This is a story of life and death. And acting. And celebration.
It is the story of a club from the Russian Premier League side FC Moscow which has gone bust just a short while after their oligarch owner, a man in the Roman Abramovich league, pulled out, having decided to switch sports.
And it is the story the managers of EPL.
George Mills has worked for years to help the victims of Chernobyl. Last year he decided to write to all the managers of EPL clubs for help.
“Arsène was the only one who replied,” he said.
Lord Wenger put George Mills in touch with Alan Sefton of Arsenal in the Community. Soon after Arsenal started to give Chernobyl kit, books and boots, and then continued by sending coaches out to train children and local people.
Mills is quoted as saying, “It has been a miracle. We now have seven buildings and 127 staff in the Revival Centre. When we go there, everybody in the town shouts ‘Arsenal, Arsenal’. When everybody else seemed to have forgotten them, this famous English club came to them – and saved lives.”
It would have been good if FC Moscow could have joined in the scheme, giving money to another part of the former empire, but they don’t exist because Norilsk Nickel, the metal conglomerate stopped funding them. They are so bust they are just stopping, not just going down to a lower division.
The Abramovich type who put the money in was Mikhail Prokhorov, but then he has decided to buy New Jersey Nets, so he pulled out of FC Moscow, and everything has gone.
Meanwhile, Mr Mills attended the meeting to celebrate 25 years of Arsenal in the Community, and the Lord Wenger was there throughout. “When I hear all this, I know even more that the team has a responsibility not to let the community and the club down.”
Meanwhile at Chelsea, I doubt that anyone is looking over his shoulder worrying about Abramovich doing a Moscow. And I am sure there is a Chelsea in the community programme, which undoubtedly does good work.
But it is interesting and for me moving, to see the two stories together, and the ownership issues do highlight the big differences between Chelsea and Arsenal. No big time owner in England has ever suddenly decided to pull out. But as long as the KGB and Manarab are funded as they are, then the option is there.
And here’s another quote from the same article in which our leader spoke about Arsenal in the Community…
“The Invincibles were not always as creative as our modern team but they had fantastic players and they were five, six years older than this team.”
Makes you think. Well, makes me think.
Anyway, I must go to work, but I am already preparing for Tuesday, when we will play a group of actors who will fall, roll, cry, protest, waive, and by and large act a lot, and at the end apply for Oscars. We just have to be strong and do it.
Here’s the team (or maybe not – what do I know?)
Sagna, Campbell, Vermaelen, Clichy
Denilson, Song, Diaby
Arshavin, Bendtner Nasri
Which manages to leave out
Rosicky, Vela, Eduardo, Eboue, Traore who might run up and down the line a bit, and of course leaves out Cesc, Gallas, Gibbs, Ven Persie, Ramsey, Djourou, who can’t.
Then there’s JET and Wilshere away on holiday (I trust everyone got to see the Wilshere’s goal for Notlob, which was a fairly class feet change affair) and then there’s the forgotten men…
Eastmond, Conquelin (who I thought would come through this year), Barazite (back from injury), Merida (what happened about his contract?), Watt (or is he on loan, I’ve lost track).
When looked at that way it’s quite a squad. Plus we will sign a new centre forward in the summer, it seems, and there’s usually one unknown signing.
Plus the kiddies team are, as always, top of the league (even though they sadly got knocked out of the Youth Cup this year).
And while doing a review, how about this…
Barnet of the southern league have reached the semifinal of the Women’s FA Cup. We play the KGB Women’s Branch in the other semi. And we are one point off the top of the league with five games in hand. Played 11 scored 50.
So overall it’s quite jolly at the moment. And some of the kids in Chernobyl are getting some help too.
Rumour of the day: The FA is so broke itself, having mismanaged the purchase of the new Wembley, that it hasn’t yet paid out the winning money for the Cup Final of the season before last.
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ARSENAL IN THE PAST…
- When football journalists could write, entertain and make us laugh (a true newspaper report about Arsenal in the 1930s)
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- Chelsea: the biggest fix in Football League history
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- “Making the Arsenal” – the novel. The most extraordinary book about Arsenal ever. And that’s unofficial. Available from Amazon.co.uk and from the publishers direct.
Extra large shirts for the gent who thinks everyone else is too small. 3XL to 6XL football fans t shirts.
The sound of someone giggling as Untold publishes another load of turnips is copyright © Untold Arsenal 2010.
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