Toxic Emirates … when does home advantage become a disadvantage?

There have been many stories recently of in-fighting between fans principally regarding the polarization of views on the manager’s ability to take Arsenal forward.

The infamous banner and the disgraceful scenes at Stoke station fed the media with all the fuel it needed to inflame the already widening divide between supporters.

Anyone who has attended The Emirates will have witnessed the negative outpourings of ‘supporters’. We have long had to accept that the corporate levels are not populated with Arsenal supporters but simply a cash cow encouraged by the  club. The recent singing of ‘we’re the Northbank’ etc has been an attempt by the old school supporters to rekindle the spirit of Highbury, but they are equalled in number by the 30,000 new fans and football tourists. It’s not easy to sing your heart out if you are sitting in an area of silent analysts.

The combined effect is that at times the atmosphere can be tense and this transmits to the pitch.

Arsenal played with freedom, energy and without fear far away from home tensions at Galatasaray. Ramsey had the guts to take chances on the pitch and it paid dividends – a goal that will be talked about by Arsenal supporters for many years … a legacy in our Arsenal memories.

The club must take some responsibility for the way things have developed at the Emirates, but in the same way as the players must take responsibility on the pitch, the supporters must take responsibility in the stands.

There are two things that a football supporter can’t change – you can never change your team and you never want your team to lose ……. so how can negativity at games ever be a good thing?

Bad things happen when good people do nothing. Maybe its time for the the true supporters of Arsenal to take it upon themselves to stand up and be counted at The Emirates, to drown out the dissenters and create an atmosphere that lifts the team.

Written by Rasp

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169 Responses to Toxic Emirates … when does home advantage become a disadvantage?

  1. Big Raddy says:

    Rasp. a well written post.

    Hear Hear

    But we all now how difficult that is. Many times in the past I have tried to start a chant and got nowhere – just sat down embarrassed. Do it a few times and you just stop.

    The club need to address this issue and they can but it requires will and effort.

    Singing sections, lenient attitude towards standing, an option to sit with mates (i.e. flexible season-tickets) perhaps even …. dare I mention it ….. a choir leader. It works all over the rest of the world so why not at Arsenal?

    As to the “analysts”, I have no answer except that if the rest of the ground is singing they will join in.; if it is a Library they will act appropriately.

  2. Rasp says:

    It was a spur of the moment thing Raddy, I just sat down and typed – very little forethought. I’m afraid the analysts seldom join in, but surely it is they who should feel uncomfortable not the lone voice among them who is giving vocal support.

    Its a tough one. I’m not suggesting that the supporters take on the dissenters – that just leads to more conflict ….. more of a passive, we’ll do it our way approach and bugger you lot, we will stand up to be counted.

  3. Rasp says:

    “Singing sections, lenient attitude towards standing, an option to sit with mates (i.e. flexible season-tickets) perhaps even …. dare I mention it ….. a choir leader. It works all over the rest of the world so why not at Arsenal?” ……. all excellent suggestions. It should come from the club. The idea of a percentage of Arsenal shares going to supporters would help drive such initiatives – shareholders whose ONLY concern is for the football.

  4. Sing along to this song :

    Once upon a time we sang so loud at Highbury
    Where we used to win a game or two
    Remember how we sang away the hours
    And sing of all the great things we would do

    Those were the days my friend
    We thought they’d never end
    We’d sing and chant, forever and a day
    And there were never boos
    We’d play and never lose
    For we were invincible and sure to have our way.
    La la la la…
    Those were the days, oh yes those were the days

    Then the Emirates stadium was constucted
    We lost our star players on the way
    If by chance I’d see you in the Baileys
    We’d stare at one another and we’d say

    Those were the days my friend
    We thought they’d never end
    We’d sing and chant, forever and a day
    And there were never boos
    We’d play and never lose
    For we were invincible and sure to have our way.
    La la la la…
    Those were the days, oh yes those were the days

    The fans are now all city bankers
    Nothing seems the way it used to be
    Now the fans are mainly just wankers
    And the Board are just interested in their fee

    Those were the days my friend
    We thought they’d never end
    We’d sing and chant, forever and a day
    We’d live the life we choose
    We’d play and never lose
    For we were invincible and sure to have our way.
    La la la la…
    Those were the days, oh yes those were the days

    In the club seats now is only silence
    No one sings to praise the Arsenal name
    Oh my friend we’re older but no wiser
    It’s business and no more the beautiful game

    Those were the days my friend
    We thought they’d never end
    We’d sing and chant, forever and a day
    We’d live the life we choose
    We’d play and never lose
    For we were invincible and sure to have our way.
    La la la la…
    Those were the days, oh yes those were the days

  5. Rasp says:

    Nice idea NB, most of us can hardly remember the words to We are the Northbank 😆

  6. Hi Ho, Hi Ho
    It’s off to a game we go
    With a bottle and a brick, and a walking stick
    Hi ho…… hi ho hi ho hi ho

    WE ARE THE NORTHBANK

  7. Big Raddy says:

    This is the answer.

    Singing section. Hard men who will scare the crap out of the opposition and sing NB’s lyrics. (need a better band though)

  8. Big Raddy says:

    Check out the bloke on the little guitar (mandolin?) – the man can play

  9. Rasp says:

    I wasn’t specifically talking about singing – just encouragement in general … clapping, whooping, making a positive noise and cutting out the groans – better we applaud an attempted killer pass.

  10. Big Raddy says:

    How about this ….

    Both ends behind the goal become season ticket areas but without a particular seat. It would be first come first served so those fans would get into their seats early and start to create the atmosphere.

    That way friends can sit together and the ones who want it most get the best view.

    At Highbury (in the far distant past) I had a North Bank standing season ticket – same principle

  11. Big Raddy says:

    Gnger Baker was a fine drummer before the drugs got to him and thought he could be a Jazzer

  12. Rasp says:

    Yes agreed Raddy, GB was a great drummer – but not a particularly nice bloke from what I’ve read

  13. stevepalmer1 says:

    Morning all, Well done Rasp where you been son.

    Now although i can understand where you are coming from Rasp, i disagree on a few things, Highbury had history, Many supporters followed on from their Dads, and Uncles, in fact Highbury was like a closed shop, they sand and they chanted and many still do, but to say that the 30,odd thousand that the new Highbury allowed in, are only corporate clowns, and not supporters is hitting a little low in my estimation.

