In the end it is only expectation that makes it horrible

By Tony Attwood

I had hoped to get home around midnight, instead it was closer to 1am.  That was frustrating and annoying.

The cause, inevitably was the British Dig Up The Motorway Scheme For Congesting Traffic, that has been introduced by the Dept of Transport as an alternative to speed cameras.   We’d hadn’t expected the slip road to the M1 to be shut again, nor for the road south of Milton Keynes to be down to one lane.  So we sat in traffic with prats endlessly changing lanes and pushing in, in order to get a three second advantage.

And I was frustrated because I hadn’t expected this, but of course I should have done.  That’s what British roads are like.  That’s the way people drive on British roads.

As for the game, given the way Sunderland fans celebrated at the final whistle (a wild upsurge of joy with their players running towards them dancing with delight), it looked very much as if their wildest expectations had been far exceeded.

(Alternatively Wearside has become the new home of British acting, and we ought to move most of our drama schools there, as they clearly have a huge amount of talent).

And so I got pissed off.

The one good thing we can say about the affair is that the aaa didn’t bother to show, even though there were masses of empty seats.   Given the distance the Sunderland fans had to travel (including for those who have jobs, taking a day or two off work) they took up a decent sized allocation, and all credit to them.  Their expectation was relegation, and they got salvation, and went wild.

We were pissed off because I think most of us expected Arsenal to win.  We were talking 2-0 or 3-0 in the seats around me.  (I felt sorry for the gent who took up a seat next to me who used to play for London Welsh.  He hadn’t seen a football match in many a long year, and he got last night.  Hey ho, that’s how it goes.)

But I thought once the first goal was in, that would be that – we would actually see football rather than 13 behind the ball (the eleven Sunderland players, the ref and one of the linesmen).  And we got…

So it is all expectation, but we’ve been here before and come out of the other end.  2009 with four 0-0 draws in a row in the league, 31 January to 28 February, with a 0-0 draw in the FA Cup at Cardiff in the midst of that just for good measure.   I lived through that, so I guess I can make it through this.

And that’s what makes me a supporter.  Come the weekend I’ll be making arrangements for the journey, looking forward to seeing friends again, and hoping for better fare than this.   After all, in the final match the visitors have got nothing to lose and their manager will want to show that he knows the rules of football.  (I don’t think he does, but in his own mind he thinks he does).

So expectation is what it all is.   During the Billy Wright era, during the latter days of Bertie Mee, during the league season in which we won the cup double under George Graham – and thereafter under Graham, during the dour defences of Don Howe, we had no expectations.  The football was ghastly, the results were ghastly, and we still turned up and watched.  Because we expected nothing else.  We were Arsenal and for some reason we could never understand we were being punished for it.

These days, we’ve come to expect playing a frustrating qualifying match at the start of the season, which tends to distract the team enormously.  Avoiding it will be nice.  A little light in the gloom.

It is always expectation.

But the one thing to remember is that no matter how frustrated I got during that game last night, the aaa must get far more frustrated than I ever do.   Every year they predict that this is the year when we will end up mid-table, and we never do.  How frustrating is that.

And how frustrating for that strange guy who does the black scarf thing who keeps tweeting about Untold.  Or indeed all those Man C and Liverpool fans who keep coming here and giving Untold more and more hits, and keeping us high in the rankings.   They want to knock us, and all they do is make the site even more popular.  I’m always grateful.

But the aaa, they must be so fed up.  They go to game after game and the results never come out as they predict.

Ah well, there’s always someone more fed up with a game of football than me.

But to be honest it wasn’t all bad.  Far from it in fact.  I had the regular chance to meet up with friends, have a good chat, catch up with Andrew and Blacksheep, and have a lot of laughs along the way.  (I felt sorry for the gent who shared a table with the three of us.  He sat there throughout our meals, looking straight ahead as the three of us came up with ever more crazy articles for Untold that will never be published, and then after about 40 minutes got up and wandered off.  I don’t think he understood a word).

Actually now I come to think of it, as an afternoon/night out, it wasn’t that bad.

I could have done without the traffic jams though.  Anyway, let’s do it again on Sunday.


An anniversary to suit my mood….

