Emotions, going from hell (frozen AHA) to heaven

By Walter Broeckx

I think I might have mentioned it before that being drawn in the same group with a team from Belgium was a dream scenario for the Arsenal Belgium supporters club of which I am chairman.

But then came the nightmare scenario of Arsenal getting only a small allocation of tickets. And we as local supporters club getting nothing. But after the first disappointment we decided that if Brussels didn’t want us over there we would go to the most important city of Belgium: Antwerp. Ok maybe I say this as I am from the Antwerp region with a little bit of misplaced pride but Antwerp is the economic engine of Belgium. If you like it or not. FACT.

So we decided to meet in Kelly’s Irish pub in Antwerp. Near to the Central station of Antwerp. Our railroad cathedral as the chauvinistic Antwerp people call it. I think we will have been with some 30-40 Arsenal supporters who were watching the match on the big screen. On a smaller screen we could see Liverpool being taken apart by Real Madrid.  But all eyes were firmly fixed on the big screen.

Now many of our members do have their own local team and they all have one thing in common in this: they rarely ever win a match at Anderlecht. So the hope was high to have a win now with the team that bonds us together. Fans of the Kakkers (the shitters – I kid you not), the Kustboys, the Smurfs (I kid you not), de Kerels, de Leeuwen (Lions), The Buffalo’s, Blauw-Zwart,  most have their own team and can be rivals at one point in the season but we all gather under the Cannon.

So we are used to losing to Anderlecht in a way. It is the natural way of things in Belgian football. But surely Arsenal would teach them a lesson…. that was what we all hoped for. Prayed for.

The pre-match atmosphere in the pub was one of confidence. Despite being used to ending empty handed against Anderlecht we would do it. Losing to Anderlecht was the worst case scenario.  A scenario we wouldn’t even consider. One of our members Tom  said jokingly that Anderlecht would get in front first and that we would score the winner in extra time.  We nervously laughed that option away. I now remember I should have asked him the lottery numbers…

At first I must say that contrary to my thinking in my pre match article Anderlecht had a very defensive starting line up. I remember the days when Anderlecht used to just play their own attacking game at home and by doing this they have managed to get the scalps of any other top club in Europe including the likes of Real Madrid and others. But those days are gone I think.

They played a big part with all their players well in their own half trying to hit us on the counter. And we played too slow. Way too slow. We allowed them to grow in to the match. Almost no chances for either team in the first half. A completely missed shot from Cazorla early on and a few good attempts from Alexis to open things up but a few of our players clearly not having their best day.  A poor first half from both teams and any neutral football fans will have turned to the Liverpool-Real Madrid match I think.

The second half was a more of the same. Still Arsenal playing with not enough pace. And on the few occasions when we did open things up Santi Cazorla couldn’t get past Proto and a back header of Alexis fell right against the hands of the Anderlecht keeper.

You felt we needed to be careful to not get caught out. And we weren’t careful enough. Our central defenders had to cover to the left hand side and the cross that came in was headed in the goal. Martinez taken on the wrong foot couldn’t stop the header. We then had to start taking risks and go for it.

To be honest we didn’t do that very well (the going for it I mean) for a long time. Anderlecht was in dreamland and their players raised their game and came close to scoring a second goal. A good stop from Martinez, a lucky stop when a ball hit the crossbar, … Our hearts sank in our shoes as we say in Dutch.  Many of us feared the worse. Being haunted by the many Anderlecht supporters the next day was what many of us were fearing.

Losing to Anderlecht would have been my personal low point as an Arsenal supporter.  You can compare this with the feeling a London born Arsenal supporter gets when you lose to the lot down the road.  That surely is the worst loss of them all isn’t it? Well that is how we felt from minute 72. The nightmare with getting no tickets became an even worse nightmare.  Arsenal losing to Anderlecht? Never!

And then suddenly the football gods woke up. Maybe they remembered it was Arsène Wenger his birthday? I don’t know what happened really. Ok, I do as I could see it with my own eyes. A Chambers cross going over the defenders and the onrushing Kieran Gibbs (eternally grateful for this) had a perfect volley shot that went in. Scenes in Antwerp…

kelly 1

There was joy but more a feeling of relief. Ok, we didn’t win but we didn’t lose either. Still an embarrassing result and would get a few laughs upon us but well one point is better than losing to Anderlecht. Anything is better than losing to Anderlecht.