    Now for a supporter that does not visit New Highbury very often, i can only say that the times i have been there and i have been in the Gods in the lower and in the middle sections of the ground, and when i walk in where ever i sit , i find nearly all the people in our colours.

    Now yes the old guard of old Highbury, the ones who were fortunate to hold tickets i can see why something as exclusive as an Arsenal season ticket was something to behold, but did it lesson the feeling when 30 thousand more could just saunter in.

    People support in different ways, some are loud and proud others dont even wear supporting colours but make no mistake they are there for a reason and that is to support the Arsenal.

    Even the guys in the posh boxes with the nice meals waited on them and the glass of vino they slurp still doesn’t say they are freeloaders and there only for a free meal.

    The new Highbury was built to make money, it was paid for by supporters sponsors and the banks, It is slowly being paid off but still needs an income to stave off the wolves . The Arse
    nal officials may not always show those old Highbury supporters the respect they feel they should, but in my opinion if you keep your nose clean and watch your team you will be left alone, after all passionate or not its only a game.

    Arsenal need to earn as much money as possible as they are not owned by a man that actually splashes his own cash, He makes sure that Arsenal stand on their own legs and earns its own dough, the trouble with a lot of supporters is they watch other clubs Owners spend millions and are jealous, they hate the fact that Arsenal are only a top 4 side and expect everybody to get us top of the tree.

    Arsenal supporters in my mind are spoilt, they expect a club in debt to keep on thanking them for supporting them , they believe they are special when they are just supporters. In my mind you are not forced to go you can sit home like i do and watch it at home or you can go and support live. Always remember that seat you sit in could easily be filled by another arse next week, and like every other seat in the stadium is paid for by somebody.

  14. Rasp says:

    Thanks steve – I don’t detect much disagreement there? There are still many who attend the emirates who were regulars at Highbury and some of them are amongst the most vocal in their dissent at games.

    My main point is that silent majorities don’t have to be silent. I don’t believe the majority of the Emirates crowd enjoy hearing boos and groans. At some point, the mild mannered among us have had enough and then they stand up to be counted. Not banners, not protest groups, but the ordinary supporter for whom it may be as you say ‘just a game’ but something that means a hell of a lot to them.

  15. Rasp says:

    The post was written on a whim following a comment by Raddy and my recollection of the look on ant and chas’ faces when the idiots around them were slagging off the players. It comes to something when decent life long supporters are considering not going to games due to the behaviour of those who are there supposedly supporting the Arsenal

  16. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Thanks Rasp,

    And perfect for a Friday because it can include a rant.

    Here’s my view, and it’s all bad. It’s a complete waste of time imagining that anything will improve at The Emirates. We are historically a quite bunch anyway, but there used to be some manners and respect.

    All that is gone, and it’s not just at Arsenal. English society is rotten. Arsenal fans, as with society in general, are a short termist, greedy, selfish, and rude bunch of chavy oiks who lack manners, patience and most of all, respect for anyone or anything.

    Arsenal fans, like others from United to Torquay, can all be fantastic, but you’d better score an early goal, otherwise the longer the game goes on, gradually the more poisonous the atmosphere becomes. As I said, it’s not just at Arsenal.

    Two experiences come to mind. First, and I’ve mentioned it on here before, was when I took an English ex-pat work colleague to a game. He’s been in NYC for 16 years and hadn’t attended an English game during that period. He said he would never take his Son to that. It was a 1-1 draw with Pool, so not the worst result. He said it had nothing to do with the bad language, simply the anger he sensed amongst home fans because they weren’t getting what they “deserved”.

    Then, this morning, speaking to the owner of my new distribution company in Denmark. He’s a born Scouser, who’s now married with children in Denmark. I wished him a happy Christmas and asked if he was spending it in Denmark or coming back to The UK. He simply said “what, to spend it fighting in a pub and then wading through vomit in the streets afterwards, no thanks”.

    Blimey.

    Still, I’m an Arsenalolic, so cannot wait to watch the game against Newcastle 🙂 

  17. stevepalmer1 says:

    Rasp, Like you mate i have been supporting the Arsenal forever, when i hear pundits Media or any johnny come lately slag off my team i get the hump. But i am now of the age where i have seen it all i played i watch i even stand and watch games in the local parks but what i often see in games in the park that i dont see at Arsenal is the hunger to win.

    I know supporters are fickle f—ers at times, but even so it is still just a game and another will come along next week. Supporters can go to New Highbury and they can stand up with their banners they can shout obscenities they could even shit on the terraces but who is that aimed at Not Arsene Not the players not the owner its for the world to look in and think f—ing morons thats how i feel.

    Arsenal has given me something to support all my life i have had pleasure and my fair share of pain, i moan at certain things but will never give up on my support win or lose i am an Arsenal man and proud of it’

    Every season i feel this is our year this is our season and time and time again i am left disappointed but i still want to watch every game

    I am not a special supporter in fact they haven’t had a great deal of my money over the years but to walk in to New Highbury with a derogatory banner, or to stand in a train station and hurl abuse at our Manager, i have to say supporters no f—king way mate.

  18. When I was just a little boy,
    I asked my father, “What will I be?
    Will I be handsome? Will I be rich?”
    Here’s what he said to me

    “Que sera, sera
    Your going to Highbury
    You’ll support the Arsenal like me
    Que sera, sera
    That’s just how it will be”

    Then I grew up and I fell in love
    I asked my sweetheart, “What lies ahead?
    Will we have trophies year after year?”
    Here’s what my sweetheart said

    “Que sera, sera
    We no longer have Highbury
    And no trophies for you to see
    Que sera, sera
    What will be, will be”

    Now I have children of my own
    They ask their father, “What will I be?”
    Will I be famous? Will I be rich?”
    I tell them embarrassingly

    “Que sera, sera
    You’ll go to the Emirates
    But you’ll have to pay the ticket rates
    Que sera, sera
    It’s now a business you see
    What will be, will be
    Que Sera, Sera!”

  19. stevepalmer1 says:

    The other night when we played Galla. it was my Mrs birthday her daughter husband and their two kids come for the evening, and my mrs had turned the tele off when the time approached kick off i switched it back on, and my Mrs said Steve we have company, i answered back but its the Arsenal. her daughters family are all Chavs but was still interested in the game and when Poldi opened the scoring i went Ape shit and danced round the room to huge amusement to all.

