I walked on the Emirates pitch 34 years before Wenger. A history of heroes and villains!


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

I was thinking about this last week and I started to reminisce how I’d walked regularly on the Emirates Stadium pitch, across the terraces and through the dressing rooms long long before it was even a twinkle in Wengers eye. In 1972, if someone had asked me what Chorizo was I probably would have said a Brazilian footballer, I was 18 years old and working for a company called J.R.Smith and Sons, a scrap iron and steel company owned by three brothers from Camden Town, Brian, Dennis and Ronnie. I worked with Dennis, they called him ‘Dennis the menace’ and the description was perfect, he was fucking crazy and he had his fingers in many different dodgy pies.  Dennis and Brian ran the Ashburton Grove site and Ronnie had control of a sister company, the Hornsey Metal Company which was in Stroud Green. It was a business just on the limits of sculduggery and the wrong side of legal, just as you would expect from any self-respecting decent scrap metal business. If you had seen some of the blokes that would  turn up to see Dennis at our little backyard office, you could easily have thought it was a scene from Snatch. Even our office was a caravan inside a large shed.

The site started at the top end of Ashburton Grove, where the main office and weighbridge led to the entrance to the yard and then it extended right across to the top end of Queensland Road, where the entrance leading to my little caravan was in Emily Place. I dealt with the non-ferrous metals side of the business; brass, copper, lead, aluminium, zinc, burnt wire etc. I worked with a tough little Irish fella who knew how to work the weighing scales and earn us some extra cash by under-weighing and underpaying customers. Dennis was also extremely good at earning us extra cash, often buying RSJ’s as scrap iron at the lowest price per ton and then we’d sell them as re-usable RSJ beams to the building trade and split the profit, a nice little earner.

The brothers had an uncle named Wally , a bit of a charactor, who had a small scrap yard down in Hoxton, which was much more of a Steptoe & Son type of affair but it was rumoured he had formed the company on the proceeds of some heavy duty criminal activity. But he was happy just to run a small yard and let Brian, Dennis and Ronnie deal with the bigger stuff.

So this is how I managed to walk on the Emirates pitch in 1972, thirty four years before it was constructed.  When I walked from my little caravan office across the yard to the weighbridge, I literally walked across the future stadium. Back then it was a combination of mud, oil, diesel, piles of car tyres, scrap iron and steel, all churned up by roll-on/roll-off container lorries and JCB’s. I could never have imagined it would eventually become the magnificent stadium it is today, a Wenger dream that would not take shape in his brilliant mind for another 30 years. At the end of most days we’d all go for a drink in a pub on the corner of Benwell Road and Albany Place, where some of Dennis’ mates would join us and they’d discuss and conclude dodgy business deals with him. I can’t remember the name of the pub now, perhaps someone can tell me if it’s still there?

The Arsenal manager at the time was Bertie Mee and the team consisted of such legends as John Radford, Ray Kennedy, Charlie George, Frank McClintock, Peter Storey and Bob Wison. Every other Saturday afternoon, a mate and I could be found touting tickets outside the Marble Halls on Avenell Road and when we’d sold them all, we would pay a couple of quid to the bloke on the turnstile for entry into the East Stand and we’d find  empty seats to watch the match. Every Friday and Saturday night you could also find us at the Wellington pub in Mackenzie Road, selling stolen designer clothing from the boot of a Ford Cortina.

These were the halcyon days in Islington, of after hours drinking clubs in the upstairs of a pub and run by gangsters, where someone slid open a spy hole in the door and if you weren’t known, you were told to fuck off. Sometimes you would see an Arsenal player at one of these clubs, McClintock, Peter Storey and Eddie Kelly were regulars. Frank McClintock went on to form a business partnership with Harry H, a well known local con man, and they bought a pub together in Caledonian Road, which became a regular haunt for the Islington criminal underworld. Peter Storey bought a pub in Essex Road and would eventually end up doing time for his involvement in certain criminal activities. This was the Islington of Bertie Smalls (the first ever supergrass), of Reggie Dudley and Bob Maynard (aka Legal and General) and the ‘head in the public toilet’ murder. The Islington where Jamaicans had ‘blues clubs’, basically a basement in someones house where you could drink rum and dance to bluebeat and ska all night long. The IRA had control of Finsbury Park and the Archway area, and the Adams brothers were only just starting their Islington crime syndicate from a house in Barnsbury and would eventually, and violently, take over from the Reilly’s as the most feared crime gang in London. This was the Islington of my youth, where I rubbed shoulders with, and regularly had drinks with some of the most feared and dangerous criminals in London. An Islington where local villains quietly went about their business and stayed away from any form of publicity, an Islington where gangsters from other manors would not dare to encroach upon, an Islington that I have very fond memories of, and by comparison, the East End, the Krays and the Richardsons were small time.

