Ljungberg tells Arsenal chiefs to hurry up and appoint new manager

first_imgOne man linked with the job is Arteta, who captained Arsenal during his playing career but is now on the backroom staff at Manchester City.“I spoke many times,” City boss Pep Guardiola replied when asked about the possibility of Arteta leaving for the top job at Arsenal.“He is part of our group and an important person, but what will happen I don’t know.” Getty Images – Getty Ancelotti has been strongly linked with the Arsenal job 3 Arteta is once again on the radar to take over at Arsenal 3 “That’s something I’ve said. It’s totally up to the club.“I’m very honoured and trying to do things as well as I can, but I think that it would be good to make a decision regardless of what it is.”Arsenal were jeered off by their own fans at half-time but by the end of the game there was a pattering of cheers, as anger appeared to turn to apathy with the few supporters who had remained in their seats for the full-time whistle.“Of course, I’m an Arsenal man and we try everything,” added Ljungberg.“But at the same time we need to be a little bit realistic. There is a gulf in quality between City, Liverpool and the rest. They showed that.“But for me, I was actually happy and proud of the fans. In the end, they responded positively to the young players that came on.“Of course they can see there’s a difference. But I was proud of the fans when they sang in the end and showed that they appreciated the young boys trying.” 3 Freddie Ljungberg has failed to get any more out of the Arsenal players than axed boss Unai Emery had during his ill-fated spell in charge Getty Images – Getty Freddie Ljungberg has called for Arsenal chiefs to move quickly and make a decision over the managerial position as the club’s crisis deepened with a home defeat to Manchester City.The Gunners legend, 42, took charge in November following the sacking of Unai Emery but has been unable to oversee a turnaround in fortunes, winning just one of his five matches as interim boss. Sunday’s 3-0 loss at the Emirates Stadium, which was again eerily empty of supporters, saw Arsenal drop to nine in the Premier League table.The north Londoners have now claimed just one win in their last 12 games in all competitions, and have gone six games without a win at home – their longest run since 1995.Ljungberg’s position remains unclear as the club continue to plan for a full-time successor to Emery, with Carlo Ancelotti, Mikel Arteta and Patrick Vieira in the running alongside the former Sweden international.And with the club now as close to the relegation zone as they are to the top four, Ljungberg feels it would be in everyone’s best interest if an appointment were made sooner rather than later.“I think, as I’ve said to the club, it’s a great, great honour to do this,” he said.“Of course, Per [Mertesacker] is the academy manager and he’s doing two jobs in one go. I think it needs clearing up to make a decision so that everybody knows. getty last_img read more

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Pep Guardiola’s yellow ribbon ties football up in knots over true enemies

first_imgThis summer it will be 30 years since an event that helped inspire what is still one of the most deliciously moreish football books in English.Football Against the Enemy is a collection of excellent, energetically compiled essays by Simon Kuper. It can seem a little dated in parts now, postcards from a world still shrouded in pre-internet mist but in a week of apparently irresolvable moral confusion over Pep Guardiola, yellow ribbons and all that, it also feels like a point of illuminating contrast.At which point the pages rustle, the screen dissolves and we are back at the 1988 European Championship. It is hard to get a sense of the unsettling emotional power of the Netherlands’ defeat of West Germany, the feelings of delighted surprise as a fine team saw off one of the more sharp-elbowed West Germanys. Sportblog Share on Messenger To anyone born after Kuper’s book was published football is not a part of the counter-culture. It is the culture itself Topics Football Share on Twitter The second thing about the book is the total collapse of this basic premise. Football Against The Enemy is a great title. It expresses the idea that football exists as a part of society’s wider cultural oppositions. It also captures something profound about the sport itself, the idea of football as a point of resistance against control and oppression, a strand of the counter-culture, with its own distinct moral authority.Which is another example of how violently things have changed. What is the enemy exactly? Where does it live? To anyone born after Kuper’s book was published football is not a part of the counter-culture. It is the culture itself, a tool of the overclass, another adjunct of corporate life with all its compromises and vested interest.Hence the state of gabbling confusion over Guardiola and that ribbon, a minor political stand that has become tangled in talk of compromise. Guardiola believes in freedom and self-determination. He is also employed by Abu Dhabi and has been an ambassador for Qatar, both of which are oppressive regimes with poor human rights records.Because this is football, where someone must always win and be right, a cacophony of voices will talk with absolute certainty about this. Pep is wrong. He has the freedom to choose and is a rich man so he must be a hypocrite. Pep is right. Let’s buy yellow ribbons of our own and have our political views on a hugely complex subject decided by which team we support.There is no easy answer. Thirty years ago, the manager of Manchester City supporting the non-detention of politicians in his homeland would have been a robust standpoint untainted by association. But everyone is compromised now, nobody is untouched by the hidden interests, the regime-cruelty at two removes, the nation-state geopolitics that have taken over much of the top end of football.Hence the utter nonsense of declaring politics should stay out of sport. This is not a neutral system. Refusing to make any comment, consuming this managed status quo without question is a powerful political statement in itself. If we really want to take politics out we are going to have to stop calling Arsenal’s stadium the Emirates, cancel the next two World Cups and ban Paris Saint-Germain from European football.In the middle of which, a man wearing a ribbon starts to look seductively simple or at least no more confusing and compromised than disliking Völler because of the war; or, at the very least, a personal choice with a recognisable goal in mind, a case of football, even from within the belly of the beast, taking some kind of stand against the enemy. Share on Pinterest Pep Guardiola: I’d take ribbon off if I thought it affected the team Share on Facebook Share via Email Ruud Gullit ran the semi-final in Hamburg, striding about with such regal ease you half expected to look down and notice he had spent the last 90 minutes playing in tails, top hat and wing collar. Marco van Basten scored the winner at the end. People in Amsterdam threw bicycles in the air shouting “we’ve got our bikes back”, a reference to the transport-thieving crimes of the Nazi occupation during the second world war.Kuper, then in his early twenties, notes all this with an amused but also quietly brutal note of fascination. Asked about the morality of holding this generation of West German footballers to account for the sins of the past, one Dutch celebrant notes: “Well, they had the wrong ancestors”.It is a little startling to read this without qualification or apology. Looking back at these tales of South American despots, African superstition and European geopolitics two things leap out.First, that lost world of 20th-century certainties, including the largely non-nuanced role of football. Forty years on from the war it really was still OK to speak openly about fearing and secretly loathing West Germany.Rightly or wrongly, those teams of merciless, mullet-headed, pre-unification win-bastards were strangely upsetting for many people. Rudi Völler appears on the front cover of Kuper’s paperback, a picture taken just as Frank Rijkaard is about to plant a wonderfully viscous spume of flob in the ringlets around Völler’s left ear.Völler is a nice man. These days he would probably be playing for Liverpool or Chelsea, a popular global citizen of the Premier League. Back then, seen only in glimpses, all puffed chest and bristling moustache, he was a strangely upsetting figure, an object of lurking trans-European outrage. Apologies to those without these old dark corners. It does seem odd and is no doubt wrong to have lingered on these things so recently but these feelings did exist and at the time football seemed a pretty good means of expressing them; a way of engaging, cathartically, with the enemy. Football politics Share on LinkedIn Read more blogposts Share on WhatsApp Reuse this contentlast_img read more

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