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Arsenal v Southampton, the catering review

The Untold Arsenal pre-match pub restaurant review


‘Oh when the Saints…’: Arsenal vs Southampton

This was always going to be an interesting day. After all it was the first time I had had to opportunity to introduce the Twins to Tony and they were very excited (on top of being over excited about their first game of the season).

It didn’t start particularly well. We were halfway between Northampton and Milton Keynes when Curtis informed me that he had forgotten the junior gunners memberships. This is the second time he’s done this and I had phoned and texted him in the last few days to remind him. I was not impressed and said so.

Tony on the other hand was much more understanding and won himself an instant place in the teenager’s affections (‘Tony is a legend’ he later told his mother).  In the end the box office outside the Armoury sorted us out with paper tickets (I had sensibly brought with me an email print out of the booking) so no harm done. And thanks Tony, for the calm explanation of what to do and for smoothing things over.

Next stop Finchley Central and the southbound Northern line. This is very much my ritual. I like the feeling of standing on the platform on match days – its takes me right back to being 15 myself (the twins’ age) and setting off with one or two mates to stand on the North Bank at Highbury.

Making the same journey with my stepchildren makes me feel old but is also a very good feeling. We got abused by some spuds as we waited for the Bank train but nothing worse than a few deluded chants. Half an hour later we had reached our first destination: La Pasta at Highbury& Islington.

This is Charlie’s choice. Curtis is pretty happy eating anywhere so long as there is pop to drink, Charlie is much more interested in her food.

La Pasta on match days is a great little Italian. The waitresses are kitted out in Arsenal ladies’ shirts (La Pasta on the back, naturally) and all the tables are full (I made the wise decision to book in advance). The atmosphere is loud,TV in the corner showing the early k/o (Canaries vs Hammers), and a nice mix of Gooners and opposition fans.

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I know what the twins will order but we go through the motions of looking at the menu anyway. La Pasta provides a standard spread of Italian food. Pizzas, pasta and salads. We always plump for pizzas and these are pretty good and start at about £6 for a Margherita. Charlie adds chicken and bacon, her twin always opts for bacon and extra cheese.

I went for a Napolitano   because I love the saltiness of the anchovies and capers. I’d eaten here in the summer with a friend and the place was dead and the pizza nothing like as good so perhaps the oven works better when they are busy.  Tony copied me (“legends” do that sometimes).

We sat near a small cohort of Saints’ fans, most of whom were wearing their new home strip.

Now I’m aware that there have been grumblings about the new Arsenal home shirt – Tony and I attended the AISA meeting on Monday where Tom Fox fielded questions about it and the purple away jersey – but I have to say Southampton are doing their fans no favours with this one.

I’d like to know what Saints’ supporters think but I thought they played in red and white stripes. This effort is red with white pin stripes – it makes them look like Middlesborough or Forest! I was, however, amused by the chap with Mr. Grey 50 on his large shirt though, nice homage to the summer’s best selling erotic novel!

Pizzas were washed down with Peroni (on draft or in bottles) and the service was quick. We sat down at 1.40 and had eaten and paid by 2.15 leaving plenty of time for the walk down the Holloway Road. The twins were in the Clock End – almost opposite my own position in the North Bank lower and so I rang Charlie to check they had got in ok. She was a bit grumpy because they were sat behind the temporary goal. All that changed of course with the four-goal salvo in the first half. Afterwards they were buzzing!

All in all a very good day out. Nice meal, Tony signed my copy of Woolwich Arsenal FC 1895-1915: the club that changed football, and of course we thrashed the saints.


34 comments to Arsenal v Southampton, the catering review

  • Mike

    I love untold Arsenal but I’m sorry you’ve lost me here. What is the point of this article?

  • WalterBroeckx

    What a day to have your first game! 😉 I think even I would have been thrilled at my age if I would have been there. Well I was thrilled of course but well being there is always adding that extra special of course.

    Thanks for the write up. I suddenly would like a pizza this evening….

  • WalterBroeckx

    tell us where do you find an Arsenal website writing about such things? That is why this is Untold arsenal.

    Wait till I go to Gelsenkirchen for the Schalke04 match and start writing about the delicious Bratwurs I will eat. Or maybe two…

  • indian gooner

    Love your articles. I always make it a point to read your articles. Waiting for u to go to piraeus and awaiting ur report on the Olympiakos clash

  • LRV

    @Mike: I expect you to know by now why this site is called Untold. You sometimes get articles you probably will never get anywhere else; hence the tag, ‘Untold’.

    Perhaps when you come to the Emirates on a match day and enjoy the atmosphere of one of the several ‘Water-holes’, you will understand why some feel like writing about it, and why others enjoy reading about it, in a light-hearted banter.

  • Georgaki-Pyrovolitis

    @Mike at 1:27 pm

    Just consider yourself fortunate that Goona Gal hasn’t taken you to task as yet….

    Anyway I fancy a pizza tonight whilst listening to the Fans Form on Arsenal TV.

  • Goona Gal

    @ Georgaki-Pyrovolitis – I am glad I left such an impression on you!

  • Goona Gal

    @ Blacksheep – nice write up, I am going to make a mental note about La Pasta now, even if I don’t go on a match day.

  • Goona Gal

    @ Georgaki – Anne has written another article, I am surprised you haven’t left a comment. Or do you just prefer to make snide disapproving remarks only when you think you won’t get called on them?

  • Georgaki-Pyrovolitis

    @Goona Gal at 4:45 pm

    I don’t make ‘snide’ comments. I haven’t read Anne’s article. I don’t live on blogs, just pass through when I have time. In retrospect I regret criticizing Anne’s and the other chaps article because it’s all voluntary etc., But since it happened I haven’t changed my view of them. I just won’t do it again.

    Anyway, don’t misinterpret my conciliatory tone as a sign of weakness. I publish my work in the peer-reviewed scientific literature for a living. Now that is exposing your intellect to scrutiny and potential ridicule!

  • Mike

    @ LRV

    You have displayed little to endear yourself to anyone with such a patronising attitude. For your information, I was at the game. I had my first season ticket in 1968 and still make a 200 mile round trip with my season ticket for every home game.

    Having asked a civilised question I would have at least expected a more intelligent response than the total guesswork in which you opted to indulge.

    To anyone else, please accept my sincere apologies if you have misconstrued my post. This is my favourite site for football related info that one can’t get anywhere else. Stories about pizza do not float my boat… me old fashioned but………….

  • Goona Gal

    Georgaki – Wow, I was’nt expecting such a contritional response from you. You have almost earned my respect.

  • Goona Gal

    …in other news Chesney is injured and Mannone is back in goal. Had this been the first game for Mannone this season, it would of been a cause for concern, but right now the GK should feel pleased with himself that fans like myself have a lot of confidence in his ability.

  • nicky

    Really enjoyed your report which gave a new insight to a matchday.
    The lunch menu was interesting but not to my oldfashioned taste(I hope they served egg and chips!)
    Glad to see the twins are being brought up the right way.
    (the next stage will be to explain the LBW rule to them).

  • colario

    @Mike. I entirely agree with you. I read this blog because I thought there would be comment about pre match catering at the stadium. Its not. We were let down on this one.

    @Blacksheep63 What you have written is not a catering review but a record of your day. Please in future make sure your title relates to what you have written about. Thank you. Colario

  • Blacksheep63

    Wow! Well I’m pleased some people have read my witterings, it’s not compiulsory after all! I will continue to offer my thoughts on the local drinking venues (and the occasional eatery – might do the wonderful Hope Workers’ cafe one day soon) and I’ll try and keep the brief more closely confined! So thanks to all of you for your comments – positive and negative, all feedback is useful feedback (well thats what I tell my students anyway).
    As for the LBW rule, that might be a step too far. Not sure I understand it myself :/

  • rusty

    I’m afraid I can’t guarantee “a more intelligent response” to your “question”. However, I would suggest the following:

    1. No website will provide content that you find useful 100% of the time, unless it’s your website, and you create all the content yourself.
    2. It’s fairly easy to stop reading something in the middle if you don’t like it.
    3. Articles entitled “the Catering Reivew” are likely to be concerned with catering.
    4. Tony’s policy of accepting submissions from a wide range of contributors on a wide variety of subjects is admirable, and is in many ways responsible for the regular features of this site we’ve all come to know and love.

    Thanks very much for your submission! I also enjoy anchovies.

  • Ugandan Goon

    Crikey, on the off chance that you actually came here to read a real catering report, sorry!
    It has long been established that the catering at the emirates is first class and a bit on the steep side, it is a bit boring telling the world over and over how fantastic it is.
    Also, it has long been a tradition on this site, that the catering report is sort of like billy the dogs’ reports based on the experience of one slightly unbalanced individual, blacksheep63 seems to be on some intimate terms with Tony ergo best not get him too excited until you’re sure he’s had his meds.

  • LRV

    @Mike: I am kind of glad in a way that you feel the way you do about my response even though it wasn’t my intention to insult you. Now, imagine how the writer must have felt after reading your simplistic offhand dismisal of their effort up there. It takes a great effort and time to write these articles. Even if we read one or two that may not be to our taste, we could still show appreciation for the writer’s effort. Criticise with some consideration next time, perhaps? By the way I do not know the writer.

  • Georgaki-Pyrovolitis

    @Goona Gal 5:29 pm

    Unfortunately, you seem to lack the grace to wholeheartedly accept an apology. Perhaps, you are the type that has an acute sense of righteous indignation. You’ve lost my respect.

  • Goona Gal

    @ Georgaki – I did’nt know you were apologising! Surely not to me anyway, I never wrote the article you spent hours denegrating. I see you have quickly returned to your online quackery diagnosis’s haha! What does one have to do to regain your respect? I seem to of lost it far too easyily?

    Isn’t your beloved ATVO call in show still in full flow at the moment?

  • Goona Gal

    …And in other related Arsenal news, I am trying to work out if we are on the verge of a keeper crisis James Shea on the bench for our 1st CL game. Why isn’t Martinez eligible again?

  • FinnGooner

    @Blacksheep63 great article. I will try to remember name La Pasta and visit there next time I visit London (don’t know when I can afford it).

    @Walter you had to mention that b-word didn’t you. it’s almost 11 pm and there is no shops open and I now want them…

  • Pat

    Wow – when I read the article (which I enjoyed) I never expected the hot debate underneath it.

    Catering is becoming controversial!

  • Brickfields Gunners

    @ Nicky – is that Leg Before Wicket or Laid Before Wedding you’re refering to ?

  • WalterBroeckx

    FinnGooner, sorry about that 😉 and yes I am starting to have a strange relationship with the b-word 🙂

  • FinnGooner

    @Walter I think next time I go to shop I have to buy lot of them and put them on freezer so I will be prepared next time. Oh and I think of you now everytime I eat them… 😉

  • WalterBroeckx

    This is getting an odd comment section..


    I know what the b-word is but I have no idea about LBW to be honest

  • marinegunner

    The Online Gooner or Gooner to Gooner as they are now known are currently running a should Arsenal extend Wengers contract campaign.It’s about half way down their first page.As the Online Gooner is a favourite with the AAA Wenger is behind badly.Why not log on and give Arsene your support.

  • novicegooner

    This kind of article makes UA a favourite blog of mine. For gooners like me who live far far away from England (I live in Indonesia), this article helps me imagine the real situation that’s happening during a match day.

    I can always watch the match on TV or internet, but I will never be able to see ‘the rituals’ gooners in England do before attending the match and also situations that’s actually happening inside the stadium.

    I hope I can attend the match someday, but for now I really enjoy this kind of ‘unconventional’ match reporting.


  • Goona Gal

    ***Off topic, but just in case anyone else is interested in tonight’s game, I have found a decent article.

  • Mike

    @ LRV

    “Criticise with some consideration”…………are you having a laugh?

    I asked a question my dear sir; you were the one with the unwarranted (and completely wrong) condemnation of my supposed non-attendance at games. I won’t wait for an apology since a reasonable person would have done so earlier rather than continuing a line of argument whilst ignoring the facts as clearly stated.

    I fear we may have to beg to differ since the provision of evidence contrary to your totally unscientific supposition clearly has no affect on your need to think you’re right.

  • Mike

    @ Rusty

    fair points well made 🙂

  • Shard

    Goona Gal,

    UEFA rules allow all U21s to play without them having to be registered, except those that haven’t been at their current club for at least 2 years. I guess that is why Martinez isn’t eligible.