The Buck Stops With Wenger
By Robert Exley
The club would in fact survive the ‘catastrophe’ of a change of manager
Rather like the Arsenal, the BBC is a once-cherished British institution that seems to have endured a torrid time of late. Despite this, it seems to have come up with a great piece of televisual genius of late which you would certainly never have seen emanate from Sky, ITV or even Channel 4, who once did try their hand at such programming but now prefer faux- reality documentaries about people who live in caravans in order to chase easy advertising revenue.
BBC 4’s ‘Why Poverty?’ series has provided great food for thought in a way that D-List celebrities munching bugs in the depth of the Australian jungle never could. It was here that I was introduced to the works of Ayn Rand – a long-dead novelist who’s not particularly well known over here but is apparently quite influential these days with the Tea-Party following in the USA, which is probably some indication of her intellectual prowess - in particular, her 1957 novel ‘Atlas Shrugged’, a metaphor for the Greek mythical titan who holds up the world on his shoulders and the catastrophe that would occur should he one day cease doing so.
The story centres on the formation of a break-away society formed in the mountains by the super-rich of America and lead by a man called John Galt as a refuge from a society whose government they believe taxes, regulates and interferes too much in their business. The refuge is named ‘Galt’s Gulch’ and is sensationally presented to us as a stark warning of what would happen if the financial elite one day went all Bob Crowe on us and withdrew their labour. ‘Atlas shrugged’, however, is a rather ridiculous notion, as it begs the question of who exactly, in a society made up entirely of the super-rich one-per-cent completely cutting themselves off from the rest of us, are the ones who would be cleaning the toilets, sweeping the streets or emptying the dustbins?
You get the impression that Galt’s Gulch would be a society of the super-rich wading in its filth within a week and that this is most probably the reason why Ayn Rand’s prophecy of doom will never materialise in reality. In the words of Nobel-prize winning economist Paul Krugman, “there are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old's life - The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally-stunted, socially-crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs”.
Rather worryingly, however, the chief executive of BB&T, one of the largest banks in the US - John A. Allison - is quoted in the New York Times as stating that “I know from talking to a lot of Fortune 500 CEOs that ‘Atlas Shrugged’ has had a significant effect on their business decisions”. Enough of the American super-rich have also managed to club together sufficient finance to bring the story to the big screen as a trilogy, a project which they claim has been suppressed by that great bulwark of anti-capitalism – Hollywood – for over 50 years. ‘Atlas Shrugged’, therefore, can be seen as positive proof of not just how deluded and egotistical people can become once they reach the top of the tree in their chosen field, or that there will always be professional sycophants like Ayn Rand that will give legitimacy to their delusions of grandeur, but also that there will be significant numbers of people at the bottom of the chain who will literally believe the scaremongering tone of such sentiments.
In Arsenal-Land we have our very own ‘Atlas Shrugged’ tale, and the working title of this saga is clearly ‘Wenger Left’. Now, I’ve never been one from the ‘Arsène is a Fraud’ school of thinking. I’ve even admonished such articles on the Online Gooner before for perpetrating such nonsense. I’m fully aware of what attributes Wenger once brought to the table. There is no doubt, however, that a myth has grown up around Wenger and the Wenger years that seems to imply that Arsenal FC is literally ‘Arsène FC’ and that Wenger is Atlas holding up the Arsenal World, which will come crashing down should the man one day shrug his shoulders. The morning after our 4-0 capitulation in the San Siro, I was sitting in a Café in Bromley and opposite me had been a group of young blokes in their early twenties talking about the match the night before. One of the group, who probably hadn’t even started primary school when Wenger came to Arsenal in 1996, opined that Arsenal fans had a lack of gratitude towards Wenger as Arsenal had been a mid-table side when he arrived at Arsenal.
Now, I’m not usually one for butting in on the conversations of complete strangers, but, having supported Arsenal for 28 years, it took a lot of restraint not to grab the young one by the scruff of the neck and politely point out that the only two mid-table finishes during my years of supporting the club were actually counter-balanced by Cup-runs of some repute. This mythical era of mid-table mediocrity for the Arsenal that preceded Wenger’s arrival are about as accurate as Wayne Rooney’s years as a teenage heart-throb prior to his hair receding. It is understandable, however, how this young kid had come to repeat this false view of history, since much of the mainstream media in the UK has trotted this line out ad nauseam for many a year now.
