Carnival, anyone?

May 22, 2011

So, are we still here? All of us? If we are, we must either be all sinners not worthy of participating in the whole rapture business, or Mr Camping’s math must have been slightly off. Phew, so we still have the chance to make ourselves look better and it has to be said that our Ladies as per usual lead the way with another (eleventh, to be precise) FA Cup to their name. Given that AL were formed a whole 101 years later than their male counterparts, it has to be said that Vic Ackers is something of a British women’s football world’s answer to Herbert Chapman all these years ago. And before anyone starts correcting me: yes, I know who the current Arsenal Ladies manager is and I say big up Laura Harvey, kudos to her and the rest of the girls, you rock!

We love you Ladies, we do!

And the funniest thing about this all is that for obvious reasons we can’t even use the good old ‘This is how you do it, ladies’ in the next team talk for the boys, as this one liner can only be used as a praise for the actual fairer part of the Arsenal FC playing staff. Well done!

I always was a bit of a fan of ALFC and what irked me considerably was that they never had much of a victory parade (if any), even when they won a quadruple (or a quintuple, if you count the Community Shield) in 06/07 season. I mean, this would not only show the appreciation for their drive, desire and professionalism, but would also make for a nice festival that could be enjoyed by even the most hard nosed lot who may consider girls playing football as a bit of a joke. Let’s not forget that it might also serve as a bit of a motivation for the club’s first team, as seeing the jolly bunch of fans on the sunny afternoon celebrating the results of hard work of these who appreciate how important it is to give their all for the badge might give them food for thought. Maybe it’s just me, but the ALFC trophy celebrations might just become another fixture in Gooner folklore. Worth a thought, maybe?

And boy, do we need a carnival these days! I am writing this one rather late, the kickoff in the last game of the season is just around the corner, yet if you are to believe the Tw*tter messages there are still spare tickets available for this one and Craven Cottage trip is usually a nice way to end the season. The weather is sweet too! Even though I consider myself as one of these who saw it coming, I am really finding it hard to believe that it is actually happening. And believe me, there is not even a tiniest grain of glee in the likes of me when we shake our heads and say the dreaded ‘We told you so’.

Apparently, Cesc tweeted the picture of himself at the Spanish GP today. Now, whatever you all say about the injured and suspended players not travelling to the away games, he is our captain and him not attending the last game of the season is simply not on, besides, a trip to another part of the city is far less than flying to another country. This is just a sign of lowering the standards, just like when our players turned up to the cup final wearing tracksuits. I believe there is something horribly wrong with the team these days and quite frankly I am happy that this season is finally over. The few months between now and when we start yet another season should give us a fair indication where all this will be going. If you need to recoup how it all went this season, check out Pedro’s brilliant post on Le Grove!

Come on you rip roaring Gunners! You know we can’t smile without you!


The end of the world day thoughts.

May 21, 2011

If one is to believe Mr Harold Camping, member of  the US-based Christian group, Family Radio, today is the day when Jesus Christ returns to earth to take with him the good ones to heaven and leave the sinners to face the end of the world. No kidding. And apparently, there are some complicated mathematical calculations behind all this and the Kiwis are going to get it first, earthquakes, wrath of God and stuff like that. Being my normal ever so optimistic self, I prefer to believe the Mayans who gave the good ol’ planet one more year, however, what if I am wrong on this occasion?

If the doomsday scenario is indeed already brewing in the Pacific, depending on the scale of the problem and how rapidly it spreads across the planet, we may still get to see the final round of games tomorrow or we may not. Worse still, when the archaeologists from another galaxy arrive in a few hundred years and put together the history of this Premier League season, the Mancs will be the champions, the Carling Cup winners will be hovering just above the relegation zone and the Arsenal will be the biggest losers of the lot. So, what are your Judgment Day thoughts, not as a person, but as a red and white blooded Gooner? ‘Fuck this, should have stayed at Highbury and bought Messi’ is probably the common denominator here!

Jokes aside, I have just seen the goals scored by Bent last Sunday and seriously, this is no laughing matter. Both of these were totally avoidable, as far as I am concerned, leaving a striker who always scores against you ‘unattended’ is embarrassing at any level. I used to watch the non-league football quite a lot back in Poland and  I would scream my head off, seeing my defenders as static as that playing the Sunday morning game where some of them would still probably earn a driving ban for being a bit tipsy! Here is to hoping that OGL has finally seen the light and realised that whilst some rules are meant to be bent and others to be broken, there is no way around the old principle that you buy twice if you choose to buy cheap, which will result in finally making some proper investments in the areas we have been crying out for reinforcements since the summer of 2008.

