And so we return from the Wilderness Fortnight, where we have learnt several things.
One: The Balkans remain the Tottenham of Europe. Like the trouble-ridden Middlesex borough of Tottenham, we hear far more about them than is necessary. From Adriatic to Ionian, from the Mediterranean to the Aegean, from Gorani to Aromanian, and especially from Bosniak to Serb, there seems to be something intractable about their football. Last week, a piece of flying witchcraft which seemed to have leapt from the very pages of Mr. Da Vinci’s notebook, carried the colours of Greater Albania onto a pitch where some Albanians were playing Serbia. According to the downstairs staff, these devices are called Drones. Incidentally, to have a magical flying device named after one of the first Gentleman’s clubs in London is all very well, but let them not be used for provoking inter-ethnic battles on the foot-ball pitch. Let them be used for the delivery of cocktails and cigars to players on the pitch instead. How much more civilised than this vulgar display.
Two: Mr. Sterling is an idle bugger who should be birched.
Three: Mr. Rooney, who seems to have cast some sort of spell over Mr. Hodgson, will play on in whichever role he pleases until he becomes England’s top scorer. Should it be noted that 80% of these goals have come against San Marino, The Faroe Islands, East Kilbride Under Tens, Salford Lads’ Club & a Somaliland Ambassador’s XI who only fielded nine players. How Mr. Rooney continues to find work at Premier League level is beyond me. My only thought is that he has incriminating daguerreotypes of all his managers.
Four: England remain woefully bad.
Five: Arsenal players seem to be slightly safer on international duty than they are at London Colney.
There has been some brouhaha this week from crypto-communist and anti-Arsenal propaganda machine the BBC, who have pointed out to the world that Woolwich have some of the highest ticket prices in the game. To which I say this. Would you rather see a tailor on Jermyn Street, or would you rather be clad head to toe by Mr. Primark? Quite so. Caviar costs money. Arsenal are reassuringly expensive, which serves two purposes. One, it keeps the riff-raff out. Two, it allows us to accumulate vast cash reserves. And everyone loves vast cash reserves. So until the BBC is shut down by the Arsenal Special Branch, we should pay this kind of nonsense no heed.
We turn then to the AGM, where our dear leader, Mr. Windsor, (right) held forth on all matters Woolwich. I have a truncated transcript below.
“Ladies and Gentlemen, boys and girls, chaps and chapesses. I bid you good afternoon. I will now perform an act of mass hypnosis, so please just relax. Look into my lovely eyes. Not around the eyes, look into my eyes. You are feeling sleepy.
“Every ruddy year I can’t please you buggers. FA Cup? Forgotten like a lukewarm cup of tea. Signing Mr. Orwell? Why can’t we have a striker. Bringing Whizzbang Saunders into the club? Why do we have to make do with 1.5 centre-halves. It is dashed difficult to bring in the proper level of chap. I know other clubs seem to manage to buy foot-ballers but it’s not as simple as phoning a club, stating your intention, asking if that player is for sale and then offering his market value. Oh no, dear lord no. If only you knew how complex these things were. And we won the FA Cup.
“We had ups and downs, like a little boat, but also like a little boat, we sank to the bottom of the sea a few times with the loss of all crew. But that didn’t happen more than four or five times in the season, the season in which we won the FA Cup. We finished on 79 points, which would have won us the league in 1998. I have asked the Premier League if they would consider simply repeating that season’s table as a matter of courtesy to us because then we would have also won it in 2014. We await their response. As we won the FA Cup, this year would have been another double.
“We lost some players. Vermington went to the rebellious Catalans. Bertie Sailor went to get splinters in his arse and rain on his head in Manchester. Good riddance to the treacherous pair. We brought in Matthew Matthews and Kanvar Kumar. And let’s not forget Welé.
“And we have cut down on the variety and severity of injuries. There is now very little smallpox at Arsenal. Polio, mumps and Guinea-worm disease are all things of the past. I know that to have 75% of your first team laid up with twangs, tweaks, rips, tears and the like is not ideal, but it is always exciting when players come back from injury for the first time for nine or ten months, and for the two week period until they get injured again all seems well in the world. Admittedly, Orwell, Robinson, Costerley, Ramsara, Arkwright, Fenton, Mandeville, Matthews and Goring-Hildred are all seasoned professionals but injuries at least give us the chance to throw in raw talent with only a few games to their name just to see what happens.
“So here’s to hope!”
What a rousing speech. When he departs, there is only one option: Modern technology allows us the possibility of cloning Mr. Herbert Chapman. And surely there is enough in the cash reserves for that magnificent experiment.