When the match restarted we also found new energy levels just as the players. You felt that we would still be able to turn this around in an unseen manner. This was like the CL final Bayern Munich-MU. Not playing well at all but saving the match in 2-3 crazy minutes.

Suddenly our players did what they could and should have been doing earlier: bypassing the Anderlecht players themselves. And when a Gibbs cross came to Alexis he had a low hard cross from the right. The defender blocked the shot and the ball fell kindly for the feet of Podolski. And one touch and then you knew that there was only going to be one place where the ball would end up: in the net.  He banged it in with a cannonball as only he can do it. Proto hardly knew what missile flew past him.

Lukas Podolski, the match winner. The player that saved the Belgian Gooners blushes. I think Arsenal Belgium will probably erect a statue of him somewhere together with one of Gibbs. Eternal gratitude from our part for those two players who turned what looked to become a miserable evening and a miserable day today in to one of: Yeah, we weren’t great but to be honest we couldn’t care one bit at the final whistle and we dominated proceedings at Kelly’s Pub after the final whistle….

kelly final whistle

It wasn’t pretty but we have to give our players one thing. We are out of form, we didn’t play that well but at least they fought till the end. And that was what saved us. And that is all we can ask for at the moment. When you don’t play well you just have to keep trying. And in the end it worked out for us.

Thank god it did. I didn’t want to go to work today if we had lost this match. This was our NLD match. And then it doesn’t matter how you win. You just win it. And to Tom who made that prediction before the match… he was spot on. He should have gambled on that, could have made him some money.

The home page of Untold


62 Replies to “Emotions, going from hell (frozen AHA) to heaven”

  1. Walter,
    There is already a statue of Podolski in Belgium.
    It shows him as a toddler taking a piss in a fountain.
    Yes! The Manneken Pis is based on a three year-old Poldi!

  2. LOL Ray it sure is a very Podolski thing to do. He took the piss in extra time 🙂 Aha! Always had a soft spot for Podolski and would love to see him playing more. But then again who am I to say who should play when and where. 😉

    It was a nice day out in Antwerp surrounded with many Arsenal friends. It kept us sane during that 10 minutes spell after Anderlecht scored their first goal because of being together. And it made the joy at the end even better as we could share the joy. Lots of hugs at the end.

  3. Great report, great pictures! Just adds to the delirious joy! ‘Podolski banged it in with a cannonball’ – yes he did!

  4. A great report and photos.We were poor,but as all the pundits say”it is the result that matters” except in Arsenals case.I thought the Sky commentary was TOTALLY UNACCEPTABLE.An English TV station wanted us to loose.It is beyond believe! Any other English team, they would have been behind them.I saw the pundits talking about Liverpool last night, no real criticism of them.On the previous report someone has posted a photo of our bench when the 2nd goal went in.Well worth a look.Priceless.

  5. Being happy with the win doesn’t mean we can’t analyse our performance and it was worryingly bad against a team who really aren’t that good at all.

  6. the worry for me was how much the goal took out of us. Like the game against Hull, we didn’t come firing out of the blocks to put pressure on them. Instead we practically crumbled and were lucky not to be further behind. There was the chance I mentioned when Monreal stumbled and Suarez went through, but a combination of a poor touch and Martinez coming out to make a save stopped him.But when they hit the bar I felt genuinely worried that certain players had just given up or switched off. Watching Jack Wilshere just standing still in our box as the bloke who hit the bar ran past him, that’s just not good enough. I like Jack Wilshere but if there was something to do that was the wrong thing to do last night, he did it. Overrunning the ball, dribbling into crowds, looking for the most difficult pass when there was an easier option, you name it. To just stand there as they almost score again, well somebody needs to have a word.

  7. Oi Barnyard

    You are such a hypocrite.

    Hoping the opposition scores four against your own team shows what kind of “supporter” you are. Your gripe is certainly with Wenger otherwise you would have gone and supported some other team.

    Your two faced comment above expose your insincerity. Constructed criticism is one thing, but continuous criticism without even trying to analyse the situation both on and off the field is disingenuous to say the least.

    Sorry for feeding the trolls.

