Better Days?

January 11, 2017

 

The Old Days. We always think they were better …

Would you exchange the better standard of football we see every season at The Emirates for the mud and passion of Highbury?

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Why do I long for a TA/Steve Bould  tackle which would “let the player know you are there” as opposed to the Guardiola idea of staying on your feet?

Some of the intricacy of our current teams passing football is beyond ken but I yearn for a Radford bullet header from a hopeful punt from George Armstrong. Why is hoofball so looked down upon as a short-term tactic?

Why did the architects of The Emirates build the stands so far from the pitch? It makes the paying punter spectators as opposed to being fans involved in  the play as we were at Highbury. Why can’t PL stadiums have a standing section?

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Football has become sanitised (IMO). Is the sport better for it?

p.s. This post was inspired by a photo of the tunnel at Arsenal Tube Station published by Chas.

written by Big Raddy


Bournemouth Bullet Points.

November 27, 2016

Must win game.

Wilshere not playing.

Bournemouth managed by a good chap who may one day succeed Mr. Wenger

We are “stuttering”.

Xhaka?

Coquelin to be rested?

Sanchez burn out.

Giroud to continue his scoring run.

Walcott needs to get back to early season form.

18 game run

B’mouth have never beaten AFC

B’mouth only one away game since February without conceding a goal.

My Team:

Cech

Jens   Mustafi    Koscielny    Monreal

Xhaka   Ramsey     Iwobi

Walcott   Giroud    Ozil

I think that sums it up

COYRRG

 


Thrashing the Thracians?

October 19, 2016

To be quite honest I had absolutely no idea which country PFC Ludogorets Razgrad came from until I started writing this. Bulgaria is the answer and I sincerely hope my appalling ignorance and downright lack of awareness is not matched by the manager and team of Arsenal Football Club.

Looking at Ludogorets’ record in the Champions League, their biggest home win was 1-0 v Basel in 2014 and their biggest away defeats were both 4-0 to Basel (again) and Real Madrid (both in 2014). At present their biggest away win is …… non-existent. A continuation of that record for another few days would be great. (n.b. they’ve only been in the group stage once before) .

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Razgrad itself is in north-east of the country and a couple of Bulgaria’s famous landmarks have parallels with landmarks in England.

First there is the Bulgarian Icarus statue.

icarus

According to legend, the man known as the “Bulgarian Icarus” was also a builder. Apparently a Turkish Sultan survived a terrible disaster, so he decided to build a mosque in Edirne in gratitude to God. At that time, Bulgaria was part of the Ottoman Empire. So, the Sultan summoned the most famous builder and this was Bulgarian, Manol. He worked for seven years and constructed a miraculous temple. After it was completed, the Sultan asked him: “Can you build a more beautiful mosque than this one?” and Master Manol replied: “One always has more to learn. Maybe I made some mistakes here that I will avoid in the future and I will be able to build an even more majestic temple.” Hearing this, the ruler ordered that Manol be shut in one of the mosque minarets until his last breath. The inventive craftsman, however, managed to create another miracle – he designed himself wings made of wood. And one day, the people in Edirne saw a huge flying creature soaring in the sky and heading home to Thrace. In this way, Master Manol managed to save his life and turned into a favourite hero in Bulgarian folk tales and songs.

This tale reminded me of the Angel of the North statue when some Geordies launched an enormous Alan Shearer shirt over its shoulders.

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Whilst the statues have similarities, Master Manol and Mr Shearer are almost polar opposites, one an educated and erudite craftsman builder and the other a football pundit.

The second parallel is between the beautiful Razgrad clock tower and our own clock tower at Highbury Barn.

clock-towers

Team News

It would appear Rambo and Ollie G. are continuing to train alone. I’d imagine Granit will start due to a soon-to-be enforced absence from the Prem and EFL Cup (cheers, J. Moss).

It appears we emerged unscathed from the Swansea game so perhaps the team isn’t likely to be changed to any significant degree. Perhaps Kieran Gibbs could get a game after Nacho’s run around on Saturday. Oh, and Oooooooooooo-spiiiiiiiii-naaaaa may get the goalkeeper jersey.

‘Complacency’ seems to be the watchword for everyone with regards to this game. Theo and Shkodran have both issued warnings to their teammates to be on their guard against assuming it will be an easy and straightforward 3 points. Each and every player has to be thinking the same, especially after escaping by the skin of our teeth against Swansea.

Note…. Big Raddy is currently on manoeuvres in Ireland and without pre-match writing facilities. Thankfully this hiatus from normality will only be fleeting.

