By Tony Attwood (who I may assure you if you are in a dither about the headline has not gone utterly off his stevedore*)
It was once put to me by a publisher who was considering one of my early novels, that the difference between pornography and literature was that literature is about build up, anticipation and ultimately consequences, whereas pornography is about the event, with no previous or subsequence.
Thus it is interesting to watch a football team that is owned and financed by a bunch of pornographers who own such jolly things as Television X, the Sport newspapers, Ann Summers, Knickerbox, and the rest, and by a man who, when talking about possible retirement has said, “I wouldn’t know what to do with myself,” (a problem for all pornographers presumably).
Hence I ask, “Do the tactics of pornography move over to the football team, or not?”
On the evidence of the game at the Ems on saturday, no, since we had time wasting and rule breaking in the extreme from almost the start. The West Pornography keeper, who is roundly praised in most reports in the printed and TV media, spent much of the game breaking the rules.
Now I would have thought that worthy of a line or two, but seemingly not – and this of course is a good explanation as to why England does so badly in international football. In the EPL and elsewhere in England we are going down our own route of law interpretation.
Sitting, as I do in the Ems, to the right of the goal that Arsenal normally attack in the second half (as indeed happened against the Pornographers yesterday) I have developed the rather silly habit of counting the number of seconds a goalkeeper holds a ball for.
The notorious West Ham and England keeper hit 10 seconds on a number of occasions – double the allowed level. An equivalent would be taking a free kick awarded 60 yards from goal at a point 30 yards from goal. He also played the old boring game of kicking the ball from the opposite side of the goal to that from which he was positioned every time he got a goal kick – thus taking yet more time up.
This is now how it is in English football, and it is a sadness that teams like West Porno can get away with it, with the referees in a union agreement not to punish them. As Walter regularly says, a word early on telling the player to cut it out would solve so much of the problem, and actually give us our football back. But not at the moment I fear.
The only amusing point in all this was that once Song scored (not 2 minutes from the end as the print and broadcast media say, but 7 minutes from the end – we had five minutes of extra time) the West Porno keeper scuttled around his goal like a five year old running hither and yon, trying to get the ball back up the pitch.
WHP’s final sub, during injury time, was made at double quick time – quite the opposite of the earlier changes, in which the old “other side” ploy was used. With this the player to be substituted gets a signal from the bench, and dutifully trots across to the other side of the pitch – furtherest away from the tunnel, looking anywhere but at the changeover board. Then when eventually his attention is drawn to the fact that he is to leave he looks in astonishment – amazement even – points to himself as if to say “What me? Surely no!” and then ambles (because of a sudden weariness and injury only just discovered) towards the far side, which he reaches several minutes later.
Of course all of this could be dealt with if only the EPL had a mind to – by instruction the ref’s to take action on time wasting. But they don’t. I suspect the TV companies have asked for them not to so they can show more replays.
Driving back to the Midlands after the game, (and ultimately a rather enjoyable Halloween party on Saturday night which didn’t end until 3am BST (which of course wasn’t, because it was 2am GMT, but didn’t feel like it) with lots of blues guitar playing, and associated singing of “You can’t play the blues in an air-conditioned room” etc etc) I heard a little of 606 on Radio 5 – a lunatic discussion show in which people phone in to say they were “gutted” or “over the moon”. Apparently if you say neither when you phone the show and talk to a researcher, they don’t let you on.
Anyway, as so often happens, the Anti-Arsenal Arsenal got one of their number on, and he used his one minute of fame to say that Denilson and Diaby were rubbish, should not wear the shirt, and that Wenger was too stubborn and should ditch them. “Denilson,” this AAA said, “is the only Brazilian player who can’t pass a ball.”
Of course the BBC know that this is the AAA because they get the AAA on quite a lot, and it is clear most of the callers about Arsenal have not been to the game. (This one didn’t even know Diaby wasn’t playing). But it ended with amusement because Robbie Savage (who co-hosts the show, from the showers at Derby County) disagreed totally on the fairly sold grounds that he had played against these players.
A novel twist.
So, we beat the pornographers at our game, not at their own game. Cesc didn’t look right, but I note that the Lord Wenger has said he nearly took Cesc off at half time because of problems with his hamstring again. But even so, we won 19-5 on shots and 10-2 on shots on target.
Thinking forward we will have Jack back for the trip to foreign parts this week, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see Cesc not travel given that his replacement is in position, and Nasri can play forward, middle, full back, whatever you like.
And I still can’t get over this midfield that is about to hit us (injuries permitting)
Jack / Cesc / Ramsey / Nasri / Denilson / Diaby / Rosicky / Lansbury.
Couldn’t we just put out a complete team of midfielders?
Last point: did you see Lord Wenger’s comment about having too many good goalkeepers? Do you happen to know where that came from? More on that story anon. I’m now off to a lunch in the lovely Rutland village of Lyddington. Rutland. Smallest county in England, and home to a race of car drivers who habitually indicate left and then turn right.
* Stevedore = docker = rocker (slang for head) (Cockney rhyming slang as wot might not be spoke in the east end, stone me guv you’re a gent and no mistake). (Don’t worry its just a West Pornography thing).
- Give the most unusual Arsenal Xmas present of all time. Making the Arsenal: available from Amazon.co.uk but for a signed copy dedicated to whoever you want just order from the publishers (follow the link) and add details of the dedication wanted to your order.
- Arsenal History: Arsenal’s origins – currently telling the story of the game that never was: Arsenal v Eastern Wanderers on the Isle of Dogs in 1886
- Untold Arsenal on Facebook here
- Untold Arsenal Index: silly stuff, serious stuff, and stuff
- Arsenal Worldwide: supporting Arsenal from outside the UK
- Arsenal Independent Supporters Association show your support, be part of changing the club
- Arsenal v the team that will present a giant toothbrush to our captain
- Arsenal squad for Europa League game
- The abuse of female footballers is appalling, but there is a wider context
- Why Arsenal v Glimt might be tougher than the game against Tottenham
- Is the team that passes the most, the team that gets the best results?