Monday 30 July 2012

Sagna, Per & Podolski Came To Play Monkey Post In Nigeria?

It was a serio-comic show yesterday evening at Eko Hotel and Suites, Lagos as Airtel and Malta Guinness hosted Per Mertesacker, Lukas Podolski and Bacary Sagna in an interactive session with Arsenal's fans in Nigeria.

The players came to participate in promotional activities with regional partners Airtel and Malta Guinness who recently signed partnership deals with Arsenal that will allow them harness the club's merchandising, hospitality and content rights.

Podolski, Per & Sagna taking questions from Charles Anazado while us ordinary mortals watched
Like Arsenal fans every where else in the world, Nigerian fans were mostly interested in extracting guarantees of a trophy next season and one wanted assurances from Sagna that his injury from the end of last season had healed sufficiently enough for him to ensure that no goal will be scored through his position at right back.

It was a lesson in diplomacy to see the trio deflect all sorts of questions like, "Sagna, will you leave Arsenal if the likes of Manchester City offered you good money?"

"If it was all about money, a few of would have left ages ago," Sagna replied.

Is it just me or does anyone else see the answer to that question in that response? Not that I blame him though, that's a question no player can answer honestly.

Charles Anazado who emceed the occasion did a good job of protecting the players from some questions that would have embarrassed them. One female fan took the microphone and asked, "What do you think of Arsenal hiring a new manager?"

I turned around to see if the chick was blonde but she was blacker than my black arse and that's saying a lot because my arse is black.

What did she expect the players to say? You're right, Honey. The club needs to sack Wenger and bring in Redknapp.

Charles took the microphone back from her and as tactfully as he manages Victor Ikpeba, Daniel Amokachi and co on his SS3N football show, answered the question himself by reminding the audience that Arsene Wenger has only recently turned down a job offer from the Brazilian Football Association.

It was good to see the boys out here really but it hardly makes up for the disappointment of the cancellation of the game that was planned for August 5th. My ManU friend actually said the trio had been sent down to play "monkey post" in Nigeria; that's the backyard football game that requires 3-5 players on each side that's popular in Africa using a small goal post that can be set up with stones or sticks.

Monkey Post
All-in-all, it was a good show but we now look forward to the big one with the whole squad in attendance as  has been promised by the club.

We'll get back to transfer rumours and speculations in this space from tomorrow. See ya.

Sunday 29 July 2012

Pictures Of Sagna, Podolski And Mert In Nigeria

Sagna, Podolski and Mertesacker arrived in Lagos yesterday and have been participating in marketing promotions with Arsenal's Nigerian partners. Rosicky did not make the trip as originally planned. See pictures below:
                                                              Click on images to enlarge

Saturday 28 July 2012

Thursday 26 July 2012

The Wenger-Persie Conspiracy Theory

Is it possible that the club wanted to sell RVP from the beginning then slowly and methodically pushed him towards releasing that infamous statement? Could the club have reasoned that they need to recoup all the monies that have been spent over the years on Van Persie while he stayed out injured for most of his eight years in Arsenal knowing that the form he displayed last season may soon be disrupted by another long term injury?

So what better time to sell him than now when his ovation is at its loudest after all he is going on 29 years and sports science (read common sense) which Arsene Wenger has been known to favour its benefits have shown that the law of diminishing returns creeps up on most footballers at about this age.

My friend Obinna came at me with this conspiracy theory this morning and I tried to fault his reasoning but I had to admit he made a lot of us sense.
"Wenger always renewed RVPs contract even when he was injured but stalled this time because I believe he realised RVP is advancing in age, so any long term injury now could end his career! Do you want to have a £180k\week player in your books that's always injured?," Obinna said.

By calling Van Persie's bluff at the meetings between player/agent and club, the club may have reasoned that RVP will resort to something desperate like releasing that infamous statement which ultimately pitched the fans against RVP while ensuring that the club will not once again be accused of always being ready to sell off their best players.

While the statement released by RVP did not do the club's negotiating position any favours, it ensured that an auction for the player began in earnest.

"Now we look like reluctant sellers, and to do business with a reluctant seller, you need to do like Don Corleone said and make him an offer he can't refuse," Obinna reasoned. "Why else would we have bought two strikers in a hurry which goes against our usual transfer dealings and are in the market for a third one?"

"We need to make Wenger an offer he can't refuse"
 Can you fault this line of reasoning?

Wednesday 25 July 2012

All We Are Saying, Give Us Arsenal!

