Tag Archives: matchday

Dial Square FC – Keeping the fan connection alive

Arsenal are synonymous with tradition, class and upheld values that go back to the original days of the club.

We are a club that does things the right way and the way we operate is one of the reasons why many of us began to support Arsenal.

What happens when football itself threatens the fabric of your club though?

Many articles have been written about how the sport has transformed from a fan-centric endeavour into a multi-billion business. It has seen multiple owners buy into Premier League outfits and plunge into bottomless pockets to drag clubs toward glory.

It has also seen new owners purchase clubs simply as part of their portfolio.

Like a hunting trophy of sorts perched on their wall, the new owner buys the club for the lustre of owning the club.

Step forward Stan Kroenke and KSE Holdings.

Arsenal have gone from a fan-represented club to an enterprise that is singly owned, leaving fans with no voice in regards to how things are run. It is a sad state of affairs and is far removed from what has been the process since 1886.

And with the cash flowing around the game for all clubs to snatch at shamelessly, it leaves fans as a second thought. No longer is packing the stands a priority. What matters is results and keeping the brand alive. Pre-season tours abroad to enlarge the fanbase, merchandise, promote, rinse and repeat.

Clubs have realised they don’t need fans in the ground, they know enough people will pay to watch on tv. Not only are we seeing the death of clubs throughout the English football league, we are now seeing the slow demise of the football supporter as we know it. Football it seems, is about to change forever.

Arsenal now no longer resemble the club that the majority of us began to support – but that doesn’t mean we stop supporting.

We are all Gooners until we die, but being a fan is intrinsically linked with watching the game, feeling connected to the club, meeting friends and experiencing the matchday atmosphere. Whether that be the pub or the stands, you associate supporting your club with the connection you have.

Which is why Dial Square Football Club was born.

https://www.dialsquarefc.com/

Taken direct from the club’s mission statement, Dial Square FC declare;

We set up Dial Square as an alternative to The Arsenal, not a replacement. We want a club run by fans for the fans. We are committed to it being affordable and accessible to everyone. We are a grassroots football club with huge ambitions and with a passion to be the best we can. But, at the heart of our dream is to ensure the ownership of our club stays with the real investors, the supporters.
If any good is to come from this difficult time, it’s that greed in football will be exposed for what it is and non-league and lower league English football will come into its own. “

This year, the above club declared that it would burst into existence. It is formed by Gooners who have become disenchanted with how Arsenal Football Club is now run and how fans no longer have a voice in the running of the club.

The people who run Dial Square are all still Gooners and always will be, but DSFC exists for all Gooners who want to watch a game and watch a club that is run by supporters – for supporters.

The motto of the club is ‘Renascitur.’ In Latin, this means reborn. Dial Square is very much hewn from the fabric of Arsenal – and it is where the values of the club are being upheld.

The plan is for the club to rise through the leagues but do so in a way that keeps the fans – us – in the loop.

Isn’t that what we are used to?

Giving your support to Dial Square isn’t you shunning Arsenal – it is an opportunity to realign with what matters to you most.

Run by fans – for fans.

If you have had enough of modern football in its current form and want to be part of what we are doing and help us shape the future, please contact us via our website, or contact us at info@dialsquare.com

Superstitions and Lucky Pants

Talismans, rituals, charms, lucky items that you simply cannot do without. Whatever you call them, there are many who incorporate some strange things into a matchday.

It has nothing to do with faith or a lack of, and yet we hold these things and processes as dearly as though it were an ethereal deity. 

How do we nominate these lucky things? How do they go from a simple, everyday trinket to a fully blown portal to Lady Luck herself?

Of course, it all resides in our head. However, in the hours before a match and during those fraught ninety minutes, does that stop us clutching that scarf tightly? Does it even enter our head to not walk down a certain road to the stadium as this was the way you walked when we won a certain important game?

