Some Arsenal news and some Arseblog news

We’ll start with the Arsenal news.

The Arsenal Supporter’s Trust met with Arsene Wenger yesterday. Points to come from these discussions are brought to you exclusively by Arseblog and are as follows:

  • On Flamini, Wenger said that Flamini had left purely because of the
    money on offer. He commended the Board for having done the maximum they
    could to make Flamini a good offer within sensible limits. Interestingly
    he pointed out that one of the risks of having overseas players at the
    club is that they are attuned to the concept of moving clubs.
  • On transfer activity. He said he was looking for a defensive player, to
    address the team’s weakness defending route one. He said we defended as
    well as Manchester United and Chelsea from set pieces and open play; but
    not the long ball aimed down the middle and he would address this. He
    also said he wanted a creative player and told Ken Friar that he
    shouldn’t plan for much of a holiday as the phone would be busy.
  • He was very clear that he did not want Hleb to leave. He said that he
    was sceptical that the Webster clause would be invoked. (This is
    probably a reference to the gentleman’s agreement between clubs not to
    do the dirty on each other). In Wengers own words, ‘we have lost one
    player and we do not want to lose any more’.

Interesting stuff from the manager and my thanks to the AST for providing that info. In terms of clubs not doing the dirty on each though that’s really a bit of a dream in this day and age. The manager has reacted furiously to comments about Cesc by Real Madrid president Raman Calderon. The boss says:

I don’t want to sit there and hear Madrid come out and say they want this player and Barcelona come out and say they want that one. I never come out and say that I want a player from Real Madrid or Barcelona because of respect to these clubs.

The rule when a player is under contract is that you first contact the club to see if a player is available. We’re not stupid enough to believe it really happens like that…That they contact agents behind our back, we understand. But that they come in a newspaper I find disrespectful.

Unfortunately that is how the Spanish press works. With two newspapers to feed stories and unsettle players it’s a major part of their transfer tactics. I’m right with the boss on this one and while some might suggest that recent comments by Arsene about Ben Arfa were somewhat injudicious there’s a massive difference between saying somebody’s a good player that you’d be interested in they were available and encouraging a player to tell his club he wants to leave because of the huge amounts of money he’d be offered if he did. Fuck Real Madrid. This will be the third season in a row they’ve tried this shit with Cesc. May they all get dodgy paella, the miserable cunts.

Theo Walcott says Arsenal won’t make the same mistakes next season and that the younger players will have learned from the disappointment of this, while Lukasz Fabianski says he learned a lot from Jens Lehmann. Should be fun next season when the laid-back Pole starts pretending strikers stood on his toes.

Don’t forget the competition to win tickets to the Cesc Fabregas TV show – details in yesterday’s blog, winners announced tomorrow.

Ok, so from Arsenal news we go to Arseblog news. And rather big Arseblog news at that.

To give you a little bit of background, for those that don’t already know, Arseblog was started on February 27th 2002 in my house in Barcelona. There was no great plan, no real design to speak of, I didn’t quite know what I wanted to do but I knew I wanted to write about something that interested me and really nothing interests me like Arsenal.

From very humble beginnings, I can remember being ever so excited at having my first ever +200 visitor day, it has grown over the years to what you see today. There are hundreds of thousands of comments, a forum, podcasts, columnists, competitions and, most importantly, a daily helping of Arsenal news, comment and opinion.

In that time Arseblog has become a real community both online and offline. Online there are regular visitors and contributors, single debaters and mass debaters, people who agree with what I write, people who don’t, people who like it, people who hate it, people with strange views about Arsenal, people with the most conservative views of the club, but the bottom line is that we all have one thing in common and that is Arsenal FC.

Offline there’s a tremendous group of people who go to matches together, home and away, who are genuine friends, and what brought them together was Arseblog. I made my own friends living in Barcelona via the site, we’ve had 5-a-side tournaments, many, many pints of beer have been drunk and good times have been had by so many people. And every season more people are becoming part of it. I have never quite been able to say how much I appreciate the generosity of people I’ve met through the site, for the hospitality they’ve shown me and my family down the years. And that doesn’t even include those I haven’t met who have made offers of tickets, taken time to send emails to the site, to take part on the arses or the forums and just be a part of this website.

