Football as entertainment…. what a thriller!

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

As entertainment goes, yesterdays game hit the mark, it’s just a shame Welbeck didn’t on the 11th minute, chipping over Hart to hit the post, something Giroud would probably not have done and hitting the ball straight at the keeper. Looking at it purely on the basis of a good, thrilling match I don’t have any complaints about the draw. However, at 2-1 I thought we could have held on for the three points but then the injury Gods paid us another visit. It looked bad when Debuchy went down, my first thought was that it was a break but they are saying it may just be a badly twisted ankle, but he could be out for some time. A defender injury is something we were all dreading and will now seriously ask questions of our lack of depth in defensive players.

That however, was the only negative to a very good game of football. At times our play was sublime but City gave us a lesson on how to counter attack with fluidity and speed, it was breathtaking to watch at times. I was in the bar  drinking with a French friend and his ooh’s and ah’s every time our opponents attacked really started to get on my tits. We did well to contain them but on two occasions the defending was slack. Aguero was left alone in the box for the first goal and once again a set piece was our downfall, Demichelis was left on his own to take a free header. I’ve never been a fan of zonal marking and those two goals showed its flaws. On the plus side Wilshere had a brilliant game playing at the top of the diamond and took his goal very well, he seemed to relish playing there and it looks good for the future.  Sanchez added to his tally with a great volley and he and Welbeck could end up making a formidable pairing. Overall we played a good game, Welbeck seemed to fit in well for his first game. Coming from behind is becoming a habit.

My only disappointment was in Özil, he didn’t have a good game and often just disappeared. Not sure what’s going on for him at the moment but since returning from the World Cup he seems to be struggling with his form. Perhaps he has problems at home, perhaps he is playing too much with Mrs Özils Mezuts? But when you look at her you can’t really blame him can you, those Mezuts look very inviting and could be the problem?

 

Mrs Mezut, Mandy Capristo… aka Mandy’s Mezuts

It’s worrying that Chelsea have already opened up a six point lead above us but they’ll slip up soon, perhaps next weekend at Man City? We now move on to our next game and if the boys continue playing the football they did yesterday then I can see us getting a result on Tuesday in Germany, our spirit and quality are starting to show. Now awaiting the medical assessment on Debuchy, lets hope it’s not that bad.

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

à bientôt

GunnersoreArse, the Sunday supplement which takes your mind off large  juicy Mezuts!

 

Oh Danny Boy…… the pipes, the pipes are calling!

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

Being realistic, the possibility of buying a Falcao or Cavani was always going to be out of the question. But we all fantasised, didn’t we, come on, admit it? But there was no way Wenger would have paid the wages being demanded. He probably pulled out from trying to get Remy as well once Chelsea became involved and offered a wage which pushed the Arsenal out of the deal. Our wage structure is always going to preclude top players coming from teams such as Monaco, PSG and the like and being unable to compete with the wages offered by Man Utd, Chelsea and City. But Welbeck is a wise buy at £16m and United may well come to regret the sale. Whether Danny was a panic buy is open to question, on the basis that Giroud was injured late in the TW then perhaps he was, but who really cares! The interesting question with acquiring him, is will he displace Sanogo? I think he will, Danny boy has Premier League experience and goal scoring credentials. What I would like to see now is Campbell being played alongside Welbeck and with Theo just a few weeks away from returning we have a very exciting prospect of pacy football. Danny isn’t a Giroud, he has more pace and will be trying to get behind defences and waiting for through balls from Ozil and Ramsey and not necessarily laying the ball off to midfielders.

Will he be played in our next game against City, I don’t see why not. He has PL experience and he will probably slip quite easily into our way of playing. He’s a natural CF, unlike Sanchez. I imagine him adapting to our style similar to the way Chambers has seamlessly slipped into the team. An exciting prospect will be to see him up front with Campbell, when and if Wenger finally gives Joel a chance.

