10.58 - It's a matter of hours now before the World Cup kicks off. The usual opening ceremony stuff, then holders France take on Senegal. However, the official song of the World Cup is by that screeching banshee, Anastacia. Her voice could melt platinum, and the tuneless song, which is called 'Boom' or 'Blast' or something will no doubt be played to death for the duration of the tournament. Hurrah.
For me, it's an early start tomorrow morning to watch Ireland play Cameroon. Then it's Freddie vs England on Sunday, and good news for England is that David Beckham withstood a crunching tackle from Martin Keown in training. Goldenballs says: "If I can get through that I can get through anything".
Here we go, folks......
17.30 - Maybe some of you have seen this already, but still....he just stops short of the spinning bow tie gag.
12.45 - Well, it all starts tomorrow. France v Senegal will kick off the World Cup, and it's a special occassion for Arsenal's Patrick Vieira.
Some reports have claimed that Arsenal have already signed Marc van Bommel from PSV, while others say the talks are ongoing. I know it's all just speculation until it's announced by the club, but it seems 99% certain that we'll be adding the Dutchman to the playing staff next season.
Now that the Roy Keane saga has come to an end, Mick McCarthy unveils his new motivational football that he believes will help the Irish squad in this World Cup. So far, he's the only one using it though.....
Still no word from the FAI. They're as bad as ITV for not replying to my emails. It's not as if I've ever been anything but polite and mannerly to them. The last time I emailed the FAI I told them I understood that they were under a great deal of pressure etc etc, but that even a "yes/no" answer would suffice. Still nothing. Where are your manners FAI? Gone the same way as Ireland's World Cup hopes, it seems......
Away from football this is quite funny. It doesn't work with all sites, but if you use A R S E B L O G as your example, check out the main logo at the top. Also, it appears not to like IE5 with a Mac, so all you other Mac users out there, try Netscape or Omniweb.
11.05 - The farce that is Ireland's World Cup reached new heights/lows yesterday. Niall Quinn gave a press conference in which he seemed to completely contradict Mick McCarthy's version of events, much to the puzzlement of Mick, his assistant Ian Evans, and FAI officials, who walked out hurridly. The players prepared a statement yesterday, which was released too early by the FAI, and left everyone with egg on their faces.
Either way, Roy Keane issued a statement himself to say he won't be going to Japan and hopefully this will end the furore for the time being and let the team concentrate on all things football.
The Sun reckons Mick McCarthy is set to quit once the World Cup is finished. With the tide of public opinion turning against him, the squad in disarray, the amateursish preparations and the consistently sub-standard management shown on this trip, I don't think he has much choice. Adios Mick.
I have emailed the FAI again about the World Cup diary story but they won't answer my emails. I shall keep trying.
And there's a smattering of Arsenal news today as well. Again in The Sun, they say that Ray Parlour is going to join Leeds (£7m) to replace Lee Bowyer who is signing for Liverpool any day. As well as that, it seems Marc Van Bommel and Kevin Hofland are set to sign for the Gunners. Nice.
08.52 - Some Arsenal news. Hurrah. Gilles Grimandi has turned down a move to Japan and is now talking with some clubs in Europe. It's not much I know, but it's something....
Some shocking news from the US - top cartoon Futurama is to be cancelled.
Made by Matt Groening, the daddy of the Simpsons, Futurama is funnier, cleverer and more original than most shows on TV these days.
You can go here if you want to support the campaign to try and stop the cancellation. Do it, or I'll get all Zoidberg on your ass.
Elsewhere, it seems the FAI have decided that the players don't want Roy Keane to return to the Irish World Cup squad, while the other R.Keane, Robbie of Leeds Utd, gave Niall Quinn a smack in the head during a 5-a-side game.It's lovely to see the lads getting along so well. Soon they'll be teaching the world to sing, in perfect harmony.
Big Niall talks about the Roy Keane situation here, but neglects to mention the fact that a 6'4" chap like himself got punched by Robbie Keane, who must stand all of 5'10". Still though, Robbie is from Tallaght, a suburb of Dublin with some fairly notorious neighbourhoods.
All in all, it seems conditions in the Irish camp have been poor from the start. I just hope the lads can put it all behind them before the game against Cameroon on Saturday. It seems unlikely though.
22.51 - I think most people realise it's very easy to find items of dubious taste on the internet. Whether it's a video of a man being eaten by a lion, old footage of University Challenge featuring your dad or the execution of American journalists, it's all out there to behold.
Now, behold the most unpolitically correct song titles you will ever see. It's not really for kids this, so kids, this is for you instead.
19.45 - Roy Keane has just given an interview to RTE television in Ireland saying he wants to play for Ireland again. However, he stopped short of apologising to Mick McCarthy, who earlier said there were members of the squad who would walk out if Keane returned.
Now, apparently, Mick McCarthy is writing a World Cup diary with Keane's journalistic arch-nemesis, Cathal Dervan. It is said that there is now a bidding war between the tabloids for the rights to serialisation when the book is ready. The cynical amongst us might think that all the drama caused by provoking a situation where it was obvious you'd have to send your captain and best player home would do no harm for sales.
I emailed the FAI this afternoon to ask if they could confirm McCarthy was involved in this book writing project, but so far I've had no reply. If it's true though, you have to wonder at the logic of it. It did wonders for Glenn Hoddle eh? And how does a player feel not knowing if what he says to the manager or his staff is going to end up in print? All in all, it's a bad idea, and if it is true, surely it can't be anything but a 'disruptive influence' on the squad. I doubt he'll send his ghost-writer home though.
Elsewhere, Zinedine Zidane looks like he's going to miss at least 2 games with a pulled muscle, with Cristophe Dugarry likely to replace him in the French side. It would be a shame if Zidane missed more than that. Injury has already robbed France of Robert Pires, and for a country to possess the two best playmakers in world football, and have neither, would be harsh.
