Monday's Fiver

Good morning kickers.

Before I get into the top five stories that are boggling my mind this morning, there’s something I need to tell you: site traffic is at… an all time low!

My feedburner feed is actually at an all-time high but it looks like what happened is a combination of two things. First, Goonernews.com is now a pay site, requiring the blogs they aggregate to pay £10 a month for the privilege of their news aggregator. Seriously.

The second thing that happened is that NewsNow not only dropped the blog, but it looks like they scrubbed their entire database of all articles I’ve ever published. I contacted them to find out what happened but they are one of the least communicative web sites I’ve ever dealt with and I honestly don’t expect a response.

So, it’s back to square f*cking one with the blog. I’ve gone from a few thousand readers a day and gathering new, dedicated, readers every day to now just a few hundred readers a day. I guess the positive is that you all are my real readers and those other folks were all just posuers but the problem is that I won’t reach new, dedicated, readers without publicity.

So, that’s why the comments have been so quiet lately. I have to start thinking what I’m going to do about all of this. Obviously, I’m open to suggestions.

Number 1: Man City takes the mantle from Chelsea

When Abramovich bought Chelsea and pumped them full of shiny new players it wasn’t enough to just have the best players in the world, they also needed to have the right attitude. By “right” attitude I mean, they were (are) a pack of c*nts.

To overcome the current champions and pry the Premier League trophy from them it helps if players believe that it’s their God given right to win. If anyone tries to get between them and God, they’re going to get kicked, pushed, shoved, and if needed slapped in the face.

Chelsea did that 5 years ago and they won the title. With the recent outbursts of Adebayor and Bellamy it looks like City are full of this “right” attitude.

Number 2: Chelsea look the team to beat, with a bat

Tottenham ran into the Chelsea buzz saw, who are brimming with the feeling that the title is their God given right, and two of Tottenham’s center backs suffered injuries yesterday. It was an amazing physical display all over the pitch: from Terry to Mikel to Essien to Lampard to Drogba and Anelka they are the most frighteningly physical team I have ever seen play. And they have belief.

There was a glimmer of hope when Dogbag went off with what I prayed was a career, nay LIFE, threatening injury. In typical Drogba style he needed to be stretchered off for maximum drama and, of course, the injury turned out to be just a cramp. So, I’m sure he’ll be back to throwing defenders to the ground in no time.

Ugh… Who’s going to stop them? People are already talking about a perfect 10 start.

Number 3: UEFA, Sportsmail, and the Diving Evangelists to blame

I don’t feel an ounce of pity for Robbie Keane not getting a stonewall penalty call yesterday in that Chelsea v. Tottenham match. Robbie Keane is a despicable player and if he never wins another penalty in his career I would feel like the universe was back to normal. That said, I fear that what we are seeing is a knock on effect from the retarded Diving Evangelists’ campaign against “diving.”

It looks like referees in the EPL are no longer going to call a stonewall penalty if there’s any doubt, or if the player doesn’t play for Man U. I don’t need to tell you that this is a stupid and dangerous and ripe for exploitation. Supporters need to feel like their players are going to get a fair shake and if they see a penalty like Wayne Rooney’s obvious dive given while Keane has his legs taken and the ref waves on play, it’s potentially destructive to the whole EPL fan base.

Why is it again that we can’t use video technology?

Number 4: ugh, Wenger’s crusade against “persistent fouls”

Look, I watch MLS, I know what persistent fouling looks like and I can tell you that even clubs like Bolton are no where near the level of persistent fouling that a club like the Seattle Sounders are. I agree with him that the FA needs to take a look at it and keep it to a minimum, but the FA is not going to remove 16 teams’ only means of remaining competitive with the top four.

Besides, why fight it? Why not join them a little? It would be nice if we had more than just Alex Song putting in professional fouls. In fact, I think it’s the only way to stop a team like Chelsea, or Arsenal, so why not use the rules to your advantage?

