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So, this morning we wake up to the potential a brave new world in which the 6 largest clubs by revenue in England join six of their equivalents in Spain and Italy in the potential formation of the European Super League – a rival format to the Champions League.  Most of the reactions have been predictably ire-filled. It does look very much as if the aforementioned clubs are attempting to engage in a game of “Pull-the-ladder-up, Jack”.  And as a result, it would be very easy for me to join in with the cacophony of angry reactions:  no relegation, at least for the founders; contempt or at least lack of sympathy for those left behind; potentially massive disruption to the status quo in European football.  I get it.  But I just want to consider the changes in the light of what I would hold to be the bigger picture. 

Let’s start with a little analysis of that current state, starting from the 1992/93 season when, as we know, Sky invented football.

In the 28 seasons since then, the Premier League has been won by 7 clubs.  However, within this, on 25 occasions it has been won by just 4 clubs.  Each of those is in the ESP group. The Spanish league has been won by 5 clubs, with 25 of those being split between the clubs in the ESL group.  Serie A has been won by 5 clubs, with 25 of those being won by the 3 Italian clubs included in the ESL.  Hmm.  I’m on the point of spotting a pattern….

Of the other European leagues which might be expected to provide entrants, 3 more have histories of 3 clubs winning, you’ve guessed it 25 titles – Germany Portugal and Holland. Only a single major European league has had more than 6 winners in that time – France.   It could easily be argued that this kind of relative stasis is already hard coded into league football across Europe.  

And what of the Champions League itself, for which the proposed competition is the rival? Well, in the same 28 seasons, 25 titles (I’m not making this up) have been won by representatives of 4 leagues. Only the Germans have, as yet, chosen to stay out of the ESL fray.   Of the remaining 21 winners, all of them come from the clubs included in the ESL.  So essentially, we have the same clubs qualifying and winning.  For the rest, and that is all competitors, it is largely an exercise in revenue optimization with little or no chance of success.  The last club out of this group (or Bayern) was Porto and that was nearly 20 years ago.

It is clear that there is no level playing field as things stand.  Rather there is a heavily tilted one. UEFA themselves have done nothing to prevent this situation. FFP was implemented, and perhaps even conceived, so shoddily as to enable any vaguely savvy CFO to drive a coach and horses through it.  Hardly the action of a governing body with its prime or indeed any concern about fairness, I would posit.

And what of the regulators of football?  The Premier League showed no compunction in casting adrift the clubs not included in the new tournament at the inception of Sky’s invention of football, although ultimately it was forced to offer parachute payments and a certain amount of trickledown to lower clubs and the football pyramid.  Of course, we haven’t seen any substantive details on the new offering, but it would only be good politics for the constituents to agree to this once the initial fire has been drawn.  And they have had no qualms about timing games so that away fans either can’t get there or can’t get home by reasonable means of public transport. So, all in all, not perhaps the altruistic benign governors they would like to present themselves as.

UEFA we have already touched on. Although I would like to ask how much concern for fans a governing body arranging for a European final to be played in a city which is as much a part of Europe as a fish is a vegetable and which has no serviceable land or air connectivity to enable fans to attend really has?

For FIFA to opine is for me, the icing on the cake.  An organisation which conspires to arrange for a World Cup to be played in winter, in a desert, in a state with as much care for human rights as your average dictatorship.  Not so much the view from the moral high ground as from the primordial swamp.

These organisations can restrict players and clubs from playing in their sanctioned competitions.  Though I would doubt that legally this would hold water during the lifetime of existing domestic tournaments as the new competition doesn’t impact them, from the little we can currently see.   It remains to be seen how their none-too opaque threats over UEFA and FIFA tournaments play out.

And then we have the bleatings from Sky, obviously concealed behind the public face of its de facto brand ambassadors such as Roy Keane and Gary Neville. For these gentlemen to try to present themselves as somehow the guardians of the way football was, is and always should be run is pushing it somewhat for me.  Where was their concern at the ever-rising cost of entry to the ground, or of a shirt, or of the Sky subscription with the concomitant impact on the real fans, those whose families have been steeped in the game and the local club for years?  They were happy to take the personal benefits presented by the Sky money and its assault on the hugely imperfect status quo, but somehow this must now be fixed in aspic for eternity.  As the great Pete Townshend wrote and the inimitable Daltrey sang – Meet the new boss; same as the old boss.  I can’t help thinking that Sky’s primary concern is defending its own platform’s market share.  It has essentially been created off the back of football and although it has clearly been moving away from relying on football and indeed sport towards a strategy of direct competition with mainstream terrestrial broadcasters across the range of output, that transition is far from complete. 

