One life, one game, one team, one invincibles

One life, one game, one team, one Invincibles (So far)

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

John Terry - She fell over

At the Champions League Final Terry proved yet again what a total abject failure he is when it comes to decency, good taste or showing even the minimal degree of class. He even wore shin-pads FFS! For those who had the misfortune to witness these events we've enclosed some far more preferable images for you to retain in your thoughts this summer.

 Chelsea 3-5 Arsenal

Given what an absolute joke he was in the CL Final we've also enclosed a rather well-known song about him and one or two more jokes that have done the rounds:

"Chelsea wherever you may be
Don't leave your wife with John Terry
His Dad deals coke
And his Mum steals tea
He cried when he missed a penalty.

Chelsea wherever you may be
Don't leave your wife with John Terry
He cannot shoot, he cannot pass,
but he'll take your missus up the ass"

Seen on Twitter: 

John Terry is going to his daughter's sports day this week.
He'll be wearing his full PE kit in case she wins.    

I've decided to take the John Terry approach to dinner tonight.
I'm going to put on my chef hat to serve up the Sunday roast after my Mum spent all day cooking it.

Why do footballers like their wives to be tanned?
Because the darker they are, the less chance they have of getting f*cked by John Terry.

After hearing about all the racist gangs in Ukraine,
John Terry just can't wait to get there.

You know what you are

Stopped to buy a litre of diesel just now to keep my car going and handed over my card to the cashier, who said "John Terry has taken all the credit."

Busy day for John Terry. After the bus parade he's changing into a cricket kit and heading up to Lord's in case England beat West Indies.

John Terry deserved to lift the trophy. Sitting there in the arena while resisting the constant urge to sneak into a bedroom is commendable.

John Terry says he is looking forward to lifting the European Championship trophy this summer, regardless of who wins it.


John Terry is excited by the prospect of collecting Sir Chris Hoy's Olympic cycling gold medal this summer.

Ex-England cricket captain Michael Vaughan Tweeted: “Can’t wait to see John Terry lift the Ashes next year...”

John Terry has been lined up to star in a new ITV drama. It's called "Other Footballers' Wives."

Ever since Wayne Bridge refused to play for England while John Terry remains captain, fans have been urging JT to try it on with Emile Heskey's wife.


At the CL Final John Terry got his kit on quicker than if Wayne Bridge had come home early

A Chelsea player is stopped for speeding at 130mph in a 30mph zone. When the police ask him to explain, he says: "I've just heard John Terry is parked outside my house."

Seems John Terry has explained he didn't mean to have sex with Vanessa Perroncel - he just slipped while he was showing her how to take a penalty.


Apparently when John Terry announced he'd lost his England captain's armband. Fabio Capello told him to ask Wayne Bridge to check under the bed.


This remains one of our favourite pictures of the season

Also worth a look

Brian @Gooner48 on Twitter

Monday, 21 May 2012

My footballing soul - by Mark

Before I begin, let me clarify one thing; I hate Spurs. Always have, always will, but I have found that the level of hate can vary, often just something simple like playing them, especially at their place will be enough to recharge me. Another is during those brief periods where they may actually have been something of a competitive threat, rather than just the knuckle draggers from up the road. Thankfully these have been very few and far between sightings, I probably can think of only the early eighties, 1987 when for a time they looked like title challengers (yes I know, settle down at the back!), early 90's and then of course 06 when we had the lasagne chef to thank and last week when Agent Fulop gave us a hand. 17 seasons since they last finished above us tells it's own tale and their bitterness and spite only helps to remind us of what they are. God knows what it must have been like for any Gooners old enough to remember 61!

However, I am an exiled Gooner, leaving the safe environs of NW6 when a teenager for the hostile plains of South West London where there was another team more prominent; Chelsea. They had been up and down for a while and I never considered them more of a threat to our Kings of London crown then say West Ham, capable of providing the odd upset but nothing more than that. Unfortunately the break up of the USSR spoil that and when a man who had earnt billions, obviously through the sweat off his own brow, went shopping in England he found himself buying Chelsea. After experimenting for a while with various puppet masters he started to get the formula right and it became apparent to us and the mancs that there was a new kid in town!

Stamford Bridge Dog Track

Ask my West Ham mental colleague about Chelsea and he will provide you with a vitriolic history, mostly based on how many fans they had when they were in the 2nd tier of football, which was as recent as 1989, when the Bridge would see reasonably low crowds. Yet move forward to the era of Forrest Gump and his band of mercenaries and the amount of blue shirted neanderthals seems to have increased heavily, most of whom would not know Kerry Dixon from Micky Droy. Anyway, I am just trying to get an understanding here for what it is like to be a Gooner out here in the wastelands, where as our star has waned, theirs has risen. And on Saturday night to what height did it rise! Most Gooners will have an inbuilt hatred of Cole, for obvious reasons. Most humans will for similar reasons feel the same for Terry. Live in the land where he is king and believe me you would feel the same as I did last night!

Having watched the game unfurl, with Twitter for company, it is hard to explain why the footballing Gods felt so inclined. Bayern Munich seemingly did all they could to not appear the team who knocked Madrid out. Gomes, with at least a dozen goals in ECL this season appeared somewhat Chamakh. Robben, least said! Then of course the final insult. If you had to put your house on a penalty taker, it would go on a German. Then, who better than the symbol of modern powerhaus Germanic football himself, Schweinsteigger. Cue him missing. No doubt should England progress from the group in the Euros to play Germany, we will go out on pens and I know who will unnervingly slot the winner! The distance in time, between Drogba's pen rippling the net and my finger hitting the TV off button must have been nanoseconds. Suffice to say, I am now in full Mugabe media lockdown! I will not be going anywhere there may be a newspaper. I will not be watching any news programmes. I may even possibly kill any chavs who approach me at work to discuss football.

The interesting thing for me was the reaction on Twitter after the game, as the Gooner nation seemed split once more, but not in an AKB/AMG divide, but a well done Chelsea v Kill Me Now scenario. I will say now that I can find no comfort whatsoever in the fact it means spurs go into the Channel 5 Thursday night cup. They were in it this year, their players did not leave because of it and it did not stop them from taking us to the wire. It would have been much sweeter for them to be in the ECL qualifying round in mid August, only to be knocked out by Udinese or Malaga. This would leave them without the group stage money, struggling to get players in who only want ECL football and with disaffected players who may then want to leave and with only a week or so to deal with it. That coupled with a Bayern win would have been so sweet and would also have meant we could still have been the first London club to win the big trophy. Now that chance has gone. Forever.

It did seem though, that the opportunity to feel joy at spurs having lost out on the ECL was just too good for some Gooners to pass up, no matter who it was that provided that blow. When they wake up this morning and see Cole and Terry on every paper and news show, grinning with the trophy and their medals round their necks, I am convinced there will be more than a few who suddenly get that 'Oh shit!' moment as the penny lands! Don't get me wrong, I would have cheered on any other English team last night to win if it meant knocking spurs out, except the chavs. Citeh, Utd, Liverpool, even Stoke (not sure which of the last 2 is most ridiculous) would have got my full support and gritted teeth thanks for dooming the scummers, but to want the chavs to win, or worse still to say well done would have left me feeling too dirty!

Not just the fans seemed divided. Jack Wilshere tweeted lol at spurs, which is fine, but he followed this up with congrats to Chelsea and even stated that Terry deserved it! I seriously had a little bit of sick in my mouth at that point and through that comment has JW14 eroded a bit of my feeling for him. Then I see that Ian WWWright tweeted something about Ashley Cole proving some 'mugs' wrong. Feet of clay indeed! There were some bitter words flying around between fans who felt not wanting spurs out of the ECL as opposed to wanting the chavs to lose was in some way an act of betrayal. I guess each of us has to make up our own minds on that, but whilst Adebayor may be considered by some as treacherous as Cole, I certainly do not feel they have anyone as odious as a man who would suddenly put on his full Chelsea kit, including shinpads I heard, to join in the trophy presentation.

In 7 days where we have seen Citeh win the league and Chelsea the European Cup, what does it tell us? That the beautiful game has sold it's soul to anyone with enough money to pay the going rate. When Chelsea can win the biggest cup in club football by playing like a glorified Stoke, then I don't know what the future holds for a club that has the money but won't spend it and a manager with an ethos about how the game should be played.

