Portrait of a flawed genius. Court case: FIFA vs Saurez.

Welcome to the GunnersoreArse blog. Being blogged 918.74 kilometers (in a straight line) from the Emirates Stadium.

This is the sentencing report I would have presented to FIFA.

Pre-sentence report

Defendant: Luis Alberto Diaz Suarez -D.O.B. 24/01/1987.  

This report has been prepared following one interview with the defendant. I’ve had access to antecedents and previous convictions, plus video and photographic evidence.

The Offence:

1. Mr Saurez explained at interview that the situation had been extremely tense and stressful. He told me that he had suffered quite a lot of physical contact during the game and was severely ‘wound up’. He remembers moving towards the victim with the intention of scoring a goal and was adament that he had no intention of causing injury or harm. However, the defendant then had problems explaining what occurred next. He became very confused and agitated when I asked him to explain further and he just kept repeating that the victims shoulder moved towards his mouth and hurt his teeth.

2. When shown photographs of the injury caused to the victim the defendant denied any intent to cause damage. He explained that his teeth are rather large and if a shoulder comes into contact with them then some damage is inevitable, he continued to say that it wasn’t his fault and denied all culpability.

Social and family Background:

3. The defendant was born in Salto, Uruguay being the fourth son in a family of seven boys. At the age of seven his family moved to Montevideo. He described a difficult upbringing, explaining that his parents seperated when he was aged nine years. The defendant describes himself as being of ‘mixed race’ and told me that his grandfather was black. He developed his footballing skills in the back streets of Montevideo from an early age. At interview the defendant was guarded about his upbringing, and apart from explaining that it had been a difficult period, he appeared to resist giving further information that could be of value to the court. From my observations it would appear that perhaps difficulties experienced during his early development are deeper than he admits and could possibly be the foundation of his aggressive behaviour.

Present Circumstances:

4. Mr Suarez is a married man with two children. He currently lives in the Merseyside area of England and has been employed full-time by Liverpool Football Club as a Striker since 2011. His salary is in the region of £800,000 per month. He describes a happy marriage and told me he adores his children. He also plays international football for his country, Uruguay.

5. The defendant is clearly a very talented footballer. He brings joy to millions of people with his skills and goal scoring. He is worshipped by football fans worldwide. In some quarters he is classed as a footballing genius and still has much to offer the footballing world, he is clearly an outstanding talent but with serious shortcomings and his fame as a footballer is already being tarnished by his unnacceptable behaviour on the pitch. Therefore, to allow him to truly reach the exalted heights of fame which his footballing talents deserve, intervention to stop the defendants violent behaviour is neccessary.

6. I’m led to believe that Mr Saurez also contributes regularly towards charitable causes and generally, in his social life, is an amiable person. However, as a professional footballer, on the world stage, he has to recognise he has a responsibilty. Children the world over watch him play football, admire him and want to replicate his achievements. If his image however, is one of violently biting opponents it is not a good  example for children to see him going unpunished and he needs to reflect upon his position as a public figure who is continually in the spotlight.

Previous Convictions:

7. The defendant has two previous convictions for similar offences. In 2010 in Holland, he was convicted of attacking an opponent with his teeth and received a 7 match ban. In 2013, in the Premier League, he was convicted of the same offence and sentenced to a 10 match suspension. Furthermore, in 2011 he was convicted of racially abusing an opponent and recieved an 8 match ban and a £40,000 fine. An offence which he continues to deny.

8. It is clear therefore that Mr Suarez is a recidevist, previous sentences have not curtailed his behaviour, especially the violence of biting an opponent. It will be of concern to the Court that he continues to deny responsibility for his actions, often saying it is, “just how things happen in football”.


9. With Mr Suarez continueing to deny any malice or pre-meditation in this offence, the matter of sentencing is hindered. Furthermore, with his list of previous convictions for the same offence, the probability of further offending is extremely high and a startegy needs to be put into place to prevent further offences. Therefore, I would suggest a four part sentencing strategy that would not only punish the defendant for the current offence, but would also offer a clear deterent from further unacceptable behaviour. If the Court is willing to accept my recommendation then my proposal for sentencing would be:

  •  An immediate ban from international and domestic matches for 3 months.
  •  A fine equivelant to 2 months salary. (To be used for a Community Project)
  •  A psychological assessment and further psychiatric intervention if deemed neccessary.
  •  A suspended sentence of a life ban from football if the defendant repeats a similar offence (biting) within the period of his remaining footballing career.

