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Arsenal – Bournemouth: the travels, the catering, the laughter and fun

By Walter Broeckx

When our oldest reader and probably oldest Arsenal supporter in the Arsenal internet world kindly asks me a question I cannot but give him what he asks.

To say I had a tough 24 hours is a bit of an understatement. Being the president of an official supportersclub in a country is an honour but on match days it is not really a blessing. With the fact that I was the only board member on this trip I knew it would be down to me to solve any problem that we would face. That does bring a bit of stress when almost half of the members we had on board of the cars made their first ever Arsenal trip. And with me being the driver it put some extra pressure on me to make sure that I brought all my passengers back in one piece.

So a little bit of stress when I went to bed on Saturday evening around 10 pm. My alarm clock was set at 03.00 am. Now I must say I only sleep 6 hours on most nights so not that bad. 5 hours of sleep. On paper. Because the excitement, the stress, the scenarios of all what could go wrong (and there were a few things that could go wrong) not leaving my head… I think I have slept only  2 hours in total.

But the good thing was that I was completely awake when the alarm clock told me it was time to get out of bed. I had just fallen asleep… A quick shower, a first morning sandwich at home and one for on the road in Calais. Both had cheese in between. Gouda cheese, the old variety. A good deep cheese taste, a bit salty, the way I like my cheese between my sandwiches.

Picking up 4 other members on my why to Ghent where we came together and apart from one member we were all well on time. After waiting some 10 minutes our last member showed up. Only 10 minutes late but when he is around you feel the sun shining so who can blame him.  The trip from Ghent to Calais was done fast and we were so early that we even could take an earlier train. Not much activity on a Sunday morning in Calais.

So when we drove off at Folkestone we had an almost empty highway to London in front of us. Again the trip went as smooth as can be. Waiting time before the Blackwall tunnel? We had to make sure we didn’t get a speeding ticket was more what could have happened. The only thing that broke us up a bit was me driving second and having to stop for a red light so we came with a slight interval at Hornsey road where we could park thanks to the Arsenal serviced for supporters clubs. Close to the stadium. It has a benefit being from a supporters club.

We had to wait almost 2 hours before the parking stewards showed up to say we could leave our car where it was parked. Going in the shop was the next step. But as I can celebrate my birthday next week and I had given some strong hints about what I would like to get I didn’t buy anything as I am hoping my wife and children are taking notice when I tell them what I would like to have.

Catering I hear you shout, Nicky. Okay up to the Swimmer we went to meet our Untold regulars Blacksheep and Andrew. Blacksheep made sure we got to learn a few new faces an family members who attended this match. I couldn’t imagine living with someone who supported the tiny totts but Blacksheep cousin had to do this. Love knows nu football clubs I assume. I rather have a non-supporting partner than someone who would support the tiny totts but I feel a lucky man.

As the owners of the Swimmer were so kind to open their kitchen earlier this Sunday to accommodate the Arsenal supporters who come to eat and drink before the match we could order from 12.30.  Ever since Andrew has introduced me to Pie eating a few seasons ago I prefer pie when I come to England. Why eat a burger in London when I can eat them everywhere in Belgium and we have a small food chain De Burgerij with excellent burgers close to home. (Tip for when you visit the Antwerp area – also vegetarian burgers!).

So I went for the home made pie with mashed potatoes. When I got my plaet it looked like this

english-pub-food

I must say the camerawork isn’t great as in real live it looked a large portion. I sure had enough after having finished my meal.

The meat was lovely cooked, the mashed potatoes where well mashed and the food was all well spiced. Not too much, not too little, just as I like it at home. The price of 12.50 is not that low I think but when you are satisfied after dinner it is was worth its price.

Making sure I got all the tickets and cards and handing them to our members so they could all go in. As I was sitting in a different part of the stadium I waited for the moment I heard all our members were inside before I would enter myself. This in case some member would find trouble to get in so that I could still help them out.  Once that message arrived I felt the main job was done. Bring all our members to the match safe and get them in the ground.

