The Prayer of St Totteringham

First, please kneel, place your hands together and join me in reciting the Prayer of St Totteringham:

“Our Neighbours, who art in shadow

Fallow be thy game.

Thy fandom – scum;

Thy players – plums

(In truth, none would make our eleven).

Give us this day our Champions League,

And forgive us for taking the p*ss

As we laugh at those who finish behind us,

And lead us not into N17,

But deliver us from Levy

For Arsenal’s is the kingdom,

The power, and the gap,

For ever and ever,

Arsène.”

I thank you.

And now for the sermon. Or rather, a confession:

This time last year, after a nail-biting conclusion to the Premier League season, I was confident that we would never have to go through such agonies again for a very long time.

We had had our worst start to a season for 50 years (as the media enjoyed telling us). We had been 10 points behind the jealous neighbours in January (“mind the gap”) and for a long time the prospect of making the top four seemed very distant.

But a great run got us back into contention and, even though we faltered with the finishing tape in sight, we crawled over the line just ahead of the enemy thanks to a 3-2 win away at West Brom, whose ‘keeper (Martin Fulop) was like a 12th man for us.

I really thought that qualifying for the Champions League last May was going to be a watershed. We would strengthen in the summer and make a serious title bid in the 2012/13 season. There would be no more last-day anxiety about trying to clinch fourth. I said as much here on Arsenal Arsenal.

Well, we all know by now that I was wrong. Our summer was scuppered by Brave Sir Robin, who had apparently been listening to a little boy he keeps locked up somewhere.

What should have been a summer of building steadily on strong foundations became another case of major transition and losing our most important player. Van Persie was followed out by Song (plus our excellent loanee Yossi Benayoun); and another bunch of new players came in – many at the last minute.

With hindsight – and from the comfortable position of having qualified for the CL yet again (albeit, again, by the skin of our teeth) – it was obvious that it would take time for us to find our groove this season.

When eventually we did, we became very, very effective (although perhaps not as pretty as we had been previously).

So now I will repeat the claim I made 12 months ago – and this time I am sure I will be right:

A year from now we will not end up scrapping for fourth: we will be battling for the league title. The Tiny Totts – if they can exceed expectations again with their one-man team – will be the ones trying to scrape into the CL positions again, but they will not be our concern. St Totteringham’s Day 2014 will fall much earlier than it has in recent years.

There are two reasons why I feel my prediction has more merit this time round: firstly, we will have stability on the playing side: none of our “star” players will be leaving the club; there will be no summer-long “will-he-won’t-he” soap opera  like we had with Van Judas, Na$ri and Fabregas.

Secondly, the new revenue streams coming on tap really do give us the power to move strongly in the transfer market this summer. I thought that would be the case last year, but I can see now that the finances were still not in place for a real “statement” buy.

As it happens we did good business anyway, with Podolski, Giroud and, especially, Santi Cazorla all having contributed significantly to our season.

But the announcement of the Puma kit deal, plus massively increased TV revenue and a range of other commercial deals have now all fallen into place and the good times are set to roll.

Actually, there is a third area of optimism: it relates to our “mental strength.” Usually when Arsene Wenger talks about mental strength you get the feeling that he is trying to convince the players that they have it, when in fact they don’t. Or at least not enough of it.

This was apparent even last year when, despite our great run to haul back Totteringham, our collective bottle went a bit at the end and we won only one of our final five games and were arguably a bit lucky to get the final win at West Brom.

That type of run-in had, sadly, become a bit of an Arsenal trait and we were in danger of patenting the late-season collapse.

In 2011/12 our final nine games were: W2, D5, L2 – giving us only 11 points out of 27.

And the year before we were W1, D1, L3 in our final five, for four points out of 15.

So I am greatly encouraged that the current crop of players were able to keep their form going during this year’s run-in, remaining unbeaten and winning most of the games despite the high pressure nature of the contest. It reflects what I believe is a new, tougher mentality among the group of players we now have.

When the going got tough, so did they.

As I mentioned in a comment recently, the Spuds – to the great surprise of most people – did not choke this year: they, too, kept getting mostly decent results right up to the final day.

But as it turned out, we didn’t need them to choke: we were strong enough to throttle the life out of them with our own bare hands.

Expect some exciting news this summer.

And expect a proper title challenge next season.

RockyLives

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174 Responses to The Prayer of St Totteringham

  1. Rasp says:

    Excellent Rocky, I hope your last 2 lines turn out to be prophetic 😕

    Here’s my own little poem:

    Winners are Red
    Losers are Blue (and white)
    We’re in the Champions League
    Not you, boo hoo 😦

    I hope its not too subtle for the swamp dwellers 😆

  2. yeah says:

    What a muppet!

    Wrong, Wrong, Wrong…!

    5-6 weeks ago, your angry masses were calling for Whinger’s head, Giroud was shite, Podolski should fall off his pole, etc…!

    Gooners fighting in the aisles, even now, a large portion of you are dreading that qualification to the CL will prolonge the normal standard that you have lived for 8 long years!

    Read the responses from Whinger at the end of the season, you achieved your target by making up the number$ in the CL. You have the team with the strongest desire he’s ever worked with. Basically he’s leeting you know now there are is one or two needed to come in and freshen up the squad.

    Don’t expect stellar signings, (if you do it will be yet another year of misery), dream of challenging for the league (or CL) because that’s all you can do.

    Remember, You read it here first !

    Finally,

    Dont expect an exciting summer

    Don’t expect a proper (what does that mean?) title challenge

    If you do, you’ll just continue to be disappointed!

  3. Rasp says:

    Haha yeah, keep it coming, you’re a one monkey team with a well earned inferiority complex

  4. John Thomas says:

    Rasp, you could have written –

    Winners are red
    Losers are White
    We’re in the Champions League
    Cos Spuds are absolute shite.

  5. Dominic says:

    Yeah
    Don’t expect a proper (what does that mean?) champions league challenge.
    If you do, you’ll just continue to be disappointed!

  6. Rasp says:

    😆 JohnT….. or

    Winners are Red
    Losers are Lillywhite
    We play in the Champions League
    You’re wasting Thursday night

  7. Klaus Stein says:

    I second this:

    Winners are red
    Losers are White
    We’re in the Champions League
    Cos Spuds are absolute shite.

  8. ClockEndRider says:

    Gooners fighting in the aisles? I can only assume you saw this from the vantage point of your sofa with the Daily Mail in front of you.
    When will you people learn? Grown ups understand that just because the media write and print stuff, doesn’t make it true.
    Likewise, believing your own hype I can seriously damage your league health.

    Mind the gap.

    Yours downwardly spiralling into the Champions League.

    CER

  9. John maeqa says:

    We r getting there 2 or 3 great signings away and we’ll be invincible again. COYG

  10. Cannons of Rhetoric says:

    That prayer was simply the most awesome thing I ever read! Keep up the good work 😀

  11. Absolutely top notch stuff Mr Rock, I know laughing at the Spuds is mocking an easy target and almost feels like a contravention of human rights, or in the context of Bale FC animal cruelty, but yanking their chains like that always rells in a few of those hapless fools.

