I was there & so was Kelsey

I have often questioned why I am so attached to football; I love art, I love music, I love romance but nothing has me so emotionally wrapped up as The Arsenal. Having studied and worked as a psychotherapist I have shone a light upon the influences of my youth to explain the driving forces which led to Big Raddy becoming the man he is and one of those influences is The Arsenal. Let me explain further ….

Without revealing too much, I was a lost soul as a child, I needed connection and non-judgemental acceptance, searching for it without success but one day, one magical day I was taken to Highbury. It was a time when the Gunners were quite frankly, crap, having won doodly-squat for a couple of decades but that inadequacy tied into the Raddy psyche especially as Spurs (who were equidistant from home) were Champions and regular trophy winners. We – and this is the crux – We – lost at Wembley, we lost again at Wembley – I hated it but again this fitted into my personal narrative. Then something miraculous happened, we won something and I was there to witness it.

28 April 1970. 2nd Leg Fairs Cup Final. Highbury.  I am not sure but I recall bunking off school to queue for tickets a couple of weeks prior to the game. I got to the ground early and stood for a couple of hours in the queue before the turnstiles opened on a cold night despite it being the end of April. I was in the North Bank to the right of the goal and about half way up under the roof. There was a mist in the air but Highbury was rocking, I mean really rocking. The singing started an hour before kick-off and rose in volume all evening – I have never seen the place  as it was at full-time. It was mental. There was a pitch invasion and I managed to get onto it and danced with strangers for what seemed like ages but probably wasn’t.

Unknown

Raddy equalises in front of the North Bank

There is much I can’t remember. Where did Frank get given the cup? Was it on the pitch or did they go up to the Stands? Given the pitch invasion, probably not but the photos of the night show Frank being held up on shoulders carrying the Cup so it must have been presented somewhere. I do remember Radford scoring the equaliser with a wonderful soaring header followed immediately by Jon Sammels scoring the winner. The rest was delirium.

I had school the next day and went into assembly as though I had personally won the Cup, I was so proud. And that is the point of my opening paragraphs – I had become a member of a tribe, the Gooner tribe. I was accepted, I was connected, I was more than just me. Those early days of walking from Finsbury Park station to St. Thomas’s Rd into Plimsoll Rd and onto the mighty Avenall Rd; of being amongst thousands of people joined in a single passion were some of the happiest moments of my life.

We won 3-0 44 years ago, can we repeat it tonight?

We all saw how lucky the win in Belgium was – I was almost embarrassed to win like that. Anderlecht were the better team, made more chances, competed strongly in midfield and were dangerous in attack, they just ran out of steam, I have to admit to writing them off pre-game, I will not do the same tonight – Anderlecht, though the weakest team in our group are a good side.

Much is being made of the 17 y.o. Tieleman, who is exactly the type of player AW lusts after – strong, athletic, can play  DM.  Could he be a summer signing? Andi Najar scored in the first leg, a 21 y-o born in Honduras but raised in the U.S. he has a bright future.

As to our chaps, the squad is getting fatter as players return from injury, Theo is the latest to return but I do not expect him to start tonight. Is Podolski to be our super sub or can he get a start? Tonight would be an opportunity to give Santi a rest

My team:

4th nov

Once again, it would be lovely to see Rosicky get onto the pitch, and Theo is sure to get at least half an hour.

The win at the weekend will give the lads some confidence. Finally they managed to play with the hand break off and with brio – it bodes well. Should we win tonight it would be 4 wins on the bounce which is exciting going into a tough game at Swansea, but let us not take things for granted, Anderlecht have already shown that they have quality, nonetheless this is a game we should win.

As it is a home game there is no culinary account, instead let us glory in the madness of this young chap.

a69a8f45-cbe9-4f28-a81c-291932b5b9a6-1020x612

A Loony

44 years is a long time. Big Raddy has grown from a boy to almost a pensioner, he has moved from living walking distance from Highbury to living 1300 kms from The Emirates but one thing is constant. You can take the man out of The Arsenal but not The Arsenal out of the man!!

COYRRG

Written by Big Raddy

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342 Responses to I was there & so was Kelsey

  1. Lovely Jubbly Raddy

    I remember that night well…. on the northbank as too. What school did you go to?

    Lets hope we can do the same tonight. I’d like to see Poldi start but think it’s very unlikely.

  2. Culinary delight……… before every home game on a Saturday.

  3. “worked as a psychotherapist”…

    I’m amazed, BR. I had you down as a bloke who actually visited them. We learn something new every day on this site, don’t we.
    No offence intended, of course.

    And for the millionth time of asking… when you say MY team, do you mean what YOU would choose, or what you think Mr. Wenger will choose?

  4. ‘morning all,

    Wow! What a post, Brilliant BR.

    NB, I’m drooling, Pie, mash and liquor, only thing missing is a portion of stewed eels.

    Never mind your burgers, or your panninis, you can keep your fajitas too, pie, mash and eels, food fit for a king!

  5. Big Al, Koh something or other

    You have to look at how psychotherapist is written for Raddy… it should be written like this: Psycho – the – rapist 🙂

  6. kelsey says:

    Thanks for the mention Raddy 🙂

    If this was knockout stage I might be a tad nervous with the Away goal rule, but it’s not and we should put this team to bed.

    AW might start the same formation as Burnlry but most probably play Ramsey for Flamini as you suggested.

    I notice Sanogo was on the bench on Saturday and now he is reported as injured.

  7. NG

    Menzies on Holloway Road, just before Drayton Park. My mum used to give me the money for Pie and Mash on the way to the match. 🙂

  8. NB, Was that Menzies or Mansis, My wife’s great grandmother was a Mansi, she came over from Italy and the family opened a pie and mash shop in Clerkenwell before the Great War.

  9. Saw this fella at Dingwalls as well…….. a brilliant concert

  10. NG
    My memory is shot through with alcohol, it was indeed Manzes in Holloway road. Just at the bottom of McKenzie Road as you got into Holloway Road. 🙂

  11. SharkeySure(Reloaded??) says:

    Cracking read Randy…cheers.

    Hello to old friends and new

  12. GoonerB says:

    Great report Raddy, a nice sentimental one this time. Love your team, love the “Tash”. Can I just ask you to cut down on all the serenading clips of B.R singing love songs, and the versus of Keats that you keep sending me you romantic bugger. It is making me go all gooey and I can’t concentrate at work. My colleagues have ordered me a psychotic therapist to try and help me snap out of it (hope it is not you Raddy).

  13. A quote today on the BBC. ha ha is it a dig at the Arsenal. As if Liverpool are gonna get a top four place this season. And they’ll be out of the CL tonight.

    “Former Liverpool and Germany midfielder Didi Hamann says a top four finish should not be an acceptable target for Liverpool.
    He tells the Evening Standard: “Everybody said last year they’d done so great – which they had – but at the end of the day there’s been one trophy in the last eight or nine years – one League Cup – and we’ve got to be careful that people don’t get used to saying finishing third and getting into the Champions League is great.”

  14. Big Raddy says:

    NB. When next at THOF you must visit Piebury Corner. It is top

    Have a look at the menu

    http://pieburycorner.com/menu/

  15. Big Raddy says:

    Sharkey. Hope all is well with you and the family

  16. chas says:

    Super stuff, BR.
    I absolutely love the autobiographical bits.

    kelsey
    What on Earth are you on about the away goals rule for?
    We have two.

  17. chas says:

    Hello, Sharks. 🙂

  18. mickydidit89 says:

    Sharkey!!!!!

    Raddy
    A pre match with deep personal resonance can’t be topped. What a night that must have been.
    Had AA existed, you would have been in Menzies with GN5, Crystals and NB. Would have been like a Band. GN5 on Stats, Crystals on Hair, NB Babe Watch and you on Drugs 🙂

  19. RC78 says:

    Here is my suggested team for tonight:

    PiG – Chambers, BFG, Monreal, Gibbs – Ox, Arteta, Rosicky – Campbell, Podolski, Cazorla

    I would give Ox, Rosicky, Campbell and Podolski a start tonight. If needed, we can introduce Wellbeck, Ramsey, Sanchez and we will definitely give some time to Walcott.

    Anderlecht is really weak…Just have to control 3-4 players and the rest is useless and there is one really good one but he is the GK so can’t do much about his influence on the pitch.

    Just have to take care of the left back, Praet, Defour and Suarez (if he plays). The rest we can easily control. Their CBs get panicky and their RB is good but he is prone to errors and so are their HMs…

    Come on Gunners!

  20. mickydidit89 says:

    Piebury Corner

    Wow, that’s right up my street.

  21. Rasp says:

    Hi Sharkey, long time ….. hope you’re keeping well.

    Great PM Raddy. I’m never talking to you again if you’re a trained psychotherapist … you might begin to understand me 😆

    I’m looking for a confident controlled performance tonight and one that reflects the difference in quality between the two sets of players. I liked what I saw of the Pod on Saturday, he looked hungry – as did Theo. Let’s hope they both get some time on the pitch and a goal or 2 each.

  22. Raddy, I most definitely intend to visit Piebury in April… pre match meal. You can’t get decent pies in France.

    Micky……….. babe watch 🙂 it’s all can manage these days

  23. mickydidit89 says:

    RC

    I have a feeling BR’s line up will be closer, but I believe we are getting nearer to the point where we should rotate two players each game. Keep the shape and consistency of personnel, simply never allow players to be anything other than fresh.

