Category Archives: Grimbo

Grimbo’s mega column: Best laid plans of mice and me…

Yesterday was mildly blissful, finally wrote something for 7amkickoff after a massive hiatus (sorry), I scored some new business for my company, talked to a Semiconductor industry god for four hours about working with me on one of my projects and didn’t even hit the crappy Bay Area traffic on the way home… cooked a fantastic steak on the BBQ, drank expensive wine, got shagged senseless after GF’s throwegg team won their preseason game and fell into a blissful slumber after watching the usual Daily Show/Colbert Report hilarity and a few episodes of Robot Chicken thrown in for good measure…

To quote Mr. I. Cube – It was a good day.

This morning I woke up expecting the mighty Tim to have posted my new blog column so I could bask in the love and hate of the comments for the first time in ages and…..huh? Nuffin’ up there… Check the Twitterverse with my shiney new Grimbo only account (@BayAreaGrimbo) and….

Email from Tim; “not a good time to post this mate”… I wholeheartedly agreed with his royal Timness…

So instead, and unusually for me from the pit of my bile-soaked stomach as I froth like a madman at what’s going on at the Emirates, is this new post. I write this because I’m stuck at work and I feel like I could tear the face off a Tiger using nothing but my bare scrotum I’m so wound up…so for once I’m dropping my cool calm nature and I’m just going to do an ‘O’Reilly’…

First off…what the FUNK Wenger? I spend a not insignificant piece of time writing a good (I thought) insightful (I hoped) piece trying to explain why I see something brewing in that jewel of a brain of his and then today he gives what most are describing as a ‘mess conference’ that has the Twitterverse rioting more violently than the UK’s disaffected ‘yoof’ earlier in the week. Arsene; I respect you, I really do… but for ONCE I so wish your veneer of calm would crack and you’d have walked over to that Scottish Fergie loving journo prick and nutted the funker for not showing you the respect you’ve earned. Then I wish you’d turned to the cameras and called Cesc & Nasri “unprofessional cowardly c-nuts” for putting the club in this position and for biting the hand that’s fed their ungrateful mouths and shown them the way while they were mediocre crap-hats (albeit crap-hats with promise) – then in my mind’s eye, while storming off he’d turn sporadically twatting random journalists on the way out all while screaming at his PR people to ban all writers from The Sun, The Star, The Mirror and Daily Fail for life – finally to be heard as he rounds the corner “oh and tell Ian Wright to funk RIGHT off too! I don’t want to read ANY of his shite in the Sun!”

Sigh…Sometimes I’d LOVE Wenger to pull an O’Reilly too…

Secondly, and I know this will get me some hate mail, but funk Cesc: Yeh I’m sure you want to go home, I do sometimes too… but you’re a cock, you signed an EIGHT YEAR contract and had a whole team, a whole damn formation built around you and your skills.You even got Paddy’s number, PADDY’S FUNKING NUMBER! If Wenger hadn’t have pulled you from La Maisa you’d probably be playing for FC Shitaga, a La Liga mid-table never going to win because there’s only two teams in La Liga, team… because there were a million players ahead of you, but Wenger saw your potential and saved you from obscurity. However, you’re slapping us all in the face; instead of pushing hard, keeping your head down and making Arsenal winners you appear to be quitting to go and sit on a bench at Farcelona, because you’re not going to be first team. Yes – I realise that you’ve given a lot to the club, but you’re 24 and are leaving with your tail between your legs instead of your head held high! Farca don’t even WANT you FFS! Even 40 mill is DIRT money for you… and if the rumours that YOU’RE going to pay or take a pay cut to play for them? Utter wanknissity, just unbelievable. Instead of acting like a true captain of the club you let your old school chums (Pooyol, Prique etc.) constantly take the piss out of Arsenal with Farca jersey’s being pulled over your head after the WC and the c-nuts even taking pics of them nicking a framed picture of you from OUR TEAMS FUNKING DRESSING ROOMS. What kind of mates are they? One of my best mates is an East London Gooner we’ll call ‘Jock’ just for arguments sake. I love him to bits, one of my best mates ever – but he’s a sweary bloke and be a bit of  knobhead sometimes as we all can be… he drops c & f bombs like punctuation. Normally I don’t give a toss, but when he starts it in front of little kids even my patience cracks and I tell him to STFU. True mates do that – Cesc SHOULD have done that, told his mates to shut the funk up… Instead… nothing. Goodbye Cesc, you could have been spoken in the same breath as DB10 or TH14, but now I couldn’t give a shit about you… and yes that’s after ALL the defending I’ve done over your silence. Anyone that argued with me on that point – I apologise unreservedly. You were right, I was wrong… and Cesc, don’t let the door smack you on the arse on the way out.