If Mr Camping’s calculations are correct, should the alien archaeologist land in the North London area and set up his site on the remains of the more glamorous of the two local gladiator arenas, he may come across records of strange and inexplicable decisions pointing to the stubbornness of the man at the helm, where the voices of criticism were dismissed as ‘silly’ and the identical mistakes were repeated season in season out, bringing the same results like clockwork. But hey, like I said, I choose to believe that we still have some time to write a whole different story, where all of the above problems were rectified and there were some precious metal artifacts for the space Indiana Jones to dig up from the ruins of the Emirates!

One more year!

And it would appear like some wheels are already in motion on the playing personnel front as last night the Tw*tter thread lit up like a Xmas tree, awash with news of us signing Vélez Sársfield’s Ricardo Gabriel Álvarez. I would love to be able to tell you anything about him, but since Argentine Primera División is not exactly at the top of my list of interests, I can only rely on the videos like this one and what the others say and most of the opinions are positive. 6’2″, pacy, natural wide player and shoots from outside the box, I say welcome to Arsenal! Sure, he is not the marquee signing some of us (yours truly included) are clamouring for, but it’s a start.

Since we have covered the ‘in’ bit, time for the ‘out’ column: last morning, The Sun readers had the pleasure of finding out that D******n wants to quit Arsenal, apparently frustrated with lack of trophies, being a ‘wiener’ himself. According to the hack behind the piece, the fans are ‘rocked’, I hasten to add that they are also ‘rolled’, but we better put the champagne on ice, as the fact that he wants to go does not necessarily translate to him actually going, it’s similar to Diaby wanting to win Ballon d’Or or Bendtner wanting to be amongst the best strikers in the world. Selling him may prove quite a challenge for the biggest marketing minds there are and I will only believe in him gone when I see him holding his new shirt with Stevie Wonder, his new club’s chairman right next to him, blissfully unaware what he has got himself into.

All steps in the right direction and to be frank, since it’s pretty unusual for us to make early moves like that, it just seems like the last week’s events made a few people wake up and smell the shit that just hit the fan. A new hope or am I being duped again?

Looking outside the window, it all looks about as unendoftheworldish as it gets, so I guess selling what you own and doing all the stuff from the list of things to do before you die can wait. I say enjoy today like there IS tomorrow!


The most powerful verb.

May 20, 2011

Okay, what verb that we used today is the most powerful?



Oh, you so stupid!


Choose. What’s your name?


Callie, why?

Because that’s the difference between owning your life and being afraid. Saying ‘I choose’, no matter what.

You mean, like a guy’s got a gun to your head and he’s pulling the trigger and you say ‘I choose to die’?

No, you ain’t choosing to die, but you can choose to die without screaming, right? I mean, you could always choose something.

What, wrong MP movie? Whatever...

Ladies and Gentlemen, last Sunday I chose to give the Arsenal game a miss for the first time in longer than I care to remember, believe it or not, four days later I am yet to even see the goals. And you know what? It does not feel wrong, not in the slightest. There are two ways of approaching a problem situation involving someone/something you love very much, but you are at the end of your tether with: you can either scream your head off in anger, looking ridiculous and probably giving yourself a heart attack in the process, not to mention the twisted satisfaction you give the other side or simply act as the wiser one and walk away to let the other side to think about what they have just done in order to improve. Or not, proving their unworthiness and justifying you sticking two fingers up to it. Besides, as you could read in my previous post, I had a damn good reason not to watch and quite rightly so, because unlike this bunch of impersonators, the bros just don’t let you down.

What can I say? On one hand, you have the dude who has picked you up from the airport, took you for something of a ‘stag do experience’ the same night just because you missed the real one the weekend before and threw THE best wedding party you have been to ever and never let you down in general, on the other hand, you have a bunch of lazy bastards who could get you a double if they could be arsed, but served you a weekend of two Manc clubs celebrating winning the silverware instead. Plus, the latter are just about the only squad of players who were able to dare the elements and snatch the fourth place trophy out of the jaws of the title. Your choice!

Like I said last week, I used to do a lot not to miss a single Arsenal game, what is more, I always thought the first and the last home games of the season were something special, something worth stopping the planet to watch, but this time around I just chose to think differently. One could say this time it was my head thinking rather than the heart and that should ring a few alarm bells in the right circles, as thinking with one’s head usually does not bode well for the intensity of any passionate love affair, does it? Whatever you say, the highly overpaid Team America on our books will have their work cut out this summer, influencing choices of the likes of me and you. I say let’s see what that hype is all about!

