"The Away game; watching Arse in the USA"

12:30pm Tuesday 21st October 2008:


“Welcome aboard American Airlines flight 1073, we’re now departing the gate and we’d like to remind you to switch off all electronic devices as we prepare for take off,”
Ah Bollocks – its 31 minutes into the Arse vs. Fenerbahce Champs League game and the Arse are 3-1 up after some serious end to end action. I’ve already missed the 3rd goal as I had to shut off my laptop’s stream to board the plane but if it was as good as the first two then I can’t wait to watch the highlights. The first two were phucking ACE; the first was a beautifully weighted pass from Cesc (God I hope he’s over his dull patch of form) through the Fener defence onto Adebeyor who took it with a touch and a run before slotting it into the bottom right corner of the goal right under the keeper – THAT’S more like it Adey – he’s been a ghost for the first part of the season (apart from the hat-trick of course) so it’s good to see him back with some of last seasons lethality especially after all that extortion cobblers in the summer – that was a good solid Arsenal goal and after only ten minutes too.
Fener kick off again and Arse get the ball almost immediately, some silky passing and then Cesc (looked like Cesc – shite stream with bad resolution though) again with a beautifully weighted pass through to Walcott this time who touches it forward with what looks to be too much weight, he’s a good yard or two behind the defenders and the keeper’s coming out, but on go the Turbo’s that we Gooners at the rest of England have come to know and love and he rockets ahead of them both – Jesus H Christ that kid leaves a flaming trail and a spinning license plate in his trail – ah shite…….. looks like the keepers gonna get it, but no! Walcott touches it to the keeper’s right and leaps over his flailing arms turns on the run and shoots in an acute shot inside the right post…
GOOOOOAAALL! “YYYEEEERRRSSSS! GET IN THERE MY SON!” emanates the shout out of my gob far too loudly for gate A14 of San Jose airport as people turn to look at the Loon in the Red & White jersey with ‘Fly Emirates’ emblazoned across the front, glued to his laptop screen. That was worthy of the previous owner of number 14! Two goals in two minutes – we’re ripping them apart and it’s only 11 mins into the game….. Then a few mins later – a cheap free kick’s given (and a Yellow to song…..WHAT for? A first offense? Ref’s a twat) – “Aw c’mon ref” flies out of my trap, again too loud. A few bystanders have started milling behind me watching the screen, mildly interested.
It’s chipped high, Song misses the header it’s taken first time by a player I can’t make out and across the face of goal into the path of the Spaniard Guiza who buries it into the net past Almunia (note: post match it turned out to be off Sylvester’s toe) …..buggerbuggerbugger….They’re right back in it with 25 mins on the clock – squeaky bum time, Arsenal’s make shift back four look just as leaky as the Gallas/Toure combo that’s been so dodgy on set plays so far this year….. Damn it, and this flight for making me miss what promises to be an excellent game. My boarding group is called and I’m forced to shut down until I’m on the plane which is where I miss the 3rd Arsenal goal….. ah shite.

By now you’re probably wondering what the bloody hell I’m going on about, well as this is my first post on the new site (I being a veteran of the old WordPress site – back when it was called insidearsenal.co.uk – before it got all blingbling) I wanted to give you all a taste of what being a Gooner in America is like – full of interweb streamed games at god knows what time of the am, or a mixture of TV’s, pub screens and anywhere that’s got Satellite (I have Cable which only has Fox Soccer, Satan-anta is only available with a dish for some reason which my cable company Comcast is at a loss to explain). Being a Gooner over here takes invention, planning and dedication. Invention as you have to seek web streams from all over the interweb (I have several reliable sites), a plethora of peer2peer players and planning weeks ahead of time as the time difference between me here in California is 8 hours and that means ALL the games are at shite times for me – either 4-9am on a Sat or Sun, or 11am-12pm during the week (right in the middle of work), yes I know you couldn’t give a toss because I get to live in the sunshine 9 months of the year, and not in gloomy old London – this is true, however when it comes to being a Gooner it can be a royal pain in the Arse (‘scuse the pun).
Now before any pissing and moaning goes on about “what’s a yank writing abaht Footy for? Bloody tosser….” I should explain that I’m a Saaaf Lahndaner (wrong side of the river I know) that moved to Silicon Valley in Northern California back in 2003 and I am of course a supporter of the ‘true path’ that is the Arsenal way. Other posts here will be of the usual ‘Gallas couldn’t mark a three year old’, ‘Cesc for ruler of the Universe’ and ‘will Rosicknote EVER not be broken’ variety’ but right now I’m stuck on a plane flying to Texas wondering what the score is and I thought I’d give anyone that’s going to follow my stuff some background as to why my perspective is a little different. You see; the view from here is decidedly different.
For a start I’m not buried in media buzz 24/7 as the game commonly known as ‘football’ here refers to a bunch of 20 stone blokes with shoulder-pads the size of a dressing table – who inspired a generation of women to ape this style in the 1980’s – full body armour and tight little shorts chucking what looks suspiciously like a Rugby ball around, but much more pointy, while stopping every 20 seconds when the ball finally hits the ground for an advert break. The only bugger that kicks it usually looks like he’s all of 10 stone and basically his only job is to hoof it when his team-mates have failed to run 10 yards before getting pounded into the ground.  Therefore watching Football (sadly called Soccer here) in the US of A is like an underground movement. Being a fan is what I’d imagine being a member of the French Resistance was like in 1940’s occupied France – all hushed tones and small groups of people crowding into pubs (but possibly without the dodgy French ‘Allo Allo’ accents). It’s a mixture of being a right pain in the arse and bloody brilliant at the same time really. Awful in that when you watch a game in my Local (Britannia Arms in Cupertino) you have to watch it with a bunch of mostly Manc loving twats who only support the club because they don’t know any other teams and because they’ve won the Prem two years on the trot, of course there is a liberal smattering of ex-Pat Brits as well, and various denominations of persons supporting either the Russian’s or Manc’s because when footy DOES make it onto the tele here that’s mainly what’s concentrated on.
I have a mate who’s a Pompey supporter (I let him cry on my shoulder from time to time) and he has it even worse then me the poor bastard. The whole Manc-‘ski thing makes me sick a lot of the time, but even rival teams fans are like fellow travelers of a path less trodden, like minds in the correct use of the word Football. Being a fan here is different – you have to mingle with the fans of other teams and live with the little comfort that at least you don’t have to explain the offside rule to a British Manc, and we can both agree that Roman Abramovich is a complete tosser for turning the beautiful game into a Billionaire’s plaything. However bad that is, it is tempered by the fact that you’re not likely to get stabbed by a rabid Sp*rs fan anywhere around here as only one person I’ve heard of even knows who they are: I’ve only met one Sp*rs fan since moving here (he pla ys o n a team in the Sunday League of which I am a member, not of course on the same team) and I’m delighting in ridiculing him every time I see him as payback for all the shite he gave me after the Darling Cup fiasco last season – he’ll probably be a Manyoo supporter next time I see him as I find that people like supporting winners here and when it comes to footy they change loyalties like underwear.
Before all the US Gooners kick off – the above is OF COURSE not true of everyone Stateside (do NOT start a bitchy stream over that – save it for when I really give you something to piss & moan about), but an awful lot of Liverpool supporters I know started sporting a different red jersey last season after the glow of ’05 wore off and the hope of Rafa EVER winning the Prem started to fade – something unheard of back in Blighty. Fact is, there’s more Barca & Madrid fans here then EPL watchers several on my Sunday league team) as California borders Mexico and this is after all a country FULL to the brim of immigrants like me – if your name ‘ain’t ‘Bear shits in the woods’ or something else stereotypically Native American (I jest of course – don’t get pissy), you are not in fact really an American in the ‘my people evolved here’ sense of the word, you or your parents just got off a boat/plane a while before I did and grabbed a piece of land. Most of the populous don’t even KNOW who Arsenal is; for the most part declaring yourself to be a Gunner mainly gets rednecks excited about “shootin’ stuff” which leads to the
inevitable conversation of Football and why a game where a ball’s kicked around with your feet is by far the most obvious use of the word – although generally not wise with those that are armed at the time.
In conclusion, and by way of a warning, my posts will be to show you how others in the world (i.e. here) not surrounded by; The Sun, The Mirror, The Daily load of old made up Shite etc. views the goings on of Arsenal FC – it’s a different view from 6000 odd miles away and it may help you Gooners back home get some perspective on the Bullshit that all Gooners have to put up with; Cesc to Barca, Adey declaring that there are ‘other interested parties’, or Wrighty declaring we MUST win a trophy this season or the Grove will fall down and we’ll all be cursed with children that support the Sp*rs etc etc – I swear, I know he was a loyal servant of the club for years, but sometimes I do wish he’d remove his head from his Arse and stop saying Liverpool will win year in year out. In essence I hope to offer a view without the media clutter you face back in Blighty, as it might help you sleep during the nights when things are not going so well, although this is to be taken in context as although I’m a pretty mild mannered person my nature (unlike my mate Fat C**t Porkchop or FCP for short – he isn’t fat but every other word is certainly C**t) even my TV had to get replaced after the Hull game due to a freak storm of tea somehow reaching the interior sensitive bits and the screen sporting an Arsenal mug protruding from the middle at a jaunty angle (I’m told that this is not generally covered by the manufacturers warranty). I’d also love to hear from any fellow Gooners here in the United States of Arsenal – especially any in the SF Bay area – we can have a discussion over the fact we can’t get Arse TV here….(bastards)..
As a final word as to my writing style (or lack of it) – should any of you back home feel the need to start harping on about the odd ‘dude’ or ‘no waaaay’ that may slip into my posts (or insert your most hated US phrase) or start creeping into my responses I’ll say this to you now in the hope that you’ll just leave it be: I’ve lived here for 5 years now and YES some of it does unavoidably slip in. Why? Because after the sixteen billionth time of trying to explain to me mates what the phuck a
boot is, how it’s petrol and not gas and just WHY Aluminium has an extra ‘i’ in the spelling, you start to give in and call it a trunk and ask where the gas station is and….well actually no, I point blank refuse to call it Alum-in-um as well……but you get my point. Anyone that gives me shite about that can just phuck right off as I get enough of that bollocks from me mates back in the Big Smoke – but they all shut up when they get free lodging at the Chateau Due Grimbo for a cheap summer hol. Plus, my posts are written on a US copy of Word (on Vista – I have yet to find the Brit dictionary on here) and so the spell check
sometimes ‘corrects’ (i.e. phucks up) the spelling and sometimes I’ll miss the re-spelling away from the Queens English into the US version (Amglish), so leave it aht yeh?
Anyway – that’s it for this intro post, I’ll slap something together that’s more in tune with the site at a later date and hope that when I get off this plane in Austin that the Gunners have thrashed Fenerbahce 9-1 and all that shite on the interweb about how the Arse is not the real deal yet and how the Fener supporters are so ‘hostile’ got just what it deserved – a right proper pasting from the Gunners….! Come on you Reeeeeds!
P.S. Just got to my hotel and after dancing a little jig around the room after watching the highlights (I’ll take the 5-2 thanks) I have to say STICH THAT! Is Diaby the answer to the midfield equation? Phucking ACE goal – dare say it……Viera-esque? Loved the way he muscled all the defenders off and sent one rolling on his Backside, we were so good we even had the ‘hostile’ crowd applauding – shades of AC Milan earlier this year? Phuckin’ TOP stuff – LOL!

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