The Best Ever Football Stadium Migration – You’re ‘Avin a Giraffe, Love

October 12, 2016


When the porn brothers announced their intention to move from one of London’s most feared stadiums to an athletics and concert venue, I like most regular fans felt a certain degree of unease.  Surely we didn’t need a 52,000 seat stadium especially one with a bloody great running track between the players and the old east side chicken run.

But then the spin began – 85% of supporters canvassed were in favour of the move, a new cantilever system would place seats where the running track would be, football would be once again affordable for the ordinary man (or woman) in the street, the transport links would be second to none, it will catapult us into the upper echelons of the premiership and challenging the traditional top four incumbents.  Oh and by the way, we’re gonna pay sweet fanny adams for the privilege – how could you possibly say no.

The final season at the Boleyn was so very West Ham.  For quite some time it looked like we could break into the top four and begin life at the Olympic Stadium with Real Madrid, Bayern, Barcelona and Juventus as regular visitors.  But of course, just like our dreams we faded and very nearly died only to deal Man United a third crushing blow (having denied them 2 Premier League Championships) and consign them to a season of Thursday night football.  Still 7th place was good enough to secure a place in the Europa League 3rd qualifying round and having re-configured the Man United team bus we said an emotional farewell to the old girl.


The summer approached and we got to see images of our new ‘home’ – oh and by the way, it’s now called the London Stadium. Yep that’s right and oh, did we forget to tell you, we’re going to have a bit of a re-brand and our new badge, which all three of you who we consulted just love, also encompasses the word London, coz that’s where we’re from see!

In the meantime, the club announced we’d miraculously found an extra 5,000 seats and sold the lot.  But not to worry if you’ve not got a ticket, coz we’ve also found another 9,000 on top of that so now we’ve got London’s largest stadium and with a season ticket waiting list in excess of 50,000 we’ll have no trouble selling out every game.  Sounds too good to be true?  You bet.

You see, in The Duchesses excitement to do the deal of the century, she forgot some of the basics.

Now you’d think they would have tried to move/migrate like-minded fans to the same part of the ground.  You know, the 9,000 or so supporters who stood behind both goals together with those who stood in certain corners of the ground.  You know, the ones who got the singing going, gave the opposition players and fans untold grief – made Upton Park a cauldron of noise, overcame the sterilisation of all seated stadium and all that.  But know, they mixed the whole bloody lot up.

Secondly, you’d think that the club would want control of the security and stewarding so the customer experience was under their auspices.  But no, The Duchess got the deal of the century you see.  So she insisted the stadium owners handled that.  Which they sort of did by outsourcing these areas to the stadium operators who guess what – outsourced it to a French organisation who run the Stade de France.

Now you’d think they would look to re-hire all the stewards from the old ground.  The ones who know how to control football and in particular West Ham supporters.  But no – some went with but the majority have now resigned in protest at the atrocious methods being used.  You see those wanting to stand and those wanting to sit aren’t able to co-exist.  So what happens is the stewards wander around with clip boards, writing down seat numbers and those standing ticket holders receive warning letters and are told their tickets will be rescinded.   The more vociferous of these ‘stewards’ go after small pockets of standers and actually remove them from the ground and take their season tickets away.  As you can imagine, it doesn’t make for a very happy home.


And then we have the home/away supporter segregation.  As has been reported, for the first few games, apart from a few seats, there was none.  The stewards had no experience of football fans, being mainly involved in keeping Elton John fans under control on a balmy summer evenings. At The London stadium it’s not just Saturday nights that are all right for fighting!  But surely the police sort these problems out I hear you say?  Nope, in her haste to seal the deal of the millennium, The Duchess decided to overlook the fact that the police stated they were unable to operate inside the stadium as it was currently configured.

And that’s just inside the stadium.  Outside and around the concourse there is absolutely no segregation and no plan for what to do at full time.  It is, as the saying goes, just one great big cock up.

But I’m afraid that’s not all.  To try and beef up the Elton John brigade, the outsourced, outsourced security have added a few night club bouncers – you can guess the rest!

