One of the things many of us have wanted Arsenal to do in recent seasons is ratchet up their “partnership portfolio” - or, in layperson English, recruit more sponsors that are willing to pay money to be associated with the Arsenal brand. Outside shirt sponsorships and kit manufacturing, Arsenal have long lagged behind the Manchesters in sponsorship revenue, and while that shouldn’t really ever be an income stream the team depends on for its overall playing success, it is a very important piece of the puzzle and should not be overlooked.
Problem is, Arsenal, like anyone who’s trying something new for the first time, doesn’t seem to be very good at it, at least early on. One of their areas of concentration so far has been on tie-ins with movies, as evidenced by the following...let’s go with calling them “things”, starting with this one from about a month ago:
and then there’s this, from today:
Again: I have no problem with Arsenal trying to source money from as many places as possible. Money is good for a sports team! Money makes things better for sports teams! All I’m saying is, in a world where getting money for sponsoring movies is a thing, Arsenal need to set their sights higher than a terrible movie featuring 2003’s, like, twelfth-funniest English spy movie parody (behind, probably, The Slightly Irreverent Adventures Of Toodle Pip and The Flickenham Files, starring Nigel Spacklethwaite) and yet another retelling of the Grinch, which arguably didn’t need a retelling at all in 2018 because the original animated version is pretty great and also leave my childhood alone.
In our writers’ room, we were bemoaning the quality of movies Arsenal have chosen to sponsor, and we came up with a bunch that would be better/more interesting/funnier. Here’s part of that list and a possible summary of what the movie could be about:
Arsenal meets the Phantom Of The Park: In which 1978’s most hilarious unintentional comedy gets an update wherein Arsenal have to battle an evil villain who is afraid that his reputation as a villain is being upstaged by the Gunners and their good work. All sorts of mayhem follow the club around a seemingly normal training day at Colney, but nothing serious goes wrong - it’s just that, like, the paper towels all got stolen, the salt shakers at all the cafeteria tables were loosened, and the parking spots were painted seven inches closer together so nobody can get out of their car.
Hilarity ensues when, at the end of the movie, the villain is unmasked Scooby Doo-style, and it turns out that the bad guy is the CEO of the firm responsible for Tottenham’s new stadium.
The Full Arsenal: In the 1997 film The Full Monty, a bunch of schlubby dudes and Robert Carlyle decide to put on a burlesque show to turn their lives around. At one point, the guy teaching them how to dance can’t get them to move in a synchronized line until he tells them that what he’s teaching them is the Arsenal offside trap, after which the lightbulb comes on and they figure out the dance.
In the new update, Arsenal go through several dancing montages where we see them learning their stuff, and in the climactic scene, they go out to the pitch and line up like a normal game, but at the whistle, they rip off their tearaway uniforms and reveal that they’re wearing naught but spangly Speedos, in which they do a sweet and slightly sassy little dance which makes their wife not leave them and shows their kid that anything is possible.
Featuring a cameo from Olivier Giroud.
Arsenal Tap: A mock-documentary that follows four members of Arsenal around, several years after their peak, as they attempt to work themselves back into game shape by training in various cities and meeting fans at every stop. Their training comes screeching to a halt when the scale model of Highbury ordered by one of the four to display at their home gym turns out to be 18 inches high, and the Less Than Fab Four realize they’re better off running a hat shop.
Steve and Vic’s Excellent Adventure: This wacky romp sees Steve Bould and Vic Akers be given the gift of a time machine, with which they are tasked with saving the world through football. They go from era to era, collecting the best football players they can find in every one, before organizing an all-star game against the MLS All-Stars one fateful August. Their plan goes awry when MLS wins, setting up a sequel in which they try to put things right and a rumored third sequel in which Steve and Vic entrust the saving of the world to their children.
Arsenal Driver: This is where this list takes a turn. It’s the story of a lone Frenchman who, bitter at the turns his life has taken in the last few years, descends deeper and deeper into madness, as he also falls in love with someone who may be from either Madrid or Paris, it’s unclear. Things come to a head when our hero shaves his head into a mohawk and attempts to invade London Colney with the intent to do harm; fortunately, nothing comes of it, and the last scene of the film is the taillights of a Citroen receding off into the sunset.
Requiem For An Arsenal Dream: This film is a harrowing look at several retired Arsenal players and how they use excessive amounts of physical training to cope with their lives post-football; it pulls no punches as it shows the players struggling to adapt their lives to their new realities, going inside the heads of several of them and showing what it’s like to go through withdrawal from something you love dearly and physically, viscerally cannot live without. It’s amazing, but you’ll probably only be able to watch it once.
The Arsenal Centipede: The less said about this one, the better.