The “legal” case for and against Arteta as Arsenal manager (and the judges decision)

The “legal” case for and against Arteta as Arsenal manager

For reasons of variety in articles and a good way to fully examine the whole evidence both for and against MA, I have chosen a fictional Crown court setting with two barristers or counsels, one defending (CD) and one prosecuting (CP). A trial judge presides!

When the case has been put by both sides, the Judge will give his conclusions   and after that I will give my own conclusion, which may or may not agree with the Judge.

JUDGE HENRY ADAMS: In this case of some Gooners against  Mikel Arteta as manager and head coach of Arsenal Football Club (AFC), I call upon Mr. Cardew Robinson -Somegooners QC to outline the case for the prosecution.

CP:  Thank you m’Lud!  I am here today to represent a number of supporters of AFC in the case against Mikel Arteta. I now set out in detail the full case against MA remaining as   manager. M’Lud, Mr Arteta   was appointed as manager of AFC almost exactly two years ago and my clients strongly contend that he has singularly failed in the job he was hired to do; namely to improve the team known as Arsenal and in particular to win trophies and qualify for the   Champions League and finish in the top four of  what is called the Premier League. In his first half season   the team finished in a lowly eighth position, an unsatisfactory   one, and this was the lowest position   that AFC had   sunk to in more than 25 years.

Moreover, the team has consistently played a style of football that has been boring, defensive and not at all entertaining; three qualities that AFC has been known for producing regularly for the last quarter of a century, mostly under the managership of the legendary Arsene Wenger (AW). AW had instilled in   the worldwide support of AFC fans a rightful expectation and reputation for exciting and free scoring football and my clients rightly contend that a continuation of this pleasing style was a statutory requirement. They also rightly expected a clear improvement on the Premier League position from the fifth place achieved under MA’s predecessor, one Unai Emery.   MA has failed to attain the minimum requirement of a place in European competitions for the last season, twice finishing eighth and this is unacceptable for a club of the stature and world standing of AFC

It is our contention that under MA, AFC has clearly regressed and failed, both in Prem positions and in lack of entertainment. We contend that AFC has no recognisable style nor pattern of play and that a sideways and backwards type of boring play has become the club’s dismal trademark. Far fewer goals are scored this season than the previous ones and the players are being confused and muddled by the so called “tactics” insisted upon by MA.

We also state that this manager has singularly failed to motivate most players and players who were formerly better player have regressed under him. We think he lacks motivational skills and  simply confuses many players, who are thus unable to understand his constant micromanaging  habits from the touchline for almost the whole game.

MA had no pedigree in elite football as a manager to enable him to   qualify for the   position two years ago and   we contend that one   Stanley Kroenke and his son Josh Kroenke (KSE)  are unfit owners for AFC  and thus  they decided to  give  a huge responsibility to a  novice, who was unfit for the job when first appointed and who has failed ever since.

However, KSE, multi billionaires, having seen how their investment value was falling   and who then became worried for that reason alone, have provided MA with funds to spend on new players last summer. A sum of approx. £147 million was   provided and this sum was more than any other single football club in the whole continent of Europe had to spend. Our case is that MA has made many grave blunders in both selling and loaning good   players instead of keeping them and playing them. His mistreatment of names such as   Ozil, Guendouzi, Martinez and  Saliba, among several others too, has angered and   bewildered my clients. His team selections are puzzling, and his substitutions are often made too late and are mainly ineffective and wrong.

He has what may be described as an unhealthy team “love affair”, albeit in a non-romantic way, with one Granit Xhaka and he appears not to want to give certain players, especially   Martinelli and Pepe, among others, a proper chance to play enough. Despite bringing in last summer a number of what some regard as talented players by using the KSE£147 million, AFC has not improved this season from last and has recently   succumbed to a   number of embarrassing defeats, in some cases by teams they are expected to have beaten rather easily.  AFC never look like scoring goals and its forwards are dreadful and ineffective, as is the attacking midfield, save only ESR.

M’Lud, our case is not complete, but we feel that as time is short, that to let the defence put their case now would be the fair and correct thing to do, so for now we rest our case.


Judge:  Thank you Mr Somegooners. I now call upon Mr Herbert C.  Fewergooners QC to put the case for the defence.

CD: I am most grateful m’Lud. I am here to defend Mr. M. Arteta   and refute the many errors and puzzling omissions in the prosecution’s case. It is noteworthy that the CP chose to omit mentioning that a mere half year after taking on the job, MA won the FA Cup, a highly prestigious trophy, beating both Man City and Chelsea, both world class teams, whilst having to use previous managers players, almost entirely.  Only a few weeks later he then won the FA Community Shield against Liverpool, another world class   team.

