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By Walter Broeckx
Another 345 kilometres to go, it was the distance we had to cover to get to the Emirates.
Despite the fact that we never have had any member with the name of Murphy in our supporters club in Belgium, Holland and Luxembourg, he is always travelling along. Be it in the engine of the car, be it because of the winter and the Eurostar not running anymore… we always have a moment we think: ouch, what now.
This time Murphy decided not to send the tickets over to the president of our supporters club. So our president had to collect them at the Emirates himself. But he had to be there at least half an hour before the start of the game. The only problem was we only could arrive one hour before the game started in St. Pancrass. Eurostar schedule edited by Mr. Murphy I guess.
So our president had to travel the day before to England where he could spend the night at some friends’ house and so he could come on time. Beaten Murphy once again. But would Murphy leave it like that? Would he let us get on board of the Eurostar and would it run on time? Apart from one member who had some delay on his train to Brussels we all got there in time. And even our late comer came in time. The old and experienced ones and many new faces which was great to see. I had been telling them all week long on what we should do and how we had to be fast when we would arrive in London to make it in time. But still was a bit afraid something would go wrong in the last minutes.
But the Eurostar was almost on time, just a small delay of a few minutes. Then we tried to get together in the station and after the usual confusion we found each other. Up to the queue of cabs who stand outside the station. 20 people in our group for the moment so this was 4 cabs in a row. But some saw us standing there and left the queue (spuds I think) and we didn’t think of the fact that the 4 cabs would be rolling together and behind each other. So we lost each other but we did find each other back at the entrance of the stadium where our president was waiting with the tickets and sweating hands. We all got in some 10 minutes before kickoff.
Beaten Murphy once again. But then we ran out of luck. I think we all have seen the game. I must say that I was very disappointed with the final result. And after reviewing the game on my TV I can only confirm and admit we didn’t play like we can play. Our passes were mostly too hard, too soft, too long, too short, too high, too low. But that’s life, that’s the way it goes. Sometimes you win and sometimes you lose. This is the reason why football attracts so many people : it is unpredictable.
And then you find yourself in the Emirates looking at the final score. Having travelled 345 kilometres and facing the prospect of another 345 kilometres back home. At home after such a game I start writing a ref review to make my head clear but now I only saw disbelief and despair around me. And nowhere to hide. 345 kilometres just to witness a match like that. And another 345 to go.
Seeing Tony and Jane after the game was nice but not as nice as usual when we just won the game. You feel let down by the team, by the club. Well, it was our right to feel down as that is what we should be after losing a game.
But as always I could find and see something that I liked after the game. All the players went in the dressing room fuming and angry. Angry at the world, angry at the ref, and I do hope angry at themselves. I even saw Theo going to Dean and pointing out some things which he missed (no wonder he usually misses things). I can imagine the players being really angry as they should have been. This was a bad day and they knew it. It was mostly only them to blame. So I liked the way they went off in fact. It showed that they had been hurt and I hope that just as the most dangerous animals are animals who feel pain and are hurt, the players will resurrect themselves from this defeat and hold their head up in pride and change things around.
On Wednesday they have a chance to make things up for themselves and for us. We sure could need a win, any win this time to make us feel better. My only plea is to please only play the players that are 200% fit. Just fit is not good enough and better a player who is 200 % fit but maybe has less talent than a player who is loaded with talent but only fit for 50%.
The journey home was a long one. And not as pleasant as usual. The Eurostar bar carriage was not the stage of laughter and fun like usual. Not many Gooners to be seen as we were licking our wounds in silence. 345 kilometres can be long after such a game. But the closer I came home I felt the good feelings take over. We had spent a day with our friends who we only see a few times a year. We have seen the Arsenal play live even if the game was a bad game, it still was our Arsenal and our players, the one we love no matter what. And we are the lucky ones as many of our supporters had to stay at home because of not having enough tickets. (All though some will argue the lucky ones where the one who stayed at home).
And no matter what we will come back, we will be sitting in front of our TV or PC on Wednesday evening. Supporting the team, cheering each Arsenal goal, bemoaning each goal against us. Because we are Gooners and will stay Gooners no matter what. And we love our club, the players, the manager and our fellow Gooners.
And just before I started writing this little article about how we went through the day I got a mail from our president which he had received from Arsenal itself. And I’m not going to publish mails from other persons but I must say that we both were touched a bit by the fact that Arsenal found it appropriate to say they really felt sorry for the fact that we had been travelling so far to see such a bad game.
For me this showed once again that Arsenal (and their staff members) really is a nice club, a club that cares for its supporters and even understands what it means for us fans travelling over land and over(actually under) sea to support still the GREATEST TEAM THE WORLD HAS EVER SEEN!
No matter what, we will not desert you our Gunners in arms. We will be back.
The Untold Index. Life. The Universe. Trips to the chemist
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- Why the media’s new statistical analyses of football is just a trick to stop you noticing what’s going on
- Yesterday’s game: how Arsenal won, and where the journalists got things wrong
- Brentford v Arsenal: past exploits and the Arsenal team news