One nil to the Arsenal

Gavin E Parker, looking comfortable and relaxed in a retro Arsenal top at the Emirates Stadium

Gavin E Parker, looking comfortable and relaxed in a retro Arsenal top at the Emirates Stadium

Just got back from the Emirates. Here’s my match report:

Arsenal won.

What, am I a sports correspondent now?

Pretty grim weather-wise. Realised shortly after we set off that it was going to be even colder than a standard English Summer rainy day. I was only wearing a T-shirt (okay, and trousers, pants, socks and the rest). In the end I had to buy a massively overpriced long-sleeved T-shirt in the Arsenal shop in order to avoid being cold and miserable. Well, to avoid being cold, anyway; it would take more than a T-shirt to stop me being miserable.

It felt very weird donning Arsenal garb at the stadium. I felt self-conscious, like it would make me stand out where, of course, if anything it would make me blend in. I guess I had a low-level fear that a stranger would grab me and ask me obscure questions about 1992/1993 squad or somesuch. Once I had failed that test the shirt would be unceremoniously ripped from my back in front of a laughing crowd. But that didn’t happen, so win for me.

All in all a fun day out, and we avoided the rain, too.

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Let’s go to the football

A break from writing and proofing today. I’m taking the kids to the football, Arsenal vs Wolfsburg at the Emirates.

We’re not big football fans but we do have a vague interest in Arsenal. My dad was a big fan, and there are historic connections between Arsenal and Margate, our hometown.

The Emirates Cup is looked down on by the hardcore fans. It’s a silly preseason micro-tournament of no import whatsoever, but that’s what we like about it. There’s a carnival atmosphere and it makes for a fun day out.

The only time we’ve been when the vibe was anything other than chilled and fun was in 2013 when Arsenal were beaten 1-2 by Galatasaray. It was fine in the stadium but after, when we were queuing for the tube station, the Galatasaray fans were marched passed us with a mounted police escort, ensuring they had no access to us. They were chanting ‘We are best of Arsenal’ and looking anything but friendly. It did occur to me to lead a chant in retort, ‘We are best of grammar,’ but in the interest of public order I let it go.