How did you fall in love with Arsenal?

Today, I’m testing out an idea I have.

I could blah blah about Mathew Upson (sure, let’s break all traditions and sign the former Gunner), I could join the chorus of voices that are saying that the Cesc to Barca story is crap, I could give you an analysis of Cesc’s goal against some footballing backwater, or I could link some more speculation about so and so coming to Arsenal.

But instead, I want to hear from you. I want to hear your story of how you became an Arsenal fan. So, please post your story in the comments section  below. And if everyone could stay respectful of each other, it would be much appreciated.

To kick this off, here’s my story…

I’m an American. I was born in Pennsylvania to two “full blooded” American parents. And apart from a stint in Germany when I was a boy I have lived in America my whole life. As a good American, I grew up calling football “soccer” and American Football “football.” I loved and I played American Football. I never kicked a “soccer” ball in any serious way until just a few years ago.

In the mid 80’s I moved to Tacoma, WA. Few people outside of Tacoma and fewer outside of America remember the abortion that was MISL, but the Tacoma Stars was my first introduction to “soccer.” I saw a few games live and I think I probably said “those guys are fags.” But hey, I am an American and worse, an American Football jock and that’s just how we were back then: small minded assholes. This is all to say that for many people I have no legitimate claim on football and no legitimate reason to love Arsenal. If only life were that simple.

In the 90’s I got sick of watching American Football and the annual rules changes and generally boring nature of the sport. Sure, there were a few moments of interest, like when teams played the “hurry-up offense.” But American Football left me wanting more.

So I drifted from sport to sport looking for something to latch onto. Something that provided me with non-stop action, beauty, a respect for defense, and moments of orgasmic glory.

By 1998 I was sick of Basketball (my love affair with basketball should be it’s own blog) and by the luck of the gods I caught a game on a new channel here in the states; Fox Soccer Channel. Over the next year I watched as many “soccer” matches as I could. But I couldn’t settle on a team, until I watched Arsenal play a home match at Highbury. The camera angles were better, the seats seemed closer, the stadium was beautiful, and the action was intense.

Since that fateful day I have spent all winter finding ways to watch matches live and three months of the summer slavishly searching the internet for news. In 2004 I had to pay-per-view matches. This was before the days of Setanta; Arsenal, when not on Fox Socccer Channel were only available to me if I gave $20 to my local cable monopoly. 2005-2008 have been, well, magical. I haven’t missed more than a handful of matches since 2005; hell, I have more access to live Arsenal matches than most people I know in England.

Along the way, I have been to London four times; once to see Charlton at Highbury (2006), once to see Reading at the new Emirates stadium (2007) and again to see Blackburn (2008) and just this year (2009) to see Sunderland . Sure, I went to the museums and drank beer and chatted with locals and had a great time in spite of all that because I got to see Arsenal every time.

What’s your story?

52 Comments on How did you fall in love with Arsenal?

  1. Im only 17 and have supported Arsenal since I was about 8. Arsenal were picked for me really, I had just started playing football for my local team so I had just started to get into football in general. I got invited to a friends house for dinner (he went to my school and played for my football team). On tv that day was an Arsenal match, we sat and watched it. My friends family were all Arsenal fans. At half time my friends mum went upstairs and came back down with an Arsenal shirt and put the shirt over my head. Ive supported Arsenal ever since!

  2. now I’m just 13 years so at my country in kosovo in tv was just seria A but I didn’t like any of the teams only del piero as a player..than in 06-07 when arsenal was playing against man united was my 1st match I didn’t know even the names of the teams…but when rooney scored to me happened something very special and very bad feeling but than when rosicky assisted RvP scored I couldn’t bilieve how mad was I something very good….imagine how I was when henry scored in ET…this was great the only thing that i knew and i said I support the team with read shirt..since than Arsenal is one of the most important things of my life….gunner tiLl I die..(L)

  3. I’m 16 and 11 years back I used to play FIFA 99 on my pc. I always, literally always played it with Arsenal and I have no idea why I chose them! Then a year or two later I started watching Arsenal play regularly and have been a die-hard fan ever since. And I have no plans to ever stop supporting them! Gooner for Life!

