Winning the FA cup from within the Emirates

By Walter Broeckx

When I started my trip to London and thinking about the match I hoped that we would trash Hull and score a few early goals  and then make it a walk in the park. After having been in Wembley for the semi final and feeling the tension from pitch side I could do with a nice and easy win.

BUT, but, but… this is Arsenal and well we never do things nice and easy. Bar the odd exception. But we always do it in a way that makes it more draining than is really needed for supporters. But in a way what happened to us makes it even more sweet. Winning coming back from a lost position is the sweetest win.

Like I tried to say in my live match report article our start was a real disaster. Sorry that the updates didn’t work after a while as I couldn’t get in the site when I was in the Emirates for a for me unknown reason.

I will try to leave Probert out of this article. I might analyse his match later on. But one thins is for sure. Our referee reviews were spot on, we know our refs better than they know themselves. Andrew his pre match article about Probert was once again spot on and predicting what would happen. Great work Andrew, you really know how to read numbers and see what I have seen in the reviews.

In front of us sat a father and his son. And when the national anthem was sung and everybody stood up we also stood up as it is required. Afterwards the father turned to us and thanked us for the respect we have shown to the English national anthem. Saying that they should stand up but we not really as it was not our anthem (he knew we were from Belgium by then) but come on I think anyone would do this. Certainly foreign Gooners in the Emirates. In supporting an English club we embrace a bit of England.  So we become a bit of Anglophiles.

When we were 0-2 down after hardly 10 minutes I must say that it was a full hit in the stomach. But then I remembered that Champions League night in Liège a few years ago. There we also were 2-0 down after a storming start of Standard Liège. But we fought back that day and….we won 3-2 in the end.

So I tried to hold on to that memory and believed we would come back in this. We did it in a very unfriendly environment that day so we should be able to do this again.

The Santi Cazorla free kick was a moment of magic. The magic we needed to perform a heroic come back. We were up against Hull, the PGMOL, the media. They all wanted us to fail. But the little Spaniard turned into a giant when he scored the equaliser. Our bus driver on the day has been to many matches all over Europe. And he remembered a match in Spain once where a little Spanish player named Santi Cazorla scored a same free kick against Real Madrid. So nothing new for him.

When Koscielny scored the equaliser the mood in the Emirates was on fire. We shouted, we sang, we did all we could to make the good vibes reach out to Wembley to help the players.

But it was nerve wracking of course. Cup finals always are nerve wracking affairs. The extra time was as the other 75 minutes before, one way football. Arsenal doing the attack and Hull hoping to hold on and maybe hope for penalties  and hope for a win. Giroud hitting the crossbar with the keeper beaten was a moment that some thought: oh no this surely is going to be one of those days.

I was sweating as if I was in a sauna all because I had carried my lucky cloths set on me the whole day. The lucky cloth combination started at Dortmund in November…. 3 layers of clothes! Suffering for the good cause. And on a day like this I couldn’t risk having to think: what if I had put on my lucky clothes?

And then suddenly Ramsey did what we expected he would do: score that f****** winning goal. Even though Arsenal had only made 25.000 tickets available for this screening I have never ever heard so much noise in the Emirates. After that goal celebration that seemed to last at least 5 minutes I couldn’t hear or understand another word spoken for another 5 minutes. Was it because of our position in the upper end but my God this was ruining my ears and I have already some kind of hearing disorder.

People hugging left, right, under, above. I even for a moment felt the urgency to kiss the father that sat in front of me on his rather bald head. But I could keep myself under control a bit by then. The little boy then started crossing his fingers for the rest of the match urging us to do the same. Just in case you know.

When the final whistle went we all went mad again. Hugging, jumping, embracing each others. Whipping a little tear from my eye.

Then came a lot of party poopers. The supporters in the lower tears ran on to the field in celebration. And understandably Arsenal didn’t like that.  So they threatened to close down the screens. And as that didn’t help, they closed them down. Off, off, off we shouted. But it took a dozen appeals and putting the police on the field to get them off.  It can be dangerous also because one fan fell in the middle of the field and had to be stretchered off in pain. But amazingly when he was wheeled off he did the Walcott signal 2-0. Hope is isn’t as bad injured as Theo.

Lucky they did it and so the screens were turned on again and we could see the images of the cup being presented to the captain. Another moment of great joy when we saw this happening.

We then went to our car that was parked close to the Tollington and the streets were filled with celebrating and singing people. We immediately drove to the shuttle train working our way past celebrating fans on Holloway road.

I can imagine that it has been a party in Islington last night.


