Ok, let’s start with football before moving on elsewhere. With internationals on the way (full list of Arsenal involvment here) there’ll be precious little real news around so we’ll make the most of it.
Arsene Wenger explained yesterday why he didn’t buy another striker during the transfer window and it seems he’s got a lot of faith in the four he has. People might talk about Bendtner being inexperienced but the boss says:
Every other club in the Premier League seems to phone me to get him on loan. So how can I say that everybody wants you but we want you here and then go to buy someone new.
Fair enough then. So far his opportunities have been limited but there’s plenty of time for him to show what he can do – and from the little we have seen he does genuinely seem to offer a different threat up front. Adebayor is tall too but doesn’t seem as strong in the air as the young Dane.
Gilberto has backed the boss’s transfer dealings saying it’s a ‘gamble’ when you bring in new players and that the stability and closeness of the Arsenal squad will be an advantage to us. Not spending is also a gamble but one that so far, touch wood, seems to be paying off.
Look at Lasanna Diarra. He says he came to Arsenal for first team football, something he wasn’t getting at Chelsea because of the players in front of him. When you look at the competition at Arsenal it’s not really going to be any easier. Cesc and Gilberto are first pick, Diaby and Denilson are improving and look strong this season, Flamini is playing out of his skin wherever he’s put and Alex Song has funny hair. It will be interesting to see how he gets on.
Robbie Savage has branded Arsenal ‘hypocrites’ for complaining about Blackburn’s physical approach. He says:
Van Persie did a piece in the paper slaughtering us, which is wrong. It’s a man’s game. It’s physical. You’re going to get stuck in and make tackles. And they do that, so it’s very hypocritical of them. It gets on our nerves.
Firstly, let me say how delighted I am that it gets on his nerves because I was afraid he didn’t have the brain power to think about stuff in the first place. Secondly, the point he’s overlooking is that there is a difference between getting stuck in and going over the top. Pedersen standing on Cesc’s neck is as far removed from a crunching tackle as you can possibly get. Arsenal got ‘stuck in’ because we weren’t going to bullied by a team managed by a man who was a bully on the pitch and who now demands the same from his players. People call Robbie Savage ‘whole hearted’ and ‘terrier like’ for his limited but effective approach to the game. I call Robbie Savage a cunt. It’s all good.
It’s been a good week for Arsenal v Portsmouth as our reserves beat theirs 2-0 last night. The goals came from Nacer Barazite and awesomely named Sanchez Watt.
Congratulations to Dennis Bergkamp who has been voted into the National Football Museum Hall of Fame.
Now, onto matters regarding the board and the future of the club. The AST (Arsenal Supporters Trust) have been at pains to deny reports that they ‘welcomed’ David Dein, insisting they only welcomed the opportunity to present at his press conference last week. Since then Tim Payton of the AST did an interview with Danny Fiszman in which the majority shareholder stressed he was fully commited to the club and not just in the short term. I think it’s important to stress this because you hear all the time, even from so-called respected commentators, about Danny Fiszman is sitting in his lakeside house in Geneva with his finger hovering over the ‘Sell my Arsenal shares’ button and it’s just not true.
The AST went on to say:
We would like to meet Usmanov and we will remind him of the responsibility his position now holds. Arsenal is about its history and its supporters. Any action by him must recognise this. The AST has already told Red & White that we expect them to work with, not against, the Arsenal board, whose work we greatly respect. A hostile bid is not welcome.
That, I have to say, is certainly a much better position to hold than had been reported in the papers and I’m happy to clarify that now. All the same, I would very much like to hear what the AST makes of the stories surrounding Alisher Usmanov and whether or not they think such a person is suitable as a potential owner. He already owns 14.58% – do they share the same concerns that many, many fans do about his background? Can the AST even say anything about it as they are a group that is representative of Arsenal shareholders and have to consider what’s best for their members first? I think we have to accept that there is a fundamental difference between ‘fan’ and ‘shareholder’.
The AST’s stance on issues is based on what is best for their members who hold shares in the club – and that’s entirely correct. That’s what the organisation is about. However, what’s best for shareholders and what’s best for fans is not always the same thing. Hopefully Tim will join me on this week’s Arsecast to have a chat about this and try and make clear their position regarding further investment by Usmanov and Red and White. I’m not trying to be critical of the AST as I’ve spoken to them in the past and they’ve been very good with their time and availability but I do think this is a bit of a sticking point.
Is there a need for a supporters group with a bigger profile and a louder voice than the ones we currently have? The structure is certainly there and I think it’s important that the fans opinions are heard and publicised without the influence of shareholdings dictating a response to events.
And that’s about that. More tomorrow.