There was a moment right at the end of the game against Portsmouth in which Papa Bouba Diop committed what looked like a dreadful foul on (I think) Denilson. From my position in the upper tier quite some way along from the incident I didn’t have anything remotely like a perfect view, but it looked dreadful from where we sat.
After what seemed an age of hand waving the men came on with the stretcher and carted Diop off. But long before that the Portsmouth sub came on. Now I know it is only a technicality, but you really should not have a sub on the pitch at the same time as the player going off.
Then, to add to the fun the stretcher party couldn’t work out how to proceed, going one way then the other, and then trying to walk across the whole width of the pitch – before the ref said, “it is three yards to the touchline, go off that way”.
Then, to my surprise (and if I have got this wrong, I apologise – it was three quarters of the pitch length away), there was no card for what looked like a terrible tackle.
And all that came after one of the oddest afternoons at the Ems, wherein Mr Microphone who whips up the audience to a frenzy (well, a bit of shouting) was not there and the stand in sounded as if he had never seen a microphone before, let alone a football match. He had the Portsmouth fans in stitches with his mispronounciation of the team, he couldn’t find the names of the mascotts, he suddenly shouted “are you ready” and then went dead quiet. It was an utter shambles.
What is remarkable is that an event that brings in the club £3 million should not bother to have a back up presenter. You’d have thought… well, no, perhaps not. After all it is just football.
Still, six without defeat, which is the best run of the league season, so at least we drove to the wild and wintry midlands quite happy. Then on 606 came that utter imbecile prat twit nutcase bully ranter berk Allen Green who spent most of the match he was burbling about complaining about the fact that all the games were at 2pm not 3pm in the EPL. Why? he shouted. Why? And in case we hand’t got it, he repeated himself 13 times.
Had I not been driving I might have been tempted to point out that it was a Sunday after Xmas, and that many rail services were curtailed and maybe it had a bit to do with helping away fans get home. But of course he wouldn’t know about stuff that concerns mere ordinary supporters.
And then still it was not over because then we had Harry Houdini not only wondering why his magic tricks don’t work at the Tiny Fantasists, but also complaining endlessly about the ref. It gives yet another chance for the EPL and FA to show how pro-tiny tott they are. Remember their actions over the abuse Sol Campbell got when Tottenham played there, and how all they managed to do was put up a little range of pictures – out of the thousands giving racist and homophobic abuse that afternoon. I suspect nothing will happen to Harry H, except a meaningless tap on the wrist.
The 11-4 score is the number of chances during the match recorded by the Guardian. Tony Adams got his proper respect from those of us old enough to have watched his first ever game, and the Lord Wenger has said that he was ready to buy one player and now might buy two.
So possibly everyone could be happy. Hope so – the comments these past couple of days have showed not much Xmas spirit, (or maybe too much Xmas spirit), and I want to make a suggestion. If someone comes on with a load of abuse about me, or another correspondent, or the Lord Wenger, or anything else in the Arsenal Universe, why don’t we all just ignore it, and carry on as if it had never been said? I must admit to being as guilty as anyone at replying – particularly when I was endlessly called a racist earlier this year. But maybe silence is better.
Finally, finally, finally, a point from the game. I thought Carlos Vela was brilliant. Every ball, every touch… while others couldn’t make it happen, he just brought the whole thing to life. I really do hope we can hold onto him.
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