Arsenal Audit Final Edition - Goodbye Arsènal and au revoir Arsenal FC

By Neil A. Fry, Arsenal Audit

Part One: Three post-Invincibles teams

“This team will win the championship with one or two good buys.”
Arsène Wenger, after the FA Cup Final May 2017 on this season’s Team of Men

Diaby: Who needs Xabi Alonso?

Having had his 20th anniversary at Arsenal, the excellent FA Cup win over Champions Chelsea would have been a good time for Monsieur Wenger to finally bow out, after so many lows last season, on something of a high and with some dignity still intact. Unfortunately, having managed to fly over for the Cup Final, Arsenal’s absentee American major shareholder and de facto owner promptly, privately, decided Monsieur Wenger was to remain as his fund-manager – having just confirmed that KSE UK Inc was a “committed long-term investor in Arsenal”. Little did we know the real trophy hunt Stan Kroenke had in his sights. The Arsenal Board dutifully rubber-stamped the decision, and ‘Silent Stan’ flew back to his $725 million 800-square-miles Texas ranch. There was no tricky press conference or one of those fan forums that so irritate Monsieur Wenger. Rather, Arsenal Player went into overdrive. Having proclaimed himself a “catalyst for change” in April, Chief Executive Ivan Gazidis now gushed, “Arsène is somebody I have worked with for over eight years now, and I know the quality of the man, I know the quality of him as a football person and I know the quality of him as a human being as well”. He remained unshakeable in his belief that Wenger was the right man for the job “to put this club in a position where we are winning the Premier League, where we are competing to win in Europe and pushing forward.”

Arsenal Audit does not agree. Even with two good buys, which Sead Kolasinac and Alexandre Lacazette appear to be. Arsenal’s Audit didn’t judge Arsenal’s prospects on the first match of last season, the opening 3 – 4 home defeat by Liverpool, which eventually proved to rob Monsieur Wenger of his previously much cherished fourth-place ‘trophy’. Or the final match of the season or last weekend’s Community Shield season precursor (a poor predictor of season-long league outcomes). Rather as ever, it takes a longer-term view and the extent of the ongoing failures once the Invincibles squad was dissembled by Monsieur Wenger. Since the first Audit in 2011, yet again, the evidence suggests that massively insufficient progress has continued to be made to keep pace with key rivals, now all managed by elite-level managers.

In a three-part Arsenal Audit Final Edition we first revisit the three distinct phases of team building post-Invincibles including that for the new season. In Part 2 we look at the supporting operational structures and the dichotomy between Monsieur Wenger’s long-serving loyal and obedient, but ineffective, coaching staff and fresher more positive developments away from his immediate control. Finally, in Part 3, we examine the prospects of Monsieur Wenger winning the Premier League for the first time in 14 years and to make good on Arsenal’s ever-optimistic Chief Executive Officer’s indefatigable aspirational promises. Suffice to say, it’s goodbye from Arsenal Audit to Monsieur Wenger’s Arsènal - a grossly underachieving football club that has been sold out to become a mere investment fund for an already obscenely rich American cowboy - and au revoir to the once great Arsenal Football Club.

Project Youth

“I told the shareholders we have to trust this team. Everything is based on my own conviction… If in two years I don't have any success, it will be my fault. It is a bet I made.”
Arsène Wenger, October 2009 on Project Youth

Despite the sale of Thierry Henry, Arsenal mounted a title challenge in the 2007 - 2008 season and were five points clear at the top with 12 games to go before the first of three major title challenge implosions. Whilst ending up in 3rd place, they did finish only four points behind the Champions (Manchester United). The following season was Alex Song, Abou Diaby and Denilson’s breakthrough season as regular starters (having been signed in 2006). With Jens Lehmann and Gilberto having left pre-season, only Kolo Touré was left of the Invincibles. Nevertheless, the little known young trio personified Project Youth which Monsieur Wenger believed would keep Arsenal competing at the highest level during the height of the new stadium build debt repayments. The Club had been far from transparent over the implications of the stadium debt on transfer policy, trophy outcomes and supporter pricing.

