Give Us A ‘C’: Arsenal Alternative Alphabet

May 28, 2014

And so we move on to the ‘C’ words in our alternative Arsenal Alphabet.

C is for:

Charlies

We Arsenal fans have been blessed with a simply wonderful pair of Charlies: first, there was Charlie George – an Islington boy who went from terrace tearaway to Wembley wonder. The picture of him lying on the turf with his arms in the air after scoring in the 1971 FA Cup Final is one of the most enduring Arsenal images of all time. Our second Charlie is Charlie Nicholas, the mercurial, genius Scot whose goals clinched us the first trophy of the George Graham era (he scored a brace against Liverpool in the 1987 League Cup Final). Sadly his love of the high life soon grated with disciplinarian Graham and he was on his way not long after that Final. However he’s still very fondly remembered by the supporters.

Chicken

Whenever we need a laugh all we need to do is glance up the Seven Sisters Road and look at their ludicrous club crest: a chicken standing on a basketball.

Clock

How many great moments have been shared by the faithful beneath the Clock End at Highbury? The only mystery about the clock is why it took the club so long to figure out that they should install it at the new ground when we moved to Ashburton Grove. At least they got there in the end.

Curse

There was a story put about that, when the stadium was being built, a construction worker who supported the Spuds buried a Totteringham shirt somewhere on the site in an attempt to curse us. Given the shaky start to our trophy efforts at the Grove some Gooners even began to give credence to this tale. Well, the FA Cup win over Hull should put paid to that nonsense. The buried Spud shirt had all the efficacy that Spud shirts normally have – namely none.

Crocks

If only, if only… how many times in recent years have we wondered what might have been if our key players had managed to stay out of the treatment room? Our injury record is simply appalling and I really hope that dealing with this recurring problem is a priority this summer. Although the portents are not good: apparently we’ve agreed a three year deal for Mr Bump, while we have also made an official bid for Humpty Dumpty.

Cashley

Poor, poor Cashley Hole. He could have been an Arsenal lifetime legend, instead he almost crashed his car because of our terrible pay offer of 60 grand a week, held illegal meetings with The Special Needs One and decamped to Chav Towers, lured by filthy luchre and the attraction of the club’s impressive three year history. Now the Chavs don’t want him any more and he’s trying to find a new club. He needs to start calling up his contacts… now where did he put that mobile phone?

OK, over to you for your own C Word contributions…

RockyLives


Young Guns Primed …. The Return of the Striking Viking?

September 25, 2013

The games coming like London busses. The Interlull followed by two games a week – but tonight we have the very enjoyable opportunity to see how deep our squad is.

Whether we win or not depends upon how WBA and Steve Clarke approach the game. If as I suspect they put out a first 11 then we are in for a tough evening, if like AFC they go with a weakened team, then we should see an exciting game.

The Capital/Milk/Rumbelow’s/League/Littlewood’s Cup is one we should have won in the past couple of years. The painful loss to the soon-to-be relegated Birmingham is a memory which needs to be replaced by silverware, but my guess is that Mr Wenger will insist his priorities lie elsewhere. Inevitable given our growing injury list.

The one area we could not “stomach” another injury was the attack. With Ox and Pod both out for the foreseeable future it is a blow to hear of Theo’s injury. Young Didit told me over the summer that Mr Walcott was our most valuable player and much would rest upon his fitness – I have to agree. Theo gives something to the team no-one else can and that is searing pace; he may not be the most lethal striker but he scares the bejeesus out of defenders.

It will be a big night for one of our players in particular – you know the one – that Danish nutter. It is good he will make his return away from the “cauldron” that is the Emirates, a cynical crowd could badly affect him. If Nik hits the ground running he could be a major player for us, sadly the evidence of the past few seasons suggests it may be a forlorn hope.

Unbelievably Fabianski was injured on Friday!  I really feel for the man – he has done nothing wrong and yet every time he gets an opportunity he suffers an injury.

