Previous names: Dial Square, Royal Arsenal, Woolwich Arsenal

Monday, August 30, 2010

West Ham United and Arsenal; A tale of two teams in the same city.

By the Coach (who has an allegiance to West Ham)

There is a very strong paradox in English football. It is called West Ham United.

Over the years the famous East London club is providing some of the best talent in English football and yet its performance is one of mediocrity, to say the least.

Why is this paradox? Why is it that the club that produces so much talent hardly achieved anything significant over the years (with the exception of winning a few Cups and a European Cup Winners Cup)?

Some West Ham supporters will also argue that West Ham has won the World Cup. I disagree; England won the World Cup, not West Ham.

West Ham players were used to win the World Cup in 1966 just as they are today (and through the years) by other clubs to win trophies.

What generates this acute paradox then?

The answer is almost a total lack of ambition by the owners and low expectations by the supporters. The two combined together create a ground which is fertile for promoting personal gain.

And over the years, owners, agents, lawyers, even financiers and other intermediaries have taken advantage to make private fortunes.

And history repeats itself. Since it is almost impossible to alienate the loyal fans of West Ham United it is easy to use the club to make deals that create personal wealth rather than building an infrastructure and a team that can make West Ham great.

West Ham United fans are just so easy to fool. They are passionately in love with a dream team which in reality doesn’t exist.

So many supporters travel all over the country despite the fact that their team more often than not will disappoint them.

They spend so much money out of their limited income because they live and breathe West Ham United.

And unlike Fulham and some other London clubs, West Ham has a very strong supporter base which could easily fill a 50,000+ capacity stadium (such as the Olympic Stadium).

Moreover, West Ham fans are so understanding and forgiving. It is like they have been conditioned to accept their fate. Survival is everything, anything else is just a bonus.

But it shouln't be so...

So, lack of ambition and low expectations are the roots of the problem. Attitudes need to change before a real change takes place. This is easier said than done. It takes many years and sometimes generations for attitudes to change.

In the meantime, the owners and other people close to or associated with the Club who are proficient in promoting their self interest will always take advantage.

They will know that they can get away with anything as long as they package it properly so as to be palatable to the ever understanding, passionate and forgiving West Ham fan.

Meanwhile on the other side of town, in north London, there is Arsenal and a totally different story.

Arsenal, like West Ham has a huge support base. But that’s where the similarity ends.

Arsenal is a club that even before the era of Arsene Wenger and George Graham showed enough ambition both by the owners and management to build a team that competes and entertains and one which always aims for the top.

Unlike West Ham United fans, Arsenal fans are more demanding and less forgiving. They expect their team to compete for everything and do stay home if the entertainment and success level of team falls below par.

Some West Ham fans may say that Arsenal fans are spoiled and that they are not true fans. But I disagree. Fans should not give their support to the team unconditionally. Loyal fans deserve something in return for parting with their hard earned money.

The owners of the club should never become as comfortable as traditionally West Ham owners have been so as to take for granted the supporters and thus be tempted to abuse their position for short term personal gain.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Squillaci follows eboue and eight other things you didn’t know about him

By Aries

1. Sebastian celebrated his 30th birthday eight days ago on the 11th August

2. He was born in Toulon, France and has represented his country 21 times. He played in France’s defeat to South Africa in the recent World Cup.

3. He is only 6ft (1.83 m)

4. All his clubs bar the current one, Seville, have been in the French leagues. Toulon, Monaco B, Monaco, Ajjacio, Lyon

5. He has played 49 times for Sevilla scoring one goal

6. He played for Monaco in the Champions League final against Mourinho’s Porto losing 3-0

7. He won the French League championship twice with Lyon in 2007 and 2008

8. His goal scoring record is not that great. Played 372 games in total and scored 23 goals

8. Sevilla sporting director Ramon Rodriguez 'Monchi' confirmed: "The player asked not to play (against Braga in the CL qualifying game) because of the offer from such a big team” to ensure he won't be cup-tied in the competition for Arsenal.

