you keep out of sight from the neighbours. your assertion that he should go out and get players in just for the sake of it horrifies me. do you really want more players like santos,ramsey,denilson,chamakh or gervinho? how wenger wasnt sacked immediately after the 8-2 debacle at old trafford last season is beyond me.an arsenal team conceding 8 goals?? can you imagine if it had been chelsea on the end of a result like that? he MUST go now to give a new manager a chance buy and hopefully sell in january. regular changes of manager have not done chelsea any harm. - Post No. 31890


Snige from Basingstoke  21:07pm 6th Dec 2012

Lets stop arguing amongst ourselves! - None of us has the answer! - Just turn up on Saturday and watch us beat West Brom. - I can't wait! - P.S. Forgive me but I am a new boy who only started watching us in 1958. - UP THE ARSENAL. - Post No. 31891


Frank  21:36pm 6th Dec 2012

Rocky RIP-We want a team with a wage bill of £140m to at least challenge for trophies not 4th place.We want our £7.5m a year manager to resign as he has proved he cannot keep our best players and who has totally lost it in the transfer market and he rewards totally **** players with long term contracts.We want players to die for the shirt not money grabbers like Flappy Santos Squillaci Djourou Diaby Rosicky Denilson Bendtner Gervinho Ramsey Arshavin and Chamakh picking up £50k a week.We want permanantley injured players Diaby and Rosicky kicked out the club.Thats what real Arsenal supporters want.Good players a good manager and no hangers on bleeding the club to death - Post No. 31893


Rocky RIP  22:13pm 6th Dec 2012

@Frank - what do you take me for?! None of us are oblivious to the wage bill issues, so please don't assume I'm okay with it. We don't pay the ones we want enough so they leave, then we pay the ones we want out too much, so we can't shift them. Not sure you are speaking for all Arsenal fans wanting Rosicky out of the club. In fact, we need him involved right now. He was a surprise positive for us last season. Someone who adds drive, purpose and impetus if fit (yes, yes, I know.) Please don't deign to speak for all Arsenal fans claiming anyone with Arsenal's interests at heart wants Wenger out, because they do not. All proper supporters want what's best for Arsenal, we just have different theories on how best to achieve this. I'm not sure any of us really knows the answer! - Post No. 31894


Mediorce United  22:19pm 6th Dec 2012

i wouldnt bother moaning. Arsenal fans are just not passionate and wont be getting as upset at most about the current situation. the club now know that and so muddling through has become the new norm for players, manager, board, fans and the like. if we do finish 7th, highly likely, i do think there is a possibility wenger will walk but he certain wont get asked to leave by fans or board - Post No. 31896


Arsenal fans get the club they deserve  22:31pm 6th Dec 2012

Rocky RIP- Not much 'thorough, proper research' of the BSM website needed to see that the 'poor allocation of our money' point is clearly aimed at Wenger and results-based issues. Why do you think they slipped it in a few weeks before the walk? It wasn't part of their original list of grievances. - Post No. 31897


maguiresbridge gooner  23:11pm 6th Dec 2012

Rocky RIP i understand where your coming from but if the greedy board decided to improve things for match going fans who have been priced out and feel alienated and neglected (which we most certainly do) by reducing season ticket prices and even silver and red memberships, food and drink,would it make the match day experience anymore enjoyable where it matters on the pitch, under the current manager. - Post No. 31898


Debbie  23:14pm 6th Dec 2012

Why is everybody so down on the manager Arsene?Frankie and I had our picture taken with him ouside the Armoury last year the guys an absolute peach.He's my second favourite at Arsenal after Olivier of course.Frankie however adores Theo. - Post No. 31899


maguiresbridge gooner  0:03am 7th Dec 2012

Nilesh Bhagat truer words have never been spoken when you say wenger has as much to prove now as the day he walked in the door. - Post No. 31900


Gav  0:03am 7th Dec 2012

Another great article, and... I'm nicking this... "We do want our Arsenal back – the one that actually competes and looks like it’s in with a shout of winning silverware, even though we know that’s not guaranteed, and always finishes above Tottenham, while playing good football. That one…" Spot on!! - Post No. 31901


Gooner1711  8:22am 7th Dec 2012

PPP - Keep following blindly. Keep paying into a fund that will never pay back and keep fleecing you. The words of the past week from Arsenal speak volumes. More "profit over success" BS. - Post No. 31902


