Saturday 26 December 2015

How the World Works - Mourinho to Manchester United Rumours as an example (FICTION ALERT)


The sacking of Jose Mourinho has prompted this attempt to explain to people how stuff works in the media and how it affects real life.

The fact that Jose Mourinho had been gagging for a sack before Mr Abramovich finally put him out of his misery is well documented. In my opinion, Jose knew he had irretrievably lost the Chelsea dressing room and there was no way back. He is one fortunate SOB though. Single handedly destroy the Champions of England and move on to your next victim as if not happened. You have to doff your hat to the man. But was it pay back though for his sacking in 2007. Who knows.

Now back to my 'how stuff works"

Mourinho gets sacked. The statement released on his behalf makes it obvious that his termination contract does not preclude him from working in the EPL. Jose's agent is the all powerful Mr Jorge Mendes. A man whose back pocket is so big that Florentino Perez of Real Madrid, Teflon Ed Woodward of Manchester United and many more club chairmen live there.

So Jose's side put out a feeler that he had been approached by Roma (a big club) to manage them less than 48 hours after his sack at Chelsea. Cue the panic by gullible Manchester United fans and management. Big clubs are still after Mourinho. We must join the bandwagon. Strike 1 for the Jorge Mendes PR machine. Don't you find it interesting that all football journalists miraculously got this briefing at the same time and it appeared in all of their papers on the same day. Usually reliable sources they say. We can see through you I say.

NOTE TO ALL - if the majority of so called reputable news outlets carry a similar story except in situations where someone has released a statement or held a press conference, please be aware they have obviously been briefed by someone who is trying to 'sell a line' to the public.

Of course Roma have since denied the Mourinho story. It was tosh. Hogwash even.

Will Club chairman be intrigued by a Mourinho. Surely. His trophy count speaks for itself so does his body count and the trail of destruction that he leaves in his wake. So CAVEAT EMPTOR. And please don't complain after buying, there is no right of refund. You can't 'unbuy' his ability to wreck dressing rooms while picking fights with one, none and all.

Back to how stuff works. Of course after the Roma story spreads, the PR machine moved onto their next victim - Florentino Perez. A willing victim I believe. Again, similar mode of operation. Real Madrid will have Jose back was the headline. Really. Yes Pigs will fly and carry passengers.

TO have Mourinho back, Real Madrid will have to do a root and branch restructure of their dressing room as the wounds are still raw. Considering the Jorge Mendes and Florentino Perez relationship, this was never going to be denied publicly. However the Perez camp have quietly let it be known that Jorge Mendes & Jose Mourinho were playing a game of  fantasy Manager.

But did that stop the Jose to Manchester United stories from spreading like a California wild fire? Hell no. Match made in heaven stuff. Manchester United is suffering. The fumes of that thing sold on the streets of Amsterdam have prevented clear comprehension of the philosophy. The fans are tired of their "downtroddeness" and their is an unemployed manager who guarantees trophies. Forget the after effect, let us win trophies today for tomorrow we shall be back to square 1.

Guess what, Mr Unemployed Manager looking like a tramp doesn't care. Why should he? His PR team are behind the media frenzy against Van Gaal. It doesn't matter that this same Van Gaal got Mr Unemployed Manager looking like a tramp on the street of West London his Assistant Managership at Barcelona.  No, all who know Mr Mourinho know that it is all about him.

What happened to dignity? What happened to "I have respect for a former mentor and believe that these attempts to frog march him out of his job are disparaging". Why can't Mr Tramp front up and let people know publicly that "while I want the Manchester United job, I want it a dignified manner and don't think that hounding my benefactor out of a job is the way to go". No he can't because he doesn't do dignity. There is not an ounce of dignity about our Special Happy Juan.

Again back to how stuff work. A few days later, the media was awash with the story that Manchester United had not approached Jose yet. My interpretation of this story is as follows: Mr Ed Woodward is asking the fans to put more pressure on the great and the good of Manchester United (Bobby Charlton & Alex Ferguson) who were yet to be persuaded by the messianic qualities of Jose Mourinho. Of course, the source had to be from the Unemployed One's camp.

Which then leads us to Van Gaal's memorable press conference. Clearly Teflon Ed Woodward would gladly fire Van Gaal to save his own gig. However in a publicly quoted company the size of Manchester United, decisions like these are not solely in his hand. Going by Van Gaal's short lived press conference, several meetings were held and people who were not in Jorge Mendes back pocket did not allow themselves to be rail loaded into anointing Jose Mourinho as the new 'Damager' of Manchester United.

What Van Gaal's press conference revealed to me though was that the Board of Manchester United had given him no reassurances regarding his job and I suspect they were going to go from match to match going forward. Van Gaal couldn't afford to answer the question about his position as the circus would just have continued. So he played that nice little number and body swerved everybody.

I don't blame Van Gaal. If I was in his shoes, I will do the same although I did cringe about his 'I'm human' angle. If you thought Manchester United's performance against Stoke was listless, just imagine what would have happened if Van Gaal had taken a proper press conference and there was no indication that the Board had backed him.

I believe the die is cast. I believe as I write this, Van Gaal has offered his resignation. He is a proud man who understands football and realises it is about results and when your team puts out that dross of a performance in a must win game, it is time to go. However, it appears there will be no announcement until Tuesday AM especially if Manchester United lose to relegation battlers Chelsea. I don't see any other result though except if by some quirkiness of football, both sides end up losing.

To all Manchester United fans I wish you well. Please hone your "attack attack attack" chant. You will need it. I am licking my lips for when Mourinho plays a defensive back 7 and you have 0 shots on goal. I am looking forward to when you sign Mikel Obi as he is very good at choking the midfield and he is a very obedient servant to Jose Mourinho. I look forward to return of glory to Manchester United when you win the 2016/17 EPL and I am licking my lips for when you are relegated the following season. Cant wait.

Sunday 20 December 2015

Manchester United Fans Are Unfair To Louis Van Gaal

Before I start, please allow me state this disclaimer.

I don't like Manchester United and their fans. As an Arsenal fan they have caused me pains, gut wrenching heartbreak and I have suffered many romantic heartbreaks from girls / ladies / women and females. However nothing trumps the heartbreak Manchester United has caused me.

I blamed their success on referrees' connivance and Sir Alex Ferguson's bullying of the whole football establishment. I blamed their players cheating on the field of play. How I rejoiced as they suffered under David Moyes and revel in their late night insomniac ranting courtesy of The Philosopher. I hope the current circus continues for a long time. Its only fair and is the least Manchester United and their fans deserve.

All said and done, I think Manchester United fans are barking up the wrong tree in hounding Louis Van Gaal. Where were they when the great Johan Cruyff was constantly on LvG's back for his defensive style of play with the Dutch national team?

LvG is LvG he hasn't changed. Why are you blaming a man for staying true to his philosophy? Due to your hounding, he has changed his philosophy slightly starting from the Wolfsburg match. I hope you have enjoyed the 3 results since then.

What I find amazing is LvG's words which are very Wengeresque. I wonder if this morphing into Wenger is what is really annoying  Man U fans. Accepting 4th as a damn fine achievement, talking about building things perpetually. I can see loads of similarities between the Man U fan base and the Wenger Out Brigade.  O what a joy. I wonder if the Wenger out brigade can be persuaded to switch their allegiance to either Manchester United or Chelsea. If only wishes were horses.

