Arsenal set to name new captain

Over the summer, the club have been very open with pictures and videos from the training ground.

Whilst none of the training sessions are any different to the past – players kicking a ball, jogging a little bit, doing press ups – the openness has been a breath of fresh air.

The most recent video was of Matteo Guendouzi’s first training session.

It seems Unai Emery and his coaching staff have continued Arsene Wenger’s tradition of shaking hands with every player as they enter the training pitch. It was also good to see senior French speaking players like Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang taking their new 19-year-old team mate under their wing.

There was a very interesting snippet within the video that many people probably missed. Aaron Ramsey was leading the warm up – usually the task of the captain.

The first half of this blog was written prior to Arsenal playing Borehamwood on Saturday.

During that game, a strong Arsenal team ran out 8-0 winners.

Captaining he “second half XI” was Aaron Ramsey.

The Wales international is yet to commit to a new contract with Arsenal, but once he does, he looks to be the most suitable player to replace Per Mertesacker as club captain.

I have been blogging about how Ramsey should be the next Arsenal captain since 2013.

With Laurent Koscielny out until January – and no longer guaranteed a first team spot – Ramsey is the only player who ticks all the boxes.

The Wales international has recently spoken about the appointment of Unai Emery as Arsenal’s new boss.“Exciting times” was the exact term that he used. I fully expect him to sign the new deal and be given the armband.

As captain, you want a player to fit a criteria.

You want him to have been at the club for some time, to understand the ethos of the club. At 27 years old and having been at the club for 10 years, he is the most logical choice next season.

The player needs to command respect from his team mates, through both his ability to lead and his performances on the pitch.

Aaron Ramsey ticks quite a lot of boxes. He’s one of the longest-serving players in the first team. If there’s a structure, Aaron Ramsey could be that guy.

Ramsey became the youngest ever Wales captain at the age of 20 years 90 days back in 2011.

It will be good to have a captain who plays week in week out after it seemingly being forever since we had one.



Planning Pre-Season

Back in the early 80s when I first started attending pre-season friendlies outside of England, there was very little information provided as to who or where we were playing, with getting there even more problematic. Sometimes the Arsenal programme provided vague info, but usually it meant a closed season trip to the old Travel Club office at Highbury to find out.

Today it’s a completely different story, as always, Arsenal travel around the globe, information is obtainable and nowadays it’s easier to book a pre-season tour to Indonesia, Vietnam and Japan than it was to Scotland back in 1980!

Gone are the days when we booked 2 or 3 weeks in a beautiful, but sleepy village like Bad Waltersdorf high up in the Austrian mountains, working out who we are playing, how we are getting there and where some of the locations are, there were times where we made it up as we went along!

In December 2015, the Club announced a pre-season Tour to Australia taking place in July 2017, some 19 months beforehand. For this to happen, it meant that Arsenal would have been planning this at least 6 months previous with contracts signed before making it official, the China leg wasn’t announced until February 2017 making it impossible to book the whole tour until after this date. When this happened, the Sydney hotel was booked early, but travel was impossible when we could be playing in say Asia, before or after these dates.

The good thing about the long-haul destinations, as well as most European ones, is that prices don’t go up as they do for Europa or Champions League matches.

Usually, you can work out dates and preliminary schedules before all matches are announced; normally, once you know when the Premier League officially starts, the weekend before is held back for a possible Community Shield appearance and before that it’s Emirates Cup weekend. This time round, I knew there was no Emirates Cup due to building works at the Stadium and following a 3rd round FA Cup defeat, there was going to be no trip to Wembley.

As I’m sure you all know, this season we travel to Singapore, Dublin and Stockholm. I was made aware of these matches in December with confirmation of Singapore in February 2018 and the two matches in Europe later.

Soon after I booked my trip to Dublin and Stockholm, the Singapore trip was officially announced; my expectation was that Arsene Wenger would be touring once again as manager and my hope was that this was to be his last time.

On Friday 20th April 2018, Arsenal announced that Arsene would be leaving the Club at the end of the season after 22 years, whilst I was surprised, with the announcement, the news wouldn’t affect Arsenals or my pre-season plans.

Before the end of the season, the Club also announced our annual pre-season friendly against Boreham Wood, they stated that this was to be an Arsenal XI which would normally mean either the reserves, the youth team or a mixture of both. It now looks like Saturday’s ‘opener’ will be made up of first team players who did not make it to the World Cup.

Soon after the equally surprising news of the new Head Coach, my Singapore trip was booked up, therefore my First Team pre-season preparations were complete.

Academy, Youth, Reserve and Women pre-season fixtures start to arrive and where possible, these are fitted in around my first team activities!

With the new season ahead of us, my aim is to write updates of the matches I attend following The Arsenal around the world; I won’t be writing match reports – there are plenty who do this, regardless of if they are in attendance or not – I will try to give you an insight into my world.

I will also be writing a diary for my trip to Singapore, which I hope will be published daily, bearing in mind the time differences.

Whatever happens this season, there are exciting times ahead and it’s a privilege to be able to support and follow the greatest Football Club on the planet.


Introducing…The JW Diaries

137 Arsenal games last season.

That is 1 game every 2.6 days. An incredible haul. But for John Williamson, it is just a regular season.

A well known face home and away at senior games, JW is also a regular fixture on the terraces at reserve, academy, youth team and ladies games.

His first game was in 1969 and since then he has visited 81 of the 92 league grounds with The Arsenal, been to 125 Away European Club Competition Matches; 369 Grounds; 42 Countries.

Chances are, if you have been to an Arsenal game away or abroad, you have bumped into him, had a chat to him, he might have even bought you a beer!

There are not too many fans who have been to more Arsenal games, or have more in depth knowledge on the club, or what is coming through the academy.

That is why we are delighted to announce that for next season, JW is coming on board with She Wore a Yellow Ribbon to share his thoughts on the club, from youths to seniors, and give you an insight into the trials and tribulations of a fan going to over 100 games.

He will also be sharing stories and snippets from previous exploits following The Arsenal over the last 50 years.

JW’s season starts today as he is off to Hale End to watch an academy game. It is then pre Season trips to Singapore, Dublin & Stockholm, before the first game of the season against Manchester City.

Please join us in welcoming JW to the team, and we look forward to musings.

She Wore