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About goats, the rain gods and a new Ivorian God. Going to the 1.FC Köln

Untold Arsenal on Twitter @UntoldArsenal

By Walter Broeckx

It is always fun to go to an Arsenal game. And this time it was no different.  Even though it was only a pre season friendly game it had something special. Or rather said a few things special.

After a nice and pleasant ride on the bumpy roads in Belgium, the smooth roads in Holland and the fast lanes of the German Autobahn we came to the Rhein Energie Stadion from the 1.FC Köln as the official name is. I had once been there at the stadium when it still was the Mungersdorfer stadion. A big oval stadium but now a nice modern and a bit English looking stadium. So the road to the stadium was familiar but the stadium was a new one and used for the world cup in Germany a few years ago.

There was a good atmosphere between the fans of both teams before kickoff. Gooners posed with Kölner fans for pictures. I had been sitting with my party in front of the main entrance of the Nordtribune and it was all happiness and lightness. And from the discussions I could over hear from German fans they all admired Arsenal before the game. They praised them before the game as a team that played brilliant and great football. I wondered if they were readers of Untold Arsenal. Apart from Podolski most Gooners didn’t know much about Koln but after coming back into the Bundesliga in 2008 they are a mid table team.

A few nice moments before kickoff. A very well respected minute of silence for the dead and wounded in Norway. But before that a very good spot of community signing of the club song of the 1.FC Köln.  Any Englishman who knows a bit of German will have wondered in which language this was written but I can assure you it was in German albeit in the local tongue.  The club and name of the town is pronounced “Kölle”. The only thing they should learn that after playing this song, they should stop the music and let the crowd start signing. Now they took away the building up of the crowd in fact. Well, but that is their problem.

Another funny moment was the entry of the male goat in the stadium as shown on the big TV. We  have a cannon in our logo and they have a male goat. And this male goat is there every game. I think he has a season ticket. Apparently they have been doing this since 1950 and the current goat is the 8th one in line to attend each home game of the biggest club from Cologne.  I just hope some kind of animal liberation front doesn’t feel aggrieved by this in some way. Just let the goat have its entertainment.

Another interesting element in this game was the fact that I have been standing to support our Gunners.  We had the choice between sitting and standing tickets but I didn’t want to sit out on the opportunity to stand for this game.  Okay this is the closest I can come to translating a great joke in Dutch but I don’t know if it still works in English.  (Err, no, it doesn’t work at all in English Walter.  Sorry.  Tony)

Talking about entertainment: this game was it. And what a bang we had. I know it is a bit of a silly joke maybe but we witnessed a blitzkrieg in Kölle. And the person responsible for this was Gervinho. I asked Wenger to give him his debut for me and boy he did and how he delivered!  A great ball from Jack who had a great 45 minutes and a splendid finish from our newcomer from Ivory coast.  As it was still early in the game a lot of beer flew around in joy in our part of the stadium. But luckily German beer is chemical free so it will have no bad effects on those who got a beer shower.

And when he doubled the score after Theo crossed it superbly between keeper and defender it was becoming a dream début for Gervinho. And a nightmare for the Kölle supporters.

But this is Arsenal and so Gervhinho hurt himself while scoring and was replaced around the half hour mark.  But Arsenal was well on top and I must say that they attacked with everything they had. Gibbs was more a left side attacker and not a left back. At times it looked as we played with 3 defenders.  Was this Wenger who had told him or was it just Gibbs who couldn’t hold himself back? Well I hope Wenger knows.

Our new right back, Jenkinson, had a very mixed 45 minutes. He did a great job for 46:50 minutes with some great interceptions, a vital block, some good crosses and then he was the third Arsenal player to score. Unfortunately in his own goal.  In the last seconds of the extra time from the first half he tried to clear a ball and punted it high over Sczesny in the Arsenal goal. You could hear his heart breaking. Never mind Carl, those things can happen to the best. I even remember Tony Adams scoring an own goal. Take it on the chin and hold your head up high. Just remember the time before this.

