On a decade

On January 1st, this blog will be 10 years old.

I wish I could tell you a noble lie, that I started 7amkickoff so that I could develop a community of like-minded individuals, intellectuals who wanted to muse over how Arsenal were like Shakespeare (King Lear, clearly) or talk about how post-structuralism relates to football, but I didn’t. I started writing every day for selfish reasons: I wanted to be a better writer and if I’m honest, I just wanted to be heard.

When I started this blog I had been following Arsenal for a few years and since I’m an American that automatically meant that I was clearly an expert at all things Arsenal and English. There were all these other Arsenal blogs popping up every week and I would leave a comment on them, some brilliant insight into how Wenger was forced to build a youth team because of the stadium, or how no other manager in the world would or could do what Wenger was doing in the post-invincibles era. But the comments went unreplied to, unrequited.

So, I thought “well if those guys can do this, I can too” and I started writing, every day.

The blog took a slight turn for the weird when Opta data was published in the Guardian. I was a stats guy from my time watching basketball. I had even been the ESPN fantasy basketball correspondent for the Seattle SuperSonics back in the days when the internet was still fresh and mostly unsullied (before 4chan and it’s newest incarnation, Twitter). So, I was well versed in the meaning of sports numbers and how they could be used to help understand the game. I started consuming and writing about football using stats. That made people angry. How dare I butress my junks using stats? Stats don’t tell the whole story.

Eight years later, here I am. Still doing mostly the same thing. Things have changed around me, blogs have come and gone. Writers have come and gone from the site, the community has grown and changed, people have loved and hated me in equal measure in the comments and I’ve even had a few real life stalkers (yay!).

Twitter and the twitification of writing has taken over modern discourse. Not just sports writing. We even have the first Twitter president, a man who watches 8 hours of television a day, eats burnt steaks, gets his news from Fox and Friends, and tweets his proclamations from on high like some kind of modern Roman Emperor. War is peace, reality is fake, racists are good people too, but Hillary, Obama isn’t an American, we save health care by destroying it, we build the economy by cutting taxes, bitcoin isn’t beanie babies, education is slavery, science is wrong, nothing is real, reality is nothing.

We live in the dumbest of timelines.

Humanity is coming to an end, hunched over our phones, tweeting out memes about how stupid everything is while the earth turns into an inhospitable burning husk. Good work, everyone!

One thing that hasn’t changed since 2008 is Arsenal. Arsenal is constant as the North Star.

Let’s go over a few of the things about Arsenal that haven’t changed since 2008:

  • Vulnerable to counter attacks
  • Insanely high line when chasing games
  • Switching off
  • Handbrake
  • Showing up to games thinking we got the win in the bag
  • Defensive midfielders? No thanks!
  • Wondering if we can win the Premier League with gaping holes in the squad
  • Every year in Europe
  • Rarely challenging for Europe (one year, 2006)
  • Getting smeared by the big clubs in Europe (except one year)
  • Disorganized defending
  • STERILE POSSESSION
  • Inanimate carbon rod
  • Self-destructo in big games
  • Don’t like it up em
  • Try to walk the ball into the net
  • Theo Walcott
  • Unlucky Theo
  • Spend some money
  • Spend some more money
  • Why are you only buying Petr Cech? Are you insane?
  • I love my daughter and I always will: she was born just four months into this adventure
  • Always in our shadow
  • Why do the refs hate Arsenal?
  • Same old Arsenal, always cheating
  • Leg breakers
  • Hleb/Ozil
  • Denilson/Xhaka
  • Chamakh/Giroud
  • Senderos/Mustafi
  • Hate Chelsea
  • Hate Man U
  • Hate Jose Mourinho
  • Arsene Wenger

It’s funny too, because one of the main reasons I started this blog was because I was tired of the Wenger Out people… way back IN THE YEAR OF OUR LORD TWO-THOUSAND-AND-EIGHT. I wanted to educate people on Wenger’s master plan. Show people that he was an utterly brilliant manager who was doing something with project youth that no other manager in world football would do. And I stand by that, he really was. But now?

