Arsenal Make Their Point Whilst Others Collapse

Stoke City 1 – 1 Arsenal

1 – 0 Crouch (8)
1 – 1 van Persie (15)

On the face of it, a point at Stoke is a disappointing result. Contrary to the claims of Tony Pulis, top six teams do win there and have done this season. In the wider context of the season, the point was a good result leaving Arsenal directly in control of their own destiny; games in hand is an over-rated currency this morning. That might be different by this time next weekend but those are the problems for another day.

Not winning on a day when Newcastle capitulated is a disappointment though. That is compounded by the knowledge that Arsenal had enough of the game to have won. Tempering that is knowing that Chelsea can torpedo Newcastle with a win at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday, not quite sinking them but holing their challenge to the extent of them limping over the line. One down, two to go – or in an ideal world, a draw which effectively eliminates both.

Arsenal started brightly. Five minutes in and van Persie was freed by Benayoun, the Dutchman reciprocated but his on-loan colleague shot tamely. Rosicky then clipped in a cross and Begovic scrambled the ball to safety from van Persie’s header. The experienced heartbeat of Arsenal’s midfield was purring, prompting and spikily combatting their less subtle opponents.

And being Arsenal, those misses were duly punished. Little surprise as Crouch buried his header, Szczesny well beaten as the lanky striker was not put under enough pressure to divert his connection.

Any euphoria felt by the home support quickly dissipated as Arsenal recovered quickly, equalising on the quarter of hour mark. It was a simple affair, Rosicky and Benayoun combining to contrive space for the Czech to deliver a cross to van Persie, the Dutchman’s control of the situation taking him into space before delivering his finish. That was his 35th of the season, more than Stoke have managed in the league collectively this campaign. Their threat became neutered.

Gervinho had been causing problems with the directness of his running and twice spurned decent opportunities. If he could add the calmness he showed against Mali for his country, then it is but a short step to twenty goals per season. As it is, his recent appearances hint at returning to the consistency which was rudely interrupted in Winter.

For all of their dominance, Arsenal were not creating a lot of clear openings as the first half peetered out. Equally, Stoke were not troubling the visitors defence, even from their trademark set-pieces. Arsenal were comfortably in control. The second half continued in the same pattern with van Persie unable to beat Begovic with his header. Chances flew over the bar to safety after that whilst Gibbs on a rare foray forward found his route to goal blocked by a neolithic remnant.

Stoke still offered little in response and the match crawled into its final stages. Benayoun combined with van Persie around the Stoke area and as the Israeli ran into the area, contact was made by Whelan with Benayoun going to ground. A penalty? It probably would have drawn a free kick elsewhere which makes the decision not to award the spot kick baffling. That the contact was minimal and in fairness probably not enough to genuinely send Benayoun to ground makes it understandable. That is tempered by Foy not booking the Arsenal player; if he felt it was exaggerated, surely Benayoun was guilty of Ungentlemanly Conduct? OrSimulation. Don’t even go there with that one.

Chances were traded, Jerome for Stoke, Vermaelen for Arsenal before Crouch beat Szczesny to the ball but Sagna produced an excellent defensive clearance, a pure example of why he is the best defender in the Premier League. Sorry Laurent, but he is. This was deemed to be the trickiest of the final three fixtures; Arsenal came through, the disappointment of this season just from knowing that their superiority was beyond their opponents comprehension. When even Pulis admits that Arsenal were the better team, it is a racing certainty that this is the case.

And what of the Stoke supporters. Like many of their counterparts, they are obsessed with the cult of the manager. Arsène noted of the abuse he received at the match,

The only thing I think sometimes when I leave the pitch at the end of the game and people insult you or are angry or hateful, I’d just like a little picture and send it home to you. Show that to your son or your daughter, and then come back next week and see if you would do it again, if they are proud of you.

It could equally be applied to the derision served on Aaron Ramsey who performed admirably under those conditions. Pulis resorted to type by trying to paint Shawcross as the victim rather than the perpetrator. Any ridicule though was delivered to them piercingly and unintentionally, by Gary Lineker. His attempt to ape Stoke humour showed them in all their glory, just how laughable their attempt at humour was.

Back to the cave paintings, apes and orcs.

’til Tomorrow.

Posted on April 29, 2012, in Arsenal, Football, Premier League, Soccer and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 200 Comments.

  1. pedantic george

    I dispute your conclusion YW.
    Kos is the best defender in the league.
    But it is such a close call I understand you getting it wrong.I mean I have the benefit of hours of free time and dozens of replayed matches.You have to decide in the moment of blogging.

  2. PG

    The only time I am wrong is when my wife tells me I am!!!

    Sagna is the best because he has consistently produced a high level of performance since he joined. Mistakes, yes but he is the model of consistency. LK is still growing into this and will reach those levels but not there yet. In fact, I think he can be a better defender but not yet.

  3. Bradys right foot

    Yogi spot on about Gerv, he is a chaos creator if he could just add a bit of composure to his end product he’d be winning us games. I missed what lineker said anybody got a link.

  4. Loving the subtle humour and light jabs at stoke Yogi – i didn’t know you had it in you.

  5. PG takes on YW. What a match? But without his meerkat (and keys to the bin) he is on trip to a hiding. Ha, Ha, Ha!

  6. BRF

    http://t.co/4Xbo60GP

    Doesn’t contain the overheard comments from Hansen about ‘script’ though. Sounds like it seemed funny on paper but the witless execution sums it up.

  7. I like Gerv and agree he is a ‘chaos creator’ but I’ll be surprised if he ever gets us 20 goals a season.

    His end product has been a long way beneath the standards one would expect at this level – improvement, next season, will have to be very significant.

    Given the probable arrival of Podolski, and with other bright, hungry young challengers, I think he will find his place in the team under ever increasing pressure next season and I would not be surprised if he ends up being rotated or even becomes more of a ‘squad player’.

    His task is, at least, very clear. No room for complacency – competition for his position will be serious – it’s all about how he responds.

    That is great for the club mind.

  8. Lets look at the facts and some valid points
    Sagna – voted best right back twice in 4 years and currently best in his position this season
    Koscielny – also known as bosscielny, tamer of messi, aguero, torres and every living striker, has more than 10 strikers in his pocket.
    Sagna for me.

  9. I think the watch word is consistency which sagna had been. Not taking the shine off laurent but i’m glad we have them. If we had won our game against wigan and eight points clear then maybe i would love to see our swiss partner laurent more. Santos have lots to offer up front with gibbs playing behind. If this where football manager i would get another left back. Lol

  10. Johnny, my thoughts exactly, gervinho has to work on his end product – other aspects of his wing play are excellen but he finds ways to mess it up in the final third.

