Where Were You When the Going Got Tough?

The curtain has fallen on another season of top flight football – and what a season it has been.

As Arsenal fans we’ve been put through the mill more than the wheat stock at Hovis.

The most commonly used metaphor is that it was a “roller coaster” of a season. In which case it must have been this one:


The lowest point came on September 17th.

From the moment Cesc Fabregas answered the call of his yodelling DNA, we started eating the biggest poo sandwich in living Arsenal memory.

Our homesick Catalan was followed out the door by Samir “I want to win things – like an 85 grand a week pay rise” Na$ri, leaving us hardly any time to find replacements.

Before the transfer window closed the appropriately named ManUre added a squirt of diarrhea dressing to our poo sandwich with a humiliating 8-2 thrashing at the Theatre of Screams.

Arsène made a midnight dash in his pyjamas to the Transfer Window counter just as they were pulling down the shutters. After throwing out a bundle of fifty pound notes he scurried home with what appeared to be a random selection of Premier League journeymen and unknown foreigners.

But the low point – the real low, bottoming-out, it doesn’t get much lower than this, deeper than Jan Leeming’s voice, nadir point – was losing away at Blackburn.

Against a p*ss-poor assembly of relegation fodder players we scored three to their two – and still contrived to lose.

Our poo sarnie was suddenly a triple-decker.

At the end of the weekend’s football the Premier League Table made somber reading: Arsenal were sitting at 17th place, one above the relegation positions. The press gleefully informed us it was the worst start to an Arsenal season for 50 years.

But were the Arsenal faithful daunted?

You bet they were. The “Wenger Out” cacophony reached new heights and those who had been pedalling a negative agenda for the previous couple of years were falling over each other to predict failure and disaster. Some – in all seriousness – even warned that we faced relegation.

Certainly all the Wenger critics knew that we had zero chance of making the Top Four.

Well, we all know how it panned out in the end. We fought back, the assortment of new faces turned out to be not all bad and, in the end, we secured third place ahead of our ancient enemies.

They say the Premier League is a marathon not a sprint and, in fairness, we crossed the line like a bloke in a diving suit, but over the full course we had done enough to finish as the best team in England outside of the two Mancs.

But returning to September 17th 2011, the day of the Blackburn Rovers defeat, there was one oasis of perspective and optimism in the desert of desolation.

It was here, in the comments made by regulars on Arsenal Arsenal. So this Post is dedicated to you, my fellow bloggers, who looked into the abyss and saw not the pit of eternal despair, but a long dark tunnel out of which we could dig our way if we worked hard enough.

Here are some of the comments you made in the aftermath of that 3-4 loss:


Gooner in Exile says:

September 17, 2011 at 3:19 pm  (Edit)

If I was Wenger and Rice right now is about the time I would be tearing a few players new ones for that second half opening.

But also I’d be trying to lift their spirits and praise the way they turned it around at the end because that was a huge change from last year and if I’m not mistaken a bit of a plan B?

Red Arse says:

September 17, 2011 at 4:26 pm  (Edit)

You won’t want to hear this, but ecstasy and despair are both imposters and are the lot of all football fans.

Remember you cannot have one without the other, and neither emotion lasts. Tomorrow you will start to think of the game next Tuesday, and life will go on.

When we crunch the Spuds, all this will be put into perspective, if not forgotten.

I believe that on another day we would have won this 2:6.

Fatgingergooner says:

September 17, 2011 at 6:04 pm  (Edit)

Is this gonna happen after every bad game from now until the end of the season? Loads of people just coming out of the woodwork to take a pop?

It was tough to watch, very tough in fact. And there are big problems at the back, no doubt about it. But if TV was fit that would never have happened today. To come on and say sack the manager and offer zero in the way of an alternative is absurd. So is saying ‘we should have signed Baines’ after watching Santos play one game! I don’t think he played that badly.

We were excellent for 45 minutes, and for 15 minutes at the end. We had an unbelievable 30 minutes where everything that could possibly go wrong went wrong. Who’s to blame? Every single player on the pitch and the management as a whole. So either sack ‘em all or shut up!

Fatgingergooner says:

September 17, 2011 at 6:14 pm  (Edit)

The manager and the squad were the right men to take us forward about five hours ago, that cannot change in one 30 minute horror show.

I just hope the side don’t dwell too much on this.

dandan says:

September 17, 2011 at 6:32 pm  (Edit)

Good people; So a day to test the mettle of Arsenal fans everywhere, no doubt gloom and despondency will come leaping to the fore “ye Gods we have lost another football match, the end of the world is no doubt nigh”. No decent positives to be found anywhere. The manager must be hung drawn and quartered, as the only way the team will ever get more guts is to share his out.
 What a load of collective unmitigated crap we spout. Lady luck continues to treat us harshly; two own goals, and an offside goal did for us. How many teams would come back from that I wonder? Yet comeback we almost did.
Sure our defence got caught out but they are a new unit, our Brazilian fullback kept pushing up to far and we missed a couple of tackles. But where was the capitulation, so many have gone on about since the CC final last year. Who exactly gave up today, besides some disenchanted bloggers? Did you hear our away fans, they wont be blogging premature death notices. They will be at the Ems for our next three matches expecting our luck to turn and looking for a win. 
How good were some of those crosses we put in. Sod the Rose tinted glasses jibes, they don’t exist we are not that far away. TV and Jack plus the knowledge of playing together will put us back on track. They say that bad decisions even themselves out, well we have had more than our share thus far, so some poor bugger is going to suffer soon.
 Our next away game is the Spuds – don’t be surprised if the wrath of the football gods sends a traumatised Harry twitching and gibbering C.V. in hand to the England manager recruitment panel.


dandan says:

September 17, 2011 at 7:11 pm  (Edit)

FGG Well said my friend. Also hurting doesn’t mean you have to let it show. Positives can be found in any circumstance if you have the moral fibre to stand up and face the world with a smile.

