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Saturday 15 September 2007

It's a Marvelous Day for a Goon-Dance

S'cuse the feeble pun but we went to see Van Morrison at the Albert Hall last night and so it seemed appropriate.

Derby Days at the wrong end of the Seven Sister's Road are invariably nervous affairs. Obviously I am just a little bit biased, but I am convinced our encounters with the enemy at our place occur in an atmosphere which isn't anywhere near as intimidating as the reverse fixture at their shabby excuse for a football ground. What I mean is that I don't imagine a trip to our new gaff for the poor, miserable Spuds is anything like as menacing as it is for those of us who will be braving the Tottenham High Rd bullrun this morning.

Aside from the high profile policing which always seems to crank the hostile mood up a notch or two, it has to be said that while the Spuds might be destined to remain perennial also-rans on the pitch, when it comes to scummy supporters they are up there amongst the table-toppers (many neutrals will agree that their away support is amongst the most ugly in the Premiership). As a result, over the years, Derby Day over at the darkside has become a bit of a mission, to get in, get the three points and to return home intact, to be able to relax and savour watching the replay on MOTD.

Róna is not on the Away Scheme any more, so I only get the one ticket for away matches. Yet even if she was, I would have the same reservations I've always had about her accompanying me to the Sh*thole. It's not that we haven't enjoyed many happy occasions there together, in fact she was with me on that magical afternoon a couple of seasons ago, when we couldn't have got further up the scum's noses, what with the small matter of winning the title on their turf and in truth Ro has often proved the perfect cover for ensuring that we got there and home safely. On that particular day, after we'd managed to wind them up to the point of exploding, with our Championship celebrations, when most Gooners were being made a target, by the old bill, herding them in a group for a long walk back to the train station, whereupon I'm led to believe they were set upon along the way, the two of us were able to slip off in the opposite direction, walking back around the stadium, right into the enemies midst along Paxton Rd, before escaping along the High Rd and finally letting rip with more celebratory horn blowing, once we were back in the car and safely heading home to Highbury.

However we've witnessed plenty of nastiness along said High Rd over the years, of the sort that just doesn't seem to occur at our place (or at least I've rarely seen evidence of it, other than the sound of helicopters buzzing overhead and a couple of screaming bus loads of blue meanies, rushing to an incident which is doubtless long since done and dusted). Personally I've no problem if the Neanderthals want to get it on and bash each other's brains out. However I don't know about anyone else, but myself and plenty of others are going there to watch a game of football (hopefully a typically one-sided affair!) and what bothers me most about our outings to belittle the enemy is the scum's propensity for targeting civilians.

Most Gooners braving enemy territory are distinguishable by their somewhat conspicuous efforts to blend into the crowds, but from the moment one turns off the High Rd and into Park Lane, we become identifiable by the fact that we are on the left hand side of the road, being filtered towards the Away Supporters turnstiles and the barrage of vitriolic abuse begins. The bad-mouthing might be water off a duck's back to me, but I am not sure I'd want to subject my missus to it, especially with the masculine trait of feeling obliged to defend her honour.

Back in the day it was quite common practice, but as a kid my old man would often take me to the Arsenal one week and to Spurs the next (otherwise we wouldn't have been there on that momentous night in ’71, when we gave Ray Kennedy a lift to his parent’s hotel, whereupon he signed my programme “To Bernard whom I travelled home with after the game”!). However nowadays I am not at all sure I’d want to subject a young child to the sort antagonistic atmosphere experienced at White Hart Lane, by way of spending “quality time” with one’s kids. In fact one of the last times Ró accompanied me to a Derby game at their gaff, we were seated in fairly close proximity to the enemy and there was a bloke beside us with his young lad who soon asked if we would swap seats with them, in order to try and distance himself and his extremely distressed son from the venomous abuse. Róna thought it very sad to think that the poor lad had probably been so excited to be going to the game with his dad, but was subsequently left in tears by a traumatic experience.

Most amusing on passing through the turnstiles at White Hart Lane, is to see all the Gooners who’ve had the sense to remain schtum whilst walking along Park Lane, but who’ve suffered such an affront to their sense of machismo, that no sooner are they safely inside the stadium, than their bravura returns and they go through the “let me at them” charade.

I’m not suggesting that I am any more fearless than the next coward and in my head, one of the reasons for my reluctance to take the missus is the possibility that she might prevent me from being able to run away, if the necessity should arise. I myself am currently wondering which t-shirt I can get away with wearing, as I absolutely must have something about my person confirming my allegiance to the Arsenal, but it needs to be an item of apparel that can be easily disguised on exiting the Sh*thole.

The last time I was foolish enough to wear my colours “on my sleeve” so to speak, I ended up having my Arsenal “wee willy winkie” style hat knocked off my head on the High Rd. Obviously my excuse was that I was with the missus, but I had to swallow hard and count to ten, to ensure the t*ssers didn’t get the reaction they were hoping for.

So while I may well be no different to anyone else, I can’t help but find amusing, watching the traditional end of match rituals at Tottenham, as all those Gooners with more brains than brawn, begin to cover up. If it’s a warm afternoon today, all the Gooners walking along the High Rd after the match will be immediately identifiable by the fact that they are wearing an unnecessary layer of clothing. Hopefully we will also be recognisable from the fact that we are the ones desperately doing our utmost to contain our smug feelings of joy at having mullahed them, yet again, whilst trying to look as miserable as everyone else around us!

I guess there’s a logic to an early KO, in trying to prevent any alcohol fuelled incidents, but I despise them nonetheless (and if I don’t get a wriggle on, I will miss it!) as the atmosphere is never much to write home about and most importantly, we never seem to start playing until after half-time, as though their footballing body-clocks won’t kick in so early on a Saturday. Sadly there’s a fine line between a great atmosphere and hostilities breaking out and it’s a shame that you can’t have one in isolation, without the other. With the complete and utter evaporation of all the Spuds pre-season optimism, I am sure we can expect a warm welcome this afternoon and it could prove a perfect testing ground for some of those who have yet to “enjoy” such an occasion. Here’s hoping that come 3.15pm, we are marvelling at the display of their mettle

Come on you Reds


Anonymous said...

You're all a bunch a wankers. Hope you get a fucking good pasting on the High Road today

Anonymous said...

Shit site, shit fans

Anonymous said...

I think that Spurs fans could easily identify you by the fact that you'll have 'sad fucking wanker' written all over you. Don't wish you too much harm, but I wont lose to much sleep if you end up in hospital drinking through a straw for the next few weeks. Fuck off you cock

Anonymous said...

Seriously, have you ever seen someone with 'sad fucking wanker' scribed all over them?

Anonymous said...

ffs, why is Fabregas so good :P

Just kidding, I love the little bastard. Apparently his goal today was immense. Apparently Ade's was too.

3-1 to the arse holes! Yay :D

Anonymous said...

Being a Spurs fan is bad for your health, 8/10 doctors don't recommend it.Go Gooners!

Anonymous said...

Spuddies, u just love it up the ARSEnal, dont u, faceless " C U Next Tuesday S"

Anonymous said...

I think that you have got it spot on. I was one of the fans who missed the first half an hour of the game due to over the top policing and the insistence to search every single gooner even though we are not exactly known for our hooligan element.
Tottenham are a club that are full of bitter and twisted fans born out of hatred for continuosly having to live in Arsenals shadow. Never mind ay get used to it.

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