Wednesday, August 30, 2006


The Arsenal squad for this season

The Arsenal Squad

Jens Lehmann – he’ll do the business but he’s getting on a bit and needs adequate cover
Manuel Almunia – not convinced by him, he was beaten twice on the near post in the Champions League Final
Mart Poom – another bench warming foreigner

Emmanuel Eboue – I still think he’s all puff and no end result while his defensive work needs improvement
Lauren – nearly forgotten man, possibly stick in the centre of midfield?
Kolo Toure – should be club captain. ‘Nuff said.
Philipe Senderos – should start filling out and putting himself about more when he returns to injury
Johan Djurou – looking useful
Pascal Cygan – of course he’s content to stay and not be guaranteed a game. He’s crap and no one else would pay money for him
Justin Hoyte – he’s English and looks nervous. With all that practice at Sunderland he shouldn’t…
Ashley Cole – bye bye
Gael Clichy – ready made number 3

Alexsandre Hleb – lightweight ball player yet to set the world alight
Tomas Rosicky – our newest lightweight ball player
Gilberto – supposed to be the tough man but he is no Vieria or Keane
Cesc Fabregas – developing fast and is keen to have a pop
Matthieu Flamini – ready made right footed left back
Abu Diaby – young lad possibly in to replace Paddy but now injured
Freddie Ljungberg – will be heavily relied on for goals

Thierry Henry – what more can be said?
Robin van Persie – is he here to replace Bergkamp?
Emmanuel Adabayor – sorry, he shouldn’t be here. All legs and fluffed passes
Jose Antonio Reyes – he doesn’t want to be here
Theo Walcott – if he crosses from the goal line too much he’ll never get a game
Jeremie Aliadiere – been here ages and spent most of the time injured or on loan

In the last couple of years we have lost Vieria, Bergkamp, Pires, Campbell, Edu, Kanu, Wiltord and I’m sorry the replacements are nowhere near the same quality. What’s our first choice 11? I don’t have a Scooby and I bet AW doesn’t either.

We've started off creating chances but not converting and getting beat up noth. They both have to end if we're gonna challenge for the title this season.

Now prove me wrong!


Indonesia v Myanmar

The Indonesians went 2-0 down, managed to get a goal back with 3 minutes left but ended up losing 2-1.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006


Indonesian Cup

The upcoming fixtures are as follows:

Manado v Medan
Padang v Jakarta
Arema Malang v Surabaya (!)
Jayapura v Sidoarjo

The final will be held at Sidoarjo which will delight the Surabaya bonek!

Crowds have been pretty feeble with 5000 at the Jakarta v Bireun game and 6000 bothering for Surabaya tonking Kalimantin East.

Tonight sees Indonesia play Myanmar in the final of the Malaysian Merdeka Games


Monday, August 28, 2006


Next season's new boys

Bogor Town

A decent away game and an excuse for the Jakmania to head to the hills, it would be best to take an umbrella if you want to take in a game. I have no idea where the stadium is.

Pelita Bakrie Jaya

I think they're based in Purwakarta. If that's true then another handy away game and a true derby for Bandung

Biruen and Banda Aceh

Aceh continues its road to recovery with it's very own Acehnese derby as well as games with Medan and Deli Serdang. Locally Banda Aceh are known as Persiraja which recalls the ancient royal status of the city when it was called Kota Raja. Bireun is on the north east coast between Banda Aceh and Medan,


Back in the big time as First Division champions, their hooligans must be dead excited. Kediri, Malang, Pasuruan Town, Lamongan and possibly even Solo are all within easy train smashing rides. And for an overseas game what about Gianyar?


Defeated finalists, despite being walking distance almost from Yogyakarta I'm guessing they will be in the Eastern Division.


A 3rd team from Papua, the travel here would be fun. I can't see Wamena fans jumping on the bus for an away game here. Any chance of Fak Fak joining the league? Fakmania anyone??? Jayapura, 2005 Champions, are the other Papuan team.


Three teams also from North Sulawesi, Manado join Minahasa and Persibom.

Sunday, August 27, 2006


Indonesia v Thailand

Indonesia beat Thailand 1-0 at the impressive Shah Alam Stadium to cement their place in the final against hosts Malaysia.

Bambang was ever a threat up front for them but Peter Withe must be concernend how often he was caught offside.



