By Walter Broeckx
At last. At last. At last. It took me a while this season but finally I can come over to see my beloved Gunners play in the flesh.
Okay I have been to Lens in our first pre-season match and have been walking around for hours with a few hundred other Gooners to find the well hidden away entrance of the stadium. But that was just a meaningless pre-season match. Now it is for real. A serious match.
I will be on the road from early Sunday morning till early Monday morning in our journey from Belgium to London and the Emirates and back. By the time most of you are still deep asleep I will be driving my car on the hopefully empty roads to London. I will get out of bed around 03.00 to start the long day. And I hope to be back home just before that on Monday morning. And yes, I have taken the day off at work on Monday. One of the things I noticed with getting older is that it gets harder to get over such long and tiring days. I will have to pay the price for my trip in the following days. But that is a price I love to pay of course.
We will be with some 12 supporters in our group for this match. For our next match in January we will have the double of tickets at our disposal so it will be a real group feeling in the bus. But now just two vehicles but both completely full.
Some of the people will come over for their first match and lots of people are those who are regular Arsenal Belgium travellers. It’s always nice to see old friends and get to know new ones.
Of course as being the chairman of the supporters club this also means that I have to not just enjoy the day but also do some “work” in making sure everyone is comfortable and gets in the stadium and find their seats. Collect things, distribute things, …. And drive my car on the left. A minor but important detail halfway into the trip.
Arsenal Belgium will be there and as we will be sitting in the front row of the upper tier we can hang our flag out. So if you see a white flag with red letters on somewhere in the clockend above the away fans…it might be us. The chance is that it can also hang in block 110 (east upper) parallel to the edge of the penalty. The latter might be a better angle to get in the picture. Anyway if you see it just wave at me from home. I will wave back. If I see you. Maybe you will even see our new supporters club scarves that have just arrived this week. The one and only Arsenal Belgium scarf.
Arsenal Belgium coming to the Emirates is always a party for us from far away. If you can’t come every home match then it is and stays a special moment each time you get to see the first part of the stadium when you drive up to the stadium from Holloway Road. There it is in front of you in all its grandeur when you enter the roundabout. I can dream it when I close my eyes and even smell the food that is out there for sale, hear the people…. But when the dream becomes real I will feel the same shiver I get every time I see the stadium in front of me for the first time on the day of our trip.
I hope our players have been waiting for us to come and saved all their energy and goal scoring for Arsenal Belgium. I hope Wenger will say to the players before the match: “Hey look, there are people from Arsenal Belgium who have been on the road since the middle of the night to come to see you play. Let’s give them something special so they can feel great when they drive the long way home.”
Okay, he probably will not mention it but in case someone reads it: just do your f**king best to give us a great time and a great match with a great final score.
Despite me having been at the Emirates for ….well more than 20 times (I will try to count them as I made myself curious about it) I still feel like a little child on the night before they go out on a school day trip. Being afraid I would miss the alarm of my alarm clock (don’t worry I put two alarms that night!) this is so stupid and even childish but I admit this is what I am and how I feel about it. I should have grown out of it at my age but… as long as the child in me hasn’t died, I am alive.
So there we will go to London. To see Arsenal play of course but also to see old friends from the supporters club and of course old friends in London. Seeing Blacksheep and Andrew will be great as usual. Not seeing Tony as he is out in Spain is not that great of course. But Tony has packed his dancing shoes and will be doing his thing.
And that dear readers is the bad thing about me coming to the Emirates. I will not be able to do my live match report. And you will have to wait for a very long time before I can publish something. So I’m afraid it will be some kind of an Untold blackout this Sunday unless Tony can get some broadband in his Spanish hotel. But let that not keep you from posting your comments of course. Moderation will not be done on Sunday so new posters will also have to wait a bit.
As Johan Cruyff used to say: every advantage has a disadvantage and the other way round this is it. Me being in London will make me very happy but will leave you waiting for the match report.
For those who also come over to see the match I hope they enjoy themselves and as promised I will wave to those who sit in front of their TV.
Now let’s go checking if I have everything ready and packed….
Footnote: as Walter says by chance we are both away from the computer this weekend. If you have an article to submit however please do send it to TonyAttwoodofLondon@gmail.com and if I have a connection and haven’t been slaughtered on the dance floor I will use whatever is sent over. The updates on the home page may have to wait, but if you want to keep up with the anniversaries, the full list is published on Arsenal on this day.