Our Annual Trip to Wembley!

The build-up to Wembley started on the previous Thursday with Ant upsetting Pedro the Mackem on their five-a-side night with his answer to the question, ‘What are your plans for Wembley?’  Ant’s reply was, ‘The usual’ which was deemed  a little presumptuous by someone  who rarely gets to go. Then again, as this was to be our fourth trip in just over a year , was completely understandable.

Our routine involved an overnight stop at Beaconsfield and subsequent train into Wembley Stadium overground. So we set off at our ‘usual’ time of 8.45 in the car from Nottingham, aiming to get to Beaconsfield in time for a swift beer at the Wetherspoons alongside our budget hotel, before trekking off to get the bus into Beaconsfield town centre to catch the train. On the car journey we received a message from one of my godsons who’d drawn an Arsenal badge to get us in the right mood. Beautiful!

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So we arrived at the hotel car park, as was tradition, in plenty of time to sneak an aforementioned swift blonde real ale at the ‘Spoons. The first photo of Ant in his Cup Final beret was duly posted on Facebook and proceeded to get over 20 ‘likes’, largely down to Ant’s uncanny resemblance to Benny Hill.

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Our next photo message received showed the Vines Gooners from South London proudly displaying their yellow colours, including our littlest Gooner, Charlie. We also saw that my attempts at a homemade rosette had been well and truly trumped by older brother Jon with his spectacular red and white creation.

2 (1)


Meanwhile Ant and I had disembarked at Wembley and had eventually found Watkin’s Folly, our potential first stop. A fiver on the door which was to include cheeseburger and chips put off the younger Vineses as we knew that a packed lunch of humungous proportions to come negated the need for early sustenance. The Sports Bar across the road had no such door charge and with Ant in desperate need of some bladder relief proved a convenient first stop in the Wembley environs.

The said bar was festooned with shirts from many top teams and also one from Totteringham Hotspurs. Ant’s attention was grabbed by a peculiar signed photo of Tony Adams cut from a newspaper which made our Tone look huge. Judge for yourselves.

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And so it was on to The Torch, our intended substitute for The Green Man which had been the venue for the Semi and both Semi and Final trips at the end of the 2013/4 season. The South London contingent arrived and we were provided with an FA Cup-themed packed lunch menu. So pleased we refused the cheeseburger!

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Jon strung his Santi banner up on the pub car park fence much to the consternation of the next door neighbour who’d had his fence pulled over in previous football supporters’ shenanigans. After some reassurance that we would be extra careful not to do any damage, photos were taken and the usual disarray ensued.

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The back bar of The Torch used for drink replenishment, was ideal with small queues which allowed  several refill runs with virtually no hassle, to be purchased. Double rounds the order of the day. Jon bought a free Captain Morgan hat for a fiver from a happy fellow Arsenal fan who cheekily tried to get us to buy another only a few minutes later.


Having quaffed a gallon we set off toward the stadium, but as we were Eastsiders for the day, the route took us along Wembley Way for a change allowing time for more photos which demonstrated how we’d managed to stay pretty sober!

7 (1)

Taking our seats, the atmosphere was electric. The Villa fans contributing a great amount to the atmosphere, while the Arsenal fans, complete with complimentary yellow and very dark blue scarves, turned Wembley East side to a cacophony of buzzing bees.

The match was a sublimely joyous celebration of Wengerball with almost zero stress, some magnificent goals and a Villa team completely outclassed on the day. What a Final for us Gooners to savour!

Post match saw more photo opportunities at our designated meeting point, the Bobby Moore statue.



Next on the agenda was beer. We eventually found Las Iguanas restaurant in the Wembley retail complex and jugs of beer and some organic cider for older bro were ordered to be quaffed at a perfect table outside. We spoke to many supporters on their way past. The Villa fans were graciously magnanimous in defeat. In a way they were  just pleased to have avoided relegation thanks to Tim the Gooner and were revelling simply in the chance to be part of the day. All credit to them. Our favourite encounter was with a Villa fan who had teamed up with an Arsenal fan only an hour previously but who’d suddenly become best buddies. The Villa fan reminisced about players from previous generations including ‘Sideways’ Mortimer which involved a crab-like mime which was priceless. The mention of the venerable Jimmy Rimmer of Arsenal and Villa fame stimulated a favourite Arsenal keeper discussion of which Almunia was the clear winner. Superb.

Having turned down an overpriced burger restaurant, we headed back to our usual curry house on Wembley High Road. We were welcomed by the owner as if she recognised us.  It was another excellent decision and raucously enlivened by some Villa fans playing Roman numeral beer games at the adjacent table. Their forfeits involved the belting out of old Villa songs involving  ex players such as Nigel Reo-Coker  and garden sheds. We joined in their rendition of ‘ Where’s your European Cup?’ much to the consternation of a particular Arsenal fan on the table the other side of us.

All that was left for the day were train journeys back to our respective billets, so the four of us made our joyous way to the train station and eventually into the land of nod.