Number five: the Carling Cup match no one will see

There’s no television coverage of tomorrow’s Arsenal v. W.B.A. match in the USA. As far as I can tell, even the dot com isn’t covering the match live. Ugh… that means some illegal sopcasts or something.

Maybe the dot com will have a replay after the match.

That’s it for today, I’ll do a match preview tomorrow.

50 Comments on Monday's Fiver

  1. I found your site about a year ago from arsenalnews.net , but ever since you changed the site a few months back, you haven’t been listed on their site anymore…your column titles certainly encourage plenty of clicks, and undoubtedly garner many new readers to the blog, so keep up the good work! Us regulars will still be here regardless.

  2. Last week there were only the worst seats available, so I reckoned I’d ‘see’ more on the radio. But this morning I thought: suppose Sunu gets a few minutes, how could I bear to miss that? Worse, suppose we go out in this round or don’t get another home tie? I love the Carling, I hate to miss it, so, though I wasn’t optimistic about getting a ticket at this stage, I strolled round to the stadium.

    Nice man in ticket office: If you want two together there’s nothing.
    Me: No, just one.
    Man: I’ve got one in row 12, behind the goal?
    Me: Brilliant.
    Man: Wait a moment, there’s … look … S … in row 1

    S! Row 1! best seat in the stadium! How fortunate is that!
    And if they’re still giving away scarves it’s almost like they’re paying me to be there!

    Looks like Vela might play. But the down side is the under-20s starts tomorrow and we’re definitely losing Merida (Spain) and Gavin Hoyte (England). I thought Wilshere was going but maybe not.

    So:

    Vowel-less
    Dunno Fish-head Senderos Gibbs
    Coquelin
    Wilshere Ramsey Traore
    Bendtner (or Watt) Vela

    Bench: Sunu, Barazite, Frimpong, Ayling, Mannone ???
    Young Guns says there’s a kid called Roarie Deacon who’s scored 5 in 5 games. Maybe Bendtner will be on the bench unless we’re trailing and need some muscle … Don’t know the West Brom team, except our very own Jerome Thomas.

    Can we do it? Not keen on the thought of Fish-head at centre half, and right back is a worry… but otherwise, Yes we definitely can.

  3. I am very excited for the Carling Cup. I love to see a good run about for a lot of the fringe/younger players. It will give the likes of Ramsey, Barazite, Merida, Wilshire and Gibbs so much needed playing time. And i’ll say this could be the year for the kids.

    Mannone
    Hoyte Silvestre Senderos Gibbs
    Wilshire Merida Ramsey Traore
    Watt Barazite

  4. Another programming note: it looks like FSC will not be showing any FA Cup matches this season. Setanta USA will still cover some, of course, but with one network instead of two it is less and less likely the Arsenal matches will be on TV here in the states.

    Maybe ESPN will pick up the slack, hehhhehe.

    The Cup gets a lot of stick (cough, Tim, cough), but I love watching cup ties, Arsenal or no Arsenal. Especially those first round matches where a non-league side plays a league one side at some tinny old ground on a Sunday afternoon in front of 2000 fans. That is just such a wonderfully romantic scene.

    Anyway, cheer up, Tim, just keep writing and the readers will come. Let us know if anything we can do to help.

  5. Tim, presumably the reduced traffic is also linked to people reading the content in their feed readers? As Google Reader becomes more ubiquitous and fully featured, there are fewer reasons to visit the site – other than to comment, obviously, but if you were a lurker before, you can still lurk but even further removed.

    Presume you must have considered ‘partial feeds’ (with a link to visit the site for the rest) which more than a few of the other half-decent Arsenal blogs does.

    Just a thought.

    • @fourstar, good suggestion about the excerpt feed but as someone who uses Google Reader I can’t stand partial feeds!

      I also hate advertisements in the Reader feed which is why there are none on my RSS.

      Anyway, I track those readers via feedburner.

      • @Tim, Yeah, I’m anti-partial feeds too, but that does explain the shift up in feedburner and down on the site itself.

        Something I see a lot is people putting polls up which you have to go to the site to take part in (but would still be linked within the feed).

