The latest news from the bluegrass state.
I know its been a while since you've seen me around at the pub - but I just wanted to give a bit of an update on here for the moment.
Since my involvement with our New York City trip, I managed to get a move to the corporate side of AT&T. That entails moving up to Louisville - which is great, but also between trainings, my crazy schedule, personal and family matters, and travel, I've had very little time to spend on this group and to give it the proper attention it deserves.
That said, by the weeks end, I should be completely moved up to Louisville, and my schedule should clear up considerably. I'll once again be able to bombard your twitter timelines with nonsense, and keep adding to the collection of blog posts on here that I write for myself to read later.
David Phillips, Brian McGill, Bob Bertke, and Jon Kamer have all been working insanely hard in my absence and I'd like to thank each of them for the work that they've put in. Obviously thats not everyone that's worked and is deserving of recognition, but I just want to give a personal shout to them. It's great to see the group continuing to grow and develop - and it's a credit to you all that it has been at the rate that it has. I'd also like to thank each of you that has continued to show up every week and yell and scream (and swear) at the televisions at Molly Malone's - without you all this group would be as useless as Flamini is at playing defensive midfield.
At this point I'd like to open up some sort of Board that will help people identify go-to people at Molly's on match days. These people would also be involved in decision making and work that I can delegate that would help me out considerably. For those spots, I'd like the four people listed above get recognized for their hard work. I'd also like the group down in Bowling Green not go unnoticed, and Ian Loos, Landon Hampton, and Erin Greunke be invited as well. These positions will be formalized and discussed at some point in the near future, and while nothing is official yet - these are people that you all can look to for help, to get settled, and to continue developing our group.
I'd like to open up the floor for some constructive ideas. What would you all like to do?
The event that many of you have been waiting for is upon us at last. Arsenal F.C. are proud to confirm they are going to hold an Arsenal Fan Party for our 2014/15 paid members. The four Official Supporters Clubs that have been working together to organize the Arsenal experience in New York – Arsenal America, Arsenal NYC, Arsenal Philly and Arsenal Canada – are proud to give their members access to this event which will include the following exciting items:
• Guest appearance from Thierry Henry who along with the players will interact with fans via a Q&A session
• Interactive games
• Group photos
• FA Cup in attendance for the entire evening
• Select Arsenal players in attendance (for approx. 1.5 hours from 7pm)
The club is putting on complimentary shuttle bus service from Secaucus train station New Jersey (accessible from Manhattan via the PATH train) to the IZOD Center where the event will be held. Together with the Club we are looking at organizing a free shuttle from the PATH train at Hoboken which will be announced in the coming days.
This will be a WRISTBANDED event. All wristbands will be provided free of charge by the Supporters Clubs to paid members (1 per member). If you are not already a paid member, please become a member of your local club if you see this message and want to go!!
Look forward to seeing you there!!
Rick Breese – Arsenal America
Kurtis Powers – Arsenal NYC
Mike Hiddi – Arsenal Philly
Morgan Rubes – Arsenal Canada
Arsenal Soccer Schools are launching centres in the United States this summer, in New York, Boston, New Jersey and Connecticut.
The announcement comes after the Gunners confirmed they would be making a pre-season visit to New York for a match with the New York Red Bulls on 26 July, in what will be the Club’s first game in the United States in 25 years.
The US Arsenal Soccer Schools will give football mad youngsters of all ability levels the chance to ‘Learn to Play the Arsenal Way’, with the Gunners’ qualified coaches employing the same training philosophies as Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger and his backroom staff. Both day and residential courses will be on offer, during June and July.
Arsenal Soccer Schools, who also have camps across Europe, Asia and Africa, work with regional partners to ensure that the same first class coaching is delivered in centres across the world.
For more information on the US courses visit www.PlaytheArsenalWayUSA.com
Arsenal Kentucky - as a branch of Arsenal America, the Official Supporters Club of Arsenal in the United States, looks forward to an ever growing relationship with the club in the USA!
THIS season has given us lots of new reasons to love the Arsenal - and as we move into one of the more difficult stretches of the season, I think we're approaching it from a position of interest and genuine confidence rather than dread. Rather than looking at the fixture list and saying, "well I'd be happy with a point here, or if we got anything from this game," I'm looking at it and saying all of these fixtures are very winnable, which is refreshing.
