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, 20 February 2011

Pass Masters

So much has been written about the Arsenal win over Barcelona that there seems little left to say about the game result.  However as much news ink and band width has been spent in miserly mood, shaking metaphorical heads about away goals and revenge at the Nou Camp the main point about Wednesday night has been missed.  It was simply a joyous occasion and a wonderful spectacle to be involved in.
Perhaps it also marked a shift in Arsenal's status as it most certainly felt like a European occasion with little connecting it to English traditions.
Maybe this was due to the fact that I arrived at the game on the Eurostar from Brussels.  With little point in crossing London and back to go home I opted to grab a bite at the architectural marvel that is St. Pancras International and with plenty of time in hand decided against the crush of the tube in favour of the 91 bus.  This proved to be a prescient move as from the top deck travelling up the Caledonian Road the stadium was framed perfectly by the London skyscape, and as it drew closer the spotlights beamed into the sky to create a stellar ECL logo gave little doubt that Ashburton Grove was the place to be.
The free flags (as seen above) given to everyone in a home seat were no match for the waving of a red and white bar scarf but the huge red and white banners raised behind each goal really added to the carnival atmosphere.
The noise itself didn't seem quite as intense as at the corresponding fixture twelve months previously, a sign perhaps of the more equal nature of the contest compared to Barcelona's 2010 mauling of a badly depleted Arsenal.  Of course you will be sick of hearing by now how Jack Wilshire came of age in this game, but what about Laurent Koscielny giving his best performance in an Arsenal shirt, probably helped by the fact he wasn't faced by a physically domineering centre forward.
Being sat above the Barcelona fans compensated for all the goals being up the other end with Arshavin's instant strike winner really taking the breathaway of all at the Clock End.
All that was left to do was to wander through the side streets to the Holloway Road along with 60,000 other Gooners buzzing with excitement at being Kings of Europe for one night at least whilst hoping that the spirit of George Graham's 90s defensive fortress of Dixon, Bould, Adams and Winterburn can be revived in Catalonia in March.

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