‘I Love my Club but I don’t Like it’: What Arteta Needs to Do to Win the Fans Back

‘I love my club but I don’t like it’, or something of that notion, is what a few bloggers here on BK said a few weeks ago. I think we can all sympathise with this notion to at least some extent. It is becoming harder and harder to identify with our beloved club and I reckon the main reason for this is a lack of vision and deterioration of our values. And that we live in dangerous times for football clubs, further exasperated by the colossal impact of Covid-19, you don’t need me to tell you. The club cannot afford to sit around and do nothing.


Arsene’s initial success of winning, beautiful football – playing football the Arsenal Way – has been superseded by other clubs – by first copying us successfully, and then building further on this and outpacing us with both money AND vision. Liverpool and Man City play football that is not too dissimilar to Arsenal’s version of total football between 1996-2006, but, for various reasons, Arsenal did not build further on its earlier successes; and in the process we have not only lost our connection to the top (four) but also our relatively recent acquired reputation of a club with a strong vision and values, and quality, entertaining football to boot. Gazidis picked the wrong coach and then departed himself, just six months after the biggest managerial appointment in over 20 years at Arsenal.

Some will argue that our vision and values were lost after Arsene finally departed but I think it goes deeper than that. Some, if not many, blame the owners fully for this but I reckon they are only partly to blame. The essence for me is that a successful club, in terms of having loyal supporters who not only love their club but also really like it, makes its supporters feel at home based around a vision for the future and values that will optimise the quality of football, both in terms of winning silverware but also a brand of football that delights the heart and gains the respect of all Arsenal – as well as many non-Arsenal – fans.

There is real hope that Arteta will be successful and so gain time and support from the BoD to return Arsenal to its former glory and reputation. This will go a long way in making the supports like the club again, but something else is needed. We need to attract and then bind players to the club we can all associate with. Wenger may have replaced British players with often cheaper and better foreign players, but those who came from European and African soils would love the club and stay loyal in most cases.

Over the last few years we have seen players come and go as they, and the club, please. We have become a stepping-stone club rather then a place to stay put and shoot roots. We have let genuine shirt-lovers like Giroud, Koscielny en Monreal go and have replaced them with new, and exciting, players who could be sold again in the (near) future, possibly with a juicy profit. Those French and Spanish players seemed to understand what it meant to wear the shirt and we fans felt that they were fighting for us. We could associate with them.

Auba does his best to connect with the club and I like Leno, Torreira and Xhaka too. There are a few others who have the potential to become stalwart Gunners but all of the players mentioned in the previous sentence could also be sold in just a few months. I have no doubt that Arteta’s vision and strategic plans will move us upwards and onwards, but in order to lay a strong foundation and get the supporters really back he will need to establish a core of intrinsically motivated, shirt-loving Gunners who will make Ashburton Grove their home of football. He cannot do it alone; the BoD need to support him all the way. 

By TotalArsenal. 

43 thoughts on “‘I Love my Club but I don’t Like it’: What Arteta Needs to Do to Win the Fans Back

  • Good article and points there, TA.

    I absolutely agree to review the buying and selling policies, but even back than we didn’t have such loyal players as the nostalgia implies. We lost Henry before his 30th birthday (and on the cheap, even though he had 3 years on his contract), Vieira was even younger when he moved along to Juventus. We all know how the story turned out with our other world class players like Fabregas, van Persie, Sanchez or Ramsey, and to be honest Cazorla wasn’t particularly loyal either.

    Of those players who we sold on purpose – mostly because the club thought that they cannot perform consistently on the desired level – we got fair money only for the Ox, Giroud, Iwobi, Walcott and Bielik. The rest of the under-performing players were sold cheap (or even free), like Gibbs, Jenko, Ospina, Coquelin, Sanogo, Welbeck, Whilshere; and if a player wanted – or had – to pursue his career elsewhere we didn’t block their way with a hefty price-tag (Szczesny, Perez, Campbell, Gabriel, Debuchy, Cazorla, Monreal, Koscielny and others).

    Of your examples, TA, Giroud was indeed shirt-loving, but he couldn’t live up the expectations. He scored fabulous goals, so we knew how skilled he truly is, but he couldn’t perform at that level consistently. The club sold him intentionally, to allow an upgrade. Koscielny and Monreal decided to play their last 2-3 seasons elsewhere. It wasn’t the club’s decision, it was either the family (both went to their respective home country), or the fans’ pressure, who – after rare individual mistakes – didn’t take their age and club history into consideration.