The boys have arrived in Beijing and were accorded another awesome reception from the Chinese fans. Oh! How they love this club in China. Makes me wonder what would have been if they had come to Nigeria as planned. The Malaysian and Chinese receptions would have paled in significance, wouldn't it, Nigerian Gunners?

Yeah!!! I hear you roar, "ALL WE ARE SAYING, GIVE US ARSENAL". Yeah! You all know that tune and we will sing it until we are heard if they don't keep their word to come play here next summer.

The Arsenal marketing director,Angus Kinnear made us a promise when the club postponed the trip that was planned for August when he said, 
"We have a huge and loyal following in Africa, and we are sorry that the team will not be visiting this summer. However, we have a long-term commitment to Nigeria and we are already making plans for a visit next summer."
Hopefully, the club will keep their word and we'll watch and cheer the team on our shores next summer.

The game in China is between us and a familiar opponent from the premier league, Manchester City. It's a showpiece game like the one in Malaysia last Tuesday but I reckon we'll take it a bit more seriously than the game against Malaysia XI for pride's sake. The game is scheduled for Friday next at 12 noon at the famous Bird's Nest Stadium in Beijing. I'll let you know here and here when I confirm if it will be aired in Nigeria.

However it goes anyway, not much significance should be given to the results because the boss is more interested in the workout value of these pre-season games than the results, and of course the Chinese fans will expect to be entertained. Having said that, I'd rather we were not at the receiving end of a hiding from City because we need the team to have a workout and the Chinese fans to be entertained. It's City we are talking about and the British press in particular will not let us live it down no matter how friendly the game may be. It has become fashionable to remind Arsenal how they need to spend more money especially when a chink is spotted in our amour. I really don't want to hear it.

It was one of them days today and I couldn't find time to get in here earlier than now. Luckily there wasn't much more than unconfirmed rumours of Carzola heading our way amongst a few other rumours to report.

I'll keep it short this night and hopefully I'll be much earlier tomorrow.


Tuesday 24 July 2012

Rumour Has It Mancini's Tearing His Hair Out Because Of RVP

If rumours are to be believed, Mancini was seen tearing his hair out while raging at his bosses at Manchester City for not doing enough to sign Robin Van Persie. While I take that particular story with a few pinches of salt, it is a sight that gives me a lot of satisfaction to imagine considering his penchant for calmly talking about his interest in Arsenal players that are usually designed to destabilize the players.

Apparently, City is determined to offload the likes of Adebayor, Dzeko, Tevez and Santa Cruz before upping the derisory bid they made for RVP with an eye on balancing the books before UEFA's Financial Fair Play rules kick in.

Meanwhile, rumour has it (thanks Adele for letting me borrow this) that The Old Lady has upped her bid for RVP to £20m which Arsenal has accepted. A £190k/week salary after tax offer is also said to have been offered to RVP in the personal terms discussions between the club and RVP.

So unless Manchester United comes up with something more attractive, we can look forward to seeing a bald Mancini on the side lines next season while Robin goes abroad which is what both Club and fans will prefer under the circumstances.

Santi Carzola is the boy from Malaga who rumour also has it that we have agreed terms to sign. It is the most plausible of all the transfer targets we have been linked with recently because Malaga is in a financial mess and have until July 31st to pay up all outstanding debts or face relegation. Carzola, citing unpaid wages from the last campaign has informed the club that he wants to leave and has already held positive talks with Arsenal officials. July 31st is only seven days away so we may expect this deal to be expedited.

The club has meanwhile announced that Koscielny has agreed to sign a new long term contract which offers some reassurance with Barcelona rumoured to be sniffing around him in the past few weeks. My friend Okey was quick to remind me that these contracts don't mean a thing these days.

"Apart from the fact that the selling club will get a bit more for a player with a lengthy contract, when they want to leave they leave," Okey said. But then he's the most pessimistic Gooner I know.

I've heard the club criticized for not extending player contracts before it gets to the last year to avoid the scenarios we are seeing with RVP and Theo. The truth is having a player on a long contract shifts the balance of power in favour of the club. Any club who wants to sign him must go through the club and the club have to be ready to do business to entertain any offers. So I say well done, Arsenal and  to Koscielney, I say congratulations. We have a tradition of repaying those who show faith in us

The boys will play the first of their Asian tour matches against Malaysia XI this afternoon by 1.45pm Nigerian time and it will be aired on ESPN so you can catch it if you can steal 90 minutes of your employers' time but be sure not to say I sent you.

On a final note, there are people who still have confidence in Marouane Chamakh even if most of us have given up hope in him. The team held an open training session at the National Stadium, Bukit Jalil yesterday and one Malaysian beauty proposed publicly to him. We are awaiting his response.

