Tag Archives: Arsenal

Arsenal back campaign to kick homophobia out of football

rainbow
There are few things I like more than Arsenal FC and there few things I like less than discrimination.

Because of this, I rather appreciated Arsenal’s latest campaigns video in support of the #RainbowLaces campaign to ‘kick homophobia out of football’.


Stewart Selby, co-ordinator and founder of the GayGooners commented on the Arsenal press release that: “Arsenal’s participation in the advert and the campaign means so much to Arsenal’s LGBT fans and the community. The campaign sends the message that attitudes should and can change.”

A pair of rainbow laces will be distributed to professional players across the UK for them to where on the weekend of Saturday September 13th to create a visual display that homophobia is not accepted in the modern game.

Writing this from Uganda, one wonders though how the millions of devote Arsenal fans here will react to the campaign!

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In praise of Wenger and his 1000 games in charge

So, things didn’t quite go to plan for Arsenal or Arsene Wenger at the weekend. Everyone at the club was hoping for a victory against title rivals Chelsea to mark Wenger’s 1000th game in charge…

Instead this happened:

6-0-Chelsea-Scoreboard

Combine this with a red card early on in the game and you can appreciate why I said…things didn’t quite go to plan.

As you can imagine, the press went to town:

The Mirror asked its readers ‘Will Wenger ever win the league again?’ after speculating why Wenger may have missed his Monday press conference.

The BBC simply states: ‘Arsenal boss faces criticism after 1,000th game‘.

The Metro holds no punches with its headline: ‘Arsene Wenger must go as embarrassing Arsenal drop out the Premier League title race‘.

It was this last headline that got to me the most though. To have a manager of Wenger’s ability and consistency and call for his sacking is…well…fucking stupid.

Think of it this way.

Sir Alex…one of the greatest managers to have graced the Premier League. He retired last season and departed with the words of pundits describing him as one of the greatest manager’s in English football. A completely fair accolade.

So let’s compare the two…

Games Wins Draws Losses For Against Win %
Arsene Wenger 1,000 572 235 193 1845 967 57.3
Sir Alex Ferguson 1,000 564 248 188 1784 944 56.4

Wenger has secured a win rate of 57.3%. Sir Alex 56.4%.

This is not to try and suggest one is better than the other, but to illustrate that we are talking about 2 of the all time greats in the game.

The only difference is that one is still a manager and Arsenal are lucky enough to have him while sadly Sir Alex is now retired.

If you need further convincing of just how lucky Arsenal are to still have Wenger, just glance over at Old Trafford now to see how they are getting on without Sir Alex!

No trophies…Wenger has lost it in recent years…blah blah blah…

At this stage his critics suggest that he should go because since 2005, he hasn’t got the same performace out of his players or attracted the same talent…

Well, where to start?

Wenger’s 1,000 games in charge gave him a win rate of 57.3%. In the first 500 games this stood at 57.8% and in his second 500 at 56.6%.

The observant among you will notice that this win rate for his second 500 games in charge is still higher than Sir Alex’s average. You will also notice an incredible consistency across the two halves of his time at Arsenal.

Find me another manager who has qualified for the Champions League for 16 consecutive seasons!

Then lets look at the ‘not attracting talent’ argument…well, there was of course Ozil, Carzola, Podolski, Oxlade-Chamberlin, Arteta, Mertesacker (all in the last 3 seasons) to name but a few.

The issue here then is not that Wenger does not win games,or that he doesn’t attract big names, but that Arsenal too often buckle in the big games. But this is another blog for another day…

For now, I’m happy to leave it that Arsenal are lucky to have one of the greatest managers in the game and anyone stupid enough to call for his sacking must be able to have a good answer to this question:

What next? Who do you think could get Arsenal performing better than Wenger?

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A new dawn at the Emirates?

This article was originally published on the Tattooed Football

There is a new dawn at Arsenal. In the words of Gazidis this is a new era of “financial firepower”. Arsenal are fighting it out with the big boys, not just in the transfer market but, for the 17th consecutive season, the Champions League.  Could this be the season that Arsenal live up to their potential?

Of course bloody not!

Arsene+Wenger+at+AGMSelf-delusion is something central to a diehard 21st century Gooner. No more so than for Gooner-in-chief, Le Professor, Monsieur Wenger.

Despite the talk, the promises, the expectations, what do Arsenal have to show from the transfer window…a free transfer from Auxerre in the form of ‘next big thing’ Yaya Sanogo. He is a classic Wenger signing, off everyone’s radar apart from Wenger’s. Why? Because he shows promise, he shows talent, he might just be, to coin a phrase, ‘the next big thing’ (where have we heard that before)?

