Arsenal Burnley: a delightful and insightful fistful of pratfalls

It’s been months since we talked about players and matches, what with midweek dribble ball and the invasion of the hatchet men last saturday, so here’s a quick run down on this saturdays team, before a quick review of the opposition and their semi-illustrated history.



Sagna Vermaelen Silvestre Clichy (Eboue, Traore)

Ramsey, Denilson, Ramsey, Cesc, Ramsey, Nasri  (Ramsey, Eastmond, Ramsey, Diaby? Ramsey, Eboue, Ramsey, Merida, Ramsey)

Arshavin, Bendtner, Eduardo (Rosicky, Nasri)


As you will have realised from the number of names in (brackets) I don’t really have clue  Diaby is maybe, Campbell is maybe.  The spirit of Ramsey will dominate and Red Action will entertain us before the match with songs about the bloodsucking Shawcross

Any road tup (as they say in the northern regions of the empire) it has always been a central part of the philosophy of Untold Arsenal that we should entertain, inform and education our readership, and thus with the educational element of this mission in mind, Untold sponsors a regular seminar at the Auld Triangle, Highbury, where visitors can hear experts speak about the clubs with whom we are about to share a footballing experience.  And Stoke.

This week I was thrilled to be invited as guest of honour to Billy McGraw’s exemplification of Burnley Rovers FC.  Here is a summary of the speech which is copyright In-Your-Face-Lecturers Ltd 2010.


During 1882 some sweet natured daffodils of the northern provinces known as Burnley Rovers vowed never to touch a ball again and played their first game of kicker ball which they duly lost 8-0.   They soon moved to a new ground known then as now as More Turf, a reference to the grassless nature of the encampment.

In their first FA cup game the Rovers kept up this magnificent record losing 11-0 to Charles Darwin who annoyed them by saying they were all related to fish.  When the Football League was found, Burnley claimed it, saying they had lost it the week before, and entered themselves as the Tufties.  They lost their first 17 games.

After the start of the second division, Burnley duly got their place therein, and were immediately involved in one of the first match fixing scandals with our old pals and chums Stoke, fixing a 0-0 draw so both teams went up.  Manchester United and Liverpool representatives attended, took notes, and replicated the action in 1915.  There’s details of that scandal in the article on Arsenal’s promotion in 1919.

The next year Burnley Rovers got a nose bleed and were relegated.

In 1910 Burnley Rovers changed  their colours to the puce, maroon and magenta that they wear today.  Then they played a cup final in front of a king they found somewhere and won the Cup.  His majesty thought it a dull affair and Burnley were relegated to the Southern League (south western division).

In the 1930s Tommy Lawton (of Tommy Lawton fame) played for the club for six minutes, and Burnley entered their Discombobulating Era.

They got promoted, played in the Cup Final, and invaded Germany, which was a bit of a shame, as the war had ended three years before.  They also beat New Brighton 9-0 which caused national celebrations and the boiling of cats by the side of the ground in keeping with the traditions.

In 1960 they won the League when no one else was watching largely because they had never been top of the league during the season, and then lost to the fast food joint in Seven Sisters Road, Hamburger SV, in the second extra preliminary round of the regional pre-Cup Euro Cup.

They repeated the food them in 1966 by competing with some frankfurters in the Fairs Cup.

They then lost to Wimbledon during their Southern League days 1-0 at More Turf in a cup match.  They immediately applied for membership of the third division and eventually ended up ready to go into the Conference, but Lincoln City obliged and took their place instead.

Thinking that everything had become too ordinary they emplyed Chris Waddle as manager for a few weeks.  Oh fun!

In 2006–07 Burnley Rovers finally achieved a place in the record books with 18 games in a row without a win.

Later the snooker player Steve Davis became their most successful manager ever, with an unbeatable 100% record, of played 1, won 1, drawn 0, lost 0.  In their run, which is still celebrated in the wild seas that lap the shores of More Turf, they beat Leicester 1-0.

Burnley’s songs are famous and you will hear them on Saturday.  The anthem has the lines, “And it’s no nay never, no nay never no more, will we play Blackburn Rovers, no never no more.”  Blackburn, rather curiously, sing the same song.

Other notable numbers are “Requiem for a Tower,” “Tubthumping” and “Pappas got a brand new pigbag.”

They are all jolly nice people, and not at all prone to leg breaking, crowd trouble, or eating pork pies.


Newsy stuff

Leeds Untidy’s directors are all fit and proper people, according to the fit and proper Football League.  “They are all fit and proper people,” said Sir Hardly Anyone.  “We know who they are, but we are not going to tell you.”

