Arsenal - Wenger's poor disciplinary record wasn't the worst
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Wenger's poor disciplinary record wasn't the worst

It`s always the deflection tactic of first choice if there is any suggestion from an Arsenal related source that maybe bad tackling isn`t good for the game. As though it has any relevance pundits and others of different partisanship will gleefully point to Wengers disciplinary record, particularly in his early years, as justification for disqualifying the argument. Irrespective of whether it were true or not it doesn`t alter the need for the game to take a more intelligent approach to the way challenges are made in the modern game. We accept conditions change in the game all the time. If it didn`t we`d still be playing on mud patches in hobnail boots and the players would be sharing a ciggie at half time.

Discounting the extraneous nature of the point just how bad was Wengers disciplinary record? In terms of the card tally it was pretty poor in the first 5 years of Wengers tenure. The majority of those cards weren`t for offences that would mark Arsenal as a dirty team though officials considered them undisciplined. Wengers record improved significantly after that period and we have been in the top half and often top of the fair play league since. But leaving that aside for the moment what do the numbers tell us about that supposedly dark period? Taking the PL`s official statistics for those first 5 seasons and averaging the disciplinary points on the basis of games played then Arsenal ranked 11th out of the 25 teams that participated in the PL during the seasons from '96/`97 to '00/`01. So we were barely in the top half but nowhere near the worst offenders. Part of the reason for that is that we picked up relatively few yellow cards compared to a number of other teams and others weren`t so far behind on the tally of reds.

However we did collect the highest number of PL red cards in those 5 years though not out on our own. Many will remember that many of those were for retaliatory offences, offences under the totting up process and for dissent but even on the raw numbers we weren`t unique. Two other sides collected as many red cards, 22 in fact, as we did. In our worst season '98/`99 we picked up 7 cards but the newly promoted Blackburn picked up 8 reds in a seasons total of 73 red cards which has only narrowly been topped once in Wengers time. One other team exceeded our 7 reds tally in a season during that period, West Ham with 8 reds in '97/`98

But in this supposedly dark period of red cards for Wenger, Everton were the worst offenders in terms of disciplinary points with the same number of red cards in those 5 seasons but quite a few more yellows. In second place, sandwiched between worst offenders Everton and third placed Arsenal was West Ham United who also picked up 22 red cards with fewer yellows than Everton but more than us.

So there you have it, Wengers dark disciplinary period as Arsenal manager in the Premier League was topped by the manager of West Ham throughout that time - one Henry James Redknapp.

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The Journalist

Writer: Amos Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Saturday October 9 2010

Time: 11:45AM

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Anything for the cause there Amos, even winning arguments against noone will do at this stage i take it.
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09/10/2010 15:22:00

What I, and so many others, find so breathtaking about Wenger and Arsenal is their attitude in general. If they lose, it's the opposition's fault 'for not playing the game the right way'. But can you imagine Viera and Petite being physically intimidated by opponents? This article is simply another attempt by Amos to deflect criticism that is raining down in the bucketloads, and point the finger at Harry who has nothing to do with any of it whatsoever. The bottom line, Amos, is that Wenger took a radical change in direction after Arsenal's grinding cup win five seasons ago: he turned Arsenal into a smaller, more technical team, modelling them on the Barca side that was emerging in Spain. This was understandable since, as a natural pioneer, Wenger is always looking to the next innovation. But he made a fateful oversight: English football is, and always has been, tougher and more physical- for better or for worse (and it is both by the way). Mired in the quagmire of his own hubris, he accused others- just as you have here- of changing the dynamic, of playing dirty when it all went breasts north. But the blunt fact is that Wenger has won nothing since he changed his approach and he won't until he does.
Tony Rocky Horror
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09/10/2010 15:23:00

reconcile his purest's heart with a pragamatist's head.
Tony Rocky Horror
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09/10/2010 15:31:00

Good one Amos.
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09/10/2010 17:26:00

The problem with your whole post TRH is, rather as the article sets out to show of a different point, simply one of perspective. So Wenger made a fateful oversightdid he? That has to be seen from the perspective that the only teams to consistently better him in that period are Chelsea and ManU. The relative strengths of those teams has its roots in ground other than just the simplistic idea that English football is physically demanding as Arsenal have shown time and again. You aren't one of nature's greatest thinkers are you TRH.
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09/10/2010 17:47:00