For all the talk of signing a racist Uruguayan (can’t see that one going wrong) Wenger is still dangerously close to not making the signing that everyone (literally everyone) says he needs.

Despite the demands from the terraces, the back pages and the pundits, Wenger is dangerously close to coming out of the transfer market essentially empty handed. Depressingly, you can picture him now at the first press conference of the season, brow furled, “my squad is strong enough, and they have a good mental attitude. I am sure we can win”.

Of course, the media focus on the (yet to materialise) centre forward misses the point. Arsenal are missing a solid centre back. I cannot believe that Steve Bould cannot see that. Oh and of course Arsenal could also do with a new goal keeper, left back and someone confident playing left wing.  But these are just side issues I am sure….

And so, they stumble ahead (the talk of unbeaten pre-season out of the window at the Emirates Cup), with Wenger defiant, proud and to the outsider, confident. The fans are still behind Wenger but they’re also still asking the same questions that hung over the squad at the end of last season– is there the strength, depth, spark, talent? Does anyone expect anything other than a scrap for 4th place?

Although talk of a mutiny is overstated the feeling of discontent grows within the emirates with every season where the trophy cabinet is left empty.

There is an irony of being the only top four club with the same manager as last season and yet simultaneously the club that seems most on edge, most likely to drop out of the top four, and most likely to fail to pick up any silverware.

The fans are calling for a big name player to be brought in but this will only be of any significance if, as Gazidis suggests, it marks a new era of “financial firepower” at Arsenal. Without this firepower, Arsenal, with all the managerial skill in the world, will not be able to keep pace with the big boys.

It is not just the 2013/14 season that depends on this but the entire future of the club.

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A pissed off Arsenal fan at the Nou Camp

This article was written for the Tattooed football blog.

I knew that my pilgrimage to the Nou Camp would not be easy. I’m Arsenal, always have been, always will be. Barcelona tends to piss off Arsenal fans, especially in Champions League finals.

Throughout the trip I started to come to terms with the fact that this feeling (was it anger?) derived from the continued frustration surrounding Arsenal at the moment. It is not that Arsenal are playing badly at the moment, its worse. We are nearly brilliant.

Worse still, Barcelona have shown themselves to be brilliant over the last few seasons.

I am not bothered about the silverware Barcelona has bagged (10 trophies in 2 seasons alone). I am bothered though about the football they have played. They have beaten the best in the world in a way that would make Wenger weak at the knees.

As I approached the formidable entrance to the Nou Camp, I was hoping that this might be a chance for me to move on.

It was a sunny day and I was surrounded by thousands of fellow football devotes from all around the world. The atmosphere was one of a family day out – almost no-one was scowling.

Once inside the Nou Camp I stood watching video highlights of ‘Barcelona’s greatest goals’.  I sighed out loud at an 8 year old for pressing ‘play again’ on the video board showing Ronaldinho’s notorious overhead kick. I had the feeling I was being a smidgen petulant.

I knew what I needed to do.

I knew I had marvel at Barcelona’s extraordinary footballing success. The cabinets stuffed full with every cup the club could get their hands on. I knew though that this would only shine a spotlight on the dusty 7 years gap in the trophy cabinet at the Emirates.

I knew I had to go there and marvel at their illustrious roll call of football’s greats. Life sized photos of Messi, Ronaldo and Stoichkov were everywhere I looked. I knew however that this would be impossible without thinking about ex-Arsenal greats such as Henry of Fàbregas.

I knew I had to go there and marvel at their ground breaking partnerships with organisations such as UNICEF. I knew though that would only lead me to dwell on the overtly cooperate nature of the Premiership. We play in the ‘Emirates’ stadium for fucks sake!

All of this I knew and I will confess it did slightly hinder my ability to enjoy the “Camp Nou experience”.

Even the grumpiest of silverware deprived Arsenal fan though would be hard pressed to not be impressed with the biggest stadium in Europe (even after losing over 20,000 in capacity from its 120,000 peak). It is a formidable sight and the views from throughout the stadium are impressive.

Equally I enjoyed learning about the quirks of the club. Did you know that no Brit has played for Barcelona since Gary Linker? Interesting, well at least I thought so.

Equally, I was genuinely interested to learn more about the club’s history. Not only do they play beautiful football they also have time to develop a political opposition to fascism (Franco reportedly warned their players in a 1942 game Vs Madrid that “that taking the ball into Real Madrid’s half would be considered unpatriotic by the regime”).

For me however, despite the skill in which they play, despite the trophies in the cabinet, despite their social democratic principles…all I associate with the club is that fateful night in Paris back in 2006.

Why? 7 years of underachieving. Every Arsenal fan knows there is only one way to rectify this. Over to you Mr Wenger.

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