Sympathy for the Devil

By Simon Lloyd

Arsene Wenger deserves better

The start of this season is now officially the worst since Arsène Wenger took over. The team looks fragile and lacking in ideas on the pitch, while the silence from the owner off it is becoming deafening. Protest marches are taking place, and the team is being booed of the pitch. The target of all this anger is the manager, but is he really the only one to blame, or are there several factors that have combined to bring us to where we are now?

To my mind, the seeds of our current predicament were sown when David Dein left the club in 2007. Before his departure, the club had enjoyed a brilliant ten years, with three league titles, two of which were doubles, and the Invincibles season in 2004, culminating with the Champions League final and the move to the new stadium. Since he left, we have had nothing but frustration, disappointment and fan unrest. David Dein was the man who fought for the appointment of the then unknown Arsène Wenger as manager in 1996, and the pair quickly formed a working relationship that was the backbone of all things Arsenal. Dein ran the business side, including transfer fees and contracts, leaving Wenger free to run the team and identify the transfer targets. For a while, it was a match made in footballing heaven, with almost everything they touched turning to silverware.

Furthermore, they both appeared to share the same goal, which was to make Arsenal the model of how to run a self-sustaining football club. Their dream was to create a football club that would be run as a business, and not a rich man's plaything. Central to this thinking was the need to move to a massive, purpose-built, state-of-the-art stadium and maximise the revenue-earning potential from it. The plans for this highly ambitious venture took many years, and numerous setbacks, to bring to fruition, and construction finally started in 2004 with the stadium opening in 2006. Both of them knew, and were at pains to point out, that the funding of the stadium would lead to a significant reduction in the funds available for transfers, whilst the stadium was completed. The key to making the stadium plans possible was continued success on the pitch. Without it, the sponsors would drift away, and - worse still - the stadium would not be full to watch a struggling team. This in turn would reduce the income that was needed to service the stadium debts, leaving even less money for team-building. Incredibly, the team did remain competitive, and the ground has, by and large, remained full since the move.

The fact that the stadium was built, and the team remained competitive, was primarily down to two men with the same goal, working together, and concentrating on what they did best. I am in no doubt that their roles had a certain amount of overlapping, but their combined vision, and skill-sets, drove the club forward in a unified manner. It is a tragedy for the club that Dein left in such acrimonious circumstances less than a year after the stadium was opened. Whether you agreed with his vision or not, it is safe to say that everyone knew in which direction the club was heading when he was around. Since he left, we have had rival takeovers bids, and stagnation on and off the pitch, as the club sails a rudderless course, with a silent captain, through the footballing high seas.

The lack of clarity over the club’s direction from current owner, Stan Kroenke, is causing damage in ways that could take years to correct. It may well be that what he is doing will turn out to be the best thing that has ever happened to the club. But if the fans do not invest in Stan's ideas, it will become much more difficult for those ideas to be successful. And if we don't know what those plans are, we can never decide if we want to back them or not. Let's not forget that David Dein was ousted over his alleged backing of the Kroenke bid to buy the club in the first place. He then switched his allegiance to the Usmanov camp when it became clear the board did not want to deal with the American. The board then went and sold the club to Kroenke anyway. Dein knew that a new owner was the only way forward, and the board, fearful of what it meant for them, disposed of him. Had Kroenke taken over with Dein by his side, instead of Ivan Gazidis, I feel sure we would see a very different Arsenal today.

Under the Dein/Wenger regime, the club had strong unified leadership and direction. Success on and off the pitch was almost a given. Now only one half of this partnership remains, and he is receiving all the blame for our current predicament. It seems to me that Wenger is still trying to follow the path he set out on with David Dein in 1996, whereas the current owner has a different idea about the club’s direction. Unfortunately for the club, there can be only one winner in this battle, and it is always the man with the money. Since he took over, he has allowed Wenger to pursue his vision on the pitch, whilst not backing him financially off it. All the best players have been sold for massive profit, and none of it has been put back into the team. This, according to many, is Wenger's fault, as he refuses to spend the money supposedly available to him.

Yet if you look at his transfer dealing before the stadium move, he was never afraid to spend large sums if the right player was available. And in most case they were astute buys. Now he trades in the poundshop of premiership transfers, spending only the money that has been raised by previous sales. He knows the players he wants, but I don't believe Stan will release the finances to acquire them. Many of the recent buys are not of the standard required by a club like Arsenal, and if he does find a good one we all know he will be sold for a massive profit as soon as someone dangles a large enough cheque under the club’s nose. Under Stan and Ivan's regime, every player is a commodity, and will be sold as such when someone matches the club’s price. Instead of being a football club that is run as a business, we are becoming a business that runs a football club.

This was not the style of Wenger when Dein was in charge. Wenger was a man who used to build teams in the knowledge he would be backed by the board. How many players from 1998 to 2005 can you name that were not good enough for the club, but hung around anyway until their contract was up? I keep reading blogs about the likes of Bendtner, and many others, who are still at the club on massive wages whilst contributing little to the team. This apparently is all the manager’s fault, yet where were these players in the golden years? I am struggling to think of any, although I'm sure a few of you can name the odd one or two.

