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Another day at the office

Being somewhat novice to the world of research in academia I have come to learn some interesting things. For example, anecdotal evidence is great to show off in front of fellow researchers proving you know and you`ve talked to people, but not very welcome while discussing your research questions and hypotheses or when you want to publish a paper.

I`ve never been a sports journalist and I can only imagine what it`s like, especially in England. When it comes to football I imagine all football journos are under immense pressure to publish stories that will sell copies and accumulate clicks. In this everyday struggle for more audience, journos seem to be more than ready to go out on a limb on a specific issue, mainly because they know that even if they get it horribly wrong, it will quickly be forgotten and replaced by another similar story.

One needs to go no further than the summer transfer period for evidence. I read somewhere that something between 4 -8% of all published transfer stories are actually substantiated. Could you imagine that situation in scientific research? But there is something that binds together these two worlds: I have noted and written (but dare not to publish anything on it) that senior researchers, in order to reach their publication goals often contained in their contracts with their institutions, resort to 'recycling` some topics. This means that they use one good research paper several times, publish it three, four, five times over a period of as many years, only adding half a chapter here and there and changing its title/focus slightly. No consequences, since we`re talking about senior researchers who have accumulated a lot of experience and power and are able to do (almost) whatever they want. In English football journalism it is very similar: one topic gets serially raped by some 'renown` reporter names, publishing it week-in, week-out.

Unfortunately, mass media are far more read than scientific journals and these topics often flirt with the infamous Lenin quote "A lie told often enough becomes the truth". One could use words other than 'lie` to suit this case, such as 'rumour` for example.

This brings me to the real reason why I sat down to write this piece, namely Matt Law`s critique of the totalitarian regime in place at Arsenal Football Club published in today`s Express. Mr. Law`s ego has been thoroughly massaged by a number of his known and unknown followers on Twitter, some of them avid Arsenal fans, who have wholeheartedly agreed with him and his notion that Arsenal FC is run by a dictator, a deranged Hugo Chavez of modern football who has made everyone at the club follow his wrongful ways. It is good to know that, for example, people like Sir Alex Ferguson and Roberto Mancini are left out because they must have created rather different type but nevertheless democratic atmosphere in their own clubs.

The line of 'arguments` offered to substantiate Law`s assertion are following:

1. Arsenal PA announcer`s lies every time he announces attendance. Empty seats can be seen therefore instead of 57,989, he says 60,000. Shameful. The fact that the same thing goes on in every ground in EPL where the industry standard is to announce tickets sold is another matter (Gazidis` words). Another fact that slipped Mr. Law`s reasoning is that at least this year Arsenal have abolished announcing attendance through the PA. Oh well.

2. Ivan Gazidis. One of the Yes-Men. Law points to IG`s statement that 'we are the model club, everybody wants to be like us`, which was given in the context of club ownership, but he cunningly uses it to demonstrate his acquaintance with irony by saying how after 7 games the leading pack consisting of two clubs bankrolled by sugar-daddy(s) and one with a massive debt courtesy (again) of its benefactor, "…are jealous of the 15th-placed Gunners". Boldrick would be proud. No Mr. Law, all clubs should aspire to be like Manchester City and Chelsea, such fine examples of 'how to build a football club`.

3. Stan Kroenke. The majority shareholder at Arsenal, known as Silent Stan, much criticized for his quiet ways on club affairs is next in the line of arguments: namely, Kroenke`s words of support for the best manager in the club`s history are interpreted as another proof of Wenger`s dominant character. AW has amassed so much power that he can make Kroenke say whatever he wants. I mean, where else have you seen or heard a chairman offer support to a manager when results have not gone the clubs way? Outrageous.

4. My favourite part: the transfer 'sagas`. Apparently Arsenal negotiated Cesc`s transfer for so long only to insert a clause in his contract. Not because the first offer was less than 30 mil. Not because there were board - manager discussions which according to Stan`s and Cesc`s statements had opposing stances. Board didn`t want to sell - Wenger did. Oh and Nasri isn`t greedy. He wants to win trophies. He decided that when him, Vieira and one Darren Dein, you know the son of David 'Saviour` Dein, chatted over the summer about his expiring contract and of course, trophies.

5. Wenger`s reply on a question whether he`d consider bringing in new faces to 'freshen up` the backroom staff was that he`s been coaching for 32 years, and he should be able to choose who will work with him. Mr. Law interprets that as 'clear implication fresh voices are not required and certainly will not be welcomed`. Again, even Sherlock Holmes would envy Mr. Law`s deduction capacities. To offer more substance to this wish-wash, Mr. Law uses the legend Bob Wilson, who left his job at Arsenal because… blah-blah. In fact, Bob Wilson is so pissed off at Wenger that he recently said that "Arsene Wenger will only be appreciated at Arsenal when he's gone", as reported by another gem of a journo, one Charlie Wyett.

6. The so-called mysterious injuries to some players are succinctly used to support Wenger`s totalitarian character, obviously because he`s not like 'Arry who might go out and say that his missus would defend better than Squillaci and Almunia (on some evidence she might). Mr. Law has thus finally revealed the Arsenal`s secret code of conduct when it comes to unwanted players or those out of form.

It does not end there: Mr. Law knows that Vermaelen`s tweet that his return is on track was instructed by Wenger. I can only imagine AW taking the time to give Verm a call and tell him what to tweet. Very real stuff I tell you. There is also space to mention Jack`s tweets on Hoddle and Spurs, Szczecny`s opinion that the Spurs aren`t better than the Arsenal - all pointing that Wenger has developed this 'culture` to make people do whatever he wants.

