We Did the Double and Missed the Train

Inspired by DidIt and BR’s Dortmund travelogue, I thought I might have a crack at writing a post about a day out at Wembley in 1998. Ant wrote a summary at the time so it shouldn’t be too difficult. I hope you enjoy it.

The day begins early for my old man and his ex-work colleague, JC, as they leave Edmonton, North London for Wembley at 8.30am for the 3.00pm kick-off. Whereas my brother, Ant and I leave Nottingham (100 miles further away) at 8.00am, still there’s nothing like being prepared.

1

Nottingham station still being built

We arrive at The Century at 11am to find Dad, JC and our nephew Matt already installed. (The Century on Forty Avenue, up from Wembley Park had become a bit of a family tradition with trips to Wembley in the late 1970s and 1987 versus Liverpool. It’s now a Texaco garage I believe).

2

Lovely Escort

The day is a bit of a scorcher and JC has decided early on to dispense with any sartorial elegance and protect his pate with a knotted handkerchief.

3

Nice hankie!

I’d made a whole loaf of mushroom and garlic pate sandwiches to soak up the early beers but there were a few noses turned up at the prospect of them at first. After the 3rd pint kicked in, they all disappeared in the blink of an eye.

Ant decides a few fan photos might be in order, including a group of Terry McDermotts in full kit.

4

Charming FKWs

Dad looks quite red by midday and confronts Ant in the toilets with, ‘At my age, you have to hunt around for a while to find it and it drops off!’ This comment was later explained, ‘Well you have to remember that I was in the Navy and all the nice girls love a sailor and I’ve been married twice as well’. Both the beer and the sun were having an effect! N.b. if you ever wonder why Ant and me occasionally indulge in strange behaviour; well the answer is, ‘It’s genetic’!

I’d made some red cardboard fez hats and once on, my old man doesn’t take his off the whole day along with a shirt, cardigan and coat in 80 degrees of heat. The old boys decide the sandwiches aren’t sufficient and depart for the local cafe. It later transpires that my Dad refused to have any of JC’s fresh hot chips despite being offered them on several occasions but then proceeded to finish off someone else’s stone cold chips from another table. Filthy hound.

Ant, Matt and me enjoy the pre-match build-up with more beer, some rousing singing and a cavalcade of stretch limos, jags and an Arsenal open topped bus.

5

Nice crest

We get in the ground early, as was the tradition in those days, Ant and me in separate seats from Dad, JC and Matt (poor Matt). Having blown up dozens of red and white balloons, we realise we have no idea of the team line-ups, who’s fit or anything. I suppose 1998 was almost pre-internet days, certainly pre-blogs and 24 hour sports news coverage. Things seemed so much simpler even 15 short years back. The chap behind us was very complimentary about Mr Durkin, the referee and the whole Newcastle team, ‘ginger midget…..homosexual fish-face’ etc etc. Homophobia, what’s that?

Meanwhile, Matt and the old codgers are having a terrific time in their seats. After the game my Dad said ‘People kept jumping up anticipating a goal and I didn’t see either of ours’. Matt said, ‘Grandad nearly had a fight with the bloke in front when he was singing, ‘Stand up if you hate Man U’.

6

The match passes in a blur. Overmars scores in the first half. The half time chat seems to centre around how far out Marc was when he scored. Wembley at that time had no big screen. Blink and you missed it. It’s so different now at the Emirates, where you immediately see a reply from three different angles. Super Nic Anelka gets the second, but was he offside?, we’ll have to find out when we watch the highlights later. ‘We’ve Got that Double feeling’ and ‘Arsene Wenger’s Magic Hat’ are sung over and over again, joy abounds.

We meet up with Matt and the scrotes after the game and my old man has now added a Champions T shirt to his other 6 layers of clothing.

7

Those twin towers- ahhhhhhhhhhh.

The plan was to go back to The Century but the queues for the tube make this impossible. We decide to walk to The Greyhound on Wembley High Road. My Dad doesn’t like the idea of walking, especially as he’s going to have to walk back to the tube later. Even Arsenal’s second double can’t cheer the old bugger up! Eventually we arrive and the beer flows. The Geordies are excellent in defeat, determined to enjoy their day out at Wembley regardless of the result. A fire Engine in Newcastle livery turns up outside the boozer and a photo opportunity ensues.

8

Spot the Cockney

9

Spot the Muppets

Matt and the old boys call it a day at 7.15pm. Ant and me have until 10pm before our train is due to leave St Pancras. Several more beers ensue. We manage to find the highlights in one of the pubs and finally get to see how far out Overmars was and whether Nic was offside. We finally set off for the tube station at 9pm but Ant finds needing the toilet a problem, so we dive into an Irish pub. It’s full of Geordies singing away so we decide to have a swift one. The Geordies invite the ‘Cockneys’ to sing a song, so we bellow out ‘Arsene Wenger’s magic, he wears a magic hat’. Leaving the pub, we feel peckish again and decide to dambust a large doner kebab.

Getting to the train on time suddenly becomes an issue and we look to be doing ok until I get stuck at an automatic ticket barrier and am in too much of a state to leap it with the grace of a gazelle. Safe to say, getting on the platform to see the last train to Nottingham pulling out of the station wasn’t one of my highlights of the day!

