Tag Archives: Hull City

Ups and Downs – An Arsenal Away Fans Thoughts

As the season is nearing its end, my mind often turns to the bottom of the league table, and top of the Championship. Thoughts and conversations with pals revolve around who we want to go down, who we want to stay up.

As someone who go’s home and away, with an away scheme membership (away season ticket) I travel the length and depth of the country every week with my pals. No agendas. No BS. Just a good group of lads going to the football.

For us, relegation and promotion into and out of the Premier League is important. Who are we losing. We are we getting?

It is always sad to lose a London club. Since the £26 ticket prices, we save a lot of money with easy trips round the capital. Birmingham clubs are similar. Just a little over an hour on the train, cheap train tickets, Birmingham is always a cheap trip up north.

On the other hand, last season the ‘worst case scenario’ came true when Burnley, Middlesbrough and Hull came up. All rank trip to Northern towns. I actually have not made any of them this season.

So who do I want to go up and down?

With regards to relegation, I am happy with it being as is, with the current bottom 3 disappearing.

I am bored of Sunderland now. Their constant battle against relegation year after year. If they were a horse, dog or fish they would be put down by now. Time to put them out of their misery.

The trip has improved recently with a new train from Kings Cross direct to Sunderland. But it is still a 4 hour trip, with no boozers the other end (unless you go via Newcastle). Sunderland station is in a run down part of the city (or perhaps the entire city is run down?). They will not be missed.

Also in the north-east we have Middlesbrough. Another dump. Whilst I will not be making the Monday night trip this season (thanks Sky!) I have done it before. It is another place that is not high on the list of places to visit in the UK.

Making up the north-east trio is Hull City Tigers. One of only 2 current Premier League grounds I have not yet visited (the other is Burnley). I have no plan to visit it. I went for a wedding in Hull 2 years ago. I do not plan to go back.

I would not shed a tear if all 3 went down.

Also in the relegation dog fight is Swansea.

Swansea is a decent away trip, if you are doing the night out. Full of Welsh slags. But if you are not doing a night out, it is a long old trip up their with Sunderland. Around 4 hours, their is usually delays, often engineering works.

In the last 3 years we have been re-rooted vie Gloucester, held just outside Swansea station for over an hour, and had to get a rail replacement bus service from Port Talbot. A good night out, but a tough old journey.

West Ham and above are probably fair enough ahead to not be dragged into it. Whilst the Hammers going down would be hilarious, going to the London Stadium is the easiest trip for me to do.

Leicester fall into the Birmingham category of being a nice easy, cheap train trip.

Sandwiched between are Burnley and Crystal Palace.

Palace have the London thing in their favour, although it would be nice to get rid of their embarrassing ultras. Burnley can also disappear off the face of the earth. A nasty little racist town.

Sunderland, Hull City Tiger, Middlesbrough, Burnley & Swansea. 3 of those 5 gone will make away days a little more enjoyable next season.

As for who comes up, it looks like Newcastle and Brighton are almost certain to have their Premier League status secured for next season.

Despite my hatred of the north-east , I actually do not mind Newcastle.

Whilst in terms of time the train journey is not too much different from Hull and Sunderland, there is a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, or a pub at the end of the train journey.

Newcastle has some decent boozers near the station. The ground is a short (but hilly) walk from the station. Plenty of options home (trains back to London every 20-30 minutes). It is a decent away trip. Add in that it is a decent night out too.

I am not so enthused about Brighton coming up.

We have done the trip down to the Sussex coast a couple of times in the FA Cup in recent years and both times, I was not too impressed.

The journey is not the issue, but I just do not like Brighton as a town. It just is not set up for football fans to turn up en masse and have a pint. We are looked at by locals as the scum of the earth. They do not want us in their establishments and seem like they can not wait for us to leave.

Add in that horrible little train to Falmer – Brighton are not actually based in Brighton – and a stadium which comes out of the identikit stadiums that sprung up in the late 00s / early 10s and all in all it is a trip I will not overly look forward too.

Everything could change, however, it we get scheduled to play them in August or September. Bit of summer sun and beers down on the beach.

It looks like a 5-way battle for the play-offs.

Huddersfield, Reading, Leeds, Fulham & Sheffield Wednesday.

Right off the bat, I do not want Reading.

Like Brighton, it is one of these grounds not built in the city or town it resides in. Instead it is build on an industrial estate which you have to get a bus too. Been there, done that, got the t-shirt, not bothered about going back.

Sheffield Wednesday is another I would right off. After the League Cup defeat, I do not have great memories of the ground. It is falling apart. And is a pigs-ear to get to. Trains planes and automobiles come to mind as you have to get a combination of trains, trams, cabs and walking to get to the ground.

That leaves Fulham, Leeds and Huddersfield.

Despite having done Fulham plenty of times before, it is always an enjoyable trip.

Another London day out, easy to get too, plenty of decent boozers. I do not think I have ever had a bad away day to Fulham. Even when it was torrential rain. They would be my favourite.

Huddersfield and Leeds are two trips I have never done before so I honestly do not know what either would be like for an away trip.

It would be nice to have Leeds back in the Premier League. A proper club who were ripped apart by improper owners.

A nice easy journey into Leeds, with a bit of a horrid journey to the stadium ,it would be nice to have a proper club with proper fans back in the Premier League.

Huddersfield, whilst one many have not done in recent years, is probably bottom of the 3, purely because of the train journey. You have to get to Manchester Piccadilly then across to Huddersfield.

I think I will stick to my original thoughts and welcome Fulham back to the Premier League with welcome arms.

Despite everything that is going on at the club at the moment, I go to football for the day out. That involves the train, the beers, the mates, as well as the game.

When you travel up and down the country following your team, there is much more important things that make it a great day rather than just the football.

Keenos

Hull Away, Penalties, Santi Cazorla, Alex Iwobi & Nottingham Forest

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Hull Away

Hull away was the first game I have missed this season due to buying tickets for Frankie Boyle at the Pleasance Theatre on The Cally. Frankie Boyle was average. Arsenal were excellent.

4-1 away from home in the Premier League is a great result in anyone’s book. At the time, it took us to second place in the league. After Everton’s result, we currently sit 3rd. Not bad for a side who have seemingly had a very average start to the Premier League season. Written off by the media after just a few games.

In comparison, Liverpool have had an excellent start to the season. Talk of a title challenge. They sit below Arsenal.

After a tough mid-week away tie in Paris, a trip to Hull was a potential banana skin. Mike Phelan was named Premier League Manager of the Month for August. It could have been one of them tough games up north after a mid week jaunt to Europe.

Arsenal were helped by Jake Livermore thinking he was playing beach volleyball on the Copacabana Beach, but you feel Arsenal would have run out winners no matter his decision to handle in the area.

An Arsenal game would not be an Arsenal game without us on the verge of drawing a game we were dominating, and the penalty for Hull is worrying. It was the umpteenth time this season we have let players in behind our defence. It happened against Southampton, numerous times against PSG, and now against Hull. We are holding a high line, but the high press then gives plenty of space in behind. Luckily against Hull, whilst we were punished with a goal, we still came out with 3 points.

It is still mystifying why Granit Xhaka is not starting. And with no place for Olivier Giroud (a hurt “toe” – is he David Haye?) or Lucas Perez, the starting 11 put out by Arsene Wenger was baffling once more. Maybe we will see these guys come into the team against Nottingham Forest (more later).

4-1, away from home, after a European away game, up north, taking us into the top 3. Yesterday was a good day.

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Penalties

Why did Santi Cazorla not take that penalty? I was confused, you were all confused, even Arsene Wenger was confused. We won, so it is not a big issue in the short term. But in the long term, it needs to be sorted out.

Arsenal have now had 4 penalties in their first 5 games of the season. After last season having just 2. Incidentally, Leicester won 13 penalties last season. It was a big part of them becoming champions.

Of the 4 penalties, the record is now scored 2, missed 2. Both were scored by Santi Cazorla, the misses were by Theo Walcott and Sanchez.

We need to take advantage of penalties.

Santi Cazorla

Penalties apart, Santi Cazorla needs to be sat down and made to watch the video of yesterday’s game. He should be feeling very lucky to have remained on the pitch yesterday.

After being booked, he committed a further 2 challenges which could have resulted in yellow cards. It was one of those scenarios where had he not been booked already, he would have got a yellow for both.

It is not the first time Cazorla has walked the tight rope after being booked.

Playing deep, in the middle of the park, he needs discipline. But as a naturally attacking player, he does not have this natural discipline. He has a tendency to lunge into his tackles and, once already been booked, he needs to learn that he can not do this.

We saw him sent off against Chelsea last season for this exact reason. Already booked. He lunged at the ball, was beaten to it by Cesc Fabregas, and got a second yellow.

The commentary on that is completely accurate.

“After already being booked, you’ve gotta take responsibility…you don’t go in for that challenge…you have to stay on your feet”.

And yesterday was a similar scenario. After already being booked, Cazorla committed fouls in the 2nd minute of injury time of the first half, and after 2 minutes of the 2nd half starting. Both fouls were needless, and given away in Hull’s half. He could have seen red, 10v10, for pointless challenges.

He needs discipline.

Alex Iwobi

England must be kicking themselves for letting Alex Iwobi pick Nigeria over England.

After playing youth football for England up till U18s, Iwobi elected to play for Nigeria and made his senior debut on 8 October 2015, replacing Ahmed Musa in the 57th minute of a 2–0 friendly defeat to DR Congo in Visé, Belgium.

At just 20, we have a star on our hands. Gifted on the ball, ability to spot a pass, strong and quick, he is becoming a player who has it all. For England you could easily see him on one wing with Raheem Sterling on the other. England’s loss is certainly Nigeria’s gain.

Above his national team, he is ultimately an Arsenal player. You can now make an argument that he should be one of the first players on the team sheet.

Once Giroud returns, we should be lining up with Iwobi and Sanchez each side of Mesut Ozil.

Over the summer Wenger made the decision to let Serge Gnabry and Joel Campbell go. Iwobi’s form in the opening few games of this season justifies this decision.

Some will say that Arsene Wenger has lost his touch with young players. The development of Iwobi and Hector Bellerin shows that he can still develop a young player.

Something else labelled against him is that he often drops a young player on form when an established star returns from injury or is available. Yesterday on our bench where senior pro’s Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Mohamad Elneny, Granit Xhaka & Lucas Perez. Iwobi started. And repaid the faith Wenger had in him.

Alex Iwobi is a player.

Nottingham Forest

On to the League Cup.

Would I be right in saying many fans are now more interested in the League Cup than the Champions League?

They are certainly getting bored of the Champions League. The away section at PSG looked like a college day out. Mainly filled by students who had not gone back to university yet. Whilst going to Nottingham Forest, it seems it is more of a normal away support, and many who have not gone away for a few years who have done their time following the club.

Nottingham Forest away has more of a draw than PSG away.

It was the same with Sheffield Wednesday last season. Plenty of older faces who you have not seen away for a few years, dusted down their gear and went to Hillsborough.

Maybe it is the chance to visit an old school ground at a legendary club is what interests. But there is certain more excitement over going to the City Ground over the Parc de Princes.

And hopefully, unlike Sheffield Wednesday away, we return with a victory.

The side, as always in the League Cup, will be a B / Youth Team. With one eye on Chelsea at the weekend and games coming thick and fast, it will be a chance to rest and rotate.

Expected line-up:

Ospina
Bielek Gabriel Holding Gibbs
Elneny Xhaka
Perez Ox Akpom
Giroud

Keenos

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Arsenal in Paris, The Game, Attendances & Hull Away

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Arsenal in Paris

Well that was a fun trip wasn’t it? A 2.30am start on Tuesday to get to Luton. Few beers in the airport. Board the plane. Few more beers on the plane. Get to Paris at 9.20am. Get to hotel. Can’t check in. Have few beers in the hotel. Check in at Noon. Go straight to pub. It’s hot. Too hot. Have a lot of beers in pub. Have a panini. Head to stadium. Police escort. Watch game. 1-1. Poor away following. Get held in. Get released. Go pub. Few beers. Head back to hotel. Few more beers. 2am. Bed. Wake up. Check out at noon. Beer in hotel. Head to pub. Few beers. Train to airport. Get to airport. Few beers. Board the plane. Few more beers on the plane. Land in Luton. Train back to Kings Cross. Underground back to Walthamstow. Order curry. Watch Spurs. Laugh. Bed.

A lot has been made over the last few days of some fans on a train having a sing and a dance. More videos will come out over the next week of fans in the main square, or under the Eiffel Tower, having a song and a dance, throwing a few beers in the air, and generally making a fool of themselves.

Whilst I think this behaviour is a bit cringey, especially when you see middle aged men involved, if this is how fans wish to support their club abroad then fair enough.

Often over the last few years we have heard ”I have spent £1000 on my season ticket, I can show my support how I wish, even if I boo the team”. Well it is the same in this scenario.

The trip cost me, flights, hotels, trains and spending money, around £300. And we got dirt cheap flights due to my quick reactions to the draw. Others would have spent well over £500.

Spending that money gives you the right to act a knob abroad if that is your choice.

And we have all done it. I remember doing it in my 20s. At AC Milan away. Going into their main square. Heading to Lidl to buy cheap beer. Throwing a few cans in the air. Fulham away around a similar time. A good sing song on the train at other passengers expense. It is harmless fun.

Obviously I grew out of it. Now my idea of an enjoyable away trip is to find a nice bar and have a few beers in the sun. Bit of peace and quiet. Relaxing abroad. I am sure when I am even older, I might even be interested in a bit of sight seeing. But that’s unlikely, considering I spent 3 weeks in Australia a few years back and just saw the inside of a couple of bars and the inside of the MCG & SCG. Three weeks in Australia and we spent 3 hours on a beach.

Where I do have an issue with fans behaviour is when it comes to the attention seeking. The self promotion. When I had a laugh in Milan, I had no interest of being on camera. Let alone getting my own camera phone out, videoing myself acting like a knob, then uploading it to YouTube so that the world can see I am a bit of a knob. Just for hits. Just for attention.

Most of those behaving in this manner are kids. Students. Youngsters. They know no better. I was the same at their age. Eventually they will grow out of it, as I did.

But the ‘older lot’ do make me wonder. Leading a bunch of kids, like they are The Pied Piper of Hamelin. They are the ones who do it for the attention. I do wonder what line of work they are in. I would probably get the sack if my match day antics ever appeared on YouTube. Acting a knob abroad would lose me respect in my office, respect of my management, respect of my clients. I guess if you are on minimum wage stacking shelves in a warehouse, no one will notice. No one will care.

We all saw the damage a bit a “banter” did for Chelsea fans. Why record ourselves misbehaving and stick it up online ourselves? Grassing ourselves up?

The attention seeking nature of some of our fans will get eventually get them into trouble. Whether at work, at home, or with other fans. If you record yourself, you only have yourself to blame when it go’s wrong.1

It is the modern era we live in. Not just football, but life. A celebrity culture where people become famous for being famous. Graffiti artist Plastic Jesus summed it up well with his stop making stupid people famous piece. It is the era we live in. Kids grow up idolising some idiot from TOWIE, a slag from Geordie Shore, a knob from ArsenalFan TV. It is up to parents to teach their children better. To educate them to find a real role model. To not idolise a pillock.

This behaviour has been in celebrity culture for a few decades now. It is now filtering into football. With Twitter and other forms of social media, people now become a face due to shouting at a TV recording themselves. Idiots with a phone who do not go to games becoming famous. It is part of modern culture. And what happened in Paris on the train, with attention seekers seeking attention is part of that. Arsenal have lot’s of them. Other clubs might mock, but their fans are starting to go the same way.

My second issue is with the self promotion as “this is how the real Arsenal fans behave”. You are not the real Arsenal fans.

There is no generalist real Arsenal fan. There were about 1,500 in France. Some went into a square and threw beer. Others made noise on a train. Others sat in a bar. Others saw some sites. They are all real Arsenal fans. They do not represent each other. One group of fans doing one thing is no more real than another group of fans doing another thing.

Let’s stop this one upmanship. Let people show their support of the team how they wish. Call people a knob if they are a knob, and ultimately come judgment day we will all be judged.

I had a cracking trip. Chilled out. Met some new people. Met people who I would certainly class is proper Arsenal fans. None of which we singing and dancing on a train. It was a top trip. Even if our end was a little sparse and did look a bit like a college trip.

The Game

So I spoke a bit about the actually trip. What about the actual game?

It wasn’t that great to be honest. European aways often are not. By the time the game kicks off, tiredness is kicking in, as the alcohol.

A 1-1 draw is a decent result in the hardest away game of the group. The team we put out was surprising. Why drop Petr Cech? – Although David Ospina was easily man of the match. Why still no Granit Xhaka? – He was class when he came on (I think he came on?). Why not start with Olivier Giroud up top? – Maybe we wanted to play on the counter attack with pace up top.

The Giroud red card was a joke. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has had the run in the team everyone wanted and has shown he is not good enough for Arsenal.

We should qualify from this group.

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With home games against Basel and Ludogorets coming up, we should be 7 points from 9.

It was a good in Paris and leaves us top of the group

Attendances

Spurs are a joke.

Celebrating getting the highest home attendance in English football history whilst losing 2-1 shows how insignificant they are.

Well done. 85,011 is the largest amount of fans who have seen their team lose a game in England. Good job.

It is a bit like boasting about sleeping with hundreds of women, when infact you only have sex with prostitutes. Renting a stadium and breaking an attendance record, then boasting about it, shows that Spurs fans suffer from little man syndrome.

A bit like building a stadium with 100 seats more than Arsenal. Well done, you have a few more seats. But you have not won the league since 1961.

13 league titles, you’ve only won two.

They mock us for the Top 4 Trophy. Yet for them, top 4’s their everything.

Over 20 years of finishing below The Arsenal. They clearly do not have much to hang on to. They laugh at us for losing a Champions League final, but they’ve never made one. They mock us for being knocked out of the Champions League, yet they were not in it at the time.

They say it shows they are bigger than Arsenal, forgetting that Arsenal were playing at Wembley nearly 20 years ago.

Dare mention that we get bigger weekly attendances, they are quick to point out its not their fault they play in a smaller stadium. Yet mention that when Arsenal played at Wembley, capacity was capped at 74,000 (and we had attendances of 73,000+ at 5 of the 6 games), they disregard their own ‘smaller stadium’ argument.

The fact is, at £25 a ticket, Spurs still struggled to sell out. If Arsenal played a home game at Wembley, they would sell out 100,000+. And still have people moan that they did not get a ticket.

So well done to the 85,011 who went to Wembley. I am sure in years to come, you will be telling your grandkids that “you were there in 2016”. But just don’t mention the result.

Hull away

And finally, Hull away. We have shuffled the pack well over the last couple of games. A win against Watford and a draw in Paris. Now it is important we back this up with a victory against Hull.

Three points is important.

It will be the first game of the season I am missing (Frankie Boyle at the Pleasance Theatre on Caledonian Road were bought in the summer).

So to all those travelling. Enjoy yourself. Support the team how you wish. But don’t make a knob of yourself and stick it up online.

Have a good day

Keenos

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