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Charity Begins At Home …

Image by Arsenal Ladies/Adidas

I offered to write a piece for the close season on the basis that I would supply subject matter as soon as something rooted itself in the old noddle. The aim was to provide something Arsenal orientated, importantly, not too serious because summer is supposed to be relaxing and fun, and not just a stream of done-to-death, boring, speculative and inconclusive transfer tittle-tattle.

However, Transfers – The Club Plan
Well, the boring, speculative, inconclusive transfer tittle-tattle has turned out spectacularly well. Declan Rice, Kai Havertz and seemingly Jurrien Timber, from Ajax, all done. Amazing work by the club and a massive commitment by the owners, KSE, to the manager, Mikel Arteta, and the squad. We are all well aware of our signings, of course, and there may yet be more to come, but then we’re getting into speculative, inconc…… etc. However, there will certainly be departures as some clubs – cough – actually have to balance the books, trim the squad and so forth. For now, they can be the subject of the speculative, inconclusive tittle-tattle …..

This past season saw the Kroenke-owned franchise, the Denver Nuggets, edge out Miami Heat to claim their first championship since they were founded in 1967. As owners of other sports teams like the LA Rams and Colorado Avalanche, the Nuggets’ win marks a third major KSE achievement in as many years and the blueprint followed is strikingly similar to the one currently being executed in north London. After 20 years of negligible impact in the basketball stakes, KSE finally transformed the Nuggets’ fortunes by building around a young core – namely Michael Porter Jr., Jamal Murray and star man Nikola Jokic, no less than 41st pick in the NBA draft – and hiring Michael Malone, a coach who they believed could successfully manage their development. Their competitive ambitions were regularly rubbished in the media, and poor finishes in 2018, 2019 & 2022 served to justify such low expectations. However, Malone used his brilliant management style to help them scale new heights and the Nuggets now hope to assemble some squad depth in the upcoming draft, as well as tie their youthful talent down to extensions – just as Mikel Arteta has done at Arsenal.

The Charity Work
This blog, thanks to a lot of sterling behind the scenes work by organisers and technicians, has previously highlighted the work of The Willow Foundation, founded by Bob Wilson in the memory of his daughter, Anna, which provides chances for young cancer sufferers to make special memories in their too short lives.

So, I thought, staying with the charity theme, why not take a look at the work currently undertaken by the club’s own Arsenal Foundation. Early searches appeared to hit the jackpot. There was footage online of The Foundation’s ‘A Night To Inspire’, which combined a video of the charity work and music at their annual event, the fun and relaxing element I was hoping for. While some excellent work and people were featured, including Arsene Wenger and Alex Scott, prominence was given to Petr Cech, Mesut Özil, and Ivan Gazidis ! Ok, time to look for a different angle then ! It has been hard, not to say impossible, to combine the charity work and music successfully, so I have simply split them up. – charity first, music to follow.

We may have just lost out to Manchester City in the Premier League title challenge but one championship the club wins every year is surely that in the field of community and charity work. Arsenal’s charity arm has a long and proud history of working to support the club’s local community, delivering sport, social and education programmes to more than 5,000 individuals every single week. The 2022/23 home kit can authentically claim to be part of the fabric of the community. At it’s launch in May 2022, Arsenal and Adidas teamed up and pledged £5 from every direct shirt sale to the club’s charity arm.

“We’re extremely proud of the work we’ve been doing to bring our community together and support the lives of people in our local area for more than 35 years,” said Freddie Hudson, Head of Arsenal in the Community. “People are the heartbeat of our community and the £5 donation from our home shirt sales will provide vital support for the local projects that serve our diverse community in north London so well.” “The last couple of years have been especially tough and the impact continues to be felt, but it’s amazing what we can achieve when we all come together to support each other. We continue to draw inspiration from those who make the Arsenal family so special, and we’re thrilled to be able to give a little back in this unique way.”

Ensuring the community thread ran through the campaign, players like local boys Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith Rowe were pictured wearing the new kit while engaging with local community groups. One of the club’s core members – both on and off the pitch – is defender Lotte Wubben-Moy. The born and bred Londoner, made a long-term commitment to actively work with Arsenal in the Community as part of her contract renewal, signed in May 2022. Over the coming years, Wubben-Moy and the organisation will work together on a number of projects which will use the power of football to help girls and young women build self-confidence, develop communication skills and try new activities on and off the pitch.

