From Sky Sports news, to Tesco to a quick chat with Mr Wenger, I did it all on this Thursday.
The day started with me meeting a fellow Gooner and part time blogger and enjoyed discussing issues about the current Arsenal squad. Thereafter, I saw an old friend who now works for in media and helped him cover the players’ entrance. As I was not in a professional role but merely a winger to spot any in-coming cars and players, I enjoyed the time to talk to more fans and even have a photo taken with Jack Wilshire and Robin Van Persie.
Before entering the ground, I did a quick interview for Sky Sports News on their request and spoke about my views on Barcelona and Cesc Fabregas. Instantly I got messages when the interview went out on Sky.
My main analogy was that ‘If I went to Tesco and had a trolley full of items and went to the check out and said I do not have enough money, what would they say to me?’ They would tell me where to go and to leave the store without the goods. That is what Arsenal has said to Barcelona and I can’t agree more with the way Arsenal have handled this situation.
The training session then started and the arrival of none other then Cesc Fabregas who greeted the crowd and the crowd responded by chants of ‘we’ve got Cesc Fabregas’. The skipper was smiling and laughing with teammates and looked at home again. Perhaps spending so much time with his Spanish, Barcelona friends got him thinking but now his back with his Arsenal friends, he may see that life isn’t too bad here in North London.
The training session started, with warm ups and light drills. A 7 a side game was played out with all the injured players on the side doing other fitness drills. The session ended with the light hearted activities like a penalty shoot out with people from the crowd taking the penalties and a cross bar challenge with players and supporters. There was everything in this session, even a young lad with a spurs shirt on! Gooners showed what they thought about him by booing him as he walked past!
After the session I attended a question and answer session with Robin Van Persie, Andrey Arshavin, Manu Eboue and Tommy Rosicky.
Robin Van Persie was very talkative and was happy to answer most questions. When asked about who can replace Cesc, his response was ‘the answer is very simple, no one, he is not going anywhere!’ This was the man who had spent 20 full minutes with Cesc running up and down the Emirates pitch earlier and they must have talked about their futures.
Robin enjoyed his goal against Liverpool the most because he always wanted to score against Liverpool but thinks the volley against Charlton was pretty special too but gave Eboue a lot of credit for the assist which Eboue gladly took!
When asked about what his career job would be if he was not a footballer, his answer was that he would be in Africa trying to help countries that are not as lucky as England or Holland.
Many people wanted to know what Robin thinks about Chamakh and Robin reminded us all that it was his first day back! However, he says Chamakh looks sharp and is a classy player and is looking forward to playing with him.
Tommy Rosicky was slightly more reserved but talked a lot about the values of the club and he and Robin both were saying that they love the history of the club. Tommy said he just wants to win something, he does not care what, but something must come!
When asked about if transfer rumours get to players, the answer was simple enough. ‘If the player does not want to go, then it will not affect them at all. If the player wants to go then it will’, sounds simple enough!
Manu Eboue seemed to enjoy the question and answer session the most and even took a break to visit the men’s room during the session! Eboue talked with a passion and kept telling the fans to believe and support the team. Manu Eboue even told Arshavin to believe because it can happen! When asked about the media and newspapers, Eboue issued a passionate plea, ‘please do not believe what you read because often it it’s twisted and changed and untrue’.
Arshavin was quiet as usual and did not give much away. He said that last year he said Arsenal can win something and because we didn’t, this season he would rather keep quiet and just play. Eboue then reminded him that he must believe and Arshavin answered with a gentle ‘yes’.
A fan asked what Arshavin would be doing if he wasn’t a footballer and he said he ‘didn’t know’ and when asked about hobbies he replied he does ‘nothing’ apart from play football.
On a lighter note, when asked who has the hardest shot, Robin had no doubt who it was. ‘Manu Eboue has the hardest shot, it goes everywhere, but his is the hardest!’ Andrey Arshavin cleared it all up by saying Tommy Vermaelen has the strongest shot in the squad.
Once the question and answer finished, I walked though the media part of the stadium and met Arsene Wenger, which for me was very special. I have followed him since 1996 when he arrived in England and he is everything I know about football. I made sure he knew he had my support (with a t-shirt saying In Wenger We Trust, he may have already guessed!) and told him how badly we want a trophy and he responded by telling me that he will give 100% for me.
I then met Andrey Arshavin again and a fellow fan told him to promise a trophy and he said he cannot promise it but will try his best. I reminded Arshavin that he was very quiet and he said there is always a time and place, however I think the language barrier may be an issue too!
I ended the day by meeting a few more players and just wished them good luck for the season.
Hopefully it is a season that can end with a parade in North London with an open top bus and a trophy.
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