…then the bargaining

I don’t want to play up the whole “stages of grief” thing too much because there is real grief and real pain in the world and I do realize that a few fans’ overrreaction to the outcome of a sporting event isn’t nearly as serious as the loss of a loved one.  For the record, the grief cycle is just something that’s been on my mind lately (with the death of my friend) and I’m sort of poking fun at myself (and some of you) for taking this loss so seriously.  Losing to Fulham is bad, but it’s not the end of the world.  Besides, everyone knows that the end of the world happens in 2012; John McCain’s second term of office.

That said, I think a lot of supporters right now are in the bargaining stage.  I recognize that and I want to help you to quickly get through this bargaining stage, move on to acceptance, and hopefully find some joy in this season and being an Arsenal fan.  Ready?

Arsene Wenger will do what he wants to do.  No matter how much we stomp our feet and threaten him or each other and all signs point to him not buying anyone.  In fact, he pretty much said so today:

When you lose a game the solution is not always to buy. Did we play at our best? I say no and so we have to look at why? We had problems to win our first few games last year but we won them. This year we did not win – that is the reality. We had 60 minutes to come back on Fulham and we did not do it. Is that down to Fulham’ s quality or the fact we were not good enough? Only the future will tell us that.

And the official line, from the dot com, is that Arsene is looking for replacements in the midfield from within.  So you can drop that talking point immediately.  I’m in this same boat.  I really want Arsene to buy Alonso or someone but given his last outburst, his statement about spirit, and all the talk about how this youth team is his greatest experiment I really think he’s sold himself on trying this for a year.

Besides, do you really think we can bargain with the best manager that Arsenal have ever had?  No.

Another thing I hear a lot of is that Wenger has “lost the plot.”  When Wenger came to Arsenal he revolutionized football: he brought in dietitians, statistics, workout regimens, banned booze, and stubbed out smoking.  It worked, he won.  Then he challenged the old boys network by bringing in foreign players.  That worked, he won.  In his boldest move ever, he wants to do nothing short of revolutionize all of football.  Show that the team can overcome the individual.  That no matter how much money you spend on a club, a better prepared, hungry team can win it all.  Given his success, I think we owe him a chance to try it.  He deserves the chance to try whatever he wants for three years far more than we “deserve” silverware.

A little perspective, please, before you start calling for him to be replaced or use terms like “lost the plot.”  Gazza has lost the plot: Arsene is trying something radical.  Arsene is trying to build the anti-Chelsea and ensure the long term financial fitness of the club.  That’s a little bit different than eating raw liver and drunkenly threatening to stab the bellhops whilst swaddled in little more than a hotel bed sheet smeared in your own excrement.  Trying out a radical new idea may be uncomfortable to some of you, but it’s not losing any plot.  So stop with that, mmmmkay?

The other bargaining point I hear a lot of is “just how bad were Arsenal?” when instead we should be focusing on how well Fulham played.  I know what I said yesterday, but I’m taking it back.  It’s just plain disrespectful to the team that won for us to focus on how bad we were.  So, here’s credit where credit is due, Fulham were the better team and deserved the win.  They defended well and scored a great goal.  End of story.

It’s one loss.

There are 36 more games to play.

Let’s all just get over it.

Transfer news

Coming in, Arsenal are being linked with Citeh midfielder Michael Johnson.   According to the article he’s rated at £6m and makes a “paltry” £9k a week.  From a rumor mongering perspective the press is doing a much better job, that’s more like an Arsenal signing if I ever saw one.

Going out, there is a rumor from Italy (I bet it’s from Vincenzo Morabito, Super Agent) that Senderos is going on loan to Milan.  This rumor and the one about Djourou going to Rennes are pretty odd if you ask me.  It’s pretty clear that Arsenal need cover all over the pitch so why would they loan out two decent players?  The pure speculator in me thinks it’s a bookkeeping thing and that Arsenal’s financial’s are far worse than anyone is letting on.  That would also explain this new found philosophy of the boss and his reluctance to dip into the market… Oh wait… I’m not bargaining again am I?



