Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Why aren't we defensive, like 5-3-2 or something, like 5-4-1. Yeah?

This might be just me.

I don't understand why we are counter attacking all the time. I know people will say "oh, it's because it looks so great" and "Arsenal play proper football" and "We're great!". Etc.

But isn't being defensive a part of football and an effective form of football strategy as well? So why do we ignore it?

I think a part of this is, arrogance, egotistical and in some ways insecurity and I think insecurity is one of the major problems with Arsenal. We've been stuck in this very old form of playing football, to the point we now longer respect football because football has changed.

In 2004 etc. the major change in football is defensiveness. Being defensive arrived and we continue to counter attack while people apply a sense of defensiveness to their game.

I would say 10 years is long enough to realise we should change our game now, right?

You see being counter attacking is tiresome and uses a lot more energy. I remember the time we had Freddie Ljungberg and Wiltord running around while Henry waited for the ball or Fabregas and Flamini ran and ran and ran while the rest of the team waited for their play making to make a difference.

Surely being defensive would have given the players some energy back as well as frustrating players but to end with, to be the best you need to learn from the best. I was reading something about Pep Guardiola a while back and it reminded me of something I read about the new type of manager who moves the team forward in increments by moving the team around to create space, then you run into that space which moves both teams and therefore, it moves players out of position.

When you move players out of position you can exploit something.

We need to be in position to escape that.

Unless Sanchez and Cazorla are playing and then they usually win most 50/50 challenges. Which is what we have been missing for a while in the middle of the park.

Sunday, May 08, 2016

Fans should demand change but it shouldn't lead to aggression

I sometimes watch these videos online of fans or read their comments and it does put things into perspective. We all get annoyed by results and football in general and then begin to think that it is the end of the world or it is a personal slight when things don't go favourably for us.

Then, when we see fans getting angry, frustrated, taking pains out on the club, it makes you realise, I don't think things are really that bad.

So you might think, "or are they", or "yeah they are", but we have finished above, Chelsea, Manchester United, Liverpool, West Ham and other clubs. Tottenham have been building for years and Leicester aren't as freaky as we think. They pay their players wages worthy of their ability. Ranieri is a very experienced player at the top and this idea that he isn't simply illustrates, how little, how so little even commentators know about the game.

We are where we are for the obvious reasons that have affected other big clubs.

We haven't assessed the changes in the premiership and I think, one of the major changes is how much money other clubs have.

So do we pay players more? We are doing but that doesn't work.

I think we should go defensive but let me get back to this point about the bad feeling and how we should have done a lot more. This is all born of a few, quite reasonable, quite rational things and while we would love to blame somebody, if we do go far enough, the club never helped.

Peter Hill Wood was always a problem in terms of assessing club needs as well as other people in the boardroom who lost sight of the club and what it is as we entered the processes of the new stadium. David Dein, we could all agree was very important to the club and removing him, illustrates, with some, or a lot of hindsight, how little the rest of the board understood about what he knew about Arsenal, the league and beyond.

He's no superhuman but what we can agree on is that many people that work for Barcelona, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich and others, have some very clever people at the club who can get things done.

Arsenal lack those people and we need them and we have the money for them.

So we go onto the next question. Will we get them? No. Just like the fall of many an empire or in Arsenal's case, the dwindling state of any empire we like to keep things the way they are but, can we make better use of our funds? Yeah, because clubs with the same, even less revenue than Arsenal do far better. We don't.

Going back to the David Dein thing, the problem at Arsenal is we're a big club but we're not technically great and we won't be for a good 10 years unfortunately, unless they make big big changes over the next two years.

I wouldn't remove Wenger though. He has been at the club for a long time and knows a great deal of which can be useful for time to come and future employees. It is wrong to remove him and replace him because the new guy who will come in, needs Wenger and only Wenger to explain to him the problems he knows about at the club.

Can Wenger be a better manager? Yes. He should play more defensive sometimes I feel and maybe a lot of times and some buys, I don't agree with. They are all great players but I think, I struggle to appreciate getting players who have been at other clubs for a long time. How loyal can they be to a new team? Where is that winning spirit if a player moves around.

Now, I have been talking about problems at the club and haven't mentioned the players. Mainly because we have some amazing players at the club but something is affecting them to not perform to the point of performing less and under par. We've all seen our players return for international duty and play phenomenally well like they have escaped from something horrible.

So to end with, I'll say, everybody at the club, especially behind the scenes, needs to step up. If you don't have any ideas, do what those with ideas know what to do.

There are so many great things at the club but we're not respecting them. Once we do - we will easily be one step further. Aggression doesn't help anybody in light of this and any assumption an aggressive opinion is better than a regular one to change things is taking the whole state of the game, inside and outside a club, too far.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

The real reason Arsenal aren't winning trophies

Arsenal have the same business plan as lower league teams or mid table premiership teams.

