I want our Arsene back from the jaws of his own vanity


Among all the manure that has hit Arsenal this season: departure of our best player, goal-scorer and captain to one of our arch-rivals; knockouts from both domestic cups by lower divisions teams; probable exit from the Champions League in first knockout stage; a lot of poor performances in Premiership, ridden with individual errors; horrible first halves of the games; and lack of points in big matches – the conflict between so-called AKBs and so-called AAAs (both labels are idiotic) probably takes top spot on the stupidity list.

Both sides – with good reason frustrated by lack of trophies – point fingers at someone.

For so-called AKBs, Arsene Wenger and whole management of Arsenal are just victims of the market-quake created by Roman Abramovich in 2003; and continued by oil-money-driven clubs like Manchester City, Malaga and Paris Saint-Germain, or members of post-communist Russian oligarchs that make clubs like Anzhi and Zenit European powerhouses (more on financial level than in terms of being comparable to Barcelona or Real Madrid; clubs who enjoy duopoly in Spain, thanks to both special TV-rights status and the lenient policy that Spain have regarding clubs who have huge tax debts).

Arsene Wenger, according to this side, deserves endless trust and would like him to remain Arsenal manager forever. If there is anyone to blame, it’s fans spoiled by greatest successes in Wenger-era: three Premierships, four FA Cups, four Community/Charity Shields, reaching the Champions League final, and flowing and eye-catching football. In McCarthyism fashion, these ‘spoiled’ fans are labelled as Anti-Arsenal Arsenal; spoiled brats who are ruining Arsenal from inside, by either making blogs, and other kinds of internet-comments, full of criticism towards Wenger; or by booing and showing disappointment in any way possible at the Emirates, or in away games. The AKBs also believe the self-sustainability model is the right one, even if that means we are not winning trophies.

For so-called AAAs, Arsene Wenger and the whole management of Arsenal are victims of their own incompetence and lack of footballing ambitions.

Arsenal – in every possible way – have been suffering due to insatiable desire to make profit, even if that means selling best players and, therefore, forfeiting against rivals who either sign those players, or world-class players from other clubs. There are members of that group who think that missing out on Champions’ League would actually be a blessing in disguise, as Wenger and the Board would lose the ability to build another Potemkin village for eyes of the fans, by showing Champions League qualification as a trophy.

The most extreme ones claim Wenger was just lucky to inherit George Graham’s defence, Bruce Rioch’s Bergkamp, and to sign three huge French talents in Vieira, Pires and Henry thanks to David Dein’s support. If Stan Kroenke would give up on Arsenal in favour of, say Alisher Usmanov – officially the richest man in Russia – we would make an immediate come-back to the top. While Kroenke and Gazidis are money-thirsty crossovers of hyenas and vultures, Wenger is their accomplice because he signed a pact with the Devil.

While I was writing a comment in response to one of the articles at Untold Arsenal which basically included the sentence above, it suddenly hit me what the real reason is behind the whole conflict: lack of consensus what exactly a pact with the Devil means.

For so-called AKBs, the real pact with the Devil would be abandoning the path of self-sustainability in favour of a rich oil-money/Russian-oligarchs owner, who would consider Arsenal as his favourite toy and probably sign a lot of world-class players who would MAYBE give us short-term success. And then, when our rich owner decides he had enough of his toy, we might be much closer to Portsmouth or, in best case, Malaga; clubs who are struggling after the honeymoons with their rich sugar-daddies ended.

For so-called AAAs, keeping the current status quo is equally regarded as a pact with the Devil. Arsene Wenger either watches the back of the Board, or fails to impose any kind of request regarding transfer policy. Wenger – who is one of the best paid managers in the world, which is in collision with his declared socialistic-wage-structure-policy, accepts the current state, as long as he earns more than seven million pounds per year. The Board get what they want; sales of the best players bring in a lot of money, while Wenger usually manages to find cheaper replacements that are good enough to qualify for the Champions’ League; and, subsequently, the lucrative revenues that come along with Champions League qualification. Wenger has a very secure and well-paid position to perform his experiments with young and/or unproven players.

To the certain level, both sides have their point.

Pro-Wenger fans are right when they point out that Arsene Wenger transformed Arsenal into consistent force, and that he has been more or less a victim of his own success. I would add that the chronology of the events didn’t do him any favour as well: had he spent, say, eight years without trophy before winning the double in the ninth season, reaching Champions’ League final in the tenth, winning another double in eleventh, two consecutive FA Cups in 12th and 13th, having Les Invincibles season in 14th with two Community Shields won in 15th and 16th season, Gooners would be fulfilled with optimism just like fans of FAnchester United have been with Alex Ferguson since 1990, despite fruitless years at the start of Ferguson’s United career.

They are also right when they point out at the examples of Malaga or Portsmouth: rich owners sometimes don’t put their money where their mouths are. It’s hard to disagree with conclusion that our switch from Highbury to Emirates would probably have fewer consequences on our financial competitiveness, had Roman Abramovich decided to have a different hobby in 2003.

The thing is, he didn’t. He decided to splash billions on Chelsea and changed the face of the market in an irreversible way. And here comes the part when anti-Wenger fans have their point.

Arsene Wenger failed to adapt to new conditions. Instead of doing that, he has opted for going with same actions year after year expecting a different/better outcome. Whether he has been forced to do that by Kroenke, Gazidis et al, or he has been doing that by his own free will doesn’t change the fact he didn’t do anything (or at least enough) to fix things that are obviously broken. If large part of conceded goals every season come from set-pieces due to poor positioning or lack of muscles and good ugliness in defence (raise your hands if you pictured Martin Keown), then we should have done something by now.

If our key players get long-term injuries more than players of any other team in England, than we should question our training sessions, medical team, and fitness coaches. If we constantly concede goals from our opponents’ best players, then perhaps playing our own game without giving a rat’s ass for what opponents are going to do, isn’t exactly the smartest thing to do. Instead of making same mistakes every year, Wenger should have made a few ultimatums to the Board even if it means he might get fired.

