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Cannon Club Miscellany : Radioactive Emirates

This weekend I read the fascinating story of the poisoning of a Russian security agent in London in 2006.

If you have time, the inclination, and patience, I encourage you to read it, but as far as the whodunnit goes, the victim was poisoned by polonium-210 sprayed into his tea. Polonium-210 a rare poison that has a rapid rate of decay and apparently (I'm hardly an expert) leaves a telling radioactive trail behind.

The (other) Russian security agents determined to have (almost certainly) executed the poisoning left detectable alpha emissions behind on the planes transporting them to and from London, in their hotel rooms, and ... at the Emirates.

Aha, Arsenal tie-in, there you are!

One of the agents attended the Arsenal vs. CSKA Moscow match on November 1, 2006, which, in a bit of unclear (you won't believe this, but unclear is an anagram of nuclear) detail, happened just before or after the poison was administered. From the article:

Investigators checked his ticket number and CCTV footage to track down Lugovoy’s seat: it was so radioactive that it had to be removed and securely burned. HPA investigators were thankful the traces were so small that they did not have to decontaminate the entire 60,000 seat stadium.

Requisite joke: Mesut Ozil something something not the source something something radioactivity something else Emirates another thing recent history and so forth et al.

The game had a bit less intrigue than the unfolding poisoning plot, as an Arsenal starting 11 including Thierry Henry, van Persie, Fabregas, Hleb, Gilberto Silva, Gallas, Kolo Toure, and, of course, Justin Hoyte, played to a 0-0 draw. Arsenal would go on to win their group over Porto, CSKA, and Hamburg, only to lose quite disappointingly to PSV Eindhoven in the Round of 16. Arsenal, typical of the time, went on to finish fourth in the Premier League. You might also remember that 2006-07 was the Emirates' debut season, a disappointing one it turned out, what with Arsenal's disappointing performances and radioactive contamination.

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