Merdeka Cup update

23rd August, 2006:
Myanmar 2 Thailand 2
Malaysia 1 Indonesia 1

25th August, 2006:
Indonesia 0 Myanmar 0
Thailand 1 vs Malaysia 2

27th August, 2006:
Thailand vs Indonesia
Malaysia vs Myanmar

Malaysia P2 W1 D1 F3 A2 Pts 4
Myanmar P2 W0 D2 F2 A2 Pts 2
Indonesia P2 Wo D2 F1 A1 Pts 2
Thailand P2 W0 D1 L1 F3 A4 Pts 1


Merdeka Games update

23rd August, 2006:
Myanmar 2 Thailand 2
Malaysia 1 Indonesia 1

25th August, 2006:
Indonesia 0 Myanmar 0
Thailand 1 vs Malaysia 2

27th August, 2006:
Thailand vs Indonesia
Malaysia vs Myanmar

Malaysia P2 W1 D1 F3 A2 Pts 4
Myanmar P2 W0 D2 F2 A2 Pts 2
Indonesia P2 Wo D2 F1 A1 Pts 2
Thailand P2 W0 D1 L1 F3 A4 Pts 1


Crap, shite, poo, turd

Bloody winky wanky woo, grim north western cities, can't score for toffee, sort it out Arsene, maybe Cole and Reyes know something, losing away from home again, one point from six, eight points already behind Manchester United, no fixtures next weekend, bah humbug...

Friday, August 25, 2006


Jakarta score more than one goal in a game shock!!!

Yeap, 'tis true, Jakarta beat Bireun 3-1 in the Indonesian Cup yesterday at Lebak Bulus Stadium. They go through 4-1 on aggregate.

Tangerang City lost 1-0 at home to Sidoarjo which made the acores 1-1. Do they have penalties, have a replay or drink teh botol to see who goes through?

Damned if I know


Thursday, August 24, 2006


Malaysia v Indonesia

The Merdeka Cup has kicked off with Indonesia getting a 1-1 draw. Nothing on TV here I think... we get crappy Tottenham against Sheffield United but not the national team. The spirit of Independance Day is soon forgotten eh?

23rd August, 2006 – Host Malaysia might not have got the winning start they were looking for but the 1-1 draw against Indonesia tonight has put them in a great frame of mind for their second game of the 38th edition of the Merdeka Tournament on Friday.
Former Selangor front man Bambang Pamungkas, making a return to the Indonesian national team after an absence of more than a year, slotted home in the 16th minute before an own goal after the break saw both teams trooping off on even terms.
After a nervous start, Indonesia made full use of the flanks for Bambang to run down the right to beat marker Chan Wing Hoong before unleashing a left foot shot.
The decision to put Mohd Hardi Jaafar to partner K. Nanthakumar at the centre of the park did not have the desired effect when they were overwhelmed by the industriousness of Hardi’s Melaka TM FC team-mate Ponaryo Astaman.
But while Indonesia made full use of their speed, Malaysia was a lot more patient and in the 77th minute, Indonesia’s Muhammad Ridwan headed the ball into his own goal following a cross from V. Thirumurugan.

report from


Chelsea 1-0 up at half time

And I'm off to bed thinking here we go again.

But luckily they're human as Middlesboro netted twice in the second half with lard arse Aussie striker Viduka getting the winner in the last minute.

Rumours are rife Roy Keane is to be announced as the new Sunderland manager but who cares???

Jakarta play Bireun today...bring it on...


Wednesday, August 23, 2006


Oh Poo...

I just raced home to catch the tail end of the Indonesia Cup tie between Jakarta and Bireun second leg and feound out...'s tomorrow!

Oh and Jakarta are 1-0 up from he first leg. Now isn't that a surprise?

More tomorrow...


Shebby and Football Focus

So I'm watching ESPN last night and according to their football pundits the season is as good as over. Arsenal are going to have problems because they don't shoot often enough...excuse me?

They had 20 plus chances against Villa and yeap should have scored more than one. But I'm not worried. I'd be worried if they weren't creating chances but they are.

Then Shebby turns round and says Arsenal fans don't care if they win trophies or not!!!!

You what? Oh sorry, I forgot. Shebby is a fan of those well known entertainers and perennial mid table losers the Totts. Please Shebby, we're The Arsenal. We want trophies...we get trophies...


Monday, August 21, 2006


More from the recent crowd trouble

At the Surabaya v Solo First Division Final.

The Solo manager said it wasn't fair. Fair? Of course it wasn't bloody fair. You cant have thousands of fans crowding the touchline from your opponents and expect fairness.

The Indonesian League said they are disappointed but that people shouldn't blame the police or the authorities!!! Eh??? A few years back England played a North African team in Marseilles. Before that Tottenham, a small pointless club in North London, played Rangers in a friendly. Each time you knew, just knew there would be serious crowd trouble. Same with Surabaya playing an important game in Kediri. Hell, I knew there would be and I've been following Indonesian football for 8 months!

This chappie from the league said the supporters should have been more responsible bearing in mind the importance of the game!

