On the morning of 4th August we lost our dear Friend Steve, who was known to us and many as Lordhillwood.
Back in 1998 I bought my 1st home computer, with the sole reason to chat about The Arsenal. A few years later I found an Arsenal website called ArseOnLine.com which was on the Rivals network. You thought of a user name, signed up and chatted on the message board which was a done in threads. It was completly anonymous, It was dog eat dog, proper old skool lad terrace/pub behavoiur. I loved it.
There wasn’t loads of Arsenal using it so those on there regulary soon got to reconise each others user names and the birth of internet fweinds begain. Now a fella called Ike ran the webiste, but Lordhillwood was the regular admin on the message board, he made sure we didn’t over step the mark too much and covered our backs when we did..
Part of the appeal of Rivals was once you were regestered on ArseOnline you could then go take the piss on other clubs message boards, which we often did and Lordhillwood had to pick up the pieces. We would plan to invade the tottenham or Chelsea messageboard and all hit them with abuse at the same time. Back then it was an admins nightmare, but it passed the time at work for the rest of us.
We would spend the days at work and often nights chatting about The Arsenal and generally about life. Friday afternoon would be “weekend plans” which for Lordhillwood was always Champange, whisky and cigar nights with his friends in the UKs embassy in Poland on a Friday, Watching the game on a Saturday in the pub and spending time with his family. He was also friendly with some of Polands finest lads which some of his more intersting stories came from…
This was long before Facebook or Twitter so it was very easy to create your own persona or indeed be taken for your word, Lordhillwood, who was the oldest of us all had the persona of a well connected, well educated upper middle class bloke, with a great job, even if he was always a bit non-discript about it. He kinda gave me the impression he worked for MI6, or indeed travelled in those circles.
As I said above this messageboard could be harsh, we all took the piss out of each other, we still do now in our whatsapp group, we constantly abused each other, we constantly fell out, but if any fans of other teams came on we would all back each other and back The Arsenal, thats how message board life was on Rivals.
One of funniest days was when we all decided to change our user names, poor Lordhillwood and Ike had no idea who was who and as daft as it now sounds I was laughing my head off sitting in the corner of a telesales office whilst pretending to be working and we all still laugh about it now.
After Rivals were bought out by Sky Ike decided to give up AOL, Steve didn’t have the time to run a blog full time and as I was between jobs I took over the blog on a new platform and we agreed to rename it SheWoreAYellowRibbon. Without Lordhillwood as an admin on AOL there would be no Shewore.com.
Facebook and then Twitter ended the days of messageboards but Lordhillwood soon found his way on Twitter, with his own unqiue views. He had his opinions on The Arsenal and politics and no-one would change them. With Facebook became faces to user names and we all started meeting up for games and getting closer as mates.
About 8years ago Lordhillwood came over for a rare visit to London and we spent a few days together, Friday night beers and a curry from Brick Lane, a good old chat about bugger all and he crashed on my sofa. On the Saturday we went up The Arsenal and carried on the drinking, I think i last saw him staggering off to meet some people (women) in The Tollington.
Then came podcasts, I would love it when I was on the Bergkamp Wonderland podcast with Lordhillwood, we would often have a good gossip and catch up before and then again after. He was a popular voice on there and many would listen just for his views.
Lordhillwood was a great believer in fans rights, had a great insight into the finances at Arsenal, was fair about Wenger and above all didn’t ever need any excuse to put the boot into Gerry Payton the once goal keeping coach. He always spoke his mind and never admitted he was wrong
I know all the lads connected with that podcast became great friends with him and are really feeling it too right now.
Lordhillwood also dabbled into writing blogs and wrote some great pieces, it’s a shame he didn’t write more as he really was talented and had a way with words.
Now I can’t say its always been sweetness and light, Lordhillwood and I and the others that met on AOL have all fallen in and out over the years. We started by rowing with each other and winding each other up and that just kind of never changed. But everyome will miss the silly sod and everyone is deeply affected by this.
The Arsenal throws people together, people who have nothing whats so ever in common, people from all ages, backgrounds, races, religions, education, poltical leanings and sometimes they clash. But some people improve your lifes, give you a different perspective and are just decent people and Lordhillwood was one of those. He was a great listener as well as a great talker, he could debate the smallest of points for years and for that I /we will always respect him and miss him, even the times he was wrong and drove us nuts.
Lordhillwood had a lifelong passion for our great club, he would often tell tales of games and players before our years he loved passing on his wisdom and experences in football as well as life. We are less of a fanbase without him and he will be greatly missed.
So on behalf of all the lads who started by typing at each other on AOL to pass the time at work, only to become lifelong mates, I just wanna say thank you Steve, love and thoughts to your family, we will miss you. YNWA.
Gav, David I, Dan, Neil, Ade, Paul T, Darren, Paul G, Richard, David H, Rory, Jon and Mark.
Gooner_sx, Ike, Keenos, CEG, Barsteward, Mouth, Romford_Pele, Nemo, Islington_Resident, Gooner1971, B’Jesus, Sicknote and Cros.