Is there a “generational divide” at Arsenal and, if so, what does it mean?

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Theo Walcott, interviewed just after Arsenal beat Newcastle 1-nil to clinch 4th place and the final Champions’ league place said something along the lines of, “We did it, which is great for such a young team, but we’re not satisfied with 4th and now we want to push on and challenge for the title”….

Very nice Theo and a good explanation about our celebrations and how it sets the stage for bigger things.  Still, it got me thinking….Are we a truly a young team, and if not, what does it mean going forward?…. Moreover, how do we get from here to there?  And (finally) can we expect this team (plus the transfer business over the summer) to really allow us to push on towards our higher aspirations?   It’s my belief that our manager has a “plan” which, to the extent it has panned out in the past, gives us a measure of guidance for the future.

After the stadium move “the plan” was clearly based around youth.  We couldn’t compete when it came to buying the top, ready-made stars given the new power of Abramovich’s Chelsea.  And, of course, this only got more difficult with the emergence of Sheik Mansour’s Manchester City, and (as always) Sir Alex determined to borrow as much as needed to keep Rooney (and bring in others) across town….

Nonetheless, the plan had a measure of promise, and, while some of our younger guys (I’m thinking of Denilson here…) didn’t really pan out, others looked (very) promising.  Flashing back to the World Cup final of 2010, we saw our own Robin van Persie as the starting Center Forward for the Netherlands and (our own) Cesc Fabregas as the guy who came on and secured the trophy for Spain with his assist to Iniesta.  Sure, “Young Guns” Samir Nasri and Theo Walcott got left off their respective national teams, but both squads underperformed and we thought maybe it would light a fire under the two (very promising) players.   A few others (Bendtner, Song and Vela come to mind) did get to play in the tournament, albeit with mixed results.

Of course, 2010-11 wasn’t a breakthrough season at Arsenal and the plan then came in for a major overhaul in the past two off-seasons.  Cesc returning to Barcelona was always on the horizon but the hope was to delay it as long as possible.  Nasri having his head not just turned, but fully yanked, (Linda Blair style http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sO9FD7zI7k0 ) by ManCity’s offer to double the one we had tabled, was something beyond the realm of the normal.  Certainly it wasn’t the plan when we bought (and developed) him from Marseilles. Arsene famously spoke of the book he could write and his quip about top teams not losing their two best players suggested that our activities in the summer 2011 window were not exactly choreographed.   Queue up early season humiliations (the 0-2 vs  Liverpool almost as bad as 8-2 at Old Trafford…), a series of desperation buys at the transfer deadline, and, finally, a very long haul to a final day bum squeaker at West Brom.  Ugh.

And then it got worse.  Summer 2012 saw another remarkable remaking of the Arsenal first team.  Our top scorer, Robin van Persie and our 2nd top scorer (and best assist creator) Theo Walcott were allowing their contracts to wind down (as Nasri had the year before) and the former burnt his bridges on (US) independence day with an outrageous message to the fans. Meanwhile, this public show of indiscipline was matched by more insidious ones from our best midfielder, Alex Song, who was well known for being indifferent to fines for tardiness.  RvP and Song would be gone before the season kicked off while the Walcott contract saga persisted into the new year.  The bottom line is that three of our best players threatened to leave us and two actually did.  Another long year, another last day nail-biter, another “ugh.”

So, these past two summers have been all about replacing our best players, while hoping that losing them wouldn’t kill us.  Two years ago, at the transfer deadline, we got Mikel Arteta, Per Mertesacker, Andre Santos and Park Chu Young.  (Earlier in the summer we also bought Gervinho and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.)  Last summer we brought in Lucas Poldolski, Olivier Giroud and Santi Cazorla. 

These buy were essential (well, at least the ones that panned out…) and they completely re-shaped the squad.  They have also represented a real change in policy as the players we bought were (mostly) older ones.  The ones who have emerged as starters, most certainly ARE older.  Among the guys who are now in the first 11 (at least when healthy) Arteta is now 31, Mertesacker is 28, Poldoski will be 28 in a week, Giroud is “only” 26 (27 in September) and Cazorla is 28.  We also picked up Nacho Monreal (27) in the January window (to spell injured Kieran Gibbs, while sending Andre Santos, 30, out on loan).   Add in regulars Bacary Sagna (30), Tomas Rosicky (32) and Laurent Koscielny (27) along with Captain Tomas Vermaelen (27) and a large part of the core of the squad would seem to be at that age where they are playing at the peak of their physical and technical abilities.   We cannot realistically expect huge improvements out of this group in the future….

On the other hand, Arsenal also made a conscious effort to promote the idea of an up and coming British core of young players. When Theo Walcott (24) finally signed a contract extension, the team also announced that several other contracts had recently been extended. These included Jack Wilshere (21), Gibbs (23), Carl Jenkinson (21), Aaron Ramsey (22) and Oxlade-Chamberlain (19).

There are some other key young players in the team.  Keeper Wojciech Szczesny is 23 and Francis Coquelin is 22.

Intriguingly we have no 25 year olds, though Gervinho only just turned 26 a few days ago.

OK, so what?  Well, as research goes, that’s about as deep as I get….

Still, when I look at nothing but the ages of the players I see a generational divide.  And I think this would be exacerbated if we looked at the actual contribution (minutes played) of the guys 26-27+ and those 24 and under.  The bottom line is that (due to changes in plan…) we are currently NOT a young team and that we will require a LOT of new guys to come in and replace the older guys as their play drops off.  Because we are not in a position to buy ready-made, prime-aged players (although maybe Red Arse and others who think FFP may mute the market for top, prime-aged players, might disagree…) I predict several seasons of significant transition for our team.