    I’m still laughing at the comdey show on the sidelines of SHL on Sunday with AvB doing the Fawlty and Freund the Marcel Marceau/Touluse la trec(the shuffling on his knees) combine.

    The Spuds are the joke that keeps on giving.,

  12. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Ha ha brilliant Rocky
    Thanks

    Winners are Red
    Losers are lily White
    We’re in the chamions league
    Oh sod off the lot of you complete losers

  13. yeah says:

    DELUSION

    Noun
    1. an act or instance of deluding
    2. the state of being deluded
    3. a false belief or opinion: delusions of grandeur

    Just for you poor buggers that actually believe greatness will return to your plastic club! Will be loving the Whinger out chants come November 2013…! 🙂

    Titles or Silverware, “YOU ARE HAVING A LAUGH”!

    You heard it here first…!

  14. Big Raddy says:

    RL. The opening is excellent and surely worthy of entry into the Book of Common Prayer. I shall write to Justin Welby immediately (who is a closet Gooner)

    The post is also one of your very best – well played.

  15. Rasp says:

    Oh dear ‘yeah’ ….. you are obviously deluded in your delusion 🙄

    If Arsenal are such under achievers and yet we’ve finished above you every season in the EPL – what does that say about you lot? … forever in our shadow

  16. Bryan says:

    DELUSION

    Noun
    1. Spurs
    2. Spurs Fans
    3. Spurs, Spurs & more Spurs

    I rest my case 😉

  17. Big Raddy says:

    Rasp. I love it when these fools come onto the site 😀

    What they write in an attempt to justify their utter futility is hilarious.

    Yeah…… more please 😀

  18. Having a spud lecture us about not winning titles is the cherry on a delicious weekend cake of spud hilarity. I’m an old git and even I wasn’t born the last time you won the title. ’61 never again FOYS

  19. Hendongunner says:

    Nice post Rocky.

    Another point to bear in mind is all the teams above us will have new brooms (managers) next season which may or not work for them where us we shall have our Old broom at the helm who knows where the cobwebs are regarding wining the league, unless the chavs get Mourinho. Lastly two bloggers last night we taking the biscuit of the Milk monitors at school. My five year old son is a milk monitor at school every now and then and is proud of it.bless him.

  20. Rasp says:

    Spurs is short for ‘spurious’ …. the added i.o.u. is an apology to all their fans for their lack of class and PL success

  21. Bryan says:

    Am I deluded or are we in the champions league next year or should I say next YEAH hahaha

  22. yeah says:

    ok, so let me ask you a question about last season?

    You scraped through to the CL on the back of a display from Furlop that had the serious fraud squad on high alert, (and will probably be discovered as a bent / thrown game in a few years time)!

    Tell me…

    last year, how did your involvement in the CL benefit your team recruitment, your big star pulling power (please don’t cite Giroud or Podolski) even Carzola had to leave to keep Malaga’s funding going, was just a matter of where?

    So tell me…

    A team in decline over the last 8 years, with probably the worst set of players, which “World Class” players will you recruit with your fantastic CL record?

    Answers on a postcard to …

    You heard it here first… 🙂

  23. Rasp says:

    Thanks yeah … and wouldn’t you love to be able to say the same?

    Come on fella, this is good natured banter, but your attempt at trying to make Arsenal look like the losers is an exercise in futility. Every possible statistic proves we’re a much more successful club than Bale FC

  24. Bryan says:

    Yeah, I thought it was a 38 game season & not just 1 game, you also seem to forget that WBA’s 2nd goal was miles offside, were the fraud squad investing that.
    Every time you lot fail against us you have an excuse, Lasagne anyone lol.

    We will buy some class players don’t worry about that, but if I was you I’d worry more about your crap team & holding on to the only player that you have that made it possible for you to even get near the top 4

  25. VCC says:

    Rocky…..”Prayer of St. Totteringham”

    Qualiteeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

  26. Red Arse says:

    Yeah,

    I have a question or two for you:

    — Are Arsenal the club you would love to support? Yeah
    — Are Adebarndor and Dempsey very poor? Yeah
    — Are you raddled by envy which is making you spew stupid comments? Yeah

    As they are all rhetorical questions, Yeah, and the answers are all yeah, I take it you are going to answer yeah then Yeah.

    Mind the Gap.

  27. yeah says:

    Bryan: “We will buy some class players” = Delusional! you probably believe santa is real right? 🙂

    HendonGunner: Give it up, Mourinho will be back next year with a budget to blow most of the league away. Moyes has to get it so horribly wrong to not challenge (I bet his first signing is Baines).

    And Pellegrini is no mug especially with the backing he will recieve.

    All in all it means you will be fighting once more come the end of the season with Spurs, Liverpool and maybe Everton for the prestige of saying “we made it to the CL”!

    Rasp, all up for the banter, (hence me wasting a little time on here while bored). but while you claim I’m trying to make you look like losers, I’m simply countering the fact that you are all trying to make yourself look like winners. Being in the CL is not winning. Being embarrassed every year by the big boys is not winning. (and please, first response asking what does that make spurs is really an idiot)…

    The difference between Spurs and Arse is now wafer thin and given 10 years ago you lot generally dismissed spurs (and rightly so then) these days you are leaving your only annual celebration rather late.

    Still waiting to see anyone point out how being in the CL benefited you (with the exception of the Board of Director$)?

  28. Rasp says:

    You’re becoming boring now ‘yeah’. We are a site that embraces supporters of other teams who understand the nuances of healthy blogging. Repetition is the hallmark of someone who is ploughing a lone furrow because their argument is ‘spurious’.

    Try to amuse us by all means but enough of the hapless attempts to justify the unsupportable.

  29. GunnerN5 says:

    A post to be proud of, well written Rocky.

    I had to wipe a tear from my eye.

  30. Bryan says:

    Firstly Yeah, I believe we will buy some class players, I am not deluded to the point that I think it will be a £30-50M player as that will not happen but we will definitely get class.

    Answer to your question of how it benefitted us last year is, it didn’t as we were not in the position to go out & spend big money then but now we are about to embark on a richer period as stadium has been paid off & some very good sponsorship deals are now in place.
    We moved to the new stadium to give us the chance to compete & although we didn’t foresee all the billionaire buy success clubs coming along, we are now about to reap the rewards

  31. Big Raddy says:

    Yeah. Thanks for the entertainment.

    No Arsenal fan thinks of the team as winners – we are all disappointed with not challenging for top honours but and it is a huge , but – we rejoice in St Totteringham’s Day. So would you in the highly unlikely event of there ever being a St Arsenal Day!

    As to the benefits …… Emirates Stadium. the Invincible team +++

  32. Rasp says:

    If I have to enter this debate, I would say that spurs are blatantly following in our footsteps (shadow).

