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By Walter Broeckx
Coming to London is always a pleasure. It is like a pilgrimage. A pilgrimage to the Emirates. So last weekend it was once again very nice to come over or under as we go under water to reach London. The one thing that wouldn’t work along was the ref and his decisions. But I have talked about that enough so I will not mention him again. Well I will try.
The morning started very nice. All 16 of us who would travel with the Eurostar came on time and we could hand out the match tickets and the train tickets. All on board and off we went. So only another 6 tickets to hand over to Gooners already in London. But we had made arrangements to meet somewhere.
When I was in the bar carriage to buy something (and no it was not something to drink but my oyster cards as I had forgotten them at home) another Benelux member came along with a picture. A picture of himself and the parents of Thomas Vermaelen. As we were sitting in different carriages I didn’t know in which carriage they were sitting. But I was thinking of keeping my eyes wide open to see if I would see them when we were in London.
And when we all came out of our seats when the Eurostar stopped in London I saw the parents standing further down the train in our own carriage. If only I would have known that. So I waited for them to pass us by and asked them if they had the time to spend a few moments with them while going to the exit of the Eurostar platform.
And as you can imagine the question we all have was asked: How is Thomas doing for the moment? How long will he still be out? And the answer is that his Achilles injury is what you could call healed. But as a result of him having such a long time out he has now all sorts of other smaller problems which keeps him back. One could say from rest comes rust.
A date when he will return is impossible to give. But Thomas himself is determined to come back. And he also has said that he will only come back when he feels 200% fit. He didn’t think it is good to rush back and play half an hour and then walk off with another injury like a muscular injury. No, when he comes back he wants to be back and stay fit.
So patience is a good virtue at times and I think for Thomas this is such a time. How I would love to see him back playing in defence and scoring a few goals but I think he learnt the lesson which lead to his long lay off this time. By playing for Belgium when not completely fit the damage was done. So I think he will be more careful from now one when it comes to playing with an injury.
So how I would have liked it to tell you: he will be back on …… I cannot give this information. No one can actually. But if all goes well they hoped he should be ready somewhere this month. So if I would make a prediction based on what the parents of Vermaelen said the hope is that he will be back after the international break. Now wouldn’t that be a nice date to come back. And if he comes back like he came on the scene last season we are in for a nice end of the season with Thomas defending like he can and…scoring like he did.
But then our ways separated. We went to the underground and well the parents of Vermaelen went to the car that was waiting for them.
But more people we had to meet. Like Tony and Jane. And it was as usual a nice meeting with lots of nice talking and laughing and a bit of drinking. You know how those things go. Some pictures were taken, some more talking and off we went to the Emirates after having found all the people of the Benelux already in London. Even a battery of my mobile phone that went down couldn’t stop us.
The ref could stop us. So the result was a bit disappointing (understatement) and certainly when the text messages came in from several countries around the world that we had been robbed a bit. It made it even harder to swallow. But as swallowing was the only thing we could do, we swallowed.
But the optimist came above water soon enough and after having seen one defeat (Newcastle) and one draw (Sunderland) next time I come back will be to see us win. And after Sunday’s results we know we still have it all in our own hands and feet. 10 games to play, 3 points behind the leader and one game in hand. I have known more desperate situations.
Let us just hope that the likes of Cesc, Van Persie, Walcott, Song and Vermaelen come back real soon and if only they could stay fit for those remaining games it could be an exciting final 10 games to look forward. But be prepared for 10 games against all the forces of darkness and evil. Don’t be surprised to see strange things happening on the field. Remember it is us against them….all of them. But in a way, this is just the way it has been for a while and it makes success even sweeter.
So once again a big thanks to all you Gooners for making the day worthwhile. Well live is a roller coaster and so is being an Arsenal supporter. Up and down we go but the ride is always exciting.
If you think things are up and down now, try the world in 1910, when Arsenal went bust and then arose from the ashes to form the modern club. Making the Arsenal. Details here.
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