Mr Chairman it is, but you can still call me Walter

By Walter Broeckx

How strange things can go in life. A few weeks ago I was counting how long I have been an Arsenal supporter for.

And the first time I noticed the name Arsenal and felt something for them was in 1970. The day that Arsenal beat Anderlecht. Anderlecht, the biggest club in Belgium since the second world war, winning one league title on average every second year. As I lived and supported my local club in Belgium who also played in the top division at that moment in time we just hated Anderlecht.

Anderlecht the team that bought our best prospects, the team that had an air around them of being better than the rest. So as a supporter of another club in Belgium it was rather funny that Anderlecht who already thought the cup was yet again in the bag got beaten in the second leg.  Luckily it was Arsenal who put Anderlecht feet on the ground that day. So that must have been my first moment when I noticed the name Arsenal and supported them as they won against the team we hated.

So when some nine years later I went to London for the first time with a school trip and we had the choice of going to a match on the Saturday afternoon the name Arsenal was top of the list for me and a few of my friends. And since that day in February 1979 I can truly say that I fell in love with Arsenal. Despite us losing that match against Wolverhampton Wanderers of all teams…

I must say that Arsenal had a bit of an influence in my life over the years. And since the great invention of internet, with live streaming, and TV sports channels, Arsenal is nearer to my house than my local club.  Whenever I want to see Arsenal I can see them. Whenever I want to read something about Arsenal I can read it.

So Arsenal is a real big part of my day to day existence on this planet. During the season I live on the Arsenal wave. Match time is sacred and only if there is some really, really, really, really other important thing standing in between Arsenal and myself I will always prefer the Arsenal match.  I missed seeing one match live last season.

Now apart from football Arsenal has over the years brought me many other things. Not only the joy after a victory, the nerves during a match, the anger after a defeat or the disappointment after a bad match, or being angry when the ref did us over.  I enjoy it or hate the moment for it but it is not all.

No over the years it has brought me not only footballing moments but also friendship. Of course here at Untold I think even without seeing each other in person (albeit on the odd occasion when some of us have been meeting) I consider you all more or less as friends. Friends with the same feelings towards Arsenal.

I have had the luck to become good friends with Tony Attwood who even slept in my bed a few years ago.  Now before you draw any conclusions about this: Tony and his partner slept in my bed and my wife and I slept in another bed in our house.  I don’t want you to think some strange things about us. I have been meeting Tony a dozen times in London and of course a few days at my home in Belgium. Moments I still cherish and when  thinking back at it, they were fine days when I showed him around Antwerp.

And then there is the little matter of our supporters club in Belgium. A supporters club that was formed somewhere in the late nineties and our founder has since run the supporters club almost on his own. Last season a group wanted to help him in running the club and a few months ago our founder decided that he couldn’t work for the club any more. He is a scout for a top team in Belgium and as this is a Saturday job he had problems in attending matches and travelling along with the rest of us.  So he decided to hand over the baton.

The group that first wanted to help him now had to really make things work. So last Sunday we came together at the house of one of our members. Not an easy thing to do as we live all over Flanders and some had to leave home around 10.00 and only got back home around 21.00.  So a lot of dedication in our new board.

In our meeting we had to do a lot of work and make a lot of decisions about how to run the club from now on. But the eight dedicated members worked their butts off and at the end of the meeting we got it all under control.

One of the important moments in the meeting was who would do what in the new board. And when the question was raised as to who would be the chairman a few hastily said: “not me”.   Followed by, “but Walter you would be the best man to do this.” And then they all nodded agreement and said things like: “Walter you really are the best person to do this.”

I tried to suggest someone else but they didn’t want to know about it. So with a vote of 7 yes and 1 abstention (me) I got elected as the new chairman of the official Arsenal supporters club in Belgium. We gave it the very original name: Arsenal Belgium.

So my life has made twist I never could have imagined all these years ago. Of course it is a bit of a proud feeling when people think you are the right person to do such a job. But it also brings some consequences and of course some pressure.  But for now I feel very honoured about this and since the meeting less than a week ago we have already made important steps in taking our supporters club to the next level. Not my job of course. But mostly the work of the rest of the board who have taken up the challenge with great enthusiasm.