Unfortunately, it seems that the real Devil is neither Stan Kroenke nor Alisher Usmanov. It’s worse than that. The real Devil is Arsene Wenger’s vanity; the Devil that doesn’t allow him to see his mistakes, not to mention fixing them (I wrote a text about what we should and should not blame Wenger about three months ago: http://allarsenal.com/guestposts/wenger-analysis-what-we-cancannot-blame-wenger-for/ ).

Every time questions regarding Wenger’s actions pop up, Wenger’s Vanity attacks back; mostly mentioning his achievements from the past, or accusing fans of unrealistic ambitions, even if Wenger himself was the one that nurtured those ambitions (the best example: Arsene Wenger called this season’s squad “the best he has ever assembled”, only to warn fans over “unrealistic expectations” a few months later).

How to conclude this? It is easy. AKBs’ motto is: “We want Wenger for life.” AAAs’ motto is: “We want our Arsenal back.”

Let’s find the way in the middle: I want our Arsene Wenger back from the jaws of his own vanity.

I want our Arsene Wenger back: a man capable of making champions AND winning trophies; a man capable of making brave and smart decisions. Admitting mistakes, and fixing them in the summer transfer window, would be the bravest and smartest possible decision.

Written by: Admir.

Admir also writes for the website http://www.allarsenal.com and is based in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Total Arsenal.

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91 Responses to I want our Arsene back from the jaws of his own vanity

  1. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi Admir,

    Your maiden post for BK is a true tour de force; a great read. 🙂

    You might well be right that it is Arsene who needs to change in order to unite the different camps back together again. I am not sure whether it is vanity, or stubbornness, or something else which is keeping him from making the needed changes. As things are not going to plan at the moment, it is hard to argue that nothing has to change. And i am sure we will see more new signings this summer as well as some players departing (but not key ones this time).

    Question to you Admir: do you believe that winning nothing but qualifying in the top four is enough for Wenger; that he is satisfied if and when he achieves this?

  2. AFC says:

    If I was asked if I leant more to the AKBs or the AAAs I would say the AKBs. Wenger is a brilliant manager and there are not many managers that would do better. As for Wenger admitting his mistakes I just do not think he can do that without making Arsenal looking like a job to rival clubs and the world. Wenger has to make the current team sound they are better than they are. Would you like Wenger to say “Fair enough, this team is rubbish but I am trying to work miracles here. The likes of Santos and Squil are the worst players I have seen and I must been drunk when I warranted their moves”. It’s his job to stick by his players. When Gibbs was announced injured Wenger went out and brought Monreal and sent out Santos on loan despite saying he was a good player. A lot of the AAAs say that Wenger has let our best players go but you cannot stop players going. If you do the whole situation ends up being bad for the player and the club. For example Cesc was homesick and Van Persie only had a year on his contract. It was either sell him for 24 mil or let him leave for free in the summer. I feel Wenger will win trophies again with Arsenal. He has finally learnt from his mistakes (brought in Monreal) and is willing to spend big in the summer.

  3. William says:

    I really agree with the headline. This manager is an arrogant and egoistic guy who believes in his philosophy of pur football.When teams like Chelsea park the bus to win the cl,he slams them.The name of the game is winning . It doesn’t matter how you win.Btw,how many trophies has he won since 2005?He doesn’t believe in ugly football to win and that’s why the gunners are suffering.
    Now that Spurs have finally been beaten ,there is a small crack opening for 4th. This could be the golden opportunity to close the gap agin but you never know with this FM.I am no soccer coach but I do know if he doesn’t tweak the defnce,it could be the final blow to the gunners chances of 4th.
    And I expect BM to go through the cl.

  4. Admir says:

    Hi TA! 🙂

    Thanks, I’m glad you liked it. 🙂

    George Bernard Shaw once said that the reasonable man tries to adapt to the world while the unreasonable one persists to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, GBS concluded, all progress depends on the unreasonable people. The way Wenger has acted in transfer window since departure of Vieira reminds me of this quote.

    The reason why I included vanity instead of stubbornness is Wenger’s approach to questions regarding his decisions and performances. Remember that “I made over 50.000 substitutions in my career!” after Chamberlain-Arshavin case against FAnchester United last season or statement regarding his previous record after we lost to Blackburn this season? To be honest, I can understand why he is vane. If I did with Arsenal what Wenger did, I would wear a banner: “F… you, I won Premiership without defeat!” on press-conferences until retirement. 🙂

    Answer to your question can’t be simple “yes” or “no”. Personally, if I were there when Wenger said that playing in the Champions’ League is a trophy per se, I would probably throw my shoe on him in Rory Delap style. 🙂 When I took a minute to think more about it, he has a point to the certain level – if we hadn’t played in Champions’ League last season, we wouldn’t sign Mikel Arteta. I think that Wenger would like to win something (his line-up against League Two side Bradford proves that) but between winning something and participation in the Champions’ League, I think he would pick the latter one (compare line-up against Blackburn and line-up against Bayern). I want to believe that he sees this period before implementation of Financial Fair Play and paying out credits for Emirates as transitional one in which the most important thing for Arsenal is to not get into huge debts. I have my fear that he just want to see out contract in Arsenal without excelling in the last years of it and then go to PSG to start something new.

  5. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi Admir, I like the GBS quote 🙂

    Is Arsene vain? Yes, but also proud and stubborn. In the end, he is a visionary who wants to combine the two aspects of beautiful and winning football to the full. Not many can do that, and have done it as successfully as Arsene has done in the past. Maureen and RedNose can do winning football, but not beautiful winning football. I guess wanting to play winning, beautiful football has also something to do with vanity, as it is the sort of football that could make him become immortal in Goonerworld as well as the wider football community. And being a visionary sort of genius usually goes hand in hand with being proud and stubborn.

    The big question is whether he allows in enough doubt and humility to make progress in life and with his beloved Arsenal?!

  6. TotalArsenal says:

    Admir, before I am going to call it a night, I wanted to say that I reckon Arsene wants to be respected for reaching the top every year, but by no means is this enough for him. I reckon he is actually really ambitious and hates it that he cannot get his teams to get back to the very top in recent years. He is just not going to admit this to everybody else, as he is proud, or vain, as you call it hahaha 🙂

    Night all compadres! 🙂

  7. S j little says:

    Unless he promises to change he should go!

