A much shorter blog today as it's the last day of the month and I'm way over my word quota. I'll have to fine myself if I go on too long today.
Thierry Henry is one of the three finalists for the Fifa World Player of the Year award. He's up against Barcelona's Ronaldinho and AC Milan's Andriy Shevchenko. Consider the consistency of his play and goalscoring for the last three seasons you'd have to think he's got a good chance. The winner will be announced on December 20th. Thierry also reveals that both he and Patrick Vieira have been playing with injuries.
Four days before that Arsene Wenger will have his personal hearing with the FA with regard to the remarks he's alleged to have made about that big cheater Ruud van Nistelrooy being a big cheat.
And continuing with the boss there really is only one person to blame for our terrible run at the moment. Blame Wenger - a new column by Femaiden makes it quite clear who's to blame for everything.
Finally for today I'm happy to announce the launch, just in time for the Christmas rush, of the official Arseblog t-shirt in association with my chums at goalhanger.com. Each t-shirt sold raises some money for the site and ensures you look fuckin' excellent and devillishly stylish. To celebrate this I've got a couple to give away. Just email email@example.com and tell me which player gave Arseblog its tagline by saying "It's fuckin' excellent" live on Sky Sports just after the 2002 FA Cup final. Winners will be announced on Thursday morning.
Where to start with yesterday's 2-1 defeat at Anfield? In mug heaven my Arsenal chalice is weeping bitter tears.
The first half reminded me of Barcelona in the Nou Camp in the Champions League some years ago. Not so much for the quality of the opposition, because Liverpool '04 are no Barcelona '99 , but for how little impact any of our players had on the game.
Liverpool played very well, their 3 central midfielders strangled the game effectively, one of them scored a peach of a goal and I really can't remember the last time I saw Arsenal go through 45 minutes without having a single attempt at goal.
The first 10 minutes of the second half was more of the same. Liverpool dominated and we just couldn't get into the game. Then came our best move of the match, some slick passing between Vieira, Henry and Pires put the captain through and he finished neatly over Kirkland. After that we got more into it, van Persie came on for Reyes (who had another poor game by his standards) and we looked more threatening without ever really creating anything that you might call a real chance. Vieira got booked and now misses the Chelsea game and he was lucky not to get another yellow after a quite ridiculous and pointless dive when he seemed to have good possession of the ball. A point would have been a decent result for us but with 30 seconds to go Kirkland launched a free kick downfield, Vieira didn't go for the ball, Sol's clearance fell to Billy Bunter who lashed in a beautiful 25 yarder to take all the 3 points for Liverpool. Gutting. It's been a long time since we've lost a game with a last minute goal and it really does hurt.
It's worrying to hear Arsene Wenger says afterwards that Arsenal couldn't compete physically during the game. Maybe he meant that the players were tired after Europe but I don't think so. Most football fans can understand a lack of form, but not getting stuck in and fighting for every ball is not so easy to forgive, especially as that's exactly what you need when you're not playing well.
It's fair to say we're going through a difficult patch now. There are a number of factors to consider though. We've lacked the defensive stability on which our attacking game is based. Cygan has done well enough but I've said before how I feel our ability to attack so fluently and effectively is based on the forwards knowing the defence can cope if things break down. That no longer seems to be the case although Sol's return to the team should sort this out. We're also without Gilberto and Edu, two very, very good players, and while I would have Cesc's babies he's still only 17 and he looks a little bit tired now. I'm still worried when I see Vieira - who is now the master of talking a good game - strolling back towards the defence when an attack breaks down, is there some reason he can't stretch those long legs of his? We have some players in very poor form. José is struggling to find his early season form while Robert Pires is having a particularly bad spell. I know he's got a lot of goals but his total reluctance to get involved in the physical side of the game is really not good enough now. He shirked too many challenges on Wednesday in Holland and at Anfield. If he's carrying an injury don't play him. If he's not then he needs to be told to get stuck in. He can do it. I've seen him do it. Then there's the whole thing of playing in fucking poxy blue shirts. If anyone reading this could please pass on the following message to a member of the Arsenal board I'd be ever so grateful: "If we ever have a blue kit again I'm going to kill you."
