Like a salmon returning home, when Arsenal play the big games I leave South of River for the red and white heartlands. Failing a ticket to the match the pain and passion of watching with other Gooners is worth the trip. So it was on Sunday that I was in the Steam Passage pub , Angel, Islington High Street .
The semi final of the Cup.Our poor team devoid of form, at odds with the long serving manager was for the slaughter. The first minutes went that way but somehow the boys ,got lucky,remembered their duties as well as their salaries and a famous result was ground out. High flying Chelsea in the Final,after this,who knows?
But there was drama elsewhere. I was wearing a very smart red linen jacket which I picked up in Oxfam a couple of years ago. It was the only jacket in the pub,most were in jeans and tshirts,some were in the Arsenal strip. Sitting opposite me was a Liverpudlian. Broad and whiney. We got talking.
I told him my greatest day as a fan was being at Anfield when Arsenal won 0-2 in 1969. He replied with that famous Scouse wit,if Liverpool beat Arsenal again they get to keep the club. Game on. He followed up,where did you get that jacket,Butlins?(attendants at the holiday camps wear red jackets.)
Dont you like the jacket? No I’d rather be naked. Well I haven’t come straight from the gym, and Ok. Yes I did get the jacket working at Butlins but at least I had a job. Do you know what that is? And where do you learn to talk like that,watching Brookside? Well at least I have an accent, Mr Style.
A moment,it could have gone either way. He made to laugh. I winked. And then as a sign of truce he started to show me porn which he had stored on his iphone.WTF.
He left early to go and watch his team elsewhere. I cannot tell you how happy I was when I learnt that Crystal Palace had beaten Liverpool,they had recently also thrashed Arsenal. I left the pub with “They’re by far the greatest team the world has ever seen”, still bellowing out. Happy Day.