Jul 132010

Barcelona continued their quest to alienate neutrals with their behaviour last night when Carles Puyol and Gerard Pique interrupted Spain’s World Cup celebrations to publicly force a Barcelona shirt over Cesc’s head. Ignoring the fact that this was a Spanish celebration, not a Catalan one, and that our captain would be suitably embarrassed in a moment he was supposed to be celebrating, the pair managed to drive another wedge between the two clubs with their antics.

When I saw it, I have to say I wasn’t surprised. The Barcelona contingent have acted with so little class recently that any stunt they pull washes over me to a certain extent. Their complete disregard for Arsenal is nothing new – they would have been in Cesc’s ear for a month anyway, so culminating that by putting the shirt over his head isn’t likely to change things.

In fact, the only thing that surprised me was that Pepe Reina got involved – I had previously considered him one of football’s good guys and above this sort of thing.

But despite their antagonistic behaviour, we should not take the bait. Barca’s continual tactic has been to break a relationship to drive the price down to a level they can afford, whether it is between the fans and the player, or the player and the club. They either want him to request a transfer, or us to force him out.

The latter should never happen – Cesc has continually respected Arsenal on and off the pitch. He isn’t hankering after a move a la Adebayor, or letting his effort levels slip. And ignore certain quarters of the press who claim he was happy to be wearing the shirt – watch the video. He cannot get it off quickly enough.

It is worth bearing in mind that Barcelona is the club of his youth. This isn’t like one of us having a Chelsea shirt shoved over our head by John Terry – the analogy is actually if you moved to Italy, played for Milan, loved it there but Arsenal were playing these games. It is unlikely you would react with the fury that some wished he had, and it is to his credit that he speedily removed a strip he wore countless times as a boy.

I can see only one way that Cesc will leave this summer, and that is if he hands in a transfer request. Even if he does, it is by no means certain he will leave – Barcelona have backed us into a corner with their pantomime playground bully act that to sell now would leave us looking exceptionally weak.

As I see it, this prank has achieved only two things. One, more neutrals are hoping we hang on to Cesc to stick two fingers up at the most blatant tapping up you’ll ever see and two, our resolve has strengthened to the point where discussions with Barcelona are likely to be short and curt. Two words will probably do the trick.

Let them play their ridiculous games. The more they disrespect us, the more we should take the higher ground.

  26 Responses to “Shirt prank was classless but rise above it”

  1. Nice post Pete. Well done. I sincerely believe that those three idiots Reina Puyol and Pique have sealed the deal. Cesc will NEVER be transferred directly from Arsenal to barca. In fact there will NEVER be relationships between the two clubs EVER again. More than a club? More than a joke more like.

    • There will certainly need to be some serious discussions before anything could ever happen again. The bridges haven’t been burned, they’ve been incinerated.

  2. Well said…nothing to add.

  3. Well said pal!

  4. I agree with post 1 but we have to let the Arsenal KNOW THIS.

    If Arsenal deal with these guys it will be the worst thing that I have ever witnessed at Arsenal it will show total weakness, I would be disgusted to be honest, and I think that the majority of arsenal fans would feel the same.

    They are taking the piss out of us and we are doing nothing!!!

    Let Arsenal know how you feel.


    I am not opposed to selling cesc if he really wants to leave… but not to Barcalona they are making mugs off us!!!

    Its a simple email to the arsenal and it will give them an idea of how we feel!!

  5. Agree completely. Our club has maintained a dignified silence throughout this and has demonstrated a resolve not to get caught up in it. Annoying as it all is to fans we should do likewise and not react to each and every piece of media hype in the papers or posted on the Internet. The shirt business was childish and insensitive, but not significant in the bigger picture.

  6. I like you just cannot see how Arsenal can sell Cesc to Barca for the next 2 years after their behavior this summer. Its a shame for both barca and cesc. Had they done this the proper way they could have made a deal ala rolando for next year, paied his worth and everyone would have been happy.

    I must say Cesc must have had unusually bad advisors as he must have known antagonizing for a move this summer would be hopless. Selling him now would even before barca started to behave like shit, be devastating to what Arsenal is trying to do, namley building a squad for winning trophies. He must have known, so must Barcelona.

