Saturday, 31 December 2011

The Promised Land

Due to an illustrious schoolboy athletics career which led to a couple of medals, some silver pots and a damaged spine I'm stuck in the Charlie George position while the family are clapping Tony's return and the boys against QPR. I made the mistake of performing that difficult move of 'getting out of a car' and my back said "NO" quite loudly.

So I'm relying on Twitter, Arsenal player and Soccer Saturday to furnish me with information. It's a very odd feeling being so close to the ground while joining the thousands across the globe online. I feel a bit lost. I've no idea how we are doing. I've no idea who's playing well and who isn't. Jay Bothroyd has just nearly scored. We sound a bit lethargic. Shaun Wright Phillips sounds like he should've scored. Come on Arsenal. 12 minutes gone and this is aural torture.

I got to half time relieved I was stuck in bed. I left the Wolves game furious and frustrated so another draw with a team in the bottom third at home would relight those emotions. Too familiar too. The second half has brought me news of TV limping off and Walcott failing with a 1-on-1 with the keeper. Arsenal player sound frustrated. Twitter is a land of gloom. We really need to wake up or get used to UEFA cup football next season. QPR are now improving and I can hear the crowd groans.

But wait! RVP TO THE RESCUE! That's improved the back ache and sweetened the tea. Yet we are still worried. 1-0 to The Arsenal is never enough nowadays. Arsenal player commentator is getting over excited about being back in the top 4. Premature qualification and counting unborn chicks. Shut up mate.

6 minutes to go and I'm sitting with thousands of Gooners on the knife edge again. Spuds are 1-1. Chavs are 3-1 down. Man u lost. We need to take advantage. Gervinho misses a chance. QPR attack. This is hard work.

The iPhone peeps. Full time and we've won with a Tony Adams tribute 1-0. The Arsenal player is still going. Finally they catch up. We've won 1-0 on there too and worldwide Gooners are happy. Twitter informs me Arsenal have won their first game of 2012 (in Australia!) A good start to the new year despite us having to wait for the Fulham struggle in the UK.

I look back on 2011 as a poor year for The Arsenal & I say that as most of our memories are bad ones. We've lost Cesc and (whatever you think of him) Nasri. Cesc was a massive loss. Nasri going not so much but it sent out a message that we can't hold off Man c. The Milk Cup final was the pinnacle of shitness. The performance, the cock-ups, the in fighting among Gooners over the management and certain players. Football is a passionate game but I witnessed Arsenal fans fighting over Arsene's suitability and a punch up after someone abused Bentner. All during a cup final when we needed to be together. It was a horrible result, day and experience. This carried on right up to losing to Villa on the last home game. The atmosphere that day was poison. The misery of the summer and the rushing and panic on transfer deadline day wasn't very Arsenal and led to the worst start for decades. All was not well. Yet, tonight we finally sit in the promised land. Results went our way today and you have to doff your caps to how we have hauled ourselves back to the top 4. After the start we had it looked gloomy but the goals of our clever clogs captain and the back 4 losing their comedic timing means we seem to be turning a very large corner. There is still a lot of work to do and that means spending in January. Let's be honest, we have one striker worthy of the name. The others are either average or useless. And Henry is not the answer. I'm as excited as the next man and woman but if he's our only 'new' striker we are in trouble. We are scraping past QPR while dropping points at home to the likes of Fulham & Wolves. Arsene needs to pull something out of his magic hat. He's done it before. He'll do it again. He has to.

So trophyless 2011 please sod off. We'll keep the 2-1 vs Barcelona and the 5-3 vs the Chavs but to be honest you can take the rest with you. My new year wish would be to see signs of that beautiful team we once knew. The team that everyone wanted to watch. Add to that some help up front, cut out the bloody injuries and sprinkle some ruthlessness about the side and it could be a very happy new year indeed.

Happy new year Gooners wherever you may be. Up the Gunners.

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Humbug

As we left the living room looking like a tornado had ripped through Hamleys and strolled towards New Highbury a day late due to the tube workers extra day off we were full of great expectation. Results around us had been festive and we could make 4th our own. The recovery from a disastrous start would be nearing completion. Get top 4 and push on. The bare minimum for a club like The Arsenal.

Things started well. We were busy. Full of possession which soon led to a swift move and Gervinho one on one with the Wolves keeper. He spun, looked like he may have fluffed it before facing the right way and finding the net. He needed that goal. His bottle seemed to have left him of late but he took that well and proved a lot to himself. The first half continued with lots of the ball at our boots without any real chances. We were missing the pace of Theo who'd overdone it on the Quality Street. Wolves were being opened up out wide. Theo would've ripped them. The Ox was on the bench. Only a matter of time? As the half went on we started to pass the ball backwards more and more. "Szczesny's unmarked" came one call. "Get it fucking forward" was another!

Then it happened. An unnecessary corner was softly dealt with. The shot wasn't closed down and an opportunist header was just out of Szczesny's reach. Unlucky? Maybe. Shambolic? Probably.

The second half was all one way. In that respect we did nothing wrong. We dominated. We had chances. Hennessy joined the enormous list of keepers who have their best game ever. They went down to 10. We did the same by bringing on Chamakh. The Ox was saved for another day. I maybe putting my faith in a untested child but I just felt he could worry Wolves. Chamakh wouldn't worry sheep. Yet we may not be having this conversation if a professional footballer could kick a ball straight. Following a kurfuffle on the right the ball fell to Rosicky. He was in the D on the edge of the box. The goal gaped. Hennessy was out of position. Rosicky made contact and cleverly bent the ball a good few yards wide of the left hand post. Maybe he thought the ref, Attwell, who has awarded goals for balls going yards wide before, would allow it. Sadly not. Little Mozart finished that like a great big Jedward.

And the ref! I've refereed games before and I appreciate how hard it can be (and 9 year olds cry if you send them off) but surely a man who has been fast tracked has to have some control of the game. He made odd decisions left, right and centre. Give him his due he is consistently shite week in week out. Check out his wiki page for his growing list of cock ups. My favourite yesterday was a little one. We had a free kick just outside their box. Arteta and RVP lined up to take it. Attwell, in his wisdom, stood in front of our captain and gestured to Arteta to get on with it. RVP had to manhandle the ref out of the way before he could run at it himself. The ref, in a premiership game, was in the way at a free kick. Magnificent!

Let the boos ring out this Christmas! Not for the first time this season the team left to the bass tones of frustrated punters. I didn't boo but I left furious. The awful opening to our season means that every point we drop is magnified (and the spuds doing so well makes it even worse.) We had an opportunity yesterday and we blew it. You can blame it on the referee, you can blame it on Hennessy, you can blame it on Rosicky, you can blame it on the boogie if you like but the bottom line is we got the ball in the net once. That's as many times as 16th placed relegation threatened Wolves and if we have ambition it's just not good enough. We've obviously done incredibly well to haul ourselves up to 5th which makes these results so frustrating. We have no room for "Just one of those days" anymore. That luxury went months ago.

Friday, 23 December 2011

That Will Do Nicely


That will do nicely. Following the defeat at the money pit nothing short of a win at Villa would do and the boys delivered. It's difficult to express any defined opinions as this game was followed entirely on Twitter. Apparently we were crap, Frimpong was crap as was Coq-au-vin. The defence was crap, the midfield were very crap as was the ref who was not only crap but fat. Then Yossi bent down to head home a last minute winner and the C word turned into celebration. A frustrating evening with the potential of chucking 2 points away suddenly transformed into a delightful nights work and a hard fought 3. Splendid.

Yet it seems more than that. The perfect response to a defeat. The type of game we would have lost only a few months ago. The teams around us dropping points. We may well look back on Villa away as a massive night. However, Arsene, results like this don't mean we can avoid a trip to the transfer market for the January sales. We desperately need a striker to keep RVP happy or to just keep RVP. No more cut price bargains. A proper full on world class top of the range shiny exciting quality player is needed. Not much to ask!

Earlier in the week my son and I went to the Home of Football to do the self guided stadium tour. If you get a chance I highly recommend it. They give you a little red gadget with Bob Wilson inside it telling you everything you need to know. The beauty of the self guided tour is you can take as much time as you like. We sat for ages in the director's lounge, the chairman's seats, Arsene' seat on the bench. We ran down the tunnel (twice). We interviewed each other in the interview cupboards. I spent ages in the home dressing room dreaming of what could've been had I possessed any footballing ability whatsoever! We spent too much (again) in the club shop (but who doesn't want a Jack Wilshere action figure?) If you live too far away to do the tour there are a load of pictures of the stadium and museum on my twitter thing. Www.twitter.com/feverpitch



So we head towards the big day some way off the Christmas number 1 as that's been bought elsewhere. We are sitting nicely ready to strike. I still fancy us to get top 4. I still think we will finish above the Spuds and with the right business next month we will get 3rd. After our start that would be magnificent.

Merry Red and White Christmas Gooners.

Monday, 19 December 2011

Sheikh Up

So the mercenary millionaires prevailed. We fought hard but how can our brave volunteers on minimum wages compete with the nouveau riche? The nasty historyless oiks dispatched our charity cases good and proper. We stood no chance. The media willed them on. The ref played a 'blind'er. The lovely ones from the north put the cheeky southerners in their place. The title has been bought and paid for. Congratulations on your most hollow of victories. It's been a long time coming.

Bitter? Oh yes! And why not? A half arsed mid table club will win the league this season by ramming wads of banknotes into it's thong in the hope it will be allowed a little touch. This may sound like thin ice from an Arsenal fan but we've never been so vulgar. Granted, much to our frustration sometimes, Arsene refuses to splash the cash. He moulds cheapish players into world beaters for the likes of Barca and Man C to then pay well over or well under the odds for. That's where we are now.

