Light and dark. Fast and Slow. Tea and coffee. Sat in a north London pub, I delved into another pair of opposites that has arguably become as famous across the last few years with the emergence of fan channels – Claude and Ty from Arsenal fan TV.
Cult figures primarily through an apparent innate to disagree about pretty much anything regarding the Gunners, we got to know the pair at the Ladbrokes #ForTheFans Transfer Deadline Day party.
Ladbrokes invited Ian Wright, Chris Kamara, Peter Reid, Jason McAteer and 50 fans to a north London pub to take part in the Ladbrokes #ForTheFans Transfer Deadline Day party, fans were treated to free bets, the latest reaction to transfer moves and news by our panel of legends, a singing Kammy and a free bar to keep the night flowing.
The consequences make for YouTube gold, meaning that whilst everyone around us was desperately seeking late deadline day transfer, we were busy dissecting the Gunners’ season over a pint…
So I start with the obvious question, what did you make of the January transfer window for Arsenal?
Ty: It’s a non-event for us really, we’ve signed Gabriel Paulista and we’ve done our job but I think it’s disappointing because all we seemed to be getting from the press and media is ‘who is he?’ We’re getting criticised for signing a defender when we needed one. We didn’t sign a defender, midfielder or striker. We signed a defender but were still getting stick, obviously we’d like to sign more but it is what it is. A lot of our players are getting back to full fitness.
Claude: I think ideally we need two or at least one big central defensive midfield player because although Coquelin is playing well at the moment I’m not sure he can do the whole season. I still think he’s got a lot to learn – though he has been playing brilliantly we still need that world class central defensive-midfielder. Maybe Wenger is right but we will see at the end of the season.
Ty: Yes there should have been (a central-midfielder signed) but we have Francis Coquelin who has been a revelation since he has come back on loan spell at Charlton. We do have Mikel Arteta and Matthieu Flamini (said with an emphasis on both that suggests a feeling they are underestimated).
Claude: I think Wenger has been lucky because I don’t think we be in this situation if Arteta was fit but luckily Coquelin has come back from Charlton and done a brilliant job. However I just think that’s fortune because I don’t think Wenger had even thought of bringing him back. I don’t think Arteta can get around the park like he used too.
Ty: We don’t know what’s happened with Abou Diaby because he’s been destroyed by injury. We have a few players in that position though obviously that would be nice, but if we’re going to sign someone big it should be at the end of season, because it’s not the managers remit to sign big players now.
Claude: I think there was possibilities of Carvalho and Schneiderlin didn’t quite get over the line, but I think we need that experienced world class midfielder. I don’t think Arteta has been a great player but he’s now coming to the end. Sometimes you’ve got to be a bit ruthless and not offer them a new contract.
Ty: I think it’s going to be at the end of the season, hopefully we’ve got enough to equal or emulate what we did last season- if we do that I’m sure everyone will be happy.
FFC to Ty, as Claude is busy re-charging his glass: What have you made of Arsenal recently having less of the ball in various fixtures, such as Manchester City and Aston Villa?
Ty: It’s nothing something he’d really do but he’s looked at us playing all the football and not getting the results. If we play less football and get the results then were happy. The funny thing is it’s the players that apparently suggested we should change our style but the thing is Claude said Wenger can’t take credit for that. But, they always say a good leader is someone who is prepared to listen, it showed he is not too arrogant and too big headed to not listen to what players say to him. That shows humblesness, co-operation and an ability to listen that only endears me to him more.
(At that moment both Ty and I inevitably turn towards Claude and laughter erupts) Naturally leading FFC to ask him: Do you think it’s fair that you are often known as ‘the negative one’ as such?
Claude: If you call negative wanting to win the league, challenging for the league that’s up for people to decide that but I want my club to do better. I think this club is big enough to be challenging for the title not settling for 4th each season.
Ty: Look at who were competing with Chelsea, Man City and Man Unitd who have all spent more money than us and he (Wenger) has still kept us competitive in the top four.
Claude: The mentality is coming, and of course players make the difference. I think the future looks good if we can just add those one or two special players it looks too late for this season but in the summer we’ve got to look at that again.
FFC: Turning to you as the ‘optimist’ Ty, recent months have seen speculation surrounding Wenger largely quell, things seem to be going well?
Ty: Absolutely because he’s doing his job and getting all the players fit. I don’t think since the invincibles that he has ever had his best 11 players fit so can you really judge him? I think you can only really judge him when he has had his whole first 11 fit for the season because if he did we would win the league. Obviously injuries happen and he has his faults which is far enough but you’ve got to look at the whole job the man has done.
Claude: At the moment he’s slightly turning me around but let’s wait to the end of season and we will see.
FFC: What would it take this season for you be convinced that Wenger is still the right man?
Claude: 3rd/2nd in the League and a really good run in CL, I mean at least the semi-finals. We’re capable but it’s early days yet.
Ty: All those things would be good obviously but, to me, even if we didn’t achieve any of those things, I would give Arsene another year, because of everything he has done for the club. It has been nothing short of incredible, to create an invincible team, it’s like a dream, if anything had told us we would go a whole season unbeaten we’d have never ever in our wildest dreams have believed them.
FFC to Ty: So what would it take for you to say Wenger out?
Ty: I would never say that even if we got relegated, god forbid, out of Europe, and go down to the championship, because of what he has done for the club I cannot turn against him. What he has done for the club has been incredible, he is the reason why we are here because of the football we have played and seen – its been incredible, its been a dream, nothing could really turn me against him.
FFC: Finally, who has been your player of the season?
Claude: Alexis Sanchez, no doubt about it, he has been brilliant, absolutely outstanding.
Ty: Alexis Sanchez.
FFC: Nice to see I finally managed to find something you two agree on, thanks for your time guys.