Tag Archives: Blackstock Road

The Arsenal and Me – Leon’s Story

So it begins. My father, who had separated from my mother, met me at Watford junction station one chilly autumnal Saturday morning. He rarely came bearing gifts but on this occasion about his person was a small white carrier bag. He leaned over and gave his son a kiss, (I could smell he had been out on the booze the evening before) and he handed me the white carrier bag. I was delighted. A present.
I looked inside and I saw a piece of yellow clothing, and as I pulled it out the letters JVC became apparent. It was the 88/89 away shirt and it was to be my first arsenal shirt of many. My grandfather was a Gooner, as was his father. so my dad was passing the tradition on and quite rightly so.
That year my dad took me to the a QPR match. I have very little recollection of it, I could barely see a thing and the noise was overbearing. He also took me round Highbury Fields showing me where he had grown up, and where our different generations of family had lived. It was a strange feeling taking all this information in. I had the concentration of a gnat at school but this really hit home. This was personal. Dad would go home and away, bringing me programmes every two weeks when he came to meet me at Watford junction.
I became obsessed. Pannini stickers every week, buying score and match when I could barely even read.  My walls soon became drenched in red and white with all the arsenal greats. I loved Rocky, and I loved Tony Adams. They were my favourites.
My mother allowed me to watch match of the day on a Saturday, and when the arsenal played I would have my mum tune the radio-if she could bear it! If not it would be a case of me sitting in front of teletext every Saturday afternoon. I didn’t mind either way. Even then being a mere 6 yr old kid it mattered.
Saturday couldn’t come soon enough. I followed diligently all season and when playing football at school I wanted to be Tony Adams. Now as we all know Liverpool were at the top of their game in the eighties, and arsenal had made it difficult for themselves in the latter part of that season. It would all come down to that final game at Anfield.
I was delighted I could watch it on the TV and was looking forward to it all week. I knew the task ahead was tough, even at that age but I had no reason to think it wasn’t possible. the optimism of youth you might say. So that night I put on my yellow shirt, got my favourite cushion and sat 2 feet away from the box. I forgot to mention that my stepfather, who had lived with me for sometime was…yep you guessed it. A Liverpool fan.
Mum had gone out to work and he confidently roamed about the house warning me that the Gooner’s had no chance. He’s a good man, and I didn’t hate him for it. I just didn’t like him very much that night. As the players came out the tunnel at Anfield I tucked in to my chocolate and lemonade, my eye’s firmly fixed on the screen . The hairs on my arms stood up as I saw the players enter the pitch and when I saw the away boys singing their hearts out the adrenaline began pumping around the newly turned 7 yr olds body.
For sometime I just didn’t think we would score. Then smithy popped up and it was 1 nil to the arsenal! or was it… a sea of red shirts surrounded the ref and lino. My stepdad assured me it was offside and wouldn’t be given. players were ushered away as the ref made his way to the linesman to evaluate the outcome. It felt like they were conversing for an age, and the ground went almost silent. My heart was in my mouth. Then the ref blew his whistle and pointed to the circle. it was one nil. Fucking get in!
I was a quiet kid but on this occasion I roared out of delight, while my step father shook his head at the apparent injustice of the situation. As the game went on It just didn’t look like it would happen. The clock was running down and 90mins was soon approaching. My lemonade had gone as had my chocolate. I bit my nails in anticipation and they were soon gone too. Then suddenly, Thomas comes charging through the midfield, its up for grabs now..Thomas!!! Right at the end
I sat there frozen. I was rushing. I couldn’t believe it. the arsenal fans were going mental, the players were going mental. needless to say, my stepdad wasn’t.
I watched us lift the trophy stunned. I could barely speak. inside I was bouncing off the walls. The sea of Gooner’s celebrating made me tingle. it was a truly exhilarating experience. My first season as a Gooner, 7yrs old and we had done the bin dippers on their own turf. I went to bed wearing my shirt that night. And as I lay there awake that night I replayed that goal over and over until I drifted sweetly off to sleep.
So here I am now 24 years later. as I grew up I went a lot with my dad, and now I’m there at most home games, and some away if I can get a ticket. My dad doesn’t go anymore and most of my mates just aren’t willing to pay the prices nowadays. So I go mostly on my own. I hate the upper tier so I wait for a game to sell out,  get on the exchange and try to get a seat in the North Bank block 5/6. Because it’s just me, nine times out of ten its fine.
I like standing at games and can’t tell you the countless times I’ve been told to sit in other sections. When we beat Chelsea 3-0 at home a few years back at the bowl I was in block 3 and this bloke shouted at me ‘sit down you cunt’. I couldn’t believe it. We were 3-0 up against Chelsea and I was ecstatic and this miserable bastard said that to me.
I don’t know the solution. But when I go I want to sing and shout and be proud. we have to be the 12th man. Everyone is on their feet when the yids come over so why not other games. I’m a BSM member and I should probably start the ‘Billy No Mates Gooner Club myself.
I live in N5 still and like a pint in the Gunners Pub. I’m optimistic this season, but is anything going to beat that first year as a Gooner at Anfield 89…I very much doubt it.
Leon

