Arsenal, life, death and play acting.

This is a story of life and death.  And acting.  And celebration.

It is the story of a club from the Russian Premier League side FC Moscow which has gone bust just a short while after their oligarch owner, a man in the Roman Abramovich league, pulled out, having decided to switch sports.

And it is the story the managers of EPL.

George Mills has worked for years to help the victims of Chernobyl.  Last year he decided to write to all the managers of EPL clubs for help.

“Arsène was the only one who replied,” he said.

Lord Wenger put George Mills in touch with Alan Sefton of Arsenal in the Community.   Soon after Arsenal started to give Chernobyl kit, books and boots, and then continued by sending coaches out to train children and local people.

Mills is quoted as saying, “It has been a miracle. We now have seven buildings and 127 staff in the Revival Centre. When we go there, everybody in the town shouts ‘Arsenal, Arsenal’. When everybody else seemed to have forgotten them, this famous English club came to them – and saved lives.”

It would have been good if FC Moscow could have joined in the scheme, giving money to another part of the former empire, but they don’t exist because Norilsk Nickel, the metal conglomerate stopped funding them.  They are so bust they are just stopping, not just going down to a lower division.

The Abramovich type who put the money in was Mikhail Prokhorov, but then he has decided to buy New Jersey Nets, so he pulled out of FC Moscow, and everything has gone.

Meanwhile, Mr Mills attended the meeting to celebrate 25 years of Arsenal in the Community, and the Lord Wenger was there throughout.    “When I hear all this, I know even more that the team has a responsibility not to let the community and the club down.”

Meanwhile at Chelsea, I doubt that anyone is looking over his shoulder worrying about Abramovich doing a Moscow.  And I am sure there is a Chelsea in the community programme, which undoubtedly does good work.

But it is interesting and for me moving, to see the two stories together, and the ownership issues do highlight the big differences between Chelsea and Arsenal.  No big time owner in England has ever suddenly decided to pull out.  But as long as the KGB and Manarab are funded as they are, then the option is there.

And here’s another quote from the same article in which our leader spoke about Arsenal in the Community…

“The Invincibles were not always as creative as our modern team but they had fantastic players and they were five, six years older than this team.”

Makes you think.  Well, makes me think.

Anyway, I must go to work, but I am already preparing for Tuesday, when we will play a group of actors who will fall, roll, cry, protest, waive, and by and large act a lot, and at the end apply for Oscars.  We just have to be strong and do it.

Here’s the team (or maybe not – what do I know?)


Sagna, Campbell, Vermaelen, Clichy

Denilson, Song, Diaby

Arshavin, Bendtner Nasri

Which manages to leave out

Rosicky, Vela, Eduardo, Eboue, Traore who might run up and down the line a bit, and of course leaves out Cesc, Gallas, Gibbs, Ven Persie, Ramsey, Djourou, who can’t.

Then there’s JET and Wilshere away on holiday (I trust everyone got to see the Wilshere’s goal for Notlob, which was a fairly class feet change affair) and then there’s the forgotten men…

Eastmond, Conquelin (who I thought would come through this year), Barazite (back from injury), Merida (what happened about his contract?), Watt (or is he on loan, I’ve lost track).

When looked at that way it’s quite a squad.   Plus we will sign a new centre forward in the summer, it seems, and there’s usually one unknown signing.

Plus the kiddies team are, as always, top of the league (even though they sadly got knocked out of the Youth Cup this year).

And while doing a review, how about this…

Barnet of the southern league have reached the semifinal of the Women’s FA Cup.  We play the KGB Women’s Branch in the other semi.  And we are one point off the top of the league with five games in hand.  Played 11 scored 50.

So overall it’s quite jolly at the moment.   And some of the kids in Chernobyl are getting some help too.


Rumour of the day: The FA is so broke itself, having mismanaged the purchase of the new Wembley, that it hasn’t yet paid out the winning money for the Cup Final of the season before last.


You might also enjoy

  • As the industrial sludge dwellers – the game is over, but well, the build up was sort of amusing:   The match preview
  • Football needs Fixing: an open letter to the FA



  • When football journalists could write, entertain and make us laugh (a true newspaper report about Arsenal in the 1930s)
  • Why did Arsenal move to Highbury and not somewhere else
  • Chelsea: the biggest fix in Football League history
  • How Arsenal got into the 1st Division in 1919, and why it wasn’t a fix
  • “Making the Arsenal” – the novel.  The most extraordinary book about Arsenal ever.  And that’s unofficial.  Available from and from the publishers direct.


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Extra large shirts for the gent who thinks everyone else is too small.  3XL to 6XL football fans t shirts.

The sound of someone giggling as Untold publishes another load of turnips  is copyright © Untold Arsenal 2010.

