Online season ticket… who’s in? | Leeds lowdown | Guess how much Chamakh earns?

by & filed under Match Preview, News Review.

Premier League is an addiction for the nation, it’s an addiction for an ever growing Global market of football fans. I love my football. My gripe is that I can’t have access to the away games I don’t really go to. It’s the same for the hordes of people who can’t purchase a season ticket. They don’t give up though, no football fan accepts a Saturday pottering around B&Q, or helping with the weekly shop. Oh no, we rummage around online for an illegal feed to watch the game we love.

How can we do this? Well, people from Qatar, Spain and Sweden can buy season packages to watch their team… every game. So we tap into what they’re getting via the wonders of the web.

Why can’t we see all the games? In short, I believe it’s because clubs fear for their attendances. Well, what if increased TV revenue could offset that fear?

Here is my proposition…

Micropayments Method…

  • To access the top 115 Sky games per year, you have to pay the Sky Subscription. The best games are still for Sky to show for the Premium Sky Sports cost.
  • Sky show 115 games a season. ESPN show 23 games per season. That leaves 546 available.
  • There are 10million Sky Subscribers in the UK. Let’s just assume 40% of those subscribe to Sky Sports. Out of those 4million fans, let’s assume 75% are football fans. Out of those, lets assume 1million are avid fans who would pay to watch more of their team.
  • If you want to access games that are not on Sky, you pay a monthly Sky Mobile Subscription, say £3 per month.
  • We’ve just generated an additional £3million a month for 9 months that wasn’t there before. That’s an additional £36million a season.
  • Back to the games. Let’s divide that 1,000,000 active fans by 18. That gives us 55,000 avid fans for each club that are willing to pay £3 to watch the games online. Let’s assume those fans only watch 50% of the games. So let’s say 27,500 fans from each team watch the games online. So I’m guessing every Premiership game not shown on TV could earn 55,000 legal viewers paying £3 a pop.
  • That from my maths works out at 27,270,000 additional views of football games that were lost to illegal streams. Let’s not kid ourselves that watching illegal feeds of games not as mainstream as music piracy these days. That’s an additional £90,090,000 in the coffers from quite frugal estimates. Throw that in with the monthly mobile subscription and you’ve generated the Premier League an additional £126,000,000 for doing no more than the Sky are already doing for Arab and European countries.
  • That’s £7million additional revenue for each club at a minimum, providing this is done as a pooled venture. At the bottom end of the league, Wigan Athletic only make £1.35million from season ticket sales, this options would give them 5 times that for doing nothing more than they’re doing now.

Now, I’m going to guess that actually, more than 55,000 people will tune into games as an average over a season. Then imagine you could open this type of service to a global audience. The figures are quite staggering.

People have said in the past that this type of service will stop fans going to the games. Well, if that’s the case, so be it. I wouldn’t want to share a ground with someone who’d rather watch the game on a laptop anyway. Attendances don’t seem to be affected in the states too much and they offer similar online services for the NFL and baseball. I don’t see why home nation fans should suffer with worse coverage because the clubs are here. It’s not like we’re not going because we can… we’re not going because the Premiership is one of the best attended leagues in the world.

Let me know what you think and for gods sake, don’t investigate my shoddy maths!

I’ve been having a look around the other divisions and a player that has escaped much attention is Jordan Rhodes. He’s banged in 27 goals in Ligue One this season, he’s 21, he’s English and he looks like a real live wire of a player. Now, I’m only talking about him because the leagues below the Premiership seem to avoid attention of the top clubs and I wonder why?

I’m pretty sure George Graham took advantage of hidden gems in the lower leagues to build his first Championship winning teams in the late eighties early nineties and there are plenty of teams who come up from the lower leagues and hold their own with unfashionable players. I’m not saying he’s the answer, but you’d think 72 goals in 3 seasons at 21 would be worth a look! Kevin Phillips certainly did well coming from Division Two Watford and before that a non-league side.

The draw for the FA Cup had been made, we managed to pull Aston Villa out the hat at home… not a bad team to land considering recent history.

First we’ll have to take on Leeds. Not quite as strong ad they were last season and certainly suffering from defensive frailties at the back. Really, we should take them a part, in all likelihood, I’d take a scrappy 2-0. Here is a little info from a two away supporting Leeds fans, Russ (Away Supporter) and Andy (home and away every game).

