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Deadline day. How it happened, or didn’t in AFC’s case.

August 31, 2012

Afternoon Gooners…

Thank God it’s Friday!!! Yay!!! My kids say that, only this is transfer deadline day Friday…. It started with me logging into Twitter and various Arsenal forums on the coach to work, helping fill in the hour-long journey into the City from Harlow, even foregoing my latest Patrick Robinson novel “Intercept” which is well good. I was getting a feel for the debate about possible players Arsenal could purchase, if any and of course any players that should depart the club.

The general feeling I got was pretty much the usual Arsenal supporter doom and gloom coming across from certain sections. It was mainly “doubt we’ll buy anyone” and “doubt we’ll off-load anyone” (the so-called DEADWOOD)… Who would want them?

Busy day at work meant that I could not focus on what was happening too much in the morning session, save a few texts saying nothing happening yet.

One text from a forum mate  rumoured that Liverpool were looking to buy West Ham’s Andy Carroll for £35m.

Lunchtime log into Twitter and various forums again. You could sense that a meltdown was approaching around 11pm.

Some of the comments I found from Twitter and BBC deadline day rolling news.

“So Arsene Wenger has lost a Dutch 29-year-old in a rich vein of form, why doesn’t he replace him with an American 29-year-old in a rich vein of form! Aston Villa?! Pah…”

“All Arsenal fans must have been very naughty in a previous life! This is torture! Come on someone give me a rumour or SOMETHING”

“Arsenal do the same every transfer window deny buying anyone but always do. Arsenal aren’t finished yet”

“Is Wenger the only person who thinks are team is strong enough? He’s said that for 7 years, thought he’d want to push the boat out before it pushes him out! No excitement yet again on deadline day for the Gooners.”

“Arsenal’s lack of transfer activity bordering on negligence….”

“Mr Wenger still in bed? Please buy a defensive midfield/defender and a striker with Premier League experience. Or just buy anyone please!”

“Come on Arsenal! Sell or loan another player, I dare you!

“Looking forward to someone at Arsenal issuing Wilshere ‘like a new signing’ statement

“Arsenal fans conned. Most expensive team to watch in the world, key players always sold, no ambition to win the title.”

“Wenger leaving it late again – but last year he did as well, and still ended up with Mertesacker, Arteta, and Benayoun

“I hope the Arsenal commercial and legal staff are enjoying their holidays….cos they’re obviously not at work!”

“Being an Arsenal fan during the transfer window is like being in detention and watching everyone else go out and play

Arsenal need a forward, A defensive mid-fielder and maybe even a back up goalkeeper, even a new manager and board and maybe even move back to Highbury, with the old crest on the shirts and the little club shop by the Clock End. We have money they said. Spend it they said. “Spend some f**cking money”…. Spend it on who? Who would really improve the squad?

On the coach journey home, it was sod the deadline day news and I opended Patrick Robinson on iPad and got back into what Mack Bedford was going to do to the four terriosts released from Guantanamo Bay.

It’s a strange beast deadline day. It conjures up feelings amongst many supporters that your club have go out and buy players like a last day sale at Harrods (or Lidl ;-)) if you support Arsenal. Fans buy into the day, the excitement that is hyped up by BBC, Sky and newspapers. If your club does not enter the spirit and buy players, the fun is lost and it’s like losing a hundred sovs and finding a penny.

Wenger was quoted in Hill-Woods favourite daily newspaper as saying: “We have bought already – Lukas Podolski, Santi Cazorla, Olivier Giroud. “But when you listen to people, you always have to buy more. “Spending in itself is not a quality. Buying better players than we have – that is a quality.

I feel he is right to a degree. How good is a manager that just splashes the cash? I wonder how successful Dario Gradi would have been if he managed a top club and had the money Di Matteo or Mancini have had at their disposal. All ifs and buts I know.

There will always be a problem with certain sections of the Arsenal supporter base today because we have not won anything for seven years. However, for me there are mitigating circumstances. The new stadium, Chelsea and Man City to name some. Two of them could not have been foreseen when the plans were drawn up to move from Highbury to Ashburton Grove.

Arsenal can cause problems of their own amongst their supporter base. They sell RVP and Song, bring in Giroud, Podolski and Cazorla early, but have not yet managed get the latter players to gel as quickly as they would have liked due to the Euro’s and the Olympics taking place which postponed the Emirates Cup.

The problems the create are with their PR and it will stay that way until they show their supporters some respect. They should be more honest with the supporters. Wenger sells Song, fair enough, and then says he will be replaced, yet does not replace him, NO!!!. I’m not bothered about RVP as we sold him having already got Podolski and Giroud in. Why can’t Arsenal just tell it like it is. Keep most of the fans onside. I am sure if they just kept the fans informed and were honest most would accept what is currently going on with lack of spending.

The Board/Arsene should just have said on that we are not in the market. Keeping supporters hopes alive by saying nothing, creates its own problems where certain sections of the supporter base just start attacking the club. Believing everything that is thrown at them by the media and as Arsenal are not giving their side of picture, the whole thing can go way over the top. Maybe the clubs silence should tell us all what is really happening, nothing…

Many of Arsenal’s supporter base would have been watching deadline with keen interest, hoping. praying that Arsenal/Arsene would pull something out of the bag, maybe like last season’s deadline day activity. During the day Arsenal were hardly mentioned in the transfer activity that was going on, save a small rumour in the early evening of Essien coming to Arsenal on loan, but apparently this was squashed almost straight away by Di Matteo as he would not let any players go to local rivals. Still it gave White, Bassett and Dowie something to talk about. As I said above, not one word or quote from Arsenal, so maybe the rumours should be taken with a pinch a salt. Maybe Sky TV make up rumours to hype up what was a pretty dull deadline day and at the time very little activity was going on, although Jim White was trying his best to make you think otherwise.

