Gazidis says it’s not good enough, new deals, and the Robson effect

Gazidis, “not good enough”

Ivan Gazidis met with members of the Arsenal Supporters Trust last night and @DarrenArsenal1 was there and tweeted some of the quotes that have made their way into the press. Speaking about the result at Bradford, Gazidis said

I think I am frankly tired of getting up here and delivering the same message. Tuesday night was not good enough and it made us all upset and angry. I would like to apologize to all of you, especially the fans who traveled up there.

That is something we will work hard to put right. We all work here and are desperate to deliver the success and trophies we all want.

He’s said this before, several times. Almost always after a loss. The sentiment is also something that the board and CEO have spoken about extensively, that the club is here to win. As I like to do, I searched the dot com for the phrase “not good enough” and got 90 pages. Many of the pages were from Wenger but one of them contained this quote from Gazidis:

“I am not happy where we ended up but I am pleased we are disappointed by it. There are other clubs who would feel this is a good position. Or we could say in December if someone had said we’d have been in this position then we would have bitten their hands off.

So why aren’t we feeling great about it? The answer is because we have higher expectations.

But this is not a situation where we should be over-reactive and feel that we are in crisis. We are not. We have a team with an average age of 23 or 24 that went to the Champions League Semi-Finals and is going to get better.

Does it need to be supplemented? Quite possibly but it is a very, very promising situation for the next four or five years.

So right now I think it is important to have some perspective and be brutally realistic with ourselves – but not only on the negative side but the positive side aswell.”

Ivan Gazidis, May 13th 2009

Sound familiar?

Since then Arsenal sold Cesc, Nasri, Song, and Robin van Persie.

When Paddy left it was going to be OK because we still had Henry.
When Henry left it was going to be OK because we still had Cesc.
When Cesc left it was going to be OK because we still had Robin.
When Robin left we pinned our hopes on Union Jack.

Arsenal negotiating new long-term deals

Several sources are confirming that Arsenal are in discussion with Aaron Ramsey and Jack Wilshere over new long-term deals. If I read the Arsenal community well, I would guess that the latter news will delight, and the former will deplore.

It’s clear Arsene is pursuing an “English” strategy. Jack Wilshere, Theo Walcott, Oxlade-Chamberlain, and Aaron Ramsey are supposed to form the core of Arsenal for years to come. Moreover, Wenger has been duking it out with Fergie over these English players for the last 7 years, winning with Theo, Aaron, and Ox and losing out on Smalling and Jones (were there others?). And there’s real interest on Arsenal’s part for Zaha.

Buying young English players makes sense, economically. If you want English players on your team you have to get them when they are super young because once they show any promise at all they cost many multiples above what foreign players cost. Just look at the absurd prices Liverpool paid for their English players.

Locking Wilshere into a long-term contract is a no-brainer. He’s probably worth £40m right now. If he has a decent year, that could easily double.

Locking Ramsey into a long-term contract also makes sense, even if he is frustrating Arsenal supporters. Stuart Downing cost Liverpool £20m. At that rate, Ramsey is worth easily £30m. Right? But seriously, he’s still an asset so locking him into a contract makes sense.

Even if you do think he’s the Welsh Denilson.

Theo Walcott

Of course that above logic applies to Theo Walcott’s situation as well. The problem is that Walcott’s contract demands are not (entirely) about money and Arsenal, right now, would not be meeting his demands.

The Stuart Robson Effect

Stuart Robson has an almost magical way of mixing legitimate criticism of Arsenal with some personal vendetta against the club. From an outsider’s perspective it’s got to be hilarious: former Arsenal man, obviously astute footballing mind, absolute Arsene Wenger hater. From an insider’s perspective it’s hugely frustrating because any criticism of the club takes on a Robson stain.

For example, let’s say I want to criticize Arsenal’s defensive high line. As a defender, it’s a legitimate criticism that Arsenal play too high up the pitch some times. Playing that system creates too much space behind the center backs and gives terrible teams an easy outlet to create big chances against Arsenal. It also makes the defenders look worse than they might in a different system and requires forwards and midfielders to press constantly when they lose the ball. And worse, it’s kind of boring. Let’s face it.

But if I even mention “Arsenal” and “high line” I invoke the voice of Robson banging on like a jilted lover about Arsenal. It’s hugely frustrating.

And now he’s talking about wanting to change the manager.