Less controversially – funking Nasri: You ungrateful, cocky wank-biscuit eating donkey-puncher. Two years of promise, two Funking years! I would big you up to all my mates “you wait, he’s gonna be a LEGEND!” LOOK he’s got the No 8! Then finally you start playing like the player I thought you were, but for 6 months. 6 MONTHS and then what? I even laughed that you riled up the old French guard (not so much when it was Henry – but I NEVER liked Gallas). Then you go all wonky, the mazy runs are the same, but you’re head doesn’t seem to be in it, you’ve become anonymous JUST when we needed that magic, when we needed someone to step up… instead of dancing past defenders you run into them, instead of tracking back you stop running… Statements are made that the contact renewal is not a big deal, not a worry; will be ‘dealt with in the summer’… Summer comes and we start hearing that you want to run it down and go for nothing – then it’s ManUre or ManShitty for you eh? You turn down HOW MUCH? Good; funk off then; learn what Pleb, Phlemini &; Adeybarndoor learned… its manky playing for other teams because to them, you’re just a number. Arsenal is a FAMILY, you will never get the respect & love anywhere else… you’ll see, so take the number of legends like ReddyFreddie off your back and disappear into obscurity you tosser.

Special mention -Funk FIFA: You bunch of corrupt old wrinkly back handed … I had something extra witty but I’m so angry I can’t see straight any more. Read your own useless rules on Tapping up you useless idiots. Let technology in the game, even CRICKET is higher tech then Football. It won’t corrupt the game, it’ll mean the poor saps that are called refs might actually get the odd call right and get some respect from players, therefore STOP letting legs get broken. I hope you’re all found out to be the corrupt shits we all know you to be and rot in jail.

Last but not least – Funk you Bunking Farcelona you utter, utter C-NUTS! I never want to hear the word ‘respect’ or ‘great’ muttered in reference to you ever again. When even one of your OWN legends in Cruyff thought you were out of order for tapping up of Cesc you know you’re being arseholes. Yes everyone loves to faun about your play, watch you dance around the field making ManUre look like tossers year after year, but no more. Teams are starting to find you out. We beat you, and were on course to get the draw we needed to put you in your place despite you all trying so desperately to get our players sent off after we found a way to break your magic at the Emirates. Yeh that’s right the strategy was working the same at Camp Pou, but in the most RIDICULOUS call in the long sad history of dickish refs, you finally got your way and even then if it wasn’t for Bendtner being a shite finisher we’d have clinched it. Tell me, how much did you pay that wanky ref to get RVP sent off? Not to mention the shite you were pulling against Real – Busquets, Alves et-al all diving around like they’d taken a shell to the face from a Sherman tank – then bouncing back up like nothing’s happened afterwards. Best in the world? HAH! You would not survive TEN MINUTES in the premier league where your precious antics would be laughed right off the field with a series of Red cards for simulation, you’d be left with just a goalie and Messi on the field. Your legacy will always be tainted with your cheating ways, and for me and many others your whole funking club will forever be looked down on as lower then pond scum – LONG may we raid your academy and publish quotes like this:

@IgnasiMiquel  via Twitter “And for all the questions, I will not say I want to go back to barcelona when I am 24, I owe nothing to them.” 

Ahhhh, the wonder of purging all the nasty crap that was building up in me… getting it out of my system… you should try it… I feel refreshed! Tomorrow will be a great day, a new day, a renewal of my faith in the team I love. It’s been proven that time and time again someone will step up and fill the voids left by the homesick Spaniard and the greedy Frenchie… we’ll get payback on the Diving Academy in time and may we never have to hear the phrase “Barca DNA” again.

