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April 2021

The new contracts, Diaby, and why winning in the high road matters more

By Algi Fitzgibbon.  Head of Certain Things, Untold Arsenal.

As expected Aarson Ramsey’s contract extension has been announced, and he has signed a new deal along with  Santi Cazorla and Gedion Zelalem.

And Abou Diaby got in on the act saying that he could be playing again before the end of the season, adding in an interview in France, “I will take stock with Arsenal medical staff early in April, but I hope to resume collective training sessions very soon. My priorities [are] feeling fine and playing again before the end of the season.”I don’t think I will be scared to play. I trust my body. Nowadays I feel strong, but I know coming back to London I will also have some changes.  I am watching closely my diet and recovering periods.

“I work hard without asking questions. I work hard because I know in the end I will play again.  I am still a high level footballer in my mind, otherwise I would have given up, but I never think to give it up.  Some people experience much more difficult things in their lives. I know my reward will be to have fun playing again.”

I fear for the guy, but you can’t fault his attitude.
Meanwhile behind the turrets and ramparts at the Castle d’Untold we’re still chattering away about beating Tottenham three times in a season, which has been rather nice.  And not least we have been chattering about a rather bizarre comment made during the Sky commentary on the match in which it was said that the victory in the Arsenal/Tottenham games matters more at WHL than when the game is played at the Arsenal ground.
The explanation for this rather sweet notion was that it was because Tottenham was in north London first, and Arsenal previously played in Woolwich.
Leaving aside the fact that Arsenal never played in Woolwich but played in Plumstead (both the Invicta Ground and the Manor Ground were there on either side of the road) we’ve been debating what it is that makes the match played at 748 High Rd (they don’t actually play in White Hart Lane as you probably know) different from a match played at the Emirates.
Here’s what we found.
1.  The Mud
Areas of the Tiny Totts ground has mud rather than grass on the surface – especially near the edges of the pitch.  This doesn’t help the performance of the players, and really doesn’t enhance the image of the high road site.
2.  The sight lines
There are parts of the ground that have restricted views, and the ground, being (like Liverpool, Man U, Everton, WHU and other similar grounds, an adaptation from an old stadium with standing areas) is not focussed on giving people a quality view.  If you can’t always see what’s going on, perhaps it does matter more.
3.  The crowd size.
The high road ground is a rather small ground, and that does reduce the feel of the place somewhat especially with the unsmiling Mr Levy looking down, sitting there with the same gloom and doom in his eyes.
4.  There is a continuous worry about the crowd’s proximity to the pitch.
Tottenham actually made this part of their marketing patter when announcing the development of their new ground, although since all we have thus far is Sainsbury’s and the donation of public money, we don’t know if this will come to pass.  Certainly the regulations state that in new build stadiums the pitch has to be a specific distance from the nearest fan, which is the rule the Ems stadium obeyed, but Tottenham may have found a way around this.  What is a worry though was the amount of stuff thrown at the ambulance crews at the Ems when Tottenham visited, and the fact is that with closer proximity to the pitch that WHL has more coins to could hit their target.  This could again be a worry if the closer proximity issue is agreed with the planning authorities and for the sake of ambulance crews in the future one hopes not.
5.  The loss of the 1913 appeal.
When Arsenal announced its move to Highbury in 1913 Tottenham called for an EGM of all the league clubs to be held at which it wanted a vote on Arsenal’s move.   Only two clubs (Tottenham and Clapton) voted in favour of the EGM.  All the other clubs voted against even holding the EGM.  Tottenham felt isolated and alone, and that feeling of isolation has quite possibly continued to the present day.  (If you’ve ever walked the high road at night you’ll know what I mean).
6.  Great goals.
There was quite rightfully much celebration of the goal at the game on Sunday, and we must admit that WHL is home to great goals.  Who can forget Brady’s goal (that’s the one shown on the pre-match entertainment at the Ems) for example?  Maybe we do score better goals at WHL than elsewhere.
7.  Winning the league.
Winning the league in front of your own supporters is important, as Arsenal have found out twice – once in the first double season and once in the unbeaten season.  Both at WHL.  Yes, I suppose it is true, winning down the high street does matter.
I could write more, but I think it’s tea time.

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16 comments to The new contracts, Diaby, and why winning in the high road matters more

  • elkieno

    Haha well done, but I would still like to go to then Ems.
    Of course I would also love it if I could travel with the supporters to away games, that would be special indeed.

  • collins Elechi

    I cant wait to visit the emirates for de first time. Its a dream i cant wait to realise or to join our awesome away supporters sing my lungs out. A boy can dream.

  • Hankthehobo

    Spot on.. Very funny. Thanks

  • ClockEndRider

    Mr Fitzgibbon,
    Mr Norris would have been proud, sir. Well played.