I don't see this as an argument won HY. No-one should imagine that any time one of 'arrys players gets sent off we're going to hear about his earlier poor disciplinary record in the PL. That wouldn't suit the agenda of those far more willing to make an issue of Wengers. So not an argument won but perhaps a point made. Though only for those with minds open and receptive enough to accept it.
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09/10/2010 18:12:00

"You aren't one of nature's greatest thinkers are you TRH" No, and you struggle with basic punctuation and grammer, don't you? It's a strange feeling to be having an argument with someone, and then to suddenly feel sorry for them half-way through it. Personally, I never had a problem with the Arse when they were a physical team, people were intimidated by them, and that's a lot better than what you have now.
Tony Rocky Horror
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09/10/2010 20:37:00

You have had a problem with Arsenal right from the day you realised you had picked the wrong team to support. A song from Deff Leppard - When Love and Hate Collide is an appropriate one for your condition.
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09/10/2010 21:12:00

purest's? pragamatist's? and you're picking me up? If you're going to pick anyone up on their *grammar* you should at least spell it correctly. You're a phoney TRH. You don't have an original thought or idea in your head. On any level, whether you're trying to make a point or attempting a wind up, the best you can come up with is never more than banal and prosaic. Yet time and again your obsession brings you back to make a fool of yourself each time. No need to feel sorry for you though. It's enough just to laugh.
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09/10/2010 21:46:00

Good one there, Amos. Must say I admire your patience with this TRH chap. Fancy him taking anyone up on punctuation/grammer. That's a laugh, TRH! It is not just your reasoning that is banal and pedestrian, my man. Get off this site and let's see your posts on VS for a change.
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09/10/2010 21:54:00

OT: Why does everyone who correct other people on grammar misspell the word itself.
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09/10/2010 22:02:00

Ha! Ha!! Grone. Beats me. As they say, bad company can corrupt.....:-)
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09/10/2010 22:13:00

lol amos, if there is a fool at one end of an argument, there is one at the other!
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09/10/2010 22:15:00

I think it's about time I took complete control of this site and worked as a writer and editor for you. You need some kindly help with the quality of your written communication. You also need an intellectual hero: someone who can elucidate the fans' feelings clearly and shape the agenda in meaningful ways. Sorry've tried least you can tell people that you gave it your best shot but in the end you weren't good enough..much like your team.
Tony Rocky Horror
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09/10/2010 22:16:00

A delusional spud eh? That might appear true only in your own mind TRH. But there are others to judge you ..and posts by which to judge you. In the end you've never been good enough..much like your team.
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09/10/2010 22:20:00

Got to pity the utter fool.
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09/10/2010 22:28:00

Forget TRH's personal vendetta against Vital Arsenal - from my opinion (one that id like to think is more balanced than TRH's no offence pal) it does seem like a cheap shot at Harry & Spurs aswell as distracting the whole thing away from the real issue. I mean seriously....youve gone back in time, flicked through the stats and holy moly youve discovered Arsenal were once only the 3rd worst dirtiest evil side in the country. But that "Harry James Redknapp" (Writing his full name in a closing sentence?) was top one year. Whats the *****s he got to do with it? What point are you trying to make?
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10/10/2010 05:51:00

Exactly, what the ***** has droopy got to do with it? sticking his oar in sending out his mindless sound bites in regards to tackling in the 60's. The point Amos has made is that we were not the dirtiest champions of all time (despite what every pundit/paper would have you believe) and even if we were what has that got to do with moving the game forward and progression in terms of making sure these disgraceful challenges are removed from the game?
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10/10/2010 10:01:00

I'll try to make the point clear for you HY though without much confidence that you really want to see it. Wenger has been making a case against poor tackling for quite some time. Though it's encouraging that a number of others have now joined the debate, whenever Arsene raises the issue it is invariably followed by others pointing to his early disciplinary record. You'll find just such automatic responses from spud and other trolls on various threads on this topic here and elsewhere. As the first sentence in the article points out, distracting from the real issue and going back in time, is very much a feature of the debate from those opposing an Arsenal opinion on the topic. So, if it's ok for others to introduce Wenger’s disciplinary record into the debate what is wrong with then examining that record and seeing how it really stacks up in the context of the argument? The fact is that overall Arsenals PL disciplinary record was pretty average at that time and no more relevant than bringing up anyone else’s. For the sake of clarity Redknapp’s record wasn't just worse in the one year of those first five seasons it was worse overall over that period of time. As I pointed out earlier his record won't be brought up when he offers his opinion on the issue but Wenger's invariably will. Now having looked through the stats and noting Redknapp’s poorer record at the time for managing a ‘worst dirtiest evil side in the country’ as you so choose to picture it, you wouldn’t really expect the irony not to be exposed would you?
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10/10/2010 10:11:00 lol
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10/10/2010 12:14:00

