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August 2021

Champions League – I’m Having A Laugh!

Champions League – I’m Having A Laugh!

By Ian Jenkinson

I was delighted to see Arsenal qualify for the Champions League for the 16th consecutive season on Tuesday. It really is a fantastic record, only equalled or bettered by Man Utd and Real Madrid. And with the draw coming up it reminded me of this time last season.

I often fantasised (yes fantasised!) about going to an away Champions League match as I felt there would be an unbelievable atmosphere in the build-up to the game in and around the stadium and at the game itself, just a tad more than a standard Premier League game. Plus you get a mini holiday in a foreign country.

Well last season my fantasy came through. I got my first taste of a European away day. And it was fantastic! I couldn’t have expected a funnier or stranger trip. I will try to take you on the journey with me; I hope you enjoy it!

Our Arsenal European away day relied on us getting a bit of luck in the Champions League draw. My better half’s brother, Philip who is a Gooner and was living in Frankfurt at the time.  He proposed that if we drew German opposition in the group stages then we should try to get to the game.

Lady luck was with us, we drew Schalke 04 and the plans were set in motion. I secured the tickets, flights and accommodation and sat like an excited kid at Dublin airport the Tuesday morning of the game. I was due to fly in to Dusseldorf airport to meet Philip who was travelling by train from Frankfurt and Dave, another friend who bizarrely was travelling from Vienna where he was on holiday.

We found each other in Dusseldorf airport and after a few beers headed by train to Gelsenkirchen where Schalke play their football. There isn’t much going on in Gelsenkirchen to be honest, it is a very old style town that to be fair could do with a makeover. But we didn’t care, we were there for The Arsenal!

We got to the hotel, threw our bags in the room and hit the bar. As you do. We were contemplating our next move, trying to communicate unsuccessfully with the barman to find out how far the stadium was from the hotel and if there were many bars near the stadium etc. Just as we were doing that three men walked in to the hotel, we didn’t know it at the time but these three men were to shape our night and our experience in Gelsenkirchen.

Before I had left Dublin I was warned by more than one person to be careful of the Schalke 04 supporters as they were supposed to be “dangerous and crazy”. And although I took that advice with a pinch of salt, it was in the back of my head when the three men approached us at the bar. The three men donned Schalke jersey’s, scarves and hats and if I’m being honest, didn’t look too friendly at first. We were perched at the bar and the three men stood behind us to order their beer. Naturally they saw us with our Arsenal jerseys and struck up a conversation.

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We had just about enough German and they had just about enough English to get by. After a bit of banter including them telling us we were gonna be beaten (in the match!)  and us giving it back to them the six of us seemed to build up a bit of a rapport. The beer was flowing and the vibe was good.

Then suddenly one of the Shalke 04 fans told us in no uncertain terms that “You are coming with us to a real Schalke bar, where all the real Schalke fans go, we will bring you, finish your drink”. Every instinct I had told me that this was probably a bad idea but yet the three of us just shrugged our shoulders and said “Ok, let’s do it!”

We hopped on to a tram and with each station we stopped at, more and more Schalke fans poured on, before long the tram was packed. A few stops before we got off some Arsenal fans got on to the tram. They spotted us and asked us where we were going for pre match drinks (they obviously had a similar unsuccessful conversation with their hotel barman!) we told them that we were being brought to a Schalke bar, they looked at each other and said “that’ll do us”. I was kind of glad that we had a few more kindred spirits just in case something did happen when we got to this bar.

We arrived at the bar and were about to walk through the door when the three of looked at each other as if to say “best of luck in here lads”. We walk in and are greeted by some funny looks. It wasn’t exactly like you see in the movies where the music stops, the pub falls silent and every person in the place stares at you as you walk in but it was a bit like that! The place was packed with Schalke fans, there was a DJ playing Schalke songs over a PA system and it was all very loud and intimidating.

We walked to the centre of the bar to order some drinks, and to be fair to our three new Schalke friends who must have sensed our nervousness, they smiled and laughed with us, put their hands on our shoulders, shook our hands etc by way of showing the rest of the bar that we were ok. It seemed to work and other Schalke fans in the bar started to talk to us.

This was the equivalent of us bringing some Schalke fans into The Gunners Pub beside Highbury. I wouldn’t even say they would be allowed in! Then we were brought to a side room in the pub and I have to say, as a fans shrine to their football club it was highly impressive. There were all sorts of jerseys and shirts covering the wall, a lot of opponent’s jerseys as well (we even found a Shamrock Rovers jersey from the Irish league). And the ceiling was covered in scarves, it was a wonderful sight.

