A stage managed draw

February 20, 2015

Morning all,

Now her in doors and myself watch lots of television, were getting to that age now, and where I have mellowed over the years, she does get her own way a lot on what we watch. Although we are both Gooner’s and I do believe she has an interest in Arsenal, but not like I do. Of course we watch Arsenal when we play, whether on TV or I have a stream box when its not on normal TV. She realises that everything else makes way for Arsenal games, and with recorders now available, she doesn’t miss anything she would rather watch.

We do watch a lot of reality TV programmes, she likes them all, I am not so keen and either blog or read while these programs are on.  Having said that I do end up watching quite a bit. What I have noticed is how fixed these programs seem to be. A show that’s on for a series or a few weeks, takes a few days or so, and then expects people to phone in and vote at a nominal fee.

Now the point of this post is to ask other people, if they feel the same as me, that the outcome of the phone calls, are they the actual peoples votes, or are these programs stage managed? Many supporters will ask why a post like this is on a football blog and the reason for this is, that I wonder if football matches are stage managed as well.

It seems to me that football attracts lots of money businesses, Sky, BT and many others. The staggering amounts of billions to screen live football has hit new highs, and when can you watch a game without a betting firm trying to get you to place a wager? Now I consider myself a fairly knowledgeable supporter, I don’t only watch Arsenal, so I feel I have a general understanding of most of the teams in the Premiership. I know what kind of talent most teams have and having played the game myself, feel I have a decent understanding of the modern rules.

Now I watch my own team the most, so feel I know quite a bit about the quality of the team, Arsene Wenger as we all keep saying has worked wonders over the years, with a bit of a tight budget, and we have done fairly well when you consider there are 20 teams in the league. I look at some of our games, and knowing the talent wonder why we are not thrashing some sides. But we never ever seem to do that. Many will say that all premier sides are all very close talent wise, but that is not the case as budgets are different across the board

What I am wondering is whether this league is being stage managed, where all club owners who are all earning good profits, managers and players are earning thousands more than everyday working people, would it not be prudent to ask could this all be a ploy to get the supporters money.

Rules are in place to make the game fair, or that is what it was before new rules came in. The offside rule can be interpreted two ways which is not clear cut to the supporter. It is quite possible to remove a player from the field any time a referee wanted to so could easily change the direction a game has been going in.

Now of course when looking at the league, you often find that the club who have spent the most are normally up the top half of the league, and normally finish in the European qualifying places. What I seem to notice specially in cup games is how the bigger club seem to get the rub of decisions, free kicks and the like. Now of course I realise that bigger clubs have spent more and usually have the better players so will be head and shoulders better, but I still think that decisions still go in favour of the big clubs.

I have to ask myself why this seems to be the case and I would only answer who I would rather watch if I had the choice. The FA cup is an old old old English competition history that goes back forever, look at the list of winners and you will see a few names on there that you would never had thought, but there all the same. The FA cup is known for its giant killing and fans who support lower division teams have watched their team win games that on paper they shouldn’t. Of course usually the better teams come out winners and the smaller clubs have had their five minutes of fame, but you do still see results that surprise.

Before the draw for the next round of the FA Cup, we all wondered who we would get, did any of you expect to meet either Liverpool or Manchester United, of course you did, and why did you, because you know that the television people want it that way. What grabs the most attention, a game against real competition with an undercurrent of history or a game against a team in the lower division. before United’s game and the draw , as soon as I saw a possible draw of United and Arsenal I knew who would be our opponents and I bet you did too.

The money generated by a game of this magnitude I knew it wouldn’t be screened on BT Sport, maybe Sky, but no it’s the BBC that gets the rights. Stage managed, of course it was. Will we receive the kind of decisions United got against Preston NE, I doubt it, this will be a stage managed fight of the titans, and of course whoever goes through will no doubt find another stage managed draw.

Written by Steve Palmer







Gabriel’s Initiation: ‘Boro Preview

February 15, 2015

There are some chaps who think today will be an easy victory for The Arsenal, I beg to differ. Anyone who watched ‘Boro thrash Man City at the Etihad knows they are a very good side. Top of the Championship playing with attacking intent and creativity, they will be difficult opponents.

Mr Wenger has stated that his respect for the FA Cup has affected our CL performances and the coming week sees that competition return. It will be interesting how much “respect” he pays Middlesborough today. Will he pick his best team or rely upon our second string?

It is more who stays in the side after two hard games last week than who is promoted. Alexis cannot be risked, Ospina will give way, Theo has played twice as has Coquelin etc etc

Hopefully Paul Easter will get his first outing alongside Chambers at the centre of defence or will Mr Wenger play safe and use one of our regular CB’s alongside our shiny new Brazilian? I agree – AW will not take such a risk.