Lastly, and most definitely least, we have the half-arsed interventions from politicians.   PM Johnson has uttered some fairly mealy-mouthed condemnation about the potential changes.  I honestly cannot imagine this man has ever been to a football match outside of in a political capacity nor that he has any genuine interest either way.  The PM has to say what is expected, especially ahead of elections.

The Leader of the Opposition, apparently an Arsenal fan although as per the PM above, this might well just be a convenient way of hanging his cashmere donkey jacket in a suitably visible place for the proles to see, said this: “This proposal risks shutting the door on fans for good, reducing them to mere spectators and consumers”.  Sorry, what else have we been for the last 30 years and arguably ever?   This is surely the apogee of the politician’s vacuous comment.

Much of the output from the commentariat has really been playing to their own vested interests. The public wave of anger, amid the current trend for encouraging the childlike belief that nuance doesn’t exist and therefore almost any discussion should be framed within an entirely binary horizon, is thus conditioned to react accordingly.  Light blue touchpaper and retire.  

I’m happy to give things a little time to play out, understand what is genuinely being sought and see the degree to which compromises develop, as they most likely will.

Notwithstanding the owner’s craven plans, celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the 1970-71 Double when football was a spectator sport rather than a billionaire’s plaything.

Bertie & Don were the brains behind the 1970-71 Double

“The difference is in the thickness?”

A very late goal by Eddie Nketiah saw Arsenal salvage a point in a game in which almost every aspect of the game gravitated against them. Even then there was an agonising wait as Craig Pawson and his VAR henchmen sought ways to disallow Nketiah’s close range effort. It followed a corner at which Mat Ryan appeared in the box to significant effect. 

While a number of us on this blog have a very soft spot for Fulham they would have been extremely fortuitous winners. Fulham played virtually no football, saw Arsenal have a marginal goal disallowed, profited from a penalty where Lemina jumped like an Olympic high-jumper to con the officials and though they defended bravely with a standout performance by the keeper, Areola, they were very much second-best even to an Arsenal side that increasingly showed the effects of Thursday’s exertions in Prague. Perhaps the worst news for Arsenal was what looked like a nasty hamstring injury suffered by Alexandre Lacazette in the second half. 

Pre- match, my main concern was if you could play in the Fulham defence if your name didn’t begin with A? The game was distinguished by the first mention in the official programme of Goonerholics Forever in respect of our Double celebration and Willow appeal. A lovely gesture by the club.

Mikel Arteta’s team selection was almost certain to be a surprise given the impact of Thursday’s match. The inclusion of Mat Ryan in place of Leno was not expected but not in this correspondent’s view significant. The defence was rotated, as was the midfield, but Xhaka remained in the team at left-back and Ceballos continued. Our recent front three was slightly tweaked with Martinelli starting but Saka, ESR and Lacazette continued from Thursday. 

Taking a knee appeared to be a very significant gesture last Thursday and Laca led us before the match in another pointed protest against racism. 

When the game began it looked briefly like crisp, sharp Arsenal had turned up. Lacazette set up Martinelli in the first minute and his lifted effort over the jumping keeper was just wide. In the sixth minute, Areola then made a good block from Martinelli after fine work by ESR. However, our early flurry didn’t yield a goal despite the brightness of some of our football with ESR, Ceballos and Martinelli prominent and Saka and Martinelli double marked every time they got the ball. Lacazette coming deep was carrying on his excellent link play but Fulham created the next major opportunity when Maja had a shot deflected just wide of the left-hand post with Ryan off-balance. It was to be their only goal attempt, the spot-kick aside.

On 21 minutes, Smith Rowe drove just over and Elneny started to become more visible but not for the right reasons, driving a pass ridiculously firmly at Saka, wrestling Lookman to the ground and then when we moved forward with Fulham under pressure he played the ball back to Holding! 