For you sir I present you with the Jakarta Casual award for blaming everyone else for something that so obviously would go wrong.

Sorry, I can't be arsed to read the Surabaya side of the story.

The only similiar occurance I can recall from English football was in 1974. Manchester United were at home to rivals Manchester City and Denis Law scored for the visitors, sending the Red Devils down to the old second division. United fans invaded the pitch and the game was abandoned. There the similarity ends. The result stood but United were punished anyway. In this case Surabaya were winning the game 2-0 when the fans invaded the pitch and the game was called off. There were still 3 or 4 minutes on the clock but the result stands. Perhaps Solo weren't going to win anyway but we will never know. Once the crowd started lining the pitch the game was over.

In the interests of fairness it should be replayed behind closed doors...


Sunday, August 20, 2006


Indonesian Cup

These fixtures are being played home and away, some have already been played, some teams, those highlighted, are already through to the next round. Highlighted scores are aggregate scores after the 2 legs. Clear enough?

Bandung Town v Jayapura 0-3
Are Malang v Purwodadi 6-0
Kediri v Medan 1-1
Wamena v Padang 2-1
Sidoarjo v Tangerang City
Bireun v Jakarta
East Kalimantin v Surabaya
Kudus v Manado

I guess Are Malang are favourites with Kediri not fancying their trip to Medan for the second leg next Saturday. The venue for the final had yet to be decided last I heard. It was a choice between Solo, Bandung Town ans Sriwijaya Palembang.


Thursday, August 17, 2006


Supporters Clubs in Indonesia

After the pathetic showing yesterday by the police in Kediri when the Surabaya fans did what they did best I got to thinking about these supporter's clubs, the best known of which is probably the Jakmania who follow Jakarta. We hear much about the exploits of the hooligans but little of those who genuinely support their team and feel as close to them as fans in other countries.

Recently a jamboree of football fans was held in Cisaura sponsored by the tobacco firm who support the Indonesain Cup. This brought together fan groups from across the islands and what follows are some of the main groups:

Sriwijaya Mania (Sriwijaya FC), North Jak Mania (Jakarta North), Roban Mania (Batang), Smeck (Medan), Persiwa Mania (Wamena), The Superman (Ternate), Depok Mania (Depok), Butterfly (Maros), Kabo FC (Bogor Town), Jalak Mania (Bandung Town), Benteng Mania (Tangerang City), Jetman (Jepara), Persebaya FC (Surabaya), Arek Suroboyo (Surabaya), Banaspati (Jepara), Basoka (Kudus), Sakera Mania (Pasuruan Town), Laskar Kuda Jingkrak (Gianyar), Bonek B-Fazter (Surabaya), Balafans (Bandar Lampung), Singa Mania (Sriwijaya FC), Spink ( Purwodadi), Laskar Burung Kuning (Jayapura), Persma FC (Manado), Panser Biru (Semarang), Macan Muria (Kudus), Bom Mania (Persibom), Pusamania (Persisam), Ultras Gresik (Gresik United), Empe Mania (PS Mojokerto Putra), Laskar Mojopahit (Mitra Kukar), Mitra Mania (Mitra Kukar), Pandeka Mania (PSP), Laskar Benteng Viola (Tangerang), Garda Purwa (Pelita Bakrie), Kampak FC (Medan), Slemania (Slemen), YSS (Surabaya), Mandau Mania (Kalimantin East), Persekaba FC (Pasuruan Town), Bala Singadaru (Serang), LA Mania (Lamongan), Pasoepati (Solo), Balistik ( Balikpapan), Persik Mania (Kediri), Aremania (Arema Malang), Deltamania (Sidoarjo), The Macz Man (Makassar), Persipasi (Persipasi), The Hinocofu (Manokwari), Viking (Bandung), The Kmer’s (Semen Padang), Ngalamania (Malang), Laskar Ken Arok (Malang), Brajamusti (Yogyakarta), Panser Bumi (Bantul), Laskar Petir (Persipur), SNEX (Semarang), Juang Mania (Bireuen), Boromania (Persibo), Laskar Panglima Nayan (Deli Serdang), The Blue Devil (Gorontalo), Manguni FC (Minahasa), Asykar Teking (Pekanbaru), Gangster (Rembang), The Jakmania (Jakarta FC), Komunitas Netter (Jakarta)

Unfortunately whatever happened in the Puncak will be overshadowed by the actions in Kediri of some of Surabaya's following. A quck glance at the list shows they have more supporter's groups than other teams and a case could be made for them being the biggest club in Indonesian football.

Cup action tomorrow, again I have no idea if it's on TV


Wednesday, August 16, 2006


Brawling fans hold up final

Early into the second half of the First Division Final between Surabaya and Solo played in Kediri the referee stopped play becuse of rows in a couple of parts of the Brawijaya Stadium.

Since half time we'd seen Surabaya's notorious fans running along the perimieter track and lobbing rocks at some fans before having it on their toes. To their left was a pocket of Kediri fans separating them from the main body of Solo fans. Who the Surabaya fans were mixing it with wasn't clear from the TV pictures but they were regularly pushed back.

What seemed to kick things off round the stadium was a Surabaya corner in the opposite corner. Plastic bottles were thrown at the player as he went to take the dead kick and then some fans got on the pitch. Again the TV pictures were of limited value to anyone wanting a good view of the action off the pitch but it loked like it was Surabaya fans dicking around. That seemed to kick it off at the other end again and for some 10 minutes play was halted as supporters' officials and the odd brave player, fair player to # 6 and # 30, tried to calm down their huge travelling support. TV cameras showed Solo and Kediri fans looking on bemused, unlike their English counterparts who would have been egging the hooligans on. Maybe they were, like I say, the cameras weren't really showing us. Oddly the police didn't seem to be too hands on when it came to cracking skulls! West Midlands plod would have loved it!

Anyway, play resumed and Surabaya were 1-0 up. A cracking side footed volley by Denny made it 2-0 but he didn't celebrate too much. Well you don't do yo, not when you net an own goal in your biggest game of the season!



As a reward for kicking off all through the game Surabaya fans were allowed to hug the touchline and hang off the goal netting behind the Solo goal. The Solo terrace looked eeriely empty.What tossers allowed this farce to continue? There is no way a ref or a linesman can do their job when they are seconds away from a kicking from the neanderthals pitch side. It had to happen. A whistle, they thought it was all over and the crowd took half a step and were on the pitch. Players and officials were off like a fox, fans swarmed the pitch. Solo headed back into the changing room, sensibly refusing to play any more. You can't blame them. This game was won by the hooligans and the Indonesian football authorities, police and Indonesian football are the losers. It was mob rule. They are now preparing for the awards ceremony despite the fact the game has yet to finish. TV cameras in the Solo dressing room shows them getting dressed to go home. Those Kediri streets won't be fun for the next few hours...


Bali United

With Indonesian football seemingly heading for a unified Super League within a couple of league talks are on going on the island of Bali to pool the resources of some of their local clubs into one super club.

Gianyar, a flop last season, have been in talks with Gianyar County, Badung Town and Denpaser among others about joining forces. It remains to be seen where such a team would play, who would run it and of course how much money they would have to compete with the big boys.

Plus of course any type of negotiation in Indonesia drags on interminably as each party struggles for their own slice of pizza and sod the common good.

The idea is a noble one but then so is the monorail in Jakarta. Will it get off the ground and will it attract the fans?


The Play Offs

Banda Aceh v Solo 1-1
Manokwari v Bogor Town 1-0

Solo v Manokwari 2-1
Banda Aceh v Bogor Town 2-1

Pelita v Manado 0-0
Surabaya v Bireun 5-1

Manado v Surabaya 1-2
Bireun v Pelita 3-0

Surabaya play Solo today and I guess it isn't rocket science to assume the Greenies from east Java are on their way back to the Indonesian big time.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006


4 days to go

To the big kick off. I'm looking forward to seeing Reading up with the big boys, they were local to me way back when, about 20 miles away.

The Arsenal of course have a new stadium and no Pires, Campbell and possibly Cole and Reyes. Rosicky has come in to possibly replace Pires while Fabregas, Senderos and van Persie will be older and wiser and will benefit from regular run outs. And Lauren will be back soon so things aren't too gloomy.

As long as Chelsea lose a few more game, and we pick up a few points up north it could be a good season and don't forget we still have the Indonesian Cup going...Jayapura won 1-0 at Perskab who ever they maybe.


Monday, August 14, 2006


Surabaya v Manado

One nil down, Surabaya fought their way back to win this play off 2-1 but for me the abiding memory was the disgusting behaviour of the Surabaya players.

One player scythed through a visiting Manado chappie and surely deserved more than a yellow card.

But as the ref brandished the yellow the Surabaya players surrounded the ref, pushing, shoving, elbowing him. Why weren't any red shown? Was the ref intimidated by the players and the fans? After all, Surabaya's fans do have a certain reputation...

For me, I hope they don't go up...

Sunday, August 13, 2006


All change

Next season will see 2 divisions of 18 teams, this season we had 14. The folowing season will see a Super League of 18 teams. Of course this begs the question on what criteria will clubs be eligible for the new format. Of the current 28 clubs some are worse than crap, Gianyar springs to mind, while there maybe some giants who are currently in the First Division, Surabaya spring to mind.

