may 30th

09.58 - There's one Arsenal story all the papers are covering today, and that's Harry Kewell. According to most papers, Arsenal are set to make a bid for the mercurial Aussie, ranging from £7m + £3m rated Ray Parlour in The Sun, to £5m in cash + Parlour and Jeffers in Guardian.

If we do sign Kewell, and I suspect it's a farily big if, he could certainly do a job up front with Thierry Henry. However, of more importance is a new keeper and a defender (or two). Some fairly reliable whispers suggest Leverkeusen's Lucio is a serious target, as is Edmilson again.

The Guardian suggests that Robert Pires and Arsene Wenger are both staying at Highbury. Le Bob is very close to agreeing a new deal which includes a nice pay rise and some more money for image rights or some such thing. The same article claims Sylvain Wiltord is not going to accept Arsenal's new contract terms and could be a high profile departure this summer.

Despite being in Senegal, Patrick Vieira has apparently asked Arsenal for £75,000 per week throwing his Arsenal future into doubt. A quick look at the byline though casts doubt over the veracity of this report as it's been penned by Mark Iriwn, the noxious little turd who was Marc Roger's puppet during the Vieira to Man United stories two summer ago. Say no more.

Good luck to Graham Barrett who has transfer to Coventry is now official. He takes the place in the team of former Arsenal youth Jay Bothroyd, who was released by the Sky Blues at the end of the season.

For lots of football transfer rumours and gossip, check out The Rumourphile on blogfc.com

Right. it's too hot to stay indoors. The market, the lunch, the beach, the beer. Hasta luego.


may 29th

Earlier in the week there was a story about emergency keeper Guillaume Warmuz being wanted by Sp*rs. Planet Football said that the Frenchman was 'was solid when called upon by The Gunners last term.' Considering the closest he came to first team action was sittng on the bench, that raised a chuckle.

Not for the first time though, Planet Football seems to have got it wrong. It's not Warmuz that Glenn Hoddle is after, it's David Seaman. Neil Sullivan is leaving on a free, so Hoddle wants an experienced keeper and will battle it out with Man City and Birmingham (who are set to make a double bid for Seaman and Francis Jeffers) for Seaman's signature. Seaman has apparently told Arsene Wenger he has no plans for retirement and wants to continue as Arsenal's number 1. Arsene has said 'So long and thanks for all the fish'.

Can't see hit happening myself, for the simple reason that Seaman said he wants to continue playing at the top level. Maybe he'd stretch to the 2nd level of Man City or Birmingham, but there's no way he'll play 28th level foootball with that lot.

Arsenal scout Steve Rowley has been going all David Bowie and has spotted a young American for the Gunners. 18 year old Danny Karbassiyoon has been offered a contract by Arsenal and could join in July. Rowley said "He caught my eye because of his technique, his pace, and the fact that his stamina was superb." You can read more about this on www.topdrawersoccer.com. heh - crazy Americans and their 'soccer'.

Now, obviously I don't spend my time trawling 'soccer' websites, so I have to say thank you to one of our forum regulars TH14 who has his own American 'soccer' blog and decided to share this 'socceriffic' info on our transfer rumours forum, which is the best place for all you Arsenal soccer fans to find out the latest transfer speculation and discover which soccer players are going to join Arsenal and which soccer players might be leaving Arsenal. Either way, there's a whole lotta soccer. When you say 'soccer' that many times, it sounmds even more ridiculous than it does in the first place. Soccer Soccer Soccer Soccer Soccer Soccer Soccer Soccer.

'What eeeeees theeeees soccer ju speeeek ov?'

Finally for today, waste your morning watching loads of 80s TV ads, or as they call them in the USA, Soccermercials.


may 28th

08.59 - Tons of speculation this morning about Arsene Wenger's meeting with officials from Real Madrid. It surfaced last week in Spanish football daily El Mundo. Then this week it got picked up by L'Equipe, which seems to be regarded as a bible of correctness and non-madey up crap, and not just another sports newspaper looking for stories.

Anyway, according to L'Equipe Wenger met with Florentino Perez and sports director Jorge Valdano at Orly Airport and they continued discussions at a nearby hotel. Also present according to L'Equipe was agent Marc Roget. This is the same Marc Roget that tried to orchestrate Vieira's move to Man Utd two summers ago and was a prime mover in the Anelka saga. It doesn't say who he was representing, but I can't imagine he's being used by AW as it was on Wenger's instructions that David Dein banned him from Arsenal's training ground.

AW himself says “I met lots of people last Friday. I am still contracted for two years at Arsenal and I will go to the end of this engagement. After that, we'll see, but it's possible that I will remain at Arsenal."