In other words, the ripple effect of losing Cesc and Nasri in Summer 2011, and RvP and Song in 2012, will be felt for years to come.  Theo, it turns out, wasn’t quite right about us being such a young team….

This fact should not be seen as “all bad”….First off, against all the odds, we were able to keep our CL spot these past two seasons and this last year (in particular) saw the real development of young guys like Theo Walcott and Aaron Ramsey.  Jack Wilshere is still sorting out his fitness issues but his talent seems extremely promising.  It’s astounding that the Ox is still only 19 and his cameo in place of Arteta in the final match (and in matches with the English National team) showed that (maybe) he can do a job all over the pitch.   Jenkinson, red card at Sunderland notwithstanding, did quite well in the several periods when he stepped in for Sagna.

Additionally many of the older guys look really keen to be in this Arsenal side and we’ve seen the departure of players who had big issues with discipline or keeping fit (I’m thinking of Song and Arshavin here).  A collective atmosphere of personal discipline and fitness (have you seen the abs on the likes of old boys Sagna and Nacho….or the running of Rosicky?…) can go a long way to keeping these older fellows contributing in fresh ways.  With a couple of additional savvy and fit older guys (maybe at Keeper and Striker, and on the cheap, of course….) this mind-set might be reinforced…

With the bulk of our transfer funds, however, we need to think about adding to this collective in a judicious, almost surgical fashion and improving the team, with a keen eye to the longer term.

This may mean using our resources to buy younger guys with real “potential” rather than ready-made, more mature players who have already shown they can produce on the biggest stages.  We should, I think, be looking for guys to augment the 24 and under group rather than the 26+ guys.

Other threads have discussed the strengths and weaknesses of our squad in specific areas of the pitch and suggested where key players might be added, ideally while keeping the hard fought sense of team accomplishment (the “Springvincibles” mentality) intact.

The teams above us are using big money transfers and big salaries and new (big money) managers.  Quality is quality, but sometimes a strong “team” can beat a bloated brigade of all-stars—and not just in one-offs (the Cups) but over the longer haul–if the focus is correct.  This is what I am hoping for this off-season and as we start up again in August.  Still, I think we must keep our expectations realistic and know that it will take time, simply given the age demographics of our squad….

What do the rest of you think?….

Written by: 17 highburyterrace 

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110 Responses to Is there a “generational divide” at Arsenal and, if so, what does it mean?

  1. James Bond says:

    wow, Thanks, 17ht (finally off the mark, well done , the wait was worth it;)

    now coming onto the article and heading itself, well i think Theo had the games they had played together as a team as opposed to the age really, if you look at it, the core is still pretty new, when you take into account that 2 of the standby captains only joined 2 years ago (Arteta/ Mert) then theo’s comments really do make sense.

    however, there is plenty of national experience or domestic experience in there bar the jenks, the ox and gibbs,

    even if we took the average age of the whole squad into account then i reckon it will still be under 27 ? which means that there is a solid basis to build on and deliver success for years to come, but first thing first, much like you, getting of the mark is important and then winning trophies would become a habit much like you writing smashing articles for BK in the future as well !

    it was a different article to the norm , one that asked many questions and was very enjoyable at the same time.

  2. James Bond says:

    that’s the way to go skipper ! TV is going no where 😀

    http://www.dailystar.co.uk/football/view/317390/?

  3. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi 17ht

    Fantastic thought-provoking and well-structured maiden post: top stuff! 😛

    I recently read in an article in which Wenger was being interviewed about the upcoming CL final, that our manager believes a team has the best chance of winning something when there are a large number of 28 to 29 year old players in the first team (that is why he believed Bayern and not Dortmund were favourites to win).

    From your article, it appears that we will have a considerable number of 28-30 year olds in the next one to two years. You could argue they are all on their personal peaks now, but I reckon a second, or third, year in the PL will see at least one more step up in experience and quality by most of our recent signings.

    That is great imo: I believe Cazorla, Giroud, Pod, Koz, Nacho will be (even) better next season.

    Then there is a group of younger players who are likely to improve further next season: some might even have their breakthrough season: Wilshere, Szczesny, Ox, Gibbs, Theo, etc.

    Others will remain stable and that is fine too: Arteta, Mert, Sagna.

    I fully agree with you that it would be great to add a couple of quality players in the age group of 24-26: not only for now, but also for in a few years time when some of our older players might get over their peak.

    Finally, I would like to add the formula of:

    Wenger’s ability and vision + keeping the squad together + time to work intensively together (+ clever buys this summer and beyond ) = (very likely to lead to) progress.

  4. TotalArsenal says:

    17ht

    To be complete, I also would like us to sign a player with CL-winning experience, and would be happy for this player to be in his early thirties as long as he has leadership/mentoring skills.

  5. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi James,

    Good to hear the Verminator is going to fight for this position this summer and beyond! 🙂

  6. TotalArsenal says:

    Night all 🙂

  7. 17highburyterrace says:

    Hey thanks JB and TA….

    I never really thought that Theo saying “young” might’ve meant “recently cobbled together,” but you just might be on to something there, 007….

    I agree with what you’re saying TA and older guys don’t really bother me. Additionally, I think this particular group of older players really does have some potential for improvement. I’d really like it if we could keep the group together and use our economic power to fend off bids from teams looking to plug holes here and there (like Barca looking for central defenders or PSG looking for a RB)…. It seems rather mundane when the big names to (other) big clubs start getting bandied about, but it seems by far the most important (first) step….

    30 or older, CL winning experience, you got somebody in mind?….

  8. AFC says:

    TA, you could argue that Arteta, Sagna and Rosicky will enter a decline. In my opinion Sagna has already entered the early stages of decline.

    17ht, I will be back later to comment on your top post.

  9. James Bond says:

    30 or older who have won CL ?