  1. We always needed cover at the back and seemed to have made up the numbers by brining in Silvestre but now we’ve let Senderos AND Djourou go out on loan we are even shorter than before!!!!!!! So Wenger has at least 3 bodies in mind (1x midfielder and 2xdefender) or we’re seriousley facing meltdown in the league. With Silvestre saying that he came to us as he wanted more games and was fed up of warming Uniteds bench Le Boss obviousley see’s the melon head far above in the pecking order when thinking of Djourou and Senderos. Silvestre bottles it in big games and is injury prone AND only ever played well as a left back. I’m not liking this one bit, very nervous now….

  2. I share you thoughts on the difference between real life tragedy and Arsenal losing. I too just lost a friend to stomach cancer. We were both terrace and season ticket buddies at Highbury in the 60 ‘s and 70’s until both our families migrated to the USA. No one now to reshare the joint experiences we had during those glorious and inglorious days of yore. Cursing the very image of Billy Wright. We had every answer to every problem but could also alway6s fall back on and bask in the fond memories of so many games: when Skirton crashed down the wing and “broke” the net with his shot. Or Georgie Armstrong, game after game, breathed life back into an apparently defeated team.

    So with that nod to the past I am back in perspective and can discuss the Gunners without hysteria.

    I agree Fulham organised and executed a far better game plan than we did. We just had no hand at the tiller to influence things on the field, which will not change while Wenger’s ‘amour propre’ is such he simply refuses to second guess his captains choice of Gallas. I also fail to see why Arsenal abide by some unwritten law , no subs allowed until the 75th minute unless for injury. Surely subbing Denilson well before half time would have been beneficial to the team – and to Denilson’s self esteeem. So I would emphasise the coaches responsibility for not building alternative plans, for when their game plan breaks down, into pre match training and the managers too for his apparent ostrich neck approach to making real time adjustments during a game. A Gallic shrug does not have the force of nature mon ami.

  3. I agree that Denilson should have been subbed at half time. He actually looked to lose confidence as the match wore on so, in some ways it might have been better to sub him out. Also, if you’re going to go with a bold youth policy, go all the way and put Ramsey in there. He could hardly have done worse.

    Sorry about the loss of your friend. I love hearing stories from the old days so feel free to mention them here whenever you like.


  4. You’re wrong. Wenger has lost the plot. He needs a new job. Our entrance fees should be repaid and we should be let in for free like at BArnet with the Reserves because that’s all we are getting.

    Arsena; = 7th place if lucky.

  5. Dont be silly. Our finances are what u saw published. they are audited by PWC, KPMG, Deloitte, etc. Thats no joke so stop the rubbish about our finances.

  6. To be honest i’m sick and tired of Wenger, last season the PL should and would have been ours if it wasn’t for Wengers stubbornness, this man is taking the club and all the fans for a ride, I know a lot of fans will say Wenger is untouchable but c’mon people think about post 2004 – this guy has said Arsenal are in transition but it’s a joke. On a personal level I have supported this club all my life but I’ve got to the point where I have given up, no longer will I pay a penny towards my membership, no longer will I give a penny towards this club until Wenger leaves. As much as it pains me to say this I will no longer support this club, I’m sick and tired of Wenger and the mediocre player he has in the starting line up such as Theo, Eboue, Almunia, Denilson and a captain such as GALLAS WTF! I’ve said my piece and if anyone else wants to keep discussing the issue with me then fair enough, but just remember what I said – also for those who think I’m a plastic fan get a life, I’ve been supporting this club all my life through the good times and the bad but this time its that w*nkers fault.

  7. Wenger, bring in a new midfielder now, prepare to be sacked. Wasteman. (we need a creative natural left-footed winger). All Wenger goes on about is “bla bla you have to remember that we have injuries”… Well that doesnt EVER seem to change, so the smart idea would be to BUY COVER and stop trying to prove a point to every. Honestly, i dont know why Wenger does the opposite of what everyone tells him, its getting VERY annoying and if we dont win any silverware this season or get a top 3 finish i will be hoping that the board see enough sense to replace this tight b*stard. And i really dont give a *** about your little statements “wenger knows” and… “in wenger we trust” *** everyone can see the errors and what needs to be done, yet consistently HE DOESN’T DO IT. We have fallen short far too many times for my liking. I support ARSENAL FC and not WENGER FC, just because he is the manager doesnt mean everyone who supports the club has to support him, nobody is bigger than the club. I hope you all remember that.

    PS. Eboue wouldn’t have started on the Fulham team. Not sure he’ll start in Totenham or Hull’s team. – why on earth is he an Arsenal starter?

