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Outside the train window I could see a vast expanse of olive groves interspersed with stretches of gently undulating pastures, deserted but not desolate. I had fallen asleep with my head leaning back towards the empty aisle seat next to mine, and as I opened my eyes the landscape outside was the first thing I noticed. Still, it took me a few seconds to realize that the train was not moving, and the air inside felt much warmer compared to the artificial chill that had accompanied me all the way until Córdoba. And that made me realize that I must had fallen asleep shortly after the train left the Córdoba station. As the fog of sleep started to lift, I realized that the idea for the blog that came to me just before I closed my eyes was starting to slip away. Panicking, I reached for my MacBook inside the bag that I had left lying next to me, placed it on the small table in front of me, opened and typed my password, opened my favorite writing app, and started to type. It couldn’t have been more than a minute from the moment of panicky realization to opening the writing app, but by that time the idea I was so desperately trying to capture in concrete words and sentences had already evaporated, along with the somewhat dreamlike state of mind I woke up to.

Frustrated and angry at myself, I simply started to write “All or Nothing” repeatedly on my screen. I was supposed to have finished a review piece for the blog by the day before, hoping to enjoy the rest of my Andalusian week without a sense of failing in my responsibilities to constantly gnaw at my heart, but I hadn’t written a single line and still had no idea how to start.

I was startled by a booming voice coming from the seat next to me, “All or Nothing sounds like a good name for a screenplay. Do you write for the movies?” The accent was unplaceable, the articulation too gave nothing away. What came through clearly was a sense of bemused irony expressing itself as a good-natured bonhomie. Even though I always had an immense dislike for next seat neighbors looking at my laptop over my shoulder – whether stealing a glance or shamelessly staring at the screen – the disarming humor in that voice I found rather charming.   

I clearly remembered that this aisle seat remained empty even after the train had left the Córdoba station, as it was all the way from Seville, as were the two seats just opposite mine across the table. Maybe he had boarded the train in Córdoba and strolled around for a while in the mostly empty compartments before setting on a seat. I turned my face around to take a good look at him: a tall gentleman, impeccably dressed in a finely tailored three-piece dark blue linen suite, wearing a black beret that added a hint of flamboyance to what otherwise seemed to be a deeply serious man. Even though he must have been at least in his seventies he exuded a sense of considerable physical strength. His eyes – the right eye looked slightly larger than the left one – had that glint of amused expectations that betray all incorrigible conversationalists. 

I answered, “Not at all, it is meant to be a review for a television series about a football club. Well, technically speaking they call it a docuseries nowadays.”

“Not very imaginative, is it?”, he smiled.        

“You mean docuseries, the neologism?”

“That too, but I was thinking about ‘All or Nothing’.”

“Well, the idea is in elite sports you must give everything, all of yourself. Anything less than that would get you nowhere. There is no middle ground, no room for mediocrity.” I tried my best.

“Oh, there is always room for mediocrity. We are a very mediocre species.”

“Not my club. Arsenal always strives for excellence in everything. This documentary really shows that. How in every aspect of running the club we are continuously trying to get better.”

“Better at what?”

“Everything. Football.”

“I see. My impressions were a bit different – it seemed to me that Arsenal was presenting a narrative that that they are trying to completely revamp their organizational culture.”

“Oh, so you watched the whole series too?” I could barely contain my surprise.

He smiled and told me that though he did not follow football that closely, he was curious about developments in Arsenal. He was initially reluctant to explain why but I persisted. The train was still standing, and I didn’t feel like reading or going back to sleep, and the idea of a somewhat enigmatic old man talking about Arsenal I felt would be a pleasing enough diversion.

