June 16th

Things look a little more grim now for Robin van Persie after Dutch prosecutors decided to keep him in jail for a third night and, according to them, "The court will decide tomorrow whether the charges are serious enough to keep him in custody for 14 another days. This is a standard procedure."

Again all I can say is I hope it's not true and this is another case like the one the Leicester City players found themselves caught up in in Spain last year. There's still no comment from the club about it and I don't suppose there'll be an official statement until we know more about what's going to happen legally. And speaking of courts David Dein yesterday gave evidence in a case involving former Spurs player Ronnie Rosenthal and the transfer of Gilberto to Arsenal three summers ago. It's all tremendously interesting in a mind-numbingly tedious kind of way.

There was some serious keeper speculation yesterday with some stories linking us to Villareal's ex-Barcelona keeper Jose Reina while the Mirror have picked up on a story in the Swedish press which brings up the name of Arseblog's old pal Andreas Isaakson. Leaving aside the keepers the agent of Stuttgart's Alecksander Hleb revealed he'll be making some kind of announcement about the player's future at some stage today.

And that's about all I've got because my ADSL is now gone. On Sunday I signed up with another provider but the process here, as you might expect, is far from simple. Because Telefonica own all the lines the new company has to make a request to Telefonica to cut off my service with them so they can activate the new service. You might remember from times past how long it actually takes Telefonica to do anything so imagine my cunting surprise when it took them a little over 72 hours to cut me off when I decided I was going to go elsewhere. So now I'm relying on dial-up again and dial-up is shite.

I checked the website of my new provider, they have a fancy section in which you can view the state of your order, and it says it's incomplete and not ready for ADSL yet. I suspect, although I may be wrong, that they have to make another request to ask Telefonica to activate their (the new provider) ADSL on my line. This could take a while. I guarantee you it won't be anything as quick as 72 hours. So once again I'm afraid this impacts on me getting the site out every morning and to the people on the mailing list I'm sorry but that's definitely going to hit and miss with the emphasis directly on miss.

And as it's going to take me about 20 minutes to upload this page I'd better leave at that for today.

June 15th

Well, after complaining that there was little or nothing to talk about we got hit with the bombshell involving Dutch striker Robin van Persie. He was arrested in Rotterdam on Monday night on suspicion of rape. According to the Dutch prosecutor "Robin van Persie was arrested on Monday suspected of [a] rape incident that took place at the weekend. We cannot reveal any details of what happened as the Dutch legal system is different to that in England.On Tuesday, we will decide if we are going to hold him for longer, although strictly speaking we do have three days. The investigation is in full motion right now."

He can be held for three days initially and with a judge's permission he can be held for a further 14 days. Robin's lawyer has naturally claimed his client is innocent, saying "The fact that he is locked up does not mean that they have a case against him. And I don't say that lightly. I wouldn't be surprised if Mr Van Persie is released quickly. I know the class of the young lady concerned - how, I can't tell you - and I put large question marks around the truth content of her story."

Arsenal have refused to comment thus far so we'll have to wait and see what happens in the next couple of days. This isn't something that you can speculate about and obviously I hope the case against him is flimsy and he didn't do what he's been accused of. As you might expect the tabloids are making the most of his past misdemeanours, which amount to little more than a couple of silly moments on the pitch, the likes of which most young footballers have on their record. He now joins goalkeeper Graham Stack as a player with a serious charge hanging over his head. Stack will appear in court in September also accused of rape. Beyond that there's not much more I can say.

Also in the news yesterday was Davor Suker who was questioned in relation to the murder of his business partner and football agent Dino Prokavokolovickavic. It was interesting to note that Suker was only a former Arsenal striker, despite only one season with us, and not a former Real Madrid, Sevilla, Dinamo Zagreb, West Ham or 1860 Munich player. And in a happy day for football all round Steve Finnan was arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving while George Best, fresh from the pasting he got from his girlfriend, was arrested on suspicion of sexual assault of a 13 year old girl. It would be nice if there were some positive headlines this week. Like Roman Abramovich having his assets frozen by the Russian authorities, Alex Ferguson signing a new 10 year deal at United or Jermaine Pennant getting punched in the face.

