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Wenger watch: Arsenal manger swore at Chelsea player and never flinched

How did Arsene Wenger find life sat in the Chelsea press box for Arsenal’s League Cup match semi-final tie? Well, last time we discovered that he has a huge garden:

A year ago, when he was also serving a touchline ban, Wenger crept to his seat beside the corporate area in the East Stand at Stamford Bridge and was welcomed with a handshake by an Arsenal supporter.

“I said, ‘Good afternoon’ and he replied, ‘I’m your gardener at your house’,” Wenger said. “I didn’t even know him. I do have a big garden.”

And this time, what did we learn?

Here’s Jeremy Wilson in the Daily Telegraph:

Spending 90 minutes literally just a few feet from Wenger ensured a fascinating insight. Not for anything he said, but simply the magnified perspective provided by his body language. We hear so often of how football managers live every moment of a match that we become almost immune to the draining reality of that statement. Yet to see Wenger fidgeting with each pass, almost straining to make every tackle and, even surrounded by media, still letting out the occasional shout of encouragement or kick of frustration was to feel just how much it all means.

Phil McNulty was there for the BBC:

Wenger remained relatively calm, even when Lacazette wasted a presentable first-half chance, only rising from his seat once during the game when Welbeck was penalised for a foul on Moses, but it was also easy to detect the strains and stresses.

He banged the table in front of him when Granit Xhaka committed a foul against Eden Hazard, shifted constantly in his seat, throwing back his head in frustration when opportunities came and went, such as Lacazette getting carelessly caught offside and when a promising free-kick position was wasted.

The Islington Gazette:

“I was two rows down so I couldn’t hear what he was saying, but colleagues reported him kicking the backs of their chairs and using the odd swear word, especially when possession was lost or the ball hoofed into the air.

“Whatever you think of him you simply can’t deny his passion.”

Jack Polden in the Mirror:

Commenting on referee Martin Atkinson blowing up for a foul on the Spaniard, Wenger shouted: “Every time Alvaro Morata goes down it’s a f****** free-kick.”

Gary Jacobs dedicates an entire column to Wenger Watch. Highlights include:

Wenger gently leans back in his seat, as Arsenal look more comfortable…

Wenger’s presence is noticed by Chelsea fans to his left. They stand, thrust their arms towards him and chant, “We want you to stay.” There is no response

Jack Wilshere is injured — again. Wenger never flinches

Such are the facts.

Posted: 11th, January 2018 | In: Arsenal, Broadsheets, Chelsea, News, Sports, Tabloids | Comments (2) | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Arsenal balls: after Mugabe Zimbabwe Gooners demand ‘Wenger Out’

As Robert Mugabe is toppled, protesters in the depot’s native Zimbabwe turn to the next great dictator: Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger.


wenger arsenal mugabe


Lest we forget:



“I used to live in Zimbabwe and I’ve watched Robert Mugabe ruin the country, and Wenger is doing the same. He’s the Mugabe of Arsenal.”


Seems fair.

Posted: 19th, November 2017 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Money, News, Politicians, Sports | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Arsenal balls: Sanchez and Wenger meet in secret and all about that handshake

Alexis Sanchez Watch: an at-a-glance look at the Arsenal striker in the media. Today the Mail leads with a question: “Was this the moment Alexis Sanchez ignored his Arsenal manager ahead of training?” We, of course, adhere to Ian Betteridge’s law of headlines, which states: “Any headline that ends in a question mark can be answered by the word no.”

So, no. And, indeed, after clicking the link, the Mail delivers a further headline:

Alexis Sanchez appears to snub Arsene Wenger at Arsenal training as contract dispute rolls on

The dispute is, of course, nothing of the sort. Sanchez has not gone on strike. Arsenal are not sacking him, nor suing him. The Gunners want him to stay. Sanchez wants a lot more money to play for the Premier League’s fifth best team. Negotiations are ongoing.

Sam Morshead then adds:

Was this the moment Alexis Sanchez ignored his Arsenal manager ahead of training?


The Chilean striker, whose Gunners future remains up in the air, appeared to blank his boss prior to a session at the club’s London Colney facility on Wednesday.

Wenger, who was embarking on his ritual of shaking each of his players’ hands before putting them through their paces, was acknowledged by Nacho Monreal and Mesut Ozil – but a short video clip shows Sanchez apparently walking on by.

Take a video clip. Remove it from context, Stick it into a pre-ordained narrative. And write a clickbait headline. Bingo! And having seduced Arsenal fans with total ball, Morshead then notes:

They saw Sanchez head on towards a group of his team-mates instead of approaching Wenger, though the Gunners manager did not offer his hand to his star striker and appeared to say ‘I’ve already done you’.

To put it another way, then:

“Arsene Wenger appears to snub Alexis Sanchez at Arsenal training as contract dispute rolls on”


“Wenger does not shake Sanchez’s hand twice”

Or how about:

“Sanchez happy with team-mates and life at Arsenal”

Or as Morshead puts it:

…given reports about a frosty relationship between player and coach in the past, moments like these always give rise to speculation.

