Do you remember your first time (Arsenal)?

by .


Morning Grovers!

Bennydevito here, reporting back from my virgin trip to the Emirates! I wanted to get this out earlier in the week but that pesky old thing called life kept getting in the way so kudos to Pedro for getting something out on a daily basis, I think a lot of us really do take Le-Grove for granted at times, I know I do.

I consider myself lucky to have been to Highbury once, in September 2001, a drab 1-1 affair with fat Sam’s Bolton. Arsene Wenger in his cream suit, big Tone walking about marshalling the defence, the famous clock glistening in the sun, ahhh this is excellent … I thought at half time, as I wandered down to pitch side for a cigarette (before the smoking ban ) I could quite get into this….

Then I got married.

So anyway, fast forward 14 years and one divorce and three kids later I find myself nearly one year shy of 40 and still to go to the Emirates. This needed to be rectified so I thought the Emirates cup would present a good opportunity for me to get tickets and make a weekend of it. Pop my Emirates cherry!

I left it very last minute, the Friday before. I started looking for an available hotel first as I didn’t want to put a request out on Twitter for tickets and have nowhere to stay. I didn’t worry about it the other way around as I figured I might be able to get tickets outside the ground, and if not, sod it – I’ll make some friends in one of the local Arsenal pubs and have a few ciders. It didn’t take long to find somewhere so I rang them up and booked a room for £89. Not bad I thought. Little did I know it would cost more. I then put a tweet out which Pedro kindly retweeted and within minutes I was getting direct messages offering tickets. Brilliant! This was actually happening! I then got onto the Megabus website and booked a return for £30. Bargain. It was on!

Saturday came and I was up at 5am after getting my bags ready the night before. I got my bus from my flat to Bristol centre, and walked across the harbour side/waterfront, past a couple of Shaun the sheep, to the Colston Hall to get the 7.30am Mega bus. I exchanged a few messages via Twitter with some old Grovers who couldn’t make it; shout outs to Doublegooner, Franchise, Muthafungla, Arse & Nose and DuzziSantos, was nice chatting, and got into London Victoria at 11am after a delay at Hammersmith. I was sat next to a big well overweight Welsh bloke who was snoring like a walrus. His breathing became so erratic and heavy that I wondered whether he was having a heart attack or a wet dream! I was hoping it was a heart attack. I then had to walk a short distance to get a tube to Finsbury Park to meet guy number 1 for Saturday’s ticket. The station was a nightmare – queues like I’ve never seen, and I thought Temple Meads was bad. It was nothing. Luckily I got some help from a nice attendant who pretty much did it for me, she was great, so with tube ticket in hand, off I went.

I got on the North line and an awkward moment occurred. Not living in London meant I wasn’t used to how rapid the tubes accelerate so when it pulled away it took me by surprise and I fell backwards into a woman’s lap! Oh my god it was so embarrassing. Funny though, we both had good Lols over it! On my way I had to change at King’s Cross, and whilst doing so, to my childish delight, I saw a sign that said Cockfosters. This amused me no end as I pondered to myself whether Cockfosters was in fact a weird I’m a celebrity style penis blended lager, or a sanctuary for the fostering of unwanted chickens. Such questions, such mysteries!

I rang my guy and he shortly arrived. I paid £40 for a £30 ticket. That’s ok I thought, I’d have paid £50 so I was just happy to have that ticket in my hand and to know I was definitely going. I was buzzing, that tingling sense of anticipation was starting to take hold, it was exciting. I wandered about and managed to find the stop for the W7 bus to Muswell hill and got on. I reached into my pocket and pulled out some change for the fare. What happened next was embarrassing. The bus driver quite rudely and quite loudly pointed out that London buses don’t take cash. Oh. Everybody on the bus was looking at me like I’d just brought a grammar phone to the apple store asking if they can fix it. I felt like a right tit. Not a breast or a bird, but an idiot.

So off I went in pursuit of an Oyster card. This was beginning to feel like a bit of a mission. I got one for a fiver from a local newsagent which covered me on the buses for the day so that was good, I’ll use he to get to the Emirates and back. Sweet. I got to my hotel about 1.45 and checked in. They’d already taken my card details the day before so I was a little weary when they took it again and put it through a payment device but thought it’d be alright. I had a quick shower and got changed into my Campbell 23 home dreamcast shirt (sorry Pedro, I know you don’t agree with full grown men wearing replica shirts) and got going. It was at this point that I realised I’d been done by the hotel. I checked my balance on the way to the bus and saw that they’d charged me £180 instead of £90. I rang them as I was already missing the opening match between Villa Real and Wolfsburg and they tried to make out that it was standard practice and that he’d explained to me on the phone on Friday that this would happen. Like f*ck he did and no way is that standard practice. I told him I was pissed now as I’d come here on a tight budget and what with direct debits going out on Monday he’d completely compromised my whole weekend. I couldn’t by a new shirt, get my kids some merchandise or get proper on it Saturday night. I was not a happy chappy. I have since got the money refunded by my bank and they informed me that it was a mistake on the hotel’s part and that they could and should have refunded me on the spot. A very strong letter of complaint is winging its way to them shortly, what with other dissatisfying features like paper thin walls and slamming doors every 10 seconds, and if they don’t grovel to me a very bad review will be posted on Trip Advisor!

