Right, lots and lots going on this morning. So much so that if I had a big sack to fit it all into I’d need two sacks. And even then they wouldn’t be enough.
Football first because that’s what we love. That and beer. But it’s too early for beer so you’ll have to make do with football. Unless you’re reading this in Australia and if you don’t have a beer I’ll be very disappointed in you. Very, I say.
Arsene Wenger said this week that part of the reason why he let Thierry Henry go was to let Emmanuel Adebayor get more playing time. I love Arsene. It’s probably just a great way of boosting the confidence of the big man but it’s bound to make him feel good and more confident. He’s not getting carried away though. He says that it’s all well and good Arsene saying it but he has to prove it on the pitch. Some more goals like the one against Sp*rs and he’ll be well on his way.
Another man playing out of his skin is Mathieu Flamini and he’s been talking as well. No quotey bits this morning so you’ll have go read what he says yourselves but great teams need guys whose contribution is not necessarily flashy skills or wonder goals. You need people to do hard work and that’s what Flamini does. I hope we get him to sign on for another few seasons because what he brings to the team in terms of energy, commitment and sheer hard work is different from pretty much everyone else. He might not be the best technically but he’s versatile, he can pop up with crucial goals and he never gives anything less than 100%. In the days when people love to worship the stars we have to give some recognition to those who make it easier for the stars to shine.
Robin van Persie reckons Arsenal are ‘unique’ and his genuine enthusiasm for this team is obvious in this article. He’s maturing nicely and this is a big season for him personally. He needs to show that the raw talent can be brought on a level and I think he’s enjoying being one of the more senior members of the first team squad.
Team news ahead of Derby is, at this early stage, injury hit, shall we say. Already without Lehmann, Eboue and Gallas we’ve lost Rosicky to a hamstring strain (again), Hleb has a swollen knee is a major doubt while Philippe Senderos got a knock on the hip and faces a fitness test. Regardless of that though we should have more than enough for Derby but they showed against Newcastle on Monday night that we just can’t afford to be complacent in any way.
Moving away from football Keith Edelman engaged in a Q&A with the official website yesterday. He spoke about Usmanov now owning 21% of the club, explained the ‘lock down agreement’, talked about Stan Kroenke and generally tried to reassure fans that the club was in good hands. The financial results are due on Monday and should make for very interesting reading. I thought it was interesting that he referenced, in question 7, the fact that the FA can prevent somebody taking over a football club if they are not deemed a “fit and proper person”. Now, I’d have as much faith in the FA doing the right thing as I would in the Sp*rs defence not to concede a goal but that a senior club official has referenced this means something.
Interestingly, there was all kinds of stuff going on last night. Craig Murray, the former ambassador to Uzbekistan, emailed me to tell me his webhost had taken down his site after legal threats from Usmanov’s lawyers. Another very popular blog, Bloggerheads.com, was also taken down. However, what the webhost seemed to do was take down the entire server which also knocked off a lot of other sites which have nothing to do with Usmanov. One of those sites is that of MP Boris Johnson. The situation has also come to the attention of another MP who has been blogging about it – Tom Watson MP. He’s looking for feedback from Arsenal fans on Usmanov and his potential takeover of the club so feel free to comment over there.
There has been widespread condemnation of this action across the very many blogs that have picked up the story. Basically a lot of people are upset because websites have been taken down because of Alisher Usmanov and to me this reflects badly on Arsenal. Usmanov now owns 21% of our football club. I’d like to make it very clear to those people whose websites have been affected by this that Alisher Usmanov is not representative of Arsenal FC. Not the Arsenal FC I know anyway.
What is interesting is that it’s the webhosts they’re making legal threats to. Not to Craig Murray himself. In fact, I believe Murray has asked Usmanov’s lawyers to take legal action against him and they have refused. The whole thing is leaving a very sour taste in the mouth and the behaviour of Usmanov and his lawyers really is horrible. I know I’m not alone in feeling dismayed that David Dein, who professes to love Arsenal, has brought Alisher Usmanov on board with him. It seems that once Dein’s personal ambitions are realised it doesn’t matter how it happens or who he has to do business with to make it happen.
I don’t think Usmanov is the right kind of person to have anything to do with Arsenal. I do think fans need to ask questions and not just blindly accept him because he’s fronted by David Dein. We need to question why they’re are so frantically trying to shut down web servers. Ultimately it won’t make the blindest bit of difference because you simply can’t close all the websites and all the blogs and the information they want to prevent people seeing will be easy to find with a simple Google search. By making a big deal out of it they’ve made a bigger deal out of it. And we shouldn’t forget to ask the questions and ask them loudly if need be. You can read more comments about this here and check out some of the linked blogs for the negative reaction what a significant Arsenal shareholder has done.
Anyway, plenty to think about and plenty to talk about. Now though, this.
In this week’s Arsecast, brought to you by OleOle.com, I chat to Goodplaya about ‘football from another planet’, Flamini and Mourinho. The Man in the Bar has a player history and there’s the usual mix of crap and crapper too.
To subscribe to the arsecast in iTunes – click here. To download this week’s arsecast directly – click here (17mb MP3). You can find the arsecast archives here. And you can listen directly below without leaving this very page.[audio:http://arseblog.com/podcasts/arsecast_episode45.mp3]
So, that’s it. Enjoy the Arsecast, I’ll talk to you tomorrow with a round-up from today’s pre-game press conference and a fuller Derby previw.