One Cockerel does not a summer make

April 30, 2017

So here we go folks, the final North London Derby at WHL. This occasion really should have called for the daddy of pre-matches, but unfortunately there are some trees that need a hug…..so you are stuck with me.

I need to say in advance that I have a superstition about being too condescending ahead of these games so if you are expecting lots of belittlement and ridicule then disappointment will be the order of the day. Having said that the rest of you can fill yer boots.

I strangely feel a degree of sadness that this is the last outing at their place, as WHL holds some fond memories for us. I am normally very nervous about these games. On reflection I think this is because we have pretty much been the favourites in games against them since some fellow called Newton had an apple fall on his head. As such I think the expectancy to win adds more angst to the occasion. This time however I have them down as favourites. Spurs are the form team this season while we have struggled.

Stating this actually doesn’t cause me any issues because this aberration can be redressed in readiness for next season. A shift in the balance of power?……pffft (he expectorates on the floor in distaste). As Lord Wenger intimated the other day, one cockerel does not a summer make. If anything Spurs form versus ours this season may be the main proverbial kick up the derriere that we needed. If it turns out to be the catalyst for action that sees us awaken from our slumber and head into next season a different animal, then I will doff my cap to those white lillies and say thank-you. I may even resort to a chicken on a beach ball as my screen saver……ok maybe not….still a few white wine spritzers clouding my judgement this morning.

I am reconciled with the fact it is now near impossible for us to celebrate St. Tott’s day this year. If you gave me a choice between winning the F.A cup and finishing below them or finishing above them with no silverware then I would take the former all day. This is a real possibility for us so it could be that in a few weeks time we are actually celebrating a more successful season than them. How galling would that be for them?

Onto team matters. I am not sure if a mere stand in for the pre-match is allowed to mutter these sacred words, but here goes………..

my team (ooh it does make one feel powerful) :

 

Cech

Holding Koscielny Gabriel

Ox Coquelin Ramsey Monreal

Ozil Sanchez

Welbeck

Why change the formation that has revived our fortunes recently. I would also like to stick largely with the same players with a couple of proviso’s. I think the pace of Welbeck with Ozil and Sanchez flitting about behind him would suit this game more. Giroud and Walcott are useful impact subs. I think we need the defensive graft of Coquelin in a disciplined role front of the defence. They are dangerous in that area and a big game from him could be a deciding factor. If he is able to largely stifle them in this area and free up the rest of our team in attack then I will be very hopeful. Xhaka has played well recently but is more reckless and we can’t afford to be down to 10 men in this game. Other than that it is as you were.

As I said, based on form and them being at home they are the favourites…….but I have a feeling in me bones. Being favourites carries that extra psychological burden. Also our new system will be far less easy for them to predict than when we were labouring with the 4-3-3 system. Even we don’t yet fully know what Arsenal will turn up in this system, so it should create some doubt and uncertainty in their minds.

All this should mean that for once, us rather than them, can approach the game with less to lose and can literally just go out and play without burden. There is one final consideration. This is a historic day for them. There must be a few nerves in their camp that the final NLD at old WHL could go down as an Arsenal win. WHL holds some fond memories for the Arsenal. Who can forget the 3rd May 1971 or the 25th April 2004? Let the record books show that Sunday 30th April 2017 saw Spurs title bid crash down around them as the good guys in red and white registered a historic final win at WHL.

COYRRG’S

Written by GoonerB

 


The Magic of the FA Cup returns on Sunday

April 21, 2017

On July 20th, 1871 at a Football Association meeting a discussion was held about “breathing life” into its Challenge Cup. After the formal business was concluded,

  1. W. Alcock proposed: “That it is desirable that a Challenge Cup should be established in connection with the Association, for which all clubs belonging to the Association be, invited to compete.” The idea was received at once with general favour, and at a subsequent meeting held on October 16th 1871 the rules were drafted, the entries were received and history took a deep breath and prepared for the plunge.

That was the day that the FA Cup was born and 146 years later the magic remains.

The first FA Cup semi finals were held in 1872:

The two fixtures were:

Crystal Palace v Royal Engineers & Queens Park v Wanderers with both games ending in 0-0 draws. Royal Engineers won their replay 3-0, but it was a different story for Queens Park; public donations had been used for their long trip down from Glasgow for the first semi final at Kennington Oval but unfortunately they were unable to arrange the funding for the journey back for the replay and were forced to withdraw from the competition. However the lack of funds had a silver lining as it allowed the Scottish pioneers to hold their heads high and retain their dignity as they returned to Scotland unbeaten.