        It’s a tricky one; I know I like to come here for a natter!

  6. Yes, I’m sure the regular readers will stick with you, but just a thought from a European perspective: if you talk a lot about purely US things – tv commentators, MLS, etc. – then potential readers from elsewhere – Europe, Asia, Africa – are excluded. OK, it’s a US site, but it’s Arsenal site too – primarily, in fact? – and Arsenal supporters are mostly outside the US. There’s a real need, I think, for an up-market site with an up-market comments section as most of the English ones are utterly dire. If you don’t limit the site’s interest by making it too exclusively American, it could fulfil a real need?

    Apologies for crowing about having a ticket. It’s so rare for me to get one I can’t contain my excitement! I know BBC 5live are doing the Leeds-Liverpool tie, but 5live sports extra may have full commentary? I can’t believe there’s no radio coverage at all?

    • @Mia, mate get a red membership,you will get 90% of the games this year and the rate things are you will be a silver in 6,7 seasons. I know plenty of reds who moved 2000places in the summer

    • @Mia, Funny, we get the Leeds Liverpool clash on TV here.

      You do make a good point about broaedning the appeal and I try not to talk too much about America and American sports, other than to give context, like today with the Sounders, and to give my very loyal American readers an update on where they can catch the match on TV.

      You’re a Brit and you haven’t been put off by my ocassional rants against British xenophobia so maybe I’m attracting the RIGHT readers!

      • Tim, it’s swings and roundabouts, I suppose. Since arsenalamerica went into terminal decline, a US emphasis may mean you’ll pick up a million ex-readers from there, but beware of the appalling bores that began to dominate that site a few years ago and finished it off! It was a shame: when it started arsenalamerica wasn’t bad, and it had quite a few non-American readers.

        I’m a north Londoner but would describe myself as European, not a Brit! I can’t stand the English xenophobia and would like an Arsenal site that catered for gooners worldwide – Europeans, Africans, Asians – there are lots out there.

  7. Arsenal.com interview with Wenger says definitely playing are: Vowel-less, Senderos, Silvestre, Traore, Ramsey, Wilshere, Vela – ‘and overall you will see a very young team’. I don’t think he mentioned Gibbs, so maybe he, like Hoyte and Merida, has gone to the under-20s? If so, right back is a worry unless Eboue plays?

  8. @Mia, i know the last two three seasons its been a lot easier for reds.the membership fee is a def worthwhile investment. The ticket hub at the min has the next few home games in league and champs league all available to red. In my view,and no offence to reds its a sad state of affairs,but then again its nice to see red members get a fair crack at getting to games.

    • It figures. Lots of the current reds must be plastic products of the winning years when you’d hand over your life savings for a season ticket; now they’ve lost interest?

      On the subject of our fans: there’s a pic on the front page of one of the tabloids today of the Great Train Robber, who is not dead, as I’d imagined, but out and about and wearing one of the free scarves they’re handing out at the Emirates. Queer assortment of fans we have – Train Robber, Chief Rabbi, Bin Laden, the Queen …

  9. Quality, not quantity.

    Chamakh at 1.5 million in January, Arsenal with first refusal?

    You used to show up from time-to-time on http://www.arsenalnews.net/ but not recently.

    Perhaps to do with the name and headlines not being simplistically goonerish. (e.g. no mention of club name or players names).

    Viva!

  10. Maybe it was noting that Carter is your hero that changed things. Still rocking back and forth quietly over that one.

    Great blog irregardless, mate!

  11. I for one who lives in the US love this blog because it is so US specific. I read arseblog and gunnerblog and get the very english/irish feel but i read this blog because not only is Tim funny, but it is geared to the US Arsenal Fan. And i totally understand what Mia is talking about, but i am for keeping it US-centric.

  12. Hope you’re right! Maybe Coquelin will be at right back – he’s done it before – and the hapless Mark Randall will be holding midfield?

  13. I don’t know much about technology, but if there’s some way to publicize your site on facebook, that might be an option. I suggest this because I get various Arsenal news and notes on there from, I think, signing up or clicking myself as a fan of Arsenal. Maybe you have a facebook page for the site already?

