Alan Hansen, Russia and a difference of opinion
Yesterday I wrote about how some fans don't agree with people who are ever critical. Ignoring the possibility that criticism is part of our rhetoric when responding to observation, such an approach is deemed badly by many people.
So upon hearing Alan Hansen is leaving the BBC, I had to ponder exactly where we will be without individuals who can give a credible view on football. Many will not agree with Alan Hansen a lot of the times but to give a constructive view on a subject is always useful. In a world of aggressive media, initiated and catalysed in the hope to get viewership we will always remember people who disappear from our media who offered something different. I for one admired Hansen's view, most of the time.
Yet this takes me further as to how we view the world. In a recent even regarding attacks on Members of Government and how social media responded, in favour or against what is said, it pained me that people don't actually go out there and do research. People don't go out there and look for a balanced view on the world. I accept that a difference of opinion, especially an opinion that is way over the top and unseen can really shake the foundation of the status quo but at the very least, if we give "reading" and "research" a chance it would useful.
So, then it is so sad, that twitter creates something where people create opinion in small sentences. I thought and I view twitter as a place where people can share links, that we can read in full and try to analyse. Oddly it creates, now, something that aggravates global tension even further.
To go to war, or not to go to war. Doesn't this remind you of the massive amount of publicity that was associated with the Manchester United and Arsenal games of the past. I recall reading or watching something where, people were mocking football fans for taking the game so seriously. Which is why, a balanced perspective is so important. We must be careful what we say, we must be careful what we communicate and we must also be careful how we express and indulge with others. At the very least, working with others in a balanced format is probably the best way forward which aids everywhere.
Making rash decisions doesn't help. It may work in the short term but in the long run, where does it leave us?
In the world today, we have this rhetoric where we create an opinion that states, no good can come of something. We don't see that some benefit can come from something. We ignore it, neglect it and in some ways hope it will be destroyed. In fact our media today is created in this way. Regularly the media encourages us to look at things in the hope we can see how dreadful it is and how useless it is to the world.
Maybe this is idealistic or is it? We already have billions in the world, operating, daily, hour by hour, minute by minute, second by second on the basis of what benefit we can gain from anything around us, in order to survive.
So sad that our media is actually made up in a great way of what lack and what lack of benefit is around us. If we can avoid conflict, we must avoid it. Maybe not for ourselves but for that person sitting next to your or near you, who someone else probably relies on.
Don't we all know fans like this at Arsenal
The above is a great video on the subject of the kind of Arsenal fan who knocks other fans for their opinion on Arsenal.
You know the type. Who think we should be positive (their brand of it) and not say anything negative. Their only real response is we should focus on how shiny a player's knees were or how good a pass some random player made in the game which looks good for our future.
These kind of fans seem to have only one goal. To try and prove how great a fan is and they'll remain this way all the way until their old age, trying to prove how better a fan they are. Oh of course, they'll say at some point they do criticise the club and they have mates who they disagree with who also disagree with the club but how dare somebody else, new, that they don't know criticise the club. Criticising the club is just for him and his small band of friends.
What I find odd about these fans is, ex-players criticise the club, the manager criticises clubs, if you are in a work place or any environment people criticise in the hope things will change. So, I don't understand how they can logically, rationalise and create some kind of ill fought assumption of reasoning by saying they are in the right?
Are they so blinded by money and authority that they fear Wenger won't flash their eyes at them if they say something wrong against them.
Yet we have to start to question why this becomes a group activity and I think I discovered it recently.
In certain areas of society, amongst certain groups, you are attracted to and encouraged towards having particular pursuits and interests. If you don't have those pursuits, it could be the theatre, fine dining, going for an afternoon to meet friends, basically, activities that your locale and immediate affluent social circle pursuits - if you don't have these pursuits then you are not around something which you can parade and flash in someone's face as elitist.
It is about being elitist. Arsenal haven't left the top flight of football. It is usually more affluent fans who fall into this bracket. Of course, obviously, not all fans who are affluent aren't like this in fact, I'd say the vast majority are intelligent enough not to be like this but the ones who usually are, have this trait about them that they don't want to deem their weekend jollies with disdain because it will be, not a scar on something they love, but a scar on who they are in their social hierarchy.