Shirt numbers were not even imagined back then and knickerbockered players were distinguished by the colour of either their caps or stockings. The crossbar was a length of tape or rope. Inside the touchlines the field was unmarked, chuck ins were taken with one hand and the teams changed ends after every goal was scored. There was little or no heading of the ball and defence was rarely considered. The game was based on dribbling with most of the team backing up the man in possession, somewhat like a standing scrum.

A few Semi Final facts-

Most used stadium: Villa Park 55 occasions.

Highest attendance: 88,141 Everton v Manchester United in 2009

Biggest win: 6-0 Newcastle over Fulham in 1908

Biggest post war victory: 5-0 Stoke over Bolton in 2011

Most games needed for a result: 4 – Arsenal vs. Liverpool in 1980

Highest scoring game: 5-3 Hull over Sheffield United in 2014

Most semi final appearances: Arsenal 29

The semi final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest in 1989 at Hillsborough ended in tragedy when 96 spectators were killed in a crowd surge due to overcrowding. The cause of this tragedy was studied and the conclusions reached have helped in the design of new stadiums.

Our first semi final was in 1906 when we lost 2-0 to Newcastle United.

Arsenal are now appearing in their all time record 29th semi final, 11 of them under the management of Arsène Wenger. Arsène has also won the cup on a record 6 occasions along with George Ramsay who was the club secretary of Aston Villa from 1874 to 1926.

This season the semi final draw pits four of the Premier League’s best teams against each other.

Chelsea vs. Tottenham Hotspur on April 22nd.

Arsenal vs. Manchester City on April 23rd.

At this point I cannot think of a better ending to the season than Arsenal beating Tottenham in the final.

GunnerN5


Opposing views about Arsene Wenger erupt in violence

April 4, 2017

I’ve been watching in dismay videos of fights between various factions of Arsenal supporters both during and after the Manchester City game. I guess it was only a matter of time before the different groups clashed but as a long time supporter I found it to be very sad. It’s a long time since I attended games on a regular basis but when I did I never witnessed a fight between Arsenal fans – that was always reserved for the opposition and not our own.

The fight in the stand appeared to be between those that had hung up a pro Wenger sign and those that felt it did not support their opinion. Outside the ground it was near the guy holding Arsenal Fan TV interviews and again it was between those with opposing views on Arsene.

Those involved appeared to be in their twenties and thirties and their main comparison would obviously be Arsene’s early years when we winning on a consistent basis. The feeling is shared by people in all age groups but hopefully the older generations would only verbalize their thoughts and not resort to violence.

My opinion is that both sides of those involved in the fights should be identified and banned for life from attending any Arsenal games.

I have several questions that I would like to some opinions on.

  1. Is it mainly the younger fans that would resort to violence?
  2. Is a lifetime ban appropriate?
  3. Do the Arsenal Fan TV post game interviews stir up emotions unnecessarily?
  4. When should Arsene announce the decision on his future?
  5. Should Arsenal ban the use of signage in the ground?
  6. Is fighting amongst Arsenal fans commonplace?

Written by GunnerN5


How rare is it to win a League Championship?

March 27, 2017

The first Football League Championship played was in 1888/89 when Preston North End was crowned as champions. They were also winners of the FA Cup beating Wolverhampton Wanderers 3-0 in the final therefore becoming the very first winners of the League and Cup double.

Final 1888/89 League Table:

Since that time there have been one hundred and seventeen league championships encompassing both the old League Division 1 and the Premier League. How rare is a championship victory – well incredibly enough since the formation of the league in 1888 only twenty four different teams have tasted the sweetness of victory. Five of those teams have dominated winning sixty seven championships or 57.3 % of the time.

Over the years approximately one hundred and fifty different teams have competed for the League Championship with just ten of those teams winning ninety trophies or 76.9% of the time.

During the twenty first century a mere five teams have been crowned as champions. The data shows that it’s a very rare occurrence to win the championship and that double digit winners are even rarer – only three in football league history. Since the inception of the Premier League only six different teams have raised the trophy out of the forty seven teams who have competed for the championship.

Among the all time Championship winners Arsenal is placed third and is in the elite group of double digit winners.

All time League Championship Table.

Only five teams in the current Premier League have won a title in either the PL or the old Div 1 in the past twenty seven seasons and one hundred and twenty six other teams have tried and failed to win either league.

Written by GunnerN5


A successful season? You decide ………………

March 20, 2017

What would success look like for you by the end of the season given the current situation?

We are in trouble, we haven’t lost 4 out of 5 consecutive Premiership games in the Wenger era until now.