He has always been very specific about honouring his contracts, but now there are rumours that he has a clause in his Arsenal contract that says he can leave at the end of any season if he wants. I'm not sure I believe these 'back me or lose me' threats. As much as anyone AW will know the financial siuation at the club. He knows he's handicapped by the new stadium, he knew he would be before the project started.

Arsenal themselves released an offical statement (which is quite rare) saying: "We are not perturbed by newspaper reports linking Arsène Wenger to Real Madrid. Arsène himself has reiterated his commitment to the Club on a number of occasions and we see no reason to pass further comment on the subject."

According to Alan Smith a lot depends on the new stadium and how much thaty impacts Arsene's ability to do his job. "Arsenal are being as daring as they have ever been. The board have gone out on a limb already to satisfy Wenger. The building of a new stadium is a crucial issue to Arsene. That is possibly the key to his future."

It's quite possible that Wenger and Madrid were discussing a transfer of a player, or maybe they do want him to be manager, who can blame them? It does make you think about what the hell we'd do if Arsene ever left. This is his Arsenal, no doubt about it. The team plays with a style that no other manager has been able to bring to Arsenal football club. To a man the squad seem behind him. You never hear a player moaning about him. Occassionally a youth on his way down through the leagues will take a pop saying he never got a chance at Arsenal while he can't even make the bench for Colchester, but that's about it.

In some ways it's the price of success. Arsene has done a fantastic job with a limited budget. His net spend is around £4m per season for the 7 seasons he's been at the club. Clubs like Real Madrid and Juventus and other clubs with far more spending money look at what he's done at Arsenal and wonder how he might do if they gave him £50m to spend one summer. Imagine what he could do at Arsenal with that kind of money.

Speculation like this is inevitable. Also inevitable is that some of these jobs might be interesting to Arsene. He might wonder how it would be to go live in Madrid or Barcleona or Turin or Milan and have huge resources financially to help him do his job.

Could anyone blame him if he did decide to take an opportunity like this one day? As fans we demand loyalty. From managers and from our star players. Even from the lesser players who don't play so often at a club like Arsenal but could be first choice elsewhere, we expect them to stay quiet, not moan and feel privileged on the bench (or worse) at Arsenal. Realistically though, very few players or managers have the same connection with a club as the fans do. We'd play for Arsenal for free, for most of the guys at the club now, it's a job. This is their work and I'm sure they get pissed off with their employers like we all do. Especially after a long time at a club.

If Arsene comes to the end of his contract and decides to move on, how can we complain? 9 years in one job, great success, trophies, a great team with world class players, a fantastic youth set-up, a solid infrastructure at the club and his contract honoured 100%. Who would be begrudge him the chance to make some more money, to manage a legendary team like Real Madrid, to live in the sunshine for a bit? Well, we all would. That's the nature of football fans. It would be like coming home to find your other half in bed with Roy Keane (that works well for both sexes I think).

Anyway, in 2 years time our stadium could be half-built (provided that shipload of cheap parts and Ecuadorian labourers arrives soon), we could have won the league twice, we could have won the Champions League, we could have the best team in the world and AW could be about to sign a new deal. Or we could be shit. 2 years is a long time in football.

He'll certainly honour his current contract which runs until 2005. We'll talk more about this then.

Anyway, maybe we should turn this around. From what I hear Wenger and Perez and Valdano were discussing a deal for Fernando Moirentes. It's true, I swear.


may 27th

08.53 - "If the club came to me tomorrow and said 'Patrick we will give you a contract for five or six years' I will be happy with it."

So speaketh Paddy. He's currently in Senegal launching a football academy and is being trailed around by Sky Sports reporter Jim White. Those of you who get Sky Sports News can see the interview in full all this morning.

Vieira goes on to say "I would love to stay because I am so happy here. This is a fantastic club. There is a good atmosphere around the club so nobody wants to leave and I hope everyone will stay."

Talking about bringing in new players for the upcoming season he says "Two or three players will give us a lift and I hope that nobody will leave the club because we will need everybody to be successful."

We can only hope that somebody at Arsenal is putting together the package that he deserves, and he signs up as soon as he gets back. Great news though.

The latest keeper to be linked with The Gunners is Udinese's Morgan de Sanctis. Whodan de Whatsit? Exactly. Anyway, from what we hear the Sorensen deal is as good as done. I'll wait until it becomes official before making further comment, but I wouldn't be too unhappy if he joined.

