Crazy day yesterday in the Kickoff house, it had everything; my child being mauled by another child*, an email from the editor of NewsNow, a sell out of all but two of the old tee-shirts (an XXL and a Medium), some team financials were leaked, and Sol Campbell “pulled a Sol” and left Notts County high and dry. Strange stuff, except the Sol Campbell thing, who didn’t see THAT coming?
Leaving out the bit about the mauling, it turns out that NewsNow dropped us due to a little bit of news aggregator, erm, copyright violation? Anyway, it’s all been settled and now England’s favorite Yankee Arsenal blog with whacky, nonsensical headlines and rabid, mumbling gibberish for content is back in the NewsNow fold. The hits are already pouring in!
The tee-shirt sell out was, frankly, really surprising. Not because you all bought a $5 shirt, that I expected, but because the spread of sizes that you all ordered was pretty much exactly what I had left in the box. I didn’t have to refund anyone any money and they all sold in just one day. Wow. Thanks to everyone who bought a shirt, I’ll be shipping them all tomorrow afternoon. If you want the XXL or the Medium that’s left send an email to 7amkickoff at gmail dot com, $10 shipped USA, $15 shipped internationally.
New Shirt Contest
There was some confusion over the new shirt contest so let me just make this as clear as possible:
- You are coming up with a phrase to replace “Some Gooners Do It In The Dark” in the image above.
- No need to use photoshop, just words will do
- Go to this article and input your genius idea.
- All entries will be judged by me, harshly, and I will select the winner on Sunday and announce the winner on Monday’s blog.
- The winner receives a free tee shirt with the new design on it.
- Contest ends Sunday at 5pm PST.
I’m sure I’m leaving something out…
Debt in the Premier League
My regular reader knows that I have long warned of the impending financial difficulty that Liverpool will suffer. In fact, my boldest prediction is that of the “top four” Liverpool’s debt position is the most debilitating, with £300m in debts needing re-financing and a massive interest package due every year, they look shaky. Manchester United’s debt is bigger and they have a one-time payment of over £100m (and growing) due here fairly soon but I think United will make that payment (or refinance) because, to use a phrase that we heard a lot over the last year “they’re too big to fail.”
Liverpool, on the other hand, it has been revealed, has a £20m cap on annual spending which is what is limiting them from bringing in new talent. I don’t think it’s as dire as the fans who lofted “We are the new Leeds” banners would like to make out, but there should be concern there. Thankfully, we’re not Liverpool fans, supporting some uber rich guys like Hicks and Gillette.
Meanwhile, it’s looking like Arsenal aren’t escaping the credit crunch either and while the Highbury Square apartments are finally finished there’s dark clouds on the horizon and the “B” word has been bandied about by some members of the press.
Kevin Whitcher who wrote Arsènal: The Making of a Modern Superclub speculates rather heavily that the lack of transfer spending on the part of the board over the last five years (a fact documented ad nausuem on this blog) is a direct result of the Highbury Square project. Talking to sport.co.uk, he said
The problem is that the club have either got to push through the Highbury Square development or cut their losses and effectively declare that part of the organisation is bankrupt and walk away from it.
They’ve got a £120m debt repayment to find for next April. The club have always maintained that the football and the property business are completely separate, and legally that is true, however, if they are going to see it through they do need to find money from somewhere.
What I can foresee is that the club will pay back as much of the debt as they can by next April, but I heavily suspect they will re-negotiate the loan of what is left and this situation will drag on as long as Wenger is prepared to tolerate it.
He goes on to talk about how Wenger is basically in collusion with the board to see this project through to the end. That Wenger’s transfer dealings, re-signing players rather than buying new, selling players for huge profits, etc are all part of a bigger plan to finish the Highbury Square project.
Ivan Gazidis corroborated Whitcher’s speculation to a degree when he said yesterday that
We believe transfer spending is the last resort. That’s a sensible view to have. Re-signing existing players is a far more efficient system. What Arsene will not do is spend money on players that do not add something of real value.
That makes sense, Arsenal are going to only buy players who are worth it. We don’t spend £30m on washed up has-beens like Shevchenko just because the owner liked his Serie A YouTube highlight reels.
I also understand, emotionally, why rebuilding Highbury is so important. I mean, there are fans’ ashes spread on that pitch, there’s nearly 100 years of Arsenal in those old halls, this board and Arsene Wenger could no sooner walk away from that development than they could forget about their grandmother. Highbury was our life-blood from 1913 to 2006, it sustained this club, it grew this club, and while it was certainly time to move on we need to honor what Highbury did for the club.
So, I understand why they would do everything possible in order to see this project through to the end. What I don’t understand is all the subterfuge if that is the case. Why not just come out and admit it? I think most Arsenal fans are adult enough and connected enough to the old stadium to want to sacrifice a bit and see this project completed.
Either way, we should get a clearer picture of what’s actually going on when Arsenal release their year end financial report, soon.
Since it turns out that FIFA won’t let him register with a new club until January, it’s possible that we just witnessed the end of Sol Campbell’s career. I just don’t understand how a man with the mental strength to leave Spurs and come to Arsenal could have fallen so quickly and so dramatically.
It seems like one minute he’s scoring the go-ahead goal in the Champions League final and then the next he’s wandering the streets. I really hope he sorts this out, he was easily one of my favorite players from the invincibles era.
ustv DOT arsenal DOT com
I might need a section of daily news just for American Gooners! Anyway, for those of you who subscribe to Arsenal TV Online (ATVO) it looks like there’s a separate, and cheaper, option for us Americans at usatv.arsenal.com. I’ve emailed Arsenal TV Online <firstname.lastname@example.org> to see how (or if) we can make the switch.
This shit is bananas
And finally, I am the first person to loudly rail against racism. No one wants England to be tarred with the brush that Russia currently holds proudly. So, when the FA decides to investigate claims of racism at any pitch, whether it’s fans singing a song about elephants, or fans throwing bananas at El Haji Diouf, I am fully behind the action.
I am even behind the FA’s investigation into what Diouf called some white ball boy, despite the fact that, historically, power relationships ran the other way. What I can’t get behind, and what needs to be stamped out with extreme prejudice, is false accusations. If El Hadji Diouf’s claims that Everton fans threw bananas at him are proved false, I think he should be banned for a minimum of 5 matches, in addition to whatever ban he’ll get if proved to have called the ball boy “white shiat” or whatever he supposedly said.
That’s it for today, have at me…