Next Up - It's Bogey Team Birmingham

In four days we’re set to face Birmingham City at The Grove in a must-win-watch for Wenger to maintain any argument that a successful season awaits us. Birmingham City have been somewhat of a bogey team for us in recent years but our home record against them still stands strong. The problem that’ll we’ll face on Saturday, much like when we played West Brom, is complacency. Underestimate Birmingham and they will knock you for six.
Keeping in mind how urgently we need a win against the Bluenoses, and that they’ve twice damaged our title campaigns in recent memory, it troubles me that this is how the Arsenal website are focusing their attention for Saturday: “Arsenal’s Premier League home game against Birmingham City on Saturday 16 October will focus on the Club’s Arsenal for Everyone initiative, an ongoing scheme which embraces the diversity and equality of the Club and its fan base. 
Our home game against Birmingham will focus on our club’s new initiative? I’d rather the focus was on our team turning in a high-calibre performance against a tough side of mid-table battlers. It’s one thing running a paragraph like that on the official website, but is it too much to ask for at least a quote from Arsčne Wenger about how his team will be prepared for the fight on Saturday?
According to, representatives have been invited from our “diverse fan base” to welcome the players onto the pitch with 17 different national flags. The players that day will also be warming-up in specially branded promotional t-shirts and, wait for it, Alex Song will be selecting the music to enhance all that pre-match fun! Wow – now I feel all warm and fuzzy inside!
Sarcasm aside for a moment, while I think the ‘Arsenal for Everyone’ initiative is, essentially, promoting a positive message of unity and equality – the whole thing on Saturday reeks of commercialized obsequiousness. Thankfully, there is only a very small percentage of people in the world now who harbour racist views when it comes to the matter of football – and I don’t think the few bigots that remain will be miraculously turned when they hear Alex Song blasting ‘Ebony and Ivory’ from The Grove sound-system.
This is why the whole event seems less like a movement to kick out racism from the game and more like childish fisticuffs between ourselves and other clubs to appear the most tolerant and diplomatic.
I have no problem whatsoever with clubs supporting and funding just causes – but doing it in such an overt, sickly-sweet style is unnecessary. Focus on Saturday 16th should be firmly on beating Birmingham and beginning to repair what was (three matches ago) a very promising season.

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