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Debunking Ten Myths About Wenger


Thinking Man

By Celine Dion
September 23 2011

We all know the position the club is in. Near the bottom of the league with one win and three defeats in our first five games. Fans interpretation of the current state of affairs, rather predictably, is still polarised. Plenty of us, ungrateful spoiled, and disloyal pariahs that we are, believe that the Emperors’ new clothes fell off years ago, and that Wenger is starting to pong like a 6 month old lump of Camembert left behind the sofa.

But there are still several thousand, if not more, who  will tell you that we are only a few signings, a bit of ‘gelling’, and an elusive change of luck away, from cementing a resurgence to the top of the league. There can be no logical reason for thinking this, certainly not evidenced by watching the team actually play, other than the seemingly incontestable fact that our manager is a ‘genius’.

We hear it all the time. Wenger is one of the best managers in the world. If we were foolish and suicidal enough to cut him loose, the likes of Real Madrid and AC Milan would be queuing up in a heartbeat.  Wenger knows a ‘bargain’ in the transfer market. Wenger’s record with young players is ‘unparalleled’.  Wenger achieves miracles on a ‘shoestring’.  And not only that ‘Arsene’ as he is universally referred to when discussing his personal aspect, is a ‘gentleman’,  an avuncular, engaging wit, a truly wonderful human being who if he weren’t a football manager on 6 million pounds a year, would probably be working for children’s’ charities or some such.

A famous philosopher once said ‘If you say something long enough and loud enough, the people will believe it’ (err I think that might have been a Nazi. Ed).

My intention here is to challenge some of the myths that have grown up around Wenger, and dare I say that these myths have created a Wenger cult. Then we shall see if we can cast any of them aside, and in the process, set ourselves free and start to think clearly again.

This article deals with the first of my three Wenger Myths, the others will appear soon on this site, followed by an assessment of his legacy. Myths 1-3 are here, and myths 4-7 follow here

First Myth: The best football manager Arsenal ever

The reasons generally given are his trophy haul, that he was our custodian during the stadium move, and of course, the wonderful football. He also led the team to its famous ‘invincible’ season in 2004

So let us look at his trophy total, which after 6 barren years, no longer compares to George Graham’s in fact. Graham started at Arsenal in 1986-7, won the league cup that year, carried off the league in 1989, the league again in 1991, both domestic cups in 1993, and the Cup Winners Cup in 1994. He faded away in 1995, was replaced, and, to be fair, tarnished him image amidst the ‘bung allegations’. Nevertheless, he won 6 trophies in 8 seasons, which represents 0.875 trophies a season. For those that will scoff at the league cup, it was a lot harder to win in those days, clubs fielded their full teams, games went to replays, and it was as keenly contested as the FA Cup.

The Cup Winners Cup may not have been the Champions League with all its glitz and glitter, but we beat clubs containing megastars of the era like Ginola, Asprilla, Brolin and Zola. It is also worth noting, for those that will claim ‘football has changed’ since those days, that the Liverpool whom we rivalled in those days was an immensely rich club. The team we pipped to the 1989 title, comprised John Barnes, Ray Houghton, Peter Beardsley and John Aldridge, purchased within a year of each other, for what were massive transfer fees. This made them the Manchester City of their era, make no mistake.

Wengers’ trophy haul is seven in fifteen seasons, which equates to 0.46 trophies a season. He has also turned in numerous losing appearances in finals, Galatasaray, Liverpool, the Chelsea League Cup final, and of course the Barcelona CL defeat. Indeed one of the biggest hallmarks of Wengers’ career is his teams’ inability to pull off a result in big games. We were vastly superior to the 2001 Liverpool side, and again to the Chelsea side we lost to in 2004. George Grahams’ teams, to his credit, had almost the opposite tendency.

Second Myth: Wengerball is beautiful

I immediately hear the cry that Wenger provides ‘the best football we have ever witnessed’. Now I am not going start telling people that Bergkamp, Henry, Fabregas, and Pires, were not a joy to the eye.

 But Graham had his wonder year as well, 1992, where in the second half of the season, the team broke free and started to bang in goals from crazy angles and all over the pitch. We beat Sheffield Wednesday 7-1 with 6 goals in the last 20 minutes, with Merson trying shots from the sideline - I watched Anders Limpar chip the Liverpool goalkeeper from the centre circle. Do we really see anything comparable nowadays?