  8. mario says:

    Honestly Wenger is inept, he doesn’t coach or do tactics, what he had was technically better players in the past to play his brand of playground football. And we’ve also always had a rubbish defence under Wenger and that includes the english contingence of messrs bould, adams, keown, dixon and winterburn. This back line didn’t win any league titles between 91-98 until petit and vieira came along to protect them by keeping possession of the ball as much as possible. I sussed Wenger out as tactically naive as far back as the 98-99 season when we were conceding last minute goals to the the likes of dynamo kiev in the champions league. And now you muppets are on the bandwagon, just face it he can’t turn ordinary players into good players, paradoxically he’s a cheque book manager who needs top quality players to in effect conceal his deficiencies as a coach.

  9. AFC says:

    Mario, how can you say Wenger cannot turn ordianry players into good players. Thunk of Henry, Song, Fabregas, Nasri, Wilshere etc.

  10. AFC says:

    Mario, I also forgot to say Wenger is not a cheque book manager. He has won things with players that have cost peanuts. Call the likes of Mancini cheque book managers but not Wenger.

  11. mario says:

    I saw Henry in the 98 world cup he was raw but you could see he had quality, Fabregas already had quality as did Nasri, Wilshere the jury still out with him, as for Song he’s rubbish.

  12. AFC says:

    Mario, Wenger still developed these players. As for Song the season before he left he led Arsenal in terms of assists and it was because of Song, Walcott and Van Persie we finished 3rd last season. That season he was amongst the best CMs in the prem. That is why Barca brought him. Song has quality and right now if he was still in the prem would get into Man U, Man City, Chelsea and Tottenham.

  13. mario says:

    We’ve won nothing with these players, thanks to Wenger’s development skills.

  14. AFC says:

    The only reason we have won nothing because of Wenger development skills is because other clubs keep stealing Wenger’s best playerd which he has spent his time with on the training ground. I see your point of just development will not win you things and I agree which is why I want Wenger to go and spend in the summer.

  15. mario says:

    You’ve proved my point he is a cheque book manager.

  16. Gerry says:

    Admir – Excellent post. I think you have capture the opposing views very well indeed …

    and here comes the BUT…

    They are the opinions of of one camp of its opposite number. The vast majority of fans would not see themselves in either camp. Yes, they may veer to one side of the divide or another,but simply think the extreme view is inconsistent with common sense?

    The only reason why this is a topic at all is because it appeals to the media, and writers in that world. I would imagine nearly every club has its critics, even the very rich ones? True, the Manure ones are probably the most silent, but if there is a hint of a Rooney sale the press will be there picking the for and against camp’s arguments. But again, the vast majority will be happy whatever the outcome?

    The problem at Arsenal is that there is a very willing minority only too keen to feed stories, or create stories of their own, which in turn get answered by their opposite number. Fiction becomes fact in a blink of an eye. Yet most have not a clue of the reality of the situation. No doubt, when the time comes and AW writes his memoirs we will have a much better idea? That said, even his view will be tempered by not wishing to tarnish Arsenal’s good name for the sharks in the media to devour with great joy.

    I make a big point of referring to the ‘media’ here, because it is the one factor that has largely not been mentioned, as the ‘social media’ bloomed at the same time during AW’s time in office. Yes, there was press coverage before, but usually most clubs had a ‘good’ relationship with some journalists that, in exchange for being given the occasional scoop, they would write favourable stuff about the club.

    Today, the world and his wife can get up and comment on facebook? Some write their blogs, and their bigger audience gets responses, which in turn can become backpage headlines. If you wanted to say what you have in this article 20 years ago you would at best get it in the ‘Letters to the Editor’ page of the Evening Standard … and apart from a couple of replies that might be seemed worthy of print, that would be then end of it?

    It must have come as a great shock to the creators of the £1.5bn hoax(as it will soon be declared?) that the vast majority of fans dismissed it?

    And that is the point. The majority try to see through masses of, often well written, stuff, and know what frustrates them about the club they support. They know that their opinion, no matter how valid it might appear, they don’t have to make the decisions, or be responsible for its success or failure. They can be happy as Larry when the manager does what they like, but if it does not work out … well the sensible ones will reflect on it? Others will conveniently forget that they agreed with the manager in the first place. And that does not matter.

    What does matter is when so much bile gets to the point where it affects the team and manager’s performance, when it is only their opinion based on whatever they perceive to be the truth, or ‘a truth’?

    I am happy I am in that majority. I want the team to be better. I believe that what is being done, for all my misgivings, and there are some, the manager, the players, and all those others who are connected to the club, are wanting the same thing, and are doing what they can to bring that about.

    For those that say this next TW, and the season that follows, is AW’s last chance to prove his critics wrong, I would tend to agree. But that will be time to judge whether it is vanity, stubborness, egotistical outlook that has brought him through a challenging period, or if he has been just a very astute manager that we have been lucky to have stayed at the club?

    I want to be among that majority that can celebrate, or not, with a clear conscience, rather than hide in the shadows waiting for the next moment of doubt, or indeed a gloat at somebody’s demise?

    In the meantime, I will continue to support Arsenal FC

  17. Highbury Harmony says:

    You all know how much I despise Wenger and his failures as a manager/coach have been well-documented. We all wish for him to be immediately replaced, so please join in and sign my petition to sack him. If the petition gains over 1,000,000 signatures it will be placed before the Board of Directors for their advisement and consideration:

  18. AFC says:

    Mario. Wenger is not a cheque book manager. Every manager has to but top players to win things. There is no shame in that. If Wenger was to spend the max he would spend on one player would be 15-20 mil. In todays market that is avarage in terms of spending. If you class Wenger as a cheque book manager, then in your eyes Mancini, Chelsea and SAF must be the king of cheque book managers. 50 mill on Torres. Man City most expensive team in the prem. SAF brought an injury prone 29 year old who was in the last year of his contract for 24 mill which is helping Man U to win the league and brought Ferdinand for the biggest transfer fee for a defender ever. Now that’s a cheque book manager. Nowadays money talks. You could say every top manager is a cheque book manager. The only thing is Wenger spends the least compared to so many otther managers.

  19. Highbury Harmony says:


    Beautifully written article and it was an excellent maiden post for BK! Really happy to see you contributing to this magnificent blog and I hope it is the first of many great articles :).

