“I’ve signed now so I will be here for another three years,” are the welcome words we hear this morning from Ashley Cole. Better still, he has finally acknowledged that, for plenty if not most Arsenal fans, his stock has fallen since the whole tapping-up debacle.
“Now I’m here to try to win the fans over again, and do as well as I can,” he added. It’s the first sign of reconciliation, and it’s come not a moment too soon. Perhaps it’s not coincidental that it also comes just before the Community Shield against the Russians.
At the time, I admit, I struggled to work out how he could stay at Arsenal, but things have since calmed down, as they tend to, and even if his relationship with the top brass at Highbury is not hunky dory, it’s at least been put to one side for the time being. Time is a healer, and all that.
It’s some good news in an otherwise quiet week. Wenger’s promise to bag a keeper by Friday hasn’t come to anything â€“ yet â€“ and there’s no other firm news.
So the season begins tomorrow with the traditional curtain-raiser, and in keeping with my own traditions, I wonâ€™t be there. Having visited Cardiff twice already this year, I’m not ashamed to confess that I’m saving my cash. (I’m not the only one â€“ tickets are still on sale today).
The best news of all is that another tortuous three months of football-free summertime draws to a welcome close. What with the Cole saga, Vieira leaving and the ultimately fruitless pursuit of Baptista, it’s not been the summer some Arsenal fans would have liked.
Personally, I’m upbeat about the season ahead. We’ve got some superb young players who can only get better, and assuming a keeper comes in â€“ much needed â€“ we’ll have cover in most positions. We’ve lost some experience, I grant you, but how does a young player gain experience without playing?
Right, that’s enough. I’m going to be off the blogging radar for a few days, but I’ll have picked up my electronic quill in time for the real action next Sunday.