“Quality Journalism is Not Cheap”

HEEEENGHHHHH?

Amusing lead story today, folks, Rupert Murdoch has vowed to start charging for access to his “news” sites, reportedly saying that “quality journalism is not cheap.”

Yes, indeed, this means that such bastions of journalistic integrity like The News of the World, The Times, and the mother of all evil, the Least Reliable News Source on the Planet, The Sun are all going to start charging for content.

I have some Google alerts set up and one of them occasionally picks up an article from The Sun. Every so often the headline is so outrageous, the hatchet job so glaringly obvious, that I click the link anyway. Knowing full well that I am entering a realm of half-wits. (It’s good for a laugh isn’t it?)

If they started charging me for this occasional click I would get to their subscription page and just bounce. As would, I suspect, a large portion of their clicks and thus, they would be reduced to a small band of simpletons who are willing to pay to have their intelligence insulted with crap disguised as journalism.

OHPLEASEGODSLETTHISHAPPEN.

Those three papers are like that last bit of toilet paper that sticks to the edge of the bowl and won’t go away no matter how many times you stand there and flush it. I mean, you know you could totally get that down the bog, if you were just brave enough to stick your hand in there and play with the muck but sense wins out and you just leave it there for the next person. “Disgusting” you say? Exactly!

Nothing would flush these turds down the drain faster than if they started charging for their content. It would be the equivalent of a 5 gallon bucket dumped straight into the bowl.

Postcards from the Sounders v. Barcelona match

Seattle Sounders owner Drew Carey reportedly wants to model his team after Barcelona; he wants to play beautiful football. The only problem is that takes time, a lot of time, say 10-20 years. See, Barca didn’t buy Lionel Messi, they developed him from age 13.  And if you want to have a Barcelona in America, which I strongly encourage, you’re going to need to start right now with a world class international academy and get 9-16 year olds in and training 3x a week. Basically, you’re going to have to do what Arsene Wenger’s trying to do at Arsenal.

I think a team like that would clean up every trophy in the U.S. and even be a shining example of what football could be in America. So, again, Drew, if you’re listening, go for it. Look at your current team, your best player yesterday was Steve Zakuani; a product of Arsenal’s academy. What does that tell you?

Oh and while I’m at it, that pitch was terrible, again. They laid a temporary grass pitch over the top of the plastic pitch they normally play on and it looked shaggy and broken in places. Proper football is played on grass, not plastic. It’s another one of those things that just takes time. But if you want to do it right, you’ve got to take your time.

Transfers and stuff

Even though there wasn’t any real talk that he’d come in to the club this year, I’ve added Xabi Alonso to my list of players who didn’t sign for Arsenal owing to the fact that there was so much talk last year. It is a bit strange to see him go for a reported £32m this year when we were close to getting him last year for £14m. He undoubtedly had a decent season this year but no better than last, really, and certainly not 2x better. So, if there was ever any indication that the market is stupid overinflated it would be the fact that Alonso went for basically twice his value.

It was also funny to watch Liverpool turn right around and buy Aquilani right away. I say “funny” but what I really mean is “damn, that was a swift bit of business, Arsenal would never complete a sale and buy that fast.” Oh well, we’re learning lessons as Arsenal fans, right? What’s this year’s lesson, oh, uhh… patience.

As for Arsenal, I had a chance to watch the clips on the dot com of the Member’s Day Q&A session with some of the players and that was quite a treat. I mean just listening to them all agree that Arsenal need some leadership, like Vieira specifically, was interesting. Another thing that I found interesting is that our young, sweet faced, Theo isn’t so sweet and innocent anymore and has joined the Tattoo club at Arsenal. It’s a fairly large piece on his left arm and a clear indication that he’s ready to hop on his hog and drive the “old lady” out to Sturgis and get in a rumble.

One of my favorite moments came when a fan asked Djourou, Gibbs, and Walcott who their favorite player was growing up, he said specifically that it could be anyone and Gibbs went first and said “Dennis Bergkamp.” I’m a pretty good reader of when people are lying or making stuff up and I feel like this was an honest answer. I love seeing that kind of stuff, young lad, grows up idolizing an Arsenal player, makes the team, works hard and is now ready to burst on the scene and play for the club where his idol played…

Good stuff.

Interestingly, Theo mentioned growing up a Liverpool fan and idolizing Michael Owen. I thought it was specifically forbidden in the Christian bible to have balsa wood idols?

The Champions League draw takes place at 3am (PST) tomorrow and I suppose you’re all wondering who we’re going to get in 12 days time. Well, it’s one of the following: Celtic, Athletico Madrid, Anderlecht, Fiorentina and FC Timisoara. Personally, I’m hoping for an easy draw, like Celtic, and not some gang of grass rapers like FC Timisoara.

There is a weird story about Hangeland and how Fulham’s manager is not willing to let him go… unless the price is right… but no one has made a bid… especially not Arsenal. Why would the press print this? I don’t get it.