    I will get back to you with my thoughts on the subject matter in your article tomorrow morning, as it is quite late where I am from and I just got home from work. Good night fellow BKers!

  20. Gerry says:

    HH @5.59 – Premature imo

  21. TotalArsenal says:

    Morning all 🙂

    Mario, good to read your points of view. Please refrain from phrases like ‘you muppets’, whoever you might be referring to, in future comments though.

  22. TotalArsenal says:

    Fine comments last night AFC 🙂

    Were are you based, you seemed to be mostly blogging during the night shift??

  23. macko says:

    Juste une question, SI Arsène quitte le poste de Gestionnaire, Qui prendrais sa place?????
    Le club Reste Régulier since des Années Ce Qui n’est Pas le CAS des clubs Comme tottenham Autre et 🙂
    attendons la saison 2013/2014 sans Dettes collosalle et Nous pourrons faire le bilan;)

  24. TotalArsenal says:

    Gerry 🙂

    Another fine morning comment – no surprises re the content hahaha 🙂

  25. VCC says:

    Good Morning All BKers.

    Admir…..Thank you for a fine post. Hopefully, this is the first of many here on BK.

    I am in the AKB camp, and hope to always remain there. The alternative is too frightening to think about.

    As many regulars on here already know, Arsene Wenger has been God in my house since arriving, and becoming our most successful manager, giving us some scintillating football, especially with the invincibles.

    BUT, has he already travelled the last mile? and if so, maybe, he is in the last chance saloon.

    I feel this summer will be the dividing point, and determine whether he has the heart, know how and drive to take us further,

    He has big decisions to make. Will he splash the cash, which, surely he must, if we are going to have a ticket enabling us to hopefully win a prize? Or, will he remain the frugal AW we have all become familiar with.

    As the saying goes………….Watch this space.

  26. Gooner4eva49 says:

    That was probably one of the best reads on here. Very much enjoyed it thank you.

    It is a balancing act. Both sides do have positives and negatives. If we can implement them both that would be great. It is what you see in life for something to succeed you need a balance. Yin and yang.

    If I was forced into a category I would probably be pushed into AKB. But I am in the strong belief that we have to adapt. You have to adjust to the climate and current conditions. Same principals apply in all aspects of life, again. We had/have a module, looked great but needed or needs to adapt. Work with the current state or around it.

    I think it factors down to ‘AAA’ wants to see some improvisation, which is needed, and ‘AKB’ are scared of a lil change. But to survive you have got to adapt, change and suit the climate.

  27. Arsenal Made Cesc Homesick says:

    Brilliant post Admir. Well balanced. As much as AW is a victim of his own success, it also the same success that is keeping him in place, in the delusional hope that he will one day repeat it. As you make the point so articulately, Arsene Wenger, through his myopia, failed to adapt to the new competitive environment, and continued to run a railway business when others were now in the transportation business. Only a crazy fanatic can call a rigid and insular manager brilliant. I thank AW for what he did for Arsenal but hasten to add that the zenith of his achievementments is behind him. With this in mind, I did not expect us to win all cup matches against Blackburn, Bradford and Birmingham. I would have been happy with ONE win out of the three. Even by such a modest standard I stand disappointed. Its not about THE money. We have enough money to have won one of these three crucial cup ties. Its also not about the players. My friends and I drew up a list of 11 starting players for Arsenal and Manchester United and decided to make the best 11 out of the 22 for each position. We chose 6 of the players from Arsenal and 5 from Manchester United. Wenger’s position is linked only in part to footballing performance. As I see it, his position is linked more to the financial performance of Arsenal, which answers the question when he will leave. He will leave only when he cannot balance the money books. The football books are a mere background noise.

  28. glic says:

    Morning Sploogecakes 😆

    That is a fantastic read Admir, it actually makes me question where I stand , am I a AKB or a AAA ?. Probably somewhere in the middle !.
    Decent writers as yourself always seem to confuse me, whether they are AKB`s or AAA`s, they all seem to make valid points which I see in both camps !.
    I love what AW has done for us and imo there is no denying that Abramovitch changed the goal posts. It is also maybe true to say that AW`s early success has cost him in that everyone else has copied his blue print ( french/african market, training techniques/diet etc` ) and if we think that he has no other tricks up his sleaves then without having the buying parity of super rich then maybe his best days have been and gone. It is then that his only card left will be the hopefull success of FFP, if not, then our only hope will be the “Route 666″ of mega bucks if we are to want a trophy . I for one would prefer the former, but have no ” high ground morals ” not to accept the latter if all else fails !. 👿 That is my Route 666 face !. hahaha

  29. Arsenal Made Cesc Homesick says:

    Admir, where do you stand on the issue of lack of direction from the top? We have a silent majority shareholder, who is probably silent because he has nothing to say about football. And not only that the second most powerful shareholder, Alisher Usmanov, is not allowed a seat on the board because of club politics. And not only that, but the guy that brought Arsene Wenger to the club and was clearly the driving force behind the club’s success resigned unexepectedly in 2007 clearly because of the forces that have been dragging the club down for the last 6 years. We are rotting from the head like a fish.

  30. VCC says:

    It’s that time of week guys. The moment you’ve all been waiting for….The publication of the UMF1 league tables. Yipeeeee I hear you all scream 🙂

    1st Prize goes to Henry & Total, with a fine 8 points….Hoooorah Henry….Be careful Total, with this lofty position you might get a nose bleed 😉

    2nd Prize goes to Terry for achieving his highest weekly position to date….3rd with 7 points.

    3rd Prize goes to GLiC, for managing a truly monumental task for him…..The ability to breath….Lets hear it, a big up for GLiCtorious….Oh, and he never came last, that honour goes to PPP.

    We’re not in the homeward stretch yet, but its getting close with 9 week ends to go.

    Stay safe and take care….Muvverzzzz

  31. VCC says:

    I’d better put the scores on the doors.

    Overall leader board =

    Red Arse..63

    Weekly scores =

    Red Arse.3

  32. kingz says:

    his d right man, if only he can admit his mistakes and correct it @ summer

  33. TotalArsenal says:

    Cheers Vickers, widget updated!

