Category Archives: Van Persie

Robin’s Reluctant Retreat?

After some Biblical esqe rainfall early on in the day I now find myself sitting out my back garden enjoying a bottle of Wychwood Alcoholic Ginger Beer and I must say its very good. The weather in Ireland is really as unpredictable as the summer going on’s at a Premiership football club. During a week in which we have basically signed a member of perhaps the greatest international side ever seen and have entered into negotiations for the lynchpin of the initial Dortmund Bundesliga winning team our Captain has reportedly rethought his position and views of his current club.

Yesterday myself and the Reverend had a conversation regarding many things Arsenal, one topic I broached was the position of Van Persie and his ‘statement’ given the recent  transfer activity at the club, my feeling being that he has been made to look rather foolish about the clubs supposed lack of ambition.Rumour abounds today that he is giving serious thought to his previous stance and is willing to re-enter negotiations with the club. Is this because of our activities in the market thus far coupled with a move supposedly underway which I will hopefully have more on tomorrow or as the cynics among us suggest, a reaction to the lack of genuine interest in the Lying Dutchman. Since the club dismissed the UNited bid out of hand there has been no formal offers made to the club. Much has been made in papers of a supposed bid from the Old Lady of Turin but with allegations hanging over their coach I’m not too sure of the validity of the offer.

Personally I will stick to the stance I made when the Statement was first issued, he should be sold. The public questioning of the ambition and policy of the club should not be tolerated by any club. If he stays, somehow manages another injury free season and scores goals i will still appreciate his talents but I wont want him at the club.I was at the Emirates cup a couple of years ago with Mrs Gooner for Cuntabayor’s first game in the red and white after his contract issued and the reception was less than polite, sometime I feel Van Persie can expect if he stays at the club.

The other big issue surrounding potential departures at the club involves Barcelona interest in Alex Song. Apparently the Catalan club have been sniffing around and while I presume he has no Barcelona DNA flowing through his veins the interest seems genuine. I feel that if the club receives an offer that they feel is acceptable he will be on his way. His contract runs until 2015 so we are under no pressure to sell. However the emergence of Le Coq coupled with the feeling at the club that Diaby has finally sorted out his injury problems could mean that we won’t be seeing the No 17 in the centre of the pitch next season. While some people may bemoan his sale we aren’t exactly short of midfield options: Arteta, Cazorla, Coquelin, Diaby, Frimpong, Oxlade, Ramsey, Rosicky & Wilshere will all be vying for the 3 midfield places providing we are still playing a 433, many people feel we will revert to a 442 next season to accommodate our new signings. While I know some people feel we are light in people who will shoulder the defensive responsibilities of the team I don’t feel Song does this job particularly well. I imagine it is his role within the team despite what people feel Arteta does for us and I imagine Le Boss has scouted more than one or two players capable of doing a job for us.

Thats yer lot to chew over and berate me for today, hopefully I will be back tomorrow with some defensive news.

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Filed under Arsenal, gooner news, Song, Van Persie

Jovetic, Van Persie & Transfer Ambition

The fallout and reactions  from the ‘statement’ as it shall now be known have been rumbling on the last couple days. Various sources had been claiming that RVP  (pronounced greedy fucker in Irish) was preparing to fly back from his holiday and do a “Rooney” and sign a new long-term deal with the club. In all fairness to the Scouse Shrek he never came out and questioned the direction and management of United at the highest level. It was much easier for him to back pedal and sign his new deal. Van Persie will and should not be accepted back into the fold either by the management or the fans. He can blame his agent or whoever he wants but we can all be sure that he had final say on what was released in the statement along with the timing of it. The fact he has been away on holiday since it was released and is therefore not available for comment is highly convenient.

As the club prepares for the inevitable departure of the Dutchman, reputable sources have claimed that we have been in touch with Fiorentina regarding their 22-year-old Montenegro Striker Stevan Jovetic. They are rumoured to want a fee in the region of £20 million pound so this deal could hinge on how quick we manage to offload Robin. This may also be where the rumours of the Chamakh transfer came from. Generally viewed as a second striker as compared by many in the Italian press to Roberto Baggio, the Fiorentina forward may be signed to provide the through balls for Giroud to latch on to. Whether this move could be seen as reverting back to the 442 of the invincible age remains to be seen as it is widely felt that the current formation is largely played to suit or now departing Captain.