I guess the debate there has shifted a bit, there are a few people who are always going to be hardcore Wenger inners but most of us have come around to the idea that maybe Wenger should retire. Maybe he will. I have a weird feeling that he won’t.

And here I write 1000 words a day on a topic that is unchanging. Don’t ask me how I do it. I don’t even know. Maybe I’m a Russian bot. I can’t even construct an argument that proves that I’m not a Russian bot.

I’m not writing this to tell you that I’m retiring. I might just put it in my will that this site must be funded to live for at least 50 years. I’m pretty self-centered, not sure if you noticed. That said, I do want you all to organize me a testimonial. I had a dream that someone got me in a room with Thierry Henry, Freddie Ljungberg, Patrick Vieira, and DJ Tayo. I don’t know why Ljungberg was there but let’s make that dream a reality.

Or not. Whatever.

I am writing to tell you that I’m going to slow down. I am working on a book and I need to dedicate more time to that and less time to the news cycles about same old Arsenal. I will try to give you a column once a week and a couple of short posts twice a week. Probably some garbage to debate as if we make a damn drop of difference in this crazy old world.

So, for example, today. Here’s what I’m wondering: if Alexis, Ozil, Mertesacker, and Wilshere are all leaving Arsenal (they are) that means Arsenal are due for a major rebuild. That means that Arsenal are due for a major rebuild in the summer that Wenger is in the last year of his contract. Do you think Arsenal are crazy enough to let Wenger rebuild the team in the final year of his deal? What players in their right minds would come to such a club? Is this all just more evidence that Wenger’s going to be fired this summer? Or is that just wishful thinking*?

Anyway, I have to go to work. I have to feed the chickens and shit the dog. See you in the comments.

This is not my best post.

10 print “sorry”;
20 goto 10

Qq

*I DO NOT WISH FOR WENGER TO BE FIRED

67 comments

  1. Many congratulation on keeping going…..It takes some doing to do 10 years on a blog, especially with other pressures in life. Have a good xmas.

  2. Congratulations and thanks for doing it for a decade. I can understand slowing down. I know I have slowed down on reading Arseblog and yours due to some of the same reasons. I still enjoy your perspective and your stats informed point of view is refreshing. Good luck with the book and have a Merry Xmas and Happy New Year. Thanks.

    1. Not funded. Don’t be silly. I’m just going to do it. Then shop it around. We’ll see what happens. Probably no one will buy it.

  3. Congratulations on 10 years and thanks for creating, at least what I think is , one the best online communities for gooners.

    Good luck on the book. Hope you get published.

  4. I have always liked your blog, so it’s a shame that you are cutting back. That being said it sounds like it’s for a good reason. Good luck with your book.

    To answer your question, I think that he is off at the end of the year. The new hirings and the rebuilding that needs to be done along with Kroenke hiring a young guy in LA who is doing a great job, it looks like the story is finishing for Wenger. I’d be willing to bet that he takes on the England gig when Southgate is fired (let’s be honest – he’s going to get the axe).

    I can’t say that I am upset about it – I have watched less games (I used to be season ticket holder) on the tube because it truly is boring now. Bring on a new man, please. I don’t see Ancelotti being that man either.

  5. Man, that buttress my junks comment is legendary. I was there! If it’s easy for you to search your posts for that comment, I’d love a link to that article.

    I’ll miss my daily dose of 7amkickoff.

    1. Man, me too!

      Tim’s writing is amazing and he’s been responsible for many many interesting and thoughtful discussions here not just football, but politics and life in general.

      But truly Tim’s greatest achievement and legacy, amongst all those things, may well be that time he made that one guy so angry that he gave us all ‘buttress your junks.’

      God bless you Tim.

