Anti-Nausea Formula - FREE to Every Arsenal Supporter!

Last updated : 20 May 2007 By Kevin Archer
The possible causes of this condition are many and varied. Global warming is certainly a candidate (have you offset your methane emissions lately?), while the threat of a US-led global recession looms large. (What? You've just paid £2.5m for a one bedroom flat in Hackney?). Iran's determination to complete a string of uranium enrichment facilities certainly can't be helping; or perhaps it's all down to that weekend diet of lager, curry, chips and chocolate.

A swift visit to your GP will be of no use, even if you can make an appointment this side of Christmas. You have not fallen prey to any illness that medicine can either recognise or treat (and in a world that routinely prescribes anti-depressants to dogs and cats, that's saying something).

For the cause of your angst is, of course, unbridled transfer speculation.

This year I was determined to turn a blind eye, to let all the flotsam and jetsam of transfer speculation wash gently over me, while I sipped nonchalantly at a bucket of chilled Pina Coladas.

Then I read that Thierry Henry was moving to Barcelona, to team up with Samuel E'To and form the perfect strike partnership. Then I read that Samuel E'To was moving to Arsenal, to team up with Thierry Henry and form the perfect strike partnership.

And I read these stories approximately 30 seconds apart.

That's when the irritability started.

Then I read that Freddie would be leaving, despite being the only player in the squad to have actually reached puberty (other than Mad Jens, bless 'im!).

That's when the waves of nausea kicked in.

Then I read that the only player to have definitely, unmistakably, signed for the club is a 22 year-old Polish goalkeeper whose name has over a dozen 'K's and will NEVER fit on the back of an Arsenal shirt (even that nice white West Ham-looking one that we will, apparently, be sporting away from home).

That's when the insomnia began.

For days I shuffled around the house, mumbling, complaining of flu-like symptoms and refusing to let go of my daughter's security blanket.

And I'd still be in this zombie-like state now, if it wasn't for my wife.

Knowing that, earlier in the day, I'd stumbled across a spoof headline linking Titus Bramble with the club, she feared the worst. Quickly phoning GonnerLine (a free help line for suicidal Arsenal supporters, set up by David Dein and Stan Kroenke at the beginning of May) she spoke to someone who could help - someone who understood what I was going though.

GonnerLine's approach was certainly unorthodox, but it helped me enormously. Now I would like to pass the fruits of this advice on to the rest of the long-suffering Arsenal public.

My GonnerLine helper suggested that I try to divorce myself from the emotion of the situation, and to try analysing it more objectively; from the perspective of a scientist you might say. Well, it just so happens that my wife has a PhD in physics (not to mention a bit of a thing for Alexander Hleb), so we decided to work out a way of predicting the number of transfer stories that will be written about Arsenal - and other Premiership clubs - over the coming months.

And, I'm delighted to say, after many hours of work, here is the resulting formula:

N = m (f π a) x (c/s)

Where N is the number of stories published; f is the number of overseas players already in the squad; π ('pi') represents the way in which rumours travel round in circles; a factors in the number of football agents registered in the UK; c stands for the speed of light (recently proven to be the speed at which transfer stories travel, measured in km/s); and s is the number of seats in the team's stadium.

The initial variable, m, allows the formula to be applied to all clubs. Its value is calculated by multiplying together the nationality of the club's owner (where Russian = 3, US = 2, Icelandic = 1.5 and Other = 1) with a number that represents the club's finishing position in 2006-07.

This second number is rather more complex: it decreases from 1st to 9th position (such that Man Utd = 8, Arsenal = 5 and Portsmouth = 0) and then increases again from 10th through to 17th position (such that Blackburn = 1 and Wigan = 8). As the mathematicians amongst you will see immediately, this means there will be no interest whatsoever in the coming and goings at Fratton Park.

So let's plug in the numbers and see what we get for Arsenal:

N = (1 x 5) x (25 x 3.14 x 105) x (299,792/60,432)

Working through the brackets we can simplify this to:

N = (5) x (8,242.5) x (4.96)

So for Arsenal, N has a value of 204,414 (give or take a bit).

Doesn't it make you feel better, knowing in advance that there will be over two hundred thousand transfer rumours involving Arsenal this summer?

Of course, this formula cannot be used to accurately foretell how many players any club will actually sign. (Except for Chelsea, who sign everyone they are ever linked with - and their brothers and sisters - just in case one of them can kick a ball.)

Arsenal's intentions are particularly difficult to predict, in that they have a manager who understands world football and can, on the whole, separate talented young players from over-the-hill donkeys.

Consequently, I think it's fair to say that Arsenal are the club least likely to buy any of the 'famous names' they've been linked with, and the club most likely to buy three or four nippers that you've never heard of.

Oh dear… I'm starting to feel sick again.

Next Week: Understanding Quantum Mechanics (with the Help of Thierry Henry's Thighs) - also courtesy of my wife.