The Armchair Gooner

An Arsenal blog bringing you news, opinion and humour on a daily basis. Well, I'll try at the very least…

James’ highlights of 2013. The must-read list to end all lists (not really).

A year in Arsenal’s fortunes (and mine).

Evening, folks.

Seeing as we’re in the last hours of 2013, I thought I’d join in with the look-backs and other such things and offer a few of my own.  Ordinarily, I grow tired of this kind of thing as, to be perfectly honest with you, who gives a f**k about my favourite moments of 2013? However, my absolute refusal to head out into the farrago of enforced frivolities tonight has left me at something of a loose end. So I thought I’d write this before indulging in a marathon session of watching all the episodes of Firefly back-to-back.  I’m still waiting on that call from Scarlet Johansson…

Given that I have an incredibly selective and relentlessly poor memory, this isn’t going to be particularly easy for me. In fact, every ounce of me is urging myself to do this list how I’d like to and have it avoid homogenous regurgitation. However, I’m sure you don’t want to read my personal and, frankly, bizarre highlights. You want to cast your eyes upon highlights that relate to Arsenal. I can only keep myself at bay for so long, so it’s going to be a mixture of the two.

I hope you enjoy it.

1. 1-1 at Newcastle. The phantom goal. The goal that didn’t exist and the celebrations that accompanied it. With Spurs looking to pip us to the remaining Champions League spot, they needed to better our result at St James’ Park. They didn’t, but thanks to this calamitous blunder from Alan Sugar, they thought there was a ray of hope:

There was limitless humour to be gleaned from the moment they thought Newcastle had equalised, and immeasurably more upon the realisation that it was all one big misunderstanding.

2. Daniel Cowan’s swollen genitals of desire. It is often the silly little things that make me laugh the most. During a recording of The Goonersphere Podcast which I co-host with Daniel Cowan, my good friend took a second of his time to inform Andrew from Arseblog that his mellifluous, alluring Irish tones were causing all the blood in his body to pump towards his gentleman’s bits in a tidal wave of arousal. That in itself is funny, but best of all was Andrew’s momentary pause and slightly startled reaction – as if he wasn’t quite sure whether or not Daniel was being serious.

You can listen to it here.

3. Signing Mesut Ozil. How many of us, had we been asked at this point last year, would have believed we’d shell out in excess of £40m on one of the best players in Europe over the summer? I’m certain I’d have cried, “poppycock!” at the very notion.

Yet, on the final day of the transfer window, there he was looking all boggle-eyed and beautiful. His presence alone has given everyone at Arsenal an enormous boost, and whilst there are those doubting his credentials, I do not. The best is still to come from our German playmaker and when he’s fully settled into the Premiership and his new club we will start to see some wonderful things.

4. Becoming a podcasting sensation (not really). This entry should probably be before No2, but forward thinking has never been one of my strong points. For some time I’ve wanted to have a show of my own, and now I’m fortunate to have something far better; a show that I co-host with someone just as f**ked up and magniloquent as I am.

It’s an absolute blast to prepare and broadcast to you all. Daniel and I glean genuine pleasure from putting our heads together and coming up with various sketches and hat tips for you. We hope to keep up regular shows for  2014. I should also mention that I’ve made quite a few friends from my exploits, and a big thank you is extended to Danny and Gimli of A Bergkamp Wonderland, all their regularly featured panelists and especially to all the folk that have given up their time and made our show that little bit better with their seductive tones.

A secondary part of this would be to thank my co-host Daniel for all his technical expertise and patience listening to some of my ridiculous and offensive ideas, and to Willem Gonggrijp for showing what a good natured sport he is. Mother. F**king. Crepes.

5. The rise of Aaron Ramsey. 2013 has certainly been the year in which doubters have had to consume copious amounts of humble pie. A much maligned and unfairly abused figure this time last year, Aaron Ramsey’s transformation into darling of The North Bank was quite astounding.

Since the beginning of the year, and especially since the beginning of this season, he has established himself as one of the best midfielders in Europe. He scores goals, makes goals and he doesn’t stop running for 90 minutes. A lot of people wrote him off, singling him out for blame at every opportunity. I wouldn’t dispute his form wasn’t the best at one point in his Arsenal career, but always hoped he’d show everyone what he is truly capable of. The guy has been simply brilliant.