    When Ramseys super strike went in i went ballistic and so did they, surprising how one mans happiness can be passed round a room of football supporters. Even they marvelled at the strike and for a second or two it was all about the Arsenal and not my Mrs birthday of course she bollocked me later and i said sorry, but when we went to bed she was putty in my hands. Oh to be a Gooner

  20. Rasp says:

    Oh dear Micky, that’s a pretty jaundiced view 😦 Here’s me putting out a clarion call for the silent majority to get behind the team and you’ve written off the whole of society 😀

    I’m afraid you may be correct, but I still meet loads of really good people who impress me and since I’ve got kids and hopefully grandchildren one day, I’m not ready to give up on the future yet.

  21. stevepalmer1 says:

    Top man NB

  22. GoonerB says:

    Thanks RASP for such a rousing Churchillian post. I was expecting a bit about fighting on the beaches but even so I found myself shouting “no surrender to the dissenters”.

    You are of course right and even though I know you, like me, have been less than happy with certain things at the club recently I know that neither of us would resort to not supporting the team properly.

    BTW your 10.56, how did you know about my drumming skills?

  23. Rasp says:

    😆 GB (the original) the other geezer is nothing like you – you should be pleased ….

    http://ultimateclassicrock.com/ginger-baker-cursed/

  24. GoonerB says:

    Oh I see RASP. Yes thanks RASP I hope no-one thinks I look like that fellow. Tony Cottee I can deal with.

  25. chas mobile says:

    A fine post, Rasp, ta.

    I think the only way the atmosphere at home could change is if the moaners shut up. What’s so hard to understand about, ‘ if you can’t say anything good, say nothing at all’?
    The silent fans individually clapping or singing after half the ground has grumbled at a poor pass would be just pissing in the wind unfortunately.

    There is no chance they will shut up as it’s always been thus. I was reading something yesterday (I’ll have look for it when I get home) where Herbert Chapman wanted barrackers ejected from the ground!

    Just watching the first part of Fever Pitch makes you realise that many have always gone to games for a moan. Highbury was just as bad where my old man sat in the West Upper when things weren’t going well.

  26. Bayonne Jean says:

    Ginger Baker great, but he couldn’t hold a candle to Loony Moony.

  27. RA says:

    Interesting to hear your views on the toxic atmosphere at the Emirates, Rasp.

    I have only been to the Ems a few times, and most of my ‘knowledge’ is gleaned from the TV, so I bow to your ‘man on the spot’ experience.

    Well, sort of. 🙂

    You see, I find it difficult to place all the blame on the ‘Prawn Sandwich’ brigade, and football tourists, as most of them probably do not care enough to become vitriolic about losing a game as they are cosseted with goodies and plenty of drink – allegedly.

    What I do have experience of is the denizens of the Arsenal blogworld, and in my opinion the pungently abusive, and personal diatribes aimed at Arsene Wenger come almost exclusively from ‘ordinary’ Arsenal fans, who filled with hubris, and with their own parochial reasons, do care — in a totally unreasonable and misguided way, and have convinced themselves that they have an entitlement to trophies – that are not being won – to expensive players – that are not being bought, and because of this they believe the reason is the fault of the manager, who in their view is clueless, deluded and incompetent despite the facts and sanity indicating the opposite to be true.

    I understand that you are trying to rationalise the current malaise, and the ‘prawners’ are a convenient target, but from what Chas (and others elsewhere) say, the discontent is evident at away games too, and that would certainly not include anyone other than fans who see themselves as devoted Gooners and entitled to their opinions, however poisonously they are expressed.

    Mickish, the Denmark distributor, has it right, and the actions of many fans today is simply a reflection of modern society, (not just confined to the UK) which is encouraged and enabled by the changes in technology that makes everyone believe they are ‘experts’ – not just in tactics and team selection, but in the financial structure and integrity of the club and the composition and integrity of the managerial hierarchy which has permitted one man, Mr Wenger, to run everything from top to bottom of the club and is ruining it, while they sit on their fat asses and let him.

    This mass hysteria is difficult, if not impossible, to manage and one of two things will eventually happen, either Arsene will win a ‘top’ trophy, unlikely tho’ that seems when we are up against the oligarchs and oil states, or his position will become untenable.

    Those of us who find this situation execrable, are beginning to withdraw from the once ‘beautiful game’ that is being ruined by these forces and governed by International administrators who despite their culpability and corruption have shown the lead to discontented fans that their malfeasance is in some way acceptable.

  28. stevepalmer1 says:

    I often wonder if we are missing things in these kind of discussions, Going back a few years now, when an election was due, i looked up all of the political parties Manifesto’s to compare who was going to do what.

    Many people vote the same party whatever happens, Maybe following on from parents or perhaps because they worked in different environments, I just wanted to be sure of why i was voting as in previous elections i was either swayed by colleagues or family or just because i liked how somebody talked on the tele.

    Once i read through pages of manifesto’s and promises, i was impressed with BNP’s Manifesto. Now if i speak the truth i am not politically minded, but i did feel that if i put myself out to vote i should have an idea of why i am voting.

    I started going onto the BNP website and reading articles from different people, and what i read was that every time the BNP had staged a meeting a crowd used to turn up and protest outside of the venue, Placards and Banners of racism and anything else that would draw attention, and of course the press and media were always on hand.

    Now i saw on the news how protesters were really angry and would have fights if only they had someone to fight with. In one of the articles i read it said that these congregations of protesters were funded by the major parties and that both of the top parties were united against BNP.

    Now i am wondering if something similar is being worked inside football grounds, for what reasons i can only imagine, Most football supporters i know, are not looking for trouble they also are not looking for confrontation, Many have been going for as long as they can remember but only to support.

    Could this be a ploy to turn supporters away from certain grounds, bad language and firer y tempers is not something most people want to see every time they go to a match.

    Reasons for stool pigeons is all about money, as sixty thousand at a stadium brings in plenty of money but convince many that they are not safe and numbers could reduce. I am not really sure why people would do such things but the BNP seemed to disappear even with policies that many liked but when your constantly told how bad or how racist some thing is its surprising wht difference it makes

  29. Thanks for the post Raspers and while there is little to disagree with we have to make sure that we don’t fall into the trap of thinking in stadium negativity is a recent phenomenon,

    It was there in the past and scapegoating of players in particular has always been there, older supporters tend to gloss over this in their rose tinted nostalgic view of supporting in “their” era.