Thierry to Gervinho in 5 years  8:42am 7th Dec 2012

Rocky you could lower ticket prices to £20 cut food prices but it aint going to change the dross on the pitch.I was on the march last saturday and everyone i talked to there said Wenger had to go.If it had been a Wenger out march there would have been 5,000 there instead of 1,000.As a few others have said i want to see Arsenal challenging for honours not accepting 4th.Which Wenger himself has invented as another trophy.Watching Wenger is like the end days of Brian Clough sad but true - Post No. 31903


Tony Evans  9:01am 7th Dec 2012

Rocky RIP - Can't understand where you are coming from with your reply to Kenny's comment on the BSM march. Kenny appears to be well aware what the march was about and all he is saying is that the protest should be expanded to include a demand for Wenger to be sacked and quite right too. Yes there are a whole host of issues but to ignore one of the main ones makes no sense at all. As Kenny says no march would be as effective as a boycott anyway but too many fans haven't the stomach for it which is a shame because an empty stadium would make a massive statement that could not be ignored. - Post No. 31904


Rocky RIP  9:13am 7th Dec 2012

@'Arsenal fans get' and others.. I agree the 'poor allocation of money' implicates Wenger (although we're back to the whole how much of his lack of spending is self-imposed discussion + wage bill headaches), and it clouds their agenda. I just think people should differentiate matters on the pitch with how fans feel they are treated/priced out/how much they enjoy the match day experience. There was plenty of dross on the pitch in 82/83, but people loved going to games. Myself included. I wnet for the laugh and the atmosphere. Plenty of people now only go to away games, which they enjoy, and are watching exactly the same team play. 'The dross on the pitch doesn't change' as Maguirebridge says, but the enjoyment of attending is massively different. Stuff that the BSM propose such as putting season ticket holders in the clock end and recreating the spirit and unity it had have nothing to do with what's happening on the pitch. Ofcourse we ALL hate us not challenging, but if the process of going to games stops being fun, then there's nothing left when results turn bad. - Post No. 31905


Chris  9:38am 7th Dec 2012

@ Arsenal Fans get... - Just as I thought. You don't have any explanation for why Arsene Wenger should be harming his own career, legacy and relationship with the fans by not spending available funds other than that you have an idea about his personality - based on what I wonder, given that I doubt you know him? It has been widely reported, for instance, that he has been in conflict with the board over the wage cap and the consequent limiting of the quality of players he can bring in. Doesn't really support the picture you are painting, does it? - Post No. 31908


Rocky RIP  10:35am 7th Dec 2012

@ Tony Evans ''Kenny appears to be well aware what the march was about and all he is saying is that the protest should be expanded to include a demand for Wenger to be sacked and quite right too.'' - demanding the manager is sacked completely changes the BSM's agenda. It'd be like asking REDaction to call for Wenger to be sacked. Plenty in both groups may want this, but this isn't their remit. REDaction = atmosphere; BSM = improving the match experience for fans and protecting the interests of core supporters from being priced out, alienated, and disengaged from the match day experience and a reaction against the corporatisation/re-branding of their club, ensuring future generations of hard core fans grow up loving the club as we did. If people want a 'Wenger out' movement, set one up and stop trying to hijack the good work of others. PS. I was on the walk (estimated at 2k by the police), even if many on it want him out, it was in no way an anti-Wenger protest. - Post No. 31913


Theo Jensen  11:05am 7th Dec 2012

@Chris, there are loads of quotes avaiable online where the chairman, Gazidis etc. have stated that all the money made on transfers is avaiable to spend. David Dean also said "For Wenger to buy, he has to sell". He spent £14m on Squillaci and Kosc. when Samba would have been avaiable and probably better for cheaper in both fees and wages... He spent £24m on Gervinho and AOC when convinced Nas. and Fab. would stay so clearly there were funds that could have been spent in january 2011, before the collapse of that season. It's understandable to an extent that he's conservative but there are still ways to operate effectively within budgetary constraints. - Post No. 31915