So there you have it ladies and gents, that`s why Mr. Law was being congratulated by some Arsenal and football fans and his fellow writers. That kind of 'honest` interpretation of facts, statements and situations gets praised and lauded by your fellow football fans. The truth is Arsenal IS in a crisis, the worst one since AW took over. And Wenger has been (along with the players) the first to come out and say that he takes full responsibility for the results, but that never appears in the mixture of codswallop and tripe Mr. Law serves to everyone. Take it easy and UTA! Through thick and thin.

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The Journalist

Writer: G4L Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Tuesday October 4 2011

Time: 2:10PM

Your Comments

Repeat a lie often enough and it becomes the truth. It doesn't really but it becomes received wisdom so that 'everyone knows Wenger is a dictator'. Use your own eyes, ears and grey cells and the lies are transparent enough for those who want to see them. Full kudos for doing so G4L.
Law's a complete ***t though, most people knew that already? Good article pointing out the complete hypocrisy in the modern sports media.
* whether Wenger is a dictator or not, what we DO know is he is making a complete pigs ear of the last 10 months or so and the seaosn ahead as things stand.
Whitewash of a blog. Law's article was spot-on. Your criticisms are pedantic and incredibly minor-his basic argument stands. He's entirely correct about AW--his refusal to shake things up, his belief he's unassailable, that no one should question him because he's been a manager for 32 yrs, that the same old staff that's been there for 15 yrs needs no freshening up. Nothing needs to change. Any time you hear anyone take umbrage at the suggestion they need help or need to try something new because they've been at their job for however many yrs and therefore don't need to be told anything, that's an automatic sign that person is stuck in their control-freak world & can't see the forest for the trees. The summer transfer window was an utter shambles and we're paying for it now. Law argues the club spin isn't convincing people anymore -- except of course the bury-head-in-the-sand brigade who'd be singing the same tune even if we got relegated (before anyone shrieks, of course I don't think we'll get relegated).
Agree that the piece was OTT, but the point still stands about us not being the good times, we're in a lot of trouble and it's purely down to Wenger. His reaction to being asked about getting someone in for defence really irked me.
In order for it to be a whitewash of an article you'd need to show where it distorts the truth in order to do so. If the argument is pedantic then that doesn't make it wrong and it probably needs to be to put Law's opportunistic slating into proper perspective. A claptrap is a statement deliberately designed to elicit applause. There will be plenty that have willingly fallen into Law's claptrap but while many will share his opinion it's still nothing more than a populist view designed to appeal to an audience that's feeling particularly vulnerable at the moment. Quite why anyone should be irritated that someone should point that out baffles me.
From a mixture of what I think and what I know, I think Wenger is a dictator. He always has been. He oversees every single facet of training- whereas Ferguson for instance, takes very little of United's training, choosing to leave it to his coaching staff whilst he observes. Wenger oversees the strategic direction of the club. He practically runs it, which is why you'll see Kroenke continue to gush over what a fine job he's doing. Wenger is effectively running the club for him. Wenger sat on the interview panel when Gazidis was appointed for the CEO position. He interviewed his own boss. He maintains a very timid, quiet playing squad. Gallas was the only voice to be heard in recent years and he was submerged in a group of quiet, timid types who couldn't handle the home truths. Of course this is no great shift in how Wenger has ever operated at the club and we can't say it's been a bad thing for us this last 15 years. The problem is, in my opinion, not just that the game changed with the financial distortion of the likes of Citeh and Chelsea- which we can do nothing to control. But also that the club has changed. Though not able to compete with Abramovic and the Shiekhs, we're not penny pinching anymore. We're relatively debt free. After this summer's business, we have an estimated £50m in the TPA. We're not where we were 5 years ago- having to tighten the belts and rely on developing young players at a pittance. We look like a club in an identity crisis. The shackles have loosened yet we struggle to behave like big players- we're locked into the "plucky underdogs" attitude. Whether this is because the club is now too big to be at the sole behest of one man is a matter of speculation. To an extent, we're hanging grimly on till 2014 when we can renegotiate the commercial deals- matchday revenues and television revenues are maxed out. But when we've got £50m in the kitty unspent and we're 15th after 7 games, it's hard to believe in the autocracy. Such is life.
Little Dutch
The TPA doesn't really exist other than as a budgetary tool. There's nothing to stop the club allocating the funds in it to other accounts as and when they wish. Wenger is only a dictator in the sense that he runs the football side ( a fairly significant part of a football business granted) but when did it ever make sense for the board of directors to run the footballing side? Wenger agrees his player budget with the board (covering wages, transfer fees, agents fees et c.,) and is entirely free to do whatever he wants within that budget. If he has to step outside it then he'll go to the board just as any manager/executive or any department in any organisation anywhere in the world might be expected to do. It isn't dictatorship it's just someone talking full responsibility for the job he has been given. The board aren't coaches or team managers they're businessmen. Their business is to manage the funding of the business, build it's brand and commercial development. If Wenger wants to employ another coach then he's free to do so. There's absolutely no point the board listening to suggestions from journalists or fans as to who Wenger should employ whether coaches or players. There's every point in the board deciding whether in making such decisions he's doing a good job or not and therefore whether he should stay or go. But that isn't dictatorship. Dictatorship is when you can sack a manager one season after doing a domestic double simply on the basis of a whim.
If we are out of the CL and lingering in midtable by 2014 the commercial contracts that are up for reneval won't be such a attractive option as they would be if we where still compeating at the highest level. As for Law I dont need a nespaper hack to tell me that we are in dire straits and have been on this course for the last few years. Whether his article was wright wrong or indifferent, we have the worst squad since he took over as manager and even after years of trying we cant still defend a ******** set piece. The evidence of our demise will not be found in Mr LAw's articles, you only need to look at the team and how we have been this year and I don't mean only this season but for the last 20 - 25 games.
Amos where has there been calls on here for a board member/director or a businessman to run the footballing side? And are you sure there's no agreement in place to not spend the TPA on anything other than new players in fees or wages? I definitely read that somewhere.
Has there been any claim from me that there have been calls on here for businessmen to run the football side??? If there were any formal covenant regarding the TPA and specific use of funds then under the disclosure rules it would need to be shown in the annual accounts. Some similar restrictions are declared but nothing regarding the existence of a TPA that I can find.
My understanding is that the TPA exists as a separate pot as a condition of the loan agreements secured against the stadium. I'm not suggesting the board of directors run the football side. It also makes sense for the manager to have a firm grasp of the pursestrings because he needs to be able to prioritise his signings. That's a football decision. But when a man appoints his own boss and makes decisions on the commercial side (only after relentless pestering did he acquiesce to the idea of an overseas tour). I guess what it comes down to, is is Wenger making the right football decisions anymore? He pulled the plug on the Juan Mata signing because he principally disagreed with the sums involved. We had the money, but he chose not to fund it on principle. Currently, Abou Diaby earns £12k a week more than Luka Modric. This is because the manager believes in parity of wages across the squad. Again, that's his decision, But are the business decisions and the football decisions overlapping? Is one overly informing the other? In politics they call this sort of thing "separation of powers." On one hand we have an owner who lives thousands of miles away and doesn't have any involvement in the day to day running of the club, leaving a CEO who was appointed by the man he's managing. Gazidis is currently straddling an absent owner, a manager that has the defining say in all of the club's decisions- even the commercial ones until recently. It doesn't look a good structure from the outside at the moment. The mixed messages and fannying around over the Nasri sale and the fact that we bought 5 players in the last 48 hours of the window suggests that the football decisions and the business decisions are not clearly separated from one another. Wenger himself was moved to say this summer, "I have never worked harder than I do right now."
Little Dutch
I don't understand why you would put this "but when did it ever make sense for the board of directors to run the footballing side?" then, it doesn't really matter I suppose. It hink the TPA was more of an agreement, nothing official, but this of course could be a load of rubbish.
It was a rhetorical question to emphasise the point that, in normal conditions, you'd want the manager to have total control. The main 'loan' agreements are principally two bond issues. Any other bank loans (other than short term operating loans) were discharged under the re-financing 5 years ago. Kroenke (with Fizsman's backing) appointed Gazidis. He is clearly a Kroenke appointment. I'm sure Wenger's opinion might have been sought but it's a bit of a stretch to suggest he had any veto. Kroenke got the man he wanted having got shot of Edelman as part of Stan's restructuring of that side of the club - not Wenger's. Wenger didn't unilaterally make a decision on the commercial side in agreeing to a Far East tour quite the opposite. He changed his preferred footballing preparation routine to meet the needs of the commercial side. Entirely different course of action from one you'd expect to be taken by a dictator. I think you'll find the plug was pulled on the Mata deal, not by Wenger but by financial reality, because Abramovich blew us out of the water on the wages. I've no idea what Diaby or Modric earns but if you add up most of the figures you read that our squad and the youth players are apparently earning then our wage bill is some 60% higher than is shown in the accounts. There's bound to be some overlap between football decisions and business decisions (it is a football business after all) but it seems to me Wenger's areas of responsibility are more narrowly defined now than they have been in the past.
"His reaction to being asked about getting someone in for defence really irked me." - I loved it. Some jumped-up mid-twenties journalist saying 'you concede lots of goals... why don't you bring in a defensive coach?'. I'd have told him to **** off. As if Arsene Wenger doesn't know when he needs a new coach or not, or how to run a football club, but some dickhead journalist does. let's let Sky Sports run our football club, shall we?? Stroll on.
Dictatorial quote on medical team a couple of weeks back when asked about Owen Hargreaves treatment “My reaction is that it is not the responsibility of the manager, it is the responsibility of the doctor. The doctor takes the responsibility to treat the players. If the players feel badly treated they have to turn back to the medical department. You do not want to interfere with that, I believe that in a club, and any company, everybody does the job they are paid for and doesn’t interfere too much with the job of others.”
Imagine that, employing a medical staff and then letting them get on with the medical work. Bloody ridiculous. What kind of little-Hitler would do that? :)
Very rhetorical especially when talking about "normal conditions" which i'm not quite sure means either, if you're talking about a business then i agree with you but Arsenal are a football club first & foremost and a business 2nd, you wouldn't want the football manager to have total control of everything, absolutely not. Damiano it's fair enough & I see where you're coming from but he just continues to strike me as refusing to adapt and learn from the continual mistakes over the last few years. The same effin mistakes.
interesting stuff. the very notion of someone being or behaving as a dictator in an organization or an environment carries a very negative notion. have we had it or are we having it that bad with Arsene Wenger? What I found disturbing is that Matt Law was thoroughly congratulated by Arsenal fans for using 'circumstantial evidence' at best to construct an artificial argument in which Arsene Wenger, our most successful manager to date, is this deluded Führer who is taking us all for a ride and at the same time ruining the club. I find that appalling - seems like when Gus Poyet said the other day that "now everyone wants to kill Arsenal", he was spot on - everyone, including Arsenal fans. At some point of time each one of us had a giggle while clubs were sacking and undermining managers, when owners sacked and bought players, didn't we? Now, all of a sudden Wenger's got too much control, when however evidence shows differently (I miss Austria pre-season btw.). I do not know whether he actually interviewed Gazidis or not, don't think many actually do. I am sure though he wasn't indifferent - but is that really a bad thing to do? As for the transfer 'shambles', I agree it could have been handled differently. However, those who think we could have bought much better quality than we actually did need only to look at the Mata situation, as referred by Amos above.
Your information on Mata is incorrect FYI. He pulled the plug long before Chelsea showed up. They hadn't contacted Valencia at that stage. We were the only horse in the race. Wenger sat on the interview panel for the new CEO, this is fact. He wasn't just asked for his opinion. The point is, how long did it take him to bend to the will on a Far East tour. The answer is about 6-7 years, suggesting his discomfort with it. It showed he can take a step back and it not be £60k a wee at present, Modric £48k. It's a narrow sample, but an example nonetheless that a squad player is on a big wage not too far from what Cesc was on at the time Diaby signed that contract. I accept it's not always going to go right in any wage philosophy. My point is, that philosophy is Wenger's choice. My point is that Wenger has an enormous input into the business side. Which is fine, but then he has 100% control over the training and coaching too. There's no devolution. He looks to be a man overloaded at present and I think that showed with some of the decisions taken by the club this summer. Most starkly in the "he's staying, he's going, we don't quite know anymore, he's playing, he's going" stance on Nasri this summer.
Little Dutch