  24. RC78 says:

    Micky – I believe you are right about the line-up.

    I was thinking that we need to keep some players physically and mentally fresh, especially Ramsey, Sanchez and Wellbeck. Also, Ox and Podolski are looking really sharp when called upon and we should capitalize on this and I would like to keep Campbell in the loop as he is quite a fun player to watch and can be lethal from the wings, behind a striker or a striker. We need to keep him involved and this CL game certainly is a good opportunity. As for Santi, he needs to get a goal and his confidence back so I d leave him vs Anderlecht to just do that 🙂

  25. mickydidit89 says:

    NB
    Mate of mine has a house in SW France There’s a market in the local town and his Son decided to do something English there during one summer visit and earn some cash.

    He rocked up with 50 of his speciality home made Scotch Eggs. Massive hit. Went back every week during his 6 week summer break, and by the end was selling 300 of the things. Great for a student putting in two days work. €2 clear profit a pop he reckoned (they were big).

  26. Rasp says:

    chas, thanks for your vid @ 11:54. The thing that struck me the most was the gentle pace at which the players passed the ball to one another compared to the way they ping it about nowadays – I guess with better pitches and lighter balls the close control can be more refined.

  27. chas says:

    Ah, I didn’t realise there was a longer version on youtube.
    Should be available on Arsenal Player really. (Maybe it is somewhere)

  28. chas says:

    Yes, Rasp, back to yesterday’s discussion in a way. If you can make the ball do what you want in a mudbath when it weighs half a ton, today’s pitches would be a piece of pish.

  29. mickydidit89 says:

    Chas
    Brilliant.
    Does mean the site goes dead for 43 mins. 🙂

  30. Great video Chas… you could see the state of the Highbury pitch 🙂

    Me, Raddy, GN5 and Kelsey were on the northbank, all in black and white.Actually, I think Kelsey was in the East stand, the fucking snob 🙂

  31. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    Brilliant Raddy

    Always knew you were a physiotherapist or something like that. I thought, yes, this is an intellectual like myself. Some one who can understand me, rising above the cries of bangers and mash for tea, and a nice pair of tits.

    Whats this preoccupation with 70s music, food, drugs and sex on hear?

    This site is beginning to resemble a middle aged mans mid life crises more and more each day.

  32. chas says:

    Thirty shillings – what a rip-off.

  33. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    I blame 69. Just one look at his avatar and you can tell he probably started his crises aged 21. hahaha

  34. 26may1989 says:

    “This site is beginning to resemble a middle aged mans mid life crises more and more each day.”

    Pot, kettle???? 🙂 You know I love your scribblings, Terry, mental as they are…..

    Gil Scott-Heron: bloody fab. Saw his last gig in London a few years ago, loved it. But Dingwalls would have been a great place to see him.

    Oh and the footy?

    Lovely prematch, Raddy. I was a hippy toddler in April 1970, living in a commune in Ibiza, so I missed out on the events you describe – lovely to get the fan’s eye view.

    Tonight will be interesting: Anderlecht clearly have more about them than we might have expected (but then the Belgian national team is very strong right now, so perhaps we shouldn’t be so surprised). We should still win, and hopefully comfortably.

    I think we’ll see an unchanged starting XI, so Szczesny, Chambers, Mertesacker, Monreal, Gibbs, Flamini, Arteta, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Alexis, Cazorla and Welbeck, with the same bench as vs Burnley too.

  35. kelsey says:

    Hello Sharkey 🙂

    NB, wrong I was in the West Stand sitting between the half way line and the NB. A bloke 3 seats away from me found it all too much and had a massive heart attack

    Chas I will explain another time.

    As I told you before I paid 12.00 for the Away leg which included flights and standing tickets.

  36. kelsey says:

    Can you sue a dentist,26th.This is an honest question.

  37. Brilliant Chas…… the article of memories from the Fairs Cup Final.

    That day when the team paraded the cup through Islington to Upper Street, I think I was up a lamp-post on Highbury corner 🙂

  38. chas says:

    Oooo, good day to get a free programme. 🙂

  39. 26may1989 says:

    Kelsey, yup – either for negligence (if the standard of work fell below the standard a patient might reasonably expect from a dentist, resulting in harm), or for a breach of contract (assuming you were paying as a private patient). In an extreme case, I guess you might be looking at suing for damages occasioned by assault, but I hope you’re not in that territory.

    If you have a real concern, I would suggest you contact a law firm specialising in medical negligence matters – you can always have an initial consultation without charge. Or your insurers might be able to help with legal cover. If you want any suggestions for firms to consult, I’d be happy to help.

  40. kelsey says:

    Thanks very much. I have a real problem. I have paid top dollar to a dentist and eight weeks on my teeth are worse than before, and he has chipped bone away.
    .
    He operates three practices and only spends half a day twice a week in the one local to me, which he didn’t point out when I first consulted me.Every time I need a follow up for this treatment he is always booked up and squeezes me in and rushes.

    Could I e mail you peaches or Rasp can give you my contact details.

  41. In response to the title of Big daddy’s PM I have to say I was a Knot ear. In 1970 I was mastering the big boy potty so know nothing of the Fairs Cup.

    As regulars of AA will know the first trophy I have any memory of was the 5 minute 1979 FA Cup final which solidified my tribalism into my the first of my 3 passions.

    Agree with starting the Pod and Rockin’ Rosicky but we know Wenger and he will stick with his favourites with minimal rotation, except for the 65 minute subs, if at all.

    We should have more than enough to dispose of tonight’s opposition so if we put in a disciplined, professional performance then it’ll be job done.

  42. mickydidit89 says:

    26
    I think it was Assault, of the sexual kind while strapped down. Needs to be pointed out that The Dentist was a She, and Crystals was being very provocative in skin tight trousers and crop top.

  43. mickydidit89 says:

    Chas

    Just watched that 40 min vid. Fabulous. Little changes, and it’s so nice to have that constant in our lives. 17 trophyless years, and you can sense the tension in the ground as the game went on with us desperate for that second goal, then bang, two goals in two minutes. Had goose bumps, I did.

  44. 26may1989 says:

    Sure, kelsey, all good.

  45. Big Raddy says:

    Micky 11.45. Like the band 🙂

    I am a qualified psychotherapist but no longer practise. Discovered I prefer talking to listening

  46. Big Raddy says:

    I have the original programme and the Evening Standard poster of the game and my ticket.

    26. “Hippy toddler living in Ibiza”. Perhaps I knew your mother (no disrespect intended 🙂 )

  47. GunnerN5 says:

    Fabulous pre-match Raddy, you continue to write gems.

    Micky almost summed it up however it was 17 f*****g agonizing trophy-less years.The first trophy since Tom Whittaker won the League Championship in 1952/53.

    Terry’s ghost’s of the 30’s had woken up again………….

  48. mickydidit89 says:

    That is disgusting Raddy, and typical of your sort.

    “Sue him 26, then settle out of court for the poster”

  49. Big Raddy says:

    Micky. Typical of your smutty mind to assume I meant in the biblical sense 🙂

  50. 26may1989 says:

    Raddy, are you suggesting that you may be my father…..???! 🙂

  51. mickydidit89 says:

    Hi GN5

    Yip, must have been one special night. It’s easy to think it was just the Fairs Cup, but putting it into that 17 year gap context changes everything.

  52. mickydidit89 says:

    Oh God, 26, what a terrible and haunting thought.

    Don’t know me sums on this one, but Raddy may have been only 13 or so at the time, but I think we can assume he was a particularly fertile and frisky young man.

    Really is a quite dreadful thought.

  53. mickydidit89 says:

    Ok, lunch break over.

  54. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    Yes, very disappointing behaviour Raddy. No one likes a smug hippy who claims to have had a groovy time with there mother.

    I recall meeting my mums new partner for the first time

    “Terry, this is Geoff, hes going to be your new dad”

    “Get away mum, ime 34 and hes got evil looking eyes”

    The thought of evil eyed Geoff giving it to my mum whilst I was in my bedroom next door had a terrible effect on me. I believe its what initially triggered thoughts of murdering a random stranger.

    Things came to head when during the day evil Geoff refused to give pocket money, denying me a night with a sex DVD,

    Worse was to come that Evening when rather than shampoo my hair, mum spent it in her bedroom making strange noises with evil Geoff.

    I had no choice but to run away from home.

    Shame on you Raddy

  55. Shard says:

    Excellent prematch as usual Raddy.

    I would love for there to be some rotation with Pod and Campbell getting starts instead of Santi and Welbeck. But I doubt that’ll happen. Maybe Rosicky for Ox?

    It’s interesting that we’ve shifted to a 4-4-2 recently, but wenger seemed to suggest that it works only because Sanchez (and I would add, Welbeck) works so hard. So maybe without the same personnel, the formation might change. But as long as Sanchez is playing we’ll probably stay with a 442 for now.

    Arsenal U19s have just equalised against Anderlecht with Crowley scoring the goal.

  56. Ant says:

    And we are Off! We are on a mission to see how much complimentary food and drink we can have on one trip. Just got tea and water and biscuits a nd peanuts to go with the 1st beer.

  57. Ant says:

    We are being greeted by a Nissan hostess….