Time to look forward Gooners – time to stop slagging each other off for small differences of opinion. Time will tell if this season is a real disaster or just another blip in the course of the club… remember the Premier League is still wide open… the Cash of Citeh was beaten by the youth of Utd recently and our boys more than match them. Don’t believe the pundits – according to them we should be playing in the First Division (we’re ALWAYS going to drop out of the top four) – we beat ManUre last year without Cesc, it’s time to let the manager manage, and the players to show they are true Gunners and not pussies or moneygrabbers.

Time to sing the songs! Time to drink the beers! I’ll see anyone in the SF Bay Area at Maggies in the Morning and I’ll look forward to hearing the AMAZING AFC away supporter at St James’ Park.

UP THE ARSE!

Guest columnist Grimbo: Riding the media merry-go-round…

Do you know what gets my goat? Fucking morons that make statements like “Arsene’s ego is massive” without any form of justification or evidence, especially as they probably picked up that opinion from some idiotic pundit. Really? Are you SERIOUSLY trying to say that ANYONE that gets to the managerial level in the game of Football doesn’t have one? Let’s get something crystal clear – ego is what gets a man to the position in the first place, ego and self belief. Show me a meek manager that’s successful and I’ll show you pasty Englishman living in California that is a Dance Dance Nation champion. Simply put neither exists. In this game if a manager doesn’t impose himself upon a massive club like Arsenal, then the club and infrastructure will impose itself upon the manager and that manager won’t last long – look at poor old Woy’s fate at Liverpool…

I understand that many Gooners out there get frustrated after a season like the one we’ve just witnessed when we’ve come so close to winning as we did, before a sadly familiar collapse, but the way the fans are turning on the club, and each other is making us the laughing stock of every other club in the nation, if not the world. Analysing every single word emanating from AW’s gob, putting it under a microscope picking over sentences for some hope of understanding what is meant by words that have been designed to be as uninformative as possible. For instance, as Tim wrote:

SGWSLJC: Is Cesc going to leave this Summer?

WengerBot: I expect him to be here.

So – what’s your initial reaction to the above? To me it means absolutely sweet FA. AW expects him to be at Arsenal next season, but that’s months away and who knows what will happen between now and August.  I read the above and it comes across as what it appears to be, the guarded response of a bloke that’s tired of being asked the same old shite every week/month/year. However, some crafty bugger from ‘duh Sun’ will read that – focus on the word ‘expect’ that allows an uncertain interpretation and write a headline that reads:

“WENGER UNABLE TO CONFIRM CESC’S STAY NEXT SEASON!!!” *

Cue a flurry of clicks as soon as that headline is picked up on NotNewsNow where only the headline is revealed, and enter the phrase ‘ker-ching’ into the kitty that is ‘duh Sun’ coffers as ads appear around the story thusly creating ‘impressions/page views’ that they can sell.

What many fail to accept is that this is a merry go round of escalation as we, that’s you and I, are the architects of our own annoying situation. As we all get more desperate for results, so we’re more easily suckered into clicking on anything that appears to indicate anything that might affect the club, like a change to do with one of our biggest players, and furiously click on links. This in turn rewards the media fuckwits claiming to be journalists, for writing ever more inflammatory headlines. Don’t believe me? Here’s an example.

The other day while preparing for a new feature that Tim & I are planning (the Bolloxometer) I was roaming around the web looking at stories and I came across the Telegraph’s Arsenal page. On that page there was a pictorial “Arsenal’s six trophyless years in pictures” which made my blood boil. After cooling off a bit I had an idea and took a look at Liverpool’s team page wondering if they’d have a “21 years since Liverpool won the league in Pictures” pictorial. Did they fuck. What was there instead? I’ll give you three guesses and the first two don’t count. “Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish through the years: in pictures” yeh that’s right, nothing on fiveyearswithoutatrophy or twentyoneyearsofleaguepain or anything.