The first Arsenal transfer deal of the summer looks like it could happen today. Republic of Ireland striker Graham Barrett is set to join Coventry on a 2 year deal. No fee has been discussed. At one stage he was on the verge of the Arsenal first team and looked to be a real prospect. Then problems with glandular fever and injuries set him back and he's never looked like getting anywhere near the first team since. He spent last season on loan at Brighton, scoring one goal. Good luck to him.

So next year it'll be Wolves in the Premiership. Warnock got himself sent off at half-time, the clown. You have to laugh. Just making sure you know we're laughing at him, not with him.

Away from football, here's a cool 360 degree panorama from the top of Mount Everest (Quicktime needed). Looks like there's a road running right up to the top. It's obviously not that hard to climb..*cough*...

Ok, that's yer lot. Nothing more to see here.


may 26th

08.59 - Is today a bank holiday in the UK?

That would explain the dearth of any football news apart from the shite about David Beckham, which is so tedious and boring I'm not going to go into it. According to The Sun Liverpool are going to sign the 'new Patrick Vieira' again. When they signed Igor Biscan he was hailed as 'the new Patrick Vieira'. Bruno Cheyrou was another 'new Patrick Vieira' and now some lad called 'Mickael Essien' is 'the new Patrick Vieira'. This bloke is so good that Liverpool are going to sign him and loan him straight back to Bastia.

It's Division One play off today. Wolves v Sheffield United - having to choose a winner from those two is like being asked if you'd like to be hit in the face with a baseball bat or an iron bar. On one hand I'd love to see Sheffield United get beaten because of Neil Warnock, who is to good grace and sportsmanship what Phil Collins is to good music. On the other hand though, he would certainly make the Premiership a fun place next year with his paranoid ramblings. A tough one to call, and I've just realised I don't give a shit either way.

Given that there's very little in the way of football news around, it's given me time to think about some new features for the site ahead of next season. As soon as I've thought of any, I'll let you know.

Battle of the Planets was one of my favourite cartoons, so when I saw Battle of the Fansites, I was humming the same groovy theme tune. Arseblog was up against our good friends at Arsenal-Land, and we kicked their arses good. Back to your holes in the ground, you Cornish cave-dwellers. Looks like this thing is set to run for each club, then each clubs winner goes onto contest some kind of death-match. When it comes down to that, we'll get some advice and tips on pitchforking the opposition from the Arsenal-Land crew (provided they're still talking to us and they're not cowering underground at the latest eclipse).

Right, for now that's it. If there's any news you might get a second post today.

UPDATE: I should mention that today is St. Michael's Day, shouldn't I?

May 26th 1989, when Michael Thomas scored the last gasp winner to win us the league title at Anfield. A happy day for all Arsenal fans, and a moment which still makes my Liverpool supporting brother feel sick to his stomach. haha.

Arseweb's great Anfield 89 page is always worth a look - highlights include:

Arseblog members can download a new Anfield 89 wallpaper (previewed to your right). For more on becoming an Arseblog member, see here.

arsenal - anfield 1989


may 25th

10.06 - After trawling website after website this morning, the only thing I could find was a story about Kanu being allowed to leave for free but turning down an approach by some club in the Middle East. Can't say I blame him really. There's also something vaguely Arsenal related in that Gareth Southgate has said he'd consider leaving Boro for Champions League football. We could do worse Arsene.

Apart from that there's nothing going on. So, here's a few more from the file marked 'Where are they now?'