Gnabry’s promotion to the first team causes problems. He will be needed at the weekend and this opens up a place for either another MF – Eisfeld most probably or another forward. . Little has been mentioned about our missing man, Mr Park. He is back in training with the first team, so why not let him try and earn his corn?

Unknown

Come on Arsene, Make the Marketing Dept. happy

We have some experience in the squad and the game is well timed for the return of our Club Captain and the man with Lego hair.

My team:

001cc1

We can have one of our midfield geniuses on the bench in case of problems, but my inclusion of Park (no, it’s not a joke :-D ) shows just how bare the cupboard is. Of course, Mr Wenger could choose to start Akpom but I think his time will come – he doesn’t appear strong enough as yet.

As to West Brom. Quite frankly I know next to nothing about them (apart from them employing traitor Anelka.) I am sure they are hard-working and will sweat blood to beat the Mighty Gunners. However, much like the first team, your pre-match writer is taking a day off from researching the opposition!

Much depends upon how Mr Wenger views the CC.  I think he views it purely as a chance to give his youth players experience and if they do well then review at a later stage, as such the draw of a PL side away from home was unfortunate. However, a trophy is there to be won, so let’s go out and win one.

images

Just because it makes me happy

COYRRG

written by Big Raddy


What can Arsenal Realisticaly Hope to Win This Season?

August 14, 2013

We are about to enter the new footballing season. For a soccer supporter it is almost like a New Year of the Gregorian calendar, but better. All the hopes, dreams and the impossible will happen THIS season. Our team, whatever it might be except for Spurs, will reach the highest honours and we will scoop all the trophies. We can already picture ourselves attending celebrations, bus parades, the CL final in Lisbon. We must plan our holidays carefully so we don’t end up missing any of the important games! We have all heard about the idiot that handed over planning of his wedding to his fiancee and ended up missing the final in Paris!! What a div!!

So what are you hoping for this coming season? It would be nice to win a quadruple, obviously, but it is not going to happen, So let us be grown up about it and see what we can realistically hope for.

EPL – can we be the League winners again? I cannot see why not. We will be competing against Manchesters, Chavs, Pool and Spurs. All of these teams are good, with some excellent squad members, but none of them without problems. Both Mancunian teams have new managers, who are likely to introduce changes that will require time to take effect. Same with the Chavs – can Maurinho pull it off again, or has he finally calmed down after the scorching attack from Real Madrid’s representatives. Pool and Rogers are going to struggle without or with demoralized Suarez. Spurs I am not even going to entertain, they will never win the league.

CL – your guess is as good as mine. We have seen the greatest teams in Europe winning the trophy and the likes of Chelsea keeping it for at least 1 season too long. This competition is all about luck, which teams and at what stage of the season we are going to draw. Of course we can win it,but we could also be knocked out by Fenerbache this very month. Would this be a tragedy? I think not. It could be a good thing for the team – less competitions, more time to concentrate on the domestic league. We would suffer abuse for a few weeks from those supporting lesser teams, but hey,we are big enough to handle it. Please don’t get me wrong – it is the last thing I want to happen and I sincerely hope that we will go to Lisbon in May and come back triumphant.Yes, for me it would be the biggest achievement for the Club ever and the one I personally want most.

There are 2 more trophies to be won, ie the FA cup and the Capital One cup. Both of these competitions are the ‘easiest’ in my opinion because of the fewer fixtures, including playing lesser teams that we should beat. Yes, I do remember Bradford City and Birmingham, but that’s in the past and we are concentrating on the future here. Luck and referees play big parts in these competition, but a strong resilient Arsenal squad should/could win both. Frankly, if it was just the Capital One cup for takings, I’d rather we didn’t win it. It would give scope to those who love to belittle our club, so why encourage them. Let’s give the ‘Carling cup’ a miss.

I would like to invite you to vote in 2 polls

1. What is a minimum achievement this season that you are hoping for? – you can vote for up to 3 options

2. What do you realistically think we are going to win?  - you can vote for up to 3 options

And before you ask – yes, 4th spot is an achievement and if you are in doubt ask Tottenham how they feel about it.

