Norway coach Solbakken suggests that Wenger has “been brainwashed”

There was a very contentious opinion article on JustArsenal last week, when Dan said that he had lost respect for the Arsenal legend Arsene Wenger after his comments about Germany losing at the World Cup because they were concentrating on politics rather than the football.

This is what Wenger was quoted as saying: ‘You know when you go to a World Cup, you know you can’t lose the first game,’

‘The teams who have the experience to perform in tournaments like France and England played well in the first game.’

‘The teams who were mentally ready, with a mindset to focus on competition, and not the political demonstrations.’

Well it seems that Dan is not the only one who thinks Wenger has left a stain on his reputation, as today the Norway manager Stale Solbakken is of exactly the same opinion, and suggests that Wenger is making “stupid statements” and has “been brainwashed. Speaking to Norwegian channel TV 2, Solbakken said: ‘It shudders to see that the smartest man in the world, Arsene Wenger, who has been looked up to over the years, has somehow been brainwashed and is now making the most stupid statements.

‘It’s scary with all the people we’ve looked up to in the football world for years.

‘There’s a polarisation going on right now, and I’m afraid it’s going to get worse.’

To be fair, it does seem like a strange remark from Le Prof, considering that Germany were not the only one protesting about Qatar’s record on human rights, in fact England was one of them and they did okay.

The World Cup Final may be this coming weekend, but it looks like the fallout from FIFA’s strange decision is going to run and run for some time yet…


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  1. Human beings are strange and funny….. Bcos someone doesn’t agree with ur view, then he is stupid, brainwashed and suddenly not smart anymore. Why do u think ur view is the best? This are all blackmail to force pple to agree with ur view and its in itself ‘stupid’

  2. I don’t think so. He just wanted the teams to focus on football

    As for the LGBTQ symbol, it was like coming to the US for playing football and stated that its second amendment was a stupid principle. There are more appropriate media to make political protests, such as social media

  3. Yeah right.
    Pretty stupid to want to blame Wenger for anything or even his views. Like he lied? Who was the player that said they were not there for any political reasons but to play and focus on their football, someone please remind me.
    Was he stupid for making that statement too?

    Ever since we started allowing political shit in football it keeps getting worse and worse. Now there can’t be a game of football anymore without any sign of some political nonsense. Arsene Wenger still has my respect

    1. But sports has always been used as a stage for political grandstanding going back decades.
      That is why “The Respect” campaign exists in football. “Say No TO Racism” campaign..
      Is that political nonsense too.

      Not trying to be irritating to you Eddie but most actions we engage in as a human-race on a daily basis are political gestures. Even yourself saying that you don’t wan to engage in the so called political nonsense is also a subconscious political stand. You are engaging in a libertarian “I don’t want to see anything, let me turn a blind eye, I mind my own business, so everyone should just mind their own business and get off each others back” stance.

      1. @Goonster

        Don’t you think you’re going too deep into playing with words? All Eddie is saying is that Wenger is right about players who went to Qatar and we’re focusing on politics of another nation instead of the game.

        Personally, I very much believe that all these political no sense has double standards. As a proof, you will see that once the world cup is over, no one, I mean absolutely no one would be interested in the issue of the migrant workers who are said to have perished. It’s all PR stunts and many have been able to see through the ruse

        1. He’s not right though that’s the point …
          The One Love Armband was Holland’s idea , they got to last 8
          England wanted to wear the Armband , they got to last 8
          Australia posted a video supporting equality , they got out of group
          Iran got a rare victory despite not singing their anthem and talking about issues back home
          Oh and there was a captain who argued going into the tournament that he would wear rainbow flag , this dominated his managers press conference and media
          …..Hugo Lloris …… a WC Final !
          So it’s not about politics , it’s simply what Wenger says makes zero sense
          He’s made it political by instead of accepting Germany went out on sporting grounds , he’s suggesting it’s because of their views

        2. I wouldn’tcall supposedly 4-5,000 workers dead on construction projects “a ruse”. How many is too many?. Having worked in major civil construction all my working life, one is too many.
          Then again some societies place less importance on human life.