  • Steve Morrow - after a spell in the USA playing for the Colorado Shitkickers, Steve decided to try something different. He bought a small island in the Black sea and now spends his days cross-breeding animals for nefarious purposes. He has had some success with his Basset Hound/Antelope cross, the legendary Basselope®, but his Batpanzee and ElephAnt (a giant grey insect that's afraid of mice) have still to get beyond prototypes. If you're ever out that way, he has a petting zoo which is used to raise money for his work. Just ask locally for the Island of Dr.Morrow.
  • Steve Gatting - along with his brother Mike, he's become heavily involved in the arms industry. The two brothers have been working on a devastating new weapon which is being tested by the US Army at the moment. Using their own DNA, the brothers create thousands of marble shaped clones of themselves, and harden them by dipping them in vinegar like a good conker. The clones are then loaded into the weapon, which can shoot 500 of these projectiles per second. With a range of nearly 1 kilometre the brothers hope their Gatting Guns will make them a fortune which they can spend on beard trimmers and singing lessons.
  • Alberto Mendez - he only left the Gunners last season, but already people ask 'Where is he now?' Leaving London in July, Alberto travelled through France on his Vespa, stopping to sample various wines and cheeses, and continued down into Spain, stopping at the eastern seaside town of Cubelles. He took on some work as a fisherman and was quite successful until he was caught in a storm one day. Alberto's small boat was washed way out to sea. With no radio, GPS or any other communication device he drifted aimlessly for weeks, before eventually landing on an Island populated only by Tom Hanks and a basketball. Alberto took his own life seconds later.
  • Pal Lydersen - the most talented player never to play more than 10 games for Arsenal, people put his signing down to the fact that George Graham got a shitload of money for buying him. Not true. The problem was Pal was so good, he would have made the rest of the team look average it would have destroyed the fans faith in the team. So he hardly played at all, and when he did he was under strict instructions to be absolutely shit. When he left Highbury, he back-packed around Tibet for a while, then down into India where he turned his talents to plant growing. He invented a new Marijuana plant that is so strong that even touching the leaves to roll a joint produces hallucinations, munchies and the urge to listen to music with lots of cool sounds in the background that you never normally hear. He lives in the base of a giant tree with a monkey called Timothy.
  • Chris Whyte - he may have been patchy of hair and patchy of form on the football pitch, but this centre-half cum centre-forward is now legendary in the world of illegal cuisine. Fronting as a fish and chip shop in North London, a secret back room houses a 5 star restaurant serving endangered species to the decadent, upper classes. His 'Panda a la Creme' and 'Siberian Tiger roasted with honey and meercat' are world famous in those circles. His other specialities include Polar bear-cub tartar, a wonderful Amouse Bouche made from baby seal, a tangy Tuna salad with real dolphiny bits, and hard boiled Rhino. The seat cushions are covered with Snow Leopard fur while salads and soups are served in bowls made from freshwater turtle shells.

Right, that's it. If anything Arsenal related happens, you'll probably hear it first on the forum. Have a happy Sunday.


may 24th

11.59 - My god, the weekends are even worse for real football news.

ferguson in arseblog gear

There are a couple of things around though. Alan Smith's end of season awards are worth a read, especially for the story about the funniest moment of the season. In Smudger's own words:

"..this one came only last Monday during the annual staff game at Shenley. One coach, who shall remain nameless, kept on chipping away at Arsene Wenger with painful late tackles.

“The great man took it for a while before turning around angrily and shouting “Why don’t you stop ****** kicking me!”"

Liverpool are now well known as a dour, boring side under Hoofier. Their fans want to spend money on a winger or two, like Damien Duff or Harry Kewell. So they'll be pleased to know that their boss has his sights set on Arsenal target John Terry, who is of course a central defender. That's according to The Sun anyway.

Cheers to Moj for the fetching picture to your left there - he also did one with van Nistelrooy, but there wasn't enough space on the page for his giant chin.

Arsene Wenger has said that we will see more of the youth players next season, as he looks to them to save him some money in the transfer market. AW says, "We have Svard, Volz, Aliadiere, Garry and Bentley. Some are those players will come through. But what you have to understand is that we have world class players here. Over the last few years we have lifted the level of the academies very well and we have one of the best in England now. But the players who come through into our first-team must be an exceptional talent."

I know I have to write something every day about Arsenal or Arsenal-related, but imagine the crap you'd come up with if you had to fill a daily newspaper all about football. If you were a Barcelona friendly paper, what better way to annoy your great rivals than teasing them with a story about Arsene Wenger going to manage them?

Right, that's about all I can scrape together today. Till tomorrow...


may 23rd

08.53 - John Lukic has urged his old mate David Seaman to keep playing for as long as possible, even if it's at another club. He says "I would say to David to keep going as long as he can. If he thinks he can do the business at the top level, then go for it." Manchester City remain favourites to sign him, although he could end up at Birmingham City if some reports are to be believed.

Sebastian Svard is looking forward to next season with Arsenal. The Danish midfielder says that AW has told him he'll be more involved next season. "He has said that I will get more playing time, that he has big plans for me. The next half a season, will prove decisive for my future."

There's a piece in The Sun about the enormous season ticket increase for North Bank bond holders. Some tickets have gone from £300ish, to £1200. I'm not going to comment on this, I'll leave it to the people who are affected by it. There are some interesting threads on the forum about it (registration required).

So not a bad haul today, 3 Arsenal related stories knocking around. I was expecing far less so I had started work on a sort of 'Where are they now' of former Arsenal players. I won't do all of them today, but here's a few to give you something to read this morning.