@Amos - Decent article, but I do think THM has a point. You've compared your team to Blackburn, Hull, Everton and West Ham. Everton, no disrespect intended, is the "worst" of the original Premier League teams, and have had more workmen than showmen over the years. A newly promoted B'burn or a Hull was always going to have a worse discipline record than most. Of the 25 teams you mentioned you've only picked out those that are expected to be challenging at the foot of the table. Was your record so far from Spurs, ManU, L'pool, Villa, N'castle, Charlton, Palace, Ipswich, Derby, QPR or Fulham, to name a few. Surprised Wimbledon aren't in that list lol I just think you've painted a very "pretty" picture, and if pointing out that Wenger being one place above 'Arry, when he spent most of the time in the bottom half of the table, takes the attention away from his own record then keep the blinkers on.
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10/10/2010 13:01:00

*....TRH has a point*
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10/10/2010 13:02:00

Seems to me that this is a way to deflect any attention towards Spurs. Harry has pointed out that football in his day was a lot harder than now, but he does appreciate the physical side of the game, as we know Wenger does; Viera and Petit were no shrinking violets lol I understand that Wenger will be called a whinger and a moaner, but this is because he "conveniently" did not see the tackles his team were dishing out when at their worst, but now expects his players to be protected(!?) Benitez was called a tinkerer because he played 99 games on the spin with different line ups, so shouldn't be surprised when people say he makes changes for unseen reason. Pot. Kettle. Black.
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10/10/2010 13:14:00

I don't see where I've mentioned Hull at all in the above article but you do 'arry an injustice. Twice in those 5 years he ended up in the bottom half of the table but more often top half, finishing 5th in one season. You've totally missed the point of the analysis. The comparisons pick themselves based on the facts - I don't pick them at all. Arsenal are, irrelevant to the current tackling debate, portrayed as having an exceptionally poor disciplinary record some 10 years ago. Notwithstanding that it is irrelevant (though you also resort to it yourself in your 2nd post) it is also a fact that their overall record in that period was pretty average. Once again you make the entirely false argument that Wenger is asking for protection for his players whereas the protection of getting rid of bad tackles must obviously apply equally to all teams. Yours is a pretty typical failure to grasp what is really being said - coupled with the absence of your irony gene making you hypersensitive to any tenuous link to the Spuds.
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10/10/2010 16:19:00

I dont think anyone claimed his record was the worst, not sure though. I think people just accused him of a bad disciplinary record and that he shouldnt be the one to talk. Youre right though, just because he may be a hypocrite doesnt mean his arguement is wrong.
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10/10/2010 17:51:00

Ok Amos, so you didn't mention Hull, but the fact that you've mentioned 25 teams, but have talked about only 3 paints an even more unbalanced picture. Wenger has spoken for years about protecting his players, other teams playing physical and so on. Yes, there have been some injuries to your team, but i don't recall any of them being malicious, a la Nigel De Jong style, but unfortunate. The campaign to get rid of bad tackles has been going on for years, so this isn't a "new" case that Wenger is on about, but knows that he can't spell it out like he did before as his comments, such as "I did not see it..." don't cut it with people that know the history under his tenure. Your article kinda reads - "Yes, we had a bad discipliary record initially, but have worked on it. Our record is as bad as those who compete at the foot of the table, but there's one manager that's worse - Harry Redknapp." Maybe i did take it towards my team, without best reason, but then i do wonder what the point of your article is(?) Everton were the worse, West Ham second followed by yourselves. So there you have it. Considering there are 20 teams that make up the EPL maybe you should point out that your team would be in the relegation part of the table. Yes West Ham have finished well under Harry, but finishing top quarter of the table isn't an expectation of West Ham so they're likely to have battlers and bruisers in their team. I'm sure your expectations are different. Please correct me if i'm wrong, please. Talk of protecting players when Wenger clearly had no concern to do so during his bad disciplinary days. That's irony, me old china!
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10/10/2010 18:18:00

