Better late than never eh? Well on Saturday the Herts and Beds Gooners took over the Rocket. There was a major auction of fantastic shirts from legends like Ian Wright and Nigel Winterburn. The Away Boyz provided live entertainment and lots of money was collected for Arsenal’s Charity of the season ‘Be A Gooner. Be A Giver.’ campaign, Arsenal Football club will try to raise £300,000 enabling The Teenage Cancer Trust to increase its support for teenagers and young adults with cancer in the London area by building a unit within a brand new Day Care Centre at University College Hospital, London.
The occasion was not so much about the charity and raising money as it being the first anniversary of the death of the first ever Gooner, DENTON. Denton, or the Bear as he was known was a larger than life figure who was a Gooner whom many fans could rely upon for all sorts of reasons. He was much loved and feared. Dainton Connell was his real name and he worked as a bodyguard for the Pet Shop Boys. He died tragically in a car crash in Moscow in October last year, a year and a day to the Everton fixture. Denton was renown for his physical presence and folklore would tell you that Denton protected his fans and didn’t mind obtaining respect from oppo fans.
He was named in a book celled “Hooligans” as one of the first Gooners. The story goes that Spurs fans were going to take the p*ss out of their Arsenal rivals by calling them a bunch of Goons and they were going to use Gooners. The Goons were a comedy radio act of Peter Sellers and Spike Milligan and the characters protrayed by the Goons were often very stupid and extremely pathetic. Before the Spurs fans could launch their insults, word got out and Denton called his posse Gooners in outright defiance and soon word spread about the new nickname of pride and resistance.
The Gooners were feared through Denton and his mates by those oppos who disrespected Arsenal fans and the club. He was not strictly a football hooligan, merely someone who fiercely protected the honour and reputation of his mates and the Club that he loved. One fan of Stoke City who wrote a piece in the book called Mark Chester is quoted as saying about a match against Arsenal in the early 1990s:
“We had a bit of a shock when 400 game-as-f*** Gooners steamed us back into the paddock. We had nothing else to do but fight back… I remember everybody shouting, ‘Where’s Denton, the big black bastard?’ as he was singled out as their top lad.”
Accounts in the book have been contested and Mr Connell was reportedly concerned that he had been unfairly named. One close friend remarked…
“ Denton had the right hump about it. He didn’t think it was fair that he had been named because it was such a long time ago. The world had moved on.”
Denton became a security guard for the Pet Shop Boys. The singers, Chris Lowe and Neil Tennant, paid tribute in a statement and described a man who appeared too warm to be involved in football-related violence.
“Dainton was a warm, kind, lovable friend, a huge Arsenal fan and a larger-than-life character, famous in north London and beyond.”
Through his work on Tour with the Pet Shop boys and for his love of Arsenal, he became very well known. In fact The Sex Pistols’ John Lydon, also an Arsenal fan left a message of condolence on his website after hearing of his tragic death. Denton was a father of three who lived in Shacklewell, east London and for many fans in the Clock End, he will never be forgotten.
See the Arsenal Insider Video tribute on GOONERTUBE to Denton here.
Watch the video if you went to the Rocket or attended the March afterwards, and try to spot your mates.
Champions league Preview.
Fenerbahçe Spor Kulübü are under no illusion about what they have to do to beat Arsenal. Despite having lost 6 of their best players after the departure of their old coach Zico. They are gradually clawing back their self respect and grinding out results like the last gasp 3-2 win at the week end over bottom club Kocaelispor. The new coach Aragones is quite philosophical and said on the official website
”We all know that Arsenal are the strongest team in our group from their previous results in the Champions League, but my players are also very qualified and experienced. Our only aim is to beat Arsenal infront of our fans, so we approach the task with this attitude and play with the same mentality and intentsity. We are aware of the fact that we really have to be very careful at defending and attacking. What we need to do is to show how much we really want to be successful in the Champions League.”,
What a difference a year makes, and had this been last season, many of the Arsenal fans who have made the trip over to Istanbul would have be a little anxious. Back then Fenerbahçe managed to dispatch Anderlecht, PSV Eindhoven and Inter Milan.
Todays Fenerbahçe team has been rebuilt and sees the likes of Daniel Guiza with who we were linked in the summer playing as striker, Ex Real Madrid Roberto Carlos provides experience at the back but is losing his pace now. The midfield pairing of Brazilian Alex and Turkish Kazim will have their work cut out to keep Fabregas from orchestrating an Arsenal victory.
The Arsenal squad which has travelled includes the following players Manuel Almunia Lukasz Fabianski (GK) Mikael Silvestre , Kieran Gibbs , Gael Clichy, Emmanuel Eboue, Johan Djourou, Alex Song (DF) Aaron Ramsey, Abou Diaby Denilson, Samir Nasri, Cesc Fabregas, Carlos Vela (MF) Emmanuel Adebayor, Theo Walcott, Nicklas Bendtner, Robin van Persie.
I expect Arsene Wenger to play Clichy, Djourou, Silvestre and Eboue as a back four. Fabregas, Nasri and Walcott in midfield. Adebayor and van Persie up front. The interesting choice will be whether he decides to play Diaby instead of Denilson. Arsene will probably play his 4-5-1 formation away from home and if Arsenal can snatch a victory then the group stages will be all but completed.
Fenerbahçe will have loud and passionate fans, and although there is less intimidation from this club’s fans, for the Fenerbahçe, it will be their cup final. They need to evoke memories of beating Chelsea and Inter Milan, but hopefully and early brace of goals will silence the crowd.
Arsene Wenger said of the atmosphere which foreign teams have to endure when playing Turkish sides
“They have the most passionate fans in Europe,” he sa id, speaking before the weekend. “Especially in Istanbul where you have Besiktas, Galatasaray and Fenerbahce. It is a unique place and for me it is a special city. But it is very, very tough.
“However it will not affect the players,” he went on. “It could have done 20 years ago but one of the good things done by Uefa is that they protect the players and the competitions so much they know if [the teams] do too much they will be kicked out.
“Every simple thing is filmed. That was not the case 20 or 30 years ago. You had a little more freedom to express your aggressiveness then. But that has gone.”
Lets hope that he is right and that no Arsenal fans fall victim to some of the mindless minority of people who claim to be supporters of their Turkish country and club. These scum who through their cowardly knife attacks in the buttocks of opponent fans, have given Turkey abad name. The match is being televised on ITV, the kick off is 7.45 pm.
Enjoy the game.
Fabregas the King.
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