..tube station on a match day. You’re better off trying Holloway or walking down to Highbury and Islington.
Stone me, here we are on Friday and it`s the Arsenal game tomorrow. Time certainly seems to fly by. It seems only yesterday since we were all jumping up in the air when the equaliser against Birmingham came from the most unlikely of sources and we had a two week gap until The Emirates. In that time Gary “Gaz” Cahill has got his first England cap, then didn`t get his second cap, then is almost certainly off in January. Danny Ward signed a new contract, Leeeee may have signed a new contract, “The” Shittu left, Riga should have and we all found out that Emma Grundy is pregnant in The Archers. It has been literally non stop.
So tomorrow we travel to North London to play the team who
don`t like it up them no longer mind it up them. A team that can play the ball with fast and sure aplomb, who know where their team mate is before he does, who can all play defence splitting passes, very rarely go for the long ball and usually try to walk the ball into the net. And if that sounds like I consider Arsenal to be a template for the way I want Bolton to end up playing, then you`d be right. When it comes to tactics, there are few that can surpass Mr Vinegar (blind spots notwithstanding). I love visiting the stadium which, compared to other stadiums, have facilities that put some US stadiums to shame.
So let`s get this straight. I like Arsenal Football Club. This may have something to do with living in London for four years, working in Islington sometimes and having Arsenal fans as work colleagues. I also lived at University for a year with John The Gooner, who doesn`t actually come from London, but, hey, I don`t come from Bolton. So, you know, my view may be a bit skewed.
But, I have had some instances with Arsenal fans that still set my teeth on edge. As mentioned yesterday, I have been spat on from above by some of those people who sit in the corporate seats and think that that is a hoot. Complaints to both the Met Police and their GMP colleagues went unheeded, with people being told to sit down. Looking up you could see the four reprobates, all dressed nicely, grinning as another volley of phlegm came down. This was at Bolton`s first ever game at the ground and since then I have sat further to the front so cannot comment on whether it still happens.
However, sitting near the front didn`t stop me having problems with some Arsenal fans. My mother, who if you`d read the story of why I became a Bolton you`ll know doesn`t take prisoners, comes down from Manchester every year to see the Arsenal game as she likes the nice walk all the way to Angel tube station to avoid the crowds after the game.
A couple of years ago, on a day that was turning increasingly cold, we found ourselves sat near the Arsenal fans. Bit of lively banter went on until Bendnter scored late on, due, of course, to our former manager’s tactics and nothing else. We all took it with a shrug as it was bound to happen and the majority of Bolton fans trudged away to their coaches.
My mum and I sat down again to finish off our coffee, because we`re hard core, and got talking to a female steward about the facilities (nicer than the Reebok, no care in the community serving drinks etc..). An Arsenal fan in their stand was also talking to a steward, his toothless smile suggesting Colgate wasn`t top of his shopping list. He said something, I don`t know what, but our steward heard it and said “Well, why don`t you go home then?” Quick as a flash he leant over the wall, pointed his finger at my mother, who if you think is at an age where she is retired, widowed and walks a bit slower than she used to you`d be right, and said “What did you f****n say bitch?”. Our steward quickly stepped in, telling him that it was her and not my mum, and he walked off, but not before shouting “Should be on your f****n horse and cart back home by now”.
Now, I`m not suggesting that all Arsenal fans are like this as some of my good friends are Arsenal fans, but the only other time I have had that kind of malice directed towards me was at West Ham, and that happens every time you go to West Ham, it being in East Ham. But if you automatically think that a white haired grandmother is going to be giving you some grief, you most certainly have something wrong with you.
However, I bet the other 59,999 fans in the stadium that day behaved themselves suitably.
Of tomorrow’s game itself, lots of people have been saying things, starting with St Owen Coyle whose interview is currently only available on the Wanderers Player. In a nutshell, we want to go to Arsenal and do well, we can rely on Adam to perform, we wish Little Jack well after Saturday.
He has been quoted as saying that coming to Bolton had a profound effect on Wilshere
“Maybe he was a bit immature when he came here but when he left he was a real man“
This does give the impression that a Bolton lady of the night showed Jack her wares and he passed over a Wayne Rooney size chunk of his money for the privilege. Allegedly. This puts a picture in your head that you really don`t want. Apparently he also became good friends with Stefan Dennis, which just goes to prove that maybe Jack should start choosing his friends more carefully, what with that Kensington thing. Allegedly.
Our Yank continues on the theme, telling the rubbish website that Bolton are not going to lie down and take a good beating, but confirms that the team are not going to be overawed.
“We have a number of experienced players who have played in big games so I do not think we will be daunted by taking on Arsenal.”
There is no reason why anybody should be overawed. All but Bogdan and Holden have played at The Emirates and Samantha used to be at Arsenal.
Of course, if Bogdan does come off a cropper/slaps Arshavin round the head, we are left with Rob Lainton in net. No disprespect to Lainton, who I`ve never seen play, but anymore goalkeeping puglisim and we are going to have to recall Splingters.
Of course, as much as an experience it will be for Bogdan in net, sitting on the bench will also be an experience for Lainton, who probably wouldn`t have seen this coming at the beginning of the summer, which he confirms:
‘Coming back at pre season I expected to be fourth choice, but with Ali going to Wigan and Jussi being suspended, then I`m obviously excited at the chance I`ve got for the next three games.“
Obviously one of those games will be at Tuff Dour, but you can`t have everything.
Of the opposition, Mr Vinegar has been fulsome in his praise, at least more fulsome than he has been when you know who, the guy before him or Big Sam have been in charge:
‘Bolton have a good mixture of a direct game and football on the ground. They can be a very dangerous side, they have a good mixture of a technical game and a direct game.”
And he also mentions Little Jack`s loan period
“I give Bolton a lot of credit for having played him. It transformed Jack in his power, in his confidence.“
Easy Arsene, or we`re going to have to go for a full scale love in.
Elswhere, and unfortunately, Danny Ward has decided that Coventry will be his field of play for the next few months. I`m sure that while he is there he will come on a bundle, but I do still have a major problem with him going to a club that would give Marlon King the time of day. In fact, I`d have a problem with a club giving Marlon King the wrong time of day, like if he was in Alaksa during the time of year where it`s twenty four hours of sunlight. So he comes up to you and asks you the time and you tell him it is 5am when in fact it is 4pm. In this scenario therefore he can’t go to a bar and smack another woman, as proved in a court of law, as you have given him “the wrong time of day”.
I’m not sure if that last bit made gramatical sense, but in a nutshell, I don’t want one of our players associating with the convicted felon, Marlon King. Still, I`m sure the club know what they`re doing.
We return with team news and the like tomorrow. For now, keep it under your hat.