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'In Defeat, Defiance'

'... on days like today I love this club more and feel lucky I picked the right team, the other fans will never know what they`re missing.'

Well said, sirs. I'm probably the first person to juxtapose quotes from Winston Churchill and our very own Professor Calculus. These gentlemen's words sum up my sentiment in such a way that compels me to write my first piece on Vital Arsenal in three months. (Apologies for my decreased activity here as I moved to a new job in a new city two months ago and am still settling in while travelling quite a bit for work.)

Much has been said about the way we lost the game at Old Traffod or, I'd rather say, the way the result went against us in a game that we should have won by performance (personal opinion). I'll hop over to LD's piece in a bit, but I'm sure he has given a clear, good account of the colourful events and his views already.

I thought it must have been just me as a Gooner when I felt the world was so unfair at the end of the game. It was a good call to spot Robin van Persie's offside goal which would have been the much needed - and deserved - equaliser had Gallas been onside. But I felt so hard done by that I truly sympathised with Arsene Wenger when he closed his eyes in disappointment, just one second after he had celebrated the goal that wasn't.

The (yet another) ludicrous decision to send Arsene Wenger off with seconds to go was a classic rubbing of salt into the collective wound of all Gooners last night. I had nobody else to speak to so I asked the resident United fan, i.e. my dad, in desperation, 'He didn't do anything did he? Or did he say anything wrong to the official?' Even my dad was shaking his head when he answered, 'The ref's awful.' Then today I've just realised that all Wenger did was that he kicked a water bottle in rage. Big eff-ing deal.

After the fourth official Lee Probert called over referee Mike Dean, Wenger was told to go into the stands and he did. With nowhere to go, he stood among some abusive-looking home supporters in defiance. With the sort of abuse that other fans often throw at Wenger on our away trips, you can imagine the sort of treatment he got when he had been sent off like that. Especially when we're talking about a hypocritical bunch who had fun booing Eduardo for diving after celebrating a penalty won and scored by England's Hope by, er, 'deceiving the ref' (personal opinion too). The ridiculous situation ended with Mike Dean blowing the final whistle just seconds after the Arsenal manager stepped up to a platform in the stands and looked down on the officials in defiance.

It has emerged in the news today that after speaking to Keith Hackett, the head of the Premier League referees body, the League Managers Association chief executive Richard Bevan made some scathing comments about the way the situation was handled at Old Trafford:

'Although correct in "law", it was completely out of context in the game and it was followed by the nonsense over where Arsene Wenger should sit.

'I've spoken to Keith Hackett and he fully recognises the situation was an error and an apology will follow to Arsene Wenger.

'Lee Probert totally failed to manage the situation and created a needless pressure point taking the focus from what was happening on the pitch.'

In typical Wengerian defiance, the boss offered a dignified response to the situation, even with a bit of bonus humour that Churchill himself would have been proud of, I think:

'I kicked the bottle of water when the goal was cancelled from disappointment and the fourth official called the referee and sent me off. Frankly, I don't know what to say. Thirty seconds to go. It was really spectacular. I didn't even know where to go. He told me to go into the stands, but there was no way to get into the stands. Just because I kicked a bottle of water, I didn't say a word to anybody. And it was quite a good kick.'

As our fellow Gooner Professor Calculus said, this is one of those times where you know better why you love this club.


PS: You can also read a neutral Liverpool fan's view on this by clicking here.




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The Journalist

Writer: Gooner Lou Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Sunday August 30 2009

