Friday
Mar102017

Second anti-Wenger protest; Saturday 4:15 @ Avenell Road

I attended the pre-Bayern Munich protest on Tuesday night and was quite surprised by the high turnout. Contrary to media reports of there being 100-200 people, in my opinion it was easily double that – more like 400 minimum.

However, this is still a very small percentage of the matchday attendance and I would implore supporters to make more effort to join the march tomorrow and help do their bit to get Wenger out of the club.

I would like to thank the The Online Gooner for stepping up and organising these marches. Hopefully, they will be organised at every home game between now and the end of the season, irrespective of results, and attendances will increase.

The march was respectful towards Wenger, and those fans that did not take part were respectful to those who did. That’s how it should be.

See you tomorrow at Avenell Road.

Note: Arsenal Truth is now on Twitter @TruthArsenal.

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Comments should be intelligible and relevant. All others will be binned.

Friday
Mar032017

Wenger – a specialist in narcissism/protest 7th March

Once labelled a “specialist in failure” by Jose Mourinho, Wenger yesterday rebranded himself as a “specialist in masochism” – pointing to his years of “sacrifice” as Arsenal coach.

Judging by Wenger’s latest round of ludicrous comments, I can only conclude that he is not a specialist in masochism but a specialist in narcissism. On the subject of management, he remarked, "Basically you get 90 per-cent aggravation and 10 per-cent job satisfaction and you have to give everything in your life for that. I believe as well it allowed me to get to the next level as a human being, to develop my strengths in what makes a human being great as well.”

Next-level human? Seems strange coming from an (alleged) adulterer who physically manhandles match officials and other managers, and has been repeatedly banned by the FA and UEFA for verbal abuse.

The only thing that's next-level is Wenger’s narcissism. The man’s delusion knows no bounds: "To get the best out of people, that is absolutely fantastic. And of course you have disappointments, with people, with results. But it is as well a fantastic opportunity in life to go for what is really great in human beings, to get yourself to the next level always, to improve, to invent yourself, to push your limits further up and not to have an average life.”

How many players has Wenger improved in the last decade to justify that absurd claim? What is this mythical “next level” he keeps speaking of? Where’s the personal improvement - the reinvention? What limits has he surpassed recently?

These comments epitomise Wenger’s delusions of grandeur. A legend in his own mind, he is also a classic manipulative narcissist.

Author Shahida Arabi goes into some depth on what she calls the “malignant narcissist” in her book POWER: Surviving and Thriving After Narcissistic Abuse. The following extracts appear to be a frighteningly accurate portrayal of Wenger, and how Arsenal fans have become the victims of his personality disorder:

Projection: “One sure sign of toxicity is when a person is chronically unwilling to see his or her own shortcomings and uses everything in their power to avoid being held accountable for them. This is known as projection. Projection is a defense mechanism used to displace responsibility of one’s negative behavior and traits by attributing them to someone else. It ultimately acts as a digression that avoids ownership and accountability. Rather than acknowledge their own flaws, imperfections and wrongdoings, malignant narcissists prefer that their victims take responsibility for their behavior and feel ashamed of themselves. Narcissistic abusers love to play the “blameshifting game.” Objectives of the game: they win, you lose, and you or the world at large is blamed for everything that’s wrong with them.”

Blanket statements and generalizations: “Malignant narcissists aren’t always intellectual masterminds – many of them are intellectually lazy. Rather than taking the time to carefully consider a different perspective, they generalize anything and everything you say, making blanket statements that don’t acknowledge the nuances in your argument or take into account the multiple perspectives you’ve paid homage to. If you bring up to a narcissistic abuser that their behavior is unacceptable for example, they will often make blanket generalizations about your hypersensitivity or make a generalization such as, “You are never satisfied,” rather than addressing the real issues at hand.”

Changing the subject to evade accountability: "This type of tactic is what I like to call the “What about me?” syndrome. It is a literal digression from the actual topic that works to redirect attention to a different issue altogether. Narcissists don’t want you to be on the topic of holding them accountable for anything, so they will reroute discussions to benefit them."