Observe this for yourself.
Where as the rest of us can do the simple maths and can see society for what it is and if it's not performing you question it. It is I guess a question of maturity, intelligence and also being comfortable in your own skin. Being able to speak for yourself. They don't appear to share the Wenger ideology of being yourself and being your own player. They're more like a Chelsea brand of football where everybody will try and surround a player and hound them like they're some Z-list celebrity demanding a reasoning to their existence.
Anyway, enjoy. Believe this is a video about Muslims in Football. Think it's great. I believe religion can make a man a better person. Yes there are some people around who would like to politicise and militarise religion but that hasn't really worked to any great extent.
Immigration and the Transfer Policy
The question of immigration was highlighted today in the news. Apparently, 60% of the UK see immigration as one of the economic problems in this country. People believe immigrants exploit the UK and cause social problems.
This is highly odd considering how many immigrants, or children of recent immigrants make up the fabric of this economy in the public and private sector. It's even more bizarre when you see how connected the world is.
To make this even more funnier, we, as a nation celebrated war after war and revolution after revolution which had the clear consequence, the main result of bringing people together. We believed if we fought for the rights of particular people and we broke down the Berlin wall and took apart communism or supported civil rights that it would bring us together.
Then we believe immigration is a problem.
People have no idea what they want. I do know what they do want though.
I believe people do want to see benefit in others. I do believe people want to see what another person can do for them for benefit. We can take a sordid view here and a very sad one to keep it on topic, that there are many people in the world who have had constantly horrible experiences with the people around them.
So I ask the question - what is another man, or woman, taking away from you?
God in his brilliance has given us so much without wanting for anything. That is because we have everything around us.
What exactly will the removal of immigrants do for us?
It's all so odd and that is why I connect it with the transfer policy. We started the season, shouting and screaming at all the problems at Arsenal, which can be a representation of the world here. We wanted immigrants to come in. We wanted new people to come in to change things - but then, oddly, we won the games after that. Then we believe we are a strong nation/club, like the United Kingdom that can do so much better but they only way we can do that is if we connect with our opportunities if we make the best of what is around.
The UK has problems that are over shadowed by statistics. Let's not forget that. We can, take a lot of help from the best footballing country (arguably) on the planet, Germany (home of Ozil?) and change things around can't we... yet we have to ask, what exactly do we want?
As an Arsenal fan, I believe, we have had multiple foreign players, play great football for us and win us a lot of trophies. Every club in the premiership has been the same. Yet, if we look at the clubs in the lower leagues as developing nations - not many foreign players go to those clubs.
People come to big clubs, nay, they are invited to the big clubs because of what they do for us and how they transform the world and they do transform the world, to the tune of Billions of people inspired by the kick of a ball. We are all connected by this amazing ideology that connects the planet and we can see colour, creed, race, identity, background is not important because we see together we can change things.
That is what we need. These values have driven us forward and made the world a better place. Our ability to connect and treat each other equally is the future. We cannot stand by and believe particular things are important when we have now been given so much to work with as a planet and to help each other out.
Arsenal proved this weekend that we are a great club and we can still win trophies but we need to improve for the sake of what it represents. We need to improve to keep the ideology of working together and working with people from different backgrounds together. We need to consider how we can get the best out of people.
There are so many ugly views and nasty ideas in the world these days. Coming out of a recession like our 7 years without a trophy (ok, it's not a recession) will bring forward many parties for blame but only a fool would separate themselves from those parties - because our value system now says we can use anybody and everybody for our benefit.
Some great things have been built at the club and greater things can come from it. I am sure Arsene will make great use of what he acquires.
Arsenal End the Doom and Gloom - Be careful what you rely upon and trust
Sorry for the layout. I am in the process of cleaning this.
I struggle to see where all the difficulties with Arsenal are.
To be honest, I've begun to feel the probability is a lot of pain associated with Arsenal is out of regret and pride but importantly shame. The shame that, so much faith and trust was placed in this club and all that they said about their ethos and attitude and nothing came out of that.