56 Replies to “Winning the FA cup from within the Emirates”

  1. 7000 km away in Calgary, Canada we were jumping up and down, too. No moaning in our pub, even after we went down by 2. Some expletives, of course, but the singing restarting and went up a notch at around 17 minutes when Santi scored. Not quite Wembly or The Emirates but it was the best we could do.

  2. I can’t wait for your piece on Pobert. But it wasn’t only him, even his assistants. I missed Andrews predictions, please could you post the link. Thank you.

  3. You’re welcome. Of course, later today it may be further down than 6th, or pushed off the end of the stack entirely. 🙂

  4. Walter glad you are safely home after the travel problems. Also pleased you had an enjoyable day.

    The match was a bit stressful for a while – but as you indicated when our third goal went in it was a truly marvelous feeling.

    There were many parties last night, not just in Islington!!

  5. In some cultures, it is customary to kiss bald people on the top of the head; it is supposed to bring luck.

    So Probert’s excuse about 4 PKs or so is that “he swallowed his whistle”. Sounds as lame as the little boy who says that his “dog ate his homework”.

    The Arsenal: 3.
    Hull City + PGMOL’s Probert + AAA’s pundit: 2.
    Ignored PKs: 4.
    Ignored YCs to Hull City: 3.
    Ex-Sp*ds with Hull City: 2.


  6. Walter, I understand and share your sentiment about hoping for a stress-free comfortable win, but then deriving more pleasure from winning after being 0-2 down. The suffering we shared seemed to add to the happiness at the outcome.

    A few specific points on the match:-

    Probert performance needs no further comment from me.

    Steve Bruce becoming larger as the game went on – a clear case of inflation.

    Yaya Sanogo being denied his first goal, first by the brilliant reflex 2 handed save from the Hull central defender and then by the brilliant finger-tip save from the proper goalkeeper, resulting in …. a goal-kick to Hull.

    Fabianski suicidal rush from goal, which actually proved to be effective in preventing Hull from scoring and than his brilliant full-length reaction save in the last minute of extra time.

    Finally, the obvious delight of all the players, especially those on the bench who would have been disappointed not to play, notably Scz, Verm, Monreal and Flamini ; great evidence of team spirit and solidarity.

  7. bjt,
    How was the celebration, and do you have a hangover?
    I am looking at GoingGoingGooner’s post: he is in Alberta, Canada. Not too far from you.

  8. Walter….thank you for going there yesterday. You wont believe it but when we were 2-0 down and then 2-1 but couldn’t score… I kept thinking .. “But Walter has gone to the Emirates… so we will definitely win : ) : ) ” …. and so it happened. Thank You again for this piece and for going there yesterday.

  9. Despite my hangover, I woke up at 6 AM to watch the 160 minute parade / celebration and associated footage on Arsenal Player. Did Giroud fail to attend, or did I miss him?

  10. Never mind, he was there. He got interviewed on the bus by the folks at Player.

  11. Ray. England fits in Alberta 7 times. The part of Alberta I live in is most of what is known as the Peace Country (watershed of the Peace River). The Peace Country by itself, is the size of Germany. It’s about an 8 hour drive from where I live to Calgary.

    But, I have been known to go on long trips. I’ve never been to Virginia, but I did go to C-MU in Pittsburgh for my M.Eng.

  12. @Ray

    Strangely I did not have a hangover, despite imbibing some single malt Scotch – joined by a few friends & family. Didn’t sleep well – probably still too excited!

    Like you I watched the celebrations this morning – wonderful to see everyone so happy.

  13. Anyone seen the match on BT Sports? Pathetic and totally biased anti-Arsenal commentary including the increasingly obnoxious Michael Owen. When Giroud was grabbed by his neck / shoulder and brought down by the Hull player, they reasoned that it wasn’t easy for the referee to see if players grab a body part rather than the shirt. When Cazorla was brought down, the commentary team justified the Ref’s decision saying the Hull player got the ball first. However, the ball landed back on Cazorla’s path again before he was taken down by the Hull player. Again, when Cazorla was brought down by a push to his back just inside the penalty area, he was accused of play-acting with one commentatory saying “they go down too easily don’t they? Good the referee didn’t fall for it”. And when Arsenal equalised from the corner, the commentatory went livid and slated the referee saying that he shouldnt have given the corner! One commentator also alleged that there was a fault from some Arsenal player, which for the life of my I cant figure out! Pathetic!

  14. I should add, if anyone missed seeing the official celebrations, there is a lot of good stuff on the Arsenal FC site.