Fatgingergooner says:

September 17, 2011 at 7:31 pm  (Edit)

We can try and make sense of that game but it was a freak as far as I’m concerned. We had 69% possession, 16 shots on goal. Any other time we would probably have won. It’s just unfortunate that the result has come at a time when we needed it least, but that’s usually how these things work. If we had won our first 4 games and then this happened we would be laughing at it!!!! It was THAT ridiculous.

From Total Arsenal’s match report on Arsenal Arsenal

I still have full confidence in the quality of our squad and Wenger’s desire and ability to change this round. However, this will take time and there is nothing we can do but hope that we will get back to winning ways soon. Losing to Blackburn hurts badly, and it is highly likely that we will get hurt and embarrassed again in the next few months, but now is the time to stand by our club, players and manager to see this period of transition through: we will need to win this battle by battle, game by game. Next game is Shrewsbury, COYRRG!


Big Raddy says:

September 18, 2011 at 10:32 am  (Edit)

Talk of relegation is way off the mark. What happens this season, happens.

The team is in transition and I believe that AW is the man to see us through it. He has built 2 great teams already and this will be another.

Andrew Dicomites says:

September 18, 2011 at 11:24 am  (Edit)

Let’s back off the manager and the team and provide support to the Arsenal. If we fire the manager now, what are the options? Lets give our manager and the team one last chance to put things right. We owe Arsene Wenger this chance to use the lessons learnt with a newly formed team to address the obvious weaknesses. Good relationships, communication, understanding and structure do NOT happen overnight.


Rob Lucci says:

September 18, 2011 at 12:18 pm  (Edit)

I expected this season will be a bumpy ride, and oh how it hurt my bump yesterday. But still, most of us enjoyed the first half performance, and it’s the defensive mid who orchestrated both of the goals ffs. What can be more exiting than that?

I believe this season will be just like the 2005/2006 seasons, when we lost Viera and scraped out to fourth place in the last day of the season. Hopefully our run in Champions League this season will be as good as that season’s. There always a way to be optimistic if you want to.

barumgooner says:

September 18, 2011 at 12:49 pm  (Edit)

Nice post Total, It’s good to read a sensible take on what happened. It’s easy to forget that it was absolutely lashing it down throughout the game and two of the goals were simply mistakes where a greasy ball just bounced off our guys and into the net. If Gerv had passed to RVP to make it 3-1 it would’ve been game over and we would all be praising the boys instead of running them down. Yesterday was a fluke result pure and simple. In the bigger picture we are in transition, its fair to say that we as a club AND MANAGER have had to make-do with average players for far too long, we now have some new players as well as some promising youngsters plus a world class ‘keeper at last. It will take time but we are I feel on the way back to where we should be.

dandan says:

September 18, 2011 at 1:57 pm  (Edit)

Super post Total,

Self flagellation has long been the favourite form of punishment for large numbers of Arsenal Fans, So why should we expect it to change in today’s world where instant gratification is also the expectation of so many.
Hence the constant barrage of negativity unleashed on the club’

My view; an exciting year lies ahead, as TV and Jack return and our players come to terms with each other.

Enjoy your disenchantment with AW and the board guys, it may well be that as the economy continues to go pear shaped you will have much to thank them for.

Time will tell

WiganGooner says:

September 18, 2011 at 3:34 pm  (Edit)

I know I am perpetually positive, but we have some great players who can really take us places. It’s still not too late to start getting some good results and restoring the confidence. For me, it’s heart-breaking to see so much negativity about the club I love. 
In my opinion Arsenal have the ability to be up there with the best teams in the world, Lady Luck wasn’t kind to us yesterday, but we have the personnel to be a great side again.
 Come on you Gooners!!


26may1989 says:

September 18, 2011 at 6:49 pm  (Edit)

This season will be hard, but this new side can’t be judged on the basis of one game. Yes, the defence was appalling in that second half, but it was also excellent against Dortmund a few days earlier. The creative side of our game has lifted with the new signings. Although I’m still worried about our striking options, my real concern is the squad’s psychology. But with a lot of hard work, and just a smidgeon of patience from the fans (ha ha, like that’s going to happen!), this is a side that can compete with a Spurs side that loses 5-1 at home and a Liverpool side that loses 4-0, and maybe even a City side that can’t beat Fulham and a Chelsea side that hasn’t looked too convincing this season.

harry says:

September 18, 2011 at 8:23 pm  (Edit)

I cant be doing with some of this wenger bashing, I am retiring from Blogging……..the hindsight brigade drain me……….Yes we have issues, it ain’t perfect, let’s get behind the team and the BOSS and give it till Xmas before we staring writing eulogies…

Fellow AA-ers – including those whose comments I did not have room for here, I salute you.



124 Responses to Where Were You When the Going Got Tough?

  1. Morning all, in answer to the question posed by The Rock, I have to say “Hiding behind London’s sofa” – after a bad defeat I tend to impose a Mugabe media lock-down, similar to the one I did once Didhe-have Dogbreath’s penalty rolled in on Saturday night.

    I have to salute the likes of GiE, Redders, Harry and those made of sterner stuff, those who have a good deal more back bone than an ameoba like me.

    However the biggest doffing of my sombrero goes to Peachy and Raspers for running this site through the darkest of the dark days we’ve had this season.

  2. Rasp says:

    Morning chary, thanks.

    Here’s TA’s match report from the day after the game….


    I think it was a good day’s blogging in the circumstances – the general tone was upbeat and our 3rd place finish legitimises that approach …. but it was as scary as Rocky’s rollercoaster clip 😕

  3. Just as well I didn’t come on that day then Raspers !

    I was majorly pee’d off that day. 😦

  4. Rasp says:

    That’s only human chary, my frustration is borne from the predictability of some of our performances – as a team and from individuals.

    Diaby looked great for the few minutes we saw him this season. I got all optimistic when he played, he walked off the pitch seemingly in good order and the next day we read he’s out with yet another injury – such a shame for him and the club.