Then one of the funniest things happened, the DJ who was playing Schalke songs and letting the fans chant in between suddenly stopped all the music, picked up his microphone and in decent English said “Ok, I see we have some Arsenal fans in with us, I am going to give you the chance to show us how loud you can be. I want you to sing us some Arsenal songs, come on, what have you got?” In total there were no more than ten Arsenal fans (including us three) amongst probably a couple of hundred Schalke fans. It didn’t stop us, then ten of us gave everything we had, our arms went into the air,  “Who’s that team we call the Arsenal, who’s that team we all adore…………”  We sang three or four Arsenal songs like we were in The Gunners pub or indeed in our own stadium. We even got a round of applause from the Schalke fans!!

After a couple of hours and many beers later we left the bar, Ickie, one of our new found friends said he was a member of the club and that he could get us access to a bar at the stadium, again the alarm bells should have rang out but we had come this far and were being treated very well so we agreed. We hopped back on to the tram to travel the last few stops to the stadium.

Another funny event took place on the tram. I was taught German in school and am half decent at it, I am in no way fluent but I can hold a small conversation with it. The tram was packed, we were all squashed like sardines. I was well on at this stage and started to sing a song in German that I was taught in school. The whole carriage found it very funny and one guy in particular nearly fell on the floor from laughing.

He pointed at me and in broken English said “You, my friend”. He pointed at my jersey and then at his. “We swop jerseys”. He was still laughing from my song. I thought for a second and agreed. I found myself topless on a tram in Gelsenkirchen swopping my jersey with a guy whom I had never met before! He put his hand around my head, pulled me close and said “Thank you my friend I am honoured that you did this”. He patted the Arsenal crest as he said it. I thought that was brilliant. I asked him his name, “Shabby” he said. The next thing I knew we were at the stadium and I was wearing a Schalke jersey underneath my Arsenal zip up top.

We were snuck into the private members bar by Ickie, again we got some funny looks but once we were seen with the Schalke boys it was all good. More pints, we were well on our way at this stage. It was now time to get inside the stadium. We thanked the three guys Didi, Ickie and Jan and made arrangements to meet them after the game. They were incredible; they became our tour guide and looked after us very well. And they were not shy about buying a drink either! The stories I had heard about Schalke fans were wide of the mark. Well, with these guys anyway.

We get to the entrance of the stadium and are surrounded by Gooners from all sides. As great a night that we had with the Schalke boys, it was amazing to be amongst all the Arsenal fans again. Thousands of us crossed the bridge to the Veltins Arena and entered the cauldron. The Schalke fans were amazing all game, they were so loud. I had always admired them from watching them on TV but to be in the middle of it was hair raising.

We got off to a flyer with Theo and Olivier putting us two up, we went ballistic, but when Huntelaar scored with the last kick of the first half you sensed they would come out fighting in the second and they did. They equalised through Farfan and a draw was a fair result but Theo could have nicked it in injury time when he went clean through but couldn’t beat the keeper. Now that would have been some finish! I vividly remember a lot of the Arsenal players come over and give their jerseys to the Arsenal fans at the pitch side. Great keep sakes to have.

We met back up with the lads after the game and drank into the small hours. It was my first European adventure with Arsenal and I loved every minute of it and I can’t wait to do it again. I love away days, I had been to many Premier League away games including the infamous 4-0 up 4-4 draw at Newcastle. And I even remember finding myself sleeping in a car park in Cardiff in 2002 because our boat and train were seriously delayed while we were on our way to the Community Shield against Liverpool but that is another story altogether.

I’d love to hear strange or funny stories from you either in the comments or by way of another article, I especially love to hear stories from European games and to find out what the people, stadiums, bars are like from different cities. I am always mesmerised by them. And I would highly recommend going to a Champions League away game if the circumstances allow it, because they are on midweek the cost of flights and accommodation are very reasonable.

So who will we get in the draw? Ah the memories……….


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86 comments to Champions League – I’m Having A Laugh!

  • Armin

    Thanks for sharing. I have my own story from UEFA cup finals back in 2000, and bottle of wine I bought before game to celebrate. Still have it. I planed to keep it till we win some European trophy, but now I lowered expectations a bit, but I believe I ll open it this season. 🙂

  • ande

    You are having a laugh. Even Celtic qualified for champions lg

  • Asif

    Interesting read Ian…well written and a story worth telling!

  • Jambug


    Even Burnley have won the League. Even Portsmouth have won the FA Cup. WTF does that kind of comment prove. PRAT.

  • tello

    I like the story. its fun in a gunners sort of way. I like that a bloke called shabby patted the arsenal badge. I am sure arsenal will Top Everton and Aston Villa this season Im sure a euro place is possible for the fans at the Emerates next season. but then I am an optimist.

  • Arsenal1Again

    When Arsenal win the Champions League, and we will at some point, I want us to have qualified for the competition by becoming Champions.