MA had spent over three years at the side of one Pep Guardiola, as chief coaching assistant   and   Guardiola was loathe to lose MA when he left Man City.  Mr. Guardiola is widely regarded throughout the football world as possibly the single best manage  of all and his opinion of the ability of a MA carries huge weight. The defence contends that, so far, MA has not had a fair chance to succeed at the level of what Mr. Somegooners clients unfairly expect.

When MA first took over at AFC, he was faced with huge problems, chief among which were a clique of troublemakers and some lazy players. MA soon got Matteo Guendouzi, a notorious young arrogant troublemaker, who has been in trouble both before and since, out of the dressing room where he could do no more damage to team harmony.

We contend this was sensible and positive, though we realise the other side   disagrees. We believe we   will be proven right and indeed already have been.  Importantly.   MA also side-lined one Mesut Ozil (MO), a one-time world-class player who had long ago stopped being one and who had an unenviable reputation as a lazy player who faked illnesses and injury when he did not fancy playing.  Finally, as a huge MO contract was a great obstacle, MA managed to get this harmful and divisive player gone from AFC permanently.  This was a positive achievement that many now accept was the only sensible thing to have done   Again though, we   realise that some do not agree. We feel they are profoundly mistaken.

As to   selections and tactics, we note that many   fans of AFC believe they know better than MA, despite   not having any   personal experience of playing, coaching or managing Prem football.  We think they are hasty, foolish and unfair. MA   as club manager must be entirely free to make decisions for the club and team as he sees fit. We utterly refute as nonsense the unfair accusation of the CP that MA has   a vindictive nature and holds grudges against certain players, apparently mostly younger ones. This is no more than fans personal bias, widely published on social media, itself a notorious platform for know-alls and would be self-publicists.  We sadly note that this unfair fan criticism is not   uncommon at all football clubs, in particular among the social media generation. We do not   believe that section of fans represents mainstream   football Arsenal   fan opinion worldwide.

As such we disregard all criticism from such fans as of no validity whatsoever.

We   realise that an adjournment for the day is overdue and thank the court and m’Lud for their indulgence.  So although we have more to put in defence of MA, for now, we too rest our case.


Judge Henry Adams:

Having heard and now had time to digest my thoughts about how both sides of this case have presented their cases, I can see that both sides arguments carry some weight.  I am inclined to agree that the appointment of an inexperienced elite level manager in MA was a clear, although deliberate, mistake by the owner, whose patent lack of knowledge about how Premier league football and indeed all football, actually works, is the ongoing problem which AFC faces until the owner is forced out.

I believe that to concentrate simply on removing the manager, whilst ignoring the real problem, which is the owner, would simply be to carry on the cycle of pushing the can down the road and would not achieve any lasting improvement in the clubs’ fortunes. In all walks of life, successful enterprises need to be based upon a sound footing and that can only happen when the person at the very top is personally emotionally invested   in that business.  Financial investment alone, particularly in a widely accepted “emotional attachment” world-sport such  as  football, is bound to  bring  both resentment  and outright anger at such an owner  The fans recent  demonstration against  KSE, after the owner tried but failed to railroad the club into  a European Super league,  whilst caring nothing whatsoever for the feelings of the clubs fanbase, was a disgrace and  shows the truth of my lack of emotional investment statement.  I also realise that this owner problem is very common and unsatisfactory.  The club of my own heart, Manchester United, has suffered a very similar- I would suggest even a worse fate – under the ownership of the Glazer family.

I also give some due weight to the counter argument that many of these social media fans are too hasty and life inexperienced.  There are, however, others who agree with them, to whom that   does not apply, mainly older fans and those who can remember the years when AFC was far less successful even than now. I find it a truism in life generally that   when people have never truly experienced bleak and unsuccessful times, they are more likely not to accept situations that upset them, than are those who have experienced bleak times and who are then more able to face fewer good times with equanimity and stoicism.  I can also see much truth in the argument some have made in the notes which have accompanied this evidence, that fans of AFC were misled by a certain Ivan Gazidis and others too about the time the club changed grounds.  It was   put to fans in general that the move from Highbury to Emirates Stadium was to ensure great success, but the opposite has been the case for   fans ever since the move in 2006. Some great and lasting measure of resentment at this gross and deliberate deception is to be expected and correctly too.

I do, on the balance of all the evidence, find a case to answer   but apportion most blame to the owners KSE, Ivan Gazidis and to former directors who sold their shares to a dishonourable man in Kroenke.   I find MA to be an honourable man but one lacking in certain man management techniques. I find that fans of AFC who initially thought MA would, and perhaps should, have learned more about man management skills from Pep Guardiola, are entitled to be disappointed at the evident lack of them in MA.