So there are problems, but they're not insurmountable. People talk about changing tactics and signing 'world class' players, but fail to make any reasonable suggestions of their own. It's also worth bearing in mind, if you haven't been too blinded by negativity, that we've only played 15 games of the season. There are still 23 to go. We're the champions, remember? There is just a little bit of quality in the side.
We all know pundits are quite happy to dish out the praise when we're on top of our game but at the same time they're dying for the wheels to come off a little bit so they can get stuck in again. How they must be enjoying this. What does sadden me though is how many of our fans, who reveled in the unbeaten run, are so quick to write us off and can't see any way that we'll beat Chelsea next month let alone give them any kind of challenge with regards to the league title. If we can lose games surely Chelsea can lose games?
I know football fans are a fickle bunch at the best of times, but that, and the amount of people who are shedding tears over Gilberto's absence (no doubt some of them are the same ones who delighted in calling him a 'useless cunt' last season), really sums it up for me. Sure, there are problems, and I think the team might need a little bit of freshening up (whether that means it's time for the kids to get more action or for a signing above that of Manu Eboué I don't know), but it's not quite time to hit the panic button yet.
What an aching Sunday morning this is, but Liverpool later in the day will ensure my muscles are cured by sweet, sweet beer.
To start today let's clear up the incorrect stories which say Edu has told Arsene Wenger he wants to leave. The actual quote, and not the press modified one, is "I want him to sign, but if he refuses to sign, and says to me 'I want to go', then of course I cannot let him go until I find somebody."
This is in reference to our lightness of numbers in midfield with Gilberto out injured and two relative novices in Cesc and Flamini (who may well start today in place of our young Catalan). Wenger rates the chances of him signing a new deal at 80%. In better contract news it appears that Sol Campbell has agreed a new deal, but we'll wait for official confirmation before creaming our pants.
Demento has re-opened the scabby wounds of the Old Trafford league game by saying Arsenal didn't want to attend a peace summit because they were too embarrassed. That's one interpretation. Another might be that Ferguson is a smelly old fucker who nobody wants to share an enclosed space with. Anyway, it's our kids against his kids on Wednesday in the Carling Cup.
That's about it. Undecided about where to watch the game today. I'm a little under the weather (not from alcohol either) so the couch at home might just do the trick. More later.
A very brief round-up for this Saturday morning. I have neither the energy nor the gumption to expand on any of the following subjects too much.
Arsene Wenger talks about Guus Hiddink and the PSV staff applauding when the Arsenal players were sent off the other night, but he says he doesn't mind. He also talks about Steven Gerrard ending at Chelsea and how he'll sign another midfielder if Edu doesn't sign a new deal. Ashley Cole talks about racism and that night in Madrid while José Antonio Reyes talks about how much he loves it at Arsenal.
And that's about it. More tomorrow and hopefully there'll be some team news for the Liverpool game. From what I hear though it does look like Thierry's going to make it. Till tomorrow.
It's Liverpool at Anfield on Sunday, a game eagerly awaited as it pits my team against that of my younger, and therefore inferior, brother. I'm sure I've made reference to the mug story before, but when we were kids we each had our football team's mug. My little brother decided clanking them together would be a great idea and he probably thought it was the greatest idea ever when my high quality Arsenal merchandise was shattered into pieces by his cheap and nasty scouse version. Naturally I was devestated. In fact, I still am and that's what makes this game special for me. Forget three points, forget cup finals, winning the league in the last minute, every time we beat Liverpool it's sweet, sweet revenge for my poor mug.
What'll make Sunday's game really interesting is the fact that both teams are down to the bare bones when it comes to strikers. Liverpool are without Baros, Garcia and Cissé while Arsenal could well be without Thierry Henry, Dennis Bergkamp has an achilles problem while Robin van Persie and José Reyes both have bruised knees. It could be Quincy and Lupoli against Mellor and Singasonga-PingPong lad which would be interesting I have to say. Better news is that Sol Campbell came through the PSV without any ill effects to his injury and according to the boss "It is tremendous to have him back in the team. He is calm, experienced and organises the team very well."
