Football is not always about today (and why good things happen in threes).

By Walter Broeckx

The first thing I have to say is that I wrote this article two days before the match against Manchester City for the Community Shield. So as I write I don’t know the result.

If we won against City you will understand that I will be over the moon. If not… then you will understand why I will move on from any bad news, and indeed why we all should always move on from bad news into the positive.

Back to today – the day you are reading this.  August 11th.  An important day in my life. For many reasons.

Today is the anniversary of the day that, five years ago I woke up in a very good mood.  The sun was shining and I felt happy. Really happy. My wife was still asleep and as I didn’t have to go to work I went downstairs to let her sleep a bit longer, and went to the kitchen to start the coffee machine.

I then turned on the computer and went on the internet. My first destination in those days was to see if there was anything special. And then I opened Untold Arsenal. In those days that was my second destination on the internet. Since then things have changed and Untold is my first visited website.

As I sat down I almost fell on the ground when I opened Untold. Because there right in front of my eyes was not just the normal new article of the morning.  No, the amazing part of it was that it was my article. Tony had, during the week before, written an article about travelling to Arsenal and asked readers to send in stories about their trips. And so I had written an article about my trip from Belgium with the car breaking down. And to my big surprise Tony had published this article.

Even now when I read it again (and I do from time to time) I am amazed on how bad my English was in those days. That still might be the case but even I can see that it was based on an article in Dutch and badly translated. I think Tony had to work for several hours to make it understandable in English. Something he doesn’t have to do that much any more, he has told me. So I have learned a bit since then.

Going back to my mood at that moment I remember having just an enormous feeling of pride and disbelief. My article and my name on Untold Arsenal. A website I had fallen in love with since my first visit. It was already a fast growing website and in my eyes by far the best Arsenal website the world has ever seen. And my (MY!) article published on it.

What Tony didn’t know at the time was that on that same day I had another milestone in my life. Apart from having an article (first and only I thought at the time) published at Untold it also was the same day that I was celebrating my wedding anniversary. And not just a wedding anniversary. No, it was my 25th wedding anniversary. A silver wedding anniversary as it is called in my country.

So you can understand now why I was already in a good mood when I woke up and then found my article on Untold… It was one of the best days of my life.

Since then both Untold and I have changed. Tony asked me if I felt like writing more. I don’t know how he came to the conclusion that I ought to write more, but he must have felt that there was something of a writer in me. And if I have to admit something… becoming a writer was something that was one of my childhood dreams. After becoming a professional footballer – but that was quickly set aside.  So Tony asked me to write more. And so I did. And so Tony gave me the chance to become a writer. An amateur writer on blogs. But still writing things that are read by tens of thousands of people.

So today here I am. Celebrating 5 years at Untold Arsenal. Having written hundreds of articles (I really don’t know how many and can’t count them any more).

Something that I never had expected to do five years ago.

And so I am celebrating my 30th wedding anniversary today. Some regular readers will know that my wife has serious health problems. And five years ago things looked very grim. In those days I feared that we never would get to this date together. But we did. And this is a big joy for both of us.

We take it day by day, week by week, month by month and year by year. As I have learned not to look too far ahead. Better to enjoy the now rather than constantly anticipate the future.  Better just to celebrate now. Now when you get the chance. You never know when your time is up.

So here it is. 11 August 2014.  I’m celebrating five years at Untold Arsenal as a writer. Celebrating 30 years of having my dear wife on my side (and I can tell you that she really had to endure a lot from my football and most of all Arsenal passion – she really is a one out of a thousand).

As I said at the start, as I write this I don’t know what we have done in our match against City when typing this.   But in my mother tongue, as in English,  we always say that good things come in threes, so I hope that we have won and I can have a triple celebration. But if we would have lost then I still will feel happy today.

Today football will be a side show for me for once. And today I will just celebrate life. And the good things that have been coming my way in the last 5 years since I started writing for Untold. All the friendship I have got from you dear readers. The friendships in real life that I have discovered thanks to Untold Arsenal.

So it has been a nice five years all in all. I just want to thank Tony for giving me that chance five years ago and fulfil my childhood dream. And I want to thank everyone who reads Untold for having allowed me to do my thing all these years. And I thank my wife for having allowed me to do what I have done.

So whatever the result, football is not all about today. It might be part of my happy feelings. I hope so. But allow me to just be happy today and share it with you. You who have become friends during all those years at Untold.

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58 Replies to “Football is not always about today (and why good things happen in threes).”

  1. Mostly I do get to see Walter’s articles in advance – but usually only a few minutes before they are published.

    So I didn’t know until a few minutes ago that today was the anniversary of his first article.

