Back to the End of the Universe

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Back to the End of the Universe
Peter Hawkins

Like most of you supporters of real football, I was feeling really pissed off by last Sunday tea-time.

“Bugger this!” I thought to myself (nobody else was listening), “I’m going out to see if I can tell those who support the good guys just by looking at their faces.”

It didn’t take long to realise that there are many more real fans than I’d originally realised, so I decided I would go home for tea after all.

Suddenly there was a flash of bright light that momentarily blinded me.

“Marty! Marty!” I heard someone shout, and, as my vision returned, I saw an old man with a hairstyle that made Sideshow Mel look normal run up and grab me by the arm.

“Marty! I’ve adjusted the flux capacitor so that we can travel through space as well as time. Now we can…”

He stopped and scrutinised me more carefully. “You’re not Marty,” he said, “Who the flux are you?”

Before I could reply, he continued his rant. “No, wait. He did tell me – he said he has to go… …Back To The Video Store! Well, damned if I’m going to waste those reservations. You…” and he shook my arm in emphasis, “…will come and dine with me at The Restaurant at the End of the Universe.”

Now I’m never one to give up the chance of a free meal, so I accepted.  And what an enjoyable time I had. Dr. Brown, or Emmett as he insisted I call him, turned out to be a Gooner. He’d tried all sports, decided he loved football (though he would insist on calling it soccer), tried all teams, then discovered that there was only one team – The Arsenal.

All the way through the appetiser and entree, we discussed what we knew. Of course, he knew much more than I did, including the fact that the name of our current manager was – or in my case, will be – held in high esteem for centuries.

Then came the piece de resistance. He showed me his prime possession – a program from the year 2393. Not that the game was important – he couldn’t even remember the score – but the date, 16 September, will be regarded as the 500th anniversary of The Arsenal’s entry into league football.

I begged, I pleaded, I entreated. I would have done more except I hadn’t brought my thesaurus with me. All to no avail. He wouldn’t part with it. He did make some excuse about timeline continuum and in the end allowed me to take a photocopy of one page (apparently, photocopies are considered neither legal nor binding, although I don’t know of anybody eating enough to test the binding part).

I chose what I considered the best page to photocopy and happily append it for your perusal. Free of charge, as I believe it’s impossible to eat more than one dinner.

Manager’s Preview

As the very proud manager of The Arsenal, I, Orson Wagner, am honoured on this our 500th anniversary as league members, to welcome our loyal fans and opponents here to the Home of Football.

At the time of writing, we lead the league if only on goal difference. We have prevailed and will continue to prevail even though this has proved to be a difficult season, beset by injuries. If FIFA succeed in their annual attempt to eliminate the mid-season transfer window, our task would become more difficult. As it is, our squad has been cut down such that we are likely to have to introduce members of the youth squad before we really want to.

Fortunately, the youths have already won their division (yes, I know this is nothing new) and the ladies are expected to do the same in the near future, so they will not suffer.

As you know, FIFA have already managed to introduce the regulation that each team should be allowed only one and a half foreign players during each season. We did sign our one foreign player, Aaron Agee-String – on a free transfer – before the season and intend to sign our half man for the second half – if the mid-season window goes ahead.

Of course, our own Olympic Committee made our task more difficult when, in the days of television, they decided to split the U.K. into four separate countries and increase the monetary possibilities. (I assume you’ve all heard of television before Bill Doors introduced Wifify-fifify and made online streaming viable for all, and Rudolph Mudroch successfully marketed it).

There are some who accuse us of abusing the foreign player rule by the inclusion of Campbell Soul at centre-half, but he is legal since he can prove that one of his ancestors was a fully paid-up member of our supporter’s club. And as for our goalkeeper, Les Almunia, he is english. It is an undeniable fact that one of his ancestors was granted citizenship after requesting political (or some kind of) asylum. And contrary to popular belief, our other central defender, Victor Sylvester, is not played only because he comes from the same town as me.

