may 31st

I remember in summers past, when I was a young chap and not the greying old coot I am now, Roy of the Rovers used to have problems in the off season. Not Roy himself, you understand, for nothing was a problem to Racey, but the writers of the comic.

There were summers without World Cups or European Championships, and on those occasions Roy and some select team mates played county cricket. I can still remember one saga when somebody had invented this shiny wooden device which helped him practice the most wicked bouncers possible. This was beyond the infamous Bodyline series, this bowler was really out to hurt people. I don’t really remember how it all turned out, but no doubt Royston managed six sixes in one over to win the championship with a run to spare after the nasty bowler had crippled most of the others.

Anyway, that’s what it’s like round these parts at the moment, and I’m giving you fair warning that if things don’t pick up with regard football news, it’ll be cricketblog, or lawnbowlsblog, Wimbleblog or something equally exciting.

Thanks to all of you who have been in touch regarding the Macintosh issue (see May 29th for more). Please email the address given there, or if you can get around to it, type your mail, print it, then send it via post to the club itself. I know people aren’t used to doing that these days, but I honestly think they’ll pay more attention if people take the time to send a real letter. Emails are too easy to ignore. I suggest we address all letters to David Dein as well as the commercial department. According to this page the commercial manager is a bloke called Adrian Ford, so send him a copy of the letter too.

We'll see what happens, looks like we're going to have to make our own news this summer.


may 30th

So...

...erm....

...*cough*...

...*shrug*...

Maybe tomorrow.


may 29th

Oh, my goodness. I think I drank a bit too much wine last night. Teachers dinner and all that. My downfall came when we went to the Irish bar in the town and I drank two pints of ‘Guinness’, which fair curdled in my stomach. Bleeurrgh. Feeling ace today, oh yes.

Nothing going on, so I’m going to talk a little bit about how Arsenal.com have changed from normal service providers to Sky Sports. With this change comes the news that the Plus service will no longer be available to Macintosh users. So that means that we can’t avail of any of the clips, interviews, highlights etc, but most importantly it means we can’t get the live commentary on match day.

According to Arsenal.com this is because “...the Microsoft Digital Rights Management (DRM) licence system used is Version 7 and Mac OS does not support this.”

I did email them about three days ago to ask them to clarify this, but they haven’t had the manners to reply. Now, feel free to correct me if I’m wrong here, but my understanding of this piece of jargon is as follows.

When you use Windows to use the Arsenal Plus service, Media Player has some kind of digital key which means you can only use Arsenal plus on one computer, the content is essentially licensed to you and locked to your PC. With Macintosh they are unable to do that, so it’s not a situation that the content is not compatible with Mac, it’s that they cannot lock it to your computer. This digital key is the problem, not providing the content itself.

I’m waiting to hear from them, but if this is the case it’s pretty shoddy. I’ve had to subscribe to Arsenal+ for the last couple of seasons. I’m really not that interested in the interviews, or the goal highlights or the other stuff like how Igors feels about playing for Beveren, but I really need the commentary on match day. For the club to ignore anyone who doesn’t have a Windows PC is a great load of cunty bollocks, in my opinion, especially when they’re only ignoring us because they can’t implement some kind of dodgy licensing system.

If, like me, you have a Mac and you want to be able to listen to match day commentary next season, please send an email to arsenalplus@videoloungetv.com and tell them how you feel. I’ll be contacting the club and I’ll let you know what they say.

Today I have to go to Barcelona to meet a very small friend. I call him Frodo.


may 28th

You know today is an even slower day for Arsenal news when...er...crap.

The only thing Arsenal related I can find this morning is the story about Eddie Unpronounceable, Arsenal’s reserve team coach, saying David Bentley needs to go out on loan this season. But then we all knew that because AW said it a couple of weeks ago.

But wait, what’s this? Hurrah, it’s utterly unfounded transfer speculation. According to The Sun, who yesterday quoted AW as saying he wasn’t going to buy anyone else, we’re after Kaka – the player whose name makes children laugh all over the world. There’s not one scrap of real info, AC Milan are most unlikely to let him go after a great first season with them, and quite honestly I think they only made this story so they could use the hilarious opening line ‘Arsene Wenger wants a Kaka up the Arsenal.’

Please, no more. My sides.

Right, this morning I have to go down to the school I worked for and ‘discuss’ the signing of a paper which I shouldn’t have signed, but they gave it to us to sign before they gave us our wages and when we discovered we’d been tricked it was too late. Seeing as I won't be going back next year, I don't have anything to lose (except my invitation to the teacher's dinner tonight). Fight the power!