    Jon Sammels was treated no worse than Eboue(in fact probably a lot worse) and Paul Vaesen was shown little mercy whenever he failed to live up to early promise.

    So while I abhor groaning/negativity during the game I’m sure this is not a new thing particular to the E***ates.

  30. Big Raddy says:

    Excellent. The Red One returns and with a cracker of a comment 🙂

    Of course the fans reflect society, it would be strange if they didn’t. Not living in the UK have things really descended so far? All the Brits I meet here in Dk are intelligent, polite and generous (well, perhaps generous is an exaggeration).

  31. RA says:

    Hi BR, and hello CharyB, 🙂

    As usual writing a comment on a whim, (I first had to catch a whim, no easy thing, but if Rasp could do it ….) meant that I pursued a line of thought to make a point based on the Post.

    A clarification may be necessary – you know what these whims are like – that is to say, I was responding to a comment about fans making angry and abusive comments, or sitting mute and not shouting/singing their support for the team, as Rasp mentioned in his excellent Post when he also suggested who may be the main culpris.

    In fact, I see nothing wrong in fans expressing disappointment or even anger with the club, the manager or the players if they see things they are unhappy with – else wise we are into censorship, and no one could be happy with that.

    Not singing or cheering the team on defies my comprehension. But, again, that is individual choice, and may simply reflect a change in the demography of the fan base.

    No, my own line in the sand comes when people make crude comments linked to personal abuse about one of the best managers ever to have graced a Premiership football club.

    Yes, by all means have a little moan – or even a big one, if you must – we all do occasionally, but to publicly accost Wenger, or to insult him, or for that matter anyone else, goes beyond socially acceptable behaviour, and if we all behaved outside of those norms we would soon descend into anarchy.

    CharyB, I love your prose when it leaves me saying part of it out loud to enable me to understand what you are saying – and it is even more amusing when it still leaves me puzzled, so you will have to explain the following from 2:07;

    — “Jon Sammels was treated no worse than Eboue (in fact, probably a lot worse)

    Umm, OK, which was it? Jon Sammels was treated no worse than Eboue – or a lot worse? 🙂

    I saw a Post by your Tim the other day, and I swear he was doing a Lucy in the Sky – certainly sod all to do with football, or specifically Arsenal.

    What have you done to him? 🙂

  32. LB says:

    The stadium was designed to maximise income, very little thought, if any went into the desire for a good atmosphere. The only way things will change is if the number attending declines. There are highs and lows in everything and football is no exception, in fact we have seen this before. The next time there is a dip and only 40,000 people or less start attending clever ideas like BR’s (first come first sat) will start to be tried out. Until then, we either have to put up with the growing number of idiot Arsenal supporters or win the league.

    Thanks for the read Rasp.

  33. Ah Redders, you caught me writing as I speak !
    I initially thought Eboue go treated no worse than Sammels, but then on (quick) reflection I thought our Ivorian pass-master got off quite lightly. The only difference there wasn’t mass-media examination and repetition to amplify Sammel’s torment.

    You mean Tim’s post about a punk band ? I’ve got to have a quiet word with him about that because as we all know “Metal rules the world!” (or it should).

    I’m going to the game tomorrow Redders, so look out for another roughly hewn matchday report on Sunday complete with grainy pictures from the North Bank lower..

  34. chas says:

    The following are extracts about Our ‘Erbert from the article at the bottom of the comment…..

    While at Leeds….

    Chapman wrote an article for The Yorkshire Evening Post where he acknowledged the “splendid support” he had received from the fans. However, he argued that he wished they would show more appreciation of the skills of visiting teams and more tolerance of mistakes by their own players. “To howl down a man just because he happens to be out of form one day is often sufficient to discourage him for all time.”

    While at Huddersfield…..

    Chapman continued his campaign to improve the behaviour of the crowd. He said he wanted men to bring their wives and girlfriends to games as it would “raise the tone of supporters generally”. Chapman added: “Bad language, gambling and barracking are the chief evils of the game. Professional players, like artists, are highly strung and affected by ill-considered criticism from the crowd”.

    While managing the best club in the world……

    Chapman also rarely made changes to the team. Even when individual players were in poor form he was reluctant to drop them. According to Chapman it was a matter of confidence and he saw it as his job to build up self-belief in his players. That is why he always criticised supporters if they barracked one of his players. “When they (team changes) are necessary I try to arrange that they cause as little disturbance as possible.” Drastic changes only unsettled the players and if the side was not playing well, “the moderate course is always the best”.

    Jack Lambert was one of the players who was often barracked by the Highbury crowd. Herbert Chapman was furious and proposed that barrackers should be thrown out of the ground if they did not respond to an appeal for fairness over the loud-speaker.” Chapman later admitted that Arsenal crowd destroyed the confidence of one young player. The 20 year-old player told Chapman: “I’m no use to anyone in football and I had better get out. The crowd are always getting at me… I hope I shall never kick a ball again.” Chapman eventually allowed the young man to leave the club “though it meant sacrificing a player who, I was convinced, had exceptional possibilities of development”.

    http://spartacus-educational.com/ARSENALchapman.htm

  35. GunnerN5 says:

    RA, it’s a pleasure to read your comments once again.

    I’ve been expressing, here on AA, my personal views on the atmosphere at the Emirates for over 4 years and have been shot down. I was informed that as I’ve never been to the Emirates my views were (at best) misguided.
    That as a TV only fan I did not hear the true sounds from within the ground and that they were a lot louder than they sounded.
    That the design of the stadium was poor and that sound escaped. That booing players had always taken place and it was no worse at the Emirates etc..etc..etc..

    I am convinced that if we had a more positively charged crowd we would gain more points at the Emirates and frankly I’m very upset at reading (on various blogs) from season ticket holders that they find it difficult to cheer the side on as others around them get upset — what the F**K – get a grip and sing and shout until you lose your bloody voices!!

    When I hear the noise from teams as far apart as Crystal Place and Dortmund I just ask myself why not us – why don’t the attendees get it!! Why don’t they SUPPORT!!!