Covert and overt threats: “Narcissistic abusers and otherwise toxic people feel very threatened when their excessive sense of entitlement, false sense of superiority and grandiose sense of self are challenged in any way. Rather than tackle disagreements or compromises maturely, they set out to divert you from your right to have your own identity and perspective by attempting to instil fear in you about the consequences of disagreeing or complying with their demands. To them, any challenge results in an ultimatum and “do this or I’ll do that” becomes their daily mantra.”

Condescending sarcasm and patronizing tone: “Sarcasm can be a fun mode of communication when both parties are engaged, but narcissists use it chronically as a way to manipulate you and degrade you. Forget that the toxic person constantly has temper tantrums every time their big bad ego is faced with realistic feedback – the victim is the hypersensitive one, apparently.”

In an attempt to end the living nightmare that any normal, sane and rational Arsenal fan is going through at present, the Online Gooner has organised an anti-Wenger protest. You can join them just after 6pm on 7th March 2017 outside Highbury’s old East Stand, from where they “intend to walk together to the Armoury at the new stadium and make the point, as loudly as possible, that Arsène Wenger should not be offered a new contract and that he should leave at the end of this season.”

I’ll be doing my best to attend this event.

Note: Arsenal Truth is now on Twitter @TruthArsenal.

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Comments should be intelligible and relevant. All others will be binned.

Friday
Feb172017

Wenger’s on his last legs - seize your chance to get rid

It’s like I’m slowly waking up from a bad dream – more like a nightmare. Without wanting to get too excited, there is now genuine hope that Arsene Wenger will decide to call it quits and leave Arsenal at the end of the season. At this morning’s press conference, Wenger made the unique statement: “No matter what happens, I will manage next season. Is it here or somewhere else?” My first thought was, is that a threat or a promise?

But Arsenal fans need to be careful about how they respond to this statement. It is not conclusive, so this is not the time to empathise, get teary-eyed or celebrate the success of Wenger’s long-distant past. Since he has still not made a definitive statement about his departure, now is the time to force him out the door. Protests need to begin, home and away, between now and the end of the season, irrespective of results.

Don’t make the mistake of feeling sorry for Wenger. His past achievements may warrant respect, but as a human being he deserves only ridicule and derision. Wenger is a distasteful fraud that is more than aware of his own shoddy bungling and has been trying to manipulate the narrative for over a decade. Comments this morning such as “Even if I go, they [Arsenal] will not win every game,” demonstrate his continued refusal to accept culpability. Make no mistake, Wenger still seems to think he is beyond criticism and blames outside forces for everything that he is accountable for.

He’s not gone yet and Wenger will still do everything he possibly can to cling on to power. I read a blog quote yesterday that stated: “If Wenger does not sign a new contract, it will not be because he thinks he cannot do the job any more, it will be because he cannot stand the pressure any longer, which in turn leads to even more pressure from the fans”.

Wenger is an arrogant egomaniac who does not believe he is past his sell by date and never will. He has not had a sudden realisation that he’s a tactical cretin, or that Arsenal were humiliated by a bunch of old men at the Allianz Arena, or that he can no longer inspire or motivate his players - it’s the exhausting clamour from the fans and media that is choking him. The players obviously read it and are affected by it, and now see Wenger for what he is.

It was only a short while ago that Theo Walcott effusively praised Wenger for an Al Pacino-like dressing room speech, yet a few weeks later the lazy clown can be seen standing idle as Alonso jogs past him to score Chelsea’s opener in Arsenal’s 3-1 defeat at Stamford Bridge. That microscopic display of apathy was magnified x 10 at Bayern Munich, and says everything about the eroded bond between the manager and his players.

It's astonishing that what I wrote SEVEN years ago is as true today as it was then. Commenting on Arsenal’s 2-2 draw at home to Barcelona: “The fact is, after watching last night’s game and despite the undoubted excellence of Barcelona, I have never been more mortified by Wenger’s tactical ineptitude. He sent that team out there utterly naked, reprehensibly clueless as to what to do with regard to team shape, marking, communication, gameplan – anything. It was an abomination.

