Arsenal 7-3 Newcastle

It being Monday afternoon, I could get done under the trades description act for cataloguing this one as a match report. I did of course have every intention of evacuating my excitement on the blog after the 7-3, but I was crammed next to the can on the train journey returning me to the Fens, and was more concerned with plugging the strong whiff. Then I got home and it was 9pm already, and I hadn’t eaten, and then it was Sunday and the little Lowers were all over me like a rash, and the bottom line – if you’ve haven’t seen through the excuses yet – is that I couldn’t be arsed. But I can be arsed now; now that’s it far too late to say anything more meaningful than ‘coo’ or ‘crikey’.

It was a smorgasbord of goals, but with twenty minutes to go I thought it could still have gone either way. There is something comfortingly Arsenal about that.

As for Theo Walcott, Tony Cascarino in today’s Times pointed out – and he’s probably right – that forget the £100,000 a week we bandy about as the cure-all for signing him up. He could probably get £150,000 a week at a club somewhere, on a Bosman. So if it’s all about money he’s gone. If the heart strings can yet be tugged, then maybe there’s a glimpse of hope on that front. Anyway, enough of him and his Henry-Swivel-Dink hat-trick.

I did get to look round the old Highbury a bit before the game, courtesy of a current resident. I suspect plenty of people have leapfrogged the fence to have a gander at the old memory bank, but I did it all by the book, and though I only sniffed around the marbled halls, and stood on the centre circle (looked like a Christmas tree was there), it did bring back plenty of memories. It was odd to see the apartment bang on the spot where my old plastic chair on the East Lower was, very odd indeed. And overall it’s been very well done, which I don’t need to tell you, and though it doesn’t feel like a football ground, you don’t have to dig into your grey matter too much to imagine it how it was. I did find myself feeling a bit sorry for the bust of Herbert Chapman, just about the only thing not transported to the new stadium. He still stands sentinel over the main entrance, but he cuts a frustrated figure these days – trust me, I stared at him for a bit, and I could tell – forced as he has been into the bust equivalent of retirement, no longer able to oversee the ebb and flow of footballers and staff.

It was at that point, when I started feeling sorry for a bronze bust, that I thought I was better off leaving, and so I headed off into the blustery drizzle. That the club found land for a new stadium so close to the old one – meaning Wembley did not have to be pursued, imagine the horror of that for a second – is something for which I am eternally grateful.

So that’s 2012, a year of sporting achievements in London. I’m not sure I would add Arsenal to that compendium of excellence – you don’t get knighted for coming third – but though we find ourselves practically lapped by the league leaders at the mid-way stage, there’s plenty to play for (you have to think that, don’t you, otherwise what’s the point?) and we finish the year with four straight league wins. Next stop, a January when we get linked to everyone and end up signing… no, no I won’t say it.

And that’s that. Happy New Year to you all – I plan to keep the dismal puns ticking over in ’13 (unlucky for some). And maybe the odd blog post, as I approach ten years of doing this lark – ten bloody years in May!

Have a great 2013.

Highbury