FTK Rant…stop telling us how good we are and prove it!

I am a fierce defender of Arsene Wenger, but could there be times when he could actually unite the fans more if he changed his pronouncements? I agree totally with the need to accept that Arsene Knows and to give him our loud support. Arsene Wenger is no fool. However equally Gooners are not stupid either. They can see when their club is falling off the pace. They are very proud and it hurts them to see that we have not been challenging the likes of Manchester United and Chelsea. Referring to an earlier excellent blog on the site this week, “Making Arsene Knows a clarion call” only works for those with blind faith. What is needed is mutual respect expressed by both sides.
So this blog is not an anti-Wenger blog, it is a constructive airing of opinion about the current situation and things that our beloved AW does that I find frustrating. First and foremost must be the lack of urgency that we display in obtaining our targets. I hate to hear that Arsenal was in for Ronaldo or Wayne Rooney, the fact is, we didn’t do the deal, so don’t rub our faces in it, cos all we got was a spotty 17 year old.
The void since David Dein has hurt us. Arsene Wenger doing everything for the club with the help of Ken Friar was not the best option. What ever went on between Edelman and Wenger will remain subject to a legal gag if the Peter Hill-Wood words at the AGM before last is anything to go by. Just last night we lost Brede Hangerland because he was played in the UEFA cup by Fulham, we may lose Huntelaar to the scum, all because we haven’t put a bid in. Please don’t come back later and tell us that we were considering a bid, cos I will lose the plot
Arsene Wenger said after Ade’s outburst at the end of last season that there was too much talk at the club. I also agree that speaking too much causes problems for the club in terms of player’s agents and exposing our strategy to our competitors. However a sicophantic silence is equally unhelpful. We need a balanced debate if we are to reassure anxious Gooners. It starts with being honest and accepting that Arsene Wenger has got the balance wrong over the last two seasons and as a result may have attracted unnecessary criticism .
This criticism increased when Wenger brought in Silvestre and Bischoff. There is nothing wrong with getting players on the cheap, but they really need to be quality signings. For me those signings were insulting. It is giving us the reputation of being either short of cash or just plain mean. A legitimate question would be Why do we do everything else the expensive Arsenal way? like over paying some less motivated players, but when it comes to transfers we make an exception?
Paddy Vieira would be worthwhile exception providing it is done well. The circumstances for Patrick Vieira to return, should only be as a free agent to motivate and pass on experience to the young midfielders. He could not be contracted as a new player as he is older than 30yrs surely? In any case, isn’t his knee is shot to pieces? It would also call into question of why Paddy was sold in the first instance. I do believe that Arsene Wenger will reinforce the squad, and we need to be patient whilst the negotiations are concluded. This is where “Arsene Knows” as a mantra is quite apt.
Currently we need to understand these three important facts…
Fact 1
The transfer window does not close until midnight on 31 of August.
Fact 2
For new signings to be available for the Champions League, for the Play offs, they must have be signed and submitted to UEFA on the “A” list by the 10th of August, and by the 1st of September for the substantive competition. If any of our targets play in the Champions league qualifiers or UEFA cup they become ineligible for this season’s CL competition.
Fact 3
Arsene Wenger makes the decisions that he thinks are correct to enable the team to progress.
The main criticism that I think is justified and that can be regularly levelled at our manager is the suggestion that his decision making has been less effective in terms of advancing the club’s fortunes of late. There have been key decisions which I feel that had Arsene Wenger made a different decision, then perhaps we would not be in such a state of anxiety. The letting go of Gilberto and Diarra for instance, also the failure to get Flamini to extend his contract. The failure to reinforce the central defence and holding midfielder last season when he himself identified the long ball over the top which caused us to lose our way in key games against Tottenham, Liverpool and Aston Villa.
Don’t forget whilst I am having a rant that the Board may be the factor that prevents us making quick or decisive offers on players. Arsene Wenger is too professional to come out and criticise the Board, but it is self evident given that he allegedly held discussions with Real Madrid. I recall writing that this would have been the first time that Arsene Wenger reneged upon a contract, and having the panicking Board come out and say, “we know that Arsene is a man of his word and would never break his contract”  Well if the Board was less SELFISH, Arsene Wenger would have got more than the £13 million at the start of the transfer window…Grrrr!
So on the official club website Arsene Wenger is quoted as saying

“I feel we are strong enough but if we can add then we will do it,” he said.
“In England people think that all the problems can be sorted out by buying players.”
“I believe the biggest target is to work hard in training, improve what we can improve and have confidence in the players that we have.
“If we need to add then we will. We have money available so for us it is now [important] to spend it in the right way when we do it or if we do it.
“But unfortunately I cannot tell you that we are close to signing anyone at the moment.”