It is not for me to answer whether or not MA ought or not to be removed as AFC manager. But despite my reservations at the overhasty criticism from many fans, especially a number of younger ones, I do find that fans in general have a right to feel disappointed and even cheated, but cheated by the club owner and directors, not by MA. MA may or may not be regarded as incompetent, but that is not a crime and therefore not a matter for this court.



Those who have read this far will hopefully accept that my intention in writing this piece was to not rehash once again the many almost carbon copy articles that we read so constantly. I hope to properly examine the evidence as in a court case, in order to give some true balance and without undue bias. I do find obvious fan bias so tedious and unthinking and have said so countless times, so have tried to put it in this “legal” framework, for some variety.

It is surely obvious that many of the phases that counsels and Judges used are my own. Each writer will have his/her own style and it will be shunned by some but appreciated by others. That is simple truth.

I find Charles Dickens for example, far too descriptive for my personal taste, in that he uses far too many adjectives.  But I have still read almost all his works and think him a great writer.

Whilst actually writing this piece, entirely from my imagination, though thinly disguised as either my views or in many cases definitely not my views, I decided against reiterating my own personal opinions directly.

The truth I that right now I am still deeply considering exactly what I do or do not feel should be done about MA and his future here, and right now am not yet ready to make up my mind.

I hope that view will be respected, as I feel I will be far from alone in this respect. I also feel that as circumstances are always evolving, those who may choose to change their minds if enough evidence suggests they should, ought never be pilloried for so doing. After all, even fervent AW must go fans, such as I and other regulars on here, did at one time sing his praises and thought him a God! But events and timing alter opinions my friends, and it is wise to remember that.

I also much hope that other Gooners will submit articles of their own and in their own style.

God bless you all and thank you to those who will have chosen to read all of this tome.  I know many will have not done so and that is personal choice, as indeed it should be!

Jon Fox

Tags MA trial


  1. So we need a new captain, hands down. Candidates? Mine top 3 would be:

    1) Ramsdale. Commanding, and leads by example. Also a starter in every match.

    2) Tierney. Has heart and determination, very similar to Ramsdale. Downside is he’s not a guaranteed starter, but maybe he could be the 2nd captain.

    3) Smith-Rowe/Gabriel. Kind of a wildcard, but they are both starters and show passion. Also they seem to give everything for the shirt. Smith-Rowe is also one of our own, and they gave him the #10 shirt already so giving 3rd captain role would mean more responsibility and validation.

  2. What an absolutely absurd idea for an article, AW himself
    has admitted that he overstayed his welcome in his tenure at Arsenal. We frequently lost games at the end
    and had to endure players like Denilson and Song etc.
    MA is only guilty of trying to clean out the mess he took
    over after years of neglect. We no longer have pl. like
    TH and DB employed at the club, let alone PViera !!

  3. To be fair 90% of fans in the PL believe their club is failing. Managers and players alike are roundly criticised. New managers and new players are the “answer” according to these discontented fans. Basically most fans have unrealistic expectations which invariably leads to disappointment. This season I set my expectations to 6th/7th by Xmas and 5th/6th by May. All our wins were expected as were all our losses. So I am satisfied with where we are. Top 6 is achievable. In the summer we will offload 10 or more under achievers and import another 5-6 young promising players. Top 4 will be the goal next season. COYG

  4. An interesting way to sum up most, if not nearly all, arguments for and against keeping Arteta.
    The thing is though, there is very little real evidence for or against, but plenty of circumstancial evidence and belief either way, and that is why there is disagreement on the subject.
    In conclusion, if you were to judge only on facts, you would have to say, Arteta so far has not delivered, what he is supposed to do. But will he in the future? I doubt it.

    1. @Anders.
      I believe you are correct when saying “there is very little real evidence for or against, but plenty of circumstancial evidence and belief either way, and that is why there is disagreement on the subject”. I would however change the description “circumstantial” to “personal bias”.
      You prove your point about circumstantial/personal bias exactly against your self by then stating that if we judge by “the facts” Arteta has “not delivered”
      Yet you do not include any “facts” of your own.
      or what it is Arteta has not “not delivered”.
      You find your self 100% guilty.
      Take the defendent to the cells 🙂

      1. Fairfan
        I take it for granted that Arteta or any other manager is supposed to deliver better than 8’th in the league, and so far he has not. You may of course dispute that he is supposed to deliver better than 8’th as there are no official statements on what he has to deliver.
        But there is no denying, he hasn’t delivered anything better, and that is one of the only real factcs in this “case” 😉

          1. Yes our Affidavits have been presented.
            We already have Judge Fox on the bench.
            But a recusal is in order.
            Judge Fox is well known to both plaintiffs.
            But if the plaintiffs agree we could continue.
            NB Judge Fox The cheque is in the mail.
            If you do not preside return the cheque ASP 🙂

            1. fairfan A MOST HUMOUROUS AND WELCOME POST. And though any cheque is always welcome – which would mean I do not have to go out busking, in order to eat – it would be way premature, as you and Anders have scarcely even begun in laying out ALL your cases for defence and prosecution.