    I know the answer of course – you don’t understand because your not there.

    Why don’t some of you take up the cudgel and make some positive recommendations to the club, and your fellow attendees, instead of making blog comments that will die in the ether………….

    I will continue to rant,

  36. Rasp says:

    Thanks for the views guys. The consensus appears to be that it had always been thus. I feel I have experienced a deterioration of late and also I believe we should all hang onto the thought that even one person can make a difference.

  37. chas says:

    Welcome back, RA.

    In your 3:27 did you mean during a match or away from the ground when you said
    you see nothing wrong in fans expressing disappointment or even anger with the club, the manager or the players if they see things they are unhappy with?

  38. chas says:

    Rasp
    I think there has been a deterioration, you’re right.

    As far as I’m concerned this is for two reasons,
    Firstly, we’ve been shite this season and secondly, a fair old chunk of the fanbase is sick to death of having the same manager.

  39. chas says:

    Oh great, I’ve just seen that Ramsey has done a hamstring.
    Cosmic.

  40. Rasp says:

    Yes I agree with that chas, I just don’t get how either of those situations will be changed by the behaviour of some who hold those views.

    Probably most of us have sat next to someone who gives a running commentary/rant to themselves during a game – who are they trying to impress?

  41. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Of course the booing and negativity has always been around football, but the “rights and demands attitude” has changed dramatically, and I cannot believe anyone who has attended over a long period cannot see that.

    As for the Stadium design, I would go further than LB and say it was designed very carefully. It is as divisive a design as anyone could create.

    Look at the noisy stadiums. The Home End is one block. The North Bank is divided by not by one, but two tiers. Box and Club. Then the largest gap between fans and pitch is behind the goals. Anyone else like me to explain all of that? 🙂

    It was designed to attract a very different type of fan, and minimise the impact of another type of fan.

  42. chas says:

    Rasp
    I think some of them believe that the more toxic the atmosphere, the more chance there is of Wenger leaving.

  43. Rasp says:

    Interesting Micky, I hadn’t considered that it was a deliberate ploy to negate hardcore supporters. I know the airflow over the pitch was a major consideration. The tired would have to be much steeper to create a cauldron. Maybe the stadium was built on the image of Arsene Wenger – he is gentle in nature I’m sure

  44. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Chas
    How did Ramsey get injured between playing a great game and doing nothing?

    Oh yeah, the great fitness guru got hold of him.
    When will they smell the coffee and sack the useless git 🙂

    I’m having a superb rant Friday.

  45. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Air flow Rasp 🙂

    Oiks Out was the plan. Bloody obvious to me. 🙂

  46. I can’t ever see Arsenal FC making significant changes to the seating arrangements. It suits the club to have a relatively quiet, well ordered and largely subdued audience. All the seats are sold, all the revenue is safely pocketed and the ground fills and empties without too much pushing and shoving. The stewards are left with a pretty easy life and the punters just put up with.

    The club, and the caterers, are happy to serve food and drink as long as anyone wants, if those customers miss the kick-off or leave their seats after forty minutes so much the better, it spreads the rush to serve them. The only people inconvenienced are those who sit in their seats and want to watch the game without the irritation of people moving in and out around them.

    Safe standing areas? Singing zones? Neither will add to the matchday revenue, so why bother.

  47. chas says:

    Micky
    If the plan was to keep the scum out, it hasn’t worked.

  48. chas says:

    Micky
    I don’t usually put up negative links but as you’re on a roll ranting, take a gander at this.

  49. chas says:

    I think you’re right, NG.
    The club would just think the atmosphere will improve when results do.

  50. Ramsey came off on Tuesday with a tight hamstring, but was quite sure that he’d be fit for Sunday. Something stinks in our fitness programme, and it’s not a sweaty jockstrap festering in a dark corner.

  51. chas says:

    If they could have got the upper tier to overhang, in fact completely mask, Club level and the box level then it would have improved things tremendously.

  52. Oh Dear! I’m in moderation.

  53. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Chas
    But it has worked to minimise their impact.
    Not ONE thing about The Emirates was done to benefit the poorer fan. On the contrary, every single thing in the design was to negate their impact, their filthy habits and their disgusting lack of money 🙂

    Cannot believe I’m alone in seeing this.

    Next rant? 🙂

  54. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Chas

    If they’d wanted a proper “fans” home end/north bank, they’d have made a solid unbroken area. Side to side, top to bottom, and got it as close to the pitch and as steep as possible.

    They did the exact opposite of all of those points.

  55. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Ok Chas
    Let’s have a go at the fitness regime. Who is this guru? Isn’t he German? A spy?

  56. RA says:

    CharyB,

    You have probably disappeared by now, but yes, I was referring to Tim’s ‘Band’ Post and it should have been ‘banned’.
    Trust you to see it as an infringement of ‘Metal’!! 🙂

  57. chas says:

    They wanted an unbroken ‘corporate noose’, that’s for sure.
    Imagine how many millions would be lost if you didn’t have club and box level down one end of the stadium?

    You’re obviously correct that the stadium was designed for maximum income generation.

  58. chas says:

    Not sure, think his first name is Chad. 🙂
    Sounds like a spy.

  59. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Ello RA.

    Chas. Chad? Sounds like a tosser, so probably is 🙂

    Right, must go.

  60. GunnerN5 says:

    If the design of the stadium is so abjectly poor and is a major factor for the poor atmospherics then why does it “rock” when there’s a big CL or Derby game?

  61. RA says:

    Hi GN5, 🙂

    I distinctly remember you saying you were distinctly unimpressed with the Emirates — and that was a long time ago. 🙂

    My own take on it, which I wrote about the same time, was slightly different and it was more a comment on the acoustics of the stadium, which I think LB was alluding to.

    I sat besides someone who could have been an Exile morph, tall, enthusiastic and very inclined to sing.

    At every opportunity I matched him note for feckin’ note, the pair of us boomed away, lost in a semi-competetive reverie, giving a very enjoyable rendition of all known chants, as we were watched in stunned silence by all around us, only saved from sore throats because the Arsenal scored and we were joined by thousands of others, and we could then could get our breath back without the feckin’ bar-stewards around us sniggering.

    But, here’s the thing. The sound we made which would have shattered ear drums in appropriate circumstances just fizzled out into the air above our heads as if it were being damped down in one of those funny farm cells where they tied people up in straitjackets.