    David Villa, Valdez (both available)

    Robben (not quite 30 just yet but nearly there) and is available

    hmmm i know mentioning Rooney will leave a bad taste in your mouth and in this thread so i won’t do that as he doesn’t qualify since he’s only 27 ? oppps

    but yeah, another old fox in the 30 bracket – Torres (nearly 30)…might be available

    can’t really think of anyone else really but i reckon David Villa and Robben can improve this current team and offer something different….Torres might well be a gamble worth taking….Valdez on his way to Monaco..

  10. TotalArsenal says:

    17HT

    It has been a long day – I have been looking at fossils, totem poles, medieval buildings and you name it today – so need to go to bed.

    But to give you a few names to think about: Alonso, R***y (hahaha), Vila, etc

  11. TotalArsenal says:

    Just to be clear, they do not have to be 30 or older: the main part is CL-winning experience (as a core player).

  12. TotalArsenal says:

    AFC

    Yes that could be the case, but it is too early to tell re Sagna. A summer of rest might do him a world of good.

    Really gone now. 🙂

  13. AFC says:

    17ht, I will be writing a post in the near future about our need for a veteran/club legend who has won trophies (between the age of 34-38). It will also touch on how ‘our’ old players are not really that old in comparison to the old players at other clubs. Sort of linked to your post.

    I will be back.

  14. James Bond says:

    AFC,

    might i sway you in the direction of Rosicky, he’ll be that player in a couple of years time 😉 only difference being that he would have won a fair few trophies with arsenal by then 😀

  15. 17highburyterrace says:

    So, Bond, you’re pretty bullish then on Arsenal over the next couple of seasons? I guess I don’t quite see it happening that quickly and the bigger point of my post is that we’re still reeling from the desperate measures of the past two off-seasons….Which will trickle down into the next couple as well (due to the aging squad). (And I say all this knowing that our fearless leader, he of great hope, is off the land of nod…) 😉

    If all is good why then are we living in the realm of the fantastic or the hideous-fantastic (signing
    Rooney, etc.)?

    Will I have to wait for YOUR first post to find out?…. 😀

  16. AFC says:

    JB, in the post I will be using Henry and guys like Scholes, Giggs, Lampard and Gerrard as guys I class in the veteran/club legend group. Seedorf etc.

  17. AFC says:

    Rosicky is nowhere near the status of veteran/club legend and never will be.

  18. weedonald says:

    17ht…..a very well reasoned (and grounded in facts) article. I agree that we are more a ¨maturing¨ Club than a youth one but we are still quite young(starting x1) in Goal, Both fullbacks, 3 midfield players and 1 attacking player…..but also agree that we need to bring in younger players with some experience and proven success. I am sure Wenger knows this fact as well and is making plans to do just that. He seems to have appreciated that his youth plan needed some tweaking but that, in general, it will fufill it promise sooner than later.

  19. James Bond says:

    never will be ?

    unless you have a crystal ball that can predict the future better than mine, i would beg to differ on the basis that my crystal ball has run out of batteries.

    Rosicky wins us a few more games against Tottenham like he did last year then he may well end up being a legend for me and most who hate tottenham hot spuds with a vengeance…saying that if he helps us win a few trophies by the time he reaches 34/35 , who is to say that he won’t be seen as one of the legends at the club ? football is current, people tend to have short memory by that i mean, win silverware next season and all the pat mistakes are given, even the likes of sczny becomes a cult hero and we forgive his blunder of 2011 in the final.

    but i guess one man’s legend is another’s nowhere near that status 😉

  20. James Bond says:

    17ht,

    of course, i’m optimistic and i always try and tend to look at the glass half full bit, besides what good would football be without the underdogs winning every now and again and shocking everyone when you least expect it ? (i’m hoping that’s us next season or for the next 2 anyway)…

    besides you say that you don’t see it happening that “quickly” and i point you in the direction of the past “9” years, hence it’s not as quickly as we think it is 😉 in fact, not quick enough for some , ha

    i get the broader picture you put together and it was a good one, however, we’re not really far off from putting all of it together , we’re close and will be even closer with even 2 more quality signings.

    AW had a fab first 8 years and then a not so fab last 8 years in his tenure so far, here is to hoping the next 8 years , he is king again !

    will it happen ? i don’t know, do i hope it happens ? you betchya

    you know things are heading in the right direction when you see 2 young arsenal lads causing all sorts of problems to international teams whilst playing for england.

    why we live in the realm of fantastic fantasy ? i could give you 70 million reasons for it;) yep , we all love spending a bit of money especially one that only exists in talks (blame Gazidis and co, not me) .

  21. Highbury Harmony says:

    Before I get to the article, what confuses me is when people say Giroud is good or that he will be even better next season. I mean, how can you possibly get any worse?

    Among players who started 20 games or more, OG was near bottom in the league when it came to shooting accuracy, conversion %, clear cut chances chances scored to missed, passing accuracy, loss of possession, times dispossessed, final third passing accuracy and chances created.

    It’s one thing to honour him for his hard work, aerial prowess, work as a target man and occasional hold-up play, but another to claim that he was “good” or that he will suddenly be “even better” next season when he’s decidedly poor at so many other facets of the game.

  22. Highbury Harmony says:

    17ht, outstanding stuff mate :). Great debut post on BK and your article is well-written and before I even checked who the author was, your style of deep thought and musing was very evident hahaha!

    As much as I would like to disagree with the premise of your article (that we will not be spending regardless of the transfer kitty we have on top quality players), I simply cannot. It is a sad truth that we may have to admit, which is we will be facing continuous transition for the foreseeable future.

    My only issue with accepting this cycle of transition, is then what direction is this club headed for? No matter how long a core has been together, if there is no significant progress towards silverware/results, players will leave. Loyalty can only be taken so far without any results or anything else to show for it.

