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October 2020

Arsenal Reserves v Very Fat Sam’s team: the view from behind

by Sir Hardly Anyone (complete with new names – see below).

I was a little surprised to hear that prices were not reduced for yesterday’s game, given that Arsenal put their reserve side out.  I mean, normally speaking reserve matches are free at the Emirates.

And I know it was the reserves because just before the game the Telegraph told us that Arsenal have the worst injury in Europe.  So if everyone is injured Arsenal naturally had to put out a reserve team, and I must say, I thought some of these reserves were jolly good, considering that they were reserves.  In fact I shouldn’t wonder that we might not see some of these lads in the first team soon enough.

I was also at the game to see the famous Fat Sam Bus.  Indeed it was there for all to see, but I have a bit of advice for the Very Fat Man: really you ought to consider letting a few of your players out of the bus.  Arsenal had 74% of possession, and allowing the other team that much of the ball isn’t, in my humble view, very clever.

But Fat Sam knows a thing or two about time wasting and the like, so perhaps he has a plan – but just failed to tell us, or his team, what it was.

So bemused was I by all this I got out the injury chart so beloved of Untold just to see how far ahead Arsenal “more injuries than any other team in Europe” actually were ahead of the rest and this is what I found (source as always, is Physioroom).


1 Newcastle United 10
2 Bournemouth 9
3 Manchester United 8
4 Arsenal 7
5 Manchester City 7

Now I fully admit that while I work assiduously on my job at Untold in covering all those jolly transfers that the bloggettas tell us each day have just happened, I am not completely au fait with the business of match reporting, which I have been handed this weekend, so on the journey home after the game I sneaked a quick listen to Talk Sport.

According to the station they have been nominated for six awards this year by the Sports Journalists’ Association so they know a thing or three, I’m sure.  Anyway, there is this bloke who works alongside Stan Collymore whose name I don’t know, who played the Arsene Wenger interview in which he praised Özil, and this fella whose name I don’t know said that Özil was rubbish.

Given that those around me who know about such thing said that in the game we saw Özil’s ninth assist, (and he has scored four) in his last 13 games makes me think that my own amateur assessment that he was brilliant, running the whole show as it were, was right on the what-not.  But I was slightly hampered in my analysis because my main source of information – a 14 year old who sat behind me in the East Stand, said nothing about Özil through the game.

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Now this 14 year old who sits behind the Untold Front Row in the East is a remarkable fellow.  He knows everything there is to know about football – and with an absolute certainty.  He told everyone within earshot that Ramsey was useless, that Bellerin wasn’t fast enough, that Campbell wasn’t good enough, that Wenger had got everyone playing in the wrong place, and that the movement was far too slow and that we were going to lose (that after Sunderland scored).

I was at one stage about to turn around and tell the young chap that these were only the reserves, and therefore needed to learn their trade, and he should show respect for his elders, but other members of the Untold Uppers (as our group in the Upper East Stand front row is known) restrained me saying the lad himself ran a rival blog called Elle Grovier or some such.

So what of the hearty roughs from ‘tup norf?   “Hard working” was the phrase I caught when I meandered over to the press room after the game, although the man from the Guardian told me that Mesut Özil “looked at times like he’d wandered in from some superior parallel universe.”  Maybe the Talk Sprout chap is simply on the wrong planet.

But what of Allardyce?   I watched him towards the end of the game and was, well, “wild” is the only word I can use, although the phrase “acting like a demented cow on heat during the windy season” might be a better description.  He was waving and shouting and pacing as substitutes, the physio and the rest of the support team backed off in alarm, eventually taking cover in the tunnel.  The phrase in the press box was an “energetic menace” although that might have been Storm Desmond.

Actually after the match Allerdyce said, “We exploited the weaknesses of Arsenal very well apart from putting the ball in the net,” which I thought was rather good.  A bit like saying, “we’ve dealt with Islamic State very thoroughly except for the fact that they are still there.”  Maybe Allerdyce should be a politician.