  15. Sagna according to Google translate:

    “He deserves it because he has always believed in us. He gave us a chance to everyone. All these years he has been heavily criticized and … (He pauses overcome by tears) We struggled for quite a few years. I’m happy for him and for the club. Because there are a lot of people behind him…
    …As of today, I do not know if it was my last game. There is a lot of emotion.”
    C’mon Bacs…

  16. Sam
    May 18, 2014 at 6:38 pm

    Yes I heard them on BT sport. They have an agenda denounce Arsenal and all associated with the club. I only used the down so I could have repeat of what I had just seen on the box. The download was 20 -30 seconds slower than the box and sometimes had a different camera angle.
    Saturday night’s BBC Radio 5 ‘606’ was just as bad with the former Welsh Arsenal player (the one that Arsene sold off to wetspam. I forget his name.) belittling Arsenal and in particular Arsene.

    When it comes to football the BBC has sunk as low as talksport and I would think it impossible to get lower than that.

  17. Watched the parade on Arsenal player with much joy.

    I don’t want to make any rumours, but did any of you see Steve Bould in the celebration last night or during the parade today? Why is he so low key?!

  18. From what I have seen and heard in print and on air, in the aftermath of our FA cup victory the media have already raised the bar higher for us next year, setting up Arsene and the club to be failures at the end of next season unless we win the P League or Champions League. Winning the Cup is clearly not sufficient to get these cretins off our backs, if only briefly, so anyone expecting some respite from the relentless persecution we have suffered in the past few years is clearly going to be disappointed. Monkey of our back? Not just yet I am afraid.

  19. The parade was excellent, so great to see the lads having such a fantastic time, and really enjoying it on the podium- everyone was so pleased,it was no ordinary celebration. Theres a great spirit in this side…really great.
    Jack was hilarious twice starting the chants of “what do we think of…”, I totally cracked up a laughing,good ol Jack!You can see what shy a bloke Özil is. Ive never seen Wenger so happy even showing he wants Sagna to stay in the sing along.Even Wengers most bizarre moment, shaking hands with the Gunnersaurus! For me it was the most satisfying of all the cup finals Ive seen, I suppose because for the whole 9 years crepe.
    Funny when post game the lads kept throwing Wenger in the air, and Poldi soaking Wenger in champagne! The lads really love him.
    And Wenger standing on his own by the d thanking the fans while the lads were being photographed.
    And all the subs running on and grabbing Wenger -he hugging them all.Best bonding since Henry scored against Leeds( for me at least).
    The horrible Villa game at the Emeroids now seems far away…
    Im so pleased for the club and all of us.
    COYG! Aha and Amen!

  20. Commenting on Fox was atrocious; Wynalda is risible.
    Luckily, you can have Arsenal Player on and mute the television.
    Too much bubbly last night; still watched the celebration on AP.
    As to the bar next year being raised by pundits and the PGMOL:
    We’ll put them to shame; the Boss showed all of us how to do it.
    “Patience et longueur de temps font plus que force ni que rage”

  21. Colario

    That Welsh dick head you mentioned I presume is Hartson.

    He’s the moron that laughed when Villa where getting away with “taking it in turns” to foul us in the Villa game.

    What the fuck have we done to deserve this shit.

  22. Glad to see that Arsenal have refused to match the likely grossly inflated offers in order to retain Sagna’s services.
    On the other hand I don’t blame Sagna for seeking one last big payday.

  23. Sagna has been a great servant of the club. I think he is leaving with dignity and class much like Toure and unlike Nasri et al.

  24. I am going to bring up that play at the end of the game when Mertesacker slipped, and Fabianski came out to challange.

    I don’t know where Fabianski falls on sprinting ability, and I don’t know when he last played in an outfield position. Do Arsenal goaltenders practice in outfield positions?

    Most of my football playing days, was spent playing right back, but I have played every position.

    Fabianski had no choice, when Mertesacker slipped he had to get there. Fabianski was not fast enough to get there first, or to get there to make a 50-50 challenge out of it. But to get there first or even 50-50, the play would have been to go in like a freight train at full speed and put that ball into the upper rows of Wembley. Fabianski should have been yelling at the two defenders running back to help, to tell them whether one of them should come to help him, or both go to cover the net (both went to cover the net). Maybe he yelled, I had the volume too low and I have no idea if any audio feed would let anyone hear.

    If Fabianski would have been skilled at playing defence, he should have stayed on his feet and just closed the player down. And if yelling, he should have been yelling for one of the defenders to come assist him. Because Fabianski decided to slide (and probably slide in such a way that he wouldn’t likely trip the player), I assume Fabianski does not rate his ability to play defender.

