Every advantage has a disadvantage, Arsenal Belgium on the road

By Walter Broeckx

At last. At last. At last. It took me a while this season but finally I can come over to see my beloved Gunners play in the flesh.

Okay I have been to Lens in our first pre-season match and have been walking around for hours with a few hundred other Gooners to find the well hidden away entrance of the stadium. But that was just a meaningless pre-season match. Now it is for real. A serious match.

I will be on the road from early Sunday morning till early Monday morning in our journey from Belgium to London and the Emirates and back. By the time most of you are still deep asleep I will be driving my car on the hopefully empty roads to London. I will get out of bed around 03.00 to start the long day. And I hope to be back home just before that on Monday morning. And yes, I have taken the day off at work on Monday. One of the things I noticed with getting older is that it gets harder to get over such long and tiring days. I will have to pay the price for my trip in the following days. But that is a price I love to pay of course.

We will be with some 12 supporters in our group for this match. For our next match in January we will have the double of tickets at our disposal so it will be a real group feeling in the bus. But now just two vehicles but both completely full.

Some of the people will come over for their first match and lots of people are those who are regular Arsenal Belgium travellers. It’s always nice to see old friends and get to know new ones.

Of course as being the chairman of the supporters club this also means that I have to not just enjoy the day but also do some “work” in making sure everyone is comfortable and gets in the stadium and find their seats. Collect things, distribute things, …. And drive my car on the left. A minor but important detail halfway into the trip.

Arsenal Belgium will be there and as we will be sitting in the front row of the upper tier we can hang our flag out. So if you see a white flag with red letters on somewhere in the clockend above the away fans…it might be us. The chance is that it can also hang in block 110 (east upper) parallel to the edge of the penalty.  The latter might be a better angle to get in the picture. Anyway if you see it just wave at me from home. I will wave back. If I see you. Maybe you will even see our new supporters club scarves that have just arrived this week. The one and only Arsenal Belgium scarf.

Arsenal Belgium coming to the Emirates is always a party for us from far away. If you can’t come every home match then it is and stays a special moment each time you get to see the first part of the stadium when you drive up to the stadium from Holloway Road. There it is in front of you in all its grandeur when you enter the roundabout. I can dream it when I close my eyes and even smell the food that is out there for sale, hear the people…. But when the dream becomes real I will feel the same shiver I get every time I see the stadium in front of me for the first time on the day of our trip.

I hope our players have been waiting for us to come and saved all their energy and goal scoring for Arsenal Belgium. I hope Wenger will say to the players before the match: “Hey look, there are people from Arsenal Belgium who have been on the road since the middle of the night to come to see you play. Let’s give them something special so they can feel great when they drive the long way home.”

Okay, he probably will not mention it but in case someone reads it: just do your f**king best to give us a great time and a great match with a great final score.

Despite me having been at the Emirates for ….well more than 20 times (I will try to count them as I made myself curious about it) I still feel like a little child on the night before they go out on a school day trip. Being afraid I would miss the alarm of my alarm clock (don’t worry I put two alarms that night!) this is so stupid and even childish but I admit this is what I am and how I feel about it.  I should have grown out of it at my age but… as long as the child in me hasn’t died, I am alive.

So there we will go to London. To see Arsenal play of course but also to see old friends from the supporters club and of course old friends in London. Seeing Blacksheep and Andrew will be great as usual. Not seeing Tony as he is out in Spain is not that great of course. But Tony has packed his dancing shoes and will be doing his thing.

And that dear readers is the bad thing about me coming to the Emirates. I will not be able to do my live match report. And you will have to wait for a very long time before I can publish something. So I’m afraid it will be some kind of an Untold blackout this Sunday unless Tony can get some broadband in his Spanish hotel. But let that not keep you from posting your comments of course. Moderation will not be done on Sunday so new posters will also have to wait a bit.

As Johan Cruyff used to say: every advantage has a disadvantage and the other way round this is it. Me being in London will make me very happy but will leave you waiting for the match report.

For those who also come over to see the match I hope they enjoy themselves and as promised I will wave to those who sit in front of their TV.

Now let’s go checking if I have everything ready and packed….

Footnote: as Walter says by chance we are both away from the computer this weekend.  If you have an article to submit however please do send it to TonyAttwoodofLondon@gmail.com and if I have a connection and haven’t been slaughtered on the dance floor I will use whatever is sent over.  The updates on the home page may have to wait, but if you want to keep up with the anniversaries, the full list is published on Arsenal on this day.

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12 Replies to “Every advantage has a disadvantage, Arsenal Belgium on the road”

  1. Yessss. This means we will not lose for sure, and will most probably win :). Have fun on the road Walter and drive safely.

  2. Safe travels Walter et al.

    Well, the news is now reporting something about Iwobi’s little accident. Ospina did yell something out, but it is not said what.