Last night, another little piece of my footballing soul was eaten away.
See Ya - Mark @mzk90 on Twitter

I won't be held hostage - by Gareth

I won't be held hostage again...

It's simple. If you profess to love someone or something you treat it/them with dignity, with respect. Lady Dubya would barbecue me if I told her I loved her 'no matter what happens this summer' and then when whoring around the Salford Quays or up the King's Road. If I flashed my 'knickers' for an extra £5er or for a promise of a shiny bauble.

She wouldn't be too happy if I told her that after 8 years of a loving, mutually sustained relationship I realised I was a bit too good for her and hooked up with the latest floozy from off the TV - but if I told her that there was no chance of her keeping me now I'm 'hawt', she might at least retain a modicum of respect for me. No one likes to be cheated on, least of all in plain view.

I mention all of this, NOT because of a flaw in my relationship with the long-suffering Lady Dubya - far from it, but because our latest darling is not prepared to come out and say (when it matters) 'I love you Arsenal and I know you love me. I realise you've maybe let standards slip of late, but I know we can work on those together and I can help bring the smile back to your face - and in the meantime, bring a little sparkle back in to our lives'...

I am heartily sick of my club being the butt of jokes or snide remarks by no-marks and skid-marks in the Press. If you don't play for Arsenal then fuck off with your opinions. If you did play for them but felt that filthy lucre was more your style than loyalty - then you can doubly fuck off with your opinions. You did very little to bring your current team to their exalted position of Champions - it was petro-dollars that did that. Your team squeaked a Champions League victory because two consecutive teams forgot how to hit a cow's arse with a banjo - so you got lucky, well whoop-de-fucking-do for you - you're still scum and will remain it till the next piece of trash comes along and replaces you on our collective shit-lists...

But the truth is dear Arsene, Ivan, Stan and all - that it is time for your football club to grow some bollocks.

You're a player who won't sign? Then we'll sell you where WE want to sell you. You're not irreplaceable. How do I know that? Because Thierry was. Dennis was. Wrighty was. They ALL brought more to and for this club than ANYONE else since then. Some of them even demonstrated what 'love' was when they return whenever they can and won't say anything against the club which cosseted and cuddled them.

Some of our 'stars' don't know they're born - it's time to remind them it's THE Arsenal that they play for.

Now show some respect.

Gareth @GeeDubya67 on Twitter

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Death by a 1,000 cuts - Clive P

There are some days you just tire of what is happening at Arsenal – Groundhog day does not even do it justice. We seems to be in a cycle of repeat issues.

It's death by a 1000 cuts.
Another crucial departure?

The over-riding feeling amongst the faithful is we have built a platform from which to build.
We have accepted the fact that the new stadium and supporting property deals at Highbury and Queensland road have come a t a cost. We accepted the strategy of buying young and developing those players and selling when it was right for us - all this while trying to stay at the top table of English Football.

We accepted that Spurs, CFC and City have outspent us (Stoke have outspent us) and have become more competitive than us at times, we accepted the fact we sent a semi youth team to the Carling cup final in 2007 and applauded them after a gallant defeat. We accepted a reserve team at WHL losing 5-1 to our hated rivals and giving them the confidence that they could close the gap and beat us in league games.

We accepted even last summer – well we can say that now – when we lost our 2 star players (Cesc, Nasri) and then spent £59 million repairing the squad.

We had to accept the shocking start the embarrassing 8-2 and the Blackburn defeat. We accepted Milan away, humiliation across Europe.

We had to accept Swansea and Newcastle doing a better impression of Arsenal than Arsenal are. Swansea out passed us on the ball and outworked us off the ball – beat fair and square. Newcastle out bought us. Newcastle are fast becoming France’s team of choice. Canal + show their games as much as Arsenal now. Soon players will want to choose NUFC over Arsenal.

They are buying the players we used to buy. Cabaye, Ba, Cisse, Tiote, Ben Arfa – They are Arsenal signings at Arsenal prices. They have rejuvenated their scouting system and are following the Arsenal model.

But – One thing we won’t accept is if we do not build on this platform.

Such good groundwork has started player wise but if we sell RvP we may as well turn out the lights. Players come and players go, there is always someone better around the corner. Football fans memories are so short it’s just the nature of the sport. But in RvP you have a man a character who is steeped in the club. We don’t want to lose people like those.

Lots of us have spoken about Pat Rice, saying we need a new number 2, we need to freshen it up. My thought is we need 5 more like Rice. Arsenal people, aware of the club, aware of the standing we should have. The vogue is young slim fit suited managers with skinny ties and IPads.

I get it – there is a part of me that wants Martinez or Pep at Arsenal. I think that would be a wonderful step forward as I believe in their philosophy of the game. But we are Arsenal. We have our identity. But if we sell our latest captain we are really not the Arsenal I know.

My view on RvP is he is the single most important player of Wenger’s reign, along with maybe Henry. I say this because he is an intelligent guy that is trying to drive Arsenal forward. His performances are such that no one could question his commitment - I think he is trying to force Arsenal forward. He wants the right type of player support. I won’t say investment as players do not need to always cost but sometimes they just do cost.

Can we wait again. The platform is there it’s up to us to keep pace.

Will RvP stay?

I always felt he would up until 2 days ago. But if he goes it will be far more of a worry than any of Cesc, Nasri, Flamini, Henry. Because he does not want to go. He is settled he wants to stay. If he goes it’s because he sees no future.

Hence why this is so important an indicator about who Arsenal actually are.

We have to decide do we want to really compete. If not then let’s set the expectation, bring down the prices, set the strategy and we will accept it. What people will not accept is Arsenal have the highest match day revenue in the world and on performance are 6th best in Europe – Are we maximising potential – are we even trying to?

These questions have been there in for years now but this time the club has to send a message which is key for its future status and identity. Support RvP, it’s not just about signing him and paying him, it’s obvious it’s about supporting him so he has a chance to spend his key footballing years not keeping the status quo but competing with the club’s listed in the graph above.

Wenger has the right foresight. His focus has in the main been correct. He has developed this model of sustainability and I cannot say he is wrong. His focus on league position over the smaller cups – given what has happened to Dalgeish – how can you argue with him. However….

There is no shame with using what you have – there is no shame in being a big as you are. Arsene you built it, you sold us the dream, you have created this foundation.

Let’s be big or put us out of our misery so we can stop pretending.

Clive P – follow on twitter #clivepafc

Friday, 18 May 2012

Money buys the Premiership Title: True or False?

Its no longer our league season so not all pieces on this site will continue to just be about The Arsenal. This is one such, although I hope you'll still consider it Arsenal related.

So Manchester City grabbed their first ever Premiership title somewhat late in the day. Thus winning the title for only the third time and their first in some 44 years. Some would argue that it's their first in a four year history, but I won't be going there. The point is that now makes it just five winners of the Premiership - a total which many regard as being rather thinly spread for a 20 year history. For those who claim you can only win the title by pouring money at a team you have to agree that the case would seem fairly well proven. With United already the richest club in the country when the Premiership was inaugurated you'd expect them to do well and they have. Money making money buying more titles. There have also been titles for the nouveau riche Blackburn (yes I know not now, but they were then). Not to mention the nouveau mega-rich in Chelsea and Manchester City, whose purchase of the title has been altogether painfully more obvious. That leaves just Arsenal punching above their weight without the financial backing of a disgustingly rich owner. But even Arsenal were at least one time regarded, somewhat jealously by the rest, as the 'Bank of England' Club. Arsenal although not currently cash rich due to their Stadium millstone have benefited greatly for a long and sustained run in the Champions League season on season.

So it would seem that the Premiership has to be purchased theses days. But then again hasn't this pretty much always been the case? The Football League was first contested in 1889-90 when it comprised a rather pitiful twelve fairly local teams from the Midlands and Northwest of England. But that area was then the industrial powerhouse of England - so essentially it was where the money was. Albeit working class leisure money on a much lower scale than today. Back then it was not the backing of mega rich owners but large-scale support from local workers and businesses.