Arsenal’s finished in 4th place in the 2008 – 2009 season, 18 points behind the Champions. In 2009 criticism of the manager was relatively rare, but not all supporters shared his trust in the team. The following summer he was urged to add experience and steel to midfield, by signing a very well respected Spanish midfielder/ defensive midfielder but famously retorted, "I have been criticised for not hiring Xabi Alonso... I would have killed Song, Diaby and Denilson”. Far from arriving in the promised two years, tangible trophy success had to wait nearly five years until the 2014 FA Cup Final. By then Denilson had returned to Sao Paulo in 2011, Alex had been sold for a song to Barcelona in 2012, and Diaby’s woeful, but very well remunerated, injury problems grew ever worse. Diaby has amassed just six appearances in two seasons for his new club Marseille. Denilson is believed to be playing for Cruzeiro in his homeland, Song for FC Rubin Kazan in Russia. In terms of major honours the trio won one: as a squad player starting 20 matches, Song won a league title with Barcelona. Having helped to humiliate Arsenal 10-2, Bayern’s Xabi Alonso is now enjoying his retirement. He won the FA Cup and Champions League with Liverpool, before Monsieur Wenger declined to sign him. Since: the Spanish and German Leagues four times, their domestic cups three times, the Champions League again, the European Championship twice and the World Cup.

The British Core

“We are delighted that these five young players have all signed new long-term contracts. The plan is to build a team around a strong basis of young players, in order to get them to develop their talent at the Club.”
Arsène Wenger, December 2012 on the British core of Gibbs, Jenkinson Oxlade-Chamberlain, Ramsey and Wilshere signing new contracts.

In 2005 Monsieur Wenger fielded the first English top flight match day squad without a single player from the U.K. Chastened by foreign players leaving the Club for greater trophy success and salaries elsewhere, he assembled a British core and, in December 2012, tied them down to long term contracts. The hope was that they would become the loyal and successful future of the Club.

In the first part of last season a rejuvenated Theo Walcott basked in match interviews over his goals, tracking back and defensive work from the right wing. Critics said it wouldn’t last. After he failed in his defensive duties and allowed Everton’s equalizer just before half-time in December, like Arsenal’s season, his form duly gradually started to unravel. He appears to be spatially unsuited to playing alongside wing-backs and started only the Leicester match, in April, in the new formation. He has still only started 25 Premier League matches in a season once (2011 - 12). His finally tally was 10 Premier League goals (19 in all competitions) and two assists. Despite the unavailability of Alexis and Ozil for the Community Shield, his long run on the bench continued.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has also struggled to realise his potential; but proved the best of the British Core last season and, arguably, Arsenal’s best player during the difficult second half – despite being shunted from right-wing to centre-midfield to right, and finally left wing-back. His missing of the last four matches through injury robbed him of the chance of improving on his most ever Premier League starts, 17 in the 2014 - 15 season. Nevertheless, he made his most ever starts and appearances in all competitions, 27, last season. Whilst his goals tally is much inferior to Walcott’s (two PL, six total) his other key stats at both ends of the pitch continued to compare very favourably despite his comparative lack of Premier League time. He was the only English member of the British core to make the Gareth Southgate’s international squad at the end of the season. Unfortunately, having been shifted around positions and subbed in of 11 of his 16 Premier league starts, he is said to be far from convinced his future is best served by remaining at Arsenal – he has one year left on his contract and there appear to be no shortage of suitors, including key rivals.

Despite two successive starts and a few appearances as a left wing back, in a three at the back formation, Kieran Gibbs was left with a final tally of just eight League starts and three sub appearances. With the signing of Sead Kolosinac, he failed to even make the squad for the tour of Australia and China and appears to have joined fellow full-backs Debuchy and Jenkinson as well-remunerated non-playing members of the Club.

After just two Arsenal substitute appearances in August and dropping further down the pecking order, Jack Wilshere headed off to the Bournemouth beaches and south coast air. With his adopted club heading towards the relegation zone - he ended back on the bench for four successive matches before returning to the starting line up in April and then suffering yet another injury. He made 22 starts, didn’t score and managed just two assists. He has still started 25 Premier League matches in a season just once – six seasons ago. The once crown jewel of the British core has returned to training with Arsenal but his future is also uncertain.