England are still sweating on the fitness of Beckham and Dyer, but that great lumbering ox that is Emile Heskey is already assured of his place. England have some fine footballers, but what people see in Heskey is beyond me. He's just Adi Akinbiyi playing with blokes who can make better passes than Robbie Savage and Co.
Arsenal content for today....er....a new toilet roll holder was installed in the away dressing room. Sweet.
15.58 - Found this and just had to share it with you. This is from an article in today's Sunday Independent.
Readers of Friday's Evening Herald, mystified by why the Irish team were subjected to another three-and-half-hour flight on top of the 17-and-half-hour flight to Saipan from Amsterdam, will scarcely have been reassured by the bizarre claim of Ray Treacy, the FAI's travel agent, that the players will have "actually gained an hour, which will be the opposite of jet-lag".
15.19 - The Roy Keane saga takes on a whole new perspective now that Royston himself has decided to give his side of the story. I speculated during the week that this team meeting was engineered to provoke a reaction from Keane, and from what he's saying, Keane believes that too.
At one point Keane tells of his first clash with McCarthy as a player on a tour of the US - 'But Mick's last words to me following the altercation were: 'I'll get you back some day. It may not be now or even next week.'
Well Roy, he gotcha. He also denies calling McCarthy an "English c*nt" but does admit to calling him a "wanker", after McCarthy accused him of faking injury in front of the other players.
Paul McGrath spoke about the situation and blamed 'idiotic mismanagement' for letting it develop the way it did. I don't think I need to add anything to that.
Arsenal players making news today were Kanu, who scored in Nigeria's warm up game and David Seaman who missed England's game against Cameroon with a groin injury.
With so little Arsenal news, here's a couple of non-football related thingys to have a look at.
1 - A picture of a toaster made from differently toasted pieces of ...er....toast.
2 - Shocking news for all internet users
3 - How to crack 'Copy-proof' CDs.
Enjoy the rest of your weekend.
15.48 - World Cup or no World Cup, close season is a pain in the hole without proper football.
I remember when I was kid buying 'Roy of the Rovers' and to try and make the summer seem interesting, Racey and the boys would somehow end up playing competitive cricket. Yes, that's right. Cricket. It's not even close to football. Why didn't they go to Ireland and play Gaelic Football or something? Or why didn't we get stories of the 'lads' going of on holidays to the Ibiza of the time and how they shagged women and drank and vomited and filmed it all? You know, like Kieron Dyer did.
Anyway, there's a dearth of news apart from World Cup stuff - and I'm already bored rigid with the hype and the build-up. You can't turn on the TV or look at a website without a 'ENGLAND INJURY CRISIS - BECKHAM BREAKS FINGERNAIL' type headline.
Bring on the football..........
08.54 - The Roy Keane fallout continues, and now even Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern has been called on to try and mediate between Keane and McCarthy. It's well documented that the relationship between captain and manager has been non-existent for 10 years, so bumbling Bertie has no chance of sorting anything out. Anyway, despite this being the biggest news story in Ireland for years, there are other more pressing issues a PM should concern himself with.
Dennis Irwin backs up Keane's complaints about the amateurish FAI here, and this is allegedly part of Keane's tirade against McCarthy:
"Who the f*ck do you think you are having meetings about me? You were a crap player and you are a crap manager. The only reason I have any dealings with you is that somehow you are the manager of my country and you're not even Irish, you English cunt. You can stick it up your bollox you fucking wanker".
In other news, ex-gooner Nicolas Anelka is poised to join Manchester City for £13m. Keegan and Anelka - a pyschiatrist's dream.
For a full list of all the players rumoured to be joining Arsenal this summer, have a look at Arseweb's 'silly season' list. and thanks to Matt for pointing me in the way of Football Transfers.net, who have their own forum where readers can contribute their own transfer rumours. Pablo Aimar to Leeds for £23m?!! There is an Arsenal section there, but I reckon you have to take it with a large pinch of salt.....
15.32 - Right, Roy Keane has been sent home from the World Cup. This morning, he gave an interview with the Irish Times and an interview with RTE radio criticising the conditions the players were expected to train in, the travel arrangements and the general preparation of the Irish squad.
Ireland manager Mick McCarthy then called a players meeting - which as we get more details of it sounds more and more like a kangaroo court - that developed into a 'slanging match'. He said he 'wasn't prepared to tolerate that kind of abuse' and sent Keane home. After claiming Keane had 'personal problems' the other day, McCarthy has now spoken publicly about a meeting that should have been private. Keane's alleged 'personal problems' were simply the disagreements he has with his international manager, who is really nothing more than a puppet of the FAI. Better to make your captain look like a mental patient though eh?
If you read the interview, you can see that Keane is being fairly blunt, but in my opinion, he's quite entitled to say what he said. There are some who will say that it should have been said in private, but it's unthinkable that Keane hasn't already had plenty to say about it, before his interviews.
Listening to Irish radio news, one reporter said he'd spoken to other players about the things Keane was complaining about it and they agreed that they were sub-standard but '...sure, we're used to it'. Typical.
Keane wanted Ireland to do well in this tournament. He expected, and is right to expect, a certain level of professionalism which just isn't there. As captain, he's right to speak his mind when it's obvious that trying to deal with it behind the scenes makes no difference. He's going to get a lot of flak for this in Ireland I expect, but if you're looking for someone to blame, look straight at Mick McCarthy - the man who arranged to take an international squad to an island that didn't even have a football pitch. For fucks sake.
McCarthy backed Keane into a corner with this meeting, and when it backfired on him he cut his nose off to spite his face, and fucked up Ireland's World Cup chances. It's yet to emerge, but you can almost feel the grubby paws of the FAI all over this. Still, at least we have Lee Carsley eh?
