Theo, honor thy father and mother

After Thursday’s press conference, Arsene Wenger took a few minutes with the gathered writers and in a surprise move outlined Arsenal’s position in their ongoing negotiations over Theo Walcott’s contract. In case you missed it, it went something like this: without Arsenal paying Theo handsomely over the last 7 years, taking a chance on his growth, training him, standing by him through several surgeries,  and playing him when most other top club’s wouldn’t, he wouldn’t be the player that he is today; Theo, he went on to say, should take what Arsenal are offering him out of gratitude.

It was a stunning moralism to hear Arsene utter. Wenger was in essence invoking the fourth commandment of the Hebrew bible, honor your father and your mother, in the middle of a contract negotiation which will decide not his immortal soul but rather whether Theo Walcott will live out the rest of his life obscenely rich wearing an Arsenal badge on his chest or slightly more obscenely rich wearing a Chelsea badge on his chest.

What Arsene Wenger is asking Theo Walcott to do is almost unheard of in this age and I wonder if it doesn’t fall largely on deaf ears. Too many people are quick to argue that they would have a hard time turning down job offers of “double the money” and other such platitudes. Those who do so are in essence admitting that their morality is not based on an ethos of valuing the company they work for or the work they do but rather the ethos of simply getting as much money as possible. It reminds me of the conversation between the man and the woman where the man asks “Would you fuck me for $100?” No. “$100,000,000?” Sure. “So, you admit that you’re a whore and what we are doing here is just haggling over the price.”

On the other hand, if Theo does refuse Arsenal’s offer, he may convince himself that he’s leaving for the trophies promised by Chelsea or Man City but that’s a hollow claim as well. Ian Wright made that exact argument when Robin van Persie left for Man U, saying that if Robin wins a trophy with Man U he would be vindicated in leaving Arsenal. But Wrighty can’t say for certain that Robin van Persie playing along with Cazorla, Podolski, and Giroud wouldn’t be title challengers.

And more to the point, so what? So what if they offer more trophies? What’s the point of winning a trophy if you have to stand on the backs of good people to lift them? Worse than just stand on Arsene Wenger’s back, if Theo leaves Arsenal “for the chance to win titles” -in the same way that Robin did – he is doing so at the expense of all of Arsenal’s hard work and faith. To leave Arsenal now would intentionally undermine all of the work that the club have done to build the team into a title challenger and give the product of that hard work to an opponent.

That is the moral dilemma that Arsene is setting out. Does Theo believe in honoring what we have done over the last seven years together or would he use the very same tools that Arsenal has given him against the club that formed him for the promise of 30 silver coins or the chance to win a trophy?

I’m not Walcott’s conscience so I can’t answer the question of which direction his moral compass points; honor thy father and mother or honor thy agent and banker?


23 thoughts on “Theo, honor thy father and mother

  1. +5 Vote -1 Vote +1Osita Osama Anahquenzeh

    Brilliant as always.

    Not sure if Walcott will think twice about Arsene’s plea\moralizing. Or jumping ship. In this age of zero principle, he won’t be the first or last to stab the end that fed him.

    Theo, honour thy father and mother.