What frosty relationship? Oh, the one the tabloids keeps harping on about. Because no sooner has one tabloid conjured total balls from a non-event than the rival organs are reporting the tosh as fact:


alexis sanchez handshake snub wenger arsenal


We do like the Daily Star’s idea Sanchez is “troubled”, in the manner of a recovering drug addict or a Hollywood wild child is ‘troubled’.


And here’s the video of the huge happening that excited the national Press:




So, what really heppened? Well, Sanchez was one of the first players who arrived at training, and Wenger greeted him well before the video was shot.

In other words: “Wenger and Sanchez meet in secret!”

Such are the facts.

Posted: 19th, October 2017 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports, Tabloids | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Manchester United wanted Arsenal’s Wenger but ended up with Mourinho and his questionable values

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger turned down the role at Manchester United. According to former Man United chairman Martin Edwards, the Red Devils approached Wenger to manage the club when Sir Alex Ferguson announced his intention to retire. On May 18 2001, Ferguson told MUTV: “I will be leaving Manchester United at the end of the season and that is it.” In 2016, Ferguson called the decision his “biggest mistake”. He changed his mind in January 2002.

That was a blow to Sven Goran-Eriksson, the former England manager who has said that he signed a deal in 2002 to replace Ferguson. In Sven: My Story, Eriksson notes: “I knew it would be tricky. I had a contract with England until the 2006 World Cup and I would be severely criticised if I broke that contract. But this was an opportunity to manage Manchester United.
A contract was signed — I was United’s new manager.”

In his autobiography, Fergusson admits as much. “The head-hunters were due to meet a candidate to succeed me the following week,” wrote Ferguson. “Sven-Goran Eriksson was to be the new United manager, I believe. That was my interpretation, anyway.”

But this is about Wenger, who says he didn’t move to Old Trafford because he was happy at Arsenal. “I love the values of this club,” says Wenger, “and a club is about values first.”


Meanwhile, in Harrod’s department store, London, current Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has bumped into TV presenter Piers Morgan, who reports their conversation. “How the hell is Arsene still in his job?” asks Morgan. “No idea,” says Mourinho, whose family live in London, “but I hope she stays for a long time.”

Clubs can pick a manager but they can’t pick their fans.


Posted: 11th, September 2017 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, manchester united, News, Sports | Comment (1) | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Daily Mirror news trust: Arsenal and Theresa May are both for turning

How about this for wraparound newspaper cover. The Daily Mirror’s front page leads with Theresa May’s “U-turn”. Having said there would be no General Election before 202o, May has called one for June 8 2017.


daily mirror u-turn may theresa


If it’s all about trust, what are Mirror readers to make of the paper’s back page news story that Arsenal have made it clear Arsene Wenger will still be manager next season? The paper says Schalke defender Sead Kolasinac, 23, has been been told Wenger will remain at Arsenal for a further two seasons.

June 8 is one for the diary. And while you’re on that page, you might care to put a line through another event scheduled for that month. On June 30 2017, Arsene Wenger is to quit the club. We read that in the Daily Mirror.


Daily Mirror wenger quits Arsenal


Such are the facts.


Posted: 19th, April 2017 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Politicians, Sports, Tabloids | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Arsenal balls: Wenger’s staying and leaving on June 30, 2017

Arsenal fans calling for Arsene Wenger to be sacked will be able to wave their banners for a further two seasons. News is that the Frenchman will sign a new deal. Wenger’s staying. It’s a fact. Well, it is is you believe the unimpeachable word of Tony Pulis, the West Bromwich Albion boss, who after his functional side had beaten a dysfunctional Arsenal 3-1 told media: “I’ll be surprised if he goes.” Did Wenger say he was staying? “Yeah,” said Pulis, “because he told me.”


wenger staying arsenal

The Sun calls this an ‘Arsenal bombshell’. How times have altered, eh. Before this season, the bombshell would have pertained to Wenger’s departure. The Sun says Wenger used to be a decent manager. But now Arsenal ‘is rotten to the core’. The club are sixth in the Premier League. They are in the semi-final of the FA Cup. But Ashton says Wenger would be sacked were he the manager of any club other than Arsenal.


wenger the sun staying arsenal


Ashton then has it both ways. Having wondered why Wenger is still in a job and said ‘once upon a time Wenger was a decent manager’, Ashton opines: ‘The modern world, what with social media, will stop at nothing to get him out.’ A pox on the modern world and that social media. Why not let the old media that used to mutate manager’s into root vegetables call for a man to lose his job. ‘GUILTY’ yells the Sun by a close-up of Wenger looking like a police enforcer from Les Miserables.

Ashton ends by telling his readers that at Arsenal ‘everything is up in the air’. But it’s not. Because one page across is the news that Wenger is staying on. Less up in the air, then, than in the filing cabinet.

That the tabloids have not the foggiest about what’s going on at Arsenal is no more apparent than in the Mirror. It leads with news that Wenger is ‘STAYING’.


wenger stays arsenal


Or as the Mirror reported previous – he’s going:


daily mirror wenger quits sack resigns arsenal


Such are the facts.


