Category Archives: Arsenal

What Hollywood needs is a quota system like the Football Association, to keep the Canadians out

By Tim Todd, Real American

Happy first of July. Did you know that on any given day there is an official holiday? Yep, so, like today is American Zoo Day, Balloon Animal Day, Second Half of the New Year Day, and probably the most obscure “Canada Day.”

What is Canada Day? It’s the one day of the year when Canadian actors make their annual migration to Hollywood and take away jobs from real Americans.  Do you know how many Canadians that have made this trip? It’s a pretty incredible list: Dan Aykroid, Justin Beiber, Jim Carrey, Michael Cera, Rae Dawn Chong, Cpt. Kirk — Kirk was such a fraud that he even gave a great speech about “We the People” on Star Trek convincing many young, impressionable minds such as my own, that he was, in fact, a USA American, but he isn’t… he was born in some French sounding place in Montreal —  Michael J. Fox, Donald Sutherland, Seth Rogan, Natasha Henstridge, Eugene Levy (he was the star of the movie “American Pie”, what is more American than American Pie???), the list is almost endless.

The tricky thing about Canadians, or “ice backs” as Garrison Keillor once called them, is that they look and sound just like USA Americans. And they are really good at acting like real Americans. Michael J. Fox even played a convincing Reganite Republican in his very first role on TV. So, when they cross our border, our ICE agents have a hard time sussing them out. Well, to be fair, USA customs agents are terrible at stopping things coming through our borders: when Homeland Security tested itself, it failed to detect 95% of the weapons that undercover agents smuggled onto planes.

I digress. Today is Canada Day and I think something needs to be done to protect America’s last real homegrown industry: entertainment. If we’re not careful, these Canadians might even take over our reality television and that would be the most boring thing to happen since The View.

Now there are some interesting ideas floating around in the world today, for example, The Donald wants to make Mexico pay to build a wall between American and Mexico, but I don’t think a wall is going to work for us to keep the Canucks out, because we still need that Alaskan pipeline between Sarah Palin and the United States. The Palins are having another bastard child and I can’t miss out on the reality television broadcast of the naming of that little brat: my guess is that they’ll name it Jailin, Jailin Palin.

No, I think quotas. Affirmative Action for American actors. That’s the way to go forward. The English Football Association has been doing quotas over there and it has worked so well that they want to do MORE quotas!

Yeah, the FA wrote this “homegrown” rule, which sounds a lot like a legalization of marijuana thing, but it’s not. The homegrown rule simply states that teams can only have 25 players and 8 slots have to be for players who were trained by an English team for three years before their 21st birthday. It’s worked so well that Manchester City have THREE homegrown players: English national team ‘keeper Joe Hart, 37 year old third string ‘keeper Richard Wright (not to be confused with the author of Black Boy, though they are about the same age), and French international fullback Gael Clichy.

Morgan Schneiderlin, an Alsacian, is counted as homegrown and that only boosts his transfer value! Alexandre Dimitri Song Billong was born in Cameroon, but he counts as a homegrowner. Another Frenchman, Francis Coquelin and his Welsh buddy Aaron Ramsey joined his Polish teammate Wojciech Szczesny in the homegrown group.

And Chelsea FC are another team that really hit the Homegrown rule, they have three players as well, aging racist and former captain of the English national team John Terry, his buddy Gary Cahill, and Spanish World Cup winner Francesc Soler Fabregas.

Yep, this homegrown rule has been a rousing success — it’s been so good that they want to increase the number to 12! Man City will have to find twelve 37 year old goalkeepers to keep on their roster — and that’s how England is going to win the World Cup!

That’s why on this Canada Day, I’m announcing that I am running as a Republican for President of the United States of America! My only promise to the USA Americans is to make a quota system for Hollywood: all Hollywood movies must have at least 8 actors who were trained in acting by an American acting troupe for three years before the age of 21. Also, I promise more guns. So, I have two promises. More guns and more Americans on TV!

Down with the syrup slurpers!

Qq

*Hey guys, four weeks until Arsenal play real football again.

Arsenal end interest

William Carvalho has had an outstanding U21 Euros with Portugal this summer. He has won two man of the match awards and was dubbed “imperious” in Portugal’s 5-0 win over Germany. He has an easy style, very relaxed on the ball, and combined with his huge frame he has looked like a man among the boys.

