And in 1951, there was light on Arsenal’s pitch
The match finished Arsenal 3-2 Glasgow Rangers. There were 62,000 in attendance, and the date was October 17, 1951. If it looks both surreal and completely normal, that’s because there are two senses of novelty at play, for the crowd and for a fan in 2013. At the time, this was only the second match at Highbury that Arsenal played under floodlights. The scene is complete film noir, which - after a little digging - revealed that there’s a film from a 1939 called The Arsenal Stadium Mystery. This match also confirmed a long-standing friendly relationship between Rangers and Arsenal. No camera crews. No advertisements. Just fans and football. [Click for high-res. via Reddit]
London calling. It’s time for the Champions League final.
The whole world is watching Germany in London. There are a thousand plotlines, and 100 reasons to love Jurgen Klopp, but we’ve done the dirty work to find the best reads ahead of the Champions League final between Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund.
- A tactical guide to BVB vs Bayern from Michael Cox.
- Anthony Lopopolo on why Dortmund has thrived by treating their fans like family
- Jonathan Wilson calling for Dortmund to stop Javi Martinez.
- Brian Phillips on the final’s five burning questions
- The best moments of lifting the Champions League trophy, in 30 seconds.
- How Jurgen Klopp has made Germany cool.
- A list of the greatest Bayern vs Borussia Dortmund matches.
- Miguel Delaney on whether Dortmund can spoil this season for Bayern.
- Brooks Peck’s Champions League companion
- Cristian Nyari on why history and redemption are on the line.
Business Time - AFR Voice, Ep 18.
It’s early May, which in footballing terms generally means one thing: it’s business time. And AFR Voice is punching in for this week’s audio shift with plenty to talk about. Whether it be a 33-man match in Norway, horror challenges on reporters in Denmark, or the hottest thing out of the Madrid branch of IKEA since someone burnt the meatballs, we’ve got it covered.
The Premier League title may be all wrapped up and tucked away safely in Manchester, but there’s still plenty to play for. We’ll be taking a look at the cross-London melee for the final Champions League places, whilst at the other end, any team not in the top half of the table will be nervously looking over their shoulders as Wigan make their customary late push for survival (if they’re not too busy winning the FA Cup).
Then we hop down into the lower leagues where there was a crazy final day in the Championship, and Paddy waxes lyrical about the play-offs as the league pyramid continues to shuffle itself for a couple more weeks yet.
"Glory is coming"
The Fifth Pitch decided against an April Fools prank and opted to celebrate the return of Game of Thrones into our screens instead by allocating clubs to their GoT House counterparts. London has 3 empires that looks set on tearing it to shreds, so it might be good to keep an eye on that…
Check the explanations below the drop…
The drumming noises have been those of betrayal and mercenarism. Once heroes, even captains, these men have been crucified in the memories of long-suffering Arsenal fans as Adams, lured by rival teams, their equivalent of the forbidden fruit. They see it as unfair competition, those with a monetary largesse abusing their ability to offer some degree of wage multiplication. Whether the Manchester sides and Barcelona can be considered present-day rivals to Arsenal is highly debatable for the simple fact that the Londoners are no longer the force they once were. Those traitors moved to ascend the footballing hierarchy. They moved to attain success, amongst other
They were replaced, to the best of the Arsenal powers of seduction. Germans and Spaniards came in to replace the Dutch- and Frenchmen. Even Thierry Henry, however ageing, returned once and is about to do so again. The Arsenalisms of fiscal austerity would do Merkel proud, but represent a 21st century footballing failure of insight. For all of Wenger’s nous, this seems a painful misstep. Despite this, his team has replicated top-four finishes. The Holy Grail, however unlikely, is every season a possibility.
The Germans and Spaniards employed are no slouches. They are internationals of rude pedigree playing in a system to which they should suit. The midfield is on paper a colossus and if early performances are any indication, Jack Wilshere is worth every drop of hype. If these performances are any indication, he will be the next departing mercenary in the eyes of the fans forever loyal. He will seek pastures anew. Football is so often a tale of potential unfulfilled, which pains the heart to witness. Somehow, there must be a reincarnation of the fully powered Arsenal of the early-Wenger era, or the red of North London will linger a breeding ground for the Big Teams.
An objurgation ofttimes aimed at Arsenal is one of excessive on-field dalliance, of pretty sashaying culminating in nothingness. The intricacy is initially pleasing, then tedious, complex, unnecessary, and then it dies. The Arsenal way is Bollywood-esque flirtation, a kiss away from something, anything. It is not a sign of altruism; rather it exemplifies one thing – an inexistence of plerophory. Instilling belief is the domain of the manager, and perhaps the time has come for fresh innovativeness.
The suggestion is not fickle. It has grown over eight years; it is more than pyrophoric. The greying man in the Arsenal tracksuit is running out of ideas. He has proven himself over sixteen years to be an entrepreneur of beautiful football, of this there is no doubt. Arsenal, though, need change. Arsene too looks like he could use it. The eurozone turmoil is a stellar example of how drawn-out inaction spawns innumerable costs. Arsenal will linger as it stands, as their new rivals embrace change in the name of progress, and they will crumble. Departures are neither a tale of dollars nor a tale of perfidiousness. It is the impecuniosity of success that drives them on, and the current batch will never forget Bradford City 2012.
By Joe Milford
The time is now for Arsenal’s supporting cast to stand up and be counted
There’s never an easy was to say goodbye is there? Be it with friends, classmates, and yes, even our favorite players, letting go is something that’s hard to do, particularly when what you are letting go of is something special. Such is the case with one Francesc Fabregas. Having seen the player grow up before their eyes, there will indeed be many heartwarming memories that Arsenal fans can conjure up on this, the first day of Cesc being a former Gunner. From the 18-year old boy starting the 2005 FA Cup Final alongside Robert Pires and Patrick Veira, to the 23-year old man smashing home a penalty to complete an epic comeback against the team he would eventually join, the nostalgia may prove to be inescapable. But while such ordeals may prove difficult for teams and fans to deal with, there’s always one thing to keep in mind. Losing your best player can be the beginning of a new and much brighter era.
By Darshan Joshi, writing from Sydney
The powers of fate will look upon the masses of match previews as one collective jinx, but as far as European football goes, it does not get bigger than this. Sure, the winner of the Coca-Cola Championship playoff will go on to receive a payoff the size of which the likes of Rupert Murdoch have not (yet)* seen, but as far as the weighing scale entertainment potential goes, we are at our sport’s zenith. This is Rafael Nadal against Roger Federer at their respective peaks, this is the free men of Middle Earth facing Mordor. This is football culture at its finest; this is Barcelona against Manchester United, at one of the most modern, and yet traditional of venues.