Can you believe Wenger was going into this season with Djourou and Vermaelen as his two main centre backs? The former is a disaster waiting to happen (and since August the disasters have happened) and the latter has played about ten games in the last 18 calendar months due to successive serious injuries. The less said about Koscielny and Squillaci the better, although I do like the look of young Ignasi-Miguel. Had we not lost 8-2 to the Mancs, do you really think OGL (Ed –that’s“OurGloriousLeader”for those unaware) would have been so quick to sign four players in less than a week after wasting the whole of June, July and August?
As for the forward line: we haven’t got one have we? Van Persie is being played woefully out of position as a lone striker (although the goals have been coming for him, everybody else’s have dried up). Walcott has lived up to everyone’s expectations after five years of Wenger’s coaching and if his display at White Hart Lane is anything to go by, is a worse player now than when we signed him. He’s so bad he makes overrated sound like a plus point.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has more skill in his little toe than Wally does in his entire body. Don’t worry, though, OGL will knock that out of him before very much longer. Much like he’s done with Gervinho, who under the Frenchman’s recent tutelage has turned into Chamakh Mk II and can’t hit a barn door from six yards out. What do they do in training? If Wally, Chamakh and Gervinho are anything to go by, I reckon they’re shown a zillion blind alleys with six defenders at the bottom of each one and repeatedly told to run down each of them until they’ve got it off to perfection.
I read today that Ivan ‘Sustainable Model’ Gazidis is telling us that the club will not suffer financially if we don’t finish in the top four this season. We should worry. Never mind the Champions League, If Wenger stays much longer we’ll be heading for the Champion-ship. Our league form over the last 18 games would see us in the bottom four with only Bolton, Sunderland and Wigan below us. And OGL wants to stay another 15 years! I can see AFC Wimbledon overtaking us on the way down. Can you hear the Mancs, Spuds, Scousers, Geordies and the Chelski Chavs laughing at us? Hang your head in shame, Ivan.
Maybe a bottom six finish would at last make them realise that in the 21st century having three stale guys in their mid-sixties who have been at the club for 15 consecutive years is maybe not the best coaching set up when dealing with promising young players with attitude 40 years their junior. This is not a blip, this is suicide.
Right that’s it. Moan over. God it’s so depressing. To think where we were before the half wits running the club got rid of David Dein and prioritised hoarding money over success on the pitch…
Herbert Chapman: Arsenal Legend I’ve recently returned from a holiday in Majorca where I spent many a happy hour on the beach reading the fantastic Herbert Chapman book we received in our membership pack this August (at last they’ve done something right). The book is called ‘Herbert Chapman on Football’ and it’s a collection of articles Mr Chapman wrote for the Sunday Express in the early 1930s.
When I first started supporting Arsenal in the late 1960s, the club was entrenched in the history created by this character Chapman who led Huddersfield to two consecutive league titles in the mid 1920s before being lured to London and the then less than mighty Arsenal, where he took the club to their first FA Cup final in 1927. Chapman’s Gunners then won the FA Cup in 1930 and two league championships in 1931 and 1933, before he tragically died half way through the season when they won their third title in 1934 on the way to a decade of domination. The great man certainly laid the foundations for
What the f*** is tippy tappy football?
everything that Arsenal stood for until 2006, when, in many fans opinions, the real traditional old Arsenal sadly passed away and was buried at Highbury where it now rests blissfully in peace.
Short of writing an autobiography, which to my knowledge Herbert never did, this book gives us a fascinating insight into what made arguably Arsenal’s greatest ever manager tick. Mr Chapman was undoubtedly the Alex Ferguson/Brian Clough of his day (in terms of success) and I’m sure if he’s looking down on the current Arsenal now from the Great Highbury in the Sky, he will certainly be wagging a few disparaging fingers in the direction of his successor tenth removed currently occupying the managerial hot seat at the club.
My favourite manager ever is Brian Clough and as I’ve got older, I’ve got so much respect for old Big Head (as Clough was affectionately known) and I would’ve loved it (just loved it) if I could’ve spent an hour or two in the pub with him. What a character. Brian Clough had charisma for a middle name. Chapman was the same in the 1930s. If you’ve read your Arsenal history you’ll know he was responsible for, amongst other notable things, introducing the white sleeves to the Arsenal kit in 1932. In fact, so strong was Herbert’s legacy at Arsenal that 33 years later in 1965 the club did away with the white sleeves as the players were constantly being unfavourably compared with Chapman’s team of the thirties and they thought that wearing a plain red shirt (like a certain contemporary
14 onlinegooner.com successful team from Salford “up north”) would make everyone forget the damned successes of 30 years earlier. It didn’t work and after two seasons and massive public demand, the white sleeves were back. The rest is history.