Some lessons can be learnt here about life. How, if you trust someone, what do they do to instil that trust. What do they do to encourage that belief as well. Merely because somebody says they are the best doesn't work out. The interesting thing is, it wasn't a lie but a state of cloak and dagger. Way back then, a club was strong because of certain people - we removed those people and realised, the board were not as fantastic as they make themselves out to be.
As I said yesterday, there are people who work hard. Fabregas was one, Flamini was another. The statistics showed they covered more ground in a game than any other player in the premiership when they were at the club. Then we sold them. We also sold other players that were our best, without a back up plan.
But we still finished fourth, sometimes we finished third.
So, we didn't need to make a huge change to make the next step? Especially when the difference in winning the league was a couple of wins, or maybe three?
Yet, I believe I cannot be spoilt.
We still have a team with a great history and some amazing achievements.
Although that is not the only reason I can't be spoilt.
I can't be spoilt because it is immature, arrogant and degenerate to be spoilt.
Does that mean that I shouldn't be concerned about the way the club is run? No it doesn't. In fact, it is the most important thing to be concerned about because for a club of our ability we should do a lot better. Especially considering we don't really use our resources to push ourselves to the limit.
It has become apparent that the board were awful. Now, I don't necessarily blame the board for this. In fact, the nature of the board I worked out for myself - but with the help of some Arsenal fans. Some... Arsenal fans.
These fans were open minded, able to discuss and importantly, not obsessively, possessively attached to the club.
Now some people will say, the obsessive, possessive, I was there when Charlie George etc. type fans are the best in the world. I don't think they are because they are replacing important factors of their life with a football team.
They are the very fans, other fans look towards to guide them through understanding Arsenal. They are the fans who silenced the fans who never questioned the board or the club's attitude to fans and ticket prices etc when other fans were questioning this. They in fact silenced these fans and I remember some horrible fighting between fans if you dared question the way the club was run.
I still see these types of fans around and they still question anybody who will speak against Arsenal.
Why? We question war, we question government, we question our local surroundings. Are we saying we can't question the very thing we're passionate about in life?
Oddly, these fans are silent now. I recall watching a video online where a fan called certain fans "media luvvies". It is true. Some fans love the limelight. You get a massive amount of attention if you say you are obsessively in love with something without questioning their existence.
They are still fans. Importantly, they are part of football but we have to be careful what we read and how we respond to what we read. This is more important for those people who get far too involved in a club that they become influential to other fans. Influential to the point, things can look good, when they are bad and things can look bad when they are good.
It's about balance, so it's important as a fan to focus on what is important.
It's a football team, after all, not life or death.
So I applaud fans to be open minded. I applaud fans to question. I applaud fans to have their own opinion. I also applaud fans who will take a protest and channel any aggression appropriately.
I cannot applaud or praise somebody who just parades around attention seeking. Arsenal were actually at fault for this. We actually paraded ourselves in the media as something extra special. We had nothing to show for it apart from a history. History is important but not at the expense of losing who you are - a football club.
Yet, it is early in the season. We still have a full squad, with injuries but full that we can play well and challenge the big teams. The club are very much awfully secretive about their intentions - at times at the expense of the fans but also in the strategy to get Champions League football.
Of course we need more than that but the board need to realise it's not about money, it's about football.
Money can't buy you a trophy but it can get you closer to it. I guess this board just wants to settle for what they have.
But what if... you can get to fourth place. Have we been duped to believe it's harder to get 3rd, 2nd or 1st? Even with our money? Have we been fooled to think that if we spend money - everything terrible will happen so be happy with fourth? We should be grateful.
I am sure that is ridiculous. It is ridiculous because we are not trying for fear of looking silly.
Flamini and the positives of Gazidis
A lot has been said about the media in recent weeks and their position in the whole Arsenal situation. I myself have commented on it as well particularly because I think it plays an important part. It plays an important part because we all communicate Arsenal information for a desired effect.
A simple way of looking at this, without making some equation is, we all want a trophy. For that to occur we need the right people in place. We need Gazidis, the players, the manager and all the backroom staff and maybe the heavens above and the environment to be appropriate. We've all talked about these things, especially in this case, the acoustics of Ashburton Grove and the state of the pitch which has always been good apparently. We also fashioned into this the effect of a new stadium.