“Anyone who reads this blog regularly knows what I think; and that’s that Arsenal don’t compete for anything – they just give the illusion of competing by buzzing around the top four every season and taking part in a Champions League they clearly have zero chance of winning.”

Arsenal Football Club is at a crossroads. It needs a new owner, a new CEO, a new board, a new manager, a new assistant manager, new coaching staff and new players. But not everything needs to be changed at once to bring competitiveness back to the club. I still insist that the club’s figurehead, Arsene Wenger, is the primary rotten maggot feeding off the club and mismanaging it into a spiral of never-ending mediocrity.

You can blame Stan Kroenke and Ivan Gazidis all you want, but they’re not the principal reason for Arsenal’s failure to compete for major trophies. Yes Kroenke’s ownership model is derisory and Gazidis is a comatose CEO, but they have supported Wenger fully in terms of finances. The club is not profiting on transfers, quite the reverse - Arsenal have not made a profit in the transfer market in any of the last five seasons. Player expenditure has been £306m, with a £90m rebate on player sales. The wage bill has risen exponentially, and is now virtually on a par with the club's competitors. So don’t tell me that Kroenke is not supporting the manager financially. The problem with Kroenke is that he is comfortable making a net profit and does not make Wenger accountable for his perpetual failure to compete for major trophies.

But there are definitely problems at the club and the way it is run. Arsenal has long been a playground for protectionist rich old men. Shares cost £17,000 and are infrequently traded on the specialist ISDX market for SMEs. Stone-age Tory merchant banker Sir “Chips” Keswick is a puppet Chairman and the club’s top brass has its fingers in the till. Arsenal is a club where everyone buys each other’s silence and loyalty. This operates right from the top of the food chain to the bottom, from Kroenke pickpocketing £3m from the club coffers to Gazadis awarding himself an eye-watering £2.6m salary.

They pay an incompetent manager £8.3m as gratitude for keeping them prosperous, while further down the food chain, Wenger buys the loyalty of assistant manager Steve Bould – a once respected warrior defender that now sits mute on the bench. Like all corrupt dictators, Wenger throws money at his closest allies to keep them sweet – a lot of his coaching staff have been there since forever. They don’t question him, because he keeps their snouts in the trough. And Wenger has long bought the loyalty of his players, paying wages incommensurate with their talent - a policy that has become utterly self-defeating.

Over the past 10 years, the few players that have a semblance of world-class ability and ambition get bored, fed up and leave. That’s when Wenger gets busy covering his tracks, fervently manipulating the agenda by perpetually absolving himself of all responsibility and blaming other clubs’ wealth and resources for his inability to compete. But now, Arsenal is collapsing under the weight of its own ineptitude. Years of neglect and self-interest is threatening to cost the club its place in the big money league. Arsenal is a one-man team (Alexis Sanchez) who not only fires the bullets, but is the gun itself. When he goes, what’s left behind is abject.

Wenger is on his last legs; don’t let him off the hook. The club desperately needs change and the supporters need and deserve hope - your loyalty has been grossly abused. Seize your chance to put out the rubbish by making Wenger’s departure a reality, even if means not turning up to games. A half-empty stadium sends just as big a message as vociferous protests, although I would fervently encourage both.

Note: Arsenal Truth is now on Twitter @TruthArsenal.

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Comments should be intelligible and relevant. All others will be binned.

Wednesday
Feb082017

Social media is rendering pundits irrelevant

Have TV pundits had their day? You might be forgiven for thinking so. Witness the inane ramblings of Martin Keown, Thierry Henry, Alan Smith, Nigel Winterburn and Ian Wright, or Paul Merson and Charlie Nicholas on Sky Sport’s Soccer Saturday.

All of them are fence sitters, afraid to commit themselves one way or another on the subject of whether Arsene Wenger is still fit to run Arsenal Football Club. They've been skirting around the issue for years, but never commit to an opinion one way or the other.

To some extent, it’s understandable. They owed their livings to the club, have a genuine affinity towards it and are regarded as legends by the supporters. It would require substance to cut ties with an institution that still gives them all manner of perks while at the same time frowns upon ex-players being remotely critical of their day-to-day operations.