  8. I don’t think the commentators wanted us to lose at all. What are you talking about? We didn’t play well, far too slow with that tedious ponderous football we’ve been prone to for some years now. Fortunately Anderlecht were more concerned about keeping a clean sheet. We can’t afford to play like that against better sides. Once Anderlecht had scored we didn’t really react and our response seemed to inspire them and if they’d had a better striker they might have scored two more. Then suddenly we woke up and in the final five minutes we were electric. It was like watching the old Arsenal of ten years ago. All credit to the team for never giving up and Wenger making a great substitution. And once again Sanchez looked in a different class. The sort of player who can turn a game and we’ve needed one of those since RVP left. What a talent.

  9. it’s very difficult to be anything other than really worried about how poorly we played, what a mess we are at the back, how the manager didn’t see fit to change things before he did, and the fact that a team as poor as Anderlecht gave us so much trouble. If we play like that against anyone half-decent we are going to get a spanking.Questions about the system and formation remain – we just don’t look comfortable at all and we’re not getting anything close to what we should be getting from a group of players who have far more potential than we’re seeing right now. I think we’ve got to seriously think about whether Ramsey and Wilshere can play in the same team at the same time, and the manager just doesn’t seem to be able to find the right balance with the players he has available to him.I also think that the team’s struggles this season have been such that very few have played well or shown any kind of consistency and we have to ask why that is. Is it simply that we’ve been unlucky to have so many players suffer a slump in form? Or is it because the formation or the way they’re being asked to play is the root cause? There’s always the need for a scapegoat, and we saw that earlier in the season with Mesut Ozil, but the problems lie much, much deeper than that, in my opinion. There’s a fundamental problem with the set-up, it’s not getting the best out of anybody and until that changes the struggles will continue.

  10. Before anyone gets a boner, the above are excerpts from arse blog. I think you can’t argue with any of it. You can’t have plain bias.

  11. Walter, a very nice write up and I agree with your take on the match.

    The onslaught on this site from the depressive animal is more than tiresome; with repetitive half truths that would suggest that he is an unwanted refugee from Le Groan.

  12. Walter thanks for the very emotional, honest and well written report.

    I find that your reports and analysis of matches are very balanced AND written from a professional point of view. We didn’t play well – and you wrote it. The reason was that we played too slow – and you wrote that too. So thank you for that.

    There is something that for me is quite visible regarding Arsenal this year. Of course I’m not a manager and never played professional football, but it looks like we are getting something wrong lately.

    At first I thought that it has to do with Ozil’s deployment in the wing but since this has continued even after his injury, I’m coming back to something else I wrote some time ago, and that is Jack’s part in our game.

    Jack is one of my favorite players. And the reason is that he amazing attitude. Never-say-die, I’m-not-afraid-of-you (even if I’m 5’6″ and you are 6’4″) attitude. He is like an Amstaff: combative, tenacious, never-gives-up.

    However, since our latest injuries to Giroud, the absence of Theo and the preference to play with Rambo and/or Cazorla and/or Ozil (when available) something strange happens – and from what I see it has a lot to do with the price we pay for Jack’s attitude: stubborness. I could not count one pass he made sideways. I could not count more than 5 one-touch-passes he made. His movement pattern is tracking back, getting the ball from Flamini or the defense, taking a few touches, dribbling forward, usually taking on sucessfully an opposition player or two, and then losing the ball after being sandwiched between 3 players.

    This pattern negates Ramsey, whose movement and play is similar, altough more diverse and reactive. Ramsey is also a dribbler, and also likes going forward, but his movement and passing is more varied: he would wait for an opposition player to make a move, and then will move into the avialable space. But Jack’s usual “corrior” means that Ramsey loses a lot of the space he usually operates in. It also means that Cazorla and Sanches need to get into central positions to get the ball (since no one is distruting the ball to the wings).

    It makes Arsenal very easy to defend against: everything goes through the middle.

    I am sure Arsene has observed this and will make some adjustments, as in my opinion, despite the injuries, our problems are not “a defensive midfielder” – but the way we play.

  13. Nice , Walter always glad to see TRUE Arsenal fans celebrating a win as they should .Their happiness is so infective . Keep the faith ,guys !
    Not alike those who come on here to dampen our joy !
    Cluck , cluck !