Leeds Low Down

To say we were disappointed drawing you gooners out of the hat was an understatement as genuinely thought we had a chance to go on a good cup run this season! Negative thoughts you may think, well lets take a look at it, you are on run of only 1 defeat in 10, winning 7, you have one half of Batman and now the LEGEND returns.

We on the other hand have a team with one of the worst defenses over the last 3 seasons in all 4 divisions with older players like O`Brian, Bruce, Bromby, Pugh and Michael Brown! We have no pace (except our latest Spur, Andros Townsend) in the middle of the park with Jonny Howson just not up to the captains roll, too many of our big name players, Howson, Snodgrass, Becchio just not performing with any consistency and we gave a manager who lacks a bit of passion (Burnley injury time winner last Saturday with his Mourinho like dance down the wing, an exception). We can’t see us coming away with much change BUT this is the FA cup, so we hope Arsenal field their strongest side so there are no excuses if there is an upset!

At least we’re not at Elland Road, home games have been dismal to say the least at what used to be a fortress in the past. Ken Bates you need to back you manager in the January transfer window or sack him and install a manager who can motivate the players we have there. I know all the fans (more than 5000 for a Monday night game) travelling will have another of those Leeds Utd away days of ups and downs but if we can play with passion and pride then who knows what may happen.

Back to Arsenal…

We have no full backs to call upon and if my earlier suspicions are correct I’d imagine Yennaris and Coquelin will fill in. I’m expecting to see our second string, not our kids… So I’m imagining the team will be quite bland bar hopefully AOC who should definitely start in my opinion.

Yennaris Mertesacker Koscielny Coquelin
Song Arteta Benny
AOC Chamakh Andrey

Wenger once again reiterated the importance of top four over the FA Cup and I honestly understand that. What I struggle with is the added benefit. Spurs reached the top four and brought in top quality, took things up a level and kept their best players. We’ve been in the Champions League for 14 years. It took us up a level, paid for the Stadium move partly and now we’re on a very steady footing, all the competition seems to be good for is sustaining huge wages for multiple under achieves. What joy are the fans getting? No signings, negligible effort in the cups, no chance in the league or Champions League.

We just float around satisfactory okayness. Is that really what running a football club is all about?

On the transfer front, we’ve been linked with a move for Saloman Kalou again. It’s like the manager is obsessed with him. He’s an ok player but hardly the inspirational type signing that keeps Robin on board. There have also been mutterings of a move for Abidal of Barca. The best bit of news is around the Chamakh. Fiorentina want a piece of the action with a loan move, but apparently can’t afford his wages… Thought to be £75,000 a week! You what!? That’s from The Times as well…

Anyway… enjoy tonight, I’ll be there tweeting and Instagraming pictures before and after.

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Happy Monday and a big thanks to the two Leeds fans who took time out to give us detail on Leeds!

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Ganso available if Arsenal want creativity | Thierry has to spark over 30 rethink at Arsenal

by & filed under News Review.

Happy Sunday everyone. Still no football for us to get excited about, but a top of the table grudge match between United and City in the FA Cup should be enough to keep the football cogs turning long enough in the brain for us to make it through to Monday night against Leeds.

I’m not hoping for injuries. That’d be cruel and wicked. We’re not that sort of site. Nor would we hope for red cards. Again, no football fan worth their salt wants to see Wayne Rooney fly into the crowd like Cantona to make a vicious assault because some smart Alec had a pop about his extra curricular tastes in elder women. Oh no. That’s not us. I’m just hoping for a good honest game that is finished in the 90 minutes, so we can all talk about what a wonderful advert for England the FA Cup is.

Onto Arsenal, we’re approaching the 200th article on Thierry Henry inside a week. It’s really amazing stuff. I’ve heard about Thierry as a boy, as a person, what he eats for breakfast now he’s more humble, how he likes to score goals, how he and Robin are Facebook friends… I mean honestly, the list never stops!

This morning, we’ve discovered that Thierry will take the place of Vito Mannone in the Champions League. Excellent news for the Milan game. We’ve also discovered the other players like playing with him in training. I can’t imagine why, you’d have thought the squad was all quality strikered out with Chamakh and Park banging in shots with a  90% success rate.

Wenger is still trying to talk up how much of a great man he was to let Thierry go back in the day…

“I wanted him to stay and he said, ‘look, you have a young team, they will be good in three or four years and I cannot wait. I have to go to a place where I have a chance to win’,”

“He went to Barcelona, which was completely logical. At the time he was 30. We had the same scenario last year but the only difference was that the player [Cesc Fabregas] was 24.”

