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Arsenal – WBA, where to begin….

By Walter Broeckx

First of all sorry for us not being able to post anything immediately after the match. But with Tony away on holiday and myself away in London it was just impossible. Unless I would have typed an article on my phone… My god it would have taken me a few hours to do that and as I had to drive home it would have been impossible to do.

Where to begin points at the several emotions that you deal with when going to see Arsenal. The drive up in the early morning, meeting my friend Marcel who was my companion today and amazingly I found out that we went to the same school and grew up in the same area. As I was a bit younger our paths never really crossed until a few years ago when we met at the supportersclub.  So it was a bit of a day of remembering how things were some 40-50 years ago. The good old days you know…

Remembering the teachers we had at school, remembering that where the ring way around Antwerp is now was in our childhood days a green belt around the city where we could play as kids. And be careful about the water as it used to be a part of the old defensive system around the centre of the city.  Remembering the good old days when his local team was playing in Europe before it went bust a couple of times…

It was an amazingly quit day on the highways that brought us to London. Even the roadworks we passed between Ghent and Bruges were a piece of cake. The shuttle was right on time and when driving up to London on a Sunday morning it looked as if the whole of England was still asleep.  I can’t remember a smoother drive up to our stop in London.

It was there where I met our referee previewer Andrew Crawshaw. And as usual and one of the reasons why I love Untold so much is that whenever I meet people from Untold they always are so nice. And have something interesting to say about other things than football.  As a former employee of the London Underground Andrew could tell us a few very interesting things about the underground.  As the fact that each day there can be around 180 swimming pools filled with water that is pumped out of the underground to keep the underground dry.  Lucky they got pumps to do this and don’t have to do it with a bucket….

Meeting people on the underground who weren’t aware of Untold Arsenal yet. Andrew guided them to the Emirates from Highbury & Islington underground station. A station I must admit that I had never taken before myself on the trip to the Emirates.  They were a bit amazed about the fact that people came over from Belgium to see a match of football. And to think that we are fortunate to live not that far away from London these days. There are lots of them who travel from much further away.

Specially for Nicky : the food report. Andrew suggest that we would have a pie at the Piebury corner. First of all for me the Piebury corner is not at the corner as the name suggest. But just around the corner. This is one of my professional job things as giving the right address to a property is one of my jobs. And I can tell you that technically speaking the Piebury corner is not at the corner. Well it would be over here. Maybe you have different standards in England?

Now I must admit that I had never eaten a pie like that. I know each country has its own specialities and snacks but I had never eaten one like that. Luckily they wrote what was in the pies so I could see what I could get. For those who have gone there before I can say that I took the Dennis Bergkamp one and it was a good one. Don’t ask me what was in it. I know some meat but I have completely forgotten what meat. I should write it down in the future I think. Or getting a bit older… and not being able to remember things. Or just being too tired with less than 4 hours sleep in 48 hours… I was at a wedding party less than 4 hours before the alarm rang at 5.45 am. The things we do for Arsenal…

Meanwhile I did what people who forget things do: look it up on the internet. The pie was filled with ham, chicken and leek. To be honest I hadn’t a clue what leek was (now I do,  thank you google) but I thought that I wouldn’t die from it so I took my chance.

Andrew was far too generous for paying for our pies and I feel a bit ashamed later on as I realised that I couldn’t pay anything back later on. Sorry about that Andrew. But I liked the pie. And the mash. Another thing I had never eaten in London and certainly not in that combination.  And on top some nice sauce. I really loved it. I might be back later for another pie next time I come to Arsenal.

The cost would have been 6.50 for pie, mash and sauce if it wouldn’t have been for Andrew. And it sure filled me up till a long time after the match.

On to the Coronet to meet Drew. As Drew was late as he was probably coming from the one and only direction around London where they organised a traffic jam yesterday we only could have a short meeting.  But Drew and I decided that to stay in the Untold line we will buy a hat sometime.  Allow me this inside joke.

After Drew giving me my key to the kingdom of Arsenal we could go to the match. More on that  (the match) later on in a next article.  But it was nice meeting you guys. And having 3 Untold Arsenal writers is the minimum standard or should be for a trip to Arsenal. And did you know my other Untold writers will have a ticket for the cup final. I am delighted for all of you! Shout for me in Wembley will you.

The books

43 comments to Arsenal – WBA, where to begin….

  • Jax

    Piebury Corner has a good reputation (though not with away teams supporters), and you did well to eat there.

  • jambug

    Walter

    I’m glad you had a good day. I’m especially glad you enjoyed your introduction to a true London tradition ‘Pie ‘n Mash’.

    Traditionally the pies are ‘steamed’ though over the years this has changed and is now not always the case as they are often baked, and as for that nice sauce you mentioned it is actually known as ‘Liquor’. Liquor is just basically a very runny parsley sauce..