So why are Man U fans unfair to LvG. Hear me out

LvG did not take over your swashbuckling Alex Ferguson Manchester United side. He succeeded David Moyes or if you really want to erase the Moyesian era at Man U, he succeeded Ryan Giggs. He took over a team bereft of confidence and shorn of their swash buckle. A team that finished 7th and broke (made) all sorts of football records.

LvG is managing a Manchester United side that is competing in a very competitive premiership. This is not the league that Steve Bruce and other managerial members of the Alex Ferguson Appreciation Club came to pay obeisance to the great man and donate their customary 3 points and a few last minute goals. This is the league where Alex Neale & Eddie Howe have the effrontery to think they are going to win against Man U and they do convincingly.

LvG has been able to attract big players. Yes you are Man U and you always attracted big players. But how many came to Old Trafford even with the promise of Champions League during the era of the man you refuse to acknowledge.  Zilch. Zero. Nada. You had the money then and you have it now but LvG coming meant you could attract Angel Di Maria, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Ander Herrera, Marcus Rojo, Daley Blind, Anthony Martial & Victor Valdes. Let that sink in.

Change management is incredibly tough. Ask Tesco after Terry Leahy, ask Apple after Steve Jobs. Manchester United is a super tanker. Succeeding Sir Alex and recreating his success is unlikely to happen again this century. He was one in a life time phenomenon and going by results alone, is succession was bungled and the knock on effect of that bungled succession is affecting LvG.

Yes LvG has spent loads of money. But please stop bandying this quarter of a million pounds nonsense about. His net spend over 2 seasons is c£150m and £36m of that was for Anthony Martial plus another £15m loss on Di Maria. LvG is not responsible for over pricing unproven youngsters or for the burglary at Di Maria's house. So please get off his back. £150m over two seasons is considerably less than Man City have spent in the last 2 seasons and what Brendan Rodgers spent in his reign at Liverpool and see how many titles Liverpool won and how City are blowing away the entire league.

Manchester United fans if you are looking for someone to blame for your predicament. Blame the owners. Blame their representative Ed Woodward. On what planet were you when Sir Alex and David Gill were retiring at the same time? Were you in Space when David Moyes was appointed? I remember you calling David Moyes 'The Chosen One' before it all went pete tong. Manchester United fans want all the sweet sensation of applauding a decision but want none of the sourness / bitterness of the result of the same decisions. Look at yourself. Take a deep breath and do some introspection.

The problem at your club is Ed Woodward and the belief by the fanbase that you are entitled to winning - be it matches or trophies. No team is entitled to winning especially not in the beautiful game that is football. Sir Alex is gone. GET OVER IT. Other teams have grown in confidence and conversely, the reign of Moyes and all the moaning by the fans and the United old boys have drained some of the confidence amongst your squad. Any two bit psychologists can tell you that if you tell a child many times that he is crap & shit, watch him turn to KAKA. And please don't tell me that those professional footballers are not over paid crybabies and delicate wallflowers.

Back to Mr Woodward. Brilliant Commercial man I hear. Behind all of United's recent commercial success it appears. Massive BIG UP to the man. I am absolutely delighted for him but all I see is that he has now been promoted beyond his level of competence. The proverbial sales man appointed to manage a company that requires none of his technical abilities.

He is not a football man by any definition. He was the Muppet who signed off on Moyes appointment. Same Muppet who displayed so much lack of class in the sacking of David Moyes. The same one who signed Louis Van Gaal and bungled the Fellani signing. He is now the one that makes decisions at your club.

Manchester United fans should google search the relationship between Ed Woodward & Jorge Mendes and the later's role in all of your big money signings and weep. This is the source of the bulk of your problems. Louis Van Gaal wants proven match winners but Teflon Ed & Pope Jorge are adding lemons to his squad. How is he supposed to play exciting football and win? Some fans think LvG on pension top up gig at Old Trafford. You might be right but stop and ponder, perhaps Mr Philosophy is not the only one looking after his post football lifestyle.

To all those agitating for a change of manager. Agitate if you must Man U fans. If you want to morph into the latter day Chelsea, it is up to you. Don't forget, Chelsea's frequent changes in Manager denied them the opportunity to sign Pep Guardiola as he wasn't comfortable with the mindless change of managers. I still believe this made Mr Abrahamovich hesitant in firing Jose Mourino this time around. So United fans, continue howling at LvG, hopefully the board listens to you and fire Louis or he grows tired of the circus and walks away.  Bring in another manager who will spend another £250m - NO PROBLEM, after all Mata, Rooney, Felliani, Carrick, Rojo, Darmian and Schweinsteiger are all crap.

Going forward and in my opinion, Mr Woodward has boxed himself into a corner. The storm is gathering and the Twitterati are united in asking him to hand over the reins to Jose Mourinho. I wish you guys FORTUNATO (I hear thats goodluck in Italian). Hopefully Jose leads you back to winning ways. 2 Premiership win in 3 seasons and many more years of mediocrity. I hear that's the new normal but please don't complain or moan when it happens. Personally I think Jose Mourinho is a busted flush and can only see him managing a team owned by Massimo Cellino.

Some are clamouring for Ryan Giggs, I think that boat has sailed unfortunately. The time for Giggs' management of United was just after Sir Alex with the owners setting the scene and letting all shareholders, fans and the market know that Ryan is the manager irrespective of results and as long as United not threatened with relegation. Going by what has happened in the last 3 years, United will not have the courage to fully back Giggs and be patient with him and if they do, Just wait, watch, buy popcorn and lick your lips. If you think the hounding of LvG is unbecoming, wait till the United fan base turns against a legend. It will be like a mother eating  her own child. IMO, Giggs is never going to happen. Woodward doesn't want United legends around in influential roles. They will spoil his parole.

My final word to United fans, be patient and pick your target. You have a choice  - Arsene's & Arsenal's 12 years wait or Liverpool's wait for eternity.

Sunday 6 December 2015


I came across the twitter handle of Sugabelly about 6 months ago and I followed her as I was fascinated with her posts. She came across as a liberal minded Nigerian girl. After a while I unfollowed as I realised that i was probably wrong. Occasionally in my spare time on Twitter, I noticed some of the spats / scrapes involving her. She more than held her own with her detractors to be fair.

A couple of weeks ago, she became a trending topic again. She was delighted that Alhaji Abubakar Audu was dead as his kids had done despicable things to her. More facts have been revealed and courtesy of Reuben Abati, the story is now in the mainstream media in Nigeria. Although I must add that the Alhaji Audu angle is yet to be explained. 

I do not intend to dwell on the wrongs and the wrongs of what happened. What I object to and caution all parents, aunties, uncles, guardians, mentors, teachers and emotionally & physically matured adults against is: 


Granted bad things happen to good people. 

