Monday, May 20, 2024


Good morning from an even foggier East Lothian. Yesterday’s haar did clear up, and it was a beautiful afternoon, but it seems especially both pea and soupy today, so I’m holding out less hope. Anyway, we shall see.

Today’s weather forecast for East Lothian out of the way, the main news this morning – all from the official site – is that having arrived in New York, Arsene Wenger seems to have somewhat curbed his enthusiasm about pre-season friendlies on the other side of the world:

These training camps in the modern game are decided for commercial reasons and because of the extent of popularity of the club. We’ve never been to the States before and I was very happy to come to New York, a city I love. But for purely football reasons, the best thing to do is stay and not travel too much – because of the time you waste and the jet-lag you suffer.

I don’t think it’s any great secret the tours are held for commercial reasons, particularly to the States, and it’s a common refrain, what with your bloke with the stupid head at United also complaining about having to go over there pre-season. It’s a wonderful opportunity for fans that might not otherwise see the team play on anything other than a television actually get to a game, but as Arsene says, from a simple football perspective, travelling long distances to play a few games in the run up to a new season simply can’t be helpful. I know it sometimes takes me up to a week to get used to a significant time difference, and while I’m (very, very, very, very) far from being a professional athlete at my peak, jet lag can be a total bummer. People all react differently, of course, but I still don’t think anyone could reasonably argue that the trip is ultimately about the commercials, plain and simple.

And taken in isolation, there’s nothing wrong with that, of course. As I say, it gives an opportunity for people to see the team that might otherwise never have the chance, which in itself is of merit, and it undoubtedly raises the profile of the club in the US, which is a massive growth market. A few years ago it was the far east, but now all the clubs are on trips to the States, trying to win their share of fans, which ought to give an indication of how important it is. And you can’t have it both ways – spending loads of money on players without going out and earning it.

Combined with the fact this was a World Cup year, however, it leaves the players with little recovery time before the start of an arduous new season’s campaign, with the manager confirming our German trio are likely to miss the start of the season. I don’t think we’re likely to see the end of these tours any time soon though.

Returning to the trip itself, and you can watch the manager’s press conference on Arsenal Player here.

He’s also given some insight into the reason the totally dreamy Bob Pires was quite such a special player – and in a stunning development, it’s not JUST that he’s quite so dreamy:

The little details are very, very important, like preferential vision. Some players see more on the right and some see more on the left. If you see a player who passes to the right all the time because of that, then you put them on the left. He has unbelievable preferential vision, so on the right he is a normal player but on the left he became a world-class player. On the left wing he saw everything, but on the right wing he saw nothing.

Which is quite the explanation. I thought the first time I read that someone had misheard, or it was a typo, and was meant to refer to “peripheral” vision, which I suppose is what he is saying – except he only has it on one side. I’m not sure that’s quite true, to be honest. I don’t remember Bobby failing to find the right option because it popped on his ‘blind’ side. I remember him setting up and scoring loads and load of goals, but maybe that’s just me.

(Incidentally, I was sitting only about 50 feet from Le Bob at the Cup Final, but obviously I was far too shy to go and ask for an autograph. I was most nervous about being caught staring, despite the fact that’s what pretty much everyone round about was doing.)

The official site is full of interesting articles today. Another one describes the meeting the manager had with Aaron Ramsey that set him on his way to being the Welsh Jesus:

The problem is that if you play a great shot in golf or tennis, when you go to your next game you want to play the same shot again. But it doesn’t work like that. You have to do basics, basics, basics, and then slowly you get into the zone where it becomes easier.

You have to get back to basics to gain confidence. Aaron accepted that, he did it and he gained confidence again. Then you saw a different player, because he is intelligent, and when I came out of the meeting I knew this guy would come back.

Aaron listened and he realised he had to change his game. That’s why he came back.

So there you have it. Conservative politics in the early 1990s did have merit after all. Let’s just hope no one gets caught sucking someone else’s toes, or anyone, ever again, has an affair with Edwina Currie.

*cough* Sorry, getting a bit political there.

Good to hear that Aaron was willing to take on the advice though, and look what a player he’s become – he scored the winner in the FA Cup Final, for God’s sake (and unless it’s in a particularly obscure gospel, that’s something Jesus never achieved).

Also on the official site, we have another article featuring everyone’s favourite golden oldies track: Thierry Henry saying how awesome it is to be/have been an Arsenal player:

Wearing the shirt was a privilege for me. I understood that when I left and when I came back to play in those seven or eight games. Wearing an Arsenal shirt was the most important thing and it feels unbelievable.

Ah, the classics. Gotta love them.

He’s also got some good things to say about youngster Gedion Zelalem:

Everybody knows him. [He is] quality. Good on the ball, great vision. Everyone is talking about him. It is not easy to break into the first team at Arsenal but certainly he has the quality and the right boss to make sure that he can do it. Hopefully for us as Arsenal fans he can perform and become a great player.

All of which is very encouraging for the young man, and for the rest of us as fans.

Finally for today’s round up of stories from the official site, there’s an article by Rob Kelly about Thierry’s conversion to a striker. Check it out here.

And that’s pretty much your lot. In terms of transfer news, there really isn’t any. In the absence of anything serious, various sources are simply making things up saying “wouldn’t it be good if we signed [so and so]”, but honestly, you’ll be the first to know. 😉

Until tomorrow.


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