10. These sentencing measures would send a clear message to the defendant that his behaviour is totally unacceptable and will not be tolerated in the future. It would offer psychological intervention to prevent further violence and to deal with any underlying issues. Furthermore, Mr Saurez will have a clear understanding that if he were to bite another player violently in the future his footballing career would be over. Such a sentencing plan would , I believe, make the defendant seriously think twice before acting so irrationally again in the future.

Right yer ‘onour, time for a glass of wine and some spicy chorizo……. Hope you enjoyed your visit. Until the next time.

à bientôt

GunnersoreArse, the Classy Glossy Sunday supplement of the blogging world. Delivered to your PC / iPad/iPhone/tablette every Sunday morning at 9am GMT. Order your copy now.

WC fever, other nasties and the new fixture list.


Welcome to the GunnersoreArse Blog. Being blogged 918.74 kilometers (in a straight line) from the Emirates Stadium.

As Arsenal fans, we have all been worried about our players picking up serious injuries in Brazil. But there are other Eden Hazards and dangers of being an international footballer. Even more so when they play a world cup competition somewhere like Brazil. Violence and the crime rate in South America gets a bad press, but many people have already been Arjen Robbened and it’s advisable to always be on the lookout for Igor Akinfeevs, keep your Van Purses in a safe place and only carry small amounts of Cashley Cole on you at any one time.

In Brazil there are also health problems caused by food and water.  Contaminated Frank Lebouef, undercooked Bacary Lasagna and contaminated non-drinking water can lead to Delhi Dembélé, Marco diarReus, Alex Salmonella, Carlton Cholera, chronic irritable Gareth Bowel syndrome and Septic Bladder, causing severe Mezut Özillness, with Per Mertesicker all over the floor and leaving a Kevin de Bruyne Lionel Messi in the WC!

Tropical diseases can be  spread by the Gerard Piqué of the mosquito, these include Malaria Balotelli and Cristian Tello fever which are common throughout Brazil and can be fatal.

On top of all those health risks, players are also being warned not to go out looking for Loose Van Girls for a piece of Samuel Umtitti and Rod Fanni. The risks of  catching something nasty in Brazil like Aids Adebayor, Ole Gonorrhea Solskjaer and Hepatitus Bramble are seriously high just for dipping your chorizo into some local samba sauces. Players are therefore being advised to keep their Wilfried Bony in their trousers, (With a special warning to the French team). Instead players are being told to stay in their hotel rooms and have a Louri Jerkhov instead. And for those players who are on the other side of off-side,  who wear short shirts like Larse Bender, preferring Roman Weidenfellers and some Lee Bum-young, there is the added danger of suffering from a painful GunnersoreArse.

So if the Arsenal players currently in Brazil can avoid all these dangers and also return home un-injured, then for me it would have been a good World Cup.  But in general it has been a very exciting first week to the tournament. The teams shining at the moment are Germany, Holland and France plus the surprise underdogs Costa Rica, Chile and Ghana for their heroic game against the Germans last night. There are already two potential best goals of the competition, Van Persie against Spain and Cahill against Holland. Out of the ex-Arsenal players having a good World Cup, Gervinho needs to be mentioned. Disappointments so far, Ronaldo and Diego Costa. Ronaldo probably due to carrying a knee injury but Costa because he just wasn’t good enough, we won’t get a chance to see Costa improve, because like Spain, his WC is over. Argentina have also been a disappointment, with a front three of Aguero, Messi and Higuain I was expecting better. England turned up but the naivity of team selection and tactics could still see Woy out of a job. My dark horse prediction of Belgium getting to the final started off slowly but there is still room for them to improve. So far there have been some excellent games, attacking play being the tactic of the day, lets hope it continues all the way to the final.

Premier League fixtures 2014/15

On Wednesday the 2014/15 fixture list was published. What delights can we hopefully look forward to………

Dates to be cheerful: Part II.

Aug 23rd 2014 – Away Everton: An early test, second league game of the season. Can we prove that there has been improvement on last seasons game at Goodison Park.

Oct 4th 2014 – Away Chelsea: Last years memory of Wengers 1000th game needs to be avenged, nothing less. If any game this season is going to show that AW has learned from last season, this is the one. Plus we’ll have the joy of seeing Fabregas playing in blue.

Dec 20th 2014 – Away Liverpool: Twenty minutes of hell, that’s what I remember from last seasons match. I was watching the game in a bar and I was transfixed on the large TV screen, looking at it in horror as the Liverpool forwards ripped us apart and we fell apart.

Jan 17th 2015 – Away Man City: Positive thinking, we scored three goals in the corresponding game last season.