    Sorry, I am just very old fashioned about the Champions League and feel only Champions should be in it.

  • George

    Enjoy it! It’s the last CL we’ll be in for a while

  • GoonerVance

    Nice story. Good read. I don’t think you’d get the same reception in an Italian bar though.

  • @Jambug tell that PRAT. Nice piece Ian.

  • Ben L

    Flamini has re joined!

  • maxim

    It’s a

    This post deleted as it has nothing to do with the article

  • dan

    Flamini in, Wenger’s having a laugh.

    I guess this is the big signing:(

  • I’m scratching my head wondering how the French clown managed to put 7 Cups in the Trophy Cabinet, it must have been down to Bergkamp i can’t think of any other plausible explanation.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Very nice Ian , glad to read about real supporters who have fun in following their team ,and in turn earn respect from their opposing numbers !
    Like that jersey swap bit .Apparently meant a lot to that German .
    Cheers !

  • WalterBroeckx

    yeah yeah we get it. Some of you don’t like Wenger and whatever the article is about you have to repeat it.

    May I point at the rules of this site that say that we can delete any comment that is off topic.

    FFS this is an article about an fans experience on a CL match in Germany. So what has Wenger got to do with it and certainly what has calling Wenger and idiot or a clown has to do with that?

    So throw your anti-Wenger mantra in articles about Wenger but not in this article. You may dislike Untold for what it stands but the least you could do is have some respect for the articles and if you have nothing to say about the subject the wisest thing you can do is to shut up.

    We are just a bunch of happy positive people and for some this seems to be a crime. And some just wants us to feel as miserable as they seem to feel. No thanks, there are enough things outside football to feel miserable about, no need to spoil our hobby with negative feelings.

    Sorry for going on/off topic but keep it in mind. If not we might have to be more strict about using the rules of the house.

  • WalterBroeckx

    Thanks for that write up Ian. Great article and great fun it seems. I was also there that night in Gelsenkirchen.

    I must say that the relationship with the Borussia Dortmund supporters one year earlier was more relaxed. That night in Dortmund they came over in a real friendly way and wanted to talk about us and console us with the loss of Cesc (it was that summer yeah). I think they felt that they might lose Gotze at some point in time. They even said that seeing him go to Arsenal would have been better than seeing him go to Spain or worse…Bayern Munich.

    Also after the game I had some great chats with them when they came over as very friendly. I wrote an article about it and most people had the same experience like me.

    As for Schalke we had been warned that they are different and it was different. They just stared at us, didn’t come over to make contact, just staring. I must say that I was a bit more uncomfortable over there than in Dortmund. But they never came over as aggressive, just given us the eye one could say. Maybe they were afraid of some kind of English hooliganism? And were also a bit careful?

  • Iam sitting here trying to think which problem to write about but if I did that I would be here for hours so I will summarise it,wenger,gazidas,law,get out your fired for absolute and complete negligence.

  • Walter (@4.47pm),

    What have you done man? Now they will moan about you being mean to them and some stupid shit about freedom of speech.


  • Brickfields Gunners

    I had put this link earlier in a different context ,but feel certain parts of it does justice to Ian’s tale.
    Do read it in full . Enjoy !

    The Ballad of East and West -Rudyard Kipling (1865–1936)

    OH, East is East, and West is West, and never the twain shall meet,
    Till Earth and Sky stand presently at God’s great Judgment Seat;
    But there is neither East nor West, Border, nor Breed, nor Birth,
    When two strong men stand face to face, tho’ they come from the ends of the earth!

    “No talk shall be of dogs,” said he, “when wolf and gray wolf meet. 60
    May I eat dirt if thou hast hurt of me in deed or breath;

    “We be two strong men,” said Kamal then, “but she loveth the younger best.
    So she shall go with a lifter’s dower, my turquoise-studded rein,

    “Ye have taken the one from a foe,” said he; “will ye take the mate from a friend?” 70
    “A gift for a gift,” said Kamal straight; “a limb for the risk of a limb.

    They have looked each other between the eyes, and there they found no fault,
    They have taken the Oath of the Brother-in-Blood on leavened bread and salt:
    They have taken the Oath of the Brother-in-Blood on fire and fresh-cut sod, 85

  • WalterBroeckx

    Back to Dortmund !!! 🙂

  • Jerry

    Wish we could have avoided Dortmund until after the group stages, but it’ll be a good match

  • Armin

    well it would not be such bad if we avoided Napoli too :).

  • Hi George, would you be surprised to hear that we had the same comment made last year. And the year before. And the interesting thing is that none of these comments actually contained any argument or point to debate. Like the £50m we spent on transfers last season, for example. Funny that.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Tough group , but not too much of traveling required !

