Review - ITV 7 by James Durose-Rayner

Arsenal Book Reviews: James Durose-Rayner’s ITV-7
by Josh Sippie

 Josh Sippie

Arsenal book reviews goes back to where it all began, with James Durose-Rayner’s series involving Mr. Arsenal, now on the brink of a major breakthrough.

It all started with “I Am Sam.” We were introduced to the witty good fortunes of Mr. Arsenal, who was proficient at womanizing, mass marketing illegal DVDs, and talking about football. But through his endeavors, he gradually grew into much more than that, culminating in his documentary about a forgotten Arsenal man, Jon Sammels.

The second book in the series, “ITV-7” begins where the last one left off. Mr. Arsenal, or Lee Janes, has had his third child and first with his wife Emily. Appropriately, the child is named Sammy, or misery guts or Horrible Herbert or whatever else Lee can conjure up while the child is wallowing for no apparent reason. The relationship that Durose-Rayner builds between characters is enough to carry the story on it’s own, from his quipping first son, Jamie, to the affectionate exchanges with Emily, all the way down to the return of his ferrets, Giroud and Arteta.
But it would not be on this site if not for the heavy influence of Arsenal. Make no mistake about it, anyone who has any degree of affection for the club will find immense satisfaction in the pages of this well-written work. 

This time around, Mr. Arsenal is primarily working on a documentary that highlights the parallels between Arsenal’s 1958/59 season and the 1972/73 seasons. Both had considerable upside going into the year but both were seen largely as disappointments. What is amazing is how similarly they both ended up that way.

For starters, both season were overseen by controversial managers, George Swindin and Bertie Mee, respectively. Both underwent the same kinds of problems. Swindin overtly mistreated Arsenal man Jimmy Bloomfield and Mee grossly mistreated George Graham and later Frank McLintock. Both times the players were left wondering what went wrong.

Similarly, both made some highly skeptical transfers, both in and out. Swindin in particular spent like a teenage girl at the mall and Mee broke up a fantastically constructed team. In the end, both would never be able to overcome the damage they did in these parallel seasons.

Mr. Arsenal’s focus is not solely on this project however. His hard work and dedication continue to pay off in some major breakthroughs that bring him to fame and fortune. Yet what makes him so remarkable is that he still goes through the same problems as every Arsenal fan, from peasants to kings.
Janes points out on many occasions that you really have to be special to be an Arsenal fan and he exudes this standard. You have to be special because it is not the easiest thing to do and it never has been. But that is also what makes it so rewarding.

Even in spite of all the success Janes is having, Arsenal is still front and center. He goes off on historical tangents about the club with anyone willing to listen. As a reader you will be so swept up in the learning that when Abi or Jeanette interrupt, you will be just as annoyed as Lee is. But then you are treated to the excellent cast of characters all over again. Durose-Rayner strikes a solid balance between the two, keeping the reader entertained on both fronts.

Lee is not the only narrator though. His ex-wife and now close friend Jeanette will take you through her own tales every couple of chapters, giving you a deviation from the traditional story line.

Lee makes numerous mentions of how important the history of Arsenal is to the club, which is a wonderful reminder, given the club’s status as of right now. There are plenty of references to the current state of Arsenal, including the never-dying call for a proper defensive midfielder, something everyone can relate to.