“Revolution” – Dan’s review of Charles Watts’ book analysing Arteta and Arsenal

So, I have been given the honour to read and review Charles Watt’s book about Mikel Arteta and Arsenal, called “Revolution”, before it’s officially released.

Many of you will be familiar with Watts due to his work on the BBC and interactions with Gooners on social media.

During that time, he’s sat in the majority of Arteta’s press conferences, hearing inspirational words from our manager and observing the Spaniard’s mind ticking over.

He credits this book as the first to truly analyse Mikel Arteta, the manager.

You know how Amazon’s All or Nothing Documentary painted Arteta in a positive light? This is the literature version.

Before the Wolves fixture, having spent the week healing, the 43-year-old was asked one word to sum up how he felt knowing his team had finished second in a league they had topped for the majority of the competition?

That his chosen word was ‘Connected’ sums up the intellect he possesses.

Maybe his press officer knew the question was coming?

Yet at his lowest ebb, Arteta was able to put a positive spin on a difficult month and give hope for the future. When he spoke …the room listened.

When you read this book …you listen.

The sale date of course is timed specifically for the start of the season. By the time you can read this book, Arsenal will have played Forest, Palace and Fulham.

I also feel it’s an ideal time for me to review where the club currently stands under the current regime.

We have just returned to the Champions League for the first time in 6 years, but our fan base seemed divided in what stance to take.

Will our youngsters only get better from the experience of being in a title race or did we just blow a golden opportunity which might not come around again in years?

Watts believes the first, and writes with such passion that this isn’t a man who’s writing what people want to hear, by the time you finished dissecting his passionate introduction, you have goosebumps, hairs are standing up on your arms and you are excited for the future.

If nothing else, read the introduction the night before a fixture and your left pumping your chest.

I still think we lack the experience to finish above Man City, but if you wanted a counter argument, you won’t get one more persuasive than Watts’ masterpiece.

Then we smartly jump from the current day to Arteta’s final game as a player.

Our former captain was in tears as he retired, admitting that in his final two years he was lucky to still be in North London. His mind was willing, but his body was not and for him that meant he had to walk away, because Arsenal deserved the highest standards.

That’s the standout to takeaway, Arteta doesn’t just talk about non-negotiables because we happened to be the club to give him his first managerial job, he’s always wanted to match the values set by those who came before him in the red and white shirt.

From how he convinced Everton to sell him after their initial refusals, to being Mr. Wenger’s teacher’s pet, to being the big brother to Jack Wilshere, Arteta was proud to wear the armband. By all accounts the standards he has as a coach were the same he had as a player in training.

That wasn’t always obvious at the time.

He wasn’t a great captain nor a great player for us, evidently. Yet this book details the influence he had on our training pitch, how he was a role model to youngsters, the man who went between the dressing room and those in charge.

Did Arsenal intentionally keep that away from the public?

Were there so few leaders that the players didn’t want to undermine their boss?

What made him so reserved?

We learnt more about his character since his return than when he last played for us.

Yet going as far back to his time at Rangers, Alex Mcleish saw signs of a future coach.

The challenge to any reflective piece is to teach your readers something they don’t know.

That’s hard because the assumption must be that your customers have knowledge of the subject, or else they wouldn’t have made the purchase in the first place.

Watts is able to add stories that he must have been keeping to himself for years.

Tales include Watts attending an empty Wembley Stadium and that being the day he truly realised how much the sport missed fans due to lockdown, walking up Wembley way for a semi-Final like a ghost town, when in any other year it would have been a sea of red and blue.

Other stories include how Arsenal trained during COVID, a job offer from Spurs and how Guardiola at Barcelona would ring Arteta for advice on Chelsea’s tactics, the real reason of what Guendouzi did to offend his boss, oh and how Everton’s staff had to do the medical to make his switch to us a reality!

If you’re not old enough to know why I don’t rate the Kroenke Family, read the chapter on how having sold Fabregas and Nasri, it took an 8-2 humiliation at Old Trafford for us to even think about doing any business. Instead of our owners insisting on a shortlist of targets this confirms how little ambition we had at the time.

It’s crazy that we would lose two of our best players and suffer one of the biggest defeats in our history and yet not have a medical team arranged to be in Liverpool!

That’s where Watts earned my respect.

He puts any connections to one side and gives both sides of an argument.

Other journalists would have feared impacting on their relationships with the club and/or Arteta but Watts doesn’t only write what those two want to hear.

For example, he strongly implies the belief held by many that Ozil was dropped for non-football reasons, giving strong facts to back up that theory.

