Date: 13th August 2010 at 3:03pm
Written by:

Dear friends and family, it probably has not escaped your notice that throughout the last three months, I have been more available, more talkative and due to extra disposable income, more generous with the drinks. You will probably also have noticed that you have seen much more of me during daylight hours than you are otherwise accustomed- this is not just owing to increased daylight hours in British summer time. You may even have welcomed this quarter transformation, as I appeared more relaxed and less preoccupied than usual. I am delighted to inform you that, for the next nine months, this is about to change.

I will now revert to being the preoccupied, sporadically available ball of anxiety you know and love. Please be aware that the root of my anxiety will not be your new job; or your cousin`s wedding or whether or not you may be suffering typhoid or whatever else it is you will be blathering on about. Please also be advised that it is by no means guaranteed that I will be able to make it to your birthday party/ wedding/ bar mitzvah/ funeral should it occur between now and May 28th, 2011. Frankly, if you decide to hold any such celebration/ loss of life on a Saturday/ Sunday/ Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday evening, then more fool you. (If we`re away in Europe, you can throw in Thursdays too).

Moreover, you will be expected to be understanding when I inform you that your epoch making occasion has been refused in favour of a trip to a rain swept Newcastle in February. If you really insist that I must be present at any such occasion, then the Arsenal fixture list can be found at the official website. Choose a date- any date- when we* are not playing to give yourself a better chance. (NB, don`t make the mistake of forgetting to check the dates of future cup ties which have yet to be drawn at the bottom of the page). If you find you are unwilling to make these concessions- then sod you. You obviously don`t want me to be there badly enough.

There are also further conditions and clauses that I feel you must be aware of. If you see me looking particularly gloomy on a Monday morning DO NOT ask why. It is contingent upon you to know that I do not get upset about female rejection; office wide redundancies or police warnings for indecent exposure. I only worry about really important things. Like football results. Should you feel the need to send any “funny” derogatory e mails or jpegs mocking Arsenal, please resist the urge. You might consider it “harmless banter”, but it really won`t be so “harmless” when I track you down and shove your keyboard up your rectum. To this end, if you see me beaming from ear to ear, then it is almost certainly not because I have pulled some lovely little bit at the weekend. Believe me.

To save your ears from bleeding and your face from being showered in spittle, allow me to save us both some time for the next 9 months by informing you of the following:

– No, referees are not “just normal blokes trying to do their job.” They are all evil, twisted little hitlers implicated in a worldwide conspiracy to cost Arsenal league points.

– No, it is not just 22 men kicking a ball around. If it is, then what the hell does that make tennis?

– Yes, I am taking a half day “just to watch Arsenal play away at Plymouth in the League Cup.” So shut up.

– Please stop gathering your friends around and then asking me, “Tim, what would you rather, a lusty naked evening with Milla Jovovich, or Arsenal win on Saturday?” and then laughing maniacally at my answer. That stopped being funny when I was about 14. For me anyway.

– No I couldn`t give a flying fudge about where our players come from.

– Yes, arranging social occasions on international weekends is perfectly acceptable.

Yours Sincerely
T J F Stillman

*It is fully expected that you realise by now that, when I say “we”, I mean Arsenal. Not you and I. Don`t be so stupid.