How did you come to support Arsenal?

If you follow the correspondence in this site you’ll know that an annoying plagiarist has just been banned from this site. For what it is worth, I suspect this writer is not an Arsenal supporter at all but was simply here to annoy us and cause mischief.

It is frustrating that he/she occupied our time – but that is over now, and it this seems a good time to move onto something completely different (as they say).

One of the lovely things about running this blog, and one that was quite unexpected when I started it, is that I have got into correspondence off-site with a number of people on all sorts of topics. In one case recently the correspondent gave me details of the financial difficulties of Bournemouth, after I ran the list of clubs in trouble.

I wrote back to say, I know the club well, having been brought there as my family moved from north London to Poole when I was 11. As trips to Highbury were rare I took up watching Bournemouth and Boscombe Athletic instead.

Having shared this coincidence my correspondent added…

“I was only thinking the other day, maybe it would be fun if all of us writing in to your blog told us when and how they became an Arsenal fan.”

I agree – especially over the next couple of days. I am about to set off for Devon to cover a PR story for one of my clients, so won’t be able to update the posts, but if you feel you’d like to take up the challenge and have a story to tell, please do write in. I’d especially like to hear the stories of correspondents from overseas – but that doesn’t cut out the London based supporters. If your piece is held in moderation I won’t be able to clear it until Tuesday night UK time, but I will do it, and I suspect the pieces will make good reading.

My story is simple. My grandfather ran a piano factory in Stoke Newington, north London, and (so I recall being told once) went to Highbury when Woolwich Arsenal first moved there. My father naturally followed in the faith, and I can remember him going to a midweek afternoon game against Aston Villa (we won 4-0) – played in the afternoon because Villa didn’t have floodlights themselves, and so were excused playing evening games. That would be October 2 1957. Some time around then I started going to games – my first was to see the reserves play West Ham (0-0). In those days reserve games were at Highbury on saturday afternoons in the Football Combination. The crowds were about 10,000 normally, to the best of my knowledge (please do correct me if you know for sure).

But I had already developed a habit that has stayed with me all my life of going to football matches elsewhere. My first football match that I can recall at Wood Green Town. WGT was an amateur club that played in White Hart Lane about half a mile from my home, and had been there since the 19th century. (I lived on Devonshire Hill Lane which runs parallel to White Hart Lane). WGT closed ten or twenty years ago I think.

So I followed the club of my father, my grandfather, and also my mother’s family who lived just off Westbury Avenue, Wood Green (my father owned a garage in Westbury Avenue).

Moving to Dorset aged 11, after actually having been to see a number of first team games at Highbury as well as away games at Portsmouth, Birmingham and Cardiff, was a wrench for me, but we did get to a handful of games each year. Despite being the only Arsenal supporter in a boys only grammar school that played “Ruggar” I kept the faith, not least because my father would occasionally arrange family trips to Birmingham to see an away game. More regular watching would have to wait until I was 18 and moved to Brighton as a student.

What that upbringing gave me, as I have suggested, was an awareness of the fun of away games with my dad, and also a willingness to go to other matches. We went to Poole Town (then in the southern league, with a ground very close to my school), Bournemouth, Southampton (a lower league club making the journey upwards, Portsmouth, Brighton, Exeter, plus non-league grounds where Poole played – like Yeovil, Portland…)

Although I do it less often now, I still visit other grounds, some years back watching the rise of Rushden and Diamonds from about the 6th division to the 3rd – taking my mum to some of the games which were quite near her home. But I particularly remember with the deepest affection the last games I went to with my father during his final years. My parents retired to Torquay (a retirement area on the south coast in Devon), and each time I went to visit them, dad and I tried to take in a game at Plainmoor. Torquay are now very firmly my second team, and I am thrilled by their return to the 4th division this year via the play offs.

If that’s a boring load of old bilge for you, sorry, we’ll get back to the hard stuff later in the week. But I do find it interesting to know the history of supporters, and if you would care to share your story, I’d love to read it. And perhaps one or two other readers would like to as well.

At the moment of writing some sites are saying that we have signed our new central defender, but there’s no confirmation yet. Maybe by the time you read this, there will be.