  • Tello, you like so many before you, have simply made a negative comment without any backup. Worse, you have done it against an article which in my view is fun to read, positive and interesting. What on earth was the point of your comment?

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Take a chill pill ,Tony – ignore them and soon they’d be gone and go back to playing with themselves !
    In the meantime some fine words to soothe the wild beast.


    Young Windebank

    Margaret L. Woods

    THEY shot young Windebank just here,
    By Merton, where the sun
    Strikes on the wall. ’T was in a year
    Of blood the deed was done.

    At morning from the meadows dim 5
    He watched them dig his grave.
    Was this in truth the end for him,
    The well-beloved and brave?

    He marched with soldier scarf and sword,
    Set free to die that day, 10
    And free to speak once more the word
    That marshalled men obey.

    But silent on the silent band,
    That faced him stern as death,
    He looked, and on the summer land, 15
    And on the grave beneath.

    Then with a sudden smile and proud
    He waved his plume, and cried,
    “The king! the king!” and laughed aloud,
    “The king! the king!” and died. 20

    Let none affirm he vainly fell,
    And paid the barren cost
    Of having loved and served too well
    A poor cause and a lost.

    He in the soul’s eternal cause 25
    Went forth as martyrs must—
    The kings who make the spirit laws
    And rule us from the dust;

    Whose wills unshaken by the breath
    Of adverse Fate endure, 30
    To give us honor strong as death
    And loyal love as sure.

  • dan

    Dortmund and Napoli, Ouch.

  • GoonerVance

    ‘T was, twat, whatever…50 million pounds well spent last season would have been well up shit’s creek without Podolski, Cazorla, and Giroud…and still barely made the top four. Or did you forget that?

    Wenger is the man in charge,
    of this I have no doubt.
    No man with greater mind for skill,
    integrity, and clout.

    The pocketbook was opened up,
    so bare for all to see,
    but how should this club win a cup?
    With Mathieu Flamini?

  • Super Singh

    Tough group? Well if you want to compete, might as well be with the best? This team CAN win.
    One team, one family.

  • @Walter/Tony – just blacklist them, it’s the same shit every post – always miserable and always counter culture to the blog, you’d be doing them a favour in the long run.

    All this ‘free speech’ argument is utter nonsense – If I ran a afternoon tea and chat group for concerned vegan kitten lovers and a couple of pro-hunt types burst in every now and then offering bacon sandwiches and calling everyone delusional brainwashed idiots well – I reckon I would kindly ask them to fuck off and then make damn sure that they did so with the advice:

    There is nothing wrong you eating bacon butties but there is a time and a place and if you wish to do that then please do it elsewhere – you have that ‘right’ just as I have the ‘right’ to ask you to leave.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Laughter the best medicine – Goodnight all !

  • bjtgooner


    Fully agree!

  • sperez

    Problem is Wenger doesn’t want to compete. He only wants to qualify.
    Well, Napoli and Dortmund. Arsenal may end up playing in Europa dross.

  • GoonerVance

    “If I ran a afternoon tea and chat group for concerned vegan kitten lovers and a couple of pro-hunt types burst in every now and then offering bacon sandwiches and calling everyone delusional brainwashed idiots well”

    It would be more like if you ran a vegan kitten lovers tea and chat and, while the local kitten population was being decimated by the humane society, other kitten lovers tried to warn you that the kittens were in danger, and if you really cared about kittens you would listen instead of sticking your head in the sand and trusting in the humane society who in the past have been good for the kitten population, but as time passed their motives came into question, and now the people running the humane society are more interested in profits than saving the local kitten population (takes breath).

    That would be a more apt comparison.

  • GoonerVance

    That comment was @DogFace, but I’m sure any rational comment be an AAA will be dismissed and you will continue to pull straw men

  • Stevie E

    You seemed to have missed the “fuck off” bit.

  • robl

    @ Sperez, why don’t you start your own blog? it appears irrelevant to you whatever the author has bothered to take time and effort to write about as you just want to shove your opinion down our throats.

    This is an article about experiences with fellow fans, an interesting human nature piece, and all you do is trot out your anti Wenger agenda.

    All those swimmers and you made it? I’m starting to doubt natural selection, then again intelligent design???

  • Stuart

    Every year, people say we’ve got the hardest group, just like we had the hardest qualifying I suppose. Just turn up, watch and support (a bit like Ian in his article) and there may even be some other unexpected fun / hospitality along the way. If your life depends on a football score, you are a very very very sad individual with highly wrong priorities.

  • You go to the Emirates for a nice day out?

  • So you go to the Emirates for a nice day out?

  • GoonerVance

    @ Stevie E

    You seem hostile…are YOU an AAA?