Arsenal earned £15.7m from last season's Champions League. That's quite a lot of money. And that's about all there is this morning. Keep an eye on the Newsnow feed for more about van Persie as the day goes on. I wonder if I complain there's hardly any transfer speculation will we sign somebody?

June 14th

Early starts plus early nights mean there's little or nothing to write about just at the moment. Summertime has always brought these problems and this season I've finally come up with a solution to the lack of news.

Write really big so it looks like there's more content than there actually is.

Hmm, that's not really going to work, is it? Anyway, I'm sure I'll think of something to fill those white, white spaces each morning. Or maybe I'll just stick with the tried and trusted method of waffling about nothing in particular.

As I mentioned yesterday the Thierry Henry story bubbled to the surface after AS.com ran their completely made-up piece about Thierry wants to play there. AS is very pro-Madrid and with Barcelona champions and being linked with the Catalans it wouldn't do if the Meringues weren't seen to be in the mix too. The Mirror however is reporting that Thierry will sign a new £80,000 a week deal before the start of the season and that winning the Champions League with Arsenal is something a priority now. He says "It's never been done here and that is the only thing missing on my CV, but there is plenty of time."

There appears to be no movement with regards to Robert Pires' contract. He's been offered one year on top of the year he already has left but he wants two. I think his first choice would be to stay with Arsenal but I don't think he'd rule out a move at this stage either. I hope he stays.

Norwich want David Bentley, either on loan for another season or permanently if Arsenal are willing to do a deal. It would be a surprise to see him go having been handed a 5 year contract last year and the move to Norwich was obviously designed to give him experience of first team football he wouldn't have got at Arsenal. I have a sneaky feeling he could probably do a job on the right hand side for us, depending, of course, on who we might or might not be signing for that position.

A nice rebuff of a strangely grumpy Arseweb article by Goodplaya - although I certainly see Rupe's point about the Arsenal America article. They seem to have a increasingly large number of features on their site by people whose inability to express an opinion well is matched only by their inabilty to use the English language properly. My feelings re: Cole haven't changed and I think we should sell. I think the club has to make it clear to its extremely well paid employees that there is certain behaviour that is just not acceptable. We missed the chance, in my opinion, to make that clear with Vieira and I believe it would be remiss of the manager to let the Cole case go the same way.

Right, another early start meaning first arse is going to be international, most likely. If it's you let me know where you're from.

June 13th

Because it's a slow time and the transfer speculation is almost non-existant, and because I need something to write about on the blog for the rest of the summer I, yesterday, signed up for ADSL from a new provider. This will double my speed, lower my bill, give me cheap phone calls and give me a free wifi router which means I can do all that wireless stuff with my laptop. The fun begins when I have to change from Telefonica to the new provider which I'm sure, this being Spain an' all, will go swimmingly and without any problems whatsoever. So that, at least, will give us something to talk about. And by give us something to talk about I mean give me something to rant about on those slow days when there's nothing happening.

Kind of like today but it's too soon for anything to be going on. In terms of Arsenal there's precisely fuck all happening. There was a story about how Robin van Persie wants to stay at Arsenal forever and ever and ever while Michael Owen looks more likely to leave Madrid than ever before but I don't think he's a serious target for us despite the constant rumours of a swap deal with José Antonio Reyes. Oh, and expect more Henry stories - AS.com are running something about Thierry being Florentino Perez's dream signing this summer. They say Henry is tired of playing for a club which doesn't win titles - something Barcelona's press said too - handily neglecting to mention Barcelona's record in the CL in recent years, Madrid's failure in the last few seasons and the fact that Henry has won silverware at Arsenal nearly every year since his arrival. Zzzzzzz, I say, Zzzzzz.

And at this early stage there's nothing else happening. I start a new job today but it's so top secret and confidential I can't tell you anything about it apart from the fact I'm going to be an assassin. First hit is at 10am today. Wish me luck.

