Frank Stubbs: Bittersweet

13/14: Napoli 2-0 Arsenal - Laurent Koscielny

This is one of the more difficult blogs I have written in all the years I have been penning my thoughts. Like all of you, I am a dedicated Gooner, spend huge amounts of money following my team and do everything I can to try and give you an impression of what my Arsenal supporting life consists of. In particular as a travelling fan.

Eleven of us set off from Gatwick early on Tuesday morning and with weather predictions suggesting it could be a warm and sunny few days we were all in fine spirits.

Smooth travel and a lovely typical Italian hotel started things well and we could not have been more looked after by the locals we met in a couple of bars and our evening restaurant. Fantastic food and fine wine made it all very civilised and thoroughly enjoyable.

Matchday arrived with more sunshine and once again we couldn't possibly have asked for better or friendlier hospitality.

Often bus transfers to and from the city centre and the ground are organised for us fans, particularly in Italy. I have used this service on many occasion.

On Wednesday, something went wrong. All fans were strongly advised to utilise the transfers in Naples and the vast majority did just that.

The coaches were available from 6pm and many boarded at that time. The buses were packed and we left just after half seven.

The traffic was clear and we didn't stop moving but it soon became apparent we would not arrive before kick-off.

Our group was on the first coach to arrive and we missed the first 10 minutes.

When we spend so much time and money to follow our team, that was simply not acceptable. Many Gooners were seriously unhappy and I'm sure everyone can understand why.

I know the club worked hard to lay on buses to ensure we got to the game safely and they are as disappointed as us that things went wrong on the night. I suspect this was ultimately out of the club’s control but they are investigating this and I hope things will work better in the future.

The best we can say about the game without repeating other match reports is we are through, the No 1 aim when this very tough group was drawn out of the hat. We have to be satisfied, proud and happy with that.

Today we are doing the historic and cultural thing by taking a tour around nearby Pompeii, the Roman city in the shadow of Mount Vesuvius.

See you in Manchester.


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