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On our way to London; the 24 hours round trip to see a home match.

By Walter Broeckx

Finally back to football. After our good match at Goodison Park where we rather comfortably won 0-2 we have been deprived of real football for some 14 days. The international break didn’t cause any casualties so far as we know so we can hope that all the players are back and in good health to start the final part of the season.

The match against Watford is the first of the final dash to the finish line of the PL season. The margin for errors is very thin now. In fact there is hardly any error margin over. The number of “errors” we have seen made over the season has cost us a lot of points. As we now approach the end of the season we will see once again that the “it evens out” is not going to happen. If so we should start to benefit from some 10 game changing incidents in our favour in each match.

As Andrew has shown, there is a deficit that we face in wrong important decisions. A negative of 85 wrong important decisions going against us so far in the 30 matches we played… Around 3 per match… Amazing and frustrating. So as we only have 8 matches left… we should get some 10 major incidents each match decided in our favour… Yeah right… as if this will happen…

One thing is for sure: it doesn’t even out. And never has since we have been reviewing the referees. Not even in the season when referees who supported other clubs did the reviewing. In fact the bias they found was even bigger than in the season we only used Arsenal supporting referees. But that detail is often ignored or forgotten by those who want the blame laid at Wenger’s door.

But as this is the final sprint to the finish line it will be important for all the players to play at their best. And try to overcome the usual referee bullshit we get served each match.

Still a few players out with injuries but some of them will be returning next week in order to help us further. Cech and Ramsey amongst them. And who knows maybe Jack Wilshere will be knocking in the goal of the season in the coming weeks.

This match is also a match that I will be attending together with a bus full of members of the Arsenal Belgium supporters club. Even my wife will be with us for her second visit to the Emirates. Let us hope it is as good and successful as the first visit last year when we beat Aston Villa with 5-0.

The trip will be long and we might be close to the 24 hours travelling time in total at the end of the day. The shuttle trains being full resulted in us having to take the boat to England and this of course adds to the travel time.

But this is no complaint. No it is in fact a feeling of joy that surrounds me on such occasions. As I still think it is a privilege to be able to come to the Emirates and see Arsenal play in the flesh. We are lucky to live near England so that we can make it in one day. Others are not that lucky.

I only hope that we will have enough time to see Tony and the other Untold writers before the match. After the match it will be back on the bus as soon as possible again in order to try to catch the boat back to the continent. So no time after the match and that is always a pity I think.

Organising trips to Arsenal is also a bit stressful when you are the chairman of a supporters club. You are and feel responsible and only when you are at the stadium in time one can start to relax a bit. Will everyone be in time on the meeting points for the bus? Will the boat be in time? Will we have enough time to make it to the stadium? Will we all have enough time to eat something? These are all questions that I don’t have in hand myself but that can impact the journey itself. And when you are being the responsible of the supporters club it brings some extra stress.

But hopefully that stress will be relieved once the match has started and our Gunners will produce a top performance to compensate for the stress.

And I hope that as we are with a lot of people who make their first trip to the Emirates they will have that same WOW experience as we all had when we first saw and entered the Emirates stadium.

As we are within 24 hours of our trip the last checklists are made and checked. And double checked. Are the tickets in my travel bag? Heaven forbid I would forget them…. That would be mighty embarrassing. Has the parking permit already arrived from Arsenal? Damned it didn’t … oh why are they always so late with these… Hurry up will you….

But as most of the time, things will all be in place when we leave our home in the early, early morning to start the long trip to London and to The Arsenal.

Even at my age where one should be a bit moderate and experienced but still I can’t help the feeling of excitement that rises each time in the days (make that weeks) before I come to the Arsenal. Luckily I still get that excitement because otherwise it wouldn’t be worth the trouble I guess.

Come on Father Time, hurry up a bit and let it be Saturday morning quickly so we can hop on the bus to the Emirates. See you in London and let us hope for a great match from The Arsenal.


