A Fairy Tale, but not of New York

By Alex Steine

Some bedtime reading for our younger fans!

Once upon a time, well, quite a while ago, almost one hundred and thirty years to be precise, a little one was born. Sadly, he was born south of the great river, a stretch of water that divided that huge city. His name was Wooly, though he wasn't at all woolly. In fact he was quite bright and clear-headed; behind his back some of his peers said he should go far, and many of them wished he would! Some said giants lived on the other side of that wide strip of moving water, others believed the river became a silvery serpent the moment that the sun set. So they held it in reverential awe, for no reason other than their own ignorance. This fear held them back, afraid to venture, or strike out on their own. Wooly had no such reservations.

He was born in ordinary surroundings, without advantage, but with a strong belief in what was right and wrong (his ethical code would follow in due course), with a burning desire to compete. His principles laid a foundation for all that would follow. His intentions were plainly obvious to everyone. This set him apart, troubling him at first, but later he would view this separateness as a badge of honour which he always wore with humility, but his pride shone on the inside. Typically, he was opposed by those without his foresight, yet he persevered, making waves, and insisting on treading his own path. This made him strong; he would need to call upon this strength in the dark days ahead, and there would be many - the world and its discourses would see to that. The dislike had begun, and would evolve into a form of jealous loathing, enveloping him. Yet always he would be equal to it.

He paid no heed to others who lived nearby, those by the Mill, behind the Wall, who kept hitting each other, the strange, lonely one, in the Valley, who could not even sing, even the one who suffered from an affliction, the one who believed he lived in a glass Palace, yet constantly threw stones; he just felt sorry for this one. Further afield still, were others he kept apart from. The cheesy one, proud to live in a Cottage, this one like the one in the glasshouse and the one who lived by the mill, were always apparently heard quoting some kind of Shakespeare, 'Where is the rub?' This he knew was because they never had anything silver of worth to polish. And there was also the one without shame, the Pensioner, who grubbed around in a Shed.

He'd heard of others, though their paths had never crossed. He wasn't sure they even existed. As there was no evidence, he reasoned that perhaps they were folklore, since he couldn't believe anyone of his sort would live in a Griffin's park, as he was sure a Griffin wasn't real, anyway. As for the one who lived in the road of a Vicarage, that surely couldn't be for real, as he also knew church people didn't like the less fortunate littering up the places where they lived, unless they were horizontal, and six feet under the ground. The only other one he'd heard of was just an acronym, who desperately wanted to be a Ranger, because it sounded quite important, but wasn't. There was even a myth of one who had metamorphosed. This sounded incredible to Wooly, but there was this belief that one had wombled for as long as he could and then became another. Others said this one had been drawn up in the night, and transported across the river, by a powerful force, but was still known as Don. All this was conjecture, but that was about to change.

One day, a black-pudding traveller had spoken to him, insisting that he knew what was in the north of the city, on the other side of the fast-flowing river. He had been there and hadn't liked what he'd seen. This traveller came from far, far, away, in a place that was called, 'Oop North', which was a long way away, where the people did things differently, and got paid for it. Wooly only concerned himself with the big city where he lived, and what life was like across the slow, meandering serpentine. He pressed the chubby traveller for his story. So he began. He told a tale of a privileged chappy, even went as far as suggesting he went by the name of West, the porky boy. He said West had fine attire, and a wonderful home in which to parade his finery in. If this was true, Wooly felt no jealousy. He knew that his home, although humble, was only a starting point; why, he knew you never gave a backward glance to the launch-pad, as your rocket sped to the stars.

He quizzed the traveller some more. Were there others across the river? He needed to know. The traveller laughed, saying there was an odd one, a little nondescript chappy, who seemed to suffer from delusions of grandeur, claiming an Oriental heritage, yet everyone was aware that was untrue, but just left him to his own devices, knowing he would never amount to much. Wooly was excited and intrigued. He finally plucked up courage to ask if there was any possibility that a giant lived on the other side of the river, in the north of the city. The traveller stroked his chins, lit his pipe, settled back, and began polishing his clogs (this it appeared was a favourite pastime in that distant land, that was 'Oop North'; polishing clogs was normally reserved for a fun Saturday night, there), as he told of what he had heard.