The Premiership is currently regarded by many as financially flush and elitist. And yet the clamour from the yo-yo clubs to gain and maintain entry into this elitist Club and pit themselves against the so-called big boys carries on unabated. The Norwich's, Burnley's, Southampton's, Wigan's, West Ham's, Bolton's, Stoke's (god help us) and such continue to fight the uneven battle because that is what football is all about.

Given the age of the League some might argue that its quite amazing that the title has only ever been won by a total of 23 teams since 1898, which was some 124 years ago. It would appear to me that there have always been 'elitist' clubs with just a few interlopers such as Ipswich, Preston, Portsmouth, Forest who come win it and go. Whereas now the clubs are financed by rich individuals coming from cash rich countries, in the past they have been financed by cash rich urban areas with massive potential support.

It could be argued that what follows, regardless of current status, is a league tables that matters when it comes to deciding who is and subsequently who isn't a big club. It shows the number of League Titles (Division One and Premiership). Despite their current indifferent showing few would argue that Newcastle, Sunderland and Villa were not big Clubs. This derives from years of past achievement but just as much perhaps from the aspect of location and potential support. In short it shows that big conurbation's, cities and towns are the one that produce the big clubs. You'll note that London, Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool, Newcastle, Nottingham, Sheffield and Leeds are all represented only Bristol and Teeside (Middlesborough) have failed.

Manchester United - 19 titles (1 year since last)   
Liverpool 18 titles (18 years)           
Arsenal 13 (8)                   
Everton 9 (25)                   
Aston Villa 7 (31)               
Sunderland 6 (76)               
Chelsea 4 (2)                   
Sheffield Wednesday 4 (82)           
Newcastle 4 (85)               
Manchester City 3 (current champions)       
Blackburn Rovers 3 (17)
Leeds United 3 (20)
Wolves 3 (53)
Huddersfield 3 (86)
Derby County 2 (37)
Tottenham 2 (51)
Burnley 2 (52)
Portsmouth 2 (62)
Preston 2 (122)
Nottingham Forest 1 (34)
Ipswich 1 (50)
WBA 1 (92)
Sheffield United 1 (124)

Whether these days anyone will ever be able to plough sufficient money into a club such as Ipswich or Preston to achieve a title again is highly questionable.

Certainly the concept that money buys you the title is difficult to argue against. But I'd argue that this has always pretty well been the way with just a few notable exceptions. It's perhaps just been a tad less obvious in the past.

Brian @Gooner48

Monday, 14 May 2012

Clive P Thoughts: Time To Push On

I was in Paris 2006 – the tension before that game was massive. During the game it was even worse. Death by 1000 cuts until Almunia’s near post ineptitude, Wenger taking off Cesc and Henry’s missed chance almost relieved us of the agony.

But strangely yesterday before WBA it was almost comparable in relation to anxiety and nerves. Gooner world was in total agreement about how important this game was to us.

This feeling of us choking was almost unbearable - the game went our way thanks to spirit and stand-in keeper Fulop who gave us at least 2 assists. But to be fair you end up where you deserve to be and we deserved third.

Spurs have issues – New CF needed, will the pay for Adebayor. They need a new CBH and a fast wide man to cover Lennon and Bale. A manager rumoured to be at odds with his chairman but they deserve fourth and deserve CL football and I hope they get it. Our real enemy is CFC.

Also in all of this MUFC and CFC are almost being ignored. Say that CFC lose to Bayern which is very possible, suddenly for all their investment one FA Cup is not enough. Both Spurs and Arsenal finished above them and £50m Torres and £25m David Luis were not bought to play in the Europa League.

MUFC the cash cow can recover as they have the ability to make revenue. But they have too many over 32 and too many under 22 and not much in the middle. I actually feel we will finish above them next season if we build upon this.

Apart from the relief my mind has quickly turned to how we can improve. How serious are we about the next step. I think we have made a great step in rebuilding but the final step is there for us.

I don’t like playing fantasy football and talk about signings but I keep repeating myself Arsenal need to step up. The time for watching City, CFC parading trophies while we parade our accounts has been the right move but now we have to realise the benefit that good housekeeping can bring.

Some thoughts:

Robin Van Persie – He needs to be the ‘Ten’
An absolute hero and a beacon of excellence in the club. I was 99% sure he was staying but something in his demeanour while being interviewed gave me some doubt. His steely glare tells me he is going into battle with the board and Wenger and it’s about Ambition. We cannot do this again, we cannot snatch a credible season from pure ineptitude we suffered all last summer.

We are Arsenal and losing 8-2 at OT is not the Arsenal I know.

Yes we can feel proud of the character shown and some moments like Spurs and City at home not only will stay with me - performances of real quality.

But we need more.

I don’t like playing fantasy football on transfers - but we have to add to this group.

A-list players are needed. We have been excellent financially but 15 years in the CL - more investment needed on the pitch and now. We are not maximising our revenue. Squad sales are obvious and the club seems focussed on doing this and globalising its brand.

On the playing side:

For Arsenal to move forward we need to move RvP back.

Play him in the hole so he can lead this team from the heart of the side. We ask too much of our kids (Ramsey) they should be first off the bench. I would like Podolski to be our CF next season and for Arsenal to invest A-list money for Eden Hazard (below) wide left.

That move unlocks our true potential. We need 2 for every position. See below potential and gaps in a 4-2-3-1

Possible first eleven:
Sagna, Koscielny, Vertonghen, Vermaelen
Song, Wilshere,
Walcott, RvP, Hazard

Backup squad;
New Keeper, Jenkinson, Djourou, Mertesacker, Santos, Gibbs, Ox, Diaby, Gervinho, Arteta, Ramsey, Rosicky, Afobe, Frimpong , Coquelin, Miyaichi

When you read the above you can still see we are a keeper light and maybe a centre forward although Afobe (below) will in my opinion break through next season. But it’s still light in stature, experience and physicality. Come the moment when medals are handed out we need quality.

City showed it yesterday. On the title winning goal - De Jong (£17m) who was a replacement for Yaya (250k a week and 24m), played a pass to Balotelli (£22m) who pushed it to Aguero (£42m) who scored. That is the best way to develop your global brand. WIN.

I highlighted the money but it’s also the quality. I think Arsenal/Arsene has so much quality that he has acquired at really good prices and or built himself. He deserves huge credit for this. It was him that had Jack Wilshere training with the first team at 15. You would think according to the British press that Owen Coyle brought Wilshere along based on a 4 month loan period at new relegated Bolton.

But now he needs one A-Lister to spark the club. What we saw this season v City and Spurs was a team that ignited us fans. The Emirates really exploded. Imagine if we had Hazard who is a superstar in the making. He fits the mould of high fee but medium Wages and his sell on would still be enormous when he goes to Real Madrid in 3-4 years.

I keep saying it and will keep saying it – Arsenal be as big as you are.

We did not challenge for any trophies for the first time this season and that is not acceptable. We may not of won for a few years but we have had finals and moments where we competed. This season we were not close.

Still I am smiling today, hugely relieved but want us to push on and not waste this opportunity.

Clive P
Twitter #clivepafc

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Mind The Gap

Flushing the Tottenham toilet

So were you the eternal Scum bashing optimist this season or did the Lilleywhite bogie men keep you awake at nights? Did the monsters lurk in all the darkest shadows down every Lane? Could you hear the twitching behind the skirting boards? Are the dreaded Coys the sort of creatures your mum frightened you with when reading from Grimms Fairytales? Have you wasted an entire season bricking it because you feared Uncle Arry was going to take away your St Totteringham's Day for once? Or did you believe in The Arsenal like you should have done? Were you a lion or did you impersonate larry the lamb.

Believe it or not there are some Gooners who've spent their entire season not backing the mighty Arsenal. Instead they've spent it panicking as to whether or not a bunch of no-hopers from the wrong end of Seven Sisters Road might win the league, might go further than us in Europe, might win the Europa Cup, might win the FA Cup, might finish higher in the league than us, might gain a Champions League place. It seems these Gooners are not actually that bothered about our relative status differential with the Tiny Totts. Instead they are more concerned that strangers wearing clothes that include the logo of chicken on a beachball would take the piss. The fear of piss taking is for wimps not football supporters. These fans have of course done their level best to induce a self-stimulated heart attack and panicked endlessly and relentlessly about absolutely nothing. They have done their own brains in on a pointless piece of miscalculated probability theory. They have ranted away all fecking season about the Totts might do this or that entirely forgetting reality's actual probability theory, The Laws of Lasagne and the Scum's very own built in implosion clause. But it must happen one day they say. True, and the sun might not come up tommorrow, there's always that chance.

And so what did all this Tottenham paranoia actually achieve other than unwanted palpitations and a few nerve rashes. Nothing. Absolutely jack shit. Why would anyone worry for an entire season about the Totts. Yes indeed they were ten points clear but it was a temporary measure induced by delusions of grandeur. Right now Arry is twitching more than ever, their fan is worried shitless that Bale and or Modric will bugger off during the summer. Their two faced posturing over Adethewhore will inevitably result in the disappearance of a subsidised loan from Citeh worth about £5 million per annum plus a good few goals. Their aging squad still needs replacing. Their crocks are in just as bad a state as ours but Wilshere has loads of seasons left and is world class, whereas King doesn't and isn't. The points difference was only very marginal but they should MIND THE GAP because it is in fact a chasm.

They haven't even thought about starting their stadium, they don't have a masterplan because their Club is up for sale. The Tottenham board are all talk and no action. Their potential new toilet facility has not been flushed with sucess thus far - in fact they haven't even started to knock down the old kharzi as yet. Mind you I'm sure I could rustle up some volunteers if they can't afford to demolish it themselves.

The Tottenham media were out in force for a while. Gary Linaeker got very excited for a couple of weeks, the rotund turd that is Garth Crooks was dusted down and wheeled out. Even the normally sane Henry Winter was silly enough to publish a piece earlier this season where he claimed only one Arsenal player would make the Totts team. I still find it hard to believe that Henry was serious and still await his abject grovelling apology with baited breath.
So now its all over I assume you can see there was never any need to fret was there? Fear ye not you brown trouser Gooners for it is written that white is not the colour and never will be ever again. See Chapman from the Holy Book Chapter 30 verses 19-71. In fact the only teams playing in white ever to to win the League were Leeds (who last won it 20 years ago), Derby (last won it 37 years ago), The Tiny Totts themselves ('61 never again) and Preston (122 years ago). You're more likely to see Halley's comet than Tottenham win the league again. Halley's comet is next due in 2061, a significant 100th anniversary for some.

Obviously all those who watched Arsenal thrash WBA at the Hawthorns will know that today's result was inevitable and never in doubt. Perhaps it was just a tad cruel to gift Roy's team the lead in order to wind up the entire crowd at WHL but they should know better...just how many times have we done that to them?
Right then, I'm off to buy a souvenir of the 2011-12 season....any ideas?

Brian @Gooner48

Saturday, 12 May 2012

Clive P thoughts.....

Found it tough to write this week. Too nervous to make any sense.

I am so so wrapped up in the enormity of an away game at WBA. I cannot get this game out of my head. The whole weekend is ruined. Maybe that is part of the problem, the way we feel is the way the team feels. We are only human after all. The team is playing tense. I'm hoping the fancy dress atmosphere may release the tension at WBA.
Smart move - Wenger's cute mind reset this week, reminding us all that it's us who came from 10 points behind, it's us that had a disastrous start to the season, it's us that has shown the spirit required to be in this position that many of us would of signed up for in early February.

I know we are all looking for some form of comfort not sure I or anyone can help right now. I tend to pick on those inner daemons that we all have and bring them to the surface. Sorry!!

Why is this game so big. For me it's not just the CL, not just we have to stop THFC rubbing our collective noses in it if they come higher than us (although that is huge) for me its the thought that Wenger is finally seeing what has to be done and if we don't finish third he can delay again.

There is a huge subset of fans who feel conned, who feel we love this guy, we love the club we used to be. It seems Arsenal are hell bent on repairing that relationship. At times this season, City, Newcastle, Spurs - lets not forget how wonderful those days were. the relationship was repaired, the club was ONE.

If we end up say 5th Wenger can consolidate again and this time legitimately. That is my big fear. We can sing at CFC that they have no history, but as I have said before - in this SKY TV age you can develop a history in 5 years. They are as big if not bigger than us in Asia, a new market that knows nothing of Pat Rice but think football started with Jose ' the special one'

Keep laughing it's a real issue. We lost Mata and who can say as he prepares to line up in
Munich that he made the wrong choice.

How many CFC shirts did you used to see 5 years ago and how many today. I'm even seeing City shirts locally. People associate themselves with winners, people want to see teams regularly in big games competing. Fans are different today, fan bases are gown globally and Arsenal are waking up fast but sometimes I feel we are slow to realise our potential.

Slow to realise how big we are.

The sense we have of a new clarity in the global expansion of Arsenal is really encouraging. But the real trigger is what happens on the pitch and we seem to moving towards a new Arsenal with players of increasing sensible focus on winning. I know we haven't on in 4 games but at Stoke and v  Norwich some of the 9 match winning run energy and spark was re-appearing and v Norwich we were both lucky and unlucky.

Dug up this quote:
 "We had 500 passes, Tottenham had 222: we had 18 shots on goal, Tottenham had 12 and we had 64% of possession. That sums up the game."

Arsene Wenger after forgetting he score was 5-1 to Spurs in the League Cup Semi Final second leg 2008

This is the Arsenal we are close to getting away from - A stumble now and the positive future including a strike force of Theo Podolski and RVP a maturing Wilshire and OX and maybe even true Defensive Midfielder giving us the stability we need - So close.

My Team for WBA


Coquelin, Koz,TV, Santos

Song, Ox, Rosicky

Theo, RvP, Gervinho

I say go for it no fear. We are better than them and we hould go hard attack early as we don't do nerves well and then lock up the game. Don't give WBA something to play for or hang onto.

RVP you have so many of us hoping.

Think happy thoughts, think happy thoughts....

1. Henry v Sunderland
2. TV Newcastle at home
3. Arteta v City
4. RvP v Spurs
5. RvP Liverpool away
6. Koz/TV defending Everton away
7. Henry v Leeds

Clive P

twitter #clivepafc

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Retro Match Report - Party On Gooners

11th May 2002: Arsenal 4 Everton 3 - now give us the Trophy

The events at Highbury this Saturday were basically one huge street party interrupted by 90 minutes of football and the lifting of the coveted Premiership Trophy.

You couldn't help noticing that it had something or other to do with Barclaycard because the set building for something as simple as lifting up a piece of Silverware, not an altogether unfamiliar event for our Tone, keeps getting bigger and more corporate every season. This however was the reason we'd trekked all over England for the entire season, or in my particular case had been chauffeured all over England by John. We'd been there, seen it and absolutely deserved the t-shirt. From our opening match at Middlesborough back in August when we started with four goals right through to our last game when we ended with four goals it has been a joy and an honour to be there with the lads.

I arrived early by my standards to find that by 1 p.m. the 'Arsenal World of Sport' now selling from their new catalogue, was eight deep at the counters, The 'Gas Light' was six deep on the pavement and Blackstock Road was a sea of red and white choristers. Never have so many street traders sold so many double winner t-shirts in the history of the beautiful game. If there was any beer left in any pub by midnight within a five-mile radius I'd be astounded. We met outside 'The Gunners' who were only admitting match ticket holders. It was our pleasure to drink Champagne with Jenny dispensing plastic cups from a pocket in a manner that only a fan of a Championship winning Club can pull off with such aplomb. Also there were Marion who had taken the Champaign to Old Trafford, John who proved more Champers today, Martin, Val, Gareth, Ian, Kev, my fellow TV star Jude, Michael, Andy and about 10,000 others I don't know by name but was happy to share our celebrations with. Passing Evertonian coaches generously applauded the mad, singing Gooner throng.

There are some three-story buildings opposite 'The Gunners' where the Fleet Gooners, according to the huge banner, were up on the roof letting off a succession of fire crackers to the delight of the massed Gooners below. If the guy on the roof taking the photos of us from above reads this I'd love to see the pictures. Down below we were streaming in and out of the pubs or queuing outside 'Highbury Wines' to replenish our fellow fans with another round of drinks. When not toasting the entire squad or management team we were busy reworking the words to the Freddie song - 'We love you Freddie 'cos you said feck on Sky, we love you Freddie 'cos you made Chelsea cry.' I would have happily stayed there all afternoon but it would have been a shame to waste match tickets that even the touts couldn't get hold of for once.