At the beginning of every season, if you are Barcelona or Real Madrid then you will be spending big and branding your way to Champions League glory because that is what you have built yourself around. In the case of Arsenal with similar goals, surely they are also capable of that?

After leaving the FA Cup this week and losing an opportunity to win 3 FA Cups back to back, you have to wonder why a team like Arsenal can play outstanding football with outstanding players but then just falter for weeks on end.

Are we to believe that these world class players with world class players around them who have shown the ability to demolish big teams can go weeks on end struggling to survive and exist?

We need to start looking at the bigger picture and Kreonke's comments regarding branding for fan's behaviour is the way to go. Kreonke doesn't believe winning trophies is important. The aim is to get more and more fans involved and fans spending money and that brings in the money, when balancing against other achievements.

So what is the problem with winning a trophy? Why is it expensive?

I think the problem is, can you sustain that kind of achievement? Are Arsenal a trophy winning brand?

How can I hold onto fans? How can I make fans that don't want to win trophies?

So how expensive is it to be a trophy winning product? How expensive is it to be a product that wins trophies year on year?

Can we afford to do that? It's expensive because it will attract fans who want that, year on year. That, is expensive.

Maybe we can do that for a few seasons with the FA Cup but I think there is expense otherwise.

Leicester City can do it for one season. They sell themselves as a freak of nature and it's all fine. Arsenal's difficulty is selling themselves as world class by being Champions League capable and then just standing alongside giants. That's the brand and dare I say it, that's the way they sell themselves to their target market. There are the older fans who will turn up to Arsenal no matter what - it's fine, we're losing, it's cool.

Then there are the newer fans who are the people the club are targeting now. The type who will stand by the club even when there are nudge nudge wink wink, injuries ("oh, we lost because of injuries... oh woe is us") and we just miss out year on year. We're fourth, but we can be higher, we could get higher, just wait and see, the promised land is nearby.

The problem is the Leicester City analogy. They can go to the top and win one year and have that history. Then fumble around the brilliant 5th to 10th position area year on year and the fans are happy.

Arsenal can win the league, Arsenal can win a lot of trophies. We have the finances and everything else. We're just lost in this world of somebody following the modern day business ideas of late that we are targeting markets, we have to not over fuel our product and I am sure the people and Manchester United are, right now, hoping ex-players will be quiet about over selling the club when the competition is so tight with Manchester City, Tottenham, Chelsea and others, all strong contenders.

The Premier league is a league of almost rans.

The business strategy of most football clubs is just holding onto fans with branding of players, branding of football, targeting with social media culture and the lad culture and that works.

Unfortunately, we're not playing football and this is why football is losing itself. It's about money but it's about branding and business too and doing things with a business narrative. It's unfortunate. Everyone is killing the sport. The game has always been commercialised so let's not romanticise ourselves but ever since United started investing in so many new markets to make money and then telling people "oh, we found these magic players", no, they got into a lot of money by investing on the back of major changes in global business like oil in the middle east and east Europe and the back of the South East Asia tech boom and targeting the affluent middle classes there with glamorous football and the oh so androgynous Fergie's Babes, or more accurately, the Fergie labelled let's go looking for kids and hide our financial strategy by telling them we played good football.

These business practices has killed football.

It's great that Leicester are at the top. I hope their run, when Arsenal win the league this year, gives the impetus to remove business and we remember how great Ranieri was at Chelsea before he had to leave.

But, we need people in business who understand sport. Who understand football. We don't have that so, the satanising of football will continue.

I need to end by saying, there is so much connection business to business. Fans will always tell themselves that this doesn't exist and players and footballers are miles away from this but now, the days of the best team winning are over. It's the team with the most money who wins and that's got nothing at all to do with sport.

Every other team? They just survive by desperately holding onto fans.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Trying to get over the rigmarole of morale - Arsenal Vs Leicester

I think it is important to look at football as a series of ups and downs. I have been following the woes of Manchester United (woes being used loosely) online and in the media and I find it odd that everybody expects United to be at the top and something crazy is happening. Being 5th in the league is not a bad place to be and we have to remember there was some stumbling in the final years of Alex Ferguson as well.

So what we're left with is, why did this happen, why did that happen and we're a big club, our players are sponsored by the best companies and we're so popular and we score great goals and I spin like a Ballerina when I score a goal.

This is where Leicester comes into it. Ranieri's response to his position has always been a bit of "it's alright, we're doing ok. We're in a good position and we hope it stays that way.". In contrast, lets look at the big teams who are always being questioned of their position and their legacy and what will happen to them.

As a blogger, we can copy the actions of the big players in the media and blame players and blame tactics and intentions forever and ever but we fall into this mode of negativity that removes the basis decency of football that binds us. Let's not forget it's what we share in football that matters.