Here is my guess:-


Chambers   Gabriel    Koscielny     Gibbs

Rosicky  Flamini   Cazorla


Welbeck    Giroud

Tasty, don’t you think?

We are the holders, we are at home, we are the favourites, we are The Arsenal. No more injuries, an open attacking game and a win would be good,

That’s yer lot on a difficult day in Denmark

FA Cup Trivia Quiz No. 3

February 14, 2015
  1. What year was the 1st FA Cup played?
  2. Who won the 1st FA Cup?
  3. Where was the 1st Cup played?
  4. In how many different venues has the final been played?
  5. What venue has hosted the final the most times?
  6. How many times was the final played at the answer to question 5?
  7. How many FA Cup Finals have been played (not including replays)
  8. How many goals have been scored in all of the FA Cup finals?
  9. What final produced the most goals?
  10. How many teams have won the cup?
  11. How many teams have appeared in the final?
  12. How many teams have appeared in the final without winning the cup?
  13. Name the team who has appeared the most times in the final without winning?
  14. Which team has won the most FA Cups?
  15. Which team has the most appearances in the final?
  16.  Which academic institute won the cup?
  17. Name the current PL teams who have never won the cup?



The Kids are Alright

January 25, 2015

Is there a better away day to be had in Britain? Those of us lucky enough to have spent time in Brighton have a special attachment to it but not all memories are rosy ……

From the time I was 7 y.o. my parents had a summer house in Trafalgar Street which is in Kemptown about 10 minutes walk from the sea. To my dismay this meant that whilst my friends travelled abroad for their summer holidays I was forced to spend 6 weeks away from my friends in swinging North London. If I was lucky my best friend Robert was allowed to spend his holiday with us.

We were always playing football on the beach or cricket in the gardens around the Royal Pavilion. One evening Robert kicked the ball into the sea. This was a time when a football was precious, it cost at least a months pocket money and we watched in dismay as it floated off on it’s way to France. Stupidly, we decided to swim after it. Thankfully neither of us got hurt but we had to walk home in wet clothes and incur the wrath of my parents.


Danger Awaits

My last visit to Brighton was to spend time with my mother in her final days.

I learned much about life in Brighton; not to talk to strange men, not to be on the beach when the Mods and Rockers turned up, not to eat candy floss until it makes you sick, not to waste all my pocket money in the penny arcades, and later that is a long cycle to Brighton from Islington***  … enough of this – there is a game today!!

Given yesterday’s spectacular results we cannot go into the game with anything but total focus. Right now we can laugh at City, Spurs, MU, L’pool, S’ton,and especially Chelsea – we don’t want to reduce their fans hurt by being another victim of a lower league team.

Mr Wenger may be tempted to play a very young team and approach the game as a Capitol One Cup match but although are youngsters are full of potential I hope he plays safe

With the return to the first team of both Mesut and Theo we should be safe. It will be interesting to see what defence Mr Wenger picks – I would give BFG a rest and play Chambers. However, as Cup Holders we have to play our strongest team. No slip ups against a team who have struggled but will be desperate for a win. Plus they are managed by an old Miscreant, Chris Hughton – apparently a likeable chap but clearly mentally scarred from his time in the cess-pond.

I haven’t been to the Falmer Amex stadium, but I have friends who are Brighton S/T holders who tell me it can generate a lot of noise and today the ground is a sell-out. The team will be confident after beating high-flying Ipswich last time out. Hutton teams are generally sent out to play entertaining, fast passing football – he is unlikely to zaparkawac’ autobus

We are on a very good run and the win at the Etihad must have given huge confidence to the squad plus it seems we have shiny new CB.

**** This being a family site most of the lessons I learnt in Brighton will remain private 😇


written by Big Raddy

Good performance and a good win – discuss

January 5, 2015


How composed we were in the second half at 1-0 up. We didn’t do the usually cavalry charge trying to find more goals. Instead we were content to sit back, not over-commit and to control the game. The FBs in particular were careful not to get too carried away. The well deserved second came as Hull tired themselves out.

The BFG: he loves the Cup!

Coquelin: our best player against Saints (though that’s not saying much), he had another fine game today. To me he looks a better option at DM than Flamini.

Campbell: yes, a bit wasteful, but he worked really hard and some of his link-up play was very good. Given how little first team minutes he has had he proved that he’s a good bench option.

Santi/Rosicky: two very good playmakers who worked really well in tandem.

The First Half: the movement of our front three (supported by TR7 and Santi) was excellent at times and we were unlucky not to be 2 or 3 up at HT.

Ospina: not a lot to do, but he did it well.

Arsene Wenger: top marks for listening to my suggested formation, given our injuries! (Against Saints I found it mystifying that he would give a first-ever start in a DM position to young Chambers when he could just have gone with Coquelin, with two more forward-minded MFs in front of him. That’s what he did today and we looked much better, albeit against weaker opposition).

