37 Comments

Making Hay

Thelwell 2

I can’t speak for you but I’m still reeling from the wham bam of this whole three cup finals in a week mularky. In contrast, our near neighbours (both geographical and in terms of league position) seem to have forgotten all about footy, and are instead on a protracted leave of absence. As they organise tiddly wink contests and ping pong leagues down at the Lane our bruised and battered boys have been facing some not so pretty and perhaps surprisingly brutal treatment at the hands, elbows and studs of Everton. All this a mere three days after facing the less violent but but no less resilient public service vehicle parking practise from the Mustard Men of Norfolk. And before you can say pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis, tired limbs and bruised knees will be having the old embrocation applied by beefy men in roll-neck sweaters as the troops muster again for a short jaunt to Craven Cottage.

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For all his faults Martin Jol isn’t known for sending his guys out to kick, block, body check and trip the opposition so hopefully it’ll be safe for us to unwrap Tomáš Rosický tomorrow and let Jack take a rest on his road to recovery. Dropping two points at home is of course no disaster but it does make this ten cup final analogy I’m so fond of somewhat confusing. You just can’t have a drawn cup final. Shouldn’t there be a replay? Penalties? As far as I can see the two we didn’t get on Tuesday makes the three more important tomorrow and that is all it means. On occasion the truth is better in it’s simple unvarnished form.  Seven from nine will just have to do and it would leave us gazing down imperiously upon the Tiny Totts as is our wont and, lets not be coy here, our right.

The dynamic has shifted this week whatever the outcome down at Stevenage Road tomorrow. We have been coming up on the stand side for the last few furlongs and all of a sudden, as the jockeys in front of us decide to pull up and let their nags take a munch on the graminoids we have thundered past with nostrils flaring and foam flecking our flanks. OK, look I appreciate the horse racing analogy is entirely inappropriate because the Spuds have games in hand on us, so our thoroughbred will be forced to stop and watch as they dig in their spurs and try to get their poor old bow backed mule back on track, but that’s my point. The dynamic has indeed shifted, they face a different kind of pressure and it’ll be interesting to see just how they cope with it. They certainly didn’t manage to cope with the pressure of staying ahead of us so let’s see how they manage playing catch up.

This stage of the season appears to be a time for predictions. I noticed with mild amusement (it takes a lot to make me actually laugh so unless you are PG Wodehouse, Mel O’Reilly or Bill Hicks, don’t bother) that twitter has been full of comments of the ‘We want City to win because then they’ll have a chance to catch Man U and will try harder to beat Spurs” variety. The ‘They will be in danger of relegation if they don’t at least draw and so will be a tougher match than you think’ species of suggestion grips people as the end draws nigh, and why? Well it’s just human nature. The closer the finish the greater impact the tiniest fraction of advantage appears to bestow upon the fortunate. And so, simple souls that we are, we seek desperately for meaning in the chaotic jostling for position, but really what matters is the same as that which has always mattered. Doing well in our games and hoping our nearest rivals fare poorly in theirs. The things that count are fitness and form of key players at the arse end of the season, also coolness, experience and intelligence of the manager and coaching staff, the run of form our opponents are in when we happen to play them. This last point often seems critical to deciding where teams end up.

Everyone has good and bad runs of form in a season. If you are unlucky enough to meet a lot of teams in their purple patch and if coincidentally other top sides meet the same teams on their down-slide it makes life tougher for you. It is of course only at or near the season’s end that these things come under the microscope and so take on a crazily exaggerated significance. Let’s face it you can beat a side who are in the middle of their best form for decades and drop points to a pile of shite who don’t deserve to be on the same pitch. Football at any level is a sport and the chaos and unpredictability is what adds the chilli powder to the finger shoved up the horses backside at the start of the race.

