The Dortmund Tickle. A view from Block 70

This is a description of a fantastic two days, written primarily for my benefit so in later years I can remember details. Please ignore it if bored and get to the comments where we can discuss other things……

Late afternoon flight from a sunny and, as ever, lovely Copenhagen. Many years have passed since I followed my Arsenal into  foreign lands against such a quality side – and I must admit I travelled with trepidation hidden behind a calm exterior.

Would Didit arrive on time? Would he have the tickets? Could he drive on the “wrong-side” of the road? Would we find our way to the ground? Could we survive on bratwurst, schnitzels and sauerkraut? But above all, would the Gunners get hammered at the Signal Idana?

At this point I should describe my traveling companion but given the nature of blogs and my innate compulsion to exaggerate perhaps I should limit myself to this – Micky is a top bloke and rose to every challenge (apart from occasional lapses of driving concentration when his co-pilot would scream “your on the wrong side of the effing road”).

P1010247

So ….. we arrived in Dusseldorf Airport at exactly the same time and picked up our hire car. Didit had booked a sewing machine with wheels but thankfully listened when I insisted upon an upgrade and a sat-nav, without which we would still be circling the airport ring road desperate for a drink and a bathroom. It must be stated that German road signs leave a lot to be desired, No, make that they are completely crap.

We stayed in the Ibis Dusseldorf Airport Hotel ….. You know those Ryanair flights that go to an airport that looks as though it is close to the city of your destination but turns out to be a €50 taxi from town? Well, our hotel was the same  – 18kms from the airport with nothing except trees, fields and a bewildering number of roads around it! The reception closed at 10 p.m. and early the next morning we met a chap who was forced to sleep under a tree because he arrived too late!

Weds Morning: Up with the lark (well, Micky was) and out on the road to Dusseldorf in search of a fine breakfast. One of my friends lived there for two years and when I asked “Is there anything you can recommend us to do or see?”, she replied “No, nothing whatsoever!” She was right. Typical grey city centre with lots of the same-same shops and chain restaurants – think Gloucester with a bit of Weimar architecture. We found an old style breakfast place and then left for Dortmund (I had scrambled eggs and MDI something with eggs and vegetables)

An hours drive through industrial flatland took us to the city and we headed straight for the stadium car park arriving around lunch-time. Didit was on a mission, he wanted Bratwurst and so we took a local train from the carpark into Dortmund.

Now think on this …… In Germany a match day ticket will give you free public transport on the day of the game. The ticket cost just £37 and we could have taken a return train trip from anywhere in Germany for nothing! TFL are you reading this?

Dortmund city centre was dull and grey and all you would expect from a city which had been pulverized not so long ago by the Valiant Few. We found the town’s best Bratwurst stall and had lunch. No doubt at all  – a Lincolnshire or Cumberland sausage is vastly superior, but at least we tried it.

P1010232

By now it was raining and we looked for the traveling fans. They were easy to find – the noise was our guide. All the red and white were in a square which unsurprisingly was edged by bars and pubs. The atmosphere was rowdy but fun with much imbibing of the local brew. There was a Gooner in a kilt, a middle aged German woman went up to him and asked if what she had heard was true – he turned his back, lifted his kilt and mooned her. She and all the locals loved it!

Didit and I looked for an authentic German bar and found one nearby. Not too many of our boys but a welcoming atmosphere. After a few minutes a couple of “older” gentlemen sat by us and Micky realised he knew one of them from his train trips up from the West Country. We spent an alcoholic few hours with Nigel and John discussing the team and Mr Wenger. I was on a beer called DAB, a fine brew. Didit, being the driver, stayed on the non-alcoholic beers and I have to say they looked as insipid as they probably tasted. Oh, and we ate a dreadful schnitzel cooked in very stale oil.

P1010243

Onto the ground. We took an absolutely packed train back to the ground where the atmoshere was building nicely. No aggro, just thousand upon thousand of people looking forward to an epic encounter. The BD fans were very pleasant in a condescending way, fully expecting us Gooners to be sadly trudging home a couple of hours later.

Entering the ground was crap. Only word for it. Crap. Everyone was body-searched prior to going through the turnstiles – if there had been a crowd surge (as there would be in England) it would have been a dangerous place to be.

