The panel has a favourite…

1. At the end of the month, all the comments for that month are exported from the site into an export file.

2. All names are assigned numbers, so for example, Debs in December was 001 and Dan was 117. This is done randomly, but the associations of numbers to names are kept in my possession.

3. The names are replaced with their numbers, so that the panel doesn’t know who has submitted the comments.

4. The panel then decides who has been the commentator of the month.

5. I’m informed on the winning number and subsequently, check the name.

The reason I thought I’d explain all this to you is that the winner in December 2008 was (for the third time) is…

Kieran Delaney

Congratulations to Kieran, who’s comments have been informative, witty, objective sometimes, subjective sometimes and overall, a good read. Thanks to all who comment regularly and a special shout out to Parsi, Debs, Fabrez, Dan, AJ and Zohaib (and all the other readers) who all post regular comments and help the blog to become what it is today… I’ll be back with a transfer update later…]]>

  • Fabrez

    < ![CDATA[Interesting system dev... gud 2 kno the inner workings! It's unbiased 2 b fair & that's cool. So well done & congrats kieran!]]>

  • Debs

    lol! I see much thought goes into the decision. well done Kieran though- very insightful comments actually!

  • AJ

    Fair system, grats to Kieran, wish I had more time to do long and indepth posts, but doubt I could match Kieran and previous winners, but it’s good to read them! Keep up the good work guys!


    < ![CDATA[Ah, thank you. Let's hope 2009 is a good year for AFC and the blog!]]>

  • Gooner Get Ya

    < ![CDATA[Congrats Kieran. I have enjoyed reading all the comments on WOA. some of the Bendtner comments have been hilarious :-)]]>

  • zohaib

    Congrats Kieran

  • mason

    < ![CDATA[Arsene Wenger has given - in my opinion - the biggest indication that he is attempting to sign Andrei Arshavin from Zenit St Petersburg, with some rather candid comments on the official website about Champions League ineligibility not being a concern. The manager did not specifically mention the Russian but the following statement definitely suggest to me that a move for Arshavin is being negotiated. Observe: “If the right player comes in, even if he is not available for the Champions League, his class is more important for me. At the moment I feel that if we do add somebody, we need to add somebody who has a special class because we have good players.” In my eyes this comment directly refers to Arshavin and am a firm supporter of most people’s notion that he is a player with the class to improve our squad. In terms of ready-to-play creative midfielders we have Cesc Fabregas, Tomas Rosicky, Abou Diaby and Samir Nasri and considering the first two are injured we’re in dire need of reinforcements. I think Arshavin can provide something that we lack - namely intelligence and confidence in front of goal - and as I said yesterday I’d love to see this move eventuate. One move I would not see eventuate though is that of Kolo Toure leaving the club. However, various reports in the media suggest he is on his way to Manchester City with some even insisting that Stephen Ireland might come our way in return. While I would not like to see Toure go I’m even more uncertain about the impact that Ireland would have on our team having watched very little of City this season. It’s definitely and interesting situation though.]]>

  • parsi

    Is it me or does anyone else start to feel ditrustful of the board and Wenger as there are clearly issues there. Firstly the Walcott and Van Persie situation with their contracts why have they not been tied up. The whole Gazadis appointment was mean’t to hasten these things not hold them up. Why the hell we had to wait until over a year to get a new Cheif exec is beyond me. Wenger seems to be on a different planet 2% of being a giant, a giant in the second half of the table. He’s not intrested in Inler he could have Appiah on a trial for a free. The only player we have been solidly linked with is Arshavin but he is not the CB we need, he is not the DM we need. Maybe I’m wrong and Wenger has a loud of excellent targets but he is not giving off that impression. I can Imagine we will have the customary last hour bid for another player because he will weigh in with a meesly half the price offer. I understand you have the credit crunch and it effects the way clubs operate but Arsenal dont seem to have any interest in being competitve at all. The board are quite happy to line their pockets and have a team of nearly men. Thing is if they are that bothered about making money why not sell up. We are basically average and that’s it, Im not being bitter or foolish but we are the Valencia of England of the Feyanoord, Roma or Borussia Dortmund in the fact that we will pop up every now and then but nothing is sustained. I’m sure we’ll be back but we don’t seemed to have that sustained class because If we did than players would have no qualms about spending the rest of their careers at the club. Look at Man Utd with Giggs, Scholes and Nevielles. Becks only went because he fell foul of fergie. He never courted Real the way Vieira did. Henry says he a gooner for life but I garuntee if he’d been at United he’d finish there. Our whole outlook for the club needs to change.