  14. Really have to agree with Paul ‘The Gooner’ – the commentary last night was shameful. I am sick of English and so-called ex players never having a positive word to say, or for that matter even wanting the British team to win! YES, we played poorly. No real cutting edge until last 5 minutes. YES, we need to play Poldi more – he’s a proven goalscorer, but FFS – get behind us and stop whining! I have lost count of how many times Manure played shit and somehow won. The difference is that they never look negatively on others – they only see a gritty win. United ‘stole’ the UCL once with a crap display and two late goals!

  15. I have no qualms with us winning and celebrated like any other gooner but my concern is the performance.
    Don’t act so blind to the hideous way we have been playing.

  16. @Paul
    I was not able to see the Arsenal game live as I very much lost the battle of the TV last night (only two pubs near me and both showed the ‘pool and apparently wouldn’t change!) due to a bet placed at the weekend so was forced to watch Liverpool vs Real Madrid…
    Trust me the assembled masses of Liverpool pundits and Mr Neville in commentary were very scathing of the poor defending on a number of occassions and in particular Balotelli’s lack of contribution. Carragher’s comments were particularly amusing.
    Words to the effect of:
    “If Prandelli, Mourinho and Mancini could tame Balotelli then why does Rodgers think he can do it. I’d be surprised if he was there next season”
    We dodged a bullet was the general consensus around our mixed fan house. Welbeck is looking by far the better late transfer £16 million deal!

  17. I think therz a plan here.

    We are sooooo good when we play the one touch game which we are famous for. But this season we are a dribbling team. Why such a change??…

    We have seen, this season, Jack and Alexis and Welbeck and Santi all dribble their way into the crowd and lose the ball and put our defense in trouble. Why?

    If I can see this then why can’t Mr Wenger? Well, he sure can. He has seen this happen even before he put this strategy into action. And he wants his players to execute this. There is a big plan here. Instead of analyzing, why don’t we soy down and watch as things unfold….

  18. it’s funny how we don’t seem to be playing well without those ‘clowns’ Arteta, Walcott, Ozil & Giroud in the team, it’s almost as if we have a few injuries that’s affecting our game at the moment. We had a least 6, possibly 7 1st team STARTERS missing last night, add in Szc, Koz & Debuchy, it’s almost as if a 2nd string side got a result out there. That’s not to say we played well, however, when looking for reasonsd why we’re not firing on all cylinders, that to me is pretty F”cking obvious.
    Take out Terry, Chahill, Ivan, Fab, Oscar, Costa, Hazard from the chavs and see how they get on !

  19. The Mickster

    How true. When it is the opposition who is down to bare bones, the pessimist are more than happy to use that reasoning to discredit the team.

  20. The Mickster
    Spot on! Surely that is the answer as to why we may not have been at out best? Any team missing more than half their first teamers would surely struggle. Take Aguero, Silva,Toure, Hart, Kompany, Navas, Nasri, and city would be unrecognisable. In fact with most sides taking out two or three of their key players would be a sufficient excuse. Remember city missing players and us missing three players in the charity shield, and how this was only supposed to affect City. The mind boggles.

  21. Good result in the end, but where is our style? we are turgid, no energy, no fight, no plan , no order , no togetherness, no drive. No team spirit bar flamini and alexis.

    Worst Arsenal performance i can remember,,,

    We made anderlecht look better than us

    We have recently become the most boring team to watch in the top 6

    When we are losing but still playing well, that is one thing but now we are losing and playing with no style at all WHAt is happening to this team?

    im just worried that wenger is losing the team , that they are starting to look around them and know that its no acccident we are constantly injured, that we are never challenging for the league

    Last year we were top for 128 days

    we are going backwards and its caus wenger perpetually keeps the squad 2 or 3 players short,,,, been like it for years, Squillachi anyone??

    Im sorry to say this but wenger really needs get wit the modern game….

    Last year it was revealed that we send video compilations of games to our players which they can watch “if they want to””!!!

