The Alpha male & The Arsenal’s future.

One Arsene Wenger

One Arsene Wenger

“Has Wenger left yet?” . Sticker Protests. Twitter AKB/WOB debates, and the marches. Press room drama and Sun Block. We’ve heard it all.

We all love him. And quite a few love to hate him. Most of that being recent. And not all for the same reasons. Transfer activity, tactics (lack of), deadwood support, BS in press (squad is complete) and death of good looking football to name a few. 

Imagine Roman looking at this list and asking “So what is the question then?”.

But hey, this is not a WOB post. And also I am well aware of the counter arguments; AFC Board+Stadium+Youth+FFP+Unlucky with injuries+ Top 4 consistency. Yes all right you have a point too, may be. And this is how most debates begin and end. “I see your 8 trophyless years, and raise you consistent CL qualification”. And vice versa. Most issues have some sensible reasoning that one can perhaps fathom. For instance the stadium comes at a cost. Yes we get it.

Most debates can be settled. But there is this last nagging splint in the discussion which we have no answers for. Call it lack of killer instinct or being boys, or softies or any other term you like. But we can’t keep pressure for 90 minutes and we fail to kill the games almost every time, in the past few seasons. Making more gooners meeting each other in the cardiologist’s waiting queue. This post is about exploring that aspect alone.

You have to admit & appreciate the contrast between us & Utd today. At 0-2 our TLs are filled with abuse, pessimism & i-told-you-sos. Check a Utd TL at 0-2 who are talking about subs and making it 3-2 at least. And Utd manage it. Almost every single time.

It’s 11 grown up men playing for one of the biggest clubs in the world. Yet they play like boys. Lack urgency till we’re 0-1 (or 0-2 these days) and usually start responding to crowd pressure after 68th minute. What’s the problem you gotta ask. Is it some massive invincibles hangover that we are mightier than RM+Barca+Bayern+Milan’s history and we fear our own strength so much so that we could destroy any opposition by just staring at them, so why bother with sweating it out? Why do shoulders sag so easily. Why does the its-all-over thought even cross their minds, with 10 minutes still to play? Are they in their heads already imagining AW’s post game excuse. ‘Jaded’.. or “1 point wasn’t too bad in these conditions” etc. Really? A season ticket holder is paying through his nose for your 60k/week so we can get 90 mins of pure action out of you. Why is it possible at a Blackpool / Swansea & Utd and not here.

Consider this. How often have you seen Ox/Gibbs/Ramsey looking towards the bench after a meek shot at goal, or a poor pass. (Add Cazorla to it lately)

Alpha Logic:
In Arsene Wenger we have one of the most sophisticated managers on the planet. An intelligent, clever and sharp man. Whose every word is measured. Each thought weighed. Always dressed sharply and always appears sincere. In his post game thoughts, or in his support of his players. He is a good man too with a socialist view to football’s economic principles. If this man ever gave you 2 minutes of his time, you’d want to get yourself a new suit and shoes and hope you don’t say anything to make a fool of yourself. Because he’d can call you an idiot in more languages than you can count.

Add to that his illustrious first decade here and the respect from players from all over the world and managers like SAF himself. His consistent record, accolades & constant support from fans+Board, and his repute to be the respectable revolutionary with unquestionable intentions have made him an Alpha male . Yes. The Alpha Male at The Arsenal. The first of/at anything Arsenal. He is untouchable today says Woj in an interview recently. The fans dare not say anything against or they’d get stick from other fans or ex-players. Even AFC board’s+Stan’s view on the matter is obviously quite obvious.

As a general rule of survival you don’t fuck around with the Alpha Male. Be it your coach, VP, Mafia Boss, a politician or a pissed off cop. You don’t invite trouble when its not needed. You wait for orders. You listen and follow. Now picture Cazorla’s face again after missing that volley. His expressions say “Sowwy Daddy” as he winces and looks towards the bench. Some of these thoughts might be agreeing with you and some of you could be thinking SAF. He is an Alpha Male too, and perhaps an even scarier one.

Well yes and no. Yes SAF wields a fearsome hair-dryer. He’d let anyone have it, for lack of his performance or speaking roobish out loud. Something Rooney learnt the hard way. He’ll call a spade a spade. He’ll immediately bench the culprits for the next 3 games or months, and after the next failure that player could consider himself on the despatch list. Much like an american dad who’d tell his teenage kid stand up for himself  get a job, pay for his own education and be counted as a man.

