Where’s our joker in the pack?

This isn’t a post with any weight or merit or even structure as i’m typing it as i’m about to rush out the door, but Norfolk’s post yesterday got me reminiscing, shouldn’t we just enjoy football for what it is?

In my Arsenal supporting years there have always been star players but to complete a squad there has to be a few other types of men, the dependable Mr Consistents like Nigel Winterburn, Kevin Richardson, Gilberto. But there is also the need for other types of characters that whilst not the most accomplished footballers or at least not as accomplished as we would like, they brought something to the party.

I’m thinking in no particular order of players like Perry Groves (2 Championship Winners medals and a League Cup Winner somehow!), Eboue, John Jensen, these weren’t the most gifted of footballers but somehow the fans seemed to make a connection with them, the cheers when Jensen finally got that goal which led to the club selling “I was there” T-shirts.

Andy Linnighan and Steve Morrow were neither Mr Dependable or Cult hero but they did manage to score two of the most important goals in the clubs history. How long would either have survived at the club in today’s world of non stop critique?

When did football only become about the most skilful/influential players, wasn’t it more fun laughing at Gus Caesar mis controlling a pass for the ball to go out for a corner than it is to lambast a player for failing to thread an eye of a needle pass.

I can only imagine the reaction today when Lee Dixon looked up and lobbed it back to Safe Hands only for it to sail over his head and in to the goal, I was there, we laughed with a shake of the head, half in disbelief half in a one of those things it’s football sort of ways. He hadn’t become the worst player ever overnight, although he may still have been suffering the effects of a hefty Tuesday Club session, we will never know.

Sometimes you have to just accept that the players are human, and with that accept results like Tuesday with the “sh*t happens” shake of the head grin and hope it doesn’t happen to often.

But its hard to have fun when the players are so serious all the time, Podolski and BFG seem to be our jokers in the pack, but only Podolski shows that side of his character on the pitch, everyone else is a little too serious, but maybe thats something else that is missing from the game today, the characters that make the game fun, but then maybe the pressure around the game means we are drumming any personality out of players? If a player smiles on the pitch he is considered to not care…”look at him laughing, he shouldn’t be laughing, it should hurt him like it hurts us”…..it didn’t always hurt this much though did it?

Gooner in Exile

63 Responses to Where’s our joker in the pack?

  1. Eddie says:

    GiE – what is this? Your post with no stats? I wasted a trip upstairs to get a calculator, which clearly is not needed today ๐Ÿ™‚

    I would probably do the head shacking and smiling in disbelief, if there wasn’t so much at stake. The super rich teams are running away with the title and the rest are ferociously fighting for the remaining 2 spots. Every mistake can be ‘deadly’ or at least costly. I completely agree that football has lost some of its magic and became a nerve wrecking war. Of course players are not smiling anymore (except for my Santi); if they feck up the net will be full of jokes, derogatory comments and clinical dissections dedicated to them.

    I think I have convinced myself that I no longer want to be a football fan.

    Thanks for the post GIE!

    BTW, I am reading a first book of its kind where the wife is a football fanatic and goes to all the games, leaving her husband to look after the kid ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. leonardo1281 says:

    Hello fellow AAers,

    Yesterday, I read a very interesting article in the Latinamerican ESPN site which was about how come the English teams on the Champions League seem a bit on a downhill whereas the EPL is recognized as the second best in Europe (behind La Liga).

    The article stated that Borussia won the Bundesliga two years ago with an average budget similar to Stoke city. It also stated that because of city an chelsea’s new owners and the way they had been running their bussines, the prices of football players have inflated very fast. So it has become the common idea in England that that is the only way of winning things. It is also stated with a few examples, that the middle teams in La Liga have had to develop extremelly well on youth, buy and sell, etc. to keep up reasonable with Real & Barca. So, summing up there are some questions I’d like to share with you guys:
    1) Do you think it possible that EPL can become a La Liga or a Bundesliga where there are only two or, at most, three teams ruling forever?
    2) Has it affected the level of football in the EPL, the big shots of cash made by city and chelsea?
    3) Is it simply impossible for Arsenal to compete for trophies staying outside this cash sphere?

    The last question is about last couple of weeks:
    4) Are Arsenal “Fans” supporting the team only when we win? I mean, I felt really bad when we won at Belgium. on Tuesday I was upset, of course, but encouraged that the team for 60-70 mins. was a team.

    Greetings from Colombia!

  3. Eddie says:

    Leonardo – answer to your questions are
    2 – no
    4 – yes

  4. Gรถรถner In Exile says:

    leonardo welcome, 4) i think we all felt slightly embarrassed at the result in Belgium and definitely there are a section of supporters who only materialise when we have lost a game, and like you i think there was much to be happy with in the first 60 minutes or so.

    In answer to your questions:

    1) Yes, in reality we have been there for some time, and now Manchester United have finally slipped off the gravy train we are down to 2. However if FFP works as intended there is a possibility that others can catch up, City are already being hampered in the C by it (not that their CL record is that good anyway)

    2) I’m not sure if the cash has affected the level of performance but it has almost definitely affected the level of expectation.

    3) Can we compete? Yes why not? We just need to have a season where everyone stays fit and make maximum use of the squad available to get through a long season.

  5. RC78 says:


    Debuchy, Giroud are quite fun lads as well

  6. Big Raddy says:


    The Joker? Santi Cazorla. Always has a smile.

    Leonardo. 1.) The EPL is already like La Liga and all the European leagues. Since inception only 5 winners and one of those was Blackburn! Effectively there are only 4 teams with a chance of winning it.

    3 teams in Spain. Two in Germany. Juventus in Italy, 2 teams in France.

    2) The standard of football is better than pre-PL.

    3) Yes.

    4) A resounding NO

  7. Eddie says:

    see, see, even the fans are dead serious now, I don’t know….

  8. The Cockie Monster says:

    Anyone wonder why Transplant never has anything bad to say about Arsene ?……….I give you Mrs Transplant !.


  9. Big Raddy says:

    Cockle. That’s brilliant. I want her ….

  10. The Cockie Monster says:

    Biggy, are you sure it`s a “her” !. Anyway, technically “she” is still married to Terry and may only become available once Arsene leaves and Terry starts dating Tracey Klopp !. hahaha

  11. Cockie

    Transplants man wife is better looking than some women, just take this one for example.
    Big Raddish………… would you??

  12. chas says:

    I quite like your hasty post, GIE, with or without structure. ๐Ÿ™‚

    It should be more fun than it is.
    Everyone’s mood improves on the back of a few good results.
    It should be easy to ignore those who criticise because they need to generate hits and income from their newspapers/websites.
    The trouble is we all know that hits go up when we’ve played poorly so criticism becomes the norm.

    I doubt Kevin Richardson would get much praise on the t’internet if it had been around then. As for Perry Groves, he’d have been slaughtered. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Perhaps a really bad season would shake us all up.
    When you mentioned Winterburn, I was thinking, ‘did the famous back four ever have a dodgy season?’.

    Step forward 1994-5
    Arsenal finished 12th
    Played 42 Won 13 Drew 12 Lost 17
    Goals for 52 Goals against 49.

    League Appearances from the famous back 4 (5)
    Dixon 39
    Winterburn 39
    Adams 27
    Bould 30(1)
    Keown 24(7)
    Linighan 13(7)

    How come we all remember our English defence as if they never played poorly? Maybe they were ok and it was the midfield who were shocking?

    I’ve no idea what this means or where my comment is going.
    Definitely a lack of merit, weight or structure. ๐Ÿ™‚

  13. chas says:

    Sorry about the blogfart.
    Must be something of a record.

  14. mickydidit89 says:

    Thanks Exile
    How can names like Caesar and Groves not brighten the lives of the faithful ๐Ÿ™‚

  15. mickydidit89 says:

    Wotcha Chas

    Famous back 4 conceding 49. Pah, that’s nothing. Think Pool did 50 last season ๐Ÿ™‚
    Mind you, that team had simply run out of steam and GG got fired in the Feb.

  16. mickydidit89 says:

    Oh no, just realized Swansea last game for two weeks. ๐Ÿ™„

    Aren’t they increasing number of WC/Euro Finalists, which could mean even more qualifiers. I know it’s all about money, but I would have thought there’s more for the TV Companies in Club Football.

  17. mickydidit89 says:

    Any Eddiecam footage or stories since the move to being a Red Top, and do people treat you with more respect through fear of the temper?

  18. mickydidit89 says:

    Oh ffs…have we signed anyone yet? ๐Ÿ™‚

  19. Gรถรถner In Exile says:

    Morning Micky, they’ve already done the Euros and done away with qualifying so that teams like Gibraltar can play the big boys.

    It’s ridiculous, especially when coupled with these weeks of football where fixtures are spread over the entire week.

  20. Big Raddy says:

    Morning All

    Apparently we are on the verge of signing Casillas. As if ….

    GIE. Money, money money. They are killing the hen that lays the golden egg. Why don’t you write a post about it?

  21. mickydidit89 says:

    Morning Lads
    Germany Gibraltar. Yip, well worth watching. Could turn into a real Classico ๐Ÿ™‚

  22. mickydidit89 says:

    Tar Barrels tonight down me local

    tar barrels

  23. mickydidit89 says:

    “The flaming tar barrels however date back much further than 100 years, some say pagan times when effigies of townsfolk who had erred in the previous year were made and then burnt!”

    Do you err much? I rather suspect you do.

  24. RA says:

    What are effing gies, Micky?

  25. Big Raddy says:

    Err as in error or err as in “you know …. err …. well, you know …. err …. No”

    What’s with the tar barrels?

  26. Big Raddy says:

    I am proud to say I err whenever the possibility arises. I think I have erred at least twice this morning.

