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At the moment of the last report, I was wet

By Tony Attwood

Towards the end of last night’s match it started to rain.  And I really mean rain.  Rain so heavy and unremitting that one rarely sees in England.

Yes it rains in England, but not rain that within minutes swamps your shoes which are designed for dodgy weather, makes your jeans weigh 20 times what they weighed five minutes before and just makes you feel, well, you know, wet.  All the way through.

Our journey out of the ground takes us under the railway tunnels on the Holloway Road side of the ground.  By the time we got there, so many people were “waiting for it to ease off a bit” that it was hard to get out the other end.

But we pressed on walking up Holloway Road to Archway – about two miles.   Then the underground, then the drive, then the picking up of my car in Northampton, and finally getting home at half past midnight whereupon I just stood in the shower, not because I wanted to be any wetter – that was impossible – but desperately to try and warm up.

I guess in younger days we get wet quite often.  I just about recall at the age of nine falling into the local boating lake, and as a student getting caught out in storms in completely the wrong clothes, because it wasn’t cool to wear all that gear that old folks wore “because it looks like rain”.

But now I’m an old folk, and getting wet isn’t funny any more.

So why do it?  Why drive 85 miles, take the Underground, walk two miles, eat rather revolting pub food, drink third rate wine, have a coffee that could just be hot water and froth, and watch your team get beaten?

I’ve often wondered – and “often” here means “often” because I’ve been watching football matches since about the age of nine.    Why not watch the game on TV?   Why not just go down the local and watch it on TV there if the poor drink and worse food is so important?

Because somehow it seems important to go out and do stuff.  Not important at the Fever Pitch level where the author/supporter can’t dream of missing even a single match because of some seemingly psychotic fear that he will “miss out” on an important development.  But because, as the dull ache in my legs and my back this morning gradually ease, and the annoyance of the losing goal fades, it will start to become an amusing memory.   “Hey, do you remember that European game where we got so wet that we were still drenched when we changed cars in Northampton?”   That’s the sort of stuff you say as you get older.

It is why I try and go to games of local (and in the case of Guernsey not so local) teams when Arsenal are not playing.   Because it is an event, generally enjoyable, generally with good people, generally with the chance to strike up an interesting conversation, and generally with a memory that somehow seems to enrich my life.

Perhaps as we get older, we remember older people who have gone before us, whose lives seem to decline in to being just memories, with nothing much new happening.  Maybe it is a desire to keep adding to my stock of memories, by still going out and doing what turns out to be really silly things like walking up Holloway Road in a downpour of the type that I always imagine a tropical storm is like (except it wasn’t tropical).

Maybe I just want to keep doing stuff, to show that really I’m still one of the lads.

It would have been wonderful if Arsenal had won, and a draw would have been good news too.   And I felt wretched last night, sitting on the tube and in the car for hours, still soaking wet.  And in truth I don’t feel so good this morning.

But it was an experience.   And in the end, that’s what life’s about, I guess.

—————–

Untold Weather Forecast: Occasional rain.  Dull. Brightening up later.

30 comments to At the moment of the last report, I was wet

  • WalterBroeckx

    When reading this article I started signing the song:

    “It never rains in California, but girl, don’t they warn ya?
    It pours, man, it pours”

    So London was a bit like California yesterday?

    I must say a few years ago we came over for the Emirates cup and when entering the underground at Kings Cross the sun was shining. And when we came out the Arsenal underground station it started to drizzle a bit. But then for some 10 minutes it suddenly started to rain really hard. And that was before the match 😉 But then the sun came out again after a while so we dried up. But I know it can rain in London and apparantly it can pour from time to time…

    The weather forecast over here: Sunny periods but later more clouds and some rain. Maximum temperature 19°C (which is still rather very warm for this time of the season)

  • Sammy The Snake

    I feel like a train has run over me this morning. The wife thinks it’s because of Arsenal losing last night, and I don’t want to admit to het that she’s bang on right!
    And I didn’t even get wet, I was sitting at home watching on TV. Why is winning so important to us?

