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Being there. Conversations on Villa, Liverpool, Tottenham, the coffee, defeating racism.

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Woolwich Arsenal, the club that changed football.  Have your name in the book as an official sponsor.  Updated information here

The day when Fulham tried to take over Arsenal – the full story in “Making the Arsenal”

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By Tony Attwood

While my trip of just under 100 miles each way to home games is by no means the furthest anyone regularly travels for Arsenal matches, the travel, like the drink at the Auld Triangle, and the bite to eat in the stadium, is fundamental to the day out.

The drive sets the scene.  Yesterday it was with Drew, with whom I’m talking about a possible biography of Henry Norris, the founder of the modern Arsenal, the man who brought in Chapman, the man who paid for Highbury.

We talked on Norris, Jack the Ripper, 19th century London, and then found neither of us had picked up on the fact that the Northern Line was closed, and that Finchley Central’s car park was shut.

But buses work in London and we made it to the Triangle to meet Walter and Eric, who had actually arrived from Antwerp before we set out from Northampton, plus Laundry Ender (of this site) and a splendid time was had by all.  Especially when a gentleman from Copenhagen popped up to shake us by the hand and say how much he enjoyed Untold.  I never deny it, I love such moments.  Sir, if you are reading, please do drop me a line (Tony.Attwood@aisa.org).

My point is that, yes we are there for the game, but going out for a match is so much more than that.  And I get the feeling that with all the emphasis the media obviously puts  on the fan at home, the sheer fun of the day out is forgotten.  The media treat us as if we all live in north London (they probably also thing we walk to the ground, and still pay two shillings and sixpence on the gate to “cheer on the team”).

It is the conversation of the day, as much as the match, that makes it. It is the fact that I have met Stefan from Germany, because he sits next to me.  We talk before the game, during the game, and next time I will tease him about the fact that he left just before the third goal (just as he teases me if he sees me checking that they spelled my name right in the programme).

Yesterday we spoke of Villa: would Alex McLeish become the first manager in the Premier League to relegate to different teams in successive seasons?  It is possible – the up and down results of Birmingham and Villa over the last two years is similar to his time at Rangers – does the treble, fails to win.  He’s that sort of manager.

McLeish also embodies the whole “must have a trophy” thing, for he gave Birmingham one last season as we know to our cost, but where does that leave Arsenal now and Birmingham now, and come that Villa?  And Liverpool?

As for the game – it looked lopsided, and this morning’s stats prove it.  We had 72% of possession, and 19 goal attempts.  The stats say Villa had 3 goal attempts, but that seems a bit over the top.  All four of our regular defenders have scored in the last six games, so a day when Robin took a back seat was perfectly acceptable.

And then there’s the stadium.  There’s always new songs.   Yesterday  I am not sure I caught it completely but it is to the tune of “when the saints” – (which Tottenham use for some bizarre reason sing as a slow drawl) sung as

“Oh when the wheels, come off the bus, oh when the wheels come off the bus, I want to be in that number, when the wheels come off the bus.”  Lovely.

Driving back the talk was more of Liverpool, and their defeat.  Dalgleish making the point of saying he will build a team around”English” players (I much prefer Arsenal’s none nationalistic approach) and claiming that they are paying the price for their success under him.  He blamed the ref, he blamed TV, he blamed the smallness of the squad, in fact there isn’t much he doesn’t blame – except himself.  He is never to blame.  Never.  Ever.  Makes you think.

There wasn’t much blaming in the stadium yesterday – although Stefan was unhappy with the quality of his half time cup of tea.  My cappuccino was good however – as was the chicken Caesar wrap.

And all that was before we heard of Stoke v Man City.  It is interesting that after all our complaints against Stoke, Shawcross and the like, others now object.  Maybe we were ahead of the game.

Which was perhaps a thought that ran through the whole lovely day out.  Could it possibly be that this little blog (well, not so little now – approaching 400,000 hits a month these days) actually have an influence?

Thinking along those lines always brings derision, and I am very hesitant to suggest such a thing.  But…

Remember our campaign against rotational fouling?  Week after week we hammered on and on – and now – the refs take action more rapidly and there is less of it. Five Villa players were booked yesterday – it could have been more – but it knocked any thought they had of the old tactic out.