In 1974 I was still ticket touting at Highbury and other venues, and still selling stolen designer clothing, but now it was from the boot of a Jaguar Mk2, but the scrap metal firm had started to experience financial problems. This was caused by Ronnie having gone a bit radio rental with company money from his side of the business in Hornsey. Unknown to his brothers, he’d used business funds to buy, amongst other things, a large beachhouse property in the Carribean, a yacht and a light aircraft, plus a couple of Rolls-Royces and a mansion in Hertfordshire for his mistress, by the time Brian and Dennis found out, Ronnie had spent millions and it was too late to save the company. I was in the weighbridge office when it came to blows between the three of them, Dennis and Brian would have killed Ronnie and he would have ended up in the car crusher if me and a couple of Dennis’ mates had not intervened.

I then spent a hectic 12 months regularly driving two, three, sometimes four  times a week to Teeside, West Bromwich and South Wales collecting cheques owed to us by some of the larger steel works, then speeding back down the M1 or M4 to London and paying them into the bank, some cheques totalled £150k or more, but it was still to no avail. Brian and Dennis were frantically moving money from company banks to personal accounts abroad and the business was eventually put into receivership and bankruptcy. After the business folded I continued working with Dennis and some of his associates for a while in little money making schemes but with all the company problems, his health had suffered so he eventually decided to move to Spain and live off the money he’d managed to keep hidden from the inland revenue.

I moved on to other things, some good, some bad, some disastrous, some glamorous and some downright unsavoury. However, despite having walked on the Emirates pitch 34 years before the turf was laid, before even Wenger or an Arsenal player had ever set foot on it, I’ve still not been into the new Stadium to see a game. It remains a dream, a dream which I hope to achieve very soon. And at the same time I’ll also have a drink in the pub on Benwell Road if it’s still there?

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

à bientôt

GunnersoreArse, bringing you the hidden history of Arsenal and Islington, chorizo and copper, brass and muck. A classy publication delivered to your PC free of charge every Sunday morning at 9am GMT.

122 thoughts on “I walked on the Emirates pitch 34 years before Wenger. A history of heroes and villains!

  1. “@Histoury 2m
    @Blackburngeorge That was a great read, almost thought I was reading an excerpt from a great book haha.”

    Someone just tweeted that to me NB. Now there is an idea?

  2. That’s really good feedback George….. the book has been marinating in my head for quite some time. However, a 1000 word essay is a lot easier than a 400 page book.

  3. Absolutely fantastic NB! Gripping story, vividly and humorously written. Really captured some flavor of Islington and Arsenal from that period. What a contrast with the present. I’d love to hear more about your adventures –your personal Arsenal angled stories. George is right about the book idea!

  4. Thanks Limey…. I look back on those times as very special. It was part of my education and Dennis treated me like a son…. although he did once give me a right hander, breaking my nose and splitting my lip which needed four or five stitches. He was really Dennis the menace, unpredictable and volatile. I loved him to bits.

  5. I fear the recent changes in housing policy here in blighty will change the character of our beloved London Town dramatically, for the worse. But otherwise you have the same old antics going on, different faces, different names, different organisations, scratch at the surface if you dare! David Cronenberg’s Eastern Promise was the best film on London that I’ve seen in recent times, if you haven’t already seen it I’m sure you’ll like it.
    If I pass by the spot where that pub used to be this week I’ll let you know.

  6. Thanks Fins

    I’m glad you were able to leave a comment on here 🙂

    I’m sure the criminal culture of London has changed dramatically since the 60s 70s and 80’s…. my time was more like the ‘Long Good Friday’ and ‘Brighton Rock’ if we can use films as a reference. I would really like to know if that pub still exists, it was on Benwell Road between Ashburton Grove and Queensland Road. There was a short dead-end street and the pub was on the corner as you entered Albany Place.

    Let me know.

  7. NB
    What’s happening with the Peacock industrial estate up in N17 is a similar yet different tale then your former site/home. The developers who are behind the Tottenham redevelopment, hand in hand with the mayor, have earmarked that industrial estate for housing or residential redevelopment. The site has nothing to do with the stadium build! Just like the giant Sainsbury’s that’s already gone up in Tottenham. This whole project is so much worse then the Arsenal project, it really is transparent and awful in every way. It was sad to see some of those business’ have to move out of N4/N5, but up at the Peacock they have much bigger companies like the legendary family run DW Timber (lovely folk!). But the local MP, the mayor, Levy, all off them are desperate for a bit of residential property development. Fuck the football.
    This is one reason why the ministry is still looking at this case. Yet the Tottenham M.P. who was scathing when Levy & Lewis got caught bugging West Ham and the Olympic committee is now complaining that the approval for the redevelopment of the area and stadium which probably includes the bogus add ons like the Peacock ‘cleansing’ is being held up by ‘Arsenal fans’ in parliament. Transparent gibberish! The developers are running this project, not the football club which is the inverse of the journey taken at AFC. There have some further property development applications in N5, they are ‘trying it’ but at least this happened long after they built the stadium! At least AFC are still registered here in London and not in the Crown colony of Grand Caymen.

    What happened upon your former site was no way near as sad a tale as this Tottenham saga.

  8. Waw. . I’m a gooner from Bahrain.. Once started could not stop till end of your stuff.. felt like watching a movie.

    Keep it going. Loved every bit..

