Sunday, April 30, 2017
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Football

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Following the announcement on Sunday that Bradford City Football Club has been sold, the new owners Stefan Rupp and Edin Rahic are now in full control of the club marking a new chapter in its history.

The joint owners have been friends and business associates for a number of years and see their investment as a long term commitment to the club.

Edin (Chairman/Chief Executive) will move to the UK with his family and base himself permanently at the Coral Windows Stadium working alongside Chief Operating Officer James Mason to maintain the continuity of relationship between the board of directors, the fans and players.

Stefan is expected to stay in Germany in the immediate future but will make regular visits to the UK and be fully involved in club affairs.

Speaking yesterday, Edin explained the reasons behind the investment, ‘Both myself and Stefan have a background in business and sport, and after looking at a number of clubs in England, Bradford City had the potential and fan base that interested us most. We do not have plans to make big changes but to work with the existing structure. We have seen the way the club and fans interact and the model of affordable football is very important to us. I met with Phil (Parkinson) this morning and we had a very encouraging discussion about the future.’

‘We understand there is a lot to do over the summer and we must manage expectations of the fans in the short term. We agreed the season ticket prices before we took over because we fully support the idea of cheaper ticketing and having witnessed games here at the stadium we know how passionate the fans are. We are looking forward to working with everyone associated with the club and respect its traditions.’

James Mason added, ‘This is a new era in the history of Bradford City Football Club. Both my team and I will be giving our new owners all the support the club needs to succeed. I’m sure the fans will do the same. It’s a testimony to how we have developed over recent years under the stewardship of both Julian Rhodes and Mark Lawn that the club is an attractive business proposition.’

‘Our aim is to continue to grow the fan base and develop the club commercially to support Phil and the players. We know we have built a unique bond with the club and its supporters at the heart of the community. We are a very special club with undeniable potential.’

It was agreed that the announcement of the club’s sale would be postponed until after the play offs concluded so as not to be a distraction at a crucial time of the season. Attention now focuses on preparing the playing squad for next season and on selling season tickets (which are now on sale at £149.00).

The club’s new kit will also be launched later this week.

Source: Bradford City AFC

 

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By Ansar Jawed (1st March 2016) at the Carol windows stadium, Bradford

Don’t you just hate those statistics? Even more when they are silently screaming nonsense and making you wonder why we rely on them: pure and utter bull?

I mean come on; more than half the possession, more shots (a dozen to be precise), more shots on target, more corners and for a kick in the teeth while you are eating grass and without the rub of the green… with less fouls, we lose! How’s that work out?

Teams rely on fans, the twelfth man! They are inspired by their songs and their anthems, created with passionate heart racing, loud battle cries and vibrant colourful waves of support.

Colchester had only what, fifty, from a population of more than 104,000 people?

I have heard that In AD 77 it was called Camulodunum by the Romans and is said to be the earliest known reference to a fixed settlement in Britain, hence the claim to be Britain’s oldest recorded town. Having said all that, to be fair, Essex is a long long way from Bradistan.

This is the problem with some losers, the under dogs, and Bantams have themselves done it to the likes of Chelsea; it ups their game, it lifts them up, it inspires them to be the giant killers!

In other words if the fans do not play it right, it works for the opposition more than it works for their own team. Boo your team at your peril when it is in need of your support.

As doubles go their guy Ambrose doubled his score, his team had secured a double against the Bantams this season. A double disappointment for us in an away loss and then at home to the same team who had not won for the past 19 games.

In the opening half of the first half we were full of steam and running like a well-oiled engine. Wes Thomas put us ahead with the crowd’s favourite new boy, live wire Josh Cullen’s pass. Why, there was even some talk of a cricket score from Bradford fans already.

The bantams had counted their bantams before they were hatched.

Struggling Colchester, the team that had not won since their home success of 2-1 in October started to come together. And lo and behold, with their new Manager who had not seen his side win since his appointment had levelled the score before half time.