Posted: 20th, March 2017 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Arsenal balls: Wenger and Kroenke are on a hiding to nothing

Is Arsene Wenger leaving Arsenal? To paraphrase the banner that used to point to Arsenal victories at the club’s old Highbury stadium, “Arsene Knows”. But he’s not telling the Press. He’s most likely told Stan Kroenke, the businessman who owns the biggest grasp of shares in Arsenal.  But the man nicknamed ‘Silent’ Stan won’t be telling the tabloids, either.  The papers could try door-stepping Kroenke, but last year he bought a Texas ranch worth about £500m and locating him in 865,000 acres of garden is no easy thing.


arsenal daily star


So Arsenal fans bumble on, wondering if the man who helped transform the club from perennial also-rans into occasional winners will accept the deal and sign on for a further two years.

The club is torn. In the skies over the Hawthons as a wilted Arsenal succumbed 3-1 to an ordinary West Brom, fans made their own entertainment. They craned their necks and looked up, much as they did when the likes of David O’Leary used to deliver one of those huge hoofs into the opposition’s half in the 1970s and 1980s and in matches when Tony Pulis, now at West Brom, managed Stoke City RFC. Overhead was not a Johnny Jensen effort on goal and Peter Crouch’s head, but two planes: one trailing a banner for Wenger to stay; one calling for him to get thee hence.

What kind of fan hires a plane and buzzes the ground is something psychoanalysts can help the sane to understand. That these two planes were duelling offered hope that the rich fools’ vanity show would achieve some kind of finale at something other than a small regional airport. But there was no spectacular crash and dog fight. The planes were a novel distraction, expressing bold statements loudly before their endless whining became irritating and everyone wished they’d go away. Chelsea fans who endured Jose Mourinho will know the feeling well.

So is he going or not? The Mail says losing to West Brom was an ‘historic low” for the club. Well, the fourth defeat in five Premier League games is extraordinary so long as you’ve only watched Arsenal in HD. For those fans who watched Arsenal when they were routinely mediocre, the current poor run is remarkable for how long it’s taken to return after so many seasons of style, dash and hope.


Posted: 19th, March 2017 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Key Posts, Sports | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Arsenal balls: Wenger stays and Allegri agrees to take over

It’s been a huge two days for Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger. Only yesterday, the Star was pleading with Wenger to make up his mind and tell everyone if he was going to sign a new contract and stay at Arsenal for a further two years.

The paper said Juventus manager Massimiliano Allegri was tired to waiting to get the call to move up from the Italian giants to English football’s also-rans. The Star thundered:

EXCLUSIVE: Massimiliano Allegri sends ‘come and get me’ plea to Arsenal


wenger daily star


Words from Allegri on his dream to manage Arsenal: none.

Of course, the Star is a rich source of fake news. On February 28, the Star told its readers ‘Allegri confirms he’s joining Arsenal’.


daily star arsenal fake news wenger


You click on that news headline and you get told on the Star’s website: ‘Calciomercato has this afternoon sensationally claimed Allegri, 49, will join the Gunners this summer.’ On that Italian site, we’re told:

The news comes from his hometown of Livorno, where reports are circulating that the manager let this story slip at dinner with friends.

And that’s it. No quotes. No links.

Looking for more, a search for ‘Allegri’ and ‘Livorno’ produces a story on another Italian news site. It says the Allegri to Arsenal news is sourced in the – get this – Daily Express, sister organ to the Daily Star. In the Express we learn that Allegri and Arsenal have agreed a deal.



daily express arsenal fake news wenger


All done and dusted, then. No dithering at all. Allegri in. Wenger out. Which brings us to today Daily Star story that Wenger is, er, staying at Arsenal.


arsene wenger daily star


All utter balls, then.

Such are the facts.

Posted: 12th, March 2017 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports, Tabloids | Comments (2) | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Arsenal: spoilt Sanchez races boring Wenger to the exit

Sport is a pleasant way to spend your leisure time. If you’re lucky enough or foreign enough or just determined, you can make a very good living at it. If you get really good at it you can behave like a spoilt brat, row with your teammates and demand a massive hike on your already not inconsiderable wages or else you’ll sulk. You could be like Alexis Sanchez, the Arsenal striker who has expressed his determination to leave the club at the season’s end to earn much more money playing for Paris Saint-Germain, Juventus or what the British Press call ‘a Chinese club’.

Arsenal have been less than sensational this season. Sanchez has been pretty good. Along with Laurent Koscielny, he’s been a consistent source of hope for Arsenal fans seeking signs that this season they can be better than top four. Sanchez has also been petulant and, if the Mail is right, ‘furious’ at the ‘humiliation’ of being dropped for Arsenal’ match at Liverpool, which they lost 3-1.  His manager, Arsene Wenger, has been ‘unimpressed’ with Sanchez’s attitude. It turns out that Sanchez, a player not good enough for top Barcelona, who shunted him down the pecking order to the Gunners, thinks he’s much better than his teammates. He is. But so what? Only when a player pulls on an England shirt is he remade in the exact quality as his teammates – they all become unspeakably average.  A team wins and loses as a team. If one player thinks he’s doing you a favour, he’s got to go. That Wenger dropped Sanchez is not a sign of ‘unfolding calamity’, as the Mail’s Martin Samuel has it, it’s a sign that no player in bigger than the club. Thank you for your help, Alexis, now shut the door on the way out.