    I cannot belive they are suprised Arsenal does not want to sell the best midfielder in the world on sale! Who would do that? It goes against every economical principle in the world! Its sellers market, why would you give a discount on something you need yourself? You only let go of a prized aset if the buyer is willing to go the extra mile. I cannot see Barcelonas logic here at all. They and cescs advisors must have misjudged this situations so completly. And why would you behave nicley to someone that tries to bully you into giving away your favourit candy? It just makes no sense what so ever. Does the spaniards have problems with the concept of buisness? the concept of trade?the concept of buying and selling?

    An 8 year old would see that their actions does not benefit them at al in their attempt to reach their goal(namley cesc). Why cannot MBA graduatse understand this?
    This is for me a mystery…

    • It is a really strange one. I can only imagine that Barcelona are so arrogant that they simply assumed Cesc would hand in a request if they wound him up enough. In fairness, many players would, but Cesc is better than that.

  7. nice post. count me among those dismayed by gooners blaming cesc for this, saying we should wash our hands of him, etc. if his pops was quoted accurately today, then we may be able to reasonably assume that fabragas senior is in favor of a transfer. nothing concrete for us to conclude that he (pops) is the one agitating behind the scenes, but it is probably another voice whispering in cesc’s ear that now is the time to transfer. add that to all the voices out of camp nou, and we can see what an uncomfortable position cesc is in. one where both conclusively committing to arsenal and stating he wants to transfer to barcelona now carry risks. he ultimately has to decide what he prefers – and if it is the latter, he will need to understand the position all this posturing has put arsenal fc in. there is only one way this should end – captain cesc leading the arsenal team out on to the anfield pitch on august 15th. i trust arsenal and cesc to make sure that happens.

  8. It guess it was a prank but it had a sinister side to it – Puyol & Pique were making yet another public statement just like the 20 or so others made & continue to make through media interviews.
    It looks very much like Cesc is hankering for a move. I cannot believe the Barca players would have continued to make these public statements if Cesc was unhappy about them doing so. As for papa – only today he’s quoted as saying
    “Cesc said what he wanted to do the day after the end of the league so that Arsenal had time to react.
    “It would have been nasty to say it today, when they are almost on the verge of starting the pre-season.
    “But he always did so thinking about Arsenal. It remains to be seen how everything turns out.”
    My money’s on him staying this season but not because he wants to…..

    • I think Barcelona could have had him this summer if they had bahved properly and made a reasonable bid. His asking price is probably higher because of their antics, and I think he’ll stay simply because they can’t afford him.

  9. i don,t expect any respect from the Barcelona player for Arsenal but i through that Pepe Reina should mind his owe business he would not like it if someone put a Chelsea top on Torres. and like you said i hope that Arsenal tell Barcelona to get stuff that they are not selling Cese to them are anyone.

  10. That’s a great post. Thanks.

  11. I am really surprised with all this news,in fact i am sort of words….let us leave all this to the man in charge to give them their answer …i know if he (Wenger) want to sale it will not be this year again and if its going to be Let him sale him to Real madrid even for lower price

  12. As anyone thought of how in a way these players are dishonoring their club? I mean, how happy would Arsenal fans be if our players started forcefully putting our shirt on a player who the captain of another club? They are apparently living in Eldorado where their ‘dream’ of all of them playing together in Barca team at the same time and then also being in the Spanish team seems to have consumed them! Well, in the real world, he is in another club and is their captain, their club cannot afford him and they are in debt, resorted to loans to pay players’ salaries and haven’t even paid up for the signing of Henry and Hleb! Some day, I’m sure they’ll wake up into the real world but until then, let’s endure these ‘boys’

  13. Great post. Finally a welcome dose of sanity in this whole sortid affair. Cesc is class and until he comes right out and formally requests to leave we, as Arsenal fans, have to give him our full support. He deserves nothing less. He has never said anything publically other than to express his loyalty to Arsenal. I have no doubt that, unlike other players, even if he wanted to leave, he would not play games through the media or make a public spectacle of it (unlike his classless Spanish teammates) and would continue to play his heart out for us until he signed for someone else.

    Make sure to join this group if youve had it with Barcelona!