We phone my Dad’s house and speak to my sister to arrange an overnight stop in North London. Apparently my sister struggled to explain to my old man what had happened. He apparently said, ‘Well, that takes the edge off it’ and ‘…but how did they miss the train, we left them at a quarter past seven? I really didn’t expect the day to end like this’…………………..and neither did we!

Written by chas

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150 Responses to We Did the Double and Missed the Train

  1. Norfolk Gooner says:

    Brilliant Chas, absolutely brilliant!

    The Greyhound was were I had a pre-match drink, with a whole bunch of Scousers, on a certain Saturday in May 1971.

    Coincidently, on Tuesday I bumped into two of the Arsenal stalwarts from that team while attending a gathering to celebrate my aunts 100th birthday. The get together was at a golf club in Hertfordshire and Frank McKlintock and George Graham were just going out to start a round, both appeared to be in very good health and they both play off single figure handicaps.

  2. Räsp says:

    Excellent chas, what a wonderful memory – and you still take JC to games to this day. How come you don’t weigh 18 stone with all the kebabs and beer you consume? 🙂

    Norfolk, golf club in Hertfordshire – were you at Hanbury Manor?

  3. Norfolk Gooner says:

    No Rasp, South Herts GC.

  4. LB says:

    Ahhh, happy days, I was there.

  5. MickyDidIt89 says:

    I love this post.

    It has the lovely warm nostalgic feeling, that as Gunners, we can all identify. I’m sure it stirs happy memories in all of us.

    What makes it especially gooey, is the family connection. Sadly I never met your father, but like many on here, have met JC, and he is the very toppest of blokes.

    Thanks Chas.

  6. MickyDidIt89 says:

    The only thing I remember about that game was how underwhelmed Anelka looked after scoring.

    Was it his last match for us?

  7. Räsp says:

    I was at that game too. We kind of already knew we were going to win before a ball was kicked and so did the toon fans who were fantastic on the day. After the game they were singing, ‘shall we sing a song for you’ – nothing changes 😕

  8. evonne says:

    OMG, this is the worst case of self abuse I have ever heard of 🙂
    I am absolutely totally envious

    Fantastic piece Chas, keep writing!

  9. GunnerN5 says:

    That must have brought back great memories Chas. Frankly if that had been me all I would remember is the ticking off I received when I eventually got home. Nice post – warm and cozy.

  10. Big Raddy says:

    chas. Really enjoyable read

    I, too, was outside the Century pre-match!

    My main memory of standing outside was cheering all the bizarre motors bedecked in the red and white. The biggest cheer went to a Churchill Tank dressed in the colours and manned by Gooners.

    The atmosphere was excellent and set us up nicely for the walk down Wembley Way and the match.

    Coming home wasn’t so funny because we were parked a long way from the ground and unlike you we had some bad experiences with the Newcastle fans some of whom were lippy and aggressive.

    But another brilliant drive back along the North Circular ensued surrounded by thousands of happy GoonerMobiles.

    A brilliant day out and thank you for reminding me of it.

  11. RockyLives says:

    Chas
    Dats da shitballs!

    Is it really 15 years ago? It seems so recent in my memory.

    Great day out. I was sat right down the front in the blazing sun and was so trashed and dehydrated I barely remember a thing. Managed to recover with several more pints after the match though.

    Somehow ended up back in Higbbury late in the evening, ordering champagne (which I don’t like) at a curry house. Happy times.

    As Rasp said, none of us had the slightest doubt we would win.

  12. LB says:

    Julian Draxler hints at a possible move to Arsenal.

    How good is he?

    Do we need more attacking midfielders?

    Will his arrival reduce Diaby’s first team appearances?

  13. GunnerN5 says:

    I was in Canada but I spent the whole day in the pub surrounded by my madly ecstatic Arsenal fans. The Mad Hatter in Mississauga Rocky, still one of the very best football pubs in Ontario.

  14. Hmm i posted and it disappeared….i’ll say again:

    Simply great post Chas

  15. Räsp says:

    Hi GiE, LB has had similar problems – WordPress is up to its usual tricks I guess.

    LB @ 1:01, there are various (completely unsubstantiated) rumours that we may be prepared to let Theo go ….. could that add some weight to the Draxler story?

  16. Räsp says:

    How many more seasons have Rosicky and Arteta got in them I wonder?

  17. Räsp says:

    Here’s a theory …….

    We filled the squad with French players just as France emerged as the dominant force in world football, similarly we have had quite a few Spaniards in recent years, and now as Germany is becoming the country with the top teams, we recruit Germans …… makes perfect sense to me 😛

    One of you clever blokes should write a post on the subject.

  18. Norfolk Gooner says:

    GiE, I believe that much internet traffic generated in Norfolk is being seriously delayed by the road works on the A11 between Thetford and Barton Mills.. The carrier pigeons being used in place of the fibre optic connections are becoming exhausted, so vital posts to Arsenal Arsenal are not always getting through. It will all be OK by the end of next year though. 😀

  19. LB says:

    Good theory Rasp

  20. Norfolk Gooner says:

    Rasp,

    I was looking at the teams for the 1971 Cup Final earlier.

    Liverpool had nine English players, one Welshman and one Irishman in their starting eleven plus another Englishman as their only sub.

