A Gunner’s Euro Kit Bag

June 9, 2016

The Euros. Summer football. European time zone. Superb. Let’s get ready. There is much essential planning to be done, stocking up and dates in diary to cancel, so I hope my little kit bag guide will help you enjoy a memorable tournament.


The very most vital piece of kit this. No armchairer worth his salt can watch even the opening ceremony without a completed chart. I have never entered a single tournament unprepared on this front. Chas linked us to the one in The Mail on Sunday, and genuinely top notch it is too. Down to the re-cycling depot in the village I went yesterday, and successfully unearthed two of the very same.

I have to confess that I do not enter predicted scores, only winners/losers through to group stages and beyond, but perhaps you are more thorough.

Also essential is to have more than one chart should there be other footballistas in the same house. “Told you so’s” are an essential part of the chart experience, and evidence is crucial.

My Son and I have a simple points system for the group stages, with 4, 3, 2 and 1 points allocated to the final group standings. In other words, we have something meaningful attached to each and every game.


On this subject, I am less than my usual tolerant self. Get real and do the healthy eating early in the day, because with first group games at 2pm, there’s no room to manoeuvre from then on. It’s junk food, so let’s just deal with that like adults. Pizzas will form the foundation of the tournament, and my personal recommendation is to get down to the supermarket and stock up on Dr. Oetker Ristorante Pizza Pepperoni. Cheap, thin bottoms and the connoisseur’s choice. I say so. My Son says so. We know what we’re talking about here. They come in at a modest 750 calories. In other words, some morning fruit, with as many as two of these boys later in the day, and we’re still within acceptable boundaries of a controlled diet (oh big smiley face).


Now this is a very complex topic, so strap on and listen carefully. Get this wrong, and you have four very messy weeks ahead. My advice here is for the alcohol abuser only, so all tea totallers can boogey on to the next section.

Let’s be realistic here, we’re talking eight hour sessions, so careful thought is required, otherwise things could get very out of focus before the final whistle of the last game of the day.

Rule number one, is never mix the grain and the grape. You’ll need to be in good condition to crack on the following day. I think the real pro could alternate grains and grapes from one day to the next, but you must be the judge of your own abilities on this one.

Pacing yourself can be greatly aided by keeping an eye on alcohol content. Peaking early can be fatal. As our own Ant knows, there are some very delicious feminine, light, fizzy and rather cheeky white’s out there to ease yourself into a session. Sturdy reds to wash down the tobasco drenched pizza, sherry to savour the evening fixture, and port to complete the day.

Grains. Simple formula here, and you all know the drill. Light first, Special brew last.

A final recommendation for the dedicated follower. Drink your way around the map of Europe, selecting only beverages brewed in the country of the side you will be following in any particular match. Belgian ales brewed by monks, German lagers, Russian vodkas and so on.


There will still be lawns to be mown and dogs to be walked, perhaps you hoover things in your house, I don’t know, but do deploy evasion tactics. Personally, my calf muscle is going to break rather badly tonight after surfing, and when during the tournament I bravely go out in the car with surfboards on the roof, it will be to considerately lend them to a mate in need for a few hours. I’m like that. You too may have hobbies that require attention, so all I’m saying is the key to a successful tournament is in the planning.


Always a tricky subject, but one I enjoy. There will be nations you harmlessly enough enjoy to “disrespect”, and of course beware, there will be Spurs players on display. If there are any “sensitives” in your household, a cautionary pre-tournament warning could be displayed. A friendly Mr Marmite DJ style A4 banner forewarning loved ones, perhaps.


So, in conclusion, you have two days remaining. Please remember that tournaments begin with a sprint. Three matches a day winds down to a more relaxed pace as things progress to the later stages, so don’t knock yourself out in the early rounds.

In the words of Keith Richards “I’ve done world tours I didn’t even know I was on”. Stay focussed, plan well, and you’ll remember the thing. Enjoy.

written by MickDidit


Arsenal at Euro 2012? Interim Report

June 12, 2012

I can’t speak for anyone else but my prime interest in what has been a very good tournament (so far) is the Arsenal players. After one round of games how are we faring?

Arshavin.  AA had a super game and was involved in most of the attacking Russian play. Contrary to the pundits knee-jerk reactions, AA played in his normal position of right attacking midfield. He was pacy, beat his man at will and his passing was excellent. We have seen games like this from him before but they are few and far between. More of the same please and then let’s get a juicy fee for him.

Rosicky. TR struggled in a team which look poor. Forced to go wide to find space he could not influence the game,  and his own high standards he will disappointed. There were some tidy flicks, turns and passes but in a team with Milan Baros as the lone striker it was always going to be difficult against a Russia team possessing a fine midfield. Expect better tonight.