    Chavs and city have people working on comps for half time ffs

    We dont study the opposition

    Wenger is rigid with his tactics, always the same game after game after game after game

    ever since fergie figured out how to beat us every other team has copied that and wenger hasnt adapted at all seemingly

    He over uses certain players under-uses others

    I love this team and love what arsene has done for us but its becoming so obvious that it is going to end very badly for arsene if he doesnt start being more a)motivational and b) tactically versitile

    but he doesnt believe in that, he believes that you just let them go out and expresss themselves

    that may have been ok 10 years ago but now even the small teams have plans that work against us

    Wenger needs to step up, and put the MAN back into manager, caus at the mo he is just an ager

  22. AL its not about injuries

    we had more than enough to make anderlecht look stupid with players we had last night

    its about motivation and playing without fear

    Wenger cant bring that out in players any more

  23. Thanks for the review Walter.
    Looks like you Arsenal supporters had as good a night as some of us here in London! 🙂

  24. The Barnyard is still covered in pig shit. Get on with the manure.

    The Arsenal know how to celebrate a birthday. It’s the ‘Wonder of You’.

  25. The Mickster is absolutely spot on – was going to post something similar (in fact I did on last night’s thread – but for some reason it disappeared).

    The ONLY serious problem at Arsenal is the injuries. And it has been this way since about 2008 or 9.

    It will take time for Forsythe to have an impact – even then, I think there is more we can do.

    As for the performance last night, it wasn’t great but we won. Martinez hardly touched the ball in the first half – very well protected. Anderlecht usually had 9 or 10 behind the bar.

  26. Thanks for sharing your experience in the pub together with other Belgian Gooners excellent atmosphere!!!

    Your analysis is spot on as usual.

    On the other hand I notice our farm animals are populating nicely; is it time for the slaughter house??

  27. Interesting piece – quite surprised that you as an Arsenal fan are more concerned about us losing to Anderlecht than the scum .

  28. I will share with you guys my CL experience last night; For some ODD reason I was unusually relaxed…almost indifferent to what I was watching (witnessing we were not at all at the best we can – and indeed far from it) with an inner feeling that we were just in cruise mode made me the same.

    Andrews’ commits along the lines that Anderlecht would not park the bus came to mind several times as I watched…thinking that actually these guys are somewhat parking the bus…and in the second half, just before their goal I got the feeling we are going to concede – AND WE DID!

    I was still relaxed – positive, and maybe because Anderlecht were not kicking us, and the ref seemed to be having a fair game – gave me the hope we would turn it around SOMEHOW!

    When the Ox and Poldi came on, I told my buddies here “We will score!!!! The rest is History!

    It may have been a nail eating experience, but that made the end result ever so sweeter!!!

    Onwards and upwards for the weekend!!

  29. The only way to read Walter’s post is by logging on to page 4 of Gooner News and then on to one of the headings in Recent Posts in the right hand column of the page.
    Don’t know if anyone else is affected.

  30. @Nicky,

    Dont know if it might work, but try this.
    Go to settings in your web browser, and make “delete cookies”.
    then try again loading untold.

  31. Some people forget we have another match on Sunday and are pretty depleted. I have found this is Arsenal’s way of not tiring out. Of course it can go wrong, but it went right last night. Same thing goes for “coming out like hares after half time”, this can also go wrong, only thing is, one is more tired.

    So kudos to Gibbs(y) and The POD.

  32. Is it me or are most of the US pundits seem to like Arsenal?
    I heard one last night and when Pod scored he almost wet his pants. He said, “This is the Arsenal we love”, yes he said Arsenal and Love in the same sentence.

  33. Well the glass half empty crowd are challengiung the glass half-full crowd by trying to clandestinely promote their blame someone (ideally Wenger) for the team’s perceived shortcomings and turgid performances of late. We have lost only 2 games this season but tied 5 so it is definitely NOT up to our usual standards but that said, here are some essential elements of this seemingly ¨desperate¨ situation:

    1) We are fielding a rather hodge-podge team with half the defenders playing out of position at times and 7 first team starters yet to return to regular action,

    2) We are trying to integrate 5 new faces into our first team and adjust our playing style to a new formation(s) under Wenger’s guidance,

    3) We are using 4 relatively inexperienced youth team players in all competitions and expecting Henryesque performances from them,

    4) And finally, we are being barraged bu negative press, trolled by AAA vermin and Wenger in particular is being villified constantly by some so-called supporters and by even a few traditionally reasonable sites, as being the core problem for AFC.

    How is any of this helping the team we love….we could learn from Walter’s Belgian supporters what true loyalty and faithfulness is!

