An early Xmas gift from @anicoll5
Good morning from a grey and windy Norfolk on match day.
Let me open with a quote from the genuinely immortal Mr Shankly in response to a question from a journalist concerning the ‘pressure’ of his Liverpool side topping the First Division at the time.
“Pressure is working down the pit. Pressure is having no work at all. Pressure is trying to escape relegation on 50 shillings a week. Pressure is not the European Cup or the Championship or the Cup Final. That’s the reward.”
Ah yes Bill, and as you had as a teenager worked down the pit, then been on the dole in the early 30’s when your pit shut down you understood this. Drop in serving in the RAF, defeating Naziism, and helping AFC win the League Cup south during those war years and I guess you had the gravitas to opine. You understood the glaring but eternal truth that football is there to be enjoyed and success revelled in, not shied away from or complained about or feared.
It is a quote that should be marked in every match programme, learned by heart by every football fan before they are issued with access to the ground or social media, chanted rhythmically by Arsenal supporters seeking Buddhist enlightenment, even bannerized (new word alarm bleeps ! ).
The awakening would not be intellectual, but a change in how we, as fans, experience and perceive. But no, you’re right, perhaps not bannerized.
The ‘cherrypickers’ reference btw – Bill’s Ayrshire village team of Glenbuck when he was a boy.
And so on to the game. Plenty of coverage in the media of which I am sure you are all well aware. There seems to be a lot of ‘fence-sitting’ on the outcome. The Scousers first home game since their disaster against Basle, but two good football performances from them since, despite the score line at Trafford Park.
For us the nasty but receding recollection of the equivalent contest last season(shudders) but scoring goals smoothly and good players all over the park. A game in which we have a good record of wins and draws over the last decade, and the ground at which the 49 Invincibles game got underway. Would such a happy glacier begin this afternoon ?
Looking at the pictures of the Ox in training yesterday and apparently actively involved suggests Wenger’s cautious optimism concerning the young man’s groin was well founded. I shall revisit that comment on Ox’s fitness about 4.30 this afternoon however. Indeed if by 4.30 we are still 0-0 or better I shall have a strong fancy of us taking an important step this afternoon.
I shall not detain you longer this Sunday morn as you have presents to buy, gifts to wrap and, perhaps, some chanting to get on with.