Monday, April 09, 2007

Toon Army (and one imported Spurs supporter) Bored Rigid

My friend Chris Tiffney is an Arsenal fan, I am not. He asked me a few weeks back if I would like to go with him to see Arsenal play Newcastle United at St James's Park. Having never been there before I didn't hesitate. "One problem," he said, "we'll have to sit with the Arsenal supporters"; being a Spurs fan this forced me to keep a low profile. We drove down from the Scottish Borders and parked out near the airport and took the Metro into the centre of Liverpool. Two stops after we got on it seemed like half of the Newcastle fans heading for the match also got on - I decided to keep my voice down as I wasn't sure they could tell the difference between a sarf and a norf London accent.

Fortunately, once the game had started (they make you climb up 9 flights of stairs as an away supporter), when the Arsenal fans were chanting "If you all hate Spurs stand up" I was not singled out for any closer attention as a number of other people didn't stand up either - not very many mind you, and to be fair Chris didn't either.

The game was absolute crap. A guy, two seats behind me, said as it was ending. "I've been watching the Arse for 30 years and that was one of the three worst games I've ever seen." I didn't actually turn around to agree with him, or ask what the other two were, but I would have liked to and added, "Spurs maybe lower in the table but at least they play football." The game was so bad that the Arsenal fans sang throughout – the volume of singing is usually inversely proportional to the quality of play. The best chant against the Toon Army, who were strangely quiet, was "Where's your famous atmosphere." The fact is most of the 52,393 in the crowd were probably asleep.

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