    Arsenal had eight English, three scots and another scot as sub.

    How times have changed!!

  21. Räsp says:

    Hi Norfolk, yes times have changed but I don’t subscribe to the theory that the influx of foreign players is the main cause of a lack of home grown talent, I think that is as much to do with coaching from young and the vast amount of money we throw at them.

  22. LB says:

    I reckon there is weight to that Walcott theory.

    Nothing to do with liking or disliking him but everything to do with the club’s continuous pattern over the years of moving on the old to make way for the new and often moving them on when it seemed premature to many.

    Silvinho – Cole

    Vieira – Fabregas.

    Please add more to this list if you can.

    The person I am talking about is Gnabry. This player is a potential superstar and as such will not want to sit on the bench next season.

    This obviously causes a dilemma.

    Do we sell Walcott or do we suffer Gnabry letting his contract run down. Selling the young German is out of the question.

  23. Räsp says:

    I agree LB, I’d also have to list The Ox as in Gnabry’s ‘category’

  24. Norfolk Gooner says:

    Rasp,

    I absolutely agree, the FA keep spouting the mantra that we need to produce hundreds if not thousands of new young coaches. Problem is, who’s going to coach the coaches?

    As to the money being chucked at young players West Brom’s twenty year old striker Saido Berahino is a case in point, the England U21 player is about to sign a new contract at a reported £14,000 per week a rise from £850 a week, and he’s being talked up as a possible for the full England squad for the World Cup.

  25. arnie says:

    Brilliant stuff, Chas. Finally, after several days, have some time today to spend on AA.

    But this: “if you ever wonder why Ant and me occasionally indulge in strange behaviour; well the answer is, ‘It’s genetic’!”? First, eccentricity is the spice of life, so no need for excuses, sure we all love it! Second, I suspect it is not so much genetic, as it is partly conditioned by environment (kebabs, beer, Arsenal away games, …) and the rest carefully cultivated!!!! 😀 😀 😀

    Personally, even if the Draxler for Theo story were true, even if I doubt it, I dont really want to hear much about it now. Now is the time to celebrate Theo’s return (gainst the Saints, no less, hopefully) and see how well he links up with the magic boys in midfield. On the news itself, I believe it reflects the desperation by the journos to churn up some Arsenal story. I certainly hope so!!!!

  26. Norfolk Gooner says:

    Better news here Arnie,

    It’s nice to see that Arsenal have signed up with one of France’s finest fashion labels, Lanvin has become the clubs official tailor. The players will wear suits on match days and not the casual clothes of recent years.

    “The star garment is the new Lanvin-made Arsenal-crested, notch-lapelled navy suit in Italian-spun wool. To complement it the club’s first team players, who all visited Lanvin’s Savile Row shop to be fitted, will wear white poplin shirts, Arsenal-red ties, navy cardigans (when the weather demands it) and shiny black shoes”

    Hopefully a certain Danish striker will not be seen wearing it the next time he falls out of a night-club in the early hours of the morning.

  27. arnie says:

    NG: ha ha ha, brilliant!!!! 😀 😀

  28. MickyDidIt89 says:

    One of the many great things about this site is the way the topic of conversation so gracefully morphs

    Norfolk: “who’s going to coach the coaches?” Ouch, that’s good.

    Rocky: “shitballs” ROLF. So glad you do your homework, although generally speaking what goes on the early session, stays on the early session 🙂

  29. kelsey says:

    Lovely piece Chas let’s hope it’s not too long until we are there again.

    We really struggled to get to the final.

    For those interested these were the games that led up to the Final.

    Round Opposition Score
    3rd Port Vale (h) 0–0
    Port Vale (a) 1–1
    4th Middlesbrough (a) 2–1 (Merson scored for Boro)
    5th Crystal Palace (h) 0–0
    Crystal Palace (a) 2–1
    6th West Ham United (h) 1–1
    West Ham United (a) 1–1
    Semi-final Wolves (n) 1–0

  30. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Theo for Draxler?

    No way, not for me. Theo is finally becoming really good. Draxler sounds like a Bond Baddy, and we have enough of his sort anyway.

    But along comes LB’s point about Gnabry, and I then thinks, I do.

  31. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Arnie

    Good point about Ant ‘n Duck.

    I’m a fan of the 10k hrs rule, and those boys deserve the levels of excess to which they strived. Done the legwork, reap the benefits. 20 pints, 2 kebabs, all in a day’s work.

    As you rightly say “carefully cultivated”

  32. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Kelsey
    Really interesting to see how we struggled to the final against such lowly opposition, bearing in mind this was a double winning quality outfit.

  33. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Raddy

    A Churchill Tank? Wow, I so want to see a pic of that. Fantastic. Off to google immediately.

  34. kelsey says:

    Exactly Micky. I remember one year beating Reading on penalties in the first round,it might have been the league Cup.
    That’s the fascination of the FA Cup as there have been many an upset but nowadays not so much.

  35. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Kelsey

    Also, for those who say you can’t be good while struggling to beat lesser teams, one word…Double 🙂

  36. RA says:

    A great story, Chas, and also a fascinating insight into a family of Arsenal fans.

