Upper deck and the outside deck all ready...
This is a somewhat belated account of what took place last Saturday... mainly because it's taken that long to recover!
When Fulham away was announced for the Bank Holiday weekend in August, we were over the moon. Then came the wait, and wait, and wait, for the live TV fixtures to be revealed. Thanks to BT Sport, our plans were thrown sideways - what with the match being broadcast at 12.45pm on the Saturday. Apart from Monday night, this was the worst possible outcome! But we ploughed on with our plans to hold a big party for Gooners, on the Thames.
So following a lot of dialogue as to how we should play it, discussions with the boat hire company, and agreement on what we'd do, we announced it to our members. BSM on the Thames was happening!
Unfortunately the original plan of docking at Putney wasn't possible due to the early kick-off. Tide levels at that time of day meant the larger party boats on the Thames could not dock there - only the smaller 'river bus' style vessels could do that. Our party was designed to be a party, not a bus service - we wanted a big boat to cater for all our guests, so even with that spanner thrown into the works, on we ploughed!
Gauging the responses from people up for our party, we felt that attendance at the afternoon's match was secondary; the main event was getting people together for a good old-fashioned booze cruise on the river. Arsenal fans together, some quality music, a cracking sing-song and a great time. So following the promotion work, online bookings and loads of chat looking forward to it, the day finally arrived. And so did the poxy rain! Spanner after spanner thrown at us, but fuck it - we're The Arsenal and we keep on.
8am on a dreary Saturday morning, Gooners started to arrive at Temple Pier in central London; a fair few tired but expectant faces, looking forward to what was about to happen. Those of us who'd arranged the party boarded the boat to get it all set up and ready to go. We'd chosen what we felt was the right boat for this event; Large enough to hold a lot of partygoers? Check. More than one bar to cater for thirsty Gooners? Check. Good sound system to pump out the tunes? Check. Large outside deck so our guests could soak up that late summer sun? Check... well, we can't control the weather, right? Overall we felt we'd chosen a great vessel for our party - it was one of the largest party boats on the Thames, it ticked all the right boxes, so we were more than happy with the choice we'd made.
The ones and twos all set up!
8.45am arrived, and the boat started to fill up. The vast majority headed straight upstairs and to the bar... and with that the party had begun. Drinks were bought and as the long line of Gooners on the pier made their way onto the boat, we prepared to set sail and get the party going.
9am, and it was time to go. The Captain got us moving and the tunes kicked in. What followed was three hours of top, top quality partying, Arsenal style. The music on board was chosen specifically for the crowd with a mixture of old school R&B, hip-hop, house, you name it. And of course any Arsenal party wouldn't be complete without the old classics such as The Laughing Gooner, and tunes aplenty from our favourites The Riders of the Night. EYES RIGHT!
Best city in the world!
Being on the Thames, we of course saw all the sights and luckily the rain held off, allowing loads of Gooners to spend their trip drinking and partying on the outside deck. Our boat was decorated with Arsenal flags, the songs were loud and proud, and we got a fair few approving waves (and some expected 'gestures') from people on the bridges above us!
I personally got to meet so many people on the day, it was like a whirlwind of handshakes, great chat, drinking and having a real good laugh. The comments we received all day long were superb, too - and if I had a quid for every time I got asked when we were doing it again, I'd have enough to afford a round of beers at Emirates!
As the party entered the final stretch, the mood on board was as upbeat as you can get. It reminded you of just how great it is to support this amazing old club of ours, and how when we're together as fans there's nothing better.
The lads from the Bridgehouse
Midday came and that marked the end of the party... well, the end of the party on the boat!
As a lot of Gooners left the boat and made their way to Craven Cottage, there were around 100 of us who were ready to carry on elsewhere, as we'd made alternative arrangements for fans to see the game in a nearby pub.
After ensuring everyone had made it off the boat, it was onwards to the boozer... and that's when the heavens opened. As we walked across Westminster Bridge singing all manner of Arsenal tunes, the rains came down but our spirits couldn't be dampened.
Over and over and over again!
Let's just say, we took over the pub. There's no other way of putting it. The place was packed with Arsenal and in addition to around 100 who came from the boat party, there were more who'd heard of us going there and joined in.
