Tricky, tricky game away at Bolton tomorrow, a ground we lost at last year and drew at the two seasons before that. I know we’re on the current longest unbeaten run in the Premier League (apparently so, yes, five matches it is), and I know we’ve not let a goal in for 315 minutes (all stats here), but take this one lightly and be damned. Forgotten man Hleb, we are told, will not make a return until Wednesday, while of equal interest would be whether any of our bright sparks from midweek move up to the first team or bench.
Now as I mentioned, I wasn’t at the match on Tuesday, but I’m intrigued to know how the German-style Commentator v Crowd singing went. You know, the commentator cries “Pascal!” and the crowd roars its approval with the word “CYGAAAAAAN!” (At least, that’s how it says it’s meant to work in the manual.)
When I read in last Saturday’s programme about it, I admit I was more than a little sceptical, and one comment here from someone at the game backed that up.
If it did bomb, I’m not entirely surprised. Highbury has been desperately quiet for years now, apart from at the big European nights (against the big sides, that is, not the Thun’s of this world), and against the big opposition in the Premier League.
Now don’t get me wrong: I doff my cap to any attempt to improve it, and I don’t know the answer either, which is why I’m intrigued to know whether the move to Ashburton will make a difference. I think it might, for two reasons. Firstly, the acoustics will be better (surely someone’s thought about the acoustics, surely), and secondly, more importantly, there will be more seats available.
For the casual fan, it’s not easy to get a ticket for Highbury. If you’re not a season ticket holder, you’ve got to have a red this, or a blue that, or a special membership here and know the right people there. Long gone are the “I think I’ll pop down to Highbury” days.
With 60,000 seats available, surely it will be easier. And if it’s easier, perhaps we’ll get a new generation of fans with large lungs.
I always await the Arsenal Christmas Collection with excitement, not least because every year, there’s always one item that outdoes the others, hands down. And this year, of course, it’s the Arsenal Cologne, a must-have gift if ever I’ve seen one.
It brings a new dimension to supporting football sides, assuming (as I am) that we are not the only club with our own cologne. If it catches on, it might become de rigueur to pitch up ponging of Arsenal, just like wearing a scarf, or a shirt.
At which point, of course, they could release an away scent, or a new home one every other year. Or a third scent, in case our away scent clashes with the opposition’s home scent.