Another day and another counting down until the Premier League season starts. Eight days people. Eight long days and then it’s show time. As you could probably garner from my opening gambit in today’s blog, I’m excited.
I’m excited about our team (as I said yesterday), I’m excited about the pre match beverages (hopefully bathed in North London sunshine) and I’m excited about reliving the match day experience.
For me it remains something that is a magical experience. Up until I got my season ticket a few years ago, my Arsenal watching experience was limited to a few times a season as a red member, then before that any time I there was a spare from my Dads mate Roy. I still get that nervous anticipation when I begin my journey from home. Yes, my start destination may have changed over the years (from Harlow, to Hoddesdon, to Uxbridge), but my finish station has always remained the same, and so have some of the vendors outside too I would imagine.
Everything from the trip along Holloway Road swerving amongst a sea of red and white companions, through to the steps up to the stadium from the Armoury shop: it all feels like a new and exciting experience. And I’ll be doing it all again very soon.
What I will be trying to do differently this season, however, is meeting new gooners. I have had a season ticket for a few years now and I go with the same people, which will not change, but what I would really love to do is to know more of the Arsenal fraternity that share that match day experience.
And what better way to meet new people than the wonderful world of social media. Putting a little bit more into the ‘social’ element than already exists. So this is is a call to you: if you are around on match days and you fancy meeting somebody new, Direct Message me on Twitter or drop me an email in the ‘Contact Us’ section and let’s share a few jars on match day. Let’s converse over a bit of the amber nectar on all things football, tactics, transfers, but most importantly: Arsenal.
I suppose I should probably also mention some of the latest goings on with the first team as well. If I sound a little reluctant it’s probably because the main talking point is still that man van Persie. After Fergie decided to adopt the Barcelona model of openly tapping up players to try and force Arsenal’s hand, he’s now enlisting the help of Wayne Rooney to make positive noises about the Dutchman joining United. Brace yourself for a Paul Scholes ‘Manchester DNA’ and we’ll know we’re into Def Con 5 people.
There are a few reasons why this protracted saga is not the same as the Cesc situation, but from what we’ve heard, we’ll not be held over a barrel like Barcelona did and we’ll be demanding a premium price for his transfer and an ‘Ultra Platinum’ price if it’s an English club.
My personal gut feeling on this is that it will drag into the beginning of the season and will end at the end of August with Man Utd paying close to £20million with some instalments/add ons of some kind to ensure Arsenal get close to their asking price. Don’t be surprised if there is a cheeky City bid though. They have the money and could put £25million down right now if they wanted to.
Whatever the result, I’ve now resigned myself to the fact we’ll never see RvP banging in the goals for Arsenal, which is a shame because the way the team is shaping up his influence could have been all the more important had he just signed a new deal and embraced the love and respect he got from The Arsenal faithful. What’s more annoying is that I have a front cover programme mounted in a frame in my hallway with an article I did for the match day programme last season with his smiling face on it saying ’100 up’ – after he hit his 100th goal milestone for the club. Amazing to think you could etch your name in Arsenal’s history and scratch it out (in the eyes of fans) in the space of a season.
Serge Gnarby – possibly one of the most exciting of the latest crop of youngsters coming through – has been championing Abou Diaby as one of the best players he’s seen in training. No doubt Diaby is very talented and were he not to have suffered injury after injury since Dan Smith (who hasn’t been seen since in a footballing respect) broke him, would have starred for Arsenal at the heart of the midfield, but having seen some of his close ball control and ability to beat a man I can see why Gnarby has spoken so highly of the Frenchman. Diaby has finally managed to get himself his first full pre season under his belt and I am keeping every Falange crossed that Mr Glass survives a season without any serious injury. Were we to have a full compliment of fit players on the books, I’m not sure whether or not he would play as a first team starter, but with Rosicky and Wilshire out and Cazorla only at the club a week, we might just see Diaby given a start against Sunderland at the apex of the midfield with Arteta and Song sitting behind him. Assuming of course that Xavi hasn’t traced Song’s lineage to Catalonia and persuaded him to bunk down with Busquets by the time the big kick off comes.
Last friendly of the season tomorrow in Germany so I’ll stick a few thoughts about that on the blog tomorrow.
Have a good Friday.