  58. chas mobile says:

  59. mickydidit89 says:

    Shard
    I want that dog 🙂

  60. Ant says:

    Who will present us with a goody bag…

  61. mickydidit89 says:

    ha ha ha ha Ant ‘n Duck

    You are never going to hear the end of this. I just googled that Jaques Cider in front of you, and here’s the really bad news:

    “Jacques is a light and frivolously feminine drink that adds a little sparkle to your style”

    Still going to “Beetle Me” every morning, Duck? 🙂

  62. Eddie says:

    What a romantic post, thank you Raddy!! I know exactly what you mean about being the part of a tribe and loving it. When I go to games and walk across the bridge I make myself taller, chest forward and my voice becomes deeper. You may say pathetic, but I just want to belong with the rest of my extended family.
    I hate strangers touching me, even just brushing against me makes me sick. But when we score I am the one to start kissing, and hugging, and stop myself there before I get arrested 🙂 complete madness, irrational, childish, addictive and most of all fab.

    As for tonight’s game – I’ll be at the dentist, feck feck and feck.

  63. mickydidit89 says:

    Loving Duck’s corporate look. Primark was it?

  64. mickydidit89 says:

    Eddie
    Didn’t bloody chest out and hug me when I sat next to you and we scored

  65. Ant says:

    5.5% and delicious so we will just have to find our feminine side Micky. I fancy adding a little sparkle to my style.. But not til we’ve had a few sherries!

  66. chas mobile says:

    The Jacques cider is Ant’s.!!!

    I’ve got wife-beater.

    Ant thought Beetle Me was about Bertie Mee. 🙂

  67. Ant says:

    I don’t blame you Eddie when with Micky.

  68. Eddie says:

    Don’t remind me Micky, it was a tragic time for me. I had fallen in love with a virtual boyfriend and was more interested in him than the game. Should have jump you. 🙂

  69. mickydidit89 says:

    Deep voice: “Oi Lads, my round, what’ll you have?”
    Chas: ” Oooo, I don’t mind. Something feminine, light and frivolous please”

    I’m loving this

  70. Ant says:

    What dentist is open at 7.45pm Eddie, sounds like a private club to me?

  71. chas mobile says:

    You haven’t seen the broken plimsolls to compliment the Primark.

  72. Big Raddy says:

    What dentist works at 19.45 ++?

    What are you doing with the dentist may be a more relevant question!

    Micky. Think you are a decade out with my age relative to 26. But thank you for it.

    Terry. I can recall when it changed from being terrified if a girl’s Dad came downstairs to becoming the Dad going downstairs to throw some miscreant who was spending time with my daughter out of the house 🙂

  73. Eddie says:

    Hi Ant and gorgeous 🙂 feminine frivolous drinks are fine, lipstick and nail varnish aint

  74. Big Raddy says:

    Looks like Oxfam Primark to me

  75. Eddie says:

    Raddy, she is my mate and it’s a special appointment before I go back to London tomorrow

  76. Big Raddy says:

    Eddie. Dentists don’t have “mates” just clients

  77. mickydidit89 says:

    Oh God Eddie, please don’t tell me Gorgeous was the virtual boyfriend 😦

  78. Ant says:

    “My mate and a special appointment”….. Exactly! Know what I mean.. Nudge nudge..

  79. mickydidit89 says:

    Bloody love the Ant ‘n Duck Show. It makes me feel like I’m on the way to the game myself.

  80. chas mobile says:

    I’d like to categorically state yet again that the Jacques cider is Ant’s. I have no feminine side whatsoever apart from liking cats, gardening, a tidy house and Wham. Oh and Oxfam Primary.

  81. chas mobile says:

    Primark….

  82. chas mobile says:

    The difference is neither of us require an incontinence sheet. Though one might be handy on the way back!

  83. Ant says:

    Micky, there is someone on the train with a worse outfit than Chas as it includes a plain fawn jacket with pictures on the lapels

  84. mickydidit89 says:

    and….highlights, purple t-shirts, matching shorts and a pouch

  85. mickydidit89 says:

    Ant
    Get his picture NOW

  86. chas mobile says:

    Hello, Iwona.
    Berlin was roasting. T shirt most of the time. What was all that about thermals?

  87. mickydidit89 says:

    Simples
    Chas walks behind him, makes a distraction and SNAP

  88. Ant says:

    Only 45 mins to London to meet my old college mate “chopper” Charlie in the Nissan lounge.

  89. Eddie says:

    Very true Raddy, I have to pay probably more than others, but she sees me at a very short notice, best materials, top specialists…..I still envy Peaches her teeth

    No Micky, he was far worse than chas. Mr Bean was cool by comparison.

    Terry, so at 34 you were still at home, having your hair washed and getting pocket money?

  90. Eddie says:

    Hi Gregory 🙂 sorry about the thermals, but I was told it was freezing and now I’m roasting in me long johns

  91. Ant says:

    He’s got purple socks with grey slip ons

  92. mickydidit89 says:

    Oh Raddy, it was terrible. You were on a well deserved holiday in Iceland, and Chas stuck up a snap of himself in Egypt and he had this thing suspended above his things

  93. mickydidit89 says:

    “slip ons”
    Is he 8 yrs old?

  94. mickydidit89 says:

    Chas and Ant

    Have a great time. Must go work.

  95. Ant says:

    Sorry best I could do but he really is quite ugly!

  96. Ant says:

    But what about the piccie Micky?

  97. Great banter Chas and Ant…………. photo of the geezer in the purple socks is brilliant. 🙂 Have a great night, and a win for us.

  98. RockyLives says:

    Lovely, lovely pre-match BR

    That final was right at the beginning of my Arsenal supporting life so I barely remember it (or rather, what I think I remember is actually based on stuff I saw/read in later years).

    Chas
    Really enjoyed the vid of the games. That Anderlecht No 9 was a handful in the first leg, wasn’t he? The passing may have been slower, but I was struck by the good technique shown by many of the players (some great finishes to the goals).

  99. And go steady with that girlie cider 🙂

  100. Jämie says:

    northbank1969 on November 4, 2014 at
    11:14 am

    A quote today on the BBC. ha ha is it a
    dig at the Arsenal. As if Liverpool are
    gonna get a top four place this season. And
    they’ll be out of the CL tonight.
    “Former Liverpool and Germany midfielder
    Didi Hamann says a top four finish should
    not be an acceptable target for Liverpool.
    He tells the Evening Standard: “Everybody
    said last year they’d done so great – which
    they had – but at the end of the day
    there’s been one trophy in the last eight or
    nine years – one League Cup – and we’ve
    got to be careful that people don’t get
    used to saying finishing third and getting
    into the Champions League is great.”

    Sorry to go back to this mate, but I don’t think its a dig at anybody. It’s exactly what we arsenal fans should be telling ourselves because 4th is really not much of an achievement.

  101. James

    I don’t think I said we as Arsenal fans are saying getting top four and CL is great, What I highlighted was someone saying that Liverpool shouldn’t accept it and my observation was that it was probably a dig at the Arsenal. 🙂 for having done it for the past umpteen years.

  102. RockyLives says:

    Why has someone posted a picture of me on this blog when I’m sitting on a train minding my own business?

    (Well, trying to. There’s a pair of noisy oiks in the same carriage drinking girl drinks).

  103. RockyLives says:

    Where have you been Sharkey 🙂

  104. Eddie says:

    Sharkey is back??!! Hello SS xx

  105. SharkeySure(Reloaded??) says:

    I always loved the AA nostagia, so I’ve clearly picked a very good day to drop in, with b&w photos and 40mins of b&w footage !!

    Wow

    Good to see you all still in such fine form.

    Ps. Hey Flaxen Haired Warrior Princess

  106. SharkeySure(Reloaded??) says:

    Alright Corky, Eddie…..

    I really have no clue why I stopped blogging, and I’m not convinced that I’ve restarted.

    Just one of those things I fell into and then back out of I guess

  107. Eddie says:

    🙂 🙂 me is ginger now 🙂
    I missed your views
    What do you think about the team this season?

  108. Ant says:

    Faltering Full Back before our Nissan host arrives me thinks..

  109. Eddie says:

    This made me laugh today – I could never understand why Messi with all his money doesn’t get himself a decent haircut. Well, well, silly me. I was at a hairdressers today and a young boy requested ‘a Messi’, apparently very popular style in Poland. And nobody ever asks for a Ronaldo !!

  110. And I’ve got a complaint to make….. what’s wrong with Primark. When I lived in Brighton you could get three Fred Perry style shirts for a tenner. Then there was the Sally Army charity shop, I bought a Tommy Hilfiger suit there for 8 quid 🙂

  111. Eddie says:

    NB – 10 year old kids work for Primark and get paid £1 a day, that’s all

  112. Ant says:

    Primark….my arse!

  113. Jämie says:

    Northbank,
    Apologies then. I guess we’re both saying the same thing in two different ways

  114. Eddie oh ginger haired vixen

    I know that now, but at the time I was skint and when you need cloths you need cloths. I’m sure we buy stuff at many outlets which we don’t know about the labour abuses which are going on. 🙂

  115. No probs Jamie 🙂

  116. Big Raddy says:

    Paul Smith is sold at Primark? Who would have thought it??