    Bring on the next lot hahaha 🙂

  34. TotalArsenal says:

    You are being devilish today Glicster! At least you say yourself you have no morals hahaha 😛

  35. Red Arse says:

    Well written, clearly set out and entertaining debut Post, Admir. 🙂

    I disagree with a lot of what you have written, but that is probably because the old name clichés AAA and AKB are used to compartmentalize views and wrongly label all supporters as either ‘bad’ or ‘good’.

    Much of the dissatisfaction with the way things are at the moment, lack of trophies, poor results, below average players etc is understandable, and many fans hold similar views, albeit to different degrees.

    Equally, much of the credit for our wonderful and historic trophy winning success between 1996 and 2005 must go to Arsene Wenger, while the successful building of a superb stadium and astute business strategy in keeping the club financially independent of the Sheiks and the Oligarchs belongs to the Arsenal management. Again many rational fans can agree with that.

    These views are not mutually exclusive.

    I am neither an AKB, nor an AAA, but I choose to use my own brain to decide what is right or wrong, and what is acceptable or unacceptable, and not fall into lazy generalizations.

    This is not to find fault with you, because those terms are liberally used in a certain type of blog but I find them objectionable.

    All said, that is a very fine Post, and I hope you will write many more. 🙂

  36. TotalArsenal says:

    Arsenal made Cesc homesick 🙂

    Thanks for a well stated comment. I don’t agree with much of it but I respect your point of view.

    I wish I could be as clear cut about our manager as you are: he might be far from perfect but he has done well for our club, and you might feel in your gut that he will not get back to winning ways again, but proof of this you have not. You are also not in the know of all the circumstances and the restraints and opportunities he had to work under in the past 8 years, and neither am I.

    Could he have done better: yes. Could he have done worse: yes. Will he be able to complete the latest transition of the team this summer; ready to go for the prices next season: 50/50. As I am a glass half full sort of person, I’d say yes, but only just about, and this will still depend for me on how the team will finish the season.

  37. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi RA 🙂

    Great comment as per usual. I reckon Admir has polarized the camps’ views on purpose in order to create some clarity in his article, and he also states at the start that he finds the labels of AKB and AAA ‘idiotic’.


    A very balanced comment and who could argue against you hahaha! 🙂

    Like RA, I am neither an AKB or AAA. I respect him for all the things he has given this club, for his loyalty and willingness to see things through, and for the joy his football has brought to me. I can also see the mistakes he has made and makes, but he has done a lot more good than bad for us! It remains to be seen whether he can take us forwards again, but I have no doubt he will keep us at least close to winning big things again. Once he has gone, we will no longer have such a guarantee, that for me is sure.

  38. Red Arse says:

    Arsenal Made Cesc Homesick,

    What ‘proof’ do you have for any of the arrant nonsense you are positing as ‘fact’?

    I am happy to discuss and exchange opinions, but it is impossible to chat with someone who bandies about ‘facts’ which even a myopic tangerine knows you cannot possibly have any access to or knowledge of.

    There are many intelligent and committed supporters who think AW is, and has been, a brilliant manager, (funnily enough, one of the best clubs in the world, Bayern Munich – (you heard of them?) have, today, admitted they have often tried to get Wenger as their manager, and would still have him in the future, as well as have the managers/owners of Barcelona and Real Madrid. (you heard of them?).

    Therefore, your puerile comment, “Only a crazy fanatic can call a rigid and insular manager (AW) brilliant” is insulting to the management of those clubs, as well as to me and many other bloggers on here.

    Grow up!

  39. glic says:

    I suppose I`m just stating the obvious Totes, I have an hatred and wish ill on ( just to name a few ) Spuds, Manure ,City, Chavs, Bindippers etc` ( the clubs, not all their fans ). so there, I`m the Devil !. hahaha


    Not as bad as the morals of the Church though !.

    Another set of predictions that will concrete my place at the bottom of the UMF Serie A ( and I dont mean it`s fixed by calling it the Serie A, so no threatening comments please ! hahaha )

    Limp Dicks

    Quintessential Premier Relegationers

    Tea Baggies

    tReading water at the bottom

    West Hampton

    All to win !.

  40. glic says:

    So that makes me, Redders and Total neither AKB or AAA, so what shall we call ourselves ?, how about Bergkampesquers !. Again, please refrain from any threatening commments for my ” coming out of the closet announcement of being a DB Tenner ! “. hahaha
    Do feel free to threaten Vicky, for his coming out of the closet annoncement of being a ” John Terry Sixty Niner ! “. hahaha

  41. TotalArsenal says:

    hahaha Glic, the only 69’ers Vickers has is with his own Zimmerframe 😀

  42. Red Arse says:


    There is a problem!

    I would never join a group who would have someone like me!! 😀

  43. Gerry says:

    Thank you Groucho!

  44. Arsenal Made Cesc Homesick says:

    Red Arse
    Is it not a fact that Arsenal were dumped out of the League cup by Bradford and Birmingham and out of the FA Cup by Blackburn? I would love to hear more about the things that constrained him in each of these three matches. By the way constraints are part and parcel of life, and the purpose of management is to overcome them.

  45. allezkev says:

    Admir, that was a thoroughly engrossing, mature and informative read…
    At the end of it, I really could not say which side to lean towards, and that shows the balance you provided to your analysis of both sides of the debate…

  46. allezkev says:

    *you* lean towards….

  47. AFC says:

    Hi, TotalArsenal I am based in London but I write comments mainly in the night/ early morning as this is when I am least busy.

  48. VCC says:

    GLiCtorious, your odds are =


  49. Highbury Harmony says:


    Apparently you (and most others) did not understand my post at 05:59. It was a joke mate, I was trying to ease the tension between afc and Mario :). The “u mad bro” is probably only understood by people living in NA.

  50. TotalArsenal says:

    HH, I got it and I live in downtown Norwich hahaha 😛

  51. Highbury Harmony says:

    Haha unless you meant it was too premature to joke about that, which is very likely but I think fans are taking the issue of firing our manager too seriously, and it’s quite clear to me that nothing we do will have any influence on the club’s managerial decisions.

    We should just sit back and relax and what is meant to be, will be.

