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.






37 thoughts on “For better or for worse…. till death do us part!

  1. Morning NB
    Talking faithful, I read your blog before Yogi’s shame on me.
    A tricky subject you have dipped your chorizo in. I suppose on one level football doesn’t affect our normal lives the same way as a partner might. Mating is primeval (well thats my excuse) anyway I’m looking at, and going to enjoy a stick thin white widow 🙂

  2. This all makes perfect sense from a hunter gatherer’s point of view. Men may fall in love with a football team (because that is an atavistic tribal instinct), but only ever in lust with a sex partner (as that is an atavistic seed-spreading exercise). The mistake is when you try to join religion and biology and I am glad that NB has not gone down that route. My sadness is due to a dislike of paprika I have never really freed the chorizo in me.

  3. foreverheady

    I did get in to the real aspects of footbal fan loyalty and there was loads of psychological stuff on tribal identity. Why do you think I skipped over that and carried on the the culinary stuff. Perhaps another ime I’ll seriously examine it 🙂

  4. What a lot of dipping Nb69!
    Always been loyal to the arsenal since 1966, never been double dipping skinny or otherwise since 1976!
    Finally booked my cruise from luxor to aswan – having been given five incorrect swift codes! Wanted to go sailing down in a dahabya but at £2k too rich for my purse, so just a gin palace – ah well!

  5. ahh Clocky at last, thank you for gracing my bar with your presence 🙂

    Gin Palace sounds fine by me, what’s so special about being on a bit of floating wood on water?

    The cruise however, sounds wonderful.

  6. Suitably censured, but left before the second eleven arrive, with their 100 word a minute typing and the ensuing intensity.
    White widow the Chateauneuf de Pape for smokers, could be the ingredients for a reminisce, pert etre ( / sorry the accent fell of )

  7. I know Michael, I love Yogis’ blog, but I prefer the morning shift….. unless something really interesting enters the forum in the afternoon! White widow? tell me about it, I honestly don’t know what it is! But if it’s the Chateauneuf de Pape of something, then maybe I’m interested 🙂

  8. Must admit I really did enjoy that North.

    Loyalty, been loyal since 1991 at the tender age of 4 and haven’t looked back since! I must say you do seem to enjoy a good dip in several sauces and at times you have to just to get the perfect sauce with the perfect main dish. It takes time for everything except choosing the futbol club that you will spend your life being loyal, fighting and defending often times more than anything else in your life.

  9. Yes Mr C, getting the ingredients right is so important. Perhaps that’s where I’ve failed with marriage? or then again, perhaps my psychological make up just enjoys things that are illicit and exciting 🙂

  10. Fab NB,

    I think supporting a club involves a certain perspective on all others. I never watch a game other than with the perspective of which result might be better for Arsenal. After a while of viewing all other teams like this – as opponents or as helpful or unhelpful to Arsenal – it’s inconceivable to cross over….

    But the world is full of delightful women, and admiring one isn’t to the detriment of admiring another, although social institutions and popular culture would have us think otherwise. I don’t really believe being involved with one woman is betraying another. In fact the idea of betrayal DEPENDS ON the idea of one-at-a-time – monogamy. If you don’t avow that then one can be always faithful because a new involvement will not compromise an existing one. As someone once said “To live outside the law you must be honest”.

    Sorry this has got a bit deep – must go and have a drink….


  11. Nothing wrong with being exciting and I too like to partake in my fare share of illicit things just now they are smoked grass.

  12. HTL’s

    That’s something I nearly got into, about how we would support another team if the result was to our benefit. Not that that is true betrayal to our club. But it was too much 🙂

    I’ve found that in France women are much more flexible to open relationships….. it’s a two way thing. But rare to find in most relationships. Enjoy your drink.

  13. White Widow: well I’ve learnt something today, but I’ll stick to the Guigal I think. NB: given your art and your West Ham mate, have you ever come across a fellow called Michael Getgood?

  14. I do have an excuse, I use a mac, and there wasn’t a new picture on Yogi’s as there was for NB. Thats my excuse and am sticking to it. 🙂

  15. How do I get an avatar?….Any takers, keep it simple, this is a mac, and I’m clueless.

  16. Michael

    Google ‘Gravatar’ go onto the site, choose a photo and upload it to your computer and then use it on gravatar. You can upload several different photos and choose or change when you like.

  17. foreverheady

    I’m aware of him as a Saatchi artist because I have my work on their website as well. I’m not a great fan of abstract work but I must admit to liking some of his blurred, fuzzy images….. quite dreamlike.

  18. I think that your post was foreshadowing and then Cesc happened. Maybe I should start drinking more and eating more chorizos!

  19. Mr C
    I think from what you’ve mentioned before that you drink enough already 🙂 …. however, eating more chorizo can only be a good thing in my honest opinion!!!!

  20. Ha. Am I to understand that you never tried any of the fine restaurant establishments in the greater Manchester area. ?
    Very amusing read by the way. Funny and thought provoking.

  21. To everyone reading my blog….. new one coming up tomorrow. Sunday morning. With the current furore over the Fabregas situation, I couldn’t not go there and examine the issues. Just had to be done. Stay tuned.

  22. And another post on the way! You’re caught now NB!

    I’m sure I’ll enjoy it as much as this one! I laughed, got hungry, got lost in the three way (menage a troi?! ) associations and metaphors, and thought about love, loyalty and football. Wonderful stuff, NB!

Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s