"Coach Keown instills Arsenal philosophy"

THE SITUATION is quite simple. We have three remaining BUSA league matches and three victories will ensure that we are crowned midlands champions. We don’t have to rely on anybody else doing us a favour by taking points off other teams; essentially we have control of our own destiny. We will doubtlessly have to perform at our best and be willing to exhibit the levels of dedication and the quality of play that were evident throughout last term, but, at this stage, I couldn’t have asked for any better from all of the members of both our blues and centaurs squads. It was a shame that we lost our unbeaten record in the final game of last term against Warwick (in somewhat dubious circumstances it must be added) but it didn’t hurt us too much in terms of the league standings and I know that the memory of that defeat will be used as a spur when we confront our future opponents, Worcester, Nottingham and Bedford. We have already taken a combined total of 7 points from earlier fixtures against these teams and so we can be quietly confident that we possess enough quality to secure the required results. It was somewhat unfortunate that our first week fixture against Worcester had to be postponed due to inclement weather, but it will give us some more time to settle back into our patterns of play and raise our fitness levels after the Christmas break. Our coach Martin Keown has incorporated ‘spinning’ classes into our fitness schedule and he is keen to embrace many other varied forms of exercise to ensure that we are in the best possible shape for each and every game. He is additionally insistent on continuously performing shape drills, which essentially consist of lining up in our team shape in one half of the pitch and going through our passages of play, moving the ball from back to front, against ‘passive’ opposition. The emphasis is very much placed upon improving technique and formulating ‘pictures’ in your mind such that you develop a greater awareness of the space around you and the positioning of your team mates. The first sign of a poor touch, an underhit pass or poor body shape and the exercise is stopped and then started all over again. Very often Keown will run drills that he has observed on recent visit to watch the Arsenal first team train, and we are continually told how much Robert Pires loved to ’get down on his technique’ and how Dennis Bergkamp used to be ‘having himself’ after every scintillating touch. The dubious comments aside, we are certainly reaping the benefits of his meticulous and professional approach to the job, and we are hoping that this will be reflected by a successful culmination of our BUSA campaign.by Paul Rainsford (Blues' Captain)