To add to this we have to look at how much Arsenal have changed. We have to admit, far too much has changed at the club.
I remember when David Dein wanted to sell his stake in the club to a company run by Usmanov. Remember this situation and how it was hijacked by everybody involved? How time has changed things now. We were such a proud support who believed Dein was in the wrong and Usmanov was evil and something terrible was occurring at Arsenal and everything was being tainted.
Let's balance things out before we head into how we feel now. Usmanov and Dein could have done something terrible. People were afraid we would end up like Leeds United and also taint our position.
Since then, some good things have happened. We haven't won a trophy, we have sold some important players, we have lost some back room staff and some board room members but, we have stayed in the Champion's League year on year and come runners up in some trophies.
All of which has occurred on the back of some scare mongering.
We can't buy player X or Y, because they're not good enough, that player can't play at Arsenal, he'll spoil the team's dynamic, he shouldn't wear an Arsenal shirt. We had a holier than thou attitude and we believed players like Vieira, Henry were some group of disciples of holy order or something. We were far greater than that. Yet, other clubs, who are far less profitable than ourselves have done better.
At this point I have to digress. What is money? What does it buy you today? What is there that is special out there to have with money that nobody else will get? I believe, the whole idea of the industrial revolution and mass production has been criticised for centuries. People were against this new form of wealth creation. Why? People believed in their own spirit. Their own will. The human ability to accumulate something great without being covered by wealth and arrogance.
So, regardless of how much money you have, the prize is to overcome and defeat teams to win something worthy of glory. Something to say, we, as the human spirit, we as a group, we as a constructive element and player in these competitive games are the best of the best.
For all the money we have accumulated and the lack of debt we haven't done that.
So on a simple mathematical equation, we're pathetic. Many areas of our non-financial factors are dire. It's not the team. No way. They're doing well and working harder than anyone else. It is all elsewhere.
So do we blame Gazidis? Nope. He was brought in to make more money and rebalance the club. He's doing that. He is doing what he was brought in to do. There were two people who transformed this club and they were David Dein and to a lesser extent Danny Fiszman. They brought in money and also (to Peter Hill Wood's premature amusement) did something with that money.
Yet, let's face facts. He is practically selling all the decent Arsenal players to his favourite club.
I do jest here.
We can blame Gazidis for not winning trophies but not for what he was brought here to do. Sounds odd but it seems, we can place blame elsewhere as well. Behind the scenes it has become a case of remove expensive people we can sell but keep the hard workers.
The only reason we got Flamini back is because he works hard. You need hard workers to drag the other people along who did nothing. We're back to that decade or longer now where we did almost nothing.
So on a positive, Gazidis has kept Arsenal in the Champions League position that we've noticed makes us money. The negatives are there for all to see but I don't think he is the mastermind evil genius people make him out to be. There were problems at Arsenal before him. He merely saw the opportunity to sell players to his favourite club. (Joke)
If we want footballing appreciation, everybody needs to be in the same boat. Especially Gazidis - while he is here doing what he was told to do, he should show respect to football.
As fans we're not asking for much. I hope this money making venture that will please a handful of people will get them a house that has been marketed for their culture. That's what it's all about.
Yet, they will go down, the people in the boardroom and the backroom staff taking advantage of this...
...as one of the biggest failures in corporate history we've seen.
Even some of the failed banks in the recent financial crisis actually made money for their clients. We're the clients and what have we got? Nothing. A lot of lies about how something special is being built here.
So, let's face it. The club failed miserably for coming up to a decade now. Their retorts have been disgusting at times at the fans who are not moaning because we haven't won trophies but disgusted at the behaviour of a handful of people against millions of fans.
What Usmanov and Dein wanted back then, as working part of a team, was to win by just buying a couple of players. They were pushed away for the financial needs of a few. We cannot forget that this could have worked against us, but seriously, players make a win. Is this logic lost? We're we going to bankrupt ourselves if we bought players? Surely Football being a game of buying and selling isn't lost on everybody.
