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Monday 3 September 2007

And We Thought Bin Laden Gave Us Gooners A Bad Name

Hi folks

I finished writing the following missive early this morning and rushed out to work (late as ever!), without having time to post it. I never fail to be amazed by the Internet's mind-blowing potential, as I returned home this evening to find the link to Craig Murray's blog about Usmanov's unscrupulous credentials, which had been sent to me late last night, must have gone around the globe, to Gooners in all four corners of the planet, in a matter of hours, thereby leaving my piece looking a little dated already, as everyone else has already passed judgement on the dodgy Oligarch issue.

Perhaps David Dein was blinded by the sight of all those pound signs, but the most astonishing aspect of this sordid matter is that either Dein didn't know, or didn't take the trouble to investigate the origins of his latest bedfellow's seemingly ill-gotten gains!

I was also looking forward to venting my frustrations about the public relations faux-pas of the club's attempt to secure "intellectual ownership" of the term Gooner. It seems to me that ther can be few less deserving cases for the title of "genuine Gooner" than our current MD Keith Edelman, let alone this schmuttter business bean counter claiming ownership of OUR moniker!

Bearing in mind (that's if I recall correctly?) this was the man who was unable to recognise a couple of youngsters from our own squad, when they were attempting to gain admittance on a matchday, I found myself thinking that Edelman sounded like an awful hypocrite in an interview I heard the other week on a podcast of Radio 5's "Sportsweek" programme.

Edelman was being interviewed (over the phone?) by Gary Richardson and was questioning the motives of some of these mega-money foreign investors, currently rushing to climb on the Premiership ownership bandwagon, whilst as the same time boasting about the genuine Gooner credentials of the Arsenal board, who unlike many club directors, come to support their team at every game. To my mind it all sounded a bit rich coming from a geezer who patently is not and has never been a football person and who'd therefore probably have to ask his missus for an explanation of the offside rule!

However you lucky people are off the hook for once, as I am far too cream-crackered to do anything more than his the send/publish button

Big Love

Watching Derby getting whacked 4-0 at White Hart Lane the other week, I found myself wondering who could’ve possibly dropped points previously, to Billy Davies' pitiful relegation certainties in-waiting. My question was answered during the first 45 minutes on Sunday, by an utterly impotent Pompey performance, where I hardly recall the visitors venturing across the halfway line before the break.

My binoculars weren’t needed to spot Harry Redknapp, sitting opposite us on the Pompey bench. His beetroot coloured face stood out like a belisha beacon and that was even before his team failed to turn up for the first-half. Who knows, perhaps Harry fell asleep in his garden, but in light of the tragic cotchel of cardiac arrests, suffered by super-fit professionals in the past few days, when you consider the less healthy liquid lifestyles of many football managers, one might think they'd be far more likely to succumb to the immense stress and strain of their chosen career.

Redknapp's appearance will become increasingly puce, if there's a correlation between his blood-pressure and Pompey's two-faced performances. Not to mention Harry’s assistant, as Tony Adams will end up running straight back to rehab, rather than having to endure such erratic displays.

The South coast side offered slightly stiffer opposition in the second-half, but by the time the edited highlights appeared on the box later that night, the Gunners came across as veritable world-beaters. We’ve looked just as good in TV clips shown of our other games to date and while it might be true that we have seen rare glimpses of greatness, most present will confirm that this Arsenal side is still some way from finding a genuine groove.

I only hope that the electrifying forward play that I’ve seen on TV from the Scousers is a similarly deceptive reflection of their real form, as the likes of Torres and Babel appear to have hit the Premiership ground running. As for the Arsenal, the fact that the Trojan efforts of our full-backs, Clichy and (an out of position) Flamini, made them my only stand out Men of the Match, in a 3-1 victory, just about says it all.

Nevertheless, we’ve little cause for complaint (by contrast to so many others), as the fact that we remain undefeated whilst struggling for form, speaks volumes as to the strides made by Wenger’s squad towards the development of the sort of team spirit that Arsène constantly attests to. What’s more, optimism abounds amongst us, as if we continue to put opponents to the sword with so many players still out of sorts, we can but salivate at the thought of the sort of treats we are in for, when we truly find top-gear.

