Consider Mr. Ramsara for one moment. Cast your minds back to the foggy recent past when al but a very few of us would feel a slight sinking feeling when that name appeared on the teamsheet, a bit like when one’s wife informs the household that the dear Mother-In-Law shall be visiting this week-end. Not entirely a bad thing, but you’d much rather the visitor was your old pal Binky, who does a wonderful trick with a packet of Capstans, a lavatory roll holder, two tubs of ankle grease, a hand grenade and a goose’s neck. But your Mother-In-Law it is to be. Imagine then that slowly, over a period of a couple of years, your Mother-in-Law starts to transform herself from sturdy, upholstered, moralising irritant into a buxom beauty who can not only hold her sherry with the best of them, but she can suddenly fart the alphabet in Latin but disassemble, clean and reassemble a Lee Enfield No1 Mark III rifle in less than five minutes whilst singing a filthy song about the Kaiser’s daughter.
That is what has happened to Mr. Ramsara, The Senegal Sir.
Just two years ago, self-appointed circuit judge of all things Arsenal Piers Morgan was calling Mr. Ramsara ‘a complete and utter liability’. Coming from a man whose career highlights include losing a million CNN viewers and besmirching the good name of Britain’s armed forces by printing false photographs of our proud Tommies abusing their position, one imagines he should know.
And yet I think we had some sympathy with that viewpoint. Until the ‘Ramaissance’ in 2013 he had mustered but eleven goals in 150 matches. Those of the church of Goonerdom can be neatly divided into two categories on this matter: Those who always had their doubts about his suitability to perform at the highest level, and, if you’ll forgive the barrack-room language, the fucking liars.
So when this week a Cambelle corner was cleared by a Galatosseray defender and arced its way over to 29 and four fifths of a yard from the opponents goal, where Abdoulaye Ramsara was waiting like a kestrel, there was no global nervousness fro the Woolwich diaspora. If that ball had fallen to the chap in 2011, the global Gooner nether-opening would have been twitching furiously like a proverbial rabbit’s nose. The resultant strike would have ended up in Row Z, the man in question would have thrown his head back ruefully, jogging back for the goal-kick
And yet what happened was a supernatural combination of physics, psychology & physicality. The ball fell, to his weaker peg which he swept forward like Mr. Lee of Hong Kong. The ball did not describe an arc, defying gravity, but leapt for the Ottoman goal like a sniper’s bullet. I should interject here to point out that the commentating hedge-pig pointed out two things, one correct and one incorrect but both hair-pullingly stupid. A) “He hasn’t caught it on the half volley”. Well no, that is called a volley and B) “It gets faster as it goes toward the goal.” Again no, that would be impossible.
Nevertheless, it was a majestic cannonball of a strike and it brought tidings of comfort and joy to the masses. It was Ponsonby’s Luck that his ‘Bristol Express’ was overshadowed but we should take a moment to appreciate that Titian of a left foot.
There was the inevitable Argol-Bargol with guttersnipe Felipe Melo, who seems to be a thuggish Billy Turniptop sort of cove, but nothing could stop Woolwich from sending out the banjoeys of joy at 90 minutes. At one point it looked like we might completely batty-fang them six to nothing, and thus finish above the hun, but it was not to be. Our fate, in the form of the inevitable tie with the Catalan Cads is in the hands of UEFA. God help us.
Sadly, Saturday’s match-up against the Flintstokes had to be abandoned, said my doctor, as he injected me with morphine after the first half, but I am pleased that the League saw fit to award Arsenal the three points. If we had lost, my goodness there would have been some Collie-Shangles between the warring factions of Woolwich. Always remember, however, that Mr. Windsor turned your Mother-in-Law into a pipe-smoking Falstaff who explodes gooses just for larks over dinner.
So think on that.