Sunday, December 10, 2023

The Tim Stillman column: From Brisbane Road to Wembley

Tim Stillman column - Arseblog

I’m delighted to announce a new Arseblog feature, a weekly column from Tim Stillman – who you might know from his stuff at Vital Arsenal. He’ll still be there, Vitalfans, don’t worry, but once a week he’ll do his stuff here too. This week Orient, the magic of the cup, Stoke and a trip to Wembley.


I know it is something of an anathema to debunk “the magic of the F.A. Cup” but does anyone else really hate underdogs? The prescribed view is that we should applaud their pluckiness and cast their day tripping, “only go once a decade” supporters as “long suffering” fills me with nausea and unfettered hate.

I think my terminal grumpiness and cynicism has come to a stage that even when that pack of cunthounds from the Glazerdome play a side like Crawley, there is a small part of me that wants them to smash Crawley 8-0. When I see 9,000 Crawley fans (average home attendance 1,300) make a once in a lifetime visit to Old Trafford and sneer tunefully about supporting their local team, I often think their utter cheek should be rewarded with a ten goal hiding. Whilst watching such games, I always think of that geezer that has been to every Crawley away game since 1983, looking around at Old Trafford and asking, “Where the chuffing crikey have you lot been for the last ten years?”

It was this sense of reverse snobbery that we encountered on our way out of Brisbane Road on Sunday. I’m an incredibly placid guy, I’ve seen pretty much every event inside football grounds and have heard every insult going and usually do not so much as flinch when any bile – comedic or otherwise – sails my way.

Orient fans

But when some gurning twerp shouted at me and my mates on the Leyton High Road post match, “Arsenal are just full of foreign retards. Eng-er-land,” I couldn’t help asking, “Which part of England is Jonathan Tehoue from?” The eloquent answer this professor of logistics gave? “Fack off you cunt.” He’s got a point, I am a cunt, but he still couldn’t answer my question. Then on the bus back to Stratford, another pub bore piped up, “I’m a bigger Orient fan than any of you will ever be Arsenal fans.” My cohort Luigi, being less of a coward than I in these situations, asked:

Luigi: “Who are Orient playing next week?”
Bore: “I know, cos I’ll be there!”
Luigi: “So who are they playing?”
Bore: “Away at Brighton…or Huddersfield. Dunno, I’ve had a drink haven’t I?”

Sounds like you might want to sort that one out before you embark on that journey guv’nor.

Let me suffix this by saying I have no issue with Leyton Orient or their supporters. One of my best mates is blah, blah, blah etc. I have just come to despise this notion that I should feel guilty for supporting a fucking awesome football club, especially when I go to more games in a month than most people packing out Brisbane Road on Sunday have been to in their entire lives. Particularly annoying is the patronising, pathos laced commentary these teams are given by the fickle media. Put a sock in it Tyldesley, we know full well you couldn’t give two shits about Crawley Town now Monday is here.

What’s worse is with the draw we’re going to have to listen to those oh so hilarious chants of “We support our local team” and “Eng-er-land” all over again at the Grove. And we’re going to have to make out that it’s the first time we’ve ever heard either chant. “Oooooh, did you come up with that by yourself? Wow, aren’t you clever? Not like I haven’t heard that every fucking week since 1999.”

And if, like me, self pitying recipients of undue media sympathy get the little veins popping in your forehead, then the visit of Stoke this Wednesday will really send your despise-o-meter doolalley. Just the thought of Tony Penis prowling the touchline in that stupid fucking baseball cap makes me want to punch walls. Walls made of reinforced concrete, none of this dry wall rubbish. I actually think from the perspective of the media shit storm this fixture would otherwise invite, it’s probably a good time to play the knuckle dragging team of atomic mutants. Sandwiched between the Carling Cup final and engagements with Barcelona, a rearranged midweek match will probably quell the hyperbole.

Whilst it is perfectly natural for us the fans to want to pound Stoke into a soft, doughy stew until Tony Penis’ eyeballs bleed pure excrement, the players will need to focus on the job at hand. Still, don’t be surprised if some Stoke cunt studs Fabregas or Nasri in the last minute so that they miss the Carling Cup Final and the Barcelona second leg. Make no mistake, Pulis is exactly the sort of small man syndrome suffering fuckwit that would happily instruct his grunting orks to do that. “Lacerate, my pretties. Lacerate!” Then, of course, we’ll suffer the “he’s not that sort of player” bollocks, which the media help perpetrate ad nauseam in their usual casserole of nonsense, and we’ll all sigh deeply and go to take a lonely walk in the woods with only a service revolver for company.

Ryan Shawcross - the clogging cunt

I’m not usually the sort to indulge in verbal jousting of opposition players. I didn’t even boo Ade-pay-me-more. Make no mistake, Shawcross will get it both barrels from me. Not because I believe he genuinely meant to mangle Ramsey, but because of the self pitying, irrelevant platitudes that followed his act of recklessness. He promised not to change (isn’t the point of accidents as a result of recklessness that you learn from them?) and he shows no sign of having grown a brain in the ensuing year since he left the pitch in tears at the Britannia.

He’s already been sent off twice since for brainless fouls since. I realise he hasn’t sawn some poor sod in half in either of those red card incidents, but both showed that that sense of recklessness and stupidity hasn’t left him. And why would it have? When his manager and the football family behind the typewriters routinely make excuses every time he has a brain fart, why would he learn? He’s a ticking time bomb and unless someone makes him face up to his responsibilities, it will only be a matter of time before Ma Shawcross will be called for again to fetch her blubbering son from another football ground.

Speaking of violent cunts, Birmingham await in the Carling Cup Final. Is anyone else as pant wettingly excited about this as me? A trip to Wembley for a Cup Final has been too long in the waiting. I think the supporters realise that this could be an excellent launch pad for this team a la Graham’s class of ’87. We seem to have all of the ingredients, but we just need that piece of silver to give the team the belief and the tang of sweet success in their nostrils.

The squad have dined out some nice plaudit hors d’ouevres over the last few years, but you sense we really need the meaty goodness of a trophy to kick on. Possibly a trophy made of steak and chips. Or something. Pleasing prose about pretty passing alone won’t feed our children! But I think most of all, we really want to win this trophy so we can finally eliminate that fucking infernal, “Arsenal haven’t won a trophy since 2005” sentence that seems to have hung over our every action for so long.

Here’s hoping that when I speak to you again this time next week, I’ll be able to punctuate the blog with, “Arsenal haven’t won a trophy since Sunday….” LD.

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