I accept that he signed all of them, but look at the flops that other clubs have signed. Man Utd for instance with Eric Djemba Djemba and Massimo Taibi to name two from the past, and more recently Bebe. Today the critical difference between our flops and United's flops, is that they cut their losses and ship them out for a fraction of what it cost to bring them to the club. We used to be able to do the same, but now a player has to be sold for the club’s valuation or he stays regardless of whether he is any good or not. The best we can hope for is to send him on loan, to the club who are prepared to pay the biggest percentage of his wages. Players like Bendtner should have left the club for whatever we could get for them, and, if there were no bids, offered on a free transfer. When Dein was in charge, the financial loss would have been accepted as part and parcel of running a football club, and an expensive replacement would have been signed to fill the gap. Managers like Wenger and Ferguson do not usually make the same mistake twice, and the replacement is often a success. Under the current regime, Wenger cannot correct his mistakes, because unless he sells them for a good price, there is no money available for a replacement. So they hang around like a giant millstone, not good enough to sell and too expensive to give away.

The make-up of the team has suffered because of it, and everyone can see that there are too many players in the first-team squad that are simply not good enough. Wenger knows this; he also knows that he signed them and it is his problem to deal with. At the moment, nothing he tries seems to be working, and the seemingly endless injury list usually robs us of an influential player just when we need him most. For years now, we have all expected a spending spree every time the transfer window opens, and every time we end up spending the same amount, or less than, what we bring in. A modern football club cannot compete at the highest echelons with such a transfer policy. You may get the odd good season, but ultimately it is a policy that will turn you into a mid-table team. That is where we appear to be heading this season, and unless there is a major change of direction regarding transfer funds, mid-table is where we will be for some time to come. We may scrape into the Champions League or sneak a cup here and there, but the league will almost certainly be beyond us until investment in the team matches our expectations.

Finally, I hear a lot about the bargain basement signings that are sensations for their current teams. Why can't Wenger find them, is the basis of the argument? Michu of Swansea, bought for £2 million, is the current buy of the season, and the subject of the predictable “why didn't we sign him” shouts. The problem with these overnight sensations is that they rarely produce the same form for two seasons in a row. Last season, all the talk was about Pavel Pogrebnyak at Fulham. What has he done this season at Reading? The only way to all but guarantee top-quality performances year after year is to buy a proven player for big money. This is how Europe's top teams maintain their domination. They may also develop their own talent, but year on year the Barcelonas, Man Utds and Real Madrids all spend big on new talent while retaining the players they already have. Until Arsenal do the same, we will never be able to properly compete with Europe's top clubs. Money talks. Petrodollars talk the loudest, and they will make a mockery of the much-heralded financial fair play rules that the club are supposedly relying on to level the playing field.

If anyone believes that Arsène Wenger's successor will suddenly transform the club into one of Europe's elite, with the current transfer policy still in place, they are extremely optimistic. I accept that he has made mistakes, and I also find some of his playing decisions strange, to say the least. But for him to bear the brunt of the fans anger alone is extremely unfair. Silent Stan is equally, if not more, responsible for the current malaise. He should either back Wenger with a large, no-strings-attached, transfer pot, or put him out of his misery. Wenger deserves better than the abuse he is receiving. He is probably the best manager the club has ever had, and without him I believe the club would have been in its current state many years ago. For that alone, he deserves more time to turn the club around, but to do so he will need a transfer pot to match.

15th December 2012 09:00:00


Comments and Reaction

User comments on this article are now closed. If you want to continue the debate, why not do so on the Gooner Forum.

Paul  8:14am 15th Dec 2012

My friend when Fergie makes a mistake he usually rectifies it very quickly and bombs bad players out Wenger doesnt.Flappy Santos Squillaci Ramsey Diaby Denilson Bendtner Chamakh and Gervinho are still Arsenal players.Wenger is 4 years passed his sell by date.No more excuses please - Post No. 32360

Mark Rice  8:33am 15th Dec 2012

Very well put .... However I thought Stuart Robson summed it up when he pointed out that Wenger is not coaching from the side lines and giving the players any instructions and when your supposed to be a top manager on £7,500,000 a year is pretty basic stuff. - Post No. 32361

Gooner1711  8:36am 15th Dec 2012

Oh my lord, how much more time will you give him? He controls the club from top to bottom. Only one solution. - Post No. 32362

mark from aylesbury  8:43am 15th Dec 2012

So if Wenger is being constrained by the board he should say so, refuse to sign the 7.5 million contracts and do something quite old fashioned and resign on principle. But he's not going to do that is he?.Reason being he has more power than any other manager in world football. He even picks his own boss! It's been mentioned time and again but the amount of slack Wenger got was amazing. Horrible though it might sound I am actually quite enjoying these journalistic post mortems he is having to endure. Serves him right. He is being called to account at last. - Post No. 32363