With only Gibbs staying on the field the roles were different in the second half.  And this time I felt it was Sagna who was asked to play very high up the pitch and Gibbs staying more at the back.  The result was a highly entertaining game of football.  Some show football at times and no better person to do this than Van Persie.  Nasri, Arshavin en Rosicky all joined in and we could have scored a few more goals. I will not even start an argument about the not given penalty on Arshavin.  I will keep this for the real football in the league.

But when you have artists on the field you also need workers.  And in the second half I was stunned by the work rate from one player in particular: Frimpong.  I don’t know how many attacks he stopped from the  1.FC Köln but it must have been a lot. I know he did a great job in pre-season last season only to get stopped by a terrible knee injury. Well he seems ready know to pick up where he left it.  For me he was the best man on the pitch in the second half.

But hey, what do I know I can only base this on what I saw in the stadium? Yet I thought he was wonderful,  and I thought Wilshere was equal to him in the first half.

The only real negative point came in the last minutes when Henderson injured his knee.  A very sad moment for this young man. I hope it turns out good for him tomorrow but it sure didn’t look good from the stands.

And maybe the worst part of it all was that right at this moment a section of the Arsenal fans found it necessary to start shouting: ‘spend some f*cking money’. The only moment I didn’t sing along and many of us kept their mouth shut.  Now that must have been a great moment for Henderson who was lying injured on the floor. Hearing the fans saying they want someone else on the pitch. Someone who cost money.

And that sure must have sounded nice in the ears of that other “no money” player Frimpong. Yeah that really is the way to show your support to a young player coming through the youth ranks. And what would Wilshere think of this? And Gibbs? And why don’t I include Ramsey in this, even though he did cost us money, since it wasn’t that much?  Or Szcsesny who came at 15-16 years and can be counted as someone we educated in our youth ranks.  Yeah that sure will help those young players in feeling wanted by some part of our fans.

And as if the weather gods agreed with my thoughts they opened the gates of heaven and the gods cried their eyes out over this shouting. It started raining, it came pouring down.  So we came all wet at our car and had to use the heating system to get us back on normal temperature.

It was a great day, with only a few minor things to feel sorry for.  A great first half our from Gervinho who showed he can score but he also has a eye for his team mates even though his passes didn’t reach them today. Oh well, next week the Emirates cup.  Hope those who are going, have two great days. I will be watching and supporting from my seat at home this time.

Oh, and one final note: I hope that you don’t lose your driving license for me texting enthusiastic messages, Tony.

(Fortunately no – I was driving but my friend in the car had access to my mobile so she read out the message and typed the reply Walter.  Us British are made of sterner stuff you know – stiff upper lip and all – I kept going at a steady 120mph and we made it home to watch the second half.  Tony)

The press have been saying for at least 8 years that top players will leave Arsenal.  But when did we first hear that claim?

At least don’t blame his bust

Under-rated or over-rated players: who is leaving who is stepping up

Untold Media Watch

We have a definite link between buying a club and match fixing: why journalists in the UK are not as exercised by the issue as those in other countries

Arsenal History

The Wenger Years reaches the cup win in 2003 and the statements that the top players were leaving

Making the Arsenal: the story of 1910

34 comments to About goats, the rain gods and a new Ivorian God. Going to the 1.FC Köln

  • Mandy Dodd

    A most enjoyable game to watch, some of out play was beguiling at times.
    But, in line with this forums media watch, can someone please deal with Stewart Robson, as an ex player he deserves some love and respect BUT he is so negative about the team and completely obsessed with defending. Remember he was the one who wanted us to lose to Utd to make Wenger sort things out!! We all know where some problems lie but this guy is becoming like the AAA, Alan Hansen, the Sun journalist rolled into one. Notice a few more blogs are picking up on his performance on Arsenal player.
    Nothing wrong with hearing his opinions buta bit more balance will help.
    But great to see Gervinho start so well and as I say, an enjoyable game , looking forward to the EC

  • What the titel i hope gervinho the man he is neeting 2 goal io 16 minte but god is 1 in hol world.

