How Arsenal have ensured Australia will host the World Cup (Guest Post Tuesdays)

Welcome to another Arsenal FC Blog update and another edition of Guest Post Tuesdays!

That’s right, after my admission in yesterday’s post that I had no-one lined up for today’s guest post, my Twitter buddy and fellow countryman White Ox came up with the goods and has delivered a brilliant piece about the impact that Arsenal has had on his life and football in Australia in general.

It’s a piece that I relate to very personally. Not only because I am Australian but because my head was turned towards football and Arsenal at the very same moment that White Ox’s was, when Dennis Bergkamp netted his fabulous goal for Holland against Argentina in the 1998 World Cup. 

Anyway, I won’t spoil any more of White Ox’s wonderful piece and I promise I’ll get out of your hair after a very quick Arsenal news update.

First up is ex-Arsenal boy Alex Hleb who – can you believe it? – has admitted that he made a mistake leaving Arsenal for Barcelona after spending virtually all of last season on the bench. It really is a remarkable statement given the manner of his exit although I’m sure his sentiments would be echoed by a number of players who have left Arsenal and gone on to do very little.

I’m sure his comments will cause a few people to yell “bring him back!” but with Samir Nasri a more effective replacement and the turbo-charged Andrey Arshavin another option, I don’t really see the point. He’s missed his chance, Hleb, and unfortunately in the football world there’s very little that can be done to help players who make the wrong career move. I’m just waiting to hear Adebayor make a similar statement in a year or so, but somehow I can’t see it happening.

Moving on and according to Arsenal News Review, Kolo Toure will be leaving us to join Emmanuel Adebayor at Manchester City. Not sure if this will happen but it does make sense. Thomas Vermaelen has obviously come in to do a job and I believe both William Gallas and Johan Djourou to be better options than the Ivorian central defender at the back. If he does go I think we’ll need another central defender but this is certainly a situation that requires us to wait and see what develops. 

Anyway, I’ll leave it there. Onto White Ox’s guest post…

* * *

How Arsenal have ensured Arsenal will host the World Cup in our lifetime by White Ox

Hi loyal readers, I’m White Ox your rural NSW Arsenal correspondent and 50% of the Arsenal support in this tiny farming town. You might even call me the town expert!

So here I am checking twitter when I notice my good Arsechum Spanish has posted a youtube shortcut with 77 great goals, his favourite being rumoured Arsenal target Yohann Gourcuff’s teriffic solo goal for Bordeaux and I’m moved to thinking “wouldn’t it be so like Arsene to buy another attacking midfielder when we clearly need a Flamini type terrier”. That, good people, is a thought that I should not be entertaining.

Why is this? Because I’m your meat and 3 veg Aussie bumpkin who was brought up with the teaching that there are only two seasons, cricket and (Australian Rules) football. I never should have known the world game, it was an afterthought as a school sport, something to be played when too young or small to endure the rough and tumble of AFL. How we all wanted to play AFL, be the next Brereton, next Lockett, next Abblett. After that? Well of course it was natural I would opening the batting at the SCG with Boony one day. That was life.

A typical Aussie bumpkin

That was life through the primary school years and the teenage years and it appeared how it would always be, wearing the baggy cap in the local team’s premiership, running onto the field with the home colours on for the first time in the senior side, moments to savour with pride. It was then in 1998 that the next stage of life came calling; University.

Suddenly there was the cultural melting pot to deal with. No problem, by and largely I like to think I can be firends with everyone, but some of these blokes well, I go to the uni footy ground and they were kicking the wrong shaped ball. I noticed only a couple of them were seeming to catch it in their hands. I thought, “but I need to practice snapping a six pointer for this weekend’s match but where can I?”. I suppose if you can’t beat them join them so I yell “Can I play you fellas?”

And I absolutely loved it. LOVED it.