He told Wooly that there were rumours of a giant, one who ate chickens. That the giant lived alone, with no one near. He had a morose air, seemingly, and resided in a dwelling in a Lane. The stories he'd heard had told of unwholesome singing of rotting corpses in a grave, and much aimless marching. Wooly was full of wondrous curiosity, and this kept Spurring him on, to go to see for himself. So one day he made the decision to go across that watery divide, and did. He was perplexed that no one seemed to want him to go, yet these same people didn't seem to want him to stay. Anyway his mind was made up, and eventually he forded the river.

He found a place to settle, near a college. He built a good solid home. He built it High to Bury any reservations, or feelings of disquiet. Still his curiosity tugged at him; he couldn't ignore these inclinations. Where the giant lived had to be nearby, but where? He realised civilisation, as he judged it, didn't go much further than his new home, so he reasoned that if the giant existed, it was out in the wilderness. He didn't need to wonder for long though, as one day the giant paid him a visit. He saw him on the horizon. Wooly thought he didn't look too gigantic, but he was a long way off yet. Still, as he approached, singing all the while, he seemed to grow smaller, and smaller in Wooly's eyes. Up close he looked like a Tiny Tott. Wooly tried to be hospitable, but this colourless, Lilywhite individual didn't crave friendship. He ranted at Wooly, and told him to go away. When he realised Wooly wasn't taking any notice, he sat down and began gnawing on a spud he'd had in his pocket, after a while he left, and in a doleful voice was heard muttering quietly to himself, of more marching.

Well, Wooly, became as successful as he imagined he might. He found a wonderful architect named Herbie, a Chap, who was known as the Man. Herbie gave a unique present to Wooly. The most innocuous, but amazingly symbolic gift, that of white sleeves. In keeping with the consideration that Wooly had of himself, that he was different to the herd, the white sleeves gave him, in his opinion, the appearance of royalty. He looked in the mirror and liked what he saw. He was surely unlike all of the rest, and knew he would need to constantly strive to prove that he was. Slowly but surely, his home became grander and more illustrious, with marble halls, and oak panels everywhere. Flags fluttered from the roof, and Wooly, in keeping with his stature, placed many cannons around his home. It was to become a fortress. Radio came first to Wooly's, then television also came to Wooly's first. Many achievements followed and his fame spread. With the acclaim showered upon him, Wooly experienced such jealousy from others, but none was of his own making. Yet also, many came to visit. Wooly befriended everyone who wanted to be his friend, and offered them a part of his home as if it was theirs, and do you know what? Most regarded it as their home too. Wherever those people travelled in this wide world, thereafter, they believed a part of them remained at Wooly's; it duly became their spiritual home.

Wooly's neighbour, never left his home. He remained there in the Lane, always in the shadows, sulking, which was a shame. The one thing about Tiny's singing were the words he sang, always a puzzle to Wooly. Who was Gloria? What was a Looya? And then why would you want to lay one? He just accepted that the world turned in ever more mysterious circles.

Wooly's fame is renowned. Many have a desire just to visit, to be there, to see if it really is like being in a very big family. Wooly has long since built an even bigger, grander home near to his original home. People do come, and visit both of his homes, the old and the new. The new accommodation is fantastic; it gleams like no other, but the old home holds an ever-increasing charm for everyone, the young and the old. From time to time you hear the cannons roar. It is a delightful sound, announcing to all that Wooly is still here, where he rightfully belongs. Now children near and far are sat on their parents knees, and told fairy tales of the giant who lives across the river, in the north of the city, the big, powerful, but kindly giant; and boys and girls - we know the giant exists now, don't we? And his name is Wooly!

2nd July 2013 09:00:00


Comments and Reaction

User comments on this article are now closed. If you want to continue the debate, why not do so on the Gooner Forum.