For the record, my article yesterday was a metaphor. I don’t want to shoot anyone in the head and I don’t want Arsene Wenger fired. But I do want change from the top down. Apart from some sort of “English” strategy, the club looks directionless at the moment and so weak that Bradford’s captain is bragging to the press that Torquay is a tougher test than Arsenal and that  his manager looked at our starting lineup and wrote “POOR TEAM!”

The worst start to a season in his entire tenure. Players who went to Bradford and put in a half-assed performance for 70 minutes. Bradford using our own set play against us. Three losses in the last four games. All of that does seem pretty poor and probably demands some sort of change.

The Arsenal Supporters Trust is reporting that Gazidis and his finance director said last night that Arsene Wenger has “significant” funds available to strengthen the squad in January. Perhaps that will bring about the change we all want to see. Perhaps we’ll just buy another Arshavin. Regardless, Arsene and Arsenal have now stated that Arsenal have the money and we all know that there’s needs at the club. They have created their own stick with which to beat them in May. I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

That doesn’t make me a “Robson” to point that out does it?


38 thoughts on “Gazidis says it’s not good enough, new deals, and the Robson effect

  1. +3 Vote -1 Vote +1jaymin

    Arsenal reads the blogs, follows the zeitgesit of its fanbase on Twitter and Facebook, takes the temperature of its most passionate supporters, and Gazidis, or whoever, responds with tactical statements to assuage any tumult or fan the flames of any recent cause for celebration. with the exception of the immediate aftermath of the 2-8 which saw the resulting deluge of last minute transfers, it doesn’t usually do anything in response to calamities. Here Gazidis is having an “i feel your pain” moment. at the beginning of seasons when the club is trying to max out season ticket sales, Wenger will ask “why should we not sign Benzema?” or somesuch nonsense. nothing changes, and i for one feel patronized and insulted that i and everyone else is being treated like a brainless drone. but, this is corporate sport, and outside of teams with truly eccentric owners who will engage with the fans on a more even level,, like the Dallas Mavericks or West Ham or the Cowboys, this sort of dismissive PR speak is par for the course in athletics.
    I’m delighted the club are in talks with Ramsey. He gets a lot of shit, but he is being played out of position, and I for one remember the epic battle we had with United for his services, and how glad i was when we won it. he was starting to play well as a box-box type DM before he was maimed, and i expect that’s where he’ll return in our long rage plans.
    I am lucky that I have only heard the voice of Stewart Robson once, classed him as an idiot, and changed streams for, I think, the Japanese commentary, which was, as always, refreshing!
    Tim, with all the over zealousness and frankly disturbing encroachments on what we regard as free speech in america, it occurred to me that if you published the article from yesterday with the Resident Evil reference, some idiot would probably have reported you, and some taxpayer money would have been wasted on a metro detective spending an hour of his time verifying that you were not indeed a homicidal type formenting a plot. Madness.
    Finally, I don’t normally Gooner website, or at least I didn’t for a long time b/c i a disgreed with its editorial tone, but this podcast ( http://www.onlinegooner.com/podcast/0114_goonerpodcast.mp3 , http://www.onlinegooner.com/podcast.php , #114) is one of the most illuminating ones i have heard on the financial implications of, and the financial costs incurred, during our move to the Emirates. These guys seem to know some of the most intimate financial details, and have some astonishing tidbits I had never heard before, like for instance that during 2002-2004, Ken Friar had to manage Arsenal while the club was effectively broke – no money. The first team had to travel to a European tour on Valujet! I thought it was a great pod, give it a listen.

  2. +4 Vote -1 Vote +1Bunburyist

    Stewart Robson is a giant cockbubble. I have no idea what a cockbubble is, but I saw that word in a comments section here, once, and thought it was just a perfect little blizzard of oral occlusives.

    1. Vote -1 Vote +1Tim Post author

      That was me.

      Speaking of which, how’s the dog shit situation? I thought of you today when depositing Pepper’s poops in someone’s bin. Have you re-examined everything in your life?

      1. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1Bunburyist

        You’re such a cockbubble.

        Hey, my wife’s now-deceased dog was named Pepper. Also my best friend growing up had a dog named Pepper.

        If naming your dog Pepper is some ploy to get close to me…it’s working! Cha cha cha! Ooo la la!