P.S. we need a nickname or shortened version of Shkodran. Any suggestions?

Written by chas


Valentines Day. Love Arsenal

February 14, 2016

Valentines Day. I woke up thinking why and who? Do you know? Do you care?

Why would you on such a fantastic day of sport?

I am praying to St Valentine (a Roman Christian martyr) for 3 victories and a draw.., England x 2, a draw for the Northern Oilers and at The Emirates – I am not sure.

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Arsenal vs Leicester: You know the runners and riders, you know the state of the ground (good to soft), the recent form, the health of the stables, the colours, the on-field odds, the background “fairytale” etc etc. So I am not going to spend this post teaching you to suck eggs (whatever that means!)

Instead I would like to briefly explore what football means to you, or more to the point, me.

Valentines is about emotional attachment and appropriately my connection to The Arsenal  and football as a whole is purely emotional based. I love football and I love The Arsenal. Which do I love more? BTW this is a slow build up to my point 🙂

Why do I not really care if we lose today? Because IMO it would be just marvellous for the game if Leicester won the title. And I say that knowing that for them to win it we would have to lose it.

I have been struggling with this all week. Which is more important, an Arsenal victory or a Leicester title win? I find that my romantic nature supersedes my desire for Arsenal glory. The truth is that I love the sport more than my team (I think).

However, if we win and go on to win the title I would be thrilled; my fears are that we could win today and balls up the title run-in. Oh, come on – you know you feel the same!

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Arsenal: Defensively we have been looking better – could it be the emergence of Gabriel or just we have been playing poor teams? Rumour has it that The Archangel is injured; if he is then our tactics will have to be adjusted to allow for BFG’s lack of pace. Much is made of the pace of Vardy and Leicester’s counter attack, yet we have faced much faster frontlines and coped. It is a question of organisation and concentration.

We knocked 5 past young Kasper up at Filbert Street and I cannot see him keeping a clean sheet this lunchtime. OG must be due a goal as too is Alexis.

I expect us to start with Ox on the right and a return for Coquelin, other than that the team picks itself. I will bet Mrs.Raddy’s Valentines Day gift (a Snickers bar) that OG starts ahead of TW.

What I really, really do not want to happen this afternoon is for us to draw and the cave-dwelling, knuckle-dragging N17 miscreants to win up at The Etihad. That would ruin my day and dent both our and Ranieri’s title ambitions.

I may love football more than Arsenal but if Young Aaron smashes in the third at the Clock End I will be out my seat, jumping up and down and convinced this is OUR year.

And if it isn’t, how great would it be for a top chap like Ranieri to take a team which a year ago was relegation fodder to the title?

COYRRG


The history of Arsenal’s grounds through the ages

July 9, 2015

Arsenal’s Ground’s

(From 1887 to present))

I thought it would interesting to go back to our roots and take a look at the various grounds that we have played on from our inception in 1887 to the present day.

Let’s start with our very first games which were played on Plumstead Common –

Plumbstead Common

From January 8th, 1887 to June 30th, 1887

(No League games were played)

The Royal Artillery exercised their horses on the common which left the playing surface badly rutted and almost unplayable. The changing rooms were located in several local Pubs and the teams goal posts were stored in a neighbouring back garden and had to be erected for every game. They only played 5 games on the common before looking for another location.

Sportman’s Ground

From September 30th, 1887 to February 12th, 1888

(No League games were played)

The Sportman’s ground was located close to Manor Field and was previously a pig farm. The ground was also located on the edges of Plumstead Marshes and was constantly water logged. Arsenal was beginning to attract hundred if not thousands of fans and that created a problem due to the soggy grounds and inadequate facilities.

Manor Field

From August 1st, 1888 to June 30th, 1889

(No League games were played)

This was another ground that did not fit the team’s needs, they used the Railway Tavern as a dressing room and they borrowed wagons, to create elevation, for the fans to stand on. It became obvious that they had to move when an estimated 10,000 fans turned up for the London Charity Cup final.

Invicta Ground

From September 1st, 1890 to May 31st, 1893

(No League games were played)

This ground was perhaps the best in Southern England as it had a grandstand and a half decent pitch. Although they were shunned by other Southern clubs they went ahead and applied for membership in the league and their application proved to be successful.

In 1891 Arsenal became the first Southern club to turn professional. When the landlord of the Invicta Ground decided to increase the rent Arsenal took the opportunity to move on and they made the decision to purchase Manor Field. Their final game at Invicta was a 0-1 loss to Stoke City on April 29th, 1893.

