Things look a dog’s dinner

So.. yesterday Ornstein published an article in which he said that some club sources said that they don’t like Aubameyang hanging out with Troopz – who is a guy from AFTV that has had some famous rants about Bellerin – and giving him his box seats and then Aubameyang landed in Gabon and read the press clippings and posted “I just arrived in Gabon and heared a lot of b******t. I talk with who I want whenever I want and if somebody’s not happy with… you already know (raised middle finger emoji).”

I know that people out there think Ornstein is an unreliable source because he supposedly got the Pepe thing wrong and the Arteta thing wrong (if you read his articles closely, he didn’t). However, regardless of that what he published is sourced and verified – at least I would hope the Athletic has journalistic integrity – so that means that at least two people in the club approved of and corroborated his article. The questions are who and why?

The thing here is that Auba has been buds with Troopz for a while. We have all seen that. We have also all seen that Auba has “liked” certain negative posts about Xhaka and Emery. So, none of this was a secret. Given that it wasn’t a secret it, then, looks a lot like Yankee Gunner is correct in saying that this is about Aubameyang refusing to sign a new deal. That the club are sort of laying the groundwork for making Auba look like the bad guy when he refuses to sign a new deal with the club.

I also think this is about Hector Bellerin. Bellerin and AFTV have clashed publicly and we know that the Arsenal fullback doesn’t rate them as fans. Speaking to Oxford Union in February 2018, Bell said:

“It’s so wrong for someone who claims to be a fan and their success is fed off a failure. How can that be a fan? It’s just people hustling, trying to make money their way, which everyone is entitled to do.

“For us players it doesn’t affect us. If they want to have fun with it then have fun. When you grow you realise what is important to you to take [on board]. 

“If a coach comes to me and says you’ve done something bad I’m going to take that advice. If someone from ArsenalFanTV says this guy needs to do this or that I’m not going to listen to him.

“They’re entitled to their opinion and the way they want to do it. If people find it funny then go watch it.”

In May of 2018 (three months after Bellerin criticized AFTV) and in the wake of the loss to Atletico in the Europa League, Troopz went on a huge rant about Bellerin calling him “the worst right back I’ve seen in my life, blud” and then went on to claim that because Bellerin is Spanish he might have been backing Madrid in that game, “who’s he playing for? Us or them?”

I have heard a lot of fan criticism in the past but man that’s pretty harsh. It’s one thing to criticize a performance, another to say that maybe the player’s not at the level needed to help Arsenal win titles, and then it’s like flying to the moon level to suggest that Bellerin is backing Atletico Madrid.

Look, I don’t care who Aubameyang hangs out with. I mean, mostly. If he was hanging out with far right racists I would have a problem. And I also understand that maybe the club are trying to get back at Auba for not signing the deal. But also this is.. just bad judgement from Aubameyang. Troopz isn’t a measured critic of the club and players, he’s the guy who goes on famous rants and accuses players of supporting rival teams because he’s also Spanish. That’s just awful. I would probably ban you from my comments section if you accused people of that sort of thing here. I would certainly mute you on Twitter.

I can’t fully tell who Aubameyang is giving the finger to. I guess it’s to anyone who criticizes who he hangs out with (me?). Fair enough, you can do that. But this isn’t really behavior of a club captain.

No one is looking good in this. I can’t applaud the club for leaking the dissatisfaction with Auba, Auba’s response, Auba’s teammate who went to Orny instead of Auba, or really hardly anyone in this entire sordid thing. What this really shows us is just how much chaos is bubbling under the surface Arsenal. Things are a huge mess, a dog’s dinner.

Top four probably out of reach

I listened to the Arsecast yesterday, after I published my article. HA! We said basically all the same things: we aren’t cheerleaders, beware of apathy. One thing that Andrew mentioned which I didn’t even think of is how many points we are off the pace to reach top four. I already tweeted this but I thought I would post it here as well:

Arsenal have 17 points after 12 games and are on pace to earn 53 points (1.4 ppg). Nate Silver has Arsenal earning 56 points and finishing 7th. 53 points is an 8th place finish on average.

Right now 4 teams all have 25+ points in the top 4, that would mean 4th place this season could need as much as 79 points to secure a place, that works out to 2.08 ppg over a 38 game season. Nate Silver thinks Leicester will take 4th on just 69 points this season.

However, 72 points has been enough to secure 4th on average over the last 5 years. The highest points to finish 4th place in the last five years was 76 points, 2 ppg and the lowest was 66 points (1.7 ppg).

For Arsenal to reach 72 points they would need to pick up 55 points in the next 26 games, 2.1 ppg. That’s not impossible but that’s a turnaround of 0.7 points per game.

