The latest news from the bluegrass state.
We've finally broken the trophy drought! It looks like the boys had a fantastic time this morning on their parade through north London, with an estimated crowd of 250,000 in attendance! After the signing of Mesut Ozil last August, we've had a lot to cheer about - sitting at the top of the Barclay's Premier League for more than half of the season, and crowning that performance with the victory in the FA Cup, the club has been transformed from a club with tension and pressure, to a club with confidence and composure heading into next season. A few Ozil sized signings, and we're on our way to the Champions league trophy and beyond! It really feels like we, as fans, can begin to dream again about things that COULD ACTUALLY HAPPEN! Not that this FA Cup win does anything without reinforcements, but it's changed the perception of the club. It's given us hope and the belief that comes with ending a nine year trophy drought!
On the Kentucky side of things, I'm very excited. The turnout and support yesterday was amazing, everybody was loud, yelling, and decked out in red and white! I'm very very happy about the state that we're in and the future of our branch of Arsenal America!
We've started making headway in an Arsenal Kentucky branch being started up in Bowling Green with the help of a few dedicated members, and Lexington will be next on the agenda. My hope for the future of Arsenal Kentucky is that we've spread out all across the state and that for huge matches like this FA Cup Final, we'd all car pool or get together at Molly's in Louisville to just have everyone get together! Leading the charge down in Bowling Green will be Landon Hampton - he's been working on getting a section together down there since the very beginning, and we're proud to finally get things moving in that direction. If you're down in BG, I'll put you in touch with Landon, and hopefully we can get this moving for the next season!
NYC will be absolutely enormous. We've actually got a pretty good representation from our branch, and things are looking like it will be an amazing event. Get in touch if you're going as well and we'll get together once we're up there!
I think yesterday had to be our biggest turn out for a match since the beginning, and finally, I'd like to thank every one of you for making yesterday's turn out possible. Without you all making this branch what it is, we wouldn't obviously be where we are now, and wouldn't be in a position to grow like we are now. I think next season will be bigger and better, there will be more cool things with Arsenal Kentucky, and a bright future for Arsenal.
Again, thank you all for your continued support! UTA!
Get ready to support Arsenal in our biggest match of the season! Molly's is sure to be rocking tomorrow, we've got a massive turn out planned, and plenty of cool stuff going on. The windows will be blacked out, and the game will be shown across the bar on a giant projector screen.
Some things to keep in mind: There will be a street festival right outside of Molly Malone's tomorrow morning, parking will be tricky so get there early. Brendan has said there will be plenty available across the street at AAMCO and then a little further away between BBC and Smoothie King. What I'm saying is to get there early! Also, give yourself a little time to wander the festival decked out in Arsenal gear - spread the word about Arsenal and lets pack Molly's tomorrow!
My only request is that you all get your shirts out, get your scarves out, wear red and white and be loud! Lets do this right! COME ON YOU ARSENAL!
Also, make sure you know the words :]
What did she wear ??
She wore, she wore,
She wore a yellow ribbon,
She wore a yellow ribbon,
In the merry month of May!
And when, I asked,
Oh why she wore her ribbon,
She said it’s for The Arsenal,
And we’re going to Wembley!
We’re the famous Arsenal,
And we’re going to Wembley!
Just wanted to thank all of you for being a part of Arsenal Kentucky. In our first official full season, we've had massive turnouts to a solid number of games, and we've had a great commitment from a great many people. I'm glad to have met you all, and hope that over the next seasons I'll get to know you all better as well as adding more faces to that list!
I hope that each and every one of you is around more next season and we continue to build and grow!
Silly season now truly is upon us. Arsenal is circling the magic fourth spot that guarantees us Champions League football, and we're still in the hunt for a trophy! In May! Goodness is this still Arsenal? In the next few weeks we'll be bombarded by headlines reading, "Arsenal Set to Sign [insert player here]" as well as headlines reading more like, "[insert rival team name here] Joins Race and Looks Set to Sign [insert name of potential arsenal target here]." Now, the transfer bunker is appealing to many, and for good reason - we've not exactly had a fun previous few transfer windows. We've seen players we loved leave, and players not nearly the same caliber come in to replace them.