Thierry Henry says Arsenal must still attempt to top the Champions League group. It's going to be tough with Edu out, Gilberto out and Vieira suspended. A rookie midfield of Flamini and Fabregas will have to be the base but maybe a bit of youthful enthusiasm is what we need. For more on Europe check out a new column from a new columnist on Arseblog - Nights like this by Stace.
T-shirt contest winner: Well done to Philip Woodford who wins this groovy Thierry shirt from our good old chums at harderthansatan.com. The random number generator did its thing and you're the random number it picked. I'll be in touch to get details and the rest of you will have to buy a t-shirt so you can look as cool as Philip Woodford.
So that's that. What are you up to for the weekend then?
Under the circumstances I think that's what you'd call a good point.
It started badly for Arsenal as PSV took the lead in the 8th minute. A Marc van Bommel corner was admired by the Arsenal defence and some cunt with too many vowels and Js in his name planted a neat header into our goal. I was all ready to break out the YADNIEFA ©™® template right there.
There wasn't too much else to talk about until a beautiful move from Arsenal created the equaliser. Henry had the ball on the right hand side, he drove infield, played a ball to Ljungberg who knocked it back perfectly for Thierry to drive the ball past the PSV keeper to make it 1-1.
José had a decent shot and Jens Lehmann made a good save after van Bommel ran into the Arsenal penalty area. The only other real incident of note in the first half was a booking for Vieira which was pretty harsh considering the challenge he made.
The second half began and Lauren got a stupid yellow card for making the 'Hey ref, book him' motion and I have to say the ref was right to do it.
We brought on Robin van Persie for the fairly ineffectual Reyes with about 30 minutes to go, then things started to go wrong. Lauren got a second yellow card for a challenge on one of the PSV players who tumbled and rolled on the ground like he'd hit by a mammoth. So off he went and Arsenal are down to 10. I didn't see much in the second yellow but it wouldn't have been an issue if he hadn't been as stupid as to make that gesture to the ref for his first. It's one of my pet hates and it cost us tonight.
Justin Hoyte then came on for the very ineffectual Robert Pires and not too long after that Patrick Vieira made a decent challenge on our left hand side, he got the ball, the PSV player took his cue from his mammoth flattened team-mate, the ref fell for it and Paddy got a red card. What makes Vieira's red card even more galling is that Marc van Bommel was allowed go around all night leaving his leg in, making sly, snide challenges which were more deserving of a yellow card than either of Vieira's and the ref didn't say a word to him. He's been linked with Sp*rs in recent weeks and I have to say he'd suit them down to the ground because he's a cheating, classless cunt. And let's be honest, what sort of a fucking pussy wears a polo neck to play football? Yes, I've seen Kanu wear a polo neck in cold climes, but he's from the fucking equator. Van Bommel is from Holland therefore wearing of thermal undergarments means he's a big pansy.
So Arsenal are down to 9 and then Robin van Persie got injured on the edge of our box in a challenge with some PSV goon and it looked pretty bad. I didn't see too much in the challenge that would have hurt him but it looked like a knee and it looked pretty serious. On came Mathieu Flamini and PSV, as you might imagine, had most of the ball for the last 10 or 15 minutes. Chumley the ref then managed to book Freddie for running too vigorously, still no card for van Bommel. There were a couple of nervy moments but we held out well enough for the point.
A draw between Rosenborg and Panathinaikos means that PSV qualify and we'll go through if we beat Rosenborg at Highbury. Of course we'll have to do it without Lauren and Vieira who'll be suspended, but if we can't beat them at home then you'd have to say we wouldn't deserve to go through.
Now, maybe some people might not agree with me, but I kind of enjoyed seeing us down to 9 men. I enjoyed the sense of injustice. Before the game we were saying that maybe we were too nice now, so concerned with not getting red cards since the Old Trafford game that it's taken some of the bite out of our game. Yes, the referee was an twat but there's something galvanising about going down to 9 men and still getting a result. We need something to kick-start our season again, maybe this is it.