Until Oxlade Chaimberlains’ goal on Wednesday, we haven’t seen an Arsenal goal from outside the box in the best part of a year. We don’t score from free kicks, we rarely score from headers. Players like Arshavin who played off the cuff and unshackled in their first six months, now run up blind alleys and tear their hair out trying to play Wengers’ ‘system’. Which seems to revolve around getting the ball to Robin Van Persie just the way he likes it. How that free-flowing, how is is that in any way attractive and glorious? Well, the answer is that it isn’t. Any more than Chelsea’s’ Liverpool’s, United’s, or Tottenham’s’ is.

Nowadays, when people purr over an exciting game that Arsenal featured in, it is normally because we let a load of goals in to make it high scoring. I heard someone say, in all seriousness, that our football against Blackburn in the first half last week was ‘sublime’. It’s a measure of how desperate people are to take one of Wengers’ 5 minute scribbles and declare it a masterpiece.

I can see people literally spluttering with rage because I am not giving Wenger credit for the ‘invincibles’. Sorry chaps, but for 2 miniscule alterations to the space time continuum, it is George Graham who would be claiming this record. He only lost one league game in 1991, and that was 2-1 at Chelsea after both our centre backs were injured and we had to play most of the game with 5 foot 8 David Hillier at Centre back.

 I think the above debunks the myth that Wenger is the clubs most successful manager. He patently isn’t. He is ONE of our most successful managers (and I didn’t even talk about Herbert Chapman).

Third Myth: Wenger master minded Arsenal’s rise as European superpower

So what of the oft-quoted belief that Wenger somehow masterminded our emergence as one of Europe’s’ super clubs? A super club that doesn’t win anything, but a super club nonetheless, perhaps they just gauge it on ticket prices, where we truly are a leader in our field.

Well the discerning amongst you might have noticed that the glitz and corporatisation at Arsenal actually started in the early to mid 1990s, under Dein, with the re-seating of Highbury and the new North Bank, and the pre-Wenger signings of Bergkamp and David Platt. We qualified for the inaugural Champions League under Graham, and were already elbowing our way into the g-14 elite. Wengers trophy winning period , which is largely concentrated into the time at the turn of this century may well have made it easy for the club to justify high prices and promise in the years immediately following the stadium move, but this makes him a component to the master-plan, not the protagonist. And our team at the time still contained the remnants of his 2004 team, including Henry.

Why should it have been difficult to finish in the top four, even after the move? Neither do I understand how Wengers’ success is supposed to have directly financed our ability to make the move. He didn’t in any way finance it, the Deutsche Bank did. And at a period of history where it is now realised, that anyone, would lend any amount of money, to anyone else. Yes, attendances were high, almost guaranteed, in the wake of the Bergkamp/Henry era, but they were high pre-Wenger.

Yes we have engineered a fan base that extends to Singapore and Kuala Lumpar, but so have most other large clubs in top European Competion. I recently watched a friendly in China played between Inter Milan and AC Milan, where the stadium was perfect replica of the San Siro in terms of pageantry and atmosphere, except the crowd was entirely Chinese. It is a product of globalisation and the marketing of the major European leagues via satellite TV that has got us to this position. It has happened to football as a whole. We were well on the way to being a part of this pre-Wenger.

Highbury used to sell out every game post all-seating, and prior to that, we could get 54,000 in for a league cup game.  It would be foolish to claim Wenger was not involved in our emergence as one of the big boys. But there are many people who see him as having engineered it all. They need to re-read their Arsenal history, and the modern history of football as a whole.

Myths 4-7 Here

Myths 8-10 and legacy Here

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Debunking Ten myths about Wenger
Arsenal Times (IP Logged)
23/09/2011 18:58
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Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2011:09:27:18:41:17 by Padre Pio.

 
Re: Debunking Ten myths about Wenger
salisbury69 (IP Logged)
23/09/2011 19:10
Very interesting. And of course, the longer he stays on the record will go down even further. Although any record is of little interest to him whilst earning £500,000 every month.

