What do you think of Tottenham?

March 16, 2014

Easy answer to that question :-D

Thing is, as my nephew keeps telling me – Spurs are having a very good season (by their standards) – and that should they win today they will be just 3 points behind with us facing a death cluster. My reply  ….  Always in our Shadow.

Kaboul gets sent off for a dubious red giving away a penalty – his card is rescinded. Koscielny does the same – banned for a game. FA bias? As if!

Injuries could have some effect upon the result. Spurs are without Dawson which is a huge blow to the Arsenal. The man is hapless and a secret agent paid by Mr Gazidis. So far he has done well, let us wish him a speedy recovery.

Spurs have looked Up North for inspiration as they attempt (yet again) to break into the Top 4. They could have based their plans upon Man City or Liverpool and develop an attacking , fluent style of football. They didn’t. They chose to “ape” the playing style of Stoke! With £100m to spend they bought Orcs.

The skilful Lamela, who is Spurs record signing, hasn’t had a sniff of the first team, instead they have 7 players over 6 ft. all of whom are trained in the Dark Arts.  The long-suffering Spurs fans put all their faith in a 21 y.o Dane because he is the only one who can use the ball on the ground. Take out Eriksen’s free-kicks and there isn’t much else in terms of ball skills.

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Adebayor. When he plays against other teams he really amuses me in his haplessness, unfortunately he seems to excel against us and we must hope he will have a quiet game today.

Having been thrashed by a fine Benfica team they will be refreshed today. I can only assume they played with today’s match in mind because Spurs were pants.

Tim Sherwood: Can you imagine such a knob as our manager? The man has passion – I will give him that, and a huge desire for Spurs to do well. My wife has the same and also has the same level of team management experience. How could Levi give this fellow the job? Was it a money-saving exercise? That said, Sherwood’s record is no better or worse than previous Spurs managers because you could employ Noddy or one of the Teletubbies as Spurs manager and they would do just as well.

Arsenal: I am saddened that Ozil will not have another chance to silence his critics today, instead we have another opportunity to show just how deep the squad is (or isn’t). A midfield of Ox, Santi, Flamini, Rosicky and Arteta is still strong and the decision to load the squad with mid-fielders has proven to be sensible. In the past when we lost, for example, Cesc, we were at a loss, now we have options.

At this point can we all laugh at Chelsea!! :-D

Monreal will be a key player today as Spurs will probably look to hit on the break through the pace of Lemon and Ade. The midfield battle will be just that, Spurs have monsters and they like to “put it about”, if Sandro plays the match-up with Flamini will be exciting.

This is a day for The Ox. He plays well, we win. For this reason I expect Sherwood to tell his team to target our young maestro, expect to see rotational fouling – which has become the norm – and we must hope for a strong and fair referee. In recent times we have suffered from homer after homer; watch the BM game and see dreadfully biased refereeing. Watch the Stoke game – see JW get horribly kicked throughout the first 30 minutes and then see a highly dubious penalty given by yet another homer ref. It must be so frustrating for Mr. Wenger.

My Team:

sp v a

I hope we shall see the wing play of Gnabry at some point or the power of Podolski

Tottenham: Regular readers will be used to my rambling on the origins of the city in which we play. To find the origins of Tottenham we have to go back to the 11thC. This was the time of the Battle of Hastings and King Canute and Harald. A Royal edict was written which proclaimed  that London (Londinium) was becoming unhealthy thanks to the cramped living conditions in the city. Under this Decree  the Nightmen had to take their wares to an area of flatland by the River Lea. A Nightmen’s job was to clean the streets of the night’s “refuse” which was thrown out the windows into the streets. This unpleasant mess was taken by barge down the river and over time the excrement and rotting vegetation developed into a slimy ooze. The area was avoided by sane people and yet there were some drooling, bewildered unfortunates who made this stinking morass their home. Originally known as Shittingham it was re-named Tottenham during the late 19th century.

Big game today – always is. Take 3 points today and we close the gap at the top.

Let it be so….

COYRRG

Written by BigRaddy


The Magic of the Cup? And Spurs/Arsenal Combined Team

January 4, 2014

I am at a loss. We are about to play our local rivals in an FA Cup game at our home ground and yet ….. look at this face …… Is it bothered? Be honest …. are you as tense as you would expect?