Later today I’ll be adding Klaus Janet Beststrikerever tot he list of players that Arsenal (thankfully) didn’t buy.  Thank the gods, I can finally stop hearing about how Arsenal should sign him (yes, I do realize that people will continue to say we need him.)

And finally (because the “Chesk is not leaving” story is a non-story) there’s a report that Rosicky has suffered a hamstring pull and will be out for 8 weeks. Funny thing is though, there have been numerous stories about injuries this pre-season which have all been wrong (Clichy, Rosicky) so I’m waiting for Wenger’s press conference ahead of the Valencia match for confirmation, rather than link to any of Rupert Murdoch’s toilet clinging crap.

Right, that’s it for today, see you tomorrow?

The shirts have landed!

Come on £15 is cheap are you kidding???

Quick blog today because the 7amkickoff shirst arrived yesterday and I need to get everything organized and get these out to the folks who pre-ordered and have already paid.  If you haven’t paid yet I only have one question: why do you hate the baby Jesus?

Seriously, if you pre-ordered a shirt and didn’t get an email from me with the PayPal link in it send a note to 7amkickoff |at| gmail |dot| come. If you’re one of the few folks who can’t get PayPal (as far as I know you don’t need a PayPal account, just a credit card), I’m sorry but that’s the easiest way for me to track payment and shipping. Remember I’m not some corporation, just a dude living in his old lady’s basement furiously typing away every morning, also this is the first time I’ve done anything like this. So, I’m learning here.

One other weird thing I noticed… Come on Brits, these shirts are only £15! ($25). That’s cheap, innit? Would you rather have a night at the pub or a 7amkickoff shirt?

Wait, don’t answer that.

Speaking of cheap, in Arsenal news AC Milan has supposedly made a cheap ass bid for Chesc Fabregas. My favorite sentence from this story is when the “reporter” says “A £31m offer would be hard to ignore, although Wenger’s response is likely to be short and to the point.” Does anyone even proofread these things?

The reason I linked to that story is that there’s never just one transfer rumor per Arsenal article, no, the press pack those article FULL of transfer news. That article has some quotes from Chamakh which on the surface seem like he’s being a whiny baby:

Clearly I will stay and see out my contract if Bordeaux shut the door to my move. But it’s certain I won’t be 100 per cent. To miss out on a move to Arsenal will play in my head. I’ll feel betrayed. I won’t have a good season. If I go to the end of my contract, it will be a pity for me and for them. Everyone will be a loser.

Ok, here’s the thing, I don’t like it when a player has had their head turned by another club and starts engineering their transfer out via the press. In fact, I have spoke at length about this issue. That said, I think we need to give Chamakh a little leeway here given the facts in this case. I would say we need to give him the same leeway that we gave Arshavin last season when his club tried to do the same thing with Arsenal.

The reality is that Chamakh is in the last year of his contract, if Bordeaux wanted him, they should have signed him. Just like Arsene should have signed Flamini.

Did I mention that he’s in the last year of his contract? Oh yeah, he is. £15m for a striker who scored 14 goals in 42 appearances (according to wikipedia, if someone has a better source, please for the love of the gods tell me!) who is in the last year of his contract? No.

Les Girondins have tried pretty much every tactic to drive this player’s value up and if I was a young African Francophone who’s club was standing between me and the chance to play for Arsenal, I’d be pissed too! I wouldn’t say “I won’t give 100% next year” because that’s getting close to career suicide, but I’d be pissed gods damn it!

So, lets lay off him, he’s going to be an Arsenal player next year and we need to embrace him with open arms and all that.

The other guy linked in that article is Federico Fazio, who is a 22 year old player, 6’5″ and plays both fullback and defensive midfielder. Unfortunately his agent is poo pooing any move away from Sevilla.

The last thing for today is a big congratulations to

Keith Barham
Matt Becker
Yan Elmar Gonzalez
Justin Stroope
Glen Wilson

You won last month’s Philosophy Football.com tee-shirt contest! They will be contacting you shortly.

Well, this has been a rather, erm, shirty day hasn’t it?

Ashita Manana

Keep the team together by buying Salmon Kalou?

I love that I write this blog first thing in the morning, because it’s mornings like this one, where I wake up and see headlines like Gunners closing in on Kalou capture and crack a huge smile. Actually, today, when I read that headline I almost spit my coffee out. After all, it’s a patently ridiculous story, right?

Here’s what we know as fact: First, Arsene Wenger made an inquiry about Salmon Kalou last year: Scolari mentioned it in his pre-match press conference and Wenger confirmed it in his. Second, Scolari said that during Wenger’s inquiry Arsene said he wanted to use Kalou as a Centre Forward. Third, this was at the time, remember, when Adebayor was doing the hokey-pokey with Arsenal. Fourth, the Chamakh deal is falling apart a bit and Wenger seems unlikely to increase his bid of £6m for Chamakh when the player would be available for FREE in 5 months. Fifth, Senderos has accepted Everton and Everton have confirmed that they are in talks with Arsenal over the sale of Senderos for a reported £2.5m – £6m (!) though they are quick to say he’s not intended as a replacement for Lescott. That last bit probably seems a bit like it doesn’t fit but wait a second and you’ll see the logic.

