By Tony Attwood
Star of stage, screen and the members pack
Well, if you have received the full Arsenal members’ pack, and put in your DVD (at least the round thing in the pack), and then worked your way through the Ray Parlour stuff, watched the goal of the season countdown, and wondered what next, you might well have turned to “Ask Arsène”.
And what do you know: up pops yours truly wearing a hat and asking the great man to tell us his three main characteristics.
Not my longest TV performance, nor perhaps my greatest moment on screen, but I thought Arsène coped with sharing the stage with me rather well.
So, last year it was the Gooner DVD review and this year it’s the Arsenal official DVD. Whatever next?
Before I tell you, here’s my predictions for this coming season (which for reasons beyond me, got removed from the members pack).
1: Eboue will blossom and shine and become central to our team. If you saw the Poland game you will know what I mean. Most commentators were so transfixed with the defence they forgot to watch Eboue. A player who has grown, transformed, and developed. A man who can play anywhere.
2: Nasri will become so amazing that the press will start telling us that three years ago they predicted him as Zidane II. The goal of the season last year will just be one of many of that sort. He will learn to smile more too.
3: Nasri playing behind Chamakh when Cesc isn’t there will be a twosome that will be talked about beyond the moons of Pluto. The press will say that while some had their doubts, they predicted… blah blah.
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4: As long as we keep one of Bendtner, Chamakh and Van Persie fit at all times, and two of them fit for 75% of the season, we will be top scorers for the year, not least because Nasri and Cesc will be scoring too.
5: The key thing is to have Nasri and Cesc both playing in positions they love with a defensive midfielder behind them.
6: Barca loan us will, in August, start talking about transferring Cesc in January, and papers in Spain will claim the secret deal is done, while papers here say that it puts strain on Arsenal. Actually this has already happened, so not much of a prediction. Barca will be rechristened Barca Noise, and will fail to pay their players’ salaries twice before January.
7: Carlos Vela will make a sensational breakthrough and become fundamental to the first team’s regular squad.
8: Despite forecasts by most of the Anti-Arsenal Arsenal web sites that most season ticket holders will have left, the season ticket list will be confirmed as sold out with a 40,000 waiting list. Despite claims that the advertising of club level proves that it is empty, the waiting list there will be shown to be 3 years.
9: Liverpool FC will become a state owned company before Christmas. 5 million fans object to the EPL that the Prime Minister is not a fit and proper person to run a football club.
10: The England manager, Mr Cappuccino, will repeatedly tell Arsenal players to leave the club if they want to play for England. Arsenal’s players will tell him where to stick it and will take up citizenship of the planet Blink.
So that’s my predictions – now back to the membership pack.
Actually there’s two something elses (if you see what I mean) in the members pack that you might be enjoying.
First is the reprint of Football Ambassador. I reviewed this when GCR books first published it, and made mention of one particular piece in the book that has been quite influential to me. It is the section in italics on page 5, from the Kettering Telegraph. If you read that, and then (if you have a copy) the opening of “Making the Arsenal” (also in italics) you will see where I got the idea from. Not just this one section – but rather from the whole point that 75 to 100 years ago journalists used to have fun and write amusing things.
Which is of course not to say that I can emulate the great journalists of earlier times, but it is a talent that has been utterly lost. Journalists these days (at least sports journalists) either bow down and worship, or sneer and make up stories (in the case of Arsenal, mostly the latter).
I know that every time I try and do something amusing here someone will write in and say that the article was a total waste of time and space, but it still seems to me an art form worth trying to revive.
If you have got a full members’ pack, even if you are not inclined to read “Football Ambassador” do have a read of that bit on page 5. If you want to know more about the other historic Arsenal books the firm has produced there is a link to GCR Books on the right side of this page. And of course there is a link to Making the Arsenal above.
The other interesting thing that struck me on the first day of looking at the pack was the height of the team. Jane and I noticed this because a year ago the Anti-Arsenal Arsenal were doing their rant about the fact that Wenger was an idiot because he only signed short players and what we wanted were tall players. In fact our average height last season was pretty much the average height of the rest of the teams in the league – and the membership yearbook confirms this.
Arshavin is confirmed as neither 5 feet 4 inches tall as the song suggests, (he’s 5 feet 8) and as not being the shortest in the squad – Jack Wilshire is 5 feet 7 inches tall. So maybe the AAA will be out saying that Jack is useless because he is too short. Could be.
Untold Arsenal – the web site Arsène can’t do without
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