It’s the ‘FA Cup 4th Round and we’re not in it’ post. That’s not something I’ve written for a while, a number of years if you think about it and I’m not sure how I feel writing that either. It’s like lending someone an LP. You know you’re worrying over nothing but you won’t rest easy until it’s returned in good condition.
On the subject of music, the next in the Jukebox Classics series featuring The Fall will be up later today on Dad’s Jukebox; the retrospective can be found here.
With no football to speak of, there’s only one game in town: slag off the former player. It dawned on me as the Twitter messages flicked up that ‘so-and-so and oojamaflip are talking about #YEOMANU’ that many were playing ‘Alexis Bingo’. It’s a simple game: just tick off one of the sixteen squares which all say “Gave the ball away” or some variant of “Lost Possession” to win.
The vitriol behind the 140/280 character posts gave an insight into how people felt about the Chilean’s departure. A world of blase posts claims “I don’t care, he always gave the ball away” or “At least we’ve got a team now rather than 10 men and a rampant egotist” is gone; the charade revealed. You’re hurt; a good player left and we all suspect the 2 – 1 win over Chelsea was a false dawn. We got away with it if you watch the first half but we’re going to Wembley so we don’t care.
Alexis might still get there in our cup. Perhaps that’s part of the deal but the feigned ambivalence toward him was undermined by the bitterness of the social media posts. You’re hurting. It’s alright, it’s part of the grieving process at the loss.
How quickly that will change when Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang arrives. There are claims of racial harassment in the German media – strenuously denied – which will force him out of Dortmund even though the deal was collapsing around our ears last night with his inclusion in their squad to face Freiburg.
It seems it’s only Arsenal who leave big-game players out the starting line-up when they are on the verge of moving to a new club. That fed the narrative which is emerging over who is responsible for the deal. Is it an Ivan move or is Sven pulling the strings in the background? A Svengali, if you like.
The reality is that like any deal, you break the back of it in before the paperwork and structure is resolved. No transfer happens in a day which is something that this instant world can’t handle. With more claims and counter-claims to tell us what is going on, we feel informed even if the stories are completely made up.
And they are, let’s not kid ourselves about this, they are all made up. No journalist, not even the Former Oracle Known As Ornstein, participated in negotiations nor briefed by anyone who was. It’s guesswork, sensationalised to get clicks or sell newspapers. Yet we fall for it – that’s a royal ‘we’ by the way.
Ivan’s reputation is taking a battering, barks Mr Hack. I didn’t think it could take much more; royally slagged off at every turn, cast as much a part of the club’s problems as Kroenke or Wenger. But no, the news sleuths decide that if it fails, it’s all on Ivan. All the while, Arsène is sitting there, stroking his cat murmuring, “No, Mr Gazidis, I want you to die!”
Legends Head for the Fall
And we haven’t even got to the personal terms negotiations yet…Still, we don’t need to with Karim Benzema supposedly promising that he’ll join Arsenal if we agree on a fee with Real Madrid. Like Wenger, he’s trading on past reputation, treading water in the struggling Madrid side which is almost as far behind the leaders as we are.
Zidane’s time is up so maybe Arsène will get that stint in the Spanish capital that he turned down all those years ago because he always honours his contract.
Anyway, Real want €60m, we’ve only got €40m to spend on him; negotiations, it seems, are already underway. Or at least that’s what the uninformed journalist wants you to believe.
It’s like being in summer. Aside from the miserable rain and cold weather…