Amidst all the excitement and palpitating hearts of yesterday, it dawned on me that today is worth noting (for me, at least). So that’s what I’m doing below.

AND IT’S HELLO FROM ME

Welcome to East Lower, an Arsenal site for men who have recently waved goodbye to their twenties and are dashing headlong into their Grumpies. If, like me, you err on the side of caution – bordering on pessimism – then this blog might just be of interest to you.

So I wrote on May 20th, 2003 – my first ever East Lower blog post. And there you have it. Ten years of writing this blog. Bloody hell. It was as matter-of-fact a start as could be (and PS – what was I thinking aiming it only at men? It’s not like this blog is 40 years old. Womankind, please accept my apology). Back then I was but a stripling, and now I’m gone forty. Then, I had neither children, nor grey hair nor a bad back. Now I’m juggling all three.

I kicked the thing off just after we’d beaten Southampton in the FA Cup – our third consecutive final – and just in advance of perhaps Arsenal’s best-ever season. Good timing! Like many people I was an avid reader of stalwarts like Arseweb, but the let’s-blog-a-bit thinking came of course from Arseblog, who’s still at it hammer and tongs. How does he do it?

So in these ten years I have had the pleasure of a league title and another FA Cup in 2005, two lost European finals (2000 and 2006) and two defeats in the Milk Cup final (2007 and 2011). A good haul for ten years? Probably is, if you look at Arsenal’s history as a whole. But given where we were in 2004, and all the way back from there to about 1987, then I suppose it’s been pretty frustrating too. Since ‘Charlie’s final’ in 1987 until 2005 we never waited more than four years for a pot. We’re now on a niner. When you’re used to caviar and all that…

My live archives only go back to 2005, thanks to a monumental tech balls-up, but I do have the archived content sitting in a zip file (thanks to Arseblog Tom, so thanks, Arseblog Tom). Maybe one day I’ll get round to including them here. But given it’s taken me eight years and I’ve done nought – maybe not, too.

There have been some big moments though. This was quite good, which I wrote on 26th April 2004:

I, for one, have never seen an Arsenal team so rich in talent, so spirited, so great to watch as this one. We have played football that I have never seen played before. It’s been a stupendous season, a record-breaking season, and one which we must savour while we can. This kind of joy does not come along on buses.

Then the cup, against the run of play to be frank, in 2005:

To anyone offended by a profanity-screeching flat-capped lunatic, it was me, and I apologise.

There was the disappointment in Paris:

It was one of those days you’re just not going to forget. It’s taken us this many years to make a European Cup final, and now, having been there and experienced it, I can see what all the fuss is about.

And to continue a theme, the nadir of the Milk Cup in 2011:

It was a big test, and we failed it.

Thierry’s comeback goal was good, we’ve had non-stop European football, but now I’m plucking stuff from nowhere. As is the way with football, it’s a decade that has been peppered with both the glorious, the ignominious and all the stuff in between.

So what now?

Ten years is a long time and it’s fair to say that my enthusiasm has waned. Not for Arsenal – though the groundhog seasons do grind – but I’m definitely writing fewer and fewer posts. I started out with almost daily guff, but now fortnights come and go and I write nothing at all. So I did think about going out with a bang today, stopping right now, ten years thanks very much and goodnight.

But I’m not sure I’m ready to drop it completely – we shall see.

So anyway, enough of my self-flagellation. Thanks for reading (regularly – or a bit – or just the once – even by mistake).

Ten years. Blogging for 7.87% of Arsenal’s history. It really has motored past.

*puts on party hat*