May 16th 2015 – Away Man Utd: In a season when Man Utd were at their weakest for several seasons, we failed to take advantage. That old chestnut – fear factor- took a hold and we didn’t have the dangloids.

No points from any of those games last season and a total of 21 goals in the deficit column. If we can get 6/8 points from the first four of those games then that will be a vast improvement and show the credentials needed for a serious title challenge. The penultimate game at Old Trafford could be very interesting. What game are you looking forward to see next season?

Right, time for a glass of wine and some chorizo…… hope you enjoyed your visit. Until the next time.

à bientôt

Every Sunday morning at 9am GMT. Don’t miss your dose of GunnersoreArse. Lubrication optional.

Update: Mario could be a starter….. a frigging firestarter!

Welcome to the GunnersoreArse blog. Being blogged 918.74 kilometers (in a straight line) from the Emirates Stadium.

Rumours are gathering, the media is in a frenzy, and Mario………. well, he’s just Mario. A crazy phenomenon, a starlet, misunderstood youth, a project to be undertaken and turned into something special. Raw talent that needs to be unleashed but kept on a lead. Would Arséne do it? Would he have the bottle to take on who could possibly be one of the biggest game changers in recent football history!

Wenger has done it before with ‘rebels’, but would he be willing to do it again? Be a Father, a Social Worker, a psychiatrist and a mother all rolled into one! Take Mario under his wing and nurture him?

I like the idea, but then again I’ve always liked the challenge of turning a rough diamond into something precious. A possible Prodigy!

I’m the trouble starter, punkin’ instigator. 

I’m the fear addicted, danger illustrated. 
I’m a firestarter, twisted firestarter. 
You’re a firestarter, twisted firestarter. 
I’m a firestarter, twisted firestarter. 
I’m the bitch you hated, filth infatuated. 
Yeah! I’m the pain you tasted, fell intoxicated. 

I’m a firestarter, twisted firestarter. 
You’re the firestarter, twisted firestarter. 
I’m the self inflicted, mind detonator. 
Yeah! I’m the one infected, twisted animator. 
I’m a firestarter, twisted firestarter. 
You’re the firestarter, twisted firestarter. 
I’m a firestarter, twisted firestarter starter

I forgot to take my meds today, back to normal with a GunnersoreArse on Sunday morning at 9am GMT.

A drama of Fabreg-esque proportions: Betrayal and revenge.

Welcome to the GunnersoreArse blog. Being blogged 918.74 kilometers (in straight line) from the Emirates Stadium.

It’s interesting that on the day Fabregas joined Chelsea, I published on my blog a piece about loyalty and betrayal, total coincidence I’m afraid.

So did the prodigal son betray the Father or did the Father reject the son? On the internet, it has caused a debate of epic proportions amongst Arsenal fans. There couldn’t have been a better scenario for those who want Wenger out and from what I’ve read, the situation has even tested the most loyal of Wenger supporters. Cesc was our darling, when he left for Barcelona, despite the circumstances, he was given a fond farewell. His extra-marital affair with the Catalans was accepted and forgiven, it was in his DNA everyone believed. His chorizo was definately Spanish. But nearly everyone was agreed, if he wanted to return to the Emirates, that wouldn’t be a problem, we would welcome him back.

But now, has he truly betrayed us? He once said something like, “I will never play for another Premier League team”. But now he has gone back on his word and started an affair  with Maureen………. that slut who runs a whorehouse for a Russian gangster in the backwoods of SW6. This infidelity is really testing the Gooners fondness for Fabregas. We will never know the whole truth, but from recent reports it would seem that Wenger rejected the chance to buy him back. But did Cesc then go to Maureen out of some form of revenge?  Or was it his only other option? Was it a stab in the back because his Father rejected him? He had other offers apparently, “I considered all the other offers very carefully and I firmly believe that Chelsea is the best choice,”  We can assume they were from Man United, Man City and maybe Liverpool, possibly a couple of larger european clubs as well. In the eyes of the fans, would any of those have been better? But ultimately he chose Maureen, the bitchy one who has been the most vehement critic against Cescs’ adoptive Father. The  crazy one who at every opportunity makes snide remarks about Wenger. Will Maureen now poison Cescs’ mind against his Father, will he be saying things like, “Wenger rejected you but I took you into my bed, I have faith in you, not Arsene, he’s a loser”.

Fabregas has now gone on to say he has something to prove in the Premier League. What could we read into that? Does he mean he would like to prove himself in a PL winning team, or is it more sinister? is it a threat against his Father Arsene Wenger. Does Cesc mean to stab him in the back in an act of footballing vengeance for rejecting him? I wonder if he really thought  Arséne would accept him back with open arms, saying that all is forgiven?

