What’s the score with Jeremy Lebor! – Redknapp, tickets, Usmanov and more

Welcome to my new weekly column “What’s the score with Jeremy Lebor”. I aim to talk about current Arsenal topics, gossip and the like.

Along with every other hardened Gooner, I do have an opinion and more often than not it is at odds with what others may think, buy hey, that’s half of the fun and will hopefully make it an interesting read… How boring would life be if we were all to agree on everything?

Before this week’s column, I just want to say a huge thank you to Billy (@EducatedGooner), Michael (@mj_afc) and Andy (@YorkshireGunner) for their blogs over the last few days and kicking things off so well for us and the re-vamped Welcome to the Gunner’s Town. All great reads! – Dave (@goonerdave66) has certainly put a great team of writers together and, like me, I am sure you will enjoy reading their columns on a weekly basis, together with the columns of all the other great writers we have lined up. We aim to make this blog the most enjoyable Arsenal blog out there, and all of us here @WTTGT share one common thread – a huge passion for Arsenal Football Club. With that said, here is this week’s column…

‘Arry’s a Gooner!

So Saturday is a crucial game for Arsenal, and in theory, with Queens Park Rangers now relegated and having nothing to play for but pride, many will say it will be a walk-over! – I don’t agree. Sure, Arsenal should and probably will win comfortably, but you can bet as sure as night follows day that Harry Redknapp will want to get one over on Arsène Wenger, and don’t be surprised if he ‘parks the bus’ just to stop a total humiliation. As for Arsenal, there is no room for error and three points is a MUST. Anything other than a win is totally unacceptable!

With Lukas Podolski not firing on all cylinders last Sunday, don’t be surprised to see Theo Walcott start up top with Olivier Giroud banned, but once again, Wenger may leave things as they are and start with Podolski as the main striker. I think it is essential for Tomas Rosicky to start, and you could visibly see his upset and frustration when he was substituted against Manchester United. Maybe he was not fully fit, but he was in my opinion Arsenal’s best player at the time of his substitution. If he was fit, then Wenger should have left him on, no question.

I have quite openly said previously that I thought Aaron Ramsey was pants. Actually, I said a lot worse, but when I’m wrong I put my hands up and say so. He has definitely improved and without question, as with Ray Parlour of old, he always puts in a very good shift for the team. Let’s hope that continues. I think in fairness to the lad, he needs a break and few goals will do wonders for his confidence. Saturday would be a good start!

With Championship football now on offer for QPR next season, following the Arsenal game, QPR have Newcastle United at home who themselves are now fighting for their own Premier League survival, followed by QPR’s last game of the season in the top flight away to Liverpool, so don’t be surprised that they will have a point to prove on Saturday against us. However, you can be sure if we knock in two or three in the first half, ‘Arry will be twitching uncontrollably! – I wonder what odds Andy, the Gunner’s Tipster would give me for 30 twitches from ‘Arry before half time? Got to be worth a tenner of anyone’s money!

What’s the sub-title above all about then? Well, it got your attention didn’t it? Haha. Actually, ‘Arry is a Gooner and its common knowledge for many years that he has supported Arsenal since he was a boy (which was obviously a very, very long time ago!) Not sure you’d get him to admit it now though! – He may not be Arsène’s greatest fan, but he’s definitely a ‘Gooner’!

Having said all of the above, assuming Arsenal are on their game (and I think they will be) I’m going for an Arsenal win with a QPR 0 Arsenal 3 score line. However, if you fancy a flutter, it is worth going with Andy’s suggestion at Gunner’s Tipsterand having a punt on Theo as 1st Goal and Arsenal to win 4-0 which is at 45/1 – Nice!

Guard of Honour…

I wrote an article prior to the Manchester United game about the infamous guard of honour. So Sunday arrived and despite the talk of booing, silence or the crowd doing a Poznan, it was actually quite uneventful. For all the disdain towards Robin van Persie, he was actually quite humble. Not sure if it was just me who noticed it, but apart from trying to (kill) Per Mertesacker(using a Ferganism), followed by a shoulder barge on Mikel Arteta as he was walking away from the referee, and of course the mooted or zero goal celebration by him from the resulting penalty following Bacary Sagna’s foolish tackle, he didn’t seem to be trying that hard. You can be sure that if Manchester United had needed to win the game, things would have been a lot different, but Van PurseStrings had at least three clear opportunities to score in addition to the point-blank header that Wojciech Szczesny saved brilliantly. He clearly wanted a quiet day… or maybe he is just crap!

Of course there is the nonsense that Van Persie visited the Arsenal changing room post-match as he said the food was better in the home changing room… Knob! – Sorry Robin, you gave up that right the moment you left us! Only Thierry Henry, Dennis Bergkamp (to name just a few) and a handful of other Legends are welcome in the home changing room. No player is bigger than Arsenal Football Club. Every player no matter who they are, would do well to remember that!

From Russia with… (don’t think it’s) Love!

Talk is rife once again about the Russian Billionaire Alisher Usmanov. I find it absolutely hilarious that here is supposedly the richest man in the UK, with his wealth purported to be in excess of £13 Billion pounds, he owns almost 30% of the shares in Arsenal Football Club, attends most if not all of the home matches, but he can’t get a space in the Arsenal car park! – It is a constant source of amusement to me… Really, it does make me chuckle! –  If he had a disabled blue badge, then he’d get a space in a heartbeat… There’s the answer Mr Usmanov!

In the Daily Mail on Wednesday, Usmanov took yet another pop at (Silent) Stan Kroenke. There are many who shudder at the thought of Usmanov taking over at the club. Indeed, Dave (@goonerdave66) and I have differing views as to Usmanov’s potential involvement at Arsenal, but the banter makes the discussion that more enjoyable, and we have exchanged a few choice views on the matter. Many will say that Usmanov is (purported) to be a crook, but although I don’t have enough facts
to make any judgement, I am of the old school where if you are not convicted or even found guilty then it is only speculation. Maybe he is a nasty piece of work, maybe it is all a load of nonsense, but either way, the constant in-house fighting is not healthy for the club. Who gives a damn about egos; this should be about what is best for Arsenal Football Club, nothing else!

Despite the tradition at Arsenal, loyalty is a very strange and indeed rare thing. Look at David Dein. He in my opinion did more for Arsenal Football Club (and English football) than any other senior figure at the club in the last 40 plus years. He even brought in Danny Fiszman amongst others, but just look at what happened to David Dein; he got right royally shafted by the board. Despite that, he is still a regular at every home game. A true and LOYAL supporter. Mr Kroenke, please take note!

I have no doubt Alisher Usmanov would splash the cash and I would also not be surprised at some point (perhaps even in the summer) to see a hostile takeover by him, but ultimately I think every supporter would simply like to hear what Silent Stan has to say, what the ambition and short-term plan is that he has, and if he is not going to assist with ensuring that Arsenal Football Club remain at the very top where they belong, by spending money where necessary to strengthen the squad with quality players,  then perhaps it is time for him to bow out! With the value of Silent Stan’s shares, he would make a tidy profit indeed if he were to sell, however, as any prudent business man will tell you, why sell when you don’t need to do so and your investment is constantly growing. For Kroenke, I believe Arsenal Football Club is simply business and nothing more than that. That may be hard for most supporters to hear, but is probably a lot nearer to the truth and reality of the situation! I would certainly like to be proven wrong – What do you think?

£400k a week to spend…

I have had this discussion over and over with the guy I go to Arsenal with, ‘H’ in recent weeks, together with Dave and other pals at the Tollington pre-game. By doing a quick calculation of current players wages, with the ‘dead wood’ that Arsenal are purporting (and Arsenal fans are  hoping) will leave the club in the summer, namely, Sebastien Squillaci, Denilson, Andrey Arshavin, Johan Djourou, Nicklas Bendtner and Emmanuel Frimpong to name but a few, there is something approaching over £400,000 per week in wages that Arsenal Football Club will save! Even if they were to receive absolutely nothing in transfer fees for any of the above players, that is almost another £21 Million pounds! How would you spend this extra money in addition to the money the club (we hope) will spend in the close season? I intend to do an item on transfers in next week’s “What’s the score with Jeremy Lebor”, so it would be good to hear your views prior to writing it? – Feel free to tweet me @jeremylebor.

Season Tickets 2014/15…

So, should the unthinkable happen and we DON’T qualify for the Champions League next season, how would you feel about paying upwards of £45-00 for a home tie Europa League ticket?

There is word that if we don’t qualify for the Champions League next term, then it has been reported that the club are talking about including nine cup tie tickets to include Europa League ties instead of the current seven cup ties, and obviously, that will mean an increase in season ticket prices, despite the club stating that there would be a price freeze for the forthcoming season. Those cup tie tickets by the way also include FA Cup ties. So, if we have a run in the FA Cup (at home) and heaven forbid, we were in the Europa League and had a decent run in that, ultimately season ticket holders could face buying another six or even eight tickets at £45-00 per time. That could be as much as another £360! – What do you think?

Last Word…

So that’s your lot for this week, but please visit us every day as we do have a great lineup of writers planned for you each and every day as Dave set out in his blog on Wednesday. We hope you will be a regular visitor to our site, you will spread the word, and that you will tweet the site and articles to all of your own followers and bookmark us as your daily Arsenal read.

For those who follow me on twitter (@jeremylebor), please feel free to comment and chat. With smartphone technology as it is these days, most of us can access social media in a heartbeat, so there is no excuse! – For those of you who don’t follow me, get following now!

So, now you know the score, until next week – Jeremy!

Jeremy Lebor

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