    If you really want to immerse yourself into traditional London food can I suggest you try ‘Jellied Eels’

    Sounds disgusting and to be fair it is an acquired taste.

    One I must admit to never having acquired myself.

    Pie n Mash though….yummy !!

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Always a great read . Thanks , Walter .

  • Brickfields Gunners

    I arrived home to find the police waiting for me.
    “I’m sorry to tell you sir, but your wife is dead.” said an officer.
    “She went to the bakery, bought two pies, ate one and then dropped dead.
    “What happened to the other pie?” I asked.

    Did you know that if you counted up all
    the pies bought at football matches every
    weekend in the UK, the chances are, you’re
    autistic.

    Two pumpkin pies are in the oven, and one pie says to the other pie, ” Are they really going to eat us??” and the other pie says, “OH MY GOD A TALKING PIE!?”

  • blacksheep63

    Walter, Piebury Corner used to be (i think it still is) a stall opposite the Arsenal station and IS on the corner there. But they got so big (or successful) that they’ve opened on the Holloway Road as well.

    Good to see you guys, routine win and nice to see mini Sagna and Arteta score at both ends of the stadium!

  • Brickfields Gunners

    The cure .

    A woman goes to the doctor seeking help.
    “What’s wrong?” asks the doctor.
    “My husband keeps beating me when he comes home from the pub drunk…and I can’t take it anymore”
    “Well….you should make a big pot of tea and as your husband walks in start gargling, and don’t stop!”

    Two weeks later the woman comes back in.
    “Your cure worked perfectly, he didn’t hit me once since I started! But you need to tell me doc, how does it work?”
    “Well….when you gargle you shut the fuck up!”
    an

  • WalterBroeckx

    Isn’t it amazing…coming to London since 1979 and never had pie ‘n mash before….
    Shame on me 😉 But I’m coming back for more

  • WalterBroeckx

    Didn’t know that Drew. Will see for it next time I come using Arsenal station.

  • WalterBroeckx

    And about the match or what I can remember about it is another article in the making.

  • bjtgooner

    Walter, glad you have had a great day. You also brought the sunshine with you!

    Mow that you have discovered mash, you should widen your experience to try “champ”, with or without cheese on top – nicky might like the latter! 🙂

    This morning I managed to catch part of the “Soccer Extra Bank Holiday Extra” – including their review of Arsenal’s season – for once Arsenal was fairly presented – very surprising!

  • AL

    Bjt
    Perhaps Arsenal were fairly presented because the match was a dead rubber, we don’t pose a threat to anyone…

    Walter,
    I was in your country last week, beautiful place. Why so many canals though, not complaining but just wondering the history behind it. Oh, and I thoroughly enjoyed the chocolates and some Belgian beer

  • bjtgooner

    @AL

    Probably because we are out of the title race, but it was still a pleasant surprise.

  • nicky

    @Walter,
    Very worried that you should eat a pie without knowing the contents until AFTERWARDS.
    For the sake of your health, you should have dumped the contents and enjoyed the pastry and mash, with I hope, the gravy, although you don’t mention there was any.
    Forget the sauce which was invented by Belgians in the 16th century, in order to mask the appalling taste of English food.
    And whoever thought up ham (cold) and chicken (warm) as a pie filling was probably a Spurs supporter.

    I’m reminded of the story of my late Oncle Henri, who lived in Caen. Many years ago when France was experiencing widespread terrorist bomb outrages, he visited one of our family living in Yorkshire. At lunch he was first served with a large square portion of a Yorkshire pudding with gravy, which is the custom in those parts.
    On seeing the plate in front of him, my Oncle, full of terror, leapt to his feet, exclaiming “Mon Dieu, c’est un plastique”.

  • Gooner S

    @Walter,

    Pie, Mash and Liquor..this is the traditional London dish. Wonderful. When I was a kid we used to go to Dalston to get ours. You bought your tin from the shop and you used that tin every time you wanted to ‘take away’ and eat at home. My brother and I used to like watching the eels wriggling about before my Mum selected a few and they were topped and tailed.

  • WalterBroeckx

    Al,
    A big part of our country is below see level. So using water for transport is a sensible way to use it. But in a way that is history as nowadays transport is being done on the road most of the time. With lots of traffic problems. They try to upgrade the canals for the moment but the ships are too big for the older canals.

    I made a remark yesterday. Driving from London to Folkestone you never really drive on a flat road. It goes up and down in a gentle way all the time. But I don’t know if you noticed but certainly Flanders is as flat as the pitch of the Emirates. Hardly any hills or even the ground going up a bit. If a road goes up in Flanders it is because there is a bridge at the end 😉

    As Jaques Brel (who I don’t really like at all for the rest) used to sing: Mijn Vlakke Land (in French Le Plat Pays – in English: The Flat Land). The only song I can really listen to of him…

  • AL

    Yes, or if Everton were still chasing us we wouldn’t get any positive coverage. I even saw a flattering headline yesterday saying something like ‘Baggies downed by a Giroud hotshot’. Expect it all to change on the eve of the FA cup, it’ll be back to Wenger-bashing.

