“Back once again with the renegade master, D4 damager, power to the people,” as the old Grenadier Guards regimental song used to go as we marauded through Crimea. Lustily we sang it, red of tunic, once again spanking the Russian Empire along with our chums the Ottomans, the French, and, erm, the Sardinians. Wonderful days. I feel a very similar emotion as we return to the fray once again for another pell-mell season.
It seems an age since we last corresponded, and yet it is only nine or so weeks. The intervening period has been eventfully uneventful; the arrival of Messrs Lakeshead, and Collingwood, a gentle tour of the penal colonies, an amusingly Arsenalistic Emirates Cup and a brace of victories against Chelsea, Mr. Saunders being handed a note which said YOU’RE GOING NOWHERE SUNSHINE, poor old Paolo Mersoni finally went pencil-up-the-nose bonkers, and just today the sad departure of everyone’s favourite well-meaning liability, Gabriel Pallister, the Naked Buccaneer.
We shall begin our précis of what our yankee doodle chums call the ‘off season’, and what ladies and gentlemen simply call ‘the summer’ with the acquisition of our two new chaps: Mr. Lakeshead and Mr. Collingwood, respectively a silken-footed top drawer striker, and a terrifying sixteen stone left back called Stephen Collingwood.
Mr. Lakeshead, then. Nicknamed ‘The Doctor’, because he is a doctor, his special move is The One Footed Septal Myectomy, a goal named after an exceptionally complicated cardiac procedure. Whilst playing for St Bartholomew’s Hospital Medical College, he scored a goal of excessively simple execution which belied its extraordinary complication, causing a senior Professor to shout for the touchline “that was like a one footed Septal Myectomy” to a huge cheer from the watching medical students.
Mr. Stephen Collingwood, The Outhouse, on the other hand, is not quite a surgeon. Literally brought up in a brick outhouse, by his parents Magda, a twenty four stone all-in wrestler and Jacob, the first man to deadlift a Hereford Bull, his strength was first noticed at six months old when his parents noticed he was performing a military press with his pram. Full Player Profiles will be with you upon the arseblog over the coming months.
To Australia then, for our pre-season tour of the penal colonies. Satisfactory victories over Sydney and their chums Western Sydney revealed little apart from The Doctor can score goals, and we have a wonderful crop of youngsters coming through. England’s Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Pakistan’s Riz Nizamani, American Joseph P Willock III and German Chlodwig Brühlmeier have all been rewarded with first team places.
A little later in the summer we beat Bayern Munich 3-2, lost to Chelsea 3-0 then beat them 4- 1 in the Super Cup, making the Summer Aggregate Score 6-5.
The first game of the season was an entertainingly sphincter-clenching affair. I had considered a boycott, due to the irritatingly inconvenient and downright American nonsense of a Friday night. After filing copy with Lord Mangan of Leinster I normally head straight to The Garrick and am roughly two or three Old Fashioneds deep by that time of night.
However, curiosity got the better of me. And heavens above was I treated to a vintage Arsenal performance. And by ‘vintage’ I mean we were swung between fiery determination, silken prowess and hapless incompetence. The day Arsenal defend a bloody corner I promise to buy every cisgender chap, woman, child, gender non-conforming, non-binary and/or genderqueer person in the Emirates a magnum of Krug.
Still, we won, and Mr. Lakeshead proved he has a lot in common with The Brigadier. Lakeshead scores within two minutes of the whistle, The Brigadier scores within two minutes of entering a lounge bar.
Finally, farewell, Mr. Pallister, you wonderful lunatic. You made some splendid tackles, you kicked Costa, and you hilariously refused to leave the field. You are a bit of a bounder and we loved you for it.
Perhaps you could administer some rough justice to dear old Paolo Mersoni, the right foot of Garrincha grafted onto the body of a none league centre half. He has finally wheeled his chair to the edge of the White Cliffs and dropped off. Arsenal should have signed Gareth Barry, he says.
We wish him a speedy recovery.