    I loved the details of the main events of the day as I have never experienced that sort of adventure.

    What does stand out for me as something I do have some experience of, in the not so distant past, is the imbibition of copious quantities of alcohol — but frankly I would never dream of trying to match you guys. I would have been legless well before noon! 🙂

  37. Big Raddy says:

    Pretty smart fellow that LB. The Gnabry theory definitely holds water (or is it “floats”)

  38. Big Raddy says:

    Rasp/Peaches. My comments go into spam and then if I unspam them they go into pending from whence I rescue them.

    Any ideas?

  39. GunnerN5 says:

    This s a well rounded review of our clash with Southampton.
    A tad lengthy but well worth a read.

    ……………………………………………………………………..

    Quiet build-up to a meeting of high flyers

    Posted by Iain Macintosh

    Has a clash between the Premier League leaders and the team in third place ever been so low key?

    So little was expected of Arsenal’s game against Southampton that neither of the British television rights holders chose to screen it, opting instead for the Merseyside derby and Chelsea’s visit to West Ham. When Arsene Wenger’s pacesetters take on Mauricio Pochettino’s surprise package, the only British supporters legally allowed to watch, unfortunately, will be the ones present at the Emirates Stadium.

    And yet this is easily the most important game of the weekend. It is a chance for Arsenal to put their title challenge back on track after the disappointment of defeat to Manchester United at Old Trafford. More than that, it’s a chance to find out just how good Southampton really are.

    – Cross: Wilshere needs careful handling
    – Rann: Saint Lallana Brazil-bound?

    Pochettino’s side have been beaten just once in the league this season, a 0-1 defeat at Norwich that seems to have been an inexplicable aberration rather than an accurate reading of their strength.

    Since then, they have conceded only three goals in eight games, beating Liverpool and drawing with Manchester United in the process. They play with such pace and verve that it’s not that hard to imagine them adding Arsenal’s name to that illustrious list.

    Not even a year has passed since Pochettino’s controversial appointment and yet he has transformed the Saints beyond recognition. The sacking of his predecessor, Nigel Adkins, a man who had just led the club to back-to-back promotions, was a repulsive act, but it’s hard to argue that the end has not justified the means. Adkins was a likeable coach whose place in Southampton’s history should never be forgotten, but Pochettino has taken them to a new level.

    Southampton’s good start has been built on a pressing game, a high intensity invasion of personal space that forces mistakes out of even the best players. Rather than tormenting their opponents individually, Pochettino’s players attack in packs, snapping at ankles until they steal back the ball.

    Mike Hewitt/Getty ImagesAdam Lallana’s form this season has inspired Southampton and earned him an England debut.

    That relentless team ethic is evident in the way they go forward too, breaking with speed and with support. Jay Rodriguez and Adam Lallana, both of whom debuted for England last week, are tireless creative forces, while players like defender Dejan Lovren and midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin are simply indomitable.

    Arsenal, it was established in the past, did not like it up them. Sam Allardyce’s Bolton Wanderers were one of the first teams to routinely utilise the refined and delicate strategy of clattering anyone wearing a red shirt and they were certainly not the last.

    Wenger has always bemoaned this as unnecessary thuggishness, perhaps not realising that teams bereft of regular Champions League revenue cannot easily afford the kind of players who could hope to match the Gunners pass for pass. Time and time again, his young side would flinch and fail.

    But this Arsenal are different. They don’t wilt in the face of aggression as easily as they used to and a foolishly conceded goal is no longer the harbinger of a ghastly mental collapse.

    Per Mertesacker, vanquisher of England in midweek, is finally carrying the authority expected of a man his size and, while Laurent Koscielny’s red card for his national team was disappointing, the partnership with the Frenchman is one of the strongest in the Premier League. Only two teams have conceded fewer that Arsenal this season. Unfortunately, one of them is Southampton.

    The Gunners, of course, have their own attacking strengths too. Mesut Ozil, assuming that Wenger has retrieved him from the large hole in which he hid at Old Trafford, has had an invigorating effect on the players around him.

    A return to form — and he should be fresh having been rested by Germany in midweek — would give Southampton a problem for which they might not be able to provide a solution.

    For both clubs, this is a crucial examination, a chance to prove to cynics that their new aspirations are not unrealistic. When the season began, neither could realistically believe that they would be in this position, but the funny thing about success is that it only creates a hunger for even more success.

    Having started so well, neither team will consent to taking it easy now.

  40. Räsp says:

    Hi Raddy, it appears to be one of those things that WordPress does once in a while. Both LB and GiE have suffered the same. I let LB out of spam and then freed him from pending and his comments came onto the site thereafter.

  41. Big Raddy says:

    Let’s try this —-

  42. Big Raddy says:

    OK. I have to use my wordpress account to blog. What a crappy bloody system this is.

  43. GunnerN5 says:

    Two blondes walked into a building.

    You’d have thought one would have seen it.

  44. GunnerN5 says:

    I went to the Doctors the other day feeling very ill, and he said, ‘Go to Bournemouth, it’s great for ‘flu.

    So I went, and sure enough I got the flu.

  45. GunnerN5 says:

    I cleaned the attic with the wife the other day.