On the other side of the away fans (think lower chicken run and upper east side at The Boleyn) we have the real hard core fans – that’s right 750 tickets sold via Thomas Cook to overseas ‘fans’ and anyone willing to also buy a night at a London Hotel.  Just doesn’t bear thinking about when certain teams come to visit.

But what about the views and the cantilever seating I hear you say.  A bloody joke I reply.  Billic spends half the match screaming 30 yards behind him at his coaching staff.  The pitch is ridiculously far from the pitch on all sides.  In short, this is not a football ground and never will be.  My heart truly aches for Upton Park and I feel the very soul of my club is being eroded.

And then, a couple of days ago, The Duchess appeared at ‘Leaders’ a football conference aimed at the good and the great of the game.  Much was made of her comments surrounded the lack of culture at the club when she arrived, however I’m prepared to overlook that as she was really referring to the ‘business culture’.  What didn’t get so widely reported, but was far more upsetting were her comments regarding the opportunity to ‘re-brand the club’ which is where the London nonsense comes from.  You see, The Duchess doesn’t want the traditional support turning up at ‘The London Stadium’.  She’s got a whole new plan in place, for pop corn munching, Coca Cola swilling ABC1’s to fill up all 66,000 seats and shout “Horrah, well done old chaps, jolly good play”.

So, Arsenal fans will have to wait until 3rd December to make their own minds up, unfortunately I won’t be there as I have decided to stay away until The Duchess decides to hang up her robe and get out of my club.  I still love West Ham United, but you can stick West Ham United London up yer a…….

written by West Ham Bob

A Mesutless Arsenal

October 11, 2016

Imagine the very worst. Mesut gets ruled out for an extended period. Now what?

How do we juggle the pack, as I’m not so sure it’s quite as simple as sticking the most likey type of player in Mesut’s spot, simply because, I think whoever you choose is better somewhere else, and that will effectively weaken the side, and upset the balance.

Candidates, in no particular order, are Aaron, Sanchez, Santi, Ox and Iwobi.

I have included Alexis despite his new role up top, simply because I think he would be the best, but of course that brings us hurtling back to my point about balance.

For me, the decision would be radically altered if we had a fit Danny available, so for the sake of this short piece, can we make the assumption he is fit.

Just to kick things off, my choice would be Iwobi.


Written by MickyDidIt89

Where does Ramsey fit in?

October 10, 2016

The international break allows our injured chaps to recover at home rather than tread foreign fields in search of their country’s honour. I am sure that Mr. Ramsey would much rather have been out beering it up with his Welsh colleagues but instead he has been under the delicate ministrations of our medical team, hopefully he will be fit for selection on the weekend.


If he is, will he play and more to the point where? And who gets dropped?

Where does he play?  Alongside Xhaka? Neither Xhaka nor Santi have played for their countries so both will be fresh. Will AW change a winning formula? It seems unlikely though certain AA’ers predict AW will settle upon a Ramsey/Xhaka combo as his preferred midfield.

Further forward? An attacking midfield role has always been Ramsey chosen position and one he plays in so successfully  for Wales. Iwobi has triumphed in his first game for Nigeria and the flight home from Africa plus the excitement of his first goal will perhaps rule him out of the game at The Emirate – Ramsey is the obvious replacement. But …. AW may prefer to play Elneny alongside Xhaka with Santi further forward.

My choice would be for Ramsey to sit on the bench until the CL game and let Ox take Iwobi’s position on Saturday. What do you think?

written by Big Raddy


Lewandowski vs Bendtner

October 8, 2016

A big game tonight for the red and white teams, Poland v Denmark. I am not going to write an epic on this subject, as only one AAer will watch the game , let alone read this post. The only reason for any of you to watch the game is the fact that both teams wear red and white national colours, just like the colours of our Club, and 6 players from both countries played or are still playing for AFC. These and the fact that it is going to be a great game.

 Arsenal had 2 players from Denmark – John “Faxe” Jensen and Nicklas Bendtner. Polish players at Arsenal were Fabianski, Szczesny, Podolski (born in Poland) and Koscielny. Yes, I do know that Koscielny is French by birth, but with a name like Koscielny and face like Lauren you cannot hide your polish roots. I therefore expect any Arsenal supporter, bar Raddy of course, to get behind the Polaks.

 Poland are the favourites – playing at home, team studded with talented footballers, capable manager. They have poor record in World cup; twice they reached semi-finals and on both occasions finished 3rd. Over the years they played 31 games in total in World cup. Nothing to write home about really.

 Denmark have no chance – country with population 8 times smaller than Poland, never reached any serious stages in the completion and only played 16 games in World cup, not a formidable achievement, even poorer than their opponents’. Despite their lack of success in football Denmark is 3rd happy, wealthy, healthy, safe country in the world. Well, I hope that my team will wipe the smile of their faces tonight.

 I shall not laugh at their biggest exports – bacon, Carlsberg and Sandi Toksvig in fear that Raddy returns the jibe knocking polish kabanos, vodka and Lech Walesa, all superior to their Danish counterparts. Neither shall I mention the flat as pancake country with thousands of windmills – their only attraction. I suppose this makes Raddy’s job much easier – all he had to learn in the language was pancake and windmill. Poland on the other hand has magnificent mountains, huge lake district and beautiful seaside by the Baltic sea. No match for the Vikings.

 Poland will win tonight, unless the dark horse puts a spanner in the works. Yes, Lord Bendtner is very capable on brilliance, seldom seen on the pitch, but still there. Remember his first touch against Tottenham? Goal, a very important goal too. He is 28 and 194cm!! Giant of a man. Poland’s Lewandowski is the same age and 4inches shorter. Who is going to dominate the field today? Will Szczesny stop his ex-team mate Nicklas? I hope so.

 Enjoy the game my friends!

Written by Eddie

Mighty Mustafi

October 6, 2016


Is it possible to assess the effect of a player upon the future of Arsenal FC after just a few games? Normally No, but every so often a player just ….. fits.

Think back to April 1996. We were playing Sheffield Wednesday (what happened to them?) and losing 1-0 when Ray Parlour got injured. Onto the pitch came a lanky French kid as his replacement and by half time, just 17 minutes, we knew we were witnessing the arrival of Wenger’s Arsenal. Despite Wrighty scoring a hatrick PV4 was named MotM.


It would be hyperbole to say that Mustafi will make a similar impact at AFC but he has done all we could ask so far. As I wrote above – he fits. In just a few weeks he has  meshed with Kos into a fine CB partnership. BFG, Gabriel and Holding will struggle to get pitch time as a CB pairing are rarely rotated.

There have been concerns about our lack of height at set pieces and we do appear to be vulnerable;  at Burnley, Vokes could and should have scored plus some blob hit the bar. Kos and Xhaka are both 6´1″ and Mustafi just 6´0″. Santi, Sanchez, Theo, Bellerin, Monreal etc are all under 5´10″. I guess we will have to rely on our massive GK who stands at 6´5″!

€35m makes Mustafi the 4th most expensive defender in world football, today it appears to be money well spent. Who would you prefer – David Luiz, John Stones, Mangala, Ottamendi or Mustafi? BTW Mangala is out on a season’s loan at Valencia which is why we haven’t seen much of the oaf.


What do I like about Mustafi? His positional awareness is excellent, his passing conversion averages over 85%, he is not afraid to carry the ball, he is vocal and already bosses the defence, his tackling is powerful and the man will not be bullied- will he Mr Costa?

What I do not like is his first name …. Shkodran. What kind of a parent names their kid Shkodran? What is wrong with Peter or Michael or Brian? And yes, I know his parents are Albanian – it doesn’t excuse them.

I rarely make predictions but here is one – Mustafi will be the next Captain of Arsenal. He is that good.

written by Big Raddy

Burnley 0 Arsenal 1……………The Hand of Kos

October 3, 2016

Last gasp action at Turf Moor gives Arsenal three important points and moves us up to third in the table. That is the fifth premiership game in a row that we have won albeit against small clubs but it was important to go into the international break on a high and in the right frame of mind to confidently face the bigger clubs when they arrive in the not too distant future.

Burnley was the first team we have faced this season who unashamedly parked the bus with the obvious intention of trying to get a point from the game or maybe all three if they had been lucky on the break. All this goes out the window, of course, if we score early which with the amount of possession we had looked as though it would be “when” rather than “if”. But that large “if” that was shining brightly in our eyes at the beginning started to get smaller and smaller as the game went on.


Even though, talent wise, Arsenal were head and shoulders better that than Burnley, frustration started to creep in as the breakthrough goal started looking more and more elusive. The result was that Arsenal’s crisp passing of recent games became hurried, quick decision making became ponderous. The two guiltiest were Ozil and Sanchez who by their own high standards were poor in my opinion. Ozil was shooting from awkward angles and from distance which is bizarre to even think about and Sanchez started to give possession away far too cheaply.

In an attempt to improve things Ozil moved out right and Sanchez, wanting to get more of the ball, seemed to move back to the half way line leaving no target man at all. Someone in the box was needed and the call for the number nine that we all envisage Perez to be went from a polite request to a screaming demand. I use the word envisage because in truth none of us know what to actually expect but someone needs to be there; someone needs to be the target for Ozil and Sanchez when the Chilean goes walk about. The reason I say Perez and not Giroud is because Burnley looked as though they could deal with anything that was sent in high which is usually the case with these kind of park the bus teams: Sunderland etc you know the drill but the thing they can’t deal with is quick feet. It’s going to happen, Perez will play an important role this season but it might take a tad longer than we all would have liked.

With a lack of a striker on the bench Wenger sent on Elneny and Oxlade-Chamberlain who both improved our collective push but still things were looking worrying especially as, in the smaller game earlier, spuds had put City to the sword.

All this changed, of course, when deep into added on time and two crucial points seemed to be lost, Sanchez accurately sent over a cross for Theo to flick on to the incoming Oxlade-Chamberlain at the far post; who, with Koscielny managed to bundle the ball over the line with what turned out to be last kick of the game sending the travelling support and others at home into wild celebration. This can be over analysed as to whether we deserved it or not, but really, who gives a monkey’s, we won and that is all that matters.


Back to the other smaller game, I am going to go out on a limb here and say that as things turned out the spud win was a useful result for us. Perfect Pep needed to have some of that wind taken out of his sails, this leaves just spuds as the only unbeaten team in the league and continuing the metaphors I think we all know who has a sharp pin just ready and waiting to burst that little blue and white bubble.



Rest Sanchez?

October 2, 2016

Back on the road after a couple of lovely games at The Emirates and where do we go? You guessed it, Up North.

I have never been to Burnley, perhaps in the future I will be fortunate enough to visit the historic town but given my aversion to any UK trip North of Barnet, it seems unlikely.

In my youth Burnley were a massive club; unlike our opponents last weekend, they have history. 150 years ago Burnley was the largest cotton cloth producer in the world! Can you imagine? And in the 50’s/60’s their football club was their pride – a town of under 60k inhabitants had a team which won the League, the FA Cup and reached the quarter-finals of the European Cup.

Things have changed as the clubs from the large metropoles control the top of the leagues – Manchester, London, Barcelona, Munich, Paris, Madrid. Only Leicester have been able to break the monopoly.

Burnley’s ambitions this season will be survival in the Prem and to take a couple of big scalps. Beating us would be huge so, as always, our chaps should expect a battle.

My main concern is the pitch. Arsenal play fast-flowing, passing football which depends upon a decent playing surface – if I were the opposition manager the first thing I would tell the groundsman to do is make the pitch as bumpy as possible, especially if you play hoof-ball like Burnley or Chelsea. Big chaps like Grey and Vokes are more used to a Hackney Marshes than the Emirates.

For that reason, if fit, I would start Giroud, if not then Perez. I would also look to the Elneny/Xhaka axis and give Santi a rest.

My Team:


Bellerin    Mustafi     Kos    Gibbs

Xhaka    Elneny    Iwobi

Walcott   Perez    Ozil

I would prefer AW to continue with the starting 11 which marmelised the Chavs and Basel but what is the point of a large squad if we do not rest some players?

I would even be tempted to drop Ozil for Santi or Theo for Ox. This is not under-estimating Burnley but we have important games ahead and over-playing chaps who have not had full summer breaks results in a Ramsey situation.

Given the unpleasant manner in which the title contenders have started their seasons a win is important today and, of course, this is an anniversary weekend. Chapeau Arsene.

Let it be so