  • Naren

    Mr. Broeckx,
    Great read, you have had quite a memorable day. As for that joke, found it funny, but after re-reading it on knowing you have translated a joke. I guess it still counts as a joke! 🙂
    Didn’t that goat graze on the football pitch?
    By bumpy roads do you mean ridden with potholes? Does Belgium also have such roads?
    PS-Will you post the link to the photos here, after it has been uploaded?

  • Brickfields Gunners

    I only got to see the game from the 55th minutes on – and was happy with the way we played.

  • bob

    Walter,
    So wish I was there, and many thanks for sharing the atmosphere and gifting us the joy. (Btw, I think that goat might find it more enjoyable to spend life eating that grass than watching the match.)

    Mandy Dodd,
    I agree on Stewart Robson’s commentary. He does note the quality when it’s on display (Wilshere, Gervinho, Miyachi); but he SO often (even too often) sticks the foot in to cleat us/Arsene in the most self-righteous (AAA?) way. I’ll give him propers for being kind enough to Jenkinson by saying he was well positioned and hey, it could happen to anyone (or was it his side-kick who said all that, not certain). But when his sidekick corrected Robson on something (from Twitter) by Dan Roebuck (the Arsenal.com online play-by-play man), Robson did acknowledge his mistake, but it necessary to save face and slip in a tart “Does a lot of PR, Dan Roebuck.” Maybe it’s time to consider a Robson Watch (as part of Untold Media watching)? Am I kidding… not sure yet; but jeesh, he does beg so much negative attention, if anyone can bear listening to his all-knowing patriarchal smugness.)

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Sorry – these tabs keep moving!The willingness to take shots from the edge of the box had me cheering especially Rosicky’s.
    We had a very poor local comentator who did not know the players and refered to Djouru as Afobe .He did not know Henderson’s name when he came on and when was later carried off(but then neither did I!).
    Frimpong was strong and I really hope he has a good season for us .I did not get to see the goals and hope there will be replays or if possible could someone put up the website where we can view it .

  • Arvind

    Why would you jeer your team in a damn pre-season game and shout about money? Why would you? Oh wait..I don’t “attend” Arsenal games and am not a season ticket holder. Yes..that must be it…they make me sick..some fans..or whatever they are…

  • bob

    Arvind,
    I’ve heard rumors that they attended the match on an away-game “travel grant” being offered by The Sun.

  • popoola bentosin

    I think he more of goals 4 us when †ђξ season start gervihno Ў☺ΰ’re welcome

  • Arvind

    @Bob: If that happens true and you add it up to all of the ‘Untold Media watch’… now what I wouldn’t give for that to be proved…sadly though..

  • Arvind

    Edit: If that happens “to be” true…

    @OT: How about an Edit feature ..Tony/walter? for posts?

  • Brickfields Gunners

    As on the subject of own goals , I always worry when there are Brazilians in the Arsenal team -can anyone guess how many of them scored own goals ?And how many did not ?

  • Dark Prince

    Our defence still needs to be sorted out….its doesn’t portray a defence who’s confident in themselves….

  • C4

    Nice game overall, though I think a bit more discipline and focus in the way the high defensive line is played would help. i got the impression we were experimenting with an ultra-high line or something.
    What stood out to me though, is the way the “kids” and newbies out-performed the “veterans”.
    The much younger group of Jack, Aaron, Ryo, Gervinho, Carl, etc gave us the best performance of the game. In the 1st half, when Jack and Gervinho combined (liked they’ve played 2gether since they were 9 yrs old) to put us 1 up, I asked my mate the (foolish) question, “who needs Cesc?”
    Well I got my answer in the second half. WE need Cesc…
    But I still see us in the top four even if he left. Let him stay at least this season, so Jack and Aaron can grow into his shoes. One of Jack’s feet + one of Aaron’s feet = 1 of Cesc’s feet, so we should be OK. 😀