Anyway, putting my disgust of Man C aside for a moment, that was some game. Before the match I fancied us. It says a lot about the side after that start to the season that I gave us I chance. I really did think we could beat them and on another day we would. 1-0 was an extraordinary score for a game with so many chances. If we hadn't decided to cannon the ball as hard as we could at Hart every time we had a chance then we may have got something. They only just beat us with a squillion pounds on the pitch and there was no shame in our performance.

Apart from their spending the most obvious difference was how many options they had every time they attacked. It was quite uncomfortable to watch and I thought our 4 central defenders did well to stop them. We, on the other hand, have 1 option. Every attack heads to RVP. It's easy to stop and, my goodness, do we need to spend and spend well in January. The sorry fact is we only have two quality strikers at the club and one of those is a centre half! Walcott is greatly improved but isn't taking any goal scoring responsibility from the captain. Gervinho was (harshly?) described to me as the bloke in the office that looks busy but actually does nothing. I'm not sure that's true but he certainly has no confidence to shoot. As for Chamakh? We he came on I tweeted that if he scored I would run around The Angel Islington naked but for a Tottenham Santa hat. Unsurprisingly the pants stayed on and a million people sighed with relief. At least I gave a silver lining to our nil.

So Man C are better than us after their Sheikh up. They should be with their collection of overpaid stars many of whom didn't even know Manchester had two clubs a few years ago. Yet we have pushed them to the limit twice recently and we go about our business in the right way. On to Villa and a nice pre-Christmas 3 points if you don't mind.

Sunday, 11 December 2011

It's Who We Are. We Are The Arsenal



The Arsenal. 125 years and it's been my honour and privilege to share 32 of mine with you. I flirted with them during the 1978 cup final but it was the cup run of 1979 that reeled me in. As the ball rolled across the line from Sunderland's boot there was no turning back. That team in yellow and blue were the only one for me.


Imagine my surprise when, on my birthday, I opened a red and white top, shorts & socks. They didn't wear these on the telly. However I was soon Brady floating a ball off the shed (Sunderland) and blasting the ball into a home made goal while screaming "STAPLETON!" We went unbeaten in the back garden that season.

It's something non believers don't understand, can't understand. The Arsenal. It gets right into you. It's special. It becomes part of your very fabric. Monday at school you needed to be ready to gloat or defend. Good training for working life. A poor weekend makes the start of the week a challenge. You know you are going to get it and you need to be ready. Conversely if the rivals fail, as they often do, you rehearse your banter. It needs to be spot on. Your mates expect no less.

It shapes who you are. It represents you. It's the pictures cut from Shoot on a schoolboy's bedroom wall. It's sending off for merchandise from the little club shop under the Clock End. It's queuing up Gillespie Road for hours for cup final tickets. It's peanuts 20 pence a bag. It's having your breath taken away on your first visit to the stadium. It's hiding in a burger bar in Finsbury Park with your girlfriend as Man U fans rampage. It's Wembley. It's driving to Paris with the best of friends. It's being allowed to drive to Paris by an understanding wife left holding a week old baby. It's meeting Thierry Henry in the street. It's a stone with our names on it outside the new ground. It's missing the old Highbury.

It's friendships. It's talking to strangers on the strength of a cannon on my coat. It's Feverpitch. It's crying when it was up for grabs now. It's passion. It's hate. It's support. It's moaning. It's thinking we could do better. It's realising we can't. It's worship. It's frustrating. It's relief. It's wonderful. It's sitting with my wife and son. It's the hug when we score. It's everything. It's what we do. It's wondering what people who don't follow football do. It's stressing about new signings. It's putting the fixtures in your diary. It's avoiding stuff to keep those dates free. It's grief at losing a number 7, one of us, one of our own. It's chatting on Twitter. It's chasing a stream. It's the Arsecast. It's The Tuesday Club. It's Eastlower. It's the blogs, the Gooner. It's just who we are.

It's winning 1-0 with a magnificent goal. What a way to win a game in front of so many legends. We weren't at our best but the enormous build up probably didn't help. Having said that we were by far the best team and on another day would have won by half time. Each attack ended with frustration and we needed a bit of brilliance to unlock Everton. Song turned the key with a sublime ball to RVP who opened the door by volleying it across the goal and in at the far post. 125 years of fans and players haven't seen many better!

It's the debates, the arguments. It's picking your favourite player ever. It's picking your favourite goal, your most important goal. Your favourite celebration. Your best win. It's why we support, encourage, applaud, moan, criticise and boo. It's something non believers won't understand. Long after we are gone memories will fade. Memories will alter but one thing they will never forget. We will always be The Arsenal.

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

And now on Sky Comedy....



Last night was extraordinary. A comical performance at the back that had me laughing on top of laughs and feeling quite ill. Mannone's error was the funniest bit of keeping I've ever seen. It sparked a debate on Twitter with people sending me other candidates for the crap keeping award but I won't have it. Vito's big chance to use his new gloves and he went all Hong Kong Phooey on us. No matter as we've qualified. It just confirms what we already know. We have one goalkeeper at the club and 3 other blokes who own gloves. God bless Szczesny. No really God, bless him and bless him good.

Just seen the scores tonight and it looks as if Channel 5 are the winners. A flood of so called giants are coming their way to play out the EuroMilk Cup leaving us clubs in crisis to run about in the Champions League with the truly big fish.

We lost but were served up with some top draw slapstick while the whole of Manchester slipped into the underworld. I'll take that.

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Warning! Bit too kind about Spuds!

A narrow loss and an easy win since the last blog. I'm glad it was that way round too. The Milk Cup is a useful run out for the extras and the young but I still feel bitter how it wrecked our season last year and cost me far too much in final tickets.

For a change I felt quite positive after that defeat. Chavscum (north) cheated by fielding a stronger team than us but nothing surprises me from that bunch. History less new money tarts. Anyway, their team cost exactly 46.3 times more than ours (haven't checked that maths) and they squeezed past us. Hope they make it to Wembley & all their fans get ripped off! Our individual players performances have been discussed elsewhere so I won't waste your time apart from saying we have some exciting, young, inexpensive, homegrown talent. Even Squillaci looked like a footballer. A proud defeat if ever there was one.

Saturday was more old school in its coverage. We weren't on the telly or the radio so for the first time in ages it was Soccer Saturday nervously awaiting Phil Thompson's grunts. We started slowly but surely we can't drop points at Wigan again. Yet before we knew it Thompson nearly exploded as we nabbed 2 in 2 minutes. 2-0 up at Wigan. Nothing can go wrong now can it? Flashbacks to the previous 2 years where we led 2-0 but didn't win either drenched my mind. But that was Arsenal of the past. This team look delighted to play, delighted to win, delighted to score. They look together. The joy Theo showed at setting up RVP was a moment to treasure as was Robin's appreciation at Walcott's unselfish cut back.

This all followed our 3rd scored by Gervinho. Superb work by Captain Clever Clogs led to a man in a Wigan goalkeepers top pushing the ball to Ricky who knocked it home. He needed that. I was convinced he couldn't finish a biscuit but that should give him his appetite back. We need him to finish his chances. Hopefully he will from now on.

We are on an amazing run of form but seem to only be making a gentle dent in the top teams. That's what made the Fulham draw so frustrating. We need the teams above us to start dropping silly points. I've given up on Man C. They've clearly bought the title but we can chase the others. Man U don't look uncatchable and the Spuds run can't last can it? They do (whisper it) look as good as I've ever known them but I've only ever known them as shite. They do seem to be getting a lot of luck too. Yesterday's sending off of Cahill was a brown envelope red! No ref can be that hopeless can they? As useful as a Greek tax accountant in Europe they really are concentrating on the league but we will finish above them. Honest.

So onwards to a stress free trip abroad for the boys not in the red. All the excitement will be elsewhere but we will be watching the reserves behind the red button in midweek. Hopefully no tired excuses will be necessary against Everton. Today brought us a kind FA Cup draw with Leeds at home so an order for the replacement urinals has already been made online.

We've broken the November curse. Here's to a cracking December. Come on you Reds.

Saturday, 26 November 2011

The 'C' Word

Complacency? Maybe. Tiredness? Possible. I don't know why the confidence of an amazing Champions League group win can't be carried over to the following league game. This is our bread and butter. This is where it matters. This is how a team is judged and today we threw 2 points away.

I care little for the Champions League. It's a horrible money making exercise that wants to take over but I enjoy us doing well in it especially when the other English teams are puffing. And there is the rub. We compare ourselves to the other teams in our league. We laughed at Man City losing in midweek yet we are miles behind them in the proper league. The domestic league is the measure and today we fell short. With plenty of disrespect to Fulham, if we are to be successful, snatching a 1-1 draw with them isn't good enough.

The disaster of the summer and subsequent mess that followed means we no longer have the luxury of 1-1 draws with teams on 11 points just outside the relegation zone at home. Every point is sacred if we are to make the promised land of the top 4. The worry is the clump of teams flirting around those places. A simple slip can be costly. I expected us to continue our great run today. I was positive. I think Wednesday's result had won me back. I felt we had found our feet and had turned that corner. Today was too reminiscent of last season when we were routinely beaten by complacency (the worst of all the 'C' the words) and the start of this season where we just looked a bit shit.