At the zenith of the Wenger years, just before Patrick Vieira was about to be handed the Premiership title at Highbury in 2004, as Arsenal had become unbeaten champions, in order to convey the progress made under Wenger, Martin Tyler had stated that 16 months prior to his taking charge Arsenal had finished twenty two points beneath qualification for Europe. However, Tyler neglected to mention that, just four months prior to Wenger’s appointment, Arsenal had actually qualified for the then-reputable UEFA Cup, finishing in a reasonable fifth place in what had been a season of transition. Not to mention also that when Wenger actually took over in September 1996 Arsenal were, if I rightly recall, top of the table after a run of good results under Pat Rice’s short reign as Caretaker Manager.
The 1995/96 season can be viewed in its entirety here. New signing David Platt, then England captain and fresh from playing with and against some of the world’s best players in Serie A, clearly states on arrival that ‘I want to win honours in the English game and I don’t think there is any better place to do that than here at Highbury’. Our other major signing that summer was Dennis Bergkamp. Therefore, the ability to sign top European talent obviously pre-dated Wenger and, though they were not at any point seriously challenging for honours that season, the basket-case that Arsenal seem to have been portrayed as in the mid-1990s through sloppy folk-myth is clearly a gross exaggeration. At face value, there is also no real identifiable dearth of quality between that team in 1995/96 and the Arsenal sides for most seasons since 2005.
There was, however, a managerial vacuum. Whenever Bruce Rioch speaks throughout the video, it’s difficult to take him seriously as a managerial figure, so one only wonders what seasoned old pros like Tony Adams, Ian Wright and Lee Dixon must have made of him at the time, especially as Rioch’s only other experiences in the top flight at Middlesbrough and Millwall had ended in relegation. This is where Wenger filled the gap; as with his previous experience with old pros such as Hoddle, Klinsmann and Scifo at Monaco, he was able to deal effectively with the old guard, who in turn socialised the up-and-coming young signings he unearthed in the following years such as Vieira, Ljungberg and Henry in the Arsenal way.
There’s no doubt that Arsenal gave Wenger the platform to implement his ideas - very innovative and, for a long time, very successful they were too. However, having only won one French League and one French Cup during his time with Monaco, as well as plying his trade in the footballing backwater of the Japanese League in 1996, there is no doubt which one of the two of us was doing the footballing equivalent of, in the words of the Human League, working as a waitress in a cocktail bar back in 1996. Many do compare Arsenal’s sticking with Wenger to what Forest did with Clough until 1993, but you can’t compare the two – Forest were stuck in Division Two and going nowhere in 1975, where Clough had won the title with provincial minnows Derby just three years earlier. It’s quite natural that many would have seen Clough as bigger than Forest. Our board, on the other hand, have no excuses whatsoever in treating Wenger as bigger than Arsenal, regardless of what the Invincibles achieved.
Even taking his managerial achievements into account, it’s still astonishing to think of how Wenger has been allowed to develop such a superman-complex by the Arsenal board, even to the extent where he was allowed to interview Ivan Gazidis for the position of his own boss. The only explanation is probably that with the board being so predominantly Old Etonian and Wenger being the scholarly type, they accord him more kudos as he is not your usual, average proletarian footballer-type. However, Wenger’s Economics degree doesn’t necessarily make him the Iron Chancellor any more than my own Law degree makes me the Lord Chancellor.
Returning back to the Tea Party theme again, it’s interesting how they and others on the right wing of the political spectrum seem to cloak their ideas in buzzwords such as ‘freedom’ and ‘democracy’, as if to make their contentious viewpoint unchallengeable to right-thinking individuals. Similarly, the doctrine of ‘Wengerism’ likes to trot out such incontestable slogans such as ‘sustainability’ and ‘fiscal prudence’. Wenger may well be known in the Football word for his aversion to risk in the transfer market, but in overpaying unproven talent he has saddled the club with liabilities such as Nicklas Bendtner and Denilson who are earning so much under their existing contracts that no-one is willing to match their wages to take them off Arsenal’s hands. This goes some way to explaining how Arsenal’s wage bill exceeds Tottenham’s by £40 million per annum, despite there only being a one point difference between us and them last season in the Premiership table.
