Thursday, May 08, 2008

Flamini sums up much of what is wrong with modern football.

Well, there you have it. Have a look above and you will see an Arsenal player posing in another team's shirt before he has left the club, and, whatever he's done this year, this in itself should cause your respect in Matthieu to drop. Its a very disrespectful thing to do, and it says a lot about Matthieu's character.

This is a player who, in 2004, betrayed his home town club who had helped turn him into a professional footballer. After verbally agreeing to a long-term contract with Marseille, he signed for us instead, causing Marseille's manager to call the act a 'beautiful treason'.

After signing for us, Flam looked distinctly average in his first season, and only began to look anywhere near good enough when forced to fill in at full back during the second half of the 2005/6 season. Whilst he was part of a record breaking champions League defence, he was also part of an extremely creaky team that scraped to fourth place in the league.

In 2006/7, he refused to play at full-back, and told Wenger he would only play in centre-mid. Not only was this, again, disrespectful to Arsene, he was, fundamentally absolutely rubbish in midfield. If you don't believe me, thanks to Steve Bruce, it's become quite clear that we offered Flamini to Birmingham last summer and they weren't interested. Not believing Matthieu had a future at the club, Arsene signed Lassanna Diarra from Chavski at the end of August as Gilberto's long-term replacement.

Yet, amazingly, Matthieu suddenly emerged as one of the best central midfielders in the Prem, if not Europe, in the first few months of the last season, to the extent Diarra and Gilberto were both kept out of the team. At the same time, Arsene now offered him a new contract at a, not unreasonable, rate of £55k a week.

Just as at Marseille, we've seen articles published on the official website all season in which Matthieu has constantly claimed 'I want to stay', 'I hope I stay' etc. In the mean time, Diarra got bored waiting and, in an extraordinary move, was sold after only 4 months at the club - more on this, an incredible mistake, in the forthcoming season review.

Yet as the months ticked away, it became more and more clear that Matthieu would not stay. What was he waiting for? A pen to sign the deal with? The terms of the contract offered did not significantly change, so it was calculated procrastination on Matthieu's part, using the club as a shop window to further the interests of his own career, before whoring himself out to the highest bidder at the end of the season. He was well within his rights to do this, but it leaves a bad taste in the mouth, regardless of his performances this year.

Now, I'll be the first to admit that Matthieu has had a fantastic season, and was also great in the 2006 CL run. But in 4 years at the club, he's won one trophy, the 2005 FA Cup, and he was hardly integral to that success.

To me, Matthieu represents a lot of what has gone wrong in modern football, a symbol of player power spiralling out of control. He screwed over his home-town club to get himself a better contract with us, and, after promises, promises, promises, he's left us high and dry to earn another pay day in Milan. Matthieu, at the very least, is a mercenary who clearly cares far, far more about the money the club's pay him far more than the club itself. Whilst we can't expect players to care about the club as much as we do, some degree of gratitude and loyalty is painfully lacking here; a disconcerting emotional detachment between player and club and, ultimately, fan.

Matthieu was being offered £55k a week in the contract we offered him, and, undoubtedly, a hefty signing-on bonus on top of that. Footballers' wages have spiralled so far out of control that it's easy to forget that, with a wage at this level, Matthieu would have earned more in one year than the majority of the UK population will earn in their entire lifetime. Again, Matthieu isn't responsible for this situation, but, yet again, it's an example of how the influx of money into English football since the creation of the Premier League has been consistently and sickeningly misused. Players quibble over earning an extra £5 or 10,000 a week, whilst ticket prices continually increase and the FA argue over whether to bother building an academy which could actually produce a half decent national team.

So, in short, thanks for a few memories Matthieu, which are actually less than you might think, and ultimately, good riddance. You've used our club as a shop window for your own personal ambitions and ultimately I can't accept that. Maybe if you had been more honest with the club from an earlier date I would have had more sympathy for you. But, ultimately, you appear as a mediocre player who's just come good, who has then tried to squeeze as much money as possible out of the club's that have helped turn you into the player you are.

Never has football been a greedier game than it is at present. There is more money in the game than ever, yet instead of club's helping the local community, or coming up with reasonably priced ticket packages, we hear about playing games abroad and players being paid ever higher fortunes. There is a danger of clubs and players forgetting the fans who are the ultimate foundation for them both. Thus, whilst ticket prices will undoubtedly increase this year, at least it won't be because we were held to ransom by a mercenary, and for that I'm thankful.


Anonymous said...

HE HONORED HIS CONTRACT YOU DISILLUSIONED FOOL. Its the board at fault, for not extending his contract.

He had a choice, Milan that have PATO, SEEDORF, KAKA & more to come. or Arsenal that wont buy any players because the money mongering board dried the club OUT.

I do hope more players leave only then the club, MUST BUY ie Robinho, Sahin, Nasri.

Look at spurs, WOODGATE, MODRIC maybe capel, villa, & others.

I predict next season Cesc will leave if we have another fruitless season.

To the all the disillusioned GUNNERS WAKE UP, SMELL REALITY.

Chad said...

I'm of two minds on Flamini. As stated above, his contract ended so it can be said he honored it. At the same time if it was purely a footballing decision, he probably would've stayed. Factor in a big payday with no real drop in surrounding talent and it was a no-brainer.

And to the guy above, "PATO, SEEDORF, KAKA & more", yeah we spanked their asses, so I'm not really sure what you're on about...

Anonymous said...

I totally agree with the article. The board may have been at fault for not acting quickly enough to renew his contract. But if you think about it, should they have renewed his contract at the start of the season? NO, because he didnt deserve it. So after a few months of the season flamini showed what he could the board offered him a massive pay rise and a new deal. Did he sign it? NO. You have to ask yourself what kind of man flamini is. He has done nothing in his career, gets a starting role in one of europes best clubs ahead of the Brazilian captain/vise captian and offered a new bumper deal to stay at the club with his great 'friends' cesc/hleb/rosicky. Yet he turns all this down for a few more bucks and the chance to join a very average Milan side who we battered in europe a months back.
The biggest mistake from the board and arsene was that they should have given flamini till December to sign the new deal or he would be dropped for Diarra. That way, we would either still have flamini and still sold diarra, or diarra would have stayed and flamini would probably have been released on a free and someone like Boro or sunderland looking to buy him.

Anonymous said...

To the 1st comment. did u read what this article said? the problem was not that he left but how. So its cool for him to take a picture with his new club, to be, b4 the season is out? so he didnt get paid for the last few games of the season. He has a right to leave but he is an unethical youth and has shown himself to be so throughout his career, This is what is seem to understand from the article. So do you like having to pay more money to go to a match while everyone within the sport apart from the fans benefit even the more financialy? without fans there would be no complaining about money and trying to chase the biggest pay check, thats the POINT! Come on dude, this is good and truthful reasoning and to call the writer a fool is in and of itself quite foolish!

We be respectful in our opinions regardless.

God Bless!!!

Anonymous said...

I do not agree with Flamini saying he would sign in March and then running down his contract but he got a huge offer from AC so he took it.

I agree with the above regarding the board - their penny-pinching is what is costing the club success on the pitch.

Don't get me started on Diarra! Another mess that the board got into

Anonymous said...

Hey you can only spend what you have and if you spend more u end up in the red!! Look football is not just spend all ur money to ensure winning titles and cups but there is also a business aspect where money has to be handled properly.

So Arsenal are cutting off their nose to spite their face? They are so cheap and dont want to win? does that make sense? we look at teams throwing cash around on players that dont pan out and YES Arsenal should do that. Yep, and Arsenal only find players like Sagna and Eduardo who are unknown and obviuosly cannot play in THIS league.

I dont know i must be a fool but with the players we have, we have improved yearly even with all this money being spent around us. So i guess we will not improve net year, Arsene will not buy any players and we will be relegated im sure, right? good reasoning says of we have improved yearly then we can look to winning something next season as we were very close!!!! Get a Grip.

We havent won anything, right, but how many other teams have won in the last few years? so if we are not Chelsea or Man U we should all just pack it in, right.

Its take longer to build something that to have something that has been put together already. Man U, Chelsea and Arsenal are not in the same position, so while they can buy esatblished players for rediculous millions and put them on the bench we have to buy youngsters and build them into world class. What do you think takes more time?

Lets support and stop criticizing things that we are not sure about.

Diarra wanted to leave


Anonymous said...

i blame edelman he was the one supposed to have sorted out eth contracts. the flamster would have signed on at the beggening of the season for 25k a week infact he was available for transfer and nearly went to everton.
his performances in the CL have ctapaulted his status. he was alweays a player that gave 100% and he didnt cry like tohers when he was left out of the CL final when cashly cunthole was prefered even though flamini was one of oor best performers.
good luck to him he has fulfilled his contract and done it on silly wages he was only on 20k a month acording to a guardian hack, that is disgracefull behaviour by the Arsenal money men. losing diarra was just stupid and now he will end up at spuds.
no wonder edelman has been sacked for fuking up our team with obbsession about the stdium.
it seems currently Arsenals property company takes precedense over the football team.
i hope Wenger has a few aces up his sleeve in the summer cos we will be without hleb and bert as well.

Anonymous said...

Flamini did not leave for "a few more bucks", we're talking AT LEAST £20-30k MORE than what Arsenal were offering. Over a 5 year contract this amounts to over £5m. Would you turn that down? He could break his leg like Eduardo did tomorrow and his career is finished.

Do I blame Wenger? Not for Flamini leaving, but I do blame him for Diarra leaving. He should have sorted this out in January, if Flamini did not sign he should have been dropped in favour of Diarra. If Flamini did sign he could have let Diarra go. In the end he did neither and both are gone. Now he's talking up Gilberto again, the worst of the three, after leaving him out all season. To be honest, this management sucks.

Anonymous said...

I think finer pointing is petty and unnecessary. Blaming the board or Wenger or even Flamini is not only ridiculous, its wrong.

Goonerboy, I like the site and take into account what you say, but he came to us on a free and left on a free. He honoured his contract, you cant ask for more than that. As for posing in a shirt before the contract runs its course, he is well within his rights to do so, he could have done that on the first of January.

To be honest I thought Arsenal fans would have a bit more class than this. Look at Villa-Mellberg has given them many years of great service and he signed for Juve a long time ago. It didnt stop the fans appreciating his contribution. Even when he was leaving, he gave 100% and I would argue with anyone who claims Flamini hasn't done the same for us. We only lost 1 game where he played the 90 and that was Chelsea where the linesman gave an offside goal.

Lots of good players have left Arsenal on a free, Edu, Pires, Campbell, Wiltord, Kanu and many others. Admitedly they weren't at the peak of their powers but for a player who was looking at a move to the provinces in the summer because the club didn't want him and signed someone in his position (Diarra), you can't blame him for taking more than he could ever dreamed of and playing for Milan, who let's face it are a bigger club and an institution.

Another gripe is that Arsenal have a higher wage ratio to turnover than Man Utd (though lower than Chelsea or Liverpool). This never gets mentioned when the board take a bashing from ignorant fans who can't understand the concept of a 360m loan. We are in a precarious situation, where we can't afford to spend silly money but we still pay our players a decent amount.

Anonymous said...

So, what's new, mate? Isn't that the Arsenal way? Failing to renew contracts and losing good players who could still offer something to the club, if not in footballing terms, at least financially.

A few names in recent seasons come to mind. Edu, Kanu, Pires, Wiltord, Parlour, Lauren, even the much maligned Aliadiere!

Posing in a Milan shirt? I don’t know what your interpretation of the rules is, but if a player who is "soon out of contract" can be allowed to talk to another club, then he might as well go ahead and don their shirt! Flamini practically stopped being an arsenal player the moment he has less than six months left on his contract.

You might also have to rethink this thing about respect to the club and fans. Football players also happen to be fans of clubs other than those they play for. I've seen fully contracted players in shirts of other clubs before.

The modern game is one in which money comes before all. The board is stingy, Flamini wants a few thousand more, Milan draws the right card, and bingo!

Chad said...

As to Diarra, it seems pretty obvious to me that there were unseen circumstances involving his departure. Perhaps it was his public displeasure with playing time or his refusal to play in a cup game (Carling, I think it was) or something else entirely. For whatever reason, Wenger saw fit to let him leave despite not having Flamini committed. Sometimes it not solely about talent or potential, but more about character.

Anonymous said...

Agreed - in the same vein that he left his hometown club, he seemed to have no reservations about abandoning Arse for a few more thou a week. But you say that we can't expect the players to be as loyal as the fans. Why is that exactly? If someone was paying me that much $$ and treating me like a god, I think I'd feel a bit of obligatory duty to them, if not loyalty.

Anonymous said...

If you think about it guys, the reason flams played so good this year was because he had to impress other clubs, he gave 110% all season, and it was not coincidence he played the best game of his life in milan. Flamini made up his mind a long time ago, probaly before the start of the season.

Anonymous said...

Lets just move on to be honest cause times have changed. Arsenal needs to realise that paying low wages wont help anymore. Instead one or two rich clubs in the world now there is a list of 10.
Every club is spending millions and millions every year and any player would be tempted to be honest.
I understand what Arsene is doing but players cannot wait for kids to grow up. Every player has ambitions and they care for trophies.
Arsenal has problems of dumping players who are 30+, cannot pay more and dont even buy proper players and someone like Flamini wont wait all his life for higher wages or trophies.
Infact the only way we have used Flamini was a replacement for Ashley cole or something, it was only this year that he got his chance.
Its about time Arsenal start splashing cash and if they cant the club should be bought by a billionaire. Dont think that we can do with the old tricks anymore cause now there are many clubs tempting you with money.

Anonymous said...

give whatever reason u want for disliking him but the man HONORED his contract. When he says he wants to stay in the club he could really mean it but he probably meant he would gladly stay in the club for a lot more cash. You can't expect him to say I want more money or I will leave. His commimtment was always there certainly more than players who still have quite some years left in their contract. He does not deserve the stick he just got from you. And btw any proof of when he wore that shirt?

Anonymous said...

No use blaming flamini when all through the season you praised him right up to the sky!!! What goes around comes around; wenger got him cheap in the first place, now he left for free! Whose fault, when: the club has a wage structure which wenger isnt going to break, and which is less attractive; the club consistently lose players, big names, every summer - instead of adding in world class players, arsene kept going for cheap young talent (reason, perpetually) "for the future" as ever; and also the club is not winning trophies, it becomes less attractive; who cares about beautiful football that do not result in goals and trophies.

Wenger may be a great coach, but not a great manager!

Anonymous said...

The choice for flam is so VERY EASY. Why stay on at a club that pay you less, and when you reach 30 yrs, you get max another year deal?

Better to go to a BIG FAMOUS club AC Milan where you get a whole lot more pay, and you get to play with top, world class players - unlike the eboue, senderos, adebayor and other young kids still struggling to improve and establish themselves. You benefit more by playing with AC Milan.

Anonymous said...

THe fault lies with wenger and the club board. All are stingy pokers! Just ask David Dein. What Dein said is now true - arsenal needs injection of money. Look at spurs? Are they rich? Yet they dare to buy big. Why? Ambition. And honestly, I'd think spurs will not go for players like eboue and senderos. Amazing wenger's choice.

Anonymous said...

I've been saying for a while that this is the price we pay for our foreign policy. We save money but risk them upping sticks and leaving.

English players - although more expensive - almost never want to leave England. Contrast this to young French, German, Portuguese, Brazilian etc players who will happily follow the money to the European super powers.

C'est la vie.

We're upset because we're Gooners.

I'm looking forward to seeing who Wenger replaces him with because Flamini is easily replacable.

Anonymous said...

same bull-sh## going on here in the states- name the sport- except hockey- and the players have way too much power. I don't want the owners to have it all either but I can see what is happening from across the pond..Wish Gatusso was 2-3 years younger

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said at 7:38pm -

"and you get to play with top, world class players - unlike the eboue, senderos, adebayor"...

Completely changing the subject entirely, but i don't get the Adebayor slating. Why do some Arsenal supporters slate him still?
30 goals in 39 starts, the majority of them coming as a lone striker.

I just don't get it.

Anonymous said...

For the masochistic among you, consider how slight the margins were this season.

P Team Pld W D L Pts GD
1 Arsenal 38 25 11 2 86 45
2 Chelsea 38 25 10 3 85 39
3 Man U 38 26 6 6 84 56

This is how the table should have looked. Not after major alterations in our season, but if we had kept our concentration for the last 35+ minutes of the game at Old Trafford where we played them off the park. Instead we conceeded two needless set-pieces. That’s how close it was.

I know hindsight is always 20/20, and some will argue that if we had won, the other results may not have panned out they way they did, but that argument would also work in our favour, considering the morale boost a win over Utd would have given the lads. THAT”S how CLOSE it was!

Keep the faith Gooners!!