This book was put together by the famous (some might suggest infamous) Arseblogger, he's written the first chapter himself and farmed another 25 out to a very interesting variety of Arsenal bloggers, writers, top quality journalists and a smattering of other Arsenal fans who are all seriously in-the-know zone. The wide variety of authors and what they bring to the book means that this very worthy anthology covers a lot of ground, a lot of opinions and a decent smattering of worthy homage to the Club.
Those of you who've read my book reviews on Arsenal-World in the past will be aware that I have quite a rather large Arsenal book collection. It numbers well over a hundred in fact and so obviously I have my favourites. I'm just telling you this because I hadn't even got halfway through 'So Paddy Got Up' before it had already become a brand new favourite ranking right up their with the very best of them. Some of it's authors you will know, some will be new to you, some are writing under names which are not familiar to you because you only recognise their blogging handles. But you'll know of many of the authors anyway. That said it matters not whether or not you recognise any. What's important is that they have all come together to provide fellow Gooners with a very tasty volume that covers a diverse number of Arsenal related subject matters in a delightful way.
The ground covered in this 319 page delight scans out chapter by chapter as follows: In the beginning - Andrew Mangan of Arseblog (lively introduction), One Georgie Graham - Amy Lawrence of the Observer (cultured homage), The Arsenal: From open sewers to open sandwiches - Tim Stillman of Vital Arsenal (distilled history), Dennis - Paulo Bandini of the Guardian (enlightened worship), Highbury v Emirates - Jim Haryott of East Lower (home is where the heart is), Continued evolution - Tom Clark of Arseblog (web revolution), Herbert Chapman - Philippe Auclair of France Football (setting unprecedented standards), What is Arsenal? - Julian Harris of Gingers4Limpar (unique club), Let's get digital - James McNicholas of Gunnerblog (internet community), All hail the almost invincibles - Chris Harris of Arsenal.com (undersung heroes), Arsenal and family - Sian Ranscombe of From a girl who loves the Gunners (real family), Arsene Wenger and tactics - Michael Cox of Zonal Marking (Wengerism in action), Our private garden - Tim Bostelle of 7amkickoff (good days, bad days), Arsenal's standing in the modern game - Stuart Stratford of A Cultured Left Foot (shifting sands), Wembley, bastard Wembley - Tim Clark of Arse2Mouse (only the Carling Cup), Behind the 8-ball - Tim Barkwill (Paul Davis), On Arsenal's finances: a game of two halves - Kieron O'Connor of Swiss Ramble (the business end), Supporting Arsenal from afar - Leanne Hurley of Lady Arse (over land and sea), Strength from within: from Mee to Graham -David Faber of Goonerholic (historical segment), Stan Kroenke: investor to owner in five years -Tim Payton of AST (insight), Glory Days - Jake Morris of Goodplaya (less than obsessive), From champ to Champignon - Jonathan Swan (cultural shifts), On the Arsenal beat - John Cross of The Mirror (press insider), A New Arsenal: built on a bell lane dynasty - Nigel Brown of Humans Invent (training grounds), Mr F - Nick Ames of Arsenal.com (the legendary Ken Friar), We're on our way - Andrew Allen of The Arsenal Collective (Paris 2006).
What you get from the above chapters are tributes and stories that are passionate, thought-provoking, nostalgic, heart-rending, heart-breaking, loving, tender, informative, heroic and pleasing. They come from all angles but have the one major factor in common they are written by real Arsenal fans for the benefit of real Arsenal fans. There's not a slagging plastic wannabe in sight. You'll feel the full force of worshipping from the terraces from twenty-six writers who really, really care. They also have worthwhile tales to tell or choose to remind us of what it means to be Arsenal through good simple, but eloquent stories. In fact it is so Arsenal at times that you'll either be transported back or find yourself nodding sagely in agreement.
The book contains a massive cross section of Arsenal era's, 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. Giving you details might spoil the pleasure so I'll tell you no more than the fact that you'll enjoy it unless you hate reading, or don't like Arsenal as much as you claim. To say I'd recommend it is an understatement.
The copy I've just read is the hardback volume, its 20 quid and its only available directly from the Arseblogger as detailed on the Arseblog website. It shows up on Amazon but whatever they might claim they don't have it and won't get this version because it is a limited edition. In fact it may already have sold out by the time you read this for all I know. There will certainly be a paperback edition at some point but I don't know when. There are also electronic versions: Amazon Kindle, iTunes and Koboin as befits a title where so many bloggers have contributed. For details of all versions you'll need to check with Arseblogger on the Arseblog website. Enjoy - I know I did.