Let me show you what that means in real terms. Arsenal currently earn 2 ppg in home games. So, in order to get to that 72 point plateau, Emery would have to find a way to keep the home form going and replicate Arsenal’s home form in every single away game for the rest of the season. Either that or Arsenal would basically have to go on a winning streak at home for the rest of the season.

That problem with away form is the main blocker here. Arsenal earned less than a point per game in Wenger’s final year, earned 1.31 ppg with Emery in his first year, and are back to less than a point per game this year.

55 points in 26 games is a 15-10-1 record, a 16-7-3, or 17-5-4 or some combination thereof. That means Arsenal would need to win every single home game and at least two of the remaining road games, plus only lose once or twice. For every home game that Arsenal don’t win, they need to win a road game. Nate Silver has the 4th place trophy going for just 69 points, so that’s one fewer win that Emery would need to pick up.

To reach the higher point total of 79, Arsenal would need 62 points, which is a final 26 game record of something like 19-5-2. I think this is totally out of reach.

I wonder if the board understands the position that Arsenal are in and that’s why they aren’t firing Emery? It looks like such a huge task that virtually no coach in the world could pull this off. So, why throw away good money at bad?

The problem with that theory, however, is that the club are clearly in turmoil here. This is a huge mess and it’s not getting any better. Emery keeps appointing divisive captains and the football is just awful. At some point the guys with the big suits need to step in and lance the boil.



  1. The one thing that frustrates me when it comes to supporting Arsenal is that the vast majority of issues are a result of the board/owner’s bad decisions.

    From where I’m seating nothing will improve under the current ownership and I’ve accepted the fact that we are finished as a top tier club.

    1. Wut?

      Of course, if you’re the owner it’s all your fault. You hire the people, you set the culture and the standards, you provide the vision. You have the ability to remove people when your instructions are not being met. The buck always stops with the person on top.

      1. ^^^This. ‘Wut?’, indeed. I know it seems to be a relatively new thing for some bosses to deny responsibility, but it IS their responsibility.

  2. I think it’s mostly a result of weak leadership. All the drama with Ozil, Xhaka, now Auba. All of this could be avoided if Emery had the charisma and confidence to lay down the law. Instead he’s blaming Koscielny’s ‘last minute’ departure and Arsene Wenger for his problems. No wonder it’s chaos.

    Especially with Raul and the board also doing their bit to create drama. We’re going to be asked to hate players constantly throughout his reign. I called it after the Kos thing, and it’s been a constant.

    Remove Emery, bring in someone who can hold the respect of the players and most of these problems go away, even with the board being as they are.

    With Aftv. Claude and I have disagreed before, but to me they are characters in a reality TV show rather than fans. On their own, sure. But their claim to fame is the character they play. It’s like a WWF wrestler playing a role vs who they really are. Auba becomes part of the show when he interacts with them in kayfabe. Btw, Troopz (I think it was him) recently questioned Xhaka’s ethnicity as Albanian. You can bet a lot in the squad don’t take too kindly to those guys being elevated by the now club captain. I don’t blame the club for wanting him to distance himself from them. But to brief the media about it…

    It follows a long trend. Jeez. How bad have the Raul-Emery combo been.

    Forcing out Ramsey, wasting Ozil, selling Jeff and Iwobi, bringing in Suarez instead of playing Willock/ESR. The issues with Koscielny, the mishandling of the captaincy (twice), this Auba thing. Paying ‘what it takes’ for Pepe and Tierney (we’re now agent fodder, while playing dirty with ppl we had established trust with)

    It’s a total horror show, and none of it would matter if the football we played was decent and the results good. Can’t manage even that, instead keep briefing the media to say how it’s not that bad and will get better.

    Literally the only good thing I can think of has been pushing the Freddie appointment to bring through some youngsters. They really ought to just give it to him, to play the youngsters if nothing else. If top 4 is gone anyway, we might as well gain something from this season. This way we’re only going to lose Auba, Xhaka, Laca, and I don’t know who else. It’s the complete hollowing out of Arsenal, and sheesh. now I’m panicking.

    1. I don’t think it’s that bad, honestly. There’s a whole lot of noise but the constant undercurrent is that Arsenal is one of the top 10 richest clubs in the world and that’s not going to change. We’ll eventually figure things out. This ain’t a science, it’s alchemy, and right now the ingredients have all blown up in a puff of red and white smoke and everyone is coughing. It’ll settle down soon and we’ll try again. It’s all part of the fun and when we eventually do figure it out, we’ll remember these moments and it’ll make the victories that much more sweet.

