Tag Archives: memories

What’s Your Favourite Goal?

Goals are the currency of football.

Never mind the abhorrent amount of money that flows through the veins of the game, it is goals that keep the heart pumping, the turnstiles rotating and the clubs breathing.

When the ball hits the back of the net, for scorer and fan alike there is no greater feeling. They make the difference between glory and failure, ignominy and memories made. They encapsulate entire era’s, they symbolise icons and halcyon times.

They are also entirely subjective.

Just look at any Goal of the Month poll. Whether it be long-range screamer, thumping header or intricate team move, there are advocates for all. There are always football hipsters who will vocalise the attributes involved in a 6 yard finish, and the purists will always vouch for a twisting, turning solo goal, seeing opposition defenders sprawled on the turf with twisted blood.

Goals are enjoyed by all, but ask anyone what their favourite goal is and no matter their allegiance, they will always give a different answer.

It can be a long range, top-corner botherer, it could be a 20 pass manoeuvre that exhibits the finest one-touch passing before a slick finish bewilders the goalkeeper. More often than not though, it will be the occasion that elevates a goal from crowd pleaser to unique moment forever captured by all minds.

Look at Michael Thomas and his last minute heroics at Anfield in 1989. His run was astute, yep, but there was a bobble and a touch of luck before he put the ball over the lunging grasp of Bruce Grobbelaar.

michael-thomas Anfield

Pure it wasn’t, but you ask Gooners what their favourite goal was, and a large swathe of us will plump for it.

Thierry Henry’s effort against Liverpool in 2004. Champions League and FA Cup exits had left us raw, and we were on the rack against an inferior Liverpool team. Step forward Thierry Henry, at the time probably the greatest player in the world.

He picked up the ball about thirty five yards out and began to lead a merry dance, so fleet of foot and rapid that two, three, four Liverpool players attempted and ultimately failed to grab possession or even to stop Henry in his tracks.

Jamie Carragher left in a broken heap on the turf. The roar of the crowd as belief seeped in once again. The goal this time was beautiful, but much more than that, it was when we stayed on track during our greatest test in the Invincibles season.

The point here, is that as long as the net is rippled, we will greedily lap up all and sundry in terms of style of goal. We always appreciate a stylish effort, and if it grades high in technical skill then we will fondly remember it.

But should we progress to the Europa League final and one of our players knocks in the ball with his left butt-cheek? It will be held in the highest regard.

Aaron Ramsey’s winner Vs Hull City in the 2014 FA Cup Final. Andy Linighan, 1993. Charlie Nicholas, 1987, Eddie Kelly, 1971. Some goals were far more aesthetically pleasing than others, but each share a parallel – they won us something. They etched our name on silverware – and for that, they are also etched into our minds in indelible ink.

Wiltord Old Trafford.jpg

My personal favourite? Sylvain Wiltord’s effort against United at Old Trafford, 2002. His finish was snaffling up a loose ball after Ljungberg’s effort was saved. But it was everything else that makes it unforgettable. The stadium, the opposition, the fact that we had gone ahead and then won in a ground that gave precious few points away – the fact that it won us the title on enemy ground.

Not the prettiest, but it was pretty effective!

What about you – what’s your favourite goal?

Rocky Remembered

Remember who you are, what you are, and who you represent.”

Sometimes, words fall short, but not the quote above.

Any attempt to give a label to the man who is responsible for the above quote is pointless, because sometimes, words cannot justify what we have, or had.

David ‘Rocky’ Rocastle is the epitome of the word ‘legend,’ but that oft-used moniker doesn’t begin to cover the impact the player and man has had on not only our club, but generations of fans.

How does a player become the equivalent of amber? Their story forever encased to enjoy, a yarn passed down to neverending eras of support.

Rocky is held up as the example to all of what we want from a player. He is the barometer for the swashbuckling, brave football we all desire.

He is the gauge for the devotion we want our players to have for the cannon.

He is the level with which we use to judge the man behind the boots, jersey and pitch exertions.

Rocky was cruelly taken from us far too early, and it’s painful to imagine what role he would have with the club today.

Because he would undoubtedly still have ties to Arsenal should he be around today, for his love for Arsenal knew no bounds. He had the skills to pass down to today’s young bucks, he had the sage mentality to make sure lessons were learned, he had the fierce will to win that should be embedded in all professionals. He would have been a fantastic coach.

He is already an ambassador to the club, despite him not being with us in tangible form. We hold Rocky up and embrace him as a symbol of not only the happiest of memories, but of gratitude that such a player graced us with his presence.

There are many fans not lucky enough to have seen him in the first person and what he could do to an opponent. His twinkling feet were a blur, his shifting of direction was subtle and ruthless, leaving defenders with no idea how to stop him other than a petulant kick. Even that was something that he could deal with. The reason? Because he was schooled in The Arsenal Way, and knowing he had his teammates backing him no matter what is one hell of a confidence boost. He never backed down, he never shirked a challenge, he never gave an inch. If he wanted something, he went and got it.

He gave us goosebumps with his exploits, but he also gave us so much more, even today. He’ll always be a hero to us.

He is immortalised as not only a blessed player who adored the crest that adorned his chest, but as a man too – and that speaks volumes. Rocky was the local lad come good, he was the wing wizard who bewitched us all, he was the man who displayed everything we wanted to be.

His famous quote is famous because not only does it sum up the man to a tee – but it is also a fine mantra for your own life. “Remember who you are, what you are, and who you represent.”

Merchandise with a Difference – Art of Football

I have quite an extensive Arsenal treasure trove. Everything from Freddie Ljungberg bobbleheads to double-winning commemorative watches. I have a piece of Highbury. I adore my growing collection of club-related books. My cupboard strains with the bulk of pictures, scarves, jerseys, DVD’s, wallets and socks.

Stored under the bed, lurking on cupboard shelves, vacuum-packed and stacked in the garage, every available storage space is occupied by Arsenal memorabilia. It is hidden away akin to concealed treasure, only the chosen few are privy to the location of my many trinkets of unparalleled value. It isn’t in plain view.

My house could be completely covered in Arsenal symbology, screaming at all and sundry where my allegiances lie. I could also cover myself in Gunner-related garb but I prefer the surreptitious approach. If I’m going to wear club gear, then I prefer the understated look.

This is where ‘The Art of Football‘ slides into view effortlessly and grabs your attention. This vendor of football clothing appeals to fans of most clubs and have cornered a niche in the market. Instead of emblazoning club insignia all over t-shirts, hoodies and jumpers, this insightful company have carefully handpicked iconic moments in your chosen clubs history and given it an artsy look with flecks of paint and a haze of visual nostalgia.
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