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Arsenal told Jack Wilshere he could leave last summer

Jack Wilshere has still not committed his future to Arsenal, the club he joined at age nine. Wilshere, 26, will be out of contract at the end of the current season, in which he has made 31 appearances to date – the most in a season since 2013-14. The Gunners have offered him a new deal on reduced terms – he’ll have to accept a pay cut on his £120,000-a-week salary. He wants a better deal. And he wants to stay.

“I have got three months left on my contract,” he says. “Ideally, yes, I want it sorted as soon as possible. I want to go to the World Cup and enjoy it but we have three months until then and a lot can happen. Ideally from my point of view and the club’s point of view, they will probably want it sorted.”


jack wilshere


He might have left the club last summer.

“He [Arsene Wenger] gave me the opportunity [to leave] with three or four weeks left in the transfer window,” says Wilshere from the England team base. It will be Wilshere’s first outing for England since that 1-0 defeat to Iceland in Euro 2016.

“I did not find anything that I wanted and at the same time I was not really fit, so I decided that I wanted to stay and build up my fitness. It was an honest conversation. We have known each other long enough where we can have that relationship where we are honest with each other. It was boiling up for a while because everybody knew I had a year left on my deal and I had been out on loan, got injured, and wasn’t really in his plans. He said, ‘I am going to be honest with you and at the moment we are not going to be offering you a contract, so if you can get a contract somewhere else, you can go’. Obviously I was not happy with that, but at the same time I was happy he was being honest.”

Determined and cock-sure, Wilshere is the kind of player Arsenal need more of.


Posted: 22nd, March 2018 | In: Arsenal, News, Sports | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

It’s quiet at Manchester United, Arsenal and Chelsea because football fans are being controlled

Manchester United’s Old Trafford is a quiet ground. It’s not alone. The quiet at the Emirates is more obvious than a dead nun on a snow-covered hillside. Stamford Bridge is quiet enough for rare newts to breed and raise their young in The Shed end.  But help is afoot. United are looking at ways to bring back the noise. Things under consideration: fans with megaphones; song sheets; the return to standing and a reduction in ticket prices, meaning fans can turn up on a whim and not have to book seats well in advance, pay though the noes and sit among strangers. Only one part of that list was made up. The last part.



There will be no standing.

Football as we know it changed on 15 April 1989, when 96 blameless Liverpool fans who “neither caused nor contributed to the deaths” lost their lives at Hillsborough in a “failure of police control” and “multiple failures in other organisations”. The police lied and lied and lied. The victims still await justice. But rather than address why fans were caged and police sent for attack dogs when people were losing their lives, Hillsborough was used an excuse to control football supporters – what the Sunday Times called “slum people, who deter decent folk from turning up“.

The mood against football fans was hostile. And then came the 1990 Taylor Report. The fences were torn down. In their the place came all-seater stadia. The ID card scheme never took off – the Tory government wanted football fans to carry compulsory identity cards at matches. But now all fans did get a number, a booking reference and their bank details taken. New forms of control took hold. Spontaneity was out. Chants and language were policed.

So why is there a palpable lack of atmosphere at the football? Because the fans are shackled, treated as problem to manage and control.

Hillsborough: 96 Liverpool Fans Killed By ‘A Slum Sport Watched By Slum People In Slum Stadiums’


Posted: 21st, March 2018 | In: Arsenal, Chelsea, manchester united, News, Sports | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Danny Welbeck has now dived for Arsenal and Manchester United – now for England

‘The dive gets a big fat 0. Nothing can excuse it, embarrassing,” wrote the Daily Mirror’s John Cross in his awarding of player scores at the end of Arsenal’s Europa League victory over AC Milan. The Sun gave Welbeck 9/10, not mentioning what Cross called Welbeck’s “blatant dive to win a penalty”. Italy’s Corriere della Sera delivered its match verdict: “Affondati da un tuffo” (“Sunk by a dive”).

Welbeck will discover tomorrow whether he will face any retrospective action for that alleged dive. Uefa hold an option to act if the match referee or delegate raise concerns. But there is no word that anyone has done. The Football Association has the power to review the cheating and ban divers for two games. More power to the FA. But they matter not in this instance.

It’s all rather dispiriting. England players diving is all the rage. Gareth Southgate’s latest England squad features the following forwards: persistant diver Dele Alli, Raheem Sterling (“We know that Raheem Sterling dives well, he does that very well” – Arsene Wenger), Danny Welbeck, slippery-booted Jamie Vardy and Marcus Rashford.

As Daniel Taylor notes: “Raheem Sterling and Jamie Vardy have made an art form of initiating contact with the defender and then going down in the penalty area. Marcus Rashford’s dive to win a penalty against Swansea last season was one of the reasons why the FA beefed up its rules.”

Here’s Welbeck playing for Manchester United against Wigan in 2012:



Diving is a horror. But not enough is being done to end it. The players don’t care. The media admires it – Corriere dello Sport actually made Welbeck man of the match. And the clubs just see it as a marketing opportunity:



Carry on diving, then.


Posted: 18th, March 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, News, Sports | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Fiery Jack Wilshere has outgrown Wenger’s dull and directionless Arsenal

Let’s not abuse Jack Wilshere for trying to negotiate the best terms at Arsenal. Most fans would agree to an £80,000-a-week deal plus bonuses Arsenal are offering Wilshere to extend his current deal that runs out at this season’s end. But if we thought we could get more, we’d try.

The caveat is, of course, that Wilshere is an Arsenal fan, whose been at the club since age nine. And given theoretic options on offer, most Gunners would take a hungry Wilshere, who fronts up on the pitch, to remain at the club over the moribund and uninspiring Arsene Wenger (wage: £10m a season) and replace the panicky and hapless Granit Xhaka as the team’s fulcrum.