This is not a secret ballot and you are encouraged to make your views known

And finally I would like to wish you all a Happy New Season!!

Written by evonne


Into Silicon Valley in search of Silverware

October 30, 2012

My expectations for tonight are not great. Away to PL opposition is always difficult with a reserve side, but on the other hand these are the type of games when we really see how our lads perform under pressure.

Will Reading prioritise the League Cup (or whatever it is called this season)?  Their next two PL games are QPR away and Norwich at home, both games against direct relegation rivals which will surely have an effect upon McDermott’s selections.

Reading’s last game was an exciting 3-3 draw with Fulham, scoring in the final minute through Robson-Kanu who had trials at Arsenal (no relation to the great man). The manager, Brian Mcdermott was of course a Gooner – probably still is. In ’84/5 he played 45 games under Don Howe. Sadly, George Graham didn’t appreciate his talents and he fell from grace, but he was at AFC for 7 years. McDermott recently called Arsenal Football Club “world class” which shows he is a keen and astute football man.

Another ex-Gunner is Stuart Taylor who also had 7 years at Highbury winning a league title, FA Cup and two League Cup medals – almost all from the bench (like Nasri). He may play tonight. Pogrebyak is a Russia regular and a friend of Arshavin, should he play, he will be a handful for our  CB’s.

Will Mr Wenger play any of the players returning from injury? If Gibbs is approaching fitness I would give him 45 mins to sharpen up ahead of MU. With Szczesny approaching a return it may be a last hurrah for Mannone but can AW take the risk of an injury? Of course not so Martinez will get another chance to show us why he is considered so promising.

My Team:

As you can tell I have little idea of the team. Mr Wenger has to make decisions about whether to risk any first team players in what will be a feisty game, though the above team appears too defensive and there is no real left back,

Chamakh needs to start if he is to find a club in January (assuming he hasn’t already done so). Either that or Walcott could be given his chance as central striker. Who would you pick?

Today’s top man:  Sir George Everest  (1790- 1866) . An explorer and surveyor who spent much of his life in India. Surveying was extremely important in those days  because people had no maps and no real idea of the correlation between places, and without maps people didn’t know where there were. Imagine how grateful the natives must have been when they could say “I live 42 miles North West of  Faizabad”. Couldn’t have been done without surveying and the British surveyed the world. Knighted in 1861 there is a mountain named after him.

Sir Everest in his Sunday suit

Tough game tonight but one we can win. We are sure to be solid in defence with Martinez given a chance to shine. As Reading are scoring freely and porous in defence we should see an attacking game.

It’s a Cup, we need silverware.

Written by Big Raddy


Arsenal Question Time

June 23, 2012

Morning all. No surprises last night with Germany progressing to the semi-finals. I wasn’t sure they wanted it until Greece equalised but then they went about their business with a typically cool Germanic air to break the Greeks hearts. They will be hard to beat.

To fill in some time before “life” starts again, on August 18th when we play Sunderland at home, GunnerN5 has set the following quiz to test  your knowledge on Arsenal history.

1. Q. How many times have we appeared in the FA Cup Final?

2. Q. How many times have we won the FA Cup?

3. Q. What season did we have the most wins – and how many?

4. Q. What season did we have the least wins – and how many?

5. Q. What season did we have the most losses – and how many?

6. Q. What season did we have the least losses – and how many?

7. Q. What season did we score the most goals – and how many?

8.   Q. What season did we have the least goals against – and how many?

9.   Q. What season did we get the most points – and how many?

10. Q. How many seasons did we play in the 2nd Division?

11. Q. How many seasons did we have in the 1st Division?

12. Q. How many seasons have we played in the Premier Division?

13. Q. How many games did we play in the 2nd Division?

14. Q. How many games did we play in the 1st Division?

15. Q. How many games have we played in the Premier Division?

16. Q. How many consecutive seasons have we played in the top flight?

17. Q. How many people have managed Arsenal?

18. Q. How many total trophies have we won?

19. Q. How many of our managers have a winning % above 60%?

20. Q.  How many of our managers have a winning % below 50%?

Have fun and good luck, we’ll put the answers up later today.


Another Seven Years without a Trophy?

May 3, 2012

How to be a happy Gooner, despite not winning any silverware for seven years and counting!

About twenty years ago, I read for the first time, the well-known ‘Management’ bestseller ‘Seven habits of highly effective people’ by Stephen Covey. The one bit I still remember clearly from Covey’s book is ‘Habit two’: ‘Begin with the end in mind’. He asks his readers to imagine their own funeral: who they would like to attend and what they would like the key people in their life – partner, son/daughter, best friend and best colleague/boss, etc – to say about them. Once readers have envisaged what these dear-to-them-people ideally should say at their funeral, Covey instructs his readers to turn the content of these imaginary speeches into their personal, lifelong objectives.

For a long time, I thought this was very powerful, until I spoke about this to a good friend of mine, who had an instant and very potent response: ‘what really matters is what you think about yourself’. And she was right, of course.

By now, you will be asking: but what has this got to do with football, with Arsenal, for heaven’s sake! Well, I would like you to think for a moment about what really matters with regards to your and my beloved Arsenal.

Let’s return to Covey’s slightly macabre idea of envisaging your own funeral, but this time, to the period just before your future death (hopefully very, very far away!).

You have some time left, and are not in too much pain and still very lucid by brain, so there is time to reflect on your life, and even some time to reminisce about Arsenal. Your lifelong, best Gooner mate is with you as well.

What will be your finest memories about Arsenal? What will you choose to talk about with your mate? And what will you choose to watch again?

One thing I am pretty sure about is, you will not be looking very long at statistics of how many cups we have won in our history, or even during the time you were alive, or where we are positioned in the all time league of best clubs in the UK and Europe. I am also pretty sure that you will not be looking very long, if at all, at a picture of the Arsenal trophy cabinet, however impressive it is.

As time is of the essence, you will want to make sure you’ll use it well and talk about YOUR memories, YOUR experiences that really matter, and not about objects, or facts and figures.

And there are plenty of good memories for us Gooners!

I am sure, come that time, we will be talking about the best cup final games and key title-clinching matches, but also about individual performances of sheer brilliance, about some of the best footballers that have played at Highbury and Ashburton Grove. There will also be fond memories about certain matches, which by themselves might not have led to winning silverware, but were simply a joy to experience. On top of all of that, there will be the many wonderful personal memories, often of an insignificant nature to most other Gooners.

Although I am pretty sure other periods will generate more fond memories, the recent trophy-less period of 2005-2012 will still play a key part during the final review of our time supporting Arsenal.

I bet, our home-win against Barcelona, and in particular the goals by RvP and Arshavin last season, will always remain engraved in our brains. The same goes for Fabregas’ goal, Arsenal’s second, against Milan in 2008, and Arsenal’s heroic performance with 10 men against Barcelona, in the CL final of 2006, and in particular Sol Campbell’s bullet header. And what about RvP’s phenomenal record goal scoring year in 2011, and the 2011-2012 season – epitomised by his wonder goals against Everton (home) and Liverpool (away)? And there is plenty more for us to reminisce about of from this trophy-less era!

It is also the period in which we moved to our new, 60,000+ capacity stadium, back in 2006, and in which we played some of the best ever football to have been played on UK soil. And yet, we did not win any silverware.

In the end, it is experiences and memories that matter most because objects cannot compete with experiences! It is those memories of experiences that are really important, not the number of trophies we have won. Of course, the very best memories are created by phenomenal football that leads to winning trophies, but the latter is not a necessity for us to enjoy our football. And the really good thing is that Arsenal has achieved that too, and more than once!

We don’t need to listen to the press, rival fans and, unfortunately, fellow Gooners and teasing partners, about not having won any silverware recently. What others say and think is not important, what is important is to remember the beauty and joy from the games Arsenal have played recently, because that’s what really matters in the end – that’s what we will remember more than anything else long term.

We should also not get stressed too much about winning something in the near future. Arsenal should aim for winning as much as possible, and use its resources as clever and efficient as possible to achieve this. But it might not work out, as there are – luckily, to a certain extent – no guarantees in football. Seven lean years might not be followed by seven fat ones, but seven more lean years instead.

I personally believe the ‘fat years’ are around the corner, as Arsenal has all the basics in place for a period of prolonged success, despite the enormous competition we are facing as a result of the cash-for-cups oil barons littering the football horizon.

But whatever happens, it will still be the mighty Arsenal, playing in a World-class stadium, playing World-class football, under the guidance of a World-class manager, who is the most loyal to playing the beautiful game of all managers. On the way, Arsenal will be creating many more immortal footie experiences and memories. Hopefully, it will lead to us winning silverware again, but if it doesn’t, it really is not the end of the world.

But why wait till the very last days of our lives to realise this? Let’s take a deep breath and realise how good it is to be a Gooner, right now, right here.

Well, at least that’s what I will be trying to tell myself, next time I feel a mini-bout of melancholy coming over me, when realising again we have not won anything for seven years and counting.

TotalArsenal.


Carling Cup Curse Will Help Arsenal

March 2, 2012

The euphoria of last Sunday’s win will soon dwindle if we don’t get any points at Anfield on Saturday.

Not that it hasn’t been fun.

Even the densest of Spudders (which is a bit like saying ‘the tallest of giraffes’ or ‘the reddest of tomatoes’) have learnt to think twice when asked “what time is it?” by their Arsenal colleagues.

Meanwhile a quick trip round the Spud blogs reveals a hilarious outpouring of rage at ‘Arry, at Monkeyboy, at Adebarndoor, at Assou-Ekotto… in fact at anyone in a LilyLivered shirt.

But in terms of our league campaign it’s still only three points. Beautiful, heart-warming, Spud-humbling points, but still only three of them. Now it’s time to get another three in Liverpool.

With the return of real full backs and with Rosicky hitting his groove (hopefully he’ll be fit), with Theo having found his scoring boots again and with even Benny the Goon showing what he can contribute, there are reasons to be optimistic.

And there may be one other factor in our favour.

As we all know, Liverpool charged to a triumphant, buccaneering victory on penalties over Championship Cardiff in the Carling Cup Final last weekend.

You would think that would fill them with new confidence and vigour, but if you look back through the records, you’ll find that teams that win the CC often struggle thereafter.

The phenomenon is so marked it has even led to talk of the Carling Cup being a “cursed” trophy.

Look at Birmingham last year. They nabbed the cup in the dying minutes thanks to Koscielny and Szczesny’s Laurel and Hardy act, then went sliding down the table like a turd down the toilet pan, except with less glamour.

In 2010 Manchester United were gunning for the title. They won the CC final – and promptly let Chelsea in to take the Championship.

In 2008 the power and might (sorry, I meant “shower of shite”) from up the Seven Sisters Road captured the Carling Cup. They managed only three wins from the 12 games they played afterwards and ended up 11th in the table. Which sort of suits them, if you ask me.

In 2007 Chelsea had title aspirations, won the CC and gave the league away to Manchester United.  In 2006 the reverse happened – Man Utd got the CC and the Chavs got the title.

In 2004 unfashionable Middlesbrough picked up the trophy while also going good guns in the league. Like the Spuds after their victory, they went on to finish 11th, winning only five out of 13 after lifting the CC.

Liverpool were the CC winners in 2003, but couldn’t subsequently get themselves into the all-important Champions League places, finishing 5th.

Then there was Blackburn in 2002 – Carling Cup champions, 10th in the table at the end of the season; they took 8 points from a possible 21 in the seven games after their trophy win.

Liverpool again in 2001: In the five games immediately after winning the CC they took just 5 points out of 15.

There have been a couple of exceptions in that period: Man Utd in 2009 and Chelsea in 2005 both managed to win the CC and the EPL Title in the same year, but in both cases they had incredibly dominant teams during the seasons in question.

Will the Curse of the Carling Cup strike Liverpool on Saturday?

Who knows, but we can all hope…

RockyLives


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