Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Try To Tell Us Something We Don't Know

Come the silly season, come yet another know-it-all spouting wisdom related to the Arsenal. How could that possibly be interesting or different?
The Rationale

I'm hoping this project will be distinctive in a way that mirrors the club's distinctiveness. By that I mean it will focus on strategy and analysis at a high level, which to me is where Arsenal really sets itself apart.

Not every thought I have will be original--how could it be with the fiercely active supporter base on Twitter, in other blogs, on podcasts, in the Arsenal Supporters Trust, not to mention the intense coverage of the club in UK, and increasingly in US, media--but I do hope to synthesize those sources and provide my own viewpoint in ways you'll find interesting.

I'm bringing to this effort experience as a sports journalist and financial analyst, as well as the perspective of a historian. That doesn't mean somebody who looks for chronology, causes, and effects; rather, it's someone trained to take disparate pieces of information, make choices about what's important, and create a coherent account of how it all fits together.

Points of Deferral

Treading over ground that others have covered well doesn't seem like a particularly interesting exercise to me. So I will try to resist the urge to provide tactical analysis: I'll defer to Michael Cox of the excellent Zonal Marking in general and often to Gingers4Limpar, which is not to be missed in this respect, either, and to The Arsenal Column.

Many, many voices can be heard analyzing and criticizing individual performances, which can be revealing but don't often get at the big picture in the way I'd like to. Arseblog and SamsMatchReport are comprehensive on player performances. If you don't want to read a lot, Jules, @TheRealGunner, posts a vlog after almost every match. And even from Stateside, 7amkickoff and the podcasts of Arsenal Review USA and Arsenal America offer revealing insights and commentary about each contest.

Transfer speculation won't get a lot of coverage here, either, I hope, except insofar as it illuminates the club's strategy on the business and football sides. Any search of twitter will get you plenty of purported transfer scoops and hyperventilation. Among the measured and honest sources are The Guardian's football staff (@DTguardian, among them) and the Lady Arse Gossip blog.

Perhaps the most overlap will be with individuals who delve into the club's finances and business decisions, though the intent isn't to address only the numbers and business decisions clinicallly. I admire The Swiss Ramble immensely, and I'll be referring to his analyses often. Taking those viewpoints all the way through the business and onto the pitch, where the real passion comes from, will be the charge I'm setting for myself.

The Storylines

I'll also be trying to unpack some of the broader trends I see in discussions about The Arsenal, such as the tendency to attribute total control to an entity called "Wenger." That will be the subject of an upcoming entry. Also in the works are an examination of the club's approach to Financial Fair Play, the ownership structure, and reflections that emerge from yet another summer of crisis. By my count, that makes 14 in succession.

Thanks to everyone who's willing to humor me and contribute.

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