  2. +7 Vote -1 Vote +1jaymin

    I’m sorry, but we are not some charity case which can parlay on moral terms with some of our charges, imploring them to reject worldly pleasures to trod the barren path of righteous restraint in the service of our noble cause. I know this post is tongue and cheek, but I have become a bit insanguine about our club taking the self righteous angle when it comes to our players asking for more money, i.e. asking for competitive wages. every club develops players. every club has an academy, none has a holy right to keep them if they’re not willing to pay them what they are worth. Ask Southampton, I’m sure they’d love to be fielding a first team including Bale, Walcott, and Ox. They weren’t willing to pay. we were. this guilt-tripping of Walcott actually makes me feel a bit sick. if Arsenal has decided that it will pursue a policy of “self-sustainability” and this precludes them from paying their employees competitively to those at the top table of English football, then, I’m sorry, but Arsenal is effectively deciding that it is no longer at the top table of English football, and not only are we now admitting we are no longer able to retain players in the Fabregas/RvP echelon, or even the Nasri/Song echelon, but now we are even unable to hold onto the, ahem, Theo Walcott echelon. Pay the man, or don’t, and let him go. We should not be listening to our club, what, the 5th most valuable in the world most recently, charging the highest ticket prices in the world, whining about a player they bought from a smaller premier league rival wants too much money. Arsenal is neither his mother nor his father, we are his second club, and we are acting like fanatics if we think someone being advised by someone with any degree of competence is going to sign onto a club whose most prevalent associations of late have been of losing competitions, selling players, and generally being very smarmy about it all at the same time. American english has so many wonderful idioms, the one I’ll invoke here is simply: “put up, or shut up.” we sound pathetic begging like this.

    1. +4 Vote -1 Vote +1Cliffy

      There are some cases where put up or shut up is applicable…
      in Theos case it is…sign up or fuck off…

  3. -5 Vote -1 Vote +1Wegs Wegregas

    If I was a promising lad of 16 with a choice of signing with my local club or the Arsenal, I’ll be a bit silly to be loyal to the local and sign with them. Sure, it may not work out, but the opportunities and the money are greater at the Arsenal. Similarly, if I was a promising lad of 23, and I had the choice of staying with the Arsenal or signing with Man Utd, I’d be inclined to sign with Man Utd, for the opportunities, the money and the prospect of necking many a fine Mancunian girl on a nightclub Saturday.

    It’s not Theo’s fault that the Arsenal waited until the last 6 months of his contract to seriously decide whether to sign him or sell him.

  4. -1 Vote -1 Vote +1useroz

    AFC is commercial and no longer just a football club…it’s all about money these days. Ask IG about his bonuses??

    These negotiation tactics are fluff. Theo says…Wenger says… Morality, trophies, playing positions, etc are just means to an end.

    Frankly, ask yourselves how many times in recent years Wenger has said he’s confident so and so would stay and sign a contract?? Too many for AFC fans’ comfort. He promised he’d force so and so to play in the final year…did he? Of course not when a 20m+ offer sit in front of him/ IG/ Stan/ PHW!!!

    Can’t have it both ways. And by the way, AFC seems to have more of these don’t we??

    The only question to ask is: who should be accountable (and therefore ‘punishable’) to have let these Arsenal stars (we don’t care if this were Bendtner surely!) left in the final year of their contracts??? In the modern sport world particularly the PL this is frankly negligent and put AFC at risk commercially, on the football pitch – note the order as this is the club’s priority these days.

    So who’s to blame??? Not Theo. Someone not doing their job and screw up time and again, or put obsolete moral mindset ahead of reality. Well, that’s stupid then.

  5. +12 Vote -1 Vote +1Shard

    Well said Tim. Morality is never ‘obsolete’. To those saying otherwise, they are basically then arguing that every player that plays for Arsenal should be a mercenary. There is a difference between being professional (working for money), and being mercenary (working only for money)

    Nobody can argue that Arsenal don’t pay good wages. They might not be the wages that certain other clubs pay, but they are definitely better than most of the ‘industry’. That takes care of the money aspect. Arsenal also look after their players fantastically. The manager shields the players from criticism in the media (to fans’ chagrin), the facilities and player health are considered paramount, and the players are given chances which other teams wouldn’t. Sure Arsenal do it for their benefit. But its more than that.

    If Arsenal don’t represent anything other than money, or other than even just winning trophies, then it is not the club i fell in love with. This attitude of simply following the money, or simply following the trophies, is not what football should be about, and I’m glad to have a manager that has said that it’s never about winning AT ALL COSTS.

  6. +4 Vote -1 Vote +1Zeddington

    What I found remarkable was Wenger coming out and saying these things to the media, in such clear and strong terms. It wasn’t just a sentence, mind – it was, as you’ve seen, quite a few words. It was almost as if he was scolding Theo, in public, for even considering leaving. Which is what many of us are thinking, or course – we bought you at such a young age, paid you well, and turned you into the player you are today. How could you do this?

