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Blood, Sweat and Tears

My sister recently got married, and before the service had even started, several people were crying. Now, I found this extremely annoying and unnecessary. I wanted to confront each and every offender with a 'Get Out!' similar to the one heard by a Priest as he was blessing George and Kathy Lutz's new home in Amityville. My wife said to me "You`ve cried at meaningless football matches which is just pathetic, it's perfectly ok to cry at weddings". I admit to crying at two football matches, but in no way were they meaningless games, and if you care to indulge me, I will try and explain why I cried at one of them.

Back in 1997, I took the plunge with a rather hefty bank loan and started my own company. The first critical two years went by and we were doing very well thank you! The figures for year three showed a bit of a slow down, but were nevertheless rather healthy. However, about 14 months later, a disastrous meeting with my Finance Director and my Accountant highlighted a cash flow problem and huge losses. The easiest but most terrifying option was to re-mortgage our dream home so I was soon marching off to Barclays, just as Arsenal were marching to the PL title.

It was the 01/02 season, and by the turn of the year, Arsenal were playing some amazing football and I just knew that we would win the league. A midweek game at Old Trafford, of all places, gave us a chance to be crowned Champions. We just HAD to win it there. To win the league in front of Fergie and his cronies, in the home of our sworn enemy, would be a sporting dream that I could cross off my wish list. I sat uneasy in my seat at Old Trafford. The magnitude of the game was being lost on me as the first half came and went. The realisation of a failed business and probable bankruptcy consumed my every thought. I took a deep breath as I applauded the boys back on for the second half.

"Go on!" screamed the guy behind me as he startled me out of another dark daydream. I came back to life as Silvestre got himself into a muddle on the halfway line, and Parlour whipped the ball off him. The Romford Pele strode forward a few yards and gave a simple ball to the awaiting Wiltord. As Wiltord scurried into United's half he had few options. Kanu was to his left but was only ambling towards him. I urged Wiltord to 'carry it', but instead he played a deft little pass to Freddie. The loveable Swede with his streak of red hair was on the edge of United's box, but was being hunted down. The chance looked to have gone as Freddie,now in United's box, seemed to have delayed a little. Laurent Blanc blocked the No.8's path to goal, and Freddie would surely have to check back and lay the ball off. No, not so. In a split second he teased the ball between Blanc's legs and was in on goal. Freddie quickly glanced at Barthez who was dancing along his six yard line. Barthez returned Freddies look with a 'you won't beat me from there' expression. Freddie pulled the trigger.............silence.

I experienced a very strange 'Matrix' moment as Freddie slipped after shooting. Everything seemed to happen in slow motion, and the stadium fell silent. It was an eerie, frighteningly lonely moment. I remember releasing an almost silent 'Ooooh' from within, as Barthez dived to the floor and parried Freddie's tame strike. An electrifying 'Yeeeeeeeeeeeeeeesssssssssssssss' snapped me back into real time. Wiltord, lovingly named 'Mr Malteser Head' by my young son, had continued his run, and skillfully swept the rebound under Barthez's despairing dive at the near post, and into United's net. 1-0 to the Arsenal.

I was engulfed by Dad beside me and my younger brother in front of me. A mass of joyous Gooners rose in celebration as the players celebrated the goal. Arsene punched the air with delight. We had taken the lead, if we could only hang on. I settled back down in my seat and glanced at my watch. "Shit, we've scored too early" I said to myself. The remaining half an hour or so seemed to last an eternity, but United never really threatened.

The final whistle brought a cheer and a joy that will live forever in my heart and memory. We had done it. We were confirmed Champions, and rightly so, at Old Trafford. Hugs to family and strangers around me were halted as our 'heroes' came to us to be praised. We sang their names long after they had left the pitch. I sat back down on my seat in the now famous 'Champions Section', everyone else around me continued the wild celebrations. I put my head in my hands as a wave of emotion rose from within me. It was all too much, as tears filled my eyes and began to roll down my cheeks. "It`s alright son" said my Dad as he held me. "We came through this and won, just as you will do."

He was right. It was all going to be okay. The world is always a brighter place when you have just won the league, especially at Old Trafford.

