July 14, 2012
… he wears a magic hat and when he saw the Marcus Liebherr Memorial Cup he said ‘It’s a bit early in pre-season really so I’ll name a fairly young squad but sprinkle in one or two of the squad members who weren’t at the Euros’’
Yes, get your glad rags on, and by glad rags I mean new Arsenal shirt with the funny blue hoop around the neck that we’re all slowly but surely getting used to, because today the Arsenal are back in action. Sort of. The first team players mentioned as being in the squad by the official site are Gervinho, Johan Djourou, Marouane Chamakh, Andre Santos, Francis Coquelin and Kieran Gibbs as well as newcomer Kyle Bartley. There’s also mention of Thomas Eisfeld who many of us will be keen to see in action after the young German became our only signing last January and Kristoffer Olsson who as I’ve mentioned here a couple of times is one of the younger crop who looks to me like he could have a bright future.
Unfortunately, unless you’re making the trek down to Southampton you can’t see the games for yourself. Arsenal.com are not showing them, preferring to tantalise us all with the promise of ‘live Twitter updates’ which seems a bit of a shame. Maybe they thought showing it online would impact on ticket sales but it does make me start to wonder what the Arsenal Player is for.
While it’s always nice to see another interview with Johan Djourou or watch Wojciech Szczesny play table-tennis with Theo Walcott, frankly what we’re all interested in is watching a bit of football. None of this season’s pre-season friendlies are being shown live on the official site – they’re all on ESPN – they don’t show the reserve games like they used to when Arsenal very briefly had their own cable TV channel so I’m not sure I really see the point of it. Seems to me the club have a great opportunity there to sell some extra memberships or subscriptions or even consider a one of fee for certain games. If these games were on today for a reasonable cost, say a few quid, call me a loser with nothing better to do on a Saturday night but I’d probably pay it.
I wouldn’t feel ripped off like I do when I see the cost of the replica kits. I’d think it was reasonable because I’d be getting something I want for a low cost – watching Arsenal play football.
The great unmentionable in football at the moment is that as internet speeds increase there will be vast sums to be made in the future because clubs will threaten to skip out the middle man of the channels and broadcast content themselves direct to the fans. Why not get a head start?
Speaking of matters financial, the club announced yesterday that it had bowed to pressure from the supporters groups and introduced a third pricing category for matches at the Emirates. Essentially having previously split games into categories A and B with A being marginally more expensive they’re now split into A, B and C with category C being 28% cheaper than the same matches would have been last season. Of course that means the category A and to a lesser extent B prices have been increased to even the spread.
For some reason this has caused outrage and consternation amongst certain sections of the fan base but I have to say I’m not really sure what all the fuss is about. Surely nobody really believed that the club were just going to take a hit on the category C games. We knew that season tickets remained unchanged this year so we knew that, as nice as it might have been, the club were not about to reduce the overall ticket price. I know our tickets are outrageously expensive but I also know there was no way that was ever going to happen.
So inevitably the biggest games are now even more expensive than they were before (£62 for North Bank lower!) but that means that the cheapest category C tickets are now £25.50 which seems pretty positive to me. It means that fans who might otherwise have been put off of ever getting the chance to come to the stadium will get an opportunity which in light of yesterday’s rant on the importance of getting a new generation hooked on Arsenal can only be a good thing.
As you’re probably aware by now the matches take the form of a round-robin tonight so we’ll play 45 minutes against Anderlecht and then 45 minutes against Southampton. At this stage of pre-season we’ll be using them entirely as a training exercise so hopefully Twitter won’t be awash with doom and gloom if we fail to score twelve and keep two clean sheets.
If you are heading down there today have a good one. And why not get in touch and let the rest of us know how it goes?