Maybe it's odd for A R S E B L O G to be so supportive of a Man Utd player, but Irish football has been rotten for a long time, and it's about time somebody tried to open the eyes of the "Olé, Olé, Olé" brigade. Well done Royston.
It seems training groud bust-ups are de riguer in the build up to this World Cup. To your right, you have a screenshot of Arsenal's Freddie Ljungberg reacting to a late tackle from Aston Villa's Olaf Mellberg.
Freddie jumped up and started pushing Mellberg, who pushed him back and the pair of them ended up scrapping on the floor like a pair of kids. Freddie says "You can't tolerate tackles like that, you have to respond". The pair have since made up apparently. To see the full video clip - go here. You'll need Real Player.
Last but not least, that Seville forward, José Reyes, we've been linked with is apparently 'in talks' with Arsenal. More from One Football.
08.45 - More on Roy Keane and Ireland here. It's like I thought, he can't cope with the unprofessional way the Ireland squad is being run. Maybe he over-reacted, but he's right to say something if you ask me, and like I thought yesterday, he'll retire from international football after the World Cup.
England's hopes are in tatters after it's revealed that Danny Murphy has been injured, Beckham is behind schedule, Dyer is still bollixed and Nicky Butt is also injured and completely shit. No need to worry though - Trevor Sinclair is waiting in the wings, again.......heh.
Meanwhile, on the Arsenal front, Francis Jeffers has had an operation on his troublesome ankle here. The Arsenal medical team are confident he'll be fit for at least 6 games next season.
17.39 - Roy Keane quit the Irish world cup squad, only to change his mind a few hours later. It all sparked from an alleged "training ground bust up" with Packie Bonner, although Irish manager Mick McCarthy was keen to play the whole thing down saying Bonner has bigger arguments with his son over his homework. When you take into account some of the eye-witness stories, you have to start feeling sorry for Packie Bonner's son.
There are those that will condemn Keane for his seemingly unprofessional behaviour, but I'm not one of them. Keane is used to high standards of coaching and professionalism with Man Utd. I'm not sure the conditions the Irish squad are expected to train in and the way they are treated comes close to that, which is obviously frustrating.
The FAI are a bunch of incompetent clowns, and have taken dreadful liberties in the past, For example, all the officials got to fly first class to Cyprus for one of the qualifying games, while the players were stuck in the cheap seats at the back, with no leg-room or room to move about. Typical Irish cronyism, these officials that think nothing would operate without them, and lose sight of the fact they should be doing everything in their power to help the players, not themselves.
As he's got older, Keane has become more outspoken, and some of his criticism of his Utd team mates this season was harsh in the extreme. If he feels the standards of coaching and training leading up to the World Cup are sub-par, why shouldn't he say something. He's the captain, he's Ireland's best player, if he won't say it, who will?
Arsenal stuff - well, Lauren reckons Cameroon can win the World Cup. More bad news for Ireland then, seeing as we're in the same group. Edu reckons he's gonna be even better next season, and Vieira says Houllier is 'tactless'.
Finally for today, I've been checking my server logs and it shows me search engine terms that people use to find their way here. For example 'arsenal blog' or 'tony adams wallpaper'. A worrying trend is appearing though. In the top 10 are 'Is Freddie Ljungberg gay?' and 'Freddie Ljungberg nude pictures'. Er........I understand people looking for the Freddie being gay one coz we've all heard the rumours, but how many people are looking for nude pictures of him?
18.16 - I've been watching World Cups past on Eurosport today. Great footage on that station, but the world's worst commentators. First, they commentate on the action like it's happening live, then they make all sorts of mistakes, when surely even the most rudimentary running order would solve any potential problems. And the voices.....jesus. These guys wouldn't get a job answering phones in a take-away.
My favourite, albeit in slightly dubious taste, Eurosport moment has to be when Joe Kinnear joined the commentary team for Euro2000, and during one of the Holland games, referred to the Dutch right back as 'Reizinigger'. Not once, not twice, but the whole way through the game.
Anyway, watching today, a question popped into my mind. Why do so many Argentinian players over the years look like archetypal gay pirates?
England drew 1-1 with South Korea today. Ashley Cole, Sol Campbell and Martin Keown all played 45 minutes each. Looking at England's midfield options, it's still a wonder they didn't bring McManaman. He's playing for the biggest club in Europe, if not the world, scoring goals all season, has plenty of experience and he can perform in big, high pressure games. Even if he wasn't going to start him, surely he'd be a great option to have for 20 mins at the end of a game? Anyway, it ain't my problem, but when Ireland beat England in the final, Sven will wish he'd brought him.
Finally, a very interesting mathematical equation was sent my way by Steve from Antidisestablishmentarianism. Download the Word document here.
22.15 - My thanks to Dominic, and some other bloke with a load of letters and numbers for an email address instead of his name, for reminding me of the last Irish player to play for Arsenal.
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, it's none other than Steady Eddie McGoldrick.
I firmly believe that the Arsenal board first started to get suspicious of George Graham's transfer dealings when he flogged Anders Limpar to Everton, and then spent a million quid on Eddie. There just had to be brown envelopes involved there.Whoever came in to replace Anders was always going to have a hard time, but I remember some quote being attributed to Eddie along the lines of "I wouldn't piss on an Arsenal fan if they were on fire". Oooops.
Still, he did score a fantastic goal during the 7-1 thrashing of Standard Liege. A long throw from Seaman, Merson got it somewhere, played it up the right hand side to Eddie, who took the ball, cut inside and hammered a shot into the top corner. And that was about it. I can't ever remember seeing that goal since. If anyone has it please get in touch.