Recent results also raise questions over whether money alone is the issue. I may be alone in thinking that the squad itself doesn’t look too bad on the face of it – it certainly isn’t the tenth-best/worst squad in the premiership. The back-five has been much maligned and yet at least four-fifths of it I wouldn’t necessarily sell or replace. The main problem is that, regardless of the personnel, once the side actually gets onto the pitch it turns into an incoherent mess that seems to be unable to communicate with each other. Wenger also seems to have dogmatically adhered to a 4-5-1 formation for too many years now, even though it’s highly questionable whether this is getting the best out of the players that we’ve got. There are certain players who you wonder why he is playing them in the fashion that he does. There is no point in selling your microwave oven because it doesn’t make a very good portable television, and only an extremely deluded individual who’s lost the plot would even try to use it for that purpose in the first place. Not utilising what assets we actually have at present clearly makes the issues of boardroom struggles and access to funds irrelevant.
It’s true that much of the reporting surrounding Steve Bould in recent weeks, like most other rumours that emanate from the Football world, need to be taken with a pinch of salt. However, unlike an Ayn Rand novel, these stories seem to be very believable. We did at one point this season have the best defence in the Premiership; the fact that it has gone to pot gives credibility to the stories of a rift between Wenger and Bould on how the side should operate. Part of good management is knowing when to delegate. Wenger’s superman-complex quite clearly seems to be getting in the way of this very important trait. Unlike Pat Rice, Bouldy has his whole coaching career ahead of him and clearly doesn’t want his reputation to be tainted by being associated with possibly the worst-performing Arsenal side for nearly two decades.
If there is any truth in the rumour that Bould ranted at the players after the Swansea match, it may well be the equivalent of kicking the dog in order to avoid an argument with your boss. There is no point in taking your frustrations out on others because an argument with the main man might well cost you your job. You can blame the players, you can blame the board, you can blame the oligarchs at other clubs for throwing money around like there’s no tomorrow, but ultimately the reason why, after 15 games, Arsenal are sitting as lowly as tenth place lies with only one man. The buck stops with Wenger.
*Follow me on Twitter@robert_exley
24th December 2012
User Comment 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.
Mohd 9:57am 24th Dec 2012
Yes the buck stops with Wenger.The football landscape has changed since he started buying wc kids. Now money is king.FFP may or may not level the playing field. A manager must stay innovative to stay relevant. Things that had worked in the last match may or may not work out in the next match. I believe this is Wenger's fatal flaw. He wants to play fancy to win rather than play ugly to win.Hopefully in the Wigan game there are signs of change . If not the gunners will struggle to reach the rpomised land of cl soccer and the Fm will have to go. As we all know no player or even manager is indispensable. You will only be if you can win all the time. Red faced will have to quit sooner or later. He can't be winning 90% of the time. - Post No. 32711
richard morgan 10:15am 24th Dec 2012
A very good piece of writing on the whole. I have supported arsenal since 1978 and like you rememeber some dips in form. However, i have one bone to pick on with you and its the bould rift allegation and the fact you state we had the best defence but now and that must somehow point to bould having less influence. I use facts her to support my stance currently chelsea have conceded 1 goal less than us city two goals less than us and stoke 5 goals less than us every other team has conceded more united 6 more. now that says defensively we are still pretty solid and just an extra point in the past few seasons the team with the best defensive record in the league has finished second or third not top. My second point is that last season we finished december with a 1-0 win against qpr that clean sheet gave us 7 clean sheets for the first part of the season. To date we have 7 clean sheets and had the west ham game gone ahead two chances to improve upon that tally now we just have newcastle game. If bould is not being allowed to take sessions to work on defence then how is it that defensively overall we are in a better position than we have for a while. Individual mistakes have cost us goals this season Tv against united mannone against chelsea Sagna against everton and gibbs against reading just to point out a few. what more galling is utd won 2-1 and had those two tv gifts not been taken gratefully by rvp we would have walked away 1-0 winners because for all their efforts utd did not score another goal. I do believe wenger has some flaws his biggest is not being able to use a plan B the reading capital one cup game was desparation not a new game plan. His indescivisness in the transfer market and his wanting to buy player who can play two or three positions rather than specialist players can be a hinderance to the squad. On the whole though I see no reason for a change in manager just yet and he still has been the most successful in a long time. i don't think he blames abromovich or city's sheikhs but he does rightly point out we can't offer ther type of transfer fees and wages these clubs can thats a fact its no blame to those teams butit is that way. The one remaining fact is that after transfers in and out Arsenal sit in 18th place in table since 2004 yet in that period we have continually been in the top four won trophies been to finals and semi finals and been in the cl competition regularly not even chelsea, city and utd have always got into last 16 yet wenger has on a lesser budget. I agree that he has to shoulder the responsibility for results and players not performing buteven so his tenure at this club should not end just yet. When does his time come to an end is the question but that is never an easy one and is best left for another time. - Post No. 32712
Where's Wally is a Gooner 10:21am 24th Dec 2012
The distance between insanity and genius is measured only by success.QED. - Post No. 32713
Goonger 10:44am 24th Dec 2012
Robert that was hard work..But true..The 5 word sentence at the end sums it up..Was at Wigan on Saturday,riding our luck more than winning ugly,I would say. - Post No. 32714
Chris 10:54am 24th Dec 2012
"ultimately the reason why, after 15 games, Arsenal are sitting as lowly as tenth place lies with only one man. The buck stops with Wenger". Hear hear - just as the credit for them sitting 4th after 18 games also sits with Wenger. Now, enough of this short-termist reactionary nonsense. Don't start on the boring "7 years" mantra, just chill out and have a happy christmas. - Post No. 32716
Ronster 11:17am 24th Dec 2012
View 'Arsenal loses Bradford - Hitler version' on Youtube! - Post No. 32717
Alsace Lorraine De Totteridge 11:37am 24th Dec 2012
Bearing in mind that this is the season of goodwill, a Merry Christmas to all. Especially Mr Wenger who will be suffering from food poisoning on boxing day having decided to cook the turkey in the tumble dryer, the stuffing in the toaster, and the roast potatoes in the microwave. - Post No. 32718
tpm 11:51am 24th Dec 2012
is that irrelevant then chris?! - Post No. 32719
WeAreBuildingATeamToDominate 11:54am 24th Dec 2012
Richard Morgan 10.15am: Yes, it's true that we cannot compete with the petro $$$'s - first example being Shaun Wright-Phillips in 2004 (£11m deal then Chelsea step in and offer £21m etc). However, OGL cannot be defended for the poor purchases or extended contracts of the last 2-3 seasons......Gervinho, Chamakh, Denilson, Squillaci, Bendtner...need I go on? Don't forget, that there are lies, damned lies, and statistics. In football, the only statistic that matters is the PWDL column - Post No. 32720
chris dee 12:11pm 24th Dec 2012
Robert Exley. It's football me old mucker we don't need a dissertation that is as long and boring as the Gettyburg Address. You had us at 'The buck stops with Wenger' - Post No. 32721
augie 12:21pm 24th Dec 2012
Chris the "7 years" mantra might be boring to you now but at what stage will it cease to be boring ? If a new manager came took over in the morning would you give him 7 years of no progress and still support him ?Fans like you leave me bemused - it seems that winning a few trophies in the first 6 years entitles a manager to a lifetime of mismanagement, failure and excuses. Believe it or not a manager can get stale in a job and wenger is at the point a long time now and as an intelligent man he should be able to see the need for change in our club - Post No. 32723
Big Andy 13:02pm 24th Dec 2012
Excellent article. The simple question to ask about Wenger is this: can we do better than him? The answer is, of course, yes. Wenger is a fraud. Finishing fourth on a wage budget of 143 million pounds is not a great achievement. The real achievement would be producing a championship-challenging side with that kind of spend. And it IS possible. Granted, Chelsea, City and United will probably always have more money than us, but a smarter boss than Wenger could give them a run for their money. SPENDING THE WAGE BILL EFFICIENTLY IS THE KEY TO PRODUCING A TOP-QUALITY SIDE. Wenger is useless at this. Huge chunks of the wage bill wasted on garbage like Park, Bendtner, Arshavin, Almunia and Fabianski have meant that money was not available to pay the wages of the top-notch performers who could possibly win us the title. And Wenger's intransigence when it came to paying the stars what they were worth has meant that we either lost or didn't sign the big names. At the same time he was happy to hand out lucrative contracts to second-rate garbage. We don't have a future with Wenger. Morinho will be available soon. - Post No. 32724
maguiresbridge gooner 13:06pm 24th Dec 2012
Enjoyed the read Robert,especially the piece on how egotistical people can become when they reach the top of their chosen field,and there will always be professional sycophants that will give legitimacy to their delusions of grandeur,and also that there will be a significant number of people at the bottom of the chain who believe the scaremongering.Thanks for pointing out that arsenal weren't formed in 1996 like most of us already know but a lot still don't.The buck stops with wenger alright but again scaremongers would have us believe that Kroenke,Ivan,Hillwood,the board picks the players, the team,tactics,gives team talks,makes substitutions,etc,etc, - Post No. 32725
Steve 1962er 13:30pm 24th Dec 2012
Robert writes extremely engaging articles about Arsenal, but it would be so good to read them without his usual left wing political views taking up a third of his comments. His views on Arsenal are usually quite valid, but his politics belong to the Guardian/New Statesman and that is where they should be left. Please just stick to the football Robert, it would make it so much more relevant on a football blog. - Post No. 32726
Moscow Gooner 13:49pm 24th Dec 2012
The political sub text here is really strained - Wenger is surely a man of the Left not the Right?! - but cutting that away the main (footballing) points are valid: AW inherited a strong side and came to Arsenal at a point where we had enjoyed ten years of reasonable success (two championships, the FA Cup, ECWC etc) and whatever the economic arguments over our ability to compete, the team for much of this season has performed at a level below the sum of its individual parts. 4th position flatters the actual performances on the pitch to date. - Post No. 32727
Jack 15:47pm 24th Dec 2012
I agree with some of this article,particularly the piece about us not being a mid-table team before Wenger arrived.Arsenal have'nt consistently been a mid-table side since the twenties.What I cannot see and agree on is the point in bringing in a younger manager as I have always believed that the most wise of men are between 50 and 80. Younger men are more impulsive and make rash decisions and are always looking for change. The Wenger out people seem to be mainly teenagers and those in their twenties with only a spattering of grumbling old farts who in the main are those who love a moan about anything.Wenger over the next five years will be able to compete on a level playing field with the money dopers Chelsea City and Man U and I believe If Wenger is given an even hand along side the above mentioned his genius will shine through as it has in the past and even the stubborn Wenger Out turtle doves will have to admit they were so wrong to doubt this prince of the beautiful game. - Post No. 32729
Robert Exley 16:55pm 24th Dec 2012
Yes Chris, 7 years really is short term isn't it? I really don't know why Wenger decided to play Aaron Ramsey, Nic Bendtner and most probably at some point Lukas Fabinski on the wing, but then again I've never worked a day in Football. I've never been a chef either, so next time I'm in a restaurant and I've been charged for caviar and got served dog **** instead I won't complain on those same grounds - Post No. 32731
Robert Exley 17:57pm 24th Dec 2012
Jack - at what point have I mentioned about bringing in a younger manager? Have you actually read the article? - Post No. 32732
CanadaGooner 18:43pm 24th Dec 2012
sooner or later we will have to faceup to a change in manager; whether it's next year or when wenger is 85 and wants to retire. the only question is: will we win another trophy before that change? (any sane person on here already knows what that answer is). - Post No. 32734
Robert Exley 21:06pm 24th Dec 2012
Chris Dee, Steve1962er and Moscow Gooner - it's just an analogy. You either get it or you don't. Maguiresbridge Gooner got it, you seem not to have - nevermind! I'll live with that - Post No. 32736
Ronnie Rook 21:19pm 24th Dec 2012
