Tuesday, January 29
Probably since the day we left our wonderful old stadium just down the road from our new home I don't remember an away day feeling more 'old skool' than Saturday's trip to Sussex. Away days usually are thoroughly enjoyable of course, the result on the other hand tends to dictate how long the journey home feels!
Admittedly leaving my bed early in the morning was difficult. In fact bordering on painful is probably a better description, an excellent local night out with good friends proving heavier than was sensible given our planned early start!
Not the first time that will happen I guess and I'm confident it won't be the last and once the usual travel banter kicked in any 'pain' quickly disappeared.
Brighton is a place I have visited many times over the years, its vast array of shops, pubs, clubs and venues plus its location and demographic making it arguably the most cosmopolitan town south of London.
If like me you are also old enough to remember the Goldstone Ground you are likely to have seen us play a first class fixture in the town before (or in Hove anyway!) No Gooner however, had seen their team at the Seagulls' new home in Falmer, meaning no matter how many times any of us had visited the area there was a huge amount of 'novelty' attached to the day.
Given that all us Gooners are aware of how much the media jump at the chance to cover a situation that might see us 'fail' I think we were all somewhat surprised the game wasn't picked for live TV coverage. That situation presented us with a Saturday at 3pm, simply adding to the appeal of the whole day.
And boy did we enjoy ourselves!
Pre-match fare completed we headed up to the ground by bus, train, taxi and foot with anticipation and trepidation knowing this was another tough FA Cup obstacle to overcome. With a 4,000-strong travelling red and white army roaring the team on it was to prove a successful occasion.
Easy isn't a word we can use of course as although never behind it took us taking the lead three times to finally see off our hosts. With the benefit of hindsight however, as long as we win, a thoroughly entertaining cup tie is what we would all choose, no matter how tough that is on the nerves!
Olly's two goals were quite superb, sending the red and white end into waves of delight but Theo's winner late on was probably met with the most gusto as we all knew there was every chance it would see us through.
So we march on, a home tie with Blackburn the prize for overcoming two tough away draws in the opening rounds.
The games are certainly coming thick and fast right now and Liverpool come to north London next. A fixture with great memories for all of us, none of which have ever been anything less than tough.
Wednesday will be no different, we must be ready.
Come on you reds!
Frank @stubbsy70Copyright 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 29 Jan 2013