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Before I sign off, and I have to keep a little bit back for tomorrow you know, I think it’s about time we expressed a mea maxima culpa moment here on Positively Arsenal. In any venture such as ours, worthy, noble, pure and with the greatest imaginable intentions to be scrupulous in our support, unimpeachable in our editorial content and consistent in our argument it is vital that we accept responsibility when we err. Many of us lambasted the doomsayers among the online Arsenal support when they said that we shouldn’t bitch about lousy one eyed refereeing displays. Also they said if teams set out to bully our players and (within the strict rules of the game) illegally attack and assault them with impunity then it was simply up to our players to take it and not to use it as an excuse. We derided these arguments for the hollow empty bells that we clearly saw them to be. As the great man himself has repeated ad nauseam, we do not call for any special protection we simply ask that the rules be applied. That officials officiate and that when a semi evolved throwback, perhaps sporting a red and white stripy tunic, hoofs one of our delicate and beautifully formed performers into the sky, it is surely incumbent upon those entrusted with the laws of the game to admonish, punish and if necessary lead the thuggish miscreant to a cage and feed him daily with some suitable fruit.

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However I think that we all have come to accept that referees will never ever offer us the same protection afforded to the the red Mancs, the establishment will not show the worst fouls committed against us on their televised highlights nor discuss them on their radio call ins. Calls in. Whatever. The party line in the media will stay the same and be regurgitated by weak Arsenal fans and all other fans alike. Teams will send their players out to kick us. It’s a fact; it will happen, and Moyes has simply underlined that. What the team did on Tuesday has for me proven that sadly the Private Fraziers among our support were actually correct.  It’s going to happen so we have to take it. We have to win despite the intimidation and weak or corrupt officiating. And by golly they showed they could take it. More than once I assumed players were out for the count never to rise again and each time they came back faster, stronger and more skilled than their violent, brutish opponents and whilst we didn’t win we certainly proved we cannot be intimidated out of the game.
I shall be intrigued to see if the Red Nosed one employs his old tactics against us or actually tries to play. If the former it will be a clear indication that he knows we are back, once again a force with which to be reckoned. Not, you understand, that I give a hoot for his opinion.

About steww

Arsenal, books, photography, bass guitar, dog walking, mountain biking, being on the radio, writing, talking too much, failing, making mistakes, buggering on regardless.

37 comments on “Making Hay

  1. Brilliant Steww!

    Remember the old highbury chant ‘no on likes us – who cares?’ Or even better ‘you can stick your two points up your arse’ .!
    Hate the haters I saw. But we all now and then get suckered into reacting to them.

    No sign of the new marketing face of PG Tips coming back for the spuds? the media blackout on that story is impressive.

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  2. Very good Stew – Light and not bitter

    A game at Craven Cottage is no easy trip. It was an unpleasant surprise that Fulham crumbled quite so easily against the Blue Satan because the are a decent side and I expect Jol and his players to come roaring out tomorrow to make up for that poor effort. Our away form is good though and, other than pride, Fulham have no targets to play for.

    Narrow win

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  3. Chilly powder? Back side “?
    Ouch. They don’t really do that. Do they .
    May be the league is waiting for bale to get better before the spudniks get a game.
    Glad you are feeling better STEWW. MISSED THE WRITING AND The RADIO SHOW .

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  4. That ref definitely layed a giant egg and cost us dearly.
    Incompetent fool. ? Only a fool would think that .

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  5. Nice picture of Kevin mieralis that last one .

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  6. Fantastic Steww!

    Ah I see ‘Coll shares my apprehensions. Fulham can’t be that colossally shite twice in a row. And let’s face it, everyone raises their game against us. I’ll take a narrow win

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  7. Wonderful as ever .Stew.
    DC,I had notice the media blackout about the boy wonder.Strange indeed.

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  8. Absolutely brilliant Steww. I loved every minute, actually every word.
    As for Fulham, I thought they were doing well on Wednesday until that thunderbolt by David Luiz but the knockout blow was the cheap 2nd goal they conceded with the uncontested header by Terry. They will be up for it tomorrow without doubt. I just hope my ticker survives the 90 minutes.