You’ll know that rain or shine, hail or snow, crippling hangover, holiday, illness, rotten hangover or the most boilkiest boilk of all time there’s an Arseblog there for you first thing in the morning. Once again I have to doff my cap to Tom for not only filling in but for all the technical assistance he’s given the site down the years. It would be much more broken without him.

So, where am I going with all this. Well, I’m sure most of you are familiar with OleOle. They’ve been sponsoring the Arsecast for over a year now and myself and the Mugsmasher record a weekly podcast for the site (every Thursday!). Some months back they approached me with a proposal which was both exciting and nerve wracking. After putting so much work into Arseblog for the last 6 years I needed to be sure that what they were proposing was not only the right thing for me but the right thing for my website and for the people who use the website.

We talked, we drank some Guinness together, we talked some more, drank some more Guinness and in such a gentlemanly way was the agreement reached – Arseblog will become part of OleOle.com from Monday 12th May.

‘Goodness’, I hear you say, ‘what does all this mean? Will I still get my steaming hot Arse first thing in the morning? Will it do all the same stuff it did before? Where’s my mummy?’

To answer those questions:

The blog will continue and I will continue writing it. Rail, hail, shine, hangover, boilk and all that. Every morning you will get your Arseblog the same way you have for the last 6 years.

The biggest change will be the URL – from Monday Arseblog will be available at http://arseblog.oleole.com. You can update your bookmarks then but, if you forget, the old URL will redirect right to the new place.

The comments system will be the same, everyone will be free to take part in the arses exactly the way they are now.

The forum will remain the same as it is now. The columns will be the same as they are now with the guest contributors and writers adding their wit and insight to Arsenal news.

The site will look and feel almost exactly the way it does now.

I have no idea where your mummy is.

What is OleOle?

OleOle has just launched a new site and not only does it look and feel like no other football site on the web it’s aim is to become the biggest football site on the web. It will do that by providing great content through blogs like Arseblog but it has some outstanding features (customisable pages, history wikis, blogs and blog hosting, videos and more) that I’ll go into in more detail throughout the week. If you think of Myspace for music then OleOle is going to be the football version…just bigger.

To join up with OleOle at this stage was the kind of opportunity I just could not pass up. Those of you who know me, and even those of you who know of me only through the blog, will know how much Arseblog means to me. It’s been a massive part of my life for the last 6 years, it’s something I’m unbelievably proud of even if it did all kind of happen by accident! It’s seen me through good and bad times and I have a very intense emotional attachment to it – which is odd when you consider it’s ‘just’ a blog. I wouldn’t be doing this if I thought it was wrong for Arseblog, for all of you who read and contribute to the site, or for me.

What this deal does is allow Arseblog to become part of something I think has the potential to be really huge. It allows Arsenal fans to get in on the ground floor on a site which promises to be a fantastic resource and lots of fun. And it allows me to make my living doing something I really love – writing about Arsenal.

Arseblog is now, essentially my full time job. How fucking cool is that? It means that I can spend more time on the site, hopefully introduce some new features over the months to come and generally be much more involved (hahaha, I can hear people say ‘Oh no!).

I don’t want to go on too long and I’m sure there are loads of questions you might have that I haven’t answered in this post. Feel free to ask them in the Arses and I’ll do my best to answer throughout the day.

I want to very sincerely thank every single one of you who visits and reads the site, those who arse, those who send emails, those who use whatever part of the site, for all your support and for helping to make Arseblog what it is today and what it can be in the years ahead.

Cheers,

‘blogger

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Fan of Arsenal, Robert Pires and most everything to do with rum and whiskey. Writer, podcaster, ace flintknapper, sluggish centre-half. Smiter of those that ought to be smote.