There are no games in the season that fill me with more terror than the Spuds. It’s 90 minutes of having a pulse rate way too high for an old fart, bitten fingernails, and nervous twitches…and that’s when we’re a few goals up.
Yes it has been 10 years almost to the week since the scrawny chickens raised more than a croak in the league against us. Our record since 1999…10 wins, 8 draws 0 defeats. But every year the tension gets higher. Every year, the thought that they could fluke a winning goal against us, or even worse a winning own goal, with their supporters carrying on as though they’ve just won the World Cup, the European Cup and Aunt Gladys’ tea cup, is sufficient to give any Gooner the horrors.
And that’s the biggest problem. Their supporters just have no class. It’s not a question of 3 points…or the loss thereof that fills me with terror. It’s the spuds rattling on ad nauseum that they are North London’s finest.
They do that regardless without even beating us; St Totteringham’s day being a mere unfortunate fluke; the absence of a championship at the slough of despond for 48 years, a mere oversight. Of course we know it’s all bollocks but they still believe that wishing it to happen will make it happen. They are so pathetic.
They still get more pleasure from us being beaten by anybody in preference to their side actually winning a game. Which probably explains why they’re such a miserable shower…they get little in the way of happiness.
My first exposure to a derby probably explains my antipathy to most spud supporters (although many old friends are spuds!). Funny I’ve never disliked the side as such and used to visit regularly when we were away and they were playing some good football back in the 50s and 60s.
It was 1950, I was 8 years old. My gran, a spud I fear to say, had lost the battle for my allegiance 2 years earlier when I was taken to see my first game at Highbury, and decided that my Christmas present should be a seat next to her on the 23rd December.
Equipped with rattle and scarf I was in my element up until the moment that I realised that we’d lost 1-0. Then the tears came. As did the whispered comment from the spiv type sitting next to me, “That’s yer Christmas present yer little Arsenal shit.”
Now I’d never heard the word before and gran hadn’t heard the comment so nothing was said until I got home and asked Mum what a “shit” was. I got a clip around the ear and the warning that I’d get no Christmas presents this year or any other year if I ever said that word again. And the final blow…”no more watching football for you if that’s the sort of language you learn.”
That spud took out about 10 months out of my supporting programme and might explain partly my ethos that “If it’s bad for the spuds, it’s good for Gooners”
Having said that there is a big BUT. I don’t know about the rest of you, but I for one object to the fact that the Chel$kis and Manchester F***** United have taken the spuds previous pride of place in the jeering/taunting stakes. It’s not really our fault, the spuds have been more deserving of sympathy, a pat on the head and “There, there, there” than a good gloat.
They are the real oppo, always have been, always should be. Please may they never screw up another season like 1977/78 and get relegated… because a season without “the terror”, is so terribly boring. But it goes without saying that should the impossible ever happen… we screw up, St Tott’s day does not occur and we’ve been beaten by the spuds… it will be next century already so I can just roll in my grave.
Copies of the new Arsenal book MAKING THE ARSENAL are expected from the printers today and we should start despatching advance orders on monday. If you haven’t caught up with it yet, take a look at www.emiratesstadium.info And just to celebrate we’re going to give the Woolwich Arsenal site a makeover too.
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