Arteta reveals what Ken Friar said about Arsenal’s 2020


Mikel Arteta says he’s able to take plenty of positives from his first 12 months in charge of Arsenal despite battling unprecedented challenges that, in the eyes of the club’s life president Ken Friar, have made 2020 the most difficult year in the Gunners’ history.

While a cycle of highs and lows is not unexpected at any football club, the roller coaster ride that the Spaniard has experienced certainly reads like a Hollywood script. Inheriting a beleaguered squad, he made great headway rebuilding confidence with a clear vision for the future only for a pesky global pandemic to throw obstacles in his way.

While the successes in the FA Cup and Community Shield remain notable highs, the recent terrible run of form – unrivalled in 40 years – has seen progress reverse at an alarming rate.

Throw in an awkward conversation about pay cuts, disgruntled players, departing executives and a sacked dinosaur and it’s little wonder that Friar, who started working for the club in 1950, had sympathetic words for the 38-year-old.

“Ken Friar has been here longer than anybody, I think he’s been here 70 years, and he said, ‘Mikel, it’s not one of the most challenging years in Arsenal’s history, it’s the most challenging and difficult year in Arsenal’s history.”

“There, I can take a lot of positives from the things we’ve done, things we’ve changed, things that worked, obviously the two trophies that we’ve won.

“Then, the results in the Premier League have taken the gloss off what we’ve done, for sure. We have to accept them. There’s now negativity around the team because that’s what happens. We cannot deny that.

“I am enjoying a lot the challenge, I still feel so privileged to be here, I would not change any decision but at the moment, we are hurting. We are suffering because we care a lot about this club. We had other ambitions when we started the season and it’s not going our way. It’s time to fight back, be together and get this club [back] where it deserves [to be].”

Speaking on the eve of Arsenal’s Carabao Cup quarter-final with Manchester City, Arteta was under no illusions about the importance of getting back to winning ways.

“The best medicine for a team that is not winning is to win a football match,” he said “It doesn’t matter which competition, it [winning] brings confidence, it brings joy, it brings belief. There’s nothing else.

“Talk doesn’t change anything if you keep losing. Stats, whatever you want to tell people, it doesn’t change [things]…you need to be supported by results. At the end, it’s what makes things stable and possible to keep working. If not, it’s impossible.”

While he’s consistently struck an optimistic chord, Arteta went on to admit that it’s not unnatural for players to sometimes waver in their beliefs. Having earlier spoken of a need for ‘fighters not victims’ he made clear he has enough of the former to get the team back on track.

“Yes, I do [have fighters] but some of them can have doubts at any moment. When you find yourself in this situation, you are tempted to go to the other side and start to say ‘oh, we’re scoring own goals, we cannot play with ten men, and we don’t have the crowd and then the referee made this decision.’ I’m sorry, but we don’t need any of those [excuses].

“I think there are people who are very contagious and can transmit a certain level of energy. When you have a lot of them, it’s very easy.

“You always have some on one side, some in the middle and some completely on board. Then you have to drag as many people as you want into your side, to the fighting side. The ones who are not interested or they cannot do it, they have to stay behind because they are pulling the rest back.”

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Edu, Kia and Willian out!

Bob's Mexican Cousin

Stan can go to hell along with his moustache

Heavenly Chapecoense

Stan paid for the Partey. What else do you want?

Dark Hei

The club paid for Partey. What else have you been smoking


And how much did you pay?


careful now. some like a wild moustache


How has noone yet made a dirty sanchez joke on this thread.

So disappointing….


Yes, I do [have fighters] but some of them can have doubts at any moment. When you find yourself in this situation, you are tempted to go to the other side and start to say ‘oh, we’re scoring own goals, we cannot play with ten men, and we don’t have the crowd and then the referee made this decision.’ I’m sorry, but we don’t need any of those [excuses]. “I think there are people who are very contagious and can transmit a certain level of energy. When you have a lot of them, it’s very easy. The more I read… Read more »

Johnny 4 Hats

Arteta says he doesn’t want victims and then starts blaming external factors for his shitty performances.

Hhmm. I’m sorry, to me, with yesterday’s “percentages” too, I think Arteta is veering dangerously into crazy, paranoid, deluded manager territory. And no one comes back from crazy, paranoid, deluded manager territory.

But we do get some good memes.

Jean Ralphio

As a manager he has to accentuate the positives at least when speaking to the press. There’s a negative feel around the club at the moment and he’s trying to keep his relationship with the squad positive. I don’t blame him.

