BOOK REVIEW: Arsenal is for Everyone

Arsenal is for Everyone and after reading this book, you realise that a) many of us live in our own bubble and b) Arsenal really IS for EVERYONE.

The term “Be Kind” has been banded about pretty glibly over the last 2 years and having been involved in the funeral of big Arsenal fan and legend of the concourse, one Danny Bailey – this opened my eyes to the “be Kind” motto and those that knew Danny – he was the epitome of “be kind” – I am digressing a bit but bear with me – Danny had this knack of talking to everyone, making you feel special – even if you didn’t know him – he would make time for you – you will get where I am coming from the more you read on.

From Dave Seager’s opening words, a book dedicated to his bright, articulate, handsome, talented son, who had his own life tragically cut short, to the chapter after chapter of awe inspiring Arsenal Fans who have fought through all kinds of adversity with barely a hint of a grumble to follow the team we love – it really does put your own “troubles” into perspective and brings me back to the Danny Bailey and “Be Kind” message!

We all get those days – could be getting up in the morning, going to work, should be going to the gym – going for that run – could be after another abject performance from The Arsenal – you just feel all sort of …… what’s the word they use on social media … “meh” …. Or for the older lot …”you just can’t be arsed”. Or, and we have all been there, we feel the world is against us, you;ve lost your oomph, as Thierry so beautifully put it “your Va Va Voom …… well do yourself a favour and give this book a read!!!

It really does put everything into perspective.

After reading this book, and I know everyone has been through ups and downs in their own life, it has opened my eyes to what others have to endure and makes me realise how bloody lucky I am and how at times I can even be a little bit selfish. I would like to think that after reading this book it has the same effect on you and we can all make the effort to “Be Kind” to everyone…… well nearly everyone….. and even then to our less fortunate neighbours from Middlesex there are levels of kindness … but you get where I am coming from … I married one …. Now that’s being kind !

Each chapter in the book is dedicated to an Arsenal fan who has battled through all kinds of difficulties and it follows their early lives , how they got into the football and their experiences at games – something the majority of us all take for granted! I don’t want to use the term disabled and I even feel using the term less fortunate is wrong.

These people put me to shame with their resilience and positive outlook on life .

Their battles include, Blindness, Deafness, Cerebral Palsy, Muscular Dystrophy, Spinal Muscular Atrophy, Cancers.

Certain chapters will get you – where you read it and get that cold feeling followed by goose bumps, a lump in your throat and then you reach for the back of your sleeve to dab at your eyes – yes it really does that. I’ll let you find your chapter but my one – a lady called Lyn diagnosed with breast cancer in 2003 where it was caught and she was given the all clear only to be told in 2019 that it was back with a vengeance, had spread to her lungs and was terminal. Diagnosis 2-5 years. She is then diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, which affected her limbs and nerves and confined her to a wheel chair- most of us would give up – but her determination and love of football has seen her continue to get to the games, even though she is in constant pain and has a matter of years to live. I tip my hat in admiration for this brave Arsenal and football fan.

 

What is also evident from this book and one I have to admit I was shamefully unaware of is the work that Arsenal Football Club do to ensure that Arsenal really is for everyone.

From the Disabled Purple Members Group, to the Clubs Disability Access Officer, to the countless Liaison Officers, the Sensory Room, the Audio Commentary, the Premier Leagues first disabled supporters lounge – it’s a real eye opener but goes to show that although everything may not be where we want it on the pitch at the moment off the pitch the club still has class, tradition and values

I could go on but I want you to read the book and find your Lyn. As one of the contributors said – “the world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows” but reading their stories you would never think that.

This book will raise your awareness of what others, less fortunate (my words not theirs) have been through, have to go through to watch , or in some cases sadly not be able to watch, the team they/we love and support.

This book will make you realise, when you think you have it bad that compared to some – you really haven’t.

Arsenal is for everyone.

You can order the book, signed by Dave, now for November delivery at Legends Publishing or you can wait for the official Arsenal launch at the Armoury on the 27th of November at the match. (Look out for details…)

Johnno

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