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Arsenal Versus Hull : Happy Valley

I have, since escaping school at the first available opportunity, travelled a wide and colourfully varied career path. I’ve been a civil servant, a builder’s labourer, a steeplejack, an interior designer and a security guard. That is to name but a few of my interesting and ultimately short lived attempts at finding the ideal method of bringing home the veggie bacon. The role I found suited me most snugly however was that of publican. I ran my bar in the manner I would like any licensed premises to be run, were I the customer. We never made any money but then we were quite disposed to giving away free drinks and paying the people who worked for us. I’d have been kicked out of capitalism college in the first term.

I despise with a passion, soulless, corporate chain pubs. A bar or public house should always reflect the personality of the owner. The best of them thrive on idiosyncrasy, curiosity, the unusual and not on some bland, lowest common denominator, artificial sterility. One way in which our bar reflected both myself and my business partner’s individual charms and dispositions  was the passive, friendly and peaceful atmosphere. We enjoyed an inclusive, calm, left-field environment in which we and our friends could get regularly and spectacularly pissed.

We knew we’d succeeded because we never once had to call the police in all the years we were there. Didn’t have trouble, never resorted to violence ourselves and as such never got threatened with it by the clientèle. Proof of this particular pudding was one local hard man who enjoyed  the occasional break from his usual watering hole. He would mind his own business, sit at the far end of the bar and drink two or three quiet pints, nod and take his leave. I got into conversation with him  once and he said that while he didn’t fit in with the rest of our customers, found them all quite odd in fact, he enjoyed coming to our bar because he could be just another punter. He didn’t have to look over his shoulder, prove himself to anyone or maintain his tough man image. Folk left him alone, and he liked that.

In a similar spirit I’m sure there must be a small number of the malcontented among our vast network of supporters who enjoy the guilty pleasure of reading Positively Arsenal from time to time. Just as some otherwise sane individuals with no obvious character defects might open one of the many negative Arsenal spite blogs with which the internet is so fruitfully blessed. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if those who do are filled with a range of emotions as they shake their heads at us poor happy fools frolicking around in the perpetual sunshine of our delusions.

Like the bruiser in the bohemian bar, I’m convinced we must have some readers who enjoy a break from their daily routine of pouring scorn and hatred on our manager and players. I picture them sitting quietly, like Attenborough on the edge of a troop of fascinating simians, watching us going about our lives as if supporting a football club could actually be different from something akin to an involuntary organ donation.

There is much to be said for our positive attitude you know. As curious as we must appear to those of a less balanced and healthy disposition we are at least consistent. In a season where the club’s fortunes have leapt from hopeless to peerless and back through the floor before bobbing to the surface again we have managed to maintain our equilibrium and just plod on, celebrating the good and trying to make sense of the bad. I wonder if the bloke in the corner of the bar, the visitor, envies us this.

For everyone else this season must be the most discombobulating of rides. Those who celebrate wildly when we’re up and want to burn the whole thing to the ground after every setback must be suffering from a permanent combination of the bends, altitude sickness, oxygen starvation and excessive euphoria. Imagine gripping the tail of the Arsenal fish this season and trying to hang on as it flies, flops, sinks and shoots through the waves. No, I’m much happier keeping to the straight and narrow and hoping for the best.

It has been such a crazy ride this go around that we can face Hull City in the FA Cup and genuinely have no idea how the game might go. They did a fine job of frustrating and stifling us in the home leg, we just couldn’t find a way through. The question for me is whether they will be a little more adventurous, more confident in coming at us in front of their own fans. Their cause would surely be better served with another defend and frustrate performance, looking to hit us on the counter. It’s never quite so easy to do that in the cup when playing at home.

Many people like to pretend that footballers are a species of automaton with all of the more humble human emotions trained and brainwashed out of them. For one thing this allows them to boo and hiss and abuse their own players with impunity. For another it fits their agenda that highly paid footballers ought never to make a mistake nor commit any judgemental errors while on the pitch.

