August 3rd – Pre-Season Ramblings Part II

Due to the overwhelming demand and ecstatic reaction to Part I of this fascinating analysis I have been compelled, in order to reduce civil unrest, to post Part II of this trilogy. Except this trilogy will consist of just two parts. So, as promised, let the drivel continue.

So let’s start with an apology. I was so quick to focus on the Charity/Community/Pointless Cup that I neglected to predict that we would be in the position yesterday to raise aloft the Emirates Cup. How they must be celebrating on the streets of Dubai – though they most probably don’t have streets there just 100 story hotels and 100 degree temperatures.

Which is a perfect segway into one of my favourite topics. FIFA. The organization that makes you pine for the return of the Mafia. If you put FIFA alongside the English FA it would make ask why it is that you can never find a suicide bomber when you need one.

So after the departure of Sepp Fatter and his French cohort Fattini, some might have thought the corruption had been exorcised from this shameful organization. However, so no great surprise the corruption that remains FIFA.

How funny is it to see 6 Arab states (rightly) complain about Qatar being the hosts for the FIFA world cup. They obviously woke up one morning and realized that this was not such a wonderful nation. A few years after having received the obligatory bribes and having gloriously voted for them. Was it because of the sweltering heat? Was it because there is absolutely zero interest in football in this country. Was it because in the long litany of corrupt and absurd FIFA decisions the most egregious mind numbingly corrupt of all decisions? Was it because it because the choice was based on the lie that the competition would be held in the summer rather than causing all the European leagues to rearrange their fixtures to accommodate a winter WC games? Amazingly, it was not of the above (abbreviated) reasons. No, it was because of honest to goodness politics. Of course, we all know that FIFA is above the dirty, smelly drudgery of politics – just like they are with money and corruption. Chuck Blazer must be turning in his grave, if, that is he’s in the ground yet and there’s a coffin large enough to allow him to rotate. Rant over.

What’s happened to the transfer window? How comes, on a relative basis, that there’s so little activity? Aside that is from the insane Neymar transfer. This both links back to corruption and forward to our needs in this window. The common thread is Qatar. Is it possible on planet earth to value let alone pay this much for one player?  And a player that is not that wonderful. And you can be sure he won’t deliver. Just look how he performed in the Brazil WC when the pressure was on. If Ibra could not bring a CL trophy PSG then Neymar certainly won’t. And where exactly is this money coming from? It’s the Qatar Sovereign Fund. Aren’t they supposed to earn a return on their investment? I don’t understand how EUFA and FIFA can stand by and helplessly watch. It’s funny to remember who the shirts sponsors of Barca are though. Speaking of Barca, it will distort everything else because Barca will now have a spare $200m to spend. Not that they need to. But they will. Will that mean the end of Hector for us and Courtinho for Liverpool? Then the ripple effect will start.

Closer to home, it’s good to see that we got Cigarette in early along with the Bosnia tank. We do that every now and then (remember Vermallen?). However, we both need more i.e. Lemur. And we need to flog off some of the refuse. Gibbs has been a fine servant but there’s little need for him now. It’s a shame he never took his opportunity when injuries and loss of form of Monreal opened the door. But at least he was given a chance. Unlike Perez. He’s outdone Campbell (Joel, that is) in getting shown the door when nearly all the fans thought he was a strong addition. He was our Spanish Podolski – albeit without the attitude but with the same rocket left foot. Rumour has it that he was not a AW signing. But, who knows the truth?

It’s also time to say good-bye again to Carl. He’s like the right-back that refuses to leave. I’m sure if we stopped paying him he’d still stay. It’s rare you find someone who actually loves the club. Shame he was short on the talent side. But then, if it was solely based on love of the club I would make fine full-back – but, given my sweet left foot it would have to be at the expense of Monreal. And I could help with the need to keep an English core. The more I think about the more sense it makes for me to reach out to AW. Let’s face it, I’d neither be a burden on the transfer fee nor wages. I’d tick so many boxes. Apart from a few pounds there’s not much difference between me and Santos.

Jack the lad is in a hole. It’s not clear he’ll be around much longer. But, like our Lexus, I hope we sell him overseas. I’d hate to see him in the Premier League. That assumes Jack can come through his recuperation without another injury. Maybe he was work with Santi on combined their various ligaments to make the perfect midfield player.

That’s the obituary for 5 players. OK, so I can’t add but that’s only because I don’t actually want us to loose Chambers (yet). And, of course, most of them are English. Go figure. Given a choice the one player I would actually pay to get rid of would be Ob1. He could easily be previous years Theo of Ox. He has that wonderful ability to underperform; to have big performances in little games. Anyways, these departures will free up some wages and bring in a little transfer money. And on the subject of money….

More TV money only helps the clubs the next level down. The top teams are maxed out already they don’t need more money; they need more players. And the players don’t want to go and sit on the bench – they want to play (well, the good ones anyway). The end result being that the second tier teams are getting lifted up. This all makes it more competitive and actually harder for the top teams to maintain their position. Which also impacts their potential revenue stream. Which means teams need to diversify away from tv revenues and get into world wide marketing. That’s the only way – apart from being funded by Russian or Middle Eastern billionaires – of surviving the mad rush to the top of the league. And, if the TV revenues reverse direction then the fun will begin. If and when the movie gets played in reverse and we’ll see the destruction of a number of clubs. While it’s not likely, at some point, the TV revenues have to at least reach an equilibrium. Then it will be just the ego-driven megalomaniacs that are seeking to sink hundreds of millions to satisfy their egos.

The great Untold Arsenal website talks about prior winners not competing in the champions league – Chelsea and Leicester. Unfortunately, none of them has to play in the Europa Cup otherwise known as the NoHopa cup.

Phew. All my reviewing done for one pre-season. One useless game to come this weekend and then onto a Friday night season opener. What moron at the FA thought this was a good idea? What the hell am I supposed to do for the entire weekend once this game is done on Friday?


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