Theopants Superstar  11:31am 7th Dec 2012

Come on Chris!! Surely you remember the famous Arsene answer to the question: "What would you do if you were given £100m by the Board to spend?" To which he replied: "Give it back!!" I think Wenger is scared to purchase big name and priced players because then the pressure would really be on him to justify his choices. The current way of buying fairly cheap or unknown foreigners and youth players is much easier because then it automatically buys him more time and he can get away without too much questioning with the many signings that don't work. - Post No. 31916


Rocky RIP  12:11pm 7th Dec 2012

Anyone wondering what 'many' people mean by 'we want our Arsenal back' just take another look at the picture in this article. Yes, we ALL want an Arsenal winning things back, but that kit. That crest. BSM are all about fighting for a return to the Arsenal we fell in love with. A purple kit and a cartoon crest ain't it. Is that kit/crest Wenger's fault? Is it results based? - Post No. 31919


Arsenal fans get the club they deserve  13:06pm 7th Dec 2012

@Chris- Mate your answers are a bit scary sometimes, people can explain things clearly to you 2 or 3 times and it still doesn't register. Did you actually read a word of my last post? People joke about The Cult Of Wenger but I'm beginning to believe it exists! So let me try again. No-one is saying that Wenger is deliberately sabotaging his career by not spending the money available to him, least of all me. That would be ridiculous. I've never said that, implied that or even thought that. OK, that's that one out of the way. Now, many managers damage their reputations every week, not deliberately, but through bad judgement and decisions. And that's what's happening at Arsenal. As I and many others have said previously, Wenger is stubborn and likes to do things on the cheap. In that respect he's never changed. The bigger the clamour for him to spend, the less he's likely to spend. He has total belief in his ways and he listens to no-one. Unfortunately the last few years have been littered with poor buys (many listed on my previous post), which has resulted in our present situation, with no sign that things are going to get better any time soon. My opinion of Wenger has been based on following Arsenal home, away and abroad for the 16 years of Arsene Wenger's tenure, watching his transfer dealings, his team selections, his tactics and listening to his press conferences and interviews. I think I've got a pretty good idea what he's about, as have most Arsenal fans at the moment. If you don't get it now, I give up. Have a nice weekend, I'm going to have a lie down. - Post No. 31924


Tony Evans  13:26pm 7th Dec 2012

Rocky RIP - I know it wasn't a Wenger out march and I wish you well in what you are marching for because I agree with you. All I am saying is that to ignore the Wenger issue is bizarre because the club is crying out for some new, fresh ideas and with Wenger at the helm we sure as hell aren't going to get 'em. - Post No. 31926


DaveS  14:41pm 7th Dec 2012

Please give Arsene some credit after all i`ve just heard him saying that he believes it to be a fantastic success and a sign of real consistency that Arsenal have reached the 3rd round of the FA Cup in every season since he has been in charge and you can`t argue with that !! - Post No. 31927


Chris  15:41pm 7th Dec 2012

Arsenal Fans... - what you have said is that if Wenger had been denied transfer funds, he would walk away rather than have his legacy tarnished by his team being weakened. Are you suggesting, then, that Wenger does not realise he could have a better team if more funds were spent? Do you not think he'd like Messi in his team? We already know - because it was widely reported 18 months ago - that Wenger has been in conflict with the board about the wage cap, because it prevented him bringing in the TOP CLASS players that he knew his squad needed to have added to allow the team to compete at the top of the table. Is it not a more likely and reasonable interpretation of available facts that Wenger has, through loyalty, for the good of the club and for a 7m GBP wage, decided to stay and work within the financial restrictions placed upon him? Enjoy your lie down - I've tried to make it simple for you this time - you are not being logically consistent, I hope that with a clear post-nap head you can see that! - Post No. 31931


Chris  16:02pm 7th Dec 2012

Four and a half years ago, Arsenal outplayed Milan and won 2 nil in the San Siro. Only Sagan and Diaby remain of the starting 11. In defence, Almunia, Senderos, Gallas and Clichy have been replaced by Chesny, Mertrsacker, Vermaelen and Gibbs. Fabregas and Flamini have been replaced by Arteta and Wilshere. Helb, Eboue and Adebayor have been replaced by Cazorla, Giroud and Podolski. RVP was on the bench but so were Bendtner, Denilson and Hoyte. Now we have Walcott, AOC,, Ramsey, Gervinho. You can't tell me there's a huge difference is quality, over all, there. The problem is that there has been such a huge turnover in players that the front six (Arteta, Wilshere, Cazorla, Podolski, Giroud and Walcott) have, Arteta and Walcott last season aside, NEVER played together before. Given that Arsenal's style and Wenger's coaching replies on players being very familiar with each others' patterns of movement, this is a recipe for disaster - at least inconsistency. Wenger hasn't lost it - it will come good - the problem is that the transition from project youth has been poorly managed partly due to the ability of players such as RVP, Fab and Nasri to call the shots. One or two top class additions and time for the current squad to bed in will see us back where we are. A new manager wouldn't make the difference, any more than Bould coaching the defence has. - Post No. 31933