  11. If he can just hit the target. Maybe the keeper parries the ball away or something. Geo just balloons the ball most times into space.

  12. pedantic george

    Is there nobody who saw what I was trying to do?
    I don’t know why I bother sometimes.

  13. Once again the fickle Arsenal fans so called Mr.consistency and reputably the best right back
    (sic ) in the Premiership ,Bacary Sagna cost his team big time,by leaving his wingback posi
    tion(not again )and rushing into the centre of defence,where we already have two estabished
    central defenders,Vermaelen and Koscielny and allowing Stoke to put over a telling cross for
    Crouch to header home and get a welcome,by Stoke standards, home draw and possibly
    costing Arsenal the third place automatic third place CL qualifier,Sagna never was and never
    will be anywhere near the most consistent or best right back in the Premier League,for rather
    obvious reasons,his amazing ball watching and lack of concentration abilities ?

  14. pedantic george

    Samuel.Fair enough,Tell us one right back who is better then.
    I am waiting.

  15. Bradys right foot

    Cheers for the links lads, face palm for Lineker. Im proud of you Samuel you can type and use the internet but I think the strain showing with your assessment of Sagna, why not have a lie down or go for a 1000 yard stare out of the nearest window.

  16. good post.
    thats pretty much it in a nutshell..
    cant we get a petition going to kick Linekar in the nuts..??
    robsons got nothing on that cunt

  17. I was thinking of posting a comment full of bile and vitriol, with foam coming out of my mouth – aimed at samuel of course, but no, am past that, all i can say is – samuel you are a talking absolute shit, go do one you ignorant fcuktard. Arrgggh

  18. What? I didn’t promise to stay calm.

  19. pedantic george

    Good morning JJ.
    How are you today?

  20. The Stoke trolls are fun – it’s like plankton learnt to type.

    George, I saw what you were trying to do – just didn’t care.

  21. in a world where pixie dust makes you fly alongside the pigs, there would be zero mistakes in football..
    but then there would be no goals would there and football would be the shittest sport since curling..

    every single player makes at least one mistake in every single game..

    and when all is said and done sagna is still the best right back in the league..possibly europe

  22. Gervinho 20 goals a season!!!! Even the great Robert Pires never got 20

  23. PG

    Don’t hold your breath on that reply. Samuel’s only made one other comment before which was two months ago and equally as pointlessly stupid. It takes him a while to recover all of his strength after each one.

  24. Just Another Luke

    John T. FFS pls change your nick. It seems like John Terry is your idol.

  25. pedantic george

    Jonny,That is not very nice,and somewhat rude.I thought we were pals.
    You live and learn.

  26. top of the morning george..hows you?
    im not bad, slighty hungover and slighty ruffled by watching what linekar was trying to do last night..
    we should have had a pen yesterday, i can accept we didnt get it but then all it takes is a gust of wind for whitehead or whatever to go down and its a foul??
    im not suprised wenger was fucking annoyed..i was as well..
    and then those clowns think its funny..
    theres a reason i stopped watching that shit and switched to football first..
    well theres three reasons..
    i got sick of watching us get two seconds of highlight reel, even if we had scored 4 goals,
    i got sick of us being on last, even though we may have scored 4 goals
    and i cant stand the panel..shearer makes me laugh cos shearers the kind of pundit who will tell you a player of 29 has potential and its a giggle but the rest of em do my nut in..they all get drunk..lawrensens a fucking alcholic..
    poor veiwing. very poor..

  27. Apparently not JonJon – apparently he’s nowhere near, according to Stoke Samuel, who must know a quality player when he sees one, after all.

    On the rare occasions I’m ‘forced’ to watch MOTD I am almost invariably disappointed (much like Sammmy when watching Bacary). This was once upon a time an absolutely top class programme but these days I have to brace myself before watching. Lawrenson looks like half the Spuds squad, just wishing he was anywhere but where he is, bitter Hansen a drop of bile away from his next howler and Linekar looking badly advised to say the least.

    My main problem with the show, however, is how rarely the edited clips convey the true story of most matches; certainly their version doesn’t stand up to any game I’ve attended or even watched in full on, say Sky.

    Usually, it’s not what they show that is so surprising. It’s what is omitted.

  28. Bradys right foot

    JJ make the petition for Tony Gayle he fecking hates us. Why? absolutely no idea but knowing this makes his punditry on us hilarious.

  29. JAL the T is Taylor

  30. Do mine eyes deceive me – Bendtner with a classy first touch and finish?

    Oh and then he gives the ball away trying to do a flash-dan, looking-the-other-way pass and nearly costs his team a goal.

    ‘Billy big bollocks’.

  31. Jeez George – brush your teeth with extra sensitive this morning?

    I thought you knew me well enough by now to know when I’m jesting. :0)

    FFS!

  32. pedantic george

    Ha ha ,Reeled in.

  33. Andrew @11.46 all to true.

    My friends at BBC sport are always encouraging me to write in and complain – the beeb takes its complaints and comments rather seriously and points raised are often discussed.

    One of the problems you allude to “how rarely the edited clips convey the true story of most matches” is in part to do with the change in format to show highlights of all the games. This has increased ‘compression’ and means that big talking points get edited out – as from necessity rather than agenda. It can end up painting a very jaundiced picture an, what annoys me is that the things which get edited out are frequently the wrong things.

    It is of course quite possible the person wielding the scissors does have an agenda – hopefully it’s not left to one man (probably a bitter Spuds fan)! I’ll ask them for more details when next I catch up with them.

  34. *too* true. Dammit!

  35. Christ George!

    I bet you were fun in the playground!

    “Twinkle, twinkle little star. What you say is what you are.” etc.

  36. Sagna v. Kos
    It’s the type of debate that needs to appear with more frequency.

  37. the thing with sky is you can choose what match you watch..
    and you get most of it..
    if you wanted to watch arsenal all night and then maybe watch spurs get beat then you have that option
    its a no brainer..

    its a shame cos i have fond memories of MotD, when my dear old grandad got too poorly to attend the games, especially after moving up north we used to sit and watch it and it was enjoyable..

    its a pot of piss now..but what do you expect..its basicially going into a pub thats full of spuds and dippers when theyve been in there all day and asking them to talk about arsenal..

    your not going to like what you hear..

    keowns the best pundit going..i actually think hes the only one who would make a good manager..but he doesnt get the air time..so the rest just run riot..

  38. Regardless of the whether it backfired or not, Lineker’s attempt at “humour” was unbelievably crass, spectacularly ill-judged and utterly cringe-worthy. Quelle surprise. Well done BBC. Next week I fully expect the crisp flogger to do a gum chewing take on a certain bilious purple nosed Scot or maybe a jowly send up of Redknapp’s twitch. Don’t hold your breath.

