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Wednesday, 11 August 2010

How I ended up following the Arsenal and some stories.

You know, it’s always a question that follows me, “How did you end up following Arsenal? Why don’t you follow the Wolves? They’re your home team.”

Ironically, I never did give up supporting the Wolves, any chance I get to travel to Molineux I take and I was over-the-moon when they stayed up. I had a season ticket with my recently converted Arsenal fan of a Dad at Molineux since 2004 (I could say 2003, but that was technically my Uncle’s and I only went when he wasn’t around and was on duty for Her Majesties Navy). This was until around 2007, when due to finances and our lack of wanting to go, plus the fact my Dad worked most Saturdays, we gave them up. If only we’d kept onto them, we’d have seen us promoted, although, my Dad goes to most home games with his friends who own an Executive Box.

However, that is not the point! Now from the day I was born to about 2001, I didn’t really follow football at all. I never learnt the advanced rules or cared for results. This all changed during the 2001-02 season, when I started following the Wolves a little closer as they looked on their way to the promise land, only to be pipped by the bloody Albion (whom I still have a burning hatred for, as much if not more than I do for Spuds). Before then, I went to a couple Wolves games, and had one shirt (printed with ‘Robbie 9’ on the back, just so happened Robbie Keane was my favourite player, and my name was Robbie, coincidence?). However, at any of those games, I remember falling asleep (being young and everything) and going to the toilet every 5 minutes. It was around this time, that my Aunt starting dating a guy referred to as “Cockney Dave” (simply because I have about 30 odd Uncles named Dave). He was a gooner, and had everything from bottles to Videos of the Arsenal. However, being naive I remember one day Arsenal played Leeds, Leeds scored fairly early on, and I sort of laughed because Arsenal were behind. What a fool I was, in a few months, they’d be the team I love.

I remember watching the 2002 FA Cup final on TV (which Dave was at). I was captivated by a certain Number 8 with red hair, yes, you guessed it, Freddie Ljungberg. I remember seeing his goal and thinking “Wow..” Arsenal played nothing like Wolves, they were World Class. So yes, I started liking the Arsenal because of my ‘Uncle’ and because of glory-hunting. What was even funnier, was on FIFA 2002, I’d been playing as Arsenal all along, simply because they were the first team on the screen.

It got to the 2002-03 season,after watching Arsenal on the tele pre-season, I had somehow, fallen in love with them. I asked my Dad the ultimate question “Dad, can I get an Arsenal shirt?”. In a couple of minutes, we went to JJB and I walked out with the new Arsenal shirt. The rest is history. In due course, I was signed up for Junior Gunners and my Dad soon became a Red Member. I went to my first Arsenal game on March 2nd 2003. Ironically, Freddie’s return game after injury. We won 2-0 and as I re-call Franny Jeffers scored one. However, the game was over-shadowed by Man Utd losing to Liverpool in the Worthless Cup final the same day. A month later, and I went to Villa Park and sat in the home end to see my beloved Arsenal. Of course Freddie scored to which I jumped up in the group of a load of Villa fans and shouted “YES!” Not a great moment. I visited Highbury twice after that, once to see Wolves on Boxing Day. A fixture I’d pleaded my Mum to let my and Dad go and see, she refused, saying I’d miss the annual family get-together. But secretly, my Dad, Dave and my Aunt got us 4 tickets for the game. Me and My Uncle sitting in the Arsenal end, whilst my Dad and Aunt sat below us with the travelling Wolves fans. The last visit was in 2005, when Dave’s mate’s son was mascot and I saw Arsenal run out 3-0 winners over Pompey. I should somewhere have Gael Clichy’s autograph, but I never got my book back from the lad who was the mascot. Most other games I went to were Away games at Villa and Wolves. However, I got to go to the 2005 FA Cup Final. My second trip to Cardiff, the first was the 2003 Division One Play-Off final to see my first-love make it into the big league.

Since 2006, I have been to the Emirates 3 times, 2 Emirates Cups and a game against Pompey in the inaugural year.

To answer my question, it was simply glory-hunting which helped me chose the Arsenal, that and my Uncle. It’s odd, I could have ended up a Man Utd fan had they made the Cup final that year. However, to my luck, in the end, I ended up good and an Arsenal fan. Oh and yes, any of my off-spring will be Arsenal fans should I have any.

I owe a lot to Arsenal, they made me a fan of football. I’m sure Wolves would’ve but I just feel that they may not have kept me interested the way Arsenal did. I will always remain a Wolves fan, there’s no need for me to desert them. There’s no bad blood between the two, so I can support both.

That’s my stories, feel free to leave some of your own.

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