They can't even buy 2 players which will respect football.
Respect, that Arsenal have marketed themselves as.
Some things, you can't lie about.
Are the media brainwashing Arsenal fans?
It's a very strange statement to make. To even consider biting the hand that feeds you. Although, this is merely stating the obvious. We are all brainwashed by the media.
This media could quite literally be, the newspapers, the internet, the popular news sites and arsenal football forums and blogs. The media could also be your friends, your family and random strangers you meet.
The media is also the world around us, the streets, the buildings, the cars and technology. It is all literally brainwashing us. We can in fact, connect everything around us to each other and it all plays a part in telling us what to do.
Now here is the secret. You can step away from this but, what do you want? The next question is, what does Arsene want?
I'll take Arsene first. Arsene has a choice. If somebody asks him a question, he has many ways to respond. He can do it like he usually does, which led to the creation of the Arsene quotes book, or he can avoid saying much and do his business in the background. He can remain silent like, maybe David Moyes or Rafael Benitez. Focussing less on flowering up what is being said and taking swipes at conceptual occurrences in football and merely giving responses that are closer to the truth.
Are you buying player A? Not sure, he is a good player but we have our eye on other players
instead of saying - He can come to Arsenal, we are a great club and he will fit well in the team but it is up to his agent, club and himself if he wants to join a great club.
Now seriously Arsene? Is this really it? Don't give the information industry, information.
So how do you step away from it? It's harder than it sounds to be fair because football culture is what you make it. There are numerous levels of football culture and this one covering the media winding up football fans operates around the digital society, with smart phones and lap tops at the ready inter-connected with news sites. Then there are other levels. Where you focus on the minimal of football knowledge. You focus merely on the sport.
Now focussing on the support and not the social mores of football is what most football fans do. How do I know this? Well, I don't think people have time to focus on the ins and outs of football all the time. There are football fans who follow gossip, but they have to separate themselves from it if needed.
Now, let's not delude ourselves here, Arsenal are a strange club. We have the money but we don't spend it. The problem is, Arsenal have placed themselves in this peculiar position and the media as well as the fans mock it. Some may call it concern but it is in fact mockery. Underneath this wealth driven materialistic world, value still has a potent and important place. People are far more interested in substance than style. You could, therefore, accumulate as much wealth as possible, make as much money as anything but in years to come, in history, it is, in sport -whether you win or lose that matters.
Nobody is going to care a squat how rich Arsenal was but history will remember one of the richest clubs in the world failing to win trophies and the blame for that will fall on Arsene Wenger.
The board won't be blamed, the fans won't be blamed, the players won't be blamed either. Only one person will be blamed and that is Arsene Wenger. As we slowly draw towards 10 years of no trophy in Arsene's managerial career, that does look dreadful.
So as much as we are influenced by the world around us, we have a responsibility to ourselves, to be who we are. We are, one of the best clubs in the world today with the potential to win trophies almost every year. Instead, we hold on to pointless individuals in the backroom, and in the past we've held onto ridiculous people in the team as well. We've also removed important players and backroom staff that made the biggest difference.
Dare I say it, the problem with Arsenal seems to be the influence of particular individuals behind the scenes. Therefore, in conclusion, we should do what is occurring at the BBC at the moment and tear down the bureaucracy.
Starting from the defence now we're here
Arsenal are still living in the past regarding the defensive exploits of the 90s. Ever since then up until the mid 2000s at the latest, Arsenal have attempted to live up to defensive work of the past, but it hasn't trasnpired. What we have gained with Arsene Wenger is a need to play offensive fast attacking football where we play further and further up the field.
So the question is, is the defence a huge priority? One thing that people forget is, football changes and there has been a huge transformation in football over that time. The amount of money that goes into football has increased more and more. Yet some things don't change.
Regardless of how much money goes into football, the game requires some sense of balance and control. The old supposed Einstein quote that everybody is a genius is appropriate here. You can place a genius in the wrong environment and they are not a genius anymore. This goes with football as well. You can put the best player in the world in the wrong team or the wrong system and unit and they will simply not perform.
