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July 2021

The anticipation, the smiles, the fun, the laughter. Some of us have it all

By Walter Broeckx

So the Asia tour is well on their way and one thing is for sure : it is amazing to see how the supporters from over there react to the appearance of our team.

After seeing the way the Indonesian fans were filling the sides of the road where the Arsenal bus came along the road it was as if the queen herself was visiting the country and not “just a football team”. Of course we all know Arsenal is “not just a football team” but still those were images usually reserved for kings and queens or presidents of the USA. But then again some might not be as supportive all the time.

Arsenal playing against the Indonesian national team was also a strange affair. Holland went there a few weeks ago and won 0-3. We beat them 0-7. Not bad. And for the fans it was maybe a bit strange. One of my friends from Arsenal Benelux who is married to an Indonesian said that it sure wasn’t fun for the players of their national team. Feeling that your own countrymen support Arsenal more than the team of your country. It must have been a strange feeling for them out there.

As someone said: Indonesia is their country, Arsenal is their religion. So they would win always.

Anyway, after being rather cool about the performance of Zelalem in his first game at senior level I now want to make up for it. I saw this youtube video with the images on how he did. And it sure is worthwhile to have a look at his performance.

I don’t want to go over the top but he sure is someone to look for in a few years time. And then to think that at home we have another big big er..come to think of it I should say small player waiting to get his chance to shine. Daniel – Danny- Crowley who came over from Aston Villa made his début for the U21 last week aged just 15. And he played a big part in Arsenal taking a 1-4 lead against Sutton at half time. From reports I have read he was something special. You can see some images of this game here    Watch out for that small boy wearing the number 10 shirt.

This Crowley boy is described as one of the biggest talents in England. And to be given a starting place at the age of 15 for a U21 game is already a big thing but to be one of the best players on that début is really amazing. I wonder in a few years time we will see players like Zelalem and Crowley being the next big thing for Arsenal.

But back to the Asia tour. After the game against Indonesia the team packed their bags and went to Vietnam. And thanks to a Vietnamese Gooner I have seen yet again the most amazing images. Gooners in Vietnam sleeping at the airport to be sure they are there when the Arsenal team arrives. Outside in the street again Goonesr waiting for their heroes to pass by.

What it means to follow the Arsenal from afar is clearly visible these days. Those people who live in different time zones are as passionate if not more passionate than some Gooners who live in the shadow of Highbury. What you see in Asia for the moment is pure love for Arsenal. And I think that for most of the Gooners over there these days are the best days of their lives. Sporting lives anyway. Would we get out of our bed and stay at the airport to see Arsenal arrive in London? They do. And then to think that some say they are not real Gooners. Shame on those who dare to say such things.

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Of course for most of  it is a chance of a lifetime. And they are out there in big numbers to enjoy every minute of it. And that is what football should be about. It is about enjoying things. And in a few years time they will be able to say: I was there when Zelalem made his début for Arsenal on the Asia tour 2013. While we had to see it on a dodgy internet stream.

Maybe some of us could learn a lesson about enjoying Arsenal more, instead of moaning and predicting the end of the world for Arsenal.  Not that Untold does that much – although we have seen people writing in to Untold to say that they hope Arsenal fails this season, so that there will be a complete clear out of all the rubbish.  Fortunately most of us have slightly happier lives.

I think this tour shows that the team is a strong team.  Of course our best player from last season is still absent but we hardly missed him in this game. The youngsters showing what they could be capable of in the next years. Also keep in mind that Akpom is still  only 17 years old. With the whole team being fit apart from Vermaelen we now have a big and stable group of players all working hard for the team.

I could imagine that 1 or 2 instant fix players of high quality would make this team one of the best teams we have seen in a long time. With instant fix I mean top quality players who can step in from the first minute almost. And with the group we now have at our disposal, and with the youngsters coming through for the moment… my god these are great times to be an Arsenal supporter. So many things to look forward too.

The Tour and the stories back in London.

The books…

The sites from the same team…

15 comments to The anticipation, the smiles, the fun, the laughter. Some of us have it all

  • colario

    Me thinks Walter I have news for you!
    You write:
    ‘if not more passionate than some Gooners who live in the shadow of Highbury.’
    I think perhaps you mean:
    ‘in the shadow of the Emirates.’ 🙂

  • WalterBroeckx

    It was more or less aimed at someone who told me all kind of unfriendly things a few weeks ago near the end of the season. Pissed off as he was because we got to 4th place despite being a self declared Gooner. And he went on to tell me how I as a foreigner didn’t know anything about Arsenal and how he and his family lived around the corner of Highbury for some 3 generations.

