The Gunners have been spreading the Arsenal Brand around the world in the last few years since Stan Kroenke took over at the Emirates, whereas Arsene Wenger previously preferred a low key pre-season build up in places like Austria before the Yank’s arrival.
The latest continent to be confirmed as the Gunners destination is Australia, with Arsenal set to play both big Sydney A-League sides, Sydney FC and the Western Sydney Wanderers in July next year. Arsenal CEO Ivan Gazidis started the promotional buildup when he said: “Our pre-season matches enable the squad to complete final preparations ahead of a new campaign, and Sydney FC and Western Sydney Wanderers will provide a strong test for the team. The trip also gives our travelling squad a wonderful opportunity to see our loyal supporters in a country so passionate about football; it’s set to be a truly special trip and everyone at Arsenal Football Club is already looking forward to it.”
The New South Wales Tourist Board is hoping to promote it as part of a tourist boost to the area, despite the games being played in midwinter over there. Destination NSW Chief Executive Office, Sandra Chipchase said, “Sydney is Australia’s home of football and the perfect destination for Gunners fans looking to not only watch their team in action, but to also begin a memorable holiday in NSW.
“Travel packages will soon be available to assist fans in building their perfect Sydney and NSW itinerary. With plenty of travel and accommodation options on offer, visitors can take in one or both of these two exciting matches, and stay on to experience everything NSW has to offer including world-class beaches, scenic coastal locations, adventure, nature and other great sporting and cultural events,”
With no Euros or World Cup next summer, Arsenal can prepare a leisurely build up to the new season, and they can be expected to bring most of the first team players on the trip. The Australian Minister for Sport, Stuart Ayres said, “Football fans around Australia and the world can now get these dates in their diary, and book their trip to Sydney’s ANZ Stadium for two blockbuster matches.
“Tickets will go on sale on 19 July 2016, and I encourage all sports fans to come to Sydney and enjoy our great state. Arsenal will be bringing their first team squad, and going head-to-head with our two biggest local sides.”
Well it sounds like a great excuse for a jolly to me!