Thanks for reading, and hopefully we will no longer be interrupted by stolen comments from non-supporters.

Tony Attwood

39 Replies to “How did you come to support Arsenal?”

  1. When I used to read the league column (in Australia), Man U would always be first and Arsenal 2nd, and I always wanted Arsenal to catch up (they never seemed to). Thats when I started supporting them.

    Watching Thierry Henry’s goal against Man U in 2000, when he chipped Barthez on the turn, I thought and still think that that is the best goal ever scored, simply because no other player would try it considering the situation and pressure he was under

    Then I found out that my great great (maybe a few more great’s) grandfather apparently played on the wing for Arsenal ages ago, which sealed my support for Arsenal.

    I think it is also important to note just how easy it is being a relatively new Arsenal supporter given the beautiful football we play.

  2. hi there… i’m a recent fan of arsenal…if you call a 10 year old supporter recent… i live in goa, india and we didnt get to see premier league matches till the late 90s… at the time, all i knew about club football was juventus and barcelona (partly due to my footballing heroes zidane, ronaldo, figo and de piero) and due to the fact the before the premier league, all we got besides the world cup was the champions league…

    when the EPL started here in india (that too just a couple matches on the weekends)…everyone who had a tv and watched football was on about Manchester United… i on the other hand, didnt have a TV and so would only watch matches whenever i happened to be at a friends or my cousins place, once a month at the most…

    i’d heard about seaman, dennis bergkamp and thierry henry from watching the 98 world cup, so when i watched the EPL i was quite intrigued by arsenal… i’ve always liked the kind of football that arsenal played…similar as it was to the passing games of argentina, brazil, spain and the likes. Arsenal caught my fancy amidst the scores of MU fans and i think thats when i decided that arsenal was the team for me… barcelona is still another favourite… and looking back i think it’s a logical choice as well…since the likes of overmars, van bronkhorst and more recently henry and hleb have moved to the west coast of spain from the gunners…

    thats my story… not as deep rooted as many of you guys living in England, but i’m as fanatical as you are…

  3. I was 6, living in England (I am Dutch and live in the Netherlands now) and was just watching MOTD. I liked the look of Arsenal (and Gianfranco ZOla at Chelsea) This was 1998. Then when Argentina played the Netherlands Bergkamp scored the best goal ever and I was in Arsenal’s debt for the rest of my live. Too bad I missed out on the first Double…

  4. My story is simple. I am a Nigerian living in Lagos. I knew of English teams and stars from the SHOOT magazines while I was in the High School in the 70s so had interset in some football stars (Alan Ball, George Best to name some) but not in any particular football club.

    All that changed in the 90s, thanks to satellite TV services which enabled us to follow international football games and stars LIVE. I followed Kanu (and Finidi George)s’football careers to Ajax, rejoiced in their exploits with the club and fell in love with their coach, Van Gaal’s playing system.

    I followed Kanu to Arsenal, saw Arsene Wenger’s playing system and fell in love with it MORE than I was in love with Van Gaal’s – though both are similar in many respects.

    I’ve been loving Arsenal since – though , I must confess I am not sure if it is Arsenal I love or Arsene Wenger.

    Sincerely, I still love what Van Gaal stands for as a coach and was not surprised with what he did with A-Z. I’m sure to keep an eye on him in Bayern where we international viewers will be able to follow him better than when he was in AZ. In the same way, I would have followed Arsene Wenger to Real Madrid, had he agreed to move there when Perez came courting…

    So you can say that my love for Arsenal is yet to so deeply rooted as to survive under any circumstances (e.g. if they lose Arsene studpidly and bring in a new coach that starts playing like Bolton/Blackburn – even if he wins them tons of trophies).

    Fem Dee

  5. Well, I became an Arsenal fan when I was about 7. I was watching a football match with my father (who ironically enough, is Spurs fan, lol), and this blonde player really stood out from the rest. He looked so classy, and even though I was only 7 I knew he was world-beating quality. So I asked my father, who is that? And he answered Dennis Bergkamp.