    I mentioned it on here at about that time. I also wrote to Arsenal complaining about the design of the stadium which lost some of the exuberant atmosphere from fans singing, and suggesting they put in reflective panels to help overcome the problem, just as they do at the Albert Hall.

    The reply, several weeks later, was a polite ‘feck off’ written as a ‘thank you we always take fans’ views into account’.

  62. MickyDidIt89 says:

    GN5

    I’m not saying the design is poor, I’m saying it was designed with a certain spectator in mind (of course, architecturally it is poor, and will never leave a design legacy like Highbury)

    The rocking bit is a totally separate point. It rocks until we’re losing, and as you point out on big games, but again, the rocking stops if we go behind.

    Look, I’m biased, I don’t like it there. I prefer to watch on telly, it’s just that I like to meet up, and I get withdrawal symptoms.

    Definitely off

  63. RA says:

    Chas,

    My 3:27 referred to the blogs, where fans have a forum to say pretty much what they want – and many just do not know how to do so without all the pejorative abuse which seems to be de rigeur for many.

    I can think of nothing so depressing as fans paying to go to a game, home or away, and then boring the asses off everyone round them with their incessant wailing.

    Let them go on a blog somewhere afterwards and complain with people who are of a like mind, and don’t bestow their wit and wisdom on other watching fans during a game and who could give a shit.

  64. RA says:

    Hi, Micky – bye, Micky. 🙂

  65. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    Cheers Rasp

    Good to see you back Redders

    In my opinion the stadium is a shit design. Its just a great big bowl for gawds sake. If it was smaller my dear old mum could have used it to cut my hair. Now days i use a funnel.

    One thing that is often over looked about the demographics is the age factor. Highbury, especialy pre 1990 was full of zitty teens and young men with social problems. You couldnt move in them days without been confronted by terrible acne or a young man who looked suspiciously like the milkman.

    These sorts tend to make a lot of noise, were as older people, no offence to geriatrics, do not.

    i cant be bothered to shout at games anymore. Usually I fall asleep, only to awaken upon receiving a nudge, and in a just woken confusion yell “your shit Hoddle, arrgghh what times sale of the century on?”.

    We need more disturbed youngsters, preferably those who have yet to experience the delights of a women. They tend to shout louder and have less to lose.

  66. GunnerN5 says:

    Micky,

    It was not my intention to put you or anybody else on the spot. I am simply fed up with the excuses that are made for the poor atmosphere. It’s fans that create the atmosphere and it’s fan that ruin the atmosphere by booing, hissing moaning and groaning.

    Like yourself I just loved Highbury, it was in my blood and I spent hundreds/thousands of hours in and around the ground. I would most likely be aghast if I ever did get inside the Emirates but that feeling would go as soon as the Gunners walked onto the pitch – then my support would be overwhelming.

    I remember the Emirates only as a run down area where us local kids would gather.

  67. RA says:

    Another thing that has been going the rounds on some blogs, is the moan that Wenger just sits in his seat holding his head and does not stand up and yell support and commands to his players.

    Given the comments above, especially mine, what would be the point in doing so if he would not be heard.

    Do these moanies really think any manager can make an impact from the sidelines. Of course they don’t – other than relay desperation or frustration when their teams are being whupped, and if they are winning none of them bother.

    In the same way, when making substitutions, have you noticed how many managers or their assistants point out something on their boards to the player going on?

    What’s that all about? Reminding the player what his name is and what team he plays for maybe, or telling him something disgusting to say to the guy coming off?

  68. RA says:

    Hi Terry,

    You have a way of getting straight to the point – in this case the sharp end of the funnel with the one hair luxuriating in the glory of being the sole survivor. 😉

    GN5,

    Of course you are making sense, but the visual impact of the stadium is out of step with the atmosphere and the acoustics, whatever there reason.

    My first experience of attending a game there was to walk up the stairs to my seat and being dwarfed when emerging onto a wonderful sight, as this enormous amphitheatre, splendidly set off by the most stunning grass pitch, left me genuinely gob-smacked.

    Whatever its shortcomings – the visual aspect is not one of them – and no one could fail to be impressed by the magnificence.

    That said, I agree, reluctantly, with Micky, it is not a wonderful place to watch a game, because of the lack of atmosphere, which may or may not be all the fault of the fans, but in my opinion it also has something to do with the fans being overwhelmed with the sheer size of the beast, and, as I said above, the sheer inability to make a noise difference when in small groups, and unless the whole crowd are involved – with so many moanies that does not happen very often.

  69. stevepalmer1 says:

    Reading some of your comments has reminded me of a few supporters who i know who have said they only attend away matches as they are not happy with certain things at home.

    Seeing how noisy our away fans sound on tv i wonder if we have lost some of the singers until things change.

    Whatever their problems are i am not completely sure, but on the other side of the coin the 60 thousand seats still seem to be filled. Where ever i have sat it has never exactly been that noisy. Small stadiums always seem noisier, where big stadiums seem to pull more money. Personally i would like to see the club earn bundles as i feel that in the end it will filter down to the pitch.

    If the Library stays relatively quite, usually means a better view and at the price they charge can only be good.

    I believe that supporters take a stance on things and once they change their habits get used to it, in the end they even forget why they changed, but try getting a season ticket back.

  70. RA says:

    That’s it – see you on the monkey puzzle tree! 🙂

  71. LB says:

    That’s actually a very good point: why does it rock on CL and Derby games and not for others? I suppose the answer is that there is still life in the “Old Dog” and by that I mean the aging Arsenal support who loyally turns up week in and week out. But like most old dogs you are not going to bark at anything that moves in front of you any more. However, some standards have to maintained, next door’s cat and all foreign invaders have to be aggressively shown who is still boss. Woof, woof.

  72. Big Raddy says:

    Can’t argue with RA assertion that the view from anywhere is excellent.

    Micky. As always you are right. But since when was it unacceptable to keep the oiks out?.

    One of my father’s favourite expressions as he cocked his Purdey was “Get orfa moi land”

  73. The Cockie Monster says:

    I would only allow big mouth bastards like me, Redders and GIE in the ground !. Fans like Transplant who have a high pitched squeal like a cat on helium because some woman`s husband has a vice like grip on his Jacobs should stay at home and go blind on internet porn with the luxury of keeping their Jacobs intact !. hahaha

  74. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Surf fans 🙂
    You can watch Pipeline Live on here now http://www.aspworldtour.com/

  75. Gööner In Exile says:

    Evening all fine post Rasp.