Ant had managed to procure an extra scarf and some discarded flags which I’ve since given to my godsons in Nottingham. Their Mum would like them to be Notts County supporters but she agreed that there’s no harm in them supporting another team ‘that wins things occasionally’. Haha.


What an amazing trip, on a par with some of our Cardiff experiences of the early 2000s.

Up The Gunners, roll on next season.

Written by chas 

60 Responses to Our Annual Trip to Wembley!

  1. Big Raddy says:

    One of the best posts on AA ….. ever

  2. X11 says:

    I only have time for a quick, thank you, and to say well done, Chas, but will be back later.

    The pic of Ant at the top of the Post made me look twice, as he is the spitting image of Benny Hill — was he about to chase after gorgeous girls to offer them one of his pints? 🙂

  3. mickydidit89 says:

    That post really does encapsulate everything the game should be about. Absolutely wonderful tale about life’s priorities.
    A beautiful reminder of what it is all about.
    Thank you very much.

  4. Rasp says:

    Here here, bloody marvelous chas. No one does matchday like the Vines’ 😀

  5. Eddie says:

    only looked at the pictures to make me sick

    some people have it all, bastards

  6. Eddie says:

    who is X11 – GiE?

  7. Red Arnie says:

    wow, Chas. Absolutely fantastic. how I envy the Vines! 😛

  8. Red Arnie says:

    Evonne. Redders. 🙂

  9. Eddie says:

    cheers Arnie! didn’t use any 6 syllabus words, hence the confusion

  10. Red Arnie says:

    should I try and put our photos up in the comments, or do we want a photo post on a later date – more photos, few words!

    Evonne. 🙂

  11. GunnerN5 says:

    Superb post!!

    I am extremely envious of your wonderful away trips, they take me back many years and are a reminder of what I left behind.

    Thank you so very much for sharing these incredible stories – they are really heart warming in there sincerity and absolute love for the Gunners.


  12. GunnerN5 says:

    It was also good to see that the Vines are sprouting even more young Gunners.

  13. chas says:

    Thanks for the comments.
    Hopefully more read it than commented.

  14. I’m jealous, what a day out that must have been, thanks Chas.

    My fading memory from 1971 is still precious after all these years, a couple of pints in The Greyhound pre-match, standing behind the goal as Charlie George scored and then straight home afterwards without a drink as I had to drive down to Sussex.

    The message on the big screen at Wembley read “Congratulations Arsenal on a magnificent double” Priceless!!

  15. RC78 says:

    What a beautiful post! Enjoyed reading it and glad that you had a great day

  16. Gööner In Exile says:

  17. LBG says:

    Quality Charlie! May we look forward to many a Vines Away Trip to come in the future. San Siro!

  18. Ant says:

    De ne ne ner ner ner ner ner ner ner ner ner ner ner ner ner ner n e r.. Repeat

  19. chas says:

    Smashing photo. George looks as though he was enjoying the stone-balancing!

  20. Gööner In Exile says:

    Chas that’s a brilliant post sir, sounds like you had a cracking day. The Vines know how to do Wembley! 😀

  21. chas says:

    Separate post please, Arnie.

  22. X11 says:


    That is terrible — I have the Benny Hill tune reverberating thru my brain!! 😀

  23. Red Arnie says:

    Chas. 🙂

    The Vines know how to do not only Wemberley, but all away days! 🙂

  24. X11 says:

    Chas (this maybe duplicated)

    It is not just that we are all jealous of the Vines’ day out at Wembley, but it is also the tremendous diary chronicle of the events leading up to the Final and back to base.

    Brilliant stuff and credit to the lot of you, and especially you, sirrah, as the family narrator! :

  25. Fabulous darling and great photos too. Thank you for taking the time to write it up, gonna miss you guys for the next few weeks. How many weeks is it exactly? Eight maybe? Nine?

    One of my baby spuds it tearing it up in New Zealand in the under 20’s world cup playing for the USA. Eurosport don’t seem to be interested in showing the USA games yet but I hope they will soon. Zelalem had his first start in their last game on Tuesday which they won 4-0 against the hosts and I think the next game is tomorrow.

    Anyone shot Sepp Blatter yet?

  26. The USA game is on British Eurosport tomorrow at 8am.

  27. Gööner In Exile says:

    I was thinking of bringing G to Emirates Cup. Mrs Exile thinks it may be too soon.

  28. Did anyone watch Truly, madly, Wembley, is it good?

    Just heard that FIFA paid Ireland £11m after the Thierry handball, what a joke!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  29. Dear Mr GiE

    I think it might be too soon, his mum is probably right 🙂

  30. How embarrassed is Thierry going to be about that? Apparently it was to avoid a legal battle ……………………. shakes head 😉

  31. chas says:

    Thanks, P.
    I watched Truly, Madly, Wembley and loved it.

    That #StoneBalancing is superb, ta.


  32. LB says:

    Now that is what I call an Arsenal post. You all seem to have so much fun, I go watch Arsenal with a completely different mindset. It’s all very serious to me; I sit glued, quietly watching every move as it unfolds. I am quite envious in a way but I know I will never change.

