Well it’s not been an easy year to be an Arsenal supporter, but here we are still going strong, slightly battered and bruised but with renewed optimism now that Mikel’s sleigh has landed on our roof.
I’ll be honest, I’ve found it difficult to maintain my input on AA at times this season and have had to retire to a darkened room to execute a self imposed ban on all media. Thankfully the likes of Peaches, Rocky, RC78 and other much valued regulars have kept the ball rolling on here.
There’s one guy in particular who without knowing it has helped keep me going. I view him and what he represents much like the Unknown Soldier … even though I know his name … it’s Mike Steeden.
To me, Mike represents the thousands of Arsenal supporters who read our blog but for their own reasons don’t wish to roll their sleeves up and get down and dirty in the daily debate. Just knowing that something an author on AA has bothered to write has been read is reward in itself.
But Mike does one other thing … on occasion, when he thinks the author deserves it .. he ‘likes’ a post. You can tell when he has because his name and pictogram are displayed at the end of the post in question.
Mike is no pushover however. He’s discerning. He doesn’t ‘like’ every post, far from it, but when he does, I am always warmed by the fact that a post has received the MS seal of approval … it’s been awarded a ‘Steeden’ if you like. On the odd occasion he even likes one of my posts … what’s the betting he won’t this one 🙂
So a big thank you to Mike (sorry for blowing your cover), to our fabulous band of regular bloggers, and to all who visit and read AA … and to Arsenal supporters everywhere … and since it’s Christmas … to everyone else on the planet … from all the team at AA.
As an extra treat, Rocky has gifted us all his version of this well known classic Christmas poem ….
‘Twas the night before Arsemas, when all through N5
Gooners were dreaming our club would soon thrive;
The stockings were hung by the kitman with care
But the Emirates stadium was still cold and bare.
The players were nestled all snug in their beds
While visions of title wins danced in their heads.
And Mesut in his jimjams and Bernt in his cap
Had just settled their brains for a long winter’s nap
When on the stadium roof there came such a clatter
I opened my window to see what was the matter.
Across Drayton Park I ran in a dash
And was up at the Ems in barely a flash.
The moon on the carpet of newly-mown grass
Shone bright on the strangeness now coming to pass.
For what to my wondering eyes should be there
But an open top bus pulled by eight spectral players,
With a spritely young driver, who held himself well:
I knew in a moment it must be Mikel.
He looked at his team mates all stripped for the game,
And he whistled and shouted and called them by name:
“Now Dennis! Now Liam!
Now Adams and Seaman!
On Patrick! On Bobby!
On Charlie! On Lehmann!
Through the hole in the roof!
To the top of the stand!
Now pull away! Pull away!
We’re in Arsenal-Land.”
Just as Tiny Tott hopes wilt when May comes around
In that terrible toilet bowl they call a ground,
So gravity yielded with hardly a fuss
And up to the roof flew Mikel and his bus.
And then in a twinkling above the Clock End
Mikel stood surrounded by Arsenal’s legends.
As I drew my head in and was looking around
Down onto the pitch he came with a bound.
His shirt was all red, with two sleeves of white,
His hair made of plastic, his boots shining bright.
A coach’s fat file he held in his hand
Wherein winning tactics were perfectly planned.
His eyes all a-twinkle he began speaking most gently
While his famous old club-mates listened intently:
“Things have been tricky of late we all know,
We have felt like we have no idea where to go.
We have stopped being hopeful and started to fear,
But that can all stop because now I am here
To lead us to places where we’re meant to be
For we’re never vanquished: we’re Arsenal FC!”
The legends all cheered and pumped fists in the air
It brought tears to my eye to see how they cared.
At that moment the floodlights came on with a bang
And more legends were there to join with the gang.
There Kelsey, there Wrighty, there Henry and Fred,
Here Bastin and Wilson and Rocky the Red.
And now from the neighbouring streets did appear
A crowd in their thousands all wearing the gear.
They filled up the stadium from bottom to top
And still they kept coming, the flow never stopped
And from all their mouths one message rang true:
“We love you! We love you Arsenal, we do!”
Mikel sprang to the bus and yanked down the cord,
And pulled by the legends it lifted and soared,
And I heard him exclaim as he flew out of sight:
“Happy Arsemas to all, and to all a good night!”
With apologies to Clement Clarke Moore.