  • WalterBroeckx

    Nicky,
    my late mother thought me to eat anything they serve you without complaining. So I am good boy 😉 Finally… 🙂

    And to be honest I (whisper it): don’t know what gravy is… Will google know it?

    It did and what I called sauce seems to be gravy. That is if I can trust Google 🙂

  • AL

    Ok, thanks for the knowledge Walter. We certainly noticed the flat land, and someone said it was all because it used to be underwater but we didn’t believe them! I think constructing a stadium in Belgium is at a fraction of the cost, as the land is flat already!
    But Belgium is beautiful; the houses, the architecture, those cobbled pavements, and very clean too.

  • jambug

    bjtgooner

    Talking of SKY Sports this morning. I’ve just been watching Sky Sports News. The section when they look back over the Weekends games with Dermot Gallagher.

    On the back of Antonio Conte’s disparaging remarks about Clanttenburg the Anchor put it to Dermot that perhaps there was an issue, not just with Clattenburgs level of Refereeing, but with PL Referees in General.

    He was having non of it. Hardly surprising that of course, but it’s how he defends him that is such a worrying insight as to how this man ticks.

    Bellow is an almost word for word transcript of what he said:

    Gallagher: “It’s easy to have a go at the Referee because the Referee never hits back. You never see the Referee come out after the game and justify anything, he doesn’t need to”

    Anchor: “Shouldn’t he though?”

    Gallagher: “He doesn’t need to. His CV has done that for him”

    So that’s it then. A Referee has a CV, therefore he never does anything wrong. He should never be questioned. He should never have to answer for his diabolical mistakes.

    Beggars belief.

    Every time I hear this man speak I despair.

  • nicky

    Walter, You can’t go wrong if you bear in mind that sauce is a cold flavouring strong enough to dull the ‘orrible taste of the food you are eating. Some folk will say sauce enhances the food but don’t believe them. Gravy is warm and normally made as a delicious lubricant based on the juices of cooked meat.

  • Jax

    On what other football related blog would you debate gravies & Sauces?

  • bjtgooner

    @jambug

    Gallagher is unfortunately nothing more than a professional apologist for Riley and his minions – that is his raison d’etre. The question he should be asked when a disputed point arises is – why does the PGMOL refuse to introduce technology to assist the refs? I don’t think he has ever been asked that question.

    But Gallagher comes across as a rather weak but cunning character, he knows the PGMOL is less than straight and is happy to be paid to be part of the system.

  • jambug

    bjtgooner.

    On the back of what you said, against my better judgement I decided to have a look. (I’d taped it for the goals).

    Hmmm. Okay, but still not THAT positive.

    Despite ALL our injuries still harping on about the squad depth. Jeez, which other team has a squad big enough to cope with the loss of 4 top offensive players all at the same time for 3 months !!

    And apparently Ozil is our ONLY world Class player.

    So Podolski and Per, mainstays of the German National side for years, are not Wold Class.

    Ramsey, Theo and Wilshere would all be snapped up if made available and would definitely be classified as World Class.

    Corzola?

    Sagna?

    You don’t have to be Messi or Renaldo to be ‘world Class’

  • jambug

    Jax

    We have also been known to have the odd debate about Lasagne 🙂

  • bjtgooner

    @jambug

    For Ozil to move from being described as a waste of money/overpriced etc to now being world class is at least progress.

    They did mention the fact that we would have tallied more points without the injuries which again for SKY is progress – probably only temporary, I’m sure regression will set in.

    Don’t think I am sticking up for SKY – I am not – they are a major part of the anti Arsenal media system – my initial comment expressed surprise at what appeared for once to be a reasonable presentation. Just enjoy the goals & turn the sound down! 🙂

  • nicky

    @Jax,
    Had to LOL.
    With Untold, nothing is sacrosanct!

  • bjtgooner

    @nicky

    Have you tried champ with a little cheese on top?

  • Jax

    @Nicky

    That Piebury Corner is an Ok place. Do you know it? The Napoli fans attacked customers, broke the windows & did some other damage in October & Borussia Dortmund before that. Pie & Trash Ouch! I can’t believe I wrote that.

  • nicky

    @bjtgooner,
    No, but an old Irish golfing chum of mine (now dead) once described the delicious recipe to me as I once mentioned I enjoy left-over mashed potatoes sauted with my bacon and eggs for breakfast.
    I’ve always meant to try it.
    You have now reminded me to do so.

  • nicky

    @bjtgooner,
    I should have said “but no cheese with it at any price”.
    Don’t believe cheese should ever be warmed.

  • nicky

    @Jax,
    The Piebury Corner is not one of my eateries on match days.
    My wife and I once had lunch at the old Stadium at Highbury and vowed in future to eat quietly, well away from football grounds.

  • Steve Vallins

    Walter
    There is a book published which gives a history of pie n mash shops in London and lists where they are all located . I have a friend who is working his way through the pie n mash shops mentioned in the book

  • WalterBroeckx

    Ha Nicky,
    I have to disagree with you on warming cheese. I think I could be tempted to eat sh*t with a warm cheese sauce on top of it. Ok this is maybe a bit over the top but I would eat the most disgusting things with a hot cheese sauce.

    Mind you I am a cheese man who eats cheese every day of my life. A day without cheese is a failure for me. And I have done this since …well as long as I can remember.
    Takes yesterday. Up at 5.45 and first thing in my mouth was bread and cheese. Coming home at 23.30 at night and the first thing I did was going to the fridge and take out the cheese. Ok, I admit I kissed my wife first 😉 and then rushed in to the kitchen

  • WalterBroeckx

    I must say this is rather amazing Steve Vallins.
    The thing is that each time I went to London I was so fixed on Arsenal I never realised there was life outside Arsenal in London. 😉 I thought it was just decorum to give visiting Arsenal supporters something to look at.
    OMG my jokes are getting saltless for the moment. Need some extra sleep. Feeling the jetlag now with the sun shining and rather warm temperatures over here.

    Now I must say that it is amazing about those pie n mash thing. And as someone said: only on Untold you can get such a comment section on a football blog.

    Match report coming up soon now. Any inaccuracies in that article are down to being in the stands and fatigue… 😉

  • bjtgooner

    @nicky

    You are right, champ is I understand an Irish dish, a nice alternative to mash. I first had it without cheese, but later came across a version in a cafe up north with a topping of cheese & tomatoes – delicious – but each to his own – time for lunch!

  • nicky

    Walter,
    In all your praise of cheese, you fail to mention the brand. I don’t know whether Belgian cows give the sort of milk that lends itself to quality cheese. I’ve heard of Belgian chips, chocolate and beer but never cheese.
    Perhaps your land is sensible enough to import the most famous cheese in the world, namely Extra Mature English Cheddar.
    It’s the only cheese, throughout the European Community, that a man, coming home at night, would eat BEFORE kissing his wife.
    And don’t ever muck it up by warming it.

  • WalterBroeckx

    Nicky,
    we do have some good cheese in Belgium. And just as with the beer the best cheeses I know are coming from abbeys. The bit about the beer is from what I remember from the time when I drank beer myself. I didn’t like the taste of it but the beers brewed in abbeys are different.
    Beers like from the abbey of WestVleteren voted best beer in the world. But I never drank it myself. But Westmalle is also nice and the brewery/abbey is only 4 km away from my home. You can ask Tony if he liked it when he was at my house a few years ago 🙂

    I remember from my younger days that sitting on the terrace of the abbey with a abbey beer, combined with a slice of abbey bread with abbey cheese on it….Paradise on earth…

  • Damilare

    Walter, congrats on your wedding son.

    Arsenal’s achievements over the years are not recognised by the media simply because of AW.

    Our season has been more successful than the last.

    COYG

  • Damilare

    Meant to say…Congrats on your son’s wedding.

  • jambug

    bjtgooner

    I know what you mean, but that’s how bad it has become that we take comfort in such crumbs of praise.

    But without even listening, which I wont, I’ll lay you a pound to a pinch of shit that all the Radio 5 live and especially Talkshite, end of season analysis and phone-ins will give us far more abuse than anyone else.

    I mean lets be honest, as far as Spurs and Utd are concerned this season has been an unmitigated disaster but they’ll get nothing like the abuse we’ll get. Even if we win the FA Cup.

  • bjtgooner

    @jambug

    You are quite correct about the media and I am not taking the bet! Anyway, I don’t listen to the Talkshite and their inbred idiots.

    Agree about Spuds & Manures – both tipped for top 4 at the beginning of the season. I have a pal who is a Spuddie, who is a bit down at the minute. As a friend I have some sympathy for him, even if he is silly enough to support the chicken farm, but I don’t have any sympathy for Spuds as a club – they spent a fortune unwisely, boasted how they would displace us from the top 4; tried, by underhand means to stop us signing Ozil and have looked like a mid table team for much of the season.

    As for the Manures – they were a poor team last season, even with the Dutch traitor, but over achieved thanks to the PGMOL. This season they have found their appropriate level. No sympathy!

  • jambug

    bjtgooner

    Here here to every word of that.

  • Jax

    Friendliest day I’ve spent on UA.