Week Eight – 19 Sleeps to Go….
Yes, we are now in the teens people!
By the end of the week the Silly Season countdown clock will have broken out
into spots and started taking an unhealthy interest in the swimwear section of
the Littlewoods catalogue.
started this diary eight weeks ago, it was with the intention of diarising the
changing moods and emotions of the post and pre-season, the Silly Season.
You may have
noticed the last few week’s blogs have been predominantly light hearted, last week’s
even included a soap opera episode! This is indicative of how I’ve been looking
at things in recent weeks. There is so much debate, arguing and people
seemingly dangerously near to actual mental breakdowns that I’ve been trying to
take a step back and look at the funny side of it all.
I have also
been extremely conscious of the danger of repeating myself week in, week out,
but, to me, that’s another reflection of what happens at this time of year!
that in mind, later in this week’s blog I will be taking a little look back
over the past eight weeks, to re-cap and see what’s been happening until now,
or not. Don’t know about you, but it seems a lifetime ago that we were all
worrying that Laurent Koscielny was after a move.
Before I do
that though, I think it’s stating the obvious to point out that however crazy
this Silly Season can be, if you told me at the beginning of it that eight
weeks in we would be seemingly on the verge of signing Luis Suarez from
Liverpool, after submitting a bid of £40m and ONE POUND for his
services, I would had you in for a psychiatric assessment quicker than you
could say “One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest…”
I bet Jamie
Carragher really regrets chucking that quid back into the crowd at Highbury
now. We’ve been saving that one Jamie, you big cheating bastard…
I am not
going to go into the Suarez debate in depth; it has been done enough by plenty
of people who can do it a lot better than me, although this fence I’m sitting
on is buckling dangerously under pressure from both sides. That’s not to say
I’m denying there should be debate, far from it.
trouble me somewhat that we are considering shattering our transfer record in a
big way on a player who will divide an already divided fan base even more, and
in a way that could possibly never be repaired while he is at the club.
If it is at
all possible to look at it from a purely “footballistic” point of view, which
it probably isn’t but I will anyway, then he is one hell of a player. The type
of player that for me, along with a creative outlet from midfield, will turn us
into genuine title contenders. We do need cover at centre back even more than
before now with the recent injury to Thomas Vermaelen, and departures of Johan
Djourou and Sebastien Squilacci, but I think it’s also important to remember we
had the second best defensive record in the Premier League last season, and one
of our biggest problems was not creating, or converting, enough chances in too
opinion, Suarez plus a creative midfielder behind him (anyone got any ideas for
that position, wink, wink?) gives us what we are missing there.
That is just
the view on the footballing side of it though, and there are far too many other
factors to make it that simple. It all just feels very uncomfortable.
Anyway, enough of that debate for now, as I said the debates will go on and on,
and will be debated by far better debaters than me.
countdown really must be into the teens now, I think I just mass debated…
Season So Far…
This week is
as good as any to take a look at what’s gone on so far this summer, and how
we’ve got to where we are now…
The Words of the Window
Done, Release Clause, Dithering, Audacious, Buyback, and of course good old DM…
Relief, optimism, slight worry.
targets – Marouane Fellaini, Gonzalo Higuain, Wayne Rooney, Cesc Fabregas
Level – Low
of finishing in the top four, above that lot for the 3000th year
running, was still lingering on at this point, and we were full of optimism for
the summer ahead. Most of us I think anyway.
stop the slight worry things may be taking a familiar turn after some comments
from Laurent Koscielny came out, but this was more of a force of habit, knee
jerk reaction more than anything. Oh, and Stewart Robson spouted some shit,
which I refused to repeat at the time, and suffice to say can’t remember what
it was he said, which is precisely how anything that man ever says should end
Boredom, optimism with a dash of pessimism
targets – Same as week one, but with added Stevan Jovetic.
level – Low
sod all happened that week really, but
Ivan’s annual Q&A speed tweeting extravaganza pretty much set the
tone for the rest of the summer, where he pretty much boldly declared we were
now rich and in a position to spend LOADSAMONEY! Oh dear…
Mood – Creeping
negativity, followed by pant-wetting hysteria
targets – Higuain! Higuain! Higuain! Higuain! Higuain! Higuain!