Prior to Aaron Ramsey's much personally sought after Hollywood Cup Final winner, he finally scored a Premier League goal in injury time of the final match of the season (from 29 unblocked shots, of which 12 were on target). A far cry from 2013 -2014 season and last summer's Euros. His two May assists for Olivier Giroud doubled his tally to four. He made 13 starts and came on 10 times and accumulated just 1,229 minutes as yet another season was plagued by soft tissue injuries. Monsieur Wenger seemed to be losing faith in Ramsey too with Granit Xhaka, Francis Coquelin and Alex Iwobi significantly preferred. Ramsey seemed happier at the end of the season with three at the back and a midfield four, starting five of the last six matches. Nevertheless, it still seems highly questionable that Ramsey and Xhaka are - injuries and suspensions permitting - the solution to Monsieur Wenger’s long struggles to solve the ‘2’ problem, regardless of the formation. Certainly, the manner of the pre-season friendly defeat to Chelsea suggested otherwise.

In reality, Monsieur Wenger failed to develop their talent and none of the British core lived up to their promise and became the loyal and successful future of the Club. A struggling Wilshere preferred to head off to AFC Bournemouth last season, Ramsey previously expressed (a surely deluded) desire to play in La Liga and for Barcelona and Oxlade-Chamberlain now appears to have ambitions elsewhere too. Time will tell how long Walcott will accept being a very well paid squad player like Gibbs (presently a non-player).

The Team of Men

“I would say it’s the most mature squad I’ve had for a long time, because they are men… It’s the first time for a long time that I’ve had a team of what you can call men, ready to compete.”
Arsène Wenger, September 2016 on last season’s Team of Men

In the final year of his previous contract, after “continuity” and trusting his existing players failed again, Monsieur Wenger spent around £90m on three major signings: Granit Xhaka, Lucas Perez and - following Per Mertesacker’s pre-season injury - Skhodran Mustafi. They were expected to supplement star signings Ozil and Sanchez and then Cech, and turn Arsenal into Premier League title winners. The former struggled initially to get a chance and didn’t seem trusted by his manager. Remarkably, the defensive midfielder signing was subsequently advised by Monsieur Wenger not to tackle and even suggested as a box-to-box player, a position he seems short of the requisite pace and athleticism for. Nevertheless, despite ongoing disciplinary issues, he became a regular and eventually made 28 Premier League starts. Lucas Perez never appeared trusted and seemed to follow Joel Campbell’s treatment the previous season in that regardless of their performances and commitment seemed always lagging behind Theo Walcott in Monsieur Wenger’s affections. When offered his rare chances, he delivered goals and assists, pressed hard, and tracked back diligently – but he was given just two Premier League starts and made just nine substitute appearances. He has lost the number 9 shirt to Lacazette and seems likely to leave. Mustafi made 26 starts and after his immediate success, not least in marshalling Costa in the league win over Chelsea, suffered from minor injuries and loss of form as the season totally unravelled.

During the September international break Monsieur Wenger said of his team of men, “I like them because I think they are focused… They have a good togetherness, they have a great concentration level.” Having been dropped after a training ground incident and clearly unhappy at Arsenal’s prospects, Arsenal’s star player Sanchez is far from together with his teammates and, at best, this appears to be his last season for Arsenal. From the home defeat to Watford on 31 January to the abject defeat at Crystal Palace on 10 April, and the defeat at Tottenham on 30 April, togetherness and concentration could hardly have been more lacking. The Champions League Round 16 aggregate 10 – 2 exit, four Premier League defeats in five matches, Europa League football. Monsieur Wenger’s Team of Men set all the wrong sort of records. The season imploded in even more spectacular style than ever before.

Despite the 2007 - 08, 2009 - 10 and 2010 - 11 implosions, at least in the Project Youth era Arsenal mounted Premier League title challenges well into the new year. The FA Cup win over Conte’s runaway Champions Chelsea showcased the potential talent that Monsieur Wenger had totally failed to consistently harness. The two star signings and best British Core player have failed to sign new contracts, as previously - like van Persie and Fabregas and many others - they see their title winning aspirations being best served at more genuinely ambitious clubs elsewhere.

New sources

Barca Ramsey:

9th August 2017 14:13:34


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.

