tim stillman


FA Cup a test for Arsenal’s Hearts of Glass

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It's fair to say that the reputation of the FA Cup has taken a battering over the years. The trophy has lost its lustre in the eyes of many because, on the most fundamental level, it's not as financially lucrative as promotion / survival / Champions League qualification. To an extent, time and effort have always been predicated by money.

Arsenal’s FA Cup final history 1927 – 2014 (part 3)

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As we prepare for the FA Cup final on Saturday, Tim Stillman finishes his look back at Arsenal's record in the finals from their first in 1927, right up to the present day.

1993 The Linighan final.

The Gunners contested the 1993 F.A. Cup Final with the same opponents they had vanquished in the league cup final earlier that season, Sheffield Wednesday.

Arsenal’s FA Cup final history 1927 – 2014 (part 2)

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As we prepare for the FA Cup final on Saturday, Tim Stillman continues his look back at Arsenal's record in the finals from their first in 1927, right up to the present day.

1971 Charlie lying sprawled on the Wembley turf

Arsenal played Liverpool again in the 1971 final, just five days after having secured the league title at White Hart Lane.

Shake it up, baby

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It's notoriously difficult to explain to people that aren't interested in football precisely what it is that is so addictive about the experience of a live game. Many can understand why the game itself might be compelling, even if it doesn't stir their own loins. But it's difficult to relay why one would spend vast fortunes, brave extreme weathers and forego many a Saturday lie in to actually go and watch it in a stadium.

Character combinations

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Arsenal fans are, I think, still a touch cautious about venerating the team's chances in the title race. This is understandable of course. Fingers have been burned, fibulas broken and dreams shattered at the business end of the season a few times since we last held silverware aloft. (How long ago was that?

Controllable marginal

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Football is much akin to life in that when you're a player, most of what happens is within your control. Much of your route in life is self-governed and the course of a football game is largely dictated by the actions of the players within it. However, a small percentage is made up by ‘marginals' that are less controllable.

Galo, Gilberto and more

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Supporters having second teams, or indeed supporting more than one team isn't an entirely new occurrence in football. In the 50s and 60s, before away travel became common, fans would ‘ground hop' within their localities to catch a game on a Saturday with their team engaged in a different region.

I refuse to talk to my family!

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These truly are the dark days of pre season. The Champions League Final and Football League playoff finals are done and dusted. The first checkpoints of the summer – the release of next season's fixtures and the season review DVD – are some three weeks away. Even the dried crust that is the Confederations Cup doesn't start until June 15th.

A peek at those who might be pesky

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There is only one thing more edacious to a blogger than an international break. Good form backed up by pleasing performances. That's not necessarily a revelation of the darkness of the human psyche. We're not all grief junkies. It's just natural that "well done, more of the same" doesn't spin into a 1500 word yarn quite as seamlessly as one's endless theories as to why the sky is falling in.

As we forgive those …

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Arsenal's gradual decline is no mystery. From possessing an excellent squad with some world class players, we morphed into a very good squad with some world class players, to a good squad with some world class players and now we're a good squad with a couple of very good players. There are a variety of rhymes and reasons for this, but that's about as simply as it can be distilled in one paragraph.

More fat cloggers please

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Predicting results at this stage of the season becomes something of a fool's errand. Easter time has always thrown up shock results. The only surprise is that we continue to be surprised by it. There are just so many factors at this stage of the season that make facing Wigan in December, for instance, a much, much different prospect to facing them in April.

Drink from the goblet of our Arse

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It's a precarious and inexact science is football. The lines are so often wafer thin between glory and disaster. I'm talking Steve Mcmanaman's forearms thin. A succession of delicious injury time winners has everyone cock a hoop in the Goonerverse at the time of writing. With Tottenham's ten point advantage whittled down to one point, fingers are pointing towards our erstwhile neighbours with accompanying laughter at their premature "mind the gap" assertions.

What difference does it make?

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Another week, another disappointment. I undertook this column the week before the Carling Cup Final last February and it's kind of felt like I've been firefighting an overwhelming tide of negativity ever since. That's not necessarily because I have felt positive about what we have witnessed over the last twelve months per se.

Voyage, Voyage, one part Desireless

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To describe results of the past week ‘topsy turvy' is akin to calling Robbie Savage, "rather punchable." Having returned from Milan late Thursday evening (cheers Easyjet) I haven't really had a chance to collect my thoughts in any cogent manner. Indeed, the fact that the Milan trip, the 90 minutes on the pitch apart, was such an enjoyable one may mean I'm feeling softer and cuddlier about the aberration of a non-performance than I ought to be.

Contractions not too far apart

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What ho Arsenal fans? After two weeks of wandering in the interlull desert, with only the horse flies that feast upon our vapid flesh for company, a light twinkles on the horizon. Norwich be thy name! I can almost feel that 9am train beer (is there a better kind of beer?) slinking seductively down my gullet and slaking the thirst.

The Sports Direct Tim Stillman column

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I have a dream fellow Gooners. Well, in truth, I have several dreams. But I'll leave the one involves Robbie Savage's testicles and a set of vinegar soaked razor blades for another time. I dream that one day, international football will jump back into its bloody box and quit its persistent interruptions in the club season.

Red, red (no) whine

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Since last we spoke, tyrannical dictators have fallen, The Stone Roses have reformed and The Arsenal have enjoyed two hard earned, late victories. Carlsberg don't do weeks, but if they did, they'd probably taste like watered down, fizzy piss. There's been nothing unsatisfying or indigestible about either of our victories however.

The Tim Stillman column: From Brisbane Road to Wembley

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I'm delighted to announce a new Arseblog feature, a weekly column from Tim Stillman who you might know from his stuff at Vital Arsenal. He'll still be there, Vitalfans, don't worry, but once a week he'll do his stuff here too. This week Orient, the magic of the cup, Stoke and a trip to Wembley.

The Rest

The story of the come-and-get-me plea

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In this protracted vacuum of idle nothingness, it's amused me to once again notice the proliferation of bonkers transfer-only phrases. You know, those ones that you never hear for the rest of the year, but suddenly become common currency. Tim Stillman spotted it too, all that pouncing and swooping, ('Pouncing on the tabling swoops') as did Rory Smith ('Cracking the transfer code') too.

Can’t pull the wool down

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So the season is over and another summer is upon us. It's been here for four days and already I'm bored of it. As Mick Jagger once drawled, "the sunshine bores the daylights out of me." (Not that that presents a problem in London, but stick with the metaphor). Already I find myself looking ahead to those glove handed, dribbly nosed November afternoons.