Over here in the good ole US of A we had a veritable cornucopia of decent football to watch yesterday and despite my misgivings about international play and despite the fact that the other team was a pack of blue shiat-kickers, I had a decent day recovering from my hangover and watching footie.
The highlight of the day, by a huge stretch, was the USA v. Mexico match. These games are always a hotly contested affair and despite that, over the years the teams have developed a deep respect for each other. Played in New Jersey, the crowd was largely Mexican and it showed as the roar of the crowd grew louder with each successive goal of the 5-0 trouncing that El Tri handed out to the Americans.
Well, I say “El Tri” but really it wasn’t three players, just one, Carlos Vela. Vela came on as a 45th minute sub and if you watched the match and you’re an Arsenal supporter then you can’t help but be excited for the upcoming season. All Vela did was single-handedly destroy the USA team, he did it with great dribbles, perfectly times runs, great passes to set up his teammates, and oh yeah I nearly forgot, a goal of the highest quality. Watch it, watch it again, and then lick your chops at the prospect of that kid filling in when Arshavin needs a blow next season.
It was an audacious goal. The kind of goal that only top, top quality strikers produce and if think about the pairing of hard work from Bendtner setting up players like Vela and Arshavin and van Persie around him, again, the prospect of next season is delicious indeed.
And I don’t even have to mention Eduardo, who is scheduled to play today, and who many have seen in practice with the club this last week and remarked about his fitness and pure quality.
Save the money, Arsene, you don’t need another striker.
The other match, between Chelsea and Club America, I watched simply to see Chelsea lose, which I knew would take a miracle. Alas, once the blues put in their first goal, it was over, Club America just didn’t have the quality up front that a club like Mexico or Arsenal have that will get them back into the game. The game itself was a snoozer, Chelsea weren’t playing very well and looked slow and unfit but what I was amazed to see, and I’ve watched a couple of their games, is how many Americans will turn up, paint their mowhawk blue, and cheer on a bunch of has-beens like Shevchenko.
This got me to wondering about something Gazidis mentioned in his interview with Arseblogger, that the Arsenal brand is regarded by many as underdeveloped, or undercaptialized. I understand that we have a tradition of playing in Austria but I’d like to see Arsenal use this period to play in America, or Asia, or really anywhere but playing Sozemnobody Austria. The connections are already there, with the Colorado Rapids being our sister team and all.
I’ve been banging this drum for some time now. It’s not ideal, ideal would be getting Americans and Asians and Africans to the Emirates stadium, but a pre-season tour of the USA or some other untapped market would do wonders to bring new fans to the game and to our club. After reading what Gazidis said about it, I’m confident he’s already on the situation. After all, the club is run like a business and touring the world is standard business practice for big sports teams the world over.
Which brings me to my last bit; the board pissing match that’s going on right now. At the time when the club needs everyone who loves her to stand behind the manager and the players and get excited for the season, we instead have a sneaky Russian billionaire trying to drive a wedge between us so that he can gain a little more power. Make no mistake about it, that’s what’s going on. Stung by the rejection of his latest power grab, the rights issue, Usmanov is now apparently calling in his marbles from his friends in the press and, as was reported here yesterday, has had some know nothing friend give some “interview” to the BBC. Well, look, the guy said that “Adebayor averaged 20 goals a season” how seriously can we take someone who is that profoundly stupid? Why are we letting them rile us up?
The facts are that despite the debt Arsenal are insanely profitable, in fact, I believe that Arsenal are the only team in the EPL that is actually earning money every year.* Over the last 4 years, Arsenal have earned, after taxes, over £100m. Yes, they have banked most of it and are using it as an emergency fund, but that’s standard procedure in a business. Moreover, the amount of debt seems large, over £400m for both stadiums, but the loan servicing on that debt is tiny, due to the fact that the board negotiated an insanely favorable interest rate prior to the banks all collapsing.
With the sale of Adebayor at £25m, a player who so desperately did not want to be at Arsenal that he rang up Chelsea and Man U and begged them to take him before he went to his 5th choice club in Man City, and with the potential sales of Toure and Eboue (another £20m+) the boss has plenty of money at his disposal. In fact, Arsenal have broken two records in two consecutive transfer windows in getting Arshavin (over-all record) and Vermaelen (defensive record). They did that without selling, hardly the stuff of a cash strapped team.
So, let’s put to bed, once and for all, the notion that Arsenal need a cash infusion to compete. This club has the talent to compete with every other club in the EPL, we have 5 world class strikers, 5-6 world class defenders, and 3 world class midfielders. We have a supporting cast of players who would bring tremendous class to any starting XI in the world as evidenced by the fact that Fiorentio are openly courting Eboue. And we have a manager of the highest quality, a man who has won more for Arsenal than any other.
We don’t need more money, what we need more of is club unity, we need to gather around the manager who has won us more trophies than any other. We need to gather around his players, the guys like Carlos Vela, who score goals of the highest quality. And we need to raise our voices in unison and sing:
We love you Arsenal, we do
We love you Arsenal, we do
We love you Arsenal, we do
OOOOOHHHHH ARSENAL WE LOVE YOU.
It’s going to be a good season, folks, let’s not taint it with drivel from people who don’t have Arsenal’s best interests at heart.
*If someone could confirm this in the comments, I would appreciate it.