Rochey  18:35pm 9th Aug 2017

Sorry but I Can't wait for this idiot to leave Arsenal (wenger)early onset dementia or he is smoking something. Letting 100mil of player contracts run out AND charging fans through the nose. A p1ss take. The best that will happen ? We sell Sanchez and buy one extra player when we need to offload loads. Can't wait for the nails scratching the blackboard when we lose a few and everybody is on the case for him to leave. The owner lives on another planet or don't give a fxxk by even letting bloodsport content on his tv investment...in the UK are you for real bud ? Bunch of utter utter p1ss takers - Post No. 108847

mbg  19:29pm 9th Aug 2017

This team will win the Championship with one or two good buys (just good ?) tee hee lol, and the championship ? i'd probably agree with you there even with TOF but certainly wouldn't bet on it, but we all know your talking about and mean the Premiership LOL, that's as far as anyone has to read on this meaningless dribble. wenger out. - Post No. 108849

GoonGer  21:18pm 9th Aug 2017

As you mention Joel Campbell let's not forget who Gnabry is with now!! - Post No. 108851

Bard  0:46am 10th Aug 2017

Neil Im not a great fan of the audit but I enjoyed that article. You succinctly got to grip with the past failures. Goodness where we go from here. Seeing Wally miscontrol the ball umpteen times in the Charity shield made me weep at the level of some of our payers. I read Watford arent willing to pay the £16m we are demanding for Gibbs. If this is really true whoever is in charge of transfer negotiations needs sacking. Deluded doesnt even come close to describing it. - Post No. 108854

Yes its Ron  9:44am 10th Aug 2017

Just reading the names, Wally, Willy, Gibbs and Ramsey (they're not alone in that squad by any means) is enough to register with most people that Arsenal have sever problems in having such a large and over paid squad but with so many non producers amongst them. I think Chamberlain under the right Coach could be a decent player. He ought to leave Arsenal to achieve it while he still has the chance. The others ive mentioned have not proved to be even close to be good enough to play at the top levels. - Post No. 108856

Exeter Ex  10:13am 10th Aug 2017

Seeing them laid out like that, it's striking how many times Wenger has explicitly set goals that he's then failed to achieve, but when it's pointed out he's failed by his own standard, he and his followers get indignant and blame the fact it's been pointed out. He just moves on with no accountability. He's just done it again with 'This team will win the championship within two years'. In 2019 when that hasn't happened, we'll see the same indignation and condescension when that's pointed out. - Post No. 108858

Badarse  10:26am 10th Aug 2017

Who is a follower? Who is indignant, or has ever been indignant? Do some frequent odd corners of the world where these circumstances exist, and perhaps those corners are dark and shaded areas called, 'the mind'? Where is the washing up liquid? Quack, quack. Saw Dunkirk, a very good film gentlemen, skilfully portrayed on screen. - Post No. 108859

Exeter Ex  12:19pm 10th Aug 2017

Followers don't think they're followers. The indignant don't believe they're indignant. People who have admitted that they don't know how to access social media or any other website than this one don't have a clue what they're talking about here. Badarse - do you believe then that Wenger achieved his stated goals, as outlined in the article? Sorry, that's a question, so you won't be able to answer as that would de facto put you in a position of servility. - Post No. 108862

Roy  13:03pm 10th Aug 2017

If you are consistently rewarded for failure, this is what you get. The sad fact is that AW did manage to fool enough of the people for most of the time. Now however, there is very little wriggle room left for him. Two defeats in a row this season will constitute a crisis, a situation which he and a quite frankly odious owner have brought on themselves. Plus we don't deserve to be in the CL, so not really a surprise to most of us that we finally dropped out of it. But they of course don't see it that way, and with the ultimate goal this season being just to get back into it ( which is now no longer seen as good enough by the majority of fans), it will all end in tears. The period mentioned last season when they effectively downed tools IMO, would have sent out a clear message to any 'normal' owner, but since the two of them are in cohorts, we don't have a 'normal' set up. Being drawn against 2 non league sides during that time was a massive slice of fortune. Make no mistake, as long as this 'relationship' prevails, too many overpaid underachievers will remain, as will the culture of mediocrity that has resulted from it. AW should have gone 3 years ago, and I fail to see how this will not continue to have a negative effect on the team when it really matters. - Post No. 108864

Cyril  13:18pm 10th Aug 2017

Wenger's comments to the fans in the interview post CS was hardly Churchillian. He suggests there will be good and bad runs throughout the season but hopes to give the fans what they want at the end of the season. It could be kafka 'doublespeek' for if it goes pear shaped again I will leave at the end of the season, could be another FA cup or a return to the big time with a top 4 finish. I don't see a premier league victory here. I see, please lay off my back when we lose 5 outta seven games, a thrashing here and there and the collapse in February!!! - Post No. 108865

