Poll: Today’s winners?

June 30, 2014

France vs Nigeria: Nigeria squeezed through qualification but I like them. Decent footballers with considerable skill, great athletes and a fine kit. Part of my affection is due to spending much time in Nigeria searching for unknown breeds of fish (unsuccessfully!!., And then there is the Kanu factor. I loved Kanu – still do,  a real gentleman and a superb ambassador for his country, oh, and the scorer of the finest hat-trick ever seen at Stamford Bridge. And if that isn’t enough Nwanko remains a committed Gooner as you can see from his website.

The French. I have a love/hate relationship with both the country and the football team. I so much enjoyed the victory in 1998 when Arsenal won the World Cup but I also enjoyed the disaster in South Africa in 2010. This time we have a few lads in the French squad and for that reason I will support them tonight. They have a flaky manager – how else can one explain how Deschamps would  pick Sakho ahead of Koscielny or drop Giroud after an exceptional performance against the Swiss?

So, it’s France for me.

Germany vs Algeria: Another African team and one who will give the Germans a tough match. They have surprised many (including BR) with their teamwork but surely tonight is the end of an exciting journey. 4 goals against Korea was a shock but highlighted what an easy group they were in.

Germay will be rightly confident. They are the best European side and have yet to hit top form. With 3 AFC players (plus hopefully one or two more to come) in the squad and at least two to start, they have to be favourites. Nonetheless, if they get beaten it will give our lads a couple of weeks more holiday

Germany win.

Poll: Winners? Netherlands vs Mexico. Costa Rica vs Greece

June 29, 2014

First up, the Dutch with those fine upstanding gentlemen Robben, De Jong, Snejder and a chap with a happy child within against some valiant losers 😀

Could this be a game as exciting and engrossing as yesterdays first game? Does anyone think Mexico can take Holland to pens or even beat them? The poll will tell.

The Mexico goalkeeper has been outstanding but I fear he will need to be, Netherlands have pace, power and potency whereas Mexico are ageing. That said they have a great manager in Herrera and it will be an interesting tactical battle with some bloke who has been given the poisoned chalice of resurrecting the Mancs.

Netherlands for me.

Costa Rica vs Greece.  Both teams created a surprise by getting out of their groups. For Greece to be still in it whilst Italy, Spain, England, Ivory Coast and Portugal are watching from the couch is  ….. well, bewildering. They have such a negative attitude and quite frankly are a piss-poor side.  However, I am delighted for the people of Greece who  could use some cheering up!

Costa Rica topped the group with aplomb. They have a Gooner in their midst, I want them to win with a Campbell hat trick.


Who do you want to win: Poll Brazil or Chile / Columbia or Uruguay?

June 28, 2014

A quick filler of a post …. better than nothing eh?

Who do you want to win?

Brazil/Chile: For me it is clearly a Brazil win thanks to their brilliance in attack allied to their craziness in defence. Real entertainers. Chile, though a fine team are more Bayern Munich in their approach – all for one, one for all.

Essentially I want tot see more Neymar.

Columbia/Uruguay: Not so simple because this is more a heart than a head match. I do not want Uruguay to win purely because of their defence of Suarez. IMO it is all well and good to support a teammate but when it so clearly flies in the face of the evidence it becomes embarrassing. To blame the English media is just puerile. Columbia on the other hand are the surprise of the tournament, playing entertaining and enterprising football. They remind me of the Arsenal. So, it is Columbia for me

Sam Hollis – Arsenal’s first Manager

June 27, 2014

Sam Hollis 1893(ish) to 1897

sam hollisAccording to Arsenal.com Sam Hollis was appointed ‘secretary-manager’ of Arsenal in 1894. He was the first individual to be placed in charge of team affairs. Prior to his appointment, the team had been managed by a committee of players and club members. Hollis spent three years at the club during which time the Club remained mid-table in the Second Division. He moved on to Bristol City in the summer of 1897.

There has always been some debate over who managed Arsenal in their first year in the old Second Division.  One of the names mentioned has been that of Bill Parr it was rumoured that two years before the formation of Woolwich Arsenal, a group of Nottingham Forest players, including Bill Parr joined Dial Square FC and brought their old kits along. The early Woolwich Arsenal records do not mention him as having played for the team so it is difficult to add any credence to the rumour. However he was recorded as having arrived with two other Nottingham Forest players, Fred Beardsley and Charlie Bates – so it’s quite possible that these players were part of the committee mentioned, in Arsenal.com, as having managed the team prior to the arrival of Sam Hollis.


