PGL: Good morning all and welcome to the pre-Christmas TGIF. It’s going to be a hectic few weeks in the life of AFC and it will test the strength of the squad to the limit. The faith AW has shown in the younger players so far will also be tested. It is essential that the next two weeks see the squad put the start we’ve had behind them and put a string of result together starting Sunday. Lets get into the weekly review.
PGL: The return of Eduardo hit the headlines everywhere this week. It must have been like taking to the field for the first time again, and for Eddie and his family it must have been quite an emotional night. It was fantastic to see so many Gooners turn out at Underhill to welcome him home. The injury he sustained and his rapid return has made the Croatian our latest cult hero, a role that has not been occupied since the departure of the Romford Pele. Lets hope we can see him hit form by the time the Champions League rolls around in February… You broke your leg and now your back and Darren Bent is still kack, Eduardo De Silva your Arsenal’s number 9!
FTK: I suppose that my big issue is a combination, the return of Eduardo was superb, and he did really well. The other real big issue relates to the current discussions about the Club being at risk of takeover. I know that we will cover it later. Perhaps most disturbing are the news reports suggesting that this was a stitch up by Danny Fiszman in order to enable the club to tempt potential buyers, which in the final conclusion would mean Mr Fiszman being able to cash in his shares and leave the club. This seems very un-Arsenal like. Lady Nina is quoted as saying
“I’m in total shock and very upset about the appalling way I have been treated,” she said. “I can’t understand why I have been removed in such a ruthless fashion. It is very difficult to accept, especially after what my family has done for Arsenal for so many years.”
AH: Let me throw some facts out here:
August: W4 D0 L1, September: W4 D1 L1,October: W4 D1 L1,November: W4 L3 D1
(That’s 8 games in 30 days including manure, the chavs, Villa and the oil money) Now it wouldn’t be the first time this club had gone through a tough November would it? This month we have 4 points from 6 in the league. We lost a dead CL rubber and the kids got beat, all which I would offer got blown out of ALL proportion. T’is the season now though, we beat Liverpool we are alive, we beat Villa we are kicking. 4 points is a minimum here though.
Through January, Febuary, March we play 10 PL games, 5 home 5 away. We travel form the Emirates to face: Hull, Everton, Scum, W. Brom, Newcastle. That is as easy a run as you will find this season. We cannot fall further behind realistically, but if we close and gain momentum there is serious ground to be gained in the new year.
PGL: Vic Cresit broke the news on the Insider of Lady Bracewell-Smiths’ departure from the board.
To say it was a shock, was an understatement. The Bracewell-Smiths have been part of the club for longer than most of us can remember and it meant another part of our history has slipped away. It also means the lock down agreement effectively dead and despite what PHW says, we are more open than ever to a take over. FTK, can you hit us with a brief summary of what this actually means for the board…
FTK: One might conclude that the Board have now shot themselves in the foot. With the departure of Lady Nina (16% of votes) and Richard Carr (4% of votes + 2% Lady Bagge) and if one adds the 25% of votes owned by Usmanov, then nearly 48% of votes now lie outside the Board’s control. Whilst the Board have full executive powers and continue to run the club, I see this as a ticking time bomb. Most Board resolutions only require a simple majority of 51%. Now essentially we have 11 months before the next AGM. If Usmanov were to secure just 3% more votes, he would avoid the mandatory takeover threshold of 29.9% and at the same time if an alliance between Usmanov and the votes of Lady Nina Bracewell-Smith et al (or who ever they belonged to around that time) could be forged, then they could vote out the current Board members. Scary stuff eh? Happily I do not see Lady Nina doing a “David Dein”
Everyone is talking up an Usmanov takeover, yet I just don’t see Usmanov having the necessary cash given his losses in the credit crunch. I suspect that if push comes to shove, we will be bought by someone from the Middle East. The key now lies with the small shareholders. Their positioning with the Board may delay the inevitable, or prevent Armageddon. if Usmanov is prevented from getting the three extra percent of shares, plus if they use their voting rights with the Board, Arsenal will survive the threat to it’s independence. This is the biggest threat to the club’s independence in decades. But to be realistic, If anyone takes over the club and destabilises the income streams, then they could lose out on their investment.
AH: Well that is what happens when the rich people exert their power of ownership, the rest is out of our control. The sad fact is whatever happens we will still wind up giving the club several grand between us a year for the right to watch this team play and parade our allegiances in public. So perhaps some stoicism and calm (that would be a first) are needed on the ownership soap-opera:
“If the inward power that rules us be true to nature, it will always adjust itself readily to the possibilities and opportunities offered by circumstance. It asks for no predeterminate material; in the pursuance of its aims it is wiling to compromise; hinderances to its progress are merely matter for its own use” …Marcus Aurelius: Meditations.
“I cannot say something will happen, but you never know. It is feasible that we can do it and sometimes a new player can give some extra belief to the squad.”
AH: To be honest all I think we NEED is an athletic CM. If Gallas goes maybe a CB, although I would rather see Song pushed back and get a new midfielder instead. Some pace might be nice wide as well. As I said yesterday though, if we don’t buy I am still happy watching the youth come through. For me Simpson is a legend in the making. Merida and Wilshere just look different class. All we lack is some run-all-day snap your legs nastiness behind the technique.
FTK: Again the word on the streets is that Arsene has transfer targets for the January transfer window. The question is whether he will allow Ivan Gazidis to do the deals, whilst he gets on with managing the team on the pitch. We will stand to get £5 million from Lassana Diarra’s sell on clause in his £20 million move to Real Madrid. Arsene has to realise pull out a rabbit from the bag. David Villa anyo ne? …..lol
PGL: Arsene you’re such a tease. I think we can forget about the Gallas exit rumours, he’s actually come through the far side of the captaincy debacle and I expect him to stay. If one comes in its got to be a central midfield player doesn’t it? PV4 threw his support behind Denilson during the week and, though I’d agree he’ll grow into a great player for us, right now we need an experience head to sit and steady the midfield ship. I’m sure we’ll be linked with just about every Frenchmen, Toulalan, being the latest, but I think we all know, if AW does bring in a player, it will probably be someone we’ve not heard of that will send us scrambling to youtube.
FTK: Eduardo boys…His song says it all! “He came to us when Henry went, Eddy, Eddy… He scores more goals than Darren Bent, Eddy, Eddy. He broke his leg and now he’s back, and Darren Bent he still is cack, Oh Edu_ardo Sil_va, Arsenal’s number nine!
PGL: Hey FTK, great singing there Boss! I agree it’s got to be Dudu’s 45 minutes at Underhill. Everywhere you read about him, he was being described as a brave player but to come back as he has done, shows a desire and commitment that will hopefully rub off on some of the younger players that seem lacking in that department at times.
AH: I can’t argue with the feel good factor of seeing Eduardo back in action, a welcome return and an emotional boost for the side at a time they are short on decent support.
AH: All these people trying to analyse where we have ‘fallen apart’, ‘gone wrong’, ‘or lost it’ this week. Pool and Villa in the space of 5 days will tell us something more about all this, but as yet I just can’t buy, nor condone, such a rash loss of faith in all that is good within the club. If ever we needed to show solidarity and reaffirm what this club is all about, on and off the field, it is now. Disloyalty and desertion from the stands, even if they have precedent, have never been he Arsenal way.
PGL: OK this may seem odd but I’m going to stick up for Man. Utd. and give the finger to Real Madrid. The way the Spanish club have used the media to disrupt Ronaldo is truly disgusting. Our own club is subject to this sort of sh*t every transfer window. How many times next summer will we see Barca doing the same to try and prise Cesc away from us. Madrid and Barcelona are terrific clubs, with admirers all over the world and I admit that I have visited the Camp Nou several times myself but I’ve had enough… Yes most big clubs are guilty of similar underhandedness but the constant chipping away at players by Real and Barca needs to be addressed at the highest level.
FTK: My Friday Finger goes to Lassana Diarra, I’m afraid. He could have stayed and made himself an Arsenal legend. He is nothing but another over inflated ego. Like the lager advert, he thinks that he is “probably the best midfielder in the world” Well I’ve got news for you Diarra, you’re good, but not that good! Tony Adams summed it up when he said that staying at The Arsenal meant more to him than the likes of Real Madrid. He feels that young player’s heads today are too easily turned.
PGL: This week I’m thankful that we had enough foresight to put a sell on clause in Diarra’s contract. The reported £5 million windfall should help us secure the services of the ‘special player’ AW has hinted may be brought in. Its things like this that make me so sure that in very uncertain financial times AW is the right man for Arsenal.
AH: A fit RVP – I think he will be crucial Sunday. Him and Ade against Liverpool’s Hypia Carra and I know who I like there. We will see what our midfield is all about as well, with Gerrard, Mascherano, Alonso up against Cesc and god knows who next.
FTK: I am very glad that this Sunday will give us a chance to erase the memory of the last 48 hours. this has hardly been Arsenal Football Club’s finest hour. This will be an occasion when the players can help us forget the scary Board stuff and concentrate on beating the Scousers! Don’t forget to wear something yellow in recognition of that great game at Anfield in May 1989 when no-one in the modern gave AFC a prayer to turn over Liverpool by 2 clear goals to win the title. How many of you out there with faint hearts can remember doing a plastic, and turning off the radio/TV and saying that it was “all over!” 30 seconds before the final goal went in? lol! Anyway, I look forward to seeing you all in The Rocket, on the Holloway Road London