“Okay, but first me let me get my afternoon drink.” He said with a hint of exasperation. He raised his left hand with a gesture that seemed to be ushering in someone from the back of the compartment. And a few seconds later I saw a dining car attendant appearing pushing a trolley. Both the attendant and the trolley were a throwback to some unknown past, as unplaceable in time as were my companion’s accent and gestures. I had already drunk one of those mini bottles of tolerable red wines that were served in the train along with the meal, and so felt no desire to inquire about the options. My co-passenger on the other hand was busy in an animated conversation with the attendant who had started to mix well-measured liquors that he poured into a cocktail mixer from multiple bottles. He swiftly poured the resulting mix right into two martini glasses in front of my thirsty companion and vanished equally swiftly.

“Try this, it’s my invention. Well, rather a variation of mine on a popular theme in the key of Gin.” He offered me a glass with a flourish of his hands.

We clicked our glasses, and I took a sip. “It’s delicious. What is it called?”

“I haven’t named it yet. My friend Jean-Claude mockingly calls it Bunueloni.”

“Strange name that.”

He seemed mildly offended.  “Strange would have been good. I like strange. But it’s rather banal if you ask me. Just like All or Nothing.”

“You mean the name of the series? Or the full documentary across all the eight episodes.”


“It is definitely not banal to us Arsenal fans.”, I protested.

“Your generation is very easily impressed. Herbert would have been aghast at this mania for vicarious proximity.”

“You mean Herbert…Chapman?”

“Oh yes, I met him first in Paris and then in Brussels in the late twenties, a few years before he passed away. So early…” he said rather ruefully.  

It started to dawn on me that I might be drinking cocktail offered by a complete stranger who at the least was benignly eccentric but could also be not entirely harmless.

“Must be a very interesting story. I mean how you met him. Must have been quite a coincidence.”

“Not exactly. But I cannot really take any credit for that. You see Herbert was a man with rather progressive and dare I say modern ideas, especially for an English football manager of his time. He used to come to the continent now and then, and he was a close friend with this Austrian called Hugo Meisl. Hugo was a football manager too, and his brother Willy was a sport journalist. Willy knew Jean Epstein, and I met Herbert with the Meisl brothers in one of Epstein’s parties.”

“And you two immediately hit off talking Arsenal.” I made no effort to hide my incredulity. I didn’t know anything about any of these people he was talking about, and I had a vague suspicion that those names were as made up as his story.

“Not at all. He was interested in learning about the mechanics of shooting films, and that was all I mostly used to think about in those days. My English was non-existent, but Herbert spoke workable French, and even a few words of Spanish. So, we ended up talking a lot about cinema, eventually moving on to football and Arsenal. He was almost in his fifties, but he had as much spark in his ideas as any of us. Quite the character… ”

“Exactly! See, he was a man ahead of his times…bringing in so many innovative ideas into the game…white footballs, floodlights, numbered shirts…I am sure he would have appreciated that the Arsenal he had helped to build remained so … inventive.”

“You think All or Nothing was inventive? The whole thing was a cliché…full of platitudes masquerading as insights.”

I was offended. Yes, over the span of eight episodes there were quite a few cringeworthy moments, but there were also enough scenes where the way Mikel and his coaching team interacted with the players, tuning their approach, demonstrating empathy while demanding the absolute best made watching the series worth the time. It was also reassuring to see that the club seems to be in just the right hands after years of chaos and rumors about lack of discipline at every level.

I told him that. I also told him that to many of us Arsenal fans the series was inspirational, especially the young fans who are in difficult circumstances in their lives. For them to learn about the challenges overcome by their heroes in such a direct and accessible manner was something to cherish.

The bemused smile was back on his face. “Do you know about Gerard Keizer?” He suddenly changed the course of our argument. 

“No, another of your friends? I know there is no Gerard Keizer anywhere in Arsenal…”. Eccentric and annoying, I thought to myself. Maybe I ought to stop this conversation.

“And you call yourself an Arsenal fan! He was one of Herbert’s discoveries. He was Arsenal’s goalkeeper in their first league winning season, and later he became a legendary figure in Dutch football. And I think then a smuggler for a short while after the war…how amusing!”

