Arshavin – this season’s Eboue?

Coming off the back of two highly satisfying away wins the Arsenal now have a run of six home games out of the next seven.

At our last home game great joy was had by ITV’s cameramen in capturing the negative reactions of the Ashburton Grove support to our number 23’s struggles to impose himself on the game.

Opinions varied as to whether there were murmurs of disappointment or outright booing of Arshavin whenever an ambitious through ball failed or a shot ballooned skyward instead of towards the goal.

It is ITV’s job to pick up anything newsworthy or a “story” developing and the camera director would have been alerted to the dissatisfaction being shown in certain sections of the crowd. Of course they will follow up on this angle and naturally their well acknowledged dislike of Arsenal would have meant they needed little prompting in order to portray us as a club in crisis and turning on our last big money transfer into our squad.

Certain quarters have also made great play of the fact that after spooning a shot over the bar or failing to latch onto a pass, rocking back on his heels in the manner that TH14 did in his last season with us, he smiles – clearly proving he doesn’t care and deserves to be shipped out in the summer, if not sooner.

What I see when Andrey is in such a situation is not a “smile” more a “grimace”, an external symptom of the internal conflict and lonely struggle to recapture the form of a month or two ago.

Arshavin is the archetypal enigma wrapped in a puzzle, bound together by a riddle, couched in a conundrum. His
behaviour will not be that of your typical footballer and his almost self-lacerating honesty can make some of what he says appear to be at best detached and at worst arrogant. Like any person he is a product of the environment of his formative years and having spent all of his life in “Mother Russia” his interaction with our support will not be of the same quality as, say, Walcott’s.

He is as truly Russian, and can be as breathlessly exciting, as this passage of Shostakovich sounds to me(and check out the crazy conductor):

His website reveals a quirky, cheeky side when it comes to things like his chauvinist views on women drivers but like any true Russian there will, in my view, always be an underlying melancholy which is exacerbated by his artistic temperament. I consider what he is capable of artistic in the way DB10’s abilities seemed to transcend mere sporting endeavour.

When he arrived in the snow of February 2009 we knew what we were getting, a creative mercurial midfield talent, who scored 51 goals in 232 appearances(approximately 1 goal in 5 games) for his only previous club Zenit St. Petersburg. Currently his record with us stands at 26 in 83, tending towards 1 goal in 3 games so he has shown his class over the long term.

For some what is grates them is his lack of tracking back and offering cover for the left back, given that he is predominantly deployed in midfield wide on the left.

This raises two questions, firstly are we expecting a Dirk Kuyt type midfielder who runs and runs but whose moments of inspiration are rarely, if ever, seen and secondly are we exploiting his abilities out wide?

Firstly, we all know Arshavin is not about being a trundling workhorse putting in the hard yards, like a Flamini or a Vieira would.

With our surfeit of playmaker midfielders not every player will be able to play in their favoured positions so the second point can be viewed as a case of “Needs must” as in the case of last season where, as Raspers has pointed out previously, Arshavin was employed as the lone striker up top.

In the FA Cup replay there was an occasion where he lost possession on the left wing to the Leeds right back and he chased the ball all the way back to our right full back position to win it back. Would he have done this a few games ago, when his confidence was probably at low ebb? Our game does function better when all the team presses the opposition when we do not have the ball so while it is not necessarily Arshavin’s strong point he is capable of offering some cover yet I feel he should be favouring demonstrating his strong points, namely creating openings, and occasionally finishing them.

I feel that while Arshavin may publicly appear to display some of the Cold War stereo type of being aloof and indifferent (for example he rarely joins in post-goal team huddles with a fan-pleasing gusto) negative feedback from the Arsenal support will surely have a detrimental effect.

“So what, he gets paid handsomely so he should just man up and get on with it” I hear some of you cry.
For a creative midfielder if you feel inhibited enough by reaction to a mistake to then prefer taking the safe option of a lower risk pass the moments of magic you close yourself off from mean your play will be that of a water carrier type of midfielder, and is that what we want from Arshavin?