To top it all off, the boys on the pitch put in a superb performance and secured the three points, which just made the whole day even sweeter.
My memory from the latter part of the day isn't too great; I can't remember how I got home but I made it back somehow. Completely drenched thanks to loads more rain later that evening but by that point I didn't care. I'd had one of the best days in all my years of supporting The Arsenal. I'd spent it with friends old and new, having a drink, a sing-song and celebrating the fact we're Arsenal. Fuck all the rest.
Up The Gunners
It's now 96 days since the end of last season. You know, that point where we were really going to take things seriously and act with real ambition in the summer transfer market. Like the big boys do, we were going to have our targets already lined up, and get them in with plenty of time for them to gel, pre-season.
But of course, this is Arsenal. Ambitious? Maybe in the heads of some people within the club, but in reality we've simply taken that FORWARD motto and pissed all over it from a great height. Forward about what? Banking money, lying to fans? Definitely. Forward in a positive way on the pitch? Haha, do me a favour.
Anyway, we're now into the season and having lost our first league game and with the squad already struggling on the injury front, we have a mammoth 10 days left to put it right, and put it right... err... in the right way. Free transfers, has beens and almost-rans won't be acceptable and won't do much to stem the overflowing anger among Arsenal fans. Mister Wenger, today you said you have "some funds" available. Well you'd better spend all of that "some funds" because you have 10 days to put this right, especially as even your most loyal backers are walking away at some pace.
Be it Wenger, Dick Law, or Gazidis not being strict enough with his direct report, the transfer window has been a shambles. It was predictable despite Uncle Ivan's bullshit, sorry, spin... sorry, UBER positive promises, and it's become so dull, so quiet that even the famous tumbleweed is close to falling asleep.
Luckily the decent win against Fenerbahce has restored a bit of happiness among fans and boy was it needed. With a hefty three-goal cushion and away goals at that, let's hope after three points at Fulham we can coast the second leg and be well-rested for when that lot turn up the following. And of course it'd be even better IF we have some real top quality additions signed by then. I won't be holding my breath but I will keep my fingers crossed. If we can get to the game against the unwashed with 3 league points, a place in the Champions League group stages, and with some real quality signings, just imagine how great it would feel turning them over. Even better than it usually does.
Everyone will have by now seen Arsenal fan Chris Hudson's rant on Arsenal Fan TV, following the defeat against Villa. He followed that up with an interview with them after the Fenerbahce game, which for me is absolutely spot on...
"It did come from the heart, cos The Arsenal Football Club mean a lot to me, and they mean a lot to a lot of people. I just want the people at Arsenal, especially the Board, to wake up. Forget me, it's not about me; it's about all the little kids who follow The Arsenal, people who've been over here since the 30s, you've GOT to listen to the fans, and don't let them down. You MUST not let the supporters down"
So below, I'm going to use a rare war cry that was sometimes heard on the old North Bank at Highbury (the REAL North Bank, not the stand with seats) with hope in my heart that we can get our league campaign going tomorrow.
And if you're with us for BSM on the Thames, I'll see you in the morning for a few beers, a good old Arsenal sing-song and a cracking party with like-minded Gooners.
Up The Gunners
"Is it down to the lake I fear? Ay, ya, ya-ya yaaa ya! Ay, ya, ya-ya ya yaaa ya ya!"
Well, someone was bound to refer to the Haircut 100 song after that headline, so I thought I'd get in first. Anyway...
What a mess this club is in. On Friday I posted a plea to matchgoing fans to get behind the team, as the players need all the help they can get. We all know what happened on the pitch so I won't go on about that.
You will have seen that in the early hours of Sunday morning, we published a letter which we'd sent to Ivan Gazidis, expressing our deep concern over the state of things at the club. This was by no means a knee-jerk reaction following Saturday's lame defeat; it followed a summer where we'd made a decision not to pester the club. We wanted to give them a chance to act with ambition and focus, but yet again it's been another summer of Arsenal doing nothing.
To say the letter received some interest is an understatement. The news article on our website attracted over 130,000 hits, we've picked up a hell of a lot of new followers across social media, the letter received national press coverage, we've had over 1,000 new members join the BSM, and our mailboxes are overflowing.
