CDrive’s Season 2011/12 Highlights (Yes Really): Part One

Yes we lost to United 8-2, got beaten 4-3 by Blackburn, got taught a lesson by Swansea, didn’t turn up at the San Siro etc. Apart from that we actually had some extraordinary highlights, ones that on occasion left me almost completely breathless. Here’s a list of 10 of my personal favourites in some kind of order.


10. Arsène Wenger hugging Pat Rice (WBA 2-3 Arsenal, Premier League, 13th May 2012)

The Boss had been apoplectic with rage for most of the second half, but what we saw towards the end was something altogether different. With Arsenal hanging on by the fingernails Arsène mimics the nervousness every fan was feeling and clambers onto Pat Rice. This is great for two reasons: Arsène, despite being the manager shows he feels what we feel; and secondly that he is hugging Pat on his last day at work demonstrated an unusual poignancy rarely ever seen in the dug-out.


9. Robin van Persie v Tim Krul,  (Arsenal 2-1 Newcastle, Premier League, 12th March 2012)

It’s 1-1 at the Emirates, and Newcastle are time-wasting. Tim Krul is particularly enjoying himself, doing that thing I hate, unnecessarily moving goal-kicks to the opposite corner of the goal area.  However, all that time-wasting was in vain, as Thomas Vermaelen scores a 95th minute winner. Robin van Persie helpfully suggests to his international team-mate that he might now relent from wasting any more time. Krul, incensed with what was massively astute statement decides to produce his handbag. In fairness, it was handbags on both sides but seeing RvP not back down and giving Krul a bit of verbal roused an already-electrified crowd. It was also the first time I agreed with Gary Neville, to my absolute horror, when I watched it back at home.


8. Bacary Sagna on “The Enemy” (26th February 2012)

Not the band, but on Spurs in his post-5-2 interview: “…In our own stadium, against the enemy we could not lose”. And if anyone thinks these are just words, you only need to see the sheer voracity of his opening goal against Spurs. He had clearly had enough of being 2-nil down, and he was certainly not going to be on the losing side that day.


7. The Poznan,  (Arsenal 1-0 Manchester City, Premier League, 8th April 2012)

I hate the Poznan. I can never understand why, upon your team scoring, you would turn your back on them. Don’t you want to see the team celebrating, the scorer showing you what it means to do what the humble fan has always wanted to? I must admit I did put my hatred for this moronic celebration to one side after Mikel Arteta put Manchester City to the sword at the Emirates. Whilst the players celebrated, the Poznan reverberated around that North Bank and yes, I did join in to stick it to the City fans. Even The Grumpy Sh*thead was enjoying himself. And the funnies continued, as at the end Mario Balotelli finally completed his match-long mission to get sent off.


6. Chelsea 3-5 Arsenal (Premier League, 29th October 2011)

This was a match that was much more important than it usually is. Having been a team that was becoming accustomed to losing the big matches (Liverpool, Manchester United and Spurs up to this point), we’d clawed our way back a little bit by recording a series of almost under-the-radar victories. So this was a game we had to win, as I felt the somewhat fragile confidence that was finding it’s way back to the side would have been completely shattered again. And despite going behind twice, Arsenal produced a resilient performance, a Santos strike, Theo Walcott battling with gravity to stay upright and score, and an RvP hatrick.

And it was my birthday.


5. John Terry on his backside (Chelsea 3-5 Arsenal, Premier League, 29th October 2011)

Although it’s technically about a Chelsea player I feel this deserves a separate mention as it was Arsenal-inspired. Aside from the odious off-field stuff he gets involved in (don’t get me started on that), for the longest time I’ve felt that from a purely footballing perspective Terry’s best days were long behind him. Saw him play for England v Ukraine at Wembley 4/5 years ago and I was in shock as to how slow an international defender is allowed to be. So after all his lack of humility and badge-kissing it warmed my cockles immensely to see him flat on his a*se as Robin sped away to score his second.  It is even funnier looking back when you realise that a) even if Terry had stayed on his feet he would have been too slow to catch RvP anyway, and b) this is becoming something of a trademark of his.