Well boss, Thierry was bang on wasn’t he? The closest we went to winning something came the year after he left in 2008. The young team Wenger had brought in were liberated and Adebayor lead the charge with a team that played some very stylish football. We still didn’t have enough to push us over the line though. We bombed out in February and never recovered from there.

A few years later, the same scenario unfolded with Cesc and Samir Nasri. They wanted to win trophies and couldn’t wait for 5 years under the Arsene Wenger plan of action. Nothing seems to shake the manager in his belief that he can win trophies by spending a tiny amount of his budget on a tiny, tiny squad. Bringing Thierry back is great for the fans and it may prove to be great for the team, but long term, there’s very little value in what he’s doing because our second and third strikers will never cut the mustard.

The shame of the whole issue is that when Wenger is armed with cash and intent, he’s one of the best in the business. Well, he used to be at least. He’s just so hung up on personal goals these days it’s hard to see him ever reverting back to the manager of 97 or the man who had a net transfer spend of £44mill in the early noughties. Maybe he’s gone flat? Maybe his motivation isn’t where it used to be, or his goals have been so skewed by the stadium imposed restrictions he faced from 2004 that he can never recover the fight that made him a top, top manager.

One thing is for sure, we should really be looking after our elder statesmen. When you read through the players we shipped out before they were 30, it really does make for ugly reading. Wiltord, Robert Pires, Thierry, Paddy, Sol Campbell and Edu were all moved on when they had plenty to give.

What makes me laugh about those moves is that people always give the manager credit for shifting on players before their powers started to slip (Pires and Edu sustained terrible injuries). No one ever flags that we drive players into the ground for the best parts of their careers, demand loyalty the whole way through, then when they’re just shy of their 30th, we tell them we’ll only deal in one year contracts.

Honestly, does no one else see that as brutal? All the public pleas to get players to stay on for their prime, then to boot them out before they’re 30? No wonder players are moving on earlier these days. It’s not like we look after them in the latter years. The irony of course, is that we’re bringing them back these days to help out. Why not just have proper think about contracts for the over 30’s going forward? Why not look at their value to nearly every top club in Europe and start getting a better blend of players from the start.

Transfer gossip is at a premium… we’re ruling ourselves out of players so quickly the papers can’t make new ones up quick enough. Talksport managed to come up with a cracking article about Arsenal in fact not losing out on Marco Reus because he has a £30million buyout clause written into his new Dortmund contract. Ahhh, fabulous… we could very well see him in an Arsenal shirt this summer then!

The Daily Mail, beaten down by all of its transfer rumour failings of the last month have switched the angle on the Podolski story. He’s coming to Arsenal… of course he is… but he won’t come until the summer when we could pick him up for £8million, providing he has a bad Euro’s and no one else in the league can afford to pay that fee for a form Bundasliga player with International experience. If that’s true, which it probably isn’t, we’ll be landing ourselves a bloody bargain! Mind you, you’d have to accept than an outlay of £8million would probably be us done for the summer, so don’t get too excited about it. There have also been mutterings around Demba Ba. Firstly, I’m not sure if he’s moved around too many times inside a year already. Secondly, I can’t imagine he’ll be keen to leave a team that’s flying. Thirdly, if Wenger could have landed him on a free and he didn’t, I’m pretty sure he wouldn’t pay £10million for him 4 months on.

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If we are looking at bringing in a creative midfielder, it might be worth looking at Santos playmaker Ganso. The 22 year old is a big crowd favourite back in Brazil and he’s only 22 years old. Santos reckon they’d listen to offers and Spurs are sniffing around. We need creative spark, we need a bit of excitement in our play and this man certainly ticks all the Arsene Wenger must haves. Rumour has it he could leave for around £15million. I’d say we should be taking advantage of Economic problems in Brazil, but to be honest, they’re a booming nation. Though the Government did get involved to make sure Neymar didn’t leave Santos. I’m pretty sure they have something to do with his £120k a week contract. Check Ganso out for yourself…

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We’ll have a Suarez, the one without the N word please | Thierry is back at Arsenal

by & filed under News Review.

Finally… it happened… after writing about his impending signing, he’s here, King Thierry is back, this time with an aggressive militant beard, slightly more humility… but still with the goals. Well, the latter is what we’re still hoping for because that’s an area of our game we’re really having a problem with. We’ve become more solid as an outfit, we’ve kind of been creating chances, we just haven’t had the tools to finish off teams in the clinical fashion we used to.

I’m still slightly hazed at the thought of the greatest player in Premiership history returning. I love him dearly, I still think he has something to offer, but in the back of my mind there is still that slight nag that says, ‘the Premiership is fast, really fast, can he hack it?’ The fanfare around him joining has been extraordinary. It’s almost totally taken the focus off what we should really be doing and that’s signing players who at least have a medium term future with us.

Still, Thierry is smitten…

“Arsenal and me has always been a love story, with some bad days. Hopefully people agree with me that there were more good days than bad, but I just love the Club.”

That type of love is infectious. When Sol Campbell came back to the team a couple of years ago, he showed the kids what it meant to play in an Arsenal shirt. When the chips are down for us, hopefully Thierry can lead the way.

The manager has come out again and admitted that a left back is still on the cards. He didn’t say whether he was trialling that guy from Oman, hopefully he’s not. There’s also no mention of Richardson which seemed to come out as true last week when the rejection stories did the rounds. Wenger said that Thomas Vermaelen will be back after the Swansea game, that’s gone out a game, hopefully we’re not getting into looser return dates with the Belgian already.

We’ve also ruled ourselves out of the title race. Yeah, I know, things were all looking so damn good in the league, but Wenger has waved the white flag. No title for us this year.

‘We are fighting very hard to get in the top four, and if we can, to do better. We have just come out of the Christmas period with seven points but it is not good enough to fight for the championship because we should have made 12.’

The problem with comments like that above is that they’re becoming an all too familiar tale, we’re almost getting used to not competing for the league. What will happen in the summer? Will he go out and give us a fighting chance by making some purposeful moves, or will he once again do the bare minimum and leave us all knowing the outcome of next season before it’s started?

I wonder what impact this has on the players? Does it lead to complacency when your focus from the outset is not the ultimate prize? When I was at University, all you needed to pass the first year was 40% in each subject, how hard do you think I tried to achieve the best I could? How hard do you think 90% of the student  population round me tried? Study… or get yourself into some seriously boozed up regretful debt?

I think elements of my student attitude shone through towards the end of last season… we were still in the race quite late, undeservedly you might argue and the boys weren’t interested. Is that because in the back of their minds, they knew 4th was their 40% pass mark? Who knows… but I think the lack of ruthlessness of the manager has a direct impact on the culture amongst the players. Even if Fergie loses out on the League this year, you can bet your bottom dollar he’ll be tearing that team apart in the summer if things haven’t worked out. Will Arsene? Of course he won’t…

Wenger voiced his concerns about the ACN and the negative impact it has on players. I still for the life of me can’t understand why it has to be every two years. It smacks of greed to me and it’s detrimental to players health. If they want to host it every two years, players should have a choice as to whether they have to play it, or the clubs should.

We’re paying the wages for our players to come back broken every bi-annually. I don’t think it’s as simple as saying, ‘don’t sign African players’, because they’re some of the best in the League. The International scene is so out of kilter with the interests of the world. I do hope the clubs take FIFA on when there’s an opportunity to do so. World Football as a whole should not be held accountable to a corrupt organisation the clubs could easily do without. International football should take a back seat to club football in my opinion.

It’d be interesting to read what African Gooners think about it?

The Daily Mail, fresh of the back of linking us to every player in Europe we’re not going to sign are at it again, this time linking us with Suarez. Not the one with a penchant for pinching and liberally spraying the N word around the football pitch, oh no, I’m talking about the Argentinian Suarez nobody has been talking about this season despite scoring 14 goals in 24 appearances for Anderlecht. He’s very quick on the ball with a pair of skillful feet to boot, he’s obviously got an eye for goal and he’ll probably come equipped with that Argentinian madness as standard. I’d love it if this rumour were true, it certainly has all the hallmarks of an old school Wenger signing, however, I can’t help but think Thierry is the only movement we’ll see up front this window.

Become an expert in Suarez like me…

Wenger is due to make a decision on Ryo Miyachi, the boy is back from injury and looking very sharp and dangerous in training, the coach is just unsure of how much game time he can give him. Reading between the lines, this sounds like a situation that could be determined by who we buy. If we bring in a foreign left back for three months, or a creative midfielder, he’ll be shipped out so we fulfill our quotas (Update: My line reading is poor, he’s under 21, so he doesn’t need to be registered… back to the drawing board). If he lands an English player, he’ll likely stay. I don’t think it matters too much about inexperience outwide. It’s one of the few areas you can be a relative novice and still make an impact.

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That’s it! Enjoy FA Cup day without Arsenal!

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