We were expecting and looking out for a real wind whirling snow storm but I could feel some perspiration in my fingers.

Come the second half and it was game on.

Something went wrong with the host team. It was as though someone had put different heads on different players in Bradford dressing room. Reed was not reading right and James was not heading or jumping right. All were doing unexpected things including the manager.

We hadn’t played this rubbish for ages!

It was definitely a bad day at the office. A case of don’t ask… It happens to the best of us. I mean ask Chelsea, ask Man U, ask anyone but don’t ask me!

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By Ansar Jawed

It is ironic to realise that ‘dead ball delivery’, is the same as what’s called, ‘a set piece’. When a team is on the whole lacking in confidence, communication or is arrogantly careless, it gets undone during these set pieces.

Ut_HKthATH4eww8X4xMDoxOjBzMTt2bJWithout rubbing it in, as I know well enough how it feels to be on the receiving end. It happened to Southend United in front of 17,000 pair of eyes last month not once but twice. The two said goals were posted in a chalk cheese fashion by the host team which is as we know usually shy of hitting the net in any outing.

The first was a free kick from McMahan, a curling Waseem Akram like swinger towards the top left corner from around 25 yards, well out of the reach of the despairing air born keeper.

The other came in the second half in the 75th minute, again a McMahan delivery from a corner which found Hanson’s head and bounced off the post and then off the limbs of one or two of the players and finally dribbled into the goalmouth.

It’s a small world; they say but don’t let that warm your hearts about how common human or playing conditions are between us and them. There are not so many. They were not here to lose; Phil, their manager, neither their team nor their fans would love to stay above us in the table and I bet in their geographical positions as well.

Phil-Parkinson-Bradford-CityThe temperature, a couple of degrees above Pennine’s Wuthering heights, no doubt, is enough to make any of the visiting fans wish they were back in in the 42 square kilometres of the North side of the Thames estuary instead of being here, getting poked by the settling icy particles of the numbing Northern air.

As similarities go, apart from having a newspaper also called the, ’Echo’ they have a similar naming Gaffer, ironically called Phil as well, Phil Brown. He most certainly is a familiar figure, who can be frequently heard at 5 Alive and seen as a footy expert on our screens. To his credit you may also remember that he was the first manager who led Hull City to their first flight to the top division in their 104- year history.

Bradford was where the two Phil’s locked horns and produced a match worth getting out and sitting in the gigantic fridge avoiding, living with an unhealthy premiership viewing addictions.

Southend played threateningly and with more fluidity than Bradford in the first half to start with but as the evening wore on Bantams gained rhythm and rhyme. Nearly half way in the first half they were asking questions and having the lion’s share of the possession with an all-important first goal.

Bantams kick started the second half but clearly united had been given their orders to pull no punches and pull one back, they were showing renewed vigour and throwing the spanner in the works. Second goal is always a decider and United were hell-bent on going for it.

James Hanson is a big lad and gets roughed up from all quarters. He might not come across as having the grace of an Arab through bread, but he is an important central rock solid figure of this team. He has grown tall in stature and confidence especially with his own two goal contribution in the historic 4-0 win at the Posh of the previous match. It therefore is befitting for James to have had the last say.

The team seems to have jelled at the right time ready for the big push. In PP we trust; to set records and make histories at this club. Who knows what may surprise us around the corner, but we are now well set up for the fight, for a chance, hope and possibilities. We might be cold but are definitely looking up.

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by Aroosa Munir
by Aroosa Munir

Leicester City’s dream campaign shows no signs of stopping. The Foxes sit at the number two spot of the Premier League (2 points off Arsenal), despite starting the season as one of the favourites to be relegated.

The Foxes incredible form has been the undisputed success story of the Premier League so far this season. But how has the club, only promoted to England’s elite division in 2014 after a 10-year absence, done it? “They will fall away eventually. It will never last.” This was and still is in some parts, the common view on Leicester City’s position as in the Premier League.

iHowever, branding their season as ‘pure luck’ is a bit unfair. For a start, leading goal scorer Jamie Vardy has struck 15 times in the league this term, the same tally as La Liga superstars Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo combined until recently. There is no ‘luck’ in that.

