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You Can’t Teach Heart

Written by on August 25, 2011 | 20 Comments »
Posted in The Training Ground

This “Training Ground” offering is from Robert Ortega – Full time Arsenal Gunner, long time Fox soccer fan.

Another transfer window and more drama from not only the media but from Arsenal fans alike.

Will Cesc be sold to Barcelona? Who will be the highest bidder for Nasri? It was all a little exasperating.

Truth be told both are great players and what team wouldn’t love to have them on their rosters?

And like all the players sold or out on loan this year Fabregas and Nasri are a genuine product of Arsenal football and philosophy.

They came to Emirates to get a first team chance, they did, and they got a chance to prove themselves against the elite teams in Europe. Not winning trophies is all on their shoulders and not on account of the manager’s dealings in the transfer market.

They came to Arsenal to fight hard for trophies and just fell short. Yet all the experience gained is priceless.

The players that left are good and gone now. As an Arsenal fan I am more sure and confident than ever that success will come.

Now we have players who want to be at the club and to fight for the cause by any means necessary.

Hats off to Wenger, despite all the negative talk, he has brought in four quality players so far.

With the exception of Gervinho, a proven winner at Lille, Ryo Miyachi, Carl Jenkinson, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain are still young and have a lot to prove and learn.

Yet they are top quality, but more important they are all players who want to play for Arsenal. Jenkinson a life long fan, has already shown that he has the desire and determination.

Like the other new arrivals Jenkinson came to the Gunners to win – not just to learn and then to move abroad.

The life of a footballer is never permanent. But to play for a team that you have always admired is what Arsenal has been missing. The x-factor to fight tooth and nail to the final whistle for the badge.To know the odds are against you but to stand tall and deliver.

Yes, Arsenal are young and have had defensive frailties but the season is young and the team should not be judged before the winter break, let alone a few games into the season.

Yes the team still lacks depth, but money should not be spent on players just to fill the roster. Arsenal needs quality players who want to play for Arsenal and if they can’t be found then  continue to promote from within.

The philosophy of  a club is paramount. It’s not about Wenger being stubborn – 15 years of Champions League football doesn’t come by buying big name players every year.

Just look at other teams that have chosen that route.

Wenger’s mistake was building a team around one player. Injuries are always constant in football. Lessons must be learned from what happened with Fabregas.

Now Arsenal must move on and keep playing their beautiful football style of football.

In short, we lost two top quality players but gained four bigger hearts. Nothing against Fabregas –  he gave his all for many of the years he was at the club but the last couple years it was evident his heart wasn’t in it no more.

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20 responses to “You Can’t Teach Heart”

  1. J says:

    And just how thin are you when you’re a nick away from bringing in Squillaci? That is “just-fill-the-roster time”.

    The Squallaci Index – The measurement of distance between buying THE player and buying ANYONE you feel is, at least, competent.

    Wenger will buy, but he’s sacrificing games to get bargains. That’s hard to swallow. It’s been a while since Arsenal supporters kissed-off a game with United.

  2. Soccerlogical says:

    So is this heart gonna win us any silverware or are we gonna be waiting for supposed youth to bloom and actually stay at the club so Arsenal can compete with the other top 4 clubs? Cause I’m pretty sure the fans would like to go into a season gunning for a trophy as opposed to finishing top 4.

  3. John Bladen says:

    “Squillaci index”!

    Good one, J. Still Laughing!

    Good piece, Roberto.

    Having “hungry” young players is never a bad thing, but I cannot say that I believe Arsenal are a better team today than they were two weeks ago… Fabregas and Nasri will not be replaced by the purchases Wenger has made – nor could they be, frankly. Add to that the fact that Arshavin and Bendtner are still on the payroll and I must say it has not been a great summer for transfer moves for Wenger thus far. Still, to sell those two would require a willing buyer at a reasonable price (which might be difficult).

    I believe it is the right decision for Arsenal to sell expensive players who are wearing the “scowl” overall, but it does hurt their competitiveness in the short term. Even Ferguson sells players who demonstrate that they no longer want to play at Old Trafford. It’s the way of the modern game.

    Still hoping for signings…

  4. RabidDeathMoose says:

    So winning trophies is now the sole way to measure success I suppose? No trophies means you’re a failure? 16 consecutive years at or near the top of the EPL with CL football every season while running the club nearly immaculately from a financial standpoint is failure?

