PHEW! WOT A SCORCHER!

PHEW! WOT A SCORCHER!

Well, that was just what the doctor ordered, wasn’t it? Before kick off on Merseyside at Goodison I would have suffered a point, was hoping for a win – and oh, how we got one!

It must be said that Everton were hopeless open. I doubt many teams will leave us the freedom of the park like that for the rest of this season. Still, that said, we went for the throat which was pleasing. Thomas Vermaelen looked accomplished and confident on his debut. His headed goal was coolly taken, albeit he was left completely unmarked. Like wise Big Bad Bill Gallas took his headed goal well, again having been awarded the freedom of the Everton penalty box.

We need to put the euphoria of an emphatic League victory to one side now though and concentrate fully on Tuesday night at Parkhead. Celtic did very well to win away in Moscow in the third qualifying round having lost the first leg at home against Dinamo. On paper we’re the better side. As I’ve said before though, the game is played on grass (or, occasionally, artificial turf), not paper.

Celtic Park on a big European night is never an easy place to go. I envy those Gooners who’ll be making the trip. My bank manager won’t stand for it unfortunately. Enjoy guys, and bring back a nice win for us. I could do without biting my nails at the Grove on Wednesday week.

Irish Guy Predicts GW14 Premier League Results

Off the field, our League opener next Saturday against Pompey still hasn’t sold out. It goes on general sale this morning to all-comers, silver and red members having not taken up those tickets available for match by match sale. The number of these has been reduced by about 1,500 as the club has decided to sell additional season tickets, bringing the total number of general admission season tickets in the upper and lower tiers to around 36,500. The management is worried that we struggled to sell out those few games that had tickets left for general sale last season. Given that this reduces the number of general admission tickets available for match by match sale at League games to around 11,600 (discounting the visiting club’s allocation in the south-east corner); this is a bit of a worry.

I’m told that around 1,500 gold members from last season didn’t renew, up from around 1,000 in the previous close season, making 3,000 or so available for Gooners on the season ticket waiting list. The club had to go down to about number 12,000 on the list to sell all the available season tickets, a “strike rate of about one in four. I’m not clear about what happens to those on the list who “passed”, but it would appear it’s worth putting your name down if you want a season ticket. I heard from one Gooner who was offered one but told the club he wanted two together so he could sit with his son who was on the list but much further down. The ticket office rang him back that day to say that was doable.

Clearly ticket demand, both for season tickets and game by game tickets has slackened markedly. No surprise really. I’ve my freelance income has been very badly hit by the recession. I have no idea at the moment how I’m going to be able to put enough away for next season’s renewal. I just hope the club is getting the message that tickets are hugely over-priced. We need an indefinite stand-still on ticket prices for the foreseeable future. What we do have going for us is a chief executive who knows how to mobilise to sell tickets from his time with Major League Soccer in the USA and Canada. I know the representatives of the Arsenal Supporters’ Trust were very impressed with the ticket marketing operation they saw when they visited the Colorado Rapids in Denver a while back. Aside from price I think one of the reasons the club has trouble moving match by match tickets on general sale after silver and red members have been supplied is most people don’t think tickets are available. Steps need to be taken to address that. We all want a full and noisy ground.

I’m not going to comment on possible player arrivals and departures before the summer transfer window closes. The speculation always drives me mad personally. I’ll comment after deals have been done, if indeed there is any further movement.

All eyes north of the border on Glasgow tomorrow night. Can’t wait. Mad for it!

Keep the faith!

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