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Trips to the Emirates always full of unexpected things

By Walter Broeckx

As someone said in the comment section under my pre trip musings he hoped for a safe journey and that I wouldn’t have any troubles as he remembered some things not going to plan in the past. Someone with a good memory I must say as he recalled the bird against the car incident. I’ve also had the broken engine belt when I came to the Emirates the first time.

But most of the time the trips have gone well and are just fun. And full of the unexpected.  I remember some  5 or 6 years ago that we had a meeting with the one and only Elvis Presley who lives in London incognito. He even sang a song for us. I have seen romantic images of an older couple walking hand in hand still visibly in love.

So just yesterday I once again had a nice moment that will stay with me for a while. At least till my next visit. Which is in a fortnight. Lucky me.

But after my trip with the Eurostar train from Brussels to London I have to take the Underground to go to the stadium. Now while I was standing on the platform of the Underground I heard a familiar language behind me. A couple and their sons of around 14-12 years old was closing in on the platform.

Now in a city of over 8 million people, what is the chance of hearing a relatively rarely spoken language like Flemish from the person next to you?  Flemish is a dialect of Dutch and I can imagine that if you have ever  stood next to a Flemish speaker it would sound like the proverbial Double Dutch. But in fact it was just simple Dutch.

So I could understand what they were saying and they were asking each other if they wanted to visit the Arsenal stadium.  But it seems they weren’t sure which station they had to get off at. Arsenal was rather easy but they had heard things about Holloway Road also being a good option. So I just stood there in front of them waiting for the inevitable to happen. As I was dressed up in my Arsenal equipment with jacket with the cannon on, scarf, my shirt… I just knew they would going to ask me the best option.

Now I must say that in general Flemish people don’t interfere with private conversations of other people. Unless we are being spoken too.  And so I obeyed that unspoken rule of my home society. Finding it funny because there is no rule that is saying you cannot listen to conversations when you hear people speak. And finding it funny because as I understood their Double Dutch very well I knew they would ask me. So the woman said: ask that person there he seems to be an Arsenal supporter, he should know.

And then the oldest sun spoke to me in his best English: Sir (really? but yes, we are in general) do you know which station we should take for Arsenal FC? But had they said it in Dutch and it would have gone like this: Mijnheer, kan U mij zeggen welk station we moeten afstappen voor naar Arsenal FC te gaan?  Now this really is double Dutch of course.

Oh I had been waiting for this only to say to them with a friendly smile on my face: Je mag dat gerust in het Nederlands zeggen hoor. Oops sorry that again will sound like Double Dutch again.  I said, “You can say it in Dutch.” And I rather enjoyed the expression on their faces when they found I came from the same part of the world as they.

Friendly as I am I told them they could follow me and we talked about Arsenal and how they loved to see a game now they were in London. I warned them for the touting of tickets and then I said that I would ask he liaison officer for the supporters clubs if by some good fortune some clubs wouldn’t attend after all.

Now the touting is really strange because as soon as we came out of the Underground station (I always take Arsenal by the way) someone offered them tickets for £80.  I advised them not to do this and wait for my message. Alas my contact person at Arsenal who runs the allocations for supporters clubs could do nothing for them.

But when I phoned them with this sad message they had big news for me. Because they decided to go up to the ticket office at the stadium and asked if by any chance they could get 4 tickets. And lo and behold the ticket office told them that they just had a few people calling off and making their seats available and they could sit 2 by 2 in the same block.

I think we might have found a few new Gooners today. And that is the extra thing I like so much about being a Gooner and my trips to Arsenal. You never know who you will see on the day and what new experiences are waiting for me in London.

After the meeting and the unveiling of the statue I also had to eat a bit. And I used the Little Wonder Cafe just over the Armoury today on the roundabout. A place where I have been before but that has expanded since my last visit.

