Category Archives: JW Diaries

JW Diaries: 50 games already done

The Checkatrade Trophy has been good for the youth team as well as the fans, the game against Cheltenham Town meant that I have now seen Arsenal play at 83 of the 92 current grounds; the match ended with a 6-2 defeat with all to play for in the final Group Stage match.

The next day I saw us beat Blackpool 2-1 in the Carabao Cup, as the score line suggests, it was far from easy and then a 15-2 win for the U15s at Hale End followed by an unfortunate 5-4 defeat for the U23s against Chelsea at Boreham Wood.

Liverpool were next for the first team; a real test in the current unbeaten run, I thought we played well and was worthy of our point; I was pleased with the way we responded with a defeat looking ominous.

The New Lawn, the home of Forest Green Rovers was the setting for our final Group Stage match in the Checkatrade Trophy. It’s a totally ‘green’ stadium with vegetarian food  for the pre match meal which I have to say was excellent. We needed to win the match to ensure our place in the knockout stages; the U21s never let us down with a throughly deserved 3-1 win!

Sporting was next with a boring 0-0 draw; which was arguably our worst performance of the season! 

On the Friday there was a soft opening of a new bar in Holloway Road called ‘The Islington Sports Bar & Grill’ this is to become my new pre match drinking hole! Following a heavy evening, on the Saturday I somehow managed to make an 11am match at the training ground watching us dispatch Fulham U18s 4-0.

My 50th Arsenal match of the season came and went at Hale End with a 3-1 defeat against Norwich U14s. Following this, I made a mad dash home to drop the car off before the first pre match drinks at the new pub before watching a dull 1-1 draw against Wolves!

Two 3-2 defeats for our U16s & U18s, then it was a day out in Bournemouth. This started off badly with the first train out cancelled! We made it with ample time to spare with a couple of hours in our now regular pub. We played OK and just about deserved our 2-1 win. 

Next up is a trip to deepest Ukraine…..



JW Diaries: From Dover to Lisbon

Following a weekend in Dover for the Supporters Club annual Legends meal in the company of Pat Rice & Eddie Kelly, I made a mad dash to Waterloo to watch our Women play Chelsea at their Kingsmeadow ground, what a game it was, we beat them 5-0 which was an extraordinary result as Chelsea haven’t been beaten at home for nearly 2 years and are current Women’s Super League Champions! 

Next up on the Arsenal tour was a drunken weekend in Offenbach for a German Gooners 50th Birthday which was only possible due to our Monday night fixture against Leicester City at the Emirates in which we won a hard fought match 3-1.

Next up was a 3 day trip to the beautiful City of Lisbon, it was meant to be low key as I took my other half and her sister – wrong! 

Drinking with the usual crowd ensured that a 5am finish on the first night in a number of bars up in the hills and there was no hold up on the match day. I won’t go over the match as we all know we won 1-0 in an uninspiring game against a well drilled Sporting side.

Another climb up the hills and a not so late 3am finished ensued our last day was spent on flat land sightseeing and having a lovely meal with a couple of glasses of excellent Port.

Having got home at 2am on the Saturday due to a late flight and an M25 closure, I managed to get up at 9am to watch our U16s beat Lincoln City 2-1 in a close match at Hale End.

Sunday I was out by 9am for our trip to Selhurst Park where I had the full prawn sandwich experience with seats in the Directors Box. From what I can remember and watching the highlights the following day, I thought a combination of some poor performances, blatant cheating and crazy refereeing saw us draw 1-1. A diplomatic result from my point of view as my host was a Palace fan.

After being the last out about 5pm, a cab journey to meet up with the usual suspects at London Bridge ensured that another journey home with no recollection of how I got there! 


JW Diaries: A long trip to Baku takes its toll

It seems a lifetime ago that we had to overcome another inept refereeing performance against a confident Watford team who were resolute and outplayed us for large spells; a couple of inspired substitutions saw us win late on 2-0.

It’s good to see our triple training sessions paying off.

After another Sunday off due to a reoccurring cold, late Tuesday I checked in to Heathrow terminal 4 for an overnight flight to Baku, Azerbaijan.

Meeting fellow Gooners at the airport pub, around 35 of us were on the 5 1/2 hour flight which saw us land around 6.30am.

After dropping bags at the hotel, we completed the sightseeing before a liquid lunch and checking in at 1pm.

Following a couple of hours sleep, we hit a local bar at Fountain Square followed by a fantastic Azerbaijan meal with wine that came to about £20 a head!

After another bar, I left early at 10pm to catch up on my sleep, only to be woken at 6am by my room mate crashing home worse for wear.

Matchday saw us at The Red Lion along with 50% of the English gooner contingent, then moving on to a bar near the stadium well before kick-off.

I thought we played well with the team we put out and deserved our win. We were let straight out after the match, celebrating our win until gone 4am.

On the Friday we were all planning on doing a sightseeing trip which I ended up blowing out! I spent most of the day in my room only venturing out for a brief walk and some food.

By 8pm I was back in the pub with around 20 other Gooners where once again we took over the bar as well as the laptop playing the music we wanted until the very early hours of Saturday – I was reliably informed that I got in at 6am!

As we had an evening flight, we met up once again at the usual bar until they got us taxis to the airport. The good thing about going to the same place is that we convinced the owner that if we get to the Final, this will be an Arsenal fans only bar.

If we do get to the Europa League Final, Baku is the perfect location for it.

Arriving home at 11pm, I was up at 6.30am for a trip to Fulham which, due to being tired, I was extremely close to blowing out. I’m so glad I didn’t; a wonderful 2nd half performance with well worked goals made up for my fatigue.

After I went straight home and for the first time in recent memory no alcohol passed my lips on a first team match day.

With the international break yet again upon us, there will no senior matches to be had during the week. There will be a few youth team games to fill my time, but with Lisbon only a few weeks away, I’m certainly glad of the rest.