Where was I?

Sixth, Wenger has spoken ad nauseum about how “keeping this squad together” is his most important summer job. Seventh, Arsene convinced Toure to stay after he handed in a dramatic winter transfer request and then sold him in the summer. Eighth, Arsene Wenger purchased Thomas Vermaelen before all this other transfer stuff happened. And lastly, Vermaelen, Kalou, and Chamakh are all known for their aerial ability.

So, knowing all 9 of those things what can we say about this latest Kalou rumor, the latest news about Senderos, and the prospect of Wenger signing the defensive player (either mid or back) that 93% of Arsenal fans want?

I think the Kalou interest is partially real. Last year Wenger saw the 5’10″ Kalou as a legit Centre Forward and direct replacement for Adebayor. He’s a good header of the ball, good with his feet, and has a lot of Premiership experience so he’s used to the knocks that guys like John Terry dole out. That said, Wenger probably wants Chamakh as his first choice and this latest story about Kalou, leaked to the Sun for good coverage, plus the story in L’Equipe where Wenger is quoted as saying that Arsenal will just wait Bordeaux out is simply Wenger playing hardball.

It’s nice to see, I guess. I just wish that Wenger would play hardball to get in some defensive cover!

And here’s the thing about that… Arsenal haven’t lost nor gained in that realm if you think about it. Wenger knew that Toure was leaving at the end of this season, heck I’d be willing to bet he asked Toure to stay just until this Summer, as a favor to the team, so that he could get a replacement. Thus, Vermaelen is Arsene’s replacement for Toure. As we all know, Wenger prefers center half’s with great recovery speed over height and muscle, it fits the high-line-ball-holdery system that Arsenal play. Moreover, Vermaelen is reportedly a great header of the ball. I’ve only seen pre-season matches and YouTube clips but so far he does look the best header on the team.

So, when Wenger said “keeping the team together” he meant “keeping the core players together, and keeping the team playing style together.” Therefore, Senderos doesn’t count. He didn’t figure last year after being shipped off to AC Milan and it was pretty clear in pre-season, with Senderos playing defensive mid, that he didn’t figure this year either. Senderos’ sale is a net gain, if you look at it that way.

I already know what just about every comment will be when I say this but I’m going to say it anyway because I think we need to look at things from a different perspective. Typing finger on standby…

From one perspective the squad is actually stronger this year than last.

Well, first, we have, as Thomas Rosicky points out, more attacking options. I am the first to take the piss out of Wenger for his “like a new signing” stuff, but honestly? Getting Rosicky and Eduardo in this team is actually like two new signings. We didn’t have either player last year, they are both undeniably quality players, and they are both already helping this team.  The only question mark is whether they can stay healthy, but on this Arsenal team that’s a question mark for every player. LITERALLY. Name me one player who hasn’t been haunted by the specter of injury every season for the last 4 years. The emergence of Jack Wilshere, while I think he will get limited time, also adds to Arsenal’s attacking prowess. So, from that perspective, Arsenal have gotten much stronger.

In the midfield too, Arsenal have added. Song and Denilson have both gotten an entire year’s worth of Premiership experience under their belts and I doubt anyone would say that Song hasn’t gotten better. Denilson had a great start to the season last year and then seemed to fade so he could be a question mark. But in a 4-3-3 Wenger has a lot of options in midfield. Nasri, Song, Diaby, Chesk, Denilson, Rosicky, and Wenger is talking up Aaron Ramsey.

I’m not trying to take the piss out of my readers, and I know that many of you feel like those options aren’t of the quality that we’d like at Arsenal. I feel the same way! Chesk Fabregas feels the same way! What I’m offering though, is a different perspective. If Wenger doesn’t buy a midfielder, and it’s looking increasingly like he isn’t going to, then Wenger DOES think that those guys are the right quality. We clearly have the money to buy someone. Hell, we could buy Daniele de Rossi if we wanted. And just as clearly, Arsene isn’t interested.

Wenger could still surprise a lot of us and sign someone like M. Diarra from Real Madrid, but I seriously doubt he will. It seems like, from Arsene’s perspective, Arsenal already have the quality in midfield and if anything we’ve gotten better all around; up front with Eduardo, Arshavin, and Wilshere, in the middle with Rosicky and Ramsey and the more experienced Song and Denilson (not to mention Nasri), and at the back with the subtraction of Toure and the addition of a guy who can head the ball and who has proven leadership qualities in Vermaelen.

So, Salmon Kalou in does make a sort of sense all the sudden doesn’t it? I mean if you think of him as a Centre Forward, which supposedly Arsene does, then he’s the logical replacement for Adebayor and Arsene’s just “keeping this team together.”

Right?