Funny ol game, funny ol pitch, and why don’t we have a say in how Wembley is used?


By Tony Attwood

Whenever I start chattering away about matters other than at Arsenal we always get a few people writing in telling me to shut up and focus on my own club.  I write back and say that for getting on for 11 years the banner at the top of the blog has said “Football news from an Arsenal perspective” – and that’s what I am trying to give.  I see football through Arsenal eyes, and write about that. And fortunately for me some people choose to read.

Anyway, what has attracted my interest this monday evening are a couple of points.  First, by chance (and quite possibly mistake because I think I punched in the wrong numbers on my TV control) I saw the end of an American football match at Wembley the other day, and thought that the pitch looked in a pretty ropey condition.

Then I thought, well, they must have some pretty nifty stuff that makes grass grow overnight, or maybe they have two pitches and can put a new one on top of the old.

OK both pretty weird ideas but these Tottenham people I am sure must have thought of such things when they were planning and building their new stadium.  After all I’ve been into Arsenal Stadium for meetings at night when there is no match on and seen the mass arrays of lights stationed immediately just above the pitch, fooling the grass into thinking that its mid-summer.  I guessed Tottenham had something like that.

But looking back, I began to wonder because one of my mates showed me a picture of what the pitch looked like before the American football took place, and it was appalling even then.  It seems that Tottenham have played games against both Manchester City and the Taxpayers Club as well as having the Philadelphia Eagles play the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Now part of the problem it seems is the paint.   It appears that American football uses different lines and sizes from proper football (I wouldn’t know because I don’t watch American football) and when the grass is painted and then unpainted (or whatever the opposite of painting is) it damages the grass.  Quite a lot.

Apparently (so I am told) Tottenham H went to Manchester C and asked if they could play the game at the other tax payers funded stadium – the one in Manchester, and Manchester C said لا which I am told is Arabic for no.

Anyway I was surprised by just how bad Wembley was looking – I mean I know the FA are a bunch of dodos but even so, I thought they might have a groundsman or someone who knew a bit about grass growing, watering, cutting, that sort of thing.  But it seems the FA don’t hold with new mechanical devices and they still use Bert Blenkinsop who has been cutting the grass with a push mower for the last 90 years man and boy.

But I do think I have the right to comment, what with the FA being funded by the taxpayer in England, and me being a taxpayer.  I mean, is it right to use the hallowed turf with a bunch of hearty American roughs?   Surely us taxpayers who pay for the FA ought to have a say in how our money is used, shouldn’t we?

So anyway I thought the Telegraph done all right on that, but less so with their coverage of women’s football which has the headline “Chelsea Women edge past Liverpool despite wasteful display in front of goal”

Undoubtedly true but that doesn’t quite carry the full implication of the league table…

# Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1. Arsenal W 6 6 0 0 31 3 28 18
2. Manchester City W 7 4 3 0 23 6 17 15
3. Birmingham W 6 4 1 1 6 3 3 13
4. Chelsea W 7 2 4 1 3 5 -2 10
5. Liverpool W 6 3 0 3 4 8 -4 9
6. Reading W 6 2 2 2 6 8 -2 8
7. Bristol City W 6 2 2 2 5 8 -3 8
8. West Ham W 6 2 1 3 8 14 -4 7
9. Brighton W 7 1 1 5 5 15 -8 4
10 Everton W 5 0 2 3 4 10 -10 2
11. Yeovil W 6 0 0 6 4 19 -15 0

The Guardian did do a bit better with “Arsenal surf a wave of confidence to the top” which is a bit more like it.  We’ll have a full report tomorrow.

Anyway, as ever it seems, we have another game this week – Wednesday night against Blackpool and Untold will of course be there choosing yet more different seats around the stadium to experience the view from all sorts of previously unexplored positions.

One thing often amuses me about these games is that people sometimes ask if I can get them a ticket for an Arsenal match and I have to tell them that my contacts in the club don’t go so far as having special seats reserved for Untolders, but why not come to a League Cup game?  Tickets are always available, and cost just £10 downstairs, £20 upstairs, and there are even discounts for children and Untolders (well, the elderly, any way).

But no, they don’t want that, and I think, well what sort of support is that, when you just want to go to the big game, or nothing at all?  I know that the supporters of clubs who play is at Arsenal Stadium in the League Cup can’t believe that the price is just £10, but that’s how it goes.  Still plenty of time to get a ticket.

3 Replies to “Funny ol game, funny ol pitch, and why don’t we have a say in how Wembley is used?”

  1. Hmmm. Tottenham Hotspur were this night at Wembley undone 0-1 by Man City in the PL. The implication of the lose for Spurs is, they are now a point and GD below Arsenal in the table. However, Arsenal can cut Liverpool 4 points lead on them to 1 point on Saturday evening when the Gunners host the Reds and beat them to collect all points in the match. But let me not distract the Gunners in their focus with the Arsenal vs Liverpool match talks now as they are preparing for their next match against Blackpool in the League Cup on Wedsday night at the Ems.

  2. The Spurs match was very nostalgic. The pitch was like most pitches were like this time of year. By January White Hard Lane had a bit of grass in the corners and West Ham had no grass at all. However none of these rolled mud pitches appeared to stop Jimmy Greaves etc. However, all grass does look nicer. As next year there are going to be 4 NFL matches in England probably leading to a permanent team at the new White Hart Lane we should get used once again to pitches that look like a WW1 Battlefield.

Comments are closed.