Meanwhile, Foxes midfielder Riyad Mahrez (a bargain buy from French club Le Havre), has scored an incredible 13 times putting him ahead of Tottenham’s dynamic Harry Kane who has found the back of the net 11 times.

leicester-city-fc-directors-box-goal-celebrationIn addition to this, the decision to appoint the experienced Claudio Ranieri was questioned and even mocked. This was a manager who had just failed spectacularly with his first attempt at international management, losing four and drawing one of his five matches in charge of Greece, with the last these defeats coming at home to the Faroe Islands. Despite having taken charge of Chelsea, Valencia, Juventus, Napoli, Fiorentina, Atlético Madrid, Roma and Internazionale, he has just two domestic trophies and no top-flight league titles to his name. Leicester’s quality, team spirit and togetherness, forged by Pearson, has been further encouraged by his successor and is at the heart of the success story.

With all that said and done, Leicester City were the Premier League’s Christmas number one. Money may talk very loudly in the Premier League but it clearly doesn’t say everything. The ‘filthy rich’ clubs such as Chelsea and Manchester City respectively, are currently trailing behind the East Midland team.

Navigating obstacles ahead of them would surely bring a few more believers but there are some obvious concerns. Leicester have fielded just 21 different players in the league this season. Only struggling Swansea have deployed fewer and Ranieri plainly does not share his rivals’ capacity to freshen up the pack when the fixtures come thick and fast. Vardy and Mahrez started 26 and 25 Premier League games, respectively, last season; both are on course to be virtually ever-present this time around too. Will there come a point where they will burn out? Or ‘blip’? Who do Leicester turn to then?

Many questions are unanswered and many doubts are still in the back of people’s minds. There is still a fair degree of scepticism surrounded the Foxes’ blistering start to the season as many pundits firmly believed it wouldn’t last, but the results the players continue to achieve, show it was no flash in the pan. Impostors, pretenders, or bang on course for the most audacious title heist of the Premier League era? It is a question that nobody quite seems sure what to do with. In an age that fortifies us all with the tools for strident opinion forming, Leicester have disarmed everybody.

As Ranieri aptly sums up the situation, “Why can’t we continue to run, run, run? We are like Forrest Gump. Leicester is Forrest Gump. I give you the headline there.”

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by Aroosa Munir
by Aroosa Munir

The champions are wheezing. This has already been Chelsea’s worst start since 1998. They currently sit 8 points adrift of last season’s runners-up in the fledgling Premier League table. Of course it is too early to talk of crisis, with both Ivanovic and Costa having publicly pushed for improvement rather than panic, but should there be a panic? Should Chelsea fans begin to worry?

Although previous champions have come back from worse, there have only been two occasions in the last 10 seasons where a team has gone on to win the league having had fewer than six points from their opening three games.

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So what is the reason for the slow start that has caused Stamford Bridge discomfort so far this season?

There have been pre-season complaints with the bulk of the Chelsea team only just returning for training on the 14th July. Chelsea returned to England after their US tour with only two full days to prepare for the Community Shield. In addition to this, the lack of transfer activity has not helped. They have been unable to replicate the early and impressively efficient transfer dealings that marked last summer’s stars. A year on from Diego Costa, Cesc Fabregas and Thibaut Courtois, Chelsea have not actually added any competition for places a year on.

Finally, are Chelsea’s rocks at the spine of their team beginning to show their age? John Terry’s departure at half time was the first time he had been replaced in 177 games under Mourinho. Although the manager explained it being a tactical move to benefit the team with Zouma’s pace, the question rises, would this had been the case a couple of years ago? John Terry played every minute of every game last season, the whole team relied on him, however the captain will be turning 35 this year and the team cannot look to him in time of need and desperation every single time anymore.