    One of my cousins works at The Manhole in Fulham Rd and he says that Jacques cider is their most popular drink

  117. But isn’t it rather hypercritical to pay thousands to see the Arsenal when Stan Kroenkes billions were made from labour abuses with Wal Mart…………. just an observation you understand

  118. SharkeySure(Reloaded??) says:

    Chas, you’re so right about players performing on a pitch like that. Even in dial up quality b&w you can see how the pitch worsens thru the game.

  119. Big Raddy

    It would be in the Fulham Road 🙂

  120. SharkeySure(Reloaded??) says:

    So Eddie you’re Ginger now..?? Implying that you weren;t before….menauing that ou weren;t FatGingerGooner who I think became SlimGingerGooner.

    In response to this you’re going to say you were Peaches or Iwona right

  121. RA says:

    Norther,

    I have heard of eels with potatoes, but that ‘thing’ @ 9:52 looks like a log covered with parsley sauce. And you are supposed to eat it? 🙂

    Funny looking eel.

  122. Redders

    You mean to say you live in London and never eaten Pie and Mash, shame on you, I suppose as a septic you still eat ‘grits’? 🙂

  123. SharkeySure(Reloaded??) says:

    What do I think of the team currently you ask. In bullet (point) style…(literally in one or two cases)

    Sanchez – Wow..just a big f*****ing Wow
    Welbz …willing but not convinced me yet
    Arsene – geniusforgetting Sanchez but let himself down badly elsewhere – we all know where
    Arteta and Flamini – don;t really like seeing either of them these days – esecially Flam. Proper liability

    That performance in Belgiumtwo weeks ago….OMG. I couldn;t even be happy about just getting the 3pts cos the performance (when we really needed one) was so abject and pitiful, that it really had me worried about our season.

    Other than that I’m glad to se us riding out our injury storm without falling away too far, and just waiting for us to click now.

    Hopefully it starts tonight.

    I have a ticket for tonght, and if I get there only to find Sanchez is on the bench I’ll tear Mickeys hair out…then fly to Spain and hunt Kelsey down to do the same.

    I simply can’t wait to see Sanchez in the flesh. 🙂

  124. Rasp says:

    I’m jealous of you guys going this evening, I reckon we’re going to send out a message.

    Does anyone know if RedAction have sorted out a song for Alexis yet? – we’ve gotta shut Adrian Durham up 😛

  125. SharkeySure(Reloaded??) says:

    I’d love to say that the typos in my 4.36 were thrown in just so that some of you know that it really is me….oh dear

  126. I miss my pie and mash. Infact, the last time I was in London in 2010, the first place I visited was Chapel Street market for pie and mash…. with a French girlfriend who’d never been to England before. She loved it, but couldn’t stop walking around looking at the deco 🙂

  127. RA says:

    Randy,

    Apologies, coming to the blog late it took me a while to catch up.

    That was a terrific Post redolent with nostalgia and some interesting personal details, and I want you to know that I do not think it at all strange that you felt romantic with Kelsey, 🙄 🙂

  128. Rasp says:

    Sharky, eddie is Iwona – I’m not sure why she has gone through gender reassignment 😕

  129. Big Raddy says:

    RA. If you met him you would know why

  130. RA says:

    NB,

    I have never even seen a live pie and mash, let alone eat one, 🙂

    Don’t like grits myself. Quite keen on black pudding tho’ after a trip to Dublin some years ago, then I found out how they were ‘produced’ — eeeek —— I always say it is better not to know.

    Licked strawberry ice-cream off a young lady, or two, just to help out, and that wasn’t too bad. 😀 Beats your log pie and mush. 🙂

  131. The Cockie Monster says:

    `69er……I cant stand jellied eels, but Pie & Mash is like a virgins furry cup dancing on my tongue !…..if you have the recipe for how they make them pies then send it to me now and I wont kill you !. hahaha

  132. RA says:

    Raddy,

    I had better not meet him then! 🙂

  133. Ant says:

  134. RA says:

    Cockie,

    That changes everything!

    You make it sound so enticing, a veritable cornucopia in fact, a virgin who clearly needs no urgin’ and dancing to boot.

    Never met a virgin yet.

  135. Redders

    And this is why you shouldn’t meet Kelsey, a recent photo:

  136. SharkeySure(Reloaded??) says:

    Cheers Rasp…your comment re Eddie/Iwona is scarcely credible but its just not the sort of thing you could make up is it..??

    In a moment of RA style madness I did add – “In response to this you’re going to say you were Peaches or Iwona right”

    Method in my ….??

  137. RA says:

    Damn — change of mind!

    Crystals you are gorgeous, in an old fashioned, down home kind of way, and if Raddy gets tired of you – let me know – altho’ that smooth talking, suave, and not to say debonair Rocket is probably more your type. 🙂

  138. ‘kin hell, it’s pissing down here… but talking about Pie and Mash, and rain here makes me homesick for London. What’s the weather like for the match tonight, will it be a repeat of the 1970 mudbath?

  139. Rasp says:

    I wish I was peaches Sharkey, she’s going to the game this evening 😛

  140. SharkeySure(Reloaded??) says:

    Great pic of Kelsey there

  141. RA says:

    Oh, stop it Sharkey!

    We all know that you are Peaches in disguise – all this Eddie / Iwona / Evonne stuff don’t fool me none! 😀

  142. Rasp says:

    No rain at the moment NB and none forecast. Apparently its been bucketing down all day in Madrid and the pro-pool pundits reckon it gives them a chance 😆

  143. The Cockie Monster says:

    Never been to The Virgin Islands, Redders ?……or can they be done under the Trades Description Act 1968 ? 😀

  144. Ant says:

    Pissing down in Finsbury Park also

  145. Rasp says:

    Really? no rain in North London and the BBC weater forecast shows dry all evening …. are you sure that shouldn’t have been “we’re all pissed in Finsbury Park”

  146. RA says:

    Nope, never been there either , Glister.

    There is so much I haven’t done – places I haven’t been – or gorgeous women I haven’t charmed.

    What an abject failure – and I haven’t even hunted a pie-and-mash eel either. 😦

  147. Rasp…………. L’pool have no chance tonight, no matter what the weather 🙂

  148. Virgins are a rare thing these days….

  149. RA says:

    Well, NB, it serves them right, getting anywhere near Cockie is just asking for trouble. 🙂

  150. Rasp says:

    I agree NB, we think Arsenal fans are fickle but the pool fans are already calling for Rodgers to go – I’d get shot of him just because of the cosmetic dentistry and botox 😕

  151. The Cockie Monster says:

    Funny !!!…..I thought a Redneck Banjo player with a southern drool was the essence of charm !…..you need some free lessons at `69ers cockney charming school !……the Strangeways Prison look will be extra !. hahaha

  152. RA says:

    The thought has just struck me that the chances of Ant and Duck staying sober until kick off are not high.

    Although, in my erstwhile drinking days I could never have kept up with those two – I am in awe – so perhaps they will manage. 🙂

  153. SharkeySure(Reloaded??) says:

    Guilty as charged RA.

    Never missing an episode of Columbo or Ironside in your youth has served you well in adult life

    Top sleuthing !!

  154. kelsey says:

    I think NB is in love with me 🙂

    sharkey it is a long time as you won’t find me in Spain and it’s pissing down here as well

  155. kelsey says:

    chas

    that’s about 10000 calories and that’s only n the journey down and you are so thin 🙂

  156. RA says:

    Cockie,

    Now you are just making me feel worse, as I am clearly going to disappoint you.

    I don’t play a banjo. I do not have either a Southern drool or drawl, I am decidedly lacking in charm, and the only thing I have that is red is certainly not my neck.

    I do a mean tune on the harmonica if that would help? 🙂

  157. Bloody blimey

    Kelsey has surfaced….. post a good looking photo of him on a blog and he gets an alarm call on his mobile 🙂

  158. Redders

    You’d drool over a virgin, 🙂

  159. The Cockie Monster says:

    Hahaha Redders……..drool would have you salivating at the mouth !….trust me to get it wrong……then again, I was probably right after you caught site of `69ers dodgy looking limp eel !.

  160. RA says:

    SS,

    Between you and I, (the others are gentlemen and would not dream of reading a confidential message) I just said that to help cover your real alias.

    It has not gone unnoticed however that you and 26 both suddenly show up, yet you are never on here together at the same time – well need i say more as to your real identity? 🙂

  161. RA says:

    Kelsey,

    You are gathering a whole new bunch of admirers. It was Raddy who said there was a romance going on with you – and blatantly admitted as much in the headline Post – then NB posted his personal ‘photo – who next one wonders?

    [And i liked your picture too.] 🙂

  162. The Cockie Monster says:

    Am I the only one who thinks Kelsey looks like a less dodgy looking Max Clifford ?. Their barnets could have been separated at birth ! . hahaha

  163. RA says:

    Oh, NO, Glister — was that just a limp eel? i thought ……… 🙂

  164. RA says:

    Does Max C wear lipstick and eye liner, too? 🙂

  165. RA says:

    Got to go and find somewhere to watch the match. Ta ra, dudes. 🙂

  166. Come back Eddie and Peaches………. it’s getting a bit Brokeback on here 🙂

    Mind you, I blame that on Cockie and Transplant… nothing to do with my adoration for the bouffant man

  167. dudes with a southern drawl…

  168. kelsey says:

    Actually Cockie that has been said before,but we look nothing alike

    For all you technical and fomration people on here here is a question.
    Why was Chambers in the CF position when he scored the second against Burnley. Surely AW is not going to play him in every position on the field.