    Complain to the Beeb. It’s probably futile, but it should be done. MOTD is a fucking tired (and expensive) joke and this is the final insult.

  39. YW

    we have some great players in Szczesny Sagna Kos TV Arteta and RVP.But we are not a great team.You only have to look how big the gap between the two manchester clubs and us is.And that we are fighting with Newcastle and the Spuds both average teams for a top 4 place tells its own story.We may finish 3rd but in 2008 we finished 3rd 4pts behind the champions this year the gap will be at least 15pts.

    Wenger has to start planning now for next season.And get all his transfer business done by early July and not august 31st as usual.We cannot go into the season on the back of another shambles which last summer was just so we can save a few million.And we have to clear out the deadwood who are bleeding the club dry with their massive wages ie Almunia Squillaci Bendtner Diaby Denilson and Vela

  40. ^^^^^^
    Yawwwn.

  41. I somehow left out Chamakh and Park from the deadwood

  42. Targets: Baines,best LB in the country.M’Villa,Dempsey,Podolski and Hazard(the player we should have sigfned from Lille)

  43. Well good, that’s all sorted then.

    Thank goodness you came on, to educate us this mind-boggling insight.

    Perhaps you could put it in a letter and post it to Wenger?

    I have little doubt you’ll be the pole candidate to replace Pat at the end of the season.

  44. It is John Terry!

  45. John T

    I’ve no doubt AW wants business done quickly but Euro2012 may stymie that to a degree with players not generally available until their nations exit. Makes it hard when they then have a holiday on top of that for things to be done. Early July is a touch unrealistic but end of that month allows a few weeks bedding in before the season starts.

  46. John T

    Targets:

    Baines – possibly but low priority position
    M’vila – Good player, possible.
    Dempsey – Unconvinced. Good season but this is his best ever. Out of his depth a big club?
    Podolski – Supposedly already done
    Hazard – Unlikely, too expensive fee and wages.

    So that’s all sorted then.

  47. i think wenger is aware of last years shambles and has been working on signing players since jan..
    podolskis already in..
    wouldnt surprise me if vertonghen and mvilla were next

    a lil birdy tells me weve had bids rejected for m’villa 2 windows on the trot..so id be shocked that wenger doesnt want the players mentioned..

    im sure he knows about them..

  48. pedantic george

    Jonny,trust me,I was anything but “fun”in the playground.
    John T.Such originality of thought.You should think of writing your own blog.
    But you forgot Gotze.Samba and Parker.I am sure you would have gotten around to them though.

  49. Jonny – yes, interesting points (about MOTD, not George’s hurt feelings).

    What is most extraordinary of all is that it’s no secret how vitally important the EPL is to Sky yet the BBC’s commitment to the game is still not a lot better than it was in the 1970’s. Okay, so they don’t have the games live but they could so easily produce a show that better reflects the importance of the game in this country.

    Compare the coverage of football with that given to the multitude of reality shows and talent contests we are seemingly obliged to fund from the license fee …

  50. @Arsenal Andrew

    I did a quick search on my gmail to find the conversation I had, a good while back, with one of the BBC Sport employees, Drew Savage. Note his response below and the link for addressing your grievances – quite interesting, I think.

    Especially that they HAVE to give a reply!

    :0)

    ——————————–
    Football TV coverage is one of the biggest problems – it’s hard to think of a football fan who doesn’t genuinely loathe MOTD coverage.

    I hate the old boys club who never ask the pertinent questions about the game. The BBC should be asking more interesting, larger questions about the mess the game is in but no one wants to upset the apple cart. The seem to be in thrall to the arcane powers of the FA and FIFA, whose actions are largely unanswerable to anyone. The game is broken, corrupt and unpleasant on many levels and yet real questions never get asked.

    I’m not saying MOTD is the forum for that per se but then what the fuck is MOTD? An old boys club – no tactical insight and no character. It is also shockingly partial to the point that it often seems like a propaganda machine. This may, in part, be due to time limitation, but the stories they weave of games often gloss over the most pertinent moments editing them out of existence like 1984.

    It’s about time the whole thing was given a shake but it’s hard to envisage. Football fans are the least discerning customers in the world. We’re obsessive and compliant to the point of idiocy – they can rape us long and hard and, like a bruised homeless hooker, we still go back for more.

    ——————————–
    Drew Savage canberrastumble@gmail.com
    10/03/2011
    to me
    I reckon you should distill some of this and fill in the online form at bbc.co.uk/complaints

    It definitely does get passed to someone quite high up, probably the programme’s editor, and they have to give you a reply. I’d love to hear what they say.

    And I shouldn’t suggest that you might mention what a breath of fresh air Danny Baker was compared to the Alans, of course… or explain exactly why.

  51. John T(erry) – you forgot Christopher Samba, too! Did someone mention Scot Parker?

    These surely are all MUST HAVES?!

    Presumably we’d pay for them by selling Aaron Ramsey, too? And probably that Sagna, ‘n’all.

  52. I think there should be a choice between m’villa and vertonghen – we should at least get one if we can afford it, personally i would prefer m’villa fellow, i heard he is the love child of bobby moore, beckhanbaur and scotty parker.

  53. We played well yesterday,, one more point ahead of the rest,

    Arsene will need to spend some money, if not we will never get any penalties. We need to sign a PL ref with the quickness.

    “It all evens up”!

  54. After seeing our game yesterday the 1970’s has asked for it’s shit hole back.

    Maybe they can take Pulis too.

  55. That’s a useful link to the complaints dept (and his whole reply, of course).

    It takes a lot for me to lose my sense of humour about things (even if I or my interests, such as Arsenal, are the butt of the humour).

    But I simply can’t imagine for a nano-second Linekar being as disrespectful of Sir Alex Ferguson as he was of Arsene Wenger last night.

    To me, the gesture he made when closing the show last night really spoke volumes about the show’s attitude to Arsenal – and specifically Arsene Wenger – than more vague conjecture about the nature of the editorial could ever muster.

    Disappointing is one word.

    Utterly unacceptable are two more.

    Perhaps I should send all three to bbc.co.uk/complaints.

  56. On the topic of sky pundits , some might say this is blasphemy but i think gary neville is the best in england, the guy is always spot on when it comes to tactics and football analysis, also when every other pundit was asking for wenger’s head on a stick he was the only person that openly gave support to le boss.

  57. Well, I took Harry’s advice and have complained to the BBC-again.

    I am utterly tired of the BBc in general and it’s sports’ coverage in particular.

