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Sweet Ain't Sweet Without The Bitter

I always thought being an Arsenal supporter deep down in the south of the continent is not easy. After watching the DVD 'The official history of Arsenal FC', it has come to my knowledge that it has been far from 'easy' for everyone on the island as well. I mean, yes there is the privilege of going to games, becoming a season-ticket holder, but as we can see from the pics and comments of LD and other Arsenal fans it doesn't go without the usual 'kicks and bruises'.

The last two years have been particularly difficult for the Gooners, especially for those who were bread during the Wenger years (like myself and many others), and became spoilt by the team's success. The transition from the 49ers to last year's defeats at Everton, Bolton, Blackburn, Newcastle was hard to swallow. It all ended with the loss in the CL final where this transitional team was 15-odd minutes away from having their hands on the cup.

I am sure that all of you have recently read and heard comments (from gooners, too) such as 'Wenger's lost it', 'We are a light-brigade', the inevitable 'We lack the Englishness, the grit, and the determination' and the odd 'sack Wenger' shout. Yes everyone is entitled to an opinion... well, except when AW's competences are the topic. The fact that these individuals came up with such thoughts is a reason enough why I make no attempts to engage in a discussion with them about anything, let alone football and Arsenal.

As everyone who genuinely cares about Arsenal, this year started frustratingly. Draws at home, losses away and more ammo for the 'shoot' and 'sack Wenger and the foreigners' brigade. Yet, it is the blind who cannot see.

Yesterday's game along with the two games at Anfield is just a glimpse of what the brilliance of Arsene (supported by his staff and the Board) has in mind. It is not a finished product yet but it is a vision and version of football unlike anywhere else. The improved version of the Dutch 'total football'. Everything what all the Jose's, Rafa's and Sven's of this earth dream about when they are watching their dire teams play day-in day-out.

The game against Blackburn pushed forward a few messages, especially from Arsene Wenger:
'We are north, we are away, it is raining. We are a player down, we are being kicked... But! I will not take Van Persie out and put in Flamini or Djourou. I will leave you three in the MF, because I believe in you, because I know you are good enough to win this game, no matter how light-weight they say you are. You are faster, smarter, technically-superior and have great hearts and will to win.' He went for the win. It was a message to Cesc, Tommy, Alex, and the rest of the team, but it was a message for the Gooners, the doubters, for Blackburn and for the rest of the Premier League.

This team is slowly coming of age. But as the title says...

Article submitted by G4L

Articles submitted by Vital Arsenal members are based on the opinion of the member and not necessarily the view's of the network itself.

Click here to join in the debate on the club forum.

The Journalist

Writer: Rocky7 Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Sunday January 14 2007

Time: 10:09PM

Your Comments (oldest first)

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nice one, shame about the comments a few months back, i was shocked when people were calling for wenger to be sacked, i have forgotten the culprits but i havent heard much of that stupudity lately, wenger will ALWAYS produce beautiful football and gems of players, arsene knows, simple as.
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14/01/2007 23:27:00

Let's face it, we've been spoiled as Gooners since Wenger took over. Especially that incredible 03/04 squad...the level of football played by that team was simply magic, good enough where you'd have fans of opposition teams cheering us. The argument has been made that Wenger took that team apart too soon, but I think two things made him go in the current direction: the cost of the new stadium, plus the fact that these young players were available, had a ton of potential, and Wenger didn't want to risk losing them. Anyone with working eyeballs can see the plan taking have a team this young, this talented, and to have won so many key matches already (away to Real Madrid, Man United, twice at Liverpool, taking Juventus apart at home) is a testament to Wenger's eye for talent, his coaching acumen and belief in his players. They've had some stumbles sure, but young teams are going to go through that. But progress is defintely being made, within two years we're gonna be wondering what the fuss was all about.
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14/01/2007 23:32:00

all those jeakous eyes, especialy from past glory lane, we are coming good, as i said early this month, 2007 is the year of the gun, we are growing into a force to be reckoned with, the perfect year would be spuds relegated and mourinho off to madrid or milan.
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15/01/2007 00:21:00

great article, and as PG said, this is our year, and United and Chelsea better be ready, or this team is going to blow them away..
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15/01/2007 01:24:00

Excellent article. We are indeed lucky to have AW as the manager and also the board in supporting him to see through the transition plan.
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15/01/2007 02:19:00

very good piece...this team have a massive amount of potential and it is starting to show season I reckon it will really come into fruition.......a very good win yesterday...
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15/01/2007 10:36:00

exactly earnshaw, massive potential, it is frightening how quickly they are progressing and all the gooner faithful who follow arsenal and wenger can now see what he has been talking about for the last couple of years.
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15/01/2007 10:41:00