I took the eggs (two of them) well baked, sausage, bacon and beans with toast and tea. Now I must say that for Double Dutch speaking people like me I don’t know what it is but your tea just is different to what I drink at my place. It just is tea from another world.  [It’s called “stewed” Walter – sorry that’s  joke for English readers – I’ll explain it next time we meet up. Tony]

The toast was well done this is somehow tricky at times as I don’t like the break your teeth toast.  It cost me £6.20 and I think this is rather reasonable and I really had more than enough to eat.  The staff are not overly friendly but professional and they run, run, run, run to get the orders quickly to the clients. I didn’t have to wait too long. But I surely wouldn’t like working there as it would be too stressful for me.  And I probably will drop the plates anyway.

To round off my adventure of meeting my Double Dutch compatriots who went to see The Arsenal for the first time: I later bumped in to them at Kings Cross where they were having a snack.  And by the way they greeted me and their big smiles on their face when they said: what a match and what an experience was enough evidence for me that they might come back and they probably will have become Arsenal supporters from now on.  Well I tried to do my part for it.

Footnote from the “we don’t like to give out wrong information on Untold” department.   If going to Arsenal from the south on a match day by Underground, please note trains don’t stop at Holloway Road underground.  They do stop at Holloway Road when coming from the north however.

29 comments to Trips to the Emirates always full of unexpected things

  • blacksheep63

    but if you take the Holloway Road option be prepared for a steep climb up the stairs or a rickety lift ride. Oh and the station closes just before the game and until about 2 hours afterwards so you can’t use it to travel back. Best options are Arsenal, Finsbury Park or Highbury & Islington tubes. Or go to Archway and walk (about 25 minutes) which is what Tony and I do. Quite impressive of Tony to walk that far each time, given that he saw Tom Finney make his debut…

  • Sammy The Snake

    That was a great game, I might share my special experience soon. 🙂

  • nicky

    Walter,
    A nice post, leaving aside the match, for a change.
    And all this time I thought Elvis was long dead.
    I’ve always been suspicious of the post-war British sausage and I would have stuck to the two eggs, preferably fried (easy over)not “baked”.LOL.

  • WalterBroeckx

    Nicky,
    I also thought Elvis was dead. But NO NO NO he was alive 5 years ago. Living completely incognito and I think the plastic surgeons done a great job in making him unrecognisable. And he lost some weight. Admitted being a Gooner himself before starting to sing and giving us a private performance on a corner of the street. He sang : ‘Are you lonesome tonight’ by the way. Surely it must have been him 🙂

  • WalterBroeckx

    And don’t worry about the sausage. If you ever go in to a ‘frituur’ in Belgium and you take something else apart from the fries ….. then you never know what you get or what is inside of it. Better maybe not to know but the strangest stories does the rounds about what they put in to it. 🙂 It should be from animals but don’t ask or start to think about what parts of the animals they put in the big mixer to make those snacks…..

    So if you can digest that, you should be able to digest anything.

  • Gf60

    Totally off topic but…sooo nice to hear:

    Piers Morgan and CNN Plan End to His Prime-Time Show
    By DAVID CARR
    Three years after taking over for Larry King, Piers Morgan has seen the ratings for “Piers Morgan Live” hit some new lows. He and the network are in talks about him remaining at CNN in a different role.

    That’ll teach him to piss off all those American gooners!

  • WalterBroeckx

    For those who weren’t at the stadium but would like to see the interview Bergkamp gave at half time I posted a video I took on facebook.https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10203577172100243

    I hope you don’t get seasick as I don’t really have a steady hand it seems.

  • nicky

    Walter,
    While we are on the precarious subject of the contents of sausages, the next time you are in the UK, buy a packet of Richmond* sausages and try them. Whilst not of pre-war quality, their percentage of pork, lack of gristle, etc and general taste is so excellent they are the only sort to grace my plate at the moment.
    And after all that free publicity, I expect the Richmond people to send me at least a large crate of their delicious product!

    *They are Irish made. Not sure which side of the border.

  • rantetta

    Yes Walter
    I love these stories, and I can imagine what it’s like to hear your own language being spoken abroad. – and knowing you can help the people who are speaking it. And how beautiful that your compatriots followed you and your advice and even got match tickets without having to pay the touts. Brilliant!

