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July 2021

Football is back, finally. And for once the result does matter

Publication on July 20th: Woolwich Arsenal, the club that changed football.

The book that re-writes the Arsenal story.


By Walter Broeckx


14 July…what again is so special about that day? The French national holiday? Okay we do have a lot of French players at Arsenal but no, that can’t be the reason I circled this day in red in my calendar? The wedding of my colleague? Ok I will go the the wedding but that isn’t it the real reason….


Can it be? Is it really? Is this the end? Oh yes it is. Because on Saturday 14 July 2012 Arsenal is back for the first time and playing a game of football. Ok, not really a game of football. We play 2 x 45 minutes of football but against different teams. A 45 minutes game against Anderlecht and a 45 minutes game against Southampton in what is called the Liebherr cup.


Oh well after almost  2 months with no real football I would have taken a game of 9 x 10 minutes against 9 different teams to be honest. So I will not mind the way the tournament is organised. I will just take on the games as they come. Arsenal is back in town. No, that doesn’t sound right let me rephrase: ARSENAL IS BACK IN TOWN!


It is always great to see our colours back on the field where it matters. Not that this cup really matters for Arsenal. Maybe Southampton will have more a drive for this little tournament as being the home team. I think for Arsenal it will be more a first extra training in more or less match conditions. And for us it will be great to finally have a kind of match feeling again.

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So we play Anderlecht and as being from Belgium I will inform you a bit about the most successful team of Belgium. And a team I do not like at all. So Arsène, do me a favour will you. Just trash them, kick them, anything just win this game. For me. Please.


Ok, I think I have made it clear that I do not like them at all. The reason go back some 40 years ago when they came over and destroyed my childhood dream and came and took one of the finest players Belgium ever had from my local team and he had a great career with them and we, well we didn’t get the best to see from what would become maybe the best player we ever had. So since then I have hated them, sorry mum, disliked them. Ok, with this off my chest lets move on to Anderlecht in a more non personal way.


They are the most successful club in Belgium. They won their first title in 1947….and since then won it 30 times. According to their website. Which is wrong as they also won the title last season but it wasn’t included yet. Ah, this is Belgium, this is Brussels.  They won the Belgium cup 9 times and the Supercup (our Charity Chield) also 9 times. In Europe they won the EC2 on two occasions. I think in West Ham they will remember it. And they won the Uefa cup once. But that was in the 1970-1980 period when they were also a big club in Europe. Since then Belgium football could not compete money wise and now we even have to play qualifiers to get our champions in the champions league most of the time.


And we have met them before. As the more older will remember. In a final. Lost in Anderlecht 3-1. Won at home 3-0. Lifted the cup. Well done lads. Still love you for it even though I didn’t know Arsenal at that time but loved it that you beat Anderlecht. Revenge can be sweet at times.


So are there any players to keep an eye on? Well we have two players that have been linked with Arsenal a lot. What would we do without the media, nest ce pas? (That is French the language a lot of people speak in Brussels). Mattias Suarez and Lucas Biglia. Biglia could get a work permit as he plays for Argentina at times. Suarez not as he doesn’t play for Argentina. Suarez was named best player in Belgium last year. But to be honest that doesn’t mean a lot when you come to England and the PL.


Another attacking threat might be M’Bokani. Big, strong but a player who can be brilliant at times but average most of the times. When he left Belgium before after being the big man (in the newspapers) he went here and there but had to return with hanging feet to become the big man again. This shows you the quality from Belgium football today compared to France or England or Germany. They also have Jovanovic. Another big striker in Belgium who went to Liverpool…to fail miserably. So Chelsea buying Belgium “top players” (apart maybe from Hazard and Courtois) makes me laugh. 20M for Lukaku last summer… Another “big Belgium player” heading back to Belgium next year is my guess.


They do have a strong defender in the Polish international  Wasilewski. A man who swings his elbows around in the most vicious ways. Caused a few nasty head injuries on his opponents in that way. If you like blood and terrible injuries you can google him. Add Witsel to his name and you can see some shocking leg breaking. NOT SUITED FOR SOFTIES. I will not look at it again. But he recovered from his terrible broken leg which was in some parts applauded as karma biting back after all the injuries he caused. Not really nice but well what goes around sometimes does come around. Look deep in your heart and will you shed a tear if Shawcross or Taylor would have their leg broken? But he recovered and seemed to have calmed down a bit.


Lots of internationals in Anderlecht but not really big names apart the ones I mentioned and most of them even will have been unknown for most of you.


However a warning has to be given. Arsenal is back in training for just a few days. Anderlecht has been in training for a month now. The league in Belgium starts in 14 days. So they should be getting ready by now to really  start to  perform. So they should be much fitter than Arsenal. And this could lead to a difficult game. Certainly if think about the fact that the players who were away on international duty last summer in EURO 2012 only come back next week and start training. So one could say half of our starting team will not be there. Or even more than half of our starting team.


So it will be a mix of players that will be out on the field for Arsenal. Lots of younger players and only a handful of the regular first team players. But please who ever plays against Anderlecht: just win it! I know pre season games don’t count. This one does. For me.


If you have the chance to have a look at the game live I hope you enjoy it. I’m not setting my hopes on seeing it live as I have to attend a marriage tomorrow. Just hope Arsenal player will show something later on. Because that would be a cruel thing not being able to see something.


Ah, football is back. Finally.



