Friday, 23 November 2012

Commercial Deals: From A Dummy

Hello, Hello, Hello - I've been caught up in the real world this week and missed the blog detailing the Montpellier game - Went something like this....

Misplaced pass x infinity - Kos hits bar - more misplaced passes - Peep! Peep! - BOOOOOOO! - Peep! Peep! - GOAL - Jacky!!! - GOAL! Poldi - What a hit! - Peep! Peep! - Qualification!

Today saw the start of the road to the Utopic paradise that is 2014 for Arsenal fans, with the announcement of a renewed shirt sponsor deal with Emirates, Arsenal say "Emirates, one of the world’s fastest growing international airlines, and Arsenal Football Club have today announced a new £150 million deal which grants the airline a five-year extension to their shirt partnership with the Club until the end of the 2018/2019 season. 

Brilliant. The deal is one of the most expensive in football history and only see's them trumped by Manchester United's deal with Chevrolet which commences in 2014 and will see them net £45m per season. Considering we're moving from a £5.5m p/a deal to a £30m p/a deal will see a massive weight lifted off the shoulders of The Emirates as Arsenal's only revenue stream.

But What About The Naming rights to the Stadium?

"As part of the deal Arsenal’s home will continue to be known as Emirates Stadium up to 2028" - And from reading things from decent, connected people Arsenal will receive £28m out of the £30m for kit sponsor and £2m for the continuous naming of the Emirates, £2m for naming rights sounds low but if we listen to Commercial director Tom Fox

"As for the stadium naming rights, that will be very hard to resell because it will probably always be known as Emirates Stadium now. Or “Ashburton Grove” to those of you that don’t want to call it that!"

Tom makes a point along with other financial experts that naming rights only really have a big impact on their first deal, Arsenal were hamstrung into accepting a lower than market-value deal to secure funding in the midst of building The Emirates, you throw that into the fact that The Emirates has been known as such since 2004 and couple it with these recent deals, and you'll see that they haven't really missed a trick here.

New York Mets - Citigroup paid £10m per season for the naming rights for the Major League Baseball season (American teams don't have sponsorship on the shirts)

Bayern Munich - Have a 30-year deal with insurers Allianz worth £4m a season.

Borussia Dortmund - £3m a season running until 2021.

In fact, looking at German football where "Naming Rights" are rife, the deals vary between Bayern's £4m p/a to Arminia Bielfield's £400,000 p/a deal and considering the stick that the "Emirates" name has on Ashburton Grove, Arsenal have done well. 

The crux of the issue for supporters is we're fast approaching the time for Arsenal's "Ambitious Board" to put up or shut up, we know of the vastness of their cash reserves that are sitting there now but with the expected kit deal which will garner similar or better numbers than the Emirates deal, the pressure will be on to ensure Arsenal have a squad capable of challenging for the game's greatest prizes, the football side of things must match the commercial side. The final words go to Ivan...

“The original deal with Emirates was a key facilitator of our move from Highbury and this next phase of our relationship will be just as critical to keep us at the top of the game in England and Europe"

Now it's down to Ivan and Arsene to ensure we have the team to keep us at the top of the game in England and Europe. Because we're Arsenal FOOTBALL club, not Arsenal plc FC.

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Arsenal 5-2 Them - No need for a pithy title.

No need at all, for Saturday could be the catalyst that boots this team up the arse as we approach Christmas, it could of all been very different had Adebayor not been sent off.

Here's where the first mini-rant occurs and it's aimed at the neutrals who piped up with the "The Referee ruined the game" with the decision. Do me a favour, Adebayor ruined the game for his team with a moronic challenge in an area he needn't have done so, and I'm one billion per cent sure had it been members if their own team on the receiving end, the dialogue would be oh so different.

After the sending-off, Arsenal took advantage, and took advantage of Tottenham's full-backs. Lot of Tottenham fans were salivating over a half-fit Sagna and Vermaelen at full-back, well get your own house in order because there was only one team who took both off at half-time. Walcott's cross led to Per's 1st goal and in a three-minute blitz Podolski and Giroud made it 3-1.

Half time was respite for them as the changes meant they gave it a go and Arsenal sat back and looked a little shaky. Cazorla's goal that started from a Szczesny punt settled the nerves until Bale made it 4-2, then Arsenal played like a team with 10. Introduction of Ox made a difference as his pace exposed Vertonghen a number of times, one of them leading to Walcott cuffing in number 5.

Same score, different day. Montpelier and Villa next. 6 points please.