ATID  16:47pm 7th Dec 2012

PPP - can I respond to some of your comments? "It is not the majority of Arsenal fans who feel this way - it's a few hundred." I can only speak from personal experience but most of the Gooners I know want a change of manager. "The few hundred who marched about a range of different grievances that they couldn't quite decide on before the Swansea game." I agree that the BSM doesn't seem to have a coherent plan of action but I do think that many of the issues they have raised have merit and should be addressed. "Just because the gooner website is flooded with spam by Usmanov's lackies don't get the wrong idea." Your evidence that the Gooner website is flooded by Usmanov lackies is? I am not a Usmanov lacky so please don't try that smear. "Virtually all genuine, match going fans are firmly behind Wenger and the squad." We clearly have different match day experiences and as stated earlier most of the Gooners I know want a new manager. "They may be cr*p at the moment but if you can't stand losing every once in a while then you simply are NOT cut out for football. That's the game. Win some, lose some." It is not the losing that bothers the AMGs it is the fact that there seems to be no longer any hope of any improvement under OGL. Anyone who started supported AFC before the arrival of George Graham knows exactly what it is like to support a team which isn't great on the pitch. - Post No. 31935


Green Hut  17:03pm 7th Dec 2012

@Chris- Have you ever heard Wenger say money equals success? No, neither have I, but I've heard him say the opposite many times. He doesn't feel the need to spend all the money he has available, because he truly believes at the start of each season that his team will seriously challenge for the major trophies doing things his way. And when they don't, he blames everyone and everything but himself, and carries on regardless. He's determind to prove the whole world wrong, and it's us fans that lose out. But you keep holding on to those apron strings if it makes you feel better mate, it must be a scary thought life without Wenger. - Post No. 31937


Chris  18:32pm 7th Dec 2012

@ Green Hut - so do you believe that Wenger sat in his office before the beginning of the seaso, when all buying had been done, and thought "Hmmm... this squad could win the league too easily. And the Champions League too! I know! I'll sell Van Periei to our longest serious PL rivals and get rid of Song to Barca, just to make life a bit more interesting!" Or do you think there were financial reasons why the two players were sold? I rest my case. - Post No. 31939


Green Hut  19:15pm 7th Dec 2012

@Chris- Yes I do, because that's what he said! And Van Persie was sold because he had no intention of signing a new contract, due to Wenger's mismanagement over the past 8 years. This is pretty basic stuff. - Post No. 31941


GG89  23:43pm 7th Dec 2012

Mismanagement.... is our, the fans, fault. We pay the prices so we've made the players, owners and staff money grabbers... its or fault... Stop giving the club money. Its the only thing they'll listen to... - Post No. 31944


Gareth Stringer  10:49am 8th Dec 2012

Interesting to read thorough all the comments this morning - and huge thanks to all those who took the time to read my thoughts. I dread to think what might happen if we don't win today! - Post No. 31950


Chris  20:53pm 8th Dec 2012

@Green Hut - well I think that says all that needs to be said about your sense of judegement. Given that very recently he said "Third palce was all that could reasonably be expected of the team last season, I can't see how you can come to that conclusion. - Post No. 31953


