Morning Grovers, let's start the post today with the good. The Arsenal Foundation, the charitable arm of the football club are using the game today to fund raise a shed load of cash to help transform young people's lives.
So what are they doing? Well, firstly, everyone in the first team squad plus the manager, is donating a days wages. I'd hope that extends to the rest of the highly paid execs, I'm sure it does. In total, that equates to about £400k... which is a good starting point. We'll also be able to get involved, so if you're heading up to the game today, make sure you raid your change jar before you roll up... there are going to be donation buckets heading around the church of Arsenal before the game. The match programme will also be donating 50pence of every sale.
The below is a bit about where the cash goes...
A donation of £70,000 has already seen Save the Children deliver its Eat, Sleep, Learn, Play! (ESLP!) and Families and Schools Together (FAST) programmes for the first time in Islington, improving the wellbeing of over 100 families in the local area. In addition, 15,000 children attending some of Beijing’s most disadvantaged schools will benefit from a £300,000 donation over three years to Save the Children to improve the quality of their education.
Arsenal in the Community, which engages more than 2,000 young people through its projects every week, has also benefited with donations towards many of its long-running programmes, as well as funding for local schools and the upgrade and refurbishment of local sports pitches in neighbouring boroughs.
Elsewhere, a donation to the Freedom from Torture Organisation has enabled Arsenal in the Community to deliver English as a Foreign Language sessions for individuals arriving in the UK that have been subjected to torture and other forms of organised violence.
For more information visit www.arsenal.com/
To make a donation, visit www.justgiving.com/
thearsenalfoundationor text ‘AFCF12’ to 70070 along with the amount you would like to donate, e.g. £1.
You can't argue with that. It's nice that there's a heavy empahsis on the local community as well as supporting causes outside the country. It's initiatives like the above the remind me of why I love the club.
But let's get one thing straight... it doesn't put the football in perspective.
DONATE BIG people... as big as those capitalised letters you hear?
So first up on the newsdar today is the tale of Diame of West Ham. Their fans love him, he's tough, he's good on the ball and he's been one of their best players this term. West Ham landed him from Wigan on a free transfer and according to David Gold, "Diame does have a release clause in his three year contract. He joined us from Wigan on a free transfer'... so that means we might be able to pick him up on the cheap. Apparently, the reason none of the big clubs have gone near him is because he has a heart problem. That's not stopped us in the past, 'he's big, he's black, he's had a heart attack...' was a familiar song from the late nineties. We'll see, could just be agent talk trying to get him a move off the back of the Chelsea result. Oli, the West Ham guest blogger gave me this comment...
'He's like a Carlton Cole (in a good way) in the centre of the park. He can hold of three players, he's deceptively quick and he can finish... and he takes players on for fun. But... sometimes he turns up and he tries to take on players and it doesn't work. He needs to learn discipline'
Myles Palmer reckons the reason Theo won't sign a new deal is down to the Top 4 clause we're putting in players contracts. If we are actually doing that, it's not surprise a team sitting in tenth can't get hot property to sign up to a new 4 year deal. It really is a no brainer for him. Go to City where they'd never put such a clause in. Surely the point of being an elite club is that you don't put clauses like that in deals? Aren't you just inviting trouble? If you give your whole squad a pay cut when you finish in 5th, you demotivate everyone and spark an exodus. If we drop out of the top 4 this season, what's going to happen? A quick fire sale? Or are we going to get in a new manager and invest properly?
Really confusing. I'd say the reason Theo won't sign is down to footballing reasons and the fact we tried to flog him in the summer. This scenario has all the hallmarks of the Flamini situation. I can see him slinking off... it's a shame, I won't cry about it like I did when we lost Cesc, but I will be upset that we'll have lost our customary two players pretty much before the summer arrives.
I saw this on The Football Ramble...
That is a real poster.
Alisher Usmanov has been re-elected president of the International Fencing Federation.
What? It's a slow news day.
Injury news is not looking good. Koscielny, Sagna, Walcott and Podolski are out for today. Santos is also out. Which is code for, 'he's a really poor player and I won't be playing him again'. The back four should be solid, Mert, Vermaelen, Jenks and Gibbs. The back four that started the year. We need 100% concentration because today is all about kick starting our charge for 3rd by Janaury. All the talk from Arteta, Vermaelen and Giroud has to convert into points and a great performance. WBA are not a good team. We should take them to town. We have rested players. No one should be jaded, so let's have no excuses today.
The team need to press, they need to move for each other and they need to be bold. Have a shot, go for the killer pass... be adventurous! The crowd need to have something to cheer. We love nothing more than seeing Arsenal ping the ball around in arrogant fashion!
Finally, if you were getting excited about us splashing big, read on...
“I have big respect for the passion about the game in England,”
“But football is more than just splashing out. It's much deeper, much bigger than that.
“It's about sweat, thinking, working hard. You have a big tradition of that in England. I believe the pride of this country historically is built on that. It's what makes this football strong and interesting.
“If you go to Nottingham Forest they have won the league. If you go to Aston Villa they have won the league. That means historically this country has always been about effort and thoughtful thinking about the game.
“I am scared that all these qualities today have less importance in the game.”
Wenger, the only solution you haven't tried is spending. It's what Chelsea, United and City all have in common. It's what Barcelona and Madrid have done for years. It's what both Milan clubs have done historically. It's not a guarantee of success, but it's a huge factor in a achieving it. Stop trying to bend the realities of investment.
Anyway, I'm going over old ground here.
Have a great day today, tear the roof off with noise and donate big!