Monday 14 April
‘Wake up early. I set my alarm clock for later but, naturellement, someone has been in my room during the night and adjusted the time. I will not say who – we will let others judge.
I trip over the rug in my bedroom. The rug is not penalised in any way. If furnishings are allowed to keep getting away with these travesties of justice then it is the end for Arsene.
I am waiting for a package but my postman – who seemed to get himself in a good position - fails to deliver. Is my postman Emmanuel Eboue?
For sure it has not been the best of starts for me but I am working hard to make sure that nothing bothers me anymore but getting on with the job. I have lunch with my friend William at Pizza Express.
I have a Pizza a la Noci, but William doesn’t want anything off the children’s menu. I try to tell him he must have something and he goes out the door and sits on a traffic island for the next three hours. He is an excellent role model to my young team.
Next I meet Phillipe Senderos on a street corner. It is good to see him. However as soon as we leave that corner I lose him very easily and he spends the rest of the afternoon about ten yards away from me at all times. It is very frustrating.
I return to my car to find that a penalty fine has been given against me. Strange how all the other cars on the street have not been given tickets and yet they are all parked too.
The traffic warden tells me they are not parked on double yellow lines like mine. I tell him that I know what is going on, I am not stupid. He asks me what I mean and I smile and say ‘Let us think our own thoughts, mon ami.’
It takes me an age to get to the training ground. All the traffic lights are against me. Red and yellow lights everywhere, but only for me.
Finally I arrive and I’m greeted by my squad of wonderful players. Adebayor and Bendtner are holding hands and laughing and joking as usual.
Jens Lehmann is giving everyone fine words of encouragement as befits his status as our senior professional. Young Theo is coming on leaps and bounds with his French A-levels.
I call the boys together and tell them they are all winners. They play the best football. Then we play my favourite practising game ‘Twenty Passes Before You Can Score.’
Hoyte is terrible at this. Adebayor suggests we practise our free-kicks and corners – then every one falls about laughing! He is a funny guy.
It is great that humour can break the tension. I tell them another joke – that Alex Ferguson is going to buy van Persie for 10 million euros. Why does Robin not laugh?
Then I get serious with the boys. I tell them not to listen to the voices in their head that tell them to be paranoid. I tell them not to be neurotic – just leave that to me.
I tell them not to be concerned for my mental state. I may be a bit wobbly right now but I’m not Tom Hicks. I tell them that we will come back stronger, fitter and better than ever.
Cesc, le petit Espagnol, asks if I will be able to buy anyone in the summer to bolster the squad. I smile and nod. He need not worry. I have my eye on two Malian goat-herders as we speak plus a fine central defender from the Finnish second division.
In five years, I tell him, they will be football Gods comme Cygan et Stepanovs, especially the girl from Helsinki.
During training the boys look sad and tired. Moi aussi. Staying positive in this situation is about as feasible as winning a penalty at Old Trafford.
Sometimes, I think to myself that I am the only one who understood Eric Cantona’s sardines and trawler story. I too have been charting new territory in my elegant vessel the SS Arsenal (it would have been a 747 liner but we had to keep Bergkamp with us in the early years.)
Many have followed us with delight, but many others have tried to peck out the eyes of my vision. There have been stormy waters and troubled times. We were les Invincibles and maintenant, we are les Miserables.
My seagulls are not journalists and reporters. They are the sight-forsaken Rileys and Wileys of this world. These men of selective vision (and I know how that works, believe me!) People accuse me of having a persecution complex but these people are just out to get me.
I am a man of principle. There are ways to play le beau jeu but I know only one. I will not change. And we shall not crumble like an Englishman on the last day of a major golf tournament. And if it never succeeds again then it won’t be my fault.
Because I tell you this, mes amis:
Non, Je ne regrette rien!*
*Except picking Senderos. And moving Toure to right-back. Oh and selling Diarra.’