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Unclench, Breathe And Enjoy Your Football

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Which London club finished highest in the inaugural season of Murdoch’s Premier Leagueship? Go on take a stab at it. Here’s a clue, their manager made his name on the sloping fields of Twerton Park as Bristol Rovers’ most successful boss, the Pirates’ Arsene Wenger if you will. We’ll draw a veil over the fact that he went on to manage the Spuds. Still not sure? OK how about this. One of their past managers was poached by Barcelona before going on to be a filthy Spud and eventually England boss, and two of their managers were coaches at The Arsenal.
Ok sit up straight and I’ll tell you. The answer is (he announced to a depressingly unastonished audience) today’s hoopy opponents, Queens Park Rangers.
Until my mate Dave Goode became a season ticket holder, QPR were just one of those odd up down relegation promotion teams who only really came to my attention when they installed a plastic playing surface at Loftus Road. charles and diIt was 1981, the charts were dominated by Shakin Stevens, Adam And The Ants and the mighty Joe Dolce, and QPR were for possibly the only time in their blue and white hooped history, trend setters.Claiming that they were in the vanguard of an historic change in football they were the first of, ahem, four sides to dig up the grass and replace it with astroturf. Let’s face it even back in the days of the SDP, Bucks Fizz and IRA hunger strikes, astroturf sounded about as futuristic as a nineteen fifties sci fi comic. The ball bounced to the kind of altitude occupied only by Fred Dibner and Per Mertesacker’s barber and physios ran out of plasters to treat the grazed knees and elbows of sobbing players.
A glance at QPR’s recent history leaves one reaching for the anti bacterial handwash and drinking it to be on the safe side. Grubby financial dealings, court cases, ownership wars, near bankrupcy, take overs and a managerial merry go round that makes your head spin. They were, at one time, bought by a phenomenally wealthy man who invested bugger all in the playing staff, the team benefiting not a jot. A cautionary tale for certain sections of our own support. This season’s arrival of Wheeler Dealer, club destroyer and media darling ‘appy ‘arry Redknap was just the perfect icing on the cake as the club slid inexorably into the jaws of yet another relegation.
It’s a shame in a way because I had something of a soft spot for them. Not a love affair, or even a romance you understand. I do know how these things work. Nick Hornby had his Cambridge Untied and my dalliance with Bristol Rovers is acceptable but if I were to try to slip a love of any other London  team past you all it’d be a date with the hot tar and duck down. No, my interest in QPR was simply that Dave moved to London and although a committed Wolves fan he bought a season ticket to QPR. Gave him something to do every other weekend and suited his penchant for isolation and quirkiness. So his letters were full of tales of The Hoops. Add to that the Bristol connection (Francis, Holloway, Penrice, Yates, the inimitable Devon White Devon_whitewho I saw kick more balls clean out of a football stadium than any other player in history) it was as if Rangers were almost using my local side as a feeder club, and so I can surely be forgiven for not loathing them as much as perhaps I ought.
A shame, as I say that the current owners saw fit to appoint one of the most laughable men in the modern game but a move which has added spice to today’s encounter. Not that the third game from the end with so much riding on it is a dish particularly in need of seasoning. Add to the fact that it’s a five thirty kick off and things are just that little more tense that perhaps they should be. It was said by in the comments yesterday that matches at that particular time seem more fraught with danger than a good old three pm fixtures. I must confess this is a nonsense to which I also subscribe. There is no logical reason I can think of. Does anyone know the stats? Do we lose more ‘winnable’ games early evening on a Saturday? I don’t know, perhaps it’s just the buttock clenching closeness of the fight for third and fourth (surely more exciting that the title race has been this year) which gets the old ticker beating that little bit more quickly today.
There is in general more nervous, superstitious, fretting concern over this fixture than one might expect. Had it been played in December folks would doubtless be more relaxed. You’ll never guess what, I have a theory about this. Lie back, and allow me to expound upon it. I believe it is probably related to the same synaptical silliness which makes an opponent’s free kick on the edge of our area seem like the simplest position in the world from which to score. Our defenders suddenly appear inadequate in number, too slight of build to impact upon the situation. The posts grow ever farther apart with each passing second and our goal keeper cuts a disappearingly tiny figure lost within the enormous width and height of our goal frame. Conversely the same brain attack happens in reverse if we are awarded a similarly placed free kick at the other end of the pitch. Their defensive wall appears to be made up of huge bloated impassable men, about thirty in number whilst their keeper fills the tiny goalmouth with one enormous gloved hand and it is so obvious that we have no hope of scoring.
It’s a common problem and one with which the doom ridden are unable to cope. We are all responsible adults here though, can easily tell the difference between Stork and butter and as such should not be afflicted by this irrational hyper emotional garbage. The simple facts are that we are the superior team, with most to play for and are enjoying the better run of form. This isn’t hubris, nor a prediction of an easy victory. This is just a statement of unarguable facts. Sport can of course be a lottery and I acknowledge that banana skins are there to be slipped on as much as avoided, but come on, lets put all silly hocuspocus and fears behind us and just enjoy the entertainment. If Arsene hadn’t piloted this largely new team through the choppy waters of a tough campaign we would never be enjoying the tension and excitement of this end of term battle of attrition. We have the right man at the helm and it’s becoming increasingly obvious that we have the right men on the pitch, so go forward with a spring in your step folks, we know we can win and there is nothing to be gained from dwelling on what might go wrong.
You don’t drive to the seaside worrying that the wheel nuts might come loose do you? No of course you don’t, you wind down the window, turn up the stereo and enjoy the view.

