Wenger (Worm, Woods and Warriors…) Rewriting the Rules for Success?

This summer, taking that much needed break from living and dying with each Arsenal result, I’ve gotten to watch some other sports and do a bit of deeper thinking.  (In fact, as I write, I happen to be watching some tennis being played in West London.)  Arsenal ARE my main focus (in the world of sports, these days) but, with each look in the mirror (to note further baldness–and grey amongst the hair which remains) I realize I’ve been watching sports for a rather lengthy period even if my introduction to the Arsenal was relatively recent.

As a kid, of course, I followed all the local teams in the San Francisco Bay Area.  Being from the east side of that body of water, the Oakland teams were mine.  The Raiders were the bad boys of American football but they left town (for Los Angeles) when I was still quite young, taking my affections with them.  Later on, it was not hard to favour the team from the other side of the Bay (SF 49ers) as they won all their championships.  In basketball, the San Francisco Warriors came the other way, moving from a stadium built for agricultural shows (actually called “The San Francisco Cow Palace”) to an arena in a development on my side of the Bay known as the Oakland Coliseum Complex.  That one was built around the outdoor stadium which housed the Oakland Athletics baseball team.  As a boy, this team was my primary focus given that they won three consecutive World Series and then, later, became the first team to really benefit from the revolution in performance enhancing drugs.

The A’s of that era–with Mark McGuire hitting fly balls which turned into home runs and Jose Canseco’s bloated upper body running around on stick-legs trying to catch the same–but hit by opponents and staying in the park–were the start of a type of cheating which ultimately ruined that game, for me at least.  Still fun to follow, just a bit, but hard to take seriously.

In that era I was actually playing more sports than I was watching.  As one might imagine, however, my sports playing was influenced by what I was watching.  Basketball was in a golden era.  In the West, Magic Johnson’s Los Angeles Lakers were dominant and having classic annual battles with Larry Bird’s Boston Celtics.  Meanwhile, the greatest player to ever play the game, Michael Jordan, had been drafted by the Chicago Bulls, while another team based in that same area–the Detroit Pistons–were emerging as a defensive antidote to the scoring blur of the great Laker-Celtic rivalry.  If you’re a fan of the sport, this documentary is a very worthwhile watch.

My personal basketball career had stalled at the age of 8 (hahaha) but, watching the Pistons, and particularly a young player named Dennis Rodman (nicknamed “The Worm”) who contributed with his running, defending and rebounding, I became convinced I could play–and contribute–at least at the recreational level played by many of my friends.  Additionally, the game was a perfect way to stay fit and have fun in the gym over the (mild) winter for the sport I took very seriously at the time–Ultimate Frisbee.  Sure, scoff all you like, but that game was the center of my 20s and my (club) team played in the National (US) Championships twice as Champions of the Western Region (all US states West from Colorado to the Pacific Ocean).

As I moved into my thirties, basketball and then golf, a sport I had played in high school, became my twin foci.  In this period, that latter, elitist sport, experienced a boom with the emergence of Tiger Woods.  A young, multi-racial superstar stood the sport on its ear and his win in the 2000 Masters ushered in a new era.

In fact, my stay in North London in 2006 (at the address I use as my screenname) began with a week-long Scottish golf adventure organized by a friend of mine from the high school team.  Afterwards, having been housed in a flat on the Highbury Fields, I immediately spotted the glaring lights of the new stadium (practically in our backyard) and the parade of red and white clad fans on their way to watch Arsenal matches.  I had always enjoyed the sport (and tried to watch live matches in my travels) although the international game–the only element covered here in the States–left me flat.  Being near the Arsenal–and with the internet at hand to answer my every question–I was quickly hooked.  I tried to buy tickets from the scalpers (touts) but in those early days of the stadium they were hardly available.  Instead, I watched in the pubs.  One, on the Holloway Road (just across from the actual Highbury Library), had the better televisions; the other, on a back alley near the Highbury-Islington station, had the superior ale and a more predictable and interesting clientele, even if their small televisions were mostly focused on the cricket and the run-up to the Ashes tournament that Autumn.