And our long campaign against goal keeper time wasting.  These days if a keeper delays a kick or holds the ball for six seconds, the whole crowd whistle and boo – and watch it if you are there.  The ref always responds to that noise.  Before he would trot up field.  Now, as soon as the booing starts he looks back and indicates to the keeper to get on with it.  That never used to happen.

The notion that some refs are not just having a bad day but actually favour Man U (something that is now a fact following the detailed statistical analysis published in the last few days on this site) has been picked up by the crowd too.  The song is obscene, but the message is clear enough.

As for the belief in Mr Wenger and the team that we have always portrayed here – I doubt that we have converted many believers on that.  But the dreadful anti-Arsenal sites do seem to be fading away in terms of influence, and it was great to hear the “One Arsene Wenger” song sung so vigorously.

So does anyone notice Untold?  I don’t know, although I still cherish Mr Wenger’s repeat of our “too many goalkeepers” comment and his mention of “rotational fouling”. I can’t believe he read Untold of course, but maybe someone at the club does.

Such were the conversations and chit-chat throughout the day.  As for Sunday, it has brought one more thought.  We have campaigned very vigorously against homophobic and racist chanting – and endlessly criticised Tottenham and the police, for example, for their abject failure to act against their supporters who so utterly disgraced themselves, football, and British society, when Tottenham played at Portsmouth, and the police and the club took precious little action.  We even published pictures of some of the offending Tottenham fans to try and help the police and the club act, but to no avail.

Compare that day of shame to this statement from Arsenal.  “Following an incident during our home Premier League match against Newcastle Unitedon Monday 12 March, a 29-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of a racially aggravated public order offence. The suspect has been interviewed and bailed to return to Islington police station in April.”

It added: “We reiterate that Arsenal Football Club does not tolerate foul language, racist chanting, homophobic chanting or any antisocial behaviour, and we will continue to act with zero tolerance towards any individual found to be acting in an abusive manner.”

Proud to be a Gooner?  You bet I am.

Our last match – how the referee did.   Everton 0 Arsenal 1

Wrong calls by the refs.  We compare Arsenal,  Chelsea, Liverpool, Man C, Man U, Tottenham

How well do you know your Arsenal History?  There are five quizzes about the 1971 Double on the Arsenal History Society site.

Site index

59 comments to Being there. Conversations on Villa, Liverpool, Tottenham, the coffee, defeating racism.

  • Chinmay

    I too like the untold blog. Though looking through arsenal glasses, it never reeks of sick anti-football and anti-wenger news. Only suggestion is to present a more compact version of ref review. At-a-glance version, if you will.

  • gooner

    Racially abuse Cheick Tiote. Most painful way to commit suicide.

  • FinnGooner

    I love Untold and this was great article again Tony.
    I’m sure someone (or more) at the club reads Untold, I mean it’s mentioned in club’s website quite often (in mediawatch. Hopefully that has helped some new readers find this site.
    Oh and I am really proud to be Gooner. I really nee to get money to go to match, even that means I have to go through all that security at London airport, only othr country as hard to go or leave, in my experience, has been East Germany/ DDR (Russia in 1990’s, Kuwait, Israel (with same passport) Jordan were lot easier)

  • Richard B

    @Tony – of course AFC read the blogs! The Club recently commissioned the first research project amongst fans in its history. They spent (I presume) a lot of money hiring Boston Consulting to do it for them and I’m absolutely sure that the topic of blogs was brought up a lot. The necessity of keeping an ongoing eye on what’s being discussed is a fundamental part of the ‘new’ marketing focus at the Club.
    Tjat’s why positive comment (not just carping but coming up with worthwhile suggestions) is so important.
    Speaking of which Wenger has commented on time wasting by goalkeepers on the Club website in the last day or two, saying that something should be done about it. For me, other than much stricter refereeing, is the introduction of ball rotation already used in European competition. If a team wishes to time waste let them pass the ball around amongst themselves, at least taking the risk of losing it because they aren’t as good at ball retention as the opposition.
    Speaking of which – is the time the keeper takes to take a kick counted in his teams ball possession percentage? If it is, half of Villas 28% possession was actually Given taking kicks.