Another complaint levelled against our attack is that we don’t shoot from distance enough, as one of the few that attempts long range shots will persistent groaning from the terraces could mean less shots from him also. Talk Spite had already tried to engineer a campaign for opposition fans to boo him for supporting Russia’s world Cup bid because they saw him sitting with the Russian delegation when the bid winners had been announced.

Our number 23 remained seated and clapped his approval in a very dignified manner whereas the Chavs owner bounded up and down, jumping like a dog trying to grab a bone being dangled above him. Perhaps unsurprisingly there were no protests from Talk Spite directed against Abramovich, one can’t imagine why.

It would be ironic if Arshavin’s own team’s supporters resorted to something that Talk Spite, a known anti Arsenal media outlet, was trying to get the opposition fans to do to undermine our team.
Eboue came back from the actual booing he received a few seasons ago however the crucial difference is that we HAVE seen what Arshavin is capable (and recently too) whereas the Ivorian’s abilities had been seen less regularly up till then.

My wish, as an unashamed admirer of “The Owl”, for anyone lucky enough to be going to any of the home games coming up is to drag our Russian out of his slump in form with your support.

When Nasri and/or Cesc are unavailable is it not better to have another option by which to unlock the defences of the many teams who will come to the Grove with a defensive approach?

In those games, the ones which could stand between us and silverware this season, the contribution of our Russian maestro could well be critical.

96 Responses to Arshavin – this season’s Eboue?

  1. MyArse says:

    Arshvin’s a timebomb waiting to explode full of goals and assists galore!

  2. charybdis1966 says:

    True MA, we know he’s very capable of it; it’s only going to take one strike at goal to come off and he’ll be back to his best.

  3. Statics says:

    top post!!

  4. Carlito11 says:

    Chary- this post is a different class! I feel you have helped me to understand his reactions an mentality and it’s a rousing call to support him. Despite recent flagging of form he has been what arsene calls “efficient” in terms of assists including the one which broke the deadlock on Wednesday so early allowing us to play our best game. Top post!

  5. charybdis1966 says:

    Thanks Static
    and Carlito – I do admit to sympathising with the anguish of a tortured soul trying to express himself through his game, which isn’t just quite clicking.

    I’ve always had a soft spot for mrecurial talents, they are a rare breed and to be tolerated their failings as they have so much to offer.

  6. MyArse says:

    I’m not too bothered about his so called ‘poor’ form this season. He is 3rd in the premiership for assists so he can continue playing ‘poorly’ if that’s the outcome!!

  7. Carlito11 says:

    I think your post demonstrates that with empathy all outsiders can be understood. Given the effort he demonstrated on Wednesday it would take a callous and boorish attitude to boo him- and I believe very few of our fans are that hardhearted or unaware of the contribution he has made and potentially will make.

  8. indian gooner says:

    the owl???? ,meerkat is more like it.:) and i agree with MA.he is a timebomb waiting to go off.i hope he does so in the match with farca…

  9. ArseNick says:

    Ha ha, you can not compare Arshavin to Eboue – Arsh is class. Look at Roo, Torres, Drog – they all have hard times. But form is temporary, while class is permanent. So get behind the player, we need him. Anmd please do not compare Arshavin to eboue – it verges on an insult. 🙂

  10. charybdis1966 says:

    He is such a riddle Carlito and maybe we’ll never fathom him out so hopefully what the ITV cameras focussed on so gleefully at home to Leeds won’t happen; my only fear is that Wenger may decide just to play him in away games to spare him the negativity, rather like G Graham did when Perry Groves had a slump in form, although as MA points out, the truth is Arshavin is not actually doing badly in terms of assists/goals..

  11. 26may1989 says:

    Thoughtful stuff Chary, thanks.

    It’s clear to all of us that Arshavin isn’t a first pick now, with a midfield of Fabregas, Nasri, Walcott, Wilshere and Song probably now being our default first choice. Like Eboue, he’s becoming a squad player; a very important squad player with a valuable talent for doing the unexpected, but a squad player nonetheless.

    I don’t slag him off much re not tracking back, I just think he’s physically inferior to those around him, and in that sense is not a natural athlete, unlike someone like Kuyt.

    But I hope and expect to see our little Russian continue to play an important role this season and hopefully longer.

