“The Gooner Review” Reviewed

By on September 25, 2009

The Gooner Review

Being an Arsenal blog, and unable to review books like A Cultured Left Foot does so well due to family and university commitments, there is not much in the way of reviewable media. That all changed this week as Arsenal Station received a copy of “The Gooner Review” DVD. I had seen the trailer and was really looking forward to seeing what the filmmakers had done. So before I give you my own uneducated opinion on the DVD, let me give you just the slightest bit of background.

The movie was produced by Double D Productions which includes Ian Davies and Susan Douglas. Ian has had extensive experience in film production and Susan is an experienced fund-raiser. What does a fund-raiser have to do with making a movie about Arsenal’s season, you ask? Well, that’s the best part… 100% of the net profits from this film go to the Willow Foundation, our very own Bob Wilson’s charity which provides days out for those with life-threatening illnesses. A worthy cause indeed!

On to the DVD… The DVD is hosted by the comedian and ever-increasingly visible Arsenal supporter, Paul Kaye. Kaye first appeared in an Arsenal DVD when he was interviewed extensively inside Highbury for the fantastic “The Highbury Years” DVD. Since the Premier League, regrettably and inexplicably, refused to license footage to Double D, the DVD is not like your average season review DVD. Instead of being chronologically-based, fans voted on what were the 10 biggest issues of Arsenal’s season and they appear in a countdown format. These include things like the captaincy, the booing of Eboue, failure to replace transferred players, etc…

I have to say that I enjoyed this format very much and hope that it stays this way, as the plans are for The Gooner Review to be done annually and Double D is already filming at The Emirates for the eventual 2009-10 DVD. If you want to be kept aware of when and where they will be filming so you can try to get yourself into next year’s movie, you can join The Gooner Review Facebook Group and automatically receive weekly updates.

The guests were somewhat variable in their opinions, and in their recitation of statistics, but all were either entertaining and/or informative. OfNick Hornby course, any chance to watch Nick Hornby expound on the current Arsenal side is fantastic enough in itself, but insightful comments from Judge Jules, Bob Wilson, Perry Groves, Tony Attwood from Untold Arsenal, and, of course, Tom Watt and the increasingly ubiquitous Shovell, only made the movie that much better.

Wilson, Groves, Peter Marinello, and Eddie Kelly give insights from a players’ perspective, especially on the Eboue booing, while Watt, Jules, Atwood, Bernard Azulay of Gooner’s Diary, and Gregory Carmichael gave the perceptive comments of an intelligent and thoughtful supporter. Clock End Tone and Ruby Dixon, represented RedAction. Also included were the Gooners’ sweetheart, Amy Lawrence from The Observer, John Cross of the Daily Mirror, and Paolo Bandini of the Guardian.

The cross-section of interviewees was very good and I would even like to see more intelligent and insightful non-celebrity supporters like David Mahmoudieh, and perhaps a few more of the more visible of those from the Arsenal blogosphere included in future DVDs.

An American, David Soul, was included in the DVD and, while he was enthusiastic enough and it was obvious he cares about the club, at one point he talked about Arsenal’s “unbeaten streak of 18 wins.”

It might seem petty to call Soul out for that remark, especially when his enthusiasm was so apparent, but we’re all a bit sensitive on this side of the pond since Adebayor’s insults a few weeks ago only brought to the fore a characterization of American Gooners as unknowledgeable and disloyal that was there even before his remarks. Comically, we could’ve also done without the possible jinx of comparing the Arsenal to the Brooklyn Dodgers of the ’40s and ’50s.

If you want a little laugh, about fifteen minutes in, take a look at Joe Swift’s face as his father, Clive, calls Thierry Henry “a diva.” Joe quickly corrected the old chap with “A legend!”

ShovellAs for Shovell… well, what can you say about Shovell? He’s absolutely fantastic to listen to no matter what he says because of his sheer enthusiasm and love for the club which practically oozes out of every pore of his body both in this DVD and when he was on ArsenalTV before Setanta ruined it. Shovell is the quintessential supporters’ supporter and the filmmakers made great use of him.

Overall, it was a fantastic DVD of a very disappointing season. It’s best feature is that it’s nowhere near as painful as watching the official season review DVD with all those mind-numbing draws and heart-numbing losses to clubs like Stoke, Fulham, and Hull, and it’s comforting to be in the company of such illustrious Gooners hurting the same way you are.

It’s amazing to think that no one thought to do this sooner, but I am glad someone finally did. Ian Davies and his team have hit upon something special here that could easily turn into an annual tradition for Gooners throughout the world. Arsenal Station will eagerly anticipate The Gooner Review each year and so will you.




IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER: Arsenal Station receives absolutely nothing for you clicking on this link and/or buying the DVD. You don’t even have to use this link to use the promo code, which is merely a generous gesture on the part of the filmmakers towards Arsenal Station’s readers, who are Gooners, after all. All net profits, as stated in the review, go to Bob Wilson’s Willow Foundation.