Arsenal – a great club in urgent need of direction

ARSENAL is a football institution suffering from bad karma and a deep malaise that includes dissatisfaction with ownership, poor team performances, disillusion with the manager, vocalised anger at some players and now, a disappointing set of financials. Nothing seems to be going right for the Gunners. Arsenal’s football club finances showed a loss for the 2018-19 season of some £ 23.5 million. This is hardly … Continue reading Arsenal – a great club in urgent need of direction

61 fouls – the story of triumph over an ideology

IN NOVEMBER 1934, England met World Champions Italy in London in a game that has forever been known as “The Battle of Highbury”. This tag was no accident, however, for whatever was going to happen on that gloomy afternoon in North London, a football match was always going to become a theatre of war. On the road to war Europe in the 1930s was an … Continue reading 61 fouls – the story of triumph over an ideology

Arsenal 1968-70 – Relative calm before the storm

WHEN Arsenal won the “double” in 1970-71, they received very little praise for their considerable efforts. Were it not for Charlie George’s messianic fall to the ground in the FA Cup final, Arsenal would be remembered for merely grinding-out results and out-slugging Leeds United’s relentless machine. But the seeds of Arsenal’s triumph were sown in three seasons leading up to 1970-71. From 1953, when Arsenal … Continue reading Arsenal 1968-70 – Relative calm before the storm

Football makes it easy to become a cynic

LIKE two boxers at the end of their career, Manchester United and Arsenal reminded everyone they’ve both seen better days when they drew 1-1 on a night of mediocrity at Old Trafford. Of the two, Arsenal looked like they have a plan, but the mighty MU, six years on from the departure of the godfather of football management, Sir Alex, don’t look any nearer to … Continue reading Football makes it easy to become a cynic

The sins of Wenger and Pochettino, strangely similar

ARSENAL and Tottenham Hotspur may have something in common other than a shared geography – they have hosted influential and extremely gifted managers who operate on an autocratic basis. Arsène Wenger was well known to be his own man, stubborn and convinced of his own methods and reluctant to change. In the end, Arsenal had to wait for Wenger to decide when it was time to … Continue reading The sins of Wenger and Pochettino, strangely similar

Arsenal ’89 – the drama that changed everything

AFTER such an exhilarating 1987-88 season, Liverpool were hot favourites to retain the title they won in style, especially as they had re-signed striker Ian Rush from Juventus. Arsenal, who had finished sixth, were seen as a team that could chase the eventual champions, but not seriously challenge for top spot. Their success in 1988-89 was a tribute to the talent of their young players, … Continue reading Arsenal ’89 – the drama that changed everything

1989 – what it really meant

EVERY football club has its moment in time that is always a point of reference: Manchester United have Munich 1958, Wembley 1968, Barcelona 1989; Liverpool have Shankly, Rome 1977, Wembley 1965; Chelsea have Old Trafford 1970; Tottenham will always remember 1961. For Arsenal, it could easily be the 1930s, but for their fans weaned on “1-0 to the Arsenal” and Tony Adams’s raised arm, 1989 … Continue reading 1989 – what it really meant

Football has always been about money, but the stakes are now much higher

THERE were around six main football stories in the sports section of the newspaper I was reading as I grabbed an espresso at my favourite coffee bar in my home town. All six had a big emphasis on the financial side of the game: transfers (Gareth Bale), clubs in trouble (Bury), sponsorship and, more modestly, cash support for anti-racism groups. Admittedly, it was the last … Continue reading Football has always been about money, but the stakes are now much higher

72 Classic: Lessons from Europe for English football

AT the start of 1971-72, England’s football fraternity was still clinging to the idea that the nation was a major power in the game. The 1970 World Cup defeat at the hands of West Germany was mostly seen as an aberration and partly attributable to the rustiness of poor old Peter Bonetti, the outstanding Chelsea goalkeeper. There was little suggestion that perhaps the English method … Continue reading 72 Classic: Lessons from Europe for English football

Arsenal, the Art Deco club

IN THE 1980s, a television series called The Thirties highlighted a turbulent and exciting decade. An entire chapter was devoted, quite simply, to “The Arsenal”. The 1930s was the age of the Gunners, a time that the club has strived to replicate ever since. Arsenal were as 1930s as Crittall Windows, British dance bands, mock-Tudor housing and Bakelite. They were thoroughly modern in every way, … Continue reading Arsenal, the Art Deco club

How important are “big six” clashes?

LIVERPOOL’S 3-1 win against Arsenal was a reminder that Unai Emery’s team is a long way from being contenders, but it also underlined the importance of victories against the big challengers early in the campaign. So  far this season, there have been three games between clubs considered to the the “big six”. Fixtures between the elite half dozen – Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester … Continue reading How important are “big six” clashes?

A boycott is needed for Arsenal fans to make their point

STAN KROENKE may not be every Arsenal fan’s idea of the perfect owner, but letters of complaint and stamping feet will probably not have much impact on the US businessman. Arsenal have almost become a typical US sports franchise, well run, nicely-housed, profitable, conservative and driven by the bottom line. Arsenal, in all reality, will never be a club that gets into financial trouble, but … Continue reading A boycott is needed for Arsenal fans to make their point

UEFA Europa League: Together to Baku – almost

IF Arsenal or Chelsea were not up against a local rival, Baku and the Europa League might not mean as much as it probably does to the fans of both clubs – those that decide to make the journey to Azerbaijan. The fact that the clubs have returned tickets to UEFA says a lot about the appeal of Baku as the stage for a major … Continue reading UEFA Europa League: Together to Baku – almost