New issues of 'The Gooner' and 'Highbury High' fanzines had somehow managed to find identical pictures for their covers of Freddie and Ray at the Millennium Stadium. While the match-day programme went with Ashley and Sol wearing those Gold shirts that I intend wearing for every future visit to Old Trafford - the home of the team that won nothing. Inside the ground we found little red or white flags on our seats proclaiming us to be Double winners 2002. I'd missed some of the presentations which I imagine included Arsene manager getting of the month, Freddie picking up player of the month plus Dennis for his goal of the season. But was in time to see the great Bob Wilson enjoy his last moments on the pitch before retirement from coaching. Not everyone gets to retire at a carnival.

The team news saw a line-up that included Lee Dixon as captain. Lee was retiring after 14 years at the Club and what a way to go, also playing his last match was Gilles, who is off to pastures anew for some regular first team football. Richard, Oleg and Igors were also in the starting line-up with Patrick, Stuart, Francis, Freddie and Ralph on the bench. 38,254 happy souls packed Highbury and I have it on very good authority that some of them might have been sober.

'Champions, Champions.' 'Arsene Wenger's magic he wears a magic hat and when he saw the double he said I'm having that.' Thierry has a long range shot and his first attempt to beat Hasselbaink, Van Diver and Shearer to the coveted Premiership Golden Boot for the League's top goal scorer. 'We won the League, we won the League, in Manchester, in Manchester, we won the League at Old Trafford, we won the League in Manchester.' 'Stand up for the Champions.' Edu was chopped and former medal winner with our club Kevin Campbell fouled Dixon. The one song the Club want us to change the words to 'Hey, heyey Yiddos, I wanna know where your captains gone' was rattled out next, just before Dennis gave us the lead.

A move down our left which involved Sylv and Thierry, got as far as Ashley who appeared to lose it only to win it back with a tackle come cross to Dennis who coolly picked his spot. 1-0 Arsenal and the inevitable 'There's only one Dennis Bergkamp.' Rocks around the ground followed by 'One nil to the Champions.' I'm lucky to have seen the goal as the red Freddie wigs proudly worn at Old Trafford by the season ticket holders in row 17 seats 57 and 58 of the West Lower were a work of art but difficult to see around, but what the hell.

'Sol's a Gooner.' But it's Everton's Campbell who goes close. Unsworth fires in a dangerous cross as Arsenal party on. 'And it's Arsenal, Arsenal FC they're by far the greatest team the world has ever seen.' Igors clears, Wright catches well. 'Arsene Wenger' s magic he wears a magic hat.' Dennis finds Thierry who rounds the keeper but only finds the side netting from a narrow angle. 'Who's that team we call the Arsenal.' Dennis to Thierry to Ray who's power drive goes wide. 'Thierry Henry.' 'Ohh Rocky, Rocky, Rocky, Rocky, Rocky, Rocky Rocastle.' We won the League, we won the League, in Manchester, in Manchester, we won the League at Old Trafford, we won the League in Manchester.' The game is almost a sideshow to the real party going on in the stands, what a brilliant atmosphere!

Igor's mistake as he passes across his own box, a hanging offence under GG, was costly as it allows Carsley to score. 1-1 but no worries at least we've scored in every League game this season. Campbell (K) is offside from Radzinski's pass, marginal. Great tackle by Ray on Alexandersson as Everton have a spell during which Ray appears to be the only Gunner giving his all. Dixon across to save the day. Great header by Elvis, or one of them, in the East Lower. Radzinski shoots wide but looked offside. A Radzinski solo down the left leaves Lee trailing and he slots it past Wright no problem. 1-2 to Everton and this definitely wasn't in the script I read. 'We love you Arsenal we do.'

Dixon heads back with a lucky header to Wright. Edu starts a break which goes through to Dennis in a left hand channel, he works his way through for a scoring position but checks and unselfishly clips back the perfect ball to set up Henry with a chance for the Golden Boot. 2-2 to the Arsenal one for all and all for one. Thierry and Dennis combine again to set up Edu with a long-range shot. 'We won the League, we won the League, in Manchester, in Manchester, we won the League at Old Trafford, we won the League in Manchester.'  More Arsenal fast breaks follow and our football flows, much more like the Arsenal we've loved watching for most of the season.

Cole to Henry who wins a corner, from which Gilles tries a near post header. Almost the last move of the half sees Henry on the left almost find Dixon on the far post but the fairy tale ending for Lee is not to be. One minute of added time follows before we go in on level at half time. Arsenal having played in the lower gears so far and with some top names earning some relaxation on the bench. The crowd however are in top form, did anyone see a Gooner who didn't have a stupid grin right across their face. I certainly didn't.

Our last half of competitive football for this fabulous season on 2001-2 starts with Dennis finding Edu, who almost breaks through. Henry flies through and tries one with the outside of his boot. Henry incidentally had his right leg heavily strapped but still looks faster than a speeding bullet. Dennis to Thierry to Sylv to Edu who's shot on the turn is held. 'Stand up for the Champions.' Sylvain is back in our box to work it away. It was great the Sylv scored at Old Trafford because he's worked his rocks off all season and didn't stop during the party either. An absolutely brilliant ball from Edu on half way finds Henry on a run but Everton cover.

'We won the League, we won the League, in Manchester, in Manchester, we won the League at Old Trafford, we won the League in Manchester.' Everton manager David Moyes was obviously out to enhance our party because he sent the overweight Ginola out to warm up. Ginola waddled up and down in front of the West Stand trying hard to ignore the ritual abuse. 'You're just a fat Tottenham wanker,' Henry tries one with his left foot which drifts wide. 'Thierry Henry.' Cole slams into Radzinski. Henry offside. Dennis just offside. Oleg in well.

Wright makes a save. Dennis and Henry break fast but the ball in is covered well. Our latest anthem rings out again and again 'We won the League, we won the League, in Manchester, in Manchester, we won the League at Old Trafford, we won the League in Manchester.' Don't you just love it when we win the double? Wright catches a cross from the left and a corner s given from which Pembridge clips our bar. 'Sol's a Gooner.' Cole comes away with the ball. 'Arsene Wenger's magic he wears a magic hat.' Vieira warms up to the 6th million rendition this season of 'Vieira woaho woaho, Vieira woaho woaho, he comes from Senegal and plays for Arsenal.' Oleg's tackle stops Carsley. Francis Jeffers replaces Ray Parlour who should be going to Japan. Vieira comes on for another recent hero Sylvain Wiltord.

'Super, super Rob, super Robert Pires.' 'Oh Rocky, Rocky.' Good save by Richard from Carsley. Kevin Campbell chests one from close range. 'Stand up if you hate Tottenham' - note how far down the play list that song has been relegated. The Scum finished 37 points behind us and are of no consequence, in fact they got 50 points in total this season - that's just 3 more than we got just away from home. Meanwhile back at the match they're trying their best to set up Jeffers against his old club, Dennis tries but Jeffers squanders it. 'Who's that team we call the Arsenal.' Henry gives us the lead again following a brilliant ball by Edu on halfway. Thierry took it on well and slotted home nonchalantly to make it 3-2 to the Arsenal, we were still on for our 13th consecutive league win.

The fans go into overdrive once more. 'We won the League, we won the League, in Manchester, in Manchester, we won the League at Old Trafford, we won the League in Manchester.' Brilliant touch by Edu. Henry is too good for Everton. Henry spurns a hat trick to set up Francis who's shot is saved, Dennis skims the bar following up. 'Boring, boring Arsenal.' Freddie warms up just so we can give him the 'Freddie' song yet again. Ginola comes on so Lee can whack him for one final time in his final game, what a perfect end to a fabulous career with The Arsenal. 'We won the League, we won the League, in Manchester, in Manchester, we won the League at Old Trafford, we won the League in Manchester.'

The ever-nasty Carsley kicks Henry on his way through. Balloons on the pitch do more to stop our Frenchman than the boys in blue. Henry to Edu to Jeffers in space. Then he finally gets one. Our central midfield work the ball right to Dennis who is out wide, he finds Thierry wide left near the goal line. Henry's cross just beyond the far post finds Francis who heads home. 4-2 to the Arsenal. Party on dudes. Stuart Taylor arrives with a massive grin to replace Richard Wright for a well-deserved 10th League game and the subsequent Championship Winners medal.