I suspect that you need no introduction to today’s opponents. What many of you may not realise is that LEG Rovers, as they like to be known, are thought to be an offshoot of our own club. It is rumoured that they were formed in opposition to our type of play, entered the Greater Guildford Sunday League and made it into the league after being bought by a group of Middle East businessmen (Middle East Guildford, that is).

Many of my predecessors, along with the rest of the teams in the Super-Duper-Premium league, favoured the 8-1-1 format – giving rise to our stats – P9, W0, D9, L0, goals for 1, against 0. How well we all remember that own goal by Mudchester Untied.

For this game I am going to go for a 6-2-2 format and I beseech you fans to support the lads in their effort at this inovative experiment, especially when our forwards get it right – so come on, lets hear it “Robin and Percy! Robin and Percy!”

And always remember – Forward, for we are The Arsenal!



I beg the indulgence of you readers for what appears to be an anomaly in the article above.

Like you too, I was mystified by the statistics shown in the Manager’s Report regarding points and goals. When Emmett Brown told me a little of the future-history involved, then all became clear.

In the middle of the 21st century, after Mudchester Untied went 5 seasons without winning anything, its long-serving manager, Sir Anoyin Farquar, managed to steamroller through the FA Committee a new regulation which stipulated that for the good of english football, any own goals scored by Mudchester should not be counted towards the points tally, only in goal difference.

Press pundits jumped on the bandwagon, saying that come the end of the season, that goal difference was worth a point anyway. Although Sir AF was incapable of pressurising the FA on his own, he was helped by his mate, Weightily-Challenged Sam (p.c. was rife at the time) and by ‘Airy Rednipps – both of whom were so stupid that they didn’t realise that the rule would harm their own teams.

‘Airy Rednipps at the time managed a team which was relegated that season and whose name has since been lost in oblivion – he was last seen running along Seven Sisters screaming “Where’s that top four place you promised us, you gum-chewing bastard?”

This led to other teams adopting defensive formats – the 8-1-1 being the most extreme. Football became more and more boring with only Orson Wagner having the balls to attempt to re-introduce free-flowing football with more attack although success took longer than many impatient fans wanted.

The regulation was rescinded after it was discovered that money had changed hands during the original vote. After what became known as the Just-bung-it-in-the-top-drawer conspiracy – although press pundits declared it not to be a real conspiracy since its name didn’t end in “gate” – certain members of the FA staff were dismissed – two part-time cleaners were fired – while others were promoted out of their positions of power.

After all this, football gradually returned to its former greatness – although at times it was still boring.


Background Noise

The World’s Gone Wrong: how would other clubs have coped with this level of injury?

The Origins of Corruption. How the football league has been corrupt since its very first season.

An analysis of statistics. A look back to the Tiny Totts game

Ten minutes of insanityA retrospective on the Wigan game

Full list of articles

Read the book – it will do you good

22 Replies to “Back to the End of the Universe”

  1. I apologize for writing about something off topic, but anyone have any thoughts on the mystery $1.6million on the debt sheet of Portsmouth paid to those who will not be named? Harry Redface still trying to get his?

  2. I dunno but that sounds like a roumour we should help……get into the public domain .
    headlines like “Harry still trying to stwitch up Pompey” (excuse the freudian slip) should abound.
    No concrete proof, spurious theory that will be lapped up by the masses…..why we could just as well be writing for The daily mail

  3. i dont know what wengers on but he always after adversity looks for positives from his squad,2 yrs ago we should have won the league but he failed in jan to improve the squad and the rest is history,last season we finished a very bad 4th and this year we have not really been in contention.stop treating us fans as idiots we pay exhorbitant amounts to watch so many average players that you have assembled. when you succeeded gg you immediately got rid of all the crap players but you require a clean out of your buys but you are too blinkered to see this.arsene i would say there is a 50/50 split with fans as to whether you continue.i have said before if you get rid of the obvious crap and replace with 4/5 better players you will have my support,otherwise if you are to continue with your policy,please go now and give somebody else a chance. i am fed up paying over £1000 to watch rubbish such as alum,fabs,eboue,denilson,silvestre,edwardo,vela,rosicky,bendtner and i could go on.

