june 30th

The main news around this morning is that Boro fancy Ray Parlour and could be set to make a bid this week. He’s one of the players that has been linked with a move away from the club nearly every summer for as long as I can remember, but come the start of the season he’s doing his thing in midfield.

However, Gary Megson said last week that West Brom were made aware of his availability, so there does seem to be something going on. You have to wonder that if Ray is available for transfer is the boss making room for a new signing, or is he creating space in the squad so we can see more of Cesc in the season ahead? We shall see.

There’s also a very strange story about how Thierry Henry and his Arsenal based French colleagues have hatched a plan to oust Zinedine Zidane from the France squad for the World Cup in 2006. Apparently Henry wants the team based around him and sees Zidane as an obstacle to the team playing that way. To be honest, it doesn’t sound anything like the Thierry Henry we all know and I suspect it’s shitwitchery on a grande scale by Le Parisien which is where the story originated.

It’s the first 1/2 final in Euro 2004 tonight. The hosts take on Holland and they’re worried about the flying Dutchmen, Robben and van Nistelrooy, who they think are just a little bit too light on their feet. This picture of RvN shows they may have a point. I’m leaning towards the Portuguese in this one, even though I’ve always had a soft spot for the Dutch in these kind of tournaments. However, this Dutch team lacks the van der Kerkhovness and the Rep and Rensenbrinkosity of previous squads. It’s the hosts for me, for sure.

june 29th

Nothing happening Arsenal wise really.

There’s talk of a transfer battle between us and Liverpool for the signing of Michael Ballack, but after last season’s Kewell extravaganza I’m not even going to bother. The ‘poo need to make some signings after Steven ‘Euro2000’ Gerrard pledged his future to the club, and apparently Roman Abramovich went mental with slaphead Peter Kenyon after the ‘life long red®’ assured him the Liverpool captain would be joining Chelsea. Chelsea had let their interest in pint sized Portuzilian Deco cool because they were so convinced Gerrard would be joining, and he’s now going to sign for Barcelona any day. Kenyon is the man who fucked up the Ronaldinho to Man United transfer so late last summer that they were actually printing thousands of shirts with the goofy genius’ name on them. Definitely worth the £4m a year they’re paying him to be one of the most hated men in football.

David Trezeguet has been long rumoured to be an AW target, but he shows his class here (minging, even if it is directed at the new Spurs boss).

There’s little news coming out of THOF though, but the first batch of players are due back for the start of pre-season training next week so we should start getting some bits and pieces then. Oh, wait. Here it is. The news we’ve all been waiting for. Stathis Tavlaridis has officially joined Lille.

Sorry. Till tomorrow then.

june 28th

Now that Arsenal’s Euro 2004 adventures are over, there’s very little going on. All the players are on their holidays and the manager is doing punditry for French TV. Makes for dull times, so it does.

Sol Campbell is still furious with Swiss ref Urs Meier for disallowing his goal against Portugal, claiming “I bet if it was the other way around it would have been a goal for Portugal.”

Jeremie Aliadiere doesn’t want to go out on loan and wants a chance to prove himself at Arsenal. St Etienne, PSV Eindhoven, Borussia Dortmund, Ajax and Charlton are all interested in taking him on loan, but he says "I want to stay here. I can contribute so much to Arsenal all I want is to get a chance."

Kanu’s move to WBA appears to be dead in the water due to his wage demands, while there’s some speculation that Fernando Morientes could be Arsenal bound.

Finally for today, a new column from Steve E, entitled ‘Ashley Cole – a case for the defence.’

So, how was your weekend then?

june 27th

I didn’t see any of the Sweden v Holland game as a combination of a long day at the beach, a tankard or two of alcohol and my daughter’s insistence on renting SWAT (which has the distinction of being the film that sent me to sleep the quickest – less than 10 minutes in) had me taking the earliest night I’ve had in years.

Aston Villa kept up their proud penalty record at these championships as it was Olaf Mellberg who missed before Arjen Robben scored for the Dutch to see them through. So that ends Arsenal’s interests in the finals. My money’s on the Czechs now.

Not much else going on – Arsenal Mania has some nice new images of the new kit for the coming season (is it just me or is the default text tiny?). The home one is quite nice, but the away one is too fucking blue for us to win anything in it. It is probably the nicest blue kit I’ve ever seen for us, but that’s like saying that steaming turd my dog just did is the most fragrant and lovely steaming turd he’s ever produced.

Right, tennis. Later.

june 26th

Arsenal’s interest in Euro2004 rests with Frederik ‘Freddie’ Ljungberg and his Swedish chums as France surprisingly crashed out to Greece 1-0. I didn’t see the game at all as I was out, but it’s nice to see that Spurs have got themselves a top class manager for the coming season. I suppose from a selfish, Arsenal point of view it’s good for our lads because they get a bit of a rest now before the new season.

In as brief a round-up as my pounding headache allows, Jeremie Aliadiere is attracting lots of attention as clubs want him on loan, young keeper Craig Holloway has joined Farnborough Town (good luck to him there) and that’s about it at this early stage of the morning.

It’s strange, but it now seems the drunker I am when I go to bed, the earlier I wake up the next day. Perhaps I’ll get so drunk one night I’ll wake up before I go out. Time travel through gin. Who’d have thunk it?

june 25th

Familiar territory for England fans as they went out of a major competition on penalty kicks again.

The game itself was fun to watch from a neutral point of view. England took an early lead and after Wayne Rooney went off injured they just sat back and defended.

Huge credit has to go to the English back four, Gary Neville was very good, John Terry solid enough apart from his boob for the Portugal equaliser, Sol Campbell (who had a good goal disallowed in the last minute of normal time) was immense, and Ashley Cole was simply outstanding at left back. That’s probably the best game I’ve ever seen him play.

He had show-pony Ronaldo in his pocket every time, and once again he had to cope with being left alone as the left side of England’s midfield failed to support him properly. He slotted a cool penalty in the shoot-out and I felt terribly sorry that he had to be on losing side after a performance like that. He’s certainly answered the critics who said he has to work on the defensive side of his game.

In general though, England didn’t deserve to go through. Beckham and Owen have never showed up during Euro 2004, in Sven they have a coward of a manager whose safety-first approach has backfired more than once. He won’t make brave decisions, only decisions he knows he can justify as ‘common sense’ afterwards. Phil Neville? Seriously. What’s the point of Phil Neville in a game of this size and importance? Compare that to Scolari who took off Figo, of all people, to bring on Helder Postiga. I thought he was nuts at the time, but it paid off. Sven obviously has little belief in his players and that’s been transmitted into their performances. Their confidence is brittle and Sven does nothing to inspire them. They lack leadership on and off the pitch and they’ve made little progress under Sven’s management. He picked a mediocre squad, had them play in a mediocre way and got mediocre results. When you pay somebody £4.5m a year to manage your football team you have a right to expect better than mediocrity.

So tonight sees France take on Greece. The French may be without Patrick Vieira who’s struggling with an injury, but they’ll be hoping Thierry Henry has his shooting boots on again. Incidentally, you can read the interview with Thierry which appeared in GQ magazine by clicking here.

Nothing else to report, I'm afraid. So what are you up to this weekend then?

june 24th

Last night – friends arrive, open bottle of cava, start making dinner, open more cava, chat, blah blah, more cava, eat dinner, more cava, finish dinner, more cava, more cava, more cava, run out of cava, start on beer, drink beer, more beer, go to park to set off fireworks, burn hand, more beer, explode stuff, back to the house, sit on roof drinking beer and watching fireworks go off over the town below, drink more beer, friends leave, finish beer, go to bed, wake up with hangover.

That was my St Joan party last night. And again I have no tablets in the house. When I become very rich I’m going to ensure my slave butler has a well stocked tablet pantry. Oh yes.

So what Arsenal news? Well, St Etienne want Jeremie Aliadiere. Only on loan though. It might be a good thing for him, I dunno. He’s still got a bit to do to prove himself at Arsenal, and with Reyes and van Persie added to the mix now it might be a case that he goes somewhere else to get first team football. However, with the departure of Kanu and Wiltord, and Bergkamp’s non-flying to away european games, he may get more action than he might have thought at THOF.

Martin Keown could go to Reading. Ashley Cole is the Playstation king of the England camp, luckily for England there’s no mention of David James being involved in these little events. Today sees the release of the fixtures for next season. I'm reliably informed that our first game of the season is Everton away.

It’s 1/4 final time for England tonight. Portugal won’t be scared of Rooney, and England need Beckham and Owen to actually show up if they want to go through. Should be fun though...

june 23rd

Freddie goes through the 1/4 finals as well as Sweden and Denmark played out a not at all fixed 2-2 draw last night. That means that Italy join Spain as one of the big names knocked out of the tournament. The only Arsenal interest in tonight’s games is to see Igors cripple Ruud. Should be a larf.

Robert Pires wants to change the way France are playing so they can create more for the strikers. Teams are sitting back against France and not leaving any room for the pace of Henry/Trezeguet etc. Le Bob says “Maybe we should play in a more defensive manner. We should leave the playmaking to our opponents and try to hit them with swift counter-attacks.”

Meanwhile Thierry Henry is happy that France boss Santini has shown faith in him, saying “I was annoyed by people saying I didn’t get on with David Trezeguet. People were saying I didn’t want to help him and was only interested in playing for myself. happy the coach trusted me and I gave all I could for the team. And we got the rewards. I’m happier for the team than myself and I hope people realise that.”

