Ashburton Grove - Footballing Heaven Or Elaborate Advertising Hoarding?

Beattie's postbag is hardly likely to be full of Gooner Valentines cards after his idiotic 8th minute sending off at Goodison on Saturday. I was up with the lark for work as I wanted to leg it home in good time to be ensconced in front of the TV for Chelsea's midday match..

As the player who's probably had the most impact on the Premiership remained in the treatment room instead of turning out against the Toffees, Robben's absence was good cause for optimism. In as much as the couple of points Chelsea dropped against City last week might be compounded by another draw, or even a defeat. I doubt whether this would've altered the destination of the Championship. Failing a dramatic turnaround in form, it appears destined for Stamford Bridge for the first time in half a century. Nevertheless if the relationship between the teams of the table toppers two immediate competitors remains decidedly frosty, I think you'll find there's been a rare thaw amongst fans of both the Arsenal and Man U.

Our recent rivalry ensures it's unprecedented and so the words still stick in ones craw, but I believe we are all united in our desire to see the Blues pegged back by either side. I'm sure most would find it much easier to swallow the bitter pill of our traditional enemy taking the title rather than the Kings Road massive of an insufferably arrogant Mourinho.. And if we could at least apply the brakes on Roman bramovich's runaway train the end of season run-in won't be quite such a damp squib.

It wasn't nearly so galling when Jack Walker spunked the family silver on buying the title for Blackburn, the team he'd supported man and boy. But no matter how much respect I have for the talents of lampard, Duff, Robben and Terry (and their redoubtable Portuguese manager), Chelsea's success will never sit well with me.

My original fears for what this might say about the modern game have been allayed to some extent by evidence of Chelsea's formidable team spirit. However what I find totally unacceptable is that aside from the odd revelations of a TV documentary, or a rare newspaper article, the young man who came over from mother Russia with several container loads of cash of dubious origins, has been welcomed into the bosom of British society with very few objections. Obviously I can only speculate (and pray Examiner readers are not included amongst Roman's minions, or I could find myself hanging off our balcony by my feet the equivalent of a libel writ in Russia!) but if the Blues do end up parading the Premiership trophy around at the Bridge, then team spirit will seem a trifle when you consider that their might be bodies buried somewhere which are testament to the Russians who could've paid the ultimate price for such footballing success!

Its an ironically long leap I know to equate a jew with those responsible for the holocaust. However to my mind this country has shown a similar lack of scruples in turning a blind eye to Stamford Bridge becoming a laundry for Russian mafia money, as the South American nations that gave refuge to the rich Nazis after the war.

To be sure, as far as the beautiful game is concerned, I guess like fans of every other club, we Gooners are green with envy about Chelsea's unlimited spending power. Doubtless if Abramovich had chosen to buy Arsenal instead, I would be doing a good job of ignoring the bigger picture. But just because the TV regularly broadcasts images of this respectable looking figure, lording it over his domain in his expensive Italian suits, this doesn't disguise the likelyhood of blood on his hands and the fact that Roman might be more appropriately dressed in black & white stripes.

I guess this is just more grist to the mill of my current disillusionment that the very essence of our game is being despoiled by all sorts of corporate skullduggery. Honest my flag of convenience remains Arsenal red, as I'm nothing more than the shallow sorts my grandad once labelled "champagne socialists" long before I was born, whose ideals are inversely proportionate to their affluence.

Beattie's early sending off ensured that Everton's ambitions became sufficiently limited that watching Saturday's match was an exercise in masochism. Moyes' under-manned team invited the sort of pressure that meant defeat was almost inevitable. And a rare weekend of watching football with my feet up didn't get any better when West Brom missed the couple of sitters which would've ended Spurs season. Utd prevailed in the Mancunian derby (I suppose our ceasefire depended on Chelsea dropping points!) and my eagerly anticipated encounter with our East London neighbours in the next round of the Cup was curtailed by a comedy penalty shoot-out (inspiring the insightful text message from my West Ham supporting colleague "I hate football!").