  • Mandy Dodd

    People at the club will be reading this blog, do not worry about that. Even the blogs that are at times less supportive of Wenger claim that from the various meetings they attend with club representitatves, it is clear that blogs are canvassed for opinion.
    As for Wenger dropping in here from time to time – why not? A man as hunger for knowledge as he clearly is with a passionate understanding of the club and its history may well gravitate to this very site. He has mentioned numerous times he is aware of what certain refs are up to, he would not need this site to tell him that, but you guys do provide the most detailed analysis of these refs that I have seen.
    As for the game – how good are this team? 7 in a row against some good teams, some hard fights and some PGMOL big guns thrown in for good measure. Not getting complacent or anything, but if we maintain this, we will take it into next season, and I am sure we will then be able to compete with anyone. We last key players last summer, for whatever reason, replacements came in at the last minute, we have had some of the worst injury problems I can remember, we are without one of our most creative, driven mfs for all season, yet we are where we are. The players and manager deserve huge credit, including those played out of position to help us through the recent injuries. If kept together, this team are and will be something special. If anything, we now at times seem stronger than recent teams, even without Cesc.

  • Ruaridh

    with the innumerous amount of daft questions Wenger is asked in post match interviews, I would of loved “king kenny” to be asked,

    “although for the opposition, was it nice to see two fellow Scots score today?”

  • marcus

    Interesting: I think football seems to have turned a corner; at least I hope so.

    The near death of Fabrice Muamba seems to have united all footballer supporters. Finally people seem to be able to look further than the narrow, sometimes revolting, tribalism and fanaticism of their club, to see a bigger picture. I hope it is a turning point for football.

    You may ‘defeat’ racism, but if the hatred merely filters into another vessel, (e.g. blind tribalistic hatred of another club), you maybe haven’t really solved an awful lot. (Or maybe you have?)

    But if people can be united in a positive way, which Fabrice Muamba’s plight has achieved, then things look better.

    To see the football community in shared shock and grief, one and all respecting the silence, and the whole of football in prayer for this man, has really been positive, imo.

  • Asif

    To me this blog has been the ultimate salvation…when there was vitriol being poured all over the web and every nook and corner of the web had anti-Arsenal sentiments poured everywhere this is the only place that maintained sanity and kept its objectivity. There are obviously many other sites that are run by Arsenal supporters but at our lowest ebb they also seemed to have turned their back but not Untold. Thank you guys!

    The only thing left to do now would be to raise a fund collection (on this blog preferrably, with the max limit being 10p) and then catching hold of the moron who suggested that barring our captain fanstastic no one else could make it to the spuds starting 11 and ask him to go see a shrink! I wonder some Arsenal fan must have stolen his wife…

  • Asif

    @Mandy – I don’t know but somehow I have a feeling that Cesc’s departure has been favourable to our game overall. There was too much focus on him and all our attack seemed to be routed by him but now we have so many other combinations. Moreover him getting less injured while at Barca does it not talk about player motivation than the quality of medical staff? Just a thought…

  • Arvind

    There’s a good chance they read the blog at AFC, Tony; for the simple reason that articles make it to the Arsenal Media Watch. And as Mandy Dodd rightly points out, there’s a good chance AW drops in here too; of all the managers out there, he would doubtlessly be the first one to realize that there is value in visiting a particular site; for whatever reason.

    I’ll be happy to see more yellow cards for diving, rotational fouling, time wasting, injury feigning(retrospectively at least). Lets see what happens..

  • Joe

    It was “when the wheels come falling off”

  • marcus

    @asif

    Yes, I remember that article…

    Song is one of the most complete midfielders in the game, (which is belatedly being acknowledged, although I’ve said this for many a long year….)

    Sczezny has the potential to be a world beater (as I’ve said since day 1)

    RVP is a world beater (as I’ve said for many a long year)

    And Koz, Verm, Sagna, Arteta, Wilshere, have always been excellent players.