    My guess was he yelled something like “Keeper’s ball”.

  3. Walter,
    Is the delectable Mme B coming with you as a guarantee of Arsenal’s success?
    And don’t forget a foodie report for those of us who are perpetually hungry. 😉

  4. I can assure you and your traveling entourage Mr Broeckx that you and your party won’t travel to London to come in into the Emirates Stadium to watch Arsenal FC engage AFC Bournemouth in a PL match for nothing.

    Come what may, Arsenal will win the match by 5 goals to nil on Sunday to collect all the 3 points at stake in the match and with an improved goals difference in the table too. So I believe you and your group will return to Belgium full of happiness just as those of us the Arsenal supporters will glue to the screen of our TV sets watching Arsenal beating Bournemouth will be utterly happy and full of laughter.

    I am wishing you and your traveling friends a safe and enjoyable journey from Belgium to London and back to Belgium.

  5. Nicky, no she is staying at home. The cold is …well too cold for here around this time of the year. She prefers summer football 😉

  6. Nicky,

    You are clearly a charming roué and in your youth must have been a veritable lady’s man. It must have been all that Jersey air! 😀

  7. I think some people may hate this one.

    Walter, have you heard of Chef Emeril Lagasse? He used to say BAM a lot on TV cooking shows.

    Anyway, here is a recipe of his for rabbit sausage. It has some bacon in it, and pecan pieces.



    Would you like some numbers with that?

    There were a few years of 22 team EPL. We also had some cases of promotion, where a promoted team finished exceptionally well. Twice in 3rd, twice in 4th, once in 5th. Which is 5 unusually good finishes.

    If I was to ignore the best 5 and the worst 5, that happens to ignore the 21 and 22 finishes which show up.

    But, whether we ignore top and bottom 5 or not, the median finish of a newly promoted team is 16. The MAD (median absolute deviation) on that is 3. Which means we expect that about 50% of the time, a newly promoted team to finish between 13 and 19 (out of 20).

    If we switch over to points, we find the median points total for a newly promoted team is 40. We expect a promoted team to finish their first season with between 33 and 47 points, 50% of the time. And our MAD on points is 7.


    If we ignore ManU, Arsenal for being consistently top the entire time; Chelsea and ManC for being divergent behavior (pre and post benefactor), we see certain teams in the table multiple times.

    If a team has the same owner, the same philosophy and the same (relative) budget year after year, you might expect the team to finish in the same place every year. Of close to the same place, because of course the teams you played against were always the same.

    So, looking at the years since we started 20 teams playing each other, we have

    AFC Bournemouth 1
    Aston Villa 21
    Barnsley 1
    Birmingham City 7
    Blackburn Rovers 15
    Blackpool 1
    Bolton Wanderers 13
    Bradford City 2
    Burnley 2
    Cardiff City 1
    Charlton Athletic 8
    Coventry City 6
    Crystal Palace 5
    Derby County 7
    Everton 21
    Fulham 13
    Hull City 4
    Ipswich Town 2
    Leeds United 9
    Leicester City 9
    Liverpool 21
    Middlesbrough 13
    Newcastle United 20
    Norwich City 5
    Nottingham Forest 3
    Portsmouth 7
    Queens Park Rangers 4
    Reading 3
    Sheffield United 1
    Sheffield Wednesday 5
    Southampton 14
    Stoke 8
    Sunderland 15
    Swansea City 5
    Tottenham Hotspur 21
    Watford 3
    West Bromwich Albion 10
    West Ham United 18
    Wigan Athletic 8
    Wimbledon 5
    Wolverhampton Wanderers 4

    So, perhaps the team we “care” the most about (beyond ourselves), are the spuds.

    The median finish for the spuds is 8th, and the MAD is 3.

    What about State Aid United? Median finish is 10, MAD is again 3.

    Everton has a long record, what about them? They have a median finish of 8th, and a MAD of 3.

    Aston Villa: median 8, MAD 2.

    It is beginning to look like a whole bunch of these teams, statistically have the same finish. And the difference between the spuds and State Aid is not statistically significant.

    And our look at the newly promoted, shows a similar dispersion (MAD=3) with a slightly higher finish place. Which is saying that the bulk of the teams in the EPL finish in the same place, some get relegated, and those getting promoted have a higher change of being relegated than others that have been in the top flight for a while (more than 1 year). But the distributions overlap, you can be in the EPL for 20+ years, and still get relegated (Aston Villa).

    This isn’t to say that all these teams play the same style. What it does say, is that they are all about equally effective at playing each other, and the top of the EPL. There is not a lot to choose between them.

    Now, with that done, can I get to sleep (it’s 1:25 am here). 🙂

  8. Have a safe trip , Walter and the Belgian contingent . Hope your previous visits be like a lucky charm again . 3-0 would be great !

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