Level – Good to yielding
A quiet week
burst into life as on Friday afternoon betting was suspended on Gonzalo Higuain
becoming an Arsenal player, and the mood went from quiet negativity to total
pant-wetting bat shit mental. The Sky Sports News app changed a headline from “Higuain
Off to Arsenal?” to “Higuain Off to Arsenal”, YouTube went into full scale
meltdown, and funny fuckers tried their best to come up with a witty song for
what was to become our record signing, some
rhyming anything they could with either Hee-Gway-een or Hig-Wayne, while
the rest of us were just happy with getting Higgy with it. So, at the end of
the week it was looking very likely that the long awaited “marquee” signing was
Uneasy, with creeping déjà vu
targets – Higuain, please Higuain!!
level – Code Amber
despite the excitement over “Higgy” the previous week, this was possibly the
quietest week so far, news wise. You could sense a feeling of unease spreading
throughout Goonerdom. He will sign won’t he? Please don’t let us fuck this one
Optimistic, with light disbelief and mild cloth touching
targets – Gonzalo Higuain, Gareth Barry, Darren Bent, Luis Suarez
level – Increasing dangerously
Yes, we were
linked with Gareth Barry, and you don’t need me to tell you how people reacted
to that do you? I did hear Darren Bent mentioned once too, but I can only
assume that was just to see just what the fragile Arsenal fans would believe at
this point. As for being linked with Luis Suarez, that was just taking it too
far, that would never happen. Pah! Ridiculous paper talk…
Mood – Audacious, Hopeful, Desperate,
Hysterical, bordering on insane
Possible Targets – Anyone of the
above mentioned, all simultaneously abseiling down the side of The Emirates,
landing outside The Armoury, complete in new away kit
Panic level – Meltdown imminent
bright spark decided it was a fun idea to let it slip to us all there was an
“audacious stunt” planned for the day of the new away kit launch on the Tuesday
of this week. There was complete hysteria as people actually thought we might
be unveiling a new signing or two to coincide with the kit launch. Cue
countless tweets informing us all of the dictionary definition of the words
“audacious” and “stunt”. In the end we were treated to a big poster on the side
of The Emirates, the British Core modelling the new away kit, a more
traditional yellow and blue number complete with snazzy hooped socks. There was
a bit of abseiling though, to be fair.
Mood – Angry, confused, desperate,
panic stricken, scared, frustrated
Possible Targets – Luis Suarez, Cesc
Panic level – Fit to burst
when we were linked to Luis Suarez a couple of weeks back, that was just a load
of newspaper crap wasn’t it? Oh, and remember when Gonzalo Higuain was pretty
much nailed on to sign for us a couple of weeks before that? Just goes to show
how things can change during this crazy time doesn’t it? Thankfully the name
Gareth Barry hasn’t been mentioned for a while though, so small mercies and all
So, that brings
us to where we are now, which at the moment is a rather uncomfortable and
uneasy place to be. We were all expecting a few signings by now, be it due to
our own impatience or the fact that the noises coming from the club in those
early weeks led us to believe this year would be different. I actually do still
believe it’s going to be different, I guess in some ways it already has been.
Remember when we sold our best players but couldn’t get players like Andrey Arshavin,
Denilson et al off of the wage bill? Oh, how we moaned. I believe signings will
come, they have to. I also believe in the squad we have together now, as I have
said almost every week now I think.
The next couple of weeks are going to be interesting, at least I hope they are,
and things will need to happen to ease the frustration of a lot of supporters
who are understandably becoming rather agitated at this time. A lot of this
probably depends on Liverpool, whether they are prepared to accept our offer,
whether we are prepared to pay whatever they ask, or if we decide to do what we
did when Real Madrid started taking the piss and look elsewhere, or play a
dangerous game and take it right down to the final hours of the window. That is
of course just as dangerous a game for Liverpool though.
I end this week’s
instalment with the news I am going to attempt an audacious stunt of my own
By the time
you are reading this, I will be in sunny Majorca, drinking a nice cold San
Miguel. I will still be putting together a blog though, but I am going to
attempt to take an entire week away from Twitter, and get any news the old
fashioned way – by peeking at the back of someone else’s newspaper, you know
that kind of thing.
Seeing as we
spend most of our Arsenal lives on Twitter this time of year more than any
other time of the year, I’m quite interested to see how this comes out.
Wish me luck…
Islington born and bred, Arsenal through and through. Supported the Gunners for all of my 46 years (so far!) through thick and thin.
Clickbait: Life as a Modern Football Fan – released 2019
Currently working on my next book – Over Land and Sea (and Lockdown), Arsenal 20/21 – A Diary of a Season – due for release Summer 2021.
I will back the club I have in my blood to the hilt and I don’t care what you think about that. UTA.
AGAINST MODERN FOOTBALL.