Gary  8:26am 2nd Jul 2013

Drivel. I remember when the Gooner was good. Try and do something original for once. - Post No. 38913

BADARSE  8:49am 2nd Jul 2013

Oh dark one Gary - you with no light; go and sit in the shadows, you will be in good company. - Post No. 38915

Steve H  9:16am 2nd Jul 2013

This is utter garbage - what a waste of time - give me Enid Blyton anyway! - Post No. 38918

JJB  9:32am 2nd Jul 2013

No surprise to see yet another load of absolute rubbish appear on this site, this has become the laughing stock of arsenal blogs. Much like our once great team, how the mighty have fallen - Post No. 38920

BADARSE  9:54am 2nd Jul 2013

This is a plea to garyfootscrayofaustralia. I have only been posting from quite recently, so may have missed much of what you have said in the past. I have trawled back over a dozen articles to read more closely what you have written. Are they the tip of the iceberg? You sing a good melody, and I for one, would like to hear more. We may not agree on some, possibly most matters, but I am intrigued, so please post more often. - Post No. 38921

RJ  10:44am 2nd Jul 2013

@Gary - whilst I only read two paragraphs of this article because I wasn't interested in the topic, it is a bit - shall we say - Tottenham-neanderthal - to complain that someone who has just written a thousand word fairy tale based on Arsenal's history should "do something original". Or did I miss last week's identical article? @Alex - good on yer mate for trying something original. It beggars belief that some people just come on to the internet to slag off and be abusive - what is wrong with a bit of tolerance and love my Gooner-chums. To all the haters who thikn online gooner is rubbish, why don't you f***-off down the arseblog (which is a very quality organ, IMO). Surely we are all united by a desire to see our great club get greater. No more trolling here please. COME ON YOU GOONERS. - Post No. 38924

gunnerrealist  11:44am 2nd Jul 2013

You seem to have a problem with my first commnet, even with that being the case you really shouldn't of deleted it, after all we have to read your comments wether we like it or not. - Post No. 38925

GG89  12:42pm 2nd Jul 2013

No one has to read anything... the fairytale continues, AW´s disaster at relighting the fires... with far more resources, we´re just one notch better than the neighbours... that´s the sad truth. slag off the club that´s cheating its own fans... $$$$$$, yuk - Post No. 38926

Website Admin  13:08pm 2nd Jul 2013

@gunnerrealist - Your initial comment was removed as it contravened the house rules by including your email address. We are perfectly happy to publish criticism as I think is proven by other comments. - Post No. 38929

Wung Hung Low  13:50pm 2nd Jul 2013

I thought it was clucking good. - Post No. 38931

maguiresbridge gooner  16:12pm 2nd Jul 2013

Certainly something different Alex, nice fairy tale and so were the piss takes. - Post No. 38933

Gary  20:35pm 2nd Jul 2013

The article was not original because I have read almost identical attempts on other sites. I bought the gooner for years and this is not fit for public consumption. Ps please do not try and tar me as a troll or being anti wenger because I didn't like your writing. I am fiercely pro arsene, I just thought your article was unimaginative and poorly written. All the best with your future endeavours. - Post No. 38937

Gary  20:45pm 2nd Jul 2013

Ps please do not say you have been reading back through my comments as I haven't posted here before and won't post it again. Making out that I am simply anti Arsenal (when I have been a season ticket holder since 1995-6) instead of acknowledging that your article really wasn't very good is a bit sad. Keep fooling yourself though. Why not write about something interesting? Genuinely I am always interested to read articles about past players, thoughts on the season ahead or just gone, anything really, but this was just really wide of the mark that's all. - Post No. 38938

garyfootscrayaustralia  21:13pm 2nd Jul 2013

Just so we're clear, that wasn't me moaning at the top of the comments section. I don't have an issue with this piece, in fact one of you lot who still live locally and know a primary school teacher in Holloway, Islington, Finsbury Park etc. should pass this one quick - smart so as to brainwash the little tackers before they're lost to Sky United or the Russian Blues. While i'm here, any news on Higuain? - Post No. 38939