Badarse  13:20pm 10th Aug 2017

"So little girl, tell me something about mummy and daddy for the programme-just speak into the mic."-'My daddy is arsehall'.-"Oh is he?"-'Yes but he don't like Harness Vinegar, he finks he is no good and he finks he is better'n him in a job coz he is old ford. He does shouting all the time Arsehall play on da telly and so do his free mates. They all fink they is better than Harness. My daddy says 'Did player ain't no good we should get thingy instead'. But uncle Phil says, 'Naw you is off your rocker, he is blood worse.' Mikey says somfing different and tries to make my daddy happy, anyway that's what uncle Phil says, he says 'You is always gunna get sinklefats. Raj says he finks they is all barmy, but he don't like Harness too. My mummy says 'You lot want to look at yourselfs.' But I don't fink they do coz it would make them go boss-eyed. She says, 'You is always talking crack, and none of youse can even do simple jobs.' Then she tells my daddy he can't even make the bed, or do the washing up proper. Do you fink it is because they is all arsehalls? - Post No. 108866

Yes its Ron  13:45pm 10th Aug 2017

Hi Cyril - AW s 'holding the fort' now. The Club have the succession plan in place i feel and its just a case of when they give it effect. Arsenes 2 yr contract is one of convenience for him and SK. I believe that the Club knows who the successor is and are just duty bound to keep it under wraps till it happens. This is why there was a long delay before Arsene committed himself. They were laying the ground out for the successor in that period no doubt. Its for this reason that (for me) the debate about AWs eventual departure is done and dead in the water. Not worth mentioning again whether we have a good, bad or indifferent Season. - Post No. 108867

A Cornish Gooner  14:00pm 10th Aug 2017

Badarse. That was more barking than your 'barking' post! - Post No. 108868

markymark  14:22pm 10th Aug 2017

Good to see Wengo now blames himself for the title **** up . Rather than the long suffering fanbase. Badarse I couldn't make head nor tail of that last posting. All of us have our own sense of humour granted but that needed editing at very least and more likely binning . - Post No. 108869

Exeter Ex  16:57pm 10th Aug 2017

Badarse knows he's got nothing to offer if he tries to engage directly, so he has to try this sort of thing instead. Unfortunately it reads like a man having a breakdown. - Post No. 108870

mbg  17:04pm 10th Aug 2017

The name and photo of Diaby says it all. wenger out. - Post No. 108871

peter wain  17:08pm 10th Aug 2017

the reason sanchez is missing two games is that he does not want to play for us. sell him now and buy players committed to our club. Sanchez is a good player but only a good player. - Post No. 108872

TOOAW  17:34pm 10th Aug 2017

@ex. Or it reads of him taking the piss left right and centre and being little puppies that you all are. Keep biting. Woof woof. Hilarious, I think. At least it keeps mbg on a quiet one. Sheesh, nearly called him something else eh markymark. - Post No. 108873

mbg  17:54pm 10th Aug 2017

Exeter Ex, yes, and the NAF's, Circulars, Simon Roses etc, and all the other AKB wengerites that have come and went (and come back again)on here have been saying the same thing for the last thirteen odd years too, (and their still at it, lol)you couldn't make it up, you'd think even by the law of averages they (and their messiah)would have got it right just once, but no some of us know better, there's no fool like an old fool or should I say an AKB fool. wenger out. - Post No. 108874

Exeter Ex  18:21pm 10th Aug 2017

TOOAW - from I can discern, the essence of the latest Badarsian 'comedy sketch' is: "How dare you criticise Arsene Wenger - so you think you could do better, do you?" Of course, it's such a p*ss weak argument that he knows he has to dress it up, however poor the attempt turns out to be. And what you view as 'biting' I view as just the latest episode of his ongoing dismantlement, which will lead to yet another inevitable disappearance. Funny how differently we can view things. I wonder who'll turn out to be right? - Post No. 108875

mbg  18:56pm 10th Aug 2017

So Sanchez is still sick, and we all know what/who off, the lying weasel tells us he has a leetel bit abdominal strain (picked up on Sunday morning before the final, how convenient) and he's out for a while, in other words he's never going to play for Arsenal again, but of course the AKB wengerite luvvies don't think or can't see that, they lap up and believe everything their messiah spouts, Sad, until of course reality sets in and then it's hilarious. wenger out. - Post No. 108876

