There's only four teams involved in football's top honours these days, so what's it like to win silverware every season? This is the blog of one football fan who decided to, fully and unconditionally, do the unthinkable and change the football team he supported to spend one season at the top... AND NOW HE'S DOING A SIMILAR THING FOR EURO 2008 WITH A MATE BECAUSE THE SEASON'S FINISHED AND THEY'RE BOTH BORED

Archives for: March 2008

The Silly Season in trouble with the Premier League

28/03/08

I’m (not that) proud to annouce The Silly Season has ruffled the feathers of the football world once again…

This time? Er, The Premier League, Football Leagues, Scottish Premier and Football Leagues.

It’s about pictures I’ve been taking in the stadiums this season. Here’s the letter that really scared me when I saw it:

Dear [The Silly Season],

We write on behalf of the FA Premier League, the Football League, the Scottish Premier League and the Scottish Football League ("the Leagues") in respect of the licensing of certain intellectual property rights of the Leagues, including Match Action photographs for this season August 2007 - May 2008, for use by third parties.

We have noticed that your website www.thesillyseason.co.uk is displaying Football Photographs. In order to display these images you must obtain the necessary license. If you do not wish to obtain a license, please remove any player or match action photographs.

So there you go. What it means is no more blurred pictures of Theo Walcott, which is probably a relief to you lot anyway.

I did ask how much a licence to take pictures inside a ground costs… Let’s just say it’s way too much for this footballing crusade.

I have to say, the people who dealt with me have been very understanding - probably after realising how grovelling I was when I thought I was going to be sued for millions.

But fear not, that isn’t the end of the thrilling match action on The Silly Season

I just have to draw on yet more of my considerable skills – this time as an illustrator.

This is Aliadiere netting for Boro in the last match. That’s Gallas on the left by the way, sitting on the grass moping.

You can’t get anymore accurate than that…

————-

Score prediction: now the league’s ‘over’ it’ll probably be Bolton 1-7 Arsenal

Three trophies down

25/03/08

I had a good feeling about Sunday…

For all the draws against supposedly inferior opposition or the injuries to key players, I was convinced we were going to win at Chelsea.

And, after the opening goal, I wasn’t the only one.

It did feel good. It felt right.

After the equaliser went in, however, I just felt guilty. Arsenal’s worst run of form for nine years (or seasons or whatever) must be my fault. I must have upset the football-supporting spacetime continuum by taking on this experiment.

I wasn’t the only one feeling the pain, as I watched the game away from The Family this time – instead with a Coventry, Nottingham Forest and Hibenian fan (who all wanted Arsenal to win for some reason).

But The Family were feeling the pressure too, judging by the texts I was receving every few minutes.

Still, clears the way for the Champions League…

And where was the usual gloating, all-too-frequent text from my Norwich-supporting mate, who has been so disgusted with my defection this season?

It didn’t arrive because, on the day Norwich get their biggest win of the season, he’s on holiday in… wait for it… the Canary Islands.

You couldn’t make it up…

What next? Official Arsenal dog shirts?

Oh…

Boro'd time

20/03/08

“Well, that’s the league blown then,” according to the Arsenal fans who’ve been helping me be a Gooner after the Middlesbrough match.

“It just doesn’t feel like a league-winning season.” You don’t say, lads.

“Oh well, next year.”

See, they’ve said that before. There’s just no consideration for one-season ’silverware hunters’ like The Silly Season.

As I said before, that’s what keeps Arsenal and other fans of Big Four clubs smiling - safe in the knowledge that there will always be another season… and it’s always the very next one.

“We’ll always be smiling,” says one member of The Family (seven Arsenal fans who’ve taken me under their wing this season), “because it never used to be like this for Arsenal. We got really lucky with our timing - with what happened to the game, and then finding Wenger.”

As a mild altercation fizzles out between two fans in an otherwise very peaceful pub - an indication that possibly Gooners know in their hearts the season has been blown - we discuss exactly how Arsenal “made it".

I mean, who’d have predicted all this success after someone, during the mid-’90s in managerless Arsenal’s boardroom said, “Well, there is this French guy who manages Nagoya Grampus Eight we could try.”

————

Well done to Spurs by the way for the other night.

Score prediction: Chelsea 0-2 Arsenal… maybe

————

Coming up on The Silly Season (hopefully):

The Arsenal fan who sold his support on eBay, and was bought by Shrewsbury Town

And The Family talk about how it feels to be fans of the all-conquering, impersonal, Big Four Arsenal.

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It's a sign

16/03/08

So, as you probably don’t remember me saying, all this Silly Season craziness made me come to the conclusion I needed break.

So I went to New York. A) because I’d never previously left Europe and, B ) Because I wanted to cleanse myself of football, and go somewhere where no one could get at me. Where most people think Fabregas is a soft drink, or something.

Now, I remember that my Norwich City-supporting mate had once told me a year or two ago about a bar in New York where ex-pat Norwich fans watched matches, but I’d forgotten about it.

Then, on the last day of the trip, I though I’d sit up at a sports bar, sample a smooth Californian pale ale (!) and try to work why America loves basketball so much.

So, it had to be a sign, that, of all the bars in all the gigantic metropolises, I had to walk into the George Keeley - just off Central Park in the Upper West Side - and be greeted with the iconic Canary.

To be honest, most of the people in there that day didn’t seem too focused on the plight of Norwich City. Heavily refreshed local Max wasn’t a soccer fan anyway (“I see Chelsay have taken Durbee 6 to 1 there, Matt”) – he was a Yankees fan.

Maybe it’s me… Maybe New York is that vast a city that there’s a bar for every football league club. Perhaps a couple of blocks away is the The United States Grimsby Town Supporters’ Club, and I just lucked out.


Barman Chris holds up the bar’s “Norfolk meets NY Folk” T-shirt

Either way, it made me wish I was a Norwich fan again.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m enjoying this European Cup and top of the Premier League stuff, but I just miss Norwich City. No real reason, not particular fixture, not because of any aggro from Norwich fans… I just do.

Proof I’m not talking crap (you’ve got to love the Ipswich On Fire badges): www.nycanaries.com

Champions League

15/03/08

So it’s Liverpool. A reasonable draw by all accounts, but this has taught me something…

For the first time I really fear Liverpool. If you asked me any time this season if I fear Liverppol, I’d laugh. They’re just not that good.

But it just shows how involved I am with Arsenal. I fear them because of what they’ve done. After such a great win in Milan in the face of such adversity… to lose to a proven lesser team would be catastrophic.

And it looks like Arsenal are going to have to do it the hard way. Most likely, we’re going to have to play just English clubs to win the European Cup. Gutted - no exotic trips abroad either.

But, if these nerves illustrate just how emtionally involved I’ve become with Arsenal over the past couple of months, then what happened on a trip to New York this last week has given me a stark reminder of my football-supporting roots… More on that as soon as I find the time to get the blog up.

**Also, sorry about the lack of pictures at the moment, there’s something wrong with he server thingy and I can’t fix it. Hopefully be sorted shortly.***

——-

Score prediction: Boro lost to Cardiff abjectly and Arsenal HAVE to win. Arsenal 6-0 Middlesborough.

Adebayor signs for Norwich

12/03/08

I’m going mad…

Had a dream the other night that my favourite adopted Arsenal player Emanuel Adebayor signed for Norwich.

It must have something to do with my guilt. I’m having withdrawal symptoms from not watching Norwich City for the first time in my life.

Strange how I didn’t dream about Gary Doherty scoring a 30-yard screamer though…

Bang goes the Big Four theory

10/03/08

Yeah, so my “Big Four dominate everything theory” ain’t looking too strong at the moment.

I’m not worried about the league… We’re in safe hands there (apart from Liverpool), but this season’s FA Cup has succeeded in making a mockery of The Silly Season.

The season I decided to make the point that no team gets a look-in in any competition in English football, Spurs win the League Cup and three Championship clubs make it to the FA Cup semis. Typical.

Fine by me though… It’s been absolutely thrilling to watch United and Chelsea get knocked out.

So, is this the end for The Silly Season? and its ludicrous theories?

No way… I’ve come this far. I’ve wound up that many Norwich fans that I can’t set foot in the city again, and had people shout in my face on national radio. I think I’d quite like to bag myself a European Cup out of this.

———-

Well done to Arsenal for expertly leaving the League to the last minute again. you see, I’ve got it now - Big Four clubs like to keep their fans interested by leaving the league campaign unsolved until the last possible moment, so you get the most out of extortionate ticket prices.

It’s all a plan to go to Sunderland on the last day of the season and lift the Premier League Trophy in front of Roy Keane. They’re going to fly Viera in especially for it.

Well, how else do you explain beating AC Milan on Tuesday, followed by a 0-0 against Wigan?

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Buzzin'

07/03/08

The Silly Season’s still absolutely buzzing after Tuesday…

Even if I’m convinced my support doesn’t feel completely real, I couldn’t feel more involved in the madness of Arsenal’s season.

From one weekend wandering if Arsenal are no better than any other Premiership team, to believing they can beat anyone and win everything What a roller-coaster!

I’m I need a holiday…

Score prediction: Wigan 1-5 Arsenal

Feelin' good

05/03/08

I’m a bit scared now…

I thought my passion for Arsenal was probably going to be a non-starter. I thought I couldn’t feel anything for this big, ugly, red sporting behemoth…

But last night was absolutely amazing

No one gave us (whoops!) a chance, but Arsenal couldn’t have played that game any better. Even Eboué wasn’t sh*t.


The dream is back on

The mayhem in the pub was something to remember: beer and people flying all over the place.

I’m not saying I don’t want to go back to Norwich. I’m still missing it a lot, especially as they were playing in Watford last night - a game I would definitely have gone to.

It’s just that, for one moment (admittedly a really, really good moment) last night, I looked down at my AFC pin badge and got a special feeling. I wasn’t the special feeling, but it was something.

Milan or bust?

03/03/08

I know it’s not exactly Newcastle blowing a 12-point lead, but it has still been a royal cock-up. Five or six points clear in the Premier League… and in about a week, it’s gone.

But, perhaps more worryingly, I found myself dancing around the place on Saturday when Bendtner’s equaliser went in. It was a massive relief. I don’t know about other Arsenal fans, but I feel like the whole world is against me right now.

Man Utd are unstoppable at the moment. And AC Milan? Well, it looks unlikely doesn’t it. Wenger says he’s not worried that Abebayor and Bendtner don’t get on. Well, The Silly Season bloody well is…

The one potential saviour is that AC Milan are very old and very slow, and Arsenal have enough pace to catch them out on the break.

If they do somehow manage to win something this season, it feels like it will be one of the sweetest victories in recent years. Or perhaps I’m just getting caught up in all the drama. Or maybe I do care after all.

So, it’s off to the San Siro… OK, the pub, with The Family to save my season (possibly).

Score prediction: AC Milan 1-1 Arsenal

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