Why do you think this is? Personally speaking I think it’s because of US. Gooners are incendiary at the moment, incensed at a seasonal collapse and misty over the not too distant past. Scousers on the other hand are in a period of abject relief after their season of “fuck we might get relegated” under poor old Woy turned into “KING KENNY RETURNS TRIUMPHANT!” No one seems to want to state the obvious; that in the 21 years since LFC last won the league they have two FA Cups, three league cups and a CL Cup to show for their efforts whereas AFC have four League titles, five FA Cups and one League Cup in the same period plus the invincibles was only the second team in the history of the English game to go unbeaten for an entire league campaign. That’s not to mention runners up in a CL final, an FA Cup, two League Cups and five League titles and not being out of the top four for 14 years. Scousers don’t like to be reminded that they’ve not won much recently preferring to relive in their heads the domination of the ‘80s whereas we seem to REVEL in it, fight over it and analyse it to death. Bottom line; rubbing the salt into the wounds of our failure is guaranteed to get Gooners to click on links whereas blowing smoke up Scouser’s arses is guaranteed to get clicks from them – which is why you see what you see. Quod Erat Demonstrandum.

If you’re one of the 7amkickoff readers that read my three part action/reaction post of a week or so ago then I’d ask you to apply the same logic here. Action: Gooners love misery. Reaction: Give them misery. This has echo’s of Wengers reactions to the press and why Wenger has become Wengerbot. Action; AW makes what he believes to be factual and clear statements in press conferences using perfectly acceptable English as it was intended to be used with literal dictionary definitions. Perhaps he fails to recognise (or more likely he expects better) that the modern pundit is basically a type of linguistic carrion, feeding on slang and poor language. Reaction; the press selectively pick words and embellish upon them in order to generate traffic via news aggregators which we’re all suckered into clicking on. Counter reaction: Wengerbot.

So – newsflash we are the reason that the tabloids treat us the way they do. We are the reason Wenger rolls out the same lines every year. If he were to tell the truth there would be headlines for a million years and buckets of cash in the pockets of the gutter press. I fully expect to see quite a bit of harping in the comments about this, which kind of underlines my point, conflict is interesting. I think that lots of Arsenal fans need to grow up quite a bit and recognise that we fuel the fires that cause much of our frustration… no not on the pitch, of course not, but in the way that we’re vilified by the press which does effect all the players and the manager alike. Like it or not our public perception creates pressure, where none might actually exist – it’s a self fulfilling prophecy. Yes our players are paid a fuck load of cash and should be able to deal with it, but you CANNOT underestimate the psychological effects of not just ‘a’ someone telling you you’re not good enough but everywhere you turn on an international scale! It’s impossible to hide from. Some revel in it, some don’t, which is why Arsene is so protective of players. Until a player has build up the mental armour to deal with it, it can be very damaging.

I believe that a lot of the cause of our collapse is psychological this season, people were just waiting to say ‘told you so’ and that’s a hard burden to carry with you. I’m sure I’m not alone in this but don’t get me wrong, I’m not using this as an excuse for the poor run in, as professionals should expect this and yes it’s the same for everyone, but psychology is a very tricky business and it’s not easy to manipulate. My point? I’m not really trying to say that any of this can be changed by you or I, it seems to be endemic to Arsenal’s culture; do you remember the scene in Fever Pitch in the pie shop? “I’m telling you, they’re shit, they were shit last season and they’ll be shit next season!”

However, if more were aware of it, perhaps we can change things… most likely not, but I am an optimist by nature and in my ramblings I’m trying to outline the fact that the path to success is complicated by many factors of which ‘mental toughness’ is one.

Grimbo

*Just after writing this piece a crappy post on caught offside was put up – getting the picture yet?

Guest Columnist Grimbo gives us An Anglo-Arsenalinian-American perspective on Stan