    I thought of adding the Emirates also but forgot it at the end.

  • WalterBroeckx

    And this is an example of what I meant in this article : the running man

    How many would walk that distance?

  • soglorious

    Personally, I don’t envy Gooners who watch Arsenal every weekends or weekdays because they don’t know what they’ve got thus they are free to take it for granted rather I ENVY all gooners from the other part of the world that has gotten to see this great club stay with them even if for an hour. I will give everything it takes to see this team anytime they come to Africa. Still bittered against my country for the fact that last year’s hope of watching my beloved team was dashed. I won’t give up. I know that year will come and it cometh soon. Guys its your time and chance, ENJOY it else when this team comes to Nigeria, we will make you feel bad for not riding your luck when you had Į̸̸̨ƭ . COYG

  • soglorious

    Walter, thanks for the link to the running man. Never knew someone already had a plan of what I had in mind too. So great to see loyal fans out there. Vietnam, enjoy this period of their visit.

  • nicky

    In all walks of life, taking things for granted cannot be avoided.
    My first visit to Highbury was like walking into a cathedral. Awesome.
    I live in a small island where we take the sea for granted. Visitors comment on the bright blue of the water which locals simply never notice.

  • colario

    @ Walter. Thank you for your reply. I wasn’t being serious but my fault for not adding a few smileys in.
    Like you I am fed up with supporters who believe the rubbish written or spoken by the media about Arsenal.

    I am grateful to you and Tony and others for your informative blogs but I just couldn’t resist commenting on ‘Highbury’. :):)

  • Mick

    I am excited by the potential shown by our young gunners, could you see them being given these opportunities at the likes of Chelsea or Man City. To my mind it is far more satisfying to achieve through our youth system rather than going down the ‘spend some f*****g money’ route. I am not averse to the occasional big name signing to bolster the team but the main thrust should be youth development, trophies or no trophies. I do not understand it when I hear people like George Graham this morning on the radio saying we need four big signings down the spine of the team in order to compete this coming season. Oh well what do I know.

  • Pat

    Vietnam will for me always be the small country that was invaded by the mighty USA for having the cheek to want to be independent, bombed by napalm and agent orange whose effects are still being felt today – and yet won.

    If anybody deserves some fun they do. So I hope they enjoy the Arsenal visit.

    Those photos of the running man in the Arsenal bus were lovely. I’m glad the team gave him a great reception.

  • nicky

    “the main thrust should be youth development, trophies or no trophies”.
    At last someone with his priorities right.
    Your first paragraph displays, I’m afraid, a sad ignorance of history.
    It’s Vietnam now, but it was once North and South, remember.

  • Mick

    Maybe it is because I, like you I suspect, am in the twilight of my years and have thus learned the art of patience and the value of objectives achieved by hard work and adherence to principles. I suspect the more impatient of our supporters are of a younger generation who have been brought up on a diet of instant gratification.

  • Rufusstan

    @Soglorious — agree, in fact was going to come at the same thing from another angle.

    Aiming to see at least 20 home games a season (and usually achieving or exceeding it) is an amazing experience, but it is so normal that it is easy to become jaded.

    There are fans out there (and I’m one of them) who get to watch some of the best football in the world week in; week out, and take it for granted.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    I had wanted to mention this in the article about Arsenal buying useless French players after ‘ enlightening’ readers about the French Revolution in the post .
    Take your time to go through this .Many are very unaware of what preceeded the US involvement and the Dormino theory .
    Enjoy . Learn .

  • Ong Bing

    You can not underestimate Vietnam, we are in Indonesia starting to worry about Vietnam now, they are growing, they are start to catching another wealthy Asian countries.

    Some of Asian businessmen starting to make business in there, including from Indonesia. Shoes and garments industries in Indonesia closed, they went to China and Vietnam.

    Their football also make a good progress, I am not sure, but I think football has big fans in there.

    I am not surprised if Arsenal have a lot of fans in Vietnam, AFC must be checking the condition in Vietnam before make decision to went to Vietnam.