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Because it matters: the excitement of a matchday

By Walter Broeckx

A few days Tony wrote an article about some pundit who was passing on his negativity and didn’t realise how he was hurting the fans of a club. And he said that the pundits apparently don’t understand how much some things matter for us, the supporters.

Wise words as usual from Tony and it made me realise that indeed just as for him Arsenal matters to me. Every day of my life Arsenal is around. I read almost every article on the website, I see each match from the first till the last minute on my TV or computer when our sports channel picked another match. I write articles for Untold almost every day. So Arsenal is a big part of my life.

I then realised that I felt a strange excitement for a few days. The excitement a kid has when his parents tell him they will go to the beach tomorrow. If we all look back we will all remember such a thing like a holiday, a visit to your favourite relatives, a day trip with your school. Those things that make  the little kid inside getting all excited, not sleeping well at night full of anticipation of the great things that are awaiting him in the next days.

And then I thought to myself: Walter you are a grown up man, +50 years, are married for almost 30 years, have 4 children who are slowly leaving the house, you have a job, you should be a grown up man. But when the day comes near that I will travel to London so see my favourite club play I become that 6-7 year old boy that still is hidden inside of me somewhere (not an unusual thing; ask a former Arsenal player). I become that little kid that has restless nights and who is counting the days that separates him from his journey to whatever it might be.

So yes for the first time this season I will have the luck to visit Arsenal when they play in the Emirates. I did have seen us play in Dortmund earlier this season when we won 0-1 and I was only some 20 meters away from Ramsey when he scored and brought us in a delirious state of mind.

And that alone is enough to make me, old and grey and wise (well that should be the case by now)  feeling like that excited kid again. Because…well it matters to me.

Now going to Arsenal for me is not just about the match, even though this is of course the highlight of the day. But this is also about the fact that I usually meet people I care about. Meeting Tony of course is the second highlight of the day usually. Alas this time this will not be the case and that is a bit of a downer for me. But if all goes right I will be back in…. believe it or not 14 days for the FA cup match against Everton. We must make sure we meet then, Tony!

But this is also about not just meeting Tony. But I usually also see other people who write for Untold. I remember meeting Dogface a few times in the past. I hope things are going well with him recently and that he has recovered a bit from his big loss. It is about meeting Blacksheep, another writer for Untold. It is meeting those people that make those trips even more worth while. I sure hope we find each other. We must!

Seeing the match in the stadium is one big thing to get me excited. Seeing Tony, Drew, Dofgace (who knows maybe?), or even someone as happened a few times over the years suddenly staring at me, talking to his company, coming up to us (Tony and me) and asking us if we were Tony and Walter and wanting to take pictures with us, telling us what a great job we do and making us feel like Mick Jagger for half a split second is something that made my trips even more memorable.

And now and I like to think they did this specially for me I have the chance that Arsenal has decided to make the day even more special. As this Saturday when I will be there around 11.30 Arsenal will unveil the statue of someone I could call half a compatriot: Dennis Bergkamp. Somewhere in 1830 we ended being compatriots but in the period before that Belgium and Holland were one country. I always have regretted this split up as I never had any problems with people from Holland. Probably because I was born in a hospital only 300 meters away from the border between Belgium and Holland.

So for me Dennis is someone from around the corner. Not literally but in a manner of speaking. And the fact that I will be there (if the Eurostar runs on time) to see the unveiling is something that brings even more excitement to the whole occasion. And the fact that I was invited to write something in the Arsenal magazine for this occasion is something that makes me even happier as I now will be able to buy the magazine myself and read if they have put my thoughts on this in the magazine. They promised it, so I hope they will keep their word.

All this is in fact as Tony said; odd and maybe even childish for a grown up man like me or Tony. But, and I think this goes for most of the people who come on Untold and who are supportive to our way of supporting this club: it just does matter for us. Arsenal matters. Untold matters. Tony mattes. All the writers for Untold matter. And in fact all you readers matter. And for all of us Arsenal matters.

