Blackburn: the team that ate football

Black, blackest blackness, Blackburn Rovers, your worst nightmare, the antithesis of football.

Black Blackburn, the embodiment of all darkness and evil, the beelzebub of football, the yawning heights of the oblivion into which we fall at the end of time, when time itself winds down, to leave an eternity of rotational fouling and an infinity of time wasting.

The keeper takes the ball, changes sides, changes back, takes a swig of gin, changes sides, waits, points, complains, shrugs, shouts.

And we call to our team, shouting, “Do not go gentle into this dark night” as we rage, rage, rage against the dying of the game.

But look, lo! Behold, as we fight against this dark day.  This is not the keeper of expectation, for this is a giant, but of width not height, a Giant Jumbo, with a frame enough to occupy the entire goal.  A goalmouth and a mouth of man, as one.

The team bus is left behind, no longer needed.  The Devil Incarnate himself occupies the position twixt the sticks.

For it is Sam, the Eater of Souls, the Destroyer of Reason, the Death of Football, playing in the world of Camus.  From god to drip, he swigs his gin as we scream against the corruption of our art.

Wenger rotates the squad upon a carousel.  Eboue leans off too far, falls out, and has to wait for it to come around again.  Theo runs the line of touch.  Vermaelen heads the ball off his own bar, back to himself, beats the entire back, deep black, sea black, all-black, coal black, evil black-black Blackburn defence and scores.  7-0 to the Arsenal and we haven’t kicked off.

“I am the Darkness,” says Allerdyce, “beyond me there is no future, behind there is no behind because I am the all encompassing, all-growing, all-destroying, all-chewing, Allerdyce.  Life without life, bathtime without the bath, the end of all passivisation and culture and the most stupid son in the history of football.

“Beyond me there nothing,” says Allerdyce the Fat, and the world shakes with dismay and alarm.  “Speak not to me of the police, for if you do I will not speak to you.”

And so, for years, the deep, dark philosophy of the Allerdyce and the Black Blackburn rule.  There is darkness, nothing, darkness, an eternity of goalless draws and rotational time wasting.  Football is gone.  Light breaks where no sun shines.

We rotate the squad. William Blake comes in as centre forward (the road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom) with Stevie Smith a surprise choice on the wing (not waving but streaming through the defence).  Albert Camus is of course in goal, the laureate of cool.

In the attacking midfield we have Benjamin Franklin.  “Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety,” he tells us, “deserve neither liberty nor safety.”  Oh Fat Sam, the end for you is nigh.

Controlling it all is Dylan Thomas, of course.  “I see the boys of summer in their ruin,” quoth he, the cricketers have gone and we know we have the measure of the beast.

The words ring true.  We can beat the evil monster from the darkest north, where crowds are so low you get arrested if two or more are seen together at any one time.

For the occasion the Ems, that bastion of lightness and goodness, is changed.  In the bars are mirrors, fifty feet long, suitable for spotting the vampires used to bite our doughty players and force them into submission.  Arsenalisation is all.  We are the future.  We are the spirit of all that is good.

We kick off, we score, the Fat Toad scowls, apoplectic in his chew.  He demands an apology.  “An apology!” we roar.  “It is you who must apologise for all that you have created.  Rotational fouling.  Time-wasting.  Anti-football!

“Out foul fiend, back to the depths of Hades from which you came.”

Free flowing football lifts itself to a new horizon.  We win 14-0, and EPL record.   On Match of the Day, Liverpool’s goalless draw makes top billing.  “I really don’t understand what they’ve got against Sam Allerdyce,” says the host, and saying, says it all.

It is over.  We have won.  On a breakneck of rocks we have won.

For Arsenal vs Blackburn in the 1909/10 season please take a peek at

“All Tomorrow’s Parties” (of which this is but one example) aims to deliver previews of matches in a manner that has not been seen before, and is published prior to each first team game.  If you fancy having a go at creating a new form of journalism, or indeed writing anything else for UNTOLD ARSENAL, do drop a line to Tony(at)

© Tony Attwood 2009, with fullest acknowledgment to Dylan Thomas.

32 Replies to “Blackburn: the team that ate football”

  1. If you think the above was a load of nonsense that bears no reference to the real world, consider this.

    Five minutes after I finished it, I turned on teletext and saw this bit of news…

    The ex-Prime Minister of Pakistan has denied any connection with Notts County.