This attitude isn’t only reserved for those for whom a lobotomy would be a waste of time and effort. My late father, a hugely cerebral and gentle man who’s barometer I am not fit to tap, used to shout at Sporstnight “All the money he’s on he should never have missed that” and I can clearly recall my childhood confusion that he would utter such a glaring non sequitur. It was right up there with his assertion that we were pointing nuclear weapons at Russia because, among other things, “They don’t believe in God, son”. My point is even the best of us can stray into erroneous thinking.

Hull’s players are not automatons any more than are ours. They will surely be buoyed up by a ferocious crowd and will find it hard to maintain a disciplined approach. This I feel might provide us with the key to their back door. I hope so. Goodness knows who Arsène will send out there to unlock it tonight but I imagine a few wise old heads will be needed to temper the enthusiasm of youth. Despite important fixtures coming thick and fast and with the FA Cup holding a special significance this season, this is, for me, a massive game and I wouldn’t be surprised to see a strong line up.

Anyway, I need to crack on, I have a final chapter to draft in this damn book that you lot keep demanding I write, so I’m going to leave you to gambol in our happy valley. If you are the one sitting in the corner having strayed in from the harrowing world of endless negativity, pull up a chair, we don’t bite. You’re more than welcome to join us, all you need to remember is we don’t fight either. We support. Each other, the manager, the players and the club. It’s as simple as that really.

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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134 comments on “Arsenal Versus Hull : Happy Valley

  1. Shame he didn’t play the first game!

    Like

  2. FT: Hull 0-4 Arsenal

    Giroud x 2 and Walcott x 2

    Iwobi with another fine game, his first full 90 minutes for the first team, Elneny looking the part too, Joel with some fine play, Ospina made one fantastic save.
    the down side, Per, Gabby and Ramsey all injured

    Like

  3. banner wankers making idiots of themselves again tonight

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Theo was shit tonight

    He scored 2 and has an assist also

    Well apart from the 2 goals and the assist he was shit

    now where is my banner

    Like

  5. Sam ‏@samuelJayC 2m2 minutes ago
    Injury list:

    Cech
    Koscielny
    Mertesacker
    Gabriel
    Ramsey
    Cazorla
    Wilshere
    Chamberlain
    Rosicky

    Like

  6. Theo clearly has a future either as a pundit or a politician, the most polished interviewee in the game.

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  7. Some writeup actually wrote as if it was a given we would lose so am happy it was a proper win with abundance of goals

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  8. Wenger says Per is just concusion and that Gabby is ok, but Ramsey has a thigh injury and is a big worry.

    Like

  9. Michael Gooner ‏@MickTheGooner 12m12 minutes ago
    Ian Wright: “The league is not over by any stretch of the imagination. It’s very disappointing to see that banner out after a 4-0 win.” #AFC

    Like

  10. R ‏@Dynamite_76 1h1 hour ago
    Big fan of Elneny doing the whole passing and moving thing and knowing where to stand and what not.

    Still only 23.

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  11. had to laugh when Theo said in the interview that he “missed playing on the wing”, has he realized that he aint going to be playing CF for us, now that Welbeck is back.

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  12. Well played the boys, a good victory…..but sounds like a costly one
    Hope this raises a few confidence levels in certain players

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  13. Arsenal FC ‏@Arsenal 6m6 minutes ago
    Boss on how much the #EmiratesFACup means to him: “Do you know someone who has won it more than me? There’s your answer.”

    Liked by 1 person

  14. The FA youth Cup Semi final dates and times of Arsenal V Man City have been confirmed

    First Leg:
    18/03/16
    7pm
    Man City Academy Stadium

    Second Leg:
    04/04/16
    7pm
    Emirates Stadium

    Like

  15. Found new lucky charm: my computer to effing crash and not start for for an hour, so I miss the game.(second half)..looks like we did well.Look forward to A5s write up to find out what went on!
    COYG! Till tomorrow.Night.

    Liked by 2 people

  16. Oh Millsy – what a shame.It was scintillating.

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  17. On second viewing there was a deceiving deflection on the 4th, sometimes they go in sometimes they don’t (Ramsey header!)

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  18. ian wright’s twitter exchange with a banner wanker

    Ian Wright ‏@IanWright0 23m23 minutes ago
    .@DeejayDt I’ll disrespect you all day long unfurling your muggy banner after a 4-0 win and plenty enough games left in the league. 🔔🔚

    Mr Marmite DT © @DeejayDt
    @IanWright0 fuck off Wrighty, you don’t pay the money we do, you don’t put up with what we do, prick!

    Ian Wright ‏@IanWright0 12m12 minutes ago
    Ian Wright Retweeted Mr Marmite DT ©
    I’ve paid with my fused ankle! 6 injections in a week to play 93 FA cup! Will limp forever! And I’d do it again. 🖕🏽

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Ian Wright just slated the banner geezer on twitter and he responded by calling Wrighty a prick interesting times for the wobs. To be fair even alot of wobs are condemning the banner wankers.

    Like

  20. Daniel Cowan ‏@thedanielcowan 42m42 minutes ago
    Daniel Cowan Retweeted Mr Marmite DT ©
    Oi! Respect my voice and right to an opinion by keeping yours to yourself. Daniel Cowan added,

    Mr Marmite DT © @DeejayDt
    @IanWright0 maybe you should respect the fans who have a voice an want change, I held it up, why don’t you say it to me mate

    Like

  21. Kick Arse ‏@kickarseHD 20m20 minutes ago
    Ian Wright: Double winner, Double cup winner, 2nd highest goalscorer in Arsenal history.

    Vs

    DeejayDT: 2 Soulful house mixes on Soundcloud

    Like

  22. Didn’t watch the game but I’m delighted the am Arsenal are back on air (excuse the plagiarism A5). Now on to wattford. We still have a 2 goal deficit to overturn and an 8 point gap to close. What fun is it if it’s done the easy way!

    Like

  23. Sam ‏@samuelJayC 1h1 hour ago
    This weekend’s FA Cup QF’s:

    Reading-Palace (Fri – 7.55)
    Everton-Chelsea (Sat – 5.30)
    Arsenal-Watford (Sun – 1.30)
    Man Utd-W Ham (Sun – 4)

    Like

  24. Yaya Sanogo got himself sent off in injury time v MK Dons, he elbowed someone in an off the ball incident.

    Like

  25. isn’t it odd that those banner wankers went to a game in a cup competition that they say is meaningless, it wouldn’t have anything to do with it being on TV, and their desire to try and make themselves relevant and get a bit of cheap PR.

    Liked by 1 person

  26. WENGER ON THE WIN, INJURIES AND GIROUD

    Arsène Wenger spoke to the media after his side’s 4-0 FA Cup fifth-round replay win at Hull City on Tuesday evening. Here’s a transcript of what he said:

    on his changes…
    We lost two centre backs in the game and when you play away from home that is not easy to cope with. We did quite well because Monreal came on as a centre back where he has played a few times last year and Chambers was moved in. I thought they coped well.

    on the injuries…
    Mertesacker is just a cut on his eye and looks to be very short. Gabriel is a hamstring and Ramsey is a thigh problem. To me, the most serious looks to be Ramsey. He has a thigh problem, I think it is a thigh strain.

    on the win…
    We had a great game on Saturday and I was quite amazed by the response we got from that game. Overall, I believe that we do not always need confidence, you can play well when your confidence is not at the highest. Our job is to play and I believe that we have a great spirit in the team and we have shown that again tonight.

    on Giroud scoring…
    Giroud had gone a while without a goal and that will help him tonight. He became [the father] of a young boy last night and that will certainly give him euphoria. Walcott scored which is good as well.