I wonder what measures the club will take in a few years time when the team is in the Championship and being unfavourably compared with the Invincibles from 2004. Alisher Usmanov, if you’re out there, we need your help! Save Our Souls.
Back to the book. There are several telling paragraphs and chapters where Chapman outlines his football philosophies and I don’t recall one instance where his views on any playing matter would coincide at any level with those of Arsène Wenger. Make of that what you will. Football moves on and Chapman was from another era. However, he was light years ahead of his time and, having read the book, if Herbert was around now I know which one I’d rather have as a manager to get us out of the interminable pickle we’re in on the pitch.
Most of you will have access to this book, so I won’t quote too much from it, but for example when it comes to tactics, Chapman was most definitely a ‘team’ man. Again and again, throughout the book, he refers to the tactics of a team, the ‘spine’ of the team, the importance of keeping the team’s shape, how vital it is for the forwards to get back and do their defensive duty, how every man should know his job, the value of keeping a clean sheet and most importantly ‘the system’. “If we don’t concede a goal, then we shall not lose the game, and if we score one, we shall win.” Another quote: “There is no room for fancy tricks and dribbling in the modern game. Spectators want a fastmoving spectacle, rapier like attacks that have the spirit of adventure.” Somehow I don’t think OGL has read that bit, he stopped playing with ‘rapier like attacks’ in 2004.
In fact, barely a page went by where I didn’t think ‘I wish Arsène Wenger could
There is even a whole chapter entitled ‘Young Players are a Gamble’
read this, he might learn a thing or two’. Believe it or not there is even a whole chapter entitled ‘Young Players are a Gamble,’ and others called ‘The Value of Long, Well Placed Kicks,’ ‘Hanging onto a Lead’, ‘Helping the Defence’ and ‘Brains’. Arsène? Perhaps my favourite part of the entire book is the chapter called ‘Surprise’ where Chapman talks about his dislike of what we now call ‘tippy tappy’ football, as favoured by the current incumbent. “The faster you can make ground, the more likely you are to get the opposition defenders out of position, and it is for this reason that we do not favour what is called the close passing game. Where does that take you? Usually the ball merely travels across the field and back again without any advantage being gained.” Exactly.
which we have heard so much as Arsenal supporters, is very much in evidence by the titles of the chapters: ‘More Football’ (he loved it), ‘Football at Night’ (unheard of in the early 1930s), ‘Goal Judges’ (he liked the idea, we’re still waiting), ‘Better Refereeing’ (he didn’t like most of them), ‘Is the League System Wrong?’ (he didn’t like teams being relegated because “fear of defeat ruined the spectacle”), ‘How to Build the England Team’ (told you he was an early Brian Clough), ‘Football on the Continent’ (he foresaw the European Cup 20 years before anyone else and was desperate for his Arsenal team to compete with ‘the continentals’), and finally ‘New Plans for the Arsenal Stadium’ (they didn’t include knocking it down, moving to a soulless bowl and being part of an American sports franchise).
Do yourself a favour and read the book. It’s so sad that this great man died so young of pneumonia, aged 56, at the peak of his career with Arsenal, which by the sound of it, he grew to love like a family. I wonder whether the musings of Arsène Wenger when he finally gets down to penning them will be half as interesting? RIP Herbert Chapman, Arsenal forever.
It’s such a shame that in those days there were no film or television recordings of entire matches so we could all see 70 years later how the team played and whether or not there was a Wally Walcott around then running up blind alleys and losing possession cheaply. Somehow under Herbert Chapman, I suspect not. I met Ted Drake once and he did tell me Cliff Bastin was a miserable sod and no one in the dressing room liked him! Unfortunately, 70 years from now our great grandchildren will all be able to see in glorious HD colour how sh*t we were in 2011.
Towards the end of the book, it is obvious that Chapman’s visionary ideas, such as numbered shirts, white balls, and floodlit football (he was first with all these) about
To the girls of Europe, thanks to you all for making our summer holidays so much better!