Green Hut  13:43pm 9th Dec 2012

@Chris- I was in the pub on Friday and didn't read your last message properly, but what I meant was that Wenger starts EVERY season stating that he believes that we can challenge for the big trophies. What he says at the end is just stating a fact and trying to justify his performance. And re selling our players to rivals, Man Utd and Barca are not our rivals anymore as we have zero chance of winning the Premier League or Champions League. But to get back to the crux of our argument, of your refusal to believe that Wenger would willingly leave transfer funds unspent, take a look at the 2009 quotes surrounding his headline assertion that he would hand back to the board £100m if they gave it to him (I'll post you a link if you can't find it). You get Wenger's standard line that money isn't everything and his belief that his team will win a trophy, and you get Hill-Wood stating that Wenger knows he has lots of money available but that 'he hasn't found anyone that could improve his team'. Fast forward 3 years and you have Gazidis clearly and publicly stating that Wenger has money to spend in every transfer window, you have Kroenke at the AGM stating that he has never refused Wenger money and you have all independent analysis of the accounts concluding that Wenger has substantial amounts to spend. Chris, the difference between us is that what I assert is based on fact and evidence, while you cling to the unknown. But the real tragedy is that Wenger's moral crusade and unstinting belief in his own abilities, the qualities that brought him so much success in his early years, are now his achillies heel and risk tarnishing his legacy for decades to come. - Post No. 31976


Chris  18:58pm 9th Dec 2012

@ Green Hut - There are many many quotes from Wenger stating that Arsenal can not compete for the toplevel of player, wither in terms of wages or transfer fees. Even if the transfer fees could be met, the wage cap (which we know is imposed by the board) prevents the top players from signing - the rift between Wenger and the board about this 18 months ago was widely reported. I think you'll find I have always advocated to sticking to the facts - when these can be known, i.e. financial figures and team performance. The main difference between us is that when the facts are not known (which is most of the time in the kinds of matters we are discussing, such as wenger's motivations and the confidential policies of the board), unlike your good self I don't jump to conclusions or take those facts that back up my position at face value whilst rejecting htose that don't. - Post No. 31985


Green Hut  20:37pm 9th Dec 2012

@Chris- Please stop trying to move the goalposts, I've never said that Arsenal could or should compete with the megamoney that the likes of Man City spend. That is not the argument. My issue is that Wenger, through a mixture of intransigence, bad judgement and arrogance, has regularly failed to spend the money available to him. You found this impossible to believe, but my last post proved this is EXACTLY what's been happening. - Post No. 31989


Chris  9:35am 10th Dec 2012

@ Green Hut - are you Mourinho in disguise? Your tactics of attempting to seize an imaginary moral high ground by accusing me of not sticking to the facts or of moving the goal posts are both transparent and boring, as well as disingenuous (unless you truly don't understand what I'm saying, which I don't believe is the case). You are claiming that Wenger deliberately does not spend money available to him, based on a single quip he made in response to a question put to him in a public forum. You do this despite the fact that there are many counter quotes, including him stating that the reason we do not buy the payers that he believes would improve the squad significantly (ie would represent vfm for the club) are not available to him because he can't compete on transfer fees, or wages (because of the wage cap imposed on the board). As I have pointed out ad nauseum, the current transfer market and sporting landscape mean that we could quite easily blow all our money and still not compete with the clubs with infinite spending money, whilst financially imperilling the club. This prudent medium-term planning is a world away form what yo are suggesting re Wenger. Of course he claims we can win the PL & CL each season - if he didn't, he would be negligent as a manager. It is quite likely, for instance, that the club would incur punitive interest rates on the stadium mortgage if they make an operating loss and it has been shown that Arsenal are reliant on players sales to avoid this. Even if Wenger is sitting on some money, the relative worth of this is increasing as other clubs rein in their spending. - Post No. 31996


Chris  9:56am 10th Dec 2012

@ Green Hut - it was pretty clear, I thought, when Wenger said that that he was talking to the team - what message would he have been sending out to his young players if he reeled off an expensive shopping list of top players? There are quotes form him more recently saying that of course he wouldn't be so stupid as to refuse lots of money to spend. Contradictory? Absolutely. But it's a minefield out there - when Wenger et al are speaking in public, they are not trying to enlighten us or clarify the inner workings of the club for us and their rivals. A comprehensive round-up of all the contradictory and downright untrue things that he and tohers says demonstrates that - why pick on this particular strand and treat it as gospel? - Post No. 31997


Green Hut  11:25am 10th Dec 2012

@Chris- Thank you for finally conceding that Wenger may be sitting on money. We got there in the end. - Post No. 32000


Issue #244 - Out Now!

Gooner Editorial

21st September 2014

Arsenal Return To Winning Ways

Online Ed: Three points in three and a half minutes at Villa Park

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