get stupider every summer. Seriously.
This past summer, they tried to mix
things up a bit, instead of throwing the old "Vieira-to-Madrid"
rumour out every three or four days in between David
Beckham stories. In their ever-present spirit of benevolence,
the proverbial monkeys-behind-PCs cooked up some scintillating
stories about Ashburton Grove being an utter failure
and Arsenal being more destitute than your average
inner-city bag lady.
They managed to throw in suggestions
that both Patrick Vieira and Robert Pires would be
off to various spendy Continental clubs, and that
Thierry Henry would be off to Chelsea for eighty five
squillion bazillion pounds as well.
The bandwagon soon became so enticing
that you had mullet-wearing dorks like John Nicholson
writing about how Spurs had surpassed Arsenal, although
the fact that our friendly neighbours only managed
to sign a couple of strikers while ignoring their
obvious deficiencies in midfield seemed to escape
notice of said "journalist".
Meanwhile, Roman Abramovitch (otherwise
known as the mysterious guy from "The Wire"
who sends Russian prostitutes to their deaths in shipping
containers) bought Chelsea and spent crazy money buying
every midfielder in Europe, which just added to fuel
to the "Arsenal have no money and appear to be
headed toward relegation this season" conflagration
running rampant in the football sections of every
media outlet in Britain.
I got the distinct impression that somewhere
in London, David Dein was sitting behind a desk reading
the newspapers, smoking a big fat cigar, and laughing
his Arse off, based on the lack of comment coming
from Arsenal in the midst of all this excitement.
Arsenal fans everywhere took pleasure
in the Barca-Beckham-Real drama, only because it kept
the journalistic equivalent of ambulance-chasers out
of Arsenal's business for a week or two. Looking back,
it seems a bit sad, but it also encapsulates the frustrations
we all felt this summer.
The only thing to do, really, was to
laugh and hope to Dennis Bergkamp that the team would
come back with more fortitude as a result of losing
the title last season. So far, that seems to be the
Arsene Wenger has made some shrewd acquisitions,
namely that of Jens Lehmann. Whilst few Arsenal fans
knew much about him before moving over from Borussia
Dortmund, he looks to be the formidable presence in
goal that Arsenal desperately needed, with good organizational
skills and a wealth of
Fans will be excited to see the likes
of Karbayissoon, "Big Papa", and Cesc joining
the squad as well, but Kolo Toure's emergence at centre-back
will prove crucial. While the media were practically
doing double-twisting back tucks over the fact that
Arsenal had failed to produce a big-name partner for
Sol Campbell, the answer may have been hidden right
under our noses, though time will tell if Toure proves
to be the long-term defensive stalwart the team needs.
Vieira's commented on the team spirit
so far this season. Wenger, too, has said that he
believes that the team is stronger (I'm truly surprised
the monkeys didn't turn that into another "We
will go unbeaten all season" pathetically overblown
All signs look good for the media to
have something different to write about next season.
Let's hope that holds up for the rest
of the season.