  • para

    The weather was showing it’s support for Arsenal because we lost, it would have been even more horrible if the sun was shining (especially at that time of night too).

  • Rupert Cook

    @Walter, believe me London is never like California.

    I had to watch the game on the computer while the wife watched the Bake Off final. The sacrifices we make. (At least Frances won the bake off, I found her strangely sexy, I think it was her toothy smile).

  • colario

    Why do we do it? Because we have an illness – a mental one.

    What do supporters of Arsenal have in common with supporters of other teams? An illness – a mental one!

    In one of the Terry Neil years I did try to be sane and went through most of the season unbothered right to the end of it.

    Two games in to the next season I found myself standing at the window of a TV at 20 to five waiting to see the ”the score”! I ve never relapsed into sanity since.

  • nicky

    Tony,
    I really enjoyed your post today. After all the post mortems it was a pleasure to read some nitty gritty about the lengths poor people will go in order to watch their football heroes.
    For a whole minute, around my warm fireside, sipping a glass of Calvados, I felt quite sympathetic (but only for a minute, you understand).

  • mark

    Because we signed one top class player in the area of the field it was least required and lost only once since March having played some proper shite……Wenger is now a genius, Kroenke’s whole investment philosophy has changed and we’re saved I tell ya…..saved. None of the past 8 years really happened…..its all about the past 8 weeks. Wenger has suddenly been transformed into a tactical genius and a big spender and we’ll spend £50m in January before winning the treble

  • Sharpehunter

    Odd isn’t? What you may be asking is odd? I shall tell you what is odd. Unlike the vast majority of Gooners I am actually rather optimistic after last nights game.

    This team we should remember has an entirely different chemistry to the teams of recent seasons. In the last 3,4,5 years or so we had teams that were emotionally and psychologically fragile. They would have lost the opening game of the season and taken literally weeks to get back to any kind of form. They would go 1-0 down and struggle to turn it around, they would make mistakes and almost implode with remorse and self recrimination. Not this team.

    Last year we lost to Spurs, we came back stronger. So strong did we come back that our performance for the remainder of the season was the best in the League, we went on to beat Bayern Munich in their own back yard convincingly, something that nobody else had done for something like 40 games.

    We will do this again. Our boys know they made mistakes last night, I think Wenger knows he made a mistake last night. Maybe more than one. Could he had ramped up our defence in those last 10 minutes and taken the point, maybe bringing on Monreal or TV or even both would have prevented that late goal. But the point is that it is irrelevant.

    Better to have to dig deep now before the surge of massive games to come. Better to have some personal and team based reflection today than next Friday before we play Liverpool. Better for the team to address the issues whatever they may be and learn from their mistakes.

    Santi is back and when he came on last night he looked in excellent form. You can see immediately that he and Ozil are going to get each other. Inadvertently Flamini got a deserved rest, we missed him of that there is no doubt. But he will be back for Saturday and he will be there for the Liverpool, Dortmund away and Man United games hopefully. Theo has had a minor set back but can’t be far away so we will have that pace and space on the wings, Podolski should be match fit by maybe Dortmund and certainly for Man United.

    Ramsey and Jack will probably start from the bench if they start at all on Saturday which means they should be fresh for a run of 3 games that could really define our season.

    We have lots to look forward to. We are still top of our group in the CL, top of the Premier League and we face Liverpool at home on our turf and I believe we should win. I am confident that when we go to Anfield next year they will be weaker and we will be stronger. We face a deflated and struggling Man United at Old Trafford, never been a better time to meet them. A win at their former fortress will demoralise them and feed our confidence. We will undoubtedly smash them at home next year.

    The stars are aligned. Last night was simply a reminder to pay attention, not to take your eye off the ball or the accomplished forward and to sometimes take what you can when the risk is averse to winning or losing.

    You just know that we will smash Crystal Palace and then we have a week to settle down and prepare for Liverpool a game I will relish even if it is -8 and raining polar bears. I just know we will beat them.