  • Cheers Pb and good to hear from you. 🙂

    TH had about 10 years with us and same goes for DB. Freddie had nine years and Vieira got sold because of the stadium situation – he also had nine years. Before that Adams and Keown had long spells and I can go on. They all became Arsenal immortals and this is no longer happening. Obviously, it all changed after the stadium change and the rest is painful history when it comes to holding on to players and make them Mr Arsenals.

    Giroud won the world cup after he was allowed to leave… and not as a fringe player, so we have to agree to disagree. Auba was an upgrade fair enough but he did not replace the skillset of Giroud. Laca stayed – I would have sold him instead. You may be right it wasn’t the club’s decision re Monreal and Koz, but I am sure if we had wanted to keep them they would have stayed. Love and money go a long way.

  • Hi TA… This is an interesting post…and, with it, I can feel that you’re rounding back into form for the football, which seems like it will be taking off again soon, in one fashion or another. I have a hunch that Mikel has been working the channels (of his players brains, and the interstices therein…though if it was “dental quality” balloon gas, I’m not overly worried about the kids and the ways they go about trying to kill brain cells…) and that Arsenal may well overachieve in whatever little “run-in” will happen in the empty stadiums. I actually believe that Arsenal’s results have been (quite severely) affected by the stadium atmosphere(s, home and away…) since the early Wenger teams inflated fans expectations–along, of course, with the “new” media (including the blog-o-sphere) which is big on false narratives, assigning blame and otherwise sowing discord at every opportunity.

    So, I actually like our chances to get up for 4th–or is it 5th (how goes FIFA stuff vs ManCity?) and, if that miracle happens, we can then spread things (the Arsenal way, or the virus?…) to some other population centers in Europe. That would be CL football (if it’s played “next” season)… How does qualifying for the EL work (and bringing the virus to every little corner of Europe)? Top 6, or maybe some other permutation with FA Cup winners or something If anything should fall victim to the ‘Rona, maybe it’s that competition (The Europa League, not the FA Cup…)along with the league cup) that should fall by the wayside. Again, in my opinion…

    I know none of you are gonna answer those questions (or maybe even read ANY of my long-winded musings…), but, frankly, I can’t muster the energy to research my own answers because I’m making a dash myself (or taking my taking my Dutch friend living in Scotland’s advice…) and changing countries for a couple of weeks (mostly in order to retrieve my little Japanese car with its 6 fwd gears but also to see what’s happening down in Mexico)… It’s a little frightening, you know, getting back out again, but I feel like the best window is now…

    All of that said, I (just about completely) agree with the post–in a larger sense–though I would question some of the details. For example, there’s a lot of good reporting that Emery was not Gazidis’ choice (at all) which likely prompted his own departure. Similarly, I think the “loyalty” of the players is not only malleable, but also in the eye-of-the-beholder. Basically, if you “like” a player it’s far easier to believe his shows (and words) of loving the club are believable… In this arena, it’s extremely difficult to believe what you hear/read and very (very, very) easy to mistake “opinion journalism” (or commentary…) with actual facts, especially if what you want to hear gets repeated in the echo-chamber of our media silos. In the end, who can discern another person’s innermost thoughts, let alone what’s in their heart? No one. Or, maybe, anyone…

    So, (again, in my opinion…) it all comes down to the leadership of the club. Wenger (and the successes of the teams he coached) led to an incredible inflation of the value (and maybe “values”) of the club and the old BoD (before they sold out and made their windfall profits…) had a strong financial scheme for building the new stadium, which, for better or worse, brought a larger and different (higher paying…) group of “supporters” into it, including those at the “corporate level,” you know, the section that looks REALLY empty when the team is playing poorly, but adds plenty of pound sterling to our bottom line. But, is it still “ours,” or does the money go to the Wal-Mart wives (and grandkids, i.e., the Kroenkes) and their (new) management team? I’ve become convinced the Emery was Raul Sanllehi’s pick (over Arteta…) and that guy (Raul and his cozy relations with superagents) also led to decisions like Pepe instead of Zaha…and Sven back to Germany, etc., etc, etc. It’s not only all very different from the way things got done during Wenger’s time, but a complete dismantling of the work he did to assure a transition to the future in case he did leave. But, hey, (just about) everybody (except me…) wanted Wenger gone…