Arsenal move into a semi-piss-take mode and pass the ball around between themselves ignoring the fact that our opponents also want to play. From the stands just about every chant already mentioned is repeated, again and again and again. No one even missed a beat of whatever song they were singing when Steve Watson cut inside to fire past Taylor to make it 4-3. Jeffers crossed to Henry whose shot was saved. Edu had a right foot drive go just wide. And so the season ends and we did it Arsene's way - with fabulous football. 87 points, 7 more than the deposed Mancs, 23 more than that small club in Fulham who are all mouth and no action and a staggering 37 points ahead of the Tiny Totts. What a wonderful season.

The ceremonies eventually began and Tone lifted the umpteenth trophy of his illustrious career. Every squad member was presented; even those who were not having a medal hung around their necks. Each had their name chanted and none more so than Arsene Wenger who looks set to become the greatest manager in the history of the Club. Rob was last player up and he received the ultimate accolade from his team-mates as the lay prostrate in front of him in the 'we are not worthy' pose.

There were flags, silly hats, balloons and banners in abundance. The North Stand upper tier did its famous Championship bounce as it flexed to the rhythm of the deliriously happy Gooners dancing in it. 'Le Maison de Champions' could be seen in the North Stand lower as could a very professional looking 'Man Who?' The 'Old Trafford - Champions Section', the work I understand of Lee Palmer and his sons, was also at the home of the Champions. Elvis wigs and shades were worn by more than one of the team on their way around the adoring fans. Arsene looked relaxed, probably because he's already got next season's signings sorted out. Lee finally went down the tunnel for the last time, at least in a competitive match.

Championship parties are a continuing way of life in our patch of North London, indeed we are the only part of London to celebrate any meaningful Championships for some 41 years now. There is indeed only 'One team in London' and has been for ages but right now there is only 'One team in England' and we're it.

This was my sixth Championship celebration and I've loved every minute of them all. 'The Worlds End', amongst many others was rocking well into the night and if we all had a pound for every time the Freddie anthem rent the air we'd all be a long way towards funding next seasons season tickets. The streets around Finsbury Park were rammed and the great Arsene Wenger himself, for it was he, struggled to drive past 'The Gas Light' in his huge silver Merc. The fans just had to pay homage one more time and he gave the thumbs up as he struggled to drive through at one mile-per-hour. The mob of happy revellers blocking the road in order to thank him personally for a wonderful season and so they should. David Dean in his black Maserati then followed Arsene through the massed Gooners to similar acclaim.

You could tell that both men were Gooners, they both had that ear to ear grin that's gonna last every single one of us all summer long. Makes you so proud doesn't it? That's it then, my last match report of the season, I hope you've enjoyed them as much as I've enjoyed watching the Arsenal.

Brian @ Gooner48

This match report originally appeared on Chris Parry's Arsenal-World it and many other match reports are still to be found there and I'd highly recommend the site for a trawl down memory lane. They're filed under Latest - Fixtures/Results then pick a season 2001-2 here. Naturally this report was probably written when I'd sobbered up - so maybe on about the Tuesday, but it will still contain any of the original errors.

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Clive P Thoughts: Never as good as the first time

Was on my road bike pretending to be Lance Armstrong up in the Bedfordshire hills over Bank holiday - listening to this Sade song

‘Never as good as the first time’

Got me thinking…..Got me thinking about the make-up of Arsenal fans and why we react to today’s football/team the way we do.

Arsenal as a set of fans are on average the oldest in the PL.

By that, I mean the ones that actually go to the games. Many reasons for that, chief one being the cost of entry. Younger fans and these days older fans struggle to go as regular as they would like to – But it’s the older fans that are more likely to afford it. – Those same fans also pick and choose games even though money has passed over to the club -  Hence the gaps we regularly see in the stadium. Those fans have other pulls but their love for Arsenal means they cannot give up that season ticket

My belief is as a fan we buy into a life contract when you support a team but I also feel there is a time – ‘a special time’ or 2 that we use as a natural reference point when we judge our  team/club. Normally that time is dictated by the amount of emotional investment that is put into supporting your team at that point in time.

My time was 1989 – that season I attended over 30 games home and away. I felt I earned my stripes that year. I was there outside the Gunners pub the Saturday after Anfield. Drinking outside for 8 hours, singing ‘we won the league on Merseyside - There was about 300 of us who all knew each other. We had done the miles there was a bond between us as a group and with the team due to its youth, vitality and being absolutely the embodiment of all that is Arsenal.

I had more a Sky TV  love as I reduced my games in 2004 but nothing will for me ever match 1989 – that was my first time.

Does it shape me as a fan – maybe.

I think 2004 I was tactically more aware about what made a team, what made a team win. That was for me embodied by Patrick Vieira, my favourite ever Arsenal player. This time definitely shapes my views. I remember the tension v Liverpool I remember the 2005 Cup final drunk in Cardiff and totally believing we would win. We had so many characters we couldn’t lose.

I look at today’s team with a natural comparison – thinking back to those times – Song’s bad time is very fresh in my memory. That sloppy stupid pass before Norwich’s third goal could cost the club £30m.

Song – decent player but to me he never will be a Vieira.

Maybe I forget how many crucial red cards Vieira got just before big games. Song plays every game. Pat never did. My views are shaped and will not be changed. Pat had street smart. He knew what to do when to control a game. He knew how to buy a foul, when to make a foul. Song, just as strong, fantastic athlete and improving but it’s that ‘street smart’ he misses.

The whole team misses this Arteta brings this assurance – talent alone is not enough. It’s about being professional and creating a standard of performance based on stability of game. But I’m sure the 2004 team was as emotional and flaky. I used to moan that Pires never tackled, Freddie could not dribble, Gilberto never shoots

Taking this further, Walcott will never be  Ljungberg, Nasri/Pires and so on. Does this make us fickle as we have seen how this can be done, how this should be done and in very recent times. We know what worked and we were sold the dream of being able to compete – have we moved on since Lasagne gate.

I sometimes wonder if we did would we even notice – What is the success criteria for the new Arsenal.

What I do feel is 2006 was pivotal for Arsenal – move ground Paris for the CL final, Henry nearly winning it for us.

2012 is as pivotal and Sunday is HUGE. There are rumblings that we are re-focussing top to bottom.

Board - looking at Renewal
Coaching Staff – looking at Renewal
Playing staff – looking at Renewal.

Qualifying for the CL will make us all believe something is likely to change.

If we mess up Sunday the relationship between the fans and the club/team/Wenger could be damaged beyond repair unless there is fast tangible  change.

A change to something most of us can relate to.

That time.

Clive P

Twitter #clivepafc

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Arsenal's brand new kit: Our blue-collar workers

If you've only seen Arsenal's 2012-13 shirt in isolation you really do need to see the whole kit being worn to see just how stunningly well it works as an overall design. As a sports kit it's a rather fine piece of  design, as an Arsenal kit however it just doesn't work for me at all because the shirt just isn't an Arsenal shirt with a blue collar. It really does make you wonder if our Club actually think about the new kit each season, whether Nike are ever given a design brief, or if Nike just make it up and knock it out as they go along. Whatever. Designing a complete kit to look good is one thing, but making it look like a football kit and specifically an Arsenal football kit should be important to someone at the Club but seemingly not. Making the new shirt look and feel like an Arsenal shirt should be the priority. The kit looks fine but I've seen very few fans, Bazzo excepted, who wear their sox and shorts with pride. The shirt is the thing that not only sells but is also most worn by all and blue collars on a red shirt are an abomination unless you happen to be Palace or Barca or similar. That's FC Similar who of course who wear the famous red shirts with blue sleeves.

      Stunning artist's impression (NOT) of Messi in the new AFC kit....that'll sell the buggers

I can visualise a couple of alternative design brief scenarios:

The design brief from Arsenal to Nike every season possibly reads: Arsenal place great emphasis on tradition and so do the fans - so be sure to spin that big time when you pad out the marketing spiel with some unecessary verbal diarrhea. Basically you can call anything traditional so long as it's been done before or related to something that's been done before. Never mind that it was crap the first time, and that the fans hated it, so long as its been done before or we can pretend it's been based on something that's been done before we should be on a winner.