    2. Hey Shard, I just wanna say that you’ve been pretty much right on point with your take on Emery/ Raul from the very beginning.

      Credit where it’s due.

  3. The problem with the “too expensive to fire him now” theory is that it doesn’t offer a solution at the end of the season. If he has one more year, they shouldn’t be eager to let him go also in the summer…

    But now when the season is officially FUBAR, I can only hope that the pressure from the fans gets so high, that the Kroenkes look through their businessman-glasses and realize how badly managed their asset is.

    It is Raul’s fault.

  4. “I wonder if the board understands the position that Arsenal are in and that’s why they aren’t firing Emery? It looks like such a huge task that virtually no coach in the world could pull this off. So, why throw away good money at bad?

    The problem with that theory, however, is that the club are clearly in turmoil here. This is a huge mess and it’s not getting any better.”


    Is that a problem with the theory, though? Turmoil or no turmoil, we aren’t finishing in the top four. If their belief — and your numbers back it up — is that no coach in the world could get us replicating our home form in every single away game this season (a belief that’s hard to dispute), then top four is already gone. I also wonder whether the board are thinking, yes, we’ll finish 7th or 8th under Emery, but that means no Europa distraction next year (certainly, Leicester seem to be benefitting from this), so we’ll get rid of him in May and use the summer and the following season to reset under a new coach.

    All speculation, of course, but man, if they let this go past December (regardless of what I wrote above, or what they believe), things will get so bad with fans. ‘Toxic’ won’t even come close to describing it. It will be even worse than that; in other words, it will be apathy. Maybe they think they can weather that.

    While acknowledging that top four is now effectively (not numerically) out of reach, my opinion is that we should change managers anyway. The hope wouldn’t be ‘change coaches now and make top four!’; it would be ‘change coaches now and get us playing with belief and in a more cohesive, identifiable style we can rally around, and then let’s see where it takes us next season’. I guess I’m thinking (perhaps naively) of Klopp coming into Liverpool that October and finishing the season 7th in his first season, but with a clear sense of identity going forward. They finished 4th the following season.

    But who am I kidding? Who out there is comparable to Klopp that’s available now?

    1. This is another thing that I keep omitting from my articles: who would want to manage Arsenal right now? We are a toxic morass. I know we’re the Arsenal but I think big name managers would want to steer clear of us lest we bring them down.

      1. Also I just love this Bielsa quote:

        “The joy that comes with winning lasts about five minutes and what is left is a gaping void and a loneliness that is hard to describe.”

        1. Wouldn’t it be great to bring Bielsa in next year? I really love watching Leeds play this year. I mean, if you want to go with a young roster, who better to mold them into a menacing, pressing team? And his English is non-existent, which kills the theory that it’s Emery’s command of the language that is holding him back.

      2. Mourinho. The one guy we really don’t want, almost certainly would come in if he was paid enough.

      3. Oh I still think the Arsenal name is a big draw. What’s more, if I’m a coach looking to make my name at a big club, I’d much rather take over when things are rather a mess and relatively small, feasible steps (like having your top earning player not hate you) can go a long way to righting the ship. The worst situation is the one Moyes assumed where the Fergie afterglow was only amplified by the previous season’s title win, so par for Moyes in his debut season was the bar his predecessor had set. Now, if I’m Unai’s successor, the bar I have to clear is pretty low right now, and I can be reasonably certain that the talent in the group is better than the results they’ve produced anyhow, so I’m probably going to have regression on my side too. I’d jump at the chance.

  5. 1) AFTV is boring sh*te, frankly. It’s just a bunch of no-nothing idiots venting in the immediate aftermath of a defeat or draw. Hector has it exactly right – they feed off failure and discontent. If I want rants I might on occasion watch Hugh Wizzy, because at least there’s some humour in there and he can say good things about the team when they play well, and he’d never ever be so stupid to accuse Hector of conspiring to sink his own team. That’s just plain ignorant and honestly, xenophobic.
    2) Isn’t it a given that Auba and Laca are going to be sold this summer? I think most fans understand this. They are both at the peak of their powers and in the last years of their contracts. No way are we paying top dollar for players past 30, I’d be surprised if we have even talked to them about a new deal, I can’t believe we are interested. The Ozil mistake will colour our decisions for many years hence. I wouldn’t be shocked to see one of them sold this January if we’re deemed to be out of the top 4 race. We have a corps of young attackers; Pepe, Martinelli, Nketiah, Saka, Nelson… we were close to Everton Soares in the summer, if we sold Auba to Real maybe we could get Vinicius in a swap since he’s sitting the bench now… I think we’re on the verge of a new generation of attackers and Auba and Laca are almost yesterday’s men.

