Happy Friday, in all it’s London wetness.
As we now enter what will feel like an Arsenal story embargo zone known as the European Championships, I thought I’d finally give up on my usual tactic of trying to completely ignore (and blog about) the impending international football matches upon us. But given that there appears to be a news and transfer radio silence I find myself inevitably sucked in to watching for the next few weeks. It’s probably a good thing. It must be really hard for all the Twitter ITKs getting from one country to the next painstakingly checking and rechecking their transfer stories to ensure their ‘sources’ are correct. So the next few weeks when all of the big European club level powerhouses, as well as players at the tournament, have effectively admitted that nothing will happen until after the Euros can only be a good thing for those poor individuals.
Don’t get me wrong: I love watching football. So the opportunity for a daily dose of it in comparison with the usual TV soap/reality TV debauchery that we’re faced with now is a welcome respite. But I by no means have any emotional investments made in teams like so many do. Yes I’m English. And of course I will watch the games and want them to win. But should they be nought for three at the end of the group stages, I will not have the same sadness as a failed Champions League campaign for Arsenal. It’s not that I’m not patriotic, I’ve just grown up in an era where Arsenal have played infinitely more frequent, exciting, and enjoyable football than the England team. So when you hear the media and watch the England friendlies on TV pre-tournament and see how England are set up as “hard to beat” it doesn’t exactly fill one with a pressing desire to put all of my fan-shaped eggs in the national teams basket.
So what will I enjoy about this year’s Euro’s? Fan scouting. No, not looking into the crowds to see who has the most elaborate body painting or headgear, fan scouting to me means that I have an opportunity to watch a) existing Arsenal players like The Ox and Rosicky, b) confirmed signed players for Arsenal like Podolski (admittedly the only player in this category), and c) potential players we have been linked with like M’Villa and Giroud and John Messi that I saw someone on Twitter post a YouTube link to saying “look who Arsenal have just signed. Contracts agreed”.
There is so much chosh on Twitter and so many fan videos on YouTube today that it will be really nice to actually see some of these players and how they perform. Of course, it is only a snapshot on the players that they are, but it is better to get that kind of snapshot than one from a 15-year-old making a compilation using his Sony Vega laptop.
What I will also read with intrigue will be the fan response to players on Twitter. For example, if M’Villa does not boss the midfield against England (having hobbled off the pitch a couple of weeks ago) will we get noises in the Twittersphere from fans telling us he’s useless and we should consider another player to open the chequebook for? Some fans want instant success and they want it 90 seconds ago. Perspective is a powerful thing in football and any fans doing the same as me looking at undertaking a bit of fan scouting should try to stock up on a bit of it before the tournament is in full swing. Remember how awesome Florin Răducioiu was in World Cup 94? He then signed for West Ham and looked more like Florin Radish. So I guess what I’m saying is that awesome players don’t become donkeys and donkeys don’t become superstars because of one international competition.
So sit back, watch the games, enjoy the spectacle and see if you can get excited about which Arsenal (existing, new and potential) players could be lighting up the Emirates next season.