Tracklisting as follows:
- Just When You’re Thinking Things Over
- NYC (There’s No Need To Stop)
- For Your Entertainment
- Tellin’ Stories
- The Architect
- Can’t Get Out Of Bed
- Muddy Ground
- Blackened Blue Eyes
Grab it here.
Tracklisting as follows:
Grab it here.
The Sun is reporting this morning that there have alledgedly been takeover talks between the club and a consortium featuring, of course, Russian Billionaires. The story, here, is based on pure speculation and contains little if no verifiable evidence or support for its claims that the Board have been in takeover talks, the apparent value of the club being put in the region of £350m. There is nothing new in this talk and if you think about it, the story is in fact highly predictable. Of last seasons top five, Arsenal are the only ones who have not been subject to a takeover or injection of new money in the past five seasons. The club is however, the only one of the group to have built a new stadium – United have made substantial improvements to Old Trafford and Liverpool are to commence their project in the near future – and are heavily in debt as a result. It comes as no surprise therefore that after years of media attention focussing on the financial stability of the club that there is now talk of a “knight on a white charger” coming through the mists to resuce the club from this situation.
But how does this affect the club and should we, as Arsenal supporters, really be concerned by this? Well, it is the former that means the answer to the latter must be “Yes” although this does not automatically mean that the reaction must be hostile. The situation is somewhat different from Manchester United in that they were a public company whose shares were traded easily on the London Stock Exchange. The price of those shares prior to the takeover by the Glazer family meant that they were more readily attainable by the average supporter than those of Arsenal which change hands at several thousand pounds per share. This in itself made, or let United supporters feel, that they could be part of the club despite the fact that the structure of the shareholdings meant that each individual on his or her own was completely insignificant and only when joined with others could they register more than 0.0001% of the total. Even then, the fate of the club still rested in the hands of a few rather than the majority. In Arsenal’s case, the shares are controlled by the same or similar group of individuals that have been unchanged since the 1980’s. Additionally, prior to the Glazers, Manchester United plc were relatively debt-free but the new owners have saddled them with huge mortgages and loans by comparison.
For Arsenal, the situation is perhaps more of a parallel with Chelsea although it seems to be nowhere near as bad as the final period that Ken Bates was Lord of the Manor. It is widely known that the match against Liverpool when Chelsea won 2 – 1 to qualify for the Champions League, is the one that meant the club stayed afloat throughout the summer as opposed to going into administration. Arsenal have an extremely large mortgage and some fancy financial footwork to finance it but a wealthy backer to pay that off. The theoretical answer is “Yes please” but whilst Abramovich purchased Chelsea, having first looked at Arsenal, Manchester United and Tottenham we all know what has gone on so I am not going to retread old ground about class and ethics.
From a supporters perspective, what areas of concern? The first, and perhaps most spurious, would a lack of accountability. This is a false argument as there is an absence of accountability now. If the major shareholders agree to a course of action, and assuming that it is within the laws of the land and football’s governing bodies, then it is a fait accompli as far as the other shareholders and supporters are concerned. There is very little that anyone can do, save for bringing unwelcome publicity the way of the decision-makers. What difference does one key shareholder make to having half a dozen in that respect? Only by voting with their feet can supporters make a difference and the current state of affairs in football today means that there is always someone waiting to get your seat if you opt not to buy the ticket.
Supporters main concern will be transfer funding. Another summer has passed and Wenger has again been prudent with the purse strings, net outlay is about £7m. Whilst the sale of Cole has just about funded Rosicky’s purchase, it was another summer of the sale of a top quality player to bring in others which is far from ideal. Obviously this time around the circumstances were different in that two malcontents left and two quality replacements were secured in their place. However, the largesse of a benefactor would help in building a team that was split almost equally between experience and youth with the former being in key positions such as left or centre back.
