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1 January 2017
Crystal Palace, New Year’s Day, not even a hangover. Wow, either I am an old lush or just hardcore. Looking forward to getting to the pub early, new year, new me and all of that. When my daughter rings up and announces that her boyfriend is coming for dinner. I’m like WTF in a good sort of way and it’s a frigging Sunday and when you get a Sunday dinner in my house it’s going to be the mother of all Sunday dinners. I knew at that point I would not be getting to the pub early.... I just popped open a bottle of bubbles and just had pre-footy drinks whilst cooking instead, Where there’s a will there’s a way.
I had already been effed off about by some numpty who wanted a ticket. A close bud of mine had asked me if I had any tickets for someone who was desperate to go to the game so he put the person in touch with me. I got him a ticket, and then he wanted another one for his mate, so had got them both tickets, sitting together. On New Year’s Eve I messaged him to confirm where and what time to meet. He said that he had got himself a ticket from someone else but his mate still needed one. I thought well his mate can go and do one. I said to him that was rather rude and the cheek of the little gobshite was to message back “stuff happens”. Cards are marked sunshine. Really have no time for time wasters. Take your fan tv name dropping and ego and shove it where the proverbial sun don’t shine.
After knocking up that hell of a dinner just left enough time to squeeze in a couple bottles of beer at in the Twelve Pins. Manage to get rid of the tickets to father and son combo, Roaming Eyes Ray and Robert.
As soon as we left the Twelve Pins one of the old boys needed a loo visit, so the Auld Triangle was our next stop, just long enough for us to have a quick short each and get to the game without missing too much of it.
Thought Big Fat Sam was going to get more abuse than he did, still think he is extremely lucky to have got back into football so quickly. A start for Giroud, bit nervous for this game, new manager optimism and all that. Oh my days, how can I describe what happened next – not a great pass from Sanchez, it was behind Giroud but he stuck his leg out and flicked the ball over his head, top corner. Well hello there, the Emirates went mental, replay after replay, we had just been treated to an amazing Scorpion goal. Had we just witnessed the goal of the season? Place was buzzing. Not even 20 minutes played yet. All everyone could speak about at half-time was that goal. It was such an easy, comfortable game but it was only a one goal lead and I feared the game would end up a draw the longer it went on. Iwobiiiiiiiiiiii made it 2-0 three-quarters of the way through. Lovely and that’s how the game finished.
Two days later I find myself on the south coast, away to Bournemouth. One of the away games I had been looking forward to. Nice journey down, lovely people on this coach. Bruno, ahhh so continental with his lovely delicate biscuits. Too cute. We got their nice and early and good to see that some of the Arsenal faithful had made a romantic break of it and had taken their partners away for a few days (you know who you are).
Arsenal away fans can be a bit sure of themselves and began singing to the Bournemouth fans, ”you’ve only come to see the Arsenal, why oh why do they continually do this. Bam 1-0 down Charlie Daniels, cracking goal to be fair, but I know his mum, put it this way she lives extremely close to me, could imagine her laughing in my face. Quarter of an hour gone and we were already losing. PELANTY!!! Granit Xhaka why, there was no need to make a challenge there. Twenty minutes gone and 2-0 down. Bellerin was having a nightmare of a game, actually not just him. Half time, the fans were getting angry with each other, a hard core singing Wenger out. I was bumping into all the people that I used to sit near to, it was like an East Lower, Highbury reunion. They are old school like me and can’t be doing with this in-fighting malarkey. Second half now well and truly on the way, we thought we were 3-0 down but the goal was disallowed. For crying out loud, this was getting bad. Spoke too soon, two minutes later Bournemouth had scored their third goal. That was the cue for some of the Arsenal fans to head off home. Not sure what is going on behind the scenes but only one player seemed to be up for it and that was Alexis. The man look tortured, if only a couple more of the players could have that desire. Too make it worse Kos is off injured. Arsenal fans began singing “THIS IS EMBARRASSING”, Bournemouth fans began laughing. I was just cringing. Bournemouth fans were well and truly giving it the big un. On comes Perez for Iwobi, personally Ramsey would have been the one sacrificed. On the 70th minute the only person who had been trying got a well deserved goal scoring with a diving header, 3-1. Five minutes later, Perez makes it 3-2, he made it look so easy, Artur Boruc was rooted to the spot. Some of the Arsenal fans started to believe that maybe just maybe. Bournemouth down to 10-men, not even sure what happened, too busy getting behind the team. All I know is that their player is taking an effing age to get off the pitch. Bournemouth started all the delaying tactics, their goalkeeper then gets booked for time wasting. Ninety minutes are nearly up and the fourth official holds up 6 minutes some of those Bournemouth fans giving it the big un earlier seem to be a lot less quiet now. Giroud took a shot and I thought it was the side netting like some many other fans, then the players were celebrating. Fucking pandemonium. I’m like we can still win this but no Giroud wants to celebrate by reliving the Scorpion goal. Typical Arsenal fans started singing ‘3-0 and you fucked it up’. I was not feeling that brave to start singing that based on the first half performance. Game finished 3-3, Sanchez took off his gloves threw them down in disgust and stormed off. The Ox, bless him when he came to thank the fans, picked them up (bet he is a tidy freak). I dragged my adrenaline sapped body back to the coach. There was a sense of relief that we manage to fight back but bitter disappointment that we were not leaving with 3 points.
