Yearly Archives: 2015

The Rise of the LAD Bible Supporter

Over the years, there have been many different groups of fans who go to games. Casuals, Shirters, JCLs and Tourists being four. But recently we have seen a new type of fan come onto the scene. The LAD Bible Fan.

They go to football just to say that they go to football. They see themselves as a LAD and the most LADish activity is going to football. They do not really care about the game, they care about telling their friends that they went to the football. They will take pictures, take videos, post them onto various social media, just to let you know that they are a LAD who go’s football.

A LAD bible fan usually wears Stone Island. Or if their student loan does not stretch that far, will wear Primark and will purchase a fake Stone Island badge that they beg their mum to sow onto all of their clothes. Why Stone Island? Because it is the most LAD clothing brand out there. They will pair their Primark jumper with a Stone Island badge with a Stone Island baseball cap and a pair of £10 H&M jeans.

You will often see them taking seflies of themselves, ensuring the Stone Island badge is on show. This will show to their Twitter followers how much of a LAD they are.

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Before a game they are usually found in the concourse. Beer in hand, having a sing song. But look closer, and in the other hand, they have their phone. Videoing themselves and the crowd having a sing song. Then the bouncing starts. Then the beer go’s in the air. Soaking everyone. After all, what is more LAD than chucking a £5 beer in the air soaking your mate. It’s only BANTZ mate.

The video’s go online. Firstly to ensure everyone knows that they are a LAD who go’s football, has a sing song, and chucks beer in the air. Secondly in the hope that LAD Bible pick up the video, tweet it, and you go viral. You not only become a LAD. You become a VIRAL LAD.

During the game, they are not watching it. Remember, they do not massively enjoy football. They enjoy telling people that they go football. The game is just an inconvenience which takes time away from jumping up and down and throwing beer at each other.

To keep themselves busy during the game, they are usually videoing every moment. The play, the crowd, the opposition taking a corner. Why? Again, to let people know they are at the game. And in the hope that they might pick up a bit of golden footage that can turn them into a VIRAL LAD. They always carry a portable phone charger in their pocket. Don’t want the battery to run out when there is 90 minutes of footage to be have.

On the train home, they have a bit of a sing song. About Kolo and Yaya Toure. About Jamie Vardy’s party. About chatting shit and getting banged. This, despite them not supporting Manchester City, Liverpool or Leicester. This is probably the worst trait of the LAD Bible fan.

Singing an opponent’s song, for BANTZ, because they saw it on LAD Bible. One of their mates will be recording them. To stick it up online. So that everyone knows that they make a bit of noise on the train. When the train guard comes past, they sing at him. If you are a LAD, you do not respect authority.

When they get back to whatever town they came from, they sit down for dinner with their mum, trying to hide that they have had a couple of beers (they bought 6, but 4 went in the air), and are back to normal life. All the time checking their phone to see how many RTs or Likes their videos and selfies have got during the day. Refreshing theLADbible’s feed in the hope that they repost one of your videos.

The LAD Bible fans are an odd breed. They spend thousands going up and down the country watching football, to just tell people that they go up and down the country watching football. It is more important that people see them as a LAD who go’s football, then as a football fan.

There used to be a conundrum many years ago. Would you rather shag Paris Hilton, but no one knows, or not shag her, but everyone thinks you have. The LAD Bible fans are the same. They would rather not go football, but everyone thinks they do, than go football, but no one knows about it.

Their ultimate aim? To get a call from the BBC to appear on the third series of Football Fight Club. That will show their friends and family that they are a SUPER LAD.

The LAD Bible fans. Coming to a ground near you soon.

Keenos

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Don Howe – A fan’s memories of a great Arsenal man

What a lot of the Emirates new fans don’t realize is that when they go on about what Mr Wenger has done over the years on a budget and a ground move is that back in the 70’s and 80s Liverpool had the monopoly on transfers, money and the trophies.

There was only one European Cup place for the champions, a cup winners cup and if it serves my memory right three UEFA Cup places. Most transfers came from inside the UK and Ireland. to which Liverpool cherry picked the best players. Squads were a lot smaller, it was a more physical game, players played through injuries, teams had only one then two subs per game and every game was hard.

Back then Don Howe coached the side while Terry Neil was the manager and there was no better defensive coach than Don. He went onto coaching England and was well respect as a defensive coach. Don made sure The Arsenal had solid foundations and many a bigger club got relegated or struggled down the bottom of the league but not The Arsenal under Don’s coaching.

Don would always chat to Fans at the ground and training ground , we were always allowed in and Don made sure fans got a warm drink. When Terry Neil got sacked Don took over as manager and steered Arsenal to 3rd in the table 5 points behind with a game in hand.Untitled

I remember a Saturday game Vs Coventry we got a good win and we were looking good for the title. We always went around the back of the Clockend after games to chat to Don and the players, that day Don was buzzing with the day’s result but as we were driving home we got the shocking news Don had resigned. He had found out after the game that while the game was on the club was talking to Terry Venables about replacing him. Don being a proud man was not having that behind his back and left .

We always kept in touch and I could listen to his football knowledge of the games, Arsenal players, managers and formations forever.  Many forget that Don was instrumental in blooding  so many young homegrown players, if he liked the look of them he would back his own judement and play them, he will be credited with bringing through greats of The Arsenal like Thomas, Keown and Rocastle to name just three.

I met Don regularly back in the day, an Arsenal man through and through, a gentleman, a friend and a man who held his head up high. One of my biggest memories of Don was back in 1984 we had travelled to Preseason in Germany to watch the team train at a training ground out there, myself, my wife and our friend Carl.