If he was a normal player, I would be excited by any mention of him coming to Arsenal. But he’s not a normal player, he has an absurd €45m release clause. That’s £32m on today’s exchange and unless the Euro takes a massive dive, there is no way Arsenal are paying that amount of money for a meat shield. Actually, it looks like no one is going to pay that much money for Carvalho as ESPN are reporting today that there have been “no bids” for his services.

I love transfer stories.

Couldn’t literally every team make a statement like that? Hey, did you know that there have been no bids for Tomas Rosicky? It’s true. No one has asked Arsenal about Rosicky. There have also been no bids for Ramsey, Gibbs, Szczesny, Giroud, or pretty much anyone on the Arsenal first team. It’s amazing. We just don’t understand why there have been no bids!

But back to Carvalho, £32m? No wonder there have been no bids. That’s a ludicrous transfer fee. That’s what Arsenal paid for Alexis Sanchez. Morgan Schneiderlin, who has proven himself in one of the toughest leagues in Europe and who counts as “home grown” which adds value to his transfer, is “only” £24m. Why on earth would anyone pay £32m for Carvalho?

The dearth of bids for William (as he likes to be called) is actually telling. If he was the kind of super-top-talent that would command such a price, he would have been snapped up by now. Real Madrid, Barcelona, Arsenal, someone would have bought him. And don’t think for a second that all these teams haven’t scouted him, he’s been watched, probably hundreds of times. The reason no one is bidding that much is because he’s simply not worth it.

My other favorite type of transfer story is the one where a player is no longer wanted by a team. Their “interest is cooling”. This is supposedly what happened with Arsenal and Arturo Vidal. There never was any Arsenal interest in Vidal. Never. I didn’t even come close to believing reports that Wenger was after him and that was confirmed when Tim Stillman tweeted me this:

That was the Telegraph who got suckered and Jeremy Wilson who was forced to save face. That article is a jumbled mess. Wilson claims that Wenger’s “absolute priority” is DM but that Coquelin has maybe changed his mind, but hey remember Schneiderlin? he’s still there too, and Wenger could maybe still bid for Vidal because he has a £50m warchest, which he has to spend on players and wages, and which he’s already spent £15m on Cech. Oh and hey, remember Lars and Sven Bender? Yeah, let’s throw them in there too! Incredible stuff. And finally, Arsenal were after Morgan Schneiderlin, Schneiderlin wanted to come to Arsenal, but according to Phillipe Auclaire the deal has been halted by trouble between the player’s agents and Arsenal. We don’t know what the trouble is but we do know that Schneiderlin’s agent is also Gervinho’s agent which leads to speculation that there is bad blood between them. I think the last thing that Gervinho was quoted as saying about Arsenal is that he hates us.

It could also be that his agents are nuts. Apparently, they tried to get Gervinho a private beach and a helicopter during negotiations for a transfer to Al Jazira. Why stop at private beach and helicopter? If I was Gervinho, I’d ask for a private beach, a helicopter, and that every night I dreamed of lions on the beach in Africa. I don’t know how they would implant those dreams in me but I’m sure they’ll find a way. Also, I want a fishing trip where I catch a giant marlin, but NO SHARKS. I don’t want to have to fight off the sharks because that is like a soul crushing metaphor for youth eating away at my corpse. Or something.

Anyway, Arsenal did sign Petr Cech and I think we can all agree that was a good piece of business. Still riding high off that!

Qq

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Arsenal sign Cech: never in doubt

Have I ever told you that I have a check from Arsenal? Back in the days when I first started this blog there was an Arsenal affiliates program. Basically, if I put an ad on my blog and you clicked it, I earned a commission. If  you clicked it and then bought something, I got a percent of the sale. Well, I think it was back when we changed the shirts and one or two of you bought a shirt so, Arsenal sent me a check for the commission. It’s not a large check but it is signed by Peter Hill-Wood so I never cashed it. I mean, would you cash it? And give up Peter Hill-Wood’s signature? How many people have PHW’s signature on anything?

Peter Hiill-Wood is probably most famous for saying “never in doubt”. He uttered that famous phrase after the final whistle in the title-winning match at Anfield in 1989. Arsenal went into that day needing an impossible 2-goal win over the presumptive champs Liverpool in their stadium to steal the League title away from them and they did so at the last minute. At the final whistle, Peter Hill-Wood puffed his cigar, turned to Ken Friar and said “never in doubt”.

