About Me

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Hammersmith, London, United Kingdom
I'm a director of Maidenhead United Football Club. For ten seasons one of my roles at the club was to produce the match programme. The aim of this blog was to write football related articles for publication in the match programme. In particular I like to write about the representation of football in popular culture, specifically music, film/TV and literature. I also write about matches I attend which generally feature Maidenhead United.

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Happy Feet

Samir and his happy feet
The nation must have spluttered over their porridge on Saturday morning when the press release ahead of that night's episode of Strictly Come Dancing revealed that Ann Widdecombe's favourite film was Happy Feet.  A headline catching choice for the hapless hoofer, but one that would fit the bill for Samir Nasri's display against Fulham in the afternoon.  The little man from Marseilles proved himself to be the personification of the footballers' holy grail of quick feet as he twice skipped through the Cottagers defence to win the game for the Gunners.
This was but part of the tale though in a London derby which Fulham could well have taken something more tangible from than the post match hopes of Mark Hughes that the fighting spirit his team showed could be taken into their next game.
I found myself with a manager's eye view of the game having picked up a last minute ticket following Maidenhead United's postponement which deposited me in the front row of the lower tier on the halfway line.  My joy at this stroke of luck was literally dampened when I discovered that my afternoon would be spent below the dripping roof but this was small beer compared to the opportunity of seeing the cut and thrust of the days action up close and personal.  This proved to be no distraction to most of my colleagues sitting on this row whose weekly familiarity with their surroundings has seemed to have led them to engage in an eating and drinking competition of a Saturday afternoon.
Andrey gets ready to pull the strings
The opening staged were dominated by Arsenal for whom Andrey Arshavin (on the receiving end of some good natured booing for his part in Russia World Cup winning bid) pulled all the strings to create half a dozen chances of which Nasri took just one to open the scoring.  Having survived the opening onslaught Fulham repeatedly executed a well worked routine where a through ball split the Arsenal defence and was collected by Diomansy Kamara.  This was more often than not flagged offside but the frailty of the back line was plain to see.  Thus it was no surprise that the equaliser was scored by Kamara although this was thanks to a stroke of good fortune as it came about following a collision between centrebacks Koscielny and Squillaci.
Five to Five and top of the league
After the break Arsenal pressed hard to retake the lead, but in its absence Arsene Wenger decided to throw caution to the wind and virtually abandon the midfield by bringing two more attacking players in the form of Robin Van Persie and Theo Walcott.  This ultimately led to Nasri's winner but the end of the game saw Fulham do everything but score, as they took advantage of the gaping space between Arsenal's front and back line to pepper Fabianski's goal. With the result in the balance even the junk food scoffers around me began to take an interest and even contribute to a tense atmosphere, the final whistle providing relief coupled with elation as the news from Stamford Bridge led to the realisation that Arsenal would be top of the league going into their trip to Old Trafford in nine days time.

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