By Billy the Dog
1: Mr Wenger did not invent the notion of Arsenal playing reserve teams in Cup games. Newspaper reports (soon to be reprinted on the Arsenal History site) actually called our cup side Woolwich Arsenal Reserves in 1893/4.
2: Although the press like to make the point that Mr Wenger no longer puts out his reserve side for the league cup “in order to win his first trophy since Hadrian built a wall” or some such rubbish, the fact is that the squad is now so strong we can make 9 changes from the previous league match and have a “reserve” forward line of Theo, Van Persie and Bendtner.
3: So desperate did the BBC get in its attempt to have a bash at Arsenal on Radio 5SX during the commentary of the game, that when the crowd was announced the spluttering commentator got more excited than at any other time in the game and said that was totally untrue. The co-commentator tried to calm him down by saying, “ah but it is a season ticket match and a lot of season ticket holders are not attending.” The truth is that it was NOT a season ticket game, and 59,000 tickets were sold. But a lot of people found it hard to get to the match both because of travel disruption, and because of snow. In my village for example…. (rest of this paragraph is cut out of sheer boredom by deputy editor).
4: Arsenal, who refuse to take this competition seriously, and put out derisory teams in it, have been in the semi final more times than any other club. I think if Villa get through tomorrow they will equal our number of semis.
5: The match saw the first ever pitch invasion at the Ems. Arsenal’s ground has been closed once because of crowd trouble in the 19th century, and thanks to the dedicated researchers we have now got a newspaper report of the problems (the crowd surrounded the away team dressing room and wouldn’t let them – or the ref – out). It will appear on the history site soon. As far as I know, Highbury was never shut for crowd trouble – although I can remember in the 1950s how at the end of each game hundreds of children would run onto the pitch and jump around. Old men would stand with their arms out trying to stop them, and in fact it became a game of jump around the old official. Had the old boys not been there the invasion would have been far less fun.
6. The League Cup was invented as a way of making money for little clubs by guaranteeing them a home and away tie against whoever they were drawn against. Unfortunately six biggish clubs decided not to enter such a childish competition. So in 1966 it was decided that the winner would get a place in Europe and everyone had to enter or else they would get told off very seriously and put on the naughty step. Tottenham in fact did suffer this punishment and were sent to that dread location. In fact they are still there since no one ever told them they could get off.
7. The early finals were over two legs, but in the 1960s the final moved to Wembley. However there was no live TV nor even live radio coverage of the final – I suspect this was because of the league’s fear that no one would turn up to watch such a silly competition. When Arsenal lost to Swindon Town 3-1 at Wembley the pitch was so bumpy it was impossible to pass the ball along the ground at all. This is not surprising since the horse of the year show had been held on it the day before. Or maybe the day before that.
8. Arsenal have appeared in six finals. In the 1988 final Gus Ceaser played. I would like to find a film of the end of that game to show those people who write to this site saying “I have been an Arsenal supporter for a long time, and I have never seen such a bad Arsenal side.” I would like to show them the last half hour of this match, and then make them sit through it again, and again, and again, and again. And when they scream for mercy I would like to show it to them again. I was there, for that game, and I suffered, so I don’t see why anyone else should have an easy time of it.
9. If you want to enter Carling’s official web site of the league cup, you have to enter your age to prove you are over 18, and thus entitled to drink in the pleasures of the little site. Don’t worry though – nobody checks. On the site you can vote as to whether you think Man U will retain the cup this year. (Here’s a clue – they lost 4-0 to West Ham today).
10. Carling also have a league cup special site which says this
Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About The League Cup, But Were Afraid To Ask
The complete guide to the history of the League Cup
According to this site, Tottenham are the current holders.
funny old game.
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