Welcome to another Arsenal FC Blog update and another edition of Guest Post Tuesdays!
That’s right, after my admission in yesterday’s post that I had no-one lined up for today’s guest post, my Twitter buddy and fellow countryman White Ox came up with the goods and has delivered a brilliant piece about the impact that Arsenal has had on his life and football in Australia in general.
It’s a piece that I relate to very personally. Not only because I am Australian but because my head was turned towards football and Arsenal at the very same moment that White Ox’s was, when Dennis Bergkamp netted his fabulous goal for Holland against Argentina in the 1998 World Cup.
Anyway, I won’t spoil any more of White Ox’s wonderful piece and I promise I’ll get out of your hair after a very quick Arsenal news update.
First up is ex-Arsenal boy Alex Hleb who – can you believe it? – has admitted that he made a mistake leaving Arsenal for Barcelona after spending virtually all of last season on the bench. It really is a remarkable statement given the manner of his exit although I’m sure his sentiments would be echoed by a number of players who have left Arsenal and gone on to do very little.
I’m sure his comments will cause a few people to yell “bring him back!” but with Samir Nasri a more effective replacement and the turbo-charged Andrey Arshavin another option, I don’t really see the point. He’s missed his chance, Hleb, and unfortunately in the football world there’s very little that can be done to help players who make the wrong career move. I’m just waiting to hear Adebayor make a similar statement in a year or so, but somehow I can’t see it happening.
Moving on and according to Arsenal News Review, Kolo Toure will be leaving us to join Emmanuel Adebayor at Manchester City. Not sure if this will happen but it does make sense. Thomas Vermaelen has obviously come in to do a job and I believe both William Gallas and Johan Djourou to be better options than the Ivorian central defender at the back. If he does go I think we’ll need another central defender but this is certainly a situation that requires us to wait and see what develops.
Anyway, I’ll leave it there. Onto White Ox’s guest post…
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How Arsenal have ensured Arsenal will host the World Cup in our lifetime by White Ox
Hi loyal readers, I’m White Ox your rural NSW Arsenal correspondent and 50% of the Arsenal support in this tiny farming town. You might even call me the town expert!
So here I am checking twitter when I notice my good Arsechum Spanish has posted a youtube shortcut with 77 great goals, his favourite being rumoured Arsenal target Yohann Gourcuff’s teriffic solo goal for Bordeaux and I’m moved to thinking “wouldn’t it be so like Arsene to buy another attacking midfielder when we clearly need a Flamini type terrier”. That, good people, is a thought that I should not be entertaining.
Why is this? Because I’m your meat and 3 veg Aussie bumpkin who was brought up with the teaching that there are only two seasons, cricket and (Australian Rules) football. I never should have known the world game, it was an afterthought as a school sport, something to be played when too young or small to endure the rough and tumble of AFL. How we all wanted to play AFL, be the next Brereton, next Lockett, next Abblett. After that? Well of course it was natural I would opening the batting at the SCG with Boony one day. That was life.
That was life through the primary school years and the teenage years and it appeared how it would always be, wearing the baggy cap in the local team’s premiership, running onto the field with the home colours on for the first time in the senior side, moments to savour with pride. It was then in 1998 that the next stage of life came calling; University.
Suddenly there was the cultural melting pot to deal with. No problem, by and largely I like to think I can be firends with everyone, but some of these blokes well, I go to the uni footy ground and they were kicking the wrong shaped ball. I noticed only a couple of them were seeming to catch it in their hands. I thought, “but I need to practice snapping a six pointer for this weekend’s match but where can I?”. I suppose if you can’t beat them join them so I yell “Can I play you fellas?”
And I absolutely loved it. LOVED it.
Then some Scottish bloke mentions something about the World Cup and single malt whisky (you think that’s what he said becauase that accent is thicker than pea soup) and more single malt whisky and you find yourself beside yourself with laughter drunk and half watching a cracking game and half watching some kilted excitable hurl language that would make a pimp blush as Scotland endure glorious failure again.
So there you have it, nothing more than a fad, a time during uni holidays where you booze up and watch the late night servings of “soccer” which is good but hardly compares to what you know. Until (cue Brian Moore)…
“Long ball from De Boer, beautiful pull down by Bergkamp, Ohhhhhhh what a goal!!! Dennis Bergkamp has won it for Holland!”
That was that. The beautiful game at its beautiful best. Stunned speechless, jumping up and down like a maniac with mates passed out around me this man had converted me forever. Soccer became a word obsolete to the English language. I played Aussie Rules on Saturdays, not football. Football was something else, something more difficult, more exciting.
Oh yeah, and because of Dennis Bergkamp, I loved the Arsenal.
Over time my interest in the team has grown into the obsession described by Nick Hornby’s fever pitch. I check soccernet 3 times a day. I found Arseblog and made it a must read every day. I even read the tripe Myles Palmer serves up for a laugh. I revelled in the invincibles, sat through many European disappointments before that glorious cup run that brought us so close to the only trophy to elude us. I have sung myself hoarse at a TV set, “One-Nil to the Arsenal…”, “We love you Freddie…”, “Whoa oh oh Vieira!”; honestly how daft is that? But most importantly I have recently found twitter and a legion of ‘Arsemates’. Next season I won’t be alone in supporting the Arse, even if those supporters are from afar.
So what does this have to do with Australia hosting the world cup? All I can say to that is the evidence is everywhere. Of course it is facetious to suggest Arsenal have direct input but if a blood and thunder Aussie Rules knucklehead like me can come to love this game I promise you it is happening more and more often. The other codes are worried. When your sports journalist brother in law rings you in excitement to explain that no, he hasn’t got engaged, he just interviewed Harry Kewell (something much more important) you know where this game is heading in our country.
So thank you Arsenal, thank you for bringing football home, home to Australia. Oh and Arsene – there’s 25 million quid burning a hole in your pocket, please spend it on the best partner out there for Cesc. After all, you do know best.
But I shouldn’t be thinking that should I?