    Utter dross,

  58. Yogi:

    Another great post. Always a little disappointing when we drop points to stoke especially when we give up another early first goal. Stoke is probably my most disliked team after the Manc clubs, Chelsea and Spurs so it would have been especially nice to win against them. However in the end it doesn’t matter because our closest competitor for 3rd dropped all 3 points so it was a good day and puts us even closer to 3rd. I think that was the toughest of our last 3 fixtures and we should win the last 2. The end of the season being this close is always a little bit of a downer. Don’t care a bit about the Euro 2012 so several months without proper football is always a bit of a letdown.

    Kos vs Sagna is a tough choice. I would go with the Kos. I have a thing about CB’s. With all of that incredible talent in our back 6, the fact that we have given up as many goals as we have this season remains a mystery that hopefully will be solved next season. No reason why we should concede more then 30 next year. We still have some ways to go to catch the Manc clubs but I think next season will see us at least challenging for the top spot. Take away the bad start and a CL spot would never have been a issue and perhaps we could have even made a little noise in the title race. Heres hoping for a good start to next season and an end to the trophy drought.

  59. By the way, it takes a lot of effort to make a complaint. They make you work for it.

    This was mine:

    ‘I long ago gave up expecting any decent, thoughtful and balanced critique or analysis of the day’s football on MOTD. The ‘pundits’ are tired and out of touch with obvious
    preferences for certain clubs, yes, I mean Liverpool and Spurs.

    However, last night’s attempt at ‘humour’ by Lineker was crass, insulting and cringeworthy. If his target was the Stoke fans, well, how about discussing their awful behaviour during the match instead. If it was a swipe at Arsene Wenger, a decent man and manager of considerable standing then, first, why, and second, who is Lineker to insult him on air while earning my Licence fee?

    I really think the BBC should look long and hard at MOTD. Sky surpassed it’s coverage and standards a long time ago. A shame but the BBC seems determined to drive down standards and turn it’s football coverage into the equivalent of the lowest tabloid. There are knowledgeable, and personable, football analysts out there.

    Look hard at the performance of those you employ.’

  60. For the penalty, I didn’t think that the Benayoun foul would be a penalty. That’s the kind of penalty only ManU would get. But on the other hand what about the blatant handball from Shawcross after a Vermaelen free kick?
    http://arsenalist.com/video/?id=xqgaus
    Not sure if he is still in the box, but nevertheless, the referee had a perfect view so how come he didn’t blow for a free kick/penalty?

  61. Kos vs. Sagna, hard debate. For sure Sagna would be better at CB than Kos at right back, I don’t think there can be much discussion on that front. But who’s the better defender? Both are very strong in the air, despite their relative shortness, both know to utilise the ball at their feet and both are good tacklers and good readers of the game.
    Probably at the moment Kos is still edging it for me. Sagna has got more experience and he has been giving excellent performances for several years straight. But at the same time Koscielny is hot on his heels and with Sagna soon turning 30 I think that Koscielny will eclipse him.

  62. To think that I once thought of Jermaine Pennant as Ljungberg’s natural successor. He didn’t show anything we are missing. Sad!

  63. pedantic george

    Evil.I think because he was not sure if it was in or out.
    Had it been in and he gave a free kick ,he would have been pilloried.
    Had it been out and he gave a penalty,pilloried.
    So he chose not to see it and therefore not make a mistake.

  64. Bob – who’s Harry?

    Good complaint. I look forward to hearing the reply!

  65. ive complained as well..
    i dont normally get involved but i thought id put the boot in..

    mine was a little bit like yours mr bob..
    just less elequent..

    i have trouble writing without the aid of spell checker or someone to give it the once over so i kept it short and sweet..
    basically told them motd is shit and skys the dogs bollox, linekars the most unfunny underqualified cunt going and i dont pay my tv liscence to watch that prejudice shit..
    only without the swearing..

    and i agree..they make you work for it..im sure they have all those obstacles just to put you off..

  66. Clerkenwell Gooner

    Chel$ki have announced Marin deal, why are we being shy about alleged Podolski?

    I recently dsicoverd that a relation on my father’s side, Alec Mackie, played for the Arsenal in the 1920s. He was a sturdy Ulsterman from Co. Antrim (I never met him as he died in 1984, long before I knew of the connection) who played at right back, the Bacary Sagna de ses jours, whose goal tally for the club over several seasons was a magnificient one (that is, he scored once.)

    When he joined the Gunners, his signing-on fee was a pet monkey, so I now feel we should offer Robin a giraffe. Tradition, and all that.

  67. Chelsea looking ominous, 3-0 up inside 20mins. Torres playing well and takes the third.

    Bah.

  68. Lol – pet monkey?! Are you sure?

    is that what he requested or the club offered? Well we’ve run out of tapirs so your options as a signing on fee are: an ant farm, a pet monkey, 2 pygmy marmosets or a womble.

  69. And another for Torres!

    4-0, 24 mins in.

  70. Harry Flowers of course. A long time virtual drinking mate of mine on here.

    Pet Monkey? Bloody hell. Now if he’d played for spurs…

    Any complaint about the bollocks that is the BBC these days is worth the effort,eh, JonJon?

  71. Sagna edges it for me, I agree that he is the best defender in the PL, the best defender I have see in a while. I don’t remember any player causing him problems on a regular basis.

  72. i thought so too..

    didnt anne robinson used to have a show on this type of thing?

    theyd have an influx of callers on this, im sure..

    especially if george was let loose..

  73. Clerkenwell Gooner

    Fuck, our billionaire is richer than their billionaire:

    Uzbek-born billionaire Alisher Usmanov, who owns around 30% of Arsenal football club, was again in second place and close behind Mittal with a fortune of £12.3bn.

    Russian investor Roman Abramovich, who owns rival club Chelsea, held onto third place with a personal value of £9.5bn, down from £10.3bn last year.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2012/apr/29/rich-list-record-fortunes-britain?newsfeed=true

    I do not understand the concept of “British” here? Is he taxed on this £12.3bn here? Is it just what he owns in the UK? Plus it appears to excludes the loose change he’s dropped down the back of the sofa, or has parked in the bank. Jesus.

    The annual list is based on identifiable wealth, including land, property and other items such as art, racehorses or significant shares in publicly quoted companies, but does not include bank accounts.

    Torres is now playing for his place at the Euros – he has timed his return to form to perfection. (A couple on our behalf vs Newcastle would also do nicely, thanks.)

  74. Moses ?….. 🙂

  75. Clerkenwell Gooner
  76. hoksilatowitko

    Paul
    Moses ?….

  77. Evil, the problem with the pens is that we don’t even get the stonewall others get ones like yesterday.

  78. Good point taken. My happiness lies within seeing man like Diaby, skip past players like they were a figment of our imagination. What a player we have and I can see him having an injury free season and copy RVP next season. Really impressed with Diaby and hope he’s feeling good today.

