From: (Garry Archer)
Subject: Sick as an Arsenal parrot.
Date: May 11, 1995

I have to say it -- I was severely disappointed by the result of the
European Cup Winners Cup last night -- and I don't even support Arsenal!!!

I was rooting for Arsenal as a British team against Real Zaragosa from
Spain in the Final of one of Europe's premier cup competitions.  Nothing
wrong with that.  Tottenham Hotspur fans, historically and fervently opposed
to the Arse, were probably supporting the Spanish team though.  I see a
few have posted already.  It was made somewhat easier for them to have an
ex-Spurs player, Nayim, playing for Real.  They must have been Real happy
at the end, and how it ended -- pun intended ;-)

The Arse came out looking pretty good, I thought, but then some nasty tackles 
from behind took care of that.  Come on ref, get yer bloody book out!

Real began to settle and move forward as the first half progressed.  Arsenal
had lost their tempo.  Some wild tackling was going on -- mostly from Real,
and especially from behind.  Arse weren't completely blameless, but some
of the Real tackles looked horrific.  The referee proved to be pretty useless
on this point.  One of his linesmen was pretty useless too.  Stick that
bloody flag up will yer?!!!

The second half was even more entertaining.  Real pressed the Arse very hard
for at least the first 10 - 15 minutes.  But the callous fouling was still
going on and the book was still firmly in the referee's pocket.  I just
couldn't understand it... I was beginning to wonder if the referee wasn't
in Real's pocket!  By now I was screaming at the missus.  I just couldn't
understand why she couldn't do anything about it!

Real, despite having the best of Arsenal at the time, scored out of nowhere
on a cracking shot [from Esnaider] that left Seaman standing like a statue 
as the ball bent away from him into the inside side netting.  Oh oh.  
Arsenal were playing fairly well, but not that well and Real were starting 
to look really good, except for their tackling.

I saw Ian Wright's legs whipped right from under him.  Surely a red card?
I saw a ball kicked away deliberately -- automatic yellow card according
to FIFA.  I saw Arse players kicked and punched several times.  I saw
Arse players held in the penalty box as they went for the ball on at least
two occasions, and a trip went completely unnoticed -- penalties anywhere
else in the world except in the Parc des Princes last night.  Arsenal almost
gave away a penalty -- it was an attempt to get the ball at least, and
probably why the defender got away with it -- then he hand-balled it as
he rolled around!

Was the referee that blind?  Even the ESPN commentators couldn't understand
it.  I yelled at my missus that this was one of the worst refereeing jobs
I've seen in a long time.  She agreed, probably to shut me up!  As I said,
one of his linesmen was no better.  There was one time when one Real player
was five yards or more offside and another was just beyond being level.
The flag stayed down and after Arsenal got the ball away Donkey Adams was
screaming across the pitch for the linesman to stick his flag up motioning
with his hand like he was pulling on a really large plonker.

After all the poor noncalls, Arsenal deserved something, and not long after
Real's goal they scored an equiliser.  It looked like Harston touched it
but Wright did all the celebrating.

And that's about all Wright did do.  In all the games for Arsenal, and
particularly for England, I have seen Ian Wright play he has not done
anything to impress me.  Yet his goalscoring statistics suggest otherwise.

Real and Arsenal went at each other, up and down the pitch, for the entire
match and this was great to see.  But oh, what an ending.

"Its going to penalties", I told my missus in the 120th minute.  "Did you
account for that when you taped it?" she asked.  Of course I did.

Zaragosa played well enough to win -- I think they had the edge in the end,
but Arsenal had played well enough to take it to penalties -- despite having
to play against the 12th man too -- the bloody useless referee.  Arsenal's
not my team, but I had felt tense throughout the match.  I wanted a British
team to win the cup again.

I was pondering the debate about settling these big matches with penalties
when something quite unexpected happened.  On the halfway line with mere
seconds to go, Arsenal tried to keep the ball wide to their left -- and
ex-Spurs Nayim intercepted the ball, looked up, looked down and just simply
hoofed it.  The ball went up and began to drop -- and then with horror I
realised that the camera showed Seaman desperately back-peddling and diving
backwards, his fingertips barely deflecting the ball, falling into the back
of the net with the ball falling behind him.

I was dumbfounded and sat motionless as the Spaniards celebrated.  There
was no time to get it back -- the match would end seconds after the restart.
I just couldn't believe it.  I feel for Arsenal fans everywhere.  That
was a horrible way to lose a game -- even if Real may have deserved it.

The questions now will be was Seaman at fault and did Nayim intend the 

Firstly, the action was at the half-way line.  Like any other goalkeeper
Seaman was roaming the top of his box while the ball was so far away.
He was probably expecting a cross behind his defence and wanted to be
there early to either narrow the angle or to be close at hand should a
defender have won the ball and pushed it back to him.

Secondly, I believe Nayim meant to do what he did.  It was a hopeful lob,
but he tried it and it worked.  He _must_ have seen Seaman way off his line
and couldn't have seen any of his team mates to pass it to -- knowing time
was at the end.  He skied it -- it was the only way to put distance on the
ball.  It was perfectly kicked and all credit to him.  In a 100 tries
I doubt the trajectory would have been as perfect as it was to just beat
Seaman and make it under the crossbar and to be perfectly angled (it could
easily have gone wide as over or even make it that close to goal).

Well done Real, but a hearty commiserations to the Arse.

The referee should be flogged though.  I'd have to go back to the tape
and do a real count (I won't) but Real deserved at least a dozen yellow
cards and a couple of red ones.  Arsenal could have been yellow carded
a few times too.  Arsenal should have had three penalties, Real could
have had one, maybe -- depending on if you thought the defender got the
man before the ball.  I didn't think so.