One’s life is made of a string of choices, some of them are just of the binary ‘yes/no’  kind, others are a bit more complicated, the choices we make have impact of other people’s life and choices as much as their choices may influence our lives and the choices we make. Hope that makes sense! Come to think of it, the last weekend was a great display of that: some choose to go to the game, some chose to march with WHOAG, some chose to do both, some players chose not to turn up and that resulted in both them and these who did not deserve such treatment being booed off the pitch which may also affect their future choices. And I could just carry on with this ‘choose’ business, you know? Write a few words about the reported thousands of ST holders who are yet to make their decision, or the strength of the myth regarding the size of the ST queue, maybe? Perhaps some other time…

You can tell I am a little bit mad at them, can’t you?


Best man? The worst, just don’t tell the bride!

May 12, 2011

So, the learning blitz is now officially over and I can return to the life as I know it, you know, the usual stuff like airports, glitzy receptions, fine spirits and all that. Well, at least that’s what the next few days will be all about with me embarking onto the heroic mission of witnessing one of my best friends being sold into slavery. Why is it heroic, you will ask? Well, if you knew a thing or two about the wedding parties in Poland in general as well as the lot who will be there witnessing and celebrating throughout the weekend, you would not waste your time asking about the bleeding obvious, but spare a thought about my general wellbeing and pray for me to have as much of recovery powers as I like to think I still have at my old age!

It is the normal practice in Poland for the wedding guests to get completely smashed, get up to some ridiculous stuff throughout the party, hopefully have enough decency to lay down peacefully, then wake up, have some light breakfast, and then reconvene for some ‘extra time’ on the following day. Since my mate is a lovable bastard and one funny ass mofo, I am more than happy to oblige – I am guessing that reminiscing stuff like meeting that dude with a camel (yes, a camel) on a leash at 5 AM on Saturday in Opole, Poland and then riding the damn animal after giving it wine and beer should induce a few laughs!

Depending on the time of the day when you read this post I may be either still packing, on my way to the airport, on the plane, landing or already proceeding with getting shitfaced as soon as I set my foot in Poland and get in the groom’s car. With just one day to go before the wedding itself and my cover having already been blown, it is not very likely that I will be in position time- and frame of mind wise to write the match preview, so please excuse me if I go quiet or a few days. We play Aston Villa on Sunday, a very much a nothingy game if you consider our league position as well as theirs, which may yet give us a few things to write about nevertheless: it’s the last home game of the season, the controversial black scarves march is due to take place and there are rumours of Cesc playing his last game for Arsenal. All this, however, does not seem to be enough of a magnet to flog the tickets to the game, as these are still available on Pravda.com as I type. Seems like quite a few season ticket holders have decided not to go and actually made the effort of reporting it to the club to make their seats available for those who are so vocal about how crap our home support is and remember, there are scores of these who simply can’t be asked to do even that. Our best player waving farewell to the half-empty stadium? I could not sum all this up any better if I tried and tried very hard at that. If the decision makers at the club are not shaken by this allegory, I say we are in serious trouble!

You've been warned!

And you know what? Even though I remember sneaking out to watch the game in the other bar room at the venue where another wedding party took place a few years ago, I am going to give this one a miss too! Bros before hoes? Club before country? It’s bros before the club this time as the former tend not to let you down, simple as that. And this is coming from a man who would drag a group of people he just met halfway through Brussels to watch the North London Derby without the option of taking ‘no’ for an answer! Come to think of it, there were a few other occasions where I would simply bend myself over backwards to watch my team play and I am really struggling to remember the last time I have missed the Arsenal game. You will say it must be the sense of the ‘alternative occasion’, I say I would probably still watch it with the groom’s blessing if I could be bothered like I simply can’t right now. Wenger said that something was gone at this moment and it certainly appears to be the case with this Gooner zealot…

So, there you have it: since ‘the best squad ever’ was in the record breaking business for all the wrong reasons throughout this season, I am going to break a little record of my own before the whistle is blown for the last time at Craven Cottage next week. And you know it’s bad when you just want this one to end and then fast forward to the next one, eh? OK, I may actually suffer from the proper football deprivation in the degree sufficient to give the customary Barnet game some attention. Who am I kidding? I may be a bit cross with the club right this very moment, but it is very much like a very close and dear friend or a spouse who you love to bits even though she can be a bit of a bitch and you can’t stay mad at for very long!

Thank you for reading and enjoy yourselves this weekend, whatever your stance on the current situation is. Now that we have virtually bugger all to play for, it really is only a game for once, you know? Shit, did that sound wife-like? Must be the wedding mood getting the better of me…

Wedding wishes for the top man of a mate and his bird are welcome!


Who do you think you are kidding, Mr Wenger?

