White hankies and lacklustre support- Let’s not turn into Barca fans

Written by CarlitoII

On the eve of THE rematch, I wanted to share my experience of living in the beautiful city of Barcelona. I moved  there (permanently in my mind) 3 days after 9/11. I fell in love with the City, Las Ramblas, the fantastic area of Gracia where we lived, and the relaxed and welcoming Spanish/ Catalan lifestyle.

Needless to say, I met a lot of Barcelona fans during my 18 month sojourn in their fair city and the discussions I had with them led me to be very disappointed in their fan culture. Admittedly, this was during the days of Van Gaal at Barcelona, and the era of Zidane, Raul and McManaman at Real Madrid. Nonetheless, it seemed to me that there was a vast discrepancy between how I thought of myself as an Arsenal fan, and how they saw themselves as Barca fans.

I find it hard to recall specific games, but it slowly dawned on me that the supporters I met would rather lose playing great football. In protest at the pragmatic tactics of the dour Dutchman, the masses waved white hankies around the ground, walked out when their team went behind and constantly complained about what the man said in the press and his lack of charisma. Being a young man who had supported Arsenal throughout the Graham years, I could not understand the fans’ complicity in their own downfall.

The great history of the club was explained to me: the amazing resistance to Franco that meant the stadium was the only place in the whole of Spain where you could speak Catalan without fear, the amazing football of the 70s with Cruyff, the Cruyff-led “dream team” that won the European Cup at Wembley and the tradition of swashbuckling football that was always, first and foremost, an expression of anarchist resistance to the Fascist regime of Franco. All themes I could warm to, yet the reality was a spoilt football public that would not sing unless winning with style and constantly sniped at their players and coaching staff.

I was unimpressed. Moreover, Arsenal were playing the best football I had ever seen us play and that Summer we won the double and won the league at Old Trafford which I watched at a great Irish pub near the Sagrada Familia. There was no comparison. At Highbury I knew that if we went 1-0 down we would not throw in the towel and signal our surrender as the white hankies demonstrated, we would sing up and urge our team on. In fact, I characterised the crowd at Camp Nou as Tottenham fans- forever in thrall to past glories, getting on their team’s back and dragging them down.

Now Barcelona were not a bad team in those days. They had Kluivert on top form, Saviola looked like he was going to be top drawer and with Overmars, DeBoer  and Rivaldo there was no doubting they were a force. But they couldn’t match Real Madrid at home (they went out to them in Europe too) and they didn’t play with enough panache for their demanding ‘socios’. I didn’t even want to go to Camp Nou, I was disgusted by the sniping and what I felt was a lack of support for their team. Angry and drunk one night, I asked, “Do you only support when the team plays well?” How they laughed at the young Englishman with his lack of class and his broken Spanish!

10 years later I find that my own team has now acquired a similar attitude from its fanbase. “We’ll sing when you play well enough” seems at times to be the dominant theme on the blogs and from the fans. I thought when I lived in Barcelona that Arsenal fans would forever be superior, would never question the club or the team as long as they played their hearts out and we sang our hearts out.

But it seems that success is a double-edged sword and despite Barcelona coming through their malaise to become the greatest football team I have ever seen play the game, their fans no longer know what it is to support their team through thick and thin, they are merely connoisseurs of great football and I hope with all my heart that even if we one day become as great a team as they are, we never fail to support our team when the going gets tough.

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142 Responses to White hankies and lacklustre support- Let’s not turn into Barca fans

  1. Morning all

    Fascinating insight Carlito, thank you so much for jumping in with a post. We’ve got almost 36 hours to wait and ponder what will be, I get such an adrenaline rush every time I think about the game. So excited.

    Where’s micky?

  2. London says:

    Exactly where is Micky…I think I might be getting over excited too quickly I need to know what level “def con” (is that the right expression) we are supposed to be on right now.

  3. London says:

    Very enjoyable read Carlito

    I too lived in Barcelona for a length of time so I feel I understand exactly what you mean. A couple of points that have I have since learnt: it is not just Barcelona who complain if the style of football played is not entertaining; as Cesc said, the supporters of every club in Spain do that. He went on to say that even the supporters of the lesser clubs would prefer to see their team lose rather than watch a parked bus kind of football. I can’t see Aladyce getting a job over there too quickly.
    The other thing I brought back with me was a love of Barcelona football team; I always wanted them to beat Real. Looking back I put this benevolence down to the fact that we had never played them and when we did normal service was resumed. I am not one of those people who can admire the four goals that Messi scored against us in the Camp Nou…I hate the fucking little dwarf for doing that to my team.

  4. charybdis1966 says:

    Well said Carlito, I’ve often suspected that a majority of Barca fans are merely Iberian versions of your common or garden London Reds – i.e. typical glory hunters.
    I remember someone saying here 90% of Spanish football fans are Barca fans or followers of General Franco’s team – very few people support their local teams.
    Imagine a whole country of glory hunters – yuecchh !!

  5. 26may1989 says:

    Good stuff Carlito. I remember being in Paris in 2006, after we lost the CL Final to Barca, and none of the Barca fans we saw in bars that evening was particuarly excited about their team having just become European champions for only the second time. We seemed to be enjoying the whole thing more than many of them, despite having lost to two late goals.