  52. Red Arse says:


    I got it because it was just not you!! 🙂 Mind, I am Yank living in the UK!! 🙂

  53. Highbury Harmony says:

    Haha 😉 TA, I’m glad you understood it! I know most Brits understand sarcasm quite well, but I know in other parts of Europe and most of the rest of the world, sarcasm goes over most people’s heads!

  54. glic says:

    Double H, I dont live in NA ( NorthAmpton or North America ! ) and I`m not like most others ( there`s a surprise ! ) but I did get the joke even before I clicked on to the link, maybe Gerry was being gang banged by his pooches or was too tired with all that Horsey stuff and was in an un-stable condition !. hahaha

  55. Highbury Harmony says:

    Haha thank you Redders. Basically the “u mad bro?” Is a question framed to when you want to “troll” someone with the obvious question, who’s clearly irate and you say it with a smile to try and ease the tension. It works quite well in Canada and sometimes in the US hahaha!

    Now off to write my thoughts about this excellent article!

  56. Highbury Harmony says:

    Haha Glic, what a colourful and extremely detailed depiction of the situation Gerry is currently in. Sounds like you can relate from personal experience hahaha 😉

  57. henrychan says:

    Hi friends..
    Sorry for late replied..
    I’m at Melaka right now.. A city part of Malaysia.. for I bring my dad to a famous hospital here.. Mahkota Medical Centre..

    Nice post Admir.. If you keep posting this kind of articles.. that you may add an E in your name.. Admire.. hehe..

    Yes We want our Arsenal back.. every Gunners do.. but as you said with or without Arsene Wenger..
    For me Arsene is Arsenal.. very good name Wenger had.. He is Arsenal real hero.. and should given a big statue.. twice bigger than others..

    I love him especially his philosophy.. Attacking and attracting football.. for that why I love Arsenal so bad..
    And for me.. UCL is everything.. There are the best football clubs belong.. so beeing qualified in UCL is more important than winning a COC or FA cup..
    Of course winning UCL and BPL are the most great thing.. hehehe.. but for me better focusing on UCL qualification than winning FA cup.. You can’t claim you are the best in Britian by winning FA.. but you sure can claim the best in Europe by winning the UCL.. hehe..

    And I’m so sure that We will do that again as We used to be.. hehe..
    And next season We will be twice as good as We are now.. by adding 4-5 great players and get ride 8-10 deadwood..

    Can wait for tomorrow night game at Allianz arena.. Wenger will surprised us.. hehe.. and make us proud as a gunners.. (hope so..) hehe..

    @VCC.. Thanks my champ-bro..
    I need three times lucky to be at your position.. hehe..

  58. glic says:

    HH. Gerry`s in North Devon, so he`s not too far away from me, I can just about hear the howling of delight, not too sure whether it`s Gerry or the pooches though !. hahaha

  59. TotalArsenal says:

    HH and Glic 😆

  60. Admir says:

    Hello, to all! 🙂

    I couldn’t reply earlier but now I’m back from work.

    @mario – Arsene Wenger has suffered plenty of criticism from yours truly but being a cheque-book manager is arguably the only thing that you can’t accuse him for.
    Regarding accusations that he needs top quality players to succeed – well, every manager does. The main difference between top managers and those who are not there is ability to use their resources in the best possible way. What happened with Petit, Overmars, Flamini, Song, Hleb, Henry, Kolo Toure, Adebayor, Nasri, Fabregas…after they left Arsenal and Wenger? There have been very few examples of players who actually maintained their level from Arsenal in their next destinations (Cashley and Van Persie who (have) worked with Mourinho and Ferguson respectively, two out of three top managers in Premiership in last 20 years). You can go outside Arsenal to find similar examples – Rafa Benitez couldn’t do anything with the team Mourinho won treble with.

    @Gerry – thanks. 🙂 I agree that demands of media dictate what kind of informations will get front pages. They know that a regular fan uses more his heart than his logic (I am not exception – if I were in position to sack Wenger after home defeat against Swansea, I would do it in a heart-beat and I had that feeling until Sunday came). The thing is, we should all agree about the most important part of what you wrote – we will all support Arsenal FC no matter who is in charge. Everyone’s work in the club – The Board, Wenger, players starting with captain Thomas Vermaelen, Wenger’s coaches…should be judged with sense for justice.

    @VCC – thanks. 🙂 Wenger made a few good things this season as he tied down Jenkinson, Ramsey, Wilshere, Walcott and Oxlade-Chamberlain. All those players have a lot of potential as well as experience of playing in the highest level. Now, it is of highest importance that Wenger manages to find a few champions to our team and create solid spine, one that will win big matches.

    @Gooner4eva49 – thanks. 🙂 Wenger should adapt on new conditions and that one works on so many levels. Just take a look at that match we lost to FAnchester United. Our central midfield – at least on paper – looks much better than anything United can respond with. Their flanks, however, are much stronger than ours. Ferguson won the game by dropping Rooney in the midfield in order to suffocate Arteta. That was simple move that nullified our advantage and emphasized the one United have had.

    @Arsenal Made Cesc Homesick – thanks. 🙂 Well, you have a certain point there when you mention our loss to Birmingham (God, I hate that club!) as a symptom. Had we won home match against Aston Villa and Fulham away in two last fixtures of 2010-11, we would end up 2nd, seven points behind FAnchester United. Now, I don’t know if it is just up to Wenger’s inability to give our players final impulse, fear of loss that has been under the skin of our players for a long time or lack of winning experience among our players. I mention 2010-11 very often because that was not just the season in which we were closest to the top (we had beaten top three European teams – Barcelona, Chelsea, FAnchester United – at Emirates) but also a season in which we entered without sales of our best players.
    Regarding Kroenke and The Board – I think you are right. Perhaps it has to do something with salary cap and other things in American professional sport that makes huge teams like Chicago Bulls in ’90es fall apart. Few years ago there were reports of initiative of foreign owners to abolish relegation. I wouldn’t be surprised if Kroenke wasn’t that silent when that initiative started. Wenger can’t get any help from there.

    @All others – I’m in a hurry but thanks for your reply and warm welcome. Hope we will read soon! 🙂


    Fine post Admir

    Can not agree with you that Arsene is somehow vain. How can he be?, he looks like a Geek.