Dan h  9:40am 15th Dec 2012

I have no sympathy for him because when you have total control over any business refuse to listen to others & won't delegate when things go wrong there is only one person to blame.The players he has signed recently lets be brutally honest far more have flopped than flourished.Gambles on players like Park with £5.5m written off insane signing.We come on to scouting which lots of people have questioned but have missed the most important facet of.AW will look for a player in a certain position & im sorry to use this example.We were looking for a wide player last year scouting reports were sent in on Gervinho (Mr.Grimandi).Mata was scouted very extensively all season & at the time had a release clause (Mr.Rowley head scout headhunted by Abramovich very respected)the staff pushed for Mata.AW went for the cheaper option percieved value & please don't say we couldn't afford him after selling Nasri & Fabregas we had a deal in place & the release clause expired!Even in todays crazy prices Mata was obviously the value what seems expensive can often work out cheaper in the end.AW still wants to pay the same prices he was paying in 1999 & early 2000's for the likes of Henry & Wiltord petrodollars one thing but our own resources sit there unused with imo the weakest squad in 20+ years. - Post No. 32367

Stroud Green Road Boy  9:45am 15th Dec 2012

You make some good points, and whether Wenger is refusing to spend the money available or having money withheld we cannot be sure (though how strange for Wenger to put up with this if it is the latter - and how very poor many of the buys he does make these days are). However, there are many on field issues that are nothing to do with money: the poor, pre-planned substitutions, the lack of organisation, positional discipline, motivation, no plan B, square pegs in round holes etc etc... most fans know all of this by now. This is why many now believe another manager could get more out of this squad even as it is now. So yes, I'd love to see a change of owner but the manager needs to go regardless for the reasons cited, ideally resigning with his head held high, whilst he still can make such a dignified exit. - Post No. 32368

chris dee  9:45am 15th Dec 2012

Transfer pots,David Dein ,transfer policies etc all relevant to our situation. But,Simon Lloyd,high work rate,physical courage,mental strength,concentration,will to win,determination,a refusal to buckle under pressure and a semblance of defensive organisation are all qualities that don't cost a dicky bird. The result at Bradford had nothing to do with a huge transfer pot but everything to do with character. And the reason for the fans anger and rage this week? Because we have seen too many games over too many seasons lost for the same reasons,and that we also blew a massive chance of going Wembley for the same bloody faults we have endured season after season in important games. - Post No. 32369

Moscow Gooner  9:46am 15th Dec 2012

To be honest I don t think AW does bear the brunt of the fans anger: SK and the players themselves (plus the likes of Peter HW) all take their fair share. But even if the board was lavish in its financial support of the team there would still be three major issues to address: AW s lack of tactical guile - always apparent but to some extent covered up in the past by the sheer quality of the playing staff; his inability to raise the team any more - all managers finally lose the dressing room, it s partly just a matter of becoming stale, staying too long in the job; and his (recent) poor judgment in selecting transfer targets. And one additional element which loses him sympathy is his inability to give an honest answer to the media and to the fans: either he is lying when he talks about the strength of character of the current team or he is in a state of terminal self delusion. Either way, very sad. Time to move on - with at least some of his reputation intact. - Post No. 32370

Dave  9:53am 15th Dec 2012

You must remember when Dein was in charge there was no Chelsea Man city money around.We only ever had to finish above utd to win the league and if you look at the records they were a lot better at it than us! Be real Geezer - Post No. 32371

Mike  9:57am 15th Dec 2012

I don't know what all the fuss is about the 7,5 million a year fee Wenger takes - RVP earns 12 million a year and all hes has to do is kick a ball around. He doesn't have to worry about Stadiums, contracts, financial decisions, scouting, coaching, medical facilities, sponsership deals, training graounds, backroom staff -all this hype about what the manager earns when players earn twice as much as him is misplaced - there is a lot more pressure on the manager than the player - Post No. 32372

pive  10:07am 15th Dec 2012

spot on refreshing, thankyou for this, all the people with a brain know its not wengers fault, its the boards - Post No. 32373

NBN  10:33am 15th Dec 2012

First paragraph - 'the target of ALL this anger is the manager' - completely inaccurate, stopped reading there. - Post No. 32374

BringBackDene  10:33am 15th Dec 2012

What's the excuse for Bradford City then...??? Even pound shop players should be beating that lot. - Post No. 32375

Fozzy's mate  10:34am 15th Dec 2012

While I agree with some of your points it cannot be denied that OGL is a spent force. If the club is to move on as the financial positions gets even stronger with new commercial deals it will be wasted on a manager who in my opinion enjoys his get out of jail free card (I don't spend). His bossed are sickening and supine but something has got to change or we will continue to drift towards mid table mediocrity. In reality it has been over since the collapse at the end of 2007/8 following the clichy "he's behind you moment" at Birmingham. Since then he has failed to pick the players up after defeat. This actually dates back to Rooneys dive in late 2004 when the end of the unbeaten run was allowed to derail our season. Then v PSV in 2007 he began his obsession with playing players out of poistion by employing Gilberto at centre back and Toure right back to accomodate Denilson in midfield. Then in 2009 he said Almunia was the best keeper in the premiership and Denilson the best midfield player. Eyebrows were raised but at that stage the club propaganda and to be fair the credit in the bank extinguished criticism quite fairly. That period also saw the start of the slow breakdown with the fans due to arrogant responses at the Agm to polite questions such as why did we sign Silvestre the manure cast off. This arrogance and his pronouncements of after 30 years who can tell him anything etc and refusal to accept any criticism have led us to today. Its a shame but nothing lasts forever. The board must order him to spend the funds at his disposal or go. - Post No. 32376