    Now that other players like Theo and Thomas Rosicky are finding their form…we look as good as any other team on the PL map.

    And yes, losing Fabregas is probably a good thing, since the midfield coalesces more. (Besides – I think AW played Fab out of position so he would score goals and his value would be inflated).

  • Wind

    Hi. As some of you have said, I did see this blog on the Arsenal Mediawatch and it looks interesting to me, especially as my main Arsenal blog (Goonerholic.com) has a lot of overseas readers (from France to Texas to Sweden to Holland) that travel a long way to see the mighty Arsenal play and your article was bang on in terms of what happened with an overseas fan on the matchday 🙂

    I’d like to also add in response to Asif’s comment that Goonerholic is very similar in terms of always supporting the manager and the team regardless like this website is, that’s why it occasionally features on Mediawatch unlike a blog such as ‘Le Grove’, the most negative Arsenal blog out there, only happy when we aren’t doing well so they can write negative Article flaming Wenger and certain players, much in the vein of Piers Morgan’s Twitter ramblings (thankfully I only see them one a month when someone on my timeline unfortunately retweets him), I’m sure there are people at the club reading Arsenal blogs like these and taking note of what the fans think, that’s why certain blogs don’t make it onto Mediawatch at all.

    In summary, it was a great read, I think our two blogs are similar and I’ll be directing my fellow ‘Holics here to have a gander at the article 🙂

  • @Tony thanks for that piece,so the AAA do we still have them in here? Wot is their plan! Capitano Van P said he would love this to go on for a year that means he is here to stay. When is jackman coming back! Cheers to you all gooners and lets keep rockin ,

  • bob

    Mandy Dodd,
    Building on your ending: Would you agree that RvP’s brand of captaincy is superior to x-Cesc’s? To me, you can hear the admiration in player interviews on Arsenal Player. I wasn’t picking up on that kind of admiration for Cesc last season – appreciation of his pitch skills, yes; but I feel there’s something more than that with how the players regard RvP. Also, amazingly, RvP’s rich run of health-form to date as compared to Cesc’s chronic back problems (which, btw, I don’t know whether they have continued at Barca?).

  • Shard

    bob

    I just watched RVP’s interview before the Everton game and I couldn’t help but think ‘we finally have a real captain’. Now I know this site, and me personally as well, supported and defended Cesc and his leadership.

    It isn’t about conveniently changing stand, but then again it isn’t about being ‘right’ either. But, Cesc’s captaincy was lacking, and the team wasn’t playing in as united a fashion as we see now. Denilson said as much about Cesc not being a leader, and I actually question not just Cesc’s leadership, but also his motivation and commitment to the Arsenal cause. The manner in which he left us, the way he played against Barcelona especially, and though I hadn’t thought about it, maybe his injury record as well, combined with the way the team played, indicates to me that Cesc let down the team long before his transfer actually happened. I’m actually only too happy at this point to be rid of him. Not the player he was, but the character he showed himself to be.

  • bob

    Asif,
    I generally agree with your implication about Cesc’s injuries being related to his desire to leave. Chronic injuries obviously can be partly (to greatly) psychosomatic or intermittently faked. My guess is the former, but it’s quite individual too. In fairness, I also think that Cesc was being kicked to bits, a lot; and being unprotected by the refs, our targeted talisman, and his having born direct witness to the vicious assaults on Eduardo, Ramsey, Diaby, Sagna, etc. etc. In my view these also contributed their share to making a career-prolonging move away from the EPL (yes, the EPL) back to the homeland. I haven’t followed whether he’s been as targeted in La Liga, but perhaps someone else has, which would interest me greatly.

  • bob

    Shard,
    I fully agree with you that Cesc did let us down well before the transfer. It makes me heartsick. What do you think about my hypothesis/comment above to Asif about Cesc’s getting out of the EPL because he was so often targeted/ unprotected as our world class asset; whereas he would get the necessary (if unfair?) protections in La Liga and, in any case, prolong his career? Have you kept nay tabs on his injury status there this season?

