So, after several weeks of speculation, he has finally gone to Spain. I would be lying if I said I was not gutted. I am extremely so. However, in a way I am glad he has gone. Over on the regular blogs I read, ArseBlog, East Lower and The Cannon. They have been doing an excellent job covering the rumour of the move, up to the breaking of the news confirmed late on Friday evening. While somewhat biased as Arsenal fans, they give a balanced view in terms of the great Frenchman’s depature. He was easily the greatest player to ever play for Arsenal and in the modern era, his goal scoring record will perhaps stand the test of time and remain a true testament to his achievements at the North London club. However, no one is bigger than the club and I find some of his phrases in his open letter to The Sun quite disrespectful. The whole business of David Dein being a big blow and the uncertainty of Arsene Wenger’s future is a smoke screen. He wanted to go to Barcelona for a new challenge, after our challenge for honours crashed and burned in early Spring. I wish he could be honest and just say this to the fans that adored him and to a certain extent worshipped him. £16 million is good business in the end and no one can deny that he is no longer at the peak of his powers. Last season proved that, with him spending far too much time on the sidelines. There is also the fact, that even though we have built him up as Superman, it would be painful to watch his slow decline over the coming few years. Having said that, I feel honoured to have been able to see him play at Ashburton Grove, particularly when you consider last summer, we had the same story being speculated by the tabloids. I recall the press conference very well, Dein made the comment, “Thierry has something to say to you all…” with a big grin on his face. His last ever contract apparently! I suppose I was stupid to believe that a footballer would honour his loyalty to the club. Funny how things have changed in less than twelve months. I make no excuse that the team has a whole under performed last season and the squad needs some serious surgery (even before the TH14 departure) and I have every faith that Arsene will make those shrude buys and produce more talent. I think many people have forgotten that it was the Frenchman who brought Henry in from the wilderness of Juventus, Italy and converted him from a winger to a deadly striker! There is little to be said that has not been said already. No one player is bigger than the club and we must learn to move on. The Thierry Henry chapter, as wonderful and glorious as it has been for the past eight years is now well and truly over. We must look to our future and the season ahead. I take great comfort from one aspect of what history has shown us. No ex-Arsenal player has ever really achieved much having left the club. Look at Overmars and Petit who went the same way. The plus point is the great youth system and the young kids coming through the ranks. We just need to bolster the squad with some experienced heads and then take it from there. The final word goes to Daniel, the Master & Apprentice head their separate ways.
Posts tagged: Henry
I got my mobile phone out of my jean pocket, it was 18:29 precisely. I had arrived a minute ahead of schedule. Perfect. Now I just had to wait for Terry. I was outside Finsbury Park tube station. It was the first Tuesday of 2007. I was about to head to a football game. Considering all the things that had happened, I felt good. I suppose, I should rewind and head back to my first day back in the office. Nothing like an easy day, to ease you back into the motions. The phone lines were dead. The calm before the storm perhaps but I think many people have taken an extended break and are not back in work until 8th March. Coming in early and leaving at 4.30pm perhaps helped, just a little as well.
I had borrowed my sister’s Creative Zen V+ to give it a proper road (or rather more accurately tube) test. I had forgotten how great MJ sounds on ear phones. I was tapping along to Beat It, Smooth Criminal and the other tracks I had transferred across on Monday. Never before have I been able to escape in such away into the music and let the journey on the tube just drift into the background. For a brief moment, I wanted to break into an attempt at the moonwalk, but it was not appropriate and I already had the electric eyes all over me and did not need any further unnecessary attention.
The first game of 2007 was against Charlton, now under the stewardship of Alan Pardew. I had a feeling, when I booked my tickets over a month ago that Henry would come off the bench and score some goals. I was not too far off the mark. Instead of being on the bench, he started. Woo hoo! I was with Terry, he arrived a few minutes after I got to the station but we had to wait a good fifteen minutes for Henry. (No, not that Henry but Terry’s work colleague). While we waited I bought two programmes, one for my work colleague and fellow Gooner Paul in the office. Terry was in one of his grumpy moods, where is is all pessimistic.”You going to read the propaganda from the ‘tain then? I refuse to read that BS”. He does make me laugh. The Sheffield united defeat had got to him, but then every single defeat gets to him more than any other fan I know. I prefer to always remain positive, to look on the bright side. Defeat is not an easy pill to swallow but you know that the next 90 minutes is just around the corner. Redemption is never far away.
After grabbing a bite to eat and a drink of over priced mineral water, I headed to my seat. Shaking hands with both Terry and Henry, in what has become a pre-match tradition. I went up to my seat, which was right at the end of a row, which is both a blessing and a curse. Great view, but I have come to expect that now and quite a full house. I was looking forward to the game as the players came out. The atmosphere was good but once again one of the many golden rules were broken. Before we even scored our fourth, final decisive goal many people were walking out of the ground. That is just stupid. I would never dream to leave a game before the final whistle blows and can speak from bitter experience. Which I may bring up some time in the future. I can understand people have a long journey home but if you pay quite a bit of your hard earned cash for ticket, I expect my full monies worth. A great game to watch, you could see Thierry was in the mood and he was nowhere near match fit. Perhaps the most kind of gesture was him passing the ball to Robin for the second penalty. Some of the taunting of Pardew was derogatory but you could not say he did not deserve it.
I wanted to watch it tonight, I tried, honestly I did. However, my television tuner is off. What am I talking about? Celebrity Big Brother? Why would I watch this poor excuse for reality television? My record with this “genre” of television programme has perhaps been poor in recent years. For me, it started with ITV’s The Popstars back in 2001, then the following year with Popstars: The Rivals but since then I’ve rarely watched beyond the auditions of the Pop Idol series and this year’s X-Factor I gave up before the live shows started. A colleague at work, avoids them at all costs and personally I have never really watched BB (celebrity or nobody flavour). Although in my house it is unavoidable, as you will usually find one of my elder sisters tuned into the live feed on E4. This year I wanted to to at least watch the show on standard Channel 4 and perhaps catch the odd show on E4. I will not be watching and I will explain why. I read on BBC News that Bollywood actress, Shilpa Shetty would be taking part (for a cool £450,000, which at current exchange rates is 38,838,499.58 Indian rupees. They use a strange numbering system but she hardly needs the cash, being a chorepatni herself). Well that was the draw. Strange I know for me, someone who despises contemporary Bollywood cinema and longs for the action era of the 1980s. However, how could I not want to watch the stunning 32 year old (and single, apparently) actress on the show. Well, the she walked in and she opened her mouth. That was it. One of the few things that makes my blood boil, is Indians speaking English. I just find the accent so annoying. Now let me put this into context, I am sure I have already stated on this blog, several times that I think Hindi is the most romantic language in the world when sung and perhaps second only to French when spoken. However Indians speaking English just does not work. They try, I give them that, but to me it does not sound right.
Okay rant over. Trying to book Le Mans for the summer but it hardly looks like the cheapest holiday for a petrol head. We may also be going down of to a group of two instead of four which would be a shame but is fully understandable. You never know, Teg might be able to drill it down to a little better value.
Strange week. Productive week. Demanding week. Glad Friday is finally here, although once again not much planned for the weekend. Perhaps I should start with the video I uploaded to You Tube last Friday evening. On Wednesday evening when I was reading the comments and looking at the statistics. It was around 4000 with around 30 odd comments. Nothing major, in comparison to the more popularly discussed videos on the site. To my surprise when I was in the office on Thursday I had around eleven e-mails from of people leaving comments plus at least three people whom were now subscribed to my video feed. Impressive when you consider I have only three comical videos on my account at the moment and they are not user generated content. When I headed over to the site I was shocked to see the views having surged to 45,000 and the comments headed for triple figures. I had picked up a few honours over the weekend with the video being in the top twenty discussed videos of the week but that was as I had only uploaded late on Friday evening. Now I was in the top 15 for the following week too. Impressive. The clip just encourages discussion, not just the fact that the singers are so controversial but as is the artist that is being covered (a great disservice nevertheless). MJ was back in the news earlier this week, thanks to Access Hollywood. Michael was over in Ireland, in the recording studio with none other than Will.i.am from a group you might know. Rather than go into the details, the full interview will be released on Thursday 2nd November and has caused quite a stir within the fan community, following the airing of a teaser trailer. I too am excited and looking forward to a sneak peak of new material for the forthcoming album. Whenever it drops.