So my dear Gooners and Guests, thank you for reading and putting up with my emotional ramblings. As I repeatedly say to my wife, "It's okay to cry at football!".............isn't it ???



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The Journalist

Writer: Cockney Rich Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Saturday May 29 2010

Time: 6:43PM

Your Comments

Perfectly okay, I wish I could do it!! Thanks for sharing the lovely memories of yours CR. :)
GoonerLou
That brought back memories. 98 was more emotional for me. When Adams got played through by Bould, shivers down my spine thinking about it
paul_ownz
Remember that night so vividly and was absolutely ecstatic that we won the title at the home of one of our most despised rivals. Excellent read CR and hopefully us Gooners will have many more moments like this to come over the years, moments which we will cherish, celebrate and reminisice long after.
True-Gooner-Blood
cry with happiness - most certainly :-)
merlin
As Terry Tibbs would say: Beautiful!!!!
gronedrone
as fran merida has left the building,i have reverted to an old username...so from Fran Merida to 61 never again, in honour of our useless neighbours who will always be in our shadow......
61 NEVER AGAIN
anyway back on topic....i was there at OT and i have never felt so proud to be a gooner,at the time i couldnt stand the mancs, i wanted to wipe their arrogant smirks of their faces....it was a great time to be an arsenal supporter,and its up there with anfield 89 and **** fart lame 2004
61 NEVER AGAIN
You'll be crying again next season. Oh and 61, i think you'll find that you are our guests, not our 'neighbours' in North London. Extremely unwelcome guests at that. Here's hoping we beat you again next season like the ginger stepchild that you are.
Tony Rocky Horror
Don't feed the troll guys. We don't want every single article to be reduced to a silly 'my dad's cooler than yours' discussion among children. I've been waiting for just one article to be free of that idiocy but it's been failing me.
GoonerLou
Thank you GoonerLou, paul_ownz, TGB, merlin, gronedrone and 61NA for your kind words regarding the article. Your comments are very much appreciated. COME ON YOU GUNNERS !!!!!!
Cockney Rich
I recall that goal all too well too, I was sat up against a barrier and got absolutely squashed the buggery! That was undoubtedly the greatest match I've ever been to. The only time I ever cried inside a ground was, for some odd reason, when Merse equalised n the 93 League Cup Final. I was only 9 and for some reason I cried when the goal went in. Odd really.
Little Dutch
Cockney Rich - Thats one hell of a memory you've got to actually remember a time when you won something...............
CGan1
Not really. It's not like we haven't won a title in half a century or anything like that. 5 trophies in the first decade of this century isn't going to test the memory banks. The only team in the country to have won a trophy in each of the last 9 decades. With so many triumphs to pick from we're spoilt for choice.
Amos.
Thus spoke the fan of a team which last won anything of note 49 years back. 49 is how many games unbeaten in the league we were. Contrast that.
Deltaforce
Arsenal's history as a 'sucessful' club is a relatively recent phenomenon. Before the end of the eighties their's was a history characterised by decades of almost nothing at all, and certainley no awards won for stylish football. Generations seperated their title wins until that point. Tottenham Hotspur have always been the stylish club in NL (infact some would argue the only real NL club) It's the Spurs who pioneered the concept of the modern pass and move game with the one and only 'original invincibles' of 61: Openly acknowledged by those who know as the finest team to play football ever in this country. Down the years the crowds at WHL have always enjoyed their superstars: Greaves, Mackay, Gilzean, Hoddle Gazza, Klinsmann, too many to mention. And now the wonderful Luka Modric exemplifies and symbolises the history and traditions of a very special club. Apart from Liam Brady, i'd honestly be struggling to name one player whose name could be mentioned in the same breath until Berkamp and Henry. With so much to celebrate it's hard to know where to start.
Tony Rocky Horror
It's instructive to note that many of the players you'll try and name drop in response to our hall of fame probably only exist in grainy, pre-war footage wearing knee length shorts and smoking woodbines.
Tony Rocky Horror