June 12th

Good morning, Arsemates. I'm sure you'll all be glad to know I'm back in the land where the sun shines and the only krauts you find are around the swimming pools in Mallorcan resorts. Two weeks in a business park outside of Berlin was not exactly fun-packed but I have to recommend the city itself. What a strange and interesting place it is, full of history and lots of good restaurants. I didn't really sample the nightlife because I'm an old bastard but if you had the energy I'm sure it's ace. To those of you who emailed over the last couple of weeks I just had no real chance to respond and because of the amount of mail I get the backlog is too big to go through. However, I'll try and answer some of the most frequent questions here: "Yes, the archives will be up to date later, the mailing list will start going out again from tomorrow, I don't know why we haven't signed anyone and yes, although I would do anything for love I won't do that."

There's not a lot going on this morning. The Observer reports that Ashley Cole will not be pursuing the restraint of trade court action which may, or may not, be the first step on the road to reconciliation between him and the club. Arsene talks about Chelsea (who are again snared by the News of the World as they reveal details of how they tapped up that Spurs bloke) and Manchester United but I'm I've read those quotes before. The People reveals that players willl be sent off next season for swearing at referees, a situation brought about by Wayne Rooney telling Graham Poll to 'fuck off' a hundred million times at Highbury last season.

Transfer speculation sees us linked with a Slovakian goalkeeper hilariously called Kamil Contofalsky while there's renewed interest, allegedly, in that Greek bloke Samaras.

Finally for today, is this the new away kit? I just don't know. Thanks to Arafat, not Yasser, for the picture. Right, have a good Sunday. There's no place like home...

June 10th

Oh you know it's the off season when people start having heart attacks about the fact we haven't signed anyone and it's barely the second week of June. Give it time people. From what I can sniff out from the bits and pieces of info I'm getting this could be a pretty busy summer in the transfer market. Sadly I don't have anything specific I can share with you just yet though. I notice some people are chucking their toys out of their prams because we might be signing this Hleb fella. Well, as far I'm concerned if Arsene wants to spend £8m on him then I'll trust his judgement over people whose only viewings of the player have come in an end of season international. I have to confess I know next to nothing about him, I've never seen him play but it's just a bit rich that people complain we're not spending and then when it looks like we might spend they moan about that too.

Anyway, it looks like our first signing of the summer is young Jack Hobbs who will continue to work weekdays down't pit and train in the evenings with the team. There's been nothing on the official site yet but the BBC said we've signed him so it must be true. The BBC would never lie.

LB7 says he'd like Ashley Cole to stay at Arsenal and sign a new contract. I'm still very much of the opinion that Cole should be sold and there is solid interest in him from a number of clubs. Liamo absolves the club of any blame in the situation and I just love this quote: "Arsenal are not to blame at all... all we have offered to do is double his wages."

As it's so early there's little else to report. Erm... so there.

June 9th

So yesterday morning we were linked with a player called Giorgos Samaras, a Greek striker who plays in Holland. By the late afternoon some reports were saying we'd signed him for £3.5m but he would stay with Herenveen next season and join us for the start of the 2006-7 season and not long after that his father was denying any deal had taken place at all. I think that's lesson 1 of 'How to make your unknown professional footballer son a little bit more known'.

Hopefully if we do sign a striker this summer it will be somebody established and not another young talent. We have enough of those and one of them, Robin van Persie, showed again what potential he has by setting up two and scoring one in Holland's 4-0 victory over Finland. That was only his second cap too.

Ashley Cole's appeal against his £100,000 fine could take place this summer. How exciting. Alecksander Hleb's agent says the player would like to play for Arsenal but that no agreement has been made between the two clubs. I think our transfer cards are going to be played very close to our chest this summer and I wouldn't be surprised if we signed people we were never linked with.

Not much else happening at this earliy stage and it looks like summer has really kicked in. Without the Cole business there'd be very little to write about but so far there hasn't been that little that I've had to comment on how little there is. Do you see?

