Thursday, 1 December 2011
To the Emirates on Tuesday night for the pleasure of a Carling Cup quarter-final tie and my first opportunity to watch City in the flesh for two seasons. I was pleasantly surprised by the talent on display, expecting a more junior side to be fielded. Yet we were treated to AJ, Zaba, Nasri (boo!), Big Nige and Edin (among others) and a slightly less stellar line-up from the Gooners. Oxtail-Soup impressed, but there wasn't a great deal else to cheer about on their side.
No faulting the effort, but the first half didn't deliver on quality. A fairly morose first half was balanced by a bit more fire in the second, and of course that great goal from Kun to cap it off.
The City fans were in magnificent voice in their corner ('You are our feeder club!' a definite favourite chant) however, and things picked up in the second half. The goal, when it finally came, was superbly made and nicely scored. Two or three passes after Arsenal softly let one of their corners go and it was nestling in the net. Seated as I was in the Clock End (though there is no clock) my match night experience was friendly enough, Arsenal fans a good representation of the diversity of the area, and my 'in' with the locals affording me some closer contact than I would normally have had. There was a slightly annoying woman behind me who kept quietly saying 'Moneybags!' in a pathetic attempt at baiting.
A bit rich coming from a fan of a club where beer and food are outrageously priced. £3.90 for half a litre of Carlsberg and £5 for a bloody hotdog! So I didn't bother eating anything.
Pre-match package was the Away Boys in the Eaglet; a sub-Happy Mondays duo who lamely substitute the names of Arsenal related bollocks for chorus hooks in pop songs. The pub was a good one, retaining the local feel that is so sadly ebbing away along with the other elements of the lifeblood that used to be known as British character. It served reasonably priced beer in glass glasses, and there were no security guards standing at the door asking to see your season ticket before letting you squeeze into the shithole while paying over the odds for the privilege.
Call me nesh if you will, but I was glad that the game didn't go into extra time, even though I have never seen a penalty shoot-out live.