BADARSE  21:47pm 2nd Jul 2013

There's my man garyfootscrayaustralia! I meant what I said dude, and here you are riding in on a white horse to defend the piece. You are right enough about nobbling a teacher to stop the little one's heads being turned by the two mobsters. Oh, and you didn't need to explain that you weren't the spud in disguise who was griping, and singing dirges and marching songs as he left. Even I knew you well enough for that. So you began your love affair with AFC in '78, the era of the cups. In '78 I was so skint I made blue and white rosettes for my two youngsters, out of cornflake boxes, as we watched the lads lose on the Telly. How I've moved on since then. I can now make them out of Special K boxes! - Post No. 38940

maguiresbridge gooner  22:40pm 2nd Jul 2013

Gary, lets just assume your not a bitter spud in disguise, so the article was drivel and not original ? your entitled to your opinion, maybe if the author had indicated that wooly had been helped by your messiah's great grandad in the move, and had helped him to form Arsenal and build Highbury then no doubt you'd have loved it. - Post No. 38942

Gary  23:20pm 2nd Jul 2013

Dude I got the point of the article, but I have seen exactly the same thing done both on arseblog (twice) and by mean lean. And once again, just because someone has a different opinion to you....doesn't mean they are spurs. I hate them as much as the next gooner, particularly steffen freund, who is a massive dong. - Post No. 38943

BADARSE  7:42am 3rd Jul 2013

@maguiresbridge gooner, Gary got one thing right, you are a dude! Transfer news! So many suggestions linking Arsenal with everyone, and his Dad. I have never gone there before, on the web, that is. I did in response to garyfootscrataustralia's question. Wow! Oh, that way madness lies, as King Lear might say, I just unplugged and walked away. Let's hope for good news soon. - Post No. 38944

Wung Hung Low  9:01am 3rd Jul 2013

Come on Gooners chill. Man who want pretty nurse, must be patient. - Post No. 38946

BADARSE  9:21am 3rd Jul 2013

@Wung Hung Low, or should I say Confucious? Love the humour, with the cutting edge wisdom. Keep Hanging Low, Goonel. - Post No. 38947

Der Projekt ist Kaput  12:44pm 3rd Jul 2013

Gary/Steve H/JJB: If you all thought this piece was 'Drivel'/'Utter garbage'/'Absolute rubbish' - then I would say please why don't you submit something stimulating/original/worthwhile yourselves as I'm sure it would be well received by the Gooner and its subscribers. Until then, please cut Alex some slack. I imagine he worked hard and spent lots of time to contribute this - and for what it's worth, it raised a smile from me on reading it. - Post No. 38951

maguiresbridge gooner  12:51pm 3rd Jul 2013

Gary, you hate the spuds as much as the next gooner there's certainly nothing wrong with that - Post No. 38952

BADARSE  13:20pm 3rd Jul 2013

@maguiresbridge gooner/Gary, peace is breaking out all over, something rare to thank the Spuds for. Well done fellas. - Post No. 38953

Gary  13:41pm 3rd Jul 2013

Agreed, piece to all gooners. Here's hoping for a productive transfer window. - Post No. 38954

jjetplane  20:47pm 3rd Jul 2013

A quicker read than Simon Rose! Done and mythically dusted in 3 seconds. Why not pair up! - Post No. 38962

BADARSE  21:14pm 3rd Jul 2013

@jjetplane, speed-reading as well! Is there no end to your talents? Oh, by the way, it wasn't a race. - Post No. 38964

Peter Wain  8:17am 4th Jul 2013

transfer window going to plan Sold mannone for £2 million and signed a free transfer. Looking good for bonuses this year. - Post No. 38972

BADARSE  9:05am 4th Jul 2013

@Peter Wain, I find myself moving through a range of emotions on these postings, depending on views published, and the manner couched. On occasions I reel from abject despair to almost touching elation, I'm not sure how much longer I can continue posting, the repetition is slowly phasing me. This morning I have to say thanks though, your recent post made me smile from ear to ear. I'm not sure if this was the response you hoped for, but it just tickled me. Ah, the gloom of it all! ha ha. - Post No. 38973

Ealing Gooner  10:36am 4th Jul 2013

Wouldn't Wooly have changed his name when he moved north of the river? Maybe he changed it to Victor (as in Victoria Concordia Crescit) but his friends called him by his initial V, meaning he was V Arsenal!! By the way, my brother saw Steffen Freund in Tesco Potters Bar on Wednesday evening, obviously he does his shopping on Wednesdays because he's usually busy on Thursday nights! - Post No. 38974