Laters.


may 28th

You know today is an even slower day for Arsenal news when...er...crap.

The only thing Arsenal related I can find this morning is the story about Eddie Unpronounceable, Arsenal’s reserve team coach, saying David Bentley needs to go out on loan this season. But then we all knew that because AW said it a couple of weeks ago.

But wait, what’s this? Hurrah, it’s utterly unfounded transfer speculation. According to The Sun, who yesterday quoted AW as saying he wasn’t going to buy anyone else, we’re after Kaka – the player whose name makes children laugh all over the world. There’s not one scrap of real info, AC Milan are most unlikely to let him go after a great first season with them, and quite honestly I think they only made this story so they could use the hilarious opening line ‘Arsene Wenger wants a Kaka up the Arsenal.’

Please, no more. My sides.

Right, this morning I have to go down to the school I worked for and ‘discuss’ the signing of a paper which I shouldn’t have signed, but they gave it to us to sign before they gave us our wages and when we discovered we’d been tricked it was too late. Seeing as I won't be going back next year, I don't have anything to lose (except my invitation to the teacher's dinner tonight). Fight the power!

Laters.


may 27th

You know it’s a slow day for Arsenal news when:

  • Yesterday’s headlines are still on NewsNow’s front page
  • The most exciting thing to happen is Stathis Tavlaridis moving to PSG
  • Nobody has even bothered to make up an ridiculous transfer rumours
  • You feel like writing something about Alan Smith’s transfer to Man United

Slow. Pre-Euro2004 slow. As slow as Pascal running through treacle. As slow as...well, you get the idea.

So today my teaching gig finishes until October. There’s been 8 months of grammar, pronunciation, reading, writing, vocabulary and poor unfortunate people having to listen to me for 90 minutes at a time. Well, today they get blessed release. I shall hand out their diplomas, shake their hands and wish them well for the future.

“Good luck”, I’ll say.

They’ll look intensely at me, straight into my eyes, and say, “¿Que?”


may 26th

Well, it’s goodbye to Gio (I’m sure I’ve used that one before, but no matter) as the bold van Bronckhorst joined Barcelona permanently yesterday. It wasn’t such good news for his fellow Dutchmen as Overmars, Reiziger, Kluivert and Philip Cocu were all told to bugger off by the Catalan club. Kluivert has long been linked with Arsenal, but I doubt he still interests Arsene Wenger after the purchases of Reyes and van Persie. Overmars is interesting though. Would you have him back for the right hand side of midfield if Freddie left? Would you have him back anyway?

Arsenal’s new home kit – can’t say I like it too much, badge in the centre, yellow bib type piping, the same as all the other Nike shirts. I notice there’s nothing about the away kit yet, but it is going to be blue, which is shit. Every Arsenal fan knows that wearing a blue kit will cost us the league, yet the board persist with this madness. For all the good stuff they do, like hiring AW, moving to Ashburton Grove etc, why must they inflict these vomitous blue monstrosities upon us? Quite honestly I fail to see why Arsenal should play in blue. It’s a cunty RangersEvertonChelsea colour, not a colour for unbeaten champions. Down with blue, I say.

Can you believe it’s been 15 year since Michael Thomas went charging through the midfield, with ‘it’ up for grabs? Well, it has. May 26th is St. Michael’s Day. Feel free to share your memories of that special day in the arses. Where were you? Who were you with? How drunk did you get? Arse on, friends, arse on.

As always, Arseweb’s Anfield 89 page is worth a look, with the goals, audio clip of Brian Moore’s famous commentary and other cool stuff.

Do you suffer from A N D? Do you even know what A N D is? For a fulsome explanation, check out Liam E Mail’s column, which surprisingly is entitled, A N D.

2 days.


may 25th

As there’s so little Arsenal news at the moment, let’s get what there is out of the way first thing. Newly relegated Wolves want not one, not two, but three Arsenal players. They want Martin Keown – still reeling from the success of signing a 35+ defender from us last season – as well as David Bentley and Jermaine Pennant.

Thierry Henry looks set to win the Golden Shoe award for the highest goalscorer in European league football. Why do they call it the ‘Golden Shoe’, anyway? Footballers wear boots, not shoes. Probably some kind of FIFA bollocks. And Philippe Senderos is Arsenal’s only representative at the European Under-21 Championships which start in Germany on Friday. After a season plagued by injury I’m sure he’s dying to get a few games under his belt and start challenging for a first team place next season.