It was very slightly against the run of play when Fulham scored. Our most consistent signing Utter Shambles blundered in to the defence forcing TV to clear the ball into a handy net waiting to stop the ball rolling too far away. The crowd groaned. We had hoped this kind of thing had moved on. Down with this kind of thing. Yet it was this that woke the team. The half time Red Bull and Wagon Wheel hadn't worked. A piss poor bit of defending had.

We attacked! The crowd finally responded disturbing many who'd dropped off. Still a goal looked unlikely, less so with the introduction of Chamakh. Finally TV thought he'd better make amends and shot forward to equalise. We cheered with relief. Yes! Relief at drawing level with 8 minutes left with a team on 11 points just outside the relegation zone. . . . . . . . . AT HOME!

As we left people sighed and shrugged their shoulders. We all thought we'd turned the corner. Maybe we have. We all thought this kind of performance and result was in the past. Maybe it is and this was a blip. Maybe we needed to freshen up the team after Wednesday but the options to do that are limited. Maybe the subs needed to come on sooner. Maybe if we want to be back where we belong we need to be beating a team on 11 points......... at home. Today just wasn't good enough.

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Group F You

Only English team to win this week. Only English team to qualify so far. Group winners. I thank you. For a team whose manager has lost it and all the players are shit it's all going quite nicely.

Last night's 2-1 win over Dortmund was huge. Not the best game but it proved to many of us that this team has found some backbone. They can win when not playing brilliantly. They can win when they need to. The stress of needing a result in the final game (like the other 3 English teams) has gone. This was a very tough group. The weakest team were the German champions! To win it with a game to spare is magnificent and just what the doctor ordered.

Dortmund started brightly without really flustering us. We did very little to worry them. The only real action to note was Theo shooting many seconds after the whistle for offside and not getting booked. RVP must've wondered why. (still annoyed about that!) The tactic of removing their better players by breaking their jaws or letting them injure themselves is a new and improved version of our players being carried off and it helped no end.


A hot sugary tea and a Kit Kat finger was needed at half time and we were more lively. Song, wearing medium shorts when he is clearly an extra large, went all wingery on us, beat a lot of defenders and planted the perfect cross on RVP's head for 1-0. Song really did roll his sleeves up (and oddly one short leg) and put in a superb shift. He was my man of the match and I've been wearing too tight boxer shorts all day in tribute. He seemed to be everywhere. Defending, attacking, setting up goals and getting my man of the match award.

The second was a corner by Marwood flicked on by Bould...... 2-0 and we were there. The other game was going our way and as soon as it became clear we could win the group we collapsed at the back and let in the customary goal. We have less clean sheets than John Terry and a mate's wife* but that's not a concern today.

Things may not be perfect but we are getting there. We are level with Liverpool and Chelsea. We've closed in on World Cup Winners Tottenham and before you know it we will be above them. It's the natural order of things. It will happen. It's just a shame the summer was an utter cock up. Imagine where we'd be now if we'd hit the ground running instead of tripping and falling into a load of shite. It took too long to wash that shite out of our lovely new tops but slowly the smell is going.

A good night to be an Arsenal fan. Up The Gunners

*Similar image used before in the days of Almunia. Sorry

Monday, 21 November 2011

Cutting The Mustard

Saturday morning used to be such a simple affair. Up late, stroll to town, bacon roll, record shopping (vinyl of course.) Meet dad, claim I hadn't eaten and accept his kind offer of a bacon sandwich. Lunch. Off to the game. No more. Children now need to be in a variety of places at various times. No more record shopping. No more record shops. Sky now dictate our lives rather than the latest Cold Chillin' or Def Jam 12". 3pm on a Saturday is a rare treat. A proper slice of wax more so.

12.45 isn't a real kick off time. It's a financial fiction dreamed up to complicate matters. I'll be at the Arsenal soccer(!) school waiting for my son to finish the latest coaching session. Sky+ it? Watch it delayed? Catch up at half time? It never works. Hold on I've watched football on a ferry on my phone. A park in north London should be able to deliver such a service. First bit on sky go. Next bit on radio 5 on drive home. Final bit on big telly. A plan.

My son gets to the car at 0-0, grabs the phone & rightly points out I can't watch it while I'm driving but he can. I'd already seen the 2mm high Gunners miss chance after chance including an extraordinary,off the line, lucky clearance from an unlucky Theo shot. There will be a goal soon I assured the hot & thirsty son.

"STOP THE CAR DAD. OH YOU NEED TO SEE THIS!" I pulled into a resident's bay. The 3mm Mertesacker looked in control in the replay. What could possibly go wrong? OH NO!! Our brick shit house looked less brick and too much shit as he was brushed aside for a worm's eye view of Norwich's opener as it sped past our glamour model professional in goal. It was poor. Very poor from a man of such experience. Had Squillaci done that the groan would've woken the Norfolk Broads. We drove on in silence.

And yet there didn't seem to be the customary panic within the team. We were playing well, cocked up, gone a goal down. All too familiar but we carried on from where we were rudely disturbed. A couple of chances later and we were level. It didn't even seem too much of a shock. In fact 1-1 at half time made Norwich look good.

The second half continued the fine work. At no point did we feel in trouble. The goals will come. Gervinho went clear, rounded the keeper & yet still allowed Ruddy to save it! Frustrating. Minutes later Song looked up and had a choice between our number 27 or our captain. Song chose correctly as a lovely pass was iced by RVP with a delicious chip.

It was a good performance. It made me confident that they have started to sort themselves out. The error by Per was awful. These things happen but the way we responded was heartening. In the past that mistake would wind us. We would sulk. Struggle. Yesterday they pulled themselves together and got the job done as did the technology. We were out & about yet didn't miss a minute. 2.23am kick off on a Thursday? Bring it on.


- Posted using BlogPress from an iTelephone.

Sunday, 6 November 2011

No Fireworks, Just Sparklers.

Well that's more like it. A routine win against poor opposition with no heart in the mouth moments. It may not have had us on the edge of our seats but it was a great victory because this is just the kind of game we have messed up so easily in the past.


We started brightly especially down our right. Somebody has shouted at Theo as he has really livened up. Maybe he's seen The OC in training and had a panic. His crossing is still 'unlucky' but he looks fired up. This new determined T led to our opener as he softened up the keeper for that goal hanger of ours to tap in. That's 402 goals in 12 games now for RVP. The big show off!

I tweeted that it was so nice to see the old Arsenal back in our ground. Crisp quick passing, solid defending and no stupidly daft errors. Gooners agreed but I was put in my place by one non believer who calmly pointed out we were playing West Brom not Real Madrid. A fair point but West Brom are exactly the type of dreadful team our complacency would hand a victory to. Indeed it did not so long ago. This may not be as sweet as putting a racist in his place but in many ways more important. We've never had a problem with getting up for playing our equals. It's the tired looking, mid table lot we fans fear. We've seen so many horrors at the hands of the hopeless and yesterday felt like a milestone.

We went in 2 up at half time as TV announced his return with a finish unbecoming of a central defender. It was a crowd pleaser from a favourite. He slotted in nicely next to Kos to form many people's dream team pairing. Maybe harsh on Mertesacker as you don't get that many caps for Germany and be no good. He has brought a lot to the team. He maybe slower than an FA investigation but he's played every game since he signed and needed a rest. He's a quality defender and somehow we now have 3 to choose from. A nice defensive problem for a change. Verm & Kos had nothing to do as WBA refused to try but they did nothing efficiently. Last season we would've conceded during this nothingness.

West Brom came out and attacked a bit in the second half but didn't enjoy it so stopped quite quickly. Arteta then made it 3 without messing up a hair on his head after a sweeping move and a beautifully placed shot. 3-0 and nothing can go wrong now? Well, for a change, it didn't but the scars of the past run deep. 4 minutes left and West Brom had their first shot on target. I was pleased for their fans. It was an easy catch for Szeeeezer. We ironically cheered. 3 minutes left. 30,000 Gooners left. West Brom can't get 3 in 3 minutes can they? Of course not but those irrational thoughts can only enter an Arsenal fan's head. Maybe that's why so many leave early. Avoid the late collapse. It didn't happen. West Brom had a weak header on target. That's two now. Book the open top bus Roy. The ref ended it and we stood, clapped, cheered & awkwardly swayed to 'Moving On Up' relieved we had beaten, with ease, one of those teams we should beat with ease.

Was that The Arsenal? The proper Arsenal? Yes! I believe it was. Welcome back lads, welcome back.





- Posted using BlogPress from an iTelephone.

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Knob in Cement.

Well I suppose all games can't be sharing 8 goals (where you get 5) with a detestable rival as their vile captain falls on his face. So much excitement followed by a more wet than damp squib. It was a game we should've won but never really got going. This will be hard and brief (as all good evenings should be) as nothing really happened. As we walked home my son & I tried to think of incidents. We struggled. Szczesny's buggering about in the box was all we could remember.

If I never see Marseille again it will be too soon. 3 hours of my life has passed watching us huff and puff against them and it's not been fun. If the first game was like watching cement dry this was like drawing a cock & balls in the cement as it dries. Briefly amusing but ultimately forgettable.

Yet we have 4 points from these two festivals of bore. The results are good. 4 points from Marseille is excellent. We top the group. I'm not moaning just saying both games, Ramsey's goal aside, were highlightless. My worry is that from a position of qualifying last night the group has tightened up. We have messed this up in the past, finished second and been beaten by bigger boys in the last 16. Last night was a great chance to kick on and we just sat there.