If we take Arsenal's season last year and some of the major cup losses that took place, it seems teams had worked out what Arsenal were doing. They also had a plan of their own and worked continuously to their strengths around the weaknesses they could exploit. Even the best team and best players have weaknesses.
You could find online, numerous reasons for Arsenal's demise in certain areas. They're still out there working well, no denying there for a team playing the kind of football against the kind of teams that they are but let's focus on the obvious.
These are four factors that could address particular issues. I remember Tony Adams saying he couldn't teach certain players what Arsene Wenger taught them at Arsenal? This was like saying there was a book or an agenda on this issue. What Tony Adams forgets to add is what Arsenal had inherited from George Graham and the foundations of David Dein. Arsene Wenger is a big cob surrounded by many other different sized cogs. Without the other cogs, Arsene Wenger does not work. If you remove a particular cog then the other cogs will have to compensate - maybe with a smaller cog, maybe with a bigger cog.
The problem? bigger or smaller, this will affect every other cog and change the fabric.
Arsenal have changed too much, over and over again. Without money and some things that don't change Arsenal wouldn't remain where they are right now. It is obvious finance is a big cog. It's not a person but it is a big cog that you can make smaller and replace it with the trophy achievement cog.
I am sure that will make a difference but to finish, if we placed Leaderhip, Set Pieces and Back Room around a cog of Defensive Response - that would be useful.
Not forgetting our defensive record last year wasn't all that bad.
The balanced fan approach: How to be an Arsenal Football fan without the guilt
One phrase you will continuously hear or have heard in the past week is "What a week"... it has been. This of course is in reference to losing to Villa when life became a somewhat familial tragedy for the Arsenal collective. Everybody came together to blame Daddy and whoever else is Daddy for all the problems that exist.
Let's re-estimate this with some hindsight now. Aston Villa are a good team. They could have, should have, beaten Chelsea.
The second point is the Fenerbahce game. We were heading into this expecting the worst. Why? Well after years of no trophies (for a club like Arsenal, C'est Odd) and constant confusion over transfers and selling and why, heading to play Fenerbahce after losing against ex-relegation battlers Aston Villa felt like hard work.
Fenerbahce, let's admit is a tough fixture. You have to travel a few thousand miles for one thing to a new land, with time differences and also in our case, not exactly our usual squad. Our team, therefore, will have to play with players who are not usually there. People you can't rely on.
Some will say, they are professionals, get them out there and get them to play but if you take yourself back or even remember the last time you played a game of any kind and a usual opponent or partner isn't there - was it easy? I can't deny some players around the world are unique and can play regardless but the same can't be said for everyone and if one thing is for certain in football, one change has to be addressed.
Now this is good but let's admit, we have to accept and consider, we will lose again, soon. Maybe we could go unbeaten again for 49 games but, usually, we will lose at some point. For a team, that only usually loses a handful of times in the league a season - losing the first game is tough. Regardless of what I have said above - losing should not be an option. When you lose, you have done something wrong.
So here is the balanced approach. We can all get excited about things but it is good to get excited without getting carried away in the hope great things are about to come our way. Looking at the bigger picture, such great things are not always around and they are at times happy accidents with a bit of luck - you play with what you are given.
I remember Thierry Henry had a bad day but I am sure when he placed himself in the box or in the middle of the pitch, he would have played it as it came. He would have hoped things would have fallen his way. Now we can relate this to every other player who isn't exactly Henry who has won almost every trophy, or probably every trophy available.
We can blame the media for this. We can also blame other fans. We can also look at the people around us who can say with authority with self conviction that they know what is happening at Arsenal and what will happen next. If anybody knew this, we would win trophies every season.
It is always good to have a balanced approach. It's always good to expect the worst but hope for the best. It's always good to admire the best in even the weakest player because benefit and effort are admirable qualities. To support a team like Arsenal, like this Wednesday has many fruits but also as we know some lack as well.
So in ending, we can accept that our club are stuck in some ways, in terms of transfer but we can also accept with our top four finishes year on year that we are doing something right. The problem is, we haven't taken the next step yet. As much as I know about football, maybe Flamini, like many transformations in football, could mean something amazing for the club.