Is it worth pointing out that both Thierry’s goals came when Trezeguet had been replaced by Saha?

Ashley Cole isn’t worried about facing Christiano Ronaldo in England’s 1/4 final. He says “Last season they gave him the ball in the first 10 minutes, he did his tricks and I slipped over a few times. After that, though, I gave him a hard tackle and he was gone, to be honest.”

Not a lot else happening, to be honest.

june 22nd

Euro Arsewatch: So England and France go through to the 1/4 finals, which is good for them, but bad for Arsenal.

Sol and Ash both played as England turned in their best performance of the tournament so far. They finally figured out how to pass the ball and it paid off. Wayne (The new Pele, Maradona, Cruyff, van Basten and Ronaldo rolled into one) Rooney scored another two goals to increase the dent he’s going to put in Abramovich’s cheque book, he set up England’s first for Paul Scholes and Fat Frank got England’s fourth. They did look very susceptible to set-pieces though, both of Croatia’s goals came from crosses and ultimately you have to look at the goalkeeper that the defenders obviously don’t trust. Again, Ashley was left exposed time and again on the left, but I thought he did very well.

Thierry Henry broke his Euro duck with two against Switzerland. For a time it looked as if England might win the group and play Greece in the 1/4s, but Henry’s goals mean France play Greece on Friday while England have the unenviable task of playing the hosts in Lisbon on Thursday. Tonight Freddie plays as Sweden and Denmark conspire to conjure up the 2-2 draw that will see them both go through and the Italians go out.

In other news Barcelona are said be casting a greedy eye over both our Brazilian midfielders. They want Edu but will wait until December as he can sign a pre-contract with them as he only has one more year left on his contract. According to the Spanish press Barca vice-chairman Sandro Rossell has been negotiating with David Dein about the transfer of both players. I can’t see it happening unless we need to money to fund the purchase of a mega-star of some kind. Ray Parlour is available for transfer according the West Brom boss Gary Megson, but Romford has apparently turned down the chance to go work with the Gingerest manager since Strachan. Also, Sylvain Wiltord could go to Juventus. That’ll teach the cunts for nicking Chippy from us.

That’s yer lot for this morning. I’m off to buy fireworks.

june 21st

Just in case there were any doubt in your mind, Arsene Wenger has ruled out a bid for thick-necked Everton striker Wayne Rooney. The boss says “At Arsenal we have the strikers we need and are not in the market for him.”

The fact that Everton are claiming to want £50m+ for him might have something to do with it too. Anyway, let’s see where he is and how he’s doing in two seasons time before we start etching his name into the hall of fame. I know England are desperate for a new hero in the tedious Sven era, but two goals against Switzerland is hardly the mark of ‘The best player in the world ever’. However, according to the increasingly potty Myles Palmer ‘Wayne Rooney is the new Oasis.’

Robert Pires has said that France are stifling Thierry Henry with they way they play. “Thierry is not being used to the best of his ability. Unfortunately, he's a caged lion out here.”

Let’s hope he can break his duck against the Swiss tonight. England take on Croatia knowing a draw will be enough to see them through, but they have to be careful not to fall into the same trap Spain (who should have taken Reyes) did last night. Playing for a draw is a dangerous business and can backfire rather easily. The Spanish headlines of ‘New Failure’ and ‘Total Failure’ should be shown to the England team beforehand. Beckham can phone ZZ to translate them for him too.

Anyway, the last couple of days have seen the Euros produce some excellent matches. So far England’s games have been dull and boring (apart from the last couple of minutes of the France game). Here’s to a decent game this evening.

june 20th

Quick Sunday round-up for you.

Thierry wants France to play more like ArsenalDavid Dein must have his tongue firmly in his cheek here – Anyone notice that classy looking Latvian defender against Germany? He's a one man back four - erm....that’s it.

We got a great game of football from the Euros at last as the Czech Republic came from 2-0 down to beat the Dutch 3-2. A number of Holland’s players were furious at Dick Advocaat’s defensive substitutions claiming they handed the initiative to the Czechs. That should make the Dutch camp a fun place to be ahead of their final game. Still, a real classic which has made up for the pretty poor tournament we’ve had so far.

Right, I’m off to play tennis. I predict a 6-0, 6-0 whitewash.  

june 19th

I have just been woken by the loudest clap of thunder I have ever heard. The air is damp and heavy, it’s going to piss rain and I suspect we’re in for quite the lightning show too. I hadn’t had a drop to drink all week so last night I thought I’d enjoy a few refreshing G&Ts. It’s amazing how much the drink makes you completely and utterly fucked the next day. My head is throbbing more than Jonathan King at an S-Club Juniors concert.

