Only One Arsène Wenger

Hey Arsène, how many big pots are we going to win this season?

 

Why we need to stick to the Wenger Revolution

(And why it is necessary to keep reminding us of this)

By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest.
Confucius

The beautiful game is seldom played beautifully. Many of us are football addicts and will watch any game however mediocre it promises/ turns out to be, and I am exactly the same. But, we all notice the difference when we watch a truly beautiful game: only then will we express ourselves in superlatives and will even the most prosaic fan become poetic, only then are our needs for the beautiful game fully satisfied and are we truly happy, and only then will a game become engraved in our memories – become immortal so to speak.

Looking a bit closer at how football clubs approach the game, one can see four distinct variants, depending both on the level of success and the aspiration to play football that is pleasing to the eye. These are:

  1. Strong focus on ‘result-football’, with an inherent low aspiration to play beautiful football, but also with low levels of success: mediocre, uninspiring football by far and large, played by the majority of clubs within UK/Europe.
  2. Strong aspiration to play beautiful football, but low levels of success: attractive, praiseworthy but naive football, played by a small number of clubs – West Brom under Tony Mowbray,  and last season’s Blackpool are some good recent examples.
  3. Highly successful football, but with low levels of aspiration for attractive, beautiful football:Chelsea under Mourinho, almost every successful Italian club (the exception being AC Milan in the early nineties), Inter under Mourinho, Manchester United in recent seasons, etc.
  4. Highly successful football that is also very attractive and beautiful to watch: Barcelona in recent years, Milan in the early nineties, Ajax in the seventies and mid-nineties, Arsenal in the late nineties and during the ‘Invincibles’ era.

Of course there are more variants, but out of these four extremes only the fourth one represents the sort of football that people speak about many decades later, the sort of football that becomes immortal.

 

Arsène Wenger is a dreamer, a Don Quixote, an idealist, and a genius. He somehow wants to win pots by playing beautiful, total football, with a team that is built from within the club, on the affordable but risky concept of combining the development of youth players with the purchase of rough diamonds, that can be made to shine within 1-3 seasons. On top of that, he wants our club to adhere to a self-sustaining financial model i.e. live within our means. I, like many other Gooners – but definitely not everyone – love Arsène Wenger for this highly principled, romantic and yet competitive approach to the game and our club. It is currently unique within the UK and in Europe.

I believe the world is crying out for leaders, in all sorts of professions and sports, who can combine competitiveness – and I will not have anybody say that Wenger is no longer ambitious – with a vision, and a set of principles and virtues. Wenger, more than any manager in Europe, has all of these qualities in abundance. He could have walked away from Arsenal many times, to clubs where he would be free to continue with his philosophy and principles on how the game should be played, and more importantly: where he would have been given an almost unlimited cheque book to sign whoever he wanted, in order to complete his quest for beautiful, highly successful football. I believe he decided to stay with Arsenal to both remain loyal to our fantastic club – during the challenging period of transformation for Highbury to Ashburton Grove – and achieve something truly remarkable, in the hardest way possible.

Arsène Wenger is not perfect, and neither are we, nor is any manager: c’est la vie. I do not believe in the tacky ‘Arsène Knows’ mantra. But, what Wenger is trying to achieve: winning pots through highly attractive football on a self-sustaining financial model is unbelievably important, for Arsenal as well as football in general. He does not get enough credit for this, not from the media and not from the fans.

During the Wenger years, we had more than a good taste of highly attractive, and yet successful, football. We have become accustomed to it, but in recent years we have been famished of success (but not beauty). Yet, this is the time to remain faithful, to breath-in and breath-out, to give Arsene a chance to push us to the next level. Demanding success, even when it has been relatively so long since we won anything, is not going to help. Arsene wants it more than anybody else, so why push him even more? It is counterproductive.

 

Even if some fans would rather want us to ditch our style/ aspiration to play beautiful football, in order to win something again, there is really no way back. The third variant is not an option for us. We do not have the funds now, and most likely not for the next decade to come, to compete with Chelsea, Manchester Cityand possibly also Manchester United and Liverpool. These clubs will always be better equipped in assembling teams that win cups the ‘calculated way’, without a strong aspiration to play the game beautifully. Neither should we want to have those sorts of insane funds, but that is a discussion for another time.