    Glad you’re not on the board of directors!

  5. Soccerlogical says:

    My bad Rabbid,

    Let’s wait another 6-12 years for more of the same “youth cycle” while the other top 4 teams get even stronger and Wenger sticks to his stubborn penny pinching principles where he tells paying supporters we have heart and will to win trophies but reality is we would be lucky to finish top 4.

    What were we thinking?

    PS I haven’t heard of any financial crisis over at the top LIV, CHE, MU, MC, yet they clearly address at least a few top players each season to fill certain positions. Fine, give Wenger and A+ for bookkeeping and money mgmt, so?

  6. John Bladen says:

    No financial crises at LFC, Chelsea, or Man C?
    Maybe you missed something Bobby posted in Rants a month or so ago.

    Good businesses – even sports businesses – keep wages at or below 50% of turnover on average. UEFA’s guidelines are built around a 70% limit. Man U have debts in excess of $750m (Chelsea’s are over $1bn, but who’s counting when RA can write checks) … that’s about $60m a year in debt service if you have a friendly banker (Man U doesn’t). Man U lost, what, $80m last year on operations, almost entirely due to debt service? And how many consecutive years is it now that Abramovich has simply converted his club’s $100-150m annual losses into ‘equity’?

    Sure, everything is fine. Move along, nothing to see…

  7. John Bladen says:

    Question: Will Man City’s wages to turnover ratio exceed 2-1 by the end of the January window?

    For those of you that didn’t follow the link, that would mean Man City spends $2 on wages for every dollar it takes in from all sources. By my calculation, they are already at $1.20 per….

  8. DrScoot says:

    Is Wenger’s strategy to wait for the other teams to go broke? As long as the world keeps using oil, Man City’s owner is not running out of $ anytime soon. We keep hearing doom and gloom projections about the UEFA regulations but it doesn’t stop anyone from paying ridiculaous transfer fees. Accept for Arsenal of course. We can be proud of how we the club is run when they finish 6th this season and fighting for a Europa league spot next year.

  9. Soccerlogical says:

    And yet new owners always come in to save the day or adjust the business model for top clubs… same old same ol’. MC=Thaksan Shiniwat->Sheikh Mansour, LIV=G+H->FSG, etc.

    PS All this FFP and sound investing is total BS, You think all these Billionaire owners got to be wealthy by not knowing what they are doing.. come on. TOO BIG TO FAIL!

    How serious can this actually be:
    Furthermore, deep in Uefa’s 91-page FFP document lies a safety net. Even if a club misses the break-even target, it can still be granted a licence if it meets two criteria – the trend of losses is improving; and the over-spend is caused by the wages of players that were contracted before June 2010 (when the fair-play rules were approved). However, that flexibility is only available for the reporting period ending in 2012.

    “There can be objective reasons for making a loss but there must be a strategy of coping with it, over a three year period, for example,” explained Infantino. “All of this will be analysed by the panel and, of course, as the ultimate decision, exclusion is possible.”

  10. Alberta Gooner says:


    Don’t let the haters get you down and keep the faith in Wenger’s ability to spot and develop talent. Johnny-come-lately prawn-munching plastics who want instant success bought can learn the words to Blue Moon and buy some Oasis CDs.

  11. Soccerlogical says:

    Goonz – You’re the best! 🙂

  12. History teaches us nothing.
    Hicks and Gillett savvy business men?
    Rich and powerful business men took the world to the edge of economic calamity just a matter of months ago and it still is far from clear when we will get out of that mess.
    Seems like a good reason to put faith is their decisions.

  13. I believe the edit button issue is no fixed. Sorry for any inconvenience.

  14. Soccerlogical says:

    AG – Let’s repeat “Spot and develop talent” 3 times while clicking our heels and drinking the “punch” in Jonestown!

  15. John Bladen says:

    Dr. Scoot: No the world will not stop using oil. However, one day that oil money’s owner might no longer wish to spend any of it on his EPL plaything. Then what?

    And Mr. Abramovich may one day fall out with his friend Mr. Putin. At that point, I would expect RA’s outlook to mirror that of Mr. Khodorkovsky, Mr. Berezovsky and others. Still wealthy men by any standard, but no longer able to access the near endless stream of money from their Russian concerns.