I got back off the bus and followed the now swelling flocks of gooners walking towards the Arsenal. It felt great to be walking down Gillespie road with 100s of Arsenal fans cheering and chanting. There were stalls selling scarves, hats and flags, there were food wagons selling burgers and chips and there was the smell of frying onions in the air and the sound of a sizzling hog roast on another. It was gloriously sunny and people were shouting; what do you think of Tottenham? Shit! What do you think of shit? Tottenham! Was fantastic. I felt like a proper supporter.

I carried on walking past Highbury house and the Arsenal shop and towards the giant concrete Arsenal that sits opposite the Drayton Park pub. Looking towards the Emirates for the first time was amazing. The Ken Friar Bridge with banners hanging down of ex Arsenal legends was really something leading on to the Dennis Bergkamp statue. I just felt such a sense of wow. The Emirates looked so grand from outside, like a colosseum with its awesome wraparound mural of great players past. It was really something.

I had a quick cider in the Drayton Park and had a lovely giant hotdog with bacon and cheese outside for £6.00. It took me about 20 minutes to eat it, it was massive! I then made my way to the Eastside lower and took my seat. I remember walking up the stairs and you get that first glimpse of the light from the pitch that dazzles you momentarily then walking through and seeing the sheer vastness of the pitch and the awesomely amazing tiers packed with people. It was a dream come true.

I won’t go over the game itself too much. I think Ox was motm, Ozil & Ramsey were good and there were some excellent Mexican waves going round – I think one went round about 4 to 5 times, it was a great atmosphere. A 6 nil win was a great first time for me to lose my Emirates virginity. I walked back to Finsbury Park and picked up a pin badge from a stall along the way and got a bus back to my hotel. I got chatting to a bloke on the bus who was in his 60s and had missed the game because he was working. He was really happy when I told him it was 6 nil!

Saturday night was pretty low key. I had a fair few ciders then went and got an Indian takeaway. I know it’s boring but I got a Korma as I just really fancied one. It was disappointing though, not quite Kormary enough, not enough coconut, not creamy enough, and the Bombay potatoes were nowhere near spicy enough. Rubbish. Was 17 quid as well. Ah well, Bristol better for curries.


So I had to get up early Sunday as breakfast was done by 9.30am and check out was 11am. I felt rough. I can’t drink like I used to, anything over 5 pints and I’m hanging like I’ve been on the vodka all night. I needed coffee. This was a hotel, it’s bound to have good coffee at breakfast, some filter coffee or freshly peculated coffee was just what I needed.

They had a big jar of Nescafé instant. And a tank of hot water.

Nescafe instant.

Not even Alta Rica.

You’ve got to be kidding me!

Shaking and suitably unimpressed with breakfast I had to get my things together and check out. Why is it when it comes to checking out you seem to have more stuff than you came with and it manages to get spread out all over the hotel room? That was sweaty fun packing my bags. To make matters worse it was belting it down outside. I arrived at the Emirates about 1.30pm to meet guy number 2. He had told me he had a £55 ticket which I could have for £50. It was another £30 ticket. Getting done left right and centre- nice! I was willing to pay £50 though so no biggy, although overall the weekend was getting pricey.

I went into the Drayton Park and got chatting to some Polish Arsenal fans, who amazingly, had also come from Bristol and lived not far away from me! What are the chances? He also told me that I didn’t have a Bristolian accent. I said that’s because I was born and grew up in Bath and moved to Bristol in my mid-twenties. After they had left I got chatting to a proper Arsenal old boy season ticket holder from Highbury and whose associates were ex Highbury firm, one of which served a 3 year ban. Some of the stories he told me would put a guy Ritchie film to shame! We exchanged numbers and are going to keep in touch. I’m planning on going again soon with my 8 year old boy and hopefully this chap might be able to help out. He’s coming down to do the Shaun the sheep trail with his family so I’m going to meet up with mine.

My ticket for Sunday was in the clock end in the corner at the top next to the East stand. The view was amazing, just stunning. I was awe-struck. The game itself was a scrappy affair, the crowd never really got going like Saturday but it was raining and cold so that’s to be expected. Adelaide did an amazing bit of skill that made the crowd roar- it was immense. It was surreal seeing Cech in our goal and I didn’t realise how tall he is – makes Ospina look like a midget!

I left the ground with soaking wet feet and feeling tired. I picked up a souvenir t-shirt from an Arsenal stall outside Arsenal station for £3, bargain, and walked to Finsbury park. The Arsenal station was fenced off and being trickle fed by the Police so it made sense to walk 10 minutes. I had a look at the old Highbury East stand and thought how grand and regal it looked. So glad it has been listed and will be part of our heritage for years to come.

I got on the tube to head for Victoria but I made a potentially grave error. Instead of getting on the south line, I got on the north line. I’m wearing my Sol Campbell 23 shirt. I realise my error thankfully before I get off at Tottenham Hale. So I’m standing on the seven sisters underground shitting it a bit because I’m not sure if I’m near Tottenham or not and I see this massive 6ft 5 Asian guy with a big beard and he was wearing an all-white long sleeved top. He looks at me once then looks again, only this time it looks like he’s giving me the evils! I’m beginning to panic a bit now praying for the bloody tube to hurry up! The next minute he’s pulled his phone out of his pocket and is texting. I’m thinking oh shit! He’s ringing his mates! I’m going to get my head kicked in and thrown under the tube! It was very unpleasant for a few minutes until the tube turned up I can tell you!

I made it to Victoria in one piece and went and caught my Mega bus. I managed to get on an earlier one than booked and was back in Bristol at 10pm. Having just got used to modern methods of transportation in London, it was back to scrabbling for change in my pocket for the bus. I had exactly the £3.50 needed to get home. Result!

Overall my weekend was amazing, just brilliant. I felt privileged to be there, shoulder to shoulder to with proper Arsenal fans. I want to do it again. Maybe next time some of you Grovers may join me.

144 Responses to “Do you remember your first time (Arsenal)?”

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  1. Bankz

    Normal service slowly but surely resuming.
    The football season is back so I’m coming back for my trophy.

    DM- your summer reign is over.

  2. Bankz

    For so many reasons I really hope we beat Chelsea tomorrow.
    We really need to get that “Mourinho monkey” off our back.

  3. gunnergetyou

    “I see this massive 6ft 5 Asian guy with a big beard and he was wearing an all-white long sleeved top. He looks at me once then looks again, only this time it looks like he’s giving me the evils! I’m beginning to panic a bit now praying for the bloody tube to hurry up! The next minute he’s pulled his phone out of his pocket and is texting. I’m thinking oh shit! He’s ringing his mates! I’m going to get my head kicked in and thrown under the tube!”

    Very interesting story but it sounds like you were trippin off crystal meth there.

    Maybe just a tiny bit paranoid.

  4. Hitchy

    Fair play for doing a post Benny. Surprised that was the first Emirates trip for you though and shame you got ripped off for tickets, but thats standard I guess!

  5. Paul

    I don’t remember my first game at the arsenal cuz I would have been tiny! My mum was a clippy out of muswell hill garage and a bunch of the clippy’s and drivers used to go to Highbury every Saturday to the left side of the north bank and bring us kids along, late 70’s early 80’s era, great cup team, awful league form!!!
    My first real independent memory is being in the junior gunners section when Charlie nicholas was introduced to the ground before a match, he joined in 83 so i would have been 9!!!

  6. bennydevito


    Maybe I was paranoid but I can assure you that no meth was involved.

    Look, I’m from Bristol and I don’t know the area. After spending a couple of hours in the Drayton with an ex Highbury firm member, some of the stories had put the willies up me. I thought I may be in Tottenham and I had a Campbell 23 shirt on. I’ve got 3 kids at home who all love me.

    Dramatic? Yes Paranoid? Probably.


    I’m sorry you feel it’s such a poor post, what exactly was poor in your opinion?

    I’m sorry, I’m actually quite nervous right now, I’ve never done this before. Just thought it would be fun to share my experience, warts n all, to you fellow Grovers.

  7. tunnygriffboy


    Glad you enjoyed the weekend. What it means to be an Arsenal and the exciting experience of a first visit to the Ems.

    Some of you are so curmudgeonly and rude. Give the guy a break. He’s the one that’s made the effort to write a post. Pah !

  8. shad

    Finally football is coming back.

    Oh and I think it’s a great story Benny..haven’t read it.

    Meanwhile, have we signed anyone yet?

  9. Silverhawk

    Don’t reply some sore who complains about everything even to the extent of complaining about why they have two hands and not two. Boring guys. Great post bro. Loved it.

  10. Silverhawk

    Don’t reply some sore who complains about everything even to the extent of complaining about why they have two hands and not three. Boring guys. Great post bro. Loved it.

  11. Rosicky@Arsenal


    Actually i was expecting a preview about tomorrows match.

    But found out your personal experience of first emirates visit as the main subject it was a turn off for me.

    I am really sorry if my comment was offensive to you.

  12. Wengaball

    Great read benny.

    I find the bus ‘oyster only’ rule amusing and infuriating at the same time – I can imagine many many people to be in a situation like you.

    Kudos for sharing your experience with us – a million times better than the daily squabbles we have here.

    And ignore the fools 🙂

  13. Rosicky@Arsenal


    Must have taken days to write the post.

    Dont get nervous or panic.

    Your effort is appreciated.

  14. Arseology

    I did read your post that I enjoyed and commend you for the effort however be warned that some of us (me included) will wum you… Just don’t take a big bite and respond to the wummery.

  15. tunnygriffboy

    Question. If there no top class suitable striker available what about using Walnut as a CF and bringing in a wide playmaker or winger instead ?

    Feeling tomorrow he may give some of the guys who didn’t start the fa cup a game. Debuchy, Wilshere, Gibbs, Ox, Giroud.

    Romford Ozil Pele made a good and fair point yesterday. Lose and it’s absolute meltdown on here. Win and it’s only a pre season game. Personally I’d love a win but would rather a loss here and a win v West Ham next week.

  16. Samesong

    Romford Ozil Pele made a good and fair point yesterday. Lose and it’s absolute meltdown on here. Win and it’s only a pre season game. Personally I’d love a win but would rather a loss here and a win v West Ham next week.