There was, of course, a lot of doubt. Just like I had my doubts that Chelsea would let Petr Cech sign for title rivals Arsenal. That transfer just seemed too improbable.

First, Chelsea is Arsenal’s most hated rival. I know that Tottenham is officially our rival but I count Chelsea as a bigger rivalry. They have generally been the antithesis of everything that Arsenal have stood for since they formed the club in 2004. In the decade since their birth, they have spent billions, literally, on player acquisitions whilst Arsenal had to sell their best players and then bought in the discount bin. Arsenal have had one manager, they have had 11 — their owner, Roman Abramovich, fired the manager who won them the Champions League in November of the next season.

And they deliberately target our players for rough treatment. Diaby was kicked out of football as much by Chelsea’s midfield as by Dan Smith.

Diaby-Essien

 

And they kept that tradition alive this season by trying (in vain) to break Alexis Sanchez’s ankles with a horror tackle from Gary Cahill.

cahill

They are ruthless, calculating, spendthrifts who have bullied Arsenal for years.

Second, the Chelsea manager, Jose Mourinho, is the polar opposite of Arsenal’s manager Arsene Wenger. Mourinho’s quote about this very transfer of Cech to Arsenal is telling, “I have the same respect for Petr that everyone at the club has, but my answer [if he can join Arsenal] would be no way.” In other words, he would let Petr Cech rot on the Chelsea bench for another year. Wenger has openly stated that he won’t stand in a player’s way and if he doesn’t want to play at Arsenal, he lets them go. And he has let go of some pretty big name players to title rivals, much to the consternation of many fans.

Third, ‘keeper is the one position I felt Arsenal needed the most help. I know, it’s popular to say that we need a striker and I would take a striker. I also know that people want a midfield destroyer as “competition” for Coquelin. But Arsenal haven’t had a great ‘keeper since Jens Lehmann*. We’ve had some pretty poor ‘keepers, one guy who did OK for half a season, and some young guys but no one has distinguished themselves yet.

And Petr Cech is one of the best goalkeepers in the world. Again, let Mourinho say it, “If he tells me he wants to leave, I will tell him my opinion and my opinion is one of the three best goalkeepers in the world. [So he will cost] Huge money.” He’s won two European titles, and almost did so single-handedly, winning the man of the match award in the Champions League final as he withstood a barrage of shots, saved a late Robben penalty, and then won the penalty shoot-out at the end!

The other strange twist in this tale is that Wenger originally wanted to sign Petr Cech in 2002 but the Czech stopper couldn’t get a work permit in England. So, he went to Rennes for two years and signed with Chelsea when he could play in England. Wenger’s been after this guy for 13 years!

And remember, Wenger is loyal to his players, almost to a fault. The idea that he would cast aside Ospina and Szczesny in order to bring Cech in is almost unthinkable. Ospina signed just last summer and when he was thrust into the first team he did almost nothing wrong. He’s not a great ‘keeper but he’s not bad. And the man he took over for, Wojciech Szczesny, had a great season the year prior: in fact he’d been the best ‘keeper in the Premier League that season. He went through a rough patch to start this season, there were hints of some personal problems, and he was dropped after disrespecting the club and manager by smoking inside the dressing room.

In his first interview with Arsenal, Cech made it clear that he’s come to Arsenal to be the number one choice and that he spoke with Arsene Wenger about that very thing. The club haven’t announced his squad number yet, but given that he’s the most expensive ‘keeper in Arsenal history he almost certainly has to take the #1 away from Szczesny.

So, Chelsea, Arsenal’s hated rival, whose manager is the polar opposite of Arsenal’s manager, whose owner is ruthless, just sold one of the best ‘keepers in the world to Arsenal. And Wenger, who waited 13 years to get his man, just sent a warning shot across the bow of all his young players: Arsenal have the money now, Arsenal have the ambition, Arsenal want to challenge for the title, if you’re not up to snuff, you’ll be replaced.

Never in doubt?

*I count Lehmann as a great ‘keeper, despite his flaws. He was the ‘keeper who played on the Invincibles squad and he saved Arsenal’s unbeaten run on several occasions.