- Where there is power, money and greed there is corruption
- Why do Tottenham players get fouled more than those of any other club?
By Tony Attwood
Leaving the ground was like walking an air. My pal and I walk back to Finsbury Park railway station to get the train heading north. The station is horrifically overcrowded, sometimes to the point of danger, but I didn’t seem to notice. Everything that I felt Arsenal had been heading toward was now coming together, and we really could see it. And wow, did it work!
And yet even in such euphoria, I can’t help but feel annoyance at the media. The Guardian’s report on the match against Lens speaks of the “away contingent’s admirable efforts to maintain an atmosphere.”
This “atmosphere” included the constant setting alight of what appeared to be hundreds of flares before the during the game, but that was a fact that they did not care tp mention. Now you might know that Arsenal have a list of items that cannot be brought into the stadium and it very much includes “flares” – but this total breach of rules didn’t seem to bother the more intellectual parts of the media. Maybe they were enjoying the hospitality too much. Indeed such a breach of the rules didn’t bother the journalists from the Guardian for example, nor any of the security team who let all those people with flares through and into the ground.
Which raises a thought: what is the point of having regulations, if they are not going to be upheld? Surely it just brings Arsenal into total disrepute. There is of course also the second point that flares are dangerous, and indeed for people who don’t want to see the match through a haze of smoke they do interfere with viewing the game.
But then if the away support are going to be allowed to bring flares in en masse, or if Arsenal don’t have a way of finding flares on incoming visitors (sniffer dogs can help) then what’s the point of the regulation?
And why am I being frisked so vigorously? I am an Arsenal season ticket holder, and had my first season ticket way, way back in the Highbury days. I’m now in my 70s; I am an elderly guy who has been attending Arsenal matches since the age of nine and who, if I had wanted to disrupt Arsenal games I would have done it at sometime in the past sixty or so years.
But as I say, before I could enter the ground I was frisked from my collar to my ankles – although I would suggest that the level of a threat to public order that I posed was pretty small.
As for the game, as you may well have heard or seen or read, Arsenal played the game with five attacking players, which made the whole thing rather fun – especially as all of them scored before halftime. In order it was Havertz, Jesus, Saka, Martinelli, Odegaard, Jorginho. Apparently, that is the first time any club in the Champions League has had five different scorers in the first half of the match – so another Arsenal first.
Oh yes, and we had the new chant of “£60 million down the drain; Kai Havertz scores again.”
Meanwhile, off the pitch everything imaginable was thrown at the security team who eventually gathered to face the away fans. And for me, a question remains. If the man who frisked me with such vigilance could have had his attention directed instead, to some Lens fans, maybe there would have been less disorder.
And believe me there was disorder. The man from the Guardian didn’t manage to notice it (perhaps he spent too long in the hospitality lounge) but the Sun altough hardly the most reliable of sources did manage to spot what was going on, and we might note, for example, their commentary that “Lighters and seats thrown from the crowd.” And more.
But I suppose someone somewhere at Arsenal, deems us English old age season-ticket holding pensioners a bigger threat than a group of much younger Lens supporters.
As we know Arsenal have won the group. And because of the curious way in which these things are worked out Arsenal will go through with PSV because of results between the clubs rather than the goal difference within the league table.
Arsenal head the table with 12 points, then PSV with eight, Lens with five and Sevilla with two.
The teams that have now qualified for the knock out stages contain most of the usual suspects…
- Bayern Munich
- Real Madrid
- Real Sociedad
- Atlético Madrid
- Borussia Dortmund
- Manchester City
- RB Leipzig
- PSV Eindhoven
Arsenal will play one of the second-placed teams – but not PSV.
This win has made it six wins in the last eight games in all competitions for Arsenal with the two defeats coming in successive matches against West Ham in the league cup and Newcastle in the league. Arsenal have scored 20 goals in these games and conceded seven. It does seem we are back on track.
- How far down might these points deducations take clubs?
- Big clubs that foul less lose fewer players of their own to injury
- What takes clubs up and down the league: attack or defence?
- Referee Extremism: the situation in Spain and in England
- Didn’t appreciate KO time, M1 is a disaster, but watching Arsenal is a joy