    on if he thought about leaving Giroud out…
    I was tempted [to] do that.

    on Giroud wanting to play…
    I think in the end you make a decision and you hope it is the right one. I made the decision to play him and he wants to always play and all the other players want to play and that is quite normal. People are sometimes surprised that players want to play. Believe me, you don’t play at that level if you don’t want to play.

    on Walcott and Giroud needing goals…
    How much? As much as they can.

    on what the FA Cup means to him…
    Do you know somebody that has won it [the FA Cup] more than me? That gives you your answer.

    on the banner…
    We judge the season after the season and I’m quite amazed that so many people want to judge so early. Assess the season at the end of the season but we have not given up anywhere and you will see that in the coming weeks. I believe that this club has been in [a] much worse position than it has been in today.

    on Barcelona next week…
    What matters in football is the next game. The next game is Watford on Sunday afternoon.

    on playing Sunday and not Saturday…
    I would have loved to have played on Saturday but we don’t influence the schedule and we do not get any favours so everybody will be happy in England.

    on if the FA should give teams who play in the Champions League more time to recover…
    It’s not [for] you to do, it’s us. We sell football and we give it to the media to dictate the timing because we take the money so I won’t complain at all. I would rather look from our side.

    Copyright 2016 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to http://www.arsenal.com as the source

    Read more at http://www.arsenal.com/news/news-archive/20160308/wenger-on-the-win-injuries-and-giroud#DZjgzmOfP5v4yM9C.99

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  27. a nice little exchange about the banner wankers

    JB™ ‏@gunnerpunner 2h2 hours ago
    Outrageous that the banner brigade didn’t invest in a slightly bigger banner last summer despite having the money in their bank accounts.

    Jonny Singer ‏@Jonny_Singer 2h2 hours ago
    @gunnerpunner ‘I don’t care if it wouldn’t actually make anything better, it would show some f***ing ambition!’

    Will Dawson ‏@WD__08 2h2 hours ago
    @gunnerpunner The money was there, but the world class banners weren’t available.

    FootyMadPDX ⭐️ ‏@FootyMadPDX 2h2 hours ago
    @gunnerpunner How can they expect different results with the same old banner year after year?

    Scott ‏@ScottyS18 2h2 hours ago
    @Jonny_Singer @gunnerpunner that’s all what’s wrong with my modern banner club. We didn’t move to the Emirates for the same old banner

    Like

  28. a bit of class from Hull tonight

    Liked by 2 people

  29. Arsenal ladies have a new seating arrangement for the ladies squad, its based on length of time at the club, with the idea that it will be players goal to move up the list over time. Emma Byrne, Kelly Smith, Rachel Yankey are the 3 most senior players in the squad at present

    Like

  30. SAMchez COYG ‏@smeagol_11 23m23 minutes ago
    Fans abusing a club legend because he didn’t agree with the banner which is his opinion yet they moan that their opinion isnt respected 🤔

    Like

  31. I was very impressed with Iwobi. He’s unpredictable, quick and can dribble his ass off.

    Joel Campbell just keeps on getting better and better.

    Great game by Ospina

    Liked by 2 people

  32. Banner wanker: Fuck off, Wrighty, you don’t pay the money we do, you don’t put up with what we do.

    Ian Wright: I’ve paid with my fused ankle. Six injections in a week to play in the 94 FA Cup and I’d do it again.

    These dudes are fucking delusional. They think paying a season ticket is akin to being a martyr. How embarrassing.

    Like

  33. Ospina, Chambers, Elneny, Iwobi & Campbell were very good.
    Flamini, Gibbs & Nacho were solid.
    Walcott and Giroud weren’t at their best but took their chances supremely.
    It was a very good night for the Arse (& me nerves).
    Hopefully those injured will be all right.
    The KC turf might be to blame.
    We march on with the greatest manager in FA cup history!
    Well done Arsenal!!!

    Like

  34. New post up – see you later

    Like

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