A Johnny Foreigner can never be a true Arsenal fan.

By Walter Broeckx

In the comment section of this site a couple of days ago there was a comment from a Gooner from South Africa who was declared not a real fan of The Arsenal because he did not live in England.

I must say that from my own experience I never had some one saying this to me, well not that I can remember anyway. Maybe it’s my memory that is letting me down – but I don’t think so.

This statement about not being a true Arsenal fan if you didn’t live in England was true if you lived in (let us say) the seventies and even the eighties. In those, not so far gone days, it was almost impossible to follow The Arsenal when you lived in another country outside the UK.

Even I have to admit that in fact I couldn’t call myself an Arsenal fan. Although I do often call myself a fan of more then 30 years standing, for the first 15 years or so I hardly knew anything about the games, the players, the fans…  I was like Manuel from Barcelona, I knew nothing.

But, I knew the final score, although not until Monday in the papers.  Occasionally if something special happened we sometimes got some extra news. But if someone in those days had said to me, “You’re no real fan,” I would have had to accept it and bemoan the fact that I was not living in London.

We sometimes had the luck that on the Dutch TV there was a broadcaster that gave some games from England. I still remember the reporter, Harry, who had a very special voice and enthusiastic way of venting his thoughts. But they only showed one game a week and so it was not that much that we got to see The Arsenal in those days.

The only game that was shown live in those days was the FA Cup Final. For some 30 years they gave every cup final live on the Belgian channel, (we only had one Flemish channel in those days), and this was the work of the main TV football reporter in Belgium who was a real anglophile and he was crazy about the Cup Final. So I’ve seen some great victories live like the 5 minute final against MU in 1979. The thought still give me goose bumps. And of course I saw some sad days when we lost some finals.

It all started to change for the good when the BBC was put on our cable TV and we could see MOTD, in those days without the pundits we know now. In fact most of the pundits from today did appear but in shorts.

How great the joy and the excitement in our home. Well, I got excited, although my wife didn’t.  I even remember that I played volleyball on Saturday evening but I always hurried to be back home to see MOTD.

My wife learned to live with the fact that on Saturday evening she is not married. Oh no Saturday was Arsenal day.

I must say the anger and the grief I felt, when on occasion the BBC lost the rights to show the EPL in those days, is indescribable. As we only have the BBC as English channel on our cable TV you can understand that even with the likes of the pundits from these days, I will always prefer them above the selling of the rights to any other channel.

From these days on I started considering myself as a Gooner. If someone then had said: “You are not a real fan” I wouldn’t have accepted it like that and would have bemoaned  the fact that I was not living in London.

Then came the internet and I started to visit the official Arsenal site. It had, even in those days, a forum where we could talk, and I remember it had fans from all over the world present. A girl from Germany who always started her day by declaring that the fish was in the pond, a very funny Canadian who always started his day with a quote from The Simpsons, another guy from my home town who just lived a few miles away and who now is living in London, the lucky bastard.

From that day I felt like a real Gooner talking with the other fans, if not in person but with the help of some wires going round the globe. The forum suddenly disappeared one day and I must say I really was sad that day.

But the best thing that happened for me as an Arsenal fan was the birth of my 3rd son. He is the one that knows all about computers and laying connections with TV’s, and finding links on the internet when a game is not live on TV for us to see. He is the one that made it possible for us that we see every minute and every second of the games live and this for the last couples of years – as long as the wonderful world of the internet doesn’t let us down.

Thanks to this world I have discovered a big Gooner world out there with the good guys and the not so good ones. From all over the world there are fans who live on the rhythm of the Arsenal season. The first thing I do when the game plan is out is to put it on the calendar and the message is clear for all of us in the house: the dates and hours printed on that calendar are sacred and will not be used for anything else.

And if any English Arsenal fan would say now to me: “You are no Gooner”… I would feel insulted and not take it any more. I would tell him to wake up and realise that the world is far bigger than that lovely island you have over there.

The Arsenal is for everyone who wants to embrace it. So if you want to embrace it, just do it. It doesn’t matter where you are from. But let no one tell you or make you feel a lesser fan because you are not from England or London.  Those days have gone. The Arsenal is for all.

Walter Broeckx.