Just a couple things - Matthieu Flamini is out for the next three weeks which will see him miss Chelsea in the Capital One Cup, Liverpool and Manchester United in the Premier League, as well as Borussia Dortmund on the away side of our Champion's League fixture. Flamini was a free transfer immediately before the record signing of Mesut Özil over the summer. Admittedly, I saw the signing as typical Wenger - we were calling for a big midfield presence and were looking at Luis Gustavo. Even Ilkay Gündogan's name was being thrown around as a possible candidate to replace the position Flamini himself vacated in the summer of 2008. That position wasn't ever adequately filled, though we used Alex Song, Abou Diaby, Francis Coquelin, and Emmanuel Frimpong in that position they were never the same quality, and some would argue not even enough quality to be in the team. One player that has had a lot of success in that position since leaving Arsenal is Håvard Nordtveit - but thats a story for another time. It's been an interesting position for Arsenal philosophically - it was often argued that a central midfielder with a job of shielding the back four and breaking up the oppositions midfield was simply old fashioned and unnecessary in today's more cerebral game with fluid "pivot" midfielders that would alternate between going forward, shielding the back four, and closing down passing lanes in the middle of the park. While there is a case for that, and Mikel Arteta did a fantastic job with that paired alongside Aaron Ramsey in last season's post Bayern Munich resurgence, Matthieu Flamini has stated his case that a no non-sense physical midfield presence was what we were missing in our midfield for the past few years. He's arguably made more of an impact with his presence than our new midfield magician - though admittedly the career of the young German is still very young - and this is Flamini's second stint in the Premier League. Point is - yes, I initially dismissed the signing of Flamini, and now he's making all of the doubters (of which I was not alone) eat our words. Now, though, we realize his importance in the team, and he's out for a few of the most important games of the season.
We've got a fantastic, in form Aaron Ramsey, we've got Jack Wilshere who has a point to prove, and the obvious quality of Mesut Özil, Santi Cazorla, and Thomas Rosicky - we've got plenty to trouble Chelsea, Liverpool, and United with, and I'm fairly optimistic with the options we've got.
I used to love transfer windows. I loved the excitement that came with the possibilities of completely transforming a team from one form to something completely different. In fact, I got a tumblr back years ago specifically to write about transfer windows. Watching film of different players, seeing how they interacted with their team mates.. It was all exciting to me - so much so, that I really wanted to look into being a scout as a profession. I would jump at the chance, by the way, in case someone with hiring ability at arsenal is reading this.... haha.
Anyway - I'm sure we've all read through the narrative of stingy Arsenal and our lack of excitement in the transfer windows. The glory days of Arsenal had seemed to be fading, and the "in Arsene we Rust" banners seemed to be more numerous than those of the "in Arsene we Trust" variety. I don't think I need to go over that any more.
Roll on 2011 and the exodus of Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri to Barcelona and Manchester City, respectively. In the case of Nasri, however, not so respectfully. In 2012 I was shocked when Robin van CuntfaceJudasBastard went to Manchester United, and on twitter I relentlessly mock the little boy living inside him, even if he did help them win the league last year. He won't this year, I am pretty certain that David Moyes' job is to help facilitate United's move into the middle or lower half of the table. Have fun with that project, Robin.
Despite my bitterness and damn near hatred for some of these players - at the time we looked pretty rusty. As a gooner, the cannons are always on the polished and ready to go side, but I'm certain that if looked at from an outside perspective, we were leaning a little towards the decommissioned part of the armory.
For the Champions League this year, it looks like we've got Borussia Dortmund, Napoli, and Olympique de Marseille. Sure, it's a tough group - but this is what the Champions League is all about. Pitting ourselves against the best in Europe is what it's all about. It's not about hoping for an easy draw and making it through comfortably - thats a bonus, a luxury, but not what we should be looking for. Personally, I'm quite happy with the draw.
It's also important to remember - this isn't our first tough group stage. Arsene has guided us to 16 consecutive group stages now; that is on a level only matched by a few clubs in the world. In fact, the only teams with more consecutive appearances are Manchester United with 18 consecutive group stages, and Real Madrid with 17. Now, qualification is not the goal, and we won't get into comparisons with how many times Manchester United or Real Madrid have won it in the times they've qualified, but with a reasonable draw and a few solid games we managed to make it through to the final in 2006. Something that people seem to quickly forget. We were the first London team to reach a final, and I think we'll have the big eared trophy in our cabinet soon.
Just a quick post to get off the blocks. A little overview of Arsenal Kentucky, and a little preview of what we've got coming!
Welcome to Kentucky - a unique place in the world; a place full of the world's best race horses, bourbon whiskies, and some of the most passionate football supporters this side of the Atlantic Ocean. Come join the Arsenal Kentucky supporters group and follow the greatest team the world has ever seen over land and sea. We've brought the Arsenal to Kentucky - Now to take Kentucky to the world. Lets do something cool.
Soon, we've got shirt orders, a bit of Arsenal-ization at Molly Malone's, and hopefully we can start to do some good around Louisville!
Branch Manager of Arsenal Kentucky.