Sam Hollis was born in Nottingham at some time during 1866 and passed away in Bristol on 17 April 1942. His early work life appears to have made him more suitable for the “secretary” part of his title as he had worked for the government in the Probate Office and then the Post Office, hardly the type of background that would indicate that he would become the club’s first Manager. So maybe he only acted as the clubs top administrative person making his early work for the government a plus – and if that was in fact true then it would make the Bill Parr rumour a little more credible.

He left Woolwich Arsenal in April 1897 and went to Bristol City which had just been formed to become their manager. In March 1899 he left Bristol to become secretary-manager of Bedminster FC, a club which then merged with Bristol City the following year with Hollis leaving to run a pub.  He returned one year later as manager of the combined club. He took Bristol to the top of the Southern League and into the Football League. In March 1905 he left football and managed a hotel, until 1911, when he became Bristol City manager again, only this time relegating the club to the second division.  He finally left in 1913 and moved on to Newport County, eventually returning to Bristol as chairman of the shareholders.

It is very difficult to find any definitive information about the early years at Woolwich Arsenal so we have to take this into account and recognise that some details are blurred.

In my own personal records I’ve shown Sam Hollis as our manager during our first years in the Second Division as it seemed wrong to have only a question mark as the manager in 1893.

According to a variety of sources this is the league record attributed to Woolwich Arsenal from 1893 to 1897.

1893/94 – P28, W12, D4, L12, GF52, GA55, Pts28, Pos 9th.

1894/95 – P30, W14, D6, L10, GF75, GA55, Pts34, Pos 8th.

1895/96 – P30, W14, D4, L12, GF58, GA42, Pts32, Pos 7th.

1896/97 – P30, W13, D4, L13, GF68, GA70, Pts30, Pos 10th.


Total: – P118, W53, D18, L47, GF253, GA225, Pts124, Pos 8.5




What is Jack Wilshere’s best position?

June 26, 2014

Yeah, I know, Stevie G is a right old pain; excellent quarter-back when playing against us, has-been no-mark when playing for England. But fair play to him, in the aftermath of “Group D-Gate”, he made a really excellent observation in an interview with the Beeb. He said that the number of young players with the hunger and desire to play for England is diminishing because of the money in the game.  When asked if teenage footballers were becoming millionaires too quickly, he replied that “It has an impact on certain individuals. For those who want money, fame and everything that comes with football, of course it will have an effect.”

In a World Cup where the national teams of the three richest leagues in the world (England, Spain and Italy) have failed to get through the group stages, it is certainly worth asking ourselves what is wrong. There are of course plenty of reasons for the failure of our team, and in a sense none – there will always be random, unpredictable factors at play.  But to my mind, Gerrard has a very good point, there is a real problem of desire and hunger in our younger players, something that has been building all through the cash-rich Premier League era.

One player that seems to show precisely that desire, that hunger, is Jack Wilshere.  He takes a kicking every time he plays, his game of close control and dribbles opens up defences and draws plenty of fouls, some of which are even spotted by the referees.  And Jack doesn’t go around biting opponents, he just gets up and starts again.  When he gets injured (ie, very often), he does his rehab and comes back again.  And he talks a great game – he is clearly desperate to win, in both his Arsenal and his England shirts.  There is a very strong argument, that the future of the England team is Jack Wilshere.

But is Arsenal the right place for him to push on?  He loves the club, that’s clear.  He’s been with us since he was even smaller than he is now.  And he hails from the club’s home counties hinterland – he can probably see his parents’ house from London Colney.  I’d love Wilshere to succeed with us, if only so I don’t have to concede anything to LB.  But if I’m honest, I don’t see it happening, not so much on account of his talents, more because we aren’t going to offer him the right opportunity.  I’ve said before that I think he’s better suited to a four-man midfield, which I assume we’re not about to adopt.  In the current formation, his natural position (even without much by way of a shot) is in the middle of the attacking-midfield three.  And with Ozil, that means Wilshere is effectively an understudy.

Wilshere is reaching a critical stage in his career.  He needs to be somewhere where the team is built around him, where he’s the metronome, measuring and setting the rhythm of the team.  He’d probably be suited to being at one of the big Dutch clubs, or teams like Valencia, Real Sociedad, Marseille, Southampton or Everton.  He’d never do it of course, but Spurs would actually suit him pretty well.

I hope I’m wrong, but I’d say Jack’s time with us is going to end sooner rather than later.  And that would be good for him and good for English football.