Time: 4:06PM

Your Comments

Arsene is a legend! he should have feckin shouted down at the ref "are you not entertained!" He was correct to defend Eduardo as 3 days on from Ashley youngs 2 dives in the Europa league UEFA have yet to charge him. Despite not getting the result yesterday he has had a blinding week (pun intended!)
iceman10
It's an amusing conundrum over at Vital Celtic. It seems that Mowbray is claiming that McGeady just 'anticipated the challenge' when he was booked for diving. He even claims that it's Eduardo's fault that McGeady got booked. http://www.celtic.vitalfootball.co.uk/article.asp?a=168322
Amos.
Jesus wept lol, it's our fault McGeady dived? I think I have truly seen it all now. I can at last die a happy man. Since Wednesday we have seen Young x2, Shrek, A spectacular dive from Raul, and now a player from the very team that were so up in arms only a few days ago. I think I'd quite possibly lol if I wasn't weeping with despair!
nikolaijns
Is the Respect campaign still going on btw?
GoonerLou
That whole Respect campaign was a nonsense anyway. The idea that refs should automatically be entitled to greater respect than anyone else and not have to earn it like the rest of us is a nonsense. What respect is Dean entitled to? You can't blame him for us losing the game but you can oblige him to have to earn back any respect he has lost. What incentive is there for him to examine his performance and improve his game handling otherwise?
Amos.
I thought you did enough to get the points against Manure. Losing to a dodgy penalty and an own goal is painful. But City will be looking to beat you after this game.
Sindbad
excellent article lou, yu shud write more often, this game will definetly be the fillip tat this team needs, glad it came so early in the season, we will for sure take this disappointment to motivate us in the right way. what a difference 24 hours make. suddenly suddenly i dun feel that bad about this game, more like a motivation to finish the job next time..
luckys_10
Arsene=RESPECT
Sajit
if our players are not enraged at the sight of seeing wenger being humiliated by the united fans, then they don deserve to wear the jersey.. my blood is boiling and i hope its the same with all arsenal players.. Now, get back to manchester and bring back the 3 points
McGooner
although we lost the game, i can see the improvement of arsenal. never mind, we lost one game and that does not means we lost the title.
laila isabella
Y'know it's easy to get caught up in the moment and after having to put up with that brainless classless paedophile chant you assume that all the manure fans were barracking Wenger as he stood there amongst them unfazed, undaunted, arms held wide. Despite the 5hittiness of the situation 2-1 down with barely a minute left to play it was a classic Wenger moment, one that we'll come to treasure, pure iconic. Now look at the photos again people, sure theres some idiots dishing out abuse (and let's not pretend it'd be any diff at the Grove if red nose was forced to stand amongst us.) But the response of the faces around him run the gamut of emotions, some are surprised, some know they're gonna be caught on camera and are doing the old tragic 'look mum it's me' some are taking pictures, some are applauding ffs! Applauding the fact he was sent there? maybe but not all - I think they know they're witnessing a classic football moment, all around him for rows back you can see people smiling because they know this guy has balls of steel and deep down respect him for the worthy adversary he has repeatedly proven to be.
nikolaijns
Good perspective nikolaijns. You know when you read the newspaper on your day off (Sunday) and think as you open the paper, "Ah, it's good to be away from the stress and hustle and bustle of work. Finally a chance to relax." Then you flick through the sports section and your blood pressure's double and you've got a scowl on your face that would scare TV5. That anger lasted a good 24 hours. It was even the driving force to get me out of bed bright and early this morning. The sort of anger that as Dylan Moran would put it, cannot be satisfied by a 24 hour day. Then, as I finally saw some sensible reaction filtering through the mainstream media, I started feeling less like the Palestinian fellow who left his house empty for a month while renovating, only to return to find it occupied with Israeli settlers claiming they speak with a higher authority. I started feeling less like the world was against Arsenal Football Club. "At last, sanity does prevail." I cried as I read the pieces by P Barclay on UEFA's Eduardo charge, the LFC forum post, the pending apology from the Ref, the odd mention (although in the final paragraph) of Arshavin's denied penalty. Then I read Prof's inspiring refrain and Niko's historical take and I'm filled with a sense of massive pride in this club, in this manager and in the supporters. Truly, this is a club that stands for something more than just winning trophies. It stands for reason and dignity over emotional prejudice. It stands for beautiful football, in spite of thuggish reprisal. It stands for building over buying. It stands for the next generation, not just this generation. It stands head and shoulders above others who wish to bring it down, just because it stands so tall and straight. Long live this club. Long live this manager. Long live the supporters.
hughied
