Tag Archives: Boxing Day

The Arsenal and Me – Dave’s Story

I’m a northerner and have lived in Doncaster since 1975,why Arsenal you may ask? My grandad though from Mansfield lived in Finchley during the war and he passed his love of Arsenal on to my old man who thankfully passed it on to me.

My early games were away at Sheff Utd/Leeds and even an FA Cup semi final at Hillsborough before my dad took me to Highbury for a 1-1 draw in the opening home game of the 80/81 season.

I’ve so much to be grateful to him for, leaving the family on Boxing Day to take me and New Years Day too at the time I took it for granted. A family railcard was £10 for him and £1 for me and my mates (who I still go with to this day).

When I was 15 five of us used to travel to games alone with the help of Mars bar wrappers (free national express coach travel) and of course, on occasion, to northern aways, with a platform ticket and travel for 2p.

Hardly anyone wore colours and I wish it was still like that. It was 83/84 season and I loved the casual clothing and still do (wish I’d kept some originals as it’s worth a fortune). There was a time I couldn’t imagine missing a game and if I did I had to listen of midweek sports special, hardly any football was on TV so it was the only way of knowing the score.

From 1988 I had a season ticket in either the east lower or Clockend. What I do miss is the sheer uncertainty of getting off a train at an away and having to have your wits firmly about you at times it was “kill or be killed” and it was an exciting and at times frightening times.

Many friends back then I still have now and I wouldn’t swap Paris/Benfica/spurs cup semi’s/Anfield / league cup 87 final for anything. I can still recall starting 11’s from say 1988 but would have no idea about the 1st game of this season.

I adored Highbury and a major regret is my kids will never go there. I gave up my season ticket after a couple of seasons at the bowl and have no intention of going back particularly under this regime. Stan , Ivan , Arsene et al aren’t for me but I’ll forever cherish the friends I have made and I will always support the Arsenal and will always care but for me it’s just not the same anymore.

Dave

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The Arsenal and Me – Lorraine’s Story

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.

Lorraine

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