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Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Somehow it's still with us, New kit just not Arsenal, Steve Bould promoted?

Terrible on Saturday

Like most Gooners I was convinced we'd blown it after the 3-3 draw on Saturday. It really was an awful performance all round - and I include Robin Van Persie in that as the chances he missed were easier than those he put away. The attitude was once again all wrong. Yossi Benayoun's magnificent opener should have seen the players pressing home their advantage. Instead they took it as their cue to stop playing. Defensively it was as shambolic as any other this season. Had Norwich been capable of taking their chances (and the referee been worthy of his position) we would have been four goals down at half-time, and five shortly after. The Manager has admitted that the players once again had the wrong mind-set going in to the game. How can this be the case time after time? It is his job to make sure that's not the way the players are approaching any game. If he could see they were underestimating the opponents then why did he do nothing about it? Or is it the case that he is no longer capable of motivating the players appropriately?
I've seen the usual criticism of Alex Song after he gave the ball away, leading to the third goal for Norwich. Fair enough, it was absolutely criminal at a time when keeping it simple was all that was required. Lack of "discipline" in this part of his game has long been a problem with Song, but perhaps we shouldn't be so quick to forget the inch-perfect pass that set up Van Persie for Arsenal's second goal.
There are two players that I really want to examine from Saturday. The first is Thomas Vermaelen. I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that Koscielny and Djourou had been taking it in turns to carry him defensively. It seems some more people are now noticing that there are some serious deficiencies in the Belgian's play. I mentioned that Song has lacked a certain "discipline" and the same applies to Vermaelen. We can all enjoy him bombing forward when needs must (Newcastle at home being a great example of the positive side to Vermaelen's game), but when you're pegged back to one-one and struggling to defend already, there is no excuse for being 90 yards out of position when your opponents take the lead. His involvement in Norwich's third has also been overlooked by most. Having seen Song give it away on halfway, surely Vermaelen should have been stepping back in, and covering the ball over the top. Instead of that he was charging forward, presumably trying to play the laziest offside in history, thus allowing Morison through on goal. It is an area that Vermaelen must improve on as his ability to score goals is currently masking the problems in doing what he is really being paid for.
I also want to talk about Wojciech Szczesny. Two of the goals on Saturday, despite the defending, should have been prevented by him. The first goal was one of those things that, had it been Fabianski or Almunia, would have seen the vitriol raining down from the stands. He was also at fault (as well as those already mentioned!) for the third goal. Having started to come towards the ball, he should have kept going. At the very least he would have forced Morison wide, rather than giving him a free shot across goal in to an area he couldn't cover having got his bearings all wrong. His all round game on Saturday was not good. Goalkeepers will make mistakes, and the best keepers are the ones who make the fewest errors. There is no doubt in my mind that Szczesny is going to be World-Class. However, at the moment he seems to have a problem in games that really matter. The Carling Cup Final is a case in point, where he had the mix-up with Koscielny that cost us the trophy. There was also the error in the game at White Hart Lane that cost us that match earlier this season. It is something that David Seaman seemed to suffer with in the early part of his Arsenal/England career. If Szczesny can go on to become as successful as Seaman then we can all look forward to exciting times, but I despise the fact that Almunia would have been crucified, while the Pole gets no criticism whatsoever.
Somehow, after Spurs messed it up on Sunday, third place remains in our hands. Quite how we are still in this position I do not know. It should have been wrapped up two weeks ago, and it should have been taken away from us this weekend. Now that we have been let off the hook yet again there can be no excuses at West Brom on Sunday. There is one game left, against a team that shouldn't live with us. If the players can not gather the necessary motivation to want a win more than the opposition this week they should all hang their heads in shame. The equation is a simple one - win the game and finish third. Is it really too much to ask?

Man Utd's new shirt?

Nike have done it again with yet another disastrous Arsenal shirt. The Club is trying to spin the blue hoop on the sleeve of the shirt as being a throwback to Herbert Chapman's hooped socks. I'm all for such tradition, but surely a hooped sock is better commemorated with another hooped sock? The amount of blue on the shirt is distracting. For me the shirt looks more like something Manchester United would wear. They might have got away with it slightly had the neck been white. There is simply too much blue in the shirt. I don't understand what is so damn complicated with designing a red shirt with white sleeves. Adidas were more than capable of producing different designs on the proper theme, so why can't Nike?
If you think the home shirt is bad then just wait for the away shirt. This year Nike have given us purple (redcurrant) and black hoops to wear. Ivan Gazidis informed the Supporters Forum members on Saturday that yellow and blue are "no longer our away colours" as they "do not appeal to the Worldwide fanbase" (apologies if I am misquoting the odd word). That's right folks, as long as people in Nigeria and Malaysia are happy, then stuff those of us who know the importance of a yellow shirt to Arsenal Football Club. No other club has a traditional change strip that can be considered as iconic as its home colours. And how many of these "Worldwide" supporters actually get their shirts exported from Arsenal via online shopping? Why would you spend £70+ on getting the shirt from Arsenal.com when you can head down to the local Bangkok market and buy the same thing for £1.50? Even better you can just get your cousin to bring one home from the factory where it's been made! Once again the heritage of the Club is sold out to people who know nothing of where we have come from, and what history really means to those that go to Arsenal and support the players in the flesh.

Still got no hair

It seems that Steve Bould is set to replace Pat Rice in the seat next to Arsene Wenger next season. Steve Bould scored the first Arsenal away goal I ever saw live. It came at Sheffield Wednesday in late 1991. Bouldie scored the equaliser with a header, right in front of the travelling support. For the last twenty minutes of the game the Gooners who had sold out the Leppings Lane End sang Steve's song over and over again. It was a fantastic atmosphere, and made my first away game a special one to remember. He was part of the "back four" of course and is an Arsenal legend. However, I fear that those who are hoping Bouldie can drill this defence in to some sort of shape may be disappointed. When Arsenal TV was having its brief run on Sky a couple of years back we enjoyed extended highlights of all youth-team games. With Bould as their coach the youngsters had as much of the headless chicken about their defending as the first-team has. I may be doing him a disservice, and I'm certainly not going to judge Bouldie before we've seen the first-team coached by him for couple of months, but he has yet to demonstrate that he can organise a defence accordingly.
It is also believed that Steve will be joined at first-team level by Neil Banfield, promoted from the Reserves. I have to say I don't like the in-house nature of that. One of the biggest criticisms of the Wenger staff in recent years is that they are "yes men". To promote one of them to work even more closely with him (Bould was as detached as you can be working with the youths, but Banfield was not) is a bad move for me. Neil Banfield seems a really nice bloke, and may be a very fine coach, but does he have the sufficient gravitas to work at that level? Time will tell, but I really wanted to see some more of the old-guard involved.
Tony Adams has been spending much more time at Arsenal recently than he has at any time since his retirement as a player. I think most people would baulk at the idea of Tony being installed as Manager of Arsenal. However, I also think most of us would be more than happy to see him coaching the first-team. He has had success as a number two to Harry Redknapp at Portsmouth. As we've seen from Arsene's comments this week the players have a problem with the motivation aspect of football. I somehow suspect no such problem would exist with Tony Adams charging around the dressing-room before kick-off. In my view Arsenal Football Club needs Mr Arsenal to be involved, and Martin Keown should be brought back too. There is a dream coaching line-up to be had here, if only Wenger would do it. If the new "team" fail to improve matters at the back next season, then we will be in a whole lot of trouble come this time next year. I wish Bould and co well, and I sincerely hope my fears are proved to be unwarranted.


  1. You are a racist.
    We being far off from London can not see games doesn't mean we don't love Arsenal.
    I watch every single game whatever time it is live even if i do not get sleep, I've loved the club for so many years now.
    Really a shame after having you as a fellow gooner.

    1. A racist?
      Make an accusation like that again and I will find out who you are, where you live, and I will sue you in court for everything you own.
      You should be very careful before making libellous statements, whether on the Internet or anywhere.
      Well done for watching every game. Here in the UK, where Arsenal are, we actually have to travel all around our country to see every game - even if we don't get any sleep. People like you get right on my nerves. You are not a "fellow Gooner", and never will be.

    2. Racism is generally understood as either belief that different racial groups are characterized by intrinsic characteristics or abilities and that some such groups are therefore naturally superior to others or as practices that discriminate against members of particular racial groups.
      Furthermore, considering that the author of this blog has a hero called David Rocastle (look him up). I believe your statement to be somewhat crass.
      Our away kit should be yellow and blue, end of. The practice of manufacturing these ghastly looking kits season to season, is a way of multi-national companies such as Nike, and Arsenal themselves draining us all of our hard earned cash and furthering their obscene profits. The garments no doubt made by these eco-friendly conglomerates in "sweatshops" of the Far East who pay their employees a pittance in conditions that vermin would complain about.

    3. It is quite the shame how myopic your world view is though. What...never heard of exports before? Do you think Manchester United and Bayern Munchen sell all their merc in store?

      Dude above went overboard with the racist comment, but it doesn't take away from the fact that your tone regarding international fans is quite unwelcoming. Putting yourself in their shoes (ie. you being a HUGE fan of a Nigerian or similar foreign football club), you'd probably be as much offended as he was if someone insinuated your fanatism was any less genuine simply for geographic reasons. I'm sure harshill would have gone to every Arsenal game if he had the opportunity...Heck I'm sure he harbours a strong desire to plan a holiday around the prospect of attending a single game.

      Please don't come on a public medium to push for segregation regarding who gets to call themselves a 'fellow gooner'. It's just....

      Anyway...GOONER SINCE THE GREAT KANU!!! GOONER TILL I DIE (Good enough for me...me thinks)

    4. Believe it or not I have many friends who are "foreign" Gooners. You might be surprised to know that they feel the same way as most Gooners in the UK about the kit and it's history, and the over-emphasis of the Club on expanding its profile in the Far East and Africa, at the expense of the "traditional" fanbase. I think any student of the history of Arsenal FC will know what I'm getting at in the post.

    5. Look around man...EVERYONE's doing it. And the fact that other clubs with more disposable income like City, Chelsea, Utd, Bayern and the 2 Spanish clubs do the same should be a good indication that football clubs have moved on from the days of belonging to the residents in the immediate vicinity.

      Do you want Arsenal to establish itself as more than the 'Also-ran's they have been these past few years?...You do? Then you have to come to terms with the fact that (much like our music these days) the focus of our merchandising is to appeal to as large a consumer pool as possible. You don't like it, I don't like it...and Johnny Foreigner who's been supporting Arsenal since the 80s sure as hell does like it either.

      But if it takes us closer to being able to achieve the key goal (Winning the biggest cups)...they can wear Lilac for all I care.

      PS: I wouldn't call it over-emphasis either. More like making up for lost time in the post-season tour market. Over the past decade we haven't exactly been globe-trotting. I'm as OK with Barnet and Austria as the next guy, but a bit of oriental excitement can only be good for the lads...no?

    6. I don't have to like the fact that Arsenal is selling it's history in order to chase a dollar or two. There is no need to do that in order to exploit a new market.
      Do you genuinely not care what colour shirt the players are wearing? Honestly?

  2. "I don't understand what is so damn complicated with designing a red shirt with white sleeves"..exactly what I was thinking but I would be more than happy with this jersey if we become champions wearing it. For the idiot above me, the comment about Nigeria and Malaysia are not racist..I am from Liberia (living in the US) and I actually find it funny.

    1. You're dead right - win trophies and we'll all be happy, regardless of the kit!
      Thanks for your observations on the other nonsense.

  3. I do find your comments about fans in Nigeria and Malaysia in very bad taste.

    Firstly, without these fans Arsenal's income would be severely diminished and merely because they don't live in London is no reason to say that they are not fans.

    I'm a Jamaican Yankee and assure you that I've spent more money on one trip to London to see my team than you do on season tickets all year. And I might add, I do this annually. Also, I do buy my kit from legitimate sources along with my son, daughter in law and many friends of all nationalities who support Arsenal in Atlanta, USA.

    Hundred's of us gather at a pub owned by an English gentleman who happens to be a fellow Gunner at ungodly hours of the morning and cheer on our favorite team.

    I personally don't like the new kit myself but please don't use it as a means to insult Arsenal fans, regardless of origin.

    BTW: With the advent of the internet you don't have to live in Bangkok to purchase one of the grey market kits and have seen them been worn by Brits both in the US and UK.

    1. Okay, so how do you quantify severely diminished? You obviously have an insight in to the breakdown of Arsenal's books.
      I have also seen people wearing snide shirts in the UK, but it doesn't change the FACT that most people in England will buy the official shirt. In 3rd World countries that is far less likely to be the case.
      The reason Arsenal embrace far-flung places is for commercial sponsorship, not to engage with the "fans" in these places as they claim. That is just one of the reasons why selling our heritage down the river is unacceptable.

    2. Mate,

      You come accross as an arrogant nepotistic and pompous know it all. Threatening to sue someone on another continent for interpreting your waffle as racist Grow up and get a life!

    3. Firstly, I'm not your mate. Secondly, I don't like being accused of being something I'm not. Thirdly, when you learn how to punctuate your prose properly you can come back and tell me to grow up. Is that pompous and know all enough for you?
      The blog title should give you a clue - MY Opinion. You don't have to agree with it, but labelling me as a racist is not acceptable to me.

    4. Aye micko!! He's getting a bit touchy too. It's the same frame of mind that makes some Arsenal fans believe that buying a season's ticket is somehow making a down-payment on the league title and the a say in the financial decisions made by the club.

      That he comes across as a nepotist is understandable...a lot of people are struggling to come to terms with the fact that areas of the world previously looked at with pity are now starting to establish themselves as respectable consumer bases.

      It must have been hard last off-season (with all the moaning 'traditional' fans) to see so many joyous fans cheering their favourite clubs on. That virtually everyone of them was in new Arsenal apparel must have gone over DvbrisG's head. It doesn't really go down well when you've grown up being told your whole life that these '3rd world' countries are filled with people who'd be overjoyed to see a meal a day :D

      On the contrary, they are mostly well to do now. Most of the South-East Asian countries, a handful of African ones (Tanzania, Ghana, Nigeria, South Africa, Botswana etc.), and much of South America all boast upper-middle class contingents that would make Western Europe and Europe foam in the mouth.

      But hey....'3rd World countries are FAR less likely to buy the official shirt....FACT!' (And he doesn't see the irony in the fact that that shows a genuine presence of demand. Arsenal would do well to recognise the missed opportunities)

    5. Yeah, and in each of those countries exists some of the most extreme poverty in the World too. What a ridiculous argument.
      With all these riches perhaps my Country can stop giving a large proportion of its collected taxes in relief funds.
      All of which is getting away from the point that Arsenal should wear yellow and blue as a change strip.

  4. why do people think you are being racist when you criticise ivan gazidis and his pr nonsense? it's not racist to say you can get fake arsenal shirts or shirts for any other premiership side from a stall in asia either. you can. everybody knows that.

    1. And they can't in London? Racism? no. Bigotry? DING! DING!! DING!!!

    2. Yes rellends you are correct about the fake arsenal shirts in Asia or other countries is that proof enough to say that all the off-shore Arsenal fans do not know or understand the roots of Arsenal? Or is it proof enough that only people buying original shirts are real Arsenal supporters?

  5. By far, the greater % of your fan base is outside the UK. Exactly the reason you stated, Corporations needs an international fan base to justify spending Millions in sponsor money. That's why we are sponsored by Emirates Airlines.

    If you remove the International Corporations from sponsorship you end up with broke ass UK companies.

    1. Yes, there is a worldwide "fanbase" in that there are millions who call themselves Arsenal supporters. I asked you how much money these people provide for the coffers. The answer is next to nothing when compared to those that attend matches in the UK - gate receipts pay the wages, not some bloke watching on a satellite TV station thousands of miles away.

    2. You should spend sometime on the Swiss Ramble mate. The matchday revenue only count's for 40.5%...35% of total revenue comes from that 'bloke watching on a satellite TV station thousands of miles away.'

      It's nice to see the internet giving a voice to the man, and offering a low barrier for entry into publishing (Must have cost an arm to setup this blogspot blog *wink*). The disadvantage though is we get to see bitter folk take out their insecurities on other's in the name of opinion.

      Maybe you'll get you wish lad...and Arsenal will downsize back to a fanbase consisting solely of residents of the Seven sisters. We can all hold hands a sing while we're battling the drop

    3. You're right, my blog costs nothing to set up and run. It doesn't make my opinion on the path Arsenal tread any less valid. I don't really see what you're getting at, but it looks a pretty lame attempt at trolling to me.

  6. I didn't realise readers of this particular blog were such sensitive souls. Talk about taking a post out of context.
    The clue is in the title of the blog.

  7. Good blog DvbrisG; i don't agree with everything you say but who would unless they are you. If ever i find it as offensive as some of your readers i guess i will stop reading or even consider starting my own blog. Still it's less effort to troll!

  8. Sorry for replying so late.

    And to the author, i did not mean to hurt you in any way. I am sorry for my words, not that i am afraid of you coming up to me and suing me for it shit but genuinely it came out of real anger about your statement about people from other countries.

    Thanks to Sixtay for supporting the argument.

    And as far as the so called 'opinion' about the author suggests Arsenal's history goes on beyond years and off-shore people can not know about the history. I would suggest you to have your opinion as you want. In-fact your opinion lets me to make the perfect opinion about you is that you can never be called a gooner.

    I have met so many Arsenal fans in my life, they are so warm and welcoming. I did not see you in their for sure and would never have wanted to.

    And as far as your comment about season ticket goes, you are amongst those people who'll go buy the tickets and then allege the club of not winning trophies, i would consider my-self at least in a better position by not buying a ticket and supporting Arsenal throughout my life.

    And to all the other who were a part of the blog, the argument went on to a different track, the statement "Once again the heritage of the Club is sold out to people who know nothing of where we have come from, and what history really means to those that go to Arsenal and support the players in the flesh" was very offending and i could not control my anger at that time.

  9. Anger management for that ball bag then! The fact is that season ticket holders of 40 plus years have been the lifeblood if the club before AW or any Jonny Come Latelies arrived. I have many Arsenal supporting friends from overseas and as the author points out they fully understand the class history and tradition of being Arsenal men. The club has sold out to our new wave of foreign fans as exemplified by Tom Fox giving his rationale for us not having a yellow away shirt as other colours 'are more appealing to our global fan base'. The term racist is far too liberally used these days and supported by over zealous human rights lawyers, so before accusing anybody get your facts right

  10. Thats the reason why i apologized to the author in my very next comment for calling him a what i should not have.

    And i also am a fan since lot many years and do understand the history and tradition, moreover i respect it dearly.

    As far as the jersey goes i am also of the opinion that arsenal should not change anything to attract overseas customers. Me being from another country dosent mean i do not understand tradition and culture.

    The author also had a very good argument about the new home kit and the fact that its just not Arsenal, let me clarify i am completely in favor of what he meant. But the way in which he expressed his opinion about a whole bunch of off-shore supporters was not correct.

    He should not have rationalized his opinion about all supporters outside of London or UK or even Europe.

  11. He didn't and I think you mean generalised