By Tony Attwood
I spent much of the journey home after the Blackburn game pondering what to write about the game. And given that I live about 80 miles north of the Emirates Stadium the journey takes quite a while – a walk up Holloway Road (and it really is a literal “up” in case you haven’t done it), an underground ride to Finchley Central, and then a car journey through London, up the M1, change cars just by Northampton Town’s ground and then on through Northants, past Kettering and into the wild countryside.
That gives time for quite a lot of thinking.
I did think of putting up the percentage of play that we had, or the number of shots we had, or even focussing on the time the Blackburn keeper took holding onto the ball. But he was just breaking the laws the game, and that doesn’t seem to matter any more.
Then I thought of writing “Words fail me” and leaving it at that. I was, I openly admit, as depressed and fed up as everyone else.
But of course everyone else was saying all this stuff, and this is Untold where as the name says, the articles are not just repeats of what everyone else has said.
So musing away this morning I started to wonder when the last time was we went out of both Cups to lower league opposition in the same season.
In fact it actually happened two years running
|1983/4||Walsall 1-2||League cup 4th||Neil|
|1983/4||Middlesbrough 2-3||FA Cup 3rd round||Neil|
|1984/5||Oxford United 2-3||League Cup 3rd||Howe|
|1984/5||York City 0-1||FA Cup 4th round||Howe|
The York City defeat hurt the most I seem to recall, it was as if we could hardly get going in either cup at that time.
Then, just for the hell of it I looked at the time when we had defeats to lower league cups in other consecutive seasons. The worst record is….
|1993/4||Bolton 1-3||FA Cup 4th round||Graham|
|1994/5||Millwall 0-2||FA Cup 3rd round||Graham|
|1995/6||Sheffield U 0-1||FA Cup 3rd round||Rioch|
|1996/7||Leeds U 0-1||FA Cup 4th round||Wenger|
Four years of disasters against lower league teams.
Does it do any good to go back and look at previous catastrophes? Probably not – I studied psychology not psychiatry or futurology so I can’t really say what is cathartic and what not. But anyway I spent a little time this morning creating a table of the past cock-ups and put it up with a little discussion on the Arsenal History Society blog.
It is on the above link if you want to take a little look.
At the end of the game against Blackburn I didn’t boo, I just walked out, met Drew and the twins Drew sometimes brings to the game, and we sauntered back up the Holloway Road.
Yesterday evening I didn’t drown my sorrows, I went dancing with Caroline, and by midnight it was mostly out of my system. Nothing like dancing to do that. If you don’t do it (particularly if you use the old “two left feet” excuse you should try it. It is sociable, it keeps you healthy, and it is enjoyable. I dance modern jive and the blues. But any dancing is good.)
Then more driving, home to a good night’s sleep.
I woke thinking about the match – and reflected that it is the downside of other mornings when I have woken thinking about the match. Such as that certain game when we beat Leicester City 2-1 to conclude the season unbeaten. I was there, and the tingling feeling is still with me each time I think of that game. (I actually cried at that final whistle; I don’t cry now from the memory of course, and the emotions have retreated into the tingles, but those memories are still there).
That’s what a lifetime of Arsenal is about. The amazing, unbelievable highs of watching the greatest league team of all time in our country, the despairing lows of being beaten by lower league teams. For what it is worth, my view is, if you can’t take both ups and downs, don’t bother with Arsenal, because that’s what you get. But of course, it’s not for me to tell you what to feel.
Drew and I will be back on Tuesday for the game against Bayern, and we will hope in this most erratic of seasons that things go much better for us this time around.
That’s what we do. We keep going, keep supporting, keep shouting, keep hoping. History says it will come good again. If it didn’t, we would not have been in the first division for nearly 100 years.
- Woolwich Arsenal: The club that changed football – Arsenal’s early years
- Making the Arsenal – how the modern Arsenal was born in 1910
- The Crowd at Woolwich Arsenal FC: crowd behaviour at the early matches