    SL: Too big to fail?

    Are you suggesting that Hank Paulson will dragoon the US congress into using taxpayer money to save Man City, Chelsea, or others in the event their owners no longer care to fund their ongoing operational losses?

    The only reason the companies collectively (and derisively) termed ‘too big to fail’ are around is because someone (the taxpayer) was forced to bail them out without having a vote on it. There is, simply, no such thing as ‘too big to fail’ – particularly in a sporting context.

    BTW, you don’t have to repeat your phrase in Jonestown. You could do it across town at Old Trafford – where the ‘other’ club wins scads of trophies by doing just that (with the odd Berbatov signing thrown in). MCFC’s total in the oil money days: One FA cup (over the mighty Potters, no less).

    If spending money was the answer, Real Madrid and MCFC would have appeared in the last three CL finals. Remind me how that’s gone?

  16. DrScoot says:

    John: I don’t believe that the MCFC owner is going to tire of spending $ on his plaything anytime soon. While they may only have an FA Cup to show for his spending ways, that his going to change this year. That team is frightenly good.

    I wish the name of the game was developing your own players and spending wisely but those days are gone. If you want to find bargain players who are 18 – 19 and hope that they are top notch one day, it is a flawed strategy. You win nothing while you wait for them to develop, and the 10% of those guys that turn into gold will go to a team that will pay them (e.g., Nasri). It is a vicious cycle that won’t pay off. Arsenal will become the Pittsburgh Pirates of football: develop young players and sell them when it’s time to pay them. Now that Wenger has a warchest of $ from the Fabregas and Nasri fire sale, let’s see if he spends it on quality or looks for a bargain (like a South Korean forward from a relegated Ligue 1 squad).

    On the bright side, we will shred the Championship league next year after getting relegated with the garbage squad that was on the pitch today for an EMBARRASING defeat. It is depressing to be an Arsenal fan.

  17. John Bladen says:

    Scoot: No chance the Gunners get relegated.

    Yes, today was bad. It was always going to be a bad game after selling Fabregas & Nasri with no ‘replacement’ yet in sight. Add to that the suspensions and an already weaker team faced Man U absent four of their best starters (ok, three…)

    The team that just beat us has a habit of buying solid youngsters at 16-18 and developing them. It seems to have worked ok for them, no?

    Look at the financials I posted earlier (and Bob posted months ago). Arsenal is not a low revenue club, despite what some think.

    If you believe there are four of five great targets available worth Arsenal ‘breaking the bank’ for, can you name them?

  18. DrScoot says:


    The relegation comment was more “tongue in cheek” than realistic although Blackburn, Wigan, etc. could probably have kept the score within 6 #$$% goals. Once Gervinho and Song return coupled with a healthy Wilshere and Diaby, they will be competitive. Unfortunately, this is not a frachise where people should be satisfied with being competitive. They are supposed to compete for titles.

    ManU develops young players but not as a tool to sell to the highest bidder and pocket the $ without reinvesting it on the field. The fact that Arsenal is not a low revenue club is what infuriates people because they act like one. There are not many big $ targets now because they are mostly gone (e.g., Lukaku, Mata, Aguero, etc.). Wenger knew Fabregas was going months ago and should have sold him early and spent the $ when he could get an impact player. One potential impact player potentially available is Hazard but he will cost significant $. It would be a good matchup with his former teamate, Gervinho.

    It’s a good thing today’s game only counts as one loss. The goal differential may prove costly if they can turn this season around and magically have a shot at the 4th spot come May. That is a longshot however I fear it may be the best case scenario for Gunner fans this year.

  19. John Bladen says:

    Dr Scoot:

    Yeah, I hear you. I expected a 4-0 or 4-1 beating… but not 8 goals.

    I think Hazard would be a great signing too. And hopefully he’ll come for no more than half what Nasri left for… thoughts? Have they mentioned possible numbers yet?

    As things stand now, I would agree that a top four finish is unlikely. That said, I don’t expect Wenger to stand pat through both transfer windows.

  20. Dr. Scoot says:


    It will be an interesting three days.

    I enjoyed the dialogue. Too bad we couldn’t be debating more pleasant situation.

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