  27. mickydidit89 says:

    You know exactly what a gie is, so behave.

    Wander from the path of the righteous, as you well know

  28. Eddie says:

    give me a chance micky, ive only been back 2 days

  29. mickydidit89 says:

    Tar Barrels? Don’t know. The town has a steep hill running down through the centre, and they light the little buggers at the top, then some crazies run down with them on their shoulders.

    It’s fairly normal behaviour down these parts

  30. Gรถรถner In Exile says:

    Always a hill involved in the West Country.

    What Micky hasn’t said is at the bottom of the hill they set fire to the tourists that they kidnapped during the summer.

  31. Eddie says:

    I must say I was ROLFing yesterday when George Osborne proudly announced he halved the EU demand for money from UK. Cameron was giving a large one on how well George did in Europe. Five minutes later the Labour Party blew his cover reminding us that Osborne did nothing, the 50% discount/rebate was applied as always! What scummers

    And what about that active cannibalism in Wales? effing ell

  32. Eddie says:

    I thought it was in Wales they were setting tourists houses on fire?

  33. Big Raddy says:

    Ah the joy of running down hills carrying flaming tar barrels.

    How could I forget the smell of smoking shoulder pads and singed hair?

  34. mickydidit89 says:

    We call them “the missing” ๐Ÿ™‚

    Why doesn’t my link to the pics (google images) work?

  35. Big Raddy says:

    Scouse or Chavs today?

  36. mickydidit89 says:


    I think the Welsh adopt an altogether more relaxed approach to things like cannibalism. True story, a mate of mine had to slaughter a goat for some culturally significant thingy, and had to zoom off down to Wales where that sort of practice was not frowned upon ๐Ÿ™‚

  37. mickydidit89 says:

    Scouse for sure

  38. RA says:

    I went on holiday to Rock some years ago, (and they said – come back in November and we will go to other friends near Ottery St Marys and see the loonies trying to set the place alight.) ๐Ÿ™‚

    I could not go — but maybe that is what you are referring to?

  39. mickydidit89 says:

    Two places do the Tar Barrels. Ottery is one, Hatherleigh the other. We’re 10 mins from the latter.

  40. RA says:


    So your mate engaged in cannibalism involving a goat — are the rest of your mates goats too? ๐Ÿ™‚

  41. mickydidit89 says:

    I have a broad spectrum of mates

  42. Big Raddy says:

    RA. Lovely place Rock. I went to eat at Rick Stein’s.

  43. Eddie says:

    anybody but chavs

    I love your mates and your family micky, I wish mine were more entertaining rather than relying on me to be the topic of xmas conversations

  44. RA says:


    Did you get a ferry across to Padstowe or go the long way around? Ooh are. ๐Ÿ™‚

  45. mickydidit89 says:

    No-one can compete with you for entertainment
    Come on, go out for a walk right now, then come back with a story ๐Ÿ™‚

  46. Big Raddy says:

    Eddie. Even if you were in Micky’s family you would be the topic of Xmas conversation!

  47. mickydidit89 says:

    True Raddy ๐Ÿ™‚

  48. RA says:

    Anyway, Raddy, don’t try and distract me — I have not forgotten your promise of another Raddish song.

    I expect you to come good with the ballad or even a mad rock blaster by Xmas – or maybe at Xmas! ๐Ÿ™‚

  49. Big Raddy says:

    I was staying in Padstow and took the ferry over.

  50. Eddie says:

    Padstow is lovely, charming place

    my brother’s new partner insists they call each other ‘Kitten’. I had to excuse myself when the girl (absolutely charming) told us that. Each time I speak to my bro I mioooow now. He is getting irritated ๐Ÿ™‚

  51. Eddie says:

    RA – another song? What have I missed ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

  52. kelsey says:

    Morning all.

    Just to let you know for reasons beyond my control I won’t be around this weekend so that gives you plenty of time for someone else to do a match report on Monday.Sorry about that.(some might think it’s a good thing) ๐Ÿ™‚

  53. mickydidit89 says:

    You could have done it yesterday, Crystals ๐Ÿ™‚

  54. Eddie says:

    Kels – missing you already xxx

  55. mickydidit89 says:

    Was thinking about Southampton and how well they’re doing. Then saw their fixtures.
    Haven’t played Arsenal, Chavs, Oilers or Utd yet. Just Pool and they lost that.

  56. Eddie says:

    have they played Tottenham though?

  57. arnie says:

    Motning all.

    Nice one GiE. ๐Ÿ™‚

  58. RA says:


    I loved the vid of Raddy singing beautifully – quite a long time ago now – and asked him to sing another one for us – he is talented, and just as importantly, he has agreed. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Back later, maybe.

  59. Chas

    That is one of the greatest film scenes of all time.

  60. That should have been addressed to arnie ๐Ÿ™‚

  61. Big Raddy says:

    A boring one but nonetheless a

    New Post ……..

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