Of her own role, LWM3 said, “It’s important with community work to give it the time and energy it deserves. Obviously, that is hard for me because I have to balance my responsibilities as a professional footballer. But I’m not here to just add my name to an initiative and move on. I want to give what I can, to whatever it is I am involved in. Right now, that is focusing on the community programme that I’II be running in collaboration with Arsenal in the Community starting this year. We’ve got some exciting things happening that I can’t wait to put into action for the kids of Islington, Hackney and Camden.”

She feels that having a shirt involved in the campaign will make it more visible and bring the projects to life. When asked about her favourite features of the new shirt she said, “The vibrant RED. I love the little features too, they’re so intricate, but every Gunner knows a shirt is made great by the colour that runs deep. And that’s only ever going to be RED for us.” And her favourite ever Arsenal shirt? “The 2001 SEGA GOLD shirt”. Well, that’s women for you!

Lotte Wubben-Moy has just been named in Sarina Wiegman’s England squad for the upcoming Women’s World Cup. The centre-back made 35 appearances for the Gunners in all competitions last season, the third-highest outfield minutes in Jonas Eidevall’s squad. The 24-year-old will hope to be included when England travel to Australia and New Zealand in July. The tournament will be Wubben-Moy’s first World Cup, although she previously captained the U17 Lionesses to a third-place finish at the 2016 U17 European Championships.

She is the only Arsenal star to feature in Wiegman’s 23-player squad, with Leah Williamson and Beth Mead both currently sidelined with anterior cruciate ligament injuries. Mead, who ruptured her ACL in November, revealed earlier this month that she was “ahead of schedule” in her recovery but Wiegman said it would be too risky to include the 28-year-old in her squad. Gareth Southgate, please note!

The 2023/24 Home Kit
As yet there has been no sign that a similar donation to the 2022/23 charity work will be made from 2023/24 sales, but there have been some frustrating issues for buyers.

This season, Adidas has opted for a design inspired by Arsenal’s 20th anniversary since the ‘Invincibles’. It includes the Invincible’s record printed on the seams and a golden crest, symbolising the iconic Golden trophy. However, the standard home strip costs £80, meaning that the shirt has been made £10 more expensive for the last two consecutive years. To receive the Invincibles’ record stitching and the rubberised club crest, it is an extra £30, amounting to a total shirt cost of £110. In addition, there is an extra charge to have a competition badge and a name and number on the back.

That is a fairly eye watering figure in a cost of living crisis, especially say for a dad with two eager sons, or daughters, and it is disappointing to see the club take advantage of the fans and their loyalty, in the knowledge that the shirt will still be bought – after the first two days of sales in apparently record numbers too ! On the other hand, I guess record transfer fees and salaries have to be paid for somewhere along the line. What is disappointing is that in addition to the high prices, many fans have received damaged shirts, with names being wonky on the back and numbers being burnt during printing. One Arsenal fan received three shirts in poor condition, including the new goalkeeper strip having no printed name set at all. Hopefully the club will be happy to rectify such issues. After all, these shirts are going to be worn in a title winning season!

The Music Bit
It was about a year ago when I first became aware – tuning in by chance to a radio programme – of The Dualers.

The Duelers

The Dualers are a nine piece ska and reggae band from south-east London. Initially comprising brothers Si and Tyber Cranstoun, and now led by Tyber following Si’s departure in 2010 for a solo career. They first developed a commercial profile when the single “Kiss on the Lips” entered the UK top 30, peaking at 21, in October 2004 despite no industry backing. They began busking on the streets in Bexley Heath, amongst other places, before their popularity eventually won them a recording contract and performances at much bigger venues, including Wembley Arena.

Si Cranstoun: “Nobody ever believes we’re brothers. I take after our mother, who is from Sierra Leone, and Tyber is a dead-ringer for our dad, who is white. One hot summer when we were quite small, Mum took us shopping in Croydon and Tyber wandered off and got lost. His hair had been bleached by the sun and when Mum eventually tracked him down no one could believe that this black woman could possibly be the mother of this little blond boy.