    The Notts situation is so bizarre that in a sense we might not actually think this is odd any more, but stand back for a moment and consider. The ex-PM of Pakistan says, “I am not involved in Notts County”. When you see it in the wider sense of things it is so bizarre, so funny, it makes my piece look, well, everyday.

    In a world in which Leeds Council want to buy the club’s training ground, in which Notts and Leeds can’t even enter the fit and proper person arena, when Portsmouth can’t pay their players, when Appy Arry suddenly becomes so likely to leave Tottenham, they stop taking bets… it is tough to think of anything new.

    Maybe ALL TOMORROW’S PARTIES should just report the real world.

  2. As a son of Blackburn, I’m sorry to say, it’s all true! It will be an interesting clash of styles and ethos tomorrow.

  3. What a scathingly interesting post. I read and re-read it; still more scathing each time. Welldone Tony. Wow!!!!!

  4. Have no fear Tony – Libertas, the goddess of freedom rises on the shoulders of Arsene Wenger. We shall prevail.

  5. Tony, you cunning, clever man, Chris Morris, Dylan Thomas – you’ll be quoting Bill hicks next and I’ll love you even more. Your wonderful piece put me in mind of these lines.

    And Sam shall have no dominion.
    Our side skilled they shall be one
    When they run like the wind and the west moon;
    When their sheets are kept clean and the clean sheets done,
    Van Persie the star with elbow and foot;
    Though crowds go mad they shall be sane,
    Though they sink through the sea they shall rise again;
    Though matches be lost our love shall not;
    And Sam shall have no dominion.

  6. “I am the Darkness,” says Allerdyce, “beyond me there is no future, behind there is no behind because I am the all encompassing, all-growing, all-destroying, all-chewing, Allerdyce. Life without life, bathtime without the bath, the end of all passivisation and culture and the most stupid son in the history of football.

    Classic.. for once I thought I stumbled into LOTR blog XD.

    Thanks for brightening my day 🙂

  7. Sam has re-invented Total Football Tony.

    “Total Football” is the label for an influential theory of tactical association football in which any player can take over the role of any other player in the team.

    Every single player on that pitch is interchangeable: hacking, blocking, tugging.

    Sam is a genius, an all-chewing, all destroying genius.

    If we don’t win 7-0 we’re crap though. lol.

  8. Tony. It is soooo unfair to picture the walrus as a black hole. When we score, his face releases scowls of such a beatific nature that not only Gooners but the whole world basks in the sunbeams released. Here’s to a heatwave this afternoon.

  9. Hey – thank you everyone – I write a little piece and then return the next day to find these comments. Too kind, too kind. Translate that back 100 years and you have got “Making the Arsenal” – which is out in a few weeks.

    One of the funniest things is that it doesn’t matter who or what I quote someone gets the source. Steww that is magnificent – I’m working from memory and about to jump in the car for the drive to London (just waiting for the good lady to try on the trousers she bought yesterday) – so I have no time to look it up, but it is “And earth shall have…” isn’t it. One of the classics of the 30s.

    And if you have read this blog and not read Dylan Thomas, please do try. Take it slowly, just read one poem, don’t flip on when the first few lines are seemingly nonsense. Just take it slowly

    Thank’s everyone. See you there.


  10. this new formation is taking shape. and actually suits are players better. defensively our full backs attack less ( there crosses are/was rarely succesfull) but they did creat space and drag players out of position. verma is the muscle we need and he is 23 like 1 year older then dojorou it is a joke. fabregas is on fire and right now he is our best player. with 2 defensive minded players flanking him he has a bigger license to roam forward and do what he does best.i think this season he could beat his record of 17 in the premiership. arshavin has definetly been carrying a knock or injury because there is no other way to explain his form pre olympiakos. van persie in our new position is so important. his job is to drop deep even deeper than before as the other 2 forwards move in and create and pass. im sure over time the team will improve but alot of success i think is going to be on van persies head. hes got 2 on the trot so lets hope he continues.we are looking good with theo back. im 100 percent certain we will see a different theo in a 4-3-3 then to our 4-4-2. it will sut him more and utilise his best assets. i hope and wish we win something even the carling cup as i think even a little trophy like that will break the mould and take a weight of the shoulders. because the 5 year title must be somewhere in there minds. i think next year we will win at least 1 major trophy. as the team will have had 1 season to fully adapt to a new formation and our young squad have had another year of expereince. just look at song, denilson and bendtner the difference in there play from last year a blind man could see.