    I’d like to ban certain phrases (but then I’d break my own rules if I did 🙄 ) like ‘knee jerk’, ‘dead wood’ – they are cheap ways of dismissing complex arguments.

    This summer will be very interesting. If we do not handle our transfer activity professionally, I’d like to see those responsible taken to task. I don’t know who of Laws, Gazidis, the Board or AW are the most culpable, but I sincerely hope we make a better job of things this summer than last.

  5. WiganGooner says:

    Great article that stirs up some awful memories of that day.

    I am pleased my positivity last season was rewarded with a decent upturn in results and a league position at the end that we can all be proud of.


  6. Rasp says:


    As usual you have somehow managed to pick the perfect subject matter and tone to lift us all at a time when it would be easy to become a bit dejected.

    With the chelski win, the uncertainty over RvP, no football for 3 months and a summer of torture from the media it would be easy to feel a bit down but your reminder of how we rallied from our lowest point of the season.

    All I can say is thanks, you have been a major force in refocusing our thoughts on what supporting Arsenal is really all about.

  7. Slimgingergooner says:

    I must say that looking back, even the most optimistic fan would’ve struggled to predict us finishing 3rd! It’s an achievement that should go down as one of Wengers greatest, but also one that he should’ve learned enough from so that we never see the likes of it again! The only way I can describe this season is like stepping away from a car crash unhurt!!!

    I’m with Rasp regarding the transfer window, and all the early signs suggest that we are doing our business early. However, I wouldn’t be surprised if we already have players in the bag, but don’t release statements until after the Euro’s.

  8. chas says:

    Excellent, GIE.

    Do you think the general upbeat approach of the blog wouldn’t have been legitimised if we had finished lower than 3rd?

    As far as I can see, all we have as football fans is our faith, our hope and our ability to support. Anything else is just p*ssing in the wind because it has no effect whatsoever, therefore the upbeat positive approach is the only one that makes sense.

    I still have two and a half days worth of comments to catch up on. Thanks for the weekend posts, GIE and Micky. Our Munich trip was excellent. The locals were really friendly and helpful.
    The chav fans were pretty foul and obnoxious…….no change there, then. Thank Dennis, their spawny win had a silver lining for us Gooners. 🙂

  9. chas says:

    Apologies, Rocky. I was getting confused between posts.

  10. Rasp says:

    Hi chas, I chose the word ‘legitimises’ carefully. I could have extended the sentence to include ‘for those who were critcal of our stance’

    Obviously those on here who exude positivity would have retained that approach had we finished 7th in the PL.

  11. goonerjake says:

    I remember getting despondant at the start of the season plus with the reccession hitting. Both of these factors probably lead to a lot myself included not attending games we normally would of.

  12. Slightly off topic now, but how many here have renewed their memberships already ?

  13. Dandan says:

    so my friends,time has run its course,the seasons ended and lo and behold the light at the end of the tunnel was a station called CL again.
    We sit here all in one piece, our own raven haired warrior has prevailed, Rasp has survived to see the spuds collectively clutching their wedding tackle, out of which has poured Arry’s dreams terminally distorted by the Russian money machines jackboot. If ever there were a case for take the pain but leave the swelling, I guess this is it, cant see any other way the barrow boy done well, will get anything out of the past weekend. Arry has always liked the money side of football I wonder is that like a little tempered today.

    Next season, who knows anything is possible, but what we do know is that at the slightest whimthe detractors will arise in all their foul mouthed glory to trumpet their I’ll informed opinions on our approaching doom. Well let them, we all know a site that will welcome them with open arms, whilst hopefully AA will continue to post constructive criticism and upbeat evaluations of the team we love as the season unfolds.

    As for the spuds when you have had your fun at their expense, then show a little empathy it could have so easily been us

  14. goonerjake says:

    Membership renewal -YES

  15. dandan says:

    Membership renewed – Yes

  16. Thanks dd, G-J – it might be a good idea for a poll, i.e. who has renewed, who is waiting to see and who has decided not to.

  17. Red Arse says:

    Hi Rock my Socks, 🙂

    What an intriguing take on our season, and a fascinating look back at a snapshot of positive comments made in the early season.

    It would have been equally revealing to have had a look at the ‘less positive’ comments too. Not to pillory the authors but to consider what their concerns were at the time, and whether or not those fears came to pass.

    It is possible, even probable that those of a more cautious disposition, like the Rasper, had every justification in questioning those things they felt were not conducive to Arsenal’s continuing success, at that time, and perhaps they still remain unconvinced?


    Thanks for the post Rocky, like you i salute all optomistic gooners. In fact, i applaud gooners of all persuasion, all of us can be right and wrong at times, have different perspectives and shades of grey in our views. Whats important is we get behind the club and help push the team on next season.

    Just to pick up on dandans point, i have found myself in a predicament this weekend over Totnumb missing out on the Champions League. For the first time in my life, i actuly have some sympathy for our friends doen the road. They are a club who have tried to do things the right way, but find themselves hammerd by the power of the suger daddies. To add insult to injury, the same club that denied them there spot is by all accounts hovering around Modric like the most distasteful vulture ever seen in the serengeti. Yes, my wicked side still laughs at there plight, but in all honesty its not right.

  19. Rasp says:

    Morning RA,

    I had a look back at my comments in the match review in the link I posted above and there was no negativity or calls for drastic measures.

    My mantra has always been the same:

    Support the team that is on the pitch
    Club before individual(s)
    Balance and strength required in the team
    Make the most of the resources we have
    Learn from our mistakes
    Don’t insult the intelligence of supporters with blatant spin

    I have never said we should spend millions on players, I support our stance to be financially self sustaining as long as the ownership remains in its curent form.

  20. oz gunner says:

    Great idea for a post Rocky

    like chary i too was in hiding i think. The night before i was left saying:

    ‘djourou djourou djourou! from the great run of games he had to this…off to drown the sorrows. Goodluck to whoever is writing the match report’

    I think the biggest transformation was FGG’s weight loss!