June 8th

Ashley Cole blah blah, appeal, restraint of trade, blah blah blah, top lawyer says Cole could be retired before he gets a judgement. "He is quite entitled to exhaust his rights of going to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, but if he did want to go all the way to the European Court of Justice, he would probably be retired by the time he gets an outcome."

I'm sure that won't bother him though, he's obviously a man with a mission who believes passionately in this campaign of his and that even spending hundreds of thousands of pounds of his own money on it while his agent and lawyers get their cut no matter what will be worth it in the end. If it wasn't so ludicrous and pathetic it might actually be genuinely sad. The Mirror reported yesterday that we turned down a £15m bid from Juventus, personally I'd have bitten their hands off and I'm sure there'd have been some on the board quite willing to do the same had a bid like that really existed and not been just a figment of the Mirror's imagination.

Speaking of bids Barcelona president Joan Laporta says they didn't make an offer for Thierry Henry, which may or may not be true. And by that I mean it may not. He says they want Thierry because he's a good player but that doesn't set them apart from every other club on the planet.

According to this site we've agreed a deal to sign 16 year old Lincoln defender Jack Hobbs.

Rumour time: The name everyone seems to be bandying about at the moment is Stuttgart's Aleksander Hleb and some suggest a deal could be done this week. Also, it's been suggested that Arsenal have come under the watchful eye of a business tycoon who could be looking to make significant investment in the club. Finally, it's rumoured I'm fed up with living in a hotel in a business park and with the German weather.

At least one of those rumours is true.

June 7th

A shorter blog this morning, I hope, unless something more happens between now and the time I'm finished.

It will come as no surprise to anyone to know that Ashley Cole is appalling. Erm, sorry. Ashley Cole is appealing the fine imposed on him by the commission which found him, Chelsea and Jose Mourinho of being sneaky cunts while the FA continue their own investigation into the behaviour of Jonathan Barnett whose behaviour has surely breached the code of conduct that all agents agree to. And just to make Ashley even more popular he's found a friend in Robbie Savage who tells us all that contracts aren't worth the paper they're written on. Given the fact that Robbie Savage is one of history's greatest cunts it's a fantastic reflection on our left back. Birds of a feather and all that. My chum over at Goodplaya shares my view, and I realise it's not one that everyone subscribes to, that Cole should be sold as soon as possible. I don't want to keep going on about it, I've written enough and I've read the commission's report (available on the Premier League website here), and I know things change in football quicker than you can say 'Peter Kenyon is a cunt' but I just don't see any way for Cole to stay. According to today's Sun Juventus are the latest club to be interested. Personally I don't care where he goes.

Now, onto something a little more upbeat. Robin van Persie, who still has a number of good seasons ahead of him before he turns into a disingenuous little twat and fucks us over, talks about how he's improved in his first year at the club. "I really changed this season. I became a more complete player who is open to criticism -- which is necessary if you want to be successful at Arsenal."

I really like van Persie, I have to say. I think he's going to be even better next season which is mouth-watering. Former goalkeeping coach Bob Wilson talks about the modern ball and the fact that there's no obvious candidate for us to sign this summer. I have to say I agree. I think United have bought another dodgy keeper in van der Sar. Yes, he's got plenty of experience but anyone who thinks Jens is error prone can't miss the fact that the Dutchman is capable of his own fuck-ups. Remember José's goal last season? Now that's a proper fuck up. I'm glad we didn't sign him.

Right, another day of Germanian fun. Till tomorrow.

June 6th

First I just want to say thanks to Tom for keeping things going while I've been unable to update. Also, to those of you who have sent me emails I just don't have the time or web access to reply so please don't think I'm ignoring you or anything like that.

The main talking point still is the Ashley Cole case and yesterday the News of the World got the interview everybody wanted' with Cole himself in which he took it upon himself to slate the club, David Dein, criticise the manager for not doing enough for him and the Arsenal tea lady for forgetting his sugar one morning. He's blaming everyone, left right and centre, except for himself and his agent who, of course, have been whiter than white and done nothing to warrant any kind of criticism. Quoth the Raven "If they offer me £100,000 or £200,000 a week now I would not accept it. I blame David Dein for trying to force me out. It's all over. I feel betrayed, confused and badly let down. It's hard to forgive."