  • parsi

    With the defoe deal coming to light i think it shows how ludicrous the transfer window and general transfer are..There is no loyalty from players to clubs and i think fifa should now consider taking action on players such as downing and defoe because they are playing the fans for mugs. Downing maybe signed a deal for middlesborough to get the maximum profit from him but he must of known that he will demand a move next season. Now defoe going back to spurs just shows that players dont play for the badge on their shirt but either the pay packet or who the managers, maybe they should bring out contracts between players and managers i.e. Defoe and Harry, Ronaldo and Fergie…then you’ll see a massive frenzy for managers and players. Where does this stop, i for one think fifa need to stop it because they have shifted the power from clubs to players. Football should be about loyalty and not absolutely absurd what has become of the transfer market.

  • gunner

    Wenger said that Flamini could leave 18 months ago if he wanted to, but without a good offer from anywhere, Flamini chose to stay for the last year of his contract. During that final year the quality of his performance improved greatly, and as we all know Wenger offered Flamini a new contract, and Flamini turned it down. The point is quite simple – Flamini had not been good enough, but then had one great season. Wenger had not wanted to offer a contract extension earlier because the quality was not there, and when it came to the time for offering a new contract, he still wasn¿t sure the change in Flamini¿s ability would last. So the new offer reflected that. In that regard he may well have been right. Since moving to Milan Flamini has had a paucity of games, and has been reported in the press (which of course is an unreliable source) to the effect that if he doesn¿t start getting some more matches he will ask to move again. Of course we could argue that had he stayed at Arsenal his standard of performance would have stayed high – but there is no real evidence either way. The point is Milan have been disappointed by what he has to offer. If we take this back to the issue of screwing up contracts by not signing up players quickly enough, the answer seems to be that Arsenal have got it absolutely correct by not paying the earth for players who simply can¿t deliver at the highest level year after year. there is an assumption over Flamini in particular that having discovered great form after several years of being a bit-player, this would automatically continue. I think that when a player suddenly comes good after several years, there is no guarantee at all that his quality of form will continue, and it is more likely that the one year will seem to be an oddity, not the start of performances at the highest level.


    < ![CDATA[I think this whole loyalty thing is a bit over excited. I work for a company that pay me very well and have recently sent me on a few qualifications that have helped me strengthen my CV. But if another company came to me - a bigger company, a richer company with greater chance for wider exposure and they offered me more money I'd move tommorrow. I'd pack the car, tie up the wife and drive at 90mph to their headquarters to sign the new contract of employment. I don't see why people expect footballers to be any different. Just look at Defoe. Rednapp rescued him from a nightmare at White Hart Lane under Ramos. Its only natural that he should want to follow his manager back there as he knows the manager will support him whatever. Coupled with the fact that even if he stays, Pompey will have to sell other players just to avoid administration.... the only way is down for them as sad as it is to say out loud. Adams is sitting on a timebomb. So is it really any wonder that Defoe whats to leave the sinking Titanic and jump on to a bigger better boat who are still (just) in Europe (though he'd be cup tied I imagine) and will pay him more money?! And Parsi, you are wrong about the board lining their pockets - none of them receive more than 10k a year from the club. I earn quite a bit more than twice that working in the beer industry. Though you are right about being average. In terms of European history, we are behind Man U, Liverpool and even Nottingham Forest. In terms of size we are dwarfed by Madrid, Barcelona, AC Milan, and again United. We are however better than 20 other teams in our league and consistantly show in the top 16 in European football..... so it could be worse! We could be Southend or Histon and get excited by making the 3rd round of the FA Cup!!]]>

  • gunner

    I heaped a lot of praise on Arsene when he signed Gallas from Chelsea but looking back I wish he hadn’t made that move. Yes, he has scored some important goals for us from goal mouth scrambles and corners but he caused us the EPL trophy last term and Agbanlahor has become to him what Drog was to Sendy. Not only is he very disruptive, I am yet to forget the cigarette saga and believe his performance like that of Silvestre is tending towards south of excellence. I remember the picture of him coming out from a night club with cigarette in his mouth. I also remember Arsene saying it was not lit. As I write, no serious minded club will pay GBP8m for Gallas but clubs will jump to pay much more for Toure but in Arsene economics it is better to sell Toure and in his usual way, without having a replacement in place. No need moaning Gooners rather let’s hope for the best as there are signals out there that shows all is not well even between the board and Arsene. But let it be known that should Toure be allowed to leave because of this spat, the era when players finished there carriers at Arsenal is over; to me this should include the manager and the board because Arsenal Football Club is greater than anybody.