  21. oz gunner says:

    irish summed it up:

    ‘one has to laugh when a team has 3 shots on target yet wins 4-3’

  22. 26may1989 says:

    Anyone remember the game years ago when we were 2-0 down at half-time at home to Middlesbrough? Boro had had no shots either on or off target for the whole first half, and were two up thanks to own goals from Edu (on his starting debut, I think) and Silvinho. Boro actually had a shot of their own in the second half, and scored again. Hey presto, a 3-0 home defeat. We’ve taken hits before, we will again, but I do believe that this squad and this manager can prevail over everything other than the tsunami of cash that arrived from Abu Dhabi.

    Nice post Rocky. It was a terrible start to the season in 2011 but the hysteria of many was always misplaced. And I would have said that even if we hadn’t finished 3rd or in a CL berth.

  23. Big Raddy says:

    RL. Super stuff.

    Reminds me once again of the bon mot,

    “the darkest hour is just before Dawn”

  24. Big Raddy says:

    In truth, I enjoy the re-active comments from the neigh-sayers. It shows a healthy concern and passion for the club.

    Oz. ….. FGG > SGG 😀

  25. Slimgingergooner says:

    🙂 🙂 🙂

  26. Big Raddy says:

    On a side issue……

    May I state how sad I am that a founder member of the site has decided to take a sabbatical.

    Kelsey. We disagree about many things but your passion for and knowledge of all things Arsenal is obvious to all who blog with you.

    I look forward to your return in the near future.

    Hasta La Vista ……

  27. Danish Gooner says:

    Hello !!! anyone out there !!! Chavski have just won the CL and FA cup in the same season with the samllest squad they have had for 5 seasons.If that is not taking a dump on an already incredible large turd sandwich i dont know what is.



    I have the soloution. Why dont you be so kind as to give Arsenal Football Club £1 Billion, like Mr Abramovitch has done with Chelsea to ease all this constipation.

  29. dandan says:

    Has anyone else noticed first day after the season end and already news now has let’s spend the Russian money articles on show. Can these guys not see what is happening to clubs outside of our own?

  30. Big Raddy says:

    DD. Clearly not. And they conveniently forget the “success” of Liverpool’s spending and that but for incredible luck over 5 games, Chelsea would be playing on Thursday nights.

  31. RedMJ says:

    Chas – “Anything else is just p*ssing in the wind …” But I thought my new pre match ritual of a bacon and egg sarnie in the Workmans cafe on Blackstock Road was the main reason for our resurgence. 1st time – Blackburn 7-1 ; 2nd time whiteshite 5-2; 3rd time Milan 3-0 4th time Oilers 1-0 . I missed Wigan and look what happened!

  32. Red Arse says:

    Hi Rasper, 🙂

    Had to go out, hence the delay in replying to your very good comment at 11:33.

    I hope you understand that I was not having a veiled tilt at you, your reasoned and mature take on things is a given.

    Neither was I being too specific about the timeline for fans’ concerns, but I do genuinely feel there might be something to learn from fears expressed during the season that turned out to be not well founded — we will be relegated, we will end up being a mid-table club, at best, etc, etc — but also those worries that despite our finishing 3rd were well grounded then and are still valid now.

    I should have made myself clearer — but Kelsey (our inside reporter) would have told me I was being verbose – again! 🙂

  33. Red Arse says:

    Hi RedMJ,

    I hope you adjust your eating schedule next season.
    You could end up with a magnificent waist line, and we will win everything! 🙂

  34. Rasp says:

    Hi RA, no, not at all. I realised from your carefully worded comment that you were not being critical – I just used the opportunity to clarify my stance.

    I agree that reasoned questioning of the way we do things is perfectly acceptable and productive as is supporting the team by being positive come what may. The two ends of the scale are where the problem lies and it was to get away from those extreme parameters that we set up AA in the first place

  35. RedMJ says:

    RA – a worthy sacrifice and fun along the way. Just have to run a few more miles.

  36. Gooner In Exile says:

    Afternoon all, this post moves on from what I was saying yesterday about camaraderie, well done Rocky.

    The thing I like most about AA as a blog is that the core supporters/bloggers are her win/lose or draw. We find gallows humour that helps us in the depth of malaise, and enough people to brighten up the place when it gets too dreary.

    I was not alone after Milan away stating that it would perhaps do us good to have a season out of the CL and even Europa, re assess the squad, let players leave of their heart wasn’t in the club and allow a proper rebuild rather than the little by little approach we have used to paper over cracks. Thankfully the lads weren’t thinking that way and the winning run they produced to get us up to 3rd surprised even the most positive Gunner.

    Chas at 10:30 sums it up perfectly (IMO).

    Chary – mine and the wife’s renewed (Red so hardly a significant cost).

  37. GiE – I was just wondering about whether this “wait and see who we get before we renew” faction amongst Gooners actually existed or it’s just an Arsenal hating media invention.

    I’ve got myself plus Chary Major & Minor to renew, will probably be going to less games in 2012-13 thanks to the double dip recession.

    Here are some more John Terry funnies:

  38. Gooner In Exile says:

    I think ST holders on here will give a better guide.

    There is also a new level of cheaper games next season, but like you with the cost of travelling each game needs to be carefully considered. A day out to the Arse for me and the wife is north of £100. If I lived in travel card distance I’d probably go every week.

  39. RockyLives says:

    Hello All
    I hope today’s Post did not come across as critical of those who were more pessimistic/troubled about our chances after that disastrous start.

    I’ll happily admit that after Blackburn I was starting to think “if we’re still deep in the doodoo by the end of the year, it may be time to say a sad ‘au revoir’ to AW.”

    But I distinctly remember having my mood lifted by the perspective and optimism of several AA commenters, not all of whom I had room to represent above.

    By the same token, the constructive criticism and questioning of the management and players is also valid and important.

