Saturday, 9 July 2011

Pre Season Options

Tomorrow Arsenal set off on their first ever tour of Asia and there is only one question on my mind. Why?

The obvious answer to this is the endless commercial opportunities. Manchester United, Chelsea and Liverpool have all previously been to the far east and now have enormous fan bases out there generating a huge amount of income. The amount of shirts that can be sold on the back of a jolly in Japan is phenomenal.

The other explanation is to build up a certain amount of match fitness before the beginning of a long season. Playing a couple of matches against some admittedly not brilliant opposition should do the body nothing but good. Right?

Is Ryo Miyaichi just a pawn to increase revenue?
Lets look at both points. Firstly money. Arsenal acquired a new player a couple of seasons ago by the name of Ryo Miyaichi. No prizes for guessing where in the world he is from. Japan. So naturally a money spinning trip to Asia to milk this new superstar was bound to happen. However, young Ryo is from Japan. Arsenal are only visiting Malaysia and China. This makes absolutely no sense what so ever to me. Surely you go back to the boys home country, show of the 'local boy done good'. Everyone loves those stories and in turn, everyone would buy a Miyaichi shirt. Arsenal make a mint, mission accomplished. So why the hell have we gone to the wrong countries? This is a huge missed opportunity if you ask me.

The second reason is to get players match fit. Now call me old fashioned, but I don't see what is wrong with trotting around a few lower league clubs, handing out a few spankings and building up confidence that way. Hell, I was even a fan of the pre season trips to Germany and Austria which often yielded a couple of high scoring wins against fairly decent opposition. And the best bit about this? It was only an hour on the plane, so no jet lag. Excellent, the players land and straight away they are ready to play. But instead they face a gruelling 13 hour flight to a completely different climate to what they are used to, so a couple of days are already wasted trying to adapt to the different conditions.

The other downside to this sort of trip is that the players over there are all unknown to us. They are players who may well be looking to put themselves in the shop window, engineer a move to a premier league club. It would not surprise me if there where tackles flying in and at least one serious injury which will lead to an Arsene Wenger moan about how we should not have taken this trip.

Let us not forget that on July 30th and 31st, Arsenal will be hosting the annual Emirates cup. This is a tournament which has always provided high class opposition and games that are played in the right spirit. The best thing about this tournament? The other teams come to us! How about extending this competition a little? Play all three teams rather than just two. Revenue would increase through ticket sales and people using the club shop, players would be regaining their fitness without having to traipse half way across the globe. Its got to be worth thinking about.

That's that done with. Anyway, the first game of the tour is on Wednesday so I should be able to bring you a review of that soon after. Who knows, I may be able to write about the arrival of some new faces before then. But this is Arsenal, so maybe not..


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