How DB10 re-inspired me: ‘Stillness and Speed’

‘Stillness and Speed’, by Dennis Bergkamp – A Review.

Thanking The Guardian for the picture.

Thanking The Guardian for the picture.

In terms of footballing autobiographies I am not very widely read; I think the extent of my involvement is Perry Groves’s (which was ridiculously funny in places, but amounted to essentially a collection of anecdotes) and Kenny Sansom’s, which I still haven’t finished. However, having spent four days immersed in Dennis Bergkamp’s experiences, I have emerged from my self-imposed exile from humanity with a much more satisfied glow than these other former Gunners provided, or threatened to provide. I feel now much more like I did at the end of Fever Pitch: pleased that God made me Gooner, and privileged to enjoy football in a way that only a Gooner can (and as Nick Hornby pointed out, this sometimes involves intense disappointment, frustration and hatred). If you’re looking for an objective review, you’re probably on the wrong website. I don’t want to ruin this book for anyone either, so my review won’t mention anything in great detail, as I could not do any of what was said justice by rehashing it into my own words.

Overall one of the best things I found was that the narrative isn’t a ghost writer imposing his own linguistic artistry onto Dennis’s thoughts and portraying them as his own, but rather a transcript of interviews with him and others who knew enough about him to add something worthwhile to the book (family, friends, colleagues and bosses from the teams he played for – notably Ian WWW, Thierry Henry and AW).

As I read the first few pages, I began to realise why I didn’t become a professional footballer (as I had wanted to when I was 6), or even very good at football at all: the attention to detail that Dennis put into everything, particularly football, was incomprehensible to me; and the feeling that he understood deeply something I only ever see superficially grew as the book progressed, as he spoke about distances between players, angles, manipulating space on the pitch, working for the team and making the perfect pass.

As an Arsenal fan, knowing where the book was headed even at the beginning, I was delighted to learn that he had put in more time and effort as a kid playing football on the street than I have ever had the concentration to put into football – he would aim for particular bricks in the wall he used to kick a ball against and constantly test out what happened when the ball rebounded in this way or that, or when he changed variable x, y or z.

Another impressive trait I observed was that of him not objecting to other people seeing events differently to him: he called it having their own truth, and he encouraged the authors to get the points of view honestly from others involved, such as at Inter Milan, where he doesn’t seem to have had a very good time. And although he would defend himself against some of what was said it would only be to put across his own view.

Turns out Dennis Bergkamp doesn’t like to do things the way other people do them.

That’s why he signed for Inter instead of Milan, opting against joining the Dutch trio who enjoyed enormous success there, where he would have been able to integrate pretty easily with van Basten and co, but would have become just another player scoring lots of goals: he wanted to make a distinct mark. It is also one of the reasons why, when he left Inter, he signed for us rather than the Spuds where Hoddle, one of his favourite players, had made a mark. Whatever the reason, and really the story of every human life hinges on decisions which may be made on little more than a whim, he signed for Arsenal and he has Arsenal in his blood now.

It was illuminating reading about situations at Highbury when Bruce Rioch was appointed; this was a time when the information superhighway was more of a dirt track, and one I was not connected to: most of my ‘knowledge’ of football came from Amiga games, and I was more concerned with whether Arsenal had beaten Villa or Man United than I was with who our manager was. From the time he was appointed to the time he departed, all I knew about him was that he’d been the Bolton manager when they’d knocked us out of the FA Cup. I didn’t realise he’d had a vision for Arsenal to play attractive football too.

Despite my comments about Perry Groves’s book earlier, autobiographies would be nothing without anecdotes, and once Dennis has signed for Arsenal there are a good few of them, and as a Gooner a lot of them made me giddy with excitement, as I’m sure they will you lot too.

I know I said I didn’t want to spoil it but if you don’t know the one about his first meeting with Ian Wright, you’re in for a treat; in general however it was exhilarating to see what other people at Arsenal had to say about him, particularly Thierry and Wrighty, who played up front alongside him. I get the impression that it was really at Arsenal he was allowed to become the footballer he wanted to be and his commitment to the team (whichever one he was playing for) is something that is reflected in the way he takes pleasure as much in his assists as he does in his goals.

It is lovely to relive his great goals as well though: another reminder as to why I was never going to play football for a living though as he talked me through his decision making processes and the attendant awareness of everything around him on the pitch. The goal against Newcastle still has me in awe, as does the one for Holland at the World Cup.

Discussions of his experiences at Ajax, Inter and Arsenal lend themselves naturally to delicious considerations of his footballing ideology both by himself and others, notably Johan Cruyff, AW and Thierry. Certain transfer decisions are cast into lights we may not have considered before too, which, whilst objectively uninteresting, is still of immense interest to (certain) Gooners. I was just annoyed Vieira to Juve wasn’t one of them.
I’m not a literature buff so I don’t read many books more than once, but this is certainly one I will come back to. Because of Stillness and Speed, my three-year-old can now recognise DB10 and AW, and I feel like a better informed Gooner for reading it.

I cannot recommend it highly enough, especially to Gooners.

Written by: Jozefos2013

For another review, see this Guardian link:

http://www.theguardian.com/football/2013/sep/21/dennis-bergkamp-arsenal-love-game

TA

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69 Responses to How DB10 re-inspired me: ‘Stillness and Speed’

  1. TotalArsenal says:

    Jozefos2013 🙂

    Welcome to BK’s writers group. There are 22 now, so two SQ ones for every position.