    He would stand no chance against me in a pulling competion. In fact i reckon even Cornwall and Vics would do him, and thats saying something.hahaha

    No, for me Wenger is a fine man. Dignified, intelligent, and a great football coach. His time is not over yet and i fully expect him to win one more league before he finaly calls it quits.

  62. Highbury Harmony says:


    I would also have to side with Gerry a bit on this issue of Arsene’s “vanity”. I believe this persona is twisted and magnified by the media, in an attempt to help explain the club’s failures the past 8 years. My opinion is that Arsene is stubborn, yet clever when responding to the media’s tiring questions.

    He brings up results of the past because he knows it’s always easier to be positive and unquestioned during times of success. I see this as his vehicle to remind the fans and media alike that there was once a time when no one questioned what he was accomplishing or doing at the club. Yet now that we’ve experienced a lack of success, everyone scrutinizes his every word and move in hopes of pointing out a flaw. In interviews/press conferences, he takes the focus away from the negativity surrounding the club and its players and looks to defend them all. What kind of manager would he be if he pointed out which player transfers, substitutions/starter choices, tactics etc. were mistakes? Sure, he would viewed positively by disgruntled fans as an individual who took accountability for his mistakes, but he’d completely lose the trust of his squad in the process.

    I’m sure others will be quick to point out that I fall into both the AKB and AAA camps. However, much like yourself, I think labelling these camps with these tags is idiotic and unnecessary. Just because I’m an Arsene and Arsenal supporter but would like to see change both tactically and in the quality of our squad, in our training and injury prevention staff/process, does that instantly mean that my support and love for the club should be questioned?

    I’ve been saying for quite some time that Arsene’s greatest failure the past 7 years has been his inability to react to the change in the transfer market and in scouting. With the injection of money into football, both aspects were altered and his advantage in both markets were quickly seized. He was left to compete with limited financial resources compared to clubs like Manure, Chavs and $hitty, while still trying to follow the same blueprint. Once he realized that he could no longer acquire the players he may have previously wanted (ex. Ozil, Hazard, Benzema, Cahill, Smalling etc.), along with the unfortunate realization that top players wanted to leave, he started seeking alternative options and lesser known talents in hopes of ushering a new era of how to build a team.

    Unfortunately, this backfired and it was only last summer that he finally started to get it right again in the transfer market. The talents he brought in the past two transfer windows, at relatively bargain prices, are top players whose quality is there for everyone to see. With the core of players and new signings committed long-term, there’s finally a sense of stability and direction at the club. Despite, our current standing in the EPL being unsatisfactory and contradictory to positive direction, this is to be expected since we are a club in transition that lost its final “world-class” player from a previous era.

    This summer represents the crucial “make or break” point in Arsene’s career. If he can make the right signings without selling any of our important players, we will surely move ahead and be in serious contention with the Mancs next year. Make the wrong signings and sell some of our stars again and we’ll simply be continuing the vicious cycle that Arsenal’s been experiencing in recent times.

  63. TotalArsenal says:

    Wow HH that is a proper brain dump, and a joy to read. 🙂

  64. TotalArsenal says:

    Admir, well done for writing such a thought provoking post that has generated some quality responses. 🙂

  65. TotalArsenal says:

    Terry the Greek would stand no chance to Wenger the Geek: The Frenchman would pull an invincible one in no time 😛

  66. TotalArsenal says:

    AFC – you must be a man of great stamina if you can work during the day and blog most of the night: chapeau to you! 🙂

  67. Red Arse says:

    Very good comment HH. 🙂

    As a side bar, I would slightly question your conclusion that AW bought players in the last 2 T/W with quality that anyone can see.

    I do not like myself for saying this, but I believe it to be true, none-the-less, that at least one player was not the right quality, Park (who he?).

    Then there is Arteta, a seasoned pro who had never played as a holding midfielder previously, and who is just too slow, and not blessed with the necessary physicality for that role, and who is ‘getting on’ in years.

    Then Per Mertesecker, who has had a brilliant Germany International career, but who is just not suited to the EPL because of his chronic lack of pace.

    Then there is the enigmatic Gervinho who seems to be completely unsuited to any position in the team, having been tried on the right wing, the left wing, and in the central position, and has been poor in all of them.

    Of the the three others who spring to mind, Pod, Cazzor and the Giro, only Cazzor has been a success, altho’ I have hopes of the other two for next season.

    What seemed a small disagreement with your comment looks much bigger written down, but is, of course, subjective. 😀

  68. TotalArsenal says:

    Gervinho will soon make you lick your lips again, Redders – maybe even this Wednesday by doing a ‘Koln’ and scoring a perfect brace hahaha 😛

  69. Highbury Harmony says:

    Cheers Redders :).

    In response to your comment, the last two TW are this past January and last summer. Perhaps you have been burdened with responding to too many evangelistic or entirely pessimistic posters lately on both AA and BK, but last I checked Park, Arteta, Mertesacker, Gervinho etc. were from two summers ago ;).

  70. Highbury Harmony says:

    Also, yes Caz has been the biggest success and Nacho is still dipping his feet into the league, but I’ve seen some great quality from him so far. Poldi and Giroud still have to be considered successes based on their statistics and play this year, despite not necessarily being world-beaters or prolific finishers yet.

  71. Red Arse says:


    Talking about players IN, put me in mind of all those who were transferred or loaned out recently — some permanently, I suspect.

    Robin van Persie £24m

    Alex Song £15m

    Carlos Vela £4m

    Henri Lansbury £1m

    Kyle Bartley £1m

    Oguzhan Ozyakup £1m

    Pedro Botelho £0.5m


    Ryo Miyaichi to Wigan Athletic

    Benik Afobe to Bolton

    Daniel Boateng to Oxford United

    Phillip Roberts to Inverness

    Denilson to Sao Paulo

    Nicklas Bendtner to Juventus

    Joel Campbell to Real Betis

    Ju Young Park to Celta Vigo

    Wellington Silva to Ponferradina

    Samuel Galindo to CD Lugo

    That’s a lot of movement!

  72. Red Arse says:


    You tricky little devil!! 😀

    As we bought sod all this winter T/W I assumed you were referring to the last two major T/Ws in 2012 and 2011. Canadians! What can you do??? 😀

  73. Highbury Harmony says:


    It certainly is a lot of movement!

