Category Archives: JW Diaries

JW Diaries: Meeting Smudger Part 1

She Wore had an exclusive interview with ex Arsenal legend Alan Smith in Waterstones, Leadenhall Market last Thursday; Alan was there signing copies of his excellent autobiography Heads Up which details Alan’s start in non-league football through to his heady heights with The Arsenal.

In this first part, Alan spoke of the changes currently happening at the Club:

“I don’t believe anybody expects things to change too quickly. Twenty-Two years under one man (Arsene Wenger) and his methods, it’s a lot to change, a culture becomes ingrained in the Club along with attitudes to a certain extent”

“Emery will want to try to turn that around, he will want to bring in some more of his own players and pick the team on merit rather than reputation”

“What we need to see is a different approach and an improvement to the latter years of Arsene, more determination and organisation against the bigger sides”

“Against Chelsea it was disappointing that we were conceding chances, but at least we were creating quite a lot in the first half. Now we need to put the first two matches to bed; the season starts from here, start winning matches and try to go on a run”

“This season I believe a top four finish would be a great achievement, perhaps win a cup which of course will add to a decent season, but it won’t be easy, we need to have a bit more steel and a team which won’t rollover”

Next week, what Alan had to say about “the honour” of signing for Arsenal.

JW

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JW Diaries: West Ham, West Ham & Missing a 10-2 win

Last Friday, I made my 4th (Arsenal) visit to the London Stadium to watch Freddie’s U23 team get our first win of the season, beating West Ham 3-2 in the pouring rain.

If you’ve been an away fan or indeed a home fan who sits behind either goal there, you’d know what an unpleasant experience it is. For U23 matches, they only open the Lower Tier of the main stand which means you are closer to the action, you get access to the ‘plusher’ bars and all-in-all a much better way of seeing a match there, I’d recommend it.

Saturday saw me heading to my new pub once again, before watching the first team get their 1st win of the season beating the same opposition at the Emirates, 3-1.

As most of you will know, it wasn’t the best of matches but there was a great 15 minute spell in the 2nd half which was pleasing.

We struggled to get any width, along with losing the ball cheaply meant that yet again the defence where put under pressure with West Ham apparently creating 9 chances!

What also pleased me, as well as coming back from 1-0 down, that the defence and midfield working closer together, also Danny Welbeck getting 15 minutes as sub, scoring a decent goal.

In between both my West Ham matches, I was able to pop down to Hale End as it was a 10:30 kick-off meaning that once a dropped the car off, I had my first beer of the day just before 1:30!

At half time at Hale End, I managed to see 15 minutes of our U16 match against Leicester including a penalty for us making it 1-0; I forgot to ask the latest score as I rushed home, it ended up us winning 10-2!

With no matches until an U23 match on Friday against Tottenham at the Emirates, my week evolves around couple of draws; The Carabao Cup on Thursday followed by the Europa League draw on Friday.

Before venturing to the U23 NLD, it means an afternoon in front of the telly with laptop and mobile on, credit card in hand, planning my latest assault on Europe!

If I survive Tottenham and following my euro trips, I have enough money in my account for petrol, Saturday is either watching the U18s at Cobham against Chelsea or another trip to Hale End followed on Sunday with a trip to Wales where I’m planning on making it home without falling asleep!

JW

JW Diaries: 4 more games & meeting Smudger

Following 5 days without any football, last Saturday saw me going to Hale End to watch our U15’s, followed by a mad dash home, drop the car off and head over to West London.

When we play Chelsea Away, it’s one of a few grounds where I drink mostly with good friends who are not Gooners. I arrived to my usual pub around 2:15 and spent nearly 3 hours there before the 15 minute walk to the stadium.

I thought that we played well in the middle and top end of the pitch; with better finishing, we would have got something from the match. Once again the defence was suspect but I felt it was a vast improvement on the previous Sunday.

Having got back to the pub, all of my Chelsea friends thought we played well and was unlucky-praise indeed!

Having left the pub around 10 pm, I should have been home just after 11. Wrong! I fell asleep on my train from West Brompton and was awoken about 11:45 at Clapham Junction which is completely the wrong direction and must have meant I went up and down the line! With the help of all night tubes and buses, I eventually got in just before 2am.

On Monday, I went to the Emirates to watch my first reserve match of the season where our U23s drew 1-1 against Brighton, both goals were in the last 5 minutes of the match, we went 1 up on 90 minutes with the visitors equalising deep into stoppage time, I thought it was a fair result.

Thursday saw a visit to Waterstones in Leadenhall Market, where I was able to spend 10 minutes exclusively speaking to ex Arsenal legend Alan Smith who was there signing his new book ‘Heads Up’.

Alan spoke to me about his thrill of signing for Arsenal, as well as his experiences of both Anfield ‘89 and Copenhagen ‘94, which incidentally are my top 2 matches that I have witnessed live!

‘Smudger’ also gave me his thoughts on the new set up; I will start to write these up and a series of blogs will be posted starting next week.

Today will see me watching the U23s for a second time in 4 days with a trip to the London Stadium, the home of West Ham, where last season we managed to win the U23 league there!

Who knows what tomorrow will bring, but the team need our support, make sure you sing & shout, loud & proud!

JW