With Arsenal: All or Nothing launching today, one Arsenal fans tells his story of following the club he loves during the 2021/22 season…
Episode 1 – 3 Games, 0 Points, 0 Goals
The 2021-22 season. Football was back. But most importantly, us fans could be back at The Arsenal. In this mini-series, I’ll take you through an unfiltered experience of my matchdays as a fan, whilst I followed the greatest team on Earth. Sadly, I couldn’t go to every game. So we begin on 22 August, 2021 as Arsenal take on Chelsea at the carpet.
Excitement was in the air. Heading down the Seven Sisters Road towards the ground, Arsenal weren’t just back home.
We were back at the home of The Arsenal.
The Tollington was vibrant, people were excited to be reunited with friends at the football for the first time in 18 months.
Despite the loss to Brentford, I still remember going to this game with some level of optimism. How wrong I was.
A beautiful mid-August day was turned sour by a timid on-pitch performance and we got exactly what we deserved.
We were absolutely torn apart by Romelu Lukaku, who made a mockery of Pablo Mari. Remember him?
Ironically, Lukaku has been about as effective for Chelsea this season as Mari was for us last year.
05:30: the alarm sounds. In spite of sleeping as peacefully as a dog in a firework-laden thunderstorm, I’m not one bit tired.
The 08:05 pulls out of Euston in synergy with cans cracking open up and down carriages. Emile Smith Rowe and Bukayo Saka’s chant has caught on after the midweek demolition job of West Brom.
Two and a half hours later at Manchester Piccadilly, the Arsenal faithful descend onto the platform and swarm to The Piccadilly Tavern.
The walk down Ashton New Road involves some good-natured back and forth between us and the City fans. The highlight being:
“Cristiano Ronaldo, you’ll never sing that”, after the Portuguese superstar snubbed Citizen Blue for Devil Red.
The game itself makes me feel like my eyeballs have been slit by a thousand paper cuts.
City fans goad us with chants of “You’ve had your day out, now fuck off home”.
But I met up with a close Mancunian friend for an early dinner to ease the devastation I’ve just witnessed, before heading back south.
After three league games, we have zero points, zero goals and are bottom of the league. Statistically, it could not get any worse.
But for me, Manchester was still a cracking day out. Some MK Dons fans board the train approaching London. We both laugh our team’s inadequacies off over a beer.
And no, contrary to claims by that horrible tribe they like to call a ‘Fan TV Channel’, absolutely nobody “celebrated” that fourth goal.