Maybe I'm hopeful. Maybe I'm delusional. But I think this summer is when our decade of hard summers will actually pay off.
The signing of Mesut Ozil last summer has sparked something in the Arsenal side. We were competing on all fronts until a string of poor injuries went against us. I don't think we're far away from something special.... and then Puma comes in.
We have not just signed a kit deal - we have signed the biggest kit deal in the history of the premier league. Puma is a huge company and really didn't have a top top class team - until now. Dortmund made the finals of the Champions League last year, sure. One could argue that they're a blue chip team right there with us in Puma's portfolio. I would argue to the contrary though - Dortmund has developed over the last years with a great deal due to the expert stewardship of Jurgen Klopp. But even on the pitch, Arsenal carries the advantage. According to the UEFA coefficients, Arsenal is ranked at 9th, while Dortmund comes in at 15th. That doesn't seem like a lot, but then consider this: Arsenal is third of the premier league clubs behind Chelsea and Manchester United, respectively. United's number, though, is set to drop with their highest coefficient score from the 10-11 campaign being removed from scoring at the end of next season and they are set for at least one season without Champions League. As far as the premier league is concerned, We're right there at the top. Dortmund, on the other hand, at 15th place, carries a coefficient weight of 82.328 - a full 30.6 points behind Arsenal, and more worryingly, a full 72 point gap below their nearest Bundesliga opponent in Bayern Munich. Arsenal, though is only 13 points off of Manchester United.
Ok, we get it: Arsenal top ten, Dortmund still has a lot to prove.. But there's more reason why Puma will really want to get behind Arsenal.
Arsenal is in a precarious position. Top 10 in the UEFA Coefficients, but also top 10 in Forbes' ranking of the 50 most valuable sports franchises worldwide. Manchester United obviously dominates this category at 2nd place overall, with a value of $3.17B, Arsenal comes in at number 10 with a value of $1.33B. To provide a little comparison Chelsea comes in at 40th with a value of $900M, and the likes of Paris Saint Germain, Manchester City, and Borussia Dortmund, aren't even listed.
While Manchester United's value is indicative of their long term success under Sir Alex Ferguson, and global marketing ability of being in pole position at the dawn of the Premier League era, the slide in their UEFA coefficient over the next few seasons will show that success to be firmly rooted in the past. Dortmund, for as good as their football is, doesn't have the same marketing or promotion in the Bundesliga that the Premier League has to offer. They simply can not capture that brand of football into something monetarily valuable. Arsenal though, has shown resilience. Over the last ten years we've heard it over and over again that we're paying off our stadium, and that's showing. We've kept within touching distance of the biggest clubs in the world both on the pitch, and financially, and we just needed a push.
Puma is that push.
Now with that push, there's also a financial incentive for Puma to have some of their major brand athletes on teams that are also sponsored by them. That's where we're getting the Reus and Balotelli rumors, but there's one giant screaming Spanish elephant sitting in the middle of the room: Cesc Fabregas.
I know a lot of you are pretty opinionated on Cesc. People seem to love him or hate him. Either hate him for returning to Barca or the way people said he forced the move... the truth is, we will never actually know what happened. Whether he forced his way out or not, he's a world class player and a force in midfield. Like Arsene said about Ozil's signing, when a player like that becomes available, you have to buy him. Imagine seeing Cesc line up against us in a United or City shirt? World class players that just so happen to love the club don't come around often. For me, we must pull the trigger on him if he indeed becomes available this summer. As we should also pull the trigger on Reus or Balotelli.
