In the nearly five years since Arseblog began lots of stuff has happened. What began as an experiment in web design for me has grown beyond any of my expectations and a real community has grown. That community includes everyone that reads the site, reads or contributes to the Arses or the forums, downloads the arsecasts or emails me to tell me they like the site or to tell me off for something they disagree with. This community also exists offline when Arsebloggers meet up before the matches, after the matches and from time to time when there’s no match at all and just a few beers to be had.
In that time people’s lives have changed. We’ve had Arsebloggers getting married, we’ve had Arseblog children (not mine, I swear!), all manner of stuff has happened. Many of us have lost people along the way but until now we’ve never lost one of us.
On Thursday night long time Arseblogger, Furq (the old charmer), passed away after a recent battle with illness. It really does feel like a death in the family, which is what it is, I suppose. He was an absolute gentleman who made a huge effort to do good things for people he’d never even met. We used to joke about ‘Pablo the postman’ when the packages full of DVDs were late arriving in Spain. Sometimes he’d blame Pablo the Postman and then after a while he’d admit he hadn’t actually gotten around to posting them when he might have said he did!
His banter on the Arses was the stuff of legend and he was a man who loved the club but wasn’t afraid to call a spade a spade and stand his corner if his opinion was not the norm. He did it all with good grace though, with great wit and with passion and we’re going to miss him.
In the finest tradition of Arseblog I hope you’ll all raise a glass today for Roger, who, if there’s any luck, will be looking down on us, raising a glass in return and singing a song for the Arsenal.
Now, as the man himself would admit, the show must go on and the show doesn’t get much bigger than Arsenal v Manchester United. There isn’t much you don’t know or that we haven’t already covered in terms of team news but with Liverpool winning yesterday three points for us will keep us right on their tails and although the gap to the top is probably too large it will make the rest of the season very interesting.
In a quick round-up of the stories Arsene Wenger talks about how he’d never put Arsenal into debt through overspending, saying:
I have been educated in this way – when you have 10 pounds, you don’t spend 11.
He also talks in the Independent about developing young players and his behaviour on the touchline in some games this season, saying:
I just sometimes feel that unusual behaviour can wake up things, and I certainly had unusual behaviour in some games. As a manager you can only survive or live with how you feel at that moment. At that time I behaved as I was, not as I wanted to be.
While I think the myth of the unflappable, cool man on the sidelines is overplayed it was unusual to see him so active on the sidelines. No doubt it was borne out of frustration, knowing that his team were capable of more. Since then he’s made Thierry Henry take a break and recover his fitness and whatever else needed to be recovered and seen that his team can step up and perform in difficult circumstances. Hopefully they can continue that today.
Ex-Gunner Stewart Robson talks about how much Arsenal will miss Gilberto and his influence on the team.
And that’s about that. Time for a run in the park to shake off last night’s red wine, then the papers and breakfast before we wait for the main event. Fingers crossed the lads can do it today.
See you tomorrow.