Of the original 7 premiership teams not to be relegated - Everton have 9 more reds & 11 more yellows, Chelsea have 46 more yellows but 3 less reds. Yourselves are third from bottom on 1013(Y) and 57(R), we have 961(Y) & 46(R), Man U 900(Y) & 47(R). Villa follow on 913(Y) & 38(R). L'pool on 823(Y) & 40(R). You've got 50 more yellows and 11 more reds than us, 117 (Y) and 17(R) more than L'pool. This is all in 703 league games. Funny that, isn't it, with all this talk about protection?!
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10/10/2010 19:04:00

That's a load of total gibberish me old china! I mentioned 25 teams because that's the number that took part in the PL in those 5 seasons. I mentioned 3 because their records over that time were comparable (though 10 averaged more disciplinary points per game played). What would be the point of listing the other 22? So you don't recall any injuries against Arsenal that were caused 'a la Nigel De Jong style'? Maybe you don't know enough to join in this debate then on the basis that your views 'don't cut it with people that know the history under his tenure'. As for not understanding the point of the article I have already explained it at HY's request. I'll assume that those that don't get it are either incapable of doing so or simply don't want to.
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10/10/2010 19:04:00

Your figures cover all the seasons since the PL commenced not just the Wenger era. They are meaningless figures in this context (and 'arry hasn't managed consistently in the PL). We know that our record was particularly bad at one time which is the period I covered that everyone refers to. Wenger incurred almost half of his PL cards in those years. Since then we've been one of the best. But in any case why restrict your analysis only to those sides not relegated? Danny Murphy specifically spoke of the approach to tackling of Stoke, Wolves and Blackburn. It's precisely because teams like these pick up substantially more disciplinary points per game played that they need to be considered. You'll achieve nothing if you simply focus on teams on your irrelevant criteria. Much of the problem is going to be with clubs that are in the bottom half of the table.
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10/10/2010 19:26:00

Amos, we both know of your disciplinary record (bottom twice in his first 6 seasons). It has improved since then; you haven't been in the bottom half of it since 01/02, though this season's not looking so good lol Of the 25 teams you've only spoken about 4, including your own, which works out to be around 16% of the total number that have taken part. So it doesn't really paint an accurate picture. Everton (85 discipline pts/season) and Chelsea (81pts/season) have worse records in total, but yours is 83pts/season (first 6 years) shows why people would say you were a "dirty" team. Kinda hard to hear Wenger talking about protection. In his first season Wenger had the worst discipline, by far, in the Prem. You only get one chance to make a first impression, geezer!! And, get your facts right cos there weren't 10 other teams to have worse records than yours - only Everton and Derby, from what I can see, had a worse average. 55 pts/season in 00/01 (4th best) was followed by 95pts (last) in 01/02. Funny that, innt? Also, can you tell me of any injuries, a la De Jong style, that i may have missed? Funny how i've got numbers for you, but your "I'll assume that those that don't get it are either incapable of doing so or simply don't want to" doesn't include any stats to back up your statements. Even your article title: I'm wondering if anyone said Arsene's was the worst!? Put "Tottenham disciplinary record" into google and you'll be surprised how many Arsenal articles are there LOL
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10/10/2010 19:55:00

The article title wasn't an answer to a question simply a statement of fact. You aren't providing any stats that are relevant to the debate. Analysis is more than just posting numbers. It can only be an accurate picture if you measure the teams on the disciplinary points per game played for the reasons I've explained. The worst period of Wengers tenure is the one I've examined. The article admits that it was pretty poor in terms of card tally during that period (though not the worst) but it also puts that disciplinary record in the context of the times. You haven't done the maths properly there were other teams with higher disciplinary points per game played in that period - Sunderland, Leeds, Forest, Blackburn, 'boro and Bolton amongst them - and others since. It's also worth remembering that cards don't necessarily mean a 'dirty' team as I indicated in the article. If it did then as Wenger has only picked up 25 PL reds since that period and Spurs have picked up 29 then we've got better and you've got 'dirtier'. I won't bother directing you to the challenges that have resulted in serious injury to our players over recent seasons. They'd be pretty obvious to anyone who takes a serious interest in the debate. So do you think we need to do something about bad tackling or not?
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10/10/2010 20:41:00