I was certainly one who said wenger should consider his own future. I have never called for him to be sacked but certainly wouldn't have been too distressed should he have quit. Unlike G4L I wasn't brought up during the Wenger years. My first games were with George in charge & I have been a season ticket holder ever since. My issue has never been with the type of football wenger plays, its fantastic & to my mind he is the nearest thing we have ever had to Herbert Chapman someone who has once again revolutionised the club from top to bottom. Just because someone like myself & others think maybe Wenger has gone as far as he can on the trophy side of things does not mean we are wrong. We are worse off this season than last but because the premiership is so bad it means our place in 4th has not been in question. Am I wrong & is Wenger still capable of getting the major trophies?? Only time will tell & hey I will be delighted to admit I was wrong. King Henry has admitted himself that playing great football is pointless if you dont have the trophies to go with it. We all want arsenal to be the best but opinions are always going to be divided on how we achieve that. Having your own mind doesn't make you a moron!!
Ashburton Gooner
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15/01/2007 14:21:00

Good one G4L. i agree completely. we just need some more patience, and with a team thats coming together, we're still in 4th with a good shot at 3rd place. next season (or mebbe season after next), arsene will surely have the last laugh. at the same time, i still see arsene being criticised, on other forums. people are upset with something or the other he does, like letting lauren go, our playing formation and believe it ot not, with playing RVP and ade !!!
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15/01/2007 15:01:00

Ashburton Gooner I see your point. My 'ill-views' are directed to those who genuinely refuse to acknowledge Wenger's managerial skills, and especially to those who are so impatient and want success here and now. Wenger did not 'dismantle' the 49ers because he wanted to play Football Manager or God - I believe that he had a goal to build another team that could eclipse the Unbeaten team in both style and trophies. I am pi$$ed at those who cannot appreciate what this man has almost single-handedly done for the club, and after a season like last one, where this transitional team reached the FINAL of the CL, after beating Juventus, Madrid and Villareal en route to Paris he deserves a bit more respect than the moans of those who are personally unsatisfied with being fourth and in all cup competitions. I would only point in the direction of the club we are meeting next week at the Grove, and their three trophyless years under the same obnoxious manager that we love to hate. They stuck with him although they were dumped from CL as 4th in their group and look where they are now. 6 points in front of the dirty Russians who after the first major 'crisis' want to get rid of their manager. Show a little faith, and ultimately, show a little respect for one of the best managers in the world, A.W.
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15/01/2007 15:27:00

G4L, I agree with nearly all you have said. The man deserves nothing but respect. Ferguson has had a much larger budget than wenger ever has & to be honest tactically he may be a better coach but as an all round manager etc he isn't fit to lace wenger's boots. I would never slag wenger off because even if he got us relegated (which would never happen) he has built this club from one going backwards to a european force, not just on the playing field but the whole foundations of the club.
Ashburton Gooner
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15/01/2007 16:52:00

it a shame some people are impatient and short sighted to what wenger is about to achieve with this team,the fact that manusa went 3 years without winning just goes to show,if you chop and change too much ie manager wise all you do is put yourself back even more years,remember we went 3 years without the league 99-2001 and came back storming
fran merida
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15/01/2007 18:57:00

Yeah, it's funny how a year ago people were calling for Fergie's don't from those people anymore. Say what you want about Man U and the whole Glazer thing, but football wise they do things the right way. This Sunday we're going to see the two best footballing teams in the country go at it in what should be a terrific contest with two teams that could wind up repeating their 1/2 battles of the last decade for the next few years. Both managers oughta be commended for getting through relatively "tough" transition periods to position their clubs in such promising positions.
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15/01/2007 23:31:00

Man utd went 3 years without winning the league but they still won trophies in 2 of those seasons!! I know some people think the premiership is the only trophy but for me winning anything is an achievement!!
Ashburton Gooner
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16/01/2007 10:19:00

Yes, they won the carling cup 2006 and the FA Cup 2004, if those are the trophies you are mentioning. Hardly ManU. standards. We were Champions in 2004, strong runs in the domestic cups, the Final of the CL and some marvelous football. I really wonder what did people expect after the unbeaten season. Another one? We broke all the records there were and received all the plaudits, and yet I assume you wanted a few more cups? Well moving to a new 60000 stadium without a russian or a sheikh is not easy, nah... I give up I cannot explain anymore.
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16/01/2007 10:48:00