I think most people assume Tyber and I play primarily black music because our mum is black, but our dad has also been a huge influence. He used to be in the merchant navy and fell in love with ska when he spent some time in Jamaica. When he came back to London he became one of the first white promoters of ska and played regular club nights all over London with his Savoy Sound System. He met my mum at the Locarno Ballroom in Streatham, London and Tyber and I grew up listening to the Blues Busters, Lord Creator, the Skatalites and Otis Redding, to name a few. Dad’s family has a music-hall background – playing the spoons, whacking washboards – so it’s not surprising we’ve ended up as performers. I’m completely driven by music and I find it hard to switch off. Every time I hear a piece of music I’ll be thinking about how it’s constructed or what the producer is trying to do. The only way I really get to relax is when I go fishing, and I don’t go as much as I’d like so I really enjoyed our afternoon on the Grand Union canal (before the Champions League SF), even though we didn’t catch anything. It was great spending a couple of hours doing nothing, away from the buzz of life. When we were kids, our dad used to take us fishing nearly every weekend. I was always in awe of him because he’d catch something nearly everv cast. I’d be doing well if I caught something every 60 casts, but it never dampened my enthusiasm.

l used to be just as keen on football. The first match I went to see was Crystal Palace at home playing Bolton Wanderers and I’ve been a Palace supporter ever since, although my interest is fairly casual these days. I didn’t mind watching the Arsenal match at Tyber’s as there were some other mates there so I tried to think of it as more of a social occasion. I watched bits of the match, but I spent most of the time on my mobile in the garden. I do think it’s a cop-out supporting a side like Arsenal that’s got loads of money when it isn’t your local team. But I suppose I just have to accept my brother is a Gooner through and through.”

Tyber Cranstoun: “Si didn’t really understand the importance of the match. I’d watched so many hours of Champions League football, and to see Arsenal’s chances nearly go out the window because of one player’s play-acting in the penalty area was … well, I can’t describe it. As any die-hard football fan knows, you experience tremendous highs and lows throughout any match, but that game was particularly intense.

I know Si thinks I’ve jumped on the Arsenal bandwagon, but I’ve supported them since I was a kid. Admittedly, when I first got interested in football I just wanted to support a team that was glamorous and successful, but that’s what kids are like. It’s gone way beyond that now. When I watch Arsenal playing, the rest of the world simply melts away.

I’d say we’re good mates and we do socialise with each other but not all the time. It’s great that we know each other so well because we don’t feel we have anything to prove, although there is possibly a slightly competitive edge to our performances. We’re both singers, but we don’t sing passively out to the audience like a boy band, we sing to each other, almost as if we’re trying to outdo the other one – a bit like the soul singers Sam and Dave. That’s partly why we’re called the Dualers, because it conjures up this idea of conflict.

We’ve been performing at venues and busking on the streets around the south-east for the past eight years, and sold 35,000 copies of our first two CDs on the streets alone. We’ve got completely different voices; mine is deeper, quite gravelly, like a baritone, whereas Si can hit high notes I couldn’t dream of, but when they come together it seems to work. There isn’t any serious rivalry, though. Just enough to fuel our music.”

(The interviews are my edits taken from a piece by Hilary Whitney in The Guardian, from July 2006.)

Some Dualers tracks: ( some live in the street, some recordings / videos)

Don’t Stay Out Late
Red Light
Kiss On The Lips
Written In The Stars
Good Thing Going – Under the Bridge at Southend
Commoner to King
Enjoy Yourself (4 year old mystery dancer)

Hope you enjoy !

69 Drinks to “Charity Begins At Home …”

  1. 1
    Ollie says:

    Cheers Trev. Great work on all fronts! I’ll try to listen to the Dualers at some point hopefully this weekend.
    I am surprised you didn’t mention the other ‘scandal’ about the £110 home kit, which has been pulled out for now. Because it is quite incredible, really, to realise that the Invincibles only played 32 games that season. No wonder it is an achievement downplayed by fans of other clubs.

    Adidas release statement as ‘authentic’ home shirts are pulled from sale

  2. 2
    bt8 says:

    Cheers Trev.

    As the news came through that Cesc has retired this is the image that popped up in my mind.