 
Re: Debunking Ten myths about Wenger
Bergmars (IP Logged)
23/09/2011 19:32
I have long denied his most succesful manager tag,and the fact that he "built" the new stadium,he built a couple of very good teams but for every TH14 there is a couple of Cygans.There of loads of indispensable people in the cemetry.



A shadow of what we were



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2011:09:23:19:33:27 by Bergmars.

 
Re: Debunking Ten myths about Wenger
celine dion (IP Logged)
23/09/2011 20:08
by the way chaps, my quote comes from Suneidos the Thelemologist, a Christian philospher. Goebbels said 'lies', which is a different quote.

 
Re: Debunking Ten myths about Wenger
Padre Pio (IP Logged)
23/09/2011 20:23
Apologies, just a failed attempt at humour, but Goebbles probably made the idea more famous



- until Wenger moves on, they'll always be the also-rans in the major competitions. A club in elite purgatory. Always good enough to make it to the big race, never fast or smart enough to push over the finish line in first place. That's all about the manager. Until he changes, Arsenal fans will continue to celebrate glorious failure.

 
Re: Debunking Ten myths about Wenger
Mad Jens (IP Logged)
23/09/2011 21:08
We consider ourselves a European Superpower?

News to me.

 
Re: Debunking Ten myths about Wenger
burkedec (IP Logged)
23/09/2011 22:03
great article, i have felt for a long time that what GEORGE GRAHAM's achievements at highbury were never really highlighted the way they should have been, those of us old enough remember the fine mess we were when George was announced as the new boss in may 1985, He said he would wake up a sleeping giant, would win the title within 3 years, which of course was delivered in style on may 26 1989 ON TIME ! Don't get me wrong, I love what WENGER has achieved, but His time is well up, in fact as you all know, if your honest it has been up for some time now, but a combination of his stubborness and a board which is still in awe of him see's him still in position. In my 35 years folowing the Gunners, we are now at the lowest ebb i have seen since a miserable low in the first half of season 1983-4. which saw the departure of terry neill, after a miserable decline in standards, the final straw being a home league cup defeat 1-2 by WALSALL, The WENGER era needs to close, he could go now with dignity, but his stubborness will prevent that, and that is SAD.

 
Re: Debunking Ten myths about Wenger
Boston Gooner (IP Logged)
23/09/2011 23:39
Top article.
Look forward to the rest.



http://i63.tinypic.com/2dt9c3q.jpg

 
Re: Debunking Ten myths about Wenger
weedz (IP Logged)
24/09/2011 05:22
Great article Celion, sorry Celine, great, great, just really, really great, mate.

 
Re: Debunking Ten myths about Wenger
BIGSNOOP (IP Logged)
24/09/2011 09:06
Have 2 say I'm slightly disappointed really hope myths 4-10 are a lot better than the 3 you've done so far. Unfortunately due to "Right-click" restrictions (Sm20) I can't actually post want I really wanted to say. So just a quick rundown Myth 1 half agree, Myth 2 shockingly bad, Myth 3 No Chance!

 
Re: Debunking Ten myths about Wenger
Padre Pio (IP Logged)
24/09/2011 09:24
Jsut use ctrl + V to copy in.



- until Wenger moves on, they'll always be the also-rans in the major competitions. A club in elite purgatory. Always good enough to make it to the big race, never fast or smart enough to push over the finish line in first place. That's all about the manager. Until he changes, Arsenal fans will continue to celebrate glorious failure.

 
Re: Debunking Ten myths about Wenger
celine dion (IP Logged)
24/09/2011 09:29
How can you half agree that graham
has a better trophy to season ratio than Wenger. He either does or he doesn't. In this case he does.

 
Re: Debunking Ten myths about Wenger
Padre Pio (IP Logged)
24/09/2011 09:49
I wonder how the win ration goes? Isnt Wengers down to 53% now/



- until Wenger moves on, they'll always be the also-rans in the major competitions. A club in elite purgatory. Always good enough to make it to the big race, never fast or smart enough to push over the finish line in first place. That's all about the manager. Until he changes, Arsenal fans will continue to celebrate glorious failure.

 
Re: Debunking Ten myths about Wenger
hippogunner (IP Logged)
24/09/2011 10:46
In my view we'd have won a trophy, possibly the league, BUT for Wenger, in the last five years. Some of the players he signed and stood by in recent years have been shockingly mediocre.

