Tag Archives: Fulham

Arsenal’s Messy Numbers, Cristiano Ronaldo & Riyad Mahrez, and Jean Michael Seri

Messy Numbers

Lucas Torreira finally joined Arsenal yesterday and took the number 11 shirt. This caused a lot of fuss from traditionalists who dream of the days when players wore 1-11.

11 was always associated with a winger. We then have Bernd Leno, our number 1 for next season set to wear number 19.

Mohamed Elneny, who is unlikely to start, has the number 4 shirt, whilst Granit Xhaka, who is likely to start, wears 34.

And the less said about Joe Willock wearing 69 the better. Grow up son.

I guess at least it is not William Gallas wearing the sacred number 10. That is now on the shoulder of Mesut Ozil.

And we have a proper full back wearing number 2 in Hector Bellerin. It always looked odd with Aboue Diaby in that shift.

If Cech go’s, maybe Leno will move to number 1?

I just do not like it.

Cristiano Ronaldo & Riyad Mahrez

Yesterday Juventus sign Real Madrid forward for Cristiano Ronaldo for £99.2m.

Prior to the deal, the record transfer fee for a 33 year old was when Manchester City spent £16m on Claudio Bravo.

I can see why Ronaldo has moved; he is guaranteed winning the Serie A at least once with Juventus which will put him into an exclusive group of players who have won the league in England, Italy and Spain.

With his recent tax case, Ronaldo is set for a huge windfall in the later end of his career. €120,000,000 over 4 Years is the reported salary.

Some will say that he will earn that back for Juventus in shirt sales, but that is a fallacy as Juventus do not get a percentage of global shirt sales – they only profit o nwhat they sell in their own shop.

It just seems odd for Juventus to be spending that much on a 33 year old.

As for Riyad Mahrez, whilst the £60m is not a huge sum in this day and age – and he is probably worth it – it is incredible that Manchester City have spent the same on one player as Arsenal have on 4

What is even more incredible is that Manchester City already have Raheem Sterling (£44m), Bernard Silva (£43m) and Leroy Sane (£37m) in their squad. They have broken their transfer record on a player who probably will not start week in week out for them.

The signing also continues Pep Guardiola’s incredible spending since joining Manchester City.

Jean Michael Seri

The deal taking Jean Michael Seri from Nice to Fulham is an odd one.

After being linked with both Arsenal and Chelsea for the last 24 months for over £30m, to then join Fulham for reportedly half that just feels strange.

It reminds me of in days gone past when Javier Mascherano and Carlos Tevez joined West Ham out of no-where.

Why was he so cheap and why did he join Fulham?

My guess is that the interest from Arsenal and Chelsea disappeared. Neither club wanting to spend on a soon-too-be 27 year old whose hype is perhaps well above his ability.

Seri has been compared a lot to N’Golo Kante, but the feeling was always that this was because he was short, African and played in France; rather than him actually being similar to the Frenchman . Kante was also just 24 when he came to the Premier League.

You have to think his agent has forced through the move, knowing that time is running down for his client to make a big money move to the Premier League. That he had to go now to secure that big signing on percentage.

It will be interesting to see if Seri lives up to the hype in England, or if he justifies why Arsenal and Chelsea decided not to go for him.

Keenos

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Ups and Downs – An Arsenal Away Fans Thoughts

As the season is nearing its end, my mind often turns to the bottom of the league table, and top of the Championship. Thoughts and conversations with pals revolve around who we want to go down, who we want to stay up.

As someone who go’s home and away, with an away scheme membership (away season ticket) I travel the length and depth of the country every week with my pals. No agendas. No BS. Just a good group of lads going to the football.

For us, relegation and promotion into and out of the Premier League is important. Who are we losing. We are we getting?

It is always sad to lose a London club. Since the £26 ticket prices, we save a lot of money with easy trips round the capital. Birmingham clubs are similar. Just a little over an hour on the train, cheap train tickets, Birmingham is always a cheap trip up north.

On the other hand, last season the ‘worst case scenario’ came true when Burnley, Middlesbrough and Hull came up. All rank trip to Northern towns. I actually have not made any of them this season.

So who do I want to go up and down?

With regards to relegation, I am happy with it being as is, with the current bottom 3 disappearing.

I am bored of Sunderland now. Their constant battle against relegation year after year. If they were a horse, dog or fish they would be put down by now. Time to put them out of their misery.

The trip has improved recently with a new train from Kings Cross direct to Sunderland. But it is still a 4 hour trip, with no boozers the other end (unless you go via Newcastle). Sunderland station is in a run down part of the city (or perhaps the entire city is run down?). They will not be missed.

Also in the north-east we have Middlesbrough. Another dump. Whilst I will not be making the Monday night trip this season (thanks Sky!) I have done it before. It is another place that is not high on the list of places to visit in the UK.

Making up the north-east trio is Hull City Tigers. One of only 2 current Premier League grounds I have not yet visited (the other is Burnley). I have no plan to visit it. I went for a wedding in Hull 2 years ago. I do not plan to go back.

I would not shed a tear if all 3 went down.

Also in the relegation dog fight is Swansea.

Swansea is a decent away trip, if you are doing the night out. Full of Welsh slags. But if you are not doing a night out, it is a long old trip up their with Sunderland. Around 4 hours, their is usually delays, often engineering works.

In the last 3 years we have been re-rooted vie Gloucester, held just outside Swansea station for over an hour, and had to get a rail replacement bus service from Port Talbot. A good night out, but a tough old journey.

West Ham and above are probably fair enough ahead to not be dragged into it. Whilst the Hammers going down would be hilarious, going to the London Stadium is the easiest trip for me to do.

Leicester fall into the Birmingham category of being a nice easy, cheap train trip.

Sandwiched between are Burnley and Crystal Palace.

Palace have the London thing in their favour, although it would be nice to get rid of their embarrassing ultras. Burnley can also disappear off the face of the earth. A nasty little racist town.

Sunderland, Hull City Tiger, Middlesbrough, Burnley & Swansea. 3 of those 5 gone will make away days a little more enjoyable next season.

As for who comes up, it looks like Newcastle and Brighton are almost certain to have their Premier League status secured for next season.

Despite my hatred of the north-east , I actually do not mind Newcastle.

Whilst in terms of time the train journey is not too much different from Hull and Sunderland, there is a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, or a pub at the end of the train journey.

Newcastle has some decent boozers near the station. The ground is a short (but hilly) walk from the station. Plenty of options home (trains back to London every 20-30 minutes). It is a decent away trip. Add in that it is a decent night out too.

I am not so enthused about Brighton coming up.

We have done the trip down to the Sussex coast a couple of times in the FA Cup in recent years and both times, I was not too impressed.

The journey is not the issue, but I just do not like Brighton as a town. It just is not set up for football fans to turn up en masse and have a pint. We are looked at by locals as the scum of the earth. They do not want us in their establishments and seem like they can not wait for us to leave.

Add in that horrible little train to Falmer – Brighton are not actually based in Brighton – and a stadium which comes out of the identikit stadiums that sprung up in the late 00s / early 10s and all in all it is a trip I will not overly look forward too.

Everything could change, however, it we get scheduled to play them in August or September. Bit of summer sun and beers down on the beach.

It looks like a 5-way battle for the play-offs.

Huddersfield, Reading, Leeds, Fulham & Sheffield Wednesday.

Right off the bat, I do not want Reading.

Like Brighton, it is one of these grounds not built in the city or town it resides in. Instead it is build on an industrial estate which you have to get a bus too. Been there, done that, got the t-shirt, not bothered about going back.

Sheffield Wednesday is another I would right off. After the League Cup defeat, I do not have great memories of the ground. It is falling apart. And is a pigs-ear to get to. Trains planes and automobiles come to mind as you have to get a combination of trains, trams, cabs and walking to get to the ground.

That leaves Fulham, Leeds and Huddersfield.

Despite having done Fulham plenty of times before, it is always an enjoyable trip.

Another London day out, easy to get too, plenty of decent boozers. I do not think I have ever had a bad away day to Fulham. Even when it was torrential rain. They would be my favourite.

Huddersfield and Leeds are two trips I have never done before so I honestly do not know what either would be like for an away trip.

It would be nice to have Leeds back in the Premier League. A proper club who were ripped apart by improper owners.

A nice easy journey into Leeds, with a bit of a horrid journey to the stadium ,it would be nice to have a proper club with proper fans back in the Premier League.

Huddersfield, whilst one many have not done in recent years, is probably bottom of the 3, purely because of the train journey. You have to get to Manchester Piccadilly then across to Huddersfield.

I think I will stick to my original thoughts and welcome Fulham back to the Premier League with welcome arms.

Despite everything that is going on at the club at the moment, I go to football for the day out. That involves the train, the beers, the mates, as well as the game.

When you travel up and down the country following your team, there is much more important things that make it a great day rather than just the football.

Keenos

Promotion and Relegation – The view of a travelling fan

Being an away day traveller gives you a different outlook as to who you want to be promoted and relegated. Rather than just thinking who you like / dislike, you being to think about the best away trips, the cost of the trips, stadiums you have not yet been too, etc.

With today being the last day of The Championship, and with 2 Premier League sides potentially to get relegated this weekend, it would now be wise to discuss who we want to stay up (and go down) and who we would like to see come up.

Leicester and Burnley are already up. Leicester is a trip I am already looking forward too. Anything around the Midlands is reasonable when it comes to train times and costs. And with Arsenal having only played at the King Power (formerly Walkers) Stadium once, it is a ground where many, including myself, has yet to visit. The only downside is, like many new stadium built since 2000, it is not in the city centre, leaving a 30 minute walk from whatever watering hole you are in.

Burnely is somewhere many have done before. It is a backwater at the edge of Lancashire, where racism and football violence is still right. Am I happy they are up? No, it will be a horrid trip to a ground we have visited 3 times over the last 6 years.

When it comes to the rest of the Championship, Derby, QPR & Wigan are confirmed in the play-offs. The last spot is between Reading and Brighton. Derby, like Leicester, would be a good trip. We last visited 6 years ago, and scored 6. Just a 10 minute walk from the station, an hour and a half train journey from London, it ticks a lot of boxes and is my personal favorite.

QPR is a cheap trip if you live in London, but not a very exciting one. I was happy when they went down, and will not be too unhappy if they fail to come back up. The only factor which might change things is if Fulham go down. It is always good to have a decent amount of London sides in the Premier League to keep rail costs down. Losing Fulham (discussed later) would leave just 4 London trips (Chelsea, Spurs, West Ham, Crystal Palace). I can leave QPR, as long as Fulham stay up.

Wigan is my worst nightmare. A half hour walk from the station, it is another stadium which has been built on an industrial estate in the middle of no where. Most Arsenal fans would have previously done the trip, so it is certainly the team I would least like to see promoted.

The last two, Brighton and Reading, are very similar. New stadiums which we have been too recently (for cup games), both towns easy to get to cheaply by train. But both have the same flaw. When you get to Reading or Brighton, getting to the stadium is then a nightmare.

For Brighton, you have to queue up for another train to get to the stadium, a train which only leaves every 15 minutes. It is not too bad when going to the stadium, but it causes massive delays getting away from the stadium.

In the same vain, Reading is also a nightmare to get too and from the town centre. They put on buses to and from the stadium but these always have lengthy queues. It is a nightmare, especially after the game.

My personal favourite? Derby, unless Fulham go down then QPR.

Today, both Fulham and Cardiff could go down. One is a loss, the other I do not care for.

Cardiff, again, is a ground on the edge of town. A 30-40 minute walk filled with snarling sheep shagging Welshman. It takes over 2 hours to get to Cardiff from London (longer if the train is diverted via Gloucester due to engineering works) and is fairly costly. It is not a nice trip, and one which I certainly will not be missing. Bye bye Cardiff.

Fulham will be a loss. Whether you go on one of the many fan group arranged boat trips, or head to the river for a drink in one of the many pubs, it is a top trip. With zero rail costs and friendly atmosphere, it has been one of the best away days of recent years – especially when it is sunny. Add in that after the game, you are 10 minutes from Central London, it is one which you can make a full day of it. This year we were signing and dancing about Lukas Podolski until the early hours in Liverpool Street. If Fulham go down, it will be a sad day for the Arsenal Away boys.

The other sides in the relegation dog fight are Hull, WBA, Aston Villa, Sunderland and Norwich. We can almost discount Hull and WBA as they are 5 and 4 points away from the relegation zone respectively, with a game in hand on many of those below them. That leaves Villa, Sunderland and Norwich.

Aston Villa is a bit of a shitter to get too, with a train or taxi required to be taken once you get into Birmingham, but as already mentioned, I have an affinity with the Midlands. Under 2 hours to get their, decent train costs, it is a perfect away day outside of London. Birmingham is also a city I love to drink in before an away day, with the Shakespeare just outside the stadium being my place of choice. Aston Villa are a proper football club, Villa Park a proper football stadium. I do not want them to go down.

Sunderland is a horrible place. Whilst it has giving me my two best away days over the last 2 seasons – mainly due to the 5 hour journey’s (engineering problems) meaning I could barely walk once I got back to Kings Cross, it is a stadium I will not be fussed about going too again. If all go’s well ,it is a 3 hour train trip, you will be getting a sore arse by the end of it. But that only drops you into Newcastle, you then need to get the train to Sunderland. With a cost upwards of £100 for the train ticket, it is the most expensive day out.

Newcastle is a good city to drink in pre-game, but the post-game rush from Sunderland stadium, to the station, then to Newcastle has plenty looking at their watches for train times. Add in Sky’s enjoyment of putting teams a large distance apart on an evening kick off (or Monday night this year), there is always the chance that there will not be trains back. Sunderland are certainly a team that I would like to see relegated.

With Newcastle safe, we still get the trip to the North East next season, but without the arsehole bit after getting into Newcastle.

Finally we come to Norwich, who we could relegate next weekend. And I hope we do. A ticket cost of £50 is disgraceful. A lot has been made of our £62 ticket for Manchester City, but at least you get to watch Manchester City and Arsenal. £50 to watch Norwich? No thanks, especially when we only charged their fans £26.

It should tick all the boxes. Cheap train trip, reasonable travelling time, nice town with the stadium close to the train station. But their greed ruins it. They can fuck off.

So who do I want to go down? Cardiff, Sunderland and Norwich, with Derby coming the other way.

Keenos