Afterwards Arsene Wenger declared himself pleased with the spirit, had no complaints about the sendings off (I think he's being diplomatic), and with regard to the injuries he said we'd have to wait and see about van Persie, although he's hopeful, while Henry's achilles injury makes him, at this stage, a doubt for Sunday's trip to Liverpool.
Finally for today my old friends at harderthansatan.com have provided me with one of these fine Thierry shirts to give away. To enter just email firstname.lastname@example.org and tell me which club we signed him from. Winner announced tomorrow, so be quick. Over and out.
So here we are on the morning of the biggest game of the season since the last biggest game of the season. Arsenal are in Holland to take on PSV Eindhoven. A victory will see us through to the knock-out stages, a draw means it's probably out of our hands and should we lose I suspect there will be suicides, looting and infant sacrifice.
Sol Campbell will start tonight to try and bring some stability to our defence. Arsene Wenger says about Sol's return "Physically he is ready to play and it's a boost to have him here as we need a bit of reassurance and experience at the back." His presence should counter the crisis we find ourselves in, according to Philip Cocu. Cocu was the poxy diver who won the early penalty for Barcelona at Wembley, so we owe him one.
AW has again stressed he doesn't feel walk-offs are the way to counter racist fans as it causes more problems than it solved. We all know PSV were fined for racist chanting the last time we played there so hopefully there'll be no reason to even consider such drastic action, but I watched Real Madrid v Bayer Leverkeusen last night and it was shameful yet again. Every time a black Leverkeusen player got the ball you could hear the monkey chants going round the stadium. UEFA need to make an example of somebody now and who better than moneybags Madrid? Make them play their next home Champions League game behind closed doors. Fining clubs achieves nothing, unless you fine them a serious amount of money. Something has to be done about it, and fast, before it becomes the norm. Madrid's 'fans' were a disgrace last night. Now let the club suffer the consequences.
To the credit of PSV they've taken steps since the last game to stop any repeat and their head of security says "We have reorganised our security policy since then. We want to welcome Patrick Vieira, Thierry Henry and all the Arsenal players back and assure them things will not be the same."
Let's hope the only thing we have to talk about tomorrow is a game of football.
In other news Arsene Wenger has requested a personal hearing at the FA as he denies calling Cheat van Cheatelrooy a cheat. Arsenal keeper Graham Stack, currently on loan at Milwall, appeared in court today after being charged with rape. He was released on bail and is due in Croydon Crown Court on December 14th. The BBC say were interested in Brazilian goalkeeper Marcos. We were strongly linked with him about 18 months ago.
Do you know what 'Entelechy' is? I didn't either, till I read a column by the same name from Safety. Check it out. Finally, I know I promised you another t-shirt contest this week, but I'm saving it for tomorrow. It'll be a wonderful victory contest or a make up for "Yet another disappointing night in Europe for Arsenal."©™®
Imagine you're a professional footballer. Your team has won the league without losing a game the previous season and your lengthy unbeaten run comes to an end in controversial circumstances at the home of your biggest rivals. After that your form dips, but you don't lose another game. Still, you just can't seem to click back into the kind of gear that had people drooling about the football you played and using words like 'invincible'.
Then imagine you're playing at home, you know you're under pressure to start performing again and once again things just don't go right. You draw with a team you'd be expected to beat under normal circumstances. Then, as the final whistle blows you hear sections of the booing. Even though your cofidence is low you've still only lost one league game in 52 and you're being booed off at home. How do you think you'd feel?
I was told yesterday that the Arsenal players were very surprised to hear the reaction at the final whistle on Saturday. Surprised and a bit hurt. And can you blame them?
Now, before I get accused of being a blind optimist, I'm not. I can see that there are areas of the team that could do with some work. I'm all for constructive criticism when it's needed, but at a time when the lads are struggling to recapture their form after playing so well for so long what do the mindless idiots (and that's being kind to them) who boo think they're going to achieve? Are the players going to think "Oh, we'd better try harder because we're obviously slacking off and resting on our laurels", or are they more likely to think "What a bunch of ungrateful cunts?"