    After sacking managers who got them 5th and 4th in the EPL they have finally found a half decent manager. They have also built a very good training facility some 10 years after we built London Colney. They are just embarking on building a 60,000 seater stadium 7 years after we built Asburton Grove.

    Their Board have said (as ours did) that the cost of the new stadium will not impinge on their activity in the transfer market …. dream on.

    The likelihood is that the spuds are in for several years of ‘austerity’ and last season was their best chance of finishing above the Arsenal for many years to come.

  33. Red Arse says:

    Have you seen the latest Prem financial figures for last season?

    Next year £100m for the winners — worth spending more on another great player? 😀

    — “Manchester United have received more than £60m in TV and prize money for the 2012-13 season.

    Having claimed their 20th league title in Sir Alex Ferguson’s final season in charge, the champions lead the way ahead of their rivals Manchester City and Arsenal.

    Interestingly, Tottenham also received more than Chelsea, who were given just under £55m compared to Arsenal’s £57.1m. The lower fee is due to the Europa League winners appearing on TV live 16 times, compared to United’s 25, Arsenal and Liverpool’s 22, and Manchester City and Tottenham’s 21 times.

    At the opposite end of the table, basement club Queens Park Rangers received just over £39.7m while Reading and Wigan – who join QPR in relegation – were granted over £40m each.

    In the on-going battle on Merseyside, Everton finished above Liverpool for a second consecutive season, yet still received over £3m less than Brendan Rodger’s side.

    And despite finishing down in 16th, Newcastle United still received £45.1m, earning more than Aston Villa, Stoke City and Southampton who all finished above the Magpies.

    The huge sums once again demonstrate the financial importance of being in the top flight, and funding will increase next season when the new £5.5bn TV deal kicks in, highlighting the importance of Premier League survival this term.

    This time next year, the title-winning club can expect to collect a fee closer to £100m, which may prompt clubs on the fringes of a strong title challenge to spend big this summer to reap the rewards next year.

    Money comes into the club via three main revenue streams, with tickets and corporate dining providing match day income, media income – which provides the bulk of the payments – and commercial income, which includes kit deals, sponsorship, merchandise and tours.

  34. Rasp says:

    Impressive stuff Redders. I think we need to make a hallmark signing or two to convince the corporate sponsors that we are heading in the right direction. Its not a question of speculating to accumulate, it’s just targeting our resources.

  35. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Yeah
    Ask GiE about FFP
    🙂

  36. Red Arse says:

    Rasper,

    I did not say so when copying the article onto AA, but I am trying to find where the Independent got its figures.

    You see, I was under the impression that the ‘new’ TV deal started in season 2013/14, (the new BT TV service with 38 Prem League games starts next season) but with all the different stadium and shirt sponsorship deals covering different periods, I might have remembered it wrongly.

    Embarrassing for the Indie if they got it wrong!! 😀

  37. Big Raddy says:

    Rasp. A Dane would be good thus ensuring I can watch games on TV – Eriksen

    Or perhaps , at next season’s end, Laudrup (but I expect him to go abroad, probably Barca)

  38. Rasp says:

    OK Redders, I bow to your greater knowledge. We were reported to have a £70m war chest last summer … and now apparently it is still £70m after all the extra income we’ve attracted?

    I am 100% in the camp that says don’t spend money just for the sake of it or to placate any section of the support, but I do want to see us reinvest some of the extra money in the squad.

    As I’ve said before, it would be better to pay off the contracts of some of the players we cannot sell rather than keep counting them in the playing staff.

  39. Rasp says:

    I can see where you’re coming from Raddy – Eriksen’s not a bad shout, but do we need another 5ft 9in AM ???

  40. Janman says:

    Yeah: You silly twat! You state, “we are a team in decline over the last 8 years” For your sake, lets’ pretend for one moment that was true. All your statement has done is prove the fact that Spurs are not even good enough to come in front of a team that is in decline and gone backwards for 8 years. I know Spurs fans do not have a high inteligence level but do you see now how stupid you look after make such a comment! Please crawl under the nearest rock.

  41. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Hi all

    Its hard to imagine that at a club like ours (starless) how the right type of player woulsnt work purely in financial terms
    Wouldnt make much difference at Oil Teams but for us a real bums on seats type would
    Yip I am saying spend big 🙂

  42. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Janman
    Yeah is not a Spud
    An even bigger twat than that

  43. Rasp says:

    Hi Micky, I know Redders is in the ‘no going back’ camp, but just say we could buy Cesc back for what Barca paid us …. would you?

  44. Big Raddy says:

    Rasp. I would. Though I cannot see where JW would fit in.

  45. Rasp says:

    Me too Raddy, but it would be at the expense of either Jack or Ramsey I’d guess even if Arteta became a 2nd choice midfielder.

    I think one exceptional playmaker is all you need – Cesc is that man. Barca are fitting him into the team (or on the bench) I guess waiting for the day Xavi or Iniesta move on.

  46. RockyLives says:

    Good day all and thankyou for joining me in prayer.

    I know we shouldn’t fall for paper talk, but today’s Daily Telegraph story that we might be bidding for Higuain really does excite me. He is an amazing striker with two great feet. He’s on the Aguero/BSR/Suarez level and would transform our potency in attack.

  47. GunnerN5 says:

    Rasp,

    Do you think that AW could possibly change his previous stance of building a team around Cesc and treat him simply a member of the squad?

  48. sai says:

    Rocky fan till I die! What a post…

  49. Rasp says:

    That’s a good question GN5. All I know is that Cesc was the maestro who conducted some of the most beautiful football I’ve ever seen Arsenal play … and he hasn’t looked that good for Barca despite their success. Is he the same player, have the hours he played in his youth taken its toll on his body? … I don’t know.

    Personally I wouldn’t build a team around him, its not necessary, his vision and ability brings all the others into play, its just an organic thing when he’s on the pitch.

  50. sai says:

    Chardy, “contravention of human rights, or in the context of Bale FC animal cruelty”…ROFLMAO!

  51. Bryan says:

    I agree with you Rocky, out of all the players within reason that we have been linked with Higuian excites me the most, on the other hand, linking us with Jovetic does not excite me as his goal scoring record does not seem that great

  52. Rasp says:

    Higuain over Jovetic any day, at 25 he’s just coming to his peak. If Carlsberg could answer my prayers …. Higuain running onto through balls from Cesc (I know its not going to happen 😦 )

  53. Bryan says:

    Believe Rasp believe 😉

  54. Bryan says:

    I want Cesc, Higuian & a big strong DM as I think it would really make a difference to the team, Fellani would be ideal as can play in quite afew positions 😉

  55. GunnerN5 says:

    As I’ve stated, on many occasions, I try not to involve myself in media inspired transfer talk …………… but………………

    The thought of Cesc back at Arsenal is really exciting.

  56. sai says:

    Its a good time to fantacise early after the season. But will Wenger go for another Midfield player? He looks content with current midfield and may go for another player only when Rosicky retires.