A fair few people have asked us whether we think Ivan Gazidis will respond. With the amount of coverage our letter received, I'd like to think that he or someone else from the club will have the courtesy of sending a reply. It would be foolish not to, in my opinion.
As for the position the club finds itself in, we now have less than two weeks until the transfer window closes and yet again there's talk, and more talk about who we're looking to sign. Today I've seen more about Ashley Williams (yes please), and Michu (yes, he'll do too) in a double swoop on Swansea. Not the mega signings that would necessarily bring the Bergkamp and Campbell kind of excitement among fans, but we'll take pretty much anyone now please! Strangely, today I've also seen Paul Pogba linked. Paul Pogba, the bloke who got released by Man United? Seriously?!
Only thing is, as we hurtle towards that window slamming shut, it becomes even more of a seller's market. You know Arsene Wenger always says how much he hates the January transfer window because desperate clubs are taken for a ride by sellers who demand higher transfer fees? Well we're about to walk into that overpriced shop now. I've seen Michu being touted at £25m today... that's what we'll get for leaving it late.
Uncle Ivan's words in June about our "financial firepower" would have alerted any sellers at that point, anyway. "Arsenal have loads of cash, let's up the price a bit". However, we've now got to the point where the season has started, we've lost our opening game at home to a team we should beat every time, we're desperate, and the wheels of the trolley are being oiled for the latest dash. We'd better take along an extra few quid with us on that dash, because our piss poor dawdling has put us in an absolutely poxy position.
All summer I've seen the uber-positive types tell fidgety fans to stay calm, that it will all be okay. As the days and weeks have passed, the messages have become a bit more frantic. And a bit more, and a bit more. The last time I checked, it was at Chip Diller (played by a young Kevin Bacon) in Animal House level. Now those people have either passed out, been trampled under the waves of realists and/or 'moaners', or they've given up hope themselves. Feeling among fans is the lowest I've ever seen, and the blame for that lies squarely at the feet of those running our club.
The clock is ticking. Still. And sellers are rubbing their hands together. For the sake of the club, the team, and more than all, the mistreated fans, come on Arsene, Ivan, and Dick Law. Pull your fingers out and get busy. Now.
Up The Gunners
Day 89 since the end of last season, and tomorrow we head into a new campaign. It was hoped and envisaged that this summer we'd take the transfer market seriously, invest some of that huge wad of cash we have in the bank, and hit the ground running ready to mount a serious challenge on all fronts. It's needed, it was anticipated, and yet again it hasn't happened. We've been through the hopes, we've been through a huge increase of ITKs spouting shit about the players "100% signed" (and of course showing themselves up)... and despite this being a HUGE summer for the club, we've come up shorter than Ronnie Corbett kneeling down. In a ditch.
Tomorrow, Aston Villa arrive at Emirates and given all the crap that's been going on at The Arsenal this summer, they probably fancy their chances. I guarantee their fans do; a bigger mob of lairy visiting supporters you'll be hard-pressed to find. Many neutrals maybe fancy Villa too. However, I have one thing to say: we are THE ARSENAL.
This club has always reacted when apparently backed into a corner. It's always come out fighting when the chips are down. We sneer in the face of adversity and say "We're The Arsenal, who the fucking hell are you?!". This is one of those times, and it's time we stood together.
So if you're going to the game tomorrow, I ask this of you. Get 100% behind the team on the pitch. Cheer them, sing loudly and passionately. Show them that despite what's going on with the management of this club, your love of The Arsenal will always prevail.
I know the squad is balsa wood weak at the moment but last weekend's game against Man City showed that we have a starting eleven who can mix it with the big boys. The players we have now seem much more committed than in previous seasons, and we have some real quality in the team. I know we could really challenge if we spent some of that cash on top quality additions, but tomorrow is tomorrow and we need to let the players know how much we support them.
It's obvious that there is a lot of ill feeling towards the powers that be in Highbury House, and most of it is absolutely justified. I've never seen an Arsenal fanbase so divided, so full of anger, and if last season's fighting in the stands is anything to go by, the potential this time around is even worse. Whose fault is that? Those running our club. They have driven a wedge between supporters, they have created the situation we're in. But the players who take to the pitch have nothing to do with what goes on behind the scenes so that's why I ask that you give them your backing 100%. At the BSM we've always called for fans to get fully behind the team on the pitch and this is no different.