  3. 3
    TTG says:

    Thankyou for this wide-ranging piece which is interesting on so many levels. I am increasingly impressed by KSE having been implacably opposed to them at one stage . They seem to be learning on the job! It occurs to me that Josh Kroenke May be a much more insightful and emotionally intelligent leader than his father and he is developing Avery sound blueprint .
    I’m also very interested in how much backing is going into the ladies team. Alessia Russo is likely to join imminently and they have been as active in the market as the men have. I’m particularly impressed with their Swedish centre back but I’ve yet to see her play ! They are clearly giving it a real go after being hit so cruelly with serious injuries last season ( I think they had four ACLs in key players ) .
    When we did our main charity project with Willow I got to know Andy Exley who is the Comms supremo.and was very aware of how committed he was to helping them.Its a massive part of the club ethos and another reason to be a proud Gooner. Top stuff Trev thanks

  4. 4
    Noosa Gooner says:

    Thanks Trev,
    And thanks bt8 for the Cesc clip. I must admit that the image in my mind on the news was a large slice of pizza …
    Also, I don’t think anybody referenced Van Persie in the previous drinks (apologies if they did) but despite the circumstances surrounding his leaving he was a terrific player for us and also captain for a while if memory serves.
    And a reminder of Lauren in that clip too – what a warrior he was.
    Happy days.

  5. 5
    bathgooner says:

    Thanks for a great read, Trev. I knew of the club’s exemplary charitable activities in the local community but I had never heard of the Dualers who have a nice sound. A slightly more dynamic Saarff Laandan version of the Proclaimers? Whoever is/are responsible for the quality control in the merchandising department clearly needs an upgrade -very poor.

    Good calls, on RvP and Lauren, Noosa. I saw Lauren in a petrol station once. Up close he looked even scarier! He had two babes with him though so must have had a warm side.

  6. 6
    OsakaMatt says:

    Thanks Trev, an enjoyable read 👍

  7. 7
    OsakaMatt says:

    Talking of words, harsh we’re apparently exchanged in the Members at Lords. What is the world coming to?

  8. 8
    North Bank Ned says:

    A splendid read for a rainy summer morning (as it is here). Kudus for highlighting the excellent charity work and community outreach that the club does. As TTG says, makes one proud to be a Gooner.

    OM@7: I saw a tweet that said the Long Room had turned into Millwall away. End days.

  9. 9
    North Bank Ned says:

    bath@5: I once read a description of Lauren that said he always looked like he played with a machete tucked down his socks.

  10. 10
    Potsticker says:

    Speaking of community, I recommend this from Tim Stillman: https://arseblog.news/2023/07/this-community-changed-my-life-gay-gooners-pride/

  11. 11
    Uplympian says:

    Thanks Trev for a very informative piece of behind the scenes at our wonderful club and the community work they do. In fact you cleverly enhanced it to a musical version.
    With the news of Cesc retiring as a player, and what a player he was for The Arsenal. He was prodigious way beyond his years and I recall a 19 yr old Cesc up against another legend Paddy Vieira who had just been transferred to Juventus. It was a Champions League encounter at Highbury where he played Paddy off the park! Although he subsequently played for Barcelona & Chav$ki – the latter was due to Arsene turning down the opportunity to re-sign him – he gave many memorable performances in the 9 years he was with us – a true legend in my book.

  12. 12
    Goonersince54 says:

    A splendid read Trev
    Like Bath and I suspect the rest of us, I had never heard of the Dualers, and as for the shirt fiasco, clearly quality control is non existent, and as for the eye watering price don’t get me started.
    A good mate of mine works in the clothing industry and he knows where all these shirts are manufactured and how much they cost landed including freight.
    The profit margins would make a grown man cry.
    Clearly a lot of time and effort went into producing this piece, and it is a shame that there have been so few responses.
    This has happened to many excellent pieces throughout the season, and I am guessing that there are now so many Blogs on all things Arsenal, that Goonerholics is just lost among the crowded field.
    We never seem to attract any new readers, which is a real shame considering the quality of the work that is produced on this site.
    Hopefully the new season soon upon us, will see an uptick in that regard.

  13. 13
    bathgooner says:

    Clive @12, it’s a shame that the Drinks don’t feature new Drinkers and the old spirited debates but I console myself with the observation that I very rarely contribute to the comments section on the other blogs that I read daily. Indeed, their comments section also seem to be largely the fiefdom of a few regulars. Even the arses, which used to hit the high hundreds of (albeit brief) comments daily, are a shadow of their former days. Participating in blog comments may be a thing of the past in this age of rabid social media.

  14. 14
    Trev says:

    Thanks fellas !
    And thank you for your consideration, Clive !
    It is a bit disappointing and yes, some of these pieces do take a surprisingly long time to put together. How Dave ever did it all on his own is a mystery.