  • John Devine - He now tours around Ireland with a Limahl style mullet and a rack of Howard Jones type synths doing electro-pop versions of rock classics. Calling himself 'Devine Inspiration', his Moog solo during 'Smoke on the water' is becoming legendary in the bars of County Mayo, while his Hammond Organ/Kazoo interpretation of Don Henley's 'Smuggler's blues' is not easily forgotten.
  • Vladimir Petrovic - Arsenal's 80s Yugoslavian wizard is like many footballers in that he owns a bar. Vlad's is different though. It caters for the seedier side of Belgrade's seedy side, and features giant-handed lesbian waitrons who repeatedly punch customers in the face. Vlad himself spends most of the evenings in a cage above the bar, dressed as a priest, dancing to Yugopop and every now and then exposing his helmet. He does a roaring trade.
  • Willie Young - big Willie is now an assassin working in Sicily. Sought after by il capo di tutti capi, Don Luciano Inzerillo, after he watched the 1980 FA Cup final in a sports bar in Palermo, Willie moved over soon after and is now one of the most feared Mafia killers in history. Most victims pray to be shot if they're put on Willie's list, it's quicker and far less painful than his trademark punishment of sliding tackling his vicitms to death. If Willie is seen around town with his size 11 Golas on, Palermo becomes a ghost town.
  • Perry Groves - best known for his mazy run and cross for Charlie Nicholas's scuffed winner against the Scousers in the 1987 Littlewood's Cup final, Perry can now be seen on digital satellite TV on a regular basis. His one man show 'I'm Tintin, yes I am' attracts record viewing figures on BBC 8 - The Arts Channel. The part of 'Snowy' the dog is played by Perry's Scotch terrier 'Blacky', who Perry then paints white with knock-off Tippex. Asked why he didn't get a white dog in the first place, Perry said 'Colour is just a state of mind, man.'

So there you go - some of Arsenal's old players have gone on to live interesting and fulfilling lives outside of football. We'll do some more of these when there's fuck all else to talk about.

Expect some more tomorrow then.


may 22nd

09.21 - There's even less happening today than there was yesterday. Arsene might have a few quid extra to spend now that the club have won their trademark case against merchandise seller Matthew Reed. Is it a case of Arsenal bullying the little guy or are they trying to set a precedent against somebody ripping off their merchandise on a bigger scale? People are always going to make knock off gear - I just have to go down to the market here on a Saturday to take my pick of fake Burberry, Armani, Calvin Klein etc. They're still rich. Anyway, who cares? Not me.

Right, so I said I'd do something about the ins and out at Arsenal this summer. This is pure conjecture on my part (mostly) and this is who I think will come and go and why, and who we'll see more of from the youths.

OUTS

Kanu his wages would free up some extra cash to give to Bob and Paddy to make them stay. He's been out of the picture for most of this season, but isn't the monster some people seem to think he is. Who'll take him though?
Gio Hasn't really had much luck since joining Arsenal - appears to be a bit lightweight and brittle. He could fetch £3m+. He's never going to play regularly in central midfield, he's no left back, let's get a few bob for him now.
David Seaman He wants to stay as Number 1, it doesn't look as if that's going to happen. He'll go to Man City or somewhere equally lame so he can play on.
Oleg Luzhny His fine FA Cup final performance would be a nice way to go out. I like Super Oleg, but I think giving him another year would be a backward step. What he can do, Toure and Volz can probably do, but with a bit more pace.
Francis Jeffers He's proved a handy enough player this season, but again he missed a large chunk of it from being injured. I think that if a reasonable offer came in, and Birmingham seem to want to buy him, AW could sell.
Igors Stepanovs Just because. I think we'd all rather see a young player come through and get a chance than see the ginger fella play again. He should be flogged off, even though he doesn't seem to want to go anywhere. He's had a chance to move and get first team football before and he turned it down. Loyal to Arsenal? Happy to play in the reserves and pick up nice money more like. We don't need him.

INS

A goalkeeper Personally I think we should save the cash and spend it on good defenders, but it seems AW is determined to buy a keeper. All the talk is about Rustu or Friedel or Carini again, but I wouldn't be surprised to Thomas Sorensen in nets next season.
Central defenders

We've got Senderos coming, I expect Keown to stay for another year to pass on his experience to him and whoever else comes. But we need at least one more in my opinion. Gallas, John Terry, Mexes, Hofland, Mellberg etc are the usual suspects.

Somebody like Gareth Southgate would be a nice signing in my opinion, and I hope this summer this is an area where AW spends some cash on an established player and doesn't try to unearth another diamond in the rough who turns out to be a mere cubic zirconia.

Elsewhere

Although he's said he's just looking for a keeper and a defender, I think that we could perhaps spend on somebody up front. If Kanu and Jeffers leave, and Wiltord fails to agree a new contract, we'll need somebody.