The most pain is obviously being felt by Arsenal fans, the feelings of betrayal by Fabregas and the anger against Wenger for not getting him back will continue well into the new season. What reactions can we expect when Fabregas first comes back to the Emirates in the blue shirt of Chelsea? Will he be welcomed home because we have fond memories of him in the Red and White or will the daggers be out? Visiting Chelsea fans are obviously going to taunt the home support and add fuel to the fire. Most Arsenal fans are now wishing and hoping that Cesc doesn’t repeat his Arsenal form at Chelsea, hoping that Maureens tactics will not suit him.

What is going through Cescs’ head at the moment we can only summise, is he thinking, “that son of a bitch Wenger, always told me he would welcome me home but when it came down to it, he went back on his word!”  What is going through Arsénes head, “I told him not to leave us in the first place so now he can go fuck himself!” Who knows, the mind has some strange ways of reacting to situations of betrayal. What we can be sure of, these thoughts are definately going through the minds of Arsenal supporters because it’s being blasted all over twitter and the blogosphere. This situation is not over by a long shot. The debate will continue to rage into next season and beyond. If Chelsea manage to win the league next season with Cescs’ help, just pipping the Gunners to first place, perhaps with a few goals or decisive passes by Fabregas against us, who knows what the reaction will be towards Wenger for not buying him back.

From my perspective, I hope it doesn’t pan out like that, I sincerely hope we win the league of course, but I would hope also that Cesc does well at Chelsea. It’s football, players have a choice where they play and who knows what incentives Chelsea offered him, perhaps far too much for Arsenal to compete. And furthermore, Wenger had the balance of the current team to consider. However, for many fans Arséne has now put himself clearly between the cross-hairs, failure to bring in the required reinforcements needed for next season and the backlash over the Cesc situation could be substantial and nasty. And furthermore, over the last two days there have been rumours that Santi wants to go back to Spain. If he leaves and the opportunity to get Cesc back was rejected by Wenger, the fallout could be huge. Personally, I think Cesc has made a huge mistake by going to Chelsea, I don’t think Maureen will be able to get Cescs chorizo cooking! I don’t think Cesc will be able to find Maureens ‘G’ spot! It won’t be long before a seperation is on the cards and the bitch will be throwing him out of the house and Fabregas will have to find another lover.

I go back to my last post about fan loyalty, I don’t think we can expect players to have the same passionate loyalty to a club as we do. Money and circumstances play a big role in a players career. Cesc has said, “They (Chelsea) have an amazing squad of players and an incredible manager. I am fully committed to this team and I can’t wait to start playing,”  We probably heard him say similar about the Arsenal and Wenger. He probably said it about Barca. I wonder if in the future, if Barcelona decide they want him back in Spain, would we then hear Fabregas saying once again, “Barca are in my blood, they are in my DNA and I want to go back home”. Players can be as fickle as the fans. It’s no different from infidelity and love affairs, you leave your spouse for someone else and a few months later your wife says to you, “I forgive you, I’ll have you back, please come home” and you do, you return. But for how long, because when your mistress phones you a couple of months after and says, “I love you, I want you, you’re the best lover I’ve ever had”……. you leave your wife again and return to your mistress. It’s human nature and the only difference for football players is they are not being offered sex and love, they are being offered millions of pounds.


Right, time for a glass of wine and some chorizo….. hope you enjoyed your visit. Until the next time.

à bientôt

Don’t forget, GunnersoreArse still goes out over the blogoshere every Sunday morning at 9am GMT. I had a slight blip this week, posting on Thursday….. but I’ve spoken with my psychiatrist and she has put me on some new medication, so I’m back to normal now.


For better or for worse…. till death do us part!

Welcome to the GunnersoreArse blog. Being blogged 918.74 kilometers (in a straight line) from the Emirates Stadium.

Loyalty and staying with the same partner for life….. till death do us part! Or in this instance….. staying loyal to, and supporting the same football team for life, which when analysed, throws up all the same experiences, emotions, disappointments and joys similar to a marriage. Some people can devote their whole life to one person, for better or for worse, unfortunately I’ve not been very good at it, hence three failed marriages. But when it comes to the Arsenal……..   I’ve devoted my life to her, plus quite a substantial amount of money and emotional investment, see, just like a marriage! So how do we do it? What makes us able to stay faithful to the Arsenal for life but not always stay faithful to a partner? Can the simple word ‘Loyalty’ really convey what it means?