Why does Wilshere need Wenger’s Arsenal? Is Wilshere improving under the Frenchman? Is anyone?

And Jack The Lad has a way out. Everton are ready to pay him a whopping £8 million signing-on fee to join them on a free transfer in June. Will he take that? Surely not. Even a palsied Wenger is better than a pugnacious Sam Allardyce, who’d teach Wilshere what: to better challenge for headers?

Wilshere might have yet to rediscover that burst of pace that took him away from opponents, a skill dented by cruel and lengthy injuries, but he has oodles of perseverance and drive. Arsenal are sensible to temper a new deal given the state of Wilshere’s ankles, but to let go of one of the few players possessed of personality, who connects with fans and looks like he actually cares, would be giving up on much more than one player. It’s be more evidence that Wenger’s regime is ending in abject failure.

Posted: 17th, March 2018 | In: Arsenal, News, Sports | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Arsenal in Russia, a rerun of the Polonium derby and World Cup boycotts are for football haters

polonium arsenal


The quarter-final of football’s Europa League pits Arsenal against CSKA Moscow.

There has been no media balls about the English club boycotting the two-legged match, as there have been copious words on England not attending this summer’s World Cup in light of Moscow’s involvement in the attempted murders of Russian exiles Sergei Skripal, 66, and his daughter, Yulia, 33, in a chemical attack in Salisbury.

Any debate about England’s participation in this summer’s tournament invites us to wonder why now and not when the Russians allegedly secured their hosting of the tournament through bribes; annexed Crimea; the time Russian club Spartak Moscow referred to its black players as “chocolates”; or when, having seen the extreme violence after a match between England and Russia in Marseille in 2016, “British government officials” feared the fighting that left two England fans in comas was sanctioned by the Kremlin – a prominent Russian parliamentarian hardly quietened such notions when he  tweeted: “Well done lads, keep it up!”?

Labour politician John Woodcock wants “MPs to push for concerted international action over the World Cup… It should [a boycott] be on the table because of the appalling magnitude of what Russia has done.”

So Harry Kane is sacrificed to prove a politician’s point. All the players who dreamt of playing at a World Cup finals miss out because politicians and wonks who see football less as a fun leisure pursuit than a tool for top-down moral education want it.

But at least Arsenal can play on, and take their chances with the all-powerful, conniving Russians – who have moved on rapidly from bringing down the West through a ‘farm’ of nerds on Facebook and twitter, to unleashing chemical weapons in Wiltshire. And the Gunners might have something to fear. The last time the two clubs met in 2007, traces of polonium (the poison used to kill ex-Russian spy Alexander Litvenenko that very same day) were later found at the Emirates…


Posted: 16th, March 2018 | In: Arsenal, News, Sports | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Former Arsenal star sent off as life imitates Wotsits

Referee Dean Hulme asked former Arsenal player Sanchez Watt for his name. Watt, playing for Hemel Hempstead Town in a National League South game against East Thurrock United was going into the ref’s book.

“Watt,” said the 27-year-old. Hulme believed he was saying “what?” and sent him off for dissent. The card was soon rescinded.

“It was a human error,” Hemel Hempstead chairman Dave Boggins told BBC Sport. “The referee was man enough to rectify it. I think everybody found it amusing afterwards – including the referee. He came into the boardroom after the game and explained how he had made the mistake. He was very apologetic and saw the funny side of it. He was a good ref on the night to be fair to him.”

Watt a Wally:


Posted: 7th, March 2018 | In: Arsenal, News, Sports | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Arsenal shocker: 12% of Gooners want Wenger to stay

Don’t open those eyes yet, Arsenal fans: Arsene Wenger is still there. But the Arsenal Supporters Trust (AST) has done its bit to defenestrate the manager and prick a supine, greedy board and absentee owner into action. AST members voted overwhelmingly against the Frenchman remaining as manager beyond the end of this season.

A whopping 88% of fans responded to an AST survey saying that they do not support Wenger continuing in charge for another season – last year it was 78%, and Arsenal still gave him a new two-year deal.

As Arsenal FC go full ostrich, we can marvel that 12% of Gooners want Wenger to stay. The same 12% also consider that dream of being tied naked to Nelson’s Column and forced to watch Gary Linker discuss Spurs matches to be the best they’ve ever had. Masochists, eh, they’ve never suffered enough.

Meanwhile, the Times says Wenger spent the hours after Arsenal’s defeat to the mighty Brighton telling his coaching staff that he is “the best man to take Arsenal forward”. He will not break his contract. So Arsenal will have to sack him.

Over to the hapless Ivan Gazidis, then, the Arsenal chief executive. The AST will hand him the results of its survey at a fans’ forum ahead of the match against Watford on Sunday. The meeting promises to be more interesting than the match.

Posted: 6th, March 2018 | In: Arsenal, News, Sports | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Arsenal balls: Wenger threatens to stay for one more season

Arsenal players are “turning” on Arsene Wenger says the Mirror. The Frenchman is being “Frozen Out”. He’s also being paid a huge £10m a year to oversee a mediocre team. Blame Wenger by all means, but the board hire him. The absentee owner is unable to see beyond the next jackpot dividend.

If the owners had a clue they’d have sacked Wenger when Arsenal were beaten 8-2 at Old Trafford or lost 10-2 against Bayern Munich or went down 2-1 to Östersund Football Club – a Swedish team from a town whose population is smaller than the capacity of the Emirates stadium. “We could not compete on conventional terms in Swedish football, said Östersund’s manager Graham Potter. “We’ve got no history, no tradition, no culture [of football] here. You’re looking for the ones that have been discarded, the ones that conventional football has regarded as being not good enough.” You know, the kind of players Arsenal reject by the dozen.