  4. On hearing wenger’s latest load of crap I am not sure which fans hw states he has convinced about his current squad, would that be the clueless armchair ones that only started supporting the club after the like of Thierry Henry joined the club, I have not spoken to one of these so called appeased fans on the terraces where the support counts, the ones that like me, scrape together in excess of £1000 a year on a season ticket not including money spent at the ground on match days, why doesn’t Wenger and the board shut up with the empty promises and start fixing the massive holes in this squad so that Arsenal can challenge on all fronts and that includes the league cup, United managed to win it and keep themselves in contention in all of the other trophies, they are still in with every chance of lifting the Premier league title for the fourth time in succession and they were only unluckily knocked out of the Champions league, whats the differences between United and Arsenal? United build on success, Arsenal sell after success, United have negative equity because they were purchased on loans, Arsenal are the richest self funding club on the planet, United sell a player for £80 million and still manage to succeed because their squad has strength in depth, Arsenal sell two first team players AGAIN and don’t have any players to fill in the voids, how many players do Arsenal have that could walk straight into Uniteds first eleven? Fabregas and van Persie? if you swap that scenario around you will find 9 positions and the same goes for Chelsea and thats why they both beat us with ease with the exception of Arsenal’s game at Old Trafford where United were probably still warming to the tasks ahead, theres a long long way to go Wenger, but well done in ‘appeasing’ the plastic fans.

  5. In all fairness i can see us falling behind to the likes of chavski and spuds. This nutty prof has gone as far as he can with this squad. My question to you all is How much longer must we wait for the promise to become reality? I fear we may never know. The pull of Barca must be getting almost unbearable for Cesc and we all know that it will happen in the next 12 months if not the next three. RVP will also begin to wonder if he could achieve more elsewhere in Europe and a good World Cup for the Dutchman will have Europe’s elite sniffing around. We all know that we need to invest in a new defence and a 30 goal a season striker, but will we be able to hang onto our best assets?

    The defeat at Spurs was hard to swallow, but the weekend’s collapse at the DW was so much worse because of the shameful, gutless way we allowed Wigan to expose our frankly shoddy goalkeeper and defence. For most of the season our forward line and Cesc have carried us to wins and results. But at no point have we looked solid at the back. Without Vermaelen, I doubt we would be in the top six. So as it is election time in the UK, I say, “It’s time for change”. Several first team players must make way this summer.

    Almunia has never been good enough. Simple as that. A new goalkeeper is essential if we are to challenge for silverware next season. Silvestre has never been good enough. Had his best days at United. Denilson has never been good enough. We need players who can pass forwards on occasion and take a hard tackle without falling over like a wounded deer. Walcott has never been good enough. All pace, no end product. He will never suit our style of play. Man City beckons…

    Eduardo is no longer the player he was. This of course is not his fault, but the fact remains he has had a very poor time in the last few months, he looks slow and unwilling to even attempt a 50-50. I don’t really blame him, but how long can we carry a striker who will not put his foot in? Andrey Arshavin clearly is not happy in England. He has openly criticised the squad during the run-in and has gone missing since his annual show at Anfield. Great talent but another lightweight flair player we just don’t need. At least he will be fresh next season, if he is still here of course.

    Unfortunately I don’t see much changing again. Wenger still has a firm belief that this current crop IS good enough to win silverware, when everyone else knows that is simply NOT the case. Possibly a new striker, possibly a new centre half, but little else will happen. Just three months of rumour and counter rumour about Cesc. It’s Patrick Vieira all over again.