Granted we sometimes experience very painful and extremely traumatic events in life but what part of the science of therapy justifies sharing your traumatic story with not only 320+ million Twitter users worldwide but also with the very active and very judgemental c2+ million users on Nija Twitter? For God’s sake, how does this help you overcome your trauma? How is it that many people tweeting abuse at you help you achieve closure? If you care to know Sugabelly's answer, check her tweet on this link 

If Sugabelly’s events are 100% accurate, I am distraught on her behalf and the perpetrators are fortunate she is not my relative. If she was my relative and I choose not to exploit any extra judicial means, I will attempt to do the following & I recommend this to anybody in her position dealing with the same or similar issues: 

 - Anonymise the 'story' and persuade many of the good people on Nigerian Social Media, mainstream media and in many of  our Rape / Violence Against Women Charities to run with my anonymised story and hopefully ensure it gains the same traction as the Sugabelly story. 

 - Appeal to all the well connected people in my family circle & network to fight a conventional battle (via the Police and the Justice system) against my attackers. Yes the alleged perpetrators are monied and influential. All you need to do is persuade someone as influential as them to believe you and the Nigerian Police will do something. Many Nigerians of influence have gone to prison for less violent crimes. Yes we know what the Police are like generally but they make things happen and move when the right kind of pressure is applied. 

 - Commission Private Investigators / investigative journalists to find other victims of the perpetrators, maybe find some of the videos that are already in circulation through covert information technology skills. Together with other victims of the same individual, ensure wide publicity for the case while anonymising the victims. Either get the police to prosecute or file a class action law suit seeking punitive civil damages that ensure the perpetrators are compelled to acknowledge their evil deed in open court. 

Personally, I found it extremely sad & bewildering that a fellow human found themselves in a terribly bad situation and did not know where to turn to. Where were the adults in this person’s life? What was so bad that the child could not confide in the parents?  Isn't this one of the reasons why we have parents and other adults in our lives? Yes we make mistakes and there is nobody who hasn’t made loads of them. But the first step is to realise these mistakes and seek help from competent sources - parents, other adults and other professionals. Yes some scars never heal but blanketing social media with the causes of those scars will not make the scars heal either. Getting help will. Help from people who care about you, help from professionals, help from people who have experienced the same or similar things. Getting justice might also but sharing your traumatic story on social media is definitely not the way to go in my opinion. Having to defend the life choices of your parents to everybody in the world is definitely not a choice or option I will advocate for anybody. 

To all young people out there in fact to everybody out there, please if you are suffering a particularly traumatic and physically degrading event whether in the past or ongoing, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE don’t be tempted to follow the same steps as Sugabelly on this one issue. Talk to your parents, if you are not comfortable with that, talk to other adults and also talk to professionals who are specialists in the type of trauma you are dealing with. Take the issue through the formal justice system. Find a lawyer who is prepared to help, find a sympathetic person in the mainstream or social media who will help give attention to your case anonymously. Together these professionals can help you get justice. But please the main road that is Twitter is not the place. You wont get the closure you desire. 

Ka Chineke Mezie okwu 


Saturday 28 November 2015

Arsenal's UEFA Champions League Campaign 2015

I have not added the 2016 to the title of this blog as Arsenal's progress to the Round of 16 looks to be somewhat in peril. Tons of articles have been written about Arsenal's Champions league campaign this term. Many of them deriding Arsene Wenger. Unfortunately  I have something of a contrary view. Now, why is that not a surprise :)

No doubt for many Arsenal fans, the Champions League campaign this season has been very frustrating especially as we have lost 2 very winnable games to Zagreb away and Olympiakos at home.

Some pundits have ascribed the losses to Arsene's decision to rest Petr Cech in those matches. I couldn't disagree more. As for the Arsenal fans who align with the Pundit's opinion on these matter I have no words.    "To talk is not hard".

That David Ospina is a First Class Goal keeper is not in question and should really be up for debate. He makes mistakes. Yeah. So does Manuel effing Neuer. MK Dons (yes MK Dons) put 4 past David De Gea. FOUR GOALS. Back to Ospina, while I now believe Petr Cech is better than him, David had more than enough quality to man the posts for Arsenal against Zagreb & Olympiakos. Yes the results were bad on the night but that is the nature of the beast that is football. The best 11 players on the night will not always win a game of football.

I believe the blame for the losses can be ascribed elsewhere.

  • I think we sometimes go into a match with overconfidence bordering on arrogance. It costs us against Monaco last term and I think it did with these 2 matches. 

  • I believe the selection of outfield players for the Zagreb match was wrong. We should have played our strongest side, hopefully win the game and then focus on the next match. Anything can and does happen between matches to render your permutations & calculations unworkable. At the end of the day, we lost the match we rested players for. To be fair to Arsene and the team, I expect any Arsenal 11 to beat Dynamo Zagreb 9 times out of 10. Maybe this match was that 1 out of 10.
  • Our defensive frailties are unbelievably annoying. We concede what I choose to call naive goals / nothing goals. We conceded two Oxlade - Chamberlain own goals against both Zagreb & Olympiakos. I still believe the Ospina howler was not a goal. We conceded 3 goals from set pieces in both matches with Kieran Gibbs inexplicably ducking a header to defend one of the goals. Yes we played with 10 men against Zagreb with a silly petulant & unnecessary 1st booking by Giroud but we had no reason to lose to Zagreb. It rankled then still rankles till now.

For me, our Champions League campaign this season is not the car crash that many have attempted to portray it as. When the draws were made, I make bold to say nobody expected Arsenal to beat Bayern Munich in any of the head to head matches. Our qualification hopes were always hinged on the results against the other 2. So to then beat Bayern in my opinion atones for the losses against Zagreb. Why? 

Going by the current table in Group F, Arsenal beaten Dynamo away would have been meaningless as things stand. We will have the same number of points as Olympiakos and we would need to go to Greece needing a win to progress. If we had beaten Olympiakos at the Emirates without the Bayern home win,  we would have 9 points, Olympiakos will have 6 and we would still need a result in Greece.  So nothing has changed. We are still going to Greece and we still need a result.

Yes I get the frustration. A team like Arsenal who are capable of doing great things are often so lifeless and lacking in sparkle and will a bit too often for the quality they posses deliver unbelievably negative results that leads to head scratching.

I however think we Arsenal fans need to calm down as we appear to buy into the naysayers narrative too often. Many are happy to rely on the words of people with an axe  to grind or an agenda like Gary Neville & Piers Morgan to beat up Arsene & the Team.

Will we go through. I hope so. We are capable of a lot more than beating Olympiakos by 2 clear goals.

Will we though? That's a question for the gods.

Sunday 15 November 2015

The Western World Is Governed by Small Men & Straw Men

In 2011,  I saw pictures of President Obama watching US Special Forces kill Osama Bin Laden. I argued with a number of friends on the appropriateness of the President of the Free World sitting around in a room watching soldiers on a mission to hunt down a man that was once the greatest foe of the USA but was now a doddery old fool hiding behind the blouse of his young wife.

I get the need for the USA to go after somebody like Bin Laden. America is quite good at that. "You wrong us, we have long memories and we will come after you". In my opinion Bin Laden deserved what he got and more. But did the President of the US have nothing else in his in - tray than to watch the taking out of a man who was no longer a threat to the USA? What happened to World Hunger? Ebola? Global Peace?

As far as I can tell, Obama watching Osama's end game was all about appearance / PR. The modern day equivalent of doing something concrete. In today's world, its all about appearance, about looking good. Even if you are not doing anything, just be seen to be doing something that plays well to the somewhat gullible public.

