Tag Archives: Aston Villa

When was the last time your club won a trophy?

The fall out from this season continues. A lot of talk about progression over trophies and that Spurs finishing 2nd is a more successful season than Arsenal winning the FA Cup (if they do) got me thinking.

We had a decade of the media going mad every time Arsenal got knocked out of a competition. An extra year added to the Years Arsenal have gone without a trophy spreadsheet. And the press are already counting the years since the last league title.

Now whilst the decade of Arsenal not winning a trophy and 13 years without a league title is too long, and each year hurts, I do notice a double standard.

No other side in English football has their Years since they won something documented as much as Arsenal. So I put together a little bar chart. And this then expanded to a few more bar charts. Some of you might find it interesting reading. Others will probably say I am just trying to deflect from the criticism of Arsene Wenger and justify our failures using other clubs failures.

Whatever your thoughts or agenda, the below does make interesting reading:


Promotion and Relegation – The view of a travelling fan

Being an away day traveller gives you a different outlook as to who you want to be promoted and relegated. Rather than just thinking who you like / dislike, you being to think about the best away trips, the cost of the trips, stadiums you have not yet been too, etc.

With today being the last day of The Championship, and with 2 Premier League sides potentially to get relegated this weekend, it would now be wise to discuss who we want to stay up (and go down) and who we would like to see come up.

Leicester and Burnley are already up. Leicester is a trip I am already looking forward too. Anything around the Midlands is reasonable when it comes to train times and costs. And with Arsenal having only played at the King Power (formerly Walkers) Stadium once, it is a ground where many, including myself, has yet to visit. The only downside is, like many new stadium built since 2000, it is not in the city centre, leaving a 30 minute walk from whatever watering hole you are in.

Burnely is somewhere many have done before. It is a backwater at the edge of Lancashire, where racism and football violence is still right. Am I happy they are up? No, it will be a horrid trip to a ground we have visited 3 times over the last 6 years.

When it comes to the rest of the Championship, Derby, QPR & Wigan are confirmed in the play-offs. The last spot is between Reading and Brighton. Derby, like Leicester, would be a good trip. We last visited 6 years ago, and scored 6. Just a 10 minute walk from the station, an hour and a half train journey from London, it ticks a lot of boxes and is my personal favorite.

QPR is a cheap trip if you live in London, but not a very exciting one. I was happy when they went down, and will not be too unhappy if they fail to come back up. The only factor which might change things is if Fulham go down. It is always good to have a decent amount of London sides in the Premier League to keep rail costs down. Losing Fulham (discussed later) would leave just 4 London trips (Chelsea, Spurs, West Ham, Crystal Palace). I can leave QPR, as long as Fulham stay up.

Wigan is my worst nightmare. A half hour walk from the station, it is another stadium which has been built on an industrial estate in the middle of no where. Most Arsenal fans would have previously done the trip, so it is certainly the team I would least like to see promoted.

The last two, Brighton and Reading, are very similar. New stadiums which we have been too recently (for cup games), both towns easy to get to cheaply by train. But both have the same flaw. When you get to Reading or Brighton, getting to the stadium is then a nightmare.

For Brighton, you have to queue up for another train to get to the stadium, a train which only leaves every 15 minutes. It is not too bad when going to the stadium, but it causes massive delays getting away from the stadium.

In the same vain, Reading is also a nightmare to get too and from the town centre. They put on buses to and from the stadium but these always have lengthy queues. It is a nightmare, especially after the game.

My personal favourite? Derby, unless Fulham go down then QPR.

Today, both Fulham and Cardiff could go down. One is a loss, the other I do not care for.

Cardiff, again, is a ground on the edge of town. A 30-40 minute walk filled with snarling sheep shagging Welshman. It takes over 2 hours to get to Cardiff from London (longer if the train is diverted via Gloucester due to engineering works) and is fairly costly. It is not a nice trip, and one which I certainly will not be missing. Bye bye Cardiff.

Fulham will be a loss. Whether you go on one of the many fan group arranged boat trips, or head to the river for a drink in one of the many pubs, it is a top trip. With zero rail costs and friendly atmosphere, it has been one of the best away days of recent years – especially when it is sunny. Add in that after the game, you are 10 minutes from Central London, it is one which you can make a full day of it. This year we were signing and dancing about Lukas Podolski until the early hours in Liverpool Street. If Fulham go down, it will be a sad day for the Arsenal Away boys.

The other sides in the relegation dog fight are Hull, WBA, Aston Villa, Sunderland and Norwich. We can almost discount Hull and WBA as they are 5 and 4 points away from the relegation zone respectively, with a game in hand on many of those below them. That leaves Villa, Sunderland and Norwich.

Aston Villa is a bit of a shitter to get too, with a train or taxi required to be taken once you get into Birmingham, but as already mentioned, I have an affinity with the Midlands. Under 2 hours to get their, decent train costs, it is a perfect away day outside of London. Birmingham is also a city I love to drink in before an away day, with the Shakespeare just outside the stadium being my place of choice. Aston Villa are a proper football club, Villa Park a proper football stadium. I do not want them to go down.

