Arsenal Gentleman’s Weekly Review

I did not watch the League Cup tie this Wednesday last, preferring to preferring a night supping chilled Negroni cocktails in Kensington with the Duke of Devonshire. That is not a euphemism for anything, I was merely drinking cocktails with a Duke. You’re thinking of drinking cocktails with a Duchess, an act which it would not be appropriate to describe in a family foot-balling column.

The faithful knew that Middlesex would have their dander up following their humiliation in the actual North London and South Middlesex Derby on December 2nd. We know that Spurs require a huge uplift in their revenue stream to pay for the Armitage Shanks Stadium, and that by rushing out a DVD called ‘A NIGHT TO REMEMBER: KNOCKING ARSENAL OUT OF THE CARABAO CUP’ will sell quite well to the unfortunate inhabitants of that ghastly London suburb.

I hear that Tottenham’s official club shop, situtated as it is in the heart of a population of feral criminals, expect large numbers of new DVDs to be filched from their establishment, but even so, sales revenue will go toward the billion pound cost of their new hovel. And so, a defeat was written in the stars.

I awoke on the Thursday morning to the newspaper coverage. As you will know, following a loss, my kindly butler excises the match report from the Telegraph for the fear of me reaching for my bedside Purdey and firing off a couple of rage rounds through the window. Yet he played something of a trick on me, leaving the headline ‘MISSILE THROWN AT DELE ALLI’. This of course filled me with great joy, for any moral gentleman would be delighted for a missile to be thrown at that despicable footpad. I thought that an actual missile had been thrown, an exocet or similar, and all that was left of Mr. Alli was a pair of smouldering white boots on the Emirates pitch; sadly ‘twas but a humble water bottle.

This had me pondering: Is it possible to condemn the actions of the fan who threw a bottle at Dele Alli whilst applauding the accuracy of the throw itself? Considering Alli’s annoying and slappable bonce is approximately 30% smaller than a normal human head, and the bottle was thrown from some distance, was there not a tiny bit of admiration there? Of course the reprehensible cove should be banned and so on, but any local cricketing teams may wish to seek him or her out.

And can we find contentment in the fact that a plastic bottle of water has no racial connotations, unlike the banana thrown by a Spurs fan last week? In the current climate, can we take succour in being a less racist club, in terms of racially connotative objects thrown from the crowd? Perhaps we could take the lead on this for the next Spurs match, highlighting our progressive qualities as a club.

How about hurling replicas of culturally significant artefacts from Africa and Asia; a rubber version of the wonderful cast bronze head of Queen Idia of Benin from the 16th century thrown at Paulo Gazzaniga? A lightweight plastic Shiva Nataraja from 12th century Tamil Nadu slung at the head of Harry Winks? A 13th century astrolabe from Turkey fashioned into a Frisbee and directed at Jan Vertonghen?

In my day, missile throwing was an important part of the match-day ritual and has become much less creative over time. It was a rite of passage for any young chap or chapess attending their first match at Highbury to attempt to hit a policeman on the head with a clothes peg, or the away goalkeeper with an orange, or an opposing fan with a clothes mangle smuggled into the ground under one’s wife’s voluminous underskirts.

Or my particular favourite on Boxing Day, to hit the opposing manager with a Cockentrice (a dish consisting of a suckling pig’s upper body sewn onto the bottom half of a capon or turkey).

Perhaps these traditions can be reintroduced at the weekend. If someone manages to get Sean Dyche on the noggin with some oyster soup then please see me to collect your one guinea. (PLEASE DO NOT ACTUALLY THROW OYSTER SOUP AT SEAN DYCHE).