Courtesy of the ludicrous over-reaction and paralysis that grips Blighty whenever a single flake of snow falls on our sceptred isle, last night’s  4th Round FA Cup replay against the Bluebirds was called off early on Monday.
Why on Earth didn’t they wait until midday yesterday? Isn’t that why we invest in under-pitch heating? By midday yesterday public transport and the roads were clear. It shouldn’t have been beyond our wit to work with Islington Council to ensure that the outer concourses and surrounding streets were clear, or was that asking too much?
I understand that with our warming climate local councils can no longer justify having large amounts of expensive equipment which is only used once every ten years or so. Surely the whole city shouldn’t seize up with one single snow-fall however, especially as we all had many days’ notice of it?  For all bus services to be suspended, train services to be all but absent, along with all Underground  and tram services with surface sections is simply unacceptable. This is exactly what happened the last time we had a London freeze-up in the 1990s. It just makes us all look stupid. I’d like to thank those hospital staff who made it to work yesterday to allow my in-patient appointment to be kept. I have no idea how the staff got in but a big thank you to them for doing so.
If there hadn’t have been the normal British over-reaction and inactivity in dealing with a bit of adverse weather I, lots of you reading this and about 55-56,000 others would have been at the Grove last night. Having been out and about around the ground yesterday I could see no reason why the game shouldn’t have been played. Leaving a decision until lunchtime yesterday would have given more than enough time for those Gooners and Bluebirds making long journeys to the ground if the game had had to have been postponed. As it was the decision was made at least 24 hours before it needed to have been.
So next up, assuming we don’t see another snow-flake between now and the weekend, will be the Forces of Darkness at the Lane. One player I don’t expect to feature is Andrei Arshavin. He hasn’t played since the Russian season ended in November last year. Although he participated in Zenit’s pre-season warm weather training in Dubai he didn’t feature in any of the pre-season friendlies they played there. I imagine Arsčne will want him to play in at least one reserve match before throwing him in the first team deep end. The reserves are due to play Spurs at Orient on Monday night (9/2/09), assuming his final paperwork passes Premier League muster and his work permit is sorted by then.
I’m hoping there’s no devil in the detail as far as the paperwork is concerned. We certainly cut it fine enough. The work permit won’t be a problem but I’m hoping no detail of the paperwork will lead the Premier League to refuse the registration. What is beyond dispute is that he’ll be ineligible for this season’s Champions League. He will however be eligible for the FA Cup. He may even make his debut against Cardiff City assuming Arsčne thinks he’s fit enough and the paperwork sorts itself out.
I wish Arshavin, our first ever Russian player, all the very best in his Arsenal career. I hope in four-five seasons we’re all talking about him in the same terms as James, Adams, Brady, Henry and Bergkamp, a true Arsenal great, headed for the club pantheon. I’ll settle for him being a decent player who justifies his fee. I still think that strengthening in other positions was more important. One thing I do know for certain though is that Arsčne knows a LOT more about football than I do. I’ll trust his judgement. Welcome, Andrei. I hope for the start of a beautiful friendship!
Time will tell, but it looks like our negotiating tactics were good. Zenit and Arshavin’s agent seemed determined to negotiate in the press which is not the way to do business, although it happens all too frequently with transfers these days. I think Spurs will bitterly regret the large hole they’ve allowed ‘Arry Redknapp to blast in their bank account. Redknapp’s made a habit of this, leaving West Ham United, Southampton and Portsmouth deep in the financial brown and smelly, managing artfully to adjust his address before it all came on top. You can’t really blame him if club boards are daft enough to let him out of their sight with the club chequebook. Spurs will stay up I’m fairly certain (we live in hope though). If they don’t they’ll REALLY be crying in their beer. If we’re struggling financially I’m bloody certain they are. Their turnover is half ours.
We can but hope that we give them a helping hand in plummeting nicely down the League this coming Sunday. Only fourteen games left for us in the League. Catching Yoonited will take a miracle. We do need to aim for a minimum of third though and direct qualification for the group stage of next season’s Champions League. That’s not going to be easy.
One game at a time though. All concentration on the other end of the Seven Sisters Road this coming Sunday.
Keep the faith!

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