21 May 1925:  The day on which it was reported that the new rules about corners were challenged – but it wasn’t!  (Actually it was 15 November 1924).  The issue related to whether a goal could be scored direct from a corner, or not.

And something more positive…

21 May 2005: Arsenal son the FA Cup with Vieira’s last kick for Arsenal before leaving, which he apparently regretted soon after.  Reyes became only the second player ever to be sent off in a Final.

19 Replies to “In the end it is only expectation that makes it horrible”

  1. Thank you , Tony , Blacksheep , Andrew , who , among the thousands others who gamely brave rain , sleet ,snow ,as well those unmentionable ‘them’ ,to give your undivided support to the club .
    Your loud and cheering voices drown the stupid commentators prattle and gives heart to the millions AKBs overseas.
    Up the Gunners !

  2. There were a few tired legs out there last night and try as we might, we were again unable to break down a massed Sunderland defence, determined to ensure the one point needed for survival.
    “Survival for what?” I ask. At home they managed 8 draws and away 9. They also have the consistent thug Cattermole on their books. The North East can be proud of their endurance.
    As for individual Arsenal, on the 62nd minute Gibbs realised he had a right boot, but by then it was too late. Prior to that he regularly joined the attack, was often given the ball to cut inside, only to discover the ball was on his right side…which meant the inevitable left-footed pass back and the forward progress was lost.
    I thought Wilshere was enthusiastic but rusty and it’s a pity Walcott wasn’t brought on earlier. Arsene seems obsessed with leaving subs only 20 minutes or so to strut their stuff.
    I hope for an injury-free Sunday versus WBA, to allow for bags of choice for the FA Cup Final squad 😉

  3. Nicky
    Wasn’t that a header by Gibbs, or did he have two goal attempts?

  4. I an not sure whose fans were worse towards their former managers – Leicester , Sunderland or Newcastle ?
    Nigel Pearson ,was for the most part firm in his belief even when the task seemed impossible .Those fans who had called for his head must now be feeling foolish or down right stupid. He gets my vote for manager of the year ,for rightly labeling those stupid clown ostriches !
    The image of the fans gesturing rudely and advancing menacingly towards Gus Poyet , and throwing their jerseys at him , reflects very poorly on them.
    The Toon Army’s turning against Alan Pardew ,after he had given them some measure of hope ,style , stability and success . Not to mention profit ! Whatever comes to them ,they deserved it.

  5. Sorry about the congestion and the lane-changing drivers, but at least you got to share the frustration of our front five trying to find their way through tight spaces all night. It was not to be, and I can understand why some are fed up. From my own point of view, I thoroughly enjoyed seeing us try to break down both the Swansea and Sunderland defences. We have been playing quite nicely, and a few blanks on the score sheet are all part of the wonderful warp and weft of it all.

  6. @TailGunner,
    You are quite right. He did have a header which narrowly missed.
    If he would only use that right boot, he would become one of the best wing backs in the game. It’s so frustrating to see everything he does has to come from his left, particularly when he is not afraid to join in the attack. 😉

  7. Arsenal taking only 5 points out of the possible last 16 takeable points is somehow pathetic. The Gunners have been wasteful and profligate with almost reckless abandons in front of goal in their home games against Swansea City and Sunderland FC. And away to Man Utd. Thus taking only 2 points out of 9 points is unacceptable by Arsenal standard. Supposing it is the beginning of the season and the Gunners collected only 5 points of the possible 16 for the take, a deficit of 11 points would have occurred. Which translates to losing almost 4 games. What a catching up in the table will that turnout to be for the Gunners to catch up. Arsenal can no longer play to their App Data Game Plan for sometimes now as a result of their inertness. They cannot even at the Emirates Stadium beat Swansea City, Sunderland, Hull City and Spurs and they cannot at away beat Swansea City, Stoke City and Southampton. They can only collect 11 points out of a total collectible 42 points home and away from those beatable 7 clubs. Thus leaving the Gunners with a deficit of 31 uncollected points. As at week no.37 games played, Chelsea are leading Arsenal with 12 points. Had the Gunners took 15 more points from the 31 deficit points from those 7 low key clubs, the Gunners would have been topping the League table now by 3 points going into their last game of the season against WBA at the Emirates on Sunday. Untolders, I hope you people are following my point and understand it too. The main reason why the Gunners have not won the Barclays Premier League title in recent times is, the inability of the Gunners to collect much points from those 7 Boggy Arsenal opponents. Invariably, the Boss MUST device a means – (more top quality players) and a way to beat those 7 clubs, home & away to collect the maximum 42 points or nearly that in next season campaign. With that success and winning 5 and drawing 3 out of 10 big games next season, I am more than SURE Arsenal will be Champions next season, this is the KEY for Arsenal winning the League title next season for the Boss to use it and unlock the Premier League App Game Data Winning Plan.