Then a ‘goal’.  On forty-one minutes, we built pressure from both wings and a teasing chip from Bellerin was subtly headed in by Ceballos. Saka’s toe was clearly offside (!) and the goal disallowed. Another ‘goal’, this time a potential own goal by Andersen was ruled out for a clearer offside by ESR. I wasn’t fully in sync with Roy Keane at half-time, not for the first time it must be said, as he described the game as ‘shocking.’ But it was very much a case of an anti-climax after Thursday. Fulham’s defensive mindset and our increasing fatigue made for a flat spectacle. We had played all the football and had returned from Prague after a big match on Friday morning. Facing a massed defence against a desperate side it was not a straightforward task although the game did have a slightly end of season feel.

Half-time – Arsenal 0 Fulham 0 

We hoped for a sparkier Arsenal performance in the second half. Laca immediately drove wide when decently placed and Bukayo Saka strangely hit the post from an acute angle with his right foot. But then the balance of the game shifted.

In the fifty-fourth minute Fulham shifted forwards and Gabriel blocked Lemina whose leap into the air would have done Dick Fosbury proud. Arsenal fans are used to interminable waits that end badly and this was no exception. Was a Fulham man marginally offside? No! Was it a clear and obvious error? I thought so but I usually do when Craig Pawson is involved. Penalty given. 

Maja hit a very firm penalty high and down the middle giving Ryan no chance. 

Arsenal 0 Fulham 1 – (Maja pen 58) 

Arsenal’s response saw a Bellerin header go just wide before he was hooked along with Elneny for Partey and Pépé. Saka was moved to right-back – yet another position for him to fill. 

The rest of the game was attack v defence even after Lacazette collapsed to the ground clutching his hamstring. Nketiah came on for some rare minutes and understandably found it difficult to adjust to first-team football after so long on the sidelines. 

Without showing any great incisiveness or quality Arsenal furnished many chances. Pépé had a point-blank header saved from a Martinelli cross. Nketiah lofted over and then mis-controlled a beautiful Saka pass. Saka was just wide with a curving shot with two minutes of normal time left. Martinelli had a shot blocked by Areola and then Reid made a great block to deny Martinelli at the death. A flurry of corners seemed certain to come to naught but after Fulham blocked a Ceballos shot, the ball was deflected across to Nketiah and he ran it home at the far post. Scott Parker was apoplectic that Holding was offside but he wasn’t interfering with play and not in Areola’s eyeline. 

Arsenal 1 (Nketiah) Fulham 1 (90 +7 minutes) 

Final Score Arsenal 1 Fulham 1 

So, if Fulham’s first victory at Arsenal eluded them at the death, it was another very disappointing home result. Europe via the League looks a long way away now especially given the injury blow to Laca. We await the visit of Everton on Friday hoping we can produce a fresher performance and one in which VAR is much less intrusive.

It’s coming …. 

Embed from Getty Images

After last Thursday’s purposeful and penetrative performance in Prague the pressure that was building up on the Arsenal team and their rookie manager should now ease up a little. The manager and the players alike should now feel that if they play to their strength – which most definitely is in the opposition’s final third – and approach each match with the intent of playing positive football from the first whistle, they have enough sparkle (individually and collectively) in the team to end the season with a noticeable and healthy glow of progress. 

The team’s enjoyable performance mid-week was accentuated further by their laudable togetherness to take a stance against the cancer of racism, and their visible support of each other at every phase of the game. Those who had just started to pander to their negativity about the club must also be disheartened by the news that our talismanic captain’s latest performances and body-language that had generated such concern – to be honest less among Arsenal fans but more amongst those who have always liked a cheap shot at the club – as a potential Mesut Özil saga part deux was caused not by his hairstyles or fast cars but by the most potent assassins in human history, mosquitoes. Away on international duty he must have been assaulted by a cluster of female Anopheles mosquitoes, flooding his bloodstream with Plasmodium parasites to wreak havoc with his internal organs. Thanks to the miracle of modern medicines – especially when it reaches a malaria patient at the right time, which unfortunately still isn’t the case in many corners of this global village – Aubameyang is on the path to recovery.

However, he will not be anywhere close to fit enough for this weekend’s match against our west London rivals. We played Fulham away in our opening match of this league season where captain Auba had simply carried on from where he had left off last season. Kieran Tierney and Martin Ødegaard too remain sidelined for this match. Whereas the Norwegian playmaker is expected to be match fit in the coming days, Tierney still has a few more weeks to go. If you add David Luiz – who has lately shown more of his unquestionable quality and leadership and less of his unpredictable calamitous tendencies – to that mix, we have four key players missing. But when has that not been the case towards the end of an Arsenal season? 