By contrast Arsene is more of an Asian dad. He is protective and caring. Way too much, too many times. He’d never lay blame or point fingers. He’d give chance after chance. And even when the player wants to leave, he’d facilitate the best exit terms possible. He’d take the bullet for you and suffer silently without telling you. And its that silence that creates further distance to someone who is already an Alpha Male. It is further transfer of power to the ‘giver’. With each missed opportunity / drop points you slip further in the debt of emotions. Silent treatment is perhaps more torturous and painful, for you don’t know what it cold mean, much like a horror film. SAF burns that bridge by telling you what exactly is in store for you. He spells out the what-ifs, making others less fearful and more equal.

Disappointing Wenger is a frightful prospect. A man who is pure and has given his all to you… how could you? Deep inside every man is a good person and that person can recognise the good in Arsene and would try his best not to meet his gaze after a failure. Be it a good boy like Aaron or a complete shin kicking bastard like Persie.

Conceding to the Alpha male has its effect on the bravado and the general testosterone levels. Much akin to the 2 woof pups. 2 woofs at the stranger. Look at daddy dog. 2 more hoofs. Look back. Find a sock. Sniff some tail. Look back etc. Beta males are waggingly happy that way.

On the field we are no different. Clueless pups. Who actually are supposed to be good pedigree and well trained. But somehow they just keep looking back at each other and the daddy dog.

How long?
That’s a good question, which does not have a clear answers. You can definitely not question the man’s intent. He means well and his trying his best to beat the evil. Besides its lauded by FFP believers and of course makes fantastic business sense. At least in the short term. The Board and Stan could pressurise Arsene into making big signings and approve doubling wages, but there is no real guarantee that we’ll lift CL trophy because of it, as Arsene pointed out recently. It then is an obvious choice, to stick to the low risk strategy. And suits emotionless scavengers like Kroenke perfectly. “Check-mate motherfuckers” – regards, Uncle Stan.

Alpha male also has a strong scent and you can’t get over it overnight. In fact its so overwhelming that some question if Arsenal is all because of Arsene or the other way around. Automatically leading to the conclusion that after Arsene there could be no Arsenal. Its end of the world as we know it. As we know it. We don’t know enough quite clearly.

The future.
To my mind there are 2 clear possibilities out of this situation which I with utmost displeasure refer to as status-quo. Both the possibilities however are time taking.

The first scenario is  the natural ageing of the Alpha Male. With time the aggression subsides. And with age others feel its less disrespectful to question the leadership. Which in real world date terms is 2014.

The second scenario is the rise of the second alpha male. Who? Do you really need a clue? The prince of London. Arsenal DNA factory. Archie’s father. A man of steel (already) and the future of England. Jack Wilshere. (too much maybe? ok sorry, but stop sobbing now)

The future.

The future.

He’s come back a better player no doubt and a stronger man. He is a fighter who hates losing. You will find him abusing senior players for not running. You get a feeling that he in his mind has decided that he is the captain and has to take responsibility for every situation. Already. Never gives up. Player of the season by a comfortable margin. The fans adore him. The manager wants to protect him and the press shower their love too. And the best part is, he is here to stay. His ascent to an Alpha male here is sharp and deserved.

He gives his 100% in every game and tries his best to win every time. Which makes him kind of a ticking bomb. I mean how many times will he spray a pass to Gervinho or Ox who will bollix it. How long before he is tired of sending chips to OG who only has his back towards the goal. Bit harsh on OG yes, but Jack must be feeling he deserves better. Arsenal deserve better. And of course us fans in return. How long before jacks stands up to Arsene or the board and says this is all bollocks policy. We need to do better. In transfers. In keeping players. In chemistry. In training.

How long before the 5 foot something prince stands up to the 6 foot something king and we make a poster out of it? Whose side will you be on then? JKB or AKB? WOB or JOB? or any of their endless combinations. Because unlike RVP, Jack is homegrown. He doesn’t want to go anywhere. He wants to make it big here. So when he stands up will the marches not multiply ten fold. Will the fans not line-up behind him? After all, he is the future and we all want what he wants.

What do you think?

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10 Responses to The Alpha male & The Arsenal’s future.

  1. Like your writing Ankit. But some pts I disagree on 1) Wenger is not all nice & soft he’s made out to be, he’s got a mean & ruthless streak to him. Ofcourse we haven’t seen much of that in recent yrs, could be down to economic constraints (we could afford costly mistakes like Jeffers earlier) maybe he has to make do with what we have got at the moment OR it could be shrinking testosterone levels. If its the former then no doubt if/when we have the spending power we shall see that mean MOFO again & if its the latter well he’ll be gone anyway. 2) Wilshere = Arsenal for Life? I dunno. Call me a cynic but I’ve been bitten so many times that I’ve changed my name to Shy Guy. I, like you, think its important for good players to be complemented by other players of similar or better quality, so again if by the time Jack’s truly earned his stripes we dont start competing, he’ll probably be off too.

    But overall you’ve made a fantastic point that AW is the face of Arsenal whether its the dugout or the AGM’s. He’s the one who balances the books with profits player sales, covers the incompetence of the hot shot commercial team we’ve got, pacifies fans who are up in arms at the AGMs & he does it all with class & dignity. I think if he starts to stand up for himself a bit more, we might yet have something to celebrate.

  2. yoiii says:

    How beautifully put. I agree.

    Though regarding Jack, the point really is will fans still keep calm and carry on when he raises an eyebrow about it all. And is he our best chance to get out of this spiral we’re beginning to accept.

  3. Jebarwocky says:

    🙂 Jack is just a kid, and he is no alpha male. For all you know, Arsenal might finish 2nd in the league once Tottenham and Chelsea bottle it. Wenger will get his new contract and all will be ok.

    Just hope we hire a better tactician and coach than Wenger soon. It is not just the results, but the hopelessness of the performances that demands a change. We need to part with the talentless kids and start paying for good talent. We used to do
    that at Highbury. Bentley, Aliadiare, etc. were let go. With the new stadium no longer a financial burden, we should be able to buy big names, and let go of Santos, Chamakh, Arshavin, Djourou, and co.
    It does not matter where we finish. There is no doubt we need change.

  4. yoiii says:

    Yes of course, he is just a kid today. but no denying he could be a true legend here. A matter of time perhaps. but he could force his way through to better things.

  5. Good article but disagree with it quite strongly. First of all, I have huge respect for AW & I still believe in him but that doesnt mean I will unconditionally defend him on everything. I think he has been underperfoming for the last 2 seasons & needs to do much better. So with that thing being clear, let me put the reasons why I disagree with things you are saying above.

    Since you say both SAF & AW are alpha males but make some distinctions between both of them otherwise whatever problems you are listing for AW, would have applied to SAF as well.

    Even though on the surface SAF might look a more dominating person but he also defends his team in the media just like AW does. As an example just read his reply when a reporter pointed out that G.Nev criticized DeGea for a mistake. He called G.Nev an idiot for doing so & said that DeGea did well even though it was quite clear he was the culprit on the goal they conceded. Another ex would be when he was asked how his team was under performing in the UCL & he stormed out of that press conference(indirectly defending his team’s performances even though it was quite clear that they were bad). How is this any different from what AW does apart from the way he is defending them?

    And as for AW you say he doesnt criticizes/challenges his players enough, it’s partly true because he doesnt do that in the media but what makes you think he doesnt do that even on the training ground(where it actually matters)? I watched a recent interview of one of our players(I think it was Arteta’s arseblog one), where that player said that AW quite openly & clearly criticizes his players’ mistakes when instructing them what went wrong/right in previous match/training session. So why does it matter whether he does it openly or not unless he tries to correct them in training?

    Also on the topic of players being dropped/benched by SAF & not by AW, I dont think anyone needs reminding about players like Arshavin/Santos/Squillaci/Chamakh/Denilson/Bendtner etc & even recently he dropped Gervinho completely for Bayern after his poor performance in Blackburn match. The slight difference is that AW doesnt necessarily drop players for every small little mistakes that they do which is a completely acceptable form of management imo. But once he loses confidence in a player you are unlikely to see him playing for us again. I can guarantee you if Tevez was at Arsenal & he behaved the way he did with Mancini, then he would have never played for us again, which points to the strong headed nature of AW. Also I would say SAF has a lot more resources at his disposal than AW that’s why he is able to drop players easily & not lose quality in the squad but even then you won’t see him dropping RVP if he misses a clear cut opportunity. So dropping players is partly down to resources too.

    So even though it’s quite obvious that personalities of AW/SAF are quite different but I don’t think those differences are what you described.

    IMO the difference mainly arises in the quality of squads at Arsenal & United rather than in the temperament of respective managers. AW himself is also quite a bit responsible for this decrease in quality but you can’t deny the difference in resources that both managers have had for for the last decade or so. SAF signed Bebe for 7.5m & he could afford not playing him for a single match & throwing him away as if he was not even present at United but AW doesnt have that luxury & singing players is not an exact science, everyone can make mistakes.

    So in short even though I do agree we need to be do better on the field & AW needs to do a lot better too but I don’t agree on the whole comparison of SAF & AW on which your whole article is based.

    Last thing on the topic of Jack becoming an alpha male too, I think the whole concept of alpha male means ONE dominant guy, there can’t be two dominant alpha males imo. And I would always prefer the manager to be the one whether it’s AW or someone else. Just look at teams like Madrid & Chelsea where players have too much power, don’t think that system works anywhere. No matter how good a player is, he is not bigger than the manager imo.

  6. My reply itself is like a blog lol. Didn’t realize when I was writing it, how long it was becoming. So, sorry for making it too long.

  7. yoiii says:

    Hey man. I love the passion with which you wrote that reply. Thanks for your time (am I sounding like PHW now?)

    Firstly the post is not based on the differences b/w SAF and AW. Yes of course AW would call a spade a spade on the training ground. Inside the house your dad would scold you for not studying. But not in front of strangers. That is the difference. If on the training ground AW says “C’mon what the Fuck is that, you need to beat the first guy” . SAF is probbaly saying “Are ye fekking blind mate? Do ya wont ta goo baack to whea you came from. now dont be a faking wanker and get your bleddy head outta your ass now can you do that or should I call your papa?”

    When Cesc was leaving SAF would have said Fekk off. Bollocks to you. We’d fuck you up and your little hometown club in April. But you do have a fair point about difference in resources. However this post is not about AFC v/s Utd. but why we are boys (in the words of Evra).

    I agree there can’t be 2 alpha males and there shouldn’t be. Perhaps when AW leaves there’d be no need to discuss this issue at all. We might play like men. All 11 of them.

    • Look at the way SAF has treated Ronaldo & you will find a lot of similarities with how AW treated Cesc. He didn’t say fuck off to him, did he? Now you might say that Ronaldo had won everything with United so it was right for him to go but nor for Cesc, but that is down to what players want. If anyone had asked what SAF wanted(whether to keep Ronaldo or not) then what do you think his answer would have been?

      AW has kind of said ‘fuck off’ to players like Nasri in his own subtle way, so again there isn’t a lot of difference between the way they both treat their players.

      And as for ‘why we are boys’, I would say for the first 6 years of our trophy drought, we had quite a young squad & there was a reason why we went with that strategy(lower purchase price, higher sell on value of players). Which in turn kind of created problems of inexperience & giving away leads. But right now the squad we have is quite experienced & mature(Sunderland 1-0 match would testify that) & they are quality players too but to make a squad work requires some time & effort & that’s why we have had a lot of inconsistent performances. In one match we beat a team 7-1 & in other we find it difficult to score. Also I think we are slightly imbalanced in midfield right now. We are not as bad as people are making us out to be, results like Bradford & Blackburn could have easily happened in the invincible season too, judging the quality of the team based on them is wrong, which most fans do.

      So I would say we are quite close to having a squad of ‘men’ soon, given we make the right acquisitions in the summer(2-3 right signings), which I am quite confident we will do.

      • yoiii says:

        About SAF and AW I think differently. They are different and have different ways of operating. And we don’t have to agree on that. In any case the argument does not hinge on that.

        Arsenal’s squad’s average age has been increasing for the past 3 years. Neither this year nor last did we have more than a couple of “boys” in the team at any time. So I don’t quite agree with it of course.

  8. We never renovated Highbury (30,000 seater stadium)…we build a new stadium (65,000 seater).Name any other club in the world which has been able to do that by itself and still stay up enough to play at the top.Chelski and Citeh spend damn huge amount of money but still they are far behind MU.There is a reason for that…one has to match MU in the market to be able to challenge them consistently enough in the League.I believe we can all agree that they are far from being consistent.The day Sheikh and Roman leave, plastic clubs will suffer ! SAF has no shortage of finances…no doubt he’s a good manager but whenever the contribution to the great game of football in recent times will be talked, Arsene will be on the top of the tree. It would be shameful if Wenger is not there when we a trophy again after what he has done for Arsenal.I am ready to wait for trophies and I do believe tables will turn soon !

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