I know what I'd be thinking in their position. I think in some ways the team is a victim of its own success now. They've raised the standards so high that now drawing games provokes intensely negative reactions from some fans. That's drawing games, not losing. As fans I think we owe a bit to the team, especially when they're going through a difficult patch. Maybe more noise from the stands would encourage them, let Highbury be the 12th man to inspire them, not the unused substitute who boos at the end.
Maybe the problem is that there are lots of Arsenal fans and not enough Arsenal supporters. I don't want to piss anyone off with this because I know everyone has their own way of following the team but try and remember that the supporters can make a difference. They can show appreciation for the team has achieved and not castigate players and the manager when our form takes an inevitable dip. And it was always going to happen. Maybe some people thought it wouldn't but it has and now it's time to get right behind the boys. It's November for God's sake. There's still a long long way to go before the end of the season and having the crowd on their side will do so much for players. Certainly more than knowing that there are sections of the crowd who are unforgiving and expect perfection every single week. You don't need to have much of a brain to realise that isn't possible. Just because you pay £x for a ticket doesn't mean you have the right to boo our players. It doesn't mean we have 11 robots out there set to 'decimate opposition.'
You have to take the rough with the smooth. Maybe that's a cliché, but it's true. It's easy to follow a team when things are going well. You arrive, they score some goals, they win, you go home happy. You don't have to do anything. This is a rough patch. Now you have to give something back. Do your bit to smooth it out. That's all.
Ahead of tomorrow night's game it does seem more and more likely that Sol Campbell will return in defence to help us achieve the win which will see us through to the knock-out stages. There's a very thorough piece on the qualification permutations here.
More workman fun this morning as they're due to turn off our electricity for most of the morning in order to improve the service or some such. It's working fine at the moment. Why can't they just leave me in peace? Till later...
Well, here are. More than 24 hours since the WBA game and we still haven't won a game. Appalling. I might change the theme of this blog to actual arses, starting with close up shots of Kylie's pert backside and the dangleberry stained hole of Chris Evans. Or maybe I'll give them just one more chance.
Some good news to start the week is that Sol Campbell came through a rigorous training session yesterday and it looks like he's going to be fit to play against PSV on Wednesday. Obviously it'll take him a couple of games to get into his stride but having him back should calm things down at the back.
The loss of Edu and Gilberto for most of the season is a factor too and the boss is worried that we're having to rely too much on Cesc Fabregas. He's been virtually ever present this season and at 17 years of age he's going to need a break at some stage. Mathieu Flamini was signed to play the Parlour role, to come on and run around like mad, but he's got a knock too. The worrying thing is that even when Edu and Flamini get fit they're going to need some games to get their match sharpness up.
PSV Eindhoven's preparations for Wednesday's crunch game were disrupted firstly by the loss of start striker Jan Venegoor of Hesselink by the Sea van der Hymen, and secondly when the referee of their league game this weekend took the players off the pitch for 15 minutes after being called a rude name by Vitesse supporters. Refereeing used to be a man's game, they're obviously letting any old sissy do it these days.
Last time we played PSV they were fined 23p after the game for racist chanting at our black players. It seems that FIFA will now back a team if they choose to walk off the pitch if they're suffering such abuse. While that's obviously a very dramatic statement I really hope that it never comes to that. First and foremost I hope the PSV fans don't repeat their behaviour but walking off the pitch would set a dangerous precedent which Arsene Wenger explains far more eloquently than I could about halfway down this page.
More Champions League build up tomorrow as well as the chance to win a fantastic t-shirt. So how was your weekend then?
OK, that's it. I've supported Arsenal long enough. I've been through bad times, I've suffered bad performances and bad results, mediocre team selections and poor tactics but drawing 1-1 with West Brom is the worst thing I've ever experienced as an Arsenal fan.
