Category Archives: Arsenal

Dial Square FC – Is it not an Arsenal phoenix club

So The Athletic ran an article this morning about how a fan has set up an “Arsenal phoenix club” with the aim of participating in next season’s Combined Counties Football League – the ninth tier of English football.

In the past we have discussed the possibility of an Arsenal phoenix team similar to that of  FC United of Manchester and AFC Wimbledon.

On the face of it, a phoenix club should be of interest to a few fans. But then you look deeper into the plans of Dial Square FC and you wonder just how it is associated with Arsenal bar the name.

Dial Square FC has been set up by Stuart Morgan.

Morgan told the Athletic  “The club has lost its identity in so many different ways. This Arsenal team, the club, the set-up, the stadium, is nothing like it was in its heyday.” It is a statement that we can all get behind.

He goes on “It’s so commercialised, I sit in club level. It’s soulless, it’s lifeless, it’s not Arsenal Football Club.”

And this is where it starts to fall apart.

He is complained that the club has changed too much, that is too commercialised, soulless, lifeless but then he talks about sitting in Club Level.

For those that don’t know, Club Level is the ring of seats above the bottom tier, and below the boxes. It was created by the club for commercial reasons – allowing richer fans to jump the season ticket waiting list if they were willing to pay double the season ticket cost.

So Morgan is moaning about the club not being what it was, without realising that every time he takes his seat in Club Level, he is part of the problem.

“The reason I wanted to do this project is to go back to beginning, to try and get back to that original Arsenal.”

There is not much green space in Islington. Not many football pitches. And to my knowledge there is no Kingsmeadow size ground (where AFC Wimbledon moved to). A phoenix club was always going to have to move out of the borough. Look at Haringey, Barnet or Camden. A move back down to Woolwich would also make sense.

But Morgan has not picked a borough near Islington, or Woolwich. He has not even decided to start start his phoenix club in London. He has decided to ground share with a side called Abbey Rangers who are based in Addlestone, Surrey.

So here is a Club Level season ticket holder moaning about how the club has lost it’s identity, and yet he is starting his phoenix club outside of London.

The intentions of Morgan need to be questioned.

Back in 2014, he set up Addlestone United FC. Their website shows them playing at the same Abbey Rangers ground that has been picked for Dial Square to play at.

Morgan claims that “we tried to find a suitable ground within our targeted location, but there was no option.” So the only suitable ground he could find was not in London, and one which he has previously hired for the previous club he set up?

Dial Square are not the first club which he has attempted to piggy back off Arsenal for. The Addlestone United crest contain a cannon and the motto “Victory Through Effort”. What has happened to this club? Is he still involved?

Morgan is also trying to raise £50,000 through a Go Fund Me page.

Why is he using Go Fund Me to raise funds? Surely if he is doing this for the love of Arsenal, he should be raising money through an equity release share scheme? Offer 200,000 shares for sale at £1 each, with all revenue raised going into the clubs funds? It would quadruple what he is after and give fans across the globe a share in this new “peoples club”.

When FCUM started, those driving it held public meetings to get fans agreements. The 3 founders of AFC Wimbledon involved the Wimbledon Independent Supporters’ Association before doing anything official. Where is AST, RedAction or ASIA’s involvement? Have they been asked? If so why are they not involved? At the moment it is just one man, using Arsenal’s demise, to raise £50,000 for his starter club.

This is not him going “back to the beginning”, this is an individual who has decided to start a football club near his home in Surrey and decided to piggy back on Arsenal’s problems for publicity.

Dial Square is not an Arsenal phoenix club. It is a team set up by an entitled man that sits in club level, moans about the club becoming too corporate, that it has lost its identity. A team set up outside of London.

Thanks Stuart. Good luck setting up your team. Your vanity project. But do not pretend it is an Arsenal phoenix club.

Just another attention seeker.


Do Arsenal finally have their Luis Suarez?

I am usually reluctant to jump on the bandwagon of a young player after a handful of good games.

Often you will end up disappointed, as the player becomes overhyped without really having performed consistently.

Take Kostantinos Mavropanos as an example. After 1 OK game against Manchester United, people were putting him in their first team. He has barely been seen since and is now on loan in Germany somewhere.

Over time you get to recognise players that might just be a flash in a pan. But then someone comes along who performs consistently to a high level, and you know you have a player on your hands.

Cesc Fabregas was such a player. At 16-years-old it was clear and obvious he was going to be a superstar. Dominating midfields week in, week out as a teenager. Jack Wilshere was similar, but sadly injury got the better of him.

In similar eras we had Fran Merida and Henri Lansbury. Both were hyped up, neither made it at Arsenal. You could tell when they were playing that they did not quite have what it took. Something was missing.

In Gabriel Martinelli Arsenal have something special.

Just 18-years-old, Martinelli is in double figures for the season. 10 goals in 21 games. He has impressed everyone with both his ability and attitude.

He is now putting in the performances where you can nudge your mate next to you and say “we have someone here”. This is not overhyping a player based on a handful of performances. This is a teenager now putting in solid performances every time he plays.

He reminds me a lot of a young Luis Suarez.

When Suarez burst on the scene firstly with Ajax and then with Liverpool you could see that he was a level above other strikers in world football.

Suarez had remarkable technical ability, capable of scoring all sorts of goals. Was a threat when both running at players and in the 6-yard box. He could be your number 9, your second striker or play out wide. His work rate was also impressive and something that elevated him above other goal scorers.

Martinelli is showing similar abilities at Arsenal. He has multiple dimensions to his game.

We have already seen him play upfront and out wide. He has proved himself as a goal scorer. But he has also shown he is equally as comfortable on the wing – the skill and vision he showed against Crystal Palace nearly set up Nicolas Pepe to go close to a late winner.

When it comes to the goals he scores, he has variety to his game.

We have seen him act as a goal poacher – appearing in the 6 yard box for a tap in. We have seen him bend one into the top corner from outside of the box. We have seen him beat a couple of man and slot one in. We have seen him score with his head and both feet.

On top of his ability, he also has a fantastic work ethic. Whether that is closing down centre backs when down the middle or tracking back full backs when on the wing. It is rare you get a player with his ability who also works hard for the team.

With the modern game being about pressing from the front, you need a striker who is more than a goal scorer. You need someone who will work hard for the team, run the channels, put pressure on the defenders.

Seven years ago Arsenal tried and failed to sign Luis Suarez. In Martinelli we have a player on our hands with very similar attributes.

If Martinelli continues to work hard and develop his game, we could have a complete forward on our hands. Someone who could lead the line for the next 10-years.


Acquiescence of Liverpool’s impending success

Acquiescence. The reluctant acceptance of something without protest.

For some time now we have all come to the understanding that Liverpool are going to win the league for the first time in 30 years.

Many fans of a certain age have been dreading this day.

Having grown up in the 70s and 80s, Liverpool to them are what Manchester United are to someone who grew up in the 90s and 00s.

Liverpool were the all conquering side of the pre-pass back era. Owned and financed by the Moores family who were once one of the richest families in England. They were the Manchester City of their time.

With their success, glory hunters followed. They were probably the first club to begin tapping into a fan base from beyond their catchment area.

Children (often Asian) in London grew up as Liverpool fans. Like Manchester United’s Surrey contingent, they were the worst. Boastful. Giving it the big ‘un. Despite having never been to Anfield. Despite probably still having never been to Anfield.

They attracted the type of fans who has no interest in football, but declared they supported Liverpool. You would only hear from them when things were going well.

They quickly became the most hated fans across England. I guess success and hatred go hand in hand.

Fans who grew up in this area have dreaded the day Liverpool win the league again. They look at that lad in the office. Barely speaks about football. He has no real interest. But as Liverpool have improved, he has started speaking about football again.

Able to turn off when the bad times hit, celebrate and boast when success is close. They will never be a proper fan. Yet are more than happy lauding it over others in the office.

For a few months now, we have had to accept Liverpool will win the league. And with it all those rats who have been hiding under a rock will pop up once more. The only positive is that with Liverpool running away with the league, we have all been able to reluctantly accept and get used to the matter of fact that they will be champions once more.

The press will go OTT over it. They have always loved Liverpool. Probably fearful that any criticism will lead to boycotts. But at least all the celebrating will be over before the season has ended. It will never be an Anfield 89 situation.

But what we are all going to have to reluctantly being accepting is that Liverpool could firstly beat Arsenal’s 49 game unbeaten run, and could potentially match Arsenal by going the season unbeaten.

Back in 2004 Arsenal did something that had not been done in over a century. Gone unbeaten. Many predicted that it would take another century before it happened again.

Chelsea and Manchester City both got close. Both failed. Both showed money does not buy you history. But now Liverpool are on the horizon.

There 50th game will be away to Manchester City. Between now and then they do not have any major hurdles.

It is getting to the point where it would actually be more surprising if Liverpool failed to at least match Arsenal’s 49 game unbeaten run.

Once you accept that records are there to be broken, and that Liverpool are positioning themselves to break Arsenal’s record, you can then appreciate what Jurgen Klopp is doing.

Last season Liverpool won the last 9 games on the bounce as they finished 2nd in the league with 97 points. They lost just once.

They have continued that run this season with 21 wins in 22 games. No team has ever dominated English football the way Liverpool are.

There 39 game unbeaten run has seen them win 34 games, drawing 5.

Unlike Manchester City and Chelsea before them, they have also done it the right way.

A sensible transfer policy of buying low, selling high. Top coaching from Klopp. Togetherness.

This is not a rich Arab or Russian throwing money at the club. Bankrolling success. This is a side that has been built organically. The right way.

And it is perhaps that reason why I am not bitter over what Liverpool are doing.

Had Chelsea or Manchester City broken our unbeaten record, it would have felt like we had been cheated out of our record due to financial doping.

Teams that have spent billions of pounds in an attempt to re-write the record books. It would have been the equivalent of Ben Johnson breaking the 100m world record. You might have ran the fastest 100m of all time, but everyone would know you doped to get there.

Liverpool is something different. There is no financial doping. What they are achieving has to be respected. Like what Arsenal did in 2004 has to be respected.

And the quicker you accept what Liverpool is doing is incredible. The quicker you come to terms that they might go past Arsenal 49 game record, the easier it will be when they do it.

So do not be bitter. Accept what Liverpool are doing is incredible, and understand records are there to be broken.

Instead of getting twisted up over what they are doing, realise that they have done it the right way. Take inspiration from them. That if they can do it, why can’t Arsenal?

Liverpool’s success against the oil barrens and Russian Oligarchs should give all football fans hope once more.

This is not a one off like Leicester. This is a club that is here to stay. A club that has been run well for nearly a decade. All pulling as one to win the league. A club that has shown you do not need to be a rich mans play thing to win the league.

Liverpool will win the league this season. They will probably break Arsenal’s 49 game unbeaten run. They could go the entire season unbeaten. And that should give us all hope.

16 years and counting. There is hope.