So what is this lack of enthusiasm?  Is it the belittling of the FA Cup? I loved it as a child when everything was focussed on the “most important Cup in world team football”, but the Champions League has dulled my passion. Even more worrying is that we are playing Spurs and  …. I had better stop – I am boring myself.

Any visit from the miscreants who leak their way through the primordial slime of Tottenham into the magnificent arena that is the Emirates is a chance to retain bragging rights. Today is no exception. And perhaps here is the rub ….. I don’t consider Spurs as rivals, and haven’t for a number of years. Yes, they have done well in the recent past and almost achieved something significant, but the fact is that they haven’t. They are Forever in our Shadow.

Not surprisingly Spurs fans see things differently; when they beat us last season my mail inbox was full, I had phone calls from all around the world, I had over 20 text messages within 15 minutes of the final whistle – every man jack Spurs fan whom I had ever met felt the need to crow, “The worm had turned, Arsenal were doomed, Spurs were on the march to London domination. AVB is a genius ( :-D  ), Wenger has lost it, etc etc”.

Do Gooners respond to an Arsenal win in the same manner? Of course not and for many reasons, primarily because we know that we support a bigger club: Not just in terms of trophies, fans, stadium, history but also in every single aspect of a football club.

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Spurs are very confident going into the game – so they should be after beating MU – it was a fine victory. Ade is playing his 6 decent games a season and we all know he scores at the Emirates, Eriksen looks like the creative player they have been missing, the central defence has improved with the signing of  Chiriches and as ever they have strong attacking FB’s.

And …. we have an injury list as long as a whale’s todger.

We are none of us particularly interested in the ever-so-dull Spurs, so lets move onto the men who matter ……

Arsenal: Who knows whether Mr Wenger will prioritise the FAC?  This is  another opportunity to get the trophy monkey off his back but given the injury list and his focus on the CL and PL, Mr Wenger may choose to play a weakened team. I don’t believe he will as he knows how important beating Spurs is to the fans and winning is a habit. As such, and given there is a week until our next game, I expect to see us line up with a strong team.

Ramsey, NB, Gibbs,  probably Giroud, maybe Ozil and the usual suspects are out.

If OG is out we have little choice but to continue with Theo and Podolski in a 4-4-2, it didn’t work vs Cardiff but to be fair the Welshman defended very well and there was no space for our attackers. Today should be different , especially if Özil is fit; he knows Podolski’s game and is starting to find Walcott’s runs.

I don’t like the Arteta/Flamini combo, and would much rather see Rosicky start alongside Arteta but AW will play safe.

My Team

nld

Our problems may arise should we be losing with 20 mins to go and need some attacking thrust off the bench – there is none. We can hope for something special from Gnabry or Ryo but this puts quite  some weight on very young shoulders .

Expect Spurs to play the entire game on the counter-attack. Both their goals at Old Trafford came from breakaways and it will come as no surprise to see Sherwood park the bus, pack midfield and look for the pace of Soldado and Lemon to set up Ade.

Combined Team: Not as easy as I first thought.

GK: Two excellent young keepers, both prone to silly mistakes, both first choice for their countries, both highly thought of by their team’s fans. Having done some research as to which GK made the least mistakes leading to goals in 2013 I was surprised to find it was our TPIG!

Defence: Our defence works as a unit, individually there may be some question as to whether Sagna is better than Walker or if Rose is the equal of Gibbs but our CB’s are the best in the PL as is our goals against record.

Midfield. OK. Sandro is a decent player, so is Dembele. Eriksen has potential. Capoue is a player I hoped we would sign but instead we got Flamini. Let’s be honest all our MFs are better, even our B team midfield would get a gig at WHL.

Attack. Giroud or Soldado?  Lemon or Walcott?  Ozil or Townsend/Ade or whoever else Spurs have who can play as an attacker?

so ….. here it is the combined Arsenal/Spurs team:

combined 11

I know what you Spurs fans are thinking ….. where are Wilshere, Rosicky, Podolski, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Monreal, and Vermaelen (all internationals)?  And you are right. sadly there are only 11 places up for grabs.

The bookies have us as favourites and they are seldom wrong. Given a fair performance from referee Mark Clattenberg, the 4th round awaits.

Written by Big Raddy


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


Rivals: Can Arsenal win the League?