    I would like to suggest that Arsenal golatenders do spend some time learning how to play as a defence at practice. But Fabianski could have directed that player more to the flag, and if help arrived, that player may not have been able to get a shot off.

  25. I have never paid attention to how Steve Bruce manages. So, perhaps this is out to lunch.

    Hull will be playing in Europa league next season. Arsenal will have a bunch of players who have been out on season long loans back (some of these players have been on loan a long time). I seen a headline today, saying that Hughes (another ManU ex player) wants Joel Campbell, who played some Champion’s League for Olympiacos this last season? An article which just came up, suggests Hull doesn’t have much resources to field a competitive Europa league campain. Perhaps Arsenal should entertain the idea of loaning more than one player to Hull, with the idea of strengthening their Europa (and domestic) squad?

  26. Gord,

    Wenger does make the keepers play outfield positions from time to time to work on their passing and defending skills. I agree with you. Fabianski had a number of options including staying in the net and yelling at defenders. This may have been a worse choice, though. It was a 3 on 3 (counting Fabianski) and had he not charged out, the Hull player would have turned in and been able to create passing angles to his teammates. As it turns out Fabianski’s kamikaze charge forced the player wide and his shot was across the face of the goal.

  27. Gord,

    It is doubtful that Arsenal would loan a player to Hull. AW tries to ensure that loan teams play football that resembles the football that Arsenal plays. I am not sure that Hull qualifies.

  28. GoingGoingGooner

    I didn’t think Fabianski was left with any choice of staying in net. But, he came close to getting there soon enough, it didn’t look like he hesitated long.

    It is good to hear Wenger has the goaltender’s playing outfield positions, a useful skill. As is getting defenders to play goal.

    The only unusual talent that sticks in my head about Steve Bruce from his playing days, is that he took penalties. It doesn’t surprise me that his style is not commensurate with Wenger’s. But, Arsenal’s style is more continental European, and might be something Hull could use. But who takes in players on loan, to only play Europa League? What would a coach or manager do with them in practice? Fill water bottles? 🙂

    Some of those loan players have been out a long time, I hope some of them get work permits this summer.

    I don’t suppose you know the German club in Calgary that is next to the river? I was only there once, playing in an old timer’s tournament (I was with 1st D.F.C. Victoria from Edmonton). They had some very strong beers that were fermented 4 times.

  29. The last scan I did of recent Arsenal headlines at Google News, Huffington Post had found some “Arsenal fan” who knew more than Wenger, and had listed all the errors Wenger has been making. Probably never run a team in his life.

    I hadn’t seen any of the Cup celebrations at Wembley on TV (Mom likes watching golf, and I had work to do). But it was unusual to see him soaked in champagne and being thrown around (so to speak).

    I think Podolski likes it here. Who else hides the FA Cup during a parade?

  30. @Gord,

    Yes, I do know the club (in Bowness) as I took German lessons there before moving to Germany in 2000. Watched Rosicky and Lehmann play when I lived in Germany before they moved to Arsenal.

    As for German beer…Mmmmm. SchwarzBier, HefeWeizen and Diebels are my favourites. I shall be imbibing freely this summer when I am on holidays. Will get over to London to visit family and tour the Emirates. I have only ever seen matches at Highbury.

  31. @GoingGoingGooner

    Is it the German Canadian Cultural Centre? It’s been 20 years since I was there.

    My favorite German beer is Aventinus, from Schneider and Sons.

    But I don’t think I’ve ever had a German beer I didn’t like.

    Maybe you can catch some Emirates Cup games?

  32. @Gord,

    Yep..German Canadian Cultural Centre although they may have moved since.
    Won’t be able to catch Emirates Cup games as they announced the schedule too late. We had to arrange our itinerary with friends who had holidays, too.

  33. I think I have never tried Aventinus. It would seem to be a Bavarian beer and I lived in NordRhein Westfalen. My football club FV Endenich 08 did get over to Munich for Oktoberfest but we weren’t in their tent and to be brutally honest I wasn’t exactly sober enough for the entire 4 days we were there to really know what I was drinking.

  34. Wenger loaned Steve Bruce Bendtner,Larsson and Fabrice Muamba when he was manager of Birmingham so he must rate him.TBH I think that getting regular game time is more important for these players at this stage in their development than the style of play, and as Hull are in Europe there would be plenty of opportunites for them. There is nothing worse than seeing an Arsenal loanee stuck on the bench all season ;they might as well stay here.

  35. GoingGoingGooner

    I haven’t drunk any German beer for over 20 years now, but when I did, I loved them. I was quite young back then and it was the first time I strayed from my usual diet of lager lager lager !

