Nostalgia Sandwich At Lunchtime

bmMorning all, your world’s are going back to normal. After the shock of an early post yesterday, today sees the return to the usual slovenly posting routine.

The FA Cup is centre stage with Wigan falling into the same trap of indifferent form as Arsenal albeit, losing at home to Millwall with a side that apparently had eight changes from the weekend. Arsène is casting envious eyes at his opponents, wishing he had eight fit players who he could rotate into the side. I don’t even have to impart the witticism about a lack of investment; you are expecting it so being of a like-mind, you don’t need me to reinforce it. Or being of an opposite, view you are relieved I decided not to impart it although having mentioned it, I suppose I have effectively shared my view on the matter but this way I feel a lot closer to the targeted 1k word-count for today’s post.

A short turn to the left this morning with Memory Lane a route down which to travel. History means little to a large number of people who now follow football and it is something Arsène has touched on in the past. It’s a by-product of the now society we live in. As Mr Chairman observed recently in the comments, “To them, we were Wimbledon before Arsene came along“, a cuttingly accurate observation regarding the disparaging of the club’s history, particularly the 1930s. It isn’t an issue unique to Arsenal, Sky have insidiously erased anything pre-Premier League era from the memory banks and I am sure when they lose the broadcasting contract, their successors will, over a period of time, erase the Sky-era of the competition. If it exists by then, of course; I have no doubt it will be rebranded and that will provide a suitable defining point for the digital removal of the game from our souls. It isn’t unique to broadcasters either, a recent exchange on Twitter saw the Cup Winners Cup triumph derided because it is a tournament which doesn’t exist any more, it doesn’t because UEFA moved it into the Europa League or the UEFA Cup as it was then. It was about the time the UEFA Cup started its descent in the shambles it is now but it was a shameful lack of awareness from an Arsenal supporter. It’s not just that instance either, I’ve seen others deride the Fairs Cup as well. The ignorance is baffling. It is a marked contrast to the growing band of football history websites such as The Arsenal History and books on any manner of the subject.

Anyway, I’ve digressed from the original train of thought for the post. Where was I? Yes, FA Cup semi-finals and a brief history of them. You don’t need me to remind you of mind-numbing victory over Middlesbrough in 2002 or the utterly forgettable win over Sheffield United  a year later. I suppose Seaman’s wonder save makes it not entirely forgettable but in this instance I can’t even draw the winning goals for either of those ties into my mind’s eye. I vaguely recall the first one being decided by an own goal but the two have become statistics on the way to bigger things. Pointedly that view begs a question; how many genuinely memorable FA Cup Semi-Finals have Arsenal been involved in, certainly in my life time? The answer is not many and I am not sure there should be many. We tend to remember the good games for the later joy they bring. Victories over Spurs are singed into the memory banks in the same way that 1991s painful defeat was. That dreadful spring afternoon when George Graham’s marvellous side were undone in the first twenty minutes. It’s a wonder with the alcohol that didn’t touch the sides of the neck of the way home, that these memories are so clear, so well-defined. I have never watched that game on TV and any clips shown are immediately overwritten in my eyes as I see the ball passing Seaman from a similar position to the one I had for 1992’s European Cup final where I was afforded the perfect view of Ronald Koeman’s free kick. Or should that be I could afford the perfect view of Ronald Koeman’s free kick? I would wince now at the price of a similar seat for such an occasion.

I digress again. Back to the semi-finals. The painful ones are not so much whole matches but defining moments. 1999s penalty miss and Giggs goal are remembered more for being watched whilst on my honeymoon in Florida in the days where having a beer for breakfast was deemed acceptable and not a rapid descent into alcoholism. There weren’t many of those days before you ask and it was more to do with being on honeymoon that pretty much got me off the hook for most things that fortnight. Norman Whiteside’s goal at Villa Park is etched as it completed an unwanted treble in that season’s domestic cup with the Mancunians having won both legs of the League Cup. You get the drift about these things. It isn’t always bad memories which spring immediately to mind; Brian Talbot’s headed winner – was it in the fourth minute? –  at Highfield Road in the third replay of 1980s semi-final, a series of four deadlocked matches in 19 days; how did they manage then to organise such events at short notice yet require a week and a half now? A different game of course, the two eras and the demands on players with the format of other competitions but when people ask about the romance of the cup, the answer invariably refers to the stamina-sapping ties such this one and the previous season’s encounters with Sheffield Wednesday.

Of course the mental images become more grainy, the further I delve back. I put it down to my youthfulness then rather than the age I am now and the dilution of my brain cells through decades of watching football. The first opportunity was always taken to recreate goals in cup semi-finals once the highlights had been shown; The Big Match was perfectly timed for Sunday lunch and no sooner had the closing titles begun than the back garden or the doors in block of nearby garages which took a fearful battering over the years. Nobody complained and periodically the council would come out to replace or repair those deemed salvageable. All this to the backdrop of the ball slamming into another door, a future client for the workmen. They never batted an eyelid, nobody was so precious and the kids were outdoors. Nowadays there would probably be four squadrons of the SAS and fifty community police officers on our doorsteps. The world is different.

Finals are the ones where the games really took centre stage though. The mid-70s was a barren spell for Arsenal so we made do with Tommy Taylor’s second against Fulham or Keegan’s against Supermac’s Newcastle. That was the same Supermac who repeated his 1974 anonymity in 1978 during the defeat to Ipswich. Charlie George’s celebration was more accurately replicated and surprisingly no-one was killed by cars as they trundled down the road toward the A3. Some goals were difficult to recreate, only one person dared to be Allan Clarke; there was blood everywhere from chaffed knees and hands as tarmac proved to be remarkably harder than human skin. That and frankly who wanted anything to do with Leeds at that time. Beyond Leeds supporters, of course. Rarely has a remarkable side united everyone against them so successfully.

I think it was Orient where the last recreation took place, even then it seemed to be a vaguely unsuccessful attempt to recapture our youth. If twelve year olds ever had that simple a thought process, it was probably the interval in a 8-aside game in the road; the end of the first match whilst some trudged off defeated and victorious, chirruping that they’d be back after tea. A much simpler life back then, angst over the injury list was nowhere as deep, we didn’t have the information then unless an injury was serious and known from the last match. There was no internet, no Sky Sports News, Channels Four and Five weren’t even thought of and Thursday night football? That was the preserve of the stamina-sapping cup-tie…

’til Tomorrow.

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178 thoughts on “Nostalgia Sandwich At Lunchtime

  1. Started with Bayern but swiftly turned over as Manure looked determined to park their bus.

    Top game in Madrid though – still fancy Barca but AM have some cojones

  2. well Bayern need to score more than one and asap or United will take advantage… they will score a fluke 100% sure

  3. @poodle

    That could very well be true. Manure even when they attack get to a certain point and then Welbeck gets the ball and that stops the attack.

  4. to be honest C im channel hopping tonight

    last night i had only one intention and it wasnt chelsea psg..

    kinda want to see utd get humped by bayern though so im switching sides every now and then

  5. @JJ

    Not much going on to be honest in the Bayern match, Bayern will turn it on and then slice through Manure and then they will go back to just conserving energy and making Manure chase shadows.

  6. @c well we can certainly hope. but atm both bayern and barca look like arsena. lots of talent ,possession and pressing but no end

  7. @poodle

    Yea except we don’t have the overall team quality that they have or the fact that we don’t press or really keep possession like we use to.

  8. @GA

    Lahm is playing as a RB and Alaba as a LB but the moment that Bayern get possession they both move to a CDM position. The thing is though, they have so much attacking talent that its scary!

  9. GA

    Lahm was moved to CM at the beginning of the season by Pep, Was generally a very successful transition.

  10. I love this Atletico team. They should be up at least 2-3 goals. Relentless pressing and quick to goal. Simeone could win la Liga and CL.

    I wonder what their wages and transfer spend has been over the last 3-4 years? Every couple of years they sell a striker for 30-50million euros: Torres, Aguero, Falcao, Now Costa perhaps. They always seem to get another great one to develop into one of Europe’s best. Challenging the two richest and biggest of clubs globally in the league and Europe on probably half or less the spending.

  11. It is strange. I have never seen a team do that before. Quite often a full back will end up playing as a winger, but not central.

  12. Moe -Yeah, I knew he had done that. But to end up there from a starting position of full back during a game is strange.

  13. @Moe

    Apart of Pep moving Lahm there though was because Schweinsteiger was injured at the beginning of the season and then Martinez got injured plus that kid they nabbed from Barca.

  14. GA

    Bayern is so dominant they don’t care! Have United seen the ball?

    But dominance without scoring is useless.

  15. Lahm is such a brilliant futboler though, you could put him in midfield or at either FB position and you wouldn’t have anything to worry about.

  16. C

    Ahh. And here i was thinking it was a tactical mastermind, because Lahm has been really good in that position since he was put there.

  17. @Moe

    Yea Manure have seen a bit of the ball but Bayern actually seems like they are conserving energy but are in control. I think part of it is because they know that if they score a goal then Manure will have to attack and they will pick them off, otherwise a draw and they win on away goal rule.

  18. @Moe

    It was a piece of mastermind though because there aren’t many FB’s that you could do that with and them be that good.

  19. Bayern is turning it up now and are creating chances and their passes even in the final 3rd are connecting.

  20. Mueller scored, 2-1 Bayern.

    MAnure have to go for it now and with Bayern and Ribery and Mueller on the counter it has the potential to get ugly.

    Pep just put a proper FB on so now Lahm can sit in midfield.

  21. @JJ

    The 2nd half has turned out to be a good game and Bayern has turned it up and look very likely to score again. Moyes has to do something to get MAnure another goal but Bayern have countered at pace.

    That’s a risky thing letting Barca hang around.

  22. Yea that’s the scenario, the thing though is that Bayern’s counter attacking qualities and the pace at which they do is a fear.

  23. Robben scores, 3-1 match and tie over. Neuer and Boateng just stifle a Manure attack and Robben takes it from the half-way line past Evra and match and tie over.

  24. @Jonny

    Evra is on a yellow so he couldn’t do much about a tackle without seeing red and Vidic just isn’t quick enough to deal with Robben at pace.

  25. Regardless of that, how many times have you seen him do the same cut inside and score? Amazing.

  26. Bayern have decided to turn it on and Ribery, Robben and Mueller are a nightmare to deal with when they can play on the counter.

  27. and yeh i agree both Bayern and Barca can “afford” to be a bit shite because when the shit hits the fan they have individuals with a winning mentality and the capability to turn things around. We? well when our players find life hard they start moaning about how “we dont got winners mentality”. they look for leaders instead of being that leader… kinda sux…Not all of them ofc.. but only one is one to many imo…

    I choose to believe Cazorlas interview is wrongly translated… btw…

  28. @Jonny

    Yea I agree it is strange, but since he likes to have a dive its tough to get a challenge in because of his close control and willingness to dive.

  29. athletico should have been 10nil up

    no costa, luckily for barca or they’d have been proper fucked but as it stands are still going out..

    simeone proving his credentials tonight also..

  30. Oh I don’t think it’s so strange – he is just damn, damn good at it. 🙂

    Great stuff from Simeone there – whipping the crowd into a frenzy. Hang in there Atletico.

  31. that midfielder koke
    is a very very good player..
    cant work out whether hes defensive or attacking.

    hes on my box to box list C..

  32. heh if Atleti meets Chelsea in a potential semis or final. Will their goalkeeper then be cup tied? so they cannot use their no1 in the most important match of the season?

  33. if athletico play like this v chelsea they wont need a number one
    its one way trafic

    and if costas fit chelsea are in trouble..

    you can see why they are ruffling feathers in the spanish two team league..

    theyre a really good team

  34. probably atleti vs Real in semis then? so Atleti will avoid the keeper trouble.. as UEFA does not want an all Madrid final…

  35. my faith in football has been very much restored the last couple of nights..
    a timely break from all things fuck up…i mean arsenal…and a victory for all things football with great performances from dortmund and athletico who went one step further

    felling good again now…roll on the weekend…lets get one hand on a trophy..and if giroud starts he better not stroll around the pitch for 90 minutes like a streak of piss..

    he lost me at chelsea..he has 9 games to win me back starting with wigan..its upto him to now earn my respect and support back..

  36. @JJ Thats the spirit!!! offencive on the fore foot. Ready to reclaim the pride of our club 🙂

  37. Giroud is not gonna win me back unless he turns into Henry, which he won’t. I don’t like big lump strikers. Quick, nimble and deadly is what a striker should be. The whole battering ram striker is out dated. Defenders are usually big and slow. So put some one up against them that isn’t.
    I dont know why but it seems Wenger is dead set on having one. Bendner, Chamack, Giroud, even Sonogo to a certain extent.

  38. jonny

    Absolute nonsense. If any of that is even true, it’s safe to say he has grown, he tries so hard when he plays for Arsenal and people don’t see that.

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