    Hate Chelsea never want to lost against them in any form.
    So do expect meltdowns, not from me by the way.
    I agree game means nothing, but deep down I always want to beat those scum!
    not too concerned about the hammers think we will deal with them comfortably.

  17. Marc

    Fuck me I’ve never come across anyone making such hard fucking work of getting to the stadium.

    Walk from Totteham Hale to the Tollington (great Arsenal pub) have a couple of pre match beers and then it’s a 5 minute walk to the stadium. Also for the Emirates cup you can get Club Level tickets for £40.

  18. qna

    Tunny: Question. If there no top class suitable striker available what about using Walnut as a CF and bringing in a wide playmaker or winger instead ?

    Like Fekir. Yes please. Draxler. Maybe, why not. Anybody else. Pass. It will be like signing welbeck all over again. Have to remember we have no need for squad players especially in that position.

    If we are going to restock then we should focus on high quality youth at CB (eg Romagli or whatever that 20 yo Roma players name is) and LB (eg Baba Rahman).

  19. bennydevito

    Rosicky@Arsenal, yes it took me ages! I did feel it was too long and tried to edit it but I decided to leave it as is as to not take anything away from the experience of it all.

    Gunnergetyou, no problem, thanks.

    Northern , Nasri, Tunny, wengaball, silverhawk,Andy, Hitchy, Thanks, glad you all liked it. It took me a lot longer than I thought it would and I was very nervous and dubious that it would get posted.

    To those who don’t like it, fair enough, this is the place where you can have an opinion and I wouldn’t want that to stop on my part.

    Just be gentle, I’m a sensitive chap!

  20. Uwot?

    Marc,e very things easy when you know the area in It!anyways Benny.glad you had a brill time.and on the plus side you now the sweat…

  21. Marko

    Tunny I think Cesc Appeal went on holiday or work or something. Keyser takes breaks from the struggle every now and again. N5 I’ve no idea

  22. kwik fit

    Great post Benny loved it and love the sound of that bacon and chesse hot dog outside Dratyon Park. Must have one next week.

  23. Kiyoshi Ito

    Reads like Adrian Mole 13 3/4 years..

    Anyway Arsene should do the honourable thing and just fornicating retire..

    If Cech represents our only signing this season..& awarding Theo an extra 40k per week. .Is the best Arsene can do this season. .

    Quite frankly Arsene should just go.
    Theo has been at Arsenal for almost 10 years..& yet people are still waiting for him to hit his ceiling, or have an injury free season..

    He takes up wages & a place..Another wastage we could do without..

    Sums up Arsene Wenger’s last 10 years..Redefined as ‘The Wasteful Years”.

    Can’t believe in almost 6 years we still find it hard to buy a world class striker..

    The amount of excuses I have heard on here, year after year…

    Who can we buy?
    Who is out there?
    We can’t afford it?
    We can’t find better?

    For almost 6 years…The litany of excuses is absolutely embarrassing.
    It’s cringeworthy…More so those posters that try to put a positive spin &support Arsene in his pursuit of mediocrity&doing the bare minimum. .

    You get what you deserve in life..
    &with wenger..The usual top 4 place & a FAC..

    Absolute clowns. ..

  24. Captain wenger

    I used to go all the time but don’t go much anymore full time carer to my disabled wife but have converted her into a fellow gooner as I have with my stepdaughter.

  25. Kiyoshi Ito

    Captain Wenger

    Very touching..

    Definitely puts life into perspective.
    Think you should spare your wife the torture of watching Arsenal under Arsene..

    Try encouraging you and your wife to watch ‘Come Dine With Me’..

    At least you see more effort, passion watching the show..& bundles of laughter with no emotional attachment.

    With Arsenal-just frustration&pain..Pointless exercise watching them whilst Wenger is in charge..

    Take care. .

  26. Marc


    All he had to do was ask on the blog, I like the Tolly others have other pubs etc.

    I appreciate that many of the posters on here don’t / can’t make matches on a regular basis but there are some of us who do and who are happy to offer up suggestions.

  27. Redtruth

    The amount of morons supporting Arsenal is staggering!

    If Wenger buys two world beaters the morons will say it’s been a good season!

    Wenger can spend £200m or £1.00 what really matters is winning the league

  28. gary


    So 6 years ago u think we could have afforded a world class striker, we couldn’t.
    Fact.. and take into account why would a world class striker come to arsenal when city n Chelsea would pay a higher fee n wages ..

  29. JJ

    Really well written piece. My experience was very similar. Including Highbury, the wife, the 3 kids and the Oyster card misery.

    My marriage moved me to the U.S. and my return trips to the emirates cost me 250 squid for 2 club level tix! Outrageous but watchagonnado? Last trip I couldn’t even get tix. Major bummer.

    I’ve never thought of cockfosters that way but I probably will now going forward.

  30. karim


    Lol, good post, saddens me I haven’t been able to join you for that memorable week end.

    The adventures of Benny in London were a good read, well done !

    First game I watched live was a 2/1 win v Fulham in 2002 or 2003, can’t remember.

    Working as a French assistant in Islington Green secondary school, I was lucky enough to meet Alex who was in charge of the school library.

    She had 2 season tickets, one for her and the other one for friends, and she kindly invited me about 20 times during my 2 year stay in England.