    M’vila – Very much needed at our club and he wants to come here according to his own quotes. We are very very lucky because the top 6/7 teams in Europe want him but, he is already told them forget because he wants to link up with Le Prof. Freshen it up for Song who is a top player but, sometimes has the manner of a player who isn’t being pushed for his position. Would be nice if Song took a shot now and again too like yest right at the end when he tried to put a through ball in just inside the area on a angle that 99.9% of players would of took the shot. Anyway.

    Dempsey – I think would do very well for club. This guy could be the difference between 1 point and 3 points because of his Freddie Ljun type engine and eye for that run that doesn’t get picked up. He would be a much better player in our team I think.

    Podolski – Done deal!!

    Hazard – Don’t wanna see this (nasri MKII) anywhere near out club. We have Ryo and Ox and they are the future.

  79. Actually John T, this team is quite good. We had a rocky start but we are on par (right now) with any team in the PL.

  80. Seems Mark Hughes has been employed by Chelsea to help them improve their goal difference.

    5-0

  81. The chavs winning today will only end up helping QPR get relegated. I am happy with that, just a shame the 3 points we gave em will be for nothing.

    Decent point yesterday, everything’s still in our own hands. I despise Pulis, his players and the vile bog snorkeling cesspit dwelling fans.

    John T’

    Baines et al. Fuck me, how long did that list take you to come up with? Baines is not the best LB in the league, BTW, he’s a decent pro though. But why suggest Baines when we have Gibbs and Santos? Very strange.

  82. Great letter that Bob. I just saw Linker’s snide remark. So, have stuck in a complaint too. Blow me, they do make you work for it don’t they? Almost like they want to put people off complaining.!

  83. Dexter,I suspect that is what his mates on Le Grove tell him

  84. George

    It was the term deadwood that gave him away. They love that word under that rock.

  85. Sponsors wield the big stick.

    Sponsors want to avoid being linked to controversy, where the public believes that their sponsorship of the program supports the remarks.

  86. You don’t think that’s their plan, do you Dex?

    I mean..this is the BBC and everything.

  87. come on blackburn

    let the yak run loose

  88. CBob

    Well, it isnt the most accessible format is it? making it an over labourious task would put quite a few potential complainers off I’d expect.

  89. Is it some kind of filter against the stupid and the drunk and the stupidly drunk?

    Not sure I dare even attempt to fill it in …

  90. Haha! Andrew, yeah, best you steer clear man.

  91. I didn’t see MOTD and I now think I should iPlayer it.

    @ arsenalandrew, consolsbob,
    Well done for complaining. It’s a very good question – what is MOTD for, these days? I don’t buy the guff about time constraints driving their editorial policy because they never mock SAF and they nearly always sideline us. (Whoever said it’s like going into a pub full of spuds and mancs, very apt comparison!) It’s an entry-level show for people who need to be spoonfed and have their prejudices reinforced. The BBC can’t afford the rights to the PL or any part of it but they don’t know how to use the money they do have available, it would seem. The Football League show and Late Kickoff are attempts to make the best of things while giving fans of lower league clubs a programme to watch and fulfilling their commitment to regionality. I think they are missing a massive trick – they should broadcast matches from the women’s super league over the summer. I can hear jonjon throwing up now but it would fit with the BBC’s remit.

  92. Spuds have started brightly enough …

  93. ‘Dear BBC, I would like to say that Gary Lineker has behaved like a right fucking cunt in his disrespectful remarks on MotD last evening about Arsene Wenger. That pair of arseholes, Hansen and Lawrenson tittering in the background are also fucking cunts’.

    Hoping to get on Points of View with this one.

  94. Don’t tell me they’ve scored.

  95. @ Frank
    ha haha

  96. That should do it, Frank.

  97. They have now FG – 1-0 to spuds (vdvart)

  98. Bollocks – Spurs looking well worth their lead. Might have to watch the snooker instead.

  99. Spurs always better when Van der Vaart plays.

    I wonder where he’ll end up this summer?

  100. i dont mind womens football, fungunner
    its not as watchable as womens beach volleyball but ive seen better football played by the ladies than what i have at certain international comps by the men..

    to be honest that not a bad idea you have there either..

  101. I’d happily watch some women’s football right now.

    Or volleyball.

    And I quite fancy the idea of women’s snooker for some reason ….

  102. points of view
    thats the one..

  103. spuds were always likely to win this one
    dont panic
    theyve got two away games next v bolton and villa..
    its still not easy..
    and they havent won this one yet..
    all those chances missed
    the yak normally needs one, so…..

  104. Ach – I’ve not given up – just tedious watching them.

    Ronnie – is playing absurd snooker at the mo.

  105. Spuds undeniably on top but Blackburn coming back into it with confidence growing as half time arrives. Definitely not over – 1-0 a dangerous score line and I reckon there will be more goals in it yet …

    Wonder how Jonny’s snooker is going?

  106. Ronnie’s a Gooner. There, you can have that one for nuffink.

  107. Limestonegunner

    I haven’t read all the comments carefully above but picked up generally that there were some big complaints about the MOTD highlights on our match and GL’s comments in particular so I watched the 8-9min segment. I didn’t find it especially bad–the mimicking of AW was certainly unpleasant but not vicious (disrespectful of someone I respect so highly but nothing like the truly disgusting and outrageous pedophile chant from Manc, Spuds and others routinely). I thought GL tried to distinguish between that sort of mockery and the more troubling booing of Aaron Ramsey, which he brought up and AH condemned. AH might have gone into what was so bad about it more specifically (particularly their behaviour during the actual incident and as he was being stretchered off) but at least they highlighted this and condemned it rather than passing over it.

    I have to go back and read comments above more carefully, but perhaps someone can point out for me if I have missed part of the clip or have misunderstood what was especially egregious about the Stoke fans parody of AW or GL’s comments about it?

    I certainly agree that the MOTD program is quite the dinosaur and not so sure it has much value anymore. Very selective editing and compressed picture of the game and not very interesting comments, discussion or analysis. Who would really shed a tear if it were canned or dramatically altered? But I don’t quite get the particular ire about our match? Seemed pretty par for the course–perhaps I am being inured to coverage of Arsenal. We often have Ian Darke and Steve McManaman as commentators for live games out here–and they are pretty horrible, but often a relief as alternatives to Robson. I think Darke is actually a self-confessed Spud.

  108. AA – I’m currently flicking between the two whilst making pasties, tending to my plants and having a cheeky beer.

    Not that I’m convinced you care, but the snooker is as tight as a nuns nasties in one semi and and pretty much game over in the other.

    Trump v Carter 8-7

    Barring a miracle, O Sullivan looks to have wrapped up the other against Williams.