    One of the reasons we turned it round this year is that we started doing some of the things that the sceptics were asking for.

  40. RedMJ says:

    Not a chance of me ever giving up my season tickets. Wait listed for 8 years the latter 4 of which were spent sub-letting someone elses and the previous 30 years begging or borrowing tickets where possible or just turning up and paying on the gate (the good old days?). I love being a season ticket member and can’t wait for next season already.

  41. Reddawn says:

    Hi Chaps and Chapesses. I posted this comment on 19th of August 2011 and on reflection I think it was fair estimation of our season…..Forget the silly ideas of silverware for once and let’s consider the team. Arsenal have just had the heart ripped out of the side over the past month and regardless of who arrives next we have to consider how well and how quickly the team will meld into a force to be reckoned with. Unfortunately, time is not on their side. Therefore, I would predict that Arsenal will go through a difficult transitional period before they can achieve their full potential. This could take anything from six months to next season. If Mr Wenger does it before the six months, then surely he deserves all the credit for being a great manager

  42. GiE – when I bring my boys it’s double that for the day for me, it’s a 45 minute drive before I get to the travelcard zone – mind you the last time I took them they got to see the return of the King and him scoring.

  43. Red Arse says:

    You are just a trouble maker, Rock Island Line! 🙂

    Let’s face it, most everyone fluctuates between positivity and negativity. It’s all a question of whether our bodies on a given day have an electric charge with have an excess of electrons, making us negative, or an electric charge with a deficiency of electrons making us positive!

    See it’s all science!!

    You are still a trouble maker tho’! 🙂

  44. Red Arse says:


    I am no expert in British transport matters, but I think you can buy an annual family travel permit [£25 (?)] which then entitles you to a hefty discount on all fares subsequently purchased.

    I read that somewhere, altho it may have had restrictions.
    My mind is cluttered with half remembered useless info’! 🙂

  45. RockyLives says:

    Typical, slip in a bit of particle physics at the slightest excuse 🙂

  46. Does anyone have an idea for a post for tomorrow? Neither Rasp nor I will be around so something that’s not going to need much monitoring would be good ……… have a think and let me know 😉

  47. Gooner In Exile says:

    RA unfortunately the National Railcard is not available in East Anglia (altho has just changed hands from National Express to some Dutch company so perhaps they will now apply). At the moment I can get the discount if I am travelling as a family (and children must be over 5).

  48. LB says:

    I find Harry’s comment above very sad but I know what he means, it is draining having to deal with the same negativity over and over again. Still, we are going to win the league next season, so time to perk up.

  49. Rob Lucci says:

    It’s nice to see my name up there.. 🙂

  50. Red Arse says:

    I saw a reference to Harry but did not see a comment with that tag name.

    Has our Harry gone undercover? Do tell! 🙂

  51. Big Raddy says:

    Rob. You always write good stuff……..

    LB. Yu must be super fit after your mountain cycling. HAve you been watching the Giro D’Italia? Those guys are machines.

  52. Big Raddy says:

    Peaches. If Rasp has time to create a poll, there is one in the loading bay……

  53. Big Raddy says:

    Firstly, I am not a few pence short of a pound, but …..

    Why don’t we sign Berbatov? The man is available. He scores regularly, he is well used to the subs bench and he likes London.

    OK …. maybe my lift doesn’t reach the top floor ….

  54. VCC says:

    Terry…. 11:27. Well said sir.

  55. LB says:

    Hi BR

    Did you see the Giro yesterday? The Rabottini win amazing.

    I have been cycling in Mallorca in training for a propsed cycling trip from the Atlantic (Biarritz) to the Med (Perpingnon) in five days, climbing all the well known mountains……….can’t wait.

  56. Red Arse says:

    Rock Idol,

    I have a theory that male/female attraction has nothing to do with pheromones or overtly physical attraction.

    You know that magnets have a magnetic field with positive and negative charges at either end, with by definition one end having a surplus of electrons and the other a dearth (non scientific term 🙂 ) of electrons.

    Well I think people are like magnets and dependent on their electrons overwhelmingly attract each other. Seems a good theory! 🙂

    What I am still working on is; that if the head of each person is positive and the feet are negative, then given that positives repel, as do negatives, the effect, if I am right, is that they would go straight into the soixante neuf position, which can be a bit embarrassing if they have just been introduced by the local vicar!! 🙂

  57. Big Raddy says:

    LB. NO disrespect but you are completely raving mad! I have done Mont Ventoux and promised I would never do another long climb again, let alone 5 days ….

  58. Big Raddy says:

    RA. How do you explain homosexuality?

  59. Red Arse says:

    There should be no discrimination!

    Other than that, I am happy to confirm I am heterosexual – how about you?

  60. Stig the gooner says:

    I frequent the Metropolitan line and do it standing up during the rush hour, I suppose that makes me Metrosexual !. 🙂

  61. Stig the gooner says:

    Red Arse
    Dont worry , If you were doing porridge, there would not be any discrimination, It would be mandatory, especially with someone with a name like , “Big Raddy” standing behind you in the showers, waiting for you to pick the soap up of the floor !. 🙂

  62. Red Arse says:

    I will do my best not to find out, Stig, but thanks for the warning. 🙂

  63. jnyc says:

    RADDY, i was just thinking about berbatov yesterday. Everything you said makes sense, and he is a true scorer, not shy to take a shot. We could use that.

  64. Stig the gooner says:

    Red Arse
    Arsenal have the biggest inmate fan base, on the account that the most common phrase heard coming out of a paired up cell at night is, ” Up the Arse ” !. 🙂

  65. Stig the gooner says:

    Anyone know when the fixtures for next season come out ?. I need my fix already !.

  66. Big Raddy says:

    RA. You know my chequered past …. 🙂

  67. Red Arse says:

    Raddy, I hasten to add for the delectation of the cognoscenti that I have no knowledge of your past, chequered or otherwise! 🙂

  68. Stig the gooner says:

    I shall answer my own question.
    Stig . It will be in the middle of June, with the first games played on Sat` 18th August 2012.


