It’s relatively quiet on the Planet Gooner at the moment with the international break this weekend.
Reserve goalie Don Vito Mannone has been extensively quoted as making manager Arsčne Wenger an offer he hopes he can’t refuse – play me. Or else. I have a lot of sympathy with players who want to play. I don’t want players at the club who are content to pick up their money every month, whether they play or not. The comments should have been made in private however.
Players should never be backward in coming forward and pressing their claims. I want players who are ambitious for themselves and the club. Whinging in public just gives succour and comfort to our opponents however.
Elsewhere, the Daily Telegraph today has speculation that the board is putting pressure on the manager to agree to overseas pre-season tours starting next summer. I’ve blogged before that I think this is doable in odd numbered years when there’s no World Cup or European Championship.
I’ve said on this blog before that I think Colorado would be a perfect base for pre-season training, either at the Colorado Rapids facilities (owner, one Stan Kroenke, also of this parish) on the outskirts of Denver or at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs. Denver is at 1,600 metres above sea level. Colorado Springs is at 1,840 metres. The altitude at our now customary pre-season training location in Austria at the spa town of Bad Waltersdorf in the south of the country is at less than 300 metres. Central European summers tend to be long and hot.
There are two advantages to training at altitude – firstly it takes the edge of summer temperatures – the climates of Austria and Colorado are similar, but the altitude means the average temperatures in Denver and Colorado Springs are 31 degrees Celsius and 29 degrees tops. The altitude also means low humidity.
The second advantage is the known benefits of training at altitude. Many Olympic athletes train at above one thousand metres for this reason. Aside from the U.S. Air Force Academy, a military university which has teams entered in the highest levels of competition of the National Collegiate Athletic Association in American Football, basketball, baseball, ice hockey and “soccer” with all the training facilities to match, the U.S. Olympic Committee is based in Colorado Springs and has a world-class training facilities.
I know from my own experience of living at altitude for seven months in the Andes in the Ecuadorian capital Quito in the 1980s that one experiences a real surge of energy and physical endurance when returning to closer to sea level. The body’s physiology adapts to become more efficient in taking in and absorbing oxygen in the thinner atmosphere one finds at altitudes above one thousand metres.
Colorado would also be an excellent base from which to fly down to Los Angeles for a game. It’s only a two and a quarter hour flight. Stop off on the east coast for a game in New York and/or Toronto with a game against the Colorado Rapids and there you have a decent three game trip with excellent Austrian style training facilities thrown in. I think we can achieve both the manager’s pre-season training objectives and the club’s commercial objectives with such a trip, assuming we lay the right groundwork in advance.
Now then, let’s hope all our players on international duty return without injury prior to the visit of Birmingham City next weekend. With our luck that’s probably too much to ask. Fingers crossed!
Keep the faith!