What a gift it was to be dropped right smack into geographic heart of a big club like Arsenal!  The quality of the play immediately caught my attention as did the controversies I read about and saw, first hand, amongst Gooners.  Fans–in the pubs and, of course, on-line–were lamenting the retirement of Dennis Bergkamp and the departure of Robert Pires and Ashley Cole.  There was a measure of excitement around young Cesc Fabregas and new acquisitions Alex Hleb, Tomas Rosicky, Emmanuel Adebayor and William Gallas.  Results were not good that Autumn, but many held out hope for Thierry Henry and Freddie Ljundberg making strong recoveries from injury.  They were less keen on goofy characters like Emmanuel Eboue and other young players like Phillipe Senderos, Gael Clichy and Denilson.  I was trying to make sense of it all and had plenty of confusion sorting out breaks for international games (Euro qualifiers) and the various club competitions and what each match signified.  While we were there, Arsenal couldn’t beat teams like Everton and CSKA  Moscow in their new stadium and lost (for the first time in over 40 years) across town at Fulham.

Perhaps because I was such an innocent–and hadn’t experienced the great years at Highbury–a structure now being converted into condominiums–it all seemed marvelous to me.  We left on North London Derby Day, the first held in the new stadium, a 3-1 victory and one where Emmanuel Adebayor scored a great goal and was congratulated by Thierry Henry on the sidelines.

It’s been all Arsenal–and English and European club football–all the time, since then, for me, and the slow climb for Wenger’s team(s) against increasing difficulties.  The huge money poured into Chelsea and Manchester City by their owners has been nearly matched by American owners at Manchester United and Liverpool.  Arsenal, meanwhile, has attempted to stabilize under the far more conservative Arsenal board (and, eventually, their own hand-picked majority shareholder, another American, Stan Kroenke).  We were supposed to be following a “sustainable” growth plan built on the revenues from the new stadium and the move towards younger, less established players–at least partially supplied by a strong youth academy–would eventually yield top notch results.  Beyond the “financial steroids” of the newer top clubs, the bursting of the real estate bubble which cost the Highbury project at least 100-200 million pounds also didn’t help.  Charging more for tickets but delivering less on-field success has not been the best recipe for supporter happiness.

Still, in the longer term, it might be come to be seen as a paradigm shift towards a more real and lasting type of success.  So far, Wenger only has the bronze bust in the fancier interior spaces of the new stadium rather than a full statue in the plazas (alongside those of Herbert Chapman, Henry and Bergkamp) where it might be subject to vandalism.  Many, as we know all too well, are ready to knock down the manager at any disappointment.

Sometimes I wonder, however, if we shouldn’t try to separate results from the bold efforts the club, with Wenger at the helm, are attempting.   Fans (and pundits) have every right to live in the moment and allow their emotions to fly up and down with each win, loss or draw–not to mention every big spend or rejection in the transfer market.  Still, if one can look at the broader trends, I think it’s hard to argue that Arsenal under the long term leadership of Wenger (a rarity in itself)–including the move to the bigger, more modern stadium–are not on an upward trajectory.  We ARE leading a paradigm shift, in this regard at least, and maybe need to judge ourselves and other clubs by the new standard we have established rather than always viewing our situation through the older, more traditional lenses.  Trophies matter, of course, and fortunately the long drought in winning them has come to an end, but there might be other ways to judge success.

Nonetheless, and I’m guessing I’m not alone here, I cannot help but want to see even more successful innovation from the manager and the club.

This was reinforced this summer in watching a team I used to support and watch closely, the Golden State Warriors, winning the basketball championships.  (For awhile there, back when my basketball playing got started, I was attending 10-20 games per season.)  This current team is led by a phenomenal player, Steph Curry, perhaps the best “small” player I’ve ever witnessed.  He plays the game in a new way (for me, at least), generally staying on his toes, shooting from incredible distances (with amazing accuracy) and using the cross-over dribble to get open shots (and drives to the hoop) almost at will.  Moreover, his team, coached by another famous perimeter shooter from the Chicago Bulls of the Michael Jordan era (Steve Kerr), are playing a different game.  Their success is predicated on almost all their players being strong at shooting from beyond the 3 point line.  Many have argued (for years) that a team with such an approach should be able to prevail given that shots from that range are worth 50% more.  This approach, however, discounts the human factor and the need to maintain confidence despite missing more shots.  When push comes to shove in basketball (as it does all too often) relying on the referees to call fouls (and the home crowd to intimidate them into calling them) and slowing the game (to take opposing crowds out) is normal strategy; playing for (and making) those 1 point shots (from the free throw line) is the usual–and far less fun to watch–protocol.

