Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium might still be shiny, but it lacks history and has been criticised for its soulless feel, a fact recognised by Arsene Wenger. “Highbury had a natural soul, because of the history,” said Wenger “We have to create history here at the Emirates.”
The club’s marketing department, under the direction of chief executive Ivan Gazidis plans to solve this in the short-term by plastering the stadium with visages of the past. Emirates will be revamped with the addition of pictures of the club’s greatest players, managers and moments around the stadium along with a “Highbury shrine”.
I don’t think there’s anything wrong with a club’s new stadium embracing the past like this (as long as it isn’t terribly cheesy), but this is an installation of heritage and not how a stadium really comes to feel like anything like a part of your “soul”. Of course, Wenger being smarter than his club’s marketing department, gets this: “You want to transfer the history of the club into the walls of this stadium but you want to create new history with results. We have maybe not achieved that at the moment. My job and that of the team is to create it on the pitch.”
- Fifa.com has its usual Monday world leagues roundup, looking at Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, Australia and the U.S.
- Barry Moat’s proposed takeover of Newcastle United looks like it’ll come down to the wire; it’s not usually a good sign when a new owner has to stretch himself just to buy the club in the first place.
- Whisper it quietly, Spurs fans: title talk is on. In the Times, Matt Hughes reminds us that the last time Tottenham won the league 48 seasons ago, the team won their first eleven games of the season.
- It was another tough weekend for my hometown club, Brighton and Hove Albion, who lost 4-2 to Stockport yesterday to add to a 7-1 defeat to Huddersfield midweek. Manager Russell Slade somehow managed to find a silver-lining in those two results: “Stick by us,” Slade said. “Two games ago we hadn’t scored a goal. We’ve now scored three but we haven’t won a game.” Well yes, because we also conceded 11, Russell.
- What must Juan Carlos Osorio be thinking? Just days after his resignation, the Red Bulls finally showed a little spine and broke their 16-game winless streak with a 3-2 win over FC Dallas. Meanwhile, you probably heard the rumour that Barcelona are planning to buy the Red Bulls. It was a reminder of the importance of that market that the colossal failure of that franchise over the years means sorting the situation out is reportedly #1 on Garber’s to-do list.
- We’ll have a longer piece on the amazing run of Sky Blue FC to the WPS title (see our preview for a summary of their remarkable, controversial Cinderella season), but what I’m most curious about is whether WPS will alter its playoff structure after the team that finished fourth of seven and a long way behind regular season champions the LA Sol won the title against a rather rusty LA. The system was apparently up for debate in yesterday’s long WPS Board of Governors meeting.
- How has the David Beckham effect benefited all of MLS’ bottom-line? This rough analysis (which looks crude but fairly reasonable as a supposition) concludes he’s brought in $6,558,000 in direct stadium to revenue to MLS clubs as a whole, excluding the Galaxy themselves.
- Finally, I was reminded of the power of this sport last night. My team, the Chicago Fire, were losing 2-0 in what just might have meant the end of the line for head coach Denis Hamlett, despite the team being well in playoff contention. Then came 3 Fire goals in twenty minutes for a remarkable comeback. A friend of mine had been particularly distraught by the score up until the third goal, as he’d been waiting for the right moment to do something important: following that goal, he got down on one knee and proposed to his girlfriend in the middle of the pandemonium of Section 8, at the stadium where they’d first met. She, of course, accepted.
The Sweeper appears daily. For more rambling and links throughout the day every day, follow your editor Tom Dunmore @pitchinvasion on Twitter.