There were Arsene's famous positives. Vermaelen was back. Thank goodness. He and Kos will give that back four some command and pace. There is debate as to whether Mertesacker should be first choice due to his height. I'd have him on the bench due to his pace. I thought Park looked OK. He certainly looked busier than Chamakh has been of late. He ran out of steam but has 'potential!' Less positive was Santos who is yet another left back playing in a very very free role. Defending is so 2004.

It's often said you are only as good as your last game so I'm ignoring last night. Excuse me while I rewind Terry's trip again.



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Sunday, 30 October 2011

Buck Off


"The Chavs can't own their stadium as The Arsenal own their pitch"

It is often said that 'a win is a win.' Well yesterday proved that that is nonsense. Scraping a 1-0 at home to Swansea is not the same as turning the Chavs over on their pitch after being behind twice. Huffing & puffing against Bolton is not the same as humiliating the original hideous club in front of their plastic fans. Yesterday we finally got that dizzy excitement we deserve. Yesterday reminded us all why we do this.

"Calm down. Let's get excited when we beat a big club"


It is unusual for me not to be able to see a game but due to half term, children and a stupid kick off time I found myself wandering around a theme park, sharing headphones with my son, ignoring all the delights around us. It was not a game to follow on the wireless. Twitter provided us with more flavour but I realised the people I follow were an army of nervous wrecks and rightly so. When the radio reported us giving the ball away twitter reported it as the worst bit of football ever. When we passed the ball twitter transformed us into 1970s Brazil. Twitter magnifies the good and the bad. It gave us hope. It ripped out our hearts. At 1.30, Santos was the worst player to ever wear the shirt. By 2pm he was being mentioned in the same messages as Winterburn (not for his defending to be fair!) Radio 5, David Pleat and twitter were a toxic mix but eventually they all came through to report The Arsenal scoring 5 away at the Chavs. Relief if a little embarrassing as people stared as a family, briefly, did the aeroplane celebration and a mass jump up and down to the soundtrack of 'YESSSSS! YESSSSSS!' The roller coaster had been stomach churning but let's do it again. We felt dizzy.

"I've got pants with more history than Chelsea"

I hate (strong word but really applies here) the Chavs more than any other team. I've hated them for decades. There is something about their flash smugness that is instantly dislikable. Even before their history started they were detestable. Since they were bought as a plaything for the village idiot they have been unbearably vile reflected in their managers, players and fans. They are a classless, historyless club. They have a chairman who wants to 'beat the crap out of Arsenal.' Well Mr Buck, how did that work out for you? They have a collection of wankers playing for them. They have a manager who spends an hour a day licking himself. He's a horrible little Mourinho lite in an ill fitting suit and to wipe the self satisfied smugness off his stupid face is a delight. As for John Terry. The list of what makes him detestable is longer than the list of misses that makes Torres a hilarious waste of money. Seeing Terry slip and go down like a teammates wife was laying there was the icing on a very delicious cake that tasted of victory.




"AR5-3NAL"

I know we are all getting carried away but why not? I know we still can't defend but if we are just going to score more than them then it's going to be quite a season. Maybe yesterday was an admission that the defence is hopeless. Attack is the best form of defence. That sounds fun! Doesn't it?!

It's been quite a week. A home win against Bolton in the milk cup to set up another home tie against Man City's multibillion pound reserves. The Bolton game was another we followed on the radio as my son and I travelled to Totton to see Cambridge City win 3-2 at the top club. The next day the AGM left many disgruntled by its stage managed nothingness. Silent Stan said little while PHW should've just provided photocopied handouts. Arsene saved the day. Nobody said we would beat the crap out of anyone. We do our talking on the pitch. Chelsea's pitch.









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Monday, 24 October 2011

Park the Horse and Cart.

I've not enjoyed an afternoon of football more for ages. Everything fell into place to make it a very agreeable few hours. Arsenal won. Man u were humiliated. The Chavs lost and ended with 9. I watched a boy I coached at 7 years old play on the Arsenal pitch as the under 18s beat their Chav counterparts. Spuds were the only team that didn't get the memo but they were playing Blackburn and you'd have to be a special kind of shite to lose at.... Oh.

Last week I felt we were nowhere near the corner & if we ever reached it we would probably hit the first defender. This week I think we can see the corner. It's at Stamford Bridge & a win there next Saturday might convince me & the army of grumpy old gits that this lot might have something about them. For so many games this season it's been hard to find too many positives. In recent weeks there have been more and more as the wins mount up.

Yesterday we saw a spirit not seen for a while. Stoke made no attempt to beat us. They parked the horse & cart with only Crouch a Delap throw away from his own goal. Yet we didn't give up. I was encouraged how we keep looking for a way to unlock the Neanderthals. Ramsey's lovely chip confused them and Gervinho neatly fired home. 1-0 to The Arsenal. Nothing can go wrong now?

It could because the ref felt sorry for the cavemen. A nothing free kick was given and while Stoke played pinball our back 4 stood about like a defunct boy band. 1-1. Not again. You do have to admire how The Arsenal defence come up with new and inventive ways to be inept. It's a skill.

The second half started with Chamack still cluelessly leading the line while our striker (world class) sat in the comfy seats. At this point I thought a win was as likely as a loss. I still don't trust the back 4. The goal aside they did OK but it'll take more than that to win me over. They are getting better but can collapse at a moments notice. My goodness we need Vermaelan back. We also looked blunt up front. Calling RVP!

The captain came on to the biggest cheer of the day & Stoke were in trouble. Twice Gervinho did brilliantly to set up the saviour and the game was won. Not a brilliant display but we are getting there & while the wins keep coming, who cares?

I was one of a few hundred that stayed to watch the Under 18s play the Chavs as I know one of the players. Having coached him a few years ago I felt oddly proud to see him playing in our colours on that pitch. I taught him nothing!

The under 18s 1-0 win added to the first team's 3-1. News of Man U's hilarious defeat had already been cheered as news of the Chavs marvellous afternoon filtered through. We strolled home smiling and laughing for once. It was a good day.


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Wednesday, 19 October 2011

One Nizzle* to Da Arsenal

What a fantastic result. When the draw was made we slumped back in our seats at our group. Well half way through we are top. Marseille looked the stickiest of the sticky and we've just come away with 3 points. Many of us would've taken a draw. Arsene said 4 points from these two games would be great. He would've taken a draw. He was given a win and a lovely refreshing smile. Nice to see.

A draw looked most likely for 91 minutes. Marseille were a steaming pile of Sunderland with a sprinkling of Bolton yet, again, we lacked the invention to beat them without a struggle. Let's be honest it was about as exciting as watching cement set, painting it, watching that dry, adding soil, planting grass seed, watching that grow....it floated no boats, it buttered nobody's parsnips. It was boring. Marseille made very few attempts to worry us. This was a bit down to the back 4 and especially my MOTM Koschelny. He had one of his good nights tonight.

It was a game neglecting the seat's edge. Bottoms firmly planted back, angry birds on the go as the ball trudged about the pitch being given away to a person wearing a different colour. Nobody can cross a ball and the culprits we're duly replaced. We were on top for most of the game but it was a small mound of shite we had climbed. Marseille were a disgrace.

Despite the tedium 0-0 was a result. A win at home and Arsene's plan is complete. Suddenly a move of quality appeared. Ramsey! 1-0! Mental strength bent those bars on the window of the jail? A brief yet intense flash of joy in an evening of dullness. Enough to transform a great result into a wonderful one. Say we are top of the league.

5 wins out of 6 suggests we are OK. Maybe we've been spoilt in the past by dynamic and swift teams as there is still that little whiff of average about this team. We need a convincing stuffing of a team to inspire us all. The next fixture always looks tricky. Yet tomorrow is the time to worry about Stoke. From tonight's game we need to take a heady mix of back 4 solidity, spirit & Arsene's smile added to wingers who wing and strikers who strike. Tonight we celebrate a win. A win on Snoop Doggy Dogg's birthday*. A win on the very eve Westlife are disassembled. Don't you just love it when that happens?

*Turns out we didn't win on Snoop's special day. I was a day early. It just goes to show you should never believe anything Grandmaster Flash tells you.

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Monday, 17 October 2011

Bending over in the shower.

Before the game yesterday I tweeted 'win pretty, win ugly, just win.' Well that was about as pretty as Steve Bruce bending over in the shower. It started well. It looked like Steve wouldn't wash & keep the bag firmly on his ample head. Things started pretty. Within 31 seconds, with the stadium half full, we were ahead. Relax. We looked good. RVP had released the pressure. He spun Bergkampesque to see his chip tickle the post. He blasted wide. RVP was our Sunday roast.

Then it stopped. Steve removed the mask and started to unbutton. The confidence drained as we decided to let a really poor Sunderland make a game of it. They went close then won a daft free kick that an old boy planted beautifully. By the end of the first half Steve was soaping up. It was as ugly and unpleasant as that. Poor Jenkinson was caught and Cattermole made Sczzzzzer's dive look world class. Sunderland could've been 3-1 up but then so could we.

The second half was more of the same. We were generally on top but we are The Arsenal and they are the man u retirement home for pricks so we should be. Sunderland looked dangerous before the break yet resorted to assaults just outside their box in the second half. Maybe they knew how shit the free kicks would be. Twitter tweeted that we hadn't scored like that for 100 years as each inept player thumped them over. Finally RVP was allowed a poke. Boom! Top corner! Outta jail! 3 points.