    A quality RB and a striker is all we can expect. In Wengers statement, he has mentioned something about signing quality players without disrupting our policy.. And our policy, I’m afraid might not be flexed much IMO. But ya senior Gunners definitely know better than me! Whatever happens, Wenger can produce magical performance with this lot we have.

  57. Bryan says:

    yep, but I don’t think it will happen this season but maybe next if carries on the same way for him at Barca

  58. sai says:

    GN5, Fellani is a good player. But should we take the risk witha nother Marouane! 😉

  59. Big Raddy says:

    Excellent read if you have a spare 10 minutes. I would be very happy to see him as AW’s successor …

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/2013/may/21/jurgen-klopp-borussia-dortmund-champions-league

  60. Rasp says:

    I don’t need any convincing about Klopp Raddy, he ticks all the boxes for me.

  61. Big Raddy says:

    Sal. Why not?, The first one added a great deal to the squad in terms of attracting the pink pound and hair gel advertisers.

  62. Big Raddy says:

    Rasp. He comes across as a really great bloke.

  63. GunnerN5 says:

    sai,

    Fellani is hair inspiring.

  64. goonermichael says:

    You heard it here first? oh dear.

  65. Rasp says:

    He’s incredibly passionate about his football isn’t he Raddy, all this crying in the arms of his players stuff. But he doesn’t believe that big money guarantees success and he likes to see football played in the right way so he is a suitable successor to AW in terms of his philosophy.

  66. charybdis1966 says:

    Exactly GM, like we’ve never heard a spud call us delusional ever before. 😯

    Sai @ 12.40 🙂

  67. goonermichael says:

    I may be going over old ground but if you haven’t already, read the Klopp interview in the Gruniad

  68. Big Raddy says:

    GM. 1.06 isn’t old ground 🙂

  69. goonermichael says:

    Sorry didn’t see it Raddy 🙂

  70. yeah says:

    Some excellent discussion points coming out now and not just the mindless trolling of “my mums better than your mum”…

    Bryan: I don’t buy the money line you’ve rolled out. Wenger and the board repeatedly stated there were funds if players could be found to improve the squad, thus implying the squad was good enough to challenge. Either Wenger has no idea about the squad depth and it’s ability to challenge for silverware or he and or the board were lying to all the fans in order to get bums on seats.

    Many of my Arse mates feel it is the latter…

    Janman: it’s a combination of arses decline and how bad spurs were back in the day. Lady luck cannot come to your rescue forever and if you have a trophy less season and or fail to qualify for the CL next year I can see Wenger leaving.

    Big Raddy: Invincibles definately a sight to behold, however were they not (or the majority of them) assembled during the library days?

    Rasp, Belief is belief, it’s mine and I’ll state it where I feel it’s appropriate.

    Onto your financial point… I’d say that the blueprint for stable financial management defined by your board is definately sound and I can see this being mirrored in Spurs approach, the one difference is Player contract management that Levy is clearly head and shoulders above whoever is doing this for you.

    The Bulls cross training centre is world class and has recieved rave reviews from everyone that’s been there and it’s the sort of place that will attract players who will spend most of their working days there.

    Even without CL football this year, I would say that Spurs recruited better players especially when I consider that Lloris, Vertonghen and Dembele are better that 1st choice Arse players in my opinion.

    Finally, FFP! I predict this will become an acronym for For Fucksake Platini once he’s taken over from Septic bladder and it becomes the toothless farce that it is..

  71. goonermichael says:

  72. Rasp says:

    Thanks for the totnum PR yeah. I think it was you who was doing the ‘trolling’ since this is an Arsenal site.

    You are entitled to your opinion and your beliefs, but please don’t be so naïve to expect us to be swayed by your arguments when all the evidence and history points to the contrary and you are commenting on Arsenal Arsenal – the clue’s in the name.

    I share your scepticism about the efficacy of FFP. It is already having some influence in the way clubs operate financially but it will never have the levelling effect many would wish for … the big clubs are too powerful to allow it to happen.

  73. Ian Ure Face says:

    Super duper post !.

    I do agree with one thing “yeah” has said…Levy is head and shoulders above who ever does our players contracts !. Spot on imo !.

  74. Bryan says:

    Yeah,
    how can you spurt on about lady luck when you certainly had a fair bit of it on the run in, Wigan away joke 1st goal, own goal in injury time from free kick that never was, Chelsea missing enough chances to bury you, Saints at home having pen turned down & Bale yet again saving your bacon with 4 mins left to name but just a few.
    & I agree, I think we have been lied to afew times about players coming in but I certainly think it is about to start happening, you may find when you build your new stadium, it may be harder to buy some top players & I’m sure you will lose afew good ones too.

    Lloris for me is incredibly over rated keeper, I have yet to see him make a truly outstanding save, Ventogen is a very good defender, I rate him highly, Dembele is good but has not reached the level he was at Fulham yet & Carzorla is definitely better than him

  75. GoonerB says:

    Great post Rocky. I can see us spending on a couple of significant players as well. I like the look of Higuain and hope we get him. He looks a proper number 9 that scores from the edge of the box and also all those crucial tap ins inside the 6 yard box. They never look like much but can make a huge difference over a season. We are not excellent on those types of goals anyway, and at Newcastle Walcott forced a save from the keeper and hit the post late on which would have resulted in a tap in for anyone with the instinct to get into the box in the right area.

    We will maybe get both Higuain and Jovetic dependant upon what happens with Podolski or Gervinho. I can see at least one of them leaving. Their are rumours about Gervinho to Lyon. I wonder if AW will follow up on this and try and involve Gonalons in any deal?

  76. goonermichael says:

    Pulis is leaving Stoke apparently
    You heard it here first

  77. Bryan says:

    Gervinho leaving is only good news imo, absolutely terrible player

  78. goonermichael says:

    Wenger says he’s staying Bryan

  79. Shard says:

    Love the prayer. Love it!!

    Brilliant post Rocky. But then, I expect that by now. 🙂

    As to the discussion about Higuain and/or Jovetic, plus Cesc. I think we’ll buy either Jovetic or Cesc (if media is to be believed), and one other striker not named Sanogo. And that Gervinho will be let go if we manage to get those players in. Plus a DM like Gonalons (for instance).

    Arteta/Gonalons-Ramsey/Wilshere (Diaby as bonus)
    Rosicky/Ox

    Cazorla/Podolski LW
    Walcott/Jovetic RW

    Giroud/Higuain St

    With Cazorla and Jovetic able to play in the middle and Jovetic and Podolski able to play striker, that gives us flexibility and variety, both in attack, as well as in midfield..

    If Cesc instead of Jovetic, then Ox stays out wide instead of playing through the middle. Slightly less flexibility in attack, but Cesc is a special player (I am still unhappy about the way he left)

    A striker I like if we can’t get both Jovetic and Higuain (I suspect we won’t) is Lisandro Lopez from Lyon. Apparently they need to sell their players, which is why Gonalons and Lopez could be options for DM and striker, while Jovetic or Cesc to offer added creativity.

