|Arsenal: Reviled or Respected? - Markism Today|
Sun 05th Dec 2010 18:15 by Marko
In our eyes, are our FA Cup opponents the glorious Gunners or a bunch of Arse-holes?
If Loughborough Town hold a unique place in the history of Arsenal Football Club (The Gunner's recorded their record win and defeat against the now defunct Leicestershire outfit), then Arsenal have their own place in our own history - whereby our only two domestic silverware triumphs came at their expense in the 1968 League Cup and the 1972 FA Cup.
However should we like them? There are plenty of reasons to dislike them? They come from London for starters. Their manager Arsene Wenger, as well as being a phillanderer with a two-bob French rap-star can spot a shirt-tug on one of this players on a foggy day from 100 yards yet if a riot broke out in front of his dug-out and his players were throwing petrol bombs then he would miss it. Dennis Bergkamp kicking Ian Harte up the backside as we mourned the Leeds two...Ashley Cole diving to get Danny Mills sent off and David O'Leary's nine men winning 2-1 at Highbury. The season previous to that I seem to remember O'Leary having a spat with Robert Pires, the Irishman blowing a kiss at the Frenchman after we beat them 1-0 and Pires going ballistic and smashing a door.
On two occasions, we have beat them at the end of the season thus denying them the title and handing it to our hated enemies Manchester United. Even so, on both occasions I loved it! Particularly at the end of the 1998/99 campaign when JFH's late winner brought floods of tears in the South Stand - it was priceless to see the sobbing Southern softies at the end beamed up on the ER big screen. Then there was our smash and grab 3-2 Highbury win in 2003/04, which was toasted with almost equal fervour in the pubs of Manchester as it was in Leeds!
Despite this, I have every respect for Arsenal and I actually quite like them. The rich history of the Herbert Chapman era and beyond, Charlie George (who I served one evening in a mates' pub and he was most charming). George Graham even, way too pragmatic at Leeds and disgustingly disloyal but I actually liked the no-nonsense teams he produced and cheered like mad when Michael Thomas grabbed that late winner at Anfield in 1989.
Despite Bergkamp's sickening antics in April 2000, Arsenal conducted themselves with the dignity and class expected of what I feel are a club who ooze high standards from every pore. They did the right thing. They were genuinely moved by the occasion and placed bouquets in memory of Kev and Chris before the game. They then turned on a masterclass and beat us 4-0. However other than Bergkamp, each member of that team that day was a true professional.
Yes I mock Wenger's infidelty and selective vision, however the guy is a genius. No doubt Mancs will accuse me of being blinded by hate but I can safety say that Arsenal have produced the most fluid and entertaining football teams in the short history of the Premiership. Wenger's teams are an absolute joy to watch.
I remember going to Highbury for our fourth round FA cup clash on 27.01.1991. It was a Sunday game and our first visit to north London for years. I reckon the locals feared an invasion of beer-guzzling, uncouth Yorkshiremen who's travel antics hardly compared with Judith Chalmers according to the press. As we walked from the coaches singing MOT, the locals looked on quite baffled, many of them cheered and waved in acknowledgement - it was a good atmosphere inside the ground unlike our visits to Tottenham where we are usually greeted by a bunch of arrogant upstarts - I've never liked Spurs as a result.
So I am looking forward to January 8th, the meeting of the team I love and the team I secretly admire and openly respect.....just go easy on us eh you Gooners and try and keep the goal margin below five!
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