Yes, it must be hard to forgive Arsenal for going to meet Chelsea to discuss the sale of Cole behind his back even though he didn't want to leave. Erm...wait a second, that's not quite right. Maybe it's hard to forgive Arsenal for giving you the chance to be a world class defender, establish you as an England international and offer to more than double your £27,000 a week wages. I know I'd find that hard to forgive.

Of course it's just a huge 'poor me' PR stunt and yet another attempt by the guilty parties in all this to shift the blame elsewhere and refuse to accept responsibility for their own actions. This bit in particular made me laugh when Cole said "I won't sign for another Premiership club because I can't imagine myself playing against Arsenal. I would only want to play abroad."

Right, so why the fuck did you go meet Chelsea then, Ashley? If you couldn't imagine playing against Arsenal why would you go and meet a team who we play at least twice a year, a team who we're going to battle with for the title for the foreseeable future, a team who you should be playing against as Arsenal's left back? It's a fairly lame attempt to reclaim some favour but it's so transparent as to be laughable. I wonder how much Barnett paid the NOTW for the friendly article, remember it was the News of the World and The Sun that broke the story about the meeting in the first place. Cole tries to suggest that because Arsenal didn't give him exactly what he wanted it was ok for him to take matters into his own hands and go and meet a team he knew he shouldn't have. I think Ashley Cole's time at Arsenal is well and truly up. This interview has put paid to any slim chance there might have been for reconcilation between all concerned. He's chosen the easy way out, to deny, to dissemble, to spoof and to cloud the waters rather than take the admittedly more difficult path of accepting the fact it's his actions that have brought all this about. If he wasn't happy with Arsenal's contract offer he could have continued to negotiate, he still has two years on his deal, running off to meet Chelsea was unacceptable no matter what the circumstances.

I have to have a word about Peter Kenyon too although Tom did mention it and his description of Kenyon's comments is spot on. He's been shooting his mouth off about how Arsenal is run by the French clique, about how there's no team spirit, about the supposed failings of Arsene Wenger as manager (read Jens Lehmann's denials of that here). Let's remember he denied any such meeting when the first story broke so he's a liar with an obvious agenda against Arsenal. He's crossed a line now in my opinion. You don't say things like that about another team or another manager and use one of their current players to do it. It's just low, although you wouldn't expect much more from him. Let's also remember Jonathan Barnett called stories about the meeting 'ridiculous' and said there was no problem between Arsenal and Cole. That makes him a liar. Mourinho denied being at the meeting as well saying 'I have never met the boy' and that he was in Milan. Yep, he's a liar too. And Cole himself said that Mourinho and Kenyon walked into the meeting 'by accident' so I don't need to tell you what that makes Ashley.

Basically the papers are full of stories from four fucking liars and quite honestly I don't know why anyone would now give any credence to anything they say. Sorry Ashley but a picture looking all mournful holding a copy of a fucking rag of a Sunday tabloid doesn't do it for me. The only ones we haven't really heard too much from are the people at Arsenal Football Club and that's probably the way it should be. Why should we get caught up in a cunt's convention like this? It's grimy, it's dirty, it's not Arsenal. I think it's tremendously sad what's happened with Ashley. I think it's sad the way he's been manipulated by people who see him as a way to make more money. It's sad the way he can't see the way he's been played. It's sad the way one of our favourite players has fucked things up so badly that most Arsenal fans want to see him as far away from the club as possible as soon as possible. His position is now untenable. He's got to be sold, no question about it. Let him go to Real Madrid, which is a very real possibility, but get him out. Maybe one day he'll realise what he's done, what he's lost that he'll never find at any other club. It's an ugly episode in Arsenal's history but to me Arsenal have behaved properly. Cole blaming the club for being put through an inquiry just shows how removed from the real world he is. It's like breaking into a house, getting caught and blaming the homeowner for having a burglar alarm.