It’s been a long, long time since I wrote anything for 7amkickoff… I won’t give you a plethora of weak excuses, but let us just say that divorces (my 2nd… tsk tsk) are just total downers and do not make for inspirational writing, and as a guest poster on Tim’s awesome blog I have the luxury of buggering off when I want too.
Anyway, what’s caused me to finally stir and sweep the dust from my digits and write something about the club I love is of course the change in ownership. Now before I go on, anyone that remembers my posts of quite a while back hopefully knows that I’m a Londoner that’s been living in California for the last 8 years. This gives me a somewhat odd perspective on things in that, I am a local(ish) fan coming from under 10 miles from the club (albeit in Saaaaf Lahndon – innit), but as I’ve been here in the States for so long I’ve got a very different outlook from that of my fellow countrymen… it’s like a hybrid of die-hard English attitude mixed with the American perspective from having lived here so long and drinking beer at 4am watching matches (too weird for words).
So, why am I waffling on about all this…? Well the truth is that when I heard the news of Kronke’s takeover via text message (while hiking up a mountain near where I live) my heart broke.  A mate of mine who’s as religious as me when it comes to watching the news from Blighty had caught wind of the Sky news report and sent me the message. When I got back from the hike, I read up the sky news story myself and knowing the British Press from my 27 years in the country I didn’t actually pay much heed to the news as; Sky, The Sun, The Daily Fail et-al and most NewsNow connected feeds from the country of my birth spout buckets of shite on such a regular basis that’s 99.999999% utter bollocks made up to keep everyone’s thirst for news (the use of that word is an oxymoron in itself) sated.
The next morning, the public announcement was made and I felt numb.
Now – with a day or so of reflection I’ve come to terms with what I can only describe as my ‘loss’, by which I mean the foreign ownership of my Football club. I say ‘my’ because just like you I feel a part of this club… it’s like my family. I have met so many friends and had such good times and bad through watching Arsenal, from watching games back in my yoof at a decent hour to the 4 to 7am kick-off’s down Maggie McGarry’s in San Francisco, home of the Bay Area Gooners where I’ve found a home abroad with so many great friends and great people. The club is mine as much as it is yours if you are a regular reader of this blog and others of its ilk, regardless of where chance has decided you were born.
The main reason for this feeling of loss was because one of the things I loved so much about Arsenal was its stubborn Englishnessness… it was really from another age and run like all English clubs of old used to be. I loved that as a club we were so independent and English, I didn’t care about the foreign players or manager as that’s just part of the modern game. I was and still am a fervent believer in the self sustainability model as in my opinion it was the best way to keep the club competitive while we paid off the stadium. I’ve written countless times about the woes of short term thinking aimed at the “SPEND SPEND SPEND” crowd, much of which causes quite violent reactions & name calling.
The pain of this year’s annual February collapse was dulled with the knowledge that with the clubs debts almost paid off, real quality coming through the Academy and the Grove able to generate fantastic income, added to the old sponsorships only a few years from expiring (barring the stadium name), and Arsenal being able to take control of its own merchandising soon, I truly believed and still do, that we are on the cusp of an era of greatness, one the likes of which will pay back for the trophy-less years of late which is why I’ve always fought those with the ‘buy at all costs’ attitude. Now that era will be governed by an American called Stan Kronke and while I’ll accept that he’s FAR better than the alternative Fat & Orange (©Arseblog), I’m still tinged with sadness at the passing of the old guard. 