    1. “The Ozil Mistake” was not that we kept a player in his 30s by paying him. (Remember, atthat moment he was so good, that he deserved that salary). The Mistake was that after that we let him rot and not used him.

  6. All of these issues are minor when taken in isolation but they are being amplified by the paucity of the football.

  7. i agree with shard and we’ve been in agreement since last year that raul is a cancer at this club. he’s brought the drama from spain to north london. even if you’re having a problem with a player, you don’t air your dirty laundry. whatever happened to victory through harmony?

    if i were aubameyang or lacazette, i wouldn’t want to be at arsenal under this regime and playing this awful football. arsenal hit the lottery getting a player like aubameyang in a january window but are blowing all the money on egotistical nonsense. recognize, those men are wenger signings; they didn’t come to arsenal to play for emery.

    1. Are they Wenger signings though? They were done under his watch, sure, but he had lots of chances to sign both of them in years prior and didn’t. For years Wenger failed to pull the trigger on Lacazette when he was linked year after year. It’s when Gazidis/StatsDNA asserted more control over recruitment that we splurged 50m on Lacazette and there’s no question that Mislintat was instrumental in recommending and recruiting Aubameyang.

        1. Yes. We were not much better when they signed. We weren’t that good when we signed Mesut Ozil (considered a coup at the time!), or when we signed Alexis Sanchez either. Or Bergkamp. Or Ian Wright. Or Alex James if you want to go back that far. Yes, we can and will continue to recruit great players as long as we can pay them.

          1. Paying them is not the only factor. The first-class players want to grow, want to win. Many clubs can afford their salaries, and they will always pick the one with most potential. Yes, we weren’t great when Bergkamp arrived, but we could provide him this feeling that he will be successful here (taking this from Ian Wright’s recent interview with him).
            Now how much is that rue for the current atmosphere in the team?

  8. i forgot to mention aubameyang and aftv. i don’t have a problem with who auba has a friendship with. with that, i’ve heard troopz say he and auba are not friends; just a fan/player relationship. the rumor started from a picture that was taken in auba’s booth because there were too many people just outside of his booth.

    auba came to arsenal to play with mkhi, mesut, and laca. he’s relatively new to the club and owes arsenal nothing. another reason i don’t like strikers as captains (or goal keepers) is they’re typically weird people. they don’t care about anything except scoring goals (making saves). the club talks too much. it’s okay to shut the hell up sometimes. why would they even make a public statement like that? same for emery talking about xhaka. all he needed to tell the media is that i’ve taken the decision to not play him; he shouldn’t be telling the media stuff that a player told him in private about how he was feeling.

  9. Over the last 5 games Arsenal are averaging 1 point per game
    If that carries on to the end of the season I make that 43 points total

  10. Fans can’t all be in our image.

    AFTV is caricatured, I suspect mostly by people who don’t actually watch the YouTube channel. They are all sorts…. thoughtful, analytical, fair-minded guys like Graham and Mo, measured guys like Kelechi, reactive, shallow guys like Livz (or is it Livs) or Kenny. Robbie, who founded the channel, himself plays it straight, and generally pushes back on overly reactive comments, defending Emery or Xhaka or whomever a lot of the time. It’s not Mastermind Theatre, but it’s not mindless drivel either. It’s a bunch of working class guys who latched onto something. Yes, there are offshoots and offshoots of offshoots and a big lick of self-promotion, but at its core, it is a group of Jamaica bredda gooners, who can be overly expressive and cuss too much.

    The whole debate about what they are or aren’t is silly. The comments about Bellerin attributed aforementioned Troopz are brain-dead, but most of the time he makes more footballing sense than a few of the guys who comment here regularly. There is no point is pigeonholing the whole channel. Heck, I wouldn’t appear on AFTV, but those guys have their value as fans, and they are no less fans than James McNicholas, Tim Todd, Shard, ClaudeIvan, Josh, Doc or Andrew from Arseblog. We should resist efforts to cast some fans as superior to others. Hector Bellerin’s comments were dumb, divisive and — for a smart guy — none too bright. The accusation that they “make money off negativity” is some BS he picked up off the dodgy corners of twitter… I’d heard that nonsense before. So if James from Gunnerblog writes a critical article on Arsenal for The Athletic, is he also “making money off negativity?” The whole accusation is absurd, and it reduces Hector. The reason that Hector’s comments resonated positively with a section of goonerdom was that they tapped into some innate snobbery — which I hasten to add was not something that a worldly fellow like HB probably intended.