And you too, Arsene. Is he going or not? The uncertainty is affecting the club. Who is going to be the Arsenal manager next season? Is ‘Silent’ Stan Kroenke, the Arsenal owner who earned £3m last year for ‘consultancy’ work at the club, nicking a living?

The Sun says when Sanchez ‘stormed’ off the pitch at training last week, he left Wenger with ‘no option but to bench him’. That Alan Shearer tells the same Sun readers one page on, ‘You just don’t leave  player like Sanchez on the bench’, points not only to why Shearer was such an un-inspirational Newcastle United manager but to how joyless and venal football is. Without its few players of global repute, the Premier League will be exposed for what it is: a marketing project based on Europe’s fourth best league. The Mirror quotes sources who say coaching Sanchez is akin to ‘managing a spilt child’. The other players ‘see him as becoming increasingly selfish’.

So instead of Sanchez at Liverpool, Wenger picked the likeable, talented and injury-ravaged Danny Welbeck. Changing things was worth a shot. That goes for you, too, Arsene. It’s time to go. But before you do how about one more turn of the old routine for old time’s sake. You know how it goes: Arsenal look good on paper, get kicked out of the Champions’ League early on, embark on run to finish in the top four and the owners wake up just long enough to bank their annual dividend.

Posted: 6th, March 2017 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Arsenal: every one of Arsene Wenger’s replacements

What names are on the ‘shortlist of managers’ to replace Arsene Wenger at Arsenal? The Mirror says there are four names vying to be the next Arsenal manager. They are: Thomas Tuchel of Borussia Dortmund, Max Allegri of Juventus, Bayer Leverkusen coach Roger Schmidt and Monaco’s Leonardo Jardim.

But others have been to the job in the past 12 months. They are:

Eddie Howe: ‘ED HUNTED Eddie Howe being lined up by Arsenal to replace manager Arsene Wenger with Frenchman’s contract set to expire in summer’ (The Sun).

Roberto Martinez: ‘His team to play the sort of passing style that Arsene Wenger has established as Arsenal’s identity and conducts himself with the sort of style and dignity that very much fits with what directors would call the Arsenal way (Daily Telegraph)

Rafa Benitez: ‘Rafa Benitez on Arsenal shortlist to replace Arsene Wenger if he goes – and Spaniard would bring in Thierry Henry.’ (Daily Mirror)

Dennis Bergkamp, Diego Simeone and more possible Arsene Wenger replacements. (TalkSport)

Patrick Vieira: A candidate embedded in the supposed Arsenal Way. Like Bergkamp, his arrival back at the club would be enthusiastically welcomed by supporters.’ (Daily Telegraph)

Ralph Hasenhuttl: ‘A surprise candidate, Hasenhuttl hinted recently that Arsenal had spoken to him about the big job at the Emirates.’ (The Independent)

Ha. This is absolute tosh. When asked is he was heading to Arsenal, Hasenhuttl said: “I have certainly heard of far worse fates than to be lined up as the successor to the longest-serving coach in England.”

Steve Bould: ‘Knows the players and club inside out. Won various trophies, including the Premier League, during his playing career with Arsenal.’ (Daily Mirror)

Joachim Lowe: ‘Proven winner. Led the German side to World Cup glory in 2014 after impressive showings at the Euros two years earlier.’ (Daily Mirror)

‘Arsenal want Manuel Pellegrini to replace Arsene Wenger’. (Metro)

Ronald Koeman ‘is the surprise name topping Arsenal’s list of potential successors to Arsene Wenger’. (The Sun)

Laurent Blanc ‘to replace his compatriot at Arsenal’ (TalkSport)

Brendan Rodgers: ‘His work at Swansea has greatly impressed and is also committed to the sort of football that Wenger has overseen at Arsenal.’ (Daily Telegraph)

Jorge Sampaoli: Chile’s Copa America winning coash signed a two-year deal with Sevilla last years but Arsenal should be able to extricate him for it” – (The Times)

Mauricio Pochettino: ‘The Spurs manger would spend more then Wenger has bene willing to but not more than the club could handle’ (The Times)

Sean Dyche: ‘As the great debacle rages about who will eventually replace Arsene Wenger, it’s amazing that one boss keeps getting overlooked.’ It’s Dyche.

So to that list. What says the Number 1 choice, Thomas Tuchel? It’s “completely fictional”, says the German club’s chief executive Hans-Joachim Watzke (Sun).

Such are the facts.

Posted: 13th, February 2017 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Arsenal v Manchester United: Wenger and Mourinho on new FA panel show

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has called for Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger to be banned. “Jose call for Wenger ban,” announces the Star’s back-page headline.

Wenger is waiting to learn what punishment the FA will deliver for his sending off last weekend. Rather than vanishing down the tunnel, as he should have done, Wenger dallied by the pitch and then shoved the fourth official.

But did Mourinho, a man known for run-ins with officialdom and his dislike of Wenger, really add his opinion that his rival should be banned? No. He didn’t. What happened was that at the Manchester United press conference ahead of their EFL Cup semi-final tie with Hull City, a journalist asked him about Wenger. Should Wenger be banned? Mourinho replied: “I have no idea.”