  109. Limestonegunner

    Of more concern is this run Chelsea is on and Torres finding some goal scoring form. Glad RvP got a goal and hope he’ll smash in a few more. We could use the goal difference advantage to help in case we drop points in our last two matches. But it is really vital we win both so that we don’t have to care about what anyone else does. 6 points and we can’t be caught.

    For me, even if we finish fourth and go the the qualifying rounds of the CL, it would be an unfortunate finish given how well we have done to get into 3rd. It would be delightful to finish strong on so many levels and this team deserve the reward of 3rd for battling twice to recover from some bad periods. Hopefully they have it in them to grab two vital wins.

    We would have loved to defeat Stoke at the Brittania, but as some have said, a point and all our limbs intact with no further injuries is reasonably encouraging a result.

  110. Well blow me down. BBC have sent me a case number for my complaint. Very kind.

  111. Goal of the season from Kyle Walker.

    Game over.

  112. Outrageous from Walker

  113. Fair play that was a great free kick.

    Blackburn didn’t even bother to turn up today. Bizarre performance, no guts at all.

  114. Unbelievably poor ambition from Blackburn today considering there position in the table & Spur’s form before this game

  115. Steady on there AA!

    Nurse! Up the meds!

  116. Frank as my friend alluded I believe they always respond – I greatly look forward to what they have to say in response.

  117. …and there was me thinking that I had impressed them. If everyone gets a ‘thank you’, then they can shove their computer generated ‘thank you’ up their arses. If I get on ‘Points of View’ I will point out that particular point at a key point in the discussion. Fucking bastards.

  118. …whole thing is utterly fucking pointless

  119. It was a deflection that took it in.It was not a good free kick ,because it was going wide.

  120. Limestone

    If you had said when we were languishing in 17th spot that with 2 games left we would need to win them both to finish third, I’d have taken that all day long and twice on Sunday.

    We will smash Norwich (not underestimating them, just that it’s the last home game and the players and fans will be right up for it. Well me and my cousin will be anyways!!) and by the time of WBA, I think 3rd will already be ours regardless anyways.

  121. Limestonegunner

    I would have too, Dex, and that’s why I laud this team for such a brave and spirited performance this year. It would however be unfortunate for all of us after battling to this position not to close out the season in 3rd since we can do it if we win our last two games.

    I hope you are right that we crush Norwich at home–for the three points, to have a thrilling final home match at the Emirates where the atmosphere has improved, and because it sets us up for a good performance away to WBA. Maybe 3rd will already be ours. That’s the best way to go into the WBA game–happy and not under any pressure. So then Robin can just grab a hat trick and waltz off with the Golden Boot as well!

  122. It was some kick Jonny – no-one was expecting that, from so far out; he’s only scored once before today (against us). Up until then Spuds were vulnerable to a smash and grab so it settled things down for them, in the context of the game.

    ***

    Limestone – I would say the MOTD episode from last night has to be seen in the context of their performance week in week out over the course of the season(s) which, overall, is never especially good and, as I said, frequently fails to tell the full story of any given game, only a highly selective slice of it.

    With respect to Arsenal’s game yesterday, to avoid showing the Shawcross tackle, given his past violent history, combined with the odious nature of the Stoke fans in general and their deeply unpleasant and frankly astonishing booing of Aaron Ramsey in particular, was an editorial oversight too far.

    That they were able to find time to show the Stoke fans aping AW and a further slot for Linekar to contribute his own disrespectful imitation of someone who has done more for the English game than any other foreigner I can think of, was a jape too far.

    It wasn’t just not funny. It was also really poor judgement and many of us who can recall the programme’s higher standards from years gone by have simply had enough of them.

  123. Limestonegunner

    The goal of the season in RvP’s volley v. Everton. Anything else is just heretical, as far as I am concerned! And worse than heresy when it comes to celebrating a Spud strike, which, as George points out, was deflected as well. Young player of the year, pfft, as Frimpong might say.

  124. If you say so, George, if you say so.

  125. @Limestonegunner

    Yesterday I heard Ian Darke say something along these lines in reference to a Stoke player..

    “He went down rather easily there but it is hard for the ref to card him for simulation, you wouldn’t want to label someone a cheat.”

    WTF m8? “You see that rock over there, it definitely is a rock but i’m going to call it a shoe because no one wants to call a rock a rock.”

  126. Limestonegunner

    OK, AA. Thanks for giving further context. I count myself lucky not to see MOTD regularly and agree with the general remarks about their editing and so on. I was frankly surprised that they brought up the Ramsey booing at all and condemned it. If they hadn’t commented on that or noted it while indulging in the Stoke fan mimicry of AW, that would have been really have been over the top–that said, you are right–why was it worth pointing out the Stoke fans’ parody of AW anyway, which wasn’t really anything important in the game but rather gratuitous?

    I think the fact that you have to pay a licence fee gives the BBC a much bigger responsibility to have quality coverage.

    I listen to 5 live football daily and 606 podcasts regularly and am quite astonished at the abdication of journalistic standards. Pougatch, Chapman, Fletcher, Murray–these guys are awful. But having Robbie Savage on? Especially while he was still playing?!?! Jason Roberts, while still playing!?!? Quite apart from the fact that Savage is ridiculous and stupid, wasn’t it a major conflict of interest to have a current player (whether Savage or Roberts) discussing teams in his division and fielding calls from supporters on a general call-in and often on other 5live football programs?

  127. perhaps it is just me then that thinks a ball going wide and deflected in ,is not a great goal.
    I could be wrong of course.

  128. Limestonegunner

    Will, I remember exactly that comment! It was when Crouch dived to try to get penalty very obviously. Amazing stuff–Darke is quite horrible, worse than McManaman but not as teeth-grating as Robson, amazingly.

  129. pedantic george

    Bloody WordPress.

  130. George ol chAp. I am right with you on that one. Goal of the Season belongs to RVP, with help from alex song. RVP pulled off the goal of the season twice. It wasn’t some lucky volley coming from a corner kick. Still i think that Crouch’s shot or some stupid shit from Looey Suarez will probably garner that accolade.

  131. Limestonegunner

    George, you aren’t alone. I defended your position above and even referred to your comment. I know you martial arts heros like to take a brave position fighting against the odds and all-comers, but let’s not over dramatize your lonely stance, my man. No need for the fake modesty, that you could be wrong–how could you be on purely football quality in terms of deflected goals. Solidarity!

  132. RvP’s was Goal of the Decade.

    Obviously.