  34. 4everred

    maybe you didn’t quite get the notion that this was written by the president of Arsenal Belgium – the official Arsenal supporters’ club in Belgium.

  35. Despite our rather poor showing we still won and got those three vital point. At least that is as much as we could get from the march. I believe this team can only get better as it has all the potential to do so(and i hope they do very soon).
    COYG #AHA and happy birthday to le professeur.

  36. Spot on OMG, especially point 2. Wenger has been tweaking the system, they are still a work in progress…not helped by injuries, new faces adapting, players coming back late from the WC, and what will be 4 interlulls by November. I really wish they would all etire from international football! They need time on the training ground to get familiar with the new system. and possible a new fitness regime, changing such things …and performances can drop for a while before things get better
    This post on arseblog explains it better than I ever could:

  37. Slight tangent. Whilst AFC are consistently attacked for being a football club and not a laundrette by our extreme right wing media the tory peer Lord Sugar (who is no centralist!) does his bit to inform the general public including the AAAA:

    “Wenger knows the market”

    But unfortunately the AAAAignore the advie given by the likes of Pat Rice or Bob Wilson and have consistently shown their support for the specialist in signing players from special agent Mendes above their own football club.
    Even the Arseblogger said he never expects AFC to go for a Mendes player or third party owned player, yet so many lap up the transfer rumours every window. Yet again the telegraph appear to have to listened to or read the comments Arsenal fans (on the “Specialist”) and then come up with an idea for an article!


  38. Today is the anniversary of Rileys cheating performance to rob us of 50 undefeated games. It was also called pizza gate. For those who were too young to remember:


    This cheat is the head of PGMOL and during his tenure Arsenal have had a string of injuries unlike any other football club.

  39. As if on que a much mocked and ridiculed and discredited Groaner writes for the Metro, a oligarch owned rag, that “something at Arsenal must change”. Like what? The policy towards third party ownership, and who the club chooses to do it’s business with?

    So disingenuous. So transparent.

  40. It’s not about the manager. Otherwise the groaners would not fabricate their attacks on the manager, they would be openly acknowledge what everyone already knows, that the manager is an employee of the club and that the policies at the club existed before he arrived*.

    That is why they instead choose to act like insane Blackburn Rovers fans, heckling a manager because they don’t have the ability to heckle the people that own the club.

    My own opinion is that it’s a shame the fan groups have neutered themselves with their attacks on the manager, taking their eye off the football and away for the concerns of most fans (prices!) into areas where they have exhibited no knowledge understanding or credibility. A shame, but it begs the question, if that wasn’t their concern, what was or is? Regime change? A regime that will pay double for the likes of Alexis or Chambers and match the prices paid by the likes of Utd for similar players? It’s a lot of money! To repeat: “Wenger knows the market”

  41. @Finsbury – I am surprised that 3rd party ownership is accepted by UK. This is modern day slavery. In my opinion an individual should not be ‘owned’ by any 3rd party. The individual may be contracted to (as in employed by) an organisation.

    Arsenal’s business has been particular in avoiding unsavoury agents who hold the player & club to ransom. I am surprised that the law of the land has not been changed to remove or curtail agents (modern day leeches) from sport. The loser is eventually common man who pays for all of this inflation.

    I’m beginning to think that I will soon stop watching sport & remember the good old days when only the ball was kicked & cows were milked.

  42. Menace
    The values of AFC are referred to by Puma in their multi-million pound advertising campaign. These values are also referred to by the likes of Bob Wilson and Pat Rice. And even admired by those from outside the club:
    Tottenham fan and former Villa manager John Gregory:

    “Arsenal represent the best in English Fooball”, I guess that he means at the top of the game.

    What does he mean? I think we all know the answer. Just one reason we support the Arsenal. These values pre-date the current manager. People don’t have to always agree with them, but why do the AAA attempt to airbrush this consideration from their narrative or memes?

    Phil Neville and Robbie Savage told a groaner on their call in last night that the manager had helped to build the club through the move. When those two tell you that you are groaning, safe to say you have fallen off the verge.