    Isn’t the fantasy transfer game fun? 🙂

  80. Red Arse says:

    Rasper,

    You have got me to rights. I would not buy back Cesc — and especially not at a price approaching £20m.

    I think his performances since joining Barca have surprised and disappointed the Catalans, and to be honest, when I watch Barca every week-end, I feel for him, too. It has not worked out the way he was expecting and hoping it would. Lackaday.

    As regards Jovetic and Higuain, I do not think it is necessarily a choice betwixt the two.

    I have seen quite a bit of Higuain, as I watch Real every weekend too, (I know, I know) and when he plays (not often) he is a striker first and foremost, but also very skillful.

    However, Jovetic, and yes I watch Serie A on ESPN quite often too, (what do you mean I am a saddo?) he seems more of a DB No 10 type of player first and foremost and a striker second.

    We could buy both, and they would complement each other (and maybe compliment each other, too).

    All that said, I would not get too excited until AW announces a transfer, of one, or both. They are quality players and we are competing for them with a lot of big spenders.

    Even the Sanogo ‘near deal’ which AW mentioned recently in a way very unlike him, appears to be less certain as a result of competition from Lille (and maybe others).

  81. Gooner In Exile says:

    Afternoon all, Rocky thank you sir for a brilliant start to the day, I’m taking that every time I am forced to attend church in future.

    Interesting debate today…..the evidence of our monetary control has been there in the last two summers, the evidence of who has had control has also been there. Now some say the BoD have given the money to Wenger to spend yet he won’t do it……I think Wenger has continually been forced to breakeven. Tell me this, who has ultimate decision on accepting sale of a player, Wenger or Board, who has ultimate decision on buying players.

    Wenger bought in three in the summer and sold BSR and Song…..why Song? If you were BoD and disagreed would you just stop the deal? Yes you would, so who decided to sell him?

    Same with BSR, same with Nasri and Cesc.

    I believe Wenger has been forced to breakeven last two summers, this season lets hope he is just allowed to add. Arshavin has already said his goodbyes, I guess Squillacci too, so that’s two pay packets (one on the heavy side) released and neither in the first team so add them together and we have wages for one good signing without increasing our costs. Lets assume they were on £130k combined what does that get us? (Half a Rooney).

    All this talk about Levy being good at contract management etc, how much better would Spuds have been with Modric and VDFart in their team?

  82. Gooner In Exile says:

    Just in case your struggling to remember who Spuds bought to replace them…..Dempsey and Dembele……yep top contract mover and shaker Mr Levy, especially when AVB wanted Moutinho, and got Dempsey instead lololllolololololololololollllloooooool

  83. Shard says:

    GIE

    Good point about Levy and Spurs contract management. Good contract management doesn’t just mean keeping costs down, which is basically what they do, and I guess need to do. But stability is important too, and maintaining that has associated costs. A lot of transfers in and out offer excitement to many, but I don’t think that’s the best way to build a football team.

  84. RockyLives says:

    Hello Redders
    I don’t watch Spanish football. What is it about the way Cesc has been playing that has not worked out?

    I’m genuinely curious (I suppose I’m thinking of Rasp’s comment earlier, wondering whether we had the best of him and now he’s a bit knackered or whatever).

    Is it that he’s not fitting with the Barca system, or that his general play is different compared to when he was at the Arse?

    I would really like your insight on him.

    Instinctively I’m excited at the idea that he might return, but I also have reservations. After all, the Cesc Team won beggar-all (and even managed to blow a couple of good chances to win things).

  85. Red Arse says:

    Rasp,

    Another point you quite rightly mentioned, was that if AW was reportedly getting a transfer chest of £70m pre the announcement of two new sponsorship deals, with the Emirates and Puma, as well as the new TV contract, why is it still £70m now.

    Well, the original report of £70m being made available for transfers may have been a lucky guess, or simply untrue — Arsenal do not make a habit of revealing their financial intentions — why would they?

    It is possible that the £70m was correct, and the impact of those deals could have already been factored in to that transfer kitty, and let’s not forget, both of those deals allegedly do not kick in until 2013/14.

    I was always a little sceptical that £70m would make the impact everyone was hoping, for the simple reason (I know, I keep saying this but no one listens — I am such a spoil sport) but to get a £25m player we would probably have to pay north of £120K per week — let’s call it £6m per annum.

    So, if we bought Higuain, (say) for £25m and had to pay him £6m per annum in a 4 year deal, the total cost of that deal would be [£25m + 4 * £6m) = £49m amortised over the period of the contract.

    So we started with £75m less £49m (for one player), that leaves only £26m in the kitty.

    As a rule of thumb, whatever is paid in transfer fees for a player, you would have to allocate roughly the same again for salaries. Therefore the £26m, could be deconstructed to 1 player for £13m + £13m for his salary [£13m/4/52] = £63K per annum.

    So that £70m does not go all that far in reality.

    A mitigating factor you touched on above, is that we seem to be making a big effort to get rid of unwanted players — Arshavin, and Eastmond, so far, plus a bunch of kids, and possibly Gervinho and Rosicky and Sagna, which will free up a whole bunch of salaries, which can change the calculations.

    I have always believed, given Arsenal’s prudent monetary model, that it will be next year when we see the first of the really epoch making purchases, after we get our hands on the proceeds of the new sponsorship deals.

    Just a nice little snifter this summer, perhaps. 😀

  86. Gooner In Exile says:

    Shard glad your on, remember you said you were looking to do something Arsenal related in end of June, it’ll entail a trip to Barnet but trust me is very very Arsenal related:

    http://www.barnetfc.com/news/article/arsenal-charity-match-825504.aspx

    Tom Watt and Tony Adams involved in organising, Mo Farah is going to manage Arsenal Legends XI and Fabrice Muamba the Rest of the World XI

  87. Gooner In Exile says:

    RA thought Emirates deal kicked in 2013/14 with new prize money., kit manufacture deal 2014/15.

    From memory Emirates will have stadium name for another ten years, guess that shows its not the biggest market and who knows by then if its a pittance we may get to call it Ashburton Grove or New Highbury.

  88. Shard says:

    GIE,

    Thanks for that. It seems like fun. Will you be going? Also, does anyone have any idea when the Bergkamp statue is going to be unveiled, and whether God is going to make an appearance?

    I’m in the UK from the 11th, and leaving on 24th evening. I might also be travelling outside of London for a few days. But I would love to meet some AAers, and talk Arsenal in a real pub instead of a virtual one 🙂 My travel plans within the UK aren’t sorted yet, and right now i am concentrating on the exam I have on Sunday. (No live CL final for me:( )

    As to the Emirates deal. Like the kit deal with Puma, it kicks in only at the end of the 2013-14 season. But, a portion of the Emirates deal has been paid early, and is rumoured that the same has been done with the Puma deal (which itself is only rumoured at this point)

    If say, 25m each from the Emirates and Puma deals are paid to us this season, that still leaves about 25m a year from each over the 5 years of the deals, while giving us a 50m pound boost this year. Like RA, I have been waiting for 2014 for the big splash, but I think the money we have in reserve has been saved up just for this reason, and I see no other reason the club would front load the new deals unless they were looking to spend the money this year.