    There was a touch of the ‘shock and awe’ about Walker’s strike today though; a world class goal coming from an English right back playing for one of the division’s smaller sides. It was as spectacular as it was unexpected and took some courage to even attempt it from that distance. No doubt had Messi, Ronaldo, or Rooney scored it, it would be elevated to something else without too much question …

  133. http://www.fsf.org.uk/news/The-FSF-Writers-Awards-2012.php?id=

    The above is a link to the Football Supporters Federation Writers Award for 2012. You can by emailing your choice to awards@fsf.org.uk, for the following categories:

    The FSF Fans’ Newspaper of the Year award
    The FSF Fans’ Website of the Year award
    The FSF Fans’ Football Blogger of the Year award
    The FSF Fans’ Podcast of the Year award
    The FSF Fans’ Book of the Year award

    Personally I voted for The Guardian, Goonerholic, Big Al, Arsecast and Graham Hunter’s Barcelona book

    The categories I couldn’t think of someone for:

    The FSF Fans’ Football Writer of the Year award (hacks…)
    The FSF Fans’ Fanzine of the Year award (are there any good ones any more?)

  134. Wednesday. Big day.

    I am voting for you and Big Al in the FFS awards, YW. No doubt about it.

  135. So according to the fox soccer specialist folk, Liverpool are close and Arsenal need a whole lot of work. You cannot make it up!

  136. @ JonJon | April 29, 2012 at 4:28 pm

    i dont mind womens football, fungunner

    I’ve just come round, having fallen off my chair in shock! Good to hear. And I’m sure you’ll be delighted with this news – after years of lobbying, the women’s beach volleyball kit no longer has a maximum allowable amount of material. So they can cover their cheeks up. Yep, I thought that would make you happy!

  137. Irony, Dex, irony.

    I complained about Savage last year when he explained to the world that he was told to kick Arsenal players in games because they were more skilful. I told them that it was a disgrace that our money goes to promulgate and excuse cheating and violent conduct and to employ a thick neanderthal like Savage.

    So they sacked him. No, wait, they fobbed me off with a lot of old tosh.

    Just listened to 606 and Green got a call condemning the booing of Ramsey. Green accepted that and quickly turned it into a joke at Arsene’s expense and then fielded a call from a Stoke fan who told us it was all Arsenal’s fault and that Wenger deserved all the abuse becasue he accused them of being a rugby side.

    Cue Green agreeing with every word, having a good laugh at Arsene and them parting the best of mates. He also thinks that Stoke fans are the best in the league.

    Just off to write another complaint.

  138. @ Paul-N | April 29, 2012 at 7:21 pm

    So according to the fox soccer specialist folk, Liverpool are close and Arsenal need a whole lot of work. You cannot make it up!

    Really? Dearie me. A bit desperate, methinks.

  139. Well Fun, I enjoy women’s football and would watch more but the increase in clothing in beach volleyball is a step too far. One step forward and two back.

    Just off to write another complaint.

  140. Why do people listen to these things? 606, Talkshite – they all seem to be designed to raise one’s blood pressure. Like thumbing through the Daily Mail or watching Made In Chelsea – I don’t need prodding to get riled up by the narrow minded opinions of the bitter and the moronic.

    Alan Green is a sad, old misanthrope. He has one of the best jobs in the world and every week makes it sound like a gulag sentence.

    He’s also a mild, ‘old-fashioned racist’.

  141. pedantic george

    Bob and Jonny on top form and Frank dropping in .All in all a good day on ACLF .

  142. Well, I was listening because I was replanting tomatoes and I like to shout at the radio while doing that.

  143. Yeh FunGun, apparently we still need help at the back also and seem so unsure of what we want to do.. We need at least 4 players and to get back to the top and I quote some dude named Keith Costigan, “Liverpool are not as far as off as people think”. The bias is in the US also. Unbelievable to blow wow!

  144. Ah tomatoes. Pesky buggers when you have to replant them!

    I honestly have never listened for more than a few minutes to 606. Never once listened to Talksport.

    I think it’s for the best for all concerned.

  145. So poor old Arry is not getting the England job. Twitch-con 5

  146. Poor spuddies will have to keep the twitch or pay him off.

  147. pedantic george

    Rosie will be gutted.

  148. Think how bad the spud fans feel George.

  149. From BBC Sport website:

    Bernstein said: “Roy is the only manager we have approached and we remain on course to make an appointment within the timescale we set out.” … Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp had been heavily linked with the England job ever since Capello left the post in February, but the FA has decided to discuss the position with Hodgson, who has previous international experience from his time in charge of Switzerland, United Arab Emirates and Finland and is not a complete twat.

  150. pedantic george

    They have never had it so good Steve

  151. pedantic george

    Or so Harry tells them

  152. Since when did the FA start using common sense? I think I just felt a great disturbance in the force.

    Though, to be fair, it’s possible that was just the pasty I had for dinner.

  153. @ cbob
    ha ha

  154. Ian Darke is a disgrace, does not even pretend to be “impartial” – I could have understood just one comment about Stoke’s style of play being effective in keeping them in the EPL but the number of times that he went on about it just gives some credence to accepting substandard football, and the ignorant Stoke “fans,” – but as someone said yesterday; if you live in what was once voted the worst place to reside in England, what do you have to look forward to in life?
    Not growing tomatoes this year CBob, but the grandson has peas advancing up sticks outside.

  155. Jonny – been eating one of my pasties?

  156. “Since when did the FA start using common sense? I think I just felt a great disturbance in the force.”

    I was thinking the same! Is this the start of a widespread outbreak of common sense do you think? Probably not, to answer my own question!

  157. Wow wot a wascal Woy is, wobbing old twichy McBung’s job!

  158. CBob;

    Ha, I kinda guessed you weren’t being entirely serious old chap, just went with it anyways.

    Alan green has history of being a right old diva, throwing his toys out the pram if things don’t go his way. Bit of a nasty bully too, apparantly.

    But I am sure Jonny will tell us he’s had a few glasses of Prosecco with him and he’s the salt of the earth really. 🙂

  159. Yogi;

    Football writers? Gawd knows. Paddy barclay always seems to get the vote on here anyway.

    Anyone but Samuel, or Winter, or any of the cabal that make up the witches coven on the Sunday Slurry.

  160. The justification of stoke’s anti-football is teeped in xenophobia in my opinion. Yesterday’s game is a perfect example of old school british grit vs fancy dan foreign artistry.

    Because we don’t produce enough players of sufficient technique, close control etc STILL, it all boils down to that back in the day, get in their faces, up and at em mentality that has served England sooooo well all these years.

    The fact we still have to think about having 6 foot plus brick shit houses in the team to counter this antequated bollocks is really sad. The media and hacks would love it for the league and national team to be full of talented technical players but that is not the case and so they have to big up stoke and revel in any victory they might achieve against the polar opposites of the clogging twats.

  161. Dex @9.22
    “Alan green has history of being a right old diva, throwing his toys out the pram if things don’t go his way. Bit of a nasty bully too, apparantly.