4-1-3-2 A truly pacy forward line with two CF’s.

 submit football lineup

Below is a possibility and could be the most exciting and attacking formation possible. Sanchez  and Walcott on the wings and Wilshere, Ozil and Ramsey in midfield supplying the  through balls. 4-3-3 isn’t a formation often played by Wenger but with Welbeck it could  be a viable option and can easily be changed to a 4-1-4-1 if needed by substituting Jack or Rambo for Arteta, Flamini or Chambers to drop into the DM role. Ozil being played on the wing recently hasn’t worked, putting him in the centre just behind the forwards would use his potential to the full.

4-3-3 When it’s really necessary to attack opponents

submit football lineup

When defence is the priority, a 4-2-3-1 would be a viable option, with either Arteta and Chambers or Wilshere and Flamini just in front of the defence. The problem I see with using Chambers in this role is that he is the back up CB for Mert and Kos, so Wenger may be prudent and keep him on the bench, just in case.

 4-2-3-1 When defence is the priority

submit football lineup

What’s interesting in these team selections is the ages of the players:

Szcezney: 24 Gibbs: 24 Chambers: 19 Wilshere: 22 Oxlade: 21 Ramsey: 23 Welbeck: 23 Ozil: 25 Walcott: 25 Sanchez: 25 Campbell: 22 Sanogo: 21 Koscielny: 28 Debuchy:29 Mertesacker: 29  Giroud: 27. A fairly young team being built for the future. With some older and wiser heads in Arteta, Flamini, Cazorla and Podolski.

As can be seen from these formations, our options are extremely flexible. Our only weakness at the moment is lack of cover at centre-back, but even then, we have Chambers and Hayden plus Flamini at a push. Hasn’t it also been suggested that Welbeck can play in defence? So flexibility is the name of the game in the current Arsenal team. But I’m not Arsène Wenger, I’m only playing at being a football manager. But since Welbeck has arrived I’ve seen most bloggers playing the same game. Wenger, as always will do what Wenger does, we’ll have to wait and see.

This is what our new Danny boy said about coming to the Emirates:

“I believe that with the manager’s style of play and with the magnificent players in midfield slotting balls through, I can run on to the end of those balls and put them away,” 

“I’d like to bring pace and power to the game. At Arsenal, we’re not short of combination football and I like to join in on that and get in behind defenders and try to get shots on goal.

It’s clear that he has been played out of his preferred position at Manchester United, Wenger will play him centrally up front, hopefully with Theo, Ox or Sanchez on the wings and furthermore, with Ramsey and Ozil just behind him we have an exciting prospect to look forward to, hopefully starting against City next weekend. It seems a bit strange to be bigging up Welbeck on the back of the injury to Giroud, but that’s football. If Welbeck hopefully does well then when Ollie comes back he will have some genuine competition for his place, which won’t be a bad thing.

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

à bientôt

GunnersoreArse,  where tactics and team formations are played with like a new sex toy, you’re not sure how to do it but have fun in finding out. A Sunday supplement to get the juices flowing. Every Sunday morning at 9am GMT. 

The injury Gods unkind to Wenger once again.

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

It was on the cards wasn’t it? We were all waiting for it weren’t we? It was inevitable don’t you think? It was a tragedy waiting just around the corner, and just as we least expect it, it leaps out and bites us in the ankle. Injury strikes once again, but not half way through the season this time, oh no, but just as the season fucking starts. The list gets longer: Gibbs, Diaby, Koscielny, Arteta, Ospina, Sanogo, Walcott and now Giroud. Add to that a suspension for Ramsey and our team is already at crisis point for one of the most important games of the season, the one that we need to win to get us into the Champions League group stage.

Just as Wenger was saying the team is well stocked with forwards, we hear that Giroud has damaged his ankle. In his press conference yesterday Arsene Wenger confirmed Giroud will miss tonights Champions League play-off second leg with Besiktas but added:

“After that, we don’t know how long he will be out for. It’s sad for us. Olivier will see a specialist, then we’ll make an announcement of how long he’ll be out.”

Sanogo is apparently fit to play but Theo isn’t back for another few weeks. This leaves us with Sanchez, Campbell, Sanogo and now that Wenger has said he is going nowhere, Podolski. All of a sudden our forward line isn’t looking so well stocked. If Koscielny is fit ( he was in the training video yesterday but Wenger didn’t mention him) then our back four should be more solid, Wenger could take a risk with him for such an important game or he may start on the bench. Add to that Arteta and Ramsey missing from midfield and the team for tonight, well, your guess is as good as mine, but it could look like this:

:submit football lineup

Bench: Martinez, Bellerin, Chambers/Koscielny, Sanchez, Rosicky, Campbell/Sanogo, Podolski.