              To be serious though, I always look forward to posts from you both, as you both are among the deeper thinkers on JA.

              In my piece I really TRIED to give both sides of this debate without any bias from myself. The Judges take was genuinely what I thought he would say and not necessarily what I wanted him to say.

        1. AndersS.
          Fair comment.
          8th twice was poor and I said so at the time.
          But I also acknowledge that fact that Chelsea Man City Liverpool then Tottenham and Leicester now Westham have changed the PL Man U have not won the title in 8 seasons despite massive spending and 5 managers. Chelsea has had ten managers and spent two billion to win 5 titles in 20 years. City two billion to win 5 titles in 15 years. Liverpool despite large spending and several managers have won just one title in 31 years. Everton has not won in 30 years. Villa not won in 40 years. Spurs not won in 60 years Newcastle not won in 95 years. Westham have never won. You asked us what is a realistic expectation the other day. For me top 6 finish 7 out of 10 seasons. Top 4 place 5 out of 10 seasons. Title winners once every 10 years. CL once in 30 years. Fans expecting us to compete every season for top 4 let alone the title every season are out of touch with reality.

          1. fairfan.
            I respect your views, and appreciate you are giving things a well considered opinion.
            I suppose we mainly differ in our belief (or lack of belief) in Arteta.

            1. Anders. Yes. You are also very considered along with GAI and GUY. I always like reading your artcles. Truthfully I had given up on Arteta last season as two 8th placed finishes was bad and had it not been for 5 wins late we would have finished 10th. I was actually shocked Kroenke kept Arteta on. But covid and empty stadiums was unfair for the new manager. He deserved at least one season with full stadiums. And I really like the new young squad idea. All 6 of the new players are front line players already which means a 100% strike rate on recruiting which is amazing and fills me with hope. Amazingly we are only 2 points off top 4 with the recruitng programme only half finished. If we beat Westham we would go 5th if United win with Spurs having games in hand. I would class a draw v Westham as a success at this stage of the rebuild but expect us to win this game next season. Next season beating Liverpool Man City Chelsea and Man Utd at home is expected while pushing these teams hard away from home is expected.

  5. We used to aim to win the league, then top 4 was considered decent, then top 6, now we are hoping for any European spot.

    Expectations are lowering to make room for what is now considered “acceptable failure” The same way schools over the last 2 decades have lowered the pass mark so more people can pass a grade.

    There is still no better club, to pick up a great salary while have zero consequences for performing poorly, than Arsenal.

    1. @PJ-SA
      There is no evidence schools have lowered the pass mark. Every generation says the young generation have it easy. In my day we knew the value of hard work and all kids do now days is look at their phones. That old back woodsman mentality repeats every generation.
      Picking up great salaries happens at every top ten PL club. You will be paid ten times the salary of a brain surgeon whether you play or not.
      Unrealistic expectaions plague every PL club with 90% of fans moaning and groaning all season long. Its how we roll its in our DNA

      1. “There is no evidence schools have lowered the pass mark” Blanket statement of the century…so you keep tabs on the history of the pass mark for every country? Because I know 6 countries in the continent I live it that have lowered it.

        I said high salaries with with no consequences for performing poorly, don’t cherry pick words out of a sentence.

        1. Not cherry picking at all just stating the fact that ALL top ten clubs have a slew of players who are on long term contracts and can not be forced out because of those contracts. Loan them maybe but not take their salaries off them because of said long term contracts. Arsenal is therefor not special in this regard.

          1. I have to say that the defense arguments are weak ones.i have several questions like.
            How MA winning trophies with the previous manager team/players a positive for him?if anything it shows that these players actually performed better than those he bought or that the more input he’s had the worse things have become.
            Also how Pep saying that MA is a good manager an argument?
            How by getting rid of Guendouzi/Saliba has MA been proved right considering how well they’ve both been performing this season?luckily for MA I am not prosecuting, I’d have no problem taking apart his defense!!

        2. in RSA pass mark used to be what 50%,and it is now what 33%?
          on top of that they have made subjects easier so yes, breeding failure.