      2. Goonster, I maintain it’s pure nonsense to say the man has been brainwashed or sold his soul just because he said players should’ve focused on the game.
        Like dgr8tx said below, how many teams actually give a damn about those hypocritical political views after before the world cup? Or even after the world cup? Not one of them spoke up, not one of them decided boycotting the world cup all together would send a message. So you see the hypocrisy? Yeah at some point we are all hypocrites but players shouldn’t try to pull a fast one like they care.
        Wenger has said nothing wrong in saying Teams should’ve focused more on the football. How is that a wrong statement? The player I was talking about was Neymar, even Xhaka, Neymar and the Brazilian squad are they fools for saying they came there for football and nothing else? At least they chose not to pretend about the whole thing unlike other players that suddenly cared about the whole thing after getting there, and now they don’t care anymore since they’re out of there

        1. @Eddie
          Just because some players said they are there to play football and not political pandering means nothing. That’s their political opinion which you, wenger and others seem to prefer. But on the other hand there are others that prefer a different political view point that goes against yours, Wenger’s, and the likes etc. And we are allowed to debate these opposing issues / view points. It’s part of our human ability. Been doing it for 1000’s if not 10’s of thousands of years.

          And people have been highlighting the poor dictatorship and poor human rights in these Middle Eastern nations for a long time now. The oppression and gagging of their citizens Freedom of Speech, Freedom to express their personal view points, a chance to just have a as much Freedom as possible. When was the first / last time any of these Qatari’s, Emirati, Saudi’s etc citizens were afforded the Freedom to democratically vote for their political leaders and political view points? All that has ever happened has been dictatorships that suppress any sort of dissent. Citizens are gagged and are always walking on egg shells, afraid to say anything that might trigger their strong handed dictatorial Royal Families that decided they are the gods of these nations. Whatever political view point the higher ups / Religious Royals prefer then all the powerless citizens should just shallow. We don’t know what the Qatari citizens think about many of these human rights issues. All we know is what their strong fisted religious / dictatorial Royal families prefer.

          Anyways, and all this so called “Hypocrisy” that we all seem to engage in. It is sometimes very difficult to untangle oneself from. I say it’s because of this system / the globalist / libertarian / anarcho Capitalism system that was chosen for us centuries ago. It’s all about individualistic / Me me attitude to make as much money as possible even if my methods are gruesome to those less fortunate. They have built this economic system where the more psychopathic, ruthless, narcissistic and low on empathy you are the higher the chance you make a good money maker. Our society rewards the more psychopathic/ narcissistic money first individuals. They are the most Wealthiest (Billionaires and Multi millionaires). So that means they are at the top and then society has to beg them constantly for change. But because they are very low on empathy they will just turn a blind eye and ask for more regulations to be loosened in their favour in order to make more and more money. They will buy off all politicians through so callee campaign donations and those politicians will continually lobby for them.

          I love Arsenal FC, but Arsenal like every other business is intertwined into this psychopathic economic capitalistic system where money is the main moral authority. We will adjust our moral intuitions in order to fit into this system. That’s why my affiliation with Arsenal FC since the Cesc Era ended has become more transactional. I think it’s me maturing / getting older and becoming more of a deep thinker.

          That’s why Wenger was such a breathe of Fresh Air when he joined the EPL in 1996. He had that humanistic trait in him. He was for FFP Rules etc. Was Mr Nice guy always doing his best to lookout for fairness in football. He sacrificed his own and Arsenal’s success hoping that the likes of Chelsea / Man City’s, Usmanov’s of this world did not become the norm in football. But now that he has been employed by FIFA he has changed his tone a little on big money / corruption influencing football.

          More than a decade ago we used to say “We don’t want no billionaire, sugar daddy, blood money etc anywhere near Arsenal FC. No sugar daddy money is allowed at Arsenal blah blah”. But all that has dramatically changed today. We have Arsenal fans crying out for a bigger Billionaire sugar daddy to take over from Kroenke. Success and money is much more favoured today than the good old days of Wenger and us Gooners advocating for FFP rules. The economic system has pulled us in and we are asking Kroenke to keep spending and spending. Lol

          Again, the best I can do at a individualistic level is to try to highlight the moral problems I can see. I can’t suddenly stop wearing clothes because they are made by the very cheap Labour (poor children and adults) that are consistently being taken advantage of financially, physically, psychologically etc in China, India, Bangladesh, Thailand, Vietnam, Sri Lanka etc. All I can do so beg my fellow humans to highlight such disgusting treatments.

          Same with this Qatar human rights violations. I can’t wave a magic wand and make it all go away. All I can do is keep talking about it. But the problem is that we have so many people like yourself that have this ”Nonchalant” attitude when it comes to things like this. People are more comfortable turning a blind eye, burying their heads in the sanr and pretending that these human rights issues will magically go away. Mentioning these things becomes an inconvenience to some peoples cushy lives.