Though it is true that we did not win anything last year, I would say getting to the CL Final is a bigger achievement than winning the Carling Cup. I understand that trophies are all that counts, but when discussing potential, I would say for a team of our youth that points to a bright future. Mind you, our Carling Cup runs in recent seasons (3 semis in 4 years) also point to an exciting future.
Little Dutch
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16/01/2007 11:13:00

G4L, Great attitude!! I come on to put forward an opinion (which is my own its not come from reading tabloid newspapers). Its the whole point of websites like this to come on & share views regardless of whether you agree or not. Where did I say I wanted more cups? & did we not go 3 years without winning a trophy under wenger already? As for the FA cup not being man utd's standards that has to be one of the most ridiculous comments anyone has made considering the fact they are the current record holders for the amount of times they have won it. If its not their standard they wouldn't have bothered but man utd fans love that cup. I could go on but, nah......I give up I cannot be bothered to explain!!
Ashburton Gooner
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16/01/2007 14:51:00

Well, that is a pointless comment AG. You might have not said you want more cups, but you mentioned that AW has taken the club as far as he could. On what do you base that opinion? Probably on the fact that we moved to the new stadium and played in our first Champs League final last season, huh? And as for stats, let me refresh you on that: the last time ManUSA won the FA cup (2003/2004), we were unbeaten champions. In 2004/2005 we won it on pens (beating them). So, where's your three seasons without a trophy? And as for ManUSA standards ask their fans. I reckon they will say they are a bit more than winning the FA Cup or the Carling Cup (e.g. they won the Prem'ship 8 times in the first 11 years or something). Romantic sentences about the love and the sentimental value of the FA Cup is not the topic either.
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16/01/2007 15:25:00

G4L, Obviously I must be stupid because I thought 1999, 2000 & 2001 were trophyless seasons for arsenal but obviously you know better!! Or maybe Wenger wasn't manager at that time maybe he was having a holiday!! Also must pull you up on the fact you claim I said "Wenger has taken the club as far as he could" I think you will find I put a little word "maybe" in that sentence so please don't change my words. I didnt say it as a "Matter of Fact" I said it as a possibility & there is a major difference between the two. Finally you claim the FA cup is basically not a good enough standard for the top teams hence your "not man utd's standard", so that pretty much limits Wengers achievements even further!! If thats not a good enough standard then Wenger in his 11th year in charge is actually doing quite badly especially when you consider how poor the premiership was when he came. Lets face it the only club to overcome up until 2 years ago was man utd!! As for the new stadium, please name another club that couldn't have built a new stadium by getting into nearly 400 million pounds worth of debt. All its done is restrict arsenal in the transfer market whereas other clubs have pushed on further. We are 8 points worse off than last season based on the same corresponding fixtures so where is the improvement exactly??
Ashburton Gooner
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16/01/2007 15:41:00

True, 1999-2001 were THREE trophyless seasons in which people were also asking for a change of management until they saw what the team did a few years later. Couldn't this be related to the current situation? What I am trying to say AG, and I hope you understand me in a positive manner, is that why not be patient and enjoy the status of the underdog for a few years and see where that takes us. It could only get better than this, I think you'll agree. As for the new stadium, to name the clubs? Hmm... try the sp*rs for example, Villa, Bolton, the Russians (without the Russian) etc. I will run out of space. No other club would actually FILL OUT the stadium because of the crAp football they play and the $hit players they have, they would never qualify for the CL every season, and they would never be able to pay for the stadium by generating their own sources. So, what AW and the board have done is make sure that the football Arsenal plays is (for the moment) the BEST football in the world probably, and most of the time - efficient. And I think you will agree that having in mind the age of the team it is very very good. Maybe Premiership was poor when AW came (MAYBE), but Arsenal wasn't great either. And to finish this debate off, FA Cup is a wonderful competition and my personal favourite. Setting the standards for the season by saying 'let's win it this year' (alone) is poor for me, especially after losing the CL final. That's my only point. I care not for Mancs standards and I am sure they would have swapped the opportunity to play in another CL Final for the Carling Cup, for money reasons at least. So let's quit this between the lines bickering, who is cheekier, etc. If the improvement is not there on the short-term I GUARANTEE that Wenger will be the first one to realise it and offer his resignation to the board. Somehow I think they will reject it. We'll see. Peace
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16/01/2007 16:09:00