          Same as some fans here that accept 6th as a trophy.

    2. Very well put sir! I too find it strange that people who refused top 4 is good enough for Arsenal and 6th utterly unacceptable to warrant Wenger’s resignation lowering their expectations and make all sorts of excuses to defend the failures of Arteta.

      One will be forgiven to believe it’s all about the man and nothing about the club.

      1. HH, look we get it, top 4 is a good achievement even better now, but when you have years of top 4, and never realistically challenged for the title, it becomes tiresome. Right,.. to the present
        We are miles behind the old Arsenal teams that got top 4 year in year out, we (Arsenal) have regressed so top 6 is a stepping stone to better things 🤞 I know you are probably having a dig at some fans on here who crucified Wenger, but the vast majority who reads these post but never comment understand and appreciate everything that Wenger did (me especially) but you have to let it go. Wenger and Arteta sides are not comparable……

  6. Statement given by defence is very weak..
    Nothing is been said about 2 consecutive 8th finish..
    Nothing has been said about worst style of play..
    Also defence said MA won FA cup and Community Shield with majority of players which were there before appointment of MA so we can say those players were not bad..

    1. To add to that which manager is given a whole new squad when taking over the club? The often “not his players” argument has the strength of a hatchling.

    2. Kedar, you seem to know little or nothing of how a defence councel prepares his/her case. They do not attempt to make the prosecutions case for them, as your first line indicates you think is the case!

      1. Certainly I am not a lawyer or from Law background
        I am finance guy… ACA…
        My only point was tell that defence’s argument looked weak

  7. DaJuhi and PB – please have some respect and post comments relevant to the article!

    Foxy – you put an awful lot into not just the content but also into devising a novel and entertaining form of presentation. I take off (or perhaps “doff”!) my hat to you – a long read but literate, interesting and fun throughout.

    Although your emphasis on KSE as the prime culprit here may differ from my own, that does not change the fact that a great many supporters see no point in pursuing an “Arteta out” agenda at this time, either because we are witnessing such a rollercoaster ride from one week to the next that our opinions can change almost daily, or perhaps even more pertinently, because we know it will not happen in the near future no matter what any of us say – there are only so many dead horses you can flog!
    I for one refuse to blame Arteta for every single thing that goes or has gone wrong at Arsenal. The core of this club has been rotten for too long for it all to be laid at his door.
    But I also fear that he has and will continue to have feet of clay. That he is simply not up to the role. Partly because of his seeming inability to learn from too many of his own mistakes, but also (and this is where the jury is still out) because of his blind faith in a system that is not now and very possibly never will succeed.
    For these reasons my own Arteta case is “Adjourned Sine Die”…

    Great work Jon – I hope your piece gets the appreciation it deserves and provokes some thoughtful responses.

    1. guy, I heartwarming post and I am truly grateful. But, if I did not make it sufficiently clear, then I do now when I say that the Judges views are not necessarily my own ones. Nor do I say they are not.

      My own views also fluctuate, though within a certain parameter only and not each week with each single result, as some opinions appear to do.

      I was sincerely trying not to be biased in either direction and hope I succeeded, broadly speaking.

      BTW, I prefer not to be addressed as “foxy” mainly for personal reasons of my own . I also believe peoples own actual names are sacred to them and should never be mocked or misused.
      I do much value your posts as those of an intelligent and proper thinker, guy!

  8. The more we debate on whether MA should stay or go, the more complicated and confused it gets, with no clear end result. The best option, in my opinion, is to wait till the end of the season, see what MA can or cannot do and take a final call in the summer. Give one last chance to MA till May and than let all sit down and decide for one final time. It is not in Arsenals culture and tradition to hire and fire immediately. Arteta is trying, some things click whilst some dont and it is not for certainty that another world class manager would have succeeded where MA failed. Remember Man United have never reached the heights of Sir Alex ever since he left so the same goes for Arsenal. We have never reached the heights of Arsene Wenger ever since he left, so I strongly feel we should give MA till the end of the season and see where he takes Arsenal by May and take a final call. In my opinion anything less than top 4 is a failure, considering the time and investment done by Arteta, so lets see. In the meantime, lets avoid criticising Arteta for everything he does and does not do and support the club as one. The real and ultimate interest of a true gunner should be the success of Arsenal, rest all things do not matter.

    1. Well said! I do believe that a more experienced manager would have gotten the best out of our players but I agree with your point that some things click and others don’t. Either we are going to get to the point along the season where everything clicks or we will continue with the same old inconsistency, so it’s better he stays until the end of the season. We have endured two 8ths, a third won’t make much difference.

      I do also agree 4th should be a minimum.