So I would like to look at Arsenal in this light. We are in a very good position in the league. We have absolutely phenomenal players and I have to state clearly that we have so much benefit for us that none of it, be it the FA Cup, the Champions League or the Premiership should be deemed negatively. We are still part of a huge competition and be a part of that.

What morale becomes if we fall for negativity is, morale becomes controlled by whoever controls the communication. We start to do things and say things that are a detriment because our assumptions go nobody. Let's say we have an opinion about a certain player - ok, he shouldn't play or he is out of position, then what? We're not even sure why we say things other than wanting to cut them like we're a tiny version of the Tory party and eventually we cut everything that nothing is left in the world other than it being replaced by a made up company with a name like "Manwhokickswithlegs PLC" who are in a lot of debt, much like a lot of football clubs.

So there is always a chance in football. But that chance is only possible if we see the benefit in what is possible.

We should beat Arsenal because Leicester are the team now under pressure to perform.

I have a couple of petitions that need signing. I might repeat these a few times. I feel the NHS is losing out and basically, people are dying and the more we lose the NHS the more people will die.

Thanks for helping and please share.

Thanks again.

This is for the Junior Doctors. Wherever you stand on this, most of us in favour if not all of us, we need people who work in the NHS to be comfortable and able to be happy with the service they provide. The debate is now about blaming. That's not 21st century logic.


This is related to saving a hospital. Deadline close.


This area has massive congestion problems in a hilly area. If Emergency departments are closed, more deaths will happen - so say people who have studied this for a long time. Save lives - sign the petition. Thanks


Basically, if you can just try and sign more petitions it would be great. It is something to help people out there.

Monday, December 08, 2014

The dissipation of class - Arsenal have had internal problems since 2002

You'd think that Arsenal's problems are year on year, a new thing. You'd think that every Summer we can start again like a new beginning and feel fresh in the light of making new decisions and opening up new ideas.

The answer is no and that is because we need to take a look at how we relate to our activity at Arsenal. How we show the world what we are doing. We blame people instead of sitting down and communicating - we also shame them.

The problems at Arsenal are encompassed by how we scapegoat individuals publicly because we have a self righteous approach to everyone to prove we are doing the right thing. This we have seen in the boardroom for a number of years now and we forget, that this does affect player performance. Conflict, bitterness, judgement and punishment is passed around and when it is irrational it affects everyone involved. The major activity sadly started when we were at our best between 2002 and 2004. After that, players left,our football fell and we tended to blame the people we released instead of solving problems, maturely, professionally and progressively in the boardroom and in the backroom.

We have a tendency to publicly shame individuals then ignore them to say we are doing things with class and doing them with some style and integrity but any group, any organisation, any culture can find their blame models to make themselves morally elitist. This sense of moral elitism to show off our style of football, our financial situation, our charity work or whatever else, is in fact immoral because we blame individuals for doing things that they are paid to do. In fact, we blame them to do things that we pay them to do.

We blamed Ashley Cole for asking for 5,000 pounds more than was in a new contract. We blamed Vieira (who had at least 5 more years in him) for asking for more money. Both players gave us major trophies and arguably one of the best periods Arsenal have had. There were also other players. We stuck by Dennis Bergkamp for standing around for many years (a great player but at the expense of scapegoating world class players?) while we chastised Jose Antonio Reyes, Sylvain Wiltord, Marouane Chamakh, Samir Nasri simply because they had an opportunity to play at a club that plays differently.

Simply because they wanted a chance where there were more options to play beyond a method that broke around 2006

I do believe how a club plays is important here but that will digress this towards something else. I do feel players want to be open and flexible and this is emulated in Sanchez who drives forward and breaks down defences. Something I saw in Wiltord and Reyes early on in their time at Arsenal before they were programmed into the Tiki Taki conditioning system which has not worked effectively since 2006.

The problems though stem back to us openly talking about our boardroom problems.

Fans came out and took sides. David Dein was first to be attacked and then we can go further back to saying George Graham left under similar circumstances. I am not going to take sides here but I do believe a professional and morally sound club would not air their dirty laundry out in public. I am sure every big club has their conflicts and frustrations at the top but they keep them private.

While Arsenal still believing they are better than others felt they had to express this better-ness by finding fault in others.

Now... this open assault on all things evil has led to the manager. Fans are frustrated. I do think it is wrong that this happened but openly we can see problems and when you see players running around pushing themselves for so long you wonder; why can't we just go defensive for one game. From the players to the manager.

What Arsenal have lacked is reason, logic and rationale. We haven't been considerate. We give players a chance because we think it is "kind" instead of thinking, if a player works hard and produces results, we play them and we pay them. We don't seem to promote or encourage cohesion. We seem to think a nice happy happy approach on each individual player is better - instead of thinking, we are building a team and the cohesion of a team is better than the individual approach.