  15. True. This is just another way of barc-as* to lower down Cesc’s price. By doing what they did yesterday, they were hoping Arsenal fans and board fed up with Cesc and let him go in a cheap price. I’d say, i’ll put Cesc price on 100m now.

  16. the only reason why they are waling all over us is due to the fact that they see us as a small club compared to their all conquering club. hell, now they have a world cup to boast of, since they think its also barca who won it.

    “i have beaten you hands down so who are you to talk terms with me? i am barca, the champions. you arsenal won nothing.”

    now they have Villa. and with Messi and Xavi and Co., seriously, we are not exactly ready to seek revenge. Chamakh and Koscielny, together with RVP and Arshavin and Co. must see this arrogance by barca as a life and death revenge. it must be an ager in them about how they see as frivolous. i know clearly that AW is pissed, but he is really squeezed by the balls with his captain’s situation.

    i love Fab. and how he puts the club before himself to seek glory with us. but i think we have come to a crossroad. people change and need new things to excite them. and it doesnt help that he’s catalonian. if Fab hasnt been this fabulous, seriously, i think barca would have forgotten he’s one. now that he’s who he is, its all “fabregas flows the same blood”. i personally think that Fab wants to be with barca and playing alongside those superstars speaking the same language. he wants to do it even he knows how it feels to be benched. but all his talk about he did not say he is leaving and how he loves his club is to prevent anger from Arsenal fans should the deal be dropped. i’m sorry, but its only me. of course, i know that he is very grateful to AW and the fans as well. but he is being held on by his contract and yet he knows who is more likely to give him the CL trophy. but by leaving now, or even just handling in the transfer request, it aint goin to be a TH14 farewell. he will not see teary fans, but more likely to be fisted ones.

    the real thwarts are people like Puyol my ass. its getting into their arse how they see themselves above everyone. for once i hope Real will beat the shit out of them and dispose them of the championship. in fact, my only wish apart from winning the league next season is to draw blood from a barca matchup in the CL. there’s no point in angry words when the loudest ones can be heard with a win over them.

    so gooners, lets all pray for unity. unity if Fab stays and if he leaves. i think AW still has it when it comes to grooming another star. strip Chelsea of the Champ. leave ManU&C in our wake. tell barca they can really go fly a kite.

    • I would love Barcelona to fail this season. I don’t often root for Real, but they are heading me that way…

  17. It’s refreshing to read something that doesn’t jump onto the bandwagon of hysteria. The call to rise above it is what all Gooners and Gunner’s fans should aim for.

    We should continue to support Cesc and not fall into the trap of mischievous reporters/bloggers who report mis-statements and mis-interpretations. The frenzy to slate Cesc because 2nd hand information from dubious sources & his silence from some websites are quite sad. Why does he have to keep justifying himself? Instead of slagging Cesc, we should support Cesc and make him feel so wanted that he doesn’t have to feel that he has to keep making statements as a full time job. I’d rather Cesc let his feet do the talking next season and for seasons to come.

  18. I can’t seem to find the video about cesc dedicating the win to Arsenal. Can you please provide me the link ? thanks

  19. last time i saw barca almost the way i like Arsenal but after this incident they’re like Manu to me. i know its just a couple of their players involved, barca management better have the initiative to deny and apologize

  20. A sane blog at last! It’s embarrassing to admit that we do have some real idiot fans.
    Cesc may have told AW he wants to go to Farca, but i feel sure he’d have added ‘if they put a serious offer in’ and even he knows that 30m is a piss take.
    Many footballers will never play for their childhood team but want to. If AC Milan make a big offer which AW accepts and then they offer Cesc good terms then he’ll be off to milan. The only big team that he would not consider is Real Madrid.
    But until the club accept an offer, he’s not going anywhere (whether he hands in a transfer request or not) and whilst AW is our boss, Cesc will not make a transfer request.

  21. We need to demand Messi, Valdes (we need a goalie) and a centreback, on top of the 30 million euros, for Cesc. If they can’t do that, then no deal.

    If what we’re hearing about their debts is true, then they can’t afford Silvestre or Fabianski, let alone Cesc.

    Look at the bright side: I now get to see Thierry Henry play home games — and Barca fans don’t!

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