Happy 125th Birthday Arsenal…

I’ve been around for long enough to remember when the club was first formed, but on the 1st December 1886, a special something was created – the Arsenal – and 125 years later, the club is one of the most recognisable footballing brands in the world…

Happy 125th Birthday Arsenal!

Back to the squad now and the players and despite our defeat to Man City, as mentioned before, I think the boys did us proud. We have 14 shots (on & off) at the Man City goal and the opposition only mustered one shot on target, which just happened to be the goal… scored by the £35m signing in a team worth over £120m. Compared to our team of fringe and youngsters, it showed that there isn’t too much separating us.

The main thing separating us is our strength in depth in attack and I really think Arsene needs to address that as soon as possible. Maroune Chamakh, more than ever, looks like a spent force – he looks upset with himself, but he just can’t cut it as a top premiership striker. The rumoured £10m enquiry for him from Paris St Germain is music to my ears, although I doubt it there is anything truth to it – and for Park Chu Young, he seems to have the Carlos Vela syndrome – very good now and again but then anonymous for the rest of the time.

The new striker we MUST buy should be a real quality player – many have linked us with Podolski of Cologne and I think that’s the kind of player I am talking about.

One very positive thing about the Carling Cup game was the performance of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain – he is keen to play, to learn and to become the player we all hope he can be.

“I have learned a lot since I came here. The next step is to push on into the squad. But there is no rush. I trust the boss to progress me in the best way.’

And Arsene also pointed out the management of the player and need to keep young players progress in check, despite the will and want to play them.

‘The experience shows that it is good sometimes to be positive and patient. I was very patient with him until now and it is important sometimes to hold them back a little bit. You pushed him off the ball too easily two months ago. His strength and endurance is now there and that is important at the top level of course.’

I really do think AOC will make it at the top level. He seems to have everything in his locker and can really see why Arsene was so ken to bring him in. At the beginning of the season, I really thought we had spent the money in the wrong places, but now, as Merstersacker, Jenkinson, Santos, Arteta, Gervinho and AOC are getting games, I am being proved wrong.

Hats off to another player – Laurent Koscielny – who had a bit of a torrid first season, ending in the Carling Cup calamity. However this season, in my opinion, he has been our best defender. He’s shown great strength and shown a quicker mind and he is becoming the ideal partner for Thomas Vermaelen. The player himself has been working on this fitness and strength and feels like a new player.

“I think for a defender it is the best championship. I have had a bit of time now to be strong and get to know this league.  Now I feel good on and off the pitch and I try to put the effort into being a good defender.  You don’t have to play differently here, you just have to work on the physical side. It’s very different to France or Spain and the strikers are very strong. I’ve worked a lot to do that.”

Koscielny has also been deputising at right back recently too and has shown his versatility.

“I try to do the defensive work. It is a little difficult to help Theo though because he is too quick! I try to give the best I can, and that’s it. I can get forward once or twice a game. I try to do the job seriously but I hope Bacary or Carl come back quickly.”

This weekend we travel to Wigan and we will get a chance to get back to winning ways – despite our recent form – we are still a long way away from getting into and staying into the top four.

  • afc4life

    Koscielny has been amazing this season – another great find by Arsene. I wish we started the season like this… we missed out on some serious form – AND POINTS!

  • pires

    Remember, there’s no membership fee for the BSM, we are open to everyone and have approaching 10,000 followers on various social networks etc. And we will report back to our followers.

    So in the spirit of our openness, below are the topics we discussed with the club yesterday and await their response.

    We were very limited with our time, the meeting started late (not our fault) and finished earlier than we anticipated especially as we’d agreed an agenda in advance and were therefore unable to cover everything.

    I apologise for it’s length (not the first time I’ve had to say that . . . I wish).

    Ticketing
    Pricing
    Given the outrage at the club’s decision to raise season ticket prices last summer, we’d like assurances that no further increases are planned for next season. We know a lot of people who had to give up their season tickets because they simply couldn’t afford them any more. It’s heartbreaking to see people who’ve devoted themselves to Arsenal for decades have to give up watching the club they love.

    This season, many matches have gone on general sale – almost unheard of in the last 10 years – and the club is witnessing exactly what we predicted. Fans cannot continue to be punished where there are other avenues that should be targeted first.