Arsene Wenger now has £41 million in excess of the £13 million that he had at the beginning of the transfer window. If we believe the club that we have enough money to make big signings then there are the squad dynamics which may be influencing his decision buy or not. I would also question his reliance on certain players who are simply not ready to assume the senior roles yet, because they are not yet world class. I refer to Denilson, Aaron Ramsay and Mark Randall. All quality midfielders and have potential but in my opinion, they will not be world class performers this season.
Arsene Wenger has realised that the apparent consequences of his tactic of nurturing the youth has not worked quickly enough and that we have suffered in terms of results. This is why he has decided to buy in that experience. The lack of success has to be put right this season not only to reduce the frustration of fans who are now justified in expecting new signings, but also to engrave the “winning mentality” deeply into the consciousness of the evolving youth players.
We need to instil a “win at all costs” fire in their bellies first, then calm the volatile excesses. At the moment we are too nice and get pushed off the ball too easily. I am not calling for foolish aggression, but more pride and the refusal to let our heads drop when setbacks occur. Patrick Vieira was at his best when he was very aggressive and fiery, so was Ian Wright and Thierry Hen ry. Even Dennis Bergkamp would leave his foot in by way of retaliation after being hacked down for the fifth time.
Didn’t you hate it when the press said, “Arsenal don’t like it when you play hard” No , what we hate is the anti-Arsenal press agenda and the pathetic inconsistent refs not protecting our players and the Man Utd loving FA wanting to punish any Arsenal misbehaviour with a 30 match ban. What we need is the “Fear factor” back in the side. With opposing teams having to rush to the toilet when they realised their next match was against the mighty Arsenal. Let’s get to the situation as in the final months of the Chelsea title season, where the mindset of fear made teams put out partial reserve sides, because they knew they were going to get hammered, and wanted to reserve their best players for the relegation fights.
Targets for the coming season? I believe also that Arsene Wenger is wrong to concentrate only on the Premier league and Champions League. Winning the FA Cup last year would have given the youngsters in our squad belief. Big mistake there Boss. The Carling Cup is the only trophy that I would jettison as I do NOT regard the acquisition of this trophy as a mark of quality, in playing terms. I mean, if the only trophy that we won this season were to be the Carling Cup, would that make you feel better? Well give the Cup to the kids, but for me, it is not REAL silverware.

My Revenge On Ben Foster

“In England people think that all the problems can be sorted out by buying players.”

Sorry Arsene, but I would change the word England and say

“At Arsenal people think that all the problems can be sorted out by buying players.”

Err, yes we can sort out the defensive and midfield problems and win the title again. If someone would BUY the players!!! We can make a decisive statement buy buying more experienced quality players, but stop trying to pull rabbits out of the hat eh? Lets go for established players who can come straight in like Arshavin and do a job!  With regard to the holding midfielder we need a player with drive and experience and someone who will do the dirty work in terms of tackling and he must have good defensive awareness. He doesn’t need to be world class, just good at his job. What about Inler?
The dynamics and size of the squad is important. The previous explanation given by Arsene Wenger as to why he will not buy additional players is the risk of assassinating a youthful prospect. Well there is no risk of assassinating a youth player if he remains a youth player. Next there is the psychology of maintaining the confidence of players. The majority of Youth players appear to have fragile egos. Arsene Wenger is fiercely loyal, but the players do not replay that loyalty by consistent performances.
Working on the training ground is a long term strategy, and if Arsene Wenger does not renew his contract at the end of this season then we are running out of time. The second half of the recent pre-season game against Hannover 96 exposed the deficiencies of several players who appear simply not ready to make the step up. Working on the set pieces would do for a start! Our corners and free kicks were woeful by Premiership standards last season.
So, Memo to Arsene Wenger… stop telling us how good we are and prove it!
In two seasons you could leave this club and failure to win another trophy by then will mean that your legacy will have been tarnished in the same way that a jaded heavyweight world champion who takes on one fight too many and ends his career with a humiliating defeat. You are the best manager in the club’s history, and it is vital that your career here ends on a high.
Is there a crisis at the club? No, but if only half the rumours are true then already the fans are voting with their feet. It is alleged that several Corporate boxes are unsold and that the waiting list has reduced as a significant number of fans appear to have relinquished their season tickets, and others have refused to spend over a thousand pounds up for front for the pleasure of seeing another trophy-less season. If we are truly serious about winning the title back, then we must stop saying how close we were to our rivals last season, I hate excuses! Saying how good we are and that there is potential is not enough. Just start producing the results on the field! Enough already!
Usmanov and his partner Moshiri are making hay in this uncertain climate. They are publicly airing all of the frustrations felt by the fans and then presenting themselves as the solution. Gooners must not be fooled by the underlying motive which I believe to be an attempt to increase or restore Usmanov’s standing within the club. They could also be after a place on the board as a price for their silence who knows? Until the Board finds a way of countering this current strategy of divide and rule from Red and White, then the next AGM could be very hostile.
In conclusion then, these are the harsh realities and we have to be honest about our ambitions. Is this club going to aspire for the top but patiently settle for second best as work in progress? If the finances are stopping us from being number one, then at least be honest and say so. Stop raising false hopes and expectations. The fans have feelings too! However if we are really serious about winning the Premiership in the next two seasons then Arsene Wenger has to buy period.
But when all is said and done about Arsene Wenger, the man is a genius. I do trust him to deliver. I may have this moan about him today but if any of you come on here and use this blog to have a go at him in destructive or very insulting terms, I’ll bite your heads off! Lets have a CONSTRUCTIVE debate and finally let’s get one thing straight…I wouldn’t want to have the fate of our noble club in any other person’s hands… Long live Arsene Wenger!
Rant over…

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