Over in the Mail, there’s a different twist on the same no-news story. “As Jose heads for Hull all eyes are on the FA…Can Mourinho keep his cool over Wenger?” asks the headline. We know the League Cup is no great shakes but when it takes second billing to a disciplinary hearing, you’re in trouble. Marketing departments would be better served adding company logos to the FA’s judgements and the leave the un-loved tin-pot alone.

If the Supreme Court can be televised, why not he FA’s? Slap it on the telly and you’ve got must-see TV.

Call me, the FA, I have ideas.


Posted: 26th, January 2017 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, manchester united, Sports | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Transfer balls: Sanchez quits, Wenger leaves and no-one arrives at fighting Arsenal

Transfer balls: Is Arsenal’s Alexis Sanchez ready to leave the Gunners? The BBC says “Arsenal players fear” he is.

The Mail agrees. Sami Mokbel writes in an ‘exclusive’, “Seething Sanchez blows his top at Arsenal.” The Chilean “threw a tantrum” on the pitch as Arsenal came from 0-3 down to draw 3-3 with Bournemouth. That tantrum amounted to Sanchez throwing his gloves to the turf and… And that’s it.

He was “unhappy” the Gunners hadn’t won, reveals Mokbel . He “sulked” in the changing room. He made is “clear” he was unhappy not to have won. Well, quite. Arenal fans and players want him to be keen on winning, surely. Sanchez plays to win. He has an “ultra-determined nature”.

“GUNNER GO?” asks the Mirror in is ‘exclusive’ on the same Sanchez ‘exclusive’ the Mail delivered. No longer sulking, Sanchez is throwing a “hissy fit” in the Arsenal dressing room as “Arsenal suffered a major blow in their title hopes”. Or as the Mirror put it yesterday: “The Gunners looked down and out on the south coast, but they showed a fantastic desire to get back into the game and created a Premier League first in the process.”

John Cross says Arsenal will buy no new players until Sanchez’s contract is sorted out. Ora s the BBC says today:

Hednesford Town youngster Cohen Bramall is to make the move from non-league to Premier League, by signing for Arsenal. The 20-year-old left-back will leave the Staffordshire-based Northern Premier League side for north London.

Cross is an expert on Arsenal stuff. He tells us that Arsene Wenger is out of contract this summer, “but there is a two-year deal worth £8m a year on the table waiting to be signed.”

Or as Cross and the Mirror put it:


Daily Mirror wenger quits Arsenal


Such are the facts.

Posted: 5th, January 2017 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Arsenal balls: Wenger to PSG is back on

Good news for those Arsenal fans who can’t abide Arsene Wenger. The Sun leads with news that Paris Saint-Germain want the Arsenal manager to lead their brand. The French are “confident” of getting their man, having failed in two previous bids.

“AW REVOIR,” says the Sun over two more pages. “Time’s ripe for Arsene Wenger’s return to France.” Or maybe he’s past its sell-by date.

No, says Mack Irwin. The “self-entitled” Arenal fans who demonstrate for Wenger’s departure are fools. As “another season of disappointment beckons” Irwin wonder if Wenger has the “appetite to put up with the microscopic scrutiny  of his methods”.  Arsenal fans will add another question: does Wenger still inspire his team, the fans and the club?

Wenger’s £160,000-a-week deal ends at the end of this season. The club is “in the dark” about his future plans. But if the Frenchman fails to make Arsenal challenge for the Premier League and Champions’ League titles “it will be hard to see how Arsenal  or Wenger could justify another new contract”. So much for fans being self-entitled to expect more.

Phil McNulty has a little on what Arsenal fans have been getting:

In the 12 seasons since Arsenal last won the title, in only two of those campaigns has the margin between the Gunners and the champions been in single figures. Twice the gap has been more than 20 points – so a systematic pattern has emerged rather than an extended hard luck story.

As to why PSG wants Wenger and Wenger would want PSG, the Sun says Paris would give him loads of money to go on a spending spree and, er, he likes Paris.

Over in the Mail, four of the paper’s pundit says Arsenal will finish no higher than third this season.

But it’s far from doom and gloom at Arsenal. Wenger has always been an optimist. In defeat he manages to inject circumspection and togetherness into the analysis. Can he bring Arsenal to the boil? Can Chelsea wobble and the Gunners go on a run? Vitally, do the players believe they can do it?

Posted: 22nd, December 2016 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

When Arsenal picked Arsene Wenger the British Press mocked them

Arsène Wenger has been manger of Arsenal for 20 years. The 66-year-old manager joined the club on this day 1996.

The Sunday Mirror took the rise out of this new foreign manager, rolling it eyes and wishing the club the best of luck “persuading us that the lanky M’sieur Wenger, despite sounding like Rory Bremner auditioning for ‘Allo ‘Allo, is ‘ow you say fantastique!”. That the British media had not heard of Wenger was a sign of their parochialism. “Arsene who?” quipped the Standard, a new take on “Dr Who?”, the question asked by the Press when Aston Villa hired Dr Josef Venglos in 1990.

George Weah had explained who Wenger was one year earlier at the Fifa World Footballer of the Year award, stating: “Arsène Wenger made me not just the player I am today, but also the man I am.”

WEnger was far from unfazed. “I felt quite a lot of scepticism,” he said. “That’s normal, especially on an island. This phenomenon is more emphasised on an island because people have historically lived more isolated. They are more cautious about foreign influences.”

In Wenger’s first full season, Arsenal on The Double.

And then? Well, his Arsenal side has never finished outside the top 4. But after a decade of success, recent years have hardly been filled with glory:


WEnger top 4 arsenal


And now? Well, Arsenal fans will miss him when he’s gone.

Posted: 22nd, September 2016 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Arsaenal Balls: The ‘real’ reason Sanchez chose Gunners over Liverpool is…

So. Why did Alexis Sanchez choose to play for Arsenal? The Daily Star has the truth. The headline declares:

Arsene Wenger reveals the REAL REASON why Alexis Sanchez chose Arsenal over Liverpool

What is the real reason. We thought it was a combination of money, London and Champions’ League football.

Paul Brown writes:

ARSENE WENGER claims Alexis Sanchez chose Arsenal over Liverpool because only the Gunners could match his Champions League ambitions.

Is that what Wenger said? No. He said:

“Transfers at that level take always time to get every detail right, so because it takes time, you think always that somebody else can come in – PSG, Bayern Munich. We met his agent in Brazil a few times and talked about the transfer. In Europe we did it with Barcelona. Once we got the decision he would like to join us we were happy. He had maybe not had number of games he wanted at Barcelona and I tried to convince him I could help him develop the quality of his game, that the way we play would suit him.”

But what is the ‘REAL REASON” Sanchez joined Arsenal. Brown has failed to deliver on the headline.

Over on, Wenger says:

“I don’t know why he has chosen us and not anybody else, but we are very happy that he has done that.”

Such are the facts…

Posted: 20th, December 2014 | In: Arsenal, Liverpool, Sports | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Arsenal balls: fans who want Wenger sacked should support Spurs or godless Chelsea

wenger out


Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is not going to be sacked, and certainly not dismissed mid-season. Any sane Arsenal supporter with half a memory should concede that Wenger’s Arsenal are a big improvement on much of what went before. The level of expectation should tell them that.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted: 8th, December 2014 | In: Arsenal, Sports | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Is Arsenal Boss Arsene Wenger doing a Brian Clough by staying too long?

WHEN Brian Clough turned Nottingham Forest into European Cup winners, among other things, he could do no wrong. However, with loyalty can come a price.

Brian Clough stayed in Nottingham too long, going from all conquering and refreshingly out-spoken, to a manager out-of-step with football’s changes, eventually seeing Forest relegated.

And so to Arsene Wenger, who himself has done outstanding things with Arsenal, winning all manner of trophies and, of course, creating The Invincibles – one of the greatest teams to ever play in English football. He also revolutionised the way football clubs ran their teams, turning a hard-drinking Arsenal team into a squad of sophisticated footballing gurus.

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Posted: 25th, November 2014 | In: Arsenal, Sports | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Arsenal Balls: Wenger Sings For 1 Year, Two Years And 3 Years, Say The Experts



SO. Arsene Wenger is signing up for more Arsenal. What do we know about the contract? Well, noting. The club and their trusty manager are in private negotiations. Still, the papers do like to get a march on the facts. Some even make them up:

The Telegraph:

Years: 3
Money: £22.5m


Screen shot 2014-05-19 at 20.53.50


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Posted: 19th, May 2014 | In: Arsenal, Sports | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Footballers Forever Associated With Certain Items Of Food

FOOTBALLERS Forever Associated With Certain Items Of Food


“Mark Bosnich was a terrible professional,” claims Sir Alex Ferguson in his autobiography, which was launched in a small room above a Salford pub last week, to mass indifference.

“We played down at Wimbledon and Bosnich was tucking into everything: sandwiches, soups, steaks. He was going through the menu. I told him, ‘For Christ’s sake, Mark, we’ve got the weight off you. Why are you tucking into all that stuff?’ We arrived back in Manchester, and Mark was on mobile phone to a Chinese restaurant to order a takeaway.”


And with these words, Mark ‘Sniffer’ Bosnich achieves membership of the exclusive Footballers Forever Associated With Certain Items Of Food Club.

Description=Front and back page of the early edition (all editions the same) of The Sun dated Tuesday 26th October 2004. Headline reads: WAR AND PIZZA - Slices hurled at Fergie : Wenger yelled abuse : Soup & sarnie barrage (relating to events after Manchester United beat Arsenal 2-0 at Old Trafford 24.10.2004). Pictured are: Arsene Wenger, Sir Alex Ferguson, Zoe Salmon (the new presenter on Blue Peter), Jordan and Michael Carroll (Lottery lout and chav)

There could even have been another, had Fergie revealed the identity of the culprit to blame for ‘Pizzagate’, when a row between himself and Arsene Wenger in 2004 culminated in carb carnage. “The next thing I knew, I had pizza all over me,” recalls the red-faced recently-retired ruler of Old Trafford. He says he did not see who threw it, but that Cesc Fabregas has been suggested to him. And that’s good enough for us, so Cesc is hereby inducted, along with his missile of choice.


Arsene Wenger remained typically inscrutable this week: “I don’t know about food throwing. I did not see if something was thrown – you’ll have to ask someone else, because I don’t know.”

When Cesc arrives, he will find another Arsenal old boy awaiting him…




In 1986, ‘Champagne’ Charlie was arrested outside the Confusion Bar in Ibiza, for an unusual twist on the usual footballers’ fracas. Scottish holidaymaker Lori McElroy alleged that Nicholas stole a chip from her, and then broke her jaw in the ensuing argument. Nicholas was found guilty but continued to deny any wrongdoing.

Chips would haunt Charlie years later, when working as a pundit for Sky. Anchorman Jim White, presumably assuming his mic was switched off, referred to the Celtic fans’ chorus of The Fields of Athenrye with a reference to the Irish potato famine.

“Oh here we go again, the tottie famine,” said Jim.
“Aye, and they’re all eating chips while singing this,” replied Nicholas, to the displeasure of the Bhoys’ worldwide army of millions.

Roast dinner with all the trimmings

Traditional Sunday roast beef dinner with Yorkshire pudding, roast potatoes and vegetables


Jimmy Greaves, Chelsea

Terry Venables remembers breaking into the Chelsea team as a youngster and playing alongside the legendary Jimmy Greaves. Greavsie was only three years older than Terry, yet he was already a superstar, and would soon move to AC Milan. He lived near Venables, and would give him a lift to matches. The first time this happened, Jim explained that he usually stopped for lunch at a café, so they went in and Venables – already at the vanguard of modern practices – ordered steamed chicken. He was shocked to see Greaves polish off a massive plate of roast beef with Yorkshire pudding, veg, and roast AND mashed potatoes. This he followed up with a large bowl of stodge and custard. “I always have this,” he said. Venables says Greaves proceeded to score a hatful of goals that afternoon. But then, he usually did.

Speaking of dinners, an honoury mention must also go to erstwhile Orient manager John ‘bring yer fu*king dinner’ Sitton, for his legendary televised half-time rant…



Tottenham Hotspurs' Michael Carrick and Jermain  Defoe walk off dejected at the final whistle

Tottenham Hotspurs’ Michael Carrick and Jermain Defoe walk off dejected at the final whistle

Martin Jol’s Tottenham side of 2005-06 will be remembered for their valiant but ultimately unsuccessful assault on the final Champions League spot. To make it worse, it was arch-rivals West Ham who ruined their party by beating them 2-1 on the final day. And to put the tin lid on it, it was Arsenal who pipped them to fourth.

The defeat was blamed squarely upon a lasagna which had been served to the players at the London Marriott in West India Quay, where the players aere staying before the game. Ten players went down with a mystery illness, assumed to be food poisoning, although the hotel was cleared of any wrongdoing.



David Beckham, as reported here recently, is a lifelong pie and mash fan, and even went to the lengths of taking the Spurs players and backroom staff to lunch at a local emporium during his brief stint training at the north London club.

But when it comes to meat-filled be-crusted comestibles, one man is synonymous: chunky Mick Quinn, whose candid autobiography is rhetorically entitled Who Ate All The Pies?


The scouse goal-machine once picked up a pie that was thrown at him from the crowd and ate it, to the amusement of all. He has been known to repeat the story from time to time in the course of his broadcasting duties.

Mars Bars

Food15 (1)

Paul Gascoigne’s love of the ‘iconic’ chocolate brick was well known, and when he turned out for Spurs against his former club Newcastle United the Toon fans bombarded him with said confectionary. Whereupon Gazza ‘did a Quinny’ and chomped enthusiastically.


Mention ‘testicles and football’ and the connection is obvious: Wimbledon FC – although this is nothing to do with Gazza’s bollocks…


…and everything to do with the defunct club’s owner Sam Hammam, who introduced the novel forfeit of eating sheep’s gonads as part of the ‘Crazy Gang’ disciplinary code.



No contest…



It would be easy to just post a picture of Roy Keane, who indirectly coined the phrase “prawn sandwich brigade” during a mini-rant about Manchester United’s gentrified supporters.


Yet Keano’s comments are trumped by events at Grimsby, where Town’s Ivano Bonetti was supposedly injured when manager Brian Laws threw chicken wings at him. The sandwich-based truth is slightly different.

14-FEB-96 ... Grimsby v West Ham .... Grimsby's controversial Ivano Bonetti pictured before the game

Laws says that Bonetti hurled sandwiches – and a punch – at him, and that he merely retaliated in kind: “I’ve no idea where the chicken leg or wing part of the story came from! It almost put a bit of humour to it, but we felt it was best to leave things be and put things right later on. That incident gets brought up quite a lot and people laugh at it now – and I do as well – but at the time it wasn’t very funny or nice to be involved in. It was an incident which unfortunately spilled out into the press and all hell broke loose at the time.”



The restaurant of choice for footballers seeking a pre-brawl snack, as patronised by Lee Bowyer (pictured here fighting with team-mate Kieran Dyer). Bowyer was convicted of affray at the Isle of Dogs branch…


And Joey Barton, back home in Liverpool…



Charlton Athletic keeper Charlie Wright is fondly remembered for his tendency to wander behind his goal and chat with supporters. Legend has it that once, while accepting an orange from a fan, the opponents scored.