Back on the 15th July Mata is said to have claimed that he was flattered by the interest shown in him by United, Arsenal and Chelsea. By the beginning of August any Arsenal deal was reported to be on the point of collapse. It's unrealistic to imagine that Chelsea's interest didn't directly impact on Mata's decision not to opt to join Arsenal. He would have been aware of it even if Arsenal made the first offer. Kroenke's commercial team has only been in place for a couple of years and hardly existed at all until he joined in 2009. Wenger bowed to the commercial will by the end of IG's second season. It wouldn't have mattered who was on the interview panel Kroenke, aided and abetted by Fizsman made sure they got their man. Lady Nina was also on the interview panel and dismissed from the board for opposing the appointment. Kroenke was always going to get his man in.
You're gonna have to trust me on this one. Though I don't like to assert any ITK pretensions, particularly not on the anonimity of a forum. Plus, on a wider basis, my ITK pretensions wouldn't be substantial enough even if I were to profess them. But this one thing, trust me. Gazidis had Mata done and in the bag, Wenger told him to pull the plug at the last moment. But why even have Wenger on the interview panel? I've worked with a fair bit of recruitment and I can't ever recall a scenario, in any business, whereby the a manager is on the interview panel for his own superior. Surely that reflects a top heavy structure? Wenger might have taken "only" 2 years to bend to their will on the Far Eastern tour, but the previous incumbents of the commercial side of the business have been knocking on his door about it for significantly longer.
Little Dutch
Have you heard? LD. Anonymously ITK.
Have you heard? Get back to work Timbo!
Little Dutch
Even so while precisely why he pulled the plug on the Mata deal might not be known for sometime it is also clear that Chelsea were on the scene before he did so. I see nothing wrong with Wenger being on some advisory interview panel. If it isn't solely his decision then its just academic who is there but what is also clear is that the job was Gazidis's before he got to any interview panel. If the previous incumbents unsuccessfully challenged Wengers refusal to embark on a commercial tour yet he bowed to IG's reasoning within such a short space of time surely illustrates that Wenger is less 'all powerful' or dictatorial now than previously. Doesn't that belie the current myth?
But doesn't that also suggest that the team Kroenke has brought in believe precisely that he does have too much on? If they really are rolling back his responsibilities, that'd suggest that they think it needs to be done? Which would suggest that they think he is overloaded and are, therefore, probably still trying to wrest some responsibility back? As I said, the manager himself says he has never worked harder in his career than he is doing at the moment.
Little Dutch
It is rather discomfiting to see how much all of the media rabble has influenced our professed trust in our Manager and the management of the club. L D, no one has to "trust" you on your assertions about the Mata deal as it is only speculative, at best. We can't claim to be in the know of things that go on in the background with the fierce competition that is the EPL. I recall Mata stated that Fernando Torres was a factor in his decision to move to Chelsea so clearly, they had shown interest even if only after we did. Wenger must have backed off on principle; he thought we had an understanding with Valencia only to find they were 'hawking' the kid to the higher bidder, using Arsenal as a sounding board for their true intentions (see, speculative as well). As for Wenger being on the panel that hired 'his boss', I think Amos has said it well. As a "stakeholder", I don't see why he can't sit in on the process of hiring the club's new CEO. The way you make it out, one would think he was the sole factor whereas, it was a panel that probably wanted to have all the parts of the club covered. Look, mistakes have been made, but putting a "it's all down to Wenger, the Dictator's, failings" spin to it is rather unfair to the man considering we are well informed as to the realities, including how it took Barca till the end of the window to bid a fair value for Cesc and how Nasri simply held the club to ransome till about the last week of the window. If the fans give up now, do we have the moral justification to demand that the players keep hope up? The popular view is to fire the Manager and this is gaining momentum because it is Arsenal fans now crying the loudest. God help this club.
I think it suggests that Wenger did have too much on and his areas of responsibility are more carefully defined and obliged to dovetail with the clubs other objectives than he has been used to doing in the past. As much as anything though that's the result of greater professionalism within the club than existed previously. Whatever it tells you it isn't that he is some omnipotent presence within the club that everyone defers to. To quote Gazidis 4 months back 'He is not closed-minded. The idea Arsene Wenger is some stubborn guy who is not open to having his ideas challenged and there is nobody there who can say "listen we need someone with experience in the middle of the park or at the back", just isn't true.' G4L is right to say that evidence to the contrary is all circumstantial and/or journalistic supposition and invention.
NG, I don't currently own a television and haven't done for over a year. I haven't brought a newspaper since 2003. I don't have a radio. Which area of the media is influencing me? Where have I said Wenger should be sacked? You can think the Mata thing is speculative if you like, all I'll say is that I didn't source it from a newspaper or any other media outlet nor a third hand source. It was a principle decision, but not in the way you describe. Incidentally, I'm not saying whether it was a sound one or not, just that it was. Nasri didn't hold out till the last week of the window. The manager himself admitted Nasri had resolved to go long before that. We then took the stance that we wouldn't let him go. Then we changed our minds a couple of times and were then forced into the pretty farcical situation of having to play him 48 hours before signing on with another club. You've rather simplified a number of my points NG, I didn't suggest AW was solely responsible for appointing the CEO, just that it's not at all common practise for a manager to be on the interviewing panel for his own boss. Ultimately, everything that is written about football is supposition- even opposition to the media is supposition. You can use that Gazidis quote, but I could equally toss out Wenger's recent intransigence when he told a reporter, "I've just completed 32 years of coaching,2 when pressed on the subject of refreshing the coaching staff. Again, don't get me wrong, I'm not saying we need a defensive coach or whatever else. I don't know if that's the answer cos I'm not on the training ground and I don't know what they do. What I do know is that, on the defensive aspect of the game, either the manager isn't instructing his players properly, or else they're not listening to him. As such, he deserves to be questioned on that. Particularly when last season he wrote off our problem defending set pieces as "easy to solve", yet the evidence suggests we haven't solved it yet.
Little Dutch