Potter had more to say. For all those who say Arsenal outside the Champions’ League will struggle to recruit the top talent and thus compete, well…

“We’re up here in the woods. It’s very, very difficult to attract players from the south of Sweden… We’re not going to have the resources, we’re not going to have a reason for people to come here. Then we started to get players that were maybe either released or not considered good enough for the conventional sort of way. Pick those guys up, and then to do that you have to play to their strengths So we got the ones that were maybe too small or not strong enough to play typical, conventional football if you like. That helped us evolve towards more possession, more controlling game.”

Belief and vision can do wonders. Arsenal have neither. Under Wenger, the team of entitled, cosseted mouth-breathers possess less presence than Lord Lucan. They’d be outfought and outthought by the zip on Wenger’s jacket.

Why are Arsenal so lacklustre and witless given that the team earn fortunes and throughout their careers must have shown some signs of skill and drive? Is it to do with trial by transfer fee, whereby average players, especially the English ones – £40m for the limited Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain!; Jack Wilshere thinks £120,000 a week not enough to sign a new deal he is, we are told, desperate to agree!!! – think they’ve won before a ball has been kicked.

And at the top of the flaccid, gilded lump is Wenger, a man rewarded for perennial Premier League failure. Look, his longevity says, you can be a bit stylish, talk a good game and come nowhere near winning the title and still earn shedloads of cash and new contracts. This current Arsenal side of journeymen are the embodiment of the manager’s last decade in charge.

The test is now. Wenger says he has always honoured his contract. The current deal has a year to run after this summer. The paper talks is that Arsenal will once more turn to Monaco, where Wenger managed. Leonardo Jardim is the name in the frame. Arsenal, if they’re serious about change, should get him now.


Posted: 1st, March 2018 | In: Arsenal, News, Sports | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Ian Wright: when the Arsenal striker tore a Man City star’s foreskin

As a powderpuff, toothless, guile-free, limp Arsenal lose 3-0 to Manchester City in the League Cup final, minds turn to how it used to be when players actually ran and looked like they were living the dream. You know, when Ian Wright played for the Gunners.

Wright is the player who grow up on Honor Oak council estate in Brockley, south London, whose mother told him “I should have had a termination”;  who left school at 14; who at age 18, whilst working as a labourer, became a father; who after countless rejections became at 22-years-old a professional footballer with Crystal Palace; who ran and ran and ran and ran.

“I spoke with Arsène for a few hours during the 2014 World Cup in Brazil,” says the former Arsenal star. “He is such a fascinating man to talk to. During our conversation he said he accepts whatever criticism I make comes from a place of love. Watching him now is like witnessing the ageing Muhammad Ali against Larry Holmes, or watching Brazil’s Ronaldo when he got fat. You are watching the greats in their demise. The problem with Arsène is that there is no one in his corner prepared to throw in the towel.”

Arsene Wenger’s time was up years ago. A combination of loyalty to the man who moulded the club in the modern era, and an asinine board and absentee owner grown fat and complacent on big dividends from the club’s role as perennial Champions’ League also rans, have kept Wenger in situ. His current team are woeful.

Do any of them want it as much as Wright did? Talking to the Sunday Times, he tells a story, which is undoubtedly the most entertaining thing Arsenal fans will have seen today:

“First time I got called up for England. I am amongst the greats. Bryan Robson, Shilton, Butcher, Barnes, Lineker, Beardsley, Gascoigne, Platt. But I’m losing the ball in training and Steve McMahon’s giving me a hard time.

“’F*****g useless, how do players like you get into the squad?’” Horrible he was, and it got me down. Years later he [McMahon] is playing for Man City and we both slide into a tackle. He had to go off. It’s at Highbury and after the game he’s in the doctor’s room being stitched up. It’s his foreskin that is being stitched.

“He says ‘Wrighty, you caught me in the wrong place,’ but is OK about it. I apologise and wish him well for the rest of the season. After we retire I meet him somewhere and he’s saying that every time he pees or has any form of arousal, he feels a little pain and thinks of me. And I’m thinking, ‘ah man, that’s sweet.’”

If you’ve got the time, this is great: Ian Wright meets Mr Sidney Pigden, his old teacher who made him believe he could do it:


And this:

Posted: 25th, February 2018 | In: Arsenal, News, Sports | Comment (1) | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Former Arsenal and Spurs star: ‘I’m one of the greatest minds in football’

Sol Campbell has been overlooked for the Oxford job. No, not the Oxford job that involves big lunches, bigger dinners and students. The other Oxford job – the one as manager of Oxford United FC. Although the former Spurs and Arsenal defender could have done both, probably. As he tells one and all: “I can’t believe some people. I’m one of the greatest minds in football and I’m wasted because of a lack of experience or maybe he talks his mind too much.”

Instead Oxford are looking at former Wales and Liverpool player Craig Bellamy.

“I did go [for the Oxford Unietd job] and they didn’t accept me,” Sol told Highbury & Heels. “Maybe it was a lack of experience, things like that, but it’s a full circle. Experience? How do I get experience? Well I need a job to get experience. I don’t want to go too low that it’s a struggle, and I don’t want to go too low that I’m under someone and thinking ‘what am I doing here?’ I would rather be managing a club myself.

“I’m confident and it’s not like it’s rocket science to run a football club, especially when you get to that level. If you’re intelligent enough and a quick learner you will learn pretty soon, within two or three games, what the team needs, training-wise, to survive in that league, get better in that league, to get in the play-offs or even win the league.

“I’m intelligent enough, it’s not like I played on a fox and dog pitch all my life. I can’t believe some people, I’m one of the greatest minds in football and I’m being wasted because of a lack of experience or ‘maybe he talks his mind too much’. Go to Germany, they love people who speak their minds. They got the jobs. I’m sorry that I’ve got a mind, but don’t be scared of that. That should be something you want at your club, but obviously not.”