PS: Because of my travels there will be no match report from me shortly after the match. As the grand master Johan Cruyff said: every advantage has a disadvantage. Or was it the other way round…

Anniversary note

  • 1 April 1998: Arsène Wenger won Premier Manager of the Month award, the first Arsenal manager ever to do so since it was set up in August 1993.  Alan Ball won it when with Man C in 1995 and George Graham with Leeds in 1997.

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17 comments to On our way to London; the 24 hours round trip to see a home match.

  • Usama Zaka

    Travel safe Walter. 😀

  • Nigel

    You are amazing Walter, what a supporter. Wish all of your party a safe and trouble free trip both ways and a successful result and display to reward you all for your splendid efforts to support Arsenal.

  • Gord

    Have a safe trip Walter.

    Searching for dessert places in Islington, Google seems to suggest Udderlicious and Ottolenghi. Maybe some Untold people know of a place?

  • Gord

    Dessert for the wife was my thinking. Asking Google about bratwurst in Islington, the most common suggestion is Herman ze German. Three locations mentioned, I’ve no idea if they are all in Islington.

  • goonersince72

    Hope your trip is trouble free and you and the Belgian supporters enjoy another victory.
    P.S. Don’t let Mr. Taylor know you’re in attendance, he might have read some of your reviews.

  • Josif

    Have a safe trip, mate! 🙂

    So, Mrs Broeckx will attend her second Arsenal match and again Mr Taylor will be the referee. I think he’ll behave in front of two members of the Broeckx family. He even awarded us a penalty in the previous occasion. 🙂

  • Ken1945

    hi Walter,
    just to let you know that you are not the only ones travelling 24 hours.
    It’s 11.17 p.m. and I will soon be leaving Glenshee in Scotlad, driving nine hours down the motorways, arriving at my daughters house in Essex and then on to the Emirates.
    I stay the night in Essex and then travel back home, expecting to arrive early hours of Monday morning.
    Once it’s in the blood it never leaves you does it?
    Been supporting as man and boy for over sixty years and loved every minute of the ups and downs of being a Gooner.
    Have a good day and let’s hope we get the result we need.

  • Menace

    I’ll be at the game early for the security checks. My first live game this year. I hope our boys get their share of luck & win. Good luck on your journey Walter.

  • Gord

    OT: Looking at Lyme Disease (I believe Mrs. Broeckx has)

    I looked back 1 year at Google.

    Back in September, Scientific American had an article out. It seems Lyme has “persistors”, cells that go dormant on exposure to antibiotics, and who come out of dormancy when antibiotics withdrawn.

    Very recently, the New England Journal of Medicine put out an article on a randomised trial of long term versus short term treatment. I did not read the article closely enough to see if this trial was meant to probe the persistor question. The results seemed to indicate that the longer term treatment wasn’t significantly different (better?). But, since when has a single study provided enough evidence?

    Not much beyond those two, but I didn’t look much more than 30 minutes.

  • Polo

    Have a safe and enjoyable trip to the Emirates Walter, let hope there won’t be any ‘toxic atmosphere’ at the ground. Can you bring some pro-wenger banners and show it at the ground?

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Have a safe trip and an enjoyable game , Walter et al . I do hope that the good luck that you lot always bring with you will be repeated .
    Will not be able to watch the game live , but am hoping for the usual 3-1 scoreline . Or better !
    Am sure that the boys will not want to disappoint all the newbies in your traveling group !
    Up the Gunners !

  • Arvind

    If any of you bet on the outcome of the game, bet on this one. We don’t lose when Walter sees games. Its as safe as the sun rising every day :).

  • Arvind

    Menace: Try and not jump on to the pitch and club Anthony Taylor 🙂

  • para

    Well it’s Sat morning now so be off with you and make sure your presence at Arsenal stadium fires the lads on.

  • Menace

    Arvind – would have done that long time ago if it was the right thing. I leave all true justice to God. I complain & give my fair share of verbal but physical is not my domain anymore.

    There will be a semblance of what our season could be in todays match.

  • Rantetta

    Travel safe and enjoy, Mr & Mrs Walter, and fellow supporters.

  • nicky

    Relieved to hear that Mme B will be gracing the Ems with her presence today.
    In all her life she has never seen Arsenal lose a game. What a omen!!! 😉