CORNISH GOONER  19:36pm 10th Aug 2017

Ron, I really hope you are right & a succession plan IS in place. My fear is that Arthur, having nothing else in his overpaid but ultimately sad life, will fluke a trophy ( it won't matter what the silverware is) & have the excuse to sign on again - & again & again since there is no-one to remove him! However, the current chaotic situation regarding Sanchez, The Ox & shifting the overpaid dross at the club does suggest that this Badarsein Tooaw of a manager could be out by the new year. It's the hope that kills you though! - Post No. 108877

TOOAW  21:17pm 10th Aug 2017

@ex. Clearly your love of being correct on all matters is interesting. Your infallibility is incessant. In response to your last question, it'll be me because, simply, I've been there before and my take on things Arsenal will always be a detriment to people like you and yours. Ex/Gooner??!?! See you all tomorrow fellas. - Post No. 108878

A Cornish Gooner  21:47pm 10th Aug 2017

Exeter. I read this in The Times a couple of weeks ago: "As heartily as I enjoyed this stuff, it is symptomatic of his slightly manic desire to amuse. His writing is characterised by incessant chumminess. .... At its worst this style approaches the sort of demented jocularity usually associated with people on the verge of a nervous breakdown" I hope not. TOOAW/Badarse/TOOAW/Badarse. Whoever coined the expression 'Two heads are better than one' obviously didn't have you two in mind, although I'm still not sure whether you're a body with two heads or a head with two bodies. Once again though you've managed to identify hidden 'piss-taking' and hilarity in two apparently barking posts. Fair play to you. It certainly went over my head! By the way how did the KAALE protest go the other day? - Post No. 108879

A Cornish Gooner  22:06pm 10th Aug 2017

TOOAW/Badarse. Which one of you is Norman Bates and which one is his mother? - Post No. 108880

Bard  22:22pm 10th Aug 2017

Hi Ron, One would imagine that Stan isnt stupid enough not to have picked up the vibe last season and that hopeless as the board appear to be they will have realised that plan B is an absolute necessity. I dont quite go along with the notion that all the board are infatuated with Wenger. Its clear that they didnt have a plan B at the end of last season and may have reasonably thought he deserved another shot. Sacking him without a proper replacement might have really upset the disciples. This transfer window is looking very similar to the last 10. Trying to get by with a minimum of investment and see how the first few games pan out. If they go tits up expect a huge investment in someone. Bizarrely it looks possible that we will have a whole tranche of players staying on into the last year of their contract. Cant imagine Stan is overly impressed. A note to those responding to TOOAW, ignore him guys. He just one of those attention whores you get on sites like this. They have nothing to say but write stuff thats main aim is to draw attention to themselves. He's another version of Jamerson. - Post No. 108881

TOOAW  22:32pm 10th Aug 2017

@bard. Very unfair and my soul is broken. It appears if I sat on your side of the fence it wouldn't seem to bother folk. But due to my support of AFC/Arsenal/Arsene it offends you. Open church they say. More along the like of "stand up if you hate Arsenal " **** the rest of you. Woof woof. - Post No. 108882

Exeter Ex  22:37pm 10th Aug 2017

TOOAW - It's nice of you to say I'm always right, and at least, unlike your cohort, you attempt to directly counter. However such is the feebleness of your efforts I can almost understand why Badarse doesn't dare try. The fact that your sentence construction is so poor as to be barely coherent doesn't help. - Post No. 108883

Arseneknewbest  22:53pm 10th Aug 2017

To all the sensible readers on this site - I think we've had an outstandingly succesful pre-season, and I seriously think it augurs well for an equally fruitful 17/18 term when things kick off against the Filberts tomorrow night....The main opposition have been blown out of the water - TOOAW is clearly relegation fodder with his antediluvian love-in with the lying bullsh*tter that calls himself a manager, and his use of racist language in a pre-season friendly ought to signify a lengthy ban. Meanwhile, the increasingly unhinged apologist for everything that is wrong, Rev Badarse, has been well and truly emasculated by some outstanding and graceful play from our attacking trio from Aylesbury, Devon and Cornwall and the lay-z-boy-dwelling numpty has morphed into a baw-heided tortoise who is asleep in leslie judd's cardboard box. He faces a Diaby-esque spell out of action according to the verbose wenger stooge Graham Perry. Challenges await when Finsbury Joe and Goonerron are released from their flotation tanks at wembley and London Colney respectively, but we can also expect the return of our own maestros including mbg, jjet and the (extreme) right winger Jeff Wright. It promises to be a thriller.... - Post No. 108884