One of the supposed reasons for RVP deciding not to renew his deal(we all know the real reason) is the club lacked ambition, this is widely linked to the lack of quality transfer market incomings that we have seen in the past few seasons. The swift acquisitions of Giroud and Pods coupled with the enquiry for Jovetic seem to represent a move on the part of the Boss and Ivan the Greek to move swiftly and decisively in the market this summer. With the public knowledge of our want for a defensive minded midfielder (not going to be M’Vila im afraid) coupled with whatever player is brought in to replace RVP we will see four new players arriving this summer with only one significant departure. If we manage to clear out a large portion of the deadwood currently floating around the club then regardless of the RVP outcome I feel this will have been a succesful summer and will have me feeling quietly optimistic about improving on our performances from last year. I know as fans this is what we want to see and hopefully we will.

Stories have also been doing the rounds regarding breaking our kit deal with Nike and signing with Adidas from next season. While it is widely acknowledged that our sponsorship deals have hamstrung our spending power over the last couple of years, this is one deal that I can’t really see happening. The club have very publicly stated that the current home kit will be in place for the next two seasons, ally this to the fact that Nike have been our kit sponsors prior to the current deal we have and I see a renewal for vastly greater sums on the cards. All of which adds to more spending power which will keep us fans happy.

Thats all for today, till next time

follow me on twitter @wicklowgooner for more ramblings

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Filed under Arsenal, Transfer Bollocks, Van Persie

The fallen idol, the exploding billionaire and the impotence of spin

It has been a turbulent week, to say the least. Last Wednesday the club captain talked himself out of a job using the magic of the interweb. The following day, an obese and allegedly immoral billionaire tried, once again, to talk himself into one (I was going to suggest that our Uzbek acquaintance tried to  ‘big himself up’, but looking at him I’m not sure it’s physically possible at this stage; he looks like a less hirsute Mr. Creosote). The timing of the red and White Holdings open letter would certainly appear to have been carefully calculated. We can be in no doubt that the phrasing of RVP’s announcement was just as carefully planned. And, as many have suggested, one would be naive to assume that the two communications were not linked.

In one important respect, however, both the RVP post and the R&W letter got it badly wrong. Both were formulated in such a way as to appeal to us. Both sought to apply pressure on those in charge at our club by a combination of accusation and populist flag waving. RVP’s post was pitched as a message for the fans. The R&W letter sought to assure us that the authors themselves are fans of the club, just as we are. Both sought to align themselves with the aspirations of the club’s supporters, particularly with those most dissatisfied with the lack of recent success, as though those that run the club have lost focus and ambition.

Some of you who read this may well agree with them. You may feel that the club’s directors have lost the plot, and that a lack of investment has retarded the development of the club. You may even believe that some of them are damaging the club, and that the Uzbek’s cash should be gratefully accepted.

I’m not going to debate the pros and cons of these arguments. I will, however, say this: as supporters, you have every right to hold such opinions. You are perfectly entitled to feel dissatisfied, and to make your feelings known.

The Uzbek, however is not your friend. What right do he and his accomplice have to describe themselves as fans? What act has he ever performed that was not done purely for his own self interest? He may well want to bring success to the club. But how can he call himself a supporter? And does he really think we are so stupid as to accept this posturing at face value?

Van Persie is no longer our captain. The day he and the odious Vos published that website post was the day he pulled the armband from his sleeve and burnt it. By adopting the patronising and insulting tactic of making his announcement “for the fans” he destroyed whatever goodwill he would have taken with him had he made his feelings known to his manager in private and with good grace. The perverse outcome of his action is that it has had – in PR terms – exactly the opposite effect than the one intended. Rather than appearing to be a man of principle, we are forced to conclude that his actions are purely motivated by cash. Of course in those terms, he shall be successful – he cannot possibly stay now, and the sooner he leaves the better.