  • Jerry

    It sounds like a great day at the game! Arsenal definitely takes a look at the blogs since Arsenal does care about their fans and their company image (i.e. In early season, AAA sites calling for Wenger’s head, Gazidas came out saying Wenger isn’t going anywhere. The comments about time wasting, etc by Wenger).

    RVP is definitely a better captain than Cesc! RVP leads by example and shows a tremendous passion for the club on the field that I didn’t see as much from Cesc. RVP is also quick to thank his teammates in postmatch interviews which boosts player morale!

  • Jerry

    Also another question is how much help can this league give United! They got 8 days rest since their last match! Arsenal, Spuds, Chelsea, and City – 3 days rest only!

  • bob

    Jerry,
    “How much help you can this league give” them, you ask? Your question, as you know, answers itself – the Sky’s the limit. The Good Lord, as you also know, only rested one day after six days of work in the creation. Thi$ re-creation, mate, is The Countdown to The Coronation of Lord Football. Thi$ event and it$ coverage and outcome and celebration$ and retrospective$ and $pecial edition$ and new$ flashe$ and ancillary media project$ and the obligatory film (starring Gene Hackman or Christopher Plummer or Gary Oldman whoever __name him___ looking back), will bring in many million$.

    The only thing that can reign on The Parade is to promote our season’s more remarkable story – The Great Turnaround – as the truly memorable saga in this otherwise completely and drearily predictable season of the Rednose XX. Why should we winge about the inevitable when we can reign in the hearts and minds. (Wenger in, Wankers out!… let the tabloids proclaim. Oh well, better to stop just there…)

    And, my wish to UA/Ref Reviewers: that each of ManUre’s 38 games this season be analyzed/charted/tablize for the percentage of wrong/right calls that were strewn along the path to Don Fergus’ ascension to Lord Football.

  • WalterBroeckx

    Finally found the time to look at the game that was shown live on our sports channel this week.
    Amazing how our sports channel knows to pick the good games and shows almost all of them. The fact that Vermaelen is an Arsenal player is important of course but they don’t pick up the City games as much (Kompany)

    Anyway time to enjoy it again 🙂 🙂

  • bob

    Wind,
    Good one! Goonerholic has been steadfast and so is A Cultured Left Foot and Desi Gunner. I truly wish there were more cooperation, even campaigns – such as for FFP and full video replay – that could be mutually sponsored. Perhaps the logic of this kind of cooperative strategic partnership on selected issues would prove the no-brainer that it appears to be, imho.

  • bob

    Walter,
    Is TV a UA reader? (Do you suspect? Surely you told him!)

  • bob

    marcus,
    I totally agree until this point: “so his value would be inflated”?
    What do you mean? for an eventual sale? and how did that go?

  • ArsenalPhan

    Untold is greatly appreciated, a truly positive site that sets itself away from the rest, really hate those negative ones. The other one i like a lot is no longer updated, young guns. Others are like Desi gunner.

  • WalterBroeckx

    as on Arsenal.com media watch by the way

  • Shard

    bob

    I have not kept tabs on anything to do with Barcelona or Cesc. Barca are scum and watching them makes me sick, regardless of any good football they might play. As for Cesc leaving because he was kicked, I don’t know. I wouldn’t think it but if so, it says even more about his character. I think it played far less a role than Barca’s constant sweet pick up lines being whispered in his ear. Or shouted rather because Barca were anything but subtle.. Cesc was.

    However, I don’t discount the possibility, even probability, of part of their motivation in allowing us to be kicked is to discourage any good players, and good football in general.

  • LRV

    Without a doubt, RvP’s captaincy STYLE is working better than Cesc’s. However, RvP, from the start, has a passionate streak while Cesc had a VERY laid-back demeanour to him. This fact accounts for the difference. Cesc is a fantastic player, but not very suited for captaincy. RvP is superbly suited for that role, as well as the Verminator. Even though Arteta is a bit laid-back, he is active vocally, cognitively and dynamically psycho-motive enough to be a captain as well.

  • Gidster

    There is a very simple solution to most of the time-wasting that takes place. So simple it hurts.