 

Where are they now? Charles-Cook, Meade, Squillaci, Santos & Roberts

Following on from out other two parts (Angha, Eastmond, Wynter, Monteiro, Ebecilio & Denilson & Arshavin, Watt, Neita, Rees, Shea & Mannone) we now look at how Charles-Cook, Meade, Squillaci, Santos & Roberts have got on since leaving Arsenal in the summer.

Reice Charles-Cook

What do Arsenal and Bury have in common? Reice Charles-Cook has been on the books, but not played for, both. I might be being a bit harsh on the youngster, who is just 19, but he has done nothing of note since leaving us.

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Picture: @KieranCPhotoAFC

Jernade Meade 

Many were unhappy that Jernade Meade was not given a chance at Arsenal, but nearly 20, and with Gibbs, Monreal & Vermaelen ahead of him, it would have been hard to justify giving him a new contract. He joined Premier League Swansea on a free transfer and is 3rd choice left back behind Ben Davies, who is 6 months his senior, and Neil Taylor. He has yet to make his 1st team debut, however has played 3 times for their under 21s. Proof, if needed, that Arsenal were correct to let him go.

Sebastian Squillaci

It would not of taken much to improve on his 1 league goal in 2 seasons for Arsenal and upon signing for French Ligue 1 Bastia, he has played in 8 of the clubs 9 games for Bastia, firmly becoming their 1st choice centre back. He has clearly re-found his level, at a mid table French club.

Andre Santos

After his loan spell at Gremio came to an end, he signed for Brazilian side Flamengo in July this year. Due to the nature of the Brazilian league, he has not yet played for his new side. Report of him hanging around the Arsenal Fish Bar at the top of Blackstock Road are untrue. He was last seen playing against me on FIFA, where he had a shocker of a game at left back.

Phillip Roberts

The 19 year old Irish striker born in Newham is now plying his trade in Scotland for Scottish Championship side Falkirk. Clearly another who did not get away. In 8 league games, he has scored 4 league goals, making him the 7th top scorer in the league. According to Falkirk’s website, you can sponsor his boots.

Tomorrow: Hajrovic, Gervinho, Chamakh, Bihmoutine & Henderson

Keenos

Thanks to  for the picture
http://www.flickr.com/photos/goonerpower and https://www.facebook.com/KieranCPhoto

Arsenal fans commemorate the move from South to North London

It’s not often that you live to see your beloved club celebrate such a prestigious event such as 100 years in the manor which brought all their successes. On Friday September 6th, Arsenal fans will be brought together to commemorate the club’s move from Plumstead to Highbury, (or more broadly ‘South to North London’).

This unique day will begin at 3pm when Gooners will congregate at the Dial Arch restaurant & bar. The Dial Arch is located where the 1st Woolwich Arsenal team met, in Dial Square, whilst working in the Royal Gun Factory. They were very highly skilled in their job. Arsenal fans will get to see where it all began as well as enjoy a delightful lunch and talk about their own memories of The Arsenal.

The Gunners faithful will then move on to travel and emulate the journey which took place 100 years ago, from South London, to Highbury. At 7pm a brief visit to the former Highbury stadium, now Highbury Square, will be followed by a private event at The Gunners Pub on Blackstock Road, where all proceeds will be donated to a chosen charity. Celebrations will go long into the evening, also containing a guest DJ, Kiss FM frequenter Mike Delinquent of The Arsenal Horse, who organised these September 6th celebrations with Una & Andy from The Gunners Pub.

“I think it’s important for fans to remember where we started and what we have become. This club is special and has a wonderful history. What better way to celebrate the 100 years in Islington by making the exact journey our previous team did, all those years ago.” Mike said.

Mike, real name Michael Panteli, is a a lifelong Gooner and also contributes to new blog The Arsenal Horse (@TheArsenalHorse) with Gunners buddy Paul Hewett, who have both been to memorable Highbury matches over the years.

It promises to be quite a day for die hard Gooners, it’s expected to be a fun day! Make sure you’re there!

Special thanks to Andy Kelly & Mark Andrews.