After enjoying a good match of football almost ruined by some strange referee decisions we went back to the cars to drive home. It seemed that the whole world was driving on our roads. It took us 1.5 hour to get from Folkestone to the Emirates in the morning. After the match it took us 1.5 hour to drive some 5 or 6 miles. And when we arrived at the Blackwall tunnel we had a car that had stopped and a massive traffic jam was the result. But we managed to get past the car and once we were south of the Thames we had no more problems and could drive to Folkestone. Again we could take one train earlier and made it back to Ghent around 11.30. I had to drop off a few people on my way home so when I arrived at home we were already Monday morning in my part of the world. I was in bed around 2.00 am. And after not having slept apart from 2 hours in the 36 hours before…. I fell asleep in an instant.

Had sweet dreams of Arsenal and travelling to Arsenal but still feel  exhausted about missing some sleep now. But that is what we have to do in order to see our Arsenal play in the flesh. A price I want to pay each weekend if possible. Next trip is planned for January. Looking forward already.

20 comments to Arsenal – Bournemouth: the travels, the catering, the laughter and fun

  • Rantetta

    Ah, thank you Walter.

    I always love the travel & catering reports.

  • Andrew Crawshaw

    Off topic but Eddie Nketiah now has a hat-trick for the U23s in their game this evening against Leicester. Arsenal 3 Leicester 0.

  • SamuelAkinsolaAdebosin

    Congrats! For haven a wonderful and safety drive to London to watch Arsenal play, and for a safety drive back to Ghent.

  • Mike T

    One of the thing that amazes me is just what some go through to watch their team. We travel about 2.45 hours each way for each game but our journey is insignificant to some how like us travel to every game.
    Whilst I very much doubt many could find the energy to make the journey you have just undertaken I am amazed when supposed supporters of other clubs launch comments about being plastics or tourist or whatever and try to take the morale high ground because they think themselves as proper supporters whereas those that don’t live round the corner they consider interlopers
    It is often underestimated just how much money those that travel to football contribute to the economy, and I am not talking just about match tickets.
    I am pleased that you and your fellow supporters enjoyed your journey and indeed the game but I have to say at £12 odd for that pie I think you were robbed

  • SamuelAkinsolaAdebosin

    @Andrew Crawshaw.
    I checked on @arsenal twitter account handle a while ago. And at that time, Arsenal were 1 goal up in the game through that Eddie Nketiah. A relatively unknown Arsenal Under 21 player to me.

    Has by his scoring a hat-trick against Leicester’s Under 23 team tonight succeeded in marking a statement of intent to Le Prof that he’s ready for promotion to the senior team squad that is already full? Or it was just a flash? We’ll know more about his performance as time goes on.

    Just as you earlier pointed out to me today, Ben Sheaf and Chris Willock whom I included in my starts and bench for our ELC match against Southampton at the Ems on Wednesday night have played for our Under 23 team tonight against Leicester. But I am sure if Willock was brought on from the bench. If he’s not used, he’ll still remain on my bench but Sheaf is off from my starts. My starts and bench for the Saints Cup game save Sheaf and maybe Willock remain largely unchanged.

    But please tell me, is it only 5 subs that are allowed for the Under 23 games? Because only 5 subs I saw named on Arsenal bench.

  • SamuelAkinsolaAdebosin

    @Andrew, I ment to say, I am not sure if Chris Willock was brought on from the bench.

  • SamuelAkinsolaAdebosin

    @Andrew what have I said? I went back to @arsenal twitter to see if Willock was used as a sub. But I discovered he even started the match. So that’s it. Ben Sheaf and Chris Willock are off my starts and bench for our Southampton ELC game. I’ll likely post an update to my starts and bench tomorrow by making 2 substitutions for the duo.
    Thanks.

  • Gord

    Selected cut and pastes from twit feed

    > EddieNketiah9’s curling effort sends us in with a 1-0 lead at the break

    > * It’s that man again!
    > EddieNketiah9 makes it 2-0 to AFCU23 with a low, drilled finish across goal

    > * Slow down Eddie, we can’t keep up! 😅
    > It’s a hat-trick for @EddieNketiah9 – he pokes home to make it 3-0 to #FCU23

    > AFCU23 win 3-0 thanks to a hat-trick from… you know who 😄

  • Andrew Crawshaw

    There are links to the three goals via the Arsenal Twitter feed. I’ll leave one of you far more tech savvy than me to post them here.