    Last night could actually be a blessing in disguise.

  • ande

    correct@Sharpehunter

  • dkelvin

    An emotional post, but if I was one of the Gooners in a constant orgasmic state over our recent winning run (which clearly I am not ) then the thing that would worry me most is that dortmund beat us last night without playing well themselves Even though I had a feeling we would win last night, it still didnt shock me that we lost – dortmund are a good team and losing to them is no disgrace plus I dont go along with the theory that they are not as good as last year as they only lost gotze and signed sahin and agueymang (sp ? ). The fact is though, that they didnt play well last night and still rarely looked in trouble – yes they didnt threaten our goal much either but, as most of us have already acknowledged, they controlled the game and looked far superior than us for most of the game. Some will point to the amount of players we had missing last night but realistically how many of them would have started last nights game if fit ? They were without 2 of their first choice team and still looked comfortable for most of the game I get that some feel that wally’s pace would have been a help last night but history has shown us that he always struggles against a tactically well drilled defence so I would be hesitant about over hyping his absence.

  • ande

    If I was one of the Gooners in a constant orgasmic state over our recent winning run (which clearly I am not ) then the thing that would worry me most is that dortmund beat us last night without playing well themselves Even though I had a feeling we would win last night, it still didnt shock me that we lost – dortmund are a good team and losing to them is no disgrace plus I dont go along with the theory that they are not as good as last year as they only lost gotze and signed sahin and agueymang (sp ? ). The fact is though, that they didnt play well last night and still rarely looked in trouble – yes they didnt threaten our goal much either but, as most of us have already acknowledged, they controlled the game and looked far superior than us for most of the game. Some will point to the amount of players we had missing last night but realistically how many of them would have started last nights game if fit ? They were without 2 of their first choice team and still looked comfortable for most of the game I get that some feel that wally’s pace would have been a help last night but history has shown us that he always struggles against a tactically well drilled defence so I would be hesitant about over hyping his absence.

  • ande

    I cant help feeling that a manager (not just wenger) who refuses to take off a guy who is playing shit because he is one of the teams best players, is basically a cowardly scuker and for me ozil should have been subbed first

  • Sharpehunter

    What I found to be absolutely hilarious last night on social media such as twatter or what ever its called was the sudden resurgence of utter imbeciles declaring the season over, Arsenal stumble again as their old inconsistencies re-emerge, Arsenal are delusional, we need to sign another striker, our defence is shit.

    Now I call twitter, twatter because generally there are far more idiots on there being twats and doing the old social media cowboy, bully, liar, faker and stuff than there are actual decent genuine twitterers. But one thing that is very evident is that the vast majority of the moaners, the doomsayers, the toys out of the pram brigade originate from overseas.

    You may think this is leading into one of those rants about overseas fans not being true fans and stuff. You are right to think this.

    I actually checked the profiles of 18 of the random idiots I saw. Of those 18 negative supporters this is the range of locations:

    India – 5
    Pakistan – 2
    Indonesia – 1
    South Africa – 1
    Iraq – 2
    UK – 3
    Nigeria 3
    Other – 2

    I had some guy in Lahore telling me I was delusional because I saw positives in the game and that I didn’t know what the fuck I was talking about if I thought it was acceptable. Who the fuck is he to tell me that? Has he played football at schoolboy and Army and Sunday league since he was 6 years old? Has he supported the Arsenal in person at Highbury, at the Emirates since he was 6. Has he ever contributed money, blood, sweat and tears following and supporting this team. Does he really have enough knowledge or experience to appear on twitter abusing fellow Gooners, gooners who were at the game, gooners who have the club in their blood for generations and telling us that we don’t know what we are talking about?

    No he doesn’t. It is overseas fans like the guy above who create this perception that overseas fans are generally uneducated, unknowledgeable, fair weather, glory hunters.

    They piss me off.