Overall: the thing that pleased me most yesterday was that throughout the entire game we actually looked organized: the players looked like they knew their jobs and what was expected of them, which is not something you can always say about Arsenal.

What did you think?


So Paddy got up and he sang it again.

January 4, 2015

Is it only 7 months ago? Tempus Fugit.

What an excellent weekend that was (apart from kick off until Santi scored). Can’t say I recall much of the game apart from the rush of blood when Aaron scored.


There has been much writing on AA over the past few days about how we need to do X or Y but in my opinion we have the squad and the manager to win the PL  – the problem is that the key ingredients are lying in the medical bay. Why become so frustrated by our loss  at S’ton? Starting with a midfield of Coq and Chambers – we were never going to boss the game. Many said “men against boys” ….  in American parlance …. Hello (with the first syllable low and the second rising).

It will be a bare bones midfield again today with Ox apparently knacked at S’ton. Who is left standing? Mozart, Coq and  …. ermmm. Perhaps one of the kids – Zebbedee? (Zelalem).

We need to rest players but how? Santi has been great but was clearly tired in the second half at St. Mary’s as was Alexis.

And who plays upfront? Theo? Would you rely on him? Sanogo? Is he injured or back in training?

If it wasn’t the FA Cup and an important game for us I would suggest playing the Women’s team.

A concern is that with the Xmas fixture congestion the players will be not only tired but un-motivated. From a personal point of view this pre-match is one too many and if I as a mere fan have had enough imagine how BFG feels. If I am unable to raise enthusiasm to write another post what must it be like for the Santi/Alexis when a Hull Orc comes crunching in to clip ankles?


But …. come kick off things will change. The Raddy living room will reverberate with the usual 4 letter words of encouragement, such as “Get up you ****ng idiot and support the defence”, Monreal, you ****, where are you?” “Alexis, you ****ing beauty” “referee, you a complete ****”,. Probably the same words you will be using  😡

Would that we were at home to Fleetwood but we aren’t, we are playing a good side who will want revenge for their painful Wembley defeat. Should be a good game and possibly a nerve shredder.

Right, that’s yer lot.


written by Big Raddy

Down memory lane: A triumphant thousand mile Gooner road trip

January 3, 2015

Life as a Gooner exiled in the cold, wild and windy lands oop north has its advantages and disadvantages. The possibility of making occasional memorable trips down south to watch the good guys play is just a fantastic previlege that life in Sconny Botland offers. Well, that was the plan the moment the Arsenal defeated Wigan in dramatic fashion and got to the finals of the FA Cup 2014. Such a fantastic opportunity to support the good guys get their first silverware in 9 years may be a long time coming.

Alas, the ticket allocation for the finals at Wembley were paltry, and there was not one in a million chance to lay your hands on a ticket. Well, except if you were a regular, likes the Vines family, or by clandestine means, as Micky and 26May would testify to. :razz: But the AA faithful were not to be daunted. In a fantastic gesture towards fans, the club offered to make the event family friendly and erected large screens in the Emirates to telecast the game live. Peaches and Gooner in Exile suggested a trip to the Emirates on the day. Fantastic. Such an opportunity for a substantial AA presence at the Emirates could just not go to waste.

Mrs and myself planned to join in. But to make this an even grander experience, we planned to make the 1000 mile trip (well not quite a thousand, but fifty short) by car. So far so good. Food, clothing, sleeping bags and drinks loaded on to the car the day before in eager anticipation.

However, there was a small problem. I had been to Glasgow for work, and instead of making my way back to our lovely city Dundee in the evening, had to make a late trip to Edinburgh to help a colleague whose wife was taken ill. Mrs was in Edinburgh as well and stopped in her tracks wile making her way back to Dundee. We decided to cut some journey time next morning and spend the night in Edinburgh. All nice and fine, except that it got so late that we could not book a hotel. Hence it had to be an emergency arrangement: use the sleeping bags and catch some sleep on the floor of my office in Edinburgh.

In the event, there was nervous anticipation and little sleep, but also a somewhat delayed start. But off we went. Cross country to the west coast and then down south.

First fuel stop in the Lake District. A quick look into the AA space, still nice and quiet, Raddy blissfully asleep but the motning crew up and about. Micky planning his moves for cosying up to the enemy, Chas on a surf hunt for “Kauli Vaast, 12 years old, Teahupoo”.

Second stop just north of Birmingham, already pretty congested on the roads. Raddy’s prematch up nice and early, eager anticipation all round, but WordPress would not allow me to make comments. Anyway, a quick change into my red and white tartan shirt, and hit the road again.

