Friday, November 02, 2012


Arsenal To Indonesia

So Arsenal have finally decided to return to Indonesia; their first visit since 1983. Their won't be many from that trip 30 years ago still with the club. Perhaps Stewart Robson could come along for the ride and do stuff for the website; see what he can recall from when he was on the trip all those years ago.

Reading manager Brian McDermott, unusually for him, started all three games on that tour though the manager at the time, Terry Neill, revealed he was trying to sign Charlie Nicholas long distance.

Perhaps the only guy on the pay roll now and then is Terry Burton and it is highly unlikely he will be in the party next year.

What can the Arsenal expect? First thing they should do is contact Everton and find out why their trip fell through! And Galatasaray! They were both due here for something called the Java Cup but it never happened for various murky reasons most of which no doubt will have been to do with money.

Perhaps they could also talk to experienced coaches like Alfred Riedl and Wim van Rijsbergen. They have both lived to tell the tale of working with the PSSI, the Indonesian Football Association, and I am sure they may have one or two tales of caution.

It would be a waste of time Arsenal checking with FIFA 'cos the ruling body have done a great deal to bring about the current mess in the game here and nothing to bring it to a head.

For the Indonesians, it may well worth the KPSI keeping silent. Any suspicion that Arsenal are being used for local point scoring will not go down well in North London and anyway it's meant to be a one sided relationship where the club build their brand on their terms.

The Arsenal can of course expect a warm welcome in Jakarta from the local supporters club. For last year's friendly in Kuala Lumpur Indonesian Arsenal fans from all over the country descended on the Malaysian capital to get a glimpse of their heroes; perhaps a 1,000 + making the journey.

As well as a thriving supporters club the Arsenal also have a franchised Soccer School here which is/was set up by a name very familiar in Indonesian football circles; they recently sold Pelita Jaya? Interesting then that they are already playing both sides of the coin in the football fracas here.

One of Wenger's signings has also played in Indonesia. Christopher Wreh scored a few crucial goals in the 1997/98 season and ended up in Indonesia in 2006 where he played for Perseman Manokwari for half a season.

The tour dates have not been announced but ut wain't rocket science to suggest that next July would be the likeliest time. And that is a bloody long time, much yet can happen!

Arsenal's last trip here like I say was 30 years ago and tales from that can be found here and here

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