Emirates Cup/125th Birthday Party/Arsenal Fanshare

Who cares about the Premier League? Gives a monkey’s about the Champions League? Gives a stuff about the FA Cup? Cares two bob about the Carling Cup? World Club Championship? Not interested! We’re champions of the Emirates Cup 2010 mate!
Courtesy of a draw with Milan and a narrow win over Celtic we’ve lifted our own pre-season tournament trophy again. All very nice but we all hope for a LOT more from this coming season when the serious games start in a couple of weeks at Anfield.
I wouldn’t read too much into our two performances over the weekend, they were only friendly matches after all. We’re still showing a worrying inability to defend as a team however. Celtic got belted out of site in their Champions League qualifier in Portugal by Braga. It was 3-0 and could easily have been double that. We really do have to work very hard on our team defending and cohesion.
Before the League season opener on Merseyside, the first team flies to Warsaw for a game against Legia this coming Saturday afternoon, part of the deal for the transfer of Lukasz Fabiański. I shall be in south-west London watching the reserves play AFC Wimbledon. Tickets for both the visitors’ standing terrace and seats in the stand are moving very briskly for this game. I’d recommend booking in advance to avoid long queues at the turnstiles or to buy a seat on the day. All MasterCard and Visa credit and debit cards are accepted.
Tickets cost £10 to stand (£5 for full-time students, over 60s and the unwaged/£2 for under 16s). To sit its £12/£6/£3. There’s a £1.50 booking fee per transaction rather than per ticket. You can buy a total of no more than eight tickets on-line. Knowing the Wombles fans as I do an excellent day out will be had by all visiting Gooners I’m sure at a club that is owned and run by its fans.
Talking of supporter ownership, the launch of Arsenal Fanshare is now very close. This is an exciting partnership between Gooners and the club. It will allow Arsenal supporters to invest affordable monthly amounts into ownership of our club. It’s taken a very long time, but a LOT of very hard work on the part of the Arsenal Supporters’ Trust has finally paid off. Look out for further details in the next few weeks. You’ll have the chance to invest between £10 and £500 a month directly into owning your own thin slice of Arsenal heaven. Watch this space.
Finally, our 125th birthday is rapidly coming into sight. The 2011/12 season will mark the moment giants first bestrode the Earth. On 11 December 1886 we ran out onto a pitch on the Isle of Dogs (as Dial Square FC, we became Royal Arsenal a few weeks later) and belted Eastern Wanderers 6-0. Thus started the history of the mighty Arsenal.
My arsenalinsider.com colleague Carl Eldridge has reported a rumour that we’re attempting to get a fixture against the Brazilian national side as part of the 125th anniversary celebrations. That would be great and would mark our two visits to Brazil in the 1950s nicely. It may prove very difficult however. We all know how reluctant European clubs are to release their international players for friendlies. They scream bloody murder every time there are friendly matches in the FIFA international calendar, never mind one-off occasions outside the official dates that we’re probably looking at.
I can’t see that other major European clubs would release their top Brazilian players to play in next season’s Emirates Cup for example. If we picked an international friendly date we’d be missing all our international players. The FIFA calendar does have Wednesday 10 August 2011 reserved for international friendly matches. The biannual Copa América (South America’s equivalent of the European Championship) takes place in Argentina in our summer next year however and won’t finish until the final on 24 July 2011. The top European clubs will want their players on holiday after that. It’s a fairly safe bet that Brazil will reach the semi-finals which would mean that they at least play in the bronze medal match the day before the final. That leaves only two and a half weeks until the international friendly date.
One way or another I simply can’t see a date when both we and Brazil could field full strength sides. It’s a nice idea though. Perhaps a compromise would be to invite one or two Brazilian club sides to participate in the Emirates Cup. The end of July/start of August is when o brasileiro the Brazilian national championship swings into action though (its winter in Brazil at that time of year of course). Difficult again. Expensive too. Hotels and business class air fares are going to soak up £60-80,000 per team before talking about match fees.
One thing we should definitely do is ask the Premier League for a home fixture on Sunday 11 December 2011, the exact anniversary of our first match. I’m generally in favour of as many home matches as possible kicking off at 3.00pm on a Saturday. In this case I think there’s a definite case for moving to a Sunday to play on the day of our 125th birthday, even if we’re not selected for live broadcast on television. If we qualify for the 2011/12 Champions League the final group stage game will probably be the midweek before this so we shouldn’t face a competitive game the following midweek.
Of course the club commercial team will want to make as much money as possible from the 125th anniversary celebrations. That’s their job. Quite right too. But let’s do the whole thing with some class as befits The Arsenal.
Keep the faith!

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