So another unexpected twist in my Arsenal supporters existence. I still have to get used to the others calling me Mr. Chairman to be honest and I have already threatened to resign if they didn’t call me Walter like before.

So despite me being proud to being elected as the Chairman of Arsenal Belgium, please call me Walter.


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26 Replies to “Mr Chairman it is, but you can still call me Walter”

  1. lovely article Walter, a comforting read on this bleak (England) morning

  2. Chairman, …I mean Walter, a very nice article and congratulations! Arsenal Belgium is in good hands!

  3. oldgroover,
    yes I am. I know a few of them. They were first part of our supporters club and some even played with me on the pitch of the Emirates a few years ago.
    It all went wrong later and so two groups formed themselves. One official and one not officials supporters club.

  4. Fantastic work so far, Walter. Hail the chairman and the President. This blog changed my life in many ways. Good to hope as no hope is lost.

  5. Congratulations Walter. May the Arsenal fan base grow under you. And may the new power that you have been invested with allow you to find a way to resume the ref reviews;)

  6. Mr. Chairman sir,
    Congrats! Those of us already addicted to hearing from you at Untold are not surprised that those closer to you in Belgium find you responsible, dedicated and worthy enough to become their chairman in another Arsenal related affair.

    Out of selfishness though, we must ask, and we are not too proud to even beg, that the added responsibility that the nomination implies doesn’t lead to a diminished output in your output and contributions to respective Untold projects.

    Should you require it, we can make special arrangements for you to to have 30hour days if the 24hour-day available to the ordinary humans prove inadequate.

  7. Congratulations Walter. I’m sure Arsenal Belgium couldn’t be in safer hands.

  8. Congratulations Tony , Walter – I see UA’s plan for the worldwide takeover of the hearts and minds of the Arsenal fan universe is going according to plan !
    Viva la revolucion ! VIVA UA ! All hail Mr.Chairman !
    And El Presidente !

  9. Congratulations Tony , Walter – I see UA’s plan for the worldwide takeover of the hearts and minds of the Arsenal fan universe is going according to plan !
    With Belgium soon to win the World cup , all eyes will on them !
    Viva la revolucion ! VIVA UA ! All hail Mr.Chairman !
    And El Presidente !

  10. The Chaaaaaaaaiiiiiiiiirrrrrrrmmmmmmmmaaaaaaaaannnnnnnnn!!!!!!
    May your reign be long and filled with progress.
    Congrats Walter

  11. I hate to tell you Walter but they elected you because you didn’t duck your head and hide as fast as everyone else did….I know the feeling as I’ve been ëlected/selected/cooerced¨ many times in a similar fashion. Regardless bonne chance et merde in your new role as focal point of the AFC Universe!!!

  12. Indeed Walter you did not duck you head when the job of chairman of Arsenal Belgium became vacant… but you will agree that, unlike omgarsenal points out, in the new board there was absolutely no question of hiding fast to avoid being asked for the job. Instead there was an immediate consensus on the man who should be the new chairman. It was so obvious for all of us. You simply breathe Arsenal every possible moment and if anywhere for any occasion on this planet there is a 100% right man on the right place then it’s you as chairman for Arsenal Belgium.
    It is not less crystal clear that the new chairman leads a very enthusiastic team. Even days before the board meeting ideas and suggestions did not stop flowing in, and after the meeting, when everyone got his to do list, there was like an avalanche of mails from everyone telling the others: check, check, check, done, done, done…. My God, our Belgian politicians should really come to us and ask how working together properly yields result…. they actually can learn something from us!
    Anyway, as the new treasurer of Arsenal Belgium, I just want to proudly say that I am looking forward to a bright future with a great team led by chairman Walter. And let this for once not be “un”told Arsenal but “told you so” Arsenal. Cheers guys!

  13. Thanks Marcel and indeed the whole board is doing a great job.

    PS: Bank papers are on their way to Wim. Signed on the right places. I hope 😉

  14. Congratulations Chairman Walter and to your seven colleagues on their very wise choice. I hope and trust your elevation to such dizzy heights will make absolutely certain that on Arsenal’s next Wembley outing (this new season?) your well-deserved ticket will appear instantly upon your respectful request to the club.

  15. Walter is the Meyer Lansky and Tony is the Lucky Luciano of the media world!

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