    Whether that line of logic holds up to more scrutiny is a question in itself, but when I read those words I felt quite disappointed, because to me it sounds like we’re losing the fight to keep him, and Wenger knows it. Thus, he aired his frustrations in public.

  7. +4 Vote -1 Vote +1Zeddington

    On the issue of morality, frankly I stay away from this one because I’m not sure how I would act. Once upon a time I had a fine job in a great company that really took care of me, but I left them only a year later to join another company that paid me much better. Was I just looking for a better paycheck, or were there other factors involved. To be honest the raise was good, but I didn’t like the work I was doing initially, and the other company promised a position more in line with my career ambitions (sound familiar?). So I moved. But even though I’ve moved on again, I do miss the original company, because the work ethic, culture, and professionalism there were so much better.

    I do think that Theo owes Arsenal a few years of his prime (at least), but Theo could easily turn around and say that he fulfilled his contract, what was expected of him. And we’d both be right.

    The trophies argument also goes both ways, in my view – a player is entitled to want trophies, and if he sees no hope of winning them, then why not move on? Players do it all the time. But, it is the actions of those like Theo, Nasri, Fabregas, RVP that perpetuate this lack of trophies, through their actions. So there are consequences, and some degree of self-fulfilling in their moves, which complicates this argument.

  8. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1Kevin

    Walcott is under no obligation to sign another contract. He is not a fan. He is an employee. He will sign where he feels he has the most chance of furthering his career (that means honours) and/or at a financial rate that is most attractive (that means Chelsea, Man City, Man United or somewhere overseas). Let him go. There are much better, more consistent wingers and strikers available for much less.

  9. +2 Vote -1 Vote +1dy

    to say such words regarding Walcott’s future ( contract ) is much the same as pointing to the situation with RVP and Fabregas. At the end of the day, Arsenal or Arsene did spend a considerable time in developing the players before they actually become someone ‘useful’ to the team, a future based on their collective talents. Now, it is not a question of loyalty nor obligation to a contract. A contract would not include any morality issue other than a professional conduct being implicitly stated. I believe Arsene is merely implying that there’s something also important in life other than money and trophy. Quite understandable.

  10. -1 Vote -1 Vote +1arseflav

    Only God knows why Arsenal is being plagued by traitors in the shape of footballers,I guess if the team had stayed together from the onset,starting with the cesc/nasri then the cunt RVP exits. W̶̲̥̅̊e̶̲̥̅̊ shouldn’t have been in this mess.but yet if still he decides τ̲̅õ̸̳͡ Go let him,its like they all come τ̲̅õ̸̳͡ regret @ the end.ask flamini,hleb,adebayor etc

  11. Vote -1 Vote +1ram

    he is confuse as par now but hopefully he will sign for 85 p/w. if he goes we shld move on and sing BA. and zaha.. Gunner for life!

  12. +2 Vote -1 Vote +1ctpa

    Arsenal win despite a tactically astute first half performance because as predicted by McManaman, Wigan made that one crucial mistake. A hard fought away win that pushes us up to 3rd for now. Well done Arsenal.

  13. Vote -1 Vote +1ctpa

    I know that movies get ‘green lighted’ when you can package the right stars to goose the box office returns. Nobody who know is familiar with Reacher will be goosed by a 5’7″ Tom Cruise trying to play a 6’5, 250 lb character who is all about his brawn.

  14. Vote -1 Vote +1nycgunner

    Well earned 3 points today. As usual a bottom feeder put up their performance of the season against us but I thought we did very well with whatever space we could find. The pitch looked quite heavy and TV5 mentioned that as well in the post match interview. Podolski had a quite second half and Cazorla didn’t do much all game. I thought everyone else had a solid game especially Ox, Wilshere and Sagna. Now let’s try to emulate our away form at home.

Comments are closed.