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Apologies – well, not really – for the rather awkward title. It’s two titles actually – two song titles – and the fact is I couldn’t decide which one to consign to the digital bin. They are closely related but just don’t mesh comfortably into one.

Sunday 28th May, at home against Wolves, marks the end of another season which always inevitably involves a degree of retrospection. 

It’s a little under three and a half years since our friend and founder of the Goonerholic community sadly passed away. His death came soon after the departure of Arsene Wenger and the end of an era which came to a slightly overdue but all too distasteful close. As that circle closed, a new one began which led to the gestation and re-birth of this blog, very much in his name and, hopefully, in a style of which he would approve. Another season’s writing has left those of us who now share the load marvelling at how Dave, all by himself, ever produced such volume and quality.

Following the Wenger era and a difficult period of adjustment, another new circle has begun and we have been thrilled this season to see the rebirth of our club, the emergence of a new Arsenal man in Mikel Arteta, and a team playing in a style that we can all love and be proud of. What a shame Dave is not here to share it.

When I started to think about this piece, the second song seemed a good idea. My Way, or with some licence in the final line, We Did It Our Way, would serve to amplify the differences in how we and Manchester City operate, especially as we would have taken them right to the wire in the last game of the season, or even been league champions. Unfortunately, we have done it in what has become Our Way in recent times. There are good reasons for it, but our performances and results have dropped to the extent that they have won the title with points to spare. However, second place represents fantastic progress for us and is beyond what almost any of us would have expected this season.

It Ain’t What You Do, It’s The Way That You Do It ………

Oh, another song but one that is relevant, as the season closes, to the fortunes of two clubs at opposite ends of the table. Luton Town are in the Championship play-off final to try to secure promotion back to the Premier League after 15 years in the footballing wilderness into which they were cast in the 2008/09 season, by virtue of a 30 point deduction handed to them for financial and other irregularities.

The problems began for them in early 2008 when manager Mike Newell asked the board what had happened to the £13+ million profit they had made on recent transfer business, as it had certainly not been reinvested in the team, and was sacked for his trouble. Allegations of kickbacks and bungs to agents were made, and evidently proven, for which the club was given a 10 point deduction. After a change of ownership, more financial mismanagement and a fire sale of their best assets, the club had got itself into a right old mess and went into administration. Despite claims that in the ensuing period there was no evidence of tax avoidance, no obfuscation of the club’s affairs and no further breaking of any rules, Luton were handed an additional 20 point deduction at the beginning of the 2008/09 season for not exiting administration “in the correct manner”. Starting the season at -30 points they were inevitably relegated, went into a spiral of decline and 3 years later found themselves in the Conference Premier.

So what’s all this got to do with the price of fish ?  

Well, really it’s about comparing the price of different fish. It’s now well known that the Premier League have uncovered 115 cases of financial irregularities committed by Manchester City but it seems that City suddenly become very sensitive about the propriety of proceedings when actually under investigation and getting the club into court is proving difficult. Unlike Luton, City can hire the most expensive lawyers to delay and obstruct proceedings, something they have already done by disputing the legality of Murray Rosen KC, as head of the Premier League’s independent judicial panel, on the grounds that he is an Arsenal supporter!

City’s ‘most expensive lawyer’ is the aptly named Lord Pannick – interestingly the man employed to fight Boris Johnson’s allegations of rule breaking during COVID-19. If he fails and City are eventually found guilty, punishment could even amount to expulsion from the Premier League, but some predictions are that it could take up to 4 years to complete proceedings.

It’s not as though City don’t have history in these matters. In February 2020 they were banned from the Champions League for 2 years by UEFA after being found guilty of breaking the financial rules of the competition and misleading the European governing body. They appealed, of course, and the ban was overturned by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) as it was ruled that some of the charges were time barred – time gobbled up by their legal people – as FFP breaches had to be prosecuted within 5 years. 

Incredibly, considering their objections to Murray Rosen mentioned above, Manchester City appointed two of the three members on the CAS panel, including its chairman, and won a 2:1 majority vote in their favour. It is important to note though, that City were not cleared of those time barred accusations against them, they paid millions of pounds in uncontested fines, and some allegations were left unanswered.

My own naive view is that the Premier League should be the ultimate authority in their own competition, with the power to bring whatever sanction is deemed necessary if their rules are broken. It seemed a simple enough process when “little” Luton were involved. It is vital for competition in the Premier League that no club, however powerful, is able to unfairly buy complete domination of it.