  • ande

    @ I am from the UK, a red member who tries to go to many games as per my bank balance allows me to the fact shame of the result was that for the most part, we more than held our own. The issue is that once again, when it comes to Arsenal at the highest level, we tend to flounder. That’s not a one off sight, it’s a consistent one. Sure we had chances to finish them off, hitting the bar with a flying Santi shot and having a ball cleared from the line with a Rosicky long ranger… but as Klopp said at full time, he didn’t come to play pretty football, he came for the result.

  • dkp

    anyone else for changing bednter for giroud these next two games?my biggest fear is we will burn giroud out before christmas the way it’s going.we play the poorest team in the prem lge on sat(palace)and face chelski in the lge cup on tuesday,and i think this is the right time to give giroud a break and play bednter to see what he can do and give us.if we can’t beat palace without giroud then we are in big trouble.i’ll start bednter and leave giroud on the bench.it’s the right thing to do in my opinion.any thoughts?

  • Rufusstan

    It is always nice to see the sort of article that gets it.

    It is easy to question what you are doing when you are: cold, wet, tired, and still sat on a train at midnight, when in the back of your mind you know that in six hours you have to be getting ready for work.

    Why? The experience is worth it. There is something about watching a game in the stadium that TV can never match, and an emotional connection that no pub can replicate. Perhaps it is an addiction of sorts, because nothing else is quite the same.

    It is funny, but winning and losing come way down the list of factors that make the game a negative experience. I might sound dispassionate, and perhaps make me a bad supporter to some, but the opposite is true.

    Last night left me feeling that I had been kicked in the chest, but that gets mitigated by things like the performance, and the fact that when you goto watch The Arsenal, losing is part of the deal.

    I have walked away from the ground feeling far worse when we have got points. As an example a few years ago, we got a 0-0 draw against City, when a supposedly ‘big’ side turned up with no intention other than to completely stifle the game. Now that was a day that makes you wonder: ‘why bother?’

  • Sammy The Snake

    Thanks@Sharpehunter for the wise words. Made me feel better, a bit.

  • Rufusstan

    @Sharpehunter — Apologies for this in advance because it is not intended in any way to offend anyone, just my view on the differing psychologies here.

    If you look worldwide, there are millions of football fans who have been drawn to the game as the PL’s profile has risen. They have chosen their teams and are now supporters of varying level of fanaticism.

    There is nothing wrong with that, and our worldwide fanbase is wonderful, but it can colour how people react to a situation as happens in other situations.

    For the more fanatical fan: the highs are higher; the lows lower, and recent converts have made an active choice, which ties things closer to their self esteem. Interesting titbit here — http://measureofdoubt.com/2012/02/06/how-football-scores-actually-change-how-we-talk/. You can probably find similar research around that Interweb thingy.

    This isn’t just an overseas fan thing; ots more a newer fan thing –just walk around any playground on a Monday morning. Its just the enormous growth in the worldwide fanbase that drowns everything else out.

    Arsenal was never a choice for me, being probably 4th generation* Gooner on my mother’s side, so Arsenal winning has no links to a right/wrong decision and any kind of reflected glory that way.

    It also helps that having supported Arsenal for over 40 years by now, lets you take a more mellow perspective (well sometimes).

    In the end, they piss me off a little as well, but I can see where they are coming from.

    *3rd generation I can prove by actually having been inside Highbury with them.

  • Gooner S

    I really ejoyed this post. My son met me at Kings Cross yesterday, coming down from Huddersfield after lectures, arriving 6.45. Straight to the ground. He is on his way back to Huddersfield today. I enjoyed yesterday’s game because I met up with son, becuase it was Dortmund, a good game of football and I love evening games, European ones at that.

    We both got soaked. But as he said “Dad, if you cant enjoy a game like that you shouldn’t be wasting your money watching football”

    Incidentally it cost me more for a return tube ticket and single fare for my son back home to Cambridgeshire than it did for his return to Huddersfield to get back to Uni.

  • I thought Dortmund were poor and definitely their for the taking.
    The result was a disaster as it shows Arsenal’s lack of pedigree in tournament play.