It doesn’t look too bad. I’d put Campbell up front because he has the CL experience and I think he would be motivated, but Wenger will probably play Sanogo. The rest of that line up are familiar with playing together, and that’s what we’ll need tonight, a team who have already had substantial playing time together. Sanchez has been a bit too wayward in his first few games and shouldn’t be risked in my opinion. Flamini and Wilshere covering defensive midfield will give us more chance of keeping a clean sheet, which will be vital. If Besiktas score a goal we’ll be looking to score two to go through. The weakness in that line up is Santi on the left-wing and how that leaves Monreal exposed, but I would see Flamini covering that side to alleviate the pressure on the left back. Demba Ba will be up for it tonight and going all out to score.

If we get through I’ll be very relieved and I think we will, it just means I’ll be  on the edge of my sofa for the whole game. But tomorrow will we see Wenger running down the Transfer Supermarket aisle with his trolley, trying to get it filled just before the shop closes. In his rush he could end up mistakenly buying a bottle of Château Plonk instead of a Château Haut-Marin. If the rumours on Giroud are correct and he is out for a minimum of three months, we need more than Eto’o on loan, we need something more than Remy! It’s interesting that when we had Giroud fit, Remy for me would have been an ideal back-up, now however, in this situation he just doesn’t tick all the right boxes. Wenger needs to go for a proven CF and this late in the window, that is going to be near impossible. Furthermore, teams knowing that we are now desperate, prices will rise, so we could end up with a bottle of over priced cooking wine, called Château Welbeck! This is assuming Wenger will even look for CF cover.

If Campbell is given a chance I think he can come good as a stand in CF, and if Sanchez can find his feet soon then the attack will be vastly improved. But these are big ‘ifs’ and what we need right now is a solid forward line capable of scoring. I don’t see that at the moment and even if we get a new CF to cover Giroud, as we’ve witnessed with Sanchez, there will be a bedding in period. And all the time there is always the risk of further injuries. Welbeck at £16m is looking like a very good gamble in my eyes right now. Has Wenger made a gaff by not buying earlier? Or has the problem been the fact that we didn’t have CL football yet? A bit of a chicken and egg scenario I suppose. What we do know however, is that we need another CF, another DM and possibly another CB. It’s a very large shopping list that perhaps Wenger will not be able to get into his shopping trolley before the supermarket closes.

I predict a very nervy 1-0 to the Arsenal. I’m not sure if it will be a match to enjoy, but wherever you are watching it…. stay calm!

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

à bientôt

GunnersoreArse, the blog equivelant to a bottle of Château cooked cabbage, you just have to smell it to know there are better blogs out there. Not just a Sunday supplement now, but going to press every Arsenal match day. Get your order in while stocks last.

Painting credit: “The Scream” by Edvard Munch.

 

 

 

New season, new hopes, new dreams!

 

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

It’s time for me to stand up and be counted regarding my footballing knowledge. During the summer I’ve been able to steer clear of the serious stuff and blog about things only vaguely connected to my support of the Arsenal. Now however, with the season starting, I’m forced to put myself on the line. Now I will have to examine the Gunners games, do the occasional post-mortem of a match, write a match review now and again and use my limited knowledge of everything football. Over the summer I’ve been able to spend a whole week thinking about my Sunday post, a week to alter and edit, a week to get it right. Now however, I may only have an evening and part of a morning to put something together and work out how I can sneak in a mention about chorizo. Now push has come to shove and I’ve finally got to show my credentials as an Arsenal blogger and football expert. Can you see my chorizo shrinking and wilting? The finger is finally pointing at me and I have to deliver.

It’s that time of year where our hopes and dreams can be unrestrained and we can fantasize about winning every trophy on offer. The season has only just started and everything in front of us can be won, until the reality of the Premier League kicks in… it’s fucking tough at the top! As this new geezer found out yesterday at Old Trafford.

Firstly, lets examine the current team issues. Generally the team is in good shape, the transfer window has been kind to us and Wenger has been shrewed with his purchases. Alexi, a seriously good winger or striker, depending on your view. Debuchy in for Sagna, the man who kept Sagna out of the French team. Ospina, a capable keeper to keep Chezzers on his toes and this boy Chambers. Everyone was going on about Shaw at Southampton but Wenger managed to fly under the radar and got us this little gem. Flexible, assured, confident and possessing a very good footballing brain. A player who has easily slipped into our way of playing and who will get more and more games as the season progresses. The bonus being that he can play in three different positions, right-back, centre-back and also defensive midfield, which apparently is where Arsène sees him eventually playing. But he has started off playing at CB and has accounted for himself well, very well indeed. Gossip during the week continued about whether Wenger is going to buy again and the focus was on a new CB to replace TV5. Still time in the transfer window to do this if indeed it is a target.

Yesterday I watched the game at a bar in Avignon, on my own, surrounded by Frenchmen who didn’t give a shit about the Arsenal. The barman Ali always gives me some support and can now say, “For fuck sake” with a fairly convincing cockney accent, he keeps me well supplied with alcohol and at the end of the match doesn’t charge me for every one. Which is a bonus when we lose because my consumption increases somewhat, well actually my alcohol consumption increases when we win as well and also when we draw. Ah fuck, lets just say my alcohol consumption increases during a match.

At about the 25th minute mark, after a fairly lacklustre period of football, three lovely women came into the bar and my attention was drawn to a superb pair of breasts that wouldn’t stop looking at me. The passion and desire for the Arsenal all of a sudden took second place to my passion and desire. I got talking with the breasts and found out they were from Lyon and on holiday doing a tour of Provence. Her name was Isabelle and she accepted a drink from me and we began talking about the region. We stood on the terrace in the sunshine chatting where I could just about keep one eye on the TV screen and one eye on the breasts. I missed the Crystal Palace goal but it just increased my interest in the breasts so all attention was then focused on those magnificent objects and not the football. Half-time was approaching so we sat at a table and continued our social intercourse until Ali was shouting at me and it turns out we had scored. I saw the replay, with all the attacking talent we had on the pitch it takes one of our Frenchy defenders to score the equalizer.

Half-time passed far two quickly for me, the chat with Isabelle and her magnificent breasts was going very well and it looked as if I may end up doing a Koschielny. By now a few Frenchmen had moved in on Isabelle’s two friends and the Arsenal didn’t look as they were going to get a result so I concentrated on getting a result with the mammaries from Lyon. Just as the game is coming up to the final whistle there is Ali once again, shouting for me to come into the bar. We’ve scored a second goal, I watch the replay and with all the attacking talent we have on the pitch it takes another Frenchy defender to have an attempt on goal blocked but in the process setting up Ramsey to tap in from two yards. Game over, 2-1 and a win on the first day of the season, the first opening day win for some time.

I was happy, a win and a magnificent pair of titties waiting on the terrace to carry on talking with me. Our match continued well into the evening, I took Isabelle, her superb two friends and her other two friends to another bar where we could have something to eat and the evening ended up at the bar in their hotel and finally, after all my hopes, dreams and desire during the match, I got a result. She kicked me out at 3am, not wanting me to stay all night. And then panic set in, I hadn’t written my Sunday supplement. I was still drunk but knew that I couldn’t let my small band of SoreArses down. So I started writing this post at 4am this morning, knackered but happy. I won and the Arsenal as well, but only just, but showing some grit to come from behind…….. my hopes and dreams get off to a slow but good start. Well that’s my first match analysis done, and did you notice, I didn’t mention my chorizo once!

Right, time for a glass of wine and some spicy chorizo and then I’m going to bed……….. hope you enjoyed your visit. Until the next time.

à bientôt.

GunnersoreArse……….. all about the Arsenal every Sunday morning at 9am GMT. Detailed and expert match analysis every weekend.

The Sunday Poll:

6-3 6-0 5-1 Game, set and……. let the New Revolution begin!

 

 

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

Firstly, a match report from yesterdays Emirates Cup game between Arsenal FC and Benfica:

We fucking won 5-1, good game, let’s have more please. 

Now to the more important stuff:

 I have, myself, full confidence that if all do their duty, if nothing is neglected, and if the best arrangements are made, as they are being made, we shall prove ourselves once again able to defend our Island home, to ride out the storm of war, and to outlive the menace of tyranny, if necessary for years, if necessary alone. At any rate, that is what we are going to try to do.

It seems quite appropriate to use those words from Winston Churchill just before we start our new campaign. A war cry has gone up, echoing out from the Emirates Fortress across the land far and wide and reaching the ears of our bitter enemies. A war cry giving a very clear message and it is saying:

“We may have been battered and we may have lost a battle or two, but it is not over, the war continues and our army is being re-enforced at this very moment. We are preparing to come back stronger, well armed and more determined. So beware, mock us at your peril, for is it not said that an animal is at its most dangerous when wounded and cornered.”

Last season our pride was hurt, my pride was severely wounded with those three away defeats. If we had lost 1-0 or 2-1 it may have been less painful, but the shame and dishonour of the manner of those defeats was deeply felt with a feeling of humiliation and anger. I was ready to kill, I wanted to take up arms and march on Merseyside, West London and Manchester Central Arndale shopping centre and kill, kill, kill. Such was the pain and anger cursing through my veins. I wanted to see the whole North West of England with streets running with rivers of blood, dismembered bodies piled up high and burned in Lancashire town squares. I wanted to see the suburbs of West London put to the flame and destroyed, the Kings Road pillaged and demolished. I wanted to see Stamford Bridge taken apart brick by brick and thrown into the Thames, Mourinho strung up and hanging from a gallows outside of Fulham Broadway tube station, John Terry hung, drawn and quartered in Sloane Square, Samir Nasri guillotined in Manchester Piccadilly Plaza and Luis Suarez strapped to a chair and tortured by having his teeth pulled out one by one without anesthetic.

I wanted to see the sky Red with the flames of my anger, the streets Red with the blood of my enemies and the Red pride of North London restored. I wanted violent revenge, death and suffering imposed upon our enemies. And I want to see us inflict serious damage and distress upon out opponents in the coming season. Destroy and conquer, demean and humiliate. Draw blood and decapitate, nothing less.

Ah my friends, I jest, enough of jesting, enough! Violence solves nothing. It’s only a game of football is it not. Just 22 God-fearing men on a green English field kicking an inflated pigs bladder. Running amongst the meadow weed, daisy’s and the dandelions, laughing gayly with team mates, opponents and brethren, participating in a friendly sport where it is not the winning that counts but the participation, is that not the important thing?

Is it fuck my fine Gooner friends, is…… it……… FUCK!

I want revenge and I want blood. I want our Red and White New Model Army to be ruthless, determined and merciless, I want them to inflict the maximum of casualties, slow death and degradation upon all our enemies, be it minnow or giant, the weak or the strong. I want us to pull their pants down, grease them up and aim for fucking penetration with the maximum of pain and embarrassment. I want our enemies to leave the field at the end of the battle battered and humiliated, wishing they had never turned up. Take no prisoners!

The indignity of last seasons defeats have been analysed to death, so there is no need to examine them any further. Why suffer even more pain than absolutely necessary, BT Sport have kindly done that for us with their adverts. No, the most important thing is that we have reinforced our army and weaponry, we are preparing for a new campaign and we have sent out a very clear war cry, “We are back, we are stronger and we are ready.”  And as we step into the unknown and hope that fate smiles kindly upon us, let the battle commence………………….

ARS-E-NAL, ARS-E-NAL, ARS-E-NAL.

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

à bientôt

Giving a GunnersoreArse to our enemies…. grease, aim and penetrate! Every Sunday morning at 9am GMT. And on a nice cultured and artistic note, you can read my Arts Sunday supplement on page 2 here:  http://wp.me/p4PyIS-A

The Sunday Poll: Who will be the Arsenal top scorer 2014/15. (all competitions)

ha ha, after yesterdays game, how many will now choose Sanogo!

 

 

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.