By Walter Broeckx
What a great day this was. When I came home from work and went on the internet and saw the Arsenal website I read some great news. It said over there that from this season on I am going to be a Clockender.
Ever since we come over with the Arsenal Benelux supporters we get tickets in block 123 and from now on this block is part of the Clock End. We will be having the clock at our end and this will bring Highbury back in the Emirates. As I like history a lot and find it very important that we keep remembering our history and tradition it is something that I have been waiting for all these years since we moved to the Emirates.
Whenever I saw a game on TV in the old Highbury days, or when I saw videos on you tube, or on the former Arsenal Benelux site where they had a video when the fans of the North bank sang their famous chant: We’re the North bank, we’re the North bank, we’re the North bank, Highbury, it always send shivers down my spine. And certainly when the reply came: We’re the Clock End, We’re the Clock End, We’re the Clock End, Highbury. More shivers down my spine.
Maybe this was something that we have been missing during our first years at the Emirates. I couldn’t’ imagine myself singing: we’re the green quadrant, we’re the green quadrant… It looked so silly so no one ever tried to sing it anyway.
But now, from the Blackpool game we will turn back to the old names we used to know and we used to feel comfortable with. Some people talk lightly about the Arsenalisation of the stadium but I really think and have the feeling that it is something that had to be done. In fact it took us far too long to have done it. But ever since last year and every time when I came along the stadium had changed. The outside of the stadium turned in to a circle of legends embracing our club and our stadium and the fans in it. A very nice symbolic thing.
On the inside great moments in our history were brought to live with pictures, text and paintings. I sometimes was left behind from the other members as I am one of those who want to read it all and relive the memory I had of those days or evenings. Lucky I didn’t miss the train back home by doing this.
And from the first game we come next season, and I can’t wait to come over, I will be sitting in the Clock end for the very first time in my life as a clockender. And Tony will be sitting in the North Bank on the opposite side of the stadium. And he will be singing in tune ‘We’re the North Bank” and I will be answering him, totally out of tune as I can’t sing at all, but with all my heart and passion in to it: We’re the Clock end….”.
The only thing that I feel personally that we cannot shout, say or sing anymore is the word Highbury at the end of the chant. I think we will have to leave Highbury behind us in this case. If I’m informed right it was clear from the start that the name Highbury would not travel along to the new stadium and would stay forever linked to our great home for all those great, and some not so great years. But we cannot use the word Emirates at the end of this chant as it is a temporary name and who knows maybe if another company buys the naming rights in a few years time we need to change the chant. This would be silly if you ask me.
But I would think that we just use the name of our club at the end of the chant. : We’re the North bank, we’re the North bank, we’re the North bank, ARSENAL. And I will be singing to Tony from my side of the stadium: We’re the Clock End, We’re the Clock End, We’re the Clock End, ARSENAL.
This would be a chant that we can keep for eternity and no matter which company owns the naming rights of our stadium our club will always be named Arsenal. And I think by using the name Arsenal at the end of the chant it will also stimulate the players on the pitch. Hearing the name Arsenal bouncing around the stadium like a pinball would bring an atmosphere in the ground and on the field that we all have been missing a bit in those first years at the Emirates.
Compare it with moving to another house. It takes you a few weeks and even months before you really feel at home in your new home. You have to decorate it with some personal things and memories before you really feel at home. As the Emirates is a home we only stay in a few hours and two or three times during a month, for the lucky one of us, it takes you longer than in a real home.
So I think that from now on I will change my name in Clockender Walter. Well it may look silly from my part but I makes me even hungrier for the new season than before. And God knows that I was hungry already. So I just will start practicing the chant so that at my first visit I will be singing it from the bottom of my heart: We’re the Clock End, We’re the Clock End, We’re the Clock End, ARSENAL.
And the fact that Arsenal felt that this had to be done is another example on how the people who are working for this club are aware of those things. They might look as minor details to many people but I think it is a great thing that they have done this. I think many fans will agree on this. I also think that from this season on with the clock back in place, the renaming of the stands and bringing the old names back, the things they have done before to make it more a home this might be the things the fans have been waiting for to really make it our fortress.
See you all then in a few weeks/months, as a Clockender. Now that sounds very nice.
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