  • GoonerVance

    Spurs have 90 million pounds in transfer funds from the Bale transfer…well not even…they will get paid in installments.

    Arsenal have 70 million + Gervinho sale just sitting in the bank (allegedly)

    Happy-go-lucky works until it doesn’t. Being aware works all the time.

  • Two years ago if i’m not mistaken I remember getting the same group but we qualified. And with Dortmund ask their fans they fear only one team in that group. The Arsenal so pull up your belts it will be a bumpy road as we know but we will persevere as always.

  • GoonerVance

    Yeah two years ago we were better than Dortmund easily….what has happened to us since because last I checked they were CL runner up, and beat Real Madrid in the process.

  • GoonerVance

    Enough of my negativity though. This squad DOES have enough to get through this group. Dortmund is scary in Germany, but Arsenal are the class of the group. Arsenal are the class of every group. Just dont have enough to overcome the inevitable bullshit that always happens.

  • GoonerDave

    I think its a tough group, but we are in it to play the best, supposedly, so it doesn’t matter.
    We are very, very thin for this campaign though. I doubt we have ever been so light in terms of numbers. Its alarming and disappointing that we cannot seem to get our business done this time.
    We are aiming for a higher calibre of player I know, but it has been extremely quiet.
    After Ivan’s speech, there will be a lot of unhappy Gooners if we don’t invest some of the surplus cash and compete.

  • WalterBroeckx

    Maybe we could put an article on line called the toxic waste dump. And then the moaners just go there and moan, moan, moan and …er moan some more.
    The Untolders who don’t like the moaning then know what article to avoid and the moaners know where they can write their moaning of the day. Which is the moaning of yesterday, yesterweek, yestermonth and yesteryear by the way.

    So the moaners can still come to Untold talk to each other and have no more need to use multiple mail addresses and different names to agree with themselves.

    On the other hand the Untolders must then promise not to go to that article and try to talk some sense. That would be wasting your time.

  • Ian Jenkinson

    Thanks guys, i hope you enjoyed reading through it, i love the match day experience.

    @ Armin

    I want to know what that wine tastes like when you open it this season!

    @ Brickfields

    Quality stuff as usual 🙂

    @ Walter

    I can’t believe you were at that game as well, i read your last article this morning and smiled because of the coincidence of that game in both of our pieces! Unusual that they came up one after the other. I had sent my article in before i had read your one.

    You see, great minds think alike 😉

    And i will confirm that because i had the exact same thought earlier about having am article where those of a negative persuasion could go and play instead of tumbling around in articles that have nothing to do with what they are arguing about.

    Thank you to all who commented on the article, i appreciate you taking the time to do so.

  • AL

    I absolutely wouldn’t touch anything associated with these moaners. You know, there are times when I visit UA and the minute I see certain names in the comments section I don’t hang around, as I know that trying to stick around and talk sense will be a waste of time. Which is sad really as this is about the only place I go to when I want to read about football.

    These people are really spoiling it for us, and yet they go to le grove too. Why don’t they just stay there, I don’t go there because I know I will not find anything I agree with there. Why do they come here? What’s the point? What kind of people are these? What are they after? I just don’t understand it. Granted there’s nothing wrong with visiting a blog/site that you may not necessarily agree with once in a while just to get a good balance, but some of these individuals are here almost permanently, whining all the time, how miserable is that. Are these the kind of people who enjoy pain? Will someone, anyone, please provide me with some answers….

  • AL,

    I have given up on them man. I think their mission is basically to get us frustrated and sad like them. The day that Arsenal starts giving me grief is the day that I just shut my pie hole rather than irritating others with my misery.

    Their new trick is to justify their moan by how much it cost them to support the team, you know, as ‘season ticket’ holders. Although, as I was able to prove yesterday, they only post the lies to make themselves feel important.

    Their lives must be really sad indeed.

  • Hi GoonerVance…

    …bye GoonerVance.

  • GoonerDave

    Ignoring those of different opinions is immature. Reasonable debate and different opinions should be encouraged.
    Calling those of a different mind set “moaners” is only driving a bigger wedge between the supporters.
    Criticise those who use insults to try to force their opinions on others.
    Its hardly a sin to wonder why we are sitting on a massive cash surplus, with a threadbare squad, yet we seem reluctant to strengthen!

  • WalterBroeckx

    as I have said before saying idiots, cunt, and other abusive names for players, managers or boards are not reasonable debate or opinions. That is pure abuse.

    We allow different opinions but those who just come here with name calling will face the anger of the regular readers.

  • Robl

    @ goonerdave, reasoned debate about the article concerned is fine, ignoring the article to push your own agenda is disrespectful to the author and narsasistic.