Glenn Hoddle is away.

Posted: 22nd, February 2018 | In: Arsenal, News, Sports | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Arsenal balls: Ramsey ready for Carabao Cup final

The Daily Express has news form the twilight zone of spots journalism: “Aaron Ramsey to miss Man City Carabao Cup final because of Arsene Wenger.” Jack Otway has news on just what Wenger has done to Ramsay, dealing a “hammer blow” to Arsenal’s chances of winning the trophy.

Reading on and we discover that Wenger has done…nothing. But we do get this:

The Sun say Arsene Wenger has already decided Ramsey will not be risked against Guardiola’s men.

Over in the Sun, then, for news of the “RAMBLOW”. Ramsey is “set miss Carabao Cup Final”. It’s an “exclusive”.

So Ramsay is out. But, hold on. Whose that training with the Gunners?  The Express identifies him:


Spotted? The Express is happy to quote the Sun’s “exclusive” that Ramsay is out – defo – but forgot to mention the bit where the Sun says: “And though he has been working hard in training to prove his fitness for Wembley, boss Arsene Wenger is unwilling to gamble on the Welsh star.”

As the Express mines two clickbait stories from one Sun “exclusive”, Wenger tells media: “Ramsey is not in the squad for tomorrow [Arsenal’s Europa League Cup match]. He had a good training session but he is short for tomorrow. We will see how his evolution goes now until Sunday. I don’t rule him out yet. It depends how well he can improve the intensity of training.”

Such are the facts.

Posted: 22nd, February 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, News, Sports | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Arsenal balls: Lacazette’s talking knee changes time

With Trinity Mirror’s purchase of the Daily Express and Daily Star, football fans who get their news online can expect a tag-team movement of total balls. All titles use their websites as clickbait farms. The latest tosh involves Arsenal’s Alexandre Lacazette, who has, says the Mirror,  “given an update on his recovery from a knee injury”.

In its dash for clicks, the Mirror tells readers approaching via Google’s bots that Lacazette is bidding “for a quick recovery” (as opposed to hoping for a slow recovery and lots of sick pay and daytime telly?), illustrating the teaser with a photo of Arsenal’s Hector Bellerin and, er,  Robbie Lyle, presenter of the entertaining Arsenal Fan TV


lacazette arsenal


Clicking into the story and readers are told Lacazette will be sidelined for “up to five weeks”. Arsene Wenger’s words to BeIn Sports that Lacazette could be out for “four or five weeks” are repeated. There’s no word on any “quick recovery”. That much is utter balls.

And then this spot some time illiteracy:

A return date on the pitch could occur against either West Ham on April 21 or Manchester United on April 28 with a return to first team training likely to begin at the start of April.

Lacazette underwent surgery on February 12. Four or five weeks after that take us up to mid March. Even if you add on a few days from the operation until Wenger spoke, Lacazette still looks likely to return well before April.

But having spun a nonsense story from a single photo of Lacazette’s poorly knee as he work out in the Arsenal gym – one taken by the player and posted to his Instagram page – the Mirror’s clickbait expert needs to hit his word count. So we get this:

Until Lacazette’s return, Wenger will put his faith in Aubameyang, though the Gabon striker is unable to help in their quest to win the Europa League. Despite overcoming Ostersund 3-0 in the first leg of the round of 32 tie, a probable last 16 tie will occur on March 8 and 13, with a potential quarter-final on April 5 and 12.

That means Arsenal’s most probable route back into the Champions League will rest on Danny Welbeck’s form.

No. It won’t because Arsenal are not a one-man team and Lacazettte will be back in March. In addition, the last 16 ties will be played on March 8 and 15. March 12 is a Monday. Europa League ties are played on Thursdays.

Apart from the story being factually inaccurate and based on total balls, it is spot on.

PS: But there is good news. Cop a load of the ads that wrapped around the balls. We counted – get this – 23 ads on this one story.




It’s almost as if the words are just a trick to make you see lots and lots and lots of ads…

Posted: 21st, February 2018 | In: Arsenal, Key Posts, News, Sports, Tabloids | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Transfer balls: Arsenal want Fekir now before he realises his ‘dream’ and plays in Spain

Transfer balls: The BBC says Arsenal have “identified” Lyon’s Nabil Fekir as their “number one summer target”. The bad news for Gunners fans who want Arsene Wenger to be replaced as club manager this summer is that it’s Wenger who has picked the player.

This news is echoed by the Mail, which says Wenger “wants a deal agreed before Fekir reports for World Cup duty”. The story is backed by not a single source nor quote. It just is. We’re also told that the Lyon “midfielder” has been “compared to France legend Youri Djorkaeff”. By whom? Dunno. But in the Sun, we read: “The Gunners chief has been keeping tabs on the Lyon forward, who has been compared to France legend Youri Djorkaeff.”

At least the papers can agree on who Fekir reminds someone of, if not what position he plays.

The Sun then pads out a story based on nothing with this:

Djorkaeff inspired his nation on home soil in 1998 and won the European Championships two years later And Fekir will be hoping to do the same in Russia.

You think?

And why Arsenal? Well, Fekir’s father did say in 2015: “If he leaves, it will be for Arsenal. It’s the only club that can enable him to progress, with Arsene Wenger.”

Does he still think that? We can’t be sure because in 2017, Fekir told RTL his “dream” is to play in… Spain. He also said Manchester City interests him.

In other words: get your wallets out.


Posted: 17th, February 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Talking balls: Arsenal sink as Spurs became the new Barcelona

Spurs fans rejoicing after their 1-0 victory over Arsenal are further buoyed by the fact their their club’s rise is coinciding with the Gunners’ fall. But Spurs fans must surely realise that lying fifth in the Premier League, and a whopping 20 points behind Manchester City, is not the mark of champions. Well, not unless you read the Sun it isn’t.