Sunderland were actually rather funny.  At the kick off they put six men along the half way line, as if this was a game of rugby, and then, all of them ran backwards as they took up a 5-5-0 formation.  But they were wearing all green.  And the grass was green, so it was rather difficult to see which was a player and which was grass – although I think I eventually got it sorted.  The grass moved around more in the Storm Desmond than the Allerdycian players who were, well, stuck in the bus.

In fact the grass turned out to be very important in this game, because not only did Giroud tap in an own goal from one particular blade of grass, he chose exactly the same blade of grass from which to score from Ramsey’s cross.  Symbolic or what?

At this point the boy who knows everything sitting behind was quiet although he did mutter “useless” a bit later in the game and told everyone around that Theo Walcott wasn’t fit and that he was going to injure himself.   By then I was getting rather annoyed with the youngster who knows everything but the rest of the Untold team held me down as I attempted to put the lad right on a few points of detail.

Anyway a jolly time was had by all and having written my report I now have the honour to present the league table with a few new names.  Mind you I think the editors have published this upside down, because I fully understand how useless Arsenal are (thanks to the boy in row 2) and so clearly they must be relegation fodder not one from top.   I do wish Untold would sort itself out.

1 Vichay Srivaddhanaprabha 15 9 5 1 32 21 11 32
2 Arsenal 15 9 3 3 27 13 14 30
3 Partly Chinese 15 9 2 4 30 16 14 29
4 Let’s boo our own team 15 8 5 2 20 10 10 29
5 Tiny Toots 15 6 8 1 25 12 13 26
6 State Aid for pornographers 15 6 5 4 25 21 4 23
7 Liverpool! 14 6 5 3 18 15 3 23
8 New Jersey Devils 14 7 1 6 19 14 5 22
9 Gino Prozzo 15 6 4 5 17 16 1 22
10 Rugby 15 6 4 5 13 14 -1 22
11 No state aid so no new stadium 14 5 6 3 27 19 8 21
12 Is Katharina Liebherr eating pies? 15 5 6 4 21 18 3 21
13 Kick n kick n kick n 15 5 4 6 14 19 -5 19
14 The wonderworld of Cesc 15 4 3 8 17 24 -7 15
15 Mr & Mrs Martin Morgan’s mob 15 3 5 7 14 22 -8 14
16 TV cameras as weapons 15 3 4 8 17 27 -10 13
17 Maxim Demin’s fatter than Fat Sam 15 3 4 8 18 30 -12 13
18 Very Fat Sam’s team 15 3 3 9 17 29 -12 12
19 The chubbiest owner of them all 14 2 4 8 14 30 -16 10
20 Remi to the Rescue 15 1 3 11 13 28 -15 6

6 December 1913: Arsenal 1 Leeds City 0 and Chapman’s first visit to Highbury.  Before he was to become Arsenal’s manager, Leeds City would be ejected from the league and Chapman banned from football for life.

6 December 1919: 50,000 came to Highbury for the first time to see 1-1 draw with Chelsea.  It was a 1-1 draw, and was also the day on which the programme referred to the club on its cover for the first time simply as “Arsenal”.

The Untold Books

Woolwich Arsenal the club that changed football, is now available on Kindle at £9.99.  For more details and to buy a copyplease click here or go to Amazon Kindle and search forWoolwich Arsenal.

Forthcoming titles:

  • The Arsenal Yankee  By Danny Karbassiyoon
  • Arsenal: The Long Sleep 1953-1970.  By John Sowman.  Introduction by Bob Wilson.


13 comments to Arsenal Reserves v Very Fat Sam’s team: the view from behind

  • colario

    I used to refer to Chelsea as chelski but taking your idea I think I will refer to them as cescski in future.

    Unlike some people whilst I felt betrayed by Cesc leaving I could understand the emotional pull to return home and win with Barca.

    The fact that it didn’t work out is all part of life.

    While with us he gave 100% and for that I thank him.

  • serge

    ‘While with us he gave 100% and for that I thank him’

    Apart from striking to push his transfer though of course..