      2. Vote -1 Vote +1Cliffy

        I live in an apartment…and got ourselves a 30 day old Pug..
        a first time, first hand experience for me…

        Woke up late night 5am to watch the delayed broadcast of the Bradford match…and had to do the poo to bin after than…My exact thoughts were…atleast this crap looks pretty…

        Missed the Westbrom match till 80th minute because we went to get it..
        I was saying that this one will bring Arsenal luck today or we are giving it back….2-0…and I have started believing…

        2 years ago, I had the same idea and had thought that I will name it Faby…thats an old wound now. Have a friend who have named his one Henry (Onri)…Now thats a legend.!!

        This one is a girl….and I have named it after what came first to my mind when I saw the 2-0 score…”Yippee”

    1. +2 Vote -1 Vote +1ctpa

      Who my brilliant Danny would you have replace him? Give me one credible name. so as to not tie your hands you can even bring in some retread British names like say McLeish.

    2. +3 Vote -1 Vote +1Cliffy

      What worries me more than Wenger leaving Arsenal is him going to one of the other premier league clubs…

      Does anyone know that Roberto Mancini’s win % with City is 57.58 and Arsene’s with Arsenal is 56.70..And that is despite the 8 seasons of mediocrity as some fans would like…
      Not that its a comparison…just saying….

      He deserves every bit of chance to put this team back on track…

  3. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1TheGunners...AhTheGunners

    If Wenger doesn’t go in the next few weeks, what changes then can we expect?

    The board has said before that he has funds available, but we all have to admit it’s not the board’s reluctance to spend, it seems to be Wenger’s. Same goes for the wages – I theorize that Wenger uses wage equilibrium as a way to avoid conflict with players and agents and knee capping any griping that may come from players (and their agents) comparing wages. He’s never going to pay 100k a week to Theo, not because he doesn’t want to, but because he wants to avoid looking like a bad guy when the others on the team queue up for pay raises and he has to tell them to stuff it. So in the end we have a shit load of players getting paid 60-80k a week, when a handful fully deserve to be up in the 100k strata, and a lot more in the 30k area.

    So if Wenger stays, I will predict right now Walcott is going. Probably to Man U now that they’re reportedly in for him.

    Wenger will balk at paying 15m for Zaha mid-year. He won’t pay for Huntelaar, and can’t offer the wages that Inter are willing to pay. Falcao has a 40 million buy-out number or thereabouts. Never will happen, even though that’s exactly the type of mega-signing that would energize everyone, fans and players alike.

    So, if Wenger stays we might see Reina brought in, we might see Kaka or another experienced midfielder on loan. At very best. Probably will see Henry return again. These are band-aids.

    I firmly believe had Man U won the bidding war for Ramsey a few years ago, we wouldn’t be talking about Cleverly playing for Man U, we’d be talking about Ramsey. When he first showed up he was a kid who looked to spray some long passes around the field, take a pop from outside the box, work some give and goes into the box. Wenger has corrupted him into a short passing circle-the-box non-factor in mid-field. I think Ramsey can still play, but not for Wenger under the current system.

  4. +4 Vote -1 Vote +1gunnerdoc

    Stewart Robson more often than not comes up with the cliches most British pundits are enamoured of but with a horrific amount of anti-Wenger bile which,like his more lyrical purveyor of vitriol(Myles Palmer),always reeks of sickening agenda even when valid points are made.They both contribute little that is original or undoctored to any current debate on Arsenal.As I said here yesterday,the board has led Wenger down this road of inevitable failure by playing on his massive self-belief and past ability to over-achieve.I They could however not have predicted our present nadir,so tantalisingly close to the 2014 FFP year of Arsenal nirvana.Out of a sense of guilt,they’re likely to give Wenger at least up till then(which incidentally is the end of his contract)to redeem his legacy and bequeath a squad in rude health to his successor.Magician that Wenger has been,giving him an open cheque and,with it,the ability to buy an Hazard rather than a Gervinho,will not automatically turn the Arsenal into world beaters.As Tim and Arseblogger have noted,a shake-up of the club’s scouting operations is vital so that we don’t accumulate yet more duds.Does Arsene still believe in psychological profiling as was the norm for AFC in his earlier years?How come we have an increasing pool of passive,genteel,follower-type players?With a liberal seasoning of dainty,technically gifted nice guys?Where’s the athletic warrior-type breed that Arsene loved recruiting: Lauren,Ljungberg,Vieira,Wiltord,Flamini,Campbell and Toure?Some of them were not technical virtuosos but they were men you could go to war with.And we loved them.