Either Neil Ashton is a work of parody or else he’s lost the plot. The story begins:

Tottenham were so much better than Arsenal it was like watching Barcelona vs Espanyol

It is if you know nothing of Barcelona – top of Spain’s La Liga and with a packed trophy cabinet – and Espanyol – 15th in the table, who drew 1-1 with Barcelona in February, beat them 1-0 in the first leg of the Copa del Rey in January and got tonked 5-0 in September; have never won La Liga; but have, like Spurs, won one major trophy this Century.

A derby, yes, but all a bit manufactured, given the dominance and superiority enjoyed by Barca down the years.

Is he saying that Spurs have enjoyed dominance over Arsenal down the years?

Wenger, the man who won three Premier League titles with Arsenal, is now out of tricks. He is also behind the times.

All true. Wenger must go. He inspires neither players nor fans.

A young and vibrant Tottenham have finally caught them up, overtaking them on Saturday with a polished performance at the national stadium.

Arsenal are sixth. They were first three times under Wenger. Spurs have not been first since 1961. Spurs have risen. But it is Arsenal who have dropped.

PS: Football 365 report that Ashton’s column once said:

EVERY once in a while, English football enters a golden age. Think Busby Babes, the great Liverpool side built by Bill Shankly or Sir Alex Ferguson’s swashbuckling United teams. At this rate, in years to come, everybody will want to say they got to watch Tottenham live.

Where were you when Harry Kane scored in a 1-0 in over a sub-standard Arsenal side?

Posted: 13th, February 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports, Spurs | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Anti-Semitism expert Jeremy Corbyn wants to ban Spurs Yid Army

spurs yids


Jeremy Corbyn is something of an expert on anti-Semitism – which given his role as leader of the Labour Party, ‘friend’ of Hamas and a former presenter on Iran’s Press TV is no great shock. Corbyn has spotted something anti-Jewish in the ranks of Tottenham Hotspur fans. No, he’s not swapping allegiances from Arsenal to Spurs. He wants Spurs fans to sing what he tells them to and stop cheering for the ‘Yid Army’.

He told the Guardian before Spurs and Arsenal played each other yesterday: “There has been racist abuse at past matches between Arsenal and Spurs – instances of antisemitism and homophobia. Yes, football fans get very passionate but that is not acceptable and not allowed.”

“Yid chants are unacceptable,” adds Corbyn. “It plays into something that’s not very good and we should be saying: ‘We’re the Spurs’ or ‘We’re the Arsenal’. Stick to your club; it’s your club that unites you. The idea of adopting a term to neutralise it doesn’t really work because it is identifying a club by an ethnic group or faith, whereas you should be identifying clubs through supporters.”

You might at this point suppose the Guardian has been duped by an arch-satirist. You’re looking for Shami Chakrabarti to pop up and say that she’s never heard a thing – and for Corbyn to nationalise Tottenham and install Dame Shami as the club’s new striker. But the real Corbyn is no fan of Yid Armies, so it is very probably him doing his bit for his core electorate.

Image: A Labour campaign slogan?

Posted: 11th, February 2018 | In: Arsenal, News, Politicians, Sports, Spurs | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Why Sanchez gets kicked at Manchester United but not at Arsenal

Redknapp jamie man united


Jamie Redknapp tells his Daily Mail readers that Alexis Sanchez “was born to play for Manchester United”. After that kind of guff, you know you’re in for a cavalcade of nonsense. And in “kicking little devil Sachez is the only way to stop him!” we get it in spades.

Sanchez is, you will recall, the player so good that he was let got by Barcelona, joining Arsenal, where he thrived, earning plaudits for his dynamism and skill. Now aged 29 and apparently reborn three matches into his new career at Man United, Redknapp is seeking signs of messianic homecoming.

Redknapp says Sanchez has been fouled “15 times” during his United career. That, we’re told, is a foul every 17 minutes. “Against Huddersfield alone he was fouled seven times, the most for a single player in a Premier League game this season.”

Or as the ,er, Daily Mail note in January:

Seven against Crystal Palace, four against West Brom, then three against Chelsea – Jack Wilshere knows how to draw a foul.

But never mind the facts because Redknapp has a to-deadline point to make, asking:

“Are opponents deliberately targeting the Premier League’s best-paid player?”

No, not Wilshere. He’s talking about Sanchez.

Figures have been updated, and Sanchez is now the PL’s fourth most-fouled player (56 times fouled), one ahead of Wilfried Zaha (Crystal Palace; £60,00-a-week) and behind Watford’s Richarlison (Watford; 1st place; £22,000-a-week), Dele Alli (2nd place: Spurs; £50,000-a-week); and Jordan Ayew (3rd place; Swansea City; £50,000-a-week).

Redknapp then gets tautological:

“Players are not going out to kick Sanchez because he earns £350,000 a week. It is simply because nobody can get near enough to get the ball off him!”

But they do get near him. You have to be very near a player to foul someone (unless you’re Dele Alli).

And foul’s only occur when Sanchez isn’t being fairly dispossessed:


Redknapp’s not finished:

“It is no coincidence that Sanchez was fouled just four times in his last three games for Arsenal. His head was turned by the prospect of a move and he lacked the desire to get on the ball”

Arsenal’s farewell performance came as a 66th minute substitute (Chelsea away). The two matches before that he played the full 90 minutes in each (West Brom away and Chelsea at home). Did he lack desire? Sky, which also employs Redknapp, says he was Arsenal’s most vibrant and best player during the Chelsea game. The Mirror says Sanchez “looked dangerous” throughout when Arsenal took on West Brom.

Other highlights from Redknapp’s insightful column: Arsenal need to “build a team who can deliver these wonderful performances every week.” You think?

“Eddie Howe ticks every box” for “any owner” of a top 6 side looking for a manager. Although the boxes marked ‘Big Cups Won” and “Availability” do look a little empty.


Posted: 5th, February 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, manchester united, Sports, Tabloids | Comments (4) | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Arsenal rejoice! Ozil signs new long-term contract

Mesut Ozil has signed a new three-and-a-half-year contract extension at Arsenal. Having lost Alexis Sanchez to Manchester United earlier this month, the good news for Arsenal fans is that Ozil will not be making the same journey north.

Ozil is not just staying out of love. He’ll be on £350k per week before tax.

To say this is good news for Arsenal fans would be an understatement.

Anyhow, here’s what the experts in the press have been saying:


Mirror ozil leaves

Such are the facts…

Posted: 31st, January 2018 | In: Arsenal, News, Sports | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang watches Arsenal lose and decides to join them

 named by The Guardian as the eighth-best footballer in the world.


Much has been said about Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s temperament. The player named by The Guardian as the eighth-best footballer in the world in December 2016 has  joined Arsenal from Borussia Dortmund on a long-term contract for over £56m.

“Our second signing of the January transfer window, the 28-year-old is one of the world’s most highly-rated strikers. He scored 98 goals in 144 Bundesliga games for Dortmund [97 from inside the area] and had a hand in 172 goals in 213 matches in all competitions for his former club,” oozes Arsenal. “That works out at an average of 96 minutes per goal or assist. Auba is the Gabon captain and all-time top goalscorer, and became the first Gabonese winner of the African Footballer of the Year award in 2015.”

That Auba, as he is now called in official despatches – Arsenal eschewing cash from all those extra letters on replica tops in preference to snappier global branding – should join Arsenal after their comically bad 1-3 defeat to a vibrant Swansea City can only be explained by his having agreed to sign a big money contract before the debacle and correctly realising that standards at the club are now so reduced that getting a shot on target represents improvement.

So what next for Arsenal? According to the SAM (Sports Analytics Machine), a computer built by Ian McHale, professor of sports analytics at the University of Liverpool, Aubameyang will “increase Arsenal’s probability of finishing in the top four by 2% (up to 20%) and bring an expected increase in points of around 0.6.”



Posted: 31st, January 2018 | In: Arsenal, News, Sports | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Transfer Balls: Arsenal sell Giroud to Chelsea for less than agreed price

Arsenal have yet to hand over the £60m it’ll take for Borussia Dortmund forward Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to join them. The BBC says the move “hinges” on two other transfers:  Aubameyang to Arsenal, Giroud to Chelsea and Batshuayi to Dortmund.

We’re told Arsenal want £35, for Giroud, 31.



No they don’t, says The Metro, which declares: “Chelsea agree to sign Olivier Giroud from Arsenal for £15m.”

They have? No. Of course not. That’s the dire Metro, which can’t even get Giroud’s age right:




Football365 then gets itself in a mess over what words mean. Can you “give” a man to another – slavery? – and get £15m in return?



The Daily Express is also confused. It’s not “agreed” if it’s in ‘inverted commas’. But it is agreed if the story states: “Chelsea have agreed a deal with Arsenal to sign Oliver Giroud.”



The source for every one of these scoops seems to be Gianlica Dimario. Who he and why is his word taken as fact? He says he’s a “journalist registered with the Court of Milan”. On his website, we read (through the wonder of Google Translate):

With Dzeko, Chelsea has identified a new target for the attack. This is Olivier Giroud , for whom the Blues have found an agreement with Arsenal on the basis of 15 million pounds plus bonuses. The negotiation will be defined as soon as Wenger’s team will define every detail with Aubameyang and Borussia Dortmund will have found a substitute for Gabonese, which could be Batshuayi.


The utter balls is underlined by the Express, which on the same page as its report that Giroud to Chelsea for £15m is a done deal, declares this morning:

Giroud crunch talks
06.15: Chelsea are expected to re-open negotiations with Arsenal today regarding the sale Olivier Giroud, according to Sky Sports expert Guillem Balague.

Balague says that Chelsea had an initial offer of £20million turned down by the Gunners.

“I read Giroud could go to Chelsea for £15m but I believe #CFC last offer was £20m and was rejected by #AFC,” Balague wrote on Twitter.

“No negotiations took place after that rejection.

“But tomorrow contacts could be renewed.”

To recap: Giroud has joined Chelsea for £5m less than a bid Arsenal rejected?

Oh, and in the Sun we read that Chelsea are targeting Tottenham’s Spanish striker Fernando Llorente, 32.

Fact: Giroud has not signed for Chelsea.


Posted: 30th, January 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Chelsea, News, Sports, Spurs, Tabloids | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Transfer balls: Benzema joins Arsenal for the umpteenth time

Karim Benzema is on his way to the Emirates. Yeah, really. Sports Illustrated announces: “Arsenal Strikes Deal to Bring Karim Benzema to the Emirates.” We’ve been here before. Many times. And before we turn to the Daily Mirror, the source of the SI’s scoop, a look at what we wrote in April 2017:

“Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema to be Alexis Sanchez replacement,” thundered the Daily Mirror.

Newspaper readers will know that Benzema joined Liverpool in 2014 (Daily Star) and Arsenal in 2015 (MetroDaily Star (twice), Daily TelegraphThe Sydney Morning Heraldand again in 2017 (The Sun). He never left Real Madrid. And today the papers are having another crack at the Benzema to Arsenal story.

And so to today’s Mirror: “Real Madrid star Karim Benzema has agreement with Arsene Wenger to join Arsenal but Gunners must improve bid.” And: “Real Madrid star Karim Benzema has agreed to join Arsene Wenger at Arsenal, according to reports.” What reports? “The 30-year-old would be welcomed at the Emirates and reports from Spain now suggest he has an agreement with Wenger.”

No link to any report and suggestions coming out of Spain. But the Express, however, does, linking to Diario Gol. Slap it through Google translate and you get:

On the sidelines, his immediate step points to London: as Diario Gol has learned, the player’s agreement with his compatriot / friend, Arsène Wenger , who wants him at Arsenal next summer, is total. The only problem is the figures of the transfer: the club ‘gunner’ does not exceed 40 million between fixed and variable Karim to maintain the cache. While Real Madrid requires a minimum of 60 ‘kilos’.

There’s not a single source for the story. But one orphaned report on a Spanish website enough for it to become a big story in the British mainstream media. And this in the Star:



And this from the Express:


“Karim Benzema has agreed to leave Real Madrid for Arsenal, according to reports,” says talkSport. Not so. It’s one claim reported on many times.

Benzema to Arsenal. We’ve heard it all before.

Such are the facts…

Posted: 27th, January 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, News, Sports, Tabloids | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Transfer balls: Arsenal target Aubameyang booed as Borussia prepare to lose out

Has Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang signed for Arsenal yet? No. Today the Gabon striker played for Borssia Dortmund in their 2-2 draw with with Freiburg in the Bundesliga. There is no news. Borussia Dortmund striker plays up front for Borussia Dortmund.

But the journalisomobile is in full cry. It won’t be stopped by fact alone. So the Mail thunders: “Borussia Dortmund hierarchy ready to ‘break up’ with Arsenal target Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.”

Says who? The Mail’s story is pinned “according to Sky Sports Germany”. He “may” leaves, says the Mail. Or to put it another way, he may not. “Hans-Joachim Watske and Michael Zorc are understood to hold the opinion that it would be better for all parties involved to ‘break up’.”



‘Understood’ is shorthand for there are no quotes. But over on Sky Sports Germany there are no facts either. But we do get a photo of Dortmund fans displaying a message to Aubameyang: “No player is bigger than our club.”  Which the Standard garbles into the story: “Arsenal target Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang shunned by Borussia Dortmund fans with banner.” How can you be shunned and greeted by a 60ft banner? Maybe next week the fans will ignore Aubameyang with a plane trailing a huge banner featuring the legend “Pierre Who?”

As the fans boo their star, Borussia Dortmund sporting director Michael ZorcZorc tells Sky Sports Germany:

“We are prepared to implement a transfer under certain parameters – but only if these parameters are fully met. Arsenal has started several attempts so far. We have all rejected so far.

“Either our demands are fulfilled, then there can be another transfer, or else they will not be fulfilled and Auba will play in Dortmund until the summer, so it is also discussed and accepted by the Aubameyang family.”

Dortmund want £60m or else they’ll keep paying the player who wants to leave and upsets the fans and the team. Not much of an ultimatum is it…


Posted: 27th, January 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, News, Sports, Tabloids | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Transfer balls: Aubameyang’s Arsenal debut is stating the obvious

Transfer balls: are Arsenal going to sign Borussia Dortmund striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. The Germans have turned down two bids this transfer window. But a third bid might just do it because the BBC says Arsenal are “already planning the 28-year-old Gabon striker’s debut”.

Says who? The Beeb links to a story on the Daily Express (aka, which announces: “Aubameyang to Arsenal: Arsene Wenger very confident of deal, debut already being planned.” The Express links to Bild as the source of its story. t the foot of a story on how the German’s want Arsenal’s Olivier Giroud and how the Frenchman would fit in at Borussia, the writer notes: “Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger (68) is scheduled to plan with Aubameyang for the next match at Swansea City (January 30).”

How Bild knows that is not mentioned. And, then, all it claims to know – that at the end of the transfer window, Aubemayang could play for Arsenal. that’s not insider knowledge; that’s stating the obvious. But hook it to the journalisomobile and you get the Mirror delcaing: “Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang ‘set to make Arsenal debut next Tuesday’ as Gunners close in on £60m deal.” And then the killer first line: “Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang could make his Arsenal debut as soon as next Tuesday.” Or to put it another, he might not.

But to the Mirror, guesswork amounts to something being “revealed”:


arsenal balls daily mirror


And this:


More revelations than Elijah


Such are the facts…

Posted: 25th, January 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, News, Sports, Tabloids | Comments (2) | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Manchester United: Sanchez is no mercenary and Arsenal gain hope

The news media is on no doubt which of Arsenal and Manchester United got the better deal when Alexis Sanchez moved to Old Trafford and Henrikh Mkhitaryan headed to London in a swap plus cash deal. Every back page leads with Sanchez:


alexis sanchez arsenal manchester united


There’s a lot of guff about how Sanchez did and didn’t move for the money – my view: so what if he did; it’s a job and his duty to get the best pay he can to perform it. Not every athlete can be like Tim Duncan, the San Antonio Spurs star who twice helped his club by accepting contracts for less than his market value. Most players listen to their agents. And if journalists and pundits want to look around football for mercenaries, they should lower their gaze toward the men in shiny tracksuits.

The other notable thing is that Sanchez is being marketed heavily from the off, with United posting a video of the Chilean playing a few bars of ‘Glory Glory’, a song I’d always associated with Tottenham Hotspur.



Over at Arsenal, Arsene Wenger appraised his new player in unusual terms: “He’s a very complete player. He creates chances, he defends well, he can absorb distances and he’s very committed as well.”

The upshot is that both sides lose a player who were under performing and gain one who offers hope.

Posted: 23rd, January 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Broadsheets, manchester united, News, Sports, Tabloids | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Manchester United pay through the nose for Arsenal’s bargain Sanchez

When Emmanuel Petit isn’t spending time with his hair, the former France and Arsenal player is creating to-deadline ‘news’ for Paddy Power, the bookmakers. On the firm’s website ‘writes’ that Arsenal “could have sold him [Alexis Sanchez]  last summer and received at least double the amount they’ll get now.” Er, no. The £60m Manchester City offered the Chilean last summer also included a signing on payment and a cut for the player’s agent, a man widely reported to be getting £10m from the £35m Manchester United have offered Arsenal. Arsenal were not getting £60m.

But, say it was £40m to Arsenal (the £60m less £10m to the agent and £10m to the player), the £20m Arsenal will get for Sanchez is boosted by Henrikh Mkhitaryan going the other way. He cost United £30m in 2016. Arsenal will get a player worth around that price – it’s what he would have cost them – plus £20m. That’s not too shabby. Factor in not paying Sanchez the £300,000 a week Arsenal offered him in a new contract – he’s on £130,000 a week; about the same sum Mkhitaryan earns at United – and that Sanchez is free agent in the summer, and Arsenal’s bankers aren’t jumping from top-floor windows just yet.

Petit goes on:

As for Mkhitaryan, since he signed for United he hasn’t been involved enough. I’m not sure he has a winning mentality, and sometimes he reminds me of Ozil: you really have to push him to show his character and put him under pressure to display his best qualities. There’s no doubt he has great skill, but I’m not sure he’s the kind of player that Arsenal need – they should be focused on other positions.

Put that through the tabloid mincer and it comes:



When the Armenian signed for United, he was greeted by his new manager Jose Mourinho thus:

“We have brought in the player who was voted the best player in the French league [Zlatan Ibrahimovic] and with Micki we have brought the player who was voted the best player of the Bundesliga. He was voted not by the fans, not by the journalists but voted by the fellow players and that is what means more, I believe, because when your fellow players are the ones that choose you then it means a lot.

“Micki is a fantastic player and what I like more is something that is undeniable, which is the number of goals that he scores by not being a striker. His number of goals per season is really high for somebody that is not a striker. The number of assists is also very clear because it shows clearly his creativity, his vision and his concept of collective play, and that is something that I believe is really important for a club like us.

“We try to be dominant and will, for sure, face teams with a very defensive profile which is his capacity of acceleration of the game. He has a change of speed with the ball and without the ball, and that is very, very important for a club like ours.”

“Mikhi Mouse”? Petit’s words are being manipulated, of course. But there’s no need because what else he says is entirely stupid and needs no sensationalising:

Arsenal are struggling to bring in top-quality players, and also to keep the ones they have. It has been like this for a long time. They must be more competitive on the market, both when buying and selling. Times have changed since I left Arsenal, but I’m pretty sure Arsène is still heavily involved when it comes from to the transfer market.

Can you keep a player earning £130,000 a week from being attracted to earning £500,000 a week at a different club?

…but with the money Arsenal have, they should be aiming higher. Because they are not competitive on the pitch at the moment, they need to be more competitive with wages: if you can’t guarantee trophies or at least compete to win them, then you must offer players more in order to come to the club. That’s just the way it works.

It helps if you have as much money as your rivals. Gary Jacob explains the “way it works”:

United earn and can spend much more money on wages, while City have a mega wealthy owner….Arsenal have championed a sustainable model built on being able to generate more income from tickets and corporate activities, but trail United in commercial income.

The model means Arsenal’s top earners are not way ahead of their lowest earners.

The bulk of Arsenal’s players earn between around £60,000 a week and £70,000 a week. Arsenal handed Alex Iwobi a contract worth around £35,000 a week when he put in some positive performances as they were keen to tie him down. At other clubs, inferior players earn relatively less by comparison….

In short: Arsenal take more of a punt than the two Manchester clubs or Chelsea on younger, less experienced players.  As Arsene Wenger has said:

“We have to revisit the way we structure our club, and our scouting policy. You look at world-class players now, you look at [Cristiano] Ronaldo, Neymar, Sanchez, their level of financial demands and the level of their costs, you have to go younger and certainly these players are not affordable.

“[Finding future stars] is more difficult nowadays because the competition is everywhere, it is very big. What is important today is that we are the club that can maybe give them a chance, more than many other clubs.”

Arsenal cannot compete with mega-rich owners who see the clubs as a branding exercise. But they can find stars of tomorrow. Indeed, when Sanchez joined the Gunners from Barcelona, didn’t they recruit a bargain, arguably paying under the odds for a top talent?

Posted: 19th, January 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, manchester united, News, Sports | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Arsenal transfers: Aubameyang and Sanchez news reveals Wenger’s lack of power

The facts are clear. Arsenal have not recruited Aubameyang from Borussia Dortmund. Alexis Sanchez has not joined Manchester United. “These kind of things, it’s better when it’s secret and when you don’t come out on it, and when you announce it when it’s over the line. Apart from the deal we just spoke about, Alexis and Mkhitaryan could happen, yes, but nothing else is close,” says Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger.

Announcing deals before contracts are signed is foolish. Media can rush the gun and guess. Remember this:



No deal is ever done until the player is kissing the badge and checking his bank account.

Of course, Wenger might not know anything. Oliver Kay explains in the Times:

Wenger rejected a series of proposals last year over the appointment of a director of football.. but essentially that role, the one that the manager felt would be a threat to his authority, has been created and split in two. Transfer strategy is being driven by the new head of recruitment Sven Mislintat, formerly of Dortmund, and the start of next month will bring the arrival of Raul Sanllehi, the former Barcelona director of football who, in what looks a diplomatic nod to Wenger, will be called head of football relations.

Wenger can speak about deals but he’s no long setting the agenda.

Posted: 19th, January 2018 | In: Arsenal, manchester united, Sports | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0