    Give timekeeping over to someone else who’s sole job is to keep the time. Then stop the game clock if:

    1) a team scores
    2) a corner is given
    3) a goal kick is given
    4) a player goes down injured
    5) a substitution is made

    If you stop the clock when these things happen, then you eliminate the advantage of time-wasting because it ceases to be possible to waste time. Guaranteed, no goalkeeper will ever walk over to the opposite side of their area to take a kick if they know it wont waste time. Fewer players will roll around and need loads of “treatment” or even need to be stretchered off. Players can walk off the pitch to be subbed if they want. No time is lost.

    Do away with Added Time and end the game at 45 minutes. You then also know when the half time and full time whistle will go.

    You have to take away the incentive to cheat to stop cheats cheating, coz they’re cheats, and cheats will cheat if they can, that’s why they’re cheats.

  • Shard

    Walter..Congratulations on finally being there for an Arsenal victory. What is it..6th time lucky? 🙂

  • Arvind

    OffTopic:

    Barry said: “The game was exactly as we expected and as we have had the last few years we have come here. It was a tough battle.

    “It [Silva’s] was a nasty little cut – I think he [Whitehead] caught him with his elbow so I was very surprised not to see a yellow card.

    “But Howard’s the best referee in England so we have got to give him the benefit of the doubt.
    —————————————-

    And then I stopped reading…… :choke

  • Mandy Dodd

    Bob, much as I loved Cesc as a player, he led by example but was not really a capt in the traditional sense, I think at times he may have found it a bit of a burden to be honest. Plus, he usually had a very young supporting cast, whereas RVP has the likes of the brilliant Arteta, Vermaelen, Sagna and now Rosicky to help lead. In short, yes, I think RVP now is more effective as a capt than Cesc was, plus in the latters final year, we all knew what would happen and this would have hindered his captaincy. But I have no doubt, he loves this club.
    Asif, you may even be right on Cescs departure, I must admit I was terrified one bad week last summer when we knew we would not have Cesc, Nasri and the fitness of Jack and Diaby were a major doubt, and we had not yet signed anyone.We have Ramsey but could not rely on him to play every game with his age and injury. But this team gelled , and built something out of adversity, that takes mental strength. They never gave up when injuries and ref decisions went against them. They have given so much this season, who can forget the look on Sagnas face when he took hold of our season against the Spuds. Or Vermaelen with his injury time goal. I think we had become too reliant on Cesc, through no fault of his own, but this lot look more of a team, great credit to all of them and our Captain. Mark my words, those who come out of adversity to triumph can become something special, as we are starting to see now, and will continue to see next season. I do not think there will ever be another Invincible team, but without putting undue pressure on them, I am just starting to see some similar qualities in the current version. Have a feeling next season is going to be a good one.

  • Gord

    @Gidster

    Playing stop time is not the answer. If too long a break occurs in play, people will cool down too much, and injuries start to result at the resumption of play.

  • Sammy The Snake

    I’ve been around Untold for a good few years, and I love the positive energy here. It’s good to come here to celebrate a win, but also when there’s Untold to remind us that a loss is not the end of the world!

  • RedGooner

    Tony congrats on Untold growing.
    I am sure there will be twice that many people a month clicking on the website before long as there are very few sane media outlets with a positive outlook for Arsenal fans or indeed fans of any club.

    Speaking of insane I cant wait for a Ref review of ManCity and Stoke why oh why is WEB still reffing football matches and why are Pullis and his band of thugs still in the EPL why has no one cracked down on that type of violent behaviour and general cheating.
    Makes me sick thinking we have to go there soon.

  • Mahdain

    im sure someone at the club reads this blog Tony…thats 3 times untold has appeared on media match this week alone

  • Ong Bing

    Big fat and lazy Anfield Cat not smell a danger, Everton could finish above Liverpool this season:

    Everton – WBA – 3
    Norwich – Everton – 3
    Everton – Sunderland – 3
    Stoke – Everton – 1
    MU – Everton – 0
    Everton – Fulham – 3
    Wolv – Everton – 3
    Everton – Newcastle – 1

    Total – 40 + 17 = 57

    Newcastle – Liv – 1
    Liv – Aston – 1
    Blackburn – Liv – 3
    Liv – Fulham – 3
    Liv – WBA – 3
    Norwich – Liv – 3
    Liv – Chelsea – 1
    Swansea – Liv – 1

    Total 42 + 16 = 58

    If Liverpool can not solve their goals and defensif problems, its very possible for Everton to finish in better position.

