So we arrive at the hateful day when the approaching empty oceans of a no-football summer is at hand. Normally, it a day of deep depression but following the events post- Birmingham, there is a sense of relief that the disappointments of the past 3 months have come to an end. Such are the slings and arrows of supporting an Arsenal team in “development.”
My intention was to write a Fulham post littered with literary quotes and clever quips, but quite frankly I can’t be arsed! Instead you will get the chaotic final episode of Big Raddy’s pre-match ramblings for the 2010/11 season.
It seems a short while ago since the opening day draw against Liverpool when my hopes for the season were established. At that time I would have asked for :- Us to be in the mix at the end of March, have had a decent Cup run, a couple of famous victories in the CL, and some standout individual performances from the players. All of which has come to pass, and yet, and yet, I feel really disappointed. I can’t decide whether this is because I am an ingrate (my father’s favourite name for me!) or because I lived with too high expectation, either way, BR, like many fans is unhappy.
Today we hope to rejoice in a possible victory over another set of heathens, in this case a Fulham team managed by the miscreant Mark Hughes. Now it has to said that if Mr Hughes were to be in my close proximity, I would not dare to speak my mind – why? Because he is a venomous, vituperous, violent viper of a man, and he would knock me into next week. This is a manager created in the image of SAF and Fat Sam; the only manager who elicits antipathy from Mr Wenger (which is surely proof of his awfulness). I do not like him and with his record I cannot understand how he remains a PL manager, it is once again proof that in football mediocrity can be handsomely rewarded.
His Fulham team reflects his playing philosophy; destruction ahead of creativity, workrate ahead of skill. They have fought their way to safety based upon a solid defence, a competitive midfield and aggressive but low scoring attack (only 47 goals so far this season ). Dempsey is their top scorer on 12 followed by Zamora and Hangeland with 4 apiece. On current form (last 8 games) Fulham lie 6th (as opposed to our 10th), and are difficult to beat at Craven Cottage. A Top 10 finish is a definite possibility and with a victory today they could finish as high as 7th, which would represent a fine campaign.
Enough of them, what about us? Would that I could say we have enjoyed a successful campaign, we have had another season of so near, yet so far. The problems which were manifest over the past 3 years resulted once again in our failing – a back-up quality DM, a proper GK, and an organised, secure defence. But there have been plusses, many of them: – beating all the teams around us including both CL Finalists, discovering a Goalkeeper , 2 decent CB’s (JD & Kos) and 2 superb young MF’s, plus sorting out the uncertainty at Board level.
If anything the problems on the terraces are more concerning than those on the pitch. In the 50+ years I have been an Arsenal fan I have never witnessed the kind of antipathy between fellow fans. The Black Scarf movement, anti-Wenger chants and the booing of the team are all evidence of a growing dissatisfaction which can be seen on both blogsites and the terraces. Any support of the manager or the team is seen as senseless and retrogressive by a growing number of fans. To me this is a bewildering progression, I am an Arsenal fan, you are an Arsenal fan, we may have different ideas as to how the team can improve but surely we are a brotherhood. As one who is privy to the AA backroom, I can tell you that there have been hundreds of abusive comments which have been moderated off the site and they come primarily from Arsenal fans who think it fair game to abuse fellow fans. I disagree and disagree strongly.
Right – off the soapbox and onto our team for today. I am hoping for a Nasri return. Losing him and Cesc at the same time massively reduces our creativity. The Ramsey/Wilshere midfield may well be the future but it is not the present, though Chamakh deserves a start following his performance last week.
Fulham has not been blessed with Heavy Rockers though Brian May and Kelly Jones (Stereophonics) are residents.
Finally, I would like to thank all those who have read a Big Raddy pre-match this season. I hope they have entertained and BR would like to say that anything offensive has been written in jest (as if!). I wish you all a fantastic post and pre-season and look forward to seeing you in the comments. (though BR is now in Italy)