No, for us it is all or nothing, The Wenger revolution cannot be stopped: the rocket has left the earth’s atmosphere and it is our only chance for success. It will come, maybe this year, maybe in two or three years, and when it comes it will be so good, that not only we, but many generations after us, will still eulogise about it.

In the meantime, try to relax and enjoy the ride: there will be plenty of beautiful football again this season, thanks to the genius and aspirations of Arsène Wenger.

“To live only for some future goal is shallow. It’s the sides of the mountain that sustain life, not the top.”  Robert M. Pirsig.

TotalArsenal.

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69 Responses to Only One Arsène Wenger

  1. Gooner In Exile says:

    That may be the best love letter I have ever read.

    Fantastic post yet again TA.

  2. Tony Lane says:

    Arsene Wenger is tactically inept, deluded and totally self-obsessed. We’ve already conceded via a set piece on the Asian pre-season Tour versus a pub team – and this will happen again and again this coming season.

    This so-called ‘genius’ of yours can’t seem to stop this happening. It’s only been 5 or 6 six years since it’s been identified that we have a major problem defending. Because of this and numerous other reasons we are not going to get to the ‘next level’ with him in charge.

  3. Browny says:

    Your later comment about not having the funds for option 3. You mentioned Chelsea, City, Utd and Liverpool as being clubs that can outmuscle us financially. I believe we have been named as the 7th most valuable sports institution in all of world sport with only Utd and Madrid ahead of us as football clubs. I don’t have the figures but I believe our turnover is also very high and if I am not wrong is higher than City, Chelsea and Liverpool. 97% of our shares are owned by 2 people whose combined wealth is double that of Abramovich. Add all that together as follows :

    1 We have the second richest benefactors in EPL football and possibly world football.

    2 Our turnover likely sees us placed between 3rd to 5th in world football.

    3 We are the 3rd most valuable football institution in the world.

    How is it then that we cannot compete financially with the above mentioned teams for decades?

  4. Magneto says:

    Great stuff, I love it.

  5. bops says:

    Haaa.. refreshing.. For some time I was going with the flow for instant gratification..

    As you said.. lets just enjoy our football.. :)

  6. Kipmonster says:

    ‘what Wenger is trying to achieve: winning pots through highly attractive football on a self-sustaining financial model is unbelievably important, for Arsenal as well as football in general.’ …….. If you believe Financial Fair Play will genuinely ever exist you live in cloud cuckoo land. Clubs with benefactors will always find a way around it & in truth UEFA don’t want a total level playing field with the very best players spread thinly as it would breed mediocrity overall. In any case Wenger is NOT a slave to FFP as he is not pragmatic to deal with serial weaknesses but is driven by desire to prove media wrong about winning his way. He just hides behind FFP whilst we have bloated wage bill with young unproven underachievers on far too generous salaries & Arsenal fans are being financially bled dry.

  7. MickyDidIt89 says:

    TA,
    “I believe the world is crying out for leaders… who can combine competitiveness…. with a vision, and a set of principles and virtues.” Wonderfully put. Very appropriate words given the state of the world. Shankley said football is life. Everything is life and debt in football, as everywhere else, is morally corrupt. You are so right.
    My biggest hat is doffed.

  8. evonne says:

    EIE – thank you for your contribution and your opinions presented clearly and eloquently.

    If you would like to discuss your views further please call 08457 90 90 90, the lines are open 24h 7days a week. Samaritans promise ‘we won’t judge you and we won’t share what you tell us with anyone else’, good luck

  9. evonne says:

    TA – you are an imposter! No foreigner can write as well as you do in English!! But I love everything that you wrote, will read it again tonight, thanks xx

  10. chibsah says:

    i tink its high time we do the right tings nd start wining trophies.long live arsenal.

  11. dandan says:

    Terrific stuff TA, our Star will rise again. “It’s not always easy to do the right thing. But, doing the right thing makes you strong, it builds character, it forces you to make decisions based upon your beliefs and not what other people think. In life, and in business, you have to stand for what you believe in and sometimes you have to stand alone. But, what makes you a leader is having the courage of your convictions.”
    Arsene Wenger is a leader,

    EIE. Your feeble use of the language enables us to evaluate that your football knowledge is probably also non existent, you really should try harder. we wish you well

  12. TotalArsenal says:

    Cheers everyone.

