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But at the same time, Wenger was questioned continually about Mahrez and never explicitly said we weren't interested or wouldn't bid (not that I thought we'd ever seriously try for him). Normally if there's zero truth in a big rumour, Wenger will shoot it down. 

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From what I can gather, we had some interest in him but he wasn't a priority. Seems Chelsea were in the same boat; a bit of interest but no formal bids.

 

The level of Arsenal's interest was definitely exaggerated by Mahrez's people (not that there's anything wrong with that).

 

 

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As Arsenal and Tottenham set off in their 104th season as unloving neighbours, this extract from Steve Tongue’s new book Turf Wars, A History of London Football recounts how the first of many territorial disputes in the capital began. Henry Norris, a politician and social climber with friends in high places, was a Fulham director who set his sights on moving the Gunners far away from their Woolwich home and making them if necessary the first Franchise FC. Having done so, he was about to upset Spurs even more in a manner they have never forgotten…

 

When Fulham met Arsenal in 1913/14 after the latter’s relegation, the Cottagers won a strange game 6-1, all seven goals coming in the last half-hour. The Arsenal, as they were officially known at that point, finished above Fulham and Orient in third place but the greater significance was that the former south London club now lived on the other side of the river.

The new home might have been Battersea, Harringay or even Fulham itself. In 1910 Arsenal’s debts prompted Norris, often ahead of his time, to issue a cheeky invitation to them to amalgamate with his club at Craven Cottage, and when that was ruled out, he suggested a ground-share, which was also turned down.

He appeared to believe that Arsenal had the better prospects and soon became their majority shareholder and then chairman, still remaining a director at Fulham, while his friend William Hall did the opposite: director of Arsenal, chairman of Fulham. Little wonder the links between the clubs were so close.

Norris, however, would begin to sever them. Faced with the prospect of Second Division football as Arsenal’s calamitous 1912/13 season drew on, he decided on equally drastic measures. ‘Supposing there was a place only ten minutes from Piccadilly where one could go and see a first-rate football match?’ he asked. In Islington, close to what was then known as Gillespie Road underground station, which had been opened in 1906, he found such a site, owned by the Ecclesiastical Commissioners (later the Church Commissioners).

Many Arsenal supporters who did not relish crossing London to watch their team were horrified. One of them, writing to the Kentish Gazette, used a phrase that would recur many years later in relation to another London club, who wanted to move much further afield: ‘You cannot “franchise” a football club,’ he insisted, ‘Woolwich Arsenal must stay near Woolwich.’

Tottenham and Clapton Orient, already within three miles of each other and fighting for local support, were naturally just as appalled by the prospect, but lost the turf battle, if not the war: a Football League meeting in March 1913 decided nothing in the existing rules could block it.

Norris triumphantly agreed a 21-year lease on the land, agreeing out of respect for the owners not to play on Good Friday or Christmas Day (a stipulation which stayed in place until Arsenal bought the freehold in 1925). The last game in south-east London was a 1-1 draw with Middlesbrough on 26 April 1913, watched by only 3,000. The first at the new home, back down in Division Two, was on 6 September, when a crowd more than six times larger saw Leicester Fosse beaten 2-1 in a stadium not quite finished. Dressing rooms were an important missing element.

One more point secured during the 38 games – from a 2-2 draw at home to Orient in April, for instance, watched by 35,000 – would have made it the most successful of campaigns, resulting in instant promotion. Crucially, however, Morrell’s team finished behind Bradford Park Avenue on goal average, thanks to the old failing of not scoring enough goals. That would lead indirectly to one of the great controversies of London football history.

By 1918 Henry Norris, a recruiting officer at the War Office during hostilities, had been knighted and become a Tory MP. Among his many friends in high places were the Archbishop of Canterbury, who personally signed Arsenal’s lease for Highbury, and the Football League president and Liverpool owner John McKenna, who would crucially help him and Arsenal at the 1919 league AGM, when the First Division was to be extended from 20 to 22 clubs.

For previous expansions – for example in 1898 and 1905 – the bottom club(s) had simply stayed up and two others were promoted. This time, Derby County and Preston duly moved up from the Second Division and Chelsea, bottom but one in the First Division, were immediately reprieved on something of a sympathy vote, clubs having remembered that Manchester United only finished above them by beating Liverpool in a match-fixing scandal that resulted in seven players being banned for life.