    The Aubameyang thing is straight up hero-worship, clearly Troopz is a big fan and clearly Auba reciprocates the love. The thing everybody should recognise is that AFTV have a close working relationship with the club, and a lot of “backstage” access. They also have a good relationship with Ian Wright, who like Robbie and some of the contributors, are of Jamaican origin. Why is Auba able to high five Troopz when walking off the pitch? Because Troopz has one of the best seats in the house, pitchside.

    They’re tight with the club. They have preferential access to pre-season trips, etc. Don’t be fooled into thinking they’re bufoonish outsiders. The question is who at club chose to leak whatever disquiet was harboured about the relationship between the captain and Troopz, and why now.

    1. Oh please. It’s not snobbery. It’s calling it out for what it is. It doesn’t matter if they have the occasional reasonable reaction. I’m sure you’ll find some reasonable debates on Fox News as well. But we all know what it is or represents.

      As for them being tight with the club, is this a new phenomenon? 2 years ago they had to stop calling themselves Arsenal Fan TV because of a legal notice from the club. I can well believe Raul has decided to cultivate them. The whole ‘Don Raul’ thing probably started from there.

      Hector Bellerin was spot on in what he said. He even granted them their right to hustle, and anyone’s right to watch. He just said he doesn’t value their opinion as coaches, nor as ‘fans’ and this rubbed them the wrong way because that’s literally what they sell. That those half a dozen caricatures are the voice of the fans.

      1. “It’s not snobbery.”

        I did not say that that is the case in every case. I said it resonated with “a section of goonerdom” (which you clearly area part of) for that reason. The last time this came up, Shard, Bunburyist and I took you to task for mocking their accents. You sounded, then, like someone who thinks that “good ebening” is hilarious.

        “It’s calling it out for what it is…”

        This is the point… you don’t seem to know what your slam against those guys is. Did you read my point about their being comprised of all sorts?

        “I can well believe Raul has decided to cultivate them”.

        Er, no. It predated Sanllehi. Long predated. Why would you throw out an unsupported guess just to counter an argument?

        “The whole ‘Don Raul’ thing probably started from there”.

        Based on what? Come on, man. Stop baselessly speculating to further an argument that you haven’t thought through. I get it that you disdain AFTV, and think that every man and woman on there fits into a monolith. But make sounder arguments, man.

        1. I wasn’t countering, I ASKED you if it was new, and then proposed an idea I had about Raul Sanllehi cultivating his media image. Because there is no doubt in my mind he has been doing that. If you say it was from before, fine, that’s why I asked.

          And no, I wasn’t mocking their accents. Good ebening, and blood and fam are gentle ribs if anything. That’s not WHY their arguments are trash. It’s just a distinctive style of talking. It’s like rasclaat, except that doesn’t count as snobbery because it’s considered cool? Whatever. You’ve got this love for AFTV. You’re right, I don’t watch them. I don’t watch Fox News either. I know what both of those things are. You’re trying to claim a better understanding of it when so many perceive them that way. Must be a reason, no? Oh I get it, it’s the snobs while these guys are just down to earth fans.

          Interesting you don’t seem to take issue with a guy literally questioning someone’s ethnicity, or their loyalty based on their nationality. No.. Those aren’t the xenophobic snobs..but the guy noting their trash arguments with just a mention of their way of talking..yeah.. total racist snob. Give me a break.

    2. That’s a really interesting take on the situation. Particularly the last paragraph.

      A disgruntled player rather than board member leaking that info?

    3. Sure, but Troopz is the guy who gave two middle-fingers up to Xhaka, said that Bellerin wasn’t giving his all for Arsenal because he’s Spanish and probably supports Atletico Madrid, and has recently claimed that Xhaka isn’t Albanian. Follow who you want, watch what you want, but I can understand the club not wanting the club captain to associate with that particular individual.

      1. If they had concerns about the captain associating with a certain fan, have it out in private. Don’t brief against him with Ornstein.

    4. Had Auba chosen to associate with someone like Lee Judges it wouldn’t have been much of an issue but picking Troopz (the worst of the bunch ) was just naive. Say what you want about Aftv but Troopz goes way too far with his rants and any reasonable person would question his allegiance. The man once called Wenger a dinosaur and went to the extent of saying Wenger is extinct after the Bayern game, i think its proper to use such words when throwing shade at rival coaches not the manger of the club you love who brought so much success to the club. Honestly I wouldn’t want the club captain to associate with the man literally rose to fame with his Wenger out rants

  11. It occurs to me that this “Troopz” individual is following the Kim Kardashian, Lavar Ball and Donald Trump script to achieve relevance: all publicity is good publicity. As long as people talk about you, that makes you relevant. You just have to have the cojones to say a bunch of stupid stuff to a public audience or act like an idiot in public, but inevitably there is a critical mass of listeners who will like it simply because it entertains them and/or makes them feel better about themselves. You generate clicks and views, you get reps on blogs and before you know it, you’re on TV and you become “a thing.” Before his publicity stunts on AFTV, “Troopz” was just another punter. Now, he’s in the news and gets to be buddies (no matter in what limited sense) with an international superstar footballer. All publicity is good publicity if you can bear to have no shame. Most of us can’t, and that is reassuring at least.