    Now she can’t get the cobwebs out of her hair

  46. GunnerN5 says:

    Slept like a log last night …….. woke up in the fireplace

  47. GunnerN5 says:

    I’m on a whiskey diet. I’ve lost three days already.

  48. chas says:

    Cheers for all the lovely comments.
    I was thinking that I really should have had a poll in there.
    Thanks again for being kind.

  49. evonne says:

    oi GN5! no more blonds jokes please or you will have a war on your hands. All right?

  50. GunnerN5 says:

    I went to the doctors the other day and I said, ‘have you got anything for wind?’

    He gave me a kite!

  51. GunnerN5 says:

    Oh dear Evonne – that may just make me risk a war – is it worth it?

  52. GunnerN5 says:

    A blonde went into a corner store and bought four of them.

  53. evonne says:

    you are welcome 🙂

  54. chas says:

    #

  55. GunnerN5 says:

    A blonde walked into the doctor’s and said ‘I’ve hurt my arm in several places’.

    The doctor said “well don’t go to those places any more”.

  56. GunnerN5 says:

    Chas,

    You could always create a post about the next AA poll.

    Suggestions.

    Which stadium has the best grass – might be a cut above the other polls.

    What was the worst game – that could be really boring.

    What was the worst poll on AA = lots of possibilities.

    Who was our worst player – that will be the booers a chance to vote.

    Who was our worst manager – This is for the AW haters.

    See the possibilities are endless.

  57. evonne says:

    no GN5, definitely not worth it, I don’t fight be the book

  58. RA says:

    GN5,

    As a man of distinction, and a mine of jokes, can you help me with solving a conumdrum, please?

    A tutor who tooted the flute
    Tried to tutor two tooters to toot
    Said the two to the tutor
    “Is it tougher to toot
    Or to tutor two tooters to toot?”

    [Slightly worried this could open the flood gates!] 🙂

  59. RockyLives says:

    Redders
    Are you still off the booze then?
    And what part of the US are you in now?

  60. arnie says:

    GN5: Thanks a lot for the jokes, and also for reminding us of the Saints game. I am looking forward to the game with nervous anticipation. We will win, and the result is important. But most important is the question as to whether Theo will play, and if so, how will he do? I can see the anticipation building up nicely.

  61. JanMan says:

    Chas: Great read. Thank you for sharing the story and the moment.

  62. RA says:

    Hi Rocky,

    You have put me into a quandary!

    Yesterday you wrote, “When I write comments I never expect to be answered…does that make me boring etc?”.

    Damn, that makes it tricky, especially as Chas has been so complimentary towards you when he said “….or just confident, unassuming and self-sufficient.”

    I need to think on this, as to respond to your question might make you boring, lacking in confidence, prone to making assumptions and lacking in self sufficiency – like me! 🙂

  63. arnie says:

    This brings me to Theo’s future, and here I cannot agree with LB’s conspiracy theory. Two reasons. First, for me, Theo and Gnabry are not like for like players. Theo plays down the wing, and Gnabry moves more directly into the box. For me, Theo’s return is exciting because we will get to see how his wing play interacts with the passing game of Ozil, Rambo and others. In my view, we have missed this wing play quite a lot. Gnabry provides a different approach, and is therefore very useful, but I think his best years will come later.

    Second, Arsenal have sold top stars in the past, but in general either when they are just beyond their peak (and Arsene has astute judgment of this) or if they wanted to leave. Maybe I am wrong, but Theo ticks neither of the boxes. His game is still improving, and surely he would not want to move? Where would he go?

    This Theo speculation is making me very nervous. Must be fuelled by useless journos.

  64. evonne says:

    Chas – thanks for all the pics of gorgeous dogs
    Here I am returning the favour; country music from Poland

  65. arnie says:

    A personal question for AA-ers from the other side of teh pond. I will spend Chrstmas and New Year in the US. What is the best way to follow Arsenal games from the US?

  66. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Arnie

    Down the boozer with JNYC, RA and JanMan

    No contest 🙂

  67. arnie says:

    Micky: Good idea!!!! 😀 😀 😀

  68. LB says:

    Arnie

    We are in the final stages of the international lull so nothing too serious here but picking up on your perception that Wenger is an astute judge of moving on players who are just beyond their peak.

    I contrast this by saying maybe now that is a popular view but it didn’t always seem that way at the time.

    Silvinho was loved by everyone and many were dumbfounded when, if rumours are true, he was told not to come back from Brazil.

    And then there is Vieira — where do I start when it comes to love and respect; his last ever kick for Arsenal was to win the FA cup.

    And you still think that Theo is immune?

  69. MickyDidIt89 says:

    LB

    Didn’t Arsene reckon Paddy’s best days were behing him. As for Theo, I do take your good point about Gnabry, but Theo is a massive asset to the team and could certainly improve, particularly with Mesut.

    Also, he’s a great commercial asset on many levels.

    I reckon we’re more of a spending Club now 🙂

  70. arnie says:

    LB: Fair point, you have actually got this spot on. Hmm, what I did not say (and did not want to say) is, in addition to being astute, Wenger is somewhat feudal in his management style. Well, like any other top manager really.

    Theo is not immune, NO. But (a) he is improving, (b) his value to the game that Arsenal plays is improving as well, and, perhaps most importantly, (c) he is not (yet) a superstar who has become larger than the team.