    That’s when I stopped liking/loving “my” club…(but started to use/enjoy the terms, be careful what you wish for…and this one:

    But, there is hope…

    If I’m AAArsene-L (All About Arsene…) then his guy (Gazidis) wanting Arteta AND Mikel then knowing he would benefit by waiting a season or two–even if it meant letting Emery destroy our football (or maybe our footballing values…)–and learning more from another Billionaire’s pet, er, Pep–then, I think Arteta is that much more savvy and that much more a rightful heir to the great man himself. Expectations (successfully) have been lowered and there’s a long hill to climb, but this stoppage of play (and perhaps a generational turnover of players whenever the transfer market gets going again) and, who knows, Artet-senal could be ready to pounce on some better times…making some (home-grown-ish) Arsenal legends (from our youth ranks) along the way.

    Or not… Only time will tell…

    (Thanks for reading, and, maybe, listening ^^^…)

  • Thanks Seventeenho, that is quite a positive/hopeful comment that could have been a separate post. Good stuff. Yes it may well be that Gazidis wanted Arteta instead of Emery but under his wings Unai joined us and he was tasked with appointing the new Wenger. So he is responsible. In my opinion, then and now, Arteta would not have been the right choice. We needed an experienced manager who could build further on Arsene’s style of football, vision and values. Both of them were not right back then.

    Now that, as you say, expectations are much lower, I am happy with Arteta getting his chance and, like you, I am also hopeful we will make progress.

    Re a restart of the season: I am not for it but it is probably going to happen. The BoJo show must go on..

  • Nice article but overly critical of our current situation….must be an off day for you TA. The BoD does seem to be running hither and yonder but when it comes to our youth, we have kids who really seem to take the club to heart. There are adult players like Ozil (7 years), Bellerin (9 years), Chambers (6 years), Martinez (10 years), Macey (7 years), Maitland-Niles (6 years), Nelson (13 years), and Smith-Rowe (10 years) who have a long and successful relationship with the club. Arteta ‘s vision seems very focused and determined….we will see the Arsenal rise again!

  • Good post Total. It deserves more commentary so I shall attempt to do my bit.

    Visiting Mexico 17tino, are you sure? From what I’ve seen reported it’s not in a good place.

    As for taking the virus to all parts of Europe I really have to remind you that in Arsenal’s case it came to us from Greece. So what goes around I guess…

    Arsenal teams going into their shells due to the atmosphere at stadiums, I’m not sure about that, football in the 21st century is almost genteel when compared to days of yore. I’ve been to few stadiums up north in the 70’s and 80’s and that mio amigo was an atmosphere of thinly disguised hatred I can tell you, you could almost taste the antipathy in the air when Arsenal took to the field. So if the modern boys can’t deal with it today then maybe it’s because they’ve all gone soft these millennials…

    Giroud loved the shirt?
    Hmm, I’m not sure about that, didn’t he hold up the Europa Cup and say ‘thank you Arsenal’ to a camera and then have it put online after we lost in Baku?
    Do you really love a club if at the first opportunity you rub their noses in it?

  • 17ht, your question about our chances for 5th is very much everyone else’s guess. It is how much we plan ahead of the restart and how well we play behind closed doors.

  • TA, good thought provoking post.

    There were some media reports on the plans of the new Rams stadium in the US, but recently there is another media report on Kronke getting the FA (or was it UEFA)’s approval on injecting cash into the Gunners.

    We need the youngsters to like the Arsenal way and give them a sense of belonging to such a great club to keep them for longer periods.
    That having said,

  • That having said, we need the club to have its own tradition like Highbury. Highbury is not just a stadium. It is a tradition, a way of life for the N5 residents. As of now, Emirates is still not a tradition. To make it like a tradition, we need to make the players and fans alike to come together and win as one.

  • Hey T, I also like Leno, ( underrated with our weak defense and playing style, great save numbers ) Xhaka I was liking more under Mikel B.C.- before the China Virus) Are we really going after this dm from atletico? What’s up with Lucas? Also we needed to sort the striker situation. Should’ve sold Auba earlier, for more. No choice really. We’ve been down this road of horribly depreciating assets too many times. I don’t wanna hype kids too much, but with Saka, Nelson, and Pepe, Nketiah will be a goal machine. You can just see it. And dont forget Martinelli. Laca, also we need to make a decision before it’s too late. We let Ceballos go? But we need an industrious yet creative midfielder, in the Ramsey mold, though very few will score like him, I understand. Watching the games, there seemed to be a total disconnect between back and front. Glaring.