Again few people know what really happened in the Nasri situation so while it's fine to speculate that the club did something wrong it could just as easily be that City didn't meet the deal acceptable to us until late on. In fact it appeared that the deal wasn't done at all until it seemed we might play Nasri in a CL game. I don't see Wenger's statement of fact that he has served 32 years as a coach as intransigence. Especially, as DT pointed out above, when it's in response to some journo's inquisition. It's not as though the club are short of defensive coaches. There have been times when our 'famous back four' defended poorly and times when they have defended well. Wenger and his team were able to coach a side so that it went a season unbeaten, another season when he was able to coach a side to a better defensive record than any of GG's teams. The Arsenal site asserts that we've conceded fewer goals per game on average at the Emirates than we did at Highbury in Wenger's time, so expressing his confidence in his own ability and that of his present coaching staff to better organise defensively isn't without foundation. No footballing problem is ever solved permanently. It's only ever improved for a period of time and usually it's directly related to keeping the same set of players together for a reasonable length of time. Even if it puts his view at odds with supporters, journalists, pundits and the world at large it still doesn't make him dictatorial or unwilling to adapt. Whatever his shortcomings (and he does have them as he's bound to) painting the idea that the reason we haven't won any trophies for a few seasons is because he's dictatorial and intransigent and he's taking the club down if he doesn't readily accept the recommendations of journalists and media pundits doesn't really accord with what has been seen. As G4L points out the evidence against him is circumstantial at best and isn't really supported by any reasonable scrutiny.
Naijagunner - "God help this club"? You're right we do need help, but it's not the fans causing these problems, we don't train the players, or make a complete ***k up of the transfer window or look like the weakest willed board during the window (when getting screwed over by Barcelona). That is the club and managers fault, not the fans. For the best part of a calendar year we have gone backwards at an alarming rate, last season we weren't good enough, now this season we are even weaker, must be the fans fault also? Let's put it this way, this one transaction sums up the whole club currently, we signed an injury riddled Chelsea cast off 1 hour before the transfer window shut without a medical. Find me another "top team" that would ever countenance that. God help this club? Yes your were right, just not in the way you meant it.
Again, I think you're- quite deliberately- oversimplifying my point to align it to what the media are saying. You'll see I haven't suggested that a new coaching staff is needed. Maybe it is, the point is I don't know because I'm not on the training ground. Of course over the years we've been at the new ground ouraverages are better, you'll not find any opposition from me there. But it's all about sample sizes. You can shape a point depending on the size of the sample you're willing to take. Over the last 5 years I have little complaints. But if I arbitrarily narrow that sample size to the last 9 months- a period in which we have won, what? 4 in 18 games? a bleaker picture emerges. We're talking around half of a season where our form has been of relegation standard. That's a big tail off and it's only right that questions are asked. Those questions aren't always going to be posited as the definitive answers, nor is anything point that remotely ponders the question, "where is it going wrong?" going to necessarily be an invention of the media.
Little Dutch
There's nothing at all wrong about questions being asked but G4L's article is about a journalistic piece in which questions are not asked but assertions made. It purports to tell us quite specifically where and why it's going wrong. All that the above article does is to question whether those assertions should be accepted by Arsenal supporters and whether the 'evidence' to support them is as robust as some seem to suggest. The implication referencing Wenger's not unreasonable statement that he does have a fair amount of coaching experience is to suggest that it reflects intransigence. It's an oversimplification to suggest it does. Nothing posted here in support of G4L's 'whitewash' denies that we aren't having a poor time at the moment though we have won I think 7 of the last 18 games in all competitions but if I arbitrarily narrow the sample size to the last 4 games then we've won 3 of the last 4! :)
And that's fine, all I've done is assert my *opinion* that Arsene, from the outside, looks to be a man very overloaded at the moment and that the club have got more decisions wrong than right in the last year. My point about Wenger's pithy remark was that he was asked a direct question about a defensive coach. Personally, I think I share your cynicism there. But his answer wasn't, "I don't need a defensive coach because of x, y and z. It was "I have 32 years coaching." That's not an answer, it's a statement and one that suggests he doesn't feel there's any input worthwhile. If we're talking about journalists I 'd agree with him. That gives him a great deal of mileage to wave away their claims. But the suggestion in his answer was that there was no professional input worth his while due to his experience. Like I say, the manner of that input can be sliced any number of ways. Maybe it's necessary, maybe it's not. But he's saying he'd refuse to even consider it. There's a great quote, I forget the author, that says, "the mark of an intelligent man is to be able to entertain a thought without necessarily accepting it."
Little Dutch
Incidentally, my friends and I joked at half time on Sunday that Wenger would say something about "playing with the handbrake on." To which my mate's remark was "if you keep driving with the handbrake on, eventually your engine blows up and your wheels fall off." Lo and behold, that is exactly what he said after the game. We could all make an educated guess as to what Wenger is going to say in any given press conference. We've heard the extended disco version of his favourite phrases time and again. You have to ask the question- and again, I feel I probably need to point out that this is a *question* and not an assertion of fact, not gleaned from a red top- if we know what the manager is going to say well before he says it, does that transmit to the players too? He doesn't vary his soundbites for interviews, does he not vary what he says to his players too? Have they just heard it all before? I recall Alan Smith talking about the end of the Graham reign tailing off because, essentially, his words had become cliched and the players just didn't listen anymore. From the repetition of errors we've seen from this team of late, I think it not unnecessary to ask whether the players listen to this manager anymore.
Little Dutch
I'd agree that Arsene seems burdened at present. He has for some time in fact but I'm not sure that it's because he has taken on too much. More the fact that he has to meet expectations in a difficult competitive environment. Certainly some wrong decisions but more wrong than right? Time will tell I guess. I'm sure that you're not suggesting Arsene isn't an intelligent man because he wasn't willing to entertain the thought/advice of a journalist. It's easy to get the wrong impression about the '32 years' quote. It was made in the press conference after the Shrewsbury game in response to a proposition from a journalist that he might consider 'making a call to a former player like Tony Adams or Martin Keown to help' (neither of whom have any really credible coaching credentials) while the club has a few former defensive players on the coaching staff already. He laughs before replying to what was a silly question. It didn't really reflect intransigence though it's the sort of soundbite quote that folk like Law will pretend does. The time for us to get rid of a manager is when he has to take advice from a journalist.
Amos - Aside from both once being world class defdners in their own right, no? Keown was on the coaching staff when we set the record for consecutive CL clean sheets (with Senderos and Toure) wasn't he?
Given that many of the players are new it's hard to conclude that they've got tired of listening to him. Defensively Sagna's been around for a while and Djourou I suppose. Sagna doesn't appear to have stopped listening, JD listened for a while to good effect during last season. Have Mertesacker, Vermaelen, Koscielny, Squillaci, Santos, Gibbs, Szczesny been there long enough to have heard it all before? Could say much the same about a good part of our current midfield. We would have been served a lot better if much of the team had been together and listening and learning together for a while longer.
Keown was, Bould has also never had a chance to coach the first team.
What would the CL games in 2006 been - 9 games? If Keown takes credit for that then presumably he also gets credited with losing the most games in the PL in any Wenger season?
Fancy having a stab at solutionising Amos? It really is harmless fun, not as fun as swatting away any thoughts & ideas on forums, but fun nonetheless.
No doubt that the club is in crisis. However, if the players wake up and work hard enough, we can still achieve the 4th place. Other than the top 3 teams, we have the capability to beat the others. That's good enough to be top 4. However, we must get some good results, immediately.
shewore - lol You know Amos loves the feel of a fence underneath him!
Amos - maybe he does, fact is we broke defensive records in the highest quality competition in club football. Regardless of what happened in the league we broke that record no? So your point about what Adams and Keown have achieved? Simple answer really, they have nothing to prove as defenders and Keown has proved his worth in one season at Arsenal at the highest level. Dissect that point all you want, you won't change what happened or the facts, although I am sure you will try and contextualise them in some way......
The likes of McGoldrick And Stefan Schwarz hadn't been around very long either, but the consensus was the squad were tired of GG's words. Doesn't have to mean every single player is or isn't, it only has to pervade a little bit of the camp for it to have sweeping implications. From what I can see thus far, two of our best midfielders at pressing the ball so far this year have been Arteta and Benayoun. The others, who have been around the manager longer, don't seem to bother. Maybe that's a symptom of them being more experienced players, who knows? But if they're still listening to him, then the instructions have to be questioned at this point. Whichever way you slice it, there's still a worm in the middle of this apple.
Little Dutch
fcdematthew - we have the capcity to beat the others? Like Liverpool (0-2) or Sp*s (1-2) you mean? ;o)
a while ago I had a meeting with our boss here in which the colleague who sits with me asked for more transparency on how money was being spent from the project budgets. the reply he got was a brisk "if we were ALWAYS transparent with how we spend the money you would not have computers to work on". I'm not saying it was right, but some people have hard-core decisions to make, that's why they're paid for. I guess it is the same with Wenger, when some hack in heat asks a question suggesting to Wenger that he should shake up his backroom staff or a fan suggests that Diaby is useless and should be replaced by Scott Parker. All managers have their ready made answers for a variety of questions, and I don't see Wenger being different. Again, the whole point is how journos misinterpret and construct artificial arguments to support a lame assertion that AW is a 'dictator'. Wenger is under cosh and rightly so, but not one of those halfwits is fit to tie his shoelaces let alone call him a tyrant.
and should not be congratulated by Arsenal fans.
They may not be fit to tie his shore laces, but they have the right to ask reasonable questions, which is exactly what the journo who asked "whether there was going to be a shake up in the backroom staff" did? How difficult is it to say "no"? Instead we get "I've been managing for 32 years!"......and?
Off subject I know, but.... Anyone with any information about the so-called 'fans' who sang chants about an incident in which people were killed, whilst others lost their careers or were traumatized for life should share the information with the police. This is hate speech and these individuals, whether they're Arsenal or Spurs fans should not just be banned from all football stadiums for life, they should go to jail
Cape Town Spurs
***Szczesny told "I can't declare that I will spend my entire career here, but if I leave I will have a very important reason or I will go to Barcelona."***
Cape Town Spurs - This has been an issue at Sp*rs for 15 years, the same amount of time Wenger's been at Arsenal (funny coincidence eh?). Didn't see you posting about it then, so why now?
I'm not sure that there was ever a consensus - some went with GG others didn't but I've no idea whether players aren't listening or whether instructions aren't good or not. Things aren't happening the way we want them to so I'm happy to agree something isn't right. If I knew what solutionising was I might have a go at it. The Oxford dictionary suggests that it might have meant siliconising which would help with the finishing I suppose - or solemnising - but where's the fun in that? Is swatting away points on a forum any different from solutionising other than that it doesn't buy into the solutions offered? Or are all solutions offered (such as we had a good defensive run in one cup competition so the guy that helped put the cones out should be given the job permanently) to be accepted without challenge? As for fence sitting it seems to me to be more of a tag for those ready to accept such simplistic solutions than those that can question them.
I would say in layman's terms It means adding to the discussion ina creative/constructive manner not making constantly making people have to prove their point from a mock position of superiority/pedastal.
I would say in layman's terms It means adding to the discussion ina creative/constructive manner not making constantly making people have to prove their point from a mock position of superiority/pedastal.
Fence sitting is someone who doesn't offer an opinion, just picks at others ideas and suggestions, in my book anyway. We all probably have slightly different meanings, but that's how I see it the phrase.
There's nothing wrong with making people prove their point, but the fact is it's impossible to prove a point when all you're doing is theorising over what could be wrong and how to improve something from a position that is outside of the club, it's just infinitely easier to point out something else when someone comes up with a theory or solution, if you will to a current problem. G4L what's the point of Wenger doing any press conferences then? As none of them are fit to lace his boots surely? Or put on his tie.
I'm not sure that was good enough to post once LG let alone twice. You're being far too sensitive to having your opinions or views challenged. Why shouldn't you be invited to prove or clarify your point? If it's a good point you'll have no trouble in doing so. Superiority or inferiority doesn't come into it unless the point doesn't stand any scrutiny in which case the tendency is to try to reinforce a weak point by personalising it. Which is really what the article was all about - no real evidence to support the claim that Wenger is a tyrant or dictator but it isn't to be challenged or questioned.
Dictator : one holding complete autocratic control. Fact that Wenger decides everything from pre-season tours to coaching to who the club signs.. Plus the fact that he is responsible to absolutely no-one makes this a futile argument for those making a statement otherwise.
LD, Maybe you shouldn't let on here about your disdain (is it?) for the media organs. People get reprisal actions for lesser 'indecretions'. Seriously though, these are trying times for the club but, that is all it is. Now, unless we will like to experiment with fighting a relegation battle, in my view, the man to take the team out of this situation is Wenger, at least, in the medium term.

