Arsenal Old Boys v Real Madrid Legends

Thoughts on yesterday afternoon’s charity game

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Battle of the beards?

The last time that the stadium saw such an event was in 2016 when the Old Boys beat AC Milan. Then the star performance was that of Kanu who despatched the well drilled pensioners of Milan. This time the plaudits belonged to “Mad” Jens Lehmann. The team were managed by David O’Leary and it rapidly became clear that this was a game that he and his colleagues had absolutely no intention of losing. David Seaman did not get a game.

The defence was completed with Jeremie Aliadiere on the right, Matthew Upson, Pascal Cygan and at number 3, occupying his normal position at left back, Lord Winterburn of perfectly timed tackles and tough surprises. The midfield was strong with Bob Pires and the Romford Pele, “Raymundo” being joined by Tomas Rosicky on the right wing and Luis Boa Morte on the left. Gilberto was the destroyer. Up front was the President of the Croatian Football Federation, Mr Davor Suker. Chris Whyte came on at half time for Cygan.

Real Madrid (Claude Makelele played) were one would say, man for man younger than our chaps. So much so that they were able to play the pressing game and double up on any of our players who were constructing an attack. Much of the game was therefore spent in our half. We did get out. How could we not with that midfield, but with Kanu and T.H. absent, outlets for a strike on goal were few. Aliadiere went very close in the second half as did Super Tom.

What was remarkable about this game was the mental strength of the team. Late in the second half, O’Leary gradually and tentatively replaced the operative parts of our team with older, often stouter colleagues. IT DIDN’T MATTER. No matter how elderly or infirm the replacement they each slotted in and did their job. David Hillier, Stefan Schwarz, Anders Limpar and most gloriously of all Perry Groves, came on and were quite simply not at home to Mr Cock Up. Gilles Grimandi added his usual steel to midfield.

And so to penalties. Bob, smote his penalty past a despairing keeper. Gilles Grimandi whacked his penalty unstoppably high and left as if executing a traitor to his beloved France. Matthew Upson Van Persied his penalty home and Jeremie crowned an outstanding overall performance by smacking his penalty securely into the net. Tomas Rosicky started walking from half way. “No need“, gestured Mad Jens, who had elegantly prevented Real Mathrid’s second penalty from entering Arsenal’s goal in front of the North Bank.

The German keeper stepped up and smashed his penalty on the target like a high velocity round from a Leopard tank. (Ed’s note – I am informed by the author that this is a weapon of the Bundeswehr, the army of the Federal republic of Germany, our Nato allies)

Exit Real Madrid. The losers on this occasion. The game was attended by perhaps 20,000 people who had an excellent afternoon of fun.

I would have liked our present squad to be there as well, so that they could see what standards of discipline and quality professional footballers playing for the Arsenal Football Club are required to attain. As Pat Rice was taught and would say - remember who you are and what you represent.

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  1. mbg

    Sep 13, 2018, 18:14 #112236

    Hi Berry, good post, I bet these players aren't wriggling around complaining when their WAGS (or someone else's) are metting out the same treatment in their king size in some 5 star on weekends, i'd bet their loving it and asking for more, lol.

  2. Hi Berry

    Sep 13, 2018, 11:32 #112235

    JJ - have to agree with you on women's football...much more watchable than the pantomime served up at so many 'top flight' games. Virtually no stoppages for injuries to the mid-shin which so many men clutch on the floor when caught innocuously. Funny also isn't it how there are so many 'facial' injuries in men's football these days - it seems a hand has to be only vaguely in the vicinity of the face for a full-scale collapse and two-handed clutch of the 'injured' area. Why doesn't Sky highlight the pathetic play-acting that makes the men's game laughable more often than not? Women's football may be lacking in the sharpness and skill which is on display in the men's game but is refreshingly innocent and honest. I watch when I can - my youngest daughter is striker of some repute in our area and has shown the boys in her teams how to hit the back of the net with remarkable consistency and players like Lucy Bronze, Toni Duggan and Jordan Nobbs are setting great examples for aspiring young girl players. Fingers crossed for an England U15 call up this coming half-term.

  3. John F

    Sep 12, 2018, 16:55 #112234

    Jj good post makes me wonder if the suits that run the premiership product will start to panic over the issue of empty seats.I started to think there was problem with attendances at football when I watched channel 5 football last season and thought football might be experiencing a slow death from the bottom up.The vast majority of grounds in the championship and lower leagues looked half empty.With Barcelona applying to play one of their games in the USA it may be the start of games being played worldwide due to lack of interest domestically.Not just football though the excellent England v India cricket test series looked to have a few empty spaces at the grounds.

  4. mbg

    Sep 12, 2018, 16:44 #112233

    Getting near the weekend again and it's the toon next, will be an interesting one, and Unai hasn't exactly had much time to work with or do anything with these bloody internationals, hard one to call.

