Friday, August 19, 2022

Arsenal Gentleman’s Weekly Review

So, my dearest chums, are you enjoying the collapse? It’s a particularly Arsenalesque one this year is it not? Five points clear atop the English League at one halcyon moment and now the manager of a club called ‘Wigan Athletic’ (?) is playing mind games with us. More of him later.

Perhaps ‘collapse’ is not the most apt term for our almost annual slump. How about ‘gentle descent’, as if one was on a beginner’s slope at Klosters? Or perhaps we could make up a neologism, something like ‘Krumph’, the sound one makes as one lowers oneself into a brand new Chesterfield? Whatever we call it, it is damned unpleasant. It whiffs. It winks at your wife. It drinks your single malt. It puts the milk in first. It overstays its welcome.

We turn, as we must, to the killing floor of Goodison Park Abattoir, and to a slaughter so appallingly (un)planned it could have been dreamt up by some of my General chums in the Army in northern France back in WW1. And yet, part of me knew it was going to happen. The obdormition that is the precursor begins in the area of an old shrapnel wound in my foot and spreads up the old left peg. By the time the numbness reaches little gent, we are invariably up the creek without an oar. Barely could I summon up he energy to tinkle the little bell and have the butler bring me a treble gin and tonic with a chaser of laudanum.

This team is undergoing an attack of The Whiffles. I believe in darts the term is ‘The Yips’, an inexplicable loss of motor control. In football, Herbert Chapman called it The Whiffles, and would not stand for it. In less enlightened times, when treatment for psychological disorders essentially consisted of shouting “SNAPOUTOFIT” at distressed people, The Whiffles were cured by the thing that causes most of humanity’s problems, but also cures most of them: BOOZE.

This team does not drink enough.

In the old days, a player would be expected to drink seven or eight pints of Mein Host’s finest session ale per night. Nothing more than 3% mind, there was no need for excess. They would typically engage in this activity with their colleagues. Accompanied by twenty or so Capstan Extra Strength, or a lady’s cigaroon such as a Woodbine, our forebears at this great club would bond. At some point during the convivial evening, each would epideictically confess to everyone else that they were in fact their best friend. In this age of micronutrients and eating squirrel glands or whatever they do up there at London Colney, Arsenal have lost a central part of their identity: The borderline alcoholism. So, the remedy is simple. Send them on the lash. Get them sozzled. Get them pie-eyed. Get them Adamsed. Encourage breaches of the peace. Install at London Colney, not a space-age oxygen chamber, or dentistry parlour, or fitness suite. Put in a pub. And let us end this confounded inward-looking nonsense that they spout after every ruddy match.

Chaps: Just get pissed and get over it.

GORING HILDRED: E- (Played like an absolute shithouse)

We wish to see an improvement in these grades upon the morrow. Defeat at the hands of ‘Wigan Athletic’ would be intolerable, and a wholesale change of personnel over the summer would be highly desirable. Not by normal transfer business, but by firing squad. There are a number of first-team players who need to bloody well man up. They know who they are. Unfortunately, Mr. Flame (and of course his parrot), one who invariably does, is out. Mr. Flapplesthwaite starts at Glove Butler, and as it stands, he may be our only fit player. Just him, in goal. The injury list, which now bears something of a resemblance to a village’s memorial to the fallen of the Great War, is large and growing. Oxlade-Chamberlain, Gibbois and Robinson all face late smacks with a big hammer to see if they’re able to walk. Although it looks like our Senegal Sir, Mr. Abdoulaye Ramsara, may start. So perhaps the Gent’s XI will read: Glove Butler – Flapplesthwaite, Centre-Halves, wing-backs, midfield and striker – Abdoulaye Ramsara. If he regains his exquisite early season form that should be enough.

A word then on the Hun Rossler. Pipe down, you shiny headed, tedious, ruttish, shard-borne pumpion. You shall hush your mouth come Saturday.

Which brings me to some other infirmary news. It seems the inability to treat athletes at Arsenal Football Club for any complaint at all is down to two separate factions within the Arsenal Medical Team. There are the ‘Leech Lovers’, who favour the purification of the body through attaching slug-like beasts to a payer, and ‘The Bloodletters’, who are fond of inserting rusty iron implements into a vein and draining “a gallon a day” of the old claret into a bucket. So please, well compensated medical technicians – make your minds up; leeches or rusty pipes, but not both. A glimmer of hope: Arsenal are retiring Old Meg, who has been haruspex in chief for the last 70 years and moving on to the tarot method of team preparation.

We do not know whether Mr. Orwell has been blood-let by leech or pipe, but it seems like he might be ‘fit’ for Hull Tigers on 19th April. We hope he is early-season Orwell, rather than the mid-season stroller. Mr. Costerley has been treated with ‘Venice treacle’, a combination of viper’s flesh, opium and myrrh, and could be with us for Tuesday’s ominous-looking match against Fat Sam’s Typhoid Marys.

Until next time, old chums, and let us kick the living Tottenham out of the Latics tomorrow. Tally-ho!

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