Arsenal Gentleman’s Weekly Review

What a plumptious and delightful week this has been. If this week were a lady, it would perhaps flash you a glimpse of ankle, wink at you, then light your Woodbine. For we have won two games of football, and we are in a Cup Final. The FA Cup final.

Let us savour those words, because I have not been reading those words often enough upon the twitter.

We are in a Cup Final.

The media can bleat all they wish about The Arsenal, but we are in a Cup Final. You can complain about transfer policy all you like, but we are in a Cup Final. Sky Sports board should be sentenced to death by paper cut, for their treatment of our away ladies and gentlemen, but we are in a Cup Final. John Terry is still breathing the same air as human beings, but we are in a Cup Final. Michael Owen is making a living from opening and closing his mouth, but we are in a Cup Final.

I care not a jot about the manner in which we won the semi-final, and nobody will, in years to come. Wigan United or whoever they are are a very good team, I expect. Probably the best team in Yorkshire, or wherever they’re from. Before the tie, Mr. Windsor was trotting out the line that we shouldn’t underestimate Wigan Town, but of course we should have, old boy. We should have come out in drag, barefoot, smoking cheroots and singing the aria from Turandot. And the manager knew it. But at the moment, being as handbrakesque as we are, we turned a trot in the park into a race through the trenches.

Tommy-in-Chief, the wonderful Mr. Flapplesthwaite, Grand Wizard Glove Butler, who is sadly to leave Woolwich this summer, made a penalty shoot-out as bearable as that particularly unusual form of torture can be, by denying the first two kicks from the dinner plate. A fine centurion, he has well and truly expunged his flapplesome early days, and if he were to remain next term would surely be awarded a new ‘Gentleman’s Name’. In that kind of form he could have saved Oscar Pistorius. (Cheer up, Oscar, by the way. Because we are in a Cup Final!)

A win over West Ham is always a delightful thing, is it not? Somehow it doesn’t really feel like a London derby, does it? I sense something of a mutual respect among our supporters that is not felt, for example, with those of Locomotiv Hammersmith, or the Middlesex Wanderers of Milton Keynes. And not just because of their sterling work upon the Late Feast of Dear Saint Totteringham back in 2006, when one found oneself singing about ‘blowing bubbles’ at Highbury.

One does enjoy the spectacle of spluttering ninny Mr. Allardyce, pacing his technical area like an angry but impotent hippopotamus, chewing furiously like his mummy has told him he must eat the last bit of a gristle on a cheap cut of meat before he can go and play with his toys. A ridiculous but compulsive sight, chewing his cud like a cow on amphetamines. I am sure fans of West Ham, from the criminal classes right through to the upper criminal classes, are delighted that for destroying their playing ethos, by my calculation, he gets paid £76,315.79p per game.

There were many good things to be pulled from the delicious pie of the West Ham game like juicy plums. Firstly, Mr. MacAlpine’s first start. For an elderly asthmatic alcoholic with gout, he certainly put in quite the performance: Always looking to up the tempo, his long range artillery was broadly accurate, he has a wonderfully nasty side and is built like an A39 tank. We must also praise Brigadier Goring-Hildred, whose goal really was a thing of wonder. Lord Vermington – in an appearance as rare as that of a book in a Spurs fan’s house – sent in the long one. Muscling that flap-mouthed gravedigger Mr. Carroll out of the way, he took the ball with a rarely seen confidence and smacked the pigskin through the glove butler’s pegs and into the onion bag. It was his 20th goal of the season. So a little more acceptance that it is not his fault that the club have failed to muster another striker might not go amiss. He must promise, I think, to keep Little Brigadier ‘in barracks’. He obviously has not the stomach for philandering. And so to Mr. Ponsonby. Dear Mr. Ponsonby. Poor, misunderstood Ponsonby. What a weapon that right foot is, eh? Ruddy Nora.

Good old Crystal Palace, what? That was a game everybody expected Everton to win. But our old chum Mr. Pulis, with his absurd ‘Babe Ruth’ style headgear has handed the advantage back to us. It is absolutely acceptable behaviour to delight in a Pulis victory, because a) we need everything we can get at the moment and b) we are in a Cup Final. If Hitler invaded Hell, I would at least make a favourable reference to the Devil in the House of Commons, said my old chum and fellow gooner Sir Winston Churchill. My enemy’s enemy is my friend, said another wise man. So thank your lucky stars that the goblin king worked his evil juju on Mr. Martinez.

It is for that reason that if I had a candle to my feet and had to pick Liverpool, Manchester City or Chelsea for the title, I would pick Liverpool. Yes, their fans are an irritating band of embarrassing, self-obsessed fools and their manager is a cringeworthy excuse for a human being, but we could think of this as their Hillsborough tribute year, which would be richly deserved. The alternatives do not bear consideration; Abu Dhabi’s plastic band of light-blue mercenaries? No thank you. John Terry raising yet another trophy above his grinning, racist head? I beg, no.

Meanwhile in Middlesex, Tottenham are doing their level best to self-destruct. Anyone know when St. Tott is coming a-calling?


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