Patrick Kluivert might be worth a punt. He's out of contract next summer and Barcelona are seriously in debt. £6m could buy him. He'd certainly give us some more physical presence up front, he's good in the air and when he's hot, he's really hot. It's just that sometimes he plays like a newborn calf trying to walk for the first time. Still, he'd get at least 20 a season alongside TH14, no problem.

Also in Spain Arsenal continue to closely monitor Seville striker Jose Antonio Reyes. Arsenal were very close to making a definite bid back in March, according to the Spanish press. With the transfer market so deflated, Wenger could choose to bring his favoured replacement for Dennis Bergkamp to THOF this season.

So that's the ins and outs. Who's going to make the breakthrough from the youths? The obvious candidates are Jermaine Pennant and Jeremie Aliaidiere, and I expect the latter to feature more. For Pennant to play more games, I think Wiltord will have to leave. After Freddie, Wiltord is AW's preferred choice on the right - although the hat-trick against Southampton may make the boss think a bit about the pecking order if Wiltord stays.

Moritz Volz is highly-rated, and could provide cover at right back. Sebastian Svard, David Bentley, Ryan Garry and Jerome Thomas are others who could get a look in. Don't expect too much though, if 2 of those 7 are established in the first team squad by this time next year, we'll be doing well.

So there you have it. In a couple of months time I'll be proved completely wrong, natch. Still, speculating is fun. Feel free to join in.

Away from Arsenal, Man Utd are set to sign American goalkeeper Tim Howard, who suffers with Tourette's Sydrome. Howard said "You dream about cockpisscunt things like this. They are wankingtits the biggest sports bastardcunts team in world fuckingbollocks history. Cunt."

Tourette's Syndrome Tim - oh please let him sign for them. The possibilities are endless.


may 21st

08.53 - Well it's happening already. I get up, make my coffee, take a quick look around the wonderful worldwide web for the latest snippets of Arsenal news to bring, and discover that there is fuck all going on. This is just the start of the quiet time, Arsenal are notoriously silent during the summer.

There's re-hash of the Wiltord story in the Times, a plea from Super Oleg's agent for him to be given another year at Arsenal, despite claims that he's been in talks with Charlton ahead of next season and according to the Mirror Real Madrid want Arsene Wenger. Well, they can want in one hand, and shit in the other and see which gets full first.

Former youngster David Noble says "It was frustrating at Arsenal and that is what led me to want to get out in the end because there was no real opportunity there for the young talent. It seems to be since I have left they have realised that they have got no money, and they are thinking about playing a few of them, as they did at the end of the season."

Should've stayed then, shouldn't you? Our old chum David O'Leary is back in business - he's now calling him 'Dangerous Dave O'Leary' so he can work alongside 'Deadly Doug Ellis' at Aston Villa. He's promising them European football in 2 years. That's quite clever really - promising something so you can have at least 2 years grace in a job, and he's signed a 3 year contact. Guess we have to really hate Villa next season now.

His former club Leeds revealed the extent of their carefree spending over the last few years. Having paid out £5.7m compensation to O'Leary and Venables, £600,000 a year on company cars, and loads of other expenses and dodgy dealing the cost cutting measures have hit the club hard. Bye Bye Brian Kidd and Eddie Gray and other backroom staff, but this made me laugh. Leeds spent "...£20 per month on goldfish for the chairman's office, which have now left the club as part of the cost-cutting measures."

Apparently Peter Kenyon snapped them up as soon as he heard.

As there's so little Arsenal news, I'll have to resort to the emails I receive to help flesh things out a bit. I hope the person in question doesn't mind me posting this here, but it's transfer gossip of the best quality. "I hav arsenals first official transfetr and its jermaine defoe my cousin knows dave beckhams sister really really well the one he dont speak to!! and by chance shes goin out wid jermaine defoe. my cousin ask jermaine defoe if he was bothered bout bein grelegated he se di dnt give a fuk cos im ghoing to arsenal!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! i guarantee it he will b at arsenal he swed it himself."

Sounds kosher to me I have to say. Keep 'em coming.

Right, I think tomorrow I'll do my speculative report as to the ins and outs this summer. As usual I'll get everything completely wrong, but what the hell. It'lll be good to be able to look back and larf when the season starts and Kanu is lining up alongside Sol in central defence.


may 20th

13.26 - Apologies for the late arrival of today's installment. Blame Canada.

Sir Robert of Pires has said he expects to sign a new Arsenal contract within the next two weeks. Hurrah. Le Bob says "There are two weeks before we go away to the Confederations Cup. I expect everything to be okay, and I hope to sign a new contract. Arsenal are one of the biggest clubs in Europe, and that's why I want to stay here."

