Author Archives: Tim

About Tim

I'm the gaffer, I gaff things. I also make a lot of gaffs. Follow me on twitter @7amkickoff.

Cathedral

Saturday morning with no football

Saturday morning
and we got nothing to do
gonna hit the road together
gonna go hiking with you.

Let the yard grow taller
I don’t care about that ivy
We’re not washing our dog Pepper
let the stinker stay all grimy.

I’m not doing laundry
I’m not working in the garden
I’m not fixing that old faucet
I’ll just have to beg your pardon.

But…Let me get the cooler
and wrap up sandwiches to go
you’ll take peanut butter jelly,
I’ll have myself a sloppy joe!

Gotta bring the rootbeer
springtime hiking makes us thirsty
because we stop at Stewarts meats
and eat a pound of Famous Jerky!

Then we’ll drive to Morton
and make up silly knock knock jokes*
swinging round the twisty bends
laughter rings through mountain oaks!

Up into the mountains
kicking rocks down dusty roads
driving near a scary valley
turns our brains to frightened toads.

We reach our destination
(driving here is half the fun)
our legs are aching to start walking
you get out and start to run!

Past the rocky entrance
the forest is so heavy quiet
you can hear the river rushing
watch out for the horse fly riot!

First we pass the bear cave
then across three falls a-streaming
As I lift you over rocks
I see your smiling face is beaming.

Then we reach the main event
it spits out of the clouds above
and splatters on a mossy rock
the waterfall that we both love.

Let’s have lunch and stay a while
Let’s have lunch and stay forever
Forget about the world back there
This lovely place is far too clever.

But we’re out of jerky, Dad!
And rootbeer too it seems, my dear
the sandwiches have been devoured
we’ll starve if we don’t get out of here.

Now we trudge back to the truck
we know the day is almost through
and even if there’s a pile of chores
I’m glad I spent this day with you.

Qq
*Knock knock! Who’s there?
Melissa! Melissa who?
MOLE-IS-A CREATURE THAT LIVES IN THE GROUND!

Knock Knock! Who’s there?
River dam. River dam who?
River didn’t damn it, the people did!

Van Persie and Rooney sing the body electric

Van Persie, Klopp, Szczesny, and transfers

By Tim Todd, chief senior editor at large (gained 4 pounds in the last month!)

Let’s get old school with today’s post and hit a bunch of Arsenal news stories all at once. If I ran this site at all like a business I would post each as its own “article” but I don’t. So, limber up those fingers because there is a lot of Arsenal news to talk about.

Surprise, van Persie is 5th highest paid player in the world

Robin van Persie is the 5th highest paid footballer in the world. Let that sink in for a minute. This is a player who publicly proclaimed that he was leaving Arsenal because he disagreed with the direction of the club and who was “suddenly” catapulted into the stratosphere as far as wages and endorsements are concerned. He makes more money than Zlatan Ibrahamovich.

There is never any doubt in my mind that when a player demands to leave a club the main reason is money. They will tell you it’s for football reasons or that it’s because of the “direction of the club” but as far as I can tell, the preponderance of the evidence points to money. In van Persie’s case, I suspect that he was tapped up in the winter before the transfer market opened up (something we are seeing now) and was told that if he joined United, they would not only top up his pay packet but also help him land huge endorsement deals¹. It was an offer too good to refuse.

He got lucky, frankly, and won a title in his first season, Sir Alex Ferguson’s last season, but he’ll never win another League title again. In fact, he may never win another piece of silverware. If that prediction comes true, Robin van Persie will have won 1 trophy with Arsenal and 1 with Man U.

We will never know what could have been but my feeling is that if van Persie had chosen to honor his time with Arsenal and repay the club for the four years he spent collecting a paycheck from the treatment room Arsenal would have won a League title with van Persie. Look at how close this club is now. Imagine Özil and van Persie playing together. It’s easy to see that Arsenal would have been serious contenders. I feel confident saying that even if van Persie is nicking a living off Man U.

Transfer Talk!

It’s international break and the transfer window closed two months ago and won’t re-open until… August? So, why is my news feed filling up with stories about Arsenal pre-signing no less than five players?

Apparently, the Gunners are after Luiz Adriano, Paulo Dybala, Carlos Castro, Dani Alves, and Mateo Kovacic. Also, Chris Smalling, Petr Cech, Schneiderlin, Marco Reus, and the remainder of the Borussia Dortmund team.

I know that clubs get their business done earlier than we probably think (see the van Persie story above) but is it now just so well known that clubs are tapping up players all over the globe that the papers, agents, players, and clubs can be so brazen about it?

My feeling is that Arsenal will buy someone this summer. It will probably be none of the names above. But long-term Arsenal need replacements for Mertesacker, Koscielny, Arteta, and Szczesny.

Szczesny in particular. Did you know that he’s been dropped nearly every season he’s been at Arsenal? I have to wonder how much longer Wenger will persist?

Wenger to be replaced with Klopp

This is one of my favorite stories of the year. I’m not one to subscribe to the Metro or the Express but I do subscribe to ESPN’s Arsenal news feed. So, imagine my surprise when I found an ESPN article in my feed claiming that Wenger might be out the door this summer.

Ian Holyman, the ESPN author, claimed that there were “reports” that Wenger could leave before the end of his contract. Those of us who have been following Arsenal for more than a minute know that Wenger has always honored his contracts. So, what are these “reports” that Holyman referred to?