  6. Happy blogoversary: 10 years is some achievement. Altho’ I only discovered 7am a couple of years ago, the statistical perspective is surprisingly unique and definitely elevates it, as does the quality of your writing, which has been another constant during that time.
    Good luck with the book. Your writing voice always sounds authentic and so you should be a natural. Are we talking fiction or history or biography (AW?) or journalistic expose or analysis? Keep us posted.
    In the meantime, I’ll look forward to the ongoing posts on Arsenal.
    And regarding Arsene, my hunch is they’re expecting him to go, as he won’t want another 2 year contract and he knows he can’t go into the last year of his existing one without getting questioned on his intentions every week. So I expect this is the swansong and that the new appointments on the recruitment side are to ensure the club has the necessary infrastructure to enable it to cope while they find a replacement.

  7. 2nd comment in years of reading your articles..your a greaat person .i hail from kenya africa…you got many fans here!

  8. And I only just discovered your blog! My disappointment aside, I’m wishing you the best on the book. Tell us more about it when you get a chance.

    And yes, Wenger will be done at the end of this season. I’m not convinced Ozil is leaving. That may depend on whom the next coach is. But I think he’s comfortable in London, and if he wins another world cup, may not be all that motivated by club titles in his last deal. He wants money and he doesn’t want to stress about a new club, new teammates etc. Just my hunch.

    1. Zero chance, that ship has sailed. If he wanted to sign, he would have already, he’s pretty much gone. Last minute signings just don’t happen.

      1. Not quite true. Using the US market as an example, some players explore the free agent market before re-signing with their own team. I think Ozil likes it at Arsenal and wants to stay, but his agent is rightly going to advise him to explore and consider all options, and worst case, he goes back to Arsenal with a clear signing on figure in his mind.

        1. Well, can’t stop you from believing but I doubt Özil is that loyal to Arsenal – he has never been to any club in his career, he has always been ambitious – nor that a late resigning happens in football. US sports are a poor comparison and clutching at straws.
          That he “likes” Arsenal is mainly an effect of his empty social media PR presence. I
          have watched Özil since he came up at Schalke and he has always looked out for himself first, he’s an ambitious individualist.

          1. Of course he’s looked out for himself. Who doesn’t? But that his interests cannot coincide with staying at Arsenal, even at this late stage? I think you’re right. It is probable that he will go. But I don’t think there’s zero chance he stays. That’s all.

          2. Yes, there’s nothing wrong with that, but it probably means he’s not that commited to the club the way most fans would like. Also, “exploring the free-agent market” has already happened, his agent will have had a lot of meetings already, The decisions are already made.

          3. BTW congrats, Tim. Awesome achievement and sorry for the double post, my phone told me the first one was denied.

  9. This blog has hit the sweet spot and not just with the “like-minded intellectuals” – something you surely knew from my poor efforts at expressing myself.

    Good luck with your book, Tim.

  10. I think Wenger’s staying. Sorry. I don’t like it, either.

    I believe there is a plan now to have AI learn from him so that even after he’s dead, we can be managed by Arsene Wenger. Centuries and centuries of 70th-minute substitutions, handbrakes, February collapses, and no DM.

    1. I think Squires had a panel not long ago with Wenger pushing a shopping cart through a nuclear wasteland with a beard down to his knees saying: “I’ll see you next year, ingrates.”

    2. I think he is staying for the remainder of his contract regardless the PL, European League , or the FA cup outcome.
      Forget for the moment the whole loyalty and never breaking the contract thing, and just look the money aspect of it.
      Arsenal received £143m from the PL for the 2016-17 season, which was only £10m less than the title winners, Chelsea.

      Offset the loss of the CL earnings by less spent in the transfer market and Arsenal are right where Kroenke expects them to be for his investment remaining fully viable.

