Stadiums – can we improve ours?

July 21, 2014

We’re good. City and Utd are sorted. So what’s going on with Chavs, Spuds and Pool. Surely they’re overdue upgrades. Anyone know what’s going on, and while we’re on the subject, any thoughts on improving our gaff?

Oh, and are The ‘ammers seriously moving into the Olympic Stadium, and exactly how far from the pitch will they be squatting in their cages?

Just a thought on Chelsea. What a dump that bit of it is. Many years ago I lived at The World’s End (border Chelsea/Fulham), and heard a great explanation why there are no Tube’s within the Sloane Sq, Fulham Broadway, Parsons Green triangle. Apparently that’s where the Plague bodies are buried. I concluded the resultant drinking water table pollution might explain the local inhabitants “difficulties”. Just a thought.

Back to our gaff. Ok, I’m in the minority in hating those giant blu-tacked on posters around the outside, and the hideously vulgar listing of dates when we won stuff around the top tier (err, modesty?), but what should be done to really lift match day experience.

Personally, I couldn’t care less. Go. Watch game. Leave. However, I do understand some like to get there early, soak up the atmosphere and eat and drink. Strikes me that it’s all good if you’re in Club or Box level, but for most it’s absolute crap. Seriously overprice shite food and drinks, with nowhere to sit. What about outside around the ground? Nothing. Of course they’re trying to get people inside to splash their cash, but really, is it working?

When I went to the game at Bayern last season, they have a system where you cannot spend cash inside the stadium, you buy a card/voucher and put however much you like on it. The food was better than ours and the drinks way more reasonable. Loads of seating everywhere and many fans there early.

Over to you. Stadium thoughts?

Written by MickyDidIt89


Hull Tigers Tamed?

December 4, 2013

Who would have thought that Hull Tigers would be in 10th place and in the top half of the table? Justifiably so – any team who can hammer Liverpool (even sans Sturridge) deserve plaudits. – but it should be remembered that prior to this they had lost to relegation fodder Crystal Palace and Spurs.

I had the misfortune to watch the first half of the Spurs game and it is a testament to the human spirit that people didn’t die of boredom.

Of course Hull have an ex-Spurs midfield pairing of Fattlestone and LillyLivermore. Despite being shipped out of Spurs as even more useless than the lemons whom they signed so expensively, they are doing well and Fats and Lilly are only 4 points behind their ex-employers!   Luckily for Bruce’s team they have a decent player in Elmohamady alongside them but I think for the first time in a couple of months we are going to see a large bus parked in the Hull half of the pitch. Expect Hull to play long ball up to Sagbo and then hope to score from set plays.

Bruce chose to play with 3 at the back against the Scousers and it proved to be effective but there is no chance he will do so tonight, especially if Walcott starts.

Unknown

Tom Fattlestone. Pre-Season Training

I am no Hull expert though I have had the honour of visiting the town which rightly has been chosen to be UK City of Culture in 2017.  Anyone who has driven over the suspension bridge and into the green and vibrant city will surely agree.

Stats: Hull have lost 5 out of their last 6 away games, and have won only one of their last 30 games on the road. Arsenal have been winning at both half time and full time in their last 5 home games. Before I get too confident it should be recalled that Hull beat us at The Emirates just a few years back (2008 – tempos fugit!). A repeat would be painful.

Arsenal:  Mr Wenger has already spoken of rotation so who gets rested? Looking at who has played most minutes this season (including internationals) it has to be Ozil, Ramsey, BFG and Giroud. Sagna is out with a hamstring tweak. Do we dare go into an important game with Bendtner and Walcott upfront? Can we drop over half the midfield? I don’t think so …. 3 points against Hull is just as valuable as 3 against Chelsea.

My Team:

a v h

I am averaging 9/11 so far this season but am very hesitant about the above team. The balance of Cazorla and Rosicky may be a bit lightweight and I would love to rest Giroud but think he has to continue until Walcott has game time and Podolski is fit. I hope to see Gnabry get some minutes tonight – it will be the first time I will see him in the flesh because …..