I won’t give spoilers but it’s fascinating how essentially on Zoom the squad were asked to agree to a wage reduction to save staff jobs in the pandemic. When Arsenal couldn’t get the 75 percent agreement they needed (Arteta steps in and convinces some to change their mind), Watts asks why was Ozil the only name leaked to the press?

He bravely points out that Arsenal lied, 55 staff were still made redundant despite their employer being worth 6.3 billion!

He also questions the reasons why Matt Smith was on the bench in the Cup Final at the expense of Ozil purely for footballing reasons? (Smith would never kick a ball for our first team).

Equally, he recalls the final time the German was on a bench for us (the famous umbrella at Southampton) and how he sat, not interacting with his peers, not celebrating any goals and walking straight down the tunnel the moment he heard the final whistle.

Watts though isn’t afraid to equally recall scenarios that don’t paint our players in the best light.

He recalls watching Arsenal train the night before Unai Emery’s last game as our manager, and saying how he and his peers could see through the players’ body language that they were no longer listening to their coach.

Any Gooner who is feeling concerned by our start to the season or still hurting from our last season ended, read this book!

Watts’ beautiful writing style while not designed to change any minds or alter opinions, he offers a beautiful defense of Arteta’s body of work.

Having had the honour of being asked to read the manuscript before its release date, I can say I knew more about Arteta than I did before I started reading.

The test of a good book.

Maybe Arteta ends our trophy drought, maybe he doesn’t.

What is clear is he cares deeply about our crest.

Given how many of our best players wanted to leave or cancel their contracts.

Given the constant fan channels who have told us for years everything that is wrong with us.

Given how low our owners allowed standards to fall ……

Being led by someone who clearly has fallen in love with the club? I don’t take that for granted.

Revolution Is available now!


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Tags Arsenal book Arteta Charles Watts


  1. I envy the way some fans feel connected to arteta. To me, I can’t relate. I find him arrogant, a poor man manager and has a tendency to lie /misconstrue his words, and has a reluctance to try our academy players. I acknowledge that’s a me problem. The last coach i felt attachment to was wenger

    1. Shouldnt any attachment and connection be to the club and team, andindividuals farless anyway , no matter who they be??.

      Far too much nonsense is written about many individuals and many forget that we support a team and a club and NOT individuals. We are not SAKA, HENRY, BERGKAMP, WENGER, ARTETA supporters, but ARSENAL SUPPORTERS .
      That has always been what I SUPPORT.

  2. This excerpt has wet my appetite for the book “Revolution ” surely I will get myself a copy.

    There is a feeling a can of worms could be opening up somewhere along the line.

    That humiliating 8 – 2 by Man United still hurts and with Alex Furgeston saying Francis Coquelin was out of his depths with a smirky little smile across his face, feels like just yesterday.

  3. Arteta’s football style and decisions were indeed the parts of a revolution. Similar to Wenger’s tactics in the beginning of his tenure, Arteta’s are unique and unorthodox to many fans

    I still believe he’ll make us win EPL, UCL or EL this season

                1. No they are not. What has worked that is revolutionary? Hiw nay trophies has this so called revolutionary system won? It is not revolutionary at all. He has tried to copy Wenger and Pep, that is not revolutionary.

          1. Agree with you Dan, Wenger not only won the EPL in his 1st full season he also changed the drinking culture, training and diet. That’s revolutionary, even Ferguson conceded that.

                1. Nothing unique, he pinched all his ideas from Pep and Wenger. False number 9, Peps, Inverted left back, Peps. This season, inverted RB Peps, he did it last season. The difference is, Pep made it work. Playing left winger on right and right winger on left, Wenger did it, not Artetas idea. Nothing revolutionary at all. And i will argue, his tactics under pressure, last season didn’t work and we FAILED in getting first because of. Where were his revolutionary tactics, when Emery (the man he replaced) slapped his arse in the EL. Why has his revolutionary tactics not allowed him to win against Pep in something like 10 games. No revolutionary tactics.

                  1. Reggie, I’m struggling to think of a Left Winger that played on the right wing under Wenger.

                    Also during the 70′ we had a right winger playing on the left, Geordie Armstrong. Did Wenger take that idea from Mee/Howe ?

                    1. Geordie Armstrong was in fact a two footed winger who could and did play equally well on either wing, often changing wings during games.
                      He was a true great , massively underrated by those not old enough to have seen him in the flesh.

                      Incredibly, he NEVER won a full England cap. A true hero of mine and the hardest, most diligent worker our club has ever had as a regular long term player,in my considered opinion

                    2. I only got to see Geordie towards the end of his Arsenal career JF, but even then he was hard working. Be it on the left wing or on the right wing, he would be there to help the full back.

