I saw the comments that O’Neill made right after the Arsenal match and put them down to an emotional manager being duped by the press into giving an incendiary quote. But today’s latest tirade is not just a manager reacting to the quotes of another manager, they are a full on assault by a man who has clearly lost the plot.
Unless you live in a cave, or Birmingham, you’ll know that O’Neill inexplicably ripped Arsene after the Arsenal manager was quoted praising Villa for their hard work. Julian over at Gingers for Limpar posted Wenger’s quote in its entirety and really rips O’Neill in a scathing but right on piece. Here’s what Wenger said:
It was a very difficult game, because they stopped us from playing when we had the ball and when they had the ball, because they played a very long-ball game and closed us down.
We didn’t always find our passing game and we know when we come here what you get and we were not disappointed.
They play a very efficient English game with long balls and are very physical and they did do that very well and they are a good side on the counter-attack. I hope they have a good run now against all the other teams because they are quality, are well organised, have a strong spirit, and are very strong physically.
The midfield four of Milner, Young, Downing and Petrov don’t stop running and all these players can score goals so I think they have a good chance. Although Villa were physical, it was not a dirty game. It was a committed game. It was a fair game but not dirty at all. For me, it was physical in a positive way. They were committed, go for the balls and it is part of football.
So why is it that after Wenger said he hoped that Villa does well, Martin O’Neill’s shrill, shrew-face is filling my RSS feed today? Apparently, he’s now decided to do the honorable thing and use the English Press to attack Arsene Wenger.
His attack is really amazing, he ranges from how Wenger has a cult of personality, to Wenger being a mentalist, to Wenger deliberately manipulating everyone around him but here’s my favorite bit:
These are deliberate ploys. He is trying to influence things. What he wants to do is point out to everyone under his spell that Arsenal are the only delightful team around If he believes that, good luck to him. He might want to take a look at Barcelona. We should hold opinions until Arsenal play Barcelona. And if they lose to Barcelona, Barcelona will be considered a long-ball team.
You know what I love about this? He’s comparing Aston Villa to Barcelona. Yes, just like Wenger “irrationally” accused slick passing Aston Villa of being a long ball team, he would similarly call Barcelona a long ball team!
But the thing is, Martin, YOU ARE A LONG BALL TEAM, YOU PRAT. Don’t believe me? Click that link up there, Julian explains it with pictures and everything so you’ll understand it.
If he just left the tirade at matters concerning Aston Villa, that would be one thing but O’Neill takes the crazy train all the way off the tracks with his follow up:
There is a plan throughout. If he puts his hands in the air enough times, they (officials) will probably accept the fact he can see it from that distance, that Sol Campbell hadn’t fouled Richard Dunne, and the referee obviously agrees with him. He’s a very skillful manager but he has another record, like he has had something like 99 sendings off this year – and 98 of them weren’t his fault. That is the problem.
There are things that happen in the game you cannot always be fantastically proud of your team. There can be some nasty challenges made by Arsenal players – you cannot condone everything. William Gallas is just one the other week. You cannot condone everything. You have to say ‘On reflection, I’ve seen it again and it’s a nasty challenge’.
Arsenal have had 99 sendings off? Are you barking mad? And the Gallas tackle? REALLY? The manager of Aston Villa, a team which revels in winning 50-50 challenges, is going to have a swipe at William Gallas for a 50-50 challenge that the referee had a look at after the match and decided that it was just a foul.
He’s lost his gods-damned mind and what little respect I had for him has now gone out the window. Seriously, get help Martin.
The worst part of this whole thing is that the press and game announcers are repeating and amplifying the accusation that Wenger made “derogatory comments” about Villa. He did not make derogatory comments, unless you think that calling a black cat “black” is derogatory.
Villa aren’t the most long ball of all the long ball teams, nor are they the most prickly of kick ball teams, but they are a physical team, who play long balls to Young, Agbonlahor, and Heskey. It’s just fact, so it can’t possibly be derogatory.
Maybe what I’m missing here is that the press think that Villa’s play is derogatory. Maybe the press, and Martin O’Neill, have finally realized that the English long ball game is ruining a whole generation of young English players and will keep the country from ever winning an international tournament? The FA did just say that the new national training ground will banish the long ball, so I suppose that anything is possible.
I suspect that what we’re seeing is the reaction of everyone connected to the English Premier League to the fact that Arsenal were temporarily top of the table. For many, Arsenal at the top of the table was an affront to the pundits and managers who think that Arsenal aren’t “English enough” to win the League. So, when Wenger makes any kind of statement about what is the quintessential English team, full of future English national team players, the reaction is swift. They denounce him and make sure to get loads of good quotes from the Villa players and their manager.
Don’t be surprised if the next article is the press getting reaction from Sam Allardyce and Steven Gerrard. They never miss a chance to take a swipe at Arsenal’s foreign manager.