      On the other hand ,if you fire Wenger, you upset a still large section of his hard core supporters , without any guarantee the new manager can outperform him in the near future.
      Let’s face it , City and United aren’t going anywhere and as long as Guardiola and Mourinho are around ( mustn’t forget Klopp and Liverpool either), Arsenal aren’t winning the PL.
      The new manager will surely ask for spending guarantees, while Wenger can easily agree to another zero net spend.

      Beyond 2018-19 season is an open question but for now, I don’t think he’s going anywhere.

    3. No need for AI. We will be able to transfer consciousness soon. He will live on like a Futurama head in a jar.

  11. Will be sorry to see less frequent posts but understand your reasons. This is the only blog I read every post, only catch the odd Arseblog nowadays.

    But my best wishes for the book – any hints on the topic.

  12. Congrats on the anniversary, Tim, and good luck on the book.

    –I think Ozil just might stay, if we offer him close to 300k a week, which there are rumors (I know, I know) we’re considering doing or have done

    –I think if Wilshere comes into the team due to Ramsey’s injury and performs really well over the next month or so, and Arsenal offer him a new, improved contract, and Arsene sits down with him and tells him he’s central to his future plans (and how), he just might stay. Then again, I still expect him to leave, especially if he doesn’t get lots of game time in the next month.

    –Alexis is leaving and may even go in January, if City want him badly enough

    –If Ozil and Jack stay, that makes our task in the summer a *little* bit easier, but it’s still going to be another ugly/painful summer, and if we don’t qualify for the CL a soul-destroying summer

    –I don’t think there’s any chance that AW leaves in the summer if we qualify for the CL. If we don’t I think there’s a good chance he’ll get fired and an even better chance he’ll resign (with pressure). The England job is an interesting one, but surely far-fetched

  13. Congratulations, sir. This is the best gooner blog on the internet, and though I’m not American, I do experience 7and 8am kickoffs where I now live (the Caribbean). So this has sort of become my home for venting on things Arsenal.

    You run the show well and with good grace, even when your arguments are taken on robustly. Even when you rile opposing fans into making rare, foam-flecked appearances.

    Hat tip to the guys who comment here, even the ones I disagree with habitually. They lift the debate here above average… some gooners who contribute to the Guardian football comments section are rather thoughtful, and may even have alter egos here. But as a place for thoughtful fan commentary, 7am is unrivaled.

    And you show us sometimes that football isn’t everything. Today the president of the United States tried to slut shame a sitting legislator. Bet you never thought you’d see that. Sometimes, you see, constant can be good. Like, you know, the seriousness in which the office of POTUS has generally been held.

    1. Claude
      Half of what Trump does can be easily explained by what his number three , and the fourth person in line of presidential succession, Rex Tillerson said about him
      ( he’s a fu#king moron).

      The other half is dictated by small pettiness, insecurities, jealousy and ignorance.
      His slut shaming of a sitting senator is just another in a long line of personal attacks directed at his opponents and it’s going to get all the headlines for a few days, but I’d rather the media concentrate on his actions that do actual material harm to the country and its citizens, of which there are plenty.

    2. I found it interesting that everyone is jumping on the “slut shaming” bandwagon.

      First, it implies that she is in fact a slut or has done something slutty. On one level, this should be uncontroversial. She is a politician in America. Our campaign finance system rewards (if not demands) quid pro quo exchanges between politicians and campaign contributors. The fact that politicians make a big show of loyalty to their electorate while serving their donors adds the whiff of impropriety which makes the comparison with a prostitute resonate. Using the word “slut”, which is so evocative, really adds a new level of vulgarity to an already base discussion. In effect, it degrades her further in order to shift the discussion to sex and misogyny rather than campaign finance (which has always been a Trump theme). It’s a shibboleth that seeks to activate millennial who hopefully automatically respond with a full throated defense of feminism.

