Friday, 17 August 2012

Bank Robin van Purse Snatcher joins ManUre

Well, He Who From This Point Onwards Shall Not Be Named has finally gone and left us and joined our fierce rivals up in Manchester.

Arsene Wenger must be fuming, but has done well to keep calm about the situation. As happened with Fabregas and Na$sri before him, his young protege, who he developed from a wee unknown nipper to one of (if not the) best strikers in the world and stood by during countless injuries when he did nothing to earn the rediculous salary he is paid, has not only flown the nest but also landed in the welcoming garden of one of our biggest rivals.

"Van Persie is a great player so it’s always sad to lose such a player. But we must consider the economic reality and the will of the player," said Wenger.

"When you can’t succeed in extending the contract of a player who is in their last year there is no other way but to let him go.

"It's sad because he played for us for eight years. He’s 29 now. He was 21 when he came and it's another bitter pill to swallow."

You can almost hear the frustration if you listen between the lines.

Van Persie himself has said nothing about the situation since his infamous 'update for the fans' on 4 July in which he stabbed the collective metaphorical backs of the fans, players and club officials who had supported him for many years. Not that I'm bitter!

No doubt we will be hearing in the next few days how he is very sad to leave Arsenal and the fans who he loves so much before going on to say that the chance to join a world class team like ManUre (and 'earn' £200,000 per week) was just too good to turn down. It makes me feel slightly nauseous just thinking about it.

The only plus side is that we got a very good price for someone who is an ageing injury prone player who was in the last year of his contract.

So, good look Robin. I'm sure all Arsenal fans will join me in wishing you the best for the future, and that you break your leg in your first training session.

So that's what loyalty means nowadays? Cheers for nothing!

PS - I was surprised to see Kyle Bartley leave for Swansea as: (a) he had been promoted to the first team squad for this season and I expected him to plan a few games, and (b) there was no inkling in the press beforehand that a move was in the offing.

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Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Video proof that Steve Bould played with AOC's dad

Stoke City v West Ham, March 1983

I was browsing on itvPlayer earlier this evening and found this little gem: The Big Match Revisited Stoke City v West Ham from March 1983.

Why is this match so intersting to Arsenal fans, you ask? Well, the match was remarkable because it featured Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain's dad, Mark Chamberlain, and an inexperienced 19 year-old right back by the name of Stephen Bould. With hair!

I love watching these old matches. Not just because I enjoy watching football but also from a sort of social commentary perspective. I like to see the way that fashions and attitudes have changed in football and the world in general. From the dodgy moustaches and hairdos of the players to the products advertised around the grounds (but not on the players shirts) to the attitudes of the players and commentators (for instance, there was no rolling around and feigning injuries and the players didn't kick the ball out of play when someone was injured).

One thing which hasn't changed in the intervening years though is Stoke City's style of play. Even back then they relied on long balls and long throw-ins. Indeed, it was Ox's dad Mark Chamberlain who was Stoke's long throw expert in those days. And a pretty good one at that judging by the long throw ball he hurled into the box in the second half, which almost went directly into the net.

Watching this video, I could see where Oxlade-Chamberlain gets his skills. It was quite uncanny watching Chamberlain senior dribbling around and passing with an with assurance belying his young age. It was just like watching AOC.

Unfortunately, the match did not go entirely well for Bouldy. Gooners of many years may remember another former Stoke player who signed for Arsenal, Lee Dixon (who sadly did not play in this match), chipping his own goalkeeper David Seaman from about 35 yards out, leaving his keeper stranded as the ball flew into the back of his own net. Well, young Stephen Bould produced a similar effort in this match. Not quite as good as Dicko's, but one to be proud of nonetheless.

This weekend in March 1983 was also remarkable for a couple of other reasons. Firstly, it saw Tony Woodcock score his first hat-trick for the Gunners and it was also the first time that Tottenham captain Steve Perryman was sent off.

Sadly, of course, we don't get to see either of those two things because this was in the days when the ITV cameras only went to three matches out of the whole four divisions per weekend and you just had to hope that the Arsenal were playing in one of those matches so that you could witness your heroes in action on the little silver screen.

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