Witness how Wenger prevented Thierry Henry from coaching the youth squad because of his role as a TV pundit. Indeed, Henry may well harbour hopes of managing Arsenal one day; therefore he has to box clever. It would be foolish to sever his ties by going against the grain, potentially costing him his dream job.

So let’s not be too harsh on the pundits, but let’s also agree that their opinions on Arsenal are dead – they have no relevance. A biased pundit is a much use as a condom machine at the Vatican.

Social media is where it’s at, and the pundits are frightened of it. Witness Gary Neville slamming ArsenalFan TV. The YouTube channel has amassed such a huge following, that it’s eating into the mainstream broadcasters’ viewership and being seen as a threat, particularly by pundits who arrogantly believe their opinion to be superior and, wait for it, more intellectual.

Neville made a fool of himself criticising fans, and it’s not because he called an Arsenal fan an idiot – Arsenal fans call each other idiots all the time (and a lot worse). No, it’s because his point of view was loaded with contempt that ANYONE should have a trusted opinion other than the likes of him.

This is despite the fact that Arsenal fans’ opinions carry more weight than Neville because they, obviously, have greater expertise and a more nuanced understanding of how the club operates. It’s the fans that watch every single game, the fans that have an intuitive feeling for its performance metrics and the fans that have more in-depth knowledge of the club’s history.

Neville also rendered himself redundant by making one of the most laughable statements I’ve ever heard from a TV pundit, something along the lines of, “I’ll never call for a manager to be sacked”. How on earth can a pundit take that position when probably a third of Premier League managers get sacked every season in what are, most of the time, long, slow-burning sagas that have a massive effect on the players' and supporters' psyche before, during and prior to the event.

But then, what do you expect from a pundit who a couple of years ago ignorantly exclaimed Arsenal to be completely debt free. This was during a tirade AGAINST Arsene Wenger. He clearly didn’t do his homework on Arsenal, or Valencia by the look  of it.  

At the moment, everywhere you look ex-Arsenal pundits are squirming in their seats. They’re being pushed by presenters to give a yes/no answer to whether Wenger should remain, and sit there effectively giving every reason under the sun why he’s incompetent, yet refusing to pin their colours to the mast - scared to break protocol.

Even worse, they sway with public opinion. The more vociferous the call from fans/written media for Wenger to leave, the more they edge towards the precipice of agreement, and as the fans/written media back off, they predictably lean in the other direction.

By the way, certain blog writers are not immune from this either – witness Arseblog. Arsenal’s most popular blogger, no doubt, but you won’t find a much bigger fence sitter on the subject of Wenger.

The fact is, as soon as Arsenal owes you a living, unless you have the courage of your convictions – and he hasn’t, your views are bound to be tainted and completely lacking in objectivity. It’s embarrassing to watch, but no longer an annoyance if you’re able to see through the whole charade and completely dismiss their contaminated viewpoints.

You have to look at all these people as an extension of the club - a mutant leaf on the disfigured branch that is Kroenke, Gazidis and Wenger, and a bunch of other corrupt old bastards palming each other off for achieving jack shit.

Fortunately or unfortunately, the internet has changed the media landscape. We live in a “me, myself and I” culture now. The ordinary person wants his five minutes of fame. Television gave us permission with reality TV garbage, and radio, as desperate as the broadsheets for advertising revenues, has to equally encourage audience hysteria.

The internet has allowed the fans themselves to seize their own power, organising themselves to create YouTube channels that are starting to bypass the now-moribund experts’ prejudiced opinions, enabling us to go straight to source. It’s immediate, it’s rapid-fire, and it’s emotive. What it’s not is contrived, arrogant and dull.

The printed press are no better, they’re afraid to criticise Wenger in case they lose their seat in the press box or at press conferences. Meanwhile, corrupt media mouthpieces like The Mirror’s John Cross plant biased stories on the behest of the club itself.

