Arsenal Gentleman’s Weekly Review


We must turn to this week’s house call of the Kaiser’s favourite fußballers, Bayern of Munich (a town that Our Boys remodelled somewhat back there in ’42. Sorry about that). In an most total reverse of our approach in the opening periods of matches, which one likes to think of as a kind of very British politeness – everyone’s just getting to know one another, it’s the sort of pre-dinner bit, gimlets are being served, small talk is being made, we haven’t quite sat down for dinner just yet, let’s what until we…. Oh dear, we’re one nil down. That sort of reserved attitude.

Well not this week. No sir, Woolwich went steaming in like an American, all spats, gee whiz and strong cocaine, charging for the nearest cocktail waiter. And do you know what? I very much liked it. Young Master The Ox was rampaging through the Kaiser’s china shop like his close bovine cousin the bull. And young Mr. Sangley, in his first European Cup appearance, began the game like a man with his undergarments on fire. I like the cut of his jib. I liked the way he seems not care not a jot for the reputation of FC Hollywood. I like his turn of speed. He looked a real handful in the early, thrilling stages of this match-up, bursting forth upon a lovely little stiletto pass from Monsieur Wilshère, and indeed his connection with a bit of side ordnance from Master The Ox. He certainly looks like he will soon be ready for European Cup football.

To the penalty then, and a confession. I have to admit that on a well-lubricated evening with Mr. Orwell at his preferred libation establishment, the Duke’s Head in his native Putney, we lingered on the subject of penalties. “I hope you don’t mind me saying, Gent, but I am one of the most naturally gifted players in the world. What I’m tempted to do sometimes when stepping up to Nelson’s Eye, is limply prod the ball just to the side of the opposing glove butler. It looks so incongruous, when people watch my highlight’s films on Mr. You’s Tube, and then they see that. Imagine! It’d be like watching an agile house cat jump into a fence post. Or a ballet dancer perform the ‘Agadoo’ and then fall over.”

I have to confess I agreed that this would be a most amusing spectacle, and drunkenly offered him thirty guineas if he would take three of the worst penalties the world has ever seen in competitive football. Ten guineas per penalty. And you know what, dear reader, he accepted the challenge. On the downside, we probably lost our biggest game this season. On the upside, I made thirty guineas – which came in most useful when I needed to bribe a police officer the following morning, more of which later.

On 38 minutes, that hateful ulcer Herr Robben was brought down by Sesley. Robben, the Old-age Mutant Zero Turtle, a player so unpleasant the South Africans pre-emptively named an island after him that will forever be associated with evil and repression. He plainly made the most of it, because that is what he does. He was as in control of the ball as Goring-Hildred is of Little Goring-Hildred, and yet Sesley was shown the daiquiri. It was downhill from there.

Young Gibbois was withdrawn, offering us only the poorly-ordinated Mandeville over on that flank, with Mr. Orwell protecting him – and let us be honest, Mr. Orwell is not the kind of fellow you would desire on your side in a knife fight. And so they came, with their relentless waves of attacks which ultimately paid off. Mr. Kroos unleashed what the superior scrivener @iainmacintosh has christened ‘The Thunderbastard’, and we were a goal down. Now, 0-1 agin Bayern when you’re X v XI is not so bad. “I’ll take that,” we all cried, much as the drunken man expresses his desire for the last kebab in the shop. But it was not to be.

The next morning my poor butler omitted to excise the sports reports from my chosen broadsheets and, erm, beat himself to death with a kipper because of the shame. He also shot himself five or six times in the head and then threw himself off the east tower. My friendly local detective said it was the worst case of suicide they had seen and promised to say no more about it. That thirty guineas came in very handy, you see.

I do wonder, in the matter of criticising the team that perhaps people suffer from what I shall now refer to as Mr. Feafer’s Thumb Disease? In this day and age, where one can electronically control a team of ciphers to do one’s bidding on Mr. Feafer’s Bagatelle, do some of the most vociferous of our nay-sayers realise that the Real World and The World of Electronic Entertainment are different?


Mr. Fàbregas’s did a splendid job for us, hauling an occasionally average team through games by his magical skill. He put in his shifts. He was rewarded with a very long term contract. When Barcelona came a-calling, he then went on strike. His value hence plummeted and they got him very much on the cheap. I wish him no ill-will, but for all his passion and talent, he was contractually not as loyal to us as Sol Campbell was to Tottenham. So please, PLEASE, spare me the ‘Fàbregas’s is an Arsenal Legend’ guff. Go and look up players like Drake, Brady, Bastin, Ducat, or even Wilf Copping, or any number of fine players of yore, and tell me precisely where Desk Fàbregas fits in. Don’t @ me, as the young people say.


To much hullabaloo this week, Mr. Windsor’s sides have now amassed one hundred red cards. I wonder how many of those have been awarded in recent times? When you think of red cards under this manager, what do you think of? We think of titles, cups, trinkets and glory. Sometimes, amidst the intricate geometric tickety-tackety of our play, we require someone to administer a little good-natured violence to the opposition. Bring that kind of sturdiness back, is what I say. Passing is all very well, but sometimes you need swift and sturdy thuggery. Just one of the reasons why I love Mr. Flame.

Just don’t do it when a horrible little turtle-headed Dutchie is running toward you.


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