  8. SamuelAkinsolaAdebosin


  9. “Arsene seems obsessed with leaving subs only 20 minutes or so to strut their stuff”. Nicky that is soooooooooo true 🙂 and frustrates me sometimes. Argh.

    SamuelAkinsolaAdebosin i wonder where our wing play(ers) have gone. There was a time when we had that arrow in our bow but lately we seem to want to go through the middle at all times. We need to bring that back into our Arsenal (i love 🙂 using that pun).

    Of course adding or or two top quality players would perhaps help and i’m sure that if they became available it will be done. I’m pretty sure that AW knows exactly what players would need to be replaced, but as you know he likes to give his players the time to perform. Once he decides to move on, he does do that.

  10. Gord, i second that. I think i have already mentioned that to Samuel.

    SamuelAkinsolaAdebosin, in case you did not know pressing the ENTER key 🙂 creates a hard break in text and allows you to create paragraphs.

  11. Hey Tony, really sorry you had to have such a hard time getting home after last night’s game. Yeah, we need to put our acts right for Sunday. I think Walcott, Wilshere, and Rosicky probably deserve to start. One or two of the young guns as well. Gnabry, maybe? To give Sanchez, Ozil, Ramsey and Carzola some respite before the big one – the FA Cup Final.

  12. Sterling Again

    It is morning for me (8am). In any event, the BBC headline for me, was that Sterling would not sign for 900,000 per week.

    In that CAS document, it mentioned that cause for termination was not limited to sources of the team and player. Cause for termination could also be generated by fans, the media and possibly other players. Seeing that headline today, I would say that cause for termination has been reached. Who caused it? I think this one falls right at the feet of the media.

    In any event, there was to be a meeting between Liverpool and Sterling today, and after the 900 headline, that meeting has been cancelled.

  13. For me, the starting lineup was justified as the first-teamers needed a game before the final. A lot of people don’t understand how massive this game was for Sunderland. I’m pretty sure their players ran their hearts out to survive. Everyone realized Arsenal can only hit third at best after the lost to Swansea. And if I were the Arsenal players, I would have brought down a gear to avoid injuries against the thugs of the north. Come on, guys, after many early injuries, post World Cup tiredness and referee incompetence, the players deserved some credit. Let’s prepare for the FA Cup final and next season. Congratulations to Arsenal for finishing third. Now, go hunt for the successive FA Cup. No repeat of last season’s heart triller, plz.

  14. para
    Bellerin got plenty of crosses in against Sunderland, Gibbs I agree seemed determined not to cross at any cost.

  15. Saw just the highlights of the game and was surprised the game ended in a goal less draw. Massive saves by Ospina. Still cannot understand the call for a rusty ‘world class’ Cech to replace him.

    On today’s headline about Sterling, it seems the damage has been done and there is no going back. Sterling better leave Liverpool this summer even if it’s for a mid-table team (Spurs, Everton, Southampton) it he does’t get a top team because the relationship is beyond repair.

    The season has ended (almost). Except for the FA cup decider. Samuel can be all pessimistic but I think we are better than we were when the season started irrespective of getting 6 POINTS from last 15 available. Bayern just lost 5 of their last 6 matches including been knocked out of 2 cup competitions. It doesn’t make them a bad team.

    Finally, in your anniversary list, there is a typo. 21 May 2005: Arsenal son the FA Cup with Vieira’s last kick for Arsenal before leaving. Kindly correct ‘son’ with ‘won’

  16. Wait… So the key to Arsenal becoming champions is winning games? Shit; who woulda thunk it?! Its genius! Almost, TailGunner 140+ IQ genius!

  17. Apparently MOTD has received recognition as the longest running football show in the world. How it got that way when all the pundits involved have negative IQ is beyond me.

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