No, not mine but my cousin’s – you all know him already from the book review he wrote for the site over a year ago. The little man isn’t so little any more after turning 16 last weekend and as a present, I took him to his first ever football game. Unlike his brother, he saw the light from a very young age by deciding to switch allegiances from his father’s beloved Liverpool to the Arsenal. I asked him to share a few thoughts on what he thought of the whole experience below.
Please excuse the lack of photography as we were in a box and security told me to put away my camera twice. I wasn’t going to risk getting thrown out of my work’s box. Right handing over to him…
Never before have I been to a football match so one can only imagine my excitement when I heard that I’ll be going to the home of football to watch my beloved Arsenal take on Stoke.
That match day atmosphere was slowly building from the moment we left West Ham, as innumerable fans of all ages joined to form a stampede of Gooners coming out of the tube, till we got to Arsenal station. One aspect of a football match that I gradually acknowledged is the passive unity of the fans as opposed to my assumption that a small spark of idiocy would ignite a fight.
Outside the Emirates we go down memory lane with poster flags of past Arsenal legends emerging from both sides of the Ken Friar Bridge. Compared to clubs such as Liverpool and Manchester United it would appear that Arsenal’s memorable moments isn’t quite cemented in the history books however the closer I got to the stadium the more recognisable the faces became. I began to see the faces of the stars who’ve had a massive impact on world football with names such as Bergkamp, Fabregas and Henry. Reminiscing over the quality of the team and silverware won in the late 90′s gives hope and expectation that something great is going to hit Arsenal.
More on the stadium itself, I wasn’t too impressed as there were horse faeces near the east entrance which was disappointing considering the stature of a club like Arsenal and the nonchalant attitude of the police to clean after their mess.
Nevertheless, it was completely different as soon as we entered the Emirates. I felt a sense of tranquillity as the crowd died down but nothing could compare with the feeling of getting a glimpse of your boyhood football team for the first time. The uncalled adrenaline rush got my chest beating uncontrollably. At that moment I realised what football was really about. It was a day to abandon materialism and embrace idealism.
I took off my facade and covered myself in my true red and white colours. The name and number on my back engraved Arsenal’s doctrine of football into my spine. I couldn’t stop shivering, partly due to the slight breeze in the stadium, but mostly the unnerving atmosphere created by thousands of fans chanting numerous songs and phrases. As much as the typical match day would cause these symptoms I think it was the awaiting of one particular person who stimulated all this excess hype. We Gooners remained faithful through times of havoc and incredible doubt of the Arsenal hierarchy and we’ve been rewarded with a blessing in the form of Mesut Özil.
The game itself wasn’t as good as I hoped it would with all our goals coming from set pieces but no way did that tarnish the quality of my day. To summarise; I got to go to the Emirates stadium, eat great food, meet some really cool colleagues of my cousin’s, watch the Arsenal and drink some amazing bubble tea on the way home.
All in all, of all the food and drinks I consumed, one thing that I will forever treasure are the memories forged by new and extraordinary experiences.
Boom. I’m glad I got to take him to his first ever game, everlasting memories of a glorious day in North London. 3-1 to the Arsenal. RED ARMY.
The Emirates Stadium