Before I am accused of naivety, I am sure neither our ex-captain and the allegedly criminal Uzbek really give a shit what we supporters think about them. Their pronouncements and principles mean nothing. Their attempts to influence or attract supporters are window dressing. Because in the final analysis, it’s all about money for the player, and power for the wannabe-owner. Greed and ego, nothing more and nothing less.These truths just make their PR efforts appear even more cynical.

So let us not be patronised and preached at. Don’t be fooled by self-serving rhetoric and smoke billowing from the arses of billionaires. It’s up to us to hold on tightly to the principles that make our unique club so great.

Victoria Concordia Crescit, after all.

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Filed under General Musings, Van Persie

RVP decides not to renew contract – he must be sold

Our previously fantastic Dutch Captain has confirmed what we have truthfully all feared for the last couple of months, he will not be renewing his contract with our beloved club. He chose to do this on his own official website which I personally believe was the first of his mistakes today, the club were apparently taken aback by the statement and have only just released their own blurb on the matter. The announcement should have been made by the club on its website and not by the player himself once he had decided what course of his career would take.

We will have a look at the statement itself and try to break it down a bit further

“I’ve thought long and hard about it, but I have decided not to extend my contract,” – considering the much talked about meeting with AW & Ivan the Greek occurred in Mid May why the wait in informing the fans. Surely this could have been announced before he met up with his mates for a kick-about in Poland.

Referring to the aforementioned meeting in May – “This was a meeting about the club’s future strategy and their policy. Financial terms or a contract have not been discussed, since that is not my priority at all. Personally I find this a little hard to believe. A nearly 29-year-old professional footballer entering into what will be in all reality his final big pay-day doesnt discuss financial terms or length of contract. Depending on where he ends up and for how much money we will know whether financial gain is in his thoughts.

Next Up – “I personally have had a great season but my goal has been to win trophies with the team and to bring the club back to its glory days.

In his 18 months of fitness with the club we have admittedly struggled at times and not looked like winning anything. However claiming that you want to return a club to its glory days and then walking out on it as the established star striker don’t really compute. You have to imagine this was a carefully planned release with his agent and PR man to make himself look good.

“Out of my huge respect for Mr Wenger, the players and the fans I don’t want to go into any details, but unfortunately in this meeting it has again become clear to me that we in many aspects disagree on the way Arsenal FC should move forward.” This one is the kicker and in my mind is the one that (a) the fans should feel most anger about

(b) makes his position at the club untenable.

By openly and very fucking publicly questioning the Manager and the club’s direction as a whole he has basically engineered a move away without asking to leave. The club will not be able to keep a player on its books who clearly doesn’t believe in its direction going forward, even if it would only be a 12 month period. In football and professional sport in general all members of any club must be privately and publicly pulling in the same direction. To save face, regardless of what statements are made to the press RVP must be sold(just not to Citeh).

“I love the club and the fans, no matter what happens,” he added. “I have grown up and became a man during my time with Arsenal FC. – I don’t agree. A real man would stay and fight on with the club he supposedly loves and his matured with. Again more PR spin im afraid.

“Everybody at the club and the fans have always supported me over the years and I have always given my all [and more] on and off the pitch. I am very proud of being part of this fantastic club for the last eight years. More PR guff to make him seem like he is genuinely sad to be leaving.

The club have responded with the following


We have to respect Robin’s decision not to renew his contract. Robin has one year to run on his current contract and we are confident that he will fulfil his commitments to the Club.

“We are planning with ambition and confidence for next season with Arsenal’s best interests in mind.”

To be honest they couldn’t have really come out with anything else. Regardless of the poor manner of Robin’s statement release of the contract decision Arsenal as a club would have to respond in a professional and dignified manner. Publicly displaying their anger at the player would have served no purpose and reflected badly on those in charge.

I have always liked Robin and felt like many others that if it weren’t for all his injury problems during his time here that he could have made an even greater impression upon the history of the club. I think however it is those very injury problems that will cause a resentment against the player following his decision. Arsenal have paid him very handsomely over the course of his time at the club despite all the various injuries he suffered and lengthy periods of time spent on the treatment table. To turn around and leave after his longest by far spell of fitness & productivity with the club is what will gall the most.