    You’re right about Arsenal fans having become less committed to the cause, only turning up vocally when the oppo are big.

  6. Smith14 says:

    I think there’s a balance to be struck with this sort of thing. You should always support your team. Personally I never boo our players or staff and can’t imagine a situation where I would.

    That said, I think we’ve been treated to a revolution under Wenger and, if we lost his services and he was replaced by a defensive coach who played unattractive tactics, I think we’d have a right to demand something more appetising, the like of which we’ve grown accustomed too. Waving white hankies and jeering your own players may be a step too far but I think it’s admirable that the club has such a strong common identity, it’s not just about winning for the sake of winning.

    I still don’t like Barceolona. I admire the team, the history and the identity of the club. I don’t like their incredible arrogance and belief that everyone should just fall over themselves and sell on their best players for a pittance.

  7. Gooner in Exile says:

    Great read Carlito and top post.

    I made a point after the Everton game, where the atmosphere was rocking due to the refereeing injustice. I don’t think the crowd would have stood in the same way had we gone 1 nil down of our own making.

    On Saturday I listened to the commentary on 5 Live, and I can’t say I heard the crowd too much, we should be singing from 15 minutes before kick off to the final whistle every game, let go feel free to stand and support your team, it is not the theatre!

    It is time for the Grove regulars to raise the roof on Wednesday night, the atmosphere against Everton proved that the ground is more than capable of containing the noise within, unfortunately with such a marquee game I’m sure many of the corporates will be in their places to entertain guests and wait to be entertained and that will reduce that effect I’m afraid.

  8. stonroy says:

    Great great post!

  9. tommystout says:

    quality writing yet again Carlito.
    Can’t wait for tomorrow night, i know the grove will be pumping. And i know it won’t come across that way tomorrow on ITV, time to get the acoustics sorted out powers that be.

  10. mickydidit89 says:

    Great post Carlito,
    There is so much to talk about, and here I am again up to my arse in aligators.
    26 May,
    That too was one of my memories of Paris. After the game, I jumped on a train back into Paris, where I must have the only Gooner in the carriage, and there was barely a word, let alone a song, from the hundred odd Barca fans. Very, very odd and supports everything Carlito has said.

  11. mickydidit89 says:

    Would love to stay and chat, but work calls. I don’t think there is any doubt that fans of the top teams have become complacent. Like Utd, we increased capacity and attendance rapidly (since Sky), and with a new generation bred on success, I think the level of expectation has rocketed. I believe a thinker might say that in recent years children grow up in more of an instant society where patience and perseverance are qualities in short supply.

  12. mickydidit89 says:

    Off again.
    Bye, yeah, love you too, bye, bye.

  13. charybdis1966 says:

    Yeah, we loves ya Mickey !

  14. SharkeySure says:

    Very good post Carlito.

    I had my first anniversary in Barcelona, which luckily (!?) coincided with our CL visit in 1999. As you andothers have said, its a fantastic city fill of some really lovely people. Its a real shame that certain figures at the club (both players and management) have tarnished its image with their big mouths and lack of class.

  15. Le Grove have asked us to support their chant of

    ‘Hands off Cesc Fabregas’ to the tune of ‘we’ve got ….’

    which I’m sure will be sung loud and proud at the ground tomorrow. If you’re going to the game don’t be shy, sing up ;)

    http://le-grove.co.uk/

  16. Carlito11 says:

    Morning all, thanks for your comments. And thanks to Peaches or Rasp for correcting one or two of my wine-induced typos from a “by candlelight” writing session!
    Interesting to hear people’s impressions of the Barcelona fans after our Paris defeat- peculiar behaviour that I hope never becomes ingrained in N5.

  17. Carlito11 says:

    Peaches, I think that chant deserves an outing and hopefully we can get “stuck in the middle Djourou” going too! I saw a stat that Kozzer and Djourou have only allowed 8 shots on target in their last 7.5 games together. Bodes well I thought :-)

  18. Carlito11 says:

    Micky what IS our defcon level this morning? I’m not sure I can wait another 24 hours before cranking it up!

  19. I might have to take my depressing comment out :roll:

  20. Carlito11 says:

    Were those trains home after winning a cup/ title though Peaches? I get it that people can contain themselves at 11pm after thrashing Slavia Prague!

  21. You’re right Carlito, I suppose supporters are tired at the end of an evening game.

  22. Carlito11 says:

    Peaches, I know you love stats in posts- have you seen this Arsenal Tactics website? Some interesting reading… http://www.arsenalreport.com/

  23. Red Arse says:

    Carlito,

    What a lovely insight into both the Barca/Catalan supporters brio and your own thought processes! Really fascinating! :-)

    I would like to learn/know more at a later date perhaps.

  24. Red Arse says:

    Micky has his defcon stage approach to big games, (well they all are), but mine turn to matters frivolous, so this is my current humour level! :-)

    A very pretty young speech therapist was getting nowhere with her “Stammerers Action Group”.

    She had tried every technique in the book without the slightest success. No-one was improving.

    Finally, thoroughly exasperated, she said, “If any of you can tell me, without stuttering, the name of the town where you were born, I will have wild and passionate sex with you until your muscles ache and your eyes water.
    So, who wants to go first?”

    The Englishman piped up. “B-b-b-b-b-b-b-irmingham.”

    “Sorry, that’s no use, Trevor,” said the speech therapist. “Who’s next?”

    The Scotsman raised his hand and blurted out, “P-p-p-p-p-p-p-p-p-aisley”.

    “That’s no better. Sorry, there’ll be no sex for you, I’m afraid, Hamish.”

    “OK, How about you then, Paddy?”

    The Irishman took a deep breath and eventually blurted out ” London.”

    “Brilliant, Paddy!” said the speech therapist and immediately set about living up to her promise.

    After 15 minutes of exceptionally steamy sex, the couple paused for breath and Paddy said…

    “-d-d-d-d-d-d-d-d-erry”.
    :-)

  25. Carlito

    Thats a fanatstic site, those guys must watch the game over and over again!!!

    Interesting that Wolves also had good stats for passes completed – almost 80%. We did take our foot off the pedal – there’s always a time in a game when we look like we want the opposition to have a chance. Luckily Wolves didn’t take it.

  26. Morning RA – keep ‘em coming but remember to save some for tomorrow when some of us will be gibbering wrecks.

    Anyone know if the Barca team are flying in today?

  27. Carlito11 says:

    Peaches, I think they pay Opta to have access to their stats. You are right that it is a better level of analysis than I have seen anywhere else and could provide some great nuggets to enrich our discussions here

  28. Big Raddy says:

    Super read Carlito. I have yet to visit Barcelona and am surprised by the fans attitude. From afar they seem rabid!

    It should be pointed out that Arsenal have been through times of cynical fans. We went through decades of not filling Highbury and I can recall games when I was the only fan in a 10 yard radius (could it have been B.O?).

    Kelsey was at the game when under 5,000 fans attended, and I have been to a 10k attendance. And during the GG years there were times when the atmosphere was non-existent. Not for nothing did we earn the epithet “The Highbury Library”.

    I have friends who sit all around the ground and remember on saying to me “the game was so exciting even the West Stand sang!”. It remains the case today.

    But I am certain tomorrow night will have the Emirates rocking

  29. dandan says:

    I like BR and Kelsey remember those dour days of empty grounds,the silence broken only by moans and groans at every misplaced pass, the players glaring at the crowd when a particular insult got to them. I also remember the extra thousands of so called fans who came out of the woodwork when we looked like winning something. (50k) locked out at the lane for the first double for example

    But all that being said I must hold my head up high and admit given the choice between Wengerball and winning something, I would choose Wengerball. Hopefully this year I can have both.

  30. 26may1989 says:

    To be honest, I thought those days of regular c.15,000 attendances at Highbury represented the norm, since the early 80s was when I got into going to games. Not knowing better, I wasn’t over critical at the time of the poor numbers, and was just pleased when we got points when playing the might of QPR, Watford, Ipswich, West Ham and Nottingham Forest. (Liverpool were simply beyond reach.)

    But in hindsight, I have to agree with dandan and Raddy, Arsenal fans’ fickleness was on display for much of that era.

  31. dandan says:

    WE have had a few poems on here recently so I thought I would share the many couplets sent to me yesterday from my numerous lady friends.

    1. My darling, my lover, my beautiful wife:
    Marrying you has screwed up my life.

    2. I see your face when I am dreaming.
    That’s why I always wake up screaming.

    3. Kind, intelligent, loving and hot;
    This describes everything you are not.

    4. Love may be beautiful, love may be bliss,
    But I only slept with you ’cause I was pissed.

    5. I thought that I could love no other
    – that is until I met your brother…

    6. Roses are red, violets are blue, sugar is sweet, and so are you.
    But the roses are wilting, the violets are dead, the sugar bowl’s
    empty and so is your head.

    7. I want to feel your sweet embrace;
    But don’t take that paper bag off your face.

    8. I love your smile, your face, and your eyes
    Damn, I’m good at telling lies!

    9. My love, you take my breath away.
    What have you stepped in to smell this way?

    10. What inspired this amorous rhyme?
    Two parts vodka, one part lime.

    WHO SAID POETRY IS BORING

  32. nadjulius says:

    Really cool info. CarlitoII,

    i have never been to spain, but its surprising that those guys only wait for beautiful football to cheer up their team!!!!!

    i uganda, we watch football from Cinema Halls, an i tell you, the atmosphere is more fired up than when you are at emirates stadium or any other….

    tomorrow evening we shall be Shouting

    ‘Hands off Cesc Fabregas’ to the tune of ‘we’ve got ….’

    we dont care whether they will hear us

    but the barca funs in Uganda will know!!!

  33. Red Arse says:

    Dandan,

    They are terrific couplets. I am still grinning! :-)

    Of course, they will now be pinched/plagiarised by me and used when I am in my cups!! :-)

  34. nadjulius says:

    We are arsenal

  35. Red Arse says:

    Well said Nadjulius! :-)

  36. nadjulius – fantastic, you sing loud and pride! :D

  37. Carlito11 says:

    Nadjulius- Love to hear that. I was lucky enough to watch some Arsenal games at a bar in Dar Es Salaam in Tanzania 3 and a bit years ago and the passion for our team was brilliant and inspiring! I made a lot of friends just wearing my shirt to the bar. I bet it’s as good if not better in Uganda!

