By Tony Attwood
Before the match four writers of Untold gathered in the Swimmer for a pre-game chit-chat and the occasional noggin. (Tim joining regulars Blacksheep, Andrew and myself).
We were, I think it is fair to say, in lively, positive mood, despite the awful car crash, the aftermath of which Blacksheep and I had witnessed at the end of our journey south. It was a salutary reminder of what can happen, at the end of a week which had started with me in court arguing that a car crash of two years ago had been a mere glancing blow (my fault, I never denied it) and not something that could have caused whiplash and prolonged injury.
Indeed my experience in court on monday is also a reminder to anyone who thinks that the offer of a “no win no fee” deal from a solicitor is worth considering. The lady whose car I edged alongside (scratching my vehicle leaving no mark on hers) left court with no win, and a £5000 bill in court costs which I understand her insurance company won’t be paying. No win, no fee but they forget to tell you about the consequences if you lose.
So after a week that started in court (and being in the witness box as a defendant is nerve wracking experience for even the most up front commentator on life’s affairs) moved on to jollier things, and I reflected at that moment how lucky I am to have Arsenal as a hobby and passion. It has through my life brought me friendship, passion, enjoyment, laughter… Of course I get a bit down when we lose, but then think to myself – at least I don’t support Chelsea, Man C, Man U, Leicester, Tottenham, and the rest, where visits to the second division would have been part of my supporting life, had I chosen them.
Perhaps that is why generally speaking I am happier than some: it’s a sense of historic perspective.
Back at the Arsenal there was a planned walk out on 75 minutes, which seemed to involve 25 people, according to Blacksheep from his vantage point in the North Bank lower level. From my position in the front row of the upper east, I couldn’t see anyone leaving – and I did look.
But the Independent and Telegraph have pictures of someone holding up an anti-Wengerian banner, (at least one if not both of the pictures did not come from this game last night – it was not even from the Emirates) and yet again no comment appears anywhere that in contrast to the negativists we have our banner, paid for by ourselves, on permanent display in the stadium. I’ve printed the picture of it several times of late, so I’ll leave you today to make your way to the home page to see it in all its glory. The history of the banner and the list of subscribers is here.
And so as always the media’s rampant negativity surrounding what was a perfectly enjoyable game with some very good football, thus took on a desperate hue.
Although they did come in with the interesting snippet that
Empty seats at Premier League games shows what happens when you have live football on TV six days in a row
So maybe it wasn’t a boycott after all.
As for the transport, the Piccadilly Line, which is one of the two Underground lines that service the area was almost totally out of action for reasons that did not become clear. Vast crowds built up around Finsbury Park station, and I imagine around other stations in the area as well, and many of us diverted our attention to the regular railway line operated by Great Northern.
It can get very crowded after a game, and doubly so when there is no Picadilly Line train. So what did Great Northern do? They put on a three carriage train and allowed everyone to try and push 200 or more people into a carriage. Total insanity and incredibly dangerous. But then, hey, we’re only football supporters, so we don’t matter do we?
Back with the football Arsenal have broken through the 500 barrier in terms of the number of wins in the Premier League (only Man U being there before us) and we look sure to have Champions League football next season – something Chelsea can only dream about, and Man U are desperately hoping for, and Liverpool!!! and State Aid can only imagine.
Of course it would be wonderful to win the League again, but playing the media’s most disreputable game of all time isn’t going to make that happen. We could go down the route of Tottenham and keep disposing of managers (although doing so because a manager does make it into the top four, rather that because he doesn’t) would be a variant on the Tottenham managerial process) but the key point to notice is that changing managers, at least as far as Tottenham is concerned, fails.
Here’s the proof…
- Chris Houghton 1997-1997
- Christian Gross 1997-1998
- David Pleat 1998-1998
- George Graham 1998-2001
- David Pleat 2001-2001
- Glenn Hoddle 2001-2003
- David Pleat 2003–2004
- Jacques Santini 2004–2004
- Martin Jol 2004–2007
- Clive Allen and Alex Inglethorpe 2007-2007
- Juande Ramos 2007-2007
- Clive Allen and Alex Inglethorpe 2008-2008
- Harry Redknapp 2008-2012
- André Villas-Boas 2012 – 2013
- Tim Sherwood 2013-2014
It’s a fair old list, but as a model it doesn’t really bring with it that much glory.
- Arsenal – WBA : 2-0 Alexis with a brace
- Arsenal v West Brom Thursday 21 April 2016 – The Match Officials
- The 29 players signed by and linked to Arsenal 10 weeks before the transfer window!
More from the Arsenal History Society
- Reg Tricker: came from India, signed by Chapman, moved on to Margate.
- John Storrs who played in our first season, but then vanished.
- Joseph Frederick (“Billy”) Heath; the man who scored the very first penalty
- Patrick O’Brien: more info than previously put together, but still not much on this Arsenal man.
- John Hawley: a life saver who played for Arsenal at a most difficult time
The series on Arsenal in the 1970s is now complete – there is a full index on the AHS site.