“What has that got to do with All or Nothing? Look, Mr..Mr..” I realized that none of us had introduced each other to begin with.

He spared me any further embarrassment. “You can call me Luis. Some even say Don Luis, but that’s not necessary. ”

“Thank you Luis!. You can call me…”.

“Faustus. Yes, I know.” I dared not ask how. And then continued, “After the war Gerard once borrowed kits from Arsenal for the Ajax team who had no money at that time and so they played a few matches in Arsenal colors.”

“Luis, if I may, that is completely irrelevant to a contemporary TV series about the inner workings of Arsenal.”

“I thought that was a crucial flaw with All or Nothing, Faustus. The desire to present Arsenal’s inner workings as completely disconnected from their past. As my friend Carlos used to say, ‘Novelty for its own sake is an anachronism.’.”

“Carlos the jackal? You sure had some interesting friends.”

“Carlos Fuentes. It’s a pity you haven’t read him.”

“Luis, let us stick to the topic, please. Well yes, the documentary shows how Arsenal is trying to completely revamp and rebuild the club in a comprehensive and holistic way, at every level. So, it is hardly surprising that they would focus more on the present evolution, the process of changes, and less on their past.”

“You misunderstand me. I am sure the club leadership and hierarchy are doing the right things. At least trying to, but their efforts can be discussed meaningfully only through the prism of the outcome. They should not need a documentary full of curated feel-good moments as an eight-hour long apologia. And if they were to make a documentary it should at least have the merit of making the audience see things that they would not otherwise have.”

“If you really disliked it so, why did you watch it all the way through? In memory of your friend?”

“I didn’t say I disliked it. It might have been irrelevant and a bit fake, and not even a good fake, but it was fun in a gossipy kind of way. Also, the editing was excellent.”

“The editing?!” Exasperated, I felt it increasingly difficult to keep up with this stream of ideas and observations. A second glass of bunuelino had magically appeared in front of both of us, the silent car attendant with his retro uniform had served those when I was busy arguing. We cheered silently, and this time I took a long sip. The train still hadn’t moved, the air inside though was starting to get colder and fresher again, and the drinks made me drowsy too.

“Yes! Did you realize how it must have been impossible for some of those players who are so obviously vocal leaders on the field to be completely silent in the dressing room in the break or after poor performances? The players could not have been acting to a script, they are not trained actors and if anything, at least their reactions come out as direct and authentic. And yet, at the same time it is fake because evidently a lot of the in-between interactions are edited out. Smoothly and seamlessly, and I must say those must have been some expert editing.”

“Like Ødegaard, you mean? Yes, he was very surprisingly silent throughout the series. I thought he was just camera shy. But even if what you said was correct that doesn’t really devalue the series. Obviously, the club is not going to give away all its secrets in a documentary. It will present an edited version of itself, naturally! Like we all do to the outside world.”

“Answer me this Faustus, why make this documentary at all? Beyond reassuring the Arsenal fans what purpose does it serve?”

“Luis, it is also about the attitude of excellence. It shows how a group can evolve together towards a collective greatness. Or at least strive to.”

“Now we are back to clichés … how is that different than hundreds of other such sanctified documentaries purportedly about the inner workings of big organizations? What was unique about All or Nothing: Arsenal? Why would anyone watch it say a couple of years from now?”

“Why does everything have to be unique? We are enjoying this cocktail that you claim to have invented, but to me it tastes like just a sweeter version of Negroni, delicious but nothing original.”

“I did say it was a variation on a theme in the key of Gin!” He broke out in a smile.

“Well, that documentary too was a variation on a theme in the key of pleasant and harmless entertainment.”

“As long as you recognize that. You know, there was one episode where I thought there was potential material to make it truly original. I think it was called ‘The Exit.’”

“Original? How?” I started to guess he would suggest that the whole episode could have been narrated purely from the perspective of Aubameyang and those close to him to kind of a fugal counterpoint to the consistent Arteta-centric tune of the rest of the series. But Luis had other ideas in mind.  

