Asia Tour Insider - Day One

Tour Insider

It was a press conference with a difference that greeted Arsène Wenger upon touchdown in Indonesia on Friday afternoon.

The function room at Jakarta Airport was fill to bursting with cameramen, photographers and reporters - all eagerly awaiting the arrival of the manager, Ivan Gazidis, Jack Wilshere and Theo Walcott.

But once the four Arsenal representatives entered the room, you could be forgiven for thinking this was one of the many 'fans' party' events which the squad will attend during this trip, rather than a press conference, such was the rapturous reception they received.



The locals are delighted to host Arsenal for the first time in 30 years, and couldn't wait to explain their happiness to Arsène et al. It was a far cry from the line of questioning the boss is used to during meetings with the press back home.

However, in many ways, fans and members of the media are the same the world over - among the heartfelt welcomes were questions about possible new arrivals, though the manager was giving nothing away.



The reception from the thousands of fans gathered at the airport was the perfect pick-me-up for the players and staff alike after the 17-hour journey from Luton Airport, via Dubai.

As well as the press conference, Jack, Theo and Arsène also spoke individually to members of the local media, as well as four or five journalists who've also made the trip from England.

Meanwhile the rest of the 24-man touring squad headed into the very heart of Jakarta city centre, to the hotel which will be their home for the next three days.



Then, after meeting more supporters at a signing session for 200 lucky competition winners, it was time for a well-earned rest ahead of a busy day tomorrow.

This is the third year in a row Arsenal have toured Asia - and many of the players have been on all three - but the welcome the team receives from the locals each time a tour kicks off, continues to amaze and inspire them.

Make no mistake, Arsenal are big news in Indonesia - very big - and if the first few hours in the country are anything to go by, the players are in for an unforgettable few days.

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