The Summer of Weasels (Pt 2 of a 2 Pt Trilogy)
“The Summer of Weasels” is Part 2 of a 2 Part Trilogy. A Duology, if you will.
In the first part: “Cesc gave me Herpes”, we cover a lot of stuff. Please check it out. It was good. And it leads us to here:
Wenger Screwed It Up!
So last Summer was avoidable, eh? Wenger screwed it up, eh? Tim Payton (see notes at end) would have handled it much better. Tim Payton, Mr. AST Communications person, thinks this Summer Transfer stuff is not Rocket Science. Let us examine further.
What was supposed to happen this Summer?
- Cesc would be sold for a fair price and
- Cesc sale to happen as early as possible in the Transfer Window (or FCB told to eff off for another year)
- Nasri and Wilshere would step up to pick up the slack as much as possible after Fabregas’s departure .
Hmmm, what could possibly go wrong?
Wenger is universally criticized for his performance during the last Summer Transfer Window and the subsequent awful start to the 2011/12 season.
I’ve had a strong feeling in my gut (where in fact we have apparently more nerve endings than in the brain) for the longest time that this stated “fact” is 180 degrees pointed in the wrong direction.
My thesis in a nut-shell is this:
Last Summer was unavoidable. Suck it up and walk it off, Gooners.
The real question from last Summer was: would there be a manager good enough to engineer a same-year recovery from this mess?
Movie: The Perfect Clusterfuck (Box Office Gross of 250M est. for 2011/12)
It was The Perfect Clusterfuck, starring George Clooney and Arsene Wenger, as 2 captains fighting the storm of an age. Clooney goes down with his boat, the Andrea Gail, while the only thing all Gooners care about in this movie is whether Wenger can navigate his ship, the Victoria Concordia, through its most perilous voyage into safe waters.
Sometimes, bad things happen to good clubs. Unless you have Oil Money at your disposal, then you have to work within an actual budget. There is no borrowing of money. You must work through the issues in order, selling before you buy, qualifying for the group stages of the CL before you buy. It sucks, but there it is.
If Wenger was at fault here at all, it is that years before he chose a strategy to build on Cesc Fabregas as the hub of the team. With 20-20 hindsight, Cesc was a ticking time-bomb. Do I love Cesc? Yes. Was there a little ticking noise coming from somewhere in his tummy that grew louder over time. Apparently. Was that really Wenger’s “Fault”. Hmmm, sounds like a different blog posting for another time. Back to this one!…
The original Perfect Storm of 1991 had 3 factors: a confluence of two powerful weather fronts combined with a massive hurricane. This Perfect Clusterfuck had the forced exits of Fabregas and then Nasri combined with the Hurricane of FCB’s determination not to provide a half decent offer before the 11th hour.
Spoiler Alert! It has a happy-ish ending (we pray). Here is how Wenger righted the ship:
- He brought in talent over the Summer – Gervinho and The Ox
- He executed a much maligned but by now well-regarded seemingly last minute trolley dash to bring in Per, Arteta, Santos and Yossi plus a lemon or too. There’s always one!)
- He saw us through a tricky qualification in the CL vs Udinese
- He saw us through the CL group stages. MUFC and MCFC? Not so much!
- He brought the team back from the brink in the EPL (17th) up to 3rd currently
- He kept us alive till we scrambled together 2 healthy full-backs
- Since Oct 1st we have had 3rd best defense in EPL after MUFC and MCFC by goals conceded
- We had morale boosting victories including Ch5l3ea and later 5pur2 as well as Milan.
- He took us on 2 runs of 8 unbeaten games which included 14 wins to grab 3rd
- We are now in a position where CL qualification is in Arsenal’s hands
Yeah, but shouldn’t Wenger have…bought Mata…kept Nasri…sold Cesc early…kept Cesc against his will…emulated Sir Alex’s sale of C Ronaldo for 80M…not had to execute a shopping trolley dash for the transfer window…
We will look at ALL these issues over the next 2 blogs. (Apparently this Trilogy will actually end up with 3 parts.)
More important than how we got into this situation became the realization that we needed a manager who could pick up the pieces and save the season and save this squad before it disintegrated and before we became the next Liverpool (but without the shit-loads of cash to throw at the problem). A manager who could get us to the Promised Land of CL Qualification.
Fortunately, that manager was already on board The Victoria Concordia.