We didn't win 28-0 so that's my time as an Arsenal fan over and done with. What's even more galling is that Chelsea could only draw with Bolton and if we'd won we'd have won the league already. If Wenger and the board don't sort things out and sign Shevchenko, Cannavaro, Buffon, Zidane, Gattuso, Cafu, Pelé, Marvellous Marvin Hagler, Robocop and André the Giant then I can tell you now that the chances of this team winning anything are extremely slim.
In all seriousness though it's not the greatest result ever but it's far from being the worst. It's like last season when we were drawing games and everyone was going mad. Yes, West Brom are weirdy Midlands types and I think any football fan would fancy their chances against a team managed by the clueless goon that is Bryan Robson but we didn't win and that's that. No need to get too stressed. It's the circle of life.
In other news Ashley Cole and David Dein speak about Spanish racism.
And that's about it. Went out after the game and the bar we went to ran out of Mojitos after we only had one Mojito. This forced me to drink gin and tonic and today I have promised to bring Blogette to the cinema to see Resident Evil 2. What a gay day this is going to be.
Let's get the bad news out of the way first. It looks like Gilberto could be missing for the rest of the season as his back injury has failed to get better in the weeks he's been resting. According to Arsene Wenger "We don't think that it is career-threatening but it is season-threatening. If in the next six weeks the bone has not completely grown together we have to give him three months more."
It sounds like a pretty serious injury and with Mathieu Flamini carrying a knee injury and Edu still out it leaves us with only Vieira and Cesc for central midfield. Anyway, best wishes to Gilberto and get well soon.
More positive news is that the squad will be bolstered in the new year with the signing of Ivory Coast international Emmanuel Eboué from Beveren. The boss says he's Kolotastic in that he can play all over the park and we'll just have to wait and see where he ends up long term.
With Sol Campbell and Edu's contracts due to expire in the summer there's mixed news. The boss is confident that Sol will sign - "We are closer to agreement with him. If you are going from Newcastle to London, we're at Watford." - but he's not at all sure about Edu "We have not progressed. That is the worry at the moment as we need his commitment."
Sol is obviously a vital signing but Edu's contribution to the team shouldn't be overlooked either. At the same time the player needs to remember how the club stood by him when he had his passport problems and all the other stuff that went on in his life around the time he joined and show some loyalty. With all the injuries at the club he's going to play lots of games. Sure he may be tempted by Barcelona but when they get Gabri, Motta and Edmilson back from injury their midfield is going to just as tough to get into as ours. I hope he stays and that he's not being swayed by € signs from elsewhere.
For those of you using RSS to read Arseblog you'll be happy to know that Arseblog now provides a full feed. Just copy this URL into your newsreader and off you go.
Right, that's it. Lots of football today. Arsenal v West Brom this afternoon, then this evening it's the big game in Spain which I shall view then follow with some tasty, delicious, life giving Mojitos. More later.
This morning the drilling started at 8.15am. I woke up, cursed, and promptly fell back asleep where I had a dream I was football training with Arsenal. For some reason Patrick Kluivert was there too and he was absolute cack and a greedy fucker too. He'd never pass when we were attacking and every single shot went wide. Then Nicky Butt and Graeme Souness had fisticuffs and there was some kind of nuclear explosion. I don't remember the rest.
In today's news Dennis Bergkamp says he feels so young he might reconsider his imminent retirement, which I'm not sure about, and he's talking about a testimonial which would be a fantastic thing for Dennis, in my opinion.
Goalkeeper Stuart Taylor has joined Leicester on loan and as normal with these things there's the possibility of a permanent move. He's had a cruel time with injuries and now finds himself third choice behind Jens Lehmann and Herman Almunia. Good luck to him.
It's West Brom tomorrow and all things going well we'd be seeing Kanu back at the club, but he's struggling with an injury. There's little room for sympathy from his old team-mates as Kanu says "I spoke to some of the Arsenal boys and told them I wouldn’t be there because I was injured, which they laughed at."
Given the propensity for old boys to score against us maybe we're better off that he's got a knock. Robert Pires has been fined for wearing the wrong clothes. He wore his Puma gear when he should have been wearing France's Adidas stuff. Such nonsense.