The problem for Chelsea and the rest of the challengers in the Premier League this campaign so far is that Manchester City have begun with an intent which was lacking last season. They are sprinting ahead while others are stumbling behind, although it will be intriguing to see if City’s failure to get a point against Juventus in the Champions League and their failure to get 3 points against West Ham will affect the rest of their season.

The Premier League season has only just begun and this Chelsea team have shown in the past that they can gather momentum and steam roll ahead but it is safe to assume it was not supposed to start this way.

 

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by Aroosa Munir

With the recent biggest buy of the summer by Manchester City, bagging ex-Liverpool starlet Raheem Sterling, the ‘Anfield curse’ is yet to begin.

15446Raheem Sterling may believe he has headed to the greener side, however just ask Michael Owen and Fernando Torres on their thoughts about life after Anfield. Statistics can reveal that those strikers who shine bright at Anfield have often failed to hit the same heights after exciting one of England’s most famous and successful clubs.

Michael Owen and Fernando Torres are the immediate famous players who come to mind when thinking about the Anfield curse. They both departed Liverpool at the peak of their careers – the Spaniard for Chelsea and Owen for Real Madrid. Torres was great in the air, electric pace, strong off both feet and incredibly difficult to knock off the ball. He combined with Steven GerrardMichael-Owen-Image to form one of the most feared partnerships in World football. In his four and a half years at Anfield, Torres found the back of the net an impressive 81 times. Similarly, in Michael Owen’s first full season in the Premier League he finished as joint top scorer with 18 goals. He repeated this the following year and was Liverpool’s top goal scorer from 1997–2004 and gained his name as a proven goal scorer. They went to arguably the ‘most successful’ clubs at that time but neither forward was able to replicate their striking abilities at their new home.

However, this ‘curse’ goes back to the days of Rush and Fowler. Anfield legends who wore the number 7 and number 9 both reduced their goal output once they advanced their careers elsewhere.

Liverpool's new signing Fernando Torres with manager Rafael Benitez (left) during a press conference at Anfield, Liverpool.

So what is the real reason behind the Anfield curse? Why can’t players replicate their form elsewhere? Could it be the lack of support? The change in surroundings? Or is it merely down to the ‘curse’ from the Anfield faithful?

Indeed, there are forwards whose records have improved after leaving the club, including Titi Camara, Andriy Voronin, Andy Carroll and El-Hadji Diouf.

However, it remains to be seen whether Sterling will fall the same way as those who believed the grass would be greener in pastures new but it would certainly represent a shift in the narrative of Liverpool forwards in recent times.

Can Raheem Sterling avoid the struggles other star players have faced after leaving Anfield? With his most recent miss against West Brom, putting the ball past the gaping goal, it is yet to be seen if he can rekindle the same form which set Anfield’s roaring Kop alight with.

 

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by Aroosa Munir

Here’s a preview of the 2015/2016 Premier League and a look at the best signings who could determine where the title ultimately goes.

The Premier League’s elite are off on their pre-season tours and the start of the season is fast approaching, which means it’s time for you to think about your star players and pull out your football shirts and scarves.

With the Premier League kick-off fast approaching, the country’s top clubs have been quietly preparing for the new season. The squads are taking shape for the new Premier League season, and some signings have been more impressive than others.

Whether it is a big-money arrival or a clever addition to a team, new signings all serve their purpose for managers hungry to build on what happened last season or establish a new beginning. But which players have been the best arrivals?

SWANSEA, WALES - SEPTEMBER 20: Nathaniel Clyne of Southampton in action during the Barclays Premier League match between Swansea City and Southampton at Liberty Stadium on September 20, 2014 in Swansea, Wales. (Photo by Steve Bardens/Getty Images)

Nathaniel Clyne

We’ve often heard grumblings about “the English premium”, a price tag placed on young native players that makes them far more expensive than their foreign players and so when you can snap up a 24-year-old current England international for £12.5 million, that has to be a cause for celebration. Right-back Nathaniel Clyne plays in a position where Liverpool struggled last season and cried out for a right-back like Clyne, and as a proven Premier League performer, he instantly improves Brendan Rodgers’ side.