    Sure, the pure optimist says that there is no one player bigger than the club, but how much longer until we become a mid-table club or lower if our young, current players follow this trend? The system in place is not as strong as the individual players in it unfortunately and AW is no Klopp. There is a growing cloud/mentality that Arsenal are no longer a stable club capable of challenging with the best; this will not be aided if we are not proactive in this window to resolve the issues that we have faced these past 8 years. I’m not advocating to overspend in the TW, but to add the talent that we need to push forward.

    So, with all that said, I’m hopeful for the best and expecting the worse. As things stand, it’s quite possible that we’ll be facing another nerve wracking finish for 4th place yet again. However, let’s wait and see what happens since the TW has no “officially” opened yet, despite several other clubs already making moves.

  23. Highbury Harmony says:

    Also, there is a bit of a generational gap, but personally I do not see it as a huge issue. Hopefully AW bought these players at the prime of their careers and know their intention to stay at the club during the prime of their careers to breed a culture of further stability that our current younger players can aspire to.

    However, without any significant progress or results, this whole “project or “experience” will be an utter waste of time imo.

  24. Highbury Harmony says:

    Just got back home from the pub and there’s still no one around!

    Just to add a bit to my comment @ 2:00, I do like OG as a sub very, very much. He has a knack to change the game, more so when he comes on later with his aerial ability. Also, this way there’s less of a chance for the opposition to expose all the other areas of his game and he can enter relatively unfocused on. Perfect when you consider more set pieces are given towards the end of a game too.

    He should be a super sub for us and only start games against more physical teams. If we do not sign a striker, I’d really like to see Theo and Pod rotate up front, with Theo playing against less physical teams. Imo, after running some stats for my article, there’s no reason to believe Theo can’t hit 18-20 goals next season, he just has to shoot more! More to come in my article :).

  25. Highbury Harmony says:

    18-20 league goals*

  26. Gerry says:

    17HT – Yes, interesting angle. Your ‘maiden’ post is right up there with your responses. Great!

    I noticed that it was Theo and the Ox celebrating together that captured the moment perfectly? Perhaps Theo was thinking not so much for the team as a whole, but the younger guys within it?
    On the broader question of the long term, you will know that I have been strongly leaning towards younger(cheaper) options spread across most areas. However, I think a certain short term-ism is required regards this coming season, with the aim of filling the trophy cabinet. Primarily to keep this end of season momentum going, and get that confident self-belief back. Therefore I accept that probably in the key areas of DM and experience striker we probably will be looking in the 24+ year old bracket?

    Mind, having a player like Sanogo, and hopefully a couple of others in the 20+ bracket, could be the making of the of the team long term. They, and Theo’s ‘young team’ will be the experienced players that the Next Gen academy players will be joining. Now that is probably AW’s wet dream??

    As I seem to be on a different time-zone to even my fellow bk’ers in the UK, I will leave it there.

    Keep asking those questions ..

  27. Gerry says:

    Morning HH – Does that mean you are happy or argumentative then/ha ha

  28. Highbury Harmony says:

    Haha Gerry bit of both I guess. On the one hand I’m happy of most of the players we have and am glad they’re all proud to wear the Arsenal shirt.

    However I am also aware that we need improvements and am hoping to see a few additions this summer (fingers crossed for one top quality one!).

    My father’s a huge horse racing fan, you should leave the name of your blog and i’ll ask him to check it out. Off to bed now. Night mate :).

  29. Gerry says:

    My racing blog is mostly at weekends; Classics or top handicaps. I will a attempt something for everyday at Royal Ascot in a couple of weeks time though
    I sent the address to TA, so if he still has it he can pass it on. Otherwise, he can pass on my e-mail address, ok?
    Not that I am overwhelmed with followers on it. I mostly find that writing my thoughts more objectively and I see things better. Not fair on non-horsey people here to self-advertise … although I also fear a glic invasion having an orgasm over racing terms (‘moving well in behind’ … ‘getting on top now’?) ha ha.

  30. izuchukwu Okosi says:

    Why do Arsenal blogs like Arsene Wenger tend to believe that the best players must either come cheap or free? We must all remind Wenger that there is what called ‘TODAY’s MARKET and the BEST PLAYERS are neither free nor cheap. If he doesn’t buy at least 3 QUALITY players, more exodus and danger loom!

  31. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    Thanks for letting us know that Okosi. I will call Arsene straight away and let him into this seceret. hahaha

    17, great post mate. In general i agree with your theme that transition still looms over us. I also liked the first part which gave sound reasons as to the history of why we are were we are.

    In a way, i see it as akin to been just released from a mental institution. I know, because it happened to me.

    For a good six months i thought i was Napoleon and nothing else mattered except how i could defeat Wellington and return to Paris in triumph. One night, i took one of the white coats hostage and demanded a one way ticket for the Eurostar, but the Bastards tricked and then sedated me.

    When i was finaly released it took me some time to return to normality. Though i was better, i still could not see references to Paris without my blood boiling, and unfortunately once tried to attack a fellow diner for ordering a wellington.

    Arsenal.have reached a new stage were increased finances are available to take us to a higher level. The issue is though that we are still dealing with the remenants of the past, namely the current wage structure, current playing pool including dead wood, and as you rightly point out a crop of older players and a group of young talent that need to be allowed to develop.

    The club has a fantastic future, but the current situation has to be handled delicatley and with intelligence.

    I hope this all makes sense.