It's true to say that we have enjoyed a great deal of success over the last 25 years TRH but as I pointed out we have won something in each of the last 9 decades. Whereas most of your success was limited to an all too brief flurry around a half a century ago - most certainly only in grainy black and white images. As for your 'invincibles' of '61 they were so 'invincible' that they lost 7 games that season. You weren't even 'original' double winners both Preston North End and Aston Villa did it before your lot. You are right to say there are few players that could be mentioned in the same breath as Bergkamp and Henry - certainly not from your rather run down, ramshackle side of North London. But there are superstars enough in our 9 continuous decades of glory.
Amos.
At the heart of the contrast between our two clubs Amos are two very different idelogical contructs. Arsenal were built on traditions of efficiency, good management and hard work: Conservative values symbolised by the marble halls of Highbury, the busts of dead managers, the art deco frontages etc. The purpose was to build a monument to the way that a club 'should be run'. Spurs have always epitomised the very opposite: fire, passion, rock n roll, and purity symbolised by the angelic white shirts, the glory, glory teams and the belief that things didn't have to be dour and efficient and unremarkable. Spurs exemplify a dream of how things could be if we only had the imagination to embrace an alternative way of seeing ourselves and others. This is something your lot simply don't have the range of sensitivity to recognise or appreciate.
Tony Rocky Horror
It's just too bad that all too often you lot have tried to realise that idyllic, starry eyed dream with the likes of Vinny Samways and Ramon Vega.........
Little Dutch
This is one of the reasons why when Wenger's period has come to it's merciful end, he'll be disowned by your club historians. He'll be xenophobically labelled as the Frenchman with the 'project'. Why? Because he's been toiling all this time under a misapprehension: the belief that he could change a club so fundamentally resistant to change. When he's gone Arsenal will revert to type, the fabricated mask of cosmopolitan, flowing football covers the ugly, warted face of dour efficiency. We on the other hand will always be the beautiful, if flawed, team from the lane of dreams. This process of strategic disownment has already began as the Machiavellian back stabbers sharpen their knives for their final, blood soaked frenzy.
Tony Rocky Horror
Are the spuds in any position to talk about clubs disowning their managers? It's been almost an annual event of back stabbing and disownment for them over the last 20 years or so! I think the symbols of the clubs quite clearly reflect their respective qualities. Ours is a cannon - a symbol of power, dominance and strength while yours is - a chicken!
Amos.
Hmmmm, seems as though you're the one rewriting history. Resistant to change? You're the ones that also whibble on about us moving from South London to North London. Ever heard of a chap called Herbert Chapman? He prettymuch set the foundation for the club you see today and have seen for 80 years, he gave us our identity and I hardly think he was the most resistant to change. Wenger won't be labelled as anything of the sort, the same way Terry Neill isn;t labelled "the Irishman" despite the fact that short sighted little Englanders referred to us as London Irish in the late 70s. Probably the same morons that call us Francenal today. A Spurs fan would of course know all about blood soaked frenzies where managers are concerned as you figure out that the last dude that won you the Carling Cup isn't really good for much else, so you get Pleat or Hoddle or Ardilles or some other such fossil from your past to "bring back the glory days" to the Lane, until you realise that just because you've tried tocopy our blueprint of scouting foreign youngsters as you did when you hired Commolli, or trying to build a lillywhite replica of our ground- a standing monument to your never ending inferiority complex and that stinging realisation that you are and have been for some time, absolutely light years behind us. You are the conservatives, decrying our ideas until such time passes that you see their wisdom, so you recycle them and try to adopt them for yourselves.
Little Dutch
Thanks for that CR , a piece straight from the heart.
The last time two times I have cried for Arsenal were unfortunately tragic scenarios. The loss to Barcelona in 2006 was heart wrenching - and so was the defeat to Liverpool in 2008 (CL)
I hope the next time I cry my man-tears it'll be tears of joy.
Sajit
Thanks for a Top Class Article! CR. You capture the moment, so Brilliantly! That's Cheered me, Well up!
hackneyval
Thank you Sajit and Val, I am glad that you enjoyed my piece, and thank you for your kind words.
Cockney Rich
Your club badge is a canon, a symbol of the armed forces. Can't seem to find too many historical references to the military in NL. In south London however, well, that's a different matter.
Tony Rocky Horror
Of course Spurs took part of their name from Harry Hotspur, who had a military history of his own.