      Second, there’s the pearl clutching implied in complaining that it was done to a ‘sitting US Senator’. This is of course hypocritical coming from people who have engaged in all kinds of degrading attacks on a sitting US President. But more to the point it implies that someone in the position of Senator should not be subjected to criticism. Or perhaps that criticism should be constrained by Marquis de Queensbury rules of decorum. While there is something to be said for decorum and civil dialogue, you can also argue that when ‘we’ make decisions about which voices should be excluded it’s typically the poor, disenfranchised who are told to shut up and listen.

      Finally, and I say this with love. She is a wh@re. Her background is as a lawyer defending big tobacco. Her top three campaign contributors are big law firms, including Boies who was Weinstein’s consigliere, The rest of the top ten are 4 Wall Street firms, Pfizer, Corning and Emily’s List.(1) She has served her corporate masters with great distinction(2), learning at the feet of Senator Schumer, who is the Wall Street wh@re par excellance. Unsurprisingly, the neoliberal machine which has presided over the strip mining of this country lined up quickly behind her. (3)

      (1) https://www.opensecrets.org/members-of-congress/contributors?cid=N00027658&cycle=CAREER&type=I
      (2) http://theweek.com/articles/691363/kirsten-gillibrand-2020-not-wall-street-problem
      (3) http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/11/nyregion/11gillibrand.html

      1. “Finally, and I say this with love. She is a wh@re.”
        __________________________

        Trump and his supporters really do deserve each other.

        That’s not the only gem in Dr Duh’s stream of filth.

        My second favourite is the one equating criticism of Trumpian excesses (two women reporters were acting out against him because of, respectively, her menstrual cycle, and her botched facelift.

        My third favourite is trying to justify the obvious slut shaming.

        Shame on you, Duh. This post is more illuminating than you intended.

      2. Oh I forgot to mention. Trump would approve of failing to see the contradiction in denying calling Gillibrand a wh@re, and then, seconds later, doing exactly that.

        That’s not the only piece of irony. Club heart and tradition matters, at least to someone like me, who lived close enough to Highbury (in Stoke Newington) to hear the roars of the crowd when the home team scored. The part of Islington in which Arsenal resides is very Progressive. British labour Party leader and Opposition Leader Jeremy Corbyn is the MP for that part of Islington, and a pretty rabid gooner.

        You seem pretty unreconstructed, for someone who supports such a a club with our fan base. Not even our working class supporters whpo didnt have the benefit of an education would talk about women like that. Or make excuses for it.

      3. Oh yes , Trump , the champion of campaign finance overhaul, clearly.
        I mean, the multitude of Trump’s proposals and initiatives to address the issue after his taking the office of president is simply staggering. And by staggering I mean non existent.

        1. It’s ironic that he’s basically pushing though a massive handout to his donors through congress at the same time…

      4. The issue people rightly have with these kind of comments is that they’re steeped in sexism and misogyny.

        While men who sleep around have been, and still are, looked up to with a mixture of jealousy and admiration by society in general, women who sleep around are labeled $luts and wh0res.

        It’s a completely bull$hit double standard that punishes women for something men consider admirable and praiseworthy in other men.

        And while I get where you’re coming from regarding politicians in general being for sale, it’s no surprise that this insult by the president is being aimed at a woman and not a man…….because sexism/misogyny.

  14. Cheers Tim. If it keeps you blogging at all, then a little bit the handbrake/”changing to a back three” is the right move.
    Good luck with the book. Let us know when it is available.

    I remember when I first heard of your blog, and Arsenal had a 5 am west coast kickoff, and I scoffed at “7 am kickoff” that he had it easy. You replied, “Dude I’m in Tacoma”. I felt bad. 😉 Been reading ever since.

  15. It’s been 10 of the best Tim, old chap. Glad you started this here little internet community.

    Alexis and Ozil will be big losses. Wilshere and Mertesacker? They are squad players and not hard to replace. At least we will have Lacazette to build around and a lot of money to spend. Whoever is managing Arsenal, we’re going to be all right.

  16. “I am working on a book”.

    Best news I heard today. After ten years of doing this I think we all know you will stick at it and see it through. Best of luck and looking forward to more rants and bunfights in 2018.