    Thanks for a truly fantastic post. Your book review shows so much respect for Dennis and he clearly has re-inspired you. I must admit shamefully 😳 I still have to read it. I half expected to get Stillness and Speed for Christmas but it did not happen.

    Like you, I have a mixed relationship with football books (but, unlike you, I like literature a lot). They often disappoint and seldom do they get finished. But you have inspired me to get a copy and read it. 🙂

  2. TotalArsenal says:

    Re Vieira departure. Did you see the Keane – Vieira documentary on ITV a month or so ago? It was clear that Vieira did not want to go then but Arsenal decided to cash in on him and sold him without him knowing about it initially. We should never have let him go…

  3. TotalArsenal says:

    ‘There are not many players in the game that can do this and make it look so ridiculously simple’

  4. TotalArsenal says:

    Don’t take the first word of Dennis’ book too literally, FFG’s! 😉

    James, I have changed the background colour to gold (hope it shows up like that on your PC/Mobile phone) in support of the recovery of your wonderful missus and as a late appreciation of you being our top commenter in 2013. 🙂

    Catch you later guys.

  5. AFC says:

    TA, unfortunately the gold background doesn’t show up on mobile. 😦

  6. Milo says:

    Arsene has brought back Campbell, Pires, even crazy Jens Lehmann, yet I get the feeling there is a deep rift between Arsene and Patrick Vieira. I don’t actually know who started what. All I can see is that as long as Arsene is at the club, I don’t think Vieira will be back, unless something changes drastically. Did we and do we miss a presence in midfield like Vieira??? Yes. Do I think it is impossible to find another Patrick Vieira, if Arsene wants to incorporate that type of player into his tactics??? No. I think the main reason we don’t have another Vieira already is that Arsene doesn’t see the need for a player of that ilk in his starting eleven. Also his loyalty to Diaby has played a part in this. I am on Arsene’s side concerning both issues. In my honest opinion, midfield players should attack and defend as a unit. NOT in equal ammounts, but you do want some continuity to both sides of play. You shouldn’t heap it all on one players’ shoulders to do both. That is why I can’t stand to see our players just jogging or not even running to get back in to a defensive position, or making runs into the box when we are attacking. I know that expends energy, but it wins you matches. Regarding Diaby, I don’t think he was ever destined to become as good as Vieira was defensively, but he would have added a bit of a presence in our midfield. I think Arsene should give him the chance to re-gain his fitness, if only for him to find a new club when he returns to health. Just sending him away from doctors he is familiar with, and facilities he is comfortable in would be unethical to me. I mean what club would allow him to sign, in his current condition and allow him to rehabilitate in their facilities as well as utilize the service of the club doctors??? Clubs in France are not as wealthy as Premier League clubs, for example, and who would pay 7-10 million pounds so that they could help Abou regain his fitness??? Unless Abou is FORCED to retire due to his injuries, I would let him stick around until he is healthy and ready to play, and then sell him, or let him play for us, if some miracle occurs.

  7. AFC says:

    Jozefos2013, a very fine maiden post in which you give us a really good insight into one of our greatest attackers. 🙂

    You give us a really nice teaser about what Stillness and Speed is all about. Hopefully I might be able to stumble upon parts of the book.

    Hope this is the first of many great posts to come from you. 🙂

  8. AFC says:

    Hi Milo 🙂

    I think we had that player in Song and then we let him go. A midfield of Song and Ramsey would have been closest to the Vieira and Petit//Silva combo.

    I’m kind of lost on Diaby and I do not really know what will happen.

  9. AFC says:

    Milo, I think if we do let him go we should just let him go for free or for a really small amounts of money.

  10. Afternoon Tickle Tackle Transfer Trannies !. 😆

    Thank you Jozefos . 🙂
    I haven`t read a book in years and with the internet, I doubt I ever will. After working, house stuff, exercise, TV ( and thank Dennis for SKY+, as I can just fastforward through all the commercial breaks ! ) and anything else, I spend my time on the internet ( what a techno Dennis send ! ). So basically BK is my book reading !. Anyway, I`d much prefer to watch a film of DB10`s book !…much quicker, just like films, I`d rather watch a Stars Wars film than read the book, but that’s just me !.
    Going back to something I posted yesterday……….the FFP bollox and Mansour City ( I`m sure others inc` Chavs , Monaco, PSG etc` are just as dirty ! )…..payment for ” Intellectual Property ” services from ” related ” and ” third ” parties to the tune of £47M !…….apparently it comes from the likes of…..Man City Ladies….Melbourne Heart……New York FC !. Guess who owns them !………Mansour City !………we haven’t a chance of ever breaking City, Chavs and Manscums ( due to their size globally, rumour is their next kit deal will be £75m per year ! ) dominance of the EPL until either….1) UEFA reels out the iron rod and quickly makes an example of one or more of these clubs and I don’t mean any financial fine, but a ban or points deduction !. 2) We get as rich owners !. 3) We get lucky !.

  11. AB says:

    Excellent post Joz. Its often the case that people who really excel at any one thing tend to be interesting in many other respects. DB10 is certainly in that category, and intelligent mind and strong views of his own.

    I’ve been watching the blogs all day, more in hope than in expectation. As the day has gone on it seems most of the people we have been linked with have committed their future’s elsewhere. Drax still in play it would seem, albeit with very firm denials from Germany – tactical negotiations? I am steeling myself for no purchases though, which I confess would feel like a let down, even though I have argued for our current squad and the investment in developing our young players. But its that time of the season where, given our current injury situation, we could really do with a symbolic lift, as well as someone to give us a fresh option. Still hoping…..

