Gooner Girlfriend: Arsenal and hair

WTTGT Writer: Antonia ‘The Gooner Girlfriend’ Hawken

Monday saw the return of something rather special. There I was, perched on my bed, surrounded by endless notes, highlighters, pens, the gold foil wrappers from a bag of Christmas chocolate coins accompanied by an ever growing feeling of despair as I attempted to push information into my brain. No Gooner Girlfriend was harmed in the making of this blog post. Possibly emotionally, but only time will tell.

 My Gooner had travelled earlier that day to Coventry for an interview, whilst I had returned to the south-west Shire in an attempt to remove all distraction from my sight. At the time, I honestly thought I would be able to concentrate better in a familiar work space, ya know, surrounding myself with knowledge and, as it so happened, layers of clothes and blankets. How could I have forgotten that student houses are notoriously chilly? I needed comfort, I needed warmth and I also needed to work out how my Arsenal teddy bear managed to undress himself once again, during the night. I am yet to find one of his socks which includes a tiny shin pad. Waking up to a flashing grizzly is never pleasant, a topic I shall enter into later.

 As I wrapped a blanket further around me, reaching for another chocolate coin (essential and perfect aids to revision) the familiar buzz of iPhone upon mattress distracted my attention. A conversation flowed between girlfriend and boyfriend concerning the day’s events, the interview, how much work I’d done, how much work I’d told my parents I’d done. Mid discussion about steaks, (remember my second post discussing men’s happiness in relation to meat?) a few tweets on my timeline caught my attention.

“…and it was so surprising because they have a restaurant downstairs-“

“-Arsenal are playing Leeds tonight, aren’t they?” I chirped in.

“Yes…” replied a slightly disgruntled Gooner, probably caused by my interruption to steak natter, and secondly because he was currently driving back from Coventry (hands free before anyone panics), and would therefore miss the match.

“Isn’t…Thierry Henry returning this evening?” I questioned.

Oh yes, he was.

 With the Gooner ending the phone call muttering something about funding a decent piece of meat before bed, I switched my timeline to #Arsenal, found commentary online and attempted to do work and play. The evening continued, when suddenly, he appeared. Some of you might remember in the same blog discussing legs of ham I mentioned a classic match containing a classic player. It just so happened I turned my attention to my laptop screen when Henry managed to slot a very cheeky, well timed goal into the left side of the opposition’s goal. Tweets were flying faster than flies to a light bulb about “the return of the king”, slapping his chest where the Arsenal crest proudly rested.

 Everything seemed peachy, Henry had scored, I still had a chocolate bar left to consume, my Gooner had found a suitable restaurant which served, and I quote, a “BEA-utiful rump”. Indeed, things were looking might fine, until I saw a picture of the king from the match. What, oh football gods, was that big fuzzy thing on Thierry’s face? No Va Va Voom.

 This prompted the question, why? Did Henry miss the memo about November last year and decide to make up for it now? Perhaps he’s going to commit to the Bjorn Borg Wimbledon mantra of the 80’s, not shaving until Arsenal lose a match. For those who are unaware of Borg, he won the Men’s Singles Title at The All England Club five years in a row, all the while sporting uneven tufts. Could facial hair be the secret to success?

It then struck me that Mr Henry is merely getting into character, after all, Aragorn had a mighty beard and he certainly didn’t do too badly. Should the beard continue I hope to hear reports that the king addresses his soldiers before entering battle, crying “I bid you stand, men of the Emirates!” This, I appreciate, is highly unlikely and testament that I know too much about the Tolkien franchise.

 I quite understand that shaving is a pain, and the rash which sometimes follows is simply awful, prompting long spells of abandoning the act altogether. I’m sure there are some Gooner’s out there who know exactly what I mean, not just their own routine. Many a time I’ve felt the stroke of stubble upon my face, causing a slightly sensitive red mark, and heard how annoying it is to discover that the smoothness you created that morning has now returned to an itchy, irritated wasteland. Speaking of Arsenal hair, I can’t be the only one who thinks that Sagna desperately requires a change, closely followed by Gervinho? Trust me, I have certainly been through stages of awful dos and I doubt there’s anyone who hasn’t. But, as Bob Dylan once famously sang, the times they are a changin’ and a few of the players should take note. 

I hate to end on a sour note towards the lovely Gunners, and have therefore decided to conclude with a quick mention of other male hair in the football world, the good, and the just awful. There’s Wayne Rooney, possibly the most uninspired, unchanging football hairstyle on the circuit, made slightly thicker by a transplant: his hair, not him.

In absolute contrast we have Mr Goldenballs Becks: innovative, experimental and luckily rather gorgeous…until he opens his mouth. With a face like that it’s pretty hard to make a hair mistake. As the Gooner pointed out to me, Mr Cesc Fabregas had a particularly dodgy fro when he joined Arsenal, a mullet of epically greasy proportions. We all know how he turned out, both in terms of the pitch and hair, so perhaps that’s what’s required at Arsenal, questionable hair.


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