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  9. Took the words from my my mouth. Join the club shotta. Last week was hairy enough with Norwich…pulse rate at 80 minutes 203/95. Back to normal after Everton ..just totally pissed off with Swarbrick who’s been OK with us before. But I don’t think we were playing Lancashire sides which is where he hails from.

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  10. Bloody brilliant number 10!, your right about bitching about the lack of protection from referees,we will never get the same treatment as other teams but the worst of it is their lack of leniency with our players as I always say ‘fuck em’ and I suspect the great man himself and his collection of old heads and good eggs have the same attitude now,apart from Lil Jack who could start a row in a telephone box!,3 points would be fantastic tomorrow but you what? a draws okay, the tea leafs point to a draw and a win against the Mancs. By the way your choice in comedic entertainment is nearly as good as your choice in music- stew blacks ‘slow & dirty’ somer valley fm, Tuesdays 8-10pm. Not Arf!.

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  11. I cant agree with Stew for once.
    Doomers tended to call us “conspiracy theorists” when we complained about officials.
    They were never prepared to lay any portion of blame anywhere other than at Arsene’s or the board’s feet.

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  12. thank you steww, though for me the best news are ryos surgery going well…im struggling to find the formation where all these players will be included..oxlade theo ryo wilshere eisfeld ramsey gnabry…

    george whats your email again ? not only were they essentially blaming us for not coping with it or even the manager and board they also turned a blind eye at the FACT that arsenal was victimised for its foreign influence/organisation/players etc . it shocks me that some arsenal fans cant see it. that they cant see how the nasty side of the english football culture has seriously affected arsenal’s results and seasons, not to mention the breaking of our players legs and spirits with their ridiculous calls and hostile behaviours.

    for them its a case of foreign influenced arsenal getting in line with english football brutal customs whereas i would think that the these football customs are long dead and that the european/foerign/international customs in arsenal the last 16 years and wengers ethics should be what everybody else should seek for.

    we cant expect that the civilised copy the savages…its the other way round. the savages will have to be forced and regulated into becoming civil.

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  13. Hunter,
    Or you could simply remind them that about a hundred and fifty years ago people that wanted to run about on the mud grappling other blokes and try to kick them whilst they were otherwise engaged trying to play Association Football were told, and I quote, “to fark orf” and form their own sport: Rugger.

    Alas. It’s true. The modern Arsenal player needs to show plenty of Grit™.
    That might not save their bones from being bruised by a perpendicular kick (er, playing the ball are we? Just a leetle bit obvious) but hey, these are the breaks.

    Coat! Coat…. there it is. Phew!

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  14. haha fins …great tune man!!

    i guess thats one history lesson fergie missed in his books…. ” that new kid they have…whats his name…the spaniard ..reyes..yeah him…KICK HIM!!!!” …..we know the rest of the story …unfolding in front of our eyes ever since…

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  15. George
    The bit I contend they were right about is that we have to accept it and win despite it. I don’t agree with them that we have no cause for complaint or are whining or making excuses, neither do I think it is right that we ought to put up with it.
    However it seems to me at least that up with it is what we must put.

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  16. Great news that club are letting teenagers into certain games next season for £10,whoever first suggested that idea last year on twitter to the AST spokesman deserves a pat on the back or he can buy me a pint.

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  17. Now Mel, who could that be?

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  18. It is top top news. I remember being a teenager and not being able to afford to go to games. And that was just before Gazprom came on the scene.

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  19. Yeah well done Mel. Even if the buggers did nick your idea (sadly don’t think you’ll be able to sue for plagiarism). At least it’s actually happening.

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  20. I’m sure I’ll get a mention in the various media outlets later Stew!-no matter, hats off to the suits for implementing my idea, I don’t want any credit although a statue built by said teenagers would be nice……

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  21. Thanks Harry, it is a great move by the club but there is one down side to it-we’ll be hearing the word ‘innit’ around the stadium a lot more next season.

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  22. Yeah man. Innit, you get me.

    I’ll never ever do that again. Promise.

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  23. Common little guttersnipes !

    I’m appalled

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  24. carrick among the short list for the pfa player of the season??? hazard picked ahead of mata? if you must pick any midfield player, it has to be cazorla.

