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Archive for June, 2010


Sol Campbell is leaving for Celtic, it seems 2

Posted on June 30, 2010 by Martin @ thegoonblog.com

Morning all,

Sol Campbell spent the day up in Glasgow yesterday in talks with Celtic about a move up there for next season. The Mirror report there is a two year deal on the table and he will be paid 30,000 a week, I have heard that its only a one year deal – but it matters little.

If Sol wanted to stay that much I reckon it would be done and dusted by now, out of his way before his wedding and his next year secured – this obviously isn’t the case and if the club needed him that much he would have been tied down like a lot of our younger players have been, to new contracts over the past 18 months.

Despite what the paper may make out, the issue isnt the length of the contract – he wants, entirely reasonably, a guarantee of regular football. With Laurent Koscielny arriving imminently, Johann Djourou supposedly returning to full fitness, Havard Nordveit’s return and rumours around a meeting with the representatives of Benfica defender Halliche; I fully expect him to move elsewhere.

It isn’t good from an Arsenal point of view as it is another experienced player lost – from Sol’s point of view it is the best move.

I said yesterday that it wouldn’t surprise me if Koscielny is the only defensive arrival this summer – on second thoughts I may have misjudged Arsene, I hope I stand corrected in a few weeks time. The noises around Halliche may just be that, but moves do finally seem to be being made, and with it being 17 days until the Barnet game (cheers, East Lower), time is running out for a squad.. and more importantly a defence, to gel.

Slowly, things are picking up. I can feel the optimism brewing.

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Koscielny to be announced, but I have concerns 24

Posted on June 29, 2010 by Martin @ thegoonblog.com

Morning all,

so with Laurent Koscielny’s signing to be announced very shortly after a fee has been agreed and talks ongoing, it is time to see whether the boss will further strengthen the defence. For me there is no question, he must strengthen or next season will be like the last. We need two center halves and a goalkeeper who can boss the defence – being able to own the penalty area and save shots might be a good added bonus, too.

He is currently not training and a French paper (forgive me for the initial mistake) Lorient’s official website (via Gooner Talk) say nothing will be done officially before this Thursday, he is yet to travel to London but he will sign for us – its just a matter of when it seems.

You can’t expect a young and inexperienced defender to solve everything, though. Another experienced, world-class defender is needed alongside Vermaelen who as good as he is, can’t be expected to do it on his own. It would be handy if Sol Campbell signed a new contract but the fact remains that he is never in a month of Sundays going to be first choice. If he wants weekly football he ain’t gonna be getting it at Arsenal thats for sure. His experience is priceless though, he also provides good cover and we would probably have the best 4th or 5th choice central defender in the league.

I can’t see Koscielny becoming a regular straight away, but I also can’t see Johann Djourou being nudged down to fourth choice center back, this poses the question: Will the boss start the season with a Djourou/Vermaelen partnership? Ive seen stranger things happen.

If that is the case I for one will not be happy. There is money in the bank, we know that – Wenger knows that and he knows that we know he has got that cash. Its clear as day that we need changes at the back after having a leaky defence for the past six years, arguably, its cost us a shot at trophies at times and has certainly cost us points in the league. If it was an attacking problem I reckon a new signing would have been sealed and unveiled already – as it is, the defence is not the boss’ favourite place to be investing his cash so he is hardly likely to splash out on more than the bare minimum.

The goalkeeping situation is even worse, it has been neglected. Manuel Almunia is not up to it, Lucasz Fabianski is even worse; Mark Schwarzer has been linked with Arsenal quite strongly over the past few weeks, there was a rumour the other day that a deal is all but done and will be finalised before Roy Hodgson is confirmed as the new Liverpool manager. I still can’t see the boss coughing up for a 36 year old keeper though.

To put it bluntly, from the midfield backwards the squad is a mess and though we are expecting to see a signing soon, don’t be surprised if its the only one.

And if that is the case, serious questions will have to be asked.

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Bigots out in force and nothing has been learnt 6

Posted on June 28, 2010 by Martin @ thegoonblog.com

Harry Redknapp: “But look, we’ve had a go with it now.  When he finally moves on, in four years or whatever, surely there has to be a young guy or somebody in this country, surely we have to find a manager from England, an English manager.  I’m not talking about a Scottish manager or an Irish manager, I’m talking about an English manager because this is where we’re from, this is our country. “

“But I’m English, who wouldn’t want to manage England?  There’s not an Englishman – whether it’s me, Roy Hodgson or Sam Allardyce – who would turn the job down because it’s our country and we want to manage our country.  No one is ever going to turn that job down.”

How utterly ridiculous. There is a reason why we don’t have an English manager – because they are one dimensional and utterly unsuccessful.

Why are they one dimensional? Because like the players they stay in their comfort zone and within the British shores, they don’t go abroad (Roy Hodgson apart) so they don’t learn the different styles of football and merge them into a style that is successful. Since when has an English manager excelled in Europe? Roy Hodgson did this season and is it any coincidence he has managed teams abroad most of his life?

English players very rarely go abroad, and when they do they tend to flop because their technical flaws are obvious. Kids play on a full sized pitch at 9 years old? Why? Teach kids 5-a-side, it gives better technique and then players might actually learn to go past players without relying on pace.

In this country all you see are ‘no ball game’ signs everywhere, the grassroots are shambolic and not conducive to creating players that can match it up to players with the finest technique – just look at the South American teams, beautiful technique and they are doing well.

Why does the national manager have to be English? Look what happened last time we had an English manager… it was a disaster. We need to evolve, we, like Sepp Blatter are stuck in the footballing dark ages. We don’t need a Harry Redknapp, Sam Allardyce or Roy Hodgson… They aren’t a patch on Capello (who hasn’t done too well), what have they achieved compared to him? What makes them better qualified? Just because they are English?

It sums up the English psyche – get rid of the dirty foreigner.

It explains the attitude towards Arsenal, the team with the players with the very best technique… are they lauded for it? No. Wenger transformed the English game when he arrived.. does he get any credit? No.

The media don’t help either. Henry Winter is a patronising, monotonous oaf and the fact he is saying we could bring Sven Goran-Eriksson back to the fold is hilarious. He was sacked because he failed… yet he reached two quarter-finals in World Cups. Henry was probably yelling for him to be sacked. Didn’t do so bad now, did he?

We don’t need an English manager, we need to address the issues that haven’t been addressed for 20 years. English players are technically deficient. Nobody can change that but the FA. It doesn’t matter who is in charge Capello, Mclaren, Sven, Stuart Pierce, Arsene Wenger, Alex Ferguson or Mike Bassett (heh). The same failings will remain.

But they just won’t learn.

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