Bet fair …? Not if you’re a player !

Last week, Brentford striker Ivan Toney was banned “from all football” for eight months with IMMEDIATE effect. That was for over 200 gambling indiscretions which were made public knowledge several months ago. So why the rush to ban him so quickly, right now, two games before the end of the season ? 

Well, coincidentally Man City play Brentford on Sunday in the last game of the season. The immediate ban means that, were Arsenal still, by some mathematical miracle, in with a chance of winning the league, Brentford’s main goal threat against City has been parked safely out of the way – just in case they needed any more help. Am I just bitter about Man City ? You bet ! (oops, sorry, Ivan!)

The teams

It honestly feels a bit pointless to go into any sort of detail about player availability, formations and tactics for this game. Wolves are safe from relegation in 13th place – (one behind Chelsea 🤣) after a remarkable reverse in their fortunes since Julen Lopetegui took the reins in the new year. They were bottom at Christmas but have won 41% of their games since he took over.

The Arsenal are secure in second place, 40 points ahead of our opponents (38 points ahead of Chelsea, and 24 ahead of Tottenham 🤣). I guess the main question is whether Mikel Arteta will give playing time to some of the young players who have recently been on the bench, in order to protect those who are to be leaving this summer. The composition of our squad will provide some very strong clues as to who they will be.

There have been some cries on the dreaded social media this week for Mikel Arteta to be sacked following our failure to win the league. Some people really are indescribably stupid. I am not able to be at the stadium myself on Sunday but I sincerely hope that all those who are will give their continued, fantastic support to the manager and all our players who have given us a wonderful season and a tremendous platform on which to continue building.

The Holic Pound
No suggestions from me for this game. In any event you could write everything I know about gambling twice on a postage stamp, but you would have to be a very committed punter to put money on the outcome of this one where there is “nothing” at stake and team selections are anybody’s guess.

However, finally …..

Despite the excellent service they provide and the seemingly quiet dedication of his devotees, shock news is emerging from Castle Ned where it seems some things are not quite as they might be with one of the monks in Ned’s Trappist order. Apparently the monks are allowed to break their silence once every ten years and on the tenth anniversary of his joining, Brother Thomas was asked if there was anything he wanted to say – 

“Yes, Father Ned, I was wondering if I might be able to have a little milk with my cornflakes each morning ?”, he asked.
“I’m sure that can be arranged”, Ned replied, and Thomas returned to his duties within the order.
After another ten years he was asked again if there was anything he wished to say –
“Well, Father Ned, I was wondering if I might also be able to have a little sugar with my cornflakes ?”, he asked.
Again Ned agreed and Thomas returned to his duties ….After a further ten years he was summoned to see Ned once more.
“So, Thomas”, said Ned, “you have now been with us for thirty years. Is there anything you would like to say today ?”
“Yes, there is,” said Thomas, “I’m leaving ! I’ve tried and tried but conditions here are appalling. I can’t stand it anymore and I want to go !”
“Well, thank God for that !”, Ned replied, “It will be a relief when you’ve gone as you’ve done nothing but complain ever since you got here !”

Enjoy the game for the final time this season – TTG will be next up with his season review. Have a good summer !

55 Drinks to “The Circle Of Life – We Did It Our Way”

  1. 1
    bt8 says:

    Cheers, Trev. That was excellent, entertaining and incisive including the brilliant parallel between Luton and Man City. We will look back on this season as one of the best. Now if Mikel can get us over the line next season but as for now, let’s close this season as we would want to do.

  2. 2
    North Bank Ned says:

    Tsk! Tsk!, Trev. No cornflakes for you. 🙂

  3. 3
    North Bank Ned says:

    In all seriousness, an excellent season’s closer, Trev. The Luton/Man City comparison was inspired.

    Separately on financial shenanigans, the FT reports that the Barcodes are close to a new shirt sponsorship deal with Seal, a Saudi events company that is one of the Saudi sovereign wealth fund’s investments (like NUFC). It will be interesting to see how rigorously the PL enforces its rules on related party transactions.

    No breath being held at Castle Ned.

  4. 4
    BtM says:

    Great stuff, Trev. Loved the Hatters v Cheaty comparison, nicely done.

    And yes, some people are indescribably stupid (include me out, of course). The crowd really needs to show full appreciation of an excellent season tomorrow. No airplanes towing banners please.