    Your friend

    Terry Bonaparte………errrr, i mean Mancini. hahaha

  32. Glic says:

    Morning BK Bastardildos 😆

    Happy birthday to me…..happy birthday to me…..happy birthday dear….gorgeous kiss myself all over outrageously agonizingly f**king handsome bastard….happy birthday to meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee
    An excellent post 17HRT ! hahaha

    Bollox !. I haven`t really thought about it like that….all them players who are of a certain age and will need to be replaced in the not too distant future !.
    All the new ones will need settling in time, so if FFP fails, we are not going to win sweet FA for yonks, unless there are acquisitions of Super Quality ( any one of SQ should be so good they will be an instant hit ala Ronaldo going to RM, he didn`t need a transitional period, the khuntz scores in nearly every game ! )

    Hahaha Stretch.
    Yes, I can confirm that Terry was Napoleon, that was until the Loftwaffe Pigeons pecked his Bone apart !.

  33. JGC says:

    Hi

    It’s late here, still working, end of semester and so stressed I’m unwell .. Why dump this?

    My first short note, success and completion, no matter how small, in adverse circumstances is a win, develops character for later bigger tests, and is part of life. Even at the Arsenal… We will be stronger and better. We will.

    Leading to, modern sports isn’t the same. Specifically, as TA obliquely noted from AW, 30-31 is the new 27 (that’s me speaking). Unless they are die hard massive tacklers or such, players last longer, or can (offset by the Diaby’s for whom every age is the new 49, my former world class bodies age)

    Ending with HAPPY BIRTHDAY GLIC!!!!

    Cheers ! I go to die at least a little — jgc

  34. VCC says:

    Many happy returns of the day GLiC.

  35. Admir says:

    Hello, people! I’ll come by later to make longer response on this excellent article, I just wanted to inform you that German television ZDF announced words of Wolfgang Holzhaeuser from Bayer Leverkusen that they made an agreement with Chelsea over Schuerrle – Schuerrle will join Chavs while De Bruyne will join on one-year-loan to Leverkusen.

  36. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    Cornwall, happy birthday mate. Hope you get to do something nice and get some good presents.

    On my last birthday i only got one present, which i had to give to myself. It was the best gift ive ever had. It was a voucher to spend the night with 2 fantastic Lithuanian Hookers who live at the end of my road.

    Cant tell you how grateful i was that i gave myself such a magnificent gift. I rang myself immediately expressing my gratitude. As for the night itself, one of the best nights of my life. I was so happy with myself that whilst Olga and Natasha stroked me i phoned myself again to say that if i ever needed anything to let myself know.

    Have a good one mate. hahaha

  37. TotalArsenal says:

    Cheers Admir – I guess that is not the sort of news any of us want to hear! 😦

    Catch you later! 🙂

  38. TotalArsenal says:

    happy birthday: Cee-Lo Green
    happy birthday: Leigh Francis (Keith Lemon)
    happy birthday: Harry Enfield
    happy birthday: Andrey Arshavin

    Ooohh and happy birthday Gilcster! 😆

  39. AFC says:

    JB, I think you misunderstood what I meant by the term veteran/club legend.

    Firstly, a club legend is ideally a player who started their career at the club they are currently at e.g. Scholes, Giggs but they can also be players who have spent a long period of time at the club e.g Lampard , Ferdinand or in considerable less cases can be a marquee signing e.g. Cantona (I am not sure).

    The thing all club legends have in common are that they have performed week in and week out for years and years (in the case of the recent leading their teams to winning trophies or being an integral part of the teams who have won trophies year in year out. So Rosicky cannot be classed as a club legend and never can be because he has never performed week in week out since he has joined our club and let us to trophies. Trophies aside he has never performed week in week out with splendit performances.

    A club legend at a smaller club does not need to have won trophies but they do need to really have won trophies when playing

  40. AFC says:

    at a top club like Arsenal.

  41. AFC says:

    JB, a veteran is a player who can also be a club legend but is more a player who has played for many teams throughout his career while performing week in week out to lead those clubs to trophies or being an integral part of the trophy winning teams. Veterans have played in many leagues around the world (often the best leagues) winning trophies while doing so. They are known all over the world and are generally regarded as top players in their position during their peak and even the best players of their generation. Some even have won trophies at international level as well.

    Now can you understand why Rosicky cannot (or never will) be classed as a veteran or a club?

  42. jnyc says:

    Excellent post. I think that actual age means very little. For example, Rosicky has played so little in the past few years, that IF he can stay healthy, he has more mileage to give. Arteta on the other hand has been playing a ton of minutes for years, so should need to be rested and rotated more from now on. Rosicky i would love to play occasionally as second choice to someone else, sharing time.

  43. AFC says:

    * The thing all club legends have in common are that they have performed week in and week out for years and years, leading their teams to winning trophies or being an integral part of the teams who have won trophies year in year out.

  44. AFC says:

    17ht, top post and the first of many great posts to come. 🙂

    There is a generational divide at Arsenal and I think it is down to Wenger switching from project youth to project experience (if you would call it that). We all remember the days where Wenger would only sign ‘teenagers’, now he is signing experienced players around the age 28 like Arteta and Podolski and now we are being linked with players over 30 such as Valdes and Villa.

    When we are linked with a player often our first thoughts are how old is he and is he young enough rather than how good the player is. United fans when linked with a player will not really think much about age e.g. RVP as SAF is known to sign players of all ages while AW is known for signing players in a specific age group depending on a specific period of time.

  45. 17highburyterrace says:

    G’morning mates (here in California)…. Happy Birthday to the Glicster…. I’m almost scared wondering what he will be giving himself….

