Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Arsenal Gentleman’s Weekly Review

Following the least tense and most predictable approach in recent years, we have now officially welcomed Michael Arkwright back to the Mayhemirates as Head Coach. He was in the frame just afore Mr. Emery’s ill-starred tenure, but Old Dick’s presentational skills and his argument for making players watch short films. I am sure that today’s players watch a good deal of short films, in those quiet, contemplative moments. Just not those with the express purpose of preparing for a football match. And so Arkwright was rejected for a man who turned out to be Sean Dyche after a dose of black hair dye.

How intriguing and delightful to receive a lecture from Manchester City on the correct and honourable way of player recruitment. We all remember with pin-sharp recollection how gentlemanly they were in their pursuit of, let me think, Emmanuel Adebayor, Gael Clichy and Samir Nasri. How smooth and upstanding was their conduct. How reputable and admirable they were. That is to say, they weren’t, they are a deplorable club, and so getting a lecture from them is rather like being told you drink too much by Charlie Chaplin’s character in City Lights, or indeed Mr. Cage’s in Leaving Las Vegas. Thank you for the new coach, but you can ball your letter of complaint up as tightly as you can, pop it in a bottle of Scotch and shove it up your Abu Dhabi.

To the matter in hand. The Russians have the untranslatable word Toska. Mr. Nabokov describes it thus:

“No single word in English renders all the shades of toska. At its deepest and most painful, it is a sensation of great spiritual anguish, often without any specific cause. At less morbid levels it is a dull ache of the soul, a longing with nothing to long for, a sick pining, a vague restlessness, mental throes, yearning. In particular cases it may be the desire for somebody or something specific, nostalgia, love-sickness. At the lowest level it grades into ennui, boredom.”

That is how it has felt for the last season and a half. In order to rid ourselves of this Arsenal-flavoured Toska we have taken something of a risk. He is highly regarded, and certainly seems to have the requisite spunk, steadfastness and seems to be able to generate eunoia in his teams. I, for one, am fully on board with him. Sign me up to a first class ticket on the Arkwright Express. Plop me down and strap me in. He is JUST what we need.

Arsenal have deep-seated problems. Emery did not fix these, he merely wrapped a bandage around them. The appointment of Mr. Arkwright seems to be an acknowledgement on the part of the board that we are now A Project. And I do not mind a jot to be so. We have players in thrall to mammon. We have players exhibiting extreme neoteny.

Tactically we are not so much all at sea as in a lifeboat, upside down, with no rations. Half the chaps look like they have no idea of what they are supposed to be doing and the other half seem not to care. The solution to bringing some oblectation back to our lives is not to appoint a manager off the roundabout, a Sarri, an Ancelotti. The solution is someone who wants to tear the whole thing asunder. We need an exorcism, not a blessing.

Here are a quartet of tasks for his inbox.

Encase the paramilitary wing of the Arsenal fanbase in concrete

Find out who the chaps were that dealt with the Chernobyl incident and hire them. My suggestion is to send them all a letter saying that there was an opportunity to touch a players car, push them into a hole, followed by two hundred tons of a mixture of broken stone or gravel, sand, cement, and water. In the Ukraine the job was to seal in several tonnes of toxic material. The task is similar here.

Send O’Bannon’s idiot brother on a long swim in some concrete boots

Concrete is strangely featuring quite heavily this week for some reason. We could send him a pair of concrete training shoes and tell him they are a limited edition. We borrow a yacht, then pop him off the side, letting nature take its course.

Give us an identity other than ‘man shouting at cloud then falling into a puddle’

Who are we? Who am I? Who are they? Why is that man doing that? Why is that player over there? Why has that chap just avoided a header? Are we playing a 2-1-1- 2-3-1? Why is he scratching his head so much? Why are those two defenders standing next to each other?


At the minimum, we need to sell David Lewis, Orwell, Soccer Tits, Collingwood, and Masterson.

Sort those out and we’re well on the way to our natural home in fifth. Cheers!

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