  12. James Bond says:

    that was a joyful read and yes, sounds like the book is a must read for all the gooners @ Jozefos2013 – Thank you for shedding some light on it and writing a different yet quality post !

    oh cheers @ TA – thank you for doing it 🙂 but if it gets a tad annoying or uneasy for everyone then by all means you can change it back – however, it also compliments our away kit (the yellow one ) 🙂

    from the last post, yes fully agreed with both you and 17HT – and last I spoke with the sauce, I was told 1+1 = ? yep, the clock is ticking though and Fabianski is getting restless…. (and yes, things are really looking up now , I can take her home tomorrow but she will need proper care for another 2 weeks, so we will need a nurse to stay with her at all times to monitor her and so on – big day tomorrow for more than 1 reason 🙂

    Milo & AFC,

    Re- Diaby – well, we all wish him well and do support him and to be fair to him, he’s not the greedy or selfish type and has taking a pay cut through all these months he has sat out due to injury (voluntarily) ….he was in Saudia Arabia or the middle east last month and managed to play in a charity football match …at the time there were some reports coming out that he was going to be retiring from football – well on the one hand , he was back on the pitch for a charity match and the other you had these conflicting news with him retiring, I just like you hope that he can come back and maybe give it an almighty push one last time and see how it goes ? RVP was as frustrating if not more and when he had turned 28, only then he had started to put a few games together… Diaby is still 27 , so he shouldn’t lose heart and mustn’t give up – he was initially penciled in for a return in feb/ march after his latest set back in november.

    fingers crossed on that front as every little helps when it comes to feb and march (they have hardly been kind to us in the past, as we have dropped and lost quite a few matches)

    TCM,

    I said it long ago, FFP will be gang banged by these mega rich oilers and other clubs with financial muscle in such a way that makes you go WTF ? I know that TMHT is a massive believer and admirer as are IA and AW but the reality is that you have some clubs who pump in money by other means to self generate and sustain the model by doing dubious deals apparently…i.e.

    PSG commercial income £40 million – now £400 million

    Man $hity – naming right, property development and you get the drift.

    Chelsea by far are the most smartest of them all, they invested and invested and now are in a position to keep going just by selling 1 player every window to recoup massive amounts to re-invest in quality players – they can easily sell David Luiz for 35-40 million and get in a WC striker – or they can sell a goalie on loan for 20-30 million and use that money to cover up the cracks like Arsenal used to do over the last so many years…

    the sad truth is that we are only able to hang in there due to our high ticket prices and so on – the sooner we win a trophy or 2 the better it gets for us on that front with increased revenue from commercial streams e.t.c e.t.c

    on a positive note, if we win the league this year then yes, we can dominate it for a number of years – how ? we strengthen in every single TW by adding only SQ players – 1 or 2 every window and we can keep things interesting with our core of promising and young gunners who be champions and would have tasted blood just like your favourite SPARTACUS !

    JM – where art thou ?

  13. Admir says:

    Hello, people! 🙂

    Welcome among the writers, jozefos. 🙂 Great maiden post about one of the best players in Arsenal history (I still reckon Henry as the best).

    When it comes to Vieira’s transfer, Arsene himself said that he sold Vieira due to incompatibility with Fabregas. He said: “Combination Cesc-Vieira didn’t work. Either of them had worked well with Silva but not with each other.” His decision to sell Vieira – who wanted to leave in 2001 and nearly became the first Arsenal captain to join Manure – was an investment in the future. Vieira was 29, plagued by injuries and Wenger probably saw him “spent” as well. Cesc was only 17, with a unique sense for passing and scoring goals. Also, Wenger probably wanted to change his midfield in order to get more mobile and creative team, a team closer to his Wengerball-ideal. Even though he had never played for George Graham, Vieira – tall and strong midfielder – was the last connection between Graham’s Arsenal and Wenger’s Arsenal. Arsene opted for Cesc and, let’s not forget, signed Aliaksandr Hleb from Stuttgart in order to complete transformation of Arsenal. Hleb was a player that I had been really excited about before he joined us. He was Santi before Santi – an ambidextrous (yes, he took corners with his both feet at Stuttgart) creative midfielder. Unfortunately, that bread* landed butter side down as he took time to find his feet and once when he did, he left us for Barcelona.

    Now, it seems that we won’t sign anyone in January. I don’t know what to think about that. I’d sign Song and Tello from Barcelona on loan and then go for Deulofeu in the summer. Schalke director said that Draxler will stay in Germany until summer and beyond. More importantly, Draxler’s clause expired last year.

    – “hleb” means “bread” on Serbian

  14. James Bond says:

    hi AB 🙂

    don’t believe what the German Media report, they also reported denials for Poldi a few years ago and in March he was announced as an Arsenal player to sweeten the RVP blow.

    there were 2 targets and in coming’s which were being worked at hopefully – whether we have moved nice and early and are just delaying it till the last minute on purpose or as usual Mr. Wenger is undecided whether to go ahead and see if he gets a last minute bargain instead, remains to be seen – either way , he wasn’t joking when he said it’s hour by hour now, ha

  15. Agreed JB……winning some trophies is the way to get the sponsors and world wide fans, but you have to speculate to accumulate and a SQ once in a Blue Moon ( see the City reff` there ! ) is a drop in the ocean compared to what the others have done !.
    Now if only Syrup Stan would pay us £50M for the “Intellectual Property” used with Colorado Rapids !.