Four days later back on the road again, this time the FA Cup. I love this competition, reminds me of my youth and the whole big thing around the cup. Preston North End, here we come. Arsenal Travel Club alone I believe took 10 coaches on which the Buddha and I were on one of them. Excited but I knew I had and assignment to finish off. Had all my notes with me and a few books to ensure that referencing was spot on. There was a lot a banter going on, particularly on Twitter with many excitedly tweeting about their journey up there. It was foggy and I kept on thinking let’s not get up there for it to be called off. The one day I needed headphones I had forgotten. There were 5 young lads at the back of the coach, never seen them on any of our away trips who just would not shut up. Constantly giving it the big I am, trying to out do one another. Just chatting pure shite. I could feel myself losing it – I wanted to smother the little gits just for some peace, not much to ask. We got a huge police escort to the ground, as much as I tried to ignore this bastards I just couldn’t. My headache had become worst, then the words just came out, I couldn’t stop them – “for fuck sake my head is fucking killing me as I have had to listen to incessant shit for 5 fucking hours”. Oops did I just say that out loud, yep I sure did - it went a little awkward. The usually remarkable voice of reason Buddha Gooner had also been tipped over the proverbial edge. One of the little shits was just giving me the evil glare, I know he wanted to say something, luckily for him and indeed very wise of him, he kept his mouth shut. Maybe a drink might just relax me a tad because I was like a tension coiled spring. I was even in my seat when the players were still warming up. Believe me this is such a rarity.
Arsenal had come out in force and were ready to have a party in Preston. The lovely Nilstar was a few rows behind me. Always good to see her, plus her potty mouth makes me almost angelic. Could not believe my luck when I saw who was in the row behind me. Yes, it was the 5 1D wannabees, the glarer asked his mates to swap so he was the furthest away from me. It was just going to be one of those days, I had to keep spraying the guy next to Buddha as personal hygiene was not something he was clearly au fait with. Even I was not prepared for what was happening on the pitch, yet our fans decided to start singing ‘you’ve only come to see the Arsenal’. Jesus not even 10 minutes and we are 1-0 down to Preston. This was shocking football, poor Maitland-Niles was like a rabbit caught in headlights and his team were not supporting him. That was close we should have be 2-0 down, it seems that we had not learnt anything from our trip to Bournemouth. Half-time could not come quick enough, I personally wanted to go in that dressing room and give them the hairdryer treatment. Then shades of last season reared its ugly head again, the Arsenal fans began fighting amongst each other at half time. Diabolical. Fuck sake what is wrong with just having a pint and pie and less of the fisticuffs. How embarrassing, the police were in there with the cameras recording it all. Low life - why travel all that way to fight each other at an away ground. Ramsey equalises just at the start at the second half. Danny Welbeck has returned from his long term injury for the last 10 minutes. Just as the Preston’s chairman must have been calculating how much they would be getting in the replay, up pops Giroud in the 89th minute 1-2. No time for Preston to equalise. We’re in the next round and that was always the aim.
These away games can be so tough, Bournemouth and Preston away really took it out of me. Gave Swansea away a miss, needed to rejuvenate and watch it from the comfort of my settee. It had all become a bit too stressful for me. Yeah we started slow again but at least we did not go a goal down. Girooooooooud. In a 13-minute spell, Iwobi manage to contribute to the two own goals that Swansea had conceded. Alexis volleys one in, we are keeping and clean sheet and are winning by 4 goals and Sanchez still gets arsey about being substituted to give Danny Welbeck could get another run out. To be fair he was not arsey with Welbz but the whole being substituted thing. He needs to remember it is a squad game. Both our games against Swansea have been Premier League welcomes to their new managers, both games showing their managers that there is a lot of work to be done. Iwobi worked his socks off and was man of the match for me and was unlucky not to be directly on the score sheet.
Next up Burnley at home, who are probably still peeved that we snatched a late winner at their place.
Until next time #upthearse
JennyFollow Jenny on twitter here