    Oh to be a Gooner can be painful…

  6. Woah Finn mate you’re depressed aint ya? I mean you have written every negative aspect about our club from the very starting. Now i find it hard to digest that we have lost so many games but i think arsene is still the right man for the job, he has been starved of cash for the last 4 yrs ,and we should be grafeful he was our manager during those years because he has kept us competitive and in CL football while our purse strings were tightened ,dont listen to hill wood and his kind who has always said there is money available ,every penny that was made available(which was small) was spent by arsene. Now that our highbury appartments have nearly all been sold and the debt attached nearly cleared , arsene should be given money to spend by this miserly board because not only does he deserve it but so do we the fans. 1st up for arsene is a top goalie ,not a hyped one like hart or green and keep almunia as our no 2 and introduce schezny as our no 3 and let fabiniski and manonne go which should net us 3m ,2nd up two tall quality CB even if gallas signs i would take cahill and hangeland , 3rd up let rosicky and denilson go ,these should fetch 12m between the 2 of them ,replace them with van der vart and the returning wilshire and lastly sell eduardo for around 7m and sign Benzema from madrid along with chamorak for free . that would give us a decent squad for next yr GK:new no 1 ,almunia,schezny CB:Vermalaan,Djourou,Cahill,Hangeland and gallas or campbell RB Sagna ,eboue LB Clichy, Gibbs RM: Nasri ,walcott CM: Fabragas,Song,Wilshire,Ramsey(when back),Diaby,Van der vart,Lansbury LM:Arshavin ,e-thomas, CF Van persie,Benzema,Chamorak,Bendtner + introduce some more youngsters like afobe ,Anuke, bartley and barisite .

  7. Finn, I really cannot understand that you say that we not really have been in contention ? I think I have been watching another league this year.

    And then you complain that you have to pay over £1000 to watch rubbish players. Now it is you right to think they are rubbish players and if that is your opinion you could consider not paying anymore and give a chance to someone who don’t think they are rubbish and someone who will support his team even when being crap.

    And about the money thing. This year I will have the privilige to have seen the Arsenal 3 times so far and I also will be coming for the Fulham game. If I count my money for these visits it will have cost me also some £1000 in total. For 4 games.
    I would jump with my head against the roof of the Emirates from joy if I only had to pay some £1000 and be able to see all our home games. I see them on my TV now and my sporting channel cost me also money each month.

    I think sometimes some people don’t know how priviliged they are in having the chance to just pay £1000 and see all the games live, even when the players are crap.

  8. when does everone think our Season defining moment came?

    I’m just thinking back to the 67th minute of the FA Cup tie at Stoke City when Arshavin came on for Walcott.

    1-1 in a tight game – and Arshavin trys to come on to the pitch wearing a hat!!!

    I remember laughing at the time and thinking it was amusing – but now I can’t see the funny side……..

    Can you actually imagine any United player thinking they would have got away with that kind of practical joke during a game? They’d most likely would have been told to sit back down and not got anywhere near the pitch…

    The reason I see this as a season defining moment was that we suddenly got a glimpse of the attitude that Wenger has fostered around the place making AA decide this could be remotely acceptable – it really does speak volumes as to how much things have changed.

    The old school from the 90’s would have knocked it off his head!!

  9. there have been several defining moments from my point of view – all of them bad:

    -Rooney pen at Utd away

    -Citeh’s 2nd goal when we had got back to 1-1 at eastlands

    -blowing a 2 goal lead at upton park

    -dismal performances against manu at home, chelsea home and away

    -b’ham away – failed to hang on to a lead after we went 1 up with less than 10 mins to go

    -loosing to spurs when we still had a chance to go for the title.

    -throwing away a 2 goal lead at wigan in less than 10 mins when we still had a outside chance for the title.

  10. PS Walter dont you worry there will be a few thousand other people that wont be renewing their season tickets.

    PSS Bendtner’s a long way from having me convinced.
    Don’t like his pussy-assed attitude either.
    Doesn’t he realise he’s living the dream?

  11. I believe a lot of fans are afraid to say publicly at a match that they think wenger should leave. Maybe that suggests that it is easier to hide behind the annonmity of forums like this but I reckon there are far more fans believing that wenger’s time is nearly up then you would think at the matches.