Whereas Nike bosses brief to their design team maybe reads: So long as we can conviince a few directors or commercial people, who pretend to understand Arsenal traditions, that the new design will sell they'll buy into any old crap. Especially so if you can work some buzz words such as 'Chapman', 'tradition', 'homage' or 'historical' into the marketing blurb they'll go for it. With a back catalogue of shirts that stretches over 125 seasons we should be able to find something the suckers will go for. It's all pretty American now at Arsenal so mabe go for a NFL style shirt with that thick banding on the sleeves, then chew through their old kit designs to find something that we can pretend influenced the whole shooting match. Naturally the production costs should be minimal so forget fancy collars and stuff. Then pray their bloody team wins something because that's what actually racks up the sales.

What clearly happened though was that this season the designer happened to be a Manure fan and could only design Manure kits, so did just that.

Compulsory wear for all Arsenal's blue collar workers

Personally speaking, as much as I appreciate the design of the whole kit I have a major problem with the new shirt. Because the navy blue is so dark it looks almost black at a distance and that makes it look way more like a Manure shirt than an Arsenal top. I could live with it quite happily if it wasn't for that discusting blue collar. I'll concede that the blue collar works for the overall kit design but not on the shirt alone if you want it to look like an Arsenal, which I do. We are not a blue club, we've never been a blue club, we're not even a blue and red club, we're a red and white club. Minimal blue trim adds emphasis to a design and has worked well on some past shirts but that blue collar means I won't be buying the shirt. Blue collars are just so not Arsenal. Look at a head and shoulders shot of the players in their posed marketing photos and tell me who they play for - you'd never ever know by the head shots.
 Who's this then and to which team has he been transferred?

And an obvious but important thought for all the parents out there. Whatever you do don't pre-order a shirt with a name on it if there is the slightest chance they won't be at our club next season. Be aware that last season the Club shops were selling shirts throughout the summer per-printed with Nasri and Fabregas.

And I'll offer this clue to the marketing department at Arsenal: if you want to sell loads of shirts win the f*cking league - then the colour and design won't matter at all.

So what's worse?
(A) Being potentially screwed over for a new kit every season
(B) The crap designs unrelated to the traditional Arsenal kit colours that they come up with?

Brian @Gooner48

Monday, 7 May 2012

Retro Match Report: We won the League in Manchester

May 8th 2002: Manchester United 0-1 Arsenal was Double Good

What can you say about our team this season that hasn't already been said? The superlatives don't do them justice and whatever has been thrown at them in domestic football has been very impressively dealt with.

No one I know was taking this match lightly and we all knew that any sort of result at Old Trafford had to be earned, and boy did we earn it. We also knew that if we could win there it would be a psychological blow that might take them years to recover from. I for one was far more nervous about doing a radio interview on the way to the game than the game itself, all the pressure was on them and in the end they showed that just like their manager they couldn't handle it when the going rose to fever pitch. The confidence now oozing from players and fans alike showed itself in a little cameo at ‘The Old Pump House at Salford Quays.' This pub right by the Manchester ship canal saw us leave in ample time when (the other) Brian stood up and announced ‘Right - shall we go and win the League then?' Classic comment. It had been a long walk to the pub so we asked some Mancs if there was a quicker way back to the ground. ‘Yes, swim across the canal' was the rather obvious Manc reply. Gooner response ‘We don't have to mate! We can walk on water right now'

Better than Fair's Cup night in ‘70? Better than White Hart Lane in '71? Better than Anfield in ‘89? Hard to say, but I think the atmosphere generated by the travelling Gooners in Manchester was perhaps the most amazing Arsenal crowd I've ever been privileged to be part of. I bumped into more Gooners I knew on this amazing night than I ever had before, every single one of them was up for it big time, all about to give their all for the cause. The away fans have been superb all season but their repertoire just keeps on growing and the volume just keeps on rising.

The team news was that there was no Dennis (to start), no Tone and no Theirry for this the biggest of the many big ones – no problem we'll just keep on winning. ‘Arsenal, Arsenal, Arsenal' The noise inside Old Trafford was such that our being outnumbered by 64,580 to 3,000 (these were the official figures) meant that just prior to kick off the players could not hear their names being chanted and the noise in our ‘Champions elect section' was immense. ‘We'll win the League, we'll win the League, in Manchester, in Manchester. We'll win the League in Manchester. We'll win at Old Trafford, we'll win the League, in Manchester'. (Repeat on and off all night). Don't know about anyone else but the only time I sat down all night was at half-time.

Manchester United kick off and attack ‘our end' the first of many fouls on the night is by Neville on Freddie. Sol sees off Solskjaer and not for the last time on. A Parlour cross met by Sylv on the turn is deflected for a corner. Cole stops Giggs, it was the first of many fine defending tackles in a night that will erase the failure of his previous visit. ‘We'll win the League, in Manchester.' Kanu fouls Blanc ‘Arsene Wenger's magic he wears a magic hat' Lame shot from Kanu but it's early doors. I can't breathe because of the tension. ‘Feck all, feck all, feck all United will win feck all, while the Cockney Red's are going out of their heads Man United will win feck all' (repeat on and off all night) Solskjaer first dive having obviously taken lessons from van Nistelrooy. Scholes shot deflected for a corner. They came close from the corner.

Vieira appears to be signalling that he's wearing the wrong boots and someone dashes off to the dressing room. ‘Hello, hello we are the Arsenal boys' Another United corner. Loads of pushing in the box as Seaman punches. Pat juggles, Ashley clears ‘And it's Arsenal, Arsenal FC they're by far the greatest team the world has ever seen' Chip from Silvestre. ‘60,000 Muppets – which I thought was a bit insulting to Miss Piggy and her furry friends. Lauren tackles Giggs. Giggs tried hard with good solo runs all night but how was the Welsh wizard ever going to dribble through a brick wall?

United had been on top early on and when they played football they looked like they could give us a game but round about the quarter hour mark we started to play. A move that ran Sylv to Freddie to Ashley to Ray to Freddie to Sylv to Ray to Ralph to Kanu to Edu to Sylv ended with a cross. A Freddie chip forward to Sylv. Pat wins well. Ray on a break is held back by Veron and wins the free kick. Brown uses Kanu as a stepladder. Vieira finds his rhythm and cranks it up. Offside against Manure and the heavy tackles are going in now, pretty well all from United who seem rattled. This could be a two falls, submission or a head butt contest soon.

The stewards are trying to seat the Gooners who respond with ‘Stand up if you hate Tottenham' just when our seated area starts to look like one. '60,000 Muppets' Seaman saves a corner from a bad Lauren pass back; it was one of only a few unforced Arsenal errors all night. A red card tackle by Scholes, right through Edu with two feet, is awarded with only a yellow by referee Durkin. Durkin you will recall was the prat who gave Gio a second yellow for ‘diving' at Anfield. Amazingly Fergusmoan is off down the line ranting. Maybe he wasn't throwing a wobbly, maybe he was merely advising the lino that Scholes was trying to kill Edu but he's allowed to do that here because it's Old Trafford.

The Mancs chant ‘Same old Arsenal' to which we respond with ‘We are top of the League, say we are top of the League' Forlan fouls Keown and the Manc fans go apeshit because we are awarded a free kick. Giggs loses it under pressure from Ray ‘here there and everywhere' Parlour, what a massive game Ray had, he was immense. Cole is flattened by Scholes (?) and before the free kick is given Phillip Neville (the unbelievably ugly one) scythes down Wiltord. Red mist has descended on the ill-mannered Mancs and if we needed to keep our heads – we did so admirably under extreme provocation. Our team are so cool, calm and collected that they could be Le Boss himself. Remember McLintock and Simpson? Remember Adams and Bould? Well tonight it was Campbell and Keown making history happen.

Their pitch is still crap unless it's specially designed so players are not able to stand. Keane on Vieira with his foot chest high misses the body but judicious use of the elbow catches our hero in the face. Well goodness gracious ref another yellow, how brave of you. ‘Feck all, feck all, feck United will win feck all.' Cole lets Barthez know he's there. Scholes fouls Vieira. Edu and Kanu combine to find Ray whose cross is blocked. Kanu wins a corner. Forlan appears to kick Lauren in the face but I don't believe that one was deliberate, most nasty stuff had been though. Martin and Keane are both spoken to. Giggs dives – free kick. Veron takes but it's easy for Spunky ‘clean sheets' Seaman. Cole puts a great tackle in on Keane.

