Definitely sad to see the Bobster go, but gone he has. He said some lovely things about the Arsenal and the Arsenal fans, and the web is awash with equally glowing tributes in return. Rightly too.
He’s a tough one to replace, simply because he scored and set up so many goals. His average was around 15 a season, and we don’t currently have another midfielder that can get anywhere close to that. Ljungberg in his prime would have got 10+, but Gilberto, Fabregas, Reyes, Hleb and – by all accounts – Rosicky too, are not prolific scorers by any stretch of the imagination. With two of the old guard, Bergkamp and Pires, now gone, and the futures of other experienced players, notably Cole and Campbell, still far from decided, we’re perhaps looking at an even younger side next season than we had this season.
Which of course partly explains the signing of Rosicky, who like Cole is an experienced 25-year-old. I wouldn’t bet against one or more other experienced players to come in too, especially if either Campbell or Cole go.
I read yesterday that several of the bigger clubs – Arsenal being one of them, the Russians and Americans amongst the others – are pushing for the amount of subs you can put on the bench to be raised from five to seven.
I have to say, I’m not convinced I’m in favour. The thinking behind it is obvious – the sides with bigger, better squads want more choice when it comes to their three allotted substitutions, but I can’t help but think that this will be detrimental to the league, as a whole.
Naturally, I always want Arsenal to win, but I want games to be competitive too. The harder it becomes to pull off a surprise against the odds, the less likely it will be in time that grounds around the country remain full.
But it’s an interesting one – in the World Cup, for example, you can pick your three subs from any one of the 12 remaining squad members.
And blow me down, but Arsenal have gone and sold out Club Level. I admit I have always been a doubting Michael Thomas about this one, what with each and every one of the 6,700 seats costing between 2,500 and 4,500 of your British pounds per season, but I have been proven wrong – for this season at least.
And it’s perhaps no coincidence that the club announced this on 24th May, a week after our Champions League final, and six days after Henry signed a new deal. People signed up because they wanted more – more European nights, more Thierry Henry.
And who can blame them…