  • OMGArsenal

    Sharpehunter……..don’t make a generalization about overseas fans….most of us aren’t like those panic stricken plastic fanboys from wherever…..we suffer to watch the Arsenal on crappy live streams or very rare live broadcasts on ESPN and other shite channels, all the while praying one day that we’ll get to go to England and see a lice match at the Ems.
    Mark you clown…..nobody claims we have solved all our issues but last night was a one-off, and your profound ignorance of everything Football reveals you to be an up-and-coming member of the AAA. Just say you want Wenger out and we’ll all sigh and shake our collective heads at your stupidity.

  • Gord

    To all those who have gotten wet and (always) cold from a rain, you really should visit some place tropical some time. A long time ago, I got caught in a rain storm in Hawaii, and the rain was warm. I had never expected that, being from Alberta, Canada.

    I can’t believe how many desire to trod on Arsenal. A 1 goal game is almost never a case of one team outclassing the other.

  • Gord

    Oh, best of luck to the youth team, playing Dortmund today.

    From the Arsenal.com page
    > Arsenal’s Youth League game against Borussia Dortmund kicks off at 7pm at Meadow Park, Borehamwood and entrance is completely free! We will also have live tweets from the game on the @ArsenalLive account from 6.55pm

  • blacksheep63

    great post Tony, I’m almost dry now 🙂

  • Gord

    UEFA.com had the (Youth Champions League) game on, in their MatchCentre.

    Dortmund had Knystock sent off in the 82nd minute for a second
    bookable offense. Arsenal had Akpom sent off in the 90th minute, for a second bookable offense. About 4 minutes of extra time were played.

    Both teams had 3 attempts on target, no goals were scored. Arsenal
    had 2 shots off target, and Dortmund had 6 off target.

    With 3 games played, Arsenal has 7 points (+6 GD), Dortmund has 4
    points (+2), Marseille has 3 points (-5) and Napoli has 3 points (-3).

  • Pat

    @Sharpehunter

    I agree with a lot of what you said, but not about overseas fans being the biggest moaners.

    In the last couple of seasons the biggest moaners have been sitting in the Emirates shouting insults at our players instead of encouraging them.

  • mark

    United play like labourers and win come on gunners

  • Gord

    Off Topic

    Arsenal and the public.

    I suppose most teams in sports have anti-supporters. But Arsenal seems to be “blessed” with an abundance of them. And not just in ordinary life, but also in the media. And consequently, some media outlet feels it needs to cover a game involving Arsenal, and near the beginning of the broadcast, we see something like: “that Arsenal has been winning lately is just an accident, and we think that things will become more normal with today’s game”. And I feel like emailing them a copy of the emacs binary (emacs is an editor, it happens to be huge).

    In such an environment, it is understandable that Arsenal might not want to make it easy for anyone to contact the team. Arsenal does provide some video after games, but not for Linux. Fine, I notice that Arsenal feels it can afford to ignore a subset of its supporters strictly on the basis of what operating system they choose to run. It has nothing to do with football, and I continue to support them. It is just annoying.

    UntoldArsenal has done, and I expect will continue to do a lot of supporting Arsenal, regardless of the score in the last game. I’ve no idea if management at Arsenal think UntoldArsenal is something to follow or not. I don’t think it is relevent if management at Arsenal ever makes it known how they feel about UntoldArsenal. When I learned of Dogface’s partner passing away, I thought that perhaps sending a note to Arsenal about this might be useful. I was not looking for any statement (official or otherwise) to be sent to UntoldArsenal (either the blog, or to Tony by email). I just thought they might want to know. It is just about impossible to send an email to Arsenal after their “upgrade” to support mobile.

    On October 23, Arsenal had a youth team playing in the youth champions league. The Arsenal.com article about this pointed to a twitter feed. I don’t belong to twitter, but connecting to said feed, the latest thing there was Oct 7. I just checked now, several hours after the game ended, and the newest thing is still Oct 7.