    It is easier for the pundits to proclaim wenger as the second coming of our lord (and I mean no disrespect there) cos Arsenal FC is not their team and the financial outlay of fans means nothing to them. Maybe it is also harder for them to correctly assess the dross representing our club nowadays when they are only seeing one of our games every so often as they rotate around the country To them wenger’s ideologies are to be greatly admired whilst to us they are holding us back. Lastly they proclaim that wenger has no cash to spend and have absolutely no problems with the club statements (from wenger and the board) to the contray – to us it is more bullshit lies to the fans who shell out the dearest ticket prices in england if not europe. Giving unproven players big contracts if we have fcuk all cash also grates with most fans Mad If we have no wonga then say so and wenger will get a lot more slack although the board would def feel the wrath

  12. And Walter I have been supporting The Arsenal since the early 1970’s when I was living in London. We moved back to Ireland in 1978 and from then until maybe 15 years or so ago financial restrictions prevented me from attending games. When the stadium was built I purchased a club level seat with my cousin and travelled over a few times a season.

    I should also say that I do believe that wenger should leave this summer cos unlike most others I do not see him changing his ideals and fcuk all will change. If he is willing to do the necessary then I will back him again but I honestly do not believe either he or the board want a shake up in the way the club is being run. It makes me laugh when I see fans say that he should get one more season to rectify things but if he doesnt do the necessary this summer then their support for him will go……does that mean he should be sacked on sept 1st or do they still want to give him the season ?

  13. Final point is Im hoping that he will see the project isnt working, im not holding my breath but hoping, but as the greatest Arsenal manager ever does he deserve the chance to sort things? Yes he does. If this was say Moyes who after 5 seasons hadnt won anything and was trying a project (you can see from my signature what i think of the project) then i dont think we would be having a discussion as we would all think the same, OUT.

  14. Crikey Finn! You must type jolly fast.

    Just relax and support the team. Everyone can see the failings, it’s not like anything can be done about them over the next 3 games, so let’s all dig in for the final push.

    In the summer Wenger will look to strengthen.

    If he doesn’t then the writing is on the wall.

  15. I want to apologise on behalf of this site to Peter who wrote the article, which the commentators have ignored. I really enjoyed the piece, especially the final part and felt it was worthy of some giggles, or extensions or other ideas.

    I appreciate that the commentaries are related to the future of Arsenal, but even so, I think some reference to the way the ideas were presented in the article would at least indicate the writer had read it.


  16. Yeah my bad. Sorry peter It was a good article providing much needed humour in these tense times. After all humour is all we have left until they find a way to tax it.
    As penance I’ll forgo winding up Finn.
    Keep them coming.

  17. Tony This is the first blog I read every morning and along with clockenders their the only two I read. Now I know that you like everyone to have their say on the site but honestly this Finn and Shane people ( I’m sure their the same person ) I have to skip over them. They are jsut too depressing.I thought it was a good article and along the lines of your own or Billy the Dog’s.Brought a smile to my face. We all know what a shit week it’s been for our club but hey what are we supposed to do go support some other team? I think not. Let’s get rid of anyone who doesn’t support Arsenal for the great team it has been, is and will be even better in the future. The people above who don’t want to renew their tickets good luck to them down at WHL I’m sure they’ll enjoy the freeflowing entertaining football for years to come. On the subject of how much they pay a year. Walter how much do you recon it costs you to follow the Gunners each year?
    Keep up the great work Tony and all.
    Gooner for life.

  18. Even I got carried away with the comments section. It was a very funny read.
    I always liked the back to the future movies. Maybe not the highlights in film history but just very nice entertainment.

  19. I have no concern that some comments were unrelated to the article – after all, what can one say about something written about the future?
    I appreciate the thanks. Future fiction is a possibility.
    Forward, Arsenal! (and that’s history from the past).
    Peter (alias Gooneraside)

  20. I take your point Peter, but aside from trying to be respectful to those who write for Untold, it does seem to me that if we don’t make some effort to stay on topic, all we get is an endless mishmash of the same comments over and over again.

    For me, that is a lot of the problem with the blog world – endless, endless assertions, endlessly repeated, and ultimately readers who would like to consider a wide range of issues are just put off. In effect the black propaganda brigade win.

    The piece you wrote took us somewhere different, and for that alone it should be valued and explored, not responded to with a statement that Cesc is going to leave.

    But that’s my opinion – I’m really glad you wrote the piece and that we had a chance to publish it.

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