  16. James Bond says:

    hi Admir,

    agreed, Hleb had massive potential…what could have been was sadly not to be.

    re- Draxler clause, it can be activated every summer until the next 4 years – not in winter though but Sch want the monies and a goalie – we have the monies and fabianski 😉

    thanks for sharing that bit about your brave grandmother , was truly inspirational and motivational !

  17. Admir says:

    Thanks, mate! 🙂 I’m glad you find it that way. 🙂 She is arguably the strongest person I’ve ever seen.

    She’s unhappy with my uncle who hasn’t got married yet. Few days ago, he was carrying her to her bed and joked with her: “You see? Your daughter-in-law would have never carry you like I do!” She replied as quick as Walcott’s run: “I would have forgiven her even if she had beaten me, if only you got married for once!” 😀

  18. James Bond says:

    strong, brave and witty – no wonder you turned out to be this bright yourself !

  19. Remember….Madame Monster gave you an insight to our next Ten Games ( EPL) !. We will be like a punch drunk boxer by the end of these 10 games and we will be like a spec in City`s rear view mirror !. After Chavs on Monday night they have Norwich (A), Stoke , Sunderland and Villa ….all at home !.
    I have always said and still believe that me, you and a chimp from a zoo could win trophies with the money Chavs and City have had !. Mourinho………Bobby Robson`s interpreter. Pellegrini minor footballer !. Buy all the best players and let your coaches do the rest !. Simple !.

  20. Gerry says:

    Surprisingly, I am not a great reader. One of the better things about my higher education, I had to, and enjoyed what I read. However, biographies, auto or not, are not even on my longest list of things ‘to do before I die’

    You could have just moved this one to very near the top. Excellent review.

    Jozefoz2013 you have made one of the best maiden posts on this wonderful site.

  21. TotalArsenal says:

    Excellent news James. Your woman is coming home and who knows is coming to the home of football tomorrow. It will be serendipity! 🙂 We keep the background golden for the whole month of February in support of you and the missus and to give the team extra strength: Gold level support! 😉

    Admir, you should write a post about the Vieira theme. I don’t agree with you, but you might change my mind with some more thought behind that point of view… 😉

    Time to feed the goats, I mean girls. 😆

    Back in a bit

  22. Yes, everything still crossed for you JB !. I like the Solar background, every time I go down stairs the missus has a puzzled look about my tan !.

  23. VCC says:

    Jozefos2013. Welcome to BK. You are certainly with like minded footie fans here.

    That was a fine first post for BK, well done.

    I have been here from the start and you have more courage than me 🙂

    My Birthday is next month and that book has gone on my wish list, thank you.

    VIVA DB10

  24. OMGArsenal says:

    CM…….we have two very rich owners but the financial and management model Wenger and the Board adhere to does not encourage their intervention and investment….which is fine by me. The EPL is NOT won in the bank vault but on the field and Wenger knows how to do that, and with the added sponsorship deals, the ending of the stadium debt and the improving financials acorss the Club, we can expect the combination of top class transfers and in-club youth development , as well as the maturing kids already in the first team to see us to the top and trophies.

  25. OMG
    Your ideology is commendable, but in the real world the rich get richer. Mansour City along with PSG are super rich clubs, we are a rich club. Current history tells us most of the time the biggest clubs ( richest ) in all leagues ( continental inc` ) win the trophies !.
    Given our history and world wide iconic image, I have no doubt whatsoever in my mind that had Mansour bought The Arsenal instead of the little Manchester club, we would be the current EPL champions going for a 3rd consecutive title and on our way to becoming as big as the big Manchester club !.
    Abamobitch and even if he were to own Arsenal…Usmanov, are paupers compared to these Arab Royal families. So even an Usmanov might not be enough !. Unless UEFA act, then I doubt to see a title in my life time. Paying their selves millions of pounds from clubs they also own to get around FFP is the mother of all piss takes !.
    It`s like me being behind a bullet proof glass whilst I shag Terry`s Thunder Thighs former missus !. Terry has a gun in his hand but cant do a thing, so he gives in and has a wank instead !. hahaha

  26. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    Thank you Jozefos.

    As soon as I saw you were the author I knew I would not be disapointed. Your previous works, including the historical account of the Jewish – Roman war were highly stimulating, but of great interest to me was your fascinating recount of early Christianity, especially your views on Jesus

    How fitting then that you share with us your insight into the great Bergkamp. I believe that history will judge Bergkamp kindly. A wonderful player, and as the decades pass, talk of walking on water logged pitches and feeding Ray Parlour will surely follow.

    It is well know that Bergkamp was for days and nights tempted by Alec Ferguson, but behold, the Bergkamp did utter “Be gone, you red nosed bastard”

    After Bergkamp returned form the wilderness he began choosing his Disciples. Crazy ian wright, Long Cock Viera, and Tony likes a drink Adams, all followed and loved the great one.

    Nicolas Anelka tried to betray him with 30 pieces of Madrid silver. but this failed and Anelka was forced to hang up his boots after caught consorting with a Pheasent

    Yes, I will read the book Jozefus, like all good Bergkampesquers should

  27. AB says:

    Cockie, you are partially right, but only partially. Yes in the real world the risk get richer. But then they also go broke, get assassinated, or locked up for fraud, or they just move onto other things. Don’t dream of all the instant wealth and glory without facing up to the consequences that follow; there is always a cost of one sort or another.