As is my wont, I sat down to write this piece with Sky's rolling sports news channel as background noise. But I was soon distracted by an interview with Sheffield Utd's manager. Some months back I registered my interest in the Club Level seating at our new stadium. The design of modern arenas and the spectators distance from the action means that as far as I'm concerned there will be no equivalent to our amazing seats almost on the halfway line at Highbury, where I'm close enough to lambast the lino, but at a sufficient altitude to appreciate tactics. However the nearest equivalent will be at the front of the middle tier which has been entirely given over to this scheme, where four season's worth of advance payment means we'd have to fork out something like £36,000 for me and the missus.

I can't afford the current exorbitant prices which for two of us is about '0% of this unbelievable amount. We're still paying for two seasons back but are so attached to our amazing pitch that I'm 'happy' to go into hock for our Highbury seats. Unless I'm due a serious wage increase (ed?) I won't be stumping up a deposit this week, when I've an appointment for a virtual tour of this Club Level facility.

Warnock's interview on Sky proved particularly poignant timing, as he detailed how his steel worker dad had saved up for a works outing to the capital. We heard a nostalgic description of how dad sneaked his son onto the bus and hid him entering Highbury's turnstiles. Either it must have been a mundane match, or Warnock was no more than a nipper, as children have a tendency to aggrandise everything and his most vivid memory from this outing was the huge timepiece above Highbury's Clock End. The clock's coming with us but I imagine you'll struggle to find any dads and sons interspersed amongst all city slickers who are supposed to be queueing up (personally I think the club are living in la-la-land!) to occupy the entire middle section of our new state-of-the-art entertainment facility.

Traditionally a football stadium was where father's introduced their progeny to a love of the beautiful game. We appear to be leaving behind so many of football's inveterate habits at our ancient Highbury temple that I'm increasingly worried we're moving to a magnificent advertising hoarding which won't deserve such a venerated moniker

Who would have thought that joker James Beattie would have a hand in nailing the lid shut on any lingering hopes we had of retaining our title. Beattie's postbag is hardly likely to be full of Gooner Valentines cards after his idiotic 8th minute sending off at Goodison on Saturday. I was up with the lark for work as I wanted to leg it home in good time to be ensconced in front of the TV for Chelsea's midday match..

As the player who's probably had the most impact on the Premiership remained in the treatment room instead of turning out against the Toffees, Robben's absence was good cause for optimism. In as much as the couple of points Chelsea dropped against City last week might be compounded by another draw, or even a defeat. I doubt whether this would've altered the destination of the Championship. Failing a dramatic turnaround in form, it appears destined for Stamford Bridge for the first time in half a century. Nevertheless if the relationship between the teams of the table toppers two immediate competitors remains decidedly frosty, I think you'll find there's been a rare thaw amongst fans of both the Arsenal and Man U.

Our recent rivalry ensures it's unprecedented and so the words still stick in ones craw, but I believe we are all united in our desire to see the Blues pegged back by either side. I'm sure most would find it much easier to swallow the bitter pill of our traditional enemy taking the title rather than the Kings Road massive of an insufferably arrogant Mourinho.. And if we could at least apply the brakes on Roman Abramovich's runaway train the end of season run-in won't be quite such a damp squib.

It wasn't nearly so galling when Jack Walker spunked the family silver on buying the title for Blackburn, the team he'd supported man and boy. But no matter how much respect I have for the talents of Lampard, Duff, Robben and Terry (and their redoubtable Portuguese manager), Chelsea's success will never sit well with me.

My original fears for what this might say about the modern game have been allayed to some extent by evidence of Chelsea's formidable team spirit. However what I find totally unacceptable is that aside from the odd revelations of a TV documentary, or a rare newspaper article, the young man who came over from mother Russia with several container loads of cash of dubious origins, has been welcomed into the bosom of British society with very few objections. Obviously I can only speculate (and pray Examiner readers are not included amongst Roman's minions, or I could find myself hanging off our balcony by my feet the equivalent of a libel writ in Russia!) but if the Blues do end up parading the Premiership trophy around at the Bridge, then team spirit will seem a trifle when you consider that their might be bodies buried somewhere which are testament to the Russians who could've paid the ultimate price for such footballing success!

