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Do we always need someone to boo – plus team from Billy the Dog

By Billy the Dog McGraw

Landlord, The Toppled Bollard, Islington

As usual for a Friday I trotted off to the allotments on Hackney Marshes where I bumped into Dennis Bergkamp who was bemoaning the state of his turnips.

“But what about that Terry Enry?” I enquired, ingloriously.

“But what about my turnips?” said Dennis, and I think we decided  to leave it at that.  Except he then looked furtively over his shoulder (which gives him quite a view of the world, what with Dennis being taller than the Post Office Tower) and then looked back to me (well over my head actually, me being more of the Arshavin standard measurement) and said, “All football is bent.   Listen to Liam.  Read Roy Keene.  Watch my lips.”   And then he went quiet.

We discussed why English people eat Brussels Sprouts and why we have to import them from Belgium, why swedes come from Sweden, and why Freddie had red hair, but eventually talk turned to alcohol, and I took Dennis to the pub.

Dennis does not drink so I had to make up for him with a quadruple whisky and ginger as a chaser to the opening four vodkas, as we got down to the business end of the business end (whatever that means).

We talked about hating players, both on your own team and another team.  Arsenal loved Henry, so the rest of the world hate Henry.  That’s how it goes.  Arsenal are playing the best football in the world, and Eduardo suffered the most horrific injury in the world – so now Eduardo has to be the bete noir.  (Apparently that’s Dutch).

My mate Roger (to whom MAKING THE ARSENAL is dedicated, as you will know if you have got your copy yet) didn’t hate players, but he was never over enamoured by Ray Parlour and that Dixon character.    Didn’t really matter too much what they did, Roger never really liked them, and felt that every victory was gained in spite of them, and every defeat was because of them.

Perry Groves told a story recently about stepping up to take a penalty and being booed by his team’s own supporters – although I don’t know which club he was talking about.  Roger didn’t care much for Perry either, and got a bit fed up with me when I pointed out that we scored more goals with him on the pitch than when he was not on the pitch.   But I was always careful to put such points to Roger when he was driving, so he couldn’t do very much except make comments about me not knowing where the bar was when we got  to the pub.

My point is that we seem to need someone to boo – or at least dislike.

We don’t get it here too much on UNTOLD ARSENAL because if someone comes on and tells us that Denilson is lightweight, Diaby can’t pass straight and Eboue is too Eboue, then I tend to write back to them a detailed and comprehensive analysis of football, statistics, and the two solutions of each passing movement as a quadratic equation with both real and complex coefficients.   I also tell them to fuck off.

Diaby and Denilson are particularly interesting cases – because the stats are very much in their favour, and if you ever spend a game watching just them rather than the game all around them, it is illuminating in the extreme.  I did it once for a piece I wrote in a Sunday paper, and then went back and watched the match again on TV – totally different game.  Its a really odd perspective.

Denilson might play tomorrow – I really hope so.  That 6-1 total and absolute annihilation of Everton on Day One was down to a middle three of Song, Denilson, Cesc.  (Actually did you know that some of the anti-Arsenal blogs are now Denilson deniers and actually say that we lost 3-0.  A bit like the BNP who refuse to recognise all the black players who played for England.  So when we beat Lichtenstein 7-1 they reckoned we lost 1-0).

All of which is a diversion from tomorrow, and (just because I couldn’t stand any more of it) the wild insanity of the anti-Henry, anti-Brady, anti-France blogs, radio, newspapers and TV of the last day or so.

So let’s get down to the turnips (as Dennis would say, what with him being Dutch and everything) and look at tomorrow’s team…

Goal: Aluminum, (Fabianski)

Back four: Sagna, Gallas, Vermaelen, Silvestre (Senderos, Eboue)

Mid-three: Song, Fabregas, Denilson (Nasri) (Traore) (Ramsey)

Front three: Eduardo, Arshavin, Nasri (Rosicky) (Merida)(Vela),

My doubts are: will Denilson be thrown straight in (depends on how well he’s feeling) and will Nasri or Rosicky play in the front.  And of course much depends on whether Arshavin was able to find a plane back from Russia.  I think Diaby is still injured from France, and I am saving Eboue as a replacement at the back in case of injury there.