Freddie Ljungberg has also pledged his future to the club, despite whispers he might be offloaded to raise some funds for summer spending. However, all is not well in Wiltordville, and it's been reported that our pointy-headed French enigma has rejected Arsenal's offer of a new contract and is looking for an extra £20,000 per week to stay. Not sure how accurate those figures are, but asking for that much money is tantamount to asking for a transfer. When you consider that Arsene Wenger nearly had to pay for the post-cup final party himself, the chances of Wiltord getting that much extra are slim to say the least. Arsenal have so far refused to comment.

The latest central defender to be linked with us is Aston Villa's Olaf Mellberg. You know, Freddie's mate (realplayer needed). Oliver Kahn? Oliver Caaaaaaaahnt more like. Weirdy faced bastard.

Despite people saying our disciplinary record is the worst in history, Arsenal finished up 6th in the Fair Play league. Not bad in fairness, not that I give a fiddler's sac about the Fair Play league. Man Utd came top (there's a surprise) while Robbie Savage and his cuntery helped Birmingham Shitty to last place.

Thierry Henry still hasn't been in touch about claiming his prize for winning the Arseblog player of the year award. I expect to hear from him any day now though, although for a moment this had me wondering....

email picture....

Close but no potato 'theirry'.

Now, I have to go continue fixing my computer, I'm not sure how long the sellotape holding the hard drive together is going to last....


may 19th

08.51 - It looks very much as if the FA Cup final was David Seaman's last game for Arsenal. Arsene Wenger wants him to stay as goalkeeping coach and cover for next season, not convinced that Seaman can play the amount of games a Number 1 keeper should play.

Seaman disagrees, thinks he should still be number 1, and according to Bob Wilson he's likely to go elsewhere. Wilson says "It is highly likely that David will go to another club. He wants to continue his career at the top." Makes you wonder why he's going to sign for Man City then. Former Gunner Alan Smith writes a nice piece in the Telegraph about the whole situation as well.

Personally, I think AW is right. It's impossible to take anything away from Seaman, he's been a magnificent servant to the club, a top class goalkeeper and has played his part in our successes over the years. But, he's going to be 40 soon, he's spending more and more time injured each season and while the save against Sheffield United was outstanding and his cup final save pretty good as well, it doesn't disguise the fact he's had some problems with his game in recent years.

Arsenal have to make the change sooner or later, if AW doesn't buy somebody this summer and Seaman ends up injured for 50% of the games, it's not Seaman that will get the flak, it's the boss. It must be a hard decision to call time on such a great career, but it now seems as if it's a case of 'Come in Number 1, your time is up.'

I hope he decides to stay at Arsenal as coach and back-up. I don't think his ego will let him do that though, and instead of going out at the top, remembered for his great saves in the FA Cup and his achievements at Arsenal, he'll be remembered for taking another pay-day at a lesser club and probably having a hatful of goals smacked past him next season. Shame.

Likely replacements include Paul Robinson, Rustu Recber and Tomas Sorensen as the boss looks to strengthen things up at the back for next season.

AW gave a speech at the post-match celebrations the other night, telling the players "We want you to stay together. We need you around to challenge Manchester United again." He also talks of Thierry Henry's new contract "Thierry signing is a big boost for the team and we needed that. I expect the other players in the same position will follow Thierry now and that they will sign up in the next two or three weeks."

Dennis Bergkamp will be offered a new 1 year deal, while according to Matt Dickinson in The Times, Wenger is willing to sell Ray Parlour (the only interesting part of a fairly bitter piece). Other departures could include Super Oleg Luzhny, Kanu, Francis Jeffers and possibly Giovanni van Bronckhorst. We'll do a full run-down of who we reckon could/should come and go later in the week.

Arseblog members can find 4 new FA Cup final wallpapers in the members section. To find out more about becoming a member, click here.

So that's it. Another season over, only a long hot summer of no football to look forward to. What the hell are we going to do?


may 18th

14.56 - Well, reading today's papers, you'd hardly know Arsenal won a cup final yesterday. Every single paper is full of stories about Seaman leaving, Bob Wilson saying Seaman could go to Man City, Peter Hill-Wood saying he's unsure if Vieira will sign a new contract, Pires and Wenger are both off to Madrid don't you know.

The worst is the News of the World - on one page they quote Robert Pires speaking right after the match yesterday, "I hope I will sign a contract soon because Arsenal are showing interest in negotiating with me, which means they trust me. I am in no hurry. I trust them." Then inside the paper they've dragged up some old quotes about Real Madrid and how he'd find it hard to turn them down. The sports editor there really ought to try reading the articles before they put them in the paper.