Little Dutch
Sadly, here we go again. Another honestly written thread has been sabotaged by a certain VS member, and will soon by starting on it's rapid descent into petty bickering and farce.
Cockney Rich
A cannon (canon is something quite different) is a universal symbol of might recognised everywhere. Whereas a chicken is widely recognised as a fowl symbol.
Amos.
Oh dear TRH, so eloquently put in his place. By the way Swampy, last time I checked you only came in London in 60s...(around that time at least). You'll always be in our shadow, FOREVER IN OUR SHADOW.
shewore
The way you behave, victimising one individual, it's disgusting! It hurts, you've hurt my feelings!!! OH weepy, weep. Oh and by the way Amos our club badge is a proud fighting cockeril: the same as France's national symbol, a cruel twist of irony for you and your daft attempts at creating dialectical contrasts of form and image, and your puny play on words. shewore: YOUR SEASON ENDED AT WHL ON ST HOTSPUR'S DAY (the day,normally in April, when your season is confirmed as trophyless once again.)
Tony Rocky Horror
CR it's your own fans who by the looks of it are intent on wrecking the thread by turning up the heat with the insults. Not i sir, i merely responded to an insulting post!!!!!
Tony Rocky Horror
Not so TRH. 61NA was responding to my thread and made a joke regarding Spuds. If you hadn't have once again been trawling our site, you wouldn't have noticed it. If you are insulted by the words " useless neighbours " you probably don't go to many football matches, and it would appear that you have never sampled some of the language used at a NLD.
Cockney Rich
It's a chicken TRH! The fact that is is also used as a symbol for the French national team carries more irony for you that it does us. But whatever way you look at it it's still a chicken. Used as a sacrificial offering in many cultures, beloved by Col. Sanders it is both cheap and possesses a very small brain - a suitable emblem for your club. As for our title challenge this season it ended in mid April which is about 8 months further into the season than yours ended - though come to think of it yours really ended in 1961.
Amos.
CR: "Sadly, here we go again. Another honestly written thread has been sabotaged by a certain VS member, and will soon by starting on it's rapid descent into petty bickering and farce." -- exactly, and I'm fkg sick and tired of it. A wonderful article gets hijacked by our resident troll whose neurotic obsession with us forces him to post his idiocy in every single fkg article on this site, in which he destroys all hope of a good, positive discussion. So he sees one little mild insult about his club--boo hoo, every single VF site throws out casual insults at other clubs. Grow the hell up. That insult was just in passing and on he comes with long screeds full of revisionist, delusional, pretentious twaddle. What can you say after this clown actually says in all seriousness that one AW is gone, the club will try to reject his legacy? And we're a club that doesn't change??? Huh?? The greatest innovator in English football was Herbert Chapman, a man whose modernizing work significantly influenced the sport not just in England but throughout the world. WTF have Spurs contributed to the sport? Anyway, CR, thank you for a lovely article. It brought back some fantastic memories. I was not at OT on that day, I was at a pub with friends, only gooners there. What a day that was. I too cried, so did a lot of people around me.
jaelle
Thank you jaelle. Glad you enjoyed my ramblings and glad to see that it brought back some very happy memories for you. If you can't be at the game, a pub is always the next best thing !!!!!
Cockney Rich
Jaelle you should post on the forums.
shewore
In May 1989 I was away on business in Hong Kong and pretty much completely unaware of how the season ended. But it was OK because my partner was taping the Liverpool match and provided I could evade the score until I got home I could watch it “live” (sort of). Anyway, I managed it, and, at home by myself, stuck the video in the recorder and approaching the end of the match I was thinking that I was proud that we managed to beat them 1-0 at their place even though we lost the title race. When Michael scored I waited for the disallowed goal and sat gawping at the TV, surely this wasn’t happening. But it certainly was and this is the only time in my life I have literally sobbed for happiness. I have shed a tear or two when my daughters were born but never have I wept for sheer joy as I did that day. My reaction was a secret up until now because it was just a football match and no one would really understand crying about football would they? But clearly I am not alone!
Sir Henry
 

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