Eddie then went off to Man City, got lost in the 500 strong professional squad they had at the time, then went to Stockport County and then disappeared off the face of the earth. I think he's managing a conference side at the moment, but don't quote me on that.
Arsenal was like a little Ireland in the 70s and 80s - with Pat Jennings, Pat Rice, Sammy Nelson, Liam Brady, David O'Leary, Frank Staplegun, John Devine and I'm sure there were a couple more I've forgotten. Before anyone gets all pedantic and starts telling me that some of those players were Northern Irish, I do realise that. But, when you're a small kid and they play in green as well as red and white, you can't help but like 'em. Not that I dislike them now....oh, you know what I mean. I cheered for Norn Iron in the '82 and '86 world cups. I'm not ashamed.....*ahem*......
Ronaldo would like to play for Arsenal. Just remember where you heard it first.....
Have yet to see the new Star Wars movie - I have to find it in English here, otherwise you end up listening to the same 5 Spanish people who seem to dub every single tv show and movie shown here. If there's a child in the particular program or film, they just put on a child's voice. It's all very eerie.
"Use the forks, Luke".
09.14 - Right, it looks like Arsenal news is going to be thin on the ground for the next few weeks. Everything is going to revolve around the World Cup, so I guess we'll just have to focus on that, and the Arsenal players involved.
Obviously my first thoughts are with Ireland, although I think we'll struggle in our group. Cameroon are no walkovers, and unless we can pull another performance like Italy in '94 out of the hat when we play the Germans, we might not last beyond the group stages.To have any chance of doing anything, we need Roy Keane to be 100%. Sadly though, there's no Arsenal connection in the Ireland squad - and off the top of my head, I can't remember the last Arsenal player to play for Ireland. Was it O'Leary? Anyone?
England - well, I wish the 4 Gooners well, and hope that it's not their fault when things go wrong. It amazes me that they continue to have such problems on the left hand side of midfield. Since Wenger's reign began, it's been a rare occassion when we've actually had a left footed player in that position. Overmars and Pires were both right footed - and I was surprised when McMananananananaman was left out. Maybe SGE might play Wayne Bridge at left back and use the attacking skills of Ashley Cole on the left of midfield. Also, Heskey is a useless lump.
France - I think they can win it again. They have quality right throughout their sqaud - class at the back with Desailly, Thuram and Lizarazu. Top class midfielders like Vieira, Petit, and Zidane and up front Trezeguet, Henry, Cisse and Wiltord are all more than capable at this level. If Bob had been fit, I would have had them as nailed on certs to lift the trophy again, but as it is, I think they have to be favourites anyway.
Sweden - Can Freddie win the World Cup single handed? It'll be interesting to see him play against his Arsenal colleagues when Sweden take on England. Everybody knows about Freddie now and those runs he makes, but can anyone do anything about it? Let's hope it's Rio Ferdinand he makes a monkey of, and not Sol.
So, 15 days and counting. Have you made up your excuses for work yet?
22.54 - Well, if last night's performance is anything to go by, if we pay any more than £9.99p for Ronaldo, we'll have been well and truly ripped off. The poor bloke is a shadow of his former self - his touch is gone, most of that lightning pace is no longer there, and most worrying of all, he walks with a slight, but fairly obvious limp.
Yes, I know he's been suffering with injuries, but this bloke used to be the best player in the world by a long way. Now, he's not even close. I really hope he can rebuild his career after the terrible time he's had with injuries, but if he'd been a racehorse, they'd have shot him by now. He doesn't look right. Still, he got a hero's reception in Camp Nou last night.
The atmosphere in the stadium was fantastic last night. They were singing and dancing and buring the Spanish flag and calling the Spanish president a 'bastard', all in the name of Cataluña. Most odd for an outsider like me, but hey, when in Rome....
It's impossible to compare to Highbury, which I love for its quaintness and tradition and perfect pitch, but the sheer size of Camp Nou makes it an experience you'll never forget. If you've never been, make a resolution now that at some point in your life you will travel to Barcelona, enjoy the beautiful city and see a football match in a stadium you could only dream of. You won't regret it.
Arsenal news today....er.......ehm.......Kanu says Nigeria can win the World Cup. He's got a right sense of humour that fella, eh?
15.59 - Another Nigerian for THOF? The crazy back-flipping fella is being linked with us by Planet Football.
I'm off to Camp Nou to see Brazil take on a Catalunya XI. I'll give you the low down on Ronaldo tomorrow.
14.25 - EXCLUSIVE - Carr wearing an Arsenal scarf picture, here.
Tahar El Khalej speaks about the tackle that threatened Kieron Dyer's World Cup, here on One Football. Basically, he says that football is man's game and if players start taking legal action against each other, it would set a dangerous precedent. Too right. Also, it seems to have been conveniently forgotten that Dyer is as brittle as a 90 year old suffering from Osteporosis. He's spent more time injured than on the pitch this season, and having seen the tackle in question, it wasn't that bad. I've seen plenty worse this season.
Ireland lost 2-1 to Kanu's Nigeria last night at Lansdowne Road. Still, I fully expect Ireland to spank the Germans 3-0, then lose to Cameroon and Saudi Arabia.
Arsenal news today? Er......Vieira says he's tired, Kanu says he's staying at Highbury, and apparently we've been looking at Sevilla forward, Jose Antonio Reyes, but his buy out clause of £22.5m is too much for an 18 year old.
21.57 - Many thanks to Hwei for the HTML tutorial. Today is full of new things, after the name change, a new logo was required.....
19.15 - That new section to the left is doing my head in. I wanted to have the background red, and the links in white, but I have no idea how to do it. Anyone feel like helping a 3rd rate web designer? Actually, that's being unkind to 3rd rate designers, but you get the drift.