September 8, 2012

Given the evidence of the first 3 games, where do you think we will finish in the league this season?

Today’s post is a look at our rivals, starting with the current Champions.

Manchester City

Man City have strengthened in areas which Mancini identified as weak – Garcia, Rodwell, Sinclair and Maicon arriving with the very average Savic, Johnson, De Jong and a few others leaving. Maicon, despite being 31, is a top quality player and will definitely be an asset, but did they need to sign anyone? MC’s first team  improved steadily over last season and with the return of Tevez to the fold they continue to look formidable. My guess is all the new arrivals will be spending most of the season sitting down.

Their first two games showed some weaknesses, particularly at Anfield where they were a defensive mistake away from defeat. they trailed at home to Southampton before getting a squeaky win and walloped QPR.  City travel to Stoke for their next game afar which we can compare our game to theirs.

In my opinion the title will be City’s to lose; they have a powerful and high quality squad which is well prepared for inevitable losses of form and injuries. Plus they have a manager who knows how to win titles

Manchester United

Essentially the question is “Can RvP deliver the title to MU”? The lack of investment into an ageing and non-creative midfield would be a cause for concern in any other team,but Ol’ Bacon Face has won the PL so many times with what to outsiders were average teams we cannot dismiss them. So far RvP has saved them humiliation at Southampton and scored the first in a fortunate win v Fulham and they have lost at Everton – hardly the stuff of champions. Yet despite having a thin squad, particularly at the back where Carrick has played CB, they must be considered a threat – MU always are. Kagawa looks quality, a player in the Giggs mould and SAF has looked to the future with the signings of the highly rated Powell and Buttner.

But have they got enough?. Are 3 world class players (RvP, Rooney, Vidic) enough to compete with the other challengers? Can they continue to rely upon the ancient legs of Scholes to give them impetus? Not in my opinion. There is a fragility in defence which teams will expose, though it has to be said, the Old Red Nose knows a hell of a lot more about football than I do!

Chelsea

A very impressive start to the season for the history lacking Southern Oilers. The new signings look superb – the combination of Mata, Hazard and Oscar is frightening (though this must be tempered by the very average Obi One Mikel). Hazard will light up the season as Silva did when he arrived at MC, he has deceptive strength, vision and pace – what a pity AW couldn’t persuade him to sign a few years back.But as good as they are in midfield where Fatboy Lampard will struggle to get a game, there are problems at The Bridge. An over-reliance upon the questionable gifts of the PL’s most expensive player will prove costly, and there is not much else. How do you replace a player like Drogba? Sturridge isn’t the answer, Victor Moses despite being quality will not score the missing goals. So if teams can stifle the midfield threat, then Chelsea will struggle.

In defence there are also problems. JT is a  …., we all know it, he is thankfully at the end of a career which has disgraced English football but in Cahill they have a decent replacement. Add in the “mercurial” (read unreliable/nuts) talents of Luiz, the ageing legs of Cashley  to the quirkiness of Ivanovic and we can see cracks.

Then there is the manager. An incredibly lucky CL win (has there ever been a more fortunate win in the history of football?) led to his appointment. One can only assume RdM is a stop-gap appointment prior to Guardiola. But what happens if it all goes TU? Will Abra give him time?  We all know the answer.

Tottenham

Yes, laughable as it may seem the knuckle draggers are rivals. Can they win the title? Of course not – they haven’t won it since Harold Macmillan was Prime Minister and he was born in 1894!!! (love that fact) but they finished 4th last season and must have chances of a repeat performance. One can only assume that Monkey Boy has no ambition as he remains at  Sh*te Hart Lane; whilst Ratboy and FanderFart have had enough of the lack of light in the caves. As usual the Totts have made some decent signings – Dempsey was an AFC target as were Vertoghen and Loris; Dembele should have been. Ade will continue to score goals and infuriate with equal measure, and Defoe will sit on the bench.

Their problems lie in defence where Gallas’s pace is constricted by his Zimmer frame. Dawson was out the door until someone realised Kaboul was too fragile and King has retired. They do have some very good youngsters coming through and I guess they will blood them this season should Vertoghen struggle.

Then there is their new manager. I like AVB and expected him to be a huge success at Chelsea. Will the fans (gimps) and the board give him breathing space? I hope not because he will improve them given time.

Liverpool

Two thoughts come to mind: You’re having a Turkish and Calm Down.