    I’d rather we paid our way, worked hard and invested for the future. If its not enough for today then sobeit. I waited 15 years to see us win the league, and I can wait again. But I wouldn’t risk our club and what it stands for for any amount of easily won (bought) silverware.

    We’re gooners Cockie, not easy money new boys…..

  28. AB says:

    rich! bloody auto spell

  29. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    AB, spot on once more sir.

    Bondy, FFP is already working. The bottom line is, does it constrain spending? the answer is yes. Its a question of perspective. If people want it to send City, Chelsea etc back to were they came from, they will be disapointed.

    If on the other hand you are content with it to some extent curtailing financial doping, thus allowing traditonal big Clubs a good chance to compete, then you will be satisfied.

  30. alcide says:

    Excellent post Jozefos2013, and had I not already read the book (gone in one afternoon unfortunately), I would have gone for it. I can only further confirm that it’s a must read for a gooner, and give a great internal insight (that of a genius) of footballers, coaches, Arsenal and some key players, and football in general.

    JB, the good news bring me great joy, seriously 🙂

    I’m not going to comment on the FFP – waiting perhaps for someone to make a post one of these days to give my thoughts as a finance guy (TA, please don’t ask me, I hardly have time to read the blog these days!). Or hope that Swiss Ramble tackles the subject.

    Laters!

  31. jozefos2013 says:

    Thanks for your kind comments everyone. I don’t think I’ll be a prolific contributor but if I’ve got something to say I won’t be shy (VCC, I don’t think it took courage exactly – I just felt compelled to respond to 17HT’s suggestion after a few days spent basking in DB10’s glory). Actually, reading TMHT’s tribute to Dennis on that section of the blog, there are striking similarities between that and sections of the book!

    The Vieira thing, I’m not sure what to make of it, although I certainly didn’t realise AW specifically chose Cesc above him. But the idea that le Boss didn’t think we needed a player in his mould is certainly borne out by the fact that he also let Gilberto leave, another source of chagrin for me as I’m sure if we’d had players like Flam is for us now we would have stood a better chance of winning stuff even in the lean years. Perhaps the purist in Wenger didn’t *want* to win stuff with a combative midfielder in the side; I can’t imagine up any other explanation for not hanging on to any of Paddy, Gilberto or Song.

    Looking forward to the weekend…have Sky Sports now, so hopefully will be able to witness an Arsenal win live for once!

  32. Milo says:

    I have a theory that both Arsene and Vieira were wrong in how they handled themselves, but neither one was willing to admit they made a mistake or two. They are both very strong personalities from what I can tell. I think he sold Gilberto because he was ageing. He sold him a few years after Vieira and he was only a year younger than Patrick. I just don’t think he has found the midfielder yet, with enough pace (which was Song’s weakness) and technical skill to measure up to Vieira. Obviously you have Pogba who is similar to Vieira in some ways, but he would cost waaaaaaaaaay too much. Then you have players who have only just emerged like Gianelli Imbula for Marseille. I’m NOT saying we should buy him necessarily, but he could be one to look at, at least.

  33. AB says:

    A couple of thoughts on the Vieira front – hope this doesn’t cause too much upset! I think we (Wenger) made exactly the right decisions on Vieira and Gilberto, in playing terms.

    Now don’t get me wrong here, Vieira was one of the finest players ever to wear an Arsenal shirt, and Gilberto was understated quality from head to toe. But both had been through their prime – it didn’t show with Vieira, though it did soon enough after he left, but Gilberto was clearly off the pace by the end for our style of play.

    I think cashing in on Vieira, and opening up the game around Fab was brilliant judgement – and if we had held onto Fab, Nasri, Hleb and RVJ I don’t think anyone would have been debating the matter by now. Where I miss Vieira is in his presence as a senior figure around the club. He should be an ambassador with us, someone reminding young players about the quality and history of our club, and attracting them to join us. Seeing him at City really sticks in the throat.

    Gilberto was different. The crime there was letting him go, selling Diarra and allowing Flam to wind down his contract all in the same season! Too much is made of the value of Dein I suspect, but I don’t feel he would have allowed us to let all our DM options go in one fell swoop like that. Again, that really cost us, and we have been all round the houses with our defence until now when we have Flam back in the team.

    While I’m on the subject of sacred cows, I might as well get Henry of my chest too – we sold him a year too late, I presume because Wenger dallied. We should have cashed in the year before, when we would have got Etoo plus cash, instead of the £13.5M I think we got – and that after a poor season by his standards. Again, I have nothing but fondness for Henry and his time with us. But by the end he was inhibiting young players in the team, was getting to be a prima dona (most of our other big stars had gone or retired) and his legs were going.

    One of Wenger’s great skills, from his early days with us, was the ability to move people on when we had got the best from them but they still had a sale value. Sadly in recent years he has not had the opportunity to practice this much, as the top quality has mostly gone before he has needed to. I can only hope that he gets to refresh those skills again with us in the future!

    I will leave it there for the night – watching the transfer run in is proving too depressing!