The North London Derby is a bigger game now than was 10/15 years ago, not to us because they are always the team you want to beat, it makes workplaces, schools etc a lovely place to be for an Arsenal fan post-Derby win. It's a bigger game for the media because every game is now billed as the "POWER-SHIFT" game - where pundits (Who normally have a Spurs affilation) line up to tell us that Tottenham have a better squad etc, how they'll finish above Arsenal (Yaaaawn) etc bets etc etc so forgive me for my naivety but I always thought a power shift kinda had to be when one side was dominant for a prolonged period of time and the amount of "St Totteringham's Days" we've all enjoyed does tell who that is There's no doubt that the gap has closed in recent years and every year now is a battle, but its a battle we've won, lets keep it up.

Man Of The Match

Jack Wilshere - Because he gets the desire you need to play in this game, he knows what it means to lose, Santi was utterly fantastic but the catalyst for all this was Jack getting the game by the scruff at 0-1, a brilliant display, the boy is Arsenal.


Szczesny - 7 - Poor for goal, not Mannone

Sagna - 6.5 - Not 100%, but still solid

Koscielny - 7 - Dave's best game this season

Mertesacker - 8 - Quickest I've seen him run (Celebrating the goal)

Vermaelen - 7.5 - Early scare, very, very solid

Arteta - 7 - quieter than usual, still good

Cazorla - 8 - Wizard, Wizard, Wizard, Wizard, Wizard

Wilshere - 8.5 - See above reasoning

Podolski - 7 - Does it in the big games

Walcott - 8 - Please sign the f^*€$€< contract

Giroud - 8 - Establishing himself very, very nicely.

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Without You I'm Nothing....

Stepping onto Swiss Ramble's turf with using Music Lyrics/Album Titles but I find that quote very apt this morning as It should be Football Club's mantra to fans, but it isn't.

Twitter feed was full of tweets and pictures and re-tweets last night of tickets for the NLD which instantly makes me jealous, I love that fixture, I can even remember being on the North Bank as a boy for a boring 0-0 in 96 (Platt scored a disallowed header) on a Monday night but the buzz was amazing, ticket was £12.00 for North Bank Lower, Saturday's game tickets are going for £94.50. People are being priced out of football and it's the salt of the earth, core fan that's suffering.

I simply can't afford it anymore, I've been Arsenal for 25 years now, sure I watch European Football but if St-Etienne lose then meh, I follow them because I have an affinity for the place and some good friends there. But if Arsenal lose, it affects my whole weekend and forthcoming week, and I and you know hundreds of people the same, and they're suffering too.

I started going to football because of my Dad. That's the main reason I love going, the people, the tension, the atmosphere, the anticipation, the last minute goals that have you leaving the stadium talking and not stopping till you get home, only to watch the match again, I have favourite players but they come and go, the shirt, the foundations and the support stay the same but recently in "Modern Football" it doesn't - more and more corporate people are finding their way into football which is squeezing the average fan out.

Now I don't mind the prices going up if the end result is more investment to the team leading to success, but I do mind when it's going to some guy with a really bad wig or dyejob's holding company in Delaware who has no clue about football and never to be seen again. And I really mind when said people have the cheek to look so offended when points like these are written.

It's not just Premier League though, on the weekends when Arsenal were away in the early 90's - me and Dalton Senior used to go and watch my home-town team Wycombe Wanderers (I'm born 30 miles from the Emirates so I'm not sure I'm proper Arsenal, and the Irish thing comes from the fact I have an Irish Passport and 96% Irish Family) - Used to be £6 for Dad and £4 for me - A day out came to no more than £20 - You'd be lucky to get one ticket for £20 now even in the lower leagues - hence the massive problem with attendances and fanbase.

Without You I'm Nothing - Football clubs should listen - But carry on losing their identities.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Aha! Zaha! Huzzah! - Jenko, Frimpong & AST

Woke up this morning to find Wilfried Zaha has become the Lionel Messi / Cristiano Ronaldo incarnate overnight with the way people are talking about him, the fact he's likely to play for Arsenal in January makes it nicer too, understand the boy is a massive Gooner and even though we're struggling in the eyes of many, top youth prospects both here and abroad see us as a viable club to join still, whether its the fact they are learning under "The Great Professor",or the fact we'll probably pay them more than other clubs (This rule doesn't apply to proven players, *deep sigh*) but never theless if everything my Palace mates say about him is true, he'll be a joy.

Jenko signed a new deal, pleased for the boy because Arsenal matters to him as much as it does to you and me, which is a heart-warming thing for a fan to see, does bring out the fans who criticise the club for extending a deal for a player that isn't in the news, but there you go.

Wayne "Manchester United have no interest in Robin Van Persie" "Shades of McGarry" Veysey of "" - I've put the website in air quotes because I'm yet to be convinced its not Fictional said Frimpong was to be sold in January as his contract ends in the summer, only to be rinsed by Frimpong himself on Twitter saying that wasn't the case. Frimpong's deal ends in the mythical 2014 where we find the keys to FFP treasure and also he's going on loan to Wolves in the next 10 days, so nice one Wazza.