    With some luck I’ll be more than 3,000 feet up in the air at match time tomorrow, absent aeroplane or parachute. Highlights after high life for me.

    Enjoy the game.

  5. 5
    Ollie says:

    Cheers, Trev. An inspired article/not preview. Great job.
    At this stage I’m nearly not bothered about losing if it brings Wolves ahead of Chelsea…

  6. 6
    Ollie says:

    Meanwhile Dortmund seem to be doing a mess of winning the Bundesliga…

  7. 7
    Ollie says:

    Bayern win it. It’s sickening.

  8. 8
    OsakaMatt says:

    Yeah, that was annoying, Dortmund should have got 5 or 6.

  9. 9
    OsakaMatt says:

    As I should have said first thanks Trev for an excellent preview with plenty to digest.
    Brooke Norton-Cuffy, one of our loanees lines up for Coventry today, with Ben Sheaf, an ex-gooner also in there. Best of luck to them.

  10. 10
    TTG says:

    A fine and amusing piece Trev , Thankyou.
    It’s been a great season but clearly we need to get rid of the best young coach in Europe and nab Sam Allardyce . It’s an obvious move
    I hope we end positively tomorrow and the fans who have supported so brilliantly this season leave on a high note

  11. 11
    OsakaMatt says:

    And talking of finishing on a high note, tomorrow sees the end of the Holics Ropey League for this season, a season review will surely follow…..but first it’s Holics Ropey League Cup Final featuring the giant killers of Los Tejas, who have bundled out the top two on their way to a showdown with The Mikelin Stars – best of luck to both teams.

  12. 12
    Bathgooner says:

    Great stuff, Trev.

    I understand that Saka may not be fit and that our latest signee, Nelson has recovered from his illness sufficiently only to wield a pen but not yet enough to kick a ball. With our long term absentees now including Martinelli, we will certainly see a new attacking configuration.

    I’m disappointed not to be there to offer my gratitude for a fine season’s work and farewell to Xhaka, Tierney and Elneny, good servants all.

    Give them a good send off, chaps.

    And be ready to catch BtM if the wind sends him your way!

  13. 13
    Ollie says:

    Gutted not to be there too, especially as I am now not going to Cannes.

  14. 14
    Goonersince54 says:

    Top notch finale Trev
    I have to salute all the Holics who have done the heavy lifting with pre and post match
    Dave would be absolutely chuffed at the quality that has been a joy to read over a very long and enjoyable season.
    It’s just a crying shame that there is only a very small hardcore readership to enjoy them.
    Hopefully we can give the supporters a win to send them off on their summer holidays dreaming of some silverware next season.
    A great shame that Dortmund, like us, just failed to knock of City equivalent in the Bundesliga.
    On a separate note,
    I see the Monks union have been successful in getting Cornflakes on the breakfast menu, and it was only recently they also got jam added for the toast.
    Gone are the days of a Bowl of Gruel to start the working day.
    I hear they are also angling for a morning smoko and a hour for lunch. !!
    Where will it all end.

  15. 15
    North Bank Ned says:

    Sounds like a palace coup at Bayern with CEO Oliver Kahn and his sporting director being sacked even before the sound of the final whistle of their Bundesliga-winning game had died. Kahn taking the fall for sacking Nagelsmann, and Bayern winning merely a single bit of silverware this season.

    Clive@14: Don’t believe everything you read in the Daily Trev. 😉

  16. 16
    ClockEndRider says:

    Excellent piece, Trev. Lovely to find out late last night that Luton had made it back to the top table. Spoke to a couple of Cov fans on the tube who informed me of the result. Great lads and it’s a shame they can both come up to the Premier League. I enjoyed some good days out back in the 80’s at the old Highfield Road ground. Any town that can produce the likes of Terry Hall, Neville Staple and Jerry Dammers must be okay. And there’s always that cup final win in 87 over the Marshdwellers. Aah, happy days.
    Looking forward to meeting up pre-match at the preferred Islington watering hole to discuss the season gone past. The Old Lady of Threadneedle Street has been informed and a significant portion of the national gold reserves sold to provide funding. So that’s the first round sorted.
    There seems to be some concern in the drinks that there may not be a terribly positive atmosphere at he game. I rather suspect the opposite. It has been a wonderful season with some of the best football played by Arsenal for many a year. The atmosphere at home has been first class, buoyed by the influx of youth, on and off the pitch, and has become almost as good as that enjoyed at away games. It is also a bank holiday weekend here in the UK and, miracle of miracles, the sun is shining for the first time in what feels like an age. I think the lap of honour post-match will be well attended and indeed honoured. We have witnessed, in the words of those great Cov songsmiths mentioned above, The Dawning of a New Era. I fully anticipate that by the time I get home, I will have Enjoyed Myself, and it’ll be Later Than I think.