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  25. I am in trouble on twitter for suggesting that young Jack is not yet as good as Tomas.
    What do people see when they watch football

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  26. @George
    Blasphemous! How dare you say that a 30 year old experienced professional who clearly would be considered world class by everyone if he hadn’t been injured for so long is better than a 21 year old youngster who clearly has world class talent but is still on the road to fulfilling his potential? What where you thinking?

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  27. Yeah what were you thinking. You obviously don’t know a thing about football.

    Btw the talk of conspiracies in English football isn’t really good for anyone. I don’t like this feeling of being victimised it projects on Arsenal football club.

    I believe big clubs do influence decisions personally.

    This happens in most countries and not just in football. The top top teams always seem to have it easy almost always. I think it is because of two factors :

    1. There is often so much more emphasis on every simple detail related to these clubs. (this is a small point but true nonetheless).
    2. A more important factor is the huge pressure on referees in matches related to these clubs. In an ideal world referees should be immune to all pressures but the truth is they are not. So when they have to make a 50 50 decision in these matches, they tend to give it in the favour of the stronger team because they are scared somewhere deep inside that if they get it wrong against the big teams there will be wolves waiting to vilify them day in and day out. The smaller the team is, the lesser the noise they make. I do not in any sense condone this. But I believe this is entirely possible. Every club tries to make the unfairest feasible argument possible in any given situation because they only ever care about themselves. This is not a crime although clubs like Arsenal with class tone it down to a bare minimum.
    It all then boils down to the FAs to make sure this scenario is negated. But being the spineless associations they usually are it rarely ever happens. These FAs also have it in their interest to shield this top clubs for various reasons.

    In conclusion although it is true that big clubs influence a lot of decisions, talk of conspiracy is little far fetched. The reason I say it is because the word conspiracy would mean there is a plan in effect.
    I honestly believe this league is one of the most honest leagues in the world. Since Arsenal is competing in this league and that we have been quite successful over the years, I would hate to believe there is something fishy in this business.

    People are often scared of the big boys. They shouldn’t be. This however does not make them corrupt.

    ManU does not half deserve the accolades. But what can we do eh?

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  28. We should continue to point all the wrongdoings of the officials. Not doing so isn’t good either.

    I just have the problem with the word “Conspiracy”.

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  29. It’s odd really – all those years ago before 37 camera angles, cg graphics, and Tony Gale referees and linos were do much more competent

    And honest

    Don’t forget honest

    Conspiracy ?

    Look if there was a conspiracy do you think clowns like us would be bright enough to spot it ?

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  30. Who is calling it a conspiracy?

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  31. AA23
    Conspiracies by their nature try to stay a secret, hence area51, majestic12 and why larow still has a job at the beeb.
    There is no anti arse conspiracy if if is so out in the open. I’m actually cool with that, fuck em they alway have hated us, a friend of mine has done some reading on what the papers used to say about Chapman in the ’30s – very familiar stuff to this day.
    Northlondonisred has a rant today on the same stuff. Also see the invective on the beeb to wengers comments today about fair tackling. I think those yo-yo’s who comment on there totally miss what Wenger means! He is talking about OUR players getting a chance to be allowed get in a few tackles for once in a while without getting a yellow just for protecting ourselves.

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  32. Pass

    Loved that link
    “My teammates call me names I can’t repeat on here” hehe. Eboue – I always loved true guy for his sheer fo

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  33. Sorry about that. iPhone sucks at texting on this site. (Or its me).

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  34. i am a conspiracy theorist of sorts and it not that far fetched in every business where money is at stake then palms are greased, football has seen treachery in most countries in the world and in some aspects in this country as well, is it really that much of a leap of faith to suggest that a gangster in one country when he buys a club over here would not try a little skulduggery. I think most people know you don’t get rich by playing by the rules and there are more criminals in the business world than people being detained at HMP.
    However I do think it will be a tough game tomorrow but we have been playing well so I pray for the necessary three points

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