I'm not naive enough to think everything Arsenal do is for the greater good and gold-plated but at the end of the day we're not the ones telling lies to the press, we're not the ones going to meet players from other teams, we're not the ones tapping up sporting directors from other London clubs, we're not the ones having dinner with Rio Ferdinand, we're not the ones trying to destablise the dressing room of our main rivals, we're not the ones who may or may not have twisted the mind of the young player who just signed for Manchester United making him change his mind and we're not the ones whose empire is built on a foundation of dishonesty, arrogance, sneakiness, theft and underhandedness. For that I'm glad even if it means we lose Ashley Cole.

The other main story is Freddie Ljungberg supposedly 'blasting' Arsenal for relying on 18 and 19 year olds. He wants the club to make some investments in the playing squad this summer. Just like the rest of us, I suppose. Are we all blasting Arsenal too? Perhaps we are.

Anyway, it's very early here and I have another week of Berlinery goodness ahead of me. Till tomorrow, hopefully.

June 4th

Another late one today but this time my excuse is just that I slept in. After a night on the mojitos I have no hangover. I think I've learned my lesson. Anyway my slackness might make you appreciate Arseblogger's early efforts.

Colegate rumbles on and on with Jonathan Barnett claiming that Patrick Vieira sent Cole a text message saying Cole shouldn't accept less than £80k a week. Sounds like bollocks to me and Vieira has denied it, but given his recent history if there was one player you were going to try and associate that sort of thing with, it would be Vieira. Apparently Kenyon told the commission that Cole had been concerned that the Arsenal team are cliquey and were run by the French players. Let's face it, if you were trying to come up with the most obvious slanders about Arsenal, that and the Vieira thing would be pretty high up the list. Bizarrely, Chelsea also reckon they actually no intention of signing Cole and only went to the meeting to hear about his grievances. Utter bollocks.

Perhaps I'm paranoid but some of what's coming out seems like a coordinated effort on somebody's part to slur Arsenal. Or maybe they're all trying to deflect attention from their own misdemeanours. Either way they're all cunts and we're ace and you shouldn't believe everything you read - except what you read here, natch.

In more positive news, the Dutch coach Marco van Basten has spoken about how much Robin van Persie has improved this season since moving to Arsenal. He said: "Robin has been brilliant and amazing in training and the guy is completely changed from how he was before. You can see the difference from how he was last year and he has benefited from being at Arsenal." Nice to hear and hopefully our new Dutchling will go on to realise the potential he's shown.

June 3rd

Bit of a late blog today as Blogger only asked me late last night to do it, which coincided with my drinking until very early this morning.

As you'd expect, the fall out from the Ashley Cole saga continues with Jean Marc Bosman giving his support to Ashley Cole and says he's going to come to London to support him (because poor little Ashley can't look after himself), Real Madrid allegedly going to try and tempt Arsenal with a £14m bid, and Arsenal set to reject all offers for Cole and risk losing him on a free when his contract expires.

Just to add my 2 cents, I thought it was disgraceful and insulting that someone associated with Cole used the word 'slavery' in relation to the situation. Unbelievable. And pretty much everything else Blogger said yesterday. I don't see how Cole can stay now. It's a shame, right enough, but he seems to have burnt his bridges and he's fucked over the club who's invested so much in him. Obviously he's contributed to his own success but so have Arsenal, and he's gone about all of this in the wrong way.

In other news, Freddie Ljungberg has apparently been saying that he doesn't think you can expect young players to last the length of the season and that we need to sign a couple of established players. No arguments here, though quite a few people think the right side is one of the areas we need to strengthen.

And that's your lot. I'm off to try and stop feeling sick.

June 2nd

So the Colegate verdicts came in yesterday and to nobody's surprise all and sundry were found guilty. Ashley Cole was given a fine of £100,000, Jose Mourinho was fined £200,000 (12 seconds of an American Express ad) as a deterrent to other managers, while Chelsea were fined £300,000 and given a suspended 3 point deduction if they do anything similar next season which is about as harsh a punishment as slapping an elephant on the arse with a feather given their unlimited pot of blood money gold.