 
Re: Debunking Ten myths about Wenger
SamirCashleave (IP Logged)
24/09/2011 12:50
im sorry but all comparissons need some reasonably equal grounds, to compare achievments of someone 15 years in the job with someone serving eight years, well it is a no go.

compare both achievements within the first 8 yrs very legitimate. thereafter it falls to pieces whats to say graham would have done any different after his first 8 yrs.

 
Re: Debunking Ten myths about Wenger
BIGSNOOP (IP Logged)
24/09/2011 21:11
Quote:
SamirCashleave
im sorry but all comparissons need some reasonably equal grounds, to compare achievments of someone 15 years in the job with someone serving eight years, well it is a no go.
compare both achievements within the first 8 yrs very legitimate. thereafter it falls to pieces whats to say graham would have done any different after his first 8 yrs.

BINGO!!

Celine your right that GG has the better ratio of trophy wins and yes this is something that should be highlighted and even celebrated more often (AKB's try to pretend this era didn't actually exist). However by the time GG got sacked celine where were we heading? I'll tell you mid-table, conceding loads of goals, buying $h!t players like kiwomya and helder and our 91 title winning team had but all been broken up far to early...I don't know about you but that sounds pretty familiar don’t you think?

My question to you then Celine is that if Wenger had been dismissed because he was found gulity of a bung in 2006 just after the European cup final in Paris and he finished with a final record of 7 trophies in 9 seasons and had he NOT been allowed to enter the "mad dictator" years how would you compare the two then? Moi, Monsieur Wenger all day long trophies and style!

 
Re: Debunking Ten myths about Wenger
celine dion (IP Logged)
24/09/2011 21:19
Aha! But I actually think Wenger is the better of the two managers. But only just. Like you say, the football, for a long period at least, has had a better style, and for bringing Henry and Vieira to your club, he deserves eternal credit. plus he didnt manage the team into a complete shambles like GG did in 1995, where at one point a lot of us fleetingly considered relegation (or Wenger hasnt yet, in any case)

But the reason for me writing all this long winded sh*t, is that about 80% of our fanbase doesnt even consider it a comparison. They dont seem aware of GG, or Arsenal history pre-Wenger, and they seem to credit AW, personally, with the entire construction of where we are today.

I feel I have to be radical, if you like, to try and bring people to their senses.

 
Re: Debunking Ten myths about Wenger
weedz (IP Logged)
24/09/2011 21:32
He can say that because Wenger is still here and dear old George isn`t because he was a criminal.

 
Re: Debunking Ten myths about Wenger
BIGSNOOP (IP Logged)
24/09/2011 22:19
Quote:
celine dion
Aha! But I actually think Wenger is the better of the two managers. But only just. Like you say, the football, for a long period at least, has had a better style, and for bringing Henry and Vieira to your club, he deserves eternal credit. plus he didnt manage the team into a complete shambles like GG did in 1995, where at one point a lot of us fleetingly considered relegation (or Wenger hasnt yet, in any case)
But the reason for me writing all this long winded sh*t, is that about 80% of our fanbase doesnt even consider it a comparison. They dont seem aware of GG, or Arsenal history pre-Wenger, and they seem to credit AW, personally, with the entire construction of where we are today.

I feel I have to be radical, if you like, to try and bring people to their senses.
So isn't this the "debunking the ten myths about Arsenal Pre Wenger"?? That would make far more sense, because the problem I'm having with most of your myths (apart from 6 &7) is that no matter what wengers first 10 years will always trump you. Perhaps a better argument would be debunking the myths of Arsenal's last 5 under Mr Wenger.

 
Re: Debunking Ten myths about Wenger
Padre Pio (IP Logged)
24/09/2011 22:24
It shows that Arsenal existed before Wenger that we had a history before him.
It also shows that all managers have a sell by date



- until Wenger moves on, they'll always be the also-rans in the major competitions. A club in elite purgatory. Always good enough to make it to the big race, never fast or smart enough to push over the finish line in first place. That's all about the manager. Until he changes, Arsenal fans will continue to celebrate glorious failure.

 
Re: Debunking Ten myths about Wenger
eduardo (IP Logged)
24/09/2011 22:25
padre ctrl + v not working for me.