  4. I’m following Arsenal since the 97-98 season. I’m from the Netherlands so i was a huge fan of Dennis Bergkamp.

    2 years ago a dream came true for me. I went with my uncle to londen and visit the match Arsenal – Liverpool. I hope to come again comming season 🙂

  5. Born one!

    Brother and dad supported so i was inducted into gooners straight away … grew up in the graham days, at highbury and loved it.

    But was not a big footballing fan in my youth, but have to say what made me become a fan and get more into the whole thing was watching Dennis Bergkamp play, best player i have ever seen.

  6. I’m 11 and well my dad is a Tottenham fan.
    This story is quite ridiculous.

    I got a PlayStation 2 at Christmas of 2006. Before that, I randomly turned on the TV and saw an Arsenal – Watford game on. They were playing amazing football [Arsenal]. Anyway, with my PS2, I got the game FIFA02. My dad was always picking Spurs, and the first team on the list was Arsenal. I kept picking them and I realised that I could buy a lot of Arsenal merchandise, despite me living in Cyprus.

  7. Well, Im 22 & from India…
    the state of football is not good here but it all started in 2002 when i changed my school.
    I made few frens who were fans of EPL.So i also started watching some matches ..
    My first match was an Arsenal match and i saw Henry score a wonderful goal & from then on
    it was only Arsenal and nobody else.

  8. Great idea, Tim!

    I’m a native Floridian, where it is too hot to play soccer/football 6 months out of the year. I didn’t play as a kid in deference to my love of golf and flirtations with baseball and hockey, but I would watch the World Cup every four years out of an interest in geography. My parents even watched every match in 1994 with me.

    Throughout high school, I loved British music (still do, listening to BBC Radio 1 in my car thanks to Sirius). Inevitably when you are listening to British radio, you hear about English football. But my interest in the Premiership was sparked by the advent of Fox Soccer Channel and, most importantly, by Nick Hornby’s wonderful memoir “Fever Pitch”. You couldn’t help but be a supporter of Arsenal after that book, so all it took was me catching a Gunners match on FSC (back then, come to think of it, it was Fox Sports World) and I was hooked.

    My wife and I honeymooned in London in 2005 and my saintly wife was understanding enough to offer a visit to Highbury when we had an afternoon to kill. Unfortunately, we couldn’t catch a match, but we took the tour of the stadium offered through the gift shop. I was struck by the obvious history held within those walls and the intimacy between the stands and the pitch. Also, how tiny the home dressing room was in comparison to the locker rooms of professional stadiums here in Tampa. They actually had the authentic home kits hanging for the players in their lockers, so I have some really cheesy pictures of me posing with Henry’s shirt. I’m so glad I was able to see that stadium as a stadium and not as a condo or whatever else they’re planning for it.

    I’m dying to go to a match and see Ashburton Grove. My interest in American sports tends to wax and wane depending on how our hometown teams are doing, but my full support and interest has never waned for the past 10 years. Further, I’m looking for an Arsenal jersey for my 4-month-old daughter (which reminds me, Tim, to ask where you got yours for your daughter). She can be anything she wants to be in this world except a Spurs fan and a Republican.

  9. hi mate of course we always say that Arsenal Till I Die…. add me and we can always talk about Gunners ..(fblyon_35@hotmail.com)

  10. I spent a semester in 2000 in South Africa as an undergrad. My host brother was an Arsenal fan so I watched the games with him. And I became hooked. Ever since I’ve been a fan watching games wherever (Chicago, Washington DC, Korea, Morocco, Malawi, etc) and whenever I can.

    http://WorldCupCSR.wordpress.com

  11. i m a san marinoan but i never like arsenal b4 arsenal i support juventus after henry moved to arsenal i start watching arsenal and i m impressed with arsenal now im 17yr old who plays for atlanta acdemy
    henry is my idol
    after henry moved to barca i cant switch side
    i still with arsenal i dunno why

  12. was a man u fan purely because my brother was an Arsenal fan. a few years ago however i realised that man u were all twats and Arsenal clearly had decent morals.

  13. i was 7 years old when my parents and i moved to england from the states and the first football match i ever watched was arsenal vs southampton and i just remember thinking wow dennis bergkamp is like a magician it was the game he got his first goals for the gooners. and highbury was like nothing i had ever seen before it was my dream from that day to go to highbury and see the gooners in the flesh and since then ive never looked back. ive been a member for the last ten years and i love this club more than anything

  14. Hey, i am an American as well, I’m from New Jersey and have supported Arsenal since I was like 12. I am 24 now. My father is a commodities broker and works primarily with the brits. One of his friends from over the pond is an Arsenal supporter and would send me and my brother kits every Christmas. i did not know much about the team just what I saw from replayed games on TV. When I went to college and befriended the soccer team that’s when I became a full bore goner. Love the club and cant wait to go over one day hit up the rocket and make the walk over to the Emirates to cheer on the boys in red and white.

  15. Am a 22yr old Kenyan. I fell in luv with Arsenal back in school where you either had 2 b an Arsenal or ManUre fan. The thing is that I used 2 play rugby n it so happened that i had this no. 10 dennis b. shirt dat i had bought(oblivious of any link 2 a certain talisman) specifically 4 trainin. Durin da 1st days da seniors used 2 call me Mr. Arsenal n i took interest 2 knw who or what da heaven was dis Arsenal n just lyk that i was in da net!

  16. My Great Aunt Mollie and her husband were fanatical Arsenal fans when they lived in London, going to matches as often as they could (these were the days when you could just turn up and pay at the turnstiles of course!)

    Upon retiring and moving house for a quiet life in Devon, they wanted someone in the family to continue the Arsenal tradition. I was born (1971 in SW London) at just the right time and she knitted me a bear, in Arsenal colours, which was sent to me and lived in my cot.

    When I was old enough to ask why it was red and white, my Dad (in fact a Crystal Palace fan) told me the story and the Gunners became my team.

    I never got a chance to thank her as they both sadly died when I was very young but I’ll always remember why I love The Arsenal.

  17. i currently reside in Chicago, IL in the US and am really lucky to be an arsenal supporter. my first sport was actually basketball, since my dad played it alot and since it was very popular in my dad’s country of the Philippines. soccer or football came to me when i was 8 and i had an english friend introduce the sport to me. even during some basketball camps i was in, when i saw kids playing football right next to my camp, i just could not stay away from it. i played for my high school all 4 years and soon to play in university level. but surprisingly, the first game i watched was the barcelona v real madrid game where ronaldinho scored twice and the madrid fans actually applauded him. i saw some more barca games and during the champions league final in paris was when i first laid my eyes on arsenal football club. even though they lost that day, i really enjoyed the passion and composure of the arsenal players while being down a man ( could have held on to win and even score more). i saw so many highlights of arsenal games online and then had a great opportunity to get arsenal tv stateside. i saw arsenal hammer borough 7-0 with henry getting a hat trick. their style and speed of play, quick passing and blitzkreig counterattacks were breathtaking. i knew that whenever i turned on the tv, i was in for a show. hoping to see a live game one day or maybe even reside there. arsenal 4ever and fabregas just fab.

  18. I grew up with the game. My uncle, who was born in South Africa, introduced my dad to the game, who in turn introduced me to it at a very young age. He coached my soccer team 1st through 3rd grade, and I went on to play organized up through high school, where I was just too lanky and slow and uncoordinated to keep up. I had lungs like Ji-Sung Park however, so I turned to cross country/track.

    (I think my dad pushed me toward soccer because it was a status thing. Rich kids played soccer, poor kids played everything else).

    I remembering watching the 86 World Cup, that was my first introduction to “football” – I would watch the other World Cups as I grew up, but it was not until 2003 that I started really following the EPL. Arsenal chose me immediately, that was a sexy beast of a team back then, you could not help but love them. I fell quickly, easily, in love. It was a fantastic affair. And I have never looked back.

  19. Well, my Fathers side is die-hard Arsenal, while my Mother’s are die hard West Ham. Of course, my dad beat my uncles to the punch, I had the Gold Sega kit in 2001 at just 7, and visited my 1st match, an FA Youth Cup Semi-Final (I Think) Agianst Coventry, we won 6-1. Iv’e been crazy about them since!

  20. Ok I was born in Muswell Hill and bought in Finsbury park around the back of Stroud Green Road to be precise. My Father came from Tottenham and my Mother from Islington and not surprisingly my Dad was a dyed in the wool Spurs Fan however my Grandad and Uncle were both season ticket holders at Highbury and the first football match I went to was with my Grandfather, I was 6 needless to say it was The Arsenal and Arsnal at that time boasted a team including Joe Baker, George Eastham and Geordie Armstrong. It was an evening Match I remember and that was it for me I was hooked, Highbury was a magical place under the lights in the School Boys enclosure. For the sake of my Dad I went to the Lane a few times but I just could not stomach it. I am now 55 years old and live in Hampshire but I still travel to games. My crowning Arsenal Moment was being the Lane when we won the old Division 1 in 1971 and Wembley when dear old Charlie scored that Goal to win us the Double for the first time.

  21. Rather a strange way, one which I am frequently mocked for by my friends. I also grew up calling it soccer, but played it my whole life and always loved watching. Yet I never knew any teams. My first videogame I bought on my new PS1 was Fifa 99. Bergkamp was on the cover, Arsenal was the best team and I started to learn their roster. I simply continued to learn more year after year. Now I have created a Red Army in my college in Santa Barbara, CA, and my hometown in Berkeley, CA. I have seen them twice now, both at the new stadium (Everton this season, and Hamburg, two years ago; both games down 1-0 at the half, both 3-1 wins. My friend who takes my says I am great luck). My addiction was exponentially increased when I studied in London one semester and lived, by the grace of God, across from the Highbury Fields, about a 10 minute walk to the Emirates. I continue to spread the gospel daily.

  22. hi my name is klemen im 29 and im from slovenia.i can live whithaut arsenal .i make big tatoo of arsenal on my hand becus gooner til i die.

  23. Middle-aged Arsenal fan here from Singapore. Did not support any club as a kid but generally rooted for any team that played against Man United. I gave up following English football in the 80s when I saw Wimbledon play. Eric Cantona’s flair brought me back (grudgingly) but it also sharpened my desire to see another club humble United. Then came Wenger to Arsenal. The more Arsenal challenged United, the more my affinity with Arsenal grew. The more truculent Alex Ferguson became, the more I sided with Wenger. The more arrogant United fans became, the closer I moved to being a gooner. I decided to pitch in my lot with Arsenal and felt richly rewarded with the beautiful football. Since then, the positive, inventive, breathtaking team play, the idealism in Wenger’s philosophy, the values the club stands for, made it easy for me. I would not term it as falling in love with Arsenal, but this is as much as I can possibly feel for a football club.

  24. I’m actually a fairly new Arsenal fan, by new I mean I’ve only experienced the Wenger era and only about half of it or so. I always played football, mostly scrimmage with friends at school (soccer football, not amercan football football) but was never really interested in watching it on TV. It wasn’t until university that I got into football. Essentially I’d visit my friend from time to time at another university and he’s a big Manc fan so on weekends he’d wake up to watch the game, so naturally sleeping on the couch where the TV was I couldn’t help but be woken up at times. I’d glimpse at the TV every now and then in a half-awake state of mind just because of the noise from a goal or something but for all intents and purposes I got a peek at some Arsenal games over the numerous visits to my friends’ place and I saw Thierry Henry play. I wanted to play like that, have the touch, intelligence and skill of Thierry. If not for Thierry I might never watched football or supported Arsenal. The man looked like magic and every time I saw him play I just couldn’t look away. I actually studied him in an effort to be able to create and finish like him, to be able to think how he would think on the field. I suppose it’s what has made me convert from being a midfielder to an out and out striker whenever me and my friends do our Sunday games. Being the nerd I am, I read about everything Arsenal: history, roster, stats etc so I could have a better understanding of the club and well here I am about 6 years later fighting nail and tooth to defend the Gunners.

  25. i live in africa where it took sometime for the premier league to catch on cos in the earlier time satellite tv was for only the rich. im 23 now and m first encounter with arsenal occurred in ’99 durin the fa cup semi replay against the mancs. we were lucky in Ghana to av that match shown. sadly arsenal lost to that giggs goal after berkamp had missed a penalty. even in defeat there wa somethin in that arsenal team that made me love them. i saw so much FOOTBALL in them that i did not care if arsenal lost. ova the yrs my love for arsenal has surpassed my love for trophies and thats where i believe wenger has lost the plot. we were glad to see the football even without winning. it gave us so much hope. thats all no more.but my love is forr and be for arsenal alone and no matter what happens. i love my ARSENAL!!!

  26. How i fell in love with arsenal.

    As love is, i fell in love suddenly. Unexpected, and i didt knew it would be my life but yeah it was and still are..

    Im from Norway, not many arsenal supporters here, Just liverpool and Man Utd, and the once thats arsenal supporters are either big big big supporters like me, or those once who only watch the big games.
    But let be start, I stared to support arsenal when i was in primary school, 7th grade(thats how we have it in norway 1-7 grade is primary) I remeber everybody in my class supported Liverpool or Man Utd, and i was as young and not that inderpendent, i was in love with this boy in my class he supported Real Madrid i called myself Real Madrid fan but did i watch the games? noo………… those games i tried to watch was soo boring i didn’t focus at all.
    And then i fell in love with a new boy, also in my class and he was liverpool supporter so i watched the final between liverpool-Ac milan booooring as hell, i was a girl didn’t care, the only reason i watch it was because i wanted to talk to the boy i was in love with about the game next day. And then i hade this girl my old bestfriend who used like manchester united i tried to watch them i even called me a manchester united fan its funny i remember i used to have fights with other and i did everything to defend Manchester united, so embarrasing to think about..

    But then I dont know if i could call it a positiv thing of course is one of the best things thats happend in my life, but watching them season after season dont win anything keeps me wonder is it my fault, was it because i became an Arsenal supporter they havent won anything? We’ll lets hope not.
    But yeah i dont have contact with my father no more, and all i could remember is that arsenal once came out from his mouth i dont even know if he’s an arsenal supporter if it was something positiv he had to say, all i knew was arseal came out from his mouth, so one evening i took on tv and the CL-final between Arsenal and Barcelona was on, I never ever never had that feelin i had whn i watched arsenal, but watching arseal that day it was the best feeling still they didt win it was the best feelin i could read them, i could see they wanted to succeed, the way they passed the ball to each other, the manager i remeber the look in his eyes. And still we lost but watching arsenal that day was one of the best days of my life the best feeling i ever had. And that feeling i get it everytime arsenal are playing its butterflies im actuelly in love with 11 man, even more the whole squard the manager, the reseves, im in love with the fans, the atmostphere no one have, and the game no one can play..
    So, every since that day i’ve been watching every arsenal games exept of 1, i still remember which game last season 2007/08 arsenal-sunderland last game of the season too, but we won and thats a good thing.
    i also get a bad time with arsebal the summer-break, No arsenal.. 2 months not watching arsenal is pain, i just gotta wait and im lookin so forward to next season, we’ll see whats gonna happend with Wenger and his crew!

    From I.A.M

  27. I’m 27 from nigeria.like most other nigerian gooners,afta watchn kanu lift champs league in 1995,we followed his career to arsenal&we became fans.when he left,i remained with the club bcos of the type of football.but many nigerians changed 2 chavski cos of expensive signings and trophies and this has largely help 2 knw who the real fans are.right now,i’m the leading voice for gunners.i can confidently take on(argue against)any fan of any club anywhere in the world,and am now popular in my area.GUNNERS TILL MY CASKET DROPS!

  28. I’m from Latin America, and here the EPL has thousands of fans (specially ManU fans)
    OK! I remember that some friends about 7 years ago had comments about EPL and I didn’t understand why they watched english teams on TV, with the Serie A and La Liga of “Galacticos”, the best leagues at that time… then, I watched my first EPL game on TV, with Arsenal and I couldn’t believe that I was watching an “english team” playing like that… WOW!! It was amazing and I (a Borussia Dortmund fan) went on watching more games and it was real… Arsenal played in this way ALL the matches, and of course I had to know who was behind this great squad, with a perfect mix between Latin American and European style of playing.
    And when I “discovered” Arsene Wenger… that was all! I loved this team and I knew that I don’t like another team in the EPL.
    Since then I’m an inconditional gunner fan, at the best moments (the great season of “invincibles”) and … now when we don’t achieve more trophies…
    The most important thing for me is the team’s way of playing football. I think that if Arsenal have fans around the world, is because of that. The mix between several nationalities, attacking football and a clean and beautiful game make Arsenal an admired team for fans and rivals.
    Maybe if the financial situation inside the team became better, we’ll be able to buy a couple of players that made the difference for winning titles in the future.

  29. Yan, 34, male, Paraguayan gooner. If you’re new WC, i wasn’t born yet. Until 3 years ago I wasnt that much into futbol(as we spell it:-)). I supported my local team OLIMPIA (3 LIBERTADORES CUP) and was more into basketball. Enter playstation 1, LOL. In the search for my team to face friends, after a while settled for Arsenal. Then in order to know mor about my team I set to watch some matches. Then I couldnt belive how beautiful this team played! Fell in love ever since. This was my 1st full season as a goner. I picked last one from CL quarter f vs Liverpool. Needless to say I dont miss henry, spurs I dont rate as rivals and are more concerned with manure and chelski dominance. I like to think that im growing as a fan alongside this young team:-).

  30. I’m also an American, born in St. Louis and have since moved to Kansas City. St. Louis has a really good soccer(football for all of you across the pond) tradition rooted in the city. I played competitively from the age 5 until about 18. I believe it was during my high school days when ESPN started covering Champions League games. Like most Americans, a good majority of my friends became immediate Manckers. I didn’t really pick a club, for I just loved the game, until my first Arsenal match. The way that Bergkamp, Henry, and the rest of the boys moved the ball mezmorized me. My cousin, who is like a brother to me, and I talked about the game afterwards, and we soon found that the boys in the Red and White were the only ones we really, truely loved. Ever since, him and I have been Gooners. We buy each other kits every year. We’ve even passed it onto another generation in our family, with us buying the youngsters kits. I now know one thing for sure: There won’t be any Manckers or Spuds in our family.

  31. i loved reading these stories of how people became arsenal fans.. here’s mine.

    i was born just outside london in 1963. the first game i can remember watching on tv was the 1971 cup final at wembley when charlie george scored deep into extra time to win the double for arsenal. it was a beautiful summer’s days, arsenal were wearing those magical yellow shirts and charlie george took my breath away. that was it, i was hooked.

    my father tried over the next couple of years to get me to support tottenham because although he was born in manchester and was a manu fan he had moved to tottenham just after WW2 and so he had lots of friends around that area. during the 72/73 season my father took me to about 10 tottenham games hoping to persuade me over to the dark-side. amazingly i was able to hold-out long enough and so by the beginning of the 73/74 season he was taking me to highbury.

    arsenals football in those far-off days was ugly, attritional and boring (much like chelsea today!!!). there were some awful players (john matthews anyone???) and the only shinning light for me was george armstrong (in fact until pires came along ‘geordie’ armstrong was my favourite player). then came liam brady and for a few years he dragged us along to a few cup finals before heading to italy.

    anyway i could go on for ever but time is the master!!!

    keep up the good work tim

  32. im 17 and became a true gooner when i was 11. the first full match i ever watched from beginning to end was the 2003 FA CUP FINAL. i was at a relatives house and i put on the TV and it was about to begin and i realised if anyone asked me i would say im an arsenal fan but i didnt know much about them so i watched the game because i was so bored. in the end it was fate for me to watch it. i remember pires scored in the 1st half and we won and lifted the trophy. i was in awe and now i love the club. although i started to think you win a cup after every match!i went to my first game this season against dynamo kiev in the champions league which we won 1-0. my mate said should we leave with 5 minutes to go and i said no lets watch all of it and Bendtner stepped up to score.

  33. When I was eleven i went on a exchange student trip to london and fell in love with Highbury even though I never got a chance to see a game there. I had always loved soccer and had played since i was about 4 and once I was able to regularly watch Arsenal matches or even just follow their results via the internets, American soccer just paled in comparison.

  34. Born Jamaican and a naturalized US Citizen, I grew up on football from an infant and represented school teams all throughout college and played in the highest amateur league in Jamaica. Coaching also interested me and was a coach at the High School level in Jamaica and up the U-14 level in the USA.

    An ardent student of the game, I grew up with the boys of Brazil being my team, which they are till this day. I was exposed to European football in Jamaica courtesy courtesy of the BBC and did manage to see a few of the legends like Puskas, Stan Matthews, Di stefano, Booby Moore, Bobby Charlton, Platini,etc.

    After reaching the shores of the US in 1980, football disappeared from my viewing life although I continued to play in amateur leagues until a few years back when it started taking 3 days to recover physically from a game. Telemundo and GOL TV restored mt football viewing some years back and I was a faithful watcher of the WC. About 7 years ago I had the fortune to watch Arsenal and that was it for me. The beautiful game which was reminiscent of Brazil and Le Orange hooked both my son and myself immediately and we now have a fairly large group of family and friends who have been converted to Arsenal. Ironically, Manu, Chelsea, Real Madrid and AC Milan are really big in the Caribbean and so most of by best friends are my football enemies.

    Outside of casual flirtations with Brazilan club teams Flamengo and Santos as a youth, Arsenal has been my only enduring love at the club level.

    Arsenal forever.

  35. I’m 20 years old, from Michigan. Was always vaugely interested in World Cup, but never played, never really cared the game. I saw a Henry youtube compilation in ’07 and was sold. I’ve yet to see a trophy lifted, but considering I’m the same age as most of the first team, it doesn’t really bother me (but we need to win something soon, if we’re going to keep cesc/theo/rvp. Your blog and arseblog make it great to be Arsenal supporters, because you have a good sense of humor, and you know John Terry is a cunt.

    We aren’t going to pay silly money get Xabi, but does that mean the search for anyone experienced is over? Wenger never tried for DeRossi, and Yaya Toure seems like a story that exists only in newspapers. We still need a DM. egh.

  36. I started to enjoy Arsenal about 4 years ago. I was always a big fan of football playing as a kid, but never really supported an English team because I lived in Canada. Now, I usually like to read the sports section when I eat my breakfast and stumbled upon the EPL standings. Noticing United and Chelsea near the top, I decided to choose a team that was near the top, but not the top because I did not want to bandwagon. I saw Arsenal in fourth, liked the name and started watching games.

    I had a talk with my parents about this a few days later and they reminded me I was born in central London. So in essence, supporting Arsenal was a destiny. Now, I can not get enough of the team.

  37. BTW Tim,

    This was a great idea of yours. It’s great to put info with the nameless folk we trade barbs with on a daily basis.

    It’s also a great learning process to see all the varying aspects and experiences the Arsenal fans are coming from.

    As usual, keep up the good work.

  38. It`s a bit odd really. My early years were spent in the north of England where I played my football. I represented my county , and at one stage was set to join Manchester United as an apprentice. Then things changed. In 1948 my mother died of breast cancer and I went to live with an aunt near to a football stadium called Higbury.
    When ever possible my uncle would take me to the home games (and even to White Hart Lane)and we would meet his work mate at the man hole cover at what I think was the northern end corner.
    Being as I was , and still am, a short arse the man hole was my perch because it was raised two feet above the terrace. The names I still remember: George Swindon was in goal( always threw his cap into the goal before receiving the first practice shot) Lionel Scott was at full back then there was Logie, Lewis, Roper an the Compton brothers Denis and Leslie.
    After service with the Royal Navy I decided to try my hand again when invited to trial with Fulham but with only a few months to serve the RN would not relise me in time to join the 1957 pre season which is just as well because my heart was in N5….Lastly I must say my most tender moment was at Highbury in early April 1948 when my uncle was called to the office and I walked through the marble halls to learn my mother had just passed away. Yes, Arsenal is much more than a football club to me.

  39. I went to a catholic school here in Manila that are being ran by Italian priests (our canteen chef is Italian too, We had great food all the time). My 2 older brothers palyed football in the same school and followed Juventus and the Milans. Following their footsteps I played for the same coach they were with when I was in the 2nd grade. I palyed for the same school until my 1st yr in college until I left and transfered to another school with ZERO football program. I went to drinking a lot of booze and never touched a ball. I kept talking about football and how I miss watching and playing. One day I came across a book by Nick Hornby titled “Fever Pitch” (it’s about his love affair with Arsenal unlike the Hollywood version). I was able to relate in most of the things he had written. I stopped drinking went back to my old school and played for them in the alumni team. I started watching Arsenal to see what Nick Hornby was talking about. I was mesmerized by Henry, Bergkamp, Viera and Pires and Arsene’s philosophy. From then on I oredered home and away kits and have them shipped here, Arsenal banner draped my wall and purchase other Arsenal stuff that I can get my hands on. Football is my passion but Arsenal became my religion.

    Mabuhay Arsenal!

  40. I’m 21 and it’s been 11 years since I became an arsenal fan.

    It was the World Cup of 1998. First time I got interested in watching football. Obviously France became my favourite team but of all the french players, two of them became my favourites…

    Henry and Pires… I started to find out more about them and consequently made the best decision of life regarding football and started following Arsenal.

    Gunner till Death.

  41. I grew up playing football for a local youth league team, and even had trials for Leeds back when they were something of a success, but as I got older I grew more and more disdain for the English footballing coaching and system. I’m not a big guy, and despite outplaying my larger colleagues it was always the big guys getting signed and having club interest even with a severe lack of talent.

    The English youth system was still very much in the stone age in that respect, generally putting physicality and safety first football to the forefront and creativity and skill are very much secondary. This caused me to quit playing and have a general dislike for the game for around 3 years; until I started watching the Invincibles play ridiculously creative football which definitely helped rekindle my love of the game.

    I’ve been an avid watcher ever since, watching Barcelona in La Liga and Arsenal in the Premier league, its not about the winning for me, its all about the way they play football and the entertainment,but watching 3 short guys in Messi, Xavi and Iniesta destroy Man Utd was quite sweet. :p

    Excellent Blog btw.

  42. ok so i was really young at the time. i had interest in football but i hadnt picked a team to follow. my parents went away to amsterdam and bought me back a ajax shirt. on the front shirt was marc overmars. anyway he soon signed for arsenal and thats when my marriage started. and i havent looked back since!. so it was ajax very briefly but now just arsenal. but there are alot of similarities between the two clubs in approach to youth players and academies.i love how the american arsenal fans are aware of the hatrid of spurs!

  43. Stevie the middle-aged Singapore gooner here again. Just wanted to add another reason:
    Arsenal plays good football with players they nurture. They don’t buy success. Wenger’s come under some criticism but this approach of nurturing players to play as a tight unit is something I am very proud of as a gooner. Watching the Arsenal youth team and the Carling Cup side play fills me with optimism for the future. There is now a fantastic football style, philosophy and bond at Arsenal. And this special bond that many Gunners have with Arsenal even after they have left the club is a wonderful affirmation of the club and a priceless resource. These are all Arsene Wenger’s legacy and they are precious precious gifts. One day, Wenger will no longer be the Arsenal boss but I hope the Wenger way – of nurturing players who play positive attacking football as a team – will long continue – with ex-Gunners in the coaching staff – Steve Bould, Bergkamp, Thierry. And may that beautiful Arsenal way continue to attract more young football fans and may they fall in love with Arsenal and be richly rewarded by the football, by the philosophy, by the values that bear the Arsenal stamp. Long live the Arsenal!

  44. Well….i tried desperately to avoid supporting the Gunners because there was a strong family tradition of doing so, and I was sort of rebelling so I ended up being a Stoke City fan (was born and spent the first 3 months of my life there so there was logic to it). They had Gordon Banks and Jimmy Greenhoff back then and no one seemed to mind them. It was all going OK being a southern based Potter until Arsenal knocked them out of the FA Cup semi-final in 1971. In spite I told my dad I’d support Liverpool who were Arsenal’s opponents at Wembley and he just smiled and said OK. Come the day we sat to watch the Final and little did I know that by the end of the afternoon I would be converted, and I would stop battling against my true destiny. As the game progressed I was secretly urging Arsenal to score and was p-ed off that their dominance hadn’t turned to goals at the end of normal time. Then extra time and the 30 mins that showed me who I was and who I was put on this Earth to support. Basically to cut it short, Liverpool scored first. I felt like i had been shot and it was then I showed my true colours by not celebrating. Then WE (it was no longer Arsenal) equalized. It was a rubbish goal that George Graham had every right to claim, but it was a goal all the same and I was an Arsenal fan. Then my soon-to-be lifetime hero, a certain Mr George, slammed in the greatest ever Cup winning goal and celebrated by lying flat on his back, a vision that means everything to me as an Arsenal fan (and it was a much better goal than the Ricky Villa’s “don’t-tackle-him-he-has-a-beard-and-may-be-a-suicide-bomber” effort in my 1981). So there you have it. A mini-novel in how I finally accepted why I’m a Gooner, and always will be.

  45. gunners simply rock..
    amazing morals, youth development, beautiful football..
    love you arsenal!

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