  33. Thanks chas, off to watch it now 🙂

  34. chas says:

    The fun is usually before and after, but luckily for us the fun continued all the way through the game on this occasion. 🙂

  35. The Cockie Monster says:

    I`ve drove a million miles today and then played 5 a side for 75 minutes and before I collapse I`ve just enough energy to say…………….. chas`s FA Cup final post`s are my favourite post`s full stop !…………………………..now will some bastard help me to my bed !.

  36. TotalArsenal says:

    The king of the footie-live experience has done it again. I tasted and smelled it, and love this ‘a cacophony of buzzing bees’. Top stuff, Chas 🙂

  37. chas says:

    Cheers, boys.

    Nowt on telly tonight?
    Fancy watching some goals?
    Bookmark this for later.

  38. chas says:

  39. chas says:

  40. chas says:

    Little Charlie watching the game.

  41. chas says:

    Wembley arch yellow and blue

  42. mickydidit89 says:

    Got to be brief as not around again today

    Reming me, are the four of you full brothers?

  43. mickydidit89 says:

    Love the word “usual” being repeatedly used in your post 🙂

  44. Big Raddy says:

    Morning All

    chas. Are you starting to enjoy the New Wembley? I have never been and it looks a soulless shell to me.

    Though I love the Bobby Moore statue

    Micky. Is reming some strange Devonish rite?

  45. mickydidit89 says:

    a g is a d down in the woods Big 🙂

  46. chas says:

    Matt is Jon’s son I.e. mine and Ant’s nephew.

  47. chas says:

    Jon, Ant and me are full brothers, though it was rumoured I was the milkman’s offspring.
    I’m far too much like my cantankerous old man for that to be true though.

  48. mickydidit89 says:

    Ok, Chas. Great gang. My family is so dysfunctional, such a group just seems beyond comprehension to me.
    Really was a superb write up.
    Bugger I’m not around as I have some rants up my sleeve, but I want to be here, not driving to meetings all day.
    Mind you, surf and sun are as one for this evening.

  49. Big Raddy says:

    That’s strange. My sister and I have always been convinced that our brother is the milkman’s. He must have had very big milk round.

  50. Eddie says:

    that’s why I am jealous of Ants, not because of their adventures, ability to take great photos, not even their teeth, but the brotherhood. Amazing and possibly unique

    Anyway, do we need another midfielder? No, but Pogba is brill

    Geoffrey Kondogbia to Arsenal? No, but we need another striker

  51. Big Raddy says:

    Eddie. That is a good idea for a post ….. strikers not brotherhood.

  52. Eddie says:

    Raddy – are you going to write a prematch for tomorrow’s final?

    Nobody is going to read any speculation posts during the summer months, waste of time and the net is overflowing with them. well, maybe DidIt would when not surfing

  53. Red Arnie says:

    lovely video, Chas. 🙂

    I am just too different from my siblings, 😦

    HWSA yet? quality transfer speculation was what brought me to AA. I hope we can maintain the tradition. 🙂

  54. Big Raddy says:

    Eddie. What do you suggest? That we stop writing, that we just write about AFC history (could we ever match GN5?), or perhaps write posts about our training methods and youth teams.

    I love transfer speculation and look forward to 8 weeks of lies, bullshit and rumour.

    As to the CL Final. Maybe I will, but TBH I don’t want to write 500 words extolling the genius of Messi. What on earth can I add?

  55. Shard says:

    No internet all day yesterday. Managed to get it fixed today.

    As always, these chas posts leave me with mixed feelings. Wonderfully told stories that make me feel involved, and then the sense of having missed out.

    Brotherhood, camraderie. Yes exactly. That’s what is so great about it. Such a different experience of football than I’ve had. But thanks for sharing.

    PS. Unrelated (mostly) but oh man, did Villa’s owner, Randy Lerner look like a right grump all throughout the game, and especially at the trophy presentation. Made my day 🙂 Also interesting that Kroenke wasn’t shown on tv except when he and Arsene shared a hug.

  56. Big Raddy says:

    There is a New Post

    Sorry Eddie 😀 😀

  57. Eddie says:

    shard – no, they showed Kroenke several times, enough for me to notice that he had a plastic surgery, defo – the wrinkles had been pulled away and that’s why the eyes have weird shape.

    When I was a young girl, my brother and my first boyfriend used to sit on a tiny 2 seater sofa together watching footy. Ooooohhh those were great days 🙂 The World cup in 1978 we watched on mum’s first ‘big’ screen with new speakers, wooooowww they were loud 🙂


    Brilliant chas

    Another great Vines day out. When I saw Jon, Ant, and yourself all lined up in the Fullback it was so cute i thought about asking you all out.

    But Jon didn’t look up for it.

    No what you mean evonne. The last time me and my brothers were all lined up together it was for a police identity parade.

  59. Red Arnie says:

    Terry. 🙂

  60. Shard says:


    I didn’t see Kroenke, but maybe I didn’t recognise him with all the surgery 🙂

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