I have enjoyed many an Arsenal game, but this one had one moment which was utterly wonderful.
Rosicky had scored in front of us, the final whistle had gone, and we stood to leave block 99.
I got to the stairway and as is my wont, allowed others to pass before Jane and I could step into the gangway and make our way down and out of the stadium.
Suddenly a man was standing before me.
“Are you Tony Attwood?” he asked.
I admitted that this might be the case.
“I’ve just started reading your book. Really enjoying it,” he said.
Oh wonder of wonders! Joy of joy! You can’t know how great that is. I mean, I know kind people sometimes write in and say, “Good article Tony,” but for a guy who I don’t know, to have bought the book, picked out my picture from the back of the book, and taken up his time to notice it was me, and say that he was enjoying it, oh that is great.
It may not seem much. In fact it may seem trivial, but for me it was a knock-out. Over the years I have written a number of books, but this is the one I adore above all others. The reviews have been good, and people have been kind about the book, but it was the sheer surprise of the moment that was so great. Anyway you can read about the book, and buy it if you so wish (anywhere in the world) by clicking here.
And for the rest of the day… three points to make.
First, the programme. Big article about Fran Merida, in which he says, “My agent and I are only talking to Arsenal at the moment, though, and nobody else.” Which rather contradicts all those stories about Fran going to Madrid. It also makes sense of why he is getting games at the moment.
If that is so, and he does stay, it will be another one of those cases in which ever news media runs a story that is pure fantasy, (and remember they were not saying, he was talking to A Madrid but rather that it was a done deal, he had signed, and was off).
Second, the result today. Of course we all wanted to win and get one point behind the KGB in Fulham. But it is not the end of the world. I remember in the unbeaten season that we played Bolton at home and drew 2-2. They played a time-wasting, foul-based game, and we saw much the same today. It happens. The winning of the league won’t be based on that match. Kick, push, shove, elbow, and then the corners. “I’ll take the corner, no perhaps not, leave it for someone else, oh no I’m taking it, sorry I thought it was a goalkick, oh I have just hurt my toe, are you taking it, ok right, now can you get in the box, I am not taking this corner until you are in the right places, ref that Arsenal player is not 10 yards way, ok yes, I’ll take it, are we ready, right…”
But it was also fun – the end was great, and there were some real pluses. Diaby is still improving, Nasri is looking more and more like a controller of games, Traore is really coming good… these are bonuses. And there was a moment when the season ticket holder next to me screamed for a penalty for handball by an Everton player, and it took me 30 seconds to persuade him that the player in question was their keeper, and he was allowed to handle it.
On the down side, it looks like maybe we have lost Denilson again with the back problem, but let’s hope they get it sorted soon.
Lastly, the snow. Once we got out of my village the journey was straightforward, until we got to our destination – Arnos Grove Underground Station car park – where we got stuck in a snow drift. Thankfully there were some other Arsenal supporters there who pushed us out, and we found a better place to park.
During the game however, we got snowed upon. Which is odd because we sit in row 10 in the upper tier, and there is a lot of space between us and the open air. But it was that sort of swirling snow.
After the game there was snow on the ground all around the Ems. Now if the reason for not playing Bolton midweek was that it might be unsafe for us to walk around the plaza then it was also dangerous to leave the Ems. Surely we should all have been locked inside, fed copious amounts of drink, and then flown out by helicopter, what with the ground being slippery.
Instead all we got was the police saying “the pavement has not been gritted” as if that was new. To the police, my message is, “They don’t grit the pavements.” In fact, where I live I think they feed the grit to the Wild Beast of Northamptonshire, but that’s another story.
But we ended the day on a high. To the guys at Arnos Grove, thank you for helping us out of the snow drift. And to the gent who bought a copy of Making the Arsenal, and took the trouble to come and say hello, you made my day.
170 mile round trip. Great fun – just like it should be.
(c) Tony Attwood 2009
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