Johnny 4 Hats

I’m struggling to see how stating that this has been a tough year (which it has been for every single football club) is accentuating the positives.


What positives….?!!

Look at the Premiership table and Wake Up.


He’s a bag of contradictions.

The guy’s lost the plot, he’s got to go.

Bad results are one thing; not taking responsibility for them is worse – the cardinal sin.

Crash Fistfight

Never go full crazy, paranoid and deluded.


Arteta Out.

Johnny 4 Hats

The problem with Arsenal and its fanbase is that we want a father and we don’t have one. Wenger was our daddy and now that he’s gone, we are grasping at false idols to replace him. Because Arteta seemed like he could be that guy we immediately allowed him to fill that role and now we can’t bring ourselves to accept that this new daddy is not up to the job. Modern football doesn’t want fathers. It doesn’t need a single person to run the club for 20 years. All it wants is success. And if we need to change… Read more »


There will probably never be another Arsene Wenger for Arsenal FC. 🙁


I find it unnecessary to speak how the pandemic has influenced us as a club since absolutely every club is in the same situation. Those that had a smart, long term strategy and vision stemming from the owners and capable management on the exec level were able to sustain and stay stable during this crisis. Those which were not are mostly hurting, and we are in that bracket. So our choices in the last 5-10 years have brought us here and not the pandemic. It is a great scapegoat for the failure we are experiencing for those in charge, who… Read more »


I love our club. I love our supporters but we really do love to look for the dog shit in the meadow sometimes.

Is it really that unreasonable to say that arsenal were badly affected by Covid when we were trying to rebuild a squad with a new manager?

Come on gunners, don’t let us turn into a fan base full of Gelions.

Up the arse! (Also fuck Covid you Christmas stealing viral twat-bucket)


Other clubs had new managers without our resources.
Our owner is not interested and the rest are just downright charlatans lining their pockets and the manager with the arrogance to think he can handle a club the size of ours as his first job it’s like me choosing an Aston Martin as my first car it’s not going to end well.


“Choosing an Aston Martin as my first car it’s not going to end well” But what if that Aston Martin had been crashed into a tree already? And one of the wheels had been replaced with a chocolate wagon wheel? And Katie Price had been fucked in the back seat a couple of times? What if as you’re learning to drive, you replace the wheels, and learn to knock out the dents, and scrub and scrub the backseats with anti viral wipes until all the skank is gone? Then you’re left with a sweet Aston Martin while your neighbour from… Read more »

Tony 2

Oi Fezec who told you about what happend to my Aston? 😆


i don’t know what Katie Price and Peter Andre’s spunk have to do with anything, i was just trying to say that no other top manager around today started like Arteta,they all learnt their trade in the lower leagues.


Never waste a crisis. Why blame one’s own incompetence when he can blame Covid? Many other companies do it too.


“The ones who are not interested or they cannot do it, they have to stay behind because they are pulling the rest back.”

I wonder who this refers to? And if its more than a couple of people we have major problems with the mentality of our squad.


Ozil and Guendouzi immediately come to mind.

This also could be why Xhaka is always starting – he comes across as someone that can say all the right things, motivate the squad, and has that ‘fighter’ mentality Mikel is looking for. I wonder if Mikel is so focused on that mentality that he overlooks the performances to an extent.


But as a team-mate how can you take what he says seriously when he plays so shit.


The problem is that Arteta is sounding more and more delusional that you don’t even know if that is true.

Reality check

I don’t believe Ozil and Guendouz can influence the games much without even being in the ground. Even if we believe it’s those two, some how affecting the performances from that far away, its more incompetence on the management’s part that works so close to the players. It’s the players he’s playing that are letting him down not the ones he’s not playing. It’s weak management/leadership if you can’t handle discontent in your ranks. How do you expect Saliba to be happy? They made him miss the cup final, for what, wrap him in cotton wool and occasionally play with… Read more »


I think Ozil, Socrates, maybe Saliba, can influence from the training ground whilst the memory of Guendouzi and Torreira can influence from within.

Young players have the desire but find it difficult to influence their seniors and lose confidence.

Mikel is casting his rod into the rough waters and using a variety of bait in attempt to gain rewards. His own memory though is of Citeh and he holds that as the anchor to keep his boat on course. Unfortunately this boat is a rowing boat compared to a yacht.

Metaphors over, prayers resume.


