A few weeks back, I was checking Facebook whilst on the toilet at work and saw a post from Hull City AFC stating tickets for the Arsenal game just £26.
What a bargain, I thought. Within 10 minutes my sister had messaged me asking if I were up for it, and one call later to our favourite season-ticket holders and we had our tickets.
Now I’m not going to compete with the magnificent Amber Nectar match reviews, as this would be a fruitless effort – kind of like aiming to be as brilliant a Prime Minister as Margaret Thatcher – it just isn’t possible.
Moving on before I get lynched for being The Only Tory From Hull…(cheap plug for my other blog).
It did take a while to get moving too. Living in Reading means it should be just 25 minutes on the train to central London, and 15 on the tube but no, the train took 45 minutes to get there – I couldn’t fit on the first two that came – one train every 7 or so minutes to London is just not an acceptable service.
Of course the train stopped at the platform with the longest u-shaped walk to the tuuuuuuuuuuube.
Looking for something traditional to do before the football, me and my sister chose tapas and sangria at this gorgeous Spanish restaurant in King’s Cross called Camino.
The chorizo was possibly the best chorizo I have ever had and the service was exceptional. I highly recommend it. We also had patatas bravas, some spinach-filled thing (looked like a samosa, kind of anyway), ham croquettes and some gorgeous pork shoulder (which at £12 had to be gorgeous!). Decent value too at £25.00 a head.
Tengo tapas as Antonio Doncel might have said. Who is probably not only a better footballer than me but also a better photographer. Probably.
Onto two more pubs – one pretty shit, the other really nice – called the Swimmer, within walking distance of the Emirates but without too many smug bastards in there. The fish looked absolutely amazing in this pub – and they did a fine craft lager too.
Thankfully I wasn’t wearing my purple trousers as it seems the local branch of ISIS may not have been too keen on me. Not much I could do about my mullet though.
I was always confident of a victory against Arsenal today. Not for one moment in the FA Cup Final did I think we would win, even at 2-0 up but for this game I was confident.
Everything about the Emirates is impressive. Nice local area, quite an imposing stadium – good enough to pose outside of – the fans are generally amenable and I particularly liked the muslim ladies wearing red hijabs in the colour of their team. They looked really good. I look forward to the day when some of Hull’s muslim ladies go to The Circle in amber hijabs.
Upon entering the stadium and touching the plush padded-seats that I sat on not for one second, and then seeing signs saying such arrogant bullshit as “Men become Gods”, this is extra fuel to the desire to want to beat Arsenal and as the game kicked off we seemed comfortable in possession and my confidence of victory was still in place.
Arsenal did start the better, forcing a couple of good saves from Harper, and looked a class above us in terms of an incisive passing ability. And they soon forced this home when someone called Alexis – their best player by some way – cut in from the right and placed a undelightful delightful shot past Steve Harper to make it 1-0.
A really good goal, I hate to say, Was it going to be one of those days?
Within a few minutes, in our first real attack on goal, Diame somehow broke through several Arsenal players and finished the move in the composed manner we have quickly become used to.
Game on. If Arsenal were more clinical, like Chelsea or Man City, the game would probably have been out of reach long before half-time – they had something like 14 shots in the first half, but only 5 on target and with brilliant defending by Citeh, like we became accustomed to last season, particularly impressive was Dawson, which meant that we were more than in the game at half-time.
Sadly, just before half-time, Harper was injured and Jakupovic came on. Not my favourite goalkeeper and I now feared a 5-1 thrashing.
Thankfully one could drink beer at half-time, something not always permitted to these dastardly football types, though by time we had got served there was only any point in a half (I don’t have to prove my masculinity in a city of meggings and ironic hairstyles) – I turned to my sister’s friend and looking at the screen I said – “this is the highlights, the build-up to our goal. I think. Isn’t it? Oh no it isn’t, it is like Hernandez’s goal against West Ham…Hernandez has scored……..yyyyyyyyyyyeeeeeeeeeeeeeeessssssssssssssssssssssssss!”).
Cue a half of a battling defensive display, many nearlys for Arsenal and very few glimmers of attack for us – though we did look comfortable on the ball often, but not always. Huddlestone was guilty of throwing away good possession at times – though one hesitates to criticise as it was his excellent cross that gave us the lead.
Whilst I am on the subject of player performances, I shall go through a few more. Ben Arfa showed glimpses of what he is capable of though I think he will be show more of his talent against poorer teams. Diame was just magnificent – my man of the match. Ramirez came on for Hernandez and he has yet to impress me – but I trust Steve Bruce.
Defensively, all 3 centre-backs were very good – Dawson especially. Robertson and Elmo had relatively quiet games but this was to be expected as their defensive duties were more important against Arsenal’s two or three very good players.
Hernandez got the goal which is what counts. We did miss Jelavic – I really like having a big man up front to hold the ball up – Ramirez really isn’t that, and Hernandez needs someone to play off – he did commendably up front but the ball often didn’t stick.
So we bravely hung on but my legs became shakier as each Arsenal attack was repelled, increasingly desperately and eventually more excellent play by Alexis put through Wellbeck to score – obviously given that Steve Bruce tried to sign him and 2-2 was the result. I must remember 2-2 for future correct score predictions. By the way – 6 games in a row that we have scored 2 or more goals.
A draw against Arsenal is a good result. A very good result. It was a really good performance all-round – even Jakupovic impressed with some very fine saves. I was particularly pleased for him.
The team received their deserved standing ovation.
It leaves us 9th in the Premier League. Just 3 points from the Champions League spots. But also 3 points from relegation. Just think – if we had won the 4 games that we were winning – Arsenal, Stoke, West Ham and Newcastle – we would be 2nd.
What will be will be.
Not sure when my next match will be. Might have to wait until January with West Brom or West Ham away – much prefer away games for the atmosphere.
Final mention has to go to the quick-witted guy behind us when the Arsenal fans shouted “You smell of fish”.
“So does your mum”.