                      As you say, he never won an international Cap for England, but that would be down to Sir Alf and his Wingless Wonders. Now that was REVOLUTIONARY by Sir Alf.

  4. @ Gunsmoke.

    we have Rice & Partey now. certainly this year history wont repeat itself. Also we beat United 8-2 in 1952/53 season when United finished 8th. That scenario i think is more likely this season.

    1. Thanks for that peice of history learned BanBang, it will go a long way.

      Surely the experiment will ends on Sunday as Partey and Rice return to their rightful spot.
      In light of this am predicting a 3 : 1 win when the dust settles

  5. Sounds to be an interesting book. The point made that Arteta has come to ‘really’ love the club with a passion remains to be seen. Nothing personal because, apart from probably two managers in the Premier League era (Ferguson and Wenger), managers are mercenaries and that includes most players too. Even the ‘great’ Pep Guardiola from Barca to Bayern and then Man City chosing the top team in each of those countries and gladly kissing their badges. Still a great coach though!!

    I would like to pose this question: If Pep left Man City and they offered the job to Arteta near the end of his Arsenal contract, would he turn it down? Personally I wouldn’t blame him if he did accept because he knows the club will sack him if he had a bad run of games. It is what it is, it’s a dog eat dog business and that’s why I cringe when I hear managers and players say they love their respective clubs only to be seen kissing a different badge a few weeks later. Our game has drastically changed because of the obscene amounts of money that have been thrown around in the past 20 years and it’s only going to get worse because the Saudis have only just started. I still look forward to reading the book.

    1. He won’t accept the Man City position even if they offer him (unlikely he will be considered anyway) because he knows he won’t last a season. Man city does not seem to be a club to give a lot of time and allow the manager to waste money and players without trophies.

      In short he wont accept because he wont have a quarter of power he has at Arsenal over there.

  6. What is revolutionary he has done yet. Just copying his old manager. Buying players expensive, giving our players on free. Not giving any chances to our Academy players. With So much Wealth destruction he has not achieved anything significant. In comparison we can call Brighton manger revolutionary for what he is achieving every year with limited resources.

  7. Plainly on this site, the same old regular MA bashers are out in force again. Sigh!

    Perish the thought that any of these regular Jeremiahs might ever, in fantasy land only , ever say anything positive or supportive about the manager of the club they all say they support.
    THAT would be their worst personal nightmare come true, if they did.

    But they wont, so they can rest easy.


    1. Jon , with respect
      Is it bashing a manger to say he hasn’t revolutionised English football ?
      Would that not be disrespecting Mr Wenger, Sir Alex and Pep G to make that claim .
      Men who at very least lifted the Prem?

      To be fair you called Mr Wenger allot worse and Arteta hasn’t achieved what Mr Wenger did

      1. DAN no, it is NOT. I too would certainly not claim that MA has revolutionised Prem football.

        Wenger definitely did, massively, and so has Pep, also massively.
        Fergie , though plainly a great manager, was not IMO a revlutionary, but an old school hard man who ruled by fear.

        That is now an outmoded tactic which will not work with todays player generation.

        And be reassured I was not referring to you in my Jeremiahs comment Though I do find you negative in general.
        And you do so much for JA.

  8. Isn’t it strange how those fans who knocked AW season after season, now preach loyalty to MA?

    From my viewpoint, Mikel has undoubtedly brought the club and supporters closer together and last season we were in touching distance of the Holy Grail, with some great football.

    It seems to have been derailed this season so far and to say he’s a revolutionary manager is way off the mark – unless one counts giving away assets for way below the market value counts as a revolutionary move, along with enough square pegs in round holes to sink a battleship?

    OT GB has your s/t changes from the Fulham game to the manure game?

    1. Agree ken, he has done nothing revolutionary, has not yet won a trophy with his team and tactics, so how can he be revolutionary. Silly really.

    1. FA cup was with a team, he dismantled, which was basically someone elses team. Charity Shield is not a trophy. It is a pre season friendly. There is no European spot to be won, no prize money, yellow and red cards, dont count towards the real comps and pre season friendly subs quotas and rules are allowed. There are many pre season trophies presented for winning but they are not classed as “trophies” It is an high profile friendly and is competitive but it a friendly.

      1. His team and his tactics are yet to yield a trophy. So the point is, how can it be revolutionary, when it hasn’t won anything. When it does and on a regular basis, we can have conversation about the new revolutionary, that was successful.

  9. The moment you step into the hotseat then its your team. i agree that he wasn’t revolutionary but saying he hasn’t won anything is factually incorrect so is your claim about the Community Shield.


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