P1010250

Into the ground. We were in Block 70, left of the goal. The main BD stand – the one in all the vids – was already full of singing fans but the rest of the ground remained half-empty 10 mins before kick-off which cannot be said of the AFC end. There were 3,300 of us and we made one hell of a racket. All the usual songs were being belted out with gusto as the team warmed up in front of us.

There was a DJ and the sound system was so loud it was difficult to hear the BD fans singing their anthems. They did the usual stuff of naming players by their first names allowing the fans to shout out the surname. Just small screens at each corner of the ground, none of which showed replays but perhaps this is a CL directive.

From the first no Gooner sat down – somewhat exhausting for a man of my advancing years..

Just in front of us was a lad with a blow-up model of a Spitfire which he held over his head for most of the match!

Kick Off.  I will not write about the game because you have all seen it but I can assure you that apart from the singing in the ground it was a deadly 45 mins. A couple of times BFG saved us and his song rang out. At half-time I was convinced we were doomed, Didit was more confident.

P1010253

15 minutes of tension, all around us imploring the team to get just one attack or shot. Then it happened. We went absolutely mental. I cannot recall such madness since TA scored against the Spuds at Wembley in the FAC semi-finals. It was bedlam. If we were loud before now we turned it up to 11. The Aaron Ramsey song was sung for 10 minutes non-stop.

Being of a nervous disposition I was desperate for the final whistle and the last 20+ minutes seemed a lifetime, had it not been for the singing I might have had a coronary. But at the same time the team seemed totally at ease and Micky was adamant we had it won – he was right.

Leaving the  ground was as brilliant as you would imagine. We were “released” at the same time as the BD fans which surprised me but there was no animosity whatsoever. The BD fans were superb in defeat – if only ours could be. The chaps I spoke to were looking forward to beating Bayern next week and felt they were unlucky but wished us luck.

It had stopped raining. We talked to French Gooners, Gooners from Kiev, Gooners who had traveled from Singapore, 20 Gooners who had come over from Kuala Lumpur for the Liverpool and BD games and were going home on Thursday morning – what a  memorable trip they had!

A long but very enjoyable drive back to the Hotel Fleapit during which we reminisced about the game. We spent time assessing our players and giving them ratings which were exactly the same as Arnie’s apart from Mertesacker – we gave him a 10 because we both thought he played a perfect game.

Thursday morning we had planned to do some sight-seeing but quite frankly the weather was awful, the local area was at best dull, and we were exhausted. My vocal chords were shredded (which is bad news for the people who have hired me to sing at their party tonight 😦  ) So we went to the airport and spent a few delightful hours chewing the fat.

In the departure lounge I met a group of Swedish Gooners with whom I travelled back to Copenhagen –  a tired but very, very happy Gooner.

Highlights of the trip? The Gooners and Micky. Both excellent company.

Can’t wait for the next time

Written by BigRaddy

And here is the account from the other half of the travelling duo ………..

The Champions League draw is made, and we are grouped with Marseille, Napoli und Dortmund. So, which game to go to?

Mmmm, great food in France and Italy. Beautiful Cities Marseille and Naples. Dortmund has neither, in abundance! Also, let’s not forget that probably the best chance of winning either would not be in Germany. So….where to go?

“I know, let’s go to Germany”.

Why? Because I like the feeling of taking a risk and coming out on top. It’s where the best memories are to be banked, and I knew that although an away win here came with the smallest probability, if, and if we pulled it off, we’d have the “we woz there feeling”.

20:10, November 5th, and within moments of each other two aeroplanes touched down at Dusseldorf International Airport. One, from Copenhagen with a Big Raddy aboard, and the other from London with a Didit and very handsome German Frauline aboard.

Raddy: “Didit, you old git, great to see you. Which company did you rent the car from?”

Didit: “Err, dunno. Forgot to print it out”.

An hour later, and our two heroes pull out of the airport.

Raddy: “Didit, you f***ing idiot, you’re on the wrong side of the road”

Didit: “Jeepers, Daddy, calm down. It’s no big deal”

Moments later…..

Didit: “Hey Daddy, just had a thought. We’re in Germany where there are no speed limits”

Didit applies the pressure from his right foot. Raddy, noticeably tensioning himself for impact, goes pale”.

Raddy: ““Didit, you f***ing idiot, can’t you see the 50 speed limit signs everywhere”

Didit: “No, I’m meant to wear glasses for driving. Please relax, there are people in this world with real problems, you know”.

Ok, this is just a taster, or mood setter. To be fair, things calmed down, and although we got very lost, we eventually settled into our digs. Next day, into Dusseldorf. Crap place, don’t bother, but a fine breakfast was had in a lovely pub. Back to the car and up to Dortmund and the ground. Parked. Tram into town. Got Bratwurst Hot Dog. Verdict: edible. Although this from a bloke who thinks raw limpets are edible, but they are nevertheless “disappointing”.

Passed the massed Gooners in the main square, and dived into a lovely old bar. Here we felt settled and happy. We were talking to a great Gunner here, who kept slithering drinks over to his seated, back turned, very rain sodden dishevelled chum. I get another round, and tap said heap on the shoulder. He spins round.

“Didit, you old git, how are you”. Here’s a lesson, and I’ve actually mentioned this guy on here before, but we sometimes chat Arsenal for a couple of hours as we share the train journey back West from The Emirates. He’s about 70, and still goes to all home and aways. Wow.

We spent many very happy hours with these two epic Gunners, and Raddy and I got in the mandatory Schnitzel.

Then, crammed into a train with expectant Dortmund fans, we went to the biggest stadium in Germany, home to one of the noisiest crowds in football, to play one of last year’s finalists, and won.

As for their legendary fans, ok, they do make one heck of a lot of noise, but to me it is somewhat orchestrated. A combination of deafening pa, some git on the pitch before the game coordinating the four stands in turn, and then during the game itself two “leaders” atop a platform in front of the “home” end, facing the fans. For me the effect was certainly atmospheric, but it seems somewhat artificial. There is no doubt in my mind they lack the wit and spontaneity of the English Fan. As I’m sure Chas will testify, the away fans have a camaraderie and togetherness you don’t get at home games. This, combined with being in the minority does appear to gel the boys into a unit who feel “we’re in this together, and we’re fighting against overwhelming odds”. By the way, even these legendary fans do appear to only “sing when they’re winning”.

It was truly a fantastic feeling, and shivers were in me timbers. The three thousand plus Gooners stood from beginning to end, and I don’t believe one did not become totally overwhelmed by the occasion. We sang, shouted, screamed, danced, and sang some more.

Then we scored, and suddenly it was us who owned the stadium. The final whistle came accompanied by sheer unadulterated and complete joy. I hugged the bare chested drugged up lunatic next to me. For that one moment, I really really liked him very much.

As we made our way down the concrete steps inside the stadium, arms aloft while “Aaaaron Raaamseying” at full pelt, I turned to Raddy “It’s not often grown men get to do this”. Then more, “Aaaaaron Raaaamsey, Aaaaron Raaaaamsey”.

Next morning, and having coffee in the hotel.

“Didit, you old git, how the hell are you?” Two more acquaintances from post home game pub drinking. We give them a lift to the airport.

There is no moral or anything to learn from this, but I have never had a better away night as a Gunner.

So, did we make the right choice of games? Big time. I’ve already forgotten about the game itself, but I’ll never forget the experience. Oh, and after two days together, Big Raddy is still talking to me. Double result.

As we parted company, my last words to the Great Man were: “Life is about banking memories. We just did a big one, Daddy”.

Thank you Raddy for being great company, and thank you Chas, for making it possible.

Written by MickyDiIt

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93 Responses to The Dortmund Tickle. A view from Block 70

  1. Räsp says:

    Absolutely brilliant entertaining report – thanks Micky and Raddy. We really should write a book containing some of the great articles we’ve had the pleasure of publishing on AA, this is right up there with the very best. Unlike you guys, I never gave myself a hope of going to the game, but you’ve shown me that an away game in Europe is an essential experience that no gooner should miss.

  2. chas says:

    Flippin noras, that’s effin brilliant. I’m so envious.
    You just can’t beat a voyage into the unknown. I even like away trips to Stoke!

  3. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Motning again all.

    I think one of the most “chat worthy” parts of the voyage, was how they orchestrate their fans.

    Chas, if you get a chance, can you find a pic of their two leaders on the platform orchestrating the home end. I noticed it in one of the vids you posted of their fans. Can you take a still from it.

    I’ll go back and see if I can find your original link.

  4. Ooops killed the blog 😦

    Raddy and Micky – I absolutely loved reading about your time together going to the Dortmund game. Our away support is fantastic and for you to be able to say ‘we woz there’ is a moment in time to cherish.

  5. LB says:

    Every now and then I get to read what I refer to as a gem on this site but today’s post is no ordinary gem; it is so special that I fully expect it to be referred to as one of the jewels in the crown of this blog.

    Thank you.

  6. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Peaches

    I’m always jealous of The Ant ‘n Duck on their travels, as it really is a completely different Arsenal Supporting Experience.

    The whole overseas thing certainly adds spice, and I’d always say pick a massive club, a great current side, in an important fixture, and lastly and where we failed miserably, in a nice City.

  7. MickyDidIt89 says:

    High praise indeed LB, thanks.

  8. Norfolk Gooner says:

    Good morning AAers, terrific work BR and Micky it made me think back to some away trips in the seventies with my late brother and two work mates. We only ever went abroad once, to Cardiff. 😀

    If I had to pick a ground to go to it would be either the Nou Camp or Allianz Arena, Bayern would win out over Barca as the beer and food is better, Lowenbrau and eiesbein beats Mahou and tapas anytime.

  9. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Norfolk

    At the airport before departing, Raddy and I also discussed hopes for the next away day. Bayern, Madrid, Barca were all at the top of the list. Lisbon and The Stadium of Light also appeals.

  10. Norfolk Gooner says:

    Micky, Madrid, Barcelona, Lisbon and SUNDERLAND? Blimey!

  11. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    Lovely stuff lads. Pleased for the pair of you.

    Can just imagine Micky driving on the wrong side of the Road, freaking poor Raddy out. hahaha

    If I had come with you we would have definitely pulled ourselves some Fraulines. And, at some stage, to cap the trip off probably enjoyed the hospitality of the Dortmund police.

  12. Big Raddy says:

    Thank you for the kind comments. It was an unforgettable trip and another Gooner memory which will keep me warm in my dotage.

  13. RockyLives says:

    Simply sensational!

    What a brilliant read – thank you both very much.

    It made me think of my away trips in Europe (sadly haven’t been on one since AZ Alkmaar in 2009 😦 ) and made me very jealous of you two.

    Great writing about a great trip with a great result.

    Bravissimo!

  14. chas says:

    Sorry, Micky, I can’t find the clip you were after but remember seeing it. Will have a look later. Off out again.

    Fancy a T shirt?

  15. arnie says:

    Fantastic work, Micky and Raddy. Guten Tag from bl**dy freezing Frankfurt. Busy at work, but back later to hopefully enjoy a fantastic evening’s show on AA.

  16. Sav from Australia says:

    Brilliant read, thanks guys! Really gives a good feel of what the experience was like.

  17. LB says:

    And the penny has finally dropped as to how Chas got the tickets.

    He didn’t go himself, that was the bit that was confusing me, I thought OK, he and his brother have 15 away credits each, that makes two tickets — so where did the other one come from.

    Hmmmm, if he can get three maybe he can get……..four.

    Seems not, shame.

  18. MickyDidIt89 says:

    LB
    Danger is, Ant n Duck want to go next time 😦
    This poses the question I asked earlier, where do these overseas groups of Gooners get their tickets, because I’m signing up as a foreigner 🙂

  19. Some people have a way with words. Brilliant ! Epic I’d say, in a “THIS IS SPARTA !!!” way, epic : The 3300.

  20. GoonerB says:

    Loved it Micky and Raddy. What an enjoyable read. I can’t wait for the next installment of “Around the world with Micky and Raddy”

  21. MickyDidIt89 says:

    GoonerB

    I recall chatting with 26 about the possibility of an away day before, and we discussed Marseille and a good Bouillabaisse, so I’m sensing a Group AA outing.

    More than anything, I think I’d like to go and eat and win in Spain 🙂

  22. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Benjamin
    Are you the same as the French “Ben” who said he was living in Tokyo?

  23. RA says:

    Well fellers, that was absolutely wunderbar!! 🙂

    Hi Raddish,

    Just to help me get things clear, first, how did you come to meet that rather quizzical looking chap sitting on the bench of the Hauptbahn Hof platform asking for a pfennig for the Guy?

    Second, you say you traveled with Trepidation – who he? Or is that Micky’s middle name?

    I simply loved your tale and the free flowing narrative style you used gave me a superb feel for your experience.
    Top drawer Big Randy. 🙂

    Hi Micky, or ‘MickyDiIt’ as you signed yourself. Another alias?

    Again a little clarification, please. Just exactly who was the ‘very handsome German Frauline’ you mentioned?

    I would like to spare your blushes but to hell with that, I feel an overwhelming need to speak as I find.

    You have always impressed me with the sheer spontaneity of your writing/comments which makes the reader feel you are in the room or at the bar with him. Nothing feels contrived, as can often be the way with the written word.
    And so to is the case with your tale of your adventure with Raddy into wildest Germany!

    To read this exceptional Post from the pair of you was special indeed, and I hope that ‘Mr Fixit’ Chas can magic up some more tickets in the future so that he and Duck can accompany the pair of you next time, because I for one would pay good money to read an account of any such trip (tho’ free is better!!). 🙂

    Brilliant mein Herr. 🙂

    P.S.

    Leave off rubbishing Dusseldorf! 🙂
    I lived near that fine city in my youth and spent many a day feeding the ducks and fish in the river Rhine that runs thru the city centre past Königsallee — and not to mention the finest German lagers consumed in the Altstadt during my teens!! 😳

  24. MickyDidIt89 says:

    RA
    I had my very cleverest hat on when Raddy and I got to the river in Dusseldorf. “Ah, the Ruhr Daddy, the heartbeat of industrial Germany”. We was later “learned” by a local.
    Next day, driving to the airport, I spotted another waterway “Look Daddy, the Tiber”

  25. RA says:

    Micky, 🙂 🙂

    A very understandable error.

    Actually, there is a tributary of the Rhine called the River Düssel, and I wonder where Düsseldorf got its name?

    Hint: ‘Dorf’ in English means village! 🙂

  26. jnyc says:

    Thank you Raddy and Micky.

    You have no idea how much i enjoyed the experience of your descriptions. As a sofa- pub fan in new york – this couldnt have been a more fun read. It inspires me to do some Arsenal travel.

  27. Kgööner says:

    Micky & raddy thank you so much for the post. the read was worth every line. Quite possibly my favourite post on AA. top 5 @least.

    I can only imagine the experience but am grateful for the vivid descriptions. I am from Kenya and hope one day to travel up to London for a home game. Over time I have been ambivalent over home OR an away game. I am mightily impressed by the away fans. Now, I ever do get a chance to attend a game, I’ll pick away game.

    Thanks again for the post. I was looking forward to it since you two promised to jot down your Dortmund experience.

  28. MickyDidIt89 says:

    I am really pleased so many of you enjoyed our stories.

    I knew it would never be a conversation starter, but I especially like that the fact the some of our overseas Gooner mates get a flavour of another side to Arsenaldom.

  29. Big Raddy says:

    Me too. This was always going to be a post for our regulars who already “know” Micky and I am delighted you all were able to enjoy our enjoyment-

    As I wrote in the BD pre-match. It was an honour to have you all in my pocket (as opposed to Peaches)

  30. RA says:

    Micky,

    Well, I am disappointed that neither you nor Randy have slaked my curiosity regarding the ‘pfennig for the Guy’ man on the platform or the ‘handsome German fraulein (an interesting choice of adjective there — very Rockyesque. 🙂

    Do tell.

  31. Big Raddy says:

    RA. The bloke in the strange clothing at train station is none other than the old British comedian, Tony Hancock.

    Malicious rumour has abounded for many years about his demise – but the truth is that he found fame and fortune difficult to come to terms with and faked his own death. It was a huge surprise to see him in Dortmund train station.

    At first I thought it was a shop-store dummy but then he started to tremble and after asking us for some money and alcohol told us the strange tale of his resurrection.

    I still do not believe it was Tony Hancock, but Micky was taken in and gave him a bottle of Wilhelm’s schnapps and a ham sandwich.

  32. arnie says:

    wow, wow, wow!!!! fantastic, what a classic! Thank you profusely, Raddy and Micky!!! You lucky guys!!!!

    “Just small screens at each corner of the ground, none of which showed replays but perhaps this is a CL directive.” No CL directive. Just sounds like a crap ground. Replays were shown in the Ems in the reverse fixture. Together with Chas and Ant, I had to go through the pain of watching the Lewandowsky goal several times.

    “We spent time assessing our players and giving them ratings which were exactly the same as Arnie’s apart from Mertesacker – we gave him a 10 because we both thought he played a perfect game.” Fantastic, I’m truly flattered. Yes, 10 for BFG had crossed my mind, but had to offer a 10 and MOTM to Le Manager. So, hard luck, Mert!

    For me, two descriptions stood out most prominently. “As for their legendary fans, ok, they do make one heck of a lot of noise, but to me it is somewhat orchestrated. … For me the effect was certainly atmospheric, but it seems somewhat artificial. There is no doubt in my mind they lack the wit and spontaneity of the English Fan.” Simply classic. 😀 😀

    And, this as well: “No aggro, just thousand upon thousand of people looking forward to an epic encounter. The BD fans were very pleasant in a condescending way, fully expecting us Gooners to be sadly trudging home a couple of hours later. … The BD fans were superb in defeat – if only ours could be.”

    Fantastic, you great guys, let there be more!!!!!!

  33. arnie says:

    Micky: “I’m sensing a Group AA outing” Dont leave me out, please. I live in hope …..

  34. RA says:

    Right Randy, that is at least some sort of answer????

    But why was Micky being so rude (ish) to a wonderful bloke like you?

    He said, “The final whistle came accompanied by sheer unadulterated and complete joy. I hugged the bare chested drugged up lunatic next to me. For that one moment, I really really liked him very much.”

    And why were you bare chested in that weather? 🙂

  35. MickyDidIt89 says:

    “Strange clothing” eh Raddy 🙂

  36. chas says:

    Those purple sneakers are bitching.

  37. evonne says:

    Oh my God, those stories are fantastic! Had me laughing my socks off! Thanks guys for making me absolutely sick with jealousy! Not only that I love going to games with DidIt, but if there was 1 game I would want to be at it was the BD one.

    But as they say ‘who dares wins’ and me the wimp would not risk a big upset. Hence much dancing in front of the telly, but no real memories to store.

    I suppose at least I can always say that two of my mates were there 🙂

  38. evonne says:

    oh dear, I don’t like this email:

    Dear Sir/Madam,

    I tried contacting you earlier today as you used to be on the Arsenal Football Club Season Ticket Waiting List. Your current position on the Arsenal Football Club Waiting List has lapsed, however out of courtesy and having paid an initial £15.00 non-refundable deposit we are offering to add you back on to the Arsenal Football Club Season Ticket Waiting List at no charge.

    We are also in a position to offer any friends or family the opportunity to join the waiting list for £15.00 per waiting list position. The non-refundable deposit of £15.00 will then be redeemed off the price of the Season Ticket once in a position to be offered.

    Please do not hesitate to contact me on the number below if you would like to be added back onto the Arsenal Football Club Season Ticket Waiting list or indeed would like to invite other guests to join the list.

    0207 7044 070

    I very much look forward to speaking to you soon.

    Kind regards,

    Graham

    Graham Bramwell
    Sales Executive (Ticketing & Services)
    Arsenal Football Club

    Highbury House | 75 Drayton Park | London | N5 1BU
    Tel: +44 (0) 207 704 4070
    E-Mail: gbramwell@arsenal.co.uk
    Web: http://www.Arsenal.com

  39. VCC says:

    Loved that read BR and Didit. As you say, that one is well in the memory bank for ever.