          I love Arsenal and enjoy Football. But can’t let that cloud my judgement. My brain won’t allow me to just turn a blind eye because I am a hypocrite on other issues. I try to be as objective and balanced as possible on all issues even if I am not infallible. We all ain’t.

          1. Goonster, You have my admiration and my applause for this humane, deeply necessary and probably, sadly, minority view of how life AND HUMAN FREEDOM, IS FAR more important than mere football.

            It was among the most profoundly true, cathartic, rewarding and deeply touching posts I have ever read on JA in many years.

            I salute you sir!

            And the good news is that although we appear right now to be among a minority on JA, the world tide of decency is moving firmly, though too slowly for my liking, in our direction.

          2. Goonster, congratulations on your excellent post. Unfortunately censorship of the media in Qatar will not allow such discourse to be undertaken by the “common people” and the ruling elite strive to maintain the status quo. This is not limited to countries such as Qatar.

            1. I disagree with what seems to be the prevailing view in this thread.
              The fact that some people want to keep politics out of football as far as possible is not equivalent to “nonchalance”.
              Several people seem to be trying to take the moral high ground in these types of debates but there is a clear lack of sufficient understanding before adopting inflexible positions based on an individual world view or the influence of others.

      3. I could not disagree more. It used to be that you could enjoy things without having to think about politics. The fact that almost every single thing we do now has some sort of political message makes it difficult to enjoy anything, particularly if you disagree with the message.
        I believe this injection of politics that every large company seems compelled into has contributed far more than anything else to the widespread polarisation we hear so much about. There’s nowhere to hide, you have no choice but to engage and/or be judged. It’s disgusting frankly.

    2. Of course if Qatar built.stadiums lawfully and unlawful laws hadn’t led to death of workers people wouldn’t question them on that would they ?
      That’s not shit politics ….it’s a right and wrong

      1. Oh suddenly it’s when they got there and after lots of people already questioned them they grew interest?
        Are you aware Kattie McCabe and some of our female players didn’t watch the world cup and said they were gonna boycott it?
        You want me to take players serious who said absolutely nothing about the deaths and didn’t ask one question, and suddenly now just because they want to put on a few minutes show of one love I should be impressed?
        You act like these guys care and ant of them has said anything about all the whole thing since leaving the competition.
        Who’s fooling who?

      1. AdPat, that’s the thing.
        Every question and attack should be laid at FIFA not the man that said they should’ve focused more on their football

          1. @Admin
            Why should there be a separation here?Separation psycholog.

            So we should respect Wenger and not FIFA?
            Why is Wenger at FIFA anyway? Did anyone force him to accept that lucrative FIFA job that he occupies? And he is now spewing FIFA talking points. Is that a coincidence?

            That’s like a politician taking lobbyists money / campaign donations and all of a sudden starts to spew that lobbyist’s talking points. Do we then say “But lets respect the politician, the lobbyists is the one we should all not respect”.

            Can’t you see a bit of fallacious reasoning (Special pleading) or a bit of cognitive dissonance in such a statement?

            Are you applying the “Don’t Hate The Player, Hate The Game?” Sort of thing?

            I don’t know why many Arsenal fans have convinced themselves that Arsenal, Wenger, any other Arsenal legend or their personal favourite players shouldn’t be criticised. There is a bit of a battle going on inside my fellow goonere heads. Wenger can’t be criticised, some particular players can’t be criticised, certain Arsenal men (David Dein) cannot be criticised etc. Any objective criticism is taken as some sort of attack / hate and disrespect for that individual.

            Lets open our minds and think objectively instead of always trying to make excuses where not warranted.

      2. FIFA don’t care about your respect. Qatar was basically for a football tournament and not where their ideologies are debated.

        The players had only one job, Play Football

  4. Arsene Wenger’s thoughts, views and statements expressed by him on Football tournaments shouldn’t be mixed with politics. Such as the ongoing Fifa World Cup holding in Qarta. Which is being used by some participating countries at the tournament for making their polocal stance statements known. Ordinary Wenger is correct.
    But will it works in today’s world that’s so blighted and engulfed with all kinds of polocal decision makings and movements. Such as the ongoing of the military invasion war that is inflicted on Ukraine by Mr Putin’s governed Russian State. Which is a Russia’s supremacy show to force Ukraine to submission for maximizing massive polocal control gains. And if you exact political control, you could also exact economic control as well.
    So therefore, in this worldt we live in. That is politically volatile, international sports can hardly be separated from international politics as the duo look to be interwoven. And violation or abuse of Human Rights is a correct movement that’s part of it.

