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October 2016
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Arsenal flushed down the drain by Sky Sports

By Walter Broeckx

I don’t know why but this international break in the football season seemed to take longer than ever before. I really couldn’t be bothered about the results of any team to be honest. Football organised by crooks just isn’t my thing.

The only thing that I did worry about was the well being of our players. And then to find out that Welbeck got injured in the first England match was for me enough to dislike those matches even more. So Danny will be a doubt for tomorrow’s match. This is always a risky thing of course. Do you risk Welbeck in this important match with making the injury possibly worse? Knees are important body parts for footballers as it them that make people turn around and certainly for footballers having a knee working fine as should be is of the highest importance.

And any knee injury usually takes a while before you get recovered. Look at Walcott who still is not the player he was just before his injury now more than 1 year and 3 months ago. A few flashes but never consistent since his return. Just imagine if we lost Welbeck now for the rest of the season if his knee gets severely injured. I sure wouldn’t like that. I think that if we give Wenger another season we will see a completely different Welbeck by the way. Wenger has turned ‘he doesn’t score enough’ strikers in to ‘Oh my god what a finisher this is’ before.

The other scare was Ramsey. Ramsey injured his groin as the saying goes.  But there is no talk about him in the pre match conference or in the who is fit to play article at so I hope (and pray) that he will be just fine. Because any injury now can mean the end of the season for a player. And now is the time to have most players fit and not see them injured in international matches.

The most important thing now is how will the team perform after this very unwelcome break. The team was on a very nice run with 6 wins in a row in the PL. But now with this break it will be the question if we can pick up where we left it. In my mother language the expression is ‘picking up the wire where you left it’.  But such a break can result in the wire being broken and that would be bad. [In English Walter it’s just “picking up where you left off”.  Why does Flemish always add the extra noun?   Anyway why would you want to pick up a wire – that can be painful.  Besides wires normally are cut or snapped. – Tony]

Another thing that is bad has already been mentioned by Tony in many articles: the almighty power of the TV companies. As things were standing the supporters’ club of which I am the chairman (Arsenal Belgium) had ordered tickets for the match Arsenal – Swansea. We had our tickets ordered and confirmed. We had our bus ordered but couldn’t complete the order as the date was still out there and could change.  And yesterday evening the bad news came out. Our planned Saturday match was moved to Monday evening.

I can assure you that when I got the news I have used every swear word in Dutch, English, German, French, and even the few I know in Spanish. There goes our last planned groups travel to London. Flushed down the drain by Sky Sports. For most working people this is impossible to do. Most people in Belgium have 20 days of holiday they can choose but to give up 2 of them to be able to see Arsenal play is simply not done. People use these days mostly to go on a holiday with their family and so most people had to cancel their tickets.

We now have to cancel the bus and contact Arsenal and tell them that apart from a family that had planned a few days in London and who will be in London on Monday evening we cannot take the tickets anymore. Lots of  inconvenience for lots of people all over the world because the TV companies decided to shift this match to a Monday. In order to keep this site readable even for young kids I will not really say what I think of that decision and what I think of those TV companies.

But that is the way it goes these days. As Tony has pointed out before the supporters who want to see the matches are just “quantité negligible” to say it as Arsène would say it in French. Decoration that’s what we are for them.  Needed a bit but not that much. We are still allowed in the ground but if they could, they would replace us with “Football manager playstation crowd imitations”.

The only good thing about it is that I do know now that our sports channel will give the matches live on TV as they always show the Monday evening match. So that is a little bit of good news that I don’t have to stream the matches. But I would have preferred to come to London with all the early getting out of bed and getting back to bed very late in the night stuff than now sitting in front of my TV. Because nothing beats the experience inside the stadium.

And for our supporters club this is a double blow because if the match would have gone as planned we would have achieved our goal in being able to have a ticket available for every member of our club. Now we can’t realise that dream. Any chance of getting tickets for the cup final for our supporters club will be close to impossible. So that finishes our season on a low. We now can only hope that Arsenal does a live screening for the cup final if we reach the final as they did last year. Then we will be there just as we were last season. So there is still a bit of hope to come to the Emirates this season.