    I’ve learned somethings: it’s actually possible to get tickets from the box office on the day of a match, and, how and when I could use Holloway Road tube. I must admit that on my rare trips to the Ems, I love to take my car, park about a mile away, unless it’s a night match, in which case I park around the corner.

    The journey is part of The Journey. I love it. Great article.

    Old tune
    Double Dutch Bus:
    http://youtu.be/fK9hK82r-AM

  • bjtgooner

    Walter, very pleased that you enjoyed your day out – and didn’t the team play well for you!

  • Mick

    Sorry off topic but great news that Arsene Wenger has lasted longer in his job than the sacked Piers Morgan has in his. Poetic justice.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Glad you had a great time at the game, Walter , and a nice write up .Hope your view was not blocked by those morons waving their black scarves or the rest of those disgruntle ‘fans’ who may have been be protesting something of another !
    Watching DB10’s return for the unveiling of his statue ,as well as moving speech,makes me wonder why the rest of that team have been negative towards AW and the club ?
    DB was so humble for so great a player – a good lesson in humility for all.Well done ,sir !

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Like the guy said , you’ll never win (ratings) with youth! Larry was (and still is )KING ! Piers was just a dip-shit !
    Hope BT don’t sign him up !

  • Brickfields Gunners

    And just as Larry King ages like fine wine ( unlike that twit whose like a dram of vinegar !), here’s my toast ( hic !) to all wine drinkers .
    Goodnight, guys!

    “Sometimes when I reflect back on all the wine I drink I feel shame. Then I look into the glass and think about the workers in the vineyards and all of their hopes and dreams… If I didn’t drink this wine, they might be out of work and their dreams would be shattered. Then I say to myself, “It is better that I drink this wine and let their dreams come true than be selfish and worry about my liver.”
    ~ Jack Handy

  • WalterBroeckx

    And I don’t want to brag about myself but I must say I was pretty proud of the fact that in the Arsenal Magazine (on sale with the match program) there was a little article from my hand and even a picture.
    The greatest thing for me that my opinion and picture was on the same page as Martin Keown. It was just a short article about my thoughts on Dennis Bergkamp.

    But must say it felt rather good to be in the magazine…

  • I like walking from finsbury park along with the crowds it’s always good crack.

  • OMGArsenal

    God you lot make me sick!!!! I’m across the pond and not likely to ever see a match at the Emirates in person, so enjoy you’re good fortune…..lucky sods!!! IF I ever get to see a live match, I’ll visit EVERY place UA has decsribed and make Tony & Walter treat me to a pint of Murphy’s as well! I know I will get tickets from a disgruntled AAA’er because I’ll offer to remedy his dissatisfaction by taking them off him for a song.

  • Florian

    OMG,

    I’m grateful I had the chance to attend the NLD last September, though the happiest of all must have been Air Canada:) Actually, the ticket was only the third in the spending order, with the hotel in between. I guess this was my version of “spending some f***ing money”:D

  • Pat

    What a great story, Walter. It is so fantastic that the visitors managed to get tickets at the ticket office at the last minute like that. Also, congratulations on getting in the Arsenal magazine. Now I’m going back to look at your video of Dennis Bergkamp.

  • Pat

    Many many thanks for the video, Walter. I really felt as if I was there.

  • Gord

    Wonderful story Walter. I suppose you forgot to tell them about UntoldArsenal? They will find their way here. And hopefully, you get a comment, “I know you, you helped us get to the Arsenal game.”. Hopefully not embedded in a zillion AAA comments.

    @Brickfields

    I am glad you liked my attempt. Nobody else seemed to notice.

    Oh well, I have numbers to crunch, and I am going back to that.

    —-

    I do have a comment about Aaron Ramsey not being chosen for Wales in their upcoming friendly. Why is this a news article? He isn’t fit enough to play for his team. Does Wales look at the possibility of players who have resigned, or are dead?

