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.
As we all know, not a lot has happened. And that's overstating it by epic proportions. We do have the one-legged French postman from Ligue 9 who came in for zilch, so that's ambition, I guess. The season ticket renewal time spin came, the suckers were sucked in again, job done. Let's just sit on all that LOVELY cash.
We're now 4 days from the start of the new season. Four days. FOUR SODDING DAYS! The squad is now looking thinner than a Supermodel with the Norovirus, having (rightly) shed a whole heap of dead wood. However, the trouble is the Manager seems to have thought "Hold on, we might be able to get through with the squad we have! Who needs expensive signings?!". Of course this may seem a bit flppant but despite loyal fans hanging on and hanging on, waiting for us to finally make a statement in the transfer market and show real ambition... nothing.
Luiz Gustavo may join. But then again the ITK types and the press told us Gonzalo Higuain was a done deal. As was Rooney. As was Suarez. As was Cesar. As was Fellaini. As was Williams. As was Jovetic. As was Bernard. Oh, and Fabregas was "coming home" (haha!!). Fans have rightly been desperate for good news and yet again the club has taken the piss. Only this time they've taken taking the piss to a whole new level of piss taking.
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.
And talking of shafted, who suffers most? The fans. The loyal fans who love this club and follow it everywhere. They pay their hard-earned money only to get lied to and left stranded time and time again.
This morning Arsenal have put out a statement on their website entitled "Travel options for Fenerbahce match", which then goes on to say that there are no options. The club have discovered that scraping 4th place in the league means you have to play in August and try to qualify for the Champions League... and that's in peak holiday season. Who'd have thought, eh?! So bearing in mind we have to travel out to Turkey for a match against Fenerbahce, chartering a plane is obviously a lot more expensive.
So basically the message is "If you want to go to Turkey and support the team, sort yourself out". And of course, there are fans who will; they'll pay through the nose just to follow their club. It never ceases to amaze, the lengths us fans go to, to watch The Arsenal. When we went to Cologne last pre-season there were fans who had travelled all sorts of routes via France, Holland etc, so no matter how hard it is to get out to Turkey no doubt our fantastic away support will be there, in their usual fine voice. We're an inventive and passionate bunch.
It would have been nice though, if Arsenal had made some form of goodwill gesture as a thanks to these fans. Bearing in mind we've got so much money in the bank which obviously isn't going to be spent on the team, why not use a few grand and charter a plane?
Not saying the club should necessarily pay for travel 100%, but what's stopping them subsidising a flight for our most loyal supporters? If the club can spend money flying over that 'Running Man' bloke to parade at the Emirates Cup, why can't it spare some cash to help out travelling Gooners? Didn't we have some link with Thomas Cook for this kind of thing? Or maybe that was just for conning fans who want to go to home matches, by charging them astronomical prices over and above the usual hotel rates.
If the club had made a gesture by subsidising a flight, it would have gone some way to repairing some of the bad feeling among fans which very much exists. It would show that the club DOES actually care about its fans, and it would generate positive copy which is definitely needed at the moment. Instead, however, it's yet again a case of Arsenal saying "pay up or piss off". Let's just hope that the 11 players, who are now under immense pressure due to no fault of their own, can win on Saturday - otherwise the reaction from the stands (towards the Board and club, not the players) could be horrendous.
You had a chance to do something good, Arsenal, but you blew it. Again. Not good.
Up The GunnersW