Editorial: If you would like to write for this blog, please send an email to Tony@hamilton-house.com with an outline of your idea first.  The only stipulations are that it can’t have been published anywhere else, and it must be a positive pro-Arsenal piece.  Personal memoirs are also welcome.

And if you would like to read the book “Making the Arsenal” by the editor of athis blog, it is available through Amazon.co.uk and from the publishers direct.  More details at www.emiratesstadium.info

And finally, you can follow the adventures of our predecessors 100 years ago on www.blog.woolwicharsenal.co.uk

45 Replies to “A Johnny Foreigner can never be a true Arsenal fan.”

  1. Good stuff Walter. If someone labeled me as not a true Arsenal fan I’d be gutted. It’s hard to measure what makes a true fan, really, but these days I don’t think it has anything to do with where one lives. It’s about how they support the team through thick and thin and manage to keep perspective regarding their success.

    Just my opinion.

  2. excellent article. I hate the english fans who call us glory hunters and yet am more of a fan than some of them.

  3. I have a confession to make. I was a fan of ManU in 1999 CL run and didn’t know much about The Arsenal. CL games are the odd football games shown on TV at the time here in the US. Before that I remember Ajax’s CL games, I believe either on Espn or Mid-west Sport Channel. That should tell you that I live in the upper midwest. To make matters worse the cable company yanked it right away. I remember calling them and asking whatever happened to the channel. The guy told me that it was cancelled for luck of interest. Boy, I was devastated! Once Satellite TV came to town the Fox Sport World (That’s what it was called until recently before FSC) was available, then came GolTV, then came Setanta. I tell you, I don’t exactly remember when I discovered Arsenal, but liked the French side of their game. I was completely hooked and no one can tell me that I’m not a true fan if there is such a classification at all.

    Oh, a little background: I was born and grow up in Africa before I moved to the US in the 80s. I played football growing up until I suffered a major injury in middle school. Parents and doctors conspired to ban me from playing it to the point I completely lost interest. Long story!

  4. Cheers, walter. Well said.

    The whole “true” fan vs. “fake, band-wagoning” fan is total BS meant to divide people, and make certain people feel happy about themselves.

    We all support beautiful football. We all support Arsenal. That’s all that matters.

    (By the way, under most peoples’ definitions, I’d be labeled a “fake” fan, probably more so than any of you. I’m fine with that. Being a poor grad student in NY for the past few years, I didn’t have cable or satellite. The only time I’d really watch football was on holidays when I’d visit my parents or relatives. Almost all of the time, they were either Man U or Chelsea matches, but every once in awhile I’d be blessed with a chance to see the most eye-dropping football I had ever seen. I was hooked. And the more I found out about this team, its manager, and its ethos, the more I became hooked. Now I’m researching abroad in Japan, and I stay up till 3, 4 or 5am watching live matches on sopcast or some other form of shady, streaming TV (which can be very nice because the commentary is almost always in a language that I do not understand)).

    P.S.: did you know that Wenger has a book written for the Japanese audience, which probably would be translated as “The Vision of a Winner”? I didn’t, but it’s on my Christmas wishlist!

  5. I have been an arsenal fan for seven years now, I don’t live in england but I support arsenal like hell, I watch every game on tele and follow many fan-sites , read as much as possible about the arsenal. I jumped insanely when we won the fa cup against manure cried when we lost at stade de france. if someone tells me that I cannot be a arsenal fan just because I live elsewhere(India) I’d ask the fellow to grow up and leave his xenophobic attitude behind because it doesn’t suit an Arsenal fan at least, a team with more foreigners than Englishmen. I’m not saying its bad but is the fact and everyone should accept the fact that it is a global game now

  6. a very good piece. I think this thinking that its the english premier league has to change. Its no longer the english premoer league,but a league that is based in england.its a global league now.

  7. I think jamican gooner has got it spot on. To say that you cannot be a true arsenal fan if you do not live in England is-not a small heap of-rubbish. Why not go a step further and say that if you are not a season ticket holder you cannot be an arsenal fan.Or better still if you do not go to all the away games you are not an arsenal fan.. that would be real nice coz much of the squad would not qualify.

    There are primary school boys here where i live, in Kenya, who can narate for you the 30 seconds leading up to all arsenal goals for the last 2 seasons. I tell you, to watch arsenal in England for most people is a matter of finding your remote control.