“He is certainly one of the biggest young talents I have seen and I'm sure with the sort of coaching he will get at Arsenal he can develop just as other great players have at the club.” - Giovanni van Bronckhorst (who is set to join Barca permanently for £3m) talking about Robin van Persie on Icons.com

There were a lot of upset Gooners yesterday as Liverpool’s most useless manager since...er...Roy Evans...got the boot. When I sent my Liverpool supporting brother the news he said, “It’s about time too, the cunt.”

It’ll be interesting to see who they get on board and whether or not there’s anyone good enough to turn such a mediocre squad of players around. I have a feeling they’ll go British and I wouldn’t be surprised to see Alan Curbishley appointed. I’ll miss Houllier though, his boggly-eyed madness, his ability to drain the ability from player after player, and the ability to finish 30 points behind us in the league and still claim he had a successful season. Ciao Boggly and thanks for Sounessing up the Scousers good and proper.

Three days and counting.


may 24th

A couple of years ago I went to see Catalunya v Brazil at the Camp Nou. It was just before the World Cup in Japan/Korea, it was a beautiful warm night, the stadium was packed with nearly 100,000 people, all singing together, enjoying the night and watching the match. Certainly one of the most memorable nights of my footballing life.

Now Arsenal’s Cesc Fabregas will have the opportunity to play in this game as he’s been called up to the Catalunya squad this week. He’s been given special permission by Arsenal to play in the game, and he says “Playing for Catalunya is like a dream because every year I used to go and watch them play and now I have the privilege to be there myself."

Of course the Camp Nou would be his home stadium if he hadn’t joined Arsenal, and he’s a player we’re likely to see figure in the first team next season. I was watching him play for Spain at some junior level the other week and he looks like he’s grown a bit since he joined the club. AW has also said he’ll play first team football next season, so it’ll be interesting to see how he progresses. Sadly I’m working all this week so I won’t get to go the game. If only I’d been made unemployed last week.

Edu has spoken about Freddie Ljungberg’s situation at the club, and while speculation increases about his future and people write him off as not as good as he used to be, it’s worth paying attention to our slick Brazilian when he says “I know there has been some stuff said about Freddie and that is really sad. He played a big part in what we achieved this year and like all of us, he can play a big part in the future.”

People tend to forget Freddie got 10 goals this season. More than Wiltord. More than Bergkamp. Only less than Pires and Henry. And he spent a lot of time injured and never quite got into his stride. A player worth keeping in my opinion. Ray Parlour is the subject of interest from West Brom who want to sign him and Andy Cole apparently, while Martin Keown could have his choice of to-be-relegated clubs as Norwich are interested in signing him.

Other than that there's not much else going on. How was your weekend then?


may 23rd

I always watch the FA Cup final, no matter who’s taking part. Always have. Not sure that I always will though. Yesterday’s final was like watching Phil Collins singing Michael Bolton’s greatest hits with Celine Dion’s voice while he anally raped a puppy. Too painful for words. The only good thing was seeing Dennis Wise make a total twat of himself again, it’s just a shame he didn’t get a red card.

In Arsenal stuff this morning there’s not a whole lot going on. There’s a rather good interview with David Dein in the Observer though, in which he talks about how Arsene Wenger has revolutionised the club. I’d always assumed AW’s motivational talks were slightly more cerebral than “He told them they could carry on with the burgers and the lager and end up in the Third Division, or adopt his philosophy, extend their careers at the top level and make a few million quid” , but it seems to have worked. He also talks about the new stadium and leaving Highbury. Interesting stuff.

In other brief news, Ray Parlour has been linked with a move to Middlesbrough by a weird looking bloke, while Martin Keown could be part of the West Brom side to get relegated straight back down the the Nationwide as Gary Megson looks to bolster his defence. Apart from that there appears to be little else going on, so I must go down to the beach, get the papers and drink a beer or two as I prepare myself for my final week of teaching. On Thursday I’m going to be unemployed.

Wooooo Hoooooo.


may 22nd

If he wasn’t still alive, James Lawton would be turning in his grave at the news that Arsenal, snarling, vicious, Arsenal, finished top of the fair play league last season. It works in a way that each yellow and red card is worth a certain number of points, and in this league less is more, so Arsenal finished top. Arsene Wenger said “It shows that we have not only won matches but won them in a fair and positive way. After the incident at Old Trafford, I said that we didn't act in the correct way and we made a conscious effort to address our behaviour.”

Arsenal supporters also won an award for best behaved supporters and were given a great big gold star by teacher.

Not much else going on this morning at this early stage. Most of the football news is taken up with the cup final, surely being played out by two of the most odious teams in the country. Normally you’d root for the underdog if your team hadn’t made it, but that’s difficult with Milwall. I suppose the best we can hope for is plenty of red cards, a fight to the death between Wise and Ferguson on the touchline, and that somehow they both lose.