    As for your points about the reactions from the stands, that taps into frustrations many of us have about the behaviour of a substantial proportion of the fans at home games. That contrasts with the Leeds crowd on Wednesday, whose support is much more likely to elicit better performances from their players than the impatient, unrealistic whining of many of our home fans.

  12. charybdis1966 says:

    Indian Gooner – “The Owl” was his nick name when he was at Zenit St Petersburg, although of course his present team mates call him the meerkat.
    LOL A Nick, the only similarity is getting stick from the crowd; agreed their relative skill levels are incomparable.

  13. Carlito11 says:

    I think it also shows how well the authors on this site understand the group and individual psychology of the team. There’s a school of scientific thought (can’t remember what it’s called) that all social and psychological phenomena can be understood though close observation and you and London this week have both demonstrated this beautifully in your posts (as have the many illuminating comments by others on the site).

  14. kharadonha says:

    While we support him to get back to his best form, he must also help himself to be amongst the best in the world. when you lose balls or fail to take your chances, players mustn’t smile bcoz it gives us “fans” idea that this player is not seriuos about defending Arsenal image or jersey. he knows he is the best when he wants to but he mustn’t be so inconsistent. one too many touches must stop coz one can see that it is not going to be a success, rather opt to look up for someone who is already taking space and play like a team. when we need trophies and judging by the way we play and where we are on the log and in all competitions, players must stand up and fight till the end. Good Luck Gunners

  15. Rasp says:

    Morning, top post chary.

    AA is a favourite of mine and would be the star player in most Premiership sides. I think your explanation of his psyche is spot on. I watched the Leeds game again yesterday and paid particular attention to Arsh. There were times when he dashed around, chased back and made surging runs. There were also times when he seemed to conserve his energy and left it to others to defend. I think he manages his own energy levels well and has stated that he finds the pace of the Premiership hard.

    I think it is far better that he retains the stamina for his surging runs as he has the capability of changing the game.

    I felt for a while that the other players were underestimating his ability because when he makes a run wide to the edge of the box, even though he is surrounded by defenders, he will often jink his way through only to find that none of our players have anticipated his run. For this reason he often shoots and is then accused by some of being selfish.

  16. Big Raddy says:

    Excellent post Chary. You have covered so many bases there is hardly anything left to say!

    I find AA symptomatic of the weakness of this team. You just never know what you are going to get and we need consistency from this team if we are to win anything.

    Can we carry a luxury player? There is no question that on form AA is world class, a wonderful talent and capable of winning a game on his own, but he is also capable of disappearing and also leaving his FB exposed.

    Will AA be satisfied with rotation in his position or will he choose to go back to Russia?

    There are players who are great but never become Arsenal legends (Overmars) and there are players who may not be as talented but become fixed in the memory (Freddie). I fear AA will fall short of achieving greatness.

  17. MyArse says:

    kharadonha

    Not so my friend. I smile guaranteed when I am, embarrassed, nervous etc. It’s a natural reaction for some people and is being misconstrued as not caring or being blasé which is not the case.

  18. charybdis1966 says:

    Raspers, you’ve probably figured that I find Arshavin fascinating, there are so many layers in complexity within him. I think injuries will take their toll on our midfield soon enough and I expect him to make a telling contribution to our run in.
    26May – I always think that it’s ok to disseminate a players performance in the pub after the game rather than groaning and booing a layer during the game. Still some may argue they pay their money and have a right to moan. Not for me, IMHO.

  19. Red Arse says:

    Morning CharyB, 🙂

    Well you certainly gave that some clout. It was not only interesting to read but also showed a lightness of spirit and human empathy. Excellent. 🙂

    I have three points to make about the Post.

    1) Each player should be nurtured for their special talents. AA is clever, intuitive and a goal scorer, when on form. He is not now and never will be capable of tracking back and cosseting his special talents. In fact, when he has tracked back he has sometimes been a liabilty. Let him do his thing and allow other to adapt.

    2) I totally agree with your comments regarding “class” and “form”, we need to support him and not groan and boo when he tries something clever that does not work. It will, it will. Anyway the groaning raises my blood pressure ….. busturds!