Is there anything that you feel can happen in the next few weeks to improve the mood.

Questions from RC78


Footballs First Super Star

March 16, 2017

The Right Honourable Arthur Fitzgerald Kinnaird

(16 February 1847 – 30 January 1923)

 

Arthur Fitzgerald Kinnaird was educated at Eton and Trinity College he graduated in 1869 and went to work in the family bank which after a later merger became Barclay’s Bank and he remained a director of Barclay’s until his death in 1923.

His football career began at Cheam School; he was captain of the school team in 1959 at twelve years of age. He played in the second FA Cup Final where he led The Wanderers to victory in the 1873 final, scoring the second and winning goal. The Sporting life reported that The Wanderers victory over Oxford University was “in great measure due to the extremely brilliant play of their captain”. There was a morning kick off to at Lille Bridge as it was near the river Thames and would allow the players to watch the Boat Race later in theday.  Kinnaird went on to play in eight more finals winning a further four. In the 1877 final against Oxford University he became the very first player to score an own goal.

He also played for Scotland in only the second ever international which took place in 1873 at the Oval; he was born in London but was able to play for Scotland due to his family’s heritage – it was to be his only cap.

This is how the teams were listed:

England:
Alexander Morten (Crystal Palace, captain), black cap and brown stockings
Alexander George Bonsor (Wanderers), light blue and red cap
Charles John Chenery (Crystal Palace), blue and black cap, blue knickerbockers, blue stockings
William Edwin Clegg (Sheffield), blue cap
Alfred George Goodwyn (Royal Engineers), yellow blue and black stockings and cap
Ernest Harwood Greenhalgh (Nottingham), red white and blue cap
Hubert Heron (Uxbridge), blue stockings, blue cap with yellow crest
Leonard Sidgwick Howell (Old Wykehamists), cerise cap
Captain William Slaney Kenyon-Slaney (Household Brigade), red gold and black cap
Robert Walpole Sealy Vidal (Oxford University), white knickerbockers, dark stockings
Pelham George von Donop (Royal Engineers), red and blue stockings and cap.

Scotland:
Robert Gardner (Queen’s Park, captain), light blue cap
John Edward Blackburn (Royal Engineers), scarlet and blue fez
William Gibb (Clydesdale), black cap with magenta stripes
William Ker (Queen’s Park), no cap
Arthur Fitzgerald Kinnaird (Wanderers), blue and white cap
William Muir Mackinnon (Queen’s Park), blue and scarlet cowl
Henry Waugh Renny-Tailyour (Royal Engineers), blue and black cap, yellow tassel
Robert Smith (South Norwood), black cap
Joseph Taylor (Queen’s Park), white cap blue stars
James John Thomson (Queen’s Park), blue with white stars
David Wotherspoon (Queen’s Park), scarlet cowl.

According to Charles Alcock in the Football Annual of 1873 he was without exception the best player of the day; capable of taking any place on the field; is very fast and never loses sight of the ball; an excellent captain. He had a full auburn beard and was known as a fearless competitor with a huge love of football and life.

He won football Honours with The Wanderers – FA Cup winners: 1873, 1877, 1878; and with the Old Etonians – FA Cup winners: 1879, 1882. He was also on the losing side in the FA Cup final in: 1875, 1876, 1881, 1883

Being an all round sportsman he also excelled in other sports becoming a champion in swimming, tennis and international canoeing.

He was made an FA committeeman in 1868; became treasurer in 1877 and president of the FA from 1890 until his death in 1923.

GunnerN5


Arsenal: expectation and enjoyment

February 6, 2017

Someone close to me has just been diagnosed with severe depression.

We talk at length on a regular basis and it’s always been clear to me that he sets himself up to fail. For him, being anything other than the best at anything he does, renders it all completely pointless, resulting in the inevitable doom and gloom.

Ironically he is the same bloke that I do many things with, all of which are very simple, and which have yielded some of our happiest memories. I am pleased he is now getting professional help as I can only offer my rather simplistic take on life.

Look for what makes you happy, and do it.

I share the view of Peaches regarding Arsenal’s past week. The loss to Watford at home hurt more than the loss to Chelsea away. Now the league title is out of reach, I feel a burden has been removed. Of course I’d like us to win the thing, but we now have fourteen league games remaining as well as some FAC and CL matches, so it’s time to look at where the fun is to be had, because if every game is going to make you miserable, then don’t watch and certainly don’t go.

I will be watching, I hope to go, and I will enjoy, and as anyone who knows me will understand I will only be looking for goals and excitement. Simple fellow, simple needs.

MickyDidIt89