1950s Family Portrait Mother Father Son Daughter In Chevrolet Convertible Automobile

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.

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83 comments on “Unclench, Breathe And Enjoy Your Football

  1. Ramsey doesn’t score because god doesn’t want to upset the balance of the universe.

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  2. Yes!

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  3. phew! three good points

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  4. Three points
    Clean sheet

    QPR had an (ex?) Manc and a Spud on the pitch at the end. They deserve to go down.

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  5. Mert and Koscielny are rock solid.

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  6. I couldn’t care less which team finishes fourth behind us.

    Having said that I think Tottenham deserve it more than chelsea. They lost van der vaart, modric and kranjcar in the summer and played with a lot of spirit throughout. Bale is the one reason they are where they are right now. For me he is the player of the season.

    Chelsea on the other hand. pffffft.

    Again I really couldn’t care less.

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  7. Steww the prophet. This is not a journey for the synaptically challenged. Scored after 20 seconds and held onto the lead for 93 minutes. On Twitter there were moaners were demanding Plan b, c, d while we held unto our lead. Manager and player held their nerves.

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  8. Worryingly the spud looked pretty good. Well it wasn’t pretty but it keeps the pressure on. No game for 10 days now.

    Thought Bac had a good game today

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  9. At this point in the season I could care less about what happens on the pitch, as long as we win. Good win, three points, very important.

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  10. Prince Arteta played like a Monster
    The rest were not so bad : )

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  11. Held our lead for 93 minutes. Mental strength anyone?

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  12. Gr*t?

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  13. Lots of it!

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  14. I am elated but have been so nervous for so long I feel like a pile of crap
    ” trip to the seaside” my ARSE stew!

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  15. I want Spuds to barely miss out again. Their fans have been absolutely unbearable this season. There’s nothing more disgusting than watching a Spud putting on airs and pretending that the power has shifted to their side of North London.

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  16. Result! But for goodness sake score more goals, this 1 nil business is hard work on the old nerves! Although, it does mean I can bust out the old school tune “1 nil to The Arsenal”

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  17. Well they asked for “their”Arsenal back.

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  18. One-nil to the Arse!

    And……..relax.

    Phew.