    3) I think you need to be brave and come out and name “Certain Quarters”. Is this a pseudonym, or is he the small brother of “Two Halves”? We need to know. 🙂

  20. 26may1989 says:

    Completely agree Chary, and if only on the basis that postponing the slagging until we’re in the pubs is more likely to help the team perform than letting it out immediately. Slagging off during or before the game should be reserved for the most heinous player behaviour (e.g. Adebayor after his farcical summertime “I’m staying but come and get me” pronouncements).

  21. silentstan says:

    for crying out loud, SELL ARSH and BUY HAZARD

  22. charybdis1966 says:

    Morning RedA – Two halves’ small brother, I like it!
    I’d just like to say I do appreciate it when people take the time to read the post as all have so far.
    What we all do for Arsenal blogs is a labour of love, for the likes of Peachy/Raspers etc..
    26May- I hope the likes of the Whore are a rare, and hopefully unique, occurrence amongst players who play in our red and white.

  23. Carlito11 says:

    Silentstan- an inappropriate moniker perhaps? Could you give us a reasoned argument for your demands?

  24. Red Arse says:

    CharyB,

    I understand, from my sources, that there has been a propsed change of name with regard to our esteemed blog meisters!

    Apparently Peaches’s tag will remain …. obviously … however, the tag for the other supremo “Rasp” will now become defunct and replaced by “Cream”.

    So stand by to address them as Peaches and Cream, a mellifluous combo if I have ever heard one! 🙂

  25. Big Raddy says:

    OK Steinbeck 😀

  26. charybdis1966 says:

    RedA – now why do I think that Eric Clapton should make them a trio ?
    Radders – did you like the Shosta ?
    Sorry Raspers aka Cream – forgot to thank you for pepping up my post with the pictures, cheers.

  27. Morning all

    RA – Considering that Rasp started life as Rasputin, I’m not sure that a moniker of ‘Cream’ will do justice to his reputation. Hope you’re feeling better today.

    Great post chary – how lucky are we to have a footballer that invites so much in depth thinking – far more cerebral than a ‘granny shagger’ I feel like many of you that he, more than any of us, must be mystified as to why things have gone awry.

    He’s so classy and its a shame for him that he can’t join in with the Theo van Nasregas celebration of talent at the moment.

  28. London says:

    Morning Chary

    May I humbly say that I think it is the best post you have written for AA.

    It is quite uncanny, I spent the morning trying to think of something to write about for a post, came up with the idea that Arshavin’s stock had fallen way too far, then got back to the computer and there it was.

    I was in the process of writing a reply but I wrote so much that I realised it may be able to be used as a post in it’s own right; anyway, a great read above.

  29. Great minds London 🙂

  30. Red Arse says:

    Raddy,

    Blogs are a bit like — “Of Mice and Men” — when you think of it.

    Although Steinbeck’s quote “Ideas are like rabbits, you grab a couple, learn to handle them and pretty soon there are loads”. (not an accurate quote, I admit) – but he could have been referring to Posts! 🙂

  31. charybdis1966 says:

    Thanks London, my only regret is that due to being a little sleep deprived nowadays I felt I could have made the post flow a little better and form a more cogent argument, but as Peachy says it’s great that we have such a complex character in our team to stimulate such discussion and thought.

  32. Red Arse says:

    Peaches,

    Much better today thanks, out of bed, at last, and up to mischief again! 🙂

  33. RockyLives says:

    Superbly written post Chary.
    You seem to really understand the melancholia of the Russian soul. Do you have some connection with Russia?
    Loved the Shostakovich – bit fan of his. I particularly like his 7th.

  34. clyde says:

    tell you what,i just love the way he plays when he is on top form but i have to say, when he is bad,he is really bad…he’ll be back and firing on all cylinders.surely,surely he cant produce any worse!!!!

  35. Gacan says:

    We waited for bentdner for years to deliver. Give arshavin a chance if he dipped for a while. He is top class playmaker he connot be compared to Ebeo. He is the only player who makes multible shots on goal.