  • Cheers OMG, you have not lost your bite as yet! 😉

    Yes there are fringe and young players with potential to become long-term servants of the club, but it is the core I was talking about. Ozil and Bellerin are indeed positive stories.

  • Cheers Kev,

    Giroud was pushed out; he didn’t want to go. If you do that to a man with pride, he sooner or later will have a little dig back. I think we deserved that. 😉

  • Good point about Mexico, Kev. We are hearing all sorts of dark and disturbing things about 17HT’s newly established oasis. Let’s hear from him about it…

  • J, good to hear from you and I hope you are well in NYC. We have seen some grim pictures here from your city (other than the one with the ship with that amazingly vivid red-cross against an immaculate white background 😉 ). Still it is the Coronavirus or Covid-19 not the Chinavirus my friend. I am reading Jill Lepore’s book ‘These Truths’ at the moment and I can tell there were anti-Chinese ‘feelings’ back in the 19th century already. So let’s not indulge in Trump’s attempt to shift the blame to the country where it supposedly started and cover up his own utter incompetence in managing this awful crisis.

    I think you are spot on re the midfield dynamics and replacing Ramsey this summer is key. I am talking about an upgrade on Ramsey as we need someone with fitness and stamina to play 30+ PL games every season. Torreira seems to have difficulties with convincing managers to keep playing them… and maybe he is a bit homesick.

    Stay healthy, J.

  • You say that Giroud was pushed out Total, but with all due respect didn’t Wenger want him to stay, because if I recall it was the interference of the French national team manager who more or less stated that if he didn’t leave Arsenal he would not be selected for France.
    I actually think that if he had stayed that he might still be an Arsenal player, minus a World Cup winning medal perhaps? 😉

  • Total I was watching a news segment on You Tube and it was reporting about the high death rate, particularly in Mexico City, it was awful, the crematoria are going at it 24/7, that’s if what was reported was accurate and these days you never can be sure.

  • That’s a well thought out post TA, and you have received many fine comments.

    Even though I’m isolated at home my time is very limited due to medical appointments – both in person and by phone – so I won’t be able to spend the time time required to respond in depth but I will make a few quick observations.

    I want to grimace every time I hear folks say ” I want my Arsenal back” – I wonder what Arsenal do they want to see? The Arsenal of the 40’s. 50’s, 60’s 70’s, 80’s 90’s or 20’s? I’ve seen them all.
    Frankly the best “Arsenal’s” were in the 30’s under the great HC and then the late 90’s under AW, although I never saw our teams of the 30’s, as a child I listened intently as my family would have discussions on Arsenal and comparisons were always made with HC’s teams, and I’ve researched and written enough about them to recognize just how exceptional they were – and the record books back also tell a story..

    AW’s teams were the highlight of my time supporting Arsenal – they were a joy to behold and pushed Arsenal to a level of brilliance that I never thought I would see in a Arsenal team. For many (sad) reasons we have lost the levels of skill and excitement the AW brought to our terraces/living rooms – and I have my doubts that it will ever return.

    Oh! what happened in the fifty odd years between the 30’s and the 90’s well –
    George Allison’s teams (1934 – 1947) won two league titles and one FA Cup
    Tom Whittaker’s teams (1947-1956) also won two league titles and one FA Cup
    Jack Crayston (1956-1958) won nothing.
    George Swindin (1958- 1962) won nothing.
    Billy Wright (1962-1966) won nothing.
    Bertie Mee (1966-1976) woke things up in 1970 with a Fairs Cup victory and a marvelous League and FA Cup double.
    Terry Neill (1976-1983) won one FA Cup.
    Don Howe) (1983-1986) won nothing
    George Graham (1986-1995) won two League Titles, one FA Cup, one European Cup Winner Cup – and we can never forget the glorious Friday night at Anfield in May of 1989.

    I watched all the way from mud bath pitches, leather-ankle high boots to manicured pitches, designer boots/shoes. What I miss the most is excitement – football now seems to be a sterile business with “supporters” who seems more like critics than fans.

  • 17HT I’m sure that you don’t need advice from us but surely it’s more prudent to stay in place and stay safe? But take care whichever decision you make.