  • comment has nothing to do with the article and contains abuse and is deleted

  • GoonerDave

    I have no agenda to speak of. Had you or anyone else asked, I actually support the manager. I am only concerned that we are not using all the resources available. We have a massive cash surplus, a shallow pool of talent, yet just days left to strengthen.
    Questions should be asked at some point.
    The comments in the blog had moved to the CL draw, etc. Is every other poster who didn’t comment on the article narcissistic too?
    You are alienating yourselves from your own fans.

  • The font

    Ian great post you know what it’s all about I also travel abroad with the guns had many experiences
    The Germans are great (bayern) . Villarreal meeting up with ex pats in the small bar attached to the ground
    Copenhagen 1 great . copenhagen 2 enough said . Never travel to Italy again .
    I was in Brussels. When we lost 3-1 Can remember ray Kennedy. Scored
    Won the secound leg 3-0. Me brains gone but I think Jon Samuels got one I can remember being on the pitch at the end fairs cup then . I was in Paris when the spud scored from the half way line and of course I was in Paris for the jens Lehman final oops missed out the Brady rix penalty miss.
    These boys that are coming on here and being negative do not know what it means to support a club win or lose . Kiss the badge . They can kiss my ass

  • AL

    They’re pests for real. Very disrespectful too.

  • vacong

    bootomee and Al they are the zombie moan brigade trying to eat your brains lol

  • Nand

    You guys need to be balanced here. Some articles are so pro wenger it’s like get a room, then we have the other extreme of total chaos where people are abusive and not contributing an trying to be engaging in a debate. Isn’t there an way whereby one can comment on anything to do with Arsenal? Good examples are afc forum, team talk.

  • Pat

    Really like the article Ian.

    It is quite unexpected in a way. Normally you would think fans might be hostile to the opposition but even making them welcome in their own pub is really nice to read.

    The respect and fellow feeling for another football fan, even though he’s the opposition, really comes across in the article. Even getting you to sing Arsenal songs.

    It would be nice if football rivalry could always be like this, instead of being bitter. And I admit I can be bitter myself!

    But I have to say I never do stand up when the chant goes up, “Stand up if you hate Tottenham!” Even though I deeply want to beat them. But hate them? I couldn’t go that far.

    Probably some people will think this means I’m not a true Arsenal fan! And others will say it’s not serious anyway, just a kind of pantomime hate, like booing the villain. Fair enough.

  • Rufusstan

    Ian — reading a tale like this, it reminds me of a huge row I had on a US news/political site a few months ago.

    It was an article about the Millwall idiots at Wembley, and the comments had the usual knee jerk responses: cavemen, animals, and the predictable: ‘what do you expect, they are football fans’ along with the: ‘wouldn’t happen in a civilized country’.

    Predictably I bit, and eventually the more rational posters admitted that things have moved on, but the stereotype of the football thug could take decades to erase.

    The whole point of that ramble is that people are surprised by stories like yours, but we shouldn’t be, as it is just people acting, well like people.

    I can understand the wariness of going off with opposition fans and I would as well, but it is because we are ingrained to look for the worst case scenario when in reality, we all are all football fans, sharing a common passion, and the ritual of sharing a few beers and watching the game we all love.

    The more stories like this we hear the more it will hopefully break down the walls and stereotypes.

    My last real away game was nearly 20 years ago, and then it was because a couple of mates had snuck me into the home end at Upton Park. Even then it was no problem. Must of the guys around me knew what I was, but as long as I followed the rules, they just ignored me. In fact my mates were more worried about the stewards than the fans. (Believe me when Ian Wright put the second in I barely could control myself).

    The closest thing recently was the ’07 Carling cup final, 50,000+ Arsenal and Chelsea fans squeezed into Cardiff, many already pissed off by the time they got there (the journey that day is a story in itself), and the only violence that day was on the pitch.

  • Rufusstan

    By the way (bit off topic), when I was jousting with the guys from the US about thugs, I had a look at the situation over there, and was pretty shocked at how bad things are getting around the NFL — Highlighted by incidents like

    What was worse is reading about the number of parents starting to stop taking kids (and going) to games because of the atmosphere. It had shades of the 70s over here.

    Sadly when I started pointing this out, my posts ‘disappeared’.

  • OMGArsenal

    There seems to be a concerted effort by certain individuals to consciously and consistently divert comments from the topic posted to an endless denigration of the manager, the team, the Board and whatever other negativism they can excrete. Under the guise of freedom of speech, their entitlement as supposed ticket holders and their awesome burden to prove how bad Wenger is and how greedy the Board has become, they lament, like Wagnerian Valkyries, the demise of ¨their¨ Club at the hands of imagined incompetents and charlatans. Here is what is actually happening:

    1)Their incompetence is evident in the statements they vomit without ANY proof, facts or sustained rationality,
    2)They are the charlatans in this parody they play out for their own benefit….they really don’t care about being destructive and divisive…they want their 15 minutes of fame.
    3)Their tendency to constantly repeat the same anti-Arsenal mantra (as Walter pointed out)is exacerbated by their hyper-sensitivity to criticism of any sort, yet they criticize everyone else and refuse reasonable debate, forsaking collegiality and cordiality for their brand of pujrile and juvenile showmanship.