    I’d like to say thank you to Walter, on behalf of all the readers of Untold, for the countless articles he has since written for us, and the vast level of insights he has given so many people, including myself, into the issues surrounding refereeing.

    It wouldn’t be half the site it has become without you Walter.

    We all owe you an enormous debt of gratitude.

  2. Happy anniversary, congratulations on the milestones, and hoorray to winning the Community Shield!

  3. Walter, many congratulations and enjoy your double anniversary, and still take with you the thanks of contributors from Untold who very much appreciate all your work and your never ending sense of humor – and in addition our very best wishes for improvement re your wife’s health.

  4. Happy anniversary Walter.. Thanks for writing so many articles and hope to see many more from you

  5. Walter,
    Many thanks for putting on the hours on Untold. This is by far the most insightful football website and a must read. Congrats also on your 30th wedding anniversaryMay you and your wife celebrate many, many more.

  6. Walter, I felicitate with you on both milestones and more importantly on the health of your wife. Here is wishing you many more decades of happiness together and hopefully by this time next year when you celebrate your 31st wedding anniversary, you do so with Arsenal having won both the EPL and the CL! Remember, you read it in Untold first!!!

  7. On another note, it is now almost 24 hours since Arsenal won a trophy.
    Club in crisis. Sack the board. Wenger out…..

  8. Nick article Walter, happy anniversary to you and your wife, I hope that you have at least another thirty years of each other’s company and … that she has to put up with your love for the Gunners. I’m also hoping good things come in threes and three squared and the to the power of – oh I don’t know but a big number for sure

  9. Congratulations Walter, and Untold!

    Walter, you have had long term misgivings about international games. I see in the news this morning, it has happened again. Vermaelen came back from the World Cup with a hamstring injury, and will not be training for a while. Hopefully Barcelona is well equipped to help him recover quickly and completely.

  10. Dear Walter, Happy 30th wedding anniversary and a big thanks to for the wonderful, intelligent, insightful & erudite work you (and all the other contributors on Untold) do. Much appreciated.

  11. Hear! Hear! Many congratulations on your 30th Anniversary Walter. And thank you for all your contributions to Untold Arsenal over the last 5 years. And you got your triple wish! The Arsenal lifted the Community Sheild! I envy your Goonership today :).

    I concur with your sentiment that we should focus more on the NOW. We can feel it, taste it and hear it. “Just now” has gone, we can’t change it, and later on, we won’t know what will happen. Enjoy the NOW, it’s here forever 😉

  12. Walter,

    Many congratulations to both you and your wife, may you enjoy many more years together and I look forward to many more pearls of wisdom from you through your articles.

    I remember my thrill at having my first article published on Untold, would never happened without you.

  13. Congratulations Walter on both your Anniversaries !
    May you enjoy many more in the years to come .
    Having come on to this blog around the same time as you I do remember your earlier posts and articles .
    Thank you and Tony for giving us AKBs a voice of reason in the Arsenal blog universe. A shinning beacon to all true believers .
    And thanks too for allowing me ample room to strangulate, sniff out and snuff off the AAAA with my own arsenal of humour , satire and bitch slapping !

  14. congratulation brother… wish you many more years. its a triple celebration cos Arsenal won.

  15. @Walter
    A happy anniversary to you and your wife. I hope you both have many, many more happy years together.

    Lastly, I enjoy your posts greatly.

  16. Happy wedding anniversary to you and Mrs. B! Also, thank you for all your contributions to Untold, I always look forward to the articles by you and Tony!

  17. Walter, happy anniversary to you and your wife! Having lived through some of my wife’s health troubles/scares, I can only imagine what life must have been / is like for you. Enjoy each day / month / year and may there be many more to come!

  18. For many years now, my Gran (who cleans at the Emirates) has always maintained that Belgium has produced absolutely nothing of importance except for its chocolate, chips and beer.
    NOW…we are suddenly told that Walter B is a national export and worthy of grovelling respect from all who read Untold. Unfortunately we are unaware in which order he is to be regarded (personally I think he stands between beer and chips and just before chocolate).
    In my house we often think of Mme B and hope that she is well and will respond to treatment, perhaps still to be developed.

  19. Walter,
    In congratulating you and Madame on your 30th (or Pearl) Anniversary, you may be wondering what sort of gift would be appropriate.
    What about buying her 500 oysters and a knife and suggesting that if she finds enough pearls, you will have them made into a necklace for her.

  20. Walter

    Congratulations on your wedding anniversary. May you have many, many more, and may your wife’s health improve.