I think it is a case of this team playing and winning together enough, rather than the fact that perhaps, the players are no longer paying attention to him. The team vs Spurs was an improvement on the side that met Blackburn, in my view and things should only get better.

Wenger is a Management staff of the club, isn't he? I have been on panels of interview for candidates who may eventually be my superior and have faced a panel with eventual subordinates as well (I knew cos I got the jobs); it will be understandable if the Coach is allowed to listen in on the footballing plans of his prospective CEO, perhaps ask a few questions, where he needs clarifications. The fact IG got the job will not make him owe his stay to anyone (other than the directors) on the panel. That's my take on that matter.

Ah! So, now Keown takes the credit for the very good defensive performance of the team in that CL run? If I recall correctly, Keown was only with the club on some attachment to assist him get his badges; now, we suggest the Manager gave him a full time role coaching the defenders? That is trite thinking. First of all, we have taken away from the efforts of Sol, Toure, Senderos (who was at his peak then) and Wenger who, as LD has stated, takes personal charge of all training (unlike Sir Alex) and worked so hard that 2006 CL campaign, you could see it in his very lean and determined frame then. The midfield pressing game was the hallmark of our team's tactics at the time (you couldn't keep possession from Mathieu Flamini Viera and even Fabregas for more than 1 minute. Does this not suggest it may be down to confidence of the personnel? I maintain that all that the side needs is a run of good wins, including one against a top side and it will be plain sailing. We would not recognize the team after that, I guarantee. Now, how do we get that done? Certainly not by suggesting the manager has lost something (Va va va voom?).
A win over a recognised side will not alleviate our problems, we've had a few of those over the last couple of seasons and they've all flattered to deceive. The issues are far more ingrained than a couple of confidence boosting performances because our confidence is so, so easily shattered. We have the yips.
Amos - I am far from sensitive about the reaction to my posts, even tired little digs about them being posted twice don't bother me. Fact is, you have contributed nothing but questions and statements based on other peoples theories (some impossible to prove) which makes it even poorer that you cannot come up with suggestions of your own as no one can say yes or no your right or wrong. Try something of your own for a change, you might surprise yourself and the rest of us.
shewore - Agreed, where did the wins over Barca, Chelsea and Utd get us the following weekends?
Naijagunner - So he's infallible then? As you seem to be suggesting we cannot say anything negative in your last sentence about his lack of productivity these last 9 months. So is it because he has "gained" something that we are currently showing relegation form in the premier league since February?
@Londongooner -- I don't follow you mate... 15 years I get, Wenger I get, but the chants about Adebayor and the fatal shootings came from Arsenal fans, not Spurs. I'm not suggesting Spurs fans are all innocent, and anyone dealing in this offensive BS should suffer the same fate, Gooner, Yid, whatever...
Cape Town Spurs
So I've contributed nothing but questions and statements? What a peculiar criticism if it's really one at all. At least they're my questions and statements. So what wondrous piece of unique thinking should anyone be grateful to you for contributing LG? Aren't most of your posts on this thread dealing with someone else's contribution? In fact aren't many of them just knocking the contributions of others? Don't most contributions here rely on others theories and opinions? How will you know if a theory is impossible to prove if no-one attempts to prove or disprove it? Sometimes you have your head stuck so far up your own arse you lose any ability to see whether you really have a point to make at all.
LG, infallible? Far from it. Who is infallible? I did state above that mistakes have been made by the Manager so that point begs the issue. By all means, point out his lack of productivity but to assume that showing yourself to be free minded and daring, just because you say negative things about Wenger won't change anything nor help the cause. By all means, we can share views here, but if it only has to be Nay saying, I do wonder if we shouldn't just pack it in.

You will do well to proffer a way out as you criticize the club's management, besides just agreeing with the lope-sided views of attention seeking columnists/writers who know Arsenal fans are very vulnerable and thrive on this to achieve clicks. I will like to know what your views are; or is it all doom and relegation for our club? My thought is that it is a side shorn of confidence, going way back to that 4-4 result at Newcastle and re-enforced after the CC final loss; the way back is for the team to buckle down and take it one game at a time, put a string of wins together and we will go above the crisis zone to the level we want to be by the January window. The team can't have lost all it's quality; it just needs time to gel.
Naija - you're right to say that continuing to wallow in negativity won't ultimately help matters, but I'm struggling to get convinced that Arsene can turn it around. I mean he hasn't been able to for the last 18 games (consistently), so what makes us believe he can? That said, we are where we are, and I can't even see a change of manager really making matters much better. We can only take it one game at a time and as Wenger himself always says in football you can only win your next game. We do need the players to show more character, determination, mental strength, discipline, organisation and concentration than they've ever shown before though.
Got to say I agree with you Gooner_Vin, re the role the players have to play in all of this. Why. I show more fight playing sunday sunday footie with a bunch of Beer belly cronies. Some of our players just simply, have to show a lot more determination. I will agree that Wenger can and should do something about that.
there are a few glaring weakness in how wenger runs the club that i dont think a lot of us would deny. 1) giving too much time for players to prove themselves. whilst we produced a lot of world class players with this philosophy, it has also hindered us from achieving our real potential i.e playing likes of vieira, bergkamp, henry etc with stepanov, cygan, etc. & playing rvp, fab & nasri with senderos, almunia, denilson, diaby. these flops were given the luxury of at least 2 seasons to prove how bad they were when they would not even be given 2 games in other top clubs. 2) not attacking the opponent's weakness & not protecting our own weakness. we rarely change a game plan to take advantage of the opponent's weakness. fat sam attacked fabianski with aerial challenges when he identified the gk as the team's weakest link. many teams attacked us with long balls to the flank when they know our fullbacks are always at the other half. of course, our weakness in defending set pieces is legendary and well exploited. mourinho once commented that playing us was easy because the game plan never changed no matter who played. he never lost a game against wenger. these weaknesses were identified more than 6-7 years & they are still plaguing the team. if you could not right a wrong in more than 300 games, there must be some serious problem. 3) wages equality policy. until citeh came into picture, our total wages were very close to mu & chelsea when fab was still on 80k & rvp 60k. considering rooney, ronaldo, lampard, terry etc were earning more than 130k then, it shows a lot on how flaw our policy was - and still is. 4) not considering to players' ability in tactical game plan. diaby as left winger, walcott as right winger, denilson as defensive midfileder and jenkinson as wingback? even djourou came in as wingback on the right against blackburn if memory served me right. need to say more? 5) haggling for pennies. in the past we lost c. ronaldo when he indicated he wanted to play for us & his idol was henry then. we refused to pay for him. in recent years, there were countless players that we lost just because we refused to pay another million or 2. 6) renewing contracts too late. it has to do with the stingy nature of how the club is ran. clubs commonly sign players for 4 years and renew every 2. we do not start serious negotiation until the 3rd year just to save on the sign on fees i supposed. as the contracts run nearer to expiry, the players' bargain power increases & we would have to pay more ultimately. nevertheless, in most cases, we did not end up paying more because we either lose them on bosman (edu & flamini) or we were forced to sell on cheap - classic example of penny wise pound foolish. 7) not doing the math. we paid about 13 mil for nasri. he was here for 3 season, playing no more than 30 games per season or about 50% of the total fixture. he was paid about 60k (over 9 mil in 3 years). adding up with sign on fees, he costed us about 25 mil to make him a star he is today & citeh paid us just that. same applied to adebayor & fab. we are not getting a good deal in the end because for each of the player who is as good, we produced at least 3 denilsons, sanderos' & diabies
* correction, nasri did play more than 30 games per season in total. nevertheless, we did lost him for many games in the 3 years

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