Sunderland is a horrible place. Whilst it has giving me my two best away days over the last 2 seasons – mainly due to the 5 hour journey’s (engineering problems) meaning I could barely walk once I got back to Kings Cross, it is a stadium I will not be fussed about going too again. If all go’s well ,it is a 3 hour train trip, you will be getting a sore arse by the end of it. But that only drops you into Newcastle, you then need to get the train to Sunderland. With a cost upwards of £100 for the train ticket, it is the most expensive day out.

Newcastle is a good city to drink in pre-game, but the post-game rush from Sunderland stadium, to the station, then to Newcastle has plenty looking at their watches for train times. Add in Sky’s enjoyment of putting teams a large distance apart on an evening kick off (or Monday night this year), there is always the chance that there will not be trains back. Sunderland are certainly a team that I would like to see relegated.

With Newcastle safe, we still get the trip to the North East next season, but without the arsehole bit after getting into Newcastle.

Finally we come to Norwich, who we could relegate next weekend. And I hope we do. A ticket cost of £50 is disgraceful. A lot has been made of our £62 ticket for Manchester City, but at least you get to watch Manchester City and Arsenal. £50 to watch Norwich? No thanks, especially when we only charged their fans £26.

It should tick all the boxes. Cheap train trip, reasonable travelling time, nice town with the stadium close to the train station. But their greed ruins it. They can fuck off.

So who do I want to go down? Cardiff, Sunderland and Norwich, with Derby coming the other way.


Not Spending Costs Arsenal

As the third Aston Villa goal went in, the chants began. ‘Spend some fucking money. Spend some fucking money.’ And how right the fans were. Arsenal’s 3-1 defeat against Aston Villa should not of happened. It should of been a comfortable start to the season. Three points on the board. A good start to the season. But it was not. A refusal by Arsene Wenger left Arsenal down to the bare bones and cost us 3 points.

Yes, Arsenal (and Arsene probably will) point to some ‘bad luck.’ A fairly poor referring performances. Where Arsenal players got booked and Villa continued to put in poor challenges which went unchallenged. Playing play om for Aston Villa, only to pull the play back after they’d had their advantage, whilst being quick to the whistle when Arsenal had been fouled yet had the ball. Arsenal can point to poor luck in injuries. The class of heads involving Gibbs and Benteke. Oxlade-Chamberlain hobbling off at half-time. And Sagna being left in a crumple heap by Beneteke (The new Kevin Davies?). Also Wenger might point to iit taking 2 penalties and a break away goal to beat us. That we hit the bar (they hit the post) and we missed a couple of one on ones (which they did too) but ultimately, the reason we sit bottom of the table is due to Arsene Wenger’s refusal to spend.

During pre-season, most Arsenal fans agreed. We needed a goalkeeper whou could challenge for the number one spot. We needed a squad centre back, as we only had 3. We needed a hard midfielder to stop teams cutting through us and help out Arteta. And we needed a striker who was better then Giroud – who despite his hard work, ability and devilishly good looks, will always be a back up striker for a top team.

And we sit here, after the first game of the season, with nothing but a young striker. Who whilst talented, is injury prone and not yet ready. And the only person to blame is Arsene Wenger.

Szczesny looked shakey. When he came out for the ball in the 1st half, Arsenal fans held there breath. Whilst he could do little about the goals, and was stuck between a rock and a hard place for the penalty he gave away, you have to wonder as to whether having Julio Cesar between the posts would of given the defence more confidence. Would it of meant they did not lunge into challenges?

As mentioned, losing 2 fullbacks is unlucky. And Koscielny’s red card left us severely exposed. However, playing Ramsay at centre back and bringing Podolski on to replace Sagna highlights the problem. When we lost Koscielny at 2-1 down, had we had a centre back, such as Mattias Ginter, on the bench, we could of solidified the defence whilst still attacking. Having no other centre back option left us open. And meant a 3rd Villa goal was more likely then an Arsenal equaliser.

Thirdly, the 1st goal conceded was a direct result of not having a midfield wall. As much as Jack Wilshere and Aaron Ramsay are brilliant midfielders, they are not defensively minded enough. They let runners go. And they don’t commit the ‘smart foul.’ The way Agbonlahor ran through us for their 1st penalty was testament to this. At no point did we look like stopping him. There is an old saying in football. Either the ball or the man go’s past you, but never both. Agbonlahor waltzed through us with the ball. Had Ettiene Capoue been in the Arsenal red today, rather then having signed for Tottenham. Things might of been different. No waltzing through. No 1st penalty. No Aston Villa goal. 3 points to The Arsenal.

Finally upfront. Olivier Giroud is a worker. He took his goal well. But he is not title challenging quality. Good squad player, yes. The main man. No. Whilst the signing of Luis Suarez would not of changed the game, due to him being suspended, it would of given the fans a much needed lift. Or had we had Stevan Jovetic in the squad, his creativity, his option, could’ve forced us forward. We had neither.

Today’s defeat is the direct result of not spending. The worry now is this defeat, and a defeat to Tottenham, could result in the supermarket sweep type spending we saw 2 years ago, where we end up wasting a lot of money on frankly average players. The problem is the signings should of already been done.

Julio Cesar, Mattias Ginter, Ettiene Capoue and Steven Jovetic should of all made their Arsenal debut today. Arsenal should of won today. Arsenal should be top of the league. Arsenal should of spent some of our fucking money.

They didn’t. And we now sit bottom of the table. And there is only one man to blame.