    As you know I am in total agreement about the groaning of passes going astray or shots going wide,compare it to the noise made at the NouCamp at near misses and passes, it’s an Oooooh rather than an arggghh, the oooooh suggests to the team they are getting closer and the opponents feel the pressure. Our arggggh shows disappointment means the player might think about doing the same thing again. Ramsey has proven himself to be thick skinned but I doubt even he would have taken the shot on Wednesday had he been playing at the Emirates.

    For me it is very simple, sing sing and sing and look around for those who want to join in, starts with 1, then 2 then 4 and so on, until you end up with We’re the Clock End. Quite frankly the singing section doesn’t work, they are too pally in their and spend a lot of the game just chatting.

    I actually find the Clock End upper back and clock end lower the two noisiest areas, this has the most tourists, but also the most irregular fans who come once in a blue moon (like me) and because of that they seem to want to make their support count. The kind of fan who may step on to the North Bank 1 week in 3.

    The biggest problem with the Stadium design for me is the spread of East and West stand types amongst the fans who preferred to stand and sing on the terraces.

    While I’m having a little rant, if Ramseys injury says something about our physios and medical team what does Giroud and Debuchys speedy return say?

  76. Gööner In Exile says:

    We could always just let Wrighty have a word:

    His initial message concerned the failure to sign Fabregas despite Arsenal having first refusal on buying him back from Barcelona. “For the record the mere fact that Fabregas is at Chelsea when we had first option, don’t care who but someone should be sacked,” he said.

    Fabregas has been a huge success at Chelsea and Wright’s remarks clearly provoked plenty of reaction. He then later added: “So disappointed with the amount of “prize w*****’s” who are supporting the club I love. Wish I could meet them individually. Would be carnage!”

    Apparently he’d had a few……and sadly a lot of fans who got I touch with Wrighty probably believe BSR was a better player.

    Had a little read of that Dutch coach’s rant about our fitness/training regime, didn’t he say something similar about United last season? I always wonder when I see stuff like this what changed at the club, if Arsene is as omnipotent as others suggest how have we gone from players that hardly ever broke down like Campbell, Toure, Cole, Henry et al to players that are constantly injured? Why would he allow that kind of change? Simply makes no sense.

  77. arnie says:

    Brilliant post, Rasp. 🙂 Missed a lovely day’s blogging. such is life. 😦

    welcome back Redders. 🙂

  78. arnie says:

    For the early birds.

  79. chas says:

    Matchday!

  80. chas says:

    Discuss!!!!!!!
    January is going to be such fun.

  81. chas says:

  82. chas says:

  83. chas says:

  84. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Oi Oi Exile, are you trying to start a fight? 🙂

    “While I’m having a little rant, if Ramseys injury says something about our physios and medical team what does Giroud and Debuchys speedy return say?”

    Having half the team out, means you, yes you Hank, are crap at preventing injuries, and bribing Exile to point out that some physio got two of them better does in no way justify your pathetic record.

    🙂

  85. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Chas
    Your 6:24
    Discuss!!!!!!! January is going to be such fun.

    I bet that comment is years old. If current, then Wenger Out, and next Friday’s Rant sorted 🙂

  86. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Hey Chas

    I know your sort have better things to do on a Friday night, but the link I put up for the Live Surf World Final is awesome viewing.

    It’s every evening this week.

  87. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Raddy
    @629 🙂 Surprised your old man didn’t turn the Purdey onto them 🙂

    My Uncle Earnest fired a cannon at poachers

  88. chas says:

    I watched it for over two hours last night. 🙂
    Really enjoyed the waves (and the surfing).
    When you’re in the water you know when bigger ones are coming. I couldn’t work that out from the tv.

  89. chas says:

    I’m starting to believe Uncle Earnest is real. (flippin strange spelling, though)

  90. chas says:

    The Giroud and Debuchy returns are easy to explain. Just manage expectations by saying they’ll be back after the projected date and then when they come back early, it makes you look good.

    Hey, this dooming is fun.

  91. chas says:

    Talking about managing expectations, is Arsene trying to lower the fans’ expectations about buying extra personnel in January?

  92. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Sorry it’s Ernest. Me no spell or care 🙂

    You watched it? Fantastic. Yip Oscar and me too. Such amazing photography, and so much better than highlights as you see the failed attempts and so on.

    We still can’t decide who we want to win. Oscar is a Slater man, but that’s a tall order, so Fanning or Medina.

    If Medina wins, he’ll be as big as Senna in Brazil

  93. chas says:

    We’re off on the Punk walking Tour round Soho this morning.
    8.30 train.
    If you want to miss the worst of the puerile comments today, switch off between then and 10.20.

  94. chas says:

    Just watching them paddle out was fascinating.
    Are they all five and a half foot tall?

  95. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Then Piebury Corner. Great day ahead. Jealous, would love to be going to The Ems Shitbowl today 🙂

  96. chas says:

    The hands behind the back made me laugh.

  97. chas says:

    You bloody liar

  98. Chas and Micky, this is the full quote:

    Q: “With regard the defensive problems, are you confident you can solve them on the training pitch or do you have to dip into the transfer market and give them some help?”

    A: “Look if everybody is fit and available we don’t need to go on the transfer market. But we have to consider that Koscielny could be a question mark with his fitness and we have to go out on the transfer market, yes.”

    As usual, some selective editing was used and didn’t give the full picture.

    BTW…. Morning ladies 🙂

  99. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Sorry, liar about what.

    Hands behind back is standard “oh yeah”. Has been forever 🙂

    5′ 6″? Where’s that from? And final non answer, you don’t know which wave will be great. Look at these guys, the best, and they get it wrong, the wave closes out and wallop.

    As for big waves, you sit, and wait, and as you ride up and over one you see into the distance. As soon as it’s light, we’ll see if it’s on for today, and if we go, then without doubt you’d here this converstion many times “Next one” “No, one after” “Fuck it, I’m off”

  100. chas says:

    NB69
    I can’t believe anybody would deliberately mislead us for more internet clicks.
    Preposterous.

