In a dramatic and unpredictable turn, Arsenal fans have once again found a hero going by the initials RVP. He boasts an impressive CV, largely centred around his extensive experience in telecommunications, IT and electronics, and looks to have little history of sexual deviance (although this remains unconfirmed).
Excitable Utd fans, after his title-securing hat-rick against Aston Villa, bombarded Ravi Vivesvaraya Prasad (RVP), who lives and works in New Delhi, with congratulatory messages on twitter, mistaking him for the despicable Dutch forward. Over the last few days Ravi’s followers have gone through the roof and his humorous take on proceedings has seen him take on the status of a cult hero. Re-live the whole sage below:
Throughout the season poor old Ravi had been on the receiving end of Spam from mistaken football fans:
But Ravi fought back:
Then Ravi thought he’d have some fun:
Separated at birth:
Obviously Piers got involved:
Then it all got too much for Ravi who seemed to lose the plot:
If you’re on twitter and you don’t already follow Ravi (@RVP) I suggest you join his increasingly dedicated fan-club. Whilst you’re watching the dreaded guard of honour on Sunday just pretend you’re saluting the real RVP, hands down New Delhi’s leading defence and security analyst. Keep doing your thing Ravi.
And just as an added bonus, the main man himself read and enjoyed this article! He got in touch on twitter (below) and is now following us.
A post from Hamish who reckons their laid back Bulgarian is the man to upset us this afternoon….
As I’m sure you Gooners will agree, Fulham’s last outing at the Emirates was an absolute belter. The game was poised at 3-3 when a questionable extra-time penalty was awarded to Arsenal. The reliable Arteta stepped up, only for Mark Schwarzer to make a great save and give Fulham a share of the spoils. We ended that November afternoon equal on points, at 5th and 6th in the table. Things were good, and the squad seemed optimistic: Rodellaga was even telling the press he wanted a top four finish.
As per usual though, the Premier League has balanced out. Arsenal’s dismissal from the Champions league has resulted in a flourish of form, and most would fancy them to claim top four ahead of Spurs. Fulham on the other hand, have been fighting off the bottom. Various injuries and Hangeland’s suspension saw us drop vital points in some key winter games, as Jol was continually forced to change his XI. However, the transfer window bought some loan reinforcements (notably Arsenal’s DENCH Frimpong), and as other key players returned from injury we began to poke our heads out off the bottom-half dogfight. Sitting at 10th with a comfortable 40 points, it seems Fulham have all but secured another season in the top flight. So, what can you expect on Saturday?
Well, Fulham need a quick turn around from the midweek drumming by Chelsea. The 3-0 loss was a bit harsh, since we created some good chances, but the David Luiz wonder goal lead to a change of momentum, and we were fairly beaten. Apart from the return of suspended ex-gooner Steve Sidwell and on-loan winger Alex Kacaniklic, the team is unlikely to change that much, as we obviously aren’t the sort of club who can afford to ‘rotate’.
Our chances of a result on Saturday will inevitably lie in Dimitar Berbatov. The mercurial forward has struck up a tally of 13 goals this season. In fact, Fulham are yet to loose a game in which he scores. The man is treated like a prince by fans and coach a like: our shape is flexible, but will always be set up to play through him. Of course, the on-pitch signs of frustration are common. Expect to see his arms in the air with dismay at the inadequacies of his ‘mediocre’ teammates. Regardless of his demeanour, he claims to be enjoying his time at the cottage. The notion of cigars and vodka after training with old pal Jol, probably seemed like just the kind of retirement package he was after. It is fair to say that the attitudes and attractiveness of the Dimitar way of football have taken the cottage by storm. We keep calm and wait for him to be passed the ball.
Ultimately though, I think Arsenal’s form should be enough for you to edge past Fulham on Saturday. You have a much stronger midfield and all strikers seem to be scoring. Fulham are unlikely to hold tight if you pepper the box like you did Everton’s. I can only hope that when Giroud does all the hard work and beats our defence, he fails to hit the target, only for Ruiz to construct a counter-attack from which Berba poaches one at the other end. I just hope that two big games for the 20-a-day 32 year old isn’t too much. Prediction 1-2.
Season ticket holders, especially at a Club like Arsenal are in the vast minority. Those of you who don’t sit in the same seat week in week out, year in year out, won’t be aware of the unique relationships we strike up with those who sit in the vicinity, often for decades on end. If you’re one of the lucky minority you’ll be aware that the faces of those who sit in your block are some of the most recognisable anywhere. You’ve probably spoken to the bloke you sit next to at the Arsenal more than your wife over the last few years, but how much do you actually know about him? You’ve almost certainly been in each others arms in either raucous joy or abject despair, but do you even know his name?
At the end of last season I moved to a new seat at the Emirates to be closer to the action but on Saturday at the Hawthorns, I bumped into the bloke who I used to sit next to. We did what we had done for years at home games, amicably share opinions on football, ask how each other had been, and then, through either lack of interest or fear of crossing ‘the line’, ‘the football fan code’, we ran out of conversation and wished each other well. After we had gone our separate ways I reflected on the situation. I still hold a huge amount of affection for this guy, presumably rooted in the shared memories accumulated through sitting together, shouting for the same cause. I used to talk to him every week but scarcely if ever did we delve into each other’s story away from football.
You go through a journey unlike any other with these people. You collect priceless, unforgettable memories that are shared collectively and which you can recount in pinpoint accuracy twenty years later. You lose all sense of emotional and bodily control in each others company. You swear, you shout, you sing, you scream, you smile, you laugh, you hate, you curse, you vilify, you might even cry. We’ve all been to games in which a huge goal is scored and, once the madness of celebration is over, you’ve ended up on the floor two rows in front of where you started in a state of delirium never found outside of football stadia. The ball crosses the line and within half a second a mass of 50,000 separate people merges into one being. All of this takes place in the company of the same individuals, week in week out for years on end.
How could you not feel you know these comrades incredibly well? The truth is, in most cases, you probably never will, but perhaps that’s why these relationships remain so special. Unlike the XI players on the pitch, the fans are reliable, they’re trustworthy. There’s something incredibly comforting in the knowledge that they’ll all be there next week, and next year, and the year after that. It’s the simplest of relationships, devoid of baggage or politics. There’s a mutual enemy. You share a common dedication, knowledge and sacrifice (although none of you will see it as that).
Every block has it’s big characters. There are comedians, there are drunks, there are extroverts, there are introverts, there are experts that think they know everything and are only too happy to pass comment and there are moaners who whinge non-stop. Most people will know which category they fit into and will be able to position those around them with ease, and perhaps a level of satisfaction.
As ‘serious’ conversation rarely sparks up, humour plays a huge part in fan interaction. A common theme which travelled with me from Highbury to the Emirates is the playful reminder not to arrive late and make everyone in the row stand up to let you in. A rowdy chorus of ‘sit down’ is a favourite, only for the drunk behind me to get too involved and add a number of expletives to amuse himself and everyone else, apart from the poor sod who was late. Most of the fun is at the expense of someone else and limited to one-liners as it’s intended for a large audience. Last home game the bloke at the end of my row stopped me and shouted,’where’s your girlfriend? You wanna bring her next time, she’s much better looking than him’ (in reference to my brother). A gaggle of easy to please Gooners chuckle animatedly but one of them will most probably on the receiving end next week…
Nevertheless, even if you spend half time chatting to your fellow Gooners, you often don’t know where they live, what they do, how many kids they have, how old they are, what background they come from, where they return to after the game. All you know is that they love Arsenal Football Club, and that’s enough to bind you in an unusual union built on fierce loyalty and dedication.
Interestingly the times that I’ve sat in Club level, none of this applies. It’s a community devoid of a sense of community and it’s a great shame that it dissects the stadium in the way that it does. The concern is that whilst the Club try to attract an even more middle class fan-base, the characteristics of Arsenal’s traditional fan community will fizzle out. The last thing we want is to end up like a rugby crowd so if you’re one of the lucky minority, see you next week at Norwich, and keep doing your thing.