    From then on, he was the reason I watched Arsenal play, and when Wenger came along not too long after that, I really got hooked. Which is why it’s always been a toss-up for me who my favourite Gunner is; Bobby Pires or Bergkamp.

  6. as to me, i play b-ball but at the same time support and take part in arsenal as a club.I came to know arsenal when in high school(2002) and with the likes of dennis bergcamp who was been all round role model ever since the history of arsenal and as at that moment a key player in the gunners squad.i’ve liked their strategies and the pattern of play that they use plus through the internet i’ve come to learn more of their former big names like wrights, seaman, petit ……………….

  7. Very interesting post today,Tony, and being most probably one of the older goons,it has sometimes been a roller coaster ride, with many highs and numerous lows, but for me it has always been about supporting the team.

    I was brought up in N.W. London and in the early sixties, it basically was one of two choices,one either supported Spurs, the team of the early sixties or The Arsenal.I always backed the underdog,and have never regretted it since.It was years of waiting to see some success, but finally we thought silverware was ours.And they talk now of 4 years without a trophy.

    The highlight was eventually to see us play in the league Cup Final, against lowly Swindon,(two divisions below us)in 1969,having failed the previous year against Leeds, and many of us thought all we had to do was just literally turn up. oh, how wrong we were, the pitch was a bog,and even though Bobby Gould scored an 86th.minute equaliser,we lost in extra time to a Don Rodgers goal.

    Who was to know that actually in adversity this was the beginning of a great side,who a year later beat Anderlecht 3-0 at home having lost the first leg in belgium 3-1. I went to both games,and sat next to the late great Jack Kelsey,we payed £12.00 for the ticket and flight for the away leg.
    The following year was our double year and to win the league at Spurs was something special, i swear there were more people locked out than in the ground and Ray Kennedy’s goal will evermore be etched in my memory.

    But, there was more, a few days later we were back at Wembley and Charlie George(my local hero) scored that winning goal, which brings a smile to my face even now when i see it recalled.

    Younger supporters will have other great memories,the 1979 FA cup Final and of course the 1989 win at Anfield in dramatic fashion.and now the Wenger years.

    Times have changed,football is now a global sport,every game can be seen live, the mobile phone and of course the internet have changed things dramatically,but the days which i have spoken about were more personal, one could have good hearted banter with the”enemy” and shake hands and win or lose gracefully.

    Even to this day,as i now live abroad, my whole week is effected by our results, it’s in the blood and can’t easily be explained.

  8. This Vermaelen deal is a joke. Apparently Gallas and Toure lack steel, yet a leaner, shorter guy from Belgium is up to the task. Sometimes I think Wenger is toying with the fans and critics – everyone says we need more height, so he does the opposite. It’s as if he wants to prove people wrong by doing things his way even when it is obviously not the right way!

  9. It’s the hardest thing to explain, this weird tribal addiction which endures through triumph and disappointment, and has been with me for almost as long as my memory stretches back.
    At the age of six, having lived for a couple of years in Scotland, I flirted with liking Celtic but the green hoops just didn’t do it for me. When we moved south, to darkest Somerset, and please forgive me I think it was the sideburns, but I decided to support Chelsea in the cup final against Leeds. This was probably the match which ‘got me into’ football and whilst my flirtation with Messrs Osgood, Cooke and Harris proved to be short lived, my loathing for and of Leeds has lasted a lifetime.
    I nailed my colours to Arsenal’s mast as a result of Bob Wilson sending me a signed autograph return of post in response to a begging letter crafted in my best seven year old handwriting. That was the summer of 1970 – and the rest is history. Winning the double in the first season made me think – hey I chose the right team; supporting Arsenal will be fun. The cup final against Leeds the following season taught me a valuable lesson.
    In my memory I spent the rest of my childhood listening to Arsenal play Stoke in never ending cup replays on a crackly transistor and waiting for the next double to come. I’ve never lost the faith, endured the 70’s buoyed up by three successive cup finals, loved the GG era but know that this is the golden age for Arsenal and the current youth set up has me drooling about the future.

  10. What a nostalgic rollercoaster, reading all the stories from all parts of the world.
    I am from Cape Town, South Africa and have been following the Gunners ever since I saw an Arsenal game on TV ( we started with tv in the late seventies).
    The only place I could watch was when I went to the one and only shopping mall in the city.
    I cannot recall who the opposition was but I only remember seeing the sublime Liam Brady, what a genius !He was so graceful and made the game look so easy (fooling me into believing that i could make.

    I thought it was de ja vu when I saw Wilshere for the first time( Give him more game time boss, I get excited when I see the young “Brady”.

    It has been a rollercoaster ride over many years but i would not have it any other way.

    You GOONERS tell me , who can boast that their team has gone unbeaten for a complete season, i can assure you none of these current crop of teams. IT IS A TRULY AWESOME ACHIEVEMENT !!!
    When the going gets tough I ask – Has your team been able to do that, if not then let’s rise to The Arsenal !!!

    Cheers !!!

  11. Valentine’s day 1956.

    8 years old, I had been told that my Dad had got hold of a couple of tickets to see THE Arsenal play Sunderland. We set off from Southgate drove past the Barretts Sweet Factory (famous for Liquorice All-sorts & sweet cigarettes, through the actual Finsbury Park, then we parked easily in Monsell Road (very few cars then). A couple of local kids came out & asked if they could look after the car. My Dad said “yes make sure you do”.

    Up Highbury Hill into the West Stand Upper Tier, up countless stairs & then you saw the pitch. I knew very little about football, there was hardly any on tv, not that many people had a tv anyway, so that vista left an impression never to forgotten,just like that Fever Pitch moment.

    Then the game. My Dad pointed out who was who. He said watch out for Ray Daniels, who had played for Arsenal but was transfered to Sunderland because they had a lot of money. Daniels wore gloves, for the information of those who deplore the current players doing so, but he could not prevent Sunderland losing 3-1, David Herd getting his first brace.

    Main recollections of the match were the sheer noise, picking up expressions I still use to this day, “unlucky” being my favourite, and Jack Kelsey seemingly effortlessly plucking the ball out the air despite the attentions of the traditional British cf (probably Trevor Ford).

    Absolutely hooked – it had to be Arsenal. My Grandpa was Tottenham but Dad saw sense & prefered Herbert Chapman’s AFC to 2nd division Spurs. A glory hunter, no doubt, but thank God for that, in spite of Spurs’ great team of the early 1960s causing such misery for a “Gunner”. Kelsey explains better than I can.

    These are great days to be an Arsenal supporter & I despair at those that cannot see that to be the case.

    ps the lads did look after the car & got 6d, I believe !!

  12. My grandfather supported Arsenal and he passed the love onto his two sons. My father started taking me to Highbury in 1953 when I was 6. We would stand on the North Bank, he would be in the middle somewhere, and I would be passed over the heads of the adult fans to stand with the group of nippers at the front. Of course, we saw nothing, but we were part of the atmosphere – no Highbury Library in those days.

    My father became a season ticket holder, and I used his ticket for all the reserve games. Capacity was over 60000, so I would think that Tony’s guess of 10000 per game is reasonable.

    Then we went through a bad spell; enter the Highbury Wail. That was the noise that the fans made during the second half of matches that were not going our way.

    I moved to South Africa in 1969. No Arsenal for a few years – we didn’t get TV until 1976! Then the ’78, ’78 and ’80 FA Cup finals and, of course, the Micky Thomas game at Anfield. For years we got EPL games, and for the last few years that means all, or most of the games. This year, the only one I missed was the away game with Stoke.

    My daughters are following in the family footsteps and wear their Arsenal kit at every opportunity. When we come to England, we have always managed to use family connections to get tickets to Highbury, now to The Emirates. Once, I went with my wife and elder daughter to White Shite Lane (1 -1 draw, Vieira for us). We sat with the away fans – quite an experience! I went with both my daughters to the home game against Sunderland when we won 3-2. That game could have been the making of Diaby. He “scored” just as we were awarded the free kick that RvP blasted through Gordon’s hands; and he scored another good goal, only to have it incorrectly ruled offside. Zero goals instead of two – big difference!

