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Slipperduke

The Camden Cad
Joined
Aug 24, 2004
Messages
4,333
Location
North London
I'm afraid I won't be writing a column this week, or indeed ever again. Yep, I'm hanging up my presspass and shutting my laptop for the final time. I'm off to France, you see. Arsene Wenger's assertion that he learned everything he needed to know about football in a pub gave me food for thought. I'm going to find that pub, sit there for a few weeks, absorb the knowledge and when I come back, hangover notwithstanding, I'm leading Southend United to the Premier League.

The idea that the Arsenal boss learned about tactics in a smoky French bistro is wonderful. We've all been slurred at by self-professed 'experts' in the game at one time or another, but apparently Wenger got lucky. Whoever this football loving drinker was, he obviously knew what he was talking about. The only shame is that we shall never know his identity. Was he a local farmer, frustrated with his lot, sat at the bar with a sketchpad doodling formations? Did he sit the young Arsene down and give him a crash course in the advantages of a high line of defence? What great fortune for Arsenal fans that he preached 'proper' football. It could all have been very different. Who knows, perhaps little Gerard Houllier was down the road being told about the benefits of knocking it into the channels for Emile Heskey by a travelling salesman from Lille.

I want to be taught in the ways of Wenger-ball. When I worked in a pub, all I learned was that a pickled egg in a bag of cheese and onion crisps is one of the finest taste sensations known to man and that if something was wrong in the world it was probably the fault of 'foreigners'. I feel cheated. Wenger was told that with careful coaching and development, you can install an ethos in a squad over time that will generate a conveyor belt of immaculate footballers. I was told that, "If Adolf Hitler had gone to Eton, he'd have made a bloomin' good Minister of Agriculture." It's not fair.

Wenger was discussing his upbringing in front of the League Manager's Association and he was right to credit the bar-room with his success. Be it a Bistro, a Pub or a Kopitiam, you'll learn a lot about people just by sitting quietly and watching them drink. The Alpha-Males, the boisterous 'uncles', the shadowy loners, the fighters, the lovers, the jokers and the miserable. You can travel the world and you'll always find the same cast of characters. In fact, if we take the grotesque food combinations and the fascist regulars out of my bar-room experiences, it's probably where I learned most of the skills I needed to become a journalist. Granted, I didn't discover the virtues of the well-timed through-ball or the drawbacks of zonal marking, but I did learn how to argue, I picked up some inventive new words and I got to practise working while under the influence.

Ah, maybe I should just stick to my normal job. The hours are good and they feed me well. Besides which, if Wenger's bar is as good as he says it is, I suspect that I'll have to push past Tony Adams, Graeme Souness and Glenn Roeder just to get a drink...
 

A Century United

Firewalking for HD
Joined
Jan 26, 2007
Messages
10,004
Clearly Wenger was drinking in the Saloon while Houllier was roughing it in the Public bar.


beer-smiley.gif
 

Matt the Shrimp

aka Harry Potter
Joined
Oct 27, 2003
Messages
19,929
Location
Lewisham, London
When I worked in a pub, all I learned was that a pickled egg in a bag of cheese and onion crisps is one of the finest taste sensations known to man and that if something was wrong in the world it was probably the fault of 'foreigners'. I feel cheated. I was told that, "If Adolf Hitler had gone to Eton, he'd have made a bloomin' good Minister of Agriculture." It's not fair.

Vintage Slip, pure vintage. One of your finest in recent months!

:clap:
 

EastStandBlue

Life President
Joined
May 29, 2005
Messages
15,490
Assemble the legal team, Slip. Paul Wilson wrote essentially the same article in todays Observer ;)
 
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