Looks like we have our own stances on this one, Amos :) With regards to the bad tackling I think things have been said, and threatened, but not really implemented - retrospective bans etc., but the Premier League, uefa and fifa need to get off their backsides and become consistent. It's a similar thing with diving, where players should be punished for cheating the refs. I won't claim Spurs are exempt from this either. It's a difficult one though; because i like to see good strong challenges in the game and most of the time it's a player that goes in half hearted that ends up injured. Not denying the injuries to your team, but when Eduardo and Ramsey were injured they didn't appear to be deliberate "let me break his leg" challenges, rather mistimed. De Jong kicked Alonso in his chest, but didn't injure him., despite nearly kicking his heart out LOL I think that deserved a red card. Now he's broken Ben Arfa's leg. Players will always get injured, that's the nature of the physical side of the game, but dangerous / reckless challenges should be dealt with accordingly. I just don't think it's as cut and dried to say what should be done. On another note; where do u think u'll finish this season?
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11/10/2010 00:28:00

"...but when Eduardo and Ramsey were injured they didn't appear to be deliberate" "...but when Eduardo and Ramsey were injured they didn't appear to be deliberate" "...but when Eduardo and Ramsey were injured they didn't appear to be deliberate" "...but when Eduardo and Ramsey were injured they didn't appear to be deliberate" "...but when Eduardo and Ramsey were injured they didn't appear to be deliberate" "...but when Eduardo and Ramsey were injured they didn't appear to be deliberate" - Tottenham Hotspurs supporter. And the beautiful thing is that he probably hasn't the faintest idea.
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11/10/2010 00:55:00

melloSPUR, I think the whole point is that a lot of irrelevance is brought into this debate which muddies the water. You say that the Eduardo and Ramsey leg breaks were as a result of mistimed challenges with no “let me break his leg” premeditation. I agree that there was no intention to break a leg. However, their tackles were reckless and irresponsible rendering the timing inconsequential. There was no control in the challenges therefore resulting in no control in the outcome. This is not about disciplinary records because the expression is a “catch all” for all types of misdemeanours. This is an issue about control and responsibility from players and managers which needs addressing. It has to start by acknowledging that there is a problem in the first place. You included.
Sir Henry
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11/10/2010 15:08:00

HY, to this day, whenever Arsenal get a man sent off, the commentator will have easy to hand "this is the __th red card for Arsene Wenger." Every British commentator keeps that tally obsessively, we constantly get it repeated ad nauseum. So Amos' article is still relevant today. And Amos, THANK YOU THANK YOU!! I've been wanting to see these stats laid out in one article. I've seen them mentioned in passing but never like this. It's a huge myth that Wenger's Arsenal have the PL's worst disciplinary record even in its worst days. HY, Amos pointing out Redknapp's own record may or may not be a cheap shot--I see it as a retort to the worship the British media show toward Redknapp. He gets little to no criticism, he's fawned all over in the media. Oh, and of course, here's TRH talking about totally irrelevant crap, whining and whingeing on and on as he always does. I thought he'd finally cured himself of his Arsenal obsession and become a sane person. Obviously not.
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11/10/2010 16:04:00

Amos good article. One other point is that in those years (so called dark years) Arsenal had less number of fouls than most teams but more cards per fouls commited. I remember whereas other teams got away without being given a card Arsenal were always being given one. Even this season, look at the cards being given to Arsenal whilst the English boys are never given cards for worse fouls. Song should never have been given a Red Card for two soft fouls whilst Nigel De Jong literally destroys a players leg and gets away with it. Unless the British teams understand football as a science without the so called "English football is physically demanding" (brutality) they will not do well. We all admire Jack Wilshire's skills but I pray every time he plays that he would not be stopped through one of those career ending injuries. Eduado was never the same when he recovered from his injury.
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13/10/2010 00:13:00

melloSPUR - Of those terrible tackles by players like Viera and Petite you so happily mention that wenger "didn't see", how many were snide leg breakers? I'll help you out here - none. Wenger likes ghis players to tackle and often tackle hard, he doesn't like hsi players to injure other players. Why is that such a difficult concept to understand for you and your ilk?
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14/10/2010 13:35:00

Co-sign phreddy. Consider the sending offs we have had this season - Song at Sunderland, and Kos against Liverpool. Nothing dirty in there to speak of. Or remember Vermaelen's last-man red card last season against West Ham, which was not even a foul. Then compare that to the vicious foul on Diaby at Bolton which the ref didn't even blow his whistle for. Or De Jong at Newcastle, not even called as a foul. The red card count never tells the full story.
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15/10/2010 01:29:00


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