    1. Sometimes, when it comes to dissecting a game tactically or goings on at the club, to me Troopz (or Graham, kelechi or Mo) can be more astute and incisive than you, Doc. Not every time, but sometimes. Oh sure he’s said the stupid stuff that Tim quotes him as saying, but as someone who watches the post match fan reaction after every match, Im not going to reduce the man to the sum total of that. Fair guess that you never watched a second of AFTV?

      This is what’s funny to me. Folks who imagine themselves to be a better class of fan can sometimes be the ones most prone to broad brush, and least nuanced.

      I loathe Kim Kardashian (and Kanye), but she has used whatever clout she possesses to advance criminal justice reform. So there’s that. Sometimes we need to get over ourselves.

      Look I dont want to be in the position of defending folks who I sometimes tune out (like I did after the Baku final), but I feel a bit Voltaire about this (I may not agree with what you’re saying…..).

      1. You’re correct, I steer a wide angle around Arsenal Fan TV and this is just a general impression I have based on the things I’m reading. He sounds like a member of an archetype that I recognize, though I also steer well clear of those examples I mentioned. I don’t really have any business commenting on AFTV personalities and probably went too far out on a limb with this comment.

  12. The last time I disengaged from the Arsenal world and just checked the scores once in 3-4 weeks was in 2015-16, the season Leicester won.throughout those last couple of Wenger years I hoped he would bring discipline and pragmatism into the team to get a run of results , certain kind of efficiency, like he was able to in 2011 or 2006 or 2009 to save the season. But in those 3 years, I kind of felt that every sound coming off the club felt like excuses by professionals unable to do their job as required (incl the team). Also, there was an increasing amount of anger within the comments sections of blogs or at least here and on Arseblog.
    I kind of started watching Arsenal again last season because of my curiosity for the new state of affairs, but by the end of last season, since the downward curve from those away losses at the end and the one to Crystal Palace at home, it has felt like this moment was inevitable. Also, again I see a lot of the same as in the previous para, inefficient team management, excuses by professionals and fan anger. At the moment, I am willing myself to disengage just for my own peace of mind.

  13. Who the f&$k is Troopz and why are we talking about this guy and no I can’t be arsed to look at AFTV to find out who he is.

    Is that what the Arsenal has become now? WtF? I’m so pissed off at my club right now.

  14. I’ve said this before Claude. When I talk about Aftv, I’m not talking about those guys. I’m sure most of those guys are decent, and are obviously fans. But they are also selling a business which relies on sensationalist over the top nonsense to garner attention. When that happens, lines get blurred. At what point are they ‘just fans’ and when do they crossover into ‘AFTV celebs’? AFTV is trash not because those guys are trash, or even their opinions are bad. As you say, they have some good considered opinions.

    But Aftv relies on appealing to the basest emotions. It leads them to have people on as regulars who question someone’s ethnic identity, who chant for Wenger to die, who laugh about profiting from increased views when the club loses (exactly as Bellerin claimed) Probably even the ones who faked a Bellerin recording right after he called them out. It’s pathetic, low grade stuff, and calling it out as such is not snobbery or whatever else veiled motive you would like to assign. As much as they have the right to air their views, they also are open to being called out for how they go about it.

    Anyway, I’m done discussing Aftv. Feel free to assign motives only to those with a dislike of them, but never to them as actually profit from it. A profit motive never corrupted anybody after all.

  15. Can’t comment on AFTV as I don’t watch it.
    Turning on Auba does sound like the prelude to the “well he didn’t sign so our hands were tied in selling him” (I think I said that here before or maybe tweeted it).

    Its funny(?!?) that Raul was a Head of Marketing previously.
    His comms skills are odd. His deal making seems better and Marketing Directors do have to do deals a lot so maybe that’s his skillset; still kinda ironic he doesn’t know how to tell stories to the audience he has.