I took my marriage vows with the Arsenal when 8 years old and I’ve never been unfaithful to her, never once have I dipped my chorizo into another teams sauce, not yellow mustard vinaigrette, not white béchamel or creamy blue cheese. Arsenal to me is what Red thai curry is to white thai rice, what Bolognese is to spagetti, what mint sauce is to lamb, what chili is to con carni……in other words, a perfect marriage. For 52 years and hopefully for a good few more, it will only be death that eventually separates me from the Gunners and I finally go to St Peters Italian Deli in the sky. In comparison, the longest I’ve stayed with one partner is 14 years and during that time I have to admit, occasionally I dipped my spicy chorizo into a bit of tasty french mayonnaise, a well seasoned tzatziki a la grecque, a piquant chinese oyster sauce, plus, on a regular basis I got my chorizo nicely warmed in some deliciously comforting and fulfilling Lancashire Hotpot. And if you are reading this Lisa from Southport, “I still think of you!”

Some of you will call me weak, and yes, I agree, on occasion I have preferred to look for some nice sun dried tomatoes in virgin olive oil rather than eat luke warm tinned tomatoes at home. But with the Arsenal, I’ve been much stronger in my resiliation to stay faithful and loyal.

So the question is, could I be unfaithful to my Arsenal? Would it be possible on occasion to share my spicy sausage with some Tottenham kosher potato tart , a Chelsea currant bun, Cardiff Welsh rarebit or some Norwich roast mutton dressed as lamb and cheat on my Gunners? No of course not, it would be unthinkable, it would be akin to being offered perfectly cooked Smoked Duck Breasts with a Ginger butter sauce and saying, “I’d rather have some spam with ketchup.” Or being invited to dine at a three star Michelin restaurant but turning it down and going to a hot dog stand on Tottenham High Road.

I am proud to be a Gooner, my Greek Keftethes swell with pride when I tell people that the Arsenal are my team. My spicy chili sauce gets spicier when we win a game, but sometimes I’ve had to accept eating cold pizza that’s been left in the fridge for a day or two longer than it should have been.

Over the years, I’ve had the privilege to sample some of the best culinary delights possible, with a dash of international influence and creativity. Hollandse Nieuwe Haring, Bûche Chocolat gourmande a la Française, Irish beef in Guinness, Swedish Meatballs, Romford Pie and Mash and of course, Spanish Tapas. But on other occasions, I’ve had a plate of unsavory overcooked sludge plonked in front of me which you wouldn’t even give to your dog……. but I’ve eaten it! My analogy here is the Arsenal, not women, well, if I’m truly honest…….. Damn, I’ve been a slut sometimes! But my point is, if your wife served you a load of trollop on a plate on a regular basis, you’d start to think, “Is she the right one for me?” and “maybe I should go out and find some Steak Diane or Crêpes Suzette”. Whereas the Arsenal serve up some unappetizing fodder on a regular basis but we go back for second and third helpings and over the last few years, that would be ‘fourth’ helpings as well. This is to me the essence of fan loyalty and faithfulness, no matter what’s on the menu, you’ll eat what ever is dished up. Never thinking that there might be some ‘Cordon bleu’ somewhere down the Fulham Road in a restaurant where they change their chef as regularly as they change the table napkins.

Psycologically I’m basically a loyal person, for instance, I’m very loyal to friends and family, and also to certain commercial products, Nivea, Gauloises tobacco, Spanish chorizo, Pataks curry pastes, Heinz baked beans, pastis 51 and Durex, though nothing puts me off my meal more than having to wrap my chorizo in clingfilm! I’m also extremely loyal to the Arsenal and this begs the question, where does loyalty come from? What are the psychologically complex factors which define us as loyal followers of just one football team. Psychologists have studied the complex and opaque neurological processes which add to the psychological make up of a loyal fan. They have also spent quite some time analysing the psychology of infidelity and adultery. But it’s as complicated as the recipe and ingredients for a Marseille Boullabaisse. I may have a go at preparing it for you on another occasion.

Is it easier to commit adultery with another woman than to be unfaithful to your football team? Are the prohibited Nouvelle Cuisine menus of infidelity easier to digest than the taboo of dipping your chorizo into a cold blue piece of stringy pidgeon standing on a soggy meatball? Is loyalty to the Arsenal more powerful within us than the ability to stay loyal to a spouse?

In fact, does it ever cross our minds that we could stray from the righteous path of only  supporting the Gunners? Whereas the temptation of a juicier meal away from home may  intrude upon us from time to time, and we can sometimes give in to it. Do we sometimes look at another teams attractiveness, sexiness and charms, being overcome by lust and temptation for some forbidden fresh fruit cocktail? Would we actually take that fateful step into another teams restaurant and consume a three course ‘a la carte’ meal with all the trimmings just because we have an urge rising in our Moulinex mixers to whip up and serve some Crème Anglaise?