The point regarding emulating Liverpool is particularly ironic because it was Liverpool that all the journos told us were the model for what Wenger SHOULD have strived for over the Summer. They had shown ambition. Wenger had not. Ahahaha ha hah.
We think everything is fine and stable now. We take it all for granted. We had a little wobble but we’re fine, says you. But you never know how close to chaos we came. Like a lost man walking in the fog never knowing he was weaving along the edge of the cliff, just a few feet from a perilous drop.
Arsenal performance in EPL/1st Div – 1946-2011. via
Draw your own conclusions!
The Infamous “Summer of Weasels”
Wenger has said he could write a book on the 2011 Summer transfer window. I hope he will some day. I offer him this title for his book: “The Summer of Weasels.”
The Cast of the Summer of Weasels
If the Barca Bastards, FCB, Fabregas, Nasri, Mancini, SAF and Vieira II had schemed together, they couldn’t have MF’d Wenger and the team any worse:
Cesc: “I will only play for Barcelona.”
Barca Bastards (Pique, Xavi, Puyol): “We’ll stir up shit all Summer so that it’ll be a shit-storm in the dressing room if they even contemplate keeping Cesc for another year.”
FCB/Rosell: “We’ll drag out the negotiations with slow and low bids so that we have them in a corner on price and we screw up their Transfer Window. Teach them to keep robbing our nursery.”
Na$ri: “You know what would really screw them over…”
SAF: “Samir, you’re wearing the wrong shirt, lad. Why don’t you come over here and win some trophies, lad.”
Mancini: “Yes Samir, what he said, but with a shit-load more money.”
Vieira II: “Samir, did I ever point out to you that I’m French also? Voulez-vous jouer avec nous?”
God: And on the seventh day, I shall nobble my own Word Made Flesh and Cesc’s heir apparent, Jack Wilshere, because I don’t think this Weasel shit-storm is weaselly enough. I will make it look like it is only going to last a few weeks to push it past the close of the Transfer Window so that Arsenal can’t react but then I will turn weeks into months until finally Jack is ruled out for the season.
List of assorted sinister characters: The Journos, The Media, Piers Morgan (Large “M” and small organ) and the Fans with the short memories.
The Passion of the Wenger
From Michael Cox of Zonal Marking and ESPN:
“Imagine the worst situation — we lose Fabregas and Nasri — you cannot convince people you are ambitious after that,” Wenger said early in the summer. Nasri was representing Arsenal’s ambition. It is astonishing the Gunners could actually improve on last season’s fourth-place finish after losing both players.
Now maybe YOU could have handled this weasel-fest more skillfully. I know Tim Payton could. It’s not Rocket Science after all.
FCB, we’re more than a club…we’re a pack of weasels.
Cesc became FCB’s flunky, their stooge, their dupe, their witless agitator. Now don’t get me wrong, like the vast majority of Arsenal fans, I still love Cesc but in his heart of hearts he knows that he got suckered into the role of a lifetime, Judas Iscariot. In fact, Cesc even had to chip in to make up the 30 pieces of silver. (Nasri left for lots more money while Cesc took a pay cut.)
After that plague of weasels conspired to blight us, Wenger had no good cards to play.
It turns out i had way too much to say in 2 posts, so the 2nd part of this Trilogy just got split to make a 3rd part:
Tomorrow, the Interview scoop of my journalistic career. I interview Sandro Rosell, President of FCB, to get his view on: the Summer happenings; whether Sir Alex would have done better; and how he feels about Tim Payton and John Cross.
Who is Tim Payton?: See below. In general I find him to be very negative on Wenger. On a number of occasions he has stated that Wenger plays at “Par” as a manager. He lauds the performance of Redknapp by comparison to Wenger. And being the Spreadsheet Warrior that he is, he has stated that this Summer Transfer stuff isn’t Rocket Science. I beg to differ. He has a right to his opinions even though they piss me off.
In fact, I would guess that because Tim is trying to make a career in Sports Communications, he is trying very hard NOT to like everything at Arsenal. It allows him to show how much smarter he is than Wenger from his desk. After all, no-one hires a consultant who can’t see any problems.
It would appear that perhaps Tim has a conflict of interest between his ambitions and the role at AST.
“Piers Morgan (Large “M” and small organ)”
Funniest line I have read in ages….very good blog.
Very enjoyable. I don’t follow Payton