    I’ve been suggesting that Emery won’t be swapped out until Spring based on the games we had coming up. Also as it wouldn’t be fair putting in Freddie as caretaker for 2/3 of a season. Far too long to eff it up (which is not fair on him).
    But seeing those stats now… yep.
    No point spending £12-20m for no benefit in terms of league position and unlikely to make a difference in EL Cup run (could even mean Raul/Edu get criticised “we get knocked out cos you sacked the perennial winner ffs! Raul OUT! blah blah moan”)

    Its such a shame we’ve wasted and are wasting the talents we have in the squad.
    Players not getting better (getting worse).
    Even in monetary terms they’re probably depreciating.

  16. the reason to release emery is to give the players a chance to enjoy their football. why force players to endure the nonsense of this manager? it will make them resent arsenal and likely strengthen their resolve to play their football elsewhere.

    if the boys begin playing good, attractive football again and believe in what they’re doing, they may want to stay at the club. arsenal will be attractive again, not to mention they still live in london. with that, it’s not beyond the pale to believe this team can go on a winning run and potentially make the top 4 if arsenal change manager.

    even if top 4 is too far, an arsenal team playing well could easily win the europa league. it’s not as if they don’t have talent. i’ve always believed the biggest obstacle to arsenal knowing football greatness has been emery and xhaka. let freddie do the caretaker role and allow luiz to continue at cdm. seriously, i don’t believe freddie can do any worse than unai emery.

  17. Thanks for the post Tim. Great stuff as always. Small things like the Auba AFTV can be swept under the rug and quickly forgotten about when the team is playing well but they are examined under a microscope when the team is struggling. The only way to fix it is for the club to start winning some games more consistently

    I was wrong about Emery because I thought he was a good appointment at the time. The end of the Wenger/Gazidis era was an complete mess punctuated at the end with the disaster which was the Ozil contract. Emery’s reputation for meticulous planning and his attention to details seemed like exactly the opposite type of manager and direction shift that we needed after Arsene. I am not someone who believes a manager can somehow radically improve individual players but Emery’s now infamous player dossier certainly suggested someone who was a planner and preparer. I really thought the attention to detail was exactly what was needed to improve the team defense. I was way off target. I still think the players deserve a significant amount of the blame for what’s been happening on the pitch but we can’t sack all of them and when things go wrong the manager is the one on the chopping block and its time for the team to go in a new direction and get a new manager.

  18. Shard

    I agree the club is in disarray right now but I think the examples you use of some of supposed front office mistakes are off target. Ramsey has hardly been used by Juve but he has had another niggling injury and now that he is relatively healthy he was on the bench but an unused sub. Aaron is a good player but we have a huge sample size and he his inability to stay healthy severely limits his ability to have a positive influence and he will soon hit age 30 and his propensity for muscular injuries is not going to get better. The divorce was always going to be a bit messy and there was no way for the club to look good. You may not like the way it was handled because it was a lose/lose situation but ultimately the correct decision to withdraw the contract offer had to be made because the evidence certainly suggests giving Aaron a high dollar long term contract probably would have been a significant mistake

    Jeff, Wojo and Gnabry were sold when Wenger/Gazidis were making the decisions. Iwobe had a strong 2 game start at Everton but he has settled into being every bit as underwhelming for Everton as he was for us during the last 4 years. I wish Iwobe good luck but he was not and is not that good. Pepe has struggled so far and hopefully that will chance but selling Iwobe and getting 1/2 of the transfer fee needed to bring in Pepe was a brilliant bit of business.

    1. How much does it cost to replace Ramsey? And can we do it? The best we could manage was Ceballos on loan, and I don’t know about you, but I don’t think he’s good enough. Keeping Ramsey and using Willock/ESR to spell him (and learn from him) would be smart management.

      Also, not going back on the club’s word is a long standing value (pre-Wenger) that has served us well. Not only did they do that, they didn’t even inform him – our longest serving player- they weren’t going to offer him the contract they’d agreed to. It’s low and unnecessary. It’s, in a nutshell, Raul Sanllehi.

      This whole turmoil at the club is in some ways a result of this behaviour from the club, They’ve put themselves as an antagonist to the players. All to play on the stupid meme of Wenger being too soft. In fact, much as I was against Raul almost from day 1, I thought their PR game was great. Turns out even that relied solely on blaming Wenger for all ills. The moment that stops working, their messaging starts scoring own goals.

      Jeff was sold for a grand total of 1m euros after Emery called him up and said he had no use for him. (Sold for 20m euros a year later) This was right around the time he also told Wilshere he had no use for him, Cazorla was let go, and soon enough Ozil and Ramsey didn’t fit his plans. Individual decisions aside, there seems to be a pattern.