  11. And death shall have no dominion actually Tony. One of my faves from his big bombastic booming poems. He does gentle stuff too, try Fern Hill.

  12. And we even gave them some hope early on but we blow them to pieces during the game. 6 goals, 6 different players that scored. 7 games 24 goals scored, if my maths is still a bit right this is 3,4 goals per game. We play great football. Thank you Arsene

  13. May I ask to those who saw it live where the pundits talking about the lack of hight of Vermaelen after the first Blackburn goal ? We had a Flemish commentator so couldn’t know what the pundits where saying but he was brought in the picture untill he scored his, again, great goal. Well all our goals was great, great shots, great passing. Great team.

  14. Yes they were Walter,but hey who cares. A sublime performance,Fabregas gets 11 out of 10.Yes we will give the opposition chances but our attacking options are awesome.
    Great to see TH14 in the crowd, and every real football fan would have enjoyed watching us today.Special word for Song, our most improved player and Arshavin is pure magic.

    Who was the last team to score 6, with 6 different goal scorers?

  15. Poor Paul Robinson. He performed terrifically today, but he’s now conceded 47 goals in only 16 games against the Gunners, and Capello was watching 🙂

  16. Yeah and TH14 was enjoying what he saw, as we all did I guess. The ones who doubted Cesc commitment and desire can shut it up. I was convinced that it just was the result from his injury that caused his “lesser” performances. Well I think that every manager would love to have a player performing like Cesc even in his “weaker” games. But then again, every player who attacked was playing amasing stuff.

    Well our comentator mentionned the height of Vermaelen once when he was brouhgt in the picture but the reporter on duty is known to be a moaner first class. But then again, if he keeps scoring likt that, who cares how not that big he is.

  17. i was listening to it on the radio (was on the road during the game) and it sounded like we had a stormer out there. the commentator made it sound like it was the best thing he ever witnessed all his (their) life. I’ll catch it on replay later. The commentator mentioned something about 18 shots on target? Robinson must’ve had a brilliant game then 🙂

  18. Robinson actually kept the score down, but our finishing today was top-notch. Each shot that led to a goal was aimed at the corners where the goal keeper could not get near it. Looks like we’ve been practicing since Tuesday!

    Re the height thing, Blackburn’s game plan was obviously to lump it up to the giants they had upfront and although they caught us out once, after that we were onto their game and much smarter about getting to the second ball even if we missed the first.

  19. First header he’s missed in his Arsenal career and they jump all over him. Their 2 flukey goals were an irrelevance today our performance was nothing short of inspirational.

  20. Well I guess they have been waiting for that. But I really think that if you would have a statistic about Vermaelen in the air, I really think he wins about 90 % of the battles.
    It woumld be worse if he didn’t try to challenge the ball, but now he went for it but that big lump was just in front of him but otherwise he would have headed if away. Just one of those things.
    The pundits better look at his over all play and his goalscoring.
    I really think he felt responsible for that goal and by the way he took that shot it was so full of anger to put it in the net it would have killed someone if the ball would have flown in to the crowd. 😉 Or break Robinsons’ back or hands if he would have touched it.

  21. Inspirational! Exhilirating!! Sensational Performance. Thank you boys. Thank you Wenger.

  22. Just back from the game. All played really well – especially Fabregas.
    Only one small gripe. Why are there still no songs for the wonderful Cesc?
    If we want him to keep rejecting Barca we should make him feel really appreciated…

  23. Tell you guys what……

    In addition to those goals and a wonderful game (there’s only 1 Arsene Wenger and only he could produce a team to play like this), it was very emotional to see our old captain and legend clapping and cheering for his old (real home) team… the badge kissing-for-all-of-us celebration from our current captain was fantastic to see……

    It’s so funny how all the Barca players are drooling all over Cesc saying his real home is there…..very ironic that one of their best player in their team came to his REAL home to watch and support the team……LOVE HENRY and LOVE THIS TEAM woohoo!!!

  24. one great game with great performance for our great man lord wenger and our for ex-great players Th14 to watch
    absolutely great 😀 i say
    true you could say our fullback went awol for defending but you cant fault our attacking football, real football lover i hope you are watching us

  25. Ian,
    Isn’t there a song on the tune of ‘La donna e mobile” that goes:
    We’ve got Cesc Fabregas, we’ve got Cesc Fabregas.

    And although we got him I would rather sing:

    We LOVE Cesc Fabregas, we LOVE Cesc Fabregas
    It’s clear for all to see
    better, no one will be.

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