  • dan

    Denilson is not yet the finished article, and when he is, he will likely be quite a talent. But as it stands this season, he is far from the 6th best midfielder in the league. As the saying goes, there are lies, damned lies, and statistics. I¿ve heard this argument for Denilson before, so I will respond now as I did then. First off, I¿m not here to slag off Denilson. But he has been more of a detriment to Arsenal¿s success, in my opinion, than an aid. Firstly, as a defensive midfielder, he is sorely lacking. His insistence (and this goes for the far inferior Alex Song as well) on bombing forward has left our best player and the one through whom our best attacks flow, Cesc Fabregas, forced to stay back in defence, which has left our offense looking flat¿ remember, Adebayor, who needs 3 tries to spill water from a glass onto the floor, scored 30+ goals last season with the consistent service provided by Cesc. Secondly, his passing leaves something to be desired. The stats show him completing a high percentage¿ however, those same stats include the many, many passes he has bone backward with. These occur most frequently when Denilson, through no fault of his own, is played out of position on the wing. But in the spirit of complete honesty, more often than not, when Denilson takes possession in attack, that attack tends to stall and regress into a kickabout 20-30 yards from goal. Third, and finally: if Gilberto Silva had not been sold in the transfer window, who would you have been starting alongside Cesc all season? I know for me it¿s always the Rock of Gilberto. To Denilson¿s credit, he works hard, and I believe in a more attacking midfield role, he will play more freely and excel. But his limitations (physically weak, lack of pace, shies from challenges) seem to outweigh his contributions this season.

  • dantheman

    < ![CDATA[Being a football fan you get players who you love for many reasons, Some who tried hard, Some who are workhorses, Some who are just brilliant & some who you put there heart and soul into every game and play football not for money but for the joy of the game. For me Kolo Toure has all of the above and much much more. I love the guy and if this rumor is true that he cleared out his locked before saying a tearful goodbye to the staff at the training ground are correct then i myself will have a cry for the player who has grown on me and has now become one of my all time favorite players in the clubs history. When he first came on to the club I was not sure what we signed, I could tell that the guy was hungry to win and was very powerful and played with fire in his belly, I remember him going in for a 50/50 challenge with Peter Schmeichel and sending him crashing into his own goal and flat on his back, I could not stop laughing. I said to the gooner next to me, “That Toure is an animal i like him” Wenger playing him all over the place, RB LB as a wide man an at times he looked to be nothing more then a squad player, but then Toure found his place at the heart of the defence next to Sol Campbell and between the pair of them they became a solid partnership. For me that partnership was perfect. You had Sol who was great in the air and Toure who had loads of pace to sweep up.And it worked like a dream as we went 49 games unbeaten and won the double. Since the Campbell partnership Toure has looked a different player if I am completely honest,The problem we have had since Sol is that Gallas and Toure are both very similer in styles and both need that big powerful CB next to them. For me Toure and Senderos was the future partnership until Gallas arrived. And to the present day and reports that Gallas and Toure have had a bust up in training and cant stand the sight of each other. On 1 hand you have a player who has been since smoking till the early hrs of the morning, A player who sat down in protest at the way the team was playing, A player who runs to the press every time he feels he needs to get something off his ego. And on the other hand you have a player who was the lowest paid player for years at Arsenal and never moaned about it, A player who has given everything and more, A player who has supported his player and has never said anything about them to the press. A player who did things the right way.Its seems like the manager had to pick between the 2 and he picked the french 1. If Toure is sold then i will feel sick, I would feel let down by Wenger yet again. I would feel that my heart of the club I love has been ripped out yet again.]]>


    < ![CDATA[Sorry Parsi re-read that - it wasn't aimed at you, I think the press make too much of loyalty as well. There is no such thing as a career for life anymore in any walk of life and it's only natural that football mirror's the rest of society in that respect,]]>

  • Debs

    Yeah, this loyalty thing’s a dodgy one. Maybe if the players stopped doing silly things like kissing the badge and saying one minute that their future belonged to the club and the next thing you know, they’ve left the club, then the whole loyalty issue wouldn’t be made out as a big deal. As to Defoe, I was just wondering, if for whatever reason, Redknapp left Sp*rs and went to some other maybe even random club, would he jump ship again? I guess maybe one could argue that he left Pompey because well, the club’s no longer what he signed up for- new manager, club in bad form, and doesn’t seem to know how to get out of it, and he wanted out, and it’s just pure coincidence that Redknapp’s in charge of a club that wants/needs him, I don’t know. But I understand where Parsi’s coming from because nowadays even if a player says categorically that he wants to stay at your club for a certain period of time, you can’t take his word for it, so what’s the point in saying so in the first place?


    < ![CDATA[For sure, and I agree with everything you've said - a large element is of the players own making by saying such silly things. But look at Diara - he joined Pompey and the first thing he said was "I'm here til I get a better offer". It didn't go down well with the Pompey fans and he was never a fan favourite. He was honest though. The trouble is, a lot of players say things like that to appease the fans and then it back fires. Much better are the players who keep their mouths shut. Of course you could argue whatever they say is irrelevent it's their actions. In his last season at Arsenal Henry was a declining figure. Viera's last season was plagued by indifference. Defoe refuses to play for Pompey. Few players these days play up to the day they move with passion and commitment - after they;ve had their head turned they are off already in their minds. Ronaldo is another player who just isn't the same now he has one eye on Spain. At that point Diarra almost needs congratulations because was a model proffesional at Pompey until the day he flew out, regarldess of what he said.]]>


    < ![CDATA[Haha, but how often have you watched a footballer on the TV and winced and just thought "shut the fuck up!!". Even Gallas does my nut in!]]>

  • Dan

    Congratulations on the hat-trick Kieran : )

  • Debs

    Lol! But anyways, who cares about those other clubs and their players? lol. I just really hope Fabregas means it when he says he’s staying, although there’s always the all-important caveat- no one knows the future- at the end of every such statement. But I agree, it’s what they do on the pitch that matters, and you can sort of tell a player that’d stay based on their actions on the pitch (hmm, I guess maybe Flamini’s an exception, cos he seemed to give his all, all the time)! But yeah, mum’s the word! lol

  • dantheman

    Great post on Flamini, I hadn’t really considered that perspective and have to admit that I was/am in the crowd that thinks Wengers dealings over Flamini, Gilberto and Diarra were simply bad management. I guess it is easy to think this in retrospect but I also remember thinking how progressively slow and clumsy Gilberto looked in the last 1 or 2 seasons. Also, Diarra was obviously a good player but more than a little disruptive. Similarly, Flamini is finding out (as countless others have) that life after Arsenal isn’t always rosey). A lot of Fabregas’ dip in form has been attributed to the departure of Flamini, perhaps the appearance of Flamini’s game was enhanced and equally dependant on Fabregas being infront of him. Another thought on why our midfield has suffered so much is the chopping and changing of the back four. I don’t think we should still be experimenting with defensive partnerships 10 games in to the season. This kind of thing should be organised at the beginning of the season along with a reliable and regular Captain. Only then can a team build and progress in a consistent attacking fashion. Can anyone name a title-winning side that has messed about with a back four so much over the season. I know its hard for a lot of us to swallow but perhaps Toure has peaked, he’s been heavy and slow since he came back from Africa. I think we should cash in on him. I do think we need to replace him also but for simply for more back up. I feel that given a long run. Sagna,Gallas,Djourou & Clichy will become formidable. For all of his mental issues, Gallas is great and has saved us countless times. I’m not even against Senderos coming back to provide experienced cover for these.


    The only thing with Flamin is no one approached him til the season ended, so he didn’t already have his head turned, but yeah he was a model professional in all ways – not like Hleb who left and decided he should take our best players with him.

  • willsscott

    < ![CDATA[SSN have just confirmed that Arsenal are in talks with Zenit over Arshavin and they expect a deal to be done in the next 10 days. Seems a bit long to me to be honest, we were apparently after him in the summer but they wanted stupid money, now they are asking £20m but Wenger won't pay more than £12-15m. I'm obviously hopeful but somehow can't see him at the Emirates in two weeks time. I'd love to, as I reckon he's just as good as Rosicky who hasn't played in over a year, and would be a good alternate for Walcott until he's back. He can also play on both flanks and is a better wide man than any of Eboue, Diaby or Denilson. A loan move might look a bit more realistic if they can't agree a fee and to be honest, that may not be such a bad thing. In the summer Wenger can then see just how far the team has come and where he needs to strengthen. I would still like to see a defensive midfielder as cover for Denilson or even for Denilson to play understudy too. Not sure who, as Yaya Toure has said he wants to stay at Barca. This again seems unlikely though as Wenger has said he will not be signing Inler, who would have been a great choice. Flamini back would make my year so far!]]>

  • debs

    I guess signing Arshavin would be alright, but I hope Wenger doesn’t think buying or loaning just Arshavin would do, as that’s not enough. Defensive midfielder still essential. It seems as if Wenger’s buying for next season, because if you take, for example, Pavyluchenko, who came to the PL from Russia, it took him a while to settle first into English football then secondly into the team- he’s just beginning to make an impact at Sp*rs. I don’t think he’d be good to go if we get him, so I still think a PL player is still essential. Don’t really know what to think of Arshavin in the team though. He set the Euros alight in some games and was totally anonymous in some. Wenger regards him as ‘special class’, so I guess only time will tell whether he’s a good get. And Willsscott, I would love to see Flamini back, but I guess it’s not going to happen- we shouldn’t have let him go in the first instance…


    < ![CDATA[A loan deal is the worst possible move for Arsenal at this stage - by the end of the season he'll just be settling in and Arsenal would then be held over a barrel if they wanted to keep him. Just look at Zaki and Wigan. The difference is, unlike Wigan, we want to build a team not stay mid-table by have a revolving squad.]]>

  • AJ

    I agree a loan deal would suck as you say, we’d be at the other clubs mercy as for Flamini back, I would love him back but still don’t know whether I can accept him just leaving like that (even though the club brought it upon themselves to an extent).