Fulham has had a difficult season until now where a lack of defensive solidity and not enough goalscoring threat have undermined their effort and often pleasing on the eye football. They are in a relegation battle and will have to put together a string of very good performances and results to avoid immediately dropping straight back into the Championship after being promoted last season. We should be ready for a tough game and not take our matchday one performance and result as any indication of how the game may unfold. 

Curiously, our away form has been significantly better than our home form this season. We can theorize a lot about why that is so – mine is that the team and Mikel assume more of a demand on themselves to get results at home, and respond to that pressure of responsibility by overelaborate game plans at the expense of throwing some unnecessary caution to the wind – but whatever might be the reason, we must rectify this trend (that is, make our home form at leastas good as our away form) if we are to end the season positively: four of our remaining seven matches in the premier league are at the Emirates, as well as the second leg of the Europa semi-final against the yellow submarines. 

The changes in personnel, formation and tactics that Mikel had brought in to compensate for the absence of Tierney and Ødegaard in the last two matches have been quite effective, and despite a degree of predictability in how we play without possession we have been more precise and dynamic with the ball. I think he will continue with the same strategy and will keep Xhaka as the left-back with Dani Ceballos rejuvenated in a surprising left sided midfielder role, especially given that before our next league match against Everton we have a bit of time to rest and recover. Then comes the crucial Europa semifinal double header against Villareal sandwiching a league match away at Newcastle. Given that Tierney will remain unavailable for all of those matches, building familiarity and consistency with these latest changes will serve us better. 

The only change I would like to see is Saka getting a rest as not only has he played a lot of minutes, but all oppositions have targeted him relentlessly and I would like to see his minutes managed to make sure that we have him available at his sharpest in matches against oppositions stronger than tomorrow’s opponent. His replacement – Gabriel Martinelli – is particularly useful against teams sitting deep and defending in low blocks as he will drive at them relentlessly. We may also want to bring Bellerin or Cedric in for Chambers though right now he performs better than either of them. Given that Chambers is coming back from a long injury lay off a break will do him good as I think he should – just like Saka – start against stronger oppositions. 

My preferred line-up would be:

Leno 

Bellerin – Holding – Marí – Xhaka

Partey – Ceballos 

Pépé – ESR – Martinelli

Lacazette

In addition to the last two away wins being by noticeable margins, it was also very pleasing finally not to concede goals after a run of every conceivable way of gifting goals to the opposition. So, let us start positively from the very beginning, stay on the front foot and take the inevitable chances that will come our way. I predict another 3-0 win, though this time the match will be harder than the score shows.  

Come on Arsenal!              

And, in case you don’t have the dates in your diaries:

And, it’s probably worth giving this historic moment from the last 24 hours a further airing:

Bohemian Rhapsody

Embed from Getty Images

Last week, in North London, we outplayed our Europa League quarter final opponents, Slavia Prague, making many chances but spurning most of them. Virtually on the final whistle we conceded an away goal which made the final score 1-1 and led to much angst, even in this normally calm bar. We were off to Prague, the capital of Bohemia, for the second leg. 

The team announced was very similar to that which blew Sheffield United away at the weekend, swapping only Martinelli out for a fit again Emile Smith Rowe. However on the bench, the next generation of Hale End talent was appearing, with Azeez, Balogun, and Hillsdon joining Eddie and Nelson. Auba was confirmed earlier in the day to be suffering from malaria. We wish him well. 

Leno, Chambers, Holding, Marí, Xhaka, Ceballos, Partey, Saka, ESR, Pépé and Laca.

Ryan, Hillson, Bellerin, Gabriel, Willian, Cedric, Nelson, Elneny, Nketiah, Martinelli, Balogun

There had been much discussion before the game – was this make or break for Arteta? (I’ll give you my view below, although I trailed in it the drinks under GSD’s excellent preview). One thing was for sure, this was a huge, huge game for keeping any competitive interest in this season. Any defeat or a 0-0 draw and we were out. Any win and we were through. Positions behind the sofa were assumed and we were off.

Before the kick off the SP team all stood, huddled together. Their fellow player had just been suspended for 10 games for racist abuse vs Rangers. Led by Lacazette the Arsenal team took the knee, a strong silent protest. 