To be continued Gooners…


Got no hair – AFC

Yesterday we received the official announcement that Pat Rice has stepped down from his role as assistant manager and replaced with Steve Bould.

I am grateful for the service that Pat has given us over the years, he has been a great servant to the club and he leaves with the best wishes from all the staff at arsenal.

Unfairly labelled as a yes man I guess sometimes people just need to pin something on someone when things are not going great, we haven’t won a trophy for a few years now so accountability needs to be distributed. A lot of factors have contributed to our barren spell and I certainly don’t think Pat rice is one of them.

Everyone is entitled to their opinion though so this is mine; you are entitled to have yours

Steve Bould has now stepped into the fold. A beast of a defender during my young years he definitely ticked all the boxes of the type of defenders that were flying off the production line at the time.

Nearly all the defenders during the George Graham days had that distinct aura of captain material, all leaders at the back. Of course Tony Adams was the captain but the likes of Bould, O’ leary, Keown all knew their craft and had the credentials to be captains themselves.

Bould had maintained his links with Arsenal by taking various roles behind the scenes at the club obtaining his coaching badges and most recently doing a very good job managing the Arsenal U-18’s.

The important thing about the appointment of Bould is the fact he is totally tuned in to the arsenal way under Arsene but also has the DNA of George Graham running through his veins which will hopefully be passed through to the defenders at arsenal.

I believe Bould will garner respect from the arsenal players and throughout the club; he is still highly regarded by the fans that remember him and hopefully moving forward that will lead to success. Most importantly he will strike up a good relationship from the off with Arsene and build a strong bond to grow from.

Welcome Stevie Bould, you’ve got no hair, we don’t care

The rumours about M’villa turned out to be a load of twitter hot gas. Arsene duly rejected the notion that a signing was imminent at yesterdays press conference. Times have changed so much nowadays that Chinese whispers with the aid of twitter and football gossip sites whip fans into such a frenzy.

Rumours spread so fast with no sign of hard evidence, sometimes we are so starved of news we subconsciously want it to be true so believe in them. Next minute a few retweets here and there and its all across the back pages of the papers and more people are taken in.

Gone are the days we would buy a paper in the morning and find out who the arsenal are interested in. Now we are competing with the reporters themselves to get the scoop from the ‘reliable’ source.

These days we buy the paper and the news is already old, it’s already flooded twitter the day before, trended, discussed to death, mentioned on talksport and already the next new name has been linked; all in the space of 24 hours.

The rumour mill is working at full capacity. If it were a company I would advise purchasing shares in the damn thing. Don’t see it slowing down any time soon

Information super highway indeed.

Enjoy your day people

Norwich game

So thought I would share with you my experience of the Norwich game.

It was a very surreal experience for me in particular. I mean I’ve been to the majority of home games this season but this experience struck a cord as I was positioned in the stadium somewhere I had not experienced before

My favourite position at games is behind the goal, you can’t beat seeing the ball hit the back of the net whilst in the north bank (when scored by arsenal) however the last few games I attended was whilst in the clock end. Maybe a bit of a jinx since our last few results haven’t swung our way.

I hate upper tier seats, love the view but prefer to be closer to action (don’t get me started on price); anyway on this occasion for the Norwich game I had purchased a ticket in the clock lower. What I didn’t notice when I bought ticket was my position near the away fans

As I walked in to find my seat I noticed how close in proximity the Norwich fans were, as I searched for my seat number they became closer and closer. Too bloody close! My seat was directly next to the buggers. Separated on my right by a set of stairs and a steward. “This will be interesting” It’s always nice to give it to any away fans that visit the emirates but to experience it when fans are in earshot is a completely different kettle of fish. I could actually put a face to the voices; I was in eyeshot, earshot close enough to lash a programme in their face.

Seriously anyone who has a season ticket positioned this close either has amazing restraint or loves a good ol’ slanging match and probably a fight too.

Of course we don’t lose very often at emirates so we would normally get one over the away fans more often than not. However, when you do lose or a result is against the arsenal the last thing you need is an away fan bellowing into your ear. There’s nowhere to turn your face.Normally when I’ve been in the stadium my block would pick out from afar a fan in the away section that stood out to berate and wind up. 9 times out of 10 it would be the fat bastard fan. They always seem to be most animated and easiest target.

The game had a lot of ups and downs we scored in the first minute, I was happy, I cheered, I sang while the Norwich fans were silent and wondering if this will be a mauling.

Apparently not, as Norwich proceeded to take the game to us. We took our foot off the pedal and were punished for it. First they equalised and all of a sudden those Norwich fans voices were getting picked up on my radar. Then they went 2-1 up and boy could I hear them. Every snide comment, every song, every chant. We looked like conceding every time they attacked and its then it was hard to make any noise. I admit I went silent, followed type as I was trying to get my head around what was going on.A few comments of being the library came up.

Another thing that didn’t help situation was the constant reminders to sit down. I wasn’t too fussed about sitting down but when you see that they don’t apply the same rule to the away fans it kind of feels like they have one up on us.

There was a funny interaction between an arsenal fan sat next to me and a steward. Went a little like this:

Steward: “can you sit down please” Fan: “I stand when the F**k I want”

Steward: “excuse me?” Fan “fuck off c*nt” Steward: “swear at me one more time and you are out of here”  The fan continued to ramble on but didn’t swear. Then he sat down. The steward went back to his position then the fan muttered “F**king steward was bang out of order”  all this went on to the amusement of the Norwich fans nearby.

Anyway back to the game and the second half was interesting. The half started with a one on one between Simeon Jackson and the keeper. Luckily Simeon Jackson is Simeon Jackson and so the chance was wasted. After that we picked up our game and got our equalizer

I cheered but it was half-hearted. A draw wasn’t enough and I wanted to really give it to those Norwich fans who were constantly chanting ‘Thursday nights Channel 5”

All the comments had got to me but I didn’t want to give it to them until we were actually ahead. We were on top now and a next goal was coming.

Oh how I couldn’t wait to give back. Then the moment came RVP slipped the ball into the back of the net. 3-2 up I went MENTAL! I mean I turned to those fans and gave ‘em a right rollicking. There was some serious tension built up and I let it out.

The look on their faces, “wooo” that felt good. The whole of the clock was so vocal now; I guess I wasn’t the only one that held it in.

What happened next wasn’t part of the plan. There’s a break, from where I’m sitting it seemed best option for Chezzer to come out and close the angle, he half thought and then retreated. Morison lets fly and the ball is in the back of the net.

How the Norwich fans let rip, how the Norwich fans let us know how the last laugh is the best. How I didn’t stage dive into the Norwich fans and take out as many as I could I don’t know. There was no place to hide, stunned but unable to digest what had happened. I got it full barrel from those fans. I’ve never heard so many voices that sound like farmers at the same time. The channel 5 song was back. Also an interesting one about they’d rather have Holt than RVP (ok).  Arsenal then proceeded to test my heart to full capacity. We had about 4 clear-cut chances to score but the ball would not go in.


Full time came and I was just sat there in silence, contemplating all the possible scenarios. 3rd place was out of our hands. The farmer voices had won this battle of banter but the war will go on. I’ll be seeing you next season boys.

Not sure if I could sit in that position on a regular basis. And I don’t know how my restraint would be if it was against the likes of Spurs and Chelsea.

I will however make sure I can get in that seat for next season’s encounter with Norwich. I need revenge; I’ll give those buggers channel 5…

Enjoy rest of your day people

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