Saturday, December 3, 2022

Arsenal Gentleman’s Weekly Review

A Great British morning to you all. For as the sun rose over misty loch and dewy dale, these kingdoms are well and truly united once more. By an overwhelming majority of 54% to 46%, Scotland has voted to stay under the yoke of the British Empire. This was the correct decision; we wouldn’t have wanted to send in the troops once more to suppress these primitive notions of ‘independence’. We know what is best for you, and what is best is that the Scots do not descend into the savagery from whence they came before the civilising force of the Empire introduced indoor lavatories, proper cutlery, the wearing of trousers (or ‘troosers’, if you must), Elgar, and not murdering your neighbour over a dispute about how much salt to add to your porridge. Today is like the Highland Clearances all over again. Heady days for Britain!

I am trolling hard here, naturally, and this is complete balderdash.

We should not overlook the contribution that Scottish players have made to The Arsenal over the past 128 years.

Gavin Crawford, 1891 to 1989. John Dick, 1898 to 1912. Duncan McNichol, Jimmy Jackson, Billy Blyth, Jock Robson, Braveheart MacTavish, Donald McTaggart, Kilty McPorridge. Haggis McHaggis. Donald Bagpipes, Alex James, Frank McLintock. Even George Graham. Scotsman all, some of whom are made up, but one of whom I would care to cal ‘foreign’. I am delighted that the great Tony MacAdam, the toast of Morningside, who gave his name to the cocktail ‘The Tarmac’, after which the road-coating was named, does not now come from foreign shores.

However, we must now turn to foreign shores and to the Borussians of Dortmund. Lead by irritatingly efficient and dynamic Stuttgartian Herr Klopp, this team of frustratingly skilful and hardworking German popinjays and footpads soon set about Woolwich, who looked like they had just finished a game of foot-ball rather than started one. To be fair to the chaps, they had been pulled by the nose to the inevitable ruin and disaster of this year’s Champions’ League campaign by an almost completely inept transfer season and an approach to squad depth much akin to that of the eager young curate hoping to encourage the local youth to join his foot-ball team, gingerly inquiring after church if any of the “young fellows” fancied a game and perhaps a short prayer afterwards.

To be in a position where we are blooding a teenage defender, just out of short pants, and in fact in short pants, Master Harry Bell, who no doubt will be very good one day, in a game against the eight-time German champions in the most prestigious club competition in the world. We slipped form Plan ‘A’ to Plan ‘D’ without resorting to ‘B’ or even ‘C’. We have all seen his Pathé newsreels on Mr. Yu’s Tube Briefcase Cinema, with him MPH-ing up the wing like his swingers are on fire and he’s spotted a paddling pool at the other end. Some of us may even have seen him arise from the Family Pew in last season’s League Cup. But the poor little lamb should not have been tasked with stopping these beastly Germans in their tracks.

There is very little to say about this match-up in respect to Woolwich’s involvement as we had so little. Our performance was an offence against God and man. Until we sign enough world class players to mean that this might never happen again we are condemned to nail-biting and painful episodes such as this in which one’s fundament regularly twitches much like the proverbial rabbit’s nose whenever the opponent approaches our goal. A frightful state of affairs. We should also look to a mid-fielder able to fell a shire horse with a single blow. Not that we play actually shire horses apart from a once-yearly visit to the Britannia, but you take my point.

We need a chap who possesses the essential quality of an old-fashioned enforcer – the ability to get absolutely hooched the night before a game, sweat it off under a macintosh on the way to the match and then throw a vicious neck-high tackle at the opponent’s playmaker followed by a shrug at the ref as the victim lies twitching on the turf. Our very own ‘Ritzy Crew’ of Orwell, Cousins et al are wonderful magicians. But sometimes you need a steel-skulled sentinel like Wilf Copping to simply do a number on the opposition.

Or indeed a Donald Bagpipes.

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