Every year I sit down and write something on this day and I think ‘I can’t believe it’s been X years since I started this website’.

10 years seemed like a huge milestone. Then 15. Now it’s 17, because on this day in 2002 I sat upstairs in my house in Spain and started something that I had no idea would still be going all this time later. Back then there was Arsene Wenger. Now there’s Unai Emery. Back then there was Opus, the Arseblog Basset Hound and three cats; now there’s Archer and Lana, the German Shepherds.

Archer & Lana – the Arseblog German Shepherds

Things change. Arsenal is now 100% owned by KSE, a situation that would have been unthinkable when the blog started, but a lot can happen in 17 years. Things you didn’t think were possible happened. Not just to Arsenal or football, but the world itself. Yet we’re all still here (mostly), and we keep trucking on and doing our thing and supporting our football team – even if they don’t make it that easy at times.

Ups and downs. Swings and roundabouts. Bergkamps and Chamakhs. So it goes. There’s not much any of us can do about it other than hang on and hope for the best. Enjoy the good times when they come, and try not to stress too much when things turn the other way.

That’s why I hope Arseblog and everything we do here provides people with more than just Arsenal, but also a bit of an escape. Some entertainment. Football should be a thing that we use to get away from the pressures and trials of ‘real life’, but it’s often a very serious business. I know I’m part of that, and it’s easy enough to get wound up, yet we try and keep our feet on the ground as much as possible and reflect that in what we do on the site. We don’t always manage to get everything right, but there you go – that’s being human for you.

“That’s just … like … your opinion, man”, said a wise man once, and he’s spot on. That’s all it is. There’s another quote about opinions and arseholes, but let’s not go there on a day of celebration.

Let me first thank the team here, all the contributors, columnists and writers who do such fantastic work, and everyone who has contributed down the years. A special word too for Tom for making sure the site stays up and running despite my best efforts to break things by trying to improve them. He’s done some incredible stuff in the last few months, particularly on Arseblog News.

I then want to thank all of you for reading and listening and commenting, and I especially want to thank all the people who signed up to become Arseblog Members on Patreon in the last 12 months. You’ve helped us do lots more in the last year in terms of creating extra content exclusively for you, but also across the site in general – in particular with much expanded coverage of the youths and Arsenal Women. Tim Stillman put together the first podcast about the women’s team last week, which is exciting, and there’s more to come in that regard.

If you’re not a member and you’d like to sign up, it costs just €5 per month, and for that you get:

  • Exclusive podcasts and articles – and there’s a year’s worth of content in there right now including My Arse, the Pastcast Extra, history specials and fun stuff like the Arsenal Shit-House XI.
  • Exclusive live streaming videos with guests, taking viewer questions via YouTube
  • A free audio book version of Together: The Story of Arsenal’s Unbeaten Season
  • Access to the Arseblog Discord chat servers
  • Advance notice of live events + discounted tickets
  • And more

Sign up at patreon.com/arseblog for instant access to all of it – or for more info, check out the membership page and FAQ.

I really can’t express how much your support means to us. In this ever-changing and constantly demanding digital world we live in, it’s more and more difficult for relatively small independent publishers to survive. You’re not only helping us do that, but enabling us to grow so we can do more, thus you get more to read and to listen to and to watch.

It also means we can avoid all those terrible things that make websites practically unusable these days. Pop-ups and pop-unders; auto-play videos; full screen ads; answering quizzes to see the content; those things will never have any place on here. I’ll post some more on Patreon about this too, but we’re going to update our apps for iOS and Android this year, and hopefully we can implement some much sought after features and ideas.

And if you don’t want to sign up, that’s also fine. As I said when we launched on Patreon, everything that’s free and available on Arseblog right now will remain free and available, and that will always be the case. We won’t ever put anything behind a paywall, what’s on Patreon is extra content created specifically for that platform, and we’re delighted to have you here.

Anyway, enough waffle from me this morning. Once again, thanks for everything, thanks for being here for 17 years or 12 years or 3 years, or if this is the first time you’ve ever read Arseblog, welcome on in.

There’s plenty left in this season still to play for, so let’s have a lucky breakfast bourbon and see where we are in May.

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