Newcastle

Did well last season and definitely punched above their weight. Again the defence has to be their weak point. They have managed to retain their best players despite the attempts of AW to sign Cabaye. Newcastle have beaten the Totts (easily) lost to the Chavs (easily) and fortunately drawn with AV. A difficult start but 4 points is OK and about on par. My expectation is they will have a good home record but struggle away.

Others

Everton have a decent first team and started better than normal, AV are dull in the extreme, but Top 4 ? No chance.

Conclusion:

There can only be one outcome …… Arsenal will be crowned Champions in late April.

1. Arsenal

2. Chelsea

3. Man City

4. Man Utd

5. Newcastle

6. Stoke

7. Wigan

8. The Noisy Neighbours

What do you think?

Written by Big Raddy


Season Low Points Pt.1 Off-Pitch

May 29, 2012

Recently, we were treated to a fine post from Chas filled with vids of the highlights of the season. but what were the low points? I am not talking about on-pitch stuff (was Ewood worse than OT?), No, I mean the off-pitch drama – those things in football which are not the result of the bounce of a ball.

Fans:  One of Chas’s vids showed the superb support of the Dortmund fans, perhaps the best I have seen. Fervent, happy, funny, enjoying their day out at The Home of Football. Compare them to the Stoke fans. In all my years of football fanaticism I cannot recall being so disgusted by the actions a group of fans as when the whole of  the Britannia booed Ramsey’s every touch. Can you?

Yes, we joke about their team of Orcs and we actively dislike both the Orc Leader and his henchmen,they deserve it,  but for their fans to boo a young man who has been seriously damaged in front of them is beyond ignorant. These people deserved National castigation, instead on MOTD the fool Lineker imitated their aping of Wenger ( fairplay to Hansen who condemned their behavior).

Did the Head Orc (Pulis) say anything …. No, of course not. Did anyone at Stoke? No. They silently condone the booing. Have the FA said anything? No, of course not.  Redknapp or Rednose (SAF) get abuse and the media are up in arms – yet  there was nothing was in the press about the behavior of the Orcs, apart from laughing at Wenger.

Fans:  Over the years, my dislike of  The N15 Neanderthals has lessened due to their comedic ability to grab tiny seeds of hope and blow them into successes (“We’re going to win the the League, or Bale is World Class” ).  West Ham and then Chelsea became my most disliked opposition (thanks to their racist and fascist fans), but when T-Shirts are made with “MInd the Gap” on them and they are then displayed at THOF, things have gone too far….. HaHaHaHaHaHa.

Club Action: Can anything be less enlightened than a Club and manager supporting a player who has been judged to make a racist remark? And then to wear t-shirts in support of said player? Liverpool shamed their great tradition and for that alone Dalglish deserved his dismissal. For a club who are rightly so sensitive about their history, this wasn’t just  misjudged, it was an act of madness.  Whether Suareze is a racist or not was not the issue –  he was found guilty of making a racist remark not of being a racist. How could the management of Liverpool get it so wrong?

Management Action:  Capello and England. I come from a generation of fans to whom being Captain of England is the very pinnacle of achievement. To Captain your country at Cricket or Football was not just a job given to the most experienced player, it was a mark of the respect the sport had for the incumbent. The idea that love-cheat, bribe taker and now racist John Terry has worn the same armband as Bobby Moore and Billy Wright is just sad.  That it took the Ferdinand affair to remove him of the Captaincy speaks volumes for The FA’s lack of understanding of our footballing heritage. As to the CL Final appearance – words fail me.

What are your off-pitch low-points? How do you think the Press write about Arsenal, are they even-handed? Do we get worse press than any other club? Do you think the Board of Directors are finally getting their act together or are they ruining our club? And what of the fitness regime’s? How is it that our players were in the Red and Wigan’s weren’t?

Written by Big Raddy


High Noon

November 19, 2010

In my very young years Spurs were the best in the country if not the world, with a team that had it all – speed, craft, strength (what a player Dave Mackay was), super full backs, centre halves (as they were then) a fine keeper and the late , great Bobby Smith upfront. I can still name the entire 61 Double team, such was their impact upon my psyche.

It was touch and go whether I supported the forces of good or evil, my father had gone over to the dark side and encouraged me to do the same. I was taken to  the coven at WHL to be surrounded by waling banshees and devil worshippers. Thankfully I saw the light and was led onto the path of good and righteousness by other family members. Had they not exorcised me I could have been subjected to a life of ridicule and envy, for such is the life of a Spurs fan. How those poor saps made the disastrous decision to support the joke that is THFC is for them to analyse, but I think it must be centred upon low self-esteem and a history of bed wetting.

Last season we lost our record of not having been beaten by them in the PL this century – you may recall they brought out a DVD. In a way it took a monkey off our backs, but it still rankles that our team didn’t perform that night and a Spurs lad scored the goal of his life (poor chap has gone back to a life of obscurity). And then there was the 4-4 (another DVD!) a game which in which we threw away 2 points and allowed an ex-AFC reserve to score the goal of his life – we must stop that habit!

Spurs go into the game with fresh legs thanks to them having so few Internationals, whereas our boys have all (16 of them!) been away playing meaningless friendlies.  Players like Arshavin and Nasri who played 90 minutes will struggle for fitness.

To see the vast gulf in class between our clubs one only has to assess the respective managers. Mr. Wenger is approaching sainthood, whereas Harry is an execrable human being whose only redeeming features are his fit daughter-in-law and his bank balance.

There can be no doubt that at last Spurs have a decent squad, they can play good football and have quality throughout the side. In Gareth Bale they have the best player in the World – the new Messi  (yeah, right….typical Spurs, 10 decent games from Bale and he is worth €50m!!), the Bale/Sagna battle will be mouthwatering. Modric despite having a ratface and the body of an undernourished spaniel is a player who would flourish at Man Utd – he is wasted at the Sh**hole. Jenas is likely to play thanks to Fatboy Huddlestone’s ban, a player who loves a goal against us – he will have to closed down fast. Lemon is quick but crosses like Clichy, Crouch is hated by the Spurs acolytes which sums them up – I like him but hope he has a stinker tomorrow. Same goes for Pavlachenko – actively disliked by his own fans (check out their blogs). Then there is  Van de Vaart, the “New Dennis Bergkamp”, an Real reject who has started well in the PL, he is without doubt a fine player and an excellent signing by Redknapp, our defensive midfielders will have to be very aware of his movement, for that reason I would play Denilson ahead of Wilshere.

Our ex-captain WG will start and I expect him to get a rousing welcome (actually the expected response will be apathy unless he scores). Should (when) Spurs lose tomorrow their fans will focus upon their defence and the lack of their 3 best CB’s, but let us be honest, if King plays 12 games a season he has had a good year, Woodgate isn’t even in their 25 man squad; Dawson it has to be admitted is a loss but they have a WC winner as a replacement!

Our team:

We have had 2 back to back away victories and return to the Grove where our record is surprisingly not great this season. The fighting performances on the road must be continued if we are to win tomorrow. I am told Arshavin is running into good form, and Chamakh is on a fine scoring streak. Fabregas has found aggression to add to his sublime skills and Nasri is the Premiership’s form player. We have easily enough quality to win this game – what will be required is commitment and concentration over the whole 95 minutes.

The North London Derby (NLD) has at last got some frisson back thanks to the resurgence of the devilspawn fro N17, the atmosphere at The Grove will be electric, the teams excited and inspired, and I just wish I could be there….

Here’s hoping for a great game, a decent referee, an early goal, one just before half time to calm the nerves and a victory for the men in the white hats.

This is not a purely a question of football superiority – it is the eternal battle for the triumph of good over evil

COYRRG

Written by BigRaddy


Arsenal, Tottenham, Man City: Boo Boys Compared

November 18, 2010

Booing, when you think about it, is a very funny sound.

It’s the sort of sound a cow might make if it had a bad head cold.

And right now, around the more charmless corners of the Premier League, there has been quite an outbreak of snuffly Fresian behaviour.

The pale blue herd up at Middle Eastlands have been booing their little hearts out because their £350 million squad can’t rustle up a goal for love nor money. Well, actually, just for money – there’s not a single player at Man City who loves the club, although they all love their pay cheques.

Then, down the road in the pastoral idyll that is London N17, the all-white herd are just as noisily petulant because, in their case, they are feeling let down and betrayed: this was going to be THEIR YEAR. It really was – that top four finish was going to be a stepping stone to the League title, while the Champions League trophy would be scooped up along the way. The white herd, as is well known, is strongly infected with mad cow disease.

In both cases the booing is truly absurd.

Look at Citeh: Booed off at the weekend against Birmingham; booed off after drawing with Manchester United and at half time and full time when drawing with Blackburn; jeered off the pitch at half time when nil-nil at home to Wigan. I could go on but there are just too many examples to mention.

Sky Blues fans – what are you doing? Are you mad? You have spent years of your life loyally supporting a rubbish team that hasn’t looked remotely like winning anything for a generation and now, just because someone has come in and flashed his wad at you, you expect the earth?

Did you really think that all it takes to become a team of champions is to pay over-the-odds prices for greedy players looking for a mega payday, throw them all together and see what happens?

Chelsea managed it with Abramovich’s cash because (a) the league was not as competitive then and (b) Chelsea had the nucleus of a good team (which had already won silverware and competed in the Champions League before the Russian arrived).

City would probably be doing better now if they had kept the likes of Given, Ireland, Dunne, Elano and Bellamy and added some quality imports to that strong core. And yes I know Given is still there, but he’s not exactly first choice, is he?

I used to always like meeting Man City supporters because they had a great sense of cynicism and dark humour about the fortunes of their beloved club. Even their iconic anthem, Blue Moon, with it’s wistful, yearning air, reflected their understanding that they followed a club destined never to be fashionable or successful. And you know what? They hardly ever booed their boys back in the pre-lottery win days. Now look at them. Frankly it’s sad.

And then we move to our noisy neighbours, from whom we hear the sound of booing echoing over the rooftops of North London on an almost weekly basis – most recently after drawing with Sunderland last week.

Unlike poor Citeh, whose fans have had their heads turned by all that dough, the Spuds supporters have a long tradition of booing their team. They booed them under Ramos and under Jol and Santini and Pleat; they booed them under Hoddle and under Graham and Gross and Francis; they were probably booing them all the way back in 1898 under Frank Brettell, first in a long tradition of managerial failures at the mighty Cocks.

But they, too, need to ask themselves why they are booing their team this season of all seasons. They are in the champions league – a feat they will never achieve again in the lifetime of many of their fans – they are in the top seven in the table and are getting to see some decent players on a weekly basis (Bale, van der Vaart, Defoe, Modric, Kranjcar).

Don’t you Spuds realise that this is as good as it gets for you? And you’re STILL booing? Really, you deserve the club you’ve got and it deserves you.

Finally there’s Arsenal. One of the things I love about our club is that we don’t collectively boo the players off the pitch. When some sections of the crowd booed Emmanuel Eboue as he experienced a mid-game mental breakdown it caused an explosion of self-examination that continues in the blogosphere to this day.

Yes, there’ll be occasions when the team don’t exactly leave the pitch to a standing ovation, but collective booing by a large section of the Arsenal crowd is almost unheard of. (I have read reports of Arsenal being booed off at the end of games where I have been present and there was no booing – just muted applause. I can only imagine that some particularly dopey individual who likes to boo happens to sit near the press box).

Liverpool supporters hardly ever boo their team (and God knows, they have had reason to in the last few seasons). Nor do the supporters of Manchester United. Along with Arsenal, what those two clubs and their supporters have is history, and a touch of class. They know what success is, they have had high highs and low lows, but they also know their jobs as supporters.

Manchester City used to have class in a peculiar, downtrodden way, but the glint of money has stolen it from them.

The Spuds have never had it and they never will, so the mournful sound of booing from N17 will long continue to rival the chimes of Big Ben as one of the traditional sounds of Old London Town.

RockyLives

The England team were booed off the pitch at Wembley  last night. The France team which had a poorer World Cup than ours managed to look more like a football team than we did. What is more frustrating, the coach, the players or the media feeding the expectation of the supporters?


Arsène outwits ‘Arry – written by London

September 23, 2010

Seems as though quite a few were surprised by the strength of the team Wenger put out against spuds including many of our own and certainly many of theirs  most notably of which was Twitchy himself who, judging by his team selection, was no where near anticipating who he would face.

My only guess as to why he got it spectacularly wrong was that for a moment he must have thought he was in the big league, the one he read about in news papers for years in which managers of the big four put out weakened teams in the fizzy cup to preserve key members for imminent Champions League duty, well, talk about misunderstand.

“Arry” you got it laughably wrong to the point that you, your team and all your inbred fans were humiliated during the game before then being unceremoniously dumped out of the only cup final that you are ever going to get near this season.

It was totally predictable that Wenger would put out a strong team, the pattern over the years is there for every one to see: we do not go out in the first round. He also gave us a clue before the game in which he made quite clear that he always puts out a side that he feels can beat the opposition. This is true but only to a point.

It is commonly thought that he doesn’t care about the CC which is true in one sense but false in another: Wenger cares about it up until the quarter finals which happen to be just before Christmas and more significantly in football terms just before the transfer window opens.

By caring about it up until then, he achieves many things, most importantly it gives the youngsters an opportunity to play in a competitive game. Players like Jet, Eastmond, Nordtveit and such need to have some sense of belonging to the club and playing in the CC gives them exactly that before, more than likely, going out on loan in the New Year transfer window.

If they had played on Tuesday night we probably would have been beaten; they would have got a game but what real good would that have done? Far better to beat the scum then hope for a nice home draw against Brentford or someone like that in which the aforementioned players along with the Lansburys and the Gibbs can have a go.

Wenger continues this policy into the quarter finals at which point he throws the completion to the wolves. There is no way he would have picked that team in the quarter finals even if it was against spuds — for the simple reason that they might win, the result being that there will be a two legged semi final to deal with in very early January, that is, just after the exhaustive Christmas playing period and just before the all important Champions League restarts.

No, we definitely do not want that; the plan makes sense, we progress in this competition until the quarter finals and then it is time to say goodbye to the fizzy cup.

When this happens I will wave good bye and say good riddance because I am one of those who agrees with the priorities of the club, those being the EPL followed by the CL then the FA Cup but only if we have been knocked out of the CL, if we are still in that competition then damn the FA Cup as well.

I just don’t understand this call to win the CC, it makes no sense to me, it weakens us in other more important competitions, as to those who say we haven’t won a trophy in 5 years, ask yourself this: would you really want the name of the CC on display in our shiny new ground, you know where I mean, around the pitch there is the long list of trophies Arsenal have won over the years and then the gap……….do you really want the next one to be the CC……..how tacky.

We are the Arsenal, a cut above; I want the European Champions League to be the first trophy to be painted on our stadium……now that would be classy.

Written by London, pictures by Rasp


Into the House of Darkness – WHL – written by BigRaddy

September 21, 2010

Let us start here. There is light and there is darkness, there is good and there is evil, there is N5 and then there is N17. N5 is blessed with parks, glorious architecture, fine restaurants, great bars and the finest football stadium in Britain; whereas N17 is a total toilet, the parks littered with dogshit,  litter and hoodlums, the architecture can only be described as urban wasteland, the restaurants vary from appalling to mediocre, the bars imbue such depression that suicide is an attractive alternative, and the football ground (it cannot be called a stadium) is a complete joke.

If you win the Lottery you may well choose to live in Highbury, if you have descended into a life of crack and crime, you probably live in Tottenham.

(N:B: The above is written in jest, but there is a little truth in there…..)

And the football teams reflect their surroundings. Arsenal have an urbane, intelligent manager, Spurs a semi-literate “wheeler-dealer” (Sky tm), Arsenal have a team who play with brio and flair, Spurs have Huddlestone and Crouch, Arsenal have a warehouse full of silverware, Spurs won the league in Black and White.

And so we come to the Carling Cup. When we drew the mugs from N17, I despaired because the Carling Cup is a meaningless trophy for us but any game against the forces of evil is big, and the potential of losing to them hurts, plus we know how Mr Wenger views the CC with his attitude towards playing only the youth and fringe players. The last time we played in the CC at the Lane, we left humiliated (though the 5-1 scoreline hardly reflected the game).

However this time could be different because somehow Spurs have found their way to the top table and have to prioritise just as we do. In other words we will find out by Harry’s team selection whether Spurs really are a Top 4 side or just pretenders who know they will get bounced out of the CL and finish outside the Top 4. Will Redknapp play any of his first team with West Ham away and Twente at home inside a week?

If not we could be in for a treat because we have such strength in our reserve and youth teams. Unfortunately the injuries to so many of our first team precludes AW from playing some of the second string (JW, Vela Kos/Squil,Denilson, Ramsey etc), but we are sure to see Gibbs and Djourou. Perhaps an outing for JET who is set to cause havoc.