      1. I was just browsing twitter which I literally never do and following a link from Steve Randy Waldman, right there was a tweet from @7am to David Crosby asking if he was still alive.
        Weird day.

  17. I’ve always been impressed by your writing. You have an eye for detail, you combine emotional honesty with a touch of sentimentality to show you’re human and most importantly, you have a clear voice.

    I wish you the very best with the book.

  18. Congratulations on the 10! Admittedly a latecomer to 7amkickoff but this and arseblog are all I read these days in terms of arsenal blogs…You both inspire (I should try this too) and discourage (I can’t write this well) me to blog about Arsenal so its just the comments sections from time to time then.
    Alexis out in January as Real and PSG try to keep him from the other before the CL match. Wilshere out in January as Ozil signs on and Arsenal give him the number 10 shirt. Arsenal sign some young players, Arsene sees his contract through, bids adieu to Arsenal and then Arsenal……

  19. Thanks Tim for treating us to these blogs in an age of dopamine triggered commentary and reactions.
    Best luck for your book. ☺️

  20. Thanks for doing this Tim. I’ve been around for much of the ride and it has been some ride. Glad to hear you’re writing a book. Wish you all the best with that.

    As for humanity dying. Naah. We’ve survived worse. We’re definitely dumber now, but we’re also smarter now and eventually the smarts will win out, if it doesn’t roll up and die out of exasperation.

    I’m not sure why signing for Arsenal with Wenger in his last year (if it is to be) will be an issue. Most clubs sign players without selling them the idea that the same manager will remain in place. We might need to convince them that it won’t all go belly up without Wenger, but the facilities, the backroom staff, and a personal touch, along with a shedload of money should convince them of that.

    It is a major rebuild. But it’s essentially replacing, and promoting from within.

    Alexis replaced with someone like Draxler, Lemar or Fekir.
    Wilshere, Cazorla and Ozil to be replaced with Goretzka and Nzonzi??
    Niles, Adelaide/Willock and Nelson to have a more prominent role.
    A RB to be bought (Is Debuchy finally out of contract?)
    Bramall to be promoted as backup LB if Monreal plays as CB alongside Kos, Mustafi, Chambers and Holding and maybe Ben Sheaf or Bielik promoted.

    The key rebuild area is midfield and that, without Santi Cazorla, has been a big problem for us for many years. Really need to get that right. In some ways, the departures might even make it easier to sign the right components here. But that is wishful thinking, or making lemonade from lemons at best.

      1. I hadn’t read ManU are in for him. There was some mention of Barca though. I’m not quite sure what those clubs are planning, but we need a Cazorla replacement and Goretzka seems like the sort of signing we don’t mind going big (relative though that is) for.

        Xhaka, for all his flaws, was of a similar profile in the Bundesliga and we paid 35m for him. I think if we want Goretzka, we will be in the running (though we might need to make the CL). Of course, clubs with more resources can always play spoiler, even if they don’t really want the player, but that is just how it is.

        1. Best bet is still Bayern. Renato Sanches is a lost cause, I don’t think they believe in anymore. The talk of Barcelona et. al. is mainly coming from abroad, so I’m inclined to believe the deal which was said to be agreed a year ago is still on. That’s why there wasn’t much talk in the summer.

  21. Well, can’t stop you from believing but I doubt Özil is that loyal to Arsenal – he has never been to any club in his career, he has always been ambitious – nor that a late resigning happens in football. US sports are a poor comparison and clutching at straws.
    That he “likes” Arsenal is mainly an effect of his empty social media PR presence. I have watched Özil since he came up at Schalke and he has always looked out for himself first, he’s an ambitious individualist always conscious of his own status and “brand”.

  22. Congrats on the ten years. I’ve been with you for around six of them and noticed your articles have become a bit erratic of late, so it’s probably a good idea to limit them to two or three per week . One brilliant weekly (eg Tim Stillman) is worth any amount of the crap they churn out on Untold, so best of luck with he new format and with your book.