The moment we hit the M1 south of Birmingham, the smell of gunpowder hit the air. Alarm bells started ringing. It started with brief flashes of yellow on the mirrors.

But quickly the environment turned oppressive. It appeared as if the whole city of Hull had descended on the road to Wembley. Literally every three in four cars were painted in the tiger stripes. And the din of their horrible heart-sinking honks continued all the way up to London. Occasionally we would come across a Gooner car and try to grab their attention. To no avail, they were fixated on the road.

And proceeding thus, at some point in the early afternoon, we reached Peaches’ house. If we were nervous, Peaches seemed to be even more so. She offered us some nice lunch and hot drinks, showed us the damage on her shoulder, and the damage from her shoulder to the very foundations of her house. :) And finally, we left the car at her nearby station and off we went to the Emirates. The Gooner fandom had already gathered next to Finsbury Park and the show was on. All in good humour and nervous anticipation. Peaches, Mrs and myself enjoyed the show for a bit and then tried to hit The Tavern. Bad idea, there was no chance in a million of entry. So we got ourselves a can/bottle of beer each and chatted on.

Suddenly the sky grew dark and the towering frame of the Gooner Goalkeeper in Exile swept in. This was the first time I was meeting Exile, but I had seen his photo on AA earlier, so I knew who he was. And he knew as well. Such a great pleasure. So, we decided to hit the side streets to try and dodge the police. We had open bottles of alcohol on us, but on the day, it did not seem to matter too much to them.

We had time on our hands, so we decided to pass by Highbury redevelopment. With childlike exuberance, we sneaked into the housing complex, and took photographs inside and at the gate.

Sneaking into Highbury. Wither tension!

Sneaking into Highbury. Wither tension!

Intruders!!! Taking a tour of Highbury redevelopment.

Intruders!!! Taking a tour of Highbury redevelopment.

Highbury redevelopment. A view from the outside!

Highbury redevelopment. A view from the outside!

And then, we walked past Arsenal tube station and on towards the Emirates. I do not remember what we spoke of but we chatted away such a lot. Perhaps to hide our excitement, or was it tension? In between, Micky gave a call from Wembley kindly asking whether I would like a copy of the matchday programme, an offer that I immediately accepted. :)

Get yer hats and scarves

Get yer hats and scarves

Happy happy, nervous? COYG

On to Emirates then. The march was on, and so were the songs. Exile’s voice was getting hoarse by the minute. Eddie joined us in a bit.

On the march
The March is On! “Red Army”

She wore a yellow ribbon
“She wore a yellow ribbon”!

And then, on to the stands. There was free seating. It was a bit of a challenge to find 5 seats together where we had a good view of the screens. We found good seats and settled down. The game was about to start and the tension was mounting. Liquid refreshments were required to ease us on our way.

Drink and sing along

Drink and sing along

The game is now a bit of a dream-like daze. We played well and completely shattered Hull out of the pitch. Most importantly, Rambo scored and we won!

Disaster, Mark 1

Mixed feelings
Mixed feelings!

Deficit removed. On with the show!!!!

Rambo scores cup final
Rambo scores!

Happy Gooners
Happy gooners!!!!

At the final whistle, there was madness. Such overwhelming sense of elation was truly exceptional.

Final whistle
Final whistle!!!!!

FA Cup Final Whistle As Seen At The Emirates

And then we happy AA Gooners emerged into the outside world, happy and merrily singing. On the way to the tube station, we grabbed a quick photo op outside the Marble Halls

Outside the Marble Halls

Post match outside Marble Halls

On the train, Exile had some fun with Hull city supporters and so did we (Peaches, Mrs and myself). Finally, we met up with Rasp as well, had a meal and chatted into the night. Happy happy happy!

Oh what would we do in life if we were not Gooners? How can one have a life without The Arsenal?

Postscript 1.

Next day, I had a work meeting at the house of a friend. In Kew. The moment we reached, the air felt heavy. The house was draped on the outside in tiger stripes. And inside, the yellow and black baloons had not yet been set down. Oh dear! I had completely forgotten that my friend’s wife was from Hull.

She avoided any eye contact and hardly spoke a word. I could hardly suppress my grin. Ah, what sadistic pleasure!

Postscript 2.

Back to Botland, and a week later, the postman rang the bell. It was the matchday programme kindly sent by Micky. Micky, a couple of drinks are still due! Soon. :)

All in all, a perfectly satisfactory thousand mile trip. Perhaps this is stuff that dreams are made of!

“Ooh to! Ooh to be! Ooh to be a Gooner!”
“Ooh to! Ooh to be! Ooh to be a Gooner!”

What a pity we have to meet Hull again in the FA Cup so soon.


Photo and video credits: Gooner in Exile and Mrs Arnie.


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