The Untold day review: a day at the races, sorry Emirates

By Walter Broeckx

The Arsenal Benelux play at the Emirates.

A nice day out. As covered earlier  in this article the Arsenal Benelux supporters club of which I am a bit of a working member would participate at the Arsenal Supporters Tournament played at the Emirates. To make a long story short (Eric one of our +35 year old members, that we have to include in the team) got an heel injury and had to be replaced by an older person. Who else could we take but Tony? And as our normal manager had to go to work at Monday morning at 4 am and couldn’t get back there in time Eric took over as a manager.

Off we went and we met in London. And remember none of our players is actually playing in a team at any level.  Eric the manager, Kristof the chocolate leg, Jonas the young one, Nicolas the youngest one, Steven the Cesc, Glenn the tall one, Tony (the editor) and Walter as the writer.

The first thing to do was to build the team and the best place to do this is while eating a bit. Another highly educational moment for us non-UK residents where Tony explained the secrets of shepherd’s pie and  B.L.T.  What a great start.

Another nice moment when a lady came over to me and asked if I was Walter from Untold. I do admit that it was a moment in my life I never forget.  A strange moment because I know the people who comment on this site but you hardly meet them in real life and then someone coming up to you and start thanking me for the things I do on here. It made me feel proud and I thank you for your kind words.

On to the Emirates and we started with a nice group picture of those going to defend our colours inside the ground.  Look at the team getting ready.

The Arsenal Benelux team before it all started

The young lady you see in the picture was not a player but she was our supporter coming all the way from Flanders to support us. So she deserved to be in this picture. The other supporter was behind the camera.  The ladies  supported us throughout the day with loud voice. Thank you ladies.

It took a while before we could get in the stadium but after a long wait we stood there waiting in the tunnel

Starting to feel the tension…

while the crowd was singing for us:  “And it’s Arsenal, Arsenal FC, we are by far the greatest team the world has ever seen.” Okay, I admit it could have been some recording but it sure was nice to hear.

On to the games. We had to play Scotland, West Midlands,  Maidstone,  Hampshire, Hungary and Essex.

The start was difficult as we lost 4-0 to Scotland.  But this was down to Tony not playing I think. Our manager saw what was wrong and changed the whole tactics for the second leg. Tony came on from the start, I went in goal because Kristof began already to feel his knee becoming a bit shaky. And look and behold we won against West Midlands with 2-0.  Even Tony being tackled by the ref couldn’t stop us.  Big cheers from the well filled arena when we scored the 2-0 in the final seconds with a clever back heel.  We had won at the Emirates. After a lap of honour and appreciation of some 5 meters for our  block of supporters we pinched ourselves. It felt like beating United 1-0. Okay, not really the same intensity.

But then came Maidstone and they showed us that we really were the amateurs we are. Another 4-0 defeat on the score board.

Concentration at the start of the game. Tony is covering at  the back

The next team we had to face was Hampshire and we expected another beating. Meanwhile Tony was out with a back injury and we had only one sub left.  But much to our surprise we took the lead. Only to see the ball going past me after some poor defending of our part. But then stepped up Steven the Cesc. He saw the keeper standing a bit too far of his line, took the shot and the inch perfect lob flew in right under the crossbar and over the keeper. The whole Emirates erupted in wild celebrations. I guess this could be down to my imagination.  But we managed to hold on to this lead and a 2-1 victory was on the score board.

That made it 2 wins and 2 losses. The losses were expected, the 2 wins not.  But then we did a typical Arsenal thing. Tony out with his back, (I think we are getting a bit too old for these kind of foolishness Tony) Kristoff out with his knee, Jonas suffered with his shoulder after coming down wrong after a push. So no more subs and we had to play 2 games.

As Dale will know this was too much to handle. We lost against the Hungaryans 3-0 and then we lost to Essex who managed to score in the final seconds with a low shot that went past me when my brains told my body to dive after the ball but my body just didn’t react anymore.

So at the end of the day we stood in 5th place on7 teams  in our group and this would give us right for a place in the Europa League next season.  But nothing other than happy faces in our team, even the injured players joined in the lap of appreciation when we got a standing ovation from our whole supporters contingent. The manager got a contract extension for next season and I don’t know if this had anything to do with the way how he managed to be able to manage and to take pictures at the same time.

Look at that style. Does Arsène still need an experienced keeper?

The evening ended with a nice and healthy meal in the Emirates. Well if you call a hot dog and chips healthy of course. But after all the troubles I had gone through every kind of  food was welcome.  A final drink and then we started the long journey home.

If anyone has any influence in the issue of cross channel transport could you please ask the people from the shuttle at Folkestone to send a train over around 12 pm? Because now we had to wait a long time and we only arrived at Calais at 3.45 am.

And then we had to drive to Ghent were Jonas left us, then Antwerp where I took the manager home and then the way to my little rural town. When I left the highway and drove direction east I saw a majestic red sun coming up through the trees of Halse Bossen (Halle Forrest in English).  It was a sight that can take your breath away. A moment you feel that you are part of such a great and wonderful universe. A poets moment but I am not that good at writing such things to be honest.

But when I saw the sun it was as if it was saying: this was not a dream Walter, this was real. It was you together with your friends on the pitch of the Emirates. It was your team that won at the Emirates. So now you can say : I have played at the Emirates, I have won at the Emirates.

For now I have had one of the most exciting days in my life. A day at the Emirates… and we won 2 games… life can be great at times… Just as it was when Tony was in the Wenger seat…

Tony in the Wenger seat already with the bottle in his hand.

Untold play at the Emirates, I am quite overcome

Barca beat Man U in the bankruptcy final.  Billy the Dog on the problems still to come

We never dropped points at home with under 5 injuries.  The season’s cropped players analysed.

Why I don’t like Giggs

Untold Arsenal and Arsenal History on Twitter @UntoldArsenal

Untold Arsenal on Facebook here

Untold Arsenal Index

History of Arsenal: a continuing review of Wenger’s reign, season by season.

Making the Arsenal – the book of Arsenal death and rebirth

6 Replies to “The Untold day review: a day at the races, sorry Emirates”

  1. Walter,
    great to see you folks have such an experience, something to your grandchildren about.

  2. Oh and for thos who might worry about our colours we had on the day. Our supporters club official colours are the red and white. But for this day our president had been thinking that most of the other clubs will play in red or yellow. So he picked a colour that would make it possible to wear all day and have our name open to see for all.
    And it worked. No “Balotelli trying to put on a jacket-images” for us. 😉

  3. And I also noticed that the in Belgium, Holland and Luxembourg used name “Benelux” and which is as familiar to us over here as the names of our country is totally unknown in England.

  4. To Walter, Tony, all the team actually.
    I am so proud of this competition. You give me something to aspire to as an Arsenal fan. I hope I can emulate you all and be there one day.
    Now for next Season – Let’s win this league Arsenal!!!

  5. And as we won a game at the Emirates we actually did something that the best team in the world could not do two seasons in a row. Barcelona could not win a game at the Emirates.

    We came over and won two on one day. Now does this make us a better team than Barcelona? 🙂

  6. Hey Walter! Great to see Sir Tony donning le boss’s seat 🙂
    Its a testimony to the years of toil and perseverance he’s bestowed in the Arsenal. Same goes for you as well. Keep up the good work.

    Here’s hoping for a great summer’ (binge)!

Comments are closed.