I’m not one of those who feel that any player who leaves the club at his own request should be vilified, I was quite happy watching Cesc score goals for Barca as i felt he had given his all for the club throughout his time here. When Sol left for his own personal reasons I bore no grudges. HOwever the manner in which this has occurred will sour my opinion of Robin and that disappoints me. similar to the decision and announcement of Lebron James to leave Cleveland a couple of years ago, I think this could also reflect badly on RObin with the public at large.

At this point we need to move him on to anywhere but Citeh(we can’t go on being their feeder club) and spend the money on a top class replacement. Coincidentally the loaning out of Afobe now doesn’t seem like such a good idea. I’m sure more things will be said & written by more informed people than myself over the next couple days but I just needed to put my two cents worth down on virtual paper to air out some anger.


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Filed under Arsenal, Van Persie

Arsenal 3 – Villa 0: our winning form continues…

Arsenal secured a seventh consecutive victory yesterday with a 3-0 result against Aston Villa, and by doing so gained a three point cushion over fourth place Sp**s who were unable to score against the nouveau riche Chavs at the Bridge. It was a scoreline predicted by Nigel Winterburn on Arsenal Player just before kick off, and it turned out that his optimism was fully justified. Koscielny was unable to start having woken up on Saturday morning with a knee problem and he was replaced by Johan Djourou, who found himself at the receiving end of a non-malicious elbow from Emile Heskey moments after the game kicked off.

Thereafter Arsenal started to apply the pressure, and the first half was characterised by the sort of focus and urgency displayed by the team in the first twenty minutes against Everton in mid-week. Gervinho started in place of Ramsey and put in a very good performance, supporting Kieran Gibbs and tracking back to defend effectively whenever the left back made forward runs. It was such forward movement from Gibbs that brought him his first Premier League goal, as he surged between statuesque Villa defenders and fired off a shot from close range. It was an effort that Given should probably have stopped, but Gibbs couldn’t have cared less.

Arsenal’s second was tucked away expertly by Walcott, who showed superb control after Alex Song’s magnificent lofted pass picked him out behind the Villa defence. A powerful effort by Arteta from twenty yards might have put us up by three, and RVP was unlucky to have a close range chance denied by an excellent instinctive goalline header by Warnock.

Villa offered very little in reply; Albrighton looked to counter attack on a couple of occasions but was unable to keep a cool head when it mattered. Emile Heskey confined himself to giving Djourou a hard time, harassing him at every opportunity, which proved ultimately fruitless.

The second half saw us apply some of Arsene’s infamous handbrake. Concentration levels dropped and possession was conceded by a few soft passes and an annoying tendency to over-elaborate. Such were Villa’s limitations, however, that they failed to punish us. Heskey was replaced by Weimann, and the energetic young Austrian proved tricky in and around our penalty area. When Villa did work the ball into dangerous positions, however, no-one was able to get into position to make the seize the opportunity and in the main we defended with focus and efficiency.

The Ox came on for Walcott on the right hand side and demonstrated his searing pace by absolutely skinning the opposition defence with a couple of runs. Ramsey replaced Gervinho and got into shooting positions around the edge of their area, and Andre Santos returned to first team action, only to give the ball away with his first touch – if Villa had been clinical in attack they would have punished us immediately.

Stephen Ireland should have counted himself very lucky to have remained on the pitch – a two footed lunge at Song should have resulted in a straight red, and if referee Dowd had seen it from a different angle he may have acted appropriately. Only a few minutes later, Ireland tripped Rosicky (if I remember correctly) outside the Villa box, and if Dowd had already cautioned him, it would have earned him a yellow. But he’s an odd performer, Ireland, capable of rank stupidity and at other times great skill, and he then went on to make a superb tackle on the Ox in his own penalty area which drew loud appeals for a penalty, which Phil Dowd wisely ignored.

The final significant act of the game came in injury time, following a foul on Song about 25 yards out. Arteta lined up the free kick, and just to confound the expectations of all those Twittering Gooners who were bemoaning his previous effort, he smashed a perfect strike past Given into the corner of the net. It was a superb strike, but it almost seemed too good for the match situation, two goals to the good in injury time against limited opponents; it would have been sweeter if it had been a match winner against Stoke or City, but I’m being churlish. Arteta certainly deserved the goal, and the scoreline was a fair reflection of the game.

