Christmas Eve waffle :: A legend passes

Morning all. Given that it’s Christmas Eve it’ll be a quick one, as I have a ham to salvage. Of course I didn’t either under-cook or overcook it last night. One or the other. Or neither. Anyway.

The manager held his pre-Southampton press conference yesterday and the news from that is basically that there is no news. The squad for that game will be ‘approximately’ the same squad that beat Man City 2-1, with nobody coming back from injury. Whether there might be a different youngster or two on the bench, I don’t know. Maybe Mathieu Debuchy will be back, who can say?

The rest of the press conference seemed to consist of the members of thea to say something about Jose Mourinho’s sacking. In typical Arsene style he said he was always sad when somebody loses their job. He didn’t even laugh, he got his poker face on big style:

Arsene Wenger’s Po-po-poker face, p-p-poker face

He was then asked, in the context of stories about how all the players thought Mourinho was a gigantic mickey, why things were different at Arsenal and why he always got on so well with his charges. He said:

I am not sure all the players would agree with you on that!

I’m sure there have been players down the years that he hasn’t got on well with or with whom there have been personality clashes. That’s human nature. I guess the main difference is that Wenger is fundamentally a decent human being, whereas Mourinho is the essence of pure evil but distilled down to a homeopathic level where there’s just one one billionth of a screed of evil in a tiny little receptacle that is his body but that evil is so powerful it’s still noticeable but much like homeopathy in the end it simply doesn’t work.

Speaking of evil, people keep trying to direct me to an alleged Instagram video of Alexis Sanchez apparently walking his dogs or something to a Phil Collins soundtrack. I don’t know what kind of trick people think they’re playing on me, but that simply does not exist in my world. Maybe it does in yours, in which case I feel sorry for you because a) you’ve listened to some Phil Collins and b) in your world Alexis is a Phil Collins fan, but as I said in my plane of existence nothing like this has happened.

So I would thank you to keep your emails, Twitter @s and Facebook messages to yourselves lest you bring about some kind of crossover between your domain and mine because I would not like that. The only thing I would say though is that Alexis clearly loves his dogs and that’s good, because dogs are ace.

Aside from all that nonsense, there was some sad news yesterday with the passing of Don Howe, the former manager and coach of the club. He was a part of my Arsenal awakening, I suppose you’d say, as a member of Terry Neill’s management team that won the FA Cup in 1979.

I think Goonerholic has it right in this nice tribute piece when he says he was a man more cut out for coaching than managing. He took over an Arsenal side in the 1980s that was pretty much in the doldrums and would remain there until George Graham’s arrival helped spark things back into life. But he brought through the likes of David Rocastle and Michael Thomas, and on the training ground he was hugely respected – he helped shape and mould so many great footballing careers at Arsenal, with England and elsewhere.

Martin Keown recalls:

Don was influential for me as a youngster. When I was 17 he took me and Tony Adams out of the youth team to do some 2 v 2 against Tony Woodcock and Charlie Nicholas. It was more an exercise for them rather than us but afterwards Don took me aside to say I could get to wherever I wanted to go. If we could stop those two we could stop anyone.

Over on Arseblog News Jeorge Bird has a piece which highlights the work he did with the players at youth level.

Sad news, but he will be always, and rightly, be remembered fondly at The Arsenal.

Right, that’s just about that for me for today, and given the day that’s in it, we’re going to down tools for a little bit on the site. Whatever you’re doing at this time of the year, I hope you do it well with friends and family, and I’d like to wish you and yours all the very best. Thanks as ever for being here during the year, your reading, listening and interacting is always greatly appreciated.

Catch you the far side when the football starts again.

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