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Saturday 14 November 2009

Arsenalisation Process Soon To Be Completed?

G'day Fellow Gooners

In addition to these infernal interruptions to the domestic program, resulting from the International breaks, it's invariably a struggle for me to come up with a column for the Irish Examiner, when the Arsenal aren't playing.

But I find myself with a rare weekend off, so I might well not end up posting a piece on my blog this Monday and if so, you'll have to forgive me, as unsurprisingly, it would appear as if the paper's Terrace Talk feature on Wednesday is going to be displaced by coverage of the utterly insignificant game taking place in Paris that night :-)

That doesn't mean I haven't been slaving away at my keyboard but I've been writing a piece for the 200th issue of The Gooner and so I guess you're going to have to wait to buy a copy if you want to read it, as I can't really post it here because I'd be a little pissed off to buy a magazine containing articles I'd already read for free online.

Although one of the main reasons I wanted to post this piece was as an excuse to include some photos, as I stopped off at the ground on my way to work on Thursday morning to take some pictures.

The stadium was a positive hive of activity, with blue cranes dotted all over the shop as they install the remaining murals. The fourth mural in the North-West corner (even if a circle has no corners) includes images of Pires, Radford, O’Leary & Male and then on the way home last night I saw the completed mural on the East side, which is the one you get a marvelous view of as you drive down Aubert Park from the old gaff. Sadly it was too dark to take any pics but this one is made up of Bould, McLintock, Parlour & Rice.

Thus there are three more murals still to go up including 12 more players (to add to the collection that already includes Bastin, Adams, Brady & Henry. Bergkamp, Wilson, Hapgood & George. Seaman, Drake, Rocastle & James). There's a hell of a lot of Gooner heroes missing from this list. I suppose Wrighty is the most obvious modern day exclusion and I assume he'll appear in one of the remaining murals, but that will still leave loads of my own all-time Arsenal favourites struggling to make the final cut (eg. George Armstrong, Ray Kennedy, Kenny Sansom, Nigel Winterburn to name but four!) and I'm impatiently waiting to see the completed oeuvre.

Although I imagine the arguments will only start there, as there are bound to be endless barneys about who's been included and omitted. Moreover, in some respects I don't want the Arsenalisation process to end, as it's inspired in me the most interest I've had in the new stadium since it was opened, as I usually drive along Drayton Park at least twice daily and have been known to take the odd detour along Benwell Rd to the roundabout where it joins Hornsey Rd, in eager anticipation of each and every new development.

We won't have too long to wait, as according to one of the crane operators, they were supposed to be all done and dusted by today (Saturday). But I guess that the inclement weather put paid to a strangely urgent schedule. After all there isn't another home game until Standard Li├Ęge come to town on Tuesday 24th November.

Nevertheless, I couldn't resist stopping off on the way home from dinner at my Ma's last night, just past the two canons on the roundabout, to nip up the stairs to the left of the Box Office / the Armoury, to see if they'd got any further with the West side mural. But they'd only got so far as to put up the tensioners that are used to attach the gauze like fabric to, in order to stretch it taught.

I have to admit something of a professional interest, as I was only chatting to the technical director at the ballet the other day, a Notts Forest fan and telling him about the murals. He suggested the specific manufacturing process (which obviously I've immediately forgotten!) as they've had call to use it in our productions in the past, but only where the limitations of printing cloths in 3 metre strips didn't present a problem.

Meanwhile, after struggling to find the "Spirit of Highbury" installation, after the Spurs game, where the replica poster was reproduced in the programme, I'm pleased to say that this is now in situe at "podium level" above the Armoury shop. However with it still being fenced off, I'm assuming it's a work in progress, as in fact it would appear as if they've experienced some problems because the corners of this elongated team photo of every player to appear at THOF looks a bit like badly glued wallpaper at present, with lots of creases in the corners. I also assume it will get a covering of some sort to protect the picture, as otherwise unfortunately it's likely to end up defaced with graffiti in a nano-second!

I was planning on taking a walk around with the dog today to see if there've been any further developments, but I can't imagine anyone being up in a crane in such gale force conditions.

It's a shame really, as where we live, in Highbury Quadrant, is an unexpectedly green idyll between Blackstock Rd and Clissold Park and with so many trees, the autumnal colours are a treat. But winter has arrived virtually overnight, with the vast majority of trees having been completely denuded by hurricane like winds, leaving a somewhat depressingly stark scene and doubtless several days worth of that incredibly annoying racket, as the council's gardeners go about the seemingly futile business of pushing the leaves into huge piles with their noisy blower machines, only for a single gust of wind to restore the natural order of things and spoil all their efforts.

But you know I've run out of Arsenal related stuff if I'm resorting to discussing nature and having prattled on long enough to include a selection of my photos, I'll sign off and settle down for coverage of Ireland v France (with perhaps an appetiser of the David Haye's farcical heavyweight title fight, where I'm delighted I managed to resist the temptation to fork up another 15 odd quid to Sky to watch this circus act live).

Despite there doubtless being some torn loyalties, not wanting to see Titi, Sagna, Gallas and the rest of Les Blues get beat, as something of an adopted Irishman, I've gotta be up for Trapattoni's lads

Come on you Boys in Green
Big Love

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Anonymous said...

C'mon Ireland, we let our French players have a summer off.

Anonymous said...


there's nothing wrong in talking about mother nature and arsenal! thanks for a good read. :-)

Anonymous said...

c'mon france-rather sagna and gallas won than keane and o'shea

Anonymous said...

Allez Les Bleues!

Norn Iron Gooner.

Anonymous said...

Thierry Henry, Thierry Henry, Thierry Henry-c'mon England