Wednesday 27th July 2011

After spending a few days travelling around the world it felt kind of weird to be enjoying the company of family in Kent for a few hours but with a weekender planned in Cologne it seemed pointless going 'home' beforehand.

Consequently we decided to conclude our fortnight's 'football holiday' with a trip under the English Channel and a couple of full-on days in a city I have been fortunate to visit on numerous occasions.

Like most large towns and cities throughout the world, it seems, Cologne is another that certainly knows how to let its hair down at the weekend! With six of us having driven across Northern France, Belgium and Holland we arrived early Friday evening seriously ready to enjoy the city's hospitality. You won't be surprised to know we did just that!

Come matchday it was all about seeing a little bit of the city's daytime offerings before heading to a ground whose location at least brought back a few memories from the late nineties.

Having lost 3-2 in a UEFA Cup home leg tie against Borussia Moenchegladbach, the return leg had been moved to Cologne. The old stadium was typical in its design to many of the era and saw a game where a Merse screamer gave us hope when 2-1 up before eventually going out late on. More importantly it will be remembered for a certain tall, slim French gentleman strolling out to watch his first game before his official appointment as our manager that week.

The walk across the same surrounding park brought back memories but the new stadium built in time for the World Cup in 2006 is very different to the original.

Once again a good couple of thousand Gooners had made the trip to the game located in upper-tier seats and a good old-fashioned terrace down below and with our first chance to see new signing Gervinho in action, the first 20 minutes hopefully gave us all an indication of what’s to come! Welcome to the Gooner family... more of the same please!

The game was as entertaining as pre-season friendlies can be and saw a 2-1 victory for our efforts, a fact we made sure was celebrated in typical style into the small hours, not that we needed an excuse of course!

Back to the reality of work having travelled back on Sunday, we now look forward to the Emirates Cup.

For now however, a small pictorial account of the journey so far!

Frank

Frank Stubbs pre-season tour

Meeting a Malaysian Gooner before the open training session in Kuala Lumpur

Frank Stubbs pre-season tour

A couple of laps of the Bukit Jalil Stadium to warm up

Frank Stubbs pre-season tour

My much travelled flag proudly hangs in Malaysia

Frank Stubbs pre-season tour

Gunnersaurus meets the fans on match day

Frank Stubbs pre-season tour

Just some of the many thousands of Gooners in Asia

Frank Stubbs pre-season tour

Soaked after getting caught in the monsoon pre-match in Yiwu, China!

Frank Stubbs pre-season tour

Team changes??!!

Frank Stubbs pre-season tour

Hangzhou Greentown and the Arsenal get ready for the off

Frank Stubbs pre-season tour

Gooners on the away terrace in Cologne

Frank Stubbs pre-season tour

Our hosts show their colours pre-match

Copyright 2014 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source 27 Jul 2011