    I lived and worked in Tenerife for a couple of years in the early Ninties. The best bar/restaurant by far was a small German one called ‘Berlin’. The steaks where unbelievable.

    Regarding the beer, I cant remember any names but Ralph, the owner, basically just called them the ‘Light’ and ‘Dark’ beers. They where bottled, strong and very nice.

    We also had many a good night sampling all his ‘Schnapps’ from the top shelf. I cant say I liked all of them by any means. One in particular was like drinking treacle, some where like medicine, others fruit punch. Whatever, it was always great fun and I always ended up staggering out.

    Great memories.

  36. Missing persons alert…..ex Arsenal and West Ham player, wannabe coach with experience at Southend, last seen after defeat at Goodison.
    If anyone knows the whereabouts of Stewart Robson, please leave him under the stone beneath which he has crawled.

  37. @Jambug,
    You stirred my memory of the Merrie England pub in Puerto de la Cruz in North Tenerife. On my first visit many decades ago, I was unaware of the Canaries’ aversion to optics and after 3 tumblers of neat Scotch, (I thought they’d kindly put in water for me) I was attacked on the way home by a series of lamp posts, keen to reclaim Gibraltar.

  38. Mandy, he is still under the same rock (TalkSHITE). Just seen an article saying get rid of Wenger, bring in Conte.

    Only TalkSHITE has this article (I can imagine why).

  39. Tony

    When I posted the 3:55 pm comment, the response page I got back was a 404, nominally the same as using the search function for a term not indexed. I waited a few minutes, and pressed resend, and received a message about duplicate comment detected. Whether that is useful or not, I don’t know.

  40. Any golfers?

    GolfMagic is raffling off a bag and peripherals modelled on Arsenal. You do need to know who scored the winning goal.

    > with a new Arsenal-branded golf bag, head covers, ball markers, towel and umbrella

    Draw is June 9. Sorry, you’ll have to find the URL the hard way.

  41. @ nicky.

    I heard about those pesky Northern lamp posts, that’s why I stayed in the South 🙂

    Who needs optics, three ice cubes high was the measure. Approximately a treble, and apart from the really crap bars, contrary to popular belief hardly ever watered down. No need back then as the alcohol was so cheap. %-)

  42. The Wales-England U21 game is in the first half, England opened the scoring, it is now tied 1-1. Jenkinson is playing.

  43. Steve Bruce did very well with Hull City this season. Even Arsene Wenger credited that when no one did. His unbias nature was full fold when he even rated Tony Pulis. A humble man with unparalleled class. Why cant the media and other managers be like that? Shame on them to discriminated Wenger like this. I never slept so well as I did on that night. Screw the world, f*** the moaners, Arsene, do what you want, I believe in you.

  44. @Jambug,
    Booze is still cheap in Gibraltar.
    £6.50 a litre no less, for Grouse
    No wonder the Spanish want the Rock!

  45. I hadn’t seen anything on next year’s Champion’s League, but apparently most of the positions are known. NBC Sports (surprisingly) was the first to publish something, which I have seen.

    Arsenal has to qualify for Pot 1, but here is the Pot 1 contents (at the moment):

    Real Madrid
    FC Barcelona
    Bayern Munich
    Atletico Madrid
    *FC Porto

    Which means we play Porto to qualify?


  46. In the news, was a blog posting about Sunderland being the most fouled team in the EPL. The source of that data, was a different (to the above posting) article at NBC Sports. Following that link, NBC Sports summarised a bunch of things. But, the important thing at the end, is that the source for all of this is Opta. And Opta is the company that was providing the game specific text commentary for the BBC, that never notices anything flaky about officiating. How can you declare a team to be most (or least) fouled, if you haven’t a clue what a foul is?

  47. After a few days of squashing bugs, some more numbers (or trivia).

    For the existing crop of Select Referees, the bounding box of latitude,longitude is:

    – 55.082
    -3.039 – -1.3572
    – 51.33

    The distance across that bounding box (diagonal) is 437.3 km. (I had noticed earlier, that if a person looks at all the Select Referees, current and past, the distribution seemed to cover most of England and Wales.

    The maximum distance is 418km, and the minimum is 0.4km. There are a few distances significantly less than 100km (8, 16, …).

    But, in hiring referees across a population of 60 million or so in the size of England+Wales, how do you end up with 2 referees living 400m apart? Note: they aren’t actually living that close together, it is something like the town halls of the two jurisdictions in question are that close together. But even having 8 km or 16 km is awfully close.

  48. The median location for the Select Referee point set is: 53.427, -2.111. Which I believe is in Macclesfield. On the Macclesfield Golf Course.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *