Morning. I thought Iâ€™d check into the old place after what I can assure is the longest I have ever let this blog go fallow â€“ three days short of a calendar month. If I leave it three days longer Iâ€™m eligible for CAP subsidies, I think.
Itâ€™s not quite like I put the dustsheets on because it wasnâ€™t as planned as that, but I downed tools after the season ended and never felt like picking them up again. Are Google ads ringing on the doorbell with increasingly frantic urgency? I can report that they are not.
I was pretty sure thereâ€™d be no actual Arsenal news during the Euros â€“ news of signings, that is â€“ especially as we tied up the Podolski deal so early. And while itâ€™s true that nothing official has wended its way towards the official site, the Giroud column inches seem real enough. Wenger himself has said Giroudâ€™s 90% an Arsenal player, which means the boss is ten percent sticking his neck out, but things do sound promising on that front. Trouble is, that ten percent can be quite useful. Just ask an iceberg.
The irony, I should add, of Wenger remedying his defensive 49-ers by buying two strikers is not lost on me, though you canâ€™t argue that we donâ€™t need more firepower. Clearly, the club is working hard but it might mean thereâ€™s going to be one hell of car boot sale on Drayton Park sometime in mid July. Bendtner, Vela, Denilson, Chamakh, Park â€“ hello again, fancy seeing you here. Job lot?
The Euros have far exceeded my expectations and fed my football addiction, and my money has got to be on Germany â€“ which I appreciate is hardly a bold claim seeing that they are now in the semi-finals. As the Twitters pointed out last night, they are a great side to watch. Youthful, skilful, exciting. ITV signed off by saying they were frightening, or terrifying.
Things you could maybe say about England, but in a different way. To be fair, I have admired Hodgsonâ€™s approach (and acceptance of the limitations of his resources), and I think England are far from out of contention yet, but thus far itâ€™s safe to say theyâ€™ll have hardly had the neutrals purring.
Final thing â€“ itâ€™s always satisfying when you meet someone who has read your blog. Now look, Iâ€™m not big-headed enough to think this happens very frequently, but last weekend it did, and completely out of context. I was at a birthday party â€“ a sit-down meal â€“ and I got chatting to a fella to my right. In such scenarios, once the formalities of introducing yourself are over, I find the only way forward is to introduce football into the conversation as quickly as possible. (This actually applies to most of life, come to think of it). Taking this approach, sometimes you crash and burn, other times you hit the jackpot. This time I jackpotted, he was a gooner, and before we knew it we were dissecting the season.
Interestingly enough, he was of the opinion that rather than being desperate for the season to end (as I was, and I wasnâ€™t the only one), he had loved it, and considered it an excellent season for the way we had pulled third out of the fire having been on the ropes (excuse the mixed metaphors).
So then I mentioned I wrote a blog about Arsenal, and mentioned its name (fully expecting blank response), to which I got the following:
â€œOh, youâ€™re the man from East Lower!â€
We both poured ourselves another beer and proceeded to ignore our wives.
(Of course, that last bit is not true.)