Monday 12th December 2011
One of the more difficult aspects when travelling to European away games for me is often that I return with five days work to cram into two! Not a complaint of course as I am extremely appreciative of how lucky I am to be able to follow the team like I do but nonetheless it can cause one or two time issues!
Last week's trip to Greece proved to be one such occasion so writing my thoughts has been slightly delayed leading to a Monday with simply masses to comment on and a slightly longer blog than normal.
Athens, of course, is a city we have visited a few times following the mighty Gooners but it is a destination I always enjoy visiting for all of the culinary and cultural delights on offer.
This time around it proved greatly entertaining off the pitch as always, if a disappointing (but largely irrelevant) one on it.
Meeting local fans is always an enjoyable experience as is socialising with the many Gooners who travel from varied locations, all with equal passion for our great club.
On this occasion I must give a shout out to the Whitby Gooners and a Dad who brought his son George Graham to the city! Great to meet you boys and girls, look forward to the next time.
The match itself was simply massive for our hosts and already knowing how noisy and colourful their fans were it was no surprise when we entered the ground to a massive combination of both.
For me I take away three memories from the match. Firstly silly mistakes cost us the game, I don't think anyone would argue with that.
Yossi's fine strike kept things interesting for a while and at least gave us a goal to take home.
Lastly I will never forget the silence in the stadium, especially after the incredible noise for the previous couple of hours, when news came through that in the dying moments Marseilles had got themselves a victory in Dortmund.
Simply incredible and a memory to take home.
More and more I feel, there are no easy games in the Champions League these days and this season's competition has proved that emphatically. Only 50 percent of England's four have progressed and we can be deservedly proud that we have gone through as group winners in a potentially tricky group.
The weekend was remembered for our 125th anniversary celebrations, the statue unveilings and matchday celebrations going off with all the class we have come to expect from our club.
RVP's strike from Songy's magnificent pass was not just awesome on its own merit but incredibly fitting on this particular day.
It gave us the three points that were beginning to look like evading us when they should have been well and truly in the bag at half time.
Not taking your chances can prove costly as we all know but at least on this occasion it wasn't. The winning goal in fact was worth the entrance money alone.
Man City away is a tough game and, of course, now more than ever. We can go into the game with confidence however, with the travelling Gooners doing their bit as always to help us take away a positive result.
Before that we have Friday's Champions League draw to look forward to, Basel or St Petersburg being my favoured destinations having not been to either.
See you in Manchester.
The Whitby Gooners on Tour
Some of our party pre-match
The usual scene pre kick-off
A beer with 'George Graham' (centre)