BR is going to the game and will be indulging in pre-game dinner and drinks. See you there.

COYRRG

written by Big Raddy


The Departed

October 31, 2013

On Tuesday there was an almost empty stadium at the 80th minute – apart from a few diehards and 9,000 jubilant mutants. We started to discuss this yesterday and with little time to prepare a needed post, here are my thoughts …..

If this just happened at Arsenal I would be more concerned. Sadly, it happens at many London grounds.

Unknown

I thought Arshavin’s comment of “The atmosphere at the Emirates were mostly weird. It felt like the crowd was there to see the theatre.” was appropriate,  but he hasn’t had to sit in the stands of a ground in which one feels divorced from the game. (it also shows how poor his English is after 5 years of living in London!)

I usually sit front row, Clock End Upper Tier. You would think this is right in the middle of both the singing and the action on the pitch, but as Andre says for most of the game it feels like the theatre – no, not theatre, because a theatre audience doesn’t spend its time talking about work and texting.

How can the club change the potential toxicity of the fans? It can’t. To me this is a social problem and nothing to do with the Arsenal. It is another facet of the Me Generation – ” I have spent all this money and travelled all this way, and used my leisure time (etc) and you (Bendtner, Ramsey, Eboue, Arsene, the team +++) are not giving Me what I want and what I spent my hard earned cash on”

“I have paid my money and therefore have the right to boo a player.” No arguing with this sentiment BUT, if and it is a big IF, you are an Arsenal supporter then it is fair to assume you want the Arsenal to do well, so how does booing help the team? What would you do in front of 60+k people who you knew were examining your every move. hoping you will fail so it confirms their narrative that you are rubbish? To say that you would ignore it is naive – you wouldn’t. You may re-double your efforts and improve for sometime but then you will make a mistake and all that good work is forgotten, after which you would do everything you could to avoid the ball.

A perfect case in point is Gervinho. Talented lad who is tearing up Serie 1 and has instantly proved what approval and love can do to a player. It is hardly rocket science, and is the reason why Mr Wenger tries to protect some players by playing them away from home – how terrible a reflection is that upon our support?

A reflection of this negativity is that blogs (ours included) get far more hits when the club are in trouble than when we are Top of the League (can I write that again …. We are Top of the League).

Tourists: To castigate fans who travel the world to come to The Home of Football is downright insulting. It isn’t them who leave early. Yes, they take pictures of the inside and outside of the ground because to them it is special – very special and attending the Emirates is one of the highlights of their lives. And they know almost all the songs – check out Youtube.

images

To be even-handed Mr. Wenger has stated that it is up to the players to ignite and engage the crowd and he is right but we seem to be a damp squib unless we are beating high class opposition. We played some great football in the loss to Chelsea, football that the Chavs could never achieve, brilliant close passing and link up play and the team never stopped trying to win the game – they just did it to an empty-ish stadium for the final few minutes.

A potential solution is to have random (not pre-booked) seating behind the goals, something I highly approve of. The fact I cannot sit with my AA friends when attending a game is a sadness and groups of friends are more likely to sing together. Another solution is to have trained singing leaders. It works in may foreign clubs who have one chap who starts the songs – unfortunately he is usually a fat, bald bloke covered in tattoos with his shirt off! But it would be something to try as most people who would like to sing are afraid of starting a chant for fear of looking stupid when no-one joins in (I know – I have tried it!)

If the stadium was full of singing fans enjoying themselves despite the team losing there would be less desire to leave early. I assume that once there is a flow of people leaving then it spreads like winter flu and everyone gets antsy. Rasp’s idea of not standing up to let people pass until the final whistle is a fine one but I fear he will get sorely kicked legs!

We all know the arguments as to why some people leave early, especially at night games, but if you are one of those folk, please tell me how it helps the team you say you love?

N:B: This is purely a discussion starter and as full of holes as my very expensive moth-eaten cashmere sweater (I bloody hate moths).