Your team needs YOU. Make some noise and let's get help the lads get three points.
"United, West Ham, Liverpool......"
Up The Gunners
Since the day we formed this supporters' group, our aims have been laid down in black and white. They're on this website for anyone to read, and if you've taken the time to have a look, you'll have seen that our focus has nothing to do with what happens on the pitch.
Like any other fan, as individuals we'll be pissed off when things aren't going right, over the moon when things are great at our club; it's how a football fan operates. Always has done, always will do.
Of course where the BSM is concerned, there's a point that's been done to death... but it's a point that keeps getting revived by those who refuse to read or listen. Some still maintain we've got "an agenda", that as a group something is bubbling under, and we're conjuring up some grand plan to attack the man running the team at Arsenal. Sorry to go all Steve Davis on you, but there's no hidden agenda. If you still think there is one, can you get Lionel Blair over to Give Us A Clue?
Naturally there are some who don't like what we do because we dare to criticise the club. But we've always said that we're not a group to brown nose and nod along excitedly, hoping Uncle Ivan throws us a bone (or biscuit) every year. We'll be refreshingly honest and say it like it is. Something needs to be said? If it's good or if it's bad, we'll give our viewpoint.
We've done a couple of walks which were designed to raise awareness of how the club was treating loyal fans, and anyone on these walks will confirm that they contained a LOT of pro-Arsenal singing. You see, our members and supporters are people who love The Arsenal. Before these walks we had a LOT of back and forth with some, and the conversations went like this:
Them: "It'll be a 'Wenger Out' protest"
Us: "No it won't"
Them: "It'll turn into one"
Us: "No it won't"
Them: "People will hijack it and make it one"
Us: "No they won't"
Them: "Er, well the press will report is as one"
Us: "No they won't"
And of course, it transpired that neither walk was anything to do with the Manager. If we wanted to change tack and go for Arsene Wenger, surely we'd have done so on these walks; however we didn't, as our aims have always been clear. Nothing to do with the Manager. Board? Definitely, as they control the things we're focused on. Ticket pricing? Yes. Atmosphere? Yes. Matchday experience? Yes. Food & beverages? No, that's another supporters' group. The club's relationship with fans? Definitely.
A couple of weeks ago, we appeared on the podcast 'A Bergkamp Wonderland' to talk about the group, about ourselves as supporters and generally have a rabbit about The Arsenal. Lovely stuff. Anyone who listened to that podcast will have learned our personal feelings about the club, and how as individuals we feel about the Manager. A lot of myths were dispelled, and feedback since then was very positive. Glad we put a few people straight.
What's funny though, is that from being a group that was slagged off for apparently targeting the Manager, we're now being criticised for not targeting him. Once again, I'd suggest these people have a read of our aims and objectives.
I get a lot of stuff thrown my way on Twitter demanding we take action against the Manager, and it generally follows this theme: "Do a Wenger Out protest, do a Wenger Out protest!" ... "Why are you refusing to do a Wenger Out protest?" ... "When will you wake up and protest against Wenger?" ... "Do a Wenger Out protest!!!!" ... "Raaaaahhhhh!!!!!!".
However, our position has always been clear. You want a Wenger Out protest? Arrange one yourself.
We get the response: "But you've got a lot of followers, you have numbers!". So?
Yes we have a lot of members, yes we have a lot of followers. We've worked hard to get a following and to build a membership. This work has been based on our aims as a group and the work is paying off. The club are taking note and we shall continue to push on.
You want someone with numbers to help you out? Justin Bieber has a lot of followers - get him to sort a protest for you. Or of course you could just get off your lazy arse, and put the work in to arrange something yourself.
It seems there are groups who claim claim to be taking action and working to arrange some form of masterplan to oust Arsene Wenger as Manager. I'm interested to see what these plans are, because on the surface it seems to me like yet another case of cyber warrior hot air... lots of talk and threats, but no action. But then regular as clockwork, these people will shift focus away from their invisible 'plans' and try to put the spotlight on us. They'll moan again, that we're not arranging anything.
