The Complexities Of Arsenal’s Situation by Neil Watson
For all the armchair experts that throw their opinions into the ring it’s worth adhering to the old saying ‘two ears, one mouth’…..
Today I’m finishing off the last few pages of Ray Parlour’s book ‘The Romford Pele’… I recently read Perry Groves autobiography and in the past also read Ian Wright’s and Tony Adams….in all of them they talk about Wenger and his revolutionary methods of training, preparation and attitude. They all speak glowingly about him in terms to his approach to how we play and how the players are offered the freedom to express themselves.
The above mentioned players were not the finest group to tread the Highbury pitch yet were part of the most successful team the club has ever had and all playing for the same manager we have now.
I think there is certainly scope to criticise Wenger and how the results have been over the last few seasons but in turn you have to look at the personnel that turn out for us. There isn’t one player in our squad, aside from Jack, who has the mettle to be in that squad of Invincibles.
It boils down to attitude. As Ray Parlour discusses what happened after Peter Reid tried to entice him to sign for Sunderland and double his wages for 40k a week, Wenger got wind of it and gave Ray a 10k pay rise. There was no agent intervention, Ray was chuffed and just signed it. All the players had the same mentality.
The game is in free fall now, Sanchez 500k a week, De Gea now wanting 350k a week to renew his deal, even Ozil doubling his own weekly to 350k.
The mentality of the players now is so distorted by agents and money and very little to do with playing the game. That’s not Wenger’s fault, that’s just the evolution of the game and he’s not moved with it.
The common theme that runs through all of the autobiographies of players from our past is that the club meant the world to them. Aside from Jack, who in our current crop honestly gives a shit if they play for Arsenal and what that means? Not one of them because if things don’t work out their agents will simply move them onto to another club where they’ll be paid exorbitant money for doing very little.
It’s tragic. Yet as fans we demand these high profile signings, the latest European tabloid darling to grace the sports back pages.
What is even more sad is so few kids come through the youth academies because players arrive from all over the world desperate to get their hands, not on the iconic red and white jersey, but the salary that comes with being a pro footballer in the prem. Definitely British kids don’t desire it enough to work their way into the game but that’s a totally separate social argument.
When I watched the game today I felt all the pain and disappointment you all felt. How pathetic the fight was and then I remember something Ray said about the Invincibles. ‘We knew how to mix it up, if teams took liberties or tried to outmuscle us, we would give it back to them twice as hard.’ That comes with desire and passion.
The sad truth, despite us having some very talented players in our squad (Ozil, Ramsay, Aubameyang, Bellerin, Lacazette….) they just don’t want it enough and, by enough I mean, By Any Means Necessary.
When they cross that line on match day it’s down to 11 individuals against 11. Wenger, and all the other managers, work is done and the players take on the responsibility. It’s down to them if they are prepared to run that extra bit harder, track that run, put their head in where the boots are flying.
Sadly our boys just don’t have the balls for the fight and a managerial change won’t change that.