As the transfer window came and went, with managers clearing the shelves of players, like it was the last shopping day before Xmas, many desperate to blow every last bean of their additional TV income, we witnessed the unannounced arrival of Diarra from Chelsea. Despite Wenger’s frugal tendencies, there’s a part of me that wonders if we’d have shown a similar interest in the French midfielder, if it wasn’t for the satisfaction of taking him from Stamford Bridge?

Seeing the Liverpool squad that turned out against Toulouse last week, with two more new South American players that I’ve never heard of (Leto and Lucas?), if I’ve some ongoing concerns about the Gunners, it is that our squad might yet prove to be somewhat shallow for the ensuing marathon, compared to those of some of our rivals, who have at least two players competing for every position on the park.

The annual high drama of the Champions League draw only served as a reminder of the need for strength in depth, for those teams hoping to challenge on several fronts, as outings to Seville, Bucharest and Prague were added to our already hectic fixture schedule. If/when injuries and suspensions begin to take their inevitable toll in the months ahead, I can’t help but envisage a time when we might end up having to ‘make do’, with players playing out of position in a patched up squad.

Then again, according to Arsène’s strict principles he’s only ever going to bring players in, who he believes will add something to his squad, as opposed to merely bolstering it with more bodies and perhaps we should be grateful for Le Prof’s parsimonious attitude - as has been said, you’d think he was spending his own money!

On the opening day of the season I watched a succession of interview’s with Man City fans, who virtually all declared that they couldn’t give a monkey’s where the money came from, so long as there were so many additional millions made available for the purposes of producing a team capable of sticking it to their deadly Mancunian enemies.

I guess I’d have to be a Spurs fan to know what it feels like to endure several decades of uninterrupted humiliation. However I had to wonder at my own moral stance, if faced with the same dilemma and it seems as if the chickens of just such a quandary are all too close to coming home to roost, with the events of last week. Our ex-vice chairman cashed in his Arsenal chips to the tune of £75 million, while justifying his highly lucrative actions with the argument that there was no choice for clubs with any real ambition, but to accept investment from mega-wealthy foreign mercenaries. Yet it seems that Dein must’ve bit the Ruski oligarch’s hand off, without stopping to ponder the accusations concerning the decidedly dirty origins of the fortune belonging to the geezer he was getting into bed with!

If Craig Murray, writer, broadcaster and former ambassador to Uzbekistan is to be believed, this bloke Usmanov has the sort of moral turpitude which makes Roman Abramovich look like a righteous rabbi by comparison. According to Murray’s astonishing accusations, the lion’s share of Red & White holdings (Dein’s latest attempt to resurrect the coup he was plotting prior to his sacking) is owned by a “vicious thug, criminal, racketeer, heroin trafficker and accused rapist”.

Mind you, considering the propensity that unimaginable wealth has these days to open the doors of the upper echelons of British society with no questions asked, these allegations merely read like the guest list at one of the Queen’s garden parties! Perhaps Dein has some defence for feeling disgruntled over the unceremonious manner in which he was ousted, but surely there must be a line somewhere, beyond which the ends do not justify the means. If there’s a fire behind all the smoke surrounding this alleged monster Usmanov, the only question that remains is “Oi David….are you sure?”

e-mail to: LondonN5


Anonymous said...

Edelman knows nothing about the Arsenal Team.

Fiszman is a diamond merchant living in a Swiss tax haven that never goes to games.

Lady Nina Bracewell??? Duh!

Peter Hill Wood has the worst case in foot in mouth of any Arsenal director ever. He moans about Kroenke and Usmanov but is perfectly happy to take their merchandise or sell them executive boxes. Great ethics!!

Then there's Dein. Employed George Graham and Arsene Wenger, did all the transfer deals, a close confidant of the players, spent 20 years watching the reserves through rain, sleet or snow, spoke to Wenger 5 times a day on the phone. Who would you rather have involved in a takeover.

I'll admit the Russian is dodgy. If Dein has made a mistake maybe it's about time he jumped back on the Kroenke bandwagon and the rest of the Arsenal board joined him. Oh, what a mess!!