Morning folks. Hope you’re all feeling fine and dandy? For those who have experienced the hot temperatures over the last couple of days, I hope you are feeling a little bit more normal today, as I think we’re now dropping back down to what we’d normally just describe as a ‘heatwave’ in the UK. For those of you that moaned about the last couple of days, come and see me when it’s freezing cold, windy, raining and you have to wear six layers.

Make hay whilst the sun shines, I say, so I’ve been thoroughly enjoying the last couple of days.

I’ve also enjoyed a lot of the Arsenal #content that has been coming out. Whether that’s from the fans releasing podcasts, kit launches, ‘almost-but-not-quite-but-practically-there’ deals to sign versatile Man city players, the videos that Frimpon is launching from the club, some of the noises about what is happening out in the States and the Arsenal fans coming together out there, it’s all made me feel rather warm and fuzzy inside, if I’m honest with you.

In 2019 I went to Nashville, Memphis, New Orleans and whilst I was in Memphis we had a Europa League game, followed  by a tight win over Newcastle a few days later. I went to an Irish pub that opened early to let the Memphis Gooners in and, honestly, I had a great ol’ time. The Management found me towards the end of the match a little half cut when it was only hitting lunchtime, but although that wasn’t her ideal way of spending her holiday, I loved the sense of belonging and unity in that pub. It was a slice of home that had rubbed off in the US where I was holidaying in and members of my ‘tribe’ were there.

And that ‘tribal’ approach is fascinating. The great thing about being an Arsenal fan is that I know that wherever I go, whatever City I visit, there will be Gooners there to chat to and as soon as you meet each other, that bond sticks. I’ve been to New York when a game was on and stayed in the Blind Pig for an entire morning. The Brasss Door in Memphis was where I met some great guys. And in late October this year I’m travelling to San Francisco, where I’m going to try to find out where the best pub is to watch the game at home to Nottingham Forest. It’s a game at The Emirates and I’ll be sad not to be there having a drink with Dave, Mark, Andrew, Giles and Steve (and Luke if he bothers going to the game 😉 ), but I know that a decent substitute for not being there is getting to meet more members of our global ‘tribe’ when I’m halfway across the world.

You can say a lot of things about football, many of them negative, but I don’t know anything else like it when it comes to meeting new people for which you can share such a passion. And that is great.

Getting back to the team news and, well, there’s not any massive news coming out that we haven’t already heard. The club published a nice little snippet of the Manager talking about how the summer has gone so far yesterday  and he seemed in bullish mood. I like how he’s talking about still having an eye on deals and that says to me that we’re not done yet. That’s good. That’s what we want to hear. We know that transfer deals aren’t easy and sometimes they take time, but we also want to know that both he and Edu are doing everything in their power to make sure we are set up and ready for the new season.

And it feels like we’re getting there. The training has apparently been good, the performances have been good at key moments and tomorrow we’ll get another glimpse of that against Orlando City. We look to have a good group of players who are starting to click and the camaraderie is there in the team – or at least that’s what it looks like on the outside. There’s also plenty of experimentation going on with different tactical approaches and I like that. Hey, I’m a child of the 90s Championship Manager generation and so I’m used to continuously trying to change things with a team, but it seems like Arteta is really embracing it given the little we’ve seen of matches so far. The five subs rule is clearly in his mind and I suspect that tomorrow we’ll see more variations in approach. Hopefully Orlando and Chelsea give Arteta plenty of opportunities to think about approaching games differently so he can test out some of these theories and tactical nuances that he’ll use when the real thing kicks off in just over two weeks time.

Two weeks time….that’s mad, isn’t it? It’s great, because we get our fix early, but it’s also mad that we’re going to be in the thick of it and chewing our nails down to the bones in just a fortnight’s time or so.

I’m excited though. And I’m excited to be getting back involved with Craig and the team on the Same Old Arsenal podcast.  We’re going to be doing it once a week, post game, giving our thoughts on all things related to the games  during the season. I can’t wait to chew the fat with some of the people on the internet I call friends.

Hopefully you can join us.

Catch you all in the morrow for some more thoughts on Arsenal-related stuff, and maybe a signing is in the offing too.