Let Pre-season Commence……
Monday 21st July 2014
Barnet away in mid July has been an enjoyable experience down the years and definitely the day when you know the new season will soon be upon us. Our trip to the new look Meadow Park was not our first down the years but certainly felt more like our many visits to Underhill.
This Summer’s entertaining World Cup understandably makes it feel like there hasn’t been a ‘break’ since our fantastic day out at Wembley back in May. But us Gooners, like every supporter of club football around the globe know that it feels every last bit like those 2 months since we had our fix.
I’ve very much enjoyed writing my ‘Fan’s Diary/Blog’ since my first thoughts were aired on arsenal.com back in 1999 and over the years I have not only wondered if I would ever get bored or lose interest in the ‘word’ side to my passion but also if that incessant desire to attend every single match would ever start to wane. Well…..38 years or so since my first game and 15 years since I first penned my thoughts as a fan, I approach my 39th season following my team over land and sea with every last inch of that passion intact. Arsenal til we die I guess 😉
Those of you who have followed my ramblings down the years realise I do have one or two other passions outside of the beautiful game and although I try and include them through the 10 months where football is number one, the couple of Summer months give me more of an opportunity. Consequently as in previous years activities since FA Cup Final day have included plenty of live music, comedy, cricket and enjoying the sunshine. And of course, making all the plans pre-season announcements and the new fixture list dictate us travelling Gooners need to make.
The hugely speculative transfer merry-go-round keeps us all incredibly entertained (or frustrated if you take any of it a little too seriously) and as I pen these thoughts we welcome both Alexis Sanchez and Matt Debuchy to the greatest club in the world, both signings that look nothing less than hugely positive. Time will tell over the next 5 or 6 weeks if any other players come and go from the 300 plus stories that the ‘sources in the know’ have fed us all Summer!
The fixtures being released is always an exciting time for all of us but planning has to wait for the TV companies to select their ‘live’ fixtures. Frustrating for all of us Gooners trying to arrange travel, hotels and the all important social side to our passion. Although like the majority, I believe Saturday at 3pm is the time when weekend games should be played I also accept that this has not been the way for many years now. To think that our first home game to take place at this ‘traditional’ day and time does not come until late November however, seems somewhat ridiculous! The first 2 months of our season and all the games that come with it definitely looks like ‘trial by television’!
All those things bring us nicely to Saturday’s outing in the sunshine and the opening day of another pre-season. I say ‘sunshine’ although it definitely didn’t look like that might be the case when I set off at about 6am, the forecast suggesting storms as ferocious as the previous two nights could well arrive in the Borehamwood area come kick-off time. Luckily of course, they chose to kick-off elsewhere and consequently the pre-match fare was enjoyed al-fresco.
Number one in everything pre-season has to be fitness. It is all about every player being at his peak physical fitness in time for when the important stuff starts in August. Above all else then, Saturday’s game goes some way to achieving just that. Our superb yellow away kit looked great in the sunshine, most of us fans of course delighted that the ‘skin tight’ version the players wear is not the only option available!
A good run out then and a two goal victory to take as we now look forward to the hugely exciting trip to New York. A city I have never visited but always wanted to, the chance to watch our team there, enjoy all the related entertainment that the army of US Gooners have planned whilst taking in much of what one of the world’s greatest cities has to offer is a mouthwatering prospect.
One I hope to bring you tales of, warts n all 😉