Paulward  10:34am 11th Aug 2017

Not sure there'd be much point in Sanchez pretending to be injured right now, playing a couple of games in August for us would not make any difference if he's intent on leaving. He will run down his deal and leave next summer,and is quite happy to do so - Post No. 108885

Badarse  11:31am 11th Aug 2017

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was five past seven in the morning. AKB prepared himself for the monthly WOR meeting. He stared into the cracked bathroom mirror where he had head-butted it the night before, all because he had forced himself to reread the TOOAW posts in order to learn and become a better person-the mirror reflected his failure. He carefully applied his wife's foundation to the bridge of his nose to cover up the teeth marks. He had an unfortunate habit of biting it with his lower teeth when angry-however it had won him the outright Gurning championships for five consecutive years, so all wasn't bad as he saw it. He straightened his Che Guevara gaiters and with a well-practised nonchalance threw his Arsenal scarf over his shoulder. He felt a bit foolish so went and picked it up and wrapped it around his neck. He was on his way. - Post No. 108886

Badarse  12:00pm 11th Aug 2017

He realised that time was short, sitting down he realised it was even shorter. mbg pulled on his wellies and stood up, he looked at the portraits on them, one of Hoddle the other Waddle. He sucked in his waistline and regarded the image of himself standing legs astride, a case of Hoddle, Waddle and Twaddle. Holding his breath he looked constipated, so finally breathed out, putting enormous stress on his waistband. Carefully he stuffed cotton wool balls into his wellies, it would be a good absorbent if the others in the phone box at the WOR meeting used them as a urinal again. He kissed the photo of Arsene and carefully secreted it under his pork pie hat. He was off to the meeting. - Post No. 108887

Badarse  12:36pm 11th Aug 2017

Ron covered up his bald spot with his baseball cap and pulled on his Joe Baker shirt. The name was emblazoned front and back-he thought you could never have too much of a good thing. Say what you like about Ron and many do, especially those he still owes money to, but he did know a guitarist and a footballer when he heard or saw one, Joe was the best of footballers, but limited his playing to a ukulele. He glanced at his 'Ronline Gooner' tattoo and carefully disguised it by wrapping some gaffer tape around his bicep. To complete the disguise he scrawled 'Captain' on it with Tipp-Ex, it read upside down but he knew many of his counterparts struggled with that discipline. He had misunderstood the remit to supply two bouncers, so pulling his shirt at each side he revealed his man boobs and jumped up and down a few times, that would do, he thought. He mused upon who the committee had designated for this month's WOR three 'Ronettes', then closed the street door behind him. - Post No. 108888

Badarse  12:47pm 11th Aug 2017

The Mark of Nark was in a lather. Should he wear the first, second, or third strip shirt? Decisions! He opted for the blue knowing he would stand out from the crowd as few at the WOR meeting would wear that colour. Should he take a rain jacket? An umbrella? Galoshes? This world was out to get him. Everywhere and at every time he was confronted with decision-making. He believed Arsenal had done this to him, he knew life would have been so much simpler if he'd supported the Chavs who consistently bought their trophies. It was that Arsene Wenger's fault. Still things would be different soon...he hoped. He was in a dither as he thought of his sarnies. Cheese sandwiches or ham, which should he take? Then it came to him in a blinding flash. Egg! Looking at his 'WENGER OUT' poster under his arm he walked into the door, being fleet of foot he quickly walked back out of it. He was on his way. - Post No. 108889

Badarse  12:57pm 11th Aug 2017

The two snipers were getting ready together, they allowed a little smile to pass between them, but it wasn't a 'Bergkamp' type pass by any stretch. They'd gone west as young men and occasionally came east as old men. They stood naked from the waist up as each in turn smeared egg yolk on the other's back-Putin style, just to highlight the yellow streak running down their spines. They looked forward to the meeting and in doing so missed the coffee table in their path and fell over it. They were on their way, discreetly holding hands as they tripped down the hallway, tripped over the doorstep, tripped down the steps, but admitted that they enjoyed these monthly trips. - Post No. 108890

mbg  13:04pm 11th Aug 2017

CORNISH, good post, but don't forget to replace him either, so we're told, lol. - Post No. 108891