AST meeting on the normal subjects last night too, you know the people to follow to read about that so I won't Bore you, only thing that surprised me was the revelation that Arsenal haven't paid Corporation Tax due to deferments etc etc. Pretty poor form considering I've spent half the summer sniggering at Rangers for enraging the HMRC.

Monday, 12 November 2012

Arsenal 3-3 Fulham - It's the Same Old Song (Not Alex).....

If ever there was to be a remake of "Groundhog Day" - the casting lines would be full of Arsenal fans because we've been here before (sighs) a lot. The danger is that people start to think that you're overtly critical of Arsenal when results like this happen and when the form does improve, you're then accused of being a fickle fan.

My problem with Arsenal is there seems to be a lack of tangible pressure applied, it took until throwing away a 2-goal lead against Fulham to show there was any kind of fight in them. The manager manages the team as if he has no one to answer to, the board are happy to accept mediocrity in fans eyes, and in turn causes ire because the board are genuinely "shocked" with the fan reaction these days, to sum it up, Arsenal are in a malaise and most people aren't sure where to stem the bleeding from first?

Do you sack the manager? No, because he's the one who holds things together, I'll moan until I'm blue in the face about his lack of tactical nouse until the cows come in but I don't trust that board to replace a man like Arsene Wenger. Not even 1%. While Chelsea sign deals with "Global Energy Partners" like Gazprom, Arsenal sign deals with "Malt Guinness and Betsson". The Board do not run Arsenal as if they consider the club a big one, and that's a worry.

As far as the game, it's standard Arsenal fare these days, struggled a bit, went 2-0 up, conceded at a vital time, transformed into little children scared for their life, go 3-2 down, remember they are adults, equalize and then gloriously blow a chance to win it. We may be under-par this season, but we're entertainingly under-par.

I'll go into seperate facets of the team during the week so I have something to write about with it being International week (WHY? WHY?) but I'll do the ratings and five word summations....

Mannone - 3 - Whisky and Revolver for Vito.

Sagna - 7 - Will miss him when sold.

Mertesacker - 7 - Knows where to stand, thankfully.

Koscielny - 6.5 - A lot better, good signs.

Vermaelen - 6 - Looks miffed to be LB

Arteta - 5.5 - Tried hard, one to forget

Coquelin - 6.5 - Surprised me, tidy, tidy, tidy.

Podolski - 6 - Scored goal, Not much else

Cazorla - 6 - Runs around, still looked knackered

Walcott - 7.5 - Crossed well, has arse strain

Giroud - *8.5* - The White Drogba, beastly headers

Until tomorrow.

Friday, 9 November 2012



The great thing about football is you never have to wait too long to change your fortunes and redeem yourself and after a better performance but disappointing end result against Schalke, Fulham provide the chance to kickstart the season tomorrow.

Injury problems aren't seeming to get any better as Abou Diaby enters week 7 of his "Three Week Injury", Tomas Rosicky is AWOL and no-one seems to know what's wrong and where the hell he is, Gibbs and Szczesny seemed to have trained all weeks according to reports but look to play no part in the game and Chamberlain & Ramsey are doubtful if not out. Not good.

Fulham are a tidy team who will provide a challenge tomorrow, managed by a man who should focus on his own team instead of others, they took 4 points off us last season, winning 2-1 at Craven Cottage and drawing 1-1 at The Emirates, Thomas Vermaelen scoring at both ends.

My Prediction is 3-1 Arsenal.

My Team is:





What's yours?

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Schalke 2-2 Arsenal - Relieved but Disappointed

I nearly tweeted before the game that I would bite your hand off for a draw, but when the draw was confirmed, it left a pang of disappointment, being 2-0 up means you should be able to see out the game.

At least there were positives, Jack Wilshere makes that midfield a better place, he was buzzing all over the place, he was here, he was there, he was everywhere, Mikel Arteta was his normal reliable, dependable self, the only disappointment was Santi, who looks like a guy who needs a rest as he was caught on his heels for the move that brought Schalke back into the game. He looks tired and Podolski looked tired and Wilshere was out on his feet. But when did the first substitution come in.....81 mins?

That was probably the most worrying trend of the night, 81 mins for a change when it was clear that players were flagging...I know what it told me.

1. Very Thin Squad Depth


2. The Squad Depth we do have, the manager is afraid to use it.

Caught in a very dangerous place at the minute because the way players are being used, you can see muscle injuries wrecking our midfield because of overplaying and the managers reluctance to spend on midfield cover now seems a really bad move. Anyway onto the ratings where the match report will play out

Mannone - 6.5 - Adequate night's work from the goalkeeper, no glaringly bad mistakes, wish he wouldn't push the ball out in front.