    About that Dutch fitness chap laying into Wenger, someone on twitter made the point that if that bloke was so good, why wasn’t he employed by some big club to sort out their fitness regime?

    It’s all bollocks from the moment you wake up tilll the moment you go to sleep.

  101. chas says:

    Hang on that ‘everyone fit transfer market’ tweet was from the official Arsenal feed.
    Shurely shome mistake?

  102. chas says:

    Liar about wanting to be at Constantinou’s, Kebab, Burger and Taramasalata Arena.

    The surfers all look short.

  103. I fancy oysters today:

  104. chas says:

    Right, better sign off and do a final check before I get me bus

    Packed lunch for 5 ✓
    Ear Plugs for the moaners ✓
    Season tickets x 2 ✓
    Oyster ✓
    Fold-up reading glasses ✓
    Pile cream ✓

    Sorted

    TaRa.

  105. Have a good day chas…. 🙂

  106. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Ha ha NB

    Slater and Fanning 5’9″
    Medina 5’11”

    You’ll see them standing by their boards and most will be 6’3″

  107. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Remember to apply the pile cream just before handing out the sarnies 🙂

    Enjoy

  108. Micky, is this a typical female surfer?

  109. MickyDidIt89 says:

    NB
    Do your lady friends mind you blogging, drinking and smoking first thing in the morning?

    Then again, they know where the door is I guess

  110. Micky

    I normally show them the door before I start 🙂

  111. MickyDidIt89 says:

    These are the rules and if you don’t like it….. 🙂

  112. yea, something like that ha ha

  113. I have this problem with women, the next morning they tend to want to mother me for some reason! Not sure why, but if they see me having a glass of wine at 8am it seems to initiate the mothering DNA in them.

  114. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Something like this NB

  115. ha ha ha micky….. just like that. I used to love Pete and Dud. I actually have a flat cap like Duds in that vid 🙂

  116. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Yer, so do I. The one’s like his with a bit of baggy puff are called Baker Boy’s Hats. In America they are anyway

  117. Big Raddy says:

    Morning All,

    Baker Boys caps are for Lady Boys. The gentleman wears what is known as a “sixpence”. Must be tweed and must stay on the head after the rebound from a 12 bore

  118. It’s a shame hats are not fashionable in the UK anymore, in France they are still the thing…. which is great cos I’ve always liked wearing a hat. Cheaper than a syrup 🙂

  119. Morning Raddish

    No, a sixpence isn’t a very nice cap…. just for the old boy, I prefer on like this:

  120. MickyDidIt89 says:

    NB

    Raddy is calling you a ladyboy. Just saying 🙂

    Morning Big

  121. Big Raddy says:

    INB. Your pics prove it. The bloke above is clearly a ladyboy – who spends time in Bangkok, whereas the old fellow in the sixpence is properly dressed in a Barbour and dogtooth shirt. Probably has a springer spaniel and a wife who bakes.

  122. Big Raddy says:

    Morning Didit. Bags packed?

  123. I know micky, I just didn’t want to rise to the bait….

  124. Raddish, as you have probably been to Bangkok, you will know better than I 🙂

  125. ha ha I’ve just checked google images of Ladyboys…. I’d better not post on here, Peaches mum would ban me for life 🙂

  126. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Raddy
    These are dates for round of 16
    Ist leg 17–18 & 24–25 February
    2nd leg 10–11 & 17–18 March

    I’m probably out of the running for 17-18 Feb, so hopefully our away leg won’t be then. One in four I guess.

  127. Big Raddy says:

    NB. Many times but stupidly always with a woman 😦

  128. Big Raddy says:

    Micky. Crossing fingers

  129. MickyDidIt89 says:

    NB
    The images can’t be worse than Dirty Eddie’s, and she’s still alive 🙂

  130. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Raddy
    How’s it looking for a 9:30 postage. Not leaving here till 9:45 (it’s a tide thing)
    Would love to be discussing team on way to beach

  131. Ant says:

    What Ant and Duck show is in operation…. And a hospital is where we might end up after today’s little jaunt!

  132. Ant says:

    Our tour guide for the Soho Punk Rock Tour was around Soho at the time of the punk explosion, wears broken purple plimsolls and talks a lot.. Any guesses who it might be?

  133. Ant says:

    The A & D show I meant

  134. MickyDidIt89 says:

    🙂

  135. Ant says:

    No Jacques “women’s” cider today just hard man’s ale

  136. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Ant

    Surely a day for any old ubiquitous fluids, or are you sticking to the feminine stuff?

  137. MickyDidIt89 says:

    ha ha, you beat me to it.

    Any interesting neighbouring passengers worth snapping?

  138. Ant says:

  139. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Oh, and Ant

    Don’t accept a sarnie from Chas’ right hand. Trust me.

  140. Ant says:

    The only interesting passenger is Chas

  141. Ant says:

    And his pile cream

  142. Ant says:

    Ubiquitous fluids really are the way forward..

  143. Ant says:

    Chas is off….. To get the free tea in

  144. Ant says:

    I’m on the Aldi Orchard ubiquitous fluid cider.. Just for a change

  145. Ant says:

    Chas is back and he hasn’t washed his hands

  146. Big Raddy says:

    Free Tea. How the other half live

  147. Ant says:

    Porto or Monaco trip?

  148. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Us poncey surfers have our wetsuits on the aga. Blast off 20 mins. How’s it going Big?

  149. Ant says:

    Plus UF and a hip flask of Jamesons .. Perfect

  150. Ant says:

    And a free mince pie and oat and honey cookies.. The diet starts in the new year

  151. Ant says:

    ….new year 2019

  152. Ant says:

    Have you got any questions about the punk scene for our tour guide Micky? Or BR?

  153. Ant says:

    Where’s the new post?

  154. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Yeah
    How come it took a full minute to gob off Tom Robinson in Victoria Park. Useless effing punks 🙂

  155. Ant says:

  156. chas mobile says:

  157. chas mobile says:

    Ff

  158. Ant says:

    Tom Robinson was a lovely bloke Micky …if you like that sort of thing! Don’t take no for an answer as you better decide which side you’re on in your grey cortina.

  159. Big Raddy says:

    Sorry to interrupt but ….

    New Post

  160. chas mobile says:

  161. Ant says:

    About time we’re past St Albans!

  162. Bravo, what excellent message

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