*Signing Ozil is a signing Bergkamp type moment for Arsenal. It changes things utterly.*

 
Re: Debunking Ten myths about Wenger
Padre Pio (IP Logged)
24/09/2011 22:45
First you ctrl + C to copy then ctrl + V to paste.
It works for me thats how Ive put your sentence in (you dont hit + button?)

padre ctrl + v not working for me.



- until Wenger moves on, they'll always be the also-rans in the major competitions. A club in elite purgatory. Always good enough to make it to the big race, never fast or smart enough to push over the finish line in first place. That's all about the manager. Until he changes, Arsenal fans will continue to celebrate glorious failure.

 
Re: Debunking Ten myths about Wenger
weedz (IP Logged)
25/09/2011 02:16
Quote:
Padre Pio
It shows that Arsenal existed before Wenger that we had a history before him.
It also shows that all managers have a sell by date

I don`t think there is any need to even mention the above . No one would even consider otherwise.

No this article has been placed to rubbish Wenger, and no other reason. So don`t try and put some sort of value on it, Padre.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2011:09:25:02:22:52 by weedz.

 
Re: Debunking Ten myths about Wenger
Padre Pio (IP Logged)
25/09/2011 10:07
Wenger has lost his mojo weedz, this will be 8th season without winning league, surely its time for a change? I repsect his achievements but he is on a downward curve, not a learning curve. His trajectory is wrong, so its time to go, it happens to all managers, even the great Brian Clough who won European Cup.

Wenger refuses to take advice from anyone, he said he wouldnt buy players who werent better than the ones he had, how good the new lot will be I dont know, but I do know they are not better than Fabregas or many of thosee he let go.He has also given a 29 year old a 4 year contract, when he had a policy of not giving more than a year to players over thirty.

This decline in quality hasnt happened overnight, its been a few years coming. I hate to take anyone's dummy away but Wenger is a busted flush, but one impediment to people realising that is the cult of Arsene Wenger, if you cannot deal with a cult without being called a Wenger Basher so be it.



- until Wenger moves on, they'll always be the also-rans in the major competitions. A club in elite purgatory. Always good enough to make it to the big race, never fast or smart enough to push over the finish line in first place. That's all about the manager. Until he changes, Arsenal fans will continue to celebrate glorious failure.

 
Re: Debunking Ten myths about Wenger
Padre Pio (IP Logged)
28/04/2016 21:12
Quote:
Padre Pio
Wenger has lost his mojo weedz, this will be 8th season without winning league, surely its time for a change? I repsect his achievements but he is on a downward curve, not a learning curve. His trajectory is wrong, so its time to go, it happens to all managers, even the great Brian Clough who won European Cup.
Wenger refuses to take advice from anyone, he said he wouldnt buy players who werent better than the ones he had, how good the new lot will be I dont know, but I do know they are not better than Fabregas or many of thosee he let go.He has also given a 29 year old a 4 year contract, when he had a policy of not giving more than a year to players over thirty.

This decline in quality hasnt happened overnight, its been a few years coming. I hate to take anyone's dummy away but Wenger is a busted flush, but one impediment to people realising that is the cult of Arsene Wenger, if you cannot deal with a cult without being called a Wenger Basher so be it.

Great article by Celine, and one of the first times I called Wenger a busted flush in public. Although I had been doing that for a couple years before in private.



- until Wenger moves on, they'll always be the also-rans in the major competitions. A club in elite purgatory. Always good enough to make it to the big race, never fast or smart enough to push over the finish line in first place. That's all about the manager. Until he changes, Arsenal fans will continue to celebrate glorious failure.

 
Re: Debunking Ten myths about Wenger
Moax25-04-04 (IP Logged)
28/04/2016 22:00
Don't forget he lost the League cup to Birmingham.... Bloody Birmingham!

 
Re: Debunking Ten myths about Wenger
Padre Pio (IP Logged)
28/04/2016 22:35
There was no way Wenger could compete with big spending brummies



- until Wenger moves on, they'll always be the also-rans in the major competitions. A club in elite purgatory. Always good enough to make it to the big race, never fast or smart enough to push over the finish line in first place. That's all about the manager. Until he changes, Arsenal fans will continue to celebrate glorious failure.