Gare Kekeke  10:47am 15th Dec 2012

Some valid points made in this article so most definitely a worthy read. You’re right about Dein wanting to bring in an ‘outsider’ to invest in the club but the board were dead against it. Remember Hill-Wood’s comment about the prospect of Kronke coming to the club; “we don’t need his sort”. Too many board members were protecting their own positions and interests and not putting the club first. Wenger has done a lot of great things for us and deserves credit but criticism towards him should be constructive and is justified in my view as he’s repeating the same mistakes annually. That’s what makes this current situation frustrating. Personally, I blame both him and the board for our current demise. It takes more than shed loads of spending for us to be successful again. Great team spirit, a winning mentality and a never-say-die attitude are qualities that cannot be bought. They are ingrained. I’ve got no time for John Terry but he’s got winner written across his forehead. Vermaelen, as good as he is (though he‘s been poor this year) doesn’t. You cannot win on being more skilful and technical alone. It’s almost as if Wenger doesn’t realise this. Tactically, he seems to be short too. Of course Wenger can correct things like these but it will depend if he wants to. I highly doubt it but we shall see. Up The Arsenal! - Post No. 32377

jamie hunter  10:51am 15th Dec 2012

Really well written article, a very good read, but I'm afraid I don't agree with its principles. Noone doubts that his hands at some stages gave been tied financially. But to the comment above that anyone with a brain knows its the boards fault: now, I dispise the board, but le clough has made a catalogue of bad decisions, players played out of position, the likes of gervinho and chamakh allowed to end the careers of arshavin and bendtner, the inability to instill anything like mental strength into the team, the failiure to get champion calibre teams (2008 and 2010) over the line, the inability to stop whinging on and on about things that go wrong, thus putting the team in a negative mindset, persevering with constantly injured players, making brain numbingly bad subsitutions on a regular basis, dragging the good name of arsenal down with bad sportsmanship and dreadful, excuse filled press conferences and interviews, gervinho again, etc etc. How are the board to blame for that? - Post No. 32378

Dispelling the myth  10:54am 15th Dec 2012

Wenger made a net transfer profit in 3 of his first 5 years at the club, and never made a loss of more than £10m. And Dein wanted us to move to Wembley, not Ashburton Grove. Please get your facts right, and stop blaming the board for Wenger's continued and increasing errors of judgement. - Post No. 32379

Spectrum  11:21am 15th Dec 2012

This article is mostly excuse making.You mention the Dein / Wenger partnership and how we flourished under it. They worked well together, sure. But you overestimate his ( Dein's ) influence. Why then, is Wenger not able to cope on his own after Dein has left ? If he's ( still ) such a great manager, why has he consistently failed ON THE PITCH, in addition to off it ? Dein doesn't train with or motivate the players. Dein doesn't choose (? ) tactics, or make substitutions, Dein doesn't pick who plays e.t.c. - Wenger does. And for seven to eight seasons, NOT JUST THIS ONE* ( *as you seem to have a very short memory ) he has proven FOR WHATEVER REASON, that he can't turn things around.No doubt about it, the board and Kroenke are partly to blame ( especially to keep tolerating and indulging Wenger all this time )but WENGER is the manager, and the responsibility ALWAYS falls on the manager. That principle applies at ANY football club. But not so at Arsenal ( so far ). That is a disgrace.He's had his time. And for you and the A.K.B.'s to keep defending him based purely on what he did before 2005, is predictable and an attempt to divert criticism from the source of our problems. Because his record since 2005 is appalling.I have no sympathy for the man. I used to, but it's obvious to any clear thinking person that he's lost his way, and is damaging our club and himself, by refusing to accept reality in the process.Start putting the CLUB ahead of the individual. Any individual. No-one is bigger than the club.To those who insist he is, you need to rethink your priorities, and ask yourselves where your loyalty lies. " In Arsene we rust." ( how much more evidence do you need ? ) - Post No. 32380

Mandy Dodd  11:30am 15th Dec 2012

I would not underestimate the role Deins bitter son plays in our current woes, but do not take my word on that, just listen to alex Fynns pod casts. For whatever reason, there is an environment whereby they say money is available, but wenger does not feel secure in spending it, or deals fall through at the last minute. I am afraid we have the least ambitious owner in football.....and do not take my word on this, just listen to lady nina brace well. No manager can fight against such a tide in the long term. - Post No. 32381

Eddie D  11:32am 15th Dec 2012

Having been born into an Arsenal mad Family where I can trace our support back to the days in Woolwich I think it is time for the fans to make it clear to the board of the discontent on the terraces. I suggest that we have 'Wave something Black' on a match day. just as the game starts we should all wave something black with furry and demand changes to the board i.e. the return of Dien and place on the board for Usmanov. - Post No. 32382