I’ll close by saying that there are still a few pundits worth listening to. Roy Keane for example; a pundit seemingly willing to speak his mind on any subject with brutal honesty, irrespective of his links to Manchester United, or any future expectations he may have of working in the media or as a football coach or manager.

Somehow, I think Keane’s legendary standing has not been tarnished one inch amongst Man Utd supporters. Maybe more pundits should be like him, and maybe broadcasters should employ more pundits like him if they want to regain some sort of control of the media landscape. And I don't include Robbie Savage in that.

Note: Arsenal Truth is now on Twitter @TruthArsenal.

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Comments should be intelligible and relevant. All others will be binned.

Friday
Feb032017

Is Wenger’s contract already signed? I have my doubts

A question from KVD:

Lots of rumours surrounding Wenger's contract renewal. Some say he has signed a 2-year extension and the board are waiting for the right time to announce the deal. Others say we are in advanced talks with Allegri.

Do you have any insight as to what is going on as I hope to god that this is Wenger's last year as I cannot stand any more of it or any of the players except Sanchez, so I need some good news that this madness will end.

Do you think Allegri will do well in the Premier League?

__
AT

Sadly KVD, I have no genuine insight and anyone that claims to is either a liar or misinformed, so I wouldn’t believe anything you read. However, my best guess is no.

Many people say that Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil’s future is tied to Wenger staying at the club, but I believe the opposite to be true. If neither Sanchez nor Ozil commit, what is the incentive for Wenger to continue?

Their departure would require a major rebuilding job from Wenger when his grip is at its weakest, especially if Arsenal are unable to finish in the top four. Under that scenario, attracting replacements of a similar quality to Sanchez, in particular, would be nigh on impossible as all the other high-profile English clubs would be far more appealing.

Ordinarily that wouldn’t be a major problem, but Sanchez has become so influential that Arsenal is a mid-table team without him.

Even if Arsenal cling on to their top four placing, both players will be very difficult to replace making Wenger’s desire to continue an unattractive prospect. With Klopp, Guardiola, Conte and Mourinho all in the early stages of new projects at their respective clubs, the PL is only likely to get more competitive. All those managers have improved those clubs from last season, albeit in some cases marginal. Pochettino is also doing a great job at Spurs.

For those reasons, I believe Wenger would be foolish to commit to signing a new contract at this stage, especially with supporters set to turn against him even more vociferously than they did last season.

I think Arsenal fans have to stop dreaming and accept that both Sanchez and Ozil are probably leaving. Arsenal will not compete for the PL or CL and their next contract will be their last major pay day. Sanchez is probably more ambitious than Ozil, and more likely to leave for footballing reasons. Ozil’s claim that he will only stay if Wenger does is merely a delaying tactic.

Let’s be sensible, if neither player signs in the summer both will have to be sold. Money comes first and Arsenal are not going to risk two assets, probably worth a combined £80m, to run down their contracts. If those players do not commit, Arsenal will have to sell and it’s better to try and control where they go than allow them to run down their contracts and move to a PL rival.

Arsenal’s defeat at home to Watford was a hammer blow to Wenger, but of course self-inflicted. I would predict a much improved performance at Stamford Bridge on Saturday, but with so many midfield players missing, Arsenal may not have the quality to upstage Chelsea even if Conte’s team has a very bad day at the office.

Should Arsenal lose, and even if they don’t, this season’s failure to compete only confirms what any sensible fan already knew would happen. Personally, I think Chelsea will win the title, leaving Man City and Liverpool in their wake with Arsenal going neck to neck with Spurs for CL qualification.

Hopefully, Wenger will leave the club, but whether it’s Allegri or otherwise, should Sanchez and Ozil depart it will be extremely difficult for any manager to push the club forward having to operate with the detritus Wenger leaves behind. Wenger has mostly bought players in his own image: mentally weak and frequently incompetent.

To all regular readers, sorry I’ve been quiet of late. It’s astonishing how many people visit the site every week considering I hardly ever post anything. To be honest, I am not watching any Arsenal games at present, except for highlights, hence no updates.

Note: Arsenal Truth is now on Twitter @TruthArsenal.

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Comments should be intelligible and relevant. All others will be binned.