Gerard DeulofeuGerard Deulofeu

Another signing which may go unseen is Everton’s of Gerard Deulofeu. Everton supporters spent more time on the edges of their seats than sitting in them during Gerard Deulofeu’s loan spell at Goodison Park in the 2013/14 campaign, so his permanent signing at the club is a cause for celebrations for the blue half of Merseyside. The nippy winger is a creative force who is now on board full-time at Everton, he’ll be a key player for manager Roberto Martinez in a 2015/16 that promises yet more excitement for Blues fans.

Raheem SterlingRaheem Sterling

Some may call it ridiculous, some may call it over-priced and some may just call it ‘typical modern day football’. Discussions over the vast £49 million fee might still be doing the rounds, but Manchester City have secured themselves a real talent in Raheem Sterling—who at 20 years old only looks like he’s going to get better. However, if he hits the ground running, that fee will be the last thing on people’s minds.

Firminio LiverpoolRoberto Firmino

Everyone loves a Brazilian, and with the arrival of Roberto Firmino at Liverpool, the Premier League is about to see another one. The 23-year-old makes his way to Anfield from Hoffenheim. Just how Firmino adapts to English football promises to be one of the more fascinating aspects of the new campaign, and it’s going to be fun to find out what happens. A Brazilian signing is always something to get excited about.

Soccer - Yohan Cabaye File Photo...File photo dated 10/03/2013 of Newcastle United's Yohan Cabaye. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Tuesday August 27, 2013. Newcastle boss Alan Pardew has insisted he will put the club before Yohan Cabaye or any other player. See PA story SOCCER Newcastle. Photo credit should read: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire

Yohan Cabaye

Few transfers into the Premier League this summer have raised as many eyebrows as Yohan Cabaye’s from PSG to Crystal Palace, where the former Newcastle United midfielder will link up with his old boss, Alan Pardew. After superbly leading Palace to safety and beyond last season, Pardew will now be determined to create a lasting legacy at Selhurst Park, and the addition of the classy French international Cabaye will certainly add to that possibility.

Bastian ShweinsteigerBastian Schweinsteiger

One of the signings of the summer has to go to Manchester United, although the doubters will tell you that he’s past his best and has suffered with injuries in the past couple of years, but Bastian Schweinsteiger’s move from Bayern Munich to Manchester United seems to be more than just a transfer. It has restored a swagger to the club that had been missing. On the pitch, Schweinsteiger will bring authority and organisation to a United side whose midfield has been weak since the Scholes era, and his influence will allow Louis van Gaal to have both a leader on the pitch and a player he trusts implicitly.

petr cechPetr Cech

However, an £11 million deal for a 33-year-old seems like an unlikely No. 1 transfer, but Arsenal’s move for Petr Cech could be quite remarkably the signing of the season come May 2016. The Gunners have immensely strengthened their squad with the addition of the Czech, who comes into Arsene Wenger’s side and immediately improves it in an area where it drastically needed surgery for many years. Cech could prove to be the difference between a credible title challenge and just another season in the top four for Wenger’s men, and given the promise they showed at Emirates Stadium last season, they seem to be in a perfect position from which to build.

The upcoming Premier League will no doubt bring us plenty of highs, lows and memories which may live on forever. With the new signings made as mentioned above the Premier League will bring more excitement than ever before. It’s time to buckle, sit back and get behind your team, it’s going to be a long ride!

Bradford schools, Madrassahs and youth clubs are set to score a victory against hatred and intolerance by playing in a nationwide football tournament to mark the 20th anniversary of the Srebrenica genocide.

Bradford Council has signed up schools and youth teams to take part in Remembering Srebrenica’s ‘8-3-7-2 Tournament’, which aims to unite 8372 young people in 380 schools across the country to play football on the same day – Friday 5th June.

A number of teams made up of pupils aged from 10 to 16 will take to the pitch at Marley Stadium in Keighley. Students from Carlton Bolling College will have their own competition at the school earlier in the day. The teams will observe a minute’s silence in memory of the genocide victims before the game.

The winning team will go into a draw to meet tournament ambassador Bosnia-Herzegovina goalkeeper Asmir Begović and be invited to a trophy presentation at the Srebrenica memorial service planned by Bradford Council at City Hall on 4 July. Asmir Begović, the Stoke City shot-stopper is backing the tournament, which aims to encourage pupils to learn lessons from the genocide. The figure 8372 represents the number of individuals who lost their lives during the atrocity in eastern Bosnia-Herzegovina in July 1995.

Cllr. Alex Ross –Shaw, Regional Ambassador for the Remembering Srebrenica government initiative said:

“It’s fantastic so many young people from different backgrounds are taking part in this important event. Over 150 Bradford children will be involved and we’ll be working with the various organisations and schools to discuss ways they can learn about the tragic events at Srebrenica.”

Remembering Srebrenica Chairman Dr Waqar Azmi OBE said:

“In the 20th anniversary year of the Srebrenica genocide what more powerful way is there than football to unite our young people and inspire them to help kick racism, hatred and intolerance out of our society.

“We’re delighted that so many young people from Bradford have signed up to stand united with us in remembering Srebrenica through football, learning the lessons from the past to create a better and safer future.”

Asmir Begović was himself forced to leave Bosnia as a child during the 1992-1995 conflict. He said:

“The Srebrenica genocide was the worst war crime in Europe since the Second World War. It happened 20 years ago this July in my home country of Bosnia-Herzegovina. I’m proud to support Remembering Srebrenica’s 8-3-7-2 Tournament which brings young people together through football to remember the victims and survivors. It’s a really powerful way to help the next generation to learn about the importance of tackling hatred and intolerance. This will help us to build a stronger society around the world.”

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by Aroosa Munir @AroosaUrbanEcho

This is one of the most common debates in the sporting world and, naturally, everybody has different opinions about it. With the news recently about Raheem Sterling turning down a £100,000 per week contract at Liverpool FC, the question arises again. Are footballers overpaid?

Let’s just put footballers’ wages into perspective. Lionel Messi, the world’s highest paid footballer (and arguably the best footballer in the world), is paid over 190 times more money every year than the Prime Minster of our country, David Cameron!

There are a million articles written weekly about how footballers are overpaid. However, I am going to take a more unusual route for this debate and contemplate how the wages ‘can’ be justified.

ronaldo_5624fReal Madrid recently posted a total revenue of 500 million euros coming from TV rights, ticket sales, and merchandise sales amongst other sales. The argument of footballer wages comes down to the reason of this revenue – which are the footballers themselves. They are the ones responsible for all the money being generated, so should they not benefit significantly from it? Football is essentially a form of entertainment, fans sit anxiously awaiting and encouraging their team, they pay to see their idols perform their exceptional talent week in, week out. If you asked a football fan about the wage being paid to their favourite footballer, they wouldn’t have a significant problem with it as long as he continues to perform well. So why does everyone else have a problem?

For footballers, there is a group of approximately 25 players who form the basis of a team and are integral in shaping the clubs’ revenue. This essentially means that some are indispensable and can’t easily be replaced like most regular employees. For all the revenue that players bring to the club from kit sales to winning goals in Championships, they deserve to have a good cut in the money?

These are all rhetorical questions which you can answer for yourself but another factor is the career length of some players. Most football players have a very short career span that lasts approximately 15 years, some are cut short by injury while others last slightly longer. In other careers, you work for 40 years and then you’re given a pension for the rest of your life to live on. Footballers have only a short period to amass all the money that they are likely going to live the rest of their lives on.

rvp-wayne-rooneyIn addition to this, footballers are now celebrities. With that sort of recognition also comes fame. Players can hardly get any privacy, they are always being photographed wherever they are and with a big financial resource they can acquire some privacy.