    In kenya for most fans, you need to research on which network will be showing the game, then check which o fyour friends or neighnbours subscribes to that network. In some places lads leave their homes at 8am and return at mid night to watch an arsenal EPL game.
    So if they want some real noise at the ems, they should come to Nairobi and pick 500 arsenal fans. They will make the Kop sound like a morgue.

  8. I would flip the argument an say that anyone who says that you can’t be a fan if you are foreign is not a true fan. Arsenal is about a philosophy that transcends ignorance. It’s their style of play and governance. While other teams insist on a certain number of english players, Arsenal has been the epitome of equality…

  9. Thanks Walter, for this very clear piece on Arsenal and its fans. In Kampala, Every time an Arsenal match is on, all the numerous watering holes here are inundated with Arsenal fans glued to the big screen. If any one was to tell us we were not true Arsenal fans we would regard this person with complete bemusement.Like it or not, Arsenal is now a global brand not least because of the attractveness of its football and its corporate ethos that values community and pursues frugality and sound business practices-traits i might add that appeal to all honest and hardworking folks. Long live the Arsenal!

  10. Well done Walter another good piece -one which in some ways mirrors my own experiences following this club.In the the sixties and seventies we in Malaysia watched only BBC [Midlands ,I think]and I remember viewing Wolves,Derby ,Coventry ,Aston Villa and Birmingham.I don’t recall ever seeing Arsenal play nor did I hear their name.This changed after May 1971 when I received the Shoot magazine on the Arsenal-Liverpool FA Cup final ,watched the final [a month later ] and read what I regard as an outstanding review of the double in Goal magazine.At age 14 I was hooked and never was there a day since have I regretted it.
    I’m now 52yrs old and still have the same thrill of watching the Gunners every weekend.Every loss or draw still rankles and every win makes my whole
    week a blissful pleasure.Like many who could not be there in body,yet we are with you in spirit .May our love for all things Arsenal never diminish.
    Cheers guys!

  11. After a long short night, short in terms of sleep and long in terms of twisting and turning in my bed reliving the game and fearing for Cesc and the nature of his injury, it get a little bit consolation from the reactions over here.
    It helps to get me over the dissapointing game and result.
    Cesc has a hamstring is said on arsenal.com and will not play on saturday. I hope Cesc will be back in ten days when we come to the Emirates.
    My God, only 10 days and I can be there…. suddenly the sun comes through the clouds…this was the happy thought that makes me fly again.

  12. Weg,
    I wrote a peace about how it was for arsenal fans from another country a few months ago and to develop the article from today I had to use some bits and peaces from that article to give an impression on how things have developed.

    The focus was a bit different today as now I wanted to vent my thoughts on the fact that no matter where you are from we all can be Gooners and are no lesser then Gooners from England.

    In fact now I think of it and because of the reactions from all over the world, this is one the great things about the Arsenal.
    The fact that is a name world wide known and supported by so many people in so many different country’s from the east to the west and from the north to the south.

    If one feels sad after a result, like yesterday, then to think that around the world thousands, ten thousands, hundred of thousands, dont know how many in fact…, people go trough the same emotions and feelings like you do, then you know you are not alone in these hours of sadness.

  13. Lucky you Walter,

    I was in London for 2 weeks and I kept asking how can I get tickets and my friends were not very clear. I was of course busy but would have spent my whole day in front of emirates even for a carling cup. Unfortunately I could not get one.

    I will just wait for another chance. I dont think that a true fan will ever be jealous because of foreign fans. I would be damn happy if someone follows IPL(Indian Premier league)and very few things can be more satisfying when you see more people supporting the same thing as you do.

  14. A wonderful piece, Walter. You will be surprised to know that there are thousands of Arsenal fans who actually live in London, but have never seen Arsenal play live. I know a few of them. After a chat with one such fan sometime last season, I felt sad because he was obviously pining to go to the EMs but could not afford to. I had a ticket for the next game, so I gave it to him. That day, Arsenal drew, but to him it was a win as he excitedly narrated the whole game to me in such flowery language. He did not even buy any refreshment at half time, but managed a chicken & chips on his way back. Can you immagine the memory that guy would keep with himself for however long?

    It is pure ignorance to say that anyone is not a true fan just because they do not live in London or because they haven’t seen every game live; foolish ignorance.

  15. Thanks Walter for good piece.
    What makes someone true Gooner, having enough money to go to every game? Having luck to be born on right place in right time?
    No I don’t think so.
    I am Johnny Foreigner, and I never missed any Arsenal game since satellite and internet exist. In 4 years of war when there is no food in Bosnia I was exchanging my food ratios for newspapers to read about Graham crisis. I had clash with British soldiers here who were Tottenham supporters.
    I pay 1/3 of my salary every month for internet and satellite costs to be able to fallow every arsenal game (remember our average salary is 350 Euros or 280 pounds, month).

    And if someone think its not enough…its his opinion. I know what is truth, the real Gooner doesn’t make you what you do than what you feel. You may spend 100 years on games, but if your hart is not on pitch you are nowhere.


  16. Well, Gooooooooooooooooooooood-mooooorning you foreign scum! 🙂 please read on!

    It’s the same at all clubs with international fanbase. Just like the class system in this country, it is basically a form of insider-racism.

    SOME (imagine the SOME in even bigger letters) fans who go to all matches, home and away, will look down on others. Then you have the home season ticket holders who look down on the box office/tout visitors.

    All of the above look down to a degree on those ‘armchair’ supporters who in turn need someone to be ‘a better fan’ than, so they hate the glory hunter who was a Man U fan for the treble but Arsenal for the invincible season and still now trying to decide on Chelsea or Man city blue. Finally the glory hunter need someone to be better than and that would be fans outside the country, although most are probably more in the know than many from any other place on my ‘class scale’.

    Of course you are right when you say football is so international now that a team can no longer be the property of those in the same postal code/town/city/county etc

  17. very disappointed by johnny,here in Tanzania sometimes we shift from watching our national team when playing oly to watch arsenal confortably. My first born is mostly known as Fabregas. Am sorry to call myself arsenal fan while living in East Africa.

  18. hell yeah i live in america and i can say that i am a gooner for life, i will bleed the red of arsenal til the day i die. Gooners 4 life

  19. Jesus LRV, what a great thing to do.
    I know that when I went to my first game in the Emirates, if you can remember the car broke down article from some months ago, that I lived on the memory’s from that day for a very long time.
    Laughed with the bad memory’s and cherish(ed) the game memory’s for as long as I shall live.
    So I can imagine that when you live around the corner and couldn’t afford a ticket it must be really hard.
    Well it reminds me how lucky I am in fact that I am rather sure to see 2 home games in a season thanks to our fanclub. It cost me and my kids a lot of money but I pay if from the money I get from my hobby as a ref and my kids they go to work in the weekends to get some extra pocket money and to be able to go to the Emirates.
    In fact this makes me realise how blessed I am to come over twice a year.

  20. Gerald,
    I’m with you 100% there – I daresay your 500 compatriots may even stay until the end, unlike many who sit around me at the Ems! I was lucky enough to be in Abuja for Nigeria vs Mozambique the other month, what an atmosphere! Anyway I digress… as the Premier League was always designed to be a global commodity, paid for, by and large, with a massive amount of foreign investment (whether that be Abramovic or Murdoch), surely the aims and objectives of all the clubs are being met by attracting as wide a fanbase as possible!! And everyone benefits form this! As my father was a Newcastle fan and my mother a Sunderland fan (it didn’t work out!) there’s no good reason why I should support Arsenal. If it wasn’t for a Brian Marwood penalty against Charlton 20 years ago last September, I would more than likely be a Newcastle fan or, horror of horrors, a Charlton fan 🙂 The bottom line is, we’ve found arsenal, we’re proud to sing their name, and rightly proud of a club with such outstanding values and footballing ethos. Apart from in that Charlton game 🙂

  21. Armin, I think that there is no doubt that you must be one of the biggest and greatest Gooners in the world. I take a bow for you when I realise how much you sacrifice for the Arsenal.
    I really hope and wish for you all that you would be able to go to a game in the Emirates.

    Couldn’t the next Arsenal charity for the coming season be to raise money so that people from other country’s AND fans from London who can’t afford tickets could make it to the Emirates ?
    The feeling of connectedness (is this correct ????) or the bond between those fans and Arsenal would even grow and they would be great ambassadors for The Arsenal around the world.

    I think the dreaming part of me took over…… well one can always dream… yes we can.

  22. wow, hats off to you, armin. unbelievable.

    this all makes me wonder about wenger’s policy of not taking part in the off-season cash cows of international tours and exhibitions.

    i completely understand and support his reasoning, but, on the other hand, there are hundreds of thousands of passionate arsenal fans abroad who would die for the chance to see the team in person. for me, that’s a much better argument than to cynically sell more shirts.

  23. It’s quite ridiculous for people to resort to saying ” we haven’t got any money” any time there’s an unsatisfactory result. The supposed money factor wasn’t mentioned when we beat all those average teams at the beginning of the season, nor when kind draws got us into two semi- finals last season. When we get beaten or matched against teams who have tactics, spirit, know- how, bottle or just know how to win big games, the same old “money or tired” excuses get trotted out. Last night was no surprise- we could easily have lost. Others will now say look at Chelsea and United they’ve not done that great this season. True- but they’ve won trophies recently and we haven’t and the fact that we’re still somehow third says a lot about the quality and consistency of the others this season. I asked in my last post- who wants it? Did anybody show real desire last night? Did the “experience” of Silvestre and our stand-in captain for the second half, Almunia, make a difference? What difference in 18 months has Nasri made to us in important games? (the win against United last season excepted?). What do Diaby and Walcott offer us? Why have Vela, Denilson, Eduardo been given extended contracts with Rosicky and Silvestre rumoured to likewise be rewarded? If we were so skint, how come we managed to find £35m+ for three attacking midfielders last season- when we have desperate needs in the spine of our team? The disciples will say stop moaning, look at the table, if we win our game in hand, if Chelsea and United implode, if pigs learn the art of areodynamics, we’ll be “winners” in Wenger’s phrase. Wake up, we’re fighting for a top four place again. Maybe that’s enough to keep everyone happy.

  24. In the last 5 seasons total number of arsenal matches i’ve missed < 10. Anyone who tells me i aint a true gooner because i dont stay in london is just plain stupid, jealous and should have been born in the sixties..

  25. and after watching wengers post game interview i realised that everytime we drop points he says exactly the same thing.its like the man is on auto pilot.the general drivel is ‘i believe we should have won the game.they played a very physical game.we lacked the sharpness to score the winner.we didnt fight enough for loose balls’. its the same crap every time yet nothing changes.he supposedly rallied the troops with the hair dryer treatment on sunday.was that message forgotten by tonight?we cant really use the argument we were bullied as our only excuse because burnley played some very good football at times.we simply have too many players who are not up to it,or are lazy.almunia,silvestre,senderos,denilson,rosicky,diaby,walcott,vela and possibly eduardo/bendtner should all be sold. eduardo could have won us the game when song put him through on goal but he pulled out of going to round the keeper purely because he is a broken man.maybe we should loan him out and get him scoring again.we cant win the title with this squad as it is.wenger doesnt like the jan window as he always so keen to stress,but he better start liking it because without cesc we were totally devoid of ideas. rant over.

  26. I was brought up as a child in Tottenham, where Arsenal and Tottenham fans lived next door to each other.

    But for the last 25 years or so I have lived in the Midlands (currently about 100 miles from the Ems).

    When I meet people for the first time and we talk about our lives, I sometimes might say that my passion is football (especially at the moment when I want to tell everyone about my book on the Arsenal).

    What often happens is people say, “Why do you support them when you live in the Midlands?” It is as if they feel that the bond between you and your local team which existed 100 years ago (another reference to my book) should continue now.

    But why should it? I don’t feel a close bond with Tottenham, nor with Dorset or Devon, the other counties I have lived in, in England, nor with Algiers, where I lived for a year.

    Just because you live or lived somewhere there is no relationship with who you support. If you live in London and support Arsenal then that’s a bonus. Just like having a season ticket or silver membership.


  27. Lately I was lucky to see Arsenal play in CL qualifications against Dinamo in Zagreb, that was closer Gunners came last years. And it was great experience. But I was among lucky ones to be on Parken in 2000 in finals (I was miss/fortunate it was at same time when I left army and got money after quitting what was average 6 months salary). So to see Ems I ll need to lose another job, or to sell kidney. Or someone hear what Walter said.

    Mike above, could be on every game, but I really wandering does he support Arsenal FC, or his own projection of what should Arsenal be.

  28. Mike: Your non-stop moaning is ruining the flow of our topical debate. So stay on topic or write another article. Okay?

