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Banfield Promotion Confirmed

It was something of an open secret anyway, but Arsenal today announced that Arsenal Reserve Manager Neil Banfield has been promoted to the role of First Team Coach. Banfield has been taking coaching duties at the club since 1998 when he Managed the U-14 side.

After the work he performed with the academy, he was promoted to Reserve Team Manager in 2004 when previous incumbent Eddie Niedzwiecki left to take the Assistant Manager's role at Blackburn. Banfield has worked with the Reserve Team since, but has now been promoted.

Bosnian coach Boro Primorac is to take a reduced role with his 58th birthday approaching. Primorac had always been Wenger's man in the stands at games and his tactical sounding board. It's also widely thought that he had great input on the training ground.

Banfield has forged his reputation as a training ground coach and somebody players respond to. It will be interesting if he becomes Arsene's eye in the sky in the way Primorac always has been. Many ex players speak of being closer to Primorac than they were to Wenger and Banfield apparently shares that training ground popularity with the Reserves.

On his promotion, Banfield said, 'I am absolutely delighted, it is a dream come true," he told the official website. "To think I am now going to be first-team coach… well I pinch myself sometimes. I am really looking forward to it.

"The manager invited me into his office, and with Steve Bould going up to be assistant manager I thought that he may have pulled me in to explain his decision. To me it was a logical move anyway, but I thought it was nice of him to explain it to me.

"Then he told me he wanted me to become first-team coach, and you could have knocked me over. I was a bit gobsmacked to be honest, but after the initial surprise and sense of achievement inside, I was just delighted."

And on the chance to join long time cohort Steve Bould in working with the first team, Banfield added, 'I have known Steve since he took the Under-12s - we have had some laughs and he has worked extremely hard at his coaching and is an extremely good coach,"

"We think the same way, and while we have our differences on things, we are very flexible. We listen and have the same coaching philosophy, the same firmness and the same direction and hopefully we can take that on together in the first team.

"When you look at someone like myself, who came in to take over the Under-14s and Steve the Under-12s, you can see the Club has a very strong coaching ethic, and that comes from the manager.'

But Banfield recognised his new role meant different priorities; 'We can't get away from the fact we are in a results business, winning leagues and cups, and there is a different edge to it. We are now coaching to win games, and that is a different mindset.

"I am demanding but patient. One of the biggest things is being honest with players. They know they will get honesty from me, they won't get any flannel: it will be straight down the line, good and bad. They know I am trying to help them

Best of luck to Neil in his new role. The club added that the recruitment process to backfill Bould and Banfield's old roles is currently under way and an announcement would be made once it has been completed.

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

The Journalist

Writer: Tim Stillman Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Thursday May 24 2012

Time: 9:14PM

Your Comments (oldest first)

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Looks like we've got some big changes at the club this summer. A few more players to shake it up and hopefully we'll be on to a winner!
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24/05/2012 21:19:00

I like this concept of promoting from within. Both Banfield and Bould have put in the effort and hours, starting at the bottom and worked their way up. They deserve this. But this is a results business, as Banfiled said. They better deliver.
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24/05/2012 21:41:00

Hey LD, this is an unrelated comment. I've been reading this site for a few years, mostly I just like to see what the vibe is amongst the fans and see your guys opinions so I don't comment too often. I love your match reports and generally value your insight, I am however a little confused by your depression over Chelsea "buying" the champions league. Are you trying to say they were an unstoppable collosus of star players that swept all before them aside because of their vast financial wealth? I find that hard to believe. Chelsea could have and should have been eliminated at every stage of the competition. They were underdogs for almost all of their ties but they showed the guts and determination to overcome the odds at every stage, something that arsenal could well learn from. How can you say they bought the trophy if they were an imminently beatable side, yet nobody could beat them when it counted. They finished 6th in the league!! Arsenal finished 3rd, if we're so much better than them, why didn't we win the champs league?? Sorry but it just seems ever so slighlty bitter to say they bought it!
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25/05/2012 09:29:00

Sorry for the super-long post. It's just something that has been irking me in the last few threads...
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25/05/2012 09:29:00

It's a simpler point than that related not to Arsenal, but football. We certainly can compete better in the CL for the reasons you state. However, my simple point was that, irrespective of how they did in the league this year, Chelsea's success is 100% down to Abramovic's cash. If Abramovic hadn't turned up and plunged his ill gotten cash into the club, they wouldn't be anywhere near it. It was, as I said, a mere psychological checkpoint in my mind that a bit of my love for the game would take a beating the day that trophy was bought by 100% external (and dirty) cash. It was inevitable, but now it's happened I just think it's total confirmation that what we're watching isn't much of a sport anymore. It's what it represents symbolically that troubled me.
Little Dutch
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25/05/2012 09:50:00

Ok, I get that from an ideological perspective. I just think sometimes football is about 11 mortal men vs another 11 on a pitch for 90 minutes and sometimes people lose sight of that in all the talk of whose money came from where.
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25/05/2012 11:55:00

