I have had a smile on my face since Saturday, when the Arsenal beat Hull City 3-2 in the FA Cup Final.
I have been told from several quarters that it was a great final, and after the event it feels great but during the game I was going through the mill.
Arsenal started slowly and Hull went for it from the kick-off. The Gunners defence being slow to react to Hull's pressing cost them a goal after 3 minutes. The defence's failed in clearing danger from a cross and paid the price when Chester scored from close quarters.
#AFC 0 Hull 1
Worse came 5 minutes later when Hull's free kick (from 9 yards farther upfield than the offence occurred) was once more not cleared. Goalkeeper Fabianski made a good save onto the post but Davies scored from a tight angle.
#AFC 0 Hull 2
Kieran Gibbs needs a special mention for clearing off the Arsenal goal line shortly after this.
Arsenal needed to react and began pressing. On 17 minutes, Steve Bruce's son Alex gave away a free kick outside the penalty area. Santi Cazorla hit the ball superbly passed McGregor - an absolute quality strike and glorious.
#AFC 1 Hull 2
In their swing, the Arsenal continued to press but could not take any of their chances and Hull looked as though they also meant business.
No more breakthroughs for either side by half time, but to me the Arsenal did look as though they could at least draw level as long as they percevered.
This pattern carried on - both Arsenal and Hull creating chances.
Arsene Wenger sent on Yaya Sanogo for Lucas Podolski.
I was more than a little concerned that the Hull defenders were getting away with all manner of holding in the box.
Karma stepped in and a corner was awarded to Arsenal after Gunner Sanogo was last to touch the ball.
When this ball came in Laurent Koscielny showed he wanted to get to a ball in the goal area more than anyone else and put the ball in from close range on 71 minutes.
#AFC 2 Hull 2
As a partial fan, I was so happy that Arsenal had drawn level. It had been a hard fought game, now the Gunners needed to steady things again.
Into Extra-Time and more of the same. Still
2-2 after the first period.
Last roll of the dice for Arsenal. Wenger replaces Ozil and Cazorla with Jack Wilshere and Tomas Rosicky.
Their added pace and menace leads to more chances.
On 109 minutes, the oft-maligned Olivier Giroud back-heels in the box to Aaron Ramsey who scores with a very nicely taken shot.
#AFC 3 Hull 2
Now Arsenal, just hold on. It has been a great comeback.
Per Mertesacker slips and Fabianski sells himself. The Hull striker flashes the ball towards the Arsenal goal.
Kieran Gibbs is dashing towards the Arsenal goal as the ball rolls towards the goal along the goal line -- somehow he swings his foot at the ball and misses it, but the ball goes just wide of the post.
The final whistle goes and it is smiles for everyone except the folks from Hull who had contributed such a lot to the proceedings.
At this point, I began to realise how important this win has been not only to Arsenal Football Club and Arsene Wenger, but also to the fans and more surprisingly to me.
They had won against the odds and after such a long time showing such great promise but always finishing just a little short.
I did shed a tear of joy just after the whistle.
I thought it was a great game, but the result skews my view.
I make no apology for loving the Arsenal Football Club. They are the only club I have only truly followed. I have seen others and gone to other clubs but Arsenal is special and I wear my heart on my sleeve when I talk about them.
If you just want to see this interesting article, click the image on the left or....
on this link for a pdf version, <<Live dangerously...>>
Otherwise here are a few thoughts from me.
People who know me know that I am not a Company Man. I have opinions and for better or worse have been known to let folks know what they are.
My Scouting buddies also know that I am not enamoured with the celebrity element of our current Chief Scout, Bear Grylls. My view is that some of his antics are not a good example to the Young People who see him as an Action Man Super Hero. I feel that we do need to take just a little care as we are human and we can break.
The kids sometimes misread Bear's seemingly gung-ho TV persona as "normal". They cannot see the armies of rifle toting back up just in case a bear attacks our hero.
That said, Bear Grylls is good with the youth and being high-profile brings attention to the largest Youth Organisation in the world, which cannot be a bad thing.
I was browsing the good old Radio Times yesterday and saw an article by Bear Grylls headlined "Live dangerously - Every kid needs a penknife".
After reading it, I found that I had a smile on my face.
After all my criticisms of him, (not because of them), I think that maybe the Chief Scout's view and my own are actually not too far apart.
I attach this article <<Live dangerously...>>.
Credit where it is due, I think that the boy has nailed it with this one.
The kids need to learn through experience and fun (but with a helping hand and bit of guidance) and with that will flourish.
That is all.
In April, (only a couple of weeks ago) we have Easter and it's associated Good Friday and Bank Holiday weekends. Hot on the tail of those we have what before Mrs Thatcher's interference was known as the "May Day Holiday" - the Bank Holiday on Monday is now unimaginatively called the "Early May Bank Holiday".
With the bank holidays, and a few days leave plus a couple of days sick, it seems like an absolute age since I last worked a full week - it is probably four weeks at least. A chap could get used to that.
We are having a Cub Scout meeting tomorrow on the Bank Holiday - a bit of fire making.
Been a little 'busy' this week on the music front. I have received a couple of CDs through the post and "collected" a couple of others.
On Thursday (May Day) I enjoyed a great evening at the Hammersmith Eventim with Billy Bragg. The atmosphere was like school "end of term". Good support from Seth Lakeman and Phill Jupitas. <<photos here>>
On Friday, tickets for the Seasick Steve gig at the Royal Albert Hall on 23 May dropped on the doormat. Unusual one this, as it is for a Dog Charity and I will be going with James and his girlfriend,Tara. I am looking forward to that one.
With only one game left in the season, my beloved Arsenal have managed to secure 4th place in the Premier League and so are in the Champions League qualifying knock-out stages next season.
Just hope that they don't gag when it comes to the FA Cup Final against Hull City in two weeks time.
I have been a bit annoyed by criticisms of the Arsenal set up this season. I agree that after being on top for so much of the season, maybe - just maybe - they should have finished stronger. I think however that people's expectations needed to be brought back a bit.
At the start of the season, pundits expected nothing from the Gunners - in fact, even as they topped the table at Christmas, nobody tipped them as Champions.
As has been proved right, they could simply not cope with games at the "top" clubs.
I resent the "I told you" from the smug pundits - there are lot of Arsenal-haters out there. They expected nothing of the Gunners. The bubble has burst.
If that is actually the case, tell me why they are fourth in the table ? The beauty of a league is that the team who finishes top deserves to be top - no more, no less.
In their defence, it was a close-thing. I wonder how close they could have come if Theo Walcott, Aaron Ramsey, Lucas Podolski and Jack Wilshere had not suffered long-term injuries when their form was excellent.
I do enjoy a fan's "what-if" and "if-only".
I think in honesty that Arsenal's squad needs increasing to improve it's strength in depth. The nucleus of the team is great, but lacks injury and rotation cover. A couple of players out and there is just no players to come in and do a job.
From a personal point of view, Nikolas Bendtner needs to be replaced and Yaya Sanogo needs experience at another club. In particular, I cannot see what Arsene Wenger sees in Sanogo - he does not seem to have a clue.
Relegation is now certain for Cardiff City and Fulham, if results go as expected Norwich City will join them in the drop.
To this armchair pundit, I think that Manchester City will get the results they need to win the title.
Web site - I have tried to tidy up some of the pages.
Until the next one...