If Gilberto slips off to Greece, it won’t be much of a surprise, let’s be honest. His light dimmed significantly last season and though he remained professional and gracious about things (other footballers, take note), a leap back into the reckoning after such a fall from it always seemed unlikely.
And if he does leave, we’re not just losing a good midfielder and a decent sort, but another link to that wonderful, heady Invincibles season. With Mad Jens and Gilberto gone, the only first choice Invincible remaining is Kolo Toure – another man who did not have his most imperious of seasons. Of course, Gael Clichy got a medal that year, and Justin Hoyte, Phil Senderos and Cesc Fabregas were all at the club, but it’s still pretty amazing that in four seasons, the whole edifice has been dismantled. 26 wins, 12 draws and no defeats – 90 points.
Remarkably, that’s just seven points more than we got last season – which just shows that although we didn’t win anything, with just three defeats we weren’t very far away at all.
I like both this season’s new shirts as it happens, notwithstanding the peculiar lack of white sleeve on the home model. The away one in particular is not half bad and takes me back all those twenty years. Where those twenty years went I have no idea, but it was a seminal – if not the most seminal moment in Arsenal’s modern history. I know the League Cup final win in ’87 kick-started things, but winning the title in ’89 was the real achievement and we’ve been incredibly successful, and incredibly lucky as fans, since then. Including and since ’89 we’ve won a dozen trophies and come close in a handful of finals.
I digress slightly: shirts. Do you remember the days when it was an unwritten rule that clubs only released a new home and away shirt every other year? So why have we ditched our white away shirt after just one season? Well, it’s been relegated to the mystical ‘Third Kit’, which is a glorious way of circumnavigating any such niceties as unwritten rules. What of our other new shirt from last season, the ‘European’ kit? It’s not in the Arsenal online store, but if we do still have it, then it means we have four shirts. If we don’t, then it only lasted one season.
“If you don’t want one, don’t buy one”, I hear you say. Quite, but still – do we need three shirts at all?
With a nice new yellow away shirt, how many times will the white kit actually be worn?
Right. That’s me done. I’ve managed a whole blog entry without mentioning the transfer twins, it’s most satisfying.