We’ll hopefully get a chance to see Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain again tonight in the Arsenal’s Carling Cup quarter-final clash against Manchester City at the Emirates. No doubt AW will shuffle the pack to give players such as the Oxo Kid, Park Chu-Young and Yossi Benayoun a run, while at the same time resting key first team personnel.
City coming to north London means one or two former Gooners get the chance to reaquaint themselves with old friends and supporters and one suspects that Samir Nasri’s reception may be a tad hostile. If he plays, of course. I am too long in the tooth to waste time and energy booing former players who have done a bunk to double their money.
All but a handful of professional footballers would do the same at the drop of a Rolex. I’d rather utilise what energy and enthusiasm I do have to encourage the youngsters and squad players who will get their chance to shine. Talking of support I note there is a really good vibe amongst a few older chaps in the East Stand lower (Block 12). They back the boys with old school songs and more than a liberal dose of humour.
I plonked my arse in that section against Fulham and particulalry enjoyed their rendition of “Can you here the Arsenal sing?” as they tried in vain to cajole those around them to find their voices in support of God’s Own. One of the big black blokes who sits with them even does his own version of the Haka, Arsenal stylee, in the aisles! I must film him next time and try to make him what the tabloids call a “YouTube sensation” – after all if some toff chasing his mutt in a park can get thousands of hits why can’t one of our bonkers bretheren do the same?
Meanwhile, the search for a new boozer will continue with gusto tonight and I am of a mind to try the Tollington after receiving rave reviews from some of the boys and gals within the Arsenal community. While a pub has yet to be settled on when it comes to feeding my fat face I am increasingly drawn to the Jerk Kitchen opposite the North Bank bridge steps.
Tasty grub – I tend to go for jerk chicken and chips with hot sauce – friendly service and they don’t take your arm off when it comes to paying either. Give it a go I urge you. I eat in the ground as a very last resort for two reasons: The staff are friednly enough but generally thick as doo-doo and the prices are sky high.
For years I was an Arsenal Fish Bar man but the move from Highbury means I rarely get back to Blackstock Road these days so have to seek out nosebag elsewhere. The kebab shop all but opposite the 12 Pins at Fisnbury Park is excellent but the queues sometimes put me off. When I have the time, be it pre- or post-match I do ocassionally treat myself to a Ruby at the Standard Tandoori in Holloway Road. It is anything but standard I can assure you. Fill your bhaji boots why don’t you?
Back to the game tonight and if you can’t be bothered to do the Haka, at least raise the roof for the ressies. I just wish it was a 7.45pm kick-off because it means I will have to drag my sorry arse to Victoria in record time to catch the last train home to Sussex. Let’s hope it’s a Strongbow-fuelled journey pondering a semi-final…
STOP PRESS: Check out new single from fellow Arsenalistas, The Riders of the Night – quality stuff