    Tony L: I respect your views, even if they are not mine, but to use one mistake (the goal we conceded from a set-piece) to highlight your view that nothing has changed, is ridiculous.

    Browny: Our major Shareholder Kroenke also believes in running the club financially sustainable, rather than pumping money in the club limitlessly. I cannot see this change as long as he is the major shareholder, and more importantly, I hope it will not change. It is not how a football club should be run.

    Kipmonster: I did not mention FFP in my post. But for what it is worth, I have mixed feelings whether it will make a big difference or not. Time will tell. What I do find important is the aspiration and business principle of running a football club in a financially sustainable way. I hate to see the likes of Chelsea, real Madrid and Man City trying to buy success with incredible amounts of oil-money: it goes against the very principle of sport. Arsene’s vision is the ultimate antidote for this, and if and when he succeeds, it will give hope to not only Arsenal, but many other clubs who will not/cannot attract dirty oil money.

    Micky, thanks. Once Arsene retires – in a decade or so – he can do the Tony Blair thing: write a book and make millions from speaking at seminars etc. Fortunately, Arsene will be able to do it with clear conscious….

    Evonne, GiE, thanks support.

    DD: is that a quote by Wenger? I like it.

  13. dave highbury says:

    WIN IN STYLE and they’ll never forget. Anyone can buy a victory – even Man Shitty. This is why I love the Arsenal.

  14. Gooner In Exile says:

    Tony I can only suggest you start visiting the ground who’s part of its name you share.

    Yes Kipmonster we have a large wage bill, please have a look at where it stands in relation to other clubs before you decide whether its appropriate or not

    But just so as you know:

    Total Wages 2010 – £110,733,000, split between 66 players, 42 training staff, 220 admin staff, 88 ground staff.

    AW is widely believed to be on £6m a year and Cesc £100k per week.

    Estimating an average wage of £20k per annum for Admin and Ground staff and £40k per annum for training staff (which is conservative when you consider who this covers)

    Leaves the following
    £6,000,0000………..Arsene Wenger
    £5,200,000…………Cesc Fabregas
    £1,760,000…………Ground Staff
    £4,400,000………….Admin Staff
    £1,640,000…………Training
    £91,733,000……….Remaining Players

    So for 65 players (taking out Cesc) that means £27k per week, hardly astronomical really? And yes they maybe underacheivers at the moment but I think you’d find thats the minimum most PL players far worse than our bunch would be on.

    I also assume you would like us to pay whatever it takes to get Nasri to stay or other stars in, but then our wage bill would be even higher. Wenger does not hide behind FFP the Board and Stadium move have forced it on him, he has stayed and remained loyal in spite of that.

    Browny being owned by two rich people is one thing, being owned by two rich benefactors is another, currently we are not owned by a benefactor but a businessman in Kroenke, why would he want to stick money in to a business that is already profitable?

    The only other route open is the Glaziers route where we pile the club into debt in the hope that someone comes along and buys it and makes the owner tremendous profit because of where the debt has taken the club. Or we could be like Chavs and Manchavs and just spend someone elses money who when they leave could quite easily demand all that money back. Is any fan willing to risk our grandchildren having no Arsenal to support in the gamble of buying success now, and please don’t say it couldn’t happen, there are plenty of examples of it, and i dare say the footballing world would be quite glad to see it happen to us.

    What some people fail to realise is there are only four pots a season to win, two serious ones, there are at least three clubs trying to buy the major domestic one and at least five or six trying to buy the big European one, If we risk so much money on winning it and fail what then? Do what Roman does and spend again, and become a laughing stock as you spend more on compensation for your managers than others do on buying players? And your owner enforces players on whoever he has chosen to be coach that month.

    RANT OVER!

  15. goonerwife says:

    love the article alot. thank you. You are now one of my fav along with Dandan.

