Wednesday 13th April 2011
As a town, and even the locals we spoke to agreed, Blackpool has seen more prosperous times. The fact remains though that I personally have enjoyed some of the most entertaining weekends of my life in this seaside location. With football the latest excuse for being there, this was definitely no exception.
There is no doubt it always had potential to be the perfect tonic after what can only be described as a difficult and frustrating period culminating in what has been widely described as arguably our worst performance of the season at home to Blackburn last week.
On a personal note it was a day where I got to experience something very new and special as a business contact of mine kindly invited me to join him for an afternoon in the Diamond Club. Despite the quite wonderful surroundings, food, drink and spectacular match views, my host Steve and I felt the same disappointment as we all did at dropping two points in a game where three were almost essential.
The fall-out from the playing and coaching staff was there for all to listen to and read and mirrored our own thoughts I feel. That's football I suppose and if I can try and remove the match from my thoughts I can only thank my host for allowing me to enjoy such a wonderful experience on the day.
The build-up to Blackpool almost felt like the same emotions when just about to go on holiday, especially in the latter parts of the week when it was apparent the whole weekend could be graced with glorious sunshine! In Blackpool, in April... incredible!
Near on 30 of us made the trip for the full duration and it was clear many hundreds of travelling Gooners had done the same. Like us, I'm sure each and every one certainly made the most of it.
Friday's traffic was expectedly heavy but bearable all things considered and preceded a night where we all pushed it to the limit in the usual fashion.
Saturday as a result was met with a large chunk of nausea but there can be no better way to ease the pain than by relaxing in the hot sunshine talking about the previous night's exploits and preparing to do it all over again!
Sunday's sunny morning meant checking out of our 'interesting' accommodation and the build-up to the game of course. Stupid headwear was purchased in one of the many seafront stalls (like you do) and we made our way down to Bloomfield Road, for most of us the first time we have done this to see our team.
We have reached the stage in our season where we simply had to win. No other result would be good enough. Add that pressure to the noise provided by the colourful home fans and this was not going to be an easy game.
The first goal was crucial for me and my man of the match Abou Diaby provided just that before Manu slammed home a fine second minutes later to give us the perfect start.
Come half time it could have been four or five but having not taken our chances we all knew the 15 minutes after half time would be crucial. Unfortunately our lead was quickly cut in half and for ten minutes or so we were seriously under pressure, surviving a couple of clear-cut openings and a penalty decision going in our favour.
Theo's pace, just like in the opposite fixture back in August, definitely brought us a dimension that our hosts struggled to handle and RVP slotted home his pass in one such passage of play pretty much securing the all-important three points.
Simply a fine end to a stupendous away day. Just like our own team I'm sure we all hope they too win all their games until the end of the season!
Liverpool come to London N5 next in what is always a mouthwatering fixture in any season. They arrive off the back of a good result against Manchester City on Monday night and with hopes of European football next season.
We need to continue where we left off on Sunday, it is as simple as that.
The headwear, however, will be staying at home as a memory of a fine weekender!
FrankCopyright 2013 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 13 Apr 2011