  • Stuart

    Tony,
    With regard to your comment about Wenger reading this. I would reckon he reads it or has someone read it for him and show him the best bits.

    Wenger likes to have positive / constructive feedback. I regularly email in to the club after games with a positive message of some description and quite often I get a reply from a real person thanking me for the comment and explaining it will be forwarded to the manager.

  • Gord

    @Sammy the Snake

    It is reasonably common to run across people who swing from being very excited about something to being very depressed by something, seemingly with no time spent in states between those two. It is known by two names in my knowledge: bipolar or manic-depressive. And it is a medical condition. There is no reason for people that follow sports teams to have it, just because they follow a team.

    And it is good that UA is here for the Arsenal fans.

  • Mahdain

    @redgooner that stoke match really worries me,i just hope ts not halsey or probert or the bent trio who ref it

  • WalterBroeckx

    I’m hoping for a Clattenburg kind of ref. He is in my opinion the best to handle such a game as he usually is more continental in his ref style.

  • Richard B

    Re Cesc/RVP as captains. Some years ago when Shearer was made captain of England one of the players (I can’t remember who) said that Shearer may have been captain off the pitch but all the players knew who the real captain was on the pitch and that was Tony Adams.
    We may have the same situation now. RVP leads by example in as far as scoring a high proportion of the goals and always coming back to defend set pieces etc. – but if you watch who is doing most of the talking and to whom the players go for chats on the pitch it seems to be Vermaelen or Rosicky. Yesterday Gibbs had obviously been told at half time that he was coming off to be replaced by Santos when the situation was right to do so. It was noticable that it was Rosicky having the ‘encouragement’ chat. Wenger has always said that we need eleven captains on the pitch and, I’m sure, hands out the armband as much for contract linked reasons as any other.

  • Mahdain

    @walter fat chance…knowing PGMO they’ll probably send halsey which will be bad news considering how lets thing flow..i dont know why but i dont think clattenburg will get any of our big matches as Riley seems to be keeping him away from big matches..as a matter of fact somebody on twitter told me prior to this weekend run of games that he has only ref’d 4 matches in 2012 while webb had 9 though im not sure .if its a fact..really says a lot

  • Ruaridh

    @mandy dodd,

    very well articulated!)

  • Stuart

    Oh by the way, I think the monday morning papers will be talking of Arsenal being in crisis. RVP, our one and only player in the team hasn’t scored for 250+ minutes!!

  • nicky

    Tony,
    I would just like to say how much I enjoy your occasional references about who you meet and what you eat on your forays to the Emirates. It makes a pleasant and interesting change from strictly reporting on football matters, as well as giving infrequent attenders vital gastronomic advice! 😆

  • bjtgooner

    @Richard B

    I like the scenario of senior players like Rosicky helping explain team requirements to younger players. It says a lot for RVP’s leadership that he encourages this form of help – it suggests he has faith in the judgement of the senior players and welcomes their support. This attitude suggests good leadership and must be a big factor in team spirit.

  • Johnny Deigh

    @Mahdain – The statistic was in regards to English Premier League matches reffed in 2012. They both reffed a Premier League match on Saturday, Clattenburg (Norwich v Wolves) and Webb (Stoke v. Man City).

    So not inlcuding Cup, European, or lower division matches, Clattenburg has now reffed 5 EPL matches in 2012 while Webb has reffed 10 EPL matches in 2012.

    Also note that recently Webb has been assigned as head referee for one match and then given 4th official duties for another match all in the same game week. This game week he reffed Stoke v. Man City on Saturday and he’ll be the 4th official for Man Utd. v. Fulham.