  13. As I grew up in an ice-hockey town in Sweden, my first love wasn’t football but ice-hockey. Football was something you went to see when the season was over, but in the late sixties Swedish TV started showing a live game from England every Saturday. It was always random, so you never knew what you were going to get. My Mum pointed out this team called Arsenal and told me they were really good, so I made a point of watching every time they were on and of course I had to agree that there was something about this team. Then in the early seventies I met an Englishman hailing from north London who just happened to be a gooner and we are still together and still supporting Arsenal. Have followed the Swedish players through the years of course, Anders Limpar, Stefan Schwarz (how I wish we had him playing now)and of course Freddie Ljungberg. Still hoping there will another soon but unfortunately Swedish football is on a downer at the moment so I will have to make do with Niklas, as a Dane, he is close enough. The player who for me was the best player ever to put on an Arsenal shirt has to be Dennis Bergkamp. A one off, I don’t think we will ever see his like again.

  14. To put it simply- I have loved football since I was very young- but stuck in the USA, I only got to watch international tournaments or when I went back home (overseas) every summer. To me there is only one way that football should be played- the Arsenal/ Barca style. As more and more clubs began being televised in the states I began to understand which clubs followed my philosophy and I became an Arsenal fan. To me they signify much more then football- its a question of approaching situations the right way- the way I wish t do it in my life. This connection puts my heart with the club on so many levels and when they lose to an evil side (say Man Utd) I am beyond gutted for days if not weeks…

  15. When i was about six or seven i used to play fifa 1998, and when you go to quick match Arsenal was the first team to pop up. I became great using Arsenal, and decided to use France in an international match. I noticed Thierry Henry (the greatest goal scorer ever!!) was on the bench, as well as pires, while viera and witord also made the squad. I went to the Arsenal website and made sure i knew these players. and when my family got direct tv i took upon myself to watch arsenal actually game rather than in a video game. I haven’t missed a game since and I consider myself a die hard supporter.

  16. Tony – thank you so much for this idea – I am enjoying every word. This lot could/should be published. It is particularly wonderful how this exercise brings home the truly international nature of our support.

  17. I think the moment that sealed it for me was watching Tony Adams lift the trophy in 02. By then I had followed Arsenal för a couple of years but after that moment my whole life has been affected by Arsenal FC.

    Growing up in Sweden I read this comic book as a kid (Buster), in this comic book there was a story about a team called United. When I found out that there was a real team in England called United (man utd) I started to support them, without ever having seen a single PL-game. My favorite player at that time was Giggs (probably because he was the only one I knew the name of).

    However when I grew up (now we are in the late 90s) and started to actually watch football I saw this amazing team full of french people. Since my mother is french I fell for the gooners instantly. And of course Freddie played a part in that to, but mostly the french guard. And then there was the moment when Tony lift the trophy. I have been obsest ever since then.

    I have to thank united for opening my eyes and discovering a whole new world, the EPL. And of course later on i discovered what an awful football club United really are :).

  18. Just thinking of things I like about Arsenal and this story popped up in my head.

    Anders Limpar’s running a little store (he’s a bookie actually) called “Limpars Corner of Luck”(I haven’t had any luck anyway…). It’s close to where my girlfriend lives and it’s allways nice to go down and talk to him.
    He actually told me a story once about Tony Adams. He met him in the streets of London one night, he said hallo to the Arsenal-captain but didn’t get any response. Tony was so drunk that he didn’t recognize him. And this was a friday before a game, and of course Tony was brilliant throughout the 90 minutes…

  19. I started watching soccer in earnest during the 86 and 90s world cup. I was just fascinated by the way Diego Maradona destroyed teams. I really didn’t like the defensive mindedness of the Italians though. How they’d just wait to score the solitary goal and defend it for eighty or so minutes.

    In the early 90’s (I lived in Kenya by then) all the hype was around pool, manu and, believe it or not, Newcastle. I really hated how they would just hoof the ball forward, get a headed goal and that one handed celebration by Shearer! So I used to support barca and seeing as all we had then was “Football Made in Germany” – which was way better than the premier league by then – and the english league, all i could do was wait for the champion’s league games and watch beautiful football via Barca or Ajax.