The Young Men in the White Hats……

My team is made up from a process of elimination, with the plethora of injuries in the forward positions we will have to pack the midfield, plus many of our best youngsters are out on loan.

To me the games rests upon the team Harry plays, has he the courage to play a reserve team in front of an expectant full house at WHL? He knows that the record breaking win (as in they broke our undefeated record) set Tottenham up for their late run to the CL, and also how important a win is to his knuckle dragging acolytes –  Harry is nothing if not pragmatic. I expect Spurs will line up with some big players, Keane, Jenas, Palacios, Hudson, Krankjar, Dos Santos, Corluka and who knows maybe our mates David Bentley and William Gallas – all Full Internationals. They will not want to be beaten by kids

The final word must go to Bobby Smith who died on Saturday. I was raised in a Tottenham loving home, my father was Spurs and took me many times to WHL to watch the Double team of 60/61. In a side of hugely divergent talent from the silky skills of Blanchflower to the destructive aggression of Mackay one man stood out for me, his name was Bobby Smith. A proper centre forward , hard as nails, great in the air, a tremendous shot and no mean skill on the ground, a natural goalscorer.  Bobby Smith was my first hero , at this very moment I expect he will be scoring hatricks  on the Elysian Fields. Gone but not forgotten.

Can we win? Of course. Will we win? Unlikely

COYRRG


Arsenal get it right …. the Press get it wrong

July 29, 2010

 

What is it about the Daily Mail? No matter how much I try to ignore Fleet Street’s greatest embarrassment, I can’t help finding new things about this fear-mongering, xenophobic, Thatcherite rag to annoy me, usually via a Newsnow link. This time it wasn’t some load of nonsense about how we’ll all be mugged by Kosovan asylum seekers if we even dared to step outside our front doors into the warzone that is 21st century British suburbia; it’s just another piece of journalistic sloppiness about football.

MJC posted a very good piece a little while ago about how the new 25-player squad rules will work – to recap, he explained that essentially (a) any player who is born on or after 1 January 1989 doesn’t count towards the 25-player limit at all for the coming season and (b) of the 25 “older” players, eight places are reserved for players who spent at least three seasons in England and Wales between the ages of 16 and 21 – these are “homegrown players”.

Importantly, but apparently beyond the wit of the Daily Mail, homegrown players can have any passport, it’s just where they trained in their early years that counts.  So, Owen Hargreaves, as a Bayern Munich trained player, isn’t homegrown despite being English (sort of), but Nicolas Anelka is homegrown despite not being English and having played in France, Spain and Turkey as well as England. Clubs can have more than eight homegrown players, it’s just a quota to protect against importing too many established players from other leagues.

MJC explained that Arsenal are in pretty good shape for the new rules, but I wondered how that stacked up against our principal rivals. My nerdy curiosity got the better of me, and I checked the current first team squads of our principal rivals for the coming season (Chelsea, United, Spurs and City – sorry, I didn’t bother with Liverpool, they just don’t seem relevant…). I had to make some assumptions about which young players at each club would be serious senior squad contenders, but my conclusion is as follows:

* Arsenal: Squad of 33, of which 13 are under 21. We therefore have five spaces left for non-homegrown players aged over 21.

* Chelsea: Squad of 27, of which five are under 21. They therefore have three spaces left before they reach the 25-player cap, two of which are for homegrown players.

* United: Squad of 33, of which eight are under 21. United therefore have no spaces in their squad, so can’t make new signings without omitting existing squad members.

* Spurs: Squad of 29, of which four are under 21. They also have no space left in their squad for senior players.

* City: Squad of 31, of which six are under 21. But not only do City have no space left in the squad, even before making any further signings, they will already have to omit seven existing senior players.

Of course, none of this matters if our regular first choice players aren’t up to it, but we are clearly in great shape to get the best out of these rules. Only Chelsea come close to being in as good a position.

But what did the Daily Mail say? They of course said that United are doing well because they have lots of English players, but thought Arsenal and Chelsea would have to omit players. In fact, it’s the other way around, United are the worst positoned of last season’s top three. It’s a shame that there are so many people paid to write about our game who don’t know enough about it, or are too lazy to check.

Written by 26may1989


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