  • serge

    transfer through (Not though )

  • Mandy Dodd

    Bellerin not fast enough….have to love that one

  • JohnW

    Very nice I must say. Now I hope we win the next few games(not joking, we can beat Man C) and then we will see.

  • Mandy Dodd

    OT, didn’t know of this gentleman, but it seems the club have sadly lost a very special fan, who was on his way to the game.

    Tributes to him all over the net, including sites for other teams.
    Up with our own Nicky in terms of how long he has supported the club

  • BarryL

    Yesterday’s game was very nervy. Not surprising after the injuries and the doom-and-gloom from the media. The high wind, the importance of 3 points, and Big Sam parking 2 charabancs did not help of course.
    But we battled through and got a win – but no credit from the media, because we’re supposed to be a flaky crew who have got no bottle! (like Chelsea and Man City)
    Cech, Kos and Monreal provided the calmness and authority at the back, Ozil was well just Ozil, and Ramsey started to make his mark. Olivier battled away and scored twice in the same net.
    And it was good to see Theo back, and he looked in form which will be important for the Olympiacos game.
    On that point an honourable mention for young Joel Campbell, who took his chance well, was busy and inventive and tracked back and won important tackles. Good to see he got a mini ovation when he was subbed. Would be ironic if he got on the score-sheet next Weds against one of his former loan clubs

  • SamuelAkinsolaAdebosin

    Chief Tony, morning Sir. And happy Sunday to everyone that needs happiness. I need happiness and I want it. So, happy Sunday to me. Amen.

    You made me to laugh on the 14 year old chap that seems to know everything about the Gunners. But with time, he’ll learn genuinely to know that football performance is not fixed but can change for the better or for worse.

    You also made me laugh on the Big Sam Allardyce’s interview or press conference extracts, in which you compared his statement of, dealing with Arsenal weakness but Arsenal still win the match, to have dealt the Islamic State a heavy blow, but they are still there.

    Arsenal must continue to learn to play without Alexis and Cazorla. They did that against Sunderland yesterday and rustinessly won the game. I hope the Boss will correct some lapses in the Gunners’ game before they travel to Greece for their must qualify Ucl match against Olympiakos on Wed night.

    Baring any goodluck like we had yesterday against Sunderland, the Gunners must truly dominate the game and dictate the pace&control the match. Although the match stats gave 74% possession to the Gunners in the Sunderland game. But am sorry to say that the Gunners huge possession was not that game commanding as the Arsenal I use to see commanding games this season.

    At Olympiakos, the Gunners should and must take control of that Ucl game by commanding the game. It is when they are abled to do that, that they can dictate the terms&conditions of the game to Olympiakos and even win the match with some ease too.

  • Pat

    Hi Samuel

    I think the clue as to why we didn’t totally dominate the game might be in the five plus five men in green who backed into a defensive wall as soon as the game started. As described by Sir Hardly Anyone above. This is a tactic used by many teams against us in the hope of stifling us and catching us on the break.

    There are always two teams on the pitch and what one decides to do is bound to have an effect on what the other is able to do.

  • Pat

    I should add, therefore many congratulations to Arsenal on still managing to win three one.

  • ColG

    Attacking the views of a 14 year old child; repeated emphasis on the Allardyce’s weight (‘Very Fat Sam’, ‘Very Fat Man’, ‘Fat Sam Bus’ etc – clearly meant to be funny, but decidedly not so); mispelling the man’s name (it is Allardyce not Allerdyce), and being patronising about Sunderland letting Arsenal have all the possession (Arsenal’s 30% possession worked well enough when they beat Bayern 2-0 at home) – is ‘Sir Hardly Anyone’ actually a 14 year old child themselves? Not impressed.

  • Mick

    It’s a bit of fun for goodness sake you miserable bugger.
    I doubt the ‘child’ referred to was really 14 anyway, I would guess that was a sarcastic reference to his apparent mental age as perceived by the redoubtable Sir Hardly Anyone.

  • Ray from Norfolk, Virginia

    I really like the team names.