9. Squillaci is said to support the eboue cause as he is a rastafarian eboue follower.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Cheer up... Wenger made the wrong choices

By 1970’s Gooner

I was left disappointed rather than relieved at the end of Arsenal’s game last Sunday at Anfield.

Disappointed because facing 10 men we not only allowed them to score but also could not put them under the necessary pressure to get not only an equaliser but also a winner.

But when you think about it further, the performance should not have been a surprise.

For a start Arsene Wenger made the wrong choices for the starting 11.

Arshavin has been non existent all throughout the friendlies (and I watched all of them). He in no way deserved a start against Liverpool. He was a passenger, often giving the ball away.

Strange as he was not involved in the World Cup. Better to have started with Walcott who has looked sharper lately.

Secondly starting with Wilshere in the middle of the park was another decision that did not work.

The boy has potential for sure but to start him away from home and against Liverpool was asking too much.

And he was to be partly blamed for not controlling the ball outside the area which eventually resulted in their goal. He made the same mistake in the first half which resulted in a dangerous move by the opposition.

Better to have started with Rosicky who indeed looked the most creative and penetrative Arsenal player when he came on.

I do not see Wenger making those choices again unless he is forced by injury or these players improve their performances dramatically.

And therefore Arsenal’s first 11 will surely not be as weak again.

And there are two more reasons to be cheerful.

The first has to do of course with the likely return to the first team of three vital cogs in Arsenal’s engine: Song, Fabregas and van Persie.

Their stand ins left a lot to be desired. Especially Chamack.

He will turn out to be an excellent buy by Wenger but on Sunday he repeated his performances in the friendlies: lacking control of the ball and also penetration.

The second has to do with Almunia.

He is Arsenal’s best goalkeeper at the moment but will not be when Given or Schwartzer arrive.

I don’t think that either of those goalkeepers would have let Ngog’s effort at the near post (which was a carbon copy of Imbrahimovic’s goal for Barcelona at the Emirates remember?).

So cheer up…..

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Rosicky asks for time to think about his move from Arsenal

By 1970’s Gooner

It seems that the rumours about Tomas Rosicky moving away from Arsenal have some foundation.

Turkish newspaper “Hurriyet” is reporting that Rosicky’s agent has already started negotiations with Galatasaray. It seems that Frank Rijkaard, Galatasaray’s coach is in pursuit of a number 10 and Rosicky fits the bill.

It appears that Galatasaray are only willing to negotiate around a transfer price of 5m. Rosicky’s agent has already began negotiations with them with regard to the player’s possible demands. But crucially Tomas has asked for two days to consider the move.

If this transfer materialises it will mean that Arsene Wenger has decided to get rid of the two players that have suffered long term injuries in the recent past (Eduardo and Rosicky).

However Rosicky’s transfer will leave a big gap in the squad in terms of experience and quality.

Montpelier coach sets price for Spahic’s transfer to Arsenal

By 1970’s Gooner

A lot has been written lately about the “imminent” transfer of the 29 year old defender, Emir Spahic, from the French club Montpelier to Arsenal.

First there was the player’s quotes that the “deal was close” but this was swiftly followed by an official statement by Montpelier itself denying there has been any contact with Arsenal.

"There appeared in the media information that Montpellier are in negotiations with Arsenal regarding the transfer of Emir Spahic. Montpellier deny any contact with Arsenal regarding this issue"

Now we have a bold statement coming from the team’s coach Rene Girard who has set a ridiculous price for agreeing to the transfer:

"Indeed I am astonished. There has never been talk of this departure to the Emirates, he said to the local media and in answering the question of whether he will cooperate with Arsenal if they get offers he replied:

"Yes, but only if the English are willing to pay us 25 million pounds."

This rubbish is to be expected of course as Montpelier know that the player desperately wants to leave and they cannot stand in his way. They are merely trying to up the price as much as they can.

This transfer looks a wise move by Wenger. He will not only make sure that he has enough central defenders but will also be adding maturity and experience at the back.