Tag Archives: cologne

Burnley caps off brilliant week for Arsenal

If Carlsberg did great weeks and all that…

It started the Saturday before last. An early kick off against that lot up the road. It was supposed to be a game where Spurs cement themselves as the premiere club in North London. Show that the power shift is real. That despite the lack of trophies, they are top dogs.

Arsenal played them off the park. Destroyed Spurs. And showed that North London is red. And the drink up in the afternoon and evening was incredible.

Roll on to Sunday, and whilst we were all nursing hangovers and what-not, the world of Arsenal Twitter was exploding with #TeaGate as journalists up and down the country who make a living by winding up fans for hits got wound up themselves. How did this happen? Arsenal posted a GIF of Mesut Ozil drinking a cup of tea.

The fall out was hilarious as journalists who make a career winding up Arsenal fans then denied that they had ever written an article intended to wind up.

It ended with a lot of journalists realising that they were not as popular as they thought.

On Wednesday morning, we all set off to cologne for what ended up an epic trip.

Despite Arsenal’s defeat, a great time was had by all. 3 days on the beer in cold, wet Germany. It was one of those where you only understand how great it was if you were there.

To prove that the result was secondary, despite Arsenal losing, we still managed to secure top spot in the group with a game to go.

In the Europa League, it is all about qualifying using as little energy as possible. Arsenal got through with two games to go and secured top place with a game to go, all whilst barely using a single first team player.

Over the years, the Europa League has proved a thorn in the side of many teams as they historically struggle at the weekend fixtures. Arsenal have won 3 of the 5 weekend fixtures, and drawn away to Chelsea. The sole defeat being against Manchester City.

I am still recovering now…

And then we move on to Saturday. Spurs drop points. Liverpool drop points. Chelsea drop points. Arsenal set to play Sunday with a chance to get above Liverpool and Spurs and a single point behind Chelsea.

A dull, turgid game up North. Cold and wet. We struggled. The game petering out to a draw, Aaron Ramsey gets pushed over in the penalty area. Penalty. Goal. 92nd minute.

Is there anything better in football than an injury time winner? What a great way to beat the horrible lot from up North.

It was the 3rd time in a row that we had beaten thuggish Burnley with a last minute winner.

October 2016, it was a 92nd minute Laurent Koscielny winner to break the hearts of Burnley fans. 3 months on, Alexis Sanchez hit a 98th minute penalty, having seen Burnley score their own debatable penalty to equalise in the 93rd minute.

And then we come to yesterday, another penalty from Sanchez, this time in the 92nd minute. How Burnley must hat injury time against The Arsenal.

Maybe if their players, big tough guys like Ashley Barnes, did not spend the game throwing themselves to the floor at every opportunity, feigning injury, then there would not be as much injury time?

To top it off, #twitterclarets on Twitter made it an entertaining end to a great week.

Seeing those Burnley fans cry their salty tears over losing to Arsenal once more in injury time was the cherry on the cake.

And to top it all off, we end the weekend above Spurs.


Cologne – You’ve been great…

Sometimes the football does not really matter. And for the mid-week jaunt to Cologne, the football was always going to take second fiddle.

A competition than none of us massively cared about, a team already guaranteed to qualify for the next round, and knowledge that we would see a team of second string and youth players, very few of the 4,000 travelling Arsenal fans went for the football.

It might have been Arsenal that bought us to the city of Cologne on a cold November late week, but Arsenal was certainly at the back of the minds for the majority of the trip.

Jager bombs on the 8:54am train from Kings Cross, a couple of hours stop off in Brussels, before reaching Cologne at about 4pm. It was only Wednesday…

Check in then straight to a bar and the carnage continued. Beer after beer. Stein after stein. as the afternoon turned to evening, more and more Arsenal turned up, more and more bars filled up. People spilling onto the street. Trying to steal Laurie and Hardy.

Wednesday night turned into Thursday morning as we found a nice little bar that was £25 entry, all you can drink inside. Nice little spot. Plenty of Arsenal in there.

Game day. The drinking continued. After about 5 hours sleep, we were back out. Bit of food and a few beers on the river, before heading to a few more bars. A few more beers. At no point did the discussion turn to football.

The great thing about the Euro away is that you go with your group, but every bar you go into you meet old friends. Some who you saw just a few days ago at Spurs, others who you might not have seen for a few years. It is like a massive reunion, a Euro away day.

Old acquaintances resumed, new mates made.

Eventually we realised we had to leave for the football. Almost begrudgingly a few hundred of us left the bar to get the tram to go to the stadium.

I imagine to a man, we all regretted that decision to leave the bar.

Half an hour stood outside the ground to get in – 2,000 in the upper tier, 4 turnstiles…standing in bitter cold rain, to then get in and watch a match none of us were interested in.

Some left at half time to find a warmer climate to grab a beer. Others on 75 minutes to get the tram back to the town.

Few more beers. Visit to a rat-infested beer hall. Then back to that 24 hours, £25-all-you-can-drink bar I mentioned earlier.

500 Gooners in there, all singing Sweet Caroline and Gold. The place was going off. I imagine the bar regretted doing £25 all you can drink. Although I imagine they made their money back elsewhere.

It was only Friday, but we felt we had already been in the city for a week. Elsewhere the money we had spent in two nights could have covered a 2 week all inclusive holiday in a warmer climate.

Few more beers before the train home, getting back into Kings Cross at 11pm-ish.

A lot of money spent, Arsenal lost, it was cold, wet and miserable, and one of the best “city breaks” of my life.

The football really did not matter. No one out in Cologne cared for it. It was merely a distraction.

When we made the Europa League, many moaned about the lack of Champions League football. No Madrid, Dortmund, Munich or Barcelona. No PSG or Milan. But those of us that do travel abroad did not care.

Sometimes these smaller games, in smaller cities like Cologne, or backward towns like Belgrade, Sofia or Borislav, you end up with the best away trip.

A great trip, and one that will take a few days to recover from.

Cologne, you were a great host.

Up the Arsenal.


All aboard the 8:54 to Cologne

I feel sorry for those Eurocrats on the 8:54am train from St Pancras International to Brussels. There quiet journey into Brussels to collect their expenses pay cheque is to be ruined this morning by 100s of Arsenal fans invading their train.

Or I would feel sorry for them if they were not a bunch of overpaid, unelected, expenses cheating, meddling individuals. They will be in for a shock when we leave the EU and they actually have to get a real job rather than ride the £120,000 a year MEP expenses gravy train.

I am writing this blog on Tuesday night. By the time it is published on the site, at 8:54am Wednesday morning, the beers will already be flowing, the Jägermeister shoted, and the chaos will begin.

A few years back we played Anderlecht. I had tickets as part of the Arsenal away scheme and stupidly decided not to go, selling my tickets (face value of course) to a mater. I missed what was one of the best Euro away trips in recent memory.

This year, there are 12 of us going out to Cologne.

Alongside us will be 100s, thousands more. It might not be as many as what Cologne bought to London, but we will drink the city dry.

Whilst Cologne might have had the numbers in London, there fans odd behaviour of spending hours walking the streets, before getting into the ground 2 hours before kick off baffled me.

Out there, we will pitch up to a bar for three days, drink it dry, then move on to the next one.

Locals always pretend that they hate when the English appear. The rumours of havoc and towns and cities being destroyed. The truth is much different.

We just drink, drink together, in the name of the AFC. I would love to see how much money is bought in to a local economy when an English team visits.

I was out in Lille for when England played Wales. There was 10’s of thousands of fans. The invasion would have bought millions into the Lille economy. The cost of policing and the odd repair of a window being hit with a football would have been negligible.

The next 3 days is going to go past in a drunken haze, so do not complain if you do not get a blog from me till Saturday at least.

Up the Arsenal