By Tony Attwood
For a number of years now the Anti-Arsenal Arsenal, with their negativity, predictions of disaster, and downright depressive natures have dominated much of the commentary about Arsenal. Amusingly a handful of them have even been putting up comments about the forthcoming catastrophe of next season on the Arsenal History site against an article that explores the origins of the AAA in 2000.
Anyway, as an antidote to their inevitable (and repetitive commentary), here’s twelve reasons why I’m looking forward to the new season
1. Czscesny / Fabianski
We have two really classy keepers in the squad. Quite a while since we had that. Since 2011 was the year of the broken goalkeeper we ought to be ok on the injury front. One of them in the league, one in the cups.
What a fabulous player he was in his first season. His return after nearly a year out is so eagerly awaited, by me at least. Command, control, goals. Perfection.
I’ve only caught glimpses, but those glimpses and the way he has been talked up of late makes me feel good about the guy. The key thing is that he is a backup to Song, who clearly played too many games last season simply because there wasn’t anyone else. If he can play in the cups, and be there for the times when Song is suspended or injured, we are in for a treat.
Another talent we lost, but his return last season was worth the wait. No wonder Wales made him captain.
He won the vote on this site hands down last summer for the young player who would make it in 2010/11, but I am not sure any of us realised just how far he had come, and how central he would be this coming year. And that was just his first season. Just think what he will do this year having been excluded from the insanity of the under 21s fiasco.
6. A loanee
One of last season’s loanees will make it this year, although I can’t tell you which. Kyle Bartley who was at Rangers is a strong possibility, and Francis Coquelin who was at Lorient looks another good option. But if not then how about one of these
- Benik Afobe
- Gilles Sunu
- Jay Emmanuel-Thomas
I only predict one – and maybe not with the impact of Jack, but just one, and that one will make a difference.
7. Ignasi Miquel.
OK he only got a couple of games last season, but I was impressed. We want a backup centre back who is going to come on through and really make a difference? Here’s the man. Hopefully he will play in every cup game, and maybe get a few league outings too.
8. World-wide marketing starts
I find it amusing that there are often complaints about the way in which our marketing has been impoverished and how far ahead of us the other clubs are. And yet this is Arsenal’s huge advantage. Just how do Man U, Barca, Real Mad go any further with their marketing? They can’t, because they are already out there big time. But we’ve hardly started.
This coming season’s matches in the Far East give half a clue as to where we are going, but it is not the full answer. If you want to know where Arsenal are going to move into you just have to look at the readership of Untold. We (this site) has a significant following in India, and that is where Arsenal will be pitching itself. The income from India is going to be huge, and none of the other clubs are knocking on the door. It’s ours, all ours.
9. The Refs know we are on to them
Of course the match fixing involving EPL refs won’t stop, but what happened this year with the revelations of Walter and Dogface show those involved that we are on to them. As our critics have said, we don’t have tapes of a club chairman saying to a ref, “Use my villa in the Bahamas any time you want, no problem,” but they know we know, and they know that each month that goes by adds to the pressure on them. Walter’s latest investigation and the utter refusal of the associations even to have the courtesy to reply to his request for information suggests that we have got at them.
I had reached the conclusion that the refs were taking around 15 to 20 points off us each season because of Calciopoli. Now I suspect it is more likely to be 10 points next season because they will have to be less flagrant. We still have to be 10 points better than Man U to stay equal with them, but at least it is only ten.
10. 3 new signings
Christopher Samba, Gervinho, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain plus plus plus. I don’t know for sure, but they will be here, and they will add something to the squad. Besides, watching new players is always fun but out of them all will be one star, equivalent to signing Pires, Henry, Vermaelen or someone of that ilk.
11. Fewer AAA
For the last couple of years the negativists of the Anti-Arsenal Arsenal have been telling us that everyone is so pissed off with Arsenal that they are not renewing season tickets – and then the stupid buggers have gone and renewed their season tickets and I have to put up with their moaning and bitching and complaining and sneering.
But this year I get the feeling that some of the stupid buggers will actually have not renewed, and that does mean a bit of peace and more solid support. It will be nice to know they are not there.
Ian, the son of Roger to whom my book “Making the Arsenal” is dedicated, will be sitting next to me this coming season, having moved his season ticket. That is something special for me. Roger and I went to Arsenal games together for over 20 years, until his tragic death from leukaemia. It is a really warm feeling for me to know that Ian will be alongside me for the coming year. I’ll enjoy that even if the stupid bugger gets so nervous when we are 1-0 up with 3 seconds to go I think he is going to fall off his seat.
There’s also the fact that Walter and the gang from Benelux will be coming over for some games and there will be the meetings at the pub along with Dogface of course and other contributors. Plus there will be meetings with readers.
I have to say I really love meeting up with readers of the site – and the only thing I ever regret is that some readers feel that coming up and saying hello is an intrusion. Time and again people come up, check that I am who they think I am and shake my hand and then say “I won’t interfere with your day, just wanted to say thanks…” OK, that’s nice, but it is never an interference. I love meeting readers, and am always delighted to have a chat.
That’s it, I’m looking forward to it already.
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