    So it was a scrap yard hehe..

  9. Fins

    You’ve totally lost me mate….. as far as I’m concerned, if it’s Tottenham then they could drop a bomb on it for all I care. Are you saying that the Spuds are trying to build a new stadium but the money grabbers are more interested in property for sale???. The only decent thing I can remember from Tottenham is the ‘Tottenham Royal’ grab a granny night on a Wednesday in the 70’s. Guaranteed a bunk up with a thirty something married bird. 🙂

  10. Hi Sulaiman

    It was a scrap yard up until the mid 70’s. Then when the company folded I think Islington Borough Council bought the land. There had been a council recycling site just next to us in Ashburton Grove, so I think the council expanded it. I’ve since read on the Emirates Build website, that the Arsenal agreed to pay for, and build a new Recycling Plant in Lough Road, just on the other side of Holloway Road, which is just where I was born and brought up. Lough Road always makes me laugh about how we used to pronounce it, when we were young we’d call it ‘Louwer Road’ but when the Yuppies started to move in they called it ‘Luff Road’ 🙂

  11. Haha!
    Just trying to say (& failing) that for all the changes involved with modern football, I think that the changes at Arsenal have not been as bad as they have been elsewhere.

  12. OK, I understand now. I think the Emirates build and all the dealings associated with it were on the spot. Even all the property build and the conversion of Highbury, if I ever get the money and decide to move back to the UK I would be looking to buy a flat in Highbury Square.

  13. I’m good thanks.
    A lot of supplemental activity today…it’s catching on.
    If you sue George for copyright you might get enough to buy your flat in Highbury 🙂
    A non banned smiley.

  14. Michael @2;52pm

    Yes , it could be catching on…. I have to thank Yogi and George for letting me post my link. I get a lot more clicks afterwards.

  15. Fcking ell! North I had my 16th birthday party in the Tottenham royal! Loved it and the Palm trees!!

  16. Clocky, I started going to the the Royal in 1971 and I think the last time I was there was probably Christmas 1981/82. I remember my last time quite clearly because when I left the Royal with some lovely young woman, it was snowing badly and I had a ford transit van and had to drive back to Islington. As I pulled into Blackstock Road the van skidded in the snow and I hit about six parked cars. It was 3 o’clock in the morning so I thought, fuck it keep going. Just my frigging luck there was some geezer out walking his dog and he took my registration number. The next morning the bird I was with answered the front door to the police. Highbury Corner Magistrates Court, £200 fine and a six month ban for dangerous driving and failing to report an accident. 😦

  17. Right, I don’t like these ‘REPLY’ buttons, it gets confusing….. I’d rather people stated the time of someones comment and what they are replying to. Can anyone help? Yogi? George?

  18. What an entertainment……. A great read that conjured up the world you lived in in the most evocative way. Not my world, but my city and my club…… May they, and you, live for ever more! Sign me up nb69!

  19. Northbank, I knew you were one of the expat Brits and on the fence! Lol!

    A great article, well beyond the scope of ACLF, may I add! Too much fiction, from Stuart.

    Your talk of the Adams, reminds me of the Rooney court case. A mix-up with Kenny knowing Tony Adams, the footballer confused with the criminal of the same name.

  20. Only just got to this due to a busy weekend. Fantastic stuff, and I’m looking forward to reading it again. brilliant stuff and what a taster for a whole book. Have you read the gangster trilogy by Jake Arnott? Think you would recognize a few of the characters..

  21. Hi NB
    You should get it down on paper NB whether it ends up published or not.

    A pal of mine from Hornsey Dave Edwards wrote and published a lovely little book about growing up in Islington in the 60s and 70s titled “No Word of a Lie” – look it up on Amazon

    He never made a bean but it was a good read and anyone who knew him was fucking stunned – he is proud of it as a (fairly) accurate record

  22. Oh my word, to think all this was going on in my back yard! Absolutely, top post….scary and funny. I’m glad you lot didn’t stray too much into Crouch End and Hornsey. Mind you, I nearly took a different turn I life after some crooks sold a clapped out Vauxhall Victor to my dad. I was very angry and started amassing an army….glad I didn’t I had no idea Islington had heavier duty villains than the East End…fuck me, I’m not so sure now about popping in to visit you on my way to Frejus….

  23. Anicoll

    I could imagine it could be a cathartic experience, if nothing else….. perhaps after I’ve written enough essays on here it will amount to a short book.

  24. Morning Georgaki

    I was fairly lightweight mate, so visiting me wouldn’t be too dangerous, 🙂 Enjoy Frejus, it’s a lovely part of the Cote d’Azur.

    A lot of people, even from the area didn’t know about the underbelly of Islington. It was because it was a well guarded secret. Not really until Terry Adams and his brothers did the manor start to get high profile publicity similar to the Krays. But the Krays looked for the publicity, whereas the Islington villains kept quiet as much as possible so no extra heat was exerted by the police. I know many who went their whole careers without a conviction or the police even knowing about them. 🙂

  25. Actually FH…. if you like reading books like that, try THE SETT, by Ranulph Fiennes. A lot of it is based around Hackney, Stoke Newington, Woodbury Down estate and the Broadwater Farm estate in Tottenham. A very interesting read and Feinnes says it is based on a true history. It brought back memories for me.