  8. It’s called “decaf” pay-per-view, look into it.

    And Wenger does know. How many trophies have you won exactly? I mean in real life, not on Football Manager.

  9. I do hope that Djourou is not being loaned. I know there is speculation that he may go to Rennes but Arsene would be crazy to let him go. I would rather have him than Gallas who has been nothing but a fuck-up since he arrived to our club.

    Also, Song is clearly a very good defensive midfielder as he has proved time and time again (best player for Cameroon in both ANC and Olympics) so why the fuck is Wenger being an arrogant dickhead and not playing him in his natural and favoured position. Eboue is a very good full back but it is because of Arsenes persistence in playing him out of position that has led to him not playing with his potential. Arsene states that he doubts Song’s ability to play 60 games in that position. I don’t think there is a singleplayer at our club who has yet achieved that! Even if that is the case, Song could’ve played there even if it was only to cover until Diaby returned.

    If you ask me, it is because of Wengers stubborness and persistence in playing players out of position that lost us that game.

    Arsene may be the greatest manager to grace our club but when it comes to defending, he hasn’t got a clue.

  10. I don’t think Wenger has lost the plot, but do think he is straying somewhat. The same characteristics, loyalty, eye for talent, stubbornness and belief, which make him a footballing genius is also one which could bring him back to earth rather suddenly.

    He has faith in his young ones and remain loyal to them by giving them every chance to succeed. However, the likes of Denilson, Diaby, Eboue and Walcott have yet to repay him by their overall performances. Ironically, the new boys like Sagna and Eduardo and even Diarra in his short stay, shows he still has an eye for talent, while the older boys have yet to show their skills consistently.

    None of the four young ones whom I referred to earlier are finished products and may never end up as “footballing stars” but could all be decent players who could provide tremendous squad strength. At this point they have done very little to earn themselves starting spots on a top 4 team in the EPL. Arsene’s stubbornness in experimenting during the season, especially at crucial junctures, may well lead to his better players seeking Trophy opportunities with other teams in the near future and collapse his theory of togetherness and cohesiveness.

    Maybe the result against Fulham would have been the same, but if Song had started at DM with Vela on the left and Nasri on the right we would have had a much better chance for victory and with Song’s support at the back Denilson may have been calmer and felt less pressure. To put it in true perspective, very few EPL teams, if any, would want Denilson and Eboue as their starting mid fielders based on their quality and experience shown to date.

    Is Arsene missing the plot? Maybe not, but he is straying far afield.

    There is an old adage, “Sometimes we can’t see the forest for the trees” and Arsene’s refusal to give up on the Eboue experiment at RM and DM and his flirtations with Diaby playing all over the pitch ranks of unmitigated stubbornness in not viewing the overall picture.

    Hope Arsene is not pulling a George Bush on us. When interviewed 10 days ago in Beijing and asked to comment on the US financial problems and how it would affect his bargaining position with the Chinese Premier, his response was “We have no problems, we are still the greatest nation in the world and respected as such”.

    Really hope he and Wenger are not on the same diet.

  11. BTW

    I did see an electronic copy of Arsenal’s financial report and they are in a very liquid position financially and have a large NOI even though they put aside huge amounts in their reserve fund.

    Although they were only ranked 5th in total income globally, they appear to be #1 in NOI.

  12. I keep seeing all these reports that they generate a large amount of money, but that their actual income is very small. In fact, the last accounting I saw said that the NEED the champions league money just to make ends meet. That, plus the actions of the manager and the club, make me wonder. Think back to the beginning of the summer when one person would say Wenger had 80m and the next person would say, more like 60 and the pot just got whittled down, smaller and smaller until it was 25m minus salary adjustments.

    I saw the same report you did about their NOI, but they are also third in wages paid and dead middle in wages paid per dollar earned. And if I remember correctly, their EBT was almost non-existant. Largely due to problems with the sales of the Highbury reconstruction.

    They allow two prominent board positions lapse, they refuse to buy replacement players, they basically break even in the transfer market, and now there’s scuttlebut that two defenders, a position that Arsenal are thin in, are preparing to make way, thus clearing more salary off the books?

    Something doesn’t pass the smell test here. Sure it’s circumstantial, but it gives me pause.

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