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February 2021

Arsenal – Burnley: The long road to the upper corner

By Walter Broeckx

Well it sure wasn’t the easiest of trips we have ever made to the Emirates. I left my house around 5 in the morning. I got the tickets for the group as that was the most important thing of course. Imagine not getting the tickets at the starting point… Well not that unimaginable in fact.

Because when I drove up to Ghent, our meeting point, I got a phone call from Marcel, our treasurer. The car that he was sitting in with 3 other members to come to Ghent broke down somewhere between Brussels and Ghent. As I was driving from Antwerp to Ghent I couldn’t pick them up as that would make a detour of about one hour. They were waiting for the car assistance but he feared they would not make it in time at the meeting point. Then I suddenly thought: just imagine if Murphy’s law would strike and my car also would break down… No board members, no tickets… that would have been complete and utter disaster.

Lucky my car didn’t do any strange things. So I was in time at the meeting point. Only to find that the bus wasn’t there. We had taken a new bus  company for the first time. And with Marcel having problems I thought of what might happen if the bus wouldn’t show? Find 4 or 5 volunteers to drive to London? Thanks to Marcel who had the phone number of the bus driver I tried to call the latter. He didn’t pick up his phone. There I stood in the freezing cold with 19 other members who were all looking at me…. Just as I was about to ask if there were any volunteers just in case my phone rang… the bus driver called that he was one minute away from our meeting point.

Only 5 minutes late… and it was them who had insisted that everyone would be on time so we could leave as planned. No Marcel and his 3 other fellow travellers by then. Just go he told me. And so we left with only 20 members instead of the 24 planned.

So it’s not that easy to travel to London and just the thought of sitting there in the car knowing you would miss the whole trip and match is something that would have driven me crazy. I haven’t talked to Marcel yet but I sure hope he has recovered and so have our other members who missed the match. Driving together is sensible and good for the environment but when that one car breaks down you are in trouble.  And lucky I had the tickets in my bag to give to our members…

We drove off feeling a bit down with our thoughts with the members sitting in their car. But for the rest the trip went rather well. Apart from the fact that in Calais the police officer had some trouble in opening the barrier to let us out of France. For a moment we feared we couldn’t enter the UK anymore because of the Brexit. But after a long wait, and after one of the bus drivers trying to find a police officer capable of opening the barrier they found someone who could press the right button.

But after that it all went rather well. Traffic in London was no problem on an early Sunday morning and so we arrived at the Emirates more than 2 hours before the match. The sun was shining and  we set up to meet the rest of the Untold gang in the Swimmer. To which you shouldn’t be coming in big numbers anymore as it is getting too crowded by now. Certainly in the winter when it is too cold to sit outside.

I ate half of the lamb roast with Yorkshire pudding, cauliflower, carrots,  that Andrew ordered as it was too much for one person to eat. They do serve big portions at the Swimmer (no need to come as it is too crowded now in the winter, come when the weather is warmer, maybe) and I must say that I rather liked it. And now I remember suddenly I forgot to pay you Andrew. Sorry about that. Will make up for it next time we come over.

My new shirt was unveiled and I had the impression Tony was delighted with my latest birthday present. My children bought me a match shirt and on the back of it was apart from my age (55 if you really want to know) the letters printed: “UntoldWalter”.  I must say I’m also rather pleased with it and wear it with pride.

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The good company of Drew, Andrew and Tony and my brother Eric and another Arsenal Belgium member made that time flew and we had to walk to the stadium to take up our places.

The match itself was a really interesting one. I will deal with the match later on if I can stay awake and find the time. Otherwise you have to wait till the ref review to hear my opinion.  But apart from it being a bad thing for anyone with a faint heart it was a well-deserved win in the end.

After the match we had to wait a bit before we could leave our parking space. But Holloway Road was rather empty on our side of the road to my big surprise. So we drove off rather smoothly and apart from the last kilometre before the Blackwall tunnel we didn’t spend a lot of time standing still.

We had a shuttle booked at 22.22 and to our disgust all the trains before (there was 2 earlier trains) but the high vehicle section was completely filled up and we couldn’t get on an earlier train. So our smooth exit from London was wasted and we had to wait more than 2 hours in the terminal.

As a result we arrived on the continent around midnight. And then we drove back to Ghent where we all had to say goodbye to each other. As I had to bring my brother to his house I got home around 3 in the morning. Another almost 24 hours trip was finished.

I went straight to bed and at 6.30 my alarm clock woke me up to go to work. Sometimes it’s hard to be a Gooner… I just try to keep awake at work for now… It was a long day and will be a long one today, but one filled with great memories to cherish.


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From the History Society

The picture above is of The Untold Arsenal Banner is on permanent display inside the Emirates Stadium


9 comments to Arsenal – Burnley: The long road to the upper corner

  • Rich

    Bravo Walter.

    Glad your efforts were rewarded with the win.

  • Andrew Crawshaw

    We certainly needed the good luck that you bring with you to the Emirates and you have plenty of work in unravelling the work of Mr Moss who certainly provided most of the talking points.

    The dinner I had ordered was far too much for me to eat and I was very pleased that you were happy to finish what would otherwise have been thrown away. Had I forced myself to eat it all I wouldn’t have been capable of walking to the stadium at all.

  • Usama Zaka

    Travel report woo-hoo!. Nice to hear everyone having a good time.

  • Rantetta

    Well done, and thanks, Walter. Excellent report.

  • SamuelAkinsolaAdebosin

    Mr Broeckx, well done for your efforts and those of your members to watch Arsenal live at the Ems which could be cumbersome to undertake. But for the passion, it’s enjoyable. And to cap it, the Gunners had a dramatic victory late into the match over the Clarets which must have led you and your entourage to travel back to Belgium in a happy mode of mindset.

    Back to Anthony Taylor’s verbal clash saga with Le Prof at the entrance of the Emirates Stadium’s tunnel. Now, I think the Pgmol hierarchies must be believing themselves they’ve now found a leverage with which they can use to hit back at Arsenal to even up for all the criticisms and accusations they’ve received from the Untold Arsenal for wrongfully discharging their jobs of match officiating duties over the course of time.

    We are awaiting to know and see the kind of charge the FA will charge Le Prof with. But whatever happens, I believe Arsenal football club will not be penalized neither will Le Prof be clampdown with more than the normal 2 games touch-line ban and a reasonable fine of money. Or he may not even be banned from the dogouts nor be fined but receive a caution from the FA.

    Finally, I don’t want Le Prof to worry himself too much over this unfortunate happening. But take it as an experienced manager and not to allow the matter to preoccupied his thinking but focus his thoughts totally on how Arsenal will dislodge Southampton from the FA Cup round four match at ST Mary’s on Saturday.

    And whoever is at the Arsenal’s dogout in that match be him Le Prof or Steve Bould to manage the Gunners in that match should be prepared to face two opponents in that match. One being the Saints team and the other being the Pgmol match officials who are now set to make sure they derail Arsenal’s treble titles winning ambitions in this season’s campaign after the episode that happened at the Ems between referee Anthony Taylor and Le Prof. But come what may, Arsenal will prevail over their haters and enemies.

  • Ben

    Wenger has been charged by the FA

    but nothing happened to the player in the face of the ref at the moment:

  • Norman14

    Wenger charged FFS. Better to smash someone’s skull in – there’s no punishment for that!

  • Pat

    After all that effort and tension, glad you got a win, Walter. The shirt sounds good – how about a photo?

  • Menace

    The PGMOL cheat that is Moss takes all the bad breath from Burnley but only that from Wenger is an issue. Shameless cheating select match officials.