  43. Okay, we played poor. We get it. We know it. We are all football nuts and know the game. But so what?

    Why is it that when other teams play ‘poor’ and win, all they ever get is praise for winning when they aren’t at their best? Had Chelsea or Man City won like we did last night, you can bet the pundits and the media would be harping on about how that is the sign of a ‘great team’ and how that isn’t something Arsenal can do. Well we did.We won ugly, as they say. It seems there are a lot of very unhappy people out there.Ia m getting fed up with the constant attacks on our club. Its a club with class, that spends its own money and had 7 English lads involved in the squad. How about some bloody respect!

    I am going to praise the lads. They weren’t at their best and we had a weakened side. However, we didn’t feel sorry for ourselves and we proved what great spirit we have to keep going like that for the win. And I will also give respect to Anderlecht. They are a better team than some people suggest. Belgium have some great young talent and I wish them all well.

    As for the Chelsea supporting misery guts Paul Merson, why do we always get him boring us to tears? SKY is fast becoming a joke. Last night for the Liverpool game, they had Rednapp, Carragher and Sounness all in the studio. And all we had was Chelsea season ticket holder Merson going way over the top, as he does.

  44. Of the five players who were brought in over the summer I think all represent decent, if not excellent, value for money on what I’ve seen so far.

    To repeat, our ONLY serious problem at the club is injuries. Media, pundits, plastics alike always neglect this at all clubs. E.g. West Ham last season, Man U this season, us every season…

    Why is it not blindingly obvious that if you take out 6+ starters, plus several of their deputies, the team will not be as good?

    @Barnyard at 9.13am and 9.31am didn’t mention injuries at all in his/her long-ish comments.

    @MadetoLoveMagic at 11.53 only mentioned injuries once (purely coincidentally) in his long rant.

    C’mon – you make all these detailed points, some valid, many not, but destroy your credibility by ignoring the elephant in the room.

  45. Pete, good points you make. You should know, that according to the AAA all the injuries we get are somehow the clubs fault. They conveniently ignore the truth as it does not suit their opinion.

    A lot of these are like those boring political activist types. Completely one sided and able to ignore facts to paint their own picture.

    I can remember these reactionary types calling for Coyle, Moyes and Laudrupp to replace Wenger. Any manager that has a decent season and they are clamouring for his services. Last season they wanted Rodgers. In fact, I am surprised Mr. Ahmed Patel who manages my local 7/11 hasn’t had a mention, as his shop just goes from strength to strength.

    I am fed up hearing about all these ‘easy’ teams and ‘easy’ games they go on about. It seems every team we play outside of the top rivals is ‘easy’. When we played Wigan they were ‘easy’, even though they had just been to the Etihad and won. That is how it plays for these guys. They set us up for a fall. No balance or attempt to be so. They seem completely ignorant of the challenges of the modern game and how competitive teams are. It is also very difficult to roll over teams that get 10 men behind the ball. It is tough having half your side out through injuries, however they occur.

    It is easy to criticise. It is also easy to spread negativity, as the media feeds off it. Intelligence is having the ability to be rational and balanced, a trait sadly lacking in a lot of the reactionary type of fan we now see on social media sites. Not saying some of the criticism isn’t fair, it is but it is the repetitive ignorant drivel about injuries and easy teams that winds me up.

  46. Lost in translation ?

    An 11 year-old newspaper vendor of Cape Town, in South Africa, sold the most newspapers over 12 month period and was rewarded as a first prize a one week stay in a London hotel.

    The second day in the hotel the lad was so bored that just about everyone noticed it.
    Some one telephoned the Daily Mirror. The Mirror reporter interviewed the lad and published a photo and a story about the lad being bored to death with his first prize.

    The manager of the Mirror decided to change all that by offering the lad a job to sell the Mirror.
    The lad gladly accepted. After his first day he came back without selling a single newspaper.
    The Mirror’s manager wanted to know how this was possible. How could the lad have sold the most newspapers in Cape Town , yet he could not sell a single paper in London .
    The lad explained that he did not have the answer either. He was shouting the paper’s name, like he was used to do in Cape Town : “Mirror,Mirror!” Daily Mirror!”, but no one bought a paper.
    The manager then explained that things are done a bit different in London . In London the newspaper vendors pick themselves a story on the front page and then shout the headline. That is how it is done in London .
    The next day the lad was selling newspapers at a horrific rate, outselling all other vendors. The manager and the editor decided to go and have a look.