  • Kevski 🙂

    My understanding is that Wenger said to Giroud: If you want to play in the WC final you need more game time and I cannot give that to you. Call it a carrot or a stick but Giroud was told were he stood by Wenger. I reckon the club needed to get some money back to cover their Auba purchase and told Wenger to sort it out. C’est Adieu et ne pas Au Revoir, Ollie, said the wily grey fox.

  • Hey T, I’m glad you mentioned durability in case we can get a key central midfielder, because we eill have depth in attack and defensive MF. If we get someone, we still won’t have depth with that specialty, unless Mikel can teach someone we have or are bringing through. I don’t think that is out of the realm of possibility. My hope is that he can be that kind of coach.
    I’m curious about one thing if anyone can answer honestly though, since you chided me.
    Ebola virus – named for the river region in Africa where originated.
    West Nile virus .. obvious
    MERS – middle East respiratory syndrome
    Spanish Flu – (And you all call it that, don’t even try to deny it)
    Any virus coming from China ( racist if you mention China ! )
    Think about it. Go deeper than what you’re told to think and say.

    Btw, since there’s no choice except bundesliga, I’ve always loved Dortmund, and Leipzig are wonderful to watch.

  • It is funny that we see the history from a different aspect.
    You value the time spent with the club over the circumstances of the departure, while I do it the other way around.
    Probably the club legend status has more to do with the accomplishments than actual skills or length of stay as both Fabregas and van Persie spent 8 years with the club, Walcott spent an admirable 12, Rosicky 10, Cazorla 6, while Vieira and Ljungberg spent 9, Henry 8, Pires only 6. I still consider the way how the player departed a key factor how I feel for the player, so my heroes are Bergkamp Arteta and Mertesacker, but I can relate to Pires and Rosicky easier – who left the club at the age of 33 and 36 respectively to end their career in a less competitive league – than Henry, Ljunbgberg and Vieira who left at 29 for less than half of their market value. Of course they are not heartless mercenaries like Nasri or Adebayor, but I honestly don’t see them bigger persons than Fabregas. (The treachery of van Persie was more sever as he joined a domestic competitor, bot otherwise all excuses of Henry should apply to him as well.)

    On Giroud; he wasn’t a fringe player in the sense of not getting regular minutes, but even taking his remarkable aerial skills into account he wasn’t a really good and effective/clinical striker. I’m not sure he was tasked with a lot of hold-up play because that was the desired team tactics from Wenger, or because he wasn’t as dangerous to the opponent as Sanchez. Maybe I’m unfair with him, but besides immortals like Bergkamp and Henry we had such talented attacker like Wright, Anelka, Kanu, Adebayor, van Persie and later Aubameyang, that Giroud simply couldn’t live up to the “tradition”.

  • pbarany.

    I saw/see Giroud completely differently than your good self.

    None of us know the real truth about the comings and goings of Arsenal players but I felt he wanted to stay at Arsenal but the lack of playing time and the possible loss of his place in the German team became overriding factors in the final decision to leave Arsenal – I was sad to see him leave.

    What I feel is misunderstood about him is the fact that he should not have been assessed on his goals and assists but on his uncanny ability to draw defense men out of position to cover him – thus leaving gaping holes for others to run into, and thus create scoring opportunities. But even though he was a rabbit he still manged to score 73 league goals for us – some of which were very important and many were quite spectacular.

    Another testament to his quality and importance is that he was just given an extension on his contract at Chelsea.

  • Carrot and stick indeed Total, maybe if Wenger had still been in charge of Arsenal then perhaps Giroud would have acted with a little more grace after the final but my feeling, when I’m going to the Emirates and talking to other fans and he comes up is that Olivier sullied his reputation with the fans who sang his name and adored him.

    I can remember people talking of Hong Kong flu and Asian flu as a nipper, I also remember demonstrations by young Chinese students in London in the 1960’s, calling themselves Red Guards and waving Mao Zedong’s (or Mao Tse-Tung) little red book. That was about the time that the Cultural Revolution was going on in China and during it I think that the Chinese government was responsible anything between 2 million and 20 million deaths of its own people.
    That of course came on the back of The Great Leap Forward in the 1950’s when approximately 18 million and up to 45 million died thanks to crackpot communist policies.

  • Oops I forgot to mention that he is also one of only nineteen players in our history to have scored one hundred or more goals for the club (105) – scoring .47 goals per game.