Talking Surabaya they're playing Manado in the play offs. Details later...

Saturday, August 12, 2006


Who's coming up?

The first results from the play offs:

Bogor Town v Solo 1-3
Manokwari v Banda Aceh 1-2

Biruen v Manado 1-4
Surabaya v Purwakarta 0-0

Next up on Sunday:

Solo v Manokwari
Banda Aceh v Bogor Town

Surabaya v Manado
Biruen v Purwakarta

The Surabaya game is I believe on TV



The National Team

For the first time since I've taken an interest in local football the national team are going to have a run out. They are playing in the Malaysian Merdeka Cup, don't ask why they don't have their own, along with Malaysia, Thailand and Myanmar which starts 23rd August. Wonder if it's on TV?

Anyway the squad is as follows:

1. Samsidar (PSM/Kiper) 2. Jendri Pitoy (Persipura/Kiper)

3. Leddy Utomo (Persita/Belakang) 4. Mauli Lessy (Persipura/Belakang) 5. Bayu Sutha (Persema/Belakang) 6. Dian Fachrudin (Persema/Belakang) 7. Mulki Al Hakim (Persija/Belakang) 8. Mahyadi Panggabean (PSMS/Belakang) 9. Supardi (PSMS/Belakang) 10. Irsyad (PSM/Belakang) 11. M. Ridwan (PSIS/Belakang)

12. Atep (Persija/Tengah) 13. Elie Aiboy (Selangor FC/Tengah) 14. Syamsul Chaeruddin (PSM/Tengah) 15. Legimin Raharjo (PSMS/Tengah) 16. Ponaryo Astaman (Telkom Malaka/Tengah) 17. Eka Ramdani (Persib/Tengah) 18. Salim Alaydrus (Persib/Tengah) 19. Siswanto (Persekabpas/Tengah) 20. Nanang Hendrawan (PSM/Tengah) 21. Boaz Solossa (Persipura/Tengah)

22. Boy Jati Asmara (PSMS/Depan) 23. Zainal Arif (Persib/Depan) 24. Rachmat Rivai (Persiter/Depan) 25. Bambang Pamungkas (Selangor FC/Depan) 26. Ahmad Amirudin (PSM/Depan)

Friday, August 11, 2006


Indonesians playing in Europe

Thanks to David for this...

After Irvin Museng (from makassar FC) played in Ajax Junior now his fellow team mate, Anto wijaya signed a contract with VB Stuggart junior, to play in bundesliga junior. so we have four Indonesian played in europe, two in the dutch league, one in serie B italia and one in Bundesliga junior Inter milan B shows interest to Jakarta's defender Hamka hamzah and Barcelona B is also showing interest to Medan and Indonesia U-23 striker, saktiawan the dragon. I remember they were six Indonesian used to play in Europe, two of them are Kurniawan DJ played in Sampdoria, while Kurnia Sandy was a third goal keeper for Sampdoria serie A 1997-1999.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006


Jakarta v Semarang (Indonesian Cup)

So it was 1-0 to the Jak in the first leg at Semarang. The second leg at home was also 1-0 and of course Jakarta missed plenty of chances to tie the match up but some of their show boating was out of order. They’re not that good and the stopovers and fancy flicks were an insult to their opponents. Anyway, what short memories they have. It was just a few weeks back that they lost a one goal lead against Pasuruan Town in the Big 8 that cost them any chance of success there.

I have no idea at the moment about any other results from the Indonesia Cup!

Tuesday, August 08, 2006


Not sexy enough

When I arrived in Asia Manchester United were riding the crest of a wave. The English Premiership was becoming the most widely watched League in the world and United, with the help of Cantona, Giggs and Beckham, the most widely recognized brand. Second to them in popularity were Liverpool, possibly based on their phenomenal success in the 70’s and 80’s.

And that was it. As Keegan’s team went out signing every man and his dog and playing sonme spectacular football into the bargain we saw a few barcode shirts on the streets. The Magpies were high profile, they won nothing but KK and the attacking football kept them in the public eye.

Then came Arsenal. Producing some of the best football ever seen in England they swept all before them but for some reason never really took hold in Asia, they haven’t caught the imagination in the way Liverpool and United have. Maybe it’s because they are much more low key. Arsenal tend to let the football do the talking and what a poet Henry is. Arsene Wenger is a more reluctant TV bod than some of his managerial colleagues. Also The Arse have tended to avoid the hype that attracts certain players.

If anyone player epitomized The Arsenal Way it’s Dennis Bergkamp. All class, no show you won’t find him hogging the back pages of the red tops shagging tarts in Cyprus. He lacks sex appeal in the way that your Beckhams, Owens’ Gerrards’ and Dyers’ have. Maybe that is what Ashley Cole aspires to? Fair enough, not at ours fella, it ain’t our way.

So when I talk with Indonesians about football and they tell me they like Chelsea because they are great I’m glad. I’m glad the Arse brand hasn’t become a Nokia or McDonald’s over here. We aren’t sexy enough. When you meet a fan over here, and there are supporter’s clubs in Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, you can be sure they are a more discerning fan than the bandwagon jumpers and the hype believers

Sunday, August 06, 2006


Indonesian Cup

Some fixtures are lined up for next week

7th August
Badung (Bali) Town v Arema Malang
Bojonegoro v Kediri
Manado v Minahasa
Makassar v Wamena

8th August
Jakarta v Semarang
PSPS (?) v Padang

Umm, this is still at the final 32 stage, the above games are the second legs.

Surabaya, Bireun, Purwodadi, Bandung Town, Sidoarjo and East Kalimantin are already in the Last 16

More than that I know not...


Promotion Play offs

So while Kediri still celebrate their second championship in 3 years, what about the new boys? $ groups of 9 teams having been playing in the First Division for the right to get up their with the big boys. One group covered Sumatra, one West Java, one east Java and one for the rest of the country.

The top 2 in each group go into the Big 8 play offs which start on Tuesday.

8th August, Solo
Bogor Town v Solo
Manokwari v Banda Aceh

8th August, Surabaya
Purwakarto v Surabaya
Manado v Bireun

I have no idea if the games are being shown on TV.


New Stadiums, Old Atmospheres

Once upon a time stadiums were busy ripping out terracing and introducing seats, thereby reducing their capacity. Now we’re looking at new stadiums with increased capacity as TV money floods the game clubs seek to maximize their take through the gate and reduce their reliance on Sky’s coffers.

All very tickety boo but when the bean counters do their sums they fail to take into account emotion. What kept me and others from traveling the length and breadth of the country during the turgid 80’s? Sure as hell wasn’t the dross served up on the pitch. We wwent for the banter, for the laugh, for the fashion tips!

Without this emotion, this passion you are left with an empty shell. Sit politely and clap politely while eating your bagel, this is the vision the football chiefs have for our game and with stadiums running at nearly 100% capacity maybe they’re right. Camera totting tourists sit next to prawn sarnies and get excited when they see Bergkamp or Henry do their stuff while the atmosphere that our game is so famous for is quashed by over zealous stewards or Tristan from Bury St Edmonds who objects to Jesus said Paddy I sang it so well.

There is no denying some of the progress the game has made since the 80’s when you needed a passport to get past Watford and Wagon Wheels were the snack food of choice sold from wooden shacks at the back of the terraces. Stadiums are more comfortable, views, sorry I understand they’re called sight lines today, are better and tickets are so much more expensive, but hey let’s add on a booking fee as well, just squeeze that extra few bob from the punter eh? But where’s the passion? Surely not all spent in the club shops and restaurants around the ground?

Clubs, and certainly ours, have never been very good at thinking about the fans. Ok, we never had fences so we weren’t so bad but you get the feeling the current Arse guardians would now install them then find some way to make money from them. These crowd control fences are brought to you by Trill Birdseed. Essential food for our caged friends…

Once upon a time there was no way we could voice our displeasure. We could stop going but…sorry, that wasn’t an option. A football club is for life. You could write to the club hoping to get printed in the programme but they’re only interested in people from Madagascar having a son called Liam enrolling in the Junior Gunners.

Now there are more options. First through fanzines, now the internet. Rather like the magazine market the internet market is segmentised with places like Arsenal World for the young and the Johnny come lately, The Herd for those who know the score. Supporters will never be united, witness the North Bank incidents when Terry Neill was under fire but surely all agree with the need for some atmosphere? Maybe not where they sit but in another part of the ground. So while architects, directors and money men decide on the shape a new ground will take the poor punter has little or no input.

So the Arse have decided they need a new stadium, belatedly realizing 38,500 is too small to accommodate their supporter base. One wonders whether they got their money back on the 16 million quid North Bank Stand but that’s by the by. The Arse are seeking an alternative that would increase crowds and their take at the gate. Having seen sketches on the web it looks like any other recent stadium. Oval shaped, roofed, multi tiered stands with executive boxes, no atmosphere. Why is it beyond their understanding to create a viable enclosure where lads who wanted to get together and have a sing song could do so without upsetting the NIMBY Ruperts? What is so difficult about this beyond the fact that these upstarts would probably not be able to afford tickets for what would be a prime spot in the ground?

It would be great if we, often so innovative in the football world, could lead the world by going back in time. Mr Dein me old mucker, what about this. Behind one goal build a giant stand alone single tier terrace. Keep out the Ruperts and NIMBYS, give it to the real supporters, the ones alienated by the way football is going. Let them sing and dance, let them wave flags, let them create the atmosphere that makes our game the most popular in the world. Give it a name. The Rocky Rocastle Stand. The North Bank.

At the other end build your multi tier stand with boxes and stuffed animals walking the pitch. Have an away enclosure next to a family area; let the away fans grimace in embarrassment every time the stuffed dinosaur wave at them. Put a clock in there some place, call it the Clock End. Or the George Armstrong Stand. You then have the side stands to fill with your corporate cronies and Ruperts. They can look down on the atmosphere, even enjoy it but safe in the knowledge those oiks are far away. Maybe keep end of an upper tier by the Clock End for unnumbered seating so we can get some kind of atmosphere there as well so we have sound echoing round the ground.

Simple huh?

This article is based on an earlier version that appeared on the web in about 2001…

Friday, August 04, 2006


Should I stay or should I go???

The day job has been taking over. Plus we're in that weird stage waiting for the Premiership season to start. I can't be arsed reading about who the Arsenal are going to sign, I would say that either Ashely Cole comes out and says he wants to stay or he wants to go. Second guessing by copy starved journos news is not but you wonder if Arsene has any clue what Arsenal fans think. Last week he got riled when a member of the press asked him about the Cole situation. AW wondered whether the fans weren't more interested in the players who are training hard for the season. Yes AW we are but we also want to know what is happening with a greedy little shit bag who has professed to being an Arsenal supporter and who then accused the club of ratting on him 'cos he had a sneaky meeting with Chelsea which was against the rules.

All good publicity for his upcoming book of course, it's no wonder AW is more comfortable signing young foreigners and not proma donna English men who live their lives in Hello! magazine. Oh, and Carrick for nearly 19 million. You are jesting...Curtis David for 10 million ha ha ha. Still, should get a premium on Greedy Shit Bag then!


Tuesday, August 01, 2006


The Persija Stadium Mystery

This is a story that has been bubbling around recently, certainly getting more newsproint in the Jakarta Post than the domestic football. Rather than rehash it I will get lazy and copy and paste the stories straight from the local rag. They'll soon disappear anyway. And given my own team Arsenal recently leaving Highbury I have some sympathy here...

Residents angered by city's plans for Menteng Stadium site
The Jakarta Post, Jakarta
Menteng stadium is now ruins and its redevelopment is just a matter of time.
However, the plan envisioned by the city administration is not exactly what local residents were hoping for.
In a meeting Monday, residents demanded the city administration change the planned design and conduct a more thorough feasibility study on the project.
"The Jakarta administration only thinks in terms of money. They are not anticipating the environmental and health impacts this might have on the community," said long-time Menteng resident and textile designer Iwan Tirta at the meeting at his house.
A committee consisting of representatives of several neighborhood units approved the administration's proposal to replace the old Menteng soccer stadium with an open green park for the public.
What they disapprove of is the proposed design, which they claim could have a serious affect on living conditions in the area.
The neighborhood group objects to the plan to build a multi-story parking facility on Jl. Sidoarjo, in place of the old Persija clubhouse, over 2,000 square meters of land. They believe it will lead to an increase in the number of vehicles and people in a location only six meters from residential areas.
The group said the administration needed to study nearby Jl. Kediri and Jl. Sidoarjo and consider the possibilities for traffic overflow and the extra pressure the development will put on the local drainage system.
"We approve of the park development, but we reject the parking facility as it could cause flooding because it would diminish the amount of land that can absorb water," said Menteng resident and historian Adolf Heuken.
Heuken, who lives in Jl. Mohammad Yamin, said the existence of street vendors had created problems for the residents, but the activities of the Persija soccer association had not.
"If they are building the park, they have to make sure to also build fences around it," said the German-born historian, who is the co-author of Menteng, Taman Kota Pertama di Indonesia (Menteng, the First Garden Residence in Indonesia).
An architect residing in Menteng and a spatial planner, Marco Kusumawijaya, said the original Persija field should not have to go through physical alterations if only a green area was to be built.
"We disagree with the Jakarta administration's plan to build a futsal area. The ground will be cemented so it will be hard for the land to absorb water," said Marco.
He added that in principle the Menteng area was developed as an environmentally-friendly residential area and not for commercial activities.
A representative of the Indonesian Forum for the Environment (Walhi), Selamet Daroyni, said the development of the park according to the present design violated a 1998 Home Ministry decree that stipulates that each provincial administration should allocate about 40 to 60 percent of its area to open green spaces.
"It's easy to pinpoint the industrial, residential and office areas in Jakarta. But it is hard to find where the green areas are," said Selamet.
The city administration aims to have about 14 percent of the city covered by green areas by 2010. Last year, only 6 percent of Jakarta's green areas were left, said Selamet.
However, Johnnie Hermanto, who lives on Jl. Tasikmalaya, said he supported the city administration's plan to build the park.
"The parking facility will only replace the old Persija mess so there's not going to be that much of a difference. Moreover, the vehicles usually parked on the already busy Jl. H.O.S. Cokroaminoto will move to the new parking facility so the streets will be much cleaner and organized," said Johnnie while showing the prototype of the park to reporters.
"We, Menteng residents, have already signed an agreement with the Jakarta administration to build a park there, so there is no way back to reject the plan of the city officials," he said.
In the signed agreement, 55 residents asked the municipality to better organize street vendors, plant more trees on pavements and clean up water disposal.
Residents opposing the development said Johnnie had never attended any meetings on the topic before.

So thats the neighbours having their say. But football is also about football, maybe not in England where it's all about money.

Demolition leaves Persija homeless

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta
Since the demolition of Menteng Stadium in Central Jakarta, many of the soccer clubs that are part of the Persija Jakarta league have been left with nowhere to play.
The subdivision leagues have had to find other locations for practicing, while the subdivision competition has been temporarily stopped by the city administration's decision to develop the stadium into an open green area.
"The designated relocation site, Roxy Stadium, is too small for the subdivision competition, while Lebak Bulus Stadium is reserved for the main division," said Ridwan Ramli, 66, a manager who has worked with Persija Jakarta for 10 years.
"Hopefully we can find a new field of stadium in Central Jakarta as it is this most strategic areas for most of our players to reach. If we relocated to South Jakarta, for example, many of our players would have to commute for far away and it would become exclusively the southern players' territory," he said Saturday.
Ridwan said the Persija Jakarta league, which consists of 70 clubs, had not received any compensation from the city administration. The league has a total of 40 junior teams, each of which can have up to 500 members.
Ridwan, who formerly worked for the Jakarta Prosecutor's Office, said he had always loved soccer and teaching children, so becoming an official at Persija seemed to be a natural career progression.
"I am afraid that the junior and child players will fall into drug abuse, drink alcohol and commit crimes while waiting for the competition to resume," he said.
The clubs now have neither offices nor fields. Ridwan said he had only been able to save goal posts and a few other items from being demolished with the building.
"We are keeping them in a temporary office in the Simpang Tiga area in Pejompongan (Central Jakarta)."
One of Persija's oldest junior teams is Putra Dewata, which has been relocated to a district military-owned soccer field on Jl. Jenderal Urip Sumoharjo in Jatinegara, East Jakarta.
The club, which has 80 players aged between 10 and 17 years old, was established in the 1950s to help Persija identify and cultivate new talent.
"We can only practice at this Jatinegara field. However, we can't use this field for competition as there is no seating for supporters," said Dino Asmuni, 52, who trains goal-keepers for Putra Dewata.
"I was raised in Menteng Stadium. Back when I was a teenager playing for a team, setting foot in Mentang Stadium made me proud. The experience of playing in a heritage stadium meant that a player was good enough," said Dino.
He said most competitors would be intimidated to play against those who had played at Menteng Stadium.
"The city administration has committed a brutal act against the stadium. Many of our trophies that were located in the lobby were damaged by the forceful demolition, and even the computer in the office is missing," Dino said.
He said Governor Sutiyoso had promised Persija some time ago that he would help rejuvenate the stadium. The city administration had repainted the walls of the Persija clubhouse in 2004 and nothing else, he added.
"I think the governor was disappointed with Persija's first division team's failure to reach the semifinals in the National Djarum league competition recently. Sutioyoso became emotional and this was the catalyst for his recent actions," Dino said.
Putra Dewata's head coach, Tatang Subandi, said he was saddened by the removal of the league.
"I used to be a player for Putra Dewata. There is nothing in Jakarta like the old Menteng Stadium because of its location," he said.
"When I was a player I represented Indonesia in an international competition against Singapore. We lost 2-1. I remember that Menteng was where I trained to become a better player," the 44-year-old man said

Some nice memories there. At Arsenal recently there was an old boy who did plenty of old jobs round the ground. He was a familiar face to many supporters and loved the club. With the move to the new stadium the club, who think nothing paying 50,000 GBP a week to average players could not find a place for this loyal servant. Football used to be full of stories about unbounded loyalties and heartwarming stories but no more. The gent in question, Paddy, went on holiday and died. Some say of a broken heart.

Will we ever get our game back?


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