  5. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1Cdoyle

    As a small response to the “another Arshavin” quote, which I read as being slightly dismissive of such a move, I personally would welcome a similar move in January. He was absolutely brilliant coming out of the gates and addressed a real need for the team. Yes, he’s slouched himself into the fringes of the team and his salary is now considered deadwood, but I don’t think anyone could have known that at the time. I dare say, though, that for a period of a year he was a vital player.

    Of course I’d hope that a move would pay even greater dividends than our purchase of Arshavin. But I don’t see him as an avatar of Arsenal’s inability to purchase impact players.

    1. +2 Vote -1 Vote +1Eurasian

      I agree that Arshavin was not a bad signing and probably kept us in the top 4 that season. His subsequent loss of form also is a consequence of being played out of position.

      1. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1cdoyle31

        Arshavin has been played “out of position” his entire Arsenal career, which spanned a period in which he was undoubtedly brilliant and ultimately useless. It’s no different than blaming his indifferent later form on the British weather, or the tax rate; all of those factors were in play the afternoon he put four past Liverpool.

    2. +3 Vote -1 Vote +1Tim Post author

      I have maintained from the very first day that Arshavin was linked to Arsenal that he was an overrated, overweight, huckster. I was there for his debut, BTW.

      He had one good night at Euro 2008 and followed that with one good night in Liverpool.

      That’s the same Euros where Wenger openly questioned his weight, fitness, and work ethic.

      He was a panic buy.

      As for this stuff about “being played out of position” Arsenal have the least “positional” system of any team in world football. But that aside, you would have had him play where Cesc played?

      Sorry, Arshavin is not as good as people seem to think.

      1. +2 Vote -1 Vote +1cdoyle31

        I do think that your assessment of his first season is a little on the harsh side, but that’s fair. Eye of the beholder and all that, I think we all agree he’s been shit for the last two seasons and has deserved his Siberian perch in the depth chart.

        Totally agree on the positional thing. While I think the recent emphasis and interest in tactics borne by the internet is wonderful stuff, they can also serve as easy answers to complex problems. At no point in his Arsenal career has he been the best choice for the CAM role, or even second-best.

      2. Vote -1 Vote +1Cliffy

        Andrey Arshavin : 140 Apps 31 Goals 43 Assists
        Theo Walcott : 237 Apps 52 Goals 43 Assists

        He is much Underated compared to Theo..

        For the time he was here… he was worth it.. He is a lazy ass who is not hard working enough to justify the talent he has…and now old too.. You cannot pass on talent to the young crop.. It should be good team play and better work ethic. He falls short in both…

  6. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1DF

    I don’t think buying or loaning a few players can change the team right now. We are not even sure we can beat Reading next Monday; a draw is perfectly possible. There is something rotten about the team now. No spine, no backbone, no leader, and the midfield is imbalanced. We move Ramsay to the right because there are too many left footed players.

    We have no strikers now. Podolski turns out to be another worse case Arshavin…Cazorla has not found his shooting boots yet….
    We are looking at a doomsday scenario….
    I always look upon another Arsenal game in fear…

  7. -8 Vote -1 Vote +1nugs

    ONE STEWART ROBSON THERES ONLY ONE STEWART ROBSON, time for the arrogant frenchman to do one, amazingly there still so called fans who believe wenger is still the man to be fair these nutters proberbly dont know who stewart robson is!

    1. +9 Vote -1 Vote +1ctpa

      There is only one Arsene Wenger and Stewart Robson couldn’t even make it as a pimple on Wenger’s ass.

  8. +1 Vote -1 Vote +11NilToTheArsenal

    The January transfer window and available funds will not save this season unless players and managers get on the same page.

    We are now weakest in our traditional strength – the final third. In the back Vermaelen and Mertesacker get turned around far too easily.

    The squad seem so uncertain and confused that I’m concerned that any injection of new names will just add to the consternation regardless of who they are.

    I have never seen the Arsenal so unsettled, even after recent disasters like 8-2 Manchester United or 4-4 Newcastle or 3-2 Birmingham. We seem so lost right now, despite the fact that we are only 2 points from 4th.

  9. Vote -1 Vote +1ctpa

    The best day of the week for Arsenal supporters is the day before a game, the best time is the minute before kickoff.

