Things Arsenal

Some Arsenal and football resources that every fan or fan-to-be should peruse.

Official Arsenal Website The Official Website of Arsenal Football Club.  Club news, video, fixtures and results, lots more. When I can’t access a match on TV, I listen to it on Arsenal Player. If you become a digital member (free) of the web site, you can access video highlights and replays as well.

Arsenal Blogs

Arseblog:  No day is complete without a review of the best Arsenal blog on the planet. (Says me.) It’s the first thing I read on the train every morning and one of the last things I look at in the evening. Daily Arsenal news, Arsecast Extra (podcast), live game blogging, Tim Stillman’s way awesome column on strategy, Arsenal Gentleman’s Weekly.

Suburban Gooners: A terrific blog I came across this year. Thoughtful analysis from a fan’s point of view. If they write it, I read it.

Positively Arsenal: This blog takes a particular point of view that I love. It is about Arsenal and it is from a supportive point of view, i.e., it is positive. If Piers Morgan reads it, he weeps at the positivity of it all. The most positive among us can admit this is worthy by itself. I especially enjoyed this Tottenham love story. Scroll down to the middle. This is a great site overall, but I especially enjoy match previews and reaction by 900footGooner. There is so much analysis available in the world of each match, but 900ftGooner always seems to have unique insight that makes it well worth a read.

The Tuesday Club: Wonderfully bawdy “Pub podcast” with insightful (often), crazy funny (always) Arsenal commentary, musings, etc.

Arsenal Books

Fever Pitch by Nick Hornby. Classic Arsenal fan’s memoir. A wonderful book that reminds every rabid Arsenal fan that, comparatively speaking, they are nothing but a piker.

Stillness and Speed by Dennis Bergkamp. The autobiography of the greatest Gooner of the modern era. More than that, it is a fascinating look into the thinking and preparation of a great talent that I think is relevant regardless of whether or not you appreciate Arsenal, or football, or sport for that matter.

Invincible: Inside Arsenal’s Unbeaten 2003-2004 Season by Amy Lawrence. A beautifully written team memoir, more or less, of the amazing season that Arsenal won the Premier League and never lost a match, forever known as The Invincibles. Amy Lawrence allows us see how the stage had been meticulously set and how the season unfolded using a tapestry of interviews of the characters who produced one of sports’ greatest accomplishments.

Lonely at the Top: Lonely at the Top is an unauthorized biography of Thierry Henry written by Phillipe Auclair. Phillipe Auclair is a wonderful writer and a fan of both Arsenal and the French National team with whom Thierry Henry shared a long association. Although the biography was unauthorized, Auclair acknowledges that he received fair cooperation — or at least no interference–from Henry, former teammates, and even friends in writing a biography of a footballing hero for which the author has acknowledged great ambivalence as a human.

This ambivalence manifests in probably the fairest biography I’ve ever seen of a classic example of a flawed human whose lifetime art is beyond reproach. Auclair does not fall into the lazy and boring trap of describing every moment, match, and goal, but takes the important moments and holds them up to the light, examining them with great care and intellectual rigor. We are provided clarity regarding the environment of Henry’s childhood and how it formed his adult self, key moments of glory and failure on the field and in managing his affairs, even through the difficult moments that occurred as Auclair was reaching completion of the book. Moments in which Thierry Henry is somewhat stripped bare–and perhaps deservedly so–for the infamous Hand of Gaul incident that pushed Ireland out of contention for the 2010 World Cup and the World Cup itself, at which Henry failed to provide leadership for a spoiled French National team that produced humiliation for its country, not only for its poor performance but for its behavior in refusing to train for a match in protest.

Throughout this wonderful book, we are able to recognize the imperfection of our hero while we simultaneously applaud and appreciate that in him which is heroic.

Football Overall

Football365: Also well-worth a daily read or two. News, gossip, team info, match reports. Sadly, they killed their addictive live transfer blog this year, giving me an extra hour in every day of the high transfer season.

Men in Blazers: Podcast; a hilarious, light look at current football action. During the Premier League season you can see it on NBC Sports or access it using NBC Live Extra.

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