    RA you maybe looking for a new blood transfusion soon.My mate NB knows all the right people 🙂

  169. Kels

    I’m sure when Sanchez, Ox and Ollie are injured, Callum will be able to step in as CF… no prob 🙂

  170. Big Raddy says:

    90 mins to kick off. Team news?

    Do you think Ant and Duck are still sober?

  171. Hi all and the typo’ed one 😉

    It’s warm coat time tonight so there’s room for everyone in my pockets. Won’t get the chance to meet anyone before the game sadly but I’m really looking forward to it.

    Come on Arsenal ……. Champions league night’s are fantastic 🙂

  172. Raddy – not a chance 🙂

  173. Thank you Raddy for a fantastic pre-match

  174. hello kelsey – are you putting your name to a review? Please say on the blog if you are just in case someone else fancies doing a write-up.

  175. kelsey says:

    I am easy peaches.It would be nice if someone who is actually there did it otherwise I will submit mine which is nearly finished 🙂

  176. Gööner In Exile says:

    Bloody fantastic Raddy. Top stuff sir

    May have missed someone else do this before but jost got a big ROFL on Arsenal.com

  177. Kelsey has done the match report already…. I say post it now 🙂

  178. arnie says:

    Raddy, very late in, and just wow! How the heck do you just manage to continue to beat your previous best! Just amazing stuff! 🙂 🙂

    OK, now off to read the comments, back laters, hopefully in time for the game. COYG! 🙂

  179. Arsenal starting XI: Szczesny, Chambers, Mertesacker, Monreal, Gibbs, Arteta, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Ramsey, Alexis, Cazorla, Welbeck

  180. No Theo in the starting XI

  181. mickydidit89 says:

    Evening all.
    Santi gets to play through his bad patch I see. Guess the Boss sees him in training, so happy with the team.

    Would love to have seen Theo start, but maybe play him back in gently.

  182. RA says:

    Pre-Match, Arsene said in his interview that Theo was chomping at the bit to play, but that he (AW) will ensure that Theo will be eased back into the first team carefully.

    Very wise.

  183. RA says:

    NB,

    Is the game being shown live on French TV?

  184. mickydidit89 says:

    It’s not on liveonline 😦

  185. RA says:

    Go mad, Micky — get Sky Sports, or the BT Sports package. 🙂

    Has Liveonline footie gone again?

  186. RA says:

    Oddly enough,the ever injured Sanogo is back on the bench with Martinez, Rosicky, Walcott, Flamini, Bellerin, Podolski.

  187. Gööner In Exile says:

    Just read on the Beeb that we are starting contract talks with Theo, only a year and a half to go on existing deal, doesn’t seem that long ago that we were going through this. Notice Arsene said something like “it’s never an easy job with him”, Arsene getting an early marker in.

  188. Big Raddy says:

    Terrific game. of end to end football.

    FairPlay to Anderlecht for not parking the bus.

    And Arteta scored!!!

  189. Gööner In Exile says:

    What a strike.

    Take a bow son!!

  190. Big Raddy says:

    Alexis.!!!!! What ever we paid for this chap was much too little. Barca must have been mad to sell him

  191. Gööner In Exile says:

    Just had a look at Madrid Lolerpool stats.

    Shots 7-0
    Corners 3-0
    Goals 1-0

    Reckon Anderlecht are giving is a better game than Madrid are being given.

  192. Gööner In Exile says:

    Raddy Barca wanted a player with a bit more bite 🙂

  193. Gööner In Exile says:

    12-0 to Madrid on shots now.

  194. Gööner In Exile says:

    Everyone feeling too comfortable?

    Anderlecht fans are surprisingly vociferous.

  195. Big Raddy says:

    Really entertaining half. We deserve to be two up and could easily extend the lead in the second half.

    I would take off Alexis on 60 mins and give Theo a half hour. Also swap Santi for Poldi.

    Santi and Ox revelling in the space.

  196. mickydidit89 says:

    Fantastic
    Bit less defensively stable without the Art/Flam pairing, but who cares? 🙂

  197. mickydidit89 says:

    Raddy
    Got some shoes on, and a spare toothbrush is on hand. I’m ready.

  198. kelsey says:

    Sanchez is pure qualitee

    Artea,Chambers,Gibbs and Szsney all playing really well

    Santi and the OX playing well

    Welbeck has got everything in his game except finishing,but that will come
    Overall nice entertaining game but the makeshift defence still looks vunerable too often for my liking

  199. arnie says:

    pretty good so far! no complaints! 😛 COYG

  200. mickydidit89 says:

    Crystals
    Do stop going on about the defence. Keep telling you, it doesn’t matter 🙂
    Still, your sort can comfort themselves that we’ll be unstoppable once we get Kos and Debbs back.

  201. arnie says:

    Oxxxxxxxxxxxxx!

  202. Gööner In Exile says:

    Cracking run by Ox and a superb finish, but most importantly loving the high pressing.

  203. arnie says:

    Sanchez is amazing!

  204. Eddie says:

    What a goal!!! My ox

  205. arnie says:

    hmmmm. offside. 😦

  206. Gööner In Exile says:

    Wakey Wakey Mr Linesman!

  207. Big Raddy says:

    Lovely goal from Ox but what is the linesman doing for the Belgian goal? The man was 3 yards offside!

  208. Big Raddy says:

    This referee is a comedian but stupid of Monreal to touch him

  209. Gööner In Exile says:

    Wouldn’t be Arsenal if we didn’t make it interesting!

  210. arnie says:

    yes, stupid from Monreal. 😦

  211. Gööner In Exile says:

    I need someone to explain something
    2-0, comfortable
    3-1, nervy

    Why the change in mood from what is no change in goal difference?

  212. Big Raddy says:

    Oh dear Oh dear. That is terrible.

    Cracking game though

  213. arnie says:

    hmmmm.

  214. arnie says:

    sorry, but booing is not on! 😦

    bad day in defence. luckily, on a day it matters least.

  215. Big Raddy says:

    Hate to say this but that was entirely down to Wenger. (with some admirable assistance from the blind linesman)

    Why defend a lead when the score was 3-1? Why take off the Ox and not put on Theo against a tiring Anderlecht?

    Keep Ox on, take off Santi and bring on Theo. We would have made sure that Anderlecht defended deeper. Instead AW allowed Anderlecht to attack by replacing an attacker with a midfielder who had no input at all.

  216. Gööner In Exile says:

    If anyone wants to know why some of us think Arteta is a key player look at the lack of co we in our midfield after he went off.

    I know many will focus on the defence but I think we should be looking at the midfield, they were AWOL for the final 30 minutes too busy thinking about getting on the scoresheet and do pretty stuff rather than digging in.

    But I’ll ask again what was the difference between 2-0 and 3-1, Anderkecht fans started getting all excited and we got nervy, they weren’t excited at 2-0. We weren’t nervy at 2-0. But we switched off when Ox got the third and thought we were in for party time, if I was Wenger if be tearing them a new one right now.

  217. mickydidit89 says:

    Oh dear, bad end, but I’m keeping my travel shoes on and toothbrush packed.

    Mind you, I didn’t enjoy the Ox and Arteta coming off one bit.

  218. Rasp says:

    The result doesn’t change much as I didn’t expect us to finish top. Vanden Borre was the difference because he bullied us, but he shouldn’t have been on the pitch because he should have had at least 2 yellows.

    I agree that Theo should have come on. Those that have suffered by watching games with me will know that I have always said that defensive substitutions seldom work under Wenger and yet he continues to make the same mistake.

  219. Rasp says:

    Arteta does an OK job at HM but we really need a specialist in that position if we want to compete with the best.

  220. arnie says:

    hmmmm. end of the day, 3 goals conceded in less than half an hour. why should the defence not put their hands up? it is always someone else’s fault. hmmm.

  221. Rasp says:

    Out of interest arnie (and I’m not being arsey) what do you consider constitutes ‘the defence’?

  222. Bayonne Jean says:

    Humiliating. Emirates more of a sand castle than a fortress. And another second place finish in the group…..hopefully.

  223. mickydidit89 says:

    Last thought, and on the down side, Chas and Ant are hoovering up club profits as we speak.

  224. Shard says:

    A bit of a fluke result rather than us simply throwing it away. I thought the defense were switched on, but some players weren’t.

    Also, we need to learn to just slow the game down. Make those little fouls, pretend to be more injured than you are when you get tackled. All the best teams do it without fuss, and I don’t mind seeing us do it at times. Even Anderlecht did that once they got back to 3-3.

    We didn’t switch off, we just sort of panicked. And the crowd played a role in that. Where was the home support?

  225. fatgingergooner says:

    We are like a team of naive little boys. How difficult is it to see out a 3-0 or 3-1 lead at home to a very average team? No doubt we will still qualify, but keep defending like that and it will be as pointless as always when we get hammered by a decent team.

    We can have all the flair players we want, but without a spine of men with know-how and discipline, this team is going to struggle to push on to the top level. CB and HM needed.