My main point is that everyone is continuously complaining about this debate, yet there is very little we can do about this madness. Even if every fan in the UK were to tear up their season ticket, or stop watching Sky, it wouldn’t make any difference to the Premier League Clubs finances, which are totally unconnected with the sport, or its supporters. Football is a global phenomenon, where the game itself counts for little or nothing. At the end of the day the clubs are in business, their success is income and players are paid to play and entertain, the more you pay the better the show. The wages will continue to rise for decades to come, so instead of the constant complaints and debates, why not kick back and enjoy the entertainment of football which we love and adore in this country?

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by Urban Echo reporter

The Gunners’ faithful have been divided on the issue of whether Arsene Wenger is still the right man for Arsenal. Having been in charge of the north London side since 1996, there are many Arsenal fans who feel the club needs to move on from Wenger in order to win trophies consistently once again.

arsene-wenger_1ud8qn7nlonyd1auj7ezapd9woArsene Wenger always happens to be the subject to criticism when Arsenal face a dip in form by a minority of Arsenal fans and football pundits around the world. But does he really deserve criticism? Not to discredit the group of Arsenal fans who still believe Wenger is the right man to lead Arsenal.

The 65-year-old, whose contract at the Emirates Stadium expires in 2017, helped his team end a 10 year trophy drought by winning the FA Cup last season and recruited names such as Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil. Considering their huge financial cost which they faced after the move to the Emirates, Arsenal were forced to operate on a limited budget compared to their Premier League rivals, which contributed towards their lack of success between 2005 and 2014. However, within them seasons the lowest Arsenal finished was a respectful fourth position. It is worth mentioning that the only clubs that Arsenal have finished below are those with a superior spending power.

Moving to the Emirates and still finishing within the top four is some achievement by the French manager. Although it may be overlooked many times and overshadowed by performances on the pitch, if it was so easy the question arises as to why no one else has followed in his footsteps? Liverpool, Everton, Tottenham, even Chelsea could arguably do with larger stadiums.

CS73516585WEST-BROMWICH-ENGSince Wenger’s appointment on 30th September, 1996, 153 managers have taken charge of Premier League clubs and eighteen years on, he’s still fighting for the top positions in world football. The retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson left Wenger as English football’s longest-serving manager. It is also worth noting that Jose Mourinho has spent more money, in just under two years, than Wenger had spent in ten years at Arsenal. Wenger has never enjoyed the long-term, endless financial resources that Ferguson had, or Mourinho has at Chelsea, or Manuel Pellegrini has enjoyed at the Etihad Stadium, yet he has consistently finished in the top end of the table.

Arsenal have been known for their distinctive style of football similar to that of Barcelona and Spain and one can argue that this is solely down to Wenger’s strong idea about how football is to be played. He possesses a special vision which cannot be said about many managers, who simply mistake formations for the substance of the game.

The magnitude of managing a club like Arsenal comes with many responsibilities. Therefore there is understandable pressure on Wenger to deliver. But has it really got to that stage? Has it got to a stage where players, pundits and fans are looking for a reason to sack the man who has been a part of Arsenal in his name? For all his weaknesses, the argument that he has yet produced a sackable set of results – even in the more difficult later years of his reign – remains unconvincing.

The end will eventually come in the next few years; Arsene Wenger’s eighteen year reign in charge of Arsenal has brought more than just success. From 1996 to 2005, there were Premier League titles, FA Cups and history with the ‘Invincibles.’ But a whole season unbeaten? What an achievement. Surely building the greatest and best team in Premier League history deserves some credit!

Arsenal supporters and the rest of the footballing world might not realise it at this time but we are currently helping to write the final chapter in the reign of the most important individual in Arsenal club’s history. At some stage in the future, books will be written and documentaries will be made about Arsene Wenger’s tenure as Arsenal manager. Let’s appreciate him and credit him whilst he’s still doing his business on and off the pitch.

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