I’ve been a Gooner since I was a small boy. I remember fondly the days when I’d sit and watch the likes of David Rocastle, Michael Thomas, Perry Groves, Alan Smith, John Lukic, Ian Wright and Tony Adams; the team and their supporters struck a chord with me.
I grew up in a small village on the outskirts of Bristol and all of my friends at the time were enthusiastic followers of either Manchester United or Liverpool and this, as I’m sure you can imagine, left me open to great abuse. I didn’t care, it was part and parcel of supporting Arsenal and further strengthened my resolve. I think I fell in love with the team because they were like me in a way; maligned by many, but with a mentality of doing things their own way in spite of detractors. I wasn’t popular in the traditional sense as a boy, so it made sense to marry my affections with a team that symbolised this. We were perfect for each other.
Over the years I’ve been lucky enough to see world-class players like Henry, Bergkamp, Vieira, and Nicklas Bendtner (?!) play in the flesh and I’ve suffered my fair share of downs and enjoyed plenty of ups. I don’t get to the live games anywhere as frequently as I’d enjoy, but I’ve seen some truly spectacular things – my favourite was the lob over Schmeichel at Villa Park that Robert Pires scored, witnessing this live was as good as anything I’ve experienced in my life.
Writing has long been a passion of mine. What I may lack in correct structuring and grammatical prudence, I attempt to make up for with enthusiasm, humour and a touch of the surreal. ‘The Armchair Gooner’ represents my first marginally successful blog, and over time I aim to grow a readership and further exposure to the masses.
Below are some of my favourite moments over the years as a staunch Gooner:
- Patrick Vieira’s goal at White Hart Lane against Spurs when we clinched the league title there – still my favourite goal of all time from an Arsenal player. The speed of the break and the precision of passes from Henry and Bergkamp still blows me away when I see it
- The ‘Untouchables’ season of 2003/2004
- Alan Smith’s volleyed winner against Parma in the Cup Winners Cup of 1994
- The day we signed Dennis Bergkamp and the huge leap forward it represented. Only a year previously we’d bought Chris Kiwomya
- Thierry Henry making an absolute mug out of Danny Mills
- Patrick Vieira returning to Highbury a Juventus player. The goal scored by Cesc Fabregas was brilliant, but the tackle on Vieira from Robert Pires of all people made it that little bit sweeter
- Anders Limpar’s goal from the halfway line against Liverpool (I think it was)
- Micheal Thomas in 89; the best end to a season you’ll ever see
- David Seaman’s astonishing save in a F.A Cup semi-final against Sheffield United. Seaman had been subjected to all sorts of derogatory remarks in the press and answered his critics with a save which even one-time rival and ex-Manchester United goalkeeper, Peter Schmeichel described as “The best save I’ve ever seen”
- The battles between Roy Keane and Patrick Vieira
- Winning the title at Old Trafford
- Kanu’s hat-trick against Chelsea
- Tony Adams’ goal against Everton when we’d sealed the league title in 1998
- Every moment of ‘Mad’ Jens Lehmann’s Arsenal career – he was so entertaining
- Robin van Persie’s thunderbolt of a volley he scored at Charlton
- Emmanuel Eboue
- Bergkamp’s hat-trick at Leicester City
- Andrey Arshavin’s 4 goals at Liverpool
- Thierry Henry’s endless list of world-class goals and approach play
- John Terry’s face-planting antics in the 5-3 defeat of Chelsea
- Coming from 2 down to wallop Spurs for 5
- Pires’ chip over Schmeichel at Villa Park
There are so many more, far too many to mention but I’m sure you get the idea. Here’s hoping they’ll be a few more recent ones for me to add.