How do you drink your coffee? Black or with…

By Walter Broeckx

Yesterday there was a story doing the rounds about a practical joke that was perpetrated while Arsenal were travelling in the USA.

The story was that Flamini, Gibbs and Szczesny replaced the cup of coffee that Wenger was going to drink and put a cup of gravy in the place. The story that did the rounds was that Wenger was not amused by it and almost sent the 3 players back to London.

And it also was suddenly linked with a story about Wenger suddenly doubting Szczesny and thinking that he still wasn’t mature enough to be the Arsenal goalkeeper. And was it a coincidence but hours later the rumour mill about Casillas coming to Arsenal was put in gear again for the umpteenth time this summer.

Now before we start talking about players behaviour I must tell you that on his official facebook page our Polish goalkeeper send out this message:

Wojciech Szczesny
Swapping coffee for gravy sounds like decent banter but wouldn’t have the balls to do it to the boss. Story isn’t true… Unfortunately.

So there is no truth in it as Szczesny states. And in his typical Szczesny style he can see the funny side of the joke a bit. That will probably be his inner child speaking. As he is a guy that usually can see the funny side of things. I think he would be a great Brickfields character at Arsenal. But that role is probably reserved for Podolski.

What you can read between the lines is the big respect that he (and probably most players) have for Wenger. Swapping the coffee of another player with gravy might be considered. But not to the boss.

The most important message however is that how one person can start a rumour and then it gets spread around the internet and gets repeated and repeated and repeated and then repeated some more. And after let us say one hour of repeating it gets picked up by some serious media outlet (the word serious is used very loosely) and suddenly and before you know it, it becomes ‘fact’. Or FACT as some like to write when they talk about their opinion.

It is frightening to see how when I first heard about it, it seemed to be a real story. And I must admit that for a moment I worried about it. Our pre-season is already disrupted enough by the world cup and the fall out from it, so no need to get the team shaken up some more by a silly joke. A joke that you can expect from teenagers but not really from adults. Well I never was a real practical joker so I wouldn’t even think about such things.

But this is the world we live in today. One person thinks about something, writes it down, starts spreading it amongst friends, they start spreading it amongst their friends and before you know it, it goes around the world and people accept it as the truth as ‘it has been reported’.

Just as all the transfer talk ‘has been reported’ by someone. Probably the same person who came up with the coffee-gravy story. Someone good at inventing stories.

My first reassurance about the story not really being real was when I saw Wenger and Szczesny sitting next to each other at the press conference in New York. I did notice that Wenger didn’t drink coffee (aha) but they were sitting next to each other rather relaxed and I didn’t have the impression that Wenger was worried about his drinks that stood in front of him.

But I can imagine that Szczesny being away in New York didn’t know about the reports until very late and then felt the need to deny the story. If he had been in his natural environment he probably would have reacted quicker then he now could and did. Thus giving the story the time and opportunity to being spread more.

Now one can wonder who does such things? Who is the person finding it funny to invent stories like that? What is he getting out of it? Kicks? Clicks? As it goes with things like this just as with the transfer rumours it is hard to find out who came out with the story first. So the person who invented it will know that his story was suddenly main news and maybe will feel a bit important about it.

Or is it a bit more sinister? Is it not just the odd silly person sitting behind his computer who has no life himself and tries to make himself important. But is it a person that is having an agenda in setting up bad news about Arsenal and so trying to undermine the club and the players? Or is it the same person(s?) that invents the transfer rumours about Arsenal?

Anyway, I usually drink tea and not coffee. And I drink my tea in a glass cup. So the gravy trick wouldn’t work with me. Which reminds me that I am getting thirsty. Off to drink one in my glass cup. Cheers. And don’t let the rumours and invented stories ruin your day. Let us just rely on who we can really trust.


The books
The complete Arsenal Anniversary series is to be found on the Arsenal History Society site.

27 Replies to “How do you drink your coffee? Black or with…”

  1. maybe it was Chamberlain – have to call him Oxo cube from now on!!!!!!
    (Ha bloody Ha)

  2. Ok, it was me! You got me bang to rights this time guvnor, better turn meself in, blah, blah,long stretch, blah, blah, sloppin’ owt, blah, blah, gravy for coffee, blah, blah, no more transfers, blah, blah, blah…..