In order for Non-Brit Gooners to understand why some of us feel this way, it’s necessary to try to understand that being British/English can give you a weird perspective on things which can only be really recognised when you spend a good chunk of time in a different culture – ask any ex-pat of any nation and they’ll tell you the same, it broadens your view on many issues and I believe having everyone in the world spend a few years in different country would really go a big way towards global understanding.
Britain, like any country in the world, is quite introverted as anyone that’s watched Top Gear will know and we have a proud, if somewhat dodgy in places, history. Yes, we were the first to unleash so many bad things upon the world like; Taxation without Representation, Slavery, Piracy and Industrial scale Smog, but we were also the first to abolish/amend those of issues too once the error of our ways was made clear something which I know always gave me great pride, we are a country of innovators. Added to this is knowledge is the big elephant in the room; the old British Empire, which up until World War I was the largest by land mass the world had ever seen (check it yourself if you don’t believe me). All this from a tiny Island off the coast of mainland Europe that is itself fractured into warring parties (I’m counting English, Scottish, Welsh and Irish in this, yes I know Ireland is separate but you can’t look at the history of one without the other) This pride is ingrained in the soul at a young age in Britain, we are after all the only country to have the word ‘Great’ in its official name. Letting go of that greatness is hard and it can come across as arrogance sometimes, something that many of my US friends have told me.
Britain’s major achievements are in the past as seen from this present time in history. The tiny island has given the world; Football, Tennis, Golf, Snooker, Rugby, Cricket etc. but we are distinctly average as a nation at them all. Many of the great mathematicians came from Britain, so too the great writers and poets. We were directly responsible for the industrial revolution, but manufacturing has buggered off to the Far East for the most part as anyone from Detroit will tell you. Most of the gems that are recognised as ‘British’ are owned by others; Jaguar/Land Rover (owned by Indian Tata), Mini (BMW), Rolls Royce (BMW), Bentley (VW), Aston Martin (mostly Middle Eastern), Banks are mostly foreign owned – hell the last bastion of British pride is things like our sports institutions, the BBC and other such icons.
To me, Arsenal was one of those icons… a reminder into the history of not just the sport of football, but the nation itself. With Man Utd, Man City, Liverpool, Chelsea and a stack of others already in foreign hands, Arsenal was the last big club not foreign owned.
However, it’s a natural progression of things that in a globalised civilisation such as that which we live in, the old borders and prejudices need to fall and we all need to recognise that as times change you have to change with them or fall behind. Anyone that’s American born is currently undergoing this process as we speak, the US Empire is crumbling and pretty soon the world’s No. 1 Economy, the USA, will be No. 2 to China. You can’t fight the numbers… there are 300+ Million American’s that love to fight internally (just look at the religion & politics) and 1.33 Billion Chinese who more or less read off the same page. You can fight change of that scale any more then knowledge of the Tectonic Plates allows you to prevent earthquakes. Some things are just beyond your control and you have to accept them.
Stan Kronke, if you didn’t already know, owns several US Sports Franchises which he runs very successfully. Under his ownership all have had considerable success in winning titles, barring the Basketball team who have yet to win the NBA’s top prize but are one of a handful that make the playoff’s almost every season. So if Arsenal’s eventual purchase was inevitable, then at least my club is being turned over to someone that knows what they’re doing and at the very least has a track record of success. I’d much prefer this then Arsenal being the plaything of some Billionaire or being seen as a property that can be quickly flipped for a big profit. Mr K seems to be in this for the long run.
Football is no longer a local sport, it’s a global business. Most fans of big clubs never have, and may never get the chance to go to England to watch the Arsenal live, and it’s going to carry on like that. Here in CA you can’t move for Man Utd, Barca and Real wearing footy fans who have never been to the country of their team, Arsenal has to be the same to keep up. So… I must get over my stupid English pride and move on, because at the end of the day I’d be a hypocrite not too.
I’ve lived half my adult life on these shores now and have no plans to move back to the UK as I’ve fallen in love with where I now live, the sheer beauty of Marin (just north of San Francisco) is epic, but with a major city so close I have the best of both worlds. Yeh the earthquakes, trees falling on your house and ongoing powercuts are a pain, but so too was freezing my nuts off waiting for the 53 bus or cramming myself onto the central line tube. This change of ownership is the final shift from the old ways, an evolution and is really nothing but another chapter in the grand history of the club. Just as the move from Plumstead to Highbury was in 1913, so Wikipedia (ahem – history) will show that Arsenal’s ownership change is just a milestone in history. Back when Arsenal shifted across the Thames there must have been riots… the club came from SE18, the Woolwich Arsenal where they made big guns after all, not from N5. This is no different as I see it – it’s history.
I now fervently hope even more so then before that this team can win the league this year – it would be a perfect send off to the last of the old Arsenal ways and a way closing the book to look forward to an Anglo-American future. New Stadium, new infrastructure, new owner, we all have to look forward while being proud of the past. Stan Kronke will not ignore that past, because he can’t even if he wanted too, because that past is US, all of us Gooners that talk about it, wear the 1971 Double retro shirts, talk about Rocky, Wright, Brady and Dixon in the same reverent tones as Henry, Bergkamp, Viera and Pires. My kids will wear Red & White one day, as I’m sure yours will, but mine will not share my accent or direct heritage, but that will not make them any less of a Gooner.
This is the new Arsenal born from the old – and in the same way as I’ll always be proud to say I’m from England, that does not in any way detract from the pride I feel towards my adopted Country the USA. I’m proud of Arsenal’s past, I’ll be proud of its future too.
Victoria Concordia Crescit
Grimbo