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.

Thursday, September 05, 2013

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.

Monday, September 02, 2013

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.

Sunday, September 01, 2013

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.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

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... 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.