  89. Shard says:

    PS. How far is Barnet from London? And how long does it take to get there?

  90. goonermichael says:

    30 minutes Shard

  91. Rasp says:

    Thanks Redders, I understand why you add the wages over the term of the contract when valuing a player, but the £70m (or whatever) would be this years budget so you’d only have to add one year’s salary to the purchase price offset against that figure. Next year players may leave (and this year) and that saving could balance your £25m player’s earnings.

    You’re the accountant not me, but I do think I’m talking some sense … for a change

  92. RockyLives says:

    GM is an expert on Barnet 🙂

  93. Shard says:

    gm,

    Is that by train? Or by road? But half an hour sounds good. I think I might just go for this game. Thanks GIE, and gm.

  94. evonne. says:

    GiE, GiE – Tony Pulis is set to leave Stoke City !!!!! where will he go???

  95. goonermichael says:

    Northern line from Tottenham Court Road Shard

  96. goonermichael says:

    I’m a master of the tonsorial art.

  97. Red Arse says:

    Hi Rocket, 🙂

    First, please accept my most humble mea culpa, because I have not, so far, commended you for your delightful Post. I have pleasure in doing so now. Thank you. 😀

    My only excuse is that I am so used to sending you my salutations on yet another masterpiece, no sooner had the thought entered my head, than I mistakenly imagined I had transferred that thought to action. Deja Vu?

    As regards Cesc, my problem in explaining my reasoning as to my belief that things have not worked out as well as he would have hoped, is compounded by the fact that you and I rarely agree on some fundamentals regarding our current players, especially as regards Theo, the Gerv, or, to a lesser extent, Per.

    Regardless, I will attempt to give you a quick glossary of my observations, as indeed that is all any of us can do from a TV screen, — or, in my opinion from watching in a stadium.

    First, altho’ I cannot be arsed to dig up his stats (well they belong, rightly, to my friends, GN5 and GIE) :-), Cesc has either been subbed off in more games than would appear reasonable for a player of his stature (not height related) 🙂 or has not been a frequent starter in the team.

    His demeanour, as the season has progressed, has become more and more glum, with nary a smile or a cuddle for a deserving team mate in evidence (and oddly this has been mirrored by his good friend Pique), so that when the board has gone up with his number teasingly revealed for substitution, he appears to already have a sad acceptance on his fizzog.

    During the games themselves, he has displayed his brilliant ball control and his eye for a stunning passing — when he is stationary.
    The minute he breaks into a gallop in support of Messi or Xavi, he looks like he is splodging through thick treacly mud.

    The Barca crowd who, when he was first transferred, were full of enthusiasm for him and cheered him on, seem, now, to be rather apathetic and any praise seems to be delivered in a sotto voce manner.

    You are no doubt thinking, that’s a load of baloney, and very subjective, and perhaps it is, but having had the benefit of seeing a young, keen, pre-injury Cesc at Arsenal, and now comparing that memory to the timorous, ponderous figure Cesc cuts at the Nou Camp, at least to my eye, and no doubt occasioned to some degree by his continuing chronic low key injuries, I am not at all surprised that rumours abound about his possible transfer to Manure or wherever, and all without them being slapped down by the Barca hierarchy, as would have been expected, if there was no truth to them.

    It is difficult to convey in words what the eye and brain decipher, especially to one not gifted with the fluent eloquence of the master Post writer, 🙂 but it will give you the gist of my perception, and why I think it would be a mistake both for Cesc, and our club if he returned with his hopes dashed and the reciprocal love of Barca unsatiated.

  98. RockyLives says:

    Thankyou Redders
    I suspect we agree on more things (regarding players) than we disagree on 🙂

    Reading your analysis I’m still torn.

    Maybe Cesc’s play and body language reflects his unhappiness. Or maybe it’s something more substantial.

    If it’s the former, a return to THOF might be just what he needs to reignite his spark.

    If it’s the latter… not so much…

    Either way it would be a big risk.

  99. Red Arse says:

    Rasper,

    No one could deny that you talk sense, however accountancy has a ‘sense’ all of its own.

    There are a number of accounting concepts at play when producing the annual accounts, and without going into detail, it is a misnomer to say that there is a “£70m cash availability for transfers this summer’ altho that type of comment is frequently made.

    The cub might well say, there is a £70m transfer fund available, but I think you will find they are not talking in cash accounting terms, but that with the sponsorship monies, cost reductions etc, they feel they can spend £70m without going into the red.

    For example, at the last year end, Arsenal pretty much broke-even, as seen from a profit and loss viewpoint, and yet we had, from memory, £150m cash at bank.

    If we had spent that £150m before the year end on player purchases and salaries, (while ignoring all the working capital requirements) the club would have posted a blooming big loss.

    To underline that cash/accrued accounting concept, companies are required to show a separate “cash Flow” statement to show how the cash balance integrates into the audited accounts.

    Sorry, Rasper, in trying to inadequately explain to a non-accountant, using non-accounting terminology, I am probably raising more questions than giving answers. [Over to GIE/CharyB — who no doubt explains this much better to their many clients than I could ever do]. 😀

  100. goonermichael says:

    Watch the overhead kick at 2:35

  101. RockyLives says:

    He looks like a proper centre forward GM.

    If we get him I imagine it’s more with a view to the future, but he looks useful.

  102. goonermichael says:

    Sorry it’s earlier I was looking at the wrong time 🙂

  103. Red Arse says:

    Sanogo has confirmed Arsenal are his choice of the many clubs pursuing him, and he hopes to sign on the 1st July.

    Compensation is likely to be about £500,000.

  104. evonne. says:

    Tony Pulis going to replace Maureen at Real Madrid

  105. Red Arse says:

    Moanhio to replace Pulis at Stoke — needs a challenge, and to show he does not need hundreds of millions on transfers to succeed.

    Will move to Wigan next year after Stoke sack him!!

  106. evonne. says:

    Rocky – just read your post and enjoyed it tremendously! A double dose of optimism for the year to come, great.

    I have one issue though – we think that we have good squad and then you say that we will make a big statement signing. What position and to replace whom? I don’t think I want statement signings, happy with the team we have

    we did ‘throttle the life out of them’, didn’t we ? 🙂

  107. LB says:

    Does anyone know if it is official that Arshavin has left, or is it just what we all expect?

  108. charybdis1966 says:

    London, Arshavin tweeted his departure and thanks to the club and fans for his time with us a day or two ago.

    Andrey Arshavin ‏@AndrArshavin23 19 May
    Thanks a lot to all Arsenal’ fans, to all my team partners, who played with me all these years, to all the stuff and coaches!!! Many thanks!
    Expand Reply Retweet Favorite More

    Goodbye Andrei, thanks for the good times.

    (I think he meant “staff” not “stuff”)

  109. Gooner In Exile says:

    Evonne is it confirmed? If so it’s another dance round the village green naked for me, I nearly got caught when Fergie left but I will go later this time.