Monday 23 July 2012

Awesome Reception For The Boys In Malaysia

                                        A group of fans from Indonesia livened things up a bit.

Sunday 22 July 2012

The Squad's Arrival In Malaysia In Pictures

The boys have arrived in Malaysia and pictures show they had a good time in-flight and were heartily welcomed by fans in Malaysia. Enjoy the gallery.

Arsenal FC Is Bad For My Blood Pressure

I honestly can't wait for August 18th when the season starts and we have more football to talk about than who we are buying or selling and whether the Dutchman goes to United, City or Juventus. It's one hell of a job keeping up with all the rumours flying about.

I am just a fan who wants to watch the team he loves get out on the field and play beautiful football and win games. The politics of pro or anti-Usmanov, pro or anti-Kroenke, pro or anti-Wenger, pro or anti-Gazidis, support or against Dein's return and all the other debates that are currrently drawing a line between supporters is really beginning to get to me.

Friday 20 July 2012

Arsene Wenger -The Last of The Alchemists

Arsene Wenger granted an interview yesterday to Hong Kong Magazine Time Out and as has become norm these days his critics couldn’t wait for the ink to dry on the interviewer’s paper before tossing him in the shredding machine.

When asked what goals and aims he has set for the coming season, Wenger said, “The priority is again to fight for the championship and Champions League. To finish the season as high as possible…”

Unsurprisingly, given the bent of even Arsenal fan’s to take swipes at him these days, the critics took on him for mouthing this ambition.

What do they expect him to say? That he has a squad that’s only capable of fighting for a Europa league place and he’ll ensure that we fight hard enough to finish above all the other teams that will qualify in that category?

Thursday 19 July 2012

The Ferguson Yarn About RVP And Other Stories

Good morning, Gooners. It's Thursday already and this week has followed the same theme as last week's with mostly quotidian gist of training sessions, rumours of moves and bids (that more often than not are found to be untrue) as well as links to unknown players in far-flung regions.

Bendtner and Arshavin  have packed their Louis Vuitton suitcases to leave for the Far East with the rest of the squad on Saturday. All those big names Bendtner's agent boasted were courting him after the Euros have yet to go to the ATM and get the money to pay us for him. Arshavin looked like he was glad to be back from pictures of him in training sessions this week. No suitors for him?

Wednesday 18 July 2012

Arsenal First Team Stars To Fly To Nigeria

On the heels of the cancellation of its trip to Nigeria in August, the club has announced that four first team stars will be flying to Nigeria to take part in marketing activities with regional partners, Airtel and Malta Guinness.

Sagna, Mertesacker, Podolski and Rosicky have been chosen to fly to Lagos with club officials in two weeks to take part in club events and activities organised by Airtel and Malta Guinness.

Arsenal’s head of global partnerships Vinai Venkatesham said: “We were disappointed to have to postpone the game and intend to visit Nigeria next summer. However we are delighted to be bringing this group of players to Nigeria to take part in events with our regional partners. It will give us a chance to engage with local supporters and reinforce our commitment to the market.”

The players will take part in a busy schedule of events in Lagos. Emmanuel Agu, marketing manager for (Malta) Guinness Nigeria plc commented: "Malta Guinness is the Official Malt Drink of Arsenal in Nigeria and we are looking forward to welcoming the Arsenal players to Lagos.

"We are sure that they will have a most enjoyable visit as they experience the energy and vitality of their Nigerian fans. Over the next few days, we will be announcing how fans of the nation's No 1 malt drink - Malta Guinness - can enjoy not only the goodness of our new lower sugar variant, but also win the opportunity to interact and get involved with their idols at a number of exclusive events during their stay. You can get more information by going to"

The players will also be making appearances for mobile network operator Airtel. Deepak Srivastava, chief operating officer and executive director for Airtel Nigeria, said: "Arsenal has a very large supporter base in Nigeria and Airtel is eager to connect these fans with some of their favourite football players.

"Indeed, Airtel is extremely committed to creating opportunities to excite and engage telecommunications consumers just as we are passionate about realising our brand vision of being the most-loved brand in the daily lives of Nigerians."

Vermaleen Undergoing Shaolin Training Ahead Of Next Season

Ahead of the next campaign, the club has put out a couple of videos of The Verminator that will make opposing attackers squirm in their boots -hopefully.

 The first team resumed training at London, Colney on Tuesday and the likes of Arshavin and Bendtner were conspicuosly present as well as Van Persie who was spotting greying hair that was not there at the end of the Euros -that's before murder he wrote. I wonder what brought on the grey. Must have had a really stressful vacation.

