Where’s our joker in the pack?

November 7, 2014

This isn’t a post with any weight or merit or even structure as i’m typing it as i’m about to rush out the door, but Norfolk’s post yesterday got me reminiscing, shouldn’t we just enjoy football for what it is?

In my Arsenal supporting years there have always been star players but to complete a squad there has to be a few other types of men, the dependable Mr Consistents like Nigel Winterburn, Kevin Richardson, Gilberto. But there is also the need for other types of characters that whilst not the most accomplished footballers or at least not as accomplished as we would like, they brought something to the party.

I’m thinking in no particular order of players like Perry Groves (2 Championship Winners medals and a League Cup Winner somehow!), Eboue, John Jensen, these weren’t the most gifted of footballers but somehow the fans seemed to make a connection with them, the cheers when Jensen finally got that goal which led to the club selling “I was there” T-shirts.

Andy Linnighan and Steve Morrow were neither Mr Dependable or Cult hero but they did manage to score two of the most important goals in the clubs history. How long would either have survived at the club in today’s world of non stop critique?

When did football only become about the most skilful/influential players, wasn’t it more fun laughing at Gus Caesar mis controlling a pass for the ball to go out for a corner than it is to lambast a player for failing to thread an eye of a needle pass.

I can only imagine the reaction today when Lee Dixon looked up and lobbed it back to Safe Hands only for it to sail over his head and in to the goal, I was there, we laughed with a shake of the head, half in disbelief half in a one of those things it’s football sort of ways. He hadn’t become the worst player ever overnight, although he may still have been suffering the effects of a hefty Tuesday Club session, we will never know.

Sometimes you have to just accept that the players are human, and with that accept results like Tuesday with the “sh*t happens” shake of the head grin and hope it doesn’t happen to often.

But its hard to have fun when the players are so serious all the time, Podolski and BFG seem to be our jokers in the pack, but only Podolski shows that side of his character on the pitch, everyone else is a little too serious, but maybe thats something else that is missing from the game today, the characters that make the game fun, but then maybe the pressure around the game means we are drumming any personality out of players? If a player smiles on the pitch he is considered to not care…”look at him laughing, he shouldn’t be laughing, it should hurt him like it hurts us”…..it didn’t always hurt this much though did it?

Gooner in Exile


Arsenal goals of my years

April 11, 2013

I was going to write a post on my top 5 I was there goals, but realised I would miss too many goals from more recent times when I have attended nowhere near as much as I did in my youth. So instead I have picked the top 5 goals of my youth (that I was there for) goals that came at an important time of my Arsenal supporting life, aged 15-18 I had just graduated from standing in the Junior Gunners section to standing on the North Bank and there feeling the elation of every goal with so much more force.

The goals I have picked were moments that I have never forgotten from that era, pieces of outrageous skill, or importance…..moments that all football fans live for. Also serves as a reminder that not all Graham’s football was boring defensive and long, we had some exciting attackers to watch even when we were apparently awful to watch.

5. Steve Morrow v Sheffield Wednesday (1992)

The first unlikely hero of the season, Morrow broke into the box and scored the scrappy winner in the League Cup.

4: Anders Limpar v Liverpool (1992)

This game lives long in the memory, yes we had won the League at Anfield, yes Liverpool were not the side they once were, but they were still Liverpool, and beating them 4-0 didn’t happen that regularly.

But I can’t remember the other 3 goals, all I can remember is Anders Limpar’s outrageous lob of Mike Hooper from the centre circle, pre jumbotron, pre mass media, this goal still sticks in the memory, sheer brilliance.

3. Andy Linnighan v Sheffield Wednesday 1993

The first and only time I have been there to see Arsenal lift an FA Cup, the unfancied centre back who had had his nose rearranged by Mark Bright’s elbow rose to head home the winner deep in stoppage time.

2. Paul Merson v Sheffield Wednesday 1991

A beautiful chip, he’d been doing it quite a bit that season, I seem to remember one against Norwich too, this one came in a 7 goal drubbing of Sheffield Wednesday at Highbury.

1. Ian Wright v Everton 1993

The goal that summed Wrighty up, he will always be my favourite Arsenal striker, it’s the way he played the game, the enthusiasm in every touch, the joy with which he celebrated every goal, he just lived to score goals, and he scored some beauties in his time.

The goal itself a lovely assist from Seaman, Wrights first touch takes it over the defender, his second takes it back over the same man, his third lifts it over Big Nev. from memory the North Bank sang Ian Wright Wright Wright for a good five minutes after that goal.

Gooner in Exile