After the session was over we left to start the long walk down the country lanes to the train station when the team bus pulled up, Don opened the door and said jump in we will drop you off in town. The full 1st team sat there chatting to us like old friends, Kenny Sansom, Paul Davis, Charlie Nicolas, David Rocastle etc. What a great gesture by a great man.

Thank you Don we will never forget that day R.I.P and say hello to Rocky.

Gary Cohen

Don Howe

Arsenal Player: 1964- 66 – 74 apps

Arsenal Coach: 1967-69

Arsenal Assistant Manager: 1969-71 winning the Fairs Cup 1970, League and FA Cup double 1971

Arsenal Head Coach: 1977-83 winning the FA Cup in 1979, runners up 1978 and 1980. Fairs Cup runners up 1980

Arsenal Manager: 1983-86

Arsenal Youth Team Coach: 1997-2003 Winning the youth FA cup 2000 and 2001

Arsenal Legend: Forever

 

What would be a successful January transfer window for Arsenal?

Yesterday I was asked a question by a pal of mine who travels home and away to every game with me.  It was a simple question:

“What would be a successful January transfer window?”

My answer was not so simple:

“I’m not sure. Thing is rarely are your top targets available in January. So do we spank £30million on a defensive midfielder and a striker who are perhaps not good enough for us long term, but will provide us with extra squad depth for 6 months, or do we stick with what we have.”

A lot of people will always have a go when it is said, but the January transfer window is always a tough time to get top targets.

The top targets are either not available as they are involved in league title or European challenges at their current clubs (Aubameyang, Reus, Griezmann) or if they are available, you will have to pay an inflated figure for them. Such as when Fernando Torres joined Chelsea for £40million in January 2011. You might deny it, but it is a tough market.

What it essentially leaves you is 3 options. Pay massively for one of your top targets – everyone is available if you offer the right money, buy someone who will do for 6 months, or buy someone who has the ability to become a top target in the future, but is still young so will move.Untitled

I do agree that this window could define our season. We do need to look at going big. The right 2 signings should see us win the title.

The problem is we need to ensure that they are the 2 right signings.

Last year Manchester City went big on Wilfried Bony. He scored 2 league goals. Recently we have seen Chelsea go down the “buy a player to tide us over” route.

January 2015 they signed Juan Cuadrado (currently on loan) for £23.3million. The winter before was Mohamed Salah (has since been loaned out and sold) for £11m. If the top targets are not available, or we are out priced, should we follow the Chelsea route by buying someone for 6 months than dumping them in the summer? Can we afford too?

The same year Chelsea signed Salah, we saw Manchester United go down the ‘overpriced’ route by buying Juan Mata for nearly £40m. A good player, yes, but they clearly moved for a target early when they possibly could have got him for £10m cheaper in the summer.

The safer route to go down is the 3rd option. Rather than over paying, or buying someone for short term, look further in the future.

The signing of Jose Antonio Reyes in 2004 was inspired. He had the talent to become a big part of Arsenal’s future, but was also good enough to contribute straight away. Goals against Chelsea come to mind shortly after he joined. He certainly was not signed with the primary focus of 2003/04 but was able to help us go unbeaten.

It was the same 2 years later in 2006 when Arsenal captured Emmanuel Adebayor, Abou Diaby & Theo Walcott. All under the age of 23, able (in 2 of the cases) to contribute straight away, but with the ability to become a big part of the future.

As with Reyes, when discussing these moves, we have to ignore what they became. At the time they were all excellent signings.

The best January transfer into the Premier League is certainly Luis Suarez. Just 23, he could certainly fall into the young talent, but not yet made it category. Of course, he very quickly made it.

Chelsea signing Nemanja Matic 2 January’s ago for £21m looks to be an inspired signing (if you ignore the fact they let him leave a few years before for peanuts).

Patrice Evra and Nemanja Vidic joining Manchester United were brilliant signings, despite both their rocky starts. Another two examples of players who the next 5 years were in mind during the signing, not the next 6 months.

The key with all of these players is that they were playing for lesser clubs in lesser leagues. So when Liverpool, Chelsea, Manchester United or Arsenal came knocking, the players were more than happy to move. And with a very slightly inflated fee, the clubs willing to sell.

It is unlikely you are going to be able to capture a first team regular who currently plays for a top 4 side in England, Spain or Germany, who is still involved in European football.

That rules out the likes of Benzema, Aubameyang, Reus, Griezmann, etc.

What when then have to look at is what is below that. The 2nd and third tier clubs.

William Carvalho (an old favourite) at Sporting fits this bill. He would possibly be willing to sacrifice at Portuguese league title (Sporting are currently 2nd, 1 point behind Porto) for a chance to win the Premier League title.

The often mentioned Adrien Rabiot does not play week in week out for PSG. Then again, would he leave PSG – in the Champions League and top of the French league, to not play week in week out for Arsenal? Possibly not.

Victor Wanyama would be an interesting one. He could be a long term back up / competition for Coquelin. But he could also fall into that short term expensive signing that we are trying to avoid here.

Up top there has been talk for some time that a deal for Aleksandr Kokorin is done. He would maybe not be a to target for Arsenal, but at just 24 has room for improvement. And currently playing for Dynamo Moscow who are 11th in the Russian League, a move to Arsenal would more than satisfy him.

We have to be realistic during the transfer window.

The chances of someone like Icardi or Saul Niguez looking to leave in January are slim. Unless you go very, very big. These are perhaps a deal for the summer.

Of course, sometimes the stars align. And that could be happening with Isco. Reports of a falling out between him and Benitez could lead to him being available. Although Benitez could be sacked sooner rather than later as well. Despite everything I’ve said about players not moving, a deal for Isco is certainly one that could be done.

So to answer my friend’s question about What would be a successful January transfer window?

Signing a couple of players who would have a long term future at the club, without having to pay through the nose for them.

Over to you Mr Wenger.

Keenos