  • WalterBroeckx

    Brickfield on Arsenal the goals are free to watch I thought?
    http://player.arsenal.com/matches/player/594-fc-cologne-v-arsenal-bitesize

  • C4

    I’m also curious how an “all-kids” midfield of Jack, Ramsey and Frimpong instead of Song would have done. I’d love to see that combination some time, the kids have tons of heart and determination.
    Anyone seen Pedro Botelho in action? How good is he? Is he ready to do a few games at left back?

  • WalterBroeckx

    C4,
    I think you are right. If we can keep Cesc for one more year and let Jack and Aaron learn the trade with less pressure on them they should be able to destroy any team.
    Must say Jack outshone everyone yesterday in the first half with this 45 minutes. Aaron did fine but had a few errors which could have cost us a goal. He still has a year to catch up compared to Jack.

  • WalterBroeckx

    Also good to see on Arsenal player that at half time Sagna and Nasri immediately went up to the unlucky Jenkinson to give him some support.

  • Gary

    Thank you for an enjoyable article Walter. Wish I could be there with you in Köln but enjoyed the game watching from South Africa. I agree completely with Mandy and the other comments about Stewart Robson. In fact I tweeted yesterday that if only we could get rid of Stewart Robson the team’s defense will improve overnight. At least in the opinion of the fans because I think his constant negativity has a lot to do with the attitude of many of the fans. To expand on this a little – Liverpool conceded 3 goals in each of their last 3 pre-season games, and no one has said anything about a crisis at Liverpool. Game after game we have to endure the whining and moaning of Stewart Robson, and he is being paid by the club. I believe if AST and dark scarfs or whatever they call themselves want to do something useful, they will work for the removal of Stewart Robson.

  • C4

    @Walter
    True what you say about Aaron needing to catch up to Jack. I think Aaron’s well on his way to becoming a midfield monster. His vision is impressive, and the combo of him and Jack is mouth-watering. I enjoyed watching Jack skipping past defenders like they were decorations or refs. i was actually laughing at one point…
    Jack is sensational, he plays on a level not too far from where Cesc plays (relatively speaking). The thing with the 2 of them is that they play the game up to a few seconds ahead of what’s happening at the time. They don’t react, they predict and act preemptively. Some of their passes are made a few milliseconds before the team mate starts their run. That’s special… It’s something I see in the “Andrei van Nasregas” combo as well, call it super-awareness. Jack has it. I think it’s this telepathy plus their off the ball movement that makes them such a formidable force, and gives rival defences cold sweat nightmares weeks before they play them.
    Anyway, over to the newbies. I was rather impressed with the movement of Gervinho, he clearly LOVES excusrions into the box. Could he be that #9 some have been crying for? A few months in the Arsenal system should yield some interesting results.
    I think I’ll also have to head off to Church, so I can put in a request upstairs for Ryo to get a work permit. Properly mentored and trained, I see him wreaking havoc with full backs. He made 1 chap look stationary when did his 1st step-over move.

  • Ugandan Goon

    @Mandy and others,
    I am glad you raised the robson issue, i am amazed he keeps his job, i often wonder why a tick like that, gets a prime spot on the website- it should be on brand, on message or get the fuck out, ex player or not- we are not running a fucking charity.
    i stopped watching his tactical reviews about a year ago because it was too negative besides i had seen the game, i felt if he wanted to talk about it so much he should get his coaching badges and really show us how it works in the real world.
    Cripes, i didn’t realise i hated the guy so much.

  • If anyone would like to do a Robson watch on Arsenal TV I will be happy to publish it.