For large parts of yesterday we looked like a poor 80s tribute team. Don Howe would be proud of how uninspiring we looked. The crowd feared the worst. Frustration set in. It was nervously quiet. Right or wrong the only noise is exasperation. We won. We won ugly. That's the form of Champions! 10 points in 2 months. That's the form of the bottom 3. That performance, as a whole, showed we are nowhere near the corner let alone turning it. Sunderland were utter shit and we weren't much better. WE WON! I know, that's great but the bigger picture worries me. We live on hope but for a lot of that we were less of it.

RVP is proving to be the world class player we all knew we had. He, unfortunately for him, looks like the 14 year old playing for the under 10s. He's too good for the players around him. Late at night, in bed, when the silence enhances your thoughts, you wouldn't blame him if the darkness persuaded him to leave sooner rather than later. He's good enough to play with the best & during his time with us we have got rid of them & replaced with the average. Granted all the other really classy players are broken but are there enough of them to make RVP want to stay. We need to give him a reason to stay. We need to give him the hope we crave. This summer was hopeless.

Yet while we keep scratching out wins the hope clings on. I've seen how pretty we can be and I want that back. No more managers covered in shower gel especially with Stoke coming to town. Win in France? Win on Sunday? No idea. We can but hope (& hide the soap.)


- Posted using BlogPress from an iTelephone. You think of Steve Bruce in a shower at your own risk. This blog will not be responsible for any trauma or therapy that may result.

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Who stole St Tottringham's Day?

Right, let's face facts. We have a very average team on our hands here. I've been thinking it all season but I think today has confirmed it. We lost. Fair enough but we weren't beaten by the totts. We have beaten ourselves so often in the past few seasons I'm starting to think it is actually us who are the wankers.

Some were saying that was our best performance of the season. Some were saying there were positives. Some were saying we got some pride back.

WE LOST TO TOTTENHAM!

If that was our best then we are in real trouble. We could've won that. We probably should've but we didn't. Brad Friedal had virtually nothing to worry him yet Sczzzzzer made some world class saves. We are no better than the spuds. That's where we are now. A fair to middling average team that will beat the likes of Bolton at home but will self destruct against the likes of Blackburn away.

We had chances but not many. RVP wasn't given one while Unlucky blasted over and Gervinho, with his hair out of his eyes like theatre curtains, somehow missed the target. The forwards (for they cannot be called strikers) let us down. The defence however was consistent. They let two soft ones past them. The first, a floated ball that Mertesacker and Sagna decided to ignore rolled down Van De Vaart's arm onto his boot and into our net. I couldn't give a Bale's uncle that it was a handball. The point is nobody was near him to stop him hand balling it. The second was just sloppy from just about everyone. We twated about in clearing it and Walker thumped it. Nobody went to close him down and he found a gap in our defence big enough to drive a burning bus through on it's way to fill up at Sports Direct. Song was miles out of position, the ball flew through where he should've been and Sczzzzzer fumbled it. Maybe a goalie error but I'll let him off because he is the only one keeping us in games at the moment. Song, despite being 5 yards from the ball, turned his back on it. Unforgivable! He did it at Chelsea and he's done it again. For a big man he's a bit soft. Is he worried that if the ball hits him all the dye will fall out of his hair and he won't look like a dickhead anymore? I don't want to pick on him as he was pulled all over the place due to our left back having a free role but today I seemed to be shouting at him more and more for being pushed off the ball and looking lost. Not his fault he's in the back four but I'm too irrational to be fair at the moment!

So we sit tonight 15th in the league after 7 games. We have amassed 7 points from those games so to describe us as average might be a bit kind. As it stands we are no good. How do you rate Everton and Wolves? That's how good we are. It's a brave and a bit shit new world. We need to stop worrying about the old rivals as they have changed. We need to hope Sunderland and WBA lose not Man U or Chelsea. We are in the poo and we need to scrape ourselves up this table but while we miss chance after chance and refuse to defend the bottom half will become a familiar home. We need to back this squad, what else can we do as fans? Yet, forgive me for not looking forward to the next game or the one after that. They could be wins. They could be loses. With this bunch your guess is as good as mine.


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Thursday, 29 September 2011

Controversial moan!

Cards on the table, I'm not a great fan of the champions league. 'What!' I hear you cry. Yes! Not a great fan despite it being responsible for my greatest away trip.

Paris 2006 with the man from Eastlower, his brother (who had my wife's ticket due to having just given birth! Yes I was allowed to leave her with a week old baby. What a woman!) and our friend MD had the best 72 hours ever despite the horrible result. The picture of me in front of the half time score board (1-0 to the Arsenal) takes pride of place in our house. Still not keen though.

It's a massive money making juggernaut ploughing through the game. It has become the ultimate aim at the expense to actual success. Robert Pires once answered a question about being disappointed with 3rd replied, 'No, we are in the Champions league.' We'd won nothing yet were successful. Every year we are in the league of Champions usually as champions of nothing. Us and 2 other English teams. I'm writing this while the spuds huff against Shamrock Rovers in the dreaded Wafer cup. (ha! Shamrock have just gone 1-0 up!!) It's the cup nobody wants to be in. If Arsenal ended up playing on a spursday night there would be less interest than the Carling Cup. The champions league has undermined it. It's struggling to be second best out of two cups.

It's the groups of the Champions league I really dislike. It's an elongated cash generating nonsense for a corrupt organisation and we all fall for it. Don't even get me going on the fixed draw due to TV schedules.

However, a win is a win!


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Sunday, 25 September 2011

Birthday Bashing

Well that was a better week wasn't it? Things feel nicer when you've won 2 games whatever the opposition. Division 4's Shrewsbury gave us a scare by scoring. Bolton woke us up with an early chance that Szczesny saved beautifully. Our hearts sank but was it mental strength that saw us through?

Our next Milk Cup opponents rocked up on Saturday for my first 6 pointer relegation battle. Exciting! Unfortunately the first half wasn't. As we went to our seats the steward asked us if we would win. My son & I both made that strange sound, accompanied with a shoulder shrug, that means 'don't know' or 'wouldn't bet on it.' Apparently we weren't the only doubters.

The team played out the first half carrying our anxieties. It was slow, ponderous and, dare I say it, dull. No pace, no speed, no invention. At half time we feared the worst. We were better than Bolton but we've lost in that situation before. On Friday @eastlower texted me claiming he felt bullish. 3 wins in 16 suggested a madness. The first half confirmed it. The bull had slipped it's chain. At half time we were no good.

The second half needed a boom and within 2 minutes RVP out (world) classed the whole Bolton defence to slam it past the near post. The stadium breathed out briefly but we've done that prematurely too often. The relief soon turned to nerves as we realised we now have a lead we could lose. Bolton were awful but so were Blackburn. We could easily score Bolton a goal if they asked nicely.

Suddenly things started to go our way. It seems a long time since we felt the touch of lady luck but she was lurking just outside the box as Theo was pulled down as he stormed through & Bolton found themselves a man down. Nothing can go wrong now? The way Theo was playing it was a daft foul. Wheater could've let him shoot & then taken the resulting Bolton throw. Poor T frustrated us. He's begged to play down the middle. He later went clean through only to fluff his lines. Out wide he's often ineffective. What do you do with a problem called Theo? You stick with him & let him slip a delightful ball to RVP to join the 100 club. Enough? Or enough is enough?

Bolton were done while we relaxed in the seats. A poor first half was forgotten as Song cracked one home. 'We are staying up, we are staying up.' 3-0 is as good as we could've hoped. More convincing than the Swansea win but nothing special. We are so far from the sparkling speedy Arsenal everyone fell for but we've turned that awkward corner. Wednesday (let's not even think about Sunday) will be a right test but we face it with hope.

Yesterday was my Birthday & the boys came through. Arsenal 3 Bolton 0. Cambridge City 3 Bashley 0. I should have birthdays more often. Indeed it was a happy one.

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Sunday, 18 September 2011

Blackburned

It's rare that I don't get to watch The Arsenal but yesterday we were all busy due to a ridiculous kick off time. My son & I were on a motorway to Cambridge to see an FA Cup 1st round qualifier and relied on Radio 5 to bring us the good news. We left 5 minutes into the game. "If we can't beat Blackburn we may as well give up now" we said as we left the house. Sky box was recording so we could enjoy it later.

Things started well as we queued to get out of London. The wonders of invention meant we were watching Gervinho's excellent goal on a mobile phone at traffic lights. We're on our way. One way traffic for both of us. Blackburn, unhappy with their manager, were chickens in the headlights. Nothing can go wrong now!

Until Blackburn attack that is. Unfortunately the defence are still shit. Samba was left alone to miss an easy header before Yakabu finished nicely as the back 4 stood about. Reports are just coming in that Mertesacker has finally finished turning for that goal.

We went on to score 2 more really good goals. Great unless you defend like utter muppets. A nothing ball bounced off Song into our goal as the defence stood about again bemused by the round thing being kicked towards them. Yakabu then scored again. "Offside" the team cried. "Bloody mark Yakabu" the rest of us replied. Totally unmarked 4 yards out! Staggering.

The 4th was comical. Blackburn attacked the wing. Djourou lumped towards the player and made the daftest of challenges. Indeed calling it a challenge is kind. It was pathetic. However, he should get away with it as the cross has gone straight to Koschelny totally unchallenged in our area. Koschelny is facing the ball. He has a number of choices. He could kick it very hard away from the netty thing, ie, his job or he could neatly sidefoot it home in a way Torres can only dream of. Oh! He's a fox in the wrong box. Stunningly idiotic.

I lost my mind. We had just turned off the motorway & I actually pulled over to swear on twitter. I wasn't alone. This was the worst defeat of the season & in a season that's only 5 games old & one of those games was an 8-2 loss that's saying something. At Old Trafford we faced a strong Man U with a very weak side. Yesterday we played a very poor team with our strongest fit 11.