I shall be watching though.

/td>


may 21st

Well, there was all sorts of confusion and speculation surrounding Fernando Morientes yesterday. The player himself spoke about how a deal to move to an unnamed club was 90% done, while the AFP in Madrid reported that Arsenal had made a firm offer of €24m for the player.

However, it seems more likely that he’s going to join Chelsea. I just don’t see Arsenal paying that much money for a 28 year old, and you have to wonder why Madrid don’t just take him back after seeing how good he is in a pretty average Monaco side. Any Beckham rumours were put to bed by the player himself as he revealed he had unfinished business in Spain and his family were moving to Madrid for the new season.

Spain announced their squad for Euro2000 ©StevieG – and there’s no place for José Antonio Reyes, a move which has raised eyebrows here. One of my students informed me last night that the Spanish coach was a ‘shit-eating dickhead’ for leaving Reyes out in favour of Barcelona’s Gabri. I suppose it’s good news for us in that he’ll be fit and ready for the start of the new season, but I’d like to have seen him play in Portugal this summer.

Dennis Bergkamp has given his verdict on new Dutchling, Robin van Persie, saying “I have not seen him a lot but he is quite a talent. I think he knows what he is doing."

So that’s a resounding ‘Urmmmmmm’ from Dennis then. Meanwhile, Gary Lineker has hailed Thierry Henry as ‘..twice the player I ever was’, even though our Tel doesn’t have the advantage of the patented Lineker Earodynamics which helped him float through defences. Lineker says, “Thierry was a constant reminder that the beautiful game can very much still be that.”

Right then, I'm off into the city this morning to look for something.


may 20th

Oh God, it’s started early this year.

Just days after going the whole season there’s a dearth of news. Thierry Henry has given thanks to his team-mates for such a great season, while Lauren wants to enjoy the success before the hard work starts all over again. Is the fact that Freddie Ljungberg is going to play for Sweden wearing a hand guard interesting at all? Nah, it’s not really, is it?

Myles went to see Chomsky last night - “Solitary brooooooothers, is there still a part of you that wants to live.”

So what do I do on mornings like this? Make something up? Invent something? Create my own news? Dream up my own stories? Concoct fictitious Arsenal related headlines? All fine options in themselves, but if I go down that road this early in the summer then I’m going to end up having to fabricate more and more outrageous stories as the off-season progresses, until eventually nobody will believe a word I say. More than normal.

So, the only thing to do is to just bleat on a bit about how there’s nothing doing until I’ve written enough to make it look like I’ve written something worth reading today. Which should be about now I reckon. Maybe a few extra lines won’t hurt, I can tell you about the meeting I have with my school this morning. All to do with results and grades and dreary paperwork things like that, but I’m going to tell them...nah, it can wait for another day.

Honest.


may 19th

Silly season is well and truly underway as Arsenal are linked with a £17.5m move for Fernando Morientes. The Real Madrid striker, on loan at Monaco, is said to be on AW’s shopping list and David Dein has already contacted his representatives. He’s obviously a very good player, but with Henry, Reyes, Bergkamp and van Persie all at the club, it’s hard to see how he’d fit in. I thought he’d be an excellent signing last season, but I don’t see this one happening, not at that price anyway.

Figures released yesterday show that Arsenal and Manchester United made over £56m from TV last season. Chelsea earned £53m while the scousers and Newcastle both earned around £20m less than us. This shows you the huge difference being in the Champions League makes, and under AW we’ve qualified every season to help boost our coffers. According to an expert at Barclays, we’re seeing the rise of the ‘..super rich clubs. Beneath that is a strata of mid-ranking clubs who appear forever doomed to remain at that status.’

I’m not sure we can be classified as ‘super rich’. Chelsea certainly are, with their filthy oil money, tainted with the blood of so many Siberian peasants, and United have always been wealthy. We’ve got a few bob now, but our funds were extremely limited for a long time because of the new stadium project, putting Wenger’s achievements in keeping us at the top in greater perspective.

Bad news for the Gunners is that our boggly-eyed friends’s reign at Anfield looks to be over (exclusively revealed on Blogfc back in March) as Liverpool appear likely to appoint a new manager in the summer. They might actually get somebody half-decent in and it’s a bit ironic that after doing something positive for the first time in ages – selling Heskey for more than his £29.99 valuation – these stories emerge. Not much of a surprise though, he’s a Grade A chancer whose 5 year plan is now in its 6th year for everyone except Ged, who last week claimed it still had time to run because he never told anyone when he actually started it. My brother will be happy, so that makes me sad.

