Good morning to all. A brief Saturday recap for you, starting with the news that Arsenal have promoted Edu from Technical Director to Sporting Director.
What this means isn’t 100% clear, but the statement on the official site says it will see him “assume overall responsibility for all activities of our Academy, in addition to his existing responsibilities for men’s and women’s football.”
Chief Executive Vinai Venkatesham said:
“Edu’s promotion formalizes his already growing influence over the operations of our Academy, and we look forward to Per and Edu working together to further strengthen the integration between our men’s first team and the Academy.”
I guess this is the most interesting part, because Per is already part of the executive team of the club, and you can imagine that the relationships that exist are already quite strong. He and Mikel Arteta were teammates, vice-captain and captain together, and we’ve already seen how the BFG has done an excellent job at the Academy level. Perhaps more than at any other big club, you can see very clearly how much value is placed on the production of our young players and the desire to give them opportunities. What else is Edu going to bring, I’m not sure, but I’m curious what that is.
I guess the recent stories about other clubs interested in Edu have played into this. He was reportedly attracting the attention of two or three European clubs so this is a way of linking him up and, as the club says, rewarding the work he has put in to date. I will say that I was a bit skeptical of Edu at times. I thought the association with Raúl and Kia was too close for my liking, but he hooked his car up quite a bit to Arteta’s when he arrived and as I said yesterday at the Arsecast with Ryan, what the club has done of late has been very impressive. and he has played his part in it.
I think he’s changed people’s minds about him, he’s been instrumental in some of the best deals we’ve done in recent times, and I hope he can have a positive influence as we continue to progress and develop. Not only at first-team level, obviously, but across the board. There are still many things we can do better.
The World Cup starts tomorrow, and the King of FIFA Gianni Infantino has just given a press conference, and to say that some of it is tone deaf doesn’t do that sentence justice. I mean, what can you say about this?
FIFA President Gianni Infantino at a press conference in Qatar: “Today I feel like a Qatari. Today I feel Arab. Today I feel African. Today I feel gay. Today I feel disabled. Today I feel like a migrant worker” pic.twitter.com/1flQtGWAfS
— Rob Harris (@RobHarris) November 19, 2022
Do you feel dead because you worked long hours in the sun for meager wages to support your family, only to have your death recorded as ‘natural causes’? It is tremendously offensive to him, of all people, in his luxurious ivory tower, with his jet-setting 5-star lifestyle (by the way, he currently lives in Doha) to put himself in the shoes of any of those people. He is co-opting their experiences, their affairs, their problems, their lives, for a press conference in which he repeatedly told people to look the other way when it comes to important issues and instead focus on football.
In a perfect world we would all try to understand each other’s lives; we would try to empathize; we would try to help; but we can never BE those people. Simply saying what you have here shows that you have no understanding, no empathy, and no want to help. He wants people to shut up and talk about football because what he does understand is that the spotlight is shining on him and the organization he is in charge of, and the usual attempts to deflect or wait are not working. I don’t think you’d necessarily be uncomfortable with that, that would require an awareness, but I’d prefer it not.
And here’s the thing: most of this scrutiny is coming from football fans, and a lot of those asking questions through the media etc. are people who also love the game and hate what FIFA is doing to you Very few football associations have said anything, very few politicians or people in positions of real power have said anything of substance, and he must hate continually having to deal with things that bring what he would consider small people to his plate. .
The question of hypocrisy due to previous World Cups is a tricky one, there’s no doubt there’s something to that, but I think Muso Okwonga articulated it well when he said that this tournament is receiving the kind of scrutiny that should have been applied to Russia. . Just because it wasn’t said enough back then doesn’t mean silence is the answer now.
“I think we can’t understand #Qatar’s #WorldCup2022 without Russia… I think Russia got away with it and I think Qatar is now getting the right level of scrutiny that Russia didn’t,” @Okwonga tells me, the co-host of “stadio: a football podcast”. pic.twitter.com/WLU4krBwAo
— Isa Soares (@IsaCNN) November 17, 2022
I would also recommend to those who are members of Second Captains on Patreon, an episode in which Ken Early talks to anthropologist John McManus about his book ‘Inside Qatar’. It’s a truly fascinating talk about the history of this small nation that became incredibly wealthy, how society works and of course the World Cup itself. That episode is here.
You can also buy the book at your local independent bookstore!
Well, let’s leave it there for this morning. Have a good Saturday.