“I would have directed it as a sequence of chamber pieces where the manager and the captain both try genuinely and honest to meet with each other and sit down to discuss and clear the air, but there was always one unforeseen distraction or challenge after another stopping them from ever actually meeting.”

“Sudden distraction? Like illness in the family or traffic delays.”

“May be. Or an unannounced military exercise in the practice ground. Or a revolution on the London streets. Or uninvited guests in Arteta household. Or… ”

And he kept on reciting one implausible scenario after another in a tone that took on a rhythmic cadence. I started to drift off to sleep as his voice took on a faintly metallic quality and I could no longer understand the individual words. Suddenly I heard a piercing sound and woke up startled.

The train was moving in full speed through a tunnel. The aisle seat next to mine was empty again. There were an elderly couple now on the seats opposite mine talking to each other animatedly. My MacBook was not on the table, but I was assured to find it still lying inside my bag. With the aftertaste of sleep in my mouth I slowly stood up, disappointed that the dream didn’t go on just when it was starting to get interesting.

That’s when I noticed the empty martini glasses, lying on the corner of the table, rolling precariously to the edge. I reached out my hand to stop them from falling on the floor.

46 Drinks to “All or Nothing — The Phantom of Authenticity”

  1. 1
    Countryman100 says:

    Dr Faustus. A terrific piece. Firstly I’m sorry if the looming deadline for this spoiled your Andalusian holiday. That just shows your work ethic and sense of responsibility to this blog. But what you have produced is something very far removed from a review of a cable tv series about our football team. It’s an unveiling of your subconscious mind, perhaps lulled into a suitable form by the motion of the train, the warm Spanish sun and some pleasant lubrication from a little booze. I enjoyed it hugely. Congratulations.

  2. 2
    bathgooner says:

    Interestingly different, Dr F. Nicely done.

    I too was conflicted over the series but on the whole enjoyed it. Perhaps simply out of curiosity. I wonder whether those in the club who approved the ‘show’ now feel that it achieved its purpose.

  3. 3
    ClockEndRider says:

    The day Luis Bunuel came to GHF Towers! A tour de force, Dr F, you old chien andalou, you!

  4. 4
    North Bank Ned says:

    Bravo (again!), Dr F. And I thought illusion travelled by streetcar, not train.

  5. 5
    North Bank Ned says:

    Jesus’s World Cup is over with a knee injury. Very bad news.

  6. 6
    Countryman100 says:

    Ned @4. I thought that was desire?

  7. 7
    North Bank Ned says:

    Best avoided, C100; it only serves Stella.

  8. 8
    North Bank Ned says:

    MØ8 also gone in the fetlock, I hear. Ankle injury.

  9. 9
    Countryman100 says:

  10. 10
    TTG says:

    You have the capacity to surprise us on a regular basis and you’ve done it again. A most original piece and much more creative than I could manage on the same subject . AON was a pleasant surprise to me .
    It was artificial in many ways and Arteta really dies have to use the F word much more aggressively but it suggested he is a creative and intelligent coach- Harry Redknapp he ain’t – Josh Kroenke came across very positively ….and the team lack leaders to a significant degree . Granit for all his faults is really the driving force in that dressing room

  11. 11
    Noosa Gooner says:

    Thanks Doc,
    Top, top work.
    Whilst not my favourite by any means, I don’t mind a few Stellas if a Japanese lager is n/a.
    Let’s hope our injuries are not too serious.

  12. 12
    bathgooner says:

    Terrible news on Jesus. Essential we add that firepower now, Edu!

    Reports: Jesus facing 3 months out, requires surgery

  13. 13
    bt8 says:

    Very interesting and entertaining, Faustus, although quite surreal indeed for a reader who has seen Le Chien Andalous but not seen All or Nothing: Arsenal. Glad you enjoyed your travels though, and I particularly enjoyed your train scenes.

  14. 14
    bt8 says:

    The next chapter of our season will not include Gabriel Jesus. A big disappointment to be sure but such challenges were always going to occur during the length of the season. The question is, how can Arsenal rise to a his challenge?

  15. 15
    bt8 says:

    a his challenge = this challenge

  16. 16
    North Bank Ned says:

    I fear that it will be difficult to bring in a striker of equivalent ability and experience to Jesus in January. Few clubs that have candidates will be willing to sell, while players of that quality will not move if they think they will lose their place in the team once Jesus is fit again — or demand a huge premium in wages to offset the risk. Edu and the recruiting team will have to pull a rabbit out of the hat. Balogun might be recalled from his loan depending on the prognosis for Jesus’s recovery. Either way, it will be step-up time for Nketiah.

  17. 17
    Trev says:

    Bravo, Dr F !

    I had been forewarned to persevere through a long and strange piece. It was well worth it – captivating and quite reminiscent of another creative work around this time of year, The Polar Express. If that was the basis, it was a clever adaptation.

  18. 18
    Countryman100 says:

    Sorry to say it, but Arsene’s lost it. First World Cups every two years now this. FIFA’s rubbed off on him.

  19. 19
    bathgooner says:

    Agree totally, C100. Very sad.

  20. 20
    North Bank Ned says:

    The club has named the squad for the Dubai camp. ESR is included, but Ben White is not travelling. Almost half the squad is from the Academy, presumably the baker’s dozen that Arteta rates.

    3. Kieran Tierney
    6. Gabriel Magalhaes
    8. Martin Odegaard
    10. Emile Smith-Rowe
    14. Eddie Nketiah
    16. Rob Holding
    17. Cedric Soares
    21. Fabio Vieira
    23. Sambi Lokonga
    24. Reiss Nelson
    25. Mohamed Elneny
    27. Marquinhos
    31. Karl Hein (GK)
    35. Alex Zinchenko
    43. Nathan Butler-Oyedeji
    44. Catalin Cirjan
    50. Taylor Foran
    53. Hubert Graczyk (GK)
    56. James Hillson (GK)
    63. Zane Monlouis
    71. Charles Sagoe Jr
    72. Matt Smith
    81. Myles Lewis-Skelly
    83. Ethan Nwaneri
    85. Amario Cozier-Duberry
    96. Lino Da Cruz Sousa
    97. Reuell Walters

  21. 21
    Trev says:

    Arsene was always Mr Inclusion during his time as manager. Purely “ footballistically “ and statistically maybe what he’s saying is correct. He doesn’t say he agrees with Qatar as a venue or with their social policies. I just hope he was told to say something and this was as non-commital as he could get, while keeping his job and trying to change from within.

    That’s what I’m going to hope. But a World Cup every two years is indeed nuts.

  22. 22
    Countryman100 says:

    It’s bollocks Trev. If it’s true what’s the excuse for Belgium? As for keeping his job, he was paid £8m a year at Arsenal. He doesn’t need the money.

  23. 23
    Countryman100 says:

    Giroud becomes all time top scorer for France.

  24. 24
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    I just saw Arsene’s comments and came in here to say something/quote him, but I see Countryman has beaten me to it.

    I can definitely imagine that Trev is right that he has had some pressure applied by FIFA to make a comment (although, he also had the option of telling them where to get off).
    And, what he actually said (2 short sentences) is hardly a ringing endorsement of this WC.

    Footballistically he MIGHT be right too. There are too many variables to tell whether his argument holds water, although I can well see a manager telling his players to ignore the moral and ethical questions and just focus on the football. Eddie Howes all round.

    And, i have to say, I love Arsene dearly.

    All of that said, to characterise actions that point to human rights abuses, oppression of women and laws against homosexuality (amongst many other things) as ‘political demonstrations’ is pure Infantino. I’m absolutely gutted to read that he has made these comments.

  25. 25
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    He spent years fighting ‘financial doping’ in the Premier League. It looks like the money has finally won and sent him over to the Dark Side.