    Looking forward to a brilliant season

  16. Gooner In Exile says:

    Look at Goonerwife spreading the love……GiE am :cry:

  17. TotalArsenal says:

    The real GiE is back, fully rested and ready for battle with all his weapons of ‘math destruction’! Absolutely brilliant comment :P

    Cheers goonerwife, that is some compliment you made me there :oops:

  18. dandan says:

    Hi. TA Re Quote. No it is not a Wengerism, but rather one I used when coaching my managers in my previous life. Unfortunately I do not remember from whom I stole it. No doubt one of our readers will tell us in the course of the day.

  19. dandan says:

    Goonerwife I am not worthy, but thank you.

  20. WiganGooner says:

    Great Article TA, really good positive read and similar to my own thoughts.

    I’ve got reasonably sick with all this transfer rubbish and the lack of any real news flying about and your article has given me fresh vigor.

    Thank you.

    WG

  21. M.V says:

    Yup! Agree! Nice Article! I didn’t start supporting Arsenal until about 2 years ago….the reason being the way they play fotball, and because they don’t use money like other clubs. What’s the point of winning if it’s just a bought success.

  22. wally says:

    Nothing has changed on the field, on the staff, in the office. Thinking the result will be different is madness.
    Sounds like the wife whose husband keeps beating her but loves tells everyone what a swell guy he really is.

  23. OUR Arsenal says:

    The best article I have read for all of the closed season (and most of the end of the last one)..

    Like it or not… He is OUR manager.. This is OUR team..OUR Arsenal… Lets get behind them and enjoy OUR football.

    To all the negative guys out there get back to your championship manager where you can win everything by spending money.. This is the real world and those tactics do not always work here…

    Just a few weeks left to go now!!! :o)))

  24. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi WG, good to see you back again. I visited your site yesterday and read your great post. I saw that Rocky left a comment, wondering whether you were away on holiday.

  25. TotalArsenal says:

    Wally, you seem to be in the know about my love for Arsene ;) I cannot believe your comment regarding nothing has changed on the field: did you watch our friendlies last week?! I watched the first 45 minutes of our game against Malaysia 3 times, it was that good and refreshing. How many new faces do you want to see?

  26. EIE says:

    WENGER OUT

  27. TotalArsenal says:

    Thanks OUR A, I like your emphasis on ‘OUR’ and the need for fans to get behind the team again. Tomorrow should be a good game, so no need to wait a few more weeks :)

  28. TotalArsenal says:

    EIE, don’t be sexist idiot. If you have something interesting to say, write a proper comment or sod off.

  29. WiganGooner says:

    @ TA

    No hols, just mega busy with work unfortunately!! Got a few things going on outside of it too thats keeping me on my toes.

    I’m going to try an write some articles this weekend!

    Hope all you guys are well and I hope to be a more active contributor soon.

    WG

  30. TotalArsenal says:

    Very big of you EIE. I love it though the way you call it ‘our Arsenal crowd’ :lol:

  31. WiganGooner says:

    There is a general malaise affecting the Arsenal faithful at the moment. This has been caused by the under-achievements last year, mixed with the media-hyped negativity surrounding the revolving door at Arsenal and a general dissatisfaction with Arsene Wenger.

    Personally, I am very grateful for the good times Arsene and his football have given me and I see no reason to pull the pin on the hand-grenade just yet. All teams under-perform at some point and it’s not necessarily about personnel, tactics or even the manager.

    Lady Luck is a ravenous lover, she can give you everything, but she can also take it all away.

    When we went unbeaten in the season we were very lucky at times. Yes, sometimes we were unstoppable, but sometimes we were very lucky.

    Perspective is key here, if we had similar luck last season I think the Arsenal faithful would be much happier at this point in the close season and we’d have been celebrating a trophy or two.

    So, if its not personnel, manager, or tactics there’s sod all we can do but support our team. Let’s face it, being negative hardly makes us feel cheerful and optimistic does it?

    WG

  32. dandan says:

    TA We dont need EIE’s sexism on here, so I have trashed it

  33. TotalArsenal says:

    WG, well said, great comment. Especially, ‘Lady Luck is a ravenous lover, she can give everything, but she can also take it away’ :P

    I believe that Rocky, and a few others, have been making a really important point regarding the redtops. Their script is to have a go at us continuously, by emphasising the lack of transfer movement, and the doom that will happen to us, when (not if) we sell Cesc and Nasri etc etc. It is almost impossible to stay immume from this virus, as we are more than ever subjected to the redtops negative and very often totally made up stories.

