Friday, May 24, 2024


How is it that you can wake up with hiccups? I thought you had to have been drinking too quickly, or something, to get a case of hiccups. It seems entirely unreasonable that you could suddenly find yourself waking up hiccuping, but that’s what’s happened to me today. Perhaps I was dreaming about drinking too much – or perhaps my body’s just objecting to getting up at this time of day and is finding passive aggressive ways of registering its displeasure. It needn’t add its contribution – I know well enough already.

A few bits and pieces to get through today, and we’ll start with the news that Mikel Arteta is to sit down with the club to discuss his contract and a pay rise this week. It was reported that when he joined the club from Everton, he took a £10k a week pay cut to make the deal happen, but now, after an impressive debut season with the club, has asked that his salary be reviewed. Personally I’d be quite happy on £60k a week, but I suppose it’s all relative; if all my peers were being paid more than me, and I’d just enjoyed the sort of season Arteta has after taking a pay cut, I’d probably be making noises about resolving that situation too. He did have a very fine season and deserves some reward for his efforts.

Ivan Gazidis has been talking to the club’s website about how we can continue to compete in a world occupied by the likes of Chelsea and Man City, and how it’s still the aim of the club to win the Premier League and Champions League:

My message to our fans is that we are doing everything in our power to make sure that Arsenal can challenge for trophies next year. That is what this summer is about and that is what we are focused on.

We have a good team, we have a good young core of players and we need everybody involved to have belief so that we can push forward into next year and make a run at the Premier League trophy and for the Champions League. We believe we can do that.

Which is all good to hear, but actions speak louder than words, and it’d be nice if he’d elaborated on what is meant by doing “everything in our power”, but you wouldn’t really expect him to. More cynical commentators than me might suggest the chief executive’s words are designed to pre-empt the questioning he’s due to receive at his meeting with the Arsenal Supporters Trust today, but whatever the reason, it’s good to hear that – again – the club is talking about learning the lessons of last summer. Of course, it’d be even better to see some evidence of that, but I don’t know what’s happening behind the scenes any more than anyone else.

He also touched upon the unity at the club during the difficult times early last season, hinting that another club might well have sacked the manager. I’ll admit there were one or two moments in August and September last year when I did start to wonder whether Arsene was still the man for the job, but then he got us to third place in the league, and while that won’t be enough for some – and should never be our target – it reminded me just how little I, and pretty much everyone else, know about managing a football club.

Interestingly, the Daily Mail seems to have more comments than the official website (although I’m afraid I haven’t had time to listen to the full interview on, so maybe that’s where they’re getting it from), and reports that Gazidis also spoke about how no one’s speaking about Robin van Persie’s future:

Robin sat down with us at the end of the season and we had a good discussion. What we agreed at that meeting was that we would keep all the discussions we had over the summer to ourselves and make announcements when it is the right time.

We have to respect the fact we have agreed to keep that among ourselves. Robin is clearly focused on the Euros at the moment and we wish him well, and at the right time we will make the right announcements.

So there you go – more non-news about a story that hasn’t broken yet.

In Euro 2012 news…there’s surprisingly little about. The Dutch striker, Klaas Jan Huntelaar has said that he believes that he and Robin can play in the same team, citing Dennis Berkgamp’s assertion that great players can always play together. It seems to me that saying Dennis Bergkamp was talking about you when he was himself talking about great players seems like saying God was thinking of me when deciding the template for man – and trust me, he really, really wasn’t – but whatever. You’d expect Robin to be a shoo-in for the main striker’s position for the Dutchlings, but judging by his numbers, Huntelaar enjoyed a fine season at Shalke too, scoring a bewildering 48 goals in 48 games.

And finally for today, speaking of Dennis, rumours surfaced yesterday that Swansea wanted him to take over as their manager following the departure of Brendan Rogers to Liverpool, and he went from an outside bet at 20-1 to evens in the space of a few hours. At the risk of embarrassing myself, it appears the origin of the story was an internet forum, so it’s likely that it’s someone having a laugh and a story that’s grown legs in what’s a very quiet week.

And that’s your lot. More meetings today, and code that won’t write itself, so I shall see you again tomorrow. Have yourselves a good Wednesday.

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