 
Re: Debunking Ten myths about Wenger
Merlion96 (IP Logged)
29/04/2016 11:56
Quote:
celine dion
Aha! But I actually think Wenger is the better of the two managers. But only just. Like you say, the football, for a long period at least, has had a better style, and for bringing Henry and Vieira to your club, he deserves eternal credit. plus he didnt manage the team into a complete shambles like GG did in 1995, where at one point a lot of us fleetingly considered relegation (or Wenger hasnt yet, in any case)
But the reason for me writing all this long winded sh*t, is that about 80% of our fanbase doesnt even consider it a comparison. They dont seem aware of GG, or Arsenal history pre-Wenger, and they seem to credit AW, personally, with the entire construction of where we are today.

I feel I have to be radical, if you like, to try and bring people to their senses.


Most Arsenal fans are blind by the initial furore of successes with the French Spine, but they are brittle, mentally fragile against physical opponents and cannot cope with the harsh wintry conditions with slippery frozen pitches or muddy pitches with trench-warfare and slugfest.

Ferguson was the first manager to devise a successful tactics with hard tackling and physically intimidation against the French Spine, and knew that Arsene Wenger Beautiful Passing Game can only performed by his French Spine on a billiard-table perfect pitch.

Hence, the phase "November Blip" coined where our season usually start collapsing.

If not for a huge favour from Lady Luck, Horseface hitting the crossbar, Pires' dive at Portsmouth for the equalising penalty ... we will never have that Invincible season.

But no public acknowledge was published on the role of GG and Rioch who both laid the firm foundation that Arsene Wenger the benefits in tandem with his superiority knowledge of French Football with his generation of the French Mafia that knew the quality of French players with French Football entering the Golden Decade.

Without GG and Rioch, (and Dein as the man who got things done) Arsene Wenger will never had won those 3 titles and that 1997/98 to 2007/08 golden era.

Fab-4, Seaman and Parlour is the nucleus, that English Spine that gave time for Arsene Wenger to build his young French Spine to fulfil their potential. Without a solid defence (with Sol Campbell, Kolo, Lauren and Cashley Cole and Mad Jens taking over from them), there is no way Arsene Wenger and French Spine would have won the first 2 titles.

Without Fab-4 and Seaman extending their shelf life (and yes, this thanks to Arsene Wenger's modern dietary methods and coaching/training method), there is way Lauren, Campbell, Kolo and Cole will be given that transitory time to develop into another Fab-4.

This fact is proven for the last 10 years with Arsene Wenger chopped and changed his Back-4, trying to unearth gold nuggets but invariably found fool's gold instead all the time.

Wenger's supporters claimed it was Wenger who advised Arsenal to buy Bergy.
Surely Rioch - with the full trust of PHW and Board who appointed him and snubbed Wenger then - is the man who had decided to buy Bergy and not Arsene Wenger who was then an "unknowns" and not known to English Football and to the extend, PHW and the Board?

SO that is another myth exploded with Arsene Wenger found out that his scouting network did not goes beyond France in the early days.

And remember, Bergy cost us 7.5-mil - an equivalent of 30-mil today - and in his early days, Wenger went for bargain and never buy marquee players with "unknowns" like Remi Garde, Vieira, ANelka, Grimandi, et al, all cost less than 5-mil.

Going by all his past track records even with funds available, I doubt very much Arsene Wenger will ever consider or buy Bergy at all!

Henry? Pires? Wiltord?
Please they will all heavily subsidised by that Real Madrid 23-mil Anelka Transfer Funds and later that Barca Transfer Funds form Overmars and Petit Sales.

Comparing these two periods of 1996/97 to 2007/08 and 2008/09 to 2015/16.

You can said Arsene Wenegr had outstayed his welcome since 2008/09 and should be smart enough to f**k off to Real Madrid or PSG then ... where he claimed he rejected because of his love for Arsenal FC.

That is bullsh*t as Arsenal FC is the one and only marquee club in Europe that he has dictatorial power, fully trusted by the majority owner, "unsackable", CEO kowtowing to him and the Chairman and entire Board tip-toeing around him for fear of him jumping ship.

That is the one and only reason why he didn't join Real Madrid or PSG, not for the sake of Arsenal FC, but aptly described by Lord Action: "Power corrupts, absolute power corrupt absolutely".

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