  36. charybdis1966 says:

    That’s a very perceptive comment there Rocky, not only for picking up on the melancholia aspect of the russian psyche but the Shostakovich 7 reference. This is called the Leningrad so it’s particularly apt when we speak of Arshavin.
    This reminds me, I must dig out my CD of that(conducted by a proper Russian, Yevgeny Mravinski ) and it’s no surprise I like Shostakovich’s stuff, his 7th being right down my road, epic and heroic with a touch of tragedy. Also his main influences being my 2 favourite composers, Bruckner and Mahler.
    I don’t have any connection with Russia other than an empathy although my Indian heritage could suggest the traditional feeling of kinship between the two nations is due to something deeper.

  37. RockyLives says:

    Chary
    “epic and heroic with a touch of tragedy” – a bit like supporting the Arse then!

    Is it true that Shostakovich wrote the 7th in Leningrad, while the Germans were advancing on the city?

    My theory of the Russian v Western European outlook is this:

    W. Europeans are brought up to believe that life is going to be a bowl of cherries and become gradually disillusioned when it’s not.

    Russians are brought up to believe that life is something to be suffered, and are mildly satisified to find out that they’re right.

    Little Arshy is suffering at the moment, but (to throw in a sort-of Indian reference for you Chary) his Russian mentality means he can “meet with Triumph and Disaster, And treat those two impostors just the same.”

    He’ll be back soon. In fact, he’s due an absolute stormer of a last half of the season if my prediction of him being payer of the year is going to have any chance!

  38. charybdis1966 says:

    There is a bit of doubt as to whether the “The Leningrad Symphony” is so called because it depicts the invasion of Leningrad and the “Invaders theme” you hear in it is supposed to be depicting nazi’s.
    Chronologically it seem she started the work BEFORE the invasion started and when the Soviet control on artists was relaxed Shostakovich seemed to suggest the work was a piece against ALL totalitarianism, not just nazi but, by implication, Stalinism.
    It’s certainly a piece that sums up the sacrifice made by Russia after the Nazi invasion, they lost half a million lives during that time.
    Good theory about the western-eastern European split on outlook on life; I don’t where I should fit in all that, but being a miserable git I suppose that’s a product of supporting the Arse.

  39. fan says:

    I think it is the media, especially the commentators that is stirring the pot Arshavin is this and that. I cannot believe the criticism he got from Martin Taylor and his partner during the FA cup match against Leeds this past weekend. I think this whole thing started when Russia got the World Cup bid and all the anger from all the crazy englishmen stared directing at Arshavin.

  40. Big Raddy says:

    Chary. I loved the Shosta.

    Astounding that a single man sans computer can write such music. Do they have the finished piece in their heads prior to putting it on paper or do they build up from one idea? And how can they carry the knowledge of the scales of each instrument and know how to marry them together?

    I love the constant beat throughout the piece, one hears it clearly in the string sections.

    And you are right it does capture what I imagine to be Mother Russia

  41. Big Raddy says:

    RA. Was Kipling an Indian? I know he was born there but he is the quintessential Englishman abroad.

  42. charybdis1966 says:

    Radders, I’ve always loved the way Shosta uses the snare drum, he can make it sound sinister or triumphant and the pace of the piece is breathless – in a way I like to think swift Arsenal counter attacks are, with Arsh leading the charge.

    The stern strings motif that answers the initial fanfare makes me think of harsh Russian winters. And the galloping ryhtmn is so energetic and frantic.

  43. Kubla Khan says:

    Arshavin is one of Arsenal’s truly marquee players, a world class player if ever there was one. To many fans, his form and his efforts have seemed lacking in grit and determination. We must forget that some of the players he plays well, are not exactly in his league. His form and efforts reflect that of players that surround him. One is only as good as the team one plays with. That must always be borne in mind. Arshavin is a great player and he will strike back at his detractors. To mention him alongside Eboue is a reflection of bad taste.

  44. charybdis1966 says:

    KK – as I said earlier I only juxtaposed him and Eboue because they both have been booed, albeit to differing degrees.
    More or less my whole post will echo/reinforce what you have so eloquently said.
    I urge you to re read the post, you’ll find little there to disagree with.

  45. London says:

    I just saw the weekly pre-game interview with Wenger and I was surprised by just how poorly he dodged the inevitable question of will you be making a bid for Cahill…..very interesting.

    Ramsey going back to Cardiff for a month has got to be as much about the psychological as well a physiological benefit he should receive in such a familiar environment.

  46. Red Arse says:

    Raddy,

    The old memories of my schooling are fading fast, but Kipling was born in India (Bombay/Mumbai?) but of English parentage. So Indian/English?

    He was definitely educated in England for a time and of course became a great poet, as you know. (“If” etc, one of my all time favourites).

    I think he married an American woman, and he was almost destroyed (mentally) by the loss of his son in WW1.

    That’s it, I have scraped the barrel! 🙂 Sorry. 🙂

  47. Red Arse says:

    London,

    I haven’t seen the i/v. (secretly snuck back to bed).

    Can you say what he replied to the inevitable question?

  48. charybdis1966 says:

    How was Wenger dodging the question London ? As if to say “get lost, nothing to say” or guiltily as if he was up to something Cahill wise?

  49. RockyLives says:

    From Wiki:
    “Joseph Rudyard Kipling (30 December 1865 – 18 January 1936) was an English poet, short-story writer, and novelist chiefly remembered for his celebration of British imperialism, tales and poems of British soldiers in India, and his tales for children. Kipling received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1907. He was born in Bombay, British India, and was taken by his family to England when he was five years old.”
    I always associate him with India mainly because of the Just So stories, the Jungle Book etc.

  50. SharkeySure says:

    Chary – in a word – QUALITY.

    Wot a top read that was, and I agree wholeheartedly with the sentiment, especially as I am one of the ‘my patience is wearng thin’ brigade.

    I’ll be cheering him on via my pc screen tomorrow from start to finish. Not that I expect him to start, but you know what I mean

  51. London says:

    Chary/RA

    Wenger responded guiltily to the question of bringing in Cahill as if something was going on. He gave the expected excuse of “we have Diaby coming back which means that Song could drop back there” but we all know the holes in that one. I am now of the belief that the club are looking seriously at buying a CB.

  52. Red Arse says:

    Thanks London, 🙂

    I have had a chance to read the Daily Express article, below;

    On being questioned about the possible trfr of Gary Cahill.
    Arsenal are short of cover at the centre of defence, but Arsene Wenger refused to be drawn on whether he was set for a £10million swoop for Bolton’s England international Gary Cahill.

    He said: “At the moment, I cannot come out with any name.

    “I think Gary Cahill is a very good player, but I cannot tell you more.

    “We like to keep our transfer negotiations always very secret, because it puts more pressure on when you go public so you would understand we don’t want to speak publicly about that.”

    Thomas Vermaelen has been sidelined since August with a troublesome Achilles, but could be back within six weeks after undergoing a medical procedure in Sweden.

    However, Wenger maintains even without new additions, the squad can cope.

    “It is a worry as long as [Sebastien] Squillaci is out, I must say, as we are short, but we have other resources,” he said.

    “If the worst came to the worst, [Abou] Diaby is coming back so if we have to put [Alex] Song back we have Diaby coming back to play in midfield.”

    Read more: http://www.express.co.uk/posts/view/224543/Arsenal-Arsene-Wenger-quiet-on-Gary-Cahill-moveArsene-Wenger-quiet-on-Gary-Cahill-move#ixzz1BgWEWCEb

  53. charybdis1966 says:

    Cheers Sharkey, I knew it was worth foregoing one evening with Jenna Stannis to write that last night!
    London – I was resigning myself to having to cross my fingers, toes and everything else in the hope that Kozzer and Johan don’t get injured till the Verminator is back, and you’ve given me hope.
    Oh dam!

  54. 26may1989 says:

    “If the worst came to the worst, Diaby is coming back so we could put Song back because we’d have Diaby to play in midfield.” Just about the most disturbing words I’ve seen attributed to AW for a long time.

    Please God that it means there will be a credible CB signing, not that he actually thinks Diaby can provide 10% of the defensive cover that we get from Song.

  55. London says:

    RA

    10 million……..sounds like a reasonable price….I expected that figure plus five for being English.

  56. Red Arse says:

    London,

    If it happens, I suspect it will be £10m up front plus add ons, so your figure is more likely!

  57. RockyLives says:

    I wonder if the deal could include a player as well…
    maybe one from Almunia, Vela, Eboue…

  58. 26may1989 says:

    How much would that cost us Rocky?

  59. Red Arse says:

    Rocky,

    How about all three, Eboue £10 + Big Al £90 + Carlos £5m = £5,000,100 and £10m in cash = £15,000,100.

    It’s a deal! 🙂

  60. RockyLives says:

    Redders 😀

    Just found this on Cahill’s Wikipedia page:
    Arsenal F.C.
    New Arsenal F.C. siging form Bolton in the January Transfer window for an undisclosed fee. Believed to be around 15mil with add-ons. Great ambitious signing by the Gunners, who are pushing on all fronts.

    A bit premature, methinks…

  61. Red Arse says:

    CharyB, Raddy,

    You have made a very pleasant day for me, first with the Post and then reminding me about Rudyard Kipling. 🙂

    This is a special, different blog so I thought I would copy the magical poem on here, and hope you all forgive me! 🙂 🙂

    IF…..

    IF you can keep your head when all about you
    Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
    If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
    But make allowance for their doubting too;
    If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
    Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
    Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
    And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

    If you can dream – and not make dreams your master;
    If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim;
    If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
    And treat those two impostors just the same;
    If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
    Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
    Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
    And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

    If you can make one heap of all your winnings
    And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
    And lose, and start again at your beginnings
    And never breathe a word about your loss;
    If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
    To serve your turn long after they are gone,
    And so hold on when there is nothing in you
    Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

    If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
    ‘ Or walk with Kings – nor lose the common touch,
    if neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
    If all men count with you, but none too much;
    If you can fill the unforgiving minute
    With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
    Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
    And – which is more – you’ll be a Man, my son!

  62. RockyLives says:

    Thanks Redders
    One of my all time favourite poems.

  63. Big Raddy says:

    RA. Thanks. It is always a pleasure to read Kipling and especially If …. I have carried it in my memory since first reading it as a teenager

  64. Red Arse says:

    Rocky,

    It’s wonderfully evocative of a staunch Victorian ethos that still reverberates in the current century.

    My other favourite, is a small prayer/poem written by Andy Ripley when he was in the last stages of terminal cancer, which I won’t put on here, but that also moved me to tears, and I don’t care who knows! 🙂

  65. Red Arse says:

    Oh I cannot resist, so in case it is new to you, this is the short poem he wrote in May 2010 shortly before his death.

    Dare we hope ? We dare.
    Can we hope ? We can.
    Should we hope ? We must.
    We must, because to do otherwise is to waste the most precious of gifts, given so freely by God to all of us. So when we die, it will be with hope and it will be easy and our hearts will not be broken.

    I loved that man as agreat sportsman, a true Corinthian and the epitome of a decent human being.

  66. charybdis1966 says:

    So often this blog is an education in itself RA/Radders, for which Peaches and Cream are to be thanked.
    All good stuff.

  67. SharkeySure says:

    Love this blog ..not sure what Jaguar Retarded would make of it though.

  68. charybdis1966 says:

    Not enough mentions of “Senile, retarded francophonic mug” in it for his liking S Sure. 🙂

  69. Red Arse says:

    I have been banned from imbibing alcohol since I was taken ill.

    However, chatting to Raddy, who is a wine connoiseur, made me think of having a small glass of something nice to round off the best day I have had for a while. 🙂

    Believe it, or not, I rooted around and found, instead of what I thought was a bottle of plonk given for Xmas, was in fact a boxed bottle of a beautiful Dom Perignon.

    Now a glass of that won’t adversely effect my health, I’m sure! 🙂

  70. RockyLives says:

    Get in there Redders.
    And please chink an imaginary glass to your own returning health from the rest of us AA-ers.

  71. Red Arse says:

    Thanks Rocky, you and the others are a great bunch! 🙂

    Off to quaff before the sandyman gets into my eyes!

    Tomorrow.

  72. Big Raddy says:

    “If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
    Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,”

    Could have been written to Mr Wenger about the media and then some of the blogosphere.

    Bloody hell. A boxed DP champagne on a person whose palate is still recovering from a bug! A blended Scotch would be a better tipple!

  73. mickydidit89 says:

    Where’s our Chary gone, where’s our Chary gone?
    The Death Black Metally Noisey Chary, not this new enlightened Shostakovichy sensitive Chary! Truth be known, new marsh mallow centred Chary has grown on me already, and the reason is simple, only a genuine out and out one from the darkest side could not love our little Russian Maestro. So well done for a great post and I totally agree with you.

  74. mickydidit89 says:

    Just bloody got here, now I’ve got to bloomin’ well go again. Its not on.

  75. RockyLives says:

    Hello Micky.
    Bye Micky.

  76. charybdis1966 says:

    Oops, I think I’ve just got here too late also MDi89; I see no contradiction in liking Death metal as well as Shostakovich – I’m a complex character full of contradictions. 🙂

    As I often like to say “People are full of complementary antagonisms”

  77. Irishgunner says:

    Form is temporary, class is permanent.

  78. mickydidit89 says:

    Its only Cinders here and it looks like I’ve missed the sodding ball!

  79. mickydidit89 says:

    BR,
    Seeing as I’m leaving at 7am tomorrow to get to the game, I will miss your pre-match, should it thouest be.
    I have raised the bar. 10/11.

  80. mickydidit89 says:

    Just asked my son which coat he wants to wear tomorrow. “My best one Dad, we’re going to London”. Oh jeepers, not a country bumpkin at all!!! Mind you, his Royal Highness has chosen this season’s away shirt, so I must be doing something right, eh.

  81. mickydidit89 says:

    Oh well. I would sing you a lullaby but I’m not wasting my breath. So there. Enjoy tomorrow one and all. If we don’t win by four, I want a full refund of the days’ expences, and that’s about a million pounds.
    Over and outski.

  82. RockyLives says:

    Enjoy the atmos Micky.

  83. London says:

    Is there anything better in life than taking your son to Arsenal?

  84. Charybdis1966 says:

    True London, I’m taking both my son’s to the Wolves game.

  85. Irishgunner says:

    Why is the daughter never taken to Arsenal? 👿

  86. Charybdis1966 says:

    Cos I don’t have one Maire !

  87. RockyLives says:

    I’ve taken mine Irish! She loved it 😀

  88. Irishgunner says:

    WOOHOOO Rocky L

    Chary – well suppose you can’t take her then ha ha I used to go to all the GAA and local sports game with my dad, now I take him. Hoping to get us tickets to the Europa League Final in Dublin regardless of who is playing.

  89. London says:

    I have two sons 13 and 15, they take it in turns to come with me when a ticket becomes available; they are not big football fans which is fine; I have never tried to force it on them I take the view that if they prefer other sports that is perfectly ok BUT if they do chose to like football and support a football team then there is simply only one choice. They seem to understand this, there are of course special moments when they first use the collective “we” referring to Arsenal: how did we do today Dad? Aaaaahhhh, At this point I am sure many of you are aware that it takes all your strength to maintain a manly air and not cry out, resist giving them a big hug, while fighting back the tears. Anyway where was I, ah yes I was about to say that I have been taking my eldest since he was five and he has never seen them lose, it is uncanny he is now fifteen and he has never seen them lose; he said to me once in all earnest: Dad do Arsenal ever lose, it took me back I wanted to say No to keep his faith as I high as it was but I settled for, not often son. He is bloody well coming to the Barcelona game with me. Lol

  90. Charybdis1966 says:

    Trust me to get out of it on a technicality 😉

  91. Irishgunner says:

    Its my nephew’s 2nd birthday on Sunday – among his presents from his auntie was a full Arsenal kit 8)

  92. Carlito11 says:

    London that bit of news is most heartening! Seems that we’ll at least get a draw against barca then 🙂 I feel it’ll be 4-0 tomorrow but keen to get the oracle’s take before my visit to mr hill in the morning 😉

  93. Big Raddy says:

    Perhaps we can club together and buy London’s son a season ticket 🙂

  94. Morning all

    There’s a New Post

  95. Stos says:

    well said!! everyone should stand behind him and support him!!!

  96. Hi, thanks for this comment 🙂

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