    On a street corner they found the lad shouting: “Prince Charles castrated, Prince Charles castrated!” And people were buying papers like crazy.

    Both the manager and the editor realized that the Mirror was heading for big trouble, so they jumped out of their car, grabbed the boy and pulled him into the car. Both wanted to know how on earth the lad could shout such things on street corners.

    The lad explained: “Well, you said I must pick a story on the front page and shout its headlines.”

    “Yes,” said the manager, “but where the hell do you see such a story on today’s front page?”

    The lad replied: “Look, here it is, it says: ‘Royal Ball Off’!”

  47. @proudkev
    October 23, 2014 at 5:05 pm

    “…Okay, we played poor. We get it. We know it. We are all football nuts and know the game. But so what?…”

    exactly, and not only “so what”, but that is what we seemed to have been missing from our game a few years ago (many of us remember) – when we would play below par and (unlike some other ‘top’ sides) failed to grab/steal the points!

    Well it seems as though we are doing that too just now…when for whatever reason we are under par we grab the minimum or even maximum points!


  48. My cup runneth over …AKB forever !

    A Christian’s Possessions-
    A tax officer came one day to a poor Christian to determine the amount of taxes he would have to pay. The following conversation took place:
    “What property do you possess?” asked the assessor.
    “I am a very wealthy man,” replied the Christian.
    “List your possessions, please,” the assessor instructed.

    The Christian said:
    “First, I have everlasting life, John 3:16
    Second, I have a mansion in heaven, John 14:2
    Third, I have a perfect conscience & peace that passes all understanding, Philippians 4:7
    Fourth, I have joy unspeakable, 1 Peter 1:8
    Fifth, I have divine love which never fails, 1 Corinthians 13:8
    Sixth, I have a faithful wife, Proverbs 31:10
    Seventh, I have healthy, happy obedient children, Exodus 20:12
    Eighth, I have true, loyal friends, Proverbs 18:24
    Ninth, I have songs in the night, Psalms 42:8
    Tenth, I have a crown of life, James 1:12″

    The tax assessor closed his book, and said,
    “Truly you are a very rich man, but your property is not subject to taxation.”
    I pray that all of us will have this kind of tax free “wealth.”

    Author Unknown

  49. Good on the team for getting the job done – wasn’t always pretty but we’ll take the 3 points!

    @TommieGun, you make a good observation. One of the issues with Jack is … when he’s on, he creates a lot of seams in the opposition’s defense. When he’s not, the ball stops with him and there is not enough movement. Or worse yet, he keeps pushing and then pulls our team out of shape.

    It is not an accident that our two best stretches of football this year (Villa and Gala) happened by playing the 4-2-3-1 that the team has been using for several years, with a MF duo in front of the back 4 and Ozil pulling the strings in the hole. It IS a small sample size but it seems to me that at this stage of their respective careers, Rambo and Jack are not complimentary and it maybe best to rotate them as the “engine” in the team (which I think is your point TommieGun).

    If AW insists on playing both Rambo and Jack, the one issue (that came up in yesterday’s game) is that if the striker (Welbeck) plays up against the opposition’s CB’s, there is no one in the hole (i.e. between the two banks of 4’s) to pull the strings and create space. This is where we miss Giroud – in many ways he plays in the 9 but is a false 10. He can drop off the CBs to receive passes from MF, then moves the ball out wide or to the space he vacated that a Jack or Rambo can move into. Then the opposition starts to either panic or freezes because the man marking is lost (even if for just a second).

    It will be really interesting (and worth watching) to see what AW’s tactics will be our injured players are back. I wonder if we will move to a 3-4-1-2:

    Chambers – Per – Kos
    Debuchy – Rambo – Jack – Gibbs
    Theo (or Sanchez) – Giroud (or Welbeck)

    (Of course, this will require an investment in an additional CB for cover but let’s leave that topic for another day:P)

  50. Looking back at the pictures…
    Belgians know how to have a good time.
    Best beer.
    Best chips / “French” fries.
    Best mussels.
    Best outcome on AW’s birthday.

  51. Tony Attwood

    Belgium you say ? ive heard of it – they have a fat detective i believe and a geezer what paints blokes in bowler hats yes ?
    Nice to have more than one team means you dont have to care about either that much – perhaps you also have such a dilution DR Attwood ? are you from the flat lands ?

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