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In deference to those jolly lads from the principality we serve up mud: Arsenal/Swansea, the catering review


Untold Arsenal on Twitter @UntoldArsenal


The Emirates serves Mud; the campaign against price hiking in the Triangle gathers momentum.

By Billy the Dog McGraw

I met very few Swansea fans on my way to the ground – but walking down St Thomas did have a little group behind me.  They were studying the programme as they walked (clever people these Clwb Pêl-droed Dinas Abertawe men), and resisting the temptation to point to Tony’s article therein on page 50 I did listen in to their comments.

In essence they were saying that Arsenal had hardly any English players in their team – which we know is true, although for me as a non-nationalist, it don’t matter.  Woolwich Arsenal started out with half a team of Scots for their first match in  division 2 and you didn’t hear any namby-pamby complaints then.

I did thus turn around to confront these jaunty fella-me-lads by pointing out that there weren’t that many Welsh players in their squad, apart from those at the end of the list who were not playing, and why did it matter anyway.  I had hoped for some quick banter and easy discourse,  but they took a look at me and ran off.

Perhaps I should have shaved first.

Anyway, to the main point of the day: the catering.

The Auld Triangle

Prices I see have not changed since my last report, and a single pint remains £4 – a huge hike on the price charged on other days of the week.  My suggestion that when placing multiple orders one should order up at the bar, hear the price, say “You have to be joking”, and then just turn and leave, is being picked up I am glad to say.  Indeed it seems small groups of guerilla drinkers are adopting this process across Islington.

I did hear one barman shout out an offer of an alternative lower price as the supporter walked off, but the lad kept going. Good on you mate.

Best opening line of the afternoon: “A pint of best bitter if you please landlord.”

At the Triangle we also met up with our friends from the Benelux supporters club who had left Belgium about a week ago to get to the match, and were in fine spirits.  New faces there too, although I fear they were a little bemused by our public house traditions, especially when I told them the Triangle is one of the more sophisticated pubs in Islington.

Anyway, if you can suggest anywhere else near the ground where we might drink, without being charged £4 a pint, please let me know.

The Emirates

Sadly, my notion that Delaware North who run the catering in the stadium might actually do something follow my last catering report has come to nothing.   Having been served by a woman who screeched with laughter at my request for a cappuccino and then asked a colleague what a cappuccino was, and then having been told that the cappuccino was off (at the first home league match of the season) for this game I got a new experience.

The gentleman serving me near block 100 put the cup under the wrong part of the machine and the coffee poured into empty space.  He moved the cup after a while to pick up the hot water and other gubbins that goes into the drink.

I said that was no good, because cappuccino from a machine is not a drink poured as one – the coffee comes out first, and I was lacking coffee.  He laughed at me and refused to change the drink.

Stupidly, I gave up, and took the drink.  I should of course have hit his teeth in, but sometimes one gets distracted.  What I found I had was a cupful of mud.


Worse was to come.

I must have been utterly off my mind because I also ordered a cheese burger and chips.

Now to my palate a cheeseburger is something worth eating.  Something edible including some meat and some cheese with a bun around it.  Maybe not Michelin five star, but edible.

It is not an object that is better suited to having a rope tied around it with one end attached to a ship, and which is then flung overboard in 20 000 fathoms, so that it sinks to the floor of the ocean and holds the boat in place.

But that was what I got.  A lump of stone so solid that I am now awaiting in the queue at the dentist for significant repair surgery having spent the night in hospital having my stomach removed.

Clearly this catering lark in the Ems is getting out of control, and so I have now planned a second campaign.   One should queue for the “food” and “drink” (I use the words metaphorically) and then at the counter take a bite or sip.  If it is inedible or undrinkable, simply hand it back and ask for something vaguely akin to what is on the menu.

Also, please could Arsenal supply complimentary dentists and a fleet of ambulances to take the victims away.  (By the way, you know the “empty spaces” that the journalists always complain about when the crowd is put at 60,000 and they say it was nothing like.   I think most of the spaces are seats purchased by people who turned up at the game, but then ate at the Ems and had to be carried out before the match begins.  Next game up I shall count them and know the damage done by the catering staff.)

Sadly I shall be away from the game against Notlob in two weeks time, but if anyone else wants to write a Catering Revue that week, please let me know within the next week ( and I will make arrangements for it to be published.  Same for the League Cup game.

Walter, I should add, actually brought over a present from his family, kindly selected by his wife.  It was a presentation pack fof coffee, tea and biscuits from Antwerp – excellent, utterly excellent.  My heartfelt thanks Walter.  I wonder if Arsenal could install a place where I could boil my own water and make my own cappuccino from the coffee you and your good lady kindly supplied?)

Something for the weekend…

Arsenal History …… Making the Arsenal …… Arsenal Uncovered

The Untold Ref Preview: Arsenal v Swansea (and no Welsh words in sight)

Arsenal v Clwb Pêl-droed Dinas Abertawe: history, who plays, drink prices…

What to buy this weekend at the Emirates, and how clubs are swindling the taxman

6 comments to In deference to those jolly lads from the principality we serve up mud: Arsenal/Swansea, the catering review

  • Woolwich Peripatetic

    Are we to take the espresso-less cappucino as a metaphor for Arsenal’s play and the cheese burger for Swansea’s solid defensive display? Or is the catering THAT bad?

  • As one who was there I would say the catering is slapdash – as is the training of the staff.

  • Gord

    After reading Tony and Michael’s article about Stewart Robson getting sacked, and this second article about bad catering, I spent a little time searching on Google. I can’t find any evidence that Stewart Robson knows anything about cooking. So, I don’t think you can get him moved down to catering.

    Perhaps you could get Jamie Oliver to come down to the Emirates and teach the catering crew how to cook? As near as I can tell, he supports Cambridge United. If nothing else, they aren’t usual competition for Arsenal.

  • Micko

    The Bank of Friendship is a good place for a pre-match drink. Probably the only pub within easy reach of the ground which serves drinks in real glasses as well.
    The only downside is that it is very small and so therefore gets very crowded.

  • Maybe your coffee tasted like mud because it was ‘ground’ that morning?

    Boom Boom!

  • WalterBroeckx

    If I tell this to my wife she will insist I bring you a thermos of hot water next time 🙂 Don’t bring her on any ideas like that… 😉

    Maybe we could organize a pick nick next time around the Emirates.