The Arsenal in Europe

People all over the world know about Arsenal – that says something. Because the Premier League is so popular across the globe, it stands to reason that the club’s fan base is extensive and expanding rapidly. Each day, Arsenal FC is in communication with more than 13m Twitter followers, many of whom reside outside the UK.

It’s plain to see that, in Europe, France has the biggest number of Arsenal supporters, with 34%* of fans cheering on the Gunners. Germany is a close second with 26%*, while Latvia ranks 10th on the list – Latvia contributes to just over 21%* of Arsenal’s European following (compared to other clubs in the UK Premier League). Overall, Arsenal has 20% more European supporters than any other team in English Premiership football.

Looking closely at their Twitter followership, Africa has more Arsenal supporters worldwide than anywhere else at 29%. In fact, Africa is also home to the top 3 countries in the world whose Arsenal Twitter following is greatest compared to any other club in the English Premier League: Morocco is on top with 55%, while Togo and Ethiopia have more than 50%each*.

There is increasing support for Arsenal FC in Asia; across the continent, they have a 20% fan following. Iran and Vietnam are each home to 26% of Arsenal supporters, while Taiwan has 24%*.

The Arsenal following in the UK is concentrated mainly inLondon and the South East. Because of their popularity in East London boroughs such as Hackney South and Shoreditch (26%), Bethnal Green and Bow (25%) and Poplar and Limehouse (24%), it is this area that has the largest Arsenal Twitter following*. Naturally, North London is just behind on 20%, with Arsenal supporters making up 25%* of all Premier League football fans in the borough of Islington South and Finsbury alone.

Arsenal’s rich history means the club has a far-reaching fan base in Scotland. 18%* of their Twitter following can be found in Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross, which is part of Scotland’s famous Highlands region.

One thing’s for certain, and that’s Arsenal’s commitment to maintaining a consistent online presence, which is probably (in part, at least) what’s led to the club garnering such a wide international following. Also, there’s no doubt that the diversity of its teams over the years has played a key role in making Arsenal a household name the world over.

The current 28-man team consists primarily of overseasplayers; 79% are from European countries outside the UK, as well as countries in Africa, South America and Asia. With 22 internationally born footballers in its main squad right now, it’s easy to understand why Arsenal has such an esteemed reputation all over the world.

From total number of miles they’ve travelled to their biggest wins, check out this infographic to discover facts about Arsenal FC in European football.



Tottenham New stadium chaos revealed as completion expected in 2019

The Construction News have exclusively revealed allegations that site chaos, confusion and ill-discipline lie behind the delays to Tottenham Hotspur’s £850m stadium.

“Stop what you’re doing!” cries a supervisor, halting the work of a gang of electricians on Tottenham Hotspur’s new £850m stadium.

The sudden stop is due to the appearance of workers from an air-conditioning subcontractor, who are carrying a large piece of metallic piping. These AC workers have turned up to finish their installation. The problem is, the electricians were told the AC work had already been completed.

As a result, all the work the electricians had done has to be torn out. This is made all the more frustrating by the fact that completed electrics, carried out on the exact same spot, had already been completely ripped out two weeks earlier for the same reason.

Electricians had worked all weekend to complete their work on this first occasion, only to discover on the Monday that the air-conditioning had not been installed. A fortnight later they think the AC has finally been finished; again they have to rip it out.

This is just one alleged instance of poor co-ordination and communication that sources working on the project have shared with Construction News (CN)  to help explain the stadium’s delay, announced last month.

Of all the stories CN has heard from project insiders, this one captures many of the principal problems alleged on the job.

Sources claim that an unclear management structure, chaotic organisation and poor communication led to mistakes – often by electrical subcontractors. They describe a huge site where small problems escalated rapidly. And compounding these programme setbacks were personnel issues, with reports of physical altercations and drug-taking on site.

Mace a ‘toothless lion’

Early into the project, Spurs took the decision to cut deals individually with subcontractors and appoint Mace as a construction manager to oversee the job.

By choosing to have a direct commercial relationship with individual companies rather than appointing an overall contractor, the club limited Mace’s liabilities on the scheme.

However, insiders have told CN this approach also limited Mace’s influence.

Multiple sources claim this arrangement led to subcontractors focusing only on completing their own tasks, without considering the wider implications for other trades or progress of the overall project. The lack of co-ordination or logistical planning frequently led to confusion on site and costly mistakes that delayed work significantly, the insiders claim.

Mace’s visibility on the site prior to the delay being announced was also limited, according to the sources. However, CN understands that Mace has maintained its staff numbers at similar levels thoughout the project, but that some of its personnel have increased their visibility on site since the delay was revealed.

The construction manager’s ability to control the actions of subcontractors is limited because it is only able to “advise” rather than instruct the trades on site. The lack of a commercial relationship changed the power dynamic between the construction manager and those on site, CN’s sources allege.

“They are like a toothless lion, they have got no claws and no teeth,” a source with in-depth knowledge of the management structure tells CN. “This situation is quite strange. [Mace] can only say, ‘This area is ready, could you please deploy someone and sort it out?’”

Further confusion has been caused by the presence of Tottenham Hotspur’s own project managers on the scheme. “I don’t really know who the construction managers really are – Mace? Tottenham?” the same insider says.

‘No communication’

Poor communication is a common claim in almost every problem described by CN’s onsite sources.

The lack of dialogue between trades on the scheme is said to have resulted in confusion between trades on site, compounded by the scale of the project and the number of subcontractors. “What should take a week normally takes a month, because of the sheer scale of it, but also because the communication is horrendous,” a source on the site tells CN.

As well as electrical wiring being ripped out on two occasions because of a lack of communication, CN has heard other alleged instances where the work of one subcontractor hindered that of another.

One further example was when a team of electricians is said to have tried to connect two sections of wiring, only to find that access had been blocked by the installation of a ceiling. Another alleged case saw an electrical subcontractor team arrive to work on executive boxes, which were understood by other subcontractors to have been completed.

“There was just no communication,” a source tells CN. “Everyone was rushing to finish their jobs; it didn’t matter whether the other ones did or not.”

Sparks fly

The electrical work on the project has received more scrutiny than any other part of the build.

Mace chief executive Mark Reynolds has said “faulty wiring” was the cause of the stadium’s delay, and there has been repeated tabloid media coverage of the rates being paid to electricians on the site.

A number of sources on the project claim that electricians have been working in chaotic conditions, which only began to improve in the wake of the project’s official delay.

CN has heard how staff employed on the stadium felt unable to work effectively because they were not provided with the right tools for the job.

One worker tells CN how the platform they were working on to install ceiling wiring was not high enough to reach the spot they needed to. This meant they were constantly leaning over the edge, which they described as “difficult”.

They also claim they were unable to power their tools properly because the transformer provided only lasted for four hours, but they were working for 12. When they tried to charge the unit, they realised they had not been given the wires to do so.

The inability to get the materials on time and to order was another problem for gangs of electricians on the project. “Things would go wrong because people didn’t have materials,” one electrical source alleges.

The insider reports that vital materials ordered days in advance would not be delivered to the store, meaning advance planning was often scuppered and teams had to work ad-hoc based on whatever supplies were available.

“They should have known exactly what they needed for next week and had it there ready for then, but somehow it wasn’t done,” they claim. “We’d have to reorganise everything based on the information we were given that morning from the store. I’ve never in my life worked like that.”

Work was also delayed by the night-shift team taking equipment and supplies and leaving it in other parts of the site, insiders report. This meant that some days began with electrical subcontractors roaming the site looking for the equipment they had been using the day before.

Recent reports are that the stadium will not be ready for completion until “early 2019”. This increases the likelihood that Tottenham will be forced to play the entire season at Wembley.

As it was well known prior to season ticket renewals that the stadium will not be completed in time, you have to wonder if the Spurs are going to be investigated by the Advertising Standard Authority for false advertisement.

Especially their tube advert which claimed the new stadium would be the “only place in London to watch the Champions League”. Clearly now a false claim.


Emery revolution picks up steam

After 2 defeats in the opening two games of the Unai Emery era, the agenda driven and attention seekers were getting on the Spanish managers back.

The majority of us, however, realised the fixture list computer had given us a nightmare start to the season – a home game against Manchester City and a visit to Stamford Bridge – and vocally backer the new man.

After those two defeats, it was only those attention seekers and a few in the media attempting to create a story who tried to show Emery as a man under pressure.

One leading journalist even went as far as saying Emery was “his favourite to be first manager sacked”.

Three games on, and 5 games into the new season, we now sit level with Tottenham on 9 points.

The 2-1 victory over Newcastle made it 2 away victories on the trot – the first time since May 2017 we had won 2 away games in a row.

An average first half was changed at half-time when Emery pulled off Matteo Guendouzi, replacing him with Lucas Torreira.

Every time the Uruguayan has pulled in an Arsenal shirt, the team have looked better. He now needs to start.

The game was not without its heart in mouth moments as Arsenal continued to try and play out from the back.

Whilst Petr Cech and the defence get a lot of the criticism, the problem is in the midfield.

When the ball is with the defence, there is a lack of midfield options, resulting in the defenders having to go backwards to Cech and sit deeper.

Granit Xhaka and Guendouzi rarely made themselves available in the first half to their defenders.

Often finding themselves marked, they were not giving their defenders that forward option.

This left the only option to go backwards towards Cech.

Man City always have 2 or 3 options, and have the get out ball of playing back.

When the ball goes forward into the midfield, everyone pushes up a few yards. Then when it comes back into defence everyone is further up the pitch creating more space.

When those midfield options are not there, the ball goes back to Cech and suddenly you are in your own 6-yard box with opponent attackers pressing.

It changed when Torreira came on

Suddenly both Torreira and Xhaka were available to take the ball off the defence with a forward pass.

The player on the ball had options.

Torreira is sharp in his passing. Rarely taking two touches to release the ball. He just quickens is up – speed is important when we are playing out of the back.

Guendouzi has had a decent start, but he is currently a little too slow on the ball in the Premier League.

Another new signing who had a fantastic game was Sokratis.

The Greek centre back was a beast on Saturday.

He won everything, put in some key tackles and showed he was not as slow as some have made out. Brilliant signing.

We now have a run of 4 home games in a row – 2 in the Premier League and 2 cup games. 4 wins from he 4 games has to be the minimum target.

Victories over Watford and Everton in the league would leave us with 15 points from the first 7 games.

That sort of form might not be enough to make you title contenders, but would keep us on course for top 4. It is early doors but you extend that form to 38 games and it would give us 81 points – which was Manchester United’s total when they finished 2nd last season.

Onwards and upwards with Unai Emery’s red and white army.