  15. 15
    Ollie says:

    I think you nailed it at 13, baff.

  16. 16
    North Bank Ned says:

    Clive@12: Ollie nails it saying that bath nails it. I would only add that, as we honour the Guv’nor’s memory, we don’t traffic in the sort of sensationalism that is the tenor of the times but gathers attention. We are a commendable island of sanity in that regard. Most islands have small populations.

    Trev@14: You remind me of a quote in A League of Their Own, ‘It’s supposed to be hard. If it were easy, everyone would do it.’

  17. 17
    Ollie says:

    Speaking of (ex-)Charity, Community Shield ticket info (to some extent) is there at last:

  18. 18
    Sancho Panza says:

    And another consideration might be that some people simply enjoy reading these excellent pieces of writing but are not minded to comment. Nothing wrong in that.

  19. 19
    Ollie says:

    Good point, SP.

  20. 20
    Countryman100 says:

    Excellent work Trev. Loved the music links!

  21. 21
    bt8 says:

    Arseblog News report:

    Can we expect more incomings? The Times report this evening that Arsenal “are ready to make a move” for Southampton’s Romeo Lavia and that a deal could cost £50 million.

    A report by Sky Sports Germany also claims talks have been held with RB Leipzig’s Benjamin Henrichs. The 26-year-old is a Germany international with experience playing as a full-back and in midfield. It is suggested he’d provide backup.

  22. 22
    North Bank Ned says:

    bt8@21: We are going to have to start shifting some players soon for real money to cover these new signings under Uefa’s new financial rules.

  23. 23
    OsakaMatt says:

    I read the price for Xhaka has gone up to 21m, that should help.
    Pepe is the most testing one I suppose.

  24. 24
    North Bank Ned says:

    Man City getting £15m plus add-ons for their U-21 goalkeeper, James Trafford is the sort of deal we need to be emulating.

  25. 25
    North Bank Ned says:

    OM@23: We’ll do well to get £15-20 million for Pepe. Balogun and Nketish should yield at least £25 million, although I doubt we’ll want to sell more than one of them. Lokonga could yield another £10 million. But that still only adds up to half a Rice. All the youngsters that have left the club, such as Matt Smith, have gone on frees.

  26. 26
    OsakaMatt says:

    @24 Ned,
    Yeah, 15m for a kid who has had a season on loan with Bolton (where he was very good according to a Bolton fan anyway) and also a 20% share of the sell-on fee is good business. If he works out as PL keep then Burnley have done well too.

    Amazing that we can only get the same money for Pepe, but I suspect you’re right that we won’t get much. On the other hand I think we can drive a much harder bargain for Balogun, Nketiah or KT for that matter. Sambi and Rob are trickier and TP5 is a different matter.

  27. 27
    Countryman100 says:

    Did anyone here enter the silver ballot for Forest? Any joy?

  28. 28
    North Bank Ned says:

    OM@26: Trafford is first choice in goal for England in the U-21 Euros.

  29. 29
    Ollie says:

    I did, C100 @ 27. I think results will only arrive on Thursday or Friday?

  30. 30
    Countryman100 says:

    Ah I see. So the results being reported on Twitter are for family enclosure only?

  31. 31
    Ollie says:

    Must be then, I saw somewhwre (maybe on .con, regarding the card not being automaticaly charged) that the process is different for Family Enclosure.

  32. 32
    Doctor Faustus says:

    Saliba, Tomi, Zinchenko … all seem to be back in trainings!

    Tomiyasu returns to training

  33. 33
    Goonersince54 says:

    For those interested, and TTG will be.
    Arsenal Ladies have just made a very significant signing on a FREE transfer if you don’t mind, of the England and ex Man Utd striker Alessia Russo.
    We tried to buy her in Jan window last season, but had a record bid turned down.
    Utd were convinced she would renew her contract but her heart was set elsewhere.
    Her contract at Utd ended on June 30th, and 4 days later she is on Arse website in her new Arsenal shirt.
    I cannot emphasize enough what a difference maker she will be for us.
    For reference, and a lengthy explanation why, Tim Stillman has an excellent profile of her over on Arseblog.
    And just to add to the good news, both Tommi and big Willie are back in pre season training looking fit and healthy after lengthy injury spells.

