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Commonwealth Games 2002

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  Thursday, 9 May, 2002, 11:59 GMT 12:59 UK
Double trouble in Finsbury Park
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By Chris Charles
BBC Sport Online

It was the night of a thousand horns.

Anyone living in the red half of north London could not fail to be caught up in Wednesday night's Double celebrations.

Whether they liked it or not.

For this QPR fan, living in exile in Finsbury Park, it was too much to bear.

Aha, sour grapes from a man whose team have not won anything since 1967, I hear you cry.

Not true - although I often wonder how much easier life would be if I'd been born within the sound of the Highbury cannon.

Ashley Cole, Patrick Vieira and Sol Campbell
At least it wasn't Man United

To be fair, I was cheering along with the rest of them when Sylvain Wiltord slotted home the all-important goal at Old Trafford.

After all, it's not every day you see Manchester United surrendering the Premiership title in their own back yard.

But the joke began to wear a little thin as the latest group of Gooners wobbled past my doorstep at 3am, to the strains of "Ar-sh-en-al".


Those not on foot were attempting their own version of the Double on the Seven Sisters Road. Let's see how many people we can get into one car and who's got the loudest hooter.

Bah, humbug.

There was a whiff of expectancy hanging in the air long before kick-off.

Every pub and bar within a two-mile radius of Highbury was teeming with red and gold shirts and you had more chance of getting to see Britney Spears perform in a village hall.

A text from an Arsenal mate which came through just after 6pm announced: "I'm locked in the Twelve Pins - worse things happen at sea."

They don't, believe me.

I finally stumbled across a half-empty hotel bar within shouting distance of my flat, complete with big screen and flat lager - perfect.

Arsenal fans
Oh come on - it's only the Double!

Bizarrely, the place began to fill up as the game reached its conclusion - and not everybody seemed interested in the football.

It was only when the bar staff began screwing poles into the floor that the penny finally dropped.

Naturally, in time-honoured tabloid tradition, I made my excuses and left.

Mind you, compared to some of the sights encountered on my journey home, I might just as well have stayed put.

And I'd have stood a better chance of getting a decent night's kip. Probably.

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