Sagna - 8 - Thought he was excellent, much praise has to go to Jenkinson this season but when you watch Sagna you realise you're watching one of the best full-backs in Europe.

Mertesacker - 7 - Very good positionally, got a bit of a working over from Huntelaar who squared him up a few too many times for my liking.

Koscielny - 7 - Competent Performance

Vermaelen - 6.5 - Caught very narrow for Farfan's goal and made a tackle which could of ended up as a Montpellier moment but otherwise good.

Arteta - 7.5 - Metronome

Wilshere - 8.5 - My Man of the Match - for a kid who's spent 17 months out, he looks good already, just struggles to go 90 which is understandable

Cazorla - 6.5 - Tired. At fault for first goal.

Podolski - 6.5 - Looks injured, plays slightly better, brilliant cross for Giroud's goal

Walcott - 6.5 - Nice goal but was in-and-out of the game too much for me. 

Giroud - 7 - Ran his heart out and was a brilliant header, looked a bit isolated

Monday, 5 November 2012

Manchester United 2-1 Arsenal - Limp, Lifeless and Lessons Never Learned

I really had to fight the urge not to plaster "This Match Report is Cancelled Due to Lack of Interest, The Players don't seem to care, so why should I?" in big letters across the front page, because it's the same old story lately.

What I find unforgivable was the vibes given out by the team in both halves that anything less than a 8-2 defeat would be progress, at least that was a makeshift team in disarray with a few days left in the transfer window to sort it out. The team looked defeated in body language at kick-off and for a club of Arsenal's ilk it's unforgivable but sadly we've expected this kind of thing these days.

Tactically it wasn't much better either and let's put it out there - Andre Santos is a lovely guy who the players speak very high of - but he's a liability and I really do question the logic and competence of a manager who cannot see the bumsqueaking horror and danger in playing Santos against a team that will adapt to play the team they are playing and use pacy wingers to badly make us suffer, and he might not like it but Vermaelen can play left-back and would restrict the problem. It was easy for Manchester United, Arsenal put out a "Don't Beat Us Too Badly" klaxon out. That should tell you all you need to know.

I'm genuinely worried for the state of the club at the minute, the manager looks like a beaten fighter, punchdrunk and on the ropes from years of not being given the tools to defend and punches coming from nowhere, I don't go into games thinking we'll win easily anymore & even when we're 4 goals up I can't relax.

Am I gearing up for Arsene Wenger's departure from Arsenal? I have been for years and I always saw 2014 as the time for change, he would be seen as the "Gatekeeper" who oversaw the move from Highbury to The Emirates and the shortfall of cash, still managing to get Champions League football against the odds, now I don't even think he'll get that far, he seems demoralized from years with a boardroom who seem to forget its "Arsenal Football Club" - And I do think he deserves better.

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Theo-Ry of Evolution

I wrote this for "Pick Our Team" at the start of October, still prevalent now.

The Original link can be found here:

Theo Walcott is one of the most divisive Arsenal players I've known since I started supporting the club. You either love him or hate him, it seems.
I can understand the people who love him because he comes across as a well-rounded, well-mannered young lad who only wants to play football and not get involved in shenanigans and brands like some of his team-mates (looking at you Frimpong, although I've just remembered Theo's children's books).
On the pitch, Theo's searing speed is an attribute few have and watching him over the last 18 months I have noticed his attempts to be more savvy in attacking positions, the link-up play he had with Robin Van Persie last season was sensational.
There is always a flipside though and Theo's lack of a killer finish means he's always going to be looked on as a wide player or impact substitute. His negative attributes include being very profligate and a touch that lets him down at key moments, so I can see both sides of the coin. As Theo trundles into the final year of his contract, even I have swung back and forth on whether he should be kept or sold.
I'm actually surprised it's got this far with Arsenal's penchant for flogging players who make it to the final 12 months of a deal (unless you're a golden oldie like Pires or Bergkamp) and talk of Theo wanting 100k a week hasn't gone down well. Is he worth it?
On first look, the answer would be no, but I think he'll click. I can see the player developing both mentally and physically over the last 18 months and think it would be a stupid mistake if he were to be let go and doubly stupid if it was to a Premier League rival. You just know he would come back to haunt us if he was sold to a Chelsea or Liverpool.
Gervinho's "success" in the false nine position should give Theo hope; they both show the same kind of willingness and attitude, he just needs a go. Whether I think he'll get a go is another story. Gnabry has been involved in match days and Oxlade-Chamberlain's starts, added to the contract stand-off, means we might never find out.