    2. Well said gunnerforlife, except I think top 4 is really ambitious, did you say top 4 before the season started? If so how confident was you with that prediction, I only ask because who did you think we would displace, Manu, Man City, Chelsea, Liverpool, Tottenham and Leicester? When you look at that list at the beginning of the season would you put us as the 4th best team?….

  9. As my screen always refuses to update I now use a single “a” as a second post, to make it refresh. It works too!

      1. Pat If I didn’t know better, I would suspect you are trying to get more posts on this article by commenting yourself. No reason why you should not do of course but I tell me I’m wrong, if you wish. Doubt that I am though!

        1. You are such a presumptuous old git sometimes Jon.

          You have MORE than enough comments on here to not need me to generate any more by my perceptive and astute additions.

          But I’m obviously not going to admit that I enjoyed correcting your mistakes and having spent so long in getting it published, that I actually have become interested in your tome and am keen to see the reactions.

          But now you asked the question, would you like to reverse it and ask the underlying reason why you are forcing me to add yet another comment?

          1. No one, certainly not me, can force you PAT, to do ANYTHING you don’t wish to do willingly. But you may answer, should you wish,( he added, intriguingly!!).

  10. Either Arteta finishes top 6 or he goes. 12 players for his system, well over £200 million spent, and complete control was given over transfers and players.

    2 years in, and the excuses continue to roll.

    1. No identifiable style of play 2 years in, disgraceful in itself and inexcusable.
    2. Mentality continues to be a problem, 2 years into his management.
    3. Anemic scoring at best, still hasn’t found the tactics to improve our attack.
    4. A legitimate argument that players regress under his tactics and management

    A mistake having such an inexperienced coach lead such young players. A steady and experienced hand was needed, and that resume of experience.

  11. Great article Jon I enjoyed every word of it. Wonderfully written bravo!

    I agree with you that the owner is a problem. You have made a very good point that he is a bad owner because he does not understand how football is run even if he supports the team financially.

    So no matter how much he spends it is always going to be wasted because he does not know how and what to spend on.

    The hiring of Arteta is a chief example. Hire a novice manager who is more likely to fail than succeed, pay him a generous salary and support him in player transfers. It’s like spending a lot of money to build a state of the art house but building it on the sand. It is going to fall no matter the quality of the materials used.

  12. Great article @Jon Fox
    Great article, one of the best I’ve read on here. Diverse in nature and totally different from the stereotype articles we are used to.
    Finally a breath of fresh air in here.

  13. An enjoyable read Jon and well thought out and presented

    So far, I’d say the dissatisfied supporters have the edge but I certainly agree that getting shot of the few who did for Emery was essential. It’s the same scenario with Auba as no player is bigger than the club.

    I’m at a crossroads and unsure which way to turn. Arteta had to be given sufficient time ( he isn’t a disaster) but beyond that there comes a point at which becoming a good manager is not sufficient in itself. Arsenal fans enjoyed league titles – albeit years ago now, and top 4 for a long period and believe it is now time to shine after a few difficult seasons.
    I’m not sure that Arteta can achieve elite status but I do believe he is giving his all.
    Like others on JA, unless the wheels fall off, he will be in situ until May. Then there can be no doubt whether his tenure has been a success or not by our league position. What is irrefutable to me, anyway, is that the upper echelons of the club have made a pigs ear of understanding what ownership of a successful Premier League clubmeans. They bought a top club and allowed it to drift through poor direction from them downwards

    1. SueP As so very often with your posts, I could not agree more. I much believe that even those such as Dan kit, Reggie and co, who almost daily post that they they want him gone, in their private hearts and souls know they will not get their way until end of this season at the very earliest.

      I think there are very few among the regulars on JA who do not at least harbour doubts as to his long term future; ie beyond this season.

      That is my position too but I do dislike unfair and pie in the sky daily repeats, ad infinitum, of the same boring old “we want him gone now” posts . You and I know they will not get their way, this season at least.

      Next seasons manager depends entirely on what happens between now and seasons end. Til then real Gooners have a duty to support, not carp daily!

      One main reason why I wrote my piece in that way was to combat the same old boring copy cat repeats which drive me and surely others too, crazy.

  14. A good but cautious article in my opinion

    The case(defendant) for MA can never win in a real life court situation.. cause it’s so weak and filled with excuses.. I don’t understand why recommendation and praises by Pep Guadiola should even be considered in a case defending MA?

    And then lastly putting all the blame entirely on the Kroenkes is another case on its own… This case was for and Against Arteta alone and should have been judged squarely on that with the various proofs both provided…

    1. Buddy, I have to admit that were this a real case, instead of a mere attempt from my imagination to give a fresh slant to all the many copycat type articles on JA, you would be correct.