    I’m thinking about what Rocky said.

    It appears that Arsene does, well and truly, represent FIFA now.

  26. 26
    Countryman109 says:

    Sadly GSD, I agree

  27. 27
    TTG says:

    I am loath to criticise a special manager and a decent man but having taken the FIFA shilling I’m afraid that Arsene seems to feel he has to follow a rather far-fetched party line .
    As you will be aware from my last article I’ve huge reservations about this tournament. Initially they were focused on Qatar as hosts , but the real problem is that world football is run by FIFA , a bloated and corrupt organisation who have employed Wenger , to give them an imprimatur of respectability.
    I hoped Wenger would create a healthier and better culture there but this would suggest he’s as deluded as Infantino who strikes me as Blatter Mark 2 ( that’s an insult btw!)
    I’m delighted England (and Bukayo) are prospering so far but I’m wildly ambivalent about this tournament .
    We are about to go into full English World Cup meltdown . We will see massive anti- French rhetoric over the next week and if we go further the nation will come to a complete stop. Any joy has to be mingled with strong misgivings about whether we shoukd be there at all

  28. 28
    Noosa Gooner says:

    I wanted to talk about Wenger but all the above says it all for me. It’s not as though he needs the money and the role is basically Mickey Mouse with an awful employer.
    My huge admiration for the man, already diminished by his bland book, has now fallen further.
    Surely his obvious need for a continuing involvement with the game could be better served elsewhere.

  29. 29
    bathgooner says:

    Fifa are indeed the real problem, TTG. The revelations and inferences that have emerged suggest that it can be argued that Qatar were only ‘playing by Fifa’s rules’ in their successful bid for the tournament. The other issues with Qatar are of course unaddressed by this.

    The steps taken under Infantino’s watch to emasculate the independent ethical review processes set up during the Zurich melt-down and to place their control under the now fully discredited ExCo do suggest that this Augean Stable will never be cleaned. Arsene may be deluded in his belief in his own ability to turn that colossus around and we have seen that delusion before. The alternative explanations do not bear thinking about. No man is without flaws but his Arsenal legacy is secure.

  30. 30
    North Bank Ned says:

    Bath@39: Well summed up. I have heard it said that Qatar might be the breaking of FIFA. One can only hope, although somehow I doubt it.

  31. 31
    TTG says:

    You sum it up well Bath . Once ( a perfectly reasonable ) decision was taken to give the tournament to a Middle Eastern country , any potential host would have strict rules ( to some degree ) about the roles of women, LGBTQ+ issues and alcohol . I think Qatar have used sportwashing just as Abu Dhabi and Saudi Arabia have but if the tournament was elsewhere in the Arab world I’m sure we’d watch it .
    I suspect Arsene has been played by FIFA to an extent , because of his desire to globalise the game, expand the use of technology and perhaps they have also pandered to his ego ( and his wallet!) very successfully . Without the pressures of club or international management life is much easier .
    Re his book, it was exactly what we expected ( I think there will be exchanges to that effect here somewhere ) . He is not prone to gossip nor would he betray confidences but his book is sadly short of any feeling of being a fly on the wall during such an incredible time and nobody learnt anything they didn’t know already .

  32. 32
    Countryman100 says:

    Dave loved his cricket. He would have loved the game that just finished in Pakistan. Inspired captaincy by Ben Stokes won the game with less that ten minutes left. What a game.

  33. 33
    bt8 says:

    Wenger is getting paid too much money not to parrot the company line now and again, especially during the WC.

    As for Martinelli, the Brazil coach refers to him and his cohort as ‘perninhas rapidas’ for their genuinely positive contribution to the beautiful game.


  34. 34
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    Any country that wishes to be considered as a potential host for any major sporting event, such as World Cups or Olympics should have a minimum set of requirements with regard to human rights. Furthermore, for all the talk of inclusivity to be shown to have any value whatsoever, it should also not be illegal to be homosexual. And any decent, non-corrupt body choosing a host nation could and should have its own criteria fleshed out well beyond these two basic points but I’m not here to make a comprehensive list.