  • WalterBroeckx

    Mr. Fitzgibbon, head of certain things 🙂 I think we should make him head of contracts at Arsenal 😉

    If there are football gods out there, let them have mercy on Diaby and let him play if possible. The lad deserves some good fortune after having been kicked out of the game on so many occasions in his career. Speaking about contact injuries…. and the bad effects on the long run…

  • John

    Remember also Ray Kennedy’s goal at WHL in 1971, Alan Sunderland’s 2 early goals in the 5-0 Liam Brady match, Ian Allison and David Rocastle in turning round the League Cup semi-final, Patrick Vieira in 2004 etc.etc.

  • Micheal Ram

    Im planning for worldwide travelling after Sept 2015. Will definitely make Emirates Stadium as part of the route.

  • Florian


    You’re in for a treat! Unlike the WHL, the pitch view from the Emirates is nothing short of spectacular. I was high up in the stands, and yet it felt like I was close to the players. I’m going to the Seattle Sounders games here where I am, and I’ve never had that impression even when my seat was lower, closer to the pitch. By all means, go!

  • Micheal Ram


    Thanks for the info. Really tempting. Cant wait. Been a dream of mine to watch Arsenal in game live since i was young. From website pictures, i can see its a magnificent stadium, one of the best in Europe. I’ve heard comments from certain managers and players, even the subs bench is so close to the fans. Hope they change the name to Arsene Wenger stadium by the time i get there.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Mr. Algi Fitzgibbon.
    Head of Certain Things, Untold Arsenal.
    Dear Sir ,

    Having perused your very fine article of your findings ,shortcomings and pitfalls of supporting ‘that lot’ from down the road , could I be bold as to suggest a recommendation of a pressing nature ?

    As you have pointed out in number 4., ” There is a continuous worry about the crowd’s proximity to the pitch.” , I do believe that there now exists an inherent element of danger to players by said proximity ,but not from the fans .
    Yes, the throwing of coins does constitute a danger ,but strangely this is only done at others’ grounds . Not sure why , maybe because its not kosher!David of Levy may know best !Anyway I’ve yet to hear of any of their groundsmen having retired rich after them slim pickings !
    Sorry , I digress ! And also ROTF and LMAO !
    What I wanted to bring out is that the danger is from the manager . Launching of balls like missiles at opponents can be injurious. Throwing of jackets ,like throwing temper tantrums can be ignored as sheer petulance ,but balls? We are talking nuts ! Nads !
    Recently there was an unprovoked incident when a Hull City Tiger was accosted and head butted by the NewtKastle manager , Alain Dupardeau ,who has had history of not being in full control of his mental faculties .I think the Geordies call then Toon loons !
    So can I suggest number 8 : That the managers should be at least 20 yards away from the player for safety reasons ;and 10 yards from each other (this is to prevent Moanin’ho from getting too touchy -feely .Not sure about you guys ,but for me its creepy !).
    Will be looking forward anxiously for your further action and reaction.

    Thank you .

    Yours sincerely and with warm regards ,

    Brickfields Gunners
    Head of Medical Division of UA .

  • Tim nice but dim

    blimey guvnor I’m in aright two and eight abhat Sundee and you ‘ave to rub it all in doncha? I reckon its a made up name Fitzgibowhatsist and you are really that bleedin’ Chesney geezer. I nearly bust a blood vessel when I ‘eard abht his antics – selfie in the stands, whatever next? Could’ve been a riot! (mind you were pretty good at riots round ‘ere…)

    Anyway don’t get too cocky Woolwich boys, the lillywhite will be back and we could see you cracking (or was that cracking up?) as the mighty spurz took you apart.
    see you next year!
    Tiny Tim
    p.s anyone seen my gilet?

  • nicky

    I keep thinking about Arsene’s quote that (ploys in football) should be done so well as to become an art form.
    Robben and diving come readily to mind.

  • dan

    Has anyone else noticed the request for calm and give the guy any chance (David Moyes), by most if not all media outlets?

    André Villas-Boas was branded the fish out of the water, especially by the talksport lot, seems to me the old xenophobia playing it’s part!

  • Brickfields Gunners

    @ Dan – Xenophobia ? Hydrophobia most likely !In truth he WAS like fish in the water – I never could understand a word he was saying !
    Calm ? I’m so frigging calm , just awaiting the “The shit just hit the fans ” ,” We aren’t number one ?” and “No Champions League ?” reactions .
    Calmly ,of course .
    ” All good things come to those who wait.”

  • Florian


    You’re welcome. The pictures really don’t tell the whole story. I checked them out myself when I purchased the ticket from the website, and none of the few areas available seemed fantastic. That impression changed the moment I sat down:) Don’t forget to take the Stadium Tour, it’s another treat.

  • Michael, is your World tour destined to east Africa! If yes never miss Uganda the pearl of African though some do think it’s still ruled by Amin.
    Try and I assure you u will never regret and you will meet possibly d best Arsenal fans on planet mars.