    Not much on the news front this morning. Thomas Vermaelen says he wants to stay and fight for his place AND he seems to have gotten himself hurt playing for Belgium. Lucas Poldolski scores quicker than Glic goes boing over that South of Spain player sure to be playing in ManCity baby blue come August…

    Personally, I think we need to be announcing something more significant than Yaya Sanogo is the answer to our issues up front, sooner than later–toot sweet, in fact. I go back (a ways) to that post by ‘mair about Jovetic and/or the return of the Cescy one…. We could also use some fresh links to something in the Arteta/Ramsey part of the pitch, I think…

    Thanks AFC…It seems a little dangerous to be making generalizations about what Arsenal supporters are thinking, though I would agree that many of us try to think about the longer term as a bit of a coping mechanism. For too long, first with the obvious youth project and then with the upheavals of the past two summers, we’ve needed to dig deep and live both match to match (with a sense of anything-can-happen hopefulness) AND with a vague sense that we will emerge from the wild economics of the Sheik-o-Garch period on more of the front foot…. The promised land, we hope, isn’t too much further afield….

    For the REAL answers, I’ll turn it back to General (Napoleon) Mancini, who I picture under a great head of hair, with his hand cradling a pigeon emerging from his shirt… How do we conquer the continent and avoid that place called Waterloo?….

  46. Highbury Harmony says:

    So, I suppose you want me to say happy birthday?

    Did you know it was Isco’s birthday on April 21st?

    17ht, where are our personal replies?

  47. Highbury Harmony says:

    Happy birthday Glicster!! Might want to consider taking the missus here on your birthday:

  48. VCC says:

    17highburyterrace, ….are you any where near West Hollywood?

  49. AFC says:

    Happy Birthday Glic. 🙂

  50. VCC says:

    Here’s to GLiC

  51. VCC says:

    Try this one GLiC

  52. VCC says:

    Green hat = VCC……….Red hat = Redders……Yellow hat = Terry…..Tom toms = Alex.

  53. Gerry says:

    TA you have mail.

    HH the above is my racing blog address for TA to pass on, okay?

    There will be a blog tomorrow, before 9.0am, on the 3rd Classic race, The Oaks.

    Happy birthday glicster …from the ‘safe’ side of the Tamar!

    Off to feed the dogs now, but I look in briefly around 6.0-ish?

  54. Glic says:

    Thanks Bastardildos for the well wishing, you`re too kind, but it`s gone well past 16:00 and none of you`re gifts have arrived yet, you tight khuntz !.
    Being the King of Kernow, I have the right to dribble over any Cornish Virgin over the legal consent age on my birthday !. Trouble is, the allotted time runs out at midnight and I still haven`t found one !. Legal Cornish Virgins are a rarer sight than Arsene`s Transfer Wallet !. If only I could wander over to the safe side of the Tamar !.
    I would like to thank Vic`s for the Vids…..but I wont !…..you khuntz !…..I`m not f**king 5….Where`s the f**king porno `appy birthday vids ?. hahaha

  55. James Bond says:

    he he, thanks for the explanation AFC, but like i said, if rosicky helps us put tottenham hot spuds to bed in the future like he has done before then for me he’s a club legend even if he sits the rest of the season out on the stretcher 😉

    but on a more serious note, am looking forward to your post and the need of a veteran , it promises to be rather interesting.

    many happy returns of the day to you, Glics…how old are you now ? 150 ? 😀

  56. James Bond says:

    oh my ahahahhahahahahahahahah *1000000 @ VCC’s videos for glic

    ahahahahah hilarious, i actually thought Glic was a 150 and not 5 anymore 😀

  57. James Bond says:

    here comes your bday present, glics ( i hope you’ve not watched it already even if you have , so what 😉

    HH, we have unearthed ourselves a new striker, step aside Giroud there’s a Mannone coming

    http://player.arsenal.com/player/3689-the-chat

  58. Glic says:

    Listen here Bond, do you want me to remove your Double Oh status and replace it with a Double……. arghhh…….the pain…….in my scrotum !. hahaha

  59. Highbury Harmony says:

    hahaha JB, I saw that this morning. Mannone is hilarious, never would have expected that from his appearance!

  60. Highbury Harmony says:

    Cheers Gerry, I’ll grab that website off of TA 🙂

  61. Highbury Harmony says:

    What’s that Glic you want some male on male porno for your birthday??? Just make love to that Isco poster you have above your bed!

  62. Glic says:

    Hahaha Double H . We will go on a Double date, as you probably got a boner after hearing Theo say that the Pod has a beach body in that vid !.
    Anyway, it`s not an Isco poster, it`s an Isco blow up doll !. so there, shows how much you know !.

  63. Highbury Harmony says:

    Glic, aren’t I a little too old for you? After all, you’ve been courting a 21 year old little boy these past few months 😉

    Why did you fail to mention that the Isco blow up doll came with a free Isco faced dildo! I’ll let everyone else guess which one you use on yourself more!

  64. James Bond says:

    now now boys, let us not get Glics knickers in a twist, it’s his bday after all.

    the man with the biggest forehead seems to be heading back to france this summer , about time i says.

  65. 17highburyterrace says:

    Good stuff on the birthday front, though I worry that the hour is getting late for the Glicster and his dribbling dreams…. Sorry VCC, I’m up in the mountains of Northern California not in West Hollywood….

    So, HH wants a personal reply…. What can I tell you? I (along with a lot of ex-players, it seems) agree that it’s quite disturbing that we’re settling into being the 4th team in England. However, given that Spurs gave it everything they’ve got (on the back of a player who is bound to either leave or drop off a bit) and that Pool made “huge strides” this season with another loose cannon sort and that Everton look bound to drop after some pillaging of their best players and their manager by United, we should (italics) be able to create a little space with those below us. Also, the bands of all-stars (including managers) on the “assembled” teams (City and Chelsea) may need some time to figure out how to share the (single) ball on the pitch. I think we’ll be seeing a real influx of star power (starting with the return of Mourinho….) so the window of opportunity may be getting narrower. Still, it remains at least somewhat ajar….