People were saying we have to be patient as we have lots of new players and it takes time. Isn't that what the preseason is for? These boys should've been trotting about in the friendlies. The club messed up the summer & given themselves another excuse for this shower. We need changes quickly. I'm not going to jump on the obvious bandwagon. A defensive coach is the way forward in the short term. This needs stopping quickly and that can be done first thing Monday morning. Make no mistake we are in trouble here. If we played ourselves we'd both lose at the moment. Worst start since the 1950s. Bottom 5 at time of writing. Worst goal difference in the league. We are minus 23 goals behind Man u after 5 games! 5 games! 5!

When we scored Blackburn's 4th I explained to my son that lean periods are quite common in football. We need to just sit this out and it will be OK. My son looked at me and said, 'I've known nothing but lean periods!' He started really caring at the start of the 05/06 season and has known nothing but disappointment. 'Is it me?' he asked. 'No son' I replied, 'It's them.' As if that conversation wasn't bad enough I had to buy him a Cambridge City shirt as he didn't want to wear his Arsenal shirt. I hope it means as much to those making an utter mess of running the club as it does to the rest of us.


Shrewsbury must be looking forward to Tuesday night more than we are. If we can't beat Shrewsbury we might as well give up ............ As for the bottom of the table clash against Bolton.....

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Saturday, 17 September 2011

What the......

.......fuck was that?


- Posted depressed, miserable, fed up & pissed off using BlogPress from an iTelephone.

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

No one to blame.

A last minute goal against always leaves you feeling deflated. It was not only a cracker but unusual in that I couldn't find anyone to blame.

Its rare for me to see a good goal scored against us. I'm biased. It's as simple as that. Every goal at Old Trafford, for example, were a direct result of our poor defending rather than their ability. It's my way of giving the opposition no credit. Bad things are down to us never them. The 88th minute screamer left me initially speechless before exclaiming, to the shock of the living room, that there was nobody to blame. The ball was headed clear, which made a nice change, and Benayoun sprinted to close down Perisic but the shot was too good. Brilliance that I'll take squarely on the chin.

It was no more than Dortmund deserved. Indeed, had we escaped to victory it would have been floodlit robbery. We were battered. Wave after wave of attacks led to poor finish after poor finish. There was an over supply of kittens available stemmed only by RVP's chocolatty finish after a sublime ball (that wasn't a cross) by Theo. Against all the odds Arsene's Jedi Mind Tricks to the bench were working even if the tactics weren't spot on.

The second half took place in our half with only the occasional appearance from their keeper. 1-0 to The Arsenal. The good old days. The defence was a mixture of solid and shambles. Solbles? Gibbs still concerns me defensively. I'm not sure a left back should be playing in such a free role which means he's rarely left or back. The huge plus again was Szzzzzzzny. Another amazing, commanding performance. We've got ourselves a right good goalie there.

At the final whistle I was down but soon realised we got away with that a bit. I'm sure I'll feel the same a lot this season. It could be a long one.

Written during breaks in the loo at work using BlogPress from an iTelephone.







Monday, 12 September 2011

Vorm Our Vay To Victory

After unequally sharing 10 goals with the school bully (nice he allowed us two I suppose) all we wished for was a win & a win is what we got.

On the way to the ground there was anticipation rather than trepidation due to the late night shopping of the previous Monday. The new boys weren't so much exciting as necessary. Three Swansea fans asked if I could take their picture with the ground as a background. This was another cup final to them. Nothing to lose. They weren't confident but their belief that they couldn't defeat Arsenal because they were Arsenal planted doubt in me. We have been nothing short of shit for months. Would today be a Blackpool thrashing or a Hull City humiliation? With this side you can't tell.

We started brightly & the crowd were right up for it. The in fighting had gone. We were one again. The 8-2 had galvanised the club. Blame was shadowed by the future. We need to get out of this mess starting today. Mertesacker looked enormous even from my seat in the clouds. That's more like it. A big international beast of a man who knows where to stand at set pieces. He made the odd error but looked solid & I'd rather have him there than any of the other fit options. Most pleasing was how Koschelny mopped up the errors. He's come a very long way very quickly.

R. Teta (like R. Kelly, that's right isn't it) stole the new boy's show. He looked lively & slotted into the passing, moving, triangle thing we love so much. He showed the value of a signing who knows this league. Whereas Mertesacker looked a bit off the pace Arteta was at home. He maybe Cesc lite but that's where we are now.

Many positives after the *-2. Not least Szzzzzzzny who looks like a proper goalkeeper. He's confident and commanding & pulled off a number of top stops especially when Mertesacker let a Swan nip in front of him in the first half at 0-0.

Concerns were Gibbs & Walcott. Gibbs is interesting as Arsene obviously rates him highly but has bought an experienced Brazilian international who won't be happy with being 2nd choice. Although you could understudy Gibbs and still play more games than him. He did ok going forward. His crossing sometimes seems better than Walcott's but defensively he seems all over the place. Clichy used to ignore where he should be & Gibbs is copying that. It's an area that stronger teams will target.

On the other wing we have Theo. He's desperate to play centrally & I can see why. He doesn't get past people & his crossing is woeful. If he made a promise he'd struggle to cross his heart. I really want him to succeed but he's going backwards out there. Oddly enough it was an awful cross-cum-shot from Theo that led to the winner. A deflected shot-cum-cross was kept in by Vorm who inexplicably threw the ball against Angel Rangel (& if his names don't rhyme it's criminal) & into the path of Arshavin. My initial thought was what's he going to do as everyone had run away ready for a clearance. From a very tight angle rangle he found the net. A fantastic effort & thank Bergkamp it was as that was it for us.

We had chances. We hit the wood but so did they. In the end we were on the edges of our padded seats as Swansea gave it a final push. They should've equalised when the ball was skied from a few yards out. We scored a freaky tricky goal. They missed an easy one. The margins are thin.

At the whistle there was a lot of sighs of relief. The steward looked at me as we left (when the game had actually finished still unlike thousands around us) & said, "you've got to take what you can at the moment!" I agreed but this tainted the win. Yes it was lucky. It probably was just about deserved but it probably wasn't good enough either to make any of us think we can even challenge the top 4. We are so far away from the Manchester pair at present it's scary. Yet, a win is a win and my God we needed it.


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Sunday, 28 August 2011

The Arsenal Thorough Worsted

Eleven little red lads in a deep red hue,

Came to show Loughborough a thing or two;

But the Luffs they said nay,

It is our turn today,

And the reds returned, thorough worsted.




That is how the Loughborough local paper opened it's report on Arsenal's largest defeat in 1896. Before today that was the only time we have ever let 8 goals in. 115 years of football and nobody managed it. If the year started in a 19 nobody managed it. Eight! 8! Huit! Ocho! One fat lady! Fucking 8! However you say it it's a lot of goals to let in. That's 1 every 11 minutes 15 seconds. No one has done that to us in living memory. 8!



Usually we all analyse the term, performance and individuals but today there is no point. They all did their best considering the neglect. They scored two goals at Old Debtford. First time since 1984 I believe (haven't checked sorry) while missing a penalty. Considering the team selection and instructions to get two is a miracle. Conceding 8 was shocking but not unexpected considering the neglect. I actually feel sorry for our boys.



I feel sorry for the kids who have been thrown in right up to their necks. For a manager who has been so protective towards youngsters it's extraordinary to see him compromising these kids. I feel sorry for the older heads who have been swamped by youngsters. They can only guide so many and there are just too many. I feel sorry for the bench. Yet again it looked like a kids birthday party outing. There are no game changers on there. I feel sorry for RVP. He's at a stage in his career where he needs trophies and he looks about this flimsy squad and must despair. After today he would be well within his rights to kick the manager's door down and ask what the Squillaci is going on. I feel sorry for Szczesny. He was our best player by far and kept the score in single figures. Without him Loughborough would've become a distant memory! I feel sorry for the whole team being asked to play 'The Arsenal Way' despite not having the players to do it. Gary Neville sat in the Sky studio almost speechless at how high the defence were playing. Paul Merson was slowing losing it.

I feel sorry for the whole club as Sir Alex looked embarrassed by the win.

I feel sorry for the away fans who were once again magnificent. Old Scumford is a horrible place to go and they sang their hearts out and should get all their money back from the club if there is any decency left.



How has it come to this? It's obvious to all and very old ground. We were promised a big summer but that was a one way promise. We need players. We all know it. It's now critical. I know we have 8 (there's that number again) out and they would help but the squad is very very light even when everyone is fit. Again boring old ground.



I'm at a loss to know what else to say. I could say so much but it's all been said before. We know what needs to be done but with only 3 days to do it, it might all be too little too late. I've phoned missing persons and reported the loss of an entire football club and a shit load of money. Manchester Police have arrested the United first team on suspicion of murdering a group of London teenagers on a day trip to the city. Seriously though, we are in a lot of trouble here.



Eleven little lads in a stupid double blue

Went to Old Trafford without a fucking clue

It wasn't a twist of fate

When the Mancs hit eight

And the blues returned, thorough worsted.







Thursday, 25 August 2011

Rabbit in a Magic Hat.

So Arsenal, how could we have ever doubted you? Shame on us!
Even if you claim to have never doubted you were certainly worried after quite a short striker headed home an equaliser just before half time.