    UEFA doesn’t do a lot good, but they seem to be supporting the Youth Champions League. And they did have a commentary on their MatchCentre. I didn’t try UEFA until the game was almost over. Why does Arsenal promote the Twitter path (which wasn’t useful) when the publicly available UEFA feed was useful? I will not join Twitter or Facebook, because I have better things to do than spend time redoing my computer because some virus on Twitter or Facebook wipes out my computer.

    Every team that has a web site (and I don’t care if it is some village under 8 team) that wants to provide a commentary feed, needs to shape up.

    Your web site is YOUR_CLUB_NAME.other. The .other could be .com, .co.uk, .org or something else. There probably is some string that sits between the HTTP address, and the part of the URL that actually describes the game content. If the game is played on October 23 2013, I will suggest you use a URL ending with /20131023.html. I will further suggest that this page make NO use of javascript. If your organization wants to have fancier web pages available, by all means place links to them at ISODATE.html, and people can click the link to get the fancier display (including autorefresh). But for those of us that don’t want to be rebuilding our computers because of virus problems, we seldom allow javascript, and we will refresh pages manually. And these pages should be present forever. If I know that your team played a game on January 13, 1970 and I connect to your website to find the first part of a URL for matches, I would expect that adjusting a URL to end in 19700113.html and sending that, will give me the commentary for that game. Don’t ever remove data from that URL. If you need to change something, make it obvious that the original text is being replaced with the new text. If a further edit is necessary, it can be with respect to the original text or the updated text. But at no point should you ever remove the original text.

    We are trying to support “our” team. Whoever “our” refers to. On UntoldArsenal, that typically means the senior mens team. It could mean the womens team or any of the youth teams.

    There is no reason why commentary on every football game played should not be online. A game is 90 minutes long. Maybe every minute (on average) there is an entry of some kind. Maybe the entry is 80 characters on average (including the time stamp). Hence, a game is 7200 bytes of data. A 1 TB disk is about $100, and at 7200 bytes per game, we can store almost 139 million games on that disk. It doesn’t make economic sense to not store game commentary, for ANY LEVEL of any sport game.

    There is also no reason why any soccer association to pay for software to do this. It is a trivial application. I gather most people can’t spell program or application these days, and they call it an “app”. It is still trivial. If there is a need for a generic (to all team sports) app needed, I suspect Google Summer of Code could produce that in a single year. With LOTS of bells and whistles! For every computer that people use (not just M$-Windows).

    Arsenal isn’t the only team making things more difficult than it should be, and all professional teams should have an interest in making things easier. Imagine how scouting changes, if a scout notices a 14 year old player, and they can go back and see game commentary on all the games that person has played before that!

    A common mantra of Open Source, is Data Wants to be Free.

    Maybe something to consider?

  • GoingGoingGooner

    Personally, I live overseas now, but unlike the people that ruined Sharpehunter’s day, I am an optimistic Arsenal fan and am prepared to take the bad with the good. As to the general tone and content of his missive, I don’t think abusing anyone because of their opinions on a football match, whether they be overseas or not, makes a lot of sense nor is it acceptable behaviour.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Someone sent this to me this morning .
    Words of Wisdom

    Stay away from Anger.
    It hurts only You and nobody else.
    If you are right, then there is no need to get angry,
    and if you are wrong then you don’t have any right to get angry.

    Patience with family is love,
    Patience with others is respect,
    Patience with self is confidence and
    Patience with GOD is faith.

    Never think hard about the past, it brings tears.
    Don’t think more about the future, it brings fear.
    Live this moment with a Smile, it brings cheer.

    Every test in our life makes us bitter or better,
    Every problem comes to make us or break us,
    The choice is ours whether we become victims or victorious.

    Search for a beautiful heart not a beautiful face.
    Beautiful things are not always good, but good things are always beautiful.

    Do you know why God created gaps between fingers?
    So that someone who is special to you comes
    and fills those gaps by holding your hand forever.
    Never forget this advice!

    Happiness keeps You Sweet,
    Trials keep You Strong,
    Success keeps You Glowing,
    But Only God keeps You Going!

    When you don’t give up, you cannot fail.