  226. Rasp says:

    Shard, I wasn’t at the game, but I was there on Saturday and I don’t think you are qualified (or anyone is qualified) to pass judgement on the crowd on the grounds of the television coverage. I should wait to hear what those at the game report rather than scapegoating the supporters. You should look at the players and the manager if you wish to apportion blame.

  227. Shard says:

    All the same, getting a thoroughly undeserved victory away, with a slightly unlucky draw at home is a fair trade 🙂

    I agree with Rasp. It doesn’t change much. We weren’t going to beat Dortmund by 3 goals, and we face a trip to Istanbul after that anyway, so it probably wouldn’t have happened. I just hope we can qualify in the next game. I don’t want a nervy ending in an away game in Turkey.

  228. Rasp says:

    Yes and I agree with that Shard 😛

  229. arnie says:

    Rasp, I will go by the book. Szcz, Chambers, BFG, Monreal, Gibbs. When we are 3-0 up, why should Gibbs and Chambers venture further up than the centre line? Particularly when Monreal is playing out of position?

    Anyway, the disaster now is this goes in all probability to the last day. away in Turkey.

    But if there was one day when we could afford to concede 3 goals it was today. unfortunately 1 step back after 2 steps forward.

    Hopefully no more complacency at the back in the next 3 games.

  230. Well that was a stinker of a performance.
    All the momentum we’d built up with a couple of wins against mediocre opposition has gone up the swanny.
    Nacho giving away the penalty was pivotal but should we have to regularly play a second choice left back at centre back ?
    I know, I’m a broken record.

  231. Gööner In Exile says:

    Look you don’t really need a spine or men, you just need players to react to the situation.

    The reason Arteta going off was a problem wasn’t necessarily from a defensive point of view it was from a ball retention point of view, he gets the ball from the defence and moves it safely up the pitch when opposition attacks break down in our defence he is normally first to pick up the loose ball and then give it to someone to feet.

    Flamini simply doesn’t do that.

    It was up to Ramsey or Santi to take it upon themselves to go deeper and help Flamini in that position, then it may have been worth putting Theo on as there was more chance of getting the ball to him, without Arteta on the pitch and with others shirking the responsibility he would have been as ineffectual as Podolski or Rosicky when they came on.

  232. arnie says:

    nuff said. better be away for a day! 😦

  233. Rasp says:

    Thanks arnie – I couldn’t disagree with you more 😛 I see defending as the responsibility of the whole team – especially the midfielders because they are the ones who can make a difference.

  234. Gööner In Exile says:

    Chary would you prefer we play Bellerin at right back and Chambers central?

  235. arnie says:

    well, Rasp, and scoring is everyone’s responsibility as well presumably. I think there is something wrong about glorifying defenders for their attacking skills at the cost of defence.

    We have seen not long ago what can happen if the likes of the Ox are expected to defend in the box.

  236. Blimey that was a disaster

  237. Shard says:

    Rasp

    Even those at the game won’t know about the entire stadium, just their section. But yes, fair point.

    I wasn’t blaming the crowd for the result by the way. The result is on the team and no one else. Despite the offside goal or whatever. I was simply making an observation.

    I’m not sure I would put it down to substitutions, and I think Arteta’s injury really harmed us. Flamini didn’t seem up to speed. That penalty was a big blow and again, slightly unlucky I feel in that Monreal just slipped.

    I’m not very upset by the result. I think it should make us think about what we need to do better. But I’m not ready to say that the players just switched off, or ascribe it as ‘the same old failing’. I don’t think this is a symptom of the same as say the Wigan game or the Spurs game we lost in years past. I don’t think the team as a whole switched off, although some players did. Ramsey for one. But I do think they panicked a bit.

    PS. While we are assigning blame to Arsenal, we should also credit Anderlecht. They have some very good young players and they seem to have a good understanding with each other.

  238. Rasp says:

    Thanks arnie 🙂 Personally I don’t include the centerbacks in the ‘scoring responsibility’ zone except from corners and set pieces. I think the wing backs can be used as part of the attack if the team is set up in that way but only if we have a HM (HMs) who are prepared to drop back.

    Football is the ultimate team game, yes players need to have discipline if they are required to fulfill a role, but all 11 have to take responsibility not leave certain aspects to others, otherwise we are not playing as a team.

  239. Rasp says:

    No problem Shard, it is just that I sometimes detect a rather unhealthy tendency to blame the supporters when things aren’t going well. We never proclaim that another team is poor because of their supporters yet we seem to do it to our own. I think the supporters are sometimes used as a smokescreen or to deflect criticism in the same way Maureen demonstrated at theweekend.

  240. arnie says:

    Yes, agreed Rasp, a big IF! 😛

  241. Rasp says:

    I agree about the panic observation Shard – and that is the time when you need a strong presence on the pitch to lead from the front and pull the players together – I appreciate such players are few and far between.

  242. Shard says:

    I almost never speak about the supporters Rasp. Mainly because I don’t really notice either way, unless they do something extraordinary. I just thought it was odd that the crowd wasn’t geeing up the players today.

    Of course TV does manipulate what we hear, but there seemed to be no noise coming from Arsenal fans at 3-1.

    Maybe it was just that I wasn’t nervous about today at all but could detect nervousness among the players and the crowd, and felt it was strange.

  243. Shard says:

    Get to January 6 points behind the league leaders and having qualified from the CL and I think we’d have done quite well. At which point we should get some reinforcements. Agree we need someone else, though today we missed Arteta as that presence.

    I couldn’t place what it was exactly, but I think GIE nailed it when he said about it being incumbent upon Ramsey and Santi to come deeper to collect the ball and then pass it up the field. Alexis got noticeably deeper when he could, but Ramsey was very frustrating. It seemed like he was ignoring Wenger’s instruction about his responsibility, to go for glory instead. Also Santi. I understand the logic of playing him back into form, and he’s actually not done too badly generally, but he has no end product right now. Play Rosicky or Poldi instead.

  244. RockyLives says:

    Well, we got a big dollop of Karma, right on our heads.

    we got away with daylight robbery in Belgium and tonight the fates decided to even up the score.

    The turning point was their first goal – given despite the bloke being a long way offside.

    The TV didn’t give adequate replays of their penalty so I don’t know whether Nacho cocked it up or whether he was unlucky.

    I think we’ll surprise everyone and beat Dortmund, making Galatasaray away a dead rubber.

  245. RockyLives says:

    Rasp
    I would second Shard’s point about the crowd noise. With the caveats that the TV gives a distorted impression etc, nevertheless I could hear “we’re the North Bank…” and “we’re the Clock End…” coming through loud and clear when we were winning. But once Anderlecht got their first all I could hear was the Belgians.

  246. arnie says:

    will Arsenal play in an empty stadium in Turkey?

  247. fatgingergooner says:

    To say we don’t need a spine GiE is ridiculous. Top teams have top players through the centre of their team, we do not. We have some good players, and some who are not quite good enough against the best teams. Getting some experienced ‘men’ in there who have seen it and done it would definitely help us to stop making stupid mistakes like we did today.

  248. Rasp says:

    Hi Rocky,

    I’m sorry but it is not a chicken and egg situation IMO. If the crowd is not as vociferous as some would like then you have to look at the design of the stadium, the increased capacity bringing in so many ‘new fans’ and the ticket prices keeping away some of the hardcore fans. But even taking all that into consideration, the Emirates crowd is not a single entity with an identity of its own, it is a product of the way the club has developed.

    I got very exasperated by this a few years ago and wrote a post inviting everyone to apportion blame after a run of poor form – I’ll have to see if I can find it. The point is, if we are honest with ourselves we will admit that the supporters should not be included in the ‘blame culture’ because they are a product not the cause.

  249. Gööner In Exile says:

    “We had some bad luck, the first goal was offside but we had a lack of concentration and thought the game was won.

    Overall we were poor defensively from the first to the last minute. At 3-2 you have to secure yourself and we were not cautious enough. It was very poor defending.

    Am I angry or disappointed? Both.”

    Hmmm i think the players may have had a bit of a flea in the ear

  250. Sweeps says:

    Who has a go at Wenger when he plays a shite left back in the heart of our defence, you don’t have to be a professor to know the outcome. Surely it would be better to play Chambers at center back and Bellerin at right back against a poor european outfit.

  251. RockyLives says:

    Rasp
    I wasn’t really commenting on the crowd’s performance across a long period of time – just how it sounded on the TV tonight.

    I don’t draw any particular conclusions, but perhaps there was too much nervousness in the players and the crowd and it fed off itself.

  252. Rasp says:

    Fair point Rocky, I agree, I guess the team and the crowd feed off each other to an extent.

  253. fatgingergooner says:

    I think the crowd just got nervous because they’ve seen it all before. How many times have we thrown leads away or given away stupid goals against lesser sides after dominating a match? You can’t blame the fans for that really.

  254. Gööner In Exile says:

    The point FGG is we didn’t need one tonight, we were 3 – 0 up and should have been cruising, and we gave away 1 goal an offside goal at that.

    We didn’t need some elusive spine to hold it all together we just needed players to do their jobs for 30 minutes.

    Did any of the three goals come from the centre of the park? No they came from out wide, what use a spine if the players can move the ball out wide and away from the spine.

    There seems to be this truth emerged in football that every great side needs a spine, i’d like the spines of the top 10 European sides named, i want to know what we mean by the players we want in this spine. Do we mean ball players or winners? Did the best United sides have this spine? The one that last won the league had Carrick playing at centre midfield so hardly a key link in the backbone.

