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Archive for March, 2011


Rocky Rocastle: The tributes 4

Posted on March 31, 2011 by Martin @ thegoonblog.com

I was not around to see the best of David Rocastle, but ten years on the tributes still flow like they did on that tragic day, in another ten years that will still be the case. Rocky was proper Arsenal, a fan, player and legend. They are hard to come by and generation after generation of Gooners will ensure his memory goes on and on and on – it is the least we can do.

Thirty-three is no age to go, and just looking around at the tributes on various blogs it is clear just how in touch he was with the fans – many got to meet him, if only briefly, and that is something that isn’t around these days. He is from another era with the skill to play in any, and that is something you really can’t say of many other players.

There will be many people at the Emirates at the weekend remembering him, many of those will have been there at Highbury for that derby game ten years ago, some of those may even shed a tear just like ten years ago.

I have had a look around the blogs and nothing I could write could stand up to some of these people, so I urge you to read these tributes:

John Cross reflects on Rocky’s early days in his MirrorFootball column.

The Goonerholic’ is at his very best here…

There is a fantastic video on Arsenal.com

Vital Arsenal

Visit any Arsenal blog today and you will see the tributes flowing.

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Arsenal watching Juan Mata 37

Posted on March 30, 2011 by Martin @ thegoonblog.com

Last week I mentioned on Twitter that I had an article coming up on a player we have  been watching quite a bit of recently. Since then I have been a bit strapped for time but now that the cat is out the bag and other people are reporting we are watching Mata, I may as well get what I know out in the open.

Arsenal watch a ton of players and very few of them end up getting signed, so it doesn’t mean any move is imminent or will happen in the future.

From what I know Mata is being considered (along with others) to fill in for Tomas Rosicky who seems very likely to leave in the summer. Last summer Arsenal had at least two chances to sell Rosicky or involve him in player plus cash deals for two transfer targets that never materialised. This information has come to light a little while after Lille slapped a massive transfer fee on the head of Eden Hazard who Arsene Wenger was very, very keen to bring in. Whilst the two events may be unconnected, they are both very relevant.

Juan has gone on record to say that he is an admirer of Arsenal, but at the end of the day money talks – and Arsenal could get him for significantly less than Eden Hazard, for example.

Valencia are also in a very bad financial state with the last forecasts noting that they were in debt to the tune of £420m – at least. They have a half-built new stadium on which they have had to halt work due to these financial issues and sold several important players recently, including David Villa and David Silva.

Will anything materialise? I have no idea. However, I find it encouraging Arsenal are looking at players of Mata’s quality. Lets see what happens.

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Cesc joining Barca the only way to end saga 39

Posted on March 28, 2011 by Martin @ thegoonblog.com

It didn’t take long for things to turn back to the topic of Cesc Fabregas’ future once there was an international break, its seems that things are starting to warm up for the summer again in that regard and as things stand, he is going nowhere.

Last summer we rejected a couple of very disrespectful bids from Barcelona, they also engaged on a calculated campaign to tap him up and turn his head – taking advantage of the number of Barca players in the Spanish national team squad to supposedly encourage him to join. That is no slight on Cesc, it is if anything a compliment.

Cesc’s situation is tricky and unique, I doubt there are many clubs other than Barcelona that could tempt him to leave Arsenal and we are just plain unlucky that he is a Barca lad and has such a burning desire to play for them. You have to understand that if you were an football player and Arsenal fan, with the team having great success with you playing elsewhere, you would want to return. As a fan, it is natural.

Last summer I think Cesc could have handled the situation better, whilst I understand him wanting to keep his nose clean and out of all the fun and games in the media, he should have called some sort of press conference and media briefing to re-affirm his commitment to Arsenal as soon as the deal wasn’t going to go through – for his sake, as well as the clubs. The fact was his club was being disrespected and as captain, he has a duty to the club.

Barcelona also showed a lack of desire to sign Cesc, and after he had gone to the length to ask Arsene to allow him to move, it wasn’t matched on the other side. They weren’t willing to show their intent with their cash and if I was in that situation I would see it as an insult.

What we do know though is that the Cesc/Barca chatter will never stop until he joins. Pep Guardiola wants Cesc in his squad but the people in charge just want a trophy signing, probably with a bit of revenge thrown in as well. The thing is Arsenal currently hold all the aces. We have Cesc Fabregas, he is under contract with Arsenal for another four years and if Barca don’t stump up £50-60 million quid, the nearest they will get to him is when he is with the national team.

Of course, expect UEFA to do nothing when the tapping-up starts again. Barcelona are allowed to strut around like they have some kind of immunity allowing them to behave as they please, when we sign their players entirely legally they get all touchy – but when they break the law, Arsenal are in the wrong for sticking to their guns?

Once again, it is us against them. This isn’t over.

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