Random Thoughts After Arsenal v Villa

I’m a busy man and I’ve got no time to write anything tonight. However, as luck would have it, some guy I’ve never heard of sent me this, so enjoy:

I go back to the good (or is that bad!?) old days, standing on the North Bank with my uncle as a 9 year old in the mid ’70s. My first game saw Supermac bag a hat-trick (I think against Bristol City, but no longer have the programme!) Arsenal winning 4-1 (I think, memory going now!) [v West Brom in his second season, I think] and going home with that dreamy innocent feeling you get as a kid watching football. Far more simple back then. I wonder what this generation of kids are feeling watching this Arsenal team?

Firstly, I don’t pander to Arsene Wenger’s comments or anyone else for that matter, my love for Arsenal is absolute, I know how I feel and it’s real. As fans, we get emotional (thank God) and sometimes we speak crap and other times we sort of get it spot on. I think, at the moment, most of what I read is spot on.

I guess what I feel at the moment is anger and not hatred as I admire what Arsene has achieved (up to and including the work in moving grounds, etc). However it’s mixed with a huge slice of frustration as his (and equally Arsenal’s) reputation seems to get tarnished by the day! I find myself fearing his media interviews after a bad result, my stomach tightening with some of his rhetoric which borders on being embarrassing and downright stupid at times. Saturday’s comment to journalists is a case in point. It’s just too much! Get a grip man!

Saturday’s result was a shock although I bet most of us had a feeling it might happen given the lack of team strengthening during the summer. Yeah, we started well with a good goal from Giroud who incidentally I think is a decent player, the Ox looked sharp (curtailed potentially with a bad knee injury now though!) and things looked good. I will not bore through the rest of the game as I’m sure you’re all sick of it as much as I am, but the blame is laid fairly and squarely at the feet of Mr W.

I get all the ‘don’t spend for the sake of it’ comments that Arsene loves to use. Following the stadium move I had sympathy for the first three years in trying to see the club through tough financial circumstances and clearly, with restrictions placed on what he could spend. However we fast forward to now and I’m afraid my sympathy is all but gone. The club has sailed delicately through the economic downturn and stadium debt to the sunny side of debt re-structuring and vastly improved commercial deals. Yet, given the transfer funds available, absolutely no transfers! (Yaya, nothing against you mate but you know what I mean!)

This is inexcusable given the team is crying out to be strengthened. Highlighted on Saturday by the performance we saw and the lack of cutting edge again and again. How many times are we really going to work the ball to the edge of the box only to recycle it out again and start all over? Has the manager put in place a ‘no shoot’ policy with fear of being beheaded should they have the temerity to actually shoot from 25, 30 yards? Short of exploding, I end up laughing (actually, that’s a lie, I get quite angry!).

It appears now that our style of football is so one dimensional, other teams know what’s coming before kick off. As such, we need to have the creative magic for 90 minutes for this style to work and as we saw yesterday, when it’s not there, we’re in trouble.

Understandably then ‘Spend some ****ing money’ rang out around the ground, which begs the question, why haven’t we? What has actually been going on this summer within the club other than talk? When the money isn’t there, fair enough but when it is . . . !

The cold reality is, we have an average team. Let’s not delude ourselves anymore, this team, in it’s current make up will struggle this year for trophies and battle again for 4th spot. Obviously capable of playing some great football at times and putting together runs when needed, but this league is tough and barring a couple, all teams are capable of playing some really good football.

As such, go out and buy better players and strengthen your team. We all would, right? So why does our manager refuse to the point of being forced into the last two week ‘panic attack’ transfer window when he’s almost up the creek without a paddle?

If he really wanted Rooney, then just offer the money and force him and the Mancs to make a decision and do it early in the window. Same with Suarez, although given his ban lasting into October this pursuit was always questionable in my view. Obviously, we can all name players that could come in and improve the squad, and especially the core areas, goalkeeper, DM, creative midfielder and top drawer striker. I know transfer fees and wages are stupid but football is almost ‘other wordly’ in its escapism, but what is reality though is the pain and suffering watching your team go from being invincible to average in a stupidly short space of time!

The invincible side should have heralded a golden age for Arsenal with a dynasty that goes down in history, sparking off the sort of success the Mancs have enjoyed over the last 20 years. That was within touching distance and to have it so close and then for things to go wrong is so hard to take. I know the stadium is great and we’ve come really close at times since the move but the last few years has just got worse.

The problem with success is that more is expected. For me personally, the title triumph at Anfield was something I never thought I’d see as an Arsenal fan but George Graham laid the foundation in my lifetime and Arsene Wenger moved it on to bigger and better things. Sometimes a club is fortunate and players come through the system, other times investment is needed to bring in the players needed. Right now, the investment is needed and we have the means to invest heavily.

We have two weeks, Gooners, two weeks to play wait and see. Frustrated in the knowledge that we have to rely on one man to pull his finger out! Problem is, I don’t have much confidence in the manager bringing in the players we need at this late stage. I have no doubt he will do business (especially after Saturday’s result) but are we about to see four or five players in the mould of the clearout witnessed this summer? I hope not.

It seems we have more questions than answers and for too long we’ve been promised quality with varying results. Enough is enough. I hope the manager has a rabbit up his sleeve that he’s been working on all summer which has remained protracted for whatever reason, or he simply goes into overdrive with a ‘shit or bust’ attitude and gets the quality we need. Let’s face it, we’re all angry but some real world class quality added to this side changes everything but what we don’t need is more of the same. I remain hopeful….just!

Strap yourselves in boys’n’girls, we’re in for a hell of a two weeks!

Lee Fortt.

FYI, some other guy sent a list of all the matches we’ve lost at the new stadium, if you care:

arsenal losses at home since stadium moveThis picture of Sylvie van der Vaart doing Bale’s heart thing, I found by myself:

s11Seriously, it’s even annoying when she does it.


11 thoughts on “Random Thoughts After Arsenal v Villa

  1. Excellent post Lee, no histrionics or waffle. Pity the people who are responsible for this debacle will not face up to their responsibilities. The Arsenal version of Marcel Marceau has to go , There are more than enough clowns at the club as it is

  2. Been going since 1970 and everything you said is spot on. How can Wenger and the board ever have let this happen i truely think there is no way back its going to get worst before it gets better.

    by the way supermac made his debut home to Bristol city a
    august 1976 , we lost one nil

  3. boycott the bloody games if you don’t this crap will go on for ever hes finished . all the times you go to the games nothing will ever happen you have to do something drastic BOYCOTT

    • Exactly as expressed by Lee Fortt, Noel. If Arsene fails to deliver on his promises, if he fails to sign the several ‘exceptional’ and quality players desperately required to make Arsenal genuine challengers for major trophies, then he is no longer fit for purpose and should resign. A view I have consistently held (and expressed) since last Dec/Jan when we were assured by both him and the Great Gatz that money would be available this summer. BUT that does not necessarily guarantee that matters will improve, or improve enough. That will depend on the Owner, the enigmatic Mr Kroenke. Firstly, because he gets to choose AW’s successor, secondly because he dictates the treansfer/wage budget and, thirdly and above all, because Owners set the ‘tone’ (for want of a better word) of a Big CLub. And the tone of AFC has always been Custodianship safeguarded by Mult–ownership. My belief is that the demand ‘We want our Arsenal back’ means just that and until it happens, the Club will continue to decline. However, there is hope: Gazidis description of his boss as ‘an owner who never sells up and never takes money out’ is pretty much a description of ‘Custodianship’ – and, who knows, Usmanov might be offered a seat on BoD.

      • You’ve hit the nail on the head englandsbest.. Money will not guarantee improvement, nor indeed will it buy us the best players. An Arsenal fan said somewhere today that the worst time to buy a fence was just after a storm and by God is he right. Every club in the galaxy knows that we’re desperate and will milk every last penny they can out of us. We can expect to pay big money for players we would never have considered a few weeks ago. My fear now is the dross we got rid of will be replaced with a new batch. The whole thing is a shambles but we have to keep the faith and support the team.They are not to blame for managerial incompetence.

  4. Weird that we did not lose a match during the 07/08 season at the ‘New Stadium’, which was the last time we challenged for the PL title. Who is the survivor from that season that is still playing this season, anyone?

  5. I checked that out loose cannon ( goes to show how quick one forgets ! ) and was surprised to learn that no fewer than six of the current squad were involved in the 07/08 season. Fabianski made 3 starts, Sagna made 29, Rosicky 15 Theo made 11 while Diaby appeared 9 times. I did’nt realize that there were that many survivors still with us from way back then ! Oh yes Kieran Gibbs was on the panel but did’nt figure in any of the games.

    • Just watched an interview with AW on Sky Andy. He looked like a bloke under pressure but was as defiant as ever. In essence he told everyone that he had Arsenals best interests at heart and that every one, including the fans had to understand that. He said that he did’nt have to explain his transfer policies to anybody and that despite criticism his transfer dealings had delivered CL football for the last sixteen years. I hope your tally of defeats is not grossly underestimated ‘cos our manager seems to be in an other world while the rest of us are here !

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