    Whenever i hear the expression it annoys me, because it seems that you can win every competition as long as you have four hard bastards from goalkeeper to centre forward and no matter what goes elsewhere.

    Rasp we will hear from Peaches and Chas no doubt about the atmosphere in the ground, but to give you a sense of the type of fan we are dealing with half of the lower tier along the touchlines didn’t bother to attend tonight and half of those that did had gone when Anderlecht put in their equaliser. Now i’m not saying the result would be any different, but do you must agree it would help the players get over the line if they looked around and saw peoples faces urging them on rather than more and more empty red seats? And i know there is nothing you and I can do about it, and as you know above I have laid blame exactly at the feet of those i think are responsible for the result.

    But as fans we all love to hear from the players when they tell us how important the support was tonight, how brilliant the atmosphere was etc etc and we feel that in some small way we helped our team get the win, whether you think it is the players, fans or clubs fault is irrelevant, the effect the fans can have on the team performance should not be overlooked.

    There is a reason non league teams win home FA Cup games against higher opposition, it is not because they are as good as the opposition, its because their fans have enabled them to play at a higher level than they ever knew possible.

    Here’s another example, British results at the London 2012 Olympics, amazing home support meant the athletes performed personal bests at every turn.

    As Rocky says 2-0 and there was rendition of We’re the North Bank/Clock End that was making me smile at home we were cruising the fans were content, the third a bit of icing before 4,5 and 6 went in, and then they score one and silence and as Rocky and Shard have said Anderlecht fans are bouncing, yet five minutes earlier it was the same scoreline effectively, i asked the same during the game because the performance change was noticeable when we conceded.

    And I know you like me shout yourself hoarse at the game encouraging the team, and trying to sing and it annoys you as it does me when all the moaning and groaning starts. At times we are better applauding the effort than complaining about the outcome.

  255. GiE, yeah I’d like to see that. From what I’ve seen if Bellerin he’d be worth a shot so that Chambers can go to CB.

    I hear fatigue was cited by Wenger as a cause for the display – then why not rotate the squad a bit more and bring on subs before the 80th minute ?

    The players were shocking for the last 3 minutes but the manager didn’t help with his late and incorrect substitutions and lack of tactical change.

    My sons are going to get some stick at school tomorrow for that pile of distended rectum served up by the team and manager tonight (Alexis and Ox excluded).

  256. Gööner In Exile says:

    Sniffer i think he did that away in Anderlecht and got pelters for playing an inexperienced right back in a big European tie.

  257. Sniffer,is that my name now GiE? The price of bring critical of the manager nowadays.
    He had no choice but to use Bellerin so no pelters from me then.
    But if you want to call me “Sniffer” as it’s a free country then that’s your prerogative.

  258. Rasp says:

    GiE, I go back to my earlier point. The crowd is not a single entity with a single character, it is 60,00 individuals – all with their own attitude to support.

    There will have been thousands of supporters who urged the team vocally and of whom you’d be proud. Why weren’t you or I there to give our support? Well you live a long way away with family responsibilities and I have been priced out of attending.

    I think you’ll find that the supporters of lesser teams that you so rightly identify as being a positive force behind performance is because the supporters are usually more ‘local’ and the prices more affordable ….. do you see what I mean when I say the level and type of support is a product of the club and the expectations it engenders?

  259. Gööner In Exile says:

    Okay here’s where the difference is for me:

    Arteta:
    Played 62 minutes

    Passes Made 73/77

    Forward 49/53
    Backward 9/9
    Square 15/15

    Passes Received 63

    Of passes received 37 from centre backs, 24 from midfield or attackers, 2 from full backs

    Ball recoveries 7

    Flamini:
    Played 28 minutes

    Passed made 19/22

    Forward 8/11
    Backward 7/7
    Square 4/4

    Passes Received 17

    Of passes received 7 from centre backs, 7 from midfield or attack. 3 from fullbacks

    Ball recoveries 1

  260. Ant says:

    Cheer up.. Corporate was superb

  261. Ant says:

    3.87 litres of water

  262. Ant says:

    2 steaks in pepper sauce

  263. Rasp says:

    😛 Ant

    Did you do the whole corporate thing and not return to your seat until 10 minutes into the 2nd half? 😆

  264. Gööner In Exile says:

    Chary i was referring to earlier comment by Sniffer, you had not replied when i typed it, he said that we should have played “Bellerin against a poor European outfit”.

    I don’t disagree that we could try Chambers there and Bellerin at right back but given the level of criticism of the team tonight, for lack of experience/spine would it be helped by sticking Chambers in there?

    In my opinion no, and additionally there would be a 10,000 others who would be asking why so much responsibility was being put on some so young.

    Fact of the matter is before anyone else is pilloried tonight i think we need to look at the players first and foremost, no one was complaining at 3-0 were they? So suddenly the system and personnel are wrong because the result ends up at 3-3.

    I don’t see it.

  265. Ant says:

    Rasp- we support the team for 90 mins always

  266. Ant says:

    Even when pissed and with whatever free food and drink we want

  267. Ant says:

    3 wins and a draw in last 4 games hooray!

  268. Ant says:

    I love Arsenal..Even if some don’t .. Good night

  269. Rasp says:

    I wasn’t having a go Ant – I was joking with you 😦

  270. arnie says:

    GiE. conceding 3 goals in that short period of time is poor. Period. remember 4-4? hmmmm. even our juniors should be able to see out such a game from 3-0 up. who the personnel were should not matter so much. should be just a matter of discipline.

    But, as you said earlier, when you have a team when even the GK wants to play in the opposition box and score a goal, you are left open at the back. Well, you did not quite say that, but …..

    Nevertheless, sh*t happens. Sometimes.

    As I said earlier, probably the only game all season when conceding 3 goals in 20 mins is not going to cost us anything. Except for lack of confidence, of course.

    And we are still unbeaten at home since Villa last season. If we can continue this for another CL game, against Dortmund, we should be OK. But we may still need a point in Turkey.

  271. arnie says:

    hmmm. wrong timing Rasp. I suppose everyone is a bit sensitive today. and fair enough as well. 😦

  272. Rasp says:

    I would never question Ant or chas’ level of support. If only we could populate the Emirates with 60,000 clones of the likes of them, GiE, GN5 and TMHT – we wouldn’t even be having this discussion.

    GiE’s point earlier was spot on. We didn’t defend particularly well from the start – Anderlecht carved their way through us on several occasions, but couldn’t finish. Their substitutions had a more poitive effect on their play than ours. I also agree that the loss of Arteta was pivotal. How do we avoid dropping points to sides we should beat comfortably in the future – for the manager to solve I guess.

  273. arnie says:

    Anderlecht is not such a bad side, IMO. From what we have seen over two games. We have this superiority complex that continental sides are all rubbish, aside from a couple of German, Spanish and Italian sides. But this is a load of bollox.

    We needed to be above them in points in the group stages. we still do.

  274. Gööner In Exile says:

    Rasp i know where you’re coming from but i really don’t think price is the main issue. Tickets that don’t get used are more appalling to me, fans that bemoan the prices but walk out before the end, fans that bemoan player effort but can’t be arsed to queue for the tube at the final whistle. Weirdly the cheaper season ticket seats in the lower tiers have the least take up on on CL nights, i think its due to the Season Tickets being in the hands of touts who won’t use Ticket Exchange to move their tickets on as they would prefer to chance their arm to make a big profit on the day of the game. I’m all for the club taking tickets off those that haven’t used them for say 20% of the games to put them in the hands of fans who do want them, lets be honest if you’re on the waiting list for season ticket you want to go to the games and support, especially if you’re still on it now rather than those who may have been on it during the glory hunting years.

    I can’t go to every game, its £100+ for the layout when i do, but thats my fault for moving to Norfolk.

    Chelsea fans made a similar complaint when Maureen had a go at them “The cheapest general sale adult ticket for the game against QPR was £46, with the most expensive £75.”

    Ours for the same fixture £36.50 to £55.50. So we will have better noise?

    I hate to say it but i am envious generally of the noise at the Bus Stop and Shite Hart Lane, both have similar ticket prices if not more expensive as proven above. Maybe because they are traditional stadiums, but that doesn’t quite make sense to me as i have been to some absolutely cracking nights at the Emirates with some amazing noise.

    One I always go back to is Everton home when Cesc accused Mason of being a cheat, or at least having had a bit of a side payment for the decision to allow a clear offside goal, that goal was “accidentally” replayed on the big screen, as we know controversial moments shouldn’t get replayed, well their was uproar from players and fans alike and from that moment on we roared the team on, we won, and the singing of By Far the Greatest Team had never been louder to me, every corner of the ground rocking. If the video guy had played that replay tonight i think the fans would have reacted very differently to that first goal and the result would have been changed.

    Our most vocal support are the away fans, it may just be coincidence but i see the same faces whenever i go away from home with Arsenal, Chas and Ant will probably have a similar story, in fact would make it far less coincidence because they go to a lot more than me away from home. These hardcore support will have much heavier layout for tickets than those who just go to home games, but having the money to do that does not seem to make them quiet….far from it.

  275. arnie says:

    I can take everything else, but it is the boos at full time whistle that really angers me.

