Tag Archives: Premier League

No passion left in the North London Derby

On a Thursday the feeling would start….. the nerves, the anticipation, the hatred. Friday, is about making the arrangements, what pub, what train, what time. Saturday comes and we jump out of bed, it’s never a struggle,  and we pace until we leave the house. It could only mean one thing…. London derby!

The result means everything, it’s about pride, it’s about status and it’s about pecking order. It’s not 3 points, it’s everything. Form goes out of the window, it’s about two teams fighting with everything they have and usually comes down to a bit of luck on the day.

Well, that’s how it used to be.

Now, its all a bit more respectful. I don’t like that.

I sat on the train yesterday after waking at 4am and not being able to sleep. Nerves, felt sick, not confident but the hope was still there. I listened to a couple of blokes on the train who were also on their way to Wembley, they were Tottenham fans, and were talking about how great it is to sit with 80,000 Tottenham fans every other week. They felt the club was going in the right direction with a new fan base and how magnificent it was that they are getting so many new fans.

At first I got some satisfaction as thinking ‘You have no idea just what is ahead of you when you move into your new ground’ then I started to feel a bit deflated. Is this what it’s become. Success now is about how many people you get through your gates? How many people will buy the over priced crap lager and how many people wear the shirt?

When I got to Wembley we walked up to the ground with them. What’s that all about? Where was the atmosphere outside the ground? Where was the nervousness? It’s all gone. To be honest I felt exactly the same at their place last year. The atmosphere was flat, they stood outside their pubs tapping their toes to Chas n Dave, drinking out of their plastic glasses and looked menacing, but actually they weren’t. The hatred is starting to die.  Exactly the same can be said at The Emirates, it’s all very gentlemanly.

Silly kick off times don’t help but our fan base, as has theirs, has been diluted with a new passive hardcore.

Our form this year,  along with a split fan base isn’t conducive for a good day out. Half hearted attempts at songs, sitting in arenas rather than football grounds all contributes to a pleasant day out. But I don’t want a pleasant day out. I want a day of emotion and elation, I would even take anger rather than the acceptance that has become my new best friend.

I sat with 3 people to my right yesterday wearing half and half scarves. Half and half scarves for that game in the away end. Unbelievable. Shocking. Disgraceful.

I also saw loads of them wearing them, more of them than our lot to be honest. Where have our London derbies gone? How did they end up like this?

Rewind to a few weeks back and the semi final against Chelsea. A league cup semi final and for many fans it was an option game. Most hardcore and regulars chose not to go. I went in my usual seat which is littered with old clockenders with a history to be faced with a bunch of new faces. Now I have some respect for these fans who will come to any game they can get a ticket for, that I have no problem with. But, I sat watching a London derby semi final! I’ve never sat for a semi final in my life! Within 5 minutes I was told to sit down by someone who I’ve never seen before. Two kids in front of me wearing their scarves and really up for watching their first semi final stood on their chairs. Great I thought, maybe we do have a new generation coming through. Shouting abuse and making the odd wanker sign and they were ready for their love affair with our club to take hold. No, they were told to sit down, they sat down for the rest of he game and applauded politely at the end like all the others.

My opinion is there are a few reasons for this sudden change,  the main one being so many proper Arsenal have had enough and stay away now. They keep their season tickets and away scheme members as an insurance policy but they then sell them on to these people who want to visit an arena and want to wear a half and half scarf. There is no singing because they don’t know the songs, there is no hatred because they haven’t had the experiences…..and sadly, they never will.

I get people wanting to stay away, totally understand that, trust me, I am very very close to also calling it a day myself.  But, we have to keep fighting. I keep hearing that people will come back when Wenger has gone but I feel scared that there won’t be a club to come back to. You will come into the ground and hate it because it’s being allowed to be taken over by people who want a pleasant day out. People who wear half and half scarves and people who want to sit down for a semi final against Chelsea.

My message to the half and half scarf brigade, don’t fu**ing do it, don’t buy them for your kids as they won’t thank you, don’t come into an Arsenal away end looking like a dick.

Be Arsenal, stand, sing, and fight against the oppression.

*JD*

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Tottenham v Arsenal; Cheats v Winners

This week has kind of flown by for me. Usually in the lead up to a North London Derby, I get giddy from the beginning of the week and write a few blogs to try and wind that lot up the road – I still love the fact that the official “Spurs Media Watch” on their website is their News Now stream, meaning plenty of anti-Spurs / pro-Arsenal blogs get published by them

Bar calling a cheat a cheat in yesterdays blog about Pochettino’s pro-diving comments, I have hardley thought about them this week.

As I said, the week has flown by. Although yesterday I was disappointed that it was not Thursday and the last episode of the Hunted was not on. Gives me something to look forward to tonight anyhow.

So on to this weekend.

Wembley, Wembley, we are the famous Arsenal and we are going to Wembley.

It is going to be interesting Saturday. A 12:30pm kick off at Wembley has left everyone scratching their heads on where to drink.

The White Swan on Highbury Corner usually starts serving at 8am, but for recent North London Derby’s, they have not served until 11am. With it being a near enough 1 hour round trip from Highbury & Islington to Wembley Central (note: The London Overground from H&I going West towards Finchley is shut this weekend), that lease time for just one pint.

Now normally, you would think “head to Liverpool Street, Kings Cross or Euston, there will be a boozer there open”. But with Spurs now at Wembley, these areas will be heaving with that lot having a couple of pints before getting the same trains up as us. It does not really leave us with many options.

Maybe a bit of breakfast at the Breakout Cafe on the Cally, before heading to the Swan in the hope its serving? If not, then the only option is to emulate the Cologne fans and grab a couple of cans and head down to Highbury Fields.

Wherever we drink, it is going to be an interesting day…

At the minute, Spurs might be winning the battle. They finished above us last season, and sit 3 points above us this. But Arsenal are winning the war, having won the FA Cup last year.

Talk of the power shift and Spurs now being the bigger, and better, club are redundant until Spurs actually start winning trophies. I will continue to laugh at them whilst Arsenal win things and Spurs fail to do so.

If they start winning trophies on a regular basis, and finish above Arsenal more than a couple of times in 3 decades, then we can start talking about power shifts, etc. Until then, they are just our loud mouthed neighbours. The closest they have come to winning the league is when Arsenal won it back in 2004.

The fact that they have had to hire Wembley to get an opportunity to play their sums them up. Meanwhile Arsenal are about to play there for the 10th time in recent years – through being successful in the cup competitions.

Whilst Arsenal speak about winning real trophies, Spurs fans cling to statistics. Like Harry Kane scoring most Premier League goals in a single calendar. Meaningless. Or him being the 2nd fastest player to 100 Premier League goals. Again, meaningless.

There was football before the Premier League, and it does not really matter how many goals you score, or how quick you score them, if your team does not win any trophies.

Mo Salah, for example, recently because the 5th quickest player to score 20 Premier League goals. The quickest was Kevin Phillips. It really does not matter how quick you score goals, if those goals do not lead to trophies.

This weekend will be fun, and regardless of the result, Arsenal have a real trip to Wembley to look forward to this month.

Keenos

Jekill and Hyde Arsenal, Lacazette Agenda, Wenger Out Protest and Other Stuff

Jekill and Hyde Arsenal

Great win, great performance. How frustrating.

Arsenal’s last 4 results in the league are LWLW. Both losses came away, both wins came at home.

Bournemouth (A) 1-2
Crystal Palace (H) 4-1
Swansea City (A) 1-3
Everton (H) 5-1

32 out of a possible 39 points at home, 13 out of a possible 39 points away. As an Away Scheme member, it is frustrating.

But rather than spend a Sunday focusing on what we have not achieved, lets enjoy yesterday.

5-1
Hat trick for Aaron Ramsey
Goal on debut for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
3 assists for Henrik Mkhitaryan

On Mkhytaryan, if a player left Arsenal and hit 3 assists and a 10/10 performance on his debut, we would be saying that’s what happens when a player plays under a decent coach. Well Mkhitaryan left Manchester United for Arsenal and has put in his best performance in England. What should we say now?

A delightful victory to take us into Spurs.

Lacazette Agenda

I really hate Arsenal fans sometimes.

Spend years moaning about lack of options, a weak bench, a poor squad, then we have two £50m strikers competing for one space and the narrative changes.

Now it is how can we fit both in?; how can we keep both happy? Lacazette is the fall guy.

Other sides throughout England, and Europe, have multiple quality players for every position. They do not have their own fans asking these questions.

Manchester City have 3 £40m+ centre backs in their squad (and Vincent Kompany). They have Raheem sterling, David Silva, Bernad Silva, Raheem Sterling & Leroy Sane competing for 3 spots – and still tried to buy Alexis Sanchez and Riyad Mahrez.

Why are we complaining?

And then the lies come in. That Lacazette has fallen out with Arsene Wenger. That he has questioned him.

The truth is Lacazette has scored 1 goal in 12 games so was rotated to the bench. nothing more than that.

Wenger Out Protest

It was disappointing to see so few turn up for the organised Wenger Out protest.

Looking at pictures, it seems their was more journalists than fans there. This has the potential to kill any pressure that fans can put on the club as the Arsenal board will see it as 25 turned up to a protest out of 60,000. And they have a point.

Some will point to the rain – but then thousands are marching for the NHS today (although those marching today are probably using the rain for their monthly wash). Others will say it is apathy. That fans now know longer care about, they do not think they can actually do anything.

These fans are wrong. The recent changes in the club – the employment of the likes of Raul Sanllehi and Sven Mislintat – came due to Ivan Gazidis bowing to fan pressure and reducing the influence of Arsene Wenger.

I feel this protest was always doomed to fail, and it has nothing to do with Wenger or apathy, and everything to do with organisation.

In the past, the likes of GC from this site, the Blackscarf Movement, and influential large Twitter accounts have been involved in protests. It takes a lot of work. It is not as easy as “put a message on Twitter and hope people turn up”.

It takes mobilisation of people to get them out. Canvasing the pubs. A call to arms in WhatsApp groups. Actual organisation. The BSM had around 5,000 turn up a few years back.

This was done done by merely putting messages on Twitter. It was done through actual hard work.

I was in The George from about 2pm yesterday. No one was even asking if people were going to the protest. No one seemed to even know about it.

Having faceless 16 year olds running Twitter accounts promoting and attempting to organise protests is always going to fail. Having 100s of RTs about the protests from fans who do not even go is pointless.

Hopefully this failed protest is a lesson to some of those involved, and those Facebook pages and Twitter accounts who promote the protests.

These protests take make organisation than sitting behind a keyboard. I actually wouldn’t be surprised if many of those organising or aggressively advertising it did not even turn up themselves. They probably do not even go to game themselves.

A lesson to be learnt.

Other

Alexis Sanchez scored and was Manchester United’s best player at the weekend. He also gave the ball away 32 times – the most by a Manchester United player in a single game this season.

Two MOTM games, Sanchez is putting in the same performances for United as he did for Arsenal.

He gives the ball away then more than any other player, gets involved when he shouldn’t be, has one of the worst pass completing percentages on the pitch, but will always be one of the best players on the pitch, one of the biggest threats.

Liverpool v Spurs – The “Won two League Cups between them in a decade but everyone thinks they have been really successful recently” Derby. Are there two sides that have won so little in recent years, yet seem to be praised so much by the media? They are the darlings of the British press.

Pep Guardiola – Interesting to see the difference in opinion on poor tackles. When Wenger complained about poor challenges and players needed protecting (3 double leg breaks), the media labelled Arsenal Soft Southern Softies. Guardiola makes similar comments, and that same media publishes a two page spread highlighting the “9 bad challenges on Man City player this season”.

As for him saying he does not have enough players, I always find it interesting the Jose Mourinho is labelled a “cheque book manager” whilst Guardiola is a great coach – he has spent nearly £500m in 18 months at Manchester City.

 

Have a good weekend all!

Keenos