    But I am sure Jonny will tell us he’s had a few glasses of Prosecco with him and he’s the salt of the earth really”

    Jonny @7.41
    “Alan Green is a sad, old misanthrope. He has one of the best jobs in the world and every week makes it sound like a gulag sentence.

    He’s also a mild, ‘old-fashioned racist’.”

    ?! :0P

  162. I read it once already jonny, thanks.

    being a tad sensitive are we?

  163. pedantic george

    Jonny,He(Dexter) is a vicious Queen if you get on his bad side.

  164. You guys will glad to know that we are not the only groups of fans who suffer from group paranoia. Someone asked a question on a texas rangers (american baseball) blog if the New York Yankees got favorable treatment from the umpires. I copied and pasted the response below.

    “Of course they do. This is one of the major reasons you will never see ball and strikes auto called. MLB wants the Yanks to win, so the rules are written to favor them and the calls that are subjective favor them. When a team (the Rangers for example) finds a way to overcome this with talent acquisition, the rules are changed (the recent changes made in the Latin American market) to close the loophole and change the balance of power back to money (the Yanks). But the study of balls and strikes would be a good study piece.

    April 29, 2012 at 2:54 PM | David C”

    sounds like something we would say about ManU. Fans of every sport in the world think the same thing about the dominant team or teams and always have.

  165. Ooh I’ll scratch yer eyes out George, ya bitch!

    Pot and kettle darlink, pot and kettle! 🙂

  166. pedantic george

    He has said some terribly nasty things about me.And I am his pal.
    You watch yourself

  167. Bill

    Thanks for posting that, I think.

    Was just about to post my thoughts on the fact that in the penultimate games of the season, Man City have to play before manU, which for me is shocking. I say this from bitter experience of the 99 season when our penultimate game was the day before United’s. We went for the win, got caught out and lost one nil, while united only drew 0-0. A draw would have done us, yet because we played first we had to assume they would win.

    Basically the games should be played at the same time, so no team gets an advantage.

  168. I don’t quite grasp why most of the English media and pundits seemingly search to point out negative perspectives about Arsene and Arsenal.

    Even if Arsenal were successful by winning CL and EPL (in the same season), I’m guessing that the belittling and criticism would continue and possibly ratcheted up.

    Is their resentment fueled by their dislike of Arsene’s personality or nationality?

  169. George

    I know we are such good chums. What’s that pet name you have for me, i forget?

    Oh yeah, cunt. Sooooo sweet!

  170. Limestonegunner

    All we need to know about Pulis’ side came when at 1-1 playing at home he substituted Upson for Shotton and moved Robert Huth to right back. Yes, right back!

  171. pedantic george

    But Bill .What if its true?

  172. Passenal – I’m working on the theory that this moment of clarity and sense nearly cancels itself out – after all they have just got rid of one of the most successful England managers ever and have narrowly avoided making themselves look even more stupid – by appointing someone respected and sensible.

    And by NOT appointing a deeply, deeply unskilled moral vacuum with like a sack full of doorknobs.

    I have to say I like Roy. If the press savage him like dogs – and they will – I will find International football even more depressing and distasteful than I usually do.

  173. with *a face* like a sack…

  174. pedantic george

    You can deny it all you want Dexter ,but you and JonJon are my best Arsenal pals.
    You might not like it .but you are stuck with it.

  175. Read it again Dex, on the third pass it might make sense!

    You gorgeous, vicious queen. 😉

  176. George

    I know mate, you know I love you really.

    jonny

    I Might need a few more goes at it man. I was just messing coz you were goin on about Beeb pals earlier.

  177. Ah I seeeeee – that was what it was about!

    Opaque.

  178. Basically I am calling you a media luvvie twat!

    How was that? Not too opaque for ya?

  179. How Spurs could have done with the FA making that announcement when Cappello left the job …

    Talk about unwinding.

  180. I would have thought that if you plant tomatoes properly in the first place you wouldn’t have to replant them.

    Anyway if Roy Hodgson is going to be the England manager I might consider supporting them. Well a bit anyway. Can’t stand the idea of supporting the same team as Stoke supporters.

  181. I doubt Stoke supporters have heard of ‘England’.

  182. George;

    I just thought if you knew that what you guys go thru worrying about the refs and ManU is very common to sports fans everywhere and it should not be considered pathologic. Medications and therapist are expensive so hopefully I have saved you some money.

  183. Well ‘Ingerland’ then. They were singing ‘Sweet Chariot’ at the game on Saturday. Fucking hate that song for a number of reasons. Stoke is NF Central is it not?

  184. your description of the stoke supporters is 100% spot on give yourself a pat on the back.

  185. Sweet Chariot is a song linked to rugby; this is their way of reveling in their club’s appalling reputation.

  186. …oh and this covering up of cheeks thing. I think that it is about time that the Olympic movement insisted that all athletes should be completely naked. For the sake of authenticity. I am a traditionalist in these matters.

  187. Good write-up, YW.

    Having finally watched replays of the two incidents I mentioned yesterday (Benayoun penalty shout and Shawcross tackle), I feel that I am now ready to become a Premier League referee.

    I got one right (the penalty shout – it would have been a soft one), one mostly wrong (the Shawcross tackle – he got the ball and he jumped in with one foot, not two as I had thought; it was high-risk but not, I guess, a foul) and I missed one completely (the Shawcross hand-ball on the edge of the area to stop TV5’s shot that looked like it would have been a goal).

    Now that I have established my credentials, where do I sign up? What’s that? Only United fans need apply?! *#~&@!

  188. Hopefully Stoke will finally do the decent thing and be relegated next season. I hate going there, the hatred and potential for violence is palpable man.

    And thats just from the women.

  189. MUCH clearer thanks! Why didn’t you say so? There’s no need to be coy.

    But yeah guilty – I have several friends who work for the BBC. None of them are famous though!

    In the interest of complete disclosure, I also have friends who are GPs – does that make me a doctor loving twat also?! 😛

  190. The Delap thing is an abomination. Drying balls with a towel before a throw in should be illegal. But more to the point why oh why does no-one understand that it is almost impossible to defend a long throw into the box for one simple reason…….you can’t be offside from a throw? They can receive the ball in what would normally be an offside position. Stick three monstrous fuckers who have never kicked a ball in their lives on the goal line and there is a fair chance that they will score.

  191. Pretty much jonny mate! The first noun is interchangeable anyway.

  192. Good lord

  193. “Anyway if Roy Hodgson is going to be the England manager I might consider supporting them. Well a bit anyway. Can’t stand the idea of supporting the same team as Stoke supporters.”

    I know! especially if he picks a few Arsenal players and JT and Lamps get dropped (preferably from a great height!)

  194. On a totally different topic, a few pointers when shopping with the fairer sex:

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