    This third one might have been Vieira’s problem. But having said all of that, I am nervous. And this is because you could well be right. And the way several top guys here have jumped on to your theory makes me even more nervous. Because, you may indeed be correct.

    Personally, I like Gnabry a lot, but I dont think this is the direction I would like Arsenal to move.

  71. LB says:

    Hi Micky

    The Mesut thing is interesting, we basically have a Ferrari trying to drive around the narrow streets of Soho, he simply cannot get going.

    Theo will release him but only when there is space, The problem is that we are rarely afforded space. So the Walcott – Ozil theory is limited.

    We need close control in crowded areas more than anything else, and that is why I am in the “Get a Suarez type player camp”

    I am convinced that the club are looking for such a player, the bid for Suarez was genuine (although I no longer expect to get exactly him) If such a player came along in January I think, and this is where I disagree with BR, I think the club would spend another 40 mil.

    But

    We would sell, Bendtner is an obvious one, he will reduce the wage bill and then we get to Theo.

    I conclude, Theo is good but we can do better.

  72. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Where did all this talk of Theo offskiing come from?

  73. MickyDidIt89 says:

    LB

    Ah, the Suarez-type camp. I have two feet firmly in that camp as well, and for the tight situations you describe, but add quality finishing to that.

    However, that still leaves room for a Theo. Pace is in short, even non existent, supply in the current camp. He remains a deadly weapon, albeit in certain situations.

    Napoli away springs to mind. We have no-one even close who offers a similar threat.

    Keep da Theo I say

  74. GunnerN5 says:

    MD89 – It come’s from Red Top mania and it’s very contagious

  75. LB says:

    Micky

    Chas started it above with his suggestion that he might be going to Inter.

    I feel a real snitch hahahahahaha.

    He has good sense of humour though.

  76. MickyDidIt89 says:

    GN5
    I was suspecting even worse. Twister 😦

  77. RA says:

    Micky,

    In an Italian paper, there was a reported/rumoured ‘bid’ of £34m made by Juventus for Theo.

    It is just more nonsense in my opinion. How would anyone outside the clubs know?

    I am not a great fan of Theo as the regulars on here may have spotted. But I agree with Arnie and others that Theo should be given a chance to show his paces now that Ozil is with us, and able to make those wonderful defence splitting passes.

    Whatever perceived lack of skills Theo has, finishing is not one of them — well except when he gets anxious and hits row Z. 🙂

    Keep him I say, not that there is any doubt AW will refuse any bids for him, fictional or otherwise. 🙂

  78. MickyDidIt89 says:

    I’ll have a little chat with Chas over breakie 🙂

  79. arnie says:

    Micky @ 7:12.

    Agreed. Suarez-type will be good. Maybe even a fantastic “fox in the box” who is hungry for goals and finishes efficiently will be useful. This is where I liked the speculation about Costa.

    I agree, Theo gives us something different. This pace down the wing is rare as well. We need it. We need Theo to play well, and continue to improve.

  80. LB says:

    I say keep them all.

    I was just weighing up the possibilities, hence my first comment on the subject.

    “I reckon there is weight to that Walcott theory.”

  81. MickyDidIt89 says:

    RA

    I’m sure Arsene will only accept the fictional bids 🙂

    Don’t believe a word of it. Juventus now eh. It’s the Interdull, news is short, and people like any old story.

  82. LB says:

    When I talk about a Suarez type player it is obviously a given that he is a goal scorer.

  83. MickyDidIt89 says:

    I think Theo will score in Italy and book our passage into the next phase of the CL. 🙂

  84. LB says:

    Should he stay or should he go?

    If he stays there will be trouble, if he goes there will be double, so come on and let me know?

    Should he stay or should he go?

  85. GunnerN5 says:

    RA,

    All I know is that the last time I tooted my wife left the room, muttering something like quit it you stink – or have I got the wrong end of the stick?.

  86. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Ah, The Boys. Cheers LB 🙂

  87. GunnerN5 says:

    I said to this Chinese waiter, ‘Look, this chicken I got here is cold. ‘He said, ‘It should be, it’s been dead two weeks.’

  88. RA says:

    I have already said what I think, but undoubtedly in this hypothetical world, there would be howls of outrage if Theo was sold.

    Unlesssssss …….. Arsene (again, hypothetically) bought a bigger super star like Draxler for even more money than he sold Theo for …. then like the Ozil purchase he would win the fans over — especially if (hypothetically) Theo said ‘bollix to the lot of you!’ 🙂

  89. GunnerN5 says:

    I backed horse last week at ten to one.
    It came in at quarter past four.

  90. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Our man GM was backstage at that one in NY

  91. RA says:

    GN5,

    🙂 Toot indeed!

    How about this?

    A golfer is cupping his hand to scoop water from a Highland burn on the St Andrews course.

    A groundskeeper shouts: ‘Dinnae drink tha waater! Et’s fool ae coo’s shite an pish!’

    The golfer replies: ‘My Good fellow, I’m from England. Could you repeat that for me, in English!?’

    The groundskeeper replies: ‘I said, use two hands – you’ll spill less that way!

