Jimmy Anderson’s Barmy Army!
Tuesday 14th April 2015
The unmistakable drone of foghorns outside my bedroom window this morning confirmed it was a little bit foggy out on The Solent. Being occasionally woken by a sound like that is one of the very few disadvantages of living by the sea (and is certainly not a complaint!). Another however, is destinations such as Burnley feel a seriously long way! I certainly needed my pit when I got back in the early hours of Sunday morning. Another three points of course made it all worthwhile.
I try and get my thoughts written relatively quickly after each game but the delay on this occasion is again something I am not going to moan about. We are going to Wembley again on Saturday. Why on earth would I complain!? But the last 2 days and much of Friday too have been spent desperately trying to obtain match tickets for all of the members in our supporters club who meet the criteria set out by Arsenal.
To be honest, by and large I think our club do things pretty fairly. An adjustment that means season ticket holders who don’t actually use their season tickets don’t receive the same benefits is certainly in order in my book but other than that I can’t see any better or fairer way to distribute when numbers are so limited.
The way the FA distribute them however, is another matter. No disrespect to Reading but to be given more tickets than not only their average home gate but the capacity of their stadium is an absolute joke. We have all heard and read the stories but by the time ticket sales ended in the Berkshire town, Reading members had tickets for their whole family, friends, cats, dogs, budgies etc etc etc. Grossly unfair and a story that has been the same for years. That doesn’t mean it can’t be adjusted and improved for the future of course. But hang on a minute…..I’m forgetting the fans come well and truly LAST when banishing that ‘fair’ stick!
The gloriously sunny weather this week hadn’t graced us with its presence early on Saturday morning as our particular party set off Lancashire bound, light drizzle on the south coast something usually associated more with our destination.
There was a time in recent years where Blackburn, Blackpool, Bolton and Wigan accompanied the ‘big clubs’ from this part of the world in the top flight and as a result it felt like we were forever travelling up that delightful road they call the M6. This season however, only Burnley are flying that flag. Our journey on this occasion was comfortable and smooth but once you pass Manchester and Liverpool and you still have 40 odd miles to go you realise its a long old way!
Parked up it was a bright and sunny town that met us and we made our way to Burnley Cricket Club for a pre-match refreshment, located adjacent to the away end at Turf Moor and with cheap prices and the Grand National on the telly it proved a perfect location. Being the club of a current cricketing ‘star’ the ‘James Anderson Stand’ was a great host to many of the travelling Gooners present and I was also one of those who came up trumps with the winner of the big race at Aintree!
Gambling has never been something I have been hugely into but like most of us I’ll have the occasional flutter, including on the National. On this occasion however, I had forgotten to put a bet on. One of our party decided to seek out a bookies so returning from the bar and seeing his absence I decide to call him. “Is there one at 33/1 Rich?” I asked. “Yes mate” came the reply. “Ok do me an each way on that”.
Hardly ‘studying the form’ but probably an indication as to what a lottery the race is! Lovely 🙂
What we would call traditional stadia are fast disappearing in this country. Progress I guess but a real shame to see so many of them go. Turf Moor (or certainly 2 sides to it) definitely fall into that category, especially the away end. Lacking in comfort and facilities but hugely atmospheric. The thousands of travelling Gooners (interestingly twice as many as Middlesex FC brought the previous week if you believe the matchday programme), got behind the team as always and we started the game extremely well.
Let’s be honest, the game won’t be remembered as a ‘classic’. Once our good start was rewarded with Rambo’s goal we were never in any real danger of letting the lead slip I feel. That professionalism is admirable of course, but not trying to kill the game off is a trifle risky for me, especially with just a one goal lead. It is difficult to criticise when we have come away with the three points and might I add I am absolutely ecstatic with that and would have taken it before a ball was kicked….but…….well……just but!!
The long long journey home is always that much easier with a victory of course so overall a thoroughly satisfying day. It definitely keeps that momentum as we look forward to our 4th trip up Wembley way in less than a year.
My colours are ready, the weather looks set to be bright and despite having made this trip on many many occasions down the years, I am genuinely massively excited yet again.
For now I need to find a branch of Corals!
“Wemberlee, Wemberlee, we’re the famous Arsenal……..”