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Thursday, 24 June 2010

RVP scores, Bendtner out, "supporting" England

Generally, there is no Arsenal news about today. Late in the afternoon is a spurious rumour that Alex Song is being targetted by Galatassaray. I would be very, very surprised to see Song take such a step down.

On the BBC Sport website is a fine analysis of the Cesc Fabregas situation from a financial angle. There are some very surprising statistics regarding how much FC Barcelona owe to other clubs in terms of transfer fees outstanding - more than any of which is owed to a certain club in North London. You have to ask how it is that, with such figures owing, Barcelona are allowed to go signing such expensive players. It also shows, perhaps, why they are offering such a little fee for Fabregas.

At the World Cup today Slovakia thoroughly outplayed Italy to eliminate the World Champions. I have never seen an Italy (or Italian club side) moved around so easily in defence. That they managed to get within a goal of going through was quite amazing.

Robin Van Persie opened his account for the tournament with a lovely right-footed finish in Holland's 2-1 win over Cameroon. He was substituted later on. I got my wish for Alex Song in that he was left out by Paul Le Guen (who resigned as Cameroon manager after the game). Rest well Alex, we need you fresh come mid-August. Nicklas Bendtner played 90 minutes for Denmark as they crashed 3-1 to Japan. The big man cut a forlorn figure towards the end and had that disinterested look that is sometimes familiar. In defence of Bendtner he is clearly injured - a recurrence of the groin problem that affected him last season. Arsenal need a fit Nicklas Bendtner, as we saw at the end of the season when his goals kept us in the race up to the last few matches.

I have to pass proper comment on following England. I know it will be unpopular in many quarters, though I think most Arsenal fans that I know will understand exactly my sentiments. Before the game yesterday I must admit to being excited. I was looking forward to the game and hoping England would win. I was determined to be really behind the England team. Then the game began. I watched Lampard, Terry, Rooney, Gerrard, Defoe and Ashley Cole and remembered that these a footballers I detest. I find them all reprehensible for various reasons. Suddenly I was not excited anymore. I still wanted England to win, for the feel-good factor it gives everyone during a tournament. However, I was completely detached from the emotions of the game. During the frantic final minutes I felt no nerves, no worry. If that had been Arsenal I would not have been able to sit down, I'd have been screaming at the telly (or at the pitch if I was at the game). I was brought back to a statement I've uttered a few times over the past few years - "I'd rather see Arsenal Reserves win a third round League-Cup tie, than see England win the World Cup" - as it means far more to me to see any Arsenal team win (except Arsenal Ladies - I have no time for that rubbish). Ultimately, there are no Arsenal players in the England team, so I have no personal link to them, other than being English. I also dread that my children will be brought up with a lifetime of seeing those named above, posing with the World Cup, as England's most vaunted football stars, rather than seeing truly great men like Bobby Moore et al as the pinnacle of English football.

I'm not sorry if my views offend anyone, that's just how it is.

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