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Camden New Journal - by CATHERINE ETOE and JOHN FOOT
Published: 6 March 2008
How Wenger spurred his team on

SO now Richard Osley can add “We’ll always have the San Siro” to his list of historic European victory crows (currently two).
Sounds to me like he has Arsene Wenger’s inspired half-time fit-for-heroes speech to thank for that one.
This time, it didn’t involve the words: “Come on, Theo’s grandparents are younger than this bunch of no-hopers.”
Nor the cry: “Please stop headbutting the wall, Billy, there’s always next season.”
Nope. This time, the manager called upon the name of the most successful English team of 2008 to inspire his players – the mighty Spurs.
“That’s right, Spurs,” Wenger cried as the room fell so silent you could hear Theo’s nappy-pin drop. “Spurs, the underdogs who stood tall in the face of adversity. Spurs, the side that put a smile on the face of the entire country. Spurs, the club that has a silver cup on the shelf marked “2008” when all we have is tumbleweed and a Junior Gunners certificate.
“Now, imagine yourselves achieving one tenth of their success, go out there and win this thing.”
And so they did. Three cheers for the inspirational Spurs (apparently).

For Milan fans, team’s demise is old news

FOR the Milan fans, there was a sense of inevitability about last night’s defeat.
Milan have been living on borrowed time for some years now. Unable to produce a sustained campaign in the league, they have performed only occasionally in the big cup competitions, as with the destruction of Manchester United in last year’s semi-final (and two successive Champions League finals).
But their team is packed with ageing stars, only capable of turning it on once in a while. It has been clear for a while that Milan needs a complete renewal of its squad, starting with the defence.
One problem is money. President Silvio Berlusconi has not been investing in the team as in the past, and his political ambitions (yet another general election is coming up in May, the fifth he will have fought in 14 years) have taken up most of his energy.
Milan were generous in defeat last night. The applause from the hardcore fans in the curva both for Arsenal and for their own players was extremely significant – it was as if they were saying “thanks for trying, but now it is time to change”.
The last time I saw something of that kind was in the 1990s, after Fabio Capello’s 58-game winning run came to an end. Now, for Milan, it is time for a new era to begin.

• John Foot, a professor at University College London, is author of Calcio: A History of Italian Football.
He currently lives in Milan

• The New Journal is inviting readers to tackle Osley in The People’s Perch. Send your column and a photo to The Crow, 40 Camden Road, NW1 9DR or by email

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