    Your welcome.

  69. dandan says:

    Had texts from Blue friends about LFC manager position. One says the next candidate to turn the job down will have his benefit stopped!!

  70. Gooner In Exile says:

    Have we signed Torres yet, his outpouring to Ballague was clearly a come get me. Come on Ivan and Dicky pull your pens out and start spending!

    Oh and why haven’t we signed M’Villa yet?

  71. Red Arse says:


    Very naughty, again! 🙂

    By the way, as a senior official on AA, have a word with your colleague, Big Daddy, who is hell bent on ‘outing’ me, just because he strummed a nice tune on his large guitar, singing softly and seductively, while dressed in his best Canadian lumberjack shirt! 🙂

  72. Red Arse says:


    You are just as bad! What are you saying?
    “Come on Ivan and Pens pull your dickys out and start spending!

    I do not know what that paragon of virtue will make of all this!! 🙂

  73. Red Arse says:


    You are now officially appointed the AA football secretary, responsible for answering all tricky questions appertaining to the why, when and wherefores such as what is the best/nearest pub to the Ems, what the hell does Promo Borovic do etc, etc. 🙂

    To start with, can you explain the rudiments of the Financial Fair Play regulations and how do we get round them? 🙂

  74. GunnerN5 says:

    Big Raddy says:

    May 21, 2012 at 6:14 pm

    RA. How do you explain homosexuality?


    It’s pretty simple really.

    A homosexual is a man who wants to enlarge the circle of his friends.

  75. chas says:

    Renato ‏@th14Renato
    Johan Cruyff: “Chelsea winning the CL final is a defeat for proper football. I’d rather not win it than to have to play this way.”

  76. Stig the gooner says:

    Red Arse

    There is the problem, ” How do we get round them”, everyone expects us to get round them, so we go straight through them instead !, straight to the hearts of ” Mansour and Abramovitch”, cut them out and feed them to the poor people of the North West ( the poorest regions of Britain according to the news today, Man U only survive due to the mass exodus from Surrey once a fortnight ).

  77. goonermichael says:

    Peaches I have an idea for a post but I can’t write it. I would call it “once a gooner always a gooner?” and it would be about how people say that about some players (cesc even though it should be onece a barca etc) and freddie but not about ashley cole. I think it’s a bit of a stupid saying really.

    regarding the post I thought the world was ending at the time so I was glad you didn’t “out” the negatives like me.

  78. chas says:

    Number 1 in Europe… Number 6 in England, Number 3 in London.

  79. Reddawn says:

    I thought I had just logged on to a homophobic site. Wow! that was a close call, it’s only AA. Anyway, what I would like to know if David Cameron was attacked from behind would Greece help.

  80. chas says:
  81. Gooner In Exile says:

    Chas that quote from Cruyff is how expect most of European Football feels about the game.

    The pic of the kids trophy is very funny!

  82. chas says:

    GIE, It’s how everyone felt about Greece winning Euro 2004. While we were watching the game the Germans we were sat with were giving us translations of the commentary. There was disbelief that the chavs could come to the final and then just park the bus.

  83. GunnerN5 says:

    An interesting article from the Islington Gazette by Stewart Robson.


    Former Arsenal star Stewart Robson says Arsene Wenger does NOT have to spend big in the summer to mount a title challenge next season.

    But he believes if the Gunners are to make up ground on the two Manchester sides, hard work on the training ground at London Colney coupled with a massive shift in the club’s playing style are the two key factors to make that happen.

    Arsenal finished the season in third place – sealing automatic qualification to the group stages of the Champions league for a 15th consecutive season – some achievement after their worst start to a league campaign for 58 years.

    But in the process, a porous defence leaked 49 goals in 38 Premier League matches – the worst ratio of goals conceded since the 1983/84 campaign when Don Howe’s struggling side shipped 60 in 42 Division One games.

    And that, says Robson – a member of that side 28 years ago – is what is holding the current Arsenal outfit back.

    “It is not about buying new players,” Robson told London24. “Look, it’s always nice to get new faces in – and we have done already with the signing of Lukas Podolski from Cologne – but this is more about working with the players we have got and making some big changes to how we play.

    “If we are to challenge, if we are to improve, then it is all about Arsene Wenger needing to get a clear, coherent, defensive strategy drilled into the squad.”

    Robson believes Wenger’s new No2, Steve Bould – a three-times title winner at Highbury as part of the Gunners’ miserly defence of the 1980s and 90s – could play a key role, but only if he is allowed to do so.

    “Steve Bould was a great defender and can bring much to the role on the defensive side. But we do not know what influence he will have as Arsene Wenger’s right hand man,” says Robson. “If he is given scope to make these changes he could really make a difference.

    “What is clear is that they simply have to get that defensive game right. We have the players there to improve and make an impact next season – but the style has to change. Until that happens they will only be a good team, not a great team.

    “This team needs to start consistently defending well, getting in the habit of keeping clean sheets. There is no point in full-backs bombing forward if there is no strategy when we lose the ball.

    “Steve Bould may have ideas and Arsene Wenger will do. If Steve has some influence they have to work together to marry their two philosophies and make them compatible.

    “The fact remains that even if Arsenal went out right now and bought the four best defenders in the world, if they keep their current style they will not make any real difference.

    “We need to defend more from the front, we need to be disciplined and to make sure the defence always has cover in front of it. These are the fundamentals that title-winning sides have. You don’t see poor defences win leagues. We have the players to do it.”

    Robson, now a highly-respected pundit, believes there is much to build on after one of the strangest seasons in Arsenal’s recent history, which saw the Gunners hammered 8-2 at Manchester United, but score five past Chelsea and Tottenham and be the last side to beat champions Manchester City.

    “Considering where they were last August, after Old Trafford and then losing at Blackburn, Arsenal have finished in a great position, no doubt about it,” adds Robson.

