On the last Arsenal Opinion Podcast, Alex and I pondered whether the club would keep it classy and pay the casual workers through this crisis. As you know, lots of people in hospitality and entertainment have had the financial rug well and truly pulled through no fault of their own. Arsenal has a lot of casual workers, so while our professional footballers continue to rake in the big pound notes, concern was directed at the fate of the not-so-well-off folk that keep the club going on the shop floor.
Well, Vinai dropped the news we all wanted to hear, Arsenal is going to support our people.
“We are truly grateful for the outstanding efforts of all our staff across the club every day. We rely on their tireless service to provide a first-class experience for our fans, on matchdays and non-matchdays.
“These are challenging times for everyone, but in particular our casual workers. This gesture is intended to ease their financial uncertainty while football is currently suspended to April 30.
“We look forward to welcoming football back to Emirates Stadium as soon as possible.”
Absolute class. That’s the sort of thing that makes me proud to be an Arsenal fan. The club has only put the April 30th date down because the league hasn’t decided what the deal is moving forward. I hope that the club will continue to support the staff beyond that date; if they can’t, it’d be nice if the players could weigh-in to help.
I cannot tell you how happy this news makes me!
Shows you that football is more than a business. They really, really don’t need to do that.
The club also cancelled the first team return to training tomorrow. Sensible. The UK was very badly behaved this weekend, people channelling their WWII spirit don’t seem to understand that their ‘carry-on’ attitude is deeply damaging to taming the dreaded curve. Behave. Stay in. This isn’t about you. It’s about the hospitals and the vulnerable that people who take the hardest hit.
Mikel Arteta is back to fitness. He had this to say to La Sexta, a Spanish TV Channel, not a sexy number you call when you’re all alone on a Friday night.
“I’m very well now, I feel that I have recovered,”
“It took me three or four days to start feeling much better and with more energy, to leave the symptoms behind and now, the truth is that I feel very well.”
“Everything happened very fast. On Tuesday afternoon I was feeling so-so and I went to see the doctor but he wasn’t there.
“I got a call from the board of directors after training while I was in my car and they told me that the president of Olympiakos had tested positive and everyone that had been in contact was at risk.
“I went on to tell them that I wasn’t feeling well and that we had a situation because we had lots of players that had been in contact with them [Olympiakos].
“We had a game against Manchester City the next day and obviously we couldn’t put lots of people at risk without saying anything.
“I had the test done last Wednesday and I was diagnosed on Friday, when we had to communicate it to the Premier League that I had tested positive.
“Obviously all those that had been in contact with me had to go into quarantine, and consequently, games had to be suspended.”
Glad he’s back in business. I am quite interested to see what a preseason with these players is going to do to their form. They’ll certainly be able to push their fitness to new limits. We’ll learn whether the reduction in pressing was related to tactics, fitness, or the types of players we have.
It’ll also be interesting to see what a month to 6 weeks of elite coaching does to the squad selection. Does it make certain younger players more appealing for starting roles? How far can he push Reiss Nelson? You’d imagine younger players that are fitter, hungrier and more malleable will probably grow the most. Anyway, could be a massive positive for our season… or, it could just show as that the type of football we’re playing now is where it has to be until we bring in new players.
Finally, our thoughts are with the Grovers from around the world wrestling with this nightmare. Ernest in the comments, our thoughts are with you and your wife. Big love to everyone, stay safe and keep your distance if you can.
ALSO, a massive thanks to anyone on the frontline. The people volunteering, coming out of retirement, delivering, making sure the power stays on, working the frontlines in the hospitals, manning the phones to help people who are struggling mentally.
YOU ARE THE BEST! xx