By Tony Attwood
To get into the Emirates for each home match I have to go through two security checks. Fair enough, these are troubling times. But if I, a season ticket holder of advancing years have to go through two security checks, WHAT THE HELL IS HAPPENING AT THE AWAY END?????
Yet again we had a flare or a smoke bomb going off. These are phenomenally dangerous products that can maim, take a person’s eye out and cause deep distress to anyone close by with lung problems, and yet game after game we see them. It used to be a Merseyside thing but at the end of last season we saw the Watford fans get away with the same things.
Yes the stewards were in their quickly, and once again other visiting fans deliberately obstructed their attempt to get the culprits. And the fact is rammed home once more that the Emirates is not a stadium that can stop away support getting flares in. Stewards buzzed around the area quickly, but the quite simply, while I was checked twice security at the away end was breached.
However it doesn’t have to be like this.
First double the number of security staff in the away support area. And then all Arsenal has to do is tell all visiting clubs that each time any of their fans bring in a flare then for their next visit their allocation of tickets will be halved. After that three successive visits without flares and their allocation will go back up one step. Another three and it can be taken back to the normal level. Three years running of flares however, and that’s it, no more away support for that team.
All the decent supporters groups of other clubs support action against flares, so we should let them do the marshalling of their own criminals. And criminals is the right word, for taking a flare or similar device into a football match is a criminal offence.
In fact the match wasn’t a very good one for Arsenal’s arrangement makers. The catering, at least the catering near my seat in the east upper was at meltdown. The queues were far far longer than ever before and service was taking longer than ever. And yet here again it doesn’t have to be like this. All they have to do is have treble staff – one to take the order and money, and two to serve up what is required. As it is everything is done by one person, who can’t cope.
Anyway, after years of battle, I think that’s it for me. No more half time coffee.
Back on the pitch, and again not mentioned by much of the media is the fact that Southampton got three yellow cards for dissent, and the issue that Untold has been making a fuss about for eight years (time wasting by a goal keeper) was addressed. Not very well, but a bit.
As soon as Southampton scored the disgraceful Forster started to edge out the amount of time he took for each goal kick and each kick out once he had the ball. Twenty seconds for a goal kick, 25, 30, 35… As for holding the ball, we were up to ten seconds, 12, 15, even 20 on one occasion. The crowd which used to be dead quiet and ignore such matters were booing him each time, and finally the ref woke up and gave him a yellow.
He should, of course have then given him a red since he continued with the same practice throughout, but a yellow is at least a start. If all refs do this, keepers will start getting totting up levels, and one day, one ref who is able to follow the guidelines will actually send a keeper off. Three wretched Southampton players were booked for protesting – again a step in the right direction.
The engagement of the crowd with the issue is good – there was a huge amount of booing of the time wasting, and broadcasters are very much annoyed so I am told by those in the know. Sky BT and the rest use these long time wasting delays to show pictures of players trotting back to the half way line, followed by replays. Now as they do that it becomes clear to the viewer that Sky is editing out bits of the event it doesn’t want (such as time wasting) as they attempt to sanitise the game to suit their media vision. Things seem to be moving at last.
But on to other things…
On the way to the game I listened to a futile debate on Radio 5 about the forthcoming game in Manchester and for once the station’s commentators said something interesting – that in Spain and in South America they have names for special matches – invented names to hype up the event. El Clásico is the most famous, but there are apparently many others.
Even Andorra has El Clàssic between FC Santa Coloma vs. UE Sant Julià. Club Brugge vs. KAA Gent is the Battle of Flanders. (If Walter were not on holiday he could translate). De Topper in the Netherlands is Ajax vs. PSV. My favourite is Luverdense vs. Sorriso: The Soybean Classic.
So what about England? Why do we have the boring Manchester Derby, North London Derby and the like.
Arsenal v Tottenham is of course closely related to “It’s happened again” so ought to be La Reptida. Manchester is closely associated with its ship canal, so City v Utd is El Navegable. Scousers are known for their ceaseless repetition of the phrase “Kalm Down” so Everton v Liverpool should be El tiempo para calmarse.
Tottenham against State Aid Utd could be El aspirante – the game of the clubs always seeking to be there but never quite making it. Norwich against Ipswich then would be El gente sencilla país. Fulham against Chelsea becomes Carrera de botes. Man City v Chelsea is El juego del dinero.
I leave you to do the translations.
And perhaps add a few more suggestions for derbies.
- Southampton at home; Wilshere as manager
- Maybe we should be more gentle on the Anti-Wengerian journalists and their fellow travellers?
- Arsenal v Southampton Sat 10 September 2016 – The Match Officials
- Real Madrid and Atlético Madrid banned from making transfers for a year. English clubs next?
Anniversary of the Day
11 September 2003: 16 year old Cesc Fabregas joined Arsenal from FC Barcelona (for whom he had signed aged 10). It is said that his first coach, Señor Blai, reportedly did not select Fàbregas for matches against Barcelona in an attempt to hide him from their scouts. The same story is told word for word about Bellerin.
You can find 5000 Arsenal anniversaries arranged day by day on the Arsenal History Society site.