We include these foibles and idiosyncrasies into our routine, and they give us a thin blanket against the harsh winds of realism. There are of course, many who scoff at those who treasure such treasures, and walk the long way simply because they believe it to be lucky, but it is far from harmful. It is not deluded to wear your lucky socks when your club plays, and it does not detach yourself from reality. All it does is simply illustrate that you are willing to go an extra mile to obtain a mystifying 1% extra for your team. 

Even though your actions have absolutely no bearing on what happens on the pitch.

It is preposterous and relateable all in the same measure. It is quite hilarious when someone states they have a lucky mascot that they have smuggled with them, and when your mate is half an hour late to meeting you as he or she simply must go to a certain chippy before the game, as they have done since we miraculously recovered to beat Hull 3-2 in the Cup Final. 

I consider myself to be in cahoots with actuality, and yet I have a lucky pair of Arsenal boxer shorts. Every time I attend a match, I must wear a pair of my Arsenal socks from an extensive collection. About ten of those pairs feature ex-players, and I deliberate for minutes regarding which player would be optimally suited to whichever opponent we are facing. Dennis Bergkamp against Stoke? No, his precious touch would be better suited in the hotbed of a bigger game? Against the brute force of the Potters, the guile and power of Patrick Vieira would be best, or the talismanic leadership of Tony Adams? 

Ridiculous really. I’ve probably wasted hours of my life sitting in my bedroom choosing socks that I propose to be lucky. Some of these socks now have holes in, but can I bear to part with them? No. Those were the socks I wore when we defeated Bayern Munich. Those socks I wore when we smashed Villa in the Cup Final. 

It doesn’t end there. Teddies, scarves, bracelets, pubs, roads, restaurants, even certain foodstuffs that must be consumed before kickoff are all held up on a pedestal, even though all of us – even those who revere these things so heavily – know it means nothing.

It means something to those who are involved though. Sentiment is a pwerful thing, so if your pal maintains that his stupid looking bobble hat is actually armed with the power to ensure Giroud scores a winner, then let them have it. If you are the person who must consume a Wispa Gold on the buildup to the game – even if you are bilious from the night before – then embrace that facet of you.

Even players themselves embrace these things. Who can forget Laurent Blanc kissing the bald head of compatriot Fabian Barthez in France’s World Cup winning campaign? 

If these professional players are of the same mindset, who are we to argue? Is it so bad that some of us think that luck can be bartered with? 

The uniqueness is what makes every person. If we all stood firmly on the ground, then it would make for very boring conversations. Objectively, it is also important we have those who shun such beliefs and comfort blankets, so us who have our head in the clouds do not float off entirely. 

It may be intrinsically linked with certain parts of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, but those stoic people who do not chuck their coins into the wishing well offer are the rope which keeps us tied to the ground. It can quite easily become the most important part of your ritual, even foregoing the match itself. 

The majority of superstitious people can easily just have this little part compartmentalised and kept away from the rest, and this is the best way of dealing with such mannerisms. 

It makes things interesting, and that person who looks completely straight-laced may just have a certain lucky shirt they wear that they think imbues their team with that little extra luck. 

Who are we to argue with that? Let us be honest here, when looking at Santi Cazorla’s perfect free-kick in the Cup Final of 2014, it is clear to all that my socks were responsible for the flight of the ball. 

I  chose my Thierry Henry socks that day. 

West Ham Vs Arsenal – Match Preview

Everton and Watford have been chalked off emphatically as Arsenal continue to chase a highly unlikely title victory.

Next up is a visit to Slaven Bilic’s Hammers.

  

Seeing as West Ham were the last team to beat us at Highbury and the first to win at The Emirates – to beat them the last time we play at The Boleyn Ground would be particularly sweet. First things first though – 

How do you keep a leash on Dmitri Payet?

The Frenchman’s wonderful free-kick which defied the laws of gravity was simply another instance where he showed his value. 

