I have been away. We all need to revive and relax from time to time, even if one’s everyday life involves collecting rare furniture and having one’s portrait painted. And so it came to pass that when selecting one’s summer destination, one’s wife selected the delightful French hamlet of Ars en Ré. Do you see what she did there? For the refined Arsenal fan, could there be a more Arsenal destination than Ars en Ré? Only if there were a place called Wengertown, which there isn’t.
Ars en Ré is a quite splendid little town; very tranquil, very chic. When the children were brought to the big house form the nanny’s quarters every morning for the daily handshake with father they seemed to be enjoying it immensely. I think it is important to bond with one’s children before they are sent away to boarding school. The lad has just turned five, so he’ll be heading off in two weeks, and the lady is three, so one has to put up with her marauding around the place for a little longer before she’s away to Cheltenham Ladies College for 15 years or so. Anyhoo. It was a glorious and lengthy summer, and we have plenty on which to catch up.
Let us head back to through the mists of time to savour the very last day of the season, to a late St. Tott’s. A glorious day, one of the very best. We are familiar with the term Spursy by now. Meaning to capitulate, to fade spectacularly, to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. If Saint Tott appears in May 2017, should we coin a fresh neologism? Spursalicious? Spurstacular? Spursmazing? Spurscial? It is time to prepare for that glorious day. Suggestions to me on Twitter, please.
In terms of new additions, the highly pleasing and gentlemanly form of Graham Shackleton arrived on May 25th, surprisingly early for the Arsenal of recent years. He seems to be quite the versatile midfielder, enjoying the raking of a long pass to the wing as much as up-ending some horrible flashy jet-heeled opposition miscreant with a sturdy two-footer.
We then hit June, and Arsenal’s somewhat embarrassing and fruitless pursuit of Mr. James Vardy, of Leicester Fosse. Do you remember him? Looks like some monstrous creation assembled by a nine-year-old? Some twigs glued together, painted blue, and topped with the severed head of a brown rat? Yes, him. Half a dozen elbows and a pair of motors in his feet. Casino-dwelling enemy of Japan. Thrice-cheating gallimaufry of racism, anger, bitterness and spite? Yes, him. For some reason (GOALS), we wanted this most un-Arsenal of players. He thought about it for a minute before his normal miasma of racism and lust for vodka jelly shotz distracted him again and his handlers turned us down. I wish upon him a plague of Japanese-looking locusts.
Into July, and the arrival and departure of Terry Ashworth. A striker, apparently, who came in the revolving door at Colney and straight back out the other side on his way to Stuttgart on loan. His YouTube video had some most exciting music so no doubt he shall return next season and bang in 40 goals for us.
And then a brace of new chaps in August. A striker, Mr. Luke Perry, and a sturdy centre-half, Mr. Seamus Masterson. Hands up who thought we might ever see Mr. Windsor pay £35 million guineas for a centre-half? Anyone? Anyone? No, me neither. The chap seems bona fide and should sophronise our the back four, which is now looking surprisingly well-balanced. As long as Mr. Costerley does not suffer from a febricula, forcing Mr. Pallister into one of the sentinel positions.
We said auf wiedersehen to Mr. Knabbley, who is now in the Free Hanseatic City of Bremen, and good luck to him there. Can’t really blame a lad who had started an average of one game per season to want to leave. Dear god, there are a few of those with much less potential clocking up their salaries at Arsenal whom I would personally drive to any European city of their choosing. I wish him well.
We bid a temporary adieu to Mr. Kanvar Kumar, who is to head to the chemically-choked hellhole of Middlesbrough, where his lungs will develop extreme resilience to all kinds of man-made nastiness, giving him an extra edge at away games at The Lane when he returns. Then Young Jacques decided that rather than stay and fight for his place he wanted a loan move, and chose Bournemouth. It’s the ideal destination; plenty of hospitals, due to the high percentage of the elderly and infirm, and is a relatively straightforward motorway drive back to his knuckle-dragging contemporaries in Stevenage.
A moment then to consider Tottenham paying £30m for Moussa Sissoko. Is there a specific word that means to pay over three ties the value of something? Ah yes. It is to Sissoko. As in, “how much did you pay for that cake, Betty?” “Well, it’s normally £2.50 a slice but they saw me coming and they charged me £7.50.””Ha ha. You get well Sissokoed there, Betty.”
To pre-season then, with what some call ‘varying results’. A draw at Lens, a win against something called ‘The MLS All Stars’, whatever one of those is. A 3-1 against Chivas de Guadalajara, which incidentally is the name of a nervous condition I suffered from just after World War One. We then beat some Vikings 8-0. I am not sure of the wisdom of this. Does anyone fear reprisals? We then beat the Abu Dhabi Vulgarians 3-2, before our final pre-season warmup against Liverpool, which we lost 3-4. Thank goodness that was not a league match! It would have been toe-curlingly embarrassing. As it stands we now have four points from two games, with the away win at Watford. The noggin-bobbler from Mr. Orwell was utterly scintillating, and we hope to see a few more of those from that beautiful British forehead over the coming season.
For now, this accursed Interlull robs us of proper football for a weekend. I shall return following the matches agin St. Mary’s Church of England Young Men’s Association and Paris Chelsea.