Highbury Boy  11:41am 15th Dec 2012

An ok argument abut transfer pots but it's got nothing to do with results this month against Swansea,Olympiacos and Bradford;all clubs with hardly a transfer pot to pee in compaed to us. Based upon Wenger's recent use of cash for transfers for transfer fees AND long term wages (I noted that he pulled up a reporter yesterday commenting that Chamakh was a " free") I would not trust him with the alleged £70m kitty. Much better to give it to a new fresh ambitious tactical manager who will bring in his own team and finally cut loose the players Wenger just cannot let go who he always had faith in. We all know who they are. - Post No. 32383

graham yates  11:44am 15th Dec 2012

As good as your piece is Si, I am afraid you are deluded to think that Wenger is being hung out by the board in not providing money. He is in league with the board, in fact he is a shareholder with the board, thats the fact. Having said that I would not put my faith in Wenger buying anyone good with whatever money he takes from his £7.75m pa salary. For that amount of money we could almost approach any manager in or out of work and they would join us. Klopp, Stojkovic to name but two. One thing I do agree with though is that there is along way back for Arsenal and it may take more than a couple of managers post Wenger to get back in the trophies again. However even someone as good as Wenger around, for the last 7 years there is no guarantee of that anyway. But can we at least try something & somebody new? - Post No. 32384

Jack Kelsey  12:43pm 15th Dec 2012

Whilst I don't think Arsene Wenger is entirely to blame for Arsenals demise as a major force on English football, he is culpable for our failures on the pitch. The teams pathetic performances and lack of grit are tyhe direct result of Arsene's management style. Stewart Robson may well have an axe to grind and he may have exaggerated the rift between the Manager and Uncle Bouldy but what he says is essentially right. The management/coaching team is clearly not working properly, and that's down to Arsene. Neither am I impressed with Arsene's reaction to this situation; he comes across as petulant and a bad loser. With that sort of example from their leader, is it any surprise that the team are doing so badly? The club needs to show more backbone from the top down: so do some of the fans. I find the vitriol directed at Arsene and to each other by those who think 'Arsene knows best' and those for whom he can do nothing right completely unacceptable - a plague upon both your houses! Arsene Wenger does deserve better than that. Like the AST, I think big changes and improvements are necessary if the club is to restore its former glory but that Arsene Wenger deserves the chance to put things right - starting now.f - Post No. 32385

Alsace Lorraine De Totteridge  13:11pm 15th Dec 2012

I wish people would stop comparing Wenger with Brian Clough. Brian Clough was a sick man when he took Forest down. He raised a second division club to be European Champions and Champions of England, when every other club including ours were wetting themselves if Liverpool came to play. Arsene Wenger is not fit to lick Brian Clough's boots as a strategist, tactician or as a disciplinarian. Footballers need to be given direction. They need to understand the plan. If Arsene Wenger is your boss, after half a season you no longer understand where to find the lavatory any more, let alone the goal. Brian Clough would make even this team into something to be feared. - Post No. 32386

Apropos of nothing  13:23pm 15th Dec 2012

Watch Arsenal 7-0 Everton from 2005 on youtube. The players on the pitch we had! It makes for baffling viewing when you take a step back and consider where we are now since we left Highbury. Henry, Bergkamp, van Persie, Fabregas, Pires, Campbell, etc. Is the real Arsene Wenger gagged and tied to a chair in the vaults of the East Stand? - Post No. 32387

sad  13:38pm 15th Dec 2012

RVP too was shocked when Wenger Replaced the Ox with another player when he was playing really well....although i don't know who the payer was...but it was shocking!!! That changed was made by the manager!!! The fans are angry with the manager because of the decisions made by the manager alone where there had been no logic to it...like replacing Coquelin in the Bradford game ad i think he was or best player before Wilshire even staying to come alive. Coquelin hithe post first..then he got replaced!!! - Post No. 32388

Apropos of nothing  13:45pm 15th Dec 2012

The fact that I forgot to include Patrick Vieira highlights how strong our team/squad was. (Did I spot Arteta in the Everton side?)Figuring out why we have slidden since then hurts my head. - Post No. 32389

Big Andy  13:52pm 15th Dec 2012

Good article. I totally agree with you about Kroenke - unless the American wants to invest serious money in the club then I want him out. But you are wrong in not blaming Wenger too. He is finished as a top-level manager and should have been sacked two years ago. I honestly believe that if Dein was still here he would have told his friend Wenger that his time was up. The problem at the club is the dismal failure of management at all senior levels. - Post No. 32390

AvenellRd  14:40pm 15th Dec 2012

No, he does not. - Post No. 32391

CanadaGooner  17:09pm 15th Dec 2012

None of the above provides a good enough EXCUSE for arsenal losing to a league 2 club in a competition that represented our ONLY chance of winning a trophy. Also, the whole 'Dein' story-line is something that was tenable 5 years ago after 2 trophyless seasons, not 7 years on, with what will be our 8th trophyless season! Managers come and go, so do players, chairmen etc (it's happened at Chelsea, Utd and Man City; even Liverpool with their awful football have been winning the odd trophy here and there as they carried on changing managers). There is NO EXCUSE for where we are at right now. - Post No. 32393

600NER PETE  17:20pm 15th Dec 2012

For anyone who has had enough of all this nonsense there is an online petition you can sign. If you sign it, it may take you to a paypal site for a donation but I just ignored this and closed the page. It seems genuine so I've signed it. - Post No. 32394

Yanto  17:55pm 15th Dec 2012

It is Arsene Wenger who painted himself (And US!!!!) into this corner. He should have made a new appointment when DD was thrown out by the board. Instead he has taken over all the roles and duties that they once shared, it has proven too much for him. Also, when the board were saying there was money available (and apparently there wasn't) he should have had the guts and honesty to come out and say so, instead of being quiet and adding to the confusion and grey areas, that WE as Gooners have had to put up with. "Thank-You Arsene For All The Good Times, BUT It IS Time To go!", sad but true. - Post No. 32395