  40. Yes, Micky. The AA has a nice atmosphere about it and I’m probably gonna spend quiet some time here so I thought I might just as well register with my FB account.
    This one made me wanna go to a game even more badly. I’ve never seen Arsenal play (could have been to see them near Tokyo this summer, but something doing with a baby that can come out any time didn’t really allow it).
    If I had to choose a memory, that would be a certain France-Japan Confederation Cup game in Saint-Etienne, back in 2003. I had borrowed my dad’s car to bring friends to the game. We were supporting Japan, so very much away, but the Confederation Cup has this festive atmosphere about it and no one really cared. France won 2-1 thanks to a penalty if I remember well and Japan hit the post once or twice. Anyway, for this one too, the memory isn’t about the game. The following day, I drove back the car to my parents’ and took the train back again to Lyon. Met friendly Japanese supporters who we’re sitting next to me. It was a nice day. We arrived at Lyon Station and there, walking in the middle of the crowd, not surrounded or anything, just like a regular passenger, I saw someone I knew : Thierry Henry !
    I approached him and to this day I’m still astonished as how silly I was. See, all I had was launders in my bag, so I asked him to sign one of my T-Shirts, but all I had was an ink pen… Silly. He took them both, a little embarrassed and told me : “I can’t really sign with this, but if you find a proper pen, come back to me.” Can you believe the sweetness and class of the man (God) ?! So anyway, I asked to one of my new found Japanese friend to lend me a pen and ran after Him, on to the platform and there was the entire French team… So on my little T-shirt, I got Seven signs amongst which Wiltord, Pires and Thierry Henry who would go on to win the Premier League undefeated that following season…

  41. arnie says:

    what a fantastic story, Ben. well done you!!!!

  42. Not launders, laundry…

  43. dhakka09 says:

    I read this article, closed my eyes, mulled over the experience described and put myself in the writer’s shoes; I experienced a fraction of the joy that must’ve overwhelmed all Gooners present there. Thank you!

  44. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Motning all.

    About Evonne’s letter, how can this happen “Your current position on the Arsenal Football Club Waiting List has lapsed”?

  45. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Benjamin

    Great story. Just curious. You are French, but supported Japan. Interesting, nothing sinister.

  46. chas says:

    Motning,
    Is it something to do with being offered the chance of a ticket and turning it down?

  47. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Nice work Chas.

    Do you know the answer as to how overseas groups of Arsenal fans get tickets to away CL games?

  48. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Maybe you have to join the European Footballing Family under Father Septic Bladder. Yuk.

  49. chas says:

    Bernabeu

  50. chas says:

    I don’t, Micky.

    I was thinking about it last night.
    Maybe there’s a little re-selling for profit?
    As far as I was aware it’s through Platinum, then Gold with descending amounts of away credits for European games. Even the Away Ticket Scheme members don’t have automatic rights for CL games.

  51. chas says:

    Travelling to Napoli looks scary.
    “First Name, Surname, DOB and country of birth will be required of all travelling supporters attending this fixture”
    Presumably in case you go missing or find Ruud van Nistelrooy’s head in your bed in the morning. 🙂

    http://www.arsenal.com/match/report/1314/tickets/first-team/napoli-v-arsenal-tickets

  52. chas says:

    Arsene getting down wiv da yoof.

  53. evonne says:

    that’s right Chas, I didn’t buy the season ticket a couple of years ago.
    What worries me is their pushy approach, are there many unsold ST? Mind you, that could change very rapidly once we win the league.

    Micky and Raddy (still asleep) – what is a more dismal place – Mancunia or Dusseldorf?

  54. chas says:

    I don’t think there are any unsold ordinary season tickets, though imagine there are some Club level maybe?

    Here’s a bit on the waiting list from Untold.
    http://blog.emiratesstadium.info/archives/29028

  55. evonne says:

    you lucky man Benjamin! I met Thierry Henry many, many times in my dreams, never in reality. I dreamed of going to a game with him, he was nervous and I was reassuring him that everything is going to be ok and we will win 🙂 Nice, very nice

  56. chas says:

    For those feeling football-deprived, the two Ukraine v France games on Friday and Tuesday may be worth a watch. (Wiziwig only I’d imagine).
    Sagna, Koscielny and Giroud playing – eeek.

  57. evonne says:

    ok Chas, this season ticket explanation sounds plausible. I will probably pay the £15 to keep me on the waiting list in case I am rich again in the future

  58. evonne says:

    eeeek indeed. Good job Poland is out of the World cup, Woytek can rest 🙂

  59. Ben says:

    Micky, might’ve had something to do with my Japanese girlfriend… that and the fact they were playing rather well. Talking about japanese : Doesn’t anyone think we should try to get Honda from CSK Moscow in January ? He would be an amazing squad player.

