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Wembley, blasphemy, a child’s dream come true

By Walter Broeckx

One day to go. One day to go before I will be in London again.

One day to go before I lose another virginity. This time it will be about watching a match at Wembley. The second time I lose some kind of virginity this season. The other was just a few weeks ago as I lost my FA cup virginity. When I was in the stadium to see us beat Everton it was my very first FA cup match live with Arsenal.

And now I have had the incredible luck to be able to see us play at Wembley. Thanks to some connections in the Arsenal world I have been given the opportunity to be there with the almost complete Untold crew living in England. So it will be a honour and privilege to be there with you.

And as I had usually good memories whenever I lost my virginity (don’t worry I will not go in to any details) I sure hope that tomorrow evening I will be a satisfied supporter. Mind you there is a downside on this. As there will be nobody left to write an article about it, you will have to do it with the last article to comment on the match.

Of course I will be writing about it but it will take me a while and will be an exhausting weekend for me. Because of some congestion on the shuttle after the match to go back to the continent we will only arrive at Calais around 2.50am –  in the middle of the night. And then I still have another 2 hours drive in front of me. So arriving between 5 and 6 in the morning. And then at 15.00 I have a match to do as an official. I hope I can keep my eyes open for that….

Back to Wembley. Strange how things go sometimes. Just like Wenger I remember the FA cup being played in black and white on our TV. As a kid the FA cup and Wembley were my ultimate dream. Of course to play there was the ultimate dream. The older you get you will settle for even being in the stands. At my age I thought I would never get there. But tomorrow I will be there.

As for my memories of FA cup finals… I must have seen us win the FA cup in 1971. But I confess I don’t remember it. We watched each year so I must have seen it. But to show how much I was hung up to the FA cup I can give this example of what happened in my youth.

As Belgium is a country that certainly in those days was for 95% catholic (if not more) we followed the rites of it like anyone else did. And one of those special moments is around the age of 12. I don’t know how it is called in English but the bishop then puts some oil on your forehead and you renew your baptism.  [I’ve no idea either Walter, but then I’m not a Christian, so I don’t know any of this stuff – Tony]

This always was done with the whole community and all the children of the same age did it at the same time. Followed usually with a big meal with relatives and I remember those days as very enjoyable moments. The whole family together, uncles, aunts, …eating and drinking, laughing and the more beer and wine was drunk the more laughter there was.

But, but, but…in the week before I had this special day I found out that on the same Saturday afternoon that we had to go to church the cup final was played. That is how it went in those days without the internet.  In fact the cup final started one hour before the mass started. The church was a 10 minutes walk from my house away. But as we had to be in the church half an hour before the mass started I could only see the opening 15 minutes of the cup final.

I still remember the feelings I had when I found out about that. I told my mother that I wouldn’t go to the mass. Which led my poor mother in a state of shock. My father understood my feelings but he told me: no way out, you are going to go.

I protested as I wanted to see the final. But no way I would miss the mass. After all we had been building up to this moment for 2 years! And then to let it slip because the cup final was not possible.

So we (I and the rest of the manly part of the family) sat in front of the TV. While the woman were running around checking their cloths, checking my cloths, checking their watches, telling us it was nearly time to go. And all the man were doing was watching the TV and waiting for the FA cup final to begin.

The match started and as there was no video at that moment if you didn’t see it live you would never see it again I was almost in tears. Missing the football highlight of the year… So I waited as long as possible, trying to make myself invisible for my mother in the hope that she would forget the mass. But it wasn’t to be. From the kick off my mother was insisting me to get ready, comb my hair, don’t get myself dirty (no problem sitting in front of the TV).

But I tried to delay the moment of our leaving. We had agreed after a long whining process from my part that I could see the first 15 minutes. But I smuggled a bit and I think I made it up to 20 minutes. But then I had to go. With hanging feet I walked away from the Cup final and Wembley.  When I look now at the pictures that were taken in the church I see a boy with an expression on his face: I don’t want to be here.

Blasphemy…was the correct word. Both from a football point of view and my behaviour was the same from a religious point of view.

So I went out with my mother and the female part of the family to church. And the men said: yeah we will come in a minute, just go. But while we were sitting in church they forgot the time completely and most of them stayed at home watching the FA cup. A few went to church but not all of them.

I remember that after the mass they were all there but some of the women were not happy with the conduct of their husbands because they didn’t come to the mass and instead stayed at our house to watch the football till the end. By the way it was the Sunderland – Leeds final and the highlight was the amazing save from the Sunderland keeper according to those who saw the match. (The lucky B*st*rds….)

But that was the impact the FA cup had even in my country. So being able to be there for even the semi final in that famous venue is something big for me. Believe me I will not leave for church tomorrow afternoon. No way…. I will be sitting in the English Cathedral of football also known as Wembley. I love the Emirates more than any other stadium in the world, but one cannot but admit that the name Wembley has something that probably no other stadium in the world can compete with.

It will be a real honour to be there and watch my first match live in this stadium. Part of a dream that started more than 40 years ago….One night to sleep before I will be there…

 

26 comments to Wembley, blasphemy, a child’s dream come true

  • 1971 Cup final I was in Algiers – and amazingly they showed it live on Algerian TV with a French commentary.

    I didn’t have a TV in my flat but managed to find some local people who did, and who invited me in to watch with them. Still remember it in detail.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Walter , Tony and the rest of the gang have a ball and a blast – cheer on the team for us all.
    And dear God, I do hope that Walter’s recent streak in London continues on. Please ? And that’s not blasphemy !
    Cheers !
    Up the Gunners !