May 9, 2011


If I am to be honest with you, I really don’t feel like writing this post, not only because it pains me to say the harsh words of criticism, but also because I have this old fashioned work ethic that does not allow me to feed you the undercooked piece and I am really struggling for motivation to do it properly. But hey, I am of the opinion that the way you approach moments like these is what separates the men from the boys and sometimes you just have to stand up and deliver, even when the circumstances combine in the way that you would rather be somewhere else. Preferably somewhere quiet, miles away from the place you are currently in and for an extended period of time.

OK, here goes: first and foremost, I would like to offer Stoke City FC my sincere apology for the tone of my match preview, as I have been proven seriously wrong on this occasion. The bitter truth is that we have been given a footballing lesson by them and this must have been the first time ever their supporters got to go ‘Ole’ when they simply toyed with us in the second half. As they say, pride comes before the fall and boy, how the mighty have fallen! Our Glorious Leader has now been beaten at his own game by Tony Pulis and they really did not need to resort to any nasty tactics, in fact, if you are to believe the game stats on BBC website, we have committed more fouls and got more bookings than them and that is saying something.

We have conceded three goals and each and every one of them was just the same old story: a set piece for the first, failure to close down the opponent for the second and conceding a goal straight after pulling one back for the third. Now, have we been there before or what? It really begs question what on earth is this team up to during training sessions, as sure as hell they don’t analyse the past errors and do their best to iron them out. The former two is the story of our undoing for the past few seasons and the latter seems to be the flavour of the current one, great, not only the flaws of old are not eradicated, but we also get a new weakness in the shape of being unable to hold onto the advantage to deal with. Could it have something to do with stripping the back four of experience and replacing it with two dudes who barely have two top flight seasons under their belts between them? Impossible, it must be my simplistic approach, characteristic for someone who did not work a single day in football talking!

I wonder...

I have decided that I will not be tearing into the players’ performances, because they are not even worth that. If any of you happens to be reading this bit, here is the deal: since none of you could be arsed to play for me, I can’t be arsed to write about you, there are only a few players that deserved better and these are Robin and Jack throughout the game, Shava who tried pretty hard to cover for clueless Gibbs (payrise? you are having a laugh) and Rambo who had to deal with the ‘classy’ treatment dished out by the home crowd. Both of the latter were subbed by Wenger to bring on two chocolate teapots in the shape of Bendtner and Chamakh with neither of them trying to make a nuisance of themselves in the box like they should. Szczesny and Koscielny also get away with just a bit of credit, but the rest can simply go forth and multiply! And if you have any ideas of apologising on Tw*tter, take my advice and just don’t…

Ever since I came back to writing, a month or so ago, it has become somewhat of a tradition not to write the actual match reports on this blog, as I prefer to offer you my overall opinion on things rather than go through the same motions everyone else does. Since I am not necessarily amongst the ‘biggest selling titles’, something tells me that you have gone through at least one of these before turning your attention to yours truly, so, as the title of today’s post would suggest, I will focus on the OGL’s reaction instead.

Doesn't it, Arsene?

Having read the brief summary of the post-match interview I can only laugh and say ‘No shit, Sherlock’. First thing you read is that you can lose everywhere if you don’t turn up with the same competitive spirit in every game. Really? And I thought it was enough for the ‘best squad ever’ to get out on the pitch, look down upon everyone else and then go through the tippy tappy motions for the oppositions to bow to their superior technical ability and let them through on goal while they are at it! How silly of me, eh? It just so happens that it’s exactly this approach that cost us, if I am calculating this right, enough points for us to be still celebrating the title, which we would have won last week, as even with today’s result we would still be nine points clear! Sp*ds, Magpies, WBA and Liverpool at home (11 points) coupled with WBA, Magpies and Bolton away (7 points) adds up to cool 18, which would see us sitting at the top of the table and laughing at the also rans rather than being the butt of jokes ourselves. So, mon cher Arsene, bollocks to your ‘team has done well overall this season’, because it most certainly has not, now stop being a spin doctor and start doing what you are paid to do, which (in case you have forgotten) is being a fucking football manager!

Der Führer has also acknowledged that conceding goals from set pieces is something that needs to be worked on. Now I am not a stats enthusiast, but OptaJoe’s tweet about us conceding the highest proportion (57%) of set piece goals in the entire league was enough to catch my eye and share it with you. Shocking? Given that it’s something that can be drilled into players in training relatively easily it most certainly is. As I said earlier, not exactly a new problem, is it? As I have noticed in one of my previous posts, it takes Arsene ridiculously long to figure out the fairly obvious stuff and that is really not good enough in my book.