The first ten minutes or so were all theirs. Confident in their own stadium where, the BT Sport guys kept telling us, they hadn’t lost in 15 months. Then, on 14 minutes, we broke forward for the first time. ESR went down the right and fed in Saka on the edge of the box. He pinged in an excellent left foot shot which the keeper did well to tip onto the post. It broke to ESR following up who tapped it in. Gooaal – oh no wait! An interminable VAR check decided that Smith Rowe was marginally offside. 

How would we react to the disappointment? We came straight back up their end. The ball came to that man ESR again on the edge of their box, surrounded by half their team. He nutmegged one man, then another, sliding the ball through to Pépé on the left. Pépé’s first touch was excellent (I don’t write that often), he froze his defender and drove it into the net. We were ahead and with an away goal!.

Slavia Prague 0-1 Arsenal (Pepe 18, agg 1-2)

Again we broke forward, with ESR playing in Saka again. He was fouled, no ifs or buts. Penalty! Nerveless Laca ran up, paused mid run and rolled it into the net with the keeper diving the wrong way. Suddenly we were 3-1 up on aggregate, with 2 away goals. Any draw would take us through. The fast start we so wanted had happened. 

Slavia Prague 0-2 Arsenal (Lacazette 21, pen, agg 1-3)

We were utterly dominant in this period. Partey passed to Chambers on the half way line. He jinked to his left to beat a man, and laid Saka in with a lovely left footed pass right into his stride. He made ground, did the keeper with the eyes and passed the ball into the goal inside the near post. Perfection and should be game over as SL now needed four more goals. Brilliant, brilliant stuff. Huge grins from Arsenal fans everywhere, mid-afternoon in the US, 4.30 am in Japan, Thursday evening in the UK. All were applauding, cheering, drinking and relaxing. Come on you Gunners!

Slavia Prague 0-3 Arsenal (Saka 24, agg  1-4).

We got to half time confidently with Rob and Marí blocking and heading the ball away. Pépé was tackling back well, helping out Xhaka on our left. Half time and we were 4-1 up on aggregate. A dazzling first half performance.

Slavia made a rather rare thing at half time; a quadruple substitution. On 66 minutes, the “hold what we have” change began as Elneny came on for the Croydon de Bruyne, who once again had had a quite brilliant game.

The skipper put the punctuation mark to the game on 76 mins when Pépé ran down the left and crossed to Laca. He seemed to have about three weeks to control the ball and smash it in with his left foot. Slavia Prague’s much vaunted home record was in bits and their players demoralised.

Slavia Prague 0-4 Arsenal (Lacazette 77, agg 1-5)

Just time to make some subs. Martinelli, Cedric and Balogun all got some minutes and Martinelli nearly scored after a lovely run, but it was all over. For the third time in four years we are in the Europa semi-final, playing Unai Emery’s Villareal. The interest continues into May (the games are on April 29 (away) and May 6 (home)).

So was Arteta’s job on the line last night? As I said in the previous drinks, not for me, win lose or draw. I am firmly on the side of giving him at least another year, whatever happens in the Europa League and even if we fail to get a European spot next season.  I think he can bring on these talented young players and mould them into a title challenging team. The last two games have seen all his tactical decisions come good, playing Xhaka at left back, Partey the deepest defender, Holding and Marí forging a partnership at CB and the youngsters playing merry hell up front. Lacazette is loving all the pace around him. But it could all go wrong again in the next game and this team is firmly a work in progress. But, for me, it’s heading in the right direction.

Charlie George has just signed for Willow!

The Cup Final replica shirt and programmes in our forthcoming auction now bear the signatures of FIVE of the legends from the 1970-71 Double Winning team. Bob’s autobiography now bears not only his signature but also that of the one and only Arsene Wenger.

Forget giving your Holic Pound to the Bookies and start saving your shekels to bid for a piece of history!

Meanwhile, during the currency of this post, a historic moment occurred that should be marked and toasted:

Well, by now there is no denying that our two-faced team have hit the point where the success of our season is going to be defined by the next game in the Europa League. Unless we win it, of course, in which case we get two more season defining matches to give ourselves a chance of playing in a season-defining final. I’m drained just thinking about it.

The scary thing is that we have no idea what this team might produce tomorrow evening. Writing a preview is a bit like playing Pin the Tail on the Donkey (be honest – who just thought of Xhaka?)