But put Denilson and Song in the middle and Cesc becomes an attacker.  With my selected front three, you have three others (in parenthesis as we used to say in the world of journalism back in the middle ages) who could step in and do stuff.  Cue flexibility.  (Actually I think Cue Flexibility is an Irish boy band).

Last year Sunderland was a disaster area for us – I seem to recall a 0-0 and a 1-0 defeat, and I can’t even bring myself to look it up to see if that is right.

But this year, I have no doubts. 4-1 to the Arsenal.

Now remember that after the last Arsenal match 2 weeks ago the bookies went into uproar, and I was done over by a dozen officials from the EPL who accused me of match fixing.  (I’ve still got the scars).   But it is not my fault that no one here is a fortune teller except those who are fortune tellers.

If you mention you read UNTOLD ARSENAL to the bookies you get your teeth pulled out, so don’t do that.

And to end – a request. I can’t go to Sunderland – can anyone email me a link to a TV channel on the internet that will allow me to watch it?  Send to me privately because it is probably a criminal act to put it up publicly on the site.  Email Tony@hamiltonhouse.orangehome.co.uk – not my normal address.

CHRISTMAS PRESENT TIME. The perfect Xmas gift – MAKING THE ARSENAL written by me.  Sillier than putting a tree in your sitting room, more amusing than the Irish FA, and less corrupt than FIFA.    “Laugh, I nearly dropped my treble gin with Guinness,” – Billy the Dog.

Details at www.emiratesstadium.info – or you can try Amazon but they keep running out.  Waterstones have just ordered some so you can try there – but you will get them faster if you follow the links on the site.  Or during UK office hours phone 01536 399 011 with a credit card. If you order from us, and you want me to sign it, just say what you want me to say (in English please).

(c) Tony Attwood 2009.  Reprint without permission and I’ll smash your face in.  (Sorry that was Billy the Dog, not me).

NOW ON THE HISTORY SITE complete update on the match fixing scandal from a historical and contemporary perspective.

(When the revolution comes the first place we take over is Radio 5).

25 comments to Do we always need someone to boo – plus team from Billy the Dog

  • gooner ji

    It would be great to see Denilson back. Song,Denilson and Cesc is the perfect midfield for me. Sunderland this time should be an easy one as they have their own problems with Jones and Turner suspended and Cattermole injured.

  • t00farg0ne

    Also, we’ve got Theo in the squad to shake things up a bit so that is something to look forward to for 20mins before he’s injured again.

  • FunGunner

    if you ever spend a game watching just them rather than the game all around them, it is illuminating in the extreme.

    Absolutely spot on, especially in the case of Denilson. I started doing that just over a year ago – at your prompting (when you were writing the article you refer to) – and it truly was a revelation!
    ***
    Theo will not be in the squad. Wenger says he will be short of fitness.

  • boozy

    tony @ – i dont like sunderland, tough customer.
    but i reckon if we calm the game down in the first 15 minutes. then we can boss the game.we dont always have to play 2 defensive midfielders in all games, against lesser teams, with fewer attacking threat we must exploit this by playing an attack minded team.
    my prefered line up is-
    AL
    BAC GAL VERM SYLV

    SONG

    FAB NASRI

    ROCKY MERIDA

    EDUARDO

  • Vertino

    we only see what we want to see don’t we, our vision never processes events as it should be, there is always a story to be framed around it. I always sought to see a committed Arsenal performance, an enjoyable able. However in May when Arsenal played a rather pointless match at Old Trafford in the league, I observed how Denilson was by far the best player on both sides, selflessly covering gaps in our defence, keeping things going. Of course I saw this also against Aston Villa in December but didn’t witness it as extensively there.
    On a side note, I did a comparison between Cana (the ultimate hardman or so they say) and Song on the games so far and even though Cana loses on most count, there are still people who long to see him alongside Song even though we have the ever improving Denilson and Diaby. You can only do so much sometimes.