Despite the fact that it took them an age to get around to it the commissions findings seem to be have been well presented and put together. They certainly acknowledge the money-grabbing influence of Jonathan Barnett, Ashley Cole's agent, but don't let that become an excuse for Cole's willingness to attend a meeting he knew fine well he shouldn't have gone too. Mourinho's fine seems fair enough too. He might have been new in England but he knew the rules. However, although Chelsea's fine is a record it's hardly going to make a dent in their coffers and they avoided having to pay compensation to Arsenal. So now they'll all pay their money, accept they were in the wrong and go about their business for the new season. Erm, no sadly.

Chelsea's chairman, Bruce Buck, tried to blame Arsenal for the whole thing because we had the temerity to make a complaint about members of his staff acting outside the rules of football and in a way that's as far from sporting as you can get. This bloke really ought to look at his own house and bring it into order before having anything to say about ours. What the fuck did he expect us to do? Present like a cat in heat and take it right up the arse, I suppose. Sorry Bruce, but you can go Buck yourself. Your manager and chief exec went to meet one of our players and irrespective of who set up the meeting they and Cole are to blame, not us. He says it will be difficult to maintain a good relationship with Arsenal. I say we shouldn't bother anyway. There's an ethos running through that club which I'd say we're best staying away from anyway. Kenyon not turning up at a UEFA meeting he was scheduled to appear at just after the story broke because he was afraid of running into David Dein says it all in my opinion. Once Chelsea dip into the Russian's money bag and pay their fines they'll go off about their business, buy that left back from Bilbao and not give this another thought. Arsenal have tried to do the right thing in all this but we're the ones with the player caught in the middle of the storm and the ones with all the problems while they have a good old chuckle to themselves from inside their armour plated penthouse apartments.

Then there's Ashley Cole. If he's been badly advised by his agent I just don't have words to describe what his solicitor is doing. He's appealing against his fine on the basis of restraint of trade, undoubtedly a Barnett plan, and his solicitor Graham Shear, enjoying his 15 minutes, said "A footballer is a modern employee and should not be restrained in this way."

Sorry, but that's bollocks. Yes, a footballer is a modern employee who earns thousands of pounds every week. More in a week than some people earn in a year. They sign long term contracts with clubs which offer them security. They get paid if they play, they get paid if they get injured, they get paid when suspended, they get paid when they miss drugs tests accidentally on purpose. They sign these contracts knowing that there are rules and regulations, knowing there are things they can't do. They know that they shouldn't go and meet a title rival to discuss a transfer just days before a game against another big rival. I'm quite sure Ashley, as fine a player as he is, is never going to win Mastermind but you don't have to be a member of Mensa to know what's right and wrong in this case. Now we have a situation where Cole's agent and solicitor have convinced him he's been so wronged for his own illegal actions that he's willing to take a case to court which could blow football apart, and that's what could happen. As little as they're worth now contracts wouldn't be worth the paper they were written on and the implications to clubs across the world could be devestating. Cole's, and his agent and advisors, are completely and utterly unwilling to accept any responsibility for their actions. They would prefer to go to court, change everything, affect every single club and player in the land than put their hands up and say "Sorry, I shouldn't have done that. I accept the punishment now can we please forget all this?"

Footballers are not like normal employees. Sure their rights have to be protected but earning that amount of money is a privilege and the people that pay that money should be respected. The people that pay Ashley Cole's wages are Arsenal Football Club and you, and me, and all the other fans who contribute financially the club. Your season ticket goes to pay his wages. Your subscription to Arsenal+, that minging blue away jersey you bought. It's all part of it. Ashley Cole has shown, and continues to show, an astonishing lack of respect to Arsenal, to Arsene Wenger and to the fans who have been paying his not inconsiderable wages since he broke into the team. We also would have paid the £60,000 a week he was offered before his agent got greedy. I truly hate what he's doing now. If he'd pay up and put it all behind him I could live with what's happened but this sheer lack of any sense of personal responsibility and attempt to shift the blame onto the system which he, and his agent, knew all about makes me sick. It really does.