Indeed. But a billion pounds (most of which was quite immorally ripped from the hands of its rightful owners) of unearned investment gives you a real hand.
Little Dutch
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25/05/2012 12:00:00

Berggunner, ask yourself this - Would they of won the CL with Frank Sinclair, Nigel Spackman, Steve Clarke and Jody Morris playing instead of Drogba, Essien, Boswinga and Ramieres?
Scotch Eggs Rule
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25/05/2012 12:15:00

Note - because those were the sort of players Chelsea's money would stretch to before they were sold for a £1 and used Abramovich's vast, scaly wealth to buy trophies. Without that money, they would not of won what they have. So as LD points out, the CL was won by a club that ONLY relies on external money as they make huge losses each and every season. What is to be admired about that?
Scotch Eggs Rule
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25/05/2012 12:22:00

Actually SER, there was an interesting analysis on 'total team value' on this forum a couple of days back which indicated that Chelsea were only 3rd (behind ManU and Arsenal) in the pre-Abramovich era. So, they were not that bad financially. Your broader point, however, does not change. I mean, that the Chavs were so poor is one aspect, but it was still a bloody expensive squad (2nd in the PL behind only Man City). They could afford to sign Lukaku for 18M and bench him, sign De Bruyne for 7M and then loan him. These kind of signings would be 1st team starters for Arsenal (like Arteta, or at least valuable squad members like the Ox). And BergGunner, there is a striking co-relation between the transfer fees / wages paid to the success gained. The top 2 in terms of total team value won the PL for the past 6-7 seasons. So, to say that its 11 vs 11 mortal men over simplifies the argument to an extreme.
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25/05/2012 14:19:00

Prits, they were 1 week from going bankrupt before Abramovich bought them, they were in absoloute dire straights.
Scotch Eggs Rule
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25/05/2012 14:26:00

Agree with teh rest of your post though, nicely explained.
Scotch Eggs Rule
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25/05/2012 14:31:00

Ofcourse if you have more money you can get better players and deeper squads, i'm not disputing that. My point was simply that this particular chelsea side was not unstoppable and for all their money they were under-dogs in most of their ties and should have been beaten which would have nullified this whole debate.
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25/05/2012 15:15:00

BergGunner - So why the need to suggest we should perhaps have admiration for a club whose dirty money effectively denied us a shot at dominance 8 /9 years ago? If you know the story and truly understand it you wouldn't need to ask those questions, surely?
Scotch Eggs Rule
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25/05/2012 15:32:00

Not admiration for the club or the way it's funded or run but perhaps just a touch of grudging admiration for the fighting spirit shown by the players when they had their backs against the wall. In purely footballing terms it was a gutsy display.
Report Abuse
25/05/2012 16:10:00

The day I show admiration for scumbags like Cole and Terry, i'll be being measured for a toe tag.
Scotch Eggs Rule
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25/05/2012 16:14:00

SER, whatever you say about Cole, he was instrumental in them winning the CL final. Hate the guy , but he is an amazing player. Probably our biggest loss post 2006. Our LB position has never been the same, since he left.
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25/05/2012 17:20:00

They certainly showed a lot of grit, for sure and they were probably due any luck they got given recent years. But the point stands that it's easier to do when you can buy the players to do it. Shrewsbury Town players would have put in the same effort with the same tactics, but they'd have got mullered.
Little Dutch
Report Abuse
25/05/2012 18:56:00

Why consider them underdogs? That was still an expensive squad that won the CL. Just a bit annoyed that recent history is being re-written just coz they were *****e for part of the season. I'm certainly with SER on this one - no grudging admiration for those bunch of Chavs. How they won the CL is beyond me - all this talk of grit etal, they ran into 2 teams who dominated them but had poor finishing up front. I mean, that could happen once, but three matches in a row?! That's not the Chav's fault, since they finished better, but the manner of their performance was embarrassing having put that team together at such cost.
Report Abuse
25/05/2012 21:10:00

Sajit, yes he's an good left back and one of the best around. Although a fading force now, when you see some of the crappy performances he's put in this season. The fact is, he's a greedy, back stabbing, lying, immoral scumbag and a total all round ***t, of that there's no denying.
Scotch Eggs Rule
Report Abuse
28/05/2012 10:27:00

Couldn't agree more with Prits.
Report Abuse
28/05/2012 11:02:00

I second that Delta. That chav team cost more than Bayern and more than Barcelona. Just because they've been poorly managed and were classified as under dogs, doesn't mean they were. The most expensive Stoke look-a-likes in history *yawn*
Scotch Eggs Rule
Report Abuse
28/05/2012 11:06:00

HA! Just seen a recent piccy of Banfield on the Arsenal website, he'd push Paul Robinson, Frank Lampard and Tom Huddleston aside in the dash for the free eat-all-you-can lunch buffet! :o)
Scotch Eggs Rule
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28/05/2012 11:20:00


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