BADARSE  11:30am 4th Jul 2013

@Ealing Gooner, see that's what I will miss when I stop posting, another smile! Which area of Ealing are you pal? I lived there once, and have been back a number of times, but not for ages, I bet it has changed, probably not for the better, a bit like Arsenal FC. - Post No. 38975

JJ B  11:31am 4th Jul 2013

@Der Projekt ist Kaput - I did produce somethin better than this last night, but i had to flush it straight away. What a poor argument to go with? The old "why dont you write something yourself" line, well actually Il take that point on a proper article a bout the club or football, i respect the effort put it to those even when I disagree, but something that is suppsoed to be "humerous" which as im sure you know, is a very subjective thing, then I can slag it off all i like. By the way, if you are going to submit something on a blog site with a comments section then of course you are going to get critiscism as well as praise!!! So your paltry point falls flat on its ass fella - Post No. 38976

BADARSE  12:07pm 4th Jul 2013

@JJB. When I pick up a magazine I scan it for my 'type' of article, I'm sure most do, probably yourself included. When an article is presented on the Gooner that choice vanishes. It is there for you to read, or dismiss, as is your right, and yes, with posting access it surely invites criticism or praise. Many articles, TV programmes etc, provoke neither in me. I just close the magazine or switch channel. What I think the fundamental flaw is, is not really comprehending the purpose, or spirit of an article on the Gooner. It is not a paid for magazine, or TV programme, I think in it's way it becomes a labour of love, possibly a way to connect with other fans. The point about humour being subjective is a very valid point. I am often left cold by some, as no doubt you are. An important point I think you have misconstrued is that this article was not meant to be humorous, it surely was a novelty, perhaps tongue-in-cheek, approach. I see it as an attempt to entertain. What do you do at Karaoke nights if you don't like the singer's voice? I think that's the point of DPI Kaput's comments, though I would never try to speak for him, it's a generalised view when the herd feel criticism is unfair, or too severe. - Post No. 38977

Der Projekt ist Kaput  12:23pm 4th Jul 2013

JJB: 'I did write something better than this last night'. May we see it then? Then perhaps we can all come to a collective agreement if it is, indeed, better? - Post No. 38978

Ron  12:34pm 4th Jul 2013

JJ B - Yes, a writer will get criticism as well as praise as you say, but where you went wrong was your first retort to the article ie 'load of rubbish' or words to that effect, with no reasons as to why. I dont find the blog that funny, but for all we know, the writer of it could be a 14/15 year old Gunners fan having his first go at humour? If thats right he deserves some praise surely not just a crude brush off? Save that for the odd spud idiot who get on here from time to time trolling and spewing their rubbish Tottenham diatribes or even mate the crew of old bas----s like me and BADARSE et al who are convinced things were better in yesteryear and we ll carry on telling you fella s they were till we win you guys over!!! Ha. - Post No. 38979

BADARSE  16:52pm 4th Jul 2013

I'm with you all the way Ron! Do you remember our dear old Vic Groves? Big, powerful , barrel-chested Arsenal player of days gone by? A few years back a chap told me he lived near him as a neighbour. Vic's wife ran to the chap to help, as Vic had collapsed in the bathroom. He said he scooped him up like a baby, as he was so thin and ill. I still see him as that strong young athlete, even though he has been gone for years now. Get away memories, leave me alone! No good Ron, they won't let go. - Post No. 38983

Ron  21:21pm 4th Jul 2013

BADARSE - Course i do matey. Him and Jimmy MacGill and Billy Mac and Alan Skirton, Terry Neill and Johnny MacLeod et al. Blimey we were brittle weren't we mate.Ha I just reckon us lot who cut our teeth as fans then had the best times, the very best. We wd win one week end and then lose the next 2 week ends, then get a thrashing, usually at Chelsea or Tottenham and then we would thrash some team. We invented the word inconsistency!Still loved em though and the Club oozed class then. - Post No. 38989

Issue #269 - Out Now!

Gooner Editorial

23rd February 2018

It Is Actually Getting Worse

Online Ed: Arsenal’s largely unmotivated players defeated at home