  34. James Bond says:

    Glics,

    you have have any owner you want pumping in endless money but what good is it , if you have a manager who doesn’t want to spend any of it ?

    we have had 70-100 million sat in the bank for god knows how long for the right players (according to AW) , yet it’s been 3 windows and we haven’t managed to get a striker and that £70 million set aside is still there, giving eggs (or earning a high interest).

    you wanna know a secret ? it was our good luck that new castle didn’t sell us Cabaye or else there may have been no Ozil.

    blimey, Arsene – It’s JAnauary, the world cup year – pay the money and get on with it – everyone knows we must pay a premium in January – everyone wants you to go ahead with the deal yet as usual, what goes on in his mind is beyond everyone really

    anyhow – Arsene knows best ?

    roller coaster ride time tomorrow.

    cheers lads 🙂

  35. Milo says:

    I’m not too worried about us not buying, to be honest. I mean the midfield situation DOES worry me, but injuries occur to every club. Chamberlain will do well in this coming match I feel, if he is played in a deeper role. I think and hope he will surprise a few people. I actually think we should place Alex as the deepest lying midfielder and play Arteta a bit further forward. I remember against Cologne (inferior opposition, I know) he played as the deepest lying midfielder and he dominated the match. He does have it in him. I know it would be a waste of his pace to play him in a deeper role, but he is fast enough to be able to run upfield with or without possession and be able to recover without too much trouble. We DO have enough talent to win the title this season. Next season will be different, depending on how strong other clubs are, but as it stands, in my eyes, we have enough talent to win the league. I think what Wenger has to do is be a bit more pro-active in the summer. He has to somehow figure out if Wilshere’s ankle problems will be permanent, and he will probably have to buy one or two players. If Wilshere cannot be depended upon yet if ever, then he has to realize this and play him accordingly. You should never give up on such a talented young player, but I DON’T want another case like Diaby on our hands. I even think if Mikel Arteta gains full fitness this season, we might make it through this rough patch relatively ok. He does have to up his play though, or else we will be in big trouble. We shouldn’t be in a position to rely upon him though, but we are and he will have to step up to the plate and deliver. I still think he can do it. No, he won’t be a dynamic presence in there, but I think he can do it. I was really upset with him last match, but it was his first match back from injury. I still think he could have moved about a bit more urgently, but he didn’t. Hopefully he will benefit from the rest he has gained this week and put in a solid performance.

  36. Is it possible that a DM beast is the hardest position to fill ?. Over the last few years we have had the expected own youth of Le Coq and Frimpong not live up to the hype. We have courted both Capoue and M`Villa and they have not pulled up any trees and then there`s Totals favourite, Wanyama, another risk and we end up with a freebie who will spend half the time either injured or suspended !. So for all the new pretenders who we have salivated over the last TW`s…the Benders, Matuidi and anyone else, are they that good or are they the next Capoue, M`Villa etc` who look good , but are in fact just average !. It`s no wonder, we have been starved of such a player, when may be there`s not to many SQ ones out there !.
    Box 2 box is easier…..Pogba is and will be a great player !.
    AB…..I`ve been a Gooner for well over 50 years and what Mansour City are doing has turned football upside down imo. Do I want to sit back and watch them, Chavs and Manscum ride rough shot over everyone and just keep celebrating 3rd or 4th for the rest of my days thinking we have the moral high ground or do I crave for what they will inevitably gain…..trophies !.
    I want proper trophy`s and as much as I respect your, Stretches and anyone else`s opinion on morals and FFP, I just cant see it working as if you have read my concerns on ” intellectual property ” loop holes, then imo it`s going to be a long wait `till we get the brasso out !.

  37. AFC says:

    Cockie, I am certain that we will not get a DM/box to box midfielder better than Song. He is the best option out there and that is why Barca signed him in the first place.

  38. AFC says:

    Milo, this squad is still not good enough to win the win the league convincingly in my opinion. Ox cannot play that deeper role against the best in my opinion. I would definitely say the DM area is an area we need to strengthen.

  39. JB
    If we had a Mansour pumping £1B into the club and the manager was foolish enough not to spend it , then the manager would be sacked, simple as that, but it`s all hypothetical and we`ve been dealt the hand of a 1930`s bank manager !.
    Wenger will get the contract he deserves and if I`m to believe what Stretch says, we will have to wait another 5 years until FFP finally hit home. Do I want to wait 5 years ?. Do any of you ?. Will any of you be happy to wait that long before UEFA can actually ban someone ?. In 5 years time will the goal posts have moved again and we will be promised sanctions will be another 5 years down the line ?. Will the £70M Gazidas promised every year from now on be enough ?. Manscums next shirt deal is rumoured to be an auction which will get them £70M per year, blows our new one right out of the water !. Dennis knows what Mansour City will come up with next if Manscum get £70M !.

  40. AB says:

    Hi again Cockie. i can only claim over 40 years following the Arse, but its long enough for me to be equally unimpressed by City and Chelski. Being of Scottish extraction though, and having followed Hearts since early childhood, I must stress again the risks of becoming the plaything of some super risk maniac.

    Now, I don’t believe that FFP will sort things out and give us a level playing field, though I hope it helps a little. But I do believe that a long term perspective for our club, a sound financial platform, a policy of continuity at the manager and coach level, and an investment in the development of technically skilled youth, all combine to give us an edge, that occasionally at least will enable us to compete. And as long as our opposition keep sacking their managers, or buying trophy players to please the owner, or just plain buying too many people in the squad to keep a happy team, then there should be enough shots in their own feet to give us a chance. Remember, its United that have been the curse for the last 20 years, not any oil-money toy club – and though I hate to say it, their club model is not so far removed from ours.

