It’s not a muttering matter

Whatever happens between now and August 11th, I can’t help but agree with those who think this summer could have been handled better from a PR point of view.

There was already the underlying uncertainty of the club’s ownership to contend with – Arsenal being the last top-four club still English-owned and all that – and then, sure as autumn follows summer, the annual Thierry Henry courtship began. “I am an Arsenal player for now,” he said, all slippery.

Only this time he left of course.

But you know, that’s not so bad. Henry had eight marvellous seasons and served the club more than well – I’d say wellest, if such a word existed – and looking back it was the right move for all parties. You’d think then, wouldn’t you, that that would be that. We signed da Silva and things perked up.

Ah but no, because now we’ve got the splintery annoyance of the PR-led stories attempting to entice Cesc to Real Madrid. They’re as predictable as they are unwelcome. “I’ll stay as long as Wenger stays”, was the rough gist of things, or so the papers told us. It doesn’t matter whether it was made up or not – the fact is, it’s just another story we don’t need. And guess what – it’ll happen every single summer until he does leave. As a club we specialise in these lengthy goodbyes.

And now, Buffalo Bill Gallas has been twittering, questioning Arsenal’s future direction. Perhaps he does have a point about the lack of incomings, but who is he to say it out loud? It’s not his business to air this kind of ‘insight’ in public, and unless he’s some kind of halfwit he must be able to see that it’s coal on the Arsenal-in-crisis furnace. Say these things in private by all means. Ask the boss directly, please do. But what is the benefit of doing it this way?

Again, whether he meant it to or not, and whether it’s true or not, it gives out the impression the ship is unsteady.

You might have gathered that I’m not really getting off on this close season.

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