  26. After the good response to this article, I’m thinking about carrying it on to the late 70’s, based around McClintocks Pub, the Sutton Arms. I was a regular there and often used to help him out behind the bar, so some interesting observations. If I can put together a decent 1000 word essay, that will be the next Sunday supplement post.

  27. Great read, northbank1969 !. Although, being a Bethnal Green boy, I will have to challenge you at dawn with Lavender at 50 paces on the Krays remark !. hahaha
    My old man was involved with them, but by my mums orders, I was kept away from any tales of skullduggery etc` !.
    Just had a look for this Pub you was on about, was it the Montague Arms on the corner of Benwell Rd and Byrantwood Rd ?. If you go on to google maps and put the road name in, you can then drag a little yellow man from in the right hand corner and place him on the road, this will let you look along the streets/roads at the houses and buildings on it !. Hope that was clear as mud !. 😀
    Here`s the Beach Boy song you wanted !.

  28. Welcome CMonster

    A challenge with Lavander at dawn at 50 paces 🙂

    I was always told, and remember Reggie and Ronnie were born in Hoxton, their Dad was a metal dealer and actually knew Wally who had the scrap yard down that way. Well, I was told that they moved into Bethnal Green because they wouldn’t of got away with it in Islington, what with the Irish connection.

    The Montague, I remember that pub but having given it some thought, I think the pub was called the Albany!!! it was definately on Benwell Road and on the corner of Albany Place, which was a little dead end….. possibly leading to the Recycling Centre???? I’m gonna have to contact someone and confirm it. I’ll post it when I find out.

    Thanks for the Beach Boys track. It was the ‘b’ side of good vibrations.

  29. Nice one Northbank.
    Interesting reading.. I’m a Cockney born feller, that moved to the country at a tender age, reading your story i feel my parents done the right thing. Had a lot of family back in Shorditch, who we regularly visited on the old trolly buses i used to hate those trips stop go stop go drove me fcuking mad. Often heard the stories about the underworld from my aunts uncles and cousins nieces, so yes just round the corner and they knew all about them..

    Sounds like you got by aright mate, good luck to ya.

    Good luck with your blog son.

  30. Hi Steve

    I knew Shoreditch and Hoxton very well, used to drink in a pub called ‘the Ones…. near Pitfield Street, over the road was a pub called ‘the Twos’. Lol

    Thanks for your contribution. 🙂 do come back again.

  31. Thanks for that Chas….. looks as if Albany Pl was swallowed by the development. I had looked at some plans of the stadium but thought maybe it was just too small to be included. ah well

  32. Nice to see few different faces from various blogs congregate here.We all have different opinions but are united in our love of Arsenal.

    northbank I was an ex pat for 12 years, came back to London, fecking hate it.

    Choritzos are sold by the bucket load where we lived in Spain.

    I see you are just about in the over 60 club 🙂

    South of France is my dream place to live,know it quite well so maybe one day.

  33. Morning Kelsey and welcome

    ONLY just in the over 60 club 🙂

    It is good to see some bloggers from different blogs congregating on here….

    I really don’t think I’ll ever move back to the UK, I play with the idea on occasion but then reality kicks in and I realise how good I have it here in the south. Hope to see you here occasionally. 🙂

  34. Cockie Monster
    I did the google thingy last night and took a tour from the Emirates in Benwell Road > Drayton Park> across Holloway Road into Palmer Place (where I was surprised to see Morgan Mansions still standing and had a nice memory of having a bunk up in the doorway when 16 🙂 ) then up Mackenzie Road> along Westbourne Road (my old manor) down Offord Road to Liverpool Road (passing the old Barnsbury Girls School: More juicy memories 🙂 ) across Liverpool Road ( surprised to see Laycock Mansions still there: I got a hell of a beating there one day by Danny S, an old mate) and down Highbury Station Road to Highbury Corner…. then all the way back along Holloway Road to Drayton Park.

    It was fucking brilliant……. what an amazing thing. Most of it looks so gentrified now, some of those houses must cost a fortune.

  35. Afternoon NB69.
    Just finished work…..have been driving around all the beauty spots in Cornwall delivering cakes, it`s my part-time job !.
    I have to giggle at the word…”bunk-up !”….haven`t heard it for a few years, so it does make me giggle !. hahaha.
    Yes, the google maps little man thingy is cracking stuff and you`re right about the house prices, you would need to a top job to buy around there nowadays…like the Queen`s throne room after one has done one !.
    I normally have a look on a site called ..”rightmove”, the good thing about it, is you can use their “Draw a search” facility and look at houses etc` in the area you are interested/curious in. I looked up for one ( which I have linked ! ) with a view of the Emirates !. It`s an apartment and I`d probably have to rob you to afford it !……….being classy though, I`d attack you with the full force of my fluffy Arsenal slippers !. hahaha
    Have a butchers !…what do you think, more or less expensive than you thought ?.