  29. I am so glad someone like ‘Mike” isnt in charge of our club. My goodness, what a rant. Anyone would think we had lost at home to a 4th division side.

    Uh Mike, Utd already lost at Burnley this season. They are a good team at home. That was a good draw last night.

    And who is saying “we havent got any money”? Where on this board did you last see that excuse used. We have 100million cash reserves sitting in our account right now and AW has 25million extra from the Adebayor/Toure sales. Who says “we havent got any money”? What people might be saying is that we shouldnt be spending money on crap. I imagine you would probably think spending 30million on Robinho, 25million on Adebayor, and 20million on Lescott is “good” business. Yeah right. Those three also have 8million a year EACH in salary. So that is 100million on those three players that City spent. Gee, they got value for money. Were you one of those people asking that AW sign Felipe Melo for 20million last summer, you know the guy just voted “Flop of the Year” by the Italian public for his abysmal displays for Juventus?

    Mike, spending money is easy. Spending money wisely is difficult. Chelsea are still being rewarded for the wonderful 49million that Mourinho spent on Essien and Drogba. Without those two Chelsea always start looking like a very average team (playing without those two is what got Scolari fired last year). So tell us Mike, where is the equivalent of Essien and Drogba out there right now, as we will of course listen to yopur wise and sage advice?

    Why do you come onto this board to rant like that? There are plenty of people who would agree with you on other blogs. Here we prefer to actually engage our brains. We realise that is the more difficult option and requires some patience and effort, but we feel that it is actually worth it and makes supporting our beloved Arsenal so much more rewarding. Try it sometime, simply breath and relax for a moment before doing something radical……….thinking.

    I know its scary. But it can be very very exciting when you try.

  30. I live in Canada now so get a lot of “you are not a real fan” on blogs when they see where I live. I simply laugh at it. I dont bother telling them about my 20 years going to every Arsenal match, staking out my territory on the North Bank and all the usual superstitious stuff because I dont think those things matter at all when it comes to being a “true” fan. Being a fan has nothing to do with location or any physical activities such as going to matches, it is 100% mental. You are either a fan or you aren’t, and if you are a fan then you know it straight away. No one can tell you that you are not a fan once you know you are.

    To all those who are unable to attend matches, simply laugh if anyone ever says you are not a real fan. You know the truth. If you get that frisson of excitement in your gut before kickoff, that tingle of anticipation, and if you find yourself daydreaming about Cesc passing to RvP in the middle of the day, then you are probably a “real” fan. And I bet there are plenty of people that are season ticket holders that are lesser fans than you are. Having the money to afford tickets and the good fortune to live in London does not make you a fan.

  31. Well said there Paul C. A fan will know it in his own mind. It is both a cognitive and psychomotor experience.

  32. great points ty and paul c. tim, youre a grad student, you should have learned by now: dont aplogize. youre not wrong and the haters wont accept it anyway.

    jamaican gooner nailed it. epl, now bpl – b for barclays bank, global powerhouse – is a global phenom. all the teams benefit from the global appeal of the sport. where would manutd, liverpool, esp. chels., or arsenal be without global tv revenues? or the CL? or, heaven forbid that AMERICAN sponsor Nike? yes, gunners pull big dollars from gate, but thats not the only source of cash.

    and here’s a good one: the home ground is “emirates” stadium. an airline in the middle east! so denizens of dubai arent allowed to be true fans? ridiculous.

    so hate all you want. at least accept the facts: absent global market, appeal, and cash flow, arsenal are just another burnley. at least at this point in history.

    granted, new fans, i believe, have a responsibility to learn club history and culture. otherwise, they are embarassing posuers. and any fool wearing an arsenal kit and uttering words such as, “whos herbert chapman” should be instantly slapped, defrocked, and wedgie-ed.

    happy christmas all!

  33. I notice Mike wants to sell 10 players….. I just wonder how many he is going to buy and how much that will cost us.

  34. As someone who got called out as “some….fans from Honduras” from D&G person when I challenged his view, I know what it feels like. And I’m not even from Honduras, and when do Honduras people not real fans??

    In my country where 95% of poeole support Liverpool or Manu, it’s hard enough to pick a fight here. But I never ever encounter an Arsenal fan here who behave like those so called morons.

