FA Cup Final Media Day – Gunners Town Reports from Colney and Wenger Press Conference

Darren Berry got the cream

Darren Berry got the cream

DB’s Season Diary Special – FA Cup Final Media Day

Like waiting for a bus ain’t it? You wait ages for a blog from me and then two come along in the same week.

I’m just trying to pass the time, the same as you.
Trying to keep my mind off of the cup final, while trying to enjoy the build up at the same time, if that’s even possible, that is.

As it happens, this week I was lucky enough to be able to attend the FA Cup Media Day at London Colney, along with my Gunners Town colleague Dave Seager (@goonerdave66), and fellow bloggers @Stillberto @theGoonerholic and @Gooner_AK

The morning started with Arsene Wenger’s press conference, where some of the assembled media seemed willing to help take my mind off of the FA Cup final by asking questions that had nothing to do with the FA Cup Final.
I’m sure the timing of it all, on the day that the FBI had just carted a load of FIFA off in their pants didn’t help, but what sort of answer they expected Arsene to give when asked about it I don’t know.
“FIFA? Yeah they’re all bent, mate. I’ve known that all along, we all have….”

Arsene was of course diplomatic in his answer as you would expect.

Then he was asked what he thought of Jose Mourinho’s “speech” or whatever they’re calling it, to which he pretty much said “I couldn’t give a shit, pal.”
Well, those weren’t his exact words, but being merely a humble blogger and not a professional like the bloke that asked him the question, I don’t use a Dictaphone. I use my fingers…..
The actual answer was along the lines of “I don’t care, ask me something else.”
Quite rightly too, we have an FA Cup Final to prepare for, while Jose will have to go home to stick the Wenger mask on the dog and kick it up the arse for the summer.

Arsene did his best to bring everything back to the final, whatever he was asked. One thing that did crop up was one of everyone’s favourite topics of the moment; the old “do you feel you’ve improved this season?” thing.
Amazingly, when asked this, he didn’t produce set of stats, a spreadsheet, a pie chart, a graph detailing results against the top 6, top 10 and bottom 10 or anything.
He did say that he feels we have developed, have a better stability and balanced style of play, although there was still work to be done.
This is something I personally agree with, having watched football with my eyes, but I’m sure there’s a graph out there somewhere that wants to convince me otherwise.


Next up, the mics went off and it was the turn of newspaper journalists to surround the boss for a few questions.

While observing from a distance, I did notice that he seemed more comfortable with that than he did the previous set of questions, and I caught a glimpse of something that made the day for me; Arsene Wenger talking about football.
I’ve always thought that he’s at this best when just allowed to talk, rather than having daft questions chucked at him, and you get the feeling that if he could, he would talk about football all day. No major revelation for a man that’s been living and breathing the job for so many years, but there’s this almost childlike enthusiasm about him when he does it.
It reminded me of a couple of years back when after watching an interview, I remarked to my wife that it was going on my bucket list to have a conversation with Arsene Wenger about football.
I didn’t exactly get to do that, but watching him in action live will do for now.

Here are a selection of the tweets from Gunners Town live and as it happened yesterday which will give you the themes and gist of what Wenger told us:


Next up, we went out to watch the players warm up a bit before training
A few things I noticed here;
The Ox looks like he’s been on the weights this year.
Martin Keown looks as scary now as he did as a player.


Keown with Mark Gonnella

Keown with Mark Gonnella

Theo, Rambo. Mikel and Kos warm up

Theo, Rambo. Mikel and Kos warm up



Robert Pires, who apparently does some work with injured players as well as his ambassadorial role and was training with the players on the day, is a lot taller than I remembered.
Alexis really is like a puppy straining at the leash, just as you would imagine him to be, actually. Arsene alluded earlier, when asked about him by Chilean journalists, that he was sometimes too demanding of himself, and you can see how that comes from someone with such boundless energy.
He’s like Scrappy Doo!
Twice he couldn’t resist kicking a ball when nobody else was. I wonder if anyone’s thought of slipping something in his drink to calm him down at all?

Finally, after the players had finished training it was time for some more interviews, with Mathieu Flamini, Mikel Arteta and Aaron Ramsey coming in one at a time.

You can read more from these elsewhere on Gunners Town this week, (Flamini here) but I will say that both Mikel and Aaron’s hair was looking good, despite them coming straight from training. Perhaps that’s why we shouldn’t write off these rumours about us signing Vidal so soon…..

I must say I am extremely grateful to the club and to Dave at Gunners Town for giving me the opportunity to attend this event, the first of these that I have attended.
I’m fully aware that some people see this as the club sucking up to a bunch of bloggers, or a bunch of bloggers acting like they’re journalists for the day, or something and such and such, and quite frankly I don’t care.
The fact of the matter is that I may be a 41 year old man that writes a blog, but today I was there as a fan. A fan that as a kid who wanted to play for The Arsenal one day, same as we all did.

Now, on to that FA Cup Final we’re all trying to take our minds off – just two more sleeps, kids!

Up The Arsenal

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One Response to FA Cup Final Media Day – Gunners Town Reports from Colney and Wenger Press Conference

  1. Omar Hasan Khan May 28, 2015 at 3:23 pm #

    Hi Darren,

    Great stuff! The level of envy was quite high when the live tweets were coming from you folks!

    Just wanted to touch upon your comment on how some people may view this as the club sucking up to bloggers; thought I’d add some perspective for those few people who might actually see it like that:

    Personally I thought it was a great gesture from the club to invite you guys and “sucking up” is out of the question because
    A) You’re Arsenal supporters/fans – you already talk about the club, tweet about it, blog about it without any added incentive, nor were you going to stop doing so if you had not received the invite.
    B) The information at the event is public knowledge as well i.e. what the boss said and the questions asked.
    C) The event wasn’t exclusive to bloggers only.

    I’ve seen brands conduct blogger meets and they are clear examples of “sucking up”. I won’t go into details of those!

    I’ll say again that I thought it was a fantastic gesture from the club and in their selection of invitees too.

    And I’m very glad you guys blogged about it because I can imagine the excitement, and taking everything in, like you did, if I was there.

    Lastly, a corporate trainer once asked a group of us to introduce ourselves and mention someone famous we would like to have dinner with and, like you, I mentioned Wenger, just to talk football.

    Anyway, top stuff, really enjoyed the read!

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