  3. it’s hardly an issue (true or false) though is it. I mean is news so scarce that a coffee/gravy tale becomes a leading news item. In answer to your question…yes who would be so pathetic as to invent such a meaningless unnewsworthy story.
    So it must be true!

  4. Good move by Szczesny to show the story to be devoid of truth.

    Was the author trying to show that three players were still very immature, or was he trying to show that AW did not have a sense of humour, or was it just a silly anti Arsenal story?

    Who knows – but it another example of the anti Arsenal rubbish that media/blogs spew out daily.

    I do think AW does have a good sense of humour – and he can be very witty at times – this is important – a sense of humour is a great asset for all of us – if we have one – and especially essential for someone in the upper reaches of management.

  5. Oh – in this hot weather – tea and cucumber sandwiches for an afternoon snack?

    For nicky – tea with biscuits and English cheddar?

  6. I too drink my tea in a glass cup,tastes much better.I have been trying to tell people for years,standard mugs make a terrible tasting tea,anyone who came to my house always said,dam,thats a nice cup of tea,because its in a glass cup i always tell them.

  7. @bjtgooner,
    In the midst of courting Mrs N in 1947, she let it be known that not only did she not drink tea, she was unable to bear the smell of a brew!
    Full of love and raging hormones at the time, I readily agreed to alter allegiance from tea to coffee.
    For the last 66 years therefore, only percolated coffee has been the accepted family beverage Chez N.
    And to date we have used no less than 2248 percolators. 😉

  8. From the Daily Telegraph we have these Henry links. I have not checked them so don’t know how well they work.
    Thierry Henry: 10 YouTube moments 1. Thierry Henry, Nike Joga Bonito Ad – “Play Beautiful”.
    Watch YouTube
    2. An assortment of Thierry’s skills, goals, and celebrations, put together from the beginning of his career at Monaco through to his Arsenal days.
    Watch YouTube
    3. Henry is unveiled at Barcelona.
    Watch YouTube
    4. Henry’s debut for Barcelona in pre-season friendly at Dundee Utd.
    Watch YouTube
    5. Thierry misses a penalty but makes the rebound count to score his first goal for Barca.
    Watch YouTube
    6. Henry’s first hat-trick for Barcelona in 4-1 win at La Liga rivals Levante.
    Watch YouTube
    7. Thierry Henry talks about his game, his style, and his music in another promo advert – this time for Reebok (his latest sponsor).
    Watch YouTube
    8. Henry condemns Brazil to a quarter-final exit with his winning goal for eventual finalists France, at the 2006 World Cup in Germany.
    Watch YouTube
    9. Henry proves he is a hit all over the world, this time on ‘Reckless Challenge’, the most popular comedy variety show in South Korea, which he guest starred on June 9, 2007.
    Watch YouTube
    10. Henry’s Arsenal farewell montage featuring his best goals and tricks at the club.
    Watch YouTube

  9. @nicky

    Well we have something in common. Mrs bjt also will not take tea, she used not to take coffee, but later started to enjoy a mild coffee, followed gradually by a richer brew – but she’s all heart – she will make a pot of tea from time to time!

    We would both share your enjoyment of percolated coffee – something which fewer and fewer people seem to spend the time and effort on.

  10. @bjtgooner,
    If only more folk would use percolated coffee.
    At 5 a.m. each morning, I stagger into the kitchen with eyes still closed and switch on the already prepared percolator.
    After mini ablutions the coffee is ready to pour.
    Imagine all the various stages to obtain a cup of instant coffee…..all with eyes shut. Frightening 🙂

  11. So some prefer coffee flavoured with mini ablutions 😉 perhaps gravy might be the safer option!!

  12. Off topic, but most UK papers reporting we are close to getting RB Callum Chambers from Southampton. Not sure how true this is, but if so, they aren’t going to have any players left!

  13. @Mandy

    Sky are also covering the Chambers story – seems a slightly strange one to me as we seem to be well covered re right backs – although Chambers can play CB or DM.

    At this stage it is all unconfirmed, but it will be interesting to see how it plays out.

