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Untold play at the Emirates. I am quite overcome

By Tony Attwood

Yesterday, 30 May 2011, Walter and I played on the Emirates pitch in the annual Arsenal five a side competition for supporters clubs’ teams.  It is held on the actual real-live pitch itself, and is a competition that involves 28 different sides.

I am not going to bore you with the details – as a footballer I am just about the lowest of the low that you can get, and you don’t care how we got on in a competition you probably didn’t even know took place – but there is a big part of me that simply wants to record the moment. And the obvious place for me to record it is here.

During the course of those few hours I…

  • Changed an showered in the away team dressing room (OK the Arsenal dressing room would have been better, but still, actually using the facilities is something).
  • Played on the pitch, kicked the ball on the pitch, even managed a couple of moderately accurate passes on the pitch, collided with the ref (Dogface did you see that – I want him banned and I want him banned now – although I must admit the ref did apologise), and took a real tumble after a not very successful tackle, so I rolled about on the pitch a lot (something I found I was still quite good at).  I even kicked the ball into the goal in front of the north bank, although we weren’t actually playing at the time.  But you know…
  • Sat in Mr Wenger’s chair while a match was in process, and saw the game from his eye view.
  • Sat on the sub’s bench, got up and then jogged down to the clock end just like the subs do.
  • Stood in the Arsenal tech area and waved my hands about a bit.
  • Got the certificate to show that I was there, and of course kept the shirt I played in.

OK, it is nothing of importance to the rest of the world – but I have been watching Arsenal since I was about 8 and now much much later in my life I have actually played on the pitch that they play on, and I find I don’t have any words to describe just what it feels like to have done it.

And I just wanted to share it with you.

My eternal thanks to Walter and the guys in the Benelux Supporters Club who invited me to be a guest player, it was the kindest thing imaginable, and it was an afternoon I will never forget.

Thank you guys, I owe you one.


The overall performance of each individual ref this season – and is the Untold ref analysis biased?

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History of Arsenal: a continuing review of Wenger’s reign, season by season.

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16 comments to Untold play at the Emirates. I am quite overcome

  • TheSKAGooner

    That’s AWESOME Tony! And good on Walter & the Benelux Supporters to have you in the side. Top class.


  • Nitesh

    I dont see the final score anyway? Dont hide it from us Walter !!
    Any football fan wants to experience the stage of his idols, and i am no different. Perhaps one day I too can play on that pristine pitch !! 🙂

  • Nitesh

    Oops, sorry i meant dont hide it TONY 😉

  • Naren

    Walter promised some photos…mind sharing those as well, Mr.Editor?

  • walter

    I will be trying to upload a few pictures myself and write a bit more about our experience as the Arsenal Benelux supporters club.

    And when coming home at 6.00 am (almost on the second) after having been awake for some 24 hours I pinched myself and said to myself: yes, you have done it. You have been there, even have won a game but the first win was the most important one, you have seen it from a players perspective. Indeed, what a day… I still can hardly believe it.

  • robdogunner

    That is unbelievable.
    how would one go about getting involved in future events such as this one???
    Would be very interested to know how to get in, is there a qualification system?

  • walter

    This is a tournament for official recognised supporters clubs. So becoming a member of one of them is vital I would say

  • Cape Gooner

    Tony, thank you for the vicarious pleasure!

  • Sammy The Snake

    Lucky you!

  • Pat

    Tony and Walter, I was there cheering you on plus the rest of the Benelux team. It was a great experience for a spectator too. Thanks for the article Tony! I’m looking forward to Walter’s as well. You both deserve the Arsenal pitch experience for all the work you have done on the Untold web site. More power to your elbow!

  • RedGooner

    Well done both of you sounds like it was a great day out did many turn up to watch the games ?

  • WalterBroeckx

    Redgooner, some had to leave early apparantly to avoid the queuing at the underground. LOL. I’m bad ad guessing in fact and the speaker didn’t anounce the crowd this time… But I would say a few hundred?

    Thanks Pat. 🙂 I have just seen the hundreds of pictures taken by our manager and our supporters from the stands and what amazes me is that on most pictures you only see smiling people.

    It was an honour and a privilege to be able to be out there and thanks for the kind words. Did you see our wonderful goal by the way? The lob from the halfway line? Surely that was the goal of the tournament? 😉 I wish I would have scored that one…

  • Kentetsu

    “I am not going to bore you with the details”, “it is nothing of importance to the rest of the world”.
    You are too modest, Tony. It is a great pleasure to read your experience and I bet there are millions of Arsenal fans who would kill to be in your boots. But considering your lifelong devotion to Arsenal and the passion you show through Untold, you deserved to be there on the pitch more than anyone.

  • robdogunner

    Walter i live in South Africa and am indeed already a memebr of the AFC supporters club here. But ive never heard of anything ;like what your telling me.

    I too badly want to play footy on the emirates field, would be a dream come true. Is this open to all supporters clubs world wide or just in europe? is there a qulification system or does one just send an enrty from the official supporters club?

    Please let me know if you know how i could get some more info on this. Then I think we will have an african side at the next event!!!

  • Emiratesman

    It was a great honor to have you in our team.
    Many thanks for your commitment.
    It was such an unforgottable experience.
    And who knows, maybe next year ……

  • Jane

    I am really, really pleased for you Tony- I know how much it must have meant to you to actually be out there on that pitch, sit in Wenger’s seat, change in the dressing rooms, really feel the whole Arsenal experience! How wonderful of Walter to arrange it (well he is, of course) and what a day it must have been! Just wish I could have been there to share it with you and the Benelux boys.