Mid-way through the first half on Saturday, the home fans began to proudly bellow “WE SUPPORT OUR LOCAL TEAM”. Problem there is, that like many teams lingering in the murky depths of the Premier League, Hull being one, they don’t really seem to care or support the fans in equal measure. George Boeteng’s crazy first half performance of thuggery and mindless eye gouging let his team and the home fans down, as Nicklas Bendtner capitalised on some dismal goalkeeping to steal the win for Arsenal.
If the home fans slur upon the Gunners was aimed at their history to move from south to north London once upon a moon, or a pot-shot at their fully-loaded squad of foreigners, well either way, it’s important Hull take a hard look at themselves and the clubs around them and re-consider who is supporting who, regardless of locality and domestic input.
Portsmouth, one of the best supported local teams with real passionate fans await a nine point penalty after financial irregularities. Peter Storrie, the south-coasters chief executive stepped down last week from his role after 85 of the club’s staff were made redundant. While he walks away from the mess, sure to step straight into another role elsewhere as many do when the dust settles, the fans will be wondering who it is that cares about their ‘local’ team?
Crystal Palace are another example, hit with a ten point deduction this season which now leaves them in 20th position and just one point above the relegation zone in the Championship. They had been fighting for a play-off place. And like the rat that Peter Storrie is, Neil Warnock jumped the Palace ship for football league rich-boys QPR. Paul Hart (once of Portsmouth) who spent less than a month with QPR this season, switches place with Warnock and the vicious-cycle continues.
And will they follow in the footsteps of other well supported local teams such as Southampton and Leeds United, while consortiums line up to have some fun with an English football club before bailing and leaving their dirty work to the next party of cockroaches? Yes, real local hardcore fans will always show support, but it seems the ones running the club – and at times the ones wearing the colours – are not playing ball.
Arsenal’s offshore manager and players though put the rest to shame, holding the interests of the club first, in the highest of regards. Safe to say under Arsene Wenger, Arsenal will never find themselves in the situation of Portsmouth. Even the biggest clubs are not safe. Liverpool are as local as they come, but the fans now feel the threat of losing their golden boy Steven Gerrard to settle the unpaid bills.
Arsenal may field a host of oversee stars, but unlike many, they wear the shirt with pride and found the resources to come away with another three points at Hull. It was looking like a stroll before the linesman failed to spot the offside which lead to Sol Campbell conceding the penalty. In the second half Arsenal looked numb and visions of a league title were rotting away. Up stepped Super Nicklas Bendtner in the 93rd minute to resuscitate a dying Arsenal championship.
The game hadn’t been made easy by the poor conditions of Hull’s pitch. When Andrey Arshavin sent one shot into the back rows of the away end, his blank look to the skies said it all. Wenger had questioned how a Premiership ground could be used for rugby and it clearly disrupted Arsenal’s usually crisps passing. What with Boateng’s callous attempt to rake Bendtner’s eye and the visible markings of Hull FC to go with their wasteland of a field, for a moment Arsenal must have been seeing egg shaped balls.
Why does Phil Brown persists in wearing that ridiculous new-age head-set when their turf is pre-historic anyway? I’ve just heard news that the man is out of the job. More care in the community. It’s a shame because I felt Brown was turning a corner with the Arsenal fans, more like an aging pet who’s time was nearly up, rather than a pet-hate after the same fixture last season.
It’s a cruel world, but there is no time for Arsenal to stop and worry about the rest. The result against Hull was right even if the performance wasn’t great. Arsenal have had an exceptional attitude over the last month and the feeling is Hull was a one-off under difficult circumstances. But scoring late goals is becoming standard procedure and can’t be a coincidence. Drive and determination to the final minute will be required, not just in the next game, but until the end of the Fulham match come May 9. WE SUPPORT OUR TEAM, LOCAL OR OTHERWISE.
Hand and Mouth disease
Why did Andre Marriner cover up his mouth when discussing the Bendtner and Boateng incident with his linesman? A manager says something about the referee’s performance after a game and he is asked to come before a demonic panel and explain what he meant, but the officials can side-step landing in any controversy by putting their hand over the mouth. Maybe Wenger should adopt the same approach. Sacrebleu!