Dear readers, you find your Arsenal Gentleman in the tropics this past week. The world outside of Great Britain, as you will know, is quite the rum place. There are parts of it – the former British Empire – that have been forcibly civilised. Places where one can find a half-passable gin and tonic, a supply of tincture of opium, a reasonably priced bath-chair rental company, and a recognised Woolwich Arsenal contingent, which are the the four things at the top of the list I supply the butler with afore he arranges my foreign travel.
Then there is The Other Part of the World, normally afflicted by a second rate Empire builders such as the French or the Spanish. Where one cannot find a jugged hare for love nor money, where all institutions have broken down, where civilisation merely means – AS REQUIRED BY SIGNS OUTSIDE AN ESTABLISHMENT GOD HELP US – that menfolk are required to wear top garments on the upper half of their body. Where brobdingnagian glass vessels of vulgarly coloured alcoholic elixirs unlikely to be ratified by the International Bartender’s Association are supplied for very little ackers, in some cases two for the price of one, to uncouth hordes of young men and women. This type of retreat is often inhabited by that scourge of dignity, that disease of modernity, that cloud of stinking snaggle-toothed gas that is the Chelsea fan.
Due to an unforgivable oversight by the butler, I find myself in the latter. One of the reasons one finds one needs a tonic to the spirit in the latter stages of winter is that by the end of February one simply cannot stand to be in the same land-mass as preening pignut Jose Mourinho, hog-faced psychopath Diego Costa, spleeny puttock Gary Cahill and the rest of the gang of mercenary, mangled, dog-hearted miscreants. I have travelled halfway athwart the earth to void Chelsea and I find myself surrounded by their blue-clad clay-brained codpieces. So please, think of me in your prayers.
The viewing of Woolwich matches in this far-flung hellhole is fraught with puzzlement and curiosity. In the nearest drinking establishment where via technological sorcery, a vast magic lantern displays Arsenal’s match-ups from the other side of the earth, one has to be careful not to become caught up in the ominous ‘kiddies disco’, whatever that may be. I tend to avoid any entertainment involving the goat.
There is also on offer some kind of exotic Oriental entertainment going by the name of ‘Karaoke’. I was once, to my abject horror, shown some film of this practice by a long-gone footman, and I have to say it was quite the most revolting four hours of my life. So the strategy is: Enter the bar, order a gallon of gin, watch the match and leave before that spectacle begins.
And so on Sunday one was heartened and relieved in equal measure to see an if not quite spiffing performance one which ended in the sum of Arsenal’s goals exceeding that of our Evertonian opponent’s. Goring-Hildred, freed from being held hostage by his League Two doppelgänger Jacques Strap, who appeared in his place, looked once more like the tumescent and muscular Centre-Forward we know him to be. Other notable moments were Dai Ramsden demonstrating an excellent Admiral Rous* to thwart Lukaku, a big beast who looks very much like meat was cheap when he was born. Propers** to Mr. Pallister, whose precision jollyboat*** on the aforementioned Lukaku saved Woolwich’s bacon. It was also a delight to see The Little Elgar, Tommy Robinson, add another fine goal to his collection.
Mr. Robinson also featured prominently in Woolwich’s Wednesday Night Worry at Rangers of Queen’s Park. A club who are at least now freed from fraudulent half-trick pony Mr. Harold ‘Convenient Knees’ Redknapp, in the footballing sense, although quite how much damage he has done on the coffers of this proud club is yet to be seen. They harried and they hassled, yet our superior quality told over the full four score and ten. The breakthrough came from Messrs. Saunders and Orwell, who answered the question of whether they can play in the same team in the most wonderful way by jargoogling QPR for one nil with the goal coming from that man Goring-Hildred once again. Saunders suddenly had the scent of death in his nostrils and was twice thwarted before at the third time of asking unleashing a Whizzbang past poor old Bobby Green for two nil.
We learn this week that perhaps Woolwich will not offering Abraham Dolby, A.K.A. The English Patient, a new contract in the summer. A veritable tragedy that such a promising career should be ended by a succession of esoteric ailments. Let us remind ourselves of his afflictions since his arrival in 2006.
2007 Lymphatic filariasis
2012 Plague, Gout
2013 English Sweat
2014 Ergotism, puerperal fever
So on balance, it would seem kinder to Mr. Dolby if he were to be sent to a sanitarium or a Seaman’s Hospital, or West Ham, to see out his last two to three years of life.
TERRIBLE TIME FOR OUR REJECTS
Lastly, have we notice how Mr. Fàbregas’s form has dipped like a greased seal sliding down the Matterhorn? No Gentleman’s Favour in his last nine games, no acceleration, no agility, no strength. Is he being slowly poisoned by the atmosphere at Stamford Bridge? We send him our thoughts. As we do to Mr. Nasri, who now does not occasionally even make Manchester City’s bench and is further depressed by news that the average size of a man’s old chap when flaccid is 3.9 inches – double the length of Little Nasri when fully engorged. We clasp our hands in prayer for him. As we do for poor Mr. Podolski, yet to score for Milan’s Internationals and this weekend kicked the Burgee of Brie**** rather than the ball. At some point it maybe possible for a player to leave Mr. Windsor’s charge and attain success, but that time has not reached us yet.
* When the glove butler rushes out to thwart an attacker. Named after the inventor of the starting gate in horse racing.
** Now shortened to ‘props’ by young people
*** A very precise and delicate tackle, named after the small boat carried at the stern of a pirate vessel.
**** The corner flag (from its appearance of a naval flag on a piece of French cheese)