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Saturday 3 March 2007

They're Coming To Take Him Away......!!

I purposely avoided the papers since Sunday and was therefore more than a little surprised when I heard it from a Spurs mate that Wenger was in hot water for accusing a linesman of lying.

I've just watched the BBC's video of Friday's press conference and I can't honestly recall ever seeing Arsène in quite such a tizzy. I'd like to think it was a tactical ploy to get the club to raise the portals and instill the sort of fortress Arsenal spirit, which is needed right now. However I have to admit that I'm more inclined to believe it's evidence that the boss is losing it and that the pressure is getting to him.

If it wasn't for the fact that we are without Henry, Van Persie and so many other injured players, I wonder if he'd be able to view the recriminations from Sunday's final with a little more perspective?

Let's face it, no matter how innocent Adebayor is of the crime for which he was sent-off, any chance he had of getting the suspension rescinded was ruined by Manny's reaction and his refusal to leave the pitch.

Sure I can understand how unhappy Manny was and in his shoes, in those particular circumstances, whose to say that even the most even-tempered amongst us wouldn't have reacted likewise. Nevertheless, as an example to all the millions of kids watching on TV, Manny's actions were absolutely indefensible. There will be lary young larrikins playing on Hackney Marshes and open spaces up and down the country, who'll doubtless end up immitating Manny, anytime they are wrongfully accused, thinking his actions give them a license to express similar contempt for the officials decisions

Meanwhile no matter how much Arsène rails against the perceived injustice of it all, at the end of the day, we will have still blown our chances of any domestic silverware and in truth (unless there's something to be gained from putting up the barricades and promoting the "fortress Arsenal" spirit), he'd probably achieve a whole lot more, by expressing remorse about his team's failure to set the right example and by looking a little closer to home, when it comes to apportioning blame.

Let's face it, unlike Lille, it wasn't as if Chelsea or Blackburn beat us by means of a sneaky, quickly taken free-kick. Just like everyone else who has been watching football all their lives, Arsène should know only too well that as far as the officiating is concerned, you win some, you lose some. Thus it's a futile waste of breath to be blaming the men in black, especially when there's far more obvious reasons for both defeats. But then perhaps it's much easier to vent ones anger elsewhere, rather than accept his own player's responsibility.

Success eluded us against Chelsea because we failed to take sufficient advantage of our first-half dominance and against Rovers, it was always going to be a case that the winners would be the team who wanted it most. Judging by our decicdedly uninspired efforts, apart from a couple of players who truly worked their socks off, by and large, you never got the sense from the somewhat timid displays of some of those in red & white, that they really wanted it.

It's wrong really to single out individuals in such a lame performance overall. However watching the likes of Baptista and Hleb, there was never any sense in their casual efforts, that they were prepared to die to make it into the next round. I should be careful, lest I really go off on one, but watching the (entirely inappropriately named) Beast literally bounce off Blackburn's 6ft 5inch centre-back, just about summed up our evening. Sadly our free-kicks either failed to make it into the box, or were floated in, as meat and drink for Brad Friedel. However at every single set piece, I was screaming for someone, anyone, to demonstrate that sort of John Terry like determination to get their head on the ball, putting themselves, the ball and anyone else into the back of the net, with a show of the sort of hunger and commitment that was deserving of a place in the quarterfinals.

Sadly it wasn't to be and if Arsène isn't careful, instead of inspiring the troops, he's going to end up promoting the sort of blame culture, where our squad is going to feel permanently hard done by, moaning about everyone and everything, other than their own lack of intensity.

If we're going to turn things around against PSV, we really need to roll Reading over to get us back in the winning groove. Most other clubs would be delighted if they could put out a side with half the ability of Arsène's patched up team. Considering the inevitable and doubtless costly consequences of FA's wrath, I pray Arsène's outburst ends up having a positive effect.

And while we're on the topic of throwing one's toys out of the pram, personally it drives me absolutely potty when people insist on drawing any parallels between football and those Phillistines egg chasers. "Rugby is a hooligan's sport played by gentlemen and football is a gentleman's sport played by hooligans". It might well be a worn-out cliché but it remains as true today as it always was. The respect afforded to the officials in rugby results from the fact that it's always been an upper and middle class pursuit (at least that is the case as far as rugby league is concerned), by and large played by privileged youngsters. When was the last time you saw kids on a council estate throwing a rugby ball around? The officials in a rugby match command the exact same authority that is afforded to the teachers in a posh public school, where no one would dare show any disrespect. By contrast, the lack of respect often shown towards the officials on a football pitch is no different to the attitude usually shown towards teachers in a less privileged school.

I in no way mean to suggest that this is right, but it's merely a fact of life that football is a far truer representation of the society in which the majority of us live, compared to the more rarerified atmosphere of the hampers and champers crowd who frequent Twickers and the like

Meantime we have to have faith in Arsène's ability to get our season back on track over the next two games. Failing that, the demoralisation is likely to be such, that I really wouldn't fancy our chances of recovering sufficiently for the few remaining Premiership matches. Such a complete capitulation over the course of two weeks would be truly ironic, when you look back to the astonishing manner in which we demolished the Scousers and after which the pundits were absolutely falling over themselves to heap praise upon the abundance of talent in Wenger's young squad. Who could've imagined a season of such promise, could potentially end up being so disappointing?