    So its back to patience for me. Perhaps I’m less anxious about living to see the next Arsenal trophy than you Cockie – though not by much I guess! But nothing would make me want to go the way of City – I would get barely any sense of satisfaction from a trophy won that way. But the night we put 2 away in the final game at Anfield, with a team we truly built, will be buried with me.

  41. AB says:

    rich!!!!!

  42. AFC says:

    JB, I am glad Cabaye went to PSG. Why? Because I am afraid we would have signed yet another average player who we do not need.

  43. AB says:

    AFC. Not sure Cabaye is average, but he does not raise the bar significantly for me. He reminds me of a younger Arteta, which is no sleight by any means, but not one to get the pulse racing either.

  44. AFC says:

    AB, he is not SQ and would not displace a fully fit Diaby, Ramsey, Wilshere or Flamini from the starting line up in my opinion. We need to buy young players with potential but who are already established like Ozil, Pogba etc.

  45. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    Am i missing something? Is Daniel Levy secretly Father Christmas or 45 year old Hornby train enthusiasts trustworthy?

    The last time I looked we were 1 point of the top, still in Europe and the FA Cup, and in the market for new players.

    We ARE competing.

  46. AB says:

    AFC. Agreed, he is not SQ. But he is the next level down, which is not to be sneezed at. We are not going to SQ in every position, the challenge is to blend the SQ mix in with a combination of experience, youthful energy, and commitment on the field. I think Wenger would swap Cab for Flam in an instant if he had the choice. And many would say the same over Diaby – taking injury risk into account. Jack is the only SQ in the list you gave – and he is potential SQ rather than realised. Ram has started this season like a train, and may yet be the real deal. Our only established SQ in the team is Ozil – unless Glic gets his wish we won’t ever have 11 like him in our squad!

  47. You whipper snapper , AB !. hahaha
    The best thing, although it wont happen, would have been the German model of ownership, where no rich bastard owns the club outright !. Too late now !. The next leveller imo, is every club has a multi-billionaire owner and Dennis forbid it, everyone has a chance even the spuds !, but at the end of the day I just want Arsenal to be competing, that’s the main objective, not even the trophies because they will follow if we compete. I just don’t see us competing as it stands !.

    Night !. 🙂

    PS
    As you can gather, that Mansour City £47M from the sale of “intellectual property” has really peeved me off and until someone can convince me that’s (Financial) Fair Play !, I wont hold out to much for our chances !. 😦

  48. AB says:

    TMHC – exactly! And based on a set of values we can be proud of.

  49. AFC says:

    AB, I never said Ramsey, Wilshere, Flamini etc were SQ. If you look at our squad a SQ DM and ST are needed.

  50. AFC says:

    And I did say a fully fit Diaby. 😉

  51. If we beat Liverscum in the FA Cup, knock BM out of the CL and win our next ten EPL games then I will agree, we are competing !

    Oh and buy Suarez, Reus, Messi and Ronaldo !.
    Time will tell at the end of the season whether we competed or not !.
    Anyway, I need my rest for TW Deadline Day….a feast of TW Porn !.

    Any of you watch House of Fools ?. Two BKers on it straight away…..Stretch is…..Beef ! ( although next weeks episode is about Bobs wig ! )……and Total is …..Eric ! ( he has a dutch/deutch accent ! ). Not sure who Bosh is yet !. It`s fcuking mad !. Must have been written by Fozzer !. hahaha
    Night again !.

  52. AFC says:

    No sorry Cockie. It will surely will be a headache tomorrow. Why does one of the best managers in the world choose to do his business in the last 24 hours? It’s beypnd me any way Arsene knows best. 😀

  53. AB says:

    Quite so AFC. I think the SQ needs for our squad could be in a range of places. I would love a top DM as much as anyone. But I don’t see Wenger paying really big money for anyone not in a creative attacking place. Whether he will stump up the cash this time, looks increasingly doubtful. After Hazard and Goetze were missed, we pursued both without making big enough offers, I hope he would think harder next time he finds what he believes to be the right quality – if we don’t buy Draxler now I suspect we never will sadly. So it will be on to search for the next prodigy and see if we can buy him before his price gets too high.

  54. AFC says:

    AB, well if you can find one of the rare top DMs then Wenger should spend big . If you spend big on a DM around 22-26 he could contribute for 8-10 years which would be cheaper than buying stop gaps like Arteta.

  55. AFC says:

    AB, I’m off now. 🙂

    Hopefully something GOOD happens tomorrow. 🙂

  56. AB says:

    AFC – Amen!

  57. Milo says:

    Dennis Bergkamp once posed the question “do you love Arsenal or do you only love Arsenal with trophies?” Or something along those lines. I would still watch all the matches I could if we were a mid-table club. I would prefer a bit more transparency from the board and Arsene when it comes to financial matters, but if we DO end up a mid-table club, then it would be pretty evident by then, that the money never was there to begin with, don’t you think??? I don’t think Arsene would allow us to slip out of the Champions League and just leave us high and dry. He might not have a choice though, if say in five or six year’s time we miss out and by then he is almost 70 years old. I don’t think that will happen though. We have moved a step in the right direction this year by being competitive later in to the campaign, That is partly down to circumstances beyond the club’s control, but we are there none the less.

  58. TotalArsenal says:

    Morning all 🙂

    Cocker you are mixing up quality with fitness when you ‘review’ Wanyama’s qualities. Beasts still get injured nw and again.

  59. Gerry says:

    Picking up on the transfer scene, morning all, It is not that the money is not there, nor about AW not willing to spend it. It is largely about RISK.