    Clattenburg: http://www.soccerbase.com/referees/referee.sd?referee_id=430

    Webb: http://www.soccerbase.com/referees/referee.sd?referee_id=434

  • Ed

    this Kenny Daglish fella really makes me laugh. it seems he thinks hes infallible based on his past glories!? fair enough he did well at blackburn. he did ok at liverpool last time, but that was when they were good already right? thats the same as going to Man Utd now and winning… then he did total crap at newcastle…

    i am sure if it was Wenger blaming the pitch, the refs, the tv schedules, the small team etc etc. the media would make a much bigger thing of it.

    but i like liverpool and what has happened because it seems to prove a lot of those nationalistic people who argue that the team should have more englishmen wrong. Firstly, isnt that, not racist, but still discriminatory? like saying you cant work at Arsenal cos you’re french? swap “french” for “black” or “asian” and the law and media would have a field day! secondly, it shows how overpriced english players are. 20m for Downing, 20m for henderson, 35m for carroll… if they were Spanish/French/German, they would cost a maximum of 10m each. and for all their big money buys, they have been the worst. Suarez is an annoying cunt, but hes still a decent player and has moments of magic, Jose Enrique is quite a decent left back. Thirdly, why?!?! England is simply not a great team. i understand building a team of Spaniards, Dutch or Germans, cos there wud b better players. But England struggle as soon as there is an injury or suspension to Rooney, still rely on 30 something Terry, Lampard and Gerrard… hmmm…

  • nicky

    Years ago Dalgleish was one of the most irritating of players whose constant tactic was to gain his side a penalty.
    He would get possession of the ball in the area, turn his back on the nearest defender forcing him to make a tackle from behind. It would be interesting to know the number of times he was successsful in this dubious tactic.

  • Woolwich Peripatetic

    More English players? I reckon we can get to at least four capped English internationals in our squad, possibly six or seven. It would help our cause with the FA if Jenkinson and Frimpong would switch to England.

  • FinnGooner

    Longer Jenkinson takes time to think more convinced I am that he is just waiting for England to contact him… I will be surprised if he chooses Finland (but I will be really happy because next generation might help Finland make it to EC, and now that we don’t have English managers anymore;) )

    ON RvP as captain what I have loved (and didn’t really notice past captains do) has been the way he talks about the team, like saying his goals are more because of great passes from Theo or Song and “remimding” how great others have been when media or fans are being negative. Also I love how he uses twitter to welcome new players or wishing good luck for players going on loan. Also there was recently interviews by Jenkinson and Gibbs (I think) who said RvP talks with them and helps them.

  • bob

    As far as quality of character goes, let’s consider how many current and former captains are on our club: ramsey (wales), rosicky (czech), arteta (spain U-17 Euros), park (s.korea), benayoun (israel), gervinho (ivory coast U-17 and olympics), any others….? 🙂

  • Woolwich Peripatetic

    King Kenny suggests that Liverpool need to change their philosophy. I’d heartily recommend changing their signing policy instead. Thanks to the old rules about geographical limits, Liverpool had a massive population base to draw from, a big name to attract talent and yet they are still packing out their team with journeyman talent signed at huge fees from other clubs.
    They paid around £75 million for Carroll, Downing and Henderson, none of whom have set the world on fire.

  • GodWoreTen

    Vermaelen claims to be Belgian captain on his website, and who am I not to believe him? And Arshavin (Russia) is still on the books i believe?

  • Shakabula Gooner

    Tony,
    A bit off topic but I hope you read and act on this before deleting:
    1. UA is very terrible to read on mobile devices such a a blackberry. More so, if yo feel motivated to also take in as many readers’ comments as possible. Please find time from your day-work to do something about this. Thanks.
    2. I read somewhere that UEFA and EU mandarins have met and closed loop-holes in the FFP rules (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-2118248/UEFA-Financial-Fair-Play-loophole-closed.html)please give us your take on this vis-a-vis your tracking of this issue as it affects Arsenal’s long term hopes that it will tilt the playing field in their favour.
    Thanks.

  • WafflingWenger

    @ Bob

    Vermaelen (Belgium) & future Arsenal captain!

  • Walter

    Vermaelen was the captain of Belgium for a few years. But when he was out and injured for a whole year the manager appointed Kompany during that period. And it still is Kompany for the moment. Much to the annoyance of Vermaelen to be honest.