TonyEvans  13:11pm 11th Aug 2017

Anyone know who to notify that Badarse has escaped again! - Post No. 108892

markymark  13:12pm 11th Aug 2017

Badarse - I think this looks the beginning of a Pot Boiler. The only issue is I really don't like blue kits. Retro red or yellow is more my bag. I was going to start one for you. The Rev Brian arose from his chair and crossed the room to his desk. Written in shaky handwriting was a letter saying. "Wibble wobble, pibble , pobble, bibble , bobble. I like eggs. Walk a Mile in my Shoes." Yours Truly..... The Rev Brian gasped and cried "Not again, please God, leave me alone!" The letter dropped to the desk, on the cover of the torn envelope was the stamp Southwold. - Post No. 108893

Exeter Ex  13:45pm 11th Aug 2017

Is that it, Badarse? Is this the magnus opus you've been signalling the last few weeks? I take it I'm one of the two snipers. Why haven't you felt able to address me by name, or one of the names you like to call people? In that light, I did find your reference to a 'yellow streak' richly ironic, an irony compounded by your behaviour on here recently. And the notion we could 'learn something' from TOOAW's comments is hilarious when you look at the ones just under this article alone. The gap between your perception and the reality on here is a Trump-like yawning chasm. Are you going to go away now? Sorry just realised, these are all straightforward questions, therefore it is impossible for you to answer. - Post No. 108894

A Cornish Gooner  14:24pm 11th Aug 2017

Arsenal Audit by Charles Dickens. Republished annually. First edition c.2007. (With thanks to Barsad) It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way—in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only. - Post No. 108895

Arseneknewbest  15:06pm 11th Aug 2017

Badarse. The only living thing that witnessed my behaviour that you so unerringly describe, was my pet tortoise Brian. Feck - I've just put two and two together, and I've realised you're my pet tortoise...sorry I made you take those superstrength turbo-charged hallucingenic laxatives these past few weeks Brian. That accounts for you eating all those hardboiled eggs and tripping your nuts off. I also now understand why you left a nastily corrosive testudinidae "dna" stain in my leather-bound collection of dickens. I'm an animal lover, but given your disloyalty and the unpleasant smell of sulphur that emanates from your tortoisey beak, I'm packing you off in leslie judd's box to the sizewell b caravan park where uncle jamee awaits with a tin opener and a strapadictomy. Just goes to show that pets do actually do 7the craziest things. - Post No. 108896

A Cornish Gooner  15:11pm 11th Aug 2017

Badarse: 'What the veiled request asks for is a submission, to bend the knee-and in my case that is a non starter-to prostrate myself before a superior force both mental and physical'. Mrs Badarse: 'I only asked you if you wanted your eggs fried or scrambled!'. - Post No. 108897

GoonerRon  16:44pm 11th Aug 2017

@ AKB - your post did make me chuckle. Now, I'm flattered you chose to mention me but also distraught that I came in the same breath as a notorious Arsenal wind up merchant spud supporter. Brutal. - Post No. 108898

mbg  17:17pm 11th Aug 2017

ArseneKnewBest, spot on mate, the attention seekers and those who long to be respected (but never will be)are taking the opportunity to talk a lot of shyte and gobbledegook when it's quiet and the goings good and nobody's really bothering about them, but they'll soon disappear like a fart in a gale and when the router goes down again when it hots up and the big guns get back and those already here decide to bother and smack their arses proper. We want wenger out. - Post No. 108900

mbg  21:02pm 11th Aug 2017

Lads don't encourage the p***k. - Post No. 108907

Arseneknewbest  22:55pm 11th Aug 2017

Before any AKB luminaries accuse me of being glass half empty, I just want to way that a result like that in GG's era, when had a team of committed footballers and a preper manager, would have delighted me. This game, by contrast, was a joke. A playground farce enhaned only by some shrewd early tactics from the east midlanders. Had they been a bit less gung-ho in the final quarter, then the 3 points would have justifiably been theirs. Entertaining for the neutrals but a bummer for genuine gooners as punxatawny phil once again fellated our former manager. Terrible isn't it gooneron? - Post No. 108910

Issue #269 - Out Now!

Gooner Editorial

15th January 2018

Being muscled off the ball by Bournemouth is like being mugged by your grandma

Online Ed: Another poor Arsenal display on the road just another signpost as we near the end of the Wenger era