    I think i started watching Arsenal right about the time Wenger became coach. We were underdogs to manu most of the time so a main reason for my support was just to go against the tide. However, the beautiful football my team plays really cemented and held my faith in the team and lead me to occasionally want to catch up with the premier league. by this time I was in Uganda, it was no longer available for free and you’d only access it via pay tv.

    I could go on. I’ll stop though. Arsenal rocks Wenger kicks ass and all else including facebook twitter and the internet pales in comparison.

  20. My father took me to a reserve game at Highbury against Swindon Town when i was just 18 months old. Charlie George was coming back from an injury and he bagged four as Arsenal won 5-0.

    Through the 70s & 80s my father, brother and i used to go to watch Arsenal home and away every week and have managed to see Arsenal play at 63 different English grounds. In the 90-91 season i saw every Arsenal domestic game, which is the only time i have gone a whole season without missing a game.

    The family connection with Arsenal is quite strange, my father through one of his uncles was introduced to Leslie Compton who was playing cricket for Middlesex against Gloucestershire (i believe)and Leslie explained to my father that in the winter months he played football for Arsenal. At that time it was of course quite common for people to play both sports professionally. Mr Compton suggested to my father that he should go to see Arsenal play and so on my fathers 10th birthday he travelled to Highbury from Gloucester to see Leslie Compton play for Arsenal. He was hooked after just one game.

  21. Uf this can be quite long post… Back in 80ies, my uncle was stationed in London as member of Yugoslavian diplomatic core (so yes I am former yugoslavian, or Bosnian). He and aunt couldn’t have kids, so I was always their “beloved” one. And for every school holidays uncle was taking me with him where ever he was working. Thats how I ended on Highbury. 10 years old boy in world of adult football. Dont ask me what is reason for becoming Gooner, actually its not something what anyone of us can answer. Just image of Highbury in me head, people on stands in oldfashioned red and white caps, shawls…
    When war broke here in bosnia I was already finishing Military Academy and became officer in army, war is not easy to fallow football, somehow some other things became more important. But not for me. I managed to get contact with UN troops from UK and they were “filling” me with information’s about Grahams success.
    Just month before famous Parken finals, I left the army, I was tired. I went on Parken with money I got after leaving. In store near stadium I bought bottle of champagne to celebrate crown. But it didnt happen. I brought it with me back in Bosnia, it is here on my desk, its not opened yet. And it wont be, until we take CL.

  22. Tony, I see you have got rid of Mason, yes on the grounds he copied n pasted but he did have genuine points in his posts (though they were cut/paste) and i dont undestand whats the point in commenting just on the relevant article.
    I mean you want people to have their own say and talk about issues concerning the club in general rather than just on one topic; bit pointless i reckon.

    Maybe in all the madness Mason did have a point and you lot are just sitting on cloud 9 thinking wenger has won the title every year.

  23. Perhaps it is polite to respond to the excellent article, tell us why you became an Arsenal fan & then put forward your supplementary comment, Karl ??

    Other than that Mason only made or copied comments of an immature nature, fuelled by the unrealistic expectation of a glory hunter.

  24. Ian B,

    Having just read your post it shows what a small world we live in.When I was thirty I decided I was fascinated with the game of bowls and joined my local club Paddington Bowls Club. In those days,bowls was regarded as an old man’s game(which some still refer to)anyway we played competitive matches in the Middlesex area, and in 1982 I had the pleasure of meeting and playing against Leslie Compton.He had had a leg amputated but he was still a very good all round sportsman and great at bowls. He was interesting to talk to and a very humble person.We spent a couple of hours talking about the Arsenal and his career at his local club in Highgate.Sadly he died two years later, but he was in my eyes a perfect gentleman, and an honour to have met him.