The full picture gallery can be seen Here.

The team is due to depart on Saturday for the pre-season tour of Asia. Despite reports that the club has informed Van Persie that he is not going to be allowed to leave and that he will be expected to be on the trip, it will be interesting to see the actual reality.

If he does not go with the team, it's as good as saying he's gone and the buzzards in Manchester, Turin and anywhere else they've stayed perched on trees can begin to circle.

His staying back at the club will come with it's own peculiar headache after publicly stating that he disagrees with the club's management on how to move the club forward. He's unlikely to be allowed to continue skippering the team after that. The fans may not be quick to forgive and forget and may get on his back at every given opportunity. Can the best be gotten out of him under these circumstances? It may just be in everyone's best interest to let him move on.

There are conflicting reports this morning on the signing of M'baye Niang, the French teenager with some reporting that Caen rejected our £6m bid and another reporting that terms have been agreed so I guess we'll just have to wait for an official statement from the club. Hope we pipped City to it though. That will be one small victory against their rich ass.

That's your midweek edition in the bag, Gooners. See ya.

Tuesday 17 July 2012

Arsene Goes After Paulinho For His Mental Tougness

Arsenal eye £9m move for Brazilian star, Paulinho.

Now that was a decent rumour to wake up to this morning. Been a while since we had a decent one to   whet our appetence for fresh blood to add to Giroud and Podolski. A Brazilian. Wait a minute it isn’t just any Brazilian, it’s a Brazilian STAR.  

I know what you’re thinking, “Denilson is Brazilian too”. I did think it too but I didn’t let that dampen my euphoria. The boys from Brazil are usually fantastic ballers. Was sheer bad luck we got the 1-ina-million who isn’t. Besides this one’s name ends with “nho”. Like Ronaldinho and Robinho.

Monday 16 July 2012

Uninteresting Times At Arsenal

It's a brand new week and I hope it will be more interesting with all things Arsenal than last week was. Very little came out of Arsenal in the way of news last week so most media resorted to dishing out the mundane, the unremarkable and the humdrum to fill the pages. May this week see us living in interesting times.

Pre-season training resumed last week Monday with most of the first team reporting for duty. Seemed no one told Andre Santos that his pal Benayoun was on loan last term and has had to go back to his owner. He sent the twit below to Benayoun the day before pre-season resumed and got a cocky response from Benayoun.

While this provided comic relief during a mundane spell as regards darling Arsenal FC, I did pause to wonder why there was this gap in communication.

Saturday 14 July 2012

The True Gunners' Debate

I belong to a Blackberry group of Nigerian Arsenal  fans. Some reside in the States, some in the UK but most of us live in different parts of Nigeria.

The debates in the group are usually very heated with pro and anti-Wenger, pro and Anti-Usmanov sentiments usually determining which side members take in whatever topic is up for discussion. No matter which side of the table the members seat, one thing you can't fault is their passion for Arsenal FC. 

I decided to publish the most current debate which started yesterday evening

Friday 13 July 2012

It's All So Fuckin' Hysterical

Peter Sullivan: Why are you always smiling?
Connor Rooney: 'Cause it's all so fuckin' hysterical.

The response in the dialogue above from the movie "Road to perdition" has to rank amongst my favourite movie quotes of all time. Daniel Craig playing Connor Sullivan was the picture of cynicism when the prodigal son delivered that line with a dead pan face as he watched his father and foster son playing a song on the piano to the thunderous applause of a room full of mafia cronies. A perfect picture of a loving father and son belying the fact that they were indeed proven murderers.

Thursday 12 July 2012

Seven Seasons And A Funeral?

                                                           Click on picture to enlarge.

The club has revealed the new away kit. I've spent quite a bit of time looking at the picture above trying to ooh and aah about how fine our new jersey is and unfortunately I've come up quite short.

I couldn't shake off this feeling that I had seen this particular portrait before and just when I was beginning to think it must be my mind playing tricks it finally hit me -The Addams Family. This morbidly Gothic pose is straight out of The Addams Family.

Wednesday 11 July 2012

Wenger Confronts RVP On Training Ground

                                                        Click on picture to enlarge.

The Gunners Have Landed in Nigeria!

Yes, I know that title amounts to taking the piss. I couldn't resist this one so pray, forgive a disappointed Gooner who had cancelled every other engagement to be at the Abuja National Stadium on August the 5th but must now wait until next summer to see the team he loves play in his home country. This is the closest I'll be getting to them in Nigeria until then.