    There I was, having a burger and a few beers amongst the traditional supporters, there was a real sense of belonging, brilliant !

    The game started and Fulham got a corner kick. Sitting in the 3rd row, I laughed at Malbranque in French, basically saying they were about to go home with 0 points that afternoon. I know he heard me.

    Of course, 5 minutes later, guess who scored the first goal of the game ?

    Bingo, Steed Malbranque, I was like, shit, just keep your mouth shut next time !

    Fortunately, we managed to get all 3 points thanks to Paddy Vieira and Super Robbie if I’m not mistaken.

    Great afternoon !

    Come on you Gunners !

  31. Captain wenger

    Cheers mtlm good thing is I’ve converted my two ladies in my life into gooners my wife has a thing about debuchy lol

  32. gary

    Kiyoshi so u haven’t enjoyed watching Arsenal under Wenger..pretty sad considering that’s nearly 20 years of your life Lol

  33. MadeToLoveMagic

    Lol captain wenger….

    At least she’s original! Most would go for giroud!

    I almost split with my last girlfriend after I showed her a picture of giroud…..

    I accepted the fact she stared at it for ten minutes, but finding it scrumpled up three days later under her pillow was just too much….

  34. Kiyoshi Ito


    The last 10 years have been painful. .
    More so the utter bullshit that emanates from Arsene’s mouth..

    Wenger had one of the best teams in the EPL, the invincibles…

    He could not win a back-2-back EPL Title..Or even a European Cup, of any sort. .

    The man is severly limited. .
    If you think he is going to win the EPL, or CL….

    Then you are deluded…

  35. Gommit

    Your Comment HereGood story, brought back many good memories of my trips to England/London to watch the Arsenal, I went quite often I think (since I don’t live in England), before I had my kids, and saw some execellent games at Highbury that I will never forget, when Henry scored with a back heel against Charlton and Bergkamp, Reyes, Henry, Pires and Ljungberg were ripping the league apart. I will never forget the last game I saw at Highbury when Henry and Pires did their penalty mess up and the whole stadium was asking what had just happened for the remaining of the game.

    I have only visited the Emerates once, for a boring 0-0 against City in 2010.. so hopefully I will manage to visit agains soon to get a more proper experiance at our new home..

    again, great read for a non-Londoner fan to get fired up for the season ahead.

  36. Kiyoshi Ito


    20 years managing Arsenal & not one back-to-back EPL Title..


    Almost 35 years in football management and not one fornicating European Cup to his name…

    Yah, lol, lol

    Keep supporting Arsene, you myopic neanderthal.

  37. Marko

    OzyAugust 1, 2015    16:14:44
    Bild reporting Lars has a €15 million clause. Jeez.. pocket change.

    If that’s true I bet we go in for him. We’ve had such a hard on for Lars it’s unreal. Just gotta make sure Flamini fucks off first I think

  38. R.S.P.C.Arsenal


    That was my initial thought…

    However it is just another lie to be added to the Wenger list …
    A month ago akpom was staying an not going on loan….

    The man is a habitual liar….

  39. Captain wenger

    If we sign no one else no chance of the league you can bet city and Chelsea will sign other players .

  40. R.S.P.C.Arsenal


    Bacon and cheese melts are superb….

    Toasted on granary
    Used to get on in breakfast club soho before the tourist trap caught on ..,
    Can’t get close these days as its a place for toursist to visit now ques to long at lunch .

  41. Northbanker


    no split feelings here – the driver deserves everything coming to him. The cyclist might be be one pf those arrogant twats with cameras whose hobby is to catch drivers out but that doesn’t really alter anything. The driver has road rage and no doubt displays it as many times as possible on the road. The sooner he’s banned and charged the better. Though I doubt his heart will stand up to that much more – a foul temper and fat stomach aren’t a great combo.

  42. Bobby 7

    Thought it was a brilliant post. Really enjoyed reading that. Bit of a change from the usual ‘who have we signed? posts.

  43. Kiyoshi Ito

    As long as Wenger is in charge, we are not winning any EPL title, or CL Cup…

    Only thing we are winning under this charlatan of a manager, is the usual fluctuating between 3rd&4th place & the token FAC to appease the losers..

    Barring a collapse of epic proportions..I can’t see Chelsea &Man City both surrending the chase for the title very easily.

    For Arsene to have a chance of winning the EPL Title, both clubs will need to have epic meltdowns. .

    So at this stage , we aren’t winning any titles. .It’s just a fantasy..

  44. Dissenter

    Tomorrow’s game is a lose-lose for us.
    We win and the media say it’s meaningless
    We lose and it reinforces the popular narrative that Wenger cannot beat Mourhino.
    I’m goid so long as we play well and don’t get any injury.

  45. tunnygriffboy

    City lost 4-2 to Stuggart today. Were 4 nil down until loads of changes when they scored 2 late on.

    Hart: Zabaletta 33, Kompany 29 (injury prone coming off the back of a really poor season ) , Dimichaelis 34 Mangala, Kolarov 33, Clichy 31. How you fancy them apples

    They are once again relying on Aguero and Silva. Without them they are average.

    Can you imagine Aguero in our side ? Reckon he’d score 40 goals if he stayed fit. We’d win the league if we had him. We’re that close.