18.52 - Did you see the streaker during the Champion's League final last night? I was talking to a friend in Ireland when that was happening, he was watching on ITV and they chose different pictures when the chap was on the pitch.
Not on Spanish TV. We got close ups of his arse, his leathery old sac and his flapping member. Gruesome I have to say. Worse than this.
15.38 - There is little or no Arsenal news to report that you haven't heard already. Everything is gearing up towards the World Cup, and personally, I can't wait. I'm not that into international football per se, but the World Cup is different. I can remember crying under a chair when Argentina beat Holland in 1978. No, I'm not Dutch, or even Hollish, but I so wanted them to win that game. I was only 7 at the time, so I can be forgiven my completely un-manly display of emotion.
Zidane's goal last night deserved to be the winner for Real Madrid, left foot and all. That man is simply awesome. Obviously the result went down like a fart in a spacesuit here in the heart of Cataluña, but ZZ is tops.
Finally, you'll see an addition to the site on your left. They're just a few of the sites I visit regularly and generally find something interesting on......even the one by the Hammer ;o)
22.55 - Have a look at May 13th. I got an email saying that Tottenham's Republic of Ireland full back, Stephen Carr, was as good as signed for Arsenal. I didn't pay too much attention to it really. Then I saw this.
15.39 - Chelsea defender William Gallas has been linked with a £7.5m move to Arsenal. He's looked good this season - and he seems to have a problem with Claudio Ranieri's coaching methods, complaining that the Italian makes them run till they weep. Sounds a bit harsh in fairness. However, I still maintain we'll sign Kevin Hofland from PSV.
This is my cunning double bluff - I'd love to see Hofland at Arsenal, and if I say we're going to sign him, then chances are we won't. Er....hang on......I would like to state categorically that there is no chance of Hofland signing for Arsenal. Sorted. Expect to see Hofland in an Arsenal shirt in no time. Oh, I've probably just double bluffed my double bluff. Anyway, I think it's fairly obvious that I haven't got a f*cking clue what I'm on about, and we'll leave it at that.
Finally for now, non-Arsenal related japery here.
22.45 - It had to happen - have a look at www.WeLoveYouFreddie.com - which includes a really handy 'How To' section if you want your hair to sport that distinctive red stripe. Good work chaps.
Also, if you look at April, you'll see that A R S E B L O G brought you a story I'd heard through a friend of a friend ...blah blah blah ....but basically, the story was this bloke heard that Barcelona were trying to bring Ronaldo back to Camp Nou, but were frustrated because it seemed that Arsenal had been dealing with the player for a while and terms were said to be agreed. Now the Inter president has said that he would listen to offers for any Inter player, but mentioned Ronaldo specifically.
If Ronaldo signs for Arsenal, I will shit my pants with excitement. Imagine the level of football, the skill, the finishing, the tricks and the turns he'd be able to teach Frannie Jeffers while they spent the whole season together on the treatment table.
14.25 - It looks like Martin Keown is staying for at least another season. Good news in my book. We've already lost Lee Dixon, and say what you want about The Grimster, he had plenty of experience. If Tony Adams does call it a day, we'll be glad of the furrowed brow of Keown next season. I don't expect him to be first choice, especially if my sources are correct and a centre half is high on the summer shopping list, but if this season has taught us anything, it's that we need to have a big squad with plenty of experience.
Kieron Dyer is thinking of taking legal action against Southampton player Tahar El Kahlej for the tackle which looks like putting him out of the World Cup. I totally understand the frustration of missing out on the trip to Korea & Japan, but I hate the idea of footballers suing each other. Just get on with it, because once this kind of legal bullshit starts the whole thing snowballs. You'll have players suing each other for nothing incidents, and the physical side of the game - which the authorities are doing their very best to eliminate anyway - will become redundant, thus turning football into a non-contact sport.
Yes, players need to be protected, but as much as a Cruyff turn, a 30 yard volley or a dazzling run and finish are fine examples of football skill, so are the sliding tackle, the shoulder to shoulder challenge and the aerial battles between centre forwards and the centre halves. Take away physical contact and football just becomes netball for men.
So Kieron, while you're feeling sorry for yourself - and rightly so - take that into account. If you sue, and you win, and things go downhill from there, I'll go to Newcastle, stake out your place and when you're coming out of your house to get into your car, I shall burst forward and carry out the most heinous of two footed tackles upon you. It'll be worse than Schumacher on Battiston. Just so you know, like.
10.15 - Thanks to Nicki who provided me with a detailed explanation for the Holland / Dutch thing. Apparently, it's all because the Germans invaded the Netherlands and went around from town to town hitting people with long sticks and saying 'You're Deutsch'. Yes, they said it in English too.
If this isn't the best Arsenal picture for a very long time, I don't know what is.
Tony Adams' testimonial is on the TV at the moment - Celtic are winning 1-0, but the Arsenal back 5 to start the game was Lukic - Dixon - Adams - Bould - Winterburn. Can any stattos tell me the last time that combo played together? Great to see them all out there again. It's easy to say 'Oh, we'll never see their like again', but as Arsenal fans, we should feel privileged to have seen these guys play together. We'll never see their like again.
If he does decide to retire in the summer, we can only hope he comes back to Arsenal at some point in the future because no player has epitomised the club more than Tony Adams.
Do you play football at the weekends? Do you want people to think you're Thierry Henry? Have a look at this.
A scurrilous transfer rumour comes in from 'The Avenell Shadow'. He claims Arsenal have agreed a fee for Stephen Carr from Tottenham, and that Kanu is going to Deportivo la Coruña for £7.5m. We shall see.
11.05 - If people from Ireland are Irish, and people from Scotland are Scottish, why aren't people from Holland called Hollish? Where does the 'Dutch' thing come from? Anyone......??