    Walter and Tony….for the sake of your thousands of fervent aficionados, please mute these pitiful specimens of pessimism and doom-saying asap!

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Just sharing this e-mail I received today .Sometimes things may not be what they seem .

    God is never wrong
    A king who did not believe in the goodness of God, had a slave who, in all circumstances, said: My king, do not be discouraged, because everything God does is perfect, no mistakes! One day they went hunting and along the way a wild animal attacked the king. His slave managed to kill the animal, but could not prevent his majesty losing a finger.

    Furious and without showing his gratitude for being saved, the nobleman said “Is God good? If He was good, I would not have been attacked and lost my finger.” The slave replied: “My king, despite all these things, I can only tell you that God is good, and he knows “why” of all these things. What God does is perfect. He is never wrong!” Outraged by the response, the king ordered the arrest of his slave.

    Later, he left for another hunt and was captured by savages who made human sacrifices. On the altar, ready to sacrifice the nobleman, the savages found that the victim was missing one of his fingers, so he was released. According to them, he was not complete to be offered to the gods.

    Upon his return to the palace, he authorized the release of his slave that he received very affectionately. “My dear, God was really good to me! I was almost killed by the wild men, but for lack of a single finger, I was let go! But I have a question: if God is so good, why did he allow me to put you in jail?”

    “My King, if I had gone with you in this hunt, I would have been sacrificed for you, because I have no missing finger, therefore, remember everything God does is perfect. He is never wrong.”

    Often we complain about life, and negative things that happen to us, forgetting that nothing is random and that everything has a purpose.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Brought a tear to me eye this did .My sentiments exactly .

    A woman was sipping on a glass of wine, while sitting on the patio with her husband and she said, “I love you so much, I don’t know how I could ever live without you.”

    Her husband asked, “Is that you or the wine talking?”

    She replied, “It’s me….. talking to the wine.”

  • Nand – start your own blog

  • melt

    Finally a nice article.An article which doesn’t talk about stupid things like AAA(whatever that is) or referee bias or a blind defense of Wenger.If you to want to sound positive this is the way to do it, not through childish outbursts against people who support the same club.

  • the man from row 15

    great travelogue Ian, I am very tempted to see an away CL fixture this season – maybe not Napoli (see Naples and die!) – football fans are (for the most part) just that: football fans. There are some thugs who are, yes, just thugs. A bit like the abusive visitors to this site, there are idiots in all walks of life

  • Rupert Cook

    What are we arguing about today?

    Same old, same old, it seems.

    @OMG, point 1 : fair assessment.

    Point 2 : subjective statement.

    Point 3 : Repetitive mantra, agree, though both parties in this boring argument are guilty of that. Also both parties are liable to resort to petty insults and refuse debate, examples of which from both sides of the argument litter this blog in the last few days, weeks even.

    People call each other liars yet they’ve no proof of this, childish insults are hurled and people even challenge each other to fights.

    There’s no respite from this except Brickfields amusing posts and the odd article like the one above which at least isn’t about transfers, refs or the infallibility of Wenger.

  • Matt

    @ Bootoomee

    You proved nothig of the sort only that you can shout loudest for longer.

    I offered you a ticket,you declined. You asked me send a ticket to Tony,i declined.

    If i send my ticket to Tony like you asked,what will you do in return?

  • andy bishop

    Thank god for Brickfields Gunners and balanced articles like this that show what international sport can do. Support different teams and have differing opinions on your own team. Why be so offensive and rude to those that do not completely agree with your opinion?. Completely agree with Melts sentiments.

  • Matt the dim-witted liar and fake season ticket holder 🙂

    Nothing you say on this forum will ever be taken seriously again. The fact that you’ll tell unnecessary lies to win online arguments in order to make yourself feel important shows how empty and sad your life is.


  • andy bishop

    Enough said!

  • Brickfields Gunners

    @ andy bishop – Thanks for reading my comments .If more people do ,maybe I’ll get paid .Or maybe I’ll write exclusively on football ( You’ve been warned !)and rid the place of vermin !

  • Matt

    Your a mouthy twat who sits on a keyboard mouthing off who has never been to see an Arsenal game in his life.

    I quote. “I am not travelling 6 hours and spending £35 to watch the NLD when i can watch on TV.I also fear for my own safety” Proves what you area non fan and a coward.

