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Football at the Emirates: the view from the cheaper seats.

The Emirates Cup:  a view from the cheap(er) seats

by Blacksheep

As you may know if you are a regular visitor to Untold, Tony and I usually travel to the Emirates together (and indeed to some father flung and more exotic grounds – such as Corby Town or Grantham). But this weekend as I was treating my step twins and he was socializing with Ian and his children, we made our separate ways to the Emirates Cup.

We had intended to meet up in the ground but because Tony had opted to sit in Club Class (where they have waitresses and people to cheer for you I imagine) he was not allowed to come down to the West Stand Lower where we were sitting (and I was, of course, not allowed to sully the expensive carpets of Club Level with my dirty work boots).

So, herewith my report of the day from our (lowly) position; Tony can supply his own from above.

This is not a match report, Walter has given you that already, no this is my experience of attending on the Sunday. We arrived at Archway (much the best way to go if you are travelling from the north) and walked down the Holloway Road in the beautiful sunshine. Holloway Road is interesting; lively and noisy and full of people. This is Arsenal’s community and if you just take a tube to the ground and don’t take the chance to take in the area you are (IMHO) missing out.

The first mission, with two teenagers in tow, was to eat. We chose Tommy Flynn’s pub (about ten minutes walk from the Ems). As this is an Irish pub the Guinness is very good but so was the food. Reduced menu on a Sunday but burger and chips (v good chips too) for £5 was great value. You get a tasty burger in a bun and lots of chips with mere a garnish of salad (they know their customers).

Fed and watered we strolled towards the ground and attempted to negotiate the queues into the Armoury (The Arsenal shop).

Bad idea.

Someone must have given the store manager an endless supply of those adjustable barriers and so outside and inside we were corralled like sheep heading for a shearing. And like sheep the good burghers of Arsenal PLC wanted the shirts off of our backs! The Armoury on match days is bad but this was worse than I’ve ever seen it – packed solid and no real route for those that simply wanted to browse.

Eventually we escaped and made it up the hallowed steps to turnstile A. Having successfully used their new Cannon Club cards the young people and I headed for the stands. We were in Block 2, Row 5 – and this meant we were very close to the pitch and (to Charlie’s excitement) the players’ tunnel and the subs benches.

I watched the Benfica vs Valencia game and was impressed with the way the Spanish team came back from going down 1-0 in the first half. I particularly liked the skilful winger Pablo Piatti. But more than that I’d leave to someone better versed in European football. It was a friendly. Between two teams I care nothing about. It was the warm up for the main event…

Which was (for me anyway) seeing Alexis Sanchez in an Arsenal shirt.

I’ve been a fan since I saw him take apart England at Wembley and so his signing is exciting. I thought he was great; quick feet and a quick mind, he was very creative. But also determined and has that thing that the bitey one has, a fierce determination to win. He is going to be massive for us I reckon.

The game was a bit incidental. I had a good view but the atmosphere was a bit sh*t (as Mr. Bolt may – or may not – say). A Mexican wave after 10 minutes – and one that seemed to go on for ten minutes – no thank you. People getting up and down to get drink, leaving 15 minutes early, hardly any singing, being told to ‘sit down’ when I only got up to applaud one of several chances we had.

It was a friendly but it was a shame not to see us score and from where I was that was a nailed on penalty Mr. Atkinson. A conversion there and we would have been staying on to see the team lift the Emirates Cup. Oh well.

Instead we set off to walk back up the Holloway Road in pretty good cheer. Alexis looked great, Chambers is a real find, and Debuchy looks like he’ll pick up where his understudy in the French squad left off. As for the rest of the team there is clearly some work to do on fitness (yes you M. Giroud), timing of tackles (er Jack…) and positioning for set pieces (why Arsenal…why always us?) but its pre-season so I’m not going to lose much sleep over a defeat.

The goal came from Falcao and it was good to see him in the flesh as well. A real start he took his goal well and got some good applause when he came off in the second half (and wild cheers from a small posse of Colombians in the West Stand). Would I like him at Arsenal? Oh yes please M. Wenger!

Another pre-season almost over, just the Community Cup Shield Platter Tea Cup next Sunday (I’m not going) and then it’s Crystal Palace on the 16th. Can’t wait, Tony and I should be there together and I get to see all the ST holders that sit (stand) near me for the first time in nearly 3 months.

Happy days

Editorial footnote:  This article came with a set of superb photos, but for some reason I can’t get them to load.  Totally my fault – I’m crap at IT.  Apologies.  Tony

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22 comments to Football at the Emirates: the view from the cheaper seats.

  • WalterBroeckx

    Oh that happens when Puma shows your book in the videos about the new kit launch. Tony feels to good now to sit with the rest of us mere mortals 😉

    On your report: just imagine for once refs being fair to us. Even in a pre season friendly….

  • finsbury

    On the referees, hope you don’t mind if I drop this link. FHs explains better then I could why more Arsenal fans should pay attention to the work done on Untold:

    http://positivelyarsenal.com/2014/08/05/referees-give-arsenal-a-fighting-chance-please/#comments

    Contrast this with the event involving those two ancient rivals, the clubs at the heart of the Arsenal Promotion Mystery after the Great War: Yesterday in the Manchester vs. Liverpool friendly game in the US there was a completely random use of video replay. So, it seems the refs or some refs are happy to use the tech sometimes, but not all of the time. You can fool some people sometimes…

    We have seen the random use of video replays in high profile games before. It’s possible that last season that the inept use of a screen, or just impaired, or blinkered vision led to a certain official sending off an Arsenal player in a key game last season for wearing the wrong shirt and having the wrong colour skin.

    Alongside exceptionally dodgy offside calls too frequent in too many games to be true I wonder what delights the PGMOB have in store for us this season.

  • jambug

    At Old Trafford.

    Could you imaging an assistant flagging to rule out a penalty already given by the Referee?

    Can you imaging a Referee changing his mind, especially without even going over to speak to the Assistant?

    Look, I know it’s only a friendly, and it’s no big deal at the end of the day, but it’s just the fact….IT WOULD NEVER HAPPEN AT OLD TRAFFORD.

  • oldgroover

    It’s encouraging that someone somewhere is trialling further video tech, and if there’s some positive outcome then it’s well justified. Every little bit helps.

  • jambug

    Finsbury

    Thanks for the link. Good article.

    Only problem is that Lee Probert had a great game in the Final. Who says so?

    Not me. Not us here on untold.

    But every other man and his dog.

    We actually had FIVE legitimate appeals, some stronger than others, but all givable, a couple of which where absolute ‘stone wallers’. But BT Sport, in there wisdom, decided that Probert had got EVERY DECISION correct. Worse still they tried to claim the one decision he did get wrong was the award of the corner that lead to our goal, which was an unforgivable error on Proberts part.

    Highlighting it, shouting about it, whatever we want to do to expose the bias we are up against, merely makes everybody else laugh.

    They don’t give a shit. In fact, the more we are screwed the better the media and there Lemming like followers love it.

    Arsenal v Villa. Opening game. BBC commentators where actually laughing about the “clever” rotational fouling.

    Stoke v Arsenal. One nil lose to dodgy Penalty. Post match BBC. “Yes it was a very soft penalty but that was all Arsenal deserved” I swear he was wetting himself as he told us such was his excitement at relaying the good news of our defeat.

    I fear for us this season.

  • Mandy Dodd

    That’s a good article Finsbury. Agree the fans should do all they can with these officials, but the problem is, the media never highlight decisions against Arsenal….in the way they would for certain other teams. Wish I knew why. I also hope the club are doing things behind the scenes at unfair refereeing…the lack of Mr Taylor, native of wythenshaw… in games after the Villa debacle suggests maybe something has been said.
    This weekend is not unique, seem to remember Anthony Taylor doing us in the Ems Cup as well.
    I didn’t see the Monaco game, but heard Carvalho got away with rather a lot. Maybe in atkinsons eyes, once a Chelsea player, always a Chelsea player.

  • finsbury

    Your welcome Jambug

    I’m no expert but I’ve seen fans having much greater success when putting pressure on referees, as opposed to fifty blokes chanting outside the ground holding up a an bed sheet whilst groaning: “Vengarh out.”.

  • Mandy Dodd

    I fear for us a bit as well Jambug…..there’s a lot of north west teams out for a top four place. Then The oilers of the south.Wenger will have to get the strongest squad possible, keep them as fit as possible, have streetwise players of guile. On those fronts, he is doing well so far.
    If we do end up getting consistently unfair treatment, we have a very powerful man as CEO….he might have to act

  • finsbury

    There is no rational or reasonable explanation that can be given to excuse the gap between the aid given to the officials in say, Field Hockey, and the worlds biggest sport: Association Football.

    Anything else is just wishful thinking. And excusing the arbitrary (at best!) application of the laws of the game, a day after Linekar made his comments on corruption in the game is just plain old stupid.

  • WalterBroeckx

    More about video referees very soon on Untold Arsenal… calm down guys you are spoiling my hard work from today 🙂

  • bjtgooner

    @Mandy

    Carvalho could have had a red for the deliberate knee in Giroud’s back, after 3 mins play, mid match a yellow for a deliberate foul stopping an attack and towards the end a yellow for a kick on the head to Sanchez – I would have given him a straight red for this last offense – but then I am not a qualified ref!

    In between all this, Monaco realized they could get away with a lot & the general level of fouls increased.

    As for the not given penalty and red card……

  • para

    It’s going to be TOO obvious now that the issue has been highlighted, and also because Arsenal are much better now.
    We play top class and the fouls become so much more apparent, and the fans in the stadium will really let the ref know he is being watched from the off.
    Still i don’t see them giving up, they just will be more clever at attacking Arsenal, but our club has to start doing something about it, that is, if they are not already doing things the Arsenal way, which i prefer to think.

    Arsenal Breakdown
    http://www.arsenal.com/news/news-archive/20140805/video-the-breakdown-2014/15-preview

    good to watch throughout the season, for those who don’t know.

  • Ray from Norfolk, Virginia

    What happens when the video replay shows Mike Dean dancing the jig when he hears through his ear-piece that his favorite team has scored at another fixture while the naughty boy that he is is supposed to pay attention to the game at hand?

  • Gord

    It has been announced in a few places, but the rules regarding concussions have changed for the upcoming season. While concussions should be treated seriously, I wonder if we might occasionally have referees “imagining” that head contact had been made, and ordering players to the sidelines to be examined by the team doctor?

  • nicky

    @Blacksheep,
    An enjoyable report which made great reading.
    On the food front, you didn’t say whether the burger was cheese or beef. I’m not too keen on the meat one, where the contents and quality can be a bit of an Arsenal Stadium Mystery.
    As for the great chips, perhaps they were imported from Walterland!
    As for Guinness, I’ve had a few dodgy ones in my time (the last occasion being a pint, followed by French onion soup, followed by a quick exit from the restaurant).

  • blacksheep63

    beef (i think) although cheese came with them as an option. The chips were from McCains and big fat ones not those Belgian frites!

  • bjtgooner

    @nicky

    I recently tried a dryish claret with Old English Mature Cheddar – it seemed to go surprisingly well – an alternative to the more traditional white wine/cheese combo.

  • nicky

    @bjtGooner,
    Just sipping my first (of the night) glass of Scottish Wine and about to enjoy a cheese biscuit or two with a wedge of Extra Mature English Cheddar.

  • nicky

    @Blacksheep63,
    I remember the lunch at work during WW2. The canteen staff (experienced in 100 ways to steam cabbage)didn’t steam on Fridays and on that day, lunch consisted of cheese sarnies and a bag of chips.
    It was our favourite meal of the week.

  • nicky

    @bjtgooner,
    Should have mentioned before that I’m subject to the odd bout of gout (hey, that rhymes!).
    Claret is a no no, I think.
    MIND MY FOOT!!!!

  • bjtgooner

    @nicky

    Sorry the claret is out – I was suggested it as an occasional alternative – guess you will just have to stick to the traditional white wine with cheese.

    Re the Scottish Wine – I tend to save that for special occasions e.g. beating the Spuds!

  • grayfox001

    Good report although so many people go on about the Mexican wave and I don’t understand it. Chill out – it’s a friendly. Can’t put a number on the amount of games I’ve been to but never seen one at a serious game. The wave was in keeping with the occasion. Sorry I just don’t get the people that constantly moan about it. I took my 5yo to his 1st game on Sunday and even though he had problems with the intricacies of the game (“Daddy has Jack scored yet?”) he loved the wave and it added to the idea that this was a group celebration with 60000 supporters who all had a part to play in the occasion.

    It just sad but so many people I know (not necessarily Blacksheep) that moan about the Mexican wave are usually trying to say in an underhand way “Mexican wave??? you lot obviously aren’t proper fans”

    He also asked why we didn’t get the penalty. I couldn’t explain that one.