  25. Indeed the article is excellent but i am a bt curious at some of the posters on here, they jump up and scream whenever a slight criticism of the manager is posted, screech whenever we beat a crap team ( eg West Brom), suggest the world is rosy and then when asked a series of football questions. When I suggest that our away form is crap in the CL, with performances usually devoid of tactics, these people mention Real Madrid and AC Milan as if that is the norm. When everyone asks why Arshavin, let alone Nasri and Song, were benched for the smi- final, it’s something they cannot answer. When questioned why Eboue is always preferred to others such as Wilshere or Vela, it’s because he shows “commitment!”. When Diaby’s perpetual position on the left wing is ridiculed, it shows Wenger’s tactical versatility and should not be questioned. It’s when simple issues are raised and hostile, “how dare you question Wenger” responses are posted in answer that grate with me. There is never a footballing reason given, if any. the point is you cannot hope to win a PL with two medium sized central defenders. United and Chelsea have one, if not two, large centre halves and we used to have Campbell. ,

  26. Karl –
    Why come here and post like that? This has been a fascinating comment section nearly all on topic. The blogosphere is absolutely packed with so called Arsenal blogs all questioning the manager in the style you suggest. Leave us in peace to get on supporting the team.

  27. Its quite strange, how people who belong to “sack Wenger” brigade, are silent when Arsenal is wining, or they say its a wining over crap teams. When those same crap teams beat Manure or Chavski than its heh, mistake, everyone makes mistakes so even great SAF and “Man who turn everything he touches in to gold” make mistakes. But Arsene ones are unforgettable. Same as lately I hear that Wenger is not the one who won last 3 crowns, but those are remains of Graham’s team.
    I do accept to talk about Arsene mistakes, and I do want to talk about them, but I don’t accept that Wenger put banana under Gibbs feet against Manure. Nor I want talk about Wenger breaking Eduardo’s leg.
    Why Wneger didn’t play Arshavin, heh yes it is his mistake, but he admitted it as well.

  28. Kelsey,

    Thankyou for replying and letting me know about Lelie Compton, whilst i never had the pleasure of meeting him myself it seems that he really did leave a wonderful impression on those that he came in to contact with.

    In that one meeting that my father had with Leslie Compton all those years and now i cant imagine what my life would be like without Arsenal!

  29. Karl

    I see that you have many criticisms of Wenger – I often puzzle over some of his decisions. However, I take the view that he sees the players every day and I see some of them once or twice a week.

    Let me use Capello and Theo as an example. Capello loves Theo and will play him every match until the World Cup. Why? One decent match against Croatia? I don’t think so. It was the goal he scored in practice, described to the press by Rooney, and applauded by all of his team mates.

    Wenger sees excellence in Diaby, Denilson and Song. You might not agree. I will take Wenger’s judgement over yours.

    Where I see a problem with Lord Wenger is the way he played Flamini 2007/08. He knew there was a big problem with him not signing a contract. He could have played Diarra instead. He could have played Gilberto instead. However, he “must” have thought that Flamini might change his mind. Or he thought, screw it, I’ll play my best team and screw the torpedoes. I don’t know what he thought, but I think he got it wrong.

    You say “you cannot hope to win a PL with two medium sized central defenders”. If they are better than the best available big guys, what should you do? If he thought that Senderos/Djourou/Huth would be better than Toure/Gallas he had that option. He always played Toure/Gallas whenever they were both available. Presumably he thinks this is better than one or two big guys. I don’t see any big CDs available for purchase that are better than Senderos. Sure I would like Vidic or Terry, but not Skrtel or any of the other decent, but not great, (perhaps) available big CDs.

  30. Just got back from a couple of days away and have just read all the replies – thanks for all the stories. A particular thank-you to Chrissie who very modestly did not reveal that the idea for the blog about how we have become supporters was hers, not mine. It was a great idea Chrissie, and the response has revealed a lot about the international basis of the readership.

    I’m sorry to see the discussion went completely off topic again – it was just a little frustrating but I really got fed up when I got to the posting of the article from the Mail today about Arshavin.

    I have in the past railed against the issue of plagiarism and the people who steal other’s articles and reprint them in blogs. The Mail however takes this to another level – because the story which is quoted here first appeared in the Mail itself two weeks ago (see—taxman-takes-half-80k-week.html?ITO=1490) and that piece in turn was a reprint from elsewhere.

    What’s more Arshavin’s agent has denied this story is true – but that of course does not stop the Mail.