(And if you think I just made that up, then you are wrong.)


Police were put on high alert today after the manifestation of evil known throughout humanity as “Shawcross” and the Pulis character turned up at the hospital in which Aaron Ramsey is recovering from assault.

In an interview with the press (and again I insist this is true) he said  he would not  change his style despite having left a vast load of players crippled in his wake during his short career (see commentaries in the Shawcross Diaries)

“Whenever I play for Stoke I am 100% committed and that will be the same as ever when I next play, and I will maim anyone who says otherwise.”  (OK he didn’t add the final clause.)  “The other players have been fantastic. It has been about football really, nothing else,” he said. (Again he really said that, can you believe it?)

Tony Pulis said, “I’ve made sure I’ve spoken to him every day and he has been fine and the players have been fantastic.  Steven Gerrard, apparently, has been exceptional and as the captain of the team has really looked after him. People like Wayne Rooney and David Beckham have been brilliant and I think Shawcross will be the first to say how much help he’s had from the players.   When he gets back I expect him to put quite a few players in an early grave, with all he has learned in the England camp.”  (OK slight editing problem with the final sentence but the rest of it, including the fact the two criminals got into the hospital, is all totally true.  Can you believe it?  This is the maniac criminal who crippled a player and they are saying he has to be looked after rather than locked up.  This may be rather 18th century of me, and I am generally quite a liberal guy, but on this one, my emotions are still boiling. Sorry.)



Untold Arsenal and the Billy The Dog seminars are paid for entirely through the sales of the book “Making the Arsenal”.  If you don’t buy a copy I shall be very upset indeed.

PS, If you glance to the right you will see three of those blog counter things with numbers on.  They keep changing but as I write this they are saying 7, 3 and 9.  A year ago they were up in the hundreds.  As the man says at the Ems, thank you for your magnificent support.

The sound of a billion fans saying “I told you this would happen” as the EPL destroys itself is copyright © Untold Arsenal 2010.

37 Replies to “Arsenal Burnley: a delightful and insightful fistful of pratfalls”

  1. Absolutely cracking once again Tony. Haven’t had much chance to comment recently, but rest assured I don’t miss a post!

  2. No you are not being stupid Alex, its just me. From what I hear from friends in Red Action there is going to be a huge amount of support from Aaron on Saturday – there’s at least one banner, and I suspect many more. There was even a suggestion today that in the part of the ground where all the triumphs are listed, after the last Cup win it should say


    to commemorate how football has treated us since.

    So I was trying to find a way of expressing the fact that the spirit of Ramsey will be everywhere on saturday, and I think that could help the team.

    If you read a column on Untold which purports to be something to do with Billy “The Dog” McGraw you know it is going to be a bit bizarre. Sorry if this one was too far out, I still find myself consumed with rage not just over the tackle but over the reaction of Stoke City FC to the event.

  3. The answer is that site that you quote (soccernet) is sponsored by Bet365, who sponsor Stoke. By chance I was just sketching out an article saying that the real power that we all have is to boycott the firms that sponsor Stoke – Carlsberg, Britannia, Bet365 and the like.

    The fact that a sponsor can seemingly have so much immediate influence on an article shows why we need to do something now.

  4. FIRST i want to digress.
    I cant believe how the entire British media has embarked on AN ANTI WALCOTT campaign. after just one game.

    this is just a digrace

  5. Boozy

    Heartily agree with you. I did fire off a few quickfire epistles to Alan Smith (who was the gentlest in the Telegraph) and Chris Waddle, who was moronic in the Mail – I told him if he cared about English football he would not wait until March 2010 to express what he said and told him to be ‘a man by taking up your issue with Arsene Wenger’. I note with cold amusement that his managerial appointment at Burnley didn’t last too long – I think his career heights prior to Newcastle was a sausage factory. Another Gooner in the Mail blog said something of the lines of ‘all you know about football is skying a ball taking a penalty’, which cracked me up. That article was pulled down after I noted three derogatory blogs from Americans and suggested they were trying to target him prior to the World Cup. I’m assuming it’s not Kroenke trying to engineer a transfer??

    Poor old Theo needs a run of games. I mean, if Lamps hadn’t been a stupid prat and missed from 6 yards, Walcott’s write up would be ‘Theo destroyed the Egypt defence and set up Lampard on a plate: 1-0.’ He was trying too hard and lost his confidence yesterday. Rooney wasn’t that good either though. Let’s hope he can score Saturday and go on from there……

  6. Om my God, I’m looking forward to saturday. I hope the Emirates rocks from before kick off. Got be be inside before the teams come in.
    And whenever the name of Ramsey will be called I’ll be shouting as loud as I can (and some say I can have a loud voice at times…)

  7. Well spotted Tony……….keep joining the dots for us.

    Just tell me who to boycott please.

    I’m using Amazon again because they pulled the illegal Wenger chants off.

    Strange that people can get individually picked up for racist chants in the crowd, but not for verminous slander.

    I guess if we have a double dip recession, and the world economy plummets at the end of this year, there will be no crying from us if BET 365 go down the swanny then.

  8. Actually u need to put up ramsey all over the picth.. not just in the midfield.. everyone will be gunning for him against burnley.. We might also see a few yellow cards bestowed upon our lads.. just a thought.. if every dressing room is the same as the one i have been in then i bet the players are going to be mighty pissed! I am not saying that any of us will be doing a shawcross but its not going to be JUST tippy tap this saturday.. about the line up I’d prefer eboue upfront on the right and Arshavin on the left.. Rosicky (very good tracking back too!) operating in the role that Cesc has been doing so far.. Cesc falling deep with nasri.. I believe Nasri can do a good job as DM we have seen him do it.. and I dont think lord wenger will risk Diaby tomorrow.. we need him for porto..

  9. Funny article Tony and up to your usual witty standard… I think Alex was just having a temporary blond(e) moment.

    I’m quite pleased that shattercross (or shawcrack) isn’t going to change his style, as perhaps he can repeat the trick of ‘making a FAIR tackle, but still somehow breaking both lower leg bones’ on one of Stoke Shitty’s final opponents. At least the FA and the media might react properly next time and take steps to eradicate assault occasioning GBH from the game.

    Finally Tony – you’re team sheet is somewhat perplexing mate. I can’t for the life of me understand why Ramsey doesn’t feature in goal as well…Let’s be honest, big Al could use a bit of company on Saturday, as hopefully he’ll be a bit lonely on his own. Maybe he should take a good book to read?!?

  10. You forgot the most important Burnley fixture…last game of 1952/3. Arsenal had to win at Highbury to beat Preston on goal average (as it was in those days…goals scored divided by goals conceded)

    Within minutes, we were an own goal down (Joe Mercer) but bounced back to lead 3-1. The second half was nerve wracking…Burnley got one back and I’ll swear the clock started going slower aand sloower aaand slooower as we hung on for a 3-2 win and the championship.

    I hated that bloody clock. It always seemed to my then 10 year old mind that if were were winning comfortably, it always went faster…just as it did if were were losing 1-0 and trying to get an equaliser. Mind you, isn’t that the case today…clock or no clock!

  11. Have you guys read that “Arguably the worst tackle of the season so far was committed by William Gallas on Bolton’s Mark Davis – an incident that did not get a red card but led to a pivotal Arsenal goal”. Oh of course you didn’t get to read about it as it was written by a journo here in my country. Wow.

    I’ll try to look for it’s online version.

  12. @ Prick

    ARGUABLY I’m the bast speller in tha wirld – so what’s your point?!?

    PS. It’s the context you wrote it doesn’t have an apostrophe (Its)

  13. I really expect burnley to park the bus tomoro. But wit the superior brains of the guns light will prevail over dark. The Force be with us!!

  14. my point is, what have they all been eating? is there something we should know but we don’t? are we in a separate universe? how come it’s only us who think that Shawcross is the bad guy and everyone else wants Arsene to apologize?

  15. Prick,

    In fact by writing down this article he just follows the rest of the pundits and journalists who mostly hate us and so he confirms what we are all thinking and knowing: They are against us and they will even talk with the devil to prevent us to win something.

    I suggest that we keep our eyes wide open the next few games. After the Eduardo incident in the next games we were on the receiving end of some very, very, very bad decisions from the refs. I remember Adebayor scoring when he intercepted a back pass (against Sunderland?) and the goal was disallowed for offside. And other strange decisions in those weeks went against us.

    I remember that at the end of the season in a discussion with a MU fan I could point at some 6 points we lost because of the ref making big “mistakes”.

  16. Prick, sorry mate, I got completely the wrong end of the stick there. I agree that there is definitely an anti-Arsenal bias, but I’m buggered if I know why. When we eventually win the league it will taste all the more sweeter, as we will have done it the hard way.

  17. Once you read the article, you could read a line which says “What of his dearly beloved Patrick Vieira, statistically the dirtiest player in Premiership history?” without even mentioning which stats are he referring to. Did he get the most red cards / appearance? Did he break 2 legs? Can anyone confirm if our PV have ever broken any legs? And the worst part is, most people would readily digest this sort of write up and believe it to be true.