  60. evonne says:

    Ben – ask GM, he is our resident Japanese celebrity expert; he had 5 or 6 wives all from Japan

  61. chas says:

    Evonne,
    I wasn’t suggesting you pay another £15.
    You probably wouldn’t want to go to all home games anyway and the ticket fairy can usually rustle one up if you do fancy the odd game.

  62. chas says:

    Ben,
    Hasn’t he already signed with Milan?

  63. Big Raddy says:

    Morning ll,

    evonne.7.29 The place? Dusseldorf. The people? Manchester.

  64. evonne says:

    yes Chas, plus I am seldom well enough to go. AND the Ticket Fairy is going to be VERY busy VERY soon, so I might be using her season ticket 🙂

  65. evonne says:

    ha ha ha Raddy 🙂 I find it hard to imagine less friendly mob than Germans, but perhaps they have changed

  66. Big Raddy says:

    Ben. I cannot recall a Japanese player who has done well in the Premiership. Kagawa may do but he seems to be struggling at MU.

    We had Junichi Inamoto and much as we loved him he couldn’t make the grade and was eventually sold to Fulham before playing in France and Germany then returning home.

    And of course Miyaichi who has the potential to be a good potential.

    I think Honda’s style is more suited to the slower game in Italy or Spain, and as Chas says, he has signed for Milan.

    Great story about TH14 and the lads.

  67. Big Raddy says:

    evonne. You said “boring”!

    I found the locals to be very friendly. Almost everyone spoke English apart from an elderly woman who when I asked the way into town looked at me with horror. After smiling and trying to calm her down I am afraid I called her an old “N….”. and walked on. Not my finest hour 😦

    But otherwise everyone was charming.

  68. chas says:

    TV5 is 28 today

  69. chas says:

    The people of Munich were very friendly and helpful when Ant and me went.

  70. Big Raddy says:

    HB TV

    Love the way you answered your critics by saying you will fight for your place at AFC and want to stay at the best club in the world

  71. chas says:

    Another snap from our Munich trip. 🙂

  72. LB says:

    ““I know, let’s go to Germany”.

    Why? Because I like the feeling of taking a risk and coming out on top. It’s where the best memories are to be banked, and I knew that although an away win here came with the smallest probability, if, and if we pulled it off, we’d have the “we woz there feeling””

    This is a very important point, my favourite and therefore most memorable European away game was at the Bernabeu.

  73. chas says:

    Did you like my 7.21, LB?

  74. evonne says:

    R*zaddy – did you call the witch an old ‘N**i’ ?

  75. Gööner In Exile says:

    That’s a cracking away travelog from you two very lucky Gooners.

    After the game my brother text me….”can we get European Away Tickets”. So hopefully when stars align he and I will be making a trip sometime soon, though I am not doing Italy.

  76. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Wow LB, didn’t know you were at that one. What a great trip that must have been.

    As I said, The Bernabeu is right at the top of my “Would love to witness a win there” list.

  77. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Great pic of you and Ant, Chas.
    You have that smug look which shouts “Look what I just caught” 🙂

  78. chas says:

    Haha, we were sat there waiting for a train after taking some snaps when her and her friend walked past and offered to take a picture of both of us. I think it was her friend taking the photo who suggested she sit down as well.
    Shhhhh, don’t tell everyone.

  79. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Chas

    Always, always talk to a woman who you find incredibly attractive, I say. It makes you feel good.

    I think we were put on this planet to mate, and therefore although a “chat” is only early stages I’ll admit, for me it sends good chemicals streaming from my brain.

  80. evonne says:

    OMG, where is this conversation going? Chas does not need encouragement.

    cheerio

  81. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Oi Evonne, I bloody talk to you at the first opportunity 🙂

    Come back, Dear.

  82. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Let’s talk football

    Ozil: Arsenal’s greatest ever signing?

  83. chas says:

  84. chas says:

  85. Morning all

    Sorry, running late this morning and it’s not because I’ve been cooing over a late to arrive grandchild 😦

    Back in a minute.

  86. There’s a New Post ……………

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  88. rbckc.com says:

    rbckc.com

    The Dortmund Tickle. A view from Block 70 |

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