    “Super Quality,” “World Class,” “Someone who improves our squad,”…. I’ll take ANY of them. We need to build on the good run-in without thinking that every part of that group who got us that (nearly unwatchable) series of results is untouchable. Some of those guys (you say Giroud, I say Ramsey/Arteta…) may need to take a seat deeper in the squad (i.e., on the bench) and allow a new boy (or two) to come in and up the real quality–while we continue to grind out results. We will not be instantly remaking the squad (nor playing a significantly better style of football), nor should we. Over time however, we must add significant quality while (hopefully) retaining enough depth to play twice a week (with a bit of style…) so that we can make a real run in multiple competitions. The good results of the (league) run-in proved nothing on that account….

    It did show (however) that the manager can still get it done keeping his squad focused and even leaning on some players with a strategic benching and/or promotion. Now we need him to show that he’s still got it when it comes to picking up transfers. On balance the last two windows (I thought) went well enough. Santi, Ollie, Lu-Lu and Nacho can ALL (however) be seen as stop-gap signings. Can the manager still pick players who will actually lift the team, not just keep us afloat?

    That’s the question and the waiting is the hardest part. I agree that we need to “break the cycle” and compete in earnest (on the pitch, at the very least…) with the 3 clubs who finished above us–not just because it would feel nice, but because the players (and the supporters) need something tangible to show that their belief going forward more than just hot air. I think you and I share a sense of hope for this summer (and the season ahead–and the longer haul…) but also realize that what we really require probably would look like a significant break from the recent past….It’s been promised (not for the first time…) but it doesn’t seem like anything to bet the house upon.

    How’s that?

  66. James Bond says:

    that’s out.

    plumb as it gets.

  67. AFC says:

    JB, I assuming you are English. If you are you will also find my post on England interesting. It will be about how the England team needs to be stripped and rebuilt with young players like our English core. How experience is needed however the England team has so much experience (which is quite frankly not needed as alot of our experience is pretty average) it is having a negative effect on our nation’s chances of actually getting close to winning someone.

    17ht, sorry for moving away from your top post for a bit.

  68. James Bond says:

    too right, we actually should have tried the young guns at the euros last year but as they say, better late than never.

    looking forward to it, AFC.

  69. Gerry says:

    I just read on the bbc that Liv’s Suarez is a £40 Real signing(in the offing, mind). That should mean Higuain is on is way out for sure.
    If they plan to go for Bale, and pay a fortune to keep Ronaldo, I guess a few more might be heading for the exit door … Ozil, anybody?

    Giving money to Liverpool is bad news for us though, as they seem to be after the same players.
    Manu will also come into that category if Fellaini doesn’t move?

    Are we sure the ‘special one’ is going to Chelsea? It has taken an age to announce, given they had 6 months to sort it out.

    Swansea want £200m to improve their squad, which makes my £98m seem quite puny?

    Just a few thoughts buzzing around my overworked brain at the moment …

  70. Gerry says:

    HH – TA is passing on my email, okay. Tell your dad if he looks at the last two blogs it makes me look really good, but go back further and I come out like a ‘no-nuthing’, so no surprises there/ Ha ha

  71. Glic says:

    No HH, the Isco Blow Up doll didn`t come with a mouth dildo ( I assume that’s what you meant ), it came with a 12″ industrial vibrating strength boner !. Right I`m off to the emergency dentist as a few of my teeth have been rattled loose !.

    Plus , the double date was for you to take one of Pods shots…which Mannone complained about…stung his hands apparently !.

    I`ve also noticed your fascination for avatars of Arsenal players from behind !. It`s OK, there`s no need to explain !….the exploits of the Toronto Shirtlifter has travelled far !. hahaha

  72. Gerry says:

    VCC – I hope you are taking note, there will be a (racing)blog out tomorrow.

  73. 17highburyterrace says:

    No problem on moving onto other topics….though I have to ask: Where’s HH, with a personal reply to my personal reply? 😉

    Here’s one from the official site (to match JB with the very enjoyable “tea-talk”)….

    Arsenal will release the following (youth) players….

    Conor Henderson, Jernade Meade, Sanchez Watt, James Shea, Reice Charles-Cook, Sead Hajrovic, Philip Roberts, Nigel Neita, Samir Bihmoutine and Josh Rees

    As I recall, Somebody here rated Hajrovic pretty highly during the Next-Gen tournament while a few of the others had some first team cameos…. I guess the youth program really is about finding the needle in the haystack….

  74. AFC says:

    JB, I will also be analysing our GK, DF, MF, ST areas.

    For example is there the need for Lampard, Carrick, Parker, Osman Gerrard in the midfield?

    Is there the need for Cole and Baines when Gibbs is available?

    Why Johnson who is defensively not the best (which is why Milner another midfielder we do not) still our no. 1 RB when Richards, Jenkinson and Walker are available?

  75. AFC says:

    * not need

  76. AFC says:

    is in the team

  77. Glic says:

    This is going to be hard viewing, but this is what we will be getting, just concentrate on the player, nothing else, especially the scoreline !. hahaha

  78. Glic says:

    It`s never ever crossed my mind to kidnap someone….well apart from Isco and well…..I was living in Arsenes loft a long time ago…..last week actually !, but this little f**ker could make me a fortune…plus, I could take out another lease of Arsene`s loft if Stretch is still dating the chloroformed Lithuanian cleaner of Arsene`s abode !.
    He will in time, come to think of me as his agent and friend. You lot will know me as the man who brought, the new Messi to Arsenal !.
    Is it just me or is he a greedy little bastard !. hahaha

  79. VCC says:

    sign him up GLiC, he could play in our first team now.