Fast forward to 3 days ago. Again, all forms of media were filled with the justified taking out of the loser that is known as Jihadi John. He was such a loser that he couldn't get laid in a town renowned for its generous women. He finally found global fame as the social media face of ISIS recruitment. The serial be - header of the defenceless. Yes he fully deserves his encounter with the US drone that took him out. But was I sickened by the song and dance the American and British Intelligence community made about taking out Jihadi John? Can you imagine that Winston Churchill was so fixated about Josef Goebbels' propaganda on behalf of the Nazis that he sent a brigade of the SAS to hunt him down and kill him and then crowed about it on the Radio & Television.

What sort of men are our leaders? These men who have never held down real jobs. These men who only bother about what looks good rather than concrete stuff. Just this morning, a friend shared this link with me. Did our intelligence service know about the guy in this link? This Haji Bakr or were they fixated on straw men like Jihadi John, the halitosis suffering low life loser? Based on that link I will say Haji Bakr is worth 100 Jihadi Johns. Yet we crow about taking the nobody that is Jihadi John out of the equation. It appears what matters more to our leaders is PR coups rather than evidence of concrete progress on the war against ISIS.

What worries me is that the Americans had someone like Haji Bakr under detention and at some point they let him go. This makes you wonder how inept Western countries are in this anti - Terrorism fight. For instance why are we having a debate about snooping? It is such a silly debate. The intelligence community should be given Carte Blanche to snoop on everybody and anybody. If they use what they discover for nefarious or civil cases, they should be brought to book with the courts applying severe and exceptional penalties & punishments for such infractions. To be fair, I understand the public distaste for giving too much powers to the government, a distaste fuelled by our leaders who have undermined the public trust by misusing similar powers in the past, for example, they have used anti - terrorism laws to prosecute people over council tax and rubbish bin issues? How terribly churlish? How symptomatic of their smallness as leaders. As a safeguard to snooping laws, a  caveat should be added that nothing discovered via snooping can be used for civil cases. Simple. Case closed.

Another issue is that of citizens who decide to go and fight or live in ISIS controlled territories or even with ISIS opponents. I just can't get my head around why there is a debate around this issue or why there is seeming paralysis by Western government in dealing with the issue. We live in a democracy where people have a choice. Why is the government then actively preventing adults from leaving the country? If we are concerned about their very young children, we already have a determined & enthusiastic child protection bureaucracy for that purpose. Take the kids off these people and wave bye to them. Strip them of their citizenships and right to return. Why are we hiding under Geneva protocols and some other archaic laws made almost 100 years ago that has no connection to the world we live in today? Why are our leaders helpless? Why can't they see these reasonable & logical steps? Why are they not forward looking? Why are our leaders not taking the battle to ISIS?

Can you imagine Winston Churchill refusing to fight the Germans because he was worried about collateral damage? Or Presidents Roosevelt & Eisenhower not fighting the Japanese because they were worried about upsetting the media and the electorate? Oh how we yearn for the days of strong / determined men of power. Even recent leaders like President Reagan and Prime Minister Thatcher are modern day examples of what leaders with back bone can achieve. Not the ones we have now who think taking out a common criminal like Jihadi John is worth a song and a dance.

On a final note, the events in Paris should hopefully prove to everybody in the Western World that we are not safe doing all the common things we take for granted. The government should make this clear so we are under no illusions. Hopefully the genuine realisation that our way of life is under severe threat will help our leaders develop a back bone and take the battle to these terrorists. Forget all these establishing democracy nonsense. In my opinion, nation building and trying to encourage democracy amongst people who don't want it is a waste of time. We have done more damage to ourselves in the Middle East by using this template. My solution is simple, identify the snake and cut of its head. If baby snakes come up in its place, cut of the heads too. If any criminal terrorist group take territories, go in there and smash them. Although I do not wholly support the Israeli template, but you can now see the result of their approach  - Fatah is now an organisation preaching peace. Hezbollah leaders don't want to be publicly known and Hezbollah members are not as quick to result to violence.

Its time to do things differently. Its time for our leaders to develop a back bone.

Sunday 8 November 2015

Can We Arsenal Fans All Live In Peace Together

I have just finished watching the NLD and I am delighted with the point. I thought it was somewhat similar to the same fixture last season when we were  somewhat fortunate to get a point.

Prior to the start of today's match, I was ready to settle for a clean sheet and a draw. With that result, Petr Cech equals that other bloke's EPL Clean Sheet record and we stay joint top of the Premier League table. You can accuse me of lack of ambition but I know you will agree with me that the Premier League is not won in November.

For me, it was imperative we stay in touch with Manchester City going into the International Break as we have been decimated by injuries. Also the tonking we got in Munich was telling. You are never sure what kind of reaction you will get from Arsenal after such a bad day in the office.

If my experience serves me right, we tend to draw after heavy defeats. Additionally, we have not been playing very we'll - we scraped past Everton (thanks to Petr Cech for saving 2 points), we were abject against Swansea in the 1st half and could easily have been 3 nil down by the end of the 1st 45 minutes and Munich was a disaster of epic proportion. I am not or one second forgetting the 'shit shower' at Sheffield although some are wont to discount that match because it was the Capital One Cup and it wasn't our first choice back 5.

I disagree though.  4 of those Arsenal Back 5 in Sheffield played in the back 5 in Munich and 3 played in the Back 5 this evening against the Middlesex chaps. If only we had used the Sheffield game to prep our defence maybe subsequent results might have been better. Who knows. The Sheffield defeat continues to rankle me.

Back to Munich as this was the inspiration for my write up today. As I got onto the plane at Stanstead, I recognised two notable faces amongst the Arsenal fan family. One is somewhat balanced in his admiration for Wenger and the other is rabidly anti Wenger. I know I am stating the obvious but both side of the Wenger debate appear to enjoy watching their team play, spend good money doing this and want their team to do well. I think the ones who actually want the team to do poorly are beyond redemption.

So in the words of Rodney King "Why is that we can't all just get along?" as Arsenal fans.

I am often on Twitter and I see many Arsenal fans at each others' throats. The abuse, the insults, the name calling, the baiting. You will think these are fans of opposing clubs. What seems to be so divisive is the fact that some want Arsene out and others don't.

I am not sure if both sides of the Wenger debate realise that there is no manager that 100% of the fans want. Not Sir Alex Ferguson, not Pep Guardiola and not that Comedian in West London. That's why we are humans. However once the Manager has been appointed and / or is in place, then all the bickering should stop.

I think this  advice from Sir Hubert Chapman is something all Arsenal fans should try to embrace:

We are a great big family and we should be pulling together in the same direction.

I called one of the Anti Wenger fans to the side in Munich and said to him, "you do realise we all love this club but we don't own it".  So if we realise this and we know for a fact that the owners of the Club are not going to sack Wenger why are we wasting emotions on Wenger in or out?  Why can't we channel our emotions into supporting the club come, rain, sun or high water.  I hold up Crystal Palace fans and the majority of Arsenal fans as my ideal here. Even at 5 - 1 in Munich were trying to cheer the team on.