  • Vertino

    we only see what we want to see don’t we, our vision never processes events as it should be, there is always a story to be framed around it. I always sought to see a committed Arsenal performance, an enjoyable able. However in May when Arsenal played a rather pointless match at Old Trafford in the league, I observed how Denilson was by far the best player on both sides, selflessly covering gaps in our defence, keeping things going. Of course I saw this also against Aston Villa in December but didn’t witness it as extensively there.
    On a side note, I did a comparison between Cana (the ultimate hardman or so they say) and Song on the games so far and even though Cana loses on most count, there are still people who long to see him alongside Song even though we have the ever improving Denilson and Diaby. You can only do so much sometimes.

  • anaconda

    You’ll find a feed from myp2p.eu. I’d recommend to download either TVUplayer or Sopcast. Streaming through these programs is usually much better (not quality-vise but usually they are more stable) than streams in browser. I’ll be able to watch it from my cable where I am so I wont be looking for any specific feeds for this game.

    Could you remind me again how I could get a signed copy of your book? I’m thinking of getting one to myself and one to an Arsenal supporting friend 😉

    Good post as usual, Billy.

  • anaconda

    @gooner ji

    I think Sunderland will be also missing Graig Gordon. Jones is a big loss to them as is Cattermole and also Bent’s form is going down. Arsenal boys will surely remember last season’s performance there so I’m actually quite confident about this game.

  • Adam Smith

    176 stands for fouls committed by Sunderland this season.Will that have a reflection on the side that AW picks.

  • FunGunner

    @ t00farg0ne
    Sorry, my mistake about Theo – AW said that to ATVO, but today he says Theo will be in the squad, 🙂

  • jonsky

    so i am really happy to have denilson and vela back ….but we have a DILEMMA here . If song gets booked he misses the CHAVS MATCH SO SHOULD WE THROW IN DENILSON AND RAMBO AND KEEP THE SONG FOR THE SLUMFORD BRIDGE OUTFIT???

  • How to get a signed copy of MAKING THE ARSENAL.

    EITHER… Phone 01536 399 011 (that’s a UK number) between 9 and 5 UK time monday to friday, and order with a credit card, and dictate your message.

    OR

    Go to http://www.emiratesstadium.info and it will take you to our on line order system. When placing the order you will be able to write in any special requests. The girls in despatch bring me any requests for a message and I write them in, when in the office. It may delay despatch of your book by a day or two, but that is all.

    The message can be anything but if long, please use the on line system because I want to get it right – but please English only. I don’t speak other languages. Or at least not much.

    Tony

  • b

    True fans does not have to boo own players, but fans that have a difficult life situation, are a bit mentally off or just unemployed and bored need somewhere to vent their frustration. For them it is not enough to shout at the opponents. They must also shout on their own team to feel good. They are probably the young men that shout at their mums for not having dinner ready when they get home, shout at their girlfriends and are generally obnoxious. It is a shame those of them who happened to be arsenal fans are so vocal. We could surly do without them. But hey, that is life, i am glad they are not my friends or do not live in my neighbourhood. I just wish they could give some respect to players like Diaby and Denilson.

  • walter

    Something was missing in my life the last 2 weeks and now I found it back… it was Billy The Dog. 😉

    Dennis has spent to long with the likes of TH and so he speaks a little bit of french as well, I notice. Bête noir is actually French but Dennis would have said “zwart beest” if he never had left Amsterdam.

    As mentionned Theo could be back in the squad and I really think that is great news and lets all pray he now gets more then 20 minutes before being kicked off again…

    I bet you cant make it to Flanders Tony? Because we have the luck that our sporting channel has the game live on tv. Only found out today as the whole week they didn’t mention which game would be shown at 4 o’clock (our time here) and now it is The Arsenal. So a lot of happy gooners across the Channel.

  • Aaditya

    Denilson is the best interceptor in the league. When the refs loves giving decisions against us, this is the best way to get the ball back.