    “But, frankly, I am still disappointed overall. They recovered well but it is all about winning trophies and Arsenal haven’t won one again – this is another season with no silverware and it is frustrating, especially with the talent we have at the club. That has to change. Next season Arsenal must be serious contenders


    Everyone chas? hahahaha. Not me thats for sure. The Greek victory was a glorious event, akin to a Homeric epic. It was certainly better than ther participation in the previous world cup when they lost every game and then made out there hotel room was ransacked and put in a bogus insurance claim. hahahaha.

  85. Gooner In Exile says:

    Obviously ze Germans don’t watch a lot of ze Premier League.

    Following on from GMs comment If David Dein takes the Liverpool job as rumoured will he still be a Gooner?

  86. SharkeySure'sGhost says:

    Alright Chas’ter(?)….great minds ‘eh…I read that from HBWHW this morning and thought…yup post that on AA later. Quality read…

  87. SharkeySure'sGhost says:

    Corky Corky Corky….how’d you miss this:

    “SharkeySure says:
    September 17, 2011 at 3:52 pm

    Freak game today. Very good first half, and lady luck deserted us 2nd half.

    if you lose 4-3 in a game in which the opposition only have three attempts on target, you are entitled to count yourselves a little unlucky.”

    And this:

    “SharkeySure says:
    September 17, 2011 at 3:55 pm

    Corky Elvis…save my last post somewhere in case you ever need to go back to it. Once we’ve risen like aphoenix from the flames (tm BR!) and claimed 3rd place. Mayb eyou could write apost reminding us who kept the faith duirng one of our darkest hours..?? Just a thought….??”

    In a word ‘prescient’ !!


    That article is very unfair on Hill-wood Peaches. He is, and has been for many years a powerless old duffer who likes reading the Daily Star, smoking cigars and falling asleep in Board meetings. Hes also an old etonian, so must be a jolly spiffing bloke what.

  89. chas says:

    Haha, Terence. Sounds like their performance at the previous world cup was far more entertaining.

    Quite enjoyed this and the comments.

  90. That’s what I thought TMHT ……… bit of a worry if he’s not though …..

  91. chas says:

    I saw your comment Sharkington. That’s how I knew it was a good’un!

    Prescient indeed. Hahahahaaha.

  92. chas says:

    Will you stop worrying about everything. Where’s the carefree, raven-haired warrior goddess of the Blackstock Alcohol Hostelry?

  93. SharkeySure'sGhost says:

    Peaches…I skimmed that article. Did I miss something concrete…??

    The article includes this:

    “The lack of ambition is destroying the brand. The public consider United as winners, and Arsenal have a ‘loser’ label right now and it will be more difficult to convince companies and supporters to give money without get anything back. Spurs’ success and stars imply better commercial deals and more fans. There are no big difference between our revenue from commercial deals and Spurs commercial revenue and with their new stadium their revenues will increase.”

    Other than that there’s a few lines about PHW’s business interests, and how DavidDein was as importantto Arsenal as arsene”’co ssince dein left we don;t do so well. There’s no juxtaposition of that with the new stadium or oil money.

    Usmanov PR ..??

  94. chas – did you forget that we sent you to Munich to capture the blue fairy? You didn’t do a very good job did you 😆

    Hope you had fun though ……..

  95. No football turns me into a toad 🙂 I miss my friends, I miss the Arsenal Tavern 😦

  96. Sharkey – the article goes into great detail about Hill-Woods business dealings in the murky waters of Russia and how this goes against his outrage at the thought of Usmanov being woven into the Arsenal fabric because of his ‘ill gotten’ gains.


    Peaches, if he realy did have any power our highest transfer would be 60 pounds and 2 shillings, and player wages would be capped to £12 per week, those working classes dont deserve more what. He would also be picking the team with David Cameron alternating between PM and goalkeeper, and George Osborne taking time off running the countrys finances to play right wing for the Arsenal what. The rest of the side will be comprised of the England cricket team.

  98. SharkeySure'sGhost says:

    Ha ha Chas(inton?)…I feel almost adulterous when I enjoy an article away from AA. I shoud really leave comments under a nom de plume.

    A name that maybe showcases my frothiness and ability to articulate but also gives license to the inner loon that I think is in all of us.

    Mmmmm…I might just give that blogging under an alias a try,…could be fun. I’m struggling to come up with a suitable name though….,…

  99. chas says:

    peaches – Not even Dennis Almighty could have stopped Abramobitch and Terry from getting their mitts on it. It was preordained for some unfathomable reason. There is no other explanation as to how they could squeak through two rounds in a row in such a ridculously spawny fashion.

  100. SharkeySure'sGhost says:

    “I miss my friends, I miss the Arsenal Tavern 😦 ”

    Womens League Arsenal home game…?? One summers day….?? Get a widget going..??

  101. chas says:

    Don’t despair you only have to wait three weeks to see John Terry in an England shirt.
    Think I might support Ireland.

  102. chas says:

    How about “Geoff”?

  103. chas – I’m with you on that, their name was on the cup weeks ago I reckon 😦 Still, if Abramovitch wants to back off now is a good time 🙂

  104. chas – tut tut tut ………………..

    Maybe JT will slip in the shower and we won’t have to watch him. Actually he’ll probably want to wear the blue one won’t he ………

  105. SharkeySure'sGhost says:

    Great detail…?? Looked like second cousin twice removed to me….

    If it wasn’t wrapped up in so much subjective shite I’d give it more credit.

    “Peter Hill-Wood, once vice-chairman of Hambros Bank, is friend with Peter Hambro who founded Peter Hambro Mining with Pavel Maslovskiy. Hill-Wood decided to buy shares and became a member of the board 2003. But why did Hill-Wood invest in gold mining if he doesn’t like murky businesses?”

    And for Fiszman (RIP) it was diamonds. What about chicken factories with minimum wage workers, or construction sites/co’s with H&S issues..??