  • Respect to that point of view, J, and thanks for explaining. You have a point. For me it was clear that this pandemic/virus was named differently from the start and so it was wrong to start renaming it in that way. That was most likely done with another motive in mind and we probably disagree what that motive was.

  • Cheers PB, I think I get where you are coming from. There has been an interim period of players who stayed longer and were loyal, as per your Rosicky and Walcott appreciation, but they were fringe players due to injuries or lack of consistency. These days we have no core of players who have been with the club a long time and are settled with us. Ozil and Bellerin are the exception. In the early Wenger years we were bursting with these sort of players, but if you don’t agree with that then that is fine too. 🙂

    Re Giroud we will also have to agree to disagree. Nobody has been more effective in the attacking half than Ollie between 2010-20 at Arsenal. In my top-11 ever I would have OG12; that is how important I see him.

  • TA, I am with you re Ollie. He is underrated in my opinion and he was forced out of the club and he moved across London just to play in the World Cup. I don’t blame him.

  • Well, agree to disagree it is, guys. 🙂

    GN5, I could be unfair to Giroud by assessing his performance by the goals and assists he delivered. But I’m not entire sure that he was signed to be a hold up striker in the first place. Before he joined us he was topscorer of Ligue 1 and two years after that in Ligue 2. So he does (did) have a clinical self, but was probably working better against weaker opponents – as he found his scoring form in the UEFA Europa League last year. So my narrative is still that he had to transform himself into a hold up forward as he wasn’t efficient enough to be the main finishing striker.

    And don’t take me wrong, I really like the guy. I appreciate his loyalty to the club, I seriously enjoyed his ridiculously stunning goals, and I loved him being a funny, friendly guy in the dressing room. I merely don’t hold him an ‘Arsenal level’ attacker, which is indeed debatable as he kind of won a World Cup title, but on the other hand his market value topped at 24M, and never score more PL goals than 16 in a season.

    In my view he was a Podolski-esque striker, which is still pretty good, with one main strength (Podolski: left foot power, Giroud: headers), but overall a better than average but far from world-class striker. A quality of player that the bottom third of the league wished they possess, but the middle third usually have them. At least I see Giroud in the same ballpark as Deeney, Joelinton, Haller, Jimenez, Richarlison or Lukaku, and below the level of Vardy, Kane, Firmino, Jesus, Martial, Aügero or Aubameyang.

  • Honours
    Ligue 1: 2011–12[223]
    FA Cup: 2013–14,[116] 2014–15,[224] 2016–17[151]
    FA Community Shield: 2014,[225] 2015,[226] 2017[227]
    FA Cup: 2017–18[228]
    UEFA Europa League: 2018–19[165]
    EFL Cup runner-up: 2018–19[229]
    FIFA World Cup: 2018[230]
    UNFP Ligue 1 Team of the Year: 2011–12[231]
    Premier League Player of the Month: March 2015[232]
    UNFP Ligue 2 Player of the Year: 2009–10[citation needed]
    UNFP Ligue 2 Team of the Year: 2009–10[citation needed]
    Ligue 2 UNFP Player of the Month: September 2009, November 2009[233]
    UEFA European Championship Bronze Boot: 2016[186]
    FIFA Puskás Award: 2017[149]
    UEFA Europa League Squad of the Season: 2018–19[234]
    Chevalier of the Légion d’honneur: 2018[1]

  • Views and feelings go a long way but when we talk about a CF we also need to have a look at the facts. Giroud outperformed all those on your list, Pb (Vardy, Kane, Firmino, Jesus, Martial, Aügero or Aubameyang). I have no doubt, but maybe GN5, can look at the stats for us, that we scored more goals per game as a team when Ollie played for us. That was Wenger’s plan all along. He tried it with Chamakh but Ollie was an upgrade in all areas (when Van Pudsie was injured and Chamakh led the line for over half a season we managed an impressive 2.3 goals per game in the PL….) Wenger then knew it was the future to play with a Holding CF.

    Now I can agree with you that when we look at pure technique and athleticism, those you mention are better. Wenger and Deschamps knew that too… but ultimately footie is a team game and Ollie brought an extra dimension. Ollie can answer his critics with his head held high and just pointing to the shiny, dazzling personal trophy cabinet in his living room. Moi je suis un homme de beaucoup de merite! 😉

  • Football is indeed a team game, moreover it is a squad game.
    You need a great team to reach crazy heights, but it doesn’t always mean that they’re all exceptional.