    I’d also like to note just how we do seem to have a full squad here…

    Arsenal used these players…

    Wojciech Szczesny
    Laurent Koscielny
    Carl Jenkinson
    Kieran Gibbs
    Thomas Vermaelen (c)
    Theo Walcott
    Aaron Ramsey
    Alex Song
    Jack Wilshere
    Gervinho
    Marouane Chamakh
    Lukasz Fabianski
    Vito Mannone
    Bacary Sagna
    Tomas Rosicky
    Samir Nasri
    Robin van Persie
    Carlos Vela
    Ryo Miyaichi
    Emmanuel Frimpong
    Sebastien Squillaci
    Johan Djourou
    Andrey Arshavin
    Conor Henderson
    Benik Afobe

    Plus we might include a few who played for the reserves

    Samual Galindo
    Henri Lansbury
    Oguzhan Ozyakup
    Sanchez Watt
    Chuks Aneke
    JET

    And then Ignasi, Coquelin, Diaby, Fabregas…

    That’s 36 players all of whom are either at the top of their game, or who might conceivably get there. (Coquelin is for example with France in the under 20 world cup finals).

    36 players – and we can fit them all into the 25 because so many are still under 21.

    And I have probably forgotten someone utterly obvious.

  • Ugandan Goon

    @Walter,
    I am not animal rights nut but just like to say, that billy goats have rights too man! how would you feel about being led, by some fascist into a stadium full of people, without a single stitch of clothing?
    And as if that wasn’t enough, the fascist television director compounded you misery by focussing everyone’s attention on your naked self, so not just the people of cologne today and the millions watching on telly but audiences far into the future can laugh at you?
    Of course if the goat enjoyed all this that is fine but actually, no- that makes it a flasher!- i am going to send a letter of complaint to the daily mail.
    shocked and confused of Kampala, Uganda.

  • bob

    Ugandan Gooner,
    I say free the poor goat and replace with Stewart Robson, fully clothed please.
    Arvind,
    Yep, I was just kidding about the AAA fans being there on The Sun travel scholarships, but I’m not so sure about Stewart Robson.

  • Notoverthehill

    Tony you forgot Kyle Bartley. He as not fit for the Asian part of the programme, but according to Youngguns was hoping for a 1.FCKohn jaunt. Need to check for the German ALt-codes!

  • bob

    all,
    Sorry, but I thought I’d ask (I really don’t know, so please bear with my ignorance, but:) Are the Robson’s – Stewart and Bryan – at all (don’t snigger, yet) related?

  • WalterBroeckx

    FREE THE GOAT!!!!!! 😉

  • jayj

    Being a under 9’s junior coach (FA coaching 1st level), I’ve noticed players especially newcomer defenders. Worried a little nervous most of them do score own goals, its the norm and it helps getting it out of the system and then you’ll see them settle down.

  • M.V

    “Andrei van Nasregas” lol…is he for sale?
    Glad to see positive comments about Rosicky! He’s my favorite player!

  • andy bishop

    I thought Wilshire and Ramsey were class..we moved the ball great in the first half and Gervinho looks a live wire. Carl Jenkinson looks as though he could become a class act although.. once again he is another that lacks natural defensive instincts. A natural defender would have let the ball run away toward the touchline and shielded it from danger rather than try and play a fancy ball. Defensively we still look very shaky under pressure. Second half was disappointing.. Arshavin looks overweight so does Vela. Its hard to pick our first eleven at the moment. I think a lot of places are up for grabs roll on the Emirates Cup.

  • Ian Trevett

    Good report Walter. Would loved to have been there.

  • Gooner Gal

    @ Walter, I really enjoyed this report. It’s a shame to hear Arsenal fans behaving like that though.

  • Micko

    @Bob
    No Stewart and Bryan are not related, although you could almost believe they were.
    I agree with everyone else, that Stewart Robson should be sacked from Arsenal TV and banned from the ground. Maybe he’s auditioning for a pundits role on MUTV (sorry, Sky Sports as it’s also known!).

  • bob

    Micko,
    Thanks, mate. We’ll just have to look for some other dots to connect. (There’s so few these daze :))