Surely they wouldn’t dare to move the cup final to a Monday evening…. would they?

[PS Re the picking up the wire… In English Walter it’s just “picking up where you left off”.  Why does Flemish always add the extra noun?   Anyway why would you want to pick up a wire – that can be painful.  Besides wires normally are cut or snapped. Mind you English has “right to the wire” – meaning to the end, which I always thought was the most ludicrous expression, for much the same reason – Tony]


Two old time anniversaries

3 April 1897:  Arsenal 0 Newton Heath 2.  Gavin Crawford became first player to play 100 league games for Woolwich Arsenal.  He played 83 times for Royal Arsenal and 122 league games in total.

3 April 1899:  David Jack born.  He scored the first ever FA Cup final goal at Wembley and was the first Arsenal player to captain England.


19 comments to Arsenal flushed down the drain by Sky Sports

  • Blacksheep63

    I am really sorry to hear this Walter, it would have been good to see you all at the Swansea game. I will be in Belgium on Friday next week – not for football but to visit the salient and hear the service at the Menin Gate.

  • andy bishop

    What the same company that has agreed over £4 billion pounds to show premier league football from 2016.

  • Doesn’t right to the wire refer to the finishing line? Think its a horseracing expression.

  • WalterBroeckx

    Welcome to Ypres then Blacksheep.
    The city where my wife was born.
    The last post at the Menin Gate is impressive. Short, but it leaves you silent for a while. Well it does to me whenever we have visited it. My wife her grandfather (who was also a member of the Ypres fire brigade), has been one of the buglers who has done the Last Post ceremony. The Ypres fire brigade has been doing this Last Post ceremony every day (apart from in WW2 when the Germans were back in town).

  • Blacksheep63

    Dank u Walter, it must be a city of some class and significance then 🙂

  • WalterBroeckx

    Not as much as the City where I was born 😉 Something we like to bicker about 🙂 Don’t dare to say it to here but Ypres does have a bigger name than my home town. (Something I refuse to say to her of course)

  • JohnW

    I pray that we win tomorrow, then atleast Walter and group from Belgium can console themselves with that over a bad decision from the tv cos. Even if we draw, it won’t be a bad result.

  • Jr gunzz

    Off topic let the sterling bullying begin
    If he was an arsenal player they will be saying he has more ambition than the club and has a right to demand a move lol

  • Brickfields Gunners

    @ Walter – Bang goes another 3-1 score win !

  • Gf60

    Sorry about your trip Walter. Why do the TV co’s seem to make it an objective to make the Monday (or Sunday late) games as inconvenient as possible for the away fans…eg Arsenal at ManU, Swansea’s at the Grove? Both examples involve round trips of over 500 miles, impossible to do for the average fan with jobs to hold down. Bloody sadism I expect.

  • Jerry

    Agree Walter, I hate the tv company’s ability to change game times just as much. The same thing happened to my wife and I last year, when we flew into London planning to attend the Newcastle match, but unfortunately it was moved to Monday so we couldn’t attend. Still got to visit the stadium which is an amazing sight to see.

  • Menace

    Walter – I will scream on your behalf. I’m back in London for the rest of the season & will be watching the Gunners bringing home the glory.

    It is so wrong that TV control the lives of fans by moving start times to suit their schedules without any consideration for the fans & their families.

    Tomorrow is the sign of intent – it will signal what we will achieve this season.

  • Gord

    Sorry about the rescheduling ruining your plans. The thing I noted, is that the rescheduling is taking away a day of rest between ManU and Sunderland.

    Re: ‘picking up the wire where you left it’

    I did my M.Eng. in Pittsburgh, PA, USA (C-MU). People around there, drop “to be” from sentences. Car needs washed. Grass needs mowed. And so on.

    Arsenal ladies tied (1-1) at Notts County. Apparently they (Notts County) worked a free kick to open the scoring. The BBC and other places have video of this trick free kick (I haven’t seen it, I just know it exists).

  • para

    They should be made responsible for any fan disruption and their costs, then they would not be so hasty to change matches.

  • hrishi

    Really feel sorry for you Walter. It just makes me apprehensive about ever scheduling a trip to the UK to watch Arsenal (I live in India)- will have to make sure that I am in London over a 4 day window from Friday to Monday, apart from, of course, considering the more understandable rescheduling due to progress in Cups etc. That is going to one long, expensive and uncertain holiday..

    This just goes to the show the detriment of increasing TV money. Far from using some of that money to help the fans, it just gives Sky and BT more license to play around with the fixtures. At some point this has to stop- take the weekend that you mentioned (the Arsenal-Swansea weekend). They probably did not reschedule that to Sunday because City and Chelsea (against Liverpool) were playing that day. Fine. What of Saturday?- well United play at 5:30 and Spurs at 3:00. We certainly could have played in the 12:45 slot- it’s only Everton against Sunderland then.

    True, people can come up with a whole host of counters to that- Any game of Everton’s is a big game (certainly not backed up by their showing this season) and Monday night gives Sky more revenue. Let’s consider the latter for a moment. According to Swiss Ramble, the average cost of a TV game is 6.5 mil (rising to 10.2 mil for the new deal). Let us take the average increase in cost per away fan as a result of the rescheduling as 50 pounds (That increase would be far higher for you, Walter). Taking 6000 such away fans, it totals 300,000 pounds- 4.6% of 6.5 mil. Can’t some of the money go to the fans?

    Now I am not going to argue that 4.6% is ‘negligible’. But that percentage is lower for a number of reasons-
    6.5 mil is the cost, sky’s earnings are probably 20% higher.
    Not all games are rescheduled- assuming only 1/5th are rescheduled, 4.6% drops to 0.9%.

    Of course, if Sky is only considering the added benefit of rescheduling a particular game, we need to consider that it’s usually the big games that are rescheduled- pushing it’s cost (and earnings) much higher than 6.5 mil. Sky’s added benefit of changing is surely more than 300,000 pounds- it’s probably higher than a million. Take for argument’s sake that it is a million- asking Sky 30% of its marginal gain is a bit too much, no? It depends on who yo ask, but to me, it certainly isn’t when you consider that it’s the money that stand to make over and above the humongous amount of money that they already make. A little goodwill can sometimes go a long way in sustaining the interest that fans have for football.

  • hrishi

    To summarise my post above, Sky can easily set aside 5 million pounds annually for a ‘rescheduling fund’- that would cover 17 games with the assumption of 6000 away fans (when you consider that 6000 is too large, the number of games covered is only going to increase). Added to this, rescheduling games between clubs in geographical proximity would also help. Steps too far?- I think not.

  • Gord

    Sorry, OT. Brickfields gives us much with his humour, I thought this might be a good partial payment.

    Brickfields, you are a MD?

    Have you seen this?—a-medieval-remedy-for-modern-day-superbugs.aspx

    It comes from Bald’s Leechbook. Not every day you find a 1000 year old recipe that can kill a MRSA biofilm.

  • porter

    Of course it’s not only away fans that suffer, many home fans travel long distance too. We all joke about racing United supporters back to Surrey but it is no longer a fact that fans walk to the ground from home , most travel in my case a 260 mile round trip .Does it concern the tv companies ? NOT A JOT ! They have bought the circus , they will pitch their tent where and when they want. The clubs are are now dependent on tv money and will do nothing to interrupt the gravy train .It is now a television entertainment , match going fans are an irrelevance.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Yes , Gord , I an a medical doctor (MBBS ). Thanks for that article . Leeches as well as many animals and plants are among the many sources of traditional treatments that have now been studied and when found effective , been used in ‘modern’ medicine .
    Lab raised leeches have been used to improve the vascularity (circulation ) of very fine blood vessels after microscopic surgery to repair damaged ones.
    Leeches have been used to ‘bleed’ patients of old in hypertension and other diseases . On here , some ‘leeches’ seem to raise the blood pressure of the AKBs !