23.40 - For those of you that work in open plan offices with Spurs or Chelsea or Man Utd fans, why not display the all new A R S E B L O G double winners wallpaper on your PC? Click on the 'Other' section above to find it.
13.50 - So, it's goodbye to Dicko and Gilles. Tony Adams is expected to announce his retirement at tomorrow night's testimonial, and according to some sources Martin Keown is off to join Newcastle. That's a huge amount of experience for any team to lose, and while it may seem odd to release Keown, you have to say AW seems to know the right time to let a player leave. Look at Steve Bould at Sunderland.
I guess we'll see another couple of fringe players leave, maybe Stepanovs and Luzhny - although it was great to see Brother Oleg having such a laugh during the post-match celebrations yesterday. He's never quite made himself a regular, and never quite won over the fans, but I've always had a bit of a soft spot for him.
As for arrivals, well, Silly Season begins now I guess. If you hear any rumours or speculation, email me and we can look back at the start of next season and see how wrong we've all been.
I'll start by predicting Kevin Hofland will sign before the World Cup. The sun is shining again here, so I'll make the most of it. Laters.
21.25 - Arsenal 4 - 3 Everton (Bergkamp, Henry (2), Jeffers).
A party atmosphere at THOF, and a well deserved victory for the final game of the season. What was especially nice was that Stepanovs waited till after we'd won the league to have one of those horrible games we all know he's capable of. Nice one Igors.
Thierry Henry won the golden boot - his two goals today gave him a total of 24 in the Premiership and that makes him the top scorer. Well done as well to Lee Dixon and Gilles Grimandi who played their last ever games for the club today. LD2 in particular looked very emotional at the end. Allez Gilles, good luck wherever you go. If you end up in Spain, drop me a line, I'll show this place that does great squid ;o)
Classic moment of the day was after the entire squad had received their winners medals, and Robert Pires went up to collect his. All the players did the 'We're not worthy' thing from Wayne's World. A lovely touch.
Double winners, Henry wins the golden boot, 13 consecutive wins (a new record), no losses away from home all season, 3 goalkeepers winning championship medals - it's been a great season to be an Arsenal fan. Those who've joined me on A R S E B L O G since February, thanks for the company. Let's hope it's as good next season too.
Now, we've just got transfer speculation and the World Cup to keep us busy for the summer. I think we'll do all right, eh?!
09.45 - So today is the last game of the season, Arsenal fans. And there's going to be a party atmosphere at Highbury when the Premiership trophy is presented.
It's also going to be Lee Dixon's last game for the club. After 14 years, he's decided to hang up his boots, and take life easy from now on. Gilles Grimandi plays his last game as well, so A R S E B L O G would like to thank both players for their contribution to the club and wish them all the best for the future. It's just a shame David Ginola isn't still playing for Everton, I'm sure Dicko would love to spend his last game kicking his arch-nemesis up in the air one last time.
Freddie Ljungberg has insisted that he's staying with Arsenal, despite plenty of interest from clubs in Italy and Spain. Freddie's a gooner, they have no chance.
Stuart Taylor is on 9 league appearances so expect him to take part in today's game at some stage. Everton have an outside chance of an Inter Toto cup place, so they won't be there just to make up the numbers, while Arsenal will want to finish the season with a win. The game is live on Sky Sports this afternoon. If you're going today, enjoy the party.
16.47 - When Arsene and Alex had a drink.
14.02 - Check the 'Other' section for yet another FA Cup final wallpaper. This one has Ray Parlour launching his shot goalwards, and Marcel Desailly turning his back on the ball like a big girl.
11.19 - Remember Alex Ferguson complaining that Arsene Wenger never had a drink after the match? Well, it seems Sir Alex came up with a bottle of red good enough for AW to have a snifter with his main rival.
Arsenal Under 19s beat their Liverpool counterparts 5-1 last night, with Jeremie Aliadiere scoring a hat-trick. He was on the fringes of the first team when we were suffering from injuries and suspensions, and according to some French coaches at Claireaine, he's a better prospect than either Anelka or Henry. Can't wait to see him in action next season.
You might remember the Ronaldo rumour from April. Well, my informed source tells me that things might have changed a bit. Barcelona want Van Gaal back as manager, but the Dutchman has some conditions before he takes the job. He wants rid of Rivaldo and Kluivert, and A R S E B L O G's April fool regarding Patrick Kluivert and Arsenal might just turn out to be prophetic. Watch this space.
22.48 - There's a brand new Freddie Ljungberg wallpaper in the 'Other' section above. It features his goal against Chelsea in the FA Cup final. Enjoy.
20.05 - Check out all the records we've accumulated this season on the way to the double. Impressive stuff.
I have to say fair play to Bobby Charlton, who stood and applauded Arsenal at the end of last night's game. Normally I wouldn't even mention something like this, but the fact that it was so obviously making him sick was really funny.
Sven Gordon Eriksson has named his squad for the World Cup, here. The 4 Arsenal representatives are David Seaman, Ashley Cole, Sol Campbell and Martin Keown. Jermaine Pennant and Stuart Taylor have also been called up for international duty in the European Under 21 championships.
Decision time for me now. When we lost against Newcastle in December, I grew a Robert Pires style stripe which I have maintained and cultivated until now. Now that we've won everything, I'm not sure whether to keep it or not. If I leave it on and go through the whole summer here in Spain, I will have a white stripe when I shave it off eventually. If I shave it now, it might drastically affect the fortunes of Arsenal football club. It's kind of like a long distance, totally unplausable Samson's hair situation.
We haven't lost a game since I grew it, but it's a pain to keep shaving around it. I'm kinda thinking of shaving it now, then growing it back in time for next season, but what if next time it doesn't work? What if all the good luck in the world is in this stripe now? Life is hard sometimes, eh?
