The Highbury Library

I went to see Arsenal play Fulham last week. It was a good game. Pascal Cygan came within 180-odd goals of breaking Ian Wright’s club scoring record, and some flashy French fella also bagged a brace. It was a nice evening out, and a pleasure to see the Arse play a game at the old stadium before they move up the road to their new home, where the crowd will hopefully be able to generate the kind of atmosphere one normally associates with a game of football.

List of grounds where I’ve experienced a livlier atmosphere than last week’s:

  • San Siro, Milan
  • Camp Nou, Barcelona
  • Bernabau, Madrid
  • Giants Stadium, New York
  • Three Com Park, San Fransisco
  • The Basin Reserve, Wellington
  • Sixfields Stadium, Northampton
  • Manor Park, Nuneaton
  • Just about everywhere else I’ve ever watched sport

But more importantly, what was the food like?

In a word, rubbish. This unfortunate half-time faire was manufactured by Rollover Hot Dogs of Slough, who claim great things for their product.

They really shouldn’t.

So I wrote to them.

To whom it may concern,

I sampled one of your hot dogs last week at Highbury, tempted by your claim boasting of “the best hot dog in the World”.

Sir, this is misleading. Any street vendor in New York City will serve up a dog superior to your miserable alchemy of taste and texture, the blandest item to have passed my lips in some considerable time. It troubles me that you feel able to label the flaccid, tasteless dough surrounding the equally sorry bockwurst a ‘fresh French baguette’, when it quite clearly bears no passing resemblance to the delightful, crusty, golden-brown wonders served up by any half-decent Parisienne patisserie.

As for the sausage itself, may I take a wild guess and suggest that the ‘unique recipe’ you claim to adhere to is nothing of the sort, unless its unholy litany of ingredients features a liberal amount of stale cardboard?

A more accurate name for this so-called food would be a ‘Not So Hot Dog’.

Yours in deep disgust,


I await their response with near-feverish anticipation.


  1. Sir, if I could express myself with your grandiose, brilliant english humor, my life would be one step closer to perfection!

  2. Feh. Call yourself a fan? You didn’t even have a Wagon Wheel.

  3. Hi Fraser, just two notes: SanSiro is in Milano and “Delle Alpi” in Turin. Madrid’s ground is Santiago Bernabeu, not Bernebau.


  4. Whoops. San Siro corrected. I’ve been to the Delle Alpi too, it’s even worse than Highbury.

    In the UK, hardly anyone uses the Santiago part of the name when referring to what people here simply call ‘The Bernabau’.

  5. Fratton Park of Portsmouth: The Premiership’s only Division 2 standard Ground… boasts the infamous BALTI PIE

    Go try, next time the Arse are playing down there

    – A loyal Pompey fan

  6. Please. Do NOT assume that I’m a Gunners fan. Perish the thought.

    The fields are green, the skies are blue
    The river Nene goes winding through
    The market square is cobble-stoned
    It shakes the old dears to their bones
    A finer town you\’ll never see
    A finer town there\’ll never be
    Big city lights don\’t bother me
    Northampton Town I\’m proud to be.


  7. I find it amazing that someone can both like football AND spell properly, and I’m sure Rollover will too.

  8. The embarrassing thing was I thought the atmosphere that night was actually better than I have experienced in recent times! Anyway it’s all to do with the acoustics of the old stadium (rather than the middle-class Melvin Bragg prawn sandwich brigade). Thank your lucky stars that I didn’t get us tickets for the west stand. Not so much a library and more of a morgue.

  9. The best atmosphere by far I have been to recently is the Arlington oval home of Eastbourne speedway team. Snorkel parkas, (even in mid summer), hundreds of air horns, kestrel lager , and proper stinking “burgers in dirty water” stands.
    All this combined with an entry fee of 11 quid and a sport so boring that the race is over after the first corner of a 4 lap race.
    Makes you happy simply to be alive

  10. JG: Ah, speedway, the sport of the slack-jawed. Did you remember to take your clipboard?

  11. Now you see, we may not have had a lot to crow about in recent years, but this is one area where the mighty Spurs beat the Arse hands down. Fresh salmon and cream cheese bagels. What more could you want at a footie match! Reject the dark side, move on over to the white side of North London football, go on, you know you want to!

  12. There is little duller than the north London football rivallry other than lunch with the Neville brothers ,followed by dinner with Michael Owen and Alan Shearer, and a nightcap with Tim Henman and his wife.

  13. Best atmosphere ever was Man City’s last game at Maine Road. First game at the Bluekamp aka lots of other names was as wierd as a kitten in a dog bowl.

  14. That looks amazing. Chocolate. Wasabi. Ginger. Vanilla. Mmmmm.

    Was it a success? Got a recipe?

  15. Nice one. I’m going to try it.

  16. WHy are hotdogs called hotdogs?
    My daughter and her friend know – both aged seven.
    Friend “it’s because they’re hot.”
    Daughter “yes and dogs like meat so they’re hot dogs.”

    Obvious really.
    Oh and Pukka pies are the best – with mushy peas mmmm.

  17. I wrote a complaint letter recently but didn’t get a reply. Can you help me reword it as you are a wordsmith extraordinaire!

    Dear Sir/Madam

    On my way to work this morning I stopped at my local newsagents, while I was waiting at the counter to pay for my purchases I noticed a pack of Jollytime “Mega Bang Sour Mix”. As an avid fan of sour sweets I excitedly bought a packet to make today\’s packed lunch that bit more exciting.

    All morning my mouth was watering at the prospect of the mega sour delight waiting for me, the minutes were ticking past so slowly – how time can drag! Finally 12 o\’clock arrived and I could eat my lunch. I quickly munched through my tuna sandwich and ready salted crisps, drank my glass of water and finally moved on to the pièce de résistance – the “Mega Bang Sour Mix”. I eagerly opened the packet and popped the first sweet on to my salivating tongue – imagine my disappointment when the expected sourness just didn\’t appear! Maybe it was a duff one I thought as I reached for a second sweet, but no – all the sweets were just that – sweet! Not a hint of sour!

    I enclose the empty packet (the sweets were nice but just not sour) and hope that you will remedy the situation by replacing this packet of un-sour sour sweets with some really sour sweets or a small cash sum so I can purchase replacement candy.

    Yours disappointedly


  18. Fraser, at some point I would like to tempt you to the North West. Home of finer football and finer pies….

  19. i’d also recommend you try out Norwich City for both a great atmosphere (near capacity every match, even if its just to lose against the likes of crewe and stoke) and top class pies. Selected by Saint Delia herself, they’re not pukka, but Hollands – a great selection including stilton and mushroom and beef in red wine.

  20. hey, hop the pond and tempt your tummy in montreal. the ‘foi gras poutine’ at ‘pied de cochon’ is a devilish treat. we don’t have the football environment, but who gives a rat’s arse with all the classy dames prancing about…!

  21. Hi Andrea,

    San Siro is the district of Milano where you will find the ‘Stadio Giuseppe Meazza’. It is commonly referred to as the ‘San Siro’ due to the area, like ‘Celtic Park’ is referred to as ‘Parkhead’.

    Incidentally, I have been to ‘The Emirates’ recently and you could hear a pin drop. Nice stadium but is more akin to a theatre than a football stadium.

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