Rocky RIP  19:01pm 15th Dec 2012

@Canada Gooner - I love the way we are already out of the FA Cup before we've even kicked a ball in the competition. People are already saying it's another trophyless season. I agree the League Cup was our best chance, but our only? Really? Have we sunk THAT low? (Don't answer that one, or I'll put my head in the oven.)I know we're a pessimistic set of fans, but this takes the biscuit. Check the bookies odds. We're not rank outsiders, are we? Is it beyond the wit of man for us to win it again? (Please don't shoot me down with how bad things have got, as I know all the details.) - Post No. 32396

Ando  19:39pm 15th Dec 2012

7 mil plus does not represent good value whatever way you look at it.As others have said, if he was an honerable man he would fall on his sword and tell it how it is. Instead he chooses to take the cash. He is as mecenary as most of the foreign legion he has employed. - Post No. 32397

Greg71  19:41pm 15th Dec 2012

If this was posted in 2009 i could find alot more common ground,but we all know time has moved on but the same issues not ony remain but have become even more soul detroying ! Why would we trust the boss to spend big money when it would only serve to prove him wrong and he never is (in his world anyway) ie why chase Huntelaar having bought Giroud and still keeping the non playing/scoring centre forwards or wingers with no history of playing in the league for more than five minutes although Downing is availible in jan ! Clear the decks of the rubbish and prove that the vaunted academy has some player worthy of project youth. There are no excuses left, its time for the white hankies, boxing day against west ham could just be that day - Post No. 32398

Gooner age  20:00pm 15th Dec 2012

This whole argument is very lazy and blown out of all proportion by the media. The main reason We're not winning is because ................ We can't defend!! Bit boring and there's no boardroom gossip to talk about or players to link us with but if you watch us you might notice that the opposition find it a lot easier to score than we do. What would be the point of paying massive money for a couple of centre halves when wenger's lack of tactics make internationals like vermalen and per look crap. We weren't the only team to find success winning one nil, all the best teams can. It means you can usually win when your playing poorly and it gives forwards confidence that their goals will make a difference. Instead we're letting in pathetic goals which means the whole team is low in confidence and playing worse and worse. I don't think a new manager would instantly enable us to head back to the top of the league but I would hope anyone with a basic training qualification could set us up properly to make us hard to beat and help us win some cups. Yes we're a cup team at the moment, but hey the scouse won 2 European cups like that with worse players than we've got at the moment. There's a lot of talk that the people who want wenger out are glory hunters, but I think the opposite could also be argued. The trophies he brought us are buying him time that his teams performances don't deserve. No one who loves football can enjoy watching us play at the moment gerv's miss, another soft set piece goal, dropped heads before penalties were even taken and our best player throwing himself to the floor. Not my arsenal!! - Post No. 32399

CanadaGooner  20:40pm 15th Dec 2012

@RockyRIP; mate, ruling arsenal out of the FA Cup isnt being pessimistic, it's being realistic. Everyone thought Chelsea were the only club that could stop us winning the Capital One Cup, but after the shambolic display at Reading (who should have knocked us out) I was quite certain any of the remaining teams (including Bradford) could knock us out. If that isnt bad, what is? Tottenham havent won the FA cup in ages and Skybet gives them a better chance of winning it (lower odds) than arsenal (and who can blame them for that?). As fans we need to be more realistic, so that something gets done at the club. I supported Wenger through thick and thin and over those 7 trophyless seasons I always kept faith, but a combination of the silly excuses he comes up with and the fact that unlike Fergie, he continues to say he has a strong team (when he clearly hasnt), enough is enough. If we even get to the semi-finals of the FA Cup, I will let you know when I'm back in London and I will buy you as many pints as you want at 'The Junction' or the London Met Bar (arsenal bar). This isnt a matter of being pessimistic, it's being realistic: we are no longer a force in any tournament (any of the teams; even the lower league ones, now see arsenal as a chance to progress). We will be humiliated in the FA Cup too, and champions league is a MAX of quarter-final. Wenger MUST leave at the end of the season and we can begin rebuilding - Post No. 32400

exiled & dangerous  23:15pm 15th Dec 2012

Canada Gooner (I'm supposed to put "@" in front of that, apparently, but hey-ho.....) why wait? If Wenger has to go, why wait until the end of the season? Get a new guy in now, just before the transfer window, give the new guy the funds for new signings, write the rest of the season off and let him use that particular eight month window until the new season in August to build a committed squad of players to mount a title challenge next season. Forget Europe next year, give us a squad that can fight for 38 domestic matches. Cups are a bonus and always have been, nice when we win them, but a consolation if we've finished way down the table. Oh, and get rid of all the deadwood along the way...... - Post No. 32401

Rocky RIP  23:52pm 15th Dec 2012

@CanadaGooner - I agree we need to be realistic and manage our expectations properly. Hence I won't be rushing out to bet on us winning the FA Cup. However, to state unequivocally that we have already gone out in humiliation in December is taking the whole defeatist argument too far. The FA Cup is rich in footballing anomalies. Strange things happen like Portsmouth winning it in 2008, Cardiff and Stoke both made recent finals, etc. Arsenal, who have made 17 FA Cup finals in total (5 under Wenger), making the semis and me availing myself of free ale at your expense would be far, far less of a shock. Would you throw in a free curry if Gervinho scores a tap in from 2 feet to send us to Wembley? Actually, don't bother with the last bit. - Post No. 32402