  23. Congrats on 10 years Tim.
    I stumbled upon this site while I was searching for Arsenal related blog. The name created a curiosity in me and came here. When I started reading, I become a kinda addict. There were days when I simply refresh the site for new content everyday.
    I really like the way you write Tim, it’s simple and elegant. When I read it, it will be like Tim is sitting besides me and reading it out for me.
    After every match I look out for your columns to get your perspective.
    Thanks for teaching football.

    Wishing you all the best for the book.
    Cheers Tim.

  24. Congratulations, Thanks, and Good Luck!! Will miss the dailies, but it’s all in a good cause. You do have a pool of willing beta-readers here, should you need them. Cheers!

  25. Congrats for keeping in going for the past 10 years. I have know your blog only for a year or two and I’m hooked ever since. You inspired me to follow stats and my understanding of football has been different. Best of luck on your upcoming book. Is it football related?

  26. Tim, I don’t think I’ve left a comment here before, but just wanted to say how much I’ve enjoyed your work for (most of) the last 10 years. Arseblog is obviously number 1 in the arsenal blog world, for the all round breadth of coverage, sanity and quality of writing, but you’re the one I’d turn to next in line. The drop off is pretty quick after that. I’ve always enjoyed the analytical insight you brought to following the Arsenal, as well as your ability to bring in other (broader) matters in a close to seamless way that added to, rather than distracted from, the football.
    As a season ticket holder since the move to the new stadium, I do feel that some of my depth of enthusiasm for the game is fading slightly, I know some of it is down to my ageing, but I do feel a reasonable proportion is also down to the staleness of the situation around the team, and the manager. I think I sense in you a similar shift. I’ll always be making a good noise in block 6, supporting the team in victory and defeat, but I think it really is time for him to move on. The fact that I’m now going regularly to the games with my 12 year old son, and twice now with my 9 year old is what keeps it fresh for me. Seeing and sharing their joy at the recent Spurs game was something I’ll never forget!
    I was happy to contribute previously to one of your trips to London, I’d buy any book you wrote regardless of the subject knowing that it would be insightful, well written and interesting and by a guy I respect. Looking forward to the (less frequent) future articles. Thanks!

  27. One of the reasons this was (and hopefully will still be) a great blog is because it brought together football and popular culture, politics, even philosophy and the odd adolescent humor.

    It is edifying, entertaining and on many occasions transcendent in its category as a “fan blog”. If it has given you the practice and confidence to write a long form novel I look it forward to an excerpt here perhaps one day.

    Also, in the current political climate in the US and other places the disturbing trend of voting on an agenda almost exclusively aside from a candidate’s personal qualities has through this blog, made me appreciate Arsene Wenger.

    You may have epic fails in policy and political or sporting achievement but still be appreciated an as inspirational individual. Former president Jimmy Carter and Arsene Wenger would be two examples. While you have rightly criticized Wenger over the years, you have never let go of your admiration for his decency, intelligence and charisma.

    Good luck and once again, many thanks,

  28. A book! YES!

    You know I’ve been saying this forever, right? Stop writing here and get working on a goddamn book. I’ve said it again and again – Arsenal isn’t worth your time. So I’m absolutely thrilled about this.

    Is it fiction or non-fiction? What’s it going to be about? All the details, please. Or not, if you don’t want to share; that’s fine. I’m working on a book too – have been for years, although it’s only started taking real shape this year. Nobody but my wife knows… and you guys now, I guess, but you don’t know me or care particularly. But I get it if you don’t want to talk much about it, is what I’m saying.

    Either way. I’ll be buying it. Write a book about bugs in their natural habitat and I’ll buy it, read it, and come back here to badger you about it.

    Happy to read early drafts, manuscripts, etc. if you need someone to help in that way.

    I’m overly excited about this, as you can see!