Written by 26may89


England come home before Arsène

June 25, 2014

Morning Gooners,

Many countries are on their way home after falling at the first hurdle in the World cup, and seeing how I am an Englishman of course I am disappointed by England’s early exit. Personally I felt England’s Manager Roy Hodgson was very fortunate with the youngsters that have been produced, obviously I was wrong, after 3 games my countrymen only managed 1 point,and as we all know that equates to 2 losses and a draw.

Having said that, I still feel that England, Manager, and Players, have learned a lot from this World cup. Taking a young squad to a place like Brazil, with its high temperatures and humidity is quite different from what they experience here, that of course is not an excuse, many other countries also had the same problems, but in the learning cycle invaluable for the future.

I feel that this world cup has come slightly to early for the England team, as some players have just started to emerge. Hodgson wanted to blend experience with youth. The manager felt that the talent we had would be beneficial, young fit men with plenty of energy, many of our youngsters looked very confident, they looked around the players in the squad, and having watched many of them in the league they felt that they stood a very good chance.

Confidence is a fine thing, but inexperience normally has a habit of kicking yourself up the jacksie, and that in all honesty has been what has happened. Although England’s squad looks good for the future, they still need setbacks along the way, to make them aware of just what can happen, as a squad they will learn together, they will learn how to play together and how the manager wants them to play.

There are spaces that will now become available, as ageing seniors will probably fall by the wayside, and although these players have had long England career’s they have never had too many victory stories to pass on to the new recruits. For Arsenal supporters our own players who were in the squad never got to see to much action The Ox at his first world cup never managed to kick a ball in anger reminded me of Theo’s first World cup, but Jack did get to put his boots on.  Jack, I felt, didn’t let us down, he didn’t stand out, but he also didn’t do anything stupid. The Ox of course has watched England from the touchline, not being fit enough to play but he should have learned a thing or two and also had an expenses paid holiday, he should be well rested by the time the new season kicks off.

England have reminded me of our own club, inexperience has been our downfall for many years, and with new players coming in, they have needed a season to find their feet. England have had a short time together but I feel they have shown promise. Arsenal  have also shown promise claiming their first trophy for many seasons, but lack of faith has been a sticking point for us. Leading the league for so long last season gave them and us nosebleeds. We all hoped for a taste of success but we never really believed it would happen until it finally arrived.

Of course the FA cup will last a long while for the players but so will the high losing scores we had to deal with as well. Our Achilles heel is top teams in our own league, we will have to deal with this type of game in the future, if we want to taste the same kind of success.

I feel that Wenger would have had a good insight to who is available, and who may just fit into our club to strengthen us, Players leaving and openings to fill would be his priority when he arrives back from Brazil. I am sure he would have watched Joel Campbell and although he may not have scored many goals I am still sure that Wenger will call him up, whether Joel see’s himself in the Arsenal strip in the future is yet to be seen but for me if Bendtner leaves Joel wouldn’t be a bad replacement.

Of the many players on show in this world cup, I would like to think that Arsène has his eye out for a keeper, and also a good right back, with Santi looking at pastures new  and Vermaelen also rumoured to be going Wenger will have to work quickly. Arsenal as England have good futures, where Hodgson has bundles of talent and the best of English talent Arsène will have to spend and spend well. Arsenals foundation is now fairly sound, but the need of quality is abundantly clear. Arsène has said in the past, as long as you replace with better players we will always improve, I look forward to our new signings.

Written by Steve Palmer


Trivia Quiz

June 24, 2014

There are only nine questions – none of them are related to football and research would be CHEATING.

This is a quiz for people who know everything!

I found out in a hurry that I didn’t. These are not trick questions. They are straight questions with straight answers.

1. Name the one sport in which neither the spectators nor the participants know the score or the leader until the contest ends.

2. What famous North American landmark is constantly moving backward?

3. Of all vegetables, only two can live to produce on their own for several growing seasons. All other vegetables must be replanted every year. What are the only two perennial vegetables?

4. What fruit has its seeds on the outside?

5. In many liquor stores, you can buy pear brandy, with a real pear inside the bottle. The pear is whole and ripe, and the bottle is genuine; it hasn’t been cut in any way. How did the pear get inside the bottle?

6. Only three words in standard English begin with the letters ‘ dw ‘ and they are all common words. Name two of them.

7. There are 14 punctuation marks in English grammar. Can you name at least half of them?

8. Name the only vegetable or fruit that is never sold frozen, canned, processed, cooked, or in any other form except fresh.

9. Name 6 or more things that you can wear on your feet beginning with the letter ‘S.’

I will post the answers the day after the quiz is published and will not discuss them the day the quiz is posted.

Happy Puzzling.