Salad cream



Step up, Dave Beasant. If you can, that is.

Beasant missed two months of the 1993-94 season after knocking over a jar of salad cream which fell onto his foot, causing serious injury. Some say it was mayonnaise, but unfashionable salad cream took the rap.



Eternal spring chicken Gordon Strachan (pictured here with the world’s largest banana split) famously lives on a diet of the curvy peely fruit. “Gordon couldn’t spell banana when he was 20,” says former team-mate Alex McLeish “He ate pork pies then. But we had a teetotal right-back called Stuart Kennedy who brought in books about the diets of Ivan Lendl and Martina Navratilova. That’s when we started good eating habits.”

Unfortunately, the enduring image of footballers and bananas is less savoury. John Barnes was famously snapped back-heeling a banana thrown at him by the Goodison faithful in 1988.


“I don’t remember doing that,” he said later. “I mean the picture is there but bananas back then were common. The reason it all came to the fore is because I was playing for a high-profile club like Liverpool. For six years before, that happened every week, but because it was a small club it wasn’t highlighted. In terms of me being angry and wanting to fight people in the stands though, it never happened, I consider those people to be ignorant, so how could they affect any part of life or any part of my demeanour.”



Posted: 30th, October 2013 | In: Flashback, Key Posts, Sports | Comments (2) | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Arsenal: Arsene Wenger is worth 16.6 points to the overachieving Gunners every season

WHAT is Arsene Wenger worth to Arsenal? Of late, the one who, as the famous banners declares “Knows” has had his position questioned. Results have gone against the Gunners. Defeats to lower league opposition in this season’s domestic cups and no silverware since 2005 are cited as evidence for Wenger’s declining influence. But to get rid of Wenger would be wrong. It’s not that Wenger’s Arsenal is failing; it’s more that his side have been fighting above their weight for years.

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Posted: 17th, February 2013 | In: Sports | Comments (9) | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Sky Spots Turns Arsenal’s Wenger Into A Bad Loser For Van Der Vaart’s Handball Celebration

SKY Sports has news on Rafael Van der Vaart:

“Van der Vaart has also criticised Arsenal for taking their defeat on Sunday with bad grace, following suggestions that his goal should not have stood and that he should have received a second yellow card for celebrating with the crowd.”

Says the Dutchman, who scored in odd circumstances:

“And have you seen how close the crowd is to our pitch? Where else should I run?”

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Posted: 7th, October 2011 | In: Sports | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

The Sun’s Steve Howard Tries To Kick Arsenal Manager Arsene Wenger And Misses Horribly

STEVE Howard is the Sun’s football hack who knows more about Arsene Wenger than the Arsenal manager knows about himself…probably. In a piece about transfer dealings, the Sun’s man sat in front of News Now and Teletext, tells his readers:

It’s incredible to see the men brought in by Wenger and those allowed to go since the Invincibles won the title in 2004. The out-tray includes Vieira, Campbell, Edu, Pires, Bergkamp, Gilberto, Cole, Lauren, Ljungberg, Henry, Diarra, Flamini, Toure, Adebayor, Hleb, Lehmann, Gallas, Clichy, Fabregas and, Nasri.

The in-tray? Van Persie, Song, Diaby, Rosicky, Senderos, Walcott, Silvestre, Almunia, Sagna, Julio Baptista, Eduardo, Fabianski, Arshavin, Vermaelen, Bendtner, Koscielny, Squillaci, Chamakh, Gervinho, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Jenkinson plus the three latest

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Posted: 31st, August 2011 | In: Sports | Comments (5) | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Cesc Fabregas Goes. Arsene Loses Plot? The Unanswered Questions

LIKE most Arsenal fans I am a little sad, but not too surprised at Cesc Fabregas’ move to Barcelona. To be fair we did well to hang on to him last summer and he was always going to go this time round. I think too that the player has behaved impeccably and leaves Arsenal with a degree of dignity.

There are however a few questions that need answering asap

1 Is Arsene losing the plot? It is not 24 hours since he said that no players were leaving Arsenal. He must have known that the deal was imminent when he said this. Is it a case of wishful thinking or is he genuinely losing it?

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Posted: 12th, August 2011 | In: Arsenal, Sports | Comment (1) | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Arsenal Owner Stan Kroenke’s Open Letter To Arsene Wenger – In Song

ARSENAL fans may be wondering who will play for them next season, but they know one thing for certain: how the club’s new owner Stan Kroenke got his Silent Stan nickname.

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Posted: 11th, August 2011 | In: Sports | Comments (3) | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Is Arsene Wenger’s Alleged Mistress Sonia Tatar Pregnant? Photos

SONIA Tatar is, allegedly, the mistress of Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger. The Sun leads with news that Tatar is pregnant. But there is no mention on its website of this apparent scoop. Has it been pulled from early editions?

When asked if the embryo could be his, a source explained:

“The first sperm was clearly offside and after that he didn’t see it. We will need to count the sperm in the team and then look at our account…”

Posted: 26th, November 2010 | In: Sports | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0