  5. jjetplane

    Sep 12, 2018, 15:11 #112232

    Note there is much talk of clubs posting over generous figures for crowd attendance of course led by pictures of the Emirates last season. Always notice how even City have very similar empty seat patterns even though they are kinda winning things but not good enough until they win the CL and if they are pipped for the PL they will be in a mess. This is the state of PL and related football which looks and plays like a televisual package with the liveness becoming somewhat virtual as the crowd changes to touristy passiveness drifting through the big grounds. I got bored with the razzmatazz before we even left Highbury and felt something was up then. Was going there from the early 60s and really enjoyed the buy a ticket on the day through the turnstiles the best. When I finally bought an ST just before Wenger arrived I thought how long will I keep it up like a mini mortgage. The day Pires turned up on crutches to the adoration of the fans was the end for me going to games and all the Sunday and related fixtures just did not do it for me anymore. Never been to the Emirates and wonder if I ever will but AFC will always be with me one way or another. Still - liking Unai is a good start again so let's hope for a good Europa run and a sneak up the table.

  6. Exiled in Pt

    Sep 12, 2018, 13:36 #112231

    Good post all be it a sad one Tony!! I know how you feel and although Le Fraud has gone with the board and owner we have you do wonder how long Dick will last , personally i think he will walk if not supported by them but hopefully i am wrong .. Iam going to try and rekindle my passion by going to see the Lisbon game will be my first game since Anderlecht away in 2014 , how times have changed that was in the CL .........

  7. jjetplane

    Sep 12, 2018, 13:00 #112230

    Funny thing I have noticed is I have started laughing at the SPUds again and watching for any weaknesses so getting shot of Untold messiah particle has already affected my thinking. So poor under Wenger in the end I was beginning to perversely enjoy the Spuds so will be fun to see how we perform against them though the Unai project has a long way to go so knee jerking at this point is such an AKB thing to do. We won our first game this season last night! Merry month of May ....

  8. TonyEvans

    Sep 12, 2018, 11:39 #112229

    Haven't posted anything for a while now but good to see certain posters appear to have been banned, and now hopefully the site will be much the better for it. However I can't see myself posting much anyway because, as I feared, I have lost my old Arsenal passion big-time. It was only my desire to see Wenger replaced keeping me going and now I feel completely detached from Arsenal and indeed football in general. Reading some of Smudger's book I was thinking how much I used to loved everything Arsenal, and looking back I further I thought about all those players I felt such a connection with (I was going to list a few but anyone that has supported the team from 1970 or before will know the ones I mean) but now I feel nothing at all for this lot. Arsenal will always be my team but the time feels right to 'disengage' and that is what I am going to do. I expect I will still look at Online Gooner from time to time but I don't think I will have anything to comment on. All the best for the season!

  9. Exeter Ex

    Sep 12, 2018, 09:22 #112228

    markymark - it's a lot more civil though also a lot quieter, but there should be natural lulls when there's an international break and a 'lively' site full of bickering isn't something to aspire to. Less comments are only a problem for anyone that sits in front of this site all day pressing F5. That's why we'd get trolling to provoke spats. Imagine being in that position and being 'read only' now.

  10. markymark

    Sep 12, 2018, 06:38 #112227

    Well it’s been 3 days and the site has been transformed into a fit for purpose discussion site . Fit even for a poster’s family members to read if they so desired. I’m not sure that this is all down to just one group think prevailing. I’m sure a differing opinion or two could be accommodated now without a major drama. It’s an excellent transformation , long may it continue.

  11. jjetplane

    Sep 11, 2018, 17:48 #112226

    Still looks like Wenger is the manager over on Untold who will not be taking down their Wenger pictures this season? Mad ****ers!

  12. Exeter Ex

    Sep 11, 2018, 15:50 #112225

    Testing testing this is Badarse not... only joking.

  13. mbg

    Sep 11, 2018, 15:23 #112224

    Ten four for a copy is that the rubber duck ? Ed, Bard, John F, over. hee hee.

  14. mbg

    Sep 11, 2018, 14:58 #112223

    No problems here Ed, Can't disagree with the poster who said possibly that was all who was available, but it sounds like a wenger picked team too Morte, Aliadiere, cygan, etc, I wonder if he had been still here would he have been the manager. N

  15. John F

    Sep 11, 2018, 14:45 #112222

    Testing testing this is John F not Bard or gooner ed.

  16. Bard

    Sep 11, 2018, 12:45 #112221

    testing testing attempt 1 - this is gooner.ed not Bard

  17. jjetplane

    Sep 11, 2018, 11:57 #112219

    Real match elsewhere with Miedema hitting a hat trick and two assists as Arsenal Women beat Liverpool. One of the best assists I have seen in ages in the match and some nice make up too though still think Ozil goes too heavy on the eye shadow. Wait till with have the first transgender league. Loving it. Back to the Arsenal Women - only starting to watch women's football and the standard is brilliant and as/more watchable as the 'men's' game but would be nice to see that lovely Aaron get his highlights back ...

