Arsenal still just the ticket for Aussies

Arsenal might be in danger of missing out on UEFA Champions League qualification for the first time in 30 years - but that appears unlikely to dampen the enthusiasm of Australian devotees to see the Gunners in the flesh.

Arsenal

Theo Walcott Source: Getty Images

With Tuesday marking the final release of tickets for the English giant's showpiece friendlies against Sydney FC and Western Sydney in July at ANZ Stadium, a healthy 126,000 have already been shifted.

Of those, 58,000 seats are gone for the 'Arsenal In Sydney' opener against Graham Arnold's minor premiers on July 13, and 68,000 for the meeting with the Wanderers two days later at the same 80,000 capacity venue.

Organisers are confident that despite Arsenal slipping off the pace for a UCL place since Christmas - they sit a disconcerting seven points off the top four - their box office appeal will remain untarnished in Australia, where thousands of followers still gaze with adoration from afar.

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The London monoliths have pledged to bring their strongest possible squad for what will be important pre-season preparation for the Premier League.

And, despite on-going conjecture over his future beyond this most tumultuous of seasons, it's likely that Arsene Wenger will still be at the helm, continuing a reign which has already stretched 21 years and brought three Premier League crowns and six FA Cups.

Gunners legend and former England centre half Sol Campbell arrives in Sydney today for a whistle-stop three-day trip to help spruik the tour.

But it's likely to be little more than a junket for the now 42 year old, with the would-be attendees not likely to need much cajoling.

 


Campbell, other than his meritorious on-field exploits, is remembered in north London for the acrimony which rained down on him following his defection from Tottenham to bitter rivals Arsenal in 2001.

Campbell had the last laugh, going on to star for Wenger's Invincibles, who went unbeaten during the 2003-2004 Premier League season. He collected two EPL titles and three FA Cup winners medals.

Should their paths cross, Campbell might be a welcome source of advice to ex-Sydney FC keeper Vedran Janjetovic, whose defection in December to cross city rivals Western Sydney turned him into an object of derision to the  Sky Blues faithful.


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Published 4 April 2017 at 9:04am
By Dave Lewis