If you look beyond the obvious state of disrepair of the bridge railings in the picture above, you'll see one of Airtel Nigeria's billboards located at Costain in Lagos showing a picture of members of the Arsenal team. I took this picture out of my car window while driving at a 130km/hour

Tuesday 10 July 2012

The Boys Are Back In Training

Most of the first team reported back to the London, Colney training ground yesterday for pre-season training.

Only those who participated in Euro 2012 were exempted from the session that was overseen by Arsene Wenger, new assistant manager Steve Bould as well as first team coach Neil Banfield.

Click HERE to see exclusive pictures of the session on the club's official website.

Fans Give Wenger Backing But Not So For Kroenke

The Arsenal Supporters Trust annual survey result has been released with Arsene Wenger having the massive support of 77% of AST members that participated in the polls.

The annual survey is an important tool used by AST to form important policy positions; this is subsequently forwarded to the management of Arsenal FC to reflect the views of its members.

Questionnaires were sent to 1067 AST members and 636 responses were received which represents 60% of the membership. The responses are believed to represent a diverse spread of Arsenal supporters including shareholders, red members, overseas supporters,

Monday 9 July 2012

Arsenal Trust Questionnaire Results 2012

Arsenal Trust Qestionnaire 2012 Results

Is Arsenal a Club in Crisis?

Every thing was going so well. I mean, we had signed Podolski -a proven forward from the German league and only just announced the acquisition of Olivier Giroud -the French League's top scorer from last season.

For the first time in years, Arsenal fans watched happily as the club went early into the transfer market and signed other than delinquents who are still wet behind the ears. We were making all the right noises in the transfer market too; there was still talk of our pursuit of Yanni M'villa and the French goal keeper Lloris, both first class internationals whose abilities can not be faulted. Not exactly marquee signings but we were looking like a club with true intent to contend next season not one who at the end of the season looks like they "also ran".

Thursday 5 July 2012

Arsenal Postpone Nigeria Trip

Arsenal FC has today announced the postponement of the trip to Nigeria which was originally billed for August 5th, 2012. The Arsenal first team was slated to play the Nigerian national team at the National Stadium in Abuja on the last leg of it's pre-season tour.

The club in a statement on the club's official website blamed "complexities linked to the planned game against Nigeria..."

Full Text of Usmanov's Letter To Arsenal Board

Red White letter to Arsenal

Bye, Bye, Robin!!!

After last night's rant, I'm calm now. And I'm really, really, really sorry if I used unbecoming language sometimes during my rant but that was how I felt at the time.

Anyway, hard as it is to put in words, Robin Van Persie has ceased to be a Gooner. It doesn't matter if the club holds him back now and make him see the remaining one year of his contract through as was suggested by the statement released last night, RVP will no longer be considered a Gooner.

Wednesday 4 July 2012


At 4.03pm this evening, the worst fears of every Arsenal fan was confirmed when club captain Robin Van Persie released a statement on his personal website notifying the fans that he will not be extending his contract which has one year left to run. Below is the statement in full:

This is an update for the fans about my current situation. I have kept quiet all this time out of respect and loyalty for the club and as agreed with Mr. Gazidis and Mr. Wenger, but since there is so much speculation in the media, I think it is fair for you guys to know what’s really going on at the moment.
As announced earlier this year I had a meeting with the Boss

Tuesday 3 July 2012

Lloris, M'villa And Other Transfer Noises

The transfer window continues to swing and thankfully we seem to be making all the right noises. The club is in pursuit of Lyon's French goal keeper Hugo Lloris who's first choice keeper for both club and country as well as the captain of his national team. He's described as "boasting lightening reflexes and having good decision making abilities". While this may sound good, I don't see from where I'm standing how he'll be satisfied with playing second fiddle to Szczesny with the CV he boasts. It will be the first time we'll be having two first grade keepers at the same time in our ranks in a long time. We certainly look like we have every intention of placing something new in our trophy locker this season.

Monday 2 July 2012

The Euros is Over and Arsenal is Still Here!

Welcome to a brand new week and the beginning of the second half of the year. The rains continue to pound down on Lagos and a few surrounding states. Last Friday, many residents of Lagos woke up to find their homes submerged in flood waters after several hours of a consistent downpour that had begun in the early hours. It's a nightmare to move from one end of the city to another as the persistent rains continue to cause traffic gridlocks. The state government has warned residents to expect the rains to continue like this for the next two weeks. Scary news.

The good new is that the proposed rehabilitation of the 3rd Mainland Bridge has been suspended indefinitely by the Federal Government.
Naija End Gooner