  14. Sounds a versatile player bjt, cannot say I know much about him but a young utility player does not sound a bad thing. What is it with Southampton backs….think everyone out for the next version of the second best Welsh player!
    Wonder if there is anything in this one

  15. I don’t know about you guys but this transfer window has left me a bit .. I don’t know… feeling a bit strange. All of a sudden, we’re just buying players left and right in every position. Why is nothing coming through the youth team at all?

    I know that sounds strange – but I’d have love it to be just Sanchez and Ospina in – and we go with the same squad. Now even if we win the league next year, to me, it feels like we bought a lot and did it.

    It’ll still be awesome as it is a result of a lot of hard work over the years – but I don’t know, having watched Arsene work his magic with young kids all these years – it feels strange to see him buying a lot of ready made talent. Leaves me a little… shall I say wistfull for the old days.

    Does any one else feel that way?

  16. Bad news for Jenkinson.Chambers is regarded as the future RB of the England team so when you compare the fee to Luke Shaw…He was superb at St Marys against us last season while Luke Shaw struggled in the second half. Great homegrown signing.

  17. I think the transfer dealing this season is excellent. Three top performers for former clubs and in World Cup. The DM position is still secure with Arteta, Flamini, Coquelin and now, Wilshere. The case with Wilshere is similar with Pirlo. Not fast, not strong but sound technically. Can’t play in the wings, AM or CM. If Wilshere is serious about his profession, he will be successful in that DM position, just need a bit of understanding, practice and encouragement. Dennis Wise and Makelele was shorter but they were legendary DMs. Arsene already said a year ago that he prefer Wilshere to play in that deep playmaking position. He actually played him there in few games last season, though not brilliant, was competent enough for further improvement. His dribbling and passing skills added with his toughness and will to win should come handy. If every Tom, Dick and Harry nowadays talk like they invented football therefore a footballing brain, don’t you think a seasonal pro like Wilshere will have one too?

  18. Having chai in a glass is quite common in India. But then we get some of the best leaves.

  19. Walter , that , ” I think he( Szczesny ) would be a great Brickfields character at Arsenal. But that role is probably reserved for Podolski.” , brought tears to me eyes !
    It has always been a dream of mine to have my name chanted by the Arsenal crowd !

    And the Coffee , Tea or… misleading newspaper headlines was a real hoot ! Well done guys !
    As for me my breakfast would be a slice of wheat bread (or two), with butter , a slice of cheese and a boiled or fried egg, to be washed down with a mug of White coffee.
    This comes in 2in 1 ,or 3 in 1 packets and is quite famous here in Malaysia and a few places abroad .
    Try it if you get a chance .

  20. And talking about cheese and pizza and connoisseurs of the good stuff and how they are now being prepared , do have a look at this . It was sent to me as an e-mail today.
    What has it to do with football ? Well , as some your politicians and ‘experts’ are complain that the foreigners are despoiling the EPL , in other fields they are sought after.
    Just remember this when you enjoy ,play with ,hurl or pelt your food !

  21. @Arvind
    I am in agreement with you 100%. The feeling you get when one of the youth players comes through and makes the grade is second to none.

  22. In reality we need 8 back players in our squad
    Kibbs Monreal? Kos, Pers, Debuchy(anywhere across B4 +DFM), Chambers(RB or CH), Jenkinson(surely moving to CH),
    Assuming Verm is going that leaves at least one more position/possibly two – Bellerin and Miquel from the ranks (my question is whether it is a bit right sided?)
    But Mick, Arvind hold on
    Up front Zelalem,Campbell,Willock,Gnabry all strongly rumoured not forgetting where Wilshere came from.
    plenty of good youth and experience and a superb squad
    In fact I cannot ever remember being more optimistic about this
    Roll on Arsene

  23. Nick the Gooner
    You are right it is all about balance between homegrown and bought in however you cannot beat the buzz you feel when one of your own makes it to the top.

  24. BJT and NICKY I am calling you both to order ! ! !

    Percolated coffee !!!!! What’s next, a burger at McDonalds?!

    In an act of protest I’m off to make myself a shot of espresso (lavazza, the purple packets)…

Leave a Reply

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