It does not take much for me to get riled, but Arsenal’s heritage is currently being trampled over by the players and management of the football club.
I am talking about the move away from the tradition that the captain picks the shirt length, and every other player follows suit.
Over the last year or so, we have seen more and more players not follow the great condition and wear different length sleeves. Mathieu Flamini last season actually cut the length of his sleeves down using medical scissors.
If frustrated me to the point that I wanted to find out why the club had become so lax on the issue, and moved away from the tradition.
Having made numerous phone calls, and been passed around like a bad pass the parcel, I was finally contacted by Tom Bennett of the Arsenal press office. I have also been in touch with Hazel Wright. Both have been polite and courteous, but both continually told me that the decisions are not theirs, and they could not put me in touch with anyone who could make a decision on the matter.
Recently, Tom Bennett called and gave me the usual “Our traditions are important” guff. He the trotted out the absurd “Our players are respecting the tradition by wearing short-sleeved shirts when the Captain decides but the undershirt is long”. When for the thousandth time I said “Why not have short-sleeved undershirts available for those occasions? They must be available Giroud wore one in the Cup Final.” He offered no reply.
On the separate issue of Theo Walcott – He said “He rolls up his sleeves” (Does Mr. Bennett watch matches?).
Walcott USED to roll up his sleeves, both now I have been told by Hazel Wright that Vic Akers pins up his sleeves for him (Poor Diddums) – only Mustafi rolls up his sleeves.
I then said “A referee would not allow any player on the field wearing pins or any sharp object”. Again no reply to that.
My opinion is that Walcott has skipped that process and simply wears a short-sleeved shirt all season. When I put this across to Tom Bennett, I once again got no reply to that.
I also pointed out that originally Alexis Sanchez, Mesut Ozil & Hector Bellerin wore the long-sleeved performance enhancing garments (PEGs), but only Ozil continued to do so for most of the season, even in warmish weather. If the rest of the team could show respect then why not Mr. Ozil? Perhaps the Club have given him Carte Blanche in order to retain his services? No reply to that.
Mr Bennett said he would speak to the “right people” (what does that mean?). I requested he take this further, especially with Ken Friar. He then said he could not promise that they would reply to him or that he would get back to me.
I pointed out that I was speaking not just for myself but for many others who respect our traditions and to make that very clear to the “right people”. I also stated that maybe they should stop marketing the History-Class-Tradition stuff until this is resolved (which would be easy.) All this has taken him aback, he thought his “They are wearing long-sleeved undershirts, thank you for your support.” first reply would be the end of the matter.
I think the Club have already capitulated and hoped no-one would notice, if that is the case may they all hang their heads in shame. I hear the sound of Chapman turning in his grave.
Some of you reading this will think stop moaning but if we do not stand up and protect the traditions of this club, no matter how small, where does that leave us? We are THE Arsenal. The grandest club in the game. Disregarding our traditions would make us no different to the likes of Chelsea and Manchester City.
I will continue the good fight. But I am just one man and can only do so much. If anyone else what’s to get involved in putting the pressure on the club to respect our traditions, please get in touch and I will pass on the relevant contact details that I have been using.