  17. 17
    OsakaMatt says:

    Have a great time CER and any of my fellow Holics at the game. I am sure it will be a positive day as it’s been a great season – 3-0 would be a nice traditional end of season home win.

  18. 18
    Trev says:

    Thanks fellas for the kind ones.

    Hoping for a champagne performance and a sight of some of the next crop of academy players.

    Enjoy the lunchtime get together if you’re lucky enough to be going.

  19. 19
    Las says:

    Cheers, Trev! An intelligent and heartwarming piece. Just like our season was.
    I don’t think justice would be served regarding ManCheaters. Too much money at stake, far too many people have been bribed at all level.
    Victoria Concordia Crescit for me means that we achieved what was possible playing fair.
    Ohh, and thanks to all of you for all this remarkable previews and reports and everything in between. I learned and loughed a lot.
    For Dave.

  20. 20
    bt8 says:


  21. 21
    Uplympian says:

    Thanks Trev for an interesting take on our final match of the season – it was a most enjoyable read. Hopefully the boys can finish with an up tempo performance. Whstever the result everyone involved deserve a rousing send off for giving us the most magical of seasons in a long time.

  22. 22
    Steve T says:

    Cheers Trev. Entertaining stuff as always.

    Just on the train now, heading to the ground. The sun is out, the sky is blue and I’m very much looking forward to a good win as a fitting end to a very good season. None of us would have expected this in August.

    The season has been full of positives. Others have highlighted the numerous financial irregularities made at Citeh. Let’s hope they are dealt with robustly. The season does feel as if you’ve been the main leader of the Tour de France, only to be overtaken in the finishing stages, by Lance Armstrong.

    Onwards and upwards boys and girls. I’m looking forward to next season already.

  23. 23
    Trev says:

    Cheers, Las, Uply, Steve,

    Like the Tour de France take, Steve – exactly that !

  24. 24
  25. 25
    Ollie says:

    ‘This video contains content from TF1, who gas blocked it in your country in copyright grounds’, bt8.

    I normally don’t get access to UK TV content, but French TV content blocked in France is new to me.

  26. 26
    bt8 says:

    Documented FACT:

    It has now been






    since Spurs won the league.
    Big club my arse!!!

  27. 27
    bt8 says:

    sorry about that Ollie, it was the Youtube of Scatterlings of Africa by Johnny Clegg and Savuka, if you have another way to find it.

  28. 28
    bt8 says:

    This extra hour and a half before kickoff must be a bonanza for the pubs.

  29. 29
    Ollie says:

    Cheers bt8, well you’ve put that song in my head now even without looking for it.

  30. 30
    OsakaMatt says:

    Same starting XI as at Forest. I hope it won’t be the same performance!

  31. 31
    Bathgooner says:

    Steve T asked me to post this picture in the drinks with the text: “Thanks Dave!”

  32. 32
    OsakaMatt says:

    Get in Granit! A farewell goal to get the crowd singing…..

  33. 33
    OsakaMatt says:

    Could it be a farewell hat trick 😂😂 two for Granit as Wolves have sportingly decided not to bother with nonsense like marking or defending

  34. 34
    OsakaMatt says:

    Oh Granit, a hat trick chance goes begging. Nice goal from Saka as Wolves are obligingly
    shite so far 3-0

  35. 35
    bt8 says:

    Re: Matt @30. Maybe with a few tweaks? Improvements and less focused opposition, certainly. An enjoyable way to end the season and it looks like everyone at the Grove was having a blast.

  36. 36
    OsakaMatt says:

    Can’t argue with 5-0 and I wouldn’t want to, nice finish to the season
    And a great finish for Xhaka

  37. 37
    North Bank Ned says:

    Bath@31 and Steve T: 👍👍👍👍👍

  38. 38
    Ollie says:

    Well that was a good way to finish the season!

  39. 39
    North Bank Ned says:

    That was a romp in the sun. As OM says, sporting of Wolves not to bother with marking or defending.

    So we end five points off City and nine ahead of the red Mancs. A fantastic performance on both counts that most of us would gladly have taken as the season kicked off. Forget coulda, shoulda, mighta. It is what it is, and what it is was pretty good.

  40. 40
    Bosnian Gooner says:

    The season was a bit of a roller coaster. We had little expectations in the beginning…and we entered May thinking we can be champions. That was quite a trip! In the end, our squad depth proved to be insufficient for us to battle City. We have nothing to be ashamed of…we played some fantastic football…we improved big time in comparison to the last season. Looking forward to Edu and Mikel bringing in the right reinforcements this summer. Looking forward to see where the ‘process’ will take us next season. Looking forward to listen to that CL anthem in the Emirates again. So many things to look forward to…

    To all of you in the GHF community…stay healthy and see you around next season. COYG!

  41. 41
    bt8 says:

    Ned knows, as do the monks.

  42. 42
    North Bank Ned says:

    And I think TTG has ended up in a dead heat atop his prediction league, which reminds me that if you want to join the ‘Holics prediction contest for next season (predict the 2023-24 PL final placings, 1-20), let TTG and me know here in the drinks, if you haven’t already done so.

  43. 43
    Pangloss says:

    What are the details Ned?

    What are the rules?
    Will predictions be published – if so where? What about week-to-week standings?

  44. 44
    Bathgooner says:

    An excellent performance to end a fine season. Time for the players to enjoy a summer break.

    Now it’s a different challenge. We must make the right signings to take the next step up. Go get ’em, Edu!

  45. 45
    North Bank Ned says:

    Pangloss@33: It is pretty straightforward. You predict next season’s final standings in the PL before the season starts, from 1-20. At the end of the season, for each club, you will get a score calculated as the difference between your prediction and its actual standing squared. All 20 scores are then totted up. Player with the lowest total wins. I’ll keep track of progress as the season progresses and publish a leaderboard here; best efforts to do that after every matchweek. That is about it. The only other rule is that every entrant has to make a £10 donation to one of Dave’s favourite charities. TTG is organising that side of things. The new season starts August 12, so the deadline for submitting predictions will be shortly before that. TTG and I will send a reminder and details of where to email your entry etc closer to the time.

  46. 46
    Ttg says:

    Congratulations to Matt on winning the Holics Europey League by a decent margin with a very healthy score . I enter two competitions and won the other one by over a hundred points but Matt was way too good for me this time .
    Sake all round Matt ?

  47. 47
    OsakaMatt says:

    Sakes all round it is TTG! 🍶🍶🍶🍶🍶🍶🍶🍶🍶🍶🍶🍶🎉
    Never won one of these before and probably never will again 😂😂

  48. 48
    bt8 says:

    Congratulations and another round of Sake to OsakaMatt on his Ropey League triumph and nearly season-long domination. Additional congratulations to Los Tejas Gooners on their Ropey League Cup triumph. I’m not certain but suspect that with such an Irish name (the manager’s, not the team’s!) their manager must be (?) a member of the cba clan. Los Tejas Gooners crushed the Mikelin Stars, GSD’s outfit, 31-26.

  49. 49
    OsakaMatt says:

    Thanks bt8, I will try to be modest 🤴🤴🤴

    Yes, the inaugural, that is first-ever, Holics Ropey League Cup Final was a thriller and even late in the game I thought It’s Up For Grabs Now. In the end Los Tejas Gooners were indeed saved by Jesus having, in the approved Alexandrian tradition, successfully crushed all opposition on their glorious march to the shores of the sea. There, they lay by the rivers of Babylon while the CL anthem Macedonia! filled the night air with its haunting refrain*

    Anyway, well done them!

    * geography was different in them days

  50. 50
    scruzgooner says:


  51. 51
    OsakaMatt says:

    Finished with the aplomb of Xhaka in the 6 yard box there scruz 👋👋

  52. 52
    Bathgooner says:

    May I add my congratulations to Matt for High Bar’s epic season (I really don’t know how you do it) and to Fintan Beirne for Los Tejas Gooner’s astonishing cup triumph with some epic giant killing victories. Well done both.

  53. 53
    Ollie says:

    Well in scruz!

  54. 54
    bt8 says:

    Thanks Steve T. and Bath for the great picture @31. I had to search the faces for a while to find Dave but finally spotted him. 👍🏼

  55. 55
    Bathgooner says: