Tag Archives: Season ticket

The Arsenal and Me – John’s Story

My father was a docker back in the 70’s and worked a lot of shifts in those days and although he played football with me when he could he could never really take me. He did take a Saturday off one miserable Saturday afternoon and as a five year old boy took me to a rain drenched Cold Blow Lane in the old Dockers stand at Millwall.
Needless to say, the pitch was sodden the football not great and the language was not what a 5 year old boy should be hearing.

My dad though, was one of them. He knew lots of folks around the ground and had laughs with them all. Me however, sat on the bars at the Old Den watching this miserable game v Carlisle soggy wet was nearly enough to put me off going again.

Oh the game… well that finished 1-0 to Millwall with an injury time winner. Me and my dad? Yes we missed it as he wanted “a quick piss” before leaving…

My mother on the other hand wasn’t a staunch Arsenal fan but her 4 brothers were and were all season ticket holders in the West Stand (2 still are). My mothers parents died when she was 13 due to various illnesses and was the youngest of 4.

Her brothers, my uncles were 5-15 years older and all worked. My mother had to go to school, come home cook them dinner and wash and iron their shirts to earn her keep in the house… gradually they all moved away when my mum met my dad.

This brings me onto the Arsenal part and me (I know it’s taken a while). The eldest of my uncles took me to Arsenal v Ipswich in 79 in which I think was a 1-1 draw. I don’t remember much but I think Mariner scored for Ipswich. Score didn’t matter.. game didn’t matter.. I was Arsenalised.

My Uncle knew it would happen. you’ve all seen fever pitch when a young lad walks out of the West stand gobsmacked. That was me. Sold

From then on I would pester my uncles to take me games not realising it would mean one of them giving up their tickets for me to go. However, this didn’t stop my closest uncle taking me every other week to the reserve games. Proper adult football with the likes of Sparrow, Devine et al in front of just the east stand hundreds. I just loved it, watching the trains go past opposite and hearing the echo’s of players shrieking to eachother was magic. I remember a reserve game against Man U where Pearson who was kind of a star for them was playing and both stands had to be opened…. I was in love with the ground.

I found myself bragging at primary school where I’d been and brought programmes in to show my schoolmates (even when my uncle gave me a programme to games I’d never been).

I went to about 10 games a season from about 80-85 not really remembering many. Those I did remember was the days when the crowds were packed and hatred spilling around the ground. Tottenham….. I remember an Alan Sunderland turn and goal in the clock end and the berating of Spurs fans. That moment I fucking hated Spurs… don’t even know why, I was only 7-8.

My uncle took me to away games and the semi in 83 against Utd at Villa park and remember as we got in a burly Utd fan in our section with “you’ll never beat Utd” ringing in my ears. I was 9… I hated Utd now. I watched and marvelled as Petrovic played like a wizard in the first half and Woodcock scored….

I had a bad feeling and sat through the second half with my fingers crossed looking down hoping the time would tick away. Alas no, a goal from Robson and Whiteside made me hate that big fat burly Utd fan more. And Utd

Many more dross games passed and my enthusiasm got better. Pretending to be Rix (I still have my Rixy is magic scarf) at every opportunity.

Anyway in 1986 my Uncle bought me a Junior gunners season ticket for £54. I loved that he did that for me and worshipped my big season ticket book. Every game from then I’ve been too (work permitting) at home and am still a season ticket holder to this day. Anyway, the glory years of early GG I took in as an oldr teenager and really hit me more about the game. 89 Anfield will live with me forever. I was an home in my bedroom watching. With 10 mins to go I turned over to watch Cheers. I say watch but was just hoping that my Mum would come up and tell me it’s all ok. I was so sad I wanted to cry… as Cheers rolled on I heard my mum going ballistic downstairs clapping frantically.. I turned over and just had “how they’d both love to get out there” referring to GG and KD… however as it was injury time the scores had come off the screen…. I had no idea.Then..then the whistle blew and Quinny and Miller were going bonkers on the bench. I ran down and my Mum just grabbed me crying…. (making me quiver writing this).. great times. Kids from school ringing my home number to congratulate me as if it were me… I think they just knew my passion, my love.

My Uncle then bought me a 10 year Bond in the NB in the early 90’s where apart from the cup double win we did endure a lot of mediocrity..

My Uncle took me more and more away games and went Copenhagen with him for the final. We knew we would win just with our defence.

I always met before the games in the Bank of Friendship with my uncle for years and always went away games with him even if mates were coming.

We had to endure Rioch but the magic of Bergkamp’s signing… then all these rumours about a bloke called Arsene and the famous headlines of Arsene Who?

My uncle and me debated for ages and my uncle who had been going since 53 didn’t think much of it. I couldn’t convince him otherwise.

Just for a second whether you are Arsene In or Out right now. Not knowing football from That season to now and how much Arsene changed Arsenal into a dreamy football team. Just stop and think about if we’d got Frank Clark instead what life would be like.

I imagine this everyday. I got up on the Saturday getting ready for Blackburn away in 1996 in to what was Arsene’s first game.
My Uncle died on this day….

Every day I miss him and wish he’d seen one of Arsene’s teams winning.

Whether you are for or against him right now, you are privileged to have seen his teams.

My Uncle would have been.

If you would like to tell your Arsenal story, click here

The Arsenal Membership Pack – What a Waste of Money

This week I finally opened the Arsenal Members pack that all Gold, Silver & Red members get from the club as part of the membership scheme. And what a disappointment it was;

  • A small red and white scarf
  • A fixture list which was already out of date due to TV changes
  • Cheap tin badges
  • A membership book
  • An Arsenal Foundation book
  • A buy one get one free voucher for an audio tour

My first thought was ‘what a load of crap.’ My second thought was ‘where is the bin.’

Now I know why the packs are relevant. It is to make it look as if the club is giving something back to the fans. To appear as if the membership cost is not just a tax on buying tickets. But at the end of the day, I pay £1000+ for my season ticket. This year I will spend around £4000 on tickets (home and away), transport (over land and sea), booze and hotels following The Arsenal. A pack which cost less than a fiver to put together is not exactly the club giving back.

Now sending me a pack is a waste of money, as I am sure it is for many fan of a similar age who does not buy programmes, shirt or any other of the crap merchandise the club pedals. The club could save money by having an ‘opt out of members pack’ box that you can tick when renewing your membership.

I would not even ask for money off my season ticket or membership. The pack costs sweet FA so it would be a saving of a fiver. Not much of a saving when I am willing to spend £4000 following The Arsenal.

And the club would not exactly make an earner from it. The money saved from the packs would probably be less than the cost of a weeks wages for Nicklas Bendtner.

So my theory is this. On your season ticket renewal form, there should be a ‘donate to charity’ box that one can tick. Then, rather than me getting the pack ,it go’s to someone who would potentially appreciate it more. Add to the Christmas gifts the players take to a local hospital. Send them to Great Ormond Street. Distribute it to those living abroad who a little bit of Arsenal would brighten their day.

It would cost me nothing. It would cost the club nothing. But it could make the day of someone less fortunate.

So Arsenal, if you are reading this, allow me to donate my membership pack to someone who would actually like it, rather than send it to me to chuck in the bin.


The transfer window and Tottenham, a week of fear…

The priorities at the start of every football season is two fold, firstly beating that lot up the road every time we play them and secondly finishing above them in the league which is something we have managed to do more or less all of my adult life (1993 doesn’t count as we did the cup double). That’s just how it should be, normal order but there is always the fear of losing to them, which is one reason why I always hate the week coming up to playing them.

I’m still upset over that semi in 1991, ok the 1993 and 2001 semi finals have more than made up for that day but we should of done the double that season and if it wasn’t for one fluked defeat away to Chelsea (pre-roman when they were skint and shit) we should also of gone unbeaten that season as well. Every loss to that lot from Middlesex hurts and I can only imagine how that lot must feel with us having the bragging rights over them for the best part of 20 odd years.

This season we have an early chance of getting one over on them, we have a chance of stopping the constant drivel they come out with at the start of every season. The gap is closing, they have signed some top players, this year is the year they will over take us, blah blah bloody blah.

But in the back of my mind there is another fear this week, the fear that yet again the club will let us down in the transfer market. We could and can speak all day and night over whose fault the lack of spending is, some blame Mr Wenger, some blame our current American custodian but one thing is for sure nobody believed Ivan Gazidis when he said this year we would spend big. This was his usual lies and spin to sell season tickets and from what I have been told Club Level has the lowest take up since we moved from our home to that bowl, another fail from him.

The one bright side of this transfer window is we do not have to look over our shoulder from other clubs buying our star players for either their personal greed or the clubs profits as they are all gone. Sadly they haven’t been replaced for like for like and everyone and their dog knows where the current squad are lacking and the club have 5 days left to dust off the blankly blank cheque book and pen and do the business. I really don’t know what I fear the most, us losing to the scum on Sunday or the club yet again not spending and us yet again missing out on challenging for trophies

Hold tight, its going to be a rollercoaster of a week…..