    However, sometimes a decent article comes out:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/blog/2011/jul/16/arsenal-arsene-wenger

  34. TotalArsenal says:

    Cheers DanDan, I was hoping you were around to kick him out.

  35. RockyLives says:

    Great post TA
    I knew it was one of yours from about the third para.
    Just popping in briefly as I have a busy day but will try and catch up later.

    Just one thing – EIE is clearly short for EIEIO: hooray! We’ve found the village idiot…

  36. evonne says:

    TA – did EiE say something abusive about me?
    I hope so, I would hate someone like him become my friend

  37. dandan says:

    :-)

  38. evonne says:

    A while back we had a banter about Sunderland winning the EPL this season. Well, well, has anybody followed their transfers, especially buys? They won’t win the league, but might be a formidable force

    Dave Highbury a@11:28 : ‘WIN IN STYLE and they’ll never forget. Anyone can buy a victory – even Man Shitty. This is why I love the Arsenal’ – GiE would say ‘Amen to that, I’d say ‘Agreed’ :)

  39. WiganGooner says:

    @TA

    I think the Redtops just like an easy target. Because of the state of the Arsenal Nation at the moment we’re easy pickings.

    That’s why I don’t read the redtops though, gutter reporting and baseless stories backed up with spurious amounts of illegal phone-hacking.

    Let’s face it, the likes of the Sun, Star, Mirror, Mail, Express aren’t exactly a stunning read with thought-provoking arguments they’re horses-for-courses, glance at in your tea break, do the quickie crossword and scratch your testicles kind of read.

    I can’t knock them for targeting a specific genre of reader, nor for their sensationalism. I can knock them for their lack of integrity, professionalism and journalistic investigation.

    Let’s be honest, between the Redtops and the Metro there isn’t much real news going on and they need to sell papers to compete.

    WG

  40. dandan says:

    WG you might be interested to know, the Sun was heavily researched before its launch, when it was deliberately aimed at the UK’s average IQ. Quickly becoming our biggest selling daily,it is looked upon as a marketing triumph, frightening isn’t it

  41. WiganGooner says:

    @ DanDan,

    That scares the life out of me! Every time I read their headlines I wonder whether it is actually a real story or whether it is just sensationalism built upon rumour/false information.

    WG

  42. TotalArsenal says:

    Not at all Evonne, EiE is a big admirer of you. He told me his initials are inspired by THE Barry White song and stand for ‘Evonne is Everything’ :P

    Rocky :)

    WG: spot on!

  43. johnQ says:

    A wonderful and brilliant post.

    GIE,

    “Is any fan willing to risk our grandchildren having no Arsenal to support in the gamble of buying success now, and please don’t say it couldn’t happen, there are plenty of examples of it, and i dare say the footballing world would be quite glad to see it happen to us”

    so true!!

  44. chas says:

    Great post, TA.

    Are you suggesting we are learning wisdom via the third method, that is, through experience, the bitterest path? :)

  45. TotalArsenal says:

    Yes, Chas. However much we try to use the first method of reflection, which is relatively easy right now, when it comes to footie season itself, we are drawn without much resistance to the bitterest path :(

  46. goonermichael says:

    Great post. I love Wenger (in a straight way :) ) If he doesn’t win something soon he’ll go. I don’t think he has 3 years. Some of the negative comments are funny and predictable.

  47. tarbrit says:

    Great article!!!

  48. oz gunner says:

    Another great post (not to mention the comments that follow). I really am sick of all this transfer talk, i can only imagine what all of you deal with in England.

    Wegner is a legend, yet fans whinge and complain that we don’t have quality because he has out dated ways. Well i dare anyone to say that after watching the chelsea and Barca games (especially the chelsea game, the way we pressed all over the ground was amazing, and if the team was mentally up for all games like they were for that then the trophies would come).

    I wouldn’t have anyone else at the helm!!!

  49. TotalArsenal says:

    GM, I think we will win ‘something’ this year, but it might take a few more years before we get to the ‘immortal football’ stage.