I think I can catagorically say no for all or at least, for most football fans on those questions. For us, fidelity to a football club is sacred, it would be sacrilage to even contemplate having an affair with another team. We would be a Prune and Port Fool. Our loyalty means we will happily accept the occassional crap dinner, knowing that there will also be times when we can savour the taste of the authentic and appetizing delicacies of well cooked football, prepared by a gourmet Chef de cuisine, tempting our tastebuds and teasing us with the delights which are to follow and if we’re lucky, ‘Silver Service’.

You may think this has all been a load of Falafel and Chocolate Profiteroles,  and you’re thinking perhaps whilst I’ve been typing it I’ve chucked far too much Côtes du Provence rosé down my neck. This may be true, but writing it has been like slipping my tongue into a Rum Cream Trifle and eating Cherries marinated in Maraschino liqueur……….  Yummy.

I, Northbank, do take you, Arsenal FC, to be my Football Team, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish; until death do us part. And hereto I pledge my faithfulness.

Right, time for a glass of wine and some chorizo (perhaps dipped into a creamy prawn sauce)….. hope you enjoyed your visit. Until the next time.

à bientôt………… et bon appétit 🙂

And don’t forget….. GunnersoreArse is always a blogging good read, every Sunday morning at 9am GMT.  Tune in and join in! But occasionally, I may be unpredictable…. and when the fancy takes me, I’ll scratch my GunnersoreArse on another day.






Travels in the Cevennes with a Gooner and his paintbrush


Welcome to the GunnersoreArse blog. Being blogged 918.74 kilometers (in a straight line) from the Emirates Stadium.


Scene 1: A bar in a small Cévennol village in a remote part of southern France. Sometime after Midnight.

Outside the mistral is blowing hard, gusts up to 60kmh, whistling through the quaint little streets of the village. Picking up the dust and gravel on the petanque playing area in the square and tearing at the limbs of the large plane trees. Inside there is a young couple at a secluded table, whispering sweet nothings to each other, at another table, four old men are playing cards and at the bar, an Englishman, head in  his hands. He is looking into his tall glass of pastis, watching the ice floating in the misty pale green liquid, he’s drunk, gloomy and depressed. The barman Philippe looks at him occassionally with sympathy, and tries now and again to break the silence with a small comment of consolation, but the man stays silent, oblivious to Philippes attempts at conversation. This Englishman has been in the village for about a month, an artist apparently, but Philippe has only seen him drinking at his bar, never seen him painting! The man gulps back his drink and finally speaks;

“Un autre Philippe, s’il vous plait?” he asks the barman. “Vous êtes sûr?”  replies Philippe, knowing that this so called artist has had far too many already. “Ouais, ouais” the man whispers. After living here for a month his French accent has already taken on the local southern twang. Philippe pours the golden liquid into the glass, tops it up with chilled water and drops two ice cubes into it. The man picks it up, feels the coolness of the glass in his hand, stares at it briefly, then puts it to his lips. It tastes good. His thoughts are a drunken hazy jumble, the sweet taste of  pastis in his mouth, the barman  trying to be nice to him but more annoyingly, the memories of how the evening had shattered his dreams and propelled him even further into a depressive tunnel. What the fuck went wrong he thinks, he empties his glass, looks at the barman…………. and orders another pastis.

Scene 2: The same bar, approximately 1 hour earlier:

Philippe had put the TV on earlier for the Englishman, a football match. Philippe followed Olympique de Marseille so enjoyed football, but the old boys in the bar were not so happy to have their quiet evening of cards disturbed with the noise from the TV and this bloody stranger, cursing when his team come close to scoring, shouting in his strange language and accent, “for fucks sake” and “you fucking wanker”. They carry on with their card game, trying to ignore him.

All of a sudden, the TV commentator is screaming, it’s a goal!  The card players watch the Englishman with amusement, turning away from the TV, turning back again, turning away again, both hands over his mouth, his shouts are muffled but the card players can see he is upset.  “oh No, Fuck….. fuck….. fuck”  he mumbles through his hands, “Come on, come on!”. But the referee blows the final whistle, the Englishman turns away from the TV, disconsolate and aggitated he walks to the bar, not interested in the celebrations being televised. He asks for another pastis, looks at Philippe and says, “Fuck”, the barman looks back with a sympathetic smile and a shrug, pours the drink and turns off the television. At last, the card players think, silence.