We’re off to Loftus Road next weekend, while Sp**s face Swansea at the Lane.  On their current form, Twitcher’s side might find that fixture a real struggle. We should be looking at another three points against Rangers, but as they showed against Liverpool the other night, we cannot afford to take anything for granted. We were greatly superior to Villa yesterday, but a more dangerous opponent might have taken advantage of our lack of focus and intensity in the second half.

In the meantime, however, I’m off to enjoy that free kick again…enjoy the rest of your weekend!

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Filed under Djourou, Gibbs, Match Day Postmortem, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Ramsey, Rosicky, Song, Van Persie, Walcott, Wenger

Arsenal v. Villa preview & other asstd. titbits

Alex McLeish brings his stuttering Villa team to the Grove tomorrow in what could prove to be a significant day in the battle for Champions League positions.  T*******m travel to the Bridge for the day’s Clash of the Arseholes, and with a bit of luck they’ll enter into bitter combat with each other for a debilitating no score draw. Failing that I’ll settle for the spuds being sent home with a point by a heartbreaking injury time own goal by The Best Player In The World Who Happens To Be Welsh.

Villa are currently in 15th position for the principal reason that they are not very good at scoring goals – they have found the net only 31 times in 28 league games. Surprisingly, though, their goal difference is only -4, and they have been pretty tight defensively over the last four games, conceding only three goals. So given their attacking limitations, which are compounded by the loss of Bent for the duration, it seems unlikely that they’ll be gung ho tomorrow and look to take us on. Instead, I daresay McLeish will be parking his pockmarked, ginger-roofed Caledonian bus at the edge of the area, and looking to use Agbonlahor’s pace for counter-attacks. N’Zogbia is doubtful with a knee ligament problem he picked up in training yesterday.

Fortunately we do not appear to have any significant injury problems following the win at Everton. Personally, I’d rather see Ramsey on the bench and Gervinho or the Ox starting on the left hand side. Hutton should be targeted in particular; he got himself sent off when we played them last December and either Gervinho or the Ox could give him a torrid time if they go at him.

If we play with the same level of urgency we showed in attack for the first 20 minutes on Wednesday we should profit – mental discipline will be crucial, and the players are going to have be utterly focussed and committed. We cannot take Villa for granted and on too many occasions in the past few seasons we have seen ineffectual performances follow a win. But there’s no reason why we shouldn’t claim all the points tomorrow.

Moving on, it has been very encouraging to see promising young players going out on loan over the past couple of days: Chuks Aneke has gone to Preston, Benik Afobe to Reading and today Yennaris joined Notts County. These are promising developments for each player and they can only benefit from the experience, provided they don’t end up being kicked from here ’til next Thursday by some lower league clogger and put out of action for the long term. The manager had some interesting points to make in todays press conference regarding the size of the squad and how this influences our involvement in the transfer market next summer. The mantra – as it was last year – is “quality not quantity”. Arsene pointed out:

“…don’t forget we have many players out on loan and we have not had Jack Wilshere or Abou Diaby for the whole season… These players will be back and it means that number and quality-wise we are strong because we are in the position we are in without these players.”

Observations like this lead pundits, journos, hacks and fans to subject them to the same kind of feverish analysis that resulted in the Engima decrypts 70-odd years ago, by sheds full of tweed-jacketed Oxbridge boffins at Bletchley Park. From where I’m sitting (in my navy blue 125th anniversary track top, by the way – no tweed here) it seems pretty obvious from his comments that he doesn’t intend to sign a midfielder. So assuming that the Podolski deal is pretty much sorted, that means – perhaps – one additional signing, and the obvious thing to do would be to get another centre half in place of poor old Squillaci. So that would mean two top quality signings in the summer, rather than the four suggested by Marco Van Basten. I think I could live with that, but will it be enough to sway Van Persie?

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Filed under Friday Night Preview, Gervinho, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Ramsey, Transfer Bollocks, Van Persie

Third Place – but this is no time for complacency

Ah, Everton – one of the quintessential English clubs. A proud club of tradition, heritage and achievement, though there hasn’t been too much of the latter in recent years. Apparently they’ve been playing at Goodison since 1892; I’ve never been there, but from my vantage point on the couch via the telly, it looks like a proper football ground. Even the advertising has an old-school feel: Rainham Steel, Draper Tools etc.