    OzG, the Chelsea game was amazing and so was the Birmingham away game we played a week later. With TV and Rambo back and the new signing of Gervinho we should have some more strength in depth. I am just hoping we sign another CB and that Ryo can legally join us in the new season, and all will be well.

  50. oz gunner says:

    TA:

    agree with the need for another CB. One player i’ve always wanted to see at arsenal is steven taylor from newcastle. A couple of seasons ago he single handledly kept newcastle in the game against arsenal (took the game when he went off injured), not to mention that strike he scored causing them to draw against us the season before. He has been unlucky with injury, but there is a reason why he was dubbed as the future captain of england.
    Kozza will get better (hes going to be a star), as will djourou, and hopefully squidges confidence isn’t shot after the wrap hes received. Haven’t seen much of bartley (surely another loan with regular football will do him a world of good).

    I just want to see arshavin unleashed down the middle!

  51. TotalArsenal says:

    Oz, agree with you on Arshavin: of all our players he is the most ‘Bergkampesque’. Not as good, but the the same type of player. I also agree with you on Koz and Djourou. I just have a strong feeling we need another good CB so we can cope with fatigue, injuries and suspensions better. It would also mean that we can move Koz and TV into LB and DM position now and again.

  52. oz gunner says:

    i would love to see both playing in the DM position (both are great tacklers and have good passing skills), however i think its frimpongs turn to backup song (i hope after his falling out with Eto he doesn’t make the ACN), because the knee injury hampered his breakout year.

    I hope djourous end of year form was just fatigue after a long season, because before the last few games he was on fire

  53. Rasp says:

    Thanks for a rousing post TA, there have been some top responses from bloggers.

    At the moment the cupboard is bare for tomorrow so if anyone has a germ of an idea, just send it over however brief – ta.

  54. goonermichael says:

    TA
    I hope you are right. I don’t think the chavs and mancs are any stronger (yet) shitty may buy players but they’ll still play negative football. I think the bindippers will be stronger. I think Dalgliesh is a god manager. The spuds are shit so they don’t bother me. Apparently all thier games are being shown live on the comedy channel this season.

  55. evonne says:

    GM – Spuds games showing on the comedy channel this season :) Will Ade make it to the first squad there?

  56. RockyLives says:

    Rasp
    Have knocked out a quick one (oo-er missus) and put it in drafts.

    Btw – were you responsible for the very funny picture and caption at the top of TA’s post? If so, Bravo!

  57. London says:

    Wenger – We have to find one more defender

    From Arsenal.com……………………am I dreaming?

  58. chas says:

    Came across this yesterday. Great filming. It sums up the live experience of seeing a goal scored for your team.
    Sami never played as well after he was banned from wearing that snood. :)

  59. chas says:

    Morning London,
    I hadn’t seen the ‘one more defender’ comment. I can’t make head or tail of most of the stuff that comes from AW and Arse.com.

  60. goonermichael says:

    So Jenkinson. Gervinho and “one more defener” Is a very busy transfer window.

  61. evonne says:

    Morning all
    Chas, your clips are great, how do you find them?

    I am usually more concerned whom will shall lose each summer, rather than new arrivals. That’s because it is unlikely AW will sign someone I have ever heard of before! So until I see the dude in action, no point trying to guess who the ‘rabbit out of a hat’ is going to be this time.

    BUT, only one defender is pants! We definitely need more than one defender. We needed at least one before Gael left, now we need at least 2. What the hell is thinking???

  62. goonermichael says:

    If Nasri isn’t going to sign I don’t want him wearing an Arsenal shirt. This should have been sorted ages ago. This window is just like all the others recently.

  63. chas says:

    Evonne,
    I just stumble across them and if I like them, I share them.

  64. evonne says:

    Chas – never in my life have I stumbled across a video clip! I found a £20 note once, but never photo footage :)

  65. SharkeySure says:

    Brilliant TA

  66. evonne says:

    Aha, Mr Shakey got up now! How are things? Ready for the kickoff?

  67. Rasp – are you there?

  68. Rasp says:

    Morning all,

    New post ……..

    Thanks once again to Rocky for saving the day.

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