  29. Congrats on 10 years, Tim! Thank you for taking the time and effort to write about Arsenal for such a long time – I have been reading your blog probably since 2009/10 and back then I was still in Nepal. So much as changed.

    Your blog was one of the reasons is started to truly appreciate how Arsenal played – I always liked how Arsenal played but never understood the “why” and your stats as well as your commentary on the their style has influenced me (nearly as much as watching Arsenal) in how I play too.

    This is only my 3rd time commenting on your site since 2009/10 though!

  30. Oh man, just watched the West Ham game, and have to say: Wenger has to be one of the dumbest elite managers in world football when it comes to team selection and in-game personnel/tactical changes. How he does not see that he’s setting his team up to be dysfunctional (when fairly simple alternatives are within reach), I’ll never know.

    1. We played 4-3-3, something I’ve wanted us to do for ages now. But, rather than play the quick-footed, skillful, mobile 50m pound striker to lead the line and combine with our lineup of skillful, mobile creative types, Arsene decided to start an extremely static target man who needs crosses, when this formation’s most obvious weakness is a tendency to be too narrow.

    2. We then compounded this error by playing two “wide” forwards who spent the entire game taking up positions in the middle of the pitch and made runs down the line approximately zero times all game. The ridiculous thing is that both Iwobi and Alexis have shown in the past that they can play as more outright wingers: of course they’re going to want to cut inside and combine, but they both have the skill, pace, and willingness to stretch the play by staying wide and taking on their fullbacks. But we saw NONE of that, even after halftime when I assumed it would be OBVIOUS that Wenger would insist that they stay wider for the second half. The whole lack of structure thing with Wenger’s teams–especially when compared to Pep, who also plays 4-3-3, but with forward players who stay wide–is MADDENING. (I know, I know, this is not a new problem, and I should have made peace with it by now.)

    3. And this was against a West Ham team who I *think* (I couldn’t be bothered to confirm) were playing with a back 3/5, the achilles heel of which is runs in behind the wing backs to pull the wide defenders out wide, but the great strength of which is plenty of defenders in the middle of the penalty box. So what did we do? We spent 90 minutes trying to ram it down the middle.

    4. To top it all off, we started a right footed midfielder at left back. Don’t get me wrong, I thought AMN played well, and he was one of the few players who was willing to swing in dangerous crosses at Giroud. It’s just that, as if we didn’t have enough problem with a lack of width already, Wenger trolls us by playing a left back who will also want to cut inside constantly.

    5. Don’t get me started on the subs. That calls for a separate comment altogether. But I’ve got students’ papers to grade, by which point hopefully I’ll have cooled off some…

  31. Thanks for the game analysis,PFO.
    I chose to watch the “ lucky” Man City instead.
    I think their “luck” might hold for a while longer though, if their performance against the Swans is anything to go by.

    Interestingly, Pep was asked by a reporter if there was any danger of his squad becoming complacent.
    “No chance “ was his answer.
    Kinda refreshing to hear a manager say that I thought, especially in contrast with how many times Arsene used the possibility of the complacency excuse in his career.
    Food for thought.

  32. Congratulations on the anniversary, Tim as well as your new undertaking. Like many others, I’ve learned much here from you as well as the (mostly) enlightened comments and banter. 🙂 Looking forward to future columns as well as your book. Best of luck in the new year!

  33. tim,
    sorry to hear you are slowing down, but your reasoning makes sense. it is just another example of how boring and stale arsenal have become in every way. I used to be as hardcore as anyone and now i can barely stay interested. I am seeing this all over the internet, with people who used to spend so much of their free time/money on arsenal and now are gradually doing less and less. only when this trickles down to the club’s finances will anything change. does anyone think the club has any idea that this is happening and/or would care?

  34. Hey Tim, I love your columns and your stats pieces on Arseblog News. I don’t read any other blogs so will miss them.

    And I’m looking forward to reading your book someday – keep us all informed on how it’s going.

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