6. They’re having a Twitter meltdown! We all know that Twitter is one of those networks on the Internet that has as many good moments as it does bad. We all know that for every person you interact with on there that is entertaining and informative, there’s someone filled with bitterness and hatred looking for some way in which to let all those feelings free.

Tweets like that one above are the reason I persevere with Twitter. Yes – on occasions I wonder why I bother when folk explode into self righteous anger at the silliest of things, but for all the humour and wonderful people I’ve been able to interact with, it has been worth every minute. Plus, I find all those meltdowns to be bloody hilarious.

And that folks, is my list of favourite moments of the year. I’m sure you all have your own. The comments sections awaits you below. Please use it to tell me your best and worst moments from the past year.

I almost forgot to mention; Hilariously, I’ve been nominated in the ‘best blog’ category of the YDA Awards. Seeing as I’m up against some stiff competition and I’d really like to not come last, I shall point you in the direction of their voting page.

You can vote here.

Happy New Year and thanks for reading, you beautiful bastards.

Category: Arsenal
  • Daniel Cowan says:

    And another special thanks to Daniel Cowan for without his existence this putrid little site of rampant debauchery, recalcitrance and psychological scrofulousness would not be operational right now after the luddite known only as James Fucking Stokes cocked it all up.

    December 31, 2013 at 7:53 pm
  • James 'Raul' Stokes says:

    Daniel, that’s hurtful, touching and absolutely true all at the same time.

    PS – You haven’t put my link text back to red. Get it fucking sorted.

    December 31, 2013 at 7:56 pm
    • Daniel Cowan says:

      It’s done you scrotum

      December 31, 2013 at 8:04 pm
  • OzilsFeet says:


    December 31, 2013 at 8:09 pm
  • Omar says:

    Ahh James, you connoisseur of fine television series, Firefly’s great! Do you not think that Inara gives Scarlet Johansson a run for her money in terms of voluptuous perfection?

    December 31, 2013 at 8:11 pm
  • Admir says:

    Happy New Year, James, all the best for you and Arsenal in 2014!

    I’d just add that Wilshere’s goal against Norwich on the list. If you ever tried to imagine how it would have looked like if Dennis Bergkamp had tried to do one-two with his clone, than it was that Wilshere’s goal.

    December 31, 2013 at 8:16 pm
  • mohamed aziz says:

    Yep congrats for your awards and have merry new year n kick ass on the 1st jan.of 2014

    December 31, 2013 at 8:17 pm
  • goonerdyllan says:

    Happy New Year you delightful bastion of decadent filth. A warning and aspiration to us all. If the world was fair you’d be in the top 3 for blogs & Legrove would be forced to attend some form of re-education camp.

    Voted for Goonersphere pod though so go nominate me for new blog you foppish epitome of Bristolian debauchery.

    December 31, 2013 at 9:12 pm
  • GOONERKAM says:

    Lol. Happy new year JAMES. you salty beautiful basterd.
    Thanks for all the hard work on this very nice blog format. Best of health, happiness and love.

    January 1, 2014 at 6:18 am
  • fazjac_debra says:

    I wish you a Happy and Healthy New Year so you can keep me entertained with all of your salty debauchery. I voted for you before I read this, good luck, hope you take 1st place. One of my favorite things this year was finding twitter, it has opened a whole new world for me.

    January 2, 2014 at 11:47 pm
    • James 'Raul' Stokes says:


      I was in last place when I checked…

      You’re always welcome back here. Your support and comments are greatly appreciated.

      January 3, 2014 at 12:15 am
  • GOONERKAM says:

    Hehehe. What saltery , what debauchery. Pffft
    May be in his younger more beautiful times. 😉

    January 3, 2014 at 2:35 am
  • GOONERKAM says:

    A very happy new year JR. the best mate. What ever you want.
    Trophies, sagna to sign and maybe some more salt… (0(

    January 3, 2014 at 2:38 am
  • GOONERKAM says:

    And maureenwhore to get hit hard by a BUS….

    January 3, 2014 at 2:40 am

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