Of course, there are people coming to view my house this morning. 10.15 they’re due to be here and no doubt it will be raining, muggy and minging. You’ve never seen a country as ugly as Spain in the rain. Forget your Bangladesh floods, when it rains here everything looks like it’s been smeared in some kind of viscous, rotten jism. It's sort of like the way everything looks when you've been up all night drinking and whatever else, and you have to go from your friend's house to your own at 9am when everyone else has had a good night's sleep and you've forgotten your sunglasses. If you've been there you'll know exactly what I mean.

And my car...you might remember we waited nearly 4 months for a part then the cunts stiffed us with a bill we couldn’t afford to pay. So we came to an arrangement with the garage that they could sell the car, take their bill out of the proceeds and we’d take the rest. Well, that was nearly 6 weeks ago, the lazy cunts, so we went down and put some signs up inside the windscreen etc with the price, car specs and our phone number. Less than 24 hours later Jose-Maria Cochevendor rings up giving out that he’d brought a client to the car, which they have left parked on a side-street all this time, and the client saw the signs and this created a problem. The problem is that we agreed a price with the garage and this is the price we put on our ‘for sale’ signs. He was obviously trying to sell it for extra and was going to pocket the rest. The sneaky bollix.

Anyway, as you’ll have gathered there’s little Arsenal related news around this morning. Freddie played for the Swedes as they drew 1-1 with the Spitalians. Now, I’m off to sweep the stairs. And find some nurofen.

june 18th

Yesterday morning as I was leaving my house I noticed a big, black helicopter hovering over the park at the bottom of my road. This morning the very same big, black helicopter is hovering over the park at the back of my house. I think they may have found me. Arse.

Some Arsenal news – Jermaine Pennant was yesterday linked with a move to Spurs, but he’s ruled that out himself and as said he wants to stay and make a go of it at Arsenal. Apparently he’s come back to Highbury a much humbled young man after his loan spell at Leeds, and he says “I want to go back and have a good pre-season and prove to Arsene (Wenger) and the rest of the management team how committed to the club I am. I want to show how much I want to play for Arsenal.”

Good for him, but at this stage of his career it’s probably more about how much Arsenal wants him to play for Arsenal. Sylvain Wiltord was linked with a move to Liverpool. I don’t really have anything to add to that, apart from ‘hahaha’. My brother will hate that.

Euro2004 Arsewatch

England v Switzerland – A good win for England yesterday, but a pretty dour performance and without Rooney they’d be exceptionally ordinary. Sol had a good game at the back, as did Ashley at left back, but Sven’s diamond formation left him exposed 2 against 1 time and time again. Against better opposition it would have been a real problem. I’m not sure who was supposed to be helping him out. Sometimes it would be Lampard, sometimes Gerrard and even Beckham popped up there once or twice.

France v Croatia – Vieira was excellent in midfield again, one particular trademark turn took 3 onrushing Croats out of the game. TH did OK, but France are not making the best use of him, in my opinion. France have got the best panel of players in the tournament, but you have to question a manager who plays Wiltord over Pires, especially when he questions players like Henryso early in the tournament. Thierry had a couple of half-chances, but nothing more. Bob came on for the last 20 and did more than Wiltord in the previous 70.

Today we’ll Freddie and the Swedes takes on the Totti-less Italy after the gobby ponce was banned for 3 games for spitting at Christian Poulsen of Denmark.

Right, I’m off to get a haircut. I think I may get a number one (heh, number one). Still no reply from the Arsenal Plus people.

june 17th

There’s little in the way of Arse related stuff going on this morning. The club have announced a number of pre-season friendlies, including the now customary trip to Austria. Apparently we’re going to Slovenia too and we’ll be playing games against NK Maribor, Grazer AK and Sturm Graz late in July.

Some transfer speculation surrounding Pascal Cygan. After the news that St.Etienne wanted him on loan, it now emerges that Parma are looking at him and may make a move. You just have to wonder if clubs have been alerted to Cygan’s availability, and whether or not that availability is linked to another defender coming into the club. We shall see. One of the youngsters released this summer by Arsenal, Ashley Probets, has signed for Rochdale FC. Best of luck to him there. Alleged keeper target Robert Green has laughed off reports that’ll he’ll be joining the Gunners, saying "I haven't heard anything official about any supposed interest from Arsenal - and if they were about to make a £4 million bid you would have thought someone would have told me!”

Arsenal+ update: There is none. Having sent my last mail to them on June 3rd, they still have done me the service of replying. Pretty shoddy stuff, you have to say.

Arsenal action in the Euros tonight as Sol and Ash try to get some points on the board for England, while Le Lads will be in action as France take on Croatia.

Finally for today, I don't know who made this but it's pretty funny. Keane's accent is almost perfect as he rings his old mates Becks after the England v France game.




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