  92. GunnerN5 says:

    Jock & Jimmy were walking along a street in London.
    Jock looked in one of the shop windows and saw a sign that caught his eye.
    The sign read, “Suits £5.00 each, Shirts £2.00 each, trousers £2.50 per pair”.
    Jock said to his pal, “Look at the prices! We could buy a whole lot of these and when we get back to Scotland we could make a fortune.
    Now when we go in you stay quiet, okay? Let me do all the talking cause if they hear our accents, they might think we are cheap Scotsmen and try to screw us. I’ll put on my best London accent”.
    “OK Jock, I’ll keep me mouth shut” said Jimmy
    They go in and Jock said in a posh voice, “Hello my good man. I’ll take 50 suits at £5.00 each, 100 shirts at £2.00 each, and 50 pairs of trousers at £2.50 each. I’ll back up me truck ready to load them on, old chap!
    The owner of the shop said quietly, “You’re from Scotland, aren’t you?”
    “Well yes,” said a surprised Jock. “What gave it away?”
    The owner replied, “This is a dry-cleaners……..” !

  93. arnie says:

    Redders @ 7:31: 😀 😀 😀 The groundskeeper in St Andrews is most likely American!!!!

  94. GunnerN5 says:

    One day Jock bought a fine bottle of single malt and while walking home he fell.

    Getting up he felt something wet on his pants.

    He looked up at the sky and said,”Oh lord please I beg you let it be blood!”

  95. arnie says:

    GN5: 😀 😀 Let me go home and resume on AA before these Scottish jokes get too far!!!!!

  96. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Sorry to be picky again, but where did stories of Draxler coming to us start.

    A Journo saying do you like the Prem? Ya

    Do you also like Arsenal, Utd, Chelsea and City? Ya

    Do you like the fact that Arsenal have ze Germans? Ya

    Do you like London? Ya

    Ooo, and finally, do you like the way Arsenal play? Ya

    Right, where’s my pen for I have enough material here

  97. RA says:

    arnie,

    Are you suggesting it was me, oor mae kin? 🙂

  98. GunnerN5 says:

    Callum decided to call his father-in-law the “Exorcist” because every time he came to visit he made the spirits disappear

  99. LB says:

    I am not sure where the idea came from that it is Walcott for Draxler or Draxler instead of Walcott.

    Two totally different things to me.

    If Walcott goes I expect another striker, plain and simple.

    As for Draxler, he is a player for next season, a replacement for Diaby, Rosicky or Arteta

  100. GunnerN5 says:

    At an auction in Glasgow a wealthy American announced that he had lost his wallet containing £10,000 and would give a reward of £100 to the person who found it.

    From the back of the hall a Scottish voice shouted,
    “I’ll give ye £150!”

  101. arnie says:

    RA: 😀 😀 It is St Andrews, you see. If you have ever been there you would realise that half the population is American, a quarter English, 10% German, no Scottish people except for some retired army folk.

  102. RA says:

    Micky you old septic! :-0

    Draxler, himself, was reputed to have told the Deutsche something or other paper that a deal with Arsenal was almost agreed but very late on fell thru.

    This seemed to coincide with the hypothetical purchase of Ozil!! 🙂

    All these rumors are crapolicious!

  103. GunnerN5 says:

    Jock finds himself in dire trouble. His business has gone into foreclosure and he’s in serious financial problems. He’s so desperate that he decides to ask God for help. “God, please help me. Ah’ve lost ma wee store and if Ah dinna get some money, Ah’m going to lose my hoose too. Please let me win the lottery!” Lottery night! Someone else wins… Jock prays again. “God, please let me win the lottery! Ah’ve lost my wee store, ma hoose and Ah’m going to lose ma car as weel!” Lottery night again! Still no luck… Jock prays again.
    “Ah’ve lost ma business, ma hoose and ma car. Ma bairns are starving. Ah dinna often ask Ye for help and Ah have always been a good servant to Ye. PLEASE just let me win the lottery this one time so Ah can get back on ma feet!”
    Suddenly there is a blinding flash as the heavens open and the voice of God Himself thunders:
    “Jock at least meet Me half way and buy a ticket!”

  104. LB says:

    Micky

    I think it was even more banal than that.

    Journo: do you like the style of football Arsenal play?

    Drexler: yes

    Headine: Drexler likes Arsenal’s style and is considering joining next summer.

    This is from today’s Telegraph.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/teams/arsenal/10464449/Julian-Draxler-says-Arsenal-play-his-type-of-football-as-he-admits-he-will-evaluate-his-Schalke-future-in-the-summer.html

  105. RA says:

    I have indeed been oop to St Andrews, arnie, and I never saw any Americans, unless they were all disguised as a flock of Larry Lambs! 🙂

    Got to go. G’Nite folks. 🙂

  106. RA says:

    Nite, GN5, King of the Jokers!!
    Or I suppose to us it is good afternoon!! 🙂

  107. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Right, my final word on this.

    I think we’ll buy an expensive striker. Keep Theo, and if any other signings are German, then I wouldn’t be surprised 🙂

  108. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Later RA

    Off to read the LB article

  109. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Yip LB, I think your evaluation of the journos interpretation of the facts is way closer than mine 🙂

  110. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Ooo, curry. Bye.

