Post Tour Fan Party.

July 28, 2013

Morning folks. As you know Friday marked the official end of the Asian tour as the squad flew directly back to London right after the game, arriving home in the small hours of Saturday morning. But, for us Gooners in Japan the tour came to its conclusion yesterday evening with a double header all-you-can-drink drunkstravaganza in Ikebukuro, Tokyo.

The level of planning for the event was really impressive, as was the turnout. It just goes to show that those who say that overseas Arsenal fans are somehow less of a fan, due to their geographic location, are talking out of their arse.

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You could argue that the level of dedication needed to be an overseas fan is higher as games that are a lunchtime kick-off in England will start eight or nine hours later in Japan, 3pm games will kick-off at 11pm or midnight, 4pm games at midnight or 1am, 5:30pm games at 1:30am or 2:30am and finally the midweek 8pm games will start at 4am or 5am. I’d love to see how many of those that moan about overseas fans would consistently watch games which start at those times, especially when working the next day.

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In attendance at the unofficial fan party was fan favourite, Maria Petri, who gave the crowd what they wanted – two songs. It’s really impressive that she made the trip to Japan, basically by herself. She’s a really nice woman and, considering she is now 74, you have to admire her dedication to all things Arsenal.

Maria Petri – Ikebukuro fan party song 1. July 27, 2013.
Maria Petri – Ikebukuro fan party song 2. July 27, 2013.

It has been a great few days to be a Gooner in the Tokyo area and an experience which many will remember for a long time to come. Here’s hoping that the club returns to these shores again next year as, while the tour can be regarded as a success, there is still plenty of room for brand and presence building in Japan. For purely selfish reasons, I’d love to see the team just do a tour of Japan next year and play friendlies in Osaka, Nagoya, Yokohama and Saitama. That would minimise long-haul flights and would allow the team to dedicate more time to proper training. Though I’m sure our Gooner friends in America will be hoping that the team begins trying to make an impression Stateside. However, I feel that there is a much greater scope for commercial improvement in Japan than America as football and baseball are the two biggest sports here.

Okay, that’ll have to do for today. As always, you can follow me on Twitter: @colm_smyth.

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Welcome to The North Bank! It’s a big weekend for The Arse…

March 21, 2009

Being a Gooner in Japan isn’t easy. Kick-off times generally clash with the last train home, thus making watching The Arse in the pub a bit difficult. Though we tend to get almost every Arsenal game shown live on cable/satellite, so I can’t really complain too much because the option is there to watch the game in the confines of my own apartment.

Anyway, looking forward to today’s game, it really is a game where we need to take all three points and make the most of Villa’s loss of form and our continued unbeaten run. It really is due to Villa’s recent collapse that we have regained fourth spot and not our own unbeaten run as, while we remain unbeaten, our form hasn’t exactly been setting the world on fire.

Team news indicates a probable return in goal for Almunia and Eduardo will also be involved in the squad, although he probably won’t start. So, I expect us to start with Almunia, Sagna, Toure, Gallas and Clichy at the back. The midfield line-up will depend on whether Wenger goes with a 4-4-2 or a 4-5-1. Should he go with 4-4-2, I’d expect to see Arshavin, Denilson, Song and Nasri start with Van Persie and Bendtner up front. Though Diaby may start in place of Song, but if you consider that Song seems to be The Golden Child, I think it is fairly certain that he’ll get the nod.

A 4-5-1, would probably see us line up with Arshavin wide right, Van Persie wide left, Denilson, Song and Nasri in the middle with Bendtner up front by himself.

Expect to see Eboue to make his obligatory appearance at some stage too. Though, to be fair, he has been doing better in the last few games he has appeared in.

The loss of Walcott to injury, again, is a massive blow for the team as he really does offer us something that no other player in our squad can. However, at this stage we can just cross all appendages that his injury isn’t as serious as we all fear it may be. If he is out for the five weeks, as hypothesised by Wenger at yesterday’s press conference, then it really is a big blow for our aspirations. However, with the return of Fabregas, Adebayor and, potentially, Rosicky these players may help to offset the loss of Theo.

Early Newcastle team news seems to suggest that Owen will be dropped in order for them to play a defensive 4-5-1 with Martins leading the line. This is a shame as they would have been less of a threat with Owen in the starting line-up. Hehehe.

Elsewhere, we’ll be hoping for Spuds to do us a favour by getting an unlikely result against a resurgent Chelsea. I suppose a draw in the Liverpool v Villa game would be the best result for us, assuming we win today, in order to put light between ourselves and Villa and while also gaining ground on third place. A result for Portsmouth against Everton would also be welcome as it would, if nothing else, sicken Moyes.

Oh, given that week that’s in it, it would be a gross dereliction of duty if I weren’t to say that I hope Wigan stuff Hull in tomorrow’s early kick-off. Phil Brown really is a despicable, lying piece of sh*t.

Anyway, there are still a few hours until kick-off which gives me plenty of time to go out and get some cans of beer in for the game.

Right then, that’s your lot for today. Come on you Reds!!!