    I don’t really like the word stowaway but I cannot find a better one at the moment for those that are lucky enough to reach the top in a team competition but individually don’t belong to the elite.
    Pedro could be one from the Guardiola’s great FC Barcelona team. Cygan, Aliadière (and for me Wiltord and Edu) are examples from the Invincibles. And Giroud is that man from the French World Cup squad in 2018. In my opinion with Varane, Umtiti, Pogba, Griezman, Kante, Lemar, Mbappe, Dembele, they would have won the tournament with Gervinho or Chamakh in the CF role as well. 🙂

  • 10 points for sticking to your guns, Pb. OG won silverware with four teams – three clubs and one national team (as much as any if not most in that French 2018 WC winning team); If it is all down to ‘being lucky enough’ then we both have to agree that OG is one lucky guy. I stick with the stats and the knowledge that luck is temporary, class (albeit of a different dimension) is permanent. Some of the greatest artist and writers died poor and desolate, only for future generations to realise the enormity of their talent and impact on the times. Giroud will become that sort of great.

    Good debating with you, Barátom! 🙂

  • Good stuff here, esp. with the debate about Giroud. Like I said (in another wordy post a few threads back), my introduction to BKesque was trying to talk down a very strong blogger here named Highbury Harmony who was NOT a fan of the big French fellow. It was essentially the argument that PB makes above, that he just wasn’t “Arsenal” quality, but passionately argued, perhaps during a “game-day-chat” where some points were dropped…

    In the end, I think, Wenger did (very) well managing big Ollie and turning him into a useful asset–at our club and with his other teams. For me, he never quite convinced. Maybe if he could’ve embraced his one true asset–his size–esp. when we really needed it (like as our “footballing ideas” were contracting and we had to play more and more Route One style) and carried his teammates forward in a more English style, you know, just taking the beating and encouraging his mates to get on with things. Instead, it was always a more aloof battle (often with the referee, and often from the turf, doing that not-very-macho injury faking thing with his hand–which always meant that he was fine…) which seemed to slow the matches and emphasize his more typical (or maybe, “small…”) CF diva qualities… (And why not “big up those sorts of elements? Let’s not forget that, in the larger culture, he made quite an impact as a (gay) pin-up model…which I find endearing, if not “hot.” 😉 …) I guess I just never saw him as a physically dominant player (a traditional English CF, as Wenger called him…) when it looked like such a role was sitting there on a plate for him. And, as much as I think he was a fine servant for the club (as they say) little things–like trying to do a “scorpion kick” goal celebration when there was still time to try and grab full points as we were coming back against a relegation level opponent (a week after his incredible–and incredibly lucky–wonder goal)–showed (for me) where he stood on the (always delicate) “me” vs “team” spectrum…

    Moving on, as it were…

    On traveling in the midst of this pandemic…which you (maybe most accurately) can call SARS-CoV-2 (the 2nd Coronavirus with Respiratory Syndrome that came from South Asia). That way, the folks who feel it’s important to note the area of origin can do so in a way that doesn’t (seem to) seek to assign blame and (maybe…) prompt scapegoating. Even the Donald seemed to walk back the blame game (for a week or two…) when reports of violence against Chinese-Americans (“Good people, very good people…”) were reported… Of course, on the bleach drinkers, he takes zero responsibility…

    And perhaps rightly so…If we want to live in a free society, maybe people do (actually) need to think for themselves…

    Here in the Western Capitalist (and/or Socialist) Democracies (and I use all terms loosely…) where things are maybe less authoritarian, we were slow (probably fatally slow…) to pull out the (very) blunt instrument of stay-at-home orders. Now, with a bit more known about the virus, it seems there are opportunities to “get back to business,” you know, make those tiny individual decisions about what and how to work and/or consume. I feel like I can travel safely to my property (in a quite remote part of the state of Jalisco) without much individual risk, though of course all the indoor stuff (plane, hotel, bus/taxi and even the tiny bit of bank and lawyer business I need to do) are a bit daunting. I’ll be wearing both my mask AND my privilege as a light skinned person (with money in my pockets), however…

    The drive back is what’s worrying me more. But, I know the route(s) and can stick to the toll roads and (again) use my wallet to find some security for the eating and sleeping. In general, I think there’s at least a bit of privilege that makes me a target (California license plates = money inside), but, the last thing any group (government or cartel, which in plenty of places IS the government…) wants is anecdotal press coverage about violence wrought upon folks like me, which translates to even less money coming to the area in question.