If your watching Arsenal and they are 2-0 down with 10 mins to go and come back to draw 2-2, the crowd mainly leave the stadium sort of upbeat due the comeback, gutted they have not won, yes, however, at least they made a fist of the game and showed character to come back. If Arsenal are winning 2-0 with 10 mins left and draw 2-2 the crowd would mainly leave disappointed, that we could throw the game away. Well we brought early this summer and therefore the fans should not be so downbeat, it’s pretty much evened itself out and we do have players coming back. When other clubs are buying on deadline day and yours is not, the fans do tend to get downbeat very easy. You can see them all winding each down.

I hope I am not offending some people, but I do sense that some sections of Arsenal supporters do not have their own opinions. Some opinions I read or hear from supporters seem born out of what they read or hear in the media, or are led by strong-willed Arsenal supporters with loads of followers on Twitter, that people think if they have so many followers they must know what they are talking about. Members of supporters groups, feeding fans with what are in fact thoughts based on their own or the groups interests. The amount of financial information that is put out today is way, way more than it used to be. In fact it seems that more is written about Arsenal’s finances than the football itself.

In other transfer news Tottenham sold Modric, Van Der Vaart, Dos Santos, Rose and got in Dembele and Dempsey from Fulham. Also got Lloris from Lyon.  I would have liked Dempsey at Arsenal, but only as a plan B back up striker. Man City got Garcia, Maicon and Sinclair. Man Utd got in RVP. Liverpool Sold Adams, loaned out Carroll and got in Sahin and Allen.

£481.000.00 was apparently spent in the transfer window, though I’m not sure how Sky’s totaliser comes up with that figure when many of the deals are marked “undisclosed fee”… The Country and football are meant to be skint, hummus and tarasamalata recession they say and yet Sky seem so pleased at the money spent and the smiles when these amounts of money are banded about for me is just awful.

Also why are deadline day deals, left so late by clubs? Is it just to join the fun? Is it for Sky Sports? You see fans crowded outside training grounds waiting for news, surrounding the Sky reporters who are also trying to hype the day up. Jim White sitting in the studio trying to make it all look so bloody exciting. Yet is it, exciting? I’m not saying that from an Arsenal fans view as my club was not getting involved, but was there that much to excited about? What big deals really happened, it was more quantity than quality.

Thankfully Arsenal did move on Park and the world’s best player in his own head.

I reckon that Arsene is looking to Wilshere and Diaby coming back into the midfield. Maybe Arteta staying where he has been playing this season and covering the defensive midfield duties left by the departed Alex Song. Wilshere filling in the Arteta role along side Cazorla, though a bit small, so are Xavi and Inesta. There will be the obvious references now to Wilshere and Diaby being like new signings, but maybe they are going to be like new signings, if they stay fairly injury free. Let’s not forget Frimpong, Ramsey, Rosicky and Coquelin. That’s a pretty decent bunch of midfield players to choose from.

In defence the most important signing could have been that of Stevie Bould, as though it’s only two games, the back line does look to be more solid and so does the team defending overall, all working hard. Sagna, Jenkinson/Coquelin could do a job at right back. Gibbs/Santos and even TV5 if needed at left back. BFG, TV5, Kos and Djourou if needed are good for Centre backs. S13 and  Mannone in-goal. That’s not too shabby if Stevie Bould, gets them all working as a unit.

Of course there is the injury problem and cover. Last season we were ripped apart at full backs for about 10 games, players filling in all over the place, but that can happen no matter how many players you have. You can only have 25 plus the younger players. It could happen to any team. I hope we can stay lucky from long-term injuries this season.

The forwards Theo. Oxo, Giroud, Podolski, Gervinho, Chamakh and Arshavin need to start scoring, but it is only two games and last season we started with two games and no goals, ending up third highest scorers in the Premiership.

Can we win the league? My heart may believe yes, after all what’s the point if you don’t carry some hope early in the season, buy my head says NO!!!… I feel the same for the Champions league. But I do think we could make a better fist of both this season with a more solid team, making the top three/four easy and at least the last eight of Champions League. The other problem could be the catch 22 with the two domestic cups. I think Arsenal could win both of these, as a double of even one of them. The thing is how seriously do the club take these two domestic pieces of silverware? Going a long way in them means it can interfere with the two main trophies if you are still in them. Maybe the fans looking at the chances of winning the league, even if still in with a shout are not as good as picking up the FA Cup if in 6th round or League Cup if in semi or final and push for the club to field its best side

A few questionsneed to be answered, however, they will come with time. If Arsenal push on, then the fans will  forget all the doom and gloom of deadline day. If Arsenal don’t push on then Twitter, forums and comments pages in national newspaper websites will be alive calling for blood. Good luck Arsene.

Deadline day is over, we can now get back to watching and talking about the football. Though I would not be surprised to see Sundays papers full of expected transfer activity that will take place in the January transfer window and Jim White out shopping for another bright tie he will wear in late January.

Here’s to three points at Anfield and the start of the season up and up running




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