Losing Wenger would be the worst possible thing that could happen to this club. We'll go into freefall without him.
Little Dutch
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16/01/2007 16:13:00

I really fail to see how a team with the average age of 23 in a brand new 60,000 stadium could possibly be in decline. This is a new team, so you cannot judge them by the standards of 03/04 just yet. I see a definite progression in this team all the time, we're just going to have to be patient on this one. Moving stadiums was something we should have done tenm years ago, in the meantime, yes, our budget will be restricted. This is why it is vital we keep Wenger and why his policy of promoting talented youngsters is spot on. It is the only way we can compete with the Chavs long term. Basically we have a choice, two or three seasons in third and fourth followed by a huge stride towards being Champions, or constant also rans. I know which one I'd choose.
Little Dutch
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16/01/2007 16:17:00

G4L, as I said previously I am not disagreeing with you. Infact I do go along with a fair amount of stuff you have said. Its a game of opinions & personally I value all gooners opinions whether they differ from mine or not. I dont actually think wenger is the best manager (tactically) & thats where I am coming from. He is more a businessman that can manage. Nobody could have done what he has & I believe that to be fact. The club has evolved from the ground upwards all because of one man..........Wenger!! LD, I dont know if I can agree with you. Arsene has built the club on solid foundations & this is all based on the fact he will leave one day, he is not stupid & its always been his intention to move aside for someone else in the future. If he left & the club went into freefall it would mean he has failed & as we all know, he just wouldnt let that happen!!
Ashburton Gooner
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16/01/2007 16:26:00

and even if we dun win the league for the next three years, if we can add that champions league and a few cups to our cabinet in the next three seasons, this would still be the most successful period in our clubs history. but i honestly feel we wouldn't have to wait that long for our next league title, we'll be ready next season..
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16/01/2007 16:30:00

LD, I dont think anyone has said the team is in decline but going on pure facts & not feelings we are 8 points worse off than last season based on the same fixtures. We wont know anything for sure until all the fixtures have been played but if we dont pick up more points than last season then we have gone backwards. Facing teams with much bigger resources than ourselves is not something new & its not something only Wenger has had to face. Will he come through that test?? Again only time will tell, he will be given the opportunity thats for sure so its down to him. Having said that, all supporters need to see an improvement this season in the league. I am not talking particularly about position but about points. If we finish fourth with an extra 5-10 points then great but if we finish with less points or the same & it happens again next season then something has to change, because clearly at that point the team has become stale!!
Ashburton Gooner
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16/01/2007 16:46:00

LD, one other very minor point your average age of 23 is a little low. I think everyone would have to agree that Wengers first team if everyone is fit would be: Lehmann, Eboue, Gallas, Toure, Clichy, Hleb, Cesc, Gilberto, Rosicky, Henry & RVP. I am not saying we all agree with that first 11 but it would definately be Arsene's choice. The average age of those players is 26 & if you take out Lehmann its exactly 25 so really the team as a whole should be at its peak right now!!
Ashburton Gooner
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16/01/2007 17:07:00

That last one may be a point, but how many times in the last eighteen months have we been able to put out a first team? If Wenger left NOW we would go into freefall because of the way the finances are with the stadium, but in the long term that bugbear is very necessary. I think Wenger is setting up this team and he will leave it in about four or five years to someone else when it really has hit its peak. I think he will see through the progression of this team and hand it over, until then we will have to be aptient for the long term future of the club. But like you say, its a case of waiting and seeing, Wenger has earned our trust and I am ultra confident about the progression of this new team and to cut Wenger out of it now would be suicide.
Little Dutch
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16/01/2007 18:48:00

I think I read an old saying somewhere today, you have to see the rain before you can see the rainbow.
Little Dutch
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16/01/2007 18:49:00

It must be a very old saying, I have never heard it. Probably came out about the same time as the spuds last won anything meaningful!!
Ashburton Gooner
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16/01/2007 19:06:00

I think it predates the industrial revolution, so yes, you're right.
Little Dutch
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16/01/2007 19:29:00

About the same time you 2 last touched a women then.
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17/01/2007 22:42:00

HTG, I suppose thats why you support the spuds because both them & you are losers. Its no surprise you couldn't come back with a football argument but had to try personal insults which A) Are Meaningless & B) Are not even witty. Spurs have always been known as a good cup team, not because of their performances on the pitch but because they have 30000+ mugs sitting in the stands!!
Ashburton Gooner
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18/01/2007 09:53:00


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