  38. Red Arse – don’t you want a gravatar? I’ll sort it all out for you – you just send me a pic or tell me who you want and we’ll find you one and I’ll do the rest.

  39. dandan says:

    Sorry Carlito for being so rude, That was a superb post. Watching games abroad is a usually an eye opener, in Egypt they have been known to shoot the ref.

    Now what made me think of that????

  40. Carlito11 says:

    Dandan :-D could be great halftime entertainment- get the mascots to fire paintballs at referees!

  41. Red Arse says:

    Carlito,

    On re-reading your article, I found it had even more depth than first time around.

    One item you can clarify for me, just out of curiosity, please. You mention the penchant for white hanky waving, apparently in disgust at the then manager’s tactics.

    I have been to Barcelona many times on business or for Conferences, but to watch a Barca game only 2 or 3 times.

    On each occasion, my hosts provided me with an oversized white cloth (hanky) with a big grin. This was waved whenever the ref made a decision not in keeping with the crowds “requirements”. But they were also waved at great goals and on each visit I made their team won and there was very vigorous hankie twirling.

    I joined in with gusto and I thought it added to my enjoyment of the evening(s), and the hankie waving seemed to be an overt signal of the crowds pleasure, as much as any displeasure with the officials and certainly added to my impression of the fans’ support for their team.

    Was that your view too?

  42. Carlito11 says:

    RA- you are right- they also wave the white hanky in celebration of great play- the main difference being the sound that accompanies it. During my stay in Barcelona it was pretty much always accompanied by jeers and boos. Either way, I felt it was a tad effete and added to my feeling that they had a poor way of showing their support. I am more attuned now to cultural differences and reserving judgement as a direct consequence but I didn’t write the piece as an apologist for Barcelona fans!

  43. Red Arse says:

    Peaches,

    Thanks for your concern re my avatar, but the dotty red square suits my nom de plume, and is much more in keeping than 26′s “walking black legs” square. :-)

    (Don’t tell him I said so!! :-)

  44. Carlito11 says:

    I guess our equivalent would be clapping and the ironic slow hand claps that Fabianski got earlier in the season. It probably seemed a strange response to people not tuned in to our culture.

  45. London says:

    It’s such a weight off the shoulders not to constantly be worried about our goal keeper.

  46. goonermichael says:

    I wish I was going tomorrow. I’ll have to sing in my living room.

  47. Big Raddy says:

    London. That was risky!

  48. Carlito11 says:

    London- Szcezcny is playing first first Champions League game tomorrow. Talk about a baptism of fire!

  49. Carlito11 says:

    *his first* oops

  50. Carlito11 says:

    Br and Dandan- were the crowds low in the 80s because of our poor results/ playing style or because of the threat of violence making it a less than pleasant day out? I’d be interested to know your views.

  51. valenciangooner says:

    Peaches @1124: Radio here this morning says “barca are flying to London this evening as late as the regulations allow and are/were having a light training session this morning at Camp Nou”

  52. Hi our man in valencia – thanks for that info, I was wondering if I had time to get a ‘lasagne’ to them :)

  53. Big Raddy says:

    Carlito, Interesting question and worthy of a post in itself.

    Firstly, football was a minority sport prior to the WC 1990. The hooliganism and media circus around it stopped families from going to football. Hardly any women attended, nor was the fanbase multi-cultural, it was primarily local supporters.

    I recommend you buy a copy of “Arsenal ’til I Die”, which gives personal stories of AFC supporters and only a tenner!.

  54. dandan says:

    Violence kept many of the family men away, It was not an easy time I took my young son to Highbury to see Liverpool, he was about 10 we were walking hand in hand along the pavement, outside the ground, very early to avoid trouble and two policemen coming the other way barged us into the road deliberately by refusing to step aside.I complained and they laughed at me.
    I cut back on my visits from that moment on, mainly only going to hospitality with clients. That wasn’t the same: so my visits got rarer.
    I lived near Manchester and got in the habit of watching them away, rather than hike all that way to be in harms way.

  55. Big Raddy says:

    Peaches. LOL. And with your herbal knowledge they would be in deep trouble!

  56. Just heard Samir is in the squad :)

  57. RockyLives says:

    Carlito
    Great read – thankyou. I’ve never been to Barcelona – it’s definitely on my list though, and if I’m there and there happened to be a Barca game on…

    To answer your question about low attendances in the ’80s: strange as it seems now, there was a time when football was just not that fashionable. Apart from the diehards (like moi and most of mes amis on this site) people weren’t that bothered about it.
    Fan violence undoubtedly played a part in giving the game a bad image, plus the stadium disasters like Bradford, Hillsborough and Heysel.
    We didn’t live in a non-stop 24-hour media world, so footy wasn’t being rammed down our throats day and night; there was no Sky hype; it was unheard of for a football story (or, indeed, a story about a footballer) to make the front pages of the red tops (except for the aforementioned disasters); of course there was no internet; there weren’t even football magazines or fanzines (the only footy mags I remember were Shoot and Goal, which were both aimed at schoolboys).
    In short, the game was one of those background features that formed part of the warp and weft of national life, like the C of E, red telephone boxes and Mary Whitehouse.
    Then the EPL started, Rupert pumped in his billions, Sky Sports arrived and introduced us to Messrs Keys and Gray, clubs turned their down-at-heel ‘club shops’ into international marketing operations and now, to coin a famous Bill Shankly phrase, football is not a matter of life and death – it’s more important than that.

  58. Big Raddy says:

    DanDan. Nasty incident. We all had them. One of my friends was stabbed outside the ground,(not badly thank goodness) he was West Ham and wearing colours, he was attacked despite being with a group of us Gunners.

    Too many horrible tales of those times to tell – though I remained a North Banker until they demolished it.

  59. Big Raddy says:

    RL. Charle’s Buchan’s Football Weekly and the League magazine that came free with the programme.

    Do you recall Jack Kelsey’s Arsenal shop under the Clock End? Imagine David Seaman standing behind the counter at the Armoury after his retirement!

  60. 26may1989 says:

    Following on from Rocky, dandan and Raddy, I agree that football in the 80s was considered to be a bit of an embarrassment. Hooliganism was a big deal of course, but I think it was as much a symptom of football’s unpopularity as it was a cause. There was also that run of disasters (Bradford, Hillsborough and Heysel) that added to the sense that it was a spectacle to be avoided.

    I would also add to the list the absence of a cosmopolitan character – the influx of foreign players in the early 90s made the English game seem special and interesting, after a period of exclusion, isolation and failure.

    As Raddy says, it took the reinvention of the game with the World Cup in 1990, against the backdrop of the emergence of the rave culture, the end of the Thatcher years and the fall of the Berlin Wall, for the game to become something worthy of wider attention.

    There are things I miss about the game in the 80s, but not many. It’s more valuable to me as a measure of how much English football, and especially Arsenal, have developed. The thing one thing the modern game needs to recover that it had in the 80s and before is greater inclusiveness and accessibility: it’s not good enough to price out teenagers and young adults.

  61. RockyLives says:

    BR I do remember Jack Kelsey in the club shop. Funny how things have changed.

    Was Italia ’90, Gazza’s tears and An Evening With Gary Lineker really the start of football becoming fashionable? Could be.

    I like 26′s suggestion that the introduction of exotic foreign stars also helped.

    And we shouldn’t forget Nick Hornby and Fever Pitch. There was lots written at the time about how that book had helped bring ‘educated people’ back to football.

  62. RockyLives says:

    On a different topic, I am the only person who’s feeling slightly unsettled that Nasri is in the squad for tomorrow?

    The gamble we took with half-fit players for the Barca game last year seriously derailed our season. I would hate us to play Nasri and for his hamstring to properly go this time.

  63. dandan says:

    Big Raddy, do you remember the FA magazine that they put in the middle of the program once a month. Peter Knowles of Wolves (Cyril the spuds brother) was in the Wolves team photo that was the centre fold that month. they had all obviously put their new kit on just for the pic’s. It was the time of very short, shorts…… Peter was a big boy and had obviously worn nothing underneath, all his wedding tackle was in full view. I bet that is a collectors item now.
    Funnily enough he gave up football for full career as a Jehovah’s witness….. Bet he didn’t show his parishioners that photo

  64. I was dragged to Stamford Bridge by a spud boyfriend – hangs head in shame – in the mid-seventies, it really wasn’t a nice experience, mind you that might just have been the spud boyfriend

  65. dandan says:

    Being in the squad doesn’t mean starting, he might be there for insurance in case of a disaster of some sort.

  66. RockyLives says:

    dandan
    I hope he doesn’t start if there’s even the slightest risk. I assume that if he’s in the squad he’s 100% fit – but he wouldn’t be the first player to mislead the medical staff in order to have a chance of playing in a big game.

  67. Big Raddy says:

    DD. That magazine was what I was referring to earlier. We all had a great laugh at the Knowles boys.

    Strange, even Spurs were more likeable in those days. After the great 60/61 team, there were the Greaves/Gilzean and then the Martin Chivers sides.

    And Chelsea despite there appalling fans also had good sides. Charlie Cooke and Bobby Tambling, and Osgood.

    But enough nostalgia, we have a team today who would beat any of those sides by double figures (IMO)

  68. Big Raddy says:

    AW has stated that he will not risk Nasri if there is any chance whatsoever he will have a recurrence of his injury.

  69. kelsey says:

    What really happened when Elton John and David Furnish decided to have a baby………..

    They had their sperm mixed together and had a surrogate mother artificially inseminated with it. When the baby was born Elton and David were waiting at the hospital. They were ushered into a ward where a dozen babies were lying in their cots, eleven of whom were crying and screaming. Over in the corner, one baby was smiling serenely.