  111. chas says:

    Haha, great rumour mongering. 😆

    My ‘Is Theo going to sign for Inter?’ came from 26’s Latin.

    https://arsenalarsenal.wordpress.com/2013/11/20/arsenals-tomorrow-man/#comment-277813

  112. arnie says:

    Redders: The Americans were probably all in your boozer party, and in any case, there are more lambs than men!!!!! 😀 😀

  113. arnie says:

    Following up on LB’s link to The Telegraph rumour. Draxler says: “But I better not speak too much about it because tomorrow I can read that I like to play for Arsenal. I think the people at Schalke would not like to hear that.”

    Ha ha ha 😀 😀 😀

  114. LB says:

    Great picture Arnie.

  115. chas says:

    Motning

  116. MickyDidIt89 says:

    26 posts “Adscribam qui maxime amplio ludio ludius erit Iam tempus, finem inter.” Quod Theo

    Which basically means “who’ll be the best between now and the end. Theo.

    Chas sees words Inter and Theo and away we go.

    For the next Interlull I think we could engineer some serious fun. We have the power. Facebookers, Twisters, Photoshoppers and of course this very site who’s ethos and moral code will just have to be shelved.

    Our challenge. Select a headlining making target. See if we can do our job so professionally, that we get our story into the red tops.

  117. chas says:

    I didn’t know you spoke fluent Latin?

  118. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Actually Chas, sod ’em. We’ll do it together. You do all the clever stuff, I’ll write all the bare face lies 🙂

  119. chas says:

    Walcott straight in for the Flamster?

  120. chas says:

    I thought you might like to be the creative genius.

  121. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Chas

    I don’t. It’s a series of wee guesses all joined up.

    It probably means “Theo is fucking of to Inter, So there”. 🙂

  122. chas says:

    Off out, soz.

  123. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Chas

    In my gallant way, I was merely suggesting I’d step into the firing line and take all the heat 🙂

  124. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Haven’t even put the eggs on 😦

    Oh well, work.

  125. MickyDidIt89 says:

    I blame Evonne for the death of the morning chat

    Chas is clearly heading off to the gym/beauty salon even earlier. These increased beauty sessions come straight on the back of Evonne’s dreadful “gorgeous” comment.

    Chas.
    After gorgeous, what is the next level of fabulousness to which you aspire?

  126. Gööner In Exile says:

    Morning all, went to bed expecting to see a large total for England in the lead when I woke up and instead see thy handed away their wickets all night.

  127. MickyDidIt89 says:

    If that’s the case Exile, then Cricket doesn’t matter 🙂

  128. Big Raddy says:

    Morning All,

    Not the best of starts in the cricket!

  129. evonne says:

    Peaches and I are proud to announce the arrival of our granddaugther 🙂
    Yeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeees!!!!!!! New Gunner Girl!!!!!!!

  130. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Evonne Peaches

    Great News Hoooooray

  131. evonne says:

    thanks! The girl temporarily called Pumpkin has Arsenal DNA in her genes 🙂

  132. kelsey says:

    Morning all.

    BR I am 10CC

    Team news is a bit conflicting.

    Theo will be in the squad, Rosicky has had a virus but the real conflict of reports is about Wilshere and his ankles. Something doesn’t add up with him.I still maintain he hasn’t been fully fit all season even allowing for his long absence yet he played a part in the first England game .I think he might miss out tomorrow.

    A lot of noises coming out of Spain about Santi being tempted back,(despite now he being in the 70% tax band) and still no news about Sagna getting an extension.Napoli are sniffing around.
    I really think if any major transfers in or out in January are going to happen it will be dependent on us progressing out of the group stages of the CL.

  133. kelsey says:

    Congratulations grandma evonne and peaches 🙂

  134. Gööner In Exile says:

    Congratulations Peaches and Evonne and to the parents. Fun times ahead.

  135. arnie says:

    Congrats, evonne and peaches. Motning all. Cold and frosty motning, brightness lurking in the distance!!!!!

  136. evonne says:

    thank you guys! Peaches is already doing to runs 🙂 I am the paternal grandma, for emergencies only

  137. evonne says:

    Kelsey – a trophy would go a long way to stop other clubs sniffing around our players.

  138. VCC says:

    Congratulations Evonne & Peaches.

  139. Congrats to my AA Bitches !. hahahaha

  140. Big Raddy says:

    MMMM. A female Scorpio. Pity the poor parents 😀

    Congrats Peaches and evonne

  141. evonne says:

    a female scorpio? Is that bad? Both parents are lovely, so I don’t expect anything but an easy going, charming lassie

  142. Räsp says:

    Morning all ……

    …. Norfolk, I haven’t received your Friday news round up – is it imminent?

  143. Norfolk Gooner says:

    Rasp, Afraid not, I did e mai Arsenal nuts, and let Peaches know I wouldn’t be able to do one this week Sorry!

  144. Räsp says:

    Ok thanks NG, it looks like we’ll just have to have a day of chatting rather than focusing on a post – now worries

  145. Räsp says:

    Scrap that, I’ve just found a post from Raddy.

    Raddy, is it OK to use your post today?

  146. Big Raddy says:

    Yes, why not …. we can’t have too many polls can we?

  147. Räsp says:

    Thanks Raddy ……

    …. New post y’all ………….

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