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Tansy Rayner Roberts

Up the Arsenal!

August 18th, 2012 at 23:02

Football is back! I wasn’t expecting it quite so soon because I’ve spent most of the “summer” with my fingers in my ears going lalalalala. But it’s true, it’s back, it’s another season and baby, it is ON for the Arsenal.

The story so far!

Last summer, our beloved boy captain, Cesc Fabregas, broke our hearts by abandoning us for Barcelona, his home team, for a big wad of cash and the chance to win tropies. As the hurt began to fade, we consoled ourselves that he was always going to go, that the family and peer pressure had been too much for him, that maybe they loved him as much as we did.

(they don’t)

We also consoled ourselves that at least we had Robin, good old Robin Van Persie, the Dutch family man who replaced Cesc as captain, the man we could rely on, the man who finally after years of injuries had one near-perfect season as a striker.

(too bad the rest of the team wasn’t nearly as good, and we came third in the League)

This summer, Robin broke our heart by leaving us. For Manchester United. And a wad of cash. And the chance to win tropies. And… wahhhhh.

Also it is strongly rumoured that Alex Song, the only player on the team to agree with me that the new purple away kit is awesome, may also be on his way out. To Barcelona. SOB. But he hinted at purple hair this season! Don’t take that away from me, Alex! Also the mighty Alexander Dmitri Song Billong song (to the tune of “love lifts us up where we belong) might never again be heard on the Tuesday Club podcast. YOU MAKE ME CRY, ALEX.

So who do we have left to be excited about? Well, there’s our new captain…

Thomas Vermaelen, the Verminator himself. So named because he has that reassuringly slightly-dead look about the eyes as sported by Robert Patrick in T2 – at least, I like to think that’s the reason! Our new captain and for this year at least, he’s loyal as hell.

Then there’s little Jack Wilshere, our new boy wonder – the player we were most looking forward to being dazzled by last season in the wake of our Cescsadness. But a seemingly random injury in pre-season training meant he was gone for the whole year, and we’re still not likely to see him in a game until October. Still, he’ll be wearing Robin’s old Number 10 shirt when he does… Vermaelen has us now, but the Gooners are all pretty deeply invested in the idea that little Jack W is the captain of our future.

(so he’ll be breaking our heart around about 2015, then? I’ll mark it on the calendar)

Aaron Ramsey – captain of Wales, our young survivor who made it back on to the pitch after a gruesome leg break, and managed to be mildly dull last season. But hey, it never gets old seeing him run around on the grass. And he got an Olympic goal for Great Britain this summer, so maybe that will give him the extra spark he needs!

Andrey Arshavin – our Russian pocket rocket had a slow run last year and powered his way back home to Zenit on a loan. But there’s no sign of selling him and I’ve always had a soft spot for the goofy faces he pulls. Will he go or will he stay? Apparently Russia may not want him any more after he got into a rumpus with fans after their national team crashed out of Euro 2012, but do we want him back? (I WANT HIM BACK) Will he ever score three goals against Liverpool again? Cos next time he does that it would be awesome if we could win the game…

Theo Walcott – another of our boy wonders, this young player has a habit of lurching between brilliance, super-brilliance and ordinariness but when he starts running with those lightning feet of his, the other team tends to freak the hell out, and for a very good reason. Like Robin did, he only has a year on his contract, and hasn’t confirmed yet that he’s re-signing with us. We want to grow old with you, Theo! Don’t leave us now…

Then there’s baby-face Gibbs and steady Arteta and occasionally marvellous Rosicky and the OX, who will surely come into his real power as a footballer this season, but most of all there is the wildcard Frimpong, whose tweets are impenetrable and whose gameplay is… erratic, but oh, we can’t take our eyes off him. Don’t change, Frimpong!

Plus we have new signings. Actual new signings. Not our manager Arsene Wenger claiming that getting injured players back from a long hiatus is JUST LIKE a new signing. To be honest I haven’t been keeping track of them all thanks to the lalalala business, but everything I do hear suggests that this is better, this is promising, and there is life after Robin Van Persie.

What’s more, the team will be wearing purple stripes this year which means that every away game will be PURE GOLD.

Oh and while our men were knuckle-scraping their way to third place last year, one more year without a trophy and with our best players falling away like depressed lemmings, there’s the Arsenal Ladies, the most successful club in English women’s football, who completed yet another domestic treble last year, winning the FA Cup, the Continental Cup, and the inaugural Women’s Super League. In the 25 years since their team was founded, they have won 34 trophies in all.

Most of their games don’t even get FILMED, let alone televised. Because that is women’s sports for you.

Here we go again. FOOTBALL ON!

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5 Responses to “Up the Arsenal!”

  1. Marg Says:

    I always have such good intentions of watch more Premier League football. I am watching the time tonight thinking only 40 minutes to kick off but I have a feeling I will probably fall asleep before it actually starts!

  2. Sean the Blogonaut Says:

    The coverage is always more interesting when you do it Tansy.

  3. tansyrr Says:

    Aww thank you. I will try to do more of it this year! I’ve always felt a bit too newbie to do much in the past but if making it interesting is my superpower… who am I to argue?

  4. Elizabeth Says:

    Yeah, we’re big fans of the Arsenal Ladies team – they play v well and games are usually £5 for entry. I realise it’s not convenient for you to go but maybe one of your readers is closer ;) I’m going to miss them when we move.

    And (apologies if you already know) but there are match highlights on arsenalladies.com and many superleague games are shown on ESPN, I believe – at least, they send a lot of big trucks and crew. But I don’t have a TV, so I’m not certain. There are definitely video bits on the espn.co.uk site.

    PS. I actually found your site through the Book Week challenge, so the gunners stuff is a bonus!

  5. tansyrr Says:

    Hi Elizabeth

    I didn’t know about that – thank you! I’m going to try to be a better fan this year. I am sad at not being able to take advantage of those £5 tickets, I’d be taking my daughter every week if I could!

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