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


Eyes down for a full house ?

May 18, 2013

One of the oft repeated remarks you hear from people following live coverage of our games is “Oooh, aren’t there lots of spaces in the crowd?” and “Aren’t the crowds falling?” and “What bollix, no way is the attendance 60,012!” (OK, scratch the last one, they don’t announce those figures on match days anymore).

So just how much below capacity are our home matches lately?

Below are a series of pictures taken from the Clock End upper tier for the Reading game on March the 30th this year.

The first is taken at 2.54pm so more than 5 minutes before kick-off and before the late arrivals who are caught in traffic/tube chaos or swigging a late pre match soother or nursing a road beer have got to their seats.

6 minutes before kick off

6 minutes before kick off

The second is taken at 2.59pm, just before kick-off, when one would think late drinkers have arrived but Club level are still quaffing the champers and scoffing the smoked salmon:

2.59pm, just before kick off

2.59pm, just before kick off

The third is at 3.17pm when everyone who intends to attend has arrived and before those hoping to beat the queues for £7.50 slices of microwave pizza have annoyed other people on their row by getting up just as the good guys are about to sling a cross into the oppo’s penalty area. Club level to me still seems only two thirds full – perhaps a warning sign that corporate hospitality is not as steady an income stream as anticipated.

Mid way through the first half.

Mid way through the first half.

Finally the fourth picture is just before the re start at 4.00pm where it can be seen Club level are still in the quaffing/scoffing stage and the queues for the Gents still snake into the concourse areas in front of the queues for the aforementioned extortionately priced fast food.

A few minutes before the restart

A few minutes before the restart

Incidentally when the stadium announcer reads out the results of some raffle type competition during the interval once the winner was number 18, at which point yours truly thought Squillacci was a half time sub and almost had an apoplectic fit of panic.

As well as attendances another complaint is early departees, especially during weekday evening fixtures with around up to a quarter of the stadium emptying by the final whistle; however that’s a topic for another day.

At the time of writing Champions League football had not been confirmed and the spectre of Thursday night football hanging over Ashburton Grove, and the attendant consequence of this being Sunday League fixtures replacing the traditional Saturday afternoon ones.

Just how this will affect overall attendances we will hopefully not have to find out, yet the thought of it sends a shiver up and down the spine of gooners and the money men at the Arsenal alike.

Those of the doomer/realist/AWOB persuasion may subscribe to the theory that a year out of Champions League football will get rid of the plastics and return the hard-core supporters to the fore.

While this seems a tad fanciful to me I’ll leave you with the most ludicrous thing I read about in relation to just such a scenario: “If we’re 5th we can get rid of the poncey tourist support and move back to Highbury”!

Move back to Highbury – you what?

By Charybdis1966


When Saturday Comes…..

November 30, 2012

On Saturday I am going to be making the (roughly) 7 hour round trip to the Emirates Stadium from West Yorkshire in order to watch a group of 20-30 something men kick an inflatable piece of leather in between some sticks!

Madness, some might say, but for me this is the completion of a childhood dream.

The first time i watched Arsenal on the TV was during the 1993/4 European Cup Winners Cup winning run, and I knew they were the team for me. That’s right people, I was a glory supporter! But seriously, with future club legends such as John Jensen, David Hillier and Eddie McGoldrick wearing the red and white, what wasn’t to love!?

From that day forward, even through all the grief suffered at the hands of adolescent Leeds supporters (you know the thugs that you see in the news now, imagine them as kids!), it has been my dream to watch Arsenal in the flesh, and on Saturday 1st December, at 3pm, my dream will finally come true. For that one afternoon I will forget about all the clubs current ‘issues’ and this group of finally tuned athletes will be forever etched in my memory the same way that the team of Seaman, Dixon, Winterburn, Adams, Bould, Davis, Morrow, Merson, Selley, Smith and Campbell are.

My question to you this morning, and for some of you oldies this may be a tad difficult, but can you remember when you first fell in love with the Gooners, and what was it that set them apart for you?

And on a side note, is there anything that I MUST experience on my first trip to the Emirates (apart from a win, of course!)?

Written by slimgingergooner


Come On You Rip Roaring Gunners ……..

November 17, 2012

Let’s start the day with a bit of word association. What is the first word which comes to your mind when you read the following….?

Highbury

Tony Adams

Arsenal

Thierry Henry

Tottenham

Gareth Bale

My guess is that the last two was less than complimentary! And that is all we need to know about the importance of today’s game.

I have been steeped in an irrational dislike of all everything associated with N.17 since childhood; the dreadful smell, the slime trails on the pavement, the hairy backed inhabitants, the guttural grunting noises and, above all else, the shower of excrement which purports to play football at SHL.

Most of my life the cave dwellers have been in our shadow. This is no accident., it is natural way of the world; anything else would be an aberration. There have been rare occasions when the fates have turned against us and the Miscreants somehow found themselves above us in the table but these were due to crass bad management of the resources at Highbury – nothing else.

My keyboard is set not to write this word but it must be over-ridden for the sake of this post – Spurs. OK it’s done. Spurs have spent a squillion over the years trying to finish above us in the table. During that time we have a new stadium – they play in a little shed; we have won Doubles, PL titles, Cups, they have won  doodlysquat.

Spurs have gambled on a manager who had a wonderful record before coming to England but is now struggling. One can only assume AVB had no knowledge of the rotten core in N.17  because he sure didn’t need the aggravation of having deluded fans telling him he is shite. I have sullied myself by going to THFC website’s, (needless to say the spelling and grammar is appalling) and the gist is this :- “AVB is an idiot because he plays Defoe instead of Adebayor,” the next day, “AVB is an idiot because he plays Adbeayor and NOT Defoe” ….. same blog! Spurs fans do not like AVB, they liked Harry, who was a crook and stupid (even if he is a dog-lover) – he fitted the club like a silk glove. AVB with his suits and his tactics and his intelligence does not.

We know their players … Cumberstone, MonkeyBoy, Ade, Lemon, WG, Conker etc etc. Dull, dull, dull. We know what to expect – a hard fought midfield battle with plenty of running and long balls to Lemon who cuts inside or crosses. They will not allow us the space we got last season. Should they lose today Spurs will continue their fine run of losses and prove their fans right – Let it be so.

Arsenal: What links Rosicky, Szeczesy, RvP, Gibbs, Song and  Benayoun? That’s right, they all started this fixture last year. So, we have over half the team replaced in a year. How can we achieve consistency with this type of turnover? Plus we have major injury concerns following the Interlull. After finding his form Giroud is struggling for fitness, as is Walcott, Sagna, and Ox. Gibbs is out which is bad news considering the speed of MB and Lemon.

My Team:

Let us assume Arteta, OG and TW are not fit, we could play

I really hope Arshavin gets some pitch time, he can be our super-sub.

Today’s Explorer. James Cook (1728-1779). Without doubt the world’s most famous beardless explorer and an absolutely top bloke. His list of achievements will never be surpassed. Just imagine it, you are on a little boat just 100 foot long with 93 others. That’s right, almost 100 men on a 100 foot boat. And then you go away through uncharted seas for years at a time, Cook not only did this but chose to do so many times. He led an expedition to map Newfoundland, then took the Endeavour to “discover” New Zealand and Australia (and Bora Bora) . The list of places he surveyed for the first time is too long to write here, but take it from a man who passed  Geography A Level (B grade) that it is impressive. Unfortunately Cook died in Hawaii at the hands of a rowdy group of inbreeds from the Paxton Rd End.

4-3-3  or  4-4-2  or  3-5-2?

This is a massive game for both teams who for different reasons are struggling (AFC because we are out of form and crippled by injuries, Spurs because they are rubbish). We need to win, we don’t need to score 5, though it would be nice, we just need to show this team has the potential to progress.

Lose and it will be Mugabe Lock Down for all Gooners.

Written by Big Raddy


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