Yes. The Wenger Out brigade have a point, we should have won more than 2 FA Cups in the last 12 years, we should be more of a challenger, we should not be satisfied with Top 4 only, that's very commendable. The Pro Wenger brigade also have a point. Arsene has been the most successful Arsenal Manager in history. He has changed the club totally and he has achieved something nobody else will probably achieve in our life time - The INVINCIBLES. I will recommend this book by Amy Lawrence to every Arsenal fan. You can better understand where Arsenal were before Arsene and the magnitude of what Arsene achieved in 2003/4.

Whatever side of the debate you stand, please realise that the man has his footballing and personal philosophies that align with that of the owners. Yes we fans are intrinsic to making football what it is but the ultimate decision on whether a manager goes or not is with the board / the owner and at the moment on the Wenger issue, the Board is not for turning. They believe in Wenger.

So please get on side. Lets join hands and make the club better. The baiting on both sides should stop. All fans irrespective of whether they are Wenger Out or In and talking especially about those who want the club to do well, spend their money and resources supporting the Team and following the club and should not be derided for voicing their opinions. .

Lets channel our energies to supporting the players Win, Lose or Draw. Lets all pull in the same direction so we can make Arsenal greater.  

Monday 26 October 2015

FIFA Presidency - time for a someone from anywhere but Europe & North America

Joao Havelange was FIFA President when I was growing up.  A giant of a man. He had the swagger and profile of any charismatic or powerful President or Head of State of any super power nation.

Havelange was the Blatter before Sepp Blatter was in diapers. And the world was a different place then, none of these transparency thingymabob. The world was opaque and shadowy figures ruled politics, sports and business.

The world has changed. Today, when people go on and on about the grandiosity of Sepp Blatter, I can immediately guess how old they are or realise how out of touch they were in those days before social media and Internet. Those days when you had to hunt for your news.

We now live in a new world. Transparency is every body's watch word. Corruption is a big issue and rightly so as the proceeds of corruption is fanning the emblems of many crimes around the globe.

FIFA to every body's knowledge has been under the intense spotlight of the America's FBI. Before then, several salacious stories have been swirling around FIFA. The FBI focus has confirmed what was been whispered or insinuated. FIFA is corrupt, rotten to the core. I'm even surprised that there is a functioning bureaucracy / administration after the FBI arrests in May 2015.

The events since then evidently points to massive / industrial scale corruption within FIFA. But should this be surprising though. FIFA runs arguably the World's most prestigious and richest sports event. FIFA is effectively like the United Nations, it transcends the laws of any country and is in reality answerable to no one. Is it a surprise that corruption thrives where there is opportunity and very little accountability?

So yes FIFA is corrupt. BUT BUT BUT. Was the FBI altruistic? Did they love football so much that they wanted to clean it up? Or was this another opportunity for America to annex another global organisation and place it under its thumbs? We will find out more when the FIFA cases are eventually heard in court. For this reason, however, I will be suspicious of any North American President of FIFA. To me this will be the next step in making sure FIFA does the bidding of America.

When the FIFA arrests stories broke, the European football fraternity and their media were very quick to distant themselves from Blatter's FIFA. I was amazed back then that a man like Platini could dare to position himself as the person to clean up FIFA. What bloody cheek. Fast forward 5 months later, it has all come out in the wash. Platini is part of the problem and should not be entrusted with the global administration of football.

In my opinion, ever since Blatter empowered 3rd world countries within FIFA and gave them a voice, the knives of the European football fraternity has been out for him. They are not happy at Mr Blatter's attempt to diversify football by ensuring Asian and African countries host the World Cup and participate fully. Europe has watched its dominance of football drain away and was quite eager to use Blatter's comeuppance as a backdoor to controlling global football again. I hope they fail and I hope a non European, none American succeeds Blatter as FIFA President.

Global football will be better for it. The beautiful game is for everybody, not just for Europe or the superpowers.

Sunday 18 October 2015

My Thoughts on the Arsenal AGM & the £3m payment to Kroenke Sports Enterprises

I have toyed with the idea of writing about other subjects in the past few weeks but I am yet to find the motivation to do so. Watching Arsenal, reading about Arsenal, writing about Arsenal is infinitely more rewarding than most subjects at this time.

This is because Arsenal is on a good run in the Premier League. The talent of the team is showing through and many players are either stepping up or maintaining their already high standards. If you combine all of these with the perception that Manchester City are not going to run away with the title this season like Chelsea did in the last one and that the previous winners are not playing well at the moment and are unlikely to mount a decent defence of their title, you are likely to come to the conclusion the premier league title is wide open this season and Arsenal like Manchester United have a fair chance of glory. It is fair to say that there is an air of incredible optimism amongst the Arsenal fan base although to be fair we have been here many times before.

Yes there is cause for optimism if you are an Arsenal fan, but very worrying is what appears to be the schisms within the fan base. There are notable and well known groups like the Pro and Anti Arsene Wenger group; we have the 'Ozil is shit' group and the 'Ozil is so good you can't appreciate what he does with the naked eye' group. There are also other groups who think Coquelin is the best defensive midfielder in Europe and others who think Bastian Schweinsteiger as a World Cup winner is better than Le Coq. There are also others who think Per Mertesacker (another world cup winner) is rubbish and any championship central defender is better than our very own BFG. There are also many who oppose the way the majority owner and directors are running the club and want all of them out with Alisher Usmanov running the show.They obviously assume Usmanov will be as generous as the Chelsea owner while I think different times, different place, different era and wonder if these sae people will tolerate the hiring and firing mentality of the Abramovich era or the turgid win at all costs mentality. Perhaps a topic for another day.

What I find amusing about the different Arsenal groupings is the fact that membership of one group does not exclude you from membership of the other. You even find the more pathetic ones who are 'Wenger Out' today and 'Wenger Messiah' tomorrow depending on what garbage Piers Morgan has spewed on Twitter. Never mind Piers, a man who loves to insert himself into any controversy guaranteed to get him the attention he notoriously craves. Less said about the toad the better.

Anyway back to Arsenal and the AGM. I have read many accounts of the annual meeting and I would  summarise the following as highlights from what I have read

  • The club is unwilling to offer a proper explanation on the £3m paid to Kroenke Sports Enterprise (KSE)
  • The Board & the owner will never sack Wenger. They are very happy with the way the club plays football and the overall performance of the team
  • Arsene Wenger cares deeply about the club, he is ambitious for more success and wants to leave a legacy while remaining committed to his contract.
  • The club considers some people noise makers  (I'm looking at you Piers Morgan) and will not spend money just to satisfy people if they can't find quality players to make the squad better

There are other points, but the above are what I consider relevant.

I am delighted that the club is effectively sticking two fingers at the 'Wenger Out' brigade and I do hope the anti Wenger lot will pay heed and realise that they are wasting their energy. Focus all your enthusiasm on supporting the club if you are genuinely a fan. At this time Wenger is the manager of the club you claim to support and the people who make the decisions are not going to change Wenger irrespective of your views about him.

On the issue of the £3m to KSE, I find all the repeated questions boring and a waste of valuable time and energy. I hope the people who are bothered about the payment to KSE realise that Arsenal's 2015 turnover is £344m. So KSE have collected 1% of this. Also Arsenal made a profit of £24m and the payment to KSE represent 12.5% of the group net profit. Please let that sink in. How much of a big deal is this £3m?