  18. A Cornish Gooner

    Sep 11, 2018, 09:31 #112218

    Seems ok here.

  19. gooner.ed

    Sep 11, 2018, 09:20 #112217

    Testing testing. One of our users (Bard) is unable to post in the comments so just seeing whether or not there is a general problem

  20. Don Howe

    Sep 10, 2018, 16:51 #112212

    If Seaman had played we would have lost, so his injury was convenient. As for 42000, the upper tiers were very sparse but there would be no reason for AFC to lie about it. Apparently there were about 80,000 for the away fixture. As to star quality on display and attractiveness of the fixture, I would imagine that the best of whoever turns up plays.The point was, that those who turned up beat a frankly better prepared team by sticking to their love of the club and their professionalism. Whilst it would have been nice to see TH tormenting the opposition, that wasn't on the cards. I found it an uplifting and frankly emotional experience - a feeling I don't expect to have about the current first team for a while until Emery's rebuild starts to work. Certainly not while certain players are still anywhere near the pitch. They will not be within a thousand miles of Highbury on such an occasion when they are 45 - 55. My dear, neither their agents, nor their beauticians, their stockbrokers nor their numismatists would permit it.

  21. A Cornish Gooner

    Sep 10, 2018, 15:09 #112211

    CORNICHE. Like you, I hope I don't get banned for this post on the grounds of sexism. I just googled 'Football Legends images' Not what I expected! Moving on, I think you ough’a ge’ ou’ more. I don’t know what the weather is like in your part of Cornwall, but the sun came out at about 10.30 yesterday, and it’s still shining. Good old Boris! Good old Arsenal. By the way, nothing wrong with a bit of nostalgia. It's not 'immaturity'. Aren't the Arsenal Legends' games all about nostalgia?

  22. markymark

    Sep 10, 2018, 10:52 #112209

    VoiceofReason - I like the reign of terror comment. Very amusing

  23. mbg

    Sep 10, 2018, 09:47 #112207

    Voiceofreason, nice post, I agree it's the nostalgic factor it's always good to see the true legends/Old boys, your spot on about Cygan, Boa Morte etc, I wonder did Hillier bring a suitcase lol.

  24. VoiceOfReason

    Sep 10, 2018, 08:47 #112206

    With regards to the article, David Seaman didn't play because he suffered a calf injury during the warm-up (not because O' Leary didn't think him good enough), and the attendance was in the region of 42,000 (not the 20K mentioned here). Can't really see how anyone could think the stadium was two-thirds empty. As for the match, I was at both the Milan legends game in 2016 and this one on Saturday, and the first match was far, far superior. The novelty factor was higher, and the squad was much better too. The 2016 team included Overmars, Petit, Ljungberg, Kanu, Keown and Toure, many of which (if not all) are genuine legends. It's all for a good cause, but Cygan, Aliadiere, Boa Morte, Upson and Hillier don't evoke the same nostalgia and it wasn't particularly interesting seeing them. Saturday's game wasn't very fun, either. Aside from the scoreline, it was played out pretty seriously, yet with barely any chances. I think in 2016, during the seemingly never-ending Wenger reign of terror, the legends game was a nice break from the norm, reminding us of happier times; but this year, I'm actually more excited about the new man in charge and what the future holds, so would rather look forward now. If there's another such game in 2020, I'd probably give it a miss.

  25. mbg

    Sep 9, 2018, 23:46 #112201

    Good team but not the best, I suppose time has caught up with a lot of them, but a hell of a lot of experience there and a lot of genuine Arsenal men who knew what it was/is all about and all that experience was going to waste under the old fraud wenger because of his ego, yes DOL would have took no shyte of his little light weight nice boys, that's why he and those like him weren't allowed about the place, if he had maybe he wouldn't be where he is today reputation and legacy in ruins after getting the sack.

  26. Made Up Stat

    Sep 9, 2018, 21:06 #112200

    Ah, Jens. Fantastic goalkeeper but terrible if he was Bruce Banner. He'd have to play in a 20XL shirt.


    Sep 9, 2018, 19:07 #112198

    Terrific, heart warming read. But may I go back to the recent, new rules of engagement which has seen the departure of 2 "popular" contributors. Having re-read Ed's rules I can see nothing about "sexism" which would undoubtedly seen me banned as well this afternoon. We need to know. The day started badly when I went into a rant about Serena Williams, unpleasant, overpaid tennis superstar, who claims she was a victim of sexism in the USA final. This afternoon, whilst digging out a veg bed with deep rooted weeds, I was listening to Chelsea v Man City ladies. Female commentator (ex Arsenal?) insisted on doing a laddish impression of Danny Mills at his worst. This involves not pronouncing the letter "T" in any word - e.g.. Man Ciieee and so on. Why does she do this? Drove me nuts. Should I be banned or should I get out more?