By Walter Broeckx
As I wrote last week I was invited to be one of the guests in the TV studios of our Flemish sports channel to give my view on the NLD from last weekend. I went and I survived. Here’s a short resume of a day with the chance to have a look behind the scenes and to have my face on live TV for the very first time.
I sat in the studio that was as much anti-Arsenal as I could imagine before the start of the show. The Tottenham fan that was invited was in fact a media figure. A radio presenter that I listen to almost every morning who does a breakfast show on the radio station I usually listen to when driving to work. I will have to change my pre-settings in my radio from now on. He also does match commentators in the lower leagues in Belgium.
The four other people knew each other. The presenter was a big Barcelona supporter, but to his credit he didn’t show anything of that during the show itself. But he had no real sympathy for Arsenal.
The others in the studio were the regular pundits. Dutchman Jan Mulder who lost the European final at Highbury with Anderlecht in 1970, so another one who didn’t have the best feelings for Arsenal. And then Geert De Vlieger former goalkeeper of the Belgium national team who was at Manchester City for one season before the money came in between 2004-2006. But he never played a match for them according to Wikipedia. He was the only one that didn’t mind Arsenal winning as it would keep his son very happy as his son was a very big Arsenal supporter.
So all very much media experienced with me having just some 25 seconds media experience some 20 years ago when I was once interviewed for a programme on consumer rights.
Now I have seen it again I think I did my best to get my opinion heard. The members of my supporters club have praised me. Even the Tottenham fan praised me afterwards saying that as I didn’t have any experience at all I did really well. I’m not going to argue with their opinion!
What was very funny was the way the Tottenham supporter talked about the Totts. In Dutch there is a little educational story about a frog who in an attempt to make himself bigger than he was, inhaled more and more and more and in the end the balloon he had made of himself exploded, and the frog was gone. The way he talked about it was just that and I rather enjoyed hearing him talk like that. I rather think that good wine needs no special praise as it speaks for itself.
But the Tottenham fan kept on talking about what a great club the Totts were. Now he is born in 1976 this fan. And one could say that it takes least some 10 years (at least) before you really start to become a fan of a foreign club. It took me really 17 years but well, let us imagine he early blossomed.
But the way he kept on talking about Bill Nicholson .. it was as if he had watched him managing in person. Which is impossible. And then mentioned Villas and Ardiles, another pair that he could hardly have seen play himself given his age.
Okay I do admit he might have seen Linneker play for them and also Gascoigne but they were just temporary members of their team.
But he talked as if they had won the league seven times in a row, won the FA cup at least a dozen times, won all the European cups in between and were omni-present in the champions league and have won it at least 6 times.
I think we all missed it as it might have been happening in another time zone only reachable for deluded Tiny Totts fans.
For the rest the pundits are what they are. Jan Mulder is a very funny man who has a very colourful way of putting things. He wasn’t really pro-Arsenal but he is someone that is brought in to give expert and controversial opinions.
Geert De Vlieger was the man who decided what would be shown again after the match. The not given second yellow card was agreed to be shown but with time running out and with the City match coming close it was left out of the talk after the match. But behind the scenes they all, including the Totts fan, agreed that Dier should have walked.
So again another big decision going against Arsenal.
But at the end of the day it was a pleasant experience to do. It is however very much a way of letting each other score and I did manage to score a few points against the Tottenham frog who blew himself up to amazing big proportions before to explode.
When he mentioned Arsenal moving to North London I responded by saying that they never won the league as a London club but are a Middlesex club.
When they mentioned the number 75XX it was the days since the Tiny Totts last finished in front of Arsenal. I then kindly pointed out that in those 20 years Arsenal really was the biggest club of them all.
The members of Arsenal Belgium certainly enjoyed the moment when I shoved in the factabout them winning two league titles in their entire history and we winning two of our 13 league titles at White Hart Lane ourselves. I added that we not only were the best in the last 20 years but in our entire history.
At the end of the show when we had to leave the commentator asked if I would be interested to be invited if we could win the league at the final day of the season. Knowing what I know now and with my new experience… I might accept the invitation and I would be much more prepared than I was now.
So let us hope I will be in the TV studio come May 15.
7 March 2007: Thierry Henry’s last match before his comeback. Arsenal 1 PSV 1 in the Champions League. He played 254 league games in total and scored 174 goals. He then left for Barcelona and later NY Red Bulls before returning to Arsenal for his last four games
The insult of the day (for Walter to say the next time he meets a Tottenham fan)
- You do me most insupportable vexation (All’s well that ends well)
The Untold Books
The latest Untold book is Arsenal: The Long Sleep 1953-1970 with a Foreword by Bob Wilson, available both as a paperback and as a Kindle book from Amazon. Details of this and our previous and forthcoming titles can be found at Arsenal Books on this site.
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