    The club should be under no illusion that if further increases are passed on to supporters, there will be widespread protest – at the kind of levels never seen before at Arsenal. We had representatives from other key supporters groups offering participation in the summer, in case we organised a protest, so this demonstrates that the feeling is not isolated.

    More variety in ticketing
    We think the club needs to be sensitive to the financial situation most supporters currently find themselves in. There are many ways in which this can be achieved:

    1. We’d like the club to introduce a two-tier season ticket. One would be ‘as is’ but the second option would be a season ticket for league matches only. This could prove to be a very popular innovation. Fans who are finding it hard to afford their season ticket would have a cheaper option, and it would free up tickets to cup games which are currently limited in availability for lots of supporters.
    Those who purchase the full season ticket would naturally receive priority over the ‘lite’ version when it comes to cup finals etc.

    2. We feel that the club should offer season ticket holders a short-term repayment plan whereby the ticket can be paid for over three months (1 June, 1 July, 1 August). Naturally the club could add an administration fee to each payment for doing this, clawing back any threat of lost interest.

    While the club have previously offered loans with other financial institutions, or credit cards, we feel this is irresponsible – the club shouldn’t be offering more ways of getting people into debt, considering the current financial climate. Keeping it simple and in-house is the key.

    3. We’d like the club to offer the chance of downgrading your season ticket – of course assuming there is a seat available in that price band. Options could be offered when renewing, giving season ticket holders the chance to:

    - Renew your current membership/seat
    - Upgrade to a better seat
    - Downgrade your seat

    4. If a season ticket holder gives up his/her season ticket, give them the option of buying a Silver membership. It’s hugely unfair of the club to shunt a loyal supporter to the back of the queue i.e. Red membership if they cannot afford their season ticket any more.

    Stadium seating
    Bring back the Clock End
    We commend the club’s decision to finally name the stands, but would like this to move on a step further.

    Since moving stadium, our fans have been split up around the ground and despite the ‘Red Section’ being allowed, the atmosphere inside the stadium is still poor. We therefore suggest that the club allows season tickets in the lower tier of the Clock End, which would allow like-minded people to be able to sit together and create a great atmosphere. Of course
    cup considerations need to be taken into account but why not operate as we did at Highbury i.e. provide those season ticket holders with seats elsewhere, as and when the situation arises? There is massive interest out there for a new Clock End to be formed, and by doing so, this would create a great deal of good feeling from fans towards the club. It would show the club really does care. Having a clock above the stand doesn’t make it the Clock End. Having fans there who want to recreate the old feeling of the Clock End most certainly does.

    Away fans
    The position of away fans in the ground is something we also would like to see changed. At the moment, away support gets a prominent position in the lower tier, taking up thousands of the cheapest seats in the stadium. We would like the club to investigate the option of moving away support to the upper tier, bringing the following benefits:

    -They would be out of sight of the TV cameras. It’s disheartening to see away fans standing, creating atmosphere etc. in prime view, while our ‘Red Section’ is tucked away in the opposite corner.

    -They’d be further from the pitch, making it harder for them to generate loud support for their Team By far the biggest benefit – it would provide thousands of cheaper seats for Arsenal fans Yes there are many considerations to bear in mind… there would need to be work done on turnstile entry and exits, and there’s the safety issue of fans below. But if this is done by other clubs (Man United and Newcastle spring to mind) why can’t it be done here?

    Unreserved seating
    We’d like the club to consider an experiment of unreserved seating. Providing a section of the ground where friends can buy tickets and sit together, it would mean fans coming into the ground earlier and it would definitely help create a better atmosphere inside the ground

    The ‘matchday experience’
    The Wonder Of You
    You wouldn’t believe the number of calls we’ve had, to get the club to scrap this song. It’s nothing to do with Arsenal and while we see the attempt to get it adopted as a club ‘anthem’ it hasn’t worked. Simply relegating it by playing it a few minutes earlier has enraged people even further – as if the club refuses to admit it hasn’t worked. Get rid, and get rid immediately!

    Good Old Arsenal
    Play ‘Good Old Arsenal’ as the teams take to the pitch – if not as a permanent measure, at least for the 125 year celebrations against Everton. We know it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but it’s as close to an Arsenal anthem as we’re ever likely to get. It keeps ties with our traditions and it’s a proper Arsenal song.

    ‘Shout the names back’
    Are there plans to change the “shout the names back at me” ritual? It’s cringeworthy to say the least and while it was a nice idea to steal it from Bayern Munich, it hasn’t worked. The vast majority of our core support can’t stand it. “Gerveeeeeeen!!” ?! Horrid.

    Attendance figures
    While we can see the reason for the club being overly covert on this i.e. refusing to admit that a lot of people are no longer turning up, there’s a lot of ridicule about how the whole thing has been handled. At the end of the day, attendance is NOT how many tickets have been sold. It’s how many people are at the game. Taking the option of announcing it on the quiet doesn’t help the club. What is the club’s view on how this has been handled?

    Heavy-handed stewarding
    We get a lot of comments from people over this – that stewards are all too quick to be aggressive with Arsenal fans, while the away support can pretty much do what they want. Personally (MH) I saw a steward giving two children a telling off after a recent match, because they’d stood on their seats to applaud the team off the pitch. These kids were visibly scared at such treatment and I was close to having a stern word with the steward involved. Giving someone an orange coat doesn’t make them the riot police, and something needs to be done on this.

    Safe standing
    We hear from one of Ivan Gazidis’s Q&A sessions that the club would support the investigation into the introduction of safe standing at Arsenal. While we realise this is a bigger issue, we’d like Arsenal to be seen to be leading the way in this innovation. We have been in talks with the Safe Standing Roadshow and are prepared to arrange for them to visit the club and demonstrate how it works in Germany and how far the technology has advanced.

    Red & White Holdings
    We fully believe that given the shareholding R&W has in the club, the Board shouldn’t continue to block their willingness to contribute to how the club is run. The club has to move forward and work in unison – shareholders, club and supporters alike. We believe that R&W deserve a place on the Board and we are firmly behind this.
    _________________
    Fuck off you clueless tart . . .

  • arsefan101

    @pires

    Did you lift that from another web site?
    What is it’s relevance?

  • Kodjo

    Happy to be around for this b’day!..having said that folks should lay off Chamakh….a player doesn’t become bad over night…he manfully led the charge around this time last season…remember the our playing style and tactics have changed as well… all built around RVP.

    The fact that he is upset with himself is a positive I just hope he doesn’t put too much pressure on himself bcos that can be counter productive. Given the circumstances…he’ll hopefully find form given a run of games.

    I haven’t seen a lot off Par so I reserve judgement.

  • Kodjo

    Ooops… i meant to say I haven’t seen a lot of Park’s games so I reserve judgement.

  • richiebacardi

    Excuse me if this is old news as i’m always away, but has anyone commented on aquiring Drogba? If so what were the views??

  • Andrew

    What’s up, World of Arsenal bloggers. No wigan preview. No wigan post match review. I keep coming to WOA to read reactions only to see an old blog. I like this site a lot but not as much content lately.

  • pilan

    Would Arsenal have dropped the points they did in 2009/10 and 20010/11 with this team? I suspect not. Still, better late than never. Another factor that is perhaps no co-incidence is that, after the Old Trafford debacle, there was a change of policy in the coaching at London Colney, as revealed by Wojciech Szczesny recently. The defensive players were worked on in isolation to bring about improvement in their organization. So although the Blackburn defeat occurred soon after, I think most Gooners are less fearful of the defensive collapses we have seen a little too often over the past three or four campaigns. A very welcome change. So I am not sure that this is a case of Arsene Knows, but more one of everyone knew, but the manager finally relenting to the obvious.

    There is room for Project Youth, but it needs to be approached more pragmatically, as has happened in the past at the likes of Ajax, Barcelona and Manchester United. You don’t win anything with kids, but a blend of young talent and experience can take you a long way.

    Let’s now hope Arsenal can press on and continue their decent run in the league, and show enough solidity to leave Eastlands with something in a fortnight’s time.

    Finally, I know there are a number who will bemoan my having the temerity to write a negative word about the manager after a 4-0 victory, but I think it is important to analyse how things change with the team and why. So you cannot forget what has gone before in doing that. It’s the idea of learning from mistakes. I am delighted the manager has seen the light on the need for more experienced heads in the side, and changed his approach to coaching. That is Arsene Wenger admitting he has got it wrong, not a matter of a fan’s opinion. I will admit I am unhappy it took so long, but as he is going to be around a good while longer, it is at least a relief that things are changing.