    The author ends by slamming PHW’s as being ‘greedy’ to the detriment of the club…but doesn’t really explain how or why.??

    Anyway its there for anyone to read and form their opinion, I was just offering mine.

  106. SharkeySure'sGhost says:

    ‘Geoff’ it is then Chas. I’ll chuck away the full stop on my keyboard, won’t be needing that !

    Lost without you mate….. 🙂

    Night all

  107. SharkeySure'sGhost says:


    Great Example Of ….

    Oops here comes Peaches Mum …quick Chas…HIDE !!!

  108. This from the Petropavlovsk plc Annual Report

    Non-Executive Directors
    Dr David Humphreys joined us
    in August 2011 as a Non-Executive
    Director to replace Peter Hill-Wood
    who retired in May 2011. David has
    already made a valuable
    contribution to the Board with his
    extensive relevant experience in
    the global mining industry through
    his work for mining companies and
    as a consultant and academic.

    He was definitely there …………………

  109. I’m off too ………………

  110. Sharkey – I think it’s a case of having the facts but not really being sure what they mean or what to do with them ………….

  111. Gooner In Exile says:

    I read the article, well for about two paragraphs then I got bored.

    Basically they want investment from the board….yet the club to MU knowledge has always been self financing. The article misses the point as to why KSE was allowed to buy shares (Fiszmans health) and sets about trying to defame Hill Wood. Thing is any money he has earned in Investments away from the club have not been invested in the club.

    Do we really want the possibility of a Taksin Shinawatra, or Carsson Yeung affair tarnishing our club?

    Not me thanks.

    As an antidote to the above I highly recommend an article GM tweeted:

  112. chas says:

    I wonder what PHW’s contribution was to the Board.

    Last one from me. Apologies if it’s already been posted.
    Here’s a picture of John Terry scoring the equaliser against Bayern.


  113. 26may1989 says:

    Sorry peaches, we usually agree, but that article slating PHW is hands down the worst written, most ill-conceived piece I’ve seen for a long time.

    Like most Gooners, I find PHW an embarrassment and would be pleased if he could be shifted off stage pronto. But the idea that he is the dark force behind the Club’s demise is just ludicrous. Last time I looked, he owns something like 0.002% of the shares in the Club (having cashed most of his shares by selling to Dein yonks ago). He is no more than an old school figurehead suggesting continuity and history, a role he previously undertook for Dein, then for Fiszman and now for Kroenke. Honestly, I am staggered at how far off the mark the article is in understanding how the Club is run.

    The decision to keep Usmanov off the Board is not PHW’s, it’s Kroenke’s (and was Fiszman’s before that). It’s a matter of corporate rivalry. Personally, I’d prefer it if Usmanov were on the Board because it would give the Club we love more stability, but there is a slo-mo power struggle between Usmanov and Kroenke – neither one is an angel, but no-one should think Usmanov is some sort of innocent victim in all this, he would do exactly the same were the positions reversed. Anyway, the idea that it is PHW keeping Usmanov off the Board, or taking any other serious decision, is plain silly. The worst that can be said of PHW is that he’s an embarrassing buffoon who is drawing a small salary from the Club (I think it’s something like £20k p.a.), plus he’s getting free food, drinks, cigars and a warm room when he’s at meetings or at games.

    As for PHW having served as a non-exec director for Petropavlovsk plc, I see nothing to be ashamed of there. The company is a well known British company and is listed on the FTSE 250, which brings with it various compliance requirements. It was co-founded by a Russki and a Brit in the 1990s, and is a serious and respected company. I know this from personal experience, much of my work being in Russia and other parts of the CIS.

    In any event, being a non-exec director does not involve owning any shares (and most non-exec directors don’t own shares in the company). The role is about holding the executives and main directors to account for the benefit of the shareholders. I’m surprised PHW would have had that role at a company as serious as Petropavlovsk but holding that role suggests anything but a stake in the company’s operations. As a measure of what the role is about, I see that one of the current non-exec directors there is a former Chief of the UK Defence Staff. Not exactly dodgy, fly-by-night types.

    OK, I’m off to post something on that Goonertalk site.

  114. dandan says:

    Net Spend per Trophy ’92-’12: Arsenal (10) £2.1m, United (21) £8m, Liverpool (8) £28.3m, Chelsea (13) £37m, Spurs (2) £84.5m, City (2) £237m

  115. LB says:

    Quality comment 26.

  116. LB says:

    I kinda want David Dein to get the Liverpool job. The “We want DD back brigade” will finally see that he is not a miracle worker, true he did well for us before Abramovich and Mansour arrived but they are still around and I predict that the “Saint David Dein Lot” will see that he will suffer from the same difficulties our current board and manger have done since those two arrived on the scene.

  117. Big Raddy says:

    26. Your response is excellent. Unsurprisingly, the follow on comments chose to ignore your logical explanation preferring to stick to their gut based response.

    After all, why ruin a conspiracy story with facts and good sense?

  118. Big Raddy says:

    LB. I agree. In DD’s early days he didn’t have to deal with management teams the Russians, Americans and Arabs can afford.

    Those days are gone and he will struggle. That said I would like him back at Arsenal – an Arsenal man should be at home.

    p.s. following your description of your planned cycling tour I found a blog of a group of cyclists who had taken your route. When you make it ….. Chapeau

  119. Rasp says:

    I’m not around today, but my ten pennyworth on the subject is that the club made a mistake in bringing in a non-football man like Gazidis. He is just a slick talker who so far has not really sealed any amazing deals but thinks that presentation is more important than content. I can’t see Robin or any other top footballer being impressed by what he has to say at contract negotiations, whereas a football man like DD would carry a lot more gravitas.

    As far as PHW is concerned, I don’t think he’s greedy, just an old duffer who is out of touch with the players and the supporters and I look forward to the day when someone who can speak intelligently on behalf of the club takes over.

  120. ……. New Post ……

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