There was also some mention of Vermaelen who spent the game on the bench with Djourou clearly struggling, having barely shaken off the injury sustained last week. This is another piece of evidence showing how true the saying about reaping what you sow is. We have been crying out for another big lump of a defender throughout the winter transfer window, reasonably priced options were available, but AW chose not to act. Big Johan certainly did not look that big amongst their players in the box and failed to mark Kenwyne Jones who scored the opener without knowing much about it. He also has to shoulder some blame for the second and was fully responsible for the third, yet, he completed 90 minutes. Something tells me that we would have done better with another giant to rotate with JD, some will say it’s hindsight, I say bollocks it is, and the evidence to the contrary is plentiful.

Just to wrap things up, let me remind you of this little gem:

Flying Spaghetti Monster help us all!


Celebratory pottery smashing? You betcha!

May 8, 2011

First and foremost, Happy St Totteringham’s Day!

Virtual and real champagne corks are popping, laughs are being shared, 4th (or better) place trophy is once again secured and it’s not like we are going to be all mature about it, if all that comes with the additional buzz of Schadenfreude at the expense of that lot from the wrong end of Seven Sisters Road, is it? Hopefully, all that mouthing off has now been curbed until at least mid summer, when we will once again hear about how we will be upstaged by that North London superpower with their new shirt sponsor. Up yours, Sp*ds!

All the tribalism stuff aside, I would like to take this occasion to wish their Welshman a speedy recovery from the injury of yet unknown extent inflicted upon him by a rash tackle committed by Blackpool’s bad boy Charlie Adam who is apparently second in the bookings league and fourth in the fouling charts this season. Taking today’s game into the consideration, these wishes could not be any more timely: when our last week’s hero, Aaron Ramsey got his leg broken by another ‘honest lad without a bad bone in his body’ the reactions from the neighbouring camp were mostly sympathetic, some were anything but, however, we are a classy outfit and we should rise above the latter to reciprocate the former. Get well soon, monkey boy!

Speaking of primates, we have a particularly nasty lot to negotiate today and I don’t think there is any need to remind anyone what happened last time we travelled to Britannia Stadium, is there? I had my say on the subject last year and I don’t think there is much of a need for me to repeat myself. It’s a real shame that Stoke are currently on 43 points and there is no way for them to get relegated, as since Allardyce was sent on the dole where he rightfully belongs, they are about the last team in this league playing clueless neanderthal football with their players being the team sports’ answer to the missing link in Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution: stuck somewhere in the middle, being too ‘tough’ for the civilised football league and too wimpy to play rugby. We should consider ourselves lucky that they happen to play in the FA Cup final next weekend, as they would probably kick the living shit out of us otherwise, still, a lot will depend on how much they will be allowed by the man in black, Mr Mark Halsey, as they are sure to give their usual ‘tactics’ a try. An early booking or two should cool a few heads there!

Team photo. Say cheese, Ryan!

After the last weekend’s win over Yoonited where Ramsey scored the only goal of the game, Our Glorious Leader seems to think that striking the iron while it’s hot is the way forward and that it will do him a world of good to return to the scene of the crime at the earliest opportunity. For once, you will not find me disagreeing him and as far as I am concerned, it’s actually good to see AW not cotton-wooling a player on this occasion – here is to hoping that this trend will now continue and be applied to each and every ‘member of staff’ at the long last! Make no mistake, Rambo is in for a real baptism of fire today, as if the stuff I read on Tw*tter over the last few days is anything to go by, their fans don’t seem to have enough decency to appreciate a top player returning from career-threatening injury inflicted by one of their own and are willing to support this clogger who is due to play his 150th game for them by booing our man instead. What a classy bunch they are, you really could not make it up.

Both teams have a few players missing, I think we can be pretty happy with their striker, Ricardo Fuller being out, as he seems to have a knack for scoring against us. If you are to believe Orbinho like I do, he managed to put four goals past our goalkeepers in as many outings, therefore him being out of the picture can only be a good thing. As far as our first choice personnel goes, we have Fabregas  and Nasri definitely out with Djourou and Clichy said to be facing late fitness tests, which means that we may see Gibbs and Squillaci in the back four, as I don’t think AW will risk playing recently recovered Vermaelen in today’s game. There are some rumours and conspiracy theories doing rounds about a few of these players being out of the picture, but let us focus on two games we are about to witness today and leave that stuff for the post which will go up in the near future. I know I have promised to touch on that subject and I am a man of my word, you better be ready for theories mad enough to make Mel Gibson’s Jerry Fletcher blush and eat his tin foil hat!

I would not expect any other unusual inclusions or players being rested as the idea is to maintain our good record against them and take all three points ahead of the two teams above us in the table meeting just after we finish our business with them Potters. I would not mind a whole lot if the later game was to end up with a mass brawl, flurry of red cards and point deductions, failing that, with a draw or a Chelsea win. Pretty please, St Totteringham? I was a good boy the whole season, you know? Amen.

Come on you rip roaring Reds!