    Be funny if Martinez goes to Stoke 🙂 wonder what the Stoke fans would say

    Be not funny if Pulis goes to Everton although they wouldn’t be able to give him the sums he had to spend at Stoke.

  110. LB says:

    Thanks Chary

  111. Big Raddy says:

    Redknapp back to West Ham.
    Allardyce to Stoke (a perfect match)
    Poyet to WHU.
    Rafa to Everton 😀

    Pulis to Dagenham and Redbridge

  112. evonne. says:

    GiE – yes, it’s confirmed, go and undress 🙂

    Martinez to Stoke sounds plausible, but he is a good manager and may even go to Everton

  113. weedonald says:

    Yeah……..please continue to permit us to enjoy and ridicule your obvious jealousy, anger and chagrin at ONCE AGAIN finding your Tiny,tiny Totts having to sniff our Arsenal, looking longingly at our CHAMPIONS League adventure AND having to play in the Europathetic League, from which your superb Hotsperm will exit sooner than later.
    I guess there are too many whining loser Spuds on the Totts websites so you decided to slither over onto a real website like AA and try and bait us….typically Spudscum brain-dead move, since we are in fine fettle to mock, deride and defecate all over you and your 2nd rate brethren….it is so much fun…the cherry on the sundae for gooners worldwide!

  114. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    Dont hold back with those punches Weedy. hahaha

    Nice stuff Rocky. This is indeed a fork in the road for the Club. Things are going to start swinging our way and ime very excited about it.

    I have thought long and hard about this, and truly believe that only will we start fighting for the title, in addition within two years we will go on to become the greatest club side in the world.

    Ajax, Milan, Barca etc have had greta eras were they have clearly been the best side in Europe and we will follow suit.

    Forget Abramovichs champions league win, we will become the first English side to retain it

    I dont like stats, but in the next 12 years give or take a trophy or two,we will win 7 title and 4 champions leagues.

  115. Rob Lucchi says:

    ‘Some Dortmund players were so affected they could not sleep after hearing Götze’s news. “That’s the truth,” Klopp concedes. “I called six or seven players who I knew were damaged in the heart. They thought they were not good enough – and they wanted to win together. That’s the reason it hurt them so much.’

    – IMO the effect of van judas move to manu might be more than we think..

  116. goonerjake says:

    Great Post rocky,

    Tim Sherwood is a million percent convinced Gareth Pale will remain at Totteringham.

    Well another season of them being a one man team another season of (B)Pale FC 🙂

  117. Nosa says:

    Nice piece Rocky. I recall my first time visiting this site, the post was about the origins of St. Totteringham…Absolutely brilliant! And that was how this young gooner from Nigeria was hooked on to this wonderful forum with mature and accommodating members. The interview with Jurgen Klopp was very good. He came across as intelligent philosophical loony funny and really close to his players. He would be a worthy successor to Arsene 5yrs down the line.

  118. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    Jake, if Tim Sherwood says so it must be true

    Tim is so inteligent, witty, charming and probably the finest footballer ever to grace the game thats its hard to disagree with the pride of Bhoram Wood

    Tim was such a good player, that you could visibly see the likes of Viera and Bergkamp shake at his mere presence on the pitch.

    Levy could not allow such a talent go to waste, so upon his retirement, a sad day for us all, he gave him a job as ambasador of Spurs, a class move for a class player and class club, befiting there legendry status on the world game.

    oh yeah, oh yeah, oh yeah, so jealous of that class. Why cant we have a tim sherwood?

  119. chas says:

    Top, top post, Rocky.
    It follows on nicely from BR’s ‘Say a little prayer’ on Sunday morning, though he was probably thinking of a slightly different one at the time. 🙂

  120. goonerjake says:

    TMHT – nice 🙂

    I did not believe it either its was a segway to have another dig at Gareth Pale. …….(seriously is he ever been in the sun?)

  121. goonermichael says:

    Tim Sherwood is a wanker

  122. evonne. says:

    GM – do you have it already typed ‘… is a wanker’ and just insert a name 🙂 who is Tim Sherwood the tosser?

  123. goonermichael says:

    Tony Pulis is a wanker

  124. goonermichael says:

    Alex Ferguson is a wanker

  125. goonerjake says:

    My wish for next year.
    4-1-3-2 interchangeable to a 4-4-2 very easy
    Schez
    Bac/BFG/Koz/Gibbo
    Fellani
    Fabregas/Jack/Santi
    Walcott/Falcao

    It means buying 3 players Fellani, Cesc and Falcao.

    Unreasonable?

  126. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Goonerjake
    Email your address if you want the prize! 🙂
    Better be quick, I’m away for ten days on Friday.

  127. Shard says:

    We’re not going to buy Falcao goonerjake. Apart from the money, the issue is of third party ownership. We, generally, don’t get involved with that. In fact, I have a suspicion that the reason Park didn’t really play for us had something to do with that. There were some weird goings on around that transfer, especially with confusion over his military duty, and the payments that went with it.

  128. goonerjake says:

    Prize?

  129. goonermichael says:

    So bad that we went a season unbeaten Michelle.

  130. RockyLives says:

    Welcome Nosa
    We have quite a few regular readers (and occasional contributors) from Africa.

    I agree about the Klopp interview (thanks for the link BR and GM). He comes across as brilliant, passionate and just a bit loony. Perfect to succeed The Prof 🙂

  131. RockyLives says:

    jake, you numpty!
    You won Micky’s guess-the-points competition for the run-in!

  132. RockyLives says:

    GM
    It’s the same troll. Best to ignore.

  133. evonne. says:

    GM you nutter 🙂

    jake you numpty – you won!! you get to write the first match report for the next season!! Congratulations

  134. jnyc says:

    Agreed Rocky. Im proud that we earned our spot, not just lucked into it. All teams involved played very well down the stretch, we ended the strongest, i think. Something to build on for sure.

  135. LB says:

    Looking forward to the match report Jake.

  136. Red Arse says:

    Rocker,

    Odd that our troll has decided to change sex. Hermaphrodite?

  137. Red Arse says:

    I was making the point elsewhere, that if we tallied up the number of players who are out on loan, but likely to be sold, it comes to a very sizeable charge to our profit and loss account, especially if you include players who are definitely leaving.

    Out: Arshavin, Squillaci and Eastmond = (say) £11m

    Loan/Out: Djourou, Santos, Bendy, Park, Denilson, (say) £11m

    Young players Out: Angha, Coquelin, Ping Pong, and many others = (say) £2m

    Others likely/possibly leaving: Sagna and Gerv = (say) £10m

    That is a conservative £34m per annum off our salary bill.

    Perhaps part of this has already been allowed for in the so called £70m transfer budget, but either way it would certainly clean up our salary bill.

  138. RockyLives says:

    Redders
    Good point – but it assumes we can offload them!

