Wednesday 11 July 2012

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
(I dey joke abeg) from the stadium end of Western Avenue towards Lagos Island.

Arsenal FC signed a 3 year partnership deal in late June with African mobile network operator, Airtel. The deal allows Airtel to harness Arsenal's merchandising, hospitality,  and contents rights in five major African markets including Ghana, Rwanda, Gambia, Uganda and Nigeria.

The deal is in line with the resolve of mobile operators to take advantage of the awesome follower-ship of the Barclays Premier League clubs by Nigerians to shore up their subscriber base; Globacom currently has a similar deal with Manchester United.

Like I said when the deal was announced, Airtel will be taking advantage of this opportunity to convince Nigerians who support the Gunners to get on the Airtel network and where possible lure them away from whichever carriers they use presently.

I may just be the easiest to convince since I go with those who go with the Gunners seeing that my present carrier has been frustrating the life out of me and I can't for the life of me see any advantage in sticking with them.

The flip side of good news like this one -and I say this with a deep sense of sadness- is that something else may have to suffer for it. In this case, I believe it's our own local league which remains as broken and neglected as the bridge railings in the picture above. Our local league continues to suffer from lack of funding and any meaningful vision by our football administrators as funds that may have been invested in our own league is spent marketing foreign clubs who offer a higher investment return. But that's another day's story of course.

Well done, Airtel!
Welcome, You Gooners!

PS -The picture used on the billboard above is tagged "Meet our new team mates". It has Robin Van Persie in the center which means it will have to come down as soon as he completes the move he's trying to force.

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Naija End Gooner