Ozil, yes, Guendouzi, no. Remember when he turned that Aston Villa game around because he wasn’t willing to lose? I think the main issue with Guendouzi was that he saw Arteta’s “non-negotiables” for the magic trick they are – and he said so. I’m not really defending him, a player needs to show respect to his manager, but it’s telling that the guy who gets ostracized is the one who fights so much he doesn’t know when to stop, while a useless bootlicker like Xhaka who’s repeatedly thrown the team under the bus for the sake of his ego becomes… Read more »

Auba auba laca partey

I agree with the fighters/victims mindset but when you are technically limited like nketiah or physically limited like ceballos you can simply not play in the premier league.

Dr. kNOw

Too many specific yet limited players have been recruited in recent years, particularly in midfield. Technical, but physically limited players at the base, with technical players in the half space that lack end product and/or consistency. The base full of both, with the latter also lacking numbers. Sack Willian? Yes. Replace him – or other underperforming players? With who, if not an academy graduate whose developmentisbeing carefully managed for particular reasons? Partey is the exception to the rule over the last half decade. Read that again: it is ludicrous, and Aouar would be more of the same. Yet everyone is… Read more »

Heavenly Chapecoense

I do think Nketiah is a little limited but let’s not destroy this young boy. Today I thought about the time we had Adebayor to replace Henry. Adebayor scored 30 goals in 2008. If both were injured then we had young Bendtner who was a little more gifted than Nketiah at least more of a physical threat.


The manager of that team knew how to play attacking football compared to the current guy, if I am not mistaken Bendtner scored 14 or 15 goals that season.


Lord Bendter.
Good shout, Clay.

He gave arsenal some quality goals. Some quality eff ups too!

Malaysian gunner

Arsenal are one of six clubs specially invited to join the super league,if it takes off. The problem is it can be with drawn if Arsenal are unable to compete for 4th and are relegated.If that hypothetical scenario were to happen ,the invitation could be given to another club. It has come to this situation because the owners believed in the self sustaining model. Look where the top 5 will be without the massive injection of money. I fear for Arsenal because nothing is static. If Arsenal continue to degenerate a time will come when they will become like Leeds,NU… Read more »


We’ve spent tons of money the past 6-7 years, we’ve just spent it incredibly badly. The self – sustaining model isn’t the issue. It’s the fact that we were wildly incompetent in contracts & transfers Wenger’s last few years, bordering on fraud during Raul’s, and have continued to waste resources on old players during Edu/Arteta’s.


“The best medicine for a team that is not winning is to win a football match.”

What’s the percentage chance of that, Mikel?

Heavenly Chapecoense

You certainly deserve your name.


Pretty clear who he is talking about

Lord Bendnter

Sounds to me like the club cannot wait to finally get rid of all the dead wood this summer

Dave cee

Hopefully, but why on Earth did they offer Mustafi a new deal??! It can’t be for resale because we can’t give him away. Recognize the turds and get them gone


Could we just cancel some contracts this summer and be done with it? Or is that not how it works?


We could offer to do that, I’m not sure if the player/agent have to accept it though. Either way, we pay and money is very tight at The Emirates (it was pre-Covid, but the financial results for 2019-20 will be pretty dire – and the next lot will be truly terrible).

Pat Fried Rice with Egg

We could, but we’ll probably pay for the remainder of the contracts anyways due to early termination.

Case in point: Ozil who is not budging on his agreed terms. 350K/week to let Ozil play for Twitter is better than 350K/wk and no Ozil.


So no savings to be made that way. May as well keep them and get what little we can for as long as we’re dragging them with us.

Thanks for your replies, Biggles and Pat!


But but he is not playing and still getting paid so it works out the same way. Just pay him and let him go. This is not a player issue but manager limitation. No matter how bad you all think our players are they are way better than Sheffield or Burnely players.


Then why sign more over the last few months?


It may actually not be easy for any person to see who’s exactly deadwood.


Soares, Mari and Willian were not exactly consensus choice.


I think it makes no sense to blame on those who don’t play. Arteta is the one to be blamed. He is the manager, and it is not our worst squad in the last 40 years…


Big fucking deal like the pandemic only happened to us now.Just look at the league table Mikel that’s on your watch 15th and losing to teams below you and the teams below are fast catching up,i’m fucking worried these players don’t have the heart for a relegation scrap.


“I would not change any decision, but at the moment we are hurting.”

You pillock.

How about “There are glaring errors that I’ve made that have led to this club experiencing its worst season for 40 years.”

The man is in denial. He’s got to go. The sooner the better.

Gooners & Roses

I think there lies his greatest challenge for now, to find equilibrium within his own judgement on whom should be on his side; pure fighters with crap performance or someone languid but capable of moments of magic. Being able to find good mix of these two and get that consistent output.


In 2004 Leeds got into massive debt and had to sell star players, and as a consequence they got relegated. I am not assured that Arsenal’s financial position, which is going to be bad this year (although improved by the Europa League) is good, but we don’t have a lot of saleable players. While I think we are not quite at panic stations yet as far as relegation is concerned, if we are still in this position at the end of January, we are in a scrap for survival. If the club were relegated, it would be the culmination of… Read more »

Winterburns right wand

Strangely considering our position in table you haven’t mentioned Alladyce as or next manager.


Only because he’s taken… 😉


I’m afraid that the EL provides relative peanuts in income – certainly compared to the CL. Balanced against that, we’ve lost a huge proportion of our matchday income in the second half of our financial year because of Covid (and we rely upon that as a % of income more than any of the other “big six” teams). The 2019-20 results will be dire. Relegation from the top flight – which would be for the first time since World War One – would be a total humiliation, so let’s not even think about that. It’s true what you say about… Read more »


Arsenal should rename itself to Arsenal Retirement Club – Paying top dollar for past it stars so that they can continue enjoying London lifestyle.


Ah well, wait till we sign Eriksson in Jan, at 200k per week for 5 years. Between Willian and him statistically, age profile comes down and probability of winning matches would increase in our simulation tool, we just have to check if Kia gets a cut or not.

Tony 2

I have a suggestion. Partey out for a while. We are saying we need a big strong PLAYER who can tackle. run all day and has an eye for a pass in midfield? Well how about giving Gab our new cb) a go in that position? Seems to fit the criteria to me


There was a moment late in the Everton game when Maitland-Niles got to the byline and put in a delicious cross across goal. There should have been at least 2-3 players fighting to get on the end of that. Instead it was just Nketiah, and even he was only ambling in, 5 yards away. It was shocking to see—I think Arteta has lost the dressing room. But this time, I would back the manager and take hard decisions on the players who have let down 2 managers in a row, whatever our opinions about those managers might be.

Naked Cygan

Is he really going to keep bringing up the community sheild throphy up everytime to make himself feel better? We won the FA cup which was geart. I don’t know how we won it, but he should be knighted for that. Ad far as this season goes he needs to be show the door along with 8-10 players. Just not good enough. Honeymoon transition season BS is over.


It was great to win the FA Cup but, in hindsight, I think that it fooled us into thinking that the team had somehow stopped and reversed the decline that started under Wenger and through Emery. It clearly hadn’t and, obviously, things have just got worse. Domestic cups are the icing on the cake – they are not, and never can be, the cake. It’s the cake on which Arsenal, as a so-called “big six” must be judged.


”the two trophies that we’ve won” is some peak Mourinho sh*t right there. 2 trophies, mate? You’re seriously going to bang on about a preseason, meaningless exhibition run about? At least Mourinho, when he pulls that nonsense, can actually call back to having won the CL and PL multiple times.

”the results in the Premier League have taken the gloss off what we’ve done.” What in the world does this even mean? The results in the League **are** what we’ve done.

Mikel Arteta, Community Shield Champion!


Yes, I agree with you – you are as good (or not) as the league position. The table doesn’t lie, as they say. As to trophies, in the “old days” (ah, the old days) the Charity Shield/Community Shield was never counted as a “trophy” – although they appeared in the list of club honours.


This comment is golden. I literally laughed out loud reading this. Couldn’t be any closer to the truth. I don’t know if being a Manger come with delusion being a side effect.

Paul Roberts

“It’s not my fault, Ken said”…dear oh dear.

Ambazonian Gunner

They say, “back the process”. I say, sack The Process!!


Tomorrow Arteta to come out with “Arsene Wenger called me personally and said even he couldn’t have done better this season. It’s truly miraculous that this squad isn’t bottom of the table, keep up the crossing” Followed by his post match reaction to losing 5-0 to Chelsea stating “If they hadn’t scored 5 and we had scored 1, we would have won. These are the fine margins”

naked cygan

Wow!! why are you so negative Martin?


All this talk of backing Arteta is crap. Quite frankly, KSE only care about $$$. Once we go down on the table that will be affected and he will have to act. Yes some players have downed tools but questions have to be asked about some of his decisions. He can’t continue to be a seniority coach.


Special mention for Stan Kroenke – 2020 is a year that perfectly encapsulates his ownership – for finally transforming an achieving football club into a pointless, yank-styled ‘making up the numbers’ commercial shit fest, used essentially as bog roll collateral while moustachio quivers over his slagheap of failed sports franchises, straining to drop more deuces on to the pile.
THAAAYNKS* said in South Park smug episode voice.