Tuesday, August 08, 2006


Not sexy enough

When I arrived in Asia Manchester United were riding the crest of a wave. The English Premiership was becoming the most widely watched League in the world and United, with the help of Cantona, Giggs and Beckham, the most widely recognized brand. Second to them in popularity were Liverpool, possibly based on their phenomenal success in the 70’s and 80’s.

And that was it. As Keegan’s team went out signing every man and his dog and playing sonme spectacular football into the bargain we saw a few barcode shirts on the streets. The Magpies were high profile, they won nothing but KK and the attacking football kept them in the public eye.

Then came Arsenal. Producing some of the best football ever seen in England they swept all before them but for some reason never really took hold in Asia, they haven’t caught the imagination in the way Liverpool and United have. Maybe it’s because they are much more low key. Arsenal tend to let the football do the talking and what a poet Henry is. Arsene Wenger is a more reluctant TV bod than some of his managerial colleagues. Also The Arse have tended to avoid the hype that attracts certain players.

If anyone player epitomized The Arsenal Way it’s Dennis Bergkamp. All class, no show you won’t find him hogging the back pages of the red tops shagging tarts in Cyprus. He lacks sex appeal in the way that your Beckhams, Owens’ Gerrards’ and Dyers’ have. Maybe that is what Ashley Cole aspires to? Fair enough, not at ours fella, it ain’t our way.

So when I talk with Indonesians about football and they tell me they like Chelsea because they are great I’m glad. I’m glad the Arse brand hasn’t become a Nokia or McDonald’s over here. We aren’t sexy enough. When you meet a fan over here, and there are supporter’s clubs in Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, you can be sure they are a more discerning fan than the bandwagon jumpers and the hype believers

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