  139. Red Arse says:

    Rocky,

    9 of them have got contracts that are either finishing at the end of June, or like Djourou, Le Coq or Ping Pong, would have no difficult finding another club, or like Sagna and Gerv would probably earn us a transfer fee to contribute to our purchases, as well as save on their salaries.

    The figures are all guestimates, of course, but are probably not too far out.

    See ya! 🙂

  140. For info purposes, via transfermarket.com:

    Those out of contract 01.07.13
    Squillacci, Arshavin, Fabianski

    Out of contract 01.07.14
    Sagna, Chesney, Rosicky, Mannone, Bendtner, Denilson and Chamakh.

    So that’s 4(the first 3 + Eastmond) definitely gone this summer.

  141. Gooner In Exile says:

    I wonder just how much balancing the books there will be this summer, RA is right there are a few leaving, especially youngsters, Eastmond confirmed moving to Colchester, rumours that Meade has been released, which is a shame but Gibbs and Monreal will have left back sewn up for a fair few years.

  142. Gooner in Exile says:

    I know you are all interested….here is the league table for the second half of the season (last 19 games):

    ManUre 43
    Arsenal 40
    Spuds 39
    Shitty 39
    Chavs 37
    Dippers 36

    Last 15 games:

    Arsenal 36
    ManUre 33
    Spuds 31
    Chavs 30
    Shitty 27
    Dippers 27

    Last 10 games:
    Arsenal 26
    Chavs 23
    Shitty 19
    Dippers 19
    Spuds 18
    Everton 18
    ManUre 18

  143. RockyLives says:

    Interesting GiE
    You can see that (contrary to my Post) the Spuds did have at least a partial choke in the last 10 games.

  144. Gooner In Exile says:

    Anyone see the Bald Eagle Arsene Wenger lookalike tumblr? Why not?

    http://eaglesthatlooklikearsenewenger.tumblr.com/

  145. Gooner In Exile says:

    Rocky yes they did but that’s self explanatory I guess as the game before the last ten was when we shipped the game at SHL, at that point we were 7 points off and AVB was talking about our downward spiral.

    They gave up the points in the next 3/4 games I think, but then chased us game for game when I and the rest of us expected them to fall away. It wasn’t their normal choke and collapse, more a choke sputter and recovery which is unheard of in N17.

  146. chas says:

    Just coming up to the Lads and Dads camping weekend and it reminded of being at Tattershall two years ago and being lucky enough to see a Lancaster bomber and two spitfires fly overhead at low level.
    One of the most amazing sounds I’ve ever heard.

  147. Gooner In Exile says:

    Agreed Chas I was lucky to be in Hude Park for 50th anniversary of VE Day celebrations, Dame Vera Lynn, Tony Bennet but that Lancaster and those spitfires stole the show as they came from behind the stage and flew over our heads. Probably the most visceral sound I have ever heard.,

  148. Gooner In Exile says:

    Hyde not Hude obviously.

  149. chas says:

    visceral, what a perfect word

  150. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Morning Lads,

    Ah, the sound of The Merlin. Agreed, viscose 🙂

  151. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Chas,

    Lads ‘n Das camping w/e eh?

    Snap. Only a bloomin’ week.

    Wiff Sam + 2 of his, Moi + two, Wiff Waff Brother + two have hired minibus and we’re off to West Coast Scotland for half term week.

  152. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Dad’s

  153. chas says:

    We’re off to the Linconshire coast.
    9 adults (loose description)
    plus 10 male offspring.
    8 tents plus an “entertainments” tent. 🙂

    Ant has bought the beer. 15 a head.
    The wine bill is £175.
    It started off as a bonding exercise for the Dads and their lads but since Ant and me have tagged along, it’s turned into a bit of a p*ss-up. 🙂

  154. MickyDidIt89 says:

    An extended Ant ‘n Duck Show if we’re being honest

  155. MickyDidIt89 says:

    12 hours in a minibus with stinking lobster pots. Nice 😦

  156. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Makes me think of my AA Season highlights. Two stand-outs:

    1. Ant ‘n Duck Show
    2. The week in which Evonne lost the letter “d” on her laptop

    🙂

  157. Big Raddy says:

    Envious of the Lads time.

    I was at a Pink Floyd concert in Hyde Park which started with a Spitfire fly past.

    Bloody Hell – just looked it up and it was 43 years ago!!!

    Set the Controls to the Heart of the Sun ….. Happy Days

  158. Big Raddy says:

    Any other standouts ?

  159. Red Arse says:

    California – me – beach – and then I saw — Pamela Anderson!!
    [ok it was 25 years ago – still remember it vividly]

    Definitely standouts!!

  160. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Raddy

    I was talking posts aside, and I have already stated my feelings about The Explorer Contribution 🙂

    School run.

  161. Big Raddy says:

    So was I Micky.

    RA. PA or the Spitfire? Tough call. 25 years ago PA but now???

  162. Rasp says:

    Morning Raddy,

    I see you’ve been working on a BR blockbuster in drafts 🙂 Do you want us to use it today or shall I publish my ‘player of the season’ polls?

  163. evonne. says:

    love you doo Micky

    beautiful vid with the dog Chas

    Raddy – behave, PA is still beautiful

  164. Rasp says:

    I live quite near RAF Duxford and I’m lucky enough to say I regularly see the Lancaster Bombers, Spitfires, Seafires and Hurricanes flying overhead on their way to air shows/ceremonial displays. You can hear the spitfires coming for miles with that characteristic Merlin engine

  165. Big Raddy says:

    Rasp. Whatever suits you.

    I write ’em, you publish ’em!

  166. charybdis1966 says:

    Morning all, talking of PA, which I tend to given the slighest reason to, can anyone remember which talk show she was on where she gave the entire interveiw in a bikini ?

    I only ask for reasons of historical accuracy. 🙂

  167. Red Arse says:

    Hi Guys, 🙂

    Sorry can’t help you out there, CharyB, but if you find out [Chas?] be sure to let me know!! 🙂

  168. evonne says:

    Chary – why was she dressed?

  169. Red Arse says:

    Hi Rasper, 🙂

    Like you, I often hear, before I see, Spits/Hurricanes and occasionally a Lancaster flying overhead going to or from an airshow somewhere.

    Thrilling sight and sound.

    There is also a P51 Mustang, built in the US from an RAF specification which overflys my place, and it too uses a Merlin engine. It sounds like a Spit but seems to be bigger — well you know us Yanks — but they are easily confused until you get used to the differences.

  170. charybdis1966 says:

    Liie I said Evonne, PA was in a bikini ; I think it may have been an interview with a Graham Norton type host.

    Redders, I think it was show on UK TV about 20 or so years ago, I’d guess you were watching CBS’s 60 minutes back then.

  171. Rasp says:

    Morning all, today’s post is just a bit of a space filler, Raddy’s conjuring up something more meaty for tomorrow.

    ….. New post ……..

  172. Gabriela says:

    all the time i used to read smaller articles that also clear their
    motive, and that is also happening with this paragraph which I am reading at this place.

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