    Vela, Bartley and Song can be seen as definite disappointments in the manner they were sold. Bartley wanted more first-team opportunities and with the emergence of Koscielny last year, AW must have believed that our CB’s were finally turning the corner. Vela was never really given a proper opportunity to showcase his talents and it’s hard to get those opportunities when you have one of the best strikers in the world at your club, or are behind more established players like Adebarndoor.

    However, he’s having a fine season at Real Sociedad this year and selling him looks to be a bad move in hindsight, but there’s also no guarantee that his success would translate back with Arsenal or the PL in general.

    So long as we can hold onto Campbell, Silva, Afobe, Miyachi and Boateng (don’t know much about Roberts or Galindo) from your list, I’ll be a content man. I’m more than happy to see these players getting first-team opportunities and real experience with other clubs, but am somewhat concerned about them gaining an affection for other clubs or the first-team minutes and them eventually leaving and flourishing elsewhere.

  74. Highbury Harmony says:


    Us Canadians (NAcans) will get you from time to time, we love to catch people on technicalities and to force others to read between the lines ;). I suppose now that you see what I meant from the past two T/W, you agree with my earlier comment to a larger extent?

  75. Gerry says:

    HH – I, needless to say did not clic the link to find it was a hoax. I did recall you saying that you like to wind up people though?

  76. Gerry says:

    glic The sound you could hear was me chasing the little git that puked whatever foul stuff it ate on the walk … ALL OVER MY BED!

  77. Highbury Harmony says:

    Haha Gerry, of course it was a hoax! I love Arsene and would never say such things about replacing him etc. I question his tactics and stubbornness from time to time, but I’m not that deluded to create a petition to get him sacked!

    And yes, I quite do enjoy winding people up ;).

  78. Milo says:

    Boateng doesn’t strike me as a very good player, HH. I saw him play for us a few times, and he wasn’t good at all. Miyaichi is injured AGAIN, and I’m starting to wonder if he can make it physically 😦 He has the talent, and he’s young, so hopefully he’ll grow up and out of these constant periods of idleness due to injury!!! Afobe will make it somewhere. Here or otherwise. He might not make it here because I think he will be the classic example of a late-bloomer. We MIGHT run out of patience and sell him before he comes of age??? I don’t know. He has Akpom breathing down his neck, if not farting in his face, because he’s ahead of him now, due to Afobe’s new injury. I’d still keep him around for another year or two though!!! Maybe three just because his injury will take about a year for him to fully recover.

    I have seen Philip Roberts play for Inverness Caledonian Thistle, and he has a lot of pace, but his passing and end product is not up to a high enough standard yet. I don’t think he will make it here, full stop.

    I disagree with you Admir…the season we were CLOSEST to the top was 2007-2008. No, we weren’t competing on as many fronts , late in the season as we were in 2010-2011, but that was the year we finished third and we beat Milan in the Champions League. That was also the year we lost the title late when Eduardo broke his leg up at Birminham 😦 I STILL to this day, don’t know how we gave up the Premier League title that season. When I think about it, I’m still sad!!! 😦

  79. Milo says:

    Good news!!! 😀 Scarface (Ribery) is out of the second leg due to injury!!! 😀 I am starting to think that we actually DO have a chance to do something cool!!! 😀

  80. mario says:

    Obviously Wenger’s not a cheque book manager per se because he doesn’t spend any money. My point is he’s been found wanting as a coach and therein lies the problem, he needs to spend big money to play catch up, thus defining him as a cheque book manager.

  81. AFC says:

    Mario, I just cannot agree with you. Any manager who is in charge of Arsenal would have to spend to solve the problems in the club making them cheque book managers. In your opinion there may be many managers who are not cheque book managers but put them in charge of Arsenal and you will soon see them as cheque book managers. Even if you had a team of managers in charge of Arsenal they would need to spend money to solve our problems. That is the reason why every manager spends is to sort of the problems in a team.

  82. Highbury Harmony says:


    Thanks for the colourful update on our prospects hahaha! I’m glad to have someone here on BK who follows the reserves and players on loan closely :).

    Not only is Ribery out Milo, but Schweinsteiger and Boateng are also suspended for Bayern Wednesday! Also, Robben was dealing with a calf injury this past weekend and did not play. Maybe there is hope for us after all 🙂 !

  83. mario says:

    The problem at the club is Wenger he just can’t manage a team on a tight budget, he’s a cheque book manager.

  84. AFC says:

    Wenger can manage a team on a tight budget and that is why since he has become manager we have always finished inside the top 4. As for tactical management I judge him and other manager when they compete in the CL. We are the only English team left in the CL and as far as I know we have never been in the Europa League. Only a few years back SAF with all his talent went out in the group stages of the CL and then got battered by Bilboa in the Europa league. As for Mancini he cannot even get his team out of the group stages of the CL. That is disgraceful.

  85. AFC says:

    Just heard that Wilshere will be out for the Bayern game on Wednesday. Seems like we will have to play a 4-1-2-3 with Arteta playing as a DM and Rosicky and Santi playing as AMs. Knowing Wenger we will see Ramsey even though he is more of a defensive player than Rosicky and the Ox. Was happy when I heard Bayern would be having players out only to find out one of our best players would be out.

  86. Highbury Harmony says:


    You are the bearer of bad news! Of course if Jack is injured, we’ll see that piece of sh*t Ramsey again and together with Arteta, we’ll have the handbrake on all match again. For once, I wish AW would get off his high horse and just start Rosicky and let our offense flourish!

  87. mario says:

    I don’t even rate sir purple nose he’s spent millions on players and as for our game on wednesday we could go through but we’d only get knocked out in next round so what’s the point until Wenger leaves.

  88. AFC says:

    Does anyone know if Diaby will be fit for the Bayern game?

  89. TotalArsenal says:

    AFC, not entirely sure what the status of Diaby is; as far as I know he is fit again. Are you sure about Jack not playing on Wednesday? That would be a big set-back! 😦

    Mario: ‘Wenger is a cheque book manager’ is one of the funniest things I have read in a while. It is original, I give you that! 🙂

  90. Gooner4eva49 says:

    Highbury Harmony on March 11, 2013 at 23:13

    Not much Harmony in that comment! 😀

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