    To me, it’s an act of stupidity, selfishness, and borderline incrimination.

    I even have a friend who support Boro, would you believe, and I know a true meaning of real fan when I realize how much pain he was in when his team got relegated. And he’s still following the team everyday praying for promotion.

    How lucky are us that we have this great team as our beloved club.

    Some people are so spoiled. Being born there in close proximity is lucky…it doesn’t in any way automatically grant them the true/royal fans status.

    I will try my hardest to make it to London in this lifetime to see Arsenal live. The cost for me would be enormous, but that’s just how much I love this team.

    Am I not a real fan?

  35. Very interesting read & comments.

    It is most gratifying that Arsenal have so many fans from all over the world & I certainly would not want to say any of you are not true Gooners or Gunners (as it would be for my day).

    The English PL has indeed become a global game because of the widespread tv coverage, giving almost the whole world, the opportunity to watch it, combined with so many players also coming from all the continents.

    A difference, I think is, that for people in England, certainly for Tony’s & my generation, your club virtually chose you – it was Arsenal or Tottenham, the clubs you could easily get to or the one your dad supported, whilst the non local person, can now select who they want to support, for whatever reason, & probably at a later age in life.

  36. Where you live has nothing to do with geing a fan of a team.Your moral and financial contributions matters a lot.How many matches does arsenal fans that resides in London whatches?arsenal make more money from the kits the sell both home and abroad.FOOTBALL IS PASSION AND PASSION IS FOR EVERYBODY REGARDLESS OF RACE AND PLACE.Arsenal has more fans abroad than those in UK so where you are does not matter.

  37. Walter, before i comment, let us take this opportunity to mourn our fellow gooner who commited suicide in Kenya when arsenal was defeated by MANU at OT.He failed to control the humiliations caused by Manure fans, ‘mind you’not fans living in England!.
    In my view, i think among other factors as defined by many humble gooners,EMOTION is a vital determinant of a true fan. It depends on how someone feel when Arsenal win or loose. Myself i usually feel sick,loose control,hate everything when we are defeated.
    My family especially Pollyne my wife never want to see me watching Arsenal playing. She one day told me be carefull you might die of heart attack my husband.
    So let we unite together and fight against people who want to drop our moral towards Arsenal. I remember last month EPL trophy visited our country Tanzania and everybody dressed in favour of his/her TEAM.

  38. A great article. I have on countless nights lost sleep over us drawing or losing a game. I may never make it to Emirates in this lifetime but no one can tell me am no more a fan than a person who goes to matches every week. I love this club to bits win or lose, trophies or no trophies! Walter I also have a calendar and anytime Arsenal is playing something else better not come up coz I wont do it at the risk of missing my weekly dose of Arsenal play. By the way its become a cruel joke(kibui post about a fan killing himself over us losing) here by other club supporters to taunt us everytime arsenal loses.

  39. Wengers response to Pulis saying he should stop “moaning like a drain”:

    “I gave my opinion and there is nothing personal in it and I completely understand other managers might have another opinion,” Wenger said.

    “I am one of the few who really says what he thinks. I am not scared. I give my opinion without any aggression.” skysports dec 18

    Is it just me, or is that the most beautifully arrogant check mate ever heard. That of course referring to Pulis just loosing his temper and head butting Beattie

  40. I was born less than 1km from the ground, and have been going to Arsenal games for more than 30 years, having had a season ticket for most of that time. But I say don’t let anyone tell you who is a real Gooner and who isn’t. You can be from anywhere in the world as far as I’m concerned, if you say you’re a Gooner, you are.

    The criticism reminds me of a friend from San Diego in southern California – he’s an insanely committed Leeds United fan. I wouldn’t dare tell him he’s not a real Leeds fan.

    And to see how stupid it is to talk about non-Brits/non-Londoners not qualifying as “real” Gooners, just look at our players – not exactly all Holloway and Highbury boys are they? Even in the days I started going to games, only a minority were vaguely local – most of the first team were Irish, with plenty from northern England, Scotland or elsewhere.

    Our best managers? Herbert Chapman was from the People’s Republic of Yorkshire, George Graham is a Scot and the Prof, well say no more. And the Hill-Wood family, so long connected with the club? They hail from Derbyshire.

    Even the club itself isn’t even from North London, having its roots in far-off Woolwich.

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