The day that we’ve all been waiting for finally arrived. ‘We all’ will just be me and maybe Mrs. Bootoomee. I don’t think the twins really care. I have set myself a target: to make Gooners out of them by the time they reach age of consciousness. My goals as a father is basically to get my kids well & properly educated, be kind & empathetic human beings and be staunch Gooners. I don’t know how much my wife cares about that last bit but I care very much.
Unlike other days since my long holidays have started, I woke before 7am! On other days when I wake up accidentally this early, I just turn over and carry on into snooze-land but this day was different. The Mrs. was up at her usual time and was already getting things going. I joined happily and without being asked. I was like a kid on the day of a trip to Disneyland!
We set out with the girls in their brand new Arsenal kits, with glances and comments from passers-by on how cute they were in their matching outfits. This is not strange to us as we get lots of people’s attention when we go out. The girls are very identical and we dress them as such always. I have got to say that they look extra cute in the Arsenal kits though. Or perhaps I just love the Arsenal colours too much.
We got into the train but not before the Spud official at the entry gate had taken a very friendly micky at us (how glad I was that he wasn’t there on our way back!). The train journey into Stratford was smooth and very comfortable; the Underground journey from there to Arsenal station was anything but comfortable but we were very well treated on the crowded Underground trains with fellow Gooners aboard graciously giving up their seats for us.
Classy fans; Classy club!
We finally arrived at the stadium. Maybe it’s because I don’t go often, but I am always in awe of that structure! My wife felt the same way and she is not even that into us (us being Arsenal but of course you get my point). The twins were again grabbing all the attention with particular interest from the ladies. People were happy to take help me take our pictures on request. We took quite a few!
After settling into our seats, I remember a promise that I made to Edda about looking for him. I set out on the mission just after the second half of the Porto-Napoli game commenced, with one of the twins in tow. Napoli was still leading 1 nil. It was actually very easy to find Edda who initially thought that I have come to reclaim my seat. No joke! He apologised and was about to start looking for his own seat. I think Edda is a very nice guy who doesn’t like confrontation. I introduced myself as Bootoomee from Untold and he beamed with smile. Observers would think that we’ve known each other from way back!
Edda’s first comment to me was about the lack of negativity from the fans contrary to the news that the gloom merchants have been feeding us. We chatted for about 2 minutes about Arsenal and Untold. We couldn’t chat any longer because we were blocking the view of the people behind him. We squatted and took a picture.
We then said goodbye and I left, to the relief of the people behind him.
Porto pulled one goal back on my way back but I saw their second and third goals.
It was really nice to see Higuain in the flesh and in action. I am not going to base all my judgement of his ability on his Emirates cup exploits (or lack of) but I think those lamenting his former club’s decision whore him to the highest bidder may just quiet down a bit. Well, hope is the key word here. He is clearly not better than Giroud who did very well on both days of the tournament. I have never felt better about my personal principle of always valuing my own possessions rather than coveting those of others. More on Giroud later.
The game ended 3-1 in favour of Porto. They now have 6 points: 3 points for the win and 3 points for the 3 goals.
Tony, re those BT commentators, I think they were just being deliberately stupid. The rules are ridiculously simple and straight forward. I don’t think that they (the rules) are very fair, however, because Galatasaray could still have ended up short yesterday if Porto had won 7-6 despite losing a game to the former who won both of theirs. 7-6 scoreline is not likely, I know, but it is fairly possible in a friendly tournament. They could have whined about this since they had nothing positive to say but instead, they moaned over and over about the kind of arithmetic that would not faze primary school pupils.
They also exposed their failure to do any homework on the tournament that they were covering for all to see. The tournament has been previously staged 5 times in the last 6 years with the same rules. A little research would have prevented them from making fools of themselves on TV. To those harassing Tony with charge of bias on his article on BT commentators, I hope this gives you some more contexts. I hope.
Back on topic.
Our players came out for their work out to thunderous cheers from the fans. I was a bit taken aback by the unbridled enthusiasm with which they were welcomed. I am still struggling to find those angry fans who want Wenger out. If they exist in the stadium, their number must be really insignificant!
I am not going to analyse the game. Those who did not see it live must have seen it on Arsenal Player or Youtube and many other channels by now. You would/might also have read the analysis from people who are much more qualified at such and therefore better at match analysis and reporting than me. I will talk about the atmosphere and my feelings about the game though. This is subjective, so please don’t crucify me if you don’t agree.
Our team sheet was stronger than Galatasaray’s because while we had Santi and many of our first teamers on, they started without Sneijder and Drogba. We outplayed them in the first half and our lead was well deserved. We could have scored more. Sanogo looked very fit to me. More importantly, he did not do worse for us than Higuain did for Napoli. Now, can those excusing the latter’s poor performance to needing to get used to his team mates extend the same courtesy to Yaya? Or do we always have to put our own on a different pedestal when it is time to denigrate them?
The second half belonged to Galatasaray. They brought on Sneijder along with our arch-nemesis and Stamford Bridge diver emeritus from the start and it showed just like bringing in our own big guns did against Napoli the previous day. My wife, who is even a less astute football analyst than me, was commenting about how we were being dominated just before the dive that resulted in the equaliser.
Giroud was brought in and he did very well with his movement and efforts. He had 2 good attempts saved. A shot after a turning a defender and a good header from a free kick. I feel very very good about our main striker. I feel very good about Giroud indeed.
I was hoping that Koscielny would be brought in to handle Drogba but the manager had a different plan and objective for the match. I totally respect this even if I hate the outcome. We all know how the match ended.
The atmosphere in the stadium was subdued although you wouldn’t be too sure because the Galatasaray fans were well blended in with Arsenals and they were wild with jubilation. I find this funny because if we had won, we would have been told to curb our celebration because it is only a pre-season friendly. Not these fans though.
Gooners were quiet on our way home but the little ones were still singing Arsenal, Arsenal! The adults were not negative though. We all just moved on quietly to our homes. I think this is only natural and have nothing to do with us being Arsenal fans in particular. When my school lost matches when I was a student, we returned to our school or home in a similar fashion. It is not a big deal.
My family’s return home was just like our trip to the stadium: uncomfortable Underground journey but with gracious Gooners giving up their seats for us and a very comfortable train trip back to our town.
I hope to do this again sometime soon if I am able to get tickets but not with the family though. Taking my girls for their ‘baptism’ at the Emirates ‘Cathedral’ into Arsenal ‘denomination’ of my football ‘religion’ was a dream come true. I hope the pictures and videos will be great memories for them and firmly set them as Gooners for life.
Cross posted at Untold Arsenal