    Going to have a bet on Walnut hitting 20 goals this season. If he stays fit I’ve a suspicion he’ll get them. 7 goals in 7 starts last season.

  46. Leedsgunner

    Great read benny., no, correct that — a fantastic read. Hats off to you. By the way I love your city… Bristol is one of the most friendliest cities in the UK. I’d love to live there.

  47. Sukky

    Looking forward to tomorrow’s match not because am expecting arsenal to win but it been long have watch a really competitive football match. It’s wenger vs mourinho, what do you expect?

  48. kwik fit

    Thanks for the heads up RSPC. Bacon and cheese melts on toasted granary sounds yummy. I’ll have a look down Soho way to see what I can pick up 😉

    Agree with dissenter, a decent performance and injury free is the key. I don’t mind waiting until the game in September to get one over that fucker Mourinho 🙂

  49. tunnygriffboy


    Can you imagine the conflict on here tomorrow. If we lose it’ll be meltdown and full of abuse from some. From those posters if we win it’s meaning less like last season

    If we win others will be on and we’ll be the best team in the universe.

    Personally I’d prefer the middle ground andremain calm whatever. Hoping for no injuries and wins v West Ham, Palace and Lpool in first three games. It’s more important.

  50. Kiyoshi Ito

    Tomorrow’s match in my eyes is quite frankly meaningless..

    To base our season’s title aspirations, or whether if we overcome Mourinho & his hex over us,on the outcome of the Charity Shield..

    Is quite frankly ridiculous. It’s beyond stupid..

    Fans looking at tomorrow’s match as a must win, are clutching at straws..

    The season is a marathon..&we all know from previous years Arsene can’t last the pace. .He will breakdown somewhere along the lines & cite his usual excuses..

    So tomorrow’s match has no bearing whatsoever on the long season ahead.

    Still without a world class striker. .
    The same group who couldn’t win the title last year, are expected to win it this year, whilst other rivals strengthen..

    Great logic..

  51. Nasri's Mouth

    tunnygriffboy: City lost 4-2 to Stuggart today. Were 4 nil down until loads of changes when they scored 2 late on.

    Very close to their 1st 11 that conceded 4.

  52. El Tel 1

    Great post Benny. Love hearing real stories.

    Shame those who have never been there try to beat you up.

    Pmsl when you thought you were going to get attacked by a Spud fan. That old thug you met in the Drayton must have really spun you some heavy tales.

    By the way the Drayton is a good pub, Mark the owner is friendly and usually puts on free grub.

  53. Marko

    Honestly I thought City would be a lot busier. They’ve serious squad issues still for me. Silva and Aguero aside They’ve a number of still decent players who are seriously on the downward slide and are quite inconsistent and in Kompany someone who talks a big game but is always injured and for me has never been one of the best in his position.

  54. Marko

    Nasri’s still there right? Jesus his relevance has deteriorated so much the last season or so he might as well be playing in India or the MLS.

  55. R.S.P.C.Arsenal


    Disagree that the game is meaningless … Maybe in result tru…
    However it will be important to see the character of the team without Sanchez?

    Will we still be pushing up higher , jack says in paper today that we are on a 5 sec win ball back curfew ?

    I will be interested to see the attitude of the players,,,

    Disappointed Wenger has let chuba go on loan…hope he had a reason …

  56. tunnygriffboy


    Kompany had a shocker last season but with a whole heap of defenders alongside him older than the Aussie cricket team can’t help. Yaya 33, Fernandinho 32 the Fernando and Delph. They have Aguero, Siva and Sterling and will rely on them. Not sure of Pelligrini though either. They’ll still chuck money at things though


    42 million on Mangala. Like Djorou on acid

    Would rather our squad but if I had to pick one player in the PL to have it would be Aguero

    Berahino anyone ? ? ? ?

  57. Nasri's Mouth


    Kompany has let too many errors creep into his game. Mangala looks more like a £3.4m player not a £34m player and Demichelis who looks almost the best of the bunch is 35 this year.

    Top quality CBs seem to be even rarer than top quality CFs. ManU haven’t managed to find one in 2 years now.

  58. Marko

    They’ll still be decent but they honestly lack style that team. Extremely dependant on Silva to create and Aguero to consistently score.

  59. Nasri's Mouth

    “Kompany cannot cope mentally. Mangala, for £35m? He let me down. We have too many bad apples.” – Manuel Pellegrini

    Dunno if this is genuine. If it is, wow

  60. jwl

    We have so much money now, surely we have to buy at least one £40 million type player. We can’t just keep on banking money, Wenger has to buy to improve our team and sell more shirts. Cech and a few teenagers is not acceptable.

    Summer going fast, not ready for community shield and start of season. Is our squad still going to Austria or has that been cancelled?

    My first match was 1995-96 and it was either first or second game of season; I remember Ian Wright, Wright, Wright scored but I dont remember if it was against Boro or Nottingham Forest. I Canadian who working in pub on essex road near angel and many of our patrons were gooners with season tickets. Old fella two season tickets was delighted to take colonist to a proper sport.

    I had been in country for about 2 weeks and I expected to prefer rugby but I loved Highbury atmosphere and I was hooked right away. I played as defender in ice hockey and Tony Adams was awesome, and back four together worked as one, they telepathic with one another.