That left one place to be filled, which Tottenham felt should be theirs, despite having been bottom dogs in 1915. Instead, McKenna talked up Arsenal’s credentials as loyal 25-year members of the league and ordered a vote of all nominated clubs. To Norris’s delight and Tottenham’s dismay, it resulted: Arsenal 18, Spurs 8, Barnsley 5, Wolves 4, Nottingham Forest 3, Birmingham 2, Hull 1.

So Tottenham found themselves replaced in the top division by their new, unwanted local rivals, who had been no higher than fifth in the last season before suspension, with Barnsley and Wolves above them in the table.

 

 

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For any non-Gooners who want to know why the fans feel so pissed off, so entitled and so thoroughly fed-up, despite our general size and successes, Arseblog sums it up nicely today:

 

Quote

We did so much and worked so hard to make the move and to build the new stadium, but rather than embrace all that now that we've come through the other side, we're paralysed by inaction and unwillingness to do the best we can

Arsene Wenger has long spoken about how a club should not live outside its means and spend only what it generates. Not everyone has agreed with that, but it's not an unreasonable outlook to have. But when you don't even do that, when all the resources and money you've worked to earn remains unused when the team really needs it – when you're living within your means season after season after season – then you're doing it wrong.

 

Emboldened words by me. 

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I wrote this out when this topic came up in the football thread the other day, and then got distracted with work stuff and didn't end up posting it:
 

I know most of the people posting in the football threads on here at the time really took the piss out of Liverpool fans for taking action and trying to force Hicks and Gillett out of the club. I remember people referencing a perceived divine right then, too. I'm not saying the respective situation's are the same or anything, just that it's not really for fans of other teams to judge. I think a lot of people don't think about the fans that regularly attend matches. There's no way I'd be happy to invest so much of my time and money (and it really is so much money) following Arsenal with the way the money is being managed. Wenger's always talking about value but where's the value for the fans? You can't just keep increasing ticket prices and then talk about a lack of value in the market stopping you from improving the team. 

 

I only brought the situation at Liverpool up because the atmosphere then was toxic and we had loads of people saying it was cringe-worthy and we had no power but I bet had no action been taken - and I'm talking marches, boycotts, the apparently embarrassing video starring anyone remotely famous that had a connection to LFC essentially begging someone to do something about those two crooks, and the general activism that was described by Hicks in court as "internet terrorism" - then they'd still be at the club rinsing the fans. 

 

I think making out like Arsenal fans are just ungrateful when they're fed up of what's been going on is pretty ignorant, really. I know Arsenal fans that have been going for years and are basically at the point where they feel they've lost all connection with the club and are just being exploited. Of course we know that essentially all match-going football fans are just consumers that are being exploited but if that's all they are then they have every right to expect value for money and to moan when they can see their money isn't being invested into the team.

 

I personally think the fans need to get properly organised and really start raising hell over what's going on. It really can work.

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Shouldn't we wait until the end of the transfer window before freaking out? I know it's annoying that we didn't make our moves sooner (although we tried with Vardy) but we still might sign a Striker and Defender before August 31st right? If we do that I would be fairly happy. It's gonna be Jonny Evans and Shane Long though isn't it?

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1 hour ago, hauk said:

Shouldn't we wait until the end of the transfer window before freaking out? I know it's annoying that we didn't make our moves sooner (although we tried with Vardy) but we still might sign a Striker and Defender before August 31st right? If we do that I would be fairly happy. It's gonna be Jonny Evans and Shane Long though isn't it?

 

I actually think it's 50/50 (at best) whether we sign anybody. Wenger will probably be thinking that we have Koscielny coming back, and then Chambers/Holding/Debuchy can do a job at CB until Gabriel is back (assuming he really is out for 6-8 weeks).

 

We might be more likely to sign a forward, but again, Wenger might think that between Sanchez, Giroud, Theo, Ox, Campbell, Iwobi (and Akpom if he stays), that we are sufficiently stacked in that position. It's also likely that Jack and Ramsey will end up shunted out wide too.


So if you're Wenger, do you rush out and spend 30m on somebody you're not massively keen on signing, just to appease the fans? I doubt it.

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1 hour ago, Steve007 said:

 

No, because the players should be signed before the season starts.  Anything other than that is piss poor preparation.

We signed Ozil late in the window if I remember. Another singing like that and I wouldn't complain. Another Welbeck (who I do like) and I might be a bit disappointed.

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@dogsout I think part of the problem is that no one really knows the reason why we're not spending as much as we could, at least thusfar. Is it outmoded conservatism from Wenger? Is it Kroenke wanting huge cash hoards as collateral against borrowing in the US? Is it selfless forward thinking from Wenger, not wanting to commit a huge sum on someone 'meh' like Lacazette when there's a chance he won't be in charge next season, reserving the funds for his successor and taking the fallout himself? We can speculate but no one really has a clue, so who and what are you protesting against?