We could score two early goals and go through comfortably. We could concede two early goals and go out pathetically. We could get a red card – by our own standards we are long overdue one. We could definitely concede a last-minute goal to go crashing out. Or draw 3-3 with a last-minute goal of our own.

There is no result this team is not capable of. Oh joy.

In the pre-match presser in London, before the flight out to Prague, Bernd Leno had this to say

“Once we score one goal, they are under big pressure. This should be our target: to score the first goal and then with a second goal we can almost finish the game because they’ll have to score three goals.”

Well, his plan does rely on us scoring goals. Who knows if that will happen? And I love his assertion that trying to score the first goal should be our target. When he hangs up his gloves, a career in management beckons the astute German. I am also a fan of his follow up plan – to score a second, unanswered goal. Top stuff that man. I am on board for that particular ride!

I am also glad that he seems optimistic that if we do manage to score two then we will not concede three. I hope that indeed comes to pass.

Slavia Prague

Unwelcome news has come out today that Ondrej Kudela has been banned for ten matches for racially abusing Glen Kamara in the previous tie win over Rangers. He maintains his innocence. Regardless, he will not feature tomorrow. Apart from that update I shall point you all in the direction of The Doc’s excellent preview, which cornered the market on details about our opponents tomorrow and which I have nothing to add to – apart from my praise!

And, with the greatest of respect, if we turn up and play at anything like our best level then we will beat whatever team Slavia field. So, I do not want to get too bogged down in what they are up to, and neither should our team or coach. Rather than negating them we should play to our strengths. We need to score, and we are crap at managing games anyway, so best just to play with some freedom and create some chances.

The Arsenal

This is tough to call. El Jefe has a variety of things he could do. Saka and ESR both trained and have travelled with the squad. At the time of writing, I don’t know about Auba or Odegaard. Lacazette got a brace at the weekend, Gabigol got his first goal in a while and played well. Pepe keeps providing tangible moments in games – goals and assists, that are exactly what we will need tomorrow. Willian may play. He is not my favourite player, but he is gradually improving, and his on-field class is such that he might find some form and spark into life at any time. If the boss did not believe this, he would never get a game, although personally I would like to see him on the bench tomorrow.

Left-back is a problem. No two ways around that. Will it be Xhaka again? Or Cedric? Ceballos had his best game in a while at the weekend. He could keep his place. Mari looks solid but Gabriel may partner Holding. Chambers or Hector at right-back? A lot depends on what combinations Arteta sees working on the wings, and I really don’t know what he is going to go for tomorrow.

However, I will take a punt…

Leno

Chambers Holding Mari Cedric

Xhaka Partey

Saka ESR Martinelli

Laca

Key for us will be getting on the front foot, asserting pressure and creating chances. And then, for the Love of God, scoring some of those chances! Laca best have his shooting boots on (he is up to 13 league goals this year, which ain’t half bad). Saka is due one, given the quality of chances he has had in recent games without finding the net. Partey is yet to get off the mark. Now is the time, Thomas! We have a lot of players capable of creating and scoring chances but if we do not show up, or labour around the pitch with sloppy passes then we will go out. And that would be entirely our fault. By conceding a stupid goal in the first leg we have left ourselves with no margin for error here.

We must be up for this. We must outwork them. Pass crisply, track runners and lose our own markers. Our midfield must not look like they are running through a bog. During a blizzard. In blindfolds.

This one is not rocket science – just do your jobs and play a good game of football, lads.

The Holics’ Pound

Having pointed out that any result is possible, I now have to plump for one. However, somewhat surprisingly, I have no hesitation in going for 3-1 to us, available at 14/1 with William Hill, and slightly better if you shop around. Sorry Bernd, but I can’t see us keeping a second clean sheet in a row. However, I do think our firepower will see us over the line in this one.

Finally, let me share that I have a friend who has family in the Czech Republic. They are Sparta Prague fans, so, brilliantly, she described Slavia as “the Czech Spurs”. That made me laugh, although perhaps it is somewhat harsh on the Czech team, who, unlike the LWCs, are still in the Europa League this year.

I hope that when the dust settles after Thursday night we are too.

Enjoy the game, wherever you are watching it. TTG recommends from behind a sofa.

Have a good one ‘holics.

Some dates for your diaries and more details on the signatories to the items on auction. Note the blog on ‘Fan Recollections of the FA Cup Final at Wembley 1971’ is now on 10th May.

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