  276. Rasp says:

    Yes I agree the home fans are hardcore and do us proud. I think the nonchalance amongst some supporters has something to do with the fact that being able to afford to go and being passionate about the club are not necessarily inclusive. I’m not blaming Arsenal any more than any other PL club, I think ticket prices are too high across the board.

  277. Ant says:

    Rasp no offence taken we’re still happy, cheers 🙂

  278. Gööner In Exile says:

    I remember 4-4 and Dowd very well Arnie.

    But our squad is massively different from that team that day of the 11 starters that day only one started today, of the 18 man squad that day 7 remain, one never features and was sent off (the start of the downfall) and the others were mainly young boys in 2011 and are still quite young now.

    The point? Drawing 4-4 when you are 4-0 up never looks good, having a man sent off, and then having a couple of dodgy decisions go the way of the opposition don’t help either.

    But are we really saying that that result effects our fans now?

    If so I think that shows the power of the media and we may just as well stop bothering as no matter how much of a run we put together people will still have question marks over us, now some will say it is because of results like tonight that justify those question marks, well i have just gone through fixtures since that fateful day in Newcastle:

    Out of 200 games exactly we have played since that day we have the following stats:
    Won 112
    Drawn 45
    Lost 43

    Of those 45 drawn games only 13 came from leads thrown away (i.e. 32 were come back draws), of the 43 losses only 5 were from leads given away the rest we went behind first.

    Of the 112 wins i didn’t bother to count comebacks and hold ons because at the end of the day a wins a win. But my bet is we held onto more leads than made comebacks to win.

    Of the leads thrown away until tonight only three 2 goal leads were squandered and they resulted in draws, nine 1 goal leads also resulted in draws, and we never squandered more than a a 1 goal lead to lose.

    So we come back to draw more often than give away a lead to draw or lose, but no one sees us as some great comeback side do they?

    It can’t be that very few of our wins are leading positions as surely that would mean that there is very little focus put on our ability to comeback?

    What I am saying again is that if we allow ourselves to believe what is rammed down our throat every day by pundits, other fans and ex players the club are better off without our support.

  279. mickydidit89 says:

    Tell you what, the good thing about a poor performance is that there is so much more to read in the morning for the early bird 🙂

    If I had to pick out a worst case aspect of last night, it’s without doubt the empty seats lower tier and the early leavers, which they also do at a 3pm Saturday KO.

    Like Rocky, I really do reckon we’ll beat Dortmund. All being well on the fitness side, I bet AW plays the Art/Flam duo, which I actually think helps our attacking play as well.

  280. mickydidit89 says:

    Chas

    I know you would have taken some rear view snaps of your hostess as she bent down to pick up your tactically placed Cheesy Wotsits off the carpet, so it would be civil of you to share one or two of these intimate snaps. 🙂

  281. mickydidit89 says:

    “Jacques is a light and frivolously feminine drink that adds a little sparkle to your style”

    Still going to Beetleize the morning?

    You can say as many times as you like the drink belonged to Ant, but I’m not having.

    My stance on this is firm.

  282. Eddie says:

    I don’t give a monkeys if it was wenger’s tactical error, or lack of back bone, or poor support, or anything else one can come up with. To my mind a team that cannot defend a 3 nil lead is shit and deserves all the bollocking coming their way. The fans were booing at the end, I would never do that, but last night I understood the booers frustration

    Having said that we were always going to finish 2nd and we are still on track, so not a disaster, simply another huge disappointment

  283. kelsey says:

    Morning

    Do you still want a review.

    Micky, I keep telling you about conceding and Evonne isn’t far off the mark.

  284. Perhaps this will cheer people up ha ha

  285. Eddie says:

    What do you mean not far off? I’m spot on

  286. I watched the game at a bar and at 3-0 thought that’s safe, so I went to another bar for a drink with friends, comfortable in the knowledge that we had the 3 points. Then when I got home I checked the result thinking maybe 4-0 or 5-0. ha ha ha what a friggin shock, I thought the BBC had got the score wrong. 😦

    Luckily it wasn’t a major disaster and one point will see us through to our last game in the CL this season 🙂

  287. kelsey says:

    sorry sir 🙂

  288. kelsey says:

    Yes we all know that one point will see us through but that just wasn’t acceptable, for many reasons NB

  289. kelsey says:

    Does anyone else want to do the post ,please give me an answer ?

  290. Kelsey

    Looks like it’s gonna be you……….. like a lamb to slaughter ha ha

  291. Eddie says:

    Kelsey -Of course we want you to do it, just don’t mince the words, say it as it is, ie pants

  292. Kels

    Try-” a light and frivolously feminine drink that adds a little sparkle to your style” to get you in the mood

  293. kelsey says:

    I notice micky has gone missing.

    “a light and frivolously feminine drink that adds a little sparkle to your style” 😉 Spa Water

  294. And the Big Raddish is hiding behind the sofa 🙂

  295. RA says:

    Morning North Bank, 🙂

    I saw and understand all the disappointed comments, but…….

    Well, I have never seen a team throw away a 3 : 0 lead before, so that was an amazing result – well except for when AC Milan did it in the European Championship Final,and went on to lose on penalties, but that does not count ….. oh, and then the Spuds leading Manure 3 : 0 at half time in the Premiership, and eventually going on to lose 3 : 5, and ……

    It happens — not the end of the world.

  296. Morning Redders

    Write the match review…. 🙂 give kelsey a break

  297. Gööner In Exile says:

    Shoot Kelsey I doubt any of us are in a forgiving mood this morning.

    That was an appalling collapse which the players should be thoroughly ashamed of. They let the fans down and more importantly let their employers and manager down.

    They deserve a hammering.

  298. Gööner In Exile says:

    Readers I think it’s the reason why that is so disappointing and I think the Anderlecht manager got it right and was certainly my feeling:

    “Maybe Arsenal thought that they were superior at 3-0 and they could have fun with the public.”

  299. Shard says:

    I’ll probably be a knot ear today. Lots of work to do. GIE at 1.23 is spot on. Not just an amazing piece of research, but the sentiment behind it. Do we Arsenal fans ever take a poor result in isolation anymore? It’s always about some past failing, whether real or perceived. Some pattern we see in the white noise of our footballing memories. This really annoys me because every time the discussion just turns to the whole circular Wenger out thing, rather than the game itself.

    Hopefully that won’t happen today, but in any case, I won’t be here so maybe it’s better it happens today rather than any other day 🙂

  300. LB says:

    I am a bit confused about the crowd noise thing having an effect on the result, if that is the point; as i said, I am a bit confused.

    It is a given that the collective noise could be better.

    It is a given that things would be different if the the ticket prices were lower.

    But last night was not particularly different to any other home game when we are winning. In fact, it followed exactly the same routine: occasional loud bursts of we love Arsenal songs leading to the singing of we are the North Bank and we are the Clock end which is always sung when the game is thought to be in the bag.

    Do I think that more singing would have changed the outcome, no, the game was the way it was and there is no reason to think it would have been any different if it was played in an empty stadium.

    The game didn’t end up as we hoped but as someone said above we nicked 3 points in Belgium when we shouldn’t have and we dropped two points last night when we shouldn’t have, not perfect but I will take it.

  301. kelsey says:

    Oh done it, toned it down, it’s a bit brief but will do.

  302. RA says:

    It is all very well for the Anderlecht manager to come across as all seeing and superior.

    Perhaps he should instead thank his lucky stars that an amazingly poor assistant refereeing decision allowing a goal where the player was a good 5 metres offside to start the collapse was allowed.

    Bad decisions happen, I know that, but it is the casual acceptance of such mediocrity that galls.

    Don’t worry, NB, Crystals wrote his match report two days ago. 🙂

  303. kelsey says:

    Can you all wait for the post to go up, or shall I publish early.
    The crowd isn’t an excuse. They were singing loud and clear at 2-0 and 3-0 and at the end were gutted at such a dreadful performance.

  304. LB says:

    GIE

    Sometimes I think your assessment of players is miles of, such as you were the only one who thought Sanchez had no reason to walk off the field with his head held high after the game in Belgium and then you write something about Arteta at 10.04 which is scarily accurate.

    Whereas I, on the other hand, am always right 😉

  305. mickydidit89 says:

    Oi Crystals

    What’s with the “I notice micky has gone missing”

    I was first up and out of the trenches at 5:36 as you can see, and even then I was holding back, because I had been working since 4:15!!!

    Also, I know that after a difficult evening, the site lightweights don’t bother in the morning 🙂

  306. chas says:

  307. kelsey says:

    Ah chas

    I know what they are singing after last night

    “I’ve Gotta Get A Message To You” 🙂

  308. Morning all

    Very disappointed still at a game that we had in the bag but I’ll vent on the new post.

    kelsey – I’ll just have a quick look at in drafts in case wordpress have altered the alignment.

  309. kelsey can you come out of the post so that I can get in please.

  310. kelsey says:

    check my spelling peaches please and let’s just publish it as I want to add a few things that are not in the post, after we hopefully get a few comments.

  311. mickydidit89 says:

    Yeah Kelsey, stop sniffing around in the office, pull your trousers up, and switch the photocopier off. It’s childish and a waste of paper.

  312. kelsey says:

    I love you to 🙂

  313. chas says:

  314. chas says:

  315. Very good kelsey 🙂

    ……………………………New Post ……………….

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