When I write this I will go to bed knowing that shortly I will be there.  By the time this article will be published I will be on my way.  Full of anticipation for another great day in my life and a day where my own little history and that long and impressive history of Arsenal connect.

The good thing about this is that I will of course be able to write some articles about the unveiling of the statue and take some pictures. And of course my match experience article, I might even mention the food. But the bad thing is that you will not get my match report immediately after the match. Sorry about that but as you know I will have other things to do at the end of the match. Like showing my support to the heroes out there on the pitch. Who will give me 3 points I hope to make the day a complete success.  Because also that would matter a lot.

 [Contrary to popular belief in the Untold editorial offices, Walter did not receive a backhander for those opening two paragraphs]

 

 

11 comments to Because it matters: the excitement of a matchday

  • I’ve a double sadness about not being there today… not just because I won’t meet up with Walter and the guys from the Benelux supporters club (the pic at the top of Untold at the moment was taken after Walter and I played for Benelux Supporters on the Emirates pitch), but also the statue.

    One of the great things the AISA Arsenal History Society has done is put to Ivan Gazidis the idea that we should have statues around the stadium. He responded well from the off, and ultimately we got the statues.

    My notion of including a statue to Jack Humble hasn’t come to pass – too obscure I guess – but even so, its a nice feeling that we made our mark.

  • Sammy The Snake

    I just landed in London and am buzzing, buzzing, buzzing with excitement for going to the game today. It’s a pity I won’t be able to meet Tony, but if I see Walter I’ll give you a shout!
    Let’s hope for a really good game and 3 points.

  • Florian

    I will always remember the trip to the Emirates last year – not because of the long flight and the lost luggage, but because of the extraordinary Stadium Tour, the effervescent atmosphere in the pub before the game, and the victory against the Spuds. You guys are so lucky to be able to go there often. I have no idea when I will be able to come back, but I will share a pint for you at the English Pub where I spend my Saturday afternoons when Arsenal is playing. Long Live Untold!

  • AL

    Wish I could be at the ems too, such a special day.

  • Have a great day Walter!

    Florian,

    That’s how I always feel too. I live only a few hours from the Emirates by train (somewhere in Essex) but not being a season ticket holder and having childcare duties have made it very difficult for me to attend matches. I have the utmost respect for those who attend regularly right until they start acting like it makes them better supporters or give their opinions on the club more validity. Many of those of us who can only go once in a blue moon feel the pain of not being able to attend often because on those few occasions that we did, it always feel extraordinarily good.

    To a victorious and injury free afternoon!

    Keep the faith.

  • Pete

    Walter, if you are anywhere near Block 102 would be great to say Hi!

  • Rantetta

    Ah Walter,

    I love your tales of trips to London. There was one time you came by car. I think a bird flew into the windscreen, or there was some kind of breakdown?

    In all aspects, Have a safe, great and wonderful trip.

  • Mahdain

    Oh Walter if you could only see how jealous i am of you.. Living here in Dar-es-salaam, Tanzania it has always been my dream to come see Arsenal play live and i just hope one day it will become a reality but until then i will keep supporting the boys from here and cheer them on to hopefully another 3 points towards the tittle. Up the Arsenal

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Have a great day , Walter , hope your trip gets us 3 points .Wave to the camera – I’ll be looking out for you!

  • Florian

    Couldn’t resists, woke up early. Things going well so far:)

  • Damilare

    Hi Walter, hope you enjoyed the match.

    Kai, supporting/following Arsenal from Nigeria is not cheap at all. Either the team eventually make a summer tour to Nigeria or I will be rich enough to come over to London, ‘one day one day’ I will see my beloved Arsenal play ‘in flesh’.

    Good game, good win and 3 valuable points taken. How easy it was for chelski and manciteh.

    By the way Giroud is sh*t, just 2 goals and 1 assist? Our friends must ‘bury’ him today! Lol

    COYG