I'm too old and life's too short to waste time reading prolix arKticled such as this; nevertheless I got its gist from the headline and many of the comments were interesting, if a bit OTT. I would like to make two points. First, many of the contributors to these columns need a reality check, especially those who say they 'want their Arsenal back', because this is situation is more typical of Arsenal than whatNN happened between 1986 and 2005. in the fifty-six seasons since Arsenal have been a major part of my life we have had thirteen trophy winning seasons. The ten earned between 1987 and 2005 are exceptional in my experience. I would also add that throughout my time, the Board have been characterised by their hands off approach. They only got involved when they had no choice; this Board are no different in that respect. My second point is quite simply that I do not - as some do in these pages - equate supporting the Gunners with a financial transaction. As a pensioner value for money is important to me when purchasing things. However, Arsenal are not a thing to me and the concept of value for money has never entered our relationship, which is emotional in nature. I could have changed my wife, my children, my job, my country and even my life but I could never change my football team. I understand the angst generated by the team's poor performances this season and last and I agree that Arsene Wenger seems to be past his best; nevertheless I am proud that I have never yet booed the players. - Post No. 32737
Robert Exley 23:53pm 24th Dec 2012
Ronnie Rooke - I think it's you that needs a reality check. It's all well and good accepting second rate football when you're paying two bob to watch as you would have been between 1946 and 1986. In 2012 we're paying £45 to watch second rate Football. Either we vocally complain or we do what 'consumers' do in other industries which is **** off and spend our money elsewhere. What do you suggest is the more constructive option of the two? - Post No. 32738
Alsace Lorraine de Totteridge 9:49am 25th Dec 2012
Ronnie Rooke. There have as you rightly say, been long periods of underachievement. However, from the Day Herbert Chapman took over, right through George Allison, Tom Whittaker, and up to the days of Bertram Mee and George Graham, it was absolutely aximoatic that Arsenal must have a strong defence. One of the reasons that our performance in the sixties is so despised is because of our inability to keep a clean sheet. - Post No. 32739
oe S. 12:41pm 25th Dec 2012
Jack! The christmas good will ends with you. Arsenal are such a boring team now and this group of players is not going to win anything. Due to mismanagement the present balance between youth and experience, skilled ball players and hardmen will never be right unless there is a massive squad overhaul. I really can't believe what a pompous head in the sand arse licker of a Wegnerite you are.I'm sure you actually believe this team is in with a chance against Bayern Munich, who are the epitomy of how a football club should be run. - Post No. 32740
Underacheiver 23:53pm 25th Dec 2012
Wenger “this prince of the beautiful game ". Clown Prince more like it, being beaten by relegation fodder Birmingham in a cup final, giving away a 4 goal lead, hammered by the mancs 8-2. They are just a few highlights of the comedy routines he has presented on a football pitch. In the second half of his career he has given plenty of larfs to supporters of other clubs, but huge embarrassment to Arsenal FC supporters. - Post No. 32742
Peter Wain 6:28am 26th Dec 2012
samse old same old. The manager bulds up speculation about new players and when the window is about to open says we will only buy a special player. Like Giroud like Gervinho like Santos like Chamak. This is because we have a strong squad. It is difficult to beleive that Wenger really believes that. We have no back up striker to Giroud who is very slow and ordinary we need a quality centre half and left back. We need a defensive mid filed player and above all we need more pace in the side so that we can speed up the attack. - Post No. 32743
Graham Gooch 23:35pm 26th Dec 2012
Good article, Robert. The buck does indeed stop with Wenger. Did you lot see his post match press conference after Swansea loss? It had to be seen to be believed. His crap about having been a manager for 30 years and therefore knowing better than everyone else was laughable. Can you imagine Alex Ferguson persisting with the likes of Gervinho and Ramsey? I hate Man U but Ferguson is a great manager. He's rebuilt his team over and again. He identifies quality players and pays what it takes to get them. Wenger hesitates then loses his targets. Our best players leave because they tire of Wenger's promises. Players generally do not leave successful teams. Who wants to end their career with half a dozen top four finishes? Arsenal's best players leave BECAUSE of Wenger! What really bugs me is the "In Arsene we trust" brigade... how many years of failure does it take? Nothing will change at Arsenal till Wenger goes. - Post No. 32753
Ronnie Rook 9:28am 27th Dec 2012
Robert: calm down old chap before you do yourself a mischief. If you really do see yourself as an Arsenal 'consumer' rather than a ' supporter', I think you seriously consider taking the second of your options; it would be best for all concerned. On a different point, I quite agree with Alsace de Totteridge that Arsenal's success since the thirties was founded on a good defence, which we no longer possess. I think the big difference between then an now is that Wenger has a vision about how he thinks football should be played whereas Chapman et al had a vision of where he wanted Arsenal - the football club that is - to be. It is clear even to this myopic Gunner that Wengers vision is an optical illusion. Whilst I personally do not regard our results in the sixties as despicable, I take your point, which I think is a fair one. - Post No. 32756
Robert Exley 12:37pm 27th Dec 2012
Ronnie Rooke - If you couldn't understand why the word consumer was put in brackets in the first place, there isn't much point in conversing with you because self-evidently a lot is going to go over your head - Post No. 32759
JJB 13:00pm 27th Dec 2012
A very convoluted piece. I think the mark of a good blogger on this site is the firstly to be concise and secondly to possess the ability for him or her to put a piece online and accept both the positive and negative comments that they are looking to illicit in the first place. I’m afraid Robert that looking at your endless response to those who dare disagree with you, you don’t seem to be able to handle criticism which sadly reveals quite an immature mind. It’s a shame, as you make some good points, but you are far too self-indulgent and you enjoy your own writing a bit too much. Learn to chill out mate! I applaud you for taking the time to write this, and it’s not bad but you need to knock that chip of your shoulder old boy before committing to your next piece, which by the way should be a lot shorter as this one should have been....I await your no doubt aggressive retort! - Post No. 32760
Robert Exley 14:06pm 27th Dec 2012
JJB - if you have difficulty with reading a 2000 word piece there are other contributors on this site that will serve your need. My articles are what they are, you either like them or you don't. If you don't like them, read someone else's on the Gooner. It really is that simple. You don't change Panorama because some people don't like the fact that it's not like Eastenders and likewise I won't be writing down anytime soon. P.S. - I welcome criticism, however I equally have a right to respond to any criticism that's put my way also. - Post No. 32763
GoonerGoal! 19:36pm 27th Dec 2012
Come on people, how else would you expect a man with a law degree to write but in volumes of words? By the way, I'm sure the "7 years" mantra will only cease to be boring to Chris when it is replaced by the "8 years" mantra... VIVE LA REVOLUTION! - Post No. 32766
Stroud Green Road Boy 1:54am 28th Dec 2012
I just want to give support to this piece. A thinker and a Gooner. Something to cherish, not berate. To his critics, come up with your equivalent. - Post No. 32770
Bob da bilda 11:18am 28th Dec 2012
Robert me ol' china, it's a shame that this blog has become a rather sterile discussion on you literary skills instead of on the substance of your argument; but you only have yourself to blame for that. If you'll forgive me for saying so, the use of 2000 words to state what is in fact 'bleeding obvious' was a mistake. Not only that, but your response to criticism (some of which I felt was unjustified) has has oftimes lacked wisdom. In fact, you come across to me as petulant, dogmatic and intransigent - very reminiscent, iin fact, of some of AW's interviews. I mention thes few points in the spirit of helpfulness because I'm sure you are not really like that. - Post No. 32771
JJB 22:25pm 29th Dec 2012
Thank you for illustrating my point so well Robert, as I knew you would. The narccisist in you couldn't help yourself. By the way if you need to write 2000 words in a blog about football, where half that amount would have sufficed then may I suggest you invest that literary urges in another direction - Post No. 32783
Robert Exley 13:14pm 30th Dec 2012
JJB - The web is worldwide and no-one is forcing you to read anything. If you really don't like what I write then go and read something else. - Post No. 32804
David Danskin 13:26pm 30th Dec 2012
JJB - you seem to have spent a lot of time this week reading and making comments on an article you don't like. I take it someone has had a very lonely Christmas this year! - Post No. 32807
Limerick Astley 14:07pm 30th Dec 2012
JJB - with all due respect, articles need to be elaborate, otherwise if it was a case of simplifying things and then reading a load of simplified comments, this section would be indistinguishable from the forum. As the author has pointed out, no-one is forcing you to read his article. There also seems to be as many comments from those who like it than those who don't. If you know so much about what makes a good blog why don't you write your own instead of trolling on someone else's? - Post No. 32809
11th June 2013
Online Ed: Just give us a couple of years, says Ivan Gazidis at annual q&a