 

Also, we saw last season with the attempt to organise a protest against the manager, the vast majority of fans are not up for that at all and find it distasteful after all he's done for the club. I don't think he is the best man for the job anymore and would have liked to have seen him replaced in the summer ideally, but I'd never dream of chanting against him and so on. And I think that's true for most fans.

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Protest against the ticket prices, for a start. I'm not saying you should be protesting against Wenger at all. My view is it's down to the owners. Surely they have targets that must be met each season? I think we all know what that target is: CL qualification. You guys have to ask yourselves if you think that is right for the club, particularly given the expense you all have to bear to attend games. If the target is to do more than finish in the top four, then why is the manager still in a job? Any other manager at any other top club would have been long gone by now for the results Wenger's been achieving, surely? It seems to me that everyone in power at Arsenal would be quite content to go on finishing in the top four every season. To me, that's not right at all.

 

Anyway, if he doesn't want to spunk loads on someone 'meh' like Lacazette, does that mean he can justify not buying a striker at all? If Walcott and Sanchez have to spend time playing as the lone striker for you this season, I don't think he really can. Surely the answer is to go and pick up someone young and cheap from somewhere and develop them? I thought that was his thing. 

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That's hasn't really been his thing for a while, has it? Who has he developed to any great degree - Walcott has never really progressed in the way many thought he would since he signed, the Ox hasn't really made great strides either, Chambers doesn't really get anywhere near enough time in the position he needs etc.

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Yeah definitely not his thing these days unfortunately, especially for defenders. Arsenal is a career graveyard for promising teenage centre backs, because they're always so exposed by the lazy and dysfunctional midfields.

 

I think it's probably totally accurate to say that Kroenke is happy with top four. I don't think Wenger is happy with it. He cares deeply about the club and I have no doubt that he would desperately love to win the league, but I don't think it can happen due to the flaws he has developed over time. He seems very reluctant to go above his own personal valuation of what he thinks a player is worth, which could partially account for why so much money remains unspent. And tactically he's maybe 6th-best in the league, at a push.

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On 8/19/2016 at 00:40, dogsout said:

Protest against the ticket prices, for a start. I'm not saying you should be protesting against Wenger at all. My view is it's down to the owners. Surely they have targets that must be met each season? I think we all know what that target is: CL qualification. You guys have to ask yourselves if you think that is right for the club, particularly given the expense you all have to bear to attend games. If the target is to do more than finish in the top four, then why is the manager still in a job? Any other manager at any other top club would have been long gone by now for the results Wenger's been achieving, surely? It seems to me that everyone in power at Arsenal would be quite content to go on finishing in the top four every season. To me, that's not right at all.

 

Anyway, if he doesn't want to spunk loads on someone 'meh' like Lacazette, does that mean he can justify not buying a striker at all? If Walcott and Sanchez have to spend time playing as the lone striker for you this season, I don't think he really can. Surely the answer is to go and pick up someone young and cheap from somewhere and develop them? I thought that was his thing. 

 

The trouble is that a protest against essentially anything to do with Arsenal is a protest against Wenger. He doesn't set the ticket prices, but he does make himself responsible for the financial well-being of the team. It's him that would need to resolve any change, at best through transfer inactivity and at worst by selling first team players, not the owners. I'm sure we all know it should be down to them, but we all know it wouldn't be.

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i don't think at the moment he can pair coquelin with xhaka as both are walking yellows and will be in the book by the time 15m on the clock, so its who gets paired with Elneny. He has to play Kos, just doesn't make sense to leave him on the bench or out again.

 

real early test this, whoever loses will be in a sticky position for only 2 games gone.

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38 minutes ago, The Fox said:

What are we thinking today? 

 

Cech - Bellerin, Chambers, Koscielny, Nacho - Xhaka, Elneny, Cazorla - Walcott, Alexis, Ox?

 

Although I can see him playing Coq over Elneny or Xhaka again sadly.

 

That would be my choice, but my god that's such a shit team. At least half of it shouldn't be anywhere near first choice, much more than that if you take into account where they'll be playing. 

 

Also, Peyera has gone to Watford. I'm sure he's not straight into the first team, but for £10m he's a billion times better than having Coquelin to come on and change the midfield if we go behind.

 

"This guy played with Messi and Aguero in an international final, worth a look?"

"Nah, we've got that guy that kicks people and then plays long balls into the stands, we're fine. He's a creative genius."

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