Not a lot else to report unless you're interested in reading more about the Spain v England game which I'm sure you don't. As terrible as it was it's a strange feeling when you see the Daily Mail castigating people for being racist.
Right, that'll do it. What are you up to for the weekend then?
Well, it looks as if our players got through last night's friendlies unscathed.
Ashley Cole played around 80 minutes for a very poor England as they went down 1-0 to Spain. Some of the Spanish fans though were an absolute disgrace every time a black player got the ball. From the first whistle right to the end they showed everyone what clueless idiots they are by making 'monkey noises' when Cole or Shaun Wright-Phillips had possession. There can't be any excuses for such behaviour. Nothing cultural or idiomatic excuses it.
Wayne Rooney showed his true colours by charging around like an angry bull, then when he got substituted to save him being sent off his took off his black armband (for Emlyn Hughes) and threw it to the ground as he was walking off. Calling him a gormless cunt would be doing an injustice to gormless cunts. To borrow a phrase, he's like school in the summertime. No class. (Ta Jawsh).
Thierry Henry and Patrick Vieira played 90 minutes as France drew 0-0 with Poland.
Arsenal and Republic of Ireland Under 21 goalkeeper Graham Stack has been charged with rape. He'll appear in court on November 23rd.
Not much else happening. Thankfully I have to get up early today because not only is there drilling outside this morning the people next door seem to think 8am is the time to put up shelves. Jebus. Later.
Wanted: Hitman or assassin to take on the relatively easy task of killing workman with pneumatic drill. Snipers, dudes with baseball bats and stabby chaps all welcome to apply. Pay €50 per workman + bonus if scalps are left on their hut. Contact box #435 for more details.
Today sees some international friendlies. Gormless England captain David Beckham led the English anti-Reyesism campaign and Gary Neville and chums worse t-shirts to let everyone know they hate our Sevillian striker. Sven, who presents like a cat in heat whenever Beckham is near, gave his full backing to the players and said he'd have a word with Gary Neville to ensure that the bruises that have faded after the Old Trafford game could be reapplied to José's ankles. It's Spain v England tonight at the Bernebeu in Madrid. May the Lord grant the Spaniards the peace and serenity needed to kick Rooney off the park and out of the game for a few months. Amen, and stuff.
Last night saw England's U-21s (without Jermaine Pennant) get beaten 1-0 by their Spanish counterparts. Our man Cesc came off the bench to score the winner, a lovely free kick by all accounts.
Some worrying news on the injury front. Thierry Henry has an achilles problem, similar to the one Sol Campbell is currently suffering, and he reckons he's only playing at 70% of his ability. He's playing through the pain but what's worrying is what he says about Sol. "Sol has a similar injury and has twice taken breaks. But he still feels bad when he returns. It has been pointless for him."
Whether that means Sol is going to need surgery to fix the problem, I don't know, but what I do know is we need him back in our defence as soon as possible. There are all kinds of stats which show how much we miss Sol. With him in the team we only concede a goal once every 17 months, with Cygan in the side that stat changes to a goal every 65 seconds. So you can see how important he is to the team.
In transfer news it's being reported that we're signing Beveren and Ivorian defender Manu Eboué. The news comes from the official Beveren website which says that he signed a 4.5 year deal. He played some pre-season games at right back where he impressed some people. Could the threat of a new player explain Lauren's great form? Anyway, no doubt we'll get some confirmation on this soon enough. Or not.
Thanks for all your entries to the goalhanger competition. The answer to the question was 'false'. Herbert Chapman was not Lee Chapman's Dad. Herbert Champman was a great football manager, Lee Chapman was an absolute plank of a player. Fairly obvious one, I know. That didn't stop one person sending two entries one after the other with both answers, just to make sure. Anyhow, the winners are Patrick Rochford and Mark Sugarman. I'll be in touch with both of you to get addresses and sizes and such like.
Right. The drilling has stopped. The hut is probably filled with workmen. Cover your ears....