    Your writing is wonderful.

    I found UA before you, which is just as well – otherwise I wouldn’t have seen your first article, and those in the early months after your welcome arrival. You introduced me to the idea that Arsenal actually had supporters overseas. Beautiful supporters. And some of these supporters (at that time) weren’t aware of the negativity meted out by English institutions.

    By introducing me to Arsenal Benelux and your work there, I could feel Arsenal love – whilst here – our players’ smashed up legs were being horribly justified to suit some horrible agenda.

    You “humanised” the site by writing articles which allowed us readers to experience emotion. (The accident in the tunnel, for example).
    It takes an excellent writer to write about a trip to see his club in a different land, and for me to never forget that – such is the joy I experienced from it. You’ve dispersed all the negativity that comes your way from the various naysayers – instead – producing timely and sometimes rousing articles following defeats or the loss of players. I don’t know your family, but I do, and this comes entirely without self indulgence.

    Thank you all you’ve written and done re: referees. There’d be little debate or chance of change without your massive contributions.

    Then there’s your humour… Brilliant!

    What a man. What a writer.

    Thanks for coming to Untold.

    Love to you and your family.

  21. “I don’t know your family, but I do, [and this] comes entirely without self indulgence.”

    Should read: and your writing comes without self indulgence.

  22. Off Topic: Referee Assignments are Out

    Sat 2014/08/16
    12:45 Man Utd v Swansea Mike Dean(Merseyside) S.Bennett(Staffordshire) D.England(S Yorkshire) M.Oliver(Northumberland)
    15:00 Leicester v Everton Mike Jones(Cheshire) A.Halliday(N Yorkshire) A.Holmes(W Yorkshire) D.Webb(UNKNOWN)
    15:00 QPR v Hull Craig Pawson(S Yorkshire) S.Long(Suffolk) D.Bryan(Lincolnshire) K.Friend(Leicestershire)
    15:00 Stoke v Aston Villa Anthony Taylor(Cheshire) J.Collin(Merseyside) S.Ledger(S Yorkshire) M.Haywood(UNKNOWN)
    15:00 West Brom v Sunderland Neil Swarbrick(Lancashire) A.Garratt(W Midlands) M.Perry(W Midlands) N.Miller(UNKNOWN)
    15:00 West Ham v Spurs Chris Foy(Merseyside) H.Lennard( E Sussex) M.McDonough(Tyne and Wear) K A.Woolmer(UNKNOWN)
    17:30 Arsenal v Crystal Palace Jonathan Moss(W Yorkshire) L.Betts(Norfolk) M.Scholes(Buckinghamshire) R.Madley(W Yorkshire)
    Sun 2014/08/17
    13:30 Liverpool v Southampton Mark Clattenburg(C Durham) S.Beck(Bedfordshire) G.Beswick(C Durham) K.Friend(Leicestershire)
    16:00 Newcastle v Man City Martin Atkinson(W Yorkshire) M.Mullarkey(Devon) S.Child(Kent) N.Swarbrick(Lancashire)
    Mon 2014/08/18
    20:00 Burnley v Chelsea Michael Oliver(Northumberland) S.Burt(Northamptonshire) D.Cann(Norfolk) M.Dean(Merseyside)

    Madley and Pawson were new last year. We have some UNKNOWNs: D.Webb, M.Haywood, N.Miller, K.A.Woolmer. UNKNOWN as compared to the Select Lists at Wikipedia.

    No guarantees I didn’t make a typo somewhere.

  23. Congratulations to you and your wife Walter. Carry on the good work, it is much enjoyed and appreciated.

  24. As today I dedicated almost completely on sharing it with my wife I only now find that Tony was good enough to post my feelings about this day.
    I feel very warm inside for all the nice messages you have written.
    I cannot thank you enough for this.

    But now back to my wife and the rest of our anniversary.

  25. And finally a little poem for my wife: (translated so maybe not 100% understandable)

    Like on that day in time, I still love you
    Perhaps more honest and more aware than then
    Because a day without you, is a day lost,
    with silent longing for
    Another day as then, when you said:
    You are my life, stand by my side.
    And what, come what may.
    I still love you more, as on that day.

  26. Happy anniversary Walter, on all accounts! Hope it’s not too late, I’m being here 8-9h late. Talk about overseas supporters. I’ll never forget the way you opened my eyes with your ref reviews – something that had yet to be replicated. Many thanks, and to many more articles on Untold!

  27. How I envy the longevity of your marriage Walter. Neither of mine lasted that long, but I fear the fault was probably all mine.

