The Biggest Arsenal Event Ever Held in America

Through the tireless efforts of the NYC Arsenal Supporters’ president (and now vice-president of Arsenal America), Kurtis Powers, the biggest Arsenal event ever held in America, in conjunction with Red Bull New York, will take place in NYC on the weekend of September 10-12. The highlight of the weekend will be a trip to Red Bull Arena on Saturday afternoon/evening for an “interactive session” with our all-time leading goalscorer, Thierry Henry, following Red Bull New York’s match with the Colorado Rapids.

From NYCAS: “We will have our own section for this match on the lower level. More importantly, when the match ends, they will clear the stadium, except for us, and will allow us a one on one Question and Answer session with the Arsenal legend. We are the first supporters’ group, or any group for that matter (not even Red Bulls fans have gotten this opportunity), that have access to Henry in this capacity. We will have the stadium and Henry all to ourselves! This is sure to be a classic.”

Also, everyone attending the match will be given a free raffle ticket as Red Bull New York have generously donated a number of Henry-signed shirts and footballs to give away to us.

Some other activties are being planned as well including a Gooner meet-and-greet on the Friday evening followed by the Arsenal-Bolton match on Saturday morning at our new pub headquarters, The Blind Pig, in Manhattan. The Red Bull match is at 4pm and the “interactive session” with Henry will begin about 7pm. There is also a football event being planned for the next Sunday morning.

Any Gooner from anywhere is welcome to come and enjoy this special weekend with us. Because tickets are being secured at a group rate, we must have a full count before the club determines the final ticket price, which will be between $25 and $50. Once we have the final ticket count, the club will note the price and an e-mail will be sent with the ticket cost and payment processing information. All ticket monies must be paid via PayPal though there is a 4.5% fee.

If you are certain you would like to attend the match and session with Henry, please send an email including your name, email address, and the number of tickets you would like to NewYorkRoadTrip@arsenalamerica.com. For further updates, join the group’s Facebook page. Even if you are not attending the match, you are more than welcome to come out to the other events of the weekend with your fellow Gooners. Up the Arsenal!!!

Anyone Else Want To Bitch-Slap Carlos Puyol?

First off, I apologize for the lack of pictures today but I refuse to grace my blog with pictures of scum. On to the business… I had hoped to get the whole Cesc story out of me the other day, but a new slew of utterly inane comments from Cesc’s self-appointed spokesman, Carlos Puyol, have got me uncharacteristically wound up all over again. Here they are:

After seven years of great service, I thought Arsenal could have granted him his dream move. He is having to stay at a club where he no longer wants to be. Cesc has given everything to Arsenal to try to win a trophy but they haven’t matched his expectations. I won’t say he is in a prison, as we know how privileged we are as football players. But after how clear Cesc made it that he wanted to be in Barcelona, I thought they would have granted him that.

Where to begin? Apparently, Puyol thinks Arsenal should repay Fabregas for simply playing for us by allowing him to move. As if merely being graced by his presence was a gift to the club. When Barcelona didn’t think Cesc would be a top-class player seven years ago, they put up no fight to keep him when Arsenal made him an offer. Only afterwards, when they have realized their mistake, do they want him back. Is it me or is it a bit like the father who leaves his young family only to show up on his son’s doorstep after he’s become a movie star millionaire?

“After how clear Cesc made it that he wanted to be in Barcelona?” Puyol must be reading his own quotes because I haven’t seen one quote from Cesc saying that. The only ones making it “clear” are Puyol and his teammates during a media campaign that has become nothing short of embarrassing. If Barcelona were such a great club, why would they feel the need to resort to these kinds of tactics?

“Cesc has given everything to Arsenal.” True, but Arsenal has given Cesc even more than one player can give to a club. Arsene not only gave him a chance at 16 years of age in the first team, but he let him step in for the club’s captain and leader. He then went on to build the entire team around Cesc. And, let’s be honest, Cesc is just as much to blame as anyone else for our failed title bids in 2007/08 and 2009/10. His performances fell off just like the rest of the team.

If anything, Cesc owes Arsenal far more than Arsenal owes him. At the very least, Cesc owes it to the club to see that we get what we deserve in terms of financial compensation for the time, effort, faith, and confidence the club and supporters have shown him. All four things which Barcelona didn’t show him when they had the chance.