  36. CockieM

    Fuck sake…. you could buy a 10 bedroomed charactor farmhouse in Provence for less than that, with a couple of acres of land. 🙂 definately more expensive than I thought! My old house in provence (now ex-wifey No3’s house) has just been valued at 600,000 euros approx: £470,000. interior 280 sq metres , 5 bedrooms, 1000 sq mtrs of land plus a gorgeous courtyard and sunshine to boot.

    You seem to have a good life though, driving around Cornwall in your spare time delivering cakes.

    I used bunk-up because it was more in keeping with the times LOL. Wasn’t having sex…. not when I was 16 🙂 I.m gonna visit some more old haunts soon on google. 🙂

  37. I know !..it`s fucking mad in London real estate !.
    I`ve got a three bedroomed barn with 2 bed detached annexe and I`ve just built my son a detached love shack and it`s all in 5 acres with stables and is probably worth two thirds of the price of that Drayton Park flat !. Happy googling !. 😀

  38. It has gone mad in London.Property prices have gone up by over 25% in the last twelve month.

    First time buyers haven’t got a chance unless they have a Mummy and Daddy Bank. The government have said they have made it easier but the mortgage companies have made it much harder with new legislation since April..They want to know all your outgoings like gym membership,weekly food expenditure,entertainment,travel costs etcnot just your income.
    People generally like to stay in an area and the closer to inner London that you live the prices keep going up,so people are moving to what were described as unfashionable area a few years ago,then as more move in the prices in that area go up.

    All the real big money properties are bought by the Chinese and Russians,of course always for cash.

    The reverse has happened in Spain.Over building a terrible economy,have seen property prices fall by over 50% in 5 years
    Barca and Real Madrid get “special arrangements” always have done.;)

    I thought but correct me if I am wrong that in France you pay heavy taxes if you buy and sell your residential home within a given period.The shorter the period the more tax you pay. ,

  39. Hi Kelsey

    France is very much like Spain, but over the last twenty years it’s Brits who have pushed up the prices. But now it’s all pretty steady and there are still bargains to be had if you don’t mind doing a bit of work.

    I actually wouldn’t know about the taxes involved in selling property here, Wifey No2 got my first house in Normandy and wifey No3 got my house in Provence. Although I do have a small share in the provence house. I take the easy option of renting now, plus it has the benefits of if I want to move quickly there is no hassle with having to sell before finding somewhere else.

  40. So Brazil got hammered and today is the day of will we or won’t we………. get the Sanchez news that is. Will he be rolled out all pristine and shinny in the new Puma kit? ooohhhh I’m all excited. 🙂

  41. Yes, the chav portion of the team looked good though 🙂

    For Sanchez, surely it’s only the i’s to be dotted and t’s crossed, home and hosed I reckon.

    Love to see Robben gets his come uppance tonight. I like all things dutch except the football team, who recently seem to have more than their fair share of gobshites, led by L van Gowl.

  42. Hello Michael mate

    I’m a bit split about tonights game, in my heart I’d like Argentina to win. But my head tells me Holland will probably do the same as Germany did last night. But then again, you’ve seen how my world cup predictions have turned out 🙂 I just hope it’s another good game, perhaps not finished as early as the German game…. because a 5-0 after thirty minutes, there was no way Brazil were gonna get back into the game. I actually fell asleep on the sofa befrore the 7th goal and Brazils consolation effort.

  43. My predictions are equally bad, although initially I predicted Argentina, they haven’t really shone for me..yet.
    I trust you haven’t given up the day job, now you have an alternative. I may just be looking for a knock off Rembrandt when I move.
    Hope the sun is shining on you, talk soon.

  44. Don’t worry Michael

    I haven’t forgotten my day job….. but at the moment I’m able to live off what I’ve earned over the last 6 months, so no pressure to paint. It’s a life a bit like that. Today I’ve been sitting on my balcony , enjoying the sun and having a drink, since quite early this morning. But now I’ve got to prepare for some people coming round for the match tonight. I’ve promissed them a nice hot and spicy chili con carne…. and after the match it’s a game of poker! Whisky and probably losing some hard earned cash 🙂

  45. Curiosity, is french your first language now? Mine is tres crap, but can get about. A french guy I know tells me it is becoming chic to speak english there now….. I hope he is right.

    Beware pocket jacks, the road to ruin 🙂

  46. You were right NB, very disappointing today on PA.
    And I’m older than you, but if someone called me an old prick,one of us would be going to hospital.
    Sorry that happened.

  47. Don’t worry George, we’ve both seen it before and I’m sure we can both deal with it. I’ve responded a lot worse to lesser insults. 🙂 see that, a little smiley 🙂 whoops another one. What can you do on the internet, chuck a word or two. It’s much more satisfying to stick a glass into someones face. lol

    I didn’t know you were older than me? I’m hoping to get over to London next year, February or March for about four weeks. We’ll have to meet at the George, George, for a drink before I finally go into the Emirates. I went to school there in Eden Grove, before I went to Highbury Grove LOL

  48. Michael

    What is a ‘pocket jacks’? French is definately not my firstlanguage, though as time passes I do find I mix english with french, which can be quite funny. 🙂

  49. You must be eating your chilly con carne by now, so don’t get up to read this.
    Pocket jacks, the pair you are holding….I hate getting them, whether I flat call or raise, I seem to come out second best.