Scene 3: The same bar, approximately 3 hours earlier:

The Englishman walks into the bar, nods to a few people, shakes hands with some guys with whom he’d played petanque earlier that day and walks to the counter, orders a pastis and confirms with Philippe that it’s ok to watch the match tonight. Philippe turns on the TV and searches for the channel. The man is excited, since arriving in the village for a six month stay, it had been depressingly cold and the mistral had been blowing practically non-stop, adding to his depression. Not like he’d imagined the south of France  to be in April and May. To make things worse, his inspiration and creativity had deserted him. The main reason for coming to this remote area in the Cévennes was to paint, but he’d only managed a couple of pencil sketches in a month, the bad weather, his feelings of isolation and being alone, his inability to find inspiration, all contributing to his depression and so he had prefered to spend most of his time at the bar.

But tonight was different, football, his team are playing….. a chance to get out of his depression, confident his team will win this match. He is really looking forward to it. On the TV the teams come out onto the pitch…. he clenches a fist and mouths a little cheer, “Come on you gunners!”

Scene 4: The same bar, approximately 6 hours earlier.

The Englishman has just finished a game of petanque with some local villagers. The sun is shining and the mistral has taken a rare break. He finds a table at the  bar terrace in the sunshine, enjoying the warmth and relaxing. Philippe the barman arrives at the table, tray in hand, “Bonjour”, “Bonjour Philippe, un pastis, s’il vous plait”  As the barman starts to walk away, the man calls him back, “Philippe, le Journal des Sports aussi s’il vous plait?”.

Philippe returns with the drink and the sports newspaper. The man sips his pastis, cool and fresh, the taste of anise so much better when the sun is shining. He rolls a cigarette and lights it, taking the smoke deep into his lungs. What a life he thinks, playing petanque, drinking pastis and painting….. well, the painting was taking a bit of time to materialise, but it will come, perhaps when the weather improves. He picks up the newspaper and flicks through the pages till he comes to the football section, wondering if there will be any English football news. In his excitement of being here in France, enjoying the experience and being down and stressed about painting, he’d not given much thought to his team and is shocked to see that tonight they are playing. How could he have forgotton such an important game. He quickly checks the TV section, yes, yes….. it’s on French TV. Excitedly, he calls the barman over, “Philippe, c’est possible pour regarder le foot ce soir?””Ouais biensur, à quel heure?” the barman replies.

“À huit heure, c’est bon?” Philippe nods a yes,  it’s more of that typical French type of shrug and nod all in one movement, plus a little raise of the eyebrows. The man orders another pastis and sits back in his chair, pleased and excited, brilliant he thinks. He stays at the bar for a while, enjoying the sun and watching a game of petanque in the square, and the occasional young woman walking by in tight jeans and T shirt. He  slowly finishes his drink, puts some money on the table in payment and leaves to have something to eat. Philippe watches him depart, observing that the man has a spring in his step. Philippe goes to the table, picks up the coins and the empty glass and glances at the open page of the newspaper……….



Date: May 10th, 1995.

Headline: European Cup Winners Cup Final. Arsenal vs Real Zaragoza.

Right, time for a glass of wine and some chorizo…… hope you enjoyed your visit. Until the next time.

à bientôt

And remember, GunnersoreArse goes out across the blogosphere every Sunday morning at 9am GMT.

Transfer rumours, Lust and ……………….. Betty Rubble

Welcome to the GunnersoreArse blog. Being blogged 918.74 kilometers (in a straight line) from the Emirates Stadium.

So here we are then, smooth as ever! My second blog post. I can hear Yogi now, “What a mug, he’s gone back for more”.

Posted nice and early this bright and sunny Sunday morning to allow certain ‘factions’ to battle it out for FIRST place. I’ve put Betty in the title because……. well, just because, and it meant I could use an image of her!

I wonder if the telephone lines at the Emirates have been busy this week? That £150m/£100m/£50m (depending on where you get your information) must be burning a hole in Arsènes pocket.  Six  briefcases full of used £50 notes are sitting on his desk, the minders look like Mike Tyson and Lenny McLean and the tea lady has been dusting them several times a day just in case  (not the minders….. the briefcases)

The executive jet is on the tarmac, fuelled and ready to go at a minutes notice. Actually, in Arsènes world, one of bargain basement purchases, it’s a single engine Cessna bought second hand at the Romford aerodrome annual sale.