      Understand that the club, ie Raul, backed Emery in all of this. Also pushing out Sven when he stood opposed. This is partly why they can’t admit to Emery being the disaster he is. It reflects directly on them. Even in pure money terms, yes they’ve reduced the wage bill, but they’ve likely lost more money than they’ve saved. It’s horrid management, and frankly, it’s on Josh Kroenke (again) trying to prove himself the Sports Executive of the Decade.

      This isn’t even about Wenger. The post Wenger structure was good. Emery isn’t the only problem. Not even the biggest problem at the club. Just the most immediate.

  19. One of the game’s greats may have found his calling:

    “Arsène Wenger has taken up a new role with Fifa as its chief of global football development, the game’s world governing body has announced. Wenger, 70, will be at the head of all Fifa’s football development activities throughout the world for the men’s and women’s game, including its coaching, training and coach education programmes. His department will be involved in football elements of Fifa’s development projects through its Forward programme, under which $6m is being made available to every football association in the world.”

    1. Agreed. Good luck to him although why he wants to work rather than sit on a beach sipping tequila is beyond me.

      Would be nice if he could install some of those famous Arsenal/Arsene values in the corrupt organisation that is FIFA.

      1. What I was thinking as well. FIFA needs good human beings at the topmost levels down and he certainly qualifies.

  20. Oh, for the good old days when football stadiums were firetraps, you stood all game, the only place to pi** was behind the stands, footballers ate pies and ale, and your star midfielder had the turning circle of a small battleship (that’s still true of Granit, but stay with me here 😉 ).

    Now we have chardonnay sipping folks lecturing a working class, potty-mouthed Brit/Jamaican guy who has been following the club long before they have, and when it was George Graham’s Stodgy United, on how to be a model fan… indeed, telling him he’s not a “proper fan.”

    I blame you, Arsene Wenger. I kid. Mostly 🙂

    Shard, brother, youre a good guy whose heart is in the right place most of the time. But not this time. And that’s OK. We disagree. You struggle to articulate why you disdain the AFTV faithful, even claiming — incredibly — that youre talking about the channel and not the guys. Really? The channel is an amorphous thing that runs itself? Hustle? Everyone is trying to figure out how to monetise media, including new outfits like The Athletic for whom Ornstein and Amy Lawrence now write. Are they on a hustle, or is there a single, approved way to make money from sports media? I’ve had the unpleasant experience of making people redundant. This is hard business to monetise. As I’ve said, AFTV has spawned offshoots of offshoots and some of the guys there are clearly into self promotion. But describing the whole enterprise as a hustle is elitist nonsense.

    We do agree on something (and Tim touched on this). The boardroom has become a poisonous place, and the club is being infected.

    1. Chardonnay? Please. Chateauneuf du Pape and we can talk lol

      Actually my wine snobbery is limited to my budget (I’m loath to pay more than $15 for a bottle) and a casual review of the labels in the appropriate section. Special preference given to animal themes. I have a few rules though. No Barefoot. No Mondavi. No labels with biblical innuendo. No Kangaroos. I generally favor full bodied (not sure I know what that means but gonna roll with it) Italian reds. Volcanic soil. Tannins. Oak barrels. Definitely no Chardonnay.

  21. Final word on this, and we we say in the Caribbean, “I gone…”

    It is hard to wrap my head around the fact that someone can say simultaneously that (1) they have never watched AFTV, but that (2) it’s a bunch of “know-nothing idiots.” Clearly the regular contributors are anything but. Kelechi isn’t a fool, at all. Graham isn’t a fool. Mo isn’t a fool.

    See whet I did there? I named names. I humanised individuals I see offering opinions on games, not broad brushed every one of them as fools.

    I really hate to hear gooners advancing the notion of what a “real fan” is, or that they are better fans than other sets of fans, as Jack did with that comment. It’s frankly odious. We need to check our attitudes.

  22. Cant stand AFTV and agree with Bellerin’s assessment of them. That said they are an irrelevant distraction. Writing off a season in November seems like a whole new low.

  23. I refuse to understand =/= you struggle to articulate. But whatever.

    Arsene Wenger runs football now and that’s all that matters.

  24. I am beginning to think that the players are starting to “down tools”, or maybe have for a some time now. I was chatting with a close personal friend and fellow Gooner about this the other day and he noted that David Luiz was rumoured to have been a leading figure in the mutiny against Mourinho at Chelsea. Perhaps he has offered his teammates a way out of working with a coach they don’t believe in.

  25. It is a sorry state of affairs at Arsenal, and I dare say so.

    When there’s a disruptive energy, it affects the club negatively and we can see the effect. I genuinely feel Josh Kroenke is still learning the ropes and he will probably get us closer to the relegation zone than to the top half of the table.

    I honestly don’t see Emery getting a decent run of results, if he keeps tinkering around.

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