Nothing from the BSM that you can piggyback? Diddums.
Up The Gunners
Day 86. It's now 86 days since we went through that squeakiest of squeaky bum games to scrape 4th place by a solitary point. Some fans rejoiced. Champions League again! In case you were also wondering, it's been 63 days since Uncle Ivan's much-hyped Fanboy Spinathon.
Fact is, with Walcott crocked in training for England and Ramsey carrying a knock, we're looking vulnerable before a ball has even been kicked. Wait for more inevitable injuries and the odd suspension, when we'll be royally shafted.
Recently we created a nice little graphic showing the numbers 71 and 04, because here at the BSM we love those numbers. Of course, it doesn't take much to work out what those lovely digits refer to!
At the time we were asked if we could put them on a t-shirt so we duly obliged, and it seems people like the thought of rubbing it in with our Middlesex neighours, so orders have been flying in!
In response to some other requests we put together some further designs. Take a look at the t-shirts and other pieces on offer by clicking here. And naturally, if there's anything you'd like us to include on a shirt for you, just give us a shout.
Up The Gunners
I'm lost... no really I am. Before I go hell for leather into this let me state - I've always been pro Wenger. The last few seasons I have classed myself as a 'Wenger Fencer' neither AKB nor AOB. But at the moment I am slipping off of that fence and I'm lost.
Highbury Harold's done a good piece below on the game yesterday and yes I agree in isolation it was a cracking result. Please, don't lose sight though that it was a pre season friendly and all too often have we created few chances and converted even fewer. If it weren't for some last ditch tackles and a couple of decent saves Citeh could have been out of sight there yesterday. Thankfully they weren't. Spirits are high, and what better than to get new players in on the back of a great result like that!?
Ok - so why am I lost? I'll tell you.
We've shipped out 26 players this season. Either on loan, or left to pastures new. Now, whilst I cannot argue a lot of those players weren't fit to be in the squad in the first instance, it leaves us seriously threadbare for the new season, doesn't it? Even if by some miracle we were to bring Suarez and Fellani in, that's 2 players. We're still 24 down?
To me it's fairly simple. If our club is in the latter stages of the CL / FA Cup / League Cup and still in the top 3 / 4 then we'll burn out come March / April. It's simple. We do it every season. Chasing 4 trophies and ending up with none. It was a blessing in disguise that we were dumped out of the domestic cups so early last season as it meant we only had the league to concentrate on.
I've said it in the past and i'll still say it now. A 1st 11 fully fit will give anyone a game. A 1st 11 with 2 / 3 injuries is left badly exposed and that is where we are now. I could be wrong and we may go all season without a single injury... but, can you see this?
Oh, and one final thing... has anyone seen Thomas Vermaelen recently? What the hell's happened there!?
Anyway - i'll leave it there. Look forward to 3 points Vs Villa and seeing you all on the boat vs Fulham.
Up The Gunners...
David O'Leary (@mediabsm)
So that's that for pre-season, and now it's almost time to get down to business.
Yesterday we rounded off our warm-up for the new campaign with a 3-1 win over Man City in Helsinki. I have to say I didn't expect anything like that result and the same has to be said for the majority of people I'd seen commenting before the game.
Theo got things going with a fine finish and as I mentioned yesterday on Twitter, he's become a much better finisher when he doesn't have much time to think about the situation. It's those moments where he does have time where work is needed; at the moment I'd not be confident of him finishing the majority of one-on-ones that come his way. A top, top striker puts those away in his sleep.
Ramsey had another good game and got on the scoresheet, and Giroud rounded off our scoring. Both have shown some fine form recently which is encouraging.
It's fair to say that both players have come in for a shed load of stick from Arsenal fans over the past year - unwarranted in my opinion. Ramsey hit a poor run of form playing out of position, but I always recall how influential he started to become in our midfield before that thug Shawcross came along. I'm hopeful he can get that form back because I still think he has a lot to offer.
Giroud for me had a decent first season in English football. I liked his willingness to get stuck in, he didn't seem as lazy as people made him out to be, and although he does spend a bit of time preening on the pitch, I still think he's a fighter. Is he the answer up front for us? No, I still think we need a proven, top quality goalscorer. But I think Giroud is a decent player to have.
After the game, a particular comment from Arsene Wenger has us all wondering / hopeful / puzzled:
"I think what is important is the strength of the squad. Today is one game. We want to play 55 games and we are maybe a bit thin squad-wise to go through a whole season"
Firstly, he is admitting that the squad isn't strong enough. That should mean signings on the way, shouldn't it? We can only hope. As for the 55 games thing, I'm hoping that's based on some kind of average stat over the last few years. Because a full league and Champions League campaign (assuming we *ahem* make the final) would mean around 4 other games spread across the domestic cup competitions.
As for potential new signings, the Metro reported that we'd agreed a £14m deal for Bayern Munich midfielder Luiz Gustavo. Naturally that was pounced upon by everyone and now we have the nationals reporting it too.
Normally a transfer rumour in the Metro would be as watertight as a sieve, but I think we're all so desperate for new signings we'd take Louis Walsh if Luiz Gustavo didn't happen. I'm sure the little Irishman could do a job for us somewhere. When Uncle Ivan's 'Bloggers Inner Circle' starts to turn, you know things are desperate. Quick Mark Gonnella, do some more 'smoothing out' before they rebel even more.
Before the season starts, of course there's another annoying international friendly in the way. I hate these with a passion and seeing Jack Wilshere in England's squad to face Scotland has me a bit concerned. He's hardly played because of injury so let's hope "gweat wesilience, twemendous pwessure" Woy doesn't play Jack for too long. Wrap him in cotton wool and get him back safe.
So it's almost here, people. For all the outrage at another piss poor transfer window and (so far) lies aplenty from Uncle Ivan, when Saturday rolls around we have to forget our differences off the pitch and unite once again, 100% getting behind the boys and cheering them on to victory. As my old mucker Afrika Bambaataa once said, it's all about Peace, Unity, Love, and Having Fun.
Up The Gunners.
Day 84 since the end of last season, and just over 6 to go until we kick off the new one against Aston Villa. Still, our squad is in need. Plenty of time!!!
Today we have our final pre-season friendly, against Citeh out in Helsinki. I've said all along that this is really the only pre-season game where we'll get some idea as to our chances for the coming season.
A few games against nothing teams in the Far East were just a runaround. Last weekend's Emirates Cup matches were slow-paced training games and thanks to that arsehole Drogba - who came out with an outrageous dive even by his standards - we ended up with nothing but pissed off fans.
Man City have had the kind of pre-season I really wanted us to have. Early, quality signings (obviously following plenty of early prep work) and all business done a month before the start of the season. That has meant plenty of time for the new arrivals to get to know their new teammates, get used to the way the (new) manager wants them to play, and obviously their aim has been to hit the ground running. It's how a team with serious ambitions should work.
Of course we all know that for The Arsenal, it's yet another case of 'Let's Go Round Again'. Groundhog Day. Same old same old. Boring. The manager might as well make a tape recording to play at his press conferences these days, because it's the same old answers over and over and over again. The squad I have is good enough, we concentrate first on the players we have here, yes we're working hard, no we're not close to signing anybody. Oh well Ivan, maybe your words will one day mean something.
Back to the game today, I'm assuming we'll just about have enough players available for it to go ahead. Both should put out something like their strongest line-up (a few have said to me ours will be our ONLY line-up) so you'd think we'll be able to get a flavour. I have to say I'm not at all confident having seen how Citeh have been knocking the ball about in pre-season so far. A draw I'll be happy with, but let's just hope a half decent Arsenal performance doesn't skew Wenger's view as to the actual ability of this squad.
While we're out in Finland though, any chance of us seeing if Mika Hakkinen can play a bit of football?
Up The Gunners.
Well some no doubt like the odd bit of Jazz, but 80s heads out there may remember the old Johnny Hates Jazz tune which went "now you're giving me, giving me, nothing but shattered dreams, shattered dreams". Seems Arsenal are giving us the same, yet again.
However, after The Master Of Spin had finished his Season-Ticket-Renewal-Time Spinathon 2013, many of us thought "Finally!!". All talk was on how powerful we were financially and everything pointed to us finally acting like the big club we are, and taking things seriously in the transfer market. We'd arrived.
Of course what's happened since then is very much par for the course. Piss all going on in terms of quality coming in, and I'm sorry but a postman with one leg from Ligue 2 who hasn't played for 6 years isn't the kind of inspirational arrival we've hoped for. It's another Aumary Bischoff gamble but this time spun and spun as if Ronaldo had just come walking through the door.
It's now 82 days since the end of last season and we've just over 7 days until the new one kicks off. We've dumped a LOT of dead wood which is great, freed up a LOT of wages which is better, and... zilch. Nada. Nowt. Nishmans. Bugger all. The money has been banked, as per usual.
Of course there have been the "nailed on" signings and I'm looking forward to seeing Bernard, Jovetic, Higuain, Rooney and the like pull on that famous red & white shirt. Erm. That's the ITK mob for you; full of shit and serving only to raise fan hopes then create a huge shit storm when the transfers don't happen. Still looking forward to @rajpatel1809 doing his Michael Douglas 'Falling Down' routine come September 2nd. He hates ITKs more than I do.
So this morning I'm greeted first thing by the utterly crass Media Watch spamming tweet from Arsenal. That page and that practice HAS to go. Arsenal's way (as much as it keeps fans hanging on) has always been to keep schtum on speculation and transfer stories until there's something to actually talk about. All this page is, is a vehicle to drive traffic to the Arsenal website. It's spam. It's crap. It needs to go. We can all get to NewsNow and choose whichever piece of made-up rubbish we want to read. No need for Arsenal to lower itself in this way.
Then I see the back page of The Sun with the big headline off the back of John Henry's "you're not going anywhere" declaration to Luis Suarez. The little 'Especially not to Arsenal' subtitle was there to really cheer us up!
Also there are rumours that Flamini is training with us. Great! What was that motto? FORWARD. Please let's not go down that Elastoplast route yet again. He walked out on us - why entertain him now?
No getting away from it, this summer has been yet another absolute shambles for Arsenal in the transfer market. The glass overflowing types have been clutching furiously at those straws and repeating what the Manager has preached: "Nobody else is doing anything, the market is slow, things take time!!" they've screamed. To that, I say "Bollocks". Man City had their business done a month before the season began, with a view to hitting the ground running. Chelsea have a new (old) manager and have bought, and that lot down the road have done over £60m on players. Nobody doing anything? Okay, you believe what you want.
"But who have Man United signed?!" is another question I get. There will no doubt be more but so far, Zaha has come in Remember him? Another "nailed on" signing of ours. And let's not forget they walked the title last season so their squad can't be too bad.
But let's focus on ourselves for a second and not use others as an excuse. It seems all eggs are going in the Suarez basket and yes it does seem crazy that we've put in a bid that absolutely obliterates our transfer record for a signing, but we need to move on other signings, and move NOW. I've seen numerous reports from yesterday's Members Day where people have commented on how thin the squad is looking in terms of numbers. I've seen people who've come away from the Emirates Cup completely disheartened at our prospects this coming season. Well we've got FIVE competitive matches before the transfer window closes, so it's vital we do as much as we can to strengthen and win those games. Lose them, get knocked out of the Champions League qualifier, and we're in all kinds of shit.
All in all this is heading for absolute chaos in the stands. Last season there was actual fighting among Arsenal fans at home games, and not just once. It happened a lot. Arsenal on Arsenal. There was physical violence too at away games, with some Arsenal fans attacking others. Think it'll smooth out this coming season if no top quality players arrive in the next week? No chance. I've never seen a group of Arsenal fans so divided, so angry and so disillusioned. Some fans blame supporters groups for this, some blame social media. The buck stops, however, with the club.
Early in the summer I created a graphic showing the numerous pieces of spin our Uncle Ivan has put out there. The big message on this piece of artwork was Summer 2013: it's time to walk the walk. In other words cut the spin and get on with it.
The hat-trick "kept our powder dry" bullshit comment won't work, Ivan me old chum. You put it all on the Manager earlier this summer. He reports to you. Time to manage the manager.
Up The Gunners.
Welcome to a View From The Clock End; the little part of our website where people from the BSM share their thoughts and opinions on how things are panning out at The Arsenal.
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Up The Gunners.
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