Transfer rumours have linked us with several players over the past few weeks….. and if you were to believe what some pundits and journos have been saying, then next season the Arsenal will have Griezemam, Costa and Falcao ready to run amok in the Premier League. Fabregas will probably be bought as well, but only to be used in the League cup  and to cover for any injuries. Oh, the madness of the transfer season is upon us! Deep joy. I can imagine Arsenal supporters the world over, getting out of bed at silly o’clock every morning and before having their first cup of coffee or slice of chorizo, they browse the BBC Gossip pages on the internet to see who we’ve bought. I do that, so I can imagine a few others do as well.

Rumours, where do they come from and what purpose do they serve? Well, they generally increase and have more currency during times of uncertainty and doubt (replace “times of uncertainty and doubt” for: “Arsenals transfer window”) and then you get a good picture of what a lot of Gooners experience from late May to early September. We’ve all done it haven’t we…. come on, own up. A little bit of hope, a little bit of, “now he would be a Juicy Lucy signing, can we get him please Mr Wenger”, ..drool drool dribble dribble! Lust and desire emanating from every pore in your body. Wilfried ‘willy’ Boni takes on a whole new meaning! We get a hard on, well, the Goonerettes don’t, they have their own version. Wasn’t there a band called We..       ……….. ahh better not, that would lower the tone of the blog!

2014-05-24 16:21:09

So, returning to rumours, phew! Calm yourself Northbank, get a grip! Right, where was I, oh yeah, something horny, oh no, no, it was rumours, yes, rumours……..for football fans, they serve no actual useful purpose at all, not one incy, teeny weeny little bit. Oh ok, perhaps they do, because don’t we just love reading who we might get this summer. Fantasizing  and lusting over how the team might line up on the first day of the PL, how with those players there is no way we’re not gonna win the title, the CL and the FA Cup, slaughter every team we play against, Mourinho eat your f**king heart out….. that’s what rumours do to us, get us wound up and hopeful …….. but for what, just to be let down, feeling disappointed and frustrated come September. When I was younger we used to call some girls p***k teasers. That’s a transfer rumour, it gets you drooling at the mouth and all excited, a quick feel maybe, even a wet finger, but then it leads to nothing more substantial, leaving you unfulfilled, limp and dribbling into your own underwear.

Lust is an intense attraction to something you desire and is notorious for overriding common sense and intuition in the most sensible of people. It is an altered state of consciousness programmed by a primal urge. Studies have shown that the brain in this state is much like a brain on drugs. So now we can understand why our common sense disappears when we lust after possible transfer targets. No wonder it’s been coined on some blogs as ‘Transfer Porn’.

A rumour by definition is information yet to be proven true or false, it often ends with confirming or disproving facts. But you all knew that anyway, didn’t you? A substantial amount of incorrect data and exaggerated media coverage progresses with alacrity these days and thanks to the internet and twitter feeds, it is instantaneous. The creation and spread of rumours and misinformation, especially in the context of a moral panic, is a well known social process. TV and Radio pundits, sports journalists and blogs often construct explanations to fill in missing information and offer speculative rumours. These rumours then take on a life of their own. Just think back to when you used to play chinese whispers, some details get eliminated, other information becomes highlighted and all the while filtered through the participants selective personalities, biases and situations.

 We don’t know for sure who is spreading the questionable news and writing the twitter feeds, or what makes the experts on Talksport or the BBC so expert. To deal with rumours requires an assessment of the credentials and biases of those who are disseminating the information.  The press ultimately need to sell copy, or on the internet, get hits on their sites. They use rumours within the transfer market to lure you in, they don’t care whether the rumour has substance or not, it’s not in their interests to worry about that, they just need to fill the pages. And if they can’t fill the pages, then damn lies and misinformation will surffice. And we are the mugs who hang on to every word and hope that there may be some substance to the rumour. Getting sucked into the whole merry-go-round.

I know I’m an idiot to go through all the rumours about potential Arsenal signings, I know how the press manipulate us with incorrect and exaggerated data, I know I shouldn’t get caught up in the speculation and hope that we may buy some “super dooper mega footballing acrobatic genius who will score 50 goals in a season sort of bloke”. But like so many, I’m weak, I’m lustful, I’m hopeful and I want my team to have the best possible players available. Therefore, I will sadly continue peeking into the gossip columns despite my better judgement.

I do enjoy the excitement  of doing it though, but as a consequence, I’ll have to accept the let down and disappointment, just like I had to with the girls when I was 16 years old……. dribble dribble! Now where’s my clean underwear!

Right, time for a glass of wine and some chorizo………….. hope you enjoyed your visit. Until the next time.

à bientôt

Note from the management team:  Sunday mornings 9am GMT.  This will be the regular spot for GunnersoreArse. Make a note in your diary…. you know it makes sense.