That Curry and the Warriors were able to win the championship against LeBron James’ (injury riddled) Cleveland Cavaliers–and on their home court no less, was a real triumph–for my hometown team and for a new approach to the game.

In a certain respect, since I’ve been watching Arsenal, I think Wenger has been trying to do likewise.  Buying players based on the potential of their technique has been an approach enforced by economics (much of the proven talent–including our own–has been hoovered up by the money-down-a-hole clubs) but also a clear statement asking (at times begging…) the English game to evolve towards his own view.   For years Arsenal have been branded “a soft touch” and players with obvious technical merits have been derided along these lines–even by our own fans.  My belief, and I think it’s Wenger’s too, is that technique can bring results and results can change the game–for the better.  Playing to the more primitive (and nervous) elements in the crowd may be necessary at times, but remaining disciplined and committed to a more technical version of triumph is the real paradigm shift here.

Anyhow, this is just a post about my own personal background and one of the reasons I find Arsenal so fascinating to watch.  Tell us about yours.  What sports have you played and watched?  Who have been the most interesting characters and what have been the most telling moments?  Do you believe Arsenal under Wenger (or any other team/manager) are changing the way the game is played?  It may not be the radical transformation the aforementioned Dennis Rodman made (see photos below) from skinny rebounding and defensive wizard to body artist (not to mention reality TV star and international diplomat) but it seems like a change nonetheless.

Maybe there’s no room to get away from the tyranny of match to match results or worries about each and every transfer rumour or signed deal or player in or out of pre-season squads, but perhaps there is…

Go on then…

By 17highburyterrace

34 thoughts on “Wenger (Worm, Woods and Warriors…) Rewriting the Rules for Success?

  • Sorry guys. The original blog did not register with NewsNow, so I had to reissue it as it would be a shame for this great post not to reach a bigger audience.

  • JW1 wrote:

    “Additionally, the game was a perfect way to stay fit and have fun in the gym over the (mild) winter for the sport I took very seriously at the time–Ultimate Frisbee. Sure, scoff all you like, but that game was the center of my 20s and my (club) team played in the National (US) Championships twice as Champions of the Western Region (all US states West from Colorado to the Pacific Ocean).”

    I played Ultimate from 1980 until 2004 (from ages 22-to-46) in Texas (the US and UK) with Elvis From Hell and The Thrill (both Houston) and later the Houndz (Alvin TX)– playing in the 1993 WFDF World Championships in Madison WI USA (finishing 10th worldwide) and again in 1999 in St Andrews, Scotland, UK (finishing 11th that year).

    For those who would scoff at Ultimate Frisbee? I say unequivocally there is no greater game. Certainly not one with a greater sense of sportsmanship. And the demands of fitness, stamina, and athleticism are on a par or better with the highest level of football/soccer and competitive swimming.

    While you can catch College Nationals occasionally on ESPN2 here in the US– the level of club play is quite yet on a higher plane altogether.


  • Beautiful post, 17HT, an ode to the beauty of sport. It’s great to read about your very American sports experiences. Ultimate Frisbee sounds like fun and I would have loved to see you in action. Later more. 🙂

  • 17HT wrote{

    JW1–we must know some of the same people… I’m still good friends with Cindy Gorman and Gregg Watkins (who now live in North Carolina) and I knew some of their friends from TX (Murray and Hunter were Gregg’s golf & disc buddies, for example…) and Brian (can’t remember his last name but he was an ex-bf of Cindy’s) played a bunch of disc in San Francisco. My strong team was East Bay Firestorm… Good times, of course, but you’ve got to be awfully fit to play at a high level.., Plus, I never got very good at the throwing the damn thing… 😀 Very cool that you played for such a long time and up there at St. Andrews!…

    Cheers TA…Sorry for the publishing struggles…

  • Allezkev wrote:

    That was a really great post 17…

    I’ve never really ‘got’ the American habit, of a team ‘upping sticks’ and buggering off to another city, how on earth can you creat any kind of connection with the community?
    Anyway, different strokes for different folks etc.