Yes the club are not giving a cogent explanation and are very tetchy about the repeated annual questions but maybe this is because they can't genuinely give an explanation because its a disguised dividend payment. If it is, Mr Alisher Usmanov should be screaming his head off because he deserves about half of that money. He has rightly written to the board for an explanation and we have heard nothing further. I would take it he has received satisfactory explanation which leads me to the next reason why the board have not answered the £3m payment question to our satisfaction.

Is it inconceivable that the directors are unable to provide what appears to be a straight forward answer because they do not wish to disclose some proprietary / confidential information that helps with Arsenal's competitiveness? The chairman reportedly pointed to the FA cups and the Community Shield as the outputs of the service KSE render to the club. Are we perhaps second guessing the board and the chairman? If you genuinely think they are lying why don't you write a petition to the Serious Fraud Office or the Police or to the Department of Business detailing what is obviously a malfeasance by the directors and stop all these merry go round at the AGM. Are we going to edure the sane question every year?

Alternatively the directors might consider the question such an irrelevance and not worth dignifying with a nut and bolt answer as the £3m payment to KSE represents about 1% of the overall expenses of the club.

I really worry about the repetitive nature of this £3m payment question. Why don't these people query the money we spend with the Coach Hire company, or the hotels, the football agents etc. We expend considerably more money in these other areas and in the interest of transparency, these expenditures should receive the same level of interest. But they don't because KSE is not related to these other areas.

I think the noise and anger is down to the fact that we the fans do not like the fact that the owner appears to be taking money out of our beloved club. I admire the emotions traditional fans especially those with historical ties to Arsenal invest in the club but are they perhaps clinging to an illusion that no longer exist? Why did the old style shareholders (the descendants of Samuel Hill - Wood & Sir Bracewell Smith) sell their shares? They either needed the money or they recognised that the club needed the money of these big hitters (these new style owners we hate so much) to move into the future. These new style owners have a way of operating and unfortunately one of those ways is what KSE are doing and what the Glazers are doing at Manchester United.

We Arsenal fans are bloody fortunate and do not realise it. Every year Manchester United spends in excess of £30m on debt servicing. Debt that wasn't used to build Old Trafford or Carrington or to pay the enormous wages of Wayne Rooney. This was debt for debt sake. Let that sink in Asenal fans. That £30m is the  equivalent of adding a player the quality of Alexis Sanchez to your squad every year and that is on top of your other regular player purchases etc.

I can't believe that any serious Arsenal fan is complaining about £3m paid to KSE. In 2011 we bought Sebastien Schillaci from Sevilla for £4m, a million more than we are moaning about on KSE and then proceeded to pay Schillaci something in the region of £60k per week. Every year for 3 years, the club was handing out £3.1m to Schillaci. I didn't see any fan or shareholder moan about this every year at the AGM. What did the club get from Schillaci? The square root of NOUGHT. Yet we moan that KSE even after the directors say they get tangible benefit for the payment.

Why do we focus on inanities? Did anybody think it fit to ask about a succession plan because much as we all love Arsene Wenger, he is not immortal. Did anybody ask what realistic football targets are set at the beginning of the season and what is the minimum expectation from the squad every season? Did anybody ask if there is a scope to expand the Emirates to take advantage of the 80,000 plus season ticket waiting list? No. Nobody did. We are wondering what happened to 1% when the there is  scope to significantly improve the size of our operations and keep pace with the Manchester Uniteds of this word financially.

I call on Arsenal fans to focus on the football. Support the team, be a genuine 12th man instead of the inanities that lead no where. With our concerted 12th man support, ARSENAL CAN ACHIEVE A LOT MORE.

Monday 5 October 2015


Looking at social media today, you will be convinced that Arsenal Football Club have suddenly won the English Premier League, the Champions League, the Europa League and World Club Championship all rolled into one, following yesterday's match at the Emirates.

What is wrong with Arsenal FC fans?

If you must know, Arsenal only defeated what can be realistically considered a very expensive pub side. A team filled with 'has beens' on their last legs. Arsenal got lucky yesterday by playing against a 'has been' manager in King Louis Van Gaal. A man who was doesn't understand or do tactics, a man who is past it and no longer has anything to offer football. In my opinion, he is too old.

However Man United have an excuse, anything was / is better than David Moyes - Ian Holloway, Phil Brown, Stuart Pearce. Anything or anybody. Fortunately, for them, LvG will be gone in the next 2 years and will hand over the crown jewels of the football world to the King in waiting - Ryan Giggs. True scion of Fergie who will then restore all the lost glory of the Red Devils kingdom - GGMU.

Back to Arsene. I don't know what the AKB brigade see in the man. Can't they read? Don't they watch TV? Haven't they heard what THE BEST MANAGER IN THE WORLD (Jose Mourinho) called Wenger - "Specialist in Failure". Cant they see all these things many people write about Wenger on social media and in the newspapers? Why should any reasonable person be in AKB brigade?

In all my 10 years of following football, Wenger has won nothing of note. NOTHING. Soon it will be 11 years. Please please don't get me started about FA cups. Those are not proper trophies. Real clubs don't take cup competitions seriously. Millwall FC almost won the FA cup a few years ago, A League 2 club like Portsmouth won it recently so please spare me your comments about the FA cup.

As everybody knows, winning the Premier League or Champions league is the Holy Grail and as Gary Neville, the best football pundit in the world said, "Arsenal can never win the league again under Wenger". So why do we stick with Wenger?  If you know football, you will  know that if Arsenal was managed by Jose Mourinho in the last 10 years, we will win the league every year, our team will be the best  team ever. Arsenal will never play rubbish football like we did against Dynamo Zagreb, Olympiakos and Monaco. We will absolutely monster them. Also, if Pep Guardiola was managing Arsenal, we will win the Champions League every year. So why are we allowing Arsene hold Arsenal back?

With Arsene, we can never be as successful as great club sides like Liverpool, Aston Villa, Nottingham Forest, Aberdeen - great club sides who have won the European League, in Liverpool's case, 5 TIMES. Arsene has condemned Arsenal to also ran in Europe. Liverpool fans will forever have bragging rights over Arsenal fans.

And just to demonstrate how ambitions Liverpool FC are, they have just fired the manager who almost won them the league. They are going to employ the most forward looking manager in Europe in Jurgen Klopp. In Klopp, Liverpool are about to appoint a guaranteed winner. I wonder why many Arsenal fans don't think like Piers Morgan, a man who is very knowledgeable about football and a very likeable person who loves Arsenal football club more than most. He has said that Arsenal should sack Wenger and appoint Klopp. WE SHOULD LISTEN TO HIM PEOPLE. The Board of Arsenal should send a big delegation to Germany tonight and beg Klopp to come and manage Arsenal.  But will we?

I'm sure we will not. Why on God's earth do we stick with Wenger? The man seats on a pile of cash, a £200m pile to be precise and refuses to sign players. Why couldn't he have just offered £100m to Real Madrid for Benzema. Thump the table with the money like Man U did for Martial and watch Florentino Perez hand over Benzema in double quick time.

Why didn't he offer to pay £250k per week to Schneiderlin? Why did he allow Manchester United sign a player who appears tailor made for Arsenal? How can he prefer Coquelin who was playing in the championship a few months ago, to a proven performer like Schneiderlin?

