Silly Season Begins/Emirates Cup/Gazidis Meeting

The silly season in the media is cranking up to full volume once again as the summer transfer window approaches. The blogosphere, newspapers and football websites are full of a long list of players alleged to be coming and going at Arsenal. Personally this drives me bonkers. I shall comment only when players have definitely left or signed for us.
The three visiting teams for the Emirates Cup have been announced. It’s to be Milan, Olympique Lyonnais and Celtic. I shan’t be “breaking my duck” and attending the tournament for the first time. Twenty years ago before the satellite and cable stations combined with the digital breakthrough and deregulation we hardly ever saw the top continental teams on the box. Even their visits to play here in European competition weren’t covered live, except for the finals.
These days at Arsenal at least we’ve been spoilt. We’re on the brink of our thirteenth consecutive season in the Champions League next term. Most of the big league games from Spain, Italy, France and Germany can be seen here live if you have satellite or cable television. The internet is also a rich source of football.
Clearly Arsenal has been getting it right for most people in terms of the Emirates Cup. It doesn’t do it for me personally though. These days I’d like to see at least one of the teams coming from outside Europe. There are plenty of teams to choose from in terms of popularity and television ratings. I could get motivated to go and see the likes of Argentine giants River Plate or Boca Juniors, one of the Mexican giants, a big club side from Brazil, maybe a national team from Africa or Asia like Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Japan or China. I realise I’m in a small minority but the Emirates Cup is not for me at the moment.
Good luck to those who enjoy it, and clearly the succession of sell-out or near sell-out crowds and extensive television coverage (I saw one Emirates Cup game live on the box after waking up early on a Saturday morning in my hotel room in Arequipa, Peru in the 2008/9 pre-season!) prove that a lot do. The Emirates Cup is popular and makes a decent contribution to the club’s coffers. It’s just not for me at the moment.
Talking of club finances and management, Arsenal chief executive Ivan Gazidis will be appearing at a question and answer session for members of the Arsenal Supporters’ Trust on Monday week 10 May at the ground. The event is exclusively for AST members. If you’re not already part of the AST Army then now’s the time to join.
It’ll cost you just £2 a month if you pay by standing order, £30 a year by cheque or credit/debit card and £250 for life membership (cheque or debit/credit card).
We’ve got a blank weekend coming up as far as Arsenal is concerned with our game having been moved to Bank Holiday Monday tea-time for television. Wildly inconvenient for those planning to travel to the game by public transport of course, but when did we ever count? Football is great at the mind over matter trick. They don’t mind and we don’t matter. That gripe aside it would be nice to come up with a win to definitively nail down a third place finish with a game to spare. We can then all enjoy a festive day out against Fulham on Sunday week in our final game of the season. The Cottagers will no doubt have one eye on their trip to Hamburg where they’ll play Atlético Madrid in the Europa League Final. Hamburg is a really nice city with more than enough scope for having FAR too much fun. I’m pleased that Fulham have got through. I’ve always had a bit of a soft spot for them. I’m also delighted for Roy Hodgson – a VERY underrated manager and a true gentleman.
Keep the faith!

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