    And I don’t really follow Grid Iron, but I do respect the Green Bay Packers…
    They seem a ‘proper’ club…

    San Francisco certainly sounded an interesting place, and a great place to live…
    I once went on Google Earth to check out Alcatraz ( don’t ask me why 😉 )…
    It was late..

    Man, it drew me in and after checking out The Rock, I ended up driving around the streets of San Francisco, over the Golden Gate Bridge, almost as if I was driving a cab… 😀

  • JW1 wrote:

    Yes we do know many of the same folks.
    Cindy Gorman was a badass. She had to be. She practiced with the Houston men’s teams for many years– as there were no women’s squads here. And Gregg Watkins– from Austin– yes?
    I played with Hunter Traylor and DJMurray. And then yes, there’s Bryan Plymale…
    Tell Cindy– John (Ninja) Warrilow sez hello!

    Always played Men’s Open Division. I was able to play into my 40s– as I threw ambidextrously– had a cannon lefty-flick– and a hammer that rated among the best.
    Like left-handed pitching– a lefty against a zone-D is invaluable. In the last several years of my playing career– the Houndz kept me on the roster just to convince teams NOT to play a zone.

    Truly loved the game– and the Spirit Of The Game. Thought I would play forever.
    But it eventually just hurt too much to continue– I could no longer outquick or outwit the 25yr-olds– and gave it up– the game– and the ‘scene’– cold-turkey.

    Right around the time I retired in 2004– I first saw Thierry Henry play.
    The way he saw and used the field spatially felt just so familiar to me.
    And that was whyand when I became a Gooner.


  • Retsub wrote

    17ht I take my hat off to you, that is a really well written and interesting piece. I never really got into American sport. In my simple mind most American sport involves to higher scoring. Take basketball, team A runs down the court and scores. They then give the ball to team B who repeats the score. At the end of the day team A 110… Team B. 106. Now I don’t doubt it involves incredibly skills but it would never excite me like a last minute goal at Highbury. After all we may have waited 90 minutes (without advertising). For that moment.

    Then a couple of things happened that changed my perspective. Sometime way back in the 80’s I chanced to watch an American football game involving the Chicago Bears. They had two really interesting players. Walter Payton who I think was a running back and great to watch. They also had an enormous guy called William Perry (aka the refrigerator). What a fun side to watch. They smashed every team apart that season and I enjoyed every game I could get my eyes on. I never for one moment compared it with my love of the Gooners, but it was great at the time.

    Secondly whilst on holiday in Florida with the family a few years back. I came back to our villa to see a little league baseball competition on the TV. Teams from all over the States ( I think they were under 12) were involved in a knock out competition. Most of the players were about 50 per cent helmet and I seem to remember a local Florida side doing quite well. However the star of the show was a pitcher who played for the Bronx (I think) who was significantly bigger than the other kids. If I remember correctly. He had been imported from The Dominican Republic or somewhere similar. He was attempting to throw the perfect game and it was very entertaining. However he turned out to be 15 and they had forged his passport. I remember making sure I got back from the parks every day to get my baseball fix

    So in summary I came to appreciate American football and baseball. Still can’t get into basketball though

  • HT wrote:

    Kev…In SF you’d better be working for Uber or Lyft these days… 😀 And you need more money than we did in London in ’06 when the pound was nearly 2 to 1 vs the dollar (!!)… SF is a very nice spot and not so bad for getting around. Plenty of hills and plenty of traffic… but also some sneaky ways to get around if you know all the one-way streets and timed traffic lights and all that sort of stuff…

    JW–I will pass greetings along to Cindy…GW (indeed from Austin…) and Cindy (married with kids in college now) were housemates of mine in Berkeley… Yeah, I was a defensive specialist, trying to keep the disc away from guys like you (if you were short enough)… that game ends earlier than for the guys with the better throws… Guarding lefties was always an adjustment… Not too many guys were very effective from both sides though plenty tried (for periods of time at least) due to injury…

    Good stories there, retsub and Da Bears were pretty entertaining… I kind of agree about the basketball (and all the American Sports–built for those TV ads…), in general, but I had a lot of fun watching the Oakland team this season. They ended up with 83 wins against 20 losses even though they are far from a perfect group…

    P,ease pardon the troubles I had getting this post out (bottom of the previous post) I think I was working on it the other evening and posted it at the same time Gerry’s came out… Oops….