  34. 34
    TTG says:

    Russo is a terrific signing but we have also signed a very similar player t9 Beth Mead in Cole Lacasse from Benfica who will be representing Canada in the World Cup shortly and a centre back from Sweden , Andrea Ilestedt who comes from PSG.It is sexist to mention itbut she is a very attractive addition! Much better looking than Martin Keown! This underlines how committed Arsenal are to building a top women’s team who can compete for the Champions League . We were dreadfully unlucky with injuries last season but if we had our full strength side out we would be in contention for any competition we enter

  35. 35
    North Bank Ned says:

    Another awful ACL injury in the women’s game: Switzerland’s 16-year-old Iman Beney was injured by a tackle in training just a day after being called up for her country’s World Cup team. A terrible misfortune for her.

  36. 36
    Goonersince54 says:

    Like our Men’s squad last season, the Ladies didn’t have the depth to cover injuries.
    Chelsea, like Man City had 2 players for every position, which got them both over the line.
    Both our squads now significantly stronger, and I fully expect them, fingers crossed, to go deep in all the major competitions this coming season.

  37. 37
    ecg says:

    Sounds like Rice deal is done pending a medical. And maybe Timber, also. Quite a difference than deals in the past with the mad rush to the bargain bin in the last week of the window (this is a bit tongue-in-cheek).

    Ned – I’m curious about the FFP implications. I think I’ve read somewhere the finances are reviewed on a three year running average. If this is the case, what defines a year? Is it a calendar year or a fiscal year? If it’s a fiscal year, I’m guessing it’s July 1 through June 30. In which case, is there a benefit to finalizing the deal after July 1 and then transfer fees are credited to the new fiscal year?

  38. 38
    North Bank Ned says:

    ecg@37: UEFA’s new rules run on the football season (essentially June to June), not club’s financial years. The rules came into force in June 2022, for the 2022-23 season, but there is a three-year phase-in period to give clubs time to adjust to the key change which is that spending on wages, transfers, and agent fees will be limited to 70% of a club’s revenue. Within that, transfer fees can be allocated over five years, regardless of the duration of the contract signed with the player (ie, we would only be debited with £20 million and change for Rice this year). Also it is important to remember that losses (permitted up to £60 million, double what was allowed under Financial Fair Play) will be aggregated over a rolling three-year period, so it makes little difference right now which side of June 30 a contract is signed.

  39. 39
    TTG says:

    While we didn’t have two for one in every position in the ladies team we suffered an incredible run of long-term injuries to our best players . To lose Miedema, Mead, Little, Williamson, DevSouza missedhalf the season, Caitlin Forde was out for a long time and Wienrother did her ACL at the end of the season when Walti was injured too.
    To qualify for the Champions League and to lose in extra time in the semi given we had other injuries tgat night was a massive achievement. You can’t replace Miedema, Mead and Little because you can’t sign players who would sit on the bench
    It was as if Chelsea targeted all our best players ! And we still beat them in the Continental Cup ! Eidevall is impatient for success and ambitious and will serve us well

  40. 40
    OsakaMatt says:

    Reports of the deserved statue for AW have emerged – great to see him back last season and this is the obvious next step. He isnt getting any younger – though of course his health seems excellent – but I very much hope he will unveil himself so to speak……

  41. 41
    Ollie says:

    As someone pointed out elsewhere, this could tie in nicely with the Monaco match.
    Good point also made by arseblog today :
    Arteta, a former Wenger captain, now manages Arsenal. Per Mertesacker, another former captain, is in charge of the Academy. Edu, one of the Invincibles, is the Sporting Director. Jack Wilshere is charge of the U18s. Wenger’s influence remains at the very heart of the club

  42. 42
    Countryman100 says:

    Got my tickets for the Community Shield. Always great to follow Arsenal at Wembley.

  43. 43
    bt8 says:

    Now that the Rice, Timber and Havertz signings are done Tim Stillman predicts Arsenal will make one more but he’s not saying where: “I think Arsenal will bring one more senior player in and that will be entirely decided by sales. If all three of Cedric, Holding and Tierney are moved on, I think it could be a defender. If Thomas Partey is sold I think it will be a midfielder. If none of those things happen, I would not be surprised at all if Arteta and Edu decide to add another central forward option.”

  44. 44
    Ollie says:

    Fucking ballot bullshit unsucessful for Forest.

  45. 45
    bt8 says:

    Saliba signed and the summer rolls on according to Edu’s ideal script.