Sol heads clear. Forlan jumps at Sol. ‘Sols a Gooner der der der dut.' Wiltord's cross is cleared. Kanu shows us some party pieces. Edu flies in well. Edu tidies up. Their pressure builds for a while as Keown and Campbell stand firm, not too many clear cut chances on offer for either side. ‘We shall not, we shall not be moved.' Fabulous cross from Ray. Sol in trouble but Ray comes to the rescue. Martin heads clear. Veron shoots and wins a corner via Cole. Pat heads it clear. Kanu fouls Neville wide right just to show how the whole team is working back when required. Campbell heads clear then Cole wins two good tackles including a peach on Giggs. Edu fouls Scholes and Veron takes it at a Beckham type distance straight into the wall. How we laughed.

Parlour caught offside from Freddie's break. Sol wins a race with Solskjaer Good turning shot from Keane but it's straight down Dave's throat. Freddie takes on three down the flank and wins the throw, our pressure builds just before half time, we win a corner but can't make it pay. Ole Gunner fouls Patrick Gunner as 2 minutes are added for injuries administered by Manc thugs. Pat wins a ball on the right but Sylv can't play the killer ball to Kanu. ‘Good old Arsenal we're proud to say that name'  Sol cuts it out, Ashley breaks down the left but there is no one there to meet his cross. Half time and if it stays nil-nil that'll do it.

At half time there was a penalty competition in the Stretford Road End and Arsenal were represented by a young man called Harry Crawford. Harry promptly sent the keeper the wrong way twice after a long and elaborate run up putting the ball perfectly in exactly the same corner both times. The Manc missed twice. What caught our attention though was the way he celebrated by giving it large to the Mancs behind the goal. Having already seen their man attempt to hit the back row of the stands his third was sweet and true as well but in the opposite corner. ‘There's only one Harry Crawford' … and he heard us. Nice one Harry – we loved it. The next 55 minutes (don't forget Fergietime) could have been the longest in our football supporting lives.

‘We shall not we shall not be moved.' as Kanu kicks off towards the Gooners end. Sylv wins our first corner of the half. ‘While we sing this song we'll win the game.' Seaman takes cleanly following a Manure raid down their right. Freddie almost finds Edu on a run. An Edu cross follows great play by Ray, Sylv and Freddie. Naff header by Forlan wins a corner. A naff Neville cross, actually that suits him – Naff Neville, except he's not quite that good. A long range powered shot from Kanu wakes up Barthez and probably stung his hands. ‘Arsene Wenger's Red and White Army.' Cole goes off on another run. Sol clears. Veron blasts it into the stand but I've no idea if it was supposed to be a shot or a cross. ‘Arsene Wenger's Red and White Army.'

A great chance as the hapless Barthez screws up a clearance but Wiltord fails to capitalise, a chance gone. Ray chopped down not given, Edu chops and it's given. Dave takes a cross come shot from Forlan. ‘Arsene Wenger's Red and White Army.'

A great chance as the hapless Barthez screws up a clearance but Wiltord fails to capitalise, a chance gone. Ray chopped down not given, Edu chops and it's given. Dave takes a cross come shot from Forlan. ‘Arsene Wenger's Red and White Army.'

Wiltord scores and the world explodes all around us. It's 0-1 following some naff play by Silvestre that sees man of the match Parlour steal the ball, he finds Sylv who in turn slips it to Freddie on a bit of a run. Blanc is nowhere as Freddie shoots before Brown gets to him. Barthez saves low but Sylv is there to hit it crisp and low into the net with his left foot. It's not a classic goal, but no one I know gave a monkey's about that. Our scoring in ever game run continues, our away run continues, far better yet we're winning the League at Old Trafford. Yes.

‘We Shall not, we shall not be moved.' Veron off to chants of ‘What a waste of money' Ruud the Van Diver on. Lauren wins a free kick ‘United will win feck all' as the cheating Dutchman is at it straight away. Sol and Martin went berserk at him. Ferguson has a team of bad losers, and doesn't it show. Giggs trips Kanu. Vieira clears. Parlour swats Forlan. Martin and Solskjaer are at it. An evil tackle on Freddie by Blanc gets a yellow card. 'Arsene Wenger's Magic' Another great tackle by Ray, passes to Kanu who finds Wiltord but Barthez takes the cross. United's sportsmanship came into play as Lauren on our left wing, don't ask, kicks the ball out because Solskjaer is down and the Manc crowd are baying. Blanc throws it to his keeper and they play on. What utter scum they are.

Parlour in again. Forlan off and Fortune on as the Gooners sing ‘Hand it over, hand it over, hand it over Ferguson.' ‘1-0 to the Champions.' Lauren joins the attack. ‘Super, super Rob.' An appalling pass by Scholes. ‘One Tony Adams.' ‘Oh Rocky, Rocky.' 19 minutes to go. Great ball from Parlour to Wiltord. Vieira power play and a chip from Martin, yes Martin, as Kanu closes down Naff Neville. Keown clears a Giggs cross. A nine man Arsenal move is followed by ‘We love you Freddie' Ljungberg breaks to Wiltord to Kanu who shoots wide with 15 minutes to go. ‘We are top of the League, say we are top of the League.' Fortune fires over. ‘We shall not be moved.' Seaman kicks straight out of play. A Giggs solo comes to nothing. Ashley has a solo as Freddie goes down in their box.

Vieira stops a break. 12 to go. ‘We'll win the League in Manchester' 11 to go. Vieira breaks and finds Parlour wide right. ‘United will win feck all.' 10 to go. ‘Cheerio, cheerio, cheerio' to the departing prawn sandwich munching losers. 9 to go. ‘We can see you sneaking out.' All back only Kanu up front but we break in numbers. 8 to go. ‘Always look on the bright side of life.' 7 to go.

Giggs trips Edu. 6 to go. ‘Arsene Wenger's magic.' Our defence holds firm, they look invincible. ‘Hand it over Ferguson.' A mass wave by 3,000 Gooners to the departing home fans. 5 to go. ‘We love you Freddie.' Lauren gets a yellow for holding. 4.49 to go. Keown stops a dangerous break in its tracks. United get a corner 4.07 to go. Keane heads just wide. ‘United will win feck all.' ‘Cockney Reds going out of their heads.' Wiltord holds it up. Parlour holds it up in the corner. 2.32 to go. Cole wins another good ball. 2.17 to go. Seaman takes a goal kick 1.54 to go. We can almost taste it. Dixon on for Kanu. Wiltord solo up front 0.52 to go. ‘Super, super Sylv, super Sylvain Wiltord.' Scholes flattens Parlour for old times sake 0.23 to go. ‘Super Sylv.' Keown beats the Dutch diver. 3 minutes added time.

‘Champions, Champions.' Martin heads clear. Scholes blasts wide to much derision. 46.22 played. A new song gets its first ever airing ‘We WON the League in Manchester.' Seaman takes 47.07 played. Wiltord breaks, Parlour shoots and Lee closes down the frustrated keeper. 47.57 played. Wiltord collapses face down on the turf as the final whistle goes.

Sol kisses the shirt, Pat kisses the shirt, Edu shows us a bit of solo dancing and the party begins. Mobiles working overtime. The ground clears and we see just how many Gooners are in the home seats. Loads. Party on dudes and bring your own Champagne again on Saturday. A big white flag was produced that read ‘Old Trafford – Champions Section'. Brilliant. What an amazing five days.

31 years ago to the day I stood behind the goal where Charlie clinched our first double back in 1971 – I never thought it could get any better than that, but I was wrong. ‘We won the League in Manchester, we won the League in Manchester, we won the League at Old Trafford, we won the League in Manchester.'

Brian @Gooner48

This match report originally appeared on Chris Parry's Arsenal-World it and many other match reports are still to be found there - I'd highly recommend the site for a trawl down memory lane. They're filed under Latest - Fixtures/Results then pick a season 2001-2. This report looks to me as if it was written the morning I returned from Old Trafford, but it will still contain many of the original errors.