  • Wow 17ht,

    Wonderful insight to the sports in US (ultimate frisbee is something I had heard of but not played) and I had thought that basketball and american football is the sport of choice..

    For myself the highbury and Arsenal love affair started 4 seasons before the invincibles.. couldn’t imagine the teams then weren’t playing football on the ground.. route one football was the better choice then

    And watching Arsenal games then weren’t making me feel like sleeping, thus I started to watch them. And the love affair started.

    Unlike you 17ht, I was playing less sport, badminton and basketball and soccer, and it was soccer and Arsenal that made me fall in love with the passing that was more evident in street soccer come to life on the full length pitch.


  • Nice one HT. Don’t worry about the glitch earlier. Although I might have been more up for it last night, bit ropey this morning so short and sweet.

    Great trip down memory lane, and nicely linked to your present day outlook on the Gunners.

  • That was a really enjoyable read into the “Psychie” of 7eventeen .
    I like you my hairy friend and I like that you (in my eyes) come across as a company man and by that I mean you always defend Arsene and The Arsenal to the hilt compared to the “Schizo” (changing my views as quick as my many personalities ) type fans like me ( Wenger out if we haven`t bought a £60M+ SQ striker by the time I finish this bracket !). Lucky you dropped anchor in Islington and not N17 !, as you would have most certainly become anemic looking through the lack of Vitamin D, but how interesting it would have been to hear you try and defend that rabble….add delusional to the anemia !. hahaha

    I need something clearing up 17 !………it comes across to me that the good old US of A like to take on a sport, change it a bit ( Netball becomes Basketball….Rounders becomes Baseball etc` ) and make it their own and then have championships etc` leading to some team becoming World Champions in a sport that is not really played much anywhere else !….why is that ?.

    Also, being a large population where it`s obvious that not everyone is going to be good at real sport they make up a sport for non sporting people to make them feel good !…..you know where I`m going with this hahaha………………..ULTIMATE FRISBEE !!….WTF !!!…….when`s the World Championships ?.
    It`s a bit like my wife !….love her to bits, but she is fcuking useless at any sport !, so shall I now invent a new sport for her to be OK at ?……..I know !…..The National Throwing a Stick for our Dog to Chase Championships !…..just as skilful as throwing a Frisbee !. hahaha
    Right !, that`s enough of pulling your plonker !….I`m off out for a…. Superstitious Not to Walk on a Crack Walk !……I`m the Over 50`s Regional Champion !……although I was dope tested last week for wearing a rabbits foot for extra luck !.

  • Growing up in Holland, I have learned to like lots of sports as the national broadcaster, NOS, tended to focus on a great variety of sports: from motocross to speed skating, volleyball to basketball, and from table tennis to billiards. Other than playing football – mostly in the street or on local pitches – I was good at table tennis (bronze medal at my local town competition once) and chess – a sport for the brain. I won the annual secondary school competition when I was fourteen, which is one of my proudest moments as I beat the big boys and girls in the top grades after I learned to play chess just a year earlier.

    Sports has always played a big part but more in terms of watching and analysis (and now writing about) than taking part. I love to cycle and hill walking, hence our move to Scotland! 🙂

    Football is of course my passion, and Arsenal is the embodiment of it. It is a complex game (disagreeing with Geoff! 😉 ) that keeps evolving and fascinating us, and with Wenger we have a manager who is at the forefront of the sport’s evolution.

    One day, 17HT, I will visit you in California and it would be great to watch with you some of the sports you described in your post. Basketball is a fabulous sport to watch, even when I understand very little of the tactics. I love the tension and tempo of the game and the way the pitches are so enclosed with many thousands of fans. I am pretty sure if I had grown up in the USA, I would have loved to play and watch basketball more than any other ‘traditional’ American sports. Or maybe it would have been ultimate Frisbee… 😛

  • I reckon the Greeks are missing a fantastic opportunity !…….plastic plates !…………it will save millions on broken ones and save their economy and also teach a whole new generation how to throw a Frisbee instead of smashing one !……. which will lead them to knock them over confident yanks of their perch in the Ultimate Frisbee World Championships !.

  • According to the BBC, Man City have had a bid of £49 million accepted by Liverpool, for Raheem Stirling…

    £49 mill…. That’s about £29 million more than he’s worth, imo!


  • Agreed Allez-Kev 🙂

    Remember the Nothern Oiler on here a few weeks ago, telling us all how much Man City is now building their club on the Youth Academy?! 🙂

    What did we get for £49m? Mmmmm, Alexis, Cech, half a Paulista….and Coq and Bellerina for free hahaha. 😀

  • Hey fellas…Thanks for the kind words and glad folks enjoyed the post…As I said, I had a feeling people might scoff at the Ultimate Frisbee stuff… 😀 It’s OK by me if it means a drop-by from the Cockster…

    I do like hearing about other people’s sports backgrounds and I do think that it influences how we watch the Arsenal. TA the chess-master!… No surprise there and now I know why he’s always interested in which piece (player) is in for which other piece when it comes to match-day lineups.

    Nobody’s really taken me up on the Wenger ideas and his hopes for changing the game. My main thought (and what impressed me so much about the basketball this season) is that superior technique can be a real equalizer away from the home stadium. If we can take the opposing crowd out of matches there’s less of a chance for opponents to pressure the referee (with dives and simulations) to make the calls which can turn matches against us. Right now (IMO) we have bigger problems with our home crowd and their (eroding) confidence about being able to break through against the park-the-bus teams. ManU and Monaco at home, for me, were the two biggest disappointments of the season with Swansea and Sunderland, late on, not much less so….

    Sterling for 49M?… Just less than DiMaria to ManU (for the English record) or am I remembering that one wrong? To me it seems absurd and I question if he can possibly live up to it. He’s young, I guess… Overall, it makes me even more pleased with our attacking options… Less than a month now until opening day….

  • You have to laugh at that figure though, Allezkev – £49m?
    It has all the hallmarks of our ‘plus £1for Suarez’, which they lied about and refused to sell. This time ‘…We will not sell for less than £50m’ …. Oh yes you will’ 😀

    Of course, less us wait until it is ratified, eh NjkSG?

    I haven’t read this story myself, but at least give me a little credit when I put something up about rumours, I usually have a reason for thinking it through as to how likely it is to be true?

    I also added to the Schweinsteiger story that it did not necessarily mean that we would get Schneiderlin. On the 24 hour BBC News I saw a headline running beneath main story that MS has agreed to join MU?
    Admittedly, I did not think they would buy both because MS would be stupid if he was competing with BS? Instead it looks like LvG is going for three at the back and two DM’s?

    TA – The Man City guy did say that the kids coming through their Youth Academy are still a couple of years away, to be fair. It does not get away from the fact that they have over-paid for someone of Sterling’s ability.
    But the laugh would be if he refuses to go there?

    HT – There is nothing wrong with ‘Ultimate Frisbee’. They once showed a piece of on the news, …er well, more ‘Oddball News’, a few years back. It certainly looked very skilful, and physically demanding. What made it into the ‘Oddball’ columns what that it was long after the Frisbee craze had died off here.
    I suppose in Oz the equivalent would be ‘Ultimate Boomerang’? But I guess if you got decapitated you might just miss a few matches? 😀

    Off to read the gossip …

  • Well that did not take long.

    The only one of interest is that J R-A has pulled out of the squad going to Asia, Jon Toral taking his place. No reason given. Passport perhaps?

    The MS story suggesting that not only did Man City pay more than £25m, but he is having a medical in Southampton.
    Oh, and anguish on twitter about it …apparently?