PR stuff. The good, the bad and the ugly.

May 6, 2011

Good morning boys and girls! Sitting comfortably? That’s good, as we have a few things to go through today! One can argue whether it’s good or bad not to post every day, there are obviously certain pros and cons as well as some double-edged aspects, like when you think that you had a nice writeup figured out in you head and then you come home, open your mailbox and see the message from the Nike’s PR agency providing you with pictures and video promoting the new 125th anniversary kit together with two pieces about the club’s history and the kit itself.  Whilst the latter says quite a lot about the garment on offer, the one about the history of the club is just one page long, but since it came from Nike’s people rather than the club’s, that is pretty understandable if you ask me. You can check out the video and the pictures on the blog’s Facebook page. Nice job!

Whilst I am not a tree-hugging warrior type and I love driving around in my gas-guzzler, I try to do my bit by recycling whatever I can to delay the moment when we all collectively sink under the pile of rubbish by a couple of seconds, hence I quite like the idea of making the thing out of ‘up to thirteen reclaimed plastic water bottles’ which would apparently take up to 500 years to decompose. According to Nike, the whole process supposedly saves 30% of the energy when compared to manufacturing traditional polyester and will prevent about 100 million of these bottles from being dumped at the landfill sites for centuries ahead. From now on you may want to think twice the next time you are about to bin a plastic bottle, as  it may just end up on one of the Arsenal players lifting the trophy next season otherwise! How exciting, eh?

If you are now thinking what about the glass bottles, given that unless you happen to be at a football game,  the beer does not really come in plastic ones, then you may want to consider that there are plenty of players on our books with moving parts made of glass, so recycling these may also help in that field. And this is where I will leave the ideas on how other recyclable materials can contribute towards the club’s success to your imagination. Serious and humorous suggestions welcome!

Story of the Arsenal season so far...

If I write one more word about the kit, I am guessing Nike’s agency will need to put me on their payroll, so I say enough of these ‘messages’. Whilst all these corporations can be quite creative, so can we: what you see above is another fine example of the evil Photoshop genius having been put to a better use for the greater good of the Gooner society. As much as the regular readers need no introduction, I am happy to tell the newcomers about ArseGunn’s resident visual artist, the man whose brilliant work can be seen here as well as by simply hitting the ‘Home’ key. Some say he likes to aim at heaven to get the earth thrown in rather than aim at the latter and get neither (C.S. Lewis). Some say he is cynical, whilst it is just that wonderful lack of respect for everything and everybody (Brendan Behan). All we know is that he is called Tiarnan! Mesdames et Messieurs, chapeau bas!

The idea behind the above picture sprang to my mind after our memorable and significant victory over Yoonited last Sunday. The original depicted a soldier sticking the red flag with completely different symbol on it to mark the victory over the Nazi empire-to-be in 1945, which sight brought a few tears of joy to the eyes of those who lived to see the day, but all this came at a pretty hefty price and there were many not so victorious moments on the way there. Don’t know about you, but I could think of a couple of parallels here: an epic victory after being down on the knees for some time with all this being achieved through massive losses that were felt for a good few years to come. Does that sound familiar? Most of you will have little or no problem with seeing the first part of the analogy, but the latter may require a few words of explanation.

I think it’s safe to say that this season is different from the previous ones from the Arsenal’s perspective as it appears that the club’s on and off the pitch shenanigans have now finally woken up the sleeping giant that is the unrest amongst the fanbase. If the results of the Online Gooner’s poll on whether AW is still the man or not are anything to go by, it would appear that once the small group of renegades daring to criticise Our Glorious Leader has now grown considerably and the club may have quite a problem on their hands. A few embarrassing defeats resulting in throwing away the league title, coupled with a few PR disasters in the shape of Wenger’s quotes, PHW’s ridiculous reaction to the Arsenal Supporters Trust’s press statement about the disappointment with the team’s performance and – last, but not least – the most recent ticket price hike announcement gift-wrapped by the CEO’s statement about the ‘exorbitant transfer fees and wages’ are not doing the club’s image amongst the fans any favours and I don’t think you need a PR genius to work that out.

I am one of the popular ‘renegade’ website’s regulars and what I can see is plenty of new posters making emotional statements about being disillusioned and feeling tricked by the club one time too many. Some of them say that they are being priced out of going to the games, I have even read about one of the poster’s 15 year old kid asking his old man to rent out his season ticket until Wenger goes.  If your heart is Arsenal badge shaped, this is no laughing matter, whichever way you like to look at the glass filled in half.

And yet, all this can go away if the club chooses to give us fans some nice birthday presents in the shape of these few players we all have been crying out for and a proper piece of silverware at the long last. Wrighty7 seems to believe that there is still chance of the latter happening earlier than most of us think. A dope? Not really, just a fan!

Come on Arsenal, make it happen!


Stay tuned!

May 3, 2011

Greetings everyone! Just a quick one today, as I have some important studying to do this week, the material is plentiful and it’s the one of the most difficult jobs of a kind when you know bits and bobs, but not necessarily the whole picture and you need all the information to fall into place nicely. Despite the formula in the picture mathematically proving that studying brings only failure, I just feel that I need to give it as good a go as I possibly can for the sake of my clear conscience if not for the sake of getting it right the first time.

So, dear readers, I may go a bit quiet this week, but not entirely, as I have got an idea for a post or a couple of them, so please stay tuned!

We will be back right after these messages...

In the meantime, there is that web thingy called Tw*tter, you can check the side panel for the short updates from myself and the interesting stuff other people (or it it ‘tweeps’?) have to say. Anyways, it’s back to work for me…

ArseGunn on Twitter: @ArseGunn

ArseGunn on Facebook

Have a nice day!


Thumbs up in the Colosseum + web funnies.

May 2, 2011

And thumbs up from behind the sofa where I spent a few moments between us going 1 up and the final whistle! The long overdue win simply must have happened against this lot, and nobody else because this is The Arsenal we are talking about here, Ladies & Gentlemen – some will say that it’s just too little too late, but I prefer to rejoice in the hard fought win against the self proclaimed champions elects to reminiscing what happened a week or a couple earlier. If you need some memories to chew on, play this video a few times, that oughta cheer you up!

It does not take Einstein to figure out that the common denominator across the Arsenal blogosphere will be the ‘pride restored’ theme, because this is exactly what happened yesterday. Not only we have beaten the despicable horde who came to take another step towards boring everyone to their record-breaking title like it was some kind of formality, but we have also made them to look as ordinary as they really are in the process. Given what was on the show yesterday, it really begs question why we were unable to beat these few teams we came unstuck against in the last few weeks and let’s just leave it at that. As much as I could tell, the atmosphere was also pretty electric, whether it was the sense of occasion, lack of any expectations, reaction to being served caviar or the combination of all the three and possibly more factors is a case for discussion, whatever your take on the issue is, it certainly worked, as the citizens gathered around the arena made all the right noises, if you excuse this little pun.

Can everyone now see what happens when the genuine effort is applied to the proceedings instead of merely going through the motions in order to negotiate these less than glamorous games at the lowest possible energy expense? In the last few days, there were some rumours and suggestions about the clear-the-air talks having taken place amongst the players behind the closed doors circulating the web. Whetever you choose to believe in, one way or the other the team managed to produce the goods and I don’t think there is any coincidence that neither of the usual suspects was anywhere near the pitch. Well, one of my personal favourites was actually on the bench, but  as long as the half arsed warm up is the closest he comes to the actual playing area, I will be a happy man.

Now, I would go into the game in more detail, but the reviews posted up until now are so good and plentiful that I don’t think there is much to be added to that – please see the Blog Roll on your right, I highly doubt that you will be anything but spoilt for choice. Once again I have gone slightly off the target with writing it, but I have a perfectly good explanation. And no, not an excuse, but an explanation, as I would need the former if I was not able to offer anything even remotely enjoyable to read instead.

Unless the writer wants to approach the task of writing the match report in the purely Live text – like manner, there is usually a bit of one man brainstorm on the subject of the slant of the article involved. As we have been taking hits left, right and centre in the last couple of months and the good news of beating the old arch-enemy came alongside the announcement of the death of fellow Gooner, the man who had Cassius Clay himself on canvas, Sir Henry Cooper, it seemed only obvious and fitting to include a boxing reference. Please see the very top result of my Google search done to find an appropriate image to go with the article:

Even Google sees it...

I mean, how funny is that? You think ‘knockdown get up’, the search engine thinks ‘Arsenal’, you really could not make it up! You can see the image being THE top of the results of this particular search here. Whilst we are on the subject of the funny things you get to see online, let me show you how even the ever-so-reliable ‘auntie Beeb’ just did not want to accept the things as they were. I normally use their league table for any quick reference, but I may just need to rethink this approach after it failed to reflect the result of our game for at least an hour and a half after it finished:

...so why can't BBC?

God only knows the reasons behind it, all these Mancs working there must have been doing heavy research on whether it would be possible to replay the game or maybe dock us points outright on the basis of some obscure game law dating back to the ancient Greece which would say something about the penalties not given being different from one another on the basis of whether it was easy for the officials to spot the offence or not. Or maybe the fella behind the scenes just could not be arsed to to it twice and wanted to wait for the game between the New Rich Kids on The Block and WHU to finish. Who knows…

Just to wrap this all up, please allow me to present the second part of the explanation behind not having written a proper match report: I have now embraced the popular social media and set up the Facebook fanpage and a Twitter account! After some hard labour undertaken before I could get the former to work properly and link it with the latter, I am pleased to announce that it is all up and running and you can see the effects by clicking on the below links:

ArseGunn on Twitter: @ArseGunn

ArseGunn on Facebook

I have also added a Twitter widget in the side panel, which should allow me the opportunity to post the random ultra-short ramblings and the breaking news that may not necessarily warrant a few hundred word piece in its own right.

Now, am I excused or what?



A favour for a favour. Yoonited preview.

May 1, 2011

Howdy Gooners! Is there a game on today?

Following Chavs’ lucky win against the Totts, it has to be said that the things are getting quite interesting at the top of the table: a win today will see us just six points off the top, three points off second placed Chelsea and pretty much guarantee our top four spot, given the Sp*ds pathetic goal difference of +7 compared to our +31. Just to illustrate, if you take today’s game out of the equation, they would need to win their remaining games by at least four goal margin with us suffering three defeats of the same proportions just to get level on points and goal difference to have a chance of beating us to the top four finish.

But hey, let’s not get ahead of ourselves, shall we? We have quite a game to play today before the above calculation can be applied and it really does not get much harder than that. The timing is also less than perfect: with us being unable to buy a win whether we play good or not and them hitting the rich vein of form as well as being well motivated to keep the daylight between them and Chavs to get closer to clinching their record-breaking 19th league title, the odds are well stacked up against us and our win would make a few betting people who choose to wager using their hearts rather than heads a good few bob richer. I am not a betting man, but just a quick look at a random comparison site tells a bit of a story: Arsenal 13/8,  ManYoo 2, draw 12/5 (apparently the best deals at the moment of writing). Given that the betting companies are plentiful and don’t show any signs of going out of business they must be doing something right, wouldn’t you agree? Still, if it was all that simple and predictable we would just check the odds on offer and not bother watching the games!

The title of today’s article is not much of a mystery for these who have read my Monday’s post. For those who have not, a brief explanation: the tone of today’s post would be a whole lot different if it was not for the Chelsea’s sudden rise, as it would be all about watching-from-behind-the-sofa panic stations as Yoonited would try to win the league at our place to be the first team to achieve that at The New Home of Football. Seriously, this does not even bear thinking about and since we are a classy outfit, it is only polite to return the favour by stuffing the Mancs, however unlikely it may sound. ABU!

Our supersub, (Red) Devil Slayer. Just in case.

Onto the game itself: given our recent form, OGL faces the gargantuan task of lifting the team in order for them to stand up to Yoonited and make it look respectable, preferably get a respectable result, maybe even an unlikely win. While doing the legwork for this post, I thought of including some rousing battle speech as the motto. Whilst I could not really find anything that was not stupidly cheesy and over the top, I have found this instead:

‘Today we are gathered here to battle. Regrettable, isn’t it, but sometimes, you know, life is like that. You have to do something you don’t want to do, just because someone is telling you to do it. I don’t want to be here myself, but my mother told me that I’d better make it a reasonable show of it all, so here we go then’

The above quote is an ‘Easter egg’  from a strategy game. Come to think of it, it’s funny because it’s true: I think it’s safe to say that both the players and the manager would rather be somewhere else, but sometimes life is like that. Win, lose or draw, they will need to go through the 90 or so minutes of play in front of their own increasingly disappointed and expectant crowd and then be judged upon their performance and result. Whilst I am prepared to risk saying that the fans may appreciate the genuine tooth and nail effort whatever the final score, or at least if it is respectable, I don’t even want to begin to think what may happen if we are served the same turd sandwich we had to chew on more than once already this season. The Roman Colosseum could accommodate fifty thousand spectators and there were no ‘home’ and ‘away’ sections, just a bunch of folk who could decide whether you lived or died, depending on how well you did. Obviously, we are more civilised than letting in the hungry lions on the pitch these days, but you get my drift, don’t you?

All I can ask for is so that the team would fight them on the beaches, on the landing grounds, in the fields and in the streets… Er, scratch that, I reckon fighting them on the pitch will do! And I am asking the people lucky enough to be inside the ground to do their bit for the full 90 minutes and give the team all the support you possibly can. If not for their sake, then just for the sake of your clear conscience, so that you could say that you gave them an honest chance. Sure, if they don’t give their all, then by any means boo them off the pitch with all your might, but not before the final whistle. Don’t make it hostile for your own, make it so for the visitors, no need to be hospitable here…

Let them feel that they are in hell and it’s us who are the devils!

Come on you Gunners!