It was a massive evening. It just could not go wrong. Arsene needed to pull out a victorious rabbit from his magic hat or the future was firmly poo coloured. Imagine how this morning would feel if we were facing Trumptonshire in the Wafer cup. Imagine the pressure on the manager. Imagine the papers & the blogs! Stop now! The rabbit was found and what a lovely, fat, fluffy rabbit dripping with mental strength he was. He will be popping into every national newspaper office later with a knuckle duster just to make sure the editors have stuck our badge back together again. How annoyed will the tabloids be this morning? They were desperate for us to join the spuds. Find another story you muppets.

The first half was a breathless ding dong. Two teams with very little between them racing from one end of the pitch to the other. From kick off Udinese made a chance & within seconds so did we. This was uncomfortable viewing. Quite a lot of girlie screaming was going on in our living room as they hit the post a couple of times & we played pinball in their area. That turned to swearing then silence as Di Natale headed past Szczesny with a stunning header which Djourou should've dealt with.

Half time was unpleasant. After 1 goal in 3 & a half matches it was hard to see the breakthrough coming. Twitter was shuddering with concerned Gooners. However, we just needed one. Just one. The collective worldwide relief for all those in red with white sleeves was felt after a marvellous dribble by Gervinho & a whollop by the captain. 1-1. Nothing can go wrong now can it?

You'd think not but you have to remember that referees can do idiotic things in the blink of an eye. A corner was swug in, TV was pushed in the back, the ball brushed his arm & the essentially pointless extra official saw his chance to be given a more important job by Platini. Amazing how this bloke saw that but his mate missed a clear elbow on Theo at the other end. A clear red card & penalty. However, instead the home team were given a huge opportunity on a UEFA shaped plate. What followed resulted in everyone in the living room getting to their feet. Wojciech pulled off the most magnificent Seamanesque save, keeping us firmly in the driving seat while annoying Platini & the media enormously. A double whammy of joy.

Theo, still nursing a sore (but not glass) jaw, raced onto the final bits of a 1-2 with Sagna to make it 1-2 to The Arsenal. With the 14 on his back, he cut inside, headed straight for their keeper & buried it without hesitation. He looked so like an old 14 of ours that we were all surprised he didn't curl it around the keeper into the other corner. High praise indeed and proof, if it were needed, that Theo needs a chance to play more centrally. We may already have the striker we need. He'd be like a new signing!

And you thought I'd forgotten. Of course we need players. One win hasn't changed anything. We have a very long season ahead of us which will be littered with injuries & suspensions. We need experience so the likes of Frimpong aren't looking at Ramsey for help. Ramsey is still so young & inexperienced he needs someone to look up to & learn. Theo Walcott, at 22 is considered an old hand! RVP said after the game what we are all thinking. For the captain to publicly say the win was great as it will generate funds for new players is a big deal. We, as fans, have little power in forcing the club's hand other than stop supporting & that's not going to happen. But when the captain, whose deal is running out, cries out for help, they need to listen and act.

Last night proved & reminded us all how good we are. They played with passion & intelligence. Jenkinson, living all our dreams, looked beyond his years. Frimpong again did a job. The future's bright but with a smattering of the right signings it could be blinding.

Oh and Nasri can fuck right off too.

- Posted in bed, far too early, using BlogPress from an iTelephone.



Saturday, 20 August 2011

Too Much Too Young

I'm at that age now where a football match shouldn't leave me feeling quite so miserable. It's an escape. It's not important in the grand scale of things. For a couple of hours you forget everything and focus. Briefly, the fortunes of young millionaires rule your emotions. I shouldn't let it get to me but if a cracking away win puts a spring in your step then a home defeat will puncture you.

I was concerned by the team. It looked like a Milk Cup side with the odd first teamer. Our left backs are both virtually untested and both broken so we needed to shuffle to bring in another untested teen (who did OK!). The central pair at the back were solid. Indeed TV was our best player but then he is a grown up. I like Kos too. These two will see us through. Well until Kos' back goes into spasm and he limps off in agony. I've had that injury twice & recognised it. My goodness it's painful. If it's what happened to me he'll be out for a while & will be suicidal with what's on daytime televsion.

The midfield was all about Frimpong Tiddle Eye Po. He looks like Mr T (or considering his age, the man from the snickers (Marathon) adverts.) His obvious inexperience worried me yet he looked OK. He's obviously going to be a huge (literally) talent. He was holding beautifully but was so pumped up he probably deserved 2 or 3 yellows and a red. 2 yellows & only a 1 match ban was a result in the end. Who plays against Manchester's second team is a mystery.

The bench looked like a children's party. Not a lot on there to change a tight game. Rumours about Punch and Judy at half time to keep the little ones quiet in the dressing room are unfounded however RVP is a doubt for midweek after slipping on some spilt jelly and ice cream. Half the squad left carrying wash bags. The other half left with party bags while news filtered through that the Man U game will now be shown on CBeebies not Sky.

We can analyse the players, performance or formations all night but I think there is a wider issue here. At the start of every season fans have their hopes clearly marked in their minds. It might be a good cup run or safe from relegation. The problem we have at The Arsenal is our expectations are, if not Champions, very close to Champions every year. We have come to expect to be up there and as we play in the ££££ league every season then maybe the brief is being met. However, we can all see that this squad of players is just not good enough (yet) to give the title a realistic go. They will not win the league and I think that's the first time I've felt that so strongly under Arsene. We all know we will face injuries and suspensions over the season and this squad, as it stands, is not equipped to deal with it. After 3 games it's not equipped to deal with it.

The other question that keeps popping up is, 'Are the club as financially secure as we are led to believe?' Is the squad being filled with cheaper promising youngsters as we can't actually afford anyone else? If we make no significant signings in the next two weeks what other reason could it be? Arsene's faith in such a thinly experienced squad can't be that strong. We will be found out.

My immediate concern is Wednesday. We need to be picked up (a nice uplifting signing would do that!) and make sure we don't face the horrors of Thursday nights on Channel 5. That's what the spuds do. That's not for us. Great expectations again?

Lastly, I thoroughly enjoyed Twitter today. Straight after the match I was very down on the side and got loads of abuse from the rose tinted brigade. After a large roast dinner I was more positive and got abuse from the doom merchants calling me deluded. There is an Arsenal civil war going on and I pray the club do the right things to dampen this. Also, we are all supporters of this fine club. A bit of arguing or disagreement doesn't make you any less of a fan. I'll support this lot all my life. I'll follow them to the non-league if that ever happens. That doesn't mean I have to like everything that is happening. This squad is too light, too young and too inexperienced to give both mancs and the chavs a good run for their money this year. We will not win the league and we could be facing Wafer Cup nonsense very soon and I don't like it.

Maybe that's all we can afford. The sooner I accept that the better.


- Posted using BlogPress from an iTelephone.

Thursday, 18 August 2011

What's Stan's Plan?

I know I wasn't alone in dreading this game. It was our first home game of the season & I wasn't looking forward to it. It was a massively important match. We needed to keep away from Thursday night wafer cup games & potential clashes with the spuds. Nobody seemed hugely confident after a less than impressive run around in Newcastle. The team looked as flat as the fans feel. We've played these qualifiers before but I can't remember so many nerves.

We won! That's two games unbeaten with two clean sheets. Not bad eh? One foot in the £££ league draw? I wish! How Udinese got nil is as big a mystery as to why the club are refusing to buy the players we need (for that is what they are doing. It's the only explanation.) Udinese were impressive. They were fit & quick and in periods out Arsenaled us. It was heart in the mouth stuff. The second leg will be as tough as Joey Barton in a nightclub. I'd rather it were as tough as Joey Barton on the pitch but we'd need a 5-0 lead for that.

If our first game centred around the Hitler tribute then our second was all about injuries. What odds would you've got before this game that Gibbs wouldn't make it to September? He has proved once again that he is made of feathers and those little sticks they expect you to stir your coffee with in Starbucks. I feel sorry for him. He's a talent but with a squad this thin we have no room to carry these injury prone boys. Djourou's another one. 9 minutes after coming on for the stick man & he is limping off with a memorial Cesc hamstring pull too. We end up holding onto a 1-0 lead with two 19 year olds coming off the bench to make their £££ league debuts. How has this been allowed to happen? We got away with it but on another night that could've ended up 1-3 & kids on the bench wouldn't be looked at so kindly.

The other main talking point was Arsene's ludicrous touch line ban for calling an idiotic referee an idiot. He sat next to Boro Primorac who spent the evening on Twitter & trying to clear that Angry Birds level he's been stuck on for weeks. UEFA want to tell Arsene off for allegedly passing messages to Pat via Boro. Why did the club not prepare for this? Arsene simply needed a glove puppet that could whisper onto Boro's ear. I'd love to see The Arsenal answering a charge of passing on messages via Sooty. We had a chance there to make UEFA look as stupid as they really are. The 437 pizzas that arrived in the name of Primorac will certainly confuse them.

Since Monday the latest score is Leavers 3 (Cesc, Eboue, Vela) Newcomers 0. Nesri has come close to making it 4-0. Have the Newcomers even had a shot? I've no idea but we unless we act quickly we could be in trouble. The end of August is crashing towards us like a shawcross tackle. Rumours that our only signing will be Kate Middleton as she is Royally F****d too are unfounded!

Yet if we don't sign players (& I mean players in the plural) there may not be any room for jokes. It's clear we won't win the league this year. I'm worried about getting past Udinese.

I'm genuinely concerned. What's the plan? Get all this transfer money in pound coins and pile it up in front of our goal mouth?

We need players, good results against top teams & miracles in the treatment room in the next few days or there may be no way back.