    So, in my view, everything about this comment is wrong – it is irrelevant to the discussion, disrespectful to all the readers who were taking of their own time to follow the discussion, and worst still, just a reprint of a story which we have ourselves debated several weeks back.

    I think I’ve really had enough of this, so from now on I am going to edit out emails which are off topic.

    In terms of the anti-Wenger arguments themselves, as others have said far more eloquently than I can, they are invariably so simplistic as to be pointless. To argue, for example, that because two other teams have one player of a particular height, that Arsenal has to have such a person in a team in order to win the league, without a discussion of numerous other teams, and a greater analysis of historic statistics, is just daft. One might as well say that Manchester United and Liverpool both play a left footed player on the left wing, and Arsenal doesn’t and that’s why we don’t win the league. (Actually I can’t recall if they do or not, but I am sure you see my point – it is one trivial detail within a thoroughly complex argument, and really not worth pursuing on its own).

    So, if you have a topic you feel we ought to discuss, and it is not being discussed here, please do either write an article for publication on this site, or if you don’t want to write it yourself, email me with the details and I’ll see if I can write a piece along those lines. As for the one remaining person of an anti-Wenger bent – I have tried for over a year to allow debate on the issue of Wenger’s ability, but we just don’t get it. Sorry, but posting links to reprints of Daily Mail articles on a site that regularly points out the stupidity of football journalists is just plain daft.

    But to everyone else, thank you so much for sharing your stories with us all. This post is still open, so if you would like to add something else, please do.


  31. As i read these articles, i remember when i was to write a semester exam in my university by 4pm local time in Nigeria and i had to watch arsenal play the tots during the 07/08 season till 3.30. I remember how bendtner came on as a sub to score the winning goal, such was my passion for arsenal who i started supporting from the days of kanu till now. Thank God we won so passing was easy.

  32. I am an Arsenal fan from Nigeria.I started supporting Arsenal in 1997 when the EPL was on local TV.I was in love with their style of play,the flair and their attacking prowess.Since then i’ve always supported Arsenal and Wenger.And of couse Henry,the beautiful jersey and Emirates.The suport here is massive.
    Jaiye Ige-NIGERIA>

  33. I from Belgium and when I was in the last year of secundary school (17-18 years old in Belgium) we went to London with our class. We asked our teacher if we could go to the football (we played a bit ourselves) and he gave us the list of games to be played in London. I was supporting my local team in Belgium (Berchem Sport a team based in Antwerp and a first division team in those days) and our biggest enemy was Anderlecht so we were all delighted when Anderlecht was beaten by Arsenal in the final of the Fairy cup in 1971. 🙂 So I liked the Arsenal from 1971 (when I was 10 years old).
    So in 1979 we had the choose between Arsenal and West Ham and off course we went to Highbury. Paid one pound to get acces on the North Stand wich was in my eyes an immense stand.
    We lost that first game to Wolverhampton Wanderers by 0-1 but we deserved to win but couldn’t finish them off. Mmmm sounds familiar…. I’ve seen Liam Brady playing at Highbury and what a player he was.

    Followed the Arsenal ever since thanks to MOTD wich we can see in Belgium every saturday and now via the internet and pay tv. I’ve actually seen every game the last seasons and thanks to the Emirates I’ve been able to come and see the Arsenal live 2 times in the last seasons.
    So I’ve know some ups and downs in the years and we’re coming to the up side again.

  34. Svaka cast Bosnian Gooner!

    My dad became a Gooner in 1979 after the 5 minute final against Manchester United. He was 20 years old. I’ve been a Gooner for 18 years now. My dad dressed me up in Arsenal shirts and I had Arsenal bedsheets. I still have actually… Not when I have some girl over though.

  35. I got a pennant of my uncle en the early 90’s when i was 8 or nine. Anders Limpar played at the club at the time and i really loved his way of playing. But there was alot of other players that I admierd aswell aspecially Ian Wright. I recently watch the dvd with all his goals at Arsenal and I have to say he is one of the best strikers of all time! And the backline winterburn-bould-adams-dixon is legendery aswell. And later Ray Paulor and Martin Keown. Great players!

    So in a long way I tried to explain what made me love arsenal.

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