Ali  5:59am 16th Dec 2012

Wenger may not be responsible for all problems in the club but surely he is a big part of the problem. - Post No. 32403

clockendpaul  10:11am 16th Dec 2012

Poor old arsen, nothing to do with him - Post No. 32404

clockendpaul  10:49am 16th Dec 2012

Denilson in brazil, almunia at watford, bendtner well who knows where he is at the moment, all part of wengers greatest ever squad a couple of years ago. Now we have gervinio, ramsey and co to look forward to over the next few years until the likes of wrexham make their move. - Post No. 32405

Arsene is a Fraudster  11:33am 16th Dec 2012

Oh look, Arsene isn't to blame. It's all someone else's fault yadda yadda. The non existent tactics, the team's lack of motivation, the incessant whining whenever we lose, the excuses for players poor performances, the continuation of playing utter garbage such as Gervinho as well as playing players out of position is all because of the board. When will you apologists wake up, it's embarrassing. - Post No. 32406

GoonerDave  13:14pm 16th Dec 2012

Rumour has it Hernandez wants to quit Man Utd,any chance someone could let Wenger know,as it seems for a man who spends all he's time time in football he does,nt know everything,despite what the arrogant fool thinks!!!!! - Post No. 32407

Peter Wain  13:47pm 16th Dec 2012

The problems began when we started shipping out world class players and buying donkeys. The idea that you have to include the total cost of the players contract into the transfer budget is ludicrous. If you sign a player for five years you have five years reveneue to cover his wage costs to include this in the transfer budget but not associated revenue is nonsensical and only leads to buying inferior players and playing them more than they are worth. When they play to their maximum ability and show they are not worth a place in the first team they have to stay becuase they cannot get the amount of money we are paying them. This leads us to have the fourth highest wage bill but the weakest squad since the sixties. It also leads to us having more players out on loan who we do not want but cannot sell. We should buy top quality players and pay them top dollar. We should only pay mediocre players such as Gervinho a low basic wage with incentives if they improve. In Gervinho case it impossible to see how he can improve.as in fact he is worst this season than last. The same applies ot Chamak. In this transfer window I hope we do not buy anybody but save our money for the summer when we should make early top quality buys. Sadly I expect us to buy 2 or 3 players in Janaury. I just hope they will not be as bad as Wengers recent buys so that when a new manager is appointed in the summer he will not have all of the deadwood to deal with before he can get a decent squad together. - Post No. 32408

maguiresbridge gooner  15:49pm 16th Dec 2012

Dein was missed alright, a football man not someone who knows more about throwing oversize acorns or playing rounders.We're on a rudderless course now alright and have been for a while and it will certainly take years to correct.The mistakes wenger has made over the years both on and off the pitch have never been corrected just excuses made,unlike fergie, thats why there's been booing and abuse.It doesn't take much to right the mistakes either like the defending, the tactics,playing players in their proper positions,getting the best out of said players,coaching,letting his assistant do his job. Tuesday night and all the others that's not kroenke's and the regimes fault.I'm sure his successor would have no problem correcting all the above. - Post No. 32410

up4grabs  16:44pm 16th Dec 2012

Boring... And Wenger's Arsenal is boring. Had enough, don't care if the next manager isn't The Messaiah, this one's got to go. - Post No. 32411

Brigham  17:27pm 16th Dec 2012

Wenger is finished. He is stale, lacks any sort of motivational apsirations and has bascially lost the plot. I will always be very appreciative of what he has done for our club, but there comes a time when the end is nigh and that time is NOW! I don't care who comes in other than someone with fresh ideas and who knows how to motivate a group of players who are obviously lacking in self-confidence. Otheres on here have hightlighted his (Wenger)deficiences, so no need to go over them again, but enough is enough. - Post No. 32412

Inspector Clueless  19:12pm 16th Dec 2012

Hungry, focused, serious, highly motivated, tactically astute, learning, pushing. i take my hat off to Daniel Levy for outing Rednapp and bringing in AVB. it was a brave move but its put them above Arsenal this season for absolute certain - Post No. 32413

jeff wright  19:57pm 16th Dec 2012

It was Wenger that introduced the current wage structure into the club,not Stan. Wenger has a similar wage bill to Ferguson , but unlike him he appears to have an aversion to signing stars,or keeping players that become stars by paying them the going rate . Instead he prefers to reward players big wages that are above what they deserve,apparently he believes that this policy instils squad harmony! Wenger's lack of tactical nous was the reason why he failed to beat Bradford,a side that cost £7,500 - and not a lack of money. All the teams currently above us in the league, apart from City and Chelsea , have a lesser wage bill than we do . United who are clear at the top have a similar one to ours. Ferguson managed to pay RVP the wages that he wanted,the lesser players have to settle for less and earn the right to demand more. - Post No. 32414