  61. Marko

    Dunno about that NM. There are plenty of Gabriel’s out there you just have to look for them and give them the chance. United are looking to buy success right now hence why they went for Ramos and Hummels and Varane. Someone should of told them people like Abdennour and Mustafi of Valencia while not as big a name are quite consistent these last couple years. Manolas is another one. Anyway City these days are reminding me more and more like AC Milan right before their major decline. An aging squad you could spot a mile away from struggling. Don’t think it’ll quite happen to City but still parallels

  62. rollen

    I’m sorry you feel it’s such a poor post, what exactly was poor in your opinion?

    I’m sorry, I’m actually quite nervous right now, I’ve never done this before. Just thought it would be fun to share my experience, warts n all, to you fellow Grovers.

    Great story bro

    rosicki is just sad AKB twat

  63. rollen

    I almost split with my last girlfriend after I showed her a picture of giroud…..

    I accepted the fact she stared at it for ten minutes, but finding it scrumpled up three days later under her pillow was just too much….

    lol MTLM wife likes L’Oreal too :]

  64. tunnygriffboy


    When did Pelligrini quote that ? Is it recent ? Jovetic called City a graveyard for players. Be interesting who else they buy. Will need a big overhaul next couple of years the balance age wise is all wrong.


    You can’t spend £40 million on just anyone. It has to be in a position we need to improve and have no depth. If it means keeping so we get a WC player then we should keep it.

  65. karim

    Marseille 2
    Juventus 0

    Khedira injured again, a fantastic Pogba and Dybala was not bad either.

    Marseille over-motivated and quite good to be honest.

    Psg/Lyon is next on my list.

  66. MeSoHornsey

    Brilliant post! Totally love the honesty of it as well.

    As a born and bred Londoner the story comes across as hilariously innocent from an ‘out of towner’ But very funny. Thank you for this.

  67. northern gooner

    Lucky undies are out of the vault and ready for tomorrow!!

    Not said it for a while.

  68. Salvage

    Watching the German Super Cup right now, does anyone still think that if the Emirates Cup was a competitive game, we would have beaten this Wolvesberg? Seriously running Bayern ragged. Sadly, Wenger takes the Emirates cup very seriously and uses it to guage level and standard of players

  69. Nasri's Mouth

    Tunnygriffboy: When did Pelligrini quote that ? Is it recent ?

    Think it’s a spoof Daily Mail acc. on twitter unfortunately.

    Not too far wrong though. The report of the game is scary if you’re a ManC fan.

  70. Nasri's Mouth

    Salvage: Watching the German Super Cup right now, does anyone still think that if the Emirates Cup was a competitive game, we would have beaten this Wolvesberg?

    Well, we’d have had 5 different players on the pitch we wouldn’t have had players playing 2 games in 2 days, it’s a week further into pre-season and I suspect they’re taking it a little more seriously,

    So…. it’s impossible to know

  71. Sancho Monzorla


    Great job on the post and I’m glad you had a good time! It’s hard to make time for these kinds of adventures after a certain age, good on you for doing so and thanks for sharing it with us.

  72. Relieable sauce

    Pellegrini is a lame duck with Guardiola expected next season.
    The team will need a complete overhaul by then & with FFP they might possibly need to sell Aguero so Pep can spend??

  73. Al

    Think a forward line of Aguero, Silva and Sterling is always going to be up there challenging. That’s just to much quality in the attacking third against a majority of the teams in the league

  74. kwik fit

    LoL NG Keep those lucky undies for the real matches ahead but keep up the fuck off Mourinho chants. They can be used at any time.

    Re City

    Their transfer policy smells of a team waiting on Pep. Their manager is ‘ the waliking dead’.

  75. Leedsgunner


    As I said above you did a fantastic job. First time or not what you wrote was personal, relatable and fun. You did a a good job, don’t let anyone else tell you otherwise. Sure they are entitled to their opinion, but in my opinion you did a first class job… kudos and hats off to you for taking the time to give us a look in.

    Thank you for sharing a real memory with us.

  76. Dimitri

    Well done for sharing your story like that Benny. Takes a lot of balls to put yourself out there like that.

  77. Bermy boy

    Wenger works on Arsenals team year after year likes some guy who tinkers with an old Triumph motorbike.He will do a little this time and a little next time because the love is actually in the tinkering.

  78. adam

    tomorrow ought to be fun. going to the crown and anchor- a really good pub for us living far away from the homeland – here in vegas and hopefully there be more arsenal than chelsea supporters there (one time i got there for a 5.45am kickoff against chelsea – i think you know the game – and found myself surrounded by german chelsea supporters and a bunch of americans who followed chelsea. it was a miserable time topped off by the waitress ignoring me as if i was the fellow in the splodge single asking fr two pints of lager and a packet of crisps at closing time.

    tomorrow though i think will be different

  79. tunnygriffboy

    Bermy boy

    This squad needs tinkering. It’s been built since that 8-2 debacle. Per and Arteta came first. Then Podolski, Giroud and Santi. While this was going on we were still playing with baby’s in form of Wilshere, Ramsey, Gibbs, Walcott, Ox etc.
    Gradually those baby’s have matured and have gained experience to just about come into their prime.

