Pre-season London N5 Calling....

Pre-season N5 Calling...

So this is it we go for 10 months. Personally I can’t wait as this season represents a first for me when it comes to ‘The Arsenal’ but more on that later. The world cup in S.Africa wasn’t a classic by any means but another month of top class football at 3 games a day for the first 20 or so’d be mad to say no thanks! Well done to Cesc and commiserations to RVP but someone always has to win and someone has to lose. We now have a world cup winner (still!) in our ranks to boot.

A lot has been said about Cesc and transfers or lack thereof, Brett is in the midst of his excellent team review/preview so re-opening that whole can ‘o worms is not a good idea with the first game at Anfield so close. Again we find ourselves starting on the banks of the Mersey...but there has been football before that to discuss

AFC v Barnet – Underhill (July 17 th ’10)

So after an unbearable 6 day wait following the world cup final, I found myself on the tube up to the end of the line at High Barnet. For anyone that wants to come to a different kind of Arsenal game I thoroughly recommend Barnet in pre-season. It’s one of those really old fashioned football grounds. It’s not for stands, one per side of the pitch but in fact 7 spread around! And they all differ in age and if you can sit (or even see much in places!), the pitch isn’t close to flat either. The largest stand, being one whole side of the pitch, is terracing and where I found myself for my second Barnet trip. With friends Alex and Andy along for the day, we took our spot near the north end and not too far from the tea bar....I told you this was an old fashioned ground!

There were some problems in getting to the ground with losing Andy at Kings Cross station before leaving central London but he’ll argue Alex and I were’s my blog entry so it was his fault. Anyway, I digress...old stadium, pre-season, football...yes!

Two Arsenal fans quickly invaded the pitch before kick-off for a kick about. Funniest thing was not that they got on the field, or that one was rather fat but the fact that the stewards just watched (as did the police) leaving the rather posh stadium announcer to ask over the PA system "could the two gentlemen on the pitch please get off?!"

The stewards gave more attention to taking down a ‘f*ck u barca’ banner erected behind the north end goal, one rather geeky steward being the ring leader. This poor soul then had to endure a terraced stand of Gooners chanting “there’s only on harry potter” at him for the next 90 mins. Trip was a good sighting for Laurent K and Marouane with chants of “Chamakh! Chamakh! Chamakh!” with Jack and Manny Frimpong looking good too. Outstanding performer was TV5 but who’s surprised? Football was back.

The three of us then started our own pre-season build up...back in N5 for a few beers by 7pm turned into talking Andy into not getting his train home and staying in the pub till closing time at 12.30am.

Emirates Cup – AC Milan/Celtic – Sat July 31st & Sun Aug 1st

I have to admit, when I first saw the new home kit I wasn’t blown away. I wanted the ’71 style shirt with just the cannon logo and small emirates logo that Arseblog had back in March. But, what am I going to do..not buy the kit? I was in the club shop by 11am Saturday getting it printed up! Now as Brett and Kurt will attest to, and anyone else that has seen my kits, I don’t go for players names anymore. If you’ve seen Brett’s shirt with COMRADE on the back that was my idea, after a lot of beer though.

The new look for 10/11 is...

Wearing that for two days got alot of good banter going...and even a seal of approval from our real #52. After the Saturday games the road on which the players drive away from the stadium is right next to the Tollington (our Blind Pig). Saturday was game day for Rich and I...well done to Rich for eagle eyed-ness as he spotted Nik B pulled up 15 feet away in his Aston Martin from us. I waved at Nik but Rich spun me round and shouted “Oi Nik, look at this!” while pointing at the back of my kit. Nik looked with a curious expression only to be replaced a few seconds later with a lot of laughing, a smile and big thumbs up. I managed to turn around before he drove off and got pointed at and another thumbs up. Approval from the big dog himself! Much beer was drunk in celebration afterwards until closing....

As for Sunday, well that meant Celtic. The pub was rammed with their fans, who were in good song. They were good banter too, joking about the Eduardo penalty last year etc. No problems at all and good people all round. We done to Lou, Martin and everyone else at the Tolington for letting them in and even with security keeping the same good mood in the place...reflects the fact that the pub was voted one of the best home fan pubs for game days by readers of ‘The Gooner’ fanzine in their official fans poll for last season.

After the game, more beer and a little too much beer for one person...not me though. For the day we had Luis and Joe in the pub and Luis’ brother in law Carlos. Carlos likes his beer, a lot, so imagine the Spanish/Portuguese version of Brett in looks and beer consumption...i’m not joking!

After 8 hours of beer and a donner kebab, Carlos had a rather curious encounter with some Norwegian Gooners in the pub post game who made him try tobacco that you stick under your top lip like how a hamster stores food in its cheeks. Carlos wanted more, so they gave him more then it all caught up with him and the beer reappeared... the rest you can fill in.

Despite the fact it was meant to be a quiet day for our Iberian visitor he left happy for his train home with Luis and Joe. Plans made for a big day on aug 21st to see the new season in at home and good to see the new clock in the stadium too...will be started at home game v Blackpool.

Sat 21st means back to Saturday at the game, back in the pub and my little brother Tom’s 22nd birthday... another closing time drinking effort! Another first for me as the promised land has finally been reached. After 7 years on the waiting list, being kicked off it, the re-added, then 3 weeks later getting the call asking “do you want one?” this came in the post this week...

This is it Gooners...10 more months and just like the start of every season since I was 9 years old, I can’t wait

Keep the faith Gooners. Arsene always knows.

- Gareth