  46. 46
    North Bank Ned says:

    …and 25 million euros roll in for Granit Xhaka, who rolls off to Bayer Leverkusen.

  47. 47
    ecg says:

    As contracts go the last one that we have to extend is Ode. Then we should be mostly good for a couple of years.

  48. 48
    OsakaMatt says:

    Nelson now announced too. Good money for Xhaka. Edu is now Mr Soros.

    Steve Round has left, by mutual consent, and the best of luck to him. He was a very low profile sort of guy so to be honest I have no idea how important his contribution to our turnaround has been but I don’t think MA carries passengers so I assume he’s played a major part.

  49. 49
    ecg says:

    Here’s an interesting number re: Rice. He has never received a red card in the PM. Although given Arsenal’s track record I fully expect for him to get that out of his system versus Forest.

  50. 50
    OsakaMatt says:

    Takes the fifty 🏏

  51. 51
    OsakaMatt says:

    Don’t know the numbers but I feel our red card record improved last season,
    though of course we had a low bar on that count

  52. 52
    TTG says:

    It did I quoted the numbers in my end of term review . We had no red cards and significantly fewer bookings. Even Granit was only booked four times. So we had no suspensions . That makes a big difference over a season

  53. 53
    Ollie says:

    Well done on the half-ton, Matt!

  54. 54
    Ollie says:

    Today I will be able to re-apply for Forest tickets on my spare Red.
    Would be quite absurd if I manage to get a ticket on a membership I got purely to get spares for friends who might need them, while my regular much used Silver failed. I’m not holding out much hope though, probabilities for Reds should certainly be much much much lower than for Silvers.

    (I’m not sure how the Tx for Silver works though? When does it start/end?)

  55. 55
    bathgooner says:

    Farewell, Granit Xhaka. Thanks for all your efforts and your willingness to play out of position while surrounded by incompetence on every side. It took until your last 18 months at the club for a coach to recognise where you would be most effective and boy, did you respond. Good luck with Leverkusen.

    I strongly recommend Keenos’ summary of Xhaka’s contribution to the Arsenal at https://shewore.com

  56. 56
    Trev says:

    I never really got all the criticism of Edu. When he took on his role our squad had become an ageing, overpaid, underachieving mess, a state made even worse by the Sanllehi “deals”.
    The transformation achieved since is absolutely incredible. The main gripe seems to be that he has let players go too cheaply. Well, if anyone is up for the challenge, try getting on ebay and selling something for top money that is too old, doesn’t work any more, clearly looks past it’s best and is overpriced. Let us know how you get on …

  57. 57
    Trev says:

    Well said, Bath @55 !

  58. 58
    Countryman100 says:

    Trev@ 56. I completely agree and said so at the time when others were complaining about us being an easy mark. Getting rid of those players with the wrong attitude was critical to the Arteta project.

  59. 59
    Ollie says:

    Might try to sell myself there, Trev. @ 56 😀

  60. 60
    Trev says:


  61. 61
    North Bank Ned says:

    Well in for the half-ton, OM.

    Ollie@54: Fingers crossed for you.

    bath@55: One other coach recognises Xhaka’s best position, Switzerland’s. Granit plays as an 8 for the national team.

    Trev@56: That is a very fair point. Add in, too, the benefit of shedding some high salaries.

  62. 62
    bathgooner says:

    And well said yourself, Trev @56. Manure are currently rediscovering that problem.

  63. 63
    OsakaMatt says:

    Thanks TTG @52 Ollie and Ned too. I’d give up my own 50 for a first innings lead for England.

  64. 64
    Ollie says:

    Well, that failed, Matt, but at least it’s close. Wickets needed now.

  65. 65
    OsakaMatt says:

    Yeah, we won’t be able to chase that many I’d guess so all out 92 by close of play would be handy.

  66. 66
    bt8 says:

    Re: Bath on Xhaka @55. Agreed on every word about Xhaka. Asvpne of his biggest critics through the majority of his Arsenal career, I can gladly say he proved me wrong. Wish him well in Germant, and thanks for the memories. Another well worded tribute here: https://arseblog.com/2023/07/goodbye-granit-its-been-eventful/

  67. 67
    bt8 says:

    Wish him well in Germany, in case Germant is a unpleasant place

  68. 68
    bt8 says:

    or an unpleasant place.

  69. 69
    Bathgooner says: