Action packed news day today.
Nike is dead, long live Puma King!
No? I thought that was humour right there…
So the Americans leave us after 20 pretty fruitful years. They were probably the first step in Arsenal becoming a global brand. I remember seeing the new strips on the back of the newspaper 20 years ago. Hooped socks, little lightening flashes embossed down the shirt. Double smart. We were the only team in the league to boast the swoosh of the American sports designer. It raised our game big time. We had Bergkamp, then followed Wenger, then followed the magic years.
They had some pretty memorable kits as well. The gold shirt we won the league at Old Trafford, the blue lightening strike number… the best shirt ever which was the O2 red one. What a great design that was! The designs did tire towards the end though. Such a shame. So we have an exiting partner, but one we can be proud of.
Incoming is an ailing sports brand (Gucci offsetting their poor performance). They’ve struggled to make an impact over the past few years. Arsenal are the prized asset in their portfolio, they’ve paid good money for a team that has done precisely bugger all in 9 years. They’ve bought into potential. If the deal works out well for us, it means we’ll have stagnated as a team. If it works out well for them, it’ll mean they just backed a winner when the odds were pretty weak. Then we’ll all be saying ‘WE WERE MUGGED’… but as I’ve said before, we have no right to have a massive deal. Shirts are sold based off the back of on the pitch success, not an incredible balance sheet.
For them, they’re buying into a club that plays beautiful football loaded with future England stars as well as a club that could attain hipster status in Europe’s biggest economy, Germany. We could push their brand to new levels if we fulfill, or we could be an ugly blight on their already ugly looking balance sheet.
One thing they haven’t factored in is the tubby nature of UK football fans. Man, we love to drink, we love a gut. This skin tight nonsense really is going to put a few fans out of place. I’m blessed that the beer guy gene, so far, has yet to hit me. I’ll be fine, some of the guys that sit around me, well, let’s just say protein shakes will be the half time beverage for they next few months. Not exactly a lot of athleticism going on at the Emirates!
Not that I wear football shirts, I’m not 15 years old… I know that always offends people… but come on, wear a retro shirt or something!
Anyway, Puma are an exciting brand, they’ve less mainstream cool about them, but their sports design looks great and they really aren’t afraid to get creative. A massive win and a deal that let’s us fight with any club for the best players.
Well played Arsene Wenger, great deal brokering.
What? Don’t tell me it wasn’t Arsene’s choice…
Jose has been slagging off our fixture list stating that we get more help than his side do. I read this, and ignored it because I thought it was nonsense. Wenger has fired back with a comment I’m not sure he fully understands.
“You will see Arsenal are behind all the other teams. In the last five years all the objective studies that have been made show Arsenal had less rest than any other team in the top four.
“That is fact. It has nothing to do with my opinion. It is an independent company that made [the study] that shows Arsenal had less rest than any other team in the top level.”
Kind of feel that’s a little bit of a blag… but I don’t think he’s a million miles off. We have had a nightmare schedule this year, mainly because of how our games have been ordered. We’ve played United and City at the back end of long game cycles and we’ve had nasty draws in the Champions League.
Also, it’s worth noting, that regardless of rest, we have less players we can use. That’s not Jose’s fault, but I’m pretty sure if you did a study into players used and minutes played, we’d have more over exerted players from a smaller pool of talent. In fact, I guarantee it, where are the stat geeks to prove my gut feel right?
This is a really depressing draw because it means we’ll have to play Bayern, Liverpool x2 and United in 11 days. What a disaster. No chance to rest really. It’s a horror show. You can’t take Liverpool in the FA Cup lightly because if you lose, you hand them the momentum in the league. It’s bad news. Still, if we beat them, chances are, Arsene will go for the jugular in that competition. We’d have beaten Spurs and a title contender. So at least that raises the prospect of a trophy.
However, we know how much Arsene wants to win the Champions League. To beat Bayern, you must be fresh. Their fixture build up to Arsenal is easy. Nurnberg ( League position: 17th), Hamburg (16th) and Freiburg (15th). Their last game is on the 15th Feb, so we have to pray the FA give us a Saturday game so we can prepare properly. Even then, after a catalogue of 3 intensive games, it’ll still be tough. Bayern can rest their whole first team from the 2nd of Feb as they’re playing 4 of the bottom 5.
WHAT A JOKE.
In other news, Liverpool fans have written to their clubs about the £93 FA Cup tickets… they’ve grassed on us, the slags…
Just kidding. £63-93 is an absolute liberty. I don’t care much for Liverpool or their fans, however, the average wage up there is not what it is down here. £63-93 is a massive layout wherever you live. Clubs really shouldn’t allow a situation where away fans get hammered with premium away priced. I pondered why away fans should be subsidised a few months ago… it could seem unfair to home support… but let’s face it, away fans are hardcore, they live football harder than anyone and they get the ground rocking.
‘Are you saying away fans are more hardcore than home fans’… yeah, I am. Sorry if that statement makes you wet your pants.
Clubs should either all group together and come to a deal on lower prices or they should subsidise their fans according to game. The cost of subsidising 3000 tickets by £35 is £105,000, for big clubs, surely they can bake this into their costs? How much did TV deal money go up by? How much have commercial revenues climbed? Give the fans a helping hand… share the wealth.
It’s the right thing to do…
Anyway, on a final sad note, probably the most depressing attempt at denigrating my site occurred last night when someone dug out a tweet from two years ago that mocked a warning I posted about one of my close female pals suffering an attempted sexual assault at Finsbury Park station. That’s the depths people will go to. Was there any ‘outrage’? No, despite it being retweeted by someone with 6,000 followers. 2 weeks previously, the whole of twitter went nuts because a I had an incident with an overseas fan. Yesterday, nothing. Kind of tells you that anything is acceptable when it comes to Le Grove. Disappointing, because the trolls really are ruining an amazing medium for not just me, but everyone who has an opinion one way or the other.
Still, it’s worth noting, nothing will ever stop me writing what I think. I’ll never tone it down. I’ll never pander to keyboard warriors. It’s just a shame that writing a blog for free going on 7 years about Arsenal can lead to such vitriolic abuse. I’m game for a laugh, I’m happy to debate with anyone, I don’t always think I’m right, I’ve never got into anything more than a passionate debate offline… yet somehow, we’ve got into this sorry situation online where vitriolic abuse is congratulated.
There we go, football blogging is what it is. I’ll just block and ignore going forward. Which is a real shame.
I’m just lucky that despite the idiots, I have an amazing global community of great people who post on the site daily, chat on and offline and make it all worth it.
Have a great day people, and thanks to everyone who does make this a great experience.
P.S. The kit picture is courtesy of @Dazzadub, give him a follow.