  50. Morning Michael

    A bit hungover this morning and out of pocket. 😦

    I understand your comment now, pair of Jacks. I’m a fairly casual player and only play occasionally. A couple of my mates are much more serious. But we play a fairly simple version, but when it comes to me having a pair dealt, I tend to fold if the first turn doesn’t produce a three of a kind…. the only time I would take the risk is with a pair of Aces.

    Iended up 43 euros out of pocket, having been 20 euros up. Much more exciting than the game on the telly…… we started playing before the game ended. 🙂

  51. Morning NB
    Thats a few bottles of wine…damn.
    Poker is easy to play, but difficult to be good.
    I realise I’m unusual, as I enjoyed the game last night, could have done without the extra time though.
    I really dislike penalties as a deciding factor in a game and usually don’t watch, if it comes down to them.

  52. Well done Michael

    I posted a prize for you on ACLF…. you know, the hairy beaver 🙂

    70 is the most comments on all my posts to date…. so very I’m very pleased.

  53. And so you should be, and all civilised.
    I ventured over to see what the fuss was about….they were at it for hours..like kids. Little wonder people don’t comment.
    Anyway time for meds 🙂

  54. @Michael

    And I hope it stays civilised 🙂 It got very silly yesterday, George was not a happy chappy.

    I’ve managed to change the reply option….. I think it will be easier to follow comments.

    Enjoy your meds. Have a good evening. Me>>> sofa, glass of wine and TV series. Lovely 🙂

  55. I find it sad that Yogi puts so much effort in every day to write a post which is no mean feet and that a while back there seemed to be a breakaway group, nearly what I would call militants.He has definitely softened his approach and doesn’t wear rose tinted glasses but his research is admirable.

    I share a lot of his views and read his post regularly and used to comment though my main allegiance is to AA but one nasty individual just told me to fuck off as he did anyone who just popped in to ACLF.

    The news about Sanchez is extremely positive so one down and two to go 🙂

  56. Kelsey

    That happened on ACLF today?

    Bloody good news about Sanchez though… 🙂 got me off the sofa and stopped me watching my series to look around the internet LOL.

    BTW I like the AA site, seems quite decent and fair and humourous.

  57. AA was actually born out of LG.A few of us had enough about 5 years ago and another blog was formed by one of 6 of us,but that didn’t last long so we set up AA and like to mix a bit of humour and light heartedness into the early mornings.

    We are quite diverse in our opinions and one of our regulars has done a” Blast from the Past” series and The official Arsenal website published it.GN5 is his name,born in Avenell Road and is a great statatician about all things Arsenal and is in his mid seventies.

  58. Thanks for that little history Kelsey…. it’s interesting how some blogs have developed from the disputes on other blogs. The benefit I suppose is that it makes the Arsenal blogging world more diverse and gives us more choice as to where we hang our hats. My blog didn’t start from any dispute, it started because I did one post for Yogi and quite enjoyed it, so thought why not, but try to do something different 🙂

  59. I just thought I’d pop over here to keep the Sanchez celebrations going, NB! As it turns out, I’ll be in London starting Sept until June and hope to get to a fair few Arsenal matches! I’d love to join the George crowd if you make it over. I hope I’m eligible, though I am in mid 40’s. But I prefer you old goats to the callow youngsters–better stories!

  60. LSG,
    Being nosey here, but are you an academic?
    I read your posts and generally nod “sagely”, but don’t usually reply as, by the time I have thought of something, you have moved on. 🙂

    I suspect NB might be on a siesta break.

  61. @ Limey

    I think the Sanchez celebrations and feel good factor will continue for some time 🙂
    That would be extremely enjoyable to meet up….. you’re a regular on Georges blog so you are practically one of the crowd already. What’s taking you to London? And enough of the old goats…. mind you, I’ve only just discovered that George the pedantic is an older goat than me 🙂 It would be good to meet up with him… I enjoy his humour. With regards to going to a game next year I’m going to have to rely on a mate or my brother to get me a ticket well before I go over. I’ve checked the fixtures and in Feb/march we have Leicester/Everton and West Ham at home, so it could be one of those.


    You are getting to know my habits a bit too well 🙂
    Most of Limeys posts are of excellent quality…. you may notince that I don’t often reply to him either.

  62. Michael and NB, I am a historian. And I have a research leave that I and family are spending in London using the resources at the British Library and as a base for research trips around the Mediterranean. My gooner affiliations loosely began during studies at SOAS at the Univ. of London in the early-mid 90’s. The reverberations of Anfield 1989 still felt in cultural terms and captured my imagination. The historical side is why I loved NB’s vivid account of Islington so much and look forward to more.

  63. Limestone

    maybe it’s my age but I thought we had a reasonable debate on ACLF as I have never been on George’s (Arshavin,cough) site 🙂

  64. I think I am still a facebook “friend” of George’s–I had a vague plan to visit last December while attending a conference in London and there was an away fixture in Wigan we were thinking of connecting at, since he is up in Blackburn, but I wasn’t able to go. I’m looking forward to being in the neighbourhood, a long but nice walk to the Emirates–looks like I’ll be in North London but a bit west of your old haunting grounds, NB. What a frightfully expensive city London is now! It’s as bad as NYC. Much nicer to be sitting in the sunshine in Provence!

  65. I agree Kelsey–I enjoyed the discussion when you came on and wondered why no more visits. I haven’t been over to AA for a long time.

  66. Limey

    Last time I was in London 2010, I actually didn’t find it too expensive, well, drinking and eating out. I was able to stay at my brothers in Bedfordshire so no hotel bills, but out in London (with a french girlfriend who had never been there) I found the cost of transport fairly cheap and in pubs in Camden managed to get a pint of Guiness for less than a fiver, and some nice cheap restaurants in Soho for lunch. One in particular I remember was a Indian Tapas. It was called the Imli, in Wardour Street. £8 for the dish of the day but if there were two of you the second was half price, so £12 for two people in the centre of London. Not bad me thinks. But I do agree, much nicer to be sitting in the sunshine in Provence 🙂

    I’ve only just started on AA and find it a really good site, the other one for a good laugh and some banter is Berkampesque. I prefer the banter rather than the serious football talk… I leave that to you, Mr C and Mr Miami. 🙂

  67. Agreed, NB–eating and drinking out isn’t outrageous at all. It is the housing. Murderous. I’ll have to look into Berkampesque, but I do like my football talk spiced with banter rather than my banter laced with football talk!

  68. The two owners in discussing with the moderators made a decision that during the Summer months we wouldn’t have a daily post on AA and why not they need a break,yet we always come up with something.We have quite a few writers and I do the match review as opposed to a match report as by the time we publish there have already been detailed minute by minute reports of the match.
    We have one writer,Rocky Lives, who used to be a journalist and he has a knack of writing wonderful posts without misleading headlines and a few months ago one of his posts received over 40000 hits in a day.

    I am old school and stats and all this technical stuff is beyond me but I did freeze my cobblers off in May 1965 when we lost at Highbury to Leeds to our lowest ever attendence of just over 4000.And they talk about 8 years without a trophy 🙂

    I am now back in London after 32 years and christ it is really expensive,can’t wait to get out.

  69. Kelsey

    I know exactly what you are talking about, it wasn’t as bad as the 60’s at Highbury but I can remember some pretty appalling attendances in the mid 70’s. I think at one point we finished the season 16th or 17th. These fucking youngsters have know idea……. Wenger has spoilt them 🙂

  70. You guys probably also had to walk uphill both directions to get to Highbury as well, no doubt! 🙂

  71. Limey
    It was hard at times to go to matches…. in the knowledge that you probably wouldn’t win 🙂


    On AA I’ve just discovered that GunnerN5 and I were brought up in neighbouring streets…. and are at this very moment having a trip down memory lane. It’s a funny old world. 🙂

  72. Small world indeed.My first game was the 4-5 loss to United at Highbury in 1958,the last domestic game before the Munich Air Crash.i might be wrong but if Michael is who I think he might be,it was his first game as well

  73. My first game was in the mid sixties, I think it was against Ipswich and we won 2-1. But then I didn’t go much until I started going with some mates in 1967. But we were hooligans and ruled the Northbank 🙂

  74. LSG
    Thanks for that, can I assume that your specialty would be early times. Greece, Rome and Carthage. Love history myself…I can’t get my head around the fact one of the largest sea battles took place nearly 2500 ago..between 580 and 650 ships.. 1st punic war, proably scouse counting.
    I think its more to do with shoving on… I find myself doing things as routine… to spare myself senior moments..or too many of them anyway.
    Wrong Michael, my first match was around then though, the place was chock full and saw very little, but then I was very little as well.

    Damn you NB, you have got me writing… just hope your in a state where it all makes sense 🙂

  75. Apologies Michael,I thought maybe you were the blogger Flint McCullough.

    My username was derived as the very first Arsenal player I actually met was Jack Kelsey.We sat next to each other on the plane ride to Brussels for the first leg of The Fairs Cup Final against Anderlecht.
    A standing ticket and airfare was £12.00. Jack was such a nice humble man and later ran the shop at Arsenal.
    Of course we all know what happened in the return leg on a mud bath of a pitch at Highbury.

    First trophy for 17 years and remember at that time we were living in the shadows of the early sixties Spurs team that had won the double.

    I will never forget that night reversing a 3-1 defeat to a 3-0 win.:)

    WHL wasn’t bad either winning the league and then a few days later securing the double by beating Liverpool in the Cup Final. That iconic picture of Charlie George scoring the winner is etched in every gunner’s memory.

    I suppose depending on ones age we all have favorite moments that stand out.

  76. Oh my favorite player in that era was Peter Simpson,who was then called a left half.Pity he never got an England cap.I remember him quite often coming onto the pitch after the half time break stubbing his fag out.How times have changed.

  77. Morning Michael and Kelsey

    Michael….. it’s good that you’re writing, I haven’t got to the stage of ‘senior moments’ yet 🙂 well I don’t think so!

    Kelsey……… I was at the second leg of the Fairs Cup final at Highbury….. a brilliant night, but as you say, it doesn’t beat the double season and the win at WHL to secure the League. Read my very first blog post on here, ‘A Sausage for all Seasons’, it’s about my trip to Leeds for the night game in 1971.
    I liked Peter Simpson as well, but as a right half/ sweeper in Sunday league my role model was Frank McCintock. Now Hackney Marshes had some mud baths. 🙂

  78. Another charming man,Frank. Has 4 boys and none took up football. i met him in the loo at a golf charity lunch in Spain.;)

  79. Kelsey apologies are unecessary. NB keeps a respectable house so far… and is very user friendly. For me anyway, hope you stick around, I remember you from Yogi’s.
    Charlie George was a favorite of mine, how the years fly. I should delete that, its old fogey talk.

  80. Morning NB
    I got LSG’s occupation right…but I suppose there are no prizes for a smartass 🙂

  81. well knock me down with a limp chorizo…….. I’ve just gone over the 100 comments boundary 🙂 that’s a first on GunnersoreArse. I remember watching Charlie in some school games when he was at Holloway Boys school and he played for the Islington Schools team.

    Michael….. I don’t mind if this blog becomes an ‘old fogey’ blog. I’ve invited GunnerN5 from AA to come over to continue our trip down memory lane in Islington… so a few more old gits may join us 🙂

  82. Old gits 🙂 I won’t give any secrets away but on AA more than two thirds of the regulars are 55+ .

    Michael, I hardly ever contributed on ACLF for the reasons mentioned before and to be fair JJ (who says it like no other) came to my defence.
    Pity that Bertie Mee and Charlie George didn’t get on.Basically I think it was a class thing more than football ability.

    I just mentioned on AA what will happen with Joel Campbell. he is three years into a 5 year contract yet has been on loan for the last three years.
    Will AW implement him into the squad,loan him out again or after a good WC sell him. Any thoughts.

    northbank, must be something to do with food.choritzos here,choritzos there,choritzos everywhere 🙂

  83. Kelsey

    I’m hoping AW keeps him…. I think he has great potential, but it will probably have implications for Sanogo. I think Cambell would be a great back up for Giroud, which is something we didn’t have last season and he was run into the ground.

  84. As a kid I lived in Belsize Park in Camden and my Dad took me as a kid.It took about 10 minutes to get there and we parked by the coal place near The West Stand.Usually got home to grab the Pink Classified Evening Standard to get the latest scores and invariably got home to switch on the tiny black and white TV to get the results.You have to remember in the late fifties there wasn’t much traffic around.
    Always remember the scoreboard in the corner to the left of the North Bank to check the half time scores.
    I remember all these things in detail but ask me about last week,that’s a different matter.

  85. Kelsey,
    Funny you should bring up JJ, only just this morning at Yogi’s I gave praise to him.

    As for Joel, I think he has earned the chance.

  86. NB
    I was living in Ruislip at the time, My father was in the army.

    As for your prior occupation..phew, the flippant answer would be jigollo 🙂 moving on mental rather than physical work.

    As for my memory, I suspect someone pressed the delete button.

  87. I’d say we should keep Campbell in the squad and loan out Sanogo if we get another forward/striker like Remy. For all the bemoaning if our terrible injuries, we were terribly lucky Giroud didn’t get injured nor did Mertesacker. Lose either of them and we’d have been sunk. Our central midfield woes were not as devastating since there was cover.

  88. I’m back from the bar. Belsize park kelsey, I regularly used to go to a pub in Chalk Farm…. for the life of me can’t remember the name. But always good for women, 🙂

    Michael, Ruislip / Army…… wasn’t there a large base at Northolt? or was that an airbase?
    “Moving on mental rather than physical” 🙂 is that meant to be disorder LOL

    Limey, I would say Campbell over Sanogo if one has to go out on loan. It’s a shame, Yaya has so much potential but Campbell now has some proven play time in Greece and WC, so for me experience counts. However, if AW does get in another striker like Remy it will leave him with a bit of an headache me thinks.

  89. I’m just getting ready to watch the 3rd/4th WC play-off. I suppose I’m hoping for Brazil to regain a little bit of pride. Don’t forget my little gang of followers, tomorrow morning at 9am, new post on GunnersoreArse……. Heroes and Villains Part 2.

  90. Looking forward to it. Part 2! And I agree. Campbell has paid his dues and proven to perform on a big stage and in a reasonably good league.

  91. Not too pleased the Spuds have permission to go ahead with a new stadium nearly the size of the Ems. Apparently they intend to finance mostly from commercial sponsorships and not take out a huge loan.

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