    I really hope we’ll do fine tomorrow and the rest of the season.

  18. Steve D – the anti Arsenal bias stems from Alex Ferguson. He has got lots of friends and hangers on who call themselves Football Managers. Then he has Journalists in his back pocket as he threatens them.

    Then there’s the anti Arsenal Tottenham crowd. So basicly we are on our own and that’s not a bad place to be if we win the League this season.

  19. Comment from the REd Action group today

    Hi all

    We have taken delivery of the 18x15ft Ramsey banner (which looks like this – ). 18x15ft is basically the size of a house, so you will definitely be able to see it in the stadium and on TV. It will be hanging from Club Level before the Burnley game and as the teams come out, so get in early to see it in all its glory. We know that there will be other banners in the stadium as well, organised by the Gooner forum and by Arseblog among others – so the players should be in no doubt about our support.

  20. “Nice and friendly he’s not that kind of guy” got 3 weeks I just read ?
    Does this light punishment surprise me…. ? No, it just makes me feel sick again.

  21. Check this piece of commentary out, it appears in an article in the Telegraph:

    “Arsenal are, as the rest of football are quickly finding out, turning into a financial powerhouse. A money machine.”

    Full article is about how Chelsea are struggling to keep up with us!, check it out here:

    The point about it is, whilst everyone likes to dig the Arse because we don’t (supposedly) spend big sums on players, they are starting to find out the genuis in our method, and looking at the overall picture of the financial health of football (read, LittlePorto, ManBankcrupt, and the LiverInsolvenents) the genuis of Arsenal and Arsene is becoming so apparent that these journo’s can no longer hide it so now they are grudgingly acknowledging it!

    Tony, well done for reporting the financial side of football so well, something no other site concentrates on!

  22. There was even a suggestion today that in the part of the ground where all the triumphs are listed, after the last Cup win it should say


    to commemorate how football has treated us since. so said Tony.

    Surely Ramsey,Eduardo,Diaby would be more appropriate (RED)

  23. That would be wonderful, Adam. I was little bit worried about the news about the Ramsey banner. I’m happy that the supporters are really getting behind the team and the players but was worried how Diaby and Edu would feel because We didnt do anything like that when they were injured.

    If This is true, I would be very happy and it’ll do good to the entire team and We all can expect a cracking performance from the lads..

  24. emailing stoke won’t really get us far… they will only cite the postive emails they get from gooners.

    unreal week, ramsey becomes the 3rd gunner in 4 years to nearly lose a leg.. and all we have heard is arsenal bashing.

    if there is a god, if karma exists… we will now walk the league… in style.

    goal difference may yet win this league… burnley not only need to be beaten, ahead of porto, but need to be smashed apart in order to get our GD closer to the other pair.

  25. I am going nuts now.. A report says that Shawcross is very happy and he is very happy with the support he got from Arsenal supporters.

    Instead of feeling ashamed and apologising to Arsenal fans and club he wants support and sympathy. And instead of regeretting his tackle, he vows to do the same thing again. He has not yet issued a statement and he is already mama’s boy.

    Can we mail it to him somehow Olegunner.

  26. Goonerman – as Tony will agree I am sure, the anti-Arsenal bias goes much further back than Alex Ferguson. My father used to tell me all about it when I was growing up in the 70’s, and he has supported the club since the 1940’s. It all goes back to the 1930’s side and the general hatred for all things London. London was/is the capital city and had the wealth and the art and culture, and the Northerners felt that football surpemacy was at least one thing they could call their own. Arsenal under Herbert Chapman changed all that. Through expert team building and busloads of capital city cash (making offers people couldnt refuse) Chapman built the greatest side the game had ever known. Even though we scored 100 goals every season, it was that side that first earned the whole “boring old Arsenal” epithet, as much for their ruthless efficiency as for their ability to win 1-0 away from home with a goal on the counter-attack. Remember, in those days there was no TV, so the only opportunity people got to watch Arsenal was away from home. So Sunderland fans, for example, would only see the 1-0 counter-attacking win by Arsenal and not the 8-2 home thrashing involving lightning fast wing-play (Cliff Bastin), inventive midfield play (Alex James – Cesc before there was a Cesc), and dynamic forward play (Ted Drake). The country hated Arsenal, because we were rich and successful and came from London, and had an underground station all our own, and a huge, beautiful stadium, and had movies made about us etc etc.

    The anti-Arsenal bias has been around ever since then. When we are unsuccessful it lessens for awhile, but when we start winning you can be pretty certain it will jump up and show its face pretty quickly.

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