“Oh what happened to you, whatever happened to me, what became of those people, we used to be…”

Monkey bar, 12.47pm, Saturday 17th December 2011.  Swansea City at home.

“You out tonight then?”.

“Nah, it’s the final of Strictly…”.

Answered without the slightest embarrassment by a hirsute reared builder.

The youngest (by some way) in our group is 31 and he (Des) became a dad last Thursday. Welcome Junior Magpie Phoebe Elizabeth.  We’re going to have a night out to wet the baby’s head. Probably on a Friday, so I’ll be on the soft drinks as I run on a Saturday morning.

Baz walks in. He gave up his season ticket this year for financial reasons but has decided to come and have a Christmas drink with the lads. He didn’t tell anybody he was coming but sadly knew exactly where we’d be.

Stevie says he’s just booked a week’s holiday in Tenerife for March; without checking the fixture list first! He’s then mightily relieved to discover that we play the mackems at home just 3 days before he leaves. Could have been disastrous timing that one.

Mark then launches into a tirade against David Cameron (Can’t really blame him for that) for taking away any influence the British had on the Eurozone, zzzzzzz.

We’ve booked a table for 9 at an Italian restaurant before the West Brom game this Wednesday.

It’s hard to imagine that these are the same lads that have toured Britain and Europe following the Toon and getting into many a comedic scrape along the way. Oh when did it all go wrong?

I will be 50 years old by next Christmas. Bet you couldn’t tell.


Andgeo 5pts

Same old Arsene, always cheating!!!

1957 5pts

Interesting picture on the match of the day running time article.

Don't remember, on the day, this challenge being given as a foul, the Arsenal player definitely wasn't booked for it, presumably having your foot near someone's head isn't dangerous play in the view of the match day officials.

Any ref out there who can explain why the challenge above merits no card while a block or a trip does (sometimes)

TonnekToon 5pts

@1957 I'm surprised he wasn't booked for having his head too close to the oppositions foot !

1957 5pts

@TonnekToon @1957 It's typical of the lack of consistency from referees in general, if that had been Mbemba on Giroud I doubt it would have been ignored. I'm thinking of sending it to Howard Webb to see what punishment he feels appropriate for a high foot like that, although I doubt he will respond.

By far the worst tackle yesterday was Dier on Cleverly (from behind and straight through) the left Cleverly with ligament damage the result... a yellow card, different referees different standards.

stepaylor 5pts

Alot being said about the ref and my own opinion is that mitrovic should have seen yellow not red. However, i thought thauvin's challenge early on was a penalty. We did ok against a side who have better players than us in almost every position. Ask yourself this? Would any of our team today get into their first eleven?

PhilYare 5pts

nee shots and nee corners is shocking. same points as the mackems

LeazesEnder 5pts

Victory to Wenger in securing the services of the ref.....

Andgeo 5pts

This happens every time we play arsenal. There is always something going on in the papers the week before we play them. And, the only way they could have won yeaterday was against 10men. I wonder if other clubs experience similar when playing them. Doesn't help when half the press are arsenal fans.

paul janes
paul janes 5pts

Both against Swansea and Arsenal who are 'footballing' teams we've to say the least made our presence felt,that is a recipe for yellow and red cards.

As for Mitrovic,well ,optimists are saying he's young and he'll learn I'm not at all sure as his game is based on physicality and he's canny slow,gutted we've signed him in preference to Austin.

Hope I'm proved wrong.

Demented_Man 5pts

No complaints about the referee today. You can't just kick teams off the pitch these days to make up for a difference of class.

PhilYare 5pts

@Demented_Man agreed, even if we had 11 we wouldnt have been interested in venturing near their penalty box. Cech could have had a few pints at the strawberry

1957 5pts

I don't think Arsene and me were at the same game apart from agreeing Mitrovic deserved a red within the letter of the law.if anything the referee set himself from the first minute not to be seen as a 'homer' ignoring the over dramatic falls to the ground by players in red to get fellow professionals booked (simulation surely even if there was contact) and went completely the other way, interesting that Howard Webb and the referees organisation saw fit to come out and back him within an hour, damage limitation?...

I think we have the beginnings of a good team, their committment is fantastic and the crowd fed off that and produced a fantastic atmosphere, last season we would have wilted and the ground would have been silent.

howaymebonnylads 5pts

It's funny you know but I bumped into Arene Wenger after the game and he did a triple salko onto his posterior followed by waving an imaginary card at my mate who happened to have a green t-shirt on.

In all seriousness though, if Olivier Giroud had of stood on Vurnon Anita's foot it would have been an unfortunate mistimed tackle that at worst was  a yellow.  It's every time we play Arsenal they seem to have a knack of throwing themselves to the floor and demanding a card.  If only we weren't so honest and did the same!!!

Toonarden 5pts

Marriner? - He should have stuck to his sailing job.

He certainly threw us overboard to Arsenal and Wenger today.

murvar 5pts

I felt let down by Mitro. 11 v 11 I think we could have caused them problems. One thing we can say for certain is that we are learning how to defend at last. Much has been said about the negativity of playing 2 holding midfielders but all that means to me is that when we attack, one of them remains deeper - they aren't both @holding@ when we are going forward. In the later part of last season we would have lost that game by 3 or 4. Rio F said we would lose by  "2 minimum" before the game - with 11 men!

SteveSmith16 5pts

I've not been the most supportive of the current regime the last couple of years but the officiating today was disgusting, and I feel for those who paid money to watch an evenly contested football game.

The icing on the cake for me was when he played advantage while we were forced to play the ball almost back to Krul from the foul.

Danch2576 5pts

The referee was determined to give Arsenal everything they wanted, nothing the fans did influenced him as the only yellow he dished out to the cheating diving babies from North London saw him them book Gini for not being happy at getting fouled. Joke performance from the ref. Typical arrogant rubbish from Wenger too. We played very well against so called title contenders and had the game been fair we would probably have won it.