tfSmudge  20:14pm 16th Dec 2012

Top article Simon. I must agree some of Wenger's decisions have been strange of late but the goalposts were widened when Dein was sacked by Hill-Wood – 4th suddenly became acceptible and without Dein to sign the right players Chelski & Co could gazump us all they liked. I'll go further and say that most of the Dein period, say 87-07 was arguably our most consistently successful since the 30s. I remember Rocky scoring at the Lane in '87, that night we went up a level and didn't come down again Dein was sacked. I still believe if the board were to sack Wenger they'll be getting off lightly and we'll still be left with the same happy for 4th place (or 5th ?!?) Kranky / Gazidis combo. Yes Dein started all this off by introducing Kranky. But he then saw sense and introduced Usmanov. What we shouldn't underestimate is Dein's ultimate vision to compete with the likes of Chelski and Man Sh*ty etc which unfortunately for us he never got round to implementing. Our crusty Old Etonian board didn't like it. Kroenke / Gazidis / Hill-Wood – it's time to get real at board level... If Dein hadn't been sacked, Arsenal would have been playing in the club world cup final, not that two bob 2nd division club Chelski... Never mind the bollox. - Post No. 32415

CanadaGooner  23:00pm 16th Dec 2012

@Inspector Clueless: AVB has nothing to do with Spurs being ahead of Arsenal mate! Redknapp was able to achieve that several times as well (its how the season ends that counts; and I can gurantee you Spurs will not finish the season ahead of arsenal). The reality is that with 17 games played (16 for aresnal), we are almost 20 points behind the lead, and Spurs are not much closer to the lead either. So, AVB's addition to Spurs and the removal of Redknapp is nothing to celebrate nor admire. Let's focus on our own club: ARSENAL. We need to regroup and rebuild; but looking at Spurs is definitely not the way to go (until they actually finish a season ahead of us and are able to do it a frequently as we have dominated them in the past) - Post No. 32417

What was the point in leaving Highbury?  7:24am 17th Dec 2012

The board haven't been silent. They have said for ages that dopey has money to spend. Answer me this, who's fault is poor organisation, poor attitudes and heart, poor signings, poor use of a huge wage budget, not having a proper goal keeper for years, only having one decent CF at the club for years, no plan b, stubbornness that ends up making problems worse. I could go but I await your answer? - Post No. 32418

George Grahams love child  8:29am 17th Dec 2012

People seem to forget that it was the Greed of both Dein and Fizman that has landed us in Mediocre-ville Colarado . They cultivated the 2 Investor bidding war type of approach to bolster their profits after relieving the Duffer Hillwood of most of his shares for a pittance. Wenger with his large salary and refusal to criticise the board is complicit in our season by season drain of talent. This coupled with with his Alsatian stubbornness,refusing to adapt to the modern game or learning from the same errors in defensive mistakes that are a Hallmark of post 2006 Arsenal mean for me that he truly is part of the problem and I now feel he will never be part of a solution ! It is also abudantly clear he has no motivational powers with the molly coddled overpaid prima donas that pass as our first team squad. His tenure should be revoked at the end of the season and not before however feel that any money we have in the Kitty should be left for the next manager . - Post No. 32419

Ron  11:14am 17th Dec 2012

Mandy - Bracewell Smith was quite happy to take Kroenkes cash and she was the least passionate director of Arsenal there ever was! She should shut her mouth as she s a big hypocrite, whos never slow to make mischief. Fact is she was recognised as a useless director who knew nothing about the game hence why she was so unpopularn with Fitzman and Co at the time. - Post No. 32427

jack  13:15pm 17th Dec 2012

you make some good points and Dein I think on the whole was very good (and can still be good for arsenal) but you neglect to mention if it was up to dein we'd be playing our home games at Wembley - Post No. 32440

paul  15:35pm 17th Dec 2012

big money buys don't guarantee anything. There is not such a thing as proven player. PSG, Real, City, Chelsea all spend big but are not doing that amazingly well I would say... None of them is top of their league and they struggle to motivate players etc... Spend big. Look at Torres he was supposedly proven player £50M thrown out the window. Carroll £35M same success and now Liverpool and Chelsea can't get rid of them... Balottelli at City is problem after problem. Nasri is afreaid of the ball... Kaka was a superstar before £60M today nobody remembers him... I believe we are on right track and it may seem to be long without trophy but considering that club is over 100 years old its relatively short period... I though agree that we should get rid of some players such as Chamak, Bendtner or Squilaccy... I very much feel sorry for Diaby who is world class but injury cost him his career so far... For Ramsy he's constantly played out of position... he needs to playn in CM with Wheelchair aka Wilshere :) - Post No. 32447

jeff wright  17:15pm 17th Dec 2012

RVP is a big name player and a proven EPL one. Ditching Wenger's crazy wage structure policy , that rewards mediocrity , to pay our former world class striker the going rate in today's game , would have seen us further ahead in the table than what we currently are. It would probably also have helped the three new signings to have bedded in better and got the supporters behind Stan and Wenger. Selling RVP to help show a profit ,and Song,without replacing him, were piss poor decisions. And no amount of rhetoric will change that fact. No ambition means no success and success comes at a price that the current owner and his stooges awe not prepared to pay. End of. - Post No. 32452

Issue #269 - Out Now!

Gooner Editorial

16th February 2018

Frozen North Provides Relief For Arsenal

Rare comfortable away win for Gunners v Ostersunds