  • highamsparkgunner

    Another 4-1 for Walter would be superb
    Let’s hope his run goes on.
    Can’t wait to take my son tomorrow
    #COYG

  • highamsparkgunner, Walter & Tony,

    Have a great time to tomorrow and shout till you lose you voices. As long as we get to play in the final, it will be totally worth it!

    Enjoy guys!

  • nicky

    Walter,
    Please examine your ticket for tomorrow, to make sure you are not seated high up behind one of the goals.
    This happened to me a hundred years ago and when play was at the opposite en, we couldn’t see a thing.
    On second thoughts maybe the “new” stadium provides all-round viewing so panic over.

  • Rupert Cook

    I couldn’t read anymore of this piece once I heard Walter talking about losing his virginity.

    Your good luck at games better continue Walter. I’m not predicting a scoreline again as the last time I did I predicted we’d hammer Bradford.

  • Sukebe

    Did the semi get postponed? Or am i having misunderstood the news?

  • Sukebe

    Owh, not the semi, i misread the news…

    Move along now… Nothing to see here.. :E

  • 5th Gen Gooner

    Enjoy every minute at Wembley tomorrow Walter, being there and supporting your team is magical! 🙂

  • Rupert Cook,

    Your Bradford fetish is intriguing. But Bradford was League cup, should you not be predicting the Blackburn Rovers’ scoreline?

  • Grumpy Ian Allinson

    Bloddy Hall.

    Stick the fuck together GOONERS.

    In Arsene We Trust

  • admiral awesome

    yeah congrats on a proper trip to wembley…. after all we’ve been through this year (snatching 4th-at-best from the jaws of the prem, alongside all of that wonderful ABA/AAA media coverage) hopefully there is a light at the end of the tunnel that isn’t the express train.

    i’m still in a bit of denial that arsenal can actually somehow manage to not make the champions league next year…. so i’m hoping our buddies over in manchester can help with the cause this weekend whilst the arsenal does what it’s done best for most of the season: slay those (lower-14) bums. that’s the only reason we hung around the premiership picture for so long, and hopefully that’s our saving grace down the stretch.

    if we start losing to wigan/hull/norwich/etc then i suppose everton does deserve CL football, even if none of us have any idea who’s going to score for that team next year when lukaku and/or deulofeu go to pasture. maybe roberto can bring in another grade-A loan class to continue his quest to show the world that he can manage top tier young football talent and he’ll get his job @ a top european side in the next year or two and then everton can go back to their comfort zone of 6th-10th, aka “the house that moyes built.”

  • Mike Collins

    I was also at the Wembley cup final in 1971 and a nail biting time was had by all.

    But to balance it out I was also at Wembley to see us lose to Leeds in the FA cup and Swindon in the League Cup.

    I will hold my breath tomorrow.

  • Father Unction

    Hi Walter, I think perhaps that ceremony is called your confirmation although I am a bit hazy about the details at this stage of my life!
    ps….perhaps we should say a prayer or two
    for tomorrows game,

  • omgarsenal

    Walter, you’re probably thinking of sacrament of Confirmation, where the Bishop anoints your forehead with oil and says a few words in Latin. It is the rite that confirms one as a full Catholic, able to take holy communion.

  • GoingGoingGooner

    Not a lot of Catholics here…

    First Holy Communion is normally when you are 7 years old, or so.

    Confirmation is the perfection of baptism where special emphasis is placed on the role of the Holy spirit and a confirmation that the person is wanting to be a full and active member of the church.

  • Jax

    Nicky
    I had that position at the Swindon game, but at least I got a good view of Bobby Gould’s goal.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Sometimes the Spirit moves you ….

    http://www.wimp.com/prieststuns/

  • nicky

    @Jax,
    Arsenal 7 Charlton Athletic 1 in the 1943 War-time Cup Final.
    Arsenal 4-1 up at half-time, ALL their goals being scored about a 1/2 mile away from me, at the other end of the ground! Grrrr……

  • Jax

    Nicky
    Old Wembley was crap for football, but great for speedway.

  • nicky

    @Jax,
    Yeah, but even the front seats were a bit too far away from the play, because of the track.
    Didn’t they also have greyhound racing?

  • Gooner S

    @Walter and all those at Untold

    For all of you going today have a safe journey and enjoy the game. For all of you watching wherever you may be (nearly broke into football song there) enjoy the game.

    I’m going to the game and for some reason my mood has me listening to The Cure this morning which is not bright and cheery music!

    First cup final I can recall is 1971. Charlie George laying on the ground. McClintock up the shoulders of the victorious team. The yellow and blue kit. Don’t recall anything of the game other than that as I was very young.

  • Jax

    Nicky
    Yes dogs too. I first went there for the ’59 or ’60 speedway world championship finals and thought it was a magic place, but was disappointed when attending the Swindon game. People get all misty eyed over Old Wembley, but it was a mess really wasn’t it. Now that the grass is sorted out at New Wembley it’s one of the great word stadia, and so it should be at the cost. I’ve been to one match there and had a good seat at the halfway line in the top tier. Effing brilliant.

  • bjtgooner

    @Walter/Tony

    I can’t get into “Arsenal v Wigan: the journey”

    The site in general has been slow to load since the server was changed over.

    Anyway – great win today – will comment further when I can access the appropriate thread.

  • Jax

    I thought it was just me getting a slow response. We’re the penalty shoot out kings.

  • dan

    internal server error on the link http 500.