  10. +3 Vote -1 Vote +1nycgunner

    Can you please elaborate, maybe in the next blog, what you mean by “change from top down” because the person on top is Wenger and any change in the direction of the club has to start with him. I don’t think you can say you want a change from top down and claim you want the manager to stay. I believe those are contradictory statements at this point.

    Look I’m not advocating that Wenger gets canned – that would be suicidal at this stage of the season. However I think the club needs to prepare itself for life without Wenger when his contract expires in 2014. What would drive me insane is if there is no change in the way the club has been operating, the team not getting better next year and Wenger still given a lucrative new contract. He’s gotten us in this mess and he deserves a chance to take us out of it. At the same time, I don’t think there is hope for too much change as long as he is here. The only thing that we can hope for is that he gets it right in the transfer market and buys a couple of players that will compliment his coaching style.

  11. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1DF

    Tim made a brief statement in the last post that maybe the Wenger has lost the dressing room, and the players want to get him out by NOT PLAYING…or he has lost the ability to motivate the players…or worse, he does not know what to do for this team. Remember he is not a good tactician. From 2006 onward, he trained the team to play some sort of Barca style and centred the team around Cesc & Song. Last year, amidst turmoil, there is the Song-VPersie & Walcott-VPersie partnership which bring us the goal. Now Song-VPersie have gone. Despite playing for 3.5 months, there is not partnership in offence. When the brittle Walcott becomes the team’s most prolific scorer, the team is in trouble.
    There is no one to bring the team out of trouble any more…

  12. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1Caribkid

    In or recent decline, it almost seems like the players are looking to Wenger to get them out of the slump, and Wenger is looking at the players to get themselves out of the slump.

    Find it difficult to see where and change has been made in terms of tactics, formation, hustle and imagination. Arsene looks very terse and so do the players.

    Almost like there is no direction or cohesion although we are almost halfway through the season.

  13. Vote -1 Vote +1Greg

    Well, I’m glad I stayed away from the blogs for a couple of days, I knew the toys would go out of the pram.

    But “shoot it in the fucking head”?

    Don’t tell me that it’s only hyperbole Tim, that you didn’t mean this or you didn’t mean that. You know what you wrote. You had a choice of metaphors, and that’s the one you picked.

    You love language, so if you want to do angry, macho polemic for the hits and for your own personal gratification, then I’m sure you will do it very well, but it will be a massive shame to lose you.

    1. Vote -1 Vote +1Gunman

      Well Tim was extremely harsh yesterday and but to call his post polemic or senastionalist would be equally harsh . Hes a fan like all of us and was angry and frustrated like all of us with the result ,if anything it showed how much he cares ( if writing this blog everyday doesnt show that enough) . And anhwho whats the use of him writing a blog if he cant write exactly how he feels .

    2. Vote -1 Vote +1jaymin

      seriously dude, get some perspective. if someone calls you an ‘idiot’ or something like it, are you the type of person who rattles on about “being abused”?

  14. Vote -1 Vote +1Highbury Diva

    Tim, I wish you hadn’t needed to apologise for a single word of your brilliant article on the abysmal result at Bradford.You accurately highlighted the myriad problems this team is experiencing and they haven’t materialised overnight. The rot set in some time ago as we lost great players and replaced them with inferior talents. Hey, it’s the manager who is in control here. Wenger is boss in the boardroom and on the pitch. If he didn’t agree with the board’s policy he could have walked long ago. I really do think his time is up by the way. I don’t think it’s just about restricted funds either. He has spent unwisely and I know for example, how much you despair of Gervinho. We really agree on that one! For the record, his nickname is Gigi. I sit in the front row at Emirates and I heard poor Keiran Gibbs (good boy) screaming at him to track back during the `West Brom game. Gigi suits him don’t you think? Sort of fluffy.

  15. -2 Vote -1 Vote +1khaesar


  16. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1Shard

    Tim, I asked you yesterday what sort of change you’d like to see at the club.(I ask you because I value your opinion, even if I disagree with it sometimes) I did presume (and said so) that you were asking for Wenger to go. I never thought you wanted anyone shot in the head and I don’t think anyone did. But no, highlighting concerns about the club doesn’t make you Stewart Robson. That guy is in a class all of his own.

    Well so are you I suppose. But you’re at completely opposite ends of the spectrum.

  17. +2 Vote -1 Vote +1blazon ohio

    a gunner in sight of a goal
    a manager searching his soul
    supporters bereft
    jack’s only got left
    his right may as well be a pole.

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