      Esp in your last paragraph, as that would not hold water, I admit and accept, in any real court case. But it was only fiction Buddy and any knowledge I have had about criminal, as opposed to commercial law, has been gleaned entirely from fiction; films, novels etc. Not that this case was a criminal case of course!
      There are more holes in this fictional case as, surprisingly , few so far have pointed out, than in the average colander!

  15. Jon…

    I stop by only to say, this was an incredibly inventive piece, one filled with brilliance and an eviable creative writing style, characterised by strong points, and capped with a fantastic conclusion. And you know what the conclusion is, “case adjourned till May 2022”! What a skilful and truthful end to a fine legal construction! Indeed, the judge displayed wisdom (if you understand what I mean *smiling*) !

    Finally, such splendid, beautiful, and heartwarming words from you to conclude your article. I truly wish you and all Arsenal fans all the best as we end the year! We must always recall that there is more to life than football, and knowing that we are alive to share our lovely comments is indeed a privelege and not a right!

    Remain positive! Wishing us well!


    1. Fire, I am so grateful for your, as ever, far too kind words.
      I am, as ever, in awe of your sheer humanity and decency, which shames me by comparison.

  16. Full marks to the writer for creativity and effort. Well done Jon Fox.

    My only disappointment was – adjournment until May 2022. Procrastination. The same charge at the heart of our criticisms against club hierarchy and the owner: failing to sack the underperforming manager despite overwhelming evidence of incompetence, especially waste of money and failing to get the best out of our players.

  17. I’ll add to kudos for the article. It has stimulated a robust and respectful debate. As someone who is tired of the name calling, it’s refreshing to see different points of view presented without malice. That, in no small part, is a credit to the author.

    Chapeau Mr Fox.

  18. Kudos for your attempt to bring some inkling of balance and even a touch of levity to a now longstanding debate

    of course, you doing so is somewhat apropos as few others, at least not those whom one might consider to be a regular contributor, have waffled in such a pronounced fashion

    yours has truly been a roller coaster journey of epic proportions, yet based on the tenor of this article I would suggest that you’re still a biased commentator, as is evidenced by your desire to maintain a “wait and see” approach and your continued push to point the finger of blame at those who are no longer with the club, like Gazidis, or those who aren’t likely to be removed from the equation regardless of any rational argument from a growing number of discerning fans, like our absentee landlord

    so while I, for the most part, enjoyed your efforts, if for no other reason than it acted as a gentle reminder to those who seem to forget that many within the Arteta Out camp, like myself, had supported the Arteta hiring early on, albeit with some logical reservations, thereby destroying the myth that MA got a raw deal from the get-go from those who now stand opposed, this was little more than an ingenious way to repackage your always fluctuating narrative

    so much like when an acting Judge instructs the jury to disregard the previous statement, it’s next to impossible for anyone with a commonsensical bone in their respective body to simply forget the myriad of mixed messages that have emerged from your oft-times poisoned pen

    as such, I have concluded that this was far more of a self-serving enterprise, than an honest attempt to offer up an olive branch…enjoyed it nonetheless

    1. TRVL, My my, seems I am not the best waffler on JA, after all. Though you do not accept my statement that my piece was truly trying to be without bias on my part, it seems you are not convinced.
      Hey ho, thats life I suppose!

      1. Thing is Jon he isn’t just the best waffler as you put it ,he is the best writer on JA and he doesn’t need to say it as some do on a constant basis .

  19. For someone that deals in realistic posts as a realist you have gone off course and gone into fairy tale land with this article Jon .
    As much as you have pretended that this is some kind of mock article it came down to once again your own opinion bringing up your own agenda against Ozil, Matteo and Wenger and lazy players ,maybe if you had left that out I might have taken this abit more school boy serious .
    For me a non article that did t actually go anywhere.
    Nice try but a 2/10 for me

    1. WOW, Dan kit, a whole 2/10. From YOU that is high praise indeed! And even a “nice try” too. Are you quite well, old chap?


      1. But you didn’t cross examine my post jon ?
        Why was that ,because I did t toe the line that some of the regulars did above .
        Like I said you made out as a mock article but in reality it was just again your own opinion .
        I should have given you more points as it probably took you a while to write but the end results was always going to be about you .

  20. Great analysis from both sides but final verdict is lame. Nothing will change while Arsenal are owned by KSE, however an incompetent manager is a serious liability, one who can only further damage the club’s future prospects.