    It just seemed like a dumb thing in the news. Oh, Aaron Ramsey is not yet fit to play football, but he will play for Wales. We expect he will be hurt in that game, and will not play again for Arsenal in this season.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    @ Gord – Just like the saying,”If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?” , so here too ,we cannot discount the lack of appreciation of humour just because we don’t hear the laughter !
    But we may ,I think ,assume that one of the following has occurred –

    a) It could have caused the reader to spit /snort out their rice krispies, tea , coffee onto their computers,laps ,bibs etc and they are pissed at you, while cleaning up. They should soon forgive you ,I think !

    b)They liked it but either they didn’t trouble themselves to inform you or they are still looking for the LIKE and SHARE link/tab
    which is well hidden on this site !

    c)They thought it was ok ,but are too busy brainstorming /inventing/creating the next great thing on the internet !

    d)They didn’t like it as you may have insulted the greatest Arsenal manager in their eyes , bungs or not!
    Pål Lydersen could have been an Arsenal great had he been given the time,they say !
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/P%C3%A5l_Lydersen

    (Pål Lydersen (born 10 September 1965) is a Norwegian former football player.
    A full back, Lydersen played for I.K. Start, until he was signed by English club Arsenal in 1991. However, he was unable to oust first-team regulars Lee Dixon and Nigel Winterburn, and played only 16 games in two years for the Gunners.[2]

    Lydersen’s stay at Arsenal was overshadowed after 1994, when it was revealed that his agent, Rune Hauge, had paid Arsenal manager George Graham a £425,000 “bung” for signing Lydersen and John Jensen, another one of Hauge’s clients.)

    e) None of the above . Applies to the AAAA ,whose brains are empty like their miserable lives !
    And cannot understand it without it being ‘simplified’ for them by their gurus – Owen,Hansen , Savage , Shearer & co !

    Keep at it and soon you too will cause much consternation (n.-a sudden, alarming amazement or dread that results in utter confusion; dismay.) and a foreboding( n.-a prediction; portent.a strong inner feeling or notion of a future misfortune, evil, etc.; presentiment.) that the moderators will often shit their pants , screaming ,” HE’S BACK !!!”
    You may know of such a person !

  • burtsagooner

    Hope to bump into you there Walter. I live in Haarlem in the Nederlands myself and as such dont get back too often for a game. Everton being the first this season. Really looking forward to it. Can see a convincing win and another trip for Wembley on the cards 🙂

  • Gord

    Arsenal U-19 versus Shaktar Donetsk.
    http://www.arsenal.com/match/report/1314/pre/youth/u-19s-arsenal-v-shakhtar-preview

    > We will tweet the key moments from Meadow Park from 6.55pm (UK time) on the @Arsenal account. Remember, entrance to the game is FREE!

    I can’t go to the game, and I don’t twit. But, hopefully someone from UA can tell us about the game. Maybe UEFA.com has the game? They had the previous round games.

  • Gord

    Match is underway.

  • Gord

    At 24 minutes, Toral scores for Arsenal. 1-0

    And it is time for me to leave computer now.

  • Gord

    Back.

    Boryachuk scores for Donetsk at 44 minutes.

    65: Olsson (in) – Zelalem (out) (Arsenal).

    71: Olsson (Arsenal) scores from the penalty spot.

    73: Gnabry (Arsenal) scores!

    74: Vachiberadze (in) – Tankovskiy (out) (Shakhtar Donetsk).

    82: Kamara (Arsenal) receives a second yellow card and is sent off.

    83: Hlushchuk (in) – Miranyan (out) (Shakhtar Donetsk).

    Arsenal attempted 9 shots, Donetsk 15. Both teams had 3 of those shots on target.

    Arsenal 3 – 1 Shaktar Donetsk

  • Gord

    The U-19’s next play Barcelona in Youth Champions League.
    http://www.arsenal.com/match/report/1314/post/youth/youth-league-arsenal-3-1-shakhtar

    Arsenal.com’s report is much better than mine.