Thursday 26 December 2013

Meet the Gooner Family [George Makrigany, Sydney]

Meet George Makrigany, host for a few days in Sydney. George is a talented professional photographer and has even had photos published on His brother, Elia, runs the Arsenal Sydney supporters group and both have been instrumental in helping raise money for my cause.

George 'Snaps' Makrigany
Q. Why Arsenal?
The club is so well run without spending a fortune on buying players. Its the standard in club management in my opinion. That and the heritage makes it a club that I'm proud to support.

Q. Started Supporting Arsenal?
Around 1998. Though we didnt win the league I saw the greatness this team had which reminded me of the Anfield victory my brother once told me. From there on I followed football and only one team since...the Gunners.

My brother has been a loyal and passionate fan since about 1989. He told me the story once about the Liverpool Arsenal final league match. Needing two goals (which would have been the first for an away team that season) at Anfield to take the premiership we did it. I was hooked since then.

Q. Favourite Player? Its a toss of a coin between Henry and Bergkamp. How can you seperate two skillfull athletes?Both brought something rare to the club.

Q. Favourite current Player? Cazorla. His relentless efforts in each game he plays typifies the spirit of being an Arsenal player.

Q. Favourite Arsenal moment? Clinching the title at Tottenham in 04. We never tire from getting one up on our neighbours.

Q. Where do you watch Arsenal in Sydney?I watch at The Armoury in Sydney. We have a large screen with our own memorabilia wall and Arsenal signage. Its where our "home ground" is.

Q. Emirates or Highbury?Ive only been to the emirates so hard to say. But Highbury is the "Lords" of Arsenal so I say Highbury for its history.

Q. League Prediction? I expect our Gunners to win every season. Full stop.

Q. Who will be Arsenal's player to watch for the second half of this season? Ozil will come into his own. Hes just warming up.

Arsenal 0-0 Chelsea [Star City Casino, Sydney]

Merry Christmas from Sydney, Australia!

Having spent a week in beautiful Cairns avoiding crocodiles, man-eating spiders and sharks, I headed back down to Sydney to resume the art of watching every 2013/2014 Arsenal match with another Gooner. This particular game was a Monday evening one in the UK, translating to a 7am kickoff here in New South Wales, meaning yet another trip to a casino and my fourth in four weeks.

Don't worry, I wasn't throwing my very limited funds at the 'pokies' like some of the other shameful punters, I was there to watch us play the second of two oil-powered, manufactured-pop football clubs in a row, the filthy Chelsea, and around fifty Sidneysiders had the same idea (not bad for stupid o'clock on Christmas Eve).

Unfortunately, the game wasn't a great one, far from it in fact. I would say that, even for an Arsenal fan, the City game last weekend was a much better one to watch despite walking away with zero points. A lot of people are disappointed, saying that 'we should have won' and 'this is a disaster', and in fairness I think we had the advantage, having not played a mid-week game like Chelsea had. They played defensively but we didn't want to risk upsetting the equilibrium of defending well with a lot of attack-minded players - it was frustrating to watch because you could see that a pair of fresh legs in either Podolski or Cazorla would have given us a boost for the last fifteen minutes, and if it was Ozil or Walcott making way, the rhythm of the team wouldn't have been in doubt. But Wenger knows best, and so for the first time since I can remember, we didn't use a single sub. The goalless draw meant going into Christmas joint top of the league, but second on goal-difference to Liverpool.

It was an opportunity missed, but it could just as easily be looked at as a disaster averted. Being top of the table at Christmas is something that we haven't been able to witness for a number of years, and it should give us a great deal of hope and confidence to take into the next few weeks of football. We've had a very difficult run of fixtures and now, despite a bit of congestion, you'd like to say we'll take the majority of points up for offer against West Ham, Newcastle, Cardiff, Villa, Fulham and Southampton, if we play the way we played against City for example. And that'll take us right up to the end of January. When you consider that Liverpool have to play Chelsea and Man City in that same time, as well as the Merseyside derby, this imminent run of fixtures could definitely go in our favour.

Let's first see how we get on at Upton Park. COYG