On Friday 6th September I met with fellow Gooners @thearsenalhorse @gooner1947 and @grandpasnail to mark the Arsenals 100 years move from Woolwich to Highbury. We met at Dial Square restaurant in the grounds of the old Woolwich Arsenal and travelled to Highbury where we were lucky to gain access to the old Highbury ground.
It was with very mixed feelings as I walked in to where the old ground stood and I had goose pimples and a little shiver as I looked to where the old North Bank used to be.the memories came flooding back.
“We’re the North Bank we’re the North Bank we’re the North Bank Highbury”
“Good old Arsenal we’re proud to sing your name”
“One nil to the Arsenal”
I could shut my eyes and still hear it feel it and re-live it and it took me back to just over 40 years ago.
I was 15 and still at school when a friend said that she had a friend that also loved Arsenal and if I wanted we could meet and go to matches together. And so began a friendship based on the same passion; our love for the Arsenal. We went to both home and away matches (it was easy then you could just turn up on the day ) and we always went by whatever means we could.
We decided early on Boxing Day to go to Ipswich, however not knowing how to get there I asked my dad what motorway we would need to get to in order to hitch a lift. I can’t remember how we got to said motorway but clearly remember us both standing at the side of the road with our scarves and rattles and both our little thumbs waving hopefully.
It wasn’t too long before a van pulled over and Glory Days! It was a van full of lads going to the game “Get in girls we’ll take you ” and so we got in the back of the van which was loaded with beers and although we were not really drinkers I remember having one or two. They dutifully dropped us at the ground and said “meet us here after the match girls ans we will take you home”.
I can’t remember much about the match (score etc) but do remember a guy being kicked down the stairs by an over zealous steward for chanting something that nowadays no one would bat an eyelid at. Somehow we ended up on the supporters coach for the journey home which ended in a visit to Peter Storey’s pub so a very good day indeed!
Now here’s the thing; “Passion”. We travelled to Birmingham FC and as girls were welcomed with open arms into the Birmingham supporters clubhouse which really resembled little more than a Cub Scout hall just inside the ground. It was here that I met a very good looking boy called Archie never mind that he was a Birmingham supporter at 16 I was sure that it was love.
We kept in touch and he rang me and said that he had never been to London before and would love to see the sights.we agreed to meet at Waterloo station and I made a big effort to look my best.
When I turned up his face dropped as he looked at my attire “I’m Not Going To Arsenal” he said as he saw my red and white clothes and scarf. An hour later as we stood in the North Bank my eyes kept darting to the right of me at the extremely miserable and dejected look on Archie’s face but how could I miss my beloved Arsenal play?
I never saw Archie again. I’m afraid my passion for the Arsenal was greater than any good looking Birmingham fan – even poor Archie.
I have many more memories that I may share but I don’t want this to be too long. Nowadays I can only go to some games due to the exorbitant cost but at 56 years old always sing loud and proud as anyone on the Fulham boat trip with the Away Boys or North London Derby day at the Gunners pub will certainly vouch for!
My passion for The Arsenal has never diminished and I know that it never will.