An article in the Express which, and again I wish I was kidding, used the fact that a betting firm “slashed” the odds on Wenger finishing his contract as the basis for their “report.” I get approached to write articles like this all the time. If that betting firm didn’t pay the Express to write that article I’ll be surprised.

So, to conclude, ESPN used what looks a lot like an advertisement for a betting firm as the basis for “reports”.

I guess that settles that then?

Qq

¹This isn’t something unique to United, Arsenal do it too.

Cazorla-Hull-Final

Cazorla: Arsenal’s hummingbird

By Tim Todd, 7amkickoff’s chief ornifootbologist

There is a hummingbird who has been my constant companion at work for over a year. Every day when I come in to work he’s there in his tree chirping at me. And sometimes I even see him in the flower bush near the entrance flitting around, sipping nectar, while students trudge by with their Beats on oblivious to the small wonder just inches away.

He was gone for a few days, for over a week actually, and I was starting to worry. I imagined the worst: his tiny body, feathers dulled from the dust, lying unnoticed in the dirt somewhere. Or maybe, I hoped, he’d simply found a mate finally and moved off to her nest. I was still sad, though, because I’d seen the same bird every day for over a year and it felt like a real loss.

Over the last few days I’d seen other birds crowding his perch, there was a robin up there a few days ago and as I came into work yesterday there was a damn starling near his favorite perch. His tree was packed full of those ugly, vulgar, immitative creatures. If the hummingbird, who lives alone, stays rooted to one area, stands up for himself, and does his own thing, is a beautiful little creature, starlings are the exact opposite — they live in vast packs, they imitate other creatures, they are ugly, and they wet their nests. Well, ok, I’m not sure about that last part.

I thought about throwing some rocks at the starling. He wasn’t on my hummingbird’s perch, just near it. And I thought that maybe if I could scare him off I would get my friend back. But if I threw a rock I’d probably only hit a parked car.

Still, I had this penny in my pocket and I was turning that over in my hand and thinking about it like some common hooligan at a football match, ready to throw a coin down on my hated enemy. But just before I could lose my mind I heard the hummingbird song. Hummingbirds sing a song that sounds like birdsong being played at 78 RPM or maybe like an old cassette tape on fast forward. And they kind of make a spitting sound when they don’t like you.

Hummingbird

That spitting sound is what I heard and I scanned the sky and trees for my little friend, and sure enough there he was confronting the starling, buzzing around him angrily, and squawking. I don’t know if you’ve ever been confronted by an angry hummingbird but they basically don’t care how big you are and they will fly around you squawking at you and scowling. They have a scowl. I’m not exaggerating. I’ve seen one sipping nectar calmly until he saw me, then he flew behind a branch, looked around at me, saw that I was looking at him and scowled. Needless to say, after a few seconds of harassment, the starling flew off and the hummingbird landed on his favorite branch.

One thing you might not know is that hummingbirds like to perch on the very tips of trees. There, they will preen themselves and show off their iridescent colors by flapping their wings in the sun. If you think about it, the hummingbird rests more than he flies. It takes a huge amount of energy to fly the way they do, so the hummingbird can often be found early in the morning, sitting on top of his favorite tree, warming his engines in the morning sun.

in morning’s first light
hummingbird flutters his wings
revving his engine

In passing it might seem that this is an ostentatious display — sitting so high up in the tree and flapping your wings so that they glint in the sunlight, but it’s not pretentious. Hummingbirds perch on the tips of trees because they can. It is the suchness of the hummingbird that where a normal bird might bend the branch and fall over the tiny little hummingbird finds the smallest perches perfect. High above all the others, showing off his green and ruby coat for all to see, calling out his bird song loud and clear, the hummingbird isn’t showing off, he’s simply being himself.

I think of Santi Cazorla as Arsenal’s little hummingbird. I’ve seen my little friend the hummingbird, literally dart between students as he flies around campus, much the same way that Cazorla weaves between defenders and even his own teammates when he has the ball.

Cazorla can also be a bit showy. Not in the same way that the hummingbird does, what with a coat of iridescent green, but his dance celebration after the Giroud goal against Man City reminded me of the hummingbird flapping his wings in the morning sun.

Santi Cazorla dance Man City

And just like the hummingbird, Cazorla is tough and fearless. He’s not afraid to take on a starling like City’s Fernandinho, or Chelsea’s Matic — they may be bigger, but he’ll still scowl and chirp at them, and can out maneuver them on the pitch. Some lumbering starling like Matic can’t catch Santi Cazorla, that’s why Matic hides in his flock and Cazorla flies free. And Cazorla doesn’t shrink when he’s tackled by the Joey Bartons who like the robins of the world, tend to be just fat birds mostly confined to grubbing around in the dirt for a living. Despite his small frame and the fact that he takes on these bigger opponents in one-on-one duels, Cazorla has made over 45 appearances for Arsenal in each of his first two seasons and has (touch wood) rarely been injured. If he continues this trend he will make almost 50 appearances for Arsenal this season. Marking him out as one of Arsene Wenger’s “iron men” over the last three seasons.

Cazorla isn’t the biggest and he’s not the best, but he’s quick and tough, he stands up to bigger opponents without blinking an eye, and every once in a while, if you sit real still and are real quiet, you can see him up on the highest perch, warming himself in the early morning sun.

Qq