  5. Some people get upset with Wenger’s comments, some wonder why Wenger even made that comment in the first place.

    Germany got bounced out because their football performances were poor, not because of “political statements.”

    IMHO ridiculous statement in the first place, as if professional athletes among the best in their nations and in the world can’t separate the political from sports.

    Sorry but I don’t believe that the Germany players at a WORLD CUP couldn’t mentally separate themselves from politics.

  6. I agree completely with Arsene on this, you don’t need validation from anyone,if you really believe you are doing the right thing. Leave Wenger alone, he remains a legend and the attention seekers a nobody, he doesn’t have to be political correct, that’s the world’s biggest problem.

  7. It is for these reasons why my respect and love for that legendary Frenchman is concrete.

    Never one to shy away from speaking his mind, unlike me he’s blessed with proper choice of words, but chooses not to be politically correct despite knowing the fallout that will follow.

    God bless the legend.

  8. Please no more rumours of Ronaldo being brought in as a temp CF. All Artetas hard work could be ruined if he signs for us. We finally got rid of all our prima donnas and we want another one?? A year ago it would maybe make sense. If he realised what he is now it would make sense. But he thinks he is what he was 5 years ago. Please please Mikel, do not sign him

  9. Wenger is allowed to have that opinion, he’s an ex-manager who knows the importance of a player’s focus. The best teams/players in the world always have a deadly focus about them

  10. I think Wenger has sold his soul to FIFA.

    Consequently he has lost my respect!!!

    He said he felt there should be more Winter World Cups, knowing full well their impact on the European Leagues schedules and particularly on the EUFA Cup schedules.

  11. Just seperate the footballing brain from the self serving apologist who changes his opinion with every new opportunity to cash in. With 48 teams in 2026 the world cup is heading into an en bigger circus. How do you defend that? Why even bother with a knock out stage. Please don’t say, it’s not about money and greed. On the bright side, at least Italia might finally qualify again.


    The very idea that a man of AW’s pedigree, senior years and worldly wise wisdom could possibly be brainwashed is utterly ridiculous.

    Think about what” brainwashed ” actually means. It is the sort of thing you see in fantasy films or applies to such cults as the Moonies.

    To accuse AW, of ALL people, of being brainwashed, defies mere scorn and the twit who spoke such complete rubbish swiftly owes AW an apology.

    And to we lot too on JA, who have read such tripe! Engage your brain next time before spouting such insulting drivel, Solbakken!
    And so should JA and Dan apologise too for reporting this GARBAGE.

      1. I am not at all self centred and if you knew anything about me at all you would know how untrue tha latest false accusation is.

        But falsehoods, mainly of hype and wilful distortions, are your own and your sites stock in trade I have long been trying to make you face up to the necessirty of being truthful.

        1. Untruthful???
          The Norway coach suggested Wenger had been brainwashed, and the headline says that, and the report does too.
          Why should I apologise for anything?
          And why should I specifically apologise to you?
          As you know, everyones view of “being truthful” is very fungible depending on who is talking. Your view is NEVER the ABSOLUTE correct one my Lord, no matter what YOU believe.

          1. Ironic Pat, how you find it convenient, at times when your honesty is being questioned, though rarely otherwise, when you choose to address me as “my Lord”!

            Once again it is a laughable attempt to move the blame for your own wilful lack of accurate language onto my own,albeit largely futile campaign, to force you and other JA inhouse writers to write TRUE and CORRRECT meaning language.

            As for your final sentence, where you try to argue that truth is merely a matter of personal opinion, mere words cannot convey the depth of my scorn for that deliberately written garbage.

            I realise of course that you have the power to delete my posts, as you have many time done previously, but I challenge you to combat me in words, if you still refuse to accept truth and NOT hide behind a cowardly censorship power.

  13. Norway coach Solbakken suggests that Wenger has “been brainwashed”
    It’s the Norwegian coach that said it
    I don’t think so
    Wenger has a mind of his own and is too intelligent to be brainwashed but he is also human and error is the human element….nobody is perfect
    Wenger will always be a legend…..!

  14. Let’s face facts, FIFA is a corrupt organization and the fact that Qatar was awarded the World Cup was awarded to that country was representative of that corruption. For many individuals and corlporations it is an unending gravy train.

      1. Please read up on the litany of bribery and corruption that led to the selection of Qatar as host nation by FIFA.

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