Remember, if you want to see that clip of Sky's Tim Lovejoy saying 'It's only Ray Parlour' in the FA Cup commentary, email firstname.lastname@example.org. See May 5th for more on this.
08.45 - Right, I've just finished sending emails to all the Utd fans I know and have had to work with over the last 4 years. They've spent that whole time being smug and rubbing my nose in it - fair play to them, coz I'm gonna do exactly the same to them for the next 12 months.
I just want to say a word or two about the boss. Quite rightly, everyone has praised the players for their performances over the course of the season, but take the following into account:
Only one player that was signed in the summer has made an impact on the team - Sol Campbell. The others have struggled a bit, so essentially we've done the Double with the same team that bottled it in big matches for the past 3 seasons.
Yes, they know each other better on the pitch, but it's more than that. Arsene Wenger has filled them with confidence and belief this season. He's instilled in them a desire not to finish second again. He said the right things at the right times. He's coped with countless injuries and suspensions and the team spirit he's created is unreal. I can remember watching the Wimbledon game in the 97-98 season and seeing the high-fives and back slapping after a 1-0 win, and it's been the same this season.
A R S E B L O G would like to thank Arsene Wenger, Pat Rice and all the backroom staff for theircontribution to this remarkable season. I'd like to thank my wife.....*sniff*......my child....*sob*.....all my friends......*weep*....and most of all.....*bawl*....God. That's my Tom Hanks style Oscar thank you speech.
Ooooooh, Arsene Wenger's magic, he wears a magic hat, and when he saw the Double, he said 'I'm having that'....ooooooooooooooooh (repeat to fade).
23.48 - Man Utd 0-1 Arsenal (Wiltord).
Sylvain Wiltord's 56th minute goal ensures Arsenal's second double in the last 4 years. It's impossible to pick out a man of the match, because every single Arsenal player on that pitch played out of their skins.
United tried to break us with their football early on, they had loads of possession but we defended brilliantly.
They tried to wind us up with some pretty awful tackling, but that didn't work. Then they tried to break us with top scorer Ruud Van Nistlerooy, but his most telling contribution was to punch Freddie Ljungberg in the stomach in an off the ball incident. The United players were too wound up and frustrated to play football tonight.
The last 20 minutes were the longest I can remember. If I lived in a cartoon world, the second hand on the clock would have gone backwards at some point.
Tonight is something special. Man Utd are a brilliant football team - they've proved that with their record in the league over the last 9 seasons. Winners 7 times, runners up twice. So, having finished second to them every year since 98, winning the league at Old Trafford almost makes up for it all.
I've never seen Arsene Wenger look so happy, dancing around with the players and applauding the supporters. Vieira kissed the badge (make of that what you will), Wiltord continued his crazy antics from last Saturday, and basically, everyone went fucking mental.
The Arsenal fans were going mad, singing, jumping, dancing and taunting the Man Utd fans who were leaving with 10 minutes to go. In a game when you're 1-0 down and there's still 10 minutes on the clock, why would you leave? But in fairness, Arsenal never looked like being beaten.
I'm going to get a beer. Enjoy your night Arsenal fans, it doesn't get much better than this.
17.45 - ....and we're back. Feeling as rough as a dog's arse that's been put through some kind of roughing-up device, though. The heavy workload that has restricted my sterling work here on Arseblog has lightened, and to celebrate, I thought a 9 hour drinking session would be a good idea. I was still convinced it was a good idea until I woke up on someone's couch this morning with both my legs gone 'dead'. The pins and needles were enough to make the most hardened terrorist confess anything that was asked of him. Now, my head hurts, along with my arms, my torso, my legs, my feet etc.
So, I'm gonna make some food, and try not to shit my pants during tonight's game. If this doesn't give me some kind of brain seizure, nothing will. Here's to the lads, and let's hope they can come back with at least a point tonight....
21.09 - Does this man hold an opinion for more than 5 minutes at a time?
Yet another new goalkeeper is linked with Arsenal. Lyon's Gregory Coupet is attracting the interest of Arsene Wenger, according to Planet Football.
No doubt the players are resting ahead of Wednesday's game against Man Utd. A draw or a win means we'll win the Premiership, but they're gonna be fired up as they still have a chance of the title, no matter how remote. If we lose against Utd, we can still win the league at home against Everton, but after the disappointments of the last 4 years, it would be something extra special to win it at Old Trafford.
For a very funny FA cup diary, check out @FC. His updates are more sporadic than they used to be, which is a shame, because it's been the most consistently funny Arsenal site for a long time. If you haven't visited before, make a pot of coffee, skin up a fat one, and spend a couple of hours laughing your way through the match report archives. Then email the fucker and tell him we want more regular updates.
Finally, just to let you know, the site isn't going to be updated again until Wednesday, due to work commitments. Bear with me....
23.48 - Hurrah, the first two posting day for ages. Just to tell you can find an FA Cup winners wallpaper in the 'OTHER' section above.
15.09 - Still smiling? Of course you are......unless you're a Chelsea fan.
Sky Sports presenter and Chelsea supporter Tim Lovejoy provided another comedy moment from yesterday's cup final. He was doing the 'fanzone' commentary on the interactive coverage, and as Arsenal broke forward said "Oh it's all right, it's only Ray Parlour", just before the Romford Pele unleashed his unstoppable shot past Cuducini.
For those of you that watch Soccer AM, you'll know that he's just provided the first ever verbal 'LOVEJOOOOOY!!!'. Nice one, Tim. For those of you that missed it, email email@example.com and ask them to show it again. The show itself is on Saturday morning from around 9am.
There's a very good Freddie interview here, and you'll find loads of post match reaction here.
Did anyone else's heart go straight to their mouths when Thierry Henry lifted Freddie onto his shoulders? All I could think of was Adams - Morrow - *kersplat*. Luckily, Freddie got down safe and sound. Not that I'm comparing the loss of Morrow to the loss of Ljungberg, you understand.