  21. The problem lies partly with the owners for engaging an inexperienced manager in the first place. Although I was initially against his appointment, I was hoping to be proved wrong, and that this might turned out to be a masterstroke. However, Arteta has hardly helped his case in his man-management.

    Arteta has shown all the signs of an arrogant manager without the credentials to back up that arrogance. To fall out with the odd player or two might be understandable or even justified, but to have discarded nearly a whole team of players in such a short time, including some seasoned internationals and some very promising young players that had given good performances under previous managers, indicates a manager that cannot get the best of the players at his disposal, and lack the confidence to see the situation from the players’ perspective.

    If result had been better, then Arteta’s actions might have been vindicated, but the proof of the pudding is in the eating. Results have not been good enough despite spending on a level that would make previous managers green with envy. The conclusion is that he is not yet good enough to be in charge of a big club like Arsenal, and we are too big to be used as his stepping stone to better things. Simply, Arteta must go.

  22. People unfortunately are blinkered to what they want to see. It’s like looking at one of those drawings that ask, what was the first thing you see a demon laughing or a lady crocheting? It’s individual perception.

    Now I’m a 38 year Arsenal supporting veteran and have seen the pre George Graham days. Success under George, unsuccessful post George Graham days then obviously the Wenger rebirth. I’ve seen the ups and downs understand and sympothise.

    I find the modern football fan is like the modern worker ( I have been a successful retail director and am now a hobby tradesman) they want big wages immediately, want all their tools and van bought for them, want promotions for no reason and don’t understand what’s needed and what it takes to progress (I belive some people call these Millennials).

    Alot of the evidence provided is inconsequential and inconceivable. For example, How does the opposition to Arteta know that he micromanages the players exactly. Do they spend time in the dugout or at the training paddock? Does the opposition know what micromanaging is by definition? If they did they would know that for a football manager, it’s not possible to do such a thing, as the manager is always present and always accountable.

    Anyway I’m not picking on the opposition or the defense but wanted to highlight my point. People make their own assumptions based on what they see, think their seeing or how they are feeling. Look at the recent Auba debate on here yesterday. People making assumptuose comments rather that garniering for the truth first.

    What I see is a club that has been in serious decline. Ever since David Dein presented Roman Abramovic to the Arsenal board of directors and they threw him out. Making Mr Dein’s position at the club untennable and there was the first big loss to the club. It began, the first piece in the puzzle of our clubs demise.

    We can look at it however you want, Wenger under achieved, Emery under achieved and now Arteta is under achieving. But you have to look at the constant to achieve a realistic judgment of the situation. Now there’s 2 constants 1. Currently all 3 managers so far if you go by a 10 year sample are under achieving 2. During that 10 year sample the same administration has held majority holdings in Arsenal football club.

    So we have to look at these 2 constents and say:

    A. If this this administration remains and continues to operate the way in which they have for the last 10 years. Each manager will continue to underachieve


    B. The administration realises that they have to make a change of approach in their operation so we can therefor break the cycle of underachievement or leave and allow a new administration to take over operations of the club.

    So in summary the owners were here before artata and we we failing looking at a 3 year sample (Emerys last season in charge and Artetas last not quite 2 years in charge). Arteta has got the club in the best position at this time in the season than we were when Unai was in charge before his sacking. Does that not facilitate an improvement??? That should make us think, okay let’s see where we are come May.

    1. These are the 3 previous seasons by match week 15:

      2019 13pts from top 4 (Unai Emery sacked 2021)

      2020 10pts from top 4 (Mikel Arteta hired Feb 2020 pre COVID Pandemic lockdowns)

      2021 2pts from top 4 (Mikel Arteta)


  23. I enjoyed that Jon…..good work! One thing that did pop into my mind whilst reading it was……did Pep have much previous in alienating certain ‘unruly’ players or is this more of a trait specific to MA? In my opinion, MA made good (Ozil) and bad (Guendouzi) decisions in his apparent desire to be seen as a’no-nonsense-non-negotiable’ type of manager.
    Overall tho, your article illustrates perfectly that cases can be made to both keep faith in Arteta and to fire him as far away from The Emirates as possible using the biggest cannon we have available.
    Obviously no-one knows the answer,therefor we must as fans ‘trust the process’ blindly, although even without my glasses on I can tell Pepe was about £68m over- priced!
    All we can do really tho, is support the team and hope for the best, as supporters of pretty much every team in the country does. This young team may or may not work things out on the pitch, but we need to get behind them to give them the best possible chance of proving Arteta a lucky manager!

    1. Brian M. One of the very best replies to my piece. Though, as it essentially reflects my own take too, though not agreed on Guendouzi, I would be saying that wouldnt I!! (to quote Mandy Rice- Davies,circa 1966).

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