One for Irish …

Bendtner. Didn’t score but played well. He plays a different role for Denmark than earlier in his career when he was primarily on the left. Used s a lone central striker he had his back to goal most of the game and looked to bring the onrushing midfielders into the attack. I thought he worked hard but without much success. His new role for Denmark is what I hoped Chamakh would bring to Arsenal – why didn’t AW give Nik the same opportunity?

Szczesny. Nightmare of a game which will haunt him for years. A poor decision led to the Greek goal and another to his sending-off. It could be said that he took the red rather than concede a certain goal, in which case it worked well for Poland. Can’t see him getting another game in the tournament.

RvP. Another man who disappointed. I cannot recall him being so wasteful in any game last season. Was it the expectation? Was he too tense? In his defence he created the chances and was in position to score, if he continues to find the space he will punish Germany.

Podolski. My first real look at him and I liked what I saw. Played much deeper than I expected. He is strong, direct and has a good shot. Early days but I can see why we bought him and why he scores so often.

The Ox. Needed much better service from an England team which showed no creativity. If Hodgson is looking to O-C to be the spark then he must tell the team to get the ball to him early. A few good runs and a couple of decent passes. He was understandably tense and frustrated with himself when things went wrong. We have signed a gem.

Walcott. 3 minutes of action. One touch. Better than Ashley Young.

All in all a bit disappointing. I hoped to see Koscielny start ahead of Mexes (who has the worst haircut I have ever seen) – perhaps he will get his chance later in the competition.

How are we doing?  5 out of 10.   Have the ability – Could do better.

Written by Big Raddy

Andrei Arshavin – One Last Hurrah

June 7, 2012

Transfers are very much on my mind, but it’s tough as I have no idea what my budget is. I am going to hazard a guess that I have £10m before I have to launch into the “sell to buy” category. We already have Podolski to ease the pressure on Robin, so where is strengthening needed. I say a more creative advanced midfielder, and a defence stiffener.

In line with my well voiced policy that we should only bring in better than what we have, then it’s tough, no impossible, on my budget. Or is it?

I think our CB’s will be fine, so I’m going to lash out all the dough on an experienced DM. A De Jong type.  

As for my AM, I say think about this:

Friday June 1: Russia 3 Italy O.

Russian League Champions: Zenit St. Petersburg.

Captain of Russia: Andrei Arshavin.

The match report for the Zenit game against Dynamo Moscow in Sovetsky Sport noted that Arshavin was “the hardest-working and most dangerous player on the field”. Hardest working!! Let’s face it, Dick Advocaat would not select AA as Captain if he had commitment and attitude problems.

With Arshavin back as AM there would be no hindering the opportunities for understudies as AA is 31, and this would allow plenty of games for whoever Arsène sees long term for that role. Andrei  has always wanted to play in the middle just behind the striker and that’s where we should start him. I was staggered by how trim and fit he looked in this picture playing on Friday.

I’d get him back, play him where he wants and tell him (as Ferguson did to Cantona) not to bother tackling and tracking back. With a tough defensive midfield behind him, we may actually see the real Arshavin in Arsenal colours.

It may only be for one season, but perhaps that’s exactly what we need. Our Russian could just flourish in One Last Hurrah.

Written by MickyDidIt89

Arsenal Win 8 : 2

September 3, 2011

How did our lads fare in the recent spate of meaningless  important Internationals?

Well, first up was our shiny, new striker from Korea, Mr Young, who opened the week with a hatrick., and a fine one at that. The first being a quick run behind the last defender and a powerful volley. The second, a towering header from a corner (watch and learn Chamakh) and for the third he received the ball in the Theo position then struck a firm drive past the beleaguered Lebanese keeper. It is true that Lebanon are more the Hendon of the International football firmament, but they still have to be beat 🙂

Theo played 80 minutes for England, setting up the third goal for Rooney and generally looking threatening. He missed a sitter but the commentators said the ball had bobbled, didn’t see it myself..

Aaron Ramsey another of our Captain’s scored the second for Wales in a 2-1 victory with a fine drive. Lovely.

RvP smashed 4 goals past a sorry San Marino side but in the words of the great prophet Glenn Hoddle “you can only play against what you play against”. And RvP must have left the pitch delighted.

Benayoun played 90 minutes for a losing Israel.

Arshavin got an assist for Russia’s only goal win against Macedonia. He also played the full game.

Per was an unused substitute for. Germany

Sagna was an unused substitue for France.

Oh and Cesc scored twice and missed a penalty  in a comeback win for Spain.

As far as I can see no Arsenal players were injured but we have the midweeks to come.

All in all a fine night for our Internationals with 8 goals and 2 assists.

Written by Big Raddy