  80. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    Hes shit, If i was playing against him i would wind him up by saying i was doing his mum and then bust him up with a crunching tackle and if he still tried to take the piss i would threaten to do him in the tunnel. hahaha

  81. Glic says:

    That’s all well Stretch, but we`re talking about the little Messi in the video !…..not Highbury Harmony !. hahaha

  82. VCC says:

    Gerry 18:02…. 😉

  83. Glic says:

    Plus….that did sound a bit Savillesque !……” playing against him “……..”bust him up with a crunching Tackle ! “……… ” Do him in the Tunnel ! “. hahahaha

  84. Glic says:

    Does Gerry do a ….Racing Pigeon blog ?….Stretch would like that….or is it a bit down the pecking order ?.

  85. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    hahaha, cant believe it took you so long to Savillesque it.

    All them seventies twats are getting nicked now, even Jimmy Tarbuck. If i was Bruce Forsyth i would be shitting myself. hahaha

  86. Glic says:

    hahaha I bet Forsyth used to play the “Generation game” with kids in his house…….” try to remember the toys on the conveyor belt boys and you`ll get a stuffed one from Uncle Brucie ! “………..” Good game, good game…You go and hide naked in the cellar and Uncle Brucie will come and find you ! “…….Nice to see you…to see you naked nice ! “.
    No wonder he had so many catchphrase`s the f**king Spudpaedo !. hahaha

  87. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    hahahaha, all makes sense now dont it. Whilst they were bumming everyone off dont tell me they didnt shout.

    Saville – now then now then Jims fixing it for you agghhhh
    Tarbuck – winner jim take all your arse ohhhhhhhrrr
    Hall- Your bums a knockout ehhhhhhh
    Barlow- coronation streeearseeee
    Davidson- nick nick nick, jims gona get nickedarrrrrrrrggghhh
    Starr- gona make you eat Freddys hamster you little shiteeeerrrrrrgh

    hahahahahaha

  88. Highbury Harmony says:

    17ht @ 17:08, all agreed mate :). That final paragraph echoes my thoughts word for word. On the note of Spuds, Pool and Everton slightly dropping in form and those ahead of us maybe in line for some transition, I believe this is something we should not be hoping for/depending on. Resting on your laurels is the easiest way to suffer setbacks and further disappointment. I would prefer to be relatively proactive in improving the team with one or two current starters going to the bench, while also keeping all the players we already have too.

    Really appreciate the personalized response!

  89. Highbury Harmony says:

    Hahaha I prefer to not look at my prey if I am to do the deed…I can’t say the same for you as your avatar/photo attachments suggests you like your boys to be facing you dead on! Hands and knees they say, I have a lot of practice and you won’t be disappointed you say.

    Is your Isco blow up doll accommodating of all sizes? Or did you have to get it personalized so your micro todger would fit in hahaha?!

  90. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    Harmonious baby, do what i do. after you have tied them up blindfold them. hahaha

  91. Highbury Harmony says:

    Glic, what are you trying to show us with that youtube video? That you’ve moved on from 21 year old boys to prebuscent ones hahaha?! I guess you’ll get a pass for today since it’s your birthday, but I’ll have to report you to the authorities tomorrow so enjoy for now!

    Also, I’m with Terry, that kid is above average at best. His ball control is nowhere close to Messi’s!

  92. Glic says:

    Where Isco`s concerned, I only take, not give !……..the patter of little Isco`s running around the place ! hahaha

  93. Highbury Harmony says:

    Glic, was that video you posted the porno you wanted from all of us? Hahahaha!

  94. Highbury Harmony says:

    Here’s your birthday porn Glic!!! Enjoy, guess we’ll see you in a bit 😉

  95. Glic says:

    Who you talking about ?….Dan Crowley or little Messi ?

    In mitigation, I shall blame you for the first contact with Isco via a HH porno !. You have a lot to answer for !. hahaha

  96. Glic says:

    You must have read my mind !. hahaha

  97. James Bond says:

    interesting , so that’s thiago silva possibly on his way to man city (18 mill release clause), the new manager already working on his signings ?

  98. Highbury Harmony says:

    JB, his agent said he isn’t leaving PSG. Doesn’t matter, what an agent says isn’t worth crap these days. Suarez’s agent says he won’t be leaving Liverpool either, let’s see what happens.

  99. James Bond says:

    exactly doesn’t matter what the agent says,

    as Suarez directly said it would be difficult to say no to RM, which basically means come get me.

    i said it in one of the articles that i can see both Bale and Suarez going to RM next season in response to barca buying Neymar…..what ever happens in the course of the next 2 months, it promises to be a fascinating TW, maybe the most exciting TW for football fans in general.

  100. Gooner4eva49 says:

    Happy birthday Glic.

    HH,

    What do you know/think of Ibrahima Toure if you know any of him?

  101. Highbury Harmony says:

    G4eva49,

    Toure would be a low risk, high reward signing. He seems to get better with age and is very good in the air, but has pace, ability on the ball and agility that helps separate himself from defenders. Very raw talent is the best way I could describe him.

    With the Sanogo’s signing almost being complete, I can’t see us also moving for a player like Toure.

  102. Gooner4eva49 says:

    Thank you very much

  103. James Bond says:

    speaking of agents, here’s an interesting one to read for all those who’re bored…

    involves gareth bale 😉

    http://theboyhotspur.com/?p=2266

  104. Highbury Harmony says:

    You’re welcome G49 🙂

  105. TotalArsenal says:

    New Post – New Post 🙂

  106. James Bond says:

    AFC,

    the problem with our midfield is that it’s too one sided or has been over the years, scholes retiring from international footy didn’t help either…all the english midfielders you’ve mentioned are decent at best with the exception of lamps and stevie g (and one of them should have played not both at the same time) that’s why JW will always seen to be the focal point because his technical abilities on the ball are the best in this current england set up.

    like i said , you’re going in the right direction with your post, will be looking forward to it.

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