And of course, the very mention of Everton F.C. evokes some famous (or should that be haunting?) memories…

The beefy thighs of Bob Latchford.


The ill-advised ‘tache of Derek Mountfield.


Even the cutting-edge 80′s hairstyling of Adrian Heath.


In recent years, however, they have found it tough to beat us. In fact they haven’t taken three points off us since 18th March 2007, a 1-0 win at Goodison. As you are all aware, that trend continued last night as we came away from their place with three points and a clean sheet, on what turned out to be an excellent night for us overall.

It was an Arsenal performance characterised by grit and solid teamwork, particularly at the back. At the end of last season we were left to wonder what might have been had Vermaelen been fit. This season, apart from a recent dip in form and some uncharacteristic errors, we have seen how much he brings to the team. He scored the only game of the game last night by spinning away from the taller Fellaini, who was left bumping into his own player and unable to challenge for RVP’s inswinging corner. That was his fifth of the season. The thing I like most about Vermaelen is his attitude and intensity. Even if he isn’t playing to his full capability, he doesn’t stop working. He’s not the biggest central defender, but he is – to use his own word – a fighter.

There were certain aspects of our performance that were not particularly inspiring. We gave the ball away pretty cheaply at times, particularly during the second half. The team selection was curious. Ramsey and Rosicky both started and I got the impression that Ramsey’s inclusion somewhat cramped the Czech’s style a little, if you see what I mean. Rosicky’s recent performances ensured his inclusion, but for me the selection of Ramsey was somewhat counter-productive. He got into some very good positions and should have had at least one goal in the first twenty minutes of the game. But a consequence of his attacking role seemed to be that Rosicky was less inclined to push up in and around the box, which was unfortunate as his finishing has been good recently – and Ramsey’s hasn’t. But I suppose I’m splitting hairs, and the manager may have been mindful of the need for defensive cohesion in his decision to play Ramsey rather than the Ox or Gervinho down the left.

David Moyes left us with a decidedly blue-nosed rant about the inefficiency of the officials when interviewed after the game. There is no doubt whatsoever that Drenthe was onside and that his goal should have stood. Nor can there be any doubt that his attempt to demonstrate his pole-dancing skills (using Rosicky as the pole) should have resulted in a penalty. The referee was unimpressed, however – perhaps he is an authority on pole dancing, I don’t know. The only person who was energised by Drenthe’s demo (apart from the vociferous travelling Gooners) was Gary Birtles in the commentary box, who seemed highly excited: “He’s got his leg in his groin!!” Curiously, I didn’t hear either manager quizzed about the incident after the game.

In any event poor old David was left with a second consecutive loss to mark his ten years as manager at Goodison, and as a good footballing man, he clearly takes these setbacks to heart.


In the meantime the Chavs from the Bridge stuttered to another defeat and the spuds had to rely on a very late equaliser to rescue a point, leaving us in sole possession of third place.  Rumours of Twitcher’s omnipotence appear to have been somewhat exaggerated, particularly as he publicly admits to his own fuck ups. At half time at the Lane last night he tried to motivate his players by lying to them, telling them that both ourselves and Chelsea were winning. What is he going to do the next time his side are facing defeat? How does he expect his players to believe him when they reach their next crisis? His gamble didn’t pay off yesterday, and I’d like to think there may be repercussions for him as season draws to an end.

For the moment we have the momentum, but we cannot take the spuds lack of form for granted. I’d like to think that with players as focussed and committed as RVP and Vermaelen this is not going to happen, but we just have to wait and see.

Finally, a word of appreciation for the magnificent and awe-inspiring legend that is T. Henry, who flew from the U.S.  – having just played an MLS game against ‘Real Salt Lake’ – to London to visit Fabrice Muamba in hospital, and then headed straight back to the airport to return to the U.S.. I’m off  to raise a glass of O’Hara’s Irish Red in his honour, and to drink to the health of Fabrice while I’m at it.  Cheers!

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Filed under Henry, Ramsey, Rosicky, Van Persie, Vermaelen