Why didn't Wenger offer £90m to PSG for Cavani, a man who could have become Arsenal's own Suarez. Even Liverpool have spent over £300m on players in 3 years. What has Arsene done? Nothing. Unquestionably the man is ruining Arsenal.

He has managed Arsenal for too long. The job of Arsenal Manager is not a traditional title. Please he has done enough, let him go. The Arsenal Board should approach Pep Guardiola this very minute. Pep's contract at Bayern Munich expires at the end of this season, he will definitely be interested in managing Arsenal knowing that we already play his style of football. And with our £200m cash, Pep can bring Muller, Lewandoski, Gotze, Alaba and Neuer to the Emirates in one transfer window. Something Arsene can never do.

Guys. Its time to sack Wenger. Our club Arsenal is going back. FA cup is nothing,  Since Wenger cannot deliver the holy grail like the pundits say, he should go. We have had enough.


Tuesday 29 September 2015

Arsenal - Learning To Take Yes For An Answer

A colleague recently introduced me to the TV series 'Breaking Bad'. I have been engrossed in the series and recently heard the phrase that is the title of today's post. "WHY DONT YOU LEARN TO TAKE YES FOR AN ANSWER"

Usually people don't like taking 'NO' for an answer. You will be surprised that not taking 'YES'  for an answer is even more common because the packaging for the 'Yes' is not how we expect it to be or we sometimes might not believe our luck that we got a 'YES' answer.

Anyway back to football. It is a fact that all football matches end in one of 3 outcomes. A win, a draw or a loss. Depending on your team's circumstances at that particular time, either of these outcome might not be a bad thing.

How is a loss a good thing I hear you say. Cast your mind back to the Arsenal versus Monaco match in last season's UCL Round of 16 first leg. Everybody now agrees that a 2 - 1 loss rather than the 3 - 1 result would have been a good one for Arsenal. Wise heads on the pitch, or equally savvy heads on the touchline would have realised same and when Oxlade - Chamberlain pulled one back for Arsenal on the night, the advise should have been for the boys to see out the match at 2 - 1 and not go chasing an equaliser. That didn't happen and the rest is history.

Earlier on tonight, I watched Alexis Sanchez level for Arsenal to make the game 2 all. I immediately said to everybody watching with me that Arsenal needed to kill the match for the next 10 minutes and if they succeed, then go in search of the winner in the last 10 minutes.  Unfortunately the ball was in the back of the Arsenal net within minutes.

If I as a fan, know that you are more vulnerable after scoring a goal, how come highly paid professionals don't realise this? Clearly we should have taken the draw rather than this loss that leaves us bottom of the group with zero points.

For me, I will forever disagree with pundits and commentators who believe Wenger is past it. He has 2 back to back FA Cups to show for his 'past it' ness. Wenger's biggest problem as far as I am concerned is his football communism / socialism orientation. Arsenal under Wenger will always allow the other team play football. We will not employ any skulduggery or game management or dirty tricks. We are too good for all of that and therein lies my problem with Wenger.

Arsenal as a team need to be a bit more street smart. If the players on the pitch do not realise when you need to close a game out or you need to disrupt the flow of the game then the people on the bench need to intervene. It is all well and good to have a purist view of the game and to trust your players but often, something extra is needed from the bench and I believe this is lacking.

On the issue of rotation, I was more comfortable with the starting 11 today than the team for the Zagreb game. I rate Ospina. I am a huge fan of the man's professionalism and his goalkeeping abilities. Yes he blundered today and chose the wrong match to blunder. Unfortunately for both him and Wenger, his error today would be held up as further evidence of how crap a goalkeeper Ospina is and Wenger's missmanagement. Unfortunately I agree with neither. We have seen our number 1 goalkeeper this season make some errors. World Class goal keepers make errors and some are fortunate that there errors go unpunished or does not cost their team. Others are unfortunate and Ospina was one of those today.

On this goalkeeper issue, Wenger and Ospina made the mistake of not playing the percentages. When you are facing a must win game, when form is patchy and the team is a bit brittle, in my opinion, you play safe. The safe option was Petr Cech today. If Cech had made the same blunder, some of the anti Wenger noises will be less and I doubt if Cech would have attempted what Ospina did this evening. As for Ospina, the safe option was to punch that ball, not attempt some exotic save that ended up costing your team a goal especially with the absence of goal line technology.

But match is done. We have lost and it hurts. Today's match highlights our frailty as a team and further demonstrates the overall malaise afflicting the English game. Next up is Sunday's match versus the league leaders. I dare say Sunday is a another day to play safe. There is a lot of high emotions out there especially amongst the fan and the minimum expectation I believe is a draw. For me, a draw with a very assured defensive display is the least I will take. If we win, all the better but with Mr Anthony Taylor of Manchester as the man in the middle, watch out for some interesting calls as Mr Taylor has his own rule book which is totally different from most referees. You think Mike Dean is awful. Wait till you experience Mr Taylor in HD

Sunday 27 September 2015


I believe Jose Mourinho is a coward and I have proof. About a year ago, Arsene Wenger violently shoved him. Not only did he not retaliate, he didn't stand his ground. 

You would expect some form  reaction from someone who appears on the surface to be bold. None was forthcoming from Mourinho. He appears to hide behind the referee and offers some platitudes during the post match conference. That is typical little girl blouse behaviour in my opinion. 

It is universally acclaimed that Jose Mourinho is the motormouth of the football world. Unfortunately, his mouth is quite unlike a sleek vehicle, a bit like those rough and ready bangers used for the Paris - Dakar rally. In his desire to make everything about himself, he spews a lot of garbage. 

He was at it again a few days ago. Given it large and apparently directing his verbal volleys at Arsene Wenger.  Mind you, like all typical cowards, he wasn't courageous enough to mention the Professor's name. What was he afraid of?  If you are a real man and you intend to go on a rant. Please have the balls to man up and point your fingers appropriately. Don't hide behind hyperboles and using the media to do your dirty work. 

His rant is reproduced below. 

“In this country, only one manager is not under pressure. Every other manager is. I am under pressure, Steve is under pressure, (Manuel) Pellegrini is under pressure, Brendan (Rodgers) too. We cannot be below par. We have to meet the objectives. I have sympathy with all of them, because it's a difficult job. There's one outside that list, but good for him. I have sympathy for Steve.”

As far as I am concerned, this rant and his comments before the Champions League match versus Maccabi Tel Aviv were a desperate cry for help. A frantic appeal to Mike Emenalo and the Chelsea Board to spare his blushes and not make hasty decisions. 

Mourinho knows the type of organisation he works for. He knows what he has signed up for and he knows the Chelsea Board are asking questions which he has no answers for at this time and in typical fashion, he is trying to change the narrative. 

I can somewhat relate to the job of a football manager as outside of my attempts at writing, I have a day job. I know my objectives and deliverables in this job. When it is time for performance management discussions, I am judged against those deliverables while allowance is made for any genuine extenuating circumstances. It is inconceivable that I will attempt to bring in the supposedly below par performance of some other professional in a similar role but working for another organisation into my performance management discussion. It will not fly.