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  19. Just 2 more cup finals to go. Another two results like this and I will be a happy chipper, even though the performance will give me heart palpitations.

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  20. It’s tough, this run-in malarky.

    Doing alright tho.

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  21. You know Stew, I think your writing helped me today. Not nearly as nervous as I have been. I was always confident we’d hold it. Or, maybe, it’s this team that’s made me confident. Clearly they are…

    I liked the picture of Charles and Di, by the way. My one and only trip to London, as a youngster, came the week after they got married. Everything still all decked out for the royal wedding. I remember as a teenager thinking how fairy-tale like it all was. What the hell did I know? But it was a great trip. 21 days in Europe without the parental units. I’ll never let my daughter do it…she’s not allowed to go unless I can go, too!

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  22. alabama @ 9:01 pm – Spoken like a true parent. If only our adolescent kids knew what we did at their age.Except Mr and Mrs Goody Two Shoes.

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  23. Can somebody point out why we had such few chances??

    I thought the passing in general was quite good..I am really baffled.

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  24. That. Was. Fucking. Hard. Work.
    BFG & Kos are now official Arsenal legends.
    3 points was required, delivered. COYGs.

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  25. Read elsewhere that this season QPR have drawn 0-0 at home with Chelsea, $ity, spuds….

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  26. Shotta, it really would be more jealousy on my part. No one is going to London on my dime if I don’t go as well! And I really was Miss Goody Two Shoes. But, I do remember a certain young man, and a picnic in Hyde Park. He was much better looking in London than he was when we got home.

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  27. “They came at us in the same old way, and we sent them back in the same old way” Wellington.
    (Known for a few difficult away 1-0’s in his time).

    Yes don’t start, NOT The footballer.
    If Wenger was around at Waterloo, we’d all be speaking French now,
    n’ est ce pas mes Amis? Allons ‘y! allez les Rouge et Blanc.!

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  28. sacré bleu

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  29. …first victory for arsenal at Loftus Road in the PL era at the sixth (or fifth) attempt.

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  30. I hope the Chavs don’t beat the Mancs then lose to the Totts. Then,we may need a favour from Stoke/Sunderland and Villa/Everton
    Something as perverse as this bound to happen though; I just know!
    It’s our DNA to do it this way

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  31. Good three more points in the bag. Lets hope chelski drop maximum points tommorow .
    WOJO & MIKEL my men of the match. good gritty performance. that. foul on MA should have been a straight red imo..

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  32. We do need a few more goals though. If tied on points with chelski we have to better our goal differential to finish ahead.

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  33. chelsea beat man u, chelsea beat tottenham
    arsenal chelsea tottenham (36 games played)
    67 71 65

    chelsea draw man u, chelsea beat tottenham
    arsenal chelsea tottenham (36 games played)
    67 69 65

    chelsea lose man u, chelsea beat tottenham
    arsenal chelsea tottenham (36 games played)
    67 68 65

    chelsea lose to man u, chelsea lose to tottenham
    arsenal chelsea tottenham (36 games played)
    67 65 68

    chelsea draw to man u, chelsea lose to tottenham
    arsenal chelsea tottenham (36 games played)
    67 66 68

    chelsea draw man u, chelsea draw tottenham
    arsenal chelsea tottenham (36 games played)
    67 67 66

    chelsea beat man u, chelsea draw tottenham
    arsenal chelsea tottenham (36 games played)
    67 69 66

    chelsea lose man u, chelsea draw tottenham
    arsenal chelsea tottenham (36 games played)
    67 66 66

    chelsea beat man u, chelsea lose tottenham
    arsenal chelsea tottenham (36 games played)
    67 68 68

    My point is out of the possible 9 scenarios 8 are favourable to us except the last one, giving us a 8/9*100 = 89% chance of taking the fate into our own hands..

    If Arsenal win their next two games, I don’t think they have anything to worry about.

    Hehe

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