Then some Scottish bloke mentions something about the World Cup and single malt whisky (you think that’s what he said becauase that accent is thicker than pea soup) and more single malt whisky and you find yourself beside yourself with laughter drunk and half watching a cracking game and half watching some kilted excitable hurl language that would make a pimp blush as Scotland endure glorious failure again.

So there you have it, nothing more than a fad, a time during uni holidays where you booze up and watch the late night servings of “soccer” which is good but hardly compares to what you know. Until (cue Brian Moore)…

“Long ball from De Boer, beautiful pull down by Bergkamp, Ohhhhhhh what a goal!!! Dennis Bergkamp has won it for Holland!”

That was that. The beautiful game at its beautiful best. Stunned speechless, jumping up and down like a maniac with mates passed out around me this man had converted me forever. Soccer became a word obsolete to the English language. I played Aussie Rules on Saturdays, not football. Football was something else, something more difficult, more exciting.

Oh yeah, and because of Dennis Bergkamp, I loved the Arsenal.

Over time my interest in the team has grown into the obsession described by Nick Hornby’s fever pitch. I check soccernet 3 times a day. I found Arseblog and made it a must read every day. I even read the tripe Myles Palmer serves up for a laugh. I revelled in the invincibles, sat through many European disappointments before that glorious cup run that brought us so close to the only trophy to elude us. I have sung myself hoarse at a TV set, “One-Nil to the Arsenal…”, “We love you Freddie…”, “Whoa oh oh Vieira!”; honestly how daft is that? But most importantly I have recently found twitter and a legion of ‘Arsemates’. Next season I won’t be alone in supporting the Arse, even if those supporters are from afar.

So what does this have to do with Australia hosting the world cup? All I can say to that is the evidence is everywhere. Of course it is facetious to suggest Arsenal have direct input but if a blood and thunder Aussie Rules knucklehead like me can come to love this game I promise you it is happening more and more often. The other codes are worried. When your sports journalist brother in law rings you in excitement to explain that no, he hasn’t got engaged, he just interviewed Harry Kewell (something much more important) you know where this game is heading in our country.

So thank you Arsenal, thank you for bringing football home, home to Australia. Oh and Arsene – there’s 25 million quid burning a hole in your pocket, please spend it on the best partner out there for Cesc. After all, you do know best.

But I shouldn’t be thinking that should I?

Have your say on WhiteOx’s guest post or anything else to do with Arsenal by leaving a comment.икони



  1. Hi guys nice to hear from Arsenal fans over there in Australia,and that goal is my very favourite closely followed by Mickey Thomas at Anfield,then Wiltord at OT.

  2. Was hoping to get first comment. All you would be guest posters out there I was pretty shocked to find last night Spanish haad nothing lined up again this week. So like or loathe my post (which I hope is taken as light heartedly as it is intended) if you want this great blog to continue with innovative ideas please help him out. I’d be very disappointed to see such a great idea go by the wayside.

    Get in early this week guys, I know there’s a great readership and Arsenal supporters are the most intelligent of all. Let’s do this blog justice!

  3. Whiteox- As a fellow Australian i read this article thinking of the time when I began my obsession. Henry 94th minute goal against Man U. Solidified by the run to get them to the Champs league. WHat a time that was. I’m a bit younger so i can’t really remember the events which you talk about. SO i was forced to reflect on my own.

    I liked this article. I think it will appeal to many Australians. Good work.

  4. @ White Ox – Great job, again. The fact that I started supporting Arsenal for the exact same reason, after Dennis Bergkamp’s most amazing of moments is uncanny. This article speaks to me like nothing I’ve read in the Arsenal blogging world and I’m proud to have such an excellent piece on my blog.

  5. …and just for fun, here is that brilliant goal with commentary coming from someone who was perhaps even just a bit happier. Heh heh.

  6. Even if Ade never scores a goal 4 ManC getting a 50000 a week pay rise can never be seen as a bad move 7 i,m Arsenal fan all the way back to Liam Brady. stapelton etc.

  7. I love reading stories on how people get hooked on certain teams specially the Arsenal, its like the first time when you fall in love.

    The best Bergkamp goal has to be the one against Newcastle with his back facing the goal he flicked the ball to the right and he turned to the left and defender was lost in the middle then he went around the him and and met the ball and burried it.That to me the best goal ever in history of football. Pure genius.

    Keep up the good work Aussies. Not in the Ashes though.

  8. Bergy’s goal against Argentina was awe-inspiring stuff. Coupled with the fact that Holland were always my second international team and that the English generally hate Argentina, it was like major justice and peace on Earth had been delivered all at the same time.

    Almost as good as his goal against Newcastle!

    P.S LOL at Hleb.

  9. What a great article! Thoroughly enjoyed it so well done whiteox, and to SF for opening up the blog to guests.

    As a Londoner exiled in Sydney a lot of what was said made perfect sense. More to the point, I think you summed up what it should feel like to be a fan. I get fed up hearing so called fans moaning away because we havent spent 50 million on a player, or how disgraceful it is not to have won a trophy in four years – after all, theres a massive four trophies to win each year and we only have minnows like Man Utd, Chelsea, Barca, Real Madrid and others who all have far less money to spend anyway.

    Even in a dissapointing year being an Arsenal fan gave me those special moments that make it all worthwhile, just like Bergkamp in ’98. I’m talking about biting my fingernails through 6 mins of injury time for the home match with Man U, Eduardo scoring on his return, spilling my breakast over myself jumping out of the sofa when Arshavin scored the 4th at Anfield (it was just before 7am here!). Thats why I’m a fan and it was great to here the story of someone who lives for these moments too.

    Good on ‘ya mate!

  10. White Ox- I am in the same boat as you mate. I’m A Kiwi, and trying to find people to talk football with was a struggle in this Rugby obsessed country. The A-League has brought the football community together in NZ and through that we have formed a gooner community. If you fee like visiting :

    P.S. you forgot to mention one of the sacrifices we antipodean Gooners make- getting up in the middle of the night to watch the games live – 3am Monday morning to watch a Sunday afternoon kickoff.

  11. Nice post WHITE OX and its so funny thats the same moment that got me to ARSENAL i remember watchin it with my old man and from that day on I was an Bergkamp/ARSENAL supporter. I too hope the world cup comes down under would be AWESOME, or even ARSENAL comin here to play ROAR in a pre-season friendly WOW, hahaha now i think im dreamin.

  12. love this article. so many parallels to my own love of the arsenal, following a sport noone in my family liked, late nights, DB10, copping shit about wenger being a tightarse etc and of course being an aussie gooner. <3

  13. BERGKAMP got me. But nobody seems to be talking about OVERMARS ….remember him?

    Is HUNTELLAR coming….I just cant breathe right now?

  14. Good to hear how aussie fans get hooked on Arsenal.. being aussie but of dutch decent Bergkamp was the moment for me.. the day he signed I started supporting Arsenal (still have that months copy of SHOOT magazine with him on the front cover) Some people think that because you didn’t grow up in England and go to the games you aren’t a “real supporter” but I think getting up at 3am, 2am etc to watch your team live on tele shows just as much commitment and passion as anyone…

    @whiteox the official australian supporters club..check it out..

  15. @ gunnerboss
    Overmars was brilliant his pace was ridiculous.. I remember him scoring a goal for Holland against Ireland USA 94 I think.. he intercepted a back pass from inside his own half… I saw a thing on tele the other week about him still playing for his first club in the dutch second teir…

  16. YES lets bring the world cup down under! If it comes, where will it primarily feature and where will the final be? Sydney or Melbourne? Hopefully at the G 🙂

  17. Spanish Fry – if you get people from Twitter for your gust posts a link to their Twitter page would be greatly appreciated.

  18. I know you guys are going to think strange things of me, and maby the majority were not around at the time, let me refresh your memories on great Arsenal goals 1. Michael Thomas at Anfield (has already been mentioned, but is worth mentioning again) 2. Charlie George 1971 FA cup winner v Liverpool, 3. Ray Kennedy goal at Totteham to win the league and cup double in 1971 and 4.Peter Storie’s penalty in the last minute to beat Stoke and Gordon Banks in goal to advance to the FA final of 1971. If u get a change to go and relive those momemts ,please do.
    Fernando South Africa

  19. Nice story. My first game Arsenal vs Nottingham Forest 1983 4-1 winners. Charlie Nicolas is my Dennis Bergkamp (although no comparisson skills wise) brings it all back. Not sure about the world cup for Australia though…

  20. White Ox,

    Your introduction to Arsenal was entirely different to mine, I was brought up in an Arsenal mad family. My mother, father and two older brothers were staunch and long term supporters. In addition three of my mothers five sisters were Arsenal supporters, in fact two of them survive to this day and are well into their late eighty’s still supporting the greatest of clubs.

    I first went to Highbury, accompanied by Mum, Dad, my two brothers and those three aunts, in 1950 at the age of seven, it was a cold, overcast Saturday afternoon and Arsenal were one down at half time, I remember it started to rain as the half ended and one of the aunts said to not worry as Arsenal liked the rain, sure enough we scored twice in the second half to win two one.

    That was it for me, the start of a lifelong love affair with Arsenal Football club.

    My support of the club has been tested by some dismal times but strengthened by the joys of the double under Bertie Mee, “1 nil to the Arsenal” under George Graham and the sunny uplands of the beautiful game under the Maestro Arsene Wenger.

    And just to show that we don’t all hate that other North London Club my marriage to a Spurs supporter still survives today after forty three years.

    As I now live in rural Norfolk due to cost I am unable to attend matches, although I did go to The Emirates to watch the FA Cup game against Plymouth last season, it truly is a magnificent stadium. I follow the games on TV and keep in touch with the fans on websites such as this, one of the best.

  21. Im another fellow Aussie female gunner and I must admit it was thierry henry that won me over… I have never looked back and live n breathe the gunners.. I wake up reading the news about them and check it before I sleep. is my homepage and I never miss a game.. *Arsenal4Life* and GunnertillIdie… xx goonerbabe

  22. @km1980 Brilliant my sentiments exactly. I love Arsenal enough to wait for their next trophy, I’m no fair weather fan I can tell you.

    @UberGunner Great idea mate but am having trouble completing my registration. The link I click in my e-mail in-box keeps coming up with an error. I’ll keep trying, love meeting more gooners.

    @Michael – Spanish beat me to it, if you wan’t to follow my random tweets buyer beware – I say some strange things…

    @alltherestofyou Thanks for the kind words you blokes, I really didn’t know how my piece would be received. Now it’s your turn next week, do this great blog proud!

  23. @Johno – I love hearing from lifelong gooners. I really have tried to immerse myself in the History of the club. It’s a great regret I never got to see a match at Highbury, I feel for John Hartson right now because how Rocky died and what he meant to everyone as a great person really hits home, I still get the goose bumps hearing “It’s up for grabs now!” during Anfield ’89.

    We may have different paths but obviously the same love. Come on you Arsenal!

  24. Fernando,

    The greatest goal for me has to be Charlie George’s to complete the 1971 double.

    I was lucky enough to be at White Hart Lane on that memorable Monday night and behind the Liverpool goal at Wembley the following Saturday afternoon to see Charlie score the most important goal for many seasons as it brought us the double.

  25. Excellent post White Ox, so many references which are easy to relate to. Bergkamp sinking those Argentinians who still remain the first team I’ve seen to overtly dive. Fever Pitch… Fever Pitch, I might go read it again right now. After Harry Potter. I think however the 25 million pound isn’t burning a hole in Arséne’s pocket, quite as much as it is every Arsenal supporter on the planet.

  26. Hi im a gunner from SA.fell in love with the mighty arsenal since Kanu’s hattrick against chelsea.i was the only gunner with all man utd supporters around lot of flak over the years bro made me grow up to staunchly hate man utd with a i hate them more than Satan himself lol.btw I got you on my FB spanish.profile name is Herbz Van Persie.fave goal has to be the sheer genius of the Non Flying Dutchman against Newcastle.what a goal.i miss the days of our quick counterattacks.Viera to Pires.Pires to Henry.OH MY GOD WHAT A GOAL.those days im talking about lol.nowadays we take too long on the ball and counterattack very slow.

  27. Also, that photo is a lot more artistic that it was probably intended to be. The sneaky git with the AFL ball and the posts in the background. A true representative of how you lived your childhood, or so it seems. Go the Lions! And Johnstone, and Albert Proud!

  28. btw no matter Arsene We Trust.fave player of all time.Mr Arsenal Tony Adams.although Henry and Bergkamp were better.but Mr Arsenal was a gunner through and through from childhood.I’ll never forget that charge up the field and thumping shot to put the icing on the cake and arms spread out celebration.soaking in the glory.and bring the title home

  29. nice post white ox
    great to read bout every1s first memories,my first memory of the gunners was micky thomas’s goal to bt liverpool and win the league.i was 7 and being from ireland back then u wer utd or liverpool bt the moment i fell in love wit arsenal was actually quite random and unremarkable…an ian wright goal vs former club crystal palace,typical sharp finish bt electric celebration into section of the fans mock shooting wit both hands as he sprinted before blowin
    ‘smoke’ from his fingertips,dunno why but that sealed it for me,of course then we got bergkamp,henry,vieira,petit and iv been obsessed since

  30. Nice one white Ox.

    It amazes me how many world wide supporters there are. I was on the tube after the Arsenal Man city game and met two guys, one american and one aussie, who both turned up on the off chance of getting a ticket (fat chance) they both sat outside the emirates just listening to the noise and soaking up the atmosphere but the poor so and so’s never got to see a game on their trip half way across the planet. What fantastic supporters we are.

  31. @PandaBear Yeah well you shoulda seen the footy photo I sent, Spanish didn’t put it up there cos he didn’t want to show everyone my guns lol!

    And that ain’t my childhood, that’s one of the best days of my life, captaining Henty to the ’06 premiership. Only our 2nd in 30 years.

    I still love my Hawks. Was at the MCG saturday night when the Buddy show ran riot. My Brisbane supporting mate was with me and before the game he told me he didn’t understand what the big fuss was about Franklin. Afterwards he said he understood completely.

    All in all I’m a sport tragic!

  32. sky news have just reported samir nasris been rushed to hospital after an injury in training in austria,thats all we need..maybe this unfortunate event wil push AW into the transfer market,if its serious it would be a huge blow and we would have to strengthen as thomas fitness over a season is stil a doubt

  33. Great article. It is so true.

    Of the Australian based soccer (football) followers many do support Arsenal. There are of course the glory hunting bandwagon jumping supporters of Man U and Chelsea. There is also the people with English ties who support the team their family does, generally Man U, Liverpool or Everton, but plenty of others as well

    Then there are the Aussies with no connection whatsoever to football. Most of these support Arsenal simply because Arsenal’s football, namely Henry and Bergkamp is such a joy to watch

    Great article

  34. The Injury Jinx has hit us again!

    Samir Nasri will be out for six to eight weeks (very optimistic).

    With Roscicky and Edouardo not fully fit our mid-field is looking pretty threadbare.

  35. Why do our players get injured more then any other teams??????????

    I feel like we need 2 players- 1 striker and 1 DMF. The striker will keep Walcott on the wing to cover for Nasri…

  36. Excellent article!

    As a Scotsman, I feel a sense of pride in my countrymen’s role in your great awakening into the beautiful game.

    You Aussie Gooners deserve respect for getting up at crazy times in order to watch games. When I lived in Asia I did the same and it was not easy!

    I have plenty of family in Oz and I would love to see Australia host the World Cup (certainly more than England). Should it happen, I won’t be able to resist a long-overdue visit to your country.

    For me, it was Ian Wright’s double back in the cup final of 93′. As a ten year old striker, fed up with the failing’s of Scottish teams (I am too young to remember Celtic’s European triumph), Ian Wright reached outside the television and showed me the way towards a life dedicated to Arsenal.

  37. Nasri out for 3 months. 1 month til season starts but we have Arsha and Rosicky to cover the left. And we have Rvp and Dudu upfront so Arsha can play on the left. Or if AW wants Arsha upfront we have Rvp and Rosicky who can play on the left so we are ok for now. But why do the arsenal get the injuries all the time!

  38. Dzeko could be a possibility again if Wolfsburg sign Nilmar according to

  39. The Nasri injury shows again that The Great Man is gambling dangerously by not bringing in another defensive player. What happens if Vermaelen gets crocked for 3 months? We’ll be back to ****ing Sylvestre I suppose – and look what good he was last season. Come on, Arsene, for god’s sake. Get that ****ing wallet out.

    I’m not actually worried about the midfield as we have plenty there – even Aaron Ramsey who hasn’t been getting much of a mention lately – but scored twice in the friendly against SC Columbia.

    On a more positive note – I see that Philip Senderos played as a defensive midfielder in the second half of that game, something I speculated on a few days ago. I just feel it’s a possibility for him to fill that much needed position and I’d be happy to see the big man back if he can do the job.

  40. @ white ox nice piece mate glad to see you going for the gunners as most aussies I meet go for bloody manure and they don’t have a reason for it. Best berkamp goal was when we beat the spuds 3-1 with a wrighty pen and berkamp having a awesome goal and got to be in my top 3 of all time.
    @ nonny mouse wow sendy as dm might work as the lad is big and he is a good header of the ball so that should help sort out our set peices.
    Nasri out for 3 months and dudu is supposed to be back in 2 months so I’ve got a feeling ramsey will be used as back up as tight arsne won’t spend anything but I’m not saying do a man city but another couple of players will do martins and richards will do.

  41. Yeah – and I forgot to say thanx to White Ox for the guest post and Dennis The Menace….absolute legend. If there was one player we could could have a statue of at The Emirates it would be him. Apart from being an absolute genius of a player what a fantastic professional he was. No carping about joining other clubs. Finished his career with the Gunners. Hang your head in shame Alex Hleb (and others).

  42. Nasri’s injury is devastating. Like some of you have said, I’m hoping it causes Arsene to buy Cesc a partner. Nasri played a CM role in a couple games last season and I had an inkling that AW might have tried him there again. Personally, I loved his work ethic in the middle and his ability to track back and mark players making runs through the middle. Between Song, Denilson, Senderos, and Toure (who has been mentioned here for the position), We have an amazing set of fill-ins, but not the complete player I would like to see starting as a DM week in and week out.
    If there is a silver lining to be found in the wake of Nasri’s injury, it is the extra opportunities and playing time it will give to Ramsey, Wilshere, and Vela.
    Go Arsenal! and please please please try to make it through the rest of pre-season without losing any more players.

  43. Great post White Ox. It’s always a pleasure to hear fellow Gooners’ stories about how the Arsenal became part of their lives. Personally, I was in London on that fateful day in 1989 and that was the day when Arsenal became my life.
    I have found it hard to cope with the lack of football all around me while living in Australia but I have to say things are on the up these days.
    Going back to the post, Dennis Bergkamp is in my opinion the greatest player to ever play for us. My most treasured possession is the commemorative redcurrant jersey for our last season at Highbury with Bergkamp and number 10 printed on the back.
    Latest on the defensive midfielder topic, we had Senderos play about 45 minutes in that position in our latest friendly… that’s a pretty worrying thought. Hoping for a new signing… which might not come

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