  14. I found you through newsnow- but I would agree that without spending money, the social networking sites might be your best bet. Also, no disrespect from our friends from around the world, but I also would like to see you continue the American tilt- it’s one of the main reasons I’m here everyday- I can relate to what you say. Again, no disrespect to Mia, but ive never been to a match and it helps to have an author who understands the pain of not being able to just stroll down to the emirates (which is tougher this year since the only team I can stroll down to watch live, the Titans, look awful so far).

    Also, your style of humor is a nice “English-American” mix that I find hilarious. Keep things going the way they are and the readers will come. For now, I like the tight-knit group of friends feel that the discussions provide. When you’re a southern fratboy on a college campus in Nashville (with an English mother and relatives from Lancashire who support Blackpool) it’s tough to find real arsenal fans to talk to, so I have to turn to the Internet. But with the job you’ve been doing lately, I don’t mind at all.

    Keep up the good work, Tim! Hope you’re feeling better.

    • @615Gooner, Agree with the Arsenal fans thing (to talk to). Most of the time I go out with my arsenal sweats hoping I catch some gooners attention (don’t think thats going to happen in Athens). Man, I was in Nashville for almost a year and a half doing the same and after I move to Athens I find out there
      ‘s one other Arsenal fan in Nashville.

    • Huh! I may live round the corner but the only games I normally get to are the Carling (early rounds, if I’m lucky and we get a home tie) and the Youth Cup (if we get to the semis or final). This is true of the vast majority of local supporters as season tickets these days are way beyond their pockets. They’ve been priced out by the ‘foreigners’, that is to say, the rich from the suburbs. By contrast, arsenalamerica, as an official overseas supporters group, gets reasonably priced tickets for two-three games twice a season, I think, though obviously the cost of travel and accommodation requires a hefty financial commitment. When I used to look at that site I was green with envy as they saw far more live games than me. Yes, I can stroll down to the stadium, and the woman who cuts my hair can see the big screen from her bedroom – I haven’t yet persuaded her to invite me round on Champions League evenings – so yes I am privileged in a sense, but like you I watch all first-team games on tv!

  15. Your site attracts me as a Brit living in Australia, because you have a broader perspective, and that suits me. Keep up the good work.

    Wenger no longer considers Song a Defender! YEY!

    “We have four centre backs and he [Senderos] is one of the four because [Johan] Djourou is out for nearly the season,”

    The four are: Gallas, VT5, Djourou and Senderos!

  16. I found you through recommendation which is the best route.

    As a new reader, I find it very interesting to read an alternative view.

    Keep up the good work

  17. Hey Tim,

    The combination of Goonernews going the pay way, and Newsnow dropping you would definitely have a massive impact on traffic.

    The bottom line though is that unless there’s a turnaround with newsnow and goonernews, you’re probably going to have to build traffic the old fashioned way… keywords, SEO and community.

    Obviously you know this, but all three take time, so don’t let it get you down that your numbers have dropped, aggregators artificially inflate site numbers anyway. Building relationships as you’re doing with other well written gooner blogs like Arseblog, Gunnerblog et al will also only help.

    You’ve got one of the best Arsenal blogs on the web at the moment, and the recent transition to your own domain signaled a new beginning. It’ll take time to get properly established, just keep at it, as the season continues to hot up I think you’ll see numbers continue to rise.

    Personally I don’t think 50+ comments per post is anything to sneeze at.

  18. Tim, there are people like us who, though are not American per se, enjoy your site for its “pro-Arsenal-ness” and your humour. Unlike most other excuses for ‘Arsenal’ blogs, you do not bash the team. When you criticise, you do it constructively. For that reason alone, I am happy to stay with your site.

    I remember that you exchanged links with some other bloggers at one point. May I also suggest that you write one or two guest posts for one or two of the pro-Arsenal sites and make a point to include a link to your blogsite near the bottom.

    By the way, Kerea Gilbert may play at Right-Back today.

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