Ultimately though, these problems from the board room to the back room staff that oddly turn out to be family members, friends or ex-players we believe are bionic because they have Arsenal blood, spreads. It spreads across the club as a corporate culture that affects the football at the club.

We can't deny the effect David Dein had. What I believe David Dein bought to the club was external influence. He was capable of introducing a connection with the outside world that Arsenal never had before because Arsenal had been a bit of an old boys club until we started to take advantage of a more cosmopolitan business model. We were able to see that our communication on an international level transformed our culture but this changed soon as more money became probable to the club during a lot more money in the market. Money we used to build a new stadium but also led to open, public fights.

So it's odd i think, that we can't as a club become corporately stronger but we blame others.

Do we have class? In some cases, maybe. Some cases it is showing off. Bruce Lee said something along the lines of, Showing off is fools glory and it is what we do. We show off about being stronger in a game, more passes, our financial record, our new stadium and our ex players.

Let's be honest here and rationale. Arsenal have many advantages and strengths. We have been in the Champions League for many seasons and we will be again this year. We have won many trophies as well and almost won more. The club is doing well elsewhere too but I do believe that there is room for change and it is about our conduct. That is important.

We need to start being a football club. Football being the major factor. We need to to start focussing on people who want to win. Is this glory hunting? I guess it is but not for trophies primarily but for wins and morale because winning and morale  is part of respecting football and we do an injustice and a dishonour to every other football club when we can't use our resources to their best ability because we merely want to show people we are better than them - secretly we know, we haven't got the more important results for all the effort with which we've grown in the past 10 years.

Monday, April 07, 2014

The Liverpool conundrum - Everton Loss - Been here before - No more excuses

The problem at the club is not the board and it's not transfer policies or other factors. The problem is simply a sense of fear that has plagued the club for decades. What actually changed in the eighties when David Dein arrived was a sense of money that came about with a lot of the changes in that period. We also entertained the likes of George Graham and the new form of football that he and also Arsene Wenger brought with them.

Yet we have to accept there isn't an infinite never ending date with these guys. We are at odds to our surroundings and environment and if we don't adapt, then we will struggle and falter. What Arsenal didn't do was, they didn't adapt. The essence of the "In Arsene We Trust" rhetoric was born out of fear. It's like the right wing Tory campaign of, work in progress, in the future things will change. Well, the same was said with Thatcher in the eighties and with John Major later and we keep forgetting that only the rich do well in these periods.

We couldn't trust Arsene after a few years of loss because they didn't adapt quick enough and they didn't take any of the chances given to them. Usmanov, bought money in. That was the trigger. A market was created. Chelsea had new money and so did United. Liverpool made a bad deal but suddenly, we thought, no, we don't want to do what they do... we'll do what we want to do.

Doing that didn't work. A lot of Arsenal fans were saying this for years. We started as a minority and slowly we grew and embedded the internet. Many didn't have a voice until smart phones and youtube came about. That literally changed things and has led to some changes at the club but nothing major and nothing highly significant. We still believe, arrogantly, that we can do things our way.

How far do you think we were from signing Suarez? I would have taken him for 50 and maybe even 60 with the way he plays. If he had the midfield of Ramsay and Walcott and the growing brilliance of of Chamberlain, we would have been unstoppable. Yet, we were arrogant. We believed we could do without it.

We have failed for 9 years now. We have also struggled to gain momentum. Yes, we have stayed in the black and remained financially secure but so has another 1000 clubs around the world. We're not alone in remaining financially secure and existent. We appear to believe we have the monopoly on financial security. We don't. We haven't won a trophy for 9 years so our only accomplishment has been getting into Champions league.

So, the problem is adapting and doing what others are doing. Chelsea, Manchester City, Manchester United and Liverpool etc. are not stupid. The reason they do what they do at boardroom level is, because it works. It works and it brings trophies. It brings credibility and it respects football.

The other factor I want to highlight is the back-room staff which I had raised here previously. This is something else that we get lost in. We felt our back room staff could do no wrong and our ex-players would make absolutely amazing coaches or somebody's son or brother would be the best man for the job.

This is the problem and this is the political facet of this that relates to the Tory government. The belief that we can blame everyone else for doing what is right but when we struggle and we make mistakes, we're a work in progress.

So the big question is always, which new manager and which new players. There are always players and managers available. I'm not absolutely brilliant at this so I'll leave that for the clubs to decide but if other clubs can use their funds wisely and Liverpool can pay over the odds and succeed and win Champions Leagues - so can we....

The problem is, you can't fix a broken culture over night. We have to remove some people from the back-room and also change the board's ideals. Create a plan, that has a buffer zone but also the ability to buy at least one world class player or two proven international players with honours, every year. It will take a few years but we will need to change our culture and we will have to adapt from kissing our own ass when nobody else does.

Friday, September 06, 2013

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.