You get one man in
One man out
Out out out out
Shake it all about
Do The Arsenal Hokey Kroenke
It will save a few pounds
Cos that's what it's all about.

(thanks to @ChargingThrough for polishing that rhyme up)

Up The Gunners.


- Posted using BlogPress from an iTelephone in a lovely cafe by the sea.




Sunday, 14 August 2011

Spot the difference.

I wasn't going to blog about yesterday. I didn't want to start the season like this. Three months ago I sat at The Arsenal as we slumped to Aston Villa. The atmosphere was poisonous. Boos rang out while Gooners fought among themselves in the stands. Things needed to change.

Three months of promises and that's what we get. Now, we didn't blow a 4 goal lead so this was a far less damaging draw than last season (ignoring the red card and possible ban for Song for a moment. Hold on! It is a pretty damaging draw!) It's just not how you want to start. It's hardly hitting the ground running is it? I thought we kept the ball well. Tried hard to get it back but did very little to actually beat a very poor Newcastle. That was our easiest game this month and we blew it.

The positives, after a summer of worry, were the back 5. Sez looked commanding in the box. There's a lot of pressure on his shoulders this season. He's our number 1 now and thank goodness as there is little in reserve to challenge that. The defence kept a clean sheet which makes a nice change but before we get over excited Newcastle were about as threatening as a baby with a spoon. If they finish above the bottom 3rd they will have done well.

And that's the crux. If we don't have the ideas to take 3 points off a poor side after 3 months of preparation I despair. It was a poor 0-0 with hardly a shot to register in the memory. Without Joey Barton the game would probably be forgotten already. What an absolute arsehole he is but yet again we fell for it. Did nobody warn Gervinho about him? That whole couple of minutes was a disgrace. Firstly it was a penalty. Gervinho was clipped. He was then assaulted while the ball was in play so that's a penalty too. These two penalty shouts ended Gervinho's debut and let Barton off the hook. Poor refereeing. Somehow we had a man fouled in the box which led to him being sent off. Staggering. Worrying too that Barton goes down easier than a crack whore holding a fiver and one of the Taylors thinks a stroke of the face is the same as an elbow. God help their wives for very different reasons!

What worries me more is that the side that played yesterday can only be strengthened by bringing Jack in. There is really nobody else that would make a difference. We have the cast of Glee (or Kids from Fame for older viewers) chomping at the bit on the bench but are any of them ready to invigorate a lacklustre show? In a couple of days this squad needs to try and keep us away from the prospect of unthinkable Thursday night football.

Turn it around boys. Give us fans something to believe in. Show us Arsene still knows. It's the least we deserve.



- Posted using BlogPress from an iTelephone.

Friday, 12 August 2011

Back to School Sale

So today is the day Cesc Fabregas finally signs for Barcelona and joins up with his mind after it signed for them 15 months ago. It's been a messy divorce and that's a shame. He should be remembered fondly by Gooners but his actions, and more so the actions of the filth he joins, means there isn't a lot of love for our ex-captain. Due to where he is heading we can't even wish him well. He hasn't reached legendary status and will probably be forgotten. Generations of Gooners won't list him in their best ever teams. There are few things he has done that can't be outdone by others. He never lifted a trophy.

What does disturb me is it looks likely Fabregas was on some sort of strike. He hasn't kicked a ball for us since April and this fueled the rumours. What's important is we perceive him to be forcing the issue and that leaves us cold. It's said he wasn't match fit for Newcastle but you just watch him jump around like a spring lamb if they want him to play. Apparently Barcelona are facing a huge injury crisis after half there squad, on hearing the news of Cesc, ejaculated themselves to death.

Arsene said he wanted this resolved by the start of the season and, for once this summer, the club told the truth. It's unfortunate Arsene said at 9am that nobody is leaving and by 2pm somebody had. Arsene is losing friends. Not me. I'm still a believing Arsenist but I'm being tested. I think it's the fear of who may take over that helps this belief. He hasn't gone mad. He hasn't lost it. He's doing things his way. He gave us the Untouchables so I'm still looking for that next miracle (for they were a sight to behold.)

The dress rehearsals didn't go well. Tomorrow night is the real thing. After a busy summer was promised the final cast list shouldn't be like this. Captain gone. Nasri is sick (of surviving on the thousands The Arsenal pay him.) We have players who don't want to be with us like Bendtner. We have players who are just not good enough even as squad players like Squillaci and Almunia. We have a flimsy left back. Jack is injured. We have some new school boys on the wings. Tomorrow has to go well. No excuses. The club have had the whole summer to sort out the obvious. Imagine if we concede from a set piece! Imagine if we lose!

The money is there and we have 19 days to use it wisely. Unfortunately in that 19 days we have Newcastle, Udinese twice, Liverpool and Man U. Anyway, I'm still excitedly nervous or is that nervously excited. I don't know but Match of the Day is on series link. Bring it on.

Worried? Arsene Knows .....doesn't he?

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Burning Chavscum Stuff!

For the last few days I've been thinking about the mess that is the Arsenal summer. We were promised a big one. So far we haven't had it. I was going to start it with the line,

Hopefully this blog entry will be out of date quicker than a Diaby injury in a comeback match.

By that I hoped all my concerns about the squad would be solved before I'd posted the piece. They haven't. Constant rumours about numerous players on top on the relentless Cesc nonsense is dragging me down. There is a part of me that hopes Cesc goes this week so we can all just get on with our lives (& transfers?)

Before I could find the time to embark on a summer assessment along came the blog entry to end all summer blog entries. It was written by @Yankeegunner and you can read it at
http://yankeegunnerblog.wordpress.com/2011/08/03/the-summer-of-our-discontent/

It says everything I wanted to but better. It's how all us non booing Gooners feel. It says it all so I'll shut up and let you read that.

However, before I go I must supply you with a little treat. This week my son has attended a soccer school. We are away on holiday and you must remember that this was the only school available. Had The Arsenal been here we would use them but they weren't. Chelsea, however, were and I sent my boy into enemy territory donned in full Arsenal kit every day. I did my best with the banter but as the Chavs are statistically (if not morally) better than us I was in very thin ice on very hot days. My best line was,

'We got a packed lunch, shin pads & boots. Do you supply the air rifle?'

I did my best. Anyway, the course is now over and as a memento they gave a boy in the famous dark blue/light blue of the Arsenal (there it is again for @YankeeGunner) Chavscum wristbands! What to do with them? A quick twitter poll soon gave me the answer and it involved fire!

While others produce in depth analysis on our hopes & dreams I supply you with a video of chavscum stuff burning to an Arsenal classic. I've found my level. Enjoy!


- Posted using BlogPress from an iTelephone.

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Come and get me plea

Terry Neill was the first. How he could ignore the way I floated the freekick towards the shed (Frank Stapleton) and the supreme finish into the homemade goal as it rebounded (headed down superbly by Frank) back to me has remained a mystery to this day. It was a move of immense skill. Firstly, the ball had to hit the wooden part of the shed to receive enough purchase to execute the perfect half volley. An inch higher and it wolloped the window. Frank couldn't head it back if it hit the window. Frank's head might smash. The wrath of dad would curtail this promising career if the window was hit. Every free kick was a risk.

The pressure didn't end there. The shot had to be perfect if it was to beat the goalie (garden chair) and sail into the top corner. An inch higher and it would smash into the runner beans (The North Bank) and Arsenal's number 9 would be sent to his room. I never missed! The ball rustled the net and I wheeled away doing my best 'Alan Sunderland 1979 FA cup final up yours Man Utd last minute winner' impression. It was only a matter of time. The Arsenal sign kids from back gardens don't they?

Don Howe was no better. George didn't want to know. Too busy winning stuff. Bruce seemed more interested in Bergkamp than me. Arsene? Enough is enough. This is an official 'come and get me' plea.

After my extraordinary goalscoring feats with Frank I moved onto the wing. I'd teach Theo a thing or two about pace and could drop a cross onto a golf tee. 60% of the game is in your head. My percentages are higher than that and Arsene loves a high stat.

I'm older now than I've ever been but I still feel I could do a job. As I've piled on the experience I've moved to central defence. I'm you man. I have Arsenal DNA in its purest form. If you need proof just see how many Arsenal kits my son has spent his birthday and Christmas money on. He has it too. I see myself fulfilling that Stepanovs/Silvestre/Squillaci role that Arsene is so keen on. I'll do it for £30 & a foot long hot dog for my boy. Not only would the club save money but I promise to jump at corners. I promise.

Injury wise I'm knackered. Hamstrings tight, dodgy right knee and a back that enjoys supplying me with jip. Still fitter than Diaby.

I also feel my attitude would complement the squad. I wouldn't make much fuss but I do have a small list of unreasonable demands. I'm happy to discuss these with the unreasonable demands department once they have passed Samir onto the Greedy Bastard Dept.

Firstly I can't really do away games. I have a family and I can't be away that long. Also I'm not wearing that ghastly blue thing Nike have forced on us. Europen away games are even more problematic. I'm afraid I'll have to pull a Dennis on those. I'm sure I can defend set pieces watching on the TV as well as the boys who are actually there.

So Arsene, I'm experienced, fitter than one member of the squad, can run further than Arshavin, jump higher than Squillaci, cheaper than Nasri and promise never to go to Barcelona. Not even on holiday. We can't leave the defence how it is if we are serious. The pre-season games have already proved what we already know. Come and get me Arsene. I, like everyone else reading this, still believe our childhood dream. If not me, Arsene, then who? We need to know.


- Posted using BlogPress from an iTelephone.