Thankfully, we have Francis Coquelin and Mohamed Elneny on the case in the centre of the park, and both have been in fine form of late.

This game comes too soon for the return of Aaron Ramsey & Mathieu Flamini – who have both recovered sufficiently that they will be included in the Matchday squad. Santi, Wilshere and Rosicky continue their comebacks, with Jack and Tomas featuring for the Under21 side last night.

Cheikhou Kouyate had the red card he was given last week rescinded, so he will come straight back into the side. 

Bilic has no injury worries, but much like Arsenal, his side are painfully aware that the slightest slip up will end their respective dreams.

Alexis Sanchez is showing a semblance of form recently, and after revealing he was playing in fear of getting injured again – it appears the shackles are now off. With young Nigerian Alex Iwobi grabbing the last two ‘Man of the Match’ awards, Arsenal are flying in attack.

Throw a fizzing Danny Welbeck and an Özil who is capable of changing a game with a mere flick – and you have a Gunners side finally showing Gooners what they thought would be the norm. 

Has it come too late though?

Eleven points is the gap, albeit with a game in hand. All games played must be won, and the margin for error is nil. 

This visit to West Ham is perhaps the toughest remaining fixture Arsenal have to contend with, if you take into consideration that the Hammers haven’t lost at Upton Park since their opening two home games.

Olivier Giroud has a particularly good record against West Ham, but if he is to have any impact, then he will do it from the bench more than likely. 

Arsenal will need a plan B, and a Giroud sub may be the ticket. Win this game – and as it is the early kickoff – we can sit back and hopefully watch the demise of our rivals. 

A Scouse Thrashing, 4 Goals Crafted by the Gods & Kissing Ink

Seeing as any match against heavyweight rivals is considered a ‘Category A’ game – the ticket for the game Vs Liverpool was priced accordingly.
So expensive that selling my kidney on Ebay was considered.

The match was a 1245 kick-off, but more importantly, the match was on a Saturday which is an increasing rarity thanks to the despot antics of TV scheduling. My fellow blogger and @GoonerspherePod cohort @JamesRaulStokes was to be my companion for the day and we attempted to evade the many changes and obstacles that the Underground system had in store for us.

Any matchday is incomplete, a shell of an occasion, without a visit to the finest pie establishment in the land – @PieburyCorner (The Thierry Henry is simply unbeatable ) – and seeing as after a leisurely sojourn on London’s subway system had turned into an arduous trek akin to a desert crawl, nourishment was required. After meeting up with @GreeneBantern – we selected our pastry weapon of choice and proceeded to scoff said crusty treat whilst stood around a refuse receptacle as sitting spaces were rarer than rocking horse fecal matter. The location mattered not a jot when the fare is as delightful as this and with a smile we finished up and proceeded to The Emirates.
Continue reading A Scouse Thrashing, 4 Goals Crafted by the Gods & Kissing Ink

Middlesbrough downed, Cup Progression and Pies. The Match Report.

Since our F.A Cup triumph last season, the oldest Cup competition on the footballing stratosphere has taken on a new lease of life in many Gooners eyes. The silverware drought ended and that day in Wembley drowned in sunshine and glory served as a reminder of how amazing a Cup Final day can be.

With the Premier League becoming arguably more difficult to win, the Cup takes on a tad more prominence. With that in mind, the Cup draw has now turned into a highly watched lottery where we hope for a plum draw in the next round. Seeing as last season we dumped out Liverpool, spurs, Everton and the holders – we should fear no-one. nevertheless, we still have our fingers crossed for a home tie against a team with eyes on other aspirations perhaps. Step forward Middlesbrough.

As I tucked into my obligatory matchday pie at Piebury Corner with @GreeneBantern, we discussed our projections for the upcoming fixture. We both agreed that, seeing as it was a lower league opponent then we had everything to lose. A tight encounter would ensue but our skill would see us through.

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Continue reading Middlesbrough downed, Cup Progression and Pies. The Match Report.