    Two conflicting stories.
    1, a player who has the same name as a Canadian City, must play ahead of Gibbs.
    2, the same player might be leaving because we are linked with two FB’s.

    I saw Baba play last night, as it happens. Not his best game, but it is pre-season.

    A headline saying Arsene gives reason’s why we will not buy a Striker or a DM. I am presuming this comes out of the same article where Arsene said he would wanted to get the team fit and was not interested in the transfer market, but later said ‘ … we could still by a quality player.’

    I take from that he knows just who he would like to buy, but the pieces have not all fallen into place yet? However, with United stocked up in midfield, that only leaves Juve looking for a replacement (for Pogba, who might be heading to City for a huge fee?). So when we get this Asia tour done, I am guessing we will know a little more about the player he had in mind for the DM spot?

    Watch this space …

  • Total, that’s a good point.
    Arsene gets full value for money whenever he spends Arsenals dough…

    Meanwhile Van Gaal is spending it as if he’s just won the Euro Millions…
    What does that say about the squad that Ferguson left behind?

    Gerry, did you see that Ipswich want to take another one of our Kids on loan…
    Good luck to Toral…

  • Gerry, yes. Its not over till its over. Or signed, sealed and on the training ground in the footballing context.

    Guys, Arsenal has touched down in Singapore a little before 5pm Singapore time (4.25pm to be exact), about 9.25 am UK time Monday.

    All of the Gooners were watching the flight advisor live to make sure they arrive safely in Singapore. And they did.
    So now, for the getting used to our humidity and heat (its hot and hazy in here) with a high of 31 degrees celcius (feels like 33 to 34), and the players will definitely need to hydrate themselves more than what they normally do, and make sure they try the local spicy foods before they leave our shores 🙂

    Bye for now,

  • Ah.. forgot 1 food that we like so much but you guys might find it queer: durians. And its durian season now in south east asia.

    So to Gunners before they leave, not just try the spicy foods after Saturday and make sure you guys try the durians.

    But no durians before or during matches as they will make you fall ill with fever. They are absurdly heaty.


  • I agree with you guys, paying £40+ million for a guy who got 8 goals and 8 assists last season is ridiculous – how much did Ozil cost btw? and what were his stats last season? 😆 😆 😆
    Now 25 goals and 10 assists for £30+ million – Sanchez baby, that’s a signing right there, what a piece of business by the boss man 🙂

  • NjkSG,
    Send them to the hawker center at Maxwell Road, they’ll love it 🙂

  • Ozil not going anywhere, insists Wenger.

    “During this period, the newspapers are creative and have to be creative, but many times the stories are created by agents,” he said after arriving at Singapore’s Changi Airport with his Arsenal team.

    “Ozil is our player, he will remain our player and wants to remain our player.

    “It’s a big season for him because he had a difficult start last year and in the second part of the season he was very important [for us]. He’s improved his defensive attitude, he works hard and offensively he’s a top-class player.”


    “We knew Manchester United would not be happy to finish outside the top three and that they would respond,” Wenger said.

    “They’ve made interesting buys; they came out of the season thinking ‘we have to rebuild our midfield’ and they did it by buying two important players, [Bastian] Schweinsteiger and [Morgan] Schneiderlin.

    “They’re two top-class players, one who goes up now to the top level and who has done it all. So it should be interesting to see how they mix with the other players in midfield.”


    Wenger also gave his two cents on Manchester City’s latest big-name acquisition, with the Citizens set to complete a deal for Liverpool’s Raheem Sterling.

    “It looked a done deal a while ago, with Sterling adamant he wanted the move,” the Arsenal manager said. “For me, Sterling is a top-class player and a good buy for Man City. An expensive one, but they can afford it.

    “[Arsenal didn’t make a bid] because he plays where we have plenty of players, but we’re still open to do something else.”


  • Football: Arsenal in Singapore for Barclays Asia Trophy
    Arsenal will take on a Singapore Select XI on Wednesday before an all-Premier League clash against either Everton or Stoke City on Saturday.


    “I don’t think it’s bad – about the heat here – because we want to sweat a little bit,” manager Arsene Wenger said. “We want to put the effort in, everyone’s fighting for places now so it’s an important game already for us.

    “You want to win every game and you know a few years ago no-one was interested in preparation but now there’s so much,” he said. “The pressure is on us to do better.”


    Olivier Giroud, Mesut Ozil and Jack Wilshere are prime candidates to lead the Arsenal line-up; the latter looking to break back into the starting side after an injury-interrupted 2014-15.


    Mikel Arteta also experienced an inconsistent season and said he was hoping to build some good preparation for the year ahead as well as impress the large contingent of Gunners fans in Singapore.

    “We’ve heard it’s going to be quite crazy here so we’re hoping to have a good experience. We’ve been in Asia before so we know what it’s like,” Arteta said.


    Wenger said he could make a difference to Arsenal’s title ambitions when asked why he had signed the veteran stopper. “First of all his talent, his experience and the fact he has won before, that can strengthen the team’s belief,” he said.

    Wenger confirmed he was confident of keeping his three top keepers at the club, despite the increased competition with Cech’s arrival.


    Wenger is rumoured to be looking to bolster the squad’s defensive assets, with Roma’s Kostas Manolas and Manchester United’s Johnny Evans reported to be transfer targets. “It doesn’t depend on my wish, if we can find still one or two players we’ll do it,” Wenger said.

  • btw to all you TW scouts out there (Gerry lol), what about the forgotten man (since his injury that is) – Javi Martinez
    Passing of Arteta
    Ball technique of Busquets
    Height and strength of Matic
    Tenacity of our very own Coquelin

    Now that would be a great DM signing 🙂

  • Steve and Gerry,

    Those places are already marked on the scheduler’s notebook I reckon, but there are places other than maxwell that sells better stuff. Think block 85 Bedok north st 4..

    That place is for me better than Maxwell and nearer to the airport.

    JW, by the way, I reckon one of the 3 goalies will want to play regularly, thus when Wenger mentioned he will want to keep all 3, it sounds a little far fetched but we will see.

    Back to Gerry. If we move for Javi Martinez, will he be a asset or a liability like Diaby?


  • JK & Steve – On Martinez: I cannot say I know what injury he has had, so difficult to about the future. I thought he was pretty much ‘ever present’ before he moved to Germany though?

    However, I wouldn’t raise your hopes up too much, because if he is priced at more than £20m AW will not go there … and if he is only £20m, then there is something wrong with him?

    I’ll stick to my theory that he has got someone in mind, and it might be Hayden, or someone who he thinks is a snip at around the £15m mark … but not available right now.

    I nearly choked on my cornflakes when Jonny Evans was linked. My first thought was £10m would just about cover the insurance fee that he does not get sent off or give away a pen, and those points lost will be the difference between winning the title and losing it! 😀

    To be fair to JE, he did improve last season, but MU are not selling him without good reason.

    For those who have the Arsenal Player – free via Digital Membership – the Singapore X1 is covered by them post match, but live on BT Sports.

  • Gerry, i think you mean sky sports not BT – July 15, 2015, 1:30pm. Live on Sky Sports 1

    Martinez got a very serious knee injury and spent the whole season out but before hand he was world class. the question know will be whether he can regain what he had before the injury, but looks lke he’s back fit for next season so we will see.

    I must admit i am falling into the same mindset as you atm Gerry, with Wenger not even making any move at all for Schniedy even though he was an obvious top choice then it does seem to suggest the usual promotion from youth (Hayden), reliance on aging quality (Arteta) or bargain basement signing (whoever that may be) for cover for Le Coq.

    NjkSG, I never visited block 85 mate so i have no idea, but if it gets the thumbs up from you and is better than maxwell then they are in for a treat 🙂
    And yes the Martinez situation could easily turn into a Diaby situation or he could fully recover and be back to being probably one of the best DM’s in the world, it would be a gamble but a gamble that could undoubtedly push the price of such a talented player way down if we were to show interest 🙂

  • 17HT posing as TA here…

    Well, I had hoped to get a little more from a few of our regulars about other sports that have influenced them, etc., etc. but alas, transfer talk or at least looking forward rather than back has them hooked… So, without further ado…

    New Post, New Post…

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