I had a great time at the match today in my first visit to the Emirates Stadium; it nicely melds technology and esthetics into a very slick venue. The design of the whole site is simply incredible. I had the good fortune to be at a number of the World Cup Games in Germany and I have to say none of the venues there seemed nearly as impactful.
I was graciously hosted by a Watford fan with season tickets who seems to like Arsenal at least a little (he was cheering at the right times as Arsenal dominated Portsmouth with a final score of 3 to 1, even after big Phil was sent off with a straight red-card ). The best thing about the game is that we got goals from our midfielders (Cesc and Rosicky), as well as a nice Adebayor penalty after Van Persie got fouled on his way into the box. I was a little surprised Van Persie didn't take it, but maybe after that recent penalty miss his confidence is a little off.
Adding to the surreal feeling of being at the Emirates for the first time was that I had just recently started (and finished) Nick Hornby's book Fever Pitch about his obsession with Arsenal. I used to think I was a fairly serious fan, but after see just how far one could go in the love of their club I now consider myself a neophyte+1. One thing that struck me as the book was concluding was Hornby's realization that his intense attachment to Arsenal may actually have been with Highbury and his sense of familiarity there. I'd be very curious to see an epilogue from Hornby covering the incredible success of the Wenger years and the move to the new Emirates Stadium; is the magic lost or has it continued with the switch of home stadium? Did Hornby's rise to success coincide with Wenger's arrival? (Wenger did seem to come a few years after Fever Pitch was successfully published, but still, the joy of Arsenal's many successes since Oct '96 couldn't have hurt!)
I'm going to leave you today with another nutty music-theme clip. This one is from Ukulele Disco - a live(?) TV broadcast of Ukulele music (generally covers) featuring one of my favorite guys on the site, Hot Time Harv. Here's his rendition of El Diablo (accompanied by J Boy, Slap Pappy and Guy Wighead). Enjoy!
I flew into Milan today - more on that tomorrow.