I had a dream last night. It was 2016. I was watching Arsenal vs Manchester United at the Emirates. Wilshere and Chamberlain had played their socks off but still lost 3-2. The Home supporters were in good voice and why wouldn’t we be. We had beaten United for the second time this year. We were on a roll.
It was the same story last year. We won the Premiership in 2014/15 for the first time in 11 years. It was sweet. Not quite as sweet as I thought it would be after the dust settled, but still, who doesn’t like winning. Not me for sure. But oddly, I couldn’t help thinking that it wasn’t even as sweet as the celebrations of 2011/12 when we beat Chelski 5-3 or The Spuds 5-2 or City 1-0. Shit, we went deliriously bonkers with joy. That was the last time I was that ecstatic I think. Still, we’ve got silverware to show for last season and more on the way for sure.
Let me fill in some gaps for you. It all happened so quickly in the end. 2012/13 saw Sheikh Ali Shar Uzmanour buy the club from Kroenke, lock, stock and barrel. None of us saw it coming. Kroenke didn’t want to sell and didn’t have to sell. But Ali Shar had something over Kroenke, incriminating photos involving fishnet stockings, it was rumoured. Anyway, whatever it was, it was unbecoming for the husband of a Walmart heiress, and Kroenke was sick and tired of the British tabloids. He took the money and bought Dortmund with it.
Now we had Oil Money and lots of it. We could actually, finally outspend Chelsea and City. And spending we were! It was great.
I was against the Oil Money, on principal. I think we all were, mostly. But we supporters didn’t get a vote so it didn’t really matter what we thought. I remember saying to my mates in the pub the night it was announced that my conscience was clear. I never wanted it and I spoke out against it. But it happened, so we might as well enjoy it. Let’s see how the other half live. It was the best of all worlds. We got the money and it was guilt free. Oil money, blood money. Isn’t all money dirty anyway.
Our team against United that day? Midfield was Xavi, Iniesta and Busquets. Our defense was Cole, Kompany, Ramos and Alves. Our Keeper was Joe Hart. He had left to join us because he wanted a club that matched his ambition. Doubling his money didn’t hurt either.
And our attack? We had a front three of Ronaldo, Messi and Theo. CR7 and Messi refused to pass to each other but it didn’t matter. They scored anyway.
So, no wonder we won the league last year. It was great sticking it to Chelsea and City. Playing Everton and Fulham though, not so much. We beat the snot out of them. But it was playing United that was the strangest of all.
Our new chant was “We spent some fucking money!” which used to be funny but it now left me a little uneasy. United were still doing the self-sustaining thing. They could almost compete with the Oil Money clubs but not quite. They had been particularly successful in the commercial arena and in monetizing their worldwide fan base. We were working on that too but it wasn’t as urgent for us. We had the best and easiest money there was. And that FFP stuff? That turned out to be a joke. Money and Football? Turns out it was just like Money and Politics…because it was. Money always finds a way at UEFA and FIFA.
As I was saying, playing United was the strangest. They played great football for most of the season. Last year we didn’t catch them up till the 30th game of the season. Ferguson was still a wily manager and still going strong. But his squad was just that bit too thin off the bench and it seemed to be catching up to him again this season. It was game 33 of the season and we were now 7 points ahead of United and were pushing on. We were 3 points ahead of City and 4 points ahead of Chelsea, so it was going to be an exciting finish, at least for the top 4.
Spurs were still comic though. They too had been bought by a Sheikh. When we that news we nearly shit ourselves. But there was no need to. They were bought by a second rank Sheikh. Our Sheikh had twice as much money as theirs. Sheikh Ali Wais In Ur Shadah was the cause of much merriment at the Emirates. Typical bloody Spuds, they can never get it right.
The thing was, I couldn’t help rooting for United when they played anyone but us. It was great seeing The Ox and Wilshere “expressing” their full potential. Shame it couldn’t be at Arsenal, but how do you keep Xavi and Iniesta and Co. on the bench. In fact how do the Ox and Wilshere even get to the bench when you have the bench we have: Ozil, Khedira, Neymar, Hazard, Gotze, Mata, Tevez and Balotelli.
Actually, Tevez has been suspended for miming the act of buggary in front of a worldwide audience of 500 million in the CL quarterfinal (which we won), when the manager tried to call him off the bench in the 82nd minute. So right now, Tevez is off playing golf in Spain for a couple of weeks. The manager says he’ll never play for us again so that means he won’t get another game for us for a month or so.