    Money becomes available. Some of the chaff is being discarded. Ozil arrives. More chaff is let go and Alexis, Welbeck, Debuchy brought in along with new babies Chambers and Bellerin

    We now have a squad that has been shaped over four years and is looking well balanced in terms of youth, experience and players just entering their prime. It is a very good squad. It has been tinkered with as seen by the comings and goings. It needs a couple of new parts to be complete but will still run well without them

  80. Sam


    We got rid of cry baby mercenaries, who flirt with other teams n drive us nut all summer by wanting to leave.

    there is no more club bullying us into selling our best players
    Glad to see Cesc playing for Mourinho n Van Purse is off to Kebabland

  81. Sam

    Unfortunately Wenger will sacrifice honour just to save few quids,

    one mercenary still hanging around our club because we cannot spend on new player n show him the door.
    Flamini refused to go to Turkey, time to cancel his contract n kick him out

  82. salparadisenyc

    Nice post Benny, a love letter to the club.
    Those whom can’t appreciate the experience of the day probably hate Santa Claus as well.

    Up the Arse.

  83. underrated Coq

    “What I think is that he shows more authority to dictate the game than before. He is physically stronger, that is for sure, and he is more equipped to deal with the Premier League. In the second part of last season we saw the intelligence of his passing, the fact that he added some steel to his game that was needed certainly in the Premier League. I’m confident that he can be one of the great players of 2015-16. He can become player of the year.

    He joined very late in 2013 without any preparation with the team. In 2014 he came back exhausted by the World Cup and was then injured for four months. In the second part of last season he started to really adapt and, of course, this is the test. It’s a very important season for him.

    I want more goals from him because he plays in that position and he is a good finisher.

    But he doesn’t take enough chances. He is conscious of it and wants to do it now, so I am confident in that. Although his main aspect will always be in the intelligence of his passing and his creativity, he can finish better and we want from him 10 goals this season.”

    — Wenger’s comments re Ozil

  84. Johnty79

    Pep guardiola is proving that he is a flop of a manager…three super cups in row when they start odds on favourites for all of them…

    At barca he inherited the greatest youth team in history…I’d rather have wenger than guardiola and that’s saying something.

  85. Emiratesstroller

    This afternoon’s game is important even if it is as some have suggested only the Community Shield.

    It is a match between the two teams most likely to finish in top two places in EPL.

    Arsenal have a poor record against Chelsea, but I do feel that maybe this season there could be a wind of change in pecking order.

    We are more balanced, more defensively sound and the work ethic is much
    improved. Perhaps the one weakness in team is “clinical finishing” particularly when teams pack their players defensively behind the ball.

    My instinct is that Chelsea will attempt to play a counterattacking game against us and it will be interesting to see how well we cope with it.

    What is seldom mentioned is that Arsenal is no longer a “small side”. We have
    Cech, Mertesacker and Giroud all playing in our team who are big boys so that
    we are no longer going to be bullied on the field.

    Manchester City had a shocking result yesterday conceding 4 goals against a
    mediocre German side. Whilst you can argue that Aguero was missing it does
    not disguise the fact that their ageing defence is in serious decline and I do think that they could struggle this season. Most of their senior players were in
    this game and you should not be losing like this so close to start of season.

    I have my doubts also about Man Utd and Chelsea, because they are both making too many changes to their teams. In the case of Man Utd I feel that this could also be the season of moving one step forward and two steps back if they
    lose both De Gea and Di Maria.

    What will be also quite interesting is to see how our neighbours Spurs perform. Unusually they seem to have kept their transfer business under wraps and appear to have played only one friendly before season starts. I think that
    they might be a surprise package if one or two of major clubs impload.

  86. Wallace

    i think both ourselves and Chelsea are known quantities with settled, stable squads. barring a catastrophic injury list both should challenge strongly.

    there’s a bit more flux around the two Manc sides. both need new players to come in and hit the ground running for them to challenge. i think Sterling was a good signing(despite the price), but too many of their important players seem to be past their best.

    i like Utds signings, but if de Gea and di Maria leave that’s a lot of quality out the door. Depay will be fascinating, although i don’t think there’s any chance of him outshining Sterling. the key for me will be their two CMs. if Schneiderlin is seen as the better buy by season’s end that’ll probably mean a 3rd/4th finish. if they are to seriously challenge Schweinsteiger has to have a good season.

  87. Kiyoshi Ito

    Emirates Roller

    Teams are usually a reflection of their manager. .

    We have a manager who is predictable, tactically inept & has a soft centre..

    If you think that overnight, we have suddenly developed all three traits.
    Then I think , you are in for a long year..

    Today’s game is no way a barometer for where we finish come the end of the season..

    Come Christmas time, we would have a much better idea, if the perceived changes are taking efffect..

    Mourinho might be a few things. .
    But he certainly isn’t tactically inept, predictable&possesing a soft centre. ..

    If he were, maybe we could take something from this game..

    Either way, pointless talking about today’s game.

  88. gambon

    Nice one Benny

    Wish id known you were going, I was there on saturday, then had a proper night out down Angel way afterwards. You wouldve been welcome.

    Best chant of the day was “What do you think of Bendtner…..shit. What do you think of shit…..legend!”

    You do sound like a right London virgin though!