    Qatar, and any other country, have no responsibility to adhere to a moral, ethical or legal system espoused by other people in other parts of the world. Nor does anyone have a right to go to Qatar and flout that country’s laws because they disagree with them.

    However, a decision to award a World Cup to a Middle Eastern country is not, as TTG suggested, a perfectly reasonable one, unless the chosen country is in line with basic requirements to host a truly ‘inclusive’ event. If a Middle Eastern country that can manage this could not be found, then the time was not yet ripe for a WC in the middle East. If one could, then they should have been ahead of Qatar in the pecking order.

    As the award of the previous World Cup has shown so clearly, it is beyond naive to think that if you give a nation exactly what they want that they will then magically make new laws that do fit with a global sporting ethos.

    By all means engage, persuade and discuss. No nation can be forced to respect human rights. They can be persuaded to do so, and the ongoing dialogue and finding of common ground is a wonderful thing. But it can’t be bypassed by awarding major sporting events and then looking the other way whilst dismissing anyone who disagrees.

  35. 35
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:


    Yeah, the cricket was the dog’s bollocks today. Dave would had loved it.

  36. 36
    North Bank Ned says:

    With 85 to get and five wickets left, the smart money must have been on Pakistan especially with an outfield faster than Martinelli. But England taking all five for 11 runs is what makes cricket such a wonderful game. And yes, the Guv’nor would have loved it.

  37. 37
    bathgooner says:

    GSD @34, I’ll drink to that.

  38. 38
    bathgooner says:

    Here’s a good piece on Arsene Wenger’s comments from Tim:

    Wenger’s tarnished image

  39. 39
    Doctor Faustus says:

    Thanks everyone for the kind words.

    I found the idea that Bunūel might have met Chapman while dear old Herbert visiting his continental counterparts — he actually was a very good friend with the great Austrian coach Hugo Meisl — an amusing one, which is how the idea for this piece came about.

    While reading about all of Chapman’s remarkable “ahead of his times” ideas — including trying to bring people of color into the mainstream professional football — I learned about the remarkable story of Gerard Keyser and this strange connection between Ajax and Arsenal. The world has always been a more interconnected place than we individuals living in our cocoons have wanted to admit.

  40. 40
    Doctor Faustus says:

    Speaking of Arsène, Chapman and all other managers in Arsenal’s history, even though many of us who became Arsenal fans In Wenger’s time and have the greatest admiration and respect for him, I think Chapman’s contribution to the club and to the game of football overall is unmatched. He was much more of a visionary than Wenger, and highly successful Graham though was he wasn’t a visionary.

    Ned, maybe the monks can one of these days — when they are bored with their daily ecumenical responsibilities— put together a piece on Chapman’s legacy? I myself will eagerly look forward to it. ☺️

  41. 41
    North Bank Ned says:

    Dr F@ 40: I share your admiration for and interpretation of Herbert Chapman. Unlike any other Arsenal manager, his era continued through his successors George Allison and Tom Whittaker up until Whittaker’s untimely death from a heart attack in 1956. Neither Graham nor Wenger created such a managerial dynasty. Arteta’s Arsenal is not Wenger’s in the way that Allison and Whitaker’s teams were identifiably Champan’s heirs. Thanks to the editors’ good graces, a tiny slice of that history awaits you in the next day or two.

  42. 42
    North Bank Ned says:

    Jesus has undergone knee surgery.


  43. 43
    OsakaMatt says:

    Thanks Ned.
    No timescale on Jesus’s return, I hope for a miraculous recovery of course.

  44. 44
    North Bank Ned says:

    If only football was played on water, OM….

  45. 45
    bt8 says:

    What Matt and Ned said. Gabby’s next in a series of miracles will need to bring in medical science but I for one don’t put it beyond him.

  46. 46
    Bathgooner says: