The ArsenalStar, The Brookes Clan, Hot Chocolate, the Auld Triangle. It’s another home game.

Walter Broeckx comments on Antwerp to the Emirates – and back – in one day

Another day at the Emirates for me and some of my family.

I must say that I really don’t know how to start this time. It was a day of great emotions once again. We left Brussels right on time with the Arsenalstar train, also known as the Eurostar.

When we left Brussels we had to pass a place called Buizingen and this will not ring any bell by most of you but it is the place where some 14 days ago some 20 people got killed in a terrible train crash. As the Eurostar, and the other trains, have to go past this place at low speed we could see how the remainders of the trains stood there. I must say if you look at the twisted trains it must have been a immense collision.  Not a very nice sight.

But after that the Arsenalstar train went off as a rocket to the Rocket for some of us. The bar was the place to be for a lot of our Gooners but my older legs and my back prevent me from staying up to long so we took it rather comfortable in the seats. But when we went up to the bar for a short visit with the rest we passed the first class and there was an older Gooner sitting in first class but he was sleeping. But one could say he really was a first class Gooner.

Once in London straight to the Emirates and to see it in the bright sunshine is always a special feeling. Every time it feels like coming home. So we went to the Auld Triangle (does he pay you for all this free publicity Tony ?), and it maybe strange but it was the first time that I went in to a pub. I even went in it alone as I had to go to the toilet and Tony was not yet there….. and I survived and got out alive.  (I hope you remembered the have the blood tests once you got back like I told you Walter – Tony)

When Tony arrived the usual drinks had to be purchased and I took the honour of escorting Tony inside the pub. Like Tony said we had to get through an immense crowd to get to the bar but they made way for us. I think Tony said something like: “I’m getting some drinks for people who know people who have met the parents of Vermaelen” and it seemed to work.

We got outside once again and then it was time to meet Ian (who is the son of the man to whom Tony dedicated “Making the Arsenal”) and Ian’s son Oliver.

And here I have to explain something to you. My surname is Broeckx, but is pronounced Brookes.  Ian’s surname is Brookes (as you will know from “Making the Arsenal”), and at last Tony was able to do his long rehearsed routine, “Ian Brookes this is Walter Broeckx, Walter Broeckx this is Ian Brookes”.   Well, it amused Tony, and lots of photos were taken.

And then I realised once again that it seems to me that all Gooners just are nice people. All of them are friendly… I think that only nice people can become Arsenal fans.  The others just go support the Tiny Totts, or Chelsea or so… It just seems that Arsenal fans have some kind of class around them, a bit like our manager, our players and our board. So maybe it is no co-incidence that I only meat nice Gooners ? Do you have to pass an exam to become a Gooner over there ?

About my feelings once in the Emirates and up on the game and the ref I will leave this for another article, if Tony lets me have this.

After the game I met Tony again and now I must issue a serious warning for all of you who ever go to the Emirates. As it was a very cold day in London yesterday we stayed there and had a warm drink in the Emirates. I took a hot chocolate and must say it wasn’t a bad one. BUT please do take care when you say “hot” and they give you a “hot” chocolate it really is actually not hot, no it is very, very, very hot. I still have difficulties in using my tongue without it being painful.

But we were all very happy with the game and the 3 points. I still have a very strong feeling that this could be our season and so I really made some plans to come over to the last game of the season against Fulham.  Now wouldn’t that be a great day to celebrate the title ? And even if not, I just want to be there to show my support to the players who have done a great job so far. They gave us great football once again, showed character by coming back whenever they seemed in a lost position. They have had an injury list all season that not many other clubs can show and still we are where we are from the moment.

We are the third dog ready to snatch the title away from our two main rival dogs that are fighting for the title.

A big thanks for all people who made it another great day: from the inventor of the tunnel, the inventor of high speed trains, to all those Gooners who sat around me in the stadium and shared the emotions. Thanks for my friends of the Arsenal Benelux to making it possible to travel along with them. Thanks to Tony for making this site which gives me the freedom to express my emotions and thoughts on The Arsenal. Thanks also to Jane, to Ian and his son for their nice company and nice and friendly words. Even thanks for the people who sell the Gooner magazine and are shouting all day long: “Get your Gooner”.

If there is a God out there somewhere I would like to thank him for making me an Arsenal fan.



Extra news

Guided tours around the Auld Triangle led by Billy the Dog McGraw can be booked for 23 shillings and sixpence a go at Getyergooner Enterprises Ltd, Finsbury Park.

And true but almost unbelievable: The most expensive shares ever left to Oxfam was a holding of shares in the original Woolwich Arsenal Football Club. The shares had been overlooked in 1920 and were traced through 4 subsequent estates. Each share was worth £6,965 when finally sold in 2009.

“Making the Arsenal” – dedicated to Roger Brookes, but written for every Arsenal fan who wants a) a laugh and b) to know something about our heritage.

Picklive – The new online football game you play whilst watching live
televised football matches as previously mentioned here relaunches as
Picklive on Monday.  The first match they are covering as Picklive
will be Arsenal’s Champions League game against FC Porto on Tuesday
night (live on Sky Sports 2). £100 will be up for grabs and it’s free
to play. Check it out here: and the new site

The sound of all of us chatting and laughing outside the Auld Triangle prior to the Burnley game will be released on an Untold Arsenal CD in two weeks time, priced two pints and a packet of crisps.

(c) Untold Arsenal 2010

12 Replies to “The ArsenalStar, The Brookes Clan, Hot Chocolate, the Auld Triangle. It’s another home game.”

  1. Walter

    You’ll find English Gooners on train journeys like yours. Not such nice trains, not quite so fast. But about the same time.

    You get on a train at Leeds, it’s 2hrs 15mins ish to London. Only a few at Leeds and Wakefield. But a good crowd get on at Doncaster, Newark and a big crowd of them at Peterborough. It’s a nice day out at a weekend. A bit of a short night’s sleep after a Champions League game, though…….doesn’t stop folks going though…..

    Blackburn away from Leeds seemed like a nice mid-week trip. It was, until it turned out that the last direct train home left before the end of the game. So it was into Manchester, where the last train from the terminus left 5 minutes before we got there. So it was walk to Piccadilly and wait 1.5hrs for a train through departing at 1am. There were 5 Gooners from Bradford who still needed a taxi from Leeds – they got home about 3.30am. And we’d lost!!

    Blackburn’s a nice away trip: there is an ‘away pub’ just near the ground – a nice touch by a nice club. And often you can buy a ticket at the ground – it’s a big away end which is rarely totally full on both decks.

    Quite an important trip this year, perhaps??

  2. Rhys – you raise a really important important point if I may say so.

    How often do we hear radio and TV people talk about a match as if all the home support lived round the corner from the ground. They even have the nerve to suggest Manchester United supporters live nearer to the ground than Dorking.

    When I get the train from Kettering to London for matches the trains can be packed with supporters – its an hour on the train, straight into St Panc and then one stop on the underground.

    But it is the journey back that is the problem. Buying an open return costs twice as much as a fixed time return – so do we gamble that the match finishes roughly on time, there is no problem on the underground, and we can just make it onto the 10.25 back – or sit in the architectural glory next to the champagne bar and wait for the 11.15.

    (Actually my nearest station is Corby, but the last train back there leaves at 9.30.)

    All this nonsense with trains is so reminiscent of Woolwich Arsenal 100 years ago when the tram company that ran the route from London Bridge to Plumstead refused outright to put on any extra trains when Woolwich were playing at home.

    Progress! What progress?

  3. If I read this,it is better to live where I live. That is if the Eurostar runs on time and there is no snow or no train crash or if it is not too cold….

    Tony, my test was negative but I don’t know what negative means…. 😉

  4. Walter, the negative test result is great. It means

    1. You did not get botulism by walking past the burger stands in St Thomas’

    2. You did not catch any utterly unmentionable disease in the gents toilet

    3. That coca cola I bought for you at the Auld Triangle was clear of infectious diseases notifiable under the Agriculture Act 1912.

    4. You did not catch any northern illness while sitting at the south end of the ground, near the Burnley fans

    5. Your civil rights were not flouted by groups of maurauding police officers intent on filming everyone as they entered the “Hostile Zone” as Highbury is now known.

    6. The wind was blowing in the right direction, and thus you did not pick up Zarquant Radiation drifting over from Hackney Marshes

    7. You are totally free of groveitis – something that can be gained by going onto alien web sites.

    8. There is no chance of your contracting Barking Disease, as a result of passing WHU supporters travelling in the other direction. (Actually Jane and I had about five of them in the train as we headed north to Arnos Grove – and my goodness did they look fed up).

    9. You are now free to take the family of your choice to a meal at the Restaurant at the End of the Universe.

    10. When you have finished there you can have breakfast at the other end of time, at the Big Bang Burger Bar.

    So its great news all round, and the drinks are on you.

  5. Walter – excellent article again and it was great to meet you and your family on Saturday also.

    Your comments regarding the uniqueness of Arsenal fans is 100% accurate, on Saturday my son Oliver was a little distressed by the noise when we first got to our seats, so i took him back down to the concourse area to calm him down. As we were talking a complete stranger came up and told Oliver not to be scared by the noise, he then gave my son his own programme and told him to enjoy the game. Further to that I had the pleasure of sitting next to Graham who had travelled with the Benelux crowd to the Emirates, he leant Oliver his scarf to cover his ears.

    Have been going to Arsenal since the early 70s, have seen us play at over 60 different grounds and really am proud to be a supporter.

  6. Rhys, I take it you are based in Leeds then?

    Good read Walter, glad you had a good day(and result) at the Emirates!

  7. Tony, if I tell my wife about a few of those things she will never let me go again. 🙂

    Ian like you said we have experienced it now so many times and we just seem to behave ourselves and so we give our team a good name. Touching wood now, but you never hear of problems with Arsenal fans on the road or at the Emirates.
    Even before the game after we had a burger and wachting the world pass by in front of the Armoury we saw all kind of people and also a fair number of Burnley fans amongs them. They walked around, bough matchday programs, talked with Arsenal fans, made jokes and all was so friendly.
    There even came a few tandems who had done a ride for our season charity and it was an Arsenal bike and a Burnley bike who came at the Emirates and got a nice round of applause from the fans present.
    That’s is something I admired at the time. During the game we shout at each other, yes we are fans and this is what fans do, but before the game and after the game I don’t have problems with other fans. As long as they behave in a respectful way.
    I know this will not happen in the same way if some other teams come to the Emirates but I have seen on many occasions fans from other teams comming to the Armoury and buying some souvenirs to take home and this in the most friendly atmosphere.

    I really think it has something to do with the way Arsene Wenger is behaving always like a gentleman towards other people. He will say what he is thinking but he does it with class.

  8. Tony, just one thing I really think I have lost some teeth over there ? Could you look for them in the Auld Triangle tomorrow ?
    Just look at that lovely picture next to my name. I have only got one left it seems. 😉

  9. Walter,

    You are the best! You perfectly sum up my feelings about all the Gooners I know. Funny though, all the Doom&Gloomers I know are through the Internet.

    Oh, thank you God for making me a Gooner!

  10. Another nice post Walter , keep it up .Am glad that you note that Gooners are the best -I ‘ve yet to meet a disagrreable one myself.As for passing a test to become one,its not a written one but rather of undergoing daily
    verbal abuse and name calling during my schooldays and in collage for having the ‘smarts’ to support a club called ARSEnal.There aren’t too many arse/anal jokes left anyway.I’ve survived for 39 years without wavering in my support.I think I’ve passed the fit and proper person test to continue on.Cheers !

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