David Dein says he wants Cole to stay at the club. I'm not sure I do. If he stays I want him to drop the legal case, get shot of his agent and sign a new deal. I find it hard to see him at Arsenal next season if he hasn't signed a new deal, if his court case has changed the face of football and his pissbag of an agent is telling him to sit tight for a couple of seasons more so he can bugger off on a Bosman. I think the commission's words speak volumes when they say "It is still a matter of profound regret that this matter has disturbed a unique relationship between Arsenal Football Club and Ashley Cole. Ashley Cole must also realise that Arsenal Football Club have been a major factor in the development of his brilliant career, without which he may not have reached the heights that he now enjoys."

I don't think he does realise it though and that's sad. His relationship with Arsenal Football Club and the fans has been disturbed. We used to think he was one of us. We loved the fact he was a Gooner who came up through the ranks. We always supported him when he had his critics. We sang his name. Some of us thought he might be captain material. I don't think anything of him any more other than he's now an icon for all that's wrong with the modern footballer, greedy, avaricious, disloyal and kind of stupid. I do think he's been led astray to a certain extent but he's got to be a man and own up to his own part in it. As for Barnett it's a shame no sanctions can be brought against him although it has been reported that the FA are going to investigate his conduct in this matter. I suggest throwing him out of a plate glass window. At the top of the Empire State Building.

Overall the whole thing is a big fucking mess and hopefully we can put it behind us, to our satisfaction, as soon as possible. It's a bit of a glum blog today so let's try and leave it on a bit of a nicer note. Dennis Bergkamp has apparently signed his new one year deal while Philippe Senderos wants a to sig a new deal as well. The big Swiss said "I'm very happy at the club and now that they've given me the opportunity to play at the top level, I'm really enjoying my football."

Just don't get yourself a cunt of an agent, Phil.

June 1st

Welcome to a brand new month on Arseblog. I can't believe it's June already, where the sweet buggery bollocks is the time going? I'm still here in Berlin and will be for the next 2 weeks. Well, it is to Berlin what Jupiter is to Saturn but I'm sure there's more to do in the cold depths of space than there is here.

So there's a bit going on. Barcelona are this summer's Real Madrid with almost everyone in the club falling over themselves to say how great Thierry Henry is. The Arsenal board have already turned down a substantial, although nowhere near acceptable, bid from the Catalans and there's little chance of Arsene Wenger sanctioning any kind of deal. He's been talking again about his plans for squad strengthening this summer, saying "I haven't planned to buy too many and to be busy would mean we were under tremendous stress to sell players, which we don't want to do. When you watch our team play, we don't really need anyone. We have to keep faith with the young players we already have."

Now, before everyone goes into fits about us not buying players remember Wenger himself said a few weeks ago he'd be looking to bring in a couple of experienced players, and while the comment about being under pressure to sell seems odd both Double-D and, more importantly and less orangely, Peter Hill-Wood have both said there'll be money to spend this summer. I think it's probably a case that any potential moves are being downplayed, Arsene is playing his usual games with the press and I would be most surprised if we didn't bring in anyone this summer.

Today, being June 1st, also sees the long awaited verdict in the Colegate case. Did he meet Chelsea on purpose or did he slip into a meeting room in a top London hotel? Was it Jonathan Barnett's fault or did the voices in head dollar signs in his eyes make him do it? Did Peter Kenyon know all about it or is he baldy cuntbag, or both? We shall find out at some stage today, 5 months after it happened and way too late for any punishment to be effective for all parties concerned. Worryingly the Guardian reports that Cole will contest any guilty verdict and will challenge the legality of the Premiership's rules as restraint of trade. I don't think I need to say again what I think of that.

Some French football fans hate coach Raymond Dommenech and want Robert Pires back in the team. Good for them, I don't like that bloke either even though Everyone loves Raymond.

Not much else happening right now but it's sure to be a busy day. I'm off for a delicious German breakfast of beer and ale washed down with lager and cold meats. Till tomorrow, hopefully.




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