I'm not saying we're going to sign him or any of them for that matter, but if Puma is willing to make extra funds available for us to go and get some of their brand ambassadors on the team like it's been rumored they are considering, I'd take advantage of it and land some of the most brilliant footballers of their generation in that trio. There's no doubt about it that on his day, Cesc Fabregas can be virtually unplayable. We know this first hand - remember the Tottenham goal where he took on their entire team, or the shot against A.C. Milan! If he were to come back, I'm sure the ill will would be quickly forgotten.
Now everyone brace themselves - just a few weeks left until silly season full stop. In the meantime we've got two hugely important games, and A CUP FINAL!!!
SHE WORE, SHE WORE, SHE WORE A YELLOW RIBBON!!!
Cheers guys, see you next time.
Arsenal Kentucky would like to proudly announce that we will be working with the Labrot & Graham distillery where they craft Woodford Reserve Distiller's Select to create a very limited number of commemorative bottles for the end of this season.
Details on the bottles will be released in due course as we decide on a design for the bottles and rules about how they can be transported.
Again, there will be a very very limited number of these bottles available, and will be around $50 each.
Attached to this post there is a form just to see how much interest there is. If you would consider purchasing a bottle, please indicate on the form below how many you would like, with a maximum of two. Once submitted, you will receive email updates and instructions on how to order one of the bottles once they are released.
EDIT: Just a quick note - As there are only a very limited number of bottles being produced, the submission of an email here does not necessarily guarantee a bottle. Bottles will be distributed based on final order submissions. Branch Managers will have a priority opportunity to order one for their pub or bar, then there will be a general sale. Keep in mind, the numbers will be very limited. Submitting your intentions here will grant you advanced notice ahead of the general sale.
Just a quick post on some of the changes that are beginning to take place, and will be taking place over the summer.
With the Arsenal visit to NYC this summer, there have been some things have had to be put on the back burner. Things like the second shirt - which a few of you have already preordered, will still be happening, and those of you that have preordered have the option of receiving the new shirt when we relaunch it, or you can opt for a full refund. Doing nothing will simply mean you'll have the new shirt shipped to you once they relaunch.
A little more on the second shirt - I received a total of 8 orders. Unfortunately that meant that I wasn't even able to cover the cost of the shirts and couldn't order them. I think that was down to a few factors - launching quickly after the new year meant it didn't get nearly as publicized as our first shirt, and I don't think many people knew much about it. Also, any feedback on the design would be appreciated if that prevented some people from ordering.
Next, on NYC - Tickets were insane and the preorders sold out in about 33 minutes. This meant that once they went on sale to general public, they were gone almost immediately. Now, a few of these tickets ended up on StubHub, which was completely against both Arsenal's and Arsenal America's ordering and anti-touting policy.
There is good news, though! I have come across a set of two more tickets that are now available. If you're from the Kentucky branch, and you're interested, please contact me. Obviously these will be sold at face value and will be transferred into your name as per Arsenal's policy. These tickets are in the Arsenal America section.
Planning for NYC is insanely demanding. Hotels, transportation, how exactly I plan to drink my way through all of the Arsenal sponsored pubs in NYC - the New York team really has a handle on things up there. If you're a member of ArsenalAmerica you've already got some information on hotels, and the deals with Mariott end this week. Rooms are already booking up, so make sure you get your reservations in soon. I currently haven't booked anything myself, but I will certainly be up there! As far as transportation goes, a good friend from the Cincy group informed me of a very reasonable mode of transportation up there - Amtrak is offering a train ticket round trip to NYC from Cincinnati and back for $92. Thats a pretty solid deal - one I am looking into as well. I haven't been able to coordinate things with the branch for hotels, but if you need more information, I can definitely help out.
I'm currently working with Woodford Reserve for the possibility of some commemorative bottles for this season. More information on those will be coming out at the conclusion of the season, so stay tuned for those. The bottles will likely run about $50 each.
Last thing - I've been working with the board of Arsenal America since January. We plan on launching a magazine at the beginning of next season to highlight some of our own branches and people involved in what makes supporting Arsenal in America great.
As always, thanks guys for your continued support.
Up the Arsenal!
Branch Manager of Arsenal Kentucky.