Gunners and Gooners by Eddie Symes
Book Review by John Williamson
During the first lockdown of the Covid-19 pandemic, keep himself occupied, old time Arsenal supporter Eddie Symes decided to write a series of blogs named ‘Old Gunners and Gooners’.
The blog captured the essence of supporting the Club for over 60 years. They proved such a success that Eddie decided to write a book in the same vein.
The book captures the highs and lows of following one of the world’s greatest footballs clubs, not only on the pitch, but also off it.
‘Gunners and Gooners’ is a book of the personal experiences of Eddie and his friends following The Arsenal.
Starting out as an 8-year-old schoolboy in 1957 through to 2018, when Eddie last went to the Emirates Stadium.
It is written with humour and honesty by a fanatic who not only went to home matches but, also away matches in England as well as Europe. The Book is the storybehind the stories which not only Arsenal fans will relate to, but all football fans, including those who support “the Team from the Lane”.
‘Gunners and Gooners’ is written in chronological order, starting with the early days going to matches with the family, away matches by Supporters Club coach and then going by the infamous Football Specials; a tried and tested route that most football fans would have taken in a by-gone age when transportation of football fans was limited.
Included are some great stories, for example, how the ‘Laundry End’ became the ‘Northbank’ as well as the story of how Eddie’s ‘Northbank’ banner was made famous in picture form outside Bristol’s Temple Meads station with a certain Charlie George who missed a Reserve match to go to the FA Cup tie against Bristol Rovers!
The book is over 300 pages long and my testament is that I could not put the book down, taking just over 7 hours to read from cover to cover.
The only criticism I would have is that the match facts within the book have not been researched and has several mistakes. If you look beyond the match detail and read the stories and experiences behind the matches, I would recommend this to anyone who loves their football and would like to understand what it means to those that go.