I know most everybody would have preferred it if we'd lost yesterday, but we didn't. We won the cup, at least give us a day to enjoy with your media cuntery ruining everything. Anyway, whether Seaman stays or goes is something we'll discuss another day.

Could life get any better for Thierry Henry? A new Arsenal deal will keep him at the club until 2007, another FA Cup winners medal and MOTM award (shoulda been Oleg though), praised for his honesty by the defender who tried to rip the shirt off his back at the start of the match yesterday, and now he's been named Arseblog's Player of the Year.

The people have voted and the top 3 were like this:

Position Name % of vote
     
1st Thierry Henry 52.59%
2nd Patrick Vieira 21.55%
3rd Sol Campbell 11.21%

So congrats to Thierry who wins a night on the piss in Barcelona. Just drop me a mail Tel, you get yourself over here and I'll buy the beers all night. Sounds fair enough to me.

You may have noticed a slight difference in appearance here today. To be honest, the red has been wrecking my head for a while now, but obviously I couldn't change it mid-season. Now the season has over, I've shaved off my Bob-stripe for a few months, and now the look of the site can be updated and refreshed. Last time I redesigned I made the fatal error of soliciting people's opinions about the new look. Not this time. I can't hear you *fingers in ears* LA-LA-LA-LA-LA.

I'm not going to go back and change all the archive pages though, or will I? It's a lot of work and quite frankly a pain in the arse. Maybe I'll just leave them as is. Same with future redesigns, the archives will be like an online evolution. Or something.

ANR has changed too, it looks a bit more ...erm...authentic. Expect summer ramblings and Leopold's exclusive inside info about transfer deals and more throughout the summer.

I will get a nice FA Cup final wallpaper made up for everyone, and also some exclusive FA Cup pics for the members area in the next couple of days.

Right, lots of sunshine here. Time to bake myself....

UPDATE: FA Cup winners wallpaper available - click to download.


may 17th

20.15 - Arsenal 1-0 Southampton (Pires)

Seaman celebrates....

Cup final alcohol intake = 11 cans of beer, 3 whiskeys. Please don't expect anything insightful, coherent or anything spelled correctly.

Despite Southampton being as threatening as a newborn kitten for most of the match, I was convinced for a long time that the chances we missed would come back to haunt us. Henry could have opened the scoring in the first 30 seconds, when Lundekvaam tried to pull the shirt off his back, but Henry stayed on his feet and Niemi made the first of many good saves.

Keown looked fucked, and Lauren figured the best way to last the 90 was not to tackle, so I was concerned. I said to my missus who had thought Keown was out of the game 'Whatever part of him hurts before, he can't feel it now.' In the aftermatch interview Keown said "I had an injection before the match and I couldn't feel my leg at all". I laughed.

We had much more going forward that Southampton, Henry had a number of good chances, then after the half hour mark some nice Arsenal build up saw Bergkamp cut the ball back to Freddie, his shot was blocked, it fell to the feet of Bob who then drilled it home. 1-0 to the Arsenal.

In the second half I was up on my feet shouting 'OH WHAT A GOAL!!' before Niemi saved brilliantly from Bergkamp and Freddie hit the side netting with the rebound. Niemi then injured himself taking a kick-out, they brought on Paul Jones who made a great save from an Henry chance.

Our defence might have been stretched today with injuries etc, but we coped really well with everything Southampton threw at us - which was mainly long ball after long ball aimed at James Beattie.

He's had his critics, but my man of the match today was Oleg Luzhny. He handled Beattie really well, played a top game, went on forward runs and overall was just superb. For him as much as anyone I'm delighted we won today. All hail Oleg. But what a save from Seamo near the end as well...

4 minutes of injury time became something like 6 minutes. That was nail-biting, and in that time Ashley Cole cleared of the line. Graham Barber was lucky and roundly booed when he went up to collect his ref's medal.

Eventually though the final whistle went.

Anyone see Kolo back-flipping? Edu dancing with Gilberto? And for the first time I heard Bob speaking English...

Fair play to the Southampton fans too - they stuck around to give their team a shout. Most times the losing fans bugger off fairly quickly. It looked like there was a great atmosphere, we'll get some reports from those at Cardiff later on no doubt.

Anyway, it's all godd stuff when you win the cup. Now is the time to celebrate with more booze.

Tomorrow there'll be more reaction - hopefully with some match photos, and I reckon it's time we made a couple of changes to how the site looks now that the season is over.

"One-nil, to the AR-SEN-AL, One-nil, to the AR-SEN-AL, One-nil, to the AR-SEN-AL, One-nil, to the AR-SEN-AAAAAAAAAAAL"


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