    In my mind, risk (sort of like individual questions about how to work within a team; see Giroud and his Arsenal mates, above, for example…) is a calculation. The safest activities aren’t completely risk-free, and much riskier ones (like say backcountry skiing in avalanche or no-fall zones) can be made much safer with some good thinking AND practices put into place. (For example, GN5 and his son’s family choosing to keep 6 ft apart is pretty wise, if likely unnecessary; while, in a kindred but very different vein, Kev’s son at TFL has probably been very stressed and working VERY hard to keep himself safe in a much more “forced” situation, but, similarly, following protocol and staying healthy.)

    For me, traveling early (in the re-opening) and seeing how things are being done by the Mexicans (who need/want the travelers) seems like it could provide guidance (perhaps critical guidance…) as things open up further and folks get sloppier in their pursuit of economic needs (the Mexican tourist industry needs money…and the tourists, trust me, get sloppy…) After all, I hope to be returning in the autumn/winter…

    So, that’s what I’m thinking… And, if you don’t hear from me…it could be because I actually think that re-opening the football (if not in the stadium, how many will congregate to watch in the pub?) is what’s really gonna get people sick… People NEED to go to church (or congregate over something that seems more important than life itself…) which is why we love our football. Hopefully, most of it will be done from behind the safety of the screens and we will avoid the sickness…but, not, I imagine, the ugliness that seems to beset individuals when they lose the decency that being part of a society enforces…

    In the end, I say get out there (wisely), and be a supporter (with as much wisdom and kindness to others as possible–esp. folks on YOUR team, but opposing groups too…) and avoid the sickness, both physical (AND mental)… Go on then… Or something…

    Again, and as always, thanks for reading…

  • By no means did I want to belittle Olivier Giroud’s merits.
    The ‘lucky stowaway’ part solely referred to his World Cup gold medal.
    Even saying he wasn’t Arsenal quality could have been a little harsh, as he only wasn’t Arsenal quality if we think about the 1996-2006 decade. When we consider the 2007-2017 era he was far from being the weak link, or the culprit for losing out on the CL spots.
    Yet – in agreement with 17HT above – for me he was more suited for a super-sub than being first-choice striker of a title-aspiring club.

    Anyway I have no compulsion or urge to convince anybody, but for the joy of the debate here are my counter-examples to the greatness-silverware correlation.

    Legendary players with minimal silverware:
    Sir Stanley Matthews (only 1 FA Cup title)
    Stuart Pearce (no silverware)
    Gaizka Mendieta (3 cups but no title)
    Matt Le Tissier (no honors whatsoever)
    Giuseppe Signori (only 1 Italian Cup title)
    Bernd Schneider (no gold but plenty of 2nd and 3rd places)
    Jermain Defoe (272 career goals, 1 League Cup)

    Mediocre players with plenty of silverware:
    Jesper Blomqvist (6 titles, 1 domestic cup, CL)
    Juliano Belletti (the Brazilian Giroud: 11 titles with 3 clubs and country including CL and WC)
    Anderson (6 titles, 5 cups, CL, CA, club WC)
    Djimi Traore (CL, UEFA Cup, 5 domestic cups with 3 teams)
    Oriol Romeu (FA Cup, Spanish champion, CL)
    Maxwell (39: https://www.transfermarkt.co.uk/maxwell/erfolge/spieler/4317)

  • England played Brazil in Jalisco in the 1970 World Cup, losing 1-0 – in Guadalajara.

    Looking at a map of Meh-hico, it looks quite a drive, if drive is the plan, along route 150 it seems?
    Can it be done without stopping at a motel?
    Stopping at a motel does have the advantage, I’d imagine, of enjoying some Mexican grub – I’m envious…

    The epicentre in Mexico is in Mexico City, much as London is in the U.K. and New York in the U.S.
    Population density I guess…

    I don’t think we’ll learn the true death figures for a long time ( maybe never in some totalitarian states) as most governments will try to massage the numbers, it’s not good PR.

    As an aside, I did see that CNN called it Wuhan Virus during the early days of the outbreak.

  • We sure did. 🙂
    I hope you checked out Maxwell’s collection though. It is stunning.

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