Keeping on the MJ theme, I went to the Thriller Live concert back at the tail end of August. I wrote (I know I could have sent an e-mail but they deserved much more) to the producers to thank them personally for a wonder show but only discovered that my review had been published on their web site. (Scroll down the page, third one) In between all the You Tube e-mails I have been reviewing was a note from the team to let me know that the Thriller Live musical was about to begin a UK tour in the new year and I was invited to their launch party in February. Of course I’ll be there.
I was aiming to update my blog on Tuesday evening but had little to write about my day. It was part of the big British blog day as prescribed by History Matters. There was no way I was going to surrender the copyright of my blog (even for one posting) to a third party, so I was happy to blog on here, but found myself forcing the words onto the page so therefore just gave up. Now, three days later I find myself able more readily to draw the lines between the dots. I was going to consider my working day and then reflect it against my evening. Both are spent on the computer. Achieved little in the office. If anything I created work for myself, smashing the call queue to 100, closing perhaps two or three calls over the course of the day. The call queue would remain that way until today when I got it to around 80. I left work late, which has become a regular occurrence this week, apart from today when I rushed out at 6pm sharp. Arsenal were losing and I listened to the commentary on Five Live on the drive home on crackly AM. At home, I was able to catch the last thirty minutes or so on ITV4, including that Henry goal that should have stood. Perhaps the ref saw something different. That set the mood for my evening, I spend the evening online, talking to friends but not actually doing anything really productive. No different from any other night.
As a big fan of Doctor Who, I am looking forward to Torchwood, that starts on BBC Three on Sunday with a double bill. Looks like the BBC has been booked for two shows every weekend for the next month or so. Although time will tell whether Captain Jack will become our next big TV hero. It has the polished website you would expect from the BBC and the trailers have been screened regularly on primetime BBC1 slots, trying to go for the edgy fast paced American style teasers to get you on board. Maybe others need to be persuaded, I will be tuning in regularly on a Sunday evening. Although it took me a while to work out that T shape logo in orange that kept flashing up between trails. Thankfully I have the option to watch Freeview in my room but might have to book out the lounge. Right, I think I will go and upload another video to You Tube. Best to make the most of my new found celebrity status.
To be honest, I expected it to arrive later in the week, perhaps as late as Saturday morning. So you can imagine my surprise when I came home and found the silver special delivery placed on my leather chair. I knew instantly what it was and rushed to open it up and show my Mum. This was a special moment, my first Arsenal shirt with a player’s name and number on the back. Opening the packaging I pulled out the shirt and smiled. I was set for Saturday afternoon and my first visit to our new home over at Ashburton Grove. I am started to get a little excited already and there are still four more sleeps before the big day. I am planning to get there early, much like the last game at Highbury and make most of the pre match atmosphere, which in many ways will be the same crowd, slightly different location.
I know it is really early to be saying things like this, but bring on the weekend!
If I gave titles to my blog entries, this entry would be called, ‘The Lost Evening’. I have often considered adding titles, but knowing how difficult it is for my friends, such as Sippy and Nazma to think up titles, I have always given it a miss. Particularly as I would want to add a twist to proceedings and never use the same title twice. Some ask. I had been watching Eastenders in the lounge with my family, when I noticed the ability to focus drop. A headache was on the cards, I could feel it in my bones. At 8pm, I headed back to my room and tried to get on with something, but just could not concentrate, even fighting the on coming pain. Just after 8.30pm, it was no use, I had to rest, I had to get some sleep. I went into the living room to disconnect the wireless broadband router and tell them I was retiring for the night. My Mum said she would wake me up with a cup of tea, later in the evening. I put on Five Live and jumped into bed and slowly drifted to sleep, hearing that Reading were two nil down to West Brom. My Mum came in at 10.30pm to wake me, with that cup of tea she promised but it was wasted. I would never get out of bed. Instead after being awake for a while, and listening to the radio drone with news and idle chitchat, I feel back to sleep, only to wake up again just before midnight and become extremely restless. I was awake for what seemed like hours and eventually got back to sleep sometime in the early hours. Yet I woke up this morning, feeling quite tired and not fresh as I had intended. Note to self, never ever take an early night and be in bed before 9pm.
While we were watching the full ninety minutes from Football First – Game Of The Day (the seven goal thriller against Boro) my Mum asked why I wanted to go to yet another Arsenal game at Highbury (I’ve already been to three games so far this season, plus the Community Shield). Rarely do I go into explaining my beloved sport to my Mum. It never really goes beyond indicating the colour strip my team are wearing and the score. Well it is never really the score. It’s usually, winning, losing or drawing. Although the word for draw in Hindi is quite elaborate and perhaps more entertaining than the translations of win and lose. Arsenal have been at Highbury for 93 years. My Mum thought I was giving the year and then in a rather unimpressed tone, said that is only twelve years (the same age as my youngest sister). No Mum, since 1913. Then she was shocked, even more shocked them from October, when I had explained that Number 14 (no, giving the players names would be too difficult, only Shearer from Euro’96 is the name player within my household of non-football fans) had scored 186 goals for the club! Talking of Mr. Henry, don’t you just want to download this and watch it again and again. Indeed, it is finally show time!
In my opinion, if it counts for anything, is that everyone should have a blog (of some description). Just like everyone deserves their fifteen minutes of fame. Afterall everyone has an opinion on something (if not everything) and the blog is the ideal spring board to broadcast your views to the world. If Gorgeous George can get away with harsh racial views on prime time television, than we all should have the opportunity to respond and debate what is said. The other night, I feel asleep and wondered (in a strange way) how my life would be different if I did not blog. It takes up a big chunk of my time, but I feel there is nothing worthwhile to fill the void that would be created if I did hang up my keyboard. I would also miss out on the small but loyal community of friends and readers I have gained over the past four years. Yes, by the time the World Cup comes around in June, this blog will have been going strong for four years. Amazing that my enthusiasm has never diminished in that time, if anything it has grown over the course of those years.
As I got into my car, just after 6pm last night, I put on the stereo and the car filled with the opening rift from Boulevard of Broken Dreams by Green Day. The perfect song to represent a tough day, and an exhausting week. Thankfully the weekend had finally arrived. I knew this week would see me under pressure. Two days in the Docklands at the beginning of the week, actually meant that I had to squeeze five days of office work into just three days, a difficult task under the best of circumstances. On top of which I was responsible for training a new member of staff. As always on a Friday, everyone wants something done by the end of play at 6pm. Headlines and deadlines. The story of my life, well at work anyway! (Coincidently it is a Green Day weekend on the Q music channel!)
For the past two Friday evenings I have been running around, rushing to get ready and then leave the house to go out (usually at least 20-30 miles) to make in time to meet my friends. Last night was no different. I left the house at 7.10pm to get to Pav’s house as quickly as possible because the Thai restaurant was booked for 8pm. As expected we got there late, but with Pav, this poor time keeping is to be expected. He was constantly late for Business Studies seminars at college. The worse thing is, that was over six years ago and things have not improved. After the meal we headed over to a bar called Ha Ha. Yes, Ha Ha where a friend of Pav’s is a resident DJ on Friday nights. Then after about an hour and a few drinks we headed over to Mango’s. Some of the party from the restaurant had by now left us, so it was just five of us. Now dance music is not exactly my cup of tea. Anything commercial (which I know and have heard before) is fine, but I get a bit lost when it is just the score. Something with lyrics will do me just fine, so I can pretend to sing along. Next time I go clubbing it will be a 100% cheese music policy. However, having said that, even I know poor mixing when I hear it and Pav’s friend had the courage to go up to the DJ booth and say, “Is this the amateur DJ group?” Once the DJ registered what had been said, his face was a picture of complete shock.
Whenever I meet Pav, he always has a tantalizing offer for me. Just before Christmas, it was the free amp (including installation, but that will happen in the next few weeks). The surprise this evening was a truly once in a lifetime offer. He is part of the E36 Coupe forum, and a member is organising a trip to the Nuerburg Ring. This will take place over the Easter Bank Holiday weekend and involve a medium sized convoy of cars heading down to south east Germany. How could I say no? To those non-petrol heads out there, this piece of tarmac is one of the most famous grand prix circuits in the world. Only vehicles that have been on the track, can display with great pride the Nuerburg sticker. All though the course of the night, I was thinking of the event, the drive across mainland Europe, the autobahn with no speed restrictions in places. Expect more excited discussion on this subject later, right now I feel slightly overwhelmed. At the time, I was ecstatic, I rang Chris!
The rest of this weekend has been deemed chill out time, particularly after the heavy weekend previous and hectic working week. After a late lunch at 3pm, I retired to my room to rest and listen to Five Live coverage of the afternoon football games. I was shattered and quickly fell asleep, but remember hearing Henry had been inches away from scoring a free kick. Then, I woke later in the afternoon to two pieces of shocking news. Kewell had finally scored a goal after over two years and Arsenal were humiliating Middlesborough 6-0, with a brace from the Frenchman. Later I would discover that Henry had scored a hat trick and matched Bastin’s club goal scoring record with the final result was 7-0.
Winter nights, for as long as I can remember have meant European football on the TV and eating ice cream. Rather a strange combination, I admit but it has become part of the football fortnight in my household. Champions League is the elite club competition in the world, with some of the greatest players in the world, taking part in the most exciting knock out competition ever seen. Both Tuesday and Wednesday night saw mixed fortunes for English clubs in the competition. I, of course was only interested in the mighty Arsenal, hoping to keep alive their 100% record in the competition and book our place into the last 16. From the kick off, you knew the night belonged to the Gooners. Even if at times, there were some nervous moments. Particularly in the second half. Yet, Henry and Van Persie (what else does this youngster need to do to get a start?) got the goals in a professional workman like performance. Reyes looked lively out on the left and was back to his best. Hopefully he will be able gain in confident, with a decent run out in his favoured position. Hopefully the next few EPL games (I’ve been speaking to Daniel too often to start using his English Premier League abbreviation) will see an improved run of our form (particularly on the road) as we begin to make up some ground on Chelsea.
Yesterday was a good day for me. Thursdays tend to go either way. Sometimes they are dull, boring, hectic and uncomfortable and you long for the moment to get into the car and drive home. Yesterday was different, I took the day by the scruff of the neck and get things done. There is always something satisfying to achieve your goals, no matter how little. In my dreams I live the life of someone else. The sun always shines and the sky is bright blue. Then, when I wake up I find myself sitting in my car, in traffic, heading for another day in the office. The only reminder of my daydream, is the pure pop playing on the stereo. What I must learn to do is not tempt fate. Even during my good moods (which are few and far between) I must keep focus on the things that really matter.
It takes a blog (of all things) to capture the mood of the nation. The return of the Mitchell Brothers was minor news in my household, as we are hardcore Eastenders fans. Yet, sometimes you wonder how reality mimics art, away from the spotlight of Albert Square. Is this purely extra publicity for the show, or are the successful women behind hard men, coming back to do some harm? People constantly wonder why I am glued to this soap and why I have been this way for several years. Sure, I would agree that some of the storylines have not been gripping over the past few years, but that is not the reason I watch. There are actually two reasons I watch (both kindly interconnected). Firstly the whole soap puts my own life into relief. Things are never as bad for me as they are over in Walford. Secondly, I enjoy watching losers (or as Stacey Slater put it this week, ‘waster’) such as Gary Hobbs and Ian Beale. They are highly entertaining and such a joke. Then you realise that they do truly exist and at times, may feature in your own life.
Back in Leicester, after a weekend at home. As always, time at home is extremely hectic, and before I know where I am, the time has drifted by and the East Midlands beckons once more. Another week at Uni begins and with it, the expectation and realisation that this is the final hurdle. A phrase which echoes in my mind, whenever I head to campus. Not long now, I know, as I draw closer to the finish line with every passing day.
Arsenal were in FA Cup action on Sunday lunchtime. I was eagerly anticipating the 5th Round tie. I recall coming back on Saturday 8th March, from Leicester to the catch the last dramatic encounter between the London clubs in this cup competition. If that match had anything to go by, I was in for an entertaining game of football. However, I was disheartened to hear that Henry was out of the game through injury. I knew that this would be a major test for the Gooners. Chelsea, must have thought this was the best opportunity to beat us in four years. The tie was going as scripted, with the Blues scoring towards the end of the first half. I had a feeling though. I had a feeling about our new signing Reyes. He had to deliver at some point and why not the best cup competition in the world. Two amazing goals in the space of five minutes. I would have been happy to go for the reply, but Reyes proved that with time and space he is deadly. What was everyone saying about Arsenal’s over reliance on Henry? I also feel a huge mention of Dennis Bergkamp is necessary. His contribution and vision was inspiring. Admirable to see a player still showing great skill and talent, even at the twilight of their professional career. There were numerous occasions when he split open the Chelsea defence, but unfortunately Arsenal were not able to make the most of the goal scoring opportunity. Not much else to report I am afraid at the moment. Upgrading my hosting this week, so the guest book should be online by Friday or the weekend.
I am breaking with the tradition of my website. Usually, I do mention a site, a webmaster and praise their creative ability. However on this occasion, I’m going
to go once step further and dedicate this blog entry to my dear friend, Kristy. For the rest of the events as they unfold will have a special meaning, only for
her. I hadn’t driven my car since Christmas and was looking forward to getting behind the wheel again. In anticipation for this, I burnt myself an Audio CD for the
first time, since Christmas. There were so many songs that I had been listening to excessively on WinAmp, but creating a track listing wasn’t too difficult. I need to take you back, take you back to the days of my placement. I mention on Wednesday 23rd April, that I had created yet another MP3 CD for the car. This particular collection was called ‘Pure Pop’. Now, I am sure that you are the same as me, when you are listening to a new album. You go straight for the songs that you know and love. Those that have been released as singles and had the most radio play. Very much, like a kid in sweet shop. You go for your favourite sweets, always. After a time, you begin to actually listen to the other tracks on the album. On one occasion, I recall vividly taking such a decision with this MP3 CD. I was going to start at track one, and let the CD cycle through all the tracks. The day I did
this, I was on the M1, heading back from Bedford, after yet another eventful day at work. But work was far from my mind and my thoughts were far from the road ahead. I already had a good collection of favourite songs on this album, beyond the well known singles. I thought there were no more I needed to hear. I was
far from right. As track six faded away, and the noise of the motorway traffic became apparent to me once more, I felt something strange. The feeling was that
of a distant memory. The song started, and music filled my car once more. The arrangement was breathtakingly perfect, every note timed with such grace and poise. Then the vocals began. There was only one person I thought of when I was listening to the song, those feelings came rushing back. “You say you’re sorry for the things That you’ve done To my life”, struck such a cord with me. I know that my time on placement was the best time for me professionally, where I took major leaps and bounds as a person. However, personally, it was the worse phase of my life in recent years, particularly the second half of 2002. Everyone knows that I am a fan of pure pop, and this was pure pop at it’s best. Simple, yet dramatic music that moves the soul. I had been listening to the song again, in recent weeks, not really sure why. The song is still as magnificent as ever, but those feelings, I felt in April are alien to me now. On Saturday, I headed to Bedford and there was only one song I
wanted to hear on my stereo. As I headed onto the motorway, the track came on. While driving my thoughts again drifted, but further afield than before. Across
the Channel to the Netherlands, to Rotterdam, where Kristy lives. I recalled with great accuracy the MSN conversation I had with her, in early January. I had
asked her what songs I should listen. She recommend the aforementioned track. I listened to it again, and the memories came flooding back. I asked if the
song had a video on the band’s DVD album. I was disappointed to hear, that it did not. But then Kristy told me that they performed the song live and the footage
included my favourite member, pumping the air in celebration during the minor bridge in the song. I tried to picture this and smiled. The power of music. Never to be underestimated. The band are of course, Liberty X and the song is, “Everyday”, from their debut album, “Thinking It Over”.