Hey Hughied, it is as if you took those words straight off my lips. I actually was sad after the game and reading the morning news just made me MAD. However, it is amazing and a joy to note how all other fans have a concealed respect for especially after the manure game. They also respect us for keeping with the faith despite not winning any trophies recently and for believing "In Arsene we trust". This club and manager have really made me so proud.
phreddy
As you say Phreddy, this club, its manager and its supporters make me proud to be a supporter also.
hughied
Nice article Lou. I've just seen the Wenger sending off by Mike Dean scenes for the first time and I'm livid. A really, really appaling decision especially considering the vile abuse the United fans were singing about him all game. Goodplaya makes a valid point (and I was also at the game) that it wasn't just a minority of United fans - it felt that vast parts of the stadium were singing that despicable song.
Gooner_Vin
NO REFEREE WOULD EVER EVER HAVE TREATED ALEX FERGUSON THE WAY THEY DID ARSENE ON SATURDAY -- EVER! F-----g disgrace. Reading Lou's article and the subsequent comments here has me quite literally teary-eyed and choked up. If I ever needed anymore reason to despise, loathe, detest English referees and Manchester United with the heat of a thousand suns, Saturday was it. I'm sorry I don't see gooners shouting in near-total unison for over 90 mins. such vile, revolting chants against Ferguson when he came to Highbury or now comes to the Grove. It was extraordinary to see Arsene handle himself with such grace and dignity at his press conference, even with humor. Can you imagine Ferguson reacting that way had he been subjected to that? He'd be livid. Good to see some managers and pundits come out in sympathy for him. Rooney did exactly what Eduardo did: anticipate the keeper. The only difference was that Boruc got out of the way. We were the better team for 90% of that game. United were *****e! There is no way for any gooner to feel today other than very proud.
jaelle
All the talk before saturdays match was about showing whether we had what it took to challenge for the title and i think we answered that question resoundingly - the same can also be said about vermaelen, who along with gallas had a brilliant game. Lets just hope our boys can pick themselves up from this game, both they and the manager did us proud.
DBerg
The whole world is against Arsenal.
HuddersfieldYiddo
Nobody is against the scum cause nobody cares about the scum
DBerg
The fact is a referee's primary responsibility, above all decision making, all equipment beong correct is to ensure the safety of everyone participating on the pitch. He sent Arsene Wenger into a throng of United fans. Enough ******** said. I'd like to see how Dean would react if he was sent into a throng of Arsenal fans this morning- he wouldn't have one ounce of the dignity and restraint Wenger had. Like someone above said,if the players don't see the sight of their manager taking a bullet for them, metaphorically speaking, when he could have skulked off down the tunnel, as inspiring, they don;t belong at Arsenal.
Little Dutch
Yeah at the time I was wondering if Dean would have done the same had one of the managers was deemed to have broken a rule of the game at Upton Park last week.
GoonerLou
Great defense of AW: http://www.independent.co.uk/sport/football/news-and-comment/sam-wallace-wengers-right-ndash-punish-players-after-the-event-and-the-whole-game-takes-a-dive-1779679.html
jaelle
Aw, humiliated in front of millions, just goes to show how much they love Manure.
buzz lightyear
How I Love Arsenal. How I REVERE the LEGEND and GENIUS that is Arsene Wenger. After the past week, I only feel it more. I missed the match on Saturday but my husband saw and was left spitting nails of fury. He's said he never saw anything like it and as an Everton fan he says Arsenal were magnificent. The result is disappointing but on the whole not a worry. In the big 4 mini-league, everybody can expect to lose at least one. Now is the time to fight and stand together, to fly the flag for football as it should be- The Wenger Way. Look out league, you're toast.
julieloveshenry4ever
I hate to say 'what goes around comes around', but Arsenal deserved the karma from Eduardo's theatrics. Rooney had no chance of getting to that ball because it was an amateur first touch. Almunia did nothing wrong. I'm sorry you guys lost, because you were definitely looking the better team, and the match was just handed to Manure. They did nothing to deserve that win. Though I would have preferred a draw.
severedgein
If that's how karma works, I look forward to seeing how it 'comes around' to ManU after for 5 years fielding Ronaldo who dives for a living. Not taking anything away from the result though, we can only blame ourselves for the self-destruction which gifted them 3 points basically.
GoonerLou
http://www.football365.com/john_nicholson/0,17033,8746_5530111,00.html This is brilliant: 'And the fourth official now treats it all as his own little kingdom to rule over; strutting around with his electronic board and headset. Arse biscuit. He can now judge 'appropriate' and 'non-appropriate' behaviour. Hence you get your manager sent off for merely kicking a water bottle. So pathetic, so emasculated is the culture of the game that a man can't even vent frustration any more.' Well said John Nicholson on the '******fication of Football'.
GoonerLou
 

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