    End off.

  • Rupert Cook a.k.a. the fake only-adult-in-the-room who is just an AAA lacking in conviction,

    Your failure/refusal to call out an obvious scam for what it is and your defence of a liar shows you for who you truly are. You are either too stupid to see through Matt-the-dimwitted-liar’s ruse or you just wilfully want me to fall into his trap. Neither says anything good about you.

    You need to stop the silly and particularly selective lectures about decorum here. I am not ashamed to engage anyone head on based on what I believe. I’d rather be honest than polite. I know you are the opposite.

    You are not the resident ‘Headmaster’ here. Tony runs the blog and he decides what is acceptable and what is not. Maybe you should set up your own blog and gather like minded people to say the kind of things that don’t offend you. Leave us here to talk “about transfers, refs or the infallibility of Wenger.”

  • andy bishop

    Jesus Christ lads…football is the name of the game..more importantly Arsenal…now eat your snickers

  • Matt the dim-witted liar and fake season ticket holder,

    You can easily verify whether I’ve gone to see a match at the Emirates or not. Just click on my name and scroll down to “A Family Day Out at The Emirates”. You’ll see my picture with Edda taken inside the Emirates.

    I am not a season ticket holder but I go whenever I am able to get a ticket.

    Tony, a confirmed season ticket holder never uses that fact to beat any fan down or to claim superiority of support. Other noisy ST holders can learn from him.

    Arsenal FC brought a fan over from Vietnam who according to your moronic belief is not really a fan because he does not spend £xxxx on the team. They brought the “Running Man” over because of his passion and he was officially welcomed to the pitch during the Emirates cup.

    That is the club’s way of saying that they are not just after our money.

    Being a season ticket holder does not make your opinion on the club more valid than mine or that of some fans in Nairobi or Mumbai.

    Your case is worse because you have to lie about being a season ticket holder to feel important. Your life must really suck.

  • ande

    @nand … you wont get a decent reply from people like TOny/Walter, because they dont have one.
    Their sole aim in life is to see total divinity in all that wenger does. Quite sscary actually.

  • Matt

    Ok so yo have been to a game. I have a season ticket and we can both believe whatever we want.

    I am bored of this now so probably best we stay out of each other’s way from now on as it’s becoming rather childish now.

  • For once I agree with Matt – come on guys, step it down a notch.

  • Ian Jenkinson

    @ The font

    Brilliant! You’ve been there and done that, sounds like a lot of great adventures. That is what it is all about!

    @ Pat

    Exactly, it really was a very pleasant experience with the three Schalke fans. They looked after us very well. And even the other Schalke fans that we spoke to in the two pubs were warm to us. That is the way it should be. I believe wholeheartedly in deep football rivalry and the banter that goes with it, i love getting involved. But that’s where it should stop, we are all human and go home to our families when the football is over.

    @ Rufusstan

    Yep, we shouldn’t go to these games with a negative seed planted in our heads. Of course you must be careful (as you would if you were going on a family holiday etc) but we should be open minded about what to expect. Based on what i was told before i went to the Schalke game i could have told those three guys that we weren’t interested in going with them and then we wouldn’t have had the great experience that we did.

    @ melt, the man from row 15 and andy bishop

    Thank you…….

  • DogFace,

    Respect man.

    But don’t just go by his last line on this issue. He has always been offensive to other posters on the grounds that he is a ‘season ticket’ holder. He obviously isn’t. I have zero tolerance for liars. Especially those who use lies to denigrate others.

    I gave him prove of my Emirates attendance (which he doubted) while he failed to prove that he is indeed a season ticket holder, as he has always advertised and exploited in debates. He has no choice but to concede.

    I don’t intend to ever take anything he writes seriously again. But I will always call out him or anyone for that matter who tries to use the ‘status’ of being ST holders to muzzle or diminish the opinion of others on Untold Arsenal.

  • Rupert Cook

    @Bootoome, or maybe I actually believe what Matt says because I don’t mistrust everyone, even people on the internet, naive maybe but I like to think the best of fellow Arsenal fans, but it seems you never considered that which tells me plenty about you. You have no proof that’s Matt is lying as I have none to show otherwise. The fact that you have to insult people nearly every time someone disagrees with you doesn’t really help your “reasonable” image.

    Just because I happen to observe some decorum and respect for others and am polite doesn’t mean I’m not truthful. Or maybe you equate rudeness with truth, which is a sad state of affairs. And if I want to comment on what others say I will, if you don’t like it you can ignore it.

  • casillero en usa

    You can certainly see your enthusiasm in the paintings you write. The sector hopes for more passionate writers like you who are not afraid to say how they believe. Always follow your heart.