One final area of concern. To the marketing men, it is the brand. To everyone else, it is class, gravitas, conducting yourself in the correct manner – the Arsenal way. Throughout football, Arsenal have always had a reputation for being a cut above everyone else from general behaviour through to the fact that the dressing rooms are identical for home and away teams. Despite the fact that there has been a gradual erosion of this reputation over the years, damaged by the George Graham affair, various spats on the pitch, David Deins FA shenanigans, that Arsenal stand for class is still universally acknowledged. And this would be the first to suffer should any suitor not fully appreciate the history of the club, look at the unseemly haste and bad taste displayed by Chelsea and to a lesser degree, Portsmouth, when entering into the transfer market. A potential buyer though would not be stupid, having made the amount of money required to buy the club, they would need to be a shrewd businessman and carry this into the world of football. The brand is Arsenal, the reputation upholds the brand, this can never be lost.
Tracklisting is as follows:
Grab it here.
The confidence boosting win arrived last night, replete with a competent performance against ten men. There were many positives from the match for Wenger to take into Sunday whilst a few areas that still require some attention. But one must not grumble as the three points are in the bag, and with Porto only managing a goalless draw in their home game against CSKA, an early advantage gained.
Hamburg started brightly and were matching Arsenal for effort although there was an evident gap in technique from the start. Barely into their respective strides, the game was turned on its head with the award of one of the softest penalties, coupled with a harsh red card for Kirschstein. It is a decision that when it is for you, it is a case “Cheers to the Ref” but had Arsenal been on the receiving end, suffice to say the air may well have turned blue. The breakaway that led to the decision deserved a goal, Adebayour showing the type of ability that made Wenger sign him in the first place (would that he could provide us with that more consistently), squaring inside to van Persie. In a Premiership game, I suspect he would have shot first time but he sold Kirschstein a pup, drawing a slight ankle tap from the trailing leg / foot of the Hamburg ‘keeper and down he went. Not a dive but definitely a soft penalty. I am not sure that the foul denied a goalscoring opportunity as it seemed to me that the Dutchman was fast running out of space and thankfully the referee did not appear to know that van Persie’s right foot is purely for standing on. Undoubtedly, the referee applied the letter of the law but as the Managers / Head Coaches noted at a FIFA Conference recently, to send the ‘keeper off and award a penalty is double punishment. I have sympathy with that view. However, if Arsenal had lost as a result of Hamburg remaining with eleven instead of ten, that sympathy would have been sorely tested.
Gilberto’s penalty was well struck, well placed and possibly unstoppable by all but a six foot ten goalkeeper. 1 – 0 and saying you could sense relief is a bit too strong but there seemed to be a genuine relaxing of the players subsequent to that. Hamburg to their credit continued to press, Kompany missing a good opportunity from a corner when he headed wide, despite being under no pressure. The replacement of Toure by Hoyte pushed Gallas into centre half and thankfully he put in an assured performance. Thankfully? Well, I would have been dining on humble pie for many moons if he had dropped a rickett given the previous praise I have thrown in his direction.
Eight minutes into the second half, the confidence within the players was increased with what was something of a rarity this season, an Arsenal player shooting from outside the area. The superlatives have been printed and spoken, my vocabulary too limited to improve upon those already uttered. Suffice to say, Rosicky shot was unstoppable. Everyone knows he can do it, the World Cup served a reminder, perhaps now Arsene will ask him and the others to do it rather more frequently.
With two goals to their credit, the remainder of the game was about keeping concentration and killing the match. Unfortunately, the conceding of the habitual soft goal occurred right at the very end. Hoyte failed to pick up his man and Sanogo earned his reward with a simple finish. I am not going to lambast Hoyte as some have done but it is something that the team has to put an end to, Gilberto observing the same in his post match comments.
Job done, some confidence restored but playing in Europe is somewhat different for this team to those weekly Premiership matches. The players can assured of a busier match on Sunday with little time to weave their patterns and freedom to play curtailed by persistent harrassment when in possession. Should Toure recover in time, there is no doubt that Gallas will start as left back, perhaps a good idea knowing that Ronaldo may enjoy his afternoon more if faced by Hoyte’s inexperience.
Artwork included, grab it here.