However I honestly haven't been so excited about the promising prospects for an Arsenal squad, since Manu Petit and Patrick Vieira first paired up in our midfield. I'm under the impression PSV haven't lost a game in the last dozen matches and with this in mind, it would be no mean feat if we can turn things around next week. Yet if we can actually get past the Dutch and into the last eight of the Champions League, Arsène will have nearly a month to prepare for the quarterfinals. And with the likes of Diaby, Denilson and co. all coming to the fore with relatively fresh legs, compared to the potential opposition, where the majority of their most influential stars have played so many more matches, I certainly wouldn't back against us!

Besides which, we've gotta beat Reading and PSV, if only to prevent the men in white coats coming for Le Prof and hopefully, to put a much welcomed end to the old bugger's constant whinging

Come on you rip roaring Reds


Anonymous said...

AW hasn't "lost it".

This is a very clever ploy that has forced the Adebeyor red card back into the revue process.

The fools at the FA thought they had blustered and bullied their way past this little inconvenience, but AW has conned them into reacting to his words, and has re-opened the case, and in public this time.

He has the evidence to expose them for the liars that they are, and he's going to do it in public too.

The FA might still try and bully their way through this but they are being exposed to the light the longer this carries on.

AW saw this rubbish when he was at Monaco, and he was right then.

He's right now.

The FA are unethical in refusing to recuse themselves from sitting in judgement on this issue, they're one of the protaganists FFS!

They are also have a further conflict of interest in that their major product is the England national team.

AW recently ruled out ever managing a national side (which they had very recently been harbouring bot too secret desires of him doing for England), and their "product" also parasitic with regards to club football.

The FA cannot possibly considered a suitable guardian of the game under these circumstances.

They are also further damaged in that they were found guilty of price collusion, a criminal act.

They have also failed to implement any of the recommended structural changes suggested by the inquiry.

The FA are a deluded, incompetent, and decietful organisation, and it's time they were thrown out of football.

This is the first blow.


Anonymous said...

Mike, are there any men in white around you.....?

Anonymous said...

what a rubbish article!!! How did Adebeyor do anything worse than Drogba and Essien? I think THAT is the point that Arsene Wenger is trying to make. Arsenal have come out of this incident with lots of bad press, mainly from sky, and chelski who's players acted no better than Arsenal's have done nothing wrong, how does THAT work?? I'm not an Arsenal fan and never will be, but I don't like to see injustice in football and so I personally say well done to Arsene Wenger for standing up for what is right.

Anonymous said...

Its called anger at injustice, its called passion. I think its a disgraceful suggestion that he has lost it. He has thought it through and he is going to take the FA on. He has no choice, the situation cannot be allowed to continue. Arsenal fans must get behind him at this time.
To see the interview and read a fanzine that doesnt pander to what other smight think then visit

Anonymous said...

Well said Padre.

I think you miss the point entirely.

Why is it that it is only a Frenchman who cares sufficiently to expose the FA for the shambles it is ?

Our game, not just Arsenal, has suffered for years because of their incompetance.

He deserves our wholehearted support for his honesty and integrity.

To find a so called Gooner joining in the media witch hunt is somewhat disappointing.

Flint McCullough

Anonymous said...

What a pathetic article. This is not just referee decisions , but an examination of video that Wenger lambasts. This is a 'thoughtful', 'considered' decision with the benefit of hindsight by the FA.

Why do you think that Essien and Drogba not punished AFTER the video evidence.

Bern said...

I resent the suggestion that I'm joining in with any witch hunt. Wenger has my absolute and total support. However that doesn't mean to say I agree with his stand, as in my most humble point of view, the louder Arsène shouts, the more likely the authorities are to dig their heels in and in truth, from past experience, he should be aware of this fact.

Moreover I don't agree with Arsène's use of language, as whether or not there's been any duplicity involved (which I assume has to be the case, from Arsène's vehement stance), to make the charges fit the crime, he shouldn't be calling anyone a "liar", as whatever the circumstances, I find it hard to believe any of the officials actually set out to tell untruths.

By using such accusatory terminology, Arsène has dug himself a grave and forced the FA to get behind there officials, thereby ensuring that if there ever was the slightest possibility of any compromise, there isn't a cat in hell's chance now.

I can speak with a little authority on persecution complexes and if we'd beaten Chelsea and Blackburn I honestly don't think le gaffer would be suffering from one, as he appears to be at the moment.

We are all entitled to our opinions but from my point of view, unless we end up avoiding a couple of sending offs in the weeks to come, as a result of officials who'd rather not incur Wenger's wrath, it's hard to see anything prooductive in Arsène's stance

Anonymous said...

Manny? Wtf? and Arsene losing it? Your article sir, is a disgrace (I've just read a bit, then stopped reading). Let's be honest, Ade got a red for nothing in the dying minutes of a cup final, what do you expect him to do? Sing a song and clap hands? The fact is he was wrongfully dismissed, and he reacted to it. Would he have reacted if wasn't dismissed at first? The FA can suck my duck! Them cunts are the biggest bunch of wankers in football. It's time someone stops the madness. I for one bow down to Arsene for his courage. Come on you reds!

Anonymous said...

what a waste of web space, a useless rant more to do with your underlying feeling of social injustice and dislike of public school education than football. next time go see a shrink!

Anonymous said...

Dont want to throw a spanner in the observations on rugby, but dont the upper eshalones play rugby union... twickers is the home of rugby Union not League i think...anyway up the reds....