    My best wishes to you on this day.

  28. Congratulations! Things do happen in threes for our beloved club as well…this summer, FA Cup, World Cup and Community Shield!

  29. congrats walter on both milestones ad also 4 us winnin the shield, i pray ur wife health improve tremendously in Jesus name amen.

  30. Congrats Walter.
    Three good things to celebrate all at once.
    And many Internet friends to celebrate them with.
    Always a good idea to pause, however briefly, to smell the roses.

  31. Congratulations to you and your wife, Walter. And very best wishes to her.

    I found your poem moving.

    Many thanks for all your articles which especially helped to keep me going when Arsenal was under constant attack in the media.

    Now we can all enjoy the good times at Arsenal together!

  32. Happy (maybe belated) anniversary to your wife and you Walter.
    Hope you had lovely day.

  33. Andrew

    Are you doing referee pre-game articles this year? I hope my posting all of the assignments didn’t bother this. I am going to try and keep track of home/away data for referees, assistants and 4th officials this year.

  34. @ nicky – August 11, 2014 at 6:56 pm – when I saw your post on oysters , it reminded me of this often quoted tale , where , after eating 50 oysters on his honeymoon night , the groom was asked if they had ‘helped’ by the hotel manager the next morning .
    They groom appeared slightly disappointed ,and replied that 2 of them had not worked !

    And Nicky , when I saw you mentioned 500 oysters , my intuitive medical training mode kicked in , and I almost shouted ,” We have an emergency here , people ! Get an IV line going stat ! Oxygen mask stat ! Someone get a defibrillator ,now !”

  35. Despite being a gooner for over a decade, I have been acquainted with Untold only for the past 3 years. So you can imagine my surprise to learn that it was not always Walter and Tony!
    You guys form an absolutely amazing team- and as a result Untold represents everything what supporting a club truly means. The fact that you highlight Arsenal’s financial prudence, consistency and tradition truly sets you apart from the many glory hunters who keep calling for Wenger’s head. You will be happy to know that your website is one of the more popular Arsenal websites here in India. Keep the good work going guys!
    Moving to the other team that Walter is part of, may that 30 year old bond continue with loads of happiness and wonderful memories!

  36. congrats Walter. I liked that poem nd wishing your wife speedy recovery. I think the first article I read on untold was yours nd since then it has become my favourite nd I think only arsenal blog.

  37. Congratulations to you both on your anniversary. May you enjoy many many more.

    And thank you for your fantastic articles on the best website in existence.

  38. Congratulations and thank you.

    The time that you have taken to contribute to this site has been appreciated by many football fans, not just Arsenal fans.

  39. Belated: Congratulations Walter & Mrs Broeckx on your 30th Wedding Anniversary. May you celebrate many more years in joy, blessings and good health. I pray that coming days would see Madam’s health greatly improved in Jesus Name.

    Congrats on your 5th Anniversary of writing for UA. Like Tony alluded to, you make this site SPECIAL in your many distinctive ways. Keep up the good work and thank you for the sacrifices.

    And Congrats on the Community Shield winning.

    You are a prophet because that’s triple celebrations on your double anniversaries.

  40. Walter, I have just read your very moving article. I remember reading your first article and how moved I was too. I don’t visit this site as often as I did any more because of time premium, but as still try to read each article (often at the expense of my beautiful sleep). Many thanks for all your articles and insights.

    A belated congratulations on all counts. Like you, my 34th Wedding anniversary comes up August 25 and I am looking forward to it.

    I envy you in a way, you know. Before you, I had written a couple of articles for Untold Arsenal. I thought I was going to proceed to many more but my schedule changed. Now I always feel very happy to read your articles but most times often too late to comment. My special greetings to your wife. Congrats once again.

  41. Walter, I have just read your very moving article. I remember reading your first article and how moved I was too. I don’t visit this site as often as I did any more because of time premium, but as still try to read each article (often at the expense of my beautiful sleep). Many thanks for all your articles and insights.

    A belated congratulations on all counts. Like you, my 34th Wedding anniversary comes up August 25 and I am looking forward to it.

    I envy you in a way, you know. Before you, I had written a couple of articles for Untold Arsenal. I thought I was going to proceed to many more but my schedule changed. Now I always feel very happy to read your articles but most times often too late to comment. My special greetings to your wife. Congrats once again.

  42. LRV – you know you will always be welcome back here. When you wrote for Untold I really valued your contributions and was sorry you stopped.

    Sorry that your post was put into moderation – I think it happened because you have changed your email address or IP address. Shouldn’t happen any more. Come back soon.

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