    That’s three wins in a row now for the U23s and remember Nketiah is only 17. Hopefully one with a great future at the club.

  • bjtgooner

    Walter, very pleased you had an enjoyable day and that your presence helped our team back to winning ways – despite the malign efforts of the bandit in black!

  • Gord

    The title mentioned humour. I suppose at some point, Birckfields will be along to fill that request.

    Brickfields, I have a website for you.

    http://www.wildbirds.com/About-Us/Bird-Jokes

    Since some people think I feel everyone in Stoke is Neanderthal, I will paraphrase a joke.

    Two Stoke fans got to talking at their stadium during a game (come on now, Bet365 Stadium?) and decided that they would go marsh duck hunting the next weekend as their was no home game. It was an away game (against Arsenal no less)_, and they didn’t want to go to the most expensive stadium in England to watch. As I said, they decided they would go duck hunting. One of the stewards at the game (big guy, a real monster at 6’8″) heard them.

    Two weeks later, the Potters were again playing at home, and these two fans (now duck hunting buddies) come through the gate at the same time, and the steward sees them. He pulls them over (how could they say no to a 6’8″ guy with a history of killing cows with his bare hands?). He asks them, “So, how did the duck hunting go?”.

    1: It was horrible, we didn’t get any ducks.
    2: We think it is because we weren’t throwing the dog high enough.

  • OlegYch

    nice report Walter
    sounds like an amazing experience

  • Gord

    In the news, was information about Theo. Namely, if he gets to 10 goals by Christmas, his wife will buy him a new coffee machine.

    I don’t know if Theo has any electronics or software skills, but maybe he would rather build a coffee maker, than buy one? Anyway, arduino.cc has a page which gets into some of the “how to hack a coffee maker” stuff. There is likely other stuff out there as well.

    http://playground.arduino.cc/Main/CoffeeTronics

    If you don’t know about Arduino (or Raspberry Pi), you should learn. Great way to learn electronics and programming, without getting expensive.

    Arsenal.com has a note, about Arsenal joining yet another social media thing called Dugout.com. It is apparently free to register (at the moment). Will it be free forever? Will it require dangerous software like flash? Will it support Linux?

    I don’t know.

    Maybe someone could report on it?

  • Brickfields Gunners

    @ Gord -29/11/2016 at 12:15 am – Thanks for this . It was so bad that it was truly funny .
    Loved this , reminds me of those smart alecky pundits , reporters and ‘them’- almost always getting it horribly wrong , but claim to be right !

    Two statisticians went duck hunting. A mallard flew overhead and one statistician fired just to the right of the bird. The other statistician fired just to the left of the bird. They turned to each other in glee, and congratulated each other… “On average, he’s dead!”, they cried!
    The mallard continued his migration.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Q: Why did the chicken cross the road?

    Brickfields Gunners : Because it was fired out of a cannon .

  • Brickfields Gunners

    THE NATIVE AMERICANS GOT IT JUST RIGHT!!!

    Donald Trump addressed a major gathering of the American Indian Nation. He spoke for almost an hour about his plans for increasing every Native American’s present standard of living. Though vague in detail, he spoke about his ideas for helping his “red sisters and brothers.”

    Afterwards, the Tribes presented him with a plaque inscribed with his new Indian name, “Walking Eagle”, which he proudly accepted.

    After Trump left, a news reporter asked the chiefs how they came to select this name. They explained that “Walking Eagle” is the name given to a bird so full of shit it can no longer fly.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Getting back on topic , thanks Walter for this report . That plate has me salivating for pie !

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Bush, Obama and Trump go to a job interview with God…

    God asks Bush: “What do you believe in?”
    Bush answers: “I believe in the free market, and the strong American nation!”
    “Very well”, says God. “Come sit to my right.”

    Next, God asks Obama: “What do you believe in?”
    Obama answers: “I believe in the power of democracy, and equal rights for all.”
    “Good”, says God. “You shall sit to my left.”

    Finally, God asks Trump: “What do you believe in?”

    Trump answers: “I believe you’re sitting in my chair.”

  • Gord

    The plane crashed, not all players on the team died. One apparently didn’t travel on that flight.

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