Balotelli is his usual self, except that that fireworks incident with his mates in his bathroom in 2011 really left him feeling humiliated. He swore to himself he’d never become an object of ridicule like that again. So now he hangs out with Werner Von Braun and a number of other German rocket scientists. The launches have gone much smoother. In fact, he is taking commercial contracts for launching satellites from Sky, AT&T, and the Chinese. Football is kind of a secondary thing for him these days.
And it’s rumoured we have just signed some 3 legged Brazilian wonder-kid who is going to be the future. He’s at our Academy which is now based in Barcelona. Actually, it is the Arsenal La Masia Academy of Barcelona now. Eventually, we just said, “Screw it!. We’ll buy it. We’ll cut out the middle man”
After today’s game, the manager handled the media questions with his usual indifference. Mourinho has taken to reclining on a Chaise Longue, naked and oiled, while teen boys drop peeled grapes into his mouth. He ignores most press questions until they get to one he deigns to answer. For example, today he decides to answer the question from John Cross on why he tried to eye-gouge Alex Ferguson when we were already winning. His curt reply: “Because I can.”
You will be wondering what happened to Arsene. Wenger was ousted shortly after the takeover, not because of performance, but because of the Platini incident. Wenger was so pissed off with UEFA’s bungling of the FFP implementation that at the 2014 World Cup where he was a TV commentator, he snook into Platini’s hotel room while he slept and in the dark he slipped an unwrapped Caramello into Platini’s undies. His prank was supposed to shock Platini into thinking he had shat himself. However, in the darkness, Wenger had failed to notice Sepp Blatter sleeping in the bed beside Platini. Sepp liked to sleep with his right hand sandwiched between Platini’s warm buttocks. When Sepp awoke in the night to find a brown warm mess on his hand, he did what you would expect Sepp Blatter to do. He licked his fingers. And it was gooood. By the time Platini awoke in the morning there was no sign of the melted Caramello mess. Michel was oblivious to the whole thing apart from being somewhat confused by Sepp having chocolate all around his lips. Blatter never mentioned the “incident” because he was now convinced that Platini shits Caramellos and has been waiting up all night, expectantly, ever since.
For the rest of the tournament Wenger alternated between chuckling when he passed Platini and sneaking up behind him to whisper “Caramello” in his ear.
The Caramello incident was the beginning of the end for Wenger, and the end came quickly. Arsene was last rumoured to be supervising a chicken plucking factory in Inverness. A local reporter said that Wenger had radicalized how the 110 chicken-plucking employees were now organized on the production line. He switched them into more of a 400-400-200. (@goonerdave66’s reaction: “About effing time!”)
So, yes, things have changed a lot around here at the Emirates. We’re winning stuff. I don’t have to take any shit from Chelsea supporters in work anymore. I’ve got the “My Sheikh is bigger than your Oligarch” thing going for me. But I haven’t the heart to give the United supporters any real grief. I know what they’re going to say back to me and I’d prefer not to hear it, to be honest.
And a lot of our new “supporters?” Jesus wept! The whole purpose of having a Chelsea and a City was to make sure these Neanderthals supported another club.
And, it took me a while to get used to the new kits. Our away shirt in 2013/14 was a nice blue, though to be honest I always preferred yellow for the 2nd shirt. ’71 and all that. But yes, it’s a nice blue. I’m not very good at describing shades, but I’d say it’s about half way between the City blue and the Chelsea blue. Then in 2014/15 they swapped the away and home shirts so now we play in blue at the Emirates. That’s taken some getting used to I can tell you.
Anyway, as I left the Emirates after the game, this grubby looking beggar approached me, tall and thin and smelling of garlic. “Like to buy a soul?” he said. I said “Pardon, mate?” It was hard to understand what he was saying, though he had a familiar accent. French, perhaps. “Like to buy a soul?” he repeated. “Errr, not today mate,” I joked. “Zat is a pity,” he mumbled. “Did you get many takers today?” I asked, making conversation as I continued walking. “Little bit,” he said, as he turned gracefully back to towards the stadium. “Little bit,” I heard him mumble again. I stopped to look back and watched for a moment. There he stood, tall and thin, pointing elegantly to 10 or 11 other street beggars and homeless types. He seemed to be trying to get them to stand in various particular spots but with limited success. “That’s peculiar,” I thought to myself.
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