So Paddy Got Up
By Brian Dawes
Book review of Arseblog compendium edited by Andrew Mangan
Queuing up in a pub with a few hundred fellow Gooners is quite a novel way to purchase a book on its day of publication. Especially for me as I usually manage to blag review copies of most Arsenal related titles. The day was Wednesday 7th December - known to some already as 'Mancs Out of Europe Day'. But more importantly it was the publication day (evening if you want accuracy) of 'So Paddy Got Up'. It is described, quite rightly, as an Arsenal Anthology and put together by the mighty Arseblog. A man who now has more followers on Twitter than even Ashburton Grove could possibly hold. It was a fun evening where queuing for what seemed like forever was not a chore given that I had a drink in hand and was in the company of so many like-minded Gooners. Once purchased collecting signatures to add to the book's pages was a game played by many on the night and my volume includes Mrs. Bloggs and the Mugsmasher. If you're now asking 'who the ***k are they?' I can only advise that you are following the wrong Arsenal blogs.
The book has 26 chapters written in the main by a variety of Arsenal bloggers, but also some top quality journalists and more than its fair share of other Arsenal fans who are seriously in-the-know zone of the Club. Despite the authors’ age, social and geographical differences they all have one thing in common and its that very obvious thing which draws us all together.
As someone who has well over a hundred Arsenal related titles on my bookshelves I naturally have some all time favourites. Including one that was written by an author who provides us with chapter two in this volume. But even by the time I'd read as far as chapter ten 'So Paddy Stood Up' was already one of my all-time favourite Arsenal titles. The writing is passionate, thought-provoking, nostalgic, heart-rending, heart-breaking, loving, tender, heroic and above all else extremely Arsenal. It’s as Arsenal as you can get. Not the sanitised official Club Arsenal, but rather the nitty-gritty straight off the terraces Arsenal. It comes from twenty-six writers who care, really care. It’s written by fans for fans, but the sort of fans who really can write and really do have worthwhile things to say or who provide us with just plain and simple good stories. In fact it is so Arsenal that in some cases its pretty well already in your head rather than on the written page you are about to turn.
The contents contain a massive cross section of Arsenal eras, players, managers, historical anecdotes, good times, bad times, innovations, key individuals, favourites, games, incidents, classic peaks and horrendous lows. Above everything else it is heart-felt and written from the soul by Gooners who so obviously care. I could review each chapter, mark them out of ten or compare them - in fact I thought about doing just that, but I won't. I could tell you a bit about the 26 authors, but I won't because the book itself slips that in. Far better that you make the discoveries of some talents you might not have previously known for yourself. It will be more of a surprise, more of an uncharted experience. In fact it will be just like a match day when you may think you might know what's going to happen but in reality it never quite happens as you expected. Reading this is typically Arsenal, the real Arsenal that we all care about more than we should.
So for your edification and no doubt delight I'll give you the run down on what to expect. The chapters contained in 'So Paddy Got Up' are as follows: In the beginning - Andrew Mangan (lively introduction), One Georgie Graham - Amy Lawrence (cultured homage), The Arsenal: From open sewers to open sandwiches - Tim Stillman (distilled history), Dennis - Paulo Bandini (enlightened worship), Highbury v Emirates - Jim Haryott (home is where the heart is), Continued evolution - Tom Clark (web revolution), Herbert Chapman - Philippe Auclair (setting unprecedented standards), What is Arsenal? - Julian Harris (unique club), Let's get digital - James McNicholas (internet community), All hail the almost invincibles - Chris Harris (undersung heroes), Arsenal and family - Sian Ranscombe (real family), Arsene Wenger and tactics - Michael Cox (Wengerism in action), Our private garden - Tim Bostelle (good days, bad days), Arsenal's standing in the modern game - Stuart Stratford (shifting sands), Wembley, bastard Wembley - Tim Clark (only the Carling Cup), Behind the 8-ball - Tim Barkwill (Paul Davis), On Arsenal's finances: a game of two halves - Kieron O'Connor (the business end), Supporting Arsenal from afar - Leanne Hurley (over land and sea), Strength from within: from Mee to Graham - David Faber (historical segment), Stan Kroenke: investor to owner in five years - Tim Payton (insight), Glory Days - Jake Morris (less than obsessive), From champ to Champignon - Jonathan Swan (cultural shifts), On the Arsenal beat - John Cross (press insider), A New Arsenal: built on a bell lane dynasty - Nigel Brown (training grounds), Mr F - Nick Ames (the legendary Ken Friar), We're on our way - Andrew Allen (Paris 2006).
Had great football writers such as Patrick Barclay, Henry Winter or Brian Glanville been asked to contribute they probably couldn't have brought more passion or insight to the subject matter. The book I've just read and am now reviewing here is the hardback volume, its 20 quid and it’s only available directly from the Arseblogger. What you need to know is that it is a limited edition and will probably sell out fast if it hasn't already done so by the time you read this. There will I'm sure be a paperback edition available at some point but if you knew what a good read it was you wouldn't wait that long. It will also be available in various electronic formats as befits an age of Arsenal bloggers. Details on arseblog.com
(Ed’s note – Although the book sold out before we had time to post this review – basically within hours of it being made available, it can be bought in kindle form and also there are plans for a reprint in January. Arseblogger will get an idea of how many to print if you fill in this poll so that no-one will be disappointed.)
15th December 2011
User Comment and Reaction
User comments on this article are now closed. If you want to continue the debate, why not do so on the Gooner Forum.
JackL 23:19pm 15th Dec 2011
Went to the Tollington on Saturday with my wife and son, and met Mr Arseblogger, it was just like meeting a long lost family friend-and he gave me a nice message in the book. Let's hope we get at least another 10 years of Arseblog. - Post No. 17720
greenwichgooner 13:47pm 17th Dec 2011
sold out in real book form so will have to read the e-version until there's a reprint. By Jesus, said Paddy I wrote it so well I'll have to get up And print it again.... please. - Post No. 17743
26th January 2015
Online Ed: Déjà vu in Sussex