Arsenal, Lincoln & The Scent Of Garlic

Arsenal talent-spotting guru Arsene Wenger is not the only manager who knows the French football set-up and its incredible wealth of cheap talent. Arsenal of course have a rumoured nine-figure war chest, but time, experience and the financial climate should see another lad who knows his onions, Gary Simpson follow the Wenger brick road and even the odds a tad for the cash-strapped Imps side.

Thanks for reading Neil Gentleman-Hobbs

Arsenal FC.svgLincoln City F.C. badge.png

Arsene has a greater pressure to deliver this season, even if he is not as spoilt for choice as the media might suggest. Oh the potential column inches afforded by money in the bank boasts and billionaire Kroenke finally threatening to deliver the dream to those renewing season tickets in the Emirates Colosseum. Let us not forget the extended family, woe betide any flagging from the faithful flock, who have an appetite for merchandise and subscription opportunities even if we cannot satisfy our desire for football in the flesh and beyond.

I am no glory hunter, indeed many would suggest I am quite the reverse. As a season-ticket holder for 14 years (my sons first memory was  the first half of the double at Highbury in 97/98), before moving up, it is clear the Gooner sense of frustration is on a par with that of an Imp, even if the zeros on a Lincoln cheque are normally on the pence side of the full stop.   Simmo has it easy then one feels, keeping the Imps up is expected and a play-off tilt would be the dream and he has just £450,000 to do it unless two transfer windfalls come in to round if up to just shy of five! Yet both managers do have things in common and are most certainly prepared to play the waiting game it seems.

Both  are undoubtedly talent-spotting guru’s, with horses for courses dictating that the concept of thoroughbred is relative. Simmo may have been outbid on 3-4 players in  England, whilst Wenger’s own handicap chase is world-wide, but even if the former does not have even the copper in comparison to the Arsenal mountain of gold, the financial climate within the UK and Europe is playing into the hands of two managers who can sort the wheat from the chaff. Poles apart perhaps, but pound for Euro a young Patrick Vieira compares favourably to Mo Fofana at Lincoln, who Simmo feels is worth a new deal.

The Transfer window is a circus, a mad scramble that can lead to expensive miss-fitting Premiership Princes and comparatively cheaper Conference clowns. It may be in full swing, but so is the poker face nature of the waiting game, whether the target  is playing in the Premier or the Football League (granted the Imps sphere of interest is limited to Leagues One and Two). The nature of the professional contract means that players are not only paid until the end of June, but they also get another month on top to boot.  This means many will chance what is colloquially known as the trial season in July in order to get fixed up in August even if the anti can range from peanuts to two hundred ‘longuns’ or bags of sand a week.

Again it is a case of hold or fold for the agent and the manager, but that is when the real bargains can be had.  No transfer fee can mean a bigger signing on fee at the top of the pyramid down to ‘chucking in board and keep’ at the BSP end of things. No, there is absolutely no Truth in Simon Yeo getting a caravan (giving rise to his “Yes but my caravan is bigger than your house” retort to some unfair long nosed gypsy jibes). Smashing lad who also fought for his country as well as playing in the Chester/Wrexham derby.

Both Arsene Wenger and Gary Simpson are familiar with the cost of European players compared to the inflated price of their UK counterparts. Although the PFA have tried to do something about the cheap imports, that are also having an effect on the England team, the incredible amount of talent in and around the Parisian Périphérique makes the mind boggle.  The French equivalent of the M25, it has far fewer top level teams than London, with plenty of players holding EEC passports.  Although Arsene Wenger appears to have the pick of the crop there are literally hundreds of Tony Diagne’s out there to chose from.

Simpson nearly brought three French lads on board before the loan window closed last term, but in his first transfer window proper you can bet he will sample the seedlings. The STMI money is on a striker that will easily replace Vadaine Oliver, a midfielder and maybe even a centre-half that could even dwarf big Bad Ben Futcher, The ex-Imp who blocks out the sky. As for Arsene and Arsenal, please deliver this year, though the football has always been worthy of any wait with the treasure in the weekly, princely passing pleasure.


Posted on June 7, 2013, in Transfer News, Uncategorized, Writers - Neil Gentleman-Hobbs and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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