    If you want to buy a player that is quoted at £30m, and even if that is a fair price in today’s market, then two things have to be considered:

    Will the player be worth more at the end of the contract length?

    What if the player fails to live up to his reputation in the EPL?

    For AW, the former is the value added bit, and he is experienced to know, or at least have a fair idea, that this player will improve whilst playing for us, and so enhance his reputation, standing against contemporaries, and thus have a good resale price at the end of his time with us, should that be on the agenda then

    The latter is more tricky, but to give a margin of safety, AW puts a smaller amount down, say 50% of what player X would be worth if every thing goes well in the early years of the contract, and will pay the difference of the current price in ‘add ons’. These will include things like appearances, may be international recognition, or other minimum targets. Thus, if the player fails to make the grade, not all of the money is due.

    However, what frustrates us watching on, is when we think if AW is that keen on a player, but has a low sticking point on how much he is willing to pay, and it appears to miss out the value to the team. That is an unquantifiable figure, but we want to believe X will be a great success and win and help win us trophies? Therefore he is worth going all the way to get him?

    Now here is the big difference between us and say Man City. Remember the early part of the last TW? The Manchester club went out and bought 4 players that Pellegrini had identified as players he wanted. He got them. The selling club did not go public and say ‘We had had a couple of offers for this player’, and try and get a bidding war to up the price. So we must conclude that there was something about the deal that ManC took to this club that satisfied them enough. Probably full cash up front, and pretty close, if not right on what the club thought they might get for the player, with the added bonus that they then have a full window to look for replacements?

    That is possible to do when; a, it does not matter if the player does not fully succeed because it is possible to buy another one; b, the objective is to have the player, if that is what the manager wants; c, a virtual bottomless purse to dip into to do so.

    AW has a finite amount of money for the fee, and equally a finite amount to pay the length of the contract. Hence his caution? Albeit, this is now more than we have probably had in real terms, ever.

    The reason for leaving things to the end of the transfer window is largely to avoid the deal being hijacked, although they may also be the thought that if large amounts of cash are dangled in front of impoverished clubs who have no time to look elsewhere, will be more willing to accept AW’s terms?

    The shortcomings of this policy are clear for all to see:

    If the club has no desire to sell, you have no leverage.
    If you concentrate on thinking success here, other opportunities slip away, including any Plan B back ups you may have in mind.
    Back up players feel a little cheated if perceived as second choice, and are more likely to ‘snub’ any offer, if it was a real possibility, not just used as a decoy for Plan A?

    Net result, you can end up with nothing, or pay the higher price, which if you had done that in the first place, other positions could have been looked at with the remaining budget, a precise known amount to work with.

    Where Arsenal are with all this, I guess we will know around 11.0pm tonight?

    Enjoy your day ….

  60. Morning all

    top post, beautiful, elegant, magnificent and only leaves one DYING to grab a copy of STILLNESS AND SPEED and read it all!

    you mention three people that hold DB10 in the highest honor:

    Arsene: “with this kind of players, you only need look at the goal scorer and ask them whom they love…if you ask Ian Wright and Thiery Henry who they love most, they’ll tell you Dennis”

    Wright: “i remember him to come onto the training ground and we would shout at him: THE MESSIAH, LEAD US OUR MESSIAH!”

    Henry: “for me i always say that Dennis WAS, IS and WILL always be the greatest player i’ve played with”…this is a man who has played with Ronaldihno AND Zizzou

    beautiful post Jozefos2013..well done sir!

  61. AFC says:

    Gerry, thanks for that. 🙂

    Maybe that is why we got Ozil. We were willing to pay most if not all of the money up front and it was at the end of the TW. I can see why Wenger would want to not buy Draxler but I am hoping we come away with at least one player on a permanent deal.

    I do not know if you have heard but Zouma seems to be off to Chelsea.

  62. AFC says:

    Wenger has said Draxler will not be joining and we are looking for one player because of the situation with Flamini and Ramsey. Seems somebody to play in the DM area.

  63. alcide says:

    Yep – I wonder what rabbit he will put out of his hat – I’d be surprised (and ecstatic) if he’s not a loan or short term gap-filling player (some rumours talk about Kim Kallstrom for instance).

    Anyway, Rambo confirmed out for 6 weeks basically means he will miss all the tough fixtures in February/March *sigh*.

  64. Gerry says:

    AFC – I think KZ4 was always heading that way once he spoke to M on the phone.

    Means their defence will be even harder to breech next season?

    I am keeping out of making predictions on this Window now, I am down to my last hope :D. I only hope any loan deal carries an option to buy?

  65. AFC says:

    Certainly Gerry, and I think Luiz will be leaving in the summer.

    Alcide, maybe Wenger has a big move lined up. I have some ideas but best to keep quiet as Gerry says.

  66. AB says:

    Gloom descending in this quarter sadly. I’m not sure about signing a journeyman just for short term cover, though Flamini has been exceptional for us and is probably just so. If we don’t get a lift from a signing, we will need a barn-storming performance on Sunday; but even there we should not ignore how CP have tightened up their defence of late – it won’t be a breeze.

  67. alcide says:

    John Cross announced Kallstrom’s arrival at Arsenal training ground…

  68. TotalArsenal says:

    New Post New Post 🙂

  69. AFC blogger says:

    Really enjoyed reading this review. I’ve included a link to it on my website 🙂 http://www.arsenalfcupdates.com

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