21 Replies to “Arsenal, life, death and play acting.”

  1. The Chernobyl thing is something that makes you proud to be a gooner, once more.
    This shows, once again, that The Arsenal is a great club with a large human touch. It also gives you even more appreciation on the person Arsene Wenger.
    He really is a person one can only admire. Well I do anyway.
    How easy it would have been to throw a letter like that away like the other clubs seem to do. Arsene and Arsenal responded to it.
    Thanks for sharing this with us Tony.

  2. Tony, how on earth could you forget Theo ? Not even on the bench. Or do you know something more like the fact that he is injured ? Please not if possible because the Theo from saturday was a joy to see.

  3. well walter beat me to it .. but walter nicely summed up the thoughts i had reading the article — the best thing is it would have been so easy to ignore such letters for Arsenal/AW but they chose not to.

    Watt is back from his short (1 month?) loan spell … what would happen to Barazite and Simpson next season — will they be released?

  4. Rumour of the day: well, it was actually printed in yesterday’s Sunday Times. Adepaymore said to Bendtner upon coming on as sub at the Lane ‘The only reason I’m on is because you’re so shit!’ Great for team bonding that, if true……I’m sure he’ll get a great reception to Andrey scoring against Man City in April……

  5. can i know the source of which you refered to write this piece? thanks… i cant find it in the official web site… :S

  6. Yeh Tony,where’s Theo?
    WHY isn’t this story on sky-sports news? Oops,silly question,lol!

  7. isaic, the story is not on the website, but I saw it in one of the newspapers online during the Arsenal in the Community week of celebrations. It was Mills who was interviewed and told the story.

  8. Somethings I feel Arsene Wenger and Arsenal are the only things good about professional football. (But perhaps I am a little biased…)

  9. As for Theo – can I call this my deliberate slip up. As Mr Mainwaring said “Now I was wondering how long it would take you to spot that…”

    But the fact is, where does he play. Arshavin comes back and immediately bends the law of physics by making the ball pass through a space smaller that its own dimensions. Bendtner didn’t have his greatest game, but the game before at Stoke he got a sensational header. Nasri, for me, has been the star of the show of late – his ability to turn, twist, go back, forward, push three players out of the way, give a quick snarl, turn, twist… well you know.

    If you play Theo do you drop Nasri back – and if so that makes the middle 3 more a middle 2. Maybe it could work…

    Or if you dropped Bendtner, do you play Arshavin in the middle? I know he did, but he is so much better stepping in from the side.

    Anyway, as you realised a long time ago, what do I know about football?

  10. I would rather see Nasri drop back and do a “Cesc”. I think we all agree that Nasri’s form recently has been transcendent. If there was ever a perfect time to see if he can handle that playmaking for that day in the future then this is the time.

    Diaby – Song – Nasri

    That’s my midfield.

    Walcott – Bendtner – Arshavin

  11. Nasri really is looking good lately. Well certainly against Burnley he was sensational. The only way they could stop him, and Rosicky, was by fouling him.

    No Cesc tomorrow is confirmed on but we should have enough players to go to the next round.

  12. On Nasri,

    I was wondering (distracting myself from work if you really must know) if Raymond Domenech was the worst manager in the history of football, ever, and some brief research led me to the following links:!v=J4x05Z3MSkQ&feature=related

    And I conclude that it is not only Arsenal fans have picked up on recent trends in the game. After observing the use of Bazooka’s, impaling objects etc. against a team who’s players wear a familiar kit in the clip below:!v=EgQld_0vyEU&feature=related

  13. That might be the improved site security.

    Well, the links were to:

    Mike Basset: England Manager. (The movie). His half time team talk.
    An interview with Ron Manager from The Fast Show.
    & Jose Arroganito, probably from The Fast Show again.

  14. OK Paul I’ll go with that – and if it doesn’t work, then I can blame you.
    Incidentally did you notice that at the start of the second half Burnley’s keeper came out on his own, leading to a lively debate that Burnley were about to play a rarely seen

    1-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0 formation

  15. I am happy to take the blame just as long as I can also take all the credit!!

    Well, I didnt see that as I was watching on TV but unfortunately I had to sit through two hours of Lou Macari commentating. His “expert” opinion consisted solely of saying that Burnley needed more players that could “kick” Arsenal, and talking about how bad Arsenal’s defense was EVERY SINGLE TIME Burnley actually came inside our half. You can imagine his comments when Burnley actually scored. And yes, I am serious about his comments about kicking Arsenal. One would have thought that his co-commentator would have said “Lou, you are talking complete and utter sh*t, shut the f*ck up, but his co-commentator (Sean someone I believe) was one of these typical, clueless commentators that think ex-players are actually a source of knowledge. Once again I ask, what would they do in Spain if teams said that they were planning on “kicking” Barca or Madrid?

  16. Very glad to know that Arsenal & Arsene have the heart to spare a thought for others. How can the other managers reply to such cry for help when they are ‘shouting’ silently for help themselves but are too proud to go cap in hand to Arsene?

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