By Maxwell George
First blog, first sentence.
Say something intelligent.
“I love lamp, damn it, I mean I love Arsenal”.
There we go I said it, I freakin love Arsenal and I now want the world to hear my ramblings. I feel I should give you a little background of my background. My name is X, I’m X years old, I was born in X, I now live in a lovely place called X, I do X for a living and the football team I support is Arsenal. The latter is all you really need to know and I am sure all you really want to know.
I love Arsenal simply because my old man was an Arsenal fan. A 14 year old immigrant who was literally taken off the ship and transported to a beautiful place called Highbury New Park. Years later he became the proud father of three Arsenal supporting boys. Highbury born and raised, a stone throw from the stadium, and I mean the historical, beautiful, magical, ‘ooooooh look its tucked in with all the houses’ stadium. Not the Benfica one (I’ll leave the stadium talk alone for another time).
My first Arsenal game was a memorable one to say the least. I was six years old accompanied by my dad and brothers. When you hear about people’s first experience of their first game they normally say how amazing that feeling was when they walked onto the terraces and saw the pitch in front of them, the noise of the crowd bursting through you as mustard drips onto you entire Arsenal closed body. Not for me my dear friends, a lovely heated room with a large white table clothed table ready for a three course meal.
That’s right, my first game Saturday 3 o’clock 23rd February 1991 versus Crystal Palace in a box. The view was fantastic but the atmosphere not so great, nothing has changed I guess from where my season ticket is now. As soon as the whistle blew I was hooked and that was that, Arsenal till I die as they say.
A 4-0 victory against a very good Crystal Palace side who finished the season off third, so they were by no means pushovers. Plus they had a really good decorator turned professional footballer bloke up front, can’t quite remember his name, Ian something, I’m sure it will come to me. That game was not just memorable because it was my first game but more so for what happened pre-game. A young lady came round with bets on first goal scorer. My dad who hated gambling allowed us three some fun and said we could all put £5 on first scorer.
Straight away my money’s on my hero, Kevin Campbell, I know not your normal choice but I have my reasons which I will share in the near future. My oldest brother had the safe bet down Alan “smudger” Smith down. Dad betted on the magic man Paul Merson and my other brother put David O’leary.
“Wo wo wo wo wo. I’m not giving you money to put on David O’leary, pick another one, he hasn’t scored in years”. Dad was not having it, a little fun family gambling was okay but he’s not going to let his hard earned money disintegrate right in front of him, nor would he be humiliated in front of his business associates who kindly invited him to the box. Reluctantly my brother went for some one else.
Anyway first half, first goal, boom David f***ing O’leary, 100/1, Arsenals most capped player with 11 goals in 558 games. You work out the maths of the goal per game ratio. Let’s just say my dad was not so happy. That day the Arsenal and Ireland legend was renamed David f***ing O’leary in our house hold.
Since that game my dad became a poorer man. Every home game he would set off early and come back with two tickets. I never really thought back then how he got those tickets but let’s just say although it was more expensive than queuing at the box office (queuing for all young people is something we use to do before the internet, you know the little rainbow wheel that comes up when your waiting, queuing is the same thing but in real life) it was still a fairish price to take your son to the game.
The days my dad would get home and have the ‘it’s Match of the Day’ face I would be distraught. Oh the hurt, oh the pain. Imagine Pique arriving home early from training one day and seeing his wife’s un-lying hips thrusting down on Carlos Puyol. That’s how I would feel (Pique by the way is modern day Jesus, yet again I leave that for another time).
A few years later dad managed to get a couple season tickets in the upper east stand, then as things looked up we got three and eventually we had and still have 4 season tickets. So I now have nearer enough 30 years experience of Arsenal. I really did think that I would grow out of it one day, but I now realise come rain or shine, come wife and child, come life and death, Arsenal is one thing that is always there. I’ve been through hardships just like everyone else out there, especially in the last year, but come kickoff time for 90 minutes I am free. Free of lif , worries, responsibilities. I am the guys on the roof in Shawshank Redemption having a cold beer. I love what Arsenal gives me, so therefore I’m in it for the long haul. Once a Gooner always a Gooner.
Thanks for listening, that’s it!!