    A nurse came over to both of them and indicated that the happy child was theirs. “Isn’t it wonderful?” Elton said to David. “All these unhappy babies ….. and yet our baby is so happy. This just proves the superiority of gay love!”
    The nurse said, “Oh sure, he’s happy now, but just watch what happens when I pull the thermometer out of his arse!”

    This can be deleted if required.

  70. kelsey says:

    A man goes into the doctors feeling a little ill

    The doctor checks him over and says, ‘Sorry, I have some bad news,

    you have Yellow 24, a really nasty virus.

    It’s called Yellow 24 because it turns your blood yellow

    and you usually only have 24 hours to live.

    There’s no known cure so just go home and enjoy your final precious moments on earth.’

    So he trudges home to his wife and breaks the news.

    Distraught, she asks him to go to the bingo with her that evening as he’s never been there with her before.

    They arrive at the bingo and with his first card he gets four corners and wins £35.

    Then, with the same card, he gets a line and wins £320

    Then he gets the full house and wins £1000.

    Then the National Game comes up and he wins that too getting £380,000.

    The bingo caller gets him up on stage and says,

    ‘Son, I’ve been here 20 years and I’ve never seen anyone win four corners, a line, the full-house and the national game on the same card.

    You must be the luckiest man on Earth!’

    ‘Lucky?’ he screamed. ‘Lucky? I’ll have you know I’ve got Yellow 24 .’

    ‘F*** me,’ says the bingo caller. ‘You’ve won the raffle as well !!

  71. kelsey says:

    As you can see i am trying to distract myself until 19.45 tomorrow ;)

  72. kelsey says:

    This is a bit personal as though i have some wonderful memories of the old days, 17 years without a trophy bla,bla, bla, we supported the club nevertheless,but one day that all changed for me,some of you know why,and it hurts to dwell too long. Thanks.

  73. Big Raddy says:

    Evening Kelsey (well it is for us). Hope all is well.

    Do you think we can win tomorrow?

  74. Hello kelsey – what’s the news from Spain, are the Barca boys coming to whoop us?

  75. Gooner in Exile says:

    From Twitterland

    “Hi tweeps good session today im fully fit and back with the squad looking forward to it”

    From little Samir Nasri

  76. Lets all jump on kelsey :lol:

  77. Where’d you go kelsey?

  78. Big Raddy says:

    Peaches. Ooooh you are naughty, but I like you …..

  79. Carlito11 says:

    Some great recollections there- it was interesting what 26M had to say about Rave culture and the fall of the Berlin Wall and Italia 90 because although I’d nailed my colours to the Arsenal mast in ’86, those 3 events are absolutely pivotal in my yoof to making the world I became a man in. Enjoyed reading all the old memories I never had though- one of the true pleasures of this site!

  80. kelsey says:

    yes we can win tomorrow,but we mustn’t conceded then we have a real chance.

    90% of the fans in Malaga province support Real Madrdid, some 6 hour drive away,(bit like united supporters) and over 50% that support Malaga are ex pats.

    There is a great divide here in Spain and i would say the majority want us to beat Barca

  81. kelsey says:

    a;lmunia had his finest hour in that first leg last year,some may say his only hour :
    what worries me is lionel, no not messi but eboue.

  82. Red Arse says:

    Hi Kelsey,

    I laughed at your Yellow 24 story, much better than mine earlier! :-)

    I went to Malaga quite a bit in my youth, and returned last year (20+ years later) to visit some friends and could not believe the changes in the place. So much building has gone on, I hardly recognised anything or anywhere!

    Real Madrid and Barca split the Spanish support in two, rather like Rangers and Celtic in Scotland.

    I suppose if you don’t support on of the top two, in either country, you have sod all chance of being involved in any glory years!

  83. Carlito11 says:

    Kelsey, I think your fears are well-founded. Hopefully Eboue will have his finest hour tomorrow but I can see Pedro/ Messi targeting our right flank and Theo will have to be on his game tracking back if we are to have any chance of keeping them out.

  84. Rasp says:

    Hi Carlito,

    Sincere apologies for not making an appearance earlier to praise your excellent post – work got in the way!

    I cannot add or improve on the comments that have been made, but I do take on board the message that beautiful football can also breed complacency amongst supporters.

    Some of my friends who are totnum supporters cannot believe that they are in the CL and yet we take it for granted – as though it’s our divine right. History will undoubtedly look back on this era as the time we emerged from being just a good club to a great club, one of the top clubs in Europe.

  85. Rasp says:

    The score tomorrow will be 2:1 to the Arse and 1:1 back at the Camp Nou …. you heard it here first.

  86. Red Arse says:

    Hi Rasper,

    You realise we will string you up by your knicker elastic, if you are wrong tomorrow night? :-)

    Following on from Carlito’s excellent Post, it is really disappointing to read in one of the blogs a story suggesting 5 players to offload this Summer. (They used different words).

    We are a clear 2nd in the EPL, in the CC Final, going into a huge match tomorrow and we get that nonsense.

    We all have our own ideas of players who are terrific and those who are not quite so, but to broadcast this sort of rubbish now is ……. well, rubbish! :-(

  87. 26may1989 says:

    @Carlito, they were great years – not that I realised quite how special they were at the time!