So why is Mourinho trying to bring Arsene Wenger's lack of pressure at Arsenal into question? Are they both working for Arsenal? or does Jose indeed want to work for Arsenal seeing that he his getting older, losing his so called magic touch and looking for a club where he is unlikely to experience the same roller coaster pressure he has been under all his professional life? 

Is the ownership model at Arsenal the same as Chelsea? Is the financial model the same? Do they play the same type of football? Or is this plain old jealousy? Why can't I have that? A perverse attempt not to keep up with the Joneses but to destroy the achievements of the Joneses. 

As far as I can see with Jose's comments, he is literally asking kids whose dads / parents are unsuccessful (going by the parameters laid down by Jose Mourinho) to change their parents. What manner of a person is he? 

Jose believes he is a better manager than Wenger. Granted he has won more trophies than the Arsenal Manager and has not lost to Wenger in all competitions bar the Charity Shield. The football world out there believe Jose is a better manager. So why is Jose constantly obsessed with Wenger? If you are superior to someone, I will imagine you are not bothered about them. They ought to be inconsequential. But to make this inferior professional the subject of your rant is beyond me and confirms that Jose is genuinely weird. Weird enough that if I had the money, I will hire a psychologist to help him. 

I agree totally with the comments Wenger made in 2005  that "When you give success to stupid people, it makes them more stupid sometimes and not more intelligent.” 

Jose's actions do not appear to be that of an intelligent person. His delusions are self evident especially when his team does not get the results that they feel entitled to. It is someone else's fault. There is a conspiracy. The world is aligned against us. Our computer broke. Don't you feel sorry for us. It is comical and I wonder when the savvy Tsar of West London will say enough. 

I hope soon. I expect Mr Abramovich will soon don his Grim Reaper costume, hand over the Sword of Damocles to Mike Emenalo and instruct him to lance the putrid boil that is Mourinho. The sooner we are rid of him the better. Hopefully club owners the world over will soon realise that the only guarantee you get with Mourinho is strife. 

Sunday 20 September 2015

Arsenal – Plus Ca Change. Plus C’est La Meme Chose

I have found it difficult to motivate myself to write for the past 4 weeks following my return from vacation. I attempted to write about my holiday last weekend but abandoned the effort after writing one page. You have to praise writers who are consistent and publish their copy week in week out or even daily.  

Anyways, Arsenal’s loss to Chelsea yesterday has prompted me to pick up my laptop and attempt a few squiggles. Here goes.

Prior to the 2 matches before Zagreb and Chelsea, I was in a good space as an Arsenal fan. We had sort of turned around our disastrous start in the Premier League with a few points on the league table. By the way, considering, West Ham’s win at the EPL Champion Designate otherwise known as The Unstoppable Manchester City and the comprehensive dismantling of Liverpool FC (that hitherto giant of Global Football) I would not now call West Ham’s defeat of Arsenal an upset. After all Arsenal are nobodies when it comes to football (By the way, that’s what one my senior friends and big brother calls PERSPECTIVE)

Back to other matters. For as long as I can remember, we didn’t go into the international break as the butt of all football fan’s jokes. We also didn’t return with any crocked players. Playing Zagreb while not exactly a ‘gimme’ was not expected to be too much of a worry. I expected and I expect that any Arsenal 11 will beat Zagreb.

Unfortunately football is not mathematic or arithmetic. Clearly the manager had his eyes on the Chelsea match and proceeded to rest many players.  The rest they say is history (pardon the pun). We lost and in entirely somewhat unfortunate circumstances we lost the match we were resting players for. SAD. VERY SAD.

Before I continue, I must make it very clear that I am an Arsene Wenger fan. I do not believe he is perfect. Far from it and not even close. At the moment, he is the manager of the club I happen to support. He has done a bloody good job in 19+ years, he has changed the face of the club and Arsenal appears to be well positioned for the future.

I do not believe he is indispensable as I am aware that the graveyard is filled with many who consider themselves indispensable. But I consider myself a realist. From what is in the public domain, Wenger’s two bosses support him totally. One owns the club and is happy with the way the club is run and Wenger’s work output. The other one is the Chief Executive and was supposedly recruited by Wenger. The Arsenal directors love him. So guys / Arsenal fans, until Wenger decides he has had enough or Kroenke changes his approach, Wenger is going nowhere soon.

For those who don’t like Arsene, I have a fantastic idea – GET BEHIND YOUR TEAM. That team includes Arsene and the players you take delight in slating.  If your principles are such that you cant support Arsenal the way it is now, please keep your gob shut. If you cant, maybe supporting another team might appeal to you.

Back to our matches versus Zagreb and Chelsea. In retrospect, I think the decision to rest players versus Zagreb was wrong. I was apprehensive before the match as I was worried we will do ‘an Arsenal’. Despite that, I didn’t predict a loss. I however consider Wenger’s decision to res players wrong because you should really be playing the next match, not 2 matches away. It was incredibly important to start our Champions League campaign on the front foot and by resting players we couldn’t do that. Not only that we went into the Chelsea match without the momentum and the feel good factor that a win in Zagreb would have afforded the team.

I’m sure Arsene trusted the boys who played to do the business. Unfortunately Giroud’s bizarre petulance and dissent let his team down. When things started not to go according to plan, I will expect Wenger to do something about it. The manager is very reluctant to take what might appear to be rash decisions. I give that to him. But often, the players he relies on to be matured and calm let him down. From what we saw during the game with Crystal Palace this season, it appears Per Mertesacker had to intervene with the manager before Coquelin was substituted. Last season in Wales, Calum Chambers was crying to be substituted after Jefferson Montero handed him his backside. Bellerin has had some disastrous times in the Arsenal shirt as well with the manager doing nothing about it.

As soon as I saw the circumstances leading to Giroud’s first yellow card, I messaged a friend that he will be sent off today. If I can see that, why cant the manager see it. There was no sign that any of the coaching staff passed on messages to him to calm down. And if the manager knows his players very well as he should, I would have expected him to yank Giroud off immediately after his behavior towards the ref.  Similarly with Gabriel, we know he is a feisty lad and we love him for that but why was none of his teammates minding him yesterday as the Costa incident was kicking off.

I know nobody can make allowances for all circumstances in life but it appears Arsenal make the same mistakes time and time again. The more things change. The more they remain the same.

Arsenal FC makes the same basic mistakes time and time again. Forget the mindless incompetence of Mike Dean in the Chelsea match. We conceded a set piece goal to effectively lose the match. West Ham, Zagreb and now Chelsea. That was why we lost those 3 matches. The decisive goal was conceding the set piece. It’s a shame that this is a reoccurring theme. We realize we have problems with set pieces, we fix it and then the problem reappears and we then have to fix it again. At the end of the day, you want to question the coaching the boys are having. 

To conclude, a word of advice might prove useful to Arsenal fans and maybe all football fans that are presently despondent with their club (wink wink Man U fans), no team has a divine right to win football matches or football competitions. That is why the word ‘upsets’ was coined. I dare say upsets happen more in football even when 11 school boys play the best 11 in the world. Also no manager can guarantee you they will win any competition from the start of the season. Some managers and teams are more likely to win. In my opinion, fans should ordinarily be interested in the competitiveness of their teams. When you are competitive, with that bit of luck and with a few dodgy referees in your corner like Mike Dean, you will definitely win something.