It was announced a number of months back that PUMA would be taking over the kit sponsorship for Arsenal starting in the 2014-15 season, and last week in London the new kits were revealed to the public. I was on hand at the PUMA store on Carnaby street in London for a private event to show members of the media and some VIP folks the new jerseys. Top executives from PUMA and Arsenal were on hand to talk about the importance of this new partnership and a few Arsenal players were in the house to do the actual debuting of the jerseys.
Arsenal captain Mikel Arteta debuted the home jersey, Santi Cazorla the away jersey and my new dude Mathieu Flamini showed off the cup kit, of the “future” kit.
I love seeing the legendary yellow and blue away kit making a triumphant return.
PUMA CEO and Arsenal marketing director were on hand to talk about the partnership and the excitement that surrounds these two brands coming together. With a huge global following, especially here in the US, PUMA has captured one of the truly international clubs in soccer. After a number of big moves recently, including getting the likes of Cesc Fabregas and Mario Balotelli, this is another massive get for PUMA.
So after the initial debuting of the kits and the thoughts from the execs, it was time to interview one of the players. I ended up with Flamini. I’ll be honest, I didn’t really know what to expect from him. He always seems like a tough character on the field, but he’s not a guy I have seen do a lot of interviews. So I had no idea what to expect.
Let me tell you what I found out. Mathieu Flamini is one cool cat. Super nice, super engaging and he genuinely seems like a really happy dude. He laughed a lot, he contemplated the questions presented before giving his answers and he was really engaged with whomever was asking the questions. Here are a few of the highlights:
He said Arsenal are very excited as they are heading into preseason. Having just signed Alexis Sanchez (literally announced to us at this event) seemed pretty exciting for the players. Having won the FA Cup last year is also something he believes they are focused on building on and it clearly has given them some confidence heading into the season.
He thinks Wilshere and Ramsey have the potential to become top midfielders in the world.
The Premier League is the most challenging league and also his favorite to play in.
Stamford Bridge is one of, if not the most difficult away ground that he has played at.
I told him about the incredible support that Arsenal has here in the States, and he got a huge smile. He said he had no idea about that but that it is very exciting to hear. He went on to tell me about their upcoming match in New York and how excited he is to be able to play there.
Avici is on his pre-match play list.
Post interviews and we all jump on board a bus and head to the River Thames and set up camp in front of the London Eye.
A few minutes later we start hearing the voice of Arsene Wenger and he appears as a hologram rising out of the river. Now, Arsene is pretty much at the top of the food chain in global soccer, but when you become a hologram rising out of the water, you reach a level very few have ever reached.
The water show and subsequent holograms were voiced over by Mr. Wenger and talked about the heritage of Arsenal, the desires of the club to always be victorious and the future of the club. Pretty amazing show and display and something I will definitely remember for a very long time.