  88. RockyLives says:

    Rasp
    “friends who are totnum supporters”
    tut tut

  89. Rasp says:

    Quite right Rocky, I meant to say a casual acquaintance whose mother is a hamster and father smells of elderberries

  90. RockyLives says:

    Just kidding.
    I’m sure we all have deluded friends who support the enemy.
    I was slightly surprised at some of the comments towards the end of yesterday’s post in which people suggested they would rather see the Totts finish in the top 4 this year than either Citeh or the Chavs.
    Notwithstanding London’s excellent aspiration for Bolton to finish fourth (which we would all sign up to, I’m sure) I still would rather it was anyone else other than the Spuds. We just shouldn’t want them to have any more encouragement than they already have.
    Having lived through (albeit brief) times when they were better and more successful than us, I don’t really want to go through the experience again.

  91. Rasp says:

    Hi RA,

    I agree totally. There is a reason our genre is called ‘supporters’, if we all behaved in the way some do, the collective noun would be detractors.

  92. Carlito11 says:

    Just heard a great Djourou song: “Who kept the Drog out? Djou, Djou Djourou”! Just dropping that in before heading off to watch Spurs get spanked at the San Siro! Come on Milan!

  93. Irishgunner says:

    Nice write up – interesting take and no doubt a far different and superior article than a lot of the “we wish we were Barcelona” spiel that is no doubt going around.

  94. Big Raddy says:

    I agree. Anyone but Spurs.

  95. RockyLives says:

    BR :)

  96. Big Raddy says:

    Tonight I am cooking chicken, wild rice and peas. Is there a better combination? It’s an all round winner!

  97. Big Raddy says:

    RL. It goes back over 50 years!! Having my family talk and talk and talk and preach and talk about Danny bloody Blanchflower and the Double team, plus growing up in a North London suburb which was almost entirely Tottenham …

    I learned early the words of the great WC Fields. “Never give a sucker an even break”!!

  98. Irishgunner says:

    Anyone but Spurs or the Mancs.

  99. RockyLives says:

    BR
    I hope your chicken is perfectly cooked, but elsewhere I hope a certain cockerel is properly stuffed and roasted tonight.

  100. 26may1989 says:

    Man City currently struggling to overcome the might of Aris Salonika.

  101. mickydidit89 says:

    The 80′s, aaaah, sigh. One Noddy Talbot!

  102. mickydidit89 says:

    BR,
    “chicken, wild rice and peas. Is there a better combination?”. Well, yes actually, there is.

  103. mickydidit89 says:

    Cannot have Totnum in the top four. So agree with you all on that one, but how funny if Chelsea failed to make it. Or City for that matter. Where are the Villa’s of this world when you need them?

  104. mickydidit89 says:

    Oh ha bloody ha. Micky arrives, so we all hide. Yeah yeah yeah. Pathetic!

  105. dandan says:

    My Brother told me in all seriousness last week, spuds would get the olympic stadium and with 60k crowds arry would go out and buy/win everything.

    Might phone him in Spain tomorrow LOL

  106. dandan says:

    Chicken and peas nooooooooooooo Pie and mash or fish and chips real footy food.

  107. mickydidit89 says:

    Do I watch the Spuds, or do I sit and stare gormlessly at the flames in the fire? Mmmm, thinks.

  108. dandan says:

    Mickey let the spuds do Gormless for you LOL

  109. mickydidit89 says:

    Ah ha, dandan to the rescue. They will be calling you a scab!
    Venison sausages and mash here tonight.

  110. dandan says:

    Oh Dear Mickey

  111. dandan says:

    Venison in North London bit scarce that Mickey, like fresh Salmon on the broads mate.

  112. dandan says:

    Unless london made an unscheduled stop in Regents Park LOL

  113. mickydidit89 says:

    Oh deer indeed :-)

  114. mickydidit89 says:

    Its all eels and potted shrimps up your way isn’t it?

  115. mickydidit89 says:

    Oh, and birds arriving from Sandinavia!

  116. mickydidit89 says:

    c

  117. harry says:

    Carlito, great read mate, certainly no arguements from me, i hate the mentality of some of our fans who want to be entertained and then they’ll sing….does my head in and defeats the object of been a loyal supporter…..imho, of course…

    I really up for this match and am very confident of our chances, there is so many differences to last year, too many to mention……..

    I wont have to call the troops to arms for this one, the supporters will be well up for this one….

    Come on you rip roaring gooners……..

    I predict 4-2…….

  118. Big Raddy says:

    Hate to say it but THFC playing with style. Milan still in first gear!

  119. Big Raddy says:

    No messing from the Flamster. A red card for sure in te Prem. Spurs hanging on

  120. Big Raddy says:

    Fairplay. Brilliant performance from the cave dwellers. Gallas MoM for me, still a fine defender and a great purchase by Harry

  121. Rasp says:

    OK Raddy, who’s better, Gallas or Kozzer?

  122. Big Raddy says:

    Sadly, Gallas :-( He was MoM in the 2-3 at THOF

  123. Rasp says:

    Why did we let him go for the sake of few £k and a 2 year contract do you think?

  124. London says:

    Spuds-Milan

    For goodness sake isn’t anything sacred.

  125. London says:

    He had made himself unpopular with so many of the other team members that he had become more of a disruption than an asset…..just a guess.

  126. Rasp says:

    Good call London, I wasn’t sorry to see him go and he is plainly a mercenary. It is true that he is a seasoned pro and will deliver whoever he plays for but surely we demand more than that. I think kozzer on his day is better than Gallas but WG showed his experience tonight.

  127. London says:

    I am just feeling grumpy after foolishly watching that game. I, like the rest of us, expected to see an N17 humiliation. Bloody Italians can’t trust them with anything.

    Gallas was ok tonight but that in my opinion had more to do with Milan being so inaffectual. On other days Gallas has been all over the place.

    Bah, I off, we need a win tomorrow to cheer us all up.

  128. 26may1989 says:

    @Rasp 10.02, cos Gallas is a complete tit, albeit a talented one. We’re well shot of him, the squad is better even if Kos is still on a learning curve. Plus Kos will soon be technically the equal of Gallas.

  129. 26may1989 says:

    Have just watched the highlights of Milan v Spurs. Not a fashionable thing to say on an Arsenal blog, but that was a victory for football – Milan were crap, and played like a poor version of Stoke. Gattuso’s behaviour was ridiculous, and Flamini’s challenge on Corluka was disgusting. Both should have been sent off. Truth be told, Spurs didn’t need to be anything more than decent. God knows how Milan are topping Serie A.

  130. RockyLives says:

    26may
    Spot on. Much as I wish doom, pestilence and despair on the Spuds, I have to admit that they looked really good against AC. Partly it’s a sign of how far the Italian league has fallen, but there’s no denying that the Spuds have the best team they’ve had in years.
    Fortunately they’re still a long way from matching our style and panache and we’ll soundly thrash them at the primordial swamp later this season.

  131. Gooner in Exile says:

    That Spuds result puts more pressure on the fans…..it’s times like this I’m glad I’m surrounded by Norwich City fans who won’t bang on about it if the unthinkable happens.

    For anyone who does have the unfortunate situation to live nearby or worse have friendships with Spud fans just remember to remind them how much you’ve seen Arsenal win in their lifetimes.

    I heard a great story after the unspeakable defeat earlier this season:

    A young Arsenal fan was getting off the train whilst a 30something Spuds fan was gloating away and giving some abuse. The Arsenal fan went over and said I’m 16 in my lifetime I’ve seen Arsenal win the league 3 times the FA cup 3 times, what have you won while you’ve been alive. Apparently the Spuds numpty went a bit quiet.

    I may have butchered the story a bit but you get the gist.

  132. Big Raddy says:

    “Spurs – victory for football”. !!! Rinse/Soap/Mouth.

    RL. You make a good point the quality of the Italian League, yet is it a reflection of the management of Jose that Italy hold the CL.?

  133. mickydidit89 says:

    It is way too early to be at Pre-Match Level 3, but there we go. We are where we are and I have to live with it, which is one thing. However, a far less appealing state of affairs for anyone expecting anything constructive out of me today.
    Cripes, still 12 hours to fill.

  134. kelsey says:

    God Morning,

    to give an honest appraisal, Harry layed his stall out absolutely right and Gomes like marmite had one of his better games.
    The first half was a poor advertisement for football at what is meant to be at the highest level.Milan were absolutely awful,bereft of any ideas and Spurs didn’t realy have to raise their game to even hold on.

    I agree awith 26May’s comments about Gattuso and the reckless tackle by Flamini.
    it will be interesting to see how FIFA deal with the head butt.Our luck, they might even hand the game to Spurs,but even if they don’t,drastic action has to be taken.

    The pace of the PL was really highlighted in this game, and shows for entertainment value the italian league is drab and pedestrian.

    So on to tonight.I expect the same team that started against Wolves except Eboue for Sagna, Nasri on the bench as a decoy,and i would be surprised if he played.

    Away goals could well decide this tie, so let’s hope we keep a clean sheet.

    To those going,i envy you, it could be a night to remember.

  135. Big Raddy says:

    Know just what you mean Micky.

    What is a reasonable time to start drinking?

  136. mickydidit89 says:

    BR,
    That’s a great idea. I full morning session. Pass out. Then pick up the pieces about an hour before kick off. Now, where’s the Creme de Menthe?

  137. mickydidit89 says:

    GiE 7:55,
    Great story.

  138. mickydidit89 says:

    I full? A full. That’ll be the early loosener!

  139. Big Raddy says:

    A heart starter is always useful early morning if one has a big day ahead. The French and Italians like to start the day with an espresso and a livener – if it works for them ……

  140. 26may1989 says:

    Raddy, I guess that means I’m in the doghouse….!

    If anyone gets grief from Spurs fans, worth reminding them that we beat Milan years ago, with a much less experienced side than Harry put out yesterday. They’re merely following in our footsteps. I expect the Spurs blogs will have crowned their team as European champions by now.

  141. Carlito11 says:

    26M- more to the point we played them when these players were dangerous and at the peak of their powers rather than waiting for their pensions…

  142. Morning all

    We have a NEW POST ……. bring it on

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