Its an ironically long leap I know to equate a jew with those responsible for the holocaust. However to my mind this country has shown a similar lack of scruples in turning a blind eye to Stamford Bridge becoming a laundry for Russian mafia money, as the South American nations that gave refuge to the rich Nazis after the war.

To be sure, as far as the beautiful game is concerned, I guess like fans of every other club, we Gooners are green with envy about Chelsea's unlimited spending power. Doubtless if Abramovich had chosen to buy Arsenal instead, I would be doing a good job of ignoring the bigger picture. But just because the TV regularly broadcasts images of this respectable looking figure, lording it over his domain in his expensive Italian suits, this doesn't disguise the likelyhood of blood on his hands and the fact that Roman might be more appropriately dressed in black & white stripes.

I guess this is just more grist to the mill of my current disillusionment that the very essence of our game is being despoiled by all sorts of corporate skullduggery. Honest my flag of convenience remains Arsenal red, as I'm nothing more than the shallow sorts my grandad once labelled "champagne socialists" long before I was born, whose ideals are inversely proportionate to their affluence.

Beattie's early sending off ensured that Everton's ambitions became sufficiently limited that watching Saturday's match was an exercise in masochism. Moyes' under-manned team invited the sort of pressure that meant defeat was almost inevitable. And a rare weekend of watching football with my feet up didn't get any better when West Brom missed the couple of sitters which would've ended Spurs season. Utd prevailed in the Mancunian derby (I suppose our ceasefire depended on Chelsea dropping points!) and my eagerly anticipated encounter with our East London neighbours in the next round of the Cup was curtailed by a comedy penalty shoot-out (inspiring the insightful text message from my West Ham supporting colleague "I hate football!").

As is my wont, I sat down to write this piece with Sky's rolling sports news channel as background noise. But I was soon distracted by an interview with Sheffield Utd's manager. Some months back I registered my interest in the Club Level seating at our new stadium. The design of modern arenas and the spectators distance from the action means that as far as I'm concerned there will be no equivalent to our amazing seats almost on the halfway line at Highbury, where I'm close enough to lambast the lino, but at a sufficient altitude to appreciate tactics. However the nearest equivalent will be at the front of the middle tier which has been entirely given over to this scheme, where four season's worth of advance payment means we'd have to fork out something like £36,000 for me and the missus.

I can't afford the current exorbitant prices which for two of us is about '0% of this unbelievable amount. We're still paying for two seasons back but are so attached to our amazing pitch that I'm 'happy' to go into hock for our Highbury seats. Unless I'm due a serious wage increase (ed?) I won't be stumping up a deposit this week, when I've an appointment for a virtual tour of this Club Level facility.

Warnock's interview on Sky proved particularly poignant timing, as he detailed how his steel worker dad had saved up for a works outing to the capital. We heard a nostalgic description of how dad sneaked his son onto the bus and hid him entering Highbury's turnstiles. Either it must have been a mundane match, or Warnock was no more than a nipper, as children have a tendency to aggrandise everything and his most vivid memory from this outing was the huge timepiece above Highbury's Clock End. The clock's coming with us but I imagine you'll struggle to find any dads and sons interspersed amongst all city slickers who are supposed to be queueing up (personally I think the club are living in la-la-land!) to occupy the entire middle section of our new state-of-the-art entertainment facility.

Traditionally a football stadium was where father's introduced their progeny to a love of the beautiful game. We appear to be leaving behind so many of football's inveterate habits at our ancient Highbury temple that I'm increasingly worried we're moving to a magnificent advertising hoarding which won't deserve such a venerated moniker.