23 comments to Football is back, finally. And for once the result does matter

  • Matt Clarke

    It’s been a long wait for you I know (I remember your post at the end of the season) but you have kept busy – making history to keep your mind off it!

    Do you support any top league Belgium team, or only your local side?

  • WalterBroeckx

    No, no other top teams.
    I only support my local side in fact. Apart from Arsenal of course.
    As my local team once was a top league team I never can support one of those. It would feel like betrayal. But I admit when it comes to disliking teams, Anderlecht is close to the top 😉

  • bongo

    Yeah I’ve been looking around it doesn’t seem it’s going live but it says they’ll have highlights on Arsenal player.

  • Prof. Oyeboh.Razaq

    Yeah baby! Football is realy back, yeah. I like your writing style baby. You kind of write like me. Yeah, you are great. When Arsenal play, the grass dances in joy, heaven blazes while the goal-posts yawn for compensation. Yeah, Arsenal will win it for me and you…Oyeboh.Razaq.

  • Prof. Oyeboh.Razaq

    WalterBroeckx, like i submitted earlier, i like your writing sytle; just like mine. Please, will you spin a write-up on what your idea of Arsenal new season will look like? I am waiting, ok.

  • Flavour

    You can watch using this link

  • Andy Kelly


    First goal of the season goes to Henri Lansbury.

  • nicky

    @Andy Kelly,
    C’mon Andy, give us and update.

  • Andy Kelly

    Arsenal 1 Anderlecht 0 Full time

  • Ong Bing

    Where is Kyle?

    Hmm, if Fab leaves, I think Damian will be number two.

  • Anne

    Ok, everyone. Stop the presses! I would like to congratulate Arsenal on finally ending our 7 year trophy drought! 🙂

    Not that I care about the “trophy drought,” but wouldn’t it be nice if everyone would just shut up about it this season? They won’t, but it’s nice to dream. On the other hand, it must be getting really expensive to keep that “drought” campaign going. Surely they’ll get sick of it eventually?

  • Ong Bing

    Oh, we have 2 Kyle now.

    My question is Bartley. I think he will play with Miquel like in the youth and reserved.

    Looks like our youth ready to step up. Very good.

  • WalterBroeckx

    Oh Thanks Henri (Lansbury) for making my day 😉

  • bjtgooner

    Good start to the pre season & nice to see the players happy at the end of the tournament. I look forward to seeing the highlights when shown. Well done guys.

  • nicky

    I agree with Anne. We simply must abandon this continual yearning for silverware….. in preference for playing attractive attacking football, living within our means and maintaining a reputation for honesty and integrity.
    That to me is far better than any metal container.

  • patrick

    @nicky – seriously was that a joke?

  • patrick

    Arsenal only finished 3rd because Spurs opened the door for you. Chelsea had their worst season for a while. Can’t see Arsenal finishing 3rd again. Koscienly improved but he ain’t a top defender.

  • patrick

    For me the number 1 priority is signing a tough, physical and sometimes dirty bastard to play the defensive midfielder position Yes that is a bigger priority for me than keeping rvp because in my eye’s, no matter who plays up front or how many goals they score, it will still not be enough if we continue to ship goals at the other end De Jong from citeeh or javi martinez would be my top options but others have suggested m’vila and I still havent seen enough to form an opinion one way or the other.

    If we sort out the above issue then obviously the rvp situation would be my next priority although I feel that situation is already done and dusted and not for the better either

    Thirdly I know that we badly badly need a keeper to challenge/back up chesney and I do share the concerns about sagna’s leg breaks but for me the more important issue is ridding the club of the shite that is putting such a strain on our wage bill. It seems to be a universally accepted need but unlike HighburyJD I am not in the slighest bit confident that wenger will do the necessary – there are too many players that nobody else wants and the one’s that are wanted by other clubs are over-valued by wenger which is ironic (not in a funny way either) given his refusal to spend market value prices himself

  • nicky

    Would you prefer to WATCH an Arsenal side win 1-0 time and time again with a massed defence, a limited attack and a runaway championship year after year. I suggest you would soon get fed-up with the boredom and long for the exciting displays you see now.
    “One nil to the Arsenal” would soon begin to pall, IMHO.

  • Damien Luu

    @Anne: There is nothing called “the trophy drought of Arsenal”. We have won the Emirates Cup a few times in those 7 years 😉

    @Walter: “20M for Lukaku last summer… Another “big Belgium player” heading back to Belgium next year is my guess.” – But Lukaku IS the best young player around to buy, according to EA Sport. Man, if you look at THEIR Arsenal side in THEIR Fifa 12, you will understand why there are so many clever gooners whining about our strength – and keep telling us that Song is not good enough, Rosicski is not good enough, even Arteta IS not good enough, etc. How about we sue EA Sport for always underestimating our team and our players? If they increase our players’ stats, that may keep a lot of clever gooners – and even some AAA members, I guess – happy (and quiet).

  • Damien Luu

    Oh boy, just look at our dear pal patrick’s comments and you’ll see what I meant 😉

    Even I have sold one half of our team in my very first season as Arsenal manager (silly AW!), after all. Great work, EA Sport!

  • Damien Luu

    Oh, and patrick, you can remove your mask now. “Arsenal only finished 3rd because Spurs opened the door for YOU.” (not “for US.”) Now tell us what you really are, big boy.

  • Stuart

    @ Patrick

    Spurs were only in with a chance because we gifted them with our poor start to the season.