No football player is fully-formed at 16 years old. ARSENAL made Cesc into the player he is today and now they want him back for half of what he is worth. Barca let Cesc walk away. He was not poached or stolen. They could’ve told him that they would offer him a professional contract and a place in the first-team when he would turn 17. Had they guaranteed him that, he likely would not have left in the first place. But they didn’t have faith in him.

No matter what Puyol thinks, Barca have no unalterable right to Cesc Fabregas. If it came down to it, I’d rather offer him to Madrid for £40m than sell him to Barca for £60m. The problem is not that Arsenal don’t want to let him go, Carlos. The problem is you’re as skint as your average Scouser. It’s not that Arsenal don’t want to sell, it’s that Barcelona can’t afford to buy after having bought 7 trophies with loans. Why sell a player to a team who hasn’t even finished paying for previous transfers and is up to their ears in debt? That’s just dumb business.

Arsenal, quite rightly, are simply not going to sell their most prized asset for 1/2 of his value because cunts like Puyol and Iniesta keep talking to the press. If anything, Puyol should realize that he is only making matters much worse for Cesc and his club. The level of conceit, entitlement, and downright egotism emanating from that cuntbox of a stadium is astounding.

The headline of the piece in the Mail is “You’ll pay for keeping Cesc Fabregas!” No, Carlos, YOU and all the cunts at Barca will pay.” It’s easy. Either come up with £60m or fuck off.

Transfers, or lack thereof, and Henry’s First RBNY Goal

Well, it’s a bit of a slow news day for Gooners. Arsenal remain in Austria preparing for a final friendly with Austrian Regional League East side, SC Neusiedl am See 1919, this Tuesday before next weekend’s Emirates Cup. Yesterday, the Boss made these remarks regarding transfers:

“There is no news on a defensive signing but, numbers-wise, we are short in defence. The situation is still open for Sol Campbell and for the rest, we are still looking. […] We still have Robin van Persie and Nicklas Bendtner to come back and join the squad and we now have Marouane Chamakh. I don’t think I will go into the market for a centre forward.”

The trail seems to have gone cold on Bremen’s Mertesacker, my preferred target, but apparently the club are still considering pressing Everton for Phil Jagielka. He’s a solid Premier League CB, but the numbers being thrown around, £18m, are just ridiculous. There is no way Arsene would or should pay that kind of money for the player. If I was to guess, I would say even £10m would be stretching it for Jagielka.

Also, there are rumors circulating about a possible exit for Rosicky with CSKA Moscow, Borussia Dortmund, Hamburg, and Cologne just some of the names thrown around. Rosicky’s agent claimed that there were inquiries being made as far back as last month. I don’t see any reason to sell Rosicky at this point unless he wanted to leave. The midfield has not been bolstered except by the anticipation of an increased first-team role for Jack Wilshere and the return of Aaron Ramsey. Rosicky is still a quality midfielder to have coming off the bench and for rotational purposes.

In other transfer news, there are reports from Spain that Barcelona are now considering Mesut Ozil as the Fabregas deal seems more unlikely by the minute. The Bremen midfielder, also linked with us, is said to be available for £15m. Also, William Gallas’s move to Panathinaikos has apparently stalled due to the player’s excessive wage demands.

HENRY UPDATE

Being a long-time RBNY season-ticket holder, I’ll keep a spot at Arsenal Station, on otherwise slow news days like this, to keep those interested abreast of Henry’s American exploits. Last night I attended the RBNY debut of Thierry Henry at Red Bull Arena. In the 8th minute, Henry had a chance to put his new club ahead but Cudicini made a good save.

In the 25th minute, Henry finally opened his account after RBNY midfielder, Joel Lindpere, went by the flat-footed Hutton and put in a cross which Henry got a toe on and found the far corner. But, beyond the goal, Henry brought the rest of the team into the game and put on an entertaining 45 minutes. RBNY led at the break and outplayed Spurs for much of the first-half.

The same continued in the second half as RBNY, especially Mac Kandji, confounded the Spuds. Only two silly errors at the back by the second-string RB and second-string GK gave Spuds the lead but both goals were against the run of play. RBNY continued to pin them back for the final 10 minutes or so looking for an equalizer. The scoreline was highly misrepresentative of the performance.

In the clip above, the first crowd shot following the goal is of yours truly, Arsenal Station, in his 2002-04 home kit, and my brother. Anyway, Henry looked fit and, more importantly, looked like he was having a great time. The atmosphere was great and RBNY were by far the more cohesive and creative side on the pitch. Overall, it was great to see Henry score against Spurs and, especially, to see Spuds outplayed by an MLS side, pre-season or not.