  • TODAY’S GAME UPDATE

    It will be dirty. This is because les chats presque noir (to quote the Flemish) have killed my opposition players than every other team put together.

    I use the kill loosely here in the same way that journalists use words like “cheat”. In fact Sunderland have committed more fouls than any other side (189,000 give or take three zeros) and also have the worst disciplinary record with 24 yellow cards and two red, five blues, six greens, two puce, and a maroon one that doesn’t actually mean anything but slipped into the refs pocked in error.

    Meanwhile in les nouvelles autre if Appy Arry the Red (well known Danish warrior from the 8th century whose troops pillaged Southampton, Portsmouth and parts of north and east London, wants vid tech I am against it. I think every drawn game should end in a tourney on horseback with the managers riding towards each other armed with doughnuts.

    Oh its nice to be back to a proper saturday. My flight for Flaners leaves in 10 minutes.

    Meanwhile MAKING THE ARSENAL (www.blog.woolwicharsenal.co.uk) has a more detailed account of the match fixing scandal and a broader perspective than you will find this side of the Thames.

  • LRV

    Absolutely delighted to have Denilson back. Hope he is as fit as a fiddle.

  • Manuel Almunia
    Armand Traore
    Thomas Vermaelen
    William Gallas
    Bacary Sagna
    Alex Song
    Cesc Fabregas (c)
    Aaron Ramsey
    Samir Nasri
    Eduardo
    Tomas Rosicky

    Bench Andrey Arshavin, Denilson, Veloa and Theo Walcott….

  • Pete the First

    Tony you can time travel too! You are a whole hour ahead of me.

    What’s the half time score?

  • Yes I know the time on the site is wrong, I am trying to fix it.

    I’m getting a fairly good feed on http://www.iraqgoals.net/ch3.html

    Tony

  • Well we lost. Now we need 2 beat chelsea at any cost. It is still november and things might get better.
    Amen

  • The realistic position is that after 12 games we have exactly the same record as Manchester United – but with a better goal difference. What’s more, they are living day to day with bankruptcy, while we are in perfect financial health.

    Not a bad position, especially since Liverpool and Man City are supposed to be fighting for 3rd and 4th leaving us out in the dark.

    All defeats hurt, but it was an experiment with using Rosicky and Nasri in this way. We’ll see, but I think a lot was learned today.

    Denilson was saved for this week, Theo is back, Ramsey moves on game by game – the one problem was Eduardo who had a poor game – but one poor game means nothing.

    Tony

  • walter

    We will not desert our Gunners after a defeat. Hell no.
    A bit down but hey after every cloud is a silver lining (or something like that).
    I must admit, that this was the game I feared most in November.
    We always have a kind of lesser game after an internationale break and certainly away from home.
    I have no match statistic at my disposal but I think they managed 1 shot on goal. It went in and at the end of the day that is what can be seen in the table.
    So we have to pick our selves up and prepare for the next game.
    The motor never started really today and these things can happen. Sunderland is a difficult team to beat, parked the bus and for the first time we didn’t find the solution.
    Well the anti Diaby brigade can’t blame him this time….

  • jazbo

    Yesterdays game was a perfect example of how much we missed Diaby and Denilson, Ramsey is going to be a good player but he’s not ready to start a game like this yet.

    As you can see without RVP/ Bentner and Diaby our team is way too small up front, chin up Gunners it’s only one game and it’s still a long season.

  • don't believe the hype

    To be fair to Eduardo Tony, I don’t think he got the support quickly enough to be dangerous. This was the same problem RVP faced initially in this new system, but the difference was the goal scoring from midfield. Ramsey is not as adept as Diaby at arriving late in the box to support the striker and get on the end of those scoring opportunities. We needed a bit more height and physical presence yesterday, but unfortunately without Diaby, RVP and Bendtner we had to try our best with what was available. Unfortunately it didn’t work, but as you say, a lot of lessons would have been learned. Injecting a bit more pace into proceedings being one of them.