Finally, happy birthday to my Mum. She’s ace.


may 18th

It’s that early part of the summer when there’s still lots of little bits of news around. We haven’t reached that point where nothing is happening, or is likely to happen any time soon.

First up is the news that Robin van Persie passed his medical and has signed officially for the Gunners. This lad has a mean free kick on him by all accounts, it’ll be interesting to see him take a few next season. Francis Jefferswill be returning to Arsenal as Everton have decided they can do without his impressive tally of 0 league goals, and after his bust-up with David Moyes it was always unlikely he’d be staying on Merseyside. A true test of the boss’s genius will be to get somebody to stump a few quid to take him off our hands. AW also confirmed the exits of Wiltord and Keown, and it seems Kanu will be on his way too.

Robert Pires has been speaking about how much money players are paid. He revealed his Arsenal salary to be “between €229,000 and €305,000” per month, and said, “I know that people will blame me for revealing that. But I would like to know why we should refuse to be paid that money. That’s a salary, this is our salary. We don’t steal, we don’t rob banks every month. I don’t know whether I deserve it but that’s what I am offered every month.”

I’d say Le Bob has been good value for his cash this season, 19 goals in all, lots of them vital. I’d like to reveal now that my salary at the moment is between nothing and fuck all. And I have to say that’s probably more than I deserve. Also well deserved are the Barclaycard Manager and Player of the Year awards picked up by Arsene Wenger and Thierry Henry respectively. You don’t need me to comment on that, you know why.

Martin Keown’s testimonial took place last night as Arsenal beat an England XI 6-0. José got a hat-trick, Jeremie Aliadiere got two and Ashley Cole the other. Martin missed a penalty and had a couple of efforts saved, but with cameos from the likes of Marc Overmars, Michael Thomas, Ian Wright, Paul Davis, Lee Dixon and loads of others, it looked like a fun night at Highbury. I watched it on Sky and it was interesting to hear MK5 get the praise and plaudits of not only the Arsenal players, but from folk like Andy Cole, John Terry and Paul Gascoigne. He was one of a kind really, again I just have to say thanks and good luck Martin.

That's about the size of it for now. I'm off to teach my ladies this morning, then it's estate agent/bank madness. Bring it on.


may 17th

Having had time to consider the season past, the football, the refereeing, the support, the little quirks of fate that go into making up a 38 game extravaganza like we’ve had, I’ve come to the conclusion that the neither the players nor the manager deserve all the credit for the success we’ve had.

Last August I grew a Pires Stripe©® and kept it well clipped and maintained throughout the season. As a reward for the this, the beard Gods ensured that we didn’t lose a single game in the Premiership. Had I shaved off my fine whiskers, I’m sure we would have slipped up somewhere, but as I didn’t my brilliant bristles, my stupendous stubble, my fuckin’ excellent fuzz deserves some of the credit. So if anyone with connections to the club is reading this, please ask Mr Wenger to sign my stripe on a long term contract for an undisclosed fee. It’ll be worth it, I swear.

Arsenal had their open top parade (would that the Minogue sisters won the Premiership one of these days) through the streets of Islington yesterday. There were lots of great pics posted on the forums from arsebloggers at the scene. Thanks to Hat for the picture of the very glum and mournful Edu to your right. Living so far away is not so much of a problem in the days of satellite TV and internet radio and those things, but there are times when I wish I could take part in things like this.

Those of you who were there probably don’t realise how lucky you were, but I’m green. With envy, not Mickness.

At the parade Paddy and Terry both pledged their futures to the club, as if there were any doubt. Our captain said “Everyone wants to stay together. There's not a single player who wants to leave this club.”

While Thierry Henry said “Players often go for two years here and then they leave and go for three years somewhere else and then they leave again. You see them kissing the badge all the time. Fair enough, if something bad happens to you and you have to leave. But that's just not the way I see things. I just couldn't walk away after people helped me so much at the start when I wasn't scoring. I'm not playing in a bad team either, so why should I leave?"

Tonight, of course, sees the end of Martin Keown’s glittering Arsenal career as he gets the testimonial he so richly deserves. There’ll be all kinds of people at Highbury tomorrow night. Beckham, WWW (and it might not be long before we have another one of those at the club), and others as Arsenal take on an England XI. He’s old school is Martin. A growling, beastly centre-half on the field, an intelligent, well spoken man off it. We’ll miss you Martin, thanks for everything and I hope you have a great night tonight.

For those of you not around yesterday, there are a number of Champions wallpapers at the bottom of yesterday's blog.

"My old man said be a Tottenham fan..."


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