Where was The Grimster yesterday. After the game the players who weren't in the squad for the game were milling about on the pitch. I saw Jeffers, Stepanovs, Luznhny, Van Bronckhorst and a couple of others, but no Gilles. Anyone know where he was?
This week sees the end of my busy period, so I'll try and get some FA Cup wallpapers up soon. For now, keep smiling.
20.39 - FA Cup final - Arsenal 2-0 Chelsea (Parlour, Ljungberg).
Just after the final whistle, Sky's reporter got hold of Freddie Ljungberg and asked him how it felt to win the FA cup. Freddie's off the cuff reply was "It's fuckin' excellent....."
In honour of that momentous occasion, A R S E B L O G is now changing it's name from 'The inconsequential ramblings of an Arsenal fan', to A R S E B L O G - "....it's fuckin' excellent'.
Surely two of the best goals ever scored in the cup final won us the game today. Ray Parlour did one of those things he's always capable of doing, but very rarely does. A magnificent shot from outside the box that Bergkamp would have been proud of. Time literally stood still when he scored, I couldn't believe it.Then Freddie got the ball inside his own half, took off running, skipped past some challenges and curled in an absolute beauty to put us 2-0 up. From then on it was sewn up. All credit to Chelsea, they played really well and it was obvious JFH was not fit, but all the same it was lovely to see their players and fans suffering.
That's the first trophy this team has won since 1998, way too long. This feels really good so I'm off out to sink a few pints. More thoughts tomorrow.
"We love you Freeeeeeeeeeeeeeedie, because you've got red hair......"
23.15 - Cup final blah blah blah, Milwall fans riot blah blah blah, Beckham fit for world cup blah blah blah............
This, my friends, is news. Ah, but we have to mention
the build up to the cup final. I love cup final day, the build
up, the nerves the excitement. I love 1979 but I hate 1978 and
1980. 1998 was special but 2000 was a nightmare. The FA can try
and devalue this competition as much as they like, but I love
it. I'll never forget the torment and anguish of Man Utd's 2 late
goals in '79, only to have those feelings blown away with sheer
relief and jubilation when Alan Sunderland scored the winner.
Even though I was only 9 years old, I can still remember it like it was yesterday, and the FA Cup will always be a trophy worth winning in my opinion. Patrick Vieira will go head to ponytail with our old friend, Emmanuel Petit. It's such a shame Manu let things get to him so much when he played for us. By his standards, his last season was a nightmare. I know he was never fully fit, but his antics at Villa Park and his terrible display in the UEFA cup final were that of a player who wasn't happy. The press annoyed him, the refs annoyed him, the opposition annoyed him, and he let them win. He thought the best way out was to just leave. His spell at Barcelona might not have been a success on the pitch, but I bet it helped clear things up in his mind.
He realised he would never have it as good as he did at Highbury. He was a legend, he had his song, we loved him, we defended him, and he pussied out of it. Maybe that's why he came back to the Premiership, to prove to himself he could take it. Good for him, and I wish him well, except for tomorrow of course.
Checking the site logs, I see somebody searched for 'Laurent Blanc useless bastard', and found their way here.....heh.
Off for some shut-eye, tomorrow's a big day.
21.09 - When I was in school, I always left my homework till Sunday night or early Monday morning. When I went to college, I always left assignments till the day before. I swore that if I was ever in a similar situation, I would manage my time better and do any essays, assignments etc over a period of time, rather than at the last minute.
So that explains why I'm sitting here updating the website, when I have at least 4 or 5 hours of work to get done before tomorrow. Not that I was given the work today or anything, I've known about if for at least 2 weeks. They say the older you get, the wiser you get. Bollox. I'm just as unwise as I was back then.
The FA Cup final is drawing ever nearer. An informed source tells me the team will be as follows: Seaman - Lauren - Campbell - Adams - Cole - Wiltord - Vieira - Parlour - Ljungberg - Bergkamp - Henry. Pick your own subs from Wright, Keown, Edu, Kanu, Jeffers, Grimandi, Luzhny, Stepanovs.
Fergie tips Chelsea for the cup. That's nice of him. I'm sure the Arsenal players don't need any more motivation, but to have the bane of your existence write you off must gee them up another notch. Tony Adams talks about life, football and retirement here.
Right, I'm off to make some coffee and get this shit done. Later.
08.55 - Welcome to a brand new month on A R S E B L O G. A day off. Sweet. Typical though, last week it was hot and sunny all week and the weekend was crap. Monday and Tuesday were lovely, and today is crap. I think all my solicitation of the Gods for good results for Arsenal has come with some side effects, ah well.
Jean-Marie Le Pen has just dug his own grave. In the lead up to the French elections, he says Zinedine Zidane is nothing special. I think most of France would disagree with that, considering two goals in the final against Brazil won them the World Cup 4 years ago. Zidane comes from the sort of immigrant family that Le Pen would round up and put in a giant sack and drown like kittens. Where would the French national side be without it's other ethnic players - Vieira, Henry, Karembeu, Djorkaeff, Thuram, Anelka....etc etc?
Anyway, why has nobody commented on the fact that Le Pen's second name is 'Mary'? John Mary Le Pen....heh.
Man Utd went out of the Champions League last night to Leverkeusen on away goals. To be honest, I'd much rather they had gone through to the final, as it might have distracted them a bit from our league game. Now they're gonna go all out to beat us next Wednesday. It's getting nerve-wracking now. More nerve-wracking. It's the nerve-wrackingest I can remember for a long time. My nerves are well and truly wracked. The wrackosity level of my nerves is through the roof. The.....well, you get the picture.
Some cup final thoughts later on.