Manor Field

From August 1st, 1893 to April 27th, 1913

(343 League games were played)

10, 000 fans were in attendance at the first game played here; it was against Newcastle United on September 2nd, 1893 and ended in a 2-2 draw. Their highest attendance was 32,850 against Aston Villa on October 8th, 1904. Their biggest win at Manor Field (which was also their highest all time league victory) was 12-0 against Loughborough on March 12th, 1900; it was also proved to be their lowest crowd when only 600 fans showed up.

In 1893 the club now known as Woolwich Arsenal FC was elected into the Football League Division 2. Due to a crowd disturbance against Burton Wanderers the ground at Manor Field was closed for 5 games; during this period Arsenal played 1 game at Priestfield Stadium and 1 game at Lyttleton Ground.

Sir Henry Norris purchased a plot of land 10 miles away in Islington and Arsenal started to build Highbury Stadium.

Highbury

From September 6th, 1913 to May 7th, 2006

(1,691 League games were played)

The first match at Highbury was 2-1 victory against Leicester Fosse and was watched by a crowd of 20,000. The final match against Wigan Athletic resulted in a 4-2 win and 38,359 people were in attendance.

The highest attendance at Highbury was when 73,295 watched a 0-0 draw against Sunderland on March 9th, 1935. The lowest attendance was when only 4,554 watched Arsenal lose 0-3 to Leeds United on May 5th, 1966.

The biggest home win was a 9-1 victory against Grimsby Town before 15,751 people on January 28th, 1931. The biggest defeat was a 2-6 loss watched by 30,000 against Sheffield United on March 26th, 1921.

Emirates Stadium

From August 19th, 2006 to post GunnerN5

( League games played TBD )

The move from Highbury to the Emirates Stadium enabled the club to increase the capacity from 38,419 attendees at Highbury to 60,432 at the Emirates. The increased revenue was needed to allow Arsenal to become more competitive in the transfer market.

The first league goal at the Emirates Stadium was scored by Olof Mellburg of Aston Villa the game ended in a 1-1 draw.

The Emirates story is in progress and will not be completed for many more seasons.

 

…………………………………………………………………………………………..

Compliments of Arsenal.com here are some famous home and away Firsts…

First competitive match (as Woolwich Arsenal):
v Newcastle Utd (h) – Manor Ground Plumstead 2 Sept 1893 – League (Second Divison) Drew 2-2 (W Shaw, A Elliott)

First competitive match at Highbury (as Woolwich Arsenal):
v Leicester Fosse 6 Sept 1913 – League (Second Division) Won 2-1 (Jobey, Devine pen)

First competitive match as Arsenal:
v Bristol City (h) 4 April 1914 – League drew 1-1 (Winship)

First league match at ‘home’:
v Newcastle Utd (h) – Manor Ground Plumstead 2 Sept 1893 – League (Second Divison) Drew 2-2 (W Shaw, A Elliott)

First league match away:
v Notts County (a) 9 Sept 1893 Lost 2-3 (A Elliott, W Shaw)

First Premier League match:
v Norwich City (h)15 Aug 1992 Lost 2-4 (Bould, Campbell)

First FA Cup match (Played at Manor Ground, Plumstead):
v Ashford United (h) 14 Oct 1893 – FA Cup (1)) Won 12-0 (Elliott 3, Henderson 3, Booth 2, Heath 2, Crawford, Powell)

First League Cup match:
v Gillingham (h) 13 Sept 1966 (Round 2) drew 1-1 (Baldwin)

First home match in European competition:
v Staevnet (Denmark) 22 Oct 1963 Inter-Cities Fairs Cup Lost 2-3 (Skirton, Barnwell)

First away match in European competition:
v Staevnet (Denmark) 25 Sept 1963 Inter-Cities Fairs Cup Won 7-1 (Strong 3, Baker 3, MacLeod)

First match in UEFA Champions League:
v RC Lens (a) 16 Sept 1998 Drew 1-1 (Overmars)

First match in Charity/Community Shield:
v Sheff Wed at Stamford Bridge. Oct 8 1931, Won 2-1 (Joe Hulme, David Jack)

First match at Emirates Stadium:
v Ajax (Dennis Bergkamp Testimonial) 22 July 2006. Arsenal 2 (Henry 55, Kanu 80) Ajax 1 (Huntelaar 37)

First competitive match at Emirates Stadium:
v Aston Villa 19 August 2006. Arsenal 1 (Gilberto 83) Aston Villa (Mellberg 54)

First player to be sent off at Emirates Stadium:
Ivan Campo (Bolton) (2 yellows) 14 April 2007 (Lge) (won 2-1)

First Arsenal player to be sent off at Emirates Stadium:
Philippe Senderos (v Portsmouth (Lge) 2 Sept 2007 won 3-1)

(Copyright 2015 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to http://www.arsenal.com as the source 8 Jul 2008)

GunnerN5


Stadiums – can we improve ours?

July 21, 2014

We’re good. City and Utd are sorted. So what’s going on with Chavs, Spuds and Pool. Surely they’re overdue upgrades. Anyone know what’s going on, and while we’re on the subject, any thoughts on improving our gaff?

Oh, and are The ‘ammers seriously moving into the Olympic Stadium, and exactly how far from the pitch will they be squatting in their cages?

Just a thought on Chelsea. What a dump that bit of it is. Many years ago I lived at The World’s End (border Chelsea/Fulham), and heard a great explanation why there are no Tube’s within the Sloane Sq, Fulham Broadway, Parsons Green triangle. Apparently that’s where the Plague bodies are buried. I concluded the resultant drinking water table pollution might explain the local inhabitants “difficulties”. Just a thought.

Back to our gaff. Ok, I’m in the minority in hating those giant blu-tacked on posters around the outside, and the hideously vulgar listing of dates when we won stuff around the top tier (err, modesty?), but what should be done to really lift match day experience.

Personally, I couldn’t care less. Go. Watch game. Leave. However, I do understand some like to get there early, soak up the atmosphere and eat and drink. Strikes me that it’s all good if you’re in Club or Box level, but for most it’s absolute crap. Seriously overprice shite food and drinks, with nowhere to sit. What about outside around the ground? Nothing. Of course they’re trying to get people inside to splash their cash, but really, is it working?

When I went to the game at Bayern last season, they have a system where you cannot spend cash inside the stadium, you buy a card/voucher and put however much you like on it. The food was better than ours and the drinks way more reasonable. Loads of seating everywhere and many fans there early.

Over to you. Stadium thoughts?

Written by MickyDidIt89


Hull Tigers Tamed?

December 4, 2013

Who would have thought that Hull Tigers would be in 10th place and in the top half of the table? Justifiably so – any team who can hammer Liverpool (even sans Sturridge) deserve plaudits. – but it should be remembered that prior to this they had lost to relegation fodder Crystal Palace and Spurs.

I had the misfortune to watch the first half of the Spurs game and it is a testament to the human spirit that people didn’t die of boredom.

Of course Hull have an ex-Spurs midfield pairing of Fattlestone and LillyLivermore. Despite being shipped out of Spurs as even more useless than the lemons whom they signed so expensively, they are doing well and Fats and Lilly are only 4 points behind their ex-employers!   Luckily for Bruce’s team they have a decent player in Elmohamady alongside them but I think for the first time in a couple of months we are going to see a large bus parked in the Hull half of the pitch. Expect Hull to play long ball up to Sagbo and then hope to score from set plays.

Bruce chose to play with 3 at the back against the Scousers and it proved to be effective but there is no chance he will do so tonight, especially if Walcott starts.

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Tom Fattlestone. Pre-Season Training

I am no Hull expert though I have had the honour of visiting the town which rightly has been chosen to be UK City of Culture in 2017.  Anyone who has driven over the suspension bridge and into the green and vibrant city will surely agree.

Stats: Hull have lost 5 out of their last 6 away games, and have won only one of their last 30 games on the road. Arsenal have been winning at both half time and full time in their last 5 home games. Before I get too confident it should be recalled that Hull beat us at The Emirates just a few years back (2008 – tempos fugit!). A repeat would be painful.

Arsenal:  Mr Wenger has already spoken of rotation so who gets rested? Looking at who has played most minutes this season (including internationals) it has to be Ozil, Ramsey, BFG and Giroud. Sagna is out with a hamstring tweak. Do we dare go into an important game with Bendtner and Walcott upfront? Can we drop over half the midfield? I